RIP Season: Sanchez, Holmes Awful in 19-17 Loss

The New York Jets had a fitting end to their season today

I have spent plenty of time defending Mark Sanchez this season and the previous two ones he has been the Jets quarterback. Yet, his three consecutive awful performances, culminating with one of the worst of his career today has me fully off the bandwagon. He gets next season with a new offensive coordinator and a new system but next year is a complete make or break season for him. And you honestly can’t even be sure at this point that he will get that chance. Crazier things have happened.

Brian Schottenheimer and his playcalls were particularly bad again. Yet, today the blame is on the Jets quarterback who threw three horrid interceptions thanks to his incessant obsession with throwing check down after check down. It was scared, pathetic, incompetent quarterbacking at its finest. He has brought all the off-season speculation about Peyton Manning and every other quarterback on himself.

We have a long off-season to go through what a failure this season has been on just about every level and we will get after it starting tomorrow. But for now, know that this offense needs to be completely destroyed and rebuilt from scratch. You want a good summary of how messed up this team was by the end of the year? Captain Santonio Holmes spent the last 2 minutes of the game while the Jets attempted a comeback sitting on the bench without a helmet and not watching the game, sulking.

NFL Week 17: 12 Pack Of Predictions

12 predictions for the final week of the NFL season

Our last 12 pack of the regular season…a bittersweet time to look back on a year filled disappointment and many wrong predictions about our New York Jets. Regardless, we are going at it one last time, not just on the Jets and Dolphins but on the rest of the league and the playoff picture —

1. My original pick for this game was going to be Miami over the Jets in a tight one. However, today’s announcement that Reggie Bush won’t play has swung me the other way. Bush was going to kill the Jets on the edges and as a receiver out of the backfield. Miami will be more one-dimensional and predictable on offense now, and the Jets prevail in an ugly, low scoring 16-14 game.

2. Since I have swung my pick to the Jets and reflected that the fact of the matter is that before the year I picked the Jets to make the playoffs and I don’t want to switch on it now. I will say that Baltimore will beat Cincinnati, Houston will beat Tennessee (with every report being that they will play all their starters), Oakland will beat San Diego, and it will be Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs knocking off the Jesus Quarterback himself to get the Jets in as the number six seed.

3. In the NFC, Detroit will beat Green Bay (it is now being reported that Aaron Rodgers won’t play) and Atlanta will beat Tampa Bay, meaning the Falcons will be in New Orleans in round one, where they will get smoked. Detroit will be heading to MetLife Stadium to play the Giants, who will beat the Cowboys Sunday night.

4. Pittsburgh will beat Cleveland and settle into the number five seed. New England will beat Buffalo and clinch the number one seed.

5. Your AFC wild-card match-ups will then settle as being Pittsburgh at Oakland and Jets at Houston.

6. The Indianapolis Colts will lose and clinch the top overall draft pick.

7. Back to Jets/Fins – Shonn Greene will run for 85 yards, finishing with 1084 yards on the season, a fairly disappointing number.

8. LaDainian Tomlinson will score a touchdown in what could be his final NFL game.

9. Aaron Maybin will have a sack and end the season as the team leader with 7.

10. Darrelle Revis will have an interception.

11. Jason Taylor will have two sacks of Mark Sanchez in his final NFL game. Sanchez will finish with less than 225 yards passing.

12. I will not enjoy going down in a blaze of hopeless optimism, as I will wake up hungover from New Year’s Eve with this crazy hope of the Jets still making the playoffs.

TOJ Week 17 NFL Picks

TOJ with his week 17 NFL picks. Who are your best bets?

Last Week: 6-8

Season Record: 114-116-5

Week 17 Picks

  • Philadelphia (-9.5) vs. Washington
  • Atlanta (-13) vs. Tampa Bay
  • San Francisco (-11) vs. St. Louis
  • Minnesota (-1.5) vs. Chicago
  • Green Bay (+3.5) vs. Detroit
  • Giants (-3.5) vs. Dallas
  • New Orleans (-8.5) vs. Carolina
  • Houston (+3) vs. Tennessee
  • Baltimore (-2) vs. Cincinnati
  • Jacksonville (-3.5) vs. Indianapolis
  • New England (-10.5) vs. Buffalo
  • Oakland (-3) vs. San Diego
  • Kansas City (+3) vs. Denver
  • Seattle (+2) vs. Arizona

New York Jets Need To Worry About Themselves

The New York Jets need to stop worrying about the Giants, the Patriots and every other team and focus on improving themselves

If you need any window into why it meant so much for Rex Ryan to tell the world on Monday that the Jets “were better” than the Giants a week before losing to them, look no further than in his book “Play Like you Mean It.”

It was released prior to training camp this past summer. Somewhere in it he notes that it meant so much to him to have changed the culture of the Jets around during his first two years — to have people talking “Jets” in a positive light in the world of pro football.

The Ryan family wears their hearts and heads on their sleeves, but what the Jets organization must now do going forward, once this season DOES officially end, is keep the focus in Florham Park. Rex can keep his essence, but it’s time for the organization to forget about which local team has more fans.

It’s also time to stop worrying about New England, which is going to win 12 games every season anyway.

The Giants were here first, plain and simple. Born during the Prohibition era, they played the game that first ushered in pro football on television – the 1958 NFL Championship game. To many it is known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” The Colts won the game, but the Giants were part of sudden death overtime thriller captured the nation, and made them household names.

And it happened just as the NFL began to compete with baseball for the sports fans’ hearts and minds.

The Jets were the laughable Titans in 1960, while those Giants were among the first famous faces of the league. It took until 1969 before the Jets and the entire AFL gained any respect.

We all know that story.

Like the Giants, the Jets ushered in their own era — that of the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Having beaten the Colts in Super Bowl III, the Jets proved that the leagues were on par with each other talent-wise. In Week 1 of that ’70 season came the initial broadcast of Monday Night Football, and you guessed it, Joe Namath’s Jets were in the game, against the Cleveland Browns. Namath gave the AFL club’s admittance into the NFL a stamp of approval. He was a huge star, especially after his Miami poolside guarantee before Super Bowl III. He became the perfect centerpiece for the new night time experiment on Mondays.

So the history is there for both teams. It’s just that the Jets have had only sporadic moments over the last 40 years, while the Giants have been by and large a model of consistency – and, at times, championship consistency.

The joke used to be that people who couldn’t get tickets to Giants games became Jets fans. Maybe part of that was true in the early ‘60s but Ryan doesn’t need to carry that all of that ‘60s era weight with him anymore. He doesn’t have to wear the pain that Jets fans held as second-class home owners in “Giants Stadium,” either.

Rex’s first association with the Jets came as a kid as his dad, Buddy, became the defensive game planner of that upset over the Colts on Weeb Ewbank’s staff.

That’s why when Rex closed out the Meadowlands in 2009 in its final game ever by beating the Bengals to clinch a playoff berth in his first season, it may have meant more to him than just the playoff entry. After all, to Ryan the Jets were family. The fans felt the same way about him.

Finally, the other team of New York via the Garden State had a head coach who wanted to be here and cared like they did about the team. Rex was one of the fans. He got it. He understood the plight. He totally got what it was like to be laughed at and mocked for years, especially by fans of the cross-town team.

Therefore, it was no surprise when he boldly got out in front of the new stadium opening by declaring that it was the Jets’ house and town this time around. He was speaking for the fans.

But though he might think he still has to, Rex really doesn’t need to stand up for the franchise anymore.

The ones who truly live and die with the team know that the Jets have been as successful at reaching the playoffs as the Giants have been since 1998, with each team getting there six times since in that span.

The Giants’ tremendous playoff run and subsequent Super Bowl win over the undefeated Patriots in 2008 skews this fact, but in the grand scheme of things has not lessened what the Jets have accomplished.

Ryan has nothing to prove anymore to Jets loyalists, and especially when it comes to comparing their team to the Giants. Big Blue has been here longer and may have more fans in pure numbers, but as long as the new Jets continue to strive for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, unlike the Leon Hess-owned Jets of the late ‘70’s through the late ‘90s seemed incapable of doing, then Jets fans should be happy.

On Saturday, the “Battle for New York” became a distraction to the very guy who raised the temperature of it. After the humbling 29-14 loss, Ryan admitted that quarterback Mark Sanchez throwing the ball 59 times was not the recipe to success.

Perhaps had Ryan been more attentive to the run-pass ratio, and not so revved up in the emotion of beating the Giants and claiming the “Big Brother” status he had boasted about for more than a year, he might have piloted the ship in the final quarter to his satisfaction.

If you can, try to forget this season, one that seems stuck in mediocrity for Gang Green. No matter what happens during what will almost surely be a wild Week 17, the Jets have no choice but to be what they are in the Tri-State Area now – a very good franchise that should remain as such for the foreseeable future. They’ve earned the right to do so with their own die-hard fans. They should respect the Giants as co-tenants of the building and leave the Jets-Giants talk alone from this point forward.

Their real nemesis will continue to be the Patriots. The Jets have to lessen the self doubt that any failure to catch them in the standings creates. Too often under Ryan, the club has measured its self worth heading into matchups with New England, only to leave with hangover losses.

Last year the affect of a defeat to Robert Kraft’s club was the Sal Alosi-fueled “Trip Gate” loss to putrid Miami, at home no less. This year after the Jets again lost to the Pats in the battle for first place back in November they got “Tebowed” days later, mostly because they were still punch drunk from falling yet again in a big game against Tom Brady. The nightmare in Denver left them at a very pedestrian 5-5 and on their way down in the AFC pecking order, ultimately into a position in the wild card pecking order.

The Jets’ need to over take the Pats in the AFC East is not worth the havoc it perennially wreaks when they fall short. In addition, the Jets should not lose sleep over any scenario that may include a three-game road run to the playoffs.

This isn’t 1980 when Jim Plunkett led the Raiders to the first Super Bowl win for a wildcard entry. It’s 2011, an era featuring touchdown dances and teams that can display flaws, yet still go deep into the playoffs.

Back in the ‘80s it wasn’t just playing the extra postseason game that made it tough on wild-card teams. It was who they had to deal with coming off of one week’s rest. From the Super Bowl’s first matchup in 1967 to 1980, teams that earned the bye week often included the “Purple People” eating Minnesota Vikings, the “No Name” Miami Dolphins, the “Steel Curtain” Pittsburgh Steelers, John Madden’s Raiders and Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys, a team still dubbed “America’s Team” despite more failures than successes.

Teams built for the long haul with the core of players in tact for years don’t exist anymore. Aside from the current long-time Steelers and Ravens defensive units and the Brady and Bill Belichick up in New England, dominant units on either side of the ball are few and far between. That’s why having to play an extra game against these new quickly formed clubs en route to the Super Bowl is no longer a death sentence. The extra game is sometimes an advantage for teams who get hot late in the year.

The 2010 champion Green Bay Packers were once 3-3. The Super Bowl Giants of 2007 started out 0-2. The 2005 Steelers were playoff road dogs, too. All three had to win three away from home before earning a trip to the big game. This route is without a doubt daunting, but next to an impossible task? No longer.

By lessening the obsession with becoming more popular than the Giants and altering this goal of having to overtake the dynastic Patriots during the regular season, the Jets can develop a clear and healthy outlook to go alongside a solid foundation that now includes an owner who is willing to spend money and make moves needed to win; a general manager in Mike Tannenbaum who has put together a solid core and a head coach who is loved by his team and fan base and bleeds green and white, even if it is to a fault sometimes.

This offseason, whenever it officially arrives, will be the perfect time to replace tabloid talk about the Giants and Patriots with the following: Determining where and how Sanchez fits now and in the future, improving the offensive line, figuring out a solid concept for the offense that can stay true to for an entire season and gaining a few closers on defense – primarily at safety and defensive end.

This way when Rex tells us that he will “play anyone, anywhere, on any given day” it will pack more of a viable punch.

Ten Preliminary Thoughts On Jets/Dolphins

Ten preliminary thoughts on the Jets week 17 match-up against the Miami Dolphins

Ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 17 match-up against the Miami Dolphins. Can they at least give themselves a shot to make the playoffs?

1. The sad reality of this game is that since these two teams met back in week 6, Matt Moore has been a better quarterback than Mark Sanchez, Reggie Bush has been a better running back than Shonn Greene, Brandon Marshall has been a better wide receiver than Santonio Holmes, and the Dolphins defense has been better than the Jets defense as a whole. The Jets are rightfully underdogs in this game and if they again play below their supposed talent level, they are going to get smacked around.

2. This will be Jason Taylor’s last NFL game. You want an embarrassing stat? He has 7 sacks this year in extremely limited time. There isn’t a single player on the Jets defense with more than 6 sacks.

3. Reggie Bush is exactly the type of back the Jets have struggled with all season, considering his speed and ability on the edges. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry in their previous match-up and you can bet the Dolphins will be going to him early and often.

4. Common sense would dictate that the Jets will rely heavily on their ground game after last week’s disaster. Shonn Greene is 1 yard away from a 1,000 on the season and there is no reason he shouldn’t get 20-25 carries this week. You know what would be nice? To see him break a big run and score a touchdown…something he hasn’t done since the San Diego playoff game in 2009.

5. Mark Sanchez is under the heaviest criticism of his NFL career right now, with many calling for the Jets to look in a different direction next year. Let’s see how he responds and if he can take advantage of a Miami secondary that does give up big plays.

6. I think we are going to know right out of the gate what type of game this is going to be. Are the Jets going to come out with their heads down and get rolled over by a Miami team who’d love nothing more than to end their season, or will they come out with some fight considering what a joke and disappointment they are considered at the moment?

7. This could very well be LaDainian Tomlinson’s last NFL game. He has been productive with the touches he has received all season. You almost feel like the Jets didn’t go to him enough down the stretch. Let’s hope he finishes on a high note.

8. Brian Schottenheimer deserves to be fired but one good play call he had last week was motioning Joe McKnight out of the backfield out wide, where he ran a stop and go on the linebacker who went to cover him. McKnight flew by him and was wide open for a 85 yard touchdown. Unfortunately, Mark Sanchez completely missed the throw. The Jets must continue to take their shots down the field and Sanchez must hit them when they are there.

9. Darrelle Revis is coming off a terrific game, where he completely shut down Hakeem Nicks. It will be interesting to see him battle against Brandon Marshall, as they went at it pretty good in the previous match-up this season. Matt Moore won’t shy away from attacking Revis, which will hopefully lead to a big play for the Jets.

10. End the season with some pride…playoffs or not…

NFL Playoff Picture: Week 17

TOJ with a look at the NFL playoff picture heading into week 17

Down to the final week of the NFL season, there are only a few things left to be shuffled out before wild-card weekend, most of which is seeding. Every single team below, outside of Green Bay, is playing in a game with some kind of playoff implications this weekend –

AFC

  1. New England (12-3)
  2. Baltimore (11-4)
  3. Houston (10-5)
  4. Denver (8-7)
  5. Pittsburgh (11-4)
  6. Cincinnati (9-6)
  7. Oakland (8-7)
  8. Tennessee (8-7)
  9. Jets (8-7)

New England needs to win to wrap up the number one seed. Baltimore needs to beat Cincinnati to avoid sliding from a number two seed all the way to down to a number five seed. By all reports, Houston is going to play all out this weekend to avoid going into the playoffs on a three game losing streak and to keep divisional rival Tennessee out (good news for the Jets). Denver plays Kansas City and Oakland plays in San Diego in two games that are complete toss-ups, if both teams win or lose, Denver takes the AFC West. Pittsburgh will play hard against Cleveland, as they actually still have an outside shot at the number one seed. The Jets need to win and hope three separate teams help them.

NFC

  1. Green Bay (14-1)
  2. San Francisco (12-3)
  3. New Orleans (12-3)
  4. Giants (8-7)
  5. Detroit (10-5)
  6. Atlanta (9-6)
  7. Dallas (8-7)

Winner of Giants/Dallas takes the number four seed. If Detroit loses and Atlanta wins, they will drop to the number six seed and a likely first round beatdown at the hands of New Orleans, who can only move up to number two if San Francisco slips up this week against St. Louis.

Can Rex And The Jets Get Off The Mat?

Can Rex and the Jets get off the mat in week 17?

I don’t know if this is truly the low point in the Rex Ryan era but it certainly feels like it. We all know change is coming this off-season, in some shape or form, but that is a discussion for another day. Right now, the question is how much pride will the Jets show this Sunday against their division rival Miami Dolphins?

First off, there is still a chance, an extremely low but not as low as some people make it out to be chance that the Jets can still get into the playoffs that should be motivation enough for this team. Second, they have embarrassed themselves the past two weeks, most notably last week. Their coach, quarterback, and entire offense is currently a punchline. Third, you don’t want to end the season losing to division rival like Miami.

Miami has been a better team than the Jets since their previous meeting. Matt Moore has been better than Mark Sanchez. Reggie Bush has been better than Shonn Greene. Brandon Marshall has been better than Santonio Holmes. Miami’s defense has been better than the Jets.

Can this team regain some type of confidence and play to their ability this week? Ryan said it best yesterday, the last thing you want to do is have everything fall in place and then not take care of your own business.

If Ryan doesn’t want that to occur he will be in every offensive meeting this week, making sure his team runs the ball 30-35 times this Sunday and he will find some way to generate a pass rush and slow Reggie Bush down on the edges.

This team has been embarrassed enough this season, by Baltimore, New England twice, Philadelphia, and now the Giants…they don’t need another one under their belt.