New York Jets Start Off-Season Strong: Extend Mark Sanchez

The New York Jets have extended quarterback Mark Sanchez’s contract and ended their pursuit of Peyton Manning

The New York Jets made the right decision tonight. It had become clear, very early that Peyton Manning wasn’t coming here unless he did a complete 180 so the Jets assertively supported their current quarterback, the one who they invested their future in three short years ago, by extending his contract and guaranteeing his money the next two years.

The official numbers are a three year contract extension with 20.5 million guaranteed over the next two years and a total of 58.25 million over the first five years of his initial contract.

This is Mike Tannenbaum realizing early when he isn’t going to get his big name, which is what he didn’t do last year with Nnamdi Asomugha and then going all in on the player he went all in on three years ago.

This was the right move from the beginning, even before it became clear that Peyton Manning was never coming here. You don’t throw away the identity you have been building after three years that netted a 28-20 regular season record and four playoff wins. You build around your guy, who now clearly has the confidence that his organization has his back. The restructuring of Sanchez’s deal makes the Jets serious players in the free agent and trade market.

After the Jets lock down Sione Pouha in the next day or two, expect an aggressive upcoming month from Mike Tannenbaum, where he turns every rock to find a new starting right tackle, a new starting wide receiver opposite Santonio Holmes, a pass rushing linebacker, and a safety.

The Jets are all in on Mark Sanchez and it is going to help them have a successful off-season addressing the other holes on their roster.

If you have followed this site, we have always been Pro-Sanchez…let’s hope the kid proves us right in the next couple of years.

What Would You Trade For Wayne Hunter?

What in the world does Mike Tannenbaum think he is getting for Wayne Hunter?

Is there anything more simultaneously entertaining and sad than hearing about the New York Jets shopping Wayne Hunter for a trade? I didn’t think it could get any worse than trying to get a team to trade for Bart Scott, an aging linebacker who can’t be on the field on passing downs, can’t tackle and is owed 4 million dollars…well it can when you are trying to trade a right tackle who simply can’t block for 2.5 million guaranteed.

Can you hear Tannenbaum’s pitch on the phone?

“Listen, I know this guy almost got our quarterback killed last year and was repeatedly beat like a drum every single week but there is potential there. What? Yes…I know Andre Carter, Jason Babin, Jarret Johnson, and Von Miller all won Defensive Player of the Week because of Wayne, you see he is a giver! C’mon now, he yelled at Santonio Holmes in the huddle for us at least. How about a 5th rounder? A 6th rounder? A conditional 7th?. Fine. Bye”

I think the Jets could probably get Justin McCariens in return for Hunter, if he un-retired and joined the Titans again. They might be able to get Ray Lucas from SNY to backup Mark Sanchez. They could always trade him to us here at TOJ, we could use an enforcer, I’ll send back a signed picture of me catching a 6 yard out route in college for our Division III team.

TOJ 12 Pack: New York Jets Quarterback Position

TOJ with 12 thoughts on the New York Jets quarterback position

Mark Sanchez. Peyton Manning. Mark Sanchez’s feelings. Peyton Manning’s neck. Mark Sanchez’s attitude. Peyton Manning’s flights. Chad Henne. Jason Campbell. And so the cycle continues, let’s talk about the New York Jets quarterback position –

1. It certainly sounds like the New York Jets are just about out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Is it over? Of course not but right now with trips lined up to Denver, Miami, and Arizona those three seem like the most logical destinations. By the way, why isn’t everybody worried about Tim Tebow’s feelings being hurt as John Elway aggressively recruits Manning? Personally, I have thought Manning will end up in Arizona all along. It makes the most football sense and he could use Miami to drive up the price on them. Nobody in sports, outside of maybe the New Jersey Nets, gets more hype for going after big names and then continually comes up nothing more than the Dolphins.

2. None of these teams could be crazy enough to give Manning any type of guaranteed contract without watching him workout first, right?

3. I am as pro-Sanchez of a person you will find out there but by no means do I think Mike Tannenbaum did the wrong thing by inquiring about Manning. He is doing his due diligence like 12 other team’s GMs did. Tannenbaum has made plenty of mistakes recently, most notably guaranteeing Wayne Hunter’s contract and then trying to trade him a month later when he is arguably the worst offensive starter in the league, but this isn’t one of them.

4. On to Sanchez, I am exhausted of hearing about his emotional and physical anguish because of the Jets inquiring about Peyton Manning. First off, Sanchez has been off the grid since the season ended, so unless you have been hanging out with the guy, you have no idea what his current mental state is. According to reports he has been working out at the team facility recently and prior to that likely took a few weeks off to be with his family and friends. Bottom line is that Sanchez has to deal with this. Since he has been drafted what has he done to show you that he isn’t competitive or not intelligent? I can’t remember too much. He knows this is part of being quarterback in New York and he has no choice but to prepare to make improvements next year.

