New York Jets – 25 Problems And Yes Quarterback Is 1

25 problems the New York Jets have, including the quarterback position

We are going to skip over handing out a report card full of “Fs” today and instead run down all the current problems we see with the New York Jets, yes including the quarterback position. These aren’t listed in any particular order since there are so many –

1. Quarterback – Many people think my defense of Mark Sanchez means I think he is a great or even a very good quarterback. I do not. Sanchez is a serviceable quarterback who you can win with in the NFL if he is surrounded with the proper supporting cast. The Jets have done an awful job developing him and supporting him and are now paying the price. Does anybody else think 3 years from now we’ll be watching Sanchez thrive on another team? If you don’t, you haven’t been a Jets fan long enough.

2. Backup Quarterback – The problem with having a circus at backup quarterback instead of a quarterback who can run your offensive system is that it creates hesitancy to pull an ineffective starter. If the Jets had Jason Campbell as their backup, Sanchez is likely pulled at halftime of the San Francisco game and halftime of yesterday’s game. There’d also be a good chance he’d be the starter coming out of the bye week. Unfortunately, you have a coaching staff who has zero faith in their backup quarterback to run their offense and Rex Ryan knowing if he puts Tebow in on now he might get stuck with him next year at quarterback at the behest of owner Woody Johnson who brought him here in the first place.

3. Rex Ryan – Rex hasn’t had the pulse on this team since the beginning of last season. He allowed the locker room to become divisive and his team has shown up under-prepared and unready to play too frequently. Rex is supposed to be an elite defensive coach and he currently leads one of the league’s worst defenses.

4. Mike Tannenabaum – Can’t really fit all his mistakes into a paragraph and we have been ripping him apart over the past year here enough. He has done a poor job drafting, scouting and in free agency. His team is woefully understaffed on both sides of the ball. He is a numbers/salary cap guy, not a football guy.

5. Woody Johnson – He forced his front office to make Tim Tebow the backup quarterback when they wanted Drew Stanton for the job and seems to be tone deaf in his media appearances about the team.

6. Matt Slauson – Through 8 games hasn’t played like a capable NFL starting guard. He gets pushed around in the running game and isn’t a consistent pass protector. It actually makes sense to give Vladimir Ducasse his job at this point and that says enough about the Jets current guard situation.

7. Austin Howard – Remember the feel good celebrations when he replaced Wayne Hunter? Well according to our trusted friends at Pro Football Focus, Hunter has outplayed him this year. Howard isn’t a capable NFL starting tackle.

8. Brandon Moore – His level of play has continued to slip. Moore cannot consistently protect the quarterback and hasn’t been the same since a hip injury a couple of years ago.

9. Shonn Greene – Not good enough to be the only running back on a run heavy team because of his inability to break big plays and lack of range in the passing game.

10. Stephen Hill – Plenty of long term potential but the Jets put too much on his plate for this season by not pairing him with a proven, low maintenance veteran in the off-season to learn from.

11. Tony Sparano – Has he really been any better than Brian Schottenheimer? The offense seems unorganized and can’t find a rhythm. Does he realize the Jets are playing 10 on 11 when they line up Tebow at wide receiver?

12. Bryan Thomas – Can’t be starting player in the NFL anymore. Can’t rush the quarterback.

13. Calvin Pace – Can’t be starting player in the NFL anymore. Can’t rush the quarterback.

14. Bart Scott – Can’t be starting player in the NFL anymore. Seems to have been replaced, finally.

15. David Harris – Not playing like the Pro-Bowler he is paid to be. Actually has been thoroughly mediocre this season.

16. Muhamamd Wilkerson – He has been good against the run but is he the All-Pro player we heard he’d be all pre-season? Not even close. 1 sack through 8 games.

17. Quinton Coples – 2 sacks and 22 tackles through 8 games. Chandler Jones had 6 sacks, 18 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. Bruce Irvin has 4.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble.

18. Kyle Wilson – Routinely beat down the field. He doesn’t play to the level of a first round pick and probably couldn’t start on most other teams in the NFL.

19, Ellis Lankster/Garrett McIntyre/Eric Smith – Role players who aren’t good enough to be role players.

20. Darrelle Revis – Lost the best cornerback in football to a ACL injury. He has a tricky contract situation approaching that is scary to think about Mike Tannenabum handling.

21. Santonio Holmes – A proven threat but hadn’t been a productive player for over a full season before suffering a serious season ending foot injury.

22. Sione Pouha – Hasn’t been himself all season because of a back injury.

23. Kenrick Ellis – Was proving to be a more than adequate replacement for Pouha but is now hurt himself.

24. Clyde Gates – Is playing major reps on this team and is celebrating first downs in the 4th quarter while his team is down 24 points.

25. Matt Cavanaugh – Not sure where he has ever found success in the NFL as a coach and still remains the Jets quarterback coach.

Feel free to add on to the list in the comments section…

Initial Reaction – New York Jets Redefine Awful

The New York Jets reached another level of awful today against the Miami Dolphins

Where do you even start after something like that? The New York Jets were awful in every facet of the game today. They were out-coached and out-classed by a division rival in a hugely important game in their own building. To not even be competitive on a day like today is a damning indictment on Rex Ryan and his coaching staff.

Rex didn’t have his team prepared to play. Tony Sparano, his hand picked offensive coordinator, doesn’t have his unit together yet. They are sloppy and cannot consistently establish any type of rhythm. There were too many questionable play calls to even begin singling them out. Every time the Jets line up Tim Tebow at wide receiver, they are playing 10 on 11 and it still continues to happen. You want to shower praise on Mike Westhoff when the Jets special teams shows up? Blame him when they were an absolute disaster like they were today. A blocked punt. A blocked field goal. Allowing an onside kick recovery and a huge kick return…all in the same game? Embarrassing.

Mark Sanchez didn’t play well today. He had two brutal turnovers that were the fault of his and nobody else. On the whole, it was another inconsistent performance that will lead to two weeks of endless Tim Tebow speculation. He didn’t receive any help from his supporting cast. The offensive line had poor protection. There was no running game in the first half. Stephen Hill dropped another touchdown pass.

You can scream TEBOW as loud as you want. He isn’t the answer because he isn’t a better quarterback than Sanchez. Yes, the Jets should use him in some way, like a needed supplement to the rushing game. As a full time quarterback? You aren’t winning with the option every down in the 2012 NFL or moving forward. Spare me the citations from last year, Tebow went 8-8 in the worst division in football with a borderline elite defense and special teams. The Jets have neither.

Sanchez is a problem among many problems, that starts with a owner who forced a Tebow transaction on to his front office to sell tickets, then moves to a general manager who has been mediocre the past two years and to a head coach who hasn’t been able to find the pulse of his team the past year. It trickles down to a so far subpar offensive coordinator, an offensive line with holes, a running game that lacks explosion and a defense with zero pass rush or big play ability. The Jets are 3-5 through half of their season. Look at their roster right now and tell me they deserve to have a better record.

Turn On The Jets Roundtable Week 8 – Jets vs. Dolphins Predictions

The Turn On The Jets staff with their predictions for Jets vs. Dolphins this Sunday

Hot Sauce for everybody! 

Joe Caporoso12 Pack

Chris Gross – Jets 24, Dolphins 10 – Contrary to popular belief, the Jets have been playing some of the most consistent football that they have in about a year over the course of the past three games. The defense is beginning to get back form, despite lacking their best player, as well as an extremely inconsistent pass rush. Offensively, we are beginning to see a cohesion develop amongst the players that we have not seen in years past. Youngsters like Jeremy Kerley have stepped up to become significant players in this offense, while veterans like Dustin Keller have come back to instill strong play and leadership. Over the past two games, Shonn Greene seems to have found whatever it is he may have been missing in the first few weeks of the season, while Joe McKnight has put any questions about his toughness and commitment level to rest. The key with this group, as always, will be with Mark Sanchez. Sanchez played, what I believe was, his best half of football in New England last week. If Sanchez can build off of that strong second half performance, he should have no problem picking apart a very suspect Dolphins secondary. Look for Rex Ryan to throw the kitchen sink at Ryan Tannehill (5 INTs on the road this season) and Miami’s offense after being criticized for a conservative defensive approach last week. Expect Tannehill to turn the ball over at least twice, with Reggie Bush, who hasn’t had a 100 yard rushing effort since week 2, to be contained for the better part of the game. The Jets will look to pass to open up the run against the leagues 4th best rushing defense, and Sanchez will likely succeed, finishing with 275 yards and 2 touchdowns. The nature of these games are always interesting, so it will likely stay close for 3 quarters, with New York pulling away late, winning by two scores.

Rob Celletti –  Jets/Dolphins games are almost always dogfights.  The past few years, they haven’t exactly been displays of quality pro football. Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne seemed to be in races to the bottom in terms of quarterback play. So do I expect this trend to continue? Sort of. The Dolphins are coming off of a bye and will be healthy, fresh, and prepared. The Jets are playing very decent football, and have been for the last few weeks. Still, this matchup favors the home team. Ryan Tannehill has been solid, but is he ready to take down a good defense, in a divisional game on the road? I don’t believe so. Will Reggie Bush run rampant through the Jets’ front seven? He’ll be productive, sure, but I don’t think he dominates. On the flip side, Mark Sanchez has started to develop chemistry with Jeremy Kerley and his game has also been augmented by the return of Dustin Keller. The Miami secondary is porous – only slightly less so than New England’s statistically. Look for another good day from Sanchez (250 yards, 2 touchdowns). The game will be close, because AFC East games tend to be, but the Jets win and cover what I think is a low spread: Jets 24, Dolphins 16

Mike DonnellyPeople like to get on Rex Ryan for talking too much and being outlandish, but there truly is a method to his madness. Take this week for example. He knew his team was coming off a crushing loss in New England and could be facing a let down, so he spoke out about Reggie Bush and his comments from week 3. And wouldn’t ya know it, it didn’t take long for his players to immediately become focused and ready to dominate this Sunday. It won’t be an easy game, but I expect the defense to be a their best and hold Miami in check all game. The offense will continue to throw the ball well and do just enough to pull out a 20-10 victory.

Chris Celletti – I picked the Jets to cover the two point spread in my Best Bets piece, but I’m a little bit more worried about this game now than I initially was, because of the possibility of the weather impacting the game. If its rainy and windy, that will even out the advantage I expected the Jets to have in the passing game against Miami’s secondary. But rain or shine,  I still expect a big performance from the Jets’ defense. They have extra motivation now to shut down Reggie Bush, and they’ve always fared well against rookie quarterbacks at home under Rex Ryan. If the weather were to holds off, I think the Jets would put up a lot of points. Either way I like the Jets in this one; I’ll go 20-13.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 8 – Jets vs. Dolphins

12 predictions from Turn On The Jets for the New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins week 8 match-up

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back and sporting a perfect 7-0 record at picking the outcome of New York Jets games this season. We had another big week of coverage here with our ongoing mission to civilize coverage of this football team. A big thanks to Chris Gross, Mike Donnelly, TJ Rosenthal, Rob Celletti and Chris Celletti for doing their thing as always. Here is a recap of the previous week –

On to the predictions –

1. The Jets are going to hold Reggie Bush under 80 yards total rushing. This might seem like a stretch considering how Bush was gashing them back in week 3 before leaving with an injury. However, he hasn’t been the same player since that hit LaRon Landry put on him. Also back in week 3, an injured Sione Pouha hurt the Jets defense by getting pushed all over the field. Mike DeVito isn’t a great nose tackle but him at 100 percent is better than the 50% it looked like Pouha was playing at in week 3. Demario Davis will also be replacing Bart Scott at inside linebacker, bringing more speed to the position.

2. Shonn Greene isn’t going to crack 60 yards rushing. Miami’s front seven is too stout and he has never found success against the Dolphins. Look for something like 15 carries and 50 yards from Greene. However, I do think he scores his 6th touchdown of the year.

3. Joe McKnight and Jonathan Grimes will combine for at least 8 carries. Credit McKnight for playing through the pain of his high ankle injury. He seems to have really grown up this season and is showing a new level of toughness.

4. Tim Tebow will have a minimal impact on the game again. He won’t crack 35 total offensive yards and will finish the first half of the year without a touchdown.

5. Brian Hartline will have less than 50 yards receiving and will not score a touchdown. Look for Antonio Cromartie to spend most of the day on him. Keep an eye on Jabar Gaffney in the slot, he is a savvy receiver who could hurt the Jets if he sees extended reps.

6. Mark Sanchez is going to outperform Ryan Tannehill in every major statistical category.

7. Nick Folk will continue his perfect season, knocking through two more field goals. Could the Jets have a kicker and punter (Mayday Malone?) in the Pro-Bowl this year?

8. Jermey Kerley will have another 75 yards receiving. Dustin Keller will catch his 2nd touchdown of the season. Stephen Hill will bounce back from last week’s drop to put together a solid all-around game.

9. The Jets haven’t ran a true trick play on offense since week 1 when they broke out a flea flicker. We will see another trick play this week that goes for a big gain.

10. Anthony Fasano will have a solid day against the Jets defense…he always seems to.

11. Dan Carpenter is going to shank another kick. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano’s fist pumps are in his head.

12. The Jets are going to play their most complete football game of the season. I like the way this team has been trending since the Houston game, slowing improving every week particularly on offense. This is the week it comes together against a pretty good Miami team. The defense is going to be keyed up to slow down Reggie Bush and I think they answer the bell. Originally, I was going to pick a tight one but I think the Jets pull away in the second half and win 27-14.

Turn On the Jets Fantasy Preview – Keeper League & Week 8 Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Fantasy Football preview. Who should you start and sit, with a special focus on keeper leagues this week

Way back at the start of the 2012 fantasy football season in my 8 Easy Steps to Achieve the Perfect Fantasy League column, I strongly recommended that you get yourself involved in a keeper league with a group of your close friends that you know you’ll stay in touch with for at least the next few years. If you’ve never tried it, you should give it a shot, because it adds a whole new wrinkle to your fantasy season and even helps you keep fantasy in mind during the “dark period”, aka baseball season.

June becomes a whole lot more fun. Did one of your players just get traded or sign with a new team? I drafted him in the 6th round, is it worth it to keep him? Did that increase or decrease his value? Should you still keep him? Do you have a backup running back who is now shooting up the depth chart because the starter just got sent to prison for beating up a cop for the third time? All major things to keep an eye on for keeper consideration. Just as importantly, it forces you to keep trying during the current season, even as your once promising lineup is spiraling out of control toward a 2-11 finish due to injury, poor performance, or both (Damn you, Maurice Jones-Drew and your brittle bones!). In a standard league, at this point in the year if you’re 1-6 and totally out of it, you’re likely to throw in the towel, not pay attention to your lineup, and it becomes less and less fun for the other teams to even insult you.

Well, in a keeper league, that problem is solved. Since you’re going to be able to keep 2 or 3 players (or however many your league decides) heading into next year based on their previous year’s draft value, you can bolster your 2013 lineup while you take it on the chin in 2012. For example, in my keeper league, one team is totally out of it and traded Ryan Mathews and Antonio Brown (two players he had no intention of keeping in 2013) for Trent Richardson. Had it been a standard 1-year league, this trade would have caused death threats in a competitive league. However, since it is a keeper league and Trent could be a superstar, it was a fairly reasonable trade. I still hated it, but I digress. Anyway, today I’m going to throw out a few players you should be looking to target in a trade to build around for next year.

(Keep in mind I’m not going to suggest you keep Ray Rice. That’s obvious. This will be guys drafted in the mid-rounds this year who will provide great value for next year. I’m also going on the premise the keeper rules are you lose a pick in the 2013 draft based on where the player was picked in 2012. So if you took Alfred Morris in the 8th round and keep him next year, he’s put down as your 8th round pick.)

RB – Alfred Morris (drafted between rounds 6 and 8) – Heading into the season, there was great mystery surrounding who would be the Redskins starting running back, but Morris appeared to be the front runner. I personally have a strict “don’t take any Mike Shanahan RB’s” rule because of how he shuffles them in and out, but Morris locked down the role and looks like a stud. Playing with that RG3 fella certainly doesn’t hurt things either. Next year he will likely be picked somewhere in the #25-30 overall range, and that makes him a no-brainer keeper based on his 2012 draft position.

QB – Robert Griffin III & Andrew Luck (rounds 6-10)– This goes without saying, but if you’re the lucky guy who drafted RG3 in a standard league between rounds 6 and 10, well congratulations. If you did that in a keeper league, you can probably go ahead and start thinking about where to put your 2013 championship trophy. Andrew Luck hasn’t had quite the same success this year, but he’s been pretty damn good. And as the Colts surround him with better talent heading into next year he’s only going to get better. These guys are both going to be great.

RB – Stevan Ridley (rounds 5-9) – Ridley’s draft position was all over the board heading into 2012. He got a grip on the starting job late in the preseason and there was some uncertainty there in New England. Well, there’s much less uncertainty now. Ridley is on pace to easily surpass 1,200 yards rushing and score about 10 touchdowns. He averages a shade under 20 carries per game for one of the best offenses in the NFL and he’s only 23 years old. Guys like that don’t grow on trees. If the Ridley owner in your league is looking to upgrade for this year, this is a very solid guy to build around for 2013 with that round value.

WR – Percy Harvin (rounds 3-5) – Readers of this column know Harvin was a guy I was extremely high on heading into 2012 and he’s actually surpassed my expectations. In PPR leagues, he is an absolute stud with 53 catches through just 7 games. Oh, and he also tacks on rushing yards, which is a major bonus. He’s a top 5 receiver going forward, especially as Ponder progresses. If he was drafted any later than the 3rd round in your league, there is major keeper value there for you to try and target.

WR – Kendall Wright (round 10 or later) – Kendall Wright was a solid sleeper heading into the season, and he’s had a very solid rookie year. He’s currently 16th in the NFL in passing targets, and as Jake Locker improves, so will Kendall Wright. If you’re out of it and can trade a guy like Torrey Smith for Wright and get that late round value for 2013, it’s something you should definitely look into.

QB – Peyton Manning (round 5-7) – It’s hard to believe now, but Peyton Manning wasn’t even drafted as a QB1 in a lot of leagues heading into this season due to concerns about his injury. Well, so much for all that. Peyton has been an absolute stud and if the owner in your league has 2 QB’s and could use help at another position, Peyton is an excellent guy to target so you have a top 5 QB for next year. Suddenly, your crappy franchise is looking up!

RB – Rashard Mendenhall (round 9 or later) – Someone in your league likely drafted Mendenhall late hoping he’d contribute by this point in the season. Well, that hasn’t quite happened, and there’s a good chance that team could use some RB help since it hasn’t. Menenhall may not help this year, but since you’re already out of it, might as well swing a trade for him and wait for him to return to full strength in 2013. This is how you have to think when you’re 1-6 and need to rebuild.

Other Late Round Players to Consider Trying to Nab

WR – Stephen Hill

WR – Jeremy Kerley

WR – Josh Gibson

WR – Randall Cobb

RB – David Wilson

RB – Kendall Hunter

RB – Alex Green

QB – Ryan Tannehill

RB – Jonathan Stewart

RB – Daryl Richardson

WEEK 8 RECOMMENDED SITS

QB- Matt Stafford vs. Sea – Seattle has a tough defense, and did you SEE Stafford play on Monday? Ugh. At least he’s playing at home.

QB- Josh Freeman @ Minn – Throwing for 420 yards against the Saints is equivalent to about 215 yards against an average defense. The Vikings are better than average, and Thursday night games have not been kind to QB’s.

RB- Frank Gore @ Ari – Gore is banged up, the Cards have a tough D, it’s a rivalry game, and Arizona is home. Temper your expectations for Mr. Gore. 

RB- Steven Jackson vs NE – The Pats D is an embarrassment, but Steven Jackson is basically useless at this point for your fantasy team. Plus I feel like I’m forgetting something… oh right, SCHOTTY!

RB- Felix Jones vs. NYG – Whether he plays or not, I’d keep him on your bench against the Giants defense looking for week 1 revenge.

WR- Denarius Moore @ KC – The combination of Carson Palmer and Brandon Flowers should really limit Moore this week.

WR- Steve Smith @ Chi – Charles Tillman and the Bears D are playing out of their minds lately. Oh, and Cam Newton stinks.. can’t forget that part.

WR- Mike Williams @ Minn – Williams has been on a nice run lately, but that will come to a halt tonight in Minnesota.

TE- Jermichael Finley vs. Jax – This game could get out of hand early.. oh, and Jermichael Finley sucks. If you own him, you already know that though.

Thursday Night Picks

  • Joe – Vikings (-6.5)
  • Mike D – Vikings (-6.5)
  • Chris G – Vikings (-6.5)
  • Rob – Bucs (+6.5)
  • Chris C – Vikings (-6.5)

Turn On The Jets Week 8 Roundtable – Jets/Dolphins Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-up is most crucial in the Jets/Dolphins week 8 match-up

Joe Caporoso – LaRon Landry and the Jets Run D versus Reggie “Hot Sauce” Bush – There has been plenty of chirping from Reggie Bush about the New York Jets and LaRon Landry didn’t back down reminding that Bush “will remember his hit from week 3, every time he sees him on the field.” Should be a scrappy one on Sunday, no? In all seriousness, if the Jets slow down Reggie Bush and the Dolphins running game they will be in great position to win. Ryan Tannehill isn’t ready to put an offense on his shoulders on the road and win a division game. As for Bush? A suggested meal for him –

Chris Gross –  LaRon Landry vs. Reggie Bush: For the first time since we can remember, we are beginning to see the New York Jets display the ultimate camaraderie by proving to have each other’s backs. Following the Jets’ week 3 victory in Miami, Dolphins RB Reggie Bush blamed Darrelle Revis’s season ending ACL injury on karma, due to the fact that he thought the Jets were intentionally trying to injure him. Well, today, newly acquired safety LaRon Landry (who is quickly becoming a fan favorite on this defense) spoke up for his secondary brethren. When asked about Bush and his attitude toward the Jets and Revis, Landry responded:

“Every time he sees me, he’ll remember the hit. If I’m in the box or coming downhill, he will remember the hit.”
Could Landry have answered Bush’s comments any better? Number 30 has made a name for himself in this league as an extremely ferocious hitter, but rarely do we hear him come out and target one specific player. Bush has been very solid for Miami this season, and certainly is not one to back down from a challenge. Everyone should keep a close eye on these two this Sunday. Make no mistake about it, Landry will try to decapitate Bush the first chance he gets, while the former USC Trojan will likely try to make him look foolish in the open field. Who will reign victorious in this matchup? Something tells me Landry will not sleep until he has proven his point to Bush. 

