Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: The 2013 Defense

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling members of the New York Jets defense

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In case you missed Part 1: The 2013 Offense, the link is right here. Today it’s all about the 2013 defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE

BUY: Mo Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Kenrick Ellis – These three guys are going to be the foundation of the defensive line hopefully for many years to come. Wilkerson has established himself as one of the elite interior defensive linemen in the entire league, and we can’t say enough good things about the job he’s done this year.

Quinton Coples has been brought along slowly by this coaching staff, and while it’s frustrating to not see him out there as much as we’d like, it’s important to remember he’s just a rookie and he’s playing in a very complex defensive scheme. I expect a big time season in 2013 from him. As for Ellis, a knee injury derailed parts of his 2012 season, but he flashed some serious talent when on the field, and he is likely to be our starting nose tackle next year. These three are the only linemen on the team that we can say will be back for sure next season.

SELL: Sione Po’uha – He’s a fan favorite and by all accounts a great teammate, but 350 pound men that develop back problems usually don’t get better as they get older. With his somewhat high price tag for 2013, he has cap casualty written all over him.

BUY: Sione Po’uha being brought back on a reduced contract – There is no question Sione is getting released, but if he’s willing to take a 1-year deal at a reduced rate to come back, I could see the Jets doing that so that they don’t have to just throw Ellis into the fire full-time. I’m not so sure Damon Harrison will be ready to take on a meaningful role, so this could definitely happen.

SELL: Mike DeVito – DeVito has been one of my favorite players for quite a while now, but he’s a free agent and Quinton Coples was clearly drafted to take his spot on the line. I’m sure the Jets would love to have him back, but they just won’t be able to afford the veteran run-stuffer. Look for a cheap veteran to be brought in to spell the starters, someone in the Jay Richardson or Marcus Dixon mold from this past training camp.

LINEBACKERS

BUY: David Harris and Demario Davis – They are the only two linebackers you can say for sure will be back with the Jets in 2013. While Harris’s play has slipped this season, he’s still the best linebacker we have and his guaranteed salary means it will be difficult to find a trade partner, while releasing him would make no sense. As for Davis, he’s the future at linebacker in the green and white. He’s got rare athleticism and he’s already stepped up as one of the vocal leaders on the team. He’s one of the few players on this team that’s worth getting excited over heading into the future. Plus, he has a really hilarious signature:

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SELL: Bart Scott and Calvin Pace – There was a time these two were the rocks of the defense. Now, not so much. I’ve crapped on Calvin Pace a lot in this space throughout the season, so there’s no need to say much more about his play. Cutting him will save an awful lot of money on the 2013 cap, and that’s the first time something involving Calvin Pace has put a smile on my face in over two years.

Bart Scott is another sure cap casualty, and while many dislike him and his big mouth, I’m going to miss having him around. He’s something of an antiquated player in this new passing-happy NFL, but few linebackers are able to fill a gap and blow up a run play like Bart. When I think of Bart Scott, I’m not going to think of the guy pathetically chasing after Shane Vereen on Thanksgiving night, but rather the “Madbacker” who single-handily gave this defense a swagger and contributed a great deal to the 2009-10 teams.

BUY: Josh Mauga and Garrett McIntyre – The team needs solid backups who won’t cost much. These two guys have actually played well, especially McIntyre of late. He’s been our best outside linebacker the past few weeks, which is impressive until you remember who our other linebackers are. Still, he’s played well. Mauga was also a pretty solid player for us before he got injured. Look for him to come back next year and have a solid role with the team.

SELL: Bryan Thomas – The longest tenured Jet gave it everything he had this season and played surprisingly well as old-age and injuries started to take their toll on him. It’s sad to see a proud vet like Thomas end his career like that, but it’s over for B.T.

BUY: Signing 1 OLB, Draft 1 OLB  – It’s imperative that the Jets bring in a reliable veteran who doesn’t lumber like Frankenstein toward the quarterback. There are several nice options available this year in free agency including my personal favorite Conner Barwin of the Texans, who can definitely be had. Beyond him, the market includes guys like Anthony Spencer, Paul Kruger (who has Rex Ryan connections), and Shaun Phillips. Garrett McIntyre will likely be back next season, but he’s best suited as a part-time player who can split reps with a rookie, so a good reliable veteran NEEDS to be brought in.

This 2013 draft is loaded at offensive line and with edge rushers. Those are two things the Jets badly need, especially the linebackers. The Jets should absolutely use their first or second round pick on an edge rusher to give Coples and Wilkerson help up front. Look at the difference guys like Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Bruce Irvin and Jason Pierre-Paul have made for their defenses in recent years. The Jets need an immediate impact pass rusher this year. If you get a good one with the first round pick, sign a veteran like Barwin, and supplement that with a guy like McIntyre and hopefully a late-round project player as well, we’re starting to see a potentially excellent defense being formed. I’m giddy just thinking about the Calvin Pace-less linebacking corps!

