Quick Thoughts/Updates On Jets Off-Season

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1. Mike Tannenbaum is holding a press conference at 2 PM tomorrow. He has a rare talent for avoiding giving answers to questions and giving out no useful information but that is fine with me as long as keeps doing things like trading up for Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Shonn Greene, Mark Sanchez etc…regardless, we’ll have coverage if he does let anything interesting slip.

2. Really good article here about how the new free-agency rules affect the Jets (http://www.nyjetscap.com/2010finaleight.html), fortunately I think Tannenbaum is really built for this type of thing and will be smart enough to navigate the Jets through this off-season with some improvements at necessary areas.

3. Alot of people have been talking about moving Dwight Lowery to safety as a potential replacement for Kerry Rhodes, if he is traded. It is not an easy transition to go from corner to safety because it is a completely different mentality and type of game you have to play. Beyond that, I don’t think Lowery is the physical replacement Ryan would be looking for if Rhodes isn’t around. Speaking of Rhodes, he is supposed to make an announcement about his future tonight on SNY, so we’ll see what he has to say. Regardless, I still think the Jets are better off with Rhodes in 2010 unless they get a trade offer that blows them away. There is no need to create another hole in the secondary.

4. I am all for the Jets cutting ties with Vernon Gholston. There is an article in the Daily News today about the Jets considering it, which also quotes one of his teammates saying Gholston has shown no passion for the game. This isn’t the first time somebody has questioned his love of football, which is a bad sign. Gholston was also on record saying he is perfectly happy being a special teams player, even though he is a below average one at best. Has anybody ever noticed him get excited about anything on the field, even in pre-season games? It was clearly a huge mistake to draft him and it is now time to cut your losses.

5. With the limits on the Jets in free agency, they better hit on their 1st and 2nd round picks. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tannenbaum trade down and try to end up with three 2nd round picks, or maybe pick up a third-rounder. The Jets need to add some young bodies to their offensive and defensive lines, which they won’t be able to do if they are concentrating on improving their secondary with their top picks (remember the Jets don’t have a 3, 4, or 5 as of right now).

6. Mel Kiper Jr. currently has the Jets taking Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate with their first roundpick. With Braylon, Cotchery, Keller, and Leon coming back, getting a slot receiver isn’t a top need for the Jets. Yes, it would be nice to have a productive #3 WR but Keller andhopefully Leon could fill that role if the Jets don’t add anybody. There is no need to spend a first round pick for one. Jason Avant is a free agent and could be an interesting option especially considering Assistant GM Scott Cohen’s ties to the Eagles.

7. Final list of the Jets in the Pro-Bowl: Darrelle Revis, Shaun Ellis, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, D’Brickashaw Ferguson…will anyone be watching? They are down to the 5th alternate at most positions because of injuries andpeople on the Colts/Saints not being able to play. Revis and Mangold obviously deserved to go as All-Pro players. Faneca had a very good year but is there on name recognition. Even though D’Brick got in as an alternate, I think he has a legit claim as a Pro-Bowl caliber player. Ellis is a bit of stretch but the guy has been productive for a such long time, I am glad he made it back this year.

8. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Tony Richardson comes back for another year. It is not easy to find a quality fullback like T-Rich. The Jets rushing game would take a serious hit without him.

Darrelle Revis Making A Sick Interception In Last Year’s Pro-Bowl

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers yesterday by saying the Jets were going to be the best show in town next season. I listened to the press conference and think most people are taking it the wrong way as some big time shot at the Giants. Basically, Ryan said when the Jets were playing at home it was going to be Jets Stadium and when they were playing at home, they were going to be the biggest show in town. Giants fans really got their panties in a bunch yesterday on the local radio shows after hearing the press conference, which was pretty laughable. If they are so confident they are still the number one team in town (which they are until the Jets win or at least get to a Super Bowl) why are they so insecure about what a Jets coach says in a press conference? Maybe it is because their team quit on them the last two weeks of the year, has one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and is heading into 2010 as the third best team in their own division.

2. I am surprised the line is so high on the Super Bowl…the last I saw it was at 5.5 in favor of the Colts. I would imagine the Saints will be able to exploit the Colts secondary. However, I guess Peyton Manning is playing so well right now that nobody wants to bet against them. I will be pulling for the Saints, not out of bitterness but because they have never won one before and the Colts just got one in 2006.

3. I am still trying to find out where all the Jets draft picks are for April. Unless what I have read online is wrong (which is a definite possibility) the Jets only have a 1st round (#29 overall), 2nd, round, 6th round, and 7th round pick. They lost their 3, 4, and 5 from the Braylon Edwards and Lito Sheppard trades. This might be a year to trade down and stockpile some more picks.

4. Non-Jets Related Off-Season Talk – LOST premieres in a week and yes i am very excited about that, you want to fill your free time in the off-season go rent the DVDs and catch up…I was watching the Knicks before the AFC Championship Game and not only were they wearing ridiculously ugly orange socks, they also lost by 50 freakin’ points, it was like watching Marist play Syracuse, I mean c’mon now, we aren’t convincing LeBron to come play for a team that bad…Has anybody had a worse off-season in baseball than the Mets? Even though the Yankees won the World Series, they still did much more to improve their team. Have you seen their line-up and pitching rotation for 2010? Wow.