5. That being said, it is about time to hear something from Sanchez. Let’s end the media blackout. I am not against “letting his play and actions” do the talking but it doesn’t hurt to give an interview or two. It is time to hear “this is my offense, I will get it in order and I am ready to roll.”

6. Can we stop acting like Sanchez was Josh Freeman last year? Oh wait, you mean Freeman who is constantly lauded by the mainstream media as having “tons of potential” despite winning 4 games last year, throwing 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions while Sanchez is considered “done and a lock to be an average quarterback” even though in his supposed “worst year” threw 26 touchdowns, ran for 6 more, and threw 18 interceptions along with winning 8 games.

7. We all know Sanchez struggled down the stretch last year but why, oh why would you give up on him after three years? Go look at Eli Manning and Drew Brees stats after 3 years and then remember they didn’t beat Tom Brady and Peyton Manning head to head on the road in the playoffs within those first 3 years. I don’t know if Sanchez will ever be a “top ten” quarterback in this league and honestly I don’t care because I do believe he has already proven to be good enough for the Jets to win with him, because with him as a starter they are 27-20 in the regular season and 4-2 in the playoffs.

8. Focusing on building around Sanchez, the most important thing is protecting him. I don’t believe for a second that Wayne Hunter will be the opening day starter at right tackle next year. I also think the Jets will add a solid blocking tight end and have improved depth with Robert Turner back and Austin Howard continuing to develop.

9. Valid criticisms of Sanchez – He gets rattled after taking a few hits. He lets a few bad throws snowball into a bad game. His body language isn’t great. His mechanics are inconsistent.

10. Invalid criticisms of Sanchez – He doesn’t have the arm to make every throw needed. He doesn’t work hard. He isn’t athletic. He has never “won” any games for his team.

11. I think the Jets want to add Chad Henne as a backup and it makes a ton of sense but he could very well end up being too costly.

12. Any backup is an improvement over the Mark Brunell joke from the past two years.

Mike Tannenbaum’s Career As New York Jets GM: Part 2, The Ryan Years

An evaluation of Mike Tannenbaum’s career as the New York Jets GM, focusing on 2009-2011

New York Jets General Manger Mike Tannenbaum deserves a large share of the credit for the New York Jets being a playoff team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He also deserves a large share of the credit for the Jets missing the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since taking over as GM, the Jets have been a .500 or better team in 5 of 6 seasons but have only made the playoffs half of the time. Basically, you are getting a 8-8 to 10-6 team who could sneak into the playoffs depending on how strong the rest of the conference is. Mike Tannenbaum is going to field a competitive team but he hasn’t shown the ability to put together a roster good enough to be one of the NFL’s elite.

Zero division titles. Zero 12 win seasons yet three playoff berths and four playoff wins. Tannenbaum’s resume is an inconsistent one, as a closer look at this history reveals, a history that should provide some insight into what the Jets will do in the coming months:

READ PART 1: THE MANGINI YEARS

2009

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson

Free Agency Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Marques Douglas, Donald Strickland, Ben Hartsock, Howard Green

Trade Lito Sheppard, Braylon Edwards

Primary Subtractions

Released Laveranues Coles, Mike Nugent, Chris Baker, Bubba Franks, CJ Mosley, Eric Barton, David Bowens, David Barrett, Hank Poteat, Ty Law

Traded Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff, Abram Elam

Mike Tannenbaum hired a new coach in Rex Ryan and spent the entire off-season rebuilding the roster to fit his new coach’s identity. He succeeded in giving him the necessary pieces to help create the league’s top defense in 2009 but made his biggest splash in the draft by trading up for quarterback Mark Sanchez and then supplementing it by trading up for Shonn Greene. If you look at the list of players the Jets parted ways with this off-season, it is encouraging especially when you consider how many of the players brought in contributed to two teams that made the AFC Championship Game. Ultimately this off-season really can’t be judged until we see what happens with Sanchez and to a much lesser extent, Greene in the coming years.

2010

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, John Conner

Free Agency Nick Folk, Brodney Pool, LaDainian Tomlinson, Lance Laury, Jason Taylor, Mark Brunell, Trevor Pryce

Trade Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes

Primary Subtractions

Released Donald Strickland, Howard Green, Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca, Jay Feely, Lito Sheppard

Traded Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington

There were plenty of controversial moves this off-season, notably releasing Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca, along with trading Leon Washington. Fortunately for Tannenbaum, the team improved from 9-7 to 11-5 and returned to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year. However, he did continue a damaging trend of walking away from the draft with four or less players. He also selected his second major bust by taking Vladimir Ducasse in the second round. Kyle Wilson has been average for a first round pick as well. If Santonio Holmes doesn’t get his head on straight, this off-season is going to look very ugly a few years from now.

