Jets vs. Ravens: Game Breakdown

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Offense: We all know the Jets want to run the football, yet if they want to move the ball against the Baltimore Ravens it is going to make sense to throw more than usual. The Ravens are beat up in the secondary in a big way. They won’t have Ed Reed taking people’s heads off and intercepting everything in sight and will be without Dominique Foxworth and Ladarius Webb at cornerback. The bottom line is they will have a very average collection of players in their secondary and the Jets must take advantage. I’m not saying to completely ignore the ground and pound, yet the best formation for the Jets offense this week might be Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith and Dustin Keller split out with LaDainian Tomlinson in the single back or motioning out to the slot.

There isn’t a corner on Baltimore who could physically match up with Edwards, who is coming off a great off-season and will have the chance to show these first four weeks he is capable of being the Jets number one receiver. Cotchery should be able to be very effective in the slot and Keller will be a tough match-up for the Baltimore safeties, although Dawan Landry is a talented player who is athletic enough to battle with Keller.

PhotobucketObviously, left guard remains an area of concern. The Ravens will be attacking Matt Slauson and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets left the running back in to pass protect more frequently than usual. I am interested to see the division of reps between the halfbacks and fullbacks in week one. This will be Shonn Greene’s first career start, yet I wonder if he will get the chance to get around 20 carries. Tomlinson could get more reps than usual because of a more pass centric than usual game-plan and his pass protection abilities. I am sure we will see John Conner in short yardage packages but there should be plenty of Tony Richardson out there, again because of his experience in pass protection.

Defense: Ray Rice. Ray Rice. Ray Rice. Regardless of all their additions at the wide receiver position, Rice is the most dangerous player on the Ravens offense. He can kill you as a pass catcher out of the backfield and obviously has the ability to rip off huge runs at any moment. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a ton of Kyle Wilson shadowing him, if he motions out to the slot and when he is in the backfield, it will be on the linebackers and safety to contain him. Eric Smith will get the nod at safety in place of an injured Brodney Pool and will have his hands full right out of the gate. The Jets don’t have the fastest collection of linebackers, which could prove to be a problem when attempting to slow down Rice.

In the secondary, we should be seeing Revis Island matched up Anquan Boldin primarily, which leaves Antonio Cromartie to deal with Derrick Mason and Kyle Wilson to focus on Rice out of the backfield and TJ Houshmandzadeh. Todd Heap is also one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league. It will be interesting to see who the Jets match up on him. I would imagine the responsibility would fall mostly to Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard, and maybe Dwight Lowery. All in all, this will be a good test for the Jets secondary because the Ravens have a very legit five pass catching options in Boldin, Rice, Housh, Heap, and Rice.

As we saw in the playoffs last year, Joe Flacco can be pressured into making poor decisions. He does have a big arm and put together a pretty productive season in 2009, yet the Jets defense should be able to force him into a couple of turnovers. Jason Taylor has been invisible in the pre-seaosn but he will have the chance to show he can still get after the quarterback while filling in for Calvin Pace. Also don’t be surprised to see some Jamaal Westerman on certain pass rushing downs.

Special Teams: You can bet both team’s fanbases and coaching staffs will be cringing each time their kickers line up. Nick Folk and Billy Cundiff both still have to win over everybody’s confidence. Brad Smith will be the primary kick returner for the Jets, while punt return could be a combination of Jim Leonhard, Jerricho Cotchery, and Kyle Wilson. Chris Carr is a fairly explosive return man for the Ravens, but I don’t expect the Jets to do anything out of the ordinary to avoid kicking him the ball.

It’s Just About That Time

Jets vs. Ravens: First Look

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The Opponent: Along with the Jets and the Indianapolis Colts, the Baltimore Ravens are widely being selected as a favorite in the AFC. Coming off a 9-7 season in which they grabbed a wild-card spot in the week 17, Baltimore improved their offense this off-season with the addition of wide receiver Anquan Boldin and the recent signing receiver of TJ Houshmandzadeh. However, there is some concern about their secondary, with All-World safety Ed Reed beginning the season on the PUP list and starting cornerback Dominique Foxworth out for the year with a torn ACL. Regardless, Baltimore is a team cut in a similar mold to the Jets. They want to run the football and play an aggressive style of defense. This week one match-up could very well foreshadow a future playoff game between these two teams.

Baltimore Ravens Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Joe Flacco – 63.1 completion percentage, 21 TDs, 12 INTs
  • Running Back: Ray Rice – 1339 rushing yards, 702 receiving yards, 8 TDs
  • Running Back: Willis McGahee – 544 rushing yards, 85 receiving yards, 14 TDs
  • Fullback: Le’Ron McClain – 180 rushing yards, 2 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Anquan Boldin – 84 receptions, 1024 yards, 4 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Derrick Mason – 73 receptions, 1028 yards, 7 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: TJ Houshmandzadeh – 79 receptions, 911 yards, 3 TDs
  • Tight End: Todd Heap – 53 receptions, 593 yards, 6 TDs
  • Left Tackle: Michael Oher
  • Left Guard: Ben Grubbs
  • Center: Matt Birk
  • Right Guard: Marshal Yanda
  • Right Tackle: Jared Gaither

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Cory Redding – 2o tackles
  • Nose Tackle: Kelly Gregg – 46 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Defensive End: Haloti Ngata – 25 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Defensive End: Trevor Pryce – 6.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Jarrett Johnson – 36 tackles, 6 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Ray Lewis – 95 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Dannell Ellerbe – 34 tackles, 1 INT
  • Outside Linebacker: Terrell Suggs – 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks
  • Corner: Chris Carr – 38 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Corner: Fabian Washington – 34 tackles, 6 passes defensed
  • Safety: Dawan Landry – 70 tackles, 4 INTs
  • Safety: Tom Zbikowski – 24 tackles, 2 INTs

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Billy Cundiff – 12/17 FGs
  • Punter: Sam Koch – 43.7 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Jalen Parmele – 9 KRs, 283 yards
  • Punt Return: Chris Carr – 8.2 yards per return

PhotobucketKey PlayersRunning back Ray Rice is the Ravens biggest weapon and is coming off a monster season. He is a threat to break a big play at any moment and has terrific hands out of the backfield. Rice reminds me of a younger LaDainian Tomlinson. At receiver, Anquan Boldin is a pro-bowl caliber player who will be a good early test for Darrelle Revis. Joe Flacco can be inconsistent at times but still has a big time arm. Ray Lewis remains one of the best linebackers in the NFL and the Ravens pass rush is led by Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce. Dawan Landry is a dangerous player at safety.

Injuries – Outside of Ed Reed, the Ravens will likely also be without corner Lardarius Webb further hurting their secondary depth. Don’t expect Jets starting safety Brodney Pool to suit on Monday, which moves Eric Smith into the starting lineup. The Jets are also without tap pass rusher Calvin Pace, who recently had foot surgery.

Key Storylines – Battle of expected AFC heavyweights…Rex Ryan going against his former team…Does Revis Island still exist?…Can Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco be consistent…Time for the Jets to put their money where their mouth is.

Highlights of Ravens Beating Down Fading AFC East Team Last Year

Who Is The Team To Beat In The AFC?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also subscribe to the newly created YouTube page. I am happy to say our comment issue has been resolved as you can see, so any comment you leave on an article will be promptly posted.

2. Just a reminder that the Jets rookies report to training camp on July 29th in Cortland, New York. The veterans report on August 1st. The first episode of Hard Knocks is August 11th. The first pre-season game is August 16th against the Giants.

Who Is The Team To Beat In The AFC?

As training camp rapidly approaches let’s look at the four divisions in the AFC and what teams are most likely to come out of them and compete for a playoff spot and a Super Bowl.

AFC East

Favorite – I know it is shocking that the writer for Turn On The Jets is going to say the Jets are the favorite to win the AFC East, yet at the end of last season they were the best team in the division and they had the best overall off-season. Nobody is saying they are going to run away with this thing. It is going to be a dog fight with both the Dolphins and Patriots (likely more with the Dolphins). However, the Jets have the most overall talent on their roster and were less than a half away from a Super Bowl appearance last season. The addition of Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Pool, Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Santonio Holmes is only going to help that cause, along with the continued growth of Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. Their defense will also improve from the familiarity the eight returning starters will now have with Rex Ryan’s system.

Primary Competitor – I am going with the Dolphins over the Patriots in this spot. Brandon Marshall will help give them some much needed balance on offense and a legit big play threat. Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick were solid additions to their defense. However, I’m still not sold on their defense as an overall unit yet and I don’t know if Ronnie Brown can stay healthy or if Ricky Williams has another year like last season left in him. They also lack a proven option opposite Marshall at receiver, so when he loses himself on Revis Island, who will Miami turn to?