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

There is nothing like the dead period from when your team is eliminated from the playoffs until the start of free agency (March 5th, my birthday by the way), plenty of time to enjoy mid-season NBA and NHL, and college basketball and off course look at all the potential things the Jets could do to improve in 2010. Make no mistake, the Jets have work to do this off-season. The playoff run was terrific. They found their identity. The future is bright. However, they only won nine games in the regular season. It is time to take the next step, which means becoming a 11-12 win division winner who is hosting playoff games and hopefully getting a bye. What are the issues facing the Jets this off-season and where could they improve? Let’s take a look:

Defense

PhotobucketThe early reports coming from the organization is that the Jets will be looking to revamp their secondary after it was torn to shreds by Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan didn’t sound too confident in Kerry Rhodes coming back in his press conference yesterday. Basically, he said he wasn’t going to beg anybody to come back who didn’t really want to be here and that he wants committed players on his defense. Ryan refused to give details about a discussion him and Rhodes had considering his future with the team. Personally, I think Rhodes improved after his benching and would be crazy to want to leave New York. I am not sure if a guy like him wants to move out of the biggest market in the country and what defensive player wouldn’t want to play for Rex Ryan? The Jets owe Rhodes a roster bonus in March and will likely explore trade options but I am not sure how big the market is going to be for him. Obviously, the Jets minor league team (Cleveland) will be interested but unless the Jets are getting good value back and have plan to replace him, I don’t want to see Rhodes go. The secondary isn’t improving by trading Rhodes for a 5th round pick and then having James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith split reps at safety.

Lito Sheppard is a goner. There is no way the Jets are paying him a roster bonus in March. It is also being reported that Jets are likely going to part ways with nickel back Donald Strickland, who was productive when healthy this past year but always seemed to be banged up. I’d also be shocked to see Drew Coleman back next year.

Remember the Jets are limited in free agency because of the rules under the old CBA. They can only sign the same number of free agents that they lose. Regardless, Mike Tannenbaum is a creative guy with trades and with Strickland, Sheppard, and potentially Rhodes all likely ending up with new teams the Jets will have some room to operate.

Remember the Jets spent all three draft picks on offense last year, so you can bet Rex Ryan will be pushing for defensive help in the first two rounds of the draft. The Jets need a corner to pair with Darrelle Revis and a guy to compete for nickel reps. You have to expect at least one of their draft picks to be on a defensive back and trade options to be explored. The cornerback market isn’t loaded with talent although there are some quality guys (Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Fabian Washington). If the Jets get rid of Rhodes, Roman Harper, Nick Collins, and Antoine Bethea are all free agents.

Outside of the secondary, the Jets need a pass rusher. Everybody knows this but finding a big time pass rusher isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. If the Jets don’t spend their first round pick on a corner, it will be on on outside linebacker/defensive end pass rushing prospect. Vernon Gholston will likely be cut this year and even if he isn’t, he has proven to be a bust. The Jets are pretty old along the defensive front, so don’t be surprised to see more than one new face added through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

Offense

PhotobucketDespite the defense carrying the Jets this past season, it needs more help than the offense does. The Jets are young at key positions and have a talented core to build around (Sanchez, Greene, Washington, Edwards, Keller, Mangold, Ferguson, Cotchery, Smith). Braylon Edwards is going to be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent, so he will be back. Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller are a pretty good trio of targets for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets could still use a slot receiver. Brad Smith is a valuable offensive weapon but isn’t a wide receiver and David Clowney is no better than a number 4/5. Chansi Stuckey would really be the perfect guy to fill this role but unfortunately the Jets had to give him up to acquire Edwards. The Jets could also use a better #2 tight end. Ben Hartsock is a good blocker but is no threat as a receiver and has too many costly penalties called on him.

On the offensive line, the Jets need to start thinking about their long term replacements for Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. I am confident the Jets will pay Faneca his roster bonus in February because he has started every game since signing his contract and maintained a high level of play. Yet, the Jets could really only bank on one or maybe if they are lucky two more seasons from the Faneca/Woody combination before they break down or their level of play falls off. Hopefully, guys like Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, and Wayne Hunter are developing into potential starters but it wouldn’t hurt to spend another late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Running back will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Will Tony Richardson want to come back for another year? If not, the Jets will have a big hole to fill at fullback. I think it is the right call to bring Thomas Jones back for the final year of his contract. You don’t know how Leon Washington is going to respond from his injury and Shonn Greene was banged up alot this year. With the way the Jets run their offense, there is no problem with having three backs getting carries. Hopefully, Jones can accept becoming option 1B, since Greene should clearly be the Jets 1A option at running back next year. Despite having a great regular season, there won’t be a huge market for Jones because of his age and because of how his production fell off in the playoffs so it makes sense for both sides to have Jones return.

The Jets also need a veteran backup at quarterback. Kellen Clemens is gone and they would be crazy to go into the year with Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell as their top backups. How about Chad Pennington? Seriously, who would be a better mentor for Sanchez and be better equipped to manage the Jets ground and pound if Sanchez was hurt?

Overall

If I had to list the Jets off-season needs as right of now it would look something like this:

  1. Secondary (#2 and #3 corner, potentially safety to replace Rhodes)
  2. Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker (Pass Rusher, Youth on defensive line)
  3. Veteran Backup Quarterback
  4. Offensive Line (Eventual replacements for Faneca/Woody)
  5. #3 Receiver
  6. #2 Tight End

Jets vs. Colts Position By Position Comparison

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First a few updates:

1. The recent surge of comments has been a nice positive for the site. I knew I would be hearing plenty from “Coach” this week since he is a die-hard Colts fan who is convinced Super Bowl III was rigged. Also, I just received a breakdown of the site traffic which has been very strong over the past month…a special shout out to our international readers, including people from Denmark, France, Japan, Philippines, and Mexico.

2. Why do I have time to write back to back articles this afternoon? I have a big space between my 11 AM class and 4 PM class, what else would I do? This is Championship week, c’mon now.

3. Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, and Mark Sanchez are talking to the media at 3:45 today.

Jets vs. Colts Position By Position Comparison

Quarterback – Peyton Manning (4500 yards, 33 TDs, 16 INTs) vs. Mark Sanchez (2444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs) – Well then…at least admit you were surprised by how many interceptions Manning has thrown this year. Sanchez needs to manage the game, make a couple of plays and avoid turnovers while Manning is the single person that turns the Colts from a 6-10 team to a 14-12 team. Advantage: Colts

Running Back – Joseph Addai (828 yards, 10 TDs, 336 receiving yards), Donald Brown (281 yards, 3 TDs) vs. Thomas Jones (1402 yards, 14 TDs), Shonn Greene (540 yards, 2 TDs) – Greene is playing better than any running back in football right now. The guy is averaging 6 freaking yards per carry. Jones has been slightly phased out but still remains valuable, especially in short yardage situations and goal-line situations. Joseph Addai averaged less than 4 yards per carry this year and Brown is a talented rookie, who adds some size to the Colts offense. Advantage: Jets

Wide Receiver – Reggie Wayne (1264 yards, 10 TDs), Pierre Garcon (765 yards, 4 TDs), Austin Collie (676 yards, 7 TDs) vs. Braylon Edwards (541 yards, 4 TDs), Jerricho Cotchery (821 yards, 4 TDs), Brad Smith (270 total yards, 1 TD) – Reggie Wayne is one of the best receivers in football. Garcon is a burner who didn’t play when the Colts faced the Jets back in week 16. Collie is a rookie who is very good in the slot. While I think Garcon and Collie are good players, I do think their stats are inflated because of their quarterback. I would love to see Jerricho Cotchery’s stats if he played a year in the Colts offense. Regardless, you can’t argue who has the advantage here. Advantage: Colts

Tight End – Dallas Clark (1106 yards, 10 TDs) vs. Dustin Keller (522 yards, 2 TDs) – Keller has caught a touchdown in each of the Jets playoff games and I hope one day he becomes the type of player Dallas Clark is right now. Advantage: Colts

Offensive Line – Charlie Johnson, Ryan Lilja, Jeff Saturday, Kyle DeVan, Ryan Diem vs. Damien Woody, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, D’Brickashaw Ferguson – The Jets have the best offensive line in the NFL. Advantage: Jets

Defensive Line – Dwight Freeney (13.5 sacks), Robert Mathis (9.5 sacks), Daniel Muir (52 tackles), Antonio Johnson (34 tackles, 1 sack), Raheem Brock (32 tackles, 3.5 sacks) vs. Shaun Ellis (53 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Marques Douglas (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Sione Pouha (45 tackles), Mike DeVito (28 tackles), Howard Green (23 tackles) – Freeney is the best pure pass rusher in the AFC (I am giving the NFL crown to Jared Allen right now) and Mathis is a pro-bowl caliber defensive end. Shaun Ellis will be playing with a broken hand, while Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha are coming off their best games of the season. Advantage: Colts

Linebacker – Phillip Wheeler (61 tackles, 1 sack), Gary Brackett (99 tackles, 1 sack), Clint Session (103 tackles, 2 INTs), Freddy Keiaho (38 tackles, 1 sack) vs. Calvin Pace (55 tackles, 8 sacks), David Harris (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks), Bart Scott (92 tackles, 1 sack), Bryan Thomas (53 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Colts linebackers have great speed and Gary Brackett is one hell of a player but David Harris will be the best linebacker on the field Sunday. Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas both played very well last week, while Calvin Pace is the Jets best pure pass rusher. Advantage: Jets

Corners – Jacob Lacey (85 tackles, 3 INTs), Jerraud Powers (66 tackles, 1 INT), Kelvin Hayden (50 tackles, 1 INT) vs. Darrelle Revis (54 tackles, 6 INTs), Lito Sheppard (31 tackles, 1 INT), Dwight Lowery (24 tackles, 3 INT), Donald Strickland (26 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Colts are fairly average here, meaning there will be chances for the Jets to make big plays down the field if they can pass protect. Darrelle Revis will do his thing but the pressure is on Sheppard, Strickland, and Lowery to have big games against Collie, Garcon, and Clark. Advantage: Jets

Safeties – Antoine Bethea (95 tackles, 4 INTs), Melvin Bullitt (77 tackles), Tim Jennings (57 tackles, 2 INTs) vs. Kerry Rhodes (63 tackles, 3 INTs), Jim Leonhard (76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT), Eric Smith (48 tackles, 1 INT), James Ihedigbo (19 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Jets safeties came up huge last week against the Chargers and need another big game this week. They need to apply pressure when sent at the quarterback and find a way to contain Dallas Clark. The Colts safeties better be ready to hit or else Shonn Greene is going to make them pay (see Eric Weddle last week). Advantage: Jets

Special Teams – Matt Stover (9/11 FGs), Pat McAfee (44.3 yards per punt), TJ Rushing (5.7 per punt return), Chad Simpson (1 kick return TD) vs. Jay Feely (30/36 FGs), Steve Weatherford (42 yards per punt), Jerricho Cotchery (10.3 per punt return), Brad Smith (1 kick return TD) – I like the Jets here. Jay Feely has been money ever since the Atlanta game. Cotchery is a better punt returner than Rushing and Brad Smith already took one back 106 yards against the Colts coverage units. Advantage: Jets

Somebody Told Me The Jets Are In The AFC Championship Game, So I Should Be Working Around The Clock On The Site, This Is What I Told Them:

Back From Hiatus: TOJ TV Holiday Edition, Jets vs. Bucs Prediction

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets official injury report lists Mark Sanchez, Dwight Lowery, and Robert Turner out. Wayne Hunter and Alan Faneca are listed as questionable with illnesses, and Donald Strickland has been bumped up to probable.