2011

Primary Additions

Draft Class – Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Greg McElroy, Scotty McKnight

Free Agency Donald Strickland, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, Aaron Maybin

Trade Caleb Schlauderaff

Primary Subtractions

Released Damien Woody, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Taylor, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, Trevor Pryce, Brad Smith, Drew Coleman

Traded Dwight Lowery, Derrick Mason

One of the Tannenbaum’s worst off-seasons, if not his worst. He went for names over needs by focusing the team’s effort on chasing Nnamdi Asomugha in free agency and came up empty. He then replaced Braylon Edwards, the only player Mark Sanchez ever had deep ball chemistry with, by signing Plaxico Burress. The Jets badly missed Cotchery and Ellis in the locker room and the depth Lowery provided at safety. The Mason signing was a disaster and he was traded in the middle of the season. The best move ended up being finding Aaron Maybin on the scrap heap and then giving him a second chance after initially cutting him. It is too soon to clearly evaluate the draft but Wilkerson looks like he will be a solid starter and Kerley has very good potential. I believe the Powell selection will turn out to be a major head scratcher.

Mike Tannenbaum’s Career As New York Jets GM: Part 1, The Mangini Years

An evaluation of Mike Tannenbaum’s career as the New York Jets GM, focusing on 2006-2008

New York Jets General Manger Mike Tannenbaum deserves a large share of the credit for the New York Jets being a playoff team in 2006, 2009 and 2010. He also deserves a large share of the credit for the Jets missing the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2011. Since taking over as GM, the Jets have been a .500 or better team in 5 of 6 seasons but have only made the playoffs half of the time. Basically, you are getting a 8-8 to 10-6 team who could sneak into the playoffs depending on how strong the rest of the conference is. Mike Tannenbaum is going to field a competitive team but he hasn’t shown the ability to put together a roster good enough to be one of the NFL’s elite.

Zero division titles. Zero 12 win seasons yet three playoff berths and four playoff wins. Tannenbaum’s resume is an inconsistent one, as a closer look at this history reveals, a history that should provide some insight into what the Jets will do in the coming months:

2006

Primary Additions

Draft Class – D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Eric Smith, Kellen Clemens, Anthony Schlegel, Brad Smith, Leon Washington, Drew Coleman, Titus Adams, Jason Pociask

Free Agency Andre Dyson, Matt Chatham, Brad Kassell, Kimo Von Oelhoffen, Tim Dwight, Anthony Clement, Trey Teague, Monsanto Pope, Wade Smith

Trade C.J. Mosley, Kevan Barlow, Sean Ryan, Patrick Ramsey,

Primary Subtractions

Released Kevin Mawae, Jason Fabini, Jay Fielder, Barry Gardner, Lance LeGree, Jerald Sowell, Harry Williams, Ty Law, Mark Brown,

Traded John Abraham, Brooks Bollinger

An active off-season in which Tannenbaum succeeded in digging the Jets out of salary cap hell (they were 25 million over the cap when he was promoted to GM) and retooling them by signing and trading for a large crop of mid to lower level free agents and putting together a productive draft. The John Abraham trade did net the Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold, which makes it hard to argue with even though the Jets have never properly replaced Abraham as a pass rusher. Outside of Mangold, Tannenbaum had a good draft by pairing him with Ferguson and finding late round contributors in Brad Smith, Leon Washington, Drew Coleman, and Eric Smith. Most of the acquisitions contributed in some way, either as a starter or a key reserve to a 10-6 playoff team.

The negatives were missing on Kellen Clemens and Anthony Schlegel in round 2 and round 3, respectively. Teague never played but was a smart insurance signing because Mangold was an unproven rookie. Tim Dwight couldn’t stay healthy but was productive when on the field. Overall, I would say this was a very good off-season for Tannenbaum mostly because of how he salvaged their cap situation and put together enough role players to field a playoff caliber team. Also at the time the hiring of Eric Mangini looked like an incredibly savvy move.

2007

Primary Additions

Draft ClassDarrelle Revis, David Harris, Chansi Stuckey, Jacob Bender

Free AgencyMichael Haynes, Marques Tuiasosopo, Andre Wadsworth, Wade Smith

Trade Thomas Jones

Primary Subtractions

Released – BJ Askew, Dave Ball, Rashad Washington

Traded – Pete Kendall

There was much less volume this year as Tannenbaum constantly preached keeping as much continuity from the previous year’s playoff team as possible. The draft emphasized quality over quantity and the trade ups for Darrelle Revis and David Harris remain arguably the two best moves Tannenbaum has made since taking over as GM. Despite a disappointing 2007 season, the Thomas Jones trade turned out to be a major success.

Unfortunately, Tannenbaum began a disturbing trend of mistreating veterans and overestimating his talent on the offensive line by refusing to bump Pete Kendall’s contract up and then eventually trading him. The trade sunk the Jets season, as replacement Adrien Clarke was awful. Tannenbaum compounded the mistake by keeping Anthony Clement for another year as the starting right tackle. Clement was adequate when supported by a strong guard like Kendall in 2006 but flamed out in year two with Clarke on the line with him. The weakness of Clarke and Clement led to Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens getting beat up all season en route to a 4-12 year.

Without the Kendall trade, acquiring Revis, Harris, and Jones would have made for a great off-season but the trade knocks it down substantially.

2008

Primary Additions

Draft ClassVernon Gholston, Dustin Keller, Dwight Lowery, Erik Ainge, Marcus Henry, Nate Garner

Free AgencyAlan Faneca, Calvin Pace, Damien Woody, Tony Richardson, Andre Woolfolk, Ty Law, Bubba Franks, Jesse Chatman

TradeBrett Favre, Kris Jenkins

Primary Subtractions

Released Erik Coleman, Anthony Clement, Andre Dyson, Justin McCariens, Chad Pennington

Traded Jonathan Vilma, Dewayne Robertson

Credit Tannenbaum for taking advantage of the cap space he cleared in 2006 to do everything in his power to improve on the previous year’s 4-12 team. In retrospect, Faneca and Woody stabilized the line in the upcoming years despite only playing 2 and 3 years with the team, respectively. Pace was overpaid but has been a good starter since joining the team. Jenkins was a beast for one year but couldn’t stay healthy after that. Favre…well we know the story there. Trading Vilma hasn’t looked like the smartest thing in the world and the draft was probably Tannenbaum’s worst.

It is difficult to evaluate this off-season. Tannenbaum did improve the team in the short term but at the same time didn’t build for the future by sinking so much money into veterans and having a weak draft. This extremely active off-season didn’t equal a playoff spot in 2008 but Woody, Faneca, Pace, Keller, and Richardson were big parts of a team that reached the AFC Championship game in 2009 and 2010 (with the exception of Faneca).

After this season, Eric Mangini was fired and replaced with Rex Ryan. Tannenbaum’s first attempt at hiring a coach found a guy who had a winning season two out of three years, made the playoffs once but never won a playoff game and only had a 23-25 career regular season record.

Coming tomorrow: Part 2, The Rex Ryan Years

How Will The New York Jets Play The Peyton Manning Hand?

The Jet Report explores how the Jets could approach Peyton Manning in the coming weeks

Not enough has been said out of Florham Park regarding Mark Sanchez, to change our minds about this. In seven days when the “play clock” runs out on the Colts who would owe Peyton Manning 28 million unless they release him, the Jets will be one of those teams who inquire about his services. Not just to grab a few headlines either. At first, they will try to do it subtly. It won’t work. Given their recent history, the Jets just don’t do subtle very well. On the field or off of it.

The Colts have to make a move on March 8th. If they don’t cut Manning loose, his 25 million dollar bonus kicks in. The number would be an insanely steep price to pay, when considering that QB Andrew Luck is slated to be selected first overall by Indy in the NFL Draft this April.

After the shock we all experience in seeing Manning actually let go dies down, the sharks will immediately hit the water smelling for blood.

Miami, looking to make a splash these days and in need of a starter, will claim they own the best chance to catch him. They could even be right. The Redskins and Daniel Snyder should be in the mix too because after all, an exorbitantly high priced big named star coming off of many surgeries will be available. It’s possible Peyton ends up as a Cardinal, paired with WR Larry Fitzgerald.

There will be other teams coming to the surface too. Recent reports from around the league support this belief.

The Jets? They will do more than just survey this situaton.

Because of the delicate nature of possibly having to fall back to Mark Sanchez should Manning sign elsewhere though, we expect the Jets to play it off early on. Posing as a club that is dipping it’s toes in the water just to “feel the temperature” of things.

How quickly however, could the Rex Ryan coach speak of “Mark’s still our guy” turn into “Mark was our guy,” should a crush on Peyton and the chance to sign him be too much for Jets owner Woody Johnson to resist?

Pretty quickly.

Is Manning the best move for the Jets right now? Given the legend’s health risk, age, and the addition of OC Tony Sparano to spearhead a “rushing first” attack on offense we’ll say no, but explain why in further detail another day.

Our focus for now is on how the Jets will play this hand.

We will guess that the Jets level of interest in Peyton is already more serious than just window shopping. Yet following our theory regarding the team hedging their bet to appear “Pro Sanchez” in case they lose the lottery, or learn that Manning is damaged goods, GM Mike Tannenbaum will try to employ the “stealth bomber” style.

One that calls for diving in and out of the water gathering “data” regarding Manning’s neck, cap solutions, and even Reggie Wayne, unknown to other GM’s and reporters like a Navy Seal. Tanny will do this by taking cover behind his go to tag line of doing his yearly “due diligence,” in the market. Claiming the club naturally has to look at every player and position, including Peyton Manning.

Signs of a clear interest by the Jets will become apparent however, after ESPN shows video highlights of Mr Laser Rocket Arm firing balls on a high school practice field, with Jets officials on hand. While Johnson is spotted that same night by Page Six with Archie Manning, having dinner on the West Side.

The Jets cover will have been blown. Then, look out. Can you imagine the back pages?

The Mannings May Own New York….Peyton and Eli?…Jets Trying to Steal Thunder from Super Bowl Champs.. Jets have lost faith in Sanchez. Manning-sanity.

Once that line of “covert” crosses over into “buyer” it will be tough to reel back in for any NFL club. Much less for the team that lost it’s cameo role as the top team in New York, in a matter of six winter weeks, and may want it right back. Thinking that the Manning THEY would be purchasing would be the same great one they last saw when he last played an NFL game. Against them in the 2010 playoffs.

For the Jets, the downside of a drama growing from a quiet inquiry into a media circus, is the lingering affect it could have on the guy who WILL steer the ship next season: Mark Sanchez.

A player whose confidence seems so adolescent at times, yet a guy who at 25, is still young. In need of nurturing, better coaching, and alot of emotional repairing. As opposed to further psychological damage that could be obtained from having to answer endless questions starting in July about his near exit OUT of New York.

Should Manning be pursued by the Jets yet end up elsewhere, Sanchez COULD take a lesson from Jets CB Antonio Cromartie. A player who after Nnamdi Asomugha signed with the Eagles after a maniacal post lockout chase by the Jets for the top free agent corner ended, harbored no visible ill will in playing temporary second fiddle. Cro stated instead that “it’s a business,” where teams have the right to do what is in their best interests to upgrade wherever they see fit.

As of now, with less than a week to go until the Colts press that red “detonate” button it’s all just speculation. For us, you, Manning, the Colts themselves, any NFL teams who covet him, and of course the Jets.

Gang Green could have avoided all of this Peyton talk that swims around them now, by declaring that “Mark Sanchez is the starter in 2012” with a stronger, more forceful tone since that final loss in Miami on New Years day. Instead they haven’t.

So what are we supposed to think? What many out there believe already. That the Manning sweepstakes may very well include the team from New York that doesn’t own one yet.

Black Spring – NFL Combine & All Star Clownery

Justin breaks down the NFL Combine and what we learned from the NBA All-Star Game

Tequila is not for the faint of heart. Neither is getting whipped with a belt about 20 times as a crowd of drunken lunatics scream for more. Both things happened in conjunction Friday night at the always classy Coyote Ugly, so my attempt to cover the start of the 2012 NFL Combine was simply reduced to me trying to put enough meat in my body that blinking felt like an Olympic exercise while I heard Mike Mayock and Bucky Brooks ramble on about Indy without Peyton, the beauty of the 3 cone drill, and the various difficulties of switching guards to tackles and back again.

Still, I carried on. The best thing about the combine is the back and forth that ex-players and analysts have about the combine being worthless, pointless, having nothing to do with football, yet glancing over the fact that the newest iteration of the hideous workout uniform combined with super HD cameras create an almost uncomfortable level of voyeurism as GM’s and coaches stare in the stands like they’re at some bizarro slaughterhouse or bull auction, scanning each player for body fat, wobbly knees, nose hair, tattoos, and for the Raiders – telekinetic ability. And when they’re done looking from afar, they bring them into a room with various astrological charts, gypsy psychics, polygraphs, Rorschach blots and Friendly’s style color ins.

That’s the process. So who WON the combine? RG3! The great hope for whatever god awful franchise he goes to. While Griffin can run, throw, run, run, and throw a deep ball pretty good, he played at BAYLOR. Baylor. You know what I know about Baylor? That Phil Taylor is from Baylor. And they play against some of the worst defenses in college football. Not the biggest challenge for a quarterback who is going against corner backs, linebackers, and defensive lineman that aren’t even being invited to the combine.

Before going further, I’ll admit I’ve developed an SEC bias when it comes to skill players. AJ Green, Julio Jones, Trent Richardson, Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne, Mark Ingram etc. etc. Why the bias? Because it’s been proven time and time again that the new conference of power is the SEC, and it’s not even close. The PAC 12 is great except for the fact that they have Washington, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State, and Oregon State. The Big 12 is full of “traditional” powers that have weakened substantially and the Big 10 is old power that may or may not see some sort of resurgence in the next 10 years. Go watch Michigan State vs. Alabama in their bowl game two years ago.

But does the combine even matter any more? The combine, like the NBA and NFL all star games, is slowly being taken over by player agents, as many agents for prospective first round picks advise their players not to even bother with running or throwing. There is no upside they say, except to satisfy a bunch of analysts that have absolutely no effect on that players draft status. Too much money to risk, too little incentive to perform.

So concerning the combine, what’s the counterargument against the pro day passing against the combine passing for quarterbacks specifically? Think about this. Is a quarterback prospect going to have his college players to throw to when he gets to training camp? Is said player going to tell his offensive coordinator “I’ve never really thrown back shoulder throws, so let’s just keep things simple and maybe I can work on that stuff in the next off season”? Having something that tailored to a players skill set is almost comical when you talk about a guy who is going to be a first round pick, so he sure as hell better be able to make every throw, even if it’s with a set of scrubs in a flag football game.

So the freakshow is over, and it’s time for the truly insane to come out with 4398 mock drafts, but before that, a brief note on the NBA All Star Game. I don’t care if it is a clown-show at heart, things got SERIOUS in the 4th quarter. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made me weep tears of joy as they drained 3’s from the corner and dunked like they were in the Colosseum scene from Escape From LA. And to cap off my childlike joy Lebron James FAILED. Again. But I’ll say this, it’s the All Star Game, not the Finals. Oh, about that.

I’m still trying to come to terms with the perceived mental weakness of James coupled with the most athletic physique to ever play basketball. Maybe he will win 2 or 3 championships, but the Kobe and Jordan era is over for good, and no one will ever challenge them again, especially when the best players are on a team consisting of 3 of the top 10 players in the league that was artificially created to win a championship in the cheapest and most sacrilegious method in the history of sports. CHEATING THE SALARY CAP SYSTEM.

As I’ve said all along, Miami has no soul. So if they want to ever get to that mountain of the immortals, they better win 7, and they better start this year.

TOJ 12 Pack Of Thoughts On New York Jets – Headline Players Edition

TOJ with a 12 pack of thoughts on the Jets most talked about players so far this off-season

March 13th is getting closer by the second, along with the days prior to it which be filled with endless free agency rumors. The dry spot in the NFL schedule is just about done with the combine underway and Rex Ryan giving a quote filled press conference yesterday. Let’s celebrate with a 12 pack of thoughts on the names most frequently being discussed when it comes to the New York Jets off-season these days —

1. Mark Sanchez – Where is he? Well we know he was at a Knicks game last weekend with D’Brickashaw Ferguson. He took the time to tweet Santonio Holmes a Valentine’s Day Card and that he is probably spending some nights with Kate Upton…lucky guy. Regardless, it is time for Sanchez to end his media silence and speak up for himself. I want to hear Sanchez, say “this is my team, the front office can bring in whoever they want to compete with me but I will be starting quarterback and will get this locker room fixed. Me and Santonio have been successful in the past and we will be again. As for my work ethic, I challenge whoever said this about me to show their face because I pride myself on being the first one in the building and the last one out everyday. I expect to see all my skill position players at Jets West in the coming months!”

You can take that verbatim if you want, Mark. Just cite me (@TurnOnTheJets).

2. Peyton Manning – Rex Ryan left the door open yesterday by saying the Jets were open to exploring all opportunities at every position. Listen, the Jets are going to kick the tires on Manning like 26 other teams in the league are, that doesn’t mean he is coming here. I am not sure if he is healthy. I don’t think he wants to play for the Jets and I don’t think it is smart move for this organization. Yet, until he is in a Cardinals or Redskins uniform, we won’t stop hearing about Manning and the Jets.

3. Santonio Holmes – He has sent out a sporadic tweet here and there about being excited for next season, of course followed with the #ToneTime hashtag. Santonio is who he is and that certainly isn’t a captain but at that same certainly the kind of receiver you can win with. He is on the team for the next two years so let’s hope he bounces back and starts playing like the number one receiver we paid him to be.

4. Sione Pouha – The big fella is the only major free agent the Jets have to worry about bringing back. They aren’t going to franchise tag him but are apparently working feverishly to get him under contract before free agency starts. Hopefully, they lock him down to a 2-3 year deal so he can keep anchoring the run defense until Kenrick Ellis is ready.

5. Shonn Greene – Is a lead back? Is he not a lead back? Will the Jets get him support via free agency or the draft? Personally, I am leaning towards thinking he isn’t a true lead back. Yet, the Jets don’t have the means to add a big name at running back. Look for them to add a journeyman veteran like Tim Hightower or Tashard Choice, a mid-round draft pick and then hopefully expand Joe McKnight’s role in the offense.

6. Courtney Upshaw/Melvin Ingram/Trent Richardson/Mark Barron – Popular names being thrown around with the Jets for the upcoming draft. Upshaw is the most ready to contribute 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft, which means if he gets near number 16, Mike T needs to make a move to get him. Ingram has potential but I worry about his migration to the 3-4 system. There is some chatter about Richardson falling a bit now due to his recent surgery. I still don’t think the Jets have a shot at him and that is probably a good thing, I am not sold on the value of first round running backs. Mark Barron would be an ideal addition if the Jets found way to maneuver their picks to get him in the 25-35 range.

7. Bart Scott/Calvin Pace – Also known as “those two slow Jets linebackers who never get to the quarterback.” There are rumors about both of them being cut. I would guess the Jets eat the guaranteed money and cut Scott but hold on to Pace, who is valuable against the run and can be a good secondary pass rushing option. As for the filling the hole at inside linebacker, I wouldn’t be surprised if they handed his role off to Josh Mauga for the time being and spend a middle round pick on one.