SECONDARY

BUY: Revis and Cromartie – Many people are already starting to say the Jets should trade one of these two guys. 8957599-largePersonally, I really hope the Jets don’t. We all know what we have in Revis, and even coming off his ACL injury, he’s arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. I just don’t think you should go and trade away future Hall of Famers. Cromartie has blossomed into arguably the second best corner in the league this year behind Revis. That’s a lethal combination to have in such a pass happy league. Let them both lock down their receivers next year, add a pass rusher or two, and this defense can easily become the best unit in the league again.

BUY: Kyle Wilson – I am not a Kyle Wilson fan, but we can do worse at the third cornerback spot. In fact, we have been doing MUCH worse lately with Ellis Lankster in that role. Wilson has a modest price tag for next year, won’t yield much in a trade and cutting him is pointless, so he will almost certainly be back. Hopefully it’s as the #3 corner and he doesn’t have to move up to the #2 spot if the aforementioned trade occurs.

SELL: Ellis Lankster – I didn’t really enjoy the Ellis Lankster era, I’ll say that.

BUY: Aaron Berry – I was hoping we’d get to see more of him this year, but injuries knocked him out for most of the season. I expect him back to compete for a spot next year, and I’d like to see him win it.

BUY: Yeremiah Bell – Bell has very quietly put together a very good season this year. He’s getting up there in age, but he’s not going to break the bank and he provides solid veteran leadership. If he doesn’t retire, I think he will return to the Jets for another season and that would be a great move for us.

SELL: Laron Landry – I love Landry just as much as the next guy, but I think he’s going to price himself out of the Jets range. Landry has had an excellent season, and if there’s a way they can squeeze him under the cap, I’d LOVE to see him for a full season with Revis and Cromartie locking down receivers on the outside. I just don’t think it’s going to be feasible. Damn.

If Landry does end up pricing himself out of the Jets range, there are several other very good safeties who will be free agents. The most intriguing of course would be Ed Reed, who has been fighting with Baltimore over his contract for the last two years or so now. He has ties to Rex Ryan and it would be interesting to see if Rex could woo him here. Also available will be Jairus Byrd, Dashon Goldson, and Kenny Phillips of the Giants.

SELL: Eric Smith – YES! FINALLY! Good-bye Eric Smith! Go rough the punter somewhere else next year.

BUY: Antonio Allen and Josh Bush – Bush has been one of the few Tannenbaum draft choices who hasn’t been cut at least once this season, so he will definitely be back next year and will likely get more snaps. If Landry does leave, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen play a much more meaningful role next season either.

Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – McElroy’s 10 Dropbacks

Breaking down Greg McElroy’s 10 dropbacks in Jets/Cardinals game this past Sunday

We’ve been slacking a bit with our film breakdowns the past few weeks here at TOJ, so we are hitting you with a double dose in the next 24 hours. In this article, I will look at all of Greg McElroy’s dropbacks from his first NFL action this past Sunday. Chris Gross will also provide his regular terrific defensive film breakdown shortly after.

On to McElroy…

1. 2nd and 6 at ARZ 43 yard line – Incomplete To Stephen Hill – The Jets ran a stop and go on each side of the formation out of a standard 2 wide receiver, one tight end look. Jeremy Kerley was out to the right and Hill was out to the left with Cumberland working over the middle. Pre-snap Kerley faced press coverage from Patrick Peterson and Hill had William Gay playing about 7 yards off him. The Cardinals had a one-high safety look, with three linebackers dropping into coverage in the middle of the field, taking away the deep in-route from Cumberland. McElroy makes the right read here but instead of floating the ball deep, he should have realized that Hill ran a poor route and didn’t trick the corner at all with his hesitation. When he saw Gay running 2 yards out in front of him, he should have thrown the ball on a line to Hill’s back shoulder for what would have been an easy completion. Instead he floats the deep ball, which is nearly intercepted. Good read but bad route from Hill and poor throw from McElroy, although understandable considering it was his first NFL pass.

2. 3rd and 6 at ARZ 43 yard line – 8 yard completion to Stephen Hill – The Jets ran tight twins to each side of the formation with Jeff Cumberland in the slot to the left with Stephen Hill outside him. Hill runs a 8 yard speed out with Cumberland running the flag route from the slot, a common route combination. Chaz Schilens runs a short drag route from the slot on the right side of the formation. McElroy made a smart, decisive read as soon as the corner and safety on Hill’s side backed up a step. He didn’t throw a perfect ball but he put it where Hill could make a play on it, which Hill did…elevating to make a very nice catch as he took a big hit from the corner. Well done all around.

3. 2nd and 7 at ARZ 32 yard line – 3 yard run – Jets ran a standard play-action bootleg with Cumberland as the primary option in the flat and Konrad Reuland dragging across as the secondary option. Both were blanketed from the get-go. McElroy recognized this and showed zero hesitation to tuck the ball away and take-off for a short gain. He also drew a 15 yard penalty for taking a hit out of bounds. It is unfair to compare him to Mark Sanchez with a such a small sample size, but this is a play Sanchez frequently hesitates on (at least in 2012), pumping the ball and either takes a sack or throws it away instead of just taking the short running gain.

4. 3rd and 1 at ARZ 1 yard line – 1 yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland – Not much to say here, the Jets completely fooled Arizona on the play-fake and McElroy got a great seal block from Brandon Moore to give him all day on the rollout. He could have ran it in but instead floated it to a completely wide open Jeff Cumberland for a touchdown. Easy.

5. 3rd and 6 at ARZ 35 yard line – 2 yard completion to Kahlil Bell – This was either a poor play-call or poor execution from the Jets wide receivers, as the primary target appeared to be Jeremy Kerley on a short crossing pattern. However, Chaz Schilens also runs a short cross and settles in the middle of the field, clogging up the zone and making it easy for the Arizona linebackers to cover both players. McElroy steps up in the pocket and dumps it off to Bell, who promptly gets hit and fumbles. Considering what the coverage offered, this was the right decision by McElroy and a heady play to swing the ball to Bell instead of trying to run for the first down himself (which he wouldn’t have been able to).

6. 2nd and 11 at NYJ 25 yard line – 5 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley – Another encouraging quick read and throw from McElroy. Kerley ran a speed out from the slot, while Chaz Schilens ran a slant from split end. The linebacker dropped and safety closed, making the window tight for the slant so McElroy hit the speed out…not an easy throw and one that is particularly encouraging considering his reputation for a weak arm. This was also a very nice catch by Kerley.

7. 3rd and 6 at NYJ 30 – Incomplete pass – There was clearly some kind of miscommunication here. McElroy rolls out to the right and all receivers run routes that appear to expect him to roll out to the left (inside receiver out left runs a wheel/stop route, outside right receiver runs drag across the middle) – A safe guess is that McElroy rolled the wrong way but it is impossible to know definitively.

8. 2nd and 7 at ARZ 47 yard line – 4 yard run – The Jets again roll McElroy to the right and he quickly sees his primary options covered up well by the Arizona defense (A Stephen Hill backside drag and a Jeff Cumberland out). He might have been able to throw it quickly to Bilal Powell in the flat but that likely would have resulted in a 4-5 yard gain as well. Considering the coverage, it is hard to fault McElroy’s decision to run here.

9. 3rd and 3 at ARZ 43 yard line – PENALTY – Illegal Contact – We see the good and bad of McElroy on this play and he caught a big break on the illegal contact call which probably shouldn’t have been made. McElroy made a smart protection check pre-snap to bring Jeff Cumberland into the formation to pick-up the outside free rusher. However, after Hill beats the press coverage, McElroy needs to throw the ball on a line before the high safety breaks over the top. He instead floats the ball and it is intercepted. This should have been a big play to Hill. Beyond that, he also has Jeremy Kerley on the backside dig for a big gain.

10. 3rd and 9 at ARZ 37 yard line – 13 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley – The throw of the day from McElroy and the catch of the day from Kerley. They executed a back-shoulder fade against one of the league’s top corners in Patrick Peterson. This required perfect timing and placement from McElroy and a pretty one-handed juggling grab from Kerley. A big-boy conversion in a big-boy spot.

Overall, it was an encouraging debut from McElroy. He wasn’t without his mistakes but considering it was his first NFL action and he received barely any work with the first offense during the week, this was impressive. Before you enshrine him in Canton, remember Mark Sanchez went 18/31 for 272 yards with a TD in his first NFL start.

New York Jets – The Other Guys

A look at the other New York Jets who played yesterday besides the quarterbacks

Lost in the shuffle of the ongoing quarterback controversy surrounding the New York Jets is that other players actually took the field yesterday…and many performed well for a refreshing change of pace. These last four games remain critically important for many young players on the team’s roster who will be expected to be key parts in 2013 and beyond. Here is a recap of a few who stood out –

Bilal Powell – His role is growing every single week and he is taking advantage of it. Yesterday Powell finished with 58 yards on 12 carries, finishing with a 4.8 YPC. He broke a 17 yard run that helped propel the team’s only touchdown drive. Powell has good vision and is both shiftier and quicker than Shonn Greene. There is no reason that Powell can’t be a capable 1B option and 3rd down back for the team next season. On the year, Powell has 70 carries for 278 yards for 4.0 yards per carry. Hopefully, he can finish the season getting 10-15 carries each week and maintain that average at over 4 yards.