2. A belated thank you to Eric Mangini and the Browns for knocking off the Steelers Thursday night. Three losses in a row to the Cheifs, Raiders, and Browns? Yikes.

Back From Hiatus: TOJ TV Holiday Edition, Jets vs. Bucs Prediction

If you aren’t interested in hearing me talk about the Jets/Bucs game, fast forward to the 1:45 mark for the skit.

NFL Week 7 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins Part II First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed corner Justin Miller today to replace Leon Washington as a kick returner. Miller was a pro-bowl returner for the Jets in 2006 and their second round pick in 2005. He never developed into the corner the organization hoped he would be, however he has four career return touchdowns between his time with the Jets and Raiders. Maybe Rex Ryan will be able to get something out of him as a defensive back but for now this move was done for strictly special team purposes.

2. How about those Yankees? I am using my fan bias in picking them to beat the Phillies in 7, but any baseball fan should be excited about what should be a terrific match-up.

NFL Week 7 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins Part II First Look

Wrapping Up Jets/Raiders

Defensive Player of the Game: Calvin Pace – This was an easy choice. Mike Pettine gave Pace more pass rushing opportunities this week and he responded with 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 7 tackles. Pace had a rough game against Miami a few weeks ago and will no doubt be looking to validate his claim that the Wildcat is nothing more than a “gimmick.”

Offensive Player of the Game: Thomas Jones – I was critical of Jones early in the season and he has emphatically shut me up the past two weeks. The guy is running like a 25 year old and remains one of the most underrated players in the NFL. He is currently on pace to have a better year than he did last season, when he won the AFC rushing title. Through 7 games, Jones has 7 touchdowns.

Honorable Mentions: David Clowney for stepping up with 4 catches for 79 yards…Shonn Greene for having a monster game off the bench to replace Leon Washington…Darrelle Revis for his acrobatic interception…Dwight Lowery for being a great replacement for Lito Sheppard…Wallace Wright for recording his first two receptions of the season…The entire Jets offensive line for dominating from start to finish.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots beat up on two of the worst teams in the NFL and every NFL analyst is giddy with excitement that the “Pats are back.” Give me a break. The Jets have a chance to pull within a half game of New England with a win this week.

Miami Dolphins – I guess we should hold off on anointing Chad Henne the next Dan Marino for another week. The Dolphins might be the best 2-4 team in the NFL…but guess what? You are what your record is, so Miami is 2-4 and in last place in the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills – The Ryan Fitzpatrick era is in full swing, as the Harvard product has led the Bills to two straight wins. I will take them seriously if they can beat the Texans this week…then again the Texans aren’t really that good either.

TOJ Top Ten

  1. New Orleans Saints – Impressive comeback win over the Dolphins made my Sunday even better than it already was.
  2. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – Didn’t even break a sweat in their win over St. Louis.
  3. Denver Broncos – Good challenge this week in Baltimore.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – Tough loss to Pittsburgh, followed by tough game in Green Bay.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers – The champs appear to be back with 4 straight wins.
  6. Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday must have been sweet for Cedric Benson.
  7. New York Giants – Where is the defense? Big game against Philly this week.
  8. Dallas Cowboys – Miles Austin is making Jersey proud.
  9. New England Patriots – They racked up plenty of BCS points the past two weeks.
  10. Atlanta Falcons – Weak showing against Dallas but they will give NO a run this weekend.

Jets vs. Dolphins Part II FIrst Look

The Opponent: We all know the Dolphins story and we all hate them. Miami kicked the Jets in the mouth on national television only a few short weeks ago by running the ball down their throat and making Rex Ryan look inept against the Wildcat. Since their Monday night victory over the Jets, Miami had a bye and then choked away a 21 point lead at home to New Orleans last week. Miami can run the football as well as anybody in the league, including our Jets and will certainly be licking their chops to break out the Wildcat against a front seven that is now missing Kris Jenkins. Make no mistake, this is an absolute must win for both teams, as I will detail in tomorrow’s article.

Miami Dolphins Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarerback: Chad Henne – 62/103, 659 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 109 carries, 491 yards, 7 TD’s
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 70 carries, 396 yards, 5 TD’s
  • Wide Receiver: Ted Ginn Jr – 18 receptions, 211 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Devone Bess – 26 receptions, 188 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Camarillo – 19 receptions, 174 yards
  • Wide Receiver; Brian Hartline – 10 receptions, 157 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasasno – 11 receptions, 77 yards, 1 TD
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Justin Smiley
  • Center: Jake Grove
  • Right Guard: Donald Thomas
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 14 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Ferguson – 15 tackles
  • Defensive End: Randy Starks – 19 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Defensive End: Phillip Merling – 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter – 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Channing Crowder – 22 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Akin Ayodele – 25 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Jason Taylor – 16 tackles, 5.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 9 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 11 tackles
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 10 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 43 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Safety: Gibril Wilson – 39 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter
  • Punter: Brandon Fields
  • Kick Returner: Patrick Cobbs
  • Punt Returner; Devone Bess

Key Players: Everything starts and ends with stopping Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. On defense, Miami can get after the quarterback with a variety of different players led by Jason Taylor, Cameron Wake, and Joey Porter.

Injuries: Miami’s starting corner Will Allen is out for the season. On the Jets side, expect to see Jerricho Cotchery back in action but Brad Smith and Lito Sheppard miss another game.

