12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #1

We can’t just stop the 12 pack because the Jets decided to only play one half in the AFC Championship Game. On to edition #1 of the off-season 12 pack, but not before a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)…check out that new Twitter bar on the side of the home page, not bad right? A special thanks to Will Horton who migrated TOJ off the Fanball server and on to our new one.

1. The Running Backs – I am certainly not against LaDainian Tomlinson coming back for another year with the New York Jets. He is a valuable outlet for Mark Sanchez and provides necessary leadership on the offensive side of the football. However, the Jets have to be careful to not let him stunt the growth of Joe McKnight and especially Shonn Greene. Due to Tomlinson’s strong start, Greene never really received the chance to develop into the number one back we all envisioned him as. Down the stretch when he started to play better, he still wasn’t getting enough carries because Tomlinson maintained a big role in the offense.

Joe McKnight wasn’t ready to contribute this past season but did show signs of hope towards the end of the year. The coaching staff apparently loves his skill set and the only way to see if he can become a part of this offense is to give him a chance. If Tomlinson returns, it needs to be in a reduced role that allows Greene to get 17-20 carries a game and McKnight to get 7-9 offensive touches himself at running back and receiver. The future of this backfield is Greene, McKnight, and John Conner at fullback and the future should start in 2011.

2. The Mark Sanchez Question – I am still amazed at how hesitant some people are to give Sanchez credit for the type of season he put together in 2010. There is no question he struggles with inaccuracy at times and hits stretches of inconsistency, however on the whole he threw 5 more touchdowns and 7 less interceptions, along with over 800 more yards than he did his rookie year. He took major strides forward in his second year as a starting quarterback and is developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league at avoiding the pass rush and making a play outside of the pocket. Most importantly, he has the necessary intangibles to be a leader of a team and consistently plays well in big spots. The guy has four road playoff victories in his first two years and has a bright future as the Jets offense becomes more aggressive.

3. Changing Faces – Marcus Dixon, Marquice Cole and James Ihedigbo are three role players who I expect to see more playing time on defense in 2011. They all showed potential in limited reps and with at least a few defensive backs and defensive lineman leaving as free agents or being released, should get an opportunity to create bigger roles for themselves.

4. Bye, Vernon – Mike Tannenbaum made it pretty clear today that we shouldn’t expect to see Vernon Gholston back in 2011. Why would the team even bother at this point? Three seasons, zero sacks, and limitless hype and “Gholston is finally getting it” stories…it is time to move on.

5. Let’s Not Repeat – Let’s face the reality that Kyle Wilson showed signs of being a bust in his rookie year. He seemed overwhelmed by the NFL game and was out-played by Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery all season. Wilson will be given every opportunity to be at least the nickel back if not the starter opposite Darrelle Revis (if Antonio Cromartie leaves) and he needs to take advantage of it. Hopefully, he will learn from his rookie mistakes instead of losing confidence from his struggles.

6. Scary Stats Part 1 – Bart Scott has 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble in two seasons with the Jets. Drew Coleman had 4 sacks and 5 forced fumbles this season for the Jets…Bryan Thomas had less than 40 total tackles this season despite starting every game at outside linebacker…Dwight Lowery had the same amount of regular season touchdowns this season as Shonn Greene.

7. Preparing For Life Without Brad – We all want him back and we all know how valuable he is, but I have hard time seeing the Jets pay Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs type money in a year they have to pay David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, and Santonio Holmes. Joe McKnight needs to pick up the slack on kick return and as an option running the football. Patrick Turner can help fill the void at receiver and will get more playing time any way with Braylon Edwards likely leaving.

8. To Shaun Ellis and Mike Tannenbaum – Let’s have cooler heads prevail this off-season and work something out. Nobody wants to see Ellis finish his career in a different color jersey than Green and White and he would be a great mentor to whatever young defensive lineman the Jets draft this year.

9. Already Excited – New York’s current JV team (the Giants) at New York’s finest this season…you know that game has Monday or Sunday night football written all over it.

10. Plax and Aso – There has been plenty of chatter about both Plaxico Burress and Nnamdi Asomugha joining the Jets this year. However, I would say there is less than a ten percent chance of either happening. Asomugha is only coming here if he agrees to take much less than he is worth, which I doubt he will do. I could see the Jets exploring Burress but I’d be surprised to see them add another sideshow especially since there is no guarantee he’d be anywhere near the player he once was considering his time off.

11. Anybody Else – Been spending time wondering what would have happened if Ben Roethlisberger didn’t complete that third and six pass to Antonio Brown?

12. Video Therapy (Wide Receiver Edition) —

Enjoy your weekend…

Jets vs. Colts – 12 Pack of Wild-Card Predictions

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Is there anything better than a weekend of playoff football when your team is involved? The correct answer is absolutely not, so here is hoping that everybody beat the snow home and is ready for a great two days of football, without carrying on anymore here is a very special edition of the 12 pack for Jets/Colts, along with the rest of my weekend picks —

1. Mark Sanchez is going to throw for over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns against an over-matched Colts secondary. More importantly, he will protect the football and won’t have a single turnover.

2. Peyton Manning is going to throw for over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Jets secondary. He will find the match-ups that he wants because he always does. However, Manning will throw an interception Saturday night to Antonio Cromartie.

3. Shonn Greene will have at least 18 carries and at least 90 yards to lead the Jets ground attack. LaDanian Tomlinson will have 10-12 carries and 3-5 receptions. Joe McKnight won’t be involved in the offensive game-plan.

4. The Colts won’t have a running back who finishes with more than 50 yards on the ground. However, they will make big contributions catching the football out of the backfield.

5. Jacob Tamme is going to have a big day against the Jets secondary, with at least 65 receiving yards and a touchdown.

6. Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards will both have at least 70 yards receiving. One of them will get into the end-zone on a big play of 30 yards or longer.

7. Reggie Wayne will have less than 50 yards receiving and won’t score a touchdown against Darrelle Revis. Pierre Garcon will beat Antonio Cromartie for one big play but beyond that will be relatively quiet.

8. Brad Smith is going to have one big kick return and break one big run on offense.

9. Robert Mathis will have a pair of sacks against Damien Woody as he struggles to return from his surgery.

10. Despite having a less reliable kicker, the Jets will outplay the Colts on special teams which will go a long to determining the outcome of this game.

11. The Jets will coach this game extremely aggressively, meaning they won’t hesitate to go for 4th and 1’s and potentially try a few trick plays. However, Rex Ryan being too aggressive on defense will burn them a few times for big plays.

12. The Jets are going win a close one that comes down to the final few minutes, 27-24.

NFL Wild-Card Weekend Picks

Jets (+3) vs. Indy

Saints (-11) vs. Seahawks – I don’t want to hear about the long trip, the crowd noise, or the injuries to their running backs, the Saints are a much, much better team than the 7-9 Seahawks who don’t belong anywhere near the playoffs.

Ravens (-4) vs. Chiefs – Kansas City will struggle to move the football and will have a difficult time stopping Ray Rice. The Ravens are simply a more experienced team, who is better prepared to win this type of game.

Packers (+3) vs. Eagles – I have been all about the Mike Vick show all year but I think he will struggle with Green Bay’s blitzing and the Packers offense will run up a bunch of points on an inconsistent Philadelphia defense.

A Formula For Jets Playoff Success

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Excuse me for not being more excited about previewing the Jets/Bills backup bowl this Sunday, but my mind is already on Wild Card Weekend, where the Jets will either be traveling to Kansas City or Indianapolis. Despite the two teams being very different, the Jets road to the Super Bowl is going to need the following formula regardless of who they play.

1) The Good Mark Sanchez – We have seen the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde act from Sanchez at times over the past two years. The encouraging thing is that he played very well in last year’s playoffs and has looked great the previous two weeks. This is a quarterback driven league and the Jets are no different than any other team in that, they need their guy playing at a high level if they want make any noise in January. Sanchez has more weapons at his disposal in this year’s playoffs than he did last year, so hopefully he can create big plays and points to support his struggling defense.

2) Shonn Greene – The benefit of still using LaDainian Tomlinson too much down the stretch is that Shonn Greene is especially fresh for the playoffs. He is the type of back built for January, with his hard charging north/south running. Tomlinson is fine as a change of pace back and a 3rd down receiving option but the Jets would be foolish to not have Greene in the 18-20 carry range when the playoffs start.

3) Defensive Answers – The Jets are lacking the personnel to have a great defense but let’s be honest they aren’t completely devoid of talent and they are supposed to have one of the top defensive minds in the league coaching them. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine are going to have to get creative to manufacture a pass rush and to avoid leaving players like Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery on an island too frequently. Beyond that, players like Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor simply have to play better.

4) Special Teams Boost – Another way to cover for the Jets defensive shortcomings is to win the special teams battle. Kick returner Brad Smith and punter Steve Weatherford have both had Pro-Bowl quality years and the Jets need them both to keep it up. Nick Folk needs to stay reliable, as he has been the previous few weeks and it wouldn’t hurt if they could rip off a big punt return at some point.

5) Santonio – I love what Braylon Edwards has done for the Jets this year, as he has surprisingly been their most reliable and consistent receiver. Yet, Santonio Holmes is the only game-changing player on the Jets offense. He is the guy who can take a 3 yard slant route and turn it into a 70 yard touchdown or come up with a 7 catch, 165 yard game where an opposing defense just can’t stop him. The Jets need ‘Tone Time to last all the way through January if they want a shot of playing in February.

Jets vs. Bears: 12 Pack Of Predictions

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Your Christmas present? A 12 pack from TOJ on the Jets-Bears…

1. The Jets defense has struggled getting after the quarterback throughout the season. However, Sunday will be a day for Rex Ryan to show off his ability to design blitzes that constantly harass the quarterback. Jay Cutler will be sacked at least 3 times and one of those will be a strip sack.

2. On the topic Cutler…he won’t shy away from attacking Darrelle Revis, which is going to result in Revis pulling in his first interception of the season.

3. Greg Olsen and Devin Hester are going to have big days working against the Jets secondary. The Jets still haven’t shown an ability to stop the tight end and Hester’s quickness will be problematic if he gets matched up with any of the Jets nickel or dime backs.

4. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene will combine for at least 35 carries. A Jets running back hasn’t scored a touchdown since they played Denver in week 6 but the streak will end on Sunday.

5. After his big game last week, the Bears will shift more attention to Braylon Edwards opening things up for Santonio Holmes to have a 100 yard performance.

6. Nick Folk is going to keep quietly building momentum heading towards the playoffs by hitting all of his field goal attempts.

7. After being shut out last week, Jerricho Cotchery will have a couple of receptions on Sunday. Dustin Keller will also have one of his better games in recent weeks, pulling in over 50 yards receiving.

8. Mark Sanchez will have another efficient game, completing at least 60 percent of his passes and throwing for just over 200 yards. However, I do think will turn the ball over at least once.

9. Devin Hester will find a way to have at least one big return.

10. Brad Smith will create a big play on offense for the first time since the Cincinnati game.

11. Matt Forte will rush for less than 60 yards against the Jets defense.

12. The Jets are going to relieve all of the unnecessary stress in week 17 by beating the Bears 20-13. I like the way they match-up with them and think it will be a big day for the defense, after a so so effort against the Steelers.

A Sock Full Of Jets Observations

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C’mon now, you didn’t think I was going to avoid a foot related pun on national “just when you think anything else couldn’t happen for your team to grab headlines, it is found out your head coach and his wife make foot fetish videos and post them all over the Internet” day?

Honestly, I have nothing to comment on it, except for the following:

  1. This was the cover story on a major newspaper’s front page section, not sports section, in the biggest city in our country. What does that say about journalism in America?
  2. For everybody hating on Rex about this, save your hate for Bill Belichick who had affair and ruined two marriages in the process. So what if Rex is into his wife’s feet? A little weird? Yes…actually very weird, but whatever it is their personal life.
  3. Finally, you really put these videos on YouTube and all over the Internet, Mr. and Mrs. Ryan and expected nobody to eventually find out?

Now on to that 10-4 football team, we cover here at Turn On The Jets

  • Despite being the 5th best known linebacker on the roster. Bryan Thomas leads the Jets with 5 sacks this season. He remains an under appreciated player in the Jets system, who does the little things that helps their defense succeed and has contributed his share of big plays in 2010.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson is only 114 yards away from cracking 1,000 and has already racked up 50 receptions. Despite a slowed down second half, Tomlinson has produce enough for the Jets offense to merit his signing. For the record, he has 58 more rushing yards than Thomas Jones and is averaging 4.3 yards per carry compared to Jones’ 3.9. He also has 37 more receptions than him.
  • It is hard not be disappointed with Shonn Greene’s 696 yards and 4.0 yards per carry. Some of the blame should go to the coaching staff for not using him enough or letting him get into a rhythm. Yet, some of the blame has to go on Greene’s shoulders as well. However keep in mind Greene didn’t make his mark until the postseason last year.
  • It is pretty amazing that Santonio Holmes is only 3 receptions behind Tomlinson for the team lead, despite missing the first four games because of a suspension.
  • Braylon Edwards has been impressive this year with 46 receptions, 774 yards, and 6 TDs. He is averaging a whopping 16.8 yards per catch, making a strong argument for the Jets to find a way to bring him back in 2011.
  • David Harris has been very good as usual in 2010 but it is hard to say he has been great or complain if he doesn’t receive any post-season accolades. He currently has 93 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFLs, and 1 FF. You can’t say he is leading tackler on the best defense in the NFL anymore either, since the Jets defense simply isn’t the league’s best this year unlike in 2009.
  • You want to talk about filling up a stat sheet? Look at Brad Smith’s 2010 line – 221 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 4 receptions, 44 yards, 1 completion, 1 TD, 12 tackles, 29.1 yards per kick return, 2 return TDs.
  • He is still inconsistent in coverage but hard to ignore Drew Coleman’s 39 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 TFL, 4 PDs, 1 INT, and 4…yes 4 FF’s.

Anybody still trying to talk themselves into New England losing their last two and the Jets winning out to steal the AFC East? Let’s go Bills, this Sunday and then tank it for us in week 17.

One early preview for the 12 pack this week – Darrelle Revis is getting his first interception this week. Jay Cutler isn’t the kind of quarterback who is smart enough to avoid throwing at him and Revis will make him pay.

Instant Reaction: We're Not Dead Yet. Jets Upset Steelers 22-17

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I guess it was too early to write off the 2010 New York Jets. When everybody figured them for dead, the Jets turned in a big time performance on the road and gutted out a 22-17 victory.

Credit the defense for sticking it out at the end. Drew Coleman came up big with two sacks. Jason Taylor made his biggest play in a Jets uniform, with a clutch safety. Rex Ryan was more aggressive than he had been in previous weeks and kept Ben Roethlisberger on his toes.

Credit the special teams for getting it started with a Brad Smith kick return touchdown. Steve Weatheford was a huge weapon in the fourth quarter and Nick Folk didn’t miss a field goal for the second week in a row.

Credit the offense for a well called game by Brian Schottenheimer. You have to give credit where credit is due and Schotty was in playoff form on Sunday. Mark Sanchez was poised in the pocket and didn’t turn the football over. Braylon Edwards played his best game as a Jet and made countless clutch catches over the middle. LaDainian Tomlinson looked slightly rejuvenated.

Overall it was impressive team victory and showed it was time for Jets fans to step off the ledge. The Jets have improved on their win total from last year and are great position to return to the postseason.

Finding Solutions For The Jets Offense

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Instead of sulking about the Jets disgusting offensive performance yesterday, which set the game of football back about 50 years, let’s look at some practical solutions on how they can manage a few touchdowns over the last three weeks of the season.

1. Glide To The Bench – It is painfully obvious how many steps LaDainian Tomlinson has lost throughout the course of the season. There were multiple times during the game yesterday, where there were holes that should have led to 8-10 yard runs and Tomlinson was getting 2-4 yards. The fact that he received 19 carries and Shonn Greene only got 8, is inexcusable. It is time to make Greene the starter and give him 20 carries a week. Tomlinson should be the team’s third down back and that is it. Beyond that, Joe McKnight needs to become part of this offense. He has received 1 non-garbage time touch all year, so he should be plenty fresh and he has a level of speed that none of the other Jets running backs possess.

2. Keep It Simple Stupid – Enough of the shotgun, 4-wide, shift to motion, when the Jets are going to throw the football. Unfortunately, it is time to cut the field in half again for Mark Sanchez to let him slowly build his confidence back up. The Jets need to increase their use of quick receiver screens, short stop routes, and stay with the slants so the ball can get into Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller’s hands in space.

3. Bag The Wildcat – When is the last time the Jets broke a big play when Brad Smith took a direct snap? Considering Brian Schottenheimer has decided to do nothing out of this formation except either having Smith hand off to Shonn Greene up the middle or run a quick option to the wide side of the field, it is time to put it on ice for a few weeks.

4. Better Shots – It feels like when the Jets want to take a shot down the field, all they can come up with is a go route down the sideline to Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes without play action involved. The double move to Holmes that he dropped was a step in the right direction but the offensive coaching staff must find more ways to get creative when looking down the field for a big play.

5. Get The Ball To Keller – Dustin Keller is too athletic and versatile to be such a small part of the Jets game plan. If you want to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL or a quarterback in the NFL, you should be able to find a way to get the ball to a player of his talent level more consistently.

6. Just Play Better – Not all of this is on Brian Schottenheimer. Mark Sanchez missed open receivers down the field and failed to execute a number of short passes and screens. Santonio  Holmes dropped an easy touchdown pass on a double move. Jerricho Cotcherydropped a pass over the middle on the final drive that would have been a monster play. The pass blocking was inconsistent. Sanchez and Schottenheimer deserves the lion’s share of blame but everybody else on this offense needs to elevate their play.

Initial Reaction: Jets Take Care Of Business, Bring On The Pats

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It wasn’t the prettiest win but a 16 point margin of victory is nothing to complain about, especially this season.

This wasn’t Mark Sanchez’s night and it wasn’t the Jets overall “A’ game, especially on offense. However, it was a much needed big time performance by the Jets defense who produced 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a safety. It was also a reminder that you can talk about Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson, Sanchez, and Shonn Greene all you want but don’t forget about Brad Smith.

The Jets do everything wide receiver/kick returner/quarterback/running back had his finest game of the season with 200 all purpose yards and 2 electrifying touchdowns.

Beyond that, Darrelle Revis did what we all expected and shut down Terrell Owens who nearly sobbed in post game press conference. Enjoy playing meaningless football in December, yet again, T.O.

It was nice to see the Jets take care of business but it is time for the main event of the 2010 regular season. 9-2 Jets traveling to 9-2 Patriots for Monday Night Football. 11 days of hype and analysis for maybe the biggest regular season meeting ever between these two rivals. The winner will likely be taking home a #1 or #2 seed, along with all the perks that come with it. The loser will be scraping for a wild-card spot.

We already know everybody will be picking the Patriots and honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way. The Jets have the same record as the Patriots and have already beat them by 14 this season, yet they receive no respect as an elite team.

Bring ’em on.

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