New York Jets: The Glass Half Full

A response to negative outlooks for the 2012 New York Jets season

Earlier today we ran TJ Rosenthal’s interview with Evan Silva, which painted a negative picture of the 2012 New York Jets. We disagree with big chunks of Silva’s opinion and have elaborated what type of team we think the Jets will be in 2012. Let’s look at where we specifically see flaws in Silva and others analysis who see the Jets as a team who will struggle to even crack .500 this season.

Offense – Generally, people remain way too down on Mark Sanchez’s ability to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. I define successful as the quarterback of a team who is consistently in contention as both a playoff and Super Bowl contender. There is no reason Sanchez can’t be a better version of the player he was for the 2010 team who went 11-5 and was 5 points from a Super Bowl appearance.

Silva refers to the Jets having a successful offense when they had Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes threatening vertically and Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery working the seams, supported by a power running game led by a strong offensive line. The Mark Sanchez of 2010 led a run first offense yet consistently stepped up to make big throws when it mattered. There was nothing timid about his game and he clearly trusted his arm.

Why can’t the Jets replicate that type of offense? Holmes and Keller remain on the roster. Stephen Hill has the speed to threaten defenses deep (as does Chaz Schilens) and Jeremy Kerley showed signs of being a quality slot receiver last season. Yes, Damien Woody has been replaced by Wayne Hunter but don’t forget that Hunter played the entire stretch run and playoffs for an injured Woody in 2010.

It is fair to question the depth at running back. Shonn Greene is a fairly average back and the Jets don’t have a proven player behind him. The hope is that Joe McKnight can add a game breaking element to the running back position, which the team has lacked since Leon Washington was traded a few years back. Beyond that, let’s not forget what Tim Tebow should bring to the running game particularly in goal-line and short yardage situations.

The Jets offense has plenty to prove but there is enough talent to believe that with a new approach from Tony Sparano, they can match or exceed the 22 points per game they were scoring in 2010.

Defense – Most can admit that a minimum, the Jets will have a solid, productive defense thanks to the presence of Rex Ryan, Darrelle Revis, David Harris and Sione Pouha. A great defensive mind and an elite player at all three levels is a hell of a start. The Jets had a tough year in the points allowed category in 2011 but keep in mind no offense allowed opposing defenses to score more points than the Jets. If they cut back on the turnovers, which they are expected to under Tony Sparano, that number will drop significantly. Beyond that, the Jets have upgraded their safety position by adding two new starters in Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry and a new dime back in Josh Bush. They also improved speed at linebacker by drafting Demario Davis and upfront by drafting Quinton Coples. Players like Muhammad Wilkerson and Aaron Maybin will also be a year better in Rex’s system after having their first full off-season to work in it.

It isn’t a defense without flaws, as they still lack overall speed at linebacker and coverage ability at safety. However, they are deep at every position and have enough talent to be a top five unit, as they were in total defense the past three years. Karl Dunbar’s presence will also allow them to be more versatile as more 4-3 and 46 looks are expected to be worked in.

Schedule – There has been a bunch of talk about the Jets starting 1-4, leading to an inevitable Mark Sanchez benching/season long quarterback controversy. Without question, the hardest stretch of the Jets schedule is their first five games –

  • Home vs. Buffalo
  • At Pittsburgh
  • At Miami
  • Home vs. San Francisco
  • Home vs. Houston

If you are going by pre-season expectations and past history, the Jets should come out at worst 2-3. The Sanchez failure analysis is flawed because he is 5-1 in his career against Buffalo, including a 20/28, 230 yard performance and a 4 touchdown, game winning drive performance last year. He has played very well in both his trips to Pittsburgh and both match-ups against Houston. The Jets will also be substantially better than Miami. A hard stretch…yes? A season crippling stretch? Not by any means.

After those five games the Jets don’t play a single team who made the playoffs last year, outside of New England. They also get to send their defense against such offensive juggernauts as St. Louis, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Seattle along with getting Miami again at home.

Silva sees 7 wins as the Jets best case scenario, I see that as their worst case scenario. The 2012 Jets should be able to replicate many of the things that made them successful in 2010, along with adding a few new elements.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – Must Follows For Jets Fans

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack gives 12 must follows for Jets fans throughout the NFL season

Today’s edition of the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is going to hand out some love to our peers who we have had the pleasure of interacting with throughout the growth of our site. Turn On The Jets started as a member of the Fanball Network thanks to Bryan Douglass, who is currently the content manager for Wayin. Personally, I will always have Bryan to thank for giving me a shot. After the network shut down, Will Horton of the Rams Herd made sure we stayed afloat thanks to some timely HTML and web service help. So thanks to Will as always, who is a great writer himself. 

Anyway here are your TOJ recommended follows for the 2012 NFL Season, obviously outside of us and staff writers Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly. Turn On The Jets commits itself to providing in-depth writing and analysis on the New York Jets on a daily basis. We do that as well as anybody out there, so stay with us. The staff is only growing with Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti joining up in season and TJ Rosenthal continuing with contributions.

Last site PSA: T-Shirts are done and shipped. They will go on sale early next week (likely Tuesday) right here on the site. We will be doing all types of giveaways to people who buy from our first batch so keep an eye out and make sure you are following TOJ on Facebook

On the to the recommendations (in no particular order) –

1. Jeff Capellini, CBS New York/WFAN.com – Jeff is a terrific, in-depth writer who covers the Jets along with the Yankees and Islanders. His articles are a must read. We only wish we could have more published content from him. Jeff thinks outside the box and has a very good pulse on the Jets. He is also an entertaining follow on Twitter and always up for a solid debate.

2. TJ Rosenthal, The Jet Report – We are fortunate enough to have TJ as a regular contributor here at Turn On The Jets but his own site, The Jet Report is also a must visit. TJ has a PhD in Jets history and has a fascinating collection of materials from the team throughout the years. He is also a detailed writer who frequently finds unique angles to cover the team from.

3. Erik Manassy, Jets Twit – The social media master when it comes to the New York Jets. He does a little bit of everything, including writing, podcasts, web development and social media management. Erik does a great job of aggregating all the social media content coming from Jets writers and players.

4. Flight 5 Live – A new web based television show that airs every Friday night. They have pulled in quite the collection of guests so far including Curtis Martin, Wesley Walker, Demario Davis and Marcus Dixon. All five hosts are passionate fans, among them Kristine Reese who is a great writer for Aerys Sports and Brian Imbemba who is a must follow on Twitter.

5. Erik Frenz, The Bleacher Report – The AFC East lead blogger for BR. Regardless of your preconceptions of the site, Erik is a terrific writer who thoroughly covers the Jets, Dolphins, Bills, and Patriots. The guy literally might publish 3,000 words a day…not sure when he sleeps.

6. Jet Nation – An active and interesting Twitter account and a website that houses a great forum for Jets fans to debate about the team.

7. The Jet Press – A site that frequently has differing opinions with us about issues surrounding the team but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy reading their content. Alan does a great job with the site and we have debated here recently.

8. Brian Bassett, The Jets Blog – Founded The Jets Blog, which is now in partnership with SNY, the Jets home station. Brian is a blogging beast and a great guy who I was fortunate enough to meet at Blog With Balls last year.

9. HargzAndCarter, The Green Zone – Run a weekly Jets radio talk show that is always worth a listen and contribute to The Jets Blog.

10. Pro Football Focus – We love how in-depth they are with film breakdown and how consistently they put out quality content. Any NFL fan should enjoy this site.

11. Enemy Tweeps – Keep your enemies close…New England Patriots fans to follow (Pats Propaganda and Patriots XLVII). Armando Salguero who is a beat writer for the Miami Dolphins and Tim Graham, the former AFC East blogger who now covers the Bills.

12. The Rest – @LilMissNYJet (Opinionated and entertaining Jets and soccer fan), @MokeHamilton (our favorite Knicks blogger), @NYJets_101 (good Jets reading), @FootballPost (NFP), @MCaseyNYJ (just started his own site), @ItsOasus , @JRDengo , @cfattovw (Great fans, thanks for reading!)

New York Jets: Rookie Defenders Should Make Immediate Impact

What kind of impact will the New York Jets rookie defenders make in 2012?

The New York Jets drafted four defensive players in the 2012 NFL Draft, three of them are locks to make the roster and contribute in some capacity in their rookie year. How much will the Jets be asking from their newest additions and will they be able to handle the workload? Let’s run through the four selections and discuss what reasonable expectations should be –

Strong Safety – Antonio Allen – 7th Round – Allen fell further down the draft board than most people expected. He is a natural strong safety who basically played like an extra linebacker at South Carolina. Talent-wise the Jets got great value with Allen but it will be extremely difficult for him to make any kind of impact this season on defense. LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Eric Smith are all similar players to Allen and ahead of him on the depth chart. Unless there is significant injuries throughout the Jets secondary, it is difficult seeing Allen being active on a weekly basis. The only way he will be, is if he proves to be a monster on special teams. It isn’t out of the question for Allen to be a practice squad player in 2012 as he projects to make a bigger impact down the road after Landry, Bell or Smith have moved on.

Free Safety – Josh Bush – 6th Round – Walked into a better situation than most 6th round picks. Bush is entering training camp as the team’s fourth safety and only true free safety likely to make the 53 man roster. If he can hold his own throughout August, he will see significant playing time particularly in the Jets sub and nickel packages. Don’t be surprised to see Bush playing a Dwight Lowery type role in Rex Ryan’s defense, bouncing between safety and corner to take advantage of his coverage skills. If Bush can’t establish himself as a competent role player with long term potential in 2012 it will be disappointing and hurt the Jets already questionable depth at safety. Bush is a likely candidate for an extensive role on special teams, particularly on coverage units.

Demario Davis – Linebacker – 3rd Round – The pre-training camp darling of the Jets draft class who has already been given comparisons to Ray Lewis (seriously, come on Rex) for his intensity and natural leadership. Davis has something the other Jets linebackers lack: speed. It is going to get him on the field immediately on passing downs and he is already running with the first unit in the sub package. Davis will also be a fixture on just about every special teams unit from day one. The question is, can Bart Scott hold him out of the starting lineup for the entire season? Make no mistake, Davis will be the opening day starter at inside linebacker in 2013 but will he crack the starting lineup in 2012?