Stephen Hill – It has been a rough year for the rookie but yesterday was a step in the right direction. Hill had 5 catches for 40 yards and drew a penalty. What was encouraging is that many of the catches Hill made were difficult ones in traffic. He is going to be the team’s starting split end next year, so he must build momentum heading into 2013. Now that Hill looks like he is gaining confidence in the shorter passing game, it would be nice to see the Jets hit a big play down the field to him which is the primary thing he was drafted for.

Jeremy Kerley – It wasn’t a gaudy statistical game (3 catches, 37 yards) but Kerley made difficult catches in tight coverage. Most notably pulling down a key third down conversion with elite cornerback Patrick Peterson draped all over him. This has been a terrific all around season for Kerley who still has an outside shot of having a 1,000 yard season in one of the league’s worst passing offenses which is pretty damn impressive. If Hill develops alongside him and Santonio Holmes comes back healthy, the Jets have the makings of a very good group of receivers in 2013.

Muhammad Wilkerson – This isn’t anything new but Wilkerson is maintaining his play at a Pro-Bowl level. The 2nd year player is one of the few recent draft picks Mike Tannenbaum can really hang his hat on. If the Jets ever find an outside linebacker who can get into a quarterbacks’s zip code, watch for an explosion of stats by Wilkerson who will finally get to deal with less double teams. Put it this way, if you were playing the Jets wouldn’t just triple Wilkerson and let Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas and their 7.8 forty yard dash times run free at the quarterback?

LaRon Landry – Not a “young player” but somebody who is making a strong case to be brought back in 2013. Landry isn’t without his flaws (occasional lapses in coverage and missed tackles) but on the whole he has brought a needed playmaking element and physical attitude to the Jets backend.

New York Jets – McElroy Brings Calm To Offense

TJ Rosenthal on the calm brought to the New York Jets offense by Greg McElroy

Surprise hero Greg McElroy described himself as an even keeled player to reporters after the Jets 7-6 comeback win over Arizona. During a post game press room scene that rarely calls for the thoughts of any third string quarterback. With second stringer Tim Tebow out nursing broken ribs, and embattled starter Mark Sanchez floundering late in the third quarter, head coach Rex Ryan finally felt the time was right to make a change. McElroy then delivered a sense of calm to a club in dire need of some no nonsense guidance.

Since the Jets last embarrassed themselves, on national television November 22nd against their hated rivals the Patriots 49-19, in a game symbolized by Sanchez crashing into guard Brandon Moore’s backside during a wild :52 second, three score storm that engulfed the Jets, the wings had begun to come off the plane.

Soon after the Thanksgiving thrashing, drama unfolded surrounding whether Tim Tebow should have suited up with broken ribs, and when exactly the club first knew about the injury. Fireman Ed then stepped down as King “Superfan” after being harassed by his own Jet faithful for wearing a Sanchez jersey in support of the struggling star. Days later a video showing Jets fans verbally abusing the team as they entered the tunnel down 35-3 at halftime, went viral. Sparking LB Bart Scott to respond by attacking the same fans who Scott said, probably didn’t even get picked in dodgeball as kids.

These incidents provide a sample size of what has been a season full of unpredictable events that officially began back in March. When QB Drew Stanton was signed to back up Sanchez, as the team secretly chased Peyton Manning. Only to end up instead with a motivated Tebow,  jettisoned by Denver as Manning signed with the Broncos, not the Jets. Stanton soon angrily exited.

The week long insanity leaving the world’s most polarizing sports figure in America, just one play away from taking over the starting job. As the unassuming McElroy quietly worked on his arm strength and prepared to earn a job behind Tebow in training camp.

When McElroy began warming up on the sidelines yesterday after yet another tipped pass incompletion thrown by Sanchez helped grow the boos for Sanchez to a deafening level, MetLife Stadium grew energized for the first time since week one’s 48-28 defeat of the Bills. It didn’t take long for McElroy, the “most popular player” on the field to deliver some level headed decision making to a team only behind 3-0, and not known for the trait.

First McElroy shrewdly drew illegal contact from an oncoming Cardinal defender out of bounds. Forcing a 15 yard late hit penalty on the Arizona defense, clearly anxious to welcome the new guy with a shot to remember. A few clutch third down completions later, McElroy rolled out on the goal line and waited for the right time to lob a TD pass to Jeff Cumberland. In a play that became the game winner.

The 5-7-29 yards stat line was beyond modest. The limited tasks asked off him were less complicated than even the ones given to Sanchez during his first two game n the ones given to Sanchez during his first two game managing seasons as a Jet. What Greg McElroy contributed the most during his brief work had to do with disposition, not numbers.

