New York Jets Week 15 – Jets/Titans Early Thoughts

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans

A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets Monday night match-up against the Tennessee Titans

1. Chris Johnson has shaken off the early season fantasy football jokes and is putting together a strong overall season, with 1,037 yards on 4.7 yards per carry, along with 4 touchdowns and 33 receptions. Johnson is the type of back who has owned the Jets defense in recent years. He has the ability to break to the outside and be a factor in the passing game, which could expose the Jets lack of speed at linebacker.

2. Jake Locker is kind of like a more mobile Mark Sanchez, in that he is inaccurate and turns the ball over way too much. If the Jets can get the game into his hands primarily, they have a good chance of getting a victory. Tennessee has some talent at wide receiver, look for Antonio Cromartie to match-up with Kenny Britt which will leave Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster to handle Kendall Wright and Nate Washington…not ideal match-ups for the Jets.

3. The Titans are 4-9 for a reason. Right now, they are down four starting offensive lineman which should equal a big day for Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. They are ranked 27th in total defense (23rd against the run and 26th against the pass).

4. Regardless of their vulnerability in the secondary, look for another run heavy game plan from the Jets that will look to control the clock. There is no reason to expect anything less than 15+ carries each for Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene. If the Jets do take their shots down the field, taking them to the newly signed Braylon Edwards makes the most sense.

5. Our playoff pipe dream viewing guide will be published tomorrow but know this – if the Jets win and get just a little help this weekend, their week 16 game at home against San Diego will be hugely important and not just in a “pipe dream” kind of way but in a “they really have a shot to make the playoffs” kind of way.

Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Jets vs. Jaguars

Turn On The Jets answers your questions on the New York Jets offensive game film from their game against Jacksonville

The Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown this week is going to focus on a handful of questions I received on Twitter – All the questions generally broke out into the following four categories, which I will review section by section. Make sure to check back later today for Chris Gross‘ defensive film breakdown.

1 – Wide Receiver Separation

Many people were curious if the Jets wide receivers were getting any type of separation against a below average Jacksonville secondary. There was only 19 attempted passes by Mark Sanchez, in what was a highly conservative game plan. To put it bluntly, the Jets basically ran a high-school passing attack this past Sunday. Extremely simplistic and meant to give Sanchez easy, quick reads that would equate to a high completion percentage. Yet, how did the receivers fare with their limited routes?

Overall, they were relatively average. Yes, there were situations where they struggled to create separation as seen below when Mardy Gilyard runs a comeback route and curls directly behind the cornerback. Needless to say, there is a reason Gilyard has been unemployed in the NFL more than he’s been employed.

But outside of him and a few instances from other receivers, the situation wasn’t a complete disaster. Jeremy Kerley continued to run crisp, quick routes and gets himself plenty of separation like shown below but Mark Sanchez just missed him. Chaz Schilens had a good day, consistently getting himself open outside of a sideline comeback route that should have never been thrown his way. He got excellent separation twice on a boot route, including this 17 yard completion below.

2 – Mark Sanchez’s General Play

Meh. The Jets literally ran a high school passing attack, which consisted of them running about 3 different basic passing plays out of a few different alignments and formations. They ran boot, quick rub routes (short speed outs) to the outside and three step slant/comeback combinations. Sanchez did OK with this but generally played timid and still missed more throws than you’d like to see in this type of attack (like the Kerley comeback above). Look at this boot route – He has Chaz Schilens open for a big gain but instead he pulls the ball down and runs for 4 yards.

This hesitation likely comes from having two deep balls to Schilens the previous week dropped and intercepted, along with an emphasis from the coaching staff to play safe. However, if we see Braylon Edwards running the same route this week, I can guarantee that Sanchez makes this throw.

Outside of his 37 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland late in the fourth, Sanchez didn’t make any plays that you’d classify as “very good.” He basically had a mix of proper decisions, good throws mixed in with some missed throws and poor reads. The completion to Cumberland was a thing of beauty however…just a frustrating glimpse of his first round talent.

3 – Running Back Comparison

Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene put up nearly identical numbers, with Powell having a slightly higher yards per carry. Both players are very comparable on a week to week basis but the film maintains that Powell is a little quicker and can make a little more happen when less is available. Surprisingly it was Powell who was more effective going directly up the middle, while Greene was getting more from the outside counters. Here are two inside handoffs, the first one is Greene which went for 9 yards, the second one is Powell which went for 13 yards. Powell gets more yardage because he is quicker through the hole and is quicker with his cuts at the second level.

To Greene’s credit, he showed better vision and decisiveness on counter handoffs than Powell. Both backs were benefitted by a superior game from the Jets offensive line.

4 – Offensive Line

Outside of D’Brickashaw Ferguson letting Jason Babin beat him for a strip sack, this was an excellent all-around performance from the Jets offensive line. In the second half, they simply took over the football game and drove Jacksonville defenders all over the field, clearing big lanes for Greene and Powell. Look at the blocking on this counter –

To their credit, Austin Howard and Matt Slauson had particularly strong games despite having up and down seasons. Both were borderline dominant in the running game. Nick Mangold had arguably his best game of the season and made the PFF All-Week 14 Team. Vladimir Ducasse played limited snaps but Slauson looked better out there and was in the line-up for both touchdown drives. Jason Smith also deserves credit for strong blocking as an extra tight end.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Week 15 Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, buying and selling as the Jets head into week 15

Lots to get to in Jets Land as usual with just three games left to play, so let’s just jump right into this week’s Stock Watch.

BUY: Braylon Edwards Signing – I know lots of Jets beat writers and “expert” types rushed to their laptops and smart phones to make their very own Braylon jokes on Twitter as soon as news of the signing broke, but make no mistake about it: This was a GOOD signing. Here is a list of players that have lined up at wide receiver this season for the Jets (other than legitimate NFL options Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley): Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, Clyde Gates, Jason Hill, Mardy Gilyard, Jordan White and Antonio Cromartie. Seriously.

So my question to these “experts” is how is this in any way, shape, or form a bad move?  The Jets picked up a veteran receiver who has a rapport with their quarterback and a familiarity with the team, city, and locker room. If he isn’t healthy enough to contribute, then you cut him and lose nothing. If he plays bad, you cut him and lose nothing. If he says or does something stupid, then you cut him and lose nothing. More than likely though, you are getting a motivated player who knows he’s on his last chance and is going to give everything he has to this team and to this quarterback. And yes, I’m aware he called the general manager an idiot on Twitter in a moment of frustration, but so what, Mike Tannenbaum IS an idiot when it comes to building a roster. That being said..

BUY: Mike Tannenbaum – Yes, he’s done a horrible job with this offense and roster in general the past two years, but kudos to Mr. T for putting his pride to the side and doing what is clearly best for this team in signing a real NFL-caliber receiver for a change. Some people may say the organization is too soft on Sanchez and signing one of his favorite ex-receivers is another example of that, but I say it’s about time Tannenbaum threw Sanchez a bone and let him throw some passes to a player he’s comfortable with rather than needlessly dismantling the offense so they can sign 53-year-old Derrick Mason and fresh out-of-Oz, Plaxico Burress. Ehhh…

SELL: Mike Tannenbaum – Yeahhhh.. he still should probably be fired

BUY: Quinton Coples – I’ve been as big of a Coples supporter as there is out there, and I’ve been dying to see him get more playing time. (I’ve bought more stock of him in this column than I know what to do with.) This week we finally got to see him in action for extended time (although it still should have been more) and he did not disappoint. He only recorded 1 sack on the stat sheet, but he should have closed the deal on two others, and he was directly responsible for the game-ending interception as he got in Chad Henne’s face and forced a poor pass. The Quinton Coples break out is coming and he’s going to be a major force by the time 2013 rolls around. That reminds me..

SELL: Garrett McIntyre Getting So Many Snaps – There were times in the 4th quarter agains the Jaguars we saw two down linemen rushing the passer with blitzes coming from all over the place. Those two linemen were the tremendous Mo Wilkerson (who is having an All-Pro caliber season), and… Garrett McIntyre?! I know Calvin Pace is basically useless at this point in his career, so I understand him not being out there, but why not let Coples and Wilkerson feast on the Jags offensive line in those obvious passing situations?

SELL: All Corner Backs Not Named Cromartie – When Cro left the game and was headed to the locker room in the 4th quarter on Sunday, I thought this defense was toast. All of the corners on this team not named Cromartie are awful. Kyle Wilson has played a little better of late (and even stopped doing his ridiculous finger wag!), but he’s still no better than a solid 3rd corner. Ellis Lankster is a fine 3rd corner as well, as long as we’re talking about being a 3rd corner on some sort of low-grade independent football league out in the midwest or something. Aaron Berry has been hurt since the day he signed his contract with the Jets, which is unfortunate, because I was really hoping to see more of him out in the nickel spot this year.

BUY: 3-0 The Rest of the Way – The manta is “One Game at a Time” for the Jets, but I’m just a guy writing about them on the internet, so I’m allowed to look ahead. It is 100% conceivable that this team is going to go 3-0 the rest of the way with this schedule. The Titans are suffering from injuries to FOUR of their offensive linemen. Believe me, I was a Chris Johnson fantasy owner, I know how incredibly putrid this team is. It doesn’t help them that Mike Munchak looks more like a guy who should be driving a tow truck than being an NFL coach either. And speaking of comical head coaches, the Jets get to then close out the season against Norv Turner and Chan Gailey, who have both been updating their resumes for two solid months now in hopes of getting an offensive coordinator job in 2013. I don’t know if the Jets will get the necessary help to make the playoffs, but just that it’s possible is truly crazy.

BUY: Rex Ryan – That this team — with this talent — has a chance to go 9-7 really speaks to how good of a coach Rex Ryan is. I’m really tired of hearing people rip this guy and saying they want him fired. Just remember: The grass is not always greener on the other side. We have a good thing here with Rex Ryan. Just imagine how much better it can be once someone comes in here who can evaluate talent and give him the necessary pieces to become a dominant team again.

New York Jets Sign Braylon Edwards

The New York Jets have brought back wide receiver Braylon Edwards

The New York Jets have signed Braylon Edwards to boost their depleted group of wide receivers. This is a sensible. low-risk move that will likely be very popular with the fanbase considering Edwards’ success with the team in 2009 and 2010. Despite struggling since leaving New York, Edwards had good chemistry with quarterback Mark Sanchez and was a productive vertical receiver for the team, especially throughout 2010 when he had 53 catches for 904 yards and 7 touchdowns. Considering the Jets were looking at starting Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schilens at receiver this Monday night with Mardy Gilyard as the number three, this provides an immediate upgrade in a needed area.

In the worst-case scenario, the Jets get nothing from Edwards the final three games and let him walk in the off-season at no cost to the 2013 team. In the best case scenario, they get a productive Edwards and bring him back on a low-cost contract in 2013 which gives them needed depth and a mentor to Stephen Hill at split end. Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill and Edwards is a good situation to walk into next year with at wide receiver, allowing the Jets to focus on improving in the many other areas they need to.

Edwards has been banged up the past two years but if he is healthy he provides excellent size and good deep speed. There is no reason to think he won’t step into playing a good chunk of reps this Monday Night. Ironically, his Jets debut in 2009 also came on Monday Night and he came up with 5 catches for 64 yards with a touchdown. Considering how the Jets offense has played the past few weeks, any numbers that even approach that would make the signing worthwhile.

Considering that Edwards publicly called the Jets front office “idiots” only a couple weeks ago, this move shows just how desperate people in the front office are to make sure this team finishes strong. Rex Ryan was always a fan of Edwards but Mike Tannnebaum (who is deservedly on the hot seat and should be fired) certainly can’t be and still pulled the trigger on this move. Regardless, the move makes sense from a football perspective and is certainly better than just bringing Jason Hill or Patrick Turner back another time, right? So let’s enjoy that and hope for the best.

New York Jets – Somehow Very Relevant In December

Somehow the New York Jets are playing relevant football in the middle of December

The New York Jets are a deeply flawed football team. There is a frustrating level of dysfunction in the front office and a concerning lack of talent spread throughout the roster. Yet, when you strip away all the media backlash and punchlines…the Jets are an overachieving mediocre team. Through 13 regular season games, there is 17 teams with an outright better record than them, 1 team with the same record and 13…yes 13 teams with a worse overall record than them.

That’s right, the biggest circus in professional sports is having a better year than a whole bunch of teams in their own league, including two in their own division. There is a chance that when they take the field this Monday night, they will pull into a tie for the final AFC playoff spot with a victory. Could you imagine this team in the playoffs? The collective anger and bitterness of all the wise-ass pundits would be worth the trip alone.

How is this possible? There isn’t a team in the NFL with less offensive talent than the Jets. Their defense is pretty good but far from elite, mainly due to a lack of overall talent at linebacker. They have been a disaster on special teams all season. You can blame the schedule but Buffalo and Miami are playing the exact same one (if not a slightly easier one) and have a worse record with more overall talent.

His reputation will prevent him from getting the credit he deserves, but Rex Ryan has done a commendable job this year. There has been ugly moments but those blowout wins over Indianapolis and St. Louis don’t look so weak now do they? People scoff at a win over Jacksonville but Jacksonville hung 37 points on Houston 3 weeks ago and beat up on a Tennessee team 2 weeks ago, that many people will pick the Jets to lose to on Monday. This isn’t a good team but they haven’t quit and they have scrapped together enough wins to play a highly relevant game in week 15.

Rex is far from a perfected coach. He needs media training. He needs to learn to be less loyal. He needs to find a new offensive coordinator and be paired with a new, strong-minded GM. Yet, in a league filled with the likes of Jim Schwartz, Romeo Crennel, Dennis Allen, Ron Rivera, Chan Gailey, and Pat Schurmur…the Jets could do much worse. The focus this off-season needs to be on revamping the front office and rebuilding the roster…not starting over at head coach.

Let’s also not ignore the players who have put together strong seasons amidst the never ending idiotic TEEE-BOWWW speculation. Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie have been All-Pro caliber on defense, while LaRon Landry hasn’t been too far behind. The Jets received some heat for signing Landry but he hasn’t missed a game and has been productive all season. Rookie Quinton Coples is starting to come along and Mike DeVito and Yeremiah Bell have put in workmanlike seasons that are flying under the radar.

Offensively, there hasn’t been much to celebrate but the offensive line has been better than the general perception. D’Brickashaw Fereguson is having a nice bounce-back season and Nick Mangold remains a top five center in the NFL. The rest of the unit has struggled at times with pass protection but is getting a steady push in the running game. Bilal Powell is averaging 4 yards per carry and is showing potential to be the team’s long term 1B/3rd down back. Shonn Greene has been better in recent weeks but likely still won’t return (and the Jets would be foolish to sign him to a new contract). Despite his fumble yesterday, Jeremy Kerley has put together a very good year and will be a big part of the offense moving forward into 2013.

The Jets play ugly football because that is how they can win right now. Regardless of what happens the final three games, this roster needs to be rebuilt. But for now, all you can do is sit back and hope for another impromptu late season run from the Rex Ryan led Jets.