New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams – Q&A with Rams Herd

A Q&A previewing Jets vs. Rams with Will Horton, owner of RamsHerd.com

One of the first games I circled on the New York Jets schedule when it was released was the upcoming game against the St. Louis Rams. Why? Because I knew we could break the game down with our good friend Will Horton of Rams Herd, without question the top Rams site out there. Will and I worked together back in the day at the Fanball Network when TOJ was just a little baby. When Fanball shut down TOJ would have died with it if it wasn’t for Will’s guidance in migrating the site to our own domain. Since then, he has consistently provided help to me in keeping the site running fluidly. So if you like TOJ, make sure to thank Will because it wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. Anyway on to the game – 

RH – The New York Jets seem to be bottoming out under Rex Ryan, after going to the AFC Championship game twice in his first two seasons. Are you ready to  blow this team up at this point, or do you still have hope for a turnaround the season?

TOJ – There won’t be any kind of major turnaround happening this season. From a talent standpoint, this team has the worst group of skill position players in the NFL and I’m not saying that as a hyperbole. On defense they lack a pass rush and remain too slow at the linebacker position. Realistically, they need about 4-5 new starters on both sides of the ball in 2013 so I suppose I do advocate blowing it up.

RH – The Jets hardly lack for lightning rods, and you have two of them at quarterback in Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. How do you handle the two of them for the remainder of the season, and does Greg McElroy enter into the picture?

TOJ – Mark Sanchez is going to start the remainder of the season. The decision to bring in Tim Tebow was pushed on to the coaching staff by Owner Woody Johnson. They very clearly had no desire for him and no plan on how to use him. Tebow will remain a poorly used gimmick. McElroy isn’t a factor at all. There have been desperation calls for him from some Jets fans but he is a 7th round pick with zero experience. Rex will lose the locker room if he hands the job to him with two quarterbacks on his roster who have won playoff games.

In 2013, Sanchez will be back because of how his contract is structured. Tebow will be traded or cut. And the Jets will likely bring in a veteran to compete for the starting job with Sanchez in camp. Maybe a Matt Moore type player.

RH – Obviously, age and injuries have caught up with this team in a big way. How different is this season if you still have Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes in the starting lineup?

TOJ – Not that different. GM Mike Tannenbaum will use that as an excuse to keep his job this off-season but this team had major problems even with those guys on the field. They are thoroughly mediocre at right tackle, guard, running back, quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker…and that has nothing to do with Holmes or Revis.

RH – The Rams rebuilt their team with a sizeable number of Jets castoffs, starting with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Meanwhile, the Jets continue to struggle on offense under Tony Sparano. Would you take Schottenheimer back at this point?

TOJ – No. Sparano’s incompetence doesn’t cover for Schottenheimer’s incompetence and stubbornness when he was here. I don’t blame Schottenheimer’s struggles on Sanchez either because his offense was poor under Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens, and Brett Favre as well.

RH – Despite the cloud of negative press surrounding the team, the Jets have shown an ability to step up and play good football from time to time (vs Bills, Pats, Colts, and first matchup with Miami). What are their keys to playing well, and can they find success against the Rams?

TOJ – The Jets play well when their defense is stopping the run and forcing turnovers, and their offense is running the ball well opening up a downfield play action passing game…all things they are very inconsistent at. I think they will play well on defense against the Rams, creating a close, low-scoring game. Ultimately I just don’t have enough faith in their offense to pull a win out though. I’d take the Rams in 16-10, 17-13 type game.

TOJ – Jeff Fisher seems to immediately have changed the culture in St. Louis. Can you talk about the tangible differences in the type of the team the Rams have this year as compared to the previous couple of years?

RH – There are a lot of ways to answer to this question. This just feels like a radically different team this season than the one before, even though most of the primary playmakers – Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Chris Long & James Laurinaitis –  remain the same. The major differences are in experience, in the roster, and in the attitude.