Quinton Coples – Defensive End – 1st Round – We won’t hide from our initial criticism of the Coples selection however with the Jets apparently moving to a defensive scheme that is more 4-3 and 46 heavy it at least makes a little more sense. Beyond that, Coples put together a very strong OTAs and says everything you want to hear from a first round pick with motor questions. He is going to start from day one and is physically the most talented pass rusher the Jets have had on their roster in awhile. Alongside Muhammad Wilkerson, he has the chance to be a special player in this defense.

Interview With Former New York Jets Scout Connie Carberg, Part 1

TJ Rosenthal sits down with former NFL Scout, Connie Carberg to talk about her time with the New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal was fortunate enough to sit down for a lengthy interview with Connie Carberg, the NFL’s first female scout. We are going to run the interview in two parts. Today she talks about her career with the New York Jets and tomorrow she and TJ discuss the 2012 Jets roster. Enjoy and make sure to follow both TJ and Connie on Twitter –

For Connie Carberg the NFL’s first female scout, the New York Jets have always been family. Literally. From growing up the daughter of a team doctor to becoming a scout, from 1974-1980 (the one who found Mark Gastineau) few if any bleed the Green and White more than Connie. We truly thank her for taking the time to go through some of her personal Jets history with us while giving us a look through a professional’s eyes on how the NFL has changed. As well giving us some thoughts on the current 2012 New York Jets –

1974-80: Growing up a Jet:

You experienced so much as a scout for the Jets from 1974-80. Mark Gastineau. You found him. How did that process take place from your initial sighting of him to the Jets selection of him in 1979?

Walt Michaels was coaching. North team on Senior Bowl, Mike Stensrud was injured and my boss Mike Hickey asked me to find somebody, watched tapes of all 6, read reports, and made phone calls. Gastineau was in perfect shape and had the same passion off the field as he did on. He wasn’t an act. He had total enthusiasm, and I suggested we take him, and he became the defensive MVP of the game. We drafted in him in the 2nd round after we took Marty Lyons first.

Wow, what a 1-2 by the staff that year. Now you grew up as a kid in the Jets family. So were players house guests who would come over and raid the fridge? Who were the ones you knew and or liked the best growing up? Pre scouting days..

I have been part of the Jets family since I was 12 years old when my dad Dr. Cal Nicholas became the Jets doctor. His office was connected to the house, and players often came over to be examined, and would hang out in the house with the rest of the family.  The first player we had over for dinner was Gerry Philbin, and I remember meeting him and watching him at dinner, thinking “I’ve never seen anybody drink so much milk in my life”. Wonderful man,  Great DE. George Sauer was always over and was my tennis partner at the Long Island Yacht Club. He would play guitar while I played piano.  He loved to play games in the backyard, like wiffleball or basketball with my brothers and myself.

We were very close with the Hampton family, Bill Hampton was the Jets Equipment Manager, and his son Clay is now the Director of Operations for the Jets. We’d have pool parties with our large families, in Babylon and Bayshore. Emerson Boozer and Ralph Baker were often there.

The Jets had a basketball team in the offseason, with people like Bake Turner, Jim Turner, Randy Beverly, Ralph Baker, Emerson Boozer, and John Schmidt who would come over to the house afterwards. My mom would cook a big turkey and they could all eat.

My favorite growing up was WR Bake Turner, who played guitar and sang incredibly. I still have a tape of him and George Sauer playing guitar together at the house, singing all sorts of songs on reel-to-reel, in 1969. Country Songs.

It was an amazing way to grow up, and then I went off to college, first to an all girls school, Wheaton College, and later I transferred to the Ohio State University, graduating in 1974.

I came back, and went to work for the Jets, and times were changing a bit and people weren’t at the house as much as in the past, but always for treatment and checkups. I was a lifeguard at the Long Island Yacht Club, and would bring the kids over to meet Joe Namath, who was always so good signing for kids. As long as the kids were well behaved. It was a great time. There was no player I didn’t truly like.

Let’s do a little word association: In a few words or less can you help describe some of the names, nicknames and places from that 1974-80 era?

Walt Michaels – Tough, Fair, Paul Brown Disciple, Mentor, All-Pro LB

Owner Leon Hess – Hands off owner, not much football knowledge, very nice man, let coaches handle team

Lou Holtz- Motivator, great college coach, family man, answered every letter sent to him, Great man.

Shea Stadium – Home of the Jets, Diamond Club, Captain Kangaroo at every game, Bob Cleveland Orchestra, family

Joe Klecko – Strong, All Pro, Sack Exchange.

Richard Todd – Tough job following Namath, especially from Alabama, but did take us to AFC Championship game, if tarp had been down, could have been different.

Wesley Walker – Best Deep threat of last 30 years, vision in only one eye (same as me now), memorized eye charts. Great moves and hands.

Joe Namath – Quickest release ever, charisma and star power, forced AFL-NFL merger, so good to young fans, as big as the Beatles.

