Is Year 5 Too Late For New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez?

Is year 5 too late for New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to resurrect his career? Dalbin Osorio explores…

Due to the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, first round quarterbacks were taken to ideally be the franchise quarterback for an extended period of time. If you connected with your pick, you have Peyton Manning or Donovan McNabb and can compete for a decade plus despite glaring weaknesses at other position groups. If you miss, you end up with Ryan Leaf and your franchise is set back for years. Sometimes, you end up right in the middle. You don’t get a savior (Jason Campbell) but you don’t get a bust either (Sam Bradford). Sometimes, you get a guy that leads your team to moderate success before flaming out amid allegations of blackballing and conspiracies (Vince Young) or a guy that goes on and gives you glimpses of why they were a first round QB on another team (Jay Cutler). Is improvement in the 5th year for a QB too much to ask for a former 5th overall pick? Let’s look at how other first round QBs drafted from 2001-2008 have done in year 5 and see if there’s any reason to hope for “Moscato” Mark Sanchez.

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New York Jets Training Camp Battles: Quarterback Edition

Connor Rogers continues his look at the New York Jets training camp battles by focusing on the quarterback position

Our series of taking a deeper look at the battles going on at New York Jets training camp continues by focusing on the quarterback spot. Quarterback is certainly a position that never lacks drama with the Jets and this year it seems to be at an all time high. The former 5th overall pick from the 2009 draft Mark Sanchez is competing against this year’s second round pick Geno Smith to be the starter. Meanwhile, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms compete for the 3rd string spot. Both won’t be solved until preseason, but let’s see how things are projected and also how each look after few days of practice. Continue reading “New York Jets Training Camp Battles: Quarterback Edition”

New York Jets Fans Rooting Guide For Training Camp

Mike Donnelly presents the New York Jets Guide To Training Camp – What Fans should be rooting for

With training camp getting started this past weekend, New York Jets fans have been so excited that their thoughts and hopes about the team have been all over the place. Some think that the team is headed toward a top-5 draft choice next year, while others think the team is going to be the surprise story of the NFL and make the playoffs. Some think Rex should be fired, and others think he should get an extension. Some fans are Team Sanchez and others are Team Geno. Well, none of us can be totally sure where this season is headed exactly, but what I can tell you is what you should be rooting for to happen during this training camp (other than no injuries of course). Here is the Jets Fan’s Rooting Guide for Training Camp:

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New York Jets’ QB Geno Smith and the 2nd Round QB Conundrum

Dalbin Osorio breaks down the recent history of 2nd round quarterbacks and how they compare to Geno Smith’s chances for success with the New York Jets

Over the last seven NFL drafts, and especially since the implementation of the NFL rookie scale after the 2010 draft, teams have used their 2nd round picks as much as their first round picks to target potential “quarterbacks of the future”, or at least viable competition for their incumbent starters. 11 quarterbacks (Newton, Locker, Gabbert, Ponder, Luck, Griffin, Tannehill, Weeden, Dalton, Claussen, Kaepernick) were taken in the first two rounds in 2012 and 2011, where 6 quarterbacks (Bradford, Tebow, Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman, Pat White) were taken in the first and second rounds in 2010 and 2009. Since the cap penalties aren’t as crippling as they used to be, General Managers have been willing to roll the dice with both their first and second round choices.

First round quarterbacks have generally been thrust into starting right away on bad teams, and some have never recovered; in fact, it can be argued that Gabbert, Clausen, and Locker should not have been taken in the first two rounds. Second round quarterbacks have generally been lauded as “competition.” Let’s look back at how the second round QBs that were taken since 2001 did in their quarterback competitions, as well as career wise, and how that can be used to gauge Geno Smith’s potential. I’ll be using a success scale, with 10 representing a Drew Brees-like career (due to Brees being arguably the 2nd greatest second round quarterback taken, after Brett Favre) or 1 representing a Brian Brohm-like career (think journeyman and no success).

Continue reading “New York Jets’ QB Geno Smith and the 2nd Round QB Conundrum”

Crazy Sunday For Jets: Updated Look At 53 Man Roster & Cuts

No time for non-football updates, on what has been a suprisingly active Sunday for the Jets:

1. The Jets have acquired former New England backup quarterback Kevin O’Connell from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed draft pick (likely a conditional 6th or 7throunder). Regardless, both Dave Hutchinson and Rich Ciminihave confirmed that Kellen Clemens isn’t going anywhere and will remain the #2 quarterback for now. Why did the Jets make this move? Apparently the front office has always been high on O’Connell and wanted to jump at the chance to get him on the roster. Kellen Clemens is going to be gone after this season and they want somebody to battle it out with Erik Ainge for the #2 spot behind Mark Sanchez in 2010. In terms of this season, the Jets won’t carry four quarterbacks on their active roster, as Hutchinson smartly points out expect either Ainge or O’Connell to pick up a phantom injury and end up on injured reserve for 2009.

2. The Jets have also been working the waiver wire, today they acquired punter AJ Trapasso from the Tennessee Titans. Bye, Bye Reggie Hodges. Trapasso executed a fake punt for touchdown in the Hall of Fame Game this season and also boomed one off the Cowboys new scoreboard. They also picked up tight end Matthew Mulligan from the Titans, who is regarded primarily as a blocking tight end. He is a second year player from Maine, who is 6’5 270 pounds. In the pre-season he recorded 3 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Finally, they picked up fullback Jason Davis, who is a fourth year player that has primarily been with the Chicago Bears. Last year in Chicago, he started three games, had a rushing attempt and a reception for 12 yards.

3. Since the Jets have now added four players (O’Connell, Trapasso, Mulligan, Davis) they released running back Danny Woodhead, tackle Michael Kracalik, punter Reggie Hodges, and linebacker Brandon Renkart.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Mark Sanchez – Let’s translate strong pre-season into strong regular season.
  2. Kellen Clemens – Some concerns about an injured elbow, but remains backup for now. Gone in 2010.
  3. Erik Ainge – Great pre-season, could be eventual #2.
  4. Kevin O’Connell – There are some rumors the Jets may trade him to Denver now, but if he stays put expect him or Ainge to end up on the IR and then both compete in 2010 for the #2 spot.

Running Backs:

  1. Thomas Jones – Could be last year in Green and White.
  2. Leon Washington – Hope a new contract gets done soon.
  3. Shonn Grenne – Don’t know if he can contribute early because of injury plagued pre-season.

Fullbacks:

  1. Tony Richardson – Solid veteran.
  2. Jason Davis – Starting experience. I guess the Jets weren’t sold on Jehuu Caulcrick.

Receivers:

  1. Jerricho Cotchery – First year as an unquestioned #1 receiver.
  2. Chansi Stuckey – Top of the committee approach to the #2 spot.
  3. David Clowney – Another monster pre-season.
  4. Brad Smith – Quiet pre-season.
  5. Wallace Wright – Special teams ace.

Tight Ends:

  1. Dustin Keller – Potential for a monster season.
  2. Ben Hartsock – Doesn’t know the offense but is the #2.
  3. Matthew Mulligan – Doesn’t know the offense but is the #3.
  4. James Dearth – Long Snapper.

Tackles

  1. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Hopefully can take game to next level in ’09.
  2. Damien Woody – Seems fully recovered from pre-season concussion.
  3. Wayne Hunter – Also has value as backup tight end.

Guard

  1. Alan Faneca – Stay healthy.
  2. Brandon Moore – Got a well deserved new contract, hopefully he maintains level of play.
  3. Robert Turner – Also the backup center.
  4. Matt Slauson – Draft pick, means he gets more time to develop,

Center

  1. Nick Mangold – One of the best in the business.

Defensive Ends

  1. Shaun Ellis – Will be back in week 2.
  2. Marques Douglas – Should be good replacement for Kenyon Coleman.
  3. Mike DeVito – Should start week one for Ellis.
  4. Ropati Pitoitua – Strong pre-season earned him roster spot.

Defensive Tackle

  1. Kris Jenkins – Straight beast when healthy.
  2. Howard Green- Great pre-season.
  3. Sione Pouha- Might not play much but provides decent depth.

Linebackers

  1. Bart Scott – Still love watching him rip that ball out of Brandon Jacobs hands.
  2. David Harris – Two words in this defense: Pro Bowl.
  3. Calvin Pace – Back in week four.
  4. Bryan Thomas – Had a quiet but strong pre-season.
  5. Vernon Gholston – Showed a pulse the past couple of pre-season games.
  6. Marques Murrell- Good special teams/depth player. Could see some defensive action in weeks 1-4.
  7. Jamaal Westerman – I think he probably hopped Murrell on the depth chart. Could be Jets top backup in weeks 1-4 at linebacker.
  8. Jason Trunsik – Quiet pre-season. Might be released when Pace or Ellis returns.
  9. Larry Izzo- Earned spot on reputation. Could still be cut when Pace/Ellis return.

Cornerbacks

  1. Darrelle Revis – Lock Down
  2. Lito Sheppard – Real worried about him.
  3. Dwight Lowery – Finished pre-season strong.
  4. Donald Strickland – Quietly will be a good addition for the Jets on defense.
  5. Ahmad Carroll – Special teams ace.
  6. Drew Coleman – Could be gone soon.
  7. Marquis Cole – Either him or Coleman could be gone in week 2 or 5. Seven corners is a bit excessive.

Safeties

  1. Kerry Rhodes – Should have a big year.
  2. Jim Leonhard – First time beginning season as a starter.
  3. Eric Smith – Good depth/special teams player.
  4. James Ihedigbo- Good depth/special teams player.

Specials

  1. Jay Feely – Quality kicker.
  2. AJ Trapasso – Bye Reggie Hodges.

To recap, strong candidates to be cut after the return of Ellis and Pace are: Larry Izzo, Drew Coleman, Marquis Cole, Jason Trusnik.

Our New Punter Scores a Touchdown

Sanchez Is Starting…Duh, But What Now?

First a few updates:

1. RIP Ted Kennedy.

2. Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Donald Strickland, and Jay Feely all returned to practice. Hopefully, the Jets will be at full strength for the Giants game this Saturday, which should see the starters play into the 3rd quarter.

3. The Jets waived offensive lineman Tavita Thompson.

4. Tonight is my first night of extensive graduate school homework but what better way to procrastinate than with an article about the Jets. Also, the Yankees are on ESPN tonight and Hard Knocks is on at 10…could be a late night.

Sanchez Is Starting…Duh, But What Now?

Today’s big news is that Mark Sanchez has been named the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. If you have been following the Jets all summer, you knew this was coming and it was only a matter of when not if Sanchez was going to be named the starter. Any individual who has kept track of the Jets on a daily basis would tell you it has either been a draw to this point or that Sanchez has slightly outplayed Clemens. Rex Ryan made the right decision. Kellen Clemens couldn’t outplay the rookie despite having 4 years of experience in this offensive system and showed no reason to believe he could be a reliable veteran quarterback that would protect the football. He consistently turned the ball over more than Sanchez, despite taking less risks down the field. In reality this decision was a no-brainer for Ryan, you don’t hold back your franchise quarterback for somebody of Kellen Clemens’ talent level.

So now what? First off, Jets fans need to accept the reality that Mark Sanchez is going to take his lumps, which should be an obvious. Yet, they also need to understand the type of football the Jets will be playing this year. This team has been built to win through their defense and running game. Sanchez isn’t going to  be airing it out or putting up pretty statistics. There is going to be plenty of times this season when it is 3rd and 9 and the Jets are on their own 30 yard line, down 7-3 in the third quarter and they are going to hand the ball off to Leon Washington and then punt…this is okay and smart football. You punt, play defense and wait until you have better field position. A good game for Sanchez this year could be 10/15 for 139 yards with 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s, if the Jets win. Gradually the offense will begin to open up more as his experience grows.

In terms of what is around Sanchez, apparently Mike Tannenbaum said in a recent interview that “nothing was imminent” in the contract talks with Leon Washington. Give the guy his 6 million a season and get the job done. He is their most valuable offensive player and a proven game-breaker. Washington is the type of guy you want spending 12 seasons in green and white, especially as your 60 million dollar quarterback grows…there are certain times to play hardball and certain times when you need to pay your stars, it is time to pay your star running back.

At the wide receiver position, David Clowney was working extensively with the first team today. It is about time. If you are evaluating the receiver position right now, Cotchery and Clowney should be starting with Stuckey playing the slot and working in alongside Cotchery on certain plays. Brad Smith is a few notches back and should be a #4 receiver used in certain packages of plays. There are rumors swirling about the Jets desperately looking to acquire another receiver in a trade, but at this point who are they going to get? It appears things are starting to go smoother with Brandon Marshall and the Broncos and he would also have a monstrous price tag. When looking at a few lower profile guys to consider, how about Reggie Brown on Philly or DJ Hackett on Washington?

The Jets offense has potential to be better than people think. Let’s not forget they have a top flight offensive line, a great stable of running backs, a very good fullback, a playmaking tight end, and a competent number one receiver. They also appear to have a legitimate deep threat in David Clowney. Mark Sanchez is going to be handing the ball off alot, throwing a ton of screen passes and intermediate passes to Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. He will probably only be taking a few shots a game to a guy like Clowney or Keller down the seam. Beyond that, the Jets will look for the big plays to come from their running game or Leon Washington turning a screen pass into a 30 yard gain. They will also fool around with the wildcat with Brad Smith behind center and use him on some reverses.

An Awesome Video Made by JetNaton.Com, Put Chills Down My Spine…How Many Days Until We Play Houston?

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

1. John Clayton speculated it would take a 1st and 4th round pick for the Jets or any other team for that matter to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos…that is a steep price for the Jets, who only drafted three players last year and still badly need to add depth/talent to the WR, TE, and OL/DL. However, how much better would Mark Sanchez be with a guy like Marshall to throw to? It is an interesting debate, as of now I still wouldn’t expect anything to happen.

2. The Rex Sox just acquired Billy Wagner…did somebody say desperate? Also, it is really historically unbelievable how bad the Mets season has gone, in terms of injuries and everything else that has happened around the team.

3. I just found out you can download something called “NFL Replay” which allows you to watch any NFL game on your computer within 24 hours of it ending. Thank god…I was contemplating not going to Italy with my family because I would miss the Jets/Colts week 16 game.

4. My fantasy football league is holding our live draft this Saturday…and I am stuck the #5 pick. Suggestions are still welcome.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

Quarterbacks: D+ – Yeeesh. Let’s be honest here, outside of one play it was an ugly, ugly night for Mark Sanchez. The rookie threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown (a ridiculously athletic play by Haloti Ngata), threw another ball right into the arms of Ray Lewis, fumbled an exchange, had two delay of game penalties, and a miscommunication with Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, he did make an athletic play and a great throw on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on a third down, which shows some character and a short memory, both necessary for a successful quarterback but outside of that play, he was simply bad. Hopefully, this night be will remembered as an important part of his development and learning curve as a NFL QB. The Ravens in their building are as good as it gets in the NFL…Sanchez will learn from last night and be better prepared the next time around.

Kellen Clemens had a real shot to make the quarterback battle alot more interesting last night but didn’t respond to the challenge. He threw a horrible interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown and only completed 50 percent of his passes. He did drop in a nice 28 yard touchdown to David Clowney (who else?) and threw a beautiful long ball to Brad Smith that was dropped (shocking…I know).

The Jets are built to play defense and run the ball. They need a quarterback who can protect the football and not give points to the opposing team. If you take away the 2 INT’s for touchdowns last night, the Jets win that game handily. They can’t have turnovers from the quarterback position, period.

By the way, Erik Ainge looked pretty good last night and is probably on his way to being the #2 quarterback next year when Clemens isn’t resigned.

Running Backs: A – Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. #29 is the engine the keeps the Jets offense running. He put on a display last night that clearly showed his value to the Jets. 48 rushing yards on a 6.0 yards per carry (just like last season…give him more touches), 2 receptions for 35 yards including a 19 yard touchdown, and a 52 yard kickoff return. Pay Leon Washington. Thomas Jones also looked like he was in 2008 form with 32 yards on 8 carries. Shonn Greene had a nice 15 yard catch but took a rib shot that limited his action. I am still not that impressed with Danny Woodhead, who isn’t going to make the roster. Brock Christopher looked pretty good filling in for Jehuu Caulcrick. Good to see Tony Richardson back out there.

Wide Receivers: D – Nothing from Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith dropped a touchdown and had an offensive pass interference penalty. Britt Davis dropped a long touchdown. Marcus Henry couldn’t get open on the 2 point conversion that could have won the game. Wallace Wright was quiet. On the positive side, David Clowney just keeps making plays as he caught another touchdown pass, using his speed to blow by Frank Walker. How can Clowney not be the Jets #2 receiver right now? Everybody talks about how much they love Stuckey in the slot, so put Clowney and Cotchery on the outside and have Stuckey work the slot.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet night from Dustin Keller. Jack Simmons had a drop and Kareem Brown didn’t have a catch, although they all deserve some credit for strong blocking in the running game.

Offensive Line: B+ – It says alot about Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca that they strapped it up last night…that is exactly what you want to see from your veterans, that they are excited about the team/season and are raring to get back out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes in the running game and did decent in pass protection, considering the amount of blitzes the Ravens threw at them. Wayne Hunter played much better filling in for Damien Woody than he did last week.

Defensive LIne: B+ – Very strong games from both Howard Green and Ropati Pitoitua, who both recorded a sack and are showing that the Jets have pretty good depth along their defensive line. The run defense was great and the entire line got a solid push all night. It will be a huge boost to get Kris Jenkins back in the next couple of days.

Linebackers: B – David Harris is going to record alot of sacks in Rex Ryan’s defense. He continued his terrific pre-season with 5 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott missed a tackle in the backfield on third down that would have ended a drive. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace both had productive games, including another sack from Pace who the Jets are going to miss badly for the first four games this year. Kenwin Cummings and Marques Murrell were both active. Vernon Gholston did nothing except get out-run by Joe Flacco.

Secondary: C – They badly miss Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were picked on all night. Coleman had a nice pass deflection but was toasted deep by Derrick Mason. Lito Sheppard was beat a couple of times. Kerry Rhodes was pretty active and had a nice pass deflection, to break up a screen play. Marquice Cole had a nice interception but was beat deep later in the game. James Ihedigbo had an interception called back on a penalty.

Special Teams: C – Average punting, decent kicking, a big kick return by Leon Washington, a nice job on punt returns by Jim Leonhard and a near turnover by Aundrae Allison.

Highlights From the Game Last Night:

Monday Night Football: Jets vs. Ravens Preview

First a few updates:

1.  The Yankees took care of business this weekend, grabbing 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox. It would take a colossal Mets type meltdown for them not to win the division now. How about the season Hideki Matsui is putting together?

2. Television/Movie Discussion of the Day – Entourage was pretty good last night. They finally moved away from E’s relationships dominating the story line and introduced a few new interesting characters in the agency he is working in. Also it is always good to see Bob Saget back on the show…I saw Inglorious Bastards over the weekend, great movie that I highly recommend.

Jets vs. Ravens Preview

The Main Story Lines: Mark Sanchez makes his first start, with a chance to end the quarterback battle. Rex Ryan goes against his former team, that snubbed him for a head coaching job in 2008. The Jets offense faces arguably the best defense in football. The Jets defense will be without their two best players, Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis for the second straight pre-season game. The offensive line will be without Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, also for the second straight pre-season game.

The Best Case Scenario– The Jets offense holds their own against the Ravens defense, putting together a couple of scoring drives and not turning the football over. They are able to establish a running game and protect Sanchez, who is able to make Baltimore pay for stacking the box by hitting a big play deep. The defense continues to put pressure on the quarterback and forces a few turnovers.

The Worst Case Scenario – The Jets are completely out-classed by the Ravens on national television. Sanchez struggles immensely and keeps the quarterback battle alive for at least another week or two. The Jets defense can’t stop the Ravens running game and the backups forced to start look shaky, increasing questions about their depth on both sides of the ball.

You’d Like to See – Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey….the Jets starting receivers make some plays. Vernon Gholston have an active game at outside linebacker. Somebody seize control of the punting job. Shonn Greene continue to improve. Sione Pouha and Howard Green lead a strong run defense. Dwight Lowery have a strong bounce-back performance. Kerry Rhodes make a big play in the secondary.

Prediction – The Jets offense moves the ball but is forced to settle for a few too many field goals. Sanchez does well enough to end the quarterback battle. The defense struggles a little bit without Jenkins and Revis. Final Score….Ravens- 23 Jets-16.

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

First a few updates:

1.  The Jets had their first annual “King Ugly” contest which names the three ugliest players/coaches in the organization. According to the beat writers and David Clowney’s twitter (also an interesting follow), first place was James Ihedigbo, second place was defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and third place was Leon Washington. Hey, it’s not a big deal guys…you play a sport with helmets on and I am pretty sure Pettine will be tucked safely away in the booth.

2. I was cleaning out my closet today and went through all my NFL Jerseys, which was obviously overloaded with Jets no longer on the team and WR’s and CB’s from other teams. For some reason when I was in high school I  wasted hundreds of dollars on jerseys of receivers and corners cause I played both positions. Anyway, look at this depth chart of jerseys and please if you are interested in buying any of them except for the guys currently on the Jets, feel free to let me know:

Jets Jerseys:

Still On The Team – Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, Kerry Rhodes

Legends – Curtis Martin

Out of Date – Santana Moss, Laveranues Coles, Curtis Conway (Yes, Curtis Conway), Jonathan Vilma, Chad Pennington, #9 Caporoso Jersey (a horrible gift from an ex-girlfriend)

Other NFL Jerseys:

Recievers: Anquan Boldin, David Boston, Issac Bruce

Corners: Terrence Newman, Phillip Buchannon, Charles Woodson, Quentin Jammer

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

I am going to do a full preview of the game before Monday Night but for now here is five players in particular to watch out for when the Jets play the Ravens:

Mark Sanchez – Obviously…the rookie is making his first start and it is on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses. What will be the most interesting to see is how he handles the intense amounts of pressure the Ravens will throw at him. Can he avoid sacks and move the pocket? Can he make the proper check at the line to a quick pass? Can he find the back or tight end to dump the ball off too? Even better, will he make the Ravens pay for crowding the box? Leading a scoring drive against the Rams is one thing but if Sanchez can put up some points against Baltimore’s first defense, that would be pretty impressive and leave us all feeling better heading into the season.

David Clowney – Can the speedy receiver keep up his pre-season dominance and more importantly, can he stay healthy? I would like to see Clowney catch a few balls that aren’t deep bombs (obviously in addition to catching a deep bomb or two) to show that he could work in traffic and be a complete receiver. Teams are going to start respecting his deep speed, which will open up the deep curl and comeback for him. Clowney has had some issues catching the football, so he needs to prove he can pull in a few difficult passes. Also, we’d all like to see him catch another touchdown and do that bizarre dance.

Vernon Gholston – Paging Mr. Gholston…paging Mr. Gholston….will you ever record a sack? Even in a pre-season game? Why can Kenwin Cummings get a sack last week but you can’t? I am tired about hearing how strong he is at the point of attack and how he has all the tools. It is time for Gholston to make a pass rush move and use his speed to put the quarterback on the ground.  We are all sick of seeing the #6 pick in the draft end of the game stats be 2 assisted tackles and 0 impact plays.

Dwight Lowery – The second year corner is coming off a rough outing against the Rams and should start again in place of Darrelle Revis and also see extended reps because Donald Strickland is sitting out with a sore toe. Lowery apparently struggled last game because he was dealing with some personal issues involving a friend nearly being deported. Hopefully, he can put that behind him, go out and have a strong bounce-back performance. You can never have enough depth in the secondary and Lowery is a talented guy who has a chance to be a big part of the Jets nickle and dime packages on defense this season.

Wayne Hunter – The backup tackle will start again for Damien Woody. Hunter struggled last week, giving up a 3rd down sack to Leonard Little of the Rams. It would be nice to see Hunter have a solid performance against a top tier defense, showing the Jets have somewhat decent depth on the offensive line. Also, keep an eye out to see if he gets any reps at tight end with the second offense.

Another Funny Jets Commercial, this time starting Fireman Ed:

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: