Turn On The Jets Week 7 Fantasy Football Preview

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Fantasy Preview, looking at week 7 in the NFL

As we approach the midway point of the fantasy football season, it’s time to evaluate who you should try and trade off while their value is high, and who you should be sticking with as you chase that 2012 fantasy championship. Unless of course your name is Joe Caporoso and you’re sitting in the basement at 1-5 in the TOJ Fantasy league, that is. In that case, your season is already over and you should be mocked publicly, but I digress.

Anyway, for this week’s column I brought in Dan Drobnis, the co-host of the popular weekly fantasy football podcast, The Tebow Sports Show (which can be found here, or on Twitter @TebowSportsShow. His co-host is Jay Ferraro). Dan also doubles as a friend of mine and long-time fantasy league rival, but today we are going to be debating five of the most confusing players in the 2012 fantasy football world. These are guys that have been driving their owners crazy, either due to poor play, injury, or perhaps just that they’ve been playing a little too well and a dip in production is feared going forward. As is usually the case, there are two strong sides to each player, and we’re going to be exploring what you should do with these guys from here on out.

QB: MATT RYAN

Case For (Mike Donnelly) – Don’t be turned off by Ryan’s clunker against Oakland last week. Every quarterback is going to have bad weeks from time to time and that was a clear letdown game for the Falcons against an inferior opponent that they clearly were looking past. Ryan still has the best set of targets of any quarterback in the league with Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez and to top it off has quite an easy schedule the rest of the way. He gets to face the Saints and their hilariously bad defense twice, and during the playoff weeks he gets to take on the Panthers, the Giants at home in a dome, and then the Lions in another dome game. Stick with Ryan and expect top 4 QB production as you march into the playoffs.

Case Against (Dan Drobnis) – If you’ve got him, you know how productive he’s been early in the season. But he must have had you scratching your head last week when he threw three picks and failed to reach 300 yards against a Raiders defense that came in ranked 28th in the league against the pass.  The Falcons’ margin of victory has been slim each of the past 3 weeks, and I believe that’s a direct result of the league  starting to catch up to what Dirk Kotter and the Falcons offense has been doing here in early in the season. Being undefeated can have that effect. I’m not saying he won’t be a productive fantasy quarterback the rest of the way, but fantasy owners have already seen the best they’ll get from Ryan, and should move him now while his value is still sky-high. There are not as many cupcakes on the schedule in the second half and his most recent performance hints that there is some regression right around the corner. Give me any one of the other top 5 QBs over Ryan the rest of the way.

RB: CHRIS JOHNSON

Case For (MD) – It may seem odd that I’m going to defend Chris Johnson here since I own him in one of my leagues and I’ve mercilessly trashed him in this column repeatedly, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. The Titans have quite possibly the worst offensive line in the NFL, but they’ve actually started to play better and last week’s 114 total yard output by Johnson was very encouraging. Looking ahead, Johnson has games against Buffalo and their joke defense, two games againt Indianapolis who just got run all over by Shonn Greene, Jacksonville, Green Bay, and the Jets. I’m not saying he’s an every week guaranteed starter, but he has the opportunity to rack up some very solid games for your squad. Also, with Kenny Britt now healthy, it should help open things up for Johnson as defenses won’t be able to stack the box nearly as often.

Case Against (DD) –  He’s got two juicy matchups over the next two weeks against the Bills and Colts respectively, and then the sledding gets much tougher for the artist formerly known as ‘CJ2K’. Let him build off of what was a solid performance against the Steelers last week and then ship him off to any sucker in your league that’s dumb enough to trade for him. He’s much too hesitant when hitting the hole, and leaves a lot of yards on the field even when he does produce a decent fantasy day. Their O-line doesn’t open up any running lanes for him and Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck won’t exactly have defenses scared of the pass. Let him be someone else’s headache, and target a back like a Willis McGahee or Doug Martin who have easier schedules in the second half of the year and have shown they can consistently produce in the early part of the season.

WR: JORDY NELSON

Case For (DD) – Jordy Nelson isn’t going to surprise defenses the way he did in his 2011 breakout campaign when he scored an astounding 15 TDs, and  won fantasy football championships for people all across this great country. But Nelson will make up for the inevitable regression in the TD department with the increased targets he’s seen being as an every-down player in one of the NFL’s most explosive passing attacks. Aaron Rodgers hit Nelson early and often against the Texans last week, and he should see less double-teams and safety help once Greg Jennings returns from a groin injury that has had him on the shelf for most of the season. He does have a tendency to disappear some weeks, as Aaron Rodgers likes to spread the ball around. But as long as you aren’t relying on this guy to carry your team, he should be locked into your lineup each week as Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy.

Case Against (MD) – Nelson is a prime example of a guy who you shouldn’t be tricked by after one great week. That does not offset 5 weeks of mostly mediocre play, not by a long shot. Aaron Rodgers is not going to throw 6 touchdowns every week, and as we’ve seen this year, he spreads the ball around to many different receivers, so Nelson won’t be the prime target every week — especially when Greg Jennings returns. The Packers offense has not been the same dominant force it was last year as the league has seemingly caught on to their schemes. I’m not saying Nelson won’t have his moments, but I wouldn’t rely on him week in and week out. If you can pawn him off while his value is high right now, I’d recommend doing so.

WR: HAKEEM NICKS

Case For (MD) – Yes, I know Nicks has been a disappointment to those who drafted him this year as he’s missed most of the season due to injury, but there are few receivers I’d rather have from here on out. When Nicks is on the field, he’s always performed really well, highlighted by his 199 yard effort in week 2. He’s always going to be the #1 option on this Giants offense, and with Victor Cruz playing so well, defenses won’t be able to key on Nicks like they have in the past. If you take a look at his schedule the rest of the season it’s extremely promising, as he gets to face the Redskins twice, the Packers, the Steelers, the Bengals and then the Saints, Falcons, and depleted Ravens secondary during the playoff weeks. Nicks is the kind of guy that can single-handedly win you a championship.

Case Against (DD) – I’m calling this one more of a feeling than anything else.  I won’t deny it. Nicks is a beast when he’s on the field, and plays with arguably the best quarterback in the game today in Eli Manning. But he rushed back from a broken foot and aggravated his knee trying to compensate for the foot injury. Not to mention, in the games that he’s already missed, guys like Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden carved out larger roles in the Giants offense. If Nicks were given time to let his injuries heal, I wouldn’t be so down on him. But this just looks like it’s going to be a down year for one of the most talented, young receivers in the game and a headache for fantasy owners trying to figure out when, if, and how effective he’ll be on Sundays dealing with all of the lingering issues stemming from the preseason foot injury.

TE: TONY GONZALEZ

Case For (MD) – Just like with Matt Ryan, I don’t think you should be giving up on this Falcons offense at all, and quite frankly I’m surprised Mr. Drobnis is so down on them. Gonzalez has been the clear-cut top Tight End this year, and there’s little reason to think that’s going to change going forward. The Falcons simply have too many weapons for defenses to deal with, and with Jones and White getting so much attention, Gonzo has been torching everyone over the middle of the field. Plus, he’s a great red zone target and the opportunity for touchdowns are always there. The only thing to worry about now is if the Falcons run away with the #1 seed and start to rest veterans like Tony down the stretch, but I don’t anticipate that happening. Gonzo is a stud.

Case Against (DD) – As the blueprint for slowing down the Falcons offense gets around the league, you’ll see more and more teams taking away Gonzalez and forcing Matt Ryan to throw into double coverage down the field as he did Sunday against the Raiders. I always like to sell high on players, and with the way Gonzo has produced early on, you’d be wise to shop him around and see what you get. He’s been the #1 fantasy TE through the first 6 weeks of the season, something no one saw coming from the 36-year-old future hall of famer when the season started. With guys like Kyle Rudolph, Heath Miller, and Brent Celek (just to name a few) outperforming their draft-day price tags, there are cheaper options at tight-end that will produce about the same if not more fantasy points than Gonzalez the rest of the way. Put his name out there and see what you can get.

Recommended Bye Week Fill-Ins

QB- Josh Freeman

QB- Brandon Weeden

RB- Felix Jones

RB- Danny Woodhead

RB- Montario Hardesty

WR- Denarius Moore

WR- Randall Cobb

WR- Stephen Hill

TE- Dustin Keller

TE- Dennis Pitta

Turn On The Jets Talks With Pats Propaganda – Jets/Patriots Preview

Joe Caporoso talks with Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda about the upcoming match-up between the Jets and Patriots

I had the opportunity to talk with one of our favorite writers behind enemy lines, Mike Dussault of Pats Propaganda, to preview the upcoming New York Jets/New England Patriots showdown. Here is our conversation –

JC – What is the issue with New England’s secondary and is it a solvable problem this season? Is it actually as bad as it is being hyped up to be?

MD – Really the only issue, and it’s a glaring one, is that they cannot stop the 20+ passing plays. They’re giving up almost 6 per game. It really just boils down to that, and it’s maddening because they’ve been the worst in the NFL at it for two seasons and just can’t seem to get it fixed. Now injuries have played into it somewhat. When Russell Wilson heaved the 46-yard game winning TD last weekend it was two rookies that were on the back end. But things weren’t especially better when it was starters Steve Gregory (out since week 4) and Patrick Chung (dinged at the end of the game).

JC – Are you surprised by some of the game management issues that are arising, particularly with two Hall of Famers like Belichick and Brady leading the way?

MD – Yes, there have definitely been some head scratching moments this year, like last week’s debacle at the end of the first half, where they took an intentional grounding with one second left inside the 10-yard line that basically cost them the game in the long run. They should’ve just kicked the field goal when they had the chance with 6 seconds left.

There are a couple factors contributing. With Josh McDaniels back and his aggressive/often unconventional style, and the Pats trying to execute at such a fast pace it has led to some of the miscues, but ultimately I think they’ll be okay in the long run. There’s no question they’re still trying to lock down their identity and I think that has played into it as well. Sometimes they’re unstoppable, other times they seem to be going backwards. They need consistency and with that the game management stuff will take care of itself.

JC – Can you talk about how New England has rebuilt this offense to be a dual threat with their newly found power running game?

MD – Honestly I don’t think they have much of a straight up power running game as some might think, and we saw that against the Seahawks last week.  What they excel at is running on nickel and dime defenses, and once their passing game that’s when their run game is most dangerous.

Now there’s no question Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Boldin are still a more dynamic group than they’ve had in some time, but so far we’ve only seen them dominate the run game situationally, when teams are on their heels and overly concerned with the passing attack. Whether they can consistently move the ball on the ground to run the clock out and seal a win, when the opposition knows they’re trying to run, remains to be seen. This includes short yardage situations too. And we’ve already seen a ton of negative plays that were rare in recent history. Make no mistake, you’ve got to stop the passing game first and foremost.

JC – If you were the Jets how would you attack the New England defense? The New England offense?

MD –  For the Jets offense you have to take some shots down the field. There’s no weaker link than the Patriots back end. They’ve been effective in stopping the run every week, with Brandon Spikes really being the tone setter there, and they’re a good tackling team for the most part as well. The short pass and ground attack is less effective so far this year than it has been in year’s past.

But if you look at Seattle’s game plan, they stuck with their ground game even though it wasn’t dominant and took a lot of play action shots down the field, especially on early downs. The Jets have some ammo to keep the Pats defense off balance, I’m sure Rex has been saving something Tebow-y just for New England. Those plays that confuse or put the Pats on their heels will open up the long balls down the field. But the difficult thing, and most key part, is not throwing interceptions on those deep shots. Simply put if Sanchez and the offense have one turnover or less they’ll be in the game until the end and then they just have to make the clutch plays. The Patriots defense lives or dies by turnovers, if you give them two or more New England will probably win.

For the Jets defense it’s all about patience. There will probably be a couple drives where the Patriots run no-huddle and look unstoppable. You just have to weather those storms and continue to force them to execute for 60 minutes. Because they’ve got a habit of going stone cold during crunch time. I know Rex loves to mix things up a lot, but the Pats no-huddle will make that difficult, so I’d say stay in base and simplify the calls so they can get in quickly. If the Jets go DB heavy the Patriots will not hesitate to run so they’ll have to be prepared for that as well.

Obviously they must try to confuse Brady’s reads as much as possible, and when the Pats offense goes no-huddle they must be prepared. So much of the damage New England does in the no-huddle is because teams are not lined up, don’t have the call, or simply gassed. You can’t give them anything easy. Make them work for it till the end and it’s entirely possible they won’t make the clutch plays in the clutch moments.

JC – Prediction for the game, how many wins the Patriots finish with and how many wins the Jets finish with?

MD – Well hey, I’m biased but even when I do my best to be non-biased I like the Pats in this one. They’re always tough coming off an embarrassing loss, even moreso at home. I’d expect them to bring their A-game this week.

The wild card is Sanchez and the deep ball. If the Jets can get a couple long scores, not turn the ball over, move the ball a bit on the ground, and keep it close until the 4th quarter it could be anybodies game.

Let’s go Pats 24, Jets 13.

At this point I like the Pats at 12-4. Jets 9-7.

MD – The Jets have had a season of injuries like none I’ve seen before. Who are some of the players that might be unknown to Patriots fans but have been elevating their play in the absence of so many starters?

JC – On offense, Jeremy Kerley has stepped into being the offense’s top playmaker. He is averaging over 17 yards per catch and has shown a consistent ability to create big plays down the field. The Jets receiving core gets a ton of flak for lacking talent but that isn’t a fair assessment. Outside of Kerley, Chaz Schilens has been a capable possession receiver and a healthy Stephen Hill has big play potential. He already has three touchdowns, despite missing 2 and 1/2 games.

On defense, Patriots fans know Antonio Cromartie obviously but he has taken his play to a different level in the absence of Darrelle Revis. The past three weeks have been the best I’ve seen Cromartie play since joining the team and he seems to have embraced a leadership role in the secondary.

MD – Is this a make or break year for Mark Sanchez? Has he progressed or regressed as a quarterback?

JC – Considering the structure of his contract, he will likely be back next year unless the bottom truly falls out on the season and his performance. Even the staunchest Sanchez apologist would have to admit he has regressed since the 2010 season. There have been flashes of strong play but the inconsistency has been maddening. The last two weeks have been baby steps in the right direction after a disastrous game against San Francisco. We have seen some of Sanchez’s best work against the Patriots since his career started, so hopefully he can keep building positive momentum.

MD –  How have the defense and offense evolved this year, if they have? What kind of team are the Jets trying to be? Is ground and pound really accurate?

JC – Ground and Pound needs to go as an expression (which is why we changed the tag-line on our site haha). Prior to last week, the Jets had been dreadful running the football and stopping the run, along with having a non-existent pass rush. We saw strides in the right direction beginning the in second half against Houston and then carrying over to the Indianapolis game. On offense, they are still going to be run heavy but do take more shots down the field than they did under Brian Schottenheimer. On defense, Rex Ryan seems to recognize his base defense’s shortcomings and has slowly been getting more creative with his schemes and integrating younger players into more playing time.

MD – Name a player on offense and a player on defense that will be key to the Jets chances of knocking off the Patriots.

JC –  Offensively, it has to be on Sanchez to hit his throws down the field. The Jets have the players on the outside who can beat the Patriots secondary deep (Hill, Kerley and yes even Cromartie) but Sanchez must be accurate. Defensively, they must knock Tom Brady off his mark and get him rattled early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are their best natural pass rushers and both must make an impact early and often.

MD – If you were the Patriots where would you attack the Jets offense and defense? What can be exploited?

JC –  The Jets still lack speed at linebacker in a big way. I would be running to the outside heavily with RIdley and Woodhead, along with looking to hurt the Jets in the screen game. If the Jets try to match up the Patriots tight ends in man coverage with their safeties, it should be a match-up Brady can take advantage of as well. On defense, I would make Sanchez beat you. Bottle up the running game and force him to hit throws down the field into tight windows and hope he throws a few interceptions.

 

Turn On The Jets Week 7 Roundtable – Jets vs. Pats Match-Ups

The Turn On The Jets discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in Jets/Pats

Joe Caporoso – Mark Sanchez vs. Patriots secondary – The Patriots are extremely susceptible to the deep ball and for the Jets to pull the upset it will be up to Mark Sanchez to take advantage of that. We saw Russell Wilson do it last week. We saw Joe Flacco do it a few weeks before. Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and yes Antonio Cromartie all have the speed to get down the field but Sanchez can’t misfire when the plays are there to be. Beyond that, he absolutely cannot turn the football over. Simply put for this season, when the Patriots don’t force turnovers, they don’t win.

Chris Gross – Patriots Tight Ends vs. Jets Safeties – The long awaited, heavy weight bout between LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell against Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will finally be underway this Sunday in Foxboro. Gronkowski and Hernandez have fared well in their respective careers against New York with Gronkowski averaging 3.5 catches for 42.5 yards and .5 touchdowns and Hernandez averaging 5 receptions for 62.25 yards and .25 touchdowns per contest.

New York has been improved, but still somewhat average against opposing tight ends this season. Some games, they have done a good job of shutting down the position that shredded them time and time again last season, while other times, they have given up big chunks of yards and critical red zone touchdowns. At the end of the day, this year’s Jets are still giving up just 4.7 catches for 54 yards and .5 touchdowns per game to opposing tight ends.

New York had severe holes at the safety position, something that was exploited in their most recent matchup with the Patriots in which Gronkowski went off for 8 receptions, 111 yards, and 2 touchdowns. As a result, the Jets went out and signed two proven veterans in Landry and Bell, and also used two draft picks on safeties in Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. These four players were brought in, not entirely, but primarily for this game.

It will be very interesting to see how this matchup plays out. With all the hype surrounding New England’s talented duo of tight ends, you’d have to think Landry will be coming out like a man possessed, looking to make a statement. Look for both Landry and Bell to be extremely physical in their coverage with each of these tight ends, something that has been lacking in the secondary prior to this season. A physical approach and sound, but creative, game plan could be just what the doctor ordered to finally keep this dual threat of Gronk and Hernandez in check.

TJ Rosenthal – We can’t help wondering how fast this new “starless” Jets team can gel. They seem commuted to each other and must be vining off of the perception that they should just pack up and go home now that Revis and Holmes are done this year. The key may be the run game. When the Pats are held to under 100 yards they are 0-3 this year. When Shonn Greene goes over 100, the Jets are 7-0. Was the Jets run game a mirage that fed off of a bad Colts run defense? Perhaps. If it was a case of the ground and pound finally kicking into gear though, hold the phones. Because maybe some respect on the ground will open up an already questionable Pats secondary to play action. Hold them under 100 and get Greene going again. That’s what we’d like to see. If the matchups up front on both sides of the ball yield something close to it, then the Jets can win in Foxboro Sunday.

Chris Celletti – I’m anxious to see how the Jets cover New England’s downfield passing game. The Patriots haven’t been as dominant through the air this season, but they’ve also faced very good defenses in all three of their losses (Baltimore, Arizona, Seattle). Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden have given New England a semblance of a running game, something they haven’t had in quite a while, but this unit has been a bit feast or famine so far this year. Make no mistake, New England still prefers to move the ball through the air, and Tom Brady still has plenty of weapons to use. . I’m interested to see how effective Rob Gronkowski is against LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. Sunday’s game is one of the main reasons the Jets felt the need to make a huge upgrade at safety after last season. Overall the Jets’ secondary has a tall order ahead of them, but keeping the Pats’ passing game in check will go a long way towards the Jets beating their hated rival on the road.

Mike Donnelly – Jets New look D vs. Pats Hurry up O – The matchup I’m most looking forward to seeing this weekend is how the Jets matchup and play against the Patriots quick strike offense. In years past the Patriots have been able to catch the Jets off guard by getting a certain defensive personnel package on the field and exploiting it by going no-huddle and not letting the team make substitutions. Rex Ryan has made a conscious effort the past two years to get more players who can play all three downs effectively to match up with New England specifically. On the defensive line we’ll see less Po’uha and DeVito and more Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, which is a massive improvement over Marcus Dixon. At linebacker we’ll see more of Demario Davis, Antonio Allen, and the newly signed Marcus Dowtin to play “hybrid” roles where they can still effectively defend the run and cover the Patriots excellent tight ends. Obviously not having Darrelle Revis is a major blow, but with the improvements made elsewhere, I think the Jets are going to be able to do a solid job covering the Pats many weapons.

Rob Celletti – Jets Front Seven vs. New England’s hurry-up. Two weeks ago, I sat, semi-horrified, watching Tom Brady march the Patriots up and down the field on the Broncos, utilizing a ruthless hurry-up offense that was just as likely to pick up 15 yards on the ground as it was through the air. But I didn’t see their opponent in orange and blue; I saw them in green and white.  This seems like a truly worst-case scenario matchup for the Jets, who are slow at linebacker and largely inexperienced along the defensive line.  Would there be anything more torturous than watching Brady hurry the Patriots to the line and kill the Jets with handoffs to Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead?

But remember, the Jets are coming off of a brilliant defensive performance, albeit at home against an inferior opponent.  They have leaned on some younger players which has increased athleticism; but can these pups handle a Brady-led offense? Again, the onus is on Rex Ryan to prepare this defense to try and hold New England to around 24 points in order to give the Jets a fighting chance at the upset.

New York Jets Week 7 – Game Plan Thoughts For New England

A few thoughts on how the New York Jets could game plan for the New England Patriots

The New York Jets head to New England this Sunday in a pivotal AFC East game between a pair of 3-3 teams. Despite having the same record, the Jets find themselves as 10.5 point underdogs. New England is a better team but the Jets have beat the Patriots in the past when they had less talented rosters than them. This is another “kitchen sink” game where Rex Ryan and the coaching staff needs to put together a creative game plan that doesn’t hold back any gadgets or surprises. How can the Jets give themselves a chance to pull off the upset?

Offense – New England is extremely weak in their secondary, giving up an inordinate amount of 20+ yard passing plays. Their corners and safeties have a difficult time playing the ball in the air and both position groups are generally lacking on talent. The Jets are going to have to take their shots down the field. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for. This is the type of game you give Antonio Cromartie another shot to run a pass route or two. Jeremy Kerley should be able to do some damage down the seam. Of course all of that is irrelevant if Mark Sanchez cannot be accurate with his deep passes. This is a big test for Sanchez. Can he take advantage of a weak secondary? In the past Sanchez has played some of his best games against New England (and some of his worst) – but he does have over a 100 quarterback rating in 4 of his 7 games against them. The Jets need “Good Sanchez” in a big way on Sunday.

Obviously the Jets can’t be one dimensional. They need a productive running game to open up play action passing down the field. Without Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, that much more pressure will be on Shonn Greene to perform. Nobody is expecting him to duplicate last week’s performance but if he could give the Jets a solid 20 carry, 85 yard performance it will go a long way to helping their passing game out. Powell and McKnight’s absence could also lead to a bigger role for Tim Tebow.

I had an interesting conversation with Steve Hunter of Sports Geek, where he mentioned the possibility of using a “surprise” Wildcat that utilized Tebow in a hurry-up offense. New England uses their hurry-up to prevent defenses from subbing and allowing them to take advantage of team’s nickel personnel with their running game or their base personnel with their passing game. If the Jets started a series with Sanchez at quarterback and Tebow at one of the running back spots, they could move to a hurry up and alternate in plays where Tebow lines up quarterback before New England has a chance to substitute or react. This also wouldn’t be a bad game to allow Tebow to take a shot down the field, considering the Patriots vulnerable secondary.

Basically, the Jets need to get creative to manufacture points because New England is going to score their share. You aren’t winning this game with anything less than 24 on the board.

Defense – As previously mentioned, New England is going to gain their yards and score their share of points. The key is going to be, how many times can the Jets force the Patriots to settle for a field goal instead of letting them get in the end-zone? And can they force New England into a couple of turnovers? The Jets can’t allow the Patriots to rip off huge chunks of yardage. They have to make them work on long drives and hope they press eventually and Brady throws them an interception or Stevan Ridley coughs up a fumble.

New England thrives in their no huddle because they take advantage of a team’s inability to substitute and then gash them with their running game when they have personnel on the field to defend the pass. This is what makes having the personnel to run a “big nickel” that much more important. Rex Ryan seems to recognize that and smartly brought up hybrid safety/linebacker Antonio Allen last week and now this week has brought up another hybrid in Marcus Dowtin. These are the type of players you need to defend the Patriots, guys with coverage skills but who have the ability to play in the box and make tackles. Considering Eric Smith’s injury, look for extended reps for Allen and for Dowtin to be thrown right on the field like Allen was last week. At linebacker, Demario Davis should see a big chunk of Bart Scott’s playing time because of his speed and coverage skills.

Safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were brought in to help slow down the Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. They can’t match them in man to man coverage and it may be a good idea to give Antonio Cromartie a few shots on them in certain situations. However, they have the ability to get physical with them in the box and re-route or delay their routes in hopes of throwing their timing with Brady off. It will be imperative that Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin generate a pass rush because Brady is a different quarterback when he is getting frequently hit.

Special Teams – If Joe McKnight doesn’t play, Antonio Cromartie will be the primary kick returner and he is always capable of ripping off a big return. Jeremy Kerley remains dangerous as a punt returner as well. Any points generated from special teams would be a huge bump in a game where the Jets are trying to pace themselves with the Patriots offense. I have a tough time seeing the Jets executing another fake punt because you know New England is going to be waiting for it. Let’s see how creative Mike Westhoff can get.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Jets vs. Colts Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling after Jets/Colts

Despite not being able to watch most of Sunday’s game live (damn you, Sunday weddings during football season!) and tweet irrational play-by-play analysis with you all, I did manage to catch enough of it to have a pretty good grasp of what went on. DVR’ing it and finally catching up on all the minor details didn’t hurt things either, and now I feel sufficiently confident and buying and selling all things New York Jets as we head into Patriots Week. Let’s get started..

BUY: Shonn Greene – YESSS!!!! FINALLY!!!!! For weeks I was the last remaining New York Jets fan defending Shonn Greene and telling everyone who would listen to not give up on this guy. It appears as though my plan to pretend to join the masses in giving up on Greene to motive him worked perfectly! Glad I could help, Shonn.

Ok, so maybe that’s not quite what happened, but it appears as though those thousands of Shonn Greene stock shares I own have just been upgraded out of Enron territory. Joe will have more on this in his offensive film breakdown, but Greene ran confidently, hit the holes hard, and didn’t even stumble over his feet that much. He even perfectly executed a spin move in the backfield to avoid a tackler and score a touchdown, which almost made me simultaneously spit out my drink and start crying out of pride and happiness. I felt like Pedro Cerrano at the end of Major League when he’s this close to giving up on Jobu, before crushing a huge home run. If Greene can run like that now that the weather is turning and the offensive line is starting to gel, we could really be on to something here.

BUY: Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller – The numbers weren’t crazy or anything, but these two guys being on the field helped open up the offense dramatically. Hill will drive us crazy all year with his inconsistent play and drops, but there’s no question that the defense has to account for his speed whenever he’s on the field. As for Keller, he didn’t do much as a receiver, but his blocking was tremendous, and it won’t be long before he gets into the swing of things catching passes.

BUY: Tebow’s 3rd and 1 run up the middle – I can’t for the life of me figure out why it took 6 weeks for the team to use Tebow for a power run up the middle in a short yardage situation. But better late than never I suppose, as they finally did it, having Tebow run right up the middle behind Nick Mangold, and — surprise, surprise– it worked! I’d like to see more of this, please.

BUY: Coaching – I know the perception of Rex Ryan is that he’s just some big bozo who runs his mouth and can’t back it up. That perception is wrong. Rex Ryan is really a very good coach, and this game was a prime example as to why. His defensive game plan was flat out brilliant, as he confused Andrew Luck for 4 quarters and managed to fix a run defense that was getting absolutely torched the past few weeks. Now, I know Vick Ballard isn’t exactly Adrian Peterson, but it was nice to see an excellent all-around defensive performance. On offense, kudos go out to Tony Sparano for staying the course and sticking with his run game while also finding ways to get borderline useless players like Jason Hill and Jeff Cumberland involved and actually put them in a position to make plays.

BUY: The Youth Movement – This wasn’t exactly planned heading into this season, but the Jets are quietly reloading and incorporating a youth movement while also managing to contend at the same time. Injuries to players such as Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Sione Po’uha and Eric Smith have forced youngsters like Kyle Wilson, Jeremy Kerley, Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Allen, and Quinton Coples into more prominent roles than they were expected to play. Throw in contributions from guys like Bilal Powell, Austin Howard, Demario Davis, and even — gasp! — Vlad Ducasse and the Jets are quietly building something very promising for 2013. And yes, I absolutely am going to expand on this for an article later this week, so be on the look out.

New York Jets Working To Change Perceptions

Can this “no name” Jets team form new perceptions about their team?

We are starting to see a new Jets team branding themselves out there, are we not? It’s early in the process we know. After all, Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes just left Gang Green for the year only weeks back. Since then however, this no name bunch of young Jets has teamed up with written off starters like Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene to battle the then undefeated Texans, and take care of business against a Colts team that simply had to be defeated. A task that is never a guarantee if you follow Jets history closely enough.

Among this excitable new crop of Jets gaining important playing time is Chaz Schilens. A wide receiver who lately, has spoken with enough pride about his belief in the systems in place and his teammates, that we are beginning to feel as though maybe something is gelling inside of the locker room of a team. A unity among this current and ever changing cast of characters, who may be rallying around the doubt that pervades them outside of Florham Park.

We all know what happens when a football team plays together. Even a team built out of a laundry list of stars in this sport can often times run into problems against a committed team that works together, despite a lack of any notable names on the backs of their jerseys.

Schilens, a fourth year vet and former Raider who has always owned physical potential and promise has slowly begun to make plays. This after waiting for a shot to contribute. Injuries to Holmes and recently to rookie WR Stephen Hill have allowed for that as Schilens has over the past few games, begun to turn himself into a player who can be counted on in tough yardage situations, with defenders draped on him.

His attitude off the field, has been one of a symbolic defiance lately too. Of refusing to be part of a team that is pigeonholed into an also ran so early in the year, even as injuries pile up. Here is what Schilens had to say about all of the talk regarding the Jets being a circus act and doomed for failure given who has been lost so far for the season:

“It’s so overly exaggerated it’s ridiculous. What’s not funny is you guys try to tell us maybe we shouldn’t even show up for the game or we’ll be outclassed or we’re not a good football team..When we get to full strength and get clicking on all cylinders with the parts we have right now, it’s not going to be funny, especially for other teams.”

There will be those who will paint Schilens’ words as just another example of a Jet sharing his views in an open door culture the team likes to promote. We see it as the voice of an entire team’s regrouped mindset.

A team that is changing it’s approach on the fly. From relying on a few top of the line stars to an entire room full of pieces. All fighting collectively for the same thing. Victories and respect.

New York Jets – Can They Remain A Factor In Mediocre AFC?

Can the New York Jets remain a factor in the increasingly mediocre AFC?

In case you haven’t noticed, the 2012 AFC is a breeding ground of mediocrity. Through six weeks, only two teams are over .500 (Baltimore and Houston, both at 5-1) and there are seven teams sitting at 3-3. Beyond that, you have eight teams under .500, including five teams who are already at least two games under. Let’s take a quick, semi-serious look at the flaws with every team –

Houston (5-1) – They just lost Brian Cushing for the season and were stomped out in their own building by the Green Bay Packers. They barely scrapped by the Jets as they were acclimating about 6 new players to full time roles. When has Matt Schaub ever won an important game? Seriously, name one.

Baltimore (5-1) – No Lardarius Webb (a huge on field loss). No Ray Lewis (a huge locker room loss). Terrell Suggs still not all the way healthy and Haloti Ngata is banged up. They are almost entirely reliant on their offense right now. Is Joe Flacco really on that level yet? He has shown signs but did also only score 9 points against the Chiefs who couldn’t beat 11 sobbing Jason Whitlocks right now.

Jets (3-3) – Of course, I am listing them before all the other 3-3 teams not based any specific criteria just because this is a Jets website after all. I won’t go into the Jets flaws here because I do that every single day and night (check for our articles later today!)

Patriots (3-3) – Marquice Cole might be the best player in their secondary right now. Also they manage their games like you would if you played your little brother in Madden. Basically, you have Belichick and Brady keeping a Joe Biden sh*t eating grin on their face until they get an intentional grounding and a 10 second run off before the half so they can’t kick a field goal…and then lose by 1 point.

Denver (3-3) – You can’t fall behind 3 touchdowns and win every week because you can’t play Philip Rivers and Norv Turner every week. Their running backs are awful and their defense is criminally overrated (trust me, I know a criminally overrated defense when I see one…look at the team I cover).

San Diego (3-3) – Can’t wait until they finish 8-8 and somehow bring back Norv, their GM and Rivers for one more run! Remember, insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.

Buffalo (3-3) – Mario Williams is the most overpaid player in football. Their defense is thoroughly atrocious  They are a lock to go 1-5 in the AFC East. Oh and their fans will be seeing this sign on their way to games in a few years…

Miami (3-3) – Not sold on the Tannehill-Hartline love fest yet. Despite beating powerhouses like Oakland, St. Louis and Cincinnati who promptly turned around and got whipped by 0-5 Cleveland. Also Reggie Bush is inevitably going to get hurt.

Cincinnati (3-3) – AJ Green is a fantasy God-send. Seriously, he is more consistent than intense stomach pains after a meal at PF Changs. Unfortunately, Andy Dalton has never beat a team over .500 in his life. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is not a lead back and their defense has taken a major step back.

Pittsburgh (2-3) – Outside of their passing game, they don’t do anything particularly well any more. Their defense is old and slow. Calvin Pace, Eric Smith, Bryan Thomas and Bart Scott would fit right in.

Indianapolis (2-3) – They won’t win more than 2 games on the road this season. No matter how many “LOOK AT THE POISE!” articles on Andrew Luck are written, he is still a rookie working with a suspect supporting cast.

Cleveland (1-5) – Most accurate description of a sports city possible –

Oakland (1-4) – If the Raiders traded two 7th round picks for Carson Palmer they would have overpaid. Nevermind what they actually paid for him.

Tennessee (2-4) – Matt Hasselbeck is still better than Jake Locker, which isn’t a good sign for the long term health of this franchise. Chris Johnson. (Nothing else needs to be added).

Jacksonville (1-4) – Are we surprised it looks like they overpaid for Laurent Robinson and that Blaine Gabbert is still awful? Would they still take Tebow for a 3rd round pick?

Kansas City (1-5) – Brady Quinn! Peyton Hillis! Dontari Poe! Jonathan Baldwin! BOOOO!!!!!!!

So where do the New York Jets fit into this cluster of mediocrity heading into week 7? Fortunately, in the division they are off to a good start by being 2-0 where tie-breakers will be of enormous importance. They have played both San Francisco and Houston already while New England has played neither and Buffalo and Miami have only played one apiece. Their schedule for the rest of the season doesn’t make it implausible to think they could grab 9 wins in a conference where 9 wins could equal a division title and 8 wins could equal a wild-card spot.

Ultimately their success this year will depend on how the new parts acclimate to extended playing time. Rex Ryan appears to have recognized the shortcomings on his base defense and looks to be using more varied looks and personnel. The Jets need players like Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Antonio Allen and Josh Bush to grow on the job while players like Antonio Cromartie, David Harris and Muhammad Wilkerson provide leadership and supply elevated levels of play that matches their talent.

On offense, Mark Sanchez needs to get the most out of his young group of receivers, starting this week in New England. We will get into this more tomorrow when we discuss offensive and defense game plans but the Jets must throw the ball down the field against the Patriots brutal secondary. This is the type of game they drafted Stephen Hill for and one that Jeremy Kerley, who is turning into a serious playmaker, should thrive in.

Obviously the running game must also remain effective. We have been harshly critical of Shonn Greene’s performance on this site in recent weeks because the film dictated that type of criticism. Greene broke out last week, thanks to better vision, a surprising amount of broken tackles, stronger run blocking and a weak run defense. Greene will shoulder a big load again this week and likely  next week while Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell are recovering from injuries. He must continue performing, to give balance to the Jets offense and open up the play action passing game. Proper use of Tim Tebow should also enhance a running game that has been struggling.

The Jets are facing a pivotal part of their schedule with two upcoming division games. They have an ability to take a stranglehold on the AFC East by winning their next two or an ability to dig themselves in a hole with losses in both. Realistically, a split should be the goal and would set them up well for a second half that features games against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo, St. Louis and San Diego at home in December.

This is a flawed team in a conference of flawed teams. There is an opportunity to create a little separation from the pack and gain a little respect with a win this week. Let’s see if the Jets are up to it.