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: AFC East Preview

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch previews the AFC East

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch, today breaking down the AFC East. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and check out our new partner Night Out – 

After watching the Jets this offseason, I’ve decided I can’t do an All-Jets stock watch this week. I’m still waiting for a response from Mike Tannenbaum after the letter I wrote to him the other day, so I’ll let everyone know when he gets back to me, and I’ll reserve more comment until that time. I’m sure it’s high on his list of things to do, somewhere between “find the next Victor Cruz”, and “get back those incriminating pictures Wayne Hunter has of me”, because things like “get competent NFL lineman” and “find tight end who can block” are clearly not priorities. Let’s just move on before I punch my laptop.

But don’t worry Jets fans, there is still some Jets content coming today because I’ve decided to kick off my NFL preview series with the AFC East, which is home of our mighty J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. I’m going to be buying and selling records (the real Vegas lines), stats, prop bets (mostly made up ones by me), and whatever else I deem relevant. Here we go…

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4), #1 seed

BUY: Over 11.5 wins – Sigh. I have the Pats down for 12 wins because of Tom Brady, another ridiculously easy schedule somehow, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and of course, Tom Brady. Looks like another division win for Cheating Bill and his prized unbelievably crappy defense. Ugh.

BUY: Tom Brady over 5,000 yards – I couldn’t find an actual prop for Brady’s yards this season, but I would be happy to bet that he breaks Drew Brees’s record from just last year. Can’t you just picture Tom going into Cheating BIll’s evil lair this offseason, mentioning what Brees did, then they both just nod at each other with the understanding this year they’ll blow that new record right out of the water? Well, I sure can.

SELL: Brandon Lloyd over 1,000 yards – I know a lot of people are extremely high on Lloyd this year as he’s following his coach/mentor/super best friend  Josh McDaniels to their third team together, plus he gets to play with Tom Brady this time. Unfortunately, I think the Pats just have too many weapons and Lloyd won’t be dominating to the degree many are expecting. There’s some free fantasy advice for ya.

SELL: The Patriots Defense – So funny how the media bows to Belichick and raves about how his two rookie defenders will dominate from day 1, but Quinton Coples is a lazy bum and is the second coming of Vernon Gholston. I guess it’s Bill’s awesome track record of drafting superstar defenders lately like Jermaine Cunningham, Ron Brace, and Darius Butler that would lead everyone to believe that.

2. NEW YORK JETS (10-6), wild card

BUY: Over 8.5 wins – I know, I know. After watching the preseason so far and seeing the complete lack of depth or quality blockers on the team, it’s hard to like the Jets right now. But let’s face it, this defense is going to be AWESOME. Rex is going to unleash that defense three times against rookie QB’s (Luck once, Tannehill twice), Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, Jake Locker, Kevin Kolb, Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, Matt Flynn, and Alex Smith this year. 9 wins is a lock. In fact, as down as most of us are right now, I think this is a 10 or 11-win team that’s heading to the playoffs this year.

BUY: Shonn Greene over 1,200 yards – I know many, many fans don’t believe in Greene, but here’s why I expect big things from him: he’s in a contract season. Never underestimate the hunger of a player playing for money. He’s going to play every game, Sparano is going to feed him the ball, and he’s going to play very well.

SELL: 4.5 games started by Wayne Hunter – I really, truly believe Mike Tannenbaum is going to do something drastic to address the RT position soon, which will relegate Hunter to a bench player.

BUY: Mark Sanchez over 60% completions – I think Sanchez is going to take a big leap this year. The numbers may not quite be there overall in a running offense, but we will see a noticeable difference in his play.

OVER: Quinton Coples 4.5 sacks – Some fans won’t be happy unless Coples racks up 15 sacks, but if he gets over 5 this year that would be a very solid rookie year for a lineman who will be taking on two blockers a lot of the time this year.

3. BUFFALO BILLS (6-10)

SELL: Over 8 wins – Sorry, we’ve been over this ad nauseam here, but the Bills are the most overrated, overhyped team around this year.

SELL: Over 2.5 media members who will admit they were wrong about it – The funny thing about the offseason darling team everyone picks in July to go to the playoffs, is that nobody is willing to admit they were on that bandwagon when they lose their 11th game in December. I’ll be happy to call out all the “experts” as best I can when this happens in Buffalo this year.

BUY: CJ Spiller – I think Spiller is going to be a nice little sleeper in fantasy football this year. Fred Jackson is an old, injured man, and Spiller helps them out since they have just one receiving threat. He will get his touches.

SELL: Mario Williams over 10 sacks – Granted, he can easily approach this number in two games against Wayne Hunter (ok, more like 2 quarters), but I don’t see Mario getting to double digits. He wouldn’t be the first guy to mail it in after a huge contract, right Albert Haynesworth?

SELL: Ryan Fitzpatrick – Speaking of guys sucking after getting a big paycheck, how about that Ryan Fitzpatrick?! I see that second half slide from last season carrying into this year.

4. MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-11)

SELL: Over 7 wins – Sorry, I can’t think of a single reason why this number would be so high. Not one.

SELL: 36.5 games coached by Joe Philbin – I went over this in my Hard Knocks review, but man oh man, that Joe Philbin sure doesn’t inspire much confidence does he? I don’t think you’ll see too many Dolphins fans this year saying “Man, I’m really glad we hired Joe Philbin!”. Actually, I don’t think you’ll see too many Dolphins fans this year, period.

BUY: Reggie Bush – In fantasy football leagues where catches count, Reggie Bush is going to be a very popular man this year. Well, at least he will be for the 10 games he actually plays. The Fins will always be losing and playing catch-up, and mop up time is where Reggie Bush shines!

SELL: 0.5 Quality Receivers on the Team – I would have put this at under 0.5 even before Chad Johnson got cut. Davone Bess is still there, and he counts for about 0.4 of a quality receiver, but not quite the 0.51 to push this over the total.

New York Jets: An Examination Of Aaron Maybin’s “Ego”

Chris Gross on why the recent criticism of Aaron Maybin has been unwarranted

In an article published to BuffaloNews.com, columnist Tim Graham observed recent comments made by New York Jets OLB Aaron Maybin. Graham, like many fans and analysts out there, has taken a very negative view of what Maybin has said, declaring him as egotistical and “delusional.” However, when looking at Maybin’s thoughts and comments, with bias aside, there is certainly another way to interpret what the former first round draft choice was preaching. Let’s take a look at each quote while observing how people are interpreting it, along with an alternate translation.

“Me and that slow-down button don’t get along too well, but I’m learning.”

This quote was used as an example to demonstrate how Aaron Maybin’s ego has been refueled in New York. However, finishing the quote by saying “but I’m learning,” tells me something else. Maybin seemingly realizes that he plays completely out of control at times. Although he accumulated 6 sacks over 12 games last season, anyone who knows anything about rushing the passer can tell you that he probably would have reached double digits in sacks if he played with any type of control. Maybin’s high motor is certainly one of the positives to his game, however, getting to the quarterback is an art. Not only do you need to be extremely fast and explosive off of the line of scrimmage, but you also need to have the awareness to slow it down just at the right moment, or you will find yourself running right past the quarterback as he steps up into the pocket, something Maybin did countless times last season. So, while some wish to consider him egotistical for praising his own motor, it is actually a case of Maybin seemingly poking fun at himself, while making the clear assertion that he needs to be more under control to build on his success from last year.

“It is hard to say that you are satisfied, but I am saying this is probably the most fun I’ve had in a training camp in my career.”

Apparently this has been interpreted as Maybin taking a shot at the Bills. People have criticized this comment because Maybin has only been in about 2.5 training camps, if you take his rookie hold out and the fact that he was released twice last season into account. So, because he doesn’t quite have three full training camps under his belt, he isn’t allowed to have fun? Graham makes the argument that he speaks as if he has experience similar to that of Pro Football Hall of Famers.

I’m just not sure what to make of this. Yes, Maybin certainly does not have the most experience in the NFL. However, he simply declared, in comparison to his prior experience, this is the most fun he has had in camp during his short career. Putting any Jets or Bills bias aside, it is fair to say that the more significant role you have on the team, the more enjoying practice will be. This can be related to any field of work. Who do you think has more fun at ESPN every day, Adam Schefter or the night cleaning crew? Who has more fun at the Tonight Show, Jay Leno, or the people collecting tickets at the door? No disrespect to anyone, but work is simply more enjoyable when you have a prominent role in your company, regardless of what field you are in. Maybin finally has a significant role, in an elite defense mind you, so to him, it is exciting to get out there and work towards improving himself and the team every day.

As far as his statement declaring that it is hard to stay satisfied, there is no doubt that anyone associated with sports at any level knows that the best ones never are. Do you think Kobe Bryant is content with five NBA championships? Is Tom Brady happy with his three Super Bowls? Is LeBron James all set now that he has finally won a single Championship? If they were, what would be the point of playing the game? The great ones are never satisfied, regardless of the amount of success they have had. Peyton Manning would already be in discussion as the greatest Quarterback to ever play the game if he were to retire today, however he has worked himself back from a very serious neck injury to continue his career. I can assure you his motivation was not financially related. Any of these players are perfectly fine in that area. Instead, it is that competitive drive, the lifeblood that has propelled each of their careers since the day they began playing their respective sports. Is it a coincidence that players like Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, and Michael Jordan had such a difficult time walking away from the game?

For the most part, anyone who has made it to the professional level, possesses or has possessed that drive at some point during their careers. Maybin struggled early, but because of his hunger, worked himself to a notable season last year. Now, he has simply tasted how sweet personal success is, and he wants more. Maybin is hungry to bring further success not only to himself, but to his team as well. So, while he is being criticized for being cocky, it is simply a matter of the mindset of a professional athlete, the desire to be the best of the best, the need for success and nothing else. Some have it, others don’t, and that can be the difference between good and outstanding when it comes to sports. Maybin is being condemned for speaking about his drive, but he should instead be praised for his continued work ethic to build on his strong 2011.

The final point to be made is the hypocritical title of Graham’s article, since it was posted to a Bills biased news source. Graham entitled his article “Aaron Maybin pretends he has veteran perspective.”

