Throwback Thursday: Jets at Chargers, September 22, 2008

Throwback Thursday! Chris Celletti takes a look back at Jets vs. Chargers in 2008, when they were still getting humiliated in primetime!

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Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about great Jets games in the past against their upcoming opponent. (Word to not take seriously in that last sentence: “great”)

So yeah, the Jets’ quarterback situation is a mess. Where we’re at right now, with Greg McElroy starting in Week 15, Mark Sanchez likely never taking a meaningful snap for this team again and Tim Tebow standing on the sideline with his fists on his hips while a nation wonders how a professional sports team could be so mean and unfair to a professional athlete…well, the disaster didn’t start this season. It didn’t start last season. When something is this much of a mess, it’s origins can be traced far back. We can probably go even further back than we will today, but let’s head on back to 2008.

The Jets just came off a 4-12 season with an iffy quarterback situation going forward (When has that EVER happened to the Jets?!) Chad Pennington was all sorts injured, and Kellen Clemens didn’t show a ton in his second season. But likely, the Jets were going to head into the 2008 season, coach Eric Mangini’s third, with Pennington and Clemens battling it out in training camp for the job. That is, until owner Woody Johnson said “The Giants just won the Super Bowl, we need to make a splash”. Enter the spokesman for Wrangler Jeans, the Pride of Gulfport, Mississippi, Brett Lorenzo Favre.

/Gives up on life when realizing Brett Favre’s middle name is Lorenzo

So the Jets crapped on Pennington right before training camp (funny how there weren’t people all up in arms about the Jets’ treatment of one of their best QBs in team history, yet, they somehow owe the country an explanation for why Tim Tebow hasn’t been given a shot), and handed the keys to Favre. The early returns were okay, the Jets won their opener in Miami before falling at home to the Matt Cassel-led Patriots. In Week 3, the Jets visited the San Diego Chargers.

At the time…

Billboard No. 1 Song in the U.S. – “Whatever You Like” by T.I. This song had three different multi-week stints atop the charts, which is an incredible accomplishment for a song built around a hook that sounds like a slogan for a fast foot chain.

No. 1 Movie in the U.S. – “Lakeview Terrace” starring Samuel L. Jackson. The IMDB description reads: “An LAPD officer will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door.” Well, then.

Jets’ Record Before: 1-1

Chargers’ Record before: 1-1

The Jets couldn’t have asked for a better start, as David Barrett intercepted Philip Rivers on the Chargers’ third play from scrimmage and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to put the Jets up 7-0. San Diego came right back and got three points back, and Thomas Jones coughed the ball up on the ensuing possession to give the Chargers good field position. A few plays later, Rivers hit mike Tolbert from a yard out, 10-7 Chargers. And then Brett Favre went and reminded Jets fans why they should temper their excitement just a tiny bit.

On the first play of the second quarter, with the Jets at midfield, Favre tossed one out towards the sideline that was caught and ran in for a touchdown by Antonio Cromartie. In September of 2008, Antonio Cromartie played for the San Diego Chargers. 17-7. The rout probably would have been on if not for Leon Washington, who returned the kickoff to the Chargers’ six yard line. Favre found Laveranues Coles and the Jets had life down just 17-14 despite not taking very much care of the ball.

Sensing the wild nature of the game and rightly taking advantage of it, the Chargers went for a surprise onside kick and recovered it. Five plays later, Chris Chambers caught a 27-yard score. But fear not Jets fans! You’re never out of a game when Favre is your quarterback! Except for those NOT RARE times when he throws the ball up for grabs and it’s picked off, which is what happened on the Jets’ next possession. San Diego took a 31-14 lead into the halftime break on Antonio Gates’ 6-yard TD catch with under three minutes left.

If the Jets had any chance they needed a stop right out of the gate in the second half, but that’s not what they got. The Chargers went 79 yards in seven plays capped off by a short touchdown run by future Jet LaDainian Tomlinson to make it 38-14. That was about it for the meaningful action, although Favre kept throwing and throwing and throwing. He finished with a classic Brett Favre statline: 30-of-42 for 271 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs. After all was told, it ended 48-29 Chargers.

I’ll say this for the one-year Favre Jets. At the very least, they were exciting. If you’re going to lose games, I’d rather lose them like the way the Jets lost this game. At least they were putting up some points early and things were actually, you know, happening on offense. Unlike this year’s Jets, who make you wonder if you weren’t paying attention and the NFL decided to all of a sudden play games on a field half the size.

Of course, what happened during the 2008 season and beyond was classic Jets. They were a Super Bowl favorite at 8-3 only to collapse and finish 9-7 while Pennington led the Dolphins to the Division title. After the season, Favre announced his retirement only to un-retire again and have an MVP-like season for the Minnesota Vikings. So, Pennington leaves the Jets and succeeds, Favre leaves the Jets and succeeds, so what do the Jets do? Trade up for Mark Sanchez, of course.

And when we look back on the Mark Sanchez Era, there is no doubt that the 2009 and 2010 seasons will be the one silver lining. A lot of people believe those Jets teams won in spite Sanchez, but they didn’t win in spite of Favre in 2008. Instead of building on the early success of Sanchez, the Jets bungled the operation completely, and on top of that Sanchez played like trash for two years, playing himself out of a career.

So as the Jets embark on another quarterback journey this Sunday as McElroy makes his first career start, I can only wait with bated breath to see how the Jets can screw up another quarterback. And if they don’t screw McElroy up in this short remainder of the season, based on past history one can only think it’s only time until they do. Or, for that matter, ruin whoever else ends up taking snaps next season.

Jets vs. Vikings: 12 Pack of Predictions

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12 predictions for the Jets/Vikings on Monday night

1. Randy Moss is going to make at least one big play. However, for the most part the combination of Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis (who I think will suit up) will keep him in check, similar to the week 2 game against New England.

2. Brett Favre is going to turn the ball over more than Mark Sanchez and he is throwing at least one interception to Cromartie.

3. Shonn Greene will build off his solid outing last week with at least 70 yards rushing, providing a strong compliment to LaDainian Tomlinson who will also add on 80 – 90 yards of his own.

4. Adrian Peterson will have a strong game and keep the Vikings in it, despite Favre’s turnovers.

5. If Vishante Shiancoe is healthy enough, he is going to kill the Jets in the middle field. The defense has struggled heavily stopping tight ends so far in 2010.

6. Santonio Holmes will have at least 65 yards receiving. Dustin Keller will finally go a game without scoring a touchdown. Braylon Edwards will have another productive night.

7. With Calvin Pace back in the lineup, Jason Taylor will be more productive with limited reps and have 1.5 sacks.

8.  Nick Folk will get back on track after last week’s 30 yard miss and be 100 percent on his field goal attempts.

9. Percy Harvin is going to have a big return on the Jets coverage units.

10. With Darrelle Revis back in the lineup and Drew Coleman now ahead of him on the depth chart, we will see very little of Kyle Wilson on the defensive side of the football.

11. The Jets are going to win a high-scoring close one, 31-27. Mark Sanchez is going to crack 300 yards for the first time in his NFL career, as he enjoys his full arsenal of weapons for the first time this season.

12. Brett Favre won’t be leaving any voicemails or texts for Jenn Sterger after the game.

Jets vs. Vikings: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Calvin Pace practiced full today and should be back in the starting line-up Monday night. Darrelle Revis was limited and his status remains somewhat in the air. The Jets should also be getting backup tackle Wayne Hunter back from a shin injury.

2. Brett Favre is taking his talents to South Beach all over Deadspin today…proceed with caution.

Jets vs. Vikings: Game Breakdown

Offense: Is do what you been doing the past three games too easy? Seriously, the Jets seem to have found a nice balance between their rushing and passing attack, along with a good division of touches between their various playmakers. Minnesota is a tough defense to run the ball on but that doesn’t mean they should shy away from having LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combine for 35-40 touches. The Jets offense is most effective when the running game gets going, opening up the play action attack for Mark Sanchez.

The big news on this side of the ball is obviously that Santonio Holmes is returning to the line-up. It will be very interesting to see how many snaps he plays and his integration into the offense. I would imagine the smoke screens and quick receiver screens the Jets usually like throwing to Jerricho Cotchery, will now be going to Holmes. Yet, the Jets don’t want to just use Holmes run after the catch ability. He is the most complete receiver on the roster and I expect Brian Schottenheimer to be excited about his new toy, and hence take an early shot down the field to him.

I would say Minnesota will likely focus their coverage on Dustin Keller, but really how could they? If they want to consistently leave Braylon Edwards and Holmes in single coverage with their corners, then good luck. Don’t forget Lito Sheppard plays major reps for them at corner and even if he gets matched up with Jerricho Cotchery in the slot, the Jets could do some damage.

Beyond that, there is also that Brad Smith guy running around on reverses, options, and quarterback draws.

Defense: The Jets need to put this game in Brett Favre’s hands. Adrian Peterson has been a monster this season (as usual) and even though the run defense has been stout so far, he has the ability to change that quickly. Worry about stopping AP first and then let the old gunslinger (aka dongslinger as Jason Whitlock is now calling him on Twitter) take his shots on our secondary.

If Darrelle Revis does play, he shouldn’t be tracking Randy Moss all over the field. Antonio Cromartie already showed he can shut him down. Let Revis get a few shots at him to keep him off balance but for the most part let Cromartie man him up. Revis can work on Percy Harvin, while Kyle Wilson will probably primarily be matched up on Vishante Shiancoe, which he better have safety help on. Shiancoe has been banged up though and could be less than 100 percent.

Favre can take his chances on our secondary and I wouldn’t be shocked if he hit one big play to Moss. As we saw in week two, the Jets can survive one big play by Mr. Play When He Wants To. I’d be shocked if Favre didn’t throw at least one interception into the hands of Cromartie this Monday and maybe a few more to our other DBs to boot.

Special Teams: Be wary of Harvin on returns and keep Jim Leonhard going on the punt returns, he looks much better than Kyle Wilson. Nick Folk, forget that 30 yard miss from last week.

Jets vs. Brett (And The Vikings): First Look

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Final Thoughts on Week 4:

Offensive MVP – LaDainian Tomlinson – Tomlinson keeps getting better and better each week. He ripped the Buffalo defense to pieces with 133 yards on 19 carries, 2 touchdowns, and 3 more receptions. Can he keep up this pace for the next 12 games and into the playoffs?

Defensive MVP – Antonio Cromartie – He took Lee Evans completely out of the game. Cromartie should especially flourish when he can bump back into the #2 role after that Darrelle Revis guy returns to the line-up.

They Deserve Some Love Too – Mark Sanchez…2 more touchdown passes and still zero turnovers…Shonn Greene…Finally broke out in 2010 with 117 rushing yards…Braylon Edwards…Another big day at the office for Edwards, who held down the #1 wide receiver spot nicely in Santonio Holmes absence…Shaun Ellis…Another sack for Ellis who has the team lead…Brad Smith…A touchdown pass? Why not?…Drew Coleman…Did a solid job starting opposite Cromartie…Dustin Keller…All he does is score touchdowns.

Jets vs. Brett (And The Vikings): First Look

The Opponent: The Minnesota Vikings begged Brett Favre to come back in the off-season, yet have struggled out of the gate especially throwing the football. Regardless, they still have one of the stronger defenses in the NFL and have a beast at running back in Adrian Peterson. Minnesota is coming off their first win of the season and their bye week. This should be a physical game and the crowd should be charged up in prime-time considering the Jets have been on the road the past two weeks and most fans don’t have fond feelings toward Favre.

Minnesota Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Brett Favre – 60/97, 597 yards, 2 TDs, 6 INTs
  • Running Back: Adrian Peterson – 70 carries, 392 yards, 3 TDs
  • Running Back: Toby Gerhart – 7 carries, 22 yards
  • Fullback: Naufahu Tahi – 1 carry, 1 yard
  • Wide Receiver: Percy Harvin – 12 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Lewis – 5 receptions, 56 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Bernard Berrian – 5 receptions, 38 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Camarillo – 4 receptions, 48 yards
  • Tight End: Vishante Shiancoe – 11 receptions, 169 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Jim Kleinsasser – 4 receptions, 43 yards
  • Left Tackle: Bryant McKinnie
  • Left Guard: Steve Hutchinson
  • Center: John Sullivan
  • Right Guard: Anthony Herrera
  • Right Tackle: Phil Loadholt

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ray Edwards – 4 tackles
  • Defensive Tackle: Pat Williams – 9 tackles
  • Defensive Tackle: Kevin Williams – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Jared Allen – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Ben Leber – 8 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: E.J. Henderson – 19 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Chad Greenway – 29 tackles
  • Corner: Antoine Winfield – 22 tackles, 1 INT
  • Corner – Lito Sheppard – 5 tackles
  • Corner: Asher Allen – 9 tackles
  • Safety: Husain Abdullah – 13 tackles
  • Safety: Madieu Williams – 15 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Ryan Longwell – 3/3 FGs
  • Punter: Chris Kluwe – 43.9 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Percy Harvin – 21.0 per return
  • Punt Return: Greg Camarillo – 6.7 per punt return

Key PlayersAdrian Peterson is what makes the Minnesota offense go, especially in 2010 with their pedestrian collection of wide receivers. We all know Brett Favre can be forced into turning the football over, early and often. Percy Harvin is a versatile playmaker, who the Jets will have to key on in the passing game, along with tight end Vishante Shiancoe if he ends up playing.

Injuries – Shiancoe is nursing a leg injury and could end up being a game-time decision. Harvin has a perpetual issue with migraines. Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis are both expected to return for the Jets, although they could be in limited roles.

Key Storylines – Brett Favre returns to New York…Santonio Holmes first game as a New York Jet…Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis comine back from injury.

One of Favre’s 11 Retirement Speeches

How To Spot Bandwagon Jets Fans

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First a few updates (and yes another comment on the comments)

1. A friendly reminder that comments from people who never had a comment go through before the past week are locked in pending. The ones you see going through are from people who had posted before that. Until the Fanball technical crew fixes this, I will transcribe your comments myself under my name but with a POST FROM ___ above, as you can see in our recent articles. Keep the comments coming and keep the conversation going, and for god’s sake follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

How To Spot Bandwagon Jets Fans

Who would have thought the New York Jets…the ugly stepchild of New York football would ever have bandwagon fans? Well it is starting to happen, as the Jets have climbed into relevancy thanks to a run to the AFC Championship Game, a collection of flashy trades/free agent signings/ draft picks, the most entertaining coach in professional sports, and now a spot on HBO’s Hard Knocks. How can you separate these fans who just decided to come along for the party now, without paying their dues of suffering and misery. TOJ has the guide:

PhotobucketThey are wearing either a Brett Favre or LaDainian Tomlinson jersey – First off, if you expected Favre to be on the Jets for more than one year, you were out of your mind and wasted your money on a jersey. Second, anybody wearing the Favre jersey likely hopped on in 2008 because “I’ve