Back To Camp: Jets Thursday Recap & Venting On Secondary

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First a few updates:

1. Listen to Turn On The Jets live tonight at 8PM on Football Reporters Online Presents: Pro Football NYC at this link (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/football-reporters/2010/08/19/football-reporters-online-presents-pro-football-nyc

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets).

3. The Jets have special teams practice at 4:15 today, an 8:20 AM practice tomorrow and then off on Friday in preparation of their pre-season game in Carolina Saturday Night at 8 PM. After how much the starters played on Monday night, don’t expect to see any first unit players get any reps outside of the first quarter.

4. Of course, Hard Knocks 10 PM tonight.

Thursday Practice Recap

The Good – Plenty of work for the second team today, with a few starters getting the day off and many getting limited reps. James Ihedigbo and Vernon Gholston both recorded sacks of Mark Brunell. Steve Weatherford got a shot to kick field goals today and hit all three (33, 38, 43 yards).

The Bad – There was another fight at practice today, this time between Matt Slauson and Matt Kroul. Rob Turner and Shaun Ellis were also exchanging some heated words…I think the players may be itching to leave Cortland full time. Marquice Cole was called for pass interference, extending the offenses’ two minute drive.

Play of the Day – Laveranues Coles had a one-handed grab of a Mark Brunell pass during the two minute drill.

Sanchez Stats – 6/11, No INTs, No TDs

Injury – Nick Mangold was back on the practice field today after missing the pre-season game against the Giants with a headache.  John Conner (knee) and Jason Davis (ankle) both had limited reps at fullback. Donovan Warren has a head injury. Lance Laury got stitches on his lower lip after the Giants game. Bart Scott, Matthew Mulligan Mike DeVito and Brandon Moore were given the day off.

Depth Chart – With Brandon Moore out today, Vladimir Ducasse worked at left guard while Matt Slauson worked at right guard. Kenwin Cummings filled in for Bart Scott at inside linebacker. Mark Brunell was back to working with the second offense.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Disappointed with practice, thought it was sluggish. Too many false starts penalties.
  • No movement in left guard battle, thought both played well.
  • Said Joe McKnight needs to learn sometimes to just “get three yards and give us what you got in between the tackles.”
  • Praised Danny Woodhead’s courage and toughness.
  • Praised Kyle Wilson’s ability to learn defense and how coachable he is.
  • Would like to see more of Brashton Satele and Josh Mauga at linebacker.
  • He has been impressed with Jason Taylor’s ability to stop the run.
  • Said he believed Tony Dungy “unfairly judged him” and left him a message to call him and come visit camp.

Revis Update – Nada…and Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Marquice Cole are all still battling for the “David Barrett Award” given to the Jets corner who is beat at least 95% of the time the ball is thrown their way.

Venting On Secondary

I have been trying not to think about the Darrelle Revis holdout too frequently. Honestly, once the Jets got rolling with practice, unless it was explicitly brought up (like in Hard Knocks), it was easy to just focus on the players on the field. However, we were all served a cruel reminder on Monday night about the Jets corners, not named Cromartie and Wilson.

In case you forgot about Dwight Lowery getting beat like a drum up and down the field in the AFC Championship Game, he reminded you of his coverage abilities. In case you forgot about Drew Coleman miss timing his jump in the AFC Championship Game on a Peyton Manning deep ball before the half that should have been intercepted and his general awfulness that traces back to missing tackles that lead to 60 yard touchdowns in 2006 against the Bears, he reminded you. In case you forgot who Marquice Cole was, he reminded you that he shouldn’t be a name worth remembering on the Jets defensive depth chart.

Bottom line is the Jets can’t have players like that on the field in their nickel package against teams like the Patriots, Packers, Vikings, and if it comes to it, the Colts. The Jets spent the off-season building themselves to beat a team like the Colts, by improving their pass rush with Jason Taylor and more importantly improving the depth in their secondary by trading for Cromartie and drafting Wilson. Unfortunately, their depth is back to where it started when the league’s best corner isn’t in the lineup. I don’t know about you but I am not interested in seeing a repeat of last year’s AFC Championship Game in 2010. Darrelle Revis just intercepted some leverage from the Jets and he will likely get more if the Panthers carve up the Jets reserves on Saturday.

Guessing That Drew Coleman Won’t Be Featured In A Commercial Anytime Soon

Jets Wednesday Morning Recap & Hard Knocks Preview

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The Good – Another strong day for Vernon Gholston, who collected praise from all the beat writers for constantly being in the backfield today, including back to back pressures on Kellen Clemens and a pressure on Mark Sanchez. Brodney Pool recorded a sack against Sanchez. Clemens hit Marcus Henry for a 50 yard touchdown (how about that connection?). Donovan Warren picked off Clemens. Vladimir Ducasse had one of this better days, while working with the ones. Kevin O’Connell hooked up with Larry Taylor for a 40 yard touchdown.

The Bad – Nick Mangold got his bell rung in individual drills while battling with Sione Pouha and didn’t participate in team drills. Kyle Wilson got called for a pass interference, which brought back a Jim Leonhard interception. It sounds like the defense beat up on the offense a little bit, especially when the second units were going against each other. Marquice Cole was beat by Larry Taylor for a long touchdown, a day after getting some work with the first team.

Play Of The Day – The long touchdown receptions by reserve receivers, Marcus Henry and Larry Taylor. Mark Brunell had one of his passes batted up in the air, caught it himself and took off for a short gain.

Played Who Helped Himself – The summer of Gholston continues

Player Who Hurt Himself – The extended missed time by Brashton Satele can’t be helping his case to make the roster. You hate to see Nick Folk missing field goals from under 45 yards.

Sanchez Stats – 8/15 in team drills. He was sacked once by Brodney Pool (stats courtesy of Manish Mehta).