In The Mix – I am not counting out Tom Brady and Bill Belichick but the Patriots are looking like a 8-8 or 9-7 team to me right now. What did they do this off-season to make sure they don’t catch a swift beatdown from teams like the Ravens in 2010? Maybe I am putting too much stock in one game but I am not exactly worried about the additions of Torry Holt or Alge Crumpler. They have some young players with potential on offense who could step up but their defense isn’t what it used to be and is lacking on overall talent. Also, their offensive line isn’t the brick wall it used to be and they still don’t have anybody who is anything near being called a lead running back.

Circling The Wagons…In Basement – Trent Edwards. Brian Brohm. Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 2010 Buffalo Bills, everybody. I am sorry but who are their receivers beside Lee Evans and who is going to block for their UFL collection of quarterbacks and actually high quality trio of running backs?

AFC North

Favorite – The Baltimore Ravens have the potential to be scary good this season, if Joe Flacco can play more consistently and take advantage of the additions of Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth. Ray Rice is a superstar in the making and you know their defense will be good. So yes, week 1 is going to be a hell of a test for the Jets and a potential preview of the AFC Championship Game.

Primary Competitor – Don’t sleep on the Cincinnati Bengals this year. Many people are picking them as the team least likely to return to the playoffs but they can run the ball, play defense, and had a good off-season. Antonio Bryant is a major upgrade over Laveranues Coles at receiver opposite Chad Ochocinco Johnson and the selection of Jermaine Gresham in the draft gives them a much needed pass catching tight end. They also swept the Ravens last year.

In The Mix – Let’s see what kind of job Byron Leftwich does holding the fort down until Ben Rothlisberger returns and how quickly Rothlisberger can get acclimated after he returns. Pittsburgh can survive the subtraction of Santonio Holmes because Mike Wallace is going to be a very good player but is their defense going to improve from last season, especially at the end of games?

Fun Times In Cleveland Again – Those poor Cleveland fans. I can’t imagine having to root for the Indians, Browns, and Cavs for the next few years.

AFC South

PhotobucketFavorite – The Colts are the favorite for the division and the conference until somebody knocks them off. Peyton Manning might complete 80 percent of his passes this year with Antony Gonzalez returning to support Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and Dallas Clark. You can ask the same questions we always ask about their defense and running game but chances are they are going to be right there competing for a first round bye again.

Primary Competitor – I hate drinking the Texans kool-aid because everybody hypes them up every season and they never seriously challenge for a division title or make the playoffs. This roster has plenty of talent and maybe if their kicker can make a meaningful attempt this year, they can finally break through and play football in January.

In The Mix – Chris Johnson is the most electric playmaker in the NFL and Vince Young is always capable of making his share of big plays. Beyond that, Jeff Fisher is a great coach which means the Titans will be right in the mix for a playoff spot in 2010. I don’t know if they can make the jump to compete with the Colts for a AFC South title though.

Actually Not That Bad – The Jaguars somewhat exceeded expectations last year and added a few quality pieces to their defense. They are far from the doormat the Bills, Browns, and Chiefs and should be competitive in the division. They will likely finish last but could still win 7 or 8 games.

AFC West

Favorite – The Chargers should take advantage of playing in a weak division and roll to another division title. Hopefully, they bring their run defense into the New Meadowlands for a playoff battle against the Jets.

Primary Competitor – They don’t really fit the category as a competitor but I think the Oakland Raiders will end up in second place in this muddled division. Jason Campbell will bring much needed stability to the quarterback position and Michael Bush has the potential to be a quality lead back. Their defense has talent at all three levels with Richard Seymour, Rolando McClain, and Nnamdi Asomugha. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the NFL’s punchline win 8 games this year.

In The Mix – I am not really sold on any moves the Denver Broncos made this off-season and don’t see how they improved from the 8-8 team they were last season.

Poor Thomas Jones – I still wish Thomas Jones was on board with the green and white this season instead of playing for the Chiefs, who likely struggle to win 5 games this season.

As of today, if I had to list the order of probability of AFC teams making the playoffs (not a power ranking, just the likelihood of team making playoffs):

  1. Colts
  2. Chargers
  3. Ravens
  4. Jets
  5. Bengals
  6. Dolphins
  7. Patriots
  8. Texans
  9. Titans
  10. Steelers
  11. Raiders
  12. Jaguars
  13. Broncos
  14. Browns
  15. Chiefs
  16. Bills

Boldin? Cromartie? Marshall? Jones Coming Back? The Rumors Are Swirling

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Shame on me for talking about how slow the Jets off-season news was yesterday, because last night it began to pick up. Let’s sort through some of the talk that is flying around on the day before free agency starts.

Anquan Boldin/Kerry Rhodes – Last night Adam Schein reported the Cardinals were interested in Kerry Rhodes because of the impending departure of Antrel Rolle. Apparently, they are offering either Anquan Boldin or a third round pick in exchange for Rhodes. First off, I never thought the Jets could get a third round pick for Rhodes, thinking that they would have to settle for a 4th our 5th round pick. Even at a third roundpick, I am not crazy about the deal but it is somewhat more acceptable because the Jets may have a little more flexibility to make a move to fill the spot left by him. I think the Jets would probably do this deal because Rex Ryan likely believes Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo could get the job done if the Jets can’t acquire anybody else.

Despite writing about how the Jets don’t need a receiver, it is hard not to get excited about Anquan Boldin and Braylon Edwards split out wide, with Jerricho Cotchery in the slot. Are the Jets trying to turn into the greatest show on turf? It doesn’t really fit into the Jets identity to release Thoams Jones, give Leon a tender that could be matched and then swing a trade for a big time receiver for the second time in 6 months, but who knows? Anquan Boldin is a better player than Kerry Rhodes, and we know the coaching staff isn’t crazy about Rhodes, so I could absolutely see Tannenbaum pulling the trigger on this offer.

PhotobucketAntonio Cromartie – Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post reported last night that the Jets are “very interested” in Antonio Cromartie and are currently his most likely suitor. I am not crazy about Cromartie because of his occasional lack of effort and struggles the past two years but the guy obviously has serious amounts of talent. The Jets number two corner is going to see alot of balls thrown his way because of that Revis guy on the other side, and you are talking about a guy who had 10 interceptions in a single season back in 2007. I am sure Rex Ryan is enamored with his talent level and believes he can get the most out of him, but there would still be some risk associated withit. If San Diego is so anxious to get rid of Cromartie  that they will part ways with him for a late round pick, like say a 5th rounder this year and a 6th rounder next year, than go for it but let’s not do anything crazy and give up a pick in the first two or three rounds for this guy.

Restricted Free Agents – The Jets placed a tender on 8 of their 11 restricted free agents:

  • Braylon Edwards – 1st and3rd Round Picks
  • Leon Washington – 2nd Round Pick
  • Brad Smith – 2nd Round Pick
  • Kellen Clemens – Original Round(3rd) because the Jets already used their second round tenders on Washington and Smith
  • Eric Smith – Original Round (3rd)
  • Wayne Hunter – Original Round (3rd)
  • Drew Coleman – Original Round (6th)
  • James Ihedigbo- Original Round (FA)

Wallace Wright, Marques Murrell, and Howard Green were not given a tender and will become unrestricted free agents at midnight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wright and Green were eventually brought back, if they don’t receive that much interest on the free agent market. I don’t see anybody offering Leon a contract, regardless of what his agent says.

PhotobucketMarshall and Marshall – There has been some talk about the Jets having a potential interest in Panthers corner Richard Marshall, who was only given a second round tender. I know DMB on the Jets ESPN message board was all over this last night and then Rich Cimini of the Daily Newsalso pointed it out today. Honestly, it makes alot of the sense for the Jets to investigate Marshall who is only 25 years old, started every single game for the Panthers last year, and put together a very productive season (88 tackles, 4 INTs, 9 PDs). The Jets could get a proven starter opposite Revis, without Cromartie’s baggage, for a second round pick and then focus on a different area of need in the first round. It almost makes too much sense for Mike Tannenbaum to ignore.

An ESPN Insider report and Rich Cimini both discussed the possibility of the Jets pursuing Brandon Marshall, who was given a first round tender by the Broncos. I would still be surprised to see the Jets go after him, unless they found a way to move Braylon Edwards for some value. They aren’t going to give up a 1st rounder or even a 2nd rounder, if they could talk Denver into a trade, unless they are going to get a quality draft pick for Braylon.

Thomas Jones – PFT is reporting the Jets are planning an attempt to bring back Thomas Jones. They cut him to avoid paying him his 3 million dollar bonus but depending on the interest he receives in the open market, may be able to bring him back under a new deal. The same thing happened with Brandon Moore last season so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Anybody who regularly reads this site knows how I feel about Jones. I think it would be a great move if they could get him back on the roster for 2010.

Other Guys – The beat writers were all over the Jets pursuing Saints running back Mike Bell, who received the lowest tender (no draft pick compensation). Bell is a hard, inside runner who had five touchdowns and 654 yards last season for the champs. Corey Ivy has also been mentioned as a nickel back. Adalius Thomas seems destined to endup with the Jets after he is cut by the Patriots. There is still some talk about Nnamdi Asomugha, but I just can’t see that happening.

