Turn On The Jets Best Bets – Divisional Weekend Edition

Chris Celletti with his weekly rant and Best Bets selections for Divisional Weekend

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Let’s say you’re looking for a job as a restaurant manager, and you have offers from two different owners. Restaurant #1 has been a successful establishment in the past. It’s located in a high traffic, affluent area. The appliances were just purchased two years ago and are in perfect working order. The already-in-place staff is reliable – the waiters are friendly, the cooks are solid and not to mention, the hostess is quite gorgeous. Then there’s Restaurant #2.

Restaurant #2 is located on a meandering, desolate road. The nearest businesses are a porn shop and a gas station, both a mile away in opposite directions.  There’s a shanty house across the street that everyone is pretty sure is a meth lab. The previous manager allowed the place to become filthy; the tables and chairs all need to be replaced and the appliances were revolutionary in 1986. Additionally, the owner is insisting on keeping his best friend as the head chef. And of course, the hostess looks like Melissa McCarthy.

Anyone in their right mind would choose Restaurant #1.

Restaurant #2 is the New York Jets.

The Jets aren’t exactly the outright embarrassment that a lot of fans and media want to make them out to be. But currently, they are a bit of a mess. It isn’t any wonder that their search for a General Manager is taking them a long time, and has them exploring paths that they had no idea even existed. There are only 32 General Manager jobs in the world, but the Jets’ vacancy is probably the least desirable for a few reasons:

The owner has essentially taken the decision on coach Rex Ryan completely out of the hands of who its supposed to be in, the General Manager. By making Rex a fixture in the organization, you are shrinking your pool of realistic candidates. Additionally, you’re telling any potential candidate or anyone that you coax into an interview that the entire football decision making process isn’ t up to them – that they’re going to have an owner over their shoulder ready to jump in and make a move at any moment. This is not the way to go about business.

The team is in salary cap hell. A true rebuilding job that will take a full season or two is needed. Some general manager candidates would love this opportunity – it’s a chance to prove they can correctly gut a team and build it from the ground up. If you can prove yourself by doing this, you’ve secured yourself a job in NFL front offices for as long as you want. But the best way to do this is a complete system overhaul and that includes the entire coaching staff – yes, Head Coach too. The Jets have made up their mind on head coach already, and the financial situation is dire.

The team has no quarterback. They are not in position to draft a no-brainer franchise quarterback like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. The right executives might be able to guess correctly on a mid-round quarterback, a la Russell Wilson (the draft is a total guessing game, especially with quarterbacks) but that’s no guarantee. Either way, with Mark Sanchez and his gargantuan contract in tow, the most important position in all of professional sports is in total shambles. Ask any free agent GM – they’d give up every corner, safety, pass rusher, receiver, lineman, coach, trainer and tee kid if you give them a legitimate quarterback to start with. Having no quarterback means you’re in NFL quicksand, and the Jets are just about up to their chin at this point.

This is why the Jets are looking at people like Jim Popp and Omar Khan. Who knows (certainly not me)? Just as you can unearth a great player off of someone else’s scrap heap, the Jets might strike gold with whoever they hire as their next GM.

But as with every head coaching hire the team has made since Bill Parcells left, the best you can say is “We’ll see”. Nobody knew what Herman Edwards was going to be like as a Head Coach. Nor Eric Manigini, nor Rex Ryan or Al Groh, or Joe Walton or Walt Michaels or Pete Carroll. When somebody has never been an NFL Head Coach or an NFL General Manager, you just never know. The Jets will soon likely  hire somebody who has never been a General Manager at this level. So when you read the articles saying “The Jets Were Right in Hiring (insert name here)” or “Clueless Jets Hire (insert name here)” take it all with a grain of salt.

I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Eric Mangini is the right man for this job”, or “Rex Ryan will be the Jets’ Bill Cowher” or things to that extent. Eventually, the Jets will get it right. They’ll guess right on the Next Great Coach/GM. Maybe they’re about to do that with whomever they choose in the coming days. It just would be nice, for once, to know you’re in the hands of a winner.

And now, the picks for this weekend’s Divisional Games after going 1-3 against the spread on Wild Card Weekend:

Baltimore (+9.5) at Denver – I like the Broncos to win but this is a big spread. Eventually we’re going to have a few close playoff games, right?

Green Bay (+3) at San Francisco – The Packers are winning the Super Bowl.

Atlanta (-3) vs. Seattle – Matt Ryan is overdue to win a playoff game.

New England (-9.5) vs. Houston – We’re headed for a Manning/Brady AFC title game. The only way Jim Nantz could be any more excited is if they move the game to Augusta National and Phil Mickelson refs.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week – Do you think there’s any chance Ben Affleck wins the Golden Globe for Best Director, making up for his snub in the same Oscar category? He’s at +150

12 Pack Of New York Jets Off-Season Thoughts – 2013, Edition #2

A 12 Pack of off-season thoughts on the New York Jets – Should they just cancel the 2013 season?

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As the New York Jets continue their seemingly endless search for a General Manager, Turn On The Jets is ready to chip in 12 more off-season thoughts on the team. A few highlights from our coverage this week…

On to the thoughts…

1. The way people talk about the New York Jets current situation, you would think they should just cancel the 2013 season. Take the 16 losses. Don’t even bother suiting up. It isn’t pretty. The Jets don’t have a desirable salary cap situation and are a mess at quarterback. However, let’s take a look at recent history. After a 4-12 2005 season, the New York Jets were in salary cap hell. They had no GM. They had no coach. They were a mess at quarterback. Without dissent, they were picked as the worst team in the NFL heading into the 2006 season. What happened? They went 10-6, made the playoffs and since then had .500 or better seasons in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Things can change quickly in the NFL. All it takes is a respectable off-season, a favorable schedule and a break or two at quarterback.

2. A little more of a background on John Idzik who is emerging as a potential favorite for the Jets GM job. This would be an interesting hire. He has a diverse background and had a hand in building one of the league’s most talented rosters in Seattle. Peter King predicted Idzik would ultimately end up with the Jets job…although he also predicted they’d draft Dontari Poe. Yikes.

3. With Mike Pettine now the Defensive Coordinator in Buffalo (and things ended on a bad note with Rex Ryan in New York as Chris Gross has reported) – Look for them to take a run at a bunch of Jets who will be leaving the team this year. Let’s hope they take Eric Smith, Calvin Pace, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas not Mike DeVito, LaRon Landry or Yeremiah Bell.

4. Congratulations Mike Westhoff, you waited not even two full weeks after you retired to relentlessly trash a team who employed you over a decade and stuck with you through your various sicknesses. What a pathetic, selfish move to launch his media career…taking a page right out of the Kris Jenkins, Ray Lucas and LaDainian Tomlinson textbook. Have fun eating out of Mike Francesa’s dog bowl this afternoon. By the way, your special teams were abysmal this year: two blocked punts, three blocked field goals, two returns allowed for touchdowns, a failed fake punt, multiple muffed returns…give me a break.

5. Curious to see how many players that played significant reps for the 2012 New York Jets will be unemployed as NFL players next year? Bart Scott. Bryan Thomas. Lex Hilliard. Clyde Gates. Jason Hill. Chaz Schilens come to mind among others.

6. There is no logical reason to give Shonn Greene a new contract this off-season. Bilal Powell is the same player but slightly more well-rounded and is on the team for much, much cheaper. The Jets are better off looking at running back in the 2nd or 3rd round, along with taking a run at Chris Ivory as a restricted free agent.

7. On the other hand, why not give Braylon Edwards a veteran minimum deal to come back? He showed he could get separation and create plays in the final three games last year. Allow him to share reps with Stephen Hill at split end, both of them will be benefited by not having to play 60+ snaps per game.

8. Keep Rob Ryan off the coaching staff. No further explanation should be needed.

9. Best guess on the Jets hiring date for their new GM? Sometime early next week. Best guess who? It comes out of the following pool of names – John Idzik, Jim Popp, Omar Kahn, Brian Gaine and Scott Cohen.

10. Norv Turner was never coming here to work with Rex Ryan so nobody should be surprised he took the job with Cleveland. Keep an eye on Hue Jackson for the open offensive coordinator spot.

11. A reminder of the New York Jets 2013 opponents outside of the division – At home –  Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Oakland. On the road – Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina, Tennessee.

12. Hang in there Jets fans, just like it wasn’t as good as it seemed in 2009-2010. It isn’t as bad as it seems right now.

New York Jets Potential Draft Targets: Quarterback

The Turn On The Jets draft team looks at who the New York Jets could target at quarterback in April’s NFL Draft

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In the coming weeks here at Turn On The Jets, we will be providing a position by position breakdown of prospects that could potentially be targeted by the New York Jets in this year’s NFL Draft. These prospects are not ranked based on where they may stand in the overall prospect pool. They are ranked based on the specific needs of the Jets, and the reality (or lack thereof), of New York targeting and potentially selecting them, taking into account not only on their ability and potential, but where they would be most valuable to the Jets based on the current state of the roster. Today, we begin with a look at potential quarterback prospects that New York could target. Be sure to give our draft team, Chris Gross, Frank Giasone and Zev Sibony a follow on Twitter, as they’ll be leading our NFL Draft coverage through April.

Chris Gross

While the play at the quarterback position was nothing short of a blooper reel for the better part of the 2012 season for the Jets, there are a surplus of holes on the roster that need to be addressed before touching the personnel that may be lining up under center in 2013. While quarterback is certainly the most important position in today’s NFL, quantity does not equal quality. New York cannot afford to stockpile mediocre quarterbacks hoping that one of them catches on, while ignoring their glaring holes at outside linebacker, offensive line, running back, inside linebacker, safety, and tight end.

While a top tier quarterback prospect would certainly mask many of the flaws that plague New York’s current roster, there is not one player in the 2013 draft who fits that bill. It is because of this that the Jets are highly unlikely to address this need via the draft in any round earlier than the fourth, if at all. Here is a look at some potential prospects who could potentially be available late on day two or early on day three in April’s draft.

EJ ManuelEJ Manuel, Florida State, 6’5″ 240 lbs – Manuel, to me, is one of the most intriguing prospects at the quarterback position this year. His size fits the bill of a prototypical NFL quarterback, but does his play? Manuel threw for an impressive 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns at Florida State this past season, including a 68.0 completion percentage and a 156.0 passer rating. What’s encouraging about Manuel is that he has improved in each of his four seasons at FSU, in a career that allowed him to display his vast intangibles including 2010 Academic All-ACC recognition, receiving a community service award in 2011, and being named team captain for his junior and senior seasons.

The red flags on Manuel stem primarily from durability concerns and overall mechanics. His footwork and release need serious improvement for him to be effective at the next level, and he has sustained multiple injuries during his career as a Seminole. However, Manuel does a good job of making pre-snap reads and going through his progressions. He isn’t NFL ready by any means, but with a year or two of quality coaching and fine tuning his fundamentals, he can surely be a starting quarterback in this league. His draft stock will likely depend on how he performs in the upcoming pre-draft events (Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, Pro Day), but there is a chance he could be had in the late third, early fourth round this year.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6’4″ 218 lbs – Jones was a highly touted prospect after a strong sophomore season at Oklahoma, but has tailed off recently. Still, he has been very productive during his tenure as a Sooner, having thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of his three seasons as a full time starter. Jones has the size and arm strength to be an effective NFL quarterback, but like Manuel, his mechanics are flawed at times. When Jones executes the proper footwork and release, his accuracy and zip are excellent. However, he has developed a tendency to extend his release longer than neccesary and, coupled with inconsistent footwork, his accuracy and arm strength have taken a hit.Landry Jones

What Jones needs to do is work on these fundamentals, while displaying a level of confidence in the interview process with NFL teams. There are some concerns about his mental makeup considering that his production has dipped in each of the past two seasons, following his strong sophomore campaign. Still, the potential is there for him to grow into a quality player in this league. Depending on how his pre-draft performances go, he could be in the same range as Manuel, availability wise.

Tyler WilsonTyler Wilson, Arkansas, 6’3″ 220 lbs – Wilson is another viable late round option. While his production at Arkansas has not been off the charts, some feel as though he has been hampered by a poor supporting cast (sound familiar?). Wilson, like the previous two players, shows inconsistencies in his mechanics, but flashes brilliance when fundamentally sound. He has proved an ability to throw accurately on the run which, depending on who the Jets offensive coordinator is next season, could be an appealing quality.

As a leader, Wilson has been highly praised by his coaches at Arkansas for his work in both the weight and film rooms, as well as having fantastic poise in tough situations. He has the mental makeup of a quality quarterback which could make him the pick for New York, considering the hit that they have witnessed Mark Sanchez take in that area this past year. His flaws can certainly be worked on, but his abilities are unlikely to garner him a selection until late day two, at the earliest. Again, a lot will depend on how he is evaluated in the coming weeks.

The Hot Names – Every year following the conclusion of the collegiate football season, there are a few “hot names” at each position; players who were marginal during their seasons, but put together stronger performances to finish the year. This year, at quarterback, the two players being most commonly discussed are Mike Glennon of North Carolina State and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse. While each of these players have the tools to be good players at the next level, the way each of their stocks are rising, they are likely to be selected in one of the first two rounds. Last year, neither would likely have been considered until day 3, however with a depleted class at quarterback this season, each of them could find themselves rising up draft boards, particularly if they have strong Senior Bowl performances. While both of these players could help the Jets current quarterback situation, don’t expect New York to use an early pick at the position this year, primarily for the reasons mentioned above.

Frank Giasone

Trying to find an NFL ready quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft is about as easy as, well, finding an NFL ready quarterback on the New York Jets roster. With names like Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson and Mike Glennon the leading candidates as April approaches, one thing is clear. A few teams are going to reach for a QB…and it’s not going to end well.

Here are my top five QB prospects for the Jets heading into the Draft:

Brad Sorenson, Southern Utah, 6’5’’, 235 lbs A BYU transfer, Sorenson is an intriguing small school “project” QB. His big build, strong arm and ability to fit passes into small windows are sure to the peak the interest of NFL scouts as Draft Day approaches. The senior also boasts surprising athleticism, accuracy throwing on the run, and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield, even when pressured. Some concerns are his time spent in a shotgun-heavy offense, as well as the low level of competition in the Big Sky Conference, but his late round projections make him a great choice for the Jets.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6’4”, 220 lbs The decision to return for his senior season may end up hurting Jones, as some view him as a second or third round prospect in 2013. After being ranked as high as third in last years QB class, Jones now find himself lumped in with the likes of Mike Glennon, Tyler Wilson and Ryan Nassib. While his stock has fallen, Jones still possesses the arm strength, accuracy and intelligence that made him a top prospect last year, making him an interesting option if he slides.

Matt Scott, Arizona, 6’2”, 200 lbs With mobile quarterbacks all the rage now in the NFL, Scott has a very good chance to climb up draft boards in the next few months. Extremely successful running Arizona’s spread-option offense, Scott is sure to draw comparisons to Colin Kaepernick as the ’13 Draft nears. For now he’s projected as a third or fourth round pick, but that could all change with an impressive showing at The Combine.

Mike Glennon, NC State, 6’5”, 232 lbs Glennon has been a popular name in college football the past two seasons and with good reason, as his impressive arm strength and accuracy have some projecting him as a top 10 pick in this years Draft. While he’s still needs work on his footwork and fundamentals, his ability to stand tall in the pocket and move efficiently certainly helps conjure up images of a future franchise QB.

Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio), 6’3”, 228 lbs Dysert also spent a lot of time in the shotgun formation at Miami University, but shows good accuracy on short and intermediate passes. Not asked to go downfield often, Dysert lacks the zip on his passes some look for from a QB. He does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield consistently and is also athletic enough to run with the football, but he may be the biggest project QB on this list.

Zev Sibony

The draft this year is not stacked at Quarterback like it was last year. None of the quarterbacks in this year’s class fit the mold of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. There are no players that are going to wow you in the first round, and few, if any, “steals” like Russell Wilson. I do not believe Geno Smith will be good in the NFL, nor do I think Matt Barkley will be. The USC curse is real. After that, you have Quarterbacks like Tyler Wilson and Tyler Bray who are both questionable picks. Landry Jones is still there, but he has underwhelmed this past season and I’m also not sure he will translate well into the professional league. None of this really matters because with the amount of holes the Jets have to fix, they aren’t going to spend a pick on a Quarterback in the first 4 or 5 rounds.

The Jets should address their quarterback situation in free agency by bringing in a veteran who can be a game manager. That being said, if the Jets choose to select a quarterback, they should target one of the following. The players below are likely to go undrafted and it should stay that way. This is a mix of the Jets having greater needs, combined with an underwhelming talent pool at the quarterback position in this year’s draft.

Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech, 6’2” 205 lbs- 4147 yards, 68.8 completion percentage, 31 TDs, 5 INTs. Coming out of the WAC, one can’t really expect that much, which is why Colby will probably go undrafted. I have watched some film of him and I think if he had the proper quarterback coach, something may sprout from him. While he may not have the strongest arm, he shows great accuracy. He is strong in the pocket and has good touch on the long throws. Nothing to ogle about but things to consider.

David Fales, San Jose State University, 6’3” 220 lbs- 4193 yards, 72.5 completion percentage, 33 TDs, 9 INTs. He has the “prototypical” size of an NFL quarterback, but again, it is hard to go undrafted and become somebody in the NFL. Fales doesn’t throw the prettiest ball, but he makes the right reads. Then again, he is going against WAC competition so it is tough to get a great read on him.

Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State, 6’1″ 205 lbs- 3342 yards, 68.8 completion percentage, 24 TDs, 4 INTs. Aplin finished his season strong at Arkansas State with a bowl win over #25 ranked Kent State. He went 21/30, 213 yards and 1 TD. While not jumping off the page, Aplin seems to take care of the ball and make the right decisions. The quarterback also is a 4 year starter and got better each year he played. He likely wont be drafted but another QB that may surprise people if drafted by the right team with a good QB coach.

It is hard to be an undrafted free agent QB and succeed in the NFL. Typically there is a reason quarterbacks go undrafted. Tony Romo is a rare guy. Can Colby Cameron, Dave Fales or Ryan Aplin be the next Tony Romo? Unlikely. But it will be interesting to take a look at each of them as they go through the draft process.

New York Jets GM Search Marches On

The New York Jets GM search continues to march on

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Last Saturday we published this article citing a report from our friends at The Jets Blog that the New York Jets had hired Tom Gamble to be their new General Manager. While the contract remains on the table, the deal is not completed and is appearing less and less likely to be consummated with each passing day. If the report turns out to be ultimately inaccurate, we apologize for jumping the gun…so is the life and lessons of an independent website that has freedom to publish such things.

Anyway, since then the net has been cast wide on the General Manager search with some negative, perplexing and yes a few positive trends becoming apparent. Let’s take a run through who remains an option and try to make sense of this thing –

Tom Gamble – Originally considered a top of the line candidate and the Jets top option, Gamble has completely fell off the map…not just with the Jets but with other teams around the league. There are only two other GM openings left besides the Jets, Kansas City and Cleveland, and Gamble doesn’t appear to be a serious candidate for either of those jobs. He also lost out in San Diego to Tom Telesco and never got serious consideration in Jacksonville or Carolina. We heard from Pro Football Talk that Gamble didn’t interview well with the Jets and from an independent source that Gamble has no grasp on the salary cap. Could these be true or did Gamble want no part of the Jets because of the forced marriage with Rex Ryan, and the team is now spinning to the media? Only time will tell but his ascension to a GM position could very well not happen until a future off-season.

Marc Ross – He received an interview with the Jets Monday but has since not been mentioned as a serious candidate. Carolina went with Dave Gettleman instead of Ross out of the New York Giants front office and Ross doesn’t appear to be an option in Cleveland or Kansas City. Ross has an impressive resume and would be a strong hire but it doesn’t sound like the Jets are serious about him.

Dave Caldwell – Pretty simple here – Used his second interview with the Jets to leverage more money out of Jacksonville before taking the job.

John Dorsey – Expected to head to Kansas City. We haven’t heard a peep about him and the Jets in days.

Brian Gaine –  Out of the Bill Parcells tree, Gaine had his name pushed to Rich Cimini and Jason La Canfora from day one of the off-season because he wasn’t mentioned as a candidate for any team, anywhere this year except from those two in the first week of GM interviews. After the Jets went through the top tier candidates, Gaine has headlined the second group giving credence to a rumor that Korn Ferry (the firm in charge of the search) is heavily monitoring the media reaction to candidates. Despite his roots in NY and with the organization, he has a so-so resume and has too much of a Terry Bradway/Mike Tannenbaum influence. It is important to note, he was or is not a candidate for any open GM jobs this off-season except for the Jets.

Scott Cohen – A fallback, internal candidate. This would be a tough hire to sell. There is no logic behind promoting Mike Tannenbaum’s #2. There is a reason Cohen didn’t receive any interview requests this off-season from other teams. There is a reason he didn’t jump ship for a GM job after successful 2009 and 2010 seasons for the Jets. He is a Tom Heckert/Tannenbaum discipline. Do better, Jets.

Jerry Angelo – A big name in the second tier of GM candidates. Angelo has been out of work for a year after helping build a Chicago Bears team who reached the Super Bowl. Does he still have the fire/motivation to deal with a rebuilding process in New York, nevermind the media?

Omar Kahn – From everything we are hearing and reading, he sounds like the Pittsburgh Steelers version of Mike Tannenbaum, which is fine if you remove Terry Bradway’s influence from the scouting department and remake it entirely.

Jim Popp – The most intriguing candidate in the 2nd tier of GMs the team is interviewing. Popp is an extremely successful Canadian Football League General Manager, who interviewed for the Colts GM job last off-season and the Panthers GM job this off-season, ultimately losing out to Tom Telesco. Shake your initial laughter of hiring out of the CFL, Popp is highly regarded around the league and would an interesting, outside the box hiring by the Jets. The hiring would be enhanced if brought along Marc Trestman to be the team’s offensive coordinator. Trestman is currently the coach of Montreal Alouettes but has extensive NFL experience as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Simply put, he is a quarterbacks guru and the Jets need that desperately.

Breaking Down the New York Jets Roster – Again

Mike Donnelly breaks down the entire New York Jets roster and looks at who will and won’t be back next season

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Now that Rex Ryan has been retained as Jets Head Coach and he and Woody Johnson went ahead with their press conference/public stoning by the media, the big story in JetsLand these past few days has been who the new General Manager is going to be. The bigger issue, however, is what that new GM is going to do once he takes over the office previously occupied by Mike Tannenbaum. It’s impossible to say what free agents or rookies the new guy will bring in, but we can certainly analyze the current roster and who may or may not be back in 2013.

As you may recall, I broke down the roster from 1 through 53 back in October to show how little talent the Artist Formerly Known as Tanny assembled from top to bottom. While many players have either improved or worsened their stock since then, overall the talent level is still in pretty sad shape. I present to you the Jets roster from top to bottom, with a letter grade assigned for each player, and their percentage chance of returning in 2013. As with last time, the players will also be placed into one of 6 groups, split up as follows:

  • Group 1, The Darrelle Revis Division: An excellent NFL player who would either start for every team in the league, or would have any team in the league loving to get him (example: Quinton Coples falls into this category because of his potential, recent draft position, and big upside).
  • Group 2, The Jeremy Kerley Division (formerly the Dustin Keller Division): A good NFL starter that just about any team in the NFL would like to have, or a player with a lot of value.
  • Group 3, The Mike DeVito Division: A solid NFL player that has a role in the league and can contribute to a winning team.
  • Group 4, The 2011 Calvin Pace Division: A below average NFL player that shouldn’t be starting for any team, but could contribute in the right situation — in small doses — as a role player, or on special teams
  • Group 5, The Antonio Allen Division: An unproven young NFL player that may or may not develop into something for the team down the road. Too early to pass any real judgment for the most part.
  • Group 6, The 2012 Calvin Pace Division: Useless players. As opposed to group 5, they’ve had a chance to show what they have.. and what they have sucks.

Group 1, The Darrelle Revis Division

1. Darrelle Revis, A++. Obviously Revis is still the best player on this team and one of the best players in the whole league. I expect him to get a contract extension and be here for a very long time. – 99% to return.

2. Muhammad Wilkerson, A+. Wilkerson has improved his stock a great deal since the season began. Aside from J.J. Watt, there may not be a finer 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. – 100%.

3. Nick Mangold, A+. Still an elite offensive lineman and will be for at least a few more years. – 100%.

4. Antonio Cromartie, A+. When Revis went down, Cromartie rose to the occasion and showed himself to be a top 5 corner in the NFL. There’s a small chance he could be moved his offseason to clear cap room while his value is it’s highest, but I doubt it. – 90%.

5. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, A+. Brick bounced back from an off-year in 2011 and turned in a terrific season. An excellent Left Tackle. – 100%.

6. Quinton Coples, A. Coples doesn’t get the A grade based solely on his rookie production. He gets the A for the immense potential he showed and for his ability to cause havoc up front. There’s not a team in the league that wouldn’t take him. – 100%coplessmoke

7. LaRon Landry, A-. Landry managed to stay healthy and turned in a Pro Bowl season this year. It’s just a shame the team will likely be unable to meet his salary demands and bring him back next year. – 25%.

Group 2, The Jeremy Kerley Division

8. Santonio Holmes, B+. Holmes is still a very good WR capable of being a #1 and making big plays, but his season-ending foot injury combined with his high salary drop him down a peg or two. He’s still the biggest playmaker on the Jets and one of the most talented receivers in the league. – 90%.

9. David Harris, B. There is no question that the 2012 season was not what we have come to expect from the “Hitman”. His coverage ability slipped and he too often was out of position against the run, but the lack of talent around him and injuries at defensive tackle definitely played a big role in it. I expect him to bounce back in 2013, but the contract is still a big problem for our new GM. – 99%.

10. Jeremy Kerley, B-. Kerley isn’t a superstar or anything, but he’s a very reliable slot receiver and led the team in yardage this year. He could play for just about any team in the league and produce. He is also a valuable special teamer and makes hardly any money. – 100%.

11. Brandon Moore, B-. Moore’s play has slipped the past two years a little bit, especially in the run game, but he’s still a pretty solid starting NFL guard and provides veteran leadership. He’s a free agent and getting older, though, so let’s say.. – 50%.

12. Dustin Keller, B-. I’m not the biggest Keller fan, but his lack of production this year was due mainly to several injuries and the overall ineptitude of the offense. For the right team (he’s a free agent), Keller can really thrive. – 50%.

Group 3, The Mike DeVito Divison Part I

13. Mike DeVito, B-. DeVito is the kind of guy that every team in the league would love to have. He is excellent against the run, he is willing to play any position across the line, and he will never complain. Would be a big loss if he walks as a free agent. – 50%

14. Shonn Greene, C+. When used properly, Greene can be quite effective. He’s more of a 1B back suited for 12-15 carries to come in and deliver blows to a worn down defense like he did in 2009 and 2010. He’s also a free agent and I think the Jets are going to move in another direction, but he will help someone. – 40%.

15. Sione Po’uha, C. Po’uha was excellent the previous 3 seasons, but he really took a turn for the worse in 2012 after suffering a back injury in training camp. He’s getting up there in age and will definitely be cut in the offseason as a salary dump. There’s a chance he can come back on a reduced salary though to groom Kenrick Ellis for the job. – 33%.

16. Kyle Wilson, C. Kyle Wilson is nothing special, but I must admit he did play better in the second half of the season, and he even stopped doing that ridiculous finger wag. He could start for a few teams and provides us with a solid nickel option. – 100%.

17. Yeremiah Bell, C. Bell had a very solid season for us, and provided a big upgrade over Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard, and Brodney Pool. Unfortunately that isn’t saying much at all. Would like him back next year. – 66%.

18. Stephen Hill, C. Based on his performance in 2012, he clearly would be ranked lower than a C. However, he is still an extremely young player who could improve. I’m not sure guys suddenly learn how to catch the ball in their 20’s, but let’s hope he does. And let’s also hope our new GM isn’t stupid enough to rely on such a raw prospect to be a starting WR. – 100%.

19. Austin Howard, C. He provided some very good run blocking and some not-so-good pass blocking. He improved as the season went on, and I expect him back as a decent RT option. – 100%.

20. Kenrick Ellis, C. Ellis played very well in his limited action due to a knee injury. He very well could be our starting Nose Tackle next season. – 100%.

**The Mark Sanchez Group**

21. Mark Sanchez, C. Sanchez deserves his own special group. Not because he’s special in any way or such a great player, but because nobody seems to know what the hell to do with him. I’m not saying he deserves another chance to start here, but with his contract, I think that’s the road the team is going to go down. He will compete against a low-sanchezsadcost veteran, probably win the job, and then…. well, who knows what will happen then. But with some real quarterbacks coaching from a competent coach for the first time in his career (hopefully), there’s a chance the Sanchize can get back on track. Is it likely? No, probably not. But it’s what we have to hope for, and I just hope Jets fans will at least give him a chance in 2013 should he start game 1. If he’s released or traded, don’t be surprised to see him resurrect his career on a new team where the media pressure isn’t quite as severe and he actually has some weapons around him. He still has value, it just may not be in a Jets uniform. – 70 % he’s back.

And now back to…

Group 3, The Mike DeVito Division, Part II

22. Bilal Powell, C. Powell came on pretty strong in the second half of the season after battling some injuries and showed he’s a capable #2 back. I expect his role to expand a little bit next year. – 100%

23. Braylon Edwards, C. The majority of Jets fans were thrilled to see Braylon back this year. Sure, some of that was due to the fact Tannenbaum littered our roster with horrendous receivers throughout the season, but it was also because Braylon brings a lot to the team. He is a big, tough target, he can get down the field, and he can block. He has more value to the Jets than anyone else probably, and there is really no reason he shouldn’t be brought back next season. –  51%.

24. Matt Slauson, C. Slauson is just “meh”. He’s the epitome of average. There’s a place for him in the league, but the Jets should absolutely be looking for an upgrade along the offensive line this year. It’s clear the Jets are ready to move on from him because they let VLAD DUCASSE rotate with him. That’s not something you want on your resume. – 25%.

25. Demario Davis, C. Lots of Jets fans were excited for our 3rd round linebacker, but we didn’t get to see much of him this year. With the mass exodus of linebackers expected to take place on the roster, 2013 will be his chance to show what he’s got. – 100%.

26. Joe McKnight, C. I always find myself asking to see more of Joe McKnight because he shows big-play capability. Unfortunately, he always seems to be banged up and he seems unaware that fumbling is bad. Still an elite kick returner. – 100%.