Folk Stats – 4/6…misses from 42 and 44 yards.

Injury Brashton Satele and Brian Jackson were out of practice today. Jason Taylor was back on the field. Joe McKnight and Jim Leonhard had their legs wrapped but were practicing.

Depth ChartVladimir Ducasse worked with the first team at left guard today.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Ryan called for Darrelle Revis to come to the facility with anybody he wants and the entire organization will show up. He will cancel practice. Ryan thinks this is the only way to prevent any confusion over who is saying what, and that if they do it that way “I bet something gets done.”
  • He said it was a “blatant joke” that Revis’ agents called Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson “blatant liars.”
  • Nick Mangold was held out for precautionary reasons after being hit on the head.
  • The Jets could still consider keeping four quarterbacks.
  • He wasn’t happy with the pass protection in today’s practice.
  • The player he has been most impressed with on the Jets defense so far has been Kyle Wilson, particularly his communication and studying skills…posturing?
  • He doesn’t think the Jets will run the ball as much as they did last year but will maintain a “Ground and Pound” mentality.

Revis Update – The big story of the day was Gary Myers reporting the Jets and Revis are 40 million dollars apart in negotiations. Despite the Jets offering a 10 year, 120 million dollar contract, the Revis camp isn’t satisfied because of the lack of guaranteed money and signing bonus.

Hard Knocks Preview

Enough of all the Revis talk for a second and let’s get excited about HBO’s Hard Knocks premiering tonight, featuring the New York Jets. A few things to look for:

An All-Time Record – Bart Scott may break a record for most words spoken in a single hour of television. He will absolutely break the record for most trash talking in a single hour.

Revis (whoops) – Apparently we won’t see much of a focus on the Revis situation tonight but I am sure there will have to be at least a few quotes on him from some of the players and coaches. I just don’t want to see any camera footage of Mike Tannenbaum arguing on the phone or the faces of Revis’ agents.

The Beard – Interested to see Braylon Edwards’ beard in HD tonight…that thing has a life of its own.

The Meeting Room – Among my favorite parts of Hard Knocks is when they show the coaches discussing the depth chart and specific players in a meeting room. Let’s see who Rex Ryan and company are high on and who is on their way out the door.

Camera Hogs – I am guessing we are going to see plenty of Nick Mangold, Bart Scott, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and to a slightly lesser extent Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Kyle Wilson.

QuotesI am sure Ryan will spend 15 – 20 minutes discussing a Super Bowl. Maybe he will take a shot at New England or Miami along the way.

Hard Knocks

Practice #1 Recap & Why Revis Holdout Won't Be Short

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First a few updates:

1. Our standard training camp procedure is going to be this, after the Jets daily 8:20 AM practice and Rex Ryan’s subsequent press conference, there will be an article summarizing what happened as reported by the beat writers along with analysis of what it all means, along with discussion of another topic. At night, after their 4:20 PM practice, we will do the same thing. On days when there is only special teams practice at 4:20, we should be able to worry a little less about what happened on the practice field and expand on some other issues. There will of course also be posts on their days off, previews and recaps of all the pre-season games, and previews and recaps of Hard Knocks.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Practice #1 Recap & Why Revis Holdout Won’t Be Short

Practice #1 Recap

PhotobucketThe Good – Bart Scott making fun of Mark Brunell’s age when he came off the bench to run the 2nd offense. Nick Folk going 7-8 on field goal attempts. Braylon Edwards making two impressive catches over Antonio Cromartie. Mark Sanchez not throwing any interceptions. Jason Taylor practicing at 100 percent. James Ihedigbo lighting up Joe McKnight on a run up the middle…welcome to the NFL, rookie.

The Bad – Laveranues Coles dropped a well thrown deep ball by Mark Brunell. Wayne Hunter dropped a short, tackle eligible pass from Mark Sanchez. Joe McKnight muffed a kickoff and dropped a pass. David Clowney had a few drops, including an easy one on a short slant from Sanchez, which drew the ire of Brian Schottenheimer. LaDainian Tomlinson had a fumble in 9 on 7 drills.

Plays of the Day – It sounds like the two acrobatic grabs by Braylon Edwards over Antonio Cromartie were the highlights of practice. Edwards has had a strong off-season and it good to see that he is keeping up in Cortland. Also, Nick Folk starting off camp 7-8 on field goal attempts is the best news of the day, as far as I’m concerned.

Player Who Helped Himself – Braylon Edwards continues to make a case for himself as a legit number one receiver. It can’t hurt Danny Woodhead’s roster chances that Joe McKnight is struggling so much. Rex Ryan also raved about John Conner and how physical he was in the team’s inside run drill. He commented that drafting Conner was his decision and he is feeling pretty good about it right now.

Player Who Hurt Himself – Joe McKnight and David Clowney. McKnight apparently has some anxiety issues, which has factored in his conditioning problems. He passed his conditioning test yesterday with flying colors after calming down but prior to that failed. His nerves continued to hurt him on the practice field today as he muffed a kickoff and dropped a pass. He also took a big shot on a running play from hard hitting safety James Ihedigbo. If the guy is getting this nervous for practice, what he is going to do under the bright lights of Monday Night Football in week one? Clowney has had problems with drops in the past and simply put can’t afford any mistakes in the Jets crowded receiver situation.

Sanchez Stats – Unofficially 4/9 in 11 on 11s.

Folk Stats – 7-8 on field goal attempts…his only miss came from 36 yards. An encouraging sign for everybody who is rightfully panicked about the Jets kicking situation.

Roster Moves – The Jets released WR Britt Davis last night. I was kind of surprised by the move because of the strong camp Davis had in 2009. Yet, the Jets are obviously crowded at the receiver position, especially after adding Laveranues Coles (who is now wearing #85 by the way).

