Ten Preliminary Thoughts On Jets/Eagles

TOJ with ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 match-up with the Philadelphia Eagles

Ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles.

1. Philadelphia’s speed on offense is a major concern for the Jets. LeSean McCoy is capable of breaking a big run at any moment. The Jets must be extremely disciplined on the edges, most notably Calvin Pace and Jamaal Westerman at linebacker. On the defensive line, Mike DeVito is a long shot to play so the Jets will need a big game from Muhammad Wilkerson and for Marcus Dixon to step up again.

2. Mike Vick’s ability to scramble is always an issue for opposing defenses but he has been turning the ball over like crazy this year. This is a big game for Aaron Maybin who has the most speed of any Jet in the front seven by far and has forced four fumbles this year. Vick will also throw a few up for grabs. Isn’t Antonio Cromartie do for an interception?

3. Considering DeSean Jackson’s general attitude and demeanor this year, I believe Darrelle Revis has a great opportunity to get into his head early and completely take him out of this game. Beyond that, Revis has the size and strength to toss him around at the line of scrimmage.

4. Two guys who have the ability to really hurt the Jets on Sunday are Brent Celek and Jason Avant. This defense always struggles with tight ends and slot receivers. It will be on Brodney Pool to step up with his coverage of Celek and Kyle Wilson to have a big game in the slot on Avant.

5. Shonn Greene and the rest of the Jets rushing attack should be licking their chops against Philadelphia’s front seven. The Eagles have been soft up the middle all year and have major question marks at linebacker. There is no reason for Greene not to have another 20+ carry, 100+ yard performance.

6. Plaxico Burress always killed the Eagles during his time with the Giants. He has been quiet the past two weeks and seems due for a big game. While the Eagles corners have big names and big play potential, they have given up a ton of big plays this season.

7. Speaking of their corners, you can bet Rex Ryan will be reminding his team how Nnamndi Asomugha spurned them to join Philadelphia this off-season. Asomugha has been a let down all season and I don’t expect the Jets to be shy about going after him. Antonio Cromartie should have also have a little extra motivation this Sunday.

8. Joe McKnight should be back in the line-up this week, providing a nice boost to the Jets kick return and their screen game on offense.

9. Philadelphia is the complete opposite of the Jets in the following regard: they start fast and finish poorly. The Jets have consistently risen up in the fourth quarter under Rex Ryan for comeback wins, while the Eagles have fell apart all season in crunch time. If this game is tight in the fourth quarter, Jets fans should be confident.

10. Mark Sanchez on the road…in Pennsylvania…week 15…Jets fans should remember how well he played in Pittsburgh last year at this exact time of the season.

New York Jets: How To Move Forward Without Jim Leonhard

How will the New York Jets handle moving forward without Jim Leonhard on defense and special teams?

For the second year in a row, the New York Jets have lost starting safety and punt returner Jim Leonhard for the last stretch of the season. They managed to overcome his injury in 2010 and still make a run to the AFC Championship Game but replacing Leonhard will be a more difficult task this time around.

Last year, the Jets had Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and Dwight Lowery all rolling through as Leonhard’s replacements on defense. Lowery was traded to Jacksonville before this season started, leaving the Jets with just Smith, who has been below average all year and Pool, who has been hurt most of the season. Their number three safety is currently Tracy Wilson who was just signed to the active roster two weeks ago, after the team surprisingly released Emmanuel Cook who had been with the team since last season. Basically, they have absolutely no depth behind Smith and Pool, who are question marks themselves.

The Jets will have to bring in another body, but the options are slim at this point of the year. It will be on Smith and Pool to elevate their play and stay healthy. Rex Ryan will also have to get creative and may need to move somebody like Marquice Cole over to safety in certain packages.

On special teams, the Jets have been a nightmare returning punts all season when Leonhard hasn’t been back there. Jeremy Kerley, Antonio Cromartie, and Joe McKnight have all muffed kicks. Kerley will be the primary option to replace Leonhard now and looked good yesterday, but can he be trusted in the swirling winds of Philadelphia and MetLife Stadium the next two weeks? The Jets no longer have Jerricho Cotchery to drop deep as a reliable option when a team is trying to pin them deep, so it will be on Kerley, a rookie, to assume the full responsibility of replacing Leonahrd on special teams.

Injuries are never an excuse. Every team is dealing with them at this point of the season. Now it is going to be about Pool playing to his potential in Rex Ryan’s defense as the free safety and Eric Smith handling the strong safety roll full time, without giving up too many back breaking plays. Kerley has a chance to be a great punt returner, we have seen flashes of that this season but he needs to remember that nothing exceeds the importance of avoiding turnovers.

Grading Out Jets/Chiefs

TOJ grades out the New York Jets 37-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs

A quick grade report for the New York Jets 37-10 drubbing of the Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback (A) – Mark Sanchez did everything you could have asked for yesterday, producing four touchdowns (two on the ground and two through the air) and protecting the football. The running game was rolling so Sanchez was able to thrive off play action and work the short to intermediate passing game.

Running Backs (A) – Shonn Greene is getting better with each passing week, finishing with a career high in total yards produced from scrimmage (187). He has improved substantially as a receiving back and is running aggressively north and south. LaDainian Tomlinson looked ready to become a major impact player in the offense again with 2 receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Wide Receivers (C) – They didn’t play much of a role in this game. Santonio Holmes did grab his 7th touchdown of the year.

Tight Ends (A) – Dustin Keller was a big factor in the first half when the game was still in question. Josh Baker had a nice grab over the middle on a well designed play. Matthew Mulligan didn’t have any penalties so that is always a win.

Offensive Line (B) – Very good push in the running game, questionable protection in the passing game at times. They will need to be more consistent in this area moving forward with much better pass rushes on the horizon.

Defensive Line (A) – Dominant. Marcus Dixon did a very nice job filling in for Mike DeVito, finishing with 4 tackles and .5 sacks. Sione Pouha had a sack as well. Muhammad Wilkerson finished with 5 tackles.

Linebackers (A) – Bart Scott sack. David Harris sack. Calvin Pace half sack. They were all over the field yesterday. Scott and Pace have been much better as of late.

Secondary (A) – Jim Leonhard’s injury put a grey cloud over this win. It will be up to Brodney Pool and Eric Smith to pick up the slack.

Special Teams (A) – No turnovers was a nice thing to see. Jeremy Kerley will be the primary punt returner moving forward and showed his explosiveness yesterday. But, can he be trusted to catch the ball in a big spot?

Coaching (A-) – I can’t give them an “A” because of the time out before the first play of the game. Yet, Brian Schottenheimer (with Tom Moore’s assistance I’m sure) put together one of his best game plans of the year. Give Rex Ryan credit for having his team ready to go and bury an inferior opponent quickly out of the gates.

Recapping A Successful Jets Sunday: We’re Going Streaking!

TOJ on the Jets prospects for continuing their steak to an improbable playoff spot

Sometimes you just have one of those Sundays where everything breaks the right way. Today was one of those days for the New York Jets. Left for dead at 5-5, the Jets have put together three straight wins and received the necessary help along the way to make the following reality: win their last three games and make the playoffs. It took an unbelievable comeback from Houston and a last second stop from New Orleans, but the help was given.

The next three games won’t be nearly as easy as the last three, but the opportunity is there and the road starts next Sunday in Philadelphia. Here are the current AFC standings, with the tie-breakers:

Yes, the Jets might be able to get in as a 10-6 team but considering how their tie-breakers are looking, it isn’t likely. It is probably coming down to the Jets continuing to streak…all the way to six straight wins to put themselves in the postion of being the AFC’s final wild card team, which as of right now would put them in New England in the first round. How about that match-up?

Do they have three more wins in them?

New York Jets Fans: Week 14 Rooting Guide

Who should Jets fans be rooting for this Sunday?

There is no way around this reality: We are going to know if the New York Jets are a very realistic playoff contender or a long shot pipe dream by the end of the day Sunday. Sadly, this season is at the point where I am nauseous worrying if the Jets will even have the chance be in the driver’s seat for the #6 seed in the AFC. That driver’s seat includes a daunting 3 game finish in Philadelphia, home versus the Giants, and then at Miami, all three games I could see the Jets losing. Oh well, here is the help they need next week to gain control of their destiny…

Houston (9-3) at Cincinnati (7-5) – Yates. Yates. Yates. Somehow Houston has kept winning despite all the injuries they have sustained, thanks to a power running game and a great defense. The Bengals are coming off a beating at the hands of the Steelers and have dealt with their own rash of injuries. After this game, Cincinnati plays St. Louis and Arizona, before closing the season with the Ravens in a game that could be meaningless for them. So yes, the Jets badly need Houston to take care of business here.

New Orleans (9-3) at Tennessee (7-5) – The Saints have been on absolute fire the past two weeks but this game concerns me. They will be outside, in a cold-weather city, and could be up for a let-down. After this game, the Titans have the Colts, Jaguars, and the Texans in what also could be a meaningless game for them, so similar to needing Houston to take of business, the Jets need the Saints to avoid a let down on the road.

Oakland (7-5) at Green Bay (12-0) – The Raiders looked awful last week and now run into the Green Bay buzzsaw. It looks Tebow Nation just might win the AFC West.

Chicago (7-5) at Denver (7-5) – It certainly doesn’t hurt if Denver loses…

New York Giants (6-6) at Dallas Cowboys (7-5) – Yes, I’d love to watch the Giants lose 5 in a row and have their season basically end in week 14.

Jets vs. Chiefs: 12 Pack Of Predictions

12 predictions for the Jets do or die week 14 game against the Kansas City Chiefs

This is the week that could very well make or break the Jets playoff hopes. Will they hold up their end of the bargain? Let’s see what the 12 pack thinks…

1. Mark Sanchez is going to throw for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He will be sacked at least once and have one turnover.

2. Tyler Palko won’t throw for more than 150 yards against the Jets defense. They will also force him into at least two turnovers.

3. Thomas Jones will have a touchdown in his return to New York.

4. Shonn Greene will have his second 100 yard rushing game of the season.

5. Aaron Maybin will have another sack.

6. Antonio Cromartie will have one big kick return, replacing Joe McKnight.

7. Bilal Powell will be active but won’t see any offensive snaps. Brandon Moore will start. Mike DeVito won’t play. Joe McKnight won’t play.

8. Dwayne Bowe will have less than 40 yards receiving.

9. Plaxico Burress will score his 8th touchdown of the season and finish with over 65 yards receiving.

10. LaDainian Tomlinson will get back in the end-zone with a receiving touchdown.

11. This will be a one possession game into the fourth quarter.

12. Ultimately, the Jets will win another sloppy game, 20-10. This won’t require the last second heroics but it won’t be pretty either.

Rex Ryan Deserves Some Blame For Jets Struggles On Offense

Chris Celletti on why the Jets offensive struggles fall both on Brian Schottenheimer AND Rex Ryan

I’m as guilty of it as the next disgruntled Jets fan. On December 4, 2011 at 1:47 PM, sometime during the first or second quarter of the Jets-Redskins game, I tweeted the following:

“I hate Brian Schottenheimer. That’s all.”

Hate is a bit of a strong word. I don’t hate the man. He seems like a hard-working guy who takes his job seriously. Other than make me grow some gray hairs because I care about the Jets way too much, he really hasn’t done anything to m e.

But I probably tweeted that after a failed tight end screen, a wildcat call on 3rd and 4 (even if it was successful) or a draw on 2nd and long. There are countless times during a Jet game when they are on offense when you could tweet something like “I hate Brian Schottenheimer”. That’s because, despite probably being a really nice guy who you’d like to play golf with, Brian Schottenheimer is a bad offensive coordinator.

But blaming a coordinator is the thing football fans do the best. The Eagles are 4-8, why? Juan Castillo, thats’ why! The Giants have lost four in a row? Perry Fewell has lost his way! Us Jets fans are especially great at it, whether it be Schottenheimer, Mike Heimerdinger (I’ve decided that the next time the Jets make an awful play call on offense, it should be known as a “Schottenheimerdinger”), Paul Hackett, Bob Sutton…the list doesn’t end. And yes, sometimes it is warranted. But it is also an easy way out.

I love Rex Ryan and what he’s brought to the Jets. Sure, sometimes I wish he’d keep his mouth shut, sometimes I wish he’d learn to manage a clock a little bit better, but on the whole I’m more than pleased with Rex leading the Jets. My biggest concern with Ryan is that he’s a defensive coordinator masquerading as a NFL head coach. Ryan has such a love for “his” defense (in case you were wondering, he’ll remind you every time he can that it…”his”) that the offensive suffers. ESPN analyst and memory-less former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Steve Young has consistently stuck on this premise when discussing the Jets, and I think it has a lot of credence.

My next tweet after the in-the-moment Schottenheimer blast mentioned something about getting sick of Rex Ryan-Ball. What’s Rex Ryan-Ball? It is what we’ve seen from the Jets since the home loss to the Patriots in Week 10. It is about doing anything, everything, at all costs, NOT to turn the ball over. Rex Ryan-Ball would rather win a game 13-10 with no turnovers in a nail-biter than win 31-20 by taking a few chances. It is all about the defense. Get my defense on the field at the end of the game with a lead, and we will win. Well, we saw how that worked in Denver, and if Stevie Johnson could catch, how it worked against Buffalo.

I guess you could say that it is smart football. Maybe you share Ryan’s opinion. Maybe that’s just how the Jets have to play. Maybe Sanchez would kill them with pick-six after pick-six if they simply let him chuck the ball all over the place. But Rex Ryan-Ball works best if you have a truly dominant defense, if your running game is elite. The 2000 Ravens, the 85 Bears. Once in a lifetime type of teams. I don’t know if Ryan has got this memo yet, but it is week 13 and the Jets have neither a dominant defense or a good running game this season.

Just know that next time you destroy Schottenheimer for a crappy play call, he has a hulking head coach right behind him, perhaps drilling this style of football into his brain. Do we honestly think that if Ryan wanted to throw the ball downfield more, Schottenheimer wouldn’t listen to him? Would he really disregard his boss? If this in fact does happen, and Ryan has literally no say in offensive matters, then that’s a really big problem. We all know he’s a defensive guy, and you can’t change his defensive football upbringing. But the best coaches in football — Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin — have full command of their sideline. If Tom Coughlin wants to blitz on a specific play, guess what? The Giants will blitz. If Belichick wants to fake a punt? They’re doing it. And it’s likely that Rex does have a say in the offensive style the Jets play, which is why when they struggle to move the ball, you can’t point JUST at Schotty.

And that brings us to this Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs will throw Tyler Palko at the Jets. Tyler freaking Palko, probably the worst quarterback to start an NFL game this season. I, for one, am fascinated to see how the Jets play this thing. For 55 minutes, the Jets were in a dogfight with the Washington Redskins, a bad football team with nothing to play for. The Jets didn’t try to jump on them, get a lead, and stomp on their throats. They were content playing a one-possession game, where one mistake loses them the game. Thankfully, the mistakes came by the guys wearing maroon and gold, and the Jets made a couple big plays. But how often can you count on that to happen?

I want to see the Jets come out guns blazing and give the Chiefs zero hope. I want to see them take the opening kick (stop deferring Rex, “your” defense keeps getting gashed early in games), march down the field and score, force a turnover and score again and put the game out of reach early. At home, the Jets CAN do that against the Chiefs. I hope they do. I think most Jet fans hope they do? Will Rex let them?

Prediction – It will be more of the same. I think the Jets win, and that’s because the Chiefs with Palko at quarterback are one of the worst offensive football teams in a very long time. But my dream of a 31-9 thrashing will probably be just that — a dream. I think they do it the way Rex wants it. Sanchez won’t put up big stats. They’ll try (mostly unsuccessfully) to run the ball. They’ll get some points off turnovers (I’m not sure if we’ve mentioned this yet, but Tyler Palko is really bad). They’ll win something like 20-10. Maybe 17-13 even. I wish the Jets would finally go out and beat up an inferior opponent. I just don’t see it happening.

New York Jets: What Does More Moore Mean?

What does Tom Moore’s “promotion” mean for the New York Jets offense the rest of the year?

The talk of this week has been the decision of the New York Jets to keep offensive consultant Tom Moore with the team full time the rest of the season. Moore had originally been working part time, only occasionally showing up for practices and games, including an appearance in the booth last week versus Washington.

As you would expect, the coaching staff and players talk in reverential terms of Moore’s presence and the speculation is swarming about Brian Schottenheimer’s job security.

What should we really make of this decision?

Personally, I think this is simply an all hands on deck situation. The Jets need to run the table, so why not make sure you are going to get the absolute most out of all your assets? At this point of the year, Moore won’t be touching any of the play-calling duties. You don’t switch the chain of command like that at this point. However, you hope that he is playing a more active part in constructing the game plan and designing specific plays to help jumpstart the Jets passing game, particularly by getting better use out of tight end Dustin Keller.

For the long term, it is hard to get a read on Schottenheimer’s job status. We all know his contract runs for two more seasons but that certainly doesn’t mean the Jets can’t fire him. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs, they are going to need shake something up and Schottenheimer is the sensible fall guy. I don’t think Moore is taking over as a full time coordinator at this point of his career but he could weigh in on the hiring process while remaining in a consultant role.

For the immediate future, I would hope to see more Dustin Keller and better creativity in certain situations (maybe some more down field shots) but ultimately this is stil Schottenheimer’s offense, so expect the same inconsistencies and frustrations.

TOJ Week 14 NFL Picks – Extended Edition

TOJ with his week 14 NFL Picks…an extended edition, with a rant for Giants fans

Last Week: 5-10 (yikes)

Season Record: 94-90-5

  • A very important update. Last week a bitter Giants fan who couldn’t stomach some good-natured trash talk about his team’s 4 game losing streak pointed out that between week 10 and 11, the numbers on my season picks were incorrect. After he took the time to organize photographic evidence, it does appear to be true. I accidentally typed a “5” instead of a “6” in front of my losses one week. The number is corrected now. Contrary to some thinking out there from the previously mentioned bitter Giants fan, there was no conspiracy to enhance my record, which is ultimately meaningless, just a simple typo. Why this individual decided to wait until his team lost their fourth straight game to mention this random typo, when he could have mentioned it in our comments section or Facebook Page or Twitter account in the prior 4 weeks is beyond me. So I apologize to anybody out there who was feverishly tracking my record for any reason. There is no grassy knoll assassin, just a typo.

While on the topic of Giants fans, as the trash talking heats up in the holiday season with both teams fighting for their playoff lives and a Christmas Eve showdown on the horizon —

Why do they love referring back to Denver loss? Isn’t it less embarrassing to lose to Tebow on the road on a 3 day week, who is blessed by God and is 6-1 as a starter, than to lose at home to Vince Young and Charlie Whitehurst in the same year?

You want to criticize Rex for making guarantees he hasn’t kept. Fair enough, but know your team does the same thing. Antrel Rolle guaranteed the playoffs last year and they didn’t make it. He did it again this year and the Giants are 6-6.

The Giants haven’t won a game in 32 days.

We can only hope as the trash talks picks up in the coming weeks. People keep it to the teams, and don’t make it personal, although we are anticipating plenty of holidays being ruined at MetLife Stadium on Christmas Eve.

On the to picks…

Pittsburgh (-14.5) vs. Cleveland – Too important for Pittsburgh to slip up…

Indianapolis (16.5) vs. Baltimore – The Colts will lose, but I give them the cover.

Houston (+3) vs. Cincinnati – Considering the direction these two teams have been trending.

Green Bay (12.5) vs. Oakland – 13-0.

Kansas City (+10) vs. Jets – Not comfortable giving the Jets double digits.

Tennessee (+4.5) vs. New Orleans – Jets fans sweat out a scary tight win for the Saints.

Miami (-3) vs. Philadelphia – Two teams going in different directions.

New England (-9.5) vs. Washington – Line should be higher.

Carolina (+3) vs. Atlanta – Upset written all over it.

Arizona (+4.5) vs. San Francisco – They are due for a let-down, right?

Denver (-4) vs. Chicago – One step closer to AFC West title.

San Diego (-7) vs. Buffalo – #BillsMafia

Dallas (-3) vs. Giants – 5 in a row…

Seattle (-5.5) vs. St. Louis – This is really a Monday night game?

Tampa Bay (PK) vs. Jacksonville – zzzz

Minnesota (+8) vs. Detroit – The Lions woes continue.

New York Jets: Sanchez Apologist Time

A healthy dose of reality on Mark Sanchez

I had originally thought that the two biggest defenders and apologists for Mark Sanchez out there were myself and Rob Celletti, with Trent Dilfer not too far behind. However, I have been intrigued by a new Twitter account @SanchezDEFENDER, which is dedicated specifically to defending the “most unfairly criticized quarterback in the NFL.”

Check out a few of these tidbits –

  • 11 comeback drives, two AFC Championship Game appearances, 4-2 playoff record, 30 wins overall in less than 3 seasons. (just the 6th QB in NFL history to reach 30 wins in 3 seasons).
  • Sanchez has a 96.8 Passer Rating in the 4th quarter this season, 8th best rating in the league overall. 8 TD’s to 1 INT
  • Eli Manning finished his 3rd season with 24 TDs and 18 ints and a 57% completion percentage (Sanchez currently has 19 TDs, 11 INTs and a 56.5% completion percentage).
  • Sanchez 8th best passer in the league when throwing on the run. 96.0 passer rating.
  • Mark Sanchez has THE MOST game winning touchdown drives of all QB’s since he entered the league
  • Sanchez has IMPROVED in every statistical category year over year.
  • To anyone questioning Sanchez’s arm strength. Exhibit A: http://bit.ly/rJNIaR

Nobody is trying to say Mark Sanchez is anywhere near being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Yet, the way he is trashed by critics, you would quickly assume that he is one of the worst, which he is not. Sanchez is a young, developing quarterback who has had substantially more success than many his peers who are at the same stage of their career. Look at what Matthew Stafford and Josh Freeman have accomplished so far in their career, it doesn’t come near touching what Sanchez has done.

Then let’s take a closer look at the NFL’s golden boy, Tim Tebow. “All he does he is win! Right? Give the guy his credit. Stop hating on him!”…

Tim Tebow is 7-3 in his career as a starter. In his rookie year, he got to sit on the bench for most of the season. He came in towards the end of the year and went 1-2 as a starter. Mark Sanchez won two playoff games his rookie year, with zero time on the bench. In his second year, Tebow is 6-1 as a starter. In Sanchez’s second year his team went 11-5 and won two more playoff games. The comebacks? Sanchez had five last year. He was Tebow before Tebow, just without the prayer service after each win.

The national admiration for Sanchez’s ability to WIN football games and be consistently clutch will never occur because of the team and coach he plays for. However, don’t buy into the myth of his regression and the talk of him being a subpar player who will never be able to consistently lead the Jets to being a successful franchise.

What Mark Sanchez has been is a young quarterback, who has improved each year and won an exceedingly high amount of games while showing a unique ability to be clutch. I will take that from my franchise quarterback.