Turn On The Jets – Week 1 Giveaway Contest

Turn On The Jets is partnering with Gameday Goods to give away a free New York Jets mini helmet, sign up here!

We are happy to participate in this giveaway with Gameday Goods for New York Jets fans in week one, check out the details below –

Enter to win sweepstakes sponsored by Gamedaygoods.com

Register as a member at Gamedaygoods.com and get a chance to win this Free Authentic Mini Jets Helmet. All you need to do is sign up here and enter in TURN ON THE JETS where it says enter in redemption or Groupon code here. Also make sure to get all your Jets gear here and be ready for Kickoff.

RULES
1. The promotion will last for 2 weeks
2. Valid entries must sign up at Gameday Goods
3. Contestants agree to pay for shipping fees

No Huddle – New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, Week 1 Edition

TJ Rosenthal’s No Huddle looks ahead to the New York Jets week 1 match-up

The countdown is on. We are now less than a week and counting before the games begin for real. Today we go
No Huddle on the Jets last minute shopping, the latest tabloid splash, and what the Bills game means long term for Gang Green.

1 – Don’t Count On Waiver Wire Bailouts

First there was the bank bailout. Then the auto bailout. A Jets roster bailout? Nope. That’s where the handouts in America end we guess. In the spirit of the convention season, we wondered what gift was awaiting the Jets, as teams trimmed their rosters to 53 over the weekend.

Instead, there was only disappointment for those of us who hoped that players cut elsewhere, would immediately land in Florham Park to bolster a Jet roster that has it’s share of question marks.

Sorry, no dice. Clyde Gates and Co. dont constitute the kind of player WE were dreaming about grabbing last week.. Reality is, veterans who have lost a step, and kids with holes in their game are usually all that is laying around after teams make final cuts.

The notable immediate impact guys?

We call those the real “free agents.” The ones that switch teams in March and April. Not in the final days of August.

Maybe we should’ve grabbed a few more last spring.

2 – Rex, This Is Your Best What?

Every so often Big Rex pays Little Rex a visit. Reminding us all of how fun the old Ryan shoot from the hip style was.

Telling us that THIS may be his best Jets team since his arrival, as he did on Friday, sounded just like the pre lap band surgery guy. Boasting and roasting others for no reason. Loud and proud. “Goddamn snack” style.

In truth, this years club may wind up developing Rex’s best defense. It’s very possible. Best TEAM though? Well, how about the starters scoring a TD first.

Then we can revisit the notion Rex.

3 – Sanchez and Eva, Rather It Be A WR Diva

The NY Post ran a photo exclusive of Mark Sanchez and Eva Longoria Sunday, noting that the two have something going on together. Next Sunday all of the media will write on what 6 has going on with his receivers instead.

We don’t care who dates who, or who is out at night and where, Ok? This is New York City.

You can live like Joe “Caligula” Namath or Tim Tebow if you want to. Either way, none of it is our business. The only business that matters to us is gametime. For 6, it’s gonna be soon about his dealings with wideouts, not some desperate housewife.

4 – Tanny, Are You Sure About This?

The Jets head into the regular season one Shonn Greene stinger away from Bilal Powell most likely taking over at RB. One rib shot to Santonio Holmes away from Jeremy Kerley becoming the WR with the most catches as a Jet. One Dustin Keller hammy acting up before guys named Reuland and Cumberland line up at TE.

We understand the concept of youth and athleticism over experience. We don’t understand having eight months to insure young speed and power with a few vets sprinkled in, and opting not to. At all.

We hope that you are alot smarter than we are Tanny.

5 – Beat Buffalo, or Dig A Hole

The Jets play the Steelers, Dolphins, 49ers, and Texans after they battle the Bills in week one. Assuming that the Dolphins will be as weak as many project them to be, then the safest path towards guaranteeing a shot at a season saving 2-3 start, is to beat Buffalo.

Week one is never a must win. Sept 9th will be as close to one however, as a team with playoff hopes can get.

 

New York Jets GM Operating From Position Of Comfort?

Looking for justification on the New York Jets roster decisions

The New York Jets handled their self proclaimed “mini-draft” in a perplexing way over the previous few days. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum acted against conventional wisdom with many decisions and left the Jets with a surprising amount of holes and/or questions marks on their opening day roster. This was an extension of his actions throughout this entire off-season which saw a lack of action to improve the offensive side of the football. Clearly, Tannenbaum holds the belief that last year’s team underachieved as aptly pointed by Rich Cimini today and that his job security is firmly secure, as we mentioned in an article last week.

Let’s review some of the most recent decisions and attempt to look at them from both sides of the coin, we haven’t been shy to criticize Tannenbaum on this site but that doesn’t mean we won’t search for his perspective –

Wide Receiver – Waive Jordan White/Pick Up Clyde Gates/Keep Chaz Schilens

Despite not playing in the final three pre-season games and not showing anything throughout August, the Jets decided to keep Chaz Schilens on their final 53 despite only giving him a very modest contract in the off-season. Schilens was brought in on the recommendation of receiver coach Sanjay Lal and has shown flashes of productivity at times throughout his 4 year NFL career. He  also possesses a desirable combination of size and speed.

Gates is another burner who was a fourth round pick last year but was cut from the receiver desperate Miami Dolphins, which doesn’t speak well to his ability. From everything he has demonstrated throughout his career so far, he is very raw and still not ready to be a contributor on a NFL roster.

White is a player who put together a strong August. He lacks the impressive physical attributes of Gates and Schilens but has shown an ability to get open and work well in the slot. White is now stashed on the practice squad but isn’t it overkill to have three receivers with nearly identical skill sets in Stephen Hill, Schilens and Gates on the roster? At least White provides insurance if Jeremy Kerley can’t stay healthy or productive in the slot. Schilens can’t be counted on to stay healthy and Gates hasn’t shown an ability to do anything but run in a straight line.

Tannenbaum’s logic is clearly to stack the roster with vertical receivers. Will the Jets passing game take advantage of such assets and is he overvaluing the ability of Schilens and Gates though? He didn’t lose White and the #4 and #5 receivers on the Jets roster will likely not be major factors, so it is hard to be too critical of these moves but it doesn’t send a great message that a guy like White can practice and perform all August, just to lose a roster spot a bicycle superstar Schilens.

Defensive Line – Cut Marcus Dixon/Sign Isaako Aaitul/Keep Damon Harrison

It was perplexing to cut Dixon because he played well last season as a spot starter and member of the Jets defensive line rotation. He is a young player with the ability to slide between tackle and end, who has proven his value in Rex Ryan’s scheme. The Jets parted ways with him for an undrafted free agent in Harrison and a Dolphins castoff in Aaitul. Harrison has played well this pre-season, did he play better than Dixon? Probably not, but it is a better story for Mike Tannenbaum to tell that a UDFA fought his way on to the Jets roster at a crowded position. Aaitual has potential according to his scouting reports but likely can’t contribute this season.

Overall, this was a battle for the 6th spot in the Jets defensive line rotation and thus minimal reps if any. Tannenbaum chose to young and with upside, instead of the proven performer…penny-pinching about $150,000 in the process. In the long term, it could payoff if Harrison or Aaitul develop but if the Jets suffer an injury upfront this year, their depth is a bigger question mark than it would be with Dixon on the team.

Tight End – Waive Dedrick Epps/Sign Konrad Reuland

Tannenbaum had adamantly refused to go after a proven blocking tight end and clearly thinks it is better to let an extra tackle, like Jason Smith, take the reps. Epps didn’t show much this August, either as a blocker or receiver. Reuland has good size but every report on him, notes his receiving ability and calls him a “finesse blocker.” The Jets remain perilously thin between Dustin Keller, with Jeff Cumberland being the top option. Cumberland struggled all August, both catching the ball and blocking, likely because he is a former college wide receiver.

For whatever reason, Tannenbaum devalues the blocking tight end role, despite having success with it in 2009 and 2010 with Ben Hartsock being a major contributor to the Jets rushing attack. He also is demonstrating faith in Cumberland to handle a large role on offense. If the Jets can overcome giving away their tendencies with Smith on the field and Cumberland performs above expectations, Tannenbaum will look smart for saving money here, it the Jets struggle with Smith on the field and Cumberland flounders, Tannenbaum should be roasted for ignoring this need.

Fullback – Waive Terrance Ganaway/Keep John Conner

The Jets lost Ganaway, a sixth round draft pick to the Rams in the waiver process. He is a big back who showed the versatility to play fullback and halfback. It would have been a risk to hand him the starting fullback job but perhaps the Jets could have signed a veteran like Ovie Mughelli or Jacob Hester to ease the transition. Ganaway, Mughelli and Hester all have flaws in their game but at least they provide a measure of versatility for the passing game. Simply put, if you watch film on John Conner last year, he brings nothing to the passing game and his lead blocking is average at best. The Jets should probably consider going to more single back looks but if they have to use a fullback, why not go with an average blocker who can at least make an impact as a receiver or runner?

It would have been bad PR to cut the starting fullback with a catchy nickname a week before the season but can the Jets overcome Conner’s shortcomings for another year?

Running Back – Nothing

The Jets are rolling with Bilal Powell as their backup running back. A move that is eerily reminiscent of rolling with Colin Baxter as the backup center last year. Tannenbaum is clearly banking on last year’s fourth round pick to step up as a capable contributor and starter if Shonn Greene goes down. Yes, sometimes you have to let your young players play but on a run heavy team…maybe the most run heavy team in the NFL, isn’t that too big of a risk?

Based on performance to this point, it looks like Tannenbaum whiffed on three running backs in the last few years of the draft. Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell in the fourth round and John Conner in the fifth round. He also has a recent second round pick, Vladimir Ducasse, serving as the team’s 8th offensive lineman and a first rounder struggling heavily as a nickelback in Kyle Wilson. It appears he wants to roll the dice on his three running backs stepping up this year to validate his selection, if they fail, all three could be gone next year.

The New York Jets remain in a position to be competitive in the AFC East, thanks to a very good defense which Tannenbaum supported by adding Quinton Coples, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, and Demario Davis. Their defense is led by a terrific defensive mind and has a soft schedule to feast on. Could their offense be better than expected? Yes, if rookie Stephen Hill grows up fast and the newly added Tim Tebow brings a needed punch to the running game. However, it doesn’t mean the Jets have the necessary depth on offense. Tannenbaum feels comfortable to bank on players like Bilal Powell, Jeff Cumberland and Jason Smith…which demonstrates a self-comfort in his own job security.