27, 28, 29. Nick Folk, Robert “Mayday” Malone, Tanner Purdum, C. Gotta lump these 3 together. Folk put together very good season, as did our punter Mayday Malone. What, am I the only one who calls him that? Whatever. And you gotta admit, Tanner Purdum can snap a football!

Group 4, the 2011 Calvin Pace Division

30. Jeff Cumberland, C-. I’ve come around a little bit on Cumberland. He’s graduated from “totally useless” to just “borderline useless”. 50%.

31. Bart Scott, C-. I’ve always been a fan of Bart, but his play has clearly slipped. He’s still very good plugging the run, but his lack of speed is a big problem. He can find a spot in this league, and don’t be shocked if he’s back on a reduced contract next year. -20%.

32. Tim Tebow, C-. TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW. – 0%.

33. Garrett McIntyre, C-. Much like Cumberland, McIntyre is a guy I’ve really come around on. He was our best OLB this year probably, and although that isn’t saying much at all, the guy does try hard and occasionally makes a play. He has a role as a backup next year. – 100%.

34. Bryan Thomas, D+. He’s old, slow, and always injured. He had a decent season, but it’s over for BT. He had a solid career, but I’ll never forgive him for not being Ed Reed, who should have been the Jets selection in 2002. – 0%

35. Aaron Berry, D+. He was seemingly injured while signing his Jets contract, but he can provide a solid option against slot receivers in 2013. – 50%.

36. Josh Mauga, D+. I think Mauga can be useful as a backup inside linebacker and on special teams. He was going to take on a larger role this year but injuries nixed that. He’ll likely be back next year. – 90%.

37. Nick Bellore, D. Very good special teamer. Every team needs a guy like this. How are we only at #37?!?! – 90%.

Group 5, The Antonio Allen Division (no letter grades for these players, they all get Incompletes)

38. Greg McElroy.  Well, I guess not every late rounder who steps in to start for his team turns into Tom Brady. Oh well, he can still be a solid backup. – 90%.

39. Antonio Allen. He started to see the field more down the stretch of the season, and with both of our starting safeties being free agents, Allen could end up with a larger role next year. – 100%.

40. Josh Bush. (See Antonio Allen). – 100%.

41. Damon Harrison. He was curiously kept on the roster all season long, so Rex must see something in him. With Po’uha possibly gone, Big Dame could have a role in 2013. – 75%.

42. Clyde Gates. Of all the players here in Group 5, Gates played the most. He clearly isn’t the most polished receiver, but he shockingly had a few good moments. With big supporter Tony Sparano getting the ax though, he may not be back in green next year. – 50%.

43. Ricky Sapp. Ricky “the Tease” Sapp. He always gets coaches and other players talking about his potential, then he never delivers on the field, whether due to injury or lack of opportunity. He’ll be in camp next year, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can make his mark. – 50%.

44. Hayden Smith. The Australian rugby star has some ability. We’ll see if he can put it together in year 2. –  75%.

45. Isaiah Trufant. Last time I said this about him: “He’s a poor man’s Ellis Lankster. And considering Lankster has a homeless man’s amount of ability, I’m not even sure what that would make Trufant.” That was a bit harsh, because when he played this year he actually showed some promise. – 75%.

46. Josh Baker. God, do you know how hard it is to write 2-3 sentences about all these guys?! I mean look at this roster… – 50%.

Group 6, the 2012 Calvin Pace Division

47. Calvin Pace, F. Pace took the torch as my most loathed Jet in 2012. The master of the “run into offensive lineman, extend arms, stand there til play ends” pass rush move will not be a Jet in 2013. He may not even be in the league. – 0%.

48. Ellis Lankster, F. Ellis Lankster stinks. – 25%.Vladimir Ducasse

49. Vlad Ducasse, F. Ducasse became the face of the Fire Tannenbaum campaign. How could this man have been a second round pick?! – 25%.

50. Eric Smith, F. I’m really hoping he is roughing punters and slowly running behind tight ends and wide receivers for the Buffalo Bills next year. – 0%.

51. Chaz Schilens, F. Mike Tannenbaum thought Schilens and Stephen Hill would make for a fine #2 WR platoon this year. In related news, Mike Tannenbaum got fired. – 0%

52. Jason Smith, F. At least he wasn’t Wayne Hunter. – 0%

53. Caleb Schlauderaff, F. Mike Tannenbaum spoke of him as a possible “next Victor Cruz”. Again, is it any wonder Mike Tannenbaum was fired? – 25%

54. Konrad Reuland, F. With all the good tight ends coming out of Stanford, we got stuck with this one? – 25%.

55. Lex Hilliard, F. The fullback who somehow was worse than John Conner. Couldn’t run block, couldn’t pass block, couldn’t catch, and couldn’t pick up short yardage. – 0%.

As you can see, the new General Manager (whoever the hell that ends up being) has a lot of work to do. There are clearly some pieces in place to lead the team, but the “middle class” of the roster needs an overhaul. To win in the NFL you need quite a few role players to chip in and help out. When a starter goes down, there needs to be a next man up to fill that role. On this roster, the next man up is too often Vlad Ducasse or Konrad Reuland, and that needs to change.

Turn On The Jets Off-Season Roundtable – Quarterback

The Turn On The Jets staff discusses how the New York Jets should handle the quarterback position this off-season

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Welcome to our off-season review of the New York Jets roster at Turn On The Jets. Each week we are going to attack a different position. We will have a roundtable discussion on it, Steve Bateman will submit a film breakdown examining it and our draft staff will look at potential prospects the Jets could add. This week, we start at quarterback…

How should the New York Jets handle quarterback this off-season?

Joe Caporoso – There are few people who were bigger Mark Sanchez defenders/apologists heading into this season than myself. However, at this point I truly think he cannot play quarterback for this team any more. There is too much vitriol from the fan-base towards him and players in the locker room have to question his ability to lead them to victories. New York has worn him down and he is in need of a fresh start elsewhere. Despite the cap hit, the Jets must completely cut ties with their quarterback situation from last year (which includes ridding themselves of the Tebow Media Circus). The recruitment of a capable veteran will be harmed by Sanchez’s presence both because of his contract and how last season played out. Tebow’s presence would also discourage veterans from signing here for obvious reasons.

The answer isn’t a sexy one. It likely involves finding a low cost veteran like Matt Moore, Kyle Orton, or Brian Hoyer and hoping he can hold the fort for a year or two. This year’s draft is heavy on mid-round quarterback prospects and it wouldn’t hurt to take one in the 3rd or 4th round in hopes of finding the next Russell Wilson or at least a developmental project. Overall, these decision are going to be heavily influenced by the offensive coordinator hiring and what type of system he runs.

A few names Jets fans should forget about happening – Mike Vick and Alex Smith because of their price tags. Kirk Cousins because of RG-III’s injury. Matt Flynn will also likely fall out of their price range. Greg McElroy because he simply doesn’t have the physical tools to start in the NFL.

Chris Gross – As the Jets continue with their rebuilding of the front office, the ultimate elephant in the room remains – what will the organization decide to do at the quarterback position? As the season ending press conference revealed today, all offensive personnel decisions will rely largely on who the new Offensive Coordinator will be. Personnel depends on system in football. It is mightily difficult to assume what the Jets will do at quarterback until they have an idea of what type of offense they will have next season. That being said, here are a few possible scenarios:

Mark Sanchez – By now, it is no secret that Mark Sanchez will be the most difficult piece of this roster to move this offseason. His guaranteed $8 million + make him a very unappealing trade part, while the dead money in excess of $12 million to be left if he is outright released will make it extremely tough for him to be cut. Are the Jets stuck with the former 5th overall pick? Maybe, maybe not. The bottom line will end up being how the new General Manager views Sanchez as a fit in the new Offensive Coordinator’s system. If he feels that a new coach and plan can resurrect his career, he will be on the roster to compete for the starting job heading into next season. If the GM feels that there is no way that Sanchez can make a turnaround, look for him to try and move the player who was once viewed as the franchise quarterback. Only time will tell.

