How The Jets Can Make A Playoff Run

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First a few updates:

1. Rich Cimini posted an article today which cited a few sources within the Jets organization that pinned the decision to draft Vernon Gholston on ex head coach Eric Mangini. We had been hearing this for awhile now about Mangini’s pre-draft infatuation with Gholston but regardless Mike Tannenbaum is supposed to make all final decisions on the draft so it isn’t fair for him to completely pass the buck to Mangini. The entire organization deserves blame for the Gholston pick which has not worked out at all. Gholston was drafted to sack the quarterback and in 24 NFL games, he hasn’t recorded a single sack. The reality is that Gholston should be inactive for every game in the second half of the season. Jamaal Westerman is a better reserve pass rusher on defense and Marques Murrell, Ahmad Carroll, and Westerman are all better special teams players than him.

2. Peter King gave the Jets some love in his mid-season All-Pro Team by placing Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Nick Mangold on it.

3. The Jets reportedly have no interest in recently released Chiefs running back Larry Johnson…well duh. Who would want this washed up head case, especially with Thomas Jones and Shonn Grenne on the roster and Leon Washington coming back next year?

4. CBS has protected the Jets/Pats 4:15 game on November 22nd, preventing NBC from moving it to Sunday Night Football. At least we have our prime-time game against the Bills in Toronto to get excited about.

5. A few highlights from Rex Ryan’s press conference today: Vernon Gholston sat out practice with a hamstring injury, while Lito Sheppard and Brad Smith were both limited but still are expected to play this weekend. Ryan confirmed Sheppard would return to the starting line-up when he comes back. He also complimented Mark Sanchez for practicing without sleeves today and admitted he needs to learn how to deal with the cold weather if the Jets are going to be successful in the second half of the season.

Some Quick NFL Second Half Predictions

In my “2009 NFL Predictions” article here: http://turnonthejets.com/2009/09/07/2009-nfl-predictions/, I predicted the AFC playoff teams would be: New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Baltimore (wild card), New York Jets (wild card). In the NFC: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Atlanta, Arizona, New York Giants (wild card), Green Bay Packers (wild card). My Super Bowl prediction was Philly vs. San Diego.

Obviously, it isn’t fair to revise picks half way through the season. However, in the AFC I’d like to trade Baltimore out and take Cincinnati in but beyond that I am feeling alright. I am thinking San Diego will win the AFC West and Denver will fade away in the second half. In the NFC, I look completely idiotic for not picking New Orleans to even make the playoffs so I need to trade the fading Giants and the mediocre Packers out to bring the Saints and Cowboys in.

I won’t bail on my Super Bowl picks because I think both teams will still be in the mix come January but if I had to switch it up now I would say we are looking at a Colts/Steelers AFC Championship Game and a Saints/Vikings NFC Championship game with the Steelers and Saints meeting in the Super Bowl.

How The Jets Can Make A Playoff Run

I have already stated my belief that the Jets are going 6-2 in the second half of the season and will find a way to sneak in the playoffs, but what do they need to do to make that happen? Let’s look at the three separate phases of the game:

large_marky-markOffense: It all starts and ends with the quarterback, if Mark Sanchez can take what he learned from the first half of the season and put together an improved second half the Jets are going to have a very good offense. He needs to continue doing what he did in the past two games, which means protecting the football, hitting big plays down the field when the defense stacks the box, and avoiding sacks by checking the ball down or throwing the ball away. Keep in mind Sanchez lost two games for the Jets in the first half of the season with amazingly bad, turnover-filled performances. I think those type of games are behind him which is going to prevent the Jets from having a let down against inferior teams like Jacksonville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo. The real question is going to be can Sanchez rise up on the road in games against New England and Indy and at home against Atlanta and Cincinnati to lead the Jets to a couple of upsets.

Beyond the quarterback, Brian Schottenheimer needs to remember what the Jets identity is on offense. They need to keep running the football. I hope Thomas Jones got his rest over the bye week because the guy should be getting 22-25 carries every single week for the rest of the season. Shonn Greene needs to bounce back from a rough Miami game and become a reliable 10-12 carry guy off the bench. I know Schottenheimer is going to be tempted to air it out with a healthy Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards and a rejuvenated Dustin Keller but the Jets aren’t going anywhere throwing 35 passes a game. When teams stack the box and finally begin slowing down the Jets #1 ranked rushing attack, then they need to take advantage of single coverage on either Edwards, Cotchery, or Keller. With how well the Jets run the football, they should be able to hit big plays down the field in the passing game.

126926_featureDefense: Outside of the weak showing on Monday night against Miami, the Jets defense has been exceptional this year. Over the past two weeks, they have finally started creating turnovers and sacking the quarterback and that needs to continue. If the Jets are going to pull some of the necessary upsets to make the playoffs, it will be led by strong defensive performances that will keep games against New England, Indy, Atlanta, and Cincy close and give the Jets a chance to steal the game in the fourth quarter. On the defensive line, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, and Marques Douglas need to keep their elevated level of play going to fill the void of Kris Jenkins. They will be tested right out of the gate against Maurice Jones-Drew and will also have to deal with DeAngelo Williams, Michael Turner, and Cedric Benson later in the year.

At linebacker it is time to plant Vernon Gholston on the bench and let Jamaal Westerman become the primary pass rusher off the bench. In the secondary, Lito Sheppard’s return will boost the secondary by allowing Dwight Lowery, who is talented enough to be a starter, to slide into the nickel role. Kerry Rhodes also needs to get it going. The Jets are going to need some defensive touchdowns or key turnovers that give easy points to the offense, and for that to happen Rhodes to start making some big plays.

Special Teams: Tackle, Tackle, Tackle. The Jets won’t make the mistake of making Marques Murrell and Ahmad Carroll inactive in the same week again. Jay Feely has been very good this season and needs to keep it up. Steve Weatherford has been okay and you’d like to see a slight improvement from him. In the return game, hopefully Justin Miller got back up to speed over the bye week and will provide a threat on kick returns.

Who Else Could We Have Had With This Pick?

NFL Week 8 Recap/Jets Bye Week News and Notes

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NFL Week 8 Recap/Jets Bye Week News and Notes

Wrapping Up Jets/Dolphins

Defensive Player of the Game: Bart Scott – Despite facing increasing criticism for refusing to respect the Miami Dolphins after another loss at their hands, Scott still put together his best effort in a Jets uniform on the field. He led the team in tackles with 8, with two of them going for a loss and recorded a huge fourth quarter sack. Hopefully, we will continue to see more big plays from Scott over the final half of the season.

Offensive Player of the Game: Mark Sanchez – It is games like this that make you feel pretty good about the Jets future. The Jets have assembled a collection of young talented offensive players: Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, David Clowney, Leon Washington, Shonn Greene, Nick Mangold, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson but none of that matters if you don’t have a quarterback to make it all go. Sanchez built on his progress from last week by avoiding any turnovers and racking up 3 touchdowns (1 rushing) and 265 yards passing.

Honorable Mentions: Braylon Edwards for playing like a number one receiver…Jerricho Cotchery for making a big impact in his return from injury…Sione Pouha for his best game as a pro…Thomas Jones for adding another 100 yard effort on the ground…Dustin Keller for returning in a big way to the Jets offensive gameplan…Marques Douglas for pancaking Chad Henne for a sack.

AFC East Observations

large_jets-patriots416New England Patriots –Everybody is singing the Patriots praises because of their immense accomplishments over the past three weeks, which include beating the 1-6 Titans, 0-7 Bucs, and having a bye. I think they will take care of the Dolphins at home this week but we won’t find how good they really are until they travel to Indy the following week and New Orleans in week 12. If the Jets want any hope at winning the AFC East, a win in New England on November 22nd is an absolute must.

Miami Dolphins – I said in the beginning of the year that Miami was going to be a 6-10 team, and I still stand by that statement today. They can’t play the Jets every week. As sick as it makes me, I will be rooting for them to beat the Patriots this weekend but certainly won’t lose any sleep if they can’t come through and fall to 3-5.

Buffalo Bills – It is hard to see the Bills winning more than 6 games this season. I would like to think that if Mark Sanchez can only throw 2 interceptions instead of 5, the Jets will get revenge on Thursday night football on December 3rd in Toronto.

Turn On The Jets Top Ten

  1.  New Orleans Saints – A complete football team that should roll the next 3 weeks (Carolina, St. Louis, Tampa) before a game with the Patriots, which they better win for our sakes.
  2. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – They can effectively clinch the division with a win over Houston this week.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – It looks like they will coast to the NFC North title and a bye.
  4. Denver Broncos – They were due for a loss. Huge game at home against Pittsburgh this weekend.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers – They can re-establish themselves as an elite team with a win in Denver.
  6. Cincinnati Bengals – How real are they? We will see the next two weeks if they can sweep Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
  7. New England Patriots – Two weeks to prepare for the fading Wildcat should equal a win this week.
  8. Philadelphia Eagles – My Super Bowl pick gave me a little joy on Sunday by shredding the Giants.
  9. Dallas Cowboys – Big games in Philly and Green Bay coming up.
  10. Baltimore Ravens – I think they get revenge for an earlier loss against Cincy this week.

Jets Bye Week News and Notes

– The Jets have fell to #18 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, which is hard to argue with. They might be the best 4-4 team in football, but unfortunately you are what your record is, which means the Jets are .500 team.

– Some quotes from Mark Sanchez yesterday: “We just need to figure out a way to start winning these games instead of losing them. We need to show up in all three phases to do that…we’re on a great football team. Our record doesn’t show the type of players we have, the kind of people we have in this locker room and the kind of coaching we have. This is a great time for us to just get away, think some things over and get ready to play…A lot of people will say, “Hey, man, you’re a rookie and you’re playing really good for a rookie.” But I don’t want to play like a rookie. I want to play like a 10-year vet, a Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion. That is the way I want to play and that’s the way I feel like I can play with this team around me.”

– Over at www.thejetsblog.com, they pulled up some interesting numbers comparing Sanchez’s first eight starts to some other recent successful quarterbacks first eight starts. He has a higher completion percentage, more yards, the same amount of TD’s, and less INT’s than Eli Manning did in his first eight NFL starts. Beyond that, his numbers are on a very similar pace to Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning. I think when this year is all said and done, Sanchez will have more TD’s than INT’s and a completion percentage in the 56-58 range (which still isn’t great but better than what he has now).

– The team is completely off the rest of the week and will return to work on Monday, with practice straight through until the Jaguars game. The coaches will be off starting Thursday until Monday.

– In terms of injuries, the Jets should be back at full strength after the bye (obviously not including Leon and Jenkins).

Ah, the good old days of week 2

Grading Out The Jets/Dolphins Game

Dolphins Jets Football

First a few updates:

1. The Game Highlights and Stats section have been updated.

2. A few things from Rex Ryan’s press conference today: He pointed out a potential problem on special teams might have been having Ahmad Carroll, Marquice Cole, and Marques Murrell inactive due to some injury situations and mentioned they may need to always have guys like them active regardless of their lack of participation on defense. Ryan also stood firm on having a “hands-off” approach on offense and special teams, and relying on the ‘expertise’ of the coordinators. He also defended giving the team 6 days off this week because of the team’s need to get away from football for a little while and then come back fresh. Something interesting he said about the bye week is that he will have the offensive coaches break down the Jets defensive tape and the defensive coaches break down the Jets offensive tape, to analyze each group tendencies and make recommendations to each other. Regardless of the criticism, Rex Ryan said he isn’t going to change his personality or his confident style of talking/coaching. Like I said yesterday, you are what you are. This is the guy the Jets hired, don’t expect him to change. If you liked him in week 3, then you should still like him now. If you thought he was too brash/cocky from the beginning, then you should obviously still feel that way now.

Grading Out The Jets/Dolphins Game

Quarterbacks: (B+) Mark Sanchez had his best game since the early weeks of the season, finishing 20/35, with 265 yards, 2 passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over for the second week in a row. He got off to a slow start and played tight early, missing a few throws over the middle. However, he put together a great second half and led the Jets on three touchdown drives. On the final drive, he has to avoid taking a sack on third down and make a quicker decision on the fourth down play. He turned their fourth and 13 play into a hail mary, which he pretty much threw out of the end-zone. I don’t know what the play call was in that situation, but I would I think the best bet would be for him to take a 5 step drop and put up a jump ball to either Braylon Edwards or Dustin Keller and hope for them to make a play or draw pass interference.

Dolphins Jets FootballRunning Backs: (B) Thomas Jones was terrific for the third straight week, rushing for 102 yards and adding in a 28 yard reception. Shonn Greene killed the Jets with a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and appeared to run tentative after that play. The Jets are going to need Greene in the second half of the season so he needs to shake off the fumble and keep running hard.

Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery only had three receptions but all three were huge plays, including a 53 yarder, a third down conversion, and an impressive sideline grab during the final drive. Braylon Edwards was a beast and has earned a fat, new contract from the Jets for his two performances against Miami this season. David Clowney had three down third down catches, which were all short of the first down marker. On the first two, he did a bad job of running his route to the right depth.

Tight Ends: (B) Dustin Keller…welcome back. I don’t think Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer will be forgetting about #81 anytime soon after the game he put together yesterday. Ben Hartsock specializes in having ridiculously costly penalties and probably should be cut.

Offensive Line: (C) Alan Faneca had a rough day and let up a huge sack on the final drive. Sanchez took some monster hits this game. The running was also didn’t pop any huge plays.

Defensive Line: (A) Shaun Ellis (1.5 sacks), Marques Douglas (1 sack, 1 TFL), and Sione Pouha (5 tackles, 1 TFL) all played their best game of the season. Howard Green also chipped in with a solid effort off the bench. It is a shame that it went to waste in a loss. Hopefully, they can keep the production up in the second half of the year.

Linebackers: (A) Post-game sarcasm aside, Bart Scott played his best game as a Jet with 8 tackles, a sack, and two tackles for a loss. David Harris had a big sack and another solid overall day at the office. Bryan Thomas was beat for second half touchdown but beyond that played one of his better games of the year. Calvin Pace was somewhat quiet.

Secondary: (B) Jim Leonhard recorded a half sack and played a quality game. Darrelle Revis and Dwight Lowery didn’t give up any big plays or make any big plays. Kerry Rhodes had more contact in pre-game, than he did during the game where he only recorded 1 tackle.

Special Teams: (F-) Every Jets fan love affair with Danny Woodhead should end after this game because he blew outside contain on both kick return touchdowns. Ryan Fowler, Larry Izzo, Wallace Wright, Jay Feely, and Donald Strickland were also victims off horrible tackling/decision making on both kick return touchdowns. The quarterback lost the games against Buffalo and New Orleans. The defense lost the first game against Miami and the special teams lost this one against Miami.

Coaching: (C) The two point decisions were questionable. However, the Jets played a terrific game on defense and put up 25 points on offense, which should have been enough to win. Rex Ryan is never going to shut his mouth, even if the Jets lose their next 8 games so get used to it and either accept him as our coach or get off his bandwagon for good now. You can’t nominate him for NFL Coach of the year in week 3 and then ask for him to be fired in week 8.

As Usual For Us Jets Fans, “It is getting hard to believe things are going to get better…”

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

First a few updates:

1. As expected, Leon Washington was placed on the IR today. It will be interesting to see who the Jets add to their roster to fill that spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Danny Woodhead back to running back and then added another defensive lineman to the roster.

2. Another thing to keep an eye on is who will return kickoffs now for the Jets, some names to look out for will be Dwight Lowery, Danny Woodhead, Wallace Wright, or David Clowney.

3. The Game Highlights, Stats, and Depth Chart pages have been updated.

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez wasn’t asked to do much but he did a good job with what was handed to him. You could see him making a conscious effort to protect the football by throwing passes away and checking down. He also did a better job of avoiding sacks. On third down he was 5-8 for 65 yards, re-establishing his early season ability to come up with key first down conversions. Sanchez also executed a beautiful play fake and dropped in a nice pass to David Clowney for a 35 yard touchdown. There were still some missed throws and for some reason he can’t get on the same page with Dustin Keller but yesterday was a step in the right direction.

Running Backs: (A+) Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones completely wore down the Raiders defense. There wasn’t anything flashy or fancy about the Jets running game yesterday, they went right up the gut with Jones and Greene who combined for 265 yards. Jones certainly doesn’t look like a 30 year old running back and Greene has an unbelievable burst through the hole. We are all going to miss Leon Washington, but Jones and Greene will be a handful for defenses the rest of the season.

Wide Receivers (B) They weren’t given a ton of opportunities but did a good job when their numbers were called. David Clowney stepped up in particular with 4 catches for 79 yards, including a 35 yard touchdown. He showed an ability to be more than a deep threat by breaking some tackles and catching a tough pass over the middle. Wallace Wright recorded his first two catches of the season and Braylon Edwards had a drop but also pulled in a tough catch over the middle. I would expect Jerricho Cotchery to be back in action next week, which will be a big boost.

Tight Ends: (C) Good job blocking by Dustin Keller and Ben Hartsock. Keller also did a great job selling the play fake on his 26 yard reception. He was open a couple of other times but Sanchez missed him. One of these weeks it is going to click for Keller and Sanchez, who started off the year strong but have struggled to connect recently.

Offensive Line: (A+) Awesome job by the Jets front five, there really isn’t much to say except that Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Robert Turner dominated and embarrassed Oakland’s front seven. I bet Richard Seymour is regretting saying the Raiders are going to be a playoff team…unless he meant a high school playoff team.

Defensive Line: (B) The committee approach to replace Kris Jenkins got off to a decent start. Yes, the Jets gave up a little more rushing yards than you’d like to see but overall their defensive line was active, especially Mike DeVito and Howard Green. They have a hell of a challenge coming up this week against Miami.

Linebackers: (A) Quiet games for Bart Scott and David Harris but the grade is picked up by a terrific day from Calvin Pace, who racked up 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Jets are going to need that type of effort from him the rest of the season because Pace is unquestionably their top pass rusher. Vernon Gholston has been demoted behind Jamaal Westerman in pass rushing situations.

Secondary: (A) Darrelle Revis is something else…that interception was ridiculous. Do you think he is fired up for this week after getting burned by Ted Ginn Jr (aka Panhands) on national television? Jim Leonhard made his first interception of the season and Dwight Lowery continues to put together a strong season in replacement of Lito Sheppard. Donald Strickland was back and always seems to be around the ball.

Special Teams: (B) Steve Weatherford might run for 100 yards this season. It is not a good sign that Jay Feely has missed two short kicks in consecutive weeks.

Coaching: (A) Mike Pettine made a nice adjustment on defense, allowing Calvin Pace more pass rushing opportunities. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job sticking with the run and Rex Ryan clearly had the troops motivated. Let’s see how they handle Miami this week.

Jets/Raiders Highlights

Crappalicious: Grading Out the Jets/Bills Game

First a few updates:

1. As was expected, Kris Jenkins is going on the IR with a torn ACL in his left knee. The bottom line is that Jenkins is the Jets most valuable defensive player and one of most uniquely talented players in the NFL. Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and Ropati Pitotua will be asked to pick up the slack. Regardless, it isn’t fair to not expect some type of drop off in the Jets overall defensive production, which hasn’t been strong the past two weeks anyway. You wonder at his age, if Jenks will ever make it all the way back from that type of surgery. Ryan also confirmed the Jets are planning on re-signing defensive tackle Howard Green who was released last week.

2. Mark Sanchez is only a kid but the guy needs to work on his demeanor, during and after a game. He was visibly depressed on the side-line and literally looked like a deer in the headlights. After the game, Rich Cimini summed it up best by saying he “looked like he was on the verge of tears.” He was also quoted as saying he didn’t even understand how the guys in the locker can maintain confidence in him. C’mon now, you are the quarterback of this team. Man up Mark and get your confidence back. You showed you could play at this level against Houston, New England, Tennessee, and Miami. It has been bad (Matt Ryan only threw 11 INT’s last year and Flacco threw 12, so stop the comparisons) but he has to pick himself up off the mat.

3. Rex Ryan admitted in his press conference the Jets may have to begin scaling things back on offense and changing things around to help Sanchez. I am thinking about starting both Jones and Washington on my fantasy team this week cause both might get 20 carries this Sunday.

4. An update on TOJ TV…we had some technical struggles last week and didn’t put forth our best effort. However, we got some quality stuff coming this week. We Jets fans need something entertaining to watch with our team playing like this.

Crappalicious: Grading Out the Jets/Bills Game

Quarterbacks: (F-) That was as bad of a football game as I have ever seen a quarterback play. Sanchez was 10 for 29 with 5…yes 5 interceptions. He repeatedly forced the ball to Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller who were targeted a combined 19 times, but only caught 5 passes between them. Sanchez ignored David Clowney all game, who was wide open on his final interception in overtime. Basically, it looked like Sanchez was a soccer player playing pick up football and he was forcing the ball to his best friend (Braylon Edwards) and his little brother (Dustin Keller) who was complaining from the game before about not getting the ball enough. Yuck. Sanchez has had an issue of locking on to a receiver since training camp, remember the stories about him throwing to Wallace Wright every play? He needs to do a better job of seeing the field and spreading the ball around.

Running Backs: (A+) It is shame that the effort Thomas Jones put forward will get lost in the shuffle of this loss. He was spectacular and ran like a man on a mission, racking up 210 yards at 9.5 yards per carry. He also caught 2 passes for 17 yards. Leon was back to being Leon with 15 carries for 99 yards, including a huge 33 yard run in OT. He also added 3 catches for 46 yards. Great all around day by the Jets two pro-bowl backs from last season.

Wide Receiver: (D) Edwards played a pretty good football game. He made some big catches, although he left a few plays on the field. David Clowney was ignored. Wallace Wright was ignored on his reps. Danny Woodhead received no reps.

Tight Ends: (F) Dustin Keller had a couple of drops and can’t get on the same page as Mark Sanchez. Ben Hartsock cost the Jets a game with a holding penalty.

Offensive Line: (A) 318 rushing yards, period. Wayne Hunter did a nice job filling in for Damien Woody.

Defensive Line: (C) Marques Douglas played a very good game, with 9 tackles, a TFL, and a half sack. Sione Pouha was also pretty good with 9 tackles and a TFL. Shaun Ellis didn’t make an impact and despite doing alright against the run, they still aren’t pushing the pocket enough against the pass.

Linebackers: (C) David Harris played a great game with 17 tackles and a half sack. Bart Scott has been bad the past two weeks. He gets stonewalled every time he rushes the quarterback and doesn’t make impact plays. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas were okay. Vernon Gholston has officially set a record for playing the most NFL snaps, with the least stats recorded. Give Jamaal Westerman his reps.

Secondary: (B) Darrelle Revis was very good against Terrell Owens, who is a shell of his former self. Lito Sheppard was terrible and was rightly benched for Dwight Lowery, who made a brilliant interception in OT. For all my criticism of Kerry Rhodes, he had a great all around game with 8 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pass defensed.

Special Teams: (F) Defined by the one play of Steve Weatherford dropping the snap. Still nothing from the return units.

Coaching: (F) Poor playcalling/time out use led to a rushed missed field goal at the end of the half. It was unnecessary to challenge the punt return for 6 yards in the 4th quarter. Ryan isn’t fooling anybody with his blitz schemes anymore and unfortunately he is starting to look pretty stupid with all his tough talk. However, the guy has to be who he is. He must find someway to re-energize this team.

Fans In Stadium: (F) What a weak environment for a home game. The Jets need to scrap the 4:15 games, apparently because the stadium was half-full with about 70 percent completely trashed Jets fans who were more interested in throwing ethnic slurs at Mark Sanchez than cheering for the team and 30 percent drunk Bills fans cheering against the team. I am certainly not trying to generalize the whole stadium but I heard some nasty stuff out there…let’s have a little class.

Well If Sanchez almost cried after the game, at least this girl cried for him haha

Grading Out the Jets/Dolphins Debacle & NFL Week 5 Recap

First a few updates:

1. Jerricho Cotchery admitted that he was nowhere near 100 percent and probably re-aggravated his injury trying to play in a limited role last night. The smartest thing for the Jets to do would be rest Cotchery for this week and allow him to get back to 100 percent or else he will be dealing with this hamstring injury all year.

2. David Clowney only had leg cramps last night and will be fine moving forward. Brad Smith had a foot injury in the first half but was out in there second half, regardless it is still something to keep an eye on this week. Who knows when Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland will be back at this point.

3. Calvin Pace refused to respect Miami’s Wildcat offense and had some pretty stupid stuff to say after the game, which can be read here http://www.thejetsblog.com/2009/10/13/calvin-pace-clearly-not-fond-of-wildcat/. He should probably spend more time worrying about setting the edge so the Dolphins can’t run high school Wing-T Jet Sweep around him every time for 15 yards and maybe getting within 5 yards of the quarterback.

Grading Out the Jets/Dolphins Debacle & NFL Week 5 Recap

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez did more than enough for the Jets to get a win and twice in the fourth quarter drove them down the field for go ahead touchdowns. His numbers weren’t all that impressive (12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD) but he didn’t turn the ball over and made beautiful down field throws to David Clowney (53 yard gain) and Braylon Edwards twice (34 yard gain and drawn pass interference penalty). It is good to see him bounce back from a bad performance and hopefully he can keep it going this week against Buffalo.

Running Backs: (B-) Thomas Jones is slowly turning into nothing more than a very good goal-line back. He only finished with 42 yards and a 3.2 yards per carry average and is making the Jets look smart for not extending his contract. Leon added a little juice to the running game with 10 carries for 44 yards but still doesn’t have an offensive play that has went longer than 20 yards this season. Shonn Greene didn’t get much of a chance with only 3 carries, but don’t be surprised to see him get more carries in upcoming weeks.

Wide Receivers: (A) Braylon Edwards sure looked like a legit number one receiver last night despite being in the Jets offense for only 5 days and not having a healthy Jerricho Cotchery opposite him. The one major positive from this game is the how clearly the Jets improved their offense with the Edwards trade. Cotchery played mostly as a decoy despite a hamstring injury but will be better served by resting this week and getting back to 100 percent. David Clowney stepped up in a big way with 4 catches for 72 yards, including a 53 yard bomb…expect to see alot more of “The Clown” in coming weeks. Brad Smith had a nice catch and run for 19 yards and a huge play on a fake punt, where he shook about 3 tackles.

Tight Ends: (F) Paging Dustin Keller….are you still there…paging Dustin Keller…are you still a member of this Jets offense? Obviously some of the blame falls on the playcalling but Keller also did a poor job of blocking last night.

Offensive Line: (B) A better performance by this group but they still aren’t performing at the level they did last season. We haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since week one and Sanchez was still sacked once and hit three times, including being forced into an intentional grounding penalty.

Defensive Line: (D) I thought Howard Green played pretty well off the bench and Kris Jenkins had his moments but beyond that this unit was pushed around all night and applied absolutely no pressure to the quarterback. Marques Douglas and Sione Pouha might have been pancaked about 10 times.

Linebackers: (D) Don’t be fooled by tackling stats, Bart Scott, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace were all invisible in this game when it counted. They all missed countless tackles and they all failed to apply pressure to the quarterback…wait why did I give them a D? How about a F.

Secondary: (D) Torched by Ted Ginn Jr…really, Darrelle Revis? You can cover Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, and Marques Colston but not Ted Ginn Jr? C’mon now. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were both exposed in big spots. Will Lito Sheppard ever recover from his quad injury? Kerry Rhodes hasn’t made a big play in seemingly 25 games. Seriously, is it so much to ask for this guy to have a sack, forced fumble, or interception?

Special Teams: (A) Steve Weatherford might soon be taking Thomas Jones job, by showing more elusiveness than Jones has did all season. Brad Smith was clutch on the other fake punt. Jay Feely is money in the bank. Leon Washington needs to improve on kick returns.

Coaching: (D) The Jets weren’t prepared to stop Miami’s offense and Rex Ryan did a poor job by not using his timeouts at the end of the game. Ryan was served a heaping dish of humble pie last night, so let’s see how his defense responds in the coming weeks.

NFL Week 5 Quick Recap

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They finally play a NFL caliber team this weekend.
  2. Minnesota Vikings – Good test for them against the Ravens this week.
  3. Denver Broncos – When did Kyle Orton turn into one of the better QB’s in the league?
  4. New Orleans Saints – Huge game against the Giants coming up.
  5. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – They will clinch the division in about 4 weeks.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Pats lost the type of the game they usually don’t lose in Denver. Fortunately for them, they get the hapless Titans at home this week. Their defense is more vulnerable than it has been in years and Brady still isn’t all the way back.

Miami Dolphins – Say what you want about their gimmick offense, they can run the football. I was wrong for burying them at 0-3 but we’ll see how legit they are after these next 3 games against New Orleans, New England, and the Jets in the Meadowlands.

Buffalo Bills – I am shutting the site down if they beat the Jets this week.

Jets/Dolphins Highlights

More on Braylon & New York Jets: Hi Hater

First a few updates:

1. Feeling pretty good about the Yankees right now, up 6-2 in the 7th inning with CC rolling. How about the captain with that 2 run home run to tie the game up before? The Yanks are making my time between Jets game go much quicker.

2. Mark Sanchez was fined $5,000 for his hit on Jonathan Vilma. He called to apologize about the hit and VIlma made amends with him. I am sure the rookie learned his lesson and won’t be getting called for a personal foul anytime soon.

3. The Dolphins have been carrying on with the endless amounts of trash talk this week. Today something came out about Channing Crowder hating Leon Washington and saying he is going to curse out Mark Sanchez, which of course begs the question…who is Channing Crowder and does anybody care about what he has to say? The Dolphins are 1-3…1-3. They need to worry about winning some games instead of talking like they are some type of contender this season.

4. Site updates…I have updated the depth chart, reflecting the trade. Tomorrow I will write my normal Wednesday article about the key individual match-ups for the Jets/Dolphins game…Friday I will write my excessively comprehensive game breakdown AND post episode V of TOJ TV, which I know everybody is waiting on. Saturday, I will be grading out the Jets/projecting their stats through the first quarter of the season. Sunday, I will be watching football and tracking my horrible fantasy team. Monday, I will be writing on the Jets recent domination of their rivalrywith Miami, including some great video footage. Set your schedules accordingly

More on Braylon & New York Jets: Hi Hater

Wrapping up the Deal: The terms of the deal have been confirmed as Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, a conditional third round pick and a fifth round pick. Only if Edwards has an inordinate amount of catches this season, could the third rounder be bumped up to a second rounder. It appears that the Jets will likely be without their 3rd, 4th (Lito Sheppard trade), and 5th round pick in the 2010 draft. Mike Tannenbaum said there are no immediate plans to restructure Edwards’ contract. It will depend on the Collective Bargaining Agreement whether Edwards is a restricted or unrestricted free agent (similar to Leon Washington) after the season. Obviously his on field production and off the field behavior the rest of the season will determine how the Jets handle his contract this off-season, though an eventual long term deal makes sense since they sacrificed two draft picks for him.

Minor League: Final condolences to Chansi Stuckey and Jason Trusnik who are now joining the Jets AAA affiliate in Cleveland. I heard a rumor the Browns will soon be trading Joe Thomas, Shaun Rogers, and Josh Cribbs for Wayne Hunter, Mike DeVito, Wallace Wright, and Drew Coleman. How about nine former Jets currently on the Browns active roster? I always liked Stuckey but the guy is built to be a #3 receiver, while Edwards is built to be a legit #1. Trusnik is a very good special teams player with a history of injuries.

Press Conferences: Ryan sounded confident in his ability to handle Edwards, who he believes will fit right in with the rest of the team. He said Edwards “better be ready to go” as a starter this Monday night because that is what the Jets brought him in for. He also talked about his firsthand knowledge of the difficulty to cover Edwards and how he is confident the acquisition will open up the Jets offense. He didn’t offer any tantalizing soundbites on the Jets/Dolphins game but joked that Channing Crowder could find him Monday night in a white #77 jersey. Ryan also confirmed what Mike Tannenbaum said about the Jets doing a thorough background check and being confident that Edwards will stay out of legal trouble the rest of the year. I would imagine that any legal problems involving Edwards and LeBron’s entourage would result in a suspension in 2010, not this season.

Edwards press conference didn’t offer anything too noteworthy. He repeatedly expressed how excited he was to be in New York (obviously) and how the constant losing in Cleveland was beginning to wear on him. Edwards said he is comfortable with the guys in the Jets locker room, who welcomed him with some jokes about the suit he was wearing. He also discussed his excitement about working with Mark Sanchez and his belief that Jerricho Cotchery and himself could compliment each other. Interestingly enough, he even mentioned looking forward to contributing to the running game by adding some down field blocking for Thomas Jones. Edwards didn’t discuss his off the field troubles but instead talked about his desire to change the perception of himself, and the positive off the field work he has done in his career.

Hi Hater: You have to love the hate from president of the New England Patriots fan club aka Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who will find anyway to demean the Jets for this move, where if it was another team they would be praised for making a bold decision. I love how PFT writes a story about Derek Anderson being thrilled with Edwards leaving, like it is supposed to concern Jets fans. Derek Anderson? The guy has been straight awful since his 2007 season, does anybody care about his opinion? He started out the year backing up Brady Quinn, which should show how talented he is.  Also, I loved reading the Patriots and especially the Dolphins fans criticizing the moves on the ESPN message boards for the Jets. You want to hear something funny? Ted Ginn Jr has 4 career touchdown receptions…that means Braylon Edwards had 4 times as many touchdown receptions in his 2007 season than Ginn does for his whole career. You can hear the insecurity and nervousness from the Pats and Dolphins fans as the Jets clearly established themselves as the team to beat in the AFC East with this move. Yes, I just said as of right now the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East. Not Miami, who will promptly be put in their place (TOJ TV spoiler alert) as a 4-12 team by the Jets this Monday Night and not New England, who already lost to the Jets and only has three wins because of Leodis McKlevin’s charity and insanely terrible officiating/Mark Clayton’s dropped pass in the Ravens game.

Jets/Dolphins Week: Get Fired Up

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

First a few updates:

1. Damien Woody left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Wayne Hunter. Apparently it isn’t that serious and Woody absolutely expects to play this Monday night. There is no question that the Jets offensive line is off to slow start, which could be attributed to the missed time of many of the starters in the pre-season or maybe Woody and Alan Faneca are getting a step slower at their age.

2. Shonn Greene also has an ankle injury that isn’t considered serious, but if it wasn’t that bad why didn’t the Jets use him in the second half after such a strong showing on his first four carries? Obviously the status of Woody and Greene will be something to keep an eye on all week, but at least they have an extra day to get healthy since the Jets are playing on Monday night.

3. I’d be shocked if Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland weren’t ready to go this week.

4. The Jets bumped down to #6 Peter King’s weekly power rankings and Darrelle Revis climbed to #4 on his MVP watch list, after another strong showing.

5.  Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Saints highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

Quarterbacks: (F) It was about as bad as it could get for Mark Sanchez yesterday. He directly handed the Saints 14 points off turnovers, including a telegraphed interception and a fumble in the end-zone where he held on to the ball for too long. There were also two more late interceptions on forced passes as the Jets attempted a desperation comeback. We’ll learn about the rookie this Monday night by seeing how he responds to his first poor performance in a nationally televised game on the road against a hated division rival. Give Sanchez credit for taking the blame after the loss but he needs to learn from his mistakes and start immediately protecting the ball better. He also needs to stop getting personal fouls for taking out people’s legs on his interceptions.

Running Backs: (C) Thomas Jones got off to another sluggish start but looked substantially better after Shonn Greene began taking his reps. Greene tweaked his ankle after only four carries and wasn’t used in the rest of the game after his strong start (4 carries, 23 yards). Leon Washington wasn’t involved with only 4 carries. The Seminole package looked good but the Jets still aren’t a anywhere near where they were last year running the football.

Wide Receivers: (C) Jerricho Cotchery had another good effort (5 catches, 71 yards) but did have a key dropped pass on a third down. Chansi Stuckey was invisible for the second week in a row. Brad Smith made an impact with a big run in the Seminole package and also registered a reception. David Clowney was active but still hasn’t had a pass thrown his way in four weeks. Somebody needs to step up to support Cotchery.

Tight Ends: (C) Dustin Keller had a big grab down the seam but the Jets need more out of him than 31 yards receiving. Since week one, his yardage totals have been extremely low and he hasn’t been the consistent impact player he was during stretches of time last year.

Offensive LIne: (D) Another sub-par effort by this unit, who just hasn’t looked right this season. I don’t know if it is because of age or because they didn’t play together alot in the pre-season but they aren’t producing. Mark Sanchez can’t be sacked four times and the ground game can’t keep struggling like this if the Jets are going to be serious contenders.

Defensive Line: (B) Good all around effort up front, especially in the short yardage situations. Sione Pouha (3 tackles) and Marques Douglas (5 tackles, 1 TFL) were particularly active. Kris Jenkins played well but had a killer offsides penalty on a fourth and short situation.

Linebackers: (A-) David Harris racked up 12 tackles and Bart Scott had a pair of tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit. Bryan Thomas had his best game of the season. Vernon Gholston registered one tackle and failed to record a sack in any of his four starts. Fortunately, the Jets best pass rusher, Calvin Pace is returning from suspension this week.

Secondary: (A) Despite being without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland for the second straight week, the unit had a very good effort. Darrelle Revis knocked down 3 passes and held Marques Colston without a reception. Both of his catches came with Drew Coleman on him, who still played a pretty good game as the nickle back. Dwight Lowery was solid and made a great play on a deep ball to Robert Meachem. Kerry Rhodes saved a touchdown on the first drive of the game by knocking away a pass intended for Reggie Bush and had 8 tackles. Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith had quiet games.

Special Teams: (B) Jay Feely is putting together a very good season. Steve Weatherford had a bad shank but responded with a 56 yard punt. Leon Washington never got a chance to get going because the Saints forced him into a touchback every time but once.

Coaching: (C) Some questionable play calling in short yardage situations. The defense did their job and had a strong all around game plan but the offense let the entire team down. Let’s see how this staff will respond to their first loss and how they can motivate their team against inferior opponents the next four weeks.

Jets/Saints Game Highlights

Jets vs. Saints: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode IV

First a few updates:

1. Don’t expect to see either Lito Sheppard or Donald Strickland on the field this Sunday. Hopefully, like Calvin Pace they will be rejoining the defense next Monday night in Miami.

2. Some interesting quotes about Vernon Gholston by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, “The plays that he’s gotten, especially when he got in more in the last game, he’s graded out well. Vernon’s not a guy that you’re going to see a lot of flash from, but he’s strong…If you go back and look at some of the quarterback pressures we got, a lot of them happened because Vernon kind of collapsed that side of the defense and had taken up two blockers and the running back and the quarterback. Vernon has really taken it upon himself to get better and he’s really done it out in practice…It showed in the game. He made some really nice plays.” Usually you think of a flashy guy when you spend the #6 overall pick in the draft on him, unless he is an offensive lineman. However, at least Gholston is moving towards being a solid all-around contributor for this defense.

Jets vs. Saints: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode IV

Check out the recap of the week three, along with a prediction for  Jets/Saints and plenty more…including our first  Jets themed commercial. Great job by our editor James Corbett this week, who is really helping take the show to another level.

The Song: Drake – I’m Still Fly

Jets vs. Saints: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Jim Leonhard, Wayne Hunter and Larry Izzo sat out practice today. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes were also limited. Despite the endless list of defensive backs on this list, Rex Ryan expressed confidence that all of them would be available on Sunday, withthe possible exception of Strickland. He didn’t rule out bringing in free agent Corey Ivy by the end of the week, if it looks like both Sheppard and Strickland won’t be able to go on Sunday. Ivy is familiar with Ryan’s system from his time in Baltimore, and would be able in step in right away.

2. Congratulations to linebacker Jason Trusnik for winning the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award.

3. Rex Ryan singled out Vernon Gholston for praise in his press conference, saying he was awarded a game ball for putting together an all around solid game, including saving a touchdown on a hustle play during one of Chris Johnson’s big runs.

Jets vs. Saints: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Saints game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

The Jets Banged Up Secondary vs. Marques Colston/Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem/Jeremy Shockey: With our without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, the Jets will have their hands full against the wide variety of weapons the Saints have on offense. Darrelle Revis should be able to handle Marques Colston, but there will pressure on the rest of the Jets secondary to keep the speedsters Henderson and Meachem in check. If the Jets are without Sheppard and Strickland, Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman will again need to respond with big time efforts off the bench. Jeremy Shockey is becoming a bigger part of the Saints offense, so expect to see Eric Smith shadowing him on passing downs. Smith did an excellent job against Owen Daniels in week one and continues to develop as a playmaker in the Jets defense.

Thomas Jones/Leon Washington/Jets Offensive Line vs. Saints Front Seven: The Jets have stuck to their running game through the first three weeks but haven’t had anywhere near the success they did last season. Thomas Jones is under 4 yards per carry and is a couple of big runs against Houston from being under 3 yards per carry. Leon Washington is right at 4 yards per carry but hasn’t ripped off any big ones yet this season. The Jets must run the ball successfully to keep the Saints offense off the field for as long as possible. Don’t be surprised to see Shonn Greene get a few reps if the Jones has another slow start. However, all the focus can’t be on Jones and Washington. The offensive line needs to do a better job of opening up holes for their pro-bowl running backs.

Bart Scott vs. Reggie Bush: Don’t forget a few seasons ago, when Scott had this to say about Bush after the Ravens put a beatdown on New Orleans, “The media darling, aka the golden boy of the NFL, tried to take a cheap shot at me, so I told him I was going to put some extra on it. He can do all those shakes he wants, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I put a little hot sauce on that ankle.This was after a play in the 4th quarter, where Bush left with a sore ankle after Scott tackled him. In subsequent interviews, Scott said he wasn’t trying to imply that he intentionally hurt Bush, but rather was referencing the spicy food in New Orleans and was joking around. I haven’t seen footage of hit but from clicking around the Internet, it appears most people don’t think it was anywhere near a dirty play by Scott. One of our most frequent readers, my good friend Dan is a big Reggie Bush lover and correctly pointed out he is second in offensive yards on the team, so the pressure will be on Scott, David Harris and the rest of the Jets linebackers to contain him on his receptions out of the backfield. Bush has struggled running the ball (111 yards, with a 3.7 per carry average) but been a big factor in the passing game (164 yards, 11 yards per reception).

Mark Sanchez vs. Tracy Porter/Roman Harper/Darren Sharper/Jabari Greer: The Saints secondary is tied for the league lead in passes defensed and interceptions. There will be pressure on Mark Sanchez in this game to put up some points through the air, so the rookie must do a better job of protecting the ball than he did a week ago. Sanchez has looked good when throwing the ball down the field so far this season so let’s see if he takes some shots to Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, or maybe even David Clowney, fresh off his Twitter suspension.

Marques Colston Almost Has Hands As Good As Mine