The Rams won Jeff Fisher over this offseason by giving him complete say over the organization. In Miami, he would have had to work with Jeff Ireland. Here, he hired his own GM, and assembled a very experienced coaching staff. Then, he went very young with his roster. This is a complete 180 from last year’s Rams, which had coaches learning on the job and a roster of veteran role-players half-assing it through the season.

Two key additions that Fisher brought with him from his Titans days are Cortland Finnegan and defensive assistant Dave McGinnis. Both of these guys fully embrace Fisher’s old-school football mentality that the physical battle has to be won before you can accomplish anything else. After beating up on Robert Griffin III and the Redskins (and being called “dirty” in the process), McGinnis sounded off: “I’ve been in this league 27 years and have never been on a dirty defense. I’ve been on some damn tough ones. Never been on a dirty one.”

TOJ – How would you evaluate the performance of former Jets on the roster, most notably Brian Schottenheimer and Wayne Hunter?

RH – I won’t say Brian Schottenheimer has been a revelation as offensive coordinator, but his offense is like a breath of fresh air compared to the Josh McDaniels days. McDaniels’ intricate pass routes work fine when you have protection like Tom Brady does, and you can hang out in the pocket for days. When you don’t have that, your quarterback gets ground to a fine paste.

What makes Schottenheimer’s offense really click, and turned Wayne Hunter into a surprisingly useful player along the way, has been the work of offensive line coach Paul Boudreau. Fisher lured Boudreau from Atlanta, where he built a near-impenetrable wall around Matt Ryan, and he has been a perfect fit here. The OL coach doesn’t require top-shelf talent, which is good because the Rams don’t have it. The mere fact that Hunter washed ashore in the final week of preseason and was starting by week 2 tells you all you need to know about the talent level here.

Two more ex-Jets have been valuable contributors as well. Robert Turner has been invaluable as a fill-in center, covering Les Snead’s ass for spending big bucks on a constantly-injured Scott Wells. And Matthew Mulligan is good for 30 or so snaps of quality blocking at tight end.

TOJ – What is the opinion of most Rams fans on Sam Bradford? Is there a strong confidence that he is the long term guy at quarterback? Do you hear complaints about not keeping that #2 pick and just taking RG-3?

RH – Sam Bradford is getting increased scrutiny in season three, for sure. He is far from a rookie now, and guys like Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, RG3 and even a little shrimp like Russell Wilson have been stepping into the limelight.

It’s a good thing, then, that Bradford is finally showing signs of being that franchise guy. He regressed badly last year in his pocket presence, and never established a deep-threat. This year, behind Boudreau’s line, he looks much more confident. And with Chris Givens reeling off 50-yard plays on a weekly basis and Danny Amendola dramatically expanding his game from being just a short-crossing-route guy, Bradford’s game is taking off in a hurry.

That said, he needs to get more consistent from week to week and start reeling off more multi-score games like last week’s. Even though Fisher loves to run the ball, you have to be able to win games in the air in today’s NFL.

TOJ – How far away is this team from competing with San Francisco and Seattle for a division title? What are the areas they need to improve in before reaching that level?

RH – Well, so far the Rams are 2-0-1 against their division after playing tooth-and-nail against a very good 49ers team in their own house. I think they are well positioned to hang in with each of their division opponents. Their biggest area of improvement has to come on the road, where they’ve yet to win a game this season, and against the upper-tier teams of other divisions. The 49ers and Seahawks have made hay outside the division this year, with 8 wins in 11 matchups. The Rams have won just one of six outside the West.

TOJ – Finally, what is your prediction for Sunday? And are most Rams fans very confident in winning this game?

RH – A lot of Rams fans will find it pretty easy to focus on all the stories of disarray surrounding the Jets, and have this game circled as a win on the schedule. I certainly have a lot more confidence in Bradford than I do in any of the Jets’ QBs, but it is a team game and there have been holes in our game over the last several weeks. Also, I’m interested to see what Rex Ryan has in store for his old offensive coordinator and vice versa, after spending so many years practicing against each other.

The difference in this one could be the fans. The Rams have been playing inspired football at home all season (I am not counting the London game as a “home” game, no matter what the NFL schedule says). Big hits from our defense and big plays from the offense should keep the fans energy high, and help push the Rams over the top.

Turn On The Jets Interview With Marcus Dowtin

Turn On The Jets interview Jets rookie linebacker Marcus Dowtin aka The Hybrid

New York Jets rookie linebacker Marcus Dowtin was nice enough to take the time to speak with Turn On The Jets yesterday. Dowtin was recently promoted to the active roster and has the versatility to play a number of roles in Rex Ryan’s defense, hence earning the nickname: The Hybrid. Dowtin also stepped up recently by offering support for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Make sure you are following him both on Facebook and Twitter

JC – What inspired you to be one of the first Jets players to step up and offer support to the victims of the Hurricane in the area?

MD – I have family throughout the area, which helped me really understand just how deep the devastation truly was. It was horrible what the people here had to deal with. This is our community and I wanted to make sure that I did something, even if it was only a little something to help give back to our fans.

JC – Obviously your nickname stems from your ability to play a variety of positions and do a variety of things on the football field. Yet, do you have one skill set that you feel could really help the Jets defense?

MD – If I could cover slot receivers and tight ends and blitz off the edge all day it would be fun but obviously there is more to playing in this defense. I have seen time in the middle and working at setting the edge in the running game. So I am just concentrating on becoming a complete player and doing whatever the coaches need me to.

JC – How has Rex Ryan used you specifically since you have been called up to the active roster, in terms of the positions you are learning and where you are lining up in practices?

MD – All over the place. Defensive end. Outside linebacker. Nickel safety. I like it, it helps keep me in shape and focused. It is also good to learn how to do different things out there on the field.

JC – There is a ton of veteran experience in the linebacker group. Can you talk about what you have learned from players like Bart Scott, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas?

MD – We have a great group of guys at that position. Bart Scott is a tremendous leader. He works with me every Monday and Tuesday specifically on the little things that I need to go over. Calvin Pace does the same type of things. Bryan Thomas is a good guy to talk to for all kinds of advice. I appreciate how all those guys work with me on a daily basis and answer questions I have about making it in this league both on and off the field.

JC – What about special teams and playing for Mike Westhoff?

MD – I really want a bigger role on special teams. I think I could definitely make an impact there on any of the units whether it is coverage, blocking…whatever they need me to do. I hope moving forward in the coming weeks I get the chance to do more for Coach Westhoff.

JC – Finally, what are your goals for the foreseeable future?

MD – I saw what an impact by good buddy Nick Bellore was able to make on special teams as a rookie last year and this year, I’d like to be able to do the same thing. On defense I just want to keep progressing and getting more comfortable in this system. I’m going to do what it takes to stick around on this roster and make an impact.

Turn On The Jets Talks With Pats Propaganda – Jets/Patriots Preview

Joe Caporoso talks with Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda about the upcoming match-up between the Jets and Patriots

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite writers behind enemy lines, Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda, to preview the upcoming New York Jets/New England Patriots showdown. Here is our conversation –

JC – What is the issue with New England’s secondary and is it a solvable problem this season? Is it actually as bad as it is being hyped up to be?

MD – Really the only issue, and it’s a glaring one, is that they cannot stop the 20+ passing plays. They’re giving up almost 6 per game. It really just boils down to that, and it’s maddening because they’ve been the worst in the NFL at it for two seasons and just can’t seem to get it fixed. Now injuries have played into it somewhat. When Russell Wilson heaved the 46-yard game winning TD last weekend it was two rookies that were on the back end. But things weren’t especially better when it was starters Steve Gregory (out since week 4) and Patrick Chung (dinged at the end of the game).

JC – Are you surprised by some of the game management issues that are arising, particularly with two Hall of Famers like Belichick and Brady leading the way?

MD – Yes, there have definitely been some head scratching moments this year, like last week’s debacle at the end of the first half, where they took an intentional grounding with one second left inside the 10-yard line that basically cost them the game in the long run. They should’ve just kicked the field goal when they had the chance with 6 seconds left.

