New York Jets: Wins Are Good, Right?

Rob Celletti wonders what it will take to keep New York Jets fans happy

It is a funny game they play in the National Football League.  Sometimes, the post-game discussion and analysis is even funnier.

This past Sunday, the New York Giants won an important home game against the upstart Buffalo Bills.  A 24-24 nailbiter turned on a late red zone interception by the Giants’ Corey Webster, setting up a game-winning field goal for Big Blue.

On Monday morning, the New York media heaped praise upon Tom Coughlin’s team, and rightfully so.  The Giants were feeling “Super” (wink, wink) at 4-2 heading into their bye week, and Eli Manning was praised as an elite quarterback, despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the Giants’ victory (and nearly being intercepted to kill the eventual game-winning drive).

On Monday night, at the very same stadium, the New York Jets won a game by 18 points, against a division opponent that always challenges and plays them close.  Similarly, this game also turned on a red zone interception, complete with a highlight film 100-yard run-back, the only moment which garnered a significant reaction from the lifeless MetLife Stadium crowd.  Darelle Revis’ goal-line interception righted the ship for the Jets, who settled in for an eventually comfortable, if imperfect 24-6 victory.

But if you picked up a newspaper, logged onto a blog, or listened to a sports-talk radio show on Tuesday, you’d have thought the Jets lost.  The main talking points hadn’t changed much from what they were when the Jets were mired in a 3-game losing streak: the quarterback was inconsistent, the running game was not explosive, the defense gave up too many yards.

Isn’t winning supposed to be fun?

I am aware that the Buffalo Bills are a much better football team than the Miami Dolphins, who are probably now considering full tank-mode so they can draft Andrew Luck.  But my point in comparing the two scenarios is to bring to light just how asinine and absurd some of the post-game analysis of the NFL truly is.

A lot of people made the point on Tuesday that if Revis’ pick-six doesn’t happen, there’s a strong chance the Jets don’t recover from a 10-0 deficit and lose the game.  First of all, there’s no way to prove that.  Secondly, how does the Giants game turn out if Webster doesn’t make his interception?  For that matter, how does any NFL game turn out if key plays don’t happen, or go the other way?  That’s what makes them key plays, right?

And really, that’s what it is all about in the NFL.  The salary cap makes it arguably the most competitive pro sports league in the world.  The “any given Sunday” cliche is one that actually holds true, especially in division games, where you always throw records out the window.  A lot of NFL games are decided by one or two plays.  The Giants were praised for theirs, the Jets were scolded.

Again, I’m under no illusions here.  I know the Dolphins are a lost cause, and that the Jets need to play much, much better football, especially at the start of games.  I’m not apologizing for what I think is a defense that has some holes personnel-wise and an offense that is being held back by their offensive coordinator.  But, the Jets won a game and are right back into their season now.  And oh yeah, they won by 18 points, thoroughly dominating their opponent in the second half.  People seem to have overlooked that.

Perhaps it’s a product of Rex Ryan’s change in the culture of the team, but it seems as though Jets fans are not satisfied with anything other than a 63-0 victory in any contest.  It has gotten a little absurd, quite frankly.  And if you think back to last year, the Jets weren’t exactly juggernauts, either, despite all of the good will an 11-5 season and a 2nd straight AFC Championship Game appearance created.  They needed 4th quarter comebacks and/or overtime to beat some below-average competition.  Their defense looked just as vulnerable last year (at times) as it does this year, especially on third downs and late in games.

People predicting a special season this year from the Jets were probably a bit misguided, which has led to an enormous amount of criticism – some justified, some not – of this .500 team so far.  But in the NFL, it often boils down to one or two plays in a close game.  The Jets aren’t currently great, but they’re probably not far off either.

Grading Out Jets/Dolphins

TOJ grades out the Jets 24-6 win over the Miami Dolphins

Quarterback (B-) 14/25, 201 yards, a rushing touchdown, and a passing touchdown. It wasn’t a great performance from Mark Sanchez but he improved as the game went on. The slow start falls on him and Brian Schottenheimer as he needs to come out in better rhythm. The lapses of accuracy remain concerning but Sanchez still has a way of making big plays when everything breaks down around him.

Running Backs (C) – Shonn Greene remains thoroughly average. LaDainian Tomlinson had a little giddy-up in his step, as you know he is licking his chops thinking about this week’s game against San Diego. I do think the Jets need to consider shifting more carries to Tomlinson and Joe McKnight, who made a few nice receptions split out at wide receiver.

Wide Receivers (C) – Santonio Holmes was electric when he was able to get the football in his hands. Plaxico Burress looked sluggish and disinterested, which should be a cause for concern moving forward. Jeremy Kerley had a nice third down conversion but also had a dropped pass.

Tight Ends (B) – A pair of big plays from Dustin Keller, who still needs to be more involved in the passing game. Matthew Mulligan had good contributions in the running game.

Offensive Line (B+) – Very good pass protection but the push in the running game is still lacking. It is nice to see improvement from Wayne Hunter, who had his best game of the season.

Defensive Line (B-) – The run defense could have been better but it looks like Kenrick Ellis has the potential to be a very good player alongside Muhammad Wilkerson moving forward.

Linebackers (B+) – 2 sacks from Calvin Pace, 2 forced fumbles from Aaron Maybin and a huge hit on Matt Moore from David Harris that forced an interception…an overdue night of playmaking from the Jets linebackers.

Secondary (A) – The “A” is all for Darrelle Revis, who put on a show last night. He came up with a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown when it looked the Jets season may be on the brink. Kyle Wilson also had a hell of a night in the slot covering Davone Bess.

Special Teams (D) – I am dropping them all the way down because of the muffed kick return…that is two this year, c’mon man. Nick Folk and TJ Conley are both quietly having very good years.

Coaching (C) – A win is a win but let’s beat San Diego before saying things are turned around. Also what was that play call with LaDainian Tomlinson attempting a pass to Mark Sanchez? Really?

Initial Reaction: New York Jets Look Average In 24-6 Win

The New York Jets moved to .500 with an ugly 24-6 win over the Miami Dolphins, yet a win is a win.

It was good to see the New York Jets end their three game losing streak tonight with a 24-6 win. It was equally good to see how awful the Miami Dolphins truly are, as they may go 1-15 this year. However, let’s not kid ourselves. The Jets did not look like a good football team tonight. They certainly didn’t look a playoff contender.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Miami is a putrid football team who was led by a journeyman quarterback. Matt Moore missed wide open receivers all over the field and threw a bad interception to Darrelle Revis who returned it 100 yards to the house. Brandon Marshall dropped what should have been a touchdown pass on the following drive and Miami never managed to do much else on offense. However, the Jets pass rush was inconsistent and their run defense left something to be desired.

The Jets started off with four straight three and outs on offense, which is pretty hard to conceive considering how bad Miami’s defense has been. Eventually they got it going, with a touchdown drive that ended with two surprisingly savvy play calls from Brian Schottenheimer, including a touchdown run on a quarterback draw from Mark Sanchez who was okay tonight, finishing 14/25 for 201 yards and a TD.

In the second half the Jets took control and broke the game open on a pretty 38 yard touchdown reception by Santonio Holmes. It was the type of play that makes you get frustrated that Holmes doesn’t get more touches. The defense poured it on late with a few sacks and another Revis interceptions. In the end, you have a 24-6 victory with a few positives but also plenty of areas the Jets still need to improve in. Tonight’s effort won’t cut it against San Diego, Buffalo, or New England in the next three games.

Statistical Notes/Highlights

  • Calvin Pace 7 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Kyle Wilson shut down Davone Bess in the slot
  • Joe McKnight had 2 receptions for 29 yards
  • Shonn Greene: 21 carries, 74 yards…meh
  • Aaron Maybin had a sack and 2 more forced fumbles
  • Kenrick Ellis had 3 tackles and 1 for a loss

Final Words On Jets/Dolphins

Final words from the New York Jets before Monday Night Football kicks off

From the New York Jets themselves

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1. Pro Football Talk decided to blame the Jim Harbaugh/Jim Schwartz fight on Rex Ryan. In other news, I also heard he was responsible for World War II and world hunger.

2. Inactives — Kevin O’Connell, Logan Payne, Donald Strickland, Ropait Pitoitua, Isaiah Trufant, Bilal Powell, Colin Baxter.

3. The Jets are inducting Larry Grantham, Gerry Philbin, Freeman McNeil, and Al Toon into their Ring of Honor tonight. Toooooooooon.

TOJ Roundtable Week 6 – Jets/Dolphins Predictions

The TOJ writers put in their picks for Monday Night Football. Will the Jets losing streak come to an end?

Joe Caporoso: 12 Pack

Justin Fritze: I have nothing left to believe in at this point, the long awaited circus is upon us. The Dolphins will try their best but it will be their defense that does it. It gets a little out of hand as Sanchez literally crumbles into a ball after 6 man pass rush all day.  He throws 3 picks and the running game gets stopped at the line, leading to a few heroic shots down the field. Jets get a few turnovers themselves , maybe 4 in some sort of emotional last second manner.

Rob Celletti: The Jets fan consensus seems to be that the 2011 season will be a lost cause if the Jets can’t find a way to win on Monday night.  I tend to agree with that.  The Dolphins are an absolutely miserable football team that already has one eye on Andrew Luck.  The Jets have certainly had a bad week, but they can assuage a lot of doubts (internal and external) with a solid performance.  I expect the offensive line to play with a chip on its shoulder after being buried this week by the media and one of its own captains.  If they play well, the Jets should be able to come at the Dolphins with a balanced offensive attack that must include taking some shots down the field in the passing game. This is also the type of game, that if it’s close, the Jets might try something like a fake punt or other type of gadget play.  In the end, I think the Jets get it done.  It won’t be pretty, but I expect the defense to give Matt Moore some major problems and the offense will show some signs of life.  Jets win 20-10.

TJ Rosenthal: Jets Win if: They shut up and play ball. The Jets swagger has turned into chatter. Too much of it. Too much defending themselves from Joe Namath’s comments. Too much infighting. Too much concern about Schotty, from the fans to the players. This team simply needs to go out there and win one on one battles right from the center snap up front. This way, Mark Sanchez will have time to stretch the field and the run game will have room to maneuver. The defense has to be relentless. Smother Matt Moore and a Dolphins ground game that may feature a banged up RB in Daniel Thomas. Play desperate. Play physically. Play together. If they do, the Jets will go to 3-3.

Jets lose if: They start slow on offense and begin to worry about each other. They lose if the Defense allows QB Matt Moore the time to get comfortable in a game that in this scenario, would remain winnable into the late third quarter early fourth. The Jets have to take control with a two score lead in the second half. Otherwise the Dolphins will begin to take alot of interest in ruining the Jets season.

Chris Celletti: I think the Jets right a lot of wrongs this week thanks to the competition. Let’s be honest, the Dolphins area bad, bad football team with Matt Moore running the show at quarterback (although, they’re pretty bad with Chad Henne as is). This is a must-win for the Jets if they have any serious playoff contention hopes, and I don’t want to hear about how the Dolphins are dangerous because A) It’s a division game and B) They’re desperate for their first win. The Jets are a better team plain and simple. New York’s defense should be able to dictate the game against Moore, and I think the offense has its best and most consistent day of the season. I see Mark Sanchez having about 250 yards throwing with a couple TDs, including a long score (finally). The running game also shows some more progress, and the Jets roll to a 31-10 victory. And then all is right in JetsLand again…until next week at least.

Jets vs. Dolphins: 12 Pack Of Predictions

A week 6 Monday Night must win for the New York Jets…12 predictions for tonight —

1. Dustin Keller is going to get back into the end-zone for the first time since week 2. Santonio Holmes will join him, as he scores his second touchdown in as many weeks.

2. Mark Sanchez will finish with at least 225 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns. I do think a more aggressive game-plan will result in at least one turnover. I am specifically thinking about Cameron Wake rushing the passer on Wayne Hunter.

3. Jeremy Kerley will pull in at least 3 receptions in his first game as the full time slot receiver.

4. Calvin Pace, Jamaal Westerman, and Muhammad Wilkerson will all record sacks of Matt Moore.

5. Moore will have multiple turnovers tonight but will also make a few plays with his feet that prevents the Jets defense from getting off the field on third down.

6. Brandon Marshall won’t get ejected in the fist half, but will be non-factor in this game.

7. Reggie Bush will have less than 80 total offensive yards.

8. Shonn Greene will rush for more than 75 yards and score his third touchdown of the season. LaDainian Tomlinson will also be more involved than he was last week, while Joe McKnight will pull in his first reception of the season.

9. If the Jets find a way to lose this game, you can bet things will start to get very ugly in their locker room. I may also have to temporarily shut the website down out of disgust. You don’t lose to a 0-4 team in your own building on Monday Night, especially when they are starting a backup quarterback.

10. The Jets will score a touchdown on their first drive.

11. Kenrick Ellis will finally be active.

12. I am picking the Jets 30-13. A win doesn’t suffice here, the Jets need to thoroughly beat down Miami to get some confidence back.

Week 6 Sunday: NFC East Only Gives Jets A Little Help

A review of Sunday’s week 6 action, looking at what we learned about each division

Today was a weird day for New York Jets fans as they were forced to root for the New York Giants, our in-stadium rivals and the team many of our annoying friends root for and the Dallas Cowboys, who nobody likes to root for. The Giants came through with a win over the Buffalo Bills, knocking them down to 4-2 however Dallas did what Dallas does and choked late and lost a tight one in New England as the Patriots pulled to 5-1. For the Jets it is time to take care of business tomorrow night and next week at home versus San Diego. If they head into their back to back games against Buffalo and New England at 4-3, they just may have a chance to make the AFC East race somewhat interesting into December.

Here is what else we learned around the league today…

AFC East – Buffalo has an exciting offense and will be in the mix into December. However, they are very beatable because unless another quarterback throws them four interceptions, they have a tough time winning. New England isn’t quite as dominant as everybody makes them out to be, but they know how to win close games better than any team in the league.

AFC North – You could make a strong argument for Baltimore being the best team in the AFC because of how dominant their defense looks. Pittsburgh looks a level or two behind them.

AFC South – Just a weak overall division that will come down to the Titans and Texans battling it out, as their head to head match-ups loom large.

AFC West – Oakland needs to get David Garrard on the phone immediately if they have plans on keeping pace with San Diego. I am sorry but Kyle Boller won’t cut it.

NFC East – The division is wide, wide open. The Giants are playing well early in the season as they always do but it would foolish to write off Philadelphia or Dallas already because of their sub .500 records. Washington had an ugly loss today but will a contender all year as well.

NFC North – Don’t pat Jim Schwartz on the back. How about the Stan Van Gundy clone trying to break the fight up?

NFC South – Another division that is wide open, especially after Tampa Bay putting up a very impressive win today over New Orleans. The Falcons have had an ugly start but they aren’t dead yet.

NFC West – San Francisco should clinch any day now.

Five Keys For New York Jets Versus Miami Dolphins

Listen to TJ discuss the top five keys here

1-CIRCLE THE WAGONS: Namath’s comments after the Oakland loss. Receivers complain abut Schotty. Santonio Holmes calls out the O line. Mason is dealt. Holmes vs. Brandon Moore. Is this a team on the brink of implosion?

2-CLEANER PLAY FROM THE SECONDARY: Too many flags in recent weeks. Keep your hands to yourselves guys.

3-PROVE ‘EM WRONG OFFENSIVE LINE: Called out by the media, Holmes, and still readjusting after the return of the injured star Nick Mangold. This group has to prove the doubters wrong, and start giving Mark Sanchez some time to throw.

4-STRETCH THE FIELD: Defenses are playing eleven guys right up at the line. Go downfield sometimes, and create some room to run.

5-BE A TOP FIVE DEFENSE: Last week the Jets finally got some pressure on a QB in Foxboro. Kick it into gear now, certainly don’t let backup QB Matt Moore get comfortable early on.

New York Jets: An Offense Against Itself Can’t Stand

A poor captaincy choice is leading to division in the Jets locker room, as Brandon Moore took an appropriate stance against Santonio Holmes

Santonio Holmes hasn’t been shy about expressing his frustration with the New York Jets offensive line in recent weeks. Veteran Brandon Moore took a stand today against Holmes, clearly stating his anger with his commentary and the freedom he is receiving from the organization’s hierarchy to come after Moore and his peers on the line. Red flags are flying up everywhere as most people see the Jets quickly disintegrating into a circus that is coming apart at the seams. There is no question that turmoil is present when analyzing the current state of the locker room.

Holmes is a competitor and we love that about him. He is a clutch playmaker who is accustomed to winning. With that being said, the decision to make him a captain was somewhat head turning. He has a reputation for immaturity and occasional selfishness. Rex Ryan put the “C” on his chest after only logging 12 regular season games for the Jets last year because of a suspension. The decision could be looked at as a mildly juvenile one. Hey, we just convinced this big time receiver to come back with us long term and I think he is our biggest playmaker, let’s throw a captaincy his way.

In reality, a captaincy likely would have made more sense for one of your All-Pro offensive lineman, Nick Mangold or D’Brickashaw Ferguson. A pair of players who were drafted by the team in 2006 and have been a major part of the organization’s winning ways since then. Actually, it probably would have made even more sense for Brandon Moore who is the longest tenured player on the offense. A player who joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2002, starting out as a defensive lineman before moving to guard to start 110 consecutive games and counting for the Jets. Moore has consistently been one of the better guards in football and represents the organization well off the field as the player’s union rep, furthering his knowledge by taking management courses at Harvard.

Put yourself in Moore’s shoes, hearing your work criticized in public by a player who has been in your organization for less than two full seasons. Your offensive line has carried your unit to the AFC Championship Game in back to back years and now you have to read tabloids from your receiver questioning your ability. Moore, Ferguson, Mangold, Matt Slauson, and Wayne Hunter do the dirty work that allows Holmes to put himself on the highlights reels.

I have never been inside in the Jets locker room but I venture a safe guess that Moore is more respected than Holmes because of his tenure and the way he carries himself. Holmes is a captain for the first time in his life and maybe is still struggling to sort out what kind of voice that gives him. A “C” on your chest is only a letter, it doesn’t mean anything if your teammates don’t follow or respect you. Part of the blame falls on Ryan for making Holmes a captain when he may have not deserved it and you can cut Holmes some slack since he is new to the role. Yet, he needs to look in the mirror and ask himself what he thinks he is gaining by calling out his offensive line to the New York media.

Talk to Moore and your linemen as teammates behind closed doors. Better yet, think twice to criticize them when you are struggling because I don’t recall you praising them when you were scoring touchdowns and the team was winning.

Losing is an ugly thing, especially in a team sport like football. It is a virus that infects the entire environment of an organization. You can only rise above it as a team, never as an individuals.

TOJ Week 6 NFL Picks

TOJ with his week 6 NFL Picks

Last Week: 5-7-1

Season Record: 40-35-1

Week 6 Picks, Lines Courtesy of BetUS

  • Green Bay (-15) vs. St. Louis
  • Pittsburgh (-12) vs. Jacksonville
  • Philadelphia (-3) vs. Washington
  • San Francisco (+4.5) vs. Detroit
  • Carolina (+4) vs. Atlanta
  • Indianapolis (+6.5) vs. Cincinnati
  • New York Giants (-2.5) vs. Buffalo
  • Baltimore (-7.5) vs. Houston
  • Oakland (-7) vs. Cleveland
  • Dallas (+7) vs. New England
  • New Orleans (-6) vs. Tampa Bay
  • Minnesota (+3) vs. Chicago
  • New York Jets (-7.5) vs. Miami

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