Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Jets/Steelers Review Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch reviews Jets/Steelers. Who is he buying and selling?

For about 28 minutes of Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh, I felt really good about the Jets chances of winning. Then little chinks in the armor started to show up. A few missed tackles here, a 3 and out there, and then slowly but surely, those little chinks turned into gaping holes. Before you knew it the game was spiraling out of control. The team couldn’t do anything on third down on either side of the ball, Sanchez looked like a different player after clearly (and illegally) getting his bell rung by Lawrence Timmons in the 2nd quarter, the defense forgot how to tackle, and the absence of Darrelle Revis was clearly felt. Oh yeah, and my boy Shonn Greene couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Let’s start with that..

SELL: The Run Blocking – Yes, the Steelers have a stout run defense, but this run blocking issue has clearly carried over from last season, and the main issue has been the guards. Matt Slauson is a tough dude and a hard-worker, but he’s just not that talented. He’s an average player, and the coaches clearly feel as though he isn’t helping much in the run game, because in the 2nd half he rotated series with Vlad Ducasse, whom the coaches clearly feel can help in that area. Whether or not that actually happens is another story.

On the other side, Brandon Moore’s play in the run game has been in a steady decline since late in 2010 when he was banged up and needed surgery on his hip following the season. He’s still an elite pass protector, but he doesn’t provide the same push that he used to. When you couple that with the fact we still have ZERO capable blocking tight ends for SOME REASON (Tannenbaum, it’s not too late to read my letter to you), and wide receivers who can’t get open, you can see there are extra defenders in the box and why the run game is struggling. Plenty of Jets fans want to point the finger at Shonn Greene, and he’s far from perfect, but this is not just on him. In fact…

HOLD: The Run Game – Not buying or selling, despite the early mediocre results. Let’s see what this run game gets going this week in Miami before writing them off. The following two games against the 49ers and Texans are going to be tough sledding, so if the run game is ever going to get off the ground, we need to see them take advantage of a terrible Miami team. Hopefully they can get a lead, the defense can put them in good position to score, and the running backs can pound away on a Dolphins defense that leaves much to be desired. It seems as though this rush offense — and Greene in particular — get off to slow starts every year, before putting it in gear when the weather starts changing. Does that excuse the lack of production so far? No, but let’s give them a chance to get it together.

Bilal Powell looked pretty good in limited action, and you have to think Tebow and the wildcat will become more involved as well. Personally, I’d like to see Joe McKnight given the ball 5 or 6 times a game and see what he can do, since he’s our only game-breaking threat. There’s no reason he can’t be out there and used in a myriad of ways. Especially since the WR’s are struggling, which brings me to…

SELL: Mark Sanchez’s “Weapons” – Sunday was a very disappointing performance from Santonio Holmes, who was more interested in tricking the referees into throwing their flags than actually, you know, catching the passes. Stephen Hill had 0 catches, but days like that are expected from a rookie 2nd round pick with limited experience. Jeremy Kerley is a solid but unspectacular player, and Dustin Keller is injured, so where is the production supposed to be coming from? There are simply no reliable weapons for Mark Sanchez to throw the ball to, and it is killing the offense. Jeff Cumberland is useless, as is Chaz Schilens. Again, there is no reason Joe McKnight can’t be out there as a jack-of-all-trades kind of player, especially with Keller out and the WR’s struggling. Why can’t he be used like the Saints use Darren Sproles? I know he’s not as good and has his issues (fumbling, staying healthy), but it would be nice to have a player out there who could actually break a play here and there.

SELL: The Pass Rush – I said before the game that if the defense didn’t dismantle the Steelers downright crappy offensive line, I’d start to be worried. Well, they consistently got a good push against the run (more on this later), but the pass rush was pretty non-existent. Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin hardly played, which is kind of surprising since they’re probably our two best pass rushers. Calvin Pace stinks, Po’uha and DeVito don’t offer much of a rush, so Mo Wilkerson was the only one applying pressure. I know Garrett McIntyre chipped in two sacks, but I think him leading the team in sacks is a negative rather than a good thing. I think it’s time for Rex to throw Coples into the fire and see what the kid can do, because we can’t just rely on blitzing linebackers and safeties all the time, especially since when they get near the quarterback they miss the tackle anyway.

BUY: The Run Defense – It wasn’t all bad on defense on Sunday. The Jets run D showed that week 1 was more of an aberration than anything, and they’re still very stout against the run. The return of Sione Po’uha was a welcome site, as he commanded double teams all day and allowed others to make plays. Wilkerson made several plays at — or behind — the line of scrimmage and looked good. Mike DeVito was his usual stout self, and Kenrick Ellis also played really well. What scares me, though, is that the Steelers don’t have any speedy backs, which is where the Jets really struggle. You know, guys like CJ Spiller or Reggie Bush, who the team has to face this week, for example. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas move around like my dad getting off the couch out on the field so they have trouble getting outside, and while Garrett McIntyre had a good week, he has problems setting the edge at times and nobody will ever confuse him with Usain Bolt, that’s for sure. So while the run defense looked great, and I still think they’re an elite unit, let’s see how they handle Reggie Bush this week before we get too excited over their play.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Around The NFL Week 1

Mike Donnelly with a special edition of the Stock Watch, focusing around the NFL after week 1

In case you missed my Jets Week 1 Stock Watch, you can read that here. Today I’m taking a look around the NFL and in familiar fashion will be buying and selling the comings and goings of a chaotic week 1. But since this column and site in general have a distinct Jets flavor to them, let’s start with the St. Louis Rams and their new genius offensive coordinator…

The Schotty Watch – I tweeted about this the other day, but it was wild how many people rushed to their keyboards to make some lame version of the same joke as the Jets struggled this preseason. You know, the “Ohh, Schotty must be loving watching the Jets not score down in St. Louis lol”, or “Yeah but Schotty was the problem, right?” garbage. So clever. What was even wilder is how those very people who made those knee-slapping quips hardly had anything to say when the Jets dropped 48 points on the Bills and looked sharper, more organized, and better prepared since, well, since before Schotty was the Jets offensive coordinator (Check out this breakdown of Sparano’s game plan). What’s even more curious is I haven’t seen anybody make mention of the fact that while the Jets were marching up and down the field on Sunday, the Rams offense sputtered and is currently the 31st ranked offense in the NFL, racking up a paltry 251 yards of total offense. I guess Schotty isn’t the one laughing so much anymore, huh? I am.

BUY: The Cutler to Marshall Connection – The Bears were my pre-season darling team to go from out of the playoffs to being a legit contender this year (believe it or not, I didn’t pick the Bills!). I know it was a popular pick, but the Bears could really make some noise this year. Jay Cutler looked like a new man out on the field Sunday as he got to throw pass after pass after pass to his favorite target from his Denver days in Brandon Marshall. Does this make me absolutely giddy as a Marshall fantasy owner? Yes, yes it does.

BUY: Adrian Peterson – Ohhh, that’s right. It’s Adrian Peterson and we shouldn’t have doubted him. Remind me not to make that mistake ever again.

BUY: Robert Griffin III and the Redskins – I’m not ready to anoint RG3 as a Hall of Famer already like some others, but that was quite an impressive debut. I fully expected Mike Shanahan to ruin this poor guy, but he looked spectacular. Unfortunately he won’t get to play the Saints laughable defense every week, but still.

BUY: Julio Jones – I couldn’t have been higher on Julio heading into this season, both in real life and fantasy football. I know I wasn’t alone in that camp, but last year when he was healthy, he was Matt Ryan’s favorite target, not Roddy White. Now that he’s in year 2, the sky is the limit.

BUY: Patriots Run Game – Just when it seemed like teams like the Jets may have started putting together the pieces to deal with the Patriots passing game, Belichick goes and changes his whole offense and incorporates a newfound running attack that absolutely tore up the Titans this week. Stevan Ridley to me is just a more talented and explosive version of Benjarvus Green-Ellis, and the Pats seem intent on riding him.

BUY: The 49ers – Wow, what a performance in Lambeau this week. They tore that Packers team apart in all phases of the game and quite frankly, exposed them in the process. Enough can’t be said about what a great coach Jim Harbaugh is, even if he appears to be a Grade-A lunatic.

SELL: The Packers and Saints defenses – All those years of people saying “Oh, well of course those defenses give up yards, their offenses are always so far ahead” look pretty silly right about now. It turns out their own offenses had nothing to do with it. Their defenses are just completely and utterly useless. Would it kill either of these teams to actually maybe cover someone? At one point in the Packers game, Aaron Rodgers threw an incomplete pass on 3rd down and had a look on his face like he knew they were about to be down by even more the next time he took the field. Hard to play with that kind of pressure.

SELL: Russell Wilson – I was on record as saying I didn’t understand all the Russell Wilson hype. I don’t know how it got started, I don’t know why it got started, but I sure hope it’s nearing the end of it’s run. Sure, he looked decent in the preseason against defenses that weren’t game-planning or preparing in any way, but when the lights turned on and the games counted, Wilson looked exactly like what he is: an undersized third round rookie quarterback on a bad team.

SELL: The Lions – My pick for team that stumbles form the playoffs to a 6-10 season, Detroit and their wackjob coach Jim Schwartz looked awful across the board on Sunday, as they almost lost to the Rams. The RAMS!

SELL: Drew Brees – I think the “Maybe that offense was more about Sean Payton than Drew Brees after all” whispers are going to start picking up soon. Drew Brees is the ultimate stat-padder late in games, so it may take a few weeks before people start to really realize there are problems with the Saints offense, but don’t be surprised when it happens.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Jets/Bills Recap Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling after the New York Jets thrashed the Buffalo Bills in week 1

You probably didn’t hear all that much about the Jets the past two days from the national media. Well, at least not as much as you did the previous four weeks anyway. Funny how that works, huh? After weeks and weeks of the media portraying the Jets as an absolute joke and pundits everywhere seemingly taking great joy in taking shots at them, the Jets went out and absolutely slaughtered the Buffalo Bills in the first game of the season that actually counted. Yep, that’s right, believe it or not those 4 preseason games actually didn’t mean crap, and the Jets not scoring a touchdown meant even less than that. When the lights came on, the Jets dropped a 48-spot on everyone’s sleeper darling team, the Buffalo Bills. It felt good. It felt damn good. Let’s break down what we saw..

BUY: Mark Sanchez – I hate to say “I told ya so”, but… Ok, I’m not going to get too carried away just yet, but that was as good as we’ve ever seen the Sanchize look. He had time in the pocket, he looked poised and confident, and he showed a newfound zip on his passes down the field. It’s amazing what a quarterback can accomplish with a legit deep threat (Hill), competent blocking on the right side (Howard + a game plan using chip blocks), and most importantly not having Brian Schottenheimer holding him back. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that in the first game without Schotty, Sanchez had arguably the best game of his career, right? Speaking of which..

BUY: Coaching Staff – This goes to all of the coaches, from top to bottom. Rex Ryan obviously used the media’s negative portrayal of the team to motivate them and lead them into the Great Buffalo Massacre of 2012. Plus, he –along with Mike Pettine– showed he can actually coach a little football and put together a defensive game plan that absolutely shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills spread attack. On the other side of the ball, watching the offensive play-calling and play design was a thing of beauty. All offseason I couldn’t say enough how much better the offense would be simply by getting rid of the black sheep of the Schottenheimer family, and the early results look promising. It had been so long, I forgot that an offense could actually stick with the run throughout an entire game; I didn’t realize you could exploit mismatches on defense and attack them; I didn’t know you could throw a pass beyond 6 yards. Week 1 was an eye-opening performance by the coaching staff. By the way, I haven’t heard many “Schotty must be laughing in St. Louis!” jokes that everyone seemed to love throughout the pre-season. I wonder why?

BUY: The Wide Receivers – Santonio Holmes was mostly double-teamed throughout the game and didn’t put up big numbers, but he clearly impacted the game just by being out there. Stephen Hill, on the other hand, did put up eye-opening numbers, scoring two TD’s in his NFL debut and getting himself open repeatedly. Jeremy Kerley also chipped in 4 catches, a TD (plus a punt return TD), and put his rough pre-season beyond him. Chaz Schilens even shocked the world by not only walking onto the field without pulling his hamstring AND making a catch. What a day!

BUY: Shonn Greene Carrying the Load – Shonn Greene was handed the ball 27 times and showed he could handle the load, which is extremely important for this Jets team. He ran hard throughout the game, didn’t tire, and was breaking tackles well into the 4th quarter which is exactly what we want to see. He’s never going to be a game-breaking threat but combined with Tebow’s wildcat, he can really be a factor in Sparano’s clock control offense. That being said..

SELL: Shonn Greene’s fumbles – Greene put the ball on the ground twice on Sunday, including once at the goalline and that is absolutely unacceptable. I’m as staunch a Greene defender as anyone, and I was generally encouraged by his performance, but he can NOT be doing that. Also..

SELL: The Run Blocking – Generally the run blocking was pretty solid on Sunday, but this team still needs a Tight End who can block. Cumberland and Reuland aren’t going to cut it, and when Jason Smith comes in for that role, it kind of tips their hand as to what is going to be run.

BUY: The Secondary – A dominant performance by the defense was marred slightly by an apparent concussion for Darrelle Revis. If the Jets are going to win in Pittsburgh, we’re going to need to see a healthy #24 out there to eliminate Antonio Brown from the Steelers offense. Against the Bills, we saw Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson manhandle the Bills receivers. We saw the new safeties, Laron Landry and Yeremiah Bell make big hits and actually make some plays. It was nice to see a Jets safety out there not just trailing a tight end by 5 yards while hopelessly diving for a tackle. We’re going to need a solid performance from these guys next week against a Pittsburgh team that likes to throw to Heath Miller down the middle of the field.

SELL: Depth on Defense – Perhaps this is nitpicking a little bit, but when the Jets started making some defensive substitutions late in the game, it got really brutal out there. Ellis Lankster can be a nice 4th corner, but when he was forced into a larger role he got picked apart. Isaiah Trufant should never be on the field for defense. Garrett McIntyre came in for an injured Bryan Thomas and the drop off was noticeable. Even Kenrick Ellis, who had a great preseason left a lot to be desired as Sione Po’uha’s replacement. We are going to need to see a healthy Sione this week against Pittsburgh and their crap offensive line.

SELL: The media – I wonder how some of these morons were able to recap the game on Sunday with a giant foot sticking out of their mouths. What a major disappointment Sunday had to be for the media hacks who had the Jets dead and buried before a single play that actually counted took place. I feel really bad that they had to file away their pre-written “clown” jokes since they weren’t able to use them. What a major disappointment. And did I take great joy in reminding everyone that the real “clowns” were people like Evan Silva, who called for the Jets to score a mere 6 points this week? Yes, yes I did. It was just one game and we can’t get too carried away because there’s a long way to go, but what a game it was. I have a feeling there are going to be plenty more like it.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Regular Season Preview Edition

Mike Donnelly’s Stock Watch previews the New York Jets 2012 regular season

After months of back and forth debating that in many cases turned into all-out fighting and arguing about the Jets, the season is finally here. I know if you watch ESPN, NFL Network, or whatever other stations full of “experts” there are out there, you’ll get the impression the Jets have no chance to compete this year, but I’m a much more optimistic lad. Call me crazy, but I’m downright giddy about the Jets chances this year and I think their offensive woes have been blown way out of proportion. To prove that point, I’m going to be dedicating this week’s stock watch to buying and selling made-up statistical props for the Jets players in 2012. Let’s start with the quarterback who will be leading the Jets this year and prove all the doubters wrong..

BUY: TIM TEBOW

Just kidding..

BUY: Mark Sanchez over 60% completions – With Brian Schottenheimer and his baffling offensive system out of town, look for Mark to thrive under Tony Sprarano. He won’t put up eye-popping statistics, but you can bet his completion percentage will improve a great deal as the team runs the ball with more consistency and actually works off that with some play-actions which were mysteriously absent from Schotty’s playbook.

BUY: Mark Sanchez under 15 interceptions – With a less-confusing offense that better suits his skills, Mark’s interception total is going to go down to around the 12-13 area instead of the 18 he threw last year. Unfortunately, I don’t see him approaching the 26 touchdowns through the air from a year ago this season either, though.

BUY: Shonn Greene over 1500 yards from scrimmage – Yes, Shonn Greene is going to eclipse 1,500 yards from scrimmage this year. Many Jets fans, including some on this very site, are extremely down on the former third round pick, but I am not one of them. I expect the offensive line to get their crap together and for Greene to really hit his stride on the ground this season as he’s fed the ball repeatedly. And I can’t stress this enough: Shonn Greene is entering his contract year. He’s going to bust his ass to put up numbers and get paid. This is a lock.

BUY: Santonio Holmes over 70 Catches and 10 TD’s – Well he had 8 TD’s and 51 catches last year and it can’t get much worse than the year he had, right? Look for the Jets to force the ball to Holmes early in the season to get him involved and keep him happy. Plus, he’s the only reliable receiver on the team, so throwing to him early and often makes a ton of sense.

SELL: Chaz Schilens over 10 catches – The way it’s looking now, I’d probably sell if the over was 0.5 catches. Ugh. Hope I’m wrong about this one.

SELL: Austin Howard over 4.5 starts at RT – Another one I hope I’m wrong about, because having Howard become a legit starting RT would be a major boon for the offense. Plus, it would cause Mike Tannenbaum to nearly collapse in joy at the thought of finding his own diamond in the rough to appease his “Next Victor Cruz” obsession. And that’s not to mention some Jets bloggers who shall remain nameless that have already made plans to attend Austin Howard’s Hall of Fame induction in the year 2034. That being said, I just don’t think Howard is going to last, and Jason Smith will be the man on the right side before long.

BUY: Coples and Wilkerson combined over 10.5 sacks – Considering these are both interior pass rushers, over 10 sacks combined might be a little bit of a lofty goal. BUT,these two guys are incredibly talented and athletic and are going to cause major havoc in opposing backfields. Even if they fall a little short of this number combined, they’ll be directly responsible for about a dozen other sacks that will fall into the laps of Calvin Pace and Aaron Maybin on the outside. Unfortunately this won’t stop plenty of yahoo Jets fans who will look at the sack numbers, not see double digits each and call both of them busts. Sigh.

SELL: Aaron Maybin over 10 sacks – I think Maybin will lead the team in sacks this year, but I don’t think he will crack double digits. Think 7-9 for him and that will be just fine when combined with our young studs on the line. Defenses are going to pay more attention to him this yearf, so cracking 10 could be tough.

SELL: Darrelle Revis over 0.5 TD’s allowed – Ok let’s see here. We’re witnessing perhaps the greatest defensive back of all time at the age of 27. He’s in his absolute athletic peak. He gave up one touchdown last year and people have dogged him about it since, saying Stevie Johnson now owns him. He’s playing for a new contract that will likely make him the highest paid non-quarterback in the history of the NFL. Umm, yeah I’m gonna go ahead and say we’re about to see some kind of historic season from Number 24. Oh, and Stevie Johnson, if you’re reading this (and why wouldn’t you be?) you’re screwed this week. SCREWED.

BUY: Nick Folk over 30 FG’s made this year – Folk has had an excellent off-season, beating out Josh Brown, and we all know how much Tony Sparano loves his field goals.

BUY: Jets over 8.5 wins this year – I’ve been over this time and time again (like in my AFC East Preview), but this is a lock. With that schedule and that defense, 9 wins should be an afterthought. I’m thinking 10 or 11 and a deep playoff run. I’m getting excited just thinking about this team’s potential.

So forget the haters. Forget Evan Silva and Mike Florio. The hell with Merrill Hoge and Gary Myers and Mike Francesa. Ignore the Tim Tebow disciples like Skip Bayless. This team has a real chance to give us a special season that we’ll remember for a long time. Let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Pre-Season Week 3 Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling after the New York Jets third pre-season game

I hope enough Jets fans out there managed to avoid jumping off the ledge after they again failed to score a touchdown on Sunday night, and are still around to read this column. It’s easy to be down on the offense after their preseason performances, but I saw enough silver linings this week that lead me to believe hings are going to come together soon. By soon, I mean I pray it will be week 1 against Buffalo and their crappy defense led by the hilariously bad Dave Wannstedt. Let’s get on with it…

BUY: The Jason Smith Trade – GOOD-BYE WAYNE HUNTER! I seriously can’t see any downside to this trade at all. What’s the worst that can happen, Jason Smith comes in and is awful? That’s STILL an upgrade over Wayne Hunter. Jason Smith is a former #2 overall pick, so he clearly has talent and at one time had a ton of potential. Sometimes guys like that just need a change of scenery before they start to realize some of that potential, and I hope that is the case here. But again, even if he sucks, what did we lose? Oh that’s right, we lost the $1.5 million that Smith makes more than Hunter this year. But again, so what? Everyone complained for weeks now that Tannenbaum hasn’t spent money on upgrades, and now he spent a mere $1.5 million of the approximately $6 million they were under the cap to get a player with the potential to be much better than Hunter. Any pickups Mr. T could make between now and the start of the season are going to be low-cost pick-ups, not star players, so dropping $1.5 of the nest egg on Smith is not a big deal at all. Maybe Tannenbaum did read my letter to him after all and realized he needed to do something. Ok, probably not, but still, at least he did something. 

SELL: The Rams and Brian Schottenheimer– When I heard about that Wayne Hunter was traded, I broke out into a big smile. When I found out it was to the Rams, I started laughing out loud. How hilarious is the idea of whoever-the-hell the Rams GM is asking Schottenheimer about Hunter, and Schotty getting all excited and saying “WE GOTTA GET HUNTER!”, then running down the hall to find Matt Mulligan and tell him he’s getting the old band back together with a big fist pump? Even better, how great is the next Rams practice going to be with Wayne Hunter as a 3rd-string tackle and Matt Mulligan as the 3rd-string tight end combining forces to block 5th-string defensive end Vernon Gholston as Brian Schottenheimer looks on proudly? Needless to say, I’m going to enjoy the 2012 St. Louis Rams.