There are a couple factors contributing. With Josh McDaniels back and his aggressive/often unconventional style, and the Pats trying to execute at such a fast pace it has led to some of the miscues, but ultimately I think they’ll be okay in the long run. There’s no question they’re still trying to lock down their identity and I think that has played into it as well. Sometimes they’re unstoppable, other times they seem to be going backwards. They need consistency and with that the game management stuff will take care of itself.

JC – Can you talk about how New England has rebuilt this offense to be a dual threat with their newly found power running game?

MD – Honestly I don’t think they have much of a straight up power running game as some might think, and we saw that against the Seahawks last week.  What they excel at is running on nickel and dime defenses, and once their passing game that’s when their run game is most dangerous.

Now there’s no question Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Boldin are still a more dynamic group than they’ve had in some time, but so far we’ve only seen them dominate the run game situationally, when teams are on their heels and overly concerned with the passing attack. Whether they can consistently move the ball on the ground to run the clock out and seal a win, when the opposition knows they’re trying to run, remains to be seen. This includes short yardage situations too. And we’ve already seen a ton of negative plays that were rare in recent history. Make no mistake, you’ve got to stop the passing game first and foremost.

JC – If you were the Jets how would you attack the New England defense? The New England offense?

MD –  For the Jets offense you have to take some shots down the field. There’s no weaker link than the Patriots back end. They’ve been effective in stopping the run every week, with Brandon Spikes really being the tone setter there, and they’re a good tackling team for the most part as well. The short pass and ground attack is less effective so far this year than it has been in year’s past.

But if you look at Seattle’s game plan, they stuck with their ground game even though it wasn’t dominant and took a lot of play action shots down the field, especially on early downs. The Jets have some ammo to keep the Pats defense off balance, I’m sure Rex has been saving something Tebow-y just for New England. Those plays that confuse or put the Pats on their heels will open up the long balls down the field. But the difficult thing, and most key part, is not throwing interceptions on those deep shots. Simply put if Sanchez and the offense have one turnover or less they’ll be in the game until the end and then they just have to make the clutch plays. The Patriots defense lives or dies by turnovers, if you give them two or more New England will probably win.

For the Jets defense it’s all about patience. There will probably be a couple drives where the Patriots run no-huddle and look unstoppable. You just have to weather those storms and continue to force them to execute for 60 minutes. Because they’ve got a habit of going stone cold during crunch time. I know Rex loves to mix things up a lot, but the Pats no-huddle will make that difficult, so I’d say stay in base and simplify the calls so they can get in quickly. If the Jets go DB heavy the Patriots will not hesitate to run so they’ll have to be prepared for that as well.

Obviously they must try to confuse Brady’s reads as much as possible, and when the Pats offense goes no-huddle they must be prepared. So much of the damage New England does in the no-huddle is because teams are not lined up, don’t have the call, or simply gassed. You can’t give them anything easy. Make them work for it till the end and it’s entirely possible they won’t make the clutch plays in the clutch moments.

JC – Prediction for the game, how many wins the Patriots finish with and how many wins the Jets finish with?

MD – Well hey, I’m biased but even when I do my best to be non-biased I like the Pats in this one. They’re always tough coming off an embarrassing loss, even moreso at home. I’d expect them to bring their A-game this week.

The wild card is Sanchez and the deep ball. If the Jets can get a couple long scores, not turn the ball over, move the ball a bit on the ground, and keep it close until the 4th quarter it could be anybodies game.

Let’s go Pats 24, Jets 13.

At this point I like the Pats at 12-4. Jets 9-7.

MD – The Jets have had a season of injuries like none I’ve seen before. Who are some of the players that might be unknown to Patriots fans but have been elevating their play in the absence of so many starters?

JC – On offense, Jeremy Kerley has stepped into being the offense’s top playmaker. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch and has shown a consistent ability to create big plays down the field. The Jets receiving core gets a ton of flak for lacking talent but that isn’t a fair assessment. Outside of Kerley, Chaz Schilens has been a capable possession receiver and a healthy Stephen Hill has big play potential. He already has three touchdowns, despite missing 2 and 1/2 games.