Finally the Jets had a leader on the field, whose only history of drama on a team that seemingly finds one daily, took place when he publicly called out of the Jets locker room as dysfunctional after the team’s 2011 crash. Aside from that incident, the second year pro’s contributions to the Jets circus has been as nothing more than as an observer.

Ryan’s decision to turn to McElroy, the only healthy backup available, gave the Jets offense a chance to simply focus on making plays without the hoopla that surrounds the other two GQ quarterbacks. The ground game kicked into another gear when McElroy was calling the shots. Receivers better known for dropping balls began hanging onto them.  Lineman appeared to be getting off the ball faster. The home crowd started to sound like one, after weeks of being rendered lifeless thanks to the poor execution the home team was displaying on the field.

Winning teams have field generals who lessen the overall anxiety and can forget mistakes instantaneously. McElroy’s success in leading the Jets away from what would have been a second straight disaster, may not help to anoint him as the franchise starter from this point on. The relaxed nature of his relief effort though, should be a wake up call for the Jets. An organization that better start to understand that hype and media attention can only be part of the equation provided that the on field pilot of the plane owns a steady hand and unfettered mind. One that features a short memory, and the ability to move beyond mistakes rather than compound them

Sanchez Breakdown – A Swan Song for the Jets Quarterback

Rob Celletti breaks down the play of both New York Jets quarterbacks yesterday

The mob at MetLife Stadium got its wish.

Rex Ryan had seen enough, and rightly pulled Mark Sanchez out of yesterday’s game in the third quarter, unofficially ending this quarterback’s reign as starter for the Jets. Sanchez was given every chance, if not the support that he needed, to keep his job and he failed. The shame of this situation is that had Rex Ryan made the move earlier this season, Sanchez might have had an opportunity to respond and win his job back. Ryan didn’t make that move because the man behind Sanchez on the depth chart – initials, T.T. – is not a viable NFL quarterback.

Greg McElroy might not be either, but he provided what most backup quarterbacks provide a languishing team: a spark. All of a sudden, the Jets were exploding off the ball, opening holes for their running backs, and making catches in traffic that they weren’t making for their beleaguered starter. Which is not to say that Sanchez wasn’t absolutely god-awful on Sunday. He most certainly was. I feel confident saying that had he stayed in the game the Jets probably would have lost.

The fact remains that the Jets played harder and better and still only managed to score one touchdown (and turned the football over once, which could have been twice if not for a pretty lucky call that went their way). They are still a bad football team and Greg McElroy doesn’t change that. Luckily, they were playing a team with an even worse quarterback situation than their own. I’m amazed that Ryan Lindley made it out of high school playing football. He made Dave Brown look like Dan Fouts.

I have been a noted supporter of Mark Sanchez, and not for any real reason other than I wanted the Jets to win a lot of football games. In order to do that, you need “the guy” at the sport’s most important position. At times in 2009 and through most of 2010, Sanchez appeared to be “the guy”. However, when adversity struck, Sanchez handled it poorly. It affected his play. What Sanchez needed was some tough love, which his coach was reluctant to provide. He needed to lose his job, even for just a few plays, but not in Week 13 of what’s probably a lost season. It probably had to happen during one of the many blowouts that the Jets have suffered this season. But now, Greg McElroy is going to start the rest of the way in 2012, and he should. The Jets need to find out what they have in order to properly assess (ha! The idea of this front office assessing its roster properly is laughable) their quarterback situation going forward. So let’s talk a bit about the Mac Attack.

What struck me from my seat in MetLife Stadium – albeit a seat that requires the game to be viewed through a telescope – was McElroy’s physical similarity to a former Jets quarterback: Chad Pennington. I am not in any way saying that McElroy will be capable of replicating the success that pre-injury Pennington had – he’s thrown 7 NFL passes. But McElroy’s stature, mannerisms, questionable arm-strength, hell, even the way he handed the ball off, all brought back memories of those early 2000s Jets teams. I did like that he took a shot at a 1 on 1 matchup down the field right away, and was certainly impressed by the back-shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley on third down, which essentially iced the game.

McElroy showed some mobility, and the Jets rolled him out more frequently in a quarter-plus than they rolled Sanchez out in the past two seasons combined. He didn’t appear to be confused by anything he saw from Arizona.

Look, Greg McElroy was a 7th round draft pick. More than likely, he’ll be nothing more than a backup-level NFL quarterback. And really, that’s the saddest part of today if you’re a Jets fan: the team is once again back to square one at its most important position. Very rarely do franchise quarterbacks fall out of the sky and into your lap. They need to be scouted, drafted, and developed for the modern game.

The Jets failed Mark Sanchez just as much as Sanchez failed them. And now they’re starting over. Less than two years removed from an AFC Championship Game, that’s just depressing, regardless of the excitement Greg McElroy provided yesterday.

No Huddle – New York Jets Quarterback Switch Edition

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on yesterday’s win and the Jets quarterback switch

No game this entire season was as exciting as the 7-6 “thriller” was for us yesterday. The exit of a struggling QB and the entrance of an unblemished one, got us up off of our seat and screaming as if it were the 2009 or 2010 playoff runs all over again.

Never mind that we were going hoarse over a few meager third and manageable completions. That came courtesy of a guy who had yet to throw an NFL pass. While trailing 3-0 late in the third quarter against an Arizona club drowning in the midst of its own seven game skid. This was about erasing the anger that grew to new heights in many of us, after Mark Sanchez met Brandon Moore’s derrière head on against the Pats ten days ago.

Thank you Rex. Thank you Mac. Even if this game only served to change the taste in our mouths. Sometimes a cleaning of the palate is all that it takes to enjoy the taste of food again.

“Even Keeled” McElroy Steals The Show

Tim Tebow saw this one coming before anyone else did. A guaranteed Mark Sanchez meltdown was the very reason why Tebow became a Jet in March. How ironic it was then, that on the day both a winnable game was there for the taking and a Sanchez benching felt right, Rex Ryan turned to third stringer Greg McElroy for a spark. The former Alabama product being the only active backup available.

McElroy did what any cool headed Wonderlic genius would do when asked to engineer one measly TD drive without a hiccup. He landed the Jets safely in the end zone.

How far can McElroy take this undermanned Jets offense now? Only Ryan can give him the chance to find out. Regardless of who starts down the stretch, the reality that the Jets needed a change when Ryan made a call to the bullpen, was clear.

Tony Sparano’s patched together group  had lost hope with Sanchez behind center. Probably a long time ago in fact. The embarrassing fumble on Thanksgiving into Brandon Moore symbolically serving as the final straw.

The only way that Mark Sanchez can win back the trust of this team, provided he gets a second chance to now or in 2013,  is to change his emotional patterns. Maybe a seat on the sidelines for the first time in his pro career could help him do that. Holding onto feelings about mistakes at a position that requires an ultra short memory, is the quickest way to creating self made slumps. Ones that can last for quarters, games, and even entire seasons.

McElroy said after the 7-6 win over the hapless Cards, that being “even keeled” was part of his skill set as a player. For a Ryan coached-team that seeks to win through its defense and ground attack, his is a trait that matters more than arm strength, physical strength and GQ looks do combined.

McElroy Is Not The Only Kid Who Should Start And Play More Now

Ryan has to start McElroy next week. Keeping the huddle as hopeful during the week as it was late against Arizona, is essential now. Ryan shouldn’t stop there either.

Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene were effective Sunday. but it’s Powell who has that shake and bake in his game. Let him get more touches next week. Powell started strong then disappeared Sunday. Why? Use him more now Rex. He finds open space and the end zone as well. Powell has proven worthy of an expanded role.

Stephen Hill, who shocked many with his catches let alone tough ones in traffic Sunday, deserves more throws his way now too. Maybe Hill can springboard off of the clutch grabs but Rex must give him the opportunity to while the memory of a solid game finally, is fresh in his mind.

Gotta Go To Mo’s

Second year Jet Mo Wilkerson has officially arrived. Of all the people that Ryan predicted would break out in 2012, and there were many, Wilkerson has been the one to do so. Sacks, pressures, run stops and a knack for rising to the task on third down is why the Jets defensive line may finally have a player to build around. It’s about time.

Initial Reaction – It’s Over Mark, Jets Make Switch And Win

Initial reaction to the New York Jets win over Arizona and their decision to bench quarterback Mark Sanchez

The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals played arguably the ugliest football game of the 2012 NFL Season. Ultimately the Jets escaped with a 7-6 win but the story is Rex Ryan’s decision to finally bench Mark Sanchez…in favor of Greg McElroy. Considering how today’s game was going, Rex had no choice and there is no going back now. Sanchez is like The Sopranos…it is over…find a new show.

From the first play of the game when he threw a brutal interception, Sanchez looked completely lost out there. The team was lifeless with him and the game was there to be taken, thanks primarily to Ryan Lindley being the worst quarterback to ever take a snap in the NFL (10/31, 72 yards, 1 INT!). Making the switch to McElroy brought a shot of life to the offense, which promptly scored a touchdown. Outside of a back shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley to convert a third down, McElroy didn’t make any special plays. Yet, he steadied the offense and brought a much needed energy to the huddle.

There is no need to go crazy and crown McElroy as the next Joe Montana after a 5/7, 29 yard performance (which the New York media will inevitably do) but for right now, he can protect the football and manage a run heavy offense. The Jets were effective with the 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell (12 carries, 58 yards) and Shonn Greene (24 carries, 104 yards) and had an encouraging performance from Stephen Hill who had 5 catches. This is still not a good football and a team devoid of talent on offense but they should be able to compete, if not win their remaining four games.

Big picture – There is no reason not to stick with McElroy at this point. It is very clear the Tim Tebow trade was 100% a PR move orchestrated by Woody Johnson. Rex Ryan never had an interest in playing him. Mark Sanchez looks completely finished as a New York quarterback. Mentally and physically he looks defeated. There is no going back to him. See what McElroy can do with these last four games and if he could be a viable competitor next summer for an open quarterbacking job with a veteran who is brought in. At this point, it is worth wondering if the Jets will eat Sanchez’s guaranteed money and just get him off the roster in 2013.

This was an important day for Rex Ryan, who finally held Sanchez accountable for his poor play. It was likely too late and there are still major issues all over this roster…don’t allow a 7-6 win over a terrible team make you forget that. Regardless, Sanchez’s time as this team’s franchise quarterback is now officially over.

Turn On The Jets Week 13 Roundtable – Jets vs. Cardinals Predictions

The TOJ staff with their predictions for Jets vs. Cardinals

Joe Caporoso – 12 Pack

Chris Gross – Jets 16 Cardinals 9 – In one of the ugliest games of the season, the Jets will struggle to find ball movement against Arizona’s 7th ranked defense. Look for New York to try to pound the ball early through carries by both Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, while finding difficulty throwing the ball. Mark Sanchez will have at least one turnover in the first half, while the offensive struggles to move the ball will put the Jets defense in some tough spots early. However, New York’s defense will provide a dominant effort against 6th round rookie Ryan Lindley, setting the Jets up for a 4th quarter touchdown, that will ultimately prove to be the game winner. The Jets defense will record 4 sacks as a unit, while field goals are traded throughout the day, leading to the Jets scoring the only touchdown of the contest within ten minutes prior to the end of regulation. It will certainly not be a television friendly game, and mistakes will be made, but expect the Jets to play well enough to stop the bleeding of 2012 for at least one more week.

Chris Celletti – At this point, there isn’t a team n the entire league that you would pen the Jets for a surefire win against, which should make the end of this season interesting since the have some cupcakes on the remainder of the schedule. In our previous roundtable about Jets/Cardinals, I highlighted the strength of the Cardinals’ pass defense and how that probably means the Jets’ offense will struggle, as it has basically all season. I think that will be the case, and because of that I expect the game will be pretty close the entire way. Conversely, I think the Jets’ defense comes up with a big effort. Rex Ryan’s defenses usually eat quarterbacks like Ryan Lindley for lunch, and Arizona does not have a running attack that scares you, which plays into the Jets’ hands. As long as the Jets don’t turn the ball over like nuts (possible) or have a few shockers on special teams (also, very possible), I think they find a way to beat a poor west team playing early on the east coast. Jets 20, Cardinals 14.

Rob Celletti – Chris Celletti did a hell of a job recounting the crapfest that was Jets vs. Cardinals in 1999, and I’m expecting something of a similar game.  Neither team is really any good.  The Jets will be reeling after the embarrassment that was Thanksgiving, and the Cardinals haven’t won since September…the calendar now reads December.

Expect ugly football: missed assignments, poor tackling, turnovers.  In a game between two teams like this, it’s prudent to pick the home team.  The Jets will also be well-rested, for what it’s worth.  The Jets haven’t been involved in many close games this year, so I feel like they’re due for one.  A late Folk field goal wins it for the Jets, 19-17

Turn On The Jets Week 13 NFL Picks

The TOJ Staff gives their picks for week 13 of the NFL Season


The Race for Steak continues. Note that last week’s record includes the most recent Thursday games –

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Rob Celletti (96-75-6)

2. Chris Gross (89-83-5)

3. Mike Donnelly (88-85-4)

4. Chris Celletti (87-85-5)

5. Joe Caporoso (70-101-6)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (3-11…ready to hang it up)

  • Bears (-3.5) vs. Seahawks
  • Vikings (+8) vs. Packers
  • 49ers (-7) vs. Rams
  • Jets (-4.5) vs. Cardinals
  • Carolina (-3) vs. Chiefs
  • Colts (+5) vs. Lions
  • Jaguars (+6) vs. Bills
  • Patriots (-7.5) vs. Fins
  • Texans (-6.5) vs. Titans
  • Bucs (+7) vs. Broncos
  • Bengals (-1.5) vs. Chargers
  • Eagles (+10) vs. Cowboys
  • Redskins (+3) vs. Giants
  • Ravens (PK) vs. Steelers
  • Browns (PK) vs. Raiders

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (6-8)

  • Bears -3.5
  • Vikings +8
  • Rams +7
  • Jets -4.5
  • Chiefs +3
  • Colts +5
  • Jaguars +6
  • Dolphins +7.5
  • Titans +6.5
  • Bucs +7
  • Bengals -1.5
  • Cowboys -10
  • Redskins +3
  • Ravens PK
  • Browns PK

Rob Celletti

Last Week (11-3!)

  • Bears (-3.5) over Seahawks
  • Vikings (+8) over Packers
  • Rams (+7) over 49ers
  • Cardinals (+5.5) over Jets
  • Lions (-5.5) over Colts
  • Jaguars (+6) over Bills
  • Patriots (-7.5) over Dolphins
  • Texans (-6.5) over Titans
  • Broncos (-7) over Buccaneers
  • Panthers (PK) over Chiefs
  • Steelers (+8.5) over Ravens
  • Raiders (+2.5) over Browns
  • Bengals (-1.5) over Chargers
  • Eagles (+10.5) over Cowboys
  • Redskins (+3) over Giants

Chris Celletti

Last Week (7-7)

  • Bears
  • Packers
  • Niners
  • Jets
  • Chiefs
  • Lions
  • Jags
  • Pats
  • Texans
  • Broncos
  • Steelers
  • Browns
  • Bengals
  • Eagles
  • Giants

Chris Gross

Last Week (8-6)

  • Bears (-3.5)
  • Vikings (+8)
  • 49ers (-7)
  • Jets (-5.5)
  • Panthers (-3)
  • Colts (+6)
  • Bills (-6)
  • Patriots (-7.5)
  • Texans (-6.5)
  • Broncos (-7)
  • Ravens (-8.5)
  • Raiders (+2.5)
  • Bengals (-1.5)
  • Eagles (+10.5)
  • Giants (-3)

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 13 – Jets vs. Cardinals

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack gives predictions for Jets vs. Cardinals

Sanchez! Lindley! The NFL on FOX, Next! The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is here with predictions for the battle of 4-7 offensive juggernauts that will take place at MetLife Stadium this weekend. It will certainly be interesting to see what starters the team decides to call out, since they have had to resort to calling out the special teams and first responders to Hurricane Sandy in recent weeks. The New York Jets are probably the only team in football who has to consistently tell their starting quarterback and his offense…sorry, we aren’t comfortable sending you out through that tunnel on a name by name basis.

And who can blame them? We all know it would be boo-city. Beyond that the Jets insist on spouting out irrelevant tidbits about their starters before they run out through the tunnel…like saying “Pro-Bowler…Bart Scott!” when he was in the Pro-Bowl in 2006. Or “1st round pick…Bryan Thomas!” when he was a first round pick in 2002. Can you imagine the offensive starters? (Picture these with “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem playing the background, which the Jets insist on continuing to play)

“At quarterback…completing over 50% of his passes…once bedded supermodel Kate Upton…MARK SANCHEZ!”

“At wide receiver…his friends call him Clyde…and he runs super fast in a straight line…EDMOND GATES!”

“At running back…averaging 3.2 yards per carry…scored 2 touchdowns in 2009 playoffs…SHONN GREENE!”

“At right tackle…he isn’t Wayne Hunter…AUSTIN HOWARD!”

On to the predictions…

1. The much-maligned New York Jets defense is going to have a big day against Ryan Lindley and the Arizona Cardinals slopfest offensive line, finishing with 4 sacks, 2 turnovers and holding them under 17 points.

2. Mark Sanchez is going to struggle against the Arizona defense. The Jets will roll with a very conservative gameplan. Sanchez will throw for less than 200 yards and have at least one turnover.

3. Bilal Powell will have at least 12 touches on offense and Joe McKnight will also have at least 5 touches. Shonn Greene will have 17 carries for 80 yards with a touchdown.

4. Dustin Keller will be the Jets leading receiver.

5. Stephen Hill will have a quietly productive 4 catch, 45 yard game with 0 drops.

6. Larry Fitzgerald will have less than 50 yards receiving. Antonio Cromartie will also have an interception when Lindley tries to force the ball to Fitzgerland.

7. Andre Roberts will have a big day working against Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster, finishing with at least 70 yards receiving.

8. Greg McElroy (who will be active as the 2nd quarterback) will not see the field and will not start a game this year.

9. Kyle Wilson is going to fumble a punt.

10. Joe McKnight will return a kick out past the 50 yard line.

11. Jordan White will have his first NFL reception.

12. The Jets will win an ugly, low-scoring 16-10 game…moving to 5-7 and inspiring no confidence in the process.

Predicated Game Outcome Record: 9-2