Initial Reaction – Ugly But Winning Football, Jets Move To 6-7

The New York Jets won ugly, beating Jacksonville 17-10 to move 1 game within .500

It has been far from pretty but the New York Jets have won two games in a row and three of their last four after today’s 17-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Somehow they remain relevant in the AFC Playoff picture for the final wild-card spot, thanks to losses from both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals today.

The Jets have fully embraced their 2009 style of football – playing suffocating defense and running the football, while shielding Mark Sanchez from taking any risks. It has helped that they played weak competition recently but wins are wins and it is working right now.

Let’s start with the defense, which hit Chad Henne 10 times, had 3 sacks and came down with 2 interceptions. They have now only allowed 16 points over the past two games and are slowly climbing up all the major defensive rankings, thanks to their feasting on mediocre offenses. Muhammad Wilkerson is turning into a legitimate All-Pro player in front of our eyes. He recorded another sack today and hit Henne three times. Rookie Quinton Coples also got in on the action, recording a sack and hitting Henne twice. If the Jets could ever find an edge rusher, it is hard to fathom just how productive the two of them could be on a consistent basis.

LaRon Landry and David Harris were all over the field, combining for 20 tackles, 1 sack and 2 tackles for a loss. It has been a down year for Harris but hopefully he can finish strong. Landry has been a strong free agent signing, bringing a needed physicality and attitude to the Jets secondary.

On offense, Mark Sanchez made one positive play, one negative play and didn’t do much else. The positive play was a huge 37 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland late in the 4th quarter on a beautiful throw. The negative play was yet another strip sack. This team is a mess at wide receiver and tight end. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill appeared to seriously injure his knee, which is the last thing this team needs right now. Hill needs as many reps as he can get in these final few games to keep growing for next year. Right now, the Jets are basically working with Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Jeff Cumberland as their top three pass catching targets.

The running game was extremely impressive. Led by a strong push from their offensive line, Bilal Powell finished with 19 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Shonn Greene had 20 carries for 77 yards. Both backs had a drive apiece in the second half where they took over and showed good burst up the middle. Look for the Jets to continue to lean heavily on their rushing attack in their final three games.

If Cincinnati loses to Philadelphia next week and Pittsburgh loses to Dallas, next Monday night in Tennessee will be awfully interesting.

Turn On The Jets Week 14 NFL Picks

The TOJ staff gives their picks for week 14 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 (105-82-6)

2. Chris Celletti (97-91-5)

3. Chris Gross (96-92-5)

4. Mike Donnelly (95-94-4)

5. Joe Caporoso (77-110-6)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (7-9)

  • Redskins (-2) vs. Ravens
  • Chiefs (+6.5) vs. Browns
  • Steelers (-8) vs. Chargers
  • Titans (+5) vs. Colts
  • Jets (-3) vs. Jaguars
  • Bears (-3) vs. Vikings
  • Falcons (-3) vs. Panthers
  • Bucs (-7) vs. Eagles
  • Rams (+3) vs. Bills
  • Cowboys (+3) vs. Bengals
  • 49ers (-10) vs. Dolphins
  • Giants (-5) vs. Saints
  • Seahawks (-10) vs. Cardinals
  • Packers (-6.5) vs. Lions
  • Patriots (-3) vs. Texans

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (7-9)

  • Redskins -2
  • Browns -6.5
  • Steelers -8
  • Titans +5
  • Jets -3
  • Vikings +3
  • Panthers +3
  • Bucs -7
  • Bills -3
  • Cowboys +3
  • Dolphins +10
  • Saints +5
  • Cards +9.5
  • Lions +6.5
  • Patriots -3

Rob Celletti

Last Week (9-7)

  • Redskins (-2) over Ravens
  • Chiefs (+7) over Browns
  • Steelers (-8) over Chargers
  • Titans (+5) over Colts
  • Jets (-3) over Jaguars
  • Bears (-3) over Vikings
  • Falcons (-3) over Panthers
  • Eagles (+7) over Buccaneers
  • Bills (-3) over Rams
  • Bengals (-3) over Cowboys
  • Dolphins (+10) over 49ers
  • Saints (+5) over Giants
  • Seahawks (-9.5) over Cardinals
  • Packers (-6.5) over Lions
  • Patriots (-3) over Texans

Chris Celletti

Last Week (10-6)

  • Ravens
  • Browns
  • Chargers
  • Colts
  • Jets
  • Bears
  • Falcons
  • Eagles
  • Bills
  • Bengals
  • 49ers
  • Saints
  • Seahawks
  • Packers
  • Patriots

Chris Gross

Last Week (7-9)

  • Ravens (+2)
  • Chiefs (+7)
  • Steelers (-8)
  • Colts (-4)
  • Jets (-3)
  • Vikings (+3)
  • Falcons (-3)
  • Eagles (+7)
  • Rams (+3)
  • Cowboys (+3)
  • 49ers (-10)
  • Giants (-4.5)
  • Seahawks (-9.5)
  • Packers (-6.5)
  • Patriots (-3.5)

Jets/Jaguars Roundtable Predictions

Chris Gross – Jets 17 Jaguars 3 – In yet another horribly ugly football game, the Jets defense and run game will carry them to a painful 17-3 victory. All eyes will be on Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who will lead one early scoring drive, extending his short leash throughout the game. Sanchez will commit a turnover in some fashion before the end of the first half, but will not play poorly enough to force Rex Ryan to make a quarterback change. The Jets will run the ball close to 50 times, with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell each scoring a touchdown and rushing for over 80 yards a piece. Defensively, the Jets will smother the Chad Henne led Jaguars offense, who will be competing with a group that is actually depleted worse than the Jets offensive unit. Don’t expect this one to be too enjoyable to watch, but the Jets will be one game away from .500 by about 4:30 pm today. Who would have thought?

Chris Celletti – So everybody has been asking for Mark Sanchez to stop being coddled by the Jets, to have to feel the pressure of playing for his job. Well, it probably doesn’t get much worse or more embarrassing for a professional athlete, especially a starting quarterback in the NFL, than to get benched and have a backup with one eighth your physical talent to lead your team to victory. The Jets are rightly seeing how Sanchez responds to this, and how he does is going to determine his fate as a New York Jet. And with that, Sanchez probably couldn’t pick a better scenario to kick off his rehabilitation tour, as the Jacksonville Jaguars own the league’s worst record and a bad defense to go along with it. Although if I were running the Jets I would, but I don’t expect them to let Sanchez fling it around. Expect a gameplan akin to what you saw a few weeks ago in St. Louis; a run-heavy approach with a simplified passing game. I think Sanchez will do just fine if that’s the case, throwing for around 200 yards while taking care of the ball. The Jets defense should be rolling a bit after their dominant performance last week, and the already-thin Jaguars’ offense is even more depleted due to injuries. I think the Jets win comfortably, 28-10.

Rob Celletti – The most intriguing stat regarding Sunday’s game involves the number 36.  As in, there are 36 combined players between the Jets and Jaguars that appear on the injury report.  These teams lacked talent to begin with, and now they’re starting third and fourth stringers in some key positions.  Neither team is confident in its quarterback.  The Jaguars are 32nd in the NFL on the ground and 24th through the air.  The Jets offense, especially the passing attack, is downright laughable at time. In other words, this one should be a doozy!

In all seriousness, games like these favor the Jets.  And as our esteemed editor has pointed out, while the Jets have certainly disappointed in many ways this season, they are far from the worst team in the league.  Actually, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the proud owner of that title, with a league-worst 2-10 record.  I’ve predicted lots of games to be ugly this year.  This one’s no different.  Jets win it 23-9.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 14 – Jets vs. Jaguars

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – With predictions for Jets vs. Jaguars

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back with predictions for this week’s “showdown” between the 5-7 New York Jets and 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. It is refreshing to remember that despite all the media hype, there are actually bigger circuses in the NFL than the Jets and worse football teams. This is in my mind after looking at the Jets next four opponents (Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo) and watching the Oakland Raiders get blown out again last night. Also don’t forget the Detroit Lions, with their own anonymous quotes, players lining up in the wrong spots on purpose and inadvertent challenge flags. Then there is the Philadelphia Eagles…Kansas City Chiefs…Cleveland Browns…you get the point.

The Jets may receive the most attention so that a casual outsider would assume they are 1-11 and easily the biggest circus in the league. In reality, they are a middle of the pack team who plays in the largest media market. It is a credit to head coach Rex Ryan that they aren’t a bottom three team because from a talent perspective they should be there. Yet, it appears they have a reasonable chance to be a .500 team this season. 

On to the predictions –

1. Mark Sanchez will have a stat line that somewhat resembles 15/25 for 198 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 turnover. It won’t be the kind of performance that will get anybody excited about him turning it around but it will be enough to keep his job for another week.

2. Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell will combine for at least 35 carries and be very effective running the ball on Jacksonville’s porous run defense. Both of them will get into the end-zone.

3. Antonio Cromartie will shut down Justin Blackmon, holding him to under 40 yards receiving and keeping him out of the end-zone.

4. Chad Henne will throw for around 250 yards but also have a pair of turnovers and be sacked at least twice.

5. Stephen Hill will have another encouraging game, finishing with 6 catches for 65 yards. Jeremy Kerley will also be productive finishing with at least 60 yards receiving.

6. Jacksonville will finish with less than 75 yards total rushing. Remember they are basically down to their 4th string running back.

7. Mercedes Lewis will make a few big plays against the Jets secondary in the middle of the field and score a touchdown.

8. Tim Tebow won’t see the field on Sunday.

9. Muhammad Wilkerson will continue his recent tear and finish with 5 tackles, a sack and 2 tackles for a loss.

10. Nick Folk won’t hit the post on any of his field goal attempts.

11. LaRon Landry will force a turnover for the third straight week.

12. The Jets are going to win this one comfortably, 31-13. 31 points? Am I insane? No, Jacksonville’s defense is just that bad and the Jets are going to run the ball all over them, which will set up some easy ones in the passing game. They are also without their top three running backs and top wide receiver on offense. The Jets are bad but much better than what Jacksonville is running out on the field Sunday.

Predicted Game Outcome Record: 10-2 

Turn On The Jets Week 14 Roundtable – Jets/Jags Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they are most looking forward to in Jets vs Jaguars

The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they are most looking forward to this Sunday when the New York Jets take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter –

Thursday Night Picks

  • Joe – Den (-10)
  • Rob – Oak (+10)
  • Chris G – Den (-10)
  • Chris C – Den (-10)

Joe Caporoso – Mark Sanchez vs. himself is without question the centerpiece of this game. He likely be navigating a run-heavy, conservative game-plan but when given opportunities he must play aggressive and smart. Better to go down swinging than tentatively floating the ball into triple coverage off your backfoot right? The chances for big plays will be there, does Sanchez have any fight left in him to be a quarterback in this city?

Chris Celletti – The only thing everyone has to be keeping their eyes on is Mark Sanchez, right? I mean, we can sit here for hours and talk about how the Jets need to establish the ground game with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell and if they do they’ll win, but all we really care about is how Sanchez does. even if he only drops back 12 times, oh boy he better be good with those 12 throws. The Jacksonville defense is poor, but that doesn’t mean much for Sanchez. While if I were the Jets, I’d let Sanchez wing it around and see how he’s responded to the benching, I expect them to treat him like the rookie he’s played like most of this season. Watch for a run-heavy plan trying to set up the play action and for the Jets to roll Sanchez out and have him read only half the field. You know, sort of like what they did with Greg McElroy last week. Either way, Sanchez is pretty much in a no-win spot on Sunday, and that probably goes for the rest of this season. If he plays well on Sunday, people will write it off since it was against a bad team. Obviously if he plays poorly, he risks losing his job for good. But it’s clearly a must-watch if you’re a die-hard Jet fan, given that there’s a chance Rex Ryan pulls him again if he doesn’t play well now that there’s a precedent.

TJ Rosenthal – Nothing has more intrigue in a matchup between a 5-7 and 2-10 squad, than the battle that will take place between Mark Sanchez and himself. The Jags defense is ranked 31st. There will be makable plays out there. Sanchez either believes in himself and understands that Rex has chosen to jump in the lifeboat with him and Tannenbaum, or wont be able to help any of them. Too beat up mentally from the years of poor guidance, odd personnel choices, and the pressure to save his and other jobs
that are relying on him to snap out of it.

Rob Celletti – All eyes will be on Mark Sanchez on Sunday. Other than that, this is a game between two generally poor football teams. If Sanchez protects the ball, the Jets will probably win the game going away. The key here is simply how Sanchez responds to his first career benching. This is essentially the final straw, the last stand for Mark Sanchez as a Jet. Will he thrive under pressure, as he did in 2009 and 2010? Or will he fall flat, likely ending his reign as this team’s quarterback?

Chris Gross – Mark Sanchez vs. Himself – Can the Jets embattled signal caller finally wake up and show some sign of life against the 31st ranked defense in the NFL this week? Many are questioning Rex Ryan’s decision to stick with the former 5th overall pick out of Southern California, but contrary to popular belief, this was the only choice Rex could make. Dollar figures and guaranteed money aside, Sanchez has been the face of the Rex Ryan era in New York. He was highly scouted by the Jets entire front office, including Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum, and even owner Woody Johnson (I use the term scouted loosely), and it was an organizational decision to make him the centerpiece of the new Ryan/Tannenbaum regime. Despite his struggles, giving up on him now would be an admission that the whole organization missed on such a prominent piece of their building plans. Sanchez has never been benched in his professional career, and whether or not you think Greg McElroy is the savior at quarterback for the Jets, it is only right to see how he responds to his very first minutes as a clipboard holder.

Sanchez needs to prove that he can do what no one believes he is capable of at this point, and that is to become mentally tough and block out all of his detractors, seemingly 99.9% of the team’s fanbase. Is he beyond repair for this market at this stage in his career? Possibly, but it is essential to see how he responds to the events that occured in last Sunday’s win over Arizona. Sanchez cannot afford to be careless with the ball yet again, and he certainly cannot afford to come out with that look of defeat on his face.

Jets fans can live with bad quarterback play. They fought through years of Neil O’Donnell, Ray Lucas, an injury plagued Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler, Quincy Carter, Brooks Bollinger, Kellen Clemens…you see the point. Sanchez’s maddening incosistent play could be tolerated by a fanbase that has had to stomach so much subpar play at the position over the past 20 years. However, the look of gloom and disaster that Sanchez constantly shows after every single mishap will not be tolerated by this fanbase, nor should it be.

Sanchez will make mistakes for they have become rather habitual at this point in his career. Whether they come this week, or in the 3 weeks that follow, he is bound to make some kinds of mistakes if he is under center. How he responds is what will ultimately decide his fate. He has yet to prove that he has a short term memory, something that is an absolute neccessity at the position, particularly in a town like New York. When these mistakes come, Sanchez needs to display the look of a cool-headed MLB pitcher that gives up a solo homerun in the first inning. Shake it off, regroup, and worry about the next hitter, or play in this case. If he sulks at any point, especially against a team like Jacksonville, the coaching staff, organization, and fanbase will officially write him off. It is the ultimate put up or shut up time for Sanchez, who always preaches the need to get better and continue to work. As Bill Parcells used to say, “Don’t tell me about the labor, just show me the baby.” This is likely the final audition for number 6 in the green and white. How he rises to the calling will determine, not only the ultimate fate of the 2012 Jets, but the fate of his career in New York, as well.

New York Jets Week 14 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Jags

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 14 match-up against the Jacksonville Jaguars

Oh hey, remember there is still a football game this Sunday amidst all the quarterback controversy when the 5-7 New York Jets travel to face the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars. It is game that will likely be played in front of 10,000 disinterested Jacksonville fans, 10,000 disappointed Tebow fans who came to the game just to watch him stand on the sideline in a sweatshirt and many…many tarps.

1. The Jets may be catching a huge break if both wide receiver Cecil Shorts and running back Rashad Jennings don’t play this weekend due to injury, making an inept Jaguars offense that much worse. They have been more productive since Chad Henne took over at quarterback although he took a step back last week but Shorts in particular would have given the Jets fits. Justin Blackmon will likely be manned up by Antonio Cromartie and now the Jaguars don’t have the playmaking Shorts to eat up Kyle “Finger Wag” Wilson and Ellis Lankster. If Jennings doesn’t play, it leaves special teamer Montell Owens to handle the primary running back role. Basically, Rex Ryan’s defense should be able to beat up on this unit the way they beat up on Arizona last week.

2. You will hear a ton of hype this week about how Chad Henne has “owned” Rex Ryan’s defenses when in reality outside of one big game early in 2009, he hasn’t doen much of anything against them. In his last start against the Jets, Henne went 5/18 for 55 yards and was sacked 5 times.

3. Yes, Mark Sanchez will be under center this week and yes he will have a quick hook. It will be fascinating to see what kind of game plan the Jets come out with. Jacksonville has the league’s 31st ranked defense meaning they are putrid against both the run and pass. Last week Buffalo racked up 232 rushing yards on them. There should be a heavy dose of both Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell but the Jets have to take their shots down the field, if anything just to see how Sanchez handles it.

4. Hopefully wide receiver Stephen Hill can build on his encouraging performance from last week. The Jets worked him in the short/intermediate passing game and it’d be nice to see him as a target on most deep shots…not Chaz Schilens who struggled with them last week.

5. Speaking of rookies, can we see more of Quinton Coples and Demario Davis? Both barely played last week and will be opening day starters in 2013.

6. For you playoff day-dreamers you need to root for the following: Jets win, Colts loss to Tennessee, Pittsburgh loss to San Diego and Cincinnati loss to Dallas…also a New England win over Houston so the Texans have something to play for in week 17 vs. the Colts…good luck!

The Sky Is Falling! Mark Sanchez Named Starting Quarterback

Mark Sanchez will remain the Jets starting quarterback

The New York Jets are staying with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While this has come as a shock to many, we detailed here yesterday how there was a reasonable argument for this to happen. Not surprisingly many Jets fans are acting like the sky is falling right now…threatening to abandon the team…cursing out Rex…cursing out Sanchez etc…

Here is the simple reality – Mark Sanchez is getting paid 8.3 million dollars from the Jets next year regardless of whether he is on their team, another NFL team or laying on a beach in California. The Jets are finishing up a playoff-less season against four mediocre football teams. The hope is that he plays well in these games, builds some measure of confidence back up and becomes a reasonable option to start in 2013 (he should still be forced to compete with a veteran next summer).

Believe it or not, this team is going to give every chance possible to a former first round pick who has won more playoff games than any other quarterback in franchise history. Is it worth the risk of playing him the last four games when you are 5-7 and nearly half your team won’t be back next year? Yes…it probably is.

If you want to get mad at somebody, get mad at “cap expert” Mike Tannenbaum for how he structured Sanchez’s contract. Get mad at him for the contradicting actions of doubling down on Sanchez in 2013 and then supporting him by bringing in a PR circus as a backup quarterback and not upgrading running back, wide receiver or offensive line this off-season. Sanchez already took a step back last year but the Jets front office greased the skids on his regression this season by having an awful off-season.

Sanchez has been generally terrible this season but the Greg McElroy infatuation only comes from his last name not being “Sanchez.” Ask yourself this, if McElroy’s fourth quarter interception stood (like it should have) and the Jets lost 9-7, is this debate so heated right now? If McElroy is the savior that many are exaggerating to call him and Sanchez is truly that awful. Guess what? Sanchez will be benched at some point in the next four gams and McElroy will get his chance.

As for the ongoing pity party Jets fans are throwing for themselves. Get a grip on reality. Look around the NFL. Since 1997 the Jets have 12 seasons at .500 or better, 7 playoff wins, 3 AFC Championship Game appearances and yes despite it being over 40 years ago…the Jets have won a Super Bowl. How do you think Bills fans have enjoyed the last 15 years? Lions fans? Eagles fans? Chiefs fans? Browns fans?! The list goes on.

Mark Sanchez starting a week 14 game in a 5-7 year is the straw that broke the camel’s back in your support of this team? Really? Not letting the roster go to crap after  back to back AFC Championship Game appearances? Not the PR-stunt Tebow trade? This is the decision? And people wonder why the general perception of Jets fans is so negative.

There is no reason to be overly optimistic that Sanchez is going to turn it around and have a brilliant final four games but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t logic behind this decision. It also means the most logical thing for any Jets fans to do is root for Sanchez to succeed…otherwise go become a Bills fan.

A couple of appropriate Godfather clips

Making Sense Of The New York Jets Quarterback Mess

An attempt to make sense of the New York Jets quarterback mess

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will likely announce a decision on his starting quarterback within the next 24 hours. There have been various reports on who prefers who in the Jets hierarchy, but at this point who can really trust any sources from this organization?

We know this much, it isn’t going to be Tim Tebow. Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and the entire coaching staff have never shown a hint of interest of giving Tebow a major role and that isn’t going to change now. This was 100% a PR trade and at this point, it is almost an act of defiance and protest by everybody not named Woody Johnson to keep him on the bench. Tebow will never start a game here, may never play another snap again here, and without question will be let go this off-season.

This leaves the decision down to Greg McElroy and Mark Sanchez. From what I can tell about 95% of the fanbase wants McElroy to start because the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and he did provide a needed shot of energy to the Jets huddle on Sunday. Outside of that, there is a reasonable argument to give him the ball for the final four games of this disappointing season.

Considering how Mark Sanchez looked on Sunday from the opening snap and his general play throughout this season, it is fair to surmise that he is mentally finished as a quarterback in this market. Doesn’t Rex Ryan have to hold his players accountable for porous play on the field…especially his quarterback? You can’t watch the game tape from the past two weeks and say Sanchez gives the Jets a very good chance to win. Simply put, he is playing like a bottom three starting quarterback in the league right now and could jeopardize four very winnable games down the stretch for his team.

McElroy looked decent enough in his first NFL action and could be a viable contender for a starting job next season. The only way the Jets will find that out is by giving him a chance here. His arm strength is suspect but at a minimum, it is fair to expect relatively smart, mistake free football from him which could be all the Jets need to finish 4-0 and keep themselves distantly relevant in the playoff race into week 16 and week 17.

On the other hand, Mark Sanchez is owed over 8 million guaranteed dollars from the team next season. Unless they want to take a massive cap hit, he is likely going to be on the roster next year. He is a former first round pick who has been successful here, no matter how much certain people want to act like it never occurred, shouldn’t you give him every last chance to turn it around…particularly in a generally meaningless final four games? If there is a place to build somebody’s confidence back up, it is on the road the next two weeks against awful Jacksonville and Tennessee defenses. If you permanently send him to the bench here, is there any way he is viable competitor to start next year or do you just accept a 8 million dollar cap hit or spending that on a backup?

People are going crazy for McElroy but is there any reason to believe his ceiling is anything higher than “game manager?” Are the Jets in such a rush to usher in another era of that type of football or will they finally look to do better than that at quarterback? If McElroy plays okay down the stretch and the Jets finish well, the team can’t be blinded by that and must still bring in veteran competition for him.

There is an argument for both sides at this point despite the fan’s angst towards Sanchez. It is a critical decision that could ultimately seal the fate of Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Tony Sparano which is what should make these next few days and upcoming game especially compelling.

Ultimately my prediction is that the team will cave to public sentiment and go with McElroy. The Jets will finish winning 3 of their last 4 or maybe even running the table behind generally average play from him. They will try like hell to move Sanchez in some way this off-season (probably failing) and whether he comes back or not as a “competitor” for the starting job with McElroy and a veteran add on will depend on their desire to stomach such a large cap hit for a player not on the roster.