Tim Tebow – If I had to guess, I’d say Tebow will be released once the front office is put into place. However, like Sanchez, this could depend heavily on the new coordinator and how he views Tebow as a fit to his system. If the new GM is convinced that Tebow can be a vital piece of the Jets offensive plans moving forward, perhaps he could be brought back to compete in camp as well. On the other hand, if the new GM wants nothing to do with the media circus that surrounds the most polarizing figure in professional football, expect him to be moved rather quickly once he officially gets to work.

Matt+Moore+Washington+Redskins+v+Miami+Dolphins+qZak_tDNg42lVeteran – This is a very likely move. Regardless of who remains on the roster out of Sanchez and Tebow, a competent veteran will need to be brought in to compete for the starting job. Again, who that player is will depend on how he is viewed as a fit in the new offensive system. Possible names to keep an eye on include Matt Moore, Jason Campbell, Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, and Brian Hoyer. A trade for Redskins backup Kirk Cousins would be an ideal, low cost move, however with the recent injury to Robert Griffin III, it is highly unlikely that Washington will part ways with Cousins.

Draft – The draft class of quarterbacks is average at best this year. Surely, many of these guys will see their stocks rise and fall as the Senior Bowl, Combine, and individual workouts unfold, but it is highly unlikely that the Jets use anything earlier than a fourth round pick on a quarterback, considering the vast holes all over the roster. We will have a more in-depth look at potential quarterback prospects later in the week.

Ultimate Prediction – Sanchez is brought back due to the handcuffs his contract places on the organization. Tim Tebow will either be traded or released, paving way for a free agent veteran signing, or trade. Question is, what free agent will be willing to come here knowing how much Sanchez will be making next season, particularly looking at what happened at the position this past year. However, some players will need a job, and with a coach in Rex Ryan, who is clearly no longer committed to Sanchez as this team’s starting quarterback, the Jets will surely be able to lure someone to come in and compete with him for the starting job next season. The Jets may look to draft a developmental player in the later rounds, but this need could get pushed until next year’s draft when a stronger class of quarterbacks is expected to be in play. The Jets would be wise to focus on their other needs in the draft this year, while bringing Greg McElroy back to compete with Sanchez and a veteran addition in training camp.

Mike DonnellyAs everyone knows, quarterback is the most important position football and arguable in all of sports. Unfortunately for us long-suffering Jets fans, it’s also the position that our favorite team has failed to find a long-term answer at for going on four decades now. Our latest failed experiment was in the form of 2009 #5 overall pick Mark Sanchez, whose very name being mentioned these days elicits all kind of anger and hatred from this fan base. Well I’m here to tell you that you may as well get ready for one more season of the Sanchize.

By now, we all know that the cap ramifications of cutting Sanchez are far too great to go down that road. What the team should –and likely will– do, is bring in a veteran like Matt Moore to compete with Sanchez in the offseason and have the best man play. Just as importantly, they need to get a REAL quarterbacks coach (Norv Turner!) in here to coordinate the offense and develop whichever guy is throwing passes for us, because for the past 4 seasons the offensive coaching here as been abysmal.

Forget about drafting a QB at #9 because there really are no players entering the draft worthy of that spot. Forget about trading for a stud, because there are none available out there. Forget about signing an established player, because they don’t exist. The Sanchez/mystery-decent-veteran-QB combo is going to be our best available option for 2013 and I full expect that to be what happens. I just hope the fans who wrote Sanchez off this year are able to let bygones be bygones and actually cheer for him when he wins the job next year rather than boo from day 1 and carry over the toxic atmosphere from this season. WIshful thinking, I’m sure…

Rob Celletti – The New York Jets are at a crossroads with their quarterback, and in a league that requires stability and quality at that position to ensure consistent success, the decisions the Jets make in the coming months are crucial. The way I see it, there are three options for the Jets GM-to-be:

1) “The Obvious Option” – Acquire a middling, veteran, game-manager type quarterback and bring him in with the idea that he’s probably going to be your opening day starter. Think along the lines of Alex Smith or Matt Moore.

2) “The Revolutionary Option” – Rehabilitate Mark Sanchez. I call this the “Revolutionary Option” for two reasons: 1) In order to do this, the Jets will need to revolutionize (see what I did there?!) their offense, i.e., new system, new players; 2) If the Jets choose this option, there’s a good chance there’s a fan revolution at Florham Park in August.

3) “The Nuclear Option” – Michael Vick. Odds are the Eagles will let him go. Vick turned the ball over about as frequently as Sanchez, and also plays a physically taxing style that leads to frequent injury. But acquiring Vick would be exciting, and his style of play does fit the modern NFL. At least if the Jets lose, they’d be scoring points while doing so. I probably like this option more than I should.

As I wrote in my Sanchez wrap-up last week, none of these options is particularly appetizing.  It doesn’t look like there’s an Andrew Luck in the draft that’s going to fall into Gang Green’s lap.  Our new colleague Steve Hunter, who knows more about the X’s and O’s of football than I ever will, still gives Sanchez a puncher’s chance at becoming a successful NFL quarterback. I could give the kid another year personally, but I know most Jets fans cannot.

Steve Bateman – This won’t make me popular amongst the masses, but despite enduring a season that was in parts nothing less than shocking, my belief is that Mark Sanchez is still equipped to lead the Jets offense in 2013.

I think it’s fair to say that personnel-wise the 2012 season was – in almost every imaginable way – a freak, and it’s probably wise to bear that in mind and carry some perspective forward going into next season. Sanchez had a year to forget, that’s way beyond dispute, but let’s not suppose that his troubles necessarily herald the end of his career in the Big Apple. On the contrary, things may just be about to get interesting…

If Sanchez is to survive this storm he needs to be supported – not in the sense of the tired old argument that “he needs more weapons” or the ridiculous tabloid caricature that he’s some kind of feeble-minded kid trapped inside a man’s body – but in a much simpler, and more obvious way. Essentially, it’s time for the Jets to respect the fact that Sanchez is the hub of their offensive unit and finally begin to act according to that fact.

Early indications suggest that this season’s car-crash may have been the short, sharp shock that the Jets needed – long-time QB coach Matt Cavanaugh has already been shown the door, and it appears to be a matter of time until offensive coordinator Tony Sparano follows him. Now the front office has to get it right and acknowledge that for way too long they have been trying to ground and pound a round peg into a square hole.

At long, long last it’s time for the Jets to give the Californian what he needs and return him to the environment that made him a first-round draft pick in the first place. Sanchez can still succeed, but that can only happen when the West Coast Offense makes its way East.

TJ Rosenthal – Mark Sanchez has dwindled into a mental molecule. A new Jets OC and QB coach will have to re-program his mind in order for Sanchez to face his own home stadium, let alone opposing defenses. Keeping Sanchez while he rehabs his emotional state as an experienced vet is added to compete for and hopefully win the job, makes the most sense. Sanchez as a backup who has won four playoff games already? We’d sign on for it. Give him a chance to repair but no way Rex. No pilot’s license for 6. Even if that means changing your the jersey number on your tattoo.

12 Pack Of New York Jets Off-Season Thoughts – 2013, Edition #1

Turn On The Jets with 12 off-season thoughts on the New York Jets

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The 12 packs do not stop here at Turn On The Jets. Every week, this space will now be used for a collection of 12 weekly off-season thoughts on the New York Jets (This will normally run on Fridays, not Mondays). Some exciting things to look forward to in the coming weeks 

On to the 12 pack…

1. The hiring of Tom Gamble as the New York Jets General Manager is not official yet and many are beginning to panic since he is interviewing with San Diego, while the Jets still interview Marc Ross and Scott Cohen. We remain confident in Bassett’s report and think the outline he provided this morning is a sensible explanation. Nothing is 100% until the contract is signed but it would take a major turn of events for this not to go through. The Jets must interview Ross today to comply with the Rooney Rule and need to get their act together for the season ending press conference tomorrow, while Gamble is posturing for further leverage knowing he is team’s top choice. If he isn’t officially hired by Wednesday night/Thursday morning…then it is time to panic (although ending up with Ross wouldn’t be a disaster at all).

2. Tomorrow’s press conference should be an interesting one to say the least. Expect an angry, vindictive New York media coming hard after Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson. What is the over/under on tattoo and Tebow questions? Do not look for too many answers of note coming out of either Johnson or Rex. The entire organization is in flux until the GM hiring becomes official.

3. I have been banging this drum pretty loudly on Twitter the past few weeks but a few cost effective upgrades for the Jets on offense could be letting Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene walk and replacing them with Delanie Walker and Chris Ivory, respectively. You can get familiar with the entire free agent list right here. (Note that Ivory is going to be a Restricted Free Agent this off-season, not Unrestricted).

4. It is hard not to look forward to the complete house cleaning of the Jets linebacker position, which outside of quarterback is the biggest disaster on the team. Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott and Calvin Pace will all be let go, with Thomas and Scott likely retiring. Pace could probably find a taker on a minimum contract from a team who plays 3-4 but at this point, he is strictly a 2 down linebacker. David Harris will be back but remains one of the most overpaid players in the league and is coming off a career worst season. It is going to take an aggressive approach in the draft and free agency to fix this mess. There will be some intriguing options likely available at #9 and the list of available linebackers in free agency is deep this season (Paul Kruger, Conner Barwin, Antwan Barnes, Manny Lawson, Anthony Spencer, Victor Butler).

5. LaRon Landry is going to be a tough player to bring back in 2013. He was a good fit in Rex Ryan’s defense as an in the box safety and earned himself a trip to the Pro-Bowl. However, he has limitations in coverage and is likely going to be seeking a contract out of the Jets budget. Paying 3 million per year for Landry is one thing, paying 7 million a year for him? Probably not a wise move, particularly with so much money already tied up in the secondary.

6. Plenty of superlatives being thrown out for Buffalo’s hire of Doug Marrone. Somehow I don’t think we’d be hearing so many if Woody Johnson made the decision to hire a college coach who went 25-25 at Syracuse. This isn’t to say Marrone will be a bad coach but it is interesting how heavily he is being praised already with such an unproven record. Similar to the Jets, Buffalo won’t be going anywhere until they find a quarterback.

7. The Jets will likely be looking at 4-6 new starters on each of the football in 2013. We haven’t seen roster turnover like that since between the 2005 and 2006 season. Similar to now, that team was expected to be entering a long rebuilding phase. However they surprised everybody by going 10-6 thanks primarily to Chad Pennington putting together a steady year at quarterback, a strong draft and a few savvy low-cost free agent signings/trade acquisitions. Nothing wrong with looking for a silver lining, right?

8. The Jets need to find a way to bring Mike DeVito back. Mike Tannenbaum allowed too many players like DeVito to leave over the years and it caught up to him. DeVito is a versatile, blue-collar player who is essential to the Jets defensive line rotation. He is also one of the leaders in the locker room and one of the team’s most high character guys. Besides, if he walks…you know he is ending up in New England.

9. Whoever is in charge of Gameday Operations for Jets games – No more C-List celebrities leading awkward J-E-T-S chants before the game. No more special teams being called out as starters. No more fireworks and poorly timed music being blared. Thank you.

10. Quinton Coples led the Jets this season with 5.5 sacks, despite only playing in 47% of the team’s snaps. It was quietly a very strong year for Coples, who will only get better as his technique improves and playing time increases. I was as critical about the pick as anybody but he proved his critics wrong and could be a double-digit sack guy next year playing alongside Muhammad Wilkerson and improved outside linebackers.

11. As for the other rookies, it is easy to be down on Stephen Hill’s future after a disappointing rookie year but we knew he was far from a finished product coming out of Georgia Tech. Shame on the Jets for forcing him into the starting line-up with no capable veterans at split end to help ease him in. Hill has the physical skills but still needs to improve his hands and route-running. He can be an consistently explosive player in this league, it is just going to take time. Demario Davis didn’t get much of a shot this year, so it will be interesting to see how he fits in the new GM’s plans. Antonio Allen has potential going forward as a situational player and special teamer.

12. Words I never want to hear again associated with the Jets: Wildcat, Process, (Insert Number Here) is eligible, Ground and/or Pound, TEBOW, Pump fake.

No Huddle: New York Jets GM Must Be Bold And Prompt

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on the course of action needed to be taken by the New York Jets new GM

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The 6-10 New York Jets have clearly flown off course. The new Jets GM, whoever finally ends up with the job, will be walking into a laundry list of issues the minute those Florham Park doors open. Steering the overall product on the field back to Super Bowl contender status won’t be easy. The following are the keys to the foundation. Questions that the new head honcho upstairs must answer correctly and swiftly before the rest of the cracks are filled in.

If Rex stays, which Rex should it be?

Big Rex was loud, boastful, cocky, and successful for two out of his first three seasons. Little Rex in 2012, was not. Ryan has to be given the green light on optimizing his own abilities but the immediate question is which Rex best fits the new 2013 Jets.

Mark Sanchez

“The Sanchise” is an even bigger uncertainty. Can #6 find his confidence again in New York, and still have room to grow out of a game manager’s role? Or is he just a career backup at best elsewhere?

Sanchez’s contract, one that awards him 8 Million in 2013 makes his case a tricky one. The Jets could bring in a viable vet to compete for the job, or follow the advice from one Wall Street Journal piece written last week that broke winning formulas for NFL teams. One that included eating “dead money” in the name of turning the page.

The Jets have to get the QB situation settled here once and for all. Forget Rex’s tattoo’d faith in Sanchez. Too many games have been lost, and not enough have been won at the position over the past two seasons.

Revis, Keller and Greene

Sorry Jets fans but it’s true and you all know it. Revis Island may have enough trade value to aid the Jets need for fast growth on offense all by himself. Dustin Keller was useless all year and Shonn Greene can’t be any better than he was in 2012. The new GM’s overall opinion regarding how much roster-gutting is warranted will provide clues into how these key Jet vets may be treated.

Coordinators: Rex’s Friends or Foes

From Shotty to Sparano, playcalling has been a source of irritation for the Jets under Ryan. Mike Pettine opted not to re-up on his deal.

The next set of coordinators are either going to be guys that Ryan wants to go down fighting with, or handpicked choices by the GM. Perhaps to be HC’s in waiting. After all, it will be tough to sell a potential coordinator on a “win or else” one year scenario. Enticing candidates with the possibility about becoming the next HC, should Ryan struggle in 2013, may be a better sell in order to get them into the building.

Much of these soon to be top priorities will be determined by what the purpose of 2013 will be for the new Jets general manager. Ryan must win now, but the incoming folks who will call the shots upstairs, don’t necessarily have to.

Turn On The Jets – Wild-Card Weekend NFL Picks

THe TOJ staff gives their picks for WIld-Card Weekend

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The Race for Steak continues. Only 11 games to go… 

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Rob Celletti (137-112-7)

2. Chris Gross (129-120-7)

3. Mike Donnelly (129-122-5)

4. Chris Celletti (126-124-6)

5. Joe Caporoso (114-135-7)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (12-4)

Cincinnati (+4) at Houston – This is a popular pick…almost popular enough to make me want to change it. However, Matt Schaub has never played in a playoff game and has looked generally mediocre the final month of the season. The Texans defense has started to slip due to injuries and they lack weapons in the passing game outside of Andre Johnson. Beyond that, they are terrible on special teams which is a key ingredient in allowing any upset to happen. The Bengals are quietly very good on defense, good enough to think they will be within 3 points and maybe steal a win.

Green Bay (-8) vs. Minnesota – There is nothing comfortable about betting against Adrian Peterson. Yet, sometimes it is as simple as Christian Ponder in Lambeau in January. What happens if this game gets to 21-7. How does Minnesota come back?

Baltimore (-6.5) vs. Indianapolis – Hate to go against Chuckstrong but the Ravens will be motivated for the last home game of Ray Lewis’ career. They have been far from impressive down the stretch but this is a veteran, playoff tested team who will be playing at home against a rookie quarterback surrounded by a ton of inexperienced players. Andrew Luck has been terrific but remains prone to turnovers. Look for the Ravens to take advantage of that and both win and cover.

Seattle (-3) at Washington – The best game of the weekend. Seattle has a far superior defense which will be the difference here. Robert Griffin III is clearly not at 100% right now, which means Washington won’t have enough to overcome Seattle’s pass rush and the playmaking ability of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Also Seattle has a nice special teams advantage with Leon Washington returning kicks and punts.

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (11-5)

  • Houston (-4) over Cincinnati 
  • Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  • Baltimore (-6.5) over Indianpolis 
  • Washington (+3) over Seattle 

Rob Celletti

Last Week (8-8)

  • Cincinnati (+4) over Houston
  • Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  • Indianapolis (+6.5) over Baltimore
  • Washington (+3) over Seattle 

Chris Celletti

Last Week (9-7)

Check Best Bets for more details

  • Cincinnati (+4) over Houston
  • Green Bay (-8) over Minnesota
  • Indianapolis (+6.5) over Baltimore
  • Washington (+3) over Seattle 

Chris Gross

Last Week (8-8)

  • Cincinnati (+4) over Houston
  • Minnesota (+8) over Green Bay
  • Baltimore (-6.5) over Indianapolis 
  • Seattle (-3) over Washington 

Turn On The Jets NFL Wild Card Round Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Rant and Best Bets for Wild Card Weekend

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Let me start my column with some killer football insight, to keep up with the excellent, best-Jets-stuff-on-the-Internet precedent that’s been set this week by the entire Turn On The Jets staff –

Rex Ryan definitely lost a bet. TATTOOGATE is so obvious. Before the season, Rex Ryan and his lovable twin brother Rob, defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, got together over pork rinds, Skittles, and bourbon and made a bet: Whoever’s team finished with a worse record in 2012 would have to get a tattoo of their wife wearing nothing but the jersey of their starting quarterback. That also explains why Rex Ryan refused to go to Tim Tebow early on this season. God, this all makes so much sense now.

In related news, all I had to do was throw “SOURCE:” in front of my theory, make up a quote or two and BANG I just knocked out a Daily News exclusive.

Before we take a look at this week’s playoff games, I thought it would be fun to look back at my preseason gambling picks. I did three team Over/Unders, which I went 2-1-0 on. I missed by a hair on Baltimore at under 10, and was right on Jacksonville under 5.5 and Denver over 9. This quote on the Broncos stuck out when I re-read:

“Peyton Manning throwing with his left hand could win 10 games if he gets half the support Lefty Jesus got last year from this defense, special teams and running game.” Welp, that’s about right.

What I whiffed on were my “good bets” for MVP and Super Bowl Champs. I thought Eli Manning had a chance to have an incredible year, and thought at 18/1 for MVP was worth taking a crack at. Instead, Eli reminded us that he just isn’t in the same stratosphere as his brother, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. That isn’t to say that if I had to win one game tomorrow, I wouldn’t take Eli. I may; he’s certainly at the top of the discussion. The Giants could have won the Super Bowl again if they snuck in this year because he would have been the 2nd best quarterback in the NFC playoffs, plus he’s beat Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs on the road before. But his 2012 season was pedestrian at best. I’m not going to go all Ian O’Connor, who offered this drab after the season ended:

“In his heart of hearts, Eli Manning knows this was a winning season in record only. He knows he had a chance to do something no New York Giants quarterback had ever done, a squandered chance that might haunt him for the balance of his career and beyond.”

Yup Ian! You got it! Forty years from now when we interview an old, shriveled Eli Manning (gross image alert), he’s not going to talk about the legendary wins in Green Bay or the Super Bowl titles. Nope. It’ll be a sad tale of the 2012 season, the one that has kept him up countless nights over the years, with nightmares of throwing 26 touchdowns and finishing a dire 12th in the league in passing yards and winning a putrid nine games (the same amount he won in the regular season a year prior when winning a Super Bowl, mind you). How horrifying. Nevermind that Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora combined for 16.5 sacks, with Tuck having 1.5 less than Quinton Coples.

Eli’s legacy is secure. If he never throws another pass for the Giants, he’s a true New York sports legend, in the conversation with Mark Messier, Derek Jeter, Clyde Frazier and of course Jeff Cumberland. But let’s also understand that Eli’s legacy is what it is for a reason, and that’s his clutchness. People scoff at those who say he’s not “elite”, but if your definition of “elite” is “dominant, transcendent, consistently excellent over the course of many seasons”, then you know what? Maybe he isn’t. That doesn’t mean he isn’t great, or isn’t a legend. You can be one but not the other.

And then there was my 18/1 pick of the Saints as Super Bowl Champs. I blame it on going to New Orleans twice in nearly a year from May 2011-July 2012. When you go there, you’ll believe anything. Crawfish? Why not. Open container anywhere? Great idea. Jazz? Still relevant. Voodoo? Not totally unreasonable if you think really hard about it!

So we’ll close the book on what was a pretty weak season by me picking games, and unlike the Jets I have a chance to redeem myself in the postseason. Let’s just go ahead and pick them all:

Cincinnati +4 at Houston – My thought all year has been that the Texans would lose at home in their first playoff game. I always thought it would be during the Divisional Round, after a bye, but some late season stumbling has them playing on Wild Card weekend. I’ll stick with my guns and say Cincy pulls the upset. Plus, AT LEAST one road team is winning this weekend.

Packers -8 vs. Vikings – The Adrian Peterson story is amazing, but I think last week was the Vikings’ Super Bowl. If it’s even ever possible for there to be a letdown in a playoff game, the Vikings might feel it. This has a very 2001 Jets/Raiders feel, with the dog beating the favorite in the regular season finale in dramatic fashion to set up a rematch the following week. I don’t like the chances of the Vikings beating the Packers twice in as many weeks, and with Aaron Rodgers at home, I think it’s a pull-away-late type of game for Green Bay. Who knows…maybe Charlie Garner will come out of retirement and salt the game away for the Pack on an 80-yard touchdown run on 3rd down in the final minutes.

Indianapolis +6.5 at Baltimore – The Ravens lost three of their last four to close out the season. It’s going the wrong direction for them. And the last thing America really wants is some memorable Ray Lewis swan song. Whoever wins, I think it’s a close one.

Washington +3 vs. Seattle – Home dog in the playoffs? I’m taking the points. And with no real GREAT team in the league this year, anyone without a dog in the fight has to be rooting for a Luck/RGIII Super Bowl, right?

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week – Hockey! Wait, what? I thought they canceled that sport forever? Well, even though the NHL has decided to sever any thread of relevance they were hanging on to, there is hockey being played in Russia: The World Junior Championships! And the USA is in tomorrow’s final against Sweden after blasting the favorite Canada 5-1 in the semis, which probably put all the Dougies and Gordos and Scotties and Stevies and Jonesys in Canada in mourning. Good. If you’re hanging your national pride on the backs of a bunch of 18 and 19-year olds, you deserve to lose and realize how ridiculous you are. With that being said, USA! USA! USA! at -190.