8. Jeremy Kerley – A player we are all excited to see in a bigger role next season. A role that could be bigger than expected if the Jets don’t invest in the free agent wide receiver market. TOJ is hoping they take a long look at a player like Robert Meachem or Laurent Robinson but not overly confident that will happen. The Jets could add a cheaper player with deep speed (maybe Harry Douglas of Atlanta?) and then add a draft pick at WR with some size.

9. Every Ex-Jet Imaginable – There is an ongoing infatuation among Jets fans about bringing ex-players back, most notably Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, John Abraham, and Dwight Lowery. Honestly, I do think Braylon makes a good amount of practical sense…I just doubt it happens.

10. Dustin Keller – It is going to be interesting to see how he fits in Tony Sparano’s offense and if the Jets bring in a blocking tight end to pair with him. Expect to see Anthony Fasano in green and white, if he hits the open market.

11. Wayne Hunter – Who are the Jets going to bring it to challenge him for the right tackle position? Vernon Carey seems like a logical move, as does bringing in a draft pick. It is a scary thought to imagine Hunter starting again next year, even if Sparano can protect his deficiencies better.

12. Eric ‘Freaking Smith – How are the Jets going to improve their safety position? They need a complete overhaul, which in my mind is signing a free agent (Reggie Nelson, Tyvon Branch, Michael Griffin are out there), investing a high pick on one and then bringing Jim Leonhard back on a veteran’s minimum deal as insurance. If Eric Smith comes back it has to be in a reserve/situational/special teams role.

The Dead Zone – A Brief Review Of the NY/Boston LoveFest

Justin takes a look around the state of the sports franchises in New York and Boston in the slowest sports time of the year

Sometimes it’s great to be a New York sports fan. Especially when you’re doing tequila shots in a NY located “Boston sports bar” and the bartender is wearing a Celtics shirt, the Celtics of course losing to the god awful Lakers (Nobody likes World Peace) only minutes before. I have to admit I felt a momentary lapse of sadness for this guy, who has in the last 5 days probably been bombarded with drunk Giants fans issuing proclamations that Boston sports are about to undergo a nuclear winter.

Which they are.

The Celtics are in the middle of a Ainge vs. Fans battle that is going to lose hearts, minds, and general optimism for about the next 2-3 years. The Boston Red Sox are being managed by Bobby Valentine (SERIOUSLY? METS MAN BOBBY V?), and are going to be the biggest target in baseball coming off a series of articles that paint the locker room as something out of Blue Mountain State and Animal House combined, the Patriots are going to undergo the “Belichick as GM” annual scrutiny, and anything less than using at least their two first round and two second round draft picks is going to turn away die hard Pats fans until Ryan Mallett starts suiting up and Tom Brady has a touch of gray in that hair, leading to a civil war between Mallett fans and Brady fans, and even a few ancient Bledsoe fans who will issue bible proclamations “for he who taketh that which is not his, that much will be taken away”.

So everything’s good in NY right? Maybe for the Giants, who are going to most likely dump guys that didn’t play this year and possibly trade Osi if they take a defensive end/outside linebacker in the first round of the draft. Jason Pierre Paul is doing his best impression of someone whose genuinely happy just to play for the Giants. Oh yeah, and he is doing the unthinkable in mastering a professional sports position in about 2 years, and will probably go to the Pro Bowl between 7 and 10 times in the next decade while Vernon Gholston starts a football summer camp and contemplates partial ownership opportunities of the IFL.

I’d like to add a general thank you to the Giant fans who gave me a couple bud lights and a few shots of tequila on the 7:16 AM train to Penn Station from Deer Park this past Tuesday (The day of the parade). Really helped me start my day right.

Meanwhile, the Jets have Wayne Hunter and Vlad Ducasse. Jealous yet? They have a half decent (no pro bowls, no all pro nods) receiver who may undergo the Burnett syndrome (who the Yankees are trying to shop as we speak, but are having a GlenGarry Glen Ross moment, Jack Lemon specifically) the next year as he and Mark Sanchez have a Days Of Our Lives style back and forth exchange of opinions, strategies, while everyone wonders why in god’s name the Jets have decided to completely revamp their receiving core every year of Rex Ryan’s tenure.

I’ll tell you why. Because Rex Ryan frankly has little to no interest on the offensive side of the ball. The case stated as thus: If he did, their line wouldn’t have been complete garbage, they wouldn’t have passed 63 times in a game, and they wouldn’t have signed someone like Derrick Mason because he was great 6 years ago.

All Rex Ryan cares about, genuinely lives or dies by, is his defense. And even that didn’t get it done, so for those of us who continually asked, “WHY IN GOD’s NAME IS CROMARTIE NOT PLAYING PRESS COVERAGE?!?!?!?!?! DENNIS THURMAN SAID HE NEEDS TO PLAY PRESS COVERAGE!” we got a whole lot of Mike Pettine, which is fine, except for the fact that the head coach is one of the best defensive coordinators in football. That’s like Mike Martz being your head coach, and having the offensive line coach call the plays.

So what do I make of Jeremy Lin taking over the Knicks? Fear, love, joy, apprehension, etc. etc. Why? Because for the first time in two years I saw glimpses of the D’Antoni system, which is going to die for a while once Carmelo gets the ball back in his hands. And pivots. Pivots back. Pivots again. Ball fake. Crossover. Stop. Pull up jumper. Basket. At times, Carmelo might work better with a bunch of cardboard cutouts stationed at various points throughout the floor, because no point guard is going to run this system while Carmelo is around.

What could fix this? Dumping Amare with a first round pick and getting Deron Williams/Brandon Jennings/ anyone not 38? (sorry Steve) Maybe. That would at least let Lin start off the bench and Shumpert go back to being “anything but a point guard”. So what’s stopping it? James Dolan’s heart of pure evil. That and the fact that Mike D’Antoni is probably going to be coaching the Clippers next year. (Just a strange thought).

I frankly don’t care what happens with the majority of the Yankees roster, as long as they kick the piss out of Bobby Valentine’s Red Sox at least 8 times next year. To add to this wish list, I and others will hope that Kuroda and Pineda keep their ERA under 4, A.J Burnett will play for the Pirates, and Bob Lorenz gets real loose on air and admits his hatred for the amount of corporate advertising around the new Yankee stadium.

Despite the inherent ugliness, I will be at Yankees stadium, where for every pregame I will find myself looking out at the beautiful rooftops of the projects from the Target shopping center parking garage, wondering if I’m going to be walking/crawling/running out of the stadium and hoping my record improves from last year’s 0-3.

For now, it’s winter? (49 in February). Time to be productive and attempt to crawl upwards in my analysis of the 4-12 Buccaneers and Browns. At least there are serious changes coming to both organizations.

TOJ New York Jets Free Agency Primer 1.0

TOJ breaks down what some of the New York Jets options could be in free agency next month

Free agency opens March 13th but that doesn’t mean it is too early to start breaking down potential options for the New York Jets, who have some work to do. Regardless of what one of the Mike’s (Lombardi, Florio, Francesa) in the mainstream media would like you to believe the Jets aren’t that far away from being a playoff contender. And in this day and age, when you are a playoff contender, you are a Super Bowl contender because once you get into that tournament anything can happen.

For today, I am going to work off Pete Prisco’s top 50 free agent rankings, despite strongly disagreeing with his ordering it still provides a good overview of who is available. I will also include a few other players that could interest the Jets who aren’t listed there. Let’s go through their positional needs –

Wide Receiver – Without question the Jets need a new starter opposite Santonio Holmes but don’t expect them to make a splash here by pursuing one of the big name players like Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston, Stevie Johnson, or Dwayne Bowe. If the Jets were smart they’d focus their attention on a less pricey speedster like Pierre Garcon or Robert Meachem. Laurent Robinson could be another intriguing option, coming off a very strong year in Dallas. Wanting Braylon Edwards back is a good sentiment but I highly doubt it happens.

Tight End – Look for the Jets to add a blocking tight end to pair with Dustin Keller. Anthony Fasano isn’t a free agent yet but there is chatter he could be released if he doesn’t take a pay cut. If he does hit the open market, don’t be surprised to see Tony Sparano encourage the Jets to pounce on him.

Running Back – The Jets could use another back to provide depth and push Shonn Greene. Ryan Grant is an option with high potential but he could be out of their price range. Tashard Choice and Derrick Ward are cheaper options who have been productive in the past.

Backup Quarterback – Chad Henne makes the most sense here. He knows Sparano’s system, is talented enough to push Sanchez, while still not having enough success in his career yet to have a problem being a backup.

Right Tackle – Demetrius Bell is the best option out there but I have tough time seeing Buffalo letting him walk. Vernon Carey could receive a look because of his history with Sparano. Beyond that, you are looking at a collection of mostly scrap heap veterans or taking a risk on a player like Jared Gaither, who has looked great at times but has injury and attitude questions surrounding him.

Linebacker – Most people feel the Jets will address their need for a pass rusher at outside linebacker through the draft. If they go the free agency route, I don’t see them throwing a big money offer at Mario Williams as some people have suggested. Anthony Spencer is a cheaper option with some upside. Jarrett Johnson and Jameel McClain are Ravens who could receive a look from Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine. Manny Lawson is also a free agent who the Jets were rumored to have some interest in last off-season.

Safety – Considering the Jets could very well need not just one but two safeties, they should take a long look at a very intriguing safety market. LaRon Landry is a big name but is inconsistent in coverage and injury prone. Tyvon Branch would be a better option if he hits the open market, which is a big if. Reggie Nelson and Michael Griffin are good mid-level options who would be an upgrade over Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard, or Brodney Pool.