TJ Rosenthal – Reggie Bush vs Jets Run Defense. Reggie Bush had alot to say about bounties and karma following the Jets and Dolphins prior meeting. One that saw a season ender occur for Darrelle Revis. An injury to Gang Greene’s best defender that sparked Bush’s “that’s what you get” views for having been targeted by the Jets. This after Calvin Pace alluded to such bounty-like behavior after the Jets OT win. Who has more to prove now? Bush or a Jets team that if Rex Ryan’s words today in asking for an apology from Bush are any indication, want some retribution? Bush is the Dolphins main cog on O even though rookie QB Ryan Tannehill has begun to settle in. If the Jets can rally around this storyline, it will help them find a new target of focus while separating from the potential hangover from yet another tough loss to the Pats. Rex is using the opportunity to motivate. Let’s see his Jet run stoppers follow their head coach’s lead with Reggie and crank things up Sunday.

Chris Celletti –  Forget The Run – I’m not saying the Jets should throw 50 times on Sunday against the Dolphins, but I’m also not saying they shouldn’t. Basically, I don’t think they Jets will have much success running the ball. Miami has a very good run defense, and despite a bit of a turnaround in New York’s run game as of late, I certainly can’t expect Shonn Greene to go off like he did against Indianapolis. Thus, I’m putting the onus on Tony Sparano to open the game up, take shots downfield, and how’s this: trust Mark Sanchez. However you want to slice it, Sanchez has played a lot better over the last three weeks; he’s played good enough for the Jets to win games, no question. Miami’s secondary is their weakness on defense, Jeremy Kerley has developed into a legitimate threat, and Dustin Keller is back and appears to be a hundred percent. Don’t let this game get into a defensive slugfest by being conservative on offense. The Jets’ defense has also been a lot better of late, so I expect a good outing at home against a rookie quarterback. I want to see the offense go for the kill early. If they indeed try to, I think Sanchez and the offense has a big day in a blowout win.

Mike Donnelly –  Jets Receivers vs. Dolphins Secondary is the matchup I’m most looking forward to this weekend as the Jets host the Fish. As we know, the Dolphins have one of the best run defenses statistically in the NFL so far this season, and it doesn’t appear to be a fluke. Yards are going to be hard to come by on the ground, especially with zero healthy running backs (McKnight’s ankle is clearly not right, and I’d be shocked if Greene was not still off in la-la land after that kill shot he sustained last week), and a Tebow that doesn’t get used. Fortunately, the Jets passing game has shown some serious signs of life the past few weeks, and don’t think the Dolphins didn’t spend their bye week preparing for the emerging Jeremy Kerley, and rookie Stephen Hill, who despite that killer drop last week, is getting healthy and improving each week. Throw in the return of Dustin Keller, and the Jets suddenly have a formidable trio going up against the Dolphins less than stellar secondary. I expect Mark Sanchez to continue his solid play and for the Jets offense to ride high into their bye week.

Rob Celletti – SHOCKER: I’m really interested in seeing how Mark Sanchez fares in this game, and I think this will be crucial to the Jets’ chances of winning. As we’ve tweeted and written about endlessly here at TOJ, Sanchez’s game has started to come around since the second half of the Monday Night loss to the Texans. The issue with him has really always been consistency.  Anyone who doubts Sanchez’s ability to play at a high level is guilty of selective memory and has already decided that they’d rather he not quarterback this team. But back to Sunday: if Sanchez can do what he did to New England (Miami’s dismal statistics against the pass – 28th in the league in yards allowed – suggests he will be able to), the Jets will win the game.

Bonus Sanchez Breakdown: Patience Must be a Virtue

Rob Celletti with a bonus breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s development and why patience is still needed

The only thing more difficult to stomach than Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots was the inane, baseless and downright absurd criticism of Mark Sanchez that followed it on SNY, Twitter, and the other usual outlets, despite the fact that he played well enough for the Jets to win. However, this is the age we live in. Every game is a referendum on a team, and thereby, their quarterback. Every loss raises the question: can this guy cut it? Wins almost always lead to inordinate and undeserved amounts of praise.

So as I consumed and contributed to the discussion, I came across the following sentence, ironically in a gossip article about Sanchez’s supposed split from Eva Longoria: “Quarterback Sanchez, 25, who was already partying at the club…” blah blah blah. I literally went back to the beginning of the sentence, semi-shocked: Wait…Sanchez is 25 years old! 25! He’s practically a child! How easily we forget this. At least I did.

But, it’s his fourth season, the season where quarterbacks are supposed to “turn the corner”. Consistency is expected. Accuracy should improve. Yardage, YPA and touchdowns are supposed to increase; turnovers expected to decrease. Realistically, this should only be expected if the quarterback has been put in a stable and sustainable situation for growth. Sanchez has had the same head coach for the first four years of his career, but little else has remained constant. He’s dealt with a revolving door of receivers, right tackles and backup tight ends. He’s in the midst of learning a new system. And oh yeah, he who shall not be named. But that’s all besides the point.

Sanchez’s age made me wonder: when do most of the league’s most productive quarterbacks make the proverbial leap? As someone who is at least semi-interested in the statistical revolution that’s happening throughout all sports – started of course in baseball by Bill James and put into practice famously by Billy Beane – one of the more fascinating theories was that players have a discernible prime age. In baseball, the magic number is the Age 27 season. This is the power prime for hitters. It’s also around the time when a lot of players become free agents, so it’s advised that teams on a budget (anyone not named the New York Yankees) not overpay for talent that will almost certainly decline over the coming years. But there seems to be something about that 26-28 age range where something clicks.

So, who’s up for a little experiment? Let’s apply this theory to the last five Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and see how the numbers look. They are: Eli Manning (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning. All of them are indisputably “elite”. Jets fans would be happy if Mark Sanchez developed into HALF of any of them. But at what age did Eli become Eli? Brees become Brees? READ ON (all statistics from Pro Football Reference).

Sanchez has rightly been compared to Eli Manning before for many reasons, but mainly because of how similarly their careers began and the fact that they both play in New York. There isn’t a Giants fan on earth who was sold on Eli until he threw the Super Bowl winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress. And even still, Eli’s 2007 regular season (Age 26) was nothing to brag about. He completed 56.1% of his passes, his YPA a rather poor 6.3 (good for 26th in the league behind stalwarts such as Tavaris Jackson and Vince Young). He also threw 20(!) interceptions. Amazingly, Eli turned 27 on January 3rd and EXACTLY one month later, he lifted the Lombardi trophy. In subsequent seasons, Eli has certainly raised his play to a consistently high level. He threw for only 3,238 yards in 2008, but his completion percentage jumped 4 points and he cut his interceptions in half. Eli was on his way to the “elite” status he has rightfully earned.

Aaron Rodgers may well be the outlier in this discussion, but bear in mind, he didn’t start a game in the NFL until his age 25 season. After playing understudy to Brett Favre for three years, Rodgers came in and dominated right away. That he threw for 4,038 yards in his first season on the job is borderline ridiculous. His 63.6% completion percentage that year is, laughably, a career-low. But even after such an unfathomable start to his career, Rogers found another gear. 2011 was one of the all-time great years by any quarterback ever. Rodgers posted an insane 9.2 YPA and an aggregate QB Rating of 122.5. He amassed 45 touchdowns and threw only 6 interceptions. This was Rodgers’ Age 28 season (though he didn’t actually turn 28 until December). I’m noticing a trend. Are you?

Drew Brees’ story is well-documented. The 6-foot-nothing quarterback that the Chargers couldn’t wait to get rid of got a second chance in New Orleans and three years later delivered the former laughingstock franchise its first Super Bowl title. But Brees’ first two years in the league were rocky to say the least. He was benched in his second season. And while he did get his act together and produce in San Diego, Brees’ leap took place in his first season in New Orleans at – you guessed it – age 27. Brees outpassed his career-best yardage total by nearly 1,000. He attempted 54 more passes and threw 4 fewer interceptions (though to be fair, Brees’ interception rate has held pretty steady throughout his career). By his 2009 Super Bowl season, Brees had cemented himself as one of the NFL’s best.

Ben Roethlisberger’s case is an interesting one, but the magic number comes into play here as well. Yes, he went 13-0 in his rookie year and won a Super bowl in his second season, but he had certainly not been handed the keys to the car. Similar to Sanchez, Roethlisberger received a ton of support from a run-heavy system, stellar defense and tremendous coaching. He was asked simply not to lose games. What happened when the Steelers leaned more heavily on Roethlisberger, following their championship season and the retirement of Jerome Bettis? Roethlisberger struggled. His completion percentage fell three points. His YPA dropped from 8.9 to 7.5. He was intercepted 23 times. He threw for a career high 3,513 yards, but only because he attempted 201 more passes in 2006 than he did in 2005. And oh yeah, Pittsburgh went 7-8 in games started by Roethlisberger.

Can you imagine if this happened in New York? Can you imagine if management went out and made an asinine trade for a flashy backup quarterback? Fortunately for Steelers fans, their organization isn’t owned by Woody Johnson. Yes, they had the tonic of a recent Super Bowl championship to ease the pain, but they stuck with their quarterback. He was only 24, after all. Age 25 was good to Roethlisberger, but he was statistically mediocre in 2008 as a 26 year old, until the playoffs. It was here, just a month before turning 27, that Roethlisberger cemented himself as a big time NFL quarterback. From 2009 on, Roethlisberger has put up two 4,000+ yard seasons and generally earned his place among the league’s best.

Finally we come to the granddaddy of them all: Peyton Manning. Let’s be clear: Peyton is a freak. He’s the best quarterback of this NFL generation, and this is not disputable (Brady‘s three rings be damned; Manning was busy changing the game while Brady was battling Drew Henson for playing time at Michigan). He’s been putting up 4,000 yard seasons like nothing since 1999 (Age 23). But if you look at his stats, there is a shift as Peyton hit his prime at 27: mainly, he stopped turning the football over. Through his first five seasons, Manning was intercepted on 3.54% of his pass attempts. In 2003, that number dropped off a cliff to 1.8%. It didn’t go above 2.2% again until 2007, Manning’s age 31 season. Because the interceptions fell, Manning’s QB rating spiked, jumping 22 points between 2003 and 2004.

So you may be thinking: I just wasted 10 perfectly good minutes of my day reading that garbage. Mark Sanchez sucks! He’s never going to be any of these guys.

Maybe. But the bottom line is, we don’t know. As the New England game has been dissected, the one thought that’s prevailed is that Jets fans still don’t know what to make of their starting quarterback. Game to game, quarter to quarter, throw to throw, the only thing consistent has been the quarterback’s inconsistency. In truth, Sanchez may be one of the hardest quarterbacks to pin down in the league right now, because of all of the external factors that may or may not be affecting his growth. The only way for the Jets to find out what they really have in Sanchez is to give him a solid and consistent supporting cast (this includes getting rid of you know who), and be patient. How patient? Sanchez turns 27 in 383 days.

New York Jets Week 8 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Dolphins

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins

A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets critical week 8 match-up against the Miami Dolphins –

1. This game is without question a must win and has the potential to be a turning point in the Jets season in either a positive or negative way. They can’t afford to drop to 2-2 in the division, 3-4 in the AFC, take a season split with Miami, and have to sit on the loss for two weeks before heading cross country to Seattle, a game the Jets will appropriately be underdogs in. A victory keeps them within one game of New England, guarantees a tie-breaker with Miami (who will be a wild-card contender) and puts their conference record over .500. You can’t lose this game at home to a rookie quarterback.

2. Nobody is saying Ryan Tannehill hasn’t played well for a rookie or that the Miami Dolphins aren’t a talented team. Yet many people are getting carried away with their lofty praise. Let’s keep in mind Tannehill was 16/36 with a INT returned for a touchdown in the team’s previous meeting which was about a month ago. The Dolphins have beat Oakland and St. Louis at home along with a Bengals team on the road, who couldn’t even beat the Cleveland Browns. Overall, Miami is 1-2 on the road, averaging 16 points per game and Tannehill only has 1 TD pass between the three games.

3. The Jets are going to have their hands full with Miami’s running game. They were gashed back in week 3 and that was with Reggie “Don’t Call Me Hot Sauce” Bush missing the entire second half. It is doubtful that Sione Pou’ha and Kenrick Ellis are going to play making the challenge even more difficult. If the Jets can slow down Bush, it will put that much more pressure on Tannehill and likely force him into a handful of mistakes.

4. On offense, the Dolphins are stout in the front seven. The Jets can’t be stubborn and try to force the running game if it isn’t there. This Dolphins secondary can be exploited. Jeremy Kerley is rolling right now and hurt the Dolphins with two big plays in the previous meeting. Dustin Keller is back after missing week 3 and Stephen Hill looks to be 100 percent healthy. Tony Sparano and Mark Sanchez can’t be shy about throwing down the field.

5. Look for Antonio Cromartie to cover Brian Hartline for most of the game. If Cromartie keeps playing the way he has been, I’m not sure who else in the Dolphins passing game is going to hurt the Jets.

Turn On the Jets Stock Watch: Patriots Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch. Buying and selling after Jets/Patriots

After the Jets crushing loss to the Patriots on Sunday, all Jets fans seemed to fit squarely into one of two categories: Either you were happy with the way the team played, showing fight, never quitting, and going toe-to-toe with the Patriots in Foxboro, OR you pulled the “there are no moral victories!” card, bashed Mark Sanchez for his costly fumble, and said a loss is a loss is a loss, no matter what. I don’t think things have to be quite so black and white, and the appropriate way to feel about this Jets team right now is somewhere in the middle.

The game was right there for the taking, and there is no question the Jets should have pulled it out if not for a curious lack off aggressiveness when it came time to step on the Patriots throat and put them away. The offense played for 3 instead of 7 and then the defense unsurprisingly was unable to hold Tom Brady when it mattered most. We all know what happened by now. It was about as painful of a regular season loss as I’ve seen from the Jets in years. HOWEVER, there is plenty to be happy about with this team and the way they played. Let’s take a look.

BUY: Mark Sanchez & Dustin Keller – It’s amazing how much better the offense looks when Dustin Keller is on the field, isn’t it? He clearly has the most rapport with Mark Sanchez out of anyone on the roster and it really shows. In fact, in the 3 games Dustin has been on the field this year, here are Mark Sanchez’s passing numbers:

58-86, 67.4%, 676 yards, 6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Those are excellent numbers no matter how you slice it, and it really speaks volumes. Mark Sanchez is not perfect by any stretch, but the kid is a GOOD quarterback. For the majority of the season his top targets were Jeff Cumberland and Chaz Schilens. Think about that. Nobody can thrive when put in that position, but now that Jeremy Kerley is emerging, Stephen Hill is coming along, and Dustin Keller is getting healthy, Mark is playing some of his best ball. Unfortunately, there are fans out there who won’t give #6 any form of credit no matter what he does, and that is a disgrace. (I even tweeted about this during the game.) The bottom line is this: Mark Sanchez played an excellent game on Sunday, making great throws to Keller and Kerley all over the field and all anybody wants to bring up is the fumble and the admittedly horrible interception in the end zone. Other than that, he was pretty much flawless, and when he left the field with just over a minute to play in the 4th quarter, his team had the lead. Everyone wants to pile on and trash him when he makes a bad play, but lets give him credit when it’s due.

SELL: The playcalling – We’ve been over this ad nauseam since Sunday so I won’t beat a dead Sparano, but that sequence of plays when the Jets had the ball at the Pats 4, 3rd & 1 and a half or so, you’ve got to have Tebow in the game to plow forward. The slant to Chaz Schilens is a terrible play call anywhere on the field and that situation was no different. Just had to mention this. Again.

BUY: Shonn Greene & Joe McKnight – Shonn Greene is another guy Jets fans love to hate, but his performance on Sunday was really great to see. He ran for the tough yards all day against a stout Patriots run defense, and contributed 6 big catches to move the chains and give the Patriots something else to think about on defense. And let’s be real, Shonn Greene is A MAN. There’s no other way to really describe him. After seeing him bounce back up after that crushing show from Brandon Spikes, then return to the game because the team needed him, well it was pretty awesome.

Same goes for Joe McKnight, who had his typically tremendous day in the kick return game and managed to grind out 7 carries for solid yardage after Greene’s injury, despite hobbling around on one leg and looking like he was in a great amount of pain all game. When Bilal Powell returns from injury, the Jets will have a pretty solid little trio of backs, especially when you throw Lex Hilliard into the mix. They’re not the most talented group around, but they can definitely get the job done.

SELL: Matt Slauson & Brandon Moore – Yes, our guards are now officially bad. Matt Slauson was beat several times during the course of the game and actually had me calling to see more Vlad Ducasse. Yes, that Vlad Ducasse. Brandon Moore’s struggles are tough to watch, because he’s been such an underrated and key player of this team for so long. Last year, his run blocking slipped noticeably, but was still excellent protecting the quarterback. This year, not so much. He’s still serviceable, but we are likely seeing the last few games of Moore’s very good career. Look for an overhaul at the position in the offseason as both starters are likely to be replaced.

Fortunately, Nick Mangold is as good as ever and D’Brickashaw Ferguson is looking more like the 2010 version than 2011. If Chandler Jones had been playing, I’m sure Brick would have had a much worse game, though. Oh wait, Jones did play? And he did nothing? Weird..

BUY: Mo Wilkerson & Quinton Coples – Chandler Jones may not have made a peep all game, but Quinton Coples sure did. Coples was routinely getting pressure in the Pats backfield, and should have recorded his 3rd sack of the season, but David Harris cleaned it up and got the credit. Chris will cover this more in his defensive breakdown, but there is little doubt Coples is going to be an excellent player for the Jets. As for Wilkerson, he’s really starting to come into his own as the dominant force on the defensive line we all expected this season. He was double-teamed nearly the entire game and still managed to almost single-handily disrupt the Pats run game as well as get up into Tom Brady’s face. Throw in Kenrick Ellis, and the Jets defensive line is looking like a major strength for the next few years.

BUY: Demario Davis & Antonio Allen – It was great seeing Demario Davis play so much this week and to make such an impact. When he knifed his way through the line and made a stuff in the backfield, I could hardly believe my eyes. It had been so long, I forgot a linebacker was allowed to do something like that. Davis is far from perfect, but he’s super athletic, fast, and he can lay the wood. The same goes for Allen, who played a lot in the Jets “big nickel” defense, to slow down the Pats tight ends while keeping an eye on the run game. For most of the game, it worked very well. New “hybrid” defenders like Davis and Allen, along with perhaps Marcus Dowtin, are the new breed of defenders in the NFL and will be key for the Jets going forward defending teams like the Patriots. More Davis and Allen, less Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, and Eric Smith is a great thing.

New Look New York Jets Passing Game Has Potential

The new look New York Jets passing game has a high amount of potential and the Jets must take advantage of it

There was excessive lazy analysis by many NFL writers over the past month that characterized the New York Jets passing offense as a “wasteland” that lacked any talent. This went hand in hand with the analysis that ranked them as one of the worst teams in the league, which is a laughable assertion at this point. The Jets aren’t Jacksonville. The Jets aren’t Kansas City. The Jets aren’t Oakland. The worst teams in the league don’t beat the Colts by 30 points, don’t lose to the 6-1 Texans by 6 and don’t take the Patriots to overtime in their building.

But back to the Jets passing game. When all this criticism was being thrown around there was an ignorance of just how much Jeremy Kerley had been progressing. Kerley has pulled in 25 receptions on 40 targets so far this season, racking up 435 yards at an impressive 17.4 yards per catch. Over the last 3 weeks he is top ten in the NFL in both receiving yards and receptions. The much maligned by Mike Tannenbaum appears to have found a gem in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Kerley has underrated speed to go with his quickness in and out of breaks on his routes. For such a young receiver, the precision on those routes has been extremely impressive. He has also shown consistent hands and an ability to make tough catches in traffic. Kerley has looked the part of a very capable lead receiver the past few weeks.

The value of a healthy Dustin Keller was also glossed over by many. Keller showed in the running game against the Colts as a surprisingly solid blocker but really made noise this past week against New England with 7 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. With Kerley producing on the outside and in the slot, it frees up the middle of the field and creates favorable match-ups for Keller. Without an unnecessary amount of balls being funneled to Santonio Holmes, Keller should be able to consistently put up strong numbers.

Despite everybody being down on Stephen Hill because of a critical late game drop, he has flashed very good potential through 7 games. He is also now fully healthy. Hill has only logged four games this season that weren’t hampered by injury (he missed two and was clearly banged up against Miami), in those four games he has three touchdowns, 12 catches and 167 yards. Before dropping that pass, he had four tough catches in traffic and showed good body control and discipline on his routes. A rookie out of a triple-option offense is going to make mistakes but Hill is still going to make his share of big plays. Defenses must respect his speed and size, which will only further open things up for Kerley and Hill.

Outside of those three, you have two role players who at least have good speed and have made a few plays in Jason Hill and Clyde Gates. Hill drew a critical pass interference penalty against New England because he beat his man on a double move and caught a touchdown against Indianapolis. Gates had an impressive 27 yard catch against the Texans. Chaz Schilens is coming off a rough outing against New England but prior to that had been a productive possession receiver. It will be interesting to see if his role is reduced moving forward.

Obviously everything comes back to Mark Sanchez, who has quietly made strides over the past two weeks despite the usual round of criticism. Over the past two weeks here are his stats – 39/59 (66 completion percentage), 410 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception. Sanchez is going to make his share of mistakes just like the overwhelming majority of quarterbacks in this league but the Jets can’t by shy about letting him throw aggressively down the field when the match-ups dictate it. After a brutal start against the Dolphins, Sanchez carved them up the in fourth quarter and overtime, finishing with over 300 yards passing and leading the go ahead drive in the 4th quarter and game winning drive in overtime. Miami is strong in the front seven but questionable in the secondary. The Jets must attack down the field.

There are going to be match-ups the Jets need to be more careful about (see on the road in Seattle) but for the most part, they can’t be shy about utilizing Kerley, Keller and Hill who many teams will have a tough time matching up with. The Jets passing game, like their entire team is not the punchline it is generally portrayed to be and has the potential to keep them very relevant in the division and playoff race.