New York Jets: Observations From Cortland

Turn On The Jets staff writer Chris Gross spent the day in Cortland yesterday, here is what he observed about the New York Jets

Turn On The Jets sent staff writer Chris Gross up to Cortland yesterday to report from New York Jets camp. Here are his observations. Feel free to submit those miles for reimbursement from the TOJ headquarters office Chris – 

After visiting the New York Jets next-to-final practice in Cortland this past Tuesday, not only did I come away with several observations, but I also got a much better feel for the identity of both the team, and a number of particular players. When observing the team this closely in person, a few things stand out right from the start as strikingly evident. Others revealed themselves throughout the course of the practice, many of which I was surprised with, some of which I expected.

As physically talented as Stephen Hill appears on film, it really does him no justice until seeing him play in person. Hill is extremely gifted and it is obvious just in the way he moves, runs, or does anything athletic. In One on One Wide Receiver/Defensive Back drills, Hill beat Darrelle Revis deep for a Touchdown on each of his first two reps. Seemingly irked by this, Revis finished the remaining two reps of the drill by buckling down and being extremely physical with Hill, not allowing him to get deep, while breaking up each of the two underneath passes thrown at him. This matchup seems like it is developing into a very nice practice rivalry and should be extremely beneficial to both players.

Hill is getting experience each day against the best Cornerback in all of football, while Revis is getting reps against a big target with great speed who can stretch the field at any moment. Hill showed great poise and confidence, as he did not shy away from Revis once. He seems to realize the opportunity to improve by going up against the All-World Cornerback, and watching him, you really get the sense that he is eager to challenge himself with this matchup. While Hill likely respects the stature of Revis, he is certainly not intimidated by him. He has a long way to go, but Hill can be an absolute star in this league, sooner rather than later.

Offensive Line Coach Dave DeGuglielmo is a perfect fit for this team. I stood about five feet from the Offensive Line during individual drills and one thing evident about DeGuglielmo is that he holds everyone accountable, including Pro Bowlers like Nick Mangold and D’Brichashaw Ferguson. He coaches his group up on every rep whether it be in live action or running plays on air. He is constantly tentative to footwork, technique, and most importantly, execution.

Vlad Ducasse is as advertised. Ducasse is very physically gifted, and passes the eye test as an NFL Offensive Lineman for sure, however one of his main problems is his inability to play low. Even when simply hitting the sled, usually a time to exaggerate technique with no live competition on the other side of the ball, Ducasse would sprout right up. While running through drills in the chutes, Ducasse hit his head on the top more than once, and was reprimanded by DeGuglielmo for his lack of technique. To me, Ducasse’s consistent inability to play low shows laziness, and unless he fixes both of these issues quickly, he will likely remain on the sidelines on Sundays.

Robert T. Griffin has improved greatly since we evaluated his college game film following the draft. Griffin is one of the biggest guys on the field and seems to be extremely coachable, which is likely the reason for his early improvement. His technique is greater than what you’d expect of a sixth round rookie, and he really seems to focus on all the little things like stance, steps, footwork, etc. His potential can be very high due to his physical tools and coachability.

The Defensive Line and Secondary are the strengths of this team. This should really comes as no surprise to anyone, but as a unit, the Defensive Line seems to have the best cohesion out of any other group on the team. Combined with the immense talent across the board on the defensive front is a very strong work ethic. Karl Dunbar does an excellent job as both a teacher and motivator. During run read drills with the Offensive Line, Dunbar was heard belting out plenty of excitement for his guys, while stressing all of the little things, like DeGuglielmo. First round pick Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin were moved all around in various fronts, and it should be very interesting to see how each of these guys are used this year, considering their immense talent and potential.

As for the secondary, this is probably the most talented unit on the team. It is really amazing to see the immense skill of Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson in person. The new safeties seem to mesh well with these guys, and they all communicate with each other while on the field. You can feel the veteran savvy of LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell patrolling the back half of the defense. They seem extremely comfortable out there.

The biggest thing I took away from practice on Tuesday was the impression made by Mark Sanchez. The 4th year pro out of Southern California looked terrific, not only in his throws, but in his heightened level of command, his improved demeanor, and his overall leadership ability. He shows a level of confidence that he has yet to express since coming into the league, and certainly seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. While watching him, not only play, but communicate with his teammates, you can just feel his attitude, that this is his team, his offense, and things are going to be done his way. His chemistry with Tight End Dustin Keller is uncanny, and it shows on the field. To me, this has been a bit overlooked, but their relationship seems to go beyond any other relationship on the team. Their timing is flawless; seemingly sharing the same train of though on nearly every play. Because of this, Keller is poised for a breakout season.

Tim Tebow is physically gifted. Tebow is extremely big in person, particularly in his lower body. He was among the first players on the field prior to practice, as he was warming up with some of the receivers and tight ends. One thing I noticed about him, though, is that his long throwing motion is exaggerated. While his wind-up is certainly longer than that of the average NFL Quarterback, it is not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. His arm strength is very good, but in terms of accuracy, he is not on par with Mark Sanchez. Tebow will certainly contribute this season, mostly as a runner, but also as more of a passer than most people are expecting. However, after watching both of them in person, I would not expect Tebow to dethrone Sanchez as the starter at any point this season.

The Running Back situation is a serious cause for concern. While Shonn Greene got the most reps with the first unit, with Bilal Powell working in, and Joe McKnight getting in some situational work, none of these backs truly stand out. Not one of them demonstrates the tools or ability to be a feature back. While this group is certainly not terrible by any means, each of these players are average at best. A move to add a veteran like Ryan Grant needs to be made.

The Rest of the Rest:

Rookie WR Jordan White got extended reps with Santonio Holmes, and eventually Stephen Hill, being out of practice. With these reps, I thought White practiced very well. He had an amazing back shoulder catch on the sideline with Darrelle Revis on him during team drills, prompting a chest bump from Sanchez. Revis had great coverage on the play, but the ball was thrown perfectly, and White made a great play on it. White’s work ethic is very obvious and he seems to take pride in every drill that he does.

Josh Baker looked very good and he will likely be used in a number of various roles this season. He is certainly one of the more versatile weapons on the offense, and it will be interesting to see how Sparano utilizes that.

Rookie Linebacker DeMario Davis played in a lot of nickel and third down sub packages, and seemed to be grasping the defense a little at a time. His athleticism is fantastic, but mentally he still seems like he has a bit to get down.

Marcus Dowtin was very impressive in limited action. The undrafted rookie out of North Alabama saw reps at both Safety and Linebacker, and obtained a sack on Greg McElroy on a blitz right through the middle, where he came through untouched. He reminds me of a heavier version of James Ihedigbo, and if he makes the roster, he could be used as a situational player on third downs, either as a blitzer or in coverage.

New York Jets – Is Mike Tannenbaum Asleep At The Wheel?

Is New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum’s inactivity this August acceptable?

It has become a weekly topic here at Turn On The Jets to question the New York Jets depth on the offensive side of the football.  In general, Mike Tannenbaum has done more good than bad since becoming the team’s general manager. The extent he is criticized by outlets like Pro Football Talk and Mike Lombardi on NFL.com is overdone and out of touch with reality. Regardless, facing arguably the most important season of his career, he has been surprisingly (and somewhat disturbingly) inactive in addressing his team’s issues.

Let’s start with something as simple as acquiring a blocking tight end before getting into the tired running back/wide receiver debate. The New York Jets want to be physical on offense. The New York Jets want to run the football. The New York Jets have pass protection issues at right tackle. The New York Jets don’t have a single blocking tight end on their roster. This makes no sense. You can’t bring in Jeff Cumberland to help block if he can’t even get a hand on the immortal (sense my sarcasm?) Manny Lawson before he steamrolls Mark Sanchez.

There was no logical reason for the Jets not to bring a player like Justin Peelle, Daniel Graham or another blocking tight end before training camp. Pittsburgh just signed Peelle to improve their depth at tight end and fullback because of an injury they sustained because smart teams who are perpetually in the playoffs and Super Bowls make sure they have depth.

If Jeff Cumberland keeps getting beat like a drum, perhaps Tannenbaum will sign a player a week or so before the season starts. That player will then have limited time to master the offense and pick up chemistry with the offensive line, likely leading to an early season slew of penalties and miscommunication…aka Matthew Mulligan 2.0. Why wait?

At wide receiver, Stephen Hill hurt his finger today in practice. Let’s say the Jets play it safe and keep him out this week against the Giants. Mark Sanchez will be throwing to a top three of Patrick Turner, Jordan White, and Royce Pollard. Not exactly the best way to break in a new offense for the Jets starting quarterback, right? Throughout the year if Hill gets hurt because he is a rookie and isn’t used to the rigors of a NFL season or Santonio Holmes re-injures his ribs or Jeremy Kerley’s balky hamstring acts up, where is the depth?

The Green Bay Packers just signed Cedric Benson. They did this because smart teams who are perpetually in the playoffs and Super Bowls make sure they have depth. Green Bay might run the ball 25% less than the Jets do this year but now have better depth than them at running back. Is Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office that much smarter than Green Bay that they couldn’t take on Benson for a veteran’s minimum deal?

All it takes is a rolled Shonn Greene ankle for the Jets to have the worst depth chart of running backs in the NFL…I repeat all it takes is a rolled Shonn Greene ankle for the Jets to have the worst depth chart of running backs in the NFL. The mighty Ground and Pound who is going to run it more than any team in the NFL will not have a single back on the roster who has eclipsed 150 yards in a season.

Smart teams who are perpetually in the playoffs and Super Bowls make sure they have depth. Wake up Mike.

New York Jets: What Does Mark Sanchez Need To Do In Pre-Season?

What constitues a productive pre-season for New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez?

Let me preface this article by saying there is no quarterback controversy for the New York Jets. This isn’t an article meant to argue what Mark Sanchez needs to do to hold off Tim Tebow from being the starting quarterback because barring injury, Sanchez will be under center week 1 versus Buffalo. This is an article looking at what constitues a productive pre-season for Sanchez as the Jets starting quarterback working in a non-Brian Schottenheimer NFL offense for the first time in his career.

Sanchez is in the difficult situation of working with a makeshift group of receivers while he tries to master this new offense. One of the many mistakes the Jets have made while attempting to develop their young quarterback has been constantly changing his top three wide receivers. Here is who he had the past three years prior to week 1 –

2009 – Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith

2010 – Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith (Santonio Holmes was suspended until week 4)

2011 – Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason (aka grumpy old men)

This year the presumed top three receivers are Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley. Unfortunately, Holmes and Kerley are hurt and out for tomorrow night. Kerley also no longer has a stranglehold on the number three position because of a poor off-season. Sanchez will be playing his first pre-season game with a top three of Hill (a rookie), Patrick Turner (8 career receptions), and Chaz Schilens (72 receptions through 4 years).

Look for Sanchez to frequently target tight end Dustin Keller, the pass catcher he has the best chemistry with. Backup tight end/H-Back Josh Baker should also be a big part of the offense while the receivers get their legs under them.

The most important thing always for Sanchez is protecting the football. With the type of style the Jets are playing this year, he must cut down on interceptions and fumbles. If he can get through this pre-season with no turnovers or maybe only one, it would be a success.

However, Sanchez also must press down the field. Tony Sparano will give him his opportunities. Sanchez needs to develop a fast chemistry with Hill and Schilens, both of whom are vertical threats. Despite frequently being criticized for his arm strength, Sanchez has shown good deep ball accuracy throughout his career. It would be nice to see him convert on a few 20+ yard passing plays, which the Jets barely had any of last season.

Finally, the Jets right tackle situation remains a question mark. Austin Howard will start for Wayne Hunter tomorrow night. Whether it is Hunter or Howard, Sanchez is going to see pressure at times and needs to demonstrate pocket awareness. No more keeping the ball at his waist and having it stripped away, no more panicked checkdowns thrown high to his running back that are intercepted.

The Jets won’t be airing it out in any of their pre-season games but that doesn’t mean Sanchez can’t make a strong impression about his improvement this off-season.

New York Jets: What We Have Actually Learned At Training Camp

Turn On The Jets cuts through the BS coverage of the New York Jets and discuses the developments on the field

The New York Jets first pre-season game is only two days away. From a distance the only information you may have heard about the team involves a backup quarterback being shirtless, an altercation between players, and a cornerback talking about playing wide receiver. Yet, believe it or not there has actually been some football played on the fields of Cortland. A few interesting developments have taken place that actually involve you know…the game. Let’s run them down –

Bilal Powell – We discussed Powell last week and his production hasn’t tailed off. By all accounts he has been the best running back on the field and is about to leap frog Joe McKnight as the number two back and primary third down back. Out of all the Jets backs, Powell has the best overall combination of skills which could lead to him eventually cutting into Shonn Greene’s carries, if Greene struggles to catch the football. McKnight hasn’t helped his cause lately by consistently being banged up. Obviously Powell still needs to show it on the game field but he has a real chance to become a major contributor on offense this season.

Mark Sanchez – Remember him? The Jets starting quarterback has quietly (somehow) put together a very good all-around camp. Sanchez has protected the football and shown an impressive command of Tony Sparano’s new system. There was never a quarterback controversy and if Sanchez develops the way he should, there never will be.

Patrick Turner – A receiver who has actually stayed healthy all camp! Turner has been consistently producing. He has very good height and hands, along with familiarity with Tony Sparano’s offense and chemistry with Mark Sanchez. Considering how thin the Jets are at receiver, Turner has a good chance to work himself into reps at split end this season.

Aaron Maybin – A practice hasn’t passed yet where he hasn’t recorded at least 1 sack. His speed and increased size combined with Rex Ryan’s creativity should be a scary thing for opposing offenses. Even as a situational player, Maybin has the look of a 10 sack player in 2012.

Ricky Sapp – Another edge rusher who has flashed all throughout camp. Sapp seems to be a lock to make the roster and a guy who could be on the field in passing situations. Could this be Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum’s second pass rushing reclamation project in as many years? They are almost halfway to making up for Vernon Gholston.

Josh Baker – The tight end/H-Back/Fullback has been all over the field making plays in the passing game. It appears he will be more of a factor than Jeff Cumberland this season and could also take away reps from John Conner.

Rookie Rundown

  • Quinton Coples – Been quieter than you would like and Mike DeVito remains firmly entrenched as the starter in 3 man looks. However, Coples still has the talent to be a factor in pass rushing situations.
  • Stephen Hill – He has flashed enough promise to be very excited about his potential this season. The other day he beat Darrelle Revis deep for a 50 yard touchdown. Hill is going to disappear for stretches this season but will also have his share of big plays.
  • Demario Davis – Back from a hamstring injury and should be starting in the sub packages by week 1.
  • Josh Bush – A very, very quiet camp. Could be losing his grip on 4th safety spot to fellow rookie Antonio Allen.
  • Terrance Ganaway – Been a little banged up and struggled at times but has shown versatility to also play fullback. Tony Sparano will find a use for him this season.
  • Robert Griffin – Practice squad.
  • Antonio Allen – Has been making plays all over the field and could be on the way to working himself into some defensive reps.
  • Jordan White – Back from a hamstring injury and has a golden opportunity to contribute as a slot receiver.

New Addition Rundown

  • Tim Tebow – He is a great athlete and will be a weapon running the ball. Takes too many sacks and is inconsistent passing…so exactly what we thought.
  • LaRon Landry – On a pitch count but on pace to start week 1 and be a frequent blitzer/run stopper in Rex Ryan’s scheme.
  • Yeremiah Bell – Taken over veteran leadership role in the secondary. He will struggle in coverage at times.
  • Chaz Schilens – Banged up and inconsistent. Turner has outplayed him all camp.

Disappointments

  • Jeremy Kerley Could still be out another full week with a hamstring injury and is firmly in Rex Ryan’s doghouse for a lackluster offseason.
  • Joe McKnight – Seemed to have number 2 running back job on lockdown heading into camp…it isn’t that way anymore.
  • Jeff Cumberland – Thoroughly being outplayed by Josh Baker.

 

New York Jets: Stop Apologizing and Justifying

TJ Rosenthal on the New York Jets not concerning themselves with outside perception of their team

TJ Rosenthal checks in with another strong take about the current state of the New York Jets. Make sure to follow TJ on Twitter. Jets/Bengals is only two days away…watch the game in style. Check back later this afternoon for TOJ’s weekly beat writer rankings.  

They brawl with each other, when they aren’t busy saying whatever they feel like, whenever they they feel like it. They have a backup QB who plays smashmouth positions, yet feel the need to state every day that the guy ahead of him is the “clear cut” starter. Rookies are all over the field over veterans with experience as many wonder if youth can overcome the lack of years. All of this and more, being visible to the naked eye due to unbridled summer access again, this time thanks to ESPN. With it all though, whether or not one agrees with the club’s media policy or personnel choices, the Jets have to realize that they owe nobody an apology for any of this. Gang Green is responsible for just one thing. Being ready to rumble INSIDE of the ring when the bell rings. Starting Friday night against the Bengals.

Let’s go through some items that the Jets have no reason to explain at this time:

Knock It Off Boomer, You Had Your Chance

Former Jet QB, Boomer Esiason told the world boldly on Monday that Tim Tebow should be cut, because he can’t throw. Well the last time we checked the record book, Esiason’s rocket arm still read “2-10” as starter during his 1995 season with Gang Green. A 15-27 tenure overall in New York. A year in which by the way, he got KO’d for the season in Buffalo. He may not have the perfect mechanics, but a ten count AND presiding over a loser from behind center? Hey, that’s at least two things the arm challenged Tebow hasn’t come across yet either.

Tebow wins.

Tebow as a baller will be at his best as a runner who can throw. Whose roles will develop and become cemented more as his success from certain positions becomes apparent.

The Jets don’t have to explain how he will be used. What they ought to do instead, is realize that a more consistent arm should move soon to QB2. Whether it be the kids in camp or a cheap vet brought in. To do so would not be acknowledging a mistake in seeing Tebow as the number two. It would be strengthening a potential weakness.

If used right, this FOOTBALL PLAYER can help. The Jets need to stop feeling as though they need to send out a memo as to how and when it will all take place. Even if Hannah Storm and Ron Jaworski and Sal Paolantonio need to know now.

Woody Johnson says he’s surprised by the coverage surrounding Tebow but would be better off saying that he expected it. It shouldn’t matter either way since deep down Johnson has to feel that the kid will make plays. That’s why he was brought here first and foremost anyway, even if yes, he sells more merch than Lady Ga Ga.

Cro With An Ill Timed Thought, Not Exactly Breaking News

Antonio Cromartie said something ridiculous last week. Yes, and the sun rose and set each day all across the world as well. The Jets have an open door policy with players who tell you what they feel all the time. Often times the emotional words become headlines. If the Jets don’t like it, they can change the policy. That, or expect more nonsense.

On a trivial scale of an analogy of course, the Jets media approach is kind of like the 2nd amendment controversy. If the gun laws don’t change, the tragedies will continue. If the Jets want to stop the extra curricular chatter they have to close the doors and batten down the hatches. Changing their own amendment that was created once Eric Mangini was voted out office. Otherwise, let it ride.

Sanchez is the Starter? We Know That.

Mark Sanchez is more polished, more in command, more able to do more things with his arm consistently. He is the starter. The Jets have said it enough so as to let the outside world know that there is no QB controversy here. Enough already.

We understand the need for Rex and Co. to have gotten out in front of this story from the podium. Now it’s time put it to bed and start focusing on Sanchez running the offense well, and growing the young weapons he has to throw to. While considering the addition of a few vets for him along the way.

We are bordering now on too much noise about who the “clear cut” starter is, and not, in Jets nation, taking enough time to consider what a corps minus Santonio Holmes would really look like. If the rib scare wasn’t enough to strike fear in Jets brass, we’re not sure what it will take.

Are Hill, Kerely, Schilens and Turner enough?

Sanchez is the starter. We get it. Now keep an eye on things and make sure that he has what he needs on the outside so he doesn’t struggle. Forcing more post game quotes that support 6, as the Tebowmaniacs get louder.

Camp Fights Are As Old As Camps Themselves.

Teams fight. Brothers throw punches at the dinner table. People battling for jobs are desperate warriors with nothing to lose. These truths are as old as the bible.

Ryan has spent time this week trying to discipline his brawlers and hey, that’s a good thing. There is a fine line between “physical” and “illogical.” Sexy Rexy does not however, have to send players on extra laps primarily to show a nation of cable voyeurs that he is in control. He must do so only to draw the line between smart and tough, and what is dumb.

The 2012 Jets are a work in progress on many fronts. From the rookies being asked to contribute, to Tony Sparano’s new blend of the ground and pound with a wise aerial attack, to a new commitment towards being a shutdown defense again.

Stop apologizing. Stop justifying. Just come out of that tunnel and begin to head down the road that has been drawn up on paper. One that reads, “run hard, play physical, make the opponents go three and out, no turnovers.” Simple. Less sexy than the headline grabbers the Jets hand the media every day, but the formula for success that Ryan believes will get the Jets back on track.

Stay focused. Never mind what those outside of the bubble think or say.

New York Jets Headline Watch – The Brawl Of The Century

Turn On The Jets looks at the over analysis of the New York Jets training camp fight today

Shockingly enough the New York media and the mainstream media will occasionally twist headlines to generate some type of controversy. We will use this series of columns to review what was actually said and whether there is any reason to be up in arms about it. Today’s topic is the brawl of the century that occurred at practice, along with a few other comments about today’s “newsworthy” topics –

The Headlines

The finger waving

What actually happened –

Defensive back D’Anton Lynn hit running back Joe McKnight late out of bounds. McKnight responded by throwing the football back at Lynn, leading to roughly a 20 player brawl on the sideline somewhat near the fans. The fight was broken up within a minute or so and practice resumed.

Of course the national hand wringing began immediately. Look at the Jets! No chemistry! Out of control again! Of course New England had about three brawls last week but you would never hear too much about that.

Needless to say, fights happen in training camp. A brawl between a player who won’t make the roster and a third down back isn’t going to make or break the Jets season.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the only dominant non-important  Jets news story dominating headlines today. Boomer Esiason thinks the Jets should cut Tim Tebow. Okay? They aren’t going to cut him, so why even bother discuss it? Boomer is a radio host…and a good one at that and comments like this are given to generate ratings.

What should be discussed today is how rookie Stephen Hill beat Darrelle Revis deep for a touchdown on a perfectly thrown 50 yard pass from Mark Sanchez. This is big news because nobody beats Revis deep. The Jets desperately need Hill to grow up fast because of how banged up their wide receivers are and because Sanchez is continuing a very strong training camp.

If you want to talk about the fight, talk about the mature way Sanchez handled it to the media today.

New York Jets: Green and White Scrimmage Recap

Mike Donnelly recaps the New York Jets Green and White scrimmage

Mike Donnelly provides a recap of today’s Green and White scrimmage. Make sure to give him a follow on Twitter and check back tomorrow for Chris Gross’ overview of the Jets options at wide receiver with Santonio Holmes likely being out for 4-6 weeks with a broken rib. 

With today’s first Jets Green and White scrimmage taking place, the important thing to remember is that today is August 4th and the season doesn’t begin for another five weeks. So getting too up or too down about certain players or position groups on this team based on one glorified practice is a pretty futile exercise. That being said, there would be no fun in keeping a level head and not breaking down the action that we saw, heard, or read tweets about this afternoon.

The main thing to know about today’s scrimmage was that in addition to learning a whole new system on the fly, the Jets offense was without wide receivers Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, and Chaz Schilens, plus 3/5 of their starting offensive line were out. (Nick Mangold was off in London to watch his sister compete in the Olympics, Brandon Moore was out watching Curtis Martin get inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Wayne Hunter was not playing, which would usually be good thing until you remember his backups are even worse, but that’s a whole other issue). Oh, and they were only going against arguably the best defense in the NFL.

No big deal. That of course won’t stop many “experts” and commenters from bashing the offense and making unfunny Twitter jokes, but the fact is, the defense is supposed to dominate in situations like that. So for the purposes of this article, I’m going to be looking at all of the positives that came out of today’s scrimmage and not taking petty shots at anyone; not even at Tim Tebow, i promise. Let’s break this down in easy-to-read fashion with random thoughts:

Quinton Coples – I guess all the fans ready to call him a Gholston (it seemed like some actually want him to fail so they can say “I told you so”, which blows my mind) can exhale and actually, you know, give the first round pick more than 6 practices before writing him off. On the very first play of the scrimmage he beat his man, knifed in, and stuffed Shonn Greene behind the line of scrimmage. After that, by all accounts he played very well and should only build off this performance.

Flashes of the new Defense – Rex Ryan started to show some wrinkles he’s incorporating into the new 46 defense this year, and came in with many different looks. Aaron Maybin was all over the field lining up at many different positions, and we even saw some looks where Calvin Pace and Coples were standing up next to each other on the same side of the line. It’s very easy to get excited about this defense, especially when you read things like…

Antonio Allen, Garrett McIntyre, and Ricky Sapp all looked great – Three guys who are all under-the-radar and unknown to casual fans all have had very strong camps and continued that today. Allen has looked like an absolute steal as a 7th round pick, and Sapp and McIntyre are proving that the Jets are not as thin at OLB as many would think. Those Stock Watch Buys of Sapp the past few weeks are looking like money makers so far!

Dustin Keller – Keller caught 3 passes for 31 yards against the first string defense, which is a very positive sign. It appears as though new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano got the memo Brian Schottenheimer never got around to reading, about Dustin Keller being a legit weapon for this offense and if put in the proper position can really do well. Better late than never I suppose. Speaking of Sparano..

Sparano makes adjustments, Sanchez looks sharp – After getting it handed to them early in the scrimmage, when the offense came out for the first drive after halftime, they looked totally different. Mark Sanchez looked great as he went 7-9 for 52 yards during a 60-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Bilal Powell. That halftime adjustment already gives Sparano one more than Schotty had in six years here as coordinator. Sad, but true.

Santonio Holmes broke his ribs – Oh wait, that’s not a positive at all. But it looks as though that is the case, as he was apparently leveled by #2 wide receiver Antonio Cromartie — yes, Antonio Cromartie made a big hit. Seriously. — and came out of the scrimmage. If the rib is indeed broken, his status for week 1 is very much up in the air. The options to replace him from outside the organization are downright putrid now that Braylon Edwards just signed with Seattle, so someone has to step up. If there is a silver lining to all of this, it will give players like Chaz Schilens, Patrick Turner, Jeremy Kerley and even Jordan White the opportunity to step in and show the coaching staff something. It remains to be seen whether or not they will do so, but if all else fails, I guess we can just look forward to watching a 57-8 run/pass ratio in week 1, right?

Curtis Martin going into the HOF – Not part of today’s scrimmage, but definitely worth mentioning. One of the greatest Jets of all time is heading into the Hall of Fame tonight, and we couldn’t be happier for him here at TOJ. If you missed my column on why Curtis deserves this honor so much, you can check that out here.

Inside Look: ESPN’s Idiotic Coverage Of New York Jets Training Camp

An inside look at ESPN’s idiotic coverage of New York Jets training camp

For everybody who was happy the New York Jets passed on Hard Knocks because of the excessive coverage it brought to training camp, they clearly didn’t realize the ESPN controversy stewing idiot box would be camped out in Cortland 24/7.

By the way, have you seen this trailer for Miami Dolphins Hard Knocks? Can you name one player you see? Can you stay awake listening to Joe Philbin talk? I am pretty sure I’d rather watch that new show with Matthew Perry NBC is pumping up more than this…and that show looks just awful.

Anyway back to the ESPN idiot box camped outside of Jets practice. This is a general outline of  their daily agenda –

– Find group of fans willing to chant Tebow, keep the camera in front of them all day. Every time we return from commercial, open with them and then cut to either Ron Jaworski or Skip Bayless smugly smiling.

– Allow Ron Jaworski to make poorly researched uninformed statements about the Jets offense and then hold the Jets quarterbacks to a double standard.

  • Mark Sanchez throws a deep out route low but it is still caught by Santonio Holmes. Cue Jaworski “That is the kind of throw you must get up higher…if you want to play…in the National…Football…League”
  • Tim Tebow sails a pass to Josh Baker over the middle and it is nearly intercepted. Cue Jaworski “Look at how Tebow has improved his throwing motion. He is really putting some nice arc on the ball. The Jets must get more athletic at tight end to help Tim Tebow play…in the National…Football…League”
  • Jaworski comments that Sanchez is comfortable with Jeff Cumberland and has chemistry with him but doesn’t have it with Josh Baker because they haven’t worked together. The only problem is Cumberland was on IR after week 3 last season and Baker spent the rest of the season practicing with the team, culminating with him catching a touchdown in week 16.
  • Jaworski notes that Tony Sparano is basically installing the same offense as Brian Schottenheimer. The only problem of course being that he is installing literally the complete opposite of what Schottenheimer did last year when the Jets base personnel was three receivers.

– Keep a microphone in front of Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes at all times and let the headlines run from there.

– Have Sal Paolantonio make regular observations of Tebow’s usage and Sanchez’s demeanor in response to it. “We heard Tebow could throw a pass at some point to keep defenses honest. Sanchez was reportedly a little upset because we saw him not get seconds at lunch today. Could the pressure be getting to him, both mentally and physically?”

– Have Skip and Stephen A debate any and everything Tebow. 

  • Why did Tebow run with his shirt off?
  • Why did Tebow decide against seeing a movie?
  • When is the last time Tebow got his hair cut?
  • Tim TEBOW might not be able to THROW THE FOOTBALL there Skip but don’t talk to me about Mark SAN-CHEZZZ leading this team, TEBOW IS A WINNER!!

Of course the Jets only have themselves to blame for consenting to having ESPN there for over a week. A day? Two days? You could deal with, but this long with this much coverage is ridiculous. So much for the escape to football paradise in Cortland where there are no distractions. For the rest of the world, we understand why you hate the Jets and are tired of hearing about them.

For us Jets fans, we know that behind all the BS is a potentially good football team, with plenty of good stories. This team is going to be disliked as long as Rex Ryan is the head coach and the cameras are everywhere, but doesn’t that just make it more fun to root for?

We are on a mission to civilize Jets coverage here at TOJ. Stay with us all season and make sure to wear that green and white proud.

New York Jets Adjusting To Open Door Policy

TJ Rosenthal wonders if the New York Jets can handle an open door media policy?

TJ Rosenthal of The Jet Report is back with another feature, today looking at the New York Jets ongoing struggles with media exposure. Make sure to give TJ a follow on Twitter and to follow his work all season long at both The Jet Report and here at Turn On The Jets 

For the Jets, the offense with their return to the Ground and Pound, and the defense with their newcomers and hopeful additions of the 4-3 and the 46, are just the major concepts going under a transformation on the fly. There is more.  You have key players most notably Mark Sanchez who seek consistency and efficiency. Then there are the coaches starting with Rex Ryan who aim to have a better handle on guiding things than they did during the 8-8 disaster last year. Finally, you have the tricky open door media policy. One that provides a unique window into the minds of the personalities of this team directly, but when utilized foolishly, still threatens to divide before it conquers.

On Monday Antonio Cromartie told the world that he is currently the second best wideout the Jets have. It sounded like a joke, or a street ball challenge to us. It came off as a slight though to newly acquired Chaz Schilens. The episode made national headlines thanks to the fact that ESPN has replaced the idea of an HBO “Hard Knocks” return this summer by pitching it’s own tents in Cortland to stalk the Jets every morning. The episode forced Rex Ryan to remind his club and in a way himself, to be careful about HOW one addresses the media.

After all, it had only been days since Santonio Holmes, a star who constantly struggles with timing and tone (no pun intended) when it comes to airing out his thoughts near a microphone, stated publicly that a two QB system won’t work.

In Ryan’s mind, who knew what player would simply step up to the podium and do some damage next. Who could tell how the next words out of a Jet players mouth would be interpreted by fans, teammates, and sportswriters?

To Ryan, Monday early evening meant warning time.

Hey, Rex’s Jets will never end up quiet. Silent. Shy. It’s not in their DNA. They can however, like both sides of the ball, find a groove that works for them. That embodies who they are in an effective, rather than destructive way. Post practice articles that popped up and questioned whether or not this was the first new Gang Green locker room squabble, after a plethora of them took place last year, were jumping the gun. In the same way that QB pitch counts between Sanchez and Tim Tebow are jumping the gun right now. However, Ryan’s warning shot was on point in that it’s never too early to establish habits worth keeping throughout an entire season.

The Jets have to realize from the top of the organization on down that the media  will continue to look for anything that keeps the newsworthy club relevant in banner headline fashion. The Jets are one of those “it” teams, especially now that some guy named Tebow has joined them. How they finished last season only dramatizes further the storyline of the rise and fall of a cocky, confident, brash club. The real question now is where does the story end. Will the Jets rise again under Ryan or sink further into confusion and disarray that to some, only scratched the surface in 2011?

At this point in time it is all a work in progress and too early to tell. Rebranding the offense to feature the ground game, while unleashing a new versatile athletic defense provides a new roadmap for Sanchez and Co. to follow, as they seek a way back to the playoffs. Heading back down the winning direction however, while avoiding the pitfalls of quotes that writers can turn into locker room wedges, may be the biggest challenge of them all for the 2012 Jets.

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TOJ New York Jets Beat Writer Power Rankings – August 1st

The Turn On The Jets beat writer power rankings are back, who have been the top mainstream writers covering the New York Jets?

Turn On The Jets weekly ranking of the beat writers who cover the New York Jets is back. Myself, Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly have ranked our top five after a week of training camp. Let us hear your opinion on Twitter, in the comment section or on the TOJ Facebook Page…and for the beat writers, we know you are reading and we do award five additional points to anybody seen in this shirt

1. Jenny Vrentas – Surprise, surprise! Jenny Vrentas remains in the top spot here at the TOJ Beat Writer Power Rankings as we get started with Training Camp and things really heat up. Even during the down period of the past few weeks, she remained active putting out her Summer Q&A feature where she asked players on the team a few questions. It wasn’t much, but it was nice to still have some fresh Jets material to peek through. During the past week, she stepped up her game, and in addition to her great work day-by-day at camp relaying all the info to her Twitter followers (all the beat writers do a great job with this), she put out a few great reads – one about Revis and his holdout, one about Curtis Martin discussing concussions, and of course some things on Tebow. In addition, she was the second beat writer (Manish was first) to appear on the Flight 5 Live Internet Show, and fan interaction always earns bonus points in our eyes. All in all, Jenny showed why she deserves to stay in the top spot and that it’s going to be tough to knock her off. – Mike Donnelly

2. Brian CostelloOur man Brian Costello of the New York Post has put in an excellent amount of work since our initial rankings, and finds himself second to only Vrentas this week. Coz really killed it with material leading into camp, including a phenomenal piece on Rex Ryan, which was a bit overlooked due to how great the Vrentas piece was. However, Costello provided a very unique look into a similar issue, the overall physical transformation of Ryan. Coz also wrote a fantastic, in-depth camp preview, among several other quality articles that were published during the weeks heading into camp. Among his writing, Coz had an excellent guest spot on ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd about two weeks ago, discussing the status of the Jets, the QB situation, and a brief pre-season outlook. It will certainly be tough to dethrone Vrentas this season, however at the rate he is going, I would not be surprised to see Costello be the one to do so. – Chris Gross

3. Rich Cimini – Regardless of the general opinion that Cimini is too negative towards the team, he has simply been writing his ass off the past few weeks. Beyond keeping his ESPN blog updated constantly and interacting with fans on Twitter, he has written a few very good feature pieces. Most notably, this one which was well researched and a much needed positive outlook on Mark Sanchez’s future in the middle of the endless line of undeserved criticism for him. This article discussing Darrelle Revis following the lead of Curtis Martin was a unique angle and another enjoyable read. Yes, the critical one liners can be annoying at times but it is impossible to ignore the quality of work he has been producing. – Joe Caporoso

4. Manish Mehta – Manish’s drop in the rankings has more to do with the excellent work of Mr. Coz and Rich Cimini the past few weeks than it does with The Daily News’ beat man. Manish mostly disappeared after mini-camp, and we felt he got off to a slow start once Training Camp really got going before really kicking some ass and getting into the swing of things the past few days. Hopefully he didn’t spend his vacation time getting big-timed by Gary Myers and being forced to read his long, boring dissertations on why the Jets are the worst at everything in a creepy Daily News back room somewhere. If Manish shows up in the next few days wearing stonewashed jeans and blocks me on twitter (as Gary did) then we’ll know he was brainwashed by Mr. Myers and then we’ll have to worry. Also worth mentioning, Manish has greatly curtailed his Sulia usage, and that earns major bonus points. I expect him to shoot up the rankings as soon as next week. – Mike Donnelly

5. Jane McManus Although she remains at the 5th spot, McManus has actually done some very good work over the past few weeks, just not quite enough to get the edge over one of the other four yet. She has been consistent with content on the ESPNNewYork Jets Blog, and has been tweeting Jets updates and news much more frequently than she had been in the weeks prior to training camp. She, like many other beat writers, put out a piece earlier in the week about Mark Sanchez using Eli Manning’s first three seasons as a pro to give himself a curve for how he should expect his fourth NFL season to go. Clearly, we agree with this notion here, as we reviewed a similar issue back in March. McManus has been doing solid work, but just needs a little more consitency to jump ahead in the rankings. – Chris Gross

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