The Sack Exchange – Still a favorite, ability to pressure without the blitz, front four that could do it all. 

Scouting

Now we know that you still keep a close eye on things. How Much has the NFL changed to you…on the field talent and equipment wise?

Quite a bit, from the equipment (helmets), and the helmet is now a weapon. In the old days, players didn’t trust the helmet to be used as a reasonable weapon and launch with it. Now it’s supposed to be for safety.

Players are faster and stronger, due to far more lifting weights (they didn’t as much in the old days). No offensive lineman were over 300 lbs. It’s common. Middle Linebackers were 215-225, now they are 230-250.

The fundamentals of tackling are poorer. Everyone started wanting to be on the highlight reel of ESPN, not just form tackling, and with the new CBA, you only have one-a-days and the lack of ability to practice tackling. Tackling needs to get much better.

Rules wise?

Watch Ben Davidson hitting Joe Namath. He’d be fined for every single shot he took at Joe. Quarterbacks are protected far more now.

Marketing wise?

There were no jerseys back then, or Jets shirts or hats. You just looked for a green t-shirt. That’s why I wished we were red like the KC Chiefs, as it’s so much easier to find a red shirt than a green shirt. There was no Nike or Reebok.

Back then we were a Kelly green color, not as dark as now. It felt like more of a high-flying offense, while the darker green suits our defense today.

No sports talk radio, ESPN, NFL network, only the home team was on TV, so everybody always rooted for their home team. That was the only game you saw. You had no fantasy football, and didn’t know all of the stats. A lot less betting as well as no free agency, meaning that when you had a player, they were yours for life and as a fan, you lived and died with those players. He was your boy for life. I loved it that way.

The scouting profession? 

Back then – Character was most important for the Jets, and RB’s were incredibly important, whether OJ, Gale, Sweetness, or Freeman. It was usually one RB + FB to lead block. Speed was important but big and strong were emphasized.

Lots of guys didn’t make the NFL because they were tweeners, but today they become specialty players, for pass rushers (like Maybin), and are put into unique packages, situational players. Everybody played 3 downs. There was no rotation. Everybody played where they played. There was no nickel or dime packages.

What did you rank higher: IQ or athleticism?

IQ was important, but there were 2 types.  It was football and book IQ – Marino didn’t get the highest score like Ken O’Brien on his Wonderlic but his football IQ and ability to audible was off the charts.

Production, Motor, and Heart was the centerpiece of drafting then and now too because you need dependable players. The tweeners were primarily the different things that exist today. Guys just never asked to come off the field after a run or a catch like they do now.

MAKE SURE TO CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR PART 2

New York Jets: Pass Coverage Still A Concern

The New York Jets could still have major issues covering tight ends and running backs in 2012

The New York Jets defense struggled heavily when it came to covering the tight end last season. Basically, if a team had a good receiving tight end, they exploited the hell out of Rex Ryan’s defense. Jason Witten finished with 110 yards, including a 64 yarder. Fred Davis grabbed 6 passes for 99 yards. Brent Celek went off for 156 yards and a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski pulled in 113 yards and 2 touchdowns in primetime and in the Jets/Patriots other meeting, it was Aaron Hernandez who racked up 56 yards. Antonio Gates had 54 yards and a touchdown. Hell, even Ed Dickson was able to get 45 receiving yards on them.

Their coverage of running backs out of the backfield also left something to be desired. The lack of speed at linebacker position allowed the Jets to be taken advantage of on checkdowns and screen passes.

The Jets solution to the problem this off-season was to completely re-tool their safety position (signing Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry, and drafting Josh Bush and Antonio Allen) and adding linebacker Demario Davis in the third round.

Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry will be a more athletic starting duo than Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith, with substantially more size. However, both players are strong safeties, not free safeties. It will be on Bell to spend more time at the free safety position than he is accustomed to. Landry has the ability to be a highly productive player inside the box but can he stay on the field? As defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman said, Eric Smith is good at 300 reps but not necessarily 900 reps and he might be at the number if Landry isn’t healthy.

The Jets did add two rookie safeties in the late rounds with Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. Bush will get the chance for immediate playing time because he is the only natural free safety who will make the active roster but how much can the Jets really expect from a rookie sixth round pick? Allen is built to play inside the box and for now just provides depth behind Landry and Smith.

The 2012 schedule is going to provide plenty of challenges from the tight end position, including Vernon Davis in week 4, Owen Daniels in week 5, Gronkowski/Hernandez in weeks 7 and 12 and Antonio Gates in week 15.

It is going to be on Bell to handle free safety responsibilities when they are handed to him and on Bush to grow up faster than most 6th round picks. Landry and Demario Davis should be able to help slow down the releases tight ends are getting but you don’t want them running with them past 5-7 yards. Their presence should also help contain running backs shaking loose for big gains on checkdowns or screen passes.

Kerry Rhodes certainly couldn’t tackle but the Jets haven’t found a free safety since he was traded. Bell could be a stopgap and maybe Bush is the future. If not, the Jets will once again be looking to retool a position they haven’t seemed able to get right since Rex Ryan has taken over.

No Huddle: New York Jets Areas Of Caution

TJ Rosenthal goes into the No Huddle to look at five areas of their team the New York Jets should be concerned about

TJ Rosenthal is back with the No Huddle, today looking at five areas of the New York Jets that could be a cause for concern in 2012. Make sure to give TJ a follow on Twitter and keep an eye out for a few exciting interviews by him in the coming weeks – 

As a lifelong New York Jets fan it’s hard to deny that there have been LONG stretches of years that have warranted seeing things through a glass half empty. The bright pockets of time for this organization have come in quick bunches thanks to the late 1960’s crew, some of the clubs from 1981-86, Bill Parcells, Herm Edwards, and Rex Ryan. The rest of the club’s fifty year history has essentially featured one harrowing crash on the runway after another. Especially in December.

History aside, we will soon be embarking upon a new Jet adventure. One that again will arrive for the die hard with excitement, eternal hope, paranoia, and of course, habitual doubt.

The Jet Report can envision 2012 heading in both directions. One that leads the club late into January with a shot at glory, and the other, well, yet another disappointment. Our personal goal for this season is to enjoy it with zero expectations. Despite the two near misses in 2009 and 2010 and a 2011 that contributed to helping springboard the other New York team to a world title.

In this week’s no huddle we approach five concepts whose success could collectively combine to catapult the Jets towards the Super Bowl. Knowing that they all should be approached with caution. After all, many of us still carry scars that forever force us to sleep with one eye open.

At all times.

1. The Rookies Will Have A Major Collective Impact In Year One –

Will they? Well we hope so. Then again, we always hope that draft picks blow up into legends and do so right out of the gates.

Coples, Davis, Hill and Co. will be used and much needed in spots, but demanding week in week out veteran type play from them is unfair. And unrealistic. How many rookies have become first team all pros in the last decade? Not as many combined as the Jets plan to put on the field this year all at once.

Let’s ease up on what we demand from this group and instead, enjoy the promise of individual break out moments and timely performances that we know these kids can give us.

2. Santonio Holmes Will Be Happy All Season – 

Santonio Holmes is a great clutch player. Period. He makes big plays with the money on the line. His unhappiness last year should have never been confused and mixed in with his reactions. We all wasted so much time wondering why Holmes behaved the way he did and spent little time asking “how the hell did Holmes not see more balls last year?” Was it Schotty’s fault? Sanchez’s fault? Well who cares whose fault it was. Just give him damn the ball please (to quote another Jets WR). Even if this team runs 60 percent of the time.

If the Jets win games and run the ball, Holmes will be a good teammate and accept it. We truly believe that. Fail to get him the rock AND lose games? Why wouldn’t he get pissed off? Why shouldn’t he?

The Holmes happy meter will be a reasonable measuring stick regarding the entire happiness of the Jets situation. Just win baby. This guy didn’t come from the Super Bowl champion Steelers to win four games for the Jets in one season to then just run around like a silly decoy all day.

Let’s make everyone happy by letting him help win games like he can. Or by having a ground game that is so exceptional, he can collect his big paychecks without having to jump over safeties downfield to haul in bombs.

We can live with either one of those scenarios. So can Santonio Holmes.

3. The Jets Will Of Course Return To The Postseason – 

Tell the Bills that. How many divisions send three teams to the playoffs? Not many. If you are thinking what we’re thinking (The Patriots are always in the playoffs when Tom Brady is healthy) then let’s make sure that the upstart buzz team Bills don’t finish with a better record or divisional record than the Jets do.

After you consider the Bills and the AFC East logjam, add the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Broncos, healthier Chiefs, and pissed off Chargers for starters into the equation and what you have is a crowded AFC wildcard race.

With little breathing room for third place teams to enjoy. Better stay ahead of Buffalo gentlemen.

Or else the road to the playoffs will grow quite slim and narrow.

4. The Jets safety situation has improved – 

Provided that LaRon Landry is healthy well maybe it has. Of course the only photos of Landry’s biceps that we have been to find on Google to this point, are one’s of him in his Redskins gear. He better not be damaged goods.

Yeremiah Bell is poised to help out but he is 33. Sorry to bring that up folks.

On the younger side, Josh Bush is a late round pick. Give us his energy. Just don’t let us get bitten by his youthful over excitement on play action or pump fakes.

The Leonhard, Pool and Smith Experience were often times late to the party but when Jimmy was healthy, this unit was never an X’s and O’s meltdown. Except when it had to cover the tight end. Better to give up twenty yards at midfield than be toast downfield every week due to miscommunication though, right?

Eric Smith is back and healthy again but even when healthy, is limited as a cover guy. Bell, Landry and Smith. Let’s see a few series of plays with them this August first.

5. The Ground and Pound Is Set To Roll – 

First of all, who is ground and who is pound? The Jets have walked away from the Ryan blueprint of a veteran RB leading the way for the rookies and the younghans in this latest version of the ground game. There is also no back with a bell cow track record statistically in this corps right now. Shonn Greene is the group’s only 1,000 yard rusher, having squeaked by in 2011 with 1054 yards after a non existent start into mid October. Everyone else (Joe McKnight, Terrance Ganaway, Bilal Powell) is unproven except for Tim Tebow who as a QB has rushed for 12 TD’s in two years.

The offensive line is coming off a rough year and has to gel once again. Plus, we have to see how Mark Sanchez looks. If he can keep defenses honest in the passing game then hey, this new ground and pound mentality can work. Like the new safeties though, we have to wait and see how it all comes together. The potential is there but potential and results don’t always meet together when asked to.

These “no huddle” keys may all work out just fine in 2012. It IS possible. Yet we have no idea to what extent they will be a success at this point in time. Patience and time will play a key part. It’s a long season. The coaches, players and fans better have to remember to let this all build naturally.

The potential is there.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: New York Jets Statistical Predictions

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack breaks out some stat predictions for the 2012 New York Jets

This week’s 12 Pack is going throw out some statistical predictions for members of both the New York Jets offense and defense. Credit for the idea goes to (@ItsOasus) on Twitter. Give the man a follow and while you are it give our fellow writers Chris GrossMike Donnelly and TJ Rosenthal a follow. 

In case you missed it this week…

Turn On The Jets shirts (designed and created by Bark Tees NY) are being shipped out this upcoming week and should be for sale no later than July 20th. 
Check out Gameday Goods for 10% off all New York Jets apparel. All you have to do is use the promo code “TurnOnTheJets”

1. Mark Sanchez – 256/432, 59.2 completion percentage, 3,360 yards, 25 touchdowns, 13 interceptions – I am basically projecting Sanchez for 16/27, 210 yards on a weekly basis. The yardage total might seem a little high but I think the Jets will attack down the field more often with Tony Sparano calling plays, will use Santonio Holmes more vertically and should have a viable deep threat in Stephen Hill. Yes, I believe he will do a better job of protecting the football and will cut 5 interceptions off his total from last season.

2. Shonn Greene – 280 carries, 1,175 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 5 touchdowns – Greene isn’t anywhere near an elite level back but considering their depth chart at running back and the offensive system the Jets are going to give him 17-20 carries per week. He should be able to translate that into a little under 1,200 yards considering his history. His touchdown total will be disappointing because Tim Tebow will be a major presence around the goal-line.

3. Santonio Holmes – 72 receptions, 1,044 yards, 7 touchdowns – Holmes averaged 15 yards per catch over the 3 years prior to 2011, let’s put him at 14.5 this season…a nice bump up from the 12.8 of last season. Sparano should also do a better job of getting the ball in his hands than Brian Schottenheimer did last season, so 4.5 catches per game seems reasonable. Holmes had 8 touchdowns last year, which tied a career high. He will end up with 7 this season.

4. Dustin Keller – 64 receptions, 832 yards, 7 touchdowns – Yes, I do think Holmes and Keller will equate for this large of a share of the Jets passing game. Keller was at 12.5 yards per catch last year, he’ll bump up to about 13 in Tony Sparano’s offense. 7 touchdowns would be a career high but he is due to be a sustainable red-zone presence throughout an entire season.

5. Stephen Hill – 40 receptions, 630 yards, 5 touchdowns – The reception total won’t be high but Hill will be a big play threat for the Jets, hence the high yards per catch average. His size and leaping ability ability will also make him a consistent red-zone threat.

6. Tim Tebow – 80 carries, 440 yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 250 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns – Tebow is going to be a major factor in the red-zone as a rusher and overall should average out to about  5 carries per week. His passing totals are hard to project, because it remains to be seen how often the Jets will use him a passer. For the record, I do think Mark Sanchez, barring injury, starts every game this season at quarterback.

7. Aaron Maybin – 10.5 sacks, 26 tackles, 5 forced fumbles – With a full off-season under his belt, Maybin will become the first Jets defender to hit double digit sacks since John Abraham (!). If that forced fumble total seems high, remember he forced 4 last season in 13 games with a very limited role.

8. David Harris – 90 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 interceptions – Another rock solid, Pro-Bowl caliber season from the Jets inside linebacker. Don’t look for any drop-off in his regular production.

9. Quinton Coples – 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks – Rex Ryan and Karl Dunbar will get Coples in the proper position to make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. Towards the end of the season, he will begin to come on more as a complete player, particularly in run defense.

10. Muhammad Wilkerson – 55 tackles, 6 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss – I am on the Wilkerson bandwagon, who I think will play at a Pro-Bowl caliber level as a two way defensive end. Wilkerson and Coples will give the Jets their best pass rushing duo up front since John Abraham and Shaun Ellis were young pups.

11. Joe McKnight – 75 carries, 325 yards, 32 receptions, 320 yards, 2 offensive touchdowns, 1 special teams touchdown – A good all-around year for McKnight who will be able to handle the role of 3rd down back and be a reliable checkdown/screen option for Mark Sanchez. He also will remain one of the league’s better kick returners.

12. Jeremy Kerley – 45 receptions, 460 yards, 2 touchdowns – Kerley won’t have a high yards per catch but will develop into a reliable third down target, being a good option in the short to intermediate passing game.