Highlights of Miami’s Choke Job Last Week

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

First a few updates:

1. As expected, Leon Washington was placed on the IR today. It will be interesting to see who the Jets add to their roster to fill that spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Danny Woodhead back to running back and then added another defensive lineman to the roster.

2. Another thing to keep an eye on is who will return kickoffs now for the Jets, some names to look out for will be Dwight Lowery, Danny Woodhead, Wallace Wright, or David Clowney.

3. The Game Highlights, Stats, and Depth Chart pages have been updated.

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez wasn’t asked to do much but he did a good job with what was handed to him. You could see him making a conscious effort to protect the football by throwing passes away and checking down. He also did a better job of avoiding sacks. On third down he was 5-8 for 65 yards, re-establishing his early season ability to come up with key first down conversions. Sanchez also executed a beautiful play fake and dropped in a nice pass to David Clowney for a 35 yard touchdown. There were still some missed throws and for some reason he can’t get on the same page with Dustin Keller but yesterday was a step in the right direction.

Running Backs: (A+) Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones completely wore down the Raiders defense. There wasn’t anything flashy or fancy about the Jets running game yesterday, they went right up the gut with Jones and Greene who combined for 265 yards. Jones certainly doesn’t look like a 30 year old running back and Greene has an unbelievable burst through the hole. We are all going to miss Leon Washington, but Jones and Greene will be a handful for defenses the rest of the season.

Wide Receivers (B) They weren’t given a ton of opportunities but did a good job when their numbers were called. David Clowney stepped up in particular with 4 catches for 79 yards, including a 35 yard touchdown. He showed an ability to be more than a deep threat by breaking some tackles and catching a tough pass over the middle. Wallace Wright recorded his first two catches of the season and Braylon Edwards had a drop but also pulled in a tough catch over the middle. I would expect Jerricho Cotchery to be back in action next week, which will be a big boost.

Tight Ends: (C) Good job blocking by Dustin Keller and Ben Hartsock. Keller also did a great job selling the play fake on his 26 yard reception. He was open a couple of other times but Sanchez missed him. One of these weeks it is going to click for Keller and Sanchez, who started off the year strong but have struggled to connect recently.

Offensive Line: (A+) Awesome job by the Jets front five, there really isn’t much to say except that Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Robert Turner dominated and embarrassed Oakland’s front seven. I bet Richard Seymour is regretting saying the Raiders are going to be a playoff team…unless he meant a high school playoff team.

Defensive Line: (B) The committee approach to replace Kris Jenkins got off to a decent start. Yes, the Jets gave up a little more rushing yards than you’d like to see but overall their defensive line was active, especially Mike DeVito and Howard Green. They have a hell of a challenge coming up this week against Miami.

Linebackers: (A) Quiet games for Bart Scott and David Harris but the grade is picked up by a terrific day from Calvin Pace, who racked up 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Jets are going to need that type of effort from him the rest of the season because Pace is unquestionably their top pass rusher. Vernon Gholston has been demoted behind Jamaal Westerman in pass rushing situations.

Secondary: (A) Darrelle Revis is something else…that interception was ridiculous. Do you think he is fired up for this week after getting burned by Ted Ginn Jr (aka Panhands) on national television? Jim Leonhard made his first interception of the season and Dwight Lowery continues to put together a strong season in replacement of Lito Sheppard. Donald Strickland was back and always seems to be around the ball.

Special Teams: (B) Steve Weatherford might run for 100 yards this season. It is not a good sign that Jay Feely has missed two short kicks in consecutive weeks.

Coaching: (A) Mike Pettine made a nice adjustment on defense, allowing Calvin Pace more pass rushing opportunities. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job sticking with the run and Rex Ryan clearly had the troops motivated. Let’s see how they handle Miami this week.

Jets/Raiders Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

First a few updates:

1. Damien Woody left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Wayne Hunter. Apparently it isn’t that serious and Woody absolutely expects to play this Monday night. There is no question that the Jets offensive line is off to slow start, which could be attributed to the missed time of many of the starters in the pre-season or maybe Woody and Alan Faneca are getting a step slower at their age.

2. Shonn Greene also has an ankle injury that isn’t considered serious, but if it wasn’t that bad why didn’t the Jets use him in the second half after such a strong showing on his first four carries? Obviously the status of Woody and Greene will be something to keep an eye on all week, but at least they have an extra day to get healthy since the Jets are playing on Monday night.

3. I’d be shocked if Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland weren’t ready to go this week.

4. The Jets bumped down to #6 Peter King’s weekly power rankings and Darrelle Revis climbed to #4 on his MVP watch list, after another strong showing.

5.  Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Saints highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

Quarterbacks: (F) It was about as bad as it could get for Mark Sanchez yesterday. He directly handed the Saints 14 points off turnovers, including a telegraphed interception and a fumble in the end-zone where he held on to the ball for too long. There were also two more late interceptions on forced passes as the Jets attempted a desperation comeback. We’ll learn about the rookie this Monday night by seeing how he responds to his first poor performance in a nationally televised game on the road against a hated division rival. Give Sanchez credit for taking the blame after the loss but he needs to learn from his mistakes and start immediately protecting the ball better. He also needs to stop getting personal fouls for taking out people’s legs on his interceptions.

Running Backs: (C) Thomas Jones got off to another sluggish start but looked substantially better after Shonn Greene began taking his reps. Greene tweaked his ankle after only four carries and wasn’t used in the rest of the game after his strong start (4 carries, 23 yards). Leon Washington wasn’t involved with only 4 carries. The Seminole package looked good but the Jets still aren’t a anywhere near where they were last year running the football.

