No Huddle – Jets Still Alive Edition

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle on the New York Jets ugly win and them still being alive in the AFC Playoff race

Are the Jets 6-7 and still alive in the AFC Wildcard race? Yes, if you can believe it. Rex Ryan pulled out some late 2009 magic dust and sprinkled it on Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, after yet another must win over the Jags and an exhausting week playing “Who Is My Quarterback?” The fact that this current roster is in the postseason hunt with three games left is a testimony to someone. Or something. We just can’t pinpoint what. Logic has never been a strong suit for this franchise.

A Win Is A Win

You are what your record says you are. Right? Well the Jets are 6-7. Okay, we know they’ve had a bit of a JV schedule lately. However, you can only play the next team up on the docket. Yesterday’s 17-10 win over a depleted 2-11 Jacksonville club will not be passed around on DVD as a “How To Play Offense” guide for the youth of America. Winning ugly is part of the Ryan philosophy though. 166 yards were gained by Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, who ran downhill for the entire fourth quarter. Take this win and run right Rex? Literally.

Sanchez Is Back, As The Handoff Machine

When the Jets trailed 3-0 at halftime, many wondered “how long does Mark Sanchez have” until Tim “Cracked Ribs” Tebow gets a shot at achieving successive first downs. After all, the inactive third stringer Greg McElory came off the pine last week to life the Jets to a 7-3 comeback win over a Cards team (that lost 58-0 yesterday to Seattle). Surely Tebow in the city that loves him was poised to take the reigns. It seemed so scripted. Of course the Jets don’t follow scripts. They light them on fire.

To start the third, Rex Ryan did decide to make a switch. Turning Sanchez into a handoff machine. The move worked to perfection. As it did when the “Sanchise” threw for less than 125 yards in eight wins during his rookie season. A victory strategy that was employed two other times already this year as well.

Sanchez threw two passes in the fourth quarter. Two. He totaled 111 yards on the day. Against the 31st pass defense in the NFL. In the end, the Jets came out on top and Sanchez avoided a season ending mistake. How long this 100 yard business can last all depends on whether the defense can average giving up 6.5 points per game like it has averaged over the past two weeks. In other words, there will be a shelf life to this madness folks.

Hilliard, Reuland, and Gilyard

Lex Hilliard, Konrad Reuland and Mardy Gilyard were three consecutive targets during one three and out series on Sunday. A point worth adding into the equation when pondering over the question of how a quarterback in 2012 can only amass 100 yards in a 60 minute game.

Wilkerson and Coples Shine

The Jets defensive line is finally making an impact. Mo Wilkerson is playing like an All Pro. Rookie Quinton Coples is making his presence felt now too. When the big boys up front make plays, life is easier for the entire defense. This duo can carry the Jets down the stretch in their attempt to run the table and hope that out of town help arrives.

Stranger things have happened. Remember Curtis Painter?

The QB Carousel Has Been A Dizzying Ride

How did Greg McElroy go from relief pitching hero to a guy in a running suit in the final moments before kickoff? Explain to us how Tim Tebow didn’t see the field for one play in his hometown even as the Jets were being shutout for thirty minutes. Did Mark Sanchez show any signs that he is worthy of long term security in New York?

The answers are: we have no idea, we have no idea, and no.

Now it’s time to pop some advils. What a dizzying ride it’s been on the QB Carousel these past seven days. Ryan got lucky, again, that QB1 stayed healthy because once if Tebow was not 100 percent like he was while sititng a hearbeat away against New England weeks back, the move would have instantly replaced last week’s “Three Ring QB Circus” as controversy for the week.

Faster than Tebow gets tackled on a Wildcat dive up the middle.

The Jets Return To National TV

The last time the Jets played in front of the entire nation, they gave up three touchdowns in 52 seconds and helped add the “Butt Fumble,” to future NFL Films blooper reels. The Titans and Jets meet next Monday night for no apparent reason, but the Jets can use the undeserved opportunity erase the taste of their last moment under the big lights.