TOJ 12 Pack – 2012 New York Jets Season Prediction Edition

30 Predictions for the New York Jets 2012 season

We couldn’t just give you the standard 12 pack of predictions before Labor Day weekend. It is time crack open an entire 30 rack of predictions for the 2o12 New York Jets season. Make sure you are with us throughout the weekend and into next week as we are in regular season mode now at TOJ. Myself, Chris Gross, Mike Donnelly, TJ Rosenthal, Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti are going to be bringing you endless content to get you ready for Jets/Bills and the start of the NFL season. 

When you head out for a college football game this weekend, make sure to take advantage of our partnership with Night Out and claim the deal at the top of the page and linked here. Also check out our Turn On The Jets t-shirts, we only have a few left and you know you need that fresh shirt for week 1 at MetLife.

On to the predictions –

1. Mark Sanchez, barring injury or a Wildcat formation on the first play from scrimmage, will start every single game at quarterback for the Jets this season. He will finish with a career high in completion percentage and quarterback rating, along with a career low in interceptions.

2. Quinton Coples is going to finish with 6 sacks in his rookie season and be a consistent disruptive force on the Jets defensive line, making people like me who doubted the selection very foolish.

3. Coples fellow defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson will make his first Pro-Bowl in 2012, providing both a strong pass rush and a dominant presence against the run.

4. The Jets defense will finish top three in total defense and first in rushing yards allowed per game.

5. Aaron Maybin will lead the Jets in sacks with 10.5.

6. LaRon Landry will start at least 12 games and lead the team in interceptions.

7. Tim Tebow will lead the Jets in rushing touchdowns with 8. Mark Sanchez will finish with 3 rushing touchdowns.

8. Shonn Greene will finish with somewhere between 1,150 and 1,250 yards along with 6 touchdowns.

9. Dustin Keller will lead the Jets in receptions and finish with a career high 8 receiving touchdowns.

10. Santonio Holmes will lead the Jets in receiving yards and have a nice bounce-back season.

11. Stephen Hill will have at least 4 receptions of more than 30 yards. He will finish with 5 touchdowns but lead the team in dropped passes.

12. Jason Smith will finish the season as the Jets starting right tackle.

13. The Jets will finish 4-2 in the AFC East.

14. Bart Scott will keep his starting position at inside linebacker for the entire season, finishing with 80 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his final season as a member of the New York Jets.

15. David Harris will lead the Jets in tackles with 105 and finish with 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.

16. Darrelle Revis will keep both Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald under 50 receiving yards in their respective match-ups.

17. Tim Tebow will be the Jets second leading rusher by a wide margin. He will finish with less than 250 yards passing on the season.

18. Joe McKnight will return 2 kicks for a touchdown this season.

19. Bilal Powell will finish with less than 300 total offensive yards.

20. Calvin Pace will have 4 sacks in his final season as a member of the New York Jets.

21. The New York Jets will enter their week 9 bye at 4-4 or 5-3.

22. The Jets will enter their final 3 games against Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo firmly in the mix for a wild-card spot along with the Titans and Chargers.

23. The Jets will finish in second place in the AFC East, at least 2 games behind New England and at least 2 games ahead of Buffalo.

24. The Jets will finish with a winning record at home.

25. Antonio Cromartie will play less than 5 snaps on offense all season and have zero receptions. He will have 4 interceptions and a defensive touchdown.

26. Terrance Ganaway will be the starting fullback by the end of the season.

27. All Pro – Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold

28. Pro-Bowl – LaRon Landry, David Harris, Muhammad WIlkerson

29. Most improved players – Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Mark Sanchez, Nick Folk

30. The Jets will finish 9-7 or 10-6, sneaking into the final wild-card spot.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Review Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False reviews the New York Jets pre-season and makes a few predictions

For our final Preseason edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we take a look back at the play of Gang Green throughout the summer, as well as making some predictions for the final 53 man roster and the regular season. There certainly is much to be discussed after a four game span that’s only offensive touchdown was led by third string quarterback Greg McElroy. Let’s jump right into it.

Mark Sanchez has taken major strides this preseason. Fact. Mark Sanchez has gone through arguably the most difficult offseason ever faced by an NFL starting quarterback. Since the meltdown in Miami last season, Sanchez has had to face rumors of dissension, trade, along with heavy criticism about his future, and the media circus that has ensued since the acquisition of Tim Tebow. Many players would have succumbed to the pressure and gone in the tank by now, however, Sanchez has seemingly done the complete opposite.

In his fourth preseason, Sanchez had to deal with a severe injury plague to his wide receiver corps, an issue that gave him virtually no real time with Jets’ veterans Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, a disastrous situation at Right Tackle, and a mediocre, at best, running game. Despite all of this, however, Sanchez posted a completion percentage of 68.6.

Numbers aside, the fourth year pro out of Southern California has shown the moxie that Jets fans have been waiting for since his rookie year. He’s looked more poised than he ever has, proved willing to look downfield (particularly against Carolina), his footwork and pocket awareness seem to be at an all time high, and most importantly he has displayed an excellent command of the offense. He did make one bad decision–the interception returned for a touchdown against the Giants–but other than that Sanchez has put any type of quarterback controversy to bed for now. If the offensive line and running game can get it together, this will likely be the most efficient season of Sanchez’s career.

Austin Howard will start the entire season at Right Tackle. False. While Howard certainly played well in his first start against Carolina this preseason, he showed some signs of struggle against Philadelphia last night. Although he is seemingly an upgrade over Wayne Hunter, the Jets gave the newly acquired Jason Smith extended reps in last night’s action, and the former 2nd overall pick looked quite impressive. The entire line was playing against the Eagles’ second and third string, but Smith’s play was encouraging, and undoubtedly noticed by the Jets offensive staff. A new environment and good combination of veterans may be just what Smith needs to prove why he was so highly sought after coming out of Baylor in 2009. Howard will begin the season as the starter, but he will be under the microscope, and the slightest slip up could cost him his job.

Quinton Coples is going to be an impact player this season. Fact. It is certainly far too early to deem Coples the next Jason Pierre-Paul or Justin Tuck, however the 16th overall selection has shown tremendous promise this preseason, leading the Jets with 4.5 sacks. Coples has also proved to be very tough against the run, while remaining extremely versatile, having seen reps at both end and tackle along the defensive front. His footwork and hand speed are beyond what you’d expect to see out of any average rookie, and his motor, something that was brought into question when he was drafted, does not seem to be an issue at all. He has shown hustle down the field, despite earning a personal foul for a late hit last night, and he chased down the immortal Cam Newton from behind last week, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by the Jets. Coples also seems to be playing with an attitude, and a bit of a chip on his shoulder, which should help keep him hungry and motivated throughout the season. A double digit sack season is not out of the question for the rookie out of North Carolina.

John Conner will make the 53 man roster. False. This is a bold prediction considering Conner was supposedly drafted as Rex Ryan’s personal choice two seasons ago. However, other than earning himself a catchy nickname on HBO’s Hard Knocks, as well as delivering a few quality Special Teams hits, what has Conner really done for this team? The running game has certainly not been the same since the departure of Tony Richardson, and although that can also be due to struggles on the offensive line during that time period, Conner has shown very little, if any, ability to be an effective lead blocker in this league.

More importantly, though, is Conner’s lack of versatility. Apparently he is not the bruiser that the Jets thought they were getting, as shown by his single carry of 0 yards last night against the Eagles. Conversely, he is virtually non existent in the passing game. As noted by a former NFL executive, the Jets became extremely predictable last season anytime Conner checked into the game, as the opposing defense knew of the fullback’s struggles in the passing game.

Extended reps for rookie Terrance Ganaway at fullback last night could be an indication that the Jets are leaning toward the 6th round pick out of Baylor to be the primary guy for the position this season. In one game he has already shown more versatility than Conner, catching 4 passes for 18 yards and a touchdown. He certainly has the size to be a starting fullback in this league at about 6’0″ 240 lbs, so it will be very interesting to see how this plays out. If the Jets are convinced that he can be a better blocker than Conner, his versatility makes him far more valuable to the 53 man roster.

The Jets will have a top five defense this season. Fact. Although the offense has had its struggles this preseason, the defense has played lights out. Sure, there are some coverage issues to be figured out, primarily the struggles of Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to cover underneath routes, but Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine should get very creative, personnel wise, with their third down sub packages to keep these issues in check. The defensive line has looked elite all preseason, with vast improvements from Kenrick Ellis assisting to a shutdown run defense. The new safety tandem of LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell looks like it can be extremely potent if both players can stay healthy. With the way the two of them have played together thus far, combined with the stellar cornerback play of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets could very well have the best secondary in all of football. It seems as though this defense has the perfect combination of veterans and young players to be a wise and knowledgeable, yet explosive unit. Expectations are high for New York’s “D” this year.

NFL 2012 Gambling Preview: Over/Unders, MVP, Super Bowl Bets

Chris Celletti kicks off his weekly NFL gambling column with a look at over/unders, MVP and Super Bowl bets

We are happy to welcome Chris Celletti to the TOJ writing staff for the 2012 NFL season. He will be contributing a weekly NFL gambling column every Friday. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter and all the credit if you hit on any of these bets – 

So preseason is finally, finally over, which means the beginning of the NFL gambling season (unless you have a serious problem and have been betting on preseason games, which I’m sure about 85% of the NFL gambling population does, no questions asked). Each week during the regular season, I’ll give you three picks against the spread.

And let’s get this out of the way, here’s my disclaimer: I am in no way trying to pass myself off as any sort of gambling expert. I don’t study how lines move during the week because I have a job, a life and friends. I’m simply going to waddle up to my computer every Friday or so and look at that week’s schedule, pick three games, and give football reasons as to why. From time-to-time I’ll also throw in a non-football bet and other random thoughts that pop into my head. We’ll tally my record and keep a running total each week and see how horrifically I did at the end of the year, because we all know betting on football has zilch to do with anything football related. This is gonna be a fun exercise.

So since we’re still a wee bit off until the actual games kickoff, I thought I’d debut with some futures bets; a few team over/unders and MVP and  Super Bowl Champs bets.  As with my weekly picks to come, I plan on having a big old laugh when looking back on these in February when the season is over and Mike Tannenbaum takes over for Bill Polian as ESPN’s “Expert NFL GM”.

FYI: I get lines from Bovada.

Team Over/Unders:

Baltimore Ravens (10) – UNDER

My dad is a huge believer of “being due” in sports, and he’s passed that on to me. This ranges from everything like “Good god is Swisher OVERDUE for a homer” to “All the home teams have won on Wild Card Weekend so far, one of the road teams has to win”. It’s completely illogical and totally irrational, and yet I still believe in it. And to me, the Baltimore Ravens are due for a crap year. They’ve made the playoffs in all of John Harbaugh’s four seasons, which is a miraculous accomplishment given that Joe Flacco has been the starting quarterback for all of them. And of course it’s because of the Ravens’ defense, which to me is on its last legs. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are on the way out, and Terrell Suggs is hurt. Their schedule isn’t a murderer’s row but does include games with the Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and of course two with the rival Steelers. It’s just pretty hard in the NFL to have five straight winning/playoff seasons, especially with a quarterback like Flacco. I don’t expect the Ravens to be bad, but I can see 8-8.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5.5) – UNDER

This is the biggest dumpster of a franchise in the NFL and it’s not even close. Can you blame Maurice Jones-Drew for wanting out? The Jags and Jets should have pulled a Tebow-MJD trade, but the Jags would rather start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback than someone who, at the very least, would fill their stadium. Oh, wait, this is easy to figure out…their owner wants absolutely nothing to do with the city of Jacksonville. Additionally, the Jags have the NFC North and the AFC East on their schedule this year. It will take them until they’re the London Jaguars before they win six games in a season.

Denver Broncos (9) – OVER

It’s going to be close but I have the Broncos slightly over, probably by about a game or so. The competition in the AFC West will remain mediocre and Denver’s schedule isn’t too bad. And then there’s this: last year, this team won eight games and one in the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback. This season, they made an itty-bitty upgrade at the position with Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning throwing with his left hand could win 10 games if he gets half the support Lefty Jesus got last year from this defense, special teams and running game.

NFL MVP

Eli Manning (18/1)

The Giants’ offense has a chance to be insanely good. If David Wilson is even a fraction as good as every Giants blogger has blabbered on about since April, and Ahmad Bradshaw stays healthy, can’t Elisha have a truly MVP-caliber season? With any semblance of a running game Eli should put up monster numbers throwing to Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Co. Of course for Eli to win the MVP, the Giants will need to have a big regular season, something many seem to think isn’t going to happen, but I do (and then they’ll promptly lose in the first round of the playoffs because that’s how the Giants do things). To me, there’s no reason at all why guys like Michael Vick, Arian Foster and Matt Stafford should have better odds to win the MVP than Eli.

Super Bowl Champs

New Orleans (18/1)

What the Saints will prove this year is that in the NFL, coaching doesn’t mean a whole lot when you have a great quarterback who runs your offense from the huddle/line of scrimmage. In 2009, The Colts went 14-2 (should have went 16-0) with Jim Caldwell as their head coach, and Jim Caldwell is about as aware of his surroundings as a deer that sprints across the Garden State Parkway . The only reason that Colts team was worth anything was because of Peyton Manning. The Saints still have that whether Sean Payton is on the sidelines or not because of Drew Brees, and Brees also still has plenty of explosive weapons to use. The whole bounty scandal will end up being good for them because it forced ax-murderer wannabe Greg Williams and his Transitions lenses out of town, and Nola replaced him with Steve Spagnuolo, a totally competent and Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator. Besides, defense means jack in the NFL these days, just ask last year’s Patriots. And then there’s the dome. The Saints are impossible to beat in that dome. If they can get to the Super Bowl, well, do you know where the Super Bowl is this year? Why take the Eagles at 11/1 (this is a joke, right?) or the Bears at 15/1 if the Saints are sitting there below them?

New York Jets (40/1)

You remember what site you’re on, right?

Turn On The Jets NFL Divisional Preview – AFC North

Mike Donnelly previews and gives his predictions for the AFC North in 2012

With the NFL preseason thankfully coming to a close, we have a pretty good idea of what we can look forward to this year. Sure, we all know the ins and when it comes to the Jets and the rest of the AFC East around these parts, but what about the rest of the league? Well, today we’ll be taking a look at the AFC North. If you missed my AFC East preview (Which you can read HERE), I’ll be doing these previews in Stock Watch fashion. I’ll be buying and selling each team’s Vegas line on over/under of wins, some made-up stats props, some fantasy football tidbits, and whatever else. Here we go.

1. BALTIMORE RAVENS (11-5), #3 seed

BUY: Over 10 wins – Honestly, I think this will be a push, but there’s no fun in just agreeing with what the geniuses in Las Vegas have put out there for us, so I’m going with the over. I think a clean sweep of Cincinnati and Cleveland, coupled with a split with the Steelers will help get them to 10 easy, and perhaps 11. Yes, the defenses is starting to get up there in age and Terrell Suggs is out for a good chunk of the season, but they’ll still be good enough to carry Joe Flacco through yet another season.

SELL: Joe Flacco – Speaking of Flacco, I’ve been hearing more and more frequently lately from “the experts” about how this is going to be his breakout campaign and he’s gonna crack 4,000 yards. Umm, sorry, I don’t see that happening. Joe Flacco stinks, and even if they are going to a more pass-happy offense, that just means more dump-off passes to Ray Rice. Anquan Boldin can barely run these days, and while Torrey Smith looks like a good receiver, he’s not quite in that “elite” group, which is what Flacco would need to get up to that level. Plus, would you trust a guy who thought it was a good idea to grow that thing on his face to lead your team to the Super Bowl?

SELL: Over 0.5 playoff wins – The Ravens will get into the playoffs this year more due to a weak division than because they’re a legit Super Bowl contender. Last year they had it for the taking and Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff blew it for them. Now both those players are gone, but it’s not going to matter. I see the Ravens taking a slight step backwards and going 1-and-out in the playoffs.

BUY: Torrey Smith Over 1,000 yards – After recording 841 yards last year as a rookie, look for Smith to take a leap this year toward becoming a solid #1 receiver. 1,000 yards should be a lock for Mr. Smith, despite Cam Cameron (who is awful) calling the plays.

2. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-7), missed playoffs

SELL: Over 10 wins – I think this is the last go-round for this group of players, especially on the defensive side, and it’s not going to end well. Yes, they’ll win their share of games, but it will become clear this is no longer the Steelers team we’ve become accustomed to seeing the past few seasons. James Farrior and Aaron Smith are gone. Guys like Troy Polamalu, Casey Hampton, and James Harrison are nearing the end. Ike Taylor was never that good to begin with. The offensive line is atrocious and seems intent on getting Big Ben killed. It’s time to re-build or at least re-load.

BUY: Over 2.5 fights between Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger – Every time I watch the Steelers this year (and it will be often because CBS thinks EVERYONE wants to see the Steelers every single week), this is what I’m going to be rooting for. I just hope they escalate from your typical shouting matches where they say “It was the heat of the moment, we are fine” after the game, into all-out fisticuffs. If there’s a coach in the league that would make this a legit possibility, it’s Todd Haley.

BUY: Big Ben over 4,000 yards – Since the team has no running backs and an awful offensive line, Big Ben is going to have to pass. A lot. And that’s why…

BUY: Antonio Brown over 1,200 yards – Antonio Brown is going to be a fantasy football superstar. But if any players in the TurnOnTheJets.com fantasy football league are reading this, I’m just kidding about Brown. Forget I said anything.

BUY: Roethlisberger over 50 sacks – That’s a little over 3 per game. With this horrific offensive line, 50 could be reached by November. I don’t know what the record is for sacks in a season, but it’s in jeopardy.

3. CINCINNATI BENGALS (7-9)

SELL: Over 8.5 wins – Despite an impressive season last year with rookies Andy Dalton and AJ Green playing really well, I don’t see it carrying into this season. Not that Dalton and Green won’t play well, it’s just that… it’s the Bengals. Plus, Marvin Lewis is going to cost them at least 2 games with his inability to properly use his timeouts and/or his inexplicable failed challenge flags.

SELL: Benjarvus Green-Ellis – I was never particularly impressed by BJGE with the Patriots, and I can’t imagine that’s going to change now that he’s the Bengals starting running back. With the Patriots, he was constantly facing nickel and dime looks on defense because teams were scared to death of Tom Brady passing the ball. Now it’s going to be regular defenses who will be keying on him, and I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.

SELL: Over 0.5 wins against the Steelers and Ravens this year – Just like last year, the Bengals are going to show they aren’t ready to move on up in the world and overtake either of the two teams that ruled the division for the past decade.

4. CLEVELAND BROWNS (4-12)

SELL: Over 5 wins – It’s going to be yet another rough season for the Browns. Just when they had a glimmer of hope with the selection of running back Trent Richardson in the first round, it turns out he has a bum knee and his status for the start of the season is in jeopardy. Even if he plays week 1, do you have a lot of confidence that he can make it through 16 games on a bum knee with defenses keying on him as he tries to carry the entire team on his back? I see a lot of Chris Weinke 2.0, aka Brandon Weeden, struggling out there with or without Richardson.

BUY: Trent Richardson over 1,000 yards – All that being said, Trent Richardson is so talented that even on this crappy team, with a crappy coach, with a crappy Q, with a bum knee, he will still crank out of 1,000 yards and show plenty of flashes of greatness along the way. When he gets to leave the Browns in a few years, we’ll really get to see a great player thrive.

SELL: Mike Holmgren – You never hear about this guy anymore, do you? He got a massive payday to come in and “save” the Browns, and all he did was fire Eric Mangini (who was actually doing a pretty good job), blow a ton of draft picks, and then pretty much give up. It’s no wonder Browns fans are always so miserable.

Plenty Of Work Left For New York Jets Heading Into Pre-Season Finale

The New York Jets still have plenty to sort out on their roster heading into their final pre-season game

The New York Jets head into their pre-season finale tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles with plenty of questions surrounding their roster. On the field tonight will be a minimal amount of impact players for the 2012 team, however there are a handful who still have an opportunity to lock down prominent roles. After the game Mike Tannenbaum needs to get to work in adding depth to a few spots by scanning the league for other team’s end of August cuts.

At right tackle Austin Howard needs another strong showing to truly lock down the starting right tackle job. If he struggles tonight he could be on a quick hook for the recently acquired Jason Smith, who should also see some action tonight. At wide receiver, another good game from Patrick Turner and Jordan White should keep Chaz Schilens off the roster, if the Jets are going by merit. Schilens has hardly played at all this August and simply can’t stay healthy. There is no logical reason to keep him on at the expense of White or Turner and the Jets can’t afford to carry six receivers.

Shonn Greene won’t play tonight at running back leaving the workload to Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and Terrence Ganaway. Powell is the least proven backup running back in the NFL and it would be nice to see him rip off a couple of big runs against the Eagles backups to build some confidence heading into the season. Joe McKnight appears to be completely out of the mix at running back which doesn’t say much about the coaching staff’s faith in him considering the current depth chart. Ganaway is in an interesting situation, he hasn’t received much work at running back this pre-season and should receive some carries tonight but he has also worked at fullback in practice. Will we see him get extended work at fullback tonight and if he succeeds, could he knock John Conner off the roster?

Conner has been nothing but below average since taking over as the starting fullback. Beyond that, he lacks any kind of versatility. Shonn Greene runs well in the single back set, so why bother to keep Conner on the roster? When you do want to use a fullback, you could let Ganaway step in and he has the ability to both run the ball and do some damage as a receiver out of the backfield.

As for the rest of the offense, Mike Tannenbaum absolutely must add a blocking tight end to the Jets roster. Simply put, they are currently not carrying a single tight end capable of blocking. It will be interesting to see who comes free in the coming days. It also wouldn’t hurt for Tannenbaum to take a long look at some available veterans at both wide receiver and running back. The Jets are thin in both spots and quality options like Ryan Grant, Kahlil Bell, Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth remain out there.

On defense, the Jets are stacked at linebacker and will have to make some tough choices about roster cuts. It is hard to see them carrying more than 8 into their final 53 and with Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bart Scott, David Harris, Aaron Maybin, and Demario Davis locks, that only leaves two spots for Garret McIntyre, Nick Bellore, Josh Mauga and Ricky Sapp (who has been injured all pre-season).

In the secondary, Antonio Allen will get extended work at safety tonight and seems to have played his way into a roster spot. The fourth and fifth cornerback spots aren’t completely settled with Ellis Lankster, Isaiah Trufant, and Julian Posey battling for reps. It probably wouldn’t have hurt for the Jets to add a veteran here considering how cornerback heavy Rex Ryan’s defense can be.

Mike Tannenbaum has left holes in his roster with the season opener only 10 days away, hopefully between a combination of bottom of the roster players stepping up and some timely last second pick-ups he can patch them up.

New York Jets – Biggest Positional Question Marks

Who are the biggest question marks on the New York Jets heading into the 2012 season?

The New York Jets have a handful of sure things on their roster. You know Darrelle Revis is going to be a lockdown corner. You know Nick Mangold is going to anchor the offensive line. You know David Harris and Sione Pouha will play at a Pro-Bowl level and not receive the recognition for it. However, who are the team’s biggest question marks? Let’s take a quick run through

Austin Howard – Right Tackle – Howard has put together one pretty good pre-season and has the honor of replacing the least popular tackle in New York football history, Wayne Hunter. Let’s not forget he was an undrafted free agent who has never started a game before this season. If Howard starts to stumble, the Jets will likely have a quick hook to give the recently acquired Jason Smith an opportunity. He will be tested right out of the gate when facing Mario Williams or Mark Anderson week one and then Pittsburgh’s endless collection of pass rushers week two.

Kyle Wilson – Nickelback – Nickelback is a crucial spot in Rex Ryan’s defensive back heavy defense. Wilson has had a rough pre-season and patience is rightfully wearing thin with him. He is entering his third year and the former first round pick has never looked anything like one. Teams are going to pick on him with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie on the outside but Wilson must do a better job of locating the ball in the air and avoiding giving large cushions when he can’t afford to.

Stephen Hill – Wide Receiver – The Jets are relying on Hill to start right out of the gate despite how raw he is. He has shown an ability to get open and make plays down the field in the pre-season, while showing a consistent problem with drops. Hill is a rookie receiver from a triple-option offense. Can his positives outweigh his negatives as a full time player?

Mark Sanchez – Quarterback – I don’t see Sanchez as anywhere near as big of question mark as most people do. Outside of his interception against the Giants, he has been accurate and in-control of the offense despite a shaky offensive line and a banged up group of receivers. At his worst Sanchez will be an effective game manager, at his best he can be the player who led four 4th quarterback comebacks and won a playoff game in New England back in 2010. The biggest question around him this year is how he will handle being pulled from the game for Tebow when the Jets use the Wildcat.

Tim Tebow – Backup Quarterback – Not sure why more people aren’t concerned that the Jets backup quarterback had a 26.5 QB Rating and 38 percent completion rate in the pre-season. How can this offense function if Sanchez goes down for an extended period of time unless they are going to let Tebow just run 20 times per game from the QB position?

Jeff Cumberland – Backup Tight End – Hopefully Mike Tannenbaum isn’t foolish enough to go into the season with him as the primary backup. Simply put he is a less talented version of Dustin Keller and is an even worse blocker. The Jets are in trouble if he gets pushed into extended duty.

LaRon Landry – Safety – He has been terrific this pre-season but if he gets hurt the Jets are right back to Eric Smith.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Left Tackle – It was a surprisingly down year for ‘Brick last year. The Jets badly need him to bounce back and be the Pro-Bowl caliber tackle he was throughout the early years of his career.

TJ Conley/Nick Folk – Punter/Kicker – The value of these guys on the Jets is extremely enhanced because of the type of football they are likely to play. Folk had a great pre-season but can’t afford to miss the chip shots this year that he did in the past. Conley has been inconsistent and is now in competition with the recently signed Spencer Lanning. You can’t shank punts when you are desperately battling for field position.

Shonn Greene – Running Back – Considering his primary backup has under 30 career NFL rushing yards, he better stay healthy and productive. Greene had a disappointing pre-season and has been a notorious slow starter. The Jets can’t afford that this year as he will be getting 20+ carries a game right out of the gate.

New York Jets – State Of The Roster

A conversation with a former NFL Personnel Executive and Scout about the state of the New York Jets

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to have an extended conversation with a former NFL personnel executive and scout about the state of the New York Jets roster. This individual still works in the league and requested anonymity, here are a few of the most interesting excerpts of our conversation –

John Conner – He cited Conner as one of the least valuable players in the NFL and somebody who does not merit a roster spot. “He can’t catch and is average at best as a blocker. His lack of versatility makes the Jets that much more predictable on offense.”

Have to agree with the assertion here. Conner got a catchy nickname early in his career and was a fun story on Hard Knocks but ultimately has brought just about nothing to the table in 3 seasons. It is a shame Josh Baker is done for the season because the Jets would have been better off starting him at fullback than Conner. 

Blocking Tight End – A recurring theme throughout our conversation was the inability of Mike Tannenbaum to properly scout players and understand actual football techniques. “Everybody in the league knows Dustin Keller can’t block. Last year you had the Jets trot out Matthew Mulligan and John Conner on every running play and Keller on every passing play. It makes them easy to defend. When they talk about using an extra tackle as a tight end this year, it is a dead giveaway to their tendency. Why not go get a blocking tight end? They had success with Ben Hartsock in the past but have completely ignored the position this year.”

My feelings about a blocking tight end have been well stated. I do not understand how a “Ground and Pound” team does not carry one on their roster. 

Tannenbaum’s Future – “Tannenbaum will not be the fall guy if the Jets don’t make the playoffs this year. He has Woody Johnson wrapped so far around his finger, he isn’t going anywhere. He will be the GM for the next 5 years.”

Cameron Wake – “Prior to the 2009 season the Jets scouting department wanted Cameron Wake badly and the team was in a position to sign him, Tannenbaum personally overruled the move and said he didn’t want him.”

This statement caught me by surprise, as similar to many others I believe Tannenbaum is the first to go if the Jets don’t make the playoffs this year. Only time will tell. The Wake story is a frustrating one to hear considering the pass rusher he turned into and how the Jets have struggled to fill that spot. 

Shonn Greene – “An average to slightly above average back. For the type of offense the Jets want to run, they need an elite back or at least a capable 1B option which they don’t have right now. McKnight is not a NFL caliber running back and can’t stay healthy.

It still boggles my mind why the Jets didn’t sign Cedric Benson and I don’t see how they can give big money to Greene after this season. 

Jets 2012 Prospects – “Considering their defense and schedule, they are going to be right around or slightly above .500 all year and in position to make a late season run into the playoffs. However, they are still not equipped not overtake New England.

Agreed

Future Of Jets – “Tannenbaum gave himself minimal flexibility this off-season because of his habit of guaranteeing contracts. The decision to give that much guaranteed money to Wayne Hunter (this was pre-trade), Bart Scott and Calvin Pace (when they re-did his contract) is inexplicable and killed them this off-season. When those guys come off the books, they will then have the ability to make their needed moves, although they will continue to be hamstrung by the guaranteed money for Holmes and Sanchez.”

The handling of Wayne Hunter’s contract was truly awful, we know that. Scott and Pace are goners after this year. Only time will tell if Sanchez and Holmes can work out. 

Sanchez – “Needs to be in certain type of offense to succeed and the Jets have done a poor job building around him in recent years. The Tebow circus could be a disastrous distraction. Why keep trotting this guy out in front of the media so much?”

Rex Ryan – “A great defensive mind, who has a unit this year that will be good enough to keep the Jets competitive. However, he needs to stop talking his players up to the media so much. It puts unnecessary pressure on them and comes off as phony.

It has been nice to see Rex step up the public criticism of players this year, when it has been merited instead of the endless hype train. Hopefully this continues to be a trend. 

Other Tidbits

  • Stephen Hill – “A physical specimen but probably a year away from being a consistent contributor. He has a long way to go in the mental part of the game.
  • Right Tackle – “Only thing they can do is gamble and hope for the best. The position is a commodity. You need to draft and develop those players. Howard might be a one year stopgap but certainly isn’t a long term answer.”
  • LaRon Landry – “Can make a major difference but hard to imagine he gets through all 16 games.”