Stay tuned, the next few days should be interesting…

If I had to make some predictions as of right now, here is what I would say:

  • The Jets trade Rhodes for a third round pick because they don’t want to give Boldin a big contract.
  • The Jets match the offer sheet for Richard Marshall, if this doesn’t work out, they look to trade the third round pick acquired from the Rhodes deal for Cromartie.
  • The Jets sign Adalius Thomas.
  • The Jets sign Corey Ivy.
  • Donald Strickland is released.
  • Jay Feely signs with another team.
  • Marques Douglas comes back.
  • Tony Richardson comes back.
  • The Jets match the offer sheet for Mike Bell.
  • Leon is back next year.
  • Thomas Jones signs with another team for more money than the Jets are willing to pay him.

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

First a few updates:

1.  The Jets had their first annual “King Ugly” contest which names the three ugliest players/coaches in the organization. According to the beat writers and David Clowney’s twitter (also an interesting follow), first place was James Ihedigbo, second place was defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and third place was Leon Washington. Hey, it’s not a big deal guys…you play a sport with helmets on and I am pretty sure Pettine will be tucked safely away in the booth.

2. I was cleaning out my closet today and went through all my NFL Jerseys, which was obviously overloaded with Jets no longer on the team and WR’s and CB’s from other teams. For some reason when I was in high school I  wasted hundreds of dollars on jerseys of receivers and corners cause I played both positions. Anyway, look at this depth chart of jerseys and please if you are interested in buying any of them except for the guys currently on the Jets, feel free to let me know:

Jets Jerseys:

Still On The Team – Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, Kerry Rhodes

Legends – Curtis Martin

Out of Date – Santana Moss, Laveranues Coles, Curtis Conway (Yes, Curtis Conway), Jonathan Vilma, Chad Pennington, #9 Caporoso Jersey (a horrible gift from an ex-girlfriend)

Other NFL Jerseys:

Recievers: Anquan Boldin, David Boston, Issac Bruce

Corners: Terrence Newman, Phillip Buchannon, Charles Woodson, Quentin Jammer

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

I am going to do a full preview of the game before Monday Night but for now here is five players in particular to watch out for when the Jets play the Ravens:

Mark Sanchez – Obviously…the rookie is making his first start and it is on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses. What will be the most interesting to see is how he handles the intense amounts of pressure the Ravens will throw at him. Can he avoid sacks and move the pocket? Can he make the proper check at the line to a quick pass? Can he find the back or tight end to dump the ball off too? Even better, will he make the Ravens pay for crowding the box? Leading a scoring drive against the Rams is one thing but if Sanchez can put up some points against Baltimore’s first defense, that would be pretty impressive and leave us all feeling better heading into the season.

David Clowney – Can the speedy receiver keep up his pre-season dominance and more importantly, can he stay healthy? I would like to see Clowney catch a few balls that aren’t deep bombs (obviously in addition to catching a deep bomb or two) to show that he could work in traffic and be a complete receiver. Teams are going to start respecting his deep speed, which will open up the deep curl and comeback for him. Clowney has had some issues catching the football, so he needs to prove he can pull in a few difficult passes. Also, we’d all like to see him catch another touchdown and do that bizarre dance.

Vernon Gholston – Paging Mr. Gholston…paging Mr. Gholston….will you ever record a sack? Even in a pre-season game? Why can Kenwin Cummings get a sack last week but you can’t? I am tired about hearing how strong he is at the point of attack and how he has all the tools. It is time for Gholston to make a pass rush move and use his speed to put the quarterback on the ground.  We are all sick of seeing the #6 pick in the draft end of the game stats be 2 assisted tackles and 0 impact plays.

Dwight Lowery – The second year corner is coming off a rough outing against the Rams and should start again in place of Darrelle Revis and also see extended reps because Donald Strickland is sitting out with a sore toe. Lowery apparently struggled last game because he was dealing with some personal issues involving a friend nearly being deported. Hopefully, he can put that behind him, go out and have a strong bounce-back performance. You can never have enough depth in the secondary and Lowery is a talented guy who has a chance to be a big part of the Jets nickle and dime packages on defense this season.

Wayne Hunter – The backup tackle will start again for Damien Woody. Hunter struggled last week, giving up a 3rd down sack to Leonard Little of the Rams. It would be nice to see Hunter have a solid performance against a top tier defense, showing the Jets have somewhat decent depth on the offensive line. Also, keep an eye out to see if he gets any reps at tight end with the second offense.

Another Funny Jets Commercial, this time starting Fireman Ed: