Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 15 – Jets vs. Titans

12 predictions for the Jets must win Monday Night game against the Tennessee Titans

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back with predictions for a critical Monday Night game for the New York Jets against the Tennessee Titans. If the Jets can take care of business, they are going to give themselves a somewhat realistic chance for a playoff spot in the season’s final two weeks. It has been a bizarre year, particularly in the AFC that has allowed a team currently at 6-7 and holding some shockingly embarrassing stats to remain relevant for so long. 

Yet there is no need for any apologies from the Jets. This is a team who gets criticized for beating Arizona by a single point, when a Detroit team with twice the talent as them goes out and loses to Arizona by 28. Rex Ryan has held his veteran team together, despite a lack overall talent and has prevented the 2012 season from slipping away just yet. It has slipped away in Buffalo. It has slipped away in Miami. It has slipped away in countless other NFL cities but not for the New York Jets. 

It hasn’t been a fun season for Jets fans. Think about it. How many truly enjoyable moments have there been? The week 1 rout of Buffalo was a blast but none of the other six victories have come with much excitement or celebration. Ironically, the season’s second best moment might have been recovering a fumble on a kick return late in the fourth quarter against New England…in what ultimately ended up being a losing effort.

Tonight has a chance to change that. The team and the fanbase has a primetime game to genuinely get excited about. A win in this game means the home finale next Sunday should be a packed and rowdy game as the team looks to beat up on San Diego in the final days of the Norv Turner era while scoreboard watching Kansas City/Indianapolis and Cincinnati/Pittsburgh. 

Hopefully, the Jets come out with the intensity of a team fighting for their playoff lives against the Titans team with nothing to play for. 

On to the predictions –

1. Braylon Edwards will play 15-25 snaps for the Jets offense tonight and pull in 2-3 catches for 30-45 yards, including at least one big first down.

2. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell will combine for at least 35 carries and 150 yards. Tim Tebow won’t play on offense and Joe McKnight will contribute 3-5 offensive touches.

3. Chris Johnson will be held to under 85 yards rushing and be kept out of the end-zone.

4. Mark Sanchez will throw for under 200 yards and have one turnover, along with one touchdown pass.

5. Jake Locker will have at least 30 yards rushing and throw for around 200 yards. However, the Jets will sack him at least twice and force him into a pair of turnovers.

6. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright will make a few big plays working against Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster.

7. Jeremy Kerley will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards.

8. Muhammad Wilkerson will have at least one sack, continuing his All-Pro caliber season. Look for a big night from Quinton Coples as well, working against a beat-up Titans offensive line.

9. The Jets will avoid any major special teams errors and both Nick Folk and Joe McKnight will have solid games for Mike Westhoff.

10. Rookie Antonio Allen will play at least 15 snaps on defense and have a couple of quarterback pressures. Garret McIntyre will play the bulk of the reps at outside linebacker for Bryan Thomas.

11. The Jets won’t rotate Vladimir Ducasse in at guard.

12. With their season on the line, the Jets will jump out to an early lead and then hold on to it with their running game. This will be a tight one into the final minutes but look for the defense to make a big play late to ice a 16-13 victory.

Predicted Game Outcome Record: 11-2 

8 Head-Scratching New York Jets Stats

Mike Donnelly with 8 head scratching New York Jets stats heading into week 15

As the Jets gear up for their suddenly big game in Tennessee tonight, the playoffs are more than just a pipe dream. We are all familiar with the scenarios at this point, and with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis losing yesterday, a win tonight puts the Jets right in the thick of the playoff hunt with two games to go. Should that happen, it’s going to be awfully hilarious to see the outrage from other fans and media “experts” that the “garbage” Jets made it over “more deserving” teams. Just the thought of that makes me giddy.

Anyway, it’s a borderline miracle that the Jets and playoffs are even possibly going together in the same sentence with the way some of this season has gone, and Rex Ryan deserves a ton of credit for having this team in this position. The Jets roster was extremely poorly constructed as we’ve been over time and time again, and if we knew back in September that some of the Jets stats would look the way they do at this point in the season, we’d think we would be scouting who to take with our top-5 draft pick. Seriously, that the team is in position to win 9 games this year with some of the stats that they’ve produced this year will blow your mind. I present to you the top 8 head-scratching Jets stats of the 2012 season.

Tim Tebow – 87 rush yards, 3.0 yards per carry, 0 TD’s – The Jets marquee offseason transaction was brought in here to bolster the run game, help in short yardage, and give defenses a whole new wrinkle to worry about. Well, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. As the season progressed and the Jets sent Tebow out on the field less and less, it became painfully clear that Rex Ryan had about as much use for Tim Tebow as he would have for another hole in his head. Through 13 games, Tebow has amassed a whopping 29 carries and was never given any sort of consideration to be a “real” quarterback. Tebow was supposed to play a major role this year, and if you knew he’d have dressed for 12 of the 13 games and put up these stats, you’d think something was wrong.

Running Backs have 29 total catches – That’s the combined amount from all the running backs and fullbacks that have suited up in the Green and White this year — 29 through 13 games. When Mark Sanchez was at his best (and I use that term loosely), it was when he had a strong running game and an excellent receiving threat out of the backfield to check down to. First it was Leon Washington, then it was Ladainian Tomlinson, and now it’s… well, nobody. By comparison, in 2010 Tomlinson himself had 52 catches, and as a team the running backs had 76. That’s a major component of the offense that was just ripped away, and if I knew in September that we’d be at 29 at this point in the season I’d have some serious concerns.

Running Backs have 4 total plays over 20 yards – Speaking of having serious concerns about our running backs, we have a whopping FOUR plays over 20 yards, three on runs and one on a pass play. Three of them were by Shonn Greene, and one by Joe McKnight. By comparison, Adrian Peterson has 20. He’s the best back in the league, but what about lesser players you ask? Well, Chris Ivory, who plays sporadically in New Orleans, has 3 runs over 20 yards himself. Mike Goodson of the Raiders has 3, Isaac Redman has 3, Bryce Brown has 6, Joique Bell has 3. It’s simply unacceptable that the Jets have no big play capability whatsoever.

Joe McKnight averages 5.9 yards per carry, doesn’t get to play – Oh wait, the Jets do have some big play capability in their backfield, he just doesn’t play for some reason. That McKnight only has 25 touches (24 carries, 1 catch) on the season is a travesty. We can’t throw this guy some screens or swing passes? Really?

Santonio Holmes is 3rd on the team in Receiving Yards – Remember Santonio Holmes, the wide receiver who was lost for the season way back in WEEK 4? Yep, that guy is still third on the team in receiving yards with 272. Hard to believe Jason Hill, Mardy Gilyard, Chaz Schilens, and the other stud receivers brought in by Mike Tannenbaum this year haven’t been able to surpass that total, huh? Oh wait, no, that isn’t surprising at all actually.

Stephen Hill 12.0 yards per catch, Chaz Schilens 9.9 ypc – These two guys were brought in to compete for the #2 receiver job and provide the badly needed deep threat that was missing last year after Braylon Edwards was replaced by the slow-moving Plaxico Burress and 87-year-old grouch Derrick Mason. Well, it hasn’t quite worked out that way, and the Jets receiver position was in such poor shape that Jets fans everywhere acted as if Calvin Johnson was brought in when Braylon was re-signed last week. In 2009, Braylon averaged 15.5 yards per catch and in 2010 that number went up to 17.1. Now THAT is a deep threat. THAT is what this offense and Mark Sanchez were missing. If we knew Schilens was averaging single digits per catch and our running backs couldn’t break a long play to save their lives, would you think we’re in position to make the playoffs?

Dustin Keller caught 28 of 36 targets – That number just seemed high to me. It’s too bad he wasn’t healthy at all this year, because it was clear he was the only receiving threat to have any sort of chemistry with the quarterback.

Calvin Pace has 2 sacks, 1 tackle for loss, makes $7.3 million – Calvin Pace is supposed to be our best OLB, and our top threat to get to the quarterback from the edge. Well, that isn’t quite the case, because instead of actually going after the quarterback, he has decided to master the art of running 2 steps forward, extending his arms, and just standing next to the offensive tackle until the play is over. I’m no mathematician, and I would hate to go all Darren Rovell on you, but it looks like this year the Jets are paying Pace just under $2.5 million for every play he makes behind the line of scrimmage. NOT BAD!

I wish there were basic stats to show just how well Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie are playing, because they’ve been far and away the best players on this team, and I didn’t want it to be all negative stats. For a good look at them, you should definitely check out Chris’s Defensive Film Breakdown, or just take my word that they’re both playing really, really well this year. Unfortunately, the rest of the team hasn’t quite kept up their end of the bargain and these 8 Head-Scratching Stats should really help you appreciate the job Rex Ryan has done this year making chicken salad out of chick– well, you know what I’m saying…

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 14

Chris Gross goes inside the New York Jets defensive game film

Through a tumultuous up and down 2012 season, the New York Jets have experienced some all-time lows in the Rex Ryan era, this year. While the offense has been stagnant and putrid for the better part of the season, the Jets still somehow find themselves mathematically alive for an unlikely Wild Card spot as we enter the tail end of December. Ryan has rallied his group of embattled troops, through injury and an overall poorly constructed roster, enough to keep them playing relatively meaningful football in the final 3 weeks of the season. This is a testament to Ryan’s coaching ability. Not only has he been able to weather the recent storm that ensued among the Jets faithful following the disastrous Thanksgiving blowout loss to the New England Patriots at home, but he has also kept this team’s defense afloat throughout the entire year, turning in two dominant performances over the previous two weeks against Arizona and Jacksonville, respectively.

Last week, New York traveled down to Florida to take on the lowly 2-10 Jaguars in a game that has been engulfed in a series of must win contests for the Jets. Offensively, the game was another mess prior to the second half ground surge that helped propel New York to their sixth win of the season. While the offense was beyond frustrating once again, Ryan and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine put together another defensive gem, an effort so impressive that this team was able to overcome one of the most abysmal first half offensive performances that you will ever see in the sport of football. Led by the likes of Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie, the Jets defense has shown serious signs of domination, similar to the play of the unit that helped propel the organization to consecutive AFC Championship games in the first two years of Ryan’s stay as Head Coach.

For this week’s defensive film breakdown, we will format the column similar to our previous evaluations. However, this week, we will provide a surplus of images to properly demonstrate the impressive individual efforts that took place within the personnel of the Jets defense, as well as the excellent quality of the overall defensive scheme built by Ryan and Pettine. We will again highlight the week’s top individual performances, followed by an individual breakdown of the defensive line, and finally an evaluation of the linebackers and secondary as respective units.

Week 14 Top Defensive Performances

Muhammad Wilkerson, DE – We may have to end up just solidifying Wilkerson’s name at the top of this list due to the frequency that it appropriately fits here. The second year defensive end out of Temple drew high praise from the Jets coaching staff all offseason, and has lived up to the hype thus far this year, particularly over the past month or so. The way Wilkerson has been playing for the Jets this season has solidified him as arguably the best player, not only on the defense, but on the entire team, making it obvious as to why Ryan and Pettine gushed over him this past August.

Wilkerson has begun to command serious attention from opposing offenses. Week in and week out, Wilkerson faces endless double teams, a bulls-eye on his chest in pass protection, and an abundance of game plans that are based on avoiding him at all costs. This did not change last week in Jacksonville, however Wilkerson’s increased ability to overcome these challenges has not only made him a much better player, but it has improved the quality of other individuals within the front seven, particularly fellow pass rushers like rookie Quinton Coples, as well as the entire defense as a whole.

Below are a series of images that display how Wilkerson is becoming so dominant, as well as how other players are becoming direct beneficiaries of said domination through optimal matchups.

Above is a shot of a pre-snap formation on Jacksonville’s opening drive. Wilkerson, highlighted by a red circle, is lined up as a 5 technique, slightly shaded to the outside shoulder of the Jaguars’ left tackle. At the snap of the ball, Wilkerson will engage the tackle’s outside shoulder, maintaining excllent leverage, which will give him the abiliy to dictate what he is going to do on this particular play.

In the top image below, you will notice Wilkerson engaged wih the offensive tackle, demonstrating perfect position with his hands inside his opponent’s breast plate, along with his head being lower than the offensive tackle’s, an accurate representation of how great his leverage on this play truly is. The green arrow represents the Running Back’s predicted trajectory on the play. His goal is to take the handoff from the QB, Chad Henne, and read the block of TE Mercedes Lewis, who is highlghted by the blue circle. The back will base his running angle off of the read he gets from Lewis’s rear. If Lewis kicks out the OLB, Calvin Pace in this instance, the back will cut inside of him in an effort to get to the next level. If Pace crashes inside, Lewis will use his momentum against him by blocking down, with the back reading his rear and adjusting his route to the outside.

The bottom image above shows that Pace did not crash inside, but set the edge as he normally would against the run. Lewis accurately recognizes this and adjusts his block accordingly by attempting to kick Pace out, and drive him toward the sideline. The back recognizes this, and rightully aims to hit the hole that should be opened up behind Lewis’s rear. However, as you will also notice, Wilkerson has complete control of Jacksonville’ offensive tackle, as shown by his picture perfect arm extension, placing him in position to stop the back for a minmal gain, which he does, represented by the image below.

This is a perfect example of how disruptive Wilkerson has become in defending the run, particularly when he is put in situations where he faces man-on blocking. This play was vital to the Jets success in defending the run last week,  as the Jaguars soon realized that they could not afford to abort their plan of scheming around Wilkerson. Wilkerson set the tone early here, notifying Jacksonville that he will kill all offensive plans if they wish to attempt to block him with just one player.

In the second quarter, Jacksonville unsuccessfully tried to tame Wilkerson with man-on blocking again, this time in pass protection. The image below represents the immediate moment following the snap of the ball, with Henne scanning the field to his left. Wilkerson – again denoted by the red circle – is in the 3 technique, lined up on the outside shade of the guard, attacking his opponent’s soft shoulder, or shoulder to the outside of the ball. The Jets send two additional players, Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, on a blitz to the outside of Wilkerson. Scott and Pace will commad the attention of the tackle and running back left in to assist in protection, leaving Wilkerson in a one on one blocking situation.

The next image – below and on top – shows Jacksonville’s left tackle opening up to Pace, giving Wilkerson an optimal lane to the quarterback behind him, as long as he is able to beat his block. Wilkerson – red circle  – has already gotten past the guard’s initial point of attack, as he executes a rip move that will propel him past the blocker with a clear shot at Henne. The second image below is the direct result of what happened next. Wilkerson was able to blow by his block with excellent hand technique and acceleration, allowing him to get a nice hit on Henne as he attempted to throw the ball, resulting in an incompletion, highlighted by the green circle showing the ball hoplesslly gain flight before falling to the turf, without a chance to be caught by anyone.

Although plays like this will never register in the box score as a sack or tackle, they are equally as important throughout the course of a game. On a second and long play, backed inside their own twenty, Jacksonville had the opportunity to hit a quick pass to set up a third and short in hopes of keeping the chains moving and extending the drive. However, because of this play by Wilkerson, the Jaguars were forced into a third and long situation, which resulted in a Wilkerson sack, ending hopes of any type of offensive momentum, and in turn, ultimately ending the game. Wilkerson’s presence on the field goes well beyond any statistics he will produce, even as impressive as they have been in recent weeks. The most important thing to remember in terms of defensive line play is that these players often make key plays without recording any statistical numbers.

These are just two examples of the problems Wilkerson can cause if he isn’t given the proper attention. However, this superior play from Wilkerson is beginning to create problems for offenses in other areas, as well. Below is an image of the Jets pre-snap alignment on Quinton Coples’ sack of Chad Henne, his third of the season.

As you’ll notice, Coples (red circle) is at the three technique, shaded on the outside shoulder of Jacksonville’s left guard. To his right is Bryan Thomas in a 4 point stance, set to come off the edge, and one of the interior linebackers who has walked up to defend the split out Montell Owens. On the other side of the line, Wilkerson is lined up in a 4I technique, shaded just slightly to the inside shade of the right tackle, with Calvin Pace lined up wide on the edge.

Usually, when an offensive line gets a front like the Jets show here, with the area over the center completely vacated, the center will adjust his line calls to slide the protection toward the defense’s strength in numbers. Using this idea, with three players to the left, the center would typically slide the protection to the left, in order to ensure there are an adequate number of blockers in the event that the linebacker over Owens comes on a blitz. On the back side, you would usually see the guard take the 4I/5 technique, with the tackle taking the edge rusher. This way, the blocking becomes an even five on five, considering the back doesn’t stay in to block, or another player isn’t motioned into the backfield, and left in as an additional blocker. In this case, no such motions are made, and Owens does, in fact, run a route.

Unfortunately for Jacksonville, however, this is not what the center opts to do. Instead, he slides the protection toward Wilkerson, who at this point has been dominating one on one blocking situations, seemingly protecting the interior of the line, as he likely views Wilkerson’s slight inside shade on the tackle as an indication that he will stunt hard to the inside. In order to prevent Wilkerson from registering another sack, or disrupting another pass, the center opens his hips to the right at the snap of the ball, opening the door for Coples to hit the left guard with a quick inside move, as shown in the image below.

With Coples having lined up before the snap on the outside shade of the guard, in a slight tilt, the guard likely expected that he was pinning his ears back, preparing to attack the soft shoulder in an aggressive pass rush, considering Jacksonville had come out in an empty set. However, Coples, who seemingly had an idea that the center would open away from him to give help on Wilkerson, comes hard across the guard’s face, leaving him with his base far too wide to recover in time – as indicated by the distance between his feet, and ratio to his shoulder width – giving Coples a clear path to Henne once he rips through that inside shoulder.

While Coples is slamming Henne into the turf, notice the Jaguars’ center still tentatively preparing for some type of contact with Wilkerson. Wilkerson’s value is beginning to extend beyond his own personal play, something that will not only make him an elite defensive lineman, but will assist in reestablishing the defense among the NFL’s elite, as well.

Antonio Cromartie, CB – Cromartie is another name that should probably be cemented in these top performances on a weekly basis. Since losing All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis in week 3 to a season ending ACL tear, the Jets have discovered that they have two elite caliber defensive backs in their secondary, as displayed by the highly impressive quality of play that Cromartie has performed at all season. Like Wilkerson, Cromartie has become a nightmare for opposing offenses to game plan for. He has taken over the role of eliminating a top offensive threat on a weekly basis, previously occupied by Revis prior to injury.

Last week in Jacksonville, the Jaguars’ coaching staff wisely devised a plan to get young and emerging rookie WR Justin Blackmon matched up with anyone in the Jets secondary, but Cromartie. Blackmon was motioned away from Cromartie frequently, as well being placed in a slot alignment in an effort to target advantageous matchups against the lower caliber defensive backs in the Jets’ secondary. While the technique was an intelligent one by Jacksonville, Cromartie still had a very high impact on the game. When he was lined up on Blackmon, the rookie out of Oklahoma State was non-existent. When he wasn’t on Blackmon, Cromartie remained a force in the secondary with his immeasurable instincts and aggressive, yet intelligent, level of play. Below, we will look at some images from his performance against Jacksonville, and point out how he also benefited the defense in a way that likely could have swung the game.

The image below is a pre-snap shot of a 5 yard out to Jacksonville’s Jordan Shipley on third down. The Jaguars line up in a tight bunch formation to the right, while Cromartie lines up about 8 yards off the ball.

When the play breaks, the inside receiver runs up the middle, with the receiver to his right running a hitch in front of Cromartie. Meanwhile Shipley runs about a 4-5 yard out route toward the Jets sidelines. Cromartie could have easily bit on the hitch directly in front of him, however his quick eyes recognize Henne locked into Shipley, prompting Cromartie to break on the out route before Henne has even hit the top of his wind up. The result? Cromartie hits Shipley as soon as he makes the catch, stopping him well short of the first down marker.

Cromartie’s best play, however, may have come on the game’s opening drive. Having marched right down the field on the Jets defense, the Jaguars come out in an unbalanced I-formation with Mercedes Lewis at left tackle, and two additional blockers on the right, one who is off the line. Split out left is Justin Blackmon, who will attempt a fade route on Cromartie. At the snap of the ball, Henne is supposed to get rid of this ball extremely quick and just give Blackmon a chance to make a play. Garret McIntyre, who you’ll see at the bottom of the image below, with his feet staggered, ready to come off the edge, will go unblocked because the play is designed for the quarterback to get rid of the ball well before even the fastest edge rusher could get there.

After the ball is snapped, Henne locks in on Blackmon, as displayed in the shot below. However, Blackmon is completely blanketed by Cromartie. Henne seemingly panics with no other option to throw to, so he holds onto the ball hoping Blackmon can get some type of separation. In the meantime, McIntyre (yellow circle) is coming off the edge like a bat out of hell, while the right tackle (blue circle), is facing the opposite way, as he never expected the ball to be in Henne’s hands long enough for McIntyre to get to him in time.

Blackmon never gets the separation that Henne was hoping for, so he seemingly attempted to try to force something to his receiver or just throw it away, but because he was forced to hold the ball for so long, McIntyre gets a hit on him in his release, causing the ball to take an alternate trajectory directly into the hands of Bart Scott.

While this was certainly a poor decision by Henne, Cromartie’s lockdown coverage of Blackmon gave McIntyre enough time to come off the edge unblocked, and force the bad throw that ended up in a Jets turnover. If Jacksonville scores on this opening drive, perhaps the outcome of the game is entirely different. Luckily for the Jets, Cromartie plays for the guys in green and white.

Defensive Line

Quinton Coples – As we have previously gone over Coples’ sack, that play alone does not quite do his performance from last week the proper justice it deserves. Coples was very active in the run game, as well as rushing the passer. He continues to show the physical tools that will allow him to become an elite defensive lineman in this league, but he needs to be a bit more consistent. While his consistency looked vastly improved against the Jaguars, he still has some plays where he looks unsure of what he is supposed to do, as he has a small habit of peeking into the backfield, causing him to play far too high and get tangled up with the offensive line.

When Coples is sure of his assignment, however, he has been lethal. He is beginning to develop a presence on the edge in passing situations, helped partially by his extremely effective inside move. As we discussed above, his inside move assisted him in registering his third career sack. This move also helped seal the game for the Jets, as the following images will demonstrate.

On Jacksonville’s final offensive play of the game, Henne takes the snap out of the shotgun with Owens lined up to his right. Coples (red circle) works what appears to be a hard edge rush to the soft shoulder of the left tackle.

However, Coples again hits the offensive lineman with a quick move across his face.

Again, this hard inside move, causes the right tackle to try to recover, but the speed of Coples does not allow him to get his feet under him, making him completely obsolete as a blocker. With how wide his feet are in the image below, the tackle might as well be in quicksand.

As you’ll notice below, the left guard attempts to offer some help to the tackle, but cannot nearly get there in time. Instead, he is left (literally) giving his fellow offensive lineman a hug while Coples (red circle) drills Henne, sending the ball in the air, and directly into the hands of Ellis Lankster, who is able to field it as if it were a punt.

Coples also did a tremendous job of displaying how physically strong he truly is. On David Harris’s sack of Chad Henne, Coples rushes the center out of the amoeba, driving him nearly 10 yards back, causing Henne to flee the pocket and run to the outside, where he is eventually tracked down and stopped behind the line of scrimmage by Harris.

Coples could have had a multiple sack day in this contest, however on this particular play, he left his feet as he got to Henne, giving the quarterback a lane to duck under and escape his grasp. Coples needs to learn that as a defensive lineman, he can never leave his feet. He will become subject to some severe cut blocks, and will often find himself tackling air, rather than a player, as he did on this one. He is certainly still a bit raw, but there is no question that the tools are there. Once he becomes a bit more comfortable with the scheme and his fundamentals, expect to see a surge in his play similar to what we have seen with Wilkerson this season.

Kenrick Ellis – Ellis was very impressive early on. He displayed excellent power, as he always has when healthy, and continues to show a very deceptive lateral quickness, a combination that will allow him to thrive in the coming years as this team’s nose tackle.

The play displayed in the image below is a direct snap to Owens, that results in a gain of two yards. However, if not for the efforts of Ellis (red circle), who began the play lined up as a 0 technique directly over the center, this play could have been hit for a substantial gain.

At the snap of the ball, you’ll notice the play is a counter, designed to be hit directly inside of the pulling guard (blue circle) who will aim to hit Garrett McIntyre coming off of the edge. The left tackle blocks down on the three technique, the left guard blocks down on Ellis, with the front side, away from the counter, blocking man on – basically your traditional counter blocking pattern of down/down/kickout. Following the kick out of McIntyre, the plan is for the fullback to lead through the hole and either pickup any leakage, or hit the first person he sees as a threat to the play (green arrow). The orange arrow indicates where Owens would like take the ball to find a seam.

Meanwhile, Ellis (red circle) is fighting hard across the face of the down blocking guard, in order to get to where the ball is going. This is simply a great reactive technique by Ellis. Rex Ryan religiously preaches the need to fight back from where the pressure is coming from, because if the line is attempting to block Ellis down to their right, it is highly likely that the ball going to their left. Recognizing this, Ellis uses his strength and quickness to assist his laser like reaction in fighting back to the ball carrier.

As the play develops, it seems to be wired for a massive gain, with all players accounted for in the box, and LaRon Landry as the sole defender to beat to the end zone. The red arrow indicates Ellis’s current position at this point in the play. While it looks as if the guard has him sealed to the inside, you’ll see that he fights his way back directly in the path of the ball carrier, and makes the play for a gain of just 2 yards.

The red arrow in the image below points to Ellis breaking free to the outside of the guard that attempted to block him. Because of this, the fullback (green circle) is forced to slow down to try to give help on Ellis, causing Owens to slightly slow down his path of attack, which ultimately results in both of them getting completely stuffed by Ellis. What could have been a significant gain, turns into just a two yard play due to the excellent strength and agility, but most importantly, the relentless motor of Ellis.

As great as Ellis looks in flashes, he tends to disappear late in games, which usually indicates a conditioning issue, something that would not be surprising considering the amount of time he has missed this season due to injury. If he can get his conditioning level to the point where he can be this effective on a consistent basis, this defensive line will undoubtedly be one of the best units in football in the not-so-distant future.

Mike Devito/Sione Pouha – We bunched these two together because our evaluation of each of them remains the same as it has all year. DeVito is the work horse of this group. He is extremely effective in occupying multiple blockers against the run, but provides very little to no help against the pass. Pouha, still clearly hampered by the lingering back issue, shows that he can still be a very effective NT when healthy. His comfort level seems to vary throughout the course of games, and when he is visibly stiff in his bend, he performs at a noticeably inferior level. Pouha’s health could be a key factor in this team’s run defense if they end up making an unlikely postseason push. As promising as Ellis is, he does not have nearly the amount of experience or veteran moxie of Pouha. A healthy Pouha would provide the Jets with an effective every down NT, while having the ability to rotate a fresh Ellis in and out of the lineup.

Linebackers – David Harris came extremely close to “top performers” consideration, however, his 10 tackles were more of a result of the improved defensive line play than it was of a superior defensive performance. Harris certainly looked better, as he seemed much faster and more tenacious than he has in recent weeks, however, I’d like to see him gain some consistency moving into the final three games. Bart Scott played extremely aggressive, but a bit out of control at times, causing him to miss some early tackles and bounce off of lead blockers. Still, Scott played a relatively average game, with a very small amount of negative plays. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas were both excellent in the run again, but continue to provide virtually no help in rushing the passer. Garrett McIntyre played extremely hard and opportunistic, however, he continues to prove to be nothing more than a role player/special teams starter. On Jacksonville’s sole touchdown of the day, McIntyre was pancaked by Owens’ lead blocker, before the running back hurdled over him en route to a 32 yard touchdown run. DeMario Davis saw more reps than he has in previous weeks, but still seems to be struggling to grasp the defense, as he continues to look unsure for the better part of his reps.

Secondary – Outside of Cromartie, the cornerbacks played slightly above average. Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster did decent jobs in coverage throughout the day, and neither of them were beat for anything significant. Wilson struggled against hitches and comeback routes again, though, another indication that he has relatively stiff hips that are hampering his ability to change direction. Lankster made, what could have been, a disastrous mistake by going for an interception on 4th down of the Jaguars final possession, rather than knocking the ball down. The pass went right through his hands and into the hands of the intended Jaguars WR, extending the drive for another set of downs. Fortunately for Lankster, Quinton Coples is on his team.

LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell each looked impressive again. Landry is a menace in the box, and seems to be expanding his range in coverage as the weeks pass. Bell is the ultimate communicator in the secondary, which seems to be helping the less experienced guys come along more and more. Antonio Allen was impressive in the box. He was sent on blitzes a few times off the edge, showing excellent burst and a knack for getting to the passer. Against the run, he showed an impressive ability to use his hands to get separation, and he even drew a holding call on Mercedes Lewis. Expect to see more Allen in some blitz packages this Monday night.

Turn On The Jets Week 15 NFL Picks

The TOJ Staff gives their week 15 NFL Picks

The Race for Steak continues. Note that last week’s record includes the most recent Thursday games –

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Rob Celletti (113-90-6)

2. Chris Gross (106-97-6)

3. Chris Celletti (106-98-5)

4. Mike Donnelly (103-102-4)

5. Joe Caporoso (87-116-6)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (10-6)

  • Green Bay (-3) vs. Chicago
  • Giants (+2) vs. Atlanta
  • Tampa Bay (+4) vs. New Orleans
  • Minnesota (+3) vs. St. Louis
  • Jacksonville (+7) vs. Miami
  • Denver (-3) vs. Baltimore
  • Houston (-9.5) vs. Indy
  • Carolina (+3) vs. San Diego
  • Seattle (-5.5) vs. Buffalo
  • Detroit (-6) vs. Arizona
  • Dallas (+1.5) vs. Pittsburgh
  • Oakland (-3) vs. Kansas City
  • San Francisco (+5) vs. New England
  • Redskins (PK) vs. Cleveland
  • Jets (+1.5) vs. Titans

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (8-8)

  • Packers -3
  • Falcons -1
  • Saints -3.5
  • Rams -2.5
  • Redskins +4
  • Jaguars +7.5
  • Broncos -3
  • Colts +10
  • Panthers +3
  • Bills +4.5
  • Cards +6
  • Steelers +1
  • Raiders -4
  • 49ers +4.5
  • Jets +1.5
  • Browns PK

Rob Celletti

Last Week (8-8)

  • Packers (-3) over Bears
  • Falcons (-1.5) over Giants
  • Saints (-3.5) over Buccaneers
  • Vikings (+2.5) over Rams
  • Jaguars (+7) over Dolphins
  • Ravents (+3) over Broncos
  • Colts (+10) over Texans
  • Chargers (-3) over Panthers
  • Seahawks (-4.5) over Bills
  • Lions (-6.5) over Cardinals
  • Cowboys (+1.5) over Steelers
  • Raiders (-3) over Chiefs
  • 49ers (+4.5) over Patriots
  • Redskins (PK) over Browns
  • Jets (+1.5) over Titans

Chris Celletti

Last Week (9-7)

  • Packers
  • Giants
  • Bucs
  • Rams
  • Jaguars
  • Ravens
  • Colts
  • Panthers
  • Seahawks
  • Lions
  • Steelers
  • Chiefs
  • Pats
  • Redskins
  • Jets

Chris Gross

Last Week (10-5-1)

  • Bears
  • Giants
  • Bucs
  • Vikings
  • Jaguars
  • Broncos
  • Texans
  • Panthers
  • Seahawks
  • Lions
  • Cowboys
  • Chiefs
  • 49ers
  • Jets

Turn On The Jets Week 15 Best Bets/Rants of the Week

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets and weekly rants for week 15 of the NFL Season

Week 14 Record: 1-2

Season Record: 14-26-2

When I sit down every week and scour the NFL betting lines and look to pick three games for this column, it’s sort of like when someone hands Mike D’Antoni a clipboard during the defense portion of practice.

Okay, I know what I’m doing here, right. Wait no, I DON’T. What is a ‘hedge’ again? Don’t freak out, just pretend you know what you’re doing, say it with confidence and they’ll believe you.

-I can’t tell you how beautiful it was to watch last night’s Knicks-Lakers game from a Knicks fan standpoint. And especially from someone who since Day 1 did not want D’Antoni anywhere near the Knicks and had to endure three-plus seasons of his “system”, it was almost cleansing to be on the other side of a classic D’Antoni game. Get used to it, L.A. You’re going to have first quarters where you give up 40-plus points. You’re going to have games where you fall behind by 20-plus only to claw back in but ultimately fall short. You’re going to have games where you can’t get a stop when you need it – or all freakin’ night for that matter. Last night, all of those came together and that’s what you get. Yes, when the picture-perfect only man on earth who D’Antoni can win with, Steve Nash, returns the Lakers will be better. They’re going to make the playoffs. But a 39-year-old Steve Nash, who couldn’t guard a water bottle in his prime, isn’t going to fix all the Lakers’ real problems.

-I turned 26 this week, and 26 is very odd age. I’m now on the downside of my 20’s, which is fairly depressing. I have distinct memories of when I was 16 years old and some of those don’t seem that far away. So now I’m equidistant to age 36 than I am to 16. Weird. And one thing I can’t stand is when someone my age complains about getting older, and then someone who’s like 30, or 38 or 47 goes “Oh come on! You’re 26! Please.” So just because I’m younger than you means I can’t complain about my age? Untrue. I have no problem telling someone who just turned 19 that it’s a crappy age to be. 18 is fun because you can do stupid things like buy lotto tickets, and get into “18 to party, 21 to drink” places (who goes to those?!). 19 and 20 are agonizing. 26 isn’t great. Although if I were a Jets’ starting linebacker, I’d be the young buck of the group.

-If you want to watch the Best Sporting Event of 2012, HBO is re-showing Juan Manuel Marquez’s dramatic knockout win over Manny Pacquiao tomorrow night. I advise you to watch, or if you have a social life and are going to be out, at least DVR it. It will be worth the 40 minutes or so it will take up on your DVR and the time it takes to watch it. In my opinion it’s the best sporting event of the year. Two high-level technicians, two of the absolute best in the world at what they do in their fourth fight against each other – the first three featuring 36 action-packed rounds in which about 33 of them were a total toss up – and it couldn’t have unfolded in a more jaw-dropping fashion. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything that was better from a sports perspective this year. Of course this depends on who you root for and what sports you fancy. I would expect a Giants fan to say the Super Bowl was better, some NASCAR freak probably thought the Pennzoil 400 or whatever was scintillating. In my mind, the NHL’s Winter Classic was pretty memorable, similar to the Pacquiao-Marquez fight in the event ending dramatically and living up the hype and build-up. And yes, I love boxing so my view is skewed (but that’s what debating sports is really all about, no?), and for my money it didn’t get any better than those six rounds in 2012.

And now let’s lose some money:

Jets +1.5 at Titans – Oh yeah I did!

Patriots -5 vs. 49ers – I’m a big Colin Kaepernick fan, mostly because when he torched the Jets in the Wildcat back in Week 4, I thought to myself “Oh, this is what the Jets could have with Tim Tebow, if only Tebow was actually fast like this dude.” And then I watched as Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith, saw him throw and run an offense, and the guy’s pretty legitimate. But I don’t think the Niners have the downfield threats that you need to really hurt the Patriots’ defense. I think the Pats hold San Francisco down a bit and continue their torrid offensive play.

Colts +9.5 at Texans – I think the Texans win this game but it’s a close one throughout. Houston’s defense has been exposed a bit recently. If Chad Henne can chuck it for 400 yards on you, you may not be as dominant as everyone thinks. J.J. Watt wrecking this game scares me a bit, but I think Andy Luck and the Colts keep it close enough to cover.

(And yes, I know it’s “Andrew Luck”, but sometimes I like to pretend that athletes use the different version of their given name sometimes. Oh how different things would be if B.J. Roethlisberger were starting for the Steelers this week.)

Bonus Non-Football Bet of The Week (Season Record: 5-8-1)

Tough loss for Manchester City last week against Manchester United. Of course City fans responded gracefully to United’s late winner by pelting coins at Man U’s players, opening a nice gash over Rio Ferdinand’s eye. Not unreasonable at all for a mid-season loss. And Bart Scott wants to cry about a few fans dropping F-bombs. How soft.

Man City looks to rebound at Newcastle and I’ll hop on the 1-goal spread at +120 and roll with a 3-1 City win.

New York Jets Playoff Pipe Dream – Week 15 Viewing Guide

Your New York Jets playoff pipe dream viewing guide for week 15

Somehow, someway the New York Jets playoff pipe dream viewing guide is back. It took a pair of ugly wins over Arizona and Jacksonville and surprising upset losses for Pittsburgh and Cincinnati last week but here we are. The New York Jets are right in the mix for a AFC wild-card spot with three games left to play. Can you imagine the outrage if this team makes playoffs? I can already see the 4,000 word Grantland article documenting how they are the worst playoff team in NFL history and the 2,000 word Florio post on Pro Football Talk demanding a change to the playoff structure so teams like the Jets can’t get in. Hell, even if they lose by 30 in the first round, that would be worth the trip alone. 

THE BIG ONES

Cincinnati (7-6) at Philadelphia (4-9) – Fly Eagles Fly! This game doesn’t feel quite as helpless after watching Nick Foles and company beat Tampa Bay on the road last week. Despite having a tough outing against the Bucs, Bryce Brown is beastly at running back and can provide the big play. The main concern here is that Philadelphia’s secondary is awful and the Bengals have that AJ Green guy. Their offensive line is equally awful and Geno Atkins has been a monster upfront for Cincinnati. This is going to be a close one and an Eagles win can give every Jets fans a great start to the football weekend. Doesn’t it feel kind of natural rooting for the Eagles? They are the most comparative team/fanbase to the Jets out there.

Pittsburgh (7-6) at Dallas (7-6) – How ’bout them Cowboys? Dez Bryant’s finger injury has dimmed the optimism for this game a little but for God’s Sake the Steelers lost to the Chargers last week…at home!?! How did that happen, seriously have you watched San Diego play this season? They are an abomination. Here is something funny, our buddy Evan Silva had Ryan Matthews ranked as a top three fantasy player coming into the season. He has one touchdown this year! That is 5 less than his whipping boy Shonn Greene, 3 less than Bilal Powell and 1 less than the immortal Jeff Cumberland. Anyway, it is hard to have any faith in the Cowboys in a big spot but Romo has to win an important December game at some point, right?

Indianapolis (9-4) at Houston (11-2) – Yes, the Jets can still catch the Colts who play Houston this week on the road, then in Kansas City and then Houston again at home. Is it that unfathomable for them to get swept by the Texans and lay at least one egg against an inferior team on the road? Regardless, I think the Texans win this one comfortably after their embarrassment in New England last Monday Night.

COULDN’T HURT

Denver (10-3) at Baltimore (9-4) – You want the Broncos to win so they stay breathing down the Texans neck for the #1 seed, forcing the Texans to play their starters against the Colts in week 17.

San Francisco (9-3-1) at New England (10-3) – Root for the Patriots (vomits in mouth) same reason as above.

In a perfect world, the AFC Standings will look like this heading into week 16

  1. Houston (12-2)
  2. New England (11-3)
  3. Denver (11-3)
  4. Baltimore (9-5)
  5. Indy (9-5)
  6. Pittsburgh (7-7)
  7. Cincinnati (7-7)
  8. Jets (7-7)

TOJ Staff Thursday Night Picks

  • Joe C – PHI (+4)
  • Chris G – PHI (+4)
  • Mike D – PHI (+4)
  • Chris C – PHI (+4)
  • Rob – CIN (-4) 

Throwback Thursday – Jets at Titans, December 23, 2007

This week’s “Throwback Thursday” looks at Jets vs. Titans back in 2007, when Chad Pennington led the Jets into Tennessee for a loss

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

When I scoured the all-time box scores in the Jets-Titans/Oilers history, I realized that the Jets have only lost once to the Titans since they moved from Houston. Before that, the Oilers absolutely OWNED the Jets, delivering them crushing losses late in seasons and in the playoffs. I have faint memories of this season-ending debacle in 1994, where the playoff hopes of the 8-7 Jets were dashed in a 24-0 loss by backup QB Cody Carlson. In a must-win, the Jets got beat by a guy who sounds like a lax bro. So Jets.

But since they became the Tennessee Titans, it’s been almost all Jets. Remember in 2008, when Brett Favre led the 7-3 Jets into Nashville and beat the undefeated Titans, enrapturing the city in Subway Super Bowl talk? Then in 2009 the surprising 2-0 Jets, behind rookie head coach and rookie QB Mark Sanchez, beat the Titans 24-17 to improve to 3-0 as Jets fans streamed out of Giants Stadium and took to the streets proclaiming “FINALLY, WE HAVE A FRANCHISE QUARTERBACK!!!” Gee how perfectly that all worked out.

However, since we like to revel in self-pity here as Jets fans and on Throwback Thursday, I of course am going to focus on the one loss in Jets’ history against the Tennessee Titans. That came on December 23, 2007. Before we get to it, let’s set the scene…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “No One” by Alicia Keys. How appropriate! That is, if you watched the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief concert last night, where Alicia Keys killed a slowed-down version of this song, the weird “Put your cellphones in the aiiiiiir!” bit notwithstanding. And how about our beloved ass-fumbling QB making making an appearance in Adam Sandler’s “Hallelujah, Sandy Screw Ya” song? Vintage Sandler, by the way. If the recent epic failures of “Jack and Jill” and “That’s My Boy”, coupled with last night’s hilarious song isn’t proof that Sandler should stop making movies and go back to making comedy music albums, I don’t know what is. 

No. 1 Movie in the U.S.: “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”. Is there a bigger injustice in the world than the fact that the current “Oscar for Best Actor” count is Nicolas Cage: 1, Leonardo Di Caprio: 0?  Tell me if you can think of one, because I can’t.

Jets Record Before: 3-11

Titans Record Before: 8-5

The 2007 Jets were absolutely horrific. Injuries, instability at the quarterback position and iffy skill position players put the Jets behind the eight ball from the get-go (sound familiar?!). Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens both started eight games apiece. Despite being injured and playing on a flawed team, Pennington actually put up decent numbers. He threw for an average of 196 yards a game, completing 68% of his passes with 10 TDs and 9 INTs. Can someone please explain to me how 2007-Chad Pennington, with his right arm being held together by paper clips and twine, could throw for the same amount of yards per game than a healthy Mark Sanchez? This should be grounds for Tony Sparano’s firing in and of itself. Wait, you’re telling me that in 2008, Pennington revived his career and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and a division title under Sparano?! Nothing in my life makes sense anymore.

So in Week 16, Pennington led the Jets into his home state of Tennessee, hoping to hand the playoff-seeking Titans a death blow. Much like I would expect this Monday’s game to be, this one was a defensive struggle (a.k.a: lower than C-SPAN on the Excitement Meter). The first five drives of the game ended with punts. On the Jets’ third possession, Pennington was intercepted by Reynaldo Hill, giving the Titans good field position on the Jets’ 40. They converted it into the game’s first score, a four yard run by Chris Brown (the middling NFL running back, not the Worst Man in America pop star).

After a boring first quarter, Brown’s touchdown seemed to open the game up, if only for a few moments. The Jets responded with what was probably their best drive of the 2007 season. They took over on their own 23, picked up a first down and got to their own 41, setting up a 2nd-and-7. Pennington connected with Jerricho Cotchery for a 48-yard pickup, getting the Jets in scoring position. Two plays later, Pennington and Cotchery hooked up again, this time a 9-yarder for the game-tying touchdown.

Except Mike Nugent’s extra point was BLOCKED. The Titans remained up, 7-6, and Cotchery’s touchdown catch would be the Jets’ last points of the day.

Gang Green seemed poised to take the lead on their next possession, but Pennington was picked off in the end zone by Keith Bulluck. After THE NUGE missed a 51-yarder late in the second quarter, the Jets only had FOUR total possessions in the second half. Those went like this: Punt, Punt, Punt, and on their final drive, Pennington was sacked on fourth down, giving the Titans the ball and the ability to run the clock out. Somewhere along the way, Tennessee picked up a field goal so the final score read Titans 10, Jets 6.

Pennington actually had a pretty good day despite the two bad picks, finishing with 264 yards on 26-of-32 passing. 154 of those yards went to Cotchery. For some perspective, Stephen Hill has 163 yards in the last five games he’s played. But once he learns how to catch, watch out everybody.

This time around, the Jets are the ones clinging to their playoff lives and the Titans are the ones playing spoiler. If Monday’s game plays out just like the 2007 barnburner did but the Jets end up on top, Rex Ryan will be one happy man. As will all of Jets Nation.

Turn On The Jets Week 15 Roundtable – Jets/Titans Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they’re most looking forward to in the Jets week 15 Monday Night matchup against the Tennessee Titans

The TOJ staff discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in the New York Jets Monday Night match-up against the Tennessee Titans. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter –

Joe Caporoso – If the New York Jets can slow down Chris Johnson, who has the ability to kill them in the open field, they are going to be in great shape to improve their record to 7-7. Jake Locker can be dangerous when he starts scrambling around and does have an ability to push the ball down the field. Yet, let’s not ignore that he only completes 57.5% of his passes, has thrown 9 interceptions to match his 9 touchdowns and has lost two fumbles. Locker isn’t a good enough quarterback to single-handily beat the Jets defense. Due to this, the Jets front seven must stop Johnson, not let him get to the outside and not let him catch the football in space.

TJ Rosenthal – Chris Johnson could end the Jets season. Braylon Edwards, as much as naysayers refuse to believe, may help to prolong it. What we look forward to regarding Monday night most however, is the Jets rushing attack. The Titans are tied for 23rd against the run. Tony Sparano’s ground and pound has become more creative as of late. Shonn Greene has been maximizing his “plow forward” style since the bye week. Maybe this week though, Bilal Powell will finally emerge into something more than a split carry back. With his first breakout game coming on National TV.

Chris Celletti – It’s been a disappointing overall season for Chris Johnson, but the Titans’ back is still capable of having a big game. While the Jets’ defense is coming off two excellent weeks, Johnson is the best back they’ll have faced in the past three weeks by a mile. Also, you’d expect the Titans to use a heavy dose of Johnson as the Jets’ run defense is still weaker than their pass defense (basically, expect FIREWORKS on Monday since the Jets are going to go with the same approach on offense as well). Johnson is the one player on Tennessee that can wreck the game for the Jets. If they can shut him down, they give themselves a much better chance of moving to .500.

Mike Donnelly – The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this week is not Braylon Edwards against the Titans secondary (although it’s a close second), but rather how Quinton Coples and Mo Wilkerson do against this Titans offensive line suffering from injuries to four of their regular starters. These two are going to be major factors for our defense for years and I want to see Wilkerson continue his superior play while Coples joins him in the “soon-to-be-stud” club. Chris Johnson is the kind of shifty running back the Jets have struggled with this year, so the ability of Coples and Wilkerson to provide pressure right up the middle will play a major roll in whether or not the Jets improve to 7-7 on Monday.

Chris Gross – Jets Defense vs. Chris Johnson – Come Monday night, Tennessee will be without 4 starting offensive lineman. The Jets have been playing lights out defense the past few weeks, so with the Titans suffering such significant loss, the easy assumption to make is that New York has a clear advantage in this matchup. However, the Jets have struggled against backs with a skill set similar to Johnson’s this year. CJ Spiller gashed this team for over 100 yards in week one, while Reggie Bush has played decently against them, as well. The key for New York will be their ability to make plays in space. Johnson needs to be hit behind the line of scrimmage early and often, but if he hits the open field, New York cannot afford to miss him for he has significant big play ability

Rob Celletti – Can the Jets defense maintain its level of dominance this week?  The Titans aren’t world-beaters, but they have a little bit more talent than the Jets last two opponents, who have scored a combined 16 points and converted only 2 of 31 third downs. The particular match-up that’s key to this game features the Jets linebackers, who simply need to put in a good performance to keep Chris Johnson in check. After becoming the guy that every fantasy football owner loved to hate, Johnson has rebounded nicely this year, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Johnson is the prototypical running back that gives the Jets a hard time, because of his speed to the outside and ability to change direction.  The Jets’ worst nightmare in this game is Johnson breaking off a long run or two early, putting the Jets in a multiple score hole, and making their offense play catch-up. 

New York Jets Week 15 – Jets/Titans Early Thoughts

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans

A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans

1. Chris Johnson has shaken off the early season fantasy football jokes and is putting together a strong overall season, with 1,037 yards on 4.7 yards per carry, along with 4 touchdowns and 33 receptions. Johnson is the type of back who has owned the Jets defense in recent years. He has the ability to break to the outside and be a factor in the passing game, which could expose the Jets lack of speed at linebacker.

2. Jake Locker is kind of like a more mobile Mark Sanchez, in that he is inaccurate and turns the ball over way too much. If the Jets can get the game into his hands primarily, they have a good chance of getting a victory. Tennessee has some talent at wide receiver, look for Antonio Cromartie to match-up with Kenny Britt which will leave Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster to handle Kendall Wright and Nate Washington…not ideal match-ups for the Jets.

3. The Titans are 4-9 for a reason. Right now, they are down four starting offensive lineman which should equal a big day for Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. They are ranked 27th in total defense (23rd against the run and 26th against the pass).

4. Regardless of their vulnerability in the secondary, look for another run heavy game plan from the Jets that will look to control the clock. There is no reason to expect anything less than 15+ carries each for Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene. If the Jets do take their shots down the field, taking them to the newly signed Braylon Edwards makes the most sense.

5. Our playoff pipe dream viewing guide will be published tomorrow but know this – if the Jets win and get just a little help this weekend, their week 16 game at home against San Diego will be hugely important and not just in a “pipe dream” kind of way but in a “they really have a shot to make the playoffs” kind of way.

Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Jets vs. Jaguars

Turn On The Jets answers your questions on the New York Jets offensive game film from their game against Jacksonville

The Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown this week is going to focus on a handful of questions I received on Twitter – All the questions generally broke out into the following four categories, which I will review section by section. Make sure to check back later today for Chris Gross‘ defensive film breakdown.

1 – Wide Receiver Separation

Many people were curious if the Jets wide receivers were getting any type of separation against a below average Jacksonville secondary. There was only 19 attempted passes by Mark Sanchez, in what was a highly conservative game plan. To put it bluntly, the Jets basically ran a high-school passing attack this past Sunday. Extremely simplistic and meant to give Sanchez easy, quick reads that would equate to a high completion percentage. Yet, how did the receivers fare with their limited routes?

Overall, they were relatively average. Yes, there were situations where they struggled to create separation as seen below when Mardy Gilyard runs a comeback route and curls directly behind the cornerback. Needless to say, there is a reason Gilyard has been unemployed in the NFL more than he’s been employed.

But outside of him and a few instances from other receivers, the situation wasn’t a complete disaster. Jeremy Kerley continued to run crisp, quick routes and gets himself plenty of separation like shown below but Mark Sanchez just missed him. Chaz Schilens had a good day, consistently getting himself open outside of a sideline comeback route that should have never been thrown his way. He got excellent separation twice on a boot route, including this 17 yard completion below.

2 – Mark Sanchez’s General Play

Meh. The Jets literally ran a high school passing attack, which consisted of them running about 3 different basic passing plays out of a few different alignments and formations. They ran boot, quick rub routes (short speed outs) to the outside and three step slant/comeback combinations. Sanchez did OK with this but generally played timid and still missed more throws than you’d like to see in this type of attack (like the Kerley comeback above). Look at this boot route – He has Chaz Schilens open for a big gain but instead he pulls the ball down and runs for 4 yards.

This hesitation likely comes from having two deep balls to Schilens the previous week dropped and intercepted, along with an emphasis from the coaching staff to play safe. However, if we see Braylon Edwards running the same route this week, I can guarantee that Sanchez makes this throw.

Outside of his 37 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland late in the fourth, Sanchez didn’t make any plays that you’d classify as “very good.” He basically had a mix of proper decisions, good throws mixed in with some missed throws and poor reads. The completion to Cumberland was a thing of beauty however…just a frustrating glimpse of his first round talent.

3 – Running Back Comparison

Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene put up nearly identical numbers, with Powell having a slightly higher yards per carry. Both players are very comparable on a week to week basis but the film maintains that Powell is a little quicker and can make a little more happen when less is available. Surprisingly it was Powell who was more effective going directly up the middle, while Greene was getting more from the outside counters. Here are two inside handoffs, the first one is Greene which went for 9 yards, the second one is Powell which went for 13 yards. Powell gets more yardage because he is quicker through the hole and is quicker with his cuts at the second level.

To Greene’s credit, he showed better vision and decisiveness on counter handoffs than Powell. Both backs were benefitted by a superior game from the Jets offensive line.

4 – Offensive Line

Outside of D’Brickashaw Ferguson letting Jason Babin beat him for a strip sack, this was an excellent all-around performance from the Jets offensive line. In the second half, they simply took over the football game and drove Jacksonville defenders all over the field, clearing big lanes for Greene and Powell. Look at the blocking on this counter –

To their credit, Austin Howard and Matt Slauson had particularly strong games despite having up and down seasons. Both were borderline dominant in the running game. Nick Mangold had arguably his best game of the season and made the PFF All-Week 14 Team. Vladimir Ducasse played limited snaps but Slauson looked better out there and was in the line-up for both touchdown drives. Jason Smith also deserves credit for strong blocking as an extra tight end.