BUY: Mark Sanchez – I tweeted this during the game on Sunday and it was retweeted something like 18 times (a new record for me!), so I guess at least a few people agree with me, but if you watched that game and came away thinking Mark Sanchez is the problem on this offense then you aren’t paying attention. In fact, if that’s what you think, then that’s all I need to know about you as a fan: You just hate Mark Sanchez and will blame him for anything. Considering he’s working with a makeshift line, zero blocking tight ends, no receivers, I think he played really well. When Holmes, Kerley, and Keller get fully healthy and Stephen Hill learns to catch, things will only get better.

SELL: The Tight End Position – When Dustin Keller got injured in the first quarter the other night, we really saw how pathetically weak the tight end position is. Jeff Cumberland, who is useless, was already out with yet another injury, so we were down to some guy named Epps, who failed miserably on several blocking attempts which got runs stuffed in the backfield. Mike Tannenbaum, for the love of God, please get a tight end!

BUY: Shonn Greene – Greene’s stock is at an all-time low with Jets fans, but I implore you all to have some faith. No, he’ll never be the big time superstar running back, nor will he be a game-breaking threat. But for the clock-control offense the Jets are going to run, he’s going to have a very good year. The offense was extremely vanilla, the offensive line always seems to start the year slowly, and we’ve yet to see the wildcat packages. When the season gets rolling, Greene is going to get a ton of carries, and he’s going to play very well. I’ve said it plenty of times now, but don’t forget: Shonn is playing for a contract this year. Expect big things.

BUY: The defense – We’re going to see a special defense this season. Mo Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis have both taken major steps forward in their second seasons, and Quinton Coples looks like a big-time player (I wonder if Peter Schwartz of WFAN still thinks if you look up his name in the weird dictionary he uses, you’ll see a picture of Vernon Gholston?). When you throw in Revis, Harris, Cromartie, the new safeties, Aaron Maybin, and Bart Scott looking rejuvenated, this defense alone could win them 10 games this year. That being said, though…

SELL: Kyle Wilson – I was a staunch supporter of Kyle Wilson the past two seasons despite his struggles, but now it’s year 3 and he should really look better than he has. I’m getting awfully concerned that maybe Kyle Wilson just isn’t all that good and we’re going to have a problem against slot receivers this year. I guess training and hanging out with Darrelle Revis doesn’t make you Darrelle Revis after all. Darn.

 

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: AFC East Preview

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch previews the AFC East

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch, today breaking down the AFC East. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and check out our new partner Night Out – 

After watching the Jets this offseason, I’ve decided I can’t do an All-Jets stock watch this week. I’m still waiting for a response from Mike Tannenbaum after the letter I wrote to him the other day, so I’ll let everyone know when he gets back to me, and I’ll reserve more comment until that time. I’m sure it’s high on his list of things to do, somewhere between “find the next Victor Cruz”, and “get back those incriminating pictures Wayne Hunter has of me”, because things like “get competent NFL lineman” and “find tight end who can block” are clearly not priorities. Let’s just move on before I punch my laptop.

But don’t worry Jets fans, there is still some Jets content coming today because I’ve decided to kick off my NFL preview series with the AFC East, which is home of our mighty J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. I’m going to be buying and selling records (the real Vegas lines), stats, prop bets (mostly made up ones by me), and whatever else I deem relevant. Here we go…

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4), #1 seed

BUY: Over 11.5 wins – Sigh. I have the Pats down for 12 wins because of Tom Brady, another ridiculously easy schedule somehow, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and of course, Tom Brady. Looks like another division win for Cheating Bill and his prized unbelievably crappy defense. Ugh.

BUY: Tom Brady over 5,000 yards – I couldn’t find an actual prop for Brady’s yards this season, but I would be happy to bet that he breaks Drew Brees’s record from just last year. Can’t you just picture Tom going into Cheating BIll’s evil lair this offseason, mentioning what Brees did, then they both just nod at each other with the understanding this year they’ll blow that new record right out of the water? Well, I sure can.

SELL: Brandon Lloyd over 1,000 yards – I know a lot of people are extremely high on Lloyd this year as he’s following his coach/mentor/super best friend  Josh McDaniels to their third team together, plus he gets to play with Tom Brady this time. Unfortunately, I think the Pats just have too many weapons and Lloyd won’t be dominating to the degree many are expecting. There’s some free fantasy advice for ya.

SELL: The Patriots Defense – So funny how the media bows to Belichick and raves about how his two rookie defenders will dominate from day 1, but Quinton Coples is a lazy bum and is the second coming of Vernon Gholston. I guess it’s Bill’s awesome track record of drafting superstar defenders lately like Jermaine Cunningham, Ron Brace, and Darius Butler that would lead everyone to believe that.

2. NEW YORK JETS (10-6), wild card

BUY: Over 8.5 wins – I know, I know. After watching the preseason so far and seeing the complete lack of depth or quality blockers on the team, it’s hard to like the Jets right now. But let’s face it, this defense is going to be AWESOME. Rex is going to unleash that defense three times against rookie QB’s (Luck once, Tannehill twice), Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, Jake Locker, Kevin Kolb, Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, Matt Flynn, and Alex Smith this year. 9 wins is a lock. In fact, as down as most of us are right now, I think this is a 10 or 11-win team that’s heading to the playoffs this year.

BUY: Shonn Greene over 1,200 yards – I know many, many fans don’t believe in Greene, but here’s why I expect big things from him: he’s in a contract season. Never underestimate the hunger of a player playing for money. He’s going to play every game, Sparano is going to feed him the ball, and he’s going to play very well.

SELL: 4.5 games started by Wayne Hunter – I really, truly believe Mike Tannenbaum is going to do something drastic to address the RT position soon, which will relegate Hunter to a bench player.

BUY: Mark Sanchez over 60% completions – I think Sanchez is going to take a big leap this year. The numbers may not quite be there overall in a running offense, but we will see a noticeable difference in his play.

OVER: Quinton Coples 4.5 sacks – Some fans won’t be happy unless Coples racks up 15 sacks, but if he gets over 5 this year that would be a very solid rookie year for a lineman who will be taking on two blockers a lot of the time this year.

3. BUFFALO BILLS (6-10)

SELL: Over 8 wins – Sorry, we’ve been over this ad nauseam here, but the Bills are the most overrated, overhyped team around this year.

SELL: Over 2.5 media members who will admit they were wrong about it – The funny thing about the offseason darling team everyone picks in July to go to the playoffs, is that nobody is willing to admit they were on that bandwagon when they lose their 11th game in December. I’ll be happy to call out all the “experts” as best I can when this happens in Buffalo this year.

BUY: CJ Spiller – I think Spiller is going to be a nice little sleeper in fantasy football this year. Fred Jackson is an old, injured man, and Spiller helps them out since they have just one receiving threat. He will get his touches.

SELL: Mario Williams over 10 sacks – Granted, he can easily approach this number in two games against Wayne Hunter (ok, more like 2 quarters), but I don’t see Mario getting to double digits. He wouldn’t be the first guy to mail it in after a huge contract, right Albert Haynesworth?

SELL: Ryan Fitzpatrick – Speaking of guys sucking after getting a big paycheck, how about that Ryan Fitzpatrick?! I see that second half slide from last season carrying into this year.

4. MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-11)

SELL: Over 7 wins – Sorry, I can’t think of a single reason why this number would be so high. Not one.

SELL: 36.5 games coached by Joe Philbin – I went over this in my Hard Knocks review, but man oh man, that Joe Philbin sure doesn’t inspire much confidence does he? I don’t think you’ll see too many Dolphins fans this year saying “Man, I’m really glad we hired Joe Philbin!”. Actually, I don’t think you’ll see too many Dolphins fans this year, period.

BUY: Reggie Bush – In fantasy football leagues where catches count, Reggie Bush is going to be a very popular man this year. Well, at least he will be for the 10 games he actually plays. The Fins will always be losing and playing catch-up, and mop up time is where Reggie Bush shines!

SELL: 0.5 Quality Receivers on the Team – I would have put this at under 0.5 even before Chad Johnson got cut. Davone Bess is still there, and he counts for about 0.4 of a quality receiver, but not quite the 0.51 to push this over the total.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Pre-Season Week 2 Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling New York Jets after their first pre-season game

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and to check back in later for a feature on New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller and Fact or False from Chris Gross, previewing Jets/Giants –

I know everyone was sorely disappointed that the Stock Watch did not come out yesterday as per usual, and I apologize for ruining everyone’s Tuesdays out there. I hope you can all find it in your hearts to forgive me. To make it up to you, I’m going to be giving you a bonus edition of Stock Watch on Friday to kick off our fantasy football coverage, free of charge! Talk about a good deal. Be sure to check back for some top notch fantasy advice if you have a draft coming up, and if you didn’t start your league yet, what are you waiting for? Read these 8 Easy Steps for the Perfect Fantasy League right here and get the ball rolling.

SELL: Peter Schwartz of WFAN- Many of you probably don’t know who Peter Schwartz is, and you should consider yourselves fortunate. That means that unlike me, you don’t listen to WFAN far too often, and you aren’t subjected to this guy’s completely ridiculous take on the Jets. You’d think a guy who watches the team every day would have a slight clue about what he’s talking about, but alas, it doesn’t seem as if he does. Last Friday before the Jets preseason game, Schwartz was on the radio with the worst host on the station, Marc Malusis. When asked about Quinton Coples, Schwartz replied thusly: “If you look up a picture of Quinton Coples in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Vernon Gholston.. a bust!”.

Now besides the obvious question of what dictionary does Peter Schwartz use that gives you definitions of people’s names, you’d think an NFL “reporter” would wait until a rookie first round pick plays ONE GAME, just ONE preseason game at least before even mentioning Gholston or throwing around the bust label. But not Mr. Schwartz, he confidently told all 14 listeners of Malusis’s show that Coples is the second coming of Gholston and will be a bust. Then, Coples went out and dominated the Bengals and drew rave reviews from everyone. When myself and a few others called Peter Schwartz out about this on Twitter, he simply blocked everyone rather than owning up to it. I’m selling Peter Schwartz’s already low stock, and I encourage everyone else out there to ask him about his Coples guarantee on Twitter. And then see how long it takes to get blocked.

BUY: Quinton Coples – I should have known right when Peter Schwartz called him a Gholston that I could start preparing for his trip to Canton in 2030, but I was very pleasantly surprised to see him play so well against the Bengals. With his size and athletic ability, combined with Mo Wilkerson, the Jets are going to be very, very good up front this year.

BUY: Patrick Turner – In last week’s Stock Watch I mentioned one of the big things to watch during the preseason was to see if one of the receivers on the roster could step up and make an impact with Santonio Holmes and many others out with injuries. Well, Patrick Turner is the one who appears to have made the most of his opportunity so far. Don’t forget, Turner played with Mark Sanchez at USC and was a highly regarded prospect coming out of college. He clearly has a rapport with Sanchez, and he’s earned his spot on the team with good special teams play and very good blocking. Now it looks like he will have the opportunity to get some serious playing time on offense, and he’s making the most of it.

SELL: Bart Scott’s Playing Time – I’m a big Bart Scott fan and I think he gets a bad rap from a lot of fans, but seeing Benjarvus Green-Ellis, who is not exactly “fast”, toast Bart on a crossing pattern for a big gain was painful to see. Whether Bart likes it or not, Demario Davis is going to see a lot of action in passing situations while he’s standing next to Rex Ryan watching.

SELL: The Offensive Line – My God that was painful to watch last Friday. And that was without the human turnstile Wayne Hunter playing. It appears as though the line is in midseason form and quite intent on getting Mark Sanchez killed on the field this season. There was constant pressure in the backfield and little to no running room opened up for the backs. Now, Cincinnati has a pretty solid defense, but if the line plays like that against the Giants this week, I hope Mark Sanchez fakes an injury before the game rather than play and suffer a real one.

That’s it for this week. Be sure to check back on Friday for the first Fantasy Football column of the season so you can kick the crap out of all your friend son the fantasy gridiron this year!

 

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Pre-Season Opener Edition

Mike Donnelly’s stock watch is buying and selling for the New York Jets pre-season opener this Friday

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch. If you missed it earlier today, check out his piece on fantasy football. Chris Gross also had a great read on Aaron Maybin and yours truly looked at the Jets lack of depth on offense. Yes, we are getting after it here…and yes you should be celebrating the return of Jets football in 3 days by rocking this new shirt –  

With the Jets first preseason game a mere three days away, fans everywhere have been stricken with a major case of Jets-fever. No matter where you look, whether its the TV, Twitter, Jets forums, the radio, this website, or wherever else, people want to discuss all of the ins and outs of the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. This week’s Stock Watch is going to focus on the players and storylines that I’m looking forward to in these preseason games.

BUY: Bilal Powell – The second-year RB was written off by virtually everyone heading into the season, but has by all accounts shown some great ability during training camp. Despite being held down on the ground in last week’s green and white scrimmage (3 offensive linemen were out and he was facing arguably the league’s top D), he did still manage to score a touchdown on a short pass from Mark Sanchez. I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles reps with the first team against some live competition.

SELL: The WR Situation – This has been discussed a ton lately, including on this very site, but it bears watching. The wide receiver situation right now is downright abysmal. With 3 projected top receivers Santonio Holmes, Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley all suffering from injuries we are looking at Stephen Hill and Patrick Turner as the #1 and #2 receivers heading into these pre-season games. Look for a veteran to be brought in after the first wave of cuts around the league, but for now, this position is not looking too strong to say the least.

BUY: Jordan White – All that being said about the WR position being so weak is definitely true, but if there’s a silver lining it is that young players such as 7th round pick Jordan White will get a chance to shine. Our very own Chris Gross was extremely high on this prospect and we’re going to see just how right (or horribly, horribly wrong) he was in projecting White’s talents.

SELL: Austin Howard – With Wayne Hunter banged up, you have to figure Austin Howard is going to get extended looks with the first team unit. Mike Tannenbaum has been talking Howard up for months now, but at this point it’s hard to take him seriously when it comes to these bottom of the roster players. I just don’t think Austin Howard is that good, and I don’t want to see him in there blocking for The Sanchize.

BUY: Quinton Coples – Coples has apparently come alive in a big way the past few days, first with a solid performance in the Green & White Scrimmage, and then again the day of the Brawl to End All Brawls, as he managed to sack quarterback Tim Tebow twice. I am very excited to see our first round pick in some live action.

BUY: Kenrick Ellis – Ellis is definitely going to get extended playing time throughout the preseason and I’m very excited to see how the massive nose tackle has developed heading into year 2. He has the natural ability to be a major contributor on the defensive line, and a strong preseason could really springboard him into more playing time once the games count for real.

BUY: Ricky Sapp – We’ve been talking him up here for months, and doubled down on buying his stock recently, and I for one am very excited about seeing him in action. I think he is going to really play well against the second and third stringers that he will be up against this week and earn himself some more reps with the big boys in coming weeks. He has a lot of potential and could end up playing a key role for the defense before too long.

BUY: The Safeties (Except Eric Smith, obviously) – I’m sure I’m not the only one excited to see our new safety corps in action, particularly LaRon Landry. I know after watching Jets safeties last year, it seems as though ANYBODY would be an upgrade, but this new duo of Landry and Yeremiah Bell could actually be considered very good if they stay healthy and play up to their potential. I’m also very excited to see impressive rookie Antonio Allen in action. We have potentially gone from zero good safeties to 3 or 4. That is very encouraging.

SELL: Injuries – Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed that the Jets don’t suffer any more injuries this preseason. We’ve been fortunate enough to not witness anything too serious yet, and let’s hope it stays that way.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/31 – One Week In Cortland Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, focusing on the first week of training camp for the New York Jets

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch. This week’s edition focuses on the first week of training camp in the books in Cortland. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and if you haven’t had the chance yet check out our brand new Turn On The Jets shirts

There’s a lot to get to this week with Jets Camp opening, so I won’t waste time coming up with an intro, other than to say FOOTBALL IS BACK!

BUY: Rex Ryan – Check back later in the week for my full take on Rex Ryan and why the Jets are lucky to have him, but for now I’m buying some Sexy Rexy stock. He got himself in the headlines this week by proclaiming himself the best defensive coach in the NFL (he’s right), but the more I see out of Rex this offseason the more I love it. He’s dialed back on the Super Bowl talk publicly, he’s lost a ton of weight, and the big thing is he’s holding his players accountable, as we saw with him calling out Jeremy Kerley. I also loved his comments telling Santonio Holmes to basically shut up, and that the best players will play. This is a big year for Rex and I expect him to answer the bell.

BUY: Aaron Maybin and Ricky Sapp – All of the reports out of camp so far are that Aaron Maybin looks absolutely awesome. For years now the Jets have lacked a dominant pass rusher, and it’s looking like Maybin might step into that role this year and finally give us a double digit sack man. There’s even talk that his role in the base defense will grow, which will give him even more opportunity to rush the passer. Maybin stock is on the rise. Big time.

As for Sapp, I would say he’s almost guaranteed a roster spot if he keeps up the good work like he has this week, which would really justify my Buy of him way back in the inaugural Stock Watch. According to the beat writers (Check back tomorrow for our new rankings) he racked up several nice tackles and even a few sacks. With Bryan Thomas up there in age and Calvin Pace seemingly entering his last year, the opportunity is there for Sapp to earn himself a spot on the team not just this year, but going forward as well.

BUY: Bilal Powell – The Running Back Who Was Left For Dead a few weeks ago (I had him in my initial Sell list as well) has been turning heads so far in camp and is a legit threat to Joe McKnight to take over the 3rd down back role. While he may not have the speed or elusiveness of the shifty McKnight, Powell has the ability to handle a bigger workload and could end up as one of the biggest sleepers on the entire roster.

SELL: Jeremy Kerley – Camp couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the man many expected would be the slot receiver in 2012. As if things weren’t bad enough when he injured himself and had to sit out for a week to start camp, they sure did get a whole lot worse when Rex Ryan — REX RYAN! — called him out publicly, and Rex NEVER has a bad word to say about his guys to the media. He said he was disappointed in Jeremy the whole offseason, and that’s definitely not a good sign. Now there’s talk that Holmes could be the predominant slot receiver with Hill and Schilens on the outside. Not a good start to 2012 for Mr. Kerley

SELL: Brian Schottenheimer Era – Plenty has been said about the pitiful former offensive coordinator, but Santonio Holmes had even more to say this week, and he really brought the laughs. During a radio interview with ESPN, Holmes was praising new OC Tony Sparano and pretty much threw Schotty directly under the proverbial bus when he said that the new coach actually “knows how to coach players”. Ouch. And you wonder why I’m so high on Sanchez now that he’s been freed from that buffoon’s shackles.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/24 – Training Camp…Finally Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly stock watch is looking forward to training camp finally kicking off

Mike Donnelly is back for his weekly Stock Watch with his last pre-training camp edition. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and keep coming back for this column all season here at Turn On The Jets…

Training camp is a few days away still, the basketball offseason is basically complete, and the dog days of baseball are in full effect. The worst sports period of the entire calendar year is just about over, so let’s get the ball rolling and go ahead and make that our first sell –

SELL: Mid-July on the Sports Calendar I feel like I’m looking forward to the football pre-season more than ever this year. Baseball has basically bored me to tears, and the excitement of the Knicks and Nets bolstering their rosters has quickly faded. In two weeks I will probably be complaining about the media’s Jets hatred and over-saturation of Tebow stories, but as of right now, I can’t wait for that to get here.

SELL: Jason Bay and the Mets– And here’s a big reason why baseball has has officially turned me off for the season. The Mets have now lost 10 of 11 games and I have to watch the man who is by far my most hated player trot out there day after day after day to strike out  or ground out weekly to shortstop. I have a theory that Omar Minaya knew he was about to be fired so he signed Bay as an “F U” to the Mets ownership and their fan base as his final joke.

BUY: The Jeff Otah trade– YES! Now we’re talking! Some good old fashioned Jets news – and pleasant news at that. This just goes to show you that my previous sells of “The ‘New’ Wayne Hunter” and new line coach Dave DeGuglielmo’s spirited defense of him (which was downright hilarious and made him look like a fool) were money makers. Coach Gooch can speak until he’s blue in the face about how great Hunter is, but actions speak louder than words, and the action move was getting a new Right Tackle. Wayne Hunter did and will continue to suck, so getting a 1st round talent in here to take over the job is an excellent move. I fully understand his injury history and all that, but I’ll take a 60% healthy Jeff Otah over 450% of Wayne Hunter any day.

SELL: The Detroit Lions– Just reminding everyone that I’m down on the Lions this year BIG TIME, and in coming weeks I’ll mention that plenty more times. These 7 arrests this offseason? Yeah.. not a good start for them.

BUY: The new TurnOnTheJets.com T-Shirts – If you haven’t checked these out in the new TOJ store, you owe it to yourself to do so. Of course, I had a (small) part in picking out the design, so obviously they’re beautiful and top notch. And yes I just patted myself on the back for basically nothing. Like I said, its a slow time of the year, come on.

BUY: The Yankees Getting Ichiro– This move just screams Yankees. It has all the qualities of a classic Yankees midseason trade. They had a small crack in the foundation of the team with Brett Gardner out for the season so they went and poured 30 pounds of concrete on it. They added a future Hall-of-Famer for basically nothing, tacked on some salary (which no other teams seem willing to do), and now they have an outfielder who is going to KILL IT in Yankees Stadium the rest of this season as he makes a push for a new contract. You can add this as reason #9,671 of why I hate the Yankees.

BUY: Jets Training Camp – Worth mentioning again, but Jets training camp is here and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope all the readers stick with us in the coming weeks and months, because things are about to heat up in a big way around here. If anybody plans on attending training camp, shoot one of us a line, because I think there’s more than a good chance that I’ll make the trek up there one of the days. Hopefully I get to see my good pal Manish Mehta again and give him a chance to bribe me for the #1 spot in our next Power Rankings column.