Epitaph To The 2011 New York Jets Season

The New York Jets had a hell of a run this season, an emotional roller coaster that peeked when they hit the 2-0 mark, but came to an abrupt halt with a 34-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The loss ended a season that was supposed to see Rex Ryan’s team finally get over the hump to reach that elusive Super Bowl title, which has avoided the franchise since 1969. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case as the organization, fans, and local media members are forced to ponder where it went wrong before the season went down in flames in the Black Hole.

Joe Namath, the face of the franchise, has called out Rex Ryan and his lackadaisical preparation. The coach’s message clearly is falling on deaf ears in the locker room. The 2-1 record is a clear demonstration of that fact. Mark Sanchez, has regressed to a point that even Chad Henne is now considered more talented to him, after the division rival quarterback led his team to a brilliant 0-3 start. The defense is done. The running game is dead. Bury the Ground and Pound with the football they buried after the 45-3 New England loss last year and get ready for plenty of more games like that in the coming years.

This Jets team can’t compete in the stacked AFC anymore. In their own division, they are the third best team behind a Buffalo Bills team that hasn’t lost since the Jets beat them 38-7 in the final game of the 2010 regular season. Since then they have strung together a record breaking 3 game winning streak, winning in dominant fashion the past two weeks. The New England Patriots, who have lost 2 of the last 4 times they took the field in a game that matters, including once to the Jets in their own building to end their season, are also light years ahead of a bumbling Gang Green.

The season can’t go on. Nobody wants to suffer through watching the Jets lie down and take beatings the next four weeks. How could the Jets find a way past the Ravens who managed to get smacked around by a dominant Tennessee Titans team 9 days ago? Why bother to fly to New England, where the Jets haven’t won since the last time they went there? Miami owns the Jets and features Drew Brees Jr. aka Chad Henne under center. The San Diego Chargers never lose in the first half of the year and never lose to the Jets, except in 2009 when the Jets ended their season.

This team has never proven to have character since Rex Ryan has taken over. They don’t fight back. Remember in 2009, after they lost 6 of 7 to fall to 4-6 on the season. What happened? They gave up to finish with a 9-7 record, make the playoffs and win two road playoff games…pathetic.

How about last year after that brutal beat-down in New England, followed by an ugly loss to Miami? Remember how they went into Pittsburgh and won to basically clinch a playoff spot? They actually then had the audacity to end both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady’s season in their own buildings. No heart, no character, no fight. Those comeback victories in Denver, Detroit, Cleveland, and at home versus Houston in 2010…textbook same old Jets.

You would be a fool to think this team has the ability to get up off the mat after such a devastating week 3 regular season loss, where they were so thoroughly outplayed and manhandled that they looked like a Big East team. They only managed a 10 point lead at one point in the contest and were smashed around on a dropped kick return, a broken halfback option pass and reverse, and pass interference penalties.

Rex and the Jets had a nice run but all that is over now. Hand the crown over the Giants in New York. Let New England and Buffalo battle for the crown in the AFC East. Let the Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Patriots, and Bills fight it out for a AFC Championship.

When it is over, it is over and after that Oakland loss…it is over.

NFL Week 3 Review: Not Buying Early Hype

1. Three games into the NFL season and the tickets are being punched for a Detroit Lions/Buffalo Bills Super Bowl match-up. Don’t get me wrong, Detroit is a talented team and their comeback over the Minnesota Vikings was a gutsy win to hang their hat on. Buffalo’s win over New England was even more impressive considering the way New England has handled them as of late and how they dug themselves out of a three possession hole for the second week in a row.

Yet, I have to laugh at the comments received about the New York Jets now being the third best team in the AFC East and when I hear talk of the Lions currently being a top five team in the NFL. The Bills have been down by 18 points in two straight weeks, there are plenty of flaws in their feel good story. They have found ways to win two tight games late, an admirable and important quality. Let’s see them handle being a favorite for a few weeks now. Let’s see them go on the road and take out some contenders. Let’s see them win a game when they aren’t capable of laying a 34 spot on the board. I am not buying it yet, not after 3 games.

The Lions have a beautiful thing on offense with Matthew Stafford throwing to Calvin Johnson. The comeback against Minnesota was a hell of a win, but if you haven’t noticed it, everybody is doing that this year. Again, let’s see them play as a favorite now and let’s see them stay ahead of Chicago in the standings into the second half of the year and how they handle the Packers and Saints down the stretch of their schedule. Are they a playoff contender? Sure, everybody is at this point. Are they one of the best teams in the league? I haven’t seen that yet, not after tight wins over Tampa Bay and Minnesota and beating the ACC caliber Kansas City Chiefs.

2. Nobody takes more cheap shots at the New York Giants than yours truly. I have been surrounded by a group of annoying Giants fans my whole life…otherwise known as all of my best friends. Yet, that doesn’t mean I won’t credit them for an impressive win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. I am aware Mike Vick didn’t play the fourth quarter but with the amount of injuries the Giants are dealing with, I am not taking anything away from them. How about North Jersey’s own Victor Cruz by the way? What a game. I am not sure who deserves their new contract less at this point Nnamdi Asomugha or Antonio Cromartie.

I do have to take time to mention what a dirtbag Antrel Rolle is on the field though. I am looking forward to Plaxico Burress giving him one of these shots on December 24th.

3. Week 5 Games to look forward:

  • Pittsburgh at Houston – Very interested to see how these two AFC contenders come out in this game.
  • New England at Oakland – Hoping Oakland can do to New England what they did to the Jets last weekend.
  • NY Jets at Baltimore – Game of the week and I’m not even being biased.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Raiders

Game MVP – LaDainian Tomlinson, who ripped apart the Oakland defense as a receiver out of the backfield. For the second year in a row he is off to a very strong start.

Game Goat – Antonio Cromartie…the feast or famine act is growing old very quickly.

Play of the Game – Cromartie’s muffed kick is where the game went down the toilet. Fortunately, I can’t find a YouTube video link of it because I don’t want to see it again.

Trending Up

  • LaDainian Tomlinson – The Jets most consistent playmaker on offense through three weeks.
  • Plaxico Burress – He is still a match-up nightmare when given the chance.
  • Derrick Mason – Finished with 6 receptions and a handful of huge third down conversions.
  • Colin Baxter – Held his own in his first NFL start.

Trending Down

  • Wayne Hunter – A weekly regular in this category.
  • Antonio Cromartie – A lung injury could keep him out this week.
  • Santonio Holmes – Not necessarily on him but Jets must do a better job of getting #10 involved.
  • Bart Scott/ Calvin Pace/Bryan Thomas/David Harris – Not a pretty week for the Jets highly touted LBs.

1. I said before this game that the only way the Jets would lose is if they laid a complete egg. They found a way to do that in spectacular fashion for a key stretch of the game that put them in too big of a hole to climb out of. Penalties, turnovers, and missed tackles equal losses. It happens in the NFL. Too many people are making broad proclamations about the implications of this game as I will get into later today.

2. Jamaal Westerman is not an answer as a pass rusher. This team has to stop procrastinating each off-season when it comes to adding a player who can get after the quarterback.

3. Look for more Joe McKnight on kick return, especially if Antonio Cromartie will be nursing an injury. If Cromartie can’t play on defense, Kyle Wilson will likely get the start. He will get quite the chance for redemption after his rough season opener against the Baltimore Ravens in 2010.

TJ reviews his top five from the game

NFL Week 3 highlights

Grading Out Jets/Raiders

Check out the week 3 video recap

Quarterback (B-) – One of the best statistical days of Mark Sanchez’s career (27/43, 369 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 1 rushing TD) wasn’t one of his best overall games. He had a killer turnover and missed a few big throws, most notably a 4th and 2 slant to Plaxico Burress. He is also taking a beating behind his offensive line which continues to struggle which appears to be rattling him a little bit.

Running Backs (A) – LaDainian Tomlinson with 154 total yards and a touchdown gave one of his best performances in a Jets uniform. Shonn Greene also showed signs of life with 106 total yards. The Jets seemed to find something by running the football to the outside.

Wide Receivers (B) – Derrick Mason had his best game as a Jet with 6 receptions for 45 yards. Plaxico Burress made plays when given the chance and the offense did a poor job of getting Santonio Holmes involved as he finished with only 1 reception. Jeremy Kerley lost yardage on his first Wildcat snap of the season and Patrick Turner had a drop.

Tight Ends (D) – Jeff Cumberland and Matthew Mulligan both dropped touchdown passes. Cumberland is also now out for the year with a torn Achilles, taking away a promising part of the Jets passing attack. Dustin Keller had another solid day with 87 yards receiving.

Offensive Line (D) – Do they realize if Mark Sanchez gets hurt who the backup is? The only positive I can take away is that rookie center Colin Baxter held his own. Wayne Hunter looks clueless. Brandon Moore could still be feeling the effects of off-season hip surgery. It isn’t pretty right now.

Defensive Line (C) – A quiet day and they didn’t do enough to stop the run.

Linebackers (D) – No pressure and way too many missed tackles. Honestly, they looked slow out there and by the way Jamaal Westerman is not an adequate answer as a pass rusher.

Secondary (D) – The Cromartie curve ruins the grade for the whole unit. I know some of those penalties were awful calls but on the whole it was a terrible day for him. Darrelle Revis was himself. The safeties didn’t make an impact except in the missed tackle category.

Special Teams (D) – Cromartie curve. Considering his lung injury look for more Joe McKnight on kick return. Jeremy Kerley was terrific on punt returns.

Coaching (D) – No sufficient second half adjustments from the defense and a lack of preparation on the final drive both contributed to the loss. The Jets should have been kicking a field goal and then attempting an onside kick on the final drive, not going for it on 4th down.

Closer Look At Why The Jets Lost

Let’s rip open that wound one last time

Where did this game go wrong? A few key moments that are the reasons the Jets won’t be going 16-0 this year…

1) Untimely Turnover7-7 in the first quarter and the Jets have the ball on the 24 yard line after a beautiful punt return from Jeremy Kerley. They run a play action rollout and instead of Mark Sanchez throwing it away, he tried to force it in the endzone was intercepted. The solution? Throw the football away.

2) Dropped Touchdown – 14-7 Jets, with a 3rd and 2 on the 3 yard line. They call the same play that they scored their first touchdown of the season on against Dallas, but Dustin Keller slipped leading to Mark Sanchez scrambling and then finding Matt Mulligan in the end-zone, who dropped the pass. I am aware it was tipped but he still should have caught that pass. The solution? Catch the football.

3) Poor Contain – The Jets inability to further extend their lead in the previously mentioned opportunities, kept Oakland in striking distance when the Jets defense did a horrible job containing one of the league’s best running backs, Darren McFadden. They allowed him to bounce to the outside and then Antonio Cromartie didn’t keep contain. The solution? Tackle.

4) 4th and 2 – 17-17, the Jets defense is playing well to start the second half, forcing Oakland into consecutive punts. The Jets put a drive together and decide to go for it on 4th and 2 from Oakland’s 37 yard line. I don’t disagree with the decision or the call, a slant to Plaxico Burress, but it was a poor throw from Mark Sanchez. The solution? Be able to executive your money route, which for Mark Sanchez is the slant.

5) The Meltdown – In retrospect the Jets meltdown kicked off with the previous play. The Raiders roared back down the field and despite the Jets being prepared for two trick plays, a halfback option pass and a reverse, they failed to tackle leading to two monster plays. On the ensuing kick, Antonio Cromartie made one of the dumber plays I have ever seen. First off, not being prepared for a line drive kick after Sebastian Janikowski did it on the previous kickoff. Second, dropping the ball. Third, not falling on the football but instead trying to pick it up. The solution? Tackle and think.

The answers are simple. If you make stupid decisions and stupid mistakes, you will lose football games. The Jets must realize teams now get up to play them because of their recent success and because of how much they talk. Oakland treated yesterday like their Super Bowl and the Jets couldn’t match their intensity, especially after the momentum began to swing.

Initial Reaction: Painful One – Jets Lose Ugly In Oakland

One of the primary talks of this off-season was the need to win the AFC East, to avoid a three game road trip being the road to the Super Bowl. Today the Buffalo Bills, who must now be taken seriously as s contender knocked off the New England Patriots, giving the New York Jets an early opportunity to gain a game on them. Unfortunately, the Jets squandered that opportunity with an ugly performance in Oakland that resulted in a 34-24 loss.

After an initial punch in the mouth that put them down 7-0, they seemed to regain their balance after going ahead 17-7. Yet a huge run from Darren McFadden set the tone for the Raiders to come storming back to take a 31-17 lead. Despite a late comeback attempt, the Raiders did hold on.

Where to start? Antonio Cromartie and his bonehead play on kick return? Not only did he drop a line drive, instead of falling on the ball, he tried to pick it up resulting in a lost fumble. He left this game with injured ribs after being called for 4, yes 4 penalties. The officiating was an atrocity in this game but 4 penalties and a fumble is inexcusable. Overall it was a poor performance from the defense who allowed McFadden to run all over them, generated no pass rush, and couldn’t come up with any big plays.

The offensive line was terrible in the second half, making Mark Sanchez rattled. His stat line will look pretty in this one, as he threw for 369 yards and 2 touchdowns but this wan’t his best effort. He had another bad interception and was shaky in the pocket. The offense must also find a better way of getting their starting receivers involved. Plaxico Burress didn’t get going until late and Santonio Holmes only had 1 reception.

There was also poor coaching at the end of the game, as the Jets should have had the field goal team ready so they would have a shot for an onside kick. Instead they ran a play and Sanchez came up short on his scramble. Overall, it was just an ugly, uncharacteristic meltdown. Unfortunately there is no time for a pity party with Baltimore and New England coming up on the schedule.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Raiders

Jets Inactives – Kenrick Ellis, Rob Turner, Nick Mangold, Emmanuel Cook, Kevin O’Connell, Bilal Powell, Logan Payne

– I feel very strongly the Jets are going to put together a statement performance today. Too many people are overestimating the Raiders. They have beat nobody of significance in the past two years. Yes, they will be feisty in the their home opener and yes the Mangold injury will hurt but in the end the Jets are a substantially better team and that will shine through.

– Considering the Raiders defensive scheme and their starting corners, I’d be very surprised if Mark Sanchez doesn’t for right around 300 yards or more. Look for a big day from Plaxico Burress, who I think the Jets will finally get involved early.

– Look for Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley to be involved today on offense.

– Very interested to see how the Patriots/Bills game goes today. That place is going to be rocking.

TOJ Roundtable Week 3: Jets/Raiders Predictions

Joe Caporoso: Read the 12 pack

TJ RosenthalJets Win if: The makeshift line holds up long enough for Mark Sanchez to work the short passing game. Sanchez will throw for 250 plus yards on the day the Jets will offset the loss of Nick Mangold with the addition of the “Wildcat” some Joe McKnight, and more unpredictability in the Jets run game as far as the point of attack is concerned. The Jets secondary will continue their hot start with another handful of interceptions. FINAL: 23-17 JETS

Raiders Win if: The loss of Mangold becomes too much for the Jets to overcome. Backup C Colin Baxter gets beat in crucial moments. The lack of confidence and mutual trust by the makeshift O line up leads to too many false starts. QB Mark Sanchez tries to do too much, and is picked off three plus times. The ground game remains pedestrian. Darren McFadden gashes a tired Jets defense that is on the field too long too many times. FINAL: 31-20 RAIDERS

Chris Celletti: The Jets need to be careful here. West coast trip, no Nick Mangold, two BIG road games coming up after, and Oakland’s home opener? To quote the great (kidding) Mike Francesa, It will NOT be easy. I think the Jets will be able to handle the Raiders’ offense for the most part, but will struggle to run the ball without Nick Mangold at center. The Jets should be able to exploit some mismatches on the outside with Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, as long as Brian Schottenheimer has his head on straight. I think the Jets will be able to make enough plays in the passing game to get by, and will win in a game that is decided late in the fourth quarter.

Justin Fritze: Colin Baxter is not the name you want to hear today. The Jets will be forced to test the run and play action their way to two touchdowns. I see this one going to the wire in a 21-17 penalty filled game that will finally legitimize the Jets as one of the top 5 teams in the league. Dustin Keller will have a few good catches, look for Santonio and Plaxico to get involved early with a few shots down the field.

Rob Celletti: The superstitious side of me says that it’s a bad idea to keep picking the Jets to win every week, but this is part of getting used to the Jets actually being a team that should expect to win almost every single week.  And so I’ll take the Jets in this one, 23-13.  The consensus this week seems to be that the Jets should be able to throw for a bunch of yards on the Oakland secondary, and while proclamations like this usually lead to unmet expectations, I think it’ll happen.  The matchups just seem right, though I am worried about the makeshift offensive line’s ability to protect Mark Sanchez.  I think the Jets will contain Darren McFadden for the most part and force Jason Campbell into some turnovers by not only pressuring, but also confusing the quarterback with different coverage looks.  Campbell does have a huge arm, so the Jets need to be mindful of the deep ball.  The Raiders will move the ball but mostly be forced into field goal attempts.  The Jets will kick more field goals than you’d like to see, but will do enough to secure their 3rd victory of the year.

Check out the week 3 NFL highlights and picks

TOJ Week 3 NFL Picks

Last Week: 10-6

Season Record: 19-12

Week 3 Picks (Lines courtesy of BetUS)

  • Cincinnati (-2.5) vs. San Francisco
  • Buffalo (+7) vs. New England
  • New Orleans (-4.5) vs. Houston
  • Philadelphia (-8.5) vs. Giants
  • Cleveland (-2) vs. Miami
  • Tennessee (-7) vs. Denver
  • Minnesota (+4.5) vs. Detroit
  • Carolina (-4) vs. Jacksonville
  • San Diego (-14) vs. Kansas City
  • Jets (-4) vs. Oakland
  • Baltimore (-6) vs. St. Louis
  • Atlanta (PK) vs. Tampa Bay
  • Seattle (+3.5) vs. Arizona
  • Green Bay (-4.5) vs. Chicago
  • Pittsburgh (-11.5) vs. Indianapolis
  • Washington (+3) vs. Dallas

Jets vs. Raiders: 12 Pack Of Predictions

A rainy Friday…a perfect time to take an extended lunch break with the 12 pack. Remember to check out today’s video picks and highlights.

1. Darren McFadden is going to run for less than 100 yards. The Jets run defense has been solid ever since Rex Ryan took over and regardless of how well McFadden has been playing, the Jets will keep him contained no matter how many touches the Raiders try to get him.

2. Santonio Holmes is going to have a big day, especially if Chris Johnson spends extended time covering him. As a matter of fact, there is no reason Plaxico Burress won’t have a big day either. Look for the Jets starting WRs to combine for 150 yards of receiving and at least one touchdown. Derrick Mason will also be more involved than he has been in previous weeks.

3. The Jets will have a tough time running the football up the middle, which will lead to more outside handoffs for Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. I still don’t expect a big day from the running game but they will do enough to keep Oakland’s defense honest.

4. Mark Sanchez will have another turnover but will throw for over 275 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He will also rush for at least 20 yards.

5. The Jets defense will continue their early season turnover forcing spree and come up with at least one interception and one forced fumble.

6. Antonio Cromartie won’t get the opportunity to return any kicks this week as Sebastian Janikowski will be kicking them out of the end-zone.

7. Rookie third round pick Kenrick Ellis will be active for the first time this Sunday.

8. Jason Campbell won’t throw for more than 225 yards and will be sacked at least twice. Bart Scott will continue his early season tear with another sack. Kyle Wilson will grab his first NFL sack.

9. Dustin Keller will be kept out of the end-zone for the first time this season.

10. Oakland will get off to a strong start in their first home game of the year but the Jets will weather the early blows and go into halftime with the lead.

11. Jeremy Kerley will gain some type of offensive yards this Sunday.

12. A tight game into the fourth quarter will turn into a two possession Jets victory, 27-17. Eat another hot dog, Sanchez…3-0 and heading to Baltimore.