Jets vs. Dolphins: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. Lito Sheppard has been on the practice field the past two days and is expected to start this Monday night. Damien Woody remains questionable with an ankle injury and didn’t practice today. Wayne Hunter would start in his place. Donald Stickland hasn’t been practicing and isn’t expected to play, which means Dwight Lowery would slide into the nickel role.

2. Braylon Edwards was out on the practice field and has been making good progress with the offense according to Rex Ryan. He will be in the starting line-up this Monday night.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Dolphins 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.

Bart Scott/David Harris/Calvin Pace/Bryan Thomas vs. Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams: The Jets linebackers need to swarm the Dolphins two talented running backs, especially Brown who is playing as well as anybody back in the league right now. He has been particularly dangerous in the wildcat formation and has allowed the Dolphins to control the clock, and protect the inexperienced Chad Henne last week. The Jets need to stop the run early and on first/second down force Henne into third and long situations. Miami simply doesn’t have the personnel to convert third and longs or consistently move the ball through their passing attack. The Jets linebackers must get to Brown and prevent him from having another 100 yard effort. As a whole, the unit needs to tackle better than they did against New Orleans. The return of Calvin Pace should be a big boost in the both pass and run defense.

Rex Ryan vs. The Wildcat: In two games against the Dolphins last year, Ryan’s defense allowed only 22 points, held Ronnie Brown to 46 rushing yards, and forced 6 turnovers. If Ryan can continue to outscheme the wildcat, the Dolphins will have no way to move the football. Let’s be real here, you think Chad Henne can drop back and pick apart the Jets defense with targets like Ted Ginn Jr, Devone Bess, and Greg Camarillo in a conventional offense? Absolutely not. The only way the Dolphins will be able to move the ball is on the ground, where a good amount of their production comes from the Wildcat. I think Ryan has been all over his defense about stopping run the this week, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see 8 guys in the box frequently this Monday night.

Mark Sanchez vs. Last Week’s Performance: All eyes will be on how Mark Sanchez responds to his first ugly NFL performance. Expect the Jets to focus on running ball and have a relatively conservative game plan this week. Regardless, there will be times when Sanchez has to make plays down the field and he needs to step up as he did during the first three weeks of the season. The most important thing is that he must protect the football. He needs to get through a game without having a fumble or interception.

Thomas Jones vs. Dolphins Run Defense: There has been alot talk about Braylon Edwards opening up space for Thomas Jones, who has struggled so far this season. Miami has one of the league’s best run defenses, so it would show something if Jones can get back on track. All of the Jets running backs and offensive line need to step up so the Jets can return to the “ground and pound” approach Ryan desires. It will be interesting to see how many reps Shonn Greene gets this week, and also if Leon Washington will get more than the four carries he got last week.

Nice to finally have a Jets player with a fantasy files commercial

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. The only Jets who didn’t practice today were Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Ryan didn’t sound too optimistic about either of them playing, especially Strickland. It definitely isn’t a good week to be without your #2 and #3 corners but Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman have showed they are capable replacements off the bench.

2. Make sure you check out episode IV of Turn On the Jets TV tomorrow, Corbett (my editor) and myself will in the studio (our apartment) filming a recap on week 3 and a prediction for Jets/Saints, along with a few other things for your entertainment.

3. Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month award. It is the first time a Jets player has ever won that award. Sanchez has 606 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

4. It will be good to see the Jets back in their normal green and white jerseys this week.

5. Just a reminder that after this game, the Jets get outside linebacker Calvin Pace back (80 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles in 2008).

6. The Jets are 6.5 point underdogs this week…no respect.

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: It has been tough sledding for the Jets running game so far this season but this is the game they need to break out of their funk. On the road, in the deafening Superdome, against the league’s best offense you need to establish a strong running game to keep Drew Brees and co. off the field and not put too much pressure on your rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington need their combined 40 touches and they need to make the most out of them. Leon is way overdue to rip off a big play on offense and Jones needs to get back above 4 yards a carry to start moving the chains again. If Jones starts off slow, don’t be surprised to see rookie Shonn Greene get a few carries. The better the Jets run the football, the better Mark Sanchez will play and the better chance the Jets will have to win this game.

When the Jets do need to pass, Sanchez must do a better job of protecting the football than he did last week. The Jets offense can’t let New Orleans get a short field because of a turnover or give them any points to make the defense’s task harder than it already is. Outside of his touchdown grab against New England, Dustin Keller has been very quiet the past two weeks and the Jets need to get him involved in their passing attack. Jerricho Cotchery needs to keep it going as the go to receiver, and Chansi Stuckey needs to bounce back after only having 11 yards receiving last week. Let’s see if this is the game that David Clowney can get a ball thrown his way, since he is coming off a couple of strong weeks in practice as a response to his deactivation against the Titans. I would like to see the Jets run another play out of their “Seminole” package beyond Leon Washington just faking the reverse to Brad Smith and keeping it. They tried a throwback to Sanchez last week but it got called back on a holding penalty.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Jets banged up secondary will have a difficult task against Drew Brees and co. this week. Darrelle Revis will likely be locked up Marques Colston and should be able to handle him. However, that will leave speedster Devery Henderson on Dwight Lowery, who has struggled with faster receivers in the past and been beaten deep on occasion. Don’t be surprised if the Jets give Lowery some help over the top. Expect to see Eric Smith either shadowing Jeremy Shockey or Reggie Bush out of the backfield. It will be interesting to see how often the Saints go to their running game with Pierre Thomas or Bush against the Jets front seven. I have confidence in the Jets ability to contain the run but they must continue to be aggressive their pass rush to help out their secondary this week.

New Orleans won’t drop as many passes as the Titans did and they have more players on the outside who can make you play for a blown coverage. This game is a golden opportunity for the Jets defense to make a statement that they are the league’s best. If they can go into New Orleans and keep Drew Brees in check, how are you going to say another unit has been better than them through four weeks?

Hopefully, the Jets can jump out to an early lead which will force the Saints to rely even more on the passing game than they already do, allowing the Jets to get some hits on Brees and force him into a few turnovers. This is Vernon Gholston’s last game as a starter, so far he only has 6 tackles and 1 TFL. There isn’t a better time for him to get his first NFL sack than this week.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington almost broke a few against New England, let’s see if can rip off a huge kick return against the Saints suspect coverage unit on the fast track at the Superdome. Reggie Bush is always dangerous on punt returns, but guys like Wallace Wright, Jason Trusnik, and Eric Smith have been excellent in coverage this season.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish a strong running game and get Thomas and Leon their combined 40 touches. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers and hits a few big plays down the field to keep the Saints defense honest. The Jets defense gets to Drew Brees early and often, forcing him into a few bad decisions. Darrelle Revis continues to prove why he is the best corner in football, by locking down Marques Colston.

The Jets Will Lose If…Mark Sanchez plays like a rookie and struggles with the crowd noise, along with the Saints opportunistic defense. Dwight Lowery gets torched by Devery Henderson for a big play. Reggie Bush rips off a long run after a catch out of the backfield to get some revenge on Bart Scott. Drew Brees isn’t pressured in the pocket and carves up the Jets banged up secondary.

A Memorable Moment in Jets/Saints History

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

NFL Week 2 Recap/Jets vs. Titans First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets hopped up to #8 in ESPN’s Power Rankings. Generally, more and more people seem to be jumping on the team’s bandwagon now after their victory over the Pats. It is funny listening people talk about guys like Darrelle Revis and Leon Washington like they just appeared out of thin air. The Jets have had talent, it just seems that now they have the right quarterback and head coach. However, let’s not get crazy…it is only week 2. It is easy to feel unbeatable right now, but a loss will come at some point and how this team responds to adversity will be interesting to see.

2. Apparently Lito Sheppard only had a severe cramp in his quad and is expected to play this week despite potentially being limited in practice. Donald Strickland’s status is a little more up in the air.

Wrapping Up Jets/Patriots

Defensive Player of the Game: Darrelle Revis – He won the award last week with David Harris, and this week he gets it by himself. Don’t let the lack of respect shown by Randy Moss fool you, Revis is a legit lock down corner. Outside of Ed Reed, I wouldn’t trade this guy for another defensive back in football. Remember the Andre Johnson who had no impact in the Jets/Texans game? Yea, well that same guy went for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns last week against a quality Titans defense

Offensive Player of the Game: Jerricho Cotchery – The Jets number wide-out kick started the second half with a 45 yard catch, which led to their go ahead touchdown. Cotchery continues to be excellent after the catch and is a sure-handed, reliable target for Mark Sanchez.

Honorable Mentions: Donald Strickland for being all over the field…Dwight Lowery for stepping up when Lito Sheppard was hurt…Dustin Keller for being the red-zone target the Jets need him to be…Shaun Ellis for a consistent, quality effort in his first game of the season…Kerry Rhodes for leading the team in tackles…The Jets fans for creating a serious home field advantage.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – What do you call a team with a quarterback who can’t complete passes under pressure, no consistent running game, a suspect defense, and a difficult schedule? You call them the 2009 New England Patriots. The Pats are going to have their hands full the next two weeks against the Falcons and Ravens. 1-3 is not out of the question.

Buffalo Bills – They have been impressive through the first two weeks of the regular season and if it weren’t for Leodis McKlevin, they’d be 2-0 right now. Fred Jackson is playing out of his mind right now and Trent Edwards is spreading the ball around well. However, their inexperienced offensive line and entire defense are serious questions for this team.

Miami Dolphins – I loved watching Channing Crowder, Joey Porter, and Jason Taylor get shredded up by Peyton Manning last night. It was like he was playing a high school defense. Chad actually played pretty well  but when he is your quarterback, you can’t manage any come from behind victories since every touchdown drive needs to be 19 plays. The Wildcat looked good last night, but that stuff isn’t working on a Rex Ryan defense. 6-10 Miami, 6-10. I can’t wait to play there on Monday Night in a few weeks.

Five Teams That Impressed Me

  1. New York Giants – Even as a Jets fan, I enjoyed watching the G-Men ruin the Cowboys home opener.  Mario Manningham is a player.
  2. Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco looks like an all-pro right now, which is scary to combine with Baltimore’s defense.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Saints offense versus Jets defense is going to be fun week 4.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – Hard Knocks, baby! Nice win for the Bengals against the favored Packers.
  5. Indianapolis Colts – Peyton is surgical with that offense, even throwing to division 3 receivers. I am available right now, if the Colts are looking.

Five Teams That Looked Like Garbage

  1. Cleveland Browns – There is nothing like a combination of Eric Mangini’s paranoia and blowout losses.
  2. Dallas Cowboys – Protect the ball Tony, protect the ball.
  3. Kansas City Chiefs – You lost in Oakland in your building? Ut-oh.
  4. Carolina Panthers – Could be a long season for a team with playoff aspirations coming into the year.
  5. St. Louis Rams – 2-14 sounds about right.

Other Observations

I can’t believe how anemic the Redskins offense has become. They barely edged out the St. Louis Rams, who are like a college team at this point. Everybody in the stadium was pulling for the Lions to get their first win in 19 games against Favre and the Vikings, unfortunately AP saved the day for #4. The Falcons are looking like the real deal this season. The battle between them and the Saints for the NFC South should be fun to watch. I was very surprised by the bounce-back performance from the Texans against the Titans. Maybe the Jets are just that good…

Jets vs. Titans First Look

The Opponent: Coming off a 13-3 2008 season, the Titans were considered serious contenders in the AFC this season. After a tough opening night loss to the defending champs, where they played very well, Tennessee had a big let down loss to the Houston Texans at home last week. They now sit at 0-2 and are facing a desperation game against the Jets. I am sure the Titans remember the beatdown the Jets handed them in their building last year to end their bid for a perfect season. Running back Chris Johnson is coming off a monster game is one of the top playmakers in the league, and the Titans always have a stingy defense. The schedule makers weren’t kind to the Jets, as they face another tough opponent this week.

Tennessee Titans Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Kerry Collins – 43/68, 460 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 INT’s
  • Running Back: Chris Johnson – 31 carries, 254 yards, 2 TD’s, 98 yards receiving, 1 TD
  • Running Back: LenDale White – 14 carries, 53 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Kenny Britt – 6 receptions, 107 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Justin Gage – 9 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Nate Washington – 5 receptions, 44 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Bo Scaife – 5 receptions, 48 yards
  • Tight End: Alge Crumpler – 6 receptions, 49 yards
  • Left Tackle: Michael Roos
  • Left Guard: Eugene Amano
  • Center: Kevin Mawae
  • Right Guard: Jake Scott
  • Right Tackle: David Stewart

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Jevon Kearse – 2 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Tony Brown – 4 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Jones – 4 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Kyle Vanden Bosch – 6 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Keith Bulluck – 15 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: Stephen Tulloch – 19 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Outside Linebacker: David Thorton – 9 tackles, 1 TFL
  • Corner: Nick Harper – 18 tackles
  • Corner: Cortland Finnegan – 14 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Chris Hope – 16 tackles, 1 PD, 1 TFL
  • Safety: Michael Griffin – 11 tackles, 1 FF

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Rob Bironas
  • Punter: Craig Hentrich
  • Returner: Ryan Mouton

Key Players: Chris Johnson is the Titans most explosive player and can score from anywhere on the field. Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are both big play receivers, with good speed. Kyle Vaden Bosch and Jason Jones lead a very strong front four, while Keith Bulluck is consistently one of the better linebackers in the league. Cortland Finnegan is a pro-bowl quality corner, who had an interception against the Jets last year.

Injuries: Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard will both likely be limited all week in practice, but should be able to go by Sunday. David Thorton and Nate Washington both returned from injury last week for the Titans.

Early Story Lines: Titans are desperate at 0-2…Jets guarding against let down game after emotional win over Pats…Jets embarrassed Titans last season…Kevin Mawae returns to the Meadowlands.

Highlights From the Titans Week 2 Loss to the Texans

Jets vs. Texans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets first injury report today had Mike DeVito listed as limited, although he is still expected to play. There are some rumblings that Sione Pouha will start at defensive end and that DeVito will rotate in off the bench but that remains to be seen. Kellen Clemens, Bryan Thomas, Wallace Wright, and Shonn Grenne were also listed on the injury report but all participated in the full practice today.

2. The Sporting News came up with a list of the top 100 players in the NFL: three Jets made it on the list, with Alan Faneca coming in at #34, Kris Jenkins #69, and Darrelle Revis at #98. No, Nick Mangold? I was a little surprised by that.

3. Brett Favre said some garbage today about being hurt towards the end of last season and a belief that he probably should have sat because his arm hurt so much. Yea, I’m sure Favre was just begging to be taken out when the Jets were 8-4 or 8-5. I really hope Cleveland and Minnesota end up in a 0-0 tie this weekend, with Favre throwing 4 INT’s, I’m not really interested in seeing him or Mangini win.

4. A little heads up that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet at www.fanball.com at 11:15 AM on Friday to preview the Jets/Texans game.

Jets vs. Texans: Key-Match Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Texans 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.

Darrelle Revis vs. Andre Johnson: Everybody knows Andre Johnson is one of the three best receivers in the NFL, if not arguably the best overall one. Few people respect Darrelle Revis as one the league’s top 3-5 cornerbacks, but make no mistake, he is. Johnson is the type of player who can change a game on any given play, having the ability to score from any place on the field which only increases the pressure on Revis. With Rex Ryan’s aggressive style, I don’t know how much help Revis will have over the top. As long as he can keep Johnson in front of him and prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play, he will have done his job.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Damien Woody vs. Mario Williams – Ferguson and Williams is a battle of former top 5 picks in the 2006 draft, so it will grab more headlines but I am worried about Woody struggling with a speed rusher like Williams. Despite having a solid season in 2008, Woody is still a former interior lineman who sometimes struggles against the pass rush. I think Ferguson has the feet to handle Williams and will be able to protect Sanchez adequately. Don’t be surprised to see the Jets chip Williams occasionally with a back or tight end. The last thing they need is Sanchez getting pounded into the turf or running for his life all day on Sunday.

Leon Washington vs. DeMeco Ryans – Ryans is a lethal combination of speed and talent at the middle linebacker position, while Leon Washington is one of the hardest people to tackle in the NFL in the open field. When the Jets drop off a screen to Washington or send him on a wheel route out of the backfield, it will be up to Ryans to prevent him from creating a big play.

Lito Sheppard vs. Kevin Walter – The Texans aren’t going to stop throwing to Andre Johnson because Darrelle Revis is on him but they will certainly be throwing a ton of balls to Walter, an 8 touchdown 900 yard receiver, against Sheppard who struggled all pre-season. Lito is in desperate need of a strong performance to calm everybody’s nerves about him opposite Revis. Walter has good size and is frequently targeted around the red-zone, Sheppard has good hands and can make big plays but also has been a penalty machine this pre-season and been beat often.

We Never Get Enough Leon Washington here at TurnOnTheJets.com

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

First a few updates:

1. We got a nice long weekend of sports coming up. The Yankees and Red Sox start up tomorrow, hopefully the Yankees will deliver the knockout punch in the divisional race over the next three games. Fortunately, the Jets will prevent me from getting too depressed on Sunday night since they are on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, with Mark Sanchez making his first start under center.

2. I got my fantasy draft next weekend and I am still very undecided on my #5 pick. Although I am leaning towards Drew Brees or Larry Fitzgerald…yes Fitzgerald, I’m not shy about taking a WR at #5. Yes, I am also excited about taking Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller in the late rounds because nobody in my league touches any Jets because they are too high and mighty as Giants fans.

3. Minor Jets roster moves – They released guard Dennis Conley and signed safety Nate Ness.

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

Today was the final day of practice up in Cortland, New York and similar to how he exited mini-camp, Mark Sanchez ended with a bang. In the situational drills, which were set up to imitate the final play of the game with the Jets needing a touchdown from the 5 and 15 yard line, Sanchez twice found Brad Smith for a touchdown. Kellen Clemens on the other hand went 0-2 with an interception. Prior to the situational drills, Sanchez also hit Jerricho Cotchery with a 35 yard touchdown strike and Clemens was intercepted by backup DB Rashad Barksdale. Can anybody else read the writing on the walls? Unless Clemens lights it up on Monday night and Sanchez completely tanks or gets hurt, #6 will be under center for the first snap of every game in the 2009 season.

Up to this point both quarterbacks have been slightly inconsistent, trading good days with rough days and being overall pretty average. However, Sanchez is learning a new offense and adjusting to play at the NFL level. This is Kellen Clemens fourth year in the system and he hasn’t improved as camp went on. In fact, if you remember early on Clemens had a clear lead on Sanchez but slowly squandered it away. The rookie will take his lumps this year but should be able to stay healthy behind a premier (please stay healthy) offensive line and supported by a strong running game. In the long run, Sanchez will benefit from being thrown into the fire with a team that harbors playoff expectations. I believe he could play as well as Joe Flacco did last year and that he won’t impede the Jets from being a playoff contender.

What about the other training camp battles? We have had a strong camp by Chansi Stuckey, slowly being forgotten because of the recent resurgence of David Clowney who remains the Jets only legit home run threat at the position. Expect to see alot of Stuckey in the slot, with Clowney and Brad Smith (also quietly having a good camp) splitting out alongside Jerricho Cotchery. I expect the Jets to keep 6 receivers, with Wallace Wright and promising UDFA Britt Davis rounding out the depth chart.

Over at tight end, nobody has really stepped up behind Dustin Keller and I am still waiting for the Jets to bring in another veteran after roster cuts are made. Regardless, expect Jack Simmons and Wayne Hunter to see the majority of the #2 TE reps for now. At outside linebacker, neither Vernon Gholston or Marques Murrell has done anything that impressive this summer, with UDFA Jamaal Westerman arguably outplaying both of them. On the positive side, Bryan Thomas has had a very good camp and Calvin Pace looked like a beast in the Jets first pre-season game.

In terms of injuries, the Jets haven’t sustained anything major but rather a handful of minor injuries. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they will be missing anyone week one because of an injury. I would expect Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and maybe Alan Faneca to play in the third pre-season game and wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Mangold suited up on Monday.

Kerry Rhodes and Nick Mangold compete in throwing contests to prove who deserves the higher Madden rating:

Eight Observations on Jets Training Camp

First a few updates:

1. Some schedule news – The Jets open their pre-season schedule this Friday at home against the St. Louis Rams. On Thursday, their practice will be closed to the media. Wednesday is family night at 6 PM out at Hofstra, throwing a bone out to the Jets Long Island fans. Tomorrow they have one full practice in the morning and an afternoon special teams session.

2. The Jets released their first official depth chart today, I will update it accordingly on the site which can be accessed on the top of the home page.

Ten Monday Observations on Jets Training Camp

– I know it is only one game and I know that it was somewhat expected but don’t underestimate the blow of not having Shaun Ellis for week one against the Texans. The Jets will now have their top two sack leaders from last season suspended for week one against a Houston offense that loves to spread it out and throw the football. They will be also now be giving two players their first ever NFL start, likely Mike DeVito at defensive end and Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. If you want to look at the silver lining, DeVito and Gholston will gain some valuable playing time which will improve the Jets overall depth. However, in reality the Jets will be hurting without Pace and Ellis.

– Speaking of hurting, the list of minor Jets injuries is starting to concern me. It is almost comical how Rex Ryan brushes off every single injury as not significant and it’s not that I don’t believe him, it is just that a high number of key guys are nursing injuries. Nick Mangold’s knee is bothering him, Kris Jenkins is still out with a sore calf, Darrelle Revis isn’t taking part in team drills because of a tight hamstring, Tony Richardson is out with a hip pointer, Shaun Ellis sat out today with a tight back, and Donald Strickland is still out with a knee bruise…how can that not bother you a little bit? Richardson and Jenkins won’t play on Friday, which will give a big opportunity to Sione Pouha and Jehuu Caulcrick.

– Mark Sanchez has taken a few baby steps back since his big time performance with the starters on Saturday. He has struggled the last couple of practices with his accuracy, missing a few open targets while Kellen Clemens has been decent although he threw another interception today, giving him 11 throughout camp compared to Sanchez’s 3. Ryan is giving Clemens the start at home against the Rams because he will logically alternate and given Sanchez the 2nd start in the pre-season. Why would Ryan want Sanchez starting week 2? He wants to throw his highly touted rookie right into the fire on national television against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens on the road. You want to see what Sanchez has before the regular season…in Baltimore, against their starters for a full quarter on ESPN is a great test.

– So it looks like Wayne Hunter is really going to be the Jets #2 tight end. Apparently the big fella caught a 20 yard out route in front of Bart Scott the other day….impressive. Here is a fun fact about Wayne Hunter, the guy had an overall 100 morale rating in Madden 2008. Why is he so happy? I don’t know, but keep your spirits up Wayne and keep catching those passes.

– Rex Ryan raved about Vernon Gholston today like he was Bruce Smith because he has recorded a couple of sacks in the Jets last few practices. Yes, we are all happy to see Gholston finally making some plays in practice but keep in perspective that he has been outplayed all camp by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman. I think we all would be encouraged by a sack this Friday night.

– I am disappointed by the quiet training camps from Brad Smith and David Clowney, especially Clowney. However, I am intrigued to watch Britt Davis and Wallace Wright this Friday and see if they can make a move up the depth chart.

– You have to love Leon Washington for putting together such a strong camp despite the Jets playing hard-ball with him on his contract negotiations…just pay the man his money, Mike Tannenbaum.

– A few observations on the Jets depth chart – Surprised to see Kareem Brown in front of Jack Simmons at tight end, Jamaal Westerman has already hopped Larry Izzo and Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker, good to see Matt Slauson behind Alan Faneca at LG.

Sanchez's Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

First a few updates:

1. I would have wrote an article last night about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp, but I got caught up in the 15 inning classic between the Yanks and Red Sox. What a game, and with the way CC is pitching as I type this (1 hit through 6 innings) it looks the Yankees might take the first three games of this series.

2. Movie Review of the Day – I saw “Funny People” during the week and I’d give it 2.5 out of 4 stars. There are some great 1 liners, the big guy from Superbad is real funny but the movie is wayyyy too long and the whole love plot line is very dull.

3. Abbreviated version of what we have learned from the first week of Jets training camp: Kellen Clemens can’t protect the football…Chansi Stuckey has been the Jets 2nd best receiver, behind Jerricho Cotchery…Wallace Wright has been their third best receiver…Marques Murrell is more active around the football than Vernon Gholston…the Jets secondary is going to be very, very good…Wayne Hunter is leading the battle to be the #2 tight end, ut oh…Shonn Greene is going to contribute on offense this year…Rex Ryan loves David Harris, Jamaal Westerman, and Dwight Lowery…Mark Sanchez is going to start week one against Houston unless there is a drastic turn of the events in the pre-season.

Sanchez’s Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

Story of the Day: The Jets have decided to rotate their first team quarterback every other practice and today Mark Sanchez was under center with the 1’s and he didn’t disappoint. The rookie had his finest practice of training camp, going 10-19 and throwing two touchdowns, including a 40 yard post to Jerricho Cotchery over Darrelle Revis on the first 11 on 11 play. He then led a two minute drive that culminated in a 25 yard touchdown to Chansi Stuckey. Sanchez continued to show great command of the offense and the huddle and drew praise from numerous veterans after practice. Kellen Clemens continued to struggle, going 4-12 and throwing an interception. Regardless, Rex Ryan named Clemens the starter for the Jets pre-season opener against the Rams this Friday.

Opinion on Quarterback Battle: Ryan is giving Clemens the start only because he is the veteran. Unless Sanchez implodes, he will start the second pre-season game and every game after that. Sanchez has pulled ahead in the battle and it is doubtful that he will look back. He hasn’t turned the ball over as much as Clemens and is beginning to look comfortable in the offense, especially the two minute drill. More importantly, it appears the veterans are starting to gain some confidence in Sanchez.

A Vernon Gholston Sighting: #50 had a sack today! Gholston has been quiet all camp, being outplayed by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman, hopefully he can start to turn it up in time for the Jets first pre-season game.

Rex Talks: Ryan was effusive in his praise of linebacker David Harris, who is having a very good camp. He also continues to talk up the secondary, which should have excellent depth. It will be interesting to see how the reps are divided up between Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo behind the four starters in the secondary.

Injury Updates: Keith Fitzhugh remains out with a shoulder injury but should be back by the end of the week. Shonn Greene rested his sore ankle today. Kris Jenkins is close to coming back. Bart Scott also has a sore hamstring, that I’m sure the Jets will be careful with. Tony Richardson remains out with a hip pointer.

Don’t Sleep on Wallace: Who would have thought that Wallace Wright would be in contention for serious reps at receiver? So far he has outplayed David Clowney, Brad Smith, and the recently hyped up rookie Britt Davis. Wright is a strong route runner, with decent enough size who has great hands, meaning he could be a quality option for reps at split end so they could slide Chansi Stuckey in the slot. Keep an eye on #15 this Friday.

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

The Jets defense is way ahead of their offense, but hey…we knew that already. The Jets ‘Green and White’ scrimmage didn’t do anything to change that notion. Neither the first or second offense was able to manage any points (keep in mind, a couple of fourth down conversions were attempted and failed in field goal territory), the lone touchdown of the day came from the third offense, when backup receiver Paul Raymond scored on a 15 yard reverse. Let’s go over what we saw from each position….

Quarterback – Kellen Clemens didn’t turn the ball over, which was a positive. However, he didn’t do anything to separate himself from Mark Sanchez. He mostly threw short, safe passes and finished roughly 5-7 for 26 yards. His best throw was probably a 11 yard completion in the seam to Dustin Keller on a third down. His worst throw was on a 3rd and 20, when Chansi Stuckey got behind Drew Coleman and Clemens under threw him, leading to a jump ball that was nearly intercepted.

Mark Sanchez played very well and drew a high amount of praise from Rex Ryan. The rookie was victimized by four dropped passes, including two from Britt Davis (who received some press earlier in the day as the “mystery” receiver the Jets organization was excited about, maybe they jinxed him…) and one by Jack Simmons, who also didn’t help himself with an offsides penalty. Unofficially, Sanchez was 9-15 for 70 yards. He showed his chemistry with Wallace Wright, hitting him 3 times for 23 yards including a nice throw on a deep comeback route for about 15 yards. He didn’t have any turnovers but did take a sack, when he failed to notice a backside corner blitz. Sanchez made the quarterback battle even tighter with his performance today, I’d say right now it is an even 50-50, after it being slightly tilted in Clemens favor most of the week.

Erik Ainge actually played half way decent, hitting Marcus Henry for a 38 yard gain, which was the day’s biggest offensive play. He led the offense on their only scoring drive of the day.

Running Back – Thomas Jones was relatively quiet, except for a monster blitz pick-up. Leon Washington had 3 catches for 12 yards. Shonn Greene was the best news of the day on offense. The rookie third-round pick had 25 yards on 6 carries, including a 12 yard run when he broke to the outside. He also had a 33 yard reception on a screen pass. You have to get excited when thinking about the Jets potential three-headed monster at running back.

Receiver – Britt Davis received the hype today and struggled to validate the coaching staff’s excitement with two key drops. David Clowney had a quiet day with 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith didn’t do anything of note. Chansi Stuckey and Jerricho Cotchery had 2 catches a piece. Marcus Henry had the play of the day with a 38 yard reception over Drew Coleman. Wallace Wright had a strong outing and is pretty much locked into a roster spot. The only way Davis or Henry make the roster at this point is if the Jets decide to keep 6 receivers.

Tight End – Jack Simmons had a drop and a penalty. Kareem Brown had a 8 yard catch. Dustin Keller had one catch for 11 yards…the Jets still need help at this position.

Offensive Line – Three plays were called as “sacks,” although two came from members of the secondary which could fall on the running backs and their blitz pick-up. The best news? No injuries.

Defensive Line – Mike DeVito left with an injury but according to Rex Ryan it isn’t that serious. The Jets showed some unique looks on the defensive line, with Shaun Ellis sliding over to nose tackle and Sione Pouha dropping to MLB (no, that wasn’t a error).

Linebacker – Vernon Gholston had an active today, which is a step in the right direction for him. He was around the ball alot and made a handful of tackles. Marques Murrell had a tackle for a loss, Kenwin Cummings had a tackle for a loss, Jamaal Westerman had a sack, Brandon Renkart had a quarterback pressure. Ryan singled out Cummings and David Harris as having particularly strong days.

Secondary – The secondary continued their excellent training camp. Darrelle Revis was lockdown as usual, Lito Sheppard played well and did good in run support. Dwight Lowery had a sack, Drew Coleman had a couple of passes defensed. James Ihedigbo had a sack, Kerry Rhodes had a tackle for a loss. The Jets secondary is going to be very good this season, especially if second-tier players like Ihedigbo, Coleman, and Eric Smith keep playing well.

Tomorrow – The Jets have off and are taking a trip out to the pro football Hall of Fame…however, I won’t take off and will write an article about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 5th

First a few updates:

1. Big weekend coming up, starting tomorrow night with the Jets Green and White Scrimmage and of course, the beginning of a huge 4 game series between the Yankees and Red Sox. As of right now, it looks like the Yanks will head into the series with a 2.5 game lead in the standings, which means this series really gives them a chance to put some distance between them and Boston over the weekend.

2. A complaint from a frustrated New York sports talk radio listener – Due to my long commute to Newark everyday, I spend alot of time listening to both 660 and 1050 AM and I can’t tell you freakin’ tired I am of hearing about the Mets. The Yankees are in first place in the best division in baseball, the Jets and Giants are both in training camp, and yet all I hear is discussion about the Mets, a fourth place team who is 5 games under .500, enough, nobody cares, their season is over. We all understand how awful they are and how many injuries they have, now spend some more time talking about my Yankees and Jets. (Sorry for another Mets bashing paragraph, Mandy, but I can’t help myself).

3. A quick comment on the New York Football Giants – Congrats to Eli for signing his fat new contract. The guy won a Super Bowl, he earned it. The G-Men are arguably the best team in the NFC this year despite their pedestrian receiving core that is counting on the likes of Domenick Hixon, Mario Manningham, and Sinorce Moss to handle major reps. The only thing that bothers me about the Giants is how much they talk about being disrespected and flying under the radar, it isn’t two seasons ago guys, everybody respects you and realizes you are a good team.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 5th

Story of the Day: Good day for the rookie…Mark Sanchez slightly outperformed Kellen Clemens today and did a good job with his extended reps with the first team. This battle is basically even right now, with a maybe a slight tilt towards Clemens. However, Kellen struggled today, taking too many sacks and throwing another interception into the hands of Kerry Rhodes. Sanchez showed good pocket presence in practice and had a better two minute drill than Clemens, who went three and out. Tomorrow is a big day for Sanchez who will get to go head to head versus Clemens in the Green and White Scrimmage. If he wants more reps with the first team, tomorrow is the day to make a statement.

More Quarterback Daily News: Rex Ryan said he wants to name a starter before the Jets third pre-season game against the Giants. You would have to think he will let Clemens and Sanchez start a game a piece before then and hope one of them seizes the job. The third pre-season game is when the starters see extended work, meaning whomever gets the nod in that game will be in good shape to start the regular season against Houston.

Secondary Love: Ryan talked at length today about how good he believes the Jets secondary is. Dwight Lowery continued his strong camp by knocking down three passes in practice today and Drew Coleman also flashed a few times, with an interception and a pass defensed, drawing praise from Ryan who thinks his skill set fits well with the Jets new scheme on defense. Ryan’s also complimented Donald Strickland’s versatility to play corner, nickle, and safety. James Ihedigbo looks like he will have a bigger role on the defense this season and could be active in nickle and dime packages. Darrelle Revis? He is the best corner in football according to Ryan and you won’t get much of an argument from me, although Asomugha on Oakland is probably still #1.

Tight End Issues: First off, condolences to Kareem Brown who lost a close friend in a car accident, which is why he missed the first few Jets practices. Many of the beat writers dedicated articles in today’s paper to the Jets lack of depth at tight end. Unless Jack Simmons, Brown, or the newly signed Kevin Brock really picks things up in the next week or two, the Jets are going to have bring in a veteran. Right now, reserve tackle Wayne Hunter is working as the primary backup. Hopefully, somebody will make a few plays tomorrow in the scrimmage and then in the first pre-season game to distinguish themselves.

Injury News: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, Shonn Greene, Tony Richardson and Donald Strickland are all nursing minor injuries and should be back soon. I don’t know if any of them will play tomorrow, but it would be nice to see Greene out there since he is a rookie. There is no need to rush veterans like Ellis, Richardson or Jenkins back.

Receiver Transaction: The Jets released Mario Urrutia (what kind of person would pick this guy to make the 53 man roster and think he was an under the radar guy to watch in camp…ooops) and got Aundrae Allison off waivers from the Vikings. Allison is a speedy guy, who has experience as a kick returner. He also has 18 career catches for 231 yards, which is nothing to scoff at when guys like David Clowney (1 career catch) and Wallace Wright (6 career receptions) are competing for major playing time.

Good Camp/Bad Camp: Good Camp – Wallace Wright, Chansi Stuckey, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Bart Scott, Dwight Lowery, Howard Green, Jim Leonhard….Bad Camp (Or Quiet Camp) – David Clowney, J’Nathan Bullock, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Jason Trusnik, Huey Whittaker, Marcus Henry

Tomorrow: Morning Session closed to the media and Green and White Scrimmage at 6 PM (Live play by play audio on www.newyorkjets.com, I know I’ll be listening).

5 Guys to Watch For in Tomorrow’s Scrimmage:

1. Mark Sanchez – Duh, big chance for the rookie to make some plays and a make a move in the QB battle.

2. David Clowney – He has been quiet all camp, can he make a few big plays?

3. Vernon Gholston – See above.

4. Jehuu Caulcrick/Shonn Greene – Who? Caulcrick will be the starting fullback with T-Rich out with injury. If Greene plays, he should be in line for some short yardage carries.

5. Kareem Brown/Jack Simmons/J’Nathan Bullock – Somebody could get a leg up in battle for the #2 TE spot.