 

Comparing AFC East Teams To The Corleone Children

Turn On The Jets compares the teams of the AFC East to the Corleone children from The Godfather

This is the time of the NFL season where it is important to do things like compare AFC East teams to the Corleone children in The Godfather. If you didn’t comprehend that first sentence, go watch all three movies…thank me…and then come back to read this article. The original inspiration for this article came from a group of Buffalo Bills fans referring to themselves as #BillsMafia on Twitter, where I couldn’t help but respond by calling them the Fredo of the AFC East as they promptly lost 8 of their last 9 games. Let’s fill out the rest of the family heading into the 2012 NFL season –

New England Patriots – Michael Corleone – The head of the family and the head of the division. Sneaky, ruthless and willing to do whatever it takes to maintain power. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady came out of nowhere to run the AFC East, just like Michael came out of nowhere to run the family. Belichick is notoriously paranoid about every piece of information surrounding his team, while Michael was paranoid enough to kill his own brother. We know that Belichick back-stabbed the Jets by resigning from their head coaching position and Michael was never shy to back-stab anybody on his rise to the top. The Patriots have the media (Peter King, Pro Football Talk) in their pocket just like the Corleone’s did under Michael’s leadership. Beyond that, couldn’t you see Belichick showing up at the Spygate hearings in the NFL office with a member of the family of anybody who was going to testify against him?

New York Jets – Sonny Corleone – Hotheaded and a little too outspoken for their own good at times. Rex and the Jets had a short reign at the top after knocking New England out of the playoffs in 2010 before coming crashing down from their brash words and actions in 2011. Sonny got hit on the causeway because Carlo gave him up. Who is Carlo? I am going with Brian Schottenheimer and his atrocious playcalling throughout the 2011 season, most notably dropping Mark Sanchez back over 60 times against the Giants pass rush in a game that all but ended their playoff hopes.

Buffalo Bills – Fredo Corleone – Always looking for respect when they have done nothing to deserve it. Every year they are hyped up as a contender but are then “stepped over” in the division by the Patriots and Jets. Buffalo can’t compete with their brothers, considering their combined record against the Pats and Jets since 2009 is 2-10. Yes, we hear everybody saying they can handle things in 2012 and will be a contender but we think they will be stepped over yet again.

Miami Dolphins – Connie Corleone – Not taken seriously. Connie is a floozy bouncing in and out relationships, while still being financially dependent on her brothers. The Dolphins put tarps over their seats, sell Jets apparel in their gift shop and will have David Garrard throwing passes to Chad Johnson Ochocinco Johnson this season. Hysterical…

Unfortunately, the New York Giants have to currently be Don Corleone since they are the reigning champs and their cloud hangs over the Patriots and Jets. Yes, it isn’t always being a Jets fan but “this is the business we have chosen”

New York Jets: What Are Reasonable Expectations?

What are reasonable expectations for the New York Jets in 2012?

The general consensus from the mainstream media about the 2012 New York Jets isn’t positive. We have seen them ranked as low as 27th in Power Rankings by Evan Silva of Rotoworld, along with most commentators pegging them for 3rd or 4th in the AFC East behind Buffalo and in some cases behind Miami. This line of thinking isn’t that surprising when you step back and consider a few things.

Most people view the Jets as a brash talking organization who has seen their small window close. They are a roster stuffed with overhyped, overpaid players who had an ugly meltdown to end the 2011 season. Everybody who doesn’t wear a green and white jersey on Sundays is giddy at the thought of Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez failing and being out of a job this time next year.

The hate towards Ryan makes sense. He bit off more than he could chew last year when his big words weren’t matched by a successful January run that came up just short of a Super Bowl appearance. Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants made him look foolish and petulant. He is an easy target because of his personality. Yet, it doesn’t mean the man can’t coach the hell out of a defense or that he wasn’t more successful than 95% of NFL coaches are in their first three years.

The hate towards Sanchez is a little more perplexing because few individuals in the league face more unwarranted criticism. It could be because of the Hollywood, appearing on GQ Cover persona. It could just be having Rex Ryan as his head coach. Whatever it is, Sanchez is treated as a backup, masquerading as a starter instead of a young, developing quarterback like his counterparts Josh Freeman (who was truly awful last year) and Joe Flacco. Nobody is saying Sanchez has been anywhere near a great quarterback the past three years, but he has had more than enough great moments to merit faith in him being the future quarterback of a successful team.

Certain prominent players on the Jets roster have a negative public perception which blurs objectively looking at their talent on the field. Santonio Holmes is a selfish diva, not a former Super Bowl MVP who had 4 game winning receptions for the Jets in 2010 and 2 more in 2011. Antonio Cromartie is a guy with a ton of kids, not one of the best number two corners in football. Other prominent players are soft-spoken and stay out of the limelight leading to them being overlooked. People forget David Harris is a top five inside linebacker in football. Nick Mangold is the best center in the NFL and Sione Pouha is one of the league’s top nose tackles. Is there 10 better guards in the league than Brandon Moore or 5 better left tackles than D’Brickashaw Ferguson? I’m not so sure.

It almost seems that with each passing month the Jets 2011 record got a game worse. You would think from commentary on their team that they finished at 4-12 or 5-11 last year. The reality is that they were 8-5 and lost their last 3 games to finish a very average 8-8. A tip here or a tip there away from being a playoff team at 9-7 or 10-6.

So where does that put them heading into 2012?

It is equally as foolish to rank the Jets as a top five team heading into the 2012 season, as it is to rank them a bottom five team. The Jets didn’t get worse this off-season by making their starting tandem at safety Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry instead of Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith. They didn’t get worse by adding Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis through the draft. And if used properly, they didn’t get worse by adding Tim Tebow and all that he brings to their offense. Finally, they certainly didn’t get worse by replacing Brian Schottenheimer with Tony Sparano at offensive coordinator.

Considering the talent on their defense (which was still top five in the NFL last season by the way) and a schedule that features games against offensive juggernauts like St. Louis, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Miami (twice) and Seattle, the Jets have the look of a team that will range between 7-9 and 11-5 depending on how they play in close games.

The Jets are built to play tight, low scoring football. The results of these games will depend on winning the turnover battle, special teams, and finding a way to make the big play at an opportune time.

A large burden falls on Mark Sanchez to protect the football and hit big plays when they are available. He has a wide receiver who has the longest resume of clutch receptions currently in the NFL. A very good receiving tight end who he is comfortable with and a rookie speedster who is 6 foot 4. This team doesn’t need 45 pass attempts and 350 yards from Sanchez. It needs 18/25 for 200 yards but most importantly accuracy and smart decision making in big moments, which Sanchez has displayed in the past. They have the makings a competent, not great running game that could be dynamic at times if Tim Tebow is used properly.

Ultimately, there is too much talent on this roster to see the Jets as a 5 or 6 win team but there is enough questions to prevent expecting double digit wins. The difference between another 8-8 year and a playoff run into January will be their offense or special teams doing more of this in big spots –

And less of this –

Turn On The Jets Beat Writer Rankings: All-Time Edition

Turn On The Jets looks back at some of the all-time greats on the New York Jets beat

Today’s edition of the Turn On The Jets beat writer rankings focuses on former writers on the New York Jets beat – 

Old School

Paul Zimmerman, New York Post – An all-time great in sports journalism, more popularly known as “Dr. Z” from his time at Sports Illustrated. Zimmerman was on the Jets beat in the late 60s for the New York Post and covered their only Super Bowl victory. He was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee until recently suffering a stroke in 2008, which he is still recovering from. When correctly picking the Giants to beat Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl, he referred back to the Jets upset over the Colts in Super Bowl III as his inspiration –

“I can only go back to Super Bowl III, when I was the New York Post‘s beat man covering the Jets, and I had a hunch that they were primed for a major upset over the Colts even though it didn’t seem logical. So I chickened out and picked the Colts by less than the huge spread.”

Paul Needell, New York Daily News – Covered the Jets from 1983-1995 for the Daily News, before moving on to the Star-Ledger as a NFL reporter. Give this a read for a comical overview of Needell’s time with the team, who never provided a dull moment throughout the 80s, just like they never provide a dull moment these days.

Gerald Eskenazi, New York Times – He has worked at the New York Times for over five decades, covering a wide range of sports and other topics. Eskenazi documented his days with the Jets in this book and was another one of the beat writers who covered the team’s Super Bowl III victory.

Dave Anderson, New York Times – Another long running, well-respected journalist who spent time on the New York Jets beat. When writing on the long standing Jets/Raiders rivalry, Anderson commented about Weeb Ewbank’s mistrust of Al Davis

“Whenever a helicopter flew anywhere near a Jets practice the week before a game against the Raiders, Ewbank would look up and shake his fist. He just knew Davis had somebody spying on the Jets.”

New School

Erik Boland, Newsday – Unfortunately only spent about one year on the Jets beat for Newsdsay before moving on to cover the Yankees but was very popular with fans. Boland distinguished himself for being highly interactive with fans and having in-depth articles while maintaining a sense of humor.

Rod Boone, Newsday – Recently moved to the Brooklyn Nets beat, Boone was another fan favorite because of his in-depth writing and unique perspectives on the different issues surrounding the team. He is already establishing himself with excellent Nets coverage and is a must follow on Twitter (@RodBoone)

Dave Hutchinson, The Star Ledger – Covered the Jets for well over a decade before being moved over to the Mets beat in recent years. Hutchinson was a detailed writer who always seemed to come up with good scoops and was well respected by the other writers and fans alike. The Ledger’s coverage has remained top notch in Hutchinson’s absence with Jenny Vrentas taking over, who is our currently top ranked beat writer.

Randy Lange, The Record – A personal favorite of TOJ, as Lange was the beat writer for my hometown paper when I was growing up. He covered the Jets for 13 years for The Record before getting hired by the New York Jets website as their Editor-In-Chief where he currently does an excellent job.

Tim Graham, ESPN – Graham ran the ESPN AFC East blog before moving on to cover the Bills for Buffalo News. He did a terrific job with AFC East coverage and made the blog a must read for a fan of any team in the division. Since he has moved on, Erik Frenz of The Bleacher Report has become our go to guy for AFC East coverage.