TOJ at Gunaxin with a tribute to the hookmaster, Nate Dogg.
Everybody out there who is a fan of the NFL has obviously been dismayed by the events of the previous few days. A decertification. A lockout. An April 6th court hearing. A hopeful injunction on that date. A request for players to boycott the draft. Plenty of uncertainty on how the 2011 NFL season is going to shape up, in terms of free agency, off-season workouts, and scariest of all, missed games.
I can’t sit here and claim to know the ins and outs of this legal situation, especially as it keeps evolving. Similar to most of you, I have followed the case the best I could from the various mainstream media sources and similar to all of you, I am disgusted and disappointed.
How can a league which is thoroughly dominating every sport in this county in every way possible and that has never been more popular, go and mess it up?
My sympathy lies more with the players than it does with the owners but that doesn’t mean both sides haven’t made mistakes. The petty back and forth through the media hasn’t helped the situation, and the foolish suggestion by the NFLPA for incoming rookies to boycott the draft is a shame.
All I know is that I want a NFL off-season back as soon as possible, which from my understanding means rooting for injunction on April 6th.
I am going to keep covering the New York Jets and the NFL under the assumption that at some point in 2011 there will be football games. There is going to be plenty of hypotheticals considering we don’t know yet how free agency and trades will be handled. I will keep commenting on the labor negotiations when applicable and always link the most updated information on our Facebook and Twitter account, but for the most part I will keep writing about the actual game of football, not injunctions, decertifications, or other legal topics.
TOJ at Gunaxin with a beverage recommendation for all of you
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The Jets didn’t hesitate this past off-season to add players who would improve their roster. There has been generally mixed results from the team’s new additions but the Jets need all of them to have big games Saturday night —
Santonio Holmes – 52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 TDs
The addition who made the most positive impact. Holmes made the game winning play in three games this season and has been everything the Jets traded for him to be. However, “Tone Time” as he likes to call it needs to carry over into Saturday night. Let’s be honest here, the Colts can’t double team Holmes because of the presence of Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller, and if he is consistently left one on one, he should shred up the Indy secondary.
Jason Taylor – 36 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 2 FFs, 2 FRs
It was a somewhat disappointing season from Taylor, despite him having his moments like a game clinching sack against New England and a key safety against Pittsburgh. Regardless, the Jets need to put some type of pressure on Peyton Manning and Taylor remains arguably their best pure pass rusher. The Jets can’t afford to have him no show Saturday night. A big time effort against Indy makes his signing entirely worth it.
Antonio Cromartie – 42 tackles, 3 INTs, 17 passes defensed
Cromartie had a pretty good overall year for the Jets defense and did admirable work while Darrelle Revis banged up, covering the opposing team’s number one receiver. There hasn’t been a ton of big plays but Cromartie has a positive history against Manning and is a major upgrade over what the Jets had opposite Revis last year. A strong game from Cromartie is going to severely limit what the Colts can do on offense.
Brodney Pool – 53 tackles, 1 sack, 11 passes defensed, 1 INT, 1 TFL
Personally I was very disappointed with Pool for a large chunk of the year, yet he has played better as of late. Kerry Rhodes was torched all over the field against the Colts last year and the Jets need Pool to play a disciplined game alongside Eric Smith at safety.
LaDainian Tomlinson – 914 rushing yards, 368 receiving yards, 6 TDs
Tomlinson exceeded most of our expectations this year with nearly 1300 total offensive yards and 6 touchdowns. He remains valuable in the passing game and should be a good change of pace from Shonn Greene, who is better fit for the bulk of carries this week. All I know is that LT better not being standing on that sideline with his jacket and helmet on, like we always remember him doing in San Diego.
Didn’t that feel a little too easy? After watching the Jets embarrass the Bills today, it doesn’t say much for Miami and New England that they beat them by one possession. Today was a completely one-sided statement from Jets, who avoided any threat of a trap game and are certainly looking like one of the elite teams in the NFL.
LaDainian Tomlinson was the primary story on offense, as he put on a show with 133 yards on 19 carries and 2 touchdowns, including a highlight reel move on a 26 yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter. I don’t think anybody expected Tomlinson to show this type of speed after the way he looked last year. Shonn Greene also finally got going with 117 yards on 22 carries, in a much needed confidence boosting performance.
Mark Sanchez has made it through 1/4 of the entire season without a single turnover. He put together an efficient performance with 166 yards and 2 more touchdowns, included a well executed double move 41 yard touchdown to Braylon Edwards. Without Santonio Holmes out the first four games, Edwards has stepped up with 3 touchdowns in 4 games.
The Bills offense is putrid, but the Jets still did the job they needed to. Shaun Ellis banged his knee up but is apparently fine. Antonio Cromartie completely took Lee Evans out of the game. Dwight Lowery and James Ihedigbo each had a sack. Bryan Thomas had a nice forced fumble. Nick Folk didn’t let us get too comfortable with him by missing a 30 yard field goal.
The most important thing is that the Jets are 3-0 in the division. Even better news, Santonio Holmes and Calvin Pace will be back next week, likely joined by Darrelle Revis. The Jets get a shot at Brett Favre and the Vikings on Monday night football and our stadium is going to be rocking. A victory is going to put all of that talk about the Jets difficult start to their schedule to rest.
Great teams beat the teams they are supposed to, and the Jets didn’t just beat Buffalo today they put an exclamation point on their first tour through the division marking themselves as the team to beat in the AFC East.
A few fun stats:
- Dustin Keller is on pace for 20 touchdowns.
- Mark Sanchez is on pace for 32 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
- LaDainian Tomlinson is on pace for over 1300 yards rushing.
- Braylon Edwards is on pace for 12 touchdowns.
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First a few updates:
1. Nick Mangold didn’t practice for the second day in a row but is still expected to start Sunday night.
Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: Game Breakdown
Offense: Let’s go with the assumption that Braylon Edwards is going to play the overwhelming majority of the snaps on Sunday night. The Jets are going to have match-ups to exploit in the Dolphins secondary. Mark Sanchez had two of his better games last season against Miami, including a 265 yard performance. There is no reason to bring the reigns back in on the offense. Let Sanchez attack down the field to Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, and yes Braylon Edwards. Miami’s defensive backs have played well so far this season but they are far from proven and can be beat down the field.
The Jets have done a good job with the amount of touches they are giving LaDainian Tomlinson. 15 is the perfect number for him. I’d like to see Shonn Greene get 17-18 carries instead of 15, but if Tomlinson keeps playing so well that might not happen. I am not sure how banged up Brad Smith is but if David Clowney gets the same amount of reps he did last year, maybe he will get a shot down the field. Don’t forget in their Monday night match-up last year, The Clown pulled in 4 receptions for 72 yards.
Beyond that, I think you may see the Jets get a little more creative than usual against Miami. Maybe it is time to have Brad Smith throw a pass or let LaDainian Tomlinson throw one.
Defense: The Dolphins have scored two touchdowns through two games. Chad Henne hasn’t really been pushing the ball down the field and Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have both lost fumbles so far this season. Williams seems to be struggling a little bit, while Brown has racked up impressive yardage totals.
Obviously, the two key players the Jets need to stop are Brown and Brandon Marshall. Antonio Cromartie will draw the assignment of Marshall and have another chance to show the Jets could survive without Darrelle Revis. Cromartie has the size to compete with Marshall, but he has given up some big days to him in the past. After dealing with the receivers he has the past two weeks, Kyle Wilson should be more than ready for Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery did good with extended playing last week, let’s hope they don’t lapse into old habits on Sunday night.
Jason Taylor will be charged up to face his old team and the Jets need him to lead their pass rush, unless Bryan Thomas is going to play the way he did against Baltimore every week. How about Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito are #2 and #3, respectively in leading the NFL in tackles for defensive lineman? It is very difficult to run the ball on this Jets defense, which means it will be up to Chad Henne to beat the Jets.
Special Teams: Nick Folk and Steve Weatherford have been beasts through the first two weeks and they need to keep it up in week three. This will be a close, low-scoring game where field position is crucial and missed field goals can’t be afforded. Fortunately, the Jets don’t have to worry about kicking to Ted Ginn Jr. this year.
It is that time of the year
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View the Jets current depth chart here http://turnonthejets.com/2009-depth-chart/
Obviously, there could be some changes in the upcoming days but for now…
The biggest surprises on the final 53
- CB Brian Jackson – Benefits from the Revis holdout and Rex Ryan’s desire to carry as many corners as possible at all times. He also played well in the final pre-season game.
- RB Chauncey Washington – A distant longshot when camp started but earned his spot through his tough inside running and solid special teams play.
- TE Jeff Cumberland – Surprising the Jets carried four tight ends but they clearly love his potential.
Weird Numbers Game
- The Jets are carrying seven running backs and only four receivers (until Santonio Holmes returns in week five). However, they can do this because Danny Woodhead can play running back and receiver.
- Four tight ends, as previously mentioned, is somewhat rare.
- Only six defensive lineman, not too shocking considering the Jets run a 3-4 and how much Ryan loves defensive backs.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
- Brian Jackson, Chaucney Washington, and David Clowney could all be victimized by either the end to the Darrelle Revis contract dispute or the return of Santonio Holmes in week five. Also, I’d be surprised if Mike Tannenbaum didn’t find somebody off another roster before the season starts.
Enjoy Your Labor Day Weekend
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Jets Tuesday Recap
1. Mark Brunell is going to be the number two quarterback this season, with Kellen Clemens and Kevin O’Connell battling it out for the number three spot. I wouldn’t bet on Clemens, considering the Jets just traded a draft pick for O’Connell last season and clearly have no faith in Clemens. I’m not a believer in Brunell as the backup yet, despite his relatively strong start in training camp. He should see plenty of action this Monday night against the Giants, hopefully he puts together a strong performance which demonstrates the Jets could handle a Mark Sanchez injury for a short period of time.
2. Matt Slauson will start at left guard against the Giants, which wasn’t a surprising announcement considering his strong start to camp and Vladimir Ducasse’s struggles. It will be interesting to see how early the Jets will officially hand the job to Slauson and then begin grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle at some point in the near future. I also wonder if Ducasse will be worked in with Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter on the Jets short yardage packages.
3. Rex Ryan’s daily love affair with Vernon Gholston continued in his press conference today. Apparently, Gholston beat D’Brickashaw Ferguson a few times in pass rushing situations. Either Gholston has magically remembered how to rush the passer or Ferguson was having a tough day at the office. Imagine what a pleasant surprise 5 – 7 sacks from Gholston would be in 2010?
4. The biggest news of the day was Rex Ryan commenting the Jets “had everything they needed on defense” without Darrelle Revis and that people shouldn’t feel sorry for them. Of course classic Jets haters Mike Francesa and Mike Florio ran with these comments as being hypocritical due to Ryan’s previous effusive praise. I am not really sure what they expected Ryan to say. “You know what, our defense isn’t going to be good this season. We can’t survive without Revis. I have no faith in everybody else on our defense to step up. We will probably pack it in and concede the division to the Patriots or Dolphins and battle for 3rd place with the Buffalo Bills.” Give me a break, Ryan is confident in his system and oh by the way the Jets still have David Harris, Kris Jenkins, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor, Jim Leonhard, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Shaun Ellis, and on and on.
5. There was a high amount of Brad Smith at quarterback today. I am curious how big of a role the “Tiger'” formation will play on the Jets offense in 2010. It certainly doesn’t hurt to show it once or twice a game to keep defenses off balance and force them to prepare for it each week.
6. Kyle Wilson will be starting at corner opposite Antonio Cromartie from now on after Dwight Lowery volunteered his position to him. It was a weird move by Lowery, who admitted Wilson needs the experience and seemed to embrace the inevitable that he was the first round pick and would eventually be starting anyway. Wilson had flown under the radar somewhat for a first round pick because of all the other hoopla around team but he is now being thrust into the spotlight because of the Revis holdout. Cromartie will really be filling the spot of Revis but teams will certainly target Wilson, due to his lack of experience. Lowery will play some safety in the Jets sub package, along with work in the nickel role. Marquice Cole has also been seeing extended reps, including some work with the first team.
AFC East Training Camp Round-Up
New England Patriots – The Patriots just finished a scrimmage with the New Orleans Saints. The primary news coming out of it is how good Wes Welker is looking after his season ending injury last year. Did you hear that Kyle Wilson? Fred Taylor has been working as the Patriots first team running back. Randy Moss has had a particularly strong camp. Ty Warren and Nick Kaczur have all been banged up. Darius Butler has impressed so far at cornerback. The Saints play the Patriots on Thursday night.
Miami Dolphins – Not to put too much stock in pre-season depth charts but the Dolphins have Joe Berger and Richie Incognito listed as their starting center and guard, respectively. Brian Hartline, as expected, is working as the starter opposite Brandon Marshall at receiver. Rookie Koa Misi is listed as the starting strong-side linebacker, with second year player Cameron Wake at the starting weak side spot. Chad Henne has had some inconsistencies in camp, including a poor showing at a recent scrimmage. The Dolphins play the Bucs on Saturday.
Buffalo Bills – The Bills also recently released their depth chart and here is their top four receivers: Lee Evans, Steve Johnson, Roscoe Parrish, and Felton Huggins. At least the Jets won’t miss Darrelle Revis against that receiving group. Trent Edwards looks like he is going to win the starting job at quarterabck. C.J. Spiller’s holdout ended recently and he has been participating in practice. Buffalo plays Washington Friday night.
Your New Starting Corners
Swept By Miami: Amen for the Bye Week
The Jets had 23 first downs. The Dolphins had 10. The Jets had 378 yards. The Dolphins had 104 yards. Yet, despite both statistically and realistically dominating the game…the Jets lost and that is all that matters. Why? They let up two kick returns for touchdowns and a Shonn Greene fumble bounced right into Jason Taylor’s arms and he took it back for a touchdown. Sometimes football just doesn’t make any sense, unless you are a Jets fan and accustomed to this type of thing.
Reading some fans reaction, everybody has jumped off the building on the season. Everybody is blaming the loss on Rex Ryan for his two point conversion decisions and Brian Schottenheimer for his play calling. It is funny because if you read the reactions at half time, they were calling for Mark Sanchez to be benched and how would that decision look now?
Brian Schottenheimer didn’t call a bad game. The Jets offense went up and down the field in the second half. They didn’t score on the final drive because Alan Faneca was beat and Sanchez made a rookie mistake by taking a sack, leaving the Jets with little more than a prayer on 4th and 13. It is probably fair to question the two point conversion decisions, but that isn’t why the Jets lost. Rex Ryan coached a great game on defense. Did you see what the Jets defense did to Miami today without Kris Jenkins? Don’t blame Rex…blame Danny Woodhead, Ryan Fowler, Donald Strickland, Jay Feely, and everybody else on the Jets coverage unit. Blame Shonn Greene for coughing up the football.
So in the end, I think Bart Scott said it best. Miami is awesome. They clearly showed today they have a better offense and defense than the Jets. They are probably going to compete for a Super Bowl. Watch out NFL, the 3-4 Miami Dolphins are coming and they got Chad Henne who racked up 120 yards passing today and was only sacked 5 times. They got Ronnie Brown who ripped off a ridiculous 27 yards on the ground and don’t forget Ricky Williams who also added an equally insane 27 yards. Devone Bess was a beast today with 18 yards receiving, and Greg Camarillo was like a young Randy Moss out there with 15 yards. Miami also has a scary good defense that allowed 22 second half points and a rookie quarterback to rack up three second half touchdowns on them.
Funny enough in my article here: http://turnonthejets.com/2009/09/07/40-predictions-for-2009-new-york-jets-season/ I said this:
“34. The Jets will enter their week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and not be considered a serious playoff contender.”
“35. Similar to the 2006 team, they will rally to a 6-2 finish and end up as a 10-6 wild card team.”
by doing this…
“36. They will either upset the Colts or Pats on the road in the second half of the season, not both. Their other second half loss will be at home to Atlanta…so yes, I am saying they win in Buffalo (aka Toronto), Tampa, and take care of the Panthers at home in the second half of the season.”
Do I still believe this? Yes, I can see it happening. If they learn how to tackle on a kick returns, why can’t they beat Jacksonville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Buffalo (not factoring 5 INTs from Sanchez), or maybe the Colts with them resting their starters in week 16? I don’t know they might lose all their games, or they might win all of them (probably not). All I know, is I am exhausted and nauseous after watching the Jets lose in that fashion. It is a good time for the bye week and good time to get a little rest/mental stability away from this team.