Again, Graham, like everyone else, is entitled to their own opinion and interpretation of quotes. However, Graham claims that Maybin is “a tad delusional about his brief NFL tenure.” This is an interesting choice of words considering how most people closely associated with the Bills seem more than a tad delusional about their complete lack of success over the past two decades. The last time the Bills even appeared in the post season, they fell to Tennessee in what is today known as the Music City Miracle. Yet, Buffalo had a strong offseason and everyone is ready to crown them as the number two team in the division with an almost guaranteed wild card spot. To talk about another team or player having an undeserving sense of entitlement, is beyond hypocritical of anyone associated with Buffalo, considering the franchise’s extensive stretch of below average play.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Jets vs. Bills Edition

Chris Gross goes Fact or False on the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, who are battling to be New England’s main competitor in the AFC East

With all of the hype surrounding the Buffalo Bills this offseason, particularly as the favorites to challenge the Patriots for the top of the AFC East this year, it seems as if many have forgotten that the Jets still play in the division. Since the Bills made the big splash this offseason in signing free agent defensive end Mario Williams, coupled with the Jets 8-8 season last year, most people have written New York off, and have proclaimed the Bills as the best team behind New England in the East. However, when comparing the Jets and the Bills, there are several things to consider before handing Buffalo two easy victories this season. This week’s New York Jets Fact Or False focuses on what to believe, and what not to believe, when it comes to the Jets vs. the Bills.

Fred Jackson will be an elite level RB this season. False. While Jackson surely experienced the greatest success of his career last season, the clock unfortunately struck midnight on his Cinderella story in week 11 when he suffered a fractured fibula against the Miami Dolphins. Now Jackson, on the wrong side of 30, will try to bounce back from the leg injury while battling father time, which just so happens to be horribly unkind to NFL Running Backs. In fact, last season there were only two backs that ranked in the top 30 in the NFL in rushing yards over the age of 30, Willis McGahee, who had just turned 30 in October of 2011, and Jackson. While it would certainly make for a nice story, it will be extremely difficult for Jackson to establish an elite level of production this season when considering all of these factors. Of course, crazier things in the NFL certainly have happened, however don’t forget that Jackson has had only just a single 1,000-yard season during his five years in the NFL. To expect him to surpass that less than a year removed from a broken leg at age 31 would be asinine.

Mark Sanchez is a better quarterback than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fact. We can talk numbers all we want here, but there is only one number that matters in this debate: 4. That’s the number of playoff wins that Sanchez has over Fitzpatrick. In fact, Sanchez has won each of those games on the road against two good quarterbacks in Carson Palmer and Phillip Rivers, along with arguably the two greatest of all time in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. While Sanchez has yet to take the leap and lead his team to the Superbowl, Fitzpatrick has yet to take his team into the post season.

While staying on the topic of postseason success, consider this: Sanchez has done all of this at the ripe age of 25. With only one collegiate season as a full time starter, before his very young 3 years in the NFL, it would be completely ignorant to think his best years aren’t ahead of him. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, started two seasons at Harvard before his 6 seasons in the league, and will turn 30 by midseason this year. Sure, the argument can be made that he is finally starting to blossom, but realistically Fitzpatrick has likely maxed his ceiling for success in the NFL. Not many players in this league turn the corner after the age of 30.

The Bills’ top offensive weapons are enough to overcome the Jets defense. False. I’m sure everyone associated with the Bills will argue this until the cows come home, and for good reason. Buffalo certainly has some talent on the offensive side of the ball. However, when matched up with the Jets, the Bills’ 4 best offensive weapons have not exactly performed at a level that would produce an abundance of victories. Here’s a look at how Jackson, RB CJ Spiller, WR Stevie Johnson, and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick have fared against Gang Green over the span of their careers in Buffalo.

Jackson – 77 carries, 268 yards, 1 Touchdown, 3.4 YPC. While Jackson certainly has elite talent level, his career high in yards against New York is a mere 82. The Jets have repeatedly shut down the efforts of Jackson over the five year span that he has been in the division, and in comparison with how he has played against the rest of the NFL, the argument could certainly be made that the Jets have his number.

Spiller – In Spiller’s four career games against the Jets, he has amassed the stat line of 26 carries for 76 yards and no touchdowns. This number could certainly be regarded as misleading due to the fact that Spiller hasn’t necessarily gotten a heavy workload during his four games against the Jets, however after the injury to Jackson last season, Spiller was forced to take over as the full time back in Buffalo. Against the Jets in week 12, Spiller was given a sizeable workload with 19 carries, but amassed just 55 yards for a 2.9 YPC average. These are not exactly numbers that will cause Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to circle number 28 on the scouting report.

Johnson – While all of the Revis haters will undoubtedly argue that Johnson owns DR, a notion which we have already dispelled at Turn On The Jets, his career numbers against New York tell the truth. Over a span of six career games, Johnson has 22 catches for 283 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Those numbers average out to 3.7 receptions for 37 yards and .5 Touchdowns per game. Considering Johnson is Buffalo’s primary passing option, it is fair to assume that he will not be carrying the Bills to any victories over New York in the near future.

Fitzpatrick – One thing that cannot be denied about Fitzpatrick is that his most recent game against the Jets was easily his most successful. During their 2011 week 12 matchup, Fitz threw for 264 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. However, when looking a bit deeper, Fitzpatrick has struggled against the Jets more often than not. Since becoming a Bill in 2009, Fitzpatrick has thrown a total of 145 passes, while completing just 72 of them, resulting in a completion percentage of 49.6. To gauge what a good completion percentage in the NFL is, consider this: Blaine Gabbert completed 50.8% of his passes last season. While it could certainly be said that Fitzpatrick is finally starting to get comfortable against the Jets after playing them for three years, a similar argument could be made that he took advantage of the Jets poor defensive effort that day, causing his awful 49.6 career completion percentage against New York to actually be inflated. Most people would presumably take the latter.

Rex Ryan is a better Coach than Chan Gailey. Fact. This is one that surely is not up for argument. Gailey is 28-36 as an NFL Head Coach, while Ryan is 28-20. Gailey is 0-2 in the post season, while Rex is 4-2. Ryan’s biggest coaching accomplishment is winning a Super Bowl as the Defensive Line Coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Gailey’s greatest coaching accomplishment is winning a Division II NCAA National Championship in 1984 as the Head Coach of Troy. What else is there to debate?

Mario Williams will dominate the Jets in every contest. False. Based on his ability alone, it is certainly easy to assume that Williams is going to come into the AFC East and wreak havoc across the division. If healthy, Williams will undoubtedly have a great impact not only on the Bills, but against everyone he lines up against. Williams has played against the Jets just twice in his career, getting to Sanchez twice, both coming in their most recent matchup in 2010. However, Williams has never beaten Gang Green in his career, and when observing his surrounding talent in Houston, it is seemingly much better than what he has joined in Buffalo. Brian Cushing and DeMeco Ryans, two All-Pros, each played in both of Williams’ matchups against the Jets. The proclaimed “Super Mario” now joins a Buffalo defense that has just one former All-Pro in Shawn Merriman, who hasn’t exactly been “Lights Out” as of late. While there is surely an abundance of young potential in Buffalo’s front seven, let’s not crown Williams the sack king just yet. He will likely face a great amount of double teams until that young talent proves itself worthy of respect.

The Bills are still the Fredo of the AFC East. Fact. This notion has been looked at time and time again here at Turn On The Jets, yet it never seems to get old. When observing both characters here, the Buffalo Bills and Fredo Corleone (The infamous brother of Michael Corleone in The Godfather films, most known for going against the family), the similarities are uncanny. Both want to be the top dog, but just don’t have what it takes to garner any real respect. Fredo was overlooked to take over as head of the Family after Sonny was shot at the causeway because no one truly believed he had it in him to be the Boss of the long respected Corleones. Similarly, no one truly believes the Bills have it in them to overtake both the Jets and Patriots as the Boss of the long respected AFC East Division. The Bills want to be good, they really do, but like Fredo, they have a long history of never having quite enough in them to succeed. When Buffalo tried to act like the big dogs, they lost 4 consecutive Super Bowls. When Fredo tried acting like the big dog…well we all know how that ended.

No Huddle – New York Jets AFC East Obstacles

In his weekly No Huddle piece, TJ Rosenthal looks at what could stand in the way of the New York Jets winning an AFC East title in 2012

Turn On The Jets is happy to welcome back our good friend TJ Rosenthal who runs The Jet Report. TJ is going to run the No Huddle for us every Monday, looking at a pressing issue facing the New York Jets. Today he looks at what could stand in their way of a AFC East title… 

Rex Ryan’s Jets have proven that they can do it the hard way in January and win. Though the road, and wildcard weekend starting points have both proven historically tougher paths to survive, the NFL has nonetheless crowned winners out of teams who have played both the extra playoff round, and away from home in each of the past two seasons. For the Jets, the goal of winning the AFC East title, one that could award the club a bye and home playoff games, must still remain the goal heading into this season. Even though it may be harder for Gang Green to win their own division than most clubs who consider themselves playoff caliber. Here are some of the main reasons why –

The New England Patriots

You know, the Belichickian team that wins 11-12 games every year. The NFL regular season’s Legion Of Doom. Evil masters of the fall and early winter.

Potential Jet Losses due to rookie mistakes (and hey the Jets sound like they plan on using every newcomer available including interns at Florham Park) would be acceptable elsewhere, like divisions where nine or even ten wins could mean a bye and home game. Not in this division.

Keeping up with the Jones in THIS town means not only owning fancy cars and powerful speedboats, but optimizing them too. We’re not complaining. It just may take a while to get everyone going in the right direction together. Young. Old. Sanchez. Tebow. All of which won’t help securing a crown if the Foxboro duo of Bill and Brady outsmart everyone before snow hits the ground. Like they always do.

For the Jets, it is like the Pats Boston brethren Aerosmith once said “it ain’t easy living like ya wanna and it’s so hard to find peace of mind.”

Internal Strife:

Rex says the ugly chapter that defined the Jets 8-8  campaign last year is over. That the age of the 2011″ diva reciva” has come and gone. We believe in our hearts that Rex is correct. A page HAS been turned. That new kids that infused OTA’s like Demario Davis appear to be speeding the process from selfish entitlement back to a blue collar appreciation for all that gets earned on the gridiron. Rex has even toned his predictions down, as new position coaches like Karl Dunbar and Dave DeGuglielmo have arrived along with the always positive OC Tony Sparano. All carrying with them a bright new energy.

All that aside, there are still potential oil slicks. Ones that could make 2011’s crash turn into a lingering clean up process that Gang Green doesn’t currently envision:

A Darrelle Revis holdout. A senseless and media driven QB Drama. Angry vets who lose time to productive rookies and tell the media as such. (Bart Scott and Davis anyone?). Complaints by the WR corps about a run heavy attack that doesn’t include them. Rex falling off track and barking up the wrong tree again.

The Jets took the first step to recovery by admitting there was a problem. How cemented is the new foundation though? Is it sturdy enough to take on a few of these possible storms at once?

The Schedule:

We’ll be real brief here. The Jets have the 20th ranked strength of schedule difficulty according to ESPN.com based on opponents 2011 records. Not bad you say? The Patriots have the 32nd. Easiest in the NFL.

The Jets open with upstart Buffalo, then a trio of last year’s playoff clubs in Pittsburgh, the Niners and Houston, all in the first five weeks. They close the year with three of four games on the road. That’s tough.

We get it though. You can’t worry about what the other teams in the division do. You can only try and win the games on your own schedule. For the Jets that will be hard enough to do in September. Plus given the Pats situation on paper, scoreboard watching may be futile anyway. The Jets might as well follow the gospel of eternal nemesis the late Al Davis and “just win baby.”

Too Much Of A Reliance on Rookies:

Young players make rookie mistakes. Ones that can happen at inopportune times. Like when a game is in the balance. Lose a few games during this process in the AFC East, and suddenly your fighting for a wildcard berth as early as Halloween.

The Jets LOVE their new young pups. So do we. More so, we love the fact that the Jets finally get it. Speed and size on the field DO matter. Over the next few years we hope the Jets continue to value these two things that a coach can’t teach.

We also hope that expectations, should all the kids get in the huddle at once, for more than just situational work, are tempered a bit in the first half of the season by the fan base. Mistakes will happen and could cost the Jets a shot at keeping pace with the Pats should they be up their same old tricks.

The Ground and Pound Sputters:

Going retro thematically on offense seems right for the Jets in terms of regaining their initial identity in the Ryan era as a smashmouth team. However, in the past few years since first Ryan chose three yards and a cloud of dust as the playbook theme for the O, the entire NFL has moved further towards a “quick strike, pass happy” concept.

If the Jets invest as much time into rebuilding the ground and pound as they say they are, and fail to run the ball well, they may lag light years behind the current collection of aerial firepower that is growing around the league .

Two score deficits with an underdeveloped passing attack this year will feel like a four score deficit.  Behind Shonn Greene (who Rotoworld analyst Evan Silva questioned as a starter at all today) is an unproven Joe McKnight and essentially two rookies. Unless of course you believe Tim Tebow can become a key ground cog, or even the next Peyton Hillis. We’re not even talking about whether the O line can get back to it’s 2009 form. In short, alot remains to be seen.

In addition, controlling the clock and time of possesion has become shall we say from the living room of our Nolita apartment, a bit out of fashion. It better be done well.

Finally, there are injuries. You have to stay healthy if you want to compete. Knock on wood, the Jets have avoided disastrous sideline pile ups of key players in street clothes in recent years. It has to obviously stay that way. No matter how much a team loves it’s own depth.

The aforementioned obstacles noted are not to say that a Jets 20102 division title can’t be had. It can.  It’s just that the for Jets to do it, alot has to go right here and on the periphery.

On the bright side, if the regular season all adds up into a playoff appearance that requires an extra game and away jerseys, so be it. Those frigid winter waters wouldn’t be uncharted or unmanageable ones for Rex Ryan’s Jets.

They’ve done it before.

Happy Memorial Day From Turn On The Jets

As you all enjoy the end of your Memorial Day Weekend, we at Turn On The Jets would not only like to wish everyone well on this holiday, but more importantly would like to thank all the devoted men and women who have served, and are currently serving our great nation over seas. On days of reflection like Memorial Day, we realize how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the luxuries of sports, entertainment, and all other everyday freedoms we too often take for granted. Never forget, the United States of America is the land of the free, because of the brave. So, to all the proud veterans out there, Thank You for everything you have given us in order to enjoy all that we have.

As the long weekend finally winds down, I have just a few quick New York Jets thoughts to share before another full week of content at TOJ.

1.) On Karlos Dansby expecting the Dolphins to win the AFC East. I actually have absolutely no issue with Dansby’s comments. As a competitor and a professional football player, he should always expect his team to succeed and win, otherwise what would be the point of playing the game? Rex Ryan has not been shy about what he expects from the Jets, so Dansby’s attitude should be viewed no differently. There is a certain degree of respect you must have for someone to show that much confidence, not only in themselves, but in the men they compete alongside.

The issue I do have, though, is the Dolphins faithful that have been emerging arguing that they would rather have their 53 than the Jets’. Again, I respect the confidence, but as a fan, you need to be realistic. Other than OLB and Offensive Tackle, every position on Miami’s roster is inferior to New York’s. Miami fans should be excited about the idea of a new coaching regime and quarterback, but there comes a point when you must look in the mirror and realize you are still very far away from being a competitive team in this league.

2.) On the Jets stealing the headlines once again. Many believe that the Jets acquired Tim Tebow strictly for the publicity factor he would bring to the team. While I strongly disagree with this notion, if this was, in fact, their motivation for bringing in Tebow, it certainly worked. As pointed out by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, SI‘s Peter King reported that 77 percent of the coverage in the five New York newspapers last Friday focused on Tebow, while only 23 percent focused on the foot injury of the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks.

The injury to the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s top target is certainly more significant than Tebow throwing two interceptions in a May session of 7 on 7, but the Tebow headline sells more. So, if Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbuam’s sole motivation to bring in Tebow was to steal the headlines from the defending Super Bowl Champs, kudos to them.

3.) On Wayne Hunter declaring that Jets fans will see “a new Right Tackle” this season. One thing anyone can tell from listening to Wayne Hunter talk is that he is brutally honest. Hunter does not hide the fact that he was the weak link to an offensive line that struggled horribly at times last season. While he acknowledges the fact that he owes a lot to Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan for the opportunity, he also makes it clear that new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and staff are certainly a breath of fresh air. Hunter points out that, in order to succeed, he needs to get out of the “reserve” mentality and be consistent on every single play. Why he is just coming to this revelation now is beyond me, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

4.) On Rex Ryan not ruling out a possible Jim Leonhard return. We will look at this possible scenario deeper during the week, but at the right cost, this would be a good thing for the Jets. Although New York suddenly has an abundance of Safeties, other than rookie Josh Bush, there is not a true cover safety in the bunch. No one knows the defense better than Leonhard, and he is the perfect personality to mentor the young talent on the roster. Of course, his health and cost will be the biggest issues for a possible reunion. If he can be had at a discount, it may be worth bringing him back.

How Yeremiah Bell Fits In With The Jets

Heading into the offseason, the New York Jets most obvious need, along with Right Tackle, was undoubtedly the Safety position. To say the Jets were poor in this part of their secondary last year would be an understatement, and in a division where you face two of the NFL’s top tight ends, in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, twice a year, safety play is crucial to the success of a defense. The Jets have taken another step in addressing the position by adding free agent Yeremiah Bell this past Friday. Bell will join LaRon Landry and rookies Josh Bush and Antonio Allen as the four safeties New York has added this offseason.

There are some concerns about how Bell will fit in, since he is very similar to Landry in terms of play. Like Landry, Bell is a very physical safety whose talents are best utilized in run support. So, the obvious question that comes about is why the Jets would add two strong safety types, when the greater need is in coverage. However, there are numerous factors as to why this signing makes sense.

1.) The Jets will be taking a more physical approach toward covering tight ends this season. While New York needs people who can keep up with guys like Gronkowski and Hernandez, they could be moving more towards a scheme that requires the safeties to play more physical in coverage. This includes a heavy amount of jamming at the line of scrimmage, while doing anything possible to disrupt the routes of the opposing tight ends. The Jets could certainly run packages where they put both Landry and Bell in press type coverage, while allowing someone like rookie Josh Bush, who has fantastic cover skills, to play in a centerfield type role, where he excelled in college. With the ability to bring in Bush, Eric Smith, and Kyle Wilson as the nickel corner, expect New York to mix it up with personnel in the defensive backfield through a number of various schemes to keep opposing offenses on their toes.

2.) Bell gives the Jets much needed veteran depth at the safety position. Besides Landry and Smith, the other four safeties on New York’s roster have played in a combined 12 NFL games. Although rookies Antonio Allen and Bush are very promising, combining them with DeAngelo Smith and Tracy Wilson as your only backups in the event that Eric Smith or the injury prone Landry get hurt would be an idiotic move. Veterans in the secondary will be crucial not only to the success of the defense, but also to the development of the young guys.

3.) Jim Leonhard is not healing well enough from his season ending knee injury for the Jets to commit to him. The Bell signing most likely signifies the end of Jim Leonhard’s run as a Jet. Leonhard has been a valuable piece to Rex Ryan’s defense since joining his defensive mentor in coming to New York three seasons ago. However, season ending leg injuries in each of the past two years have seemed to seal his fate with the Jets. If this is, in fact, the end of Leonhard in the green and white, his cerebral contributions, and constant fire and tenacity to Ryan’s scheme will surely be missed, and will be difficult to duplicate. Unfortunately, though, health has caused Leonhard to become too much of a liability for the Jets to invest in.

Although it may not sit well with most fans, opting for Bell over Leonhard is a smart, safe move. Since his rookie season, in which he played in 13 games, Bell has played in all 16 games in each of his 8 seasons in the NFL, with the exception of 2007 when he suffered a torn Achilles in week one, which sidelined him for the entire year. Since recovering, Bell has never missed a game, while recording over 100 tackles in each season following his injury.

Other than the concern that Bell is too similar to Landry in terms of ability, another popular issue that has caused some alarm for Jet fans is how he will be able to pick up Rex Ryan’s complex defensive system. Although he may not be on Jim Leonhard’s level anytime soon, the notion that Bell will not be able to pick up the scheme because it is too complicated is being blown way out of proportion. Every defense in the NFL is complex, and Bell is a professional. While it certainly may take some time for him to truly get comfortable, he should get a full grasp of the defensive concept in no time. Fortunately for him, he has a great amount of time between now and the start of training camp, and will be surrounded by players like Darrelle Revis and Eric Smith, who are very familiar with the scheme, to help him adjust mentally.

Why Do You Hate The Jets? AFC East Edition

Chris Gross looks at what AFC East teams have the right to run their mouths about the New York Jets

In a new column, Chris Gross will be going through the NFL by division and determining which teams and fan-bases actually have a good claim to hating the New York Jets and running their mouth on the organization and which do not, up first the AFC East –

Since Rex Ryan became Head Coach of the New York Jets, his brash personality has caused his team to become one of the most hated, if not the most hated, teams in professional football. Other than Jets fans, it seems as if everyone who has even the slightest knowledge of the NFL loves nothing more than to see Gang Green face hardships. Mark Sanchez has become the punch line of every joke related to football, as has Santonio Holmes’ personality, Antonio Cromartie’s kids, and Rex Ryan’s weight. People truly love to take shots at the Jets, and will not waste any opportunity to do so.

However, only a handful of teams actually have the right to poke fun at the Jets. Since Ryan took the helm in New York, the team has gone from a mediocre, occasional playoff team, to a serious contender each year, regardless of the abysmal 8-8 performance last season. Rex has let it be known that the Jets will be in contention every single year that he is the head coach, and he has actually lived up to those statements. Although he has yet to deliver on his Super Bowl guarantees, Ryan has put the Jets on the map, and whether or not people like to admit it, they will be in the mix in the AFC each year he remains in charge.

This simple fact surely irks anyone who is not a fan of the Jets. Although his bold predictions haven’t quite come true, the Jets have proved they will compete every year under Ryan. What other first time head coaches have combined with their rookie quarterback to win 4 road playoff games in their first two seasons together?  That’s correct, none. In fact, only a handful of teams have had more success than the Jets in the three years Ryan has been the head coach.

When it comes to hating on the Jets and making jokes about the team’s scarce struggles, there are three basic categories. There are the teams that have absolutely no right whatsoever to engage in such practice, there are teams that historically have been more of a laughing stock than the Jets have ever been, but have earned some recent bragging rights, and then there are teams that do, in fact, have the right to make all the fun of the Jets they want, until they are unseated from such a position. When looking division by division, the list of teams that has no ground to ever breathe a word of negativity about the Jets organization is much larger than the other two categories.

In the coming days, we will give a close examination of each NFL team by division, and place them into one of these three categories. For our inaugural TOJ Why Do You Hate The Jets?, let’s take a look at New York’s very own AFC East.

Just Shut Up:

This section contains the teams that have been inferior to the Jets during the past three seasons. The majority of these teams have also been dominated by New York during that time, and have historically faced much greater hardships then the Jets have had under Ryan.

Buffalo Bills – The self proclaimed “Bills Mafia” that has recently become the favorite to unseat the New England Patriots in the AFC East, while having been handed two victories against the Jets in 2012 already, should take a long hard look in the mirror. Mario Williams has been painted as the “savior” for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1993. However, Buffalo shelled out 100 million dollars to a player whose sack production has dropped steadily in each of the past 5 seasons. In 2007, Williams tallied 14 sacks, followed by 12, 9, 8.5, and 5 in each of the following seasons, respectively.

Then, there is Stevie Johnson, the Bills supposed marquee offensive playmaker. This is the same guy who was more focused on mocking Plaxico Burress last season, than he was on catching passes. This is the same guy who blamed God for dropping an overtime touchdown pass against Pittsburgh in 2010. Say what you want about Tim Tebow praising God, but there is nothing more ridiculous and childish than a professional athlete publicly blaming his lack of ability on a higher power.

As for the AFC Title Game loss jokes, lets not forget that the Bills are the team that lost in 4 straight Super Bowls. You tell me what hurts worse.

And last, but certainly not least, the Bills have not even appeared in the post season since 1999, when they saw their season end on one of the most hilarious plays in NFL playoff history.

I could certainly go on and talk about how the Bills are 1-5 against the Rex Ryan led Jets, or how Chan Gailey has had a joke of a career as an NFL head coach (28-36 overall record), but the numbers speak for themselves.

Some Room To Talk:

These are the teams that have recently had success against the Jets, earning themselves some bragging rights. However, these teams have also been subpar in the grand scheme of the NFL during that same time period, and although have played the Jets tough, have not even sniffed their overall success.

Miami Dolphins – Much to their credit, the Dolphins took advantage of the Jets’ end of the season meltdown last year, and were able to put the fork in a team that had been done for a month leading into the game. Miami certainly has more room to talk than Buffalo, having actually won the division in 2008, even though they were bounced out of the first round in a dominating performance by the Baltimore Ravens. Miami has consistently been able to challenge the Jets, as Ryan is just 2-4 against the fish. However, the man who led those Dolphins teams to so much success against New York, is now the Jets Offensive Coordinator.

The quarterback situation in Miami is a laughable one. With the quarterback duo of Sanchez and Tebow, the Jets are an easy target for a QB joke, however when a team’s backup quarterback has the same amount of playoff wins as all of another team’s quarterbacks combined, where is the real joke? The Dolphins haven’t had a legitimate threat at quarterback since Dan Marino’s departure, minus the year that ex-Jet Chad Pennington led them to a division title.

Also, who is catching passes in Miami this year? The team traded away the only valuable offensive asset it had in Brandon Marshall this offseason, and did nothing to replace the void left in the receiving core. The Jets may not have the world’s greatest depth at wide receiver, but any of the receivers on New York’s roster would likely be a starter for Miami this season.

Unconditional Bragging Rights

These teams have every right to make any joke they please at the Jets. Other than a few bright spots, they have either repeatedly asserted their dominance over the Jets, or amongst other teams in the NFL during the three years that Ryan has been in New York.

New England Patriots – Jets fans certainly do now want to hear this, but New England has every right to make as many jokes about the Jets as they want. Other than Gang Green’s epic playoff victory in Foxboro during the 2011 playoffs, Bill Belichick has had his way with Rex’s Jets. Posting a 2-4 record against New England since Ryan’s arrival, the Jets have been outscored by the Patriots during that span by a score of 160-98. While the rivalry hasn’t been completely one sided, it has included two blowouts and a sweep last season, not to mention, the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearance last year.

New York has proved that it can challenge New England for the crown in the AFC East, however they need to do it consistently. Until that time, the Patriots, unfortunately, have unconditional bragging rights. Meanwhile, New York can hang onto this in the process of taking the reigns in the division.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: Eyes On The AFC East

The TOJ 12 pack looks at the moves made in the AFC East that should get the New York Jets attention

In case you haven’t noticed, all three of the New York Jets division rivals have been fairly active this off-season. Today’s 12 pack is dedicated to examining which of those moves will have the biggest impact. I can promise you the Jets will be a consensus pick to battle for last place with Miami this year while Buffalo will be everybody’s sweetheart pick to challenge New England and grab a playoff spot. To that I say…good. I am glad this team is back to playing with low expectations and in more of an underdog role.

12. Watch Him – Under the radar signing, corner/safety Richard Marshall going to Miami. He is a good, versatile player who will be a nice addition to that defense.

11. Bit Pieces – New England made a handful of minor moves on their defense by signing Jonathan Fanene, Bobby Carpenter, and ex-Jet Marquice Cole. These are the kind of transactions that don’t get much press but then you see all three of them making impact plays for the Patriots.

10. Mid-Round Steals – Credit Buffalo for getting great value in the second and third round of the NFL Draft. Cordy Glenn has a good chance to start immediately at tackle and I wouldn’t be surprised to see wide receiver T.J. Graham starting by the end of the year.

9. Quiet Secondary – New England didn’t make any major splashes in improving their consistently awful secondary this off-season. However, keep an eye on free agent Steve Gregory and second round pick Tavon Wilson to make immediate impacts at the safety position.

8. We Want An Island – Buffalo selected highly touted cornerback Stephon Gilmore in the first round to help sure up the back end of their secondary. He has the skill set to make an immediate impact on a defense that allowed Mark Sanchez to throw four touchdowns against it last season in a single game.

7. No Law Firm – New England decided to let BenJarvus Green-Ellis leave for Cincinnati in a somewhat surprising move. They will be relying heavily on Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen to step up to fill the void. Personally, I am happy to see Green-Ellis go. He was a savvy, hard running and productive back. I wouldn’t be surprised if New England added Joseph Addai in the coming weeks.

6. Light On Receivers – Miami surprisingly shipped wide receiver Brandon Marshall off to Chicago in a trade, leaving them thin at the wide receiver position unless you consider Brian Hartline and Davone Bess major threats.

5. Linebacker Nation – New England drafted two players in the first round to boost their pass rush and linebacker play, by grabbing Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. Jones will line up all over New England’s formation and Hightower should be an instant upgrade at inside linebacker.

4. If It Ain’t Broke, Or Was It? – Buffalo decided to continue to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterback and Stevie Johnson as their top wideout. One thing that everybody forgets when discussing the Bills as a contender is that Ryan Fitzpatrick, outside of a few early season flashes…kind of sucks. Johnson has a weird ability to get open on Darrelle Revis on short and intermediate routes but is also an idiot and a loose cannon who frequently hurts his team more than he helps it.

3. Receivers On Receivers – New England had depth issues at wide receiver last year…not anymore. They added Brandon Lloyd, who is a viable deep threat and one of the more productive receivers in the league the past few years, along with Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Gonzalez, and Donte Stallworth. So long Ochocinco.

2. Miami Drafts Tannehill – The Dolphins finally decided to take a quarterback in the first round, not the second round. It is hard to imagine a scenario where Tannehill doesn’t start at some point this season, with apologies to the immortal Matt Moore and David Garrard. Opinions were mixed on him coming out of college, so he could be a boom or bust prospect. However, we do know there were not mixed opinions on his wife.

1. Buffalo Gets After The Quarterback – The biggest free agent signing of the NFL off-season not involving Peyton Manning was the Buffalo Bills getting Mario Williams to lead the improvement of their stagnant pass rush. They supplemented the move by bringing in Mark Anderson who had 10.5 sacks last season for New England. The popular line of thought is that Buffalo has the best front seven in football now, we’ll see about that. Either way, Tony Sparano has his work cut out for him with Wayne Hunter, Vlad Ducasse and Caleb Schlauderaff all potential parts of the line.

New York Jets: Ready To Rise In Wide Open AFC?

Now is the time for the New York Jets to rise to the top of a wide open AFC

Oh, how a few weeks can change things in the NFL.

Remember a few weeks ago after the New England Patriots beat the New York Jets 29-21? It was crazy to think the Jets were even in the discussion of contending for a division title in the AFC East. They had no offensive line. They couldn’t run the football. The defense had fell off a cliff. They’d be lucky to reach .500 with two games still left against the mighty Buffalo Bills, the San Diego Chargers and still having to play New England again.

The three game losing streak had given the legions of New York Jets haters all the ammunition they needed. Everybody got ready to watch Rex Ryan and his over-hyped team go down in flames.

Unfortunately for them, the AFC East and the rest of the conference, it appears the Jets have rediscovered their defense and running game, which is their winning formula. They have smacked around two finesse teams in a row who were supposed to be serious contenders in their conference and now have a chance to send the New England Patriots into a three game losing streak.

The beauty of the Jets turnaround is that while they are getting better every week and thriving in their identity, the rest of the conference appears to be crumbling around them. The AFC West is a joke of mediocre of teams trying to out-lose each other to miss the playoffs. The AFC South has the Texans who are still a finesse team that I feel comfortable predicting will lose the home playoff game they host. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are who they always have been, but just a little more inconsistent than usual. Cincinnati? I’m not sold yet. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go 0-4 against the Ravens and Steelers.

The AFC East? Buffalo is about ready for their swoon. The Jets just wrote the book on how to stop their gimmicky offense and their defense is soft. New England has an awful, I repeat an awful defense and immortal Tom Brady looked pretty damn average yesterday.

Now is the time for the New York Jets to put their foot on the throat of the Patriots and send them to 5-4 to begin the process of creating separation from them at the top of the division. Denver, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Washington are upcoming on the schedule, which is a golden opportunity for the Jets to rack up wins while the Patriots could start a mid-season tailspin.

Sunday is the night for the Jets to start their march not just to the top of the division but to the top of the conference. A home playoff game is the goal and it is looking more attainable than ever.