The “hide our quarterback” gameplan with the ground and pound and defense will be in full swing on December 17th in Nashville. Should Sunday’s games open the door to January, Gang Green will look to achieve those dastardly archaic designs with more than just pride or job saving goals on their minds.

One can only imagine what developing story out of Florham Park will hit us next. As we get set for what may actually be a big game, since the Jets to their credit, refused to quit, and are now in business.

Despite the fact their two best players have been out all year. That their special teams unit is a ticking time bomb. That eternally emerging tight end is constantly hurt, and there are no receivers, or top notch running backs. While the starting quarterback has the entire coaching staff and fan base scared to death when he drops back to throw.

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 NFL Week 14 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his Best Bets for week 14 of the NFL season and a brief rant on the Knicks and the NHL Lockout

Week 13 Record: 0-3

Season Record: 13-24-2

Well, at least I’m not in last place in The Race For The Steak (sorry, Joe). At this point my picks are becoming valuable, because you can win some money if you do the exact opposite of what I say. I’m sort of like the new Evan Silva. This sucks.

Before we get to my picks, a few things swirling around my mind other than football, because the Jets are garbage and I suck at picking football games:

-What the hell happened last night? I’m referring to that basketball game played in Miami, where the sans-Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks destroyed the Heat in their building. The Heat have only lost three games by 20-plus points since LeBron Decisioned his way to Florida, and the 2012-13 Knicks are responsible for two of those. Do the Knicks have the Heat’s number? Or are these two wins just a weird anomaly? It’s probably somewhere in the middle. If the Knicks and Heat began a 7-game series tonight, the Heat would still be favored and rightly so. Regardless, the Knicks do match up well with the Heat and that’s not a mistake.

You have to hand it to Glen Grunwald and the Knicks’ brass for building a team with facing Miami in the playoffs in mind. The Knicks are strong in the defensive paint with Tyson Chandler and Rasheed Wallace and whenever-he-gets-healthy Marcus Camby, have good perimeter defenders in Ronnie Brewer, Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert, and have perimeter shooting with J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Raymond Felton, ‘Melo, Kidd, etc. What last night proved, if nothing else, is that the Knicks are a true title contender, a Top-5 or so team in the league. And they’re that way because they had a great offseason. They made tough and shrewd decisions, the most scrutinized being letting Jeremy Lin go and replacing him with Felton. Do you think the Knicks win last night with Lin at point guard? Do you remember when LeBron and Co. slapped the breaks on Linsanity in Miami last season? Also, the signing of Kidd looks more each day like the smartest roster move they’ve made in years.

There’s a team or two in New York, a certain football team comes to mind, that could learn a little bit from the Knicks.

-It’s hysterical to me that you can read a report about the NHL Lockout negotiations, the quotes from both sides, the predictions from the media, and if you swapped out the names and locations you could be reading about the Fiscal Cliff. Maybe the parties involved should do just that, swap places altogether and give it a shot. Chris Matthews interviewing Gary Bettman would be epic. “You know, Gary, you guys are like a bunch of bullies, shoving the the younger, littler guys into lockers and stealing their lunch money. This is the United States of America, Gary.  This isn’t Oak Hills Elementary School!”

-The Grammy Nominations came out this week. The Grammys are the most bi-polar awards ever. Some years all the nominees and winners are pop artists, and sometimes the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences straight up trolls pop music (also, the “National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences” is the most asinine, outdated name for the organization that gives out music awards in the 21st century. There is more science to Mark Sanchez trying to parallel park a car than there is to Katy Perry recording a song). Once every five years, the Grammys give out major awards to people you’ve never heard of or artists 40 years past their prime to serve as a reminder that their awards are meaningless. In 2008, Herbie Hancock won the Album of the Year award. 47 people on Earth have ever listened to that album. This year the five nominees are all popular artists, so expect the 2014 award for Album of the Year to go to k.d. Lang.

It will be a grave injustice if “Call Me Maybe” doesn’t win Song of the Year.

Pick time:

Bengals -3 vs. Cowboys – The Bengals like the throw the ball around and the Cowboys aren’t very good at stopping it. Could be similar to the Bengals’ blowout win over the Giants a few weeks ago.

Saints +5 at Giants – You don’t need to watch any Giants football the rest of the year because I’m going to spell out for you everything that’s going to happen to them from here on out. They’ll lose their next two (vs. Saints, at Falcons) to fall to 7-7 and it will be panic time. They’ll go into Baltimore in Week 16 and beat the Ravens on a late touchdown by Eli, then blow out the Eagles at home in the regular season finale to finish 9-7 and with a division title. They’ll host Seattle in the Wild Card round and win 24-14, setting up a date in Atlanta in the Divisional Round. The Giants will win that game 31-10, then visit the Packers in the NFC Title game and win 27-21 in overtime on a 53-yard touchdown to Victor Cruz after Aaron Rodgers fumbles a snap. Of course they’ll play the Patriots in the Super Bowl and win because they own New England. Woody Johnson will respond by firing Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum and hiring Brett Favre as Coach/GM. Rinse and repeat.

Packers -6.5 vs. Lions – Anyone who has Aaron Rodgers in fantasy will win this week.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 5-7-1) – Boxing again! Should be a fascinating fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday. Quick primer: they fought to a draw in 2004 and Pacquiao eked out highly-controversial decision wins in 2008 and 2011. A fourth fight is definitely a bit of overkill, but all three have been absolute wars and this one should be no different. Marquez is maybe the world’s best counterpuncher and because of that he gives Manny fits. But the reason to be excited for this one of that Pacquiao is going to be in total knockout mode, trying to quell any doubts about the first three fights. I think Marquez will be a bit too amped for a knockout himself and may leave himself open. If Pacquiao still has any power left, which is certainly a question at this point in his career, he can score a KO or stoppage in this one. Pacquiao by KO or TKO is +200. Take it.

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.

Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Jaguars, September 25, 2005

Chris Celletti with a look back at a Jets/Jaguars game in 2005 and a needed rant on how Jets fans treat their quarterback

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

The Jacksonville Jaguars have only been around for 18 seasons, but our beloved New York Jets have faced them quite often despite the teams being in different divisions. This Sunday’s mammoth matchup will be the 11th all-time meeting between the two, including playoffs, so there were a bevy of choices for this week’s Throwback Thursday. There were some real gems in there, like the 2006 41-0 Jags victory, or the 1999 16-6 Jags win – but we’re not going to go back to 1999 and subject ourselves to any more Rick Mirer memories, because one look back at Rick Mirer in a Jets uniform is one far, far too many.

There’s one game in Jets-Jaguars lore that makes almost too much sense to take a look back at in this current time. Before we get there, let’s set the scene:

Jets vs. Jaguars – September 25, 2005 – Giants Stadium

At the time…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S.: “Gold Digger” by Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx. It’s good that Kanye doesn’t want to deal with with a chick who’s going to be super expensive and high maintenance and all.

No. 1 Movie in the U.S: “Flightplan” starring Jodie Foster. The IMDB description reads:

“A claustrophobic, Hitchcockian thriller. A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet the child vanishes and nobody admits she was ever on that plane.”

“Hitchcockian”! Who knew Peter King wrote descriptions for IMDB. This movie made over $223 million. This should be the test for whether or not the U.S. economy is in good shape. Make a horrible movie starring Jodie Foster and if it makes $223 million, we’re doing just fine thank you.

Jets Record Before: 1-1

Jaguars Record Before:  1-1

The 2004 season ended like so many others in Jets history; they ripped your heart out of your chest and used it as a pinata. If you’re a real Jets fan you don’t even need to be reminded, but I’ll do it for you anyway DOUG BRIEN YOU SUCK. In between the 2004 and 2005 seasons, the body of Jets’ starting quarterback Chad Pennington continued its Civil War, as the battered QB underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. He was the unquestioned starter heading into the 2005, but the Jets brought in veteran Jay Fiedler as his backup. Pennington got off to a rough start in 2005 but the Jets were 1-1 heading into a Week 3 battle with the Jaguars.

The Jaguars took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter on a touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich to Ernest Wilford, but the Jets responded with a 9-play, 80 yard drive that was capped off with a one yard TD plunge by Jerald Sowell. But the third quarter is when things got really interesting at Giants Stadium.

Sometime in the period Pennington was sacked twice in a row, and after the second one came up visibly hurt, hanging his previously-injured right arm limp at his side as he came slowly towards the sideline. I remember this vividly because I was in the building, and it’s not easy to forget what happened next. As the struggling Pennington came towards the sideline, clearly hurting, cheers started cascading down from the Jets “faithful”. The fed-up mob of “fans” were cheering the fact that their quarterback – who had brought them within a field goal of the AFC Championship game less than eight months earlier – was hurt. In came Fiedler, who was clearly going to save the day and lead the Jets and their fans into a decade-long glory period with multiple Super Bowl titles, plentiful food and naked chicks abound. You know, sort of like Greg McElroy.

Well Fiedler played a few snaps and injured HIS right shoulder, which got awesome-if-you-just-give-him-a-chance third stringer Brooks Bollinger warming up on the sidelines. But Pennington fought through and made his way back to the field, and the Bollinger-era would have to wait until a little later in the season.

The Jets took a 14-10 lead in the 3rd on a defensive touchdown, a 33-yard fumble recovery by James Reed. The teams went back and forth; Josh Scobee kicked a field goal and Fred Taylor scored a TD for Jacksonville, and Mike Nugent kicked a field goal to cut the Jags’ lead to 20-17 late in the fourth. Afterwards, Jacksonville receiver Reggie Williams fumbled and David Barrett recovered at midfield and brought the ball to the Jags’ 21, setting up a chance for the Jets to snag a victory late. On third and goal from the seven, Pennington appeared to have won the Jets the game and given a big double middle finger to the crowd, hitting Wayne Chrebet in the end zone. But the play was reviewed and Chrebet was judged to have bobbled the ball, and the Jets had to settle for a game-tying field goal.

On to overtime we went, and the teams traded interceptions before the Jets punted the ball away to the Jaguars from their own end zone. On third down, Leftwich hit Jimmy Smith for a 36-yard winner. 26-20 Jaguars, and the Jets’ poor 2005 season was off and running.

Pennington’s statline was downright awful. Shield you eyes, kids: 9-of-19, 76 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. With a slow start to the season, it was pretty clear that the Jets’ QB wasn’t healthy and likely tried to rush back because he knew if he didn’t play and either Fiedler or Bollinger did, the Jets would go something like 4-12. Well, the Jets went 4-12.

But it’s obvious why this game is so appropriate to look back on with the Jets’ current mess and the toxic atmosphere surrounding the team. I should have taken the cue in 2005 being in that stadium that Jets fans were capable of anything. If last Sunday, Mark Sanchez got hit low and had to limp off the field on one leg, and you DON’T think that the majority of MetLife Stadium would have erupted in joy, well I’ll give you a few bucks so you can go buy a clue.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with fans booing players for poor on-field performance. Actually, few things make me madder than people who say “When your team is down is when you should support them the MOST! Puppy dogs and ice cream!” You pay a lot of money for your seats, and when you go to a game and a player plays awful, boo them all you want. But what is it about Jets quarterbacks that bring out the worst in some of these people? What the hell did Mark Sanchez or Chad Pennington ever do to you that you’d actually cheer for them when they got hurt or root for them to fail – which again, there WILL be Jets fans doing this Sunday, don’t kid yourself. You want to know what Pennington said after this game, with the Jets heading to Baltimore to face the Ravens and their vaunted defense?

“They’ll have to cut it off for me not to play.”

Maybe I’m just as bad because in 2008, when Pennington brought the Miami Dolphins into Giants Stadium and beat the Jets to win the division, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there was a part of me that was happy. At the very least I felt great for Pennington, who gave a lot of Jets fans what they deserved after the way they often treated him.

All the Jets fans who thought Pennington wasn’t good enough to lead the Jets to victory ended up being right. They didn’t win with Pennington. Those who don’t think they’ll ever win with Sanchez will likely end up being right too. But they didn’t win with Vinny Testaverde, or  Brett Favre, or Ken O’Brien or Boomer Esiason. But when those feelings of rage you get when you see Mark Sanchez start creeping up on Sunday, just remember 2009 and 2010, and remember the names like Rick Mirer, Brooks Bollinger, Frank Reich, Kellen Clemens and Browning Nagle.

You’re a Jets fan. It’s been worse. And there will be times when it is much, much worse than having Chad Pennington or Mark Sanchez.

Sanchez Has More Than One Job To Save Now

Woody Johnson wanted Greg McElroy. GM Mike Tannebaum and OC Tony Sparano backed Mark Sanchez. Rex Ryan could have hitched his wagon to the owner while distancing himself from the embattled GM and quarterback. Instead, Ryan jumped into the lifeboat with all three. Now only Sanchez can save the crowded sinking ship.

The mind boggling three quarterback controversy, that never really included Tim Tebow, grew in proportion when it became clear to Ryan that a switch would mean more than McElroy simply getting a late season start. It would signify the possible end of the Sanchez era. Due to one third quarter benching with no reprieve. A price that in the end, Ryan saw as too high to pay in one fell swoop.

Sanchez was given a hefty extension prior to training camp and has had to endure a season with second rate personnel around him. While his two top targets Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller, have been injured for most of the year.

The greatest problem working against Sanchez has been his demeanor. Sanchez has looked doubtful, glum, and unsure. Too often appearing defeated. Resigned to the fate that the Jets inexperienced receivers will fail him. Traits that hardly bode well for a leader. The distraction of a Tebow-led wildcat package rotating in at any time, has not made life easy for Sanchez either.

All have combined to erode Sanchez’s focus. Like it did on Thanksgiving night, when after calling the wrong play, he tried to dive to the ground towards safety. Only to run into the backside of Brandon Moore, in what is now certain to become a blooper for the ages.

Sanchez’s three interception, 91 yard performance at Met Life Stadium against the lowly Cardinals, truly warranted a mid-game switch. Matching the God awful play of Cards QB Ryan Lindley, was no way to remind anyone about a resume that includes 33 career wins and four playoff victories as a starter.

McElroy had nothing to lose and only a modest task to complete, when he entered the huddle as the Jets trailed 3-0 with 4:58 to go in the third quarter last Sunday. The second year pro simply had to engineer one touchdown drive and not turn the ball over after the fact. However, it was obvious from the minute Sanchez exited, that this was not a simple case of a substitution for a player having an off day. The energy of an entire team and stadium changed. Instantaneously. A fan base that craved seeing Sanchez holding a clipboard instead of a football, went into a frenzy as soon as McElroy began warming up. Key notions that in the end, failed to outweigh Ryan and Tannenbaum’s commitment to Sanchez, as the final decision was being made.

Tannebaum’s future is up in air after a string of poor drafts, and minimal free agent talent brought in to replace important role players who have left. If Sanchez can settle down over the final four games, Tannenbaum may rest easier knowing that he can better justify the extension given.

Ryan has had these past seventy two hours to go in a different direction. Away from his GM, and for a team that rose with McElroy for one quarter of play. He chose not to. The issues for the fourth year head coach are now twofold. Another vote of confidence may not kickstart a player who has none himself. The move may also now put Ryan on notice in the process. Sanchez is back in the pilot’s seat, but will carry a bigger weight than before. Knowing that he has more than his own job to save. In what will be his final chance to prove that he is the long term answer in New York

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