Wide Receivers: (C) Jerricho Cotchery had another good effort (5 catches, 71 yards) but did have a key dropped pass on a third down. Chansi Stuckey was invisible for the second week in a row. Brad Smith made an impact with a big run in the Seminole package and also registered a reception. David Clowney was active but still hasn’t had a pass thrown his way in four weeks. Somebody needs to step up to support Cotchery.

Tight Ends: (C) Dustin Keller had a big grab down the seam but the Jets need more out of him than 31 yards receiving. Since week one, his yardage totals have been extremely low and he hasn’t been the consistent impact player he was during stretches of time last year.

Offensive LIne: (D) Another sub-par effort by this unit, who just hasn’t looked right this season. I don’t know if it is because of age or because they didn’t play together alot in the pre-season but they aren’t producing. Mark Sanchez can’t be sacked four times and the ground game can’t keep struggling like this if the Jets are going to be serious contenders.

Defensive Line: (B) Good all around effort up front, especially in the short yardage situations. Sione Pouha (3 tackles) and Marques Douglas (5 tackles, 1 TFL) were particularly active. Kris Jenkins played well but had a killer offsides penalty on a fourth and short situation.

Linebackers: (A-) David Harris racked up 12 tackles and Bart Scott had a pair of tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit. Bryan Thomas had his best game of the season. Vernon Gholston registered one tackle and failed to record a sack in any of his four starts. Fortunately, the Jets best pass rusher, Calvin Pace is returning from suspension this week.

Secondary: (A) Despite being without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland for the second straight week, the unit had a very good effort. Darrelle Revis knocked down 3 passes and held Marques Colston without a reception. Both of his catches came with Drew Coleman on him, who still played a pretty good game as the nickle back. Dwight Lowery was solid and made a great play on a deep ball to Robert Meachem. Kerry Rhodes saved a touchdown on the first drive of the game by knocking away a pass intended for Reggie Bush and had 8 tackles. Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith had quiet games.

Special Teams: (B) Jay Feely is putting together a very good season. Steve Weatherford had a bad shank but responded with a 56 yard punt. Leon Washington never got a chance to get going because the Saints forced him into a touchback every time but once.

Coaching: (C) Some questionable play calling in short yardage situations. The defense did their job and had a strong all around game plan but the offense let the entire team down. Let’s see how this staff will respond to their first loss and how they can motivate their team against inferior opponents the next four weeks.

Jets/Saints Game Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game

First a few updates:

1. Apparently the 49ers are threatening the Jets with tampering charges for still unsigned receiver Michael Crabtree. I don’t know what the Jets could have done except maybe reach out to their agent for preliminary discussions about him for the 2010 draft, since it looks like that is where he is headed. The Broncos were threatening charges about Brandon Marshall and nothing came of it, so as of now I wouldn’t be too worried about this.

2. Some injury concerns from yesterday: Lito Sheppard has a quad injury, which could be trouble considering his history, Donald Strickland who has been sensational off the bench twisted his ankle, and Kris Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him late in the game (that’s alot of wind). In terms of Sheppard and Strickland you have to hope they will be back to 100 percent for the Saints game the week after next. I think Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman can hold the fort down against the Titans.

3. You have to love the excuses and lack of credit coming out of New England. First off, Randy Moss commenting that Darrelle Revis didn’t shut him down and that he always had help over the top, which is just laughable because anybody who watched the game knows Revis was one on one with Moss 90 percent of the time. Moss was held to 4 catches for 24 yards, was out jumped by Revis for an interception and appeared to give up on some of his routes because #24 gave him no room to breathe. Also, Boston talk radio today and the Patriots message board yesterday and today can’t seem to recognize the reality that the Jets out-played and out-coached them yesterday. If I was a New England player, fan, or media member I would stop crying about the Jets trash talk, mocking of them by making Kevin O’Connell, Larry Izzo, and Damien Woody captains and focus on upcoming games against Atlanta and Baltimore. How does 1-3 sound New England?

4. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 in his power rankings and put Darrelle Revis on his MVP watch list. I will say that it is nice to see some national media members (John Clayton also singled him out in his column) finally talking about Revis as arguably the best corner in the league.

5. Site Updates – I added the Jets/Pats highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, added the new episode of TOJ TV to the “TOJ TV” section, updated the stats and the depth chart.

6. The Yankees better take care of business against the Angles the next three games. I don’t want to be heading into the Boston series up 3 games or less.

7. Eric Mangini…yikes. How does 2-14 sound?

8. My fantasy team? Yikes…how does 2-11 sound? My top two quarterbacks (McNabb and Hassleback) are already down.

Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game

Quarterbacks: (B) It was a slow start for Mark Sanchez, who couldn’t move the offense in the first half and nearly had a disastrous fumble on his first play from scrimmage. Yet, the kid came out slinging in the second half. His two most impressive throws were the laser to Jerricho Cotchery to kick off the second half and the touch he displayed on his touchdown pass to Dustin Keller, just two plays later. 14/22 for 163 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions is enough for the Jets to win with this season. How about the rookie doubling Tom Brady’s quarterback rating? The best part about Sanchez is that he is only going to get better as the season progresses.

Running Backs: (B-) Leon Washington had a killer fumble that directly led to three points for New England and a dropped pass but beyond that put together a strong, productive game on offense. His 19 yard run in the fourth quarter was something else and he had a huge third down conversion on a reception over the middle. Thomas Jones was steady but was never able to break through to the second level. Jones and Washington combined for 31 touches (14 carries each, Washington had 2 receptions, and Jones had 1). I’d like to see that number closer to 40 but Brian Schottenheimer is still doing a great job of balancing their touches and using Leon Washington more.

Wide Receivers: (B) After being invisible in the first half, Jerricho Cotchery looked like a legit number one receiver in the second half. He did a great job staying on his feet and turning a 15 yard catch into a 45 yard gain and went down to make two other tough catches for Mark Sanchez, including one that converted a big third down. Cotchery looks like a 1200 yard receiver right now. Chansi Stuckey was productive with 4 catches, including a gutsy grab when getting leveled by 2 Pats defenders. Brad Smith had his standard one reverse, this time picking up seven yards. David Clowney still hasn’t had a ball thrown his way.

Tight Ends (B+) Dustin Keller stepped up in the red-zone, which will be key for the Jets this season. He did have a holding penalty but overall did a solid job with his blocking. Ben Hartsock played less than he did last week.

Offensive Line (A-) Another strong effort by this unit, who only allowed Sanchez to be sacked twice and opened enough holes in the running game. Alan Faneca may have been beat for a sack but had a heads up play by covering up the ball after everybody else seemed to stop, thinking it was an incomplete pass.

Defensive Line (B) These guys must be exhausted, since only four of them were active. Sione Pouha provided quality reps off the bench. Kris Jenkins appeared to be himself in the middle and Shaun Ellis had a huge stop on a 3rd and 1. Overall, the Pats ran the ball a little better than I expected them to but like the rest of the unit, the defensive line bent but never broke.

Linebackers (A) Was there two David Harris’ and Bart Scotts on the field yesterday? The Jets inside linebackers were constantly in Tom Brady’s face. Scott had 2 tackles for a loss and Harris had 3 hits on the quarterback. Bryan Thomas was also very active with 4 tackles and a few near sacks. Vernon Gholston didn’t play that much and when he was on the field didn’t have an impact. Imagine this defense when Calvin Pace comes back? Wow.

Secondary (A) Rex Ryan was smart to have 10 defensive backs active since the Patriots spent the whole game in 3 and 4 wide sets. Darrelle Revis was Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the NFL right now. Kerry Rhodes backed his words up with 8 tackles, a QB hit, and a PD. Jim Leonhard is always around the football. Donald Strickland was having the game of his life before leaving with an ankle injury. Dwight Lowery was excellent off the bench and could be seeing more playing time the next couple of weeks with the injuries to Strickland and Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A) A great game of kick returning by Leon Washington. Another good coverage day for the Jets punt and kick units. Jay Feely was 3/3 on kicks.

Coaching (A+) Rex Ryan can do no wrong right now. You can say his voice message to fans was cheesy but it worked. I have never seen the stadium like that in my life. In only a few months he has completely changed the culture around this team. I love how the Jets defer when they win the coin toss. I love how he made the ex-Pats the game captains and I love how he out adjusted Bill Belichick at half-time.

Enjoy the Highlights One Last Time

Jets vs. Texans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets first injury report today had Mike DeVito listed as limited, although he is still expected to play. There are some rumblings that Sione Pouha will start at defensive end and that DeVito will rotate in off the bench but that remains to be seen. Kellen Clemens, Bryan Thomas, Wallace Wright, and Shonn Grenne were also listed on the injury report but all participated in the full practice today.

2. The Sporting News came up with a list of the top 100 players in the NFL: three Jets made it on the list, with Alan Faneca coming in at #34, Kris Jenkins #69, and Darrelle Revis at #98. No, Nick Mangold? I was a little surprised by that.

3. Brett Favre said some garbage today about being hurt towards the end of last season and a belief that he probably should have sat because his arm hurt so much. Yea, I’m sure Favre was just begging to be taken out when the Jets were 8-4 or 8-5. I really hope Cleveland and Minnesota end up in a 0-0 tie this weekend, with Favre throwing 4 INT’s, I’m not really interested in seeing him or Mangini win.

4. A little heads up that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet at www.fanball.com at 11:15 AM on Friday to preview the Jets/Texans game.

Jets vs. Texans: Key-Match Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Texans game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

Darrelle Revis vs. Andre Johnson: Everybody knows Andre Johnson is one of the three best receivers in the NFL, if not arguably the best overall one. Few people respect Darrelle Revis as one the league’s top 3-5 cornerbacks, but make no mistake, he is. Johnson is the type of player who can change a game on any given play, having the ability to score from any place on the field which only increases the pressure on Revis. With Rex Ryan’s aggressive style, I don’t know how much help Revis will have over the top. As long as he can keep Johnson in front of him and prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play, he will have done his job.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Damien Woody vs. Mario Williams – Ferguson and Williams is a battle of former top 5 picks in the 2006 draft, so it will grab more headlines but I am worried about Woody struggling with a speed rusher like Williams. Despite having a solid season in 2008, Woody is still a former interior lineman who sometimes struggles against the pass rush. I think Ferguson has the feet to handle Williams and will be able to protect Sanchez adequately. Don’t be surprised to see the Jets chip Williams occasionally with a back or tight end. The last thing they need is Sanchez getting pounded into the turf or running for his life all day on Sunday.

Leon Washington vs. DeMeco Ryans – Ryans is a lethal combination of speed and talent at the middle linebacker position, while Leon Washington is one of the hardest people to tackle in the NFL in the open field. When the Jets drop off a screen to Washington or send him on a wheel route out of the backfield, it will be up to Ryans to prevent him from creating a big play.

Lito Sheppard vs. Kevin Walter – The Texans aren’t going to stop throwing to Andre Johnson because Darrelle Revis is on him but they will certainly be throwing a ton of balls to Walter, an 8 touchdown 900 yard receiver, against Sheppard who struggled all pre-season. Lito is in desperate need of a strong performance to calm everybody’s nerves about him opposite Revis. Walter has good size and is frequently targeted around the red-zone, Sheppard has good hands and can make big plays but also has been a penalty machine this pre-season and been beat often.

We Never Get Enough Leon Washington here at TurnOnTheJets.com

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

1. John Clayton speculated it would take a 1st and 4th round pick for the Jets or any other team for that matter to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos…that is a steep price for the Jets, who only drafted three players last year and still badly need to add depth/talent to the WR, TE, and OL/DL. However, how much better would Mark Sanchez be with a guy like Marshall to throw to? It is an interesting debate, as of now I still wouldn’t expect anything to happen.

2. The Rex Sox just acquired Billy Wagner…did somebody say desperate? Also, it is really historically unbelievable how bad the Mets season has gone, in terms of injuries and everything else that has happened around the team.

3. I just found out you can download something called “NFL Replay” which allows you to watch any NFL game on your computer within 24 hours of it ending. Thank god…I was contemplating not going to Italy with my family because I would miss the Jets/Colts week 16 game.

4. My fantasy football league is holding our live draft this Saturday…and I am stuck the #5 pick. Suggestions are still welcome.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

Quarterbacks: D+ – Yeeesh. Let’s be honest here, outside of one play it was an ugly, ugly night for Mark Sanchez. The rookie threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown (a ridiculously athletic play by Haloti Ngata), threw another ball right into the arms of Ray Lewis, fumbled an exchange, had two delay of game penalties, and a miscommunication with Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, he did make an athletic play and a great throw on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on a third down, which shows some character and a short memory, both necessary for a successful quarterback but outside of that play, he was simply bad. Hopefully, this night be will remembered as an important part of his development and learning curve as a NFL QB. The Ravens in their building are as good as it gets in the NFL…Sanchez will learn from last night and be better prepared the next time around.

Kellen Clemens had a real shot to make the quarterback battle alot more interesting last night but didn’t respond to the challenge. He threw a horrible interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown and only completed 50 percent of his passes. He did drop in a nice 28 yard touchdown to David Clowney (who else?) and threw a beautiful long ball to Brad Smith that was dropped (shocking…I know).

The Jets are built to play defense and run the ball. They need a quarterback who can protect the football and not give points to the opposing team. If you take away the 2 INT’s for touchdowns last night, the Jets win that game handily. They can’t have turnovers from the quarterback position, period.

By the way, Erik Ainge looked pretty good last night and is probably on his way to being the #2 quarterback next year when Clemens isn’t resigned.

Running Backs: A – Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. #29 is the engine the keeps the Jets offense running. He put on a display last night that clearly showed his value to the Jets. 48 rushing yards on a 6.0 yards per carry (just like last season…give him more touches), 2 receptions for 35 yards including a 19 yard touchdown, and a 52 yard kickoff return. Pay Leon Washington. Thomas Jones also looked like he was in 2008 form with 32 yards on 8 carries. Shonn Greene had a nice 15 yard catch but took a rib shot that limited his action. I am still not that impressed with Danny Woodhead, who isn’t going to make the roster. Brock Christopher looked pretty good filling in for Jehuu Caulcrick. Good to see Tony Richardson back out there.

Wide Receivers: D – Nothing from Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith dropped a touchdown and had an offensive pass interference penalty. Britt Davis dropped a long touchdown. Marcus Henry couldn’t get open on the 2 point conversion that could have won the game. Wallace Wright was quiet. On the positive side, David Clowney just keeps making plays as he caught another touchdown pass, using his speed to blow by Frank Walker. How can Clowney not be the Jets #2 receiver right now? Everybody talks about how much they love Stuckey in the slot, so put Clowney and Cotchery on the outside and have Stuckey work the slot.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet night from Dustin Keller. Jack Simmons had a drop and Kareem Brown didn’t have a catch, although they all deserve some credit for strong blocking in the running game.

Offensive Line: B+ – It says alot about Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca that they strapped it up last night…that is exactly what you want to see from your veterans, that they are excited about the team/season and are raring to get back out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes in the running game and did decent in pass protection, considering the amount of blitzes the Ravens threw at them. Wayne Hunter played much better filling in for Damien Woody than he did last week.

Defensive LIne: B+ – Very strong games from both Howard Green and Ropati Pitoitua, who both recorded a sack and are showing that the Jets have pretty good depth along their defensive line. The run defense was great and the entire line got a solid push all night. It will be a huge boost to get Kris Jenkins back in the next couple of days.

Linebackers: B – David Harris is going to record alot of sacks in Rex Ryan’s defense. He continued his terrific pre-season with 5 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott missed a tackle in the backfield on third down that would have ended a drive. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace both had productive games, including another sack from Pace who the Jets are going to miss badly for the first four games this year. Kenwin Cummings and Marques Murrell were both active. Vernon Gholston did nothing except get out-run by Joe Flacco.

Secondary: C – They badly miss Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were picked on all night. Coleman had a nice pass deflection but was toasted deep by Derrick Mason. Lito Sheppard was beat a couple of times. Kerry Rhodes was pretty active and had a nice pass deflection, to break up a screen play. Marquice Cole had a nice interception but was beat deep later in the game. James Ihedigbo had an interception called back on a penalty.

Special Teams: C – Average punting, decent kicking, a big kick return by Leon Washington, a nice job on punt returns by Jim Leonhard and a near turnover by Aundrae Allison.

Highlights From the Game Last Night: