New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 7 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the Jets/Patriots week 7 match-up

Make sure to check out Tammany Hall this weekend for 20 wings and 2 pitchers for only $20, courtesy of our friends at Night Out!

It’s hard to believe that we are already heading into week 7 of the regular NFL season. For the New York Jets, to say it has been a roller coaster season up until this point would be an understatement. After a week 1 blowout of the Buffalo Bills, all looked extremely promising for Gang Green. Following that game, many felt as if the Jets were finally poised to be a legitimate threat to New England’s AFC East throne. However, since then, the Jets have suffered tough losses and injuries to their two most high profile players in Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. New York has responded well the last two weeks, though, with a tough effort against Houston and a blowout of the Indianapolis Colts to put them back to .500 and give them their current lead in the division.

The landscape for the remainder of the season still remains to be seen. This sudden group of low profile Jets seems to be starting to develop an attitude of camaraderie based around the notion that their season is dead in the water. Unlikely players like Chaz Schillens have stepped up into leadership roles by voicing out against the popular belief that this team doesn’t have a chance to make it out of the regular season with a winning record. This is something that we have yet to see in the Ryan era, but for this group of Jets, it could be a recipe for success.

This week will be a true test of how valid that idea may be. New England, although also .500, still remains the top dog in the AFC East. As Rex Ryan so eloquently put it, you need to beat the man if you wish to be the man. That’s exactly what this group will attempt to do this Sunday in Foxboro. Will the “us against the world” concept drive this team to be successful? Or was last week merely a mirage in a season poised for a serious let down? Come Sunday night, we should know a lot about where this team truly stands heading into the second half of the season.

For now, let’s breakdown some likely, and unlikely, scenarios that we expect to see in this week’s rivalry matchup in our latest edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

The Jets will do everything in their power to prepare for New England’s hurry up offense. Fact. We are already seeing the makings of a package designed specifically to defend the hurry up offense. Antonio Allen is active again, and the Jets recently activated LB/S Marcus Dowtin from the practice squad. As noted here earlier in the week, these guys are players who fit perfectly into the “big nickel” package. What this means is that Rex Ryan will try to put his most versatile players on the field at once. Allen and Dowtin have the size to line up in the box and defend the run, as well as the speed to get out in space and cover tight ends. There is a very good chance that Allen will see extended reps and that Dowtin will be thrown right into active duty, just days after being signed.

Also, expect to see a big game out of LaRon Landry. Landry has linebacker size, with safety speed, something that will make him a weapon against this type of offensive scheme. Rex has been getting extremely creative with his defenses this past week, and you can bet your bottom dollar that he has been up all week devising a package that he believes will be effective against the hurry up. Whether it proves to be truly effective remains to be seen.

Tom Brady will be sacked at least twice. Fact. The Jets are familiar with the formula for beating the Patriots, as their counterparts in New York have made it a point to set the blueprint on how to take down New England’s high powered offense. You want to beat the Patriots, you need to get Tom Brady to the ground and throwing out of the pocket. The last time the Jets beat New England, in the 2010 playoffs, they did a great job of pressuring and hitting Brady. Brady notoriously becomes frazzled when facing a premiere pass rush, but the key is to get pressure without having to use a surplus of blitzes.

Brady has made a name for himself torching blitz packages for years. The Giants have success against New England because their pass rush is good enough to get to him by rushing just 4. The Jets had similar success in the 2010 playoffs. This year, the Jets finally have some natural ability up front that will allow them to get pressure on Brady without having to blitz too frequently. Quinton Coples is finally coming into his own as a pass rusher, primarily from the interior, where he could be deadly against a struggling Patriots offensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson will surely bring pressure as well, and if Aaron Maybin can duplicate his play from last week, the Jets may have a real good chance to get to Brady numerous times.

Shonn Greene will run the ball for 100+ yards for the second consecutive week. False. Shonn Greene is coming off a career week against the Colts in which he rushed for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. While this is certainly an encouraging sign for the Jets rushing attack, don’t be fooled by these numbers. Yes, Greene looked more decisive, elusive, and powerful than he has in years, but the Colts rank in the bottom tier in rushing defense. New England, on the other hand, ranks 6th in that area, surrendering just 82.7 yards per contest on the ground.

With Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight out, the burden to carry the load will be on Greene. We know that he has struggled in such a role, but if the Jets can get yards from Tim Tebow and Jonathan Grimes, then Greene still has the potential to amass somewhere between 75-90 yards. As far as the century mark, don’t be disappointed looking at the box score after the game. Greene can be effective, but it is highly unlikely he surpasses 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks, which would be a career first.

Tim Tebow will see over 30% of the offensive snaps this week. Fact. It was one thing to expect to see more of Tebow with a depleted group of wide receivers. The popular thought was that, with little playmaking ability in the offensive arsenal, Tebow would be used more frequently to generate a spark for this offense. As we have seen, that has not been the case since losing Holmes in week 4. However, this week presents an entirely new set of obstacles for this offense.

Following a week where New York finally seemed to gel in terms of running back depth and rotation, two of the three most used backs were lost due to injury and are out this week. That leaves the Jets with Greene and a very untested Jonathan Grimes. New York seemingly has no choice but to use Tebow on the ground, if not in the wildcat, then in a running back role. Greene may struggle as the only proven running threat, and it is unclear what exactly Grimes will bring to the table at this point. Why not add another proven runner to that stable of backs and allow Tebow to carry the ball 10-15 times in any type of capacity? There is no reason for the Jets to avoid this, and it will certainly be in their best interest to include a heavy dose of TT in the run game this week.

THURSDAY NIGHT PICKS

  • Joe – SF (-7)
  • Chris G – Sea (+7)
  • Chris C – Sea (+7)
  • Mike – (-7)
  • Rob – SF (-7)

Turn On The Jets Talks With Pats Propaganda – Jets/Patriots Preview

Joe Caporoso talks with Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda about the upcoming match-up between the Jets and Patriots

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite writers behind enemy lines, Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda, to preview the upcoming New York Jets/New England Patriots showdown. Here is our conversation –

JC – What is the issue with New England’s secondary and is it a solvable problem this season? Is it actually as bad as it is being hyped up to be?

MD – Really the only issue, and it’s a glaring one, is that they cannot stop the 20+ passing plays. They’re giving up almost 6 per game. It really just boils down to that, and it’s maddening because they’ve been the worst in the NFL at it for two seasons and just can’t seem to get it fixed. Now injuries have played into it somewhat. When Russell Wilson heaved the 46-yard game winning TD last weekend it was two rookies that were on the back end. But things weren’t especially better when it was starters Steve Gregory (out since week 4) and Patrick Chung (dinged at the end of the game).

JC – Are you surprised by some of the game management issues that are arising, particularly with two Hall of Famers like Belichick and Brady leading the way?

MD – Yes, there have definitely been some head scratching moments this year, like last week’s debacle at the end of the first half, where they took an intentional grounding with one second left inside the 10-yard line that basically cost them the game in the long run. They should’ve just kicked the field goal when they had the chance with 6 seconds left.

There are a couple factors contributing. With Josh McDaniels back and his aggressive/often unconventional style, and the Pats trying to execute at such a fast pace it has led to some of the miscues, but ultimately I think they’ll be okay in the long run. There’s no question they’re still trying to lock down their identity and I think that has played into it as well. Sometimes they’re unstoppable, other times they seem to be going backwards. They need consistency and with that the game management stuff will take care of itself.

JC – Can you talk about how New England has rebuilt this offense to be a dual threat with their newly found power running game?

MD – Honestly I don’t think they have much of a straight up power running game as some might think, and we saw that against the Seahawks last week.  What they excel at is running on nickel and dime defenses, and once their passing game that’s when their run game is most dangerous.

Now there’s no question Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Boldin are still a more dynamic group than they’ve had in some time, but so far we’ve only seen them dominate the run game situationally, when teams are on their heels and overly concerned with the passing attack. Whether they can consistently move the ball on the ground to run the clock out and seal a win, when the opposition knows they’re trying to run, remains to be seen. This includes short yardage situations too. And we’ve already seen a ton of negative plays that were rare in recent history. Make no mistake, you’ve got to stop the passing game first and foremost.

JC – If you were the Jets how would you attack the New England defense? The New England offense?

MD –  For the Jets offense you have to take some shots down the field. There’s no weaker link than the Patriots back end. They’ve been effective in stopping the run every week, with Brandon Spikes really being the tone setter there, and they’re a good tackling team for the most part as well. The short pass and ground attack is less effective so far this year than it has been in year’s past.

But if you look at Seattle’s game plan, they stuck with their ground game even though it wasn’t dominant and took a lot of play action shots down the field, especially on early downs. The Jets have some ammo to keep the Pats defense off balance, I’m sure Rex has been saving something Tebow-y just for New England. Those plays that confuse or put the Pats on their heels will open up the long balls down the field. But the difficult thing, and most key part, is not throwing interceptions on those deep shots. Simply put if Sanchez and the offense have one turnover or less they’ll be in the game until the end and then they just have to make the clutch plays. The Patriots defense lives or dies by turnovers, if you give them two or more New England will probably win.

For the Jets defense it’s all about patience. There will probably be a couple drives where the Patriots run no-huddle and look unstoppable. You just have to weather those storms and continue to force them to execute for 60 minutes. Because they’ve got a habit of going stone cold during crunch time. I know Rex loves to mix things up a lot, but the Pats no-huddle will make that difficult, so I’d say stay in base and simplify the calls so they can get in quickly. If the Jets go DB heavy the Patriots will not hesitate to run so they’ll have to be prepared for that as well.

Obviously they must try to confuse Brady’s reads as much as possible, and when the Pats offense goes no-huddle they must be prepared. So much of the damage New England does in the no-huddle is because teams are not lined up, don’t have the call, or simply gassed. You can’t give them anything easy. Make them work for it till the end and it’s entirely possible they won’t make the clutch plays in the clutch moments.

JC – Prediction for the game, how many wins the Patriots finish with and how many wins the Jets finish with?

MD – Well hey, I’m biased but even when I do my best to be non-biased I like the Pats in this one. They’re always tough coming off an embarrassing loss, even moreso at home. I’d expect them to bring their A-game this week.

The wild card is Sanchez and the deep ball. If the Jets can get a couple long scores, not turn the ball over, move the ball a bit on the ground, and keep it close until the 4th quarter it could be anybodies game.

Let’s go Pats 24, Jets 13.

At this point I like the Pats at 12-4. Jets 9-7.

MD – The Jets have had a season of injuries like none I’ve seen before. Who are some of the players that might be unknown to Patriots fans but have been elevating their play in the absence of so many starters?

JC – On offense, Jeremy Kerley has stepped into being the offense’s top playmaker. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch and has shown a consistent ability to create big plays down the field. The Jets receiving core gets a ton of flak for lacking talent but that isn’t a fair assessment. Outside of Kerley, Chaz Schilens has been a capable possession receiver and a healthy Stephen Hill has big play potential. He already has three touchdowns, despite missing 2 and 1/2 games.

On defense, Patriots fans know Antonio Cromartie obviously but he has taken his play to a different level in the absence of Darrelle Revis. The past three weeks have been the best I’ve seen Cromartie play since joining the team and he seems to have embraced a leadership role in the secondary.

MD – Is this a make or break year for Mark Sanchez? Has he progressed or regressed as a quarterback?

JC – Considering the structure of his contract, he will likely be back next year unless the bottom truly falls out on the season and his performance. Even the staunchest Sanchez apologist would have to admit he has regressed since the 2010 season. There have been flashes of strong play but the inconsistency has been maddening. The last two weeks have been baby steps in the right direction after a disastrous game against San Francisco. We have seen some of Sanchez’s best work against the Patriots since his career started, so hopefully he can keep building positive momentum.

MD –  How have the defense and offense evolved this year, if they have? What kind of team are the Jets trying to be? Is ground and pound really accurate?

JC – Ground and Pound needs to go as an expression (which is why we changed the tag-line on our site haha). Prior to last week, the Jets had been dreadful running the football and stopping the run, along with having a non-existent pass rush. We saw strides in the right direction beginning the in second half against Houston and then carrying over to the Indianapolis game. On offense, they are still going to be run heavy but do take more shots down the field than they did under Brian Schottenheimer. On defense, Rex Ryan seems to recognize his base defense’s shortcomings and has slowly been getting more creative with his schemes and integrating younger players into more playing time.

MD – Name a player on offense and a player on defense that will be key to the Jets chances of knocking off the Patriots.

JC –  Offensively, it has to be on Sanchez to hit his throws down the field. The Jets have the players on the outside who can beat the Patriots secondary deep (Hill, Kerley and yes even Cromartie) but Sanchez must be accurate. Defensively, they must knock Tom Brady off his mark and get him rattled early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are their best natural pass rushers and both must make an impact early and often.

MD – If you were the Patriots where would you attack the Jets offense and defense? What can be exploited?

JC –  The Jets still lack speed at linebacker in a big way. I would be running to the outside heavily with RIdley and Woodhead, along with looking to hurt the Jets in the screen game. If the Jets try to match up the Patriots tight ends in man coverage with their safeties, it should be a match-up Brady can take advantage of as well. On defense, I would make Sanchez beat you. Bottle up the running game and force him to hit throws down the field into tight windows and hope he throws a few interceptions.

 

Turn On The Jets Week 7 Roundtable – Jets vs. Pats Match-Ups

The Turn On The Jets discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in Jets/Pats

Joe Caporoso – Mark Sanchez vs. Patriots secondary – The Patriots are extremely susceptible to the deep ball and for the Jets to pull the upset it will be up to Mark Sanchez to take advantage of that. We saw Russell Wilson do it last week. We saw Joe Flacco do it a few weeks before. Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and yes Antonio Cromartie all have the speed to get down the field but Sanchez can’t misfire when the plays are there to be. Beyond that, he absolutely cannot turn the football over. Simply put for this season, when the Patriots don’t force turnovers, they don’t win.

Chris Gross – Patriots Tight Ends vs. Jets Safeties – The long awaited, heavy weight bout between LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell against Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will finally be underway this Sunday in Foxboro. Gronkowski and Hernandez have fared well in their respective careers against New York with Gronkowski averaging 3.5 catches for 42.5 yards and .5 touchdowns and Hernandez averaging 5 receptions for 62.25 yards and .25 touchdowns per contest.

New York has been improved, but still somewhat average against opposing tight ends this season. Some games, they have done a good job of shutting down the position that shredded them time and time again last season, while other times, they have given up big chunks of yards and critical red zone touchdowns. At the end of the day, this year’s Jets are still giving up just 4.7 catches for 54 yards and .5 touchdowns per game to opposing tight ends.

New York had severe holes at the safety position, something that was exploited in their most recent matchup with the Patriots in which Gronkowski went off for 8 receptions, 111 yards, and 2 touchdowns. As a result, the Jets went out and signed two proven veterans in Landry and Bell, and also used two draft picks on safeties in Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. These four players were brought in, not entirely, but primarily for this game.

It will be very interesting to see how this matchup plays out. With all the hype surrounding New England’s talented duo of tight ends, you’d have to think Landry will be coming out like a man possessed, looking to make a statement. Look for both Landry and Bell to be extremely physical in their coverage with each of these tight ends, something that has been lacking in the secondary prior to this season. A physical approach and sound, but creative, game plan could be just what the doctor ordered to finally keep this dual threat of Gronk and Hernandez in check.

TJ Rosenthal – We can’t help wondering how fast this new “starless” Jets team can gel. They seem commuted to each other and must be vining off of the perception that they should just pack up and go home now that Revis and Holmes are done this year. The key may be the run game. When the Pats are held to under 100 yards they are 0-3 this year. When Shonn Greene goes over 100, the Jets are 7-0. Was the Jets run game a mirage that fed off of a bad Colts run defense? Perhaps. If it was a case of the ground and pound finally kicking into gear though, hold the phones. Because maybe some respect on the ground will open up an already questionable Pats secondary to play action. Hold them under 100 and get Greene going again. That’s what we’d like to see. If the matchups up front on both sides of the ball yield something close to it, then the Jets can win in Foxboro Sunday.

Chris Celletti – I’m anxious to see how the Jets cover New England’s downfield passing game. The Patriots haven’t been as dominant through the air this season, but they’ve also faced very good defenses in all three of their losses (Baltimore, Arizona, Seattle). Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden have given New England a semblance of a running game, something they haven’t had in quite a while, but this unit has been a bit feast or famine so far this year. Make no mistake, New England still prefers to move the ball through the air, and Tom Brady still has plenty of weapons to use. . I’m interested to see how effective Rob Gronkowski is against LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Sunday’s game is one of the main reasons the Jets felt the need to make a huge upgrade at safety after last season. Overall the Jets’ secondary has a tall order ahead of them, but keeping the Pats’ passing game in check will go a long way towards the Jets beating their hated rival on the road.

Mike Donnelly – Jets New look D vs. Pats Hurry up O – The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this weekend is how the Jets matchup and play against the Patriots quick strike offense. In years past the Patriots have been able to catch the Jets off guard by getting a certain defensive personnel package on the field and exploiting it by going no-huddle and not letting the team make substitutions. Rex Ryan has made a conscious effort the past two years to get more players who can play all three downs effectively to match up with New England specifically. On the defensive line we’ll see less Po’uha and DeVito and more Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, which is a massive improvement over Marcus Dixon. At linebacker we’ll see more of Demario Davis, Antonio Allen, and the newly signed Marcus Dowtin to play “hybrid” roles where they can still effectively defend the run and cover the Patriots excellent tight ends. Obviously not having Darrelle Revis is a major blow, but with the improvements made elsewhere, I think the Jets are going to be able to do a solid job covering the Pats many weapons.

Rob Celletti – Jets Front Seven vs. New England’s hurry-up. Two weeks ago, I sat, semi-horrified, watching Tom Brady march the Patriots up and down the field on the Broncos, utilizing a ruthless hurry-up offense that was just as likely to pick up 15 yards on the ground as it was through the air. But I didn’t see their opponent in orange and blue; I saw them in green and white.  This seems like a truly worst-case scenario matchup for the Jets, who are slow at linebacker and largely inexperienced along the defensive line.  Would there be anything more torturous than watching Brady hurry the Patriots to the line and kill the Jets with handoffs to Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead?

But remember, the Jets are coming off of a brilliant defensive performance, albeit at home against an inferior opponent.  They have leaned on some younger players which has increased athleticism; but can these pups handle a Brady-led offense? Again, the onus is on Rex Ryan to prepare this defense to try and hold New England to around 24 points in order to give the Jets a fighting chance at the upset.

New York Jets Week 7 – Game Plan Thoughts For New England

A few thoughts on how the New York Jets could game plan for the New England Patriots

The New York Jets head to New England this Sunday in a pivotal AFC East game between a pair of 3-3 teams. Despite having the same record, the Jets find themselves as 10.5 point underdogs. New England is a better team but the Jets have beat the Patriots in the past when they had less talented rosters than them. This is another “kitchen sink” game where Rex Ryan and the coaching staff needs to put together a creative game plan that doesn’t hold back any gadgets or surprises. How can the Jets give themselves a chance to pull off the upset?

Offense – New England is extremely weak in their secondary, giving up an inordinate amount of 20+ yard passing plays. Their corners and safeties have a difficult time playing the ball in the air and both position groups are generally lacking on talent. The Jets are going to have to take their shots down the field. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for. This is the type of game you give Antonio Cromartie another shot to run a pass route or two. Jeremy Kerley should be able to do some damage down the seam. Of course all of that is irrelevant if Mark Sanchez cannot be accurate with his deep passes. This is a big test for Sanchez. Can he take advantage of a weak secondary? In the past Sanchez has played some of his best games against New England (and some of his worst) – but he does have over a 100 quarterback rating in 4 of his 7 games against them. The Jets need “Good Sanchez” in a big way on Sunday.

Obviously the Jets can’t be one dimensional. They need a productive running game to open up play action passing down the field. Without Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, that much more pressure will be on Shonn Greene to perform. Nobody is expecting him to duplicate last week’s performance but if he could give the Jets a solid 20 carry, 85 yard performance it will go a long way to helping their passing game out. Powell and McKnight’s absence could also lead to a bigger role for Tim Tebow.

I had an interesting conversation with Steve Hunter of Sports Geek, where he mentioned the possibility of using a “surprise” Wildcat that utilized Tebow in a hurry-up offense. New England uses their hurry-up to prevent defenses from subbing and allowing them to take advantage of team’s nickel personnel with their running game or their base personnel with their passing game. If the Jets started a series with Sanchez at quarterback and Tebow at one of the running back spots, they could move to a hurry up and alternate in plays where Tebow lines up quarterback before New England has a chance to substitute or react. This also wouldn’t be a bad game to allow Tebow to take a shot down the field, considering the Patriots vulnerable secondary.

Basically, the Jets need to get creative to manufacture points because New England is going to score their share. You aren’t winning this game with anything less than 24 on the board.

Defense – As previously mentioned, New England is going to gain their yards and score their share of points. The key is going to be, how many times can the Jets force the Patriots to settle for a field goal instead of letting them get in the end-zone? And can they force New England into a couple of turnovers? The Jets can’t allow the Patriots to rip off huge chunks of yardage. They have to make them work on long drives and hope they press eventually and Brady throws them an interception or Stevan Ridley coughs up a fumble.

New England thrives in their no huddle because they take advantage of a team’s inability to substitute and then gash them with their running game when they have personnel on the field to defend the pass. This is what makes having the personnel to run a “big nickel” that much more important. Rex Ryan seems to recognize that and smartly brought up hybrid safety/linebacker Antonio Allen last week and now this week has brought up another hybrid in Marcus Dowtin. These are the type of players you need to defend the Patriots, guys with coverage skills but who have the ability to play in the box and make tackles. Considering Eric Smith’s injury, look for extended reps for Allen and for Dowtin to be thrown right on the field like Allen was last week. At linebacker, Demario Davis should see a big chunk of Bart Scott’s playing time because of his speed and coverage skills.

Safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were brought in to help slow down the Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. They can’t match them in man to man coverage and it may be a good idea to give Antonio Cromartie a few shots on them in certain situations. However, they have the ability to get physical with them in the box and re-route or delay their routes in hopes of throwing their timing with Brady off. It will be imperative that Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin generate a pass rush because Brady is a different quarterback when he is getting frequently hit.

Special Teams – If Joe McKnight doesn’t play, Antonio Cromartie will be the primary kick returner and he is always capable of ripping off a big return. Jeremy Kerley remains dangerous as a punt returner as well. Any points generated from special teams would be a huge bump in a game where the Jets are trying to pace themselves with the Patriots offense. I have a tough time seeing the Jets executing another fake punt because you know New England is going to be waiting for it. Let’s see how creative Mike Westhoff can get.

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

An offensive film breakdown of the New York Jets game against the Indianpolis Colts

This week’s Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown is going to focus more on the running game, considering their success this past Sunday. Make sure you check back later in the day for our defensive film breakdown from Chris Gross – 

This was a banner performance from the New York Jets offensive line, particularly guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore. They were dominant at the point of attack and consistently driving Colts defenders 4-5 yards off the football. Offensive coordinator Tomy Sparano was heavily reliant on Moore pulling into the hole and clearing out space for Greene. On his 21 yard run in the first quarter, look at the hole cleared out by Moore and then sealed off by Konrad Reuland and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. You won’t see a better blocked play in the NFL than this one –

Tight ends Dustin Keller, Jason Smith and even Jeff Cumberland deserve credit for their contributions in the running game. Keller in particular looked like a different player blocking against the run. Sparano’s game plan was built around the tight ends having a large role as blockers, not pass catchers and they responded.

While plenty of credit goes to the offense line, we won’t shy away from giving plenty to Shonn Greene. More impressive than his 21 yard run was this 7 yard one below, which showed vision, patience and power. Greene played this entire game in a different gear and finally ran like the true power back the Jets expect him to be. On this play, Greene correctly extends horizontally to get behind the pulling Matt Slauson

He sees the hole, plants and sharply cuts inside of it without stumbling or slowing down. This has been a frequent problem for him this season. Even more impressive, he began to absorb contact around a 2-3 yard gain on this play but charged forward and dragged three defenders and turned it into a 7 yard gain. Greene got more yards than were blocked up for him, instead of leaving yards on the field.

On his 10 yard touchdown run we saw more of the same. Greene quickly locates the hole and hits it at full speed. He is untouched until the 5 yard line when he is met by two defenders, with a third closing in. He absorbs contact and then keeps his legs churning to drag all three of them into the end-zone. By any standard, against any defense this a very impressive run. If he continues to play like this, the Jets offense has a chance to be consistently successful.

Finally a quick look at how the Jets properly used Tim Tebow. On a 3rd and 1 near the goal-line, the Jets lined Tebow up at quarterback with two running backs behind him, a variation of the Pistol formation. Tebow quickly calls for a shift to five wide. Look in the second image at how much confusion it causes on the Colts defense. When they settle, the Jets have 7 blockers in front of Tebow to deal with 8 Colts in the box. The Jets will take this match-up every single day of the week on a 3rd and 1 with Tebow under center. They should literally run this play every single time on 3rd and 2 or less until a defense shows they can stop it.

Other Observations 

Mark Sanchez – He was not asked to do much in this game but played very well in his limited opportunities. In particular, his two touchdown passes were throws into tight windows. On the touchdown to Stephen Hill, he showed terrific chemistry with the young receiver as Hill properly broke the route off, Sanchez recognized it immediately and fired the ball in. Of his seven incompletions, one was a drop by Jeff Cumberland, one was thrown away on a busted screen, and one should have pass interference on the defender covering Chaz Schilens down the sideline. The only bad throw he missed was Jeremy Kerley down the seam on a third down where his timing was off.

Wide Receivers – Chaz Schilens still has a bad rep with some fans because of his injuries over the summer. The reality is that he has been very good for the Jets, catching 12 passes on 16 targets. He is turning into a favorite target of Sanchez on third downs and rightfully so. He runs sharp routes and aggressively attacks the ball in the air. He will be an important player in the Jets passing game moving forward. Stephen Hill also looked good in limited reps. He caught the ball well and did a nice job using his size to shield off defenders when catching a deep stop route and a slant.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Jets vs. Colts Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling after Jets/Colts

Despite not being able to watch most of Sunday’s game live (damn you, Sunday weddings during football season!) and tweet irrational play-by-play analysis with you all, I did manage to catch enough of it to have a pretty good grasp of what went on. DVR’ing it and finally catching up on all the minor details didn’t hurt things either, and now I feel sufficiently confident and buying and selling all things New York Jets as we head into Patriots Week. Let’s get started..

BUY: Shonn Greene – YESSS!!!! FINALLY!!!!! For weeks I was the last remaining New York Jets fan defending Shonn Greene and telling everyone who would listen to not give up on this guy. It appears as though my plan to pretend to join the masses in giving up on Greene to motive him worked perfectly! Glad I could help, Shonn.

Ok, so maybe that’s not quite what happened, but it appears as though those thousands of Shonn Greene stock shares I own have just been upgraded out of Enron territory. Joe will have more on this in his offensive film breakdown, but Greene ran confidently, hit the holes hard, and didn’t even stumble over his feet that much. He even perfectly executed a spin move in the backfield to avoid a tackler and score a touchdown, which almost made me simultaneously spit out my drink and start crying out of pride and happiness. I felt like Pedro Cerrano at the end of Major League when he’s this close to giving up on Jobu, before crushing a huge home run. If Greene can run like that now that the weather is turning and the offensive line is starting to gel, we could really be on to something here.

BUY: Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller – The numbers weren’t crazy or anything, but these two guys being on the field helped open up the offense dramatically. Hill will drive us crazy all year with his inconsistent play and drops, but there’s no question that the defense has to account for his speed whenever he’s on the field. As for Keller, he didn’t do much as a receiver, but his blocking was tremendous, and it won’t be long before he gets into the swing of things catching passes.

BUY: Tebow’s 3rd and 1 run up the middle – I can’t for the life of me figure out why it took 6 weeks for the team to use Tebow for a power run up the middle in a short yardage situation. But better late than never I suppose, as they finally did it, having Tebow run right up the middle behind Nick Mangold, and — surprise, surprise– it worked! I’d like to see more of this, please.

BUY: Coaching – I know the perception of Rex Ryan is that he’s just some big bozo who runs his mouth and can’t back it up. That perception is wrong. Rex Ryan is really a very good coach, and this game was a prime example as to why. His defensive game plan was flat out brilliant, as he confused Andrew Luck for 4 quarters and managed to fix a run defense that was getting absolutely torched the past few weeks. Now, I know Vick Ballard isn’t exactly Adrian Peterson, but it was nice to see an excellent all-around defensive performance. On offense, kudos go out to Tony Sparano for staying the course and sticking with his run game while also finding ways to get borderline useless players like Jason Hill and Jeff Cumberland involved and actually put them in a position to make plays.

BUY: The Youth Movement – This wasn’t exactly planned heading into this season, but the Jets are quietly reloading and incorporating a youth movement while also managing to contend at the same time. Injuries to players such as Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Sione Po’uha and Eric Smith have forced youngsters like Kyle Wilson, Jeremy Kerley, Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Allen, and Quinton Coples into more prominent roles than they were expected to play. Throw in contributions from guys like Bilal Powell, Austin Howard, Demario Davis, and even — gasp! — Vlad Ducasse and the Jets are quietly building something very promising for 2013. And yes, I absolutely am going to expand on this for an article later this week, so be on the look out.

New York Jets Working To Change Perceptions

Can this “no name” Jets team form new perceptions about their team?

We are starting to see a new Jets team branding themselves out there, are we not? It’s early in the process we know. After all, Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes just left Gang Green for the year only weeks back. Since then however, this no name bunch of young Jets has teamed up with written off starters like Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene to battle the then undefeated Texans, and take care of business against a Colts team that simply had to be defeated. A task that is never a guarantee if you follow Jets history closely enough.

Among this excitable new crop of Jets gaining important playing time is Chaz Schilens. A wide receiver who lately, has spoken with enough pride about his belief in the systems in place and his teammates, that we are beginning to feel as though maybe something is gelling inside of the locker room of a team. A unity among this current and ever changing cast of characters, who may be rallying around the doubt that pervades them outside of Florham Park.

We all know what happens when a football team plays together. Even a team built out of a laundry list of stars in this sport can often times run into problems against a committed team that works together, despite a lack of any notable names on the backs of their jerseys.

Schilens, a fourth year vet and former Raider who has always owned physical potential and promise has slowly begun to make plays. This after waiting for a shot to contribute. Injuries to Holmes and recently to rookie WR Stephen Hill have allowed for that as Schilens has over the past few games, begun to turn himself into a player who can be counted on in tough yardage situations, with defenders draped on him.

His attitude off the field, has been one of a symbolic defiance lately too. Of refusing to be part of a team that is pigeonholed into an also ran so early in the year, even as injuries pile up. Here is what Schilens had to say about all of the talk regarding the Jets being a circus act and doomed for failure given who has been lost so far for the season:

“It’s so overly exaggerated it’s ridiculous. What’s not funny is you guys try to tell us maybe we shouldn’t even show up for the game or we’ll be outclassed or we’re not a good football team..When we get to full strength and get clicking on all cylinders with the parts we have right now, it’s not going to be funny, especially for other teams.”

There will be those who will paint Schilens’ words as just another example of a Jet sharing his views in an open door culture the team likes to promote. We see it as the voice of an entire team’s regrouped mindset.

A team that is changing it’s approach on the fly. From relying on a few top of the line stars to an entire room full of pieces. All fighting collectively for the same thing. Victories and respect.

New York Jets – Can They Remain A Factor In Mediocre AFC?

Can the New York Jets remain a factor in the increasingly mediocre AFC?

In case you haven’t noticed, the 2012 AFC is a breeding ground of mediocrity. Through six weeks, only two teams are over .500 (Baltimore and Houston, both at 5-1) and there are seven teams sitting at 3-3. Beyond that, you have eight teams under .500, including five teams who are already at least two games under. Let’s take a quick, semi-serious look at the flaws with every team –

Houston (5-1) – They just lost Brian Cushing for the season and were stomped out in their own building by the Green Bay Packers. They barely scrapped by the Jets as they were acclimating about 6 new players to full time roles. When has Matt Schaub ever won an important game? Seriously, name one.

Baltimore (5-1) – No Lardarius Webb (a huge on field loss). No Ray Lewis (a huge locker room loss). Terrell Suggs still not all the way healthy and Haloti Ngata is banged up. They are almost entirely reliant on their offense right now. Is Joe Flacco really on that level yet? He has shown signs but did also only score 9 points against the Chiefs who couldn’t beat 11 sobbing Jason Whitlocks right now.

Jets (3-3) – Of course, I am listing them before all the other 3-3 teams not based any specific criteria just because this is a Jets website after all. I won’t go into the Jets flaws here because I do that every single day and night (check for our articles later today!)

Patriots (3-3) – Marquice Cole might be the best player in their secondary right now. Also they manage their games like you would if you played your little brother in Madden. Basically, you have Belichick and Brady keeping a Joe Biden sh*t eating grin on their face until they get an intentional grounding and a 10 second run off before the half so they can’t kick a field goal…and then lose by 1 point.

Denver (3-3) – You can’t fall behind 3 touchdowns and win every week because you can’t play Philip Rivers and Norv Turner every week. Their running backs are awful and their defense is criminally overrated (trust me, I know a criminally overrated defense when I see one…look at the team I cover).

San Diego (3-3) – Can’t wait until they finish 8-8 and somehow bring back Norv, their GM and Rivers for one more run! Remember, insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

Buffalo (3-3) – Mario Williams is the most overpaid player in football. Their defense is thoroughly atrocious  They are a lock to go 1-5 in the AFC East. Oh and their fans will be seeing this sign on their way to games in a few years…

Miami (3-3) – Not sold on the Tannehill-Hartline love fest yet. Despite beating powerhouses like Oakland, St. Louis and Cincinnati who promptly turned around and got whipped by 0-5 Cleveland. Also Reggie Bush is inevitably going to get hurt.

Cincinnati (3-3) – AJ Green is a fantasy God-send. Seriously, he is more consistent than intense stomach pains after a meal at PF Changs. Unfortunately, Andy Dalton has never beat a team over .500 in his life. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is not a lead back and their defense has taken a major step back.

Pittsburgh (2-3) – Outside of their passing game, they don’t do anything particularly well any more. Their defense is old and slow. Calvin Pace, Eric Smith, Bryan Thomas and Bart Scott would fit right in.

Indianapolis (2-3) – They won’t win more than 2 games on the road this season. No matter how many “LOOK AT THE POISE!” articles on Andrew Luck are written, he is still a rookie working with a suspect supporting cast.

Cleveland (1-5) – Most accurate description of a sports city possible –

Oakland (1-4) – If the Raiders traded two 7th round picks for Carson Palmer they would have overpaid. Nevermind what they actually paid for him.

Tennessee (2-4) – Matt Hasselbeck is still better than Jake Locker, which isn’t a good sign for the long term health of this franchise. Chris Johnson. (Nothing else needs to be added).

Jacksonville (1-4) – Are we surprised it looks like they overpaid for Laurent Robinson and that Blaine Gabbert is still awful? Would they still take Tebow for a 3rd round pick?

Kansas City (1-5) – Brady Quinn! Peyton Hillis! Dontari Poe! Jonathan Baldwin! BOOOO!!!!!!!

So where do the New York Jets fit into this cluster of mediocrity heading into week 7? Fortunately, in the division they are off to a good start by being 2-0 where tie-breakers will be of enormous importance. They have played both San Francisco and Houston already while New England has played neither and Buffalo and Miami have only played one apiece. Their schedule for the rest of the season doesn’t make it implausible to think they could grab 9 wins in a conference where 9 wins could equal a division title and 8 wins could equal a wild-card spot.

Ultimately their success this year will depend on how the new parts acclimate to extended playing time. Rex Ryan appears to have recognized the shortcomings on his base defense and looks to be using more varied looks and personnel. The Jets need players like Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Antonio Allen and Josh Bush to grow on the job while players like Antonio Cromartie, David Harris and Muhammad Wilkerson provide leadership and supply elevated levels of play that matches their talent.

On offense, Mark Sanchez needs to get the most out of his young group of receivers, starting this week in New England. We will get into this more tomorrow when we discuss offensive and defense game plans but the Jets must throw the ball down the field against the Patriots brutal secondary. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for and one that Jeremy Kerley, who is turning into a serious playmaker, should thrive in.

Obviously the running game must also remain effective. We have been harshly critical of Shonn Greene’s performance on this site in recent weeks because the film dictated that type of criticism. Greene broke out last week, thanks to better vision, a surprising amount of broken tackles, stronger run blocking and a weak run defense. Greene will shoulder a big load again this week and likely  next week while Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell are recovering from injuries. He must continue performing, to give balance to the Jets offense and open up the play action passing game. Proper use of Tim Tebow should also enhance a running game that has been struggling.

The Jets are facing a pivotal part of their schedule with two upcoming division games. They have an ability to take a stranglehold on the AFC East by winning their next two or an ability to dig themselves in a hole with losses in both. Realistically, a split should be the goal and would set them up well for a second half that features games against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo, St. Louis and San Diego at home in December.

This is a flawed team in a conference of flawed teams. There is an opportunity to create a little separation from the pack and gain a little respect with a win this week. Let’s see if the Jets are up to it.

New York Jets Week 6 Grade Report – High Marks

The grade report for the New York Jets week 6 trouncing of the New England Patriots

Quarterbacks (A) – Easy to laugh at a (A) for a 82 yard passing day for Mark Sanchez. However, he didn’t need to do anymore. He completed 60 percent of his passes, moved the chains when he needed to and hit two touchdown passes into tight windows. Most importantly, there were no turnovers. New England’s secondary is awful, particularly down the middle against the deep ball so the game-plan will be more aggressive next week and Sanchez needs to respond. That Tebow guy had a nice conversion on a 3rd and short.

Running Backs (A+) – Shonn Greene played his best game since the 2009 playoffs, racking up over 160 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most importantly, he broke tackles and made a few people miss. He ran decisively and showed better vision than in previous weeks. Joe McKnight also ripped off a 61 yard run. It sounds like despite an ankle injury, he will be able to play this week. Bilal Powell saw limited action and dislocated his shoulder. He will likely be out a few games.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (A) – The entire group made contributions. Stephen Hill caught all three of the passes thrown to him, including one for a touchdown and two for first downs. Jeremy Kerley had three more catches. Chaz Schilens converted a pair of third downs and even Jason Hill pulled in a short touchdown catch. Dustin Keller had a nice game blocking of all things while Jeff Cumberland continued to struggle in that role and also dropped a pass.

Offensive Line (A+) – A long overdue dominating performance from the Jets frequently maligned offensive line. They pushed the Colts all over the field and imposed their will in the running game. Sanchez was also given a clean pocket and only sacked once on the day.

Defensive Line (A) – Signs of life from the pass rush. Muhammad Wilkerson was all over the field, finishing with 7 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a tackle for a loss and a pass defensed. Quinton Coples recorded 1.5 sacks, making him already that much better than Vernon Gholson (as Mike Tannenbaum breathes a sigh of relief). Mike DeVito deserves praise for holding down the fort at nose tackle with Sione Pouha and Kenrick Ellis out.

Linebackers (B) – A quiet day overall from this unit but they performed in the running game. Demario Davis is starting to see extended playing time and looks active rushing the passer. Bart Scott and David Harris only combined for 5 tackles, a rarity.

Secondary (A) – Antonio Cromartie continued his All-Pro caliber season pulling in another interception and slowing down Reggie Wayne. Rookie Antonio Allen recorded his first career sack. LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were active in the running game and combined for an impressive 17 tackles. A quiet day for Kyle Wilson, which is a good thing.

Special Teams (A) – Another week, another converted fake punt. Well-designed by Mike Westhoff and well executed by Tim Tebow and Nick Bellore.

Coaching (A) – Rex Ryan deserves credit for building this team back up after they were embarrassed a few weeks ago by San Francisco. They are headed in the right direction and appear ready to be a factor in the increasingly wide open AFC. Tony Sparano executed the type of game plan he talked about all summer on offense and Mike Pettine’s defense had their best game of the year.

 

No Huddle – New York Jets Very Much Alive Edition

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on the New York Jets after their big win over the Indianapolis Colts. Are they ready for New England?

Brace yourselves folks. Everyone’s favorite circus act, the New York Jets, are in a first place deadlock and headed for Foxboro. Surprised? Don’t be. It’s the NFL, where anything can happen and the “next man up” approach can yield some new fresh, hungry ballplayers. Maybe these NEW 2012 Jets are beginning to gain some solid footing. A solid performance against Houston. A better collective one yesterday.

1 – Wait, was that…Shonn Greene?

Yesterday’s 160 yard, 3 TD version of Greene was the one that the Jets staff hoped to build the ground and pound around. Now the question is, ‘who is the real Shonn Greene?’

If it’s even half the runner we saw Sunday, not the guy who owned a 2.9 avg prior to kickoff, then the Jets may be able to hit some plays downfield using the play action as the season develops. Control teams on the ground too. Let’s hope his efforts weren’t a mirage, as much as a new starting point for himself and his run blockers up front.

2 – That’s How You Use Tebow

He threw a pass out of a punt formation. He charged forward for positive yards on first down. He had a shot carrying the rock by the goal line. Tim Tebow as a weapon, in our eyes, is beginning to take shape. Forget the idea that Tebow is going to take Sanchez’s job. With some targets back and a resurgent run game, we saw Sanchez the game manager do a fine job out there. Providing the offense an engine boost  on the fake punt, in the wildcat as a decoy and a ball carrier. THAT’S a weapon. Nice job 15.

3 – Do It Through A Strength In Numbers

The Jets offense lacks All Pro names at the skill positions. Where they can be successful anyway, is through a strength in numbers.

The backs: Bilal Powell had two nice runs before injuring his shoulder. Joe McKnight broke one big gainer before he hurt his ankle. Shonn Greene had a career day.

The receievers: The Hills had touchdowns. Chaz Schilens made plays. Jeremy Kerley has emerged as a playmaker. Dustin Keller is back.

Look, it’s not how it was first drawn up, with Santonio Holmes on one side. It can be effective though, if this unit grows in confidence. Yesterday’s performance helped in that department.

4 – Relax, It Was Just The Colts: Or Was It?

If you told us not to get too excited about beating a team with a rookie QB, BEFORE the Colts beat the Packers two weeks back, we’d have taken your advice. Look at the past three weeks in the NFL though. The Colts beat the Packers. The Texans barely get by the Jets. The Jets beat up the Colts and the Packers blow out the Texans. What that tells us is what we all already know; that it’s a week to week league. A win is a win. Period. Anyone can be beat so make sure you win the winnable games. After all, “On any given Sunday…”

5 – Give It Up For Rex Ryan

So much for the “hot seat” some idiots said Rex was on. How about giving it up for Ryan today instead?

Rex doesn’t warrant kudos for any old “Big Rex” bluster and camera grabbing quotes of bravado or motivation. He has earned it this go round by his simple ability to navigate. Ryan has weathered the storm of two major season ending injuries. Has held strong on his headline grabbing QB situation, despite the pressure to turn to Tebow. Has shown leadership as his Jets team has fought to survive through a tough early schedule and personnel rebranding. This in a media capital that never let’s his team breathe, even when the Jets AREN’T asking for attention.

The Jets are 3-3 and in a four way tie for first in the AFC East. 2-0 in the division. Even with a roster that included Holmes and Darrelle Revis, the situation might not be much better than it is right now.

Now the Jets get set for a week 7 battle in Foxboro against the Pats. Still in position to do all the things they set out to do, before week 1 kicked off.

Way to go Rex. Way to keep the  wings that looked rickety and tattered when the Jets plummeted at home 34-0 to San Fran in week 5, firmly attached to the plane. It’s a brand new season now. No, all is not perfect, but the AFC East is still for the taking though.

Ryan deserves some credit for that.