On defense, Patriots fans know Antonio Cromartie obviously but he has taken his play to a different level in the absence of Darrelle Revis. The past three weeks have been the best I’ve seen Cromartie play since joining the team and he seems to have embraced a leadership role in the secondary.

MD – Is this a make or break year for Mark Sanchez? Has he progressed or regressed as a quarterback?

JC – Considering the structure of his contract, he will likely be back next year unless the bottom truly falls out on the season and his performance. Even the staunchest Sanchez apologist would have to admit he has regressed since the 2010 season. There have been flashes of strong play but the inconsistency has been maddening. The last two weeks have been baby steps in the right direction after a disastrous game against San Francisco. We have seen some of Sanchez’s best work against the Patriots since his career started, so hopefully he can keep building positive momentum.

MD –  How have the defense and offense evolved this year, if they have? What kind of team are the Jets trying to be? Is ground and pound really accurate?

JC – Ground and Pound needs to go as an expression (which is why we changed the tag-line on our site haha). Prior to last week, the Jets had been dreadful running the football and stopping the run, along with having a non-existent pass rush. We saw strides in the right direction beginning the in second half against Houston and then carrying over to the Indianapolis game. On offense, they are still going to be run heavy but do take more shots down the field than they did under Brian Schottenheimer. On defense, Rex Ryan seems to recognize his base defense’s shortcomings and has slowly been getting more creative with his schemes and integrating younger players into more playing time.

MD – Name a player on offense and a player on defense that will be key to the Jets chances of knocking off the Patriots.

JC –  Offensively, it has to be on Sanchez to hit his throws down the field. The Jets have the players on the outside who can beat the Patriots secondary deep (Hill, Kerley and yes even Cromartie) but Sanchez must be accurate. Defensively, they must knock Tom Brady off his mark and get him rattled early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are their best natural pass rushers and both must make an impact early and often.

MD – If you were the Patriots where would you attack the Jets offense and defense? What can be exploited?

JC –  The Jets still lack speed at linebacker in a big way. I would be running to the outside heavily with RIdley and Woodhead, along with looking to hurt the Jets in the screen game. If the Jets try to match up the Patriots tight ends in man coverage with their safeties, it should be a match-up Brady can take advantage of as well. On defense, I would make Sanchez beat you. Bottle up the running game and force him to hit throws down the field into tight windows and hope he throws a few interceptions.

 

Turn On The Jets Interview With Kristian Dyer

Chris Celletti interviews Kristian Dyer of Metro New York about the state of the New York Jets

Chris Celletti had the opportunity to sit down with Kristian Dyer from Metro New York and Yahoo Sports to discuss the current state of the New York Jets. Make sure to give both Chris and Kristian a follow on Twitter –

CC – In your opinion, did Mark Sanchez do enough on Monday to hold on to his starting job?

KD – Loaded question. Sanchez didn’t necessarily do enough to hold onto his starting job, he just didn’t do anything to lose it which at this point is progress on his part. His showing against the Texans was adequate as he made a lot of mistakes and had a fourth straight game with a completion percentage under 50 percent. But he didn’t have the howler he had in Week 4 against the 49ers. Right now, the hope has to be that he develops into a quarterback who doesn’t lose games for the team. Turning him into a quarterback who can step up and take over games and win them might be a bridge too far given his development.

CC – Does Sanchez stand a chance with the current supporting cast?

KD – It isn’t an awful group but while he’s been bad, the ground game has been just as bad – if not worse. If he got some support from the backfield, maybe he can do well. I’ve been impressed watching Jeremy Kerley in training camp and practice. He can be one of the best wide receivers in the league if he continues to grow and mature and should become a favorite target of Sanchez. Stephen Hill is going to be a nice player down the road and with Dustin Keller coming back this week, things are looking up for the offense.

CC – Complete this sentence: “(Blank) should get the Jets’ most carries from week to week, because…”

KD – Is Jonathan Grimes a possibility? I think he can develop into a legitimate running back in the NFL. But among the primary candidates, I do think Bilal Powell should get the nod and like was the case in 2009, bring Shonn Greene in for the third and fourth quarter where his battering ram style can work against a tired defense. But we’ve seen that, for whatever reason, Greene’s style isn’t working right now. Time to give Powell some carries and up the number for Joe McKnight too.

CC – What has generally been a strength under Rex Ryan is now a glaring weakness, the Jets’ run defense. What’s happened?

KD – Teams have figured out the 3-4 but more than that, the lack of speed among the linebackers corps is being exploited. Once a running back gets into the second level, there is the possibility for a big gain because the linebackers are painfully slow on the Jets right now. Look at the 49ers game and see how many plays Mike De Vito made eight or 10 yards after the line scrimmage to see the lack of speed the Jets have among their linebackers. If your defensive end is making that type of a play that far back away from the line, you’re in trouble.

CC – Name the Jet who has most exceeded your expectations this season. Name the Jet who has disappointed you the most this season.

KD – I’ve been impressed with Damon Harrison, the nose tackle out of NAIA program William Penn. He was a project when he came to rookie camp but through hard work, he kept making progress. Harrison is a quick study, has lost lots of bad weight and has a good motor. He’s raw but he could grow into a solid pro. A good kid too with a great personality. In terms of disappointment, it has to be Sanchez at this juncture. He just hasn’t progressed. It would be easy to say running back Shonn Greene, but he wasn’t a first round pick and the No. 6 overall selection in his draft. He also doesn’t have the long term deal that Sanchez got this offseason. To whom much is given, much is expected and the Jets have given Sanchez an awful lot of support.

CC – The Jets are where most people thought they would be after Week 5, at 2-3. When all is said and done, how many wins do the Jets finish with?

KD – With Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes healthy, this could have been a 10-win team but I’m not sure if, right now, this team can do any better than crack the .500 mark. It’s a terrible emotional blow to lose your two biggest playmakers on either side of the ball. The team might max out at 8-8.

Talking With The Enemy – Jets/Eagles Preview

TOJ talks Jets/Eagles with Mike Burke from Birds Fan. Who has the advantage on Sunday?

TOJ talked with Mike Burke from BirdsFan.com this week to preview the upcoming New York Jets/Philadelphia Eagles match-up:

TOJ: Is the Eagles defense truly as bad as it is hyped up to be?

BF: I don’t think it’s as bad as it has shown personnel wise.  They had a guy in Juan Castillo making a transition from coaching the offensive line to calling the plays on defense.  He really hasn’t utilized his talent to its fullest. We’ve seen the unit play pretty well at times, they’ve just failed to do so consistently.  It’s really a shame because it’s essentially been a waste of a season for a team who was supposed to be in a “win now” mode. Hiring Castillo was clearly an experiment, and a decision Andy Reid made based on his personal loyalty to the guy.  It has backfired big time and been quite an embarrassment to the organization.

Don’t get me wrong though, there are definitely holes on this defense.  The Eagles lack of commitment to the linebacker position has never been clearer than this season.  Ask any fan what position they believe the Eagles should draft in the first round next year, and I can guarantee an overwhelming number will say linebacker. I really don’t think they’re as bad as they seem.  If they add an experienced coordinator next season and bring in a few players through the draft or free agency, I think the unit can be very strong.

TOJ: Assess Mike Vick’s performance this season on the whole and how he looked when he returned to action last week?

BF: This definitely hasn’t been Vick’s best season.  Last year, we saw how dominate Vick can be at times and also how much he can struggle.  This season has been more about struggles. He hasn’t played horrible overall.  His biggest downfall has been his decision making.  He has turned the ball over way too many times, especially in key situations. When we saw him early last year, he was extremely comfortable in the pocket.  You could literally see him progressing through all of his reads and delivering the ball to the open receiver with accuracy every time he dropped back.

This seemed to change at the end of last season, and I placed a lot of this on him losing confidence in his line.  They weren’t playing well, and he was getting killed.  It was hard to blame him. This season, the line has played a lot better, but he isn’t making the correct reads and that has killed the offense. Of course, now that I mention how well the offensive line has played, we have to reflect on last week’s game against the Dolphins.  Vick was returning from his rib injury, and at a time where he needed his offensive line to protect him, they failed to do so.

It was very disappointing.  The unit played very well throughout the season but had an absolutely awful showing.  Vick did what he could with the time he was given.  With the play of the defense, he did enough to get the win and that’s what counts.  It’s hard to take too much away from his individual performance based on how the line played.

TOJ: Do you want Andy Reid back next year?

BF: This is a tough one.  If you asked me a few weeks ago, I’d say absolutely.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I think my opinion has changed for a few reasons.  The biggest reason is probably the fact that I truly believe he will return next season no matter how I or any of the other fans feel. The other reason is based upon the rest of the league.  A lot of coaches have been fired already and more will be continue to be fired.  There is no chance that the Eagles would let go of Reid before the season ended.  At this point, they would be one of a large number of teams looking for a head coach.  Many other teams would have a head start and I don’t think they’re the type of franchise ready to settle for just anyone that’s available.

Reid has really done everything for this franchise but win a Super Bowl.  That’s devastating, but who out there will give the ma better chance?  Like I mentioned before, the Eagles are supposed to be in a “win now” type mode, and I think they will continue that next season.  Bringing in a new coach with new thoughts and plans doesn’t help that mentality. I think they need to bring in a talented defensive coordinator who can run the show on that end and utilize the talent they have.

TOJ: Prediction?

BF: The Eagles offense struggled last weekend and a very talented defense is coming to town this week.  I’m not really sure why the offensive line struggled so much last weekend, but if it happens this week, the Eagles offense will struggle to do anything.  The Jets have talented corners so if they get a lot of pressure up front, Vick will have struggle throwing the ball.  I could very easily see this resulting in some turnovers.

In the end, I think the Jets defense will be too much.  Jets win 27-17.

BF: Mark Sanchez is one of those guys who just can’t seem to play with any consistency.  What are your feelings about Sanchez?  Do you think he could ever lead the Jets to a Lombardi trophy?

TOJ: I think Sanchez is one of the most unfairly criticized players in the NFL. If he was a religious man playing in Denver, he’d be lauded for his ability to win. The guy is 28-17 as a starter with 4 playoff wins already and hasn’t even played 3 full seasons yet. Yes, he struggles with his accuracy and decision making at times but he is a winner and players better the bigger the spot gets. I absolutely believe he can lead the Jets to a Super Bowl.

BF: The Jets sit in the driver seat right now.  How do you see the rest of the season playing out?  Do they make the playoffs? If so, how far do you think they can go?

TOJ: I think the Jets will ultimately find a way into the playoffs, probably as a 10-6 team. Once they are in, they are dangerous as we’ve seen the past two years. I think they can pull off an upset or maybe two but I am not sure they are equipped to get over the hump this season.

BF: How much of an impact do you see the loss of Jim Leonhard having on Sunday’s game? The rest of the season?

TOJ: It hurts, particularly in the punt return game. The Jets haven’t any consistency there except for Leonhard. On defense, they will miss his leadership but if Brodney Pool can stay healthy they should be okay.

BF: Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets first-round rookie draft picked, used to play his home games at Lincoln Financial Field with Temple last season.  How has he performed for the Jets this season?

TOJ: Wilkerson has quietly put together a very good year. He is solid against the run and has got a decent push rushing the quarterback. I am not sure he will ever be a Pro-Bowl type player but will likely be a key piece of the Jets defense for years to come.

BF: On Sunday, where will the Jets have an advantage on offense? On defense?

TOJ: The Jets biggest advantage is their physicality and ability to play well in the fourth quarter. On offense, I expect Shonn Greene to have a big day going North and South on the Eagles. On defense, I think Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie can get DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin out of their game.

BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?

TOJ: The Eagles speed on offense will be a big problem for the Jets, particularly from LeSean McCoy on the edges. On defense, Jason Babin could be a big problem for Wayne Hunter, the Jets inconsistent right tackle.

BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Jets on Sunday?

TOJ: Aaron Maybin. He is the only Jets player in the front seven with the speed to chase around Vick. If he can bring him down for a few sacks and force a fumble, it could be the difference in the game.

BF: Give me a score prediction.

TOJ: I think the Eagles will be leading the whole way, but the Jets will put together a big fourth quarter to escape with a 27-24 victory.

Interviews With Mark Sanchez & Darrelle Revis

TJ Rosenthal made the trip out to Bryant Park yesterday and had the opportunity to interview both Mark Sanchez and Darrelle Revis.

TJ interviews Mark Sanchez about utilizing Dustin Keller more

TJ talks with Darrelle Revis on Kyle Wilson’s development

Check out www.profootballnyc.com for further coverage of yesterday.

TOJ Interview: Emanuel Cook

New York Jets safety Emmanuel Cook took the time to talk with TOJ about his off-season, his hopes for the coming year, and his charity work…

TOJ: How are you working to stay in shape during the lockout? Have you worked with any other current or former teammates?

EC: I work out daily. I’m in the gym a lot. I also have a special trainer I work with. I do field drills, beach workouts, swimming, lots of running and weights. Kenrick Ellis and I went to college together and we’re both from West Palm Beach, so we work out together quite a bit. I’m feeling good about the shape I’m in. Whenever we get back to work I’m ready to go.

TOJ: Can you discuss being moved to the active roster for the stretch run and the playoffs last year? Did you expect it and what was the experience like once were you out on the field?

EC: I’ve been with the Jets on and off for the past two years. That’s my team. That’s where I feel at home. When I got the call I was excited and ready to go. Since getting signed as a UDFA in 09′, I’ve been working really hard for that chance and the only thing on my mind was stepping up to do whatever the team needed me to do. It was a great experience and I’m grateful for it and ready to show the team and the fans more of what I can do this season.

TOJ: Do you think you have ability to become a core special teams player for Mike Westhoff? What type of skills can you bring to those units?

EC: I know I can. I believe some of the plays I had last season gave a glimpse of what I can do.  I play with a lot of heart.  I spent the past two pre-seasons working with Coach Westhoff and he is the best in the game. I’ve learned a lot from him and I respect him a lot. I believe my special teams abilities helped me get the spot on the Roster this year.

TOJ: Are you confident about your ability to work yourself into a bigger role on the defense this year, especially considering Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo are all free agents?

EC: I definitely want to have a bigger role in the defense.  I’ve spent this off-season preparing for it.  Physically I have the abilities and as far as mental preparation, I study my plays and I’ve spent the 09′ and 10′ training camps/pre-seasons with the team, so I’m very comfortable with the defense we run.  Whatever job I’m asked to do, I’m going to do it and give it my all. 

TOJ: What player on the Jets roster did you learn the most from this past season?
 
EC: That’s a tough question because of the talent we have, but I’d have to say Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith.  Both of those guys do a great job.  I’ve learned a lot from them skill wise as well as how to play smarter when I’m out there.

Here is information from Emanuel himself on the charity work he is currently doing…

I lost a best friend and high school football teammate, DeAndre Butler, to Leukemia in December of 2008. I’vemade it my mission to use whatever visibility I have to help in the fight against blood cancers in his memory. July 1-2 in West Palm Beach I am having a Celebrity Charity Weekend. We’ll have a meet and greet at Duffy’s Sports Bar on July 1st from 5-7pm as well as a Bowl-a-thon at Verdes Lanes on July 2nd from 3-6pm. It will be hosted by myself and I’ve got a handful of other NFL players coming to support, including Kenrick Ellis.

I’ve also created red silicone bracelets imprinted with “Remember DeAndre Butler” that I’m selling for $5 with all proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, their New York City Chapter recently asked me to run for their “Man of the Year” in 2012 and I accepted, so I’m looking forward to that campaign as well.

Anybody who is interested in coming to the charity weekend or wants a bracelet can email RememberDeAndreButler@gmail.com or checkout www.facebook.com/rememberdeandrebutler. They can also always email me at emanuelcookfans@gmail.com. I read every message that comes in.

Follow Emanuel on Twitter and Facebook