Depth Chart – Brodney Pool was starting at safety. Mike DeVito started at defensive end. Sione Pouha started for Kris Jenkins. Mark Brunell was the #2 quarterback. Dwight Lowery took the bulk of the reps for Darrelle Revis. Vladimir Ducasse and Matt Slauson rotated as the starting left guard. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson rotated as the starting running back. Danny Woodhead worked as the third down back. Brad Smith, Antonio Cromartie, Joe McKnight, Kyle WIlson, and Larry Taylor all worked at kick returner.

Rex Ryan Press Conference Highlights –

  • Disappointed with the lack of physical contact overall.
  • Raved about the physicality of rookie fullback John Conner
  • LaDainian Tomlinson tweaked his hamstring before camp but insisted on participating in conditioning drills and now appears to be 100 percent.
  • Didn’t sound too thrilled with Revis when asked about him. He said “there is 11 Jets on defense right now, that’s all I know. We don’t have Revis Rules.”
  • He is impressed with the type of command Mark Sanchez now has over the offense and how he has bulked up a little bit over the off-season.
  • Pleased with Mark Brunell and how he can help all of the young quarterbacks.
  • Said Joe McKnight gets too hyped up but he still is an impressive kid and is explosive when he hits the hole.
  • He did his normal hopeful talk about the potential of Vernon Gholston and said he may be the fastest defensive end in the league…oh boy.

Revis Update – Nothing substantive.

Why Revis Holdout Won’t Be Short

All of the rhetoric coming from both sides yesterday, made it sound like there has been plenty of dialogue yet no progress on agreement on total compensation or guaranteed money. Considering how long this has been going on, it is unlikely everything is going to snap into place in the next few days. Don’t forget Revis held out 20 days in his rookie season and Mike Tannenbaum characterized his rookie contract as “the most difficult negotiations he has ever been a part of.” As the regular season inches closer, the pressure on the organization will rapidly increase. Also, the public image of Darrelle Revis, who has just arrived as a legitimate NFL superstar will take a bigger hit. You would think these factors will push them towards an agreement by the end of the pre-season but you never know. Sean Gilbert, who is Darrelle Revis’ uncle, is closely involved with these negotiations and he sat out an entire season in protest of his contract.

Jenny Vrentas of The Star Ledger wrote yesterday that Mike Tannenbaum appeared genuinely surprised in his press conference that he couldn’t reach an agreement with Revis. Considering the wide range of maneuvers Mr. T has pulled off in recent years that also isn’t an encouraging sign. Even though public opinion seems to be on the Jets side, I feel like Revis has more leverage because of how much hype the Jets have built up around themselves this season. Rex Ryan can posture to the media all he wants, but he knows how badly the Jets need Revis. Woody Johnson just paid for a new stadium and got his organization on HBO, it isn’t good for business when you demonstrate you can’t take care of your best employee. This team is now extremely self-conscious about their media portrayal and shedding the “same old Jets” label, unfortunately having your best player hold out before the most hyped season in franchise history looks like a little dysfunctional.

TOJ TV

Wrapping Up Jets Week Of OTAs and Other Thoughts

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First a few updates:

1. I’d annoy everybody about following Turn On The Jets on Facebook but we jumped from 315 fans to 348 fans in the last 24 hours…well done. You can also follow TOJ on Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

2. The Jets have the same schedule next week for OTAs, with a practice on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with Thursday being the only day with media access. They then have OTAs on June 2-3, June 8th, and June 10th.

3. Jason Taylor is practicing with #95 for now but in a recent interview it sounded like Bryan Thomas would be willing to sell #99 to him.

4. Darrelle Revis has refuted reports he is asking for 20 million dollars a year but he has stated he wants to be the highest paid corner in football. Currently, Nnamdi Asmougha is and he makes about 15.2 million a year, so look for Revis to end up with something in the 16-18 million dollars a year range. Pay. The. Man.

5. It looks like we are headed to Lakers vs. Celtics in the NBA Finals. Can I buy a competitive series in this NBA Playoffs?

6. I can’t get enough Mikhail Prokhorov…I may have to become a Nets fan soon especially if the Knicks don’t come through with LeBron.

Wrapping Up Jets Week Of OTAs and Other Thoughts

New Additions – Antonio Cromartie has been doing some work as a kick returner. I think most people assumed the Jets would have Brad Smith, Kyle Wilson, and Joe McKnight battle for that job but Cromartie is obviously an explosive player with the ball in his hands. I doubt he would have the job full time but I could see them throwing him back there a few times a game.

Santonio Holmes probably didn’t make many people in the organization happy when he said he didn’t want a Super Bowl to be played at the Meadowlands. Regardless, outside of being knocked over by Darrelle Revis in a blocking drill, Holmes seems to be blending in well with his teammates according to people reporting from practice and his fellow teammates. Holmes best asset for the Jets is his versatility to line up all over the formation, which will help him integrate into the offense quicker when he returns in week 5.

PhotobucketVladimir Ducasse was running with the first team offense and made a good impression on Rex Ryan. It will be interesting to see how much of a shot Matt Slauson really has at winning the job. If Ducasse can hold his own in his rookie year as the starting left guard, it will speak well for the Jets front office who took a chance on him as a small school prospect in the 2nd round.

In my mind, the most concerning news of the week was that Nick Folk missed about every kick he took. You can’t be a team built around running the ball and playing defense and have a kicker who can’t make a 40 yard field goal…actually no team can afford to have a guy like that. It looks the Jets may have to wait and see who loses the kicking battle in Houston or take somebody else off the scrap heap. Mike Nugent? John Hall? Is he still around?

Second Year Players – It was good to hear Sanchez was participating in some drills this week…any time spent with the offense is valuable. There is no need to push him too far during OTAs, the key is that he is 100 percent for training camp and the pre-season. Apparently, neither Kellen Clemens or Erik Ainge was impressive during OTAs. Also, Rich Cimini reported Shonn Greene looked like he put on some weight and not the good kind of weight. I am a little worried about the Jets running back situation this year, I hope #23 can prove me wrong and show he is capable of being a full time number one back.

Other Thoughts/Questions

1. Who will be the Jets main competition for the AFC East title, Miami or New England? It is easy to assume New England but I could see the Dolphins being better than them this season. New England’s offense just doesn’t scare me without Wes Welker out there and they still have question marks on their defense.

2. If the Jets could do five things before the regular season starts, I would want to see them add a new kicker, lock down Revis long term, lock down Mangold long term, sign Mark Brunell, and sign Adalius Thomas.

3. What prime time game are you looking forward to the most this year? Personally, I can’t help but get the most pumped about hosting the Vikings (if they have Favre) on Monday Night Football. I also badly want a win on Sunday Night Football over the Dolphins in their building.

It's The Quarterback, Stupid

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris is the only player who didn’t practice today. However, the Star-Ledger (http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2010/01/ny_jets_lb_david_harris_is_exp.html) reported that he is going to play on Saturday and that the sprain is only mild. Rex Ryan didn’t refute that report today. Obviously, this is very good news and I think we are all looking forward to David Harris introducing himself to Cedric Benson.

2. Punter Steve Weatherford was a full participant in practice today.

3. Good article on ESPN.com by Tim Graham on the impact of the Jets pass rush on opposing quarterbacks, along with Carson Palmer’s handling of the blitz all season. (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/8743/cincy-might-consider-riot-gear-for-jets-d).

4. The latest line I have seen on the Jets/Bengals game is Cincy at 2.5 favorites. The latest odds I have seen for the Jets winning the Super Bowl is 45 to 1, which is of course the lowest out of any NFL playoff team.

It’s The Quarterback, Stupid

The primary reason for the Jets ending the season winning 5 of their last 6 games was because they finally embraced their identity as a run first offense that was going to rely on their defense to win games. Mark Sanchez’s early season success led to Brian Schottenheimer embracing a more balanced approach and putting too much in his rookie’s hands too early, leading to losses against the Saints, Bills, Jaguars, and Patriots. It has been a weird ride for Sanchez this season, culminating with a 6/12 63 yards Wing-T high school quarterback stat line. I know the Jets are built on their running game and defense but they are going to need more than 63 yards from Mark Sanchez if they want to do any damage in these playoffs. Sanchez is easily the 12th best quarterback in these playoffs but if he could somehow duplicate his early season play for stretches of games, the Jets have enough talent around him to rip off a victory or two or maybe even three? I don’t want to push it. First, let’s run through the odd 2009 season of #6:

Week 1 At Houston: 18/31, 272 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT – Arguably Sanchez’s best all-around game of the season. He was unbelievable on third down in this game and showed good movement in the pocket, poise, and confidence.

Week 2 Vs New England: 14/22, 163 yards, 1 TD – If this wasn’t his best all-around game, it was his most impressive performance since he was going against Bill Belichick and outplayed Tom Brady. He protected the ball and elevated his play in the second half, including two beautiful passes to Jerricho Cotchery and a nice touchdown pass to Dustin Keller.

Week 3 Vs Tennessee: 17/30, 171 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT – Another good performance, although ball security issues began to surface in this game with the interception and a couple of fumbles. Sanchez also added a rushing touchdown this game.

Week 4 At New Orleans: 14/27, 138 yards, 3 INTs – Oh boy…Sanchez directly hands the Saints 14 points and basically costs the Jets a victory wasting a terrific performance by their defense.

Week 5 At Miami: 12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD – A good bounce-back performance, Sanchez threw the ball well down the field in this game. If he can play like this against the Bengals, the Jets will win.

Week 6 Vs Buffalo: 10/29, 119 yards, 5 INTs – I’m not sure I have ever seen a quarterback play a worse game.

Week 7 At Oakland: 9/15, 143 yards, 1 TD – Week one of the “stay the hell out of the way Sanchez” game plan. However, he played well and added a rushing touchdown.

Week 8 Vs Miami: 20/35, 265 yards, 2 TDs – Probably his best game of the year and the second half of this game was easily the best we have seen Sanchez all season. However, this was probably a bad thing because it led the Jets to give him too much freedom the following two weeks.

Week 10 Vs Jacksonville: 16/30, 212 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs – Played a good fourth quarter but beyond that was pretty bad.

Week 11 At New England: 8/21, 136 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs – The low point for the Jets season and Sanchez who regressed back to Buffalo game.

Week 12 Vs Carolina: 13/17, 154 yards, 1 INT – The color code system begins and the Jets embrace the “stay the hell out of the way Sanchez” game plan again…if you remove the INT, the Jets could win this Saturday with these numbers from Sanchez.

Week 13 At Buffalo: 7/15, 104 yards, 1 TD – The numbers don’t show it but Sanchez was playing well this game before he got hurt…don’t forget Braylon Edwards dropped an easy 80 yard touchdown pass this game.

Week 15 At Atlanta: 18/32, 226 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – Too many passes by Sanchez leads to too many turnovers.

Week 16 At Indy: 12/19, 106 yards – Stay out of the way Mark…although he made some key third down throws in this game.

Week 17 Vs Cincy: 6/12, 63 yards – He didn’t need to throw at all because of the Jets running all over the field…Edwards should have caught a 50 yard touchdown from him.

PhotobucketSo, what do the Jets need from Sanchez to beat the Bengals? They aren’t going to get away with 12 passes. Their offense needs to put Sanchez in third and shorts, which he has shown a decent ability to convert throughout the season. There are going to be opportunities for the Jets to hit big plays down the field and if he could hit one (and this is also on you to catch the damn ball Braylon) it will go a long way to a Jets victory. If Sanchez turns the ball over, the Jets don’t have a chance. Yes, maybe they could overcome one interception but beyond that, they aren’t good enough to win with Sanchez throwing two INTs and having a fumble. We need:

  1. A good third-down conversion rate (aided by the running game setting up third and short/medium).
  2. A big play down the field or at least some intermediate completions to soften the defense.
  3. No turnovers.

The weather is going to be crappy but if somehow Sanchez could duplicate his Monday night performance (12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD) the Jets will beat the Bengals. It may be asking too much for those numbers but the Jets could probably even survive with a 13/18, 130 yards, 1 TD type game. If Brian Schottenheimer is smart he will start Sanchez off with some quick screens to Cotchery and Edwards to get his confidence up, and then gradually move him to some slants/hitches. There is going to be a spot in this game when it is 2nd and 3 from the Bengals 47 yard line and they are going to have 8 in the box, and Sanchez is going to have hit a play down the field. When he is dropping back to throw that pass you want him to be 4/6 for 40 yards or something, not 1/7 for 2 yards with two near interceptions.

Could you imagine if Sanchez hopped in the time machine and played like he did back in weeks 1-3…that would be a scary, dangerous team in the playoffs. Why can’t he do that? Because this is the Jets and that would be too easy…instead we have to cross our fingers for a 55 completion percentage, 130 yards and no turnovers.

Mark Sanchez…Playing Like A Quarterback Who Could Win The Playoffs

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris and Steve Weatherford missed practice today. Harris is likely going to be a game-time decision, while I would expect Weatherford to play. James Ihedigbo left practice today with a stinger but did return. Thomas Jones and Tony Richardson were given the day off. The backup to David Harris, Ryan Fowler, was limited with a head injury and if for some reason he and Harris couldn’t play…Kenwin Cummings would start at inside linebacker.

2. Cedric Benson told the media today that he didn’t even know who David Harris was and that he doubted the Jets would struggle without him. Harris is the leading tackler on the Jets #1 ranked defense with 127 stops, along with 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. I wonder if Benson knows who Thomas Jones is? The guy he was drafted to replace in Chicago but could never beat out. The guy who despite being 5 years older than him finished with 151 more rushing yards and 8 more touchdowns than him this season and was able to stay healthy enough to play all 16 games, while Benson couldn’t.

3. Condolences to Jets owner Woody Johnson and his family. His daughter passed away yesterday.

4. How about Teddy Bruschi on ESPN saying that the Jets have the best chance to make the Super Bowl out of the two wild-card teams? I think he was trying to jinx them.

5. The Bengals are coming into the came 100 percent healthy with Chad Ochocinco, Chris Crocker, and Domata Peko all expected to start.

6. The Jets finished #12 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, not bad for a team that started the season as ranked #23.

7. Well we know how Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN feels about the Jets (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=chadiha_jeffri&id=4795473), then again this guy is picking Tony Romo to win three playoff games, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

Bengals Offensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Quarterback: Carson Palmer – 282/466, 3094 yards, 60.5 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 83.6 QB Rating.
  • Running Back: Cedric Benson – 301 carries, 1251 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 6 TD’s.
  • Third Down Back: Bernard Scott – 74 carries, 321 yards, 4.3 yards per carry.
  • Back-Up Running Back: Larry Johnson – 46 carries, 204 yards, 4.4 yards per carry.
  • Other Third Down Back: Brian Leonard – 27 carries, 84 yards, 3.1 yards per carry, 30 receptions, 217 yards
  • Fullback: Jeremi Johnson – 4 carries, 8 yards, 6 receptions, 41 yards.
  • #1 Receiver: Chad Ochocinco – 72 receptions, 1047 yards, 9 touchdowns.
  • #2 Receiver: Laveranues Coles – 43 receptions, 514 yards, 5 touchdowns.
  • #3 Receiver: Andre Caldwell – 51 receptions, 432 yards, 3 touchdowns.
  • #4 Receiver: Quan Cosby – 4 receptions, 55 yards
  • Tight End: J.P. Foschi – 27 receptions, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • #2 Tight End: Daniel Coats – 16 receptions, 150 yards
  • Left Tackle: Andrew Whitworth
  • Left Guard: Nate Livings
  • Center: Kyle Cook
  • Right Guard: Bobbie Williams
  • Right Tackle: Dennis Roland

Bengals Defensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Defensive End: Robert Geathers – 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Defensive Tackle: Domata Peko – 23 tackles
  • Defensive Tackle: Tank Johnson – 29 tackles, 2.0 sacks
  • Defensive End: Jonathan Fanene – 36 tackles, 6.0 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Rashad Jeanty – 20 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: Dhani Jones – 113 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Keith Rivers – 72 tackles, 1 sack
  • Corner: Leon Hall – 71 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Corner: Jonathan Joseph – 69 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Safety: Chris Crocker – 51 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Chinedum Ndukwe – 89 tackles, 1 INT

Special Teams

  • Kicker: Shayne Graham – 23/28 FGs, 28/29 PATs, (1 miss from 20-29 yards, 2 misses from 30-39 yards)
  • Punter: Kevin Huber – 43.2 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Bernard Scott – 1 return touchdown, 31.5 average
  • Punt Return: Quan Cosby – 11.9 per return.

PhotobucketOffense – The Bengals offense is built like the Jets offense, which means they live by the run. Carson Palmer isn’t an elite quarterback anymore but still had a good overall season. He can be relied on to make some plays if the running game is slowed down, yet the Bengals are weak at wide receiver. Chad Ochocinco isn’t going to be a factor this week, I can promise you that and beyond him the Bengals have nothing at receiver. Laveraneus Coles is washed up and Andre Caldwell is average. They also don’t have a pass catching threat at tight end. Cedric Benson has been very good this year and Brian Leonard has made plays for them on third downs. However, I have a tough time seeing Benson gashing the Jets defense. Honestly, I would be shocked if the Bengals scored more than 17 points unless Sanchez turns the ball over.

Defense – Cincy has been very strong against the run all season. However, they are now missing linebacker Rey Maualuga which will have a negative impact on them. The Jets are going to run the ball, regardless of how many people the Bengals put in the box. I am sure Cincy has spent plenty of time on Brad Smith this week in practice and they should expect more of him this week. The Bengals have two very good corners and talent at safety as well. Mark Sanchez has to be careful against their secondary because there isn’t going to be a ton of space for Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery to work with.

Special Teams – I am very worried about Bernard Scott ripping off a kick return touchdown against us this week. However, keep an eye on Brad Smith on our kick return unit because he has been improving all season. I think we have an advantage at the kicker position.

Well They Couldn’t Beat Oakland

Jets vs. Patriots Final Notes & Prediction

cotcherytd

First a few updates:

1. Jim Leonhard did practice today and just may somehow find a way to play this Sunday against New England.

2. TOJ TV has been knocked out by the swine flu. My roommate/producer is out of commission with the sickness so we had to scrap the filming plans for this week.

3. Check back tomorrow for my question exchange with Pats blogger Eric Cunningham of http://patschowder.com

Jets vs. Patriots Final Notes & Prediction:

The national media already has this game sized up: the Pats are angry, the Jets are melting down, the Pats hate the Jets so that equals New England 48 Jets 10. Darrelle Revis has been running his mouth all week about shutting down Randy Moss, who is coming off a monster game against the Colts. Moss should go for about 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Let me preface my view on the game by saying that I am picking the Patriots to win 23-17. I think the Jets will find a uniquely painful way to lose this one, but this will be a close game into the fourth quarter. Randy Moss will do what he normally does against the Jets…nothing. Wes Welker will be the guy who hurts them by picking on Lito Sheppard and Dwight Lowery. Tom Brady will play much better than he did in week two and New England will do a decent enough job of running the football to keep the Jets honest.

On offense, Mark Sanchez will play okay but I find it hard to believe he won’t have a turnover or two. Bill Belichick is designing a scheme that will force Sanchez to beat him and with that much on his shoulders I can see a INT or two coming. The Jets will make some plays in the passing game but will struggle to run the football against a defense geared to stop Thomas Jones.

Like I said, the Jets aren’t going to lay down for anybody but they don’t know how to win close football games…so I am taking the Pats 23-17.

NFL Week 9 Recap/Jets vs. Jaguars First Look

JETS V EAGLES EXHIBITION

First a few updates:

1. The Jets are practicing again today but there will be no media availability. Rex Ryan said yesterday and today’s practice will be at a slower pace before they go back to full tilt tomorrow. There seemed to be a good amount of optimism around the team yesterday about making a second half playoff run. Don’t forget 2006, when the Jets were 4-4 at the bye week and finished 6-2 to clinch a wild-card spot. They are going to need an upset or two and some help to replicate that this season but it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Also, with the Patriots upcoming three games they have a better chance than they did in 2006 to catch New England in the divisional race.

2. A big story by the beat writers was Braylon Edwards desire to stay in New York and prove to the coaching staff he deserves a long term contract. Unless Edwards bombs out over these last eight games, I’d be shocked it Mike Tannenbaum didn’t lock him down for the long term. You obviously want to surround your franchise quarterback with as many weapons as possible and so far Tannenbaum has done a good job of that.

3. Leon Washington was back at the practice facility yesterday, moving around on a motorized scooter. He is expected to make a full recovery for the 2010 season. Leon was also voted the third most dangerous return man in the NFL in a recent Sports Illustrated poll behind Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs.

4. The Jets currently sit at #18 in the ESPN Power Rankings, one spot behind the Miami Dolphins and two spots behind the Green Bay Packers.

5. Lito Sheppard declared himself 100 percent for the game against Jacksonville, well it is about time there Lito. Brad Smith is also expected to return to the line-up after missing three games.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Tom Brady and Randy Moss took advantage of a weak Dolphins secondary en route to an impressive 27-17 win at home over Miami. I am still not 100 percent sold on the Patriots as an elite team in the AFC but they will have every chance to prove me wrong the next three weeks with games in Indy and New Orleans, and a re-match at home against our Jets. For all the criticism he has taken, Laurence Maroney has put together a pretty solid year and Brady appears close to 100 percent, which will make beating the Pats a second time in one season a difficult task.

bos_a_jporter1_480Miami Dolphins – The humble and high character Dolphins were shut up by New England, especially Joey Porter who didn’t register a stat while his defense gave up nearly 30 points for the second week in a row. Miami has an easy part of their schedule coming up (TB, Car, Buf) so they may not be dead yet but the bottom line is that this team isn’t going anywhere with the way their offense is currently constructed. The Wildcat isn’t effective anymore and they have absolutely no down field passing attack. I guess Chad Henne isn’t the second coming of Dan Marino after all.

Buffalo Bills – At this point, Buffalo appears headed towards their fourth straight 7-9 season, if they are even lucky enough to win 4 games in the second half of the season.

TOJ Top Ten

  1. New Orleans Saints – Didn’t play their best football but still beat Carolina. They should roll to 10-0 before hosting the Patriots.
  2. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – Helped the Jets by beating Houston, would help them even more by beating New England on Sunday night.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – They are running away with the NFC North because of the Bears and Packers mediocrity.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – They are as real as it gets and can prove they are the AFC North’s best by winning in Pittsburgh this weekend.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers – The champs are back and can seize control of their division by taking care of the Bengals at home.
  6. Dallas Cowboys – Who would have thought after week 2, they’d be in first place of the NFC East after 8 games?
  7. New England Patriots – We will see just how good they are over the next three weeks.
  8. Denver Broncos – They are coming back to Earth quickly after two rough losses.
  9. San Diego Chargers – Huge win over Giants and they are suddenly breathing down Denver’s neck.
  10. Arizona Cardinals – Slowly pulling away from the pack in the NFC West.

Jets vs. Jaguars First Look

maurice-jones-drew-new-contract-with-jaguarsThe Opponent: The Jaguars have quietly put together a decent first of the half season despite fairly low expectations heading into this year. They currently sit at 4-4, the same record as the Jets. Jacksonville’s most impressive victory was probably over Houston on the road, beyond that they have beat Tennessee (and also lost to them) Kansas City, and St. Louis. The Jaguars are a very young team, especially on defense where they have struggled this season. Their offense has been very good and is led by David Garrard at quarterback who has put together a better year than he did in a disappointing 2008 campaign. Garrard is always a threat to run. The Jaguars most explosive playmaker is Maurice Jones-Drew who is having a fantastic year and is a threat to break off a touchdown on any play from scrimmage. Jacksonville also has a good duo of starting receivers in Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt.

Jacksonville  Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: David Garrard – 162/266, 1867 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs, 38 carries, 191 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Maurice Jones-Drew – 145 carries, 737 yards, 11 TDs
  • Running Back: Rashad Jennings – 20 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Mike Sims-Walker – 36 receptions, 554 yards, 4 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Torry Holt – 33 receptions, 461 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Mike Thomas – 19 receptions, 174 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Jarret Dillard – 5 receptions, 99 yards
  • Tight End: Mercedes Lewis – 17 receptions, 220 yards, 2 TDs
  • Left Tackle: Eugene Monroe
  • Left Guard: Vincent Manuwai
  • Center: Brad Meester
  • Right Guard: Uche Nwareni
  • Right Tackle: Eben Britton

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Attiyyah Ellison – 12 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: John Henderson – 19 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Terrence Knighton – 22 tackles, .5 sacks
  • Defensive End: Derrick Harvey – 23 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Daryl Smith – 55 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 FF
  • Middle Linebacker: Justin Durant – 54 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Clint Ingram – 25 tackles, 1 sack
  • Corner: Rashean Mathis – 22 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Corner: Derek Cox – 40 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Reggie Nelson – 41 tackles
  • Safety: Gerald Alexander – 33 tackles, 1 INT

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Josh Scobee
  • Punter: Adam Podlesh
  • Kick Returner: Brian Witherspoon

Key Players: MJD makes Jacksonville’s offense go but both Sims-Walker and Holt are big play threats. On defense, Rashean Mathis is one of the better corners in the league and Reggie Nelson is a talented player at safety. Jacksonville has struggled to get a pass rush going but outside linebacker Daryl Smith is having a strong year.

Injuries: The Jets should have both Lito Sheppard and Brad Smith back. Jacksonville shouldn’t be missing any key players this week either.

Highlights From the Jags Win Over KC Last Week

What Happened to the Jets?

First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan commented that the team seemed “off” today in practice, which is certainly the last thing any of us want to hear after three straight losses. Obviously, the three straight losses are starting to weigh on everybody but this is no time for the energy level to sink.

2. Braylon Edwards has been receiving treatment for a sore quad….terrific. Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith were limited in practice, but remain questionable for this week. Ryan also said he is hopeful that corner Donald Strickland will return this week. Lito Sheppard’s status also remains up in the air.

What Happened to the Jets?

I was back home in New Jersey on Monday, which allowed me to spend the day listening to New York sports radio along with my usual reading of the daily newspaper/blog clips covering the Jets and I couldn’t help but laugh. It is amazing how in the span of three weeks Rex Ryan has become clueless as a head coach, the Jets defense became average and Mark Sanchez became a clueless rookie, and the thought of Kellen Clemens actually playing is being mentioned. It must have been 3 years ago that the Jets beat the Tennessee Titans to move their record to 3-0, right? Nope, actually it was only 3 weeks ago but maybe we can begin looking there to understand what has happened to the Jets season these past few weeks. 

We began to see some chinks in the armor during that September victory over the now 0-6 Titans. After a fast start, the Jets were outplayed the rest of the game and in reality only held on to a victory because of a crucial muffed punt by Ryan Mouton who also handed them 7 points early in the game on a fumbled kick return. The defense didn’t look elite that day. We saw Tennessee move the ball up and down the field on the Jets. We saw a lack of quarterback pressure and we saw them run the football. We also saw receivers running wide open and the problem was only masked by drops from the Titans receivers. It was also the beginning of Mark Sanchez’s ball security problems, including multiple fumbles and an interception.

Since that game, we did see the Jets defense play an excellent all around game in New Orleans and we saw Mark Sanchez protect the football in Miami. Yet, the consistency hasn’t been there and the injuries have began piling up. Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Lito Sheppard, Brad Smith, Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, and Donald Strickland have all now missed time with injuries.

On defense, teams watched the game tape from the Houston and New England game and have schemed ways to protect against Rex Ryan’s blitzes. Ryan hasn’t come up with something to counter these adjustments yet. He isn’t being helped by the fact that the Jets lack an elite pass rusher. Vernon Gholston isn’t that kind of player and probably never will be. The guy has played a ton of snaps this year and made zero impact plays. Calvin Pace has been slow adjusting back after his 4 game suspension and Bryan Thomas and Shaun Ellis have been quiet rushing the quarterback. Eric Smith has been invisible the past three games after being all the over field in the Jets three wins and none of the other defensive backs are getting near the quarterback on Ryan’s blitzes.

On offense, Brian Schottenheimer has got too comfortable with Mark Sanchez after his surprisingly strong start to the season. What happened to running the ball 40-45 times a game and only having your rookie quarterback throw 15-18 times? Against Buffalo Mark Sanchez threw 29 times and Thomas Jones had 22 carries, how about flipping those numbers and then giving Leon Washington three more carries, so you got Sanchez throwing 19 times, Jones with 29 carries, and Washington with 22 carries? I know those sound like insanely high rushing attempt numbers but against Buffalo it would have made sense since Jones was averaging 9 yards per carry and Washington was averaging 6 yards per carry.

Rex Ryan was absolutely right on Monday when he said that the Jets need to scale things back for Sanchez. Simplify the kid’s reads, run the football, and play the defense/field position game. The Jets are at a crossroads in their season right now. They have 2 games left until their bye week, which will mark the halfway point of the season. If they turn the ship around and head into the bye at 5-3, this three game losing streak will be a distant memory. If they lose to Oakland or get swept by Miami, it is going to be one hell of an uphill for a playoff spot in the second half of the season.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. According to Rex Ryan there is a chance that Jerricho Cotchery won’t play on Monday night because of a hamstring injury, which would be a big blow to the Jets passing game. Brad Smith would likely step into the starting line-up, with David Clowney seeing a substantial bump in reps. If the Jets were without Cotchery, the Dolphins would have no problem doubling Braylon Edwards and leaving the inconsistent Smith (3 catches, 22 yards) singled up. Damien Woody didn’t practice today but Ryan sounded optimistic about his chances of playing. Donald Strickland is out. Lito Sheppard will start at corner, with Dwight Lowery sliding into the slot.

2. Make sure you check out Episode V of Turn On The Jets TV tomorrow, in a special Saturday edition. I was going to post it tonight, but I kind of spent 12 hours working on a hellacious mid-term and I am about to collapse after writing this article.

3. How about those Yankees?

4. Apparently Channing Crowder and Rex Ryan squashed the beef at some point this off-season, with Crowder sending Ryan a gift basket. Leon Washington responded to Crowder’s recent trash talk by saying he eats “clam chowder for breakfast”…clever stuff.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: Expect to see the Jets get back to the ground and pound approach this Monday Night, especially if Jerricho Cotchery doesn’t suit up. The Jets may have got a little too comfortable with Mark Sanchez and forget the fact that he is a rookie, they have Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Shonn Greene, and supposedly one of the best offensive lines in the league. Regardless of Miami’s success against the run this season, it is time to give Thomas Jones his 20 carries, Leon his 15 carries, and yes even Shonn Greene his 5 carries.

An element that has been missing from the Jets offense this year is their screen game. We finally saw a successful one last week when they hit Leon Washington for 15 yards, but the Jets need to go back to it more often to all their players. What happened to the old receiver screen to Jerricho Cotchery or Dustin Keller, like we saw week one? Thomas Jones was a big part of the Jets passing game last season, and is yet to get involved so far in 2009. The screen game is a good way to get Mark Sanchez going early and pick up some easy yards against an aggressive Dolphins defense.

When the Jets do decide to go down the field, obviously an active Jerricho Cotchery would be a big plus. If he is in the game, Sanchez will have his pick of single coverage on either him or Braylon Edwards, which is obviously a positive. If Cotchery isn’t in the line-up, David Clowney obviously the speed to make the Dolphins below average secondary pay in single coverage but he is yet to have a single ball thrown his way this season. Brad Smith his a history of dropping passes, which means between him and Edwards, Sanchez might want to pull his hair out by the end of the night.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: I have confidence in Rex Ryan’s ability to stop the wildcat, based on what I saw last season. When the Dolphins are in a traditional set, expect the Jets to have just about everybody in the box. If the Jets can force Miami into third and longs, the Dolphins are in big trouble. I got news for you, Chad Henne isn’t going to have much success with the Jets pass rush, now including Calvin Pace, coming after him and receivers like his matched-up on cornerbacks like ours. I don’t understand people who are saying that Miami matches up well with the Jets, because they don’t have nearly enough talent on offense to move the ball on a defense like the Jets.

The only way the Jets can get in trouble on Monday is if they allow Ronnie Brown to get going. They were only average against the run the past two weeks, and Miami loves to hang around by holding on to the football through their running game. However, I expect the Jets to improve this week because of the return of Calvin Pace and I don’t think they are concerned about being beat through the air by the likes of Chad Henne, Ted Ginn Jr, and Devone Bess. If you can’t already tell from my writing, I am pretty damn confident in our defense against their offense.

Special Teams Breakdown: Hopefully Leon Washington will finally get a chance to return a kick. Is it me or is every kicker the Jets face have a ridiculously strong leg and boot the ball 8 yards into the end-zone? You know he is chomping at the bit. Jim Leonhard has quietly been very good on punt returns this season and Miami has below average special team units, so maybe he can break one. How about Jay Feely turning into one of the most reliable kickers in football? I am sure he will have revenge on his mind this week since the Dolphins cut him….maybe he will have a big hit on kickoff or something, or just do some extra bicep curls this week.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish the running game and slow down the Dolphins running game. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers. Chad Henne is overwhelmed by the Jets pass rush and has a few turnovers. Calvin Pace plays like a mad man who is desperate to make up for 4 weeks in one night. The Jets play with some extra motivation coming off their first loss and jump out to an early lead, forcing Miami to throw more frequently than they like to.

The Jets Will Lose If…Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams keep the chains moving, allowing Chad Henne to simply manage the game. The Jets can’t get their running game going and Mark Sanchez tries to do too much again, leading to some easy points for Miami. Braylon Edwards is quiet in his debut and struggles because Jerricho Cotchery isn’t active.

Funny Video About Cleveland…originally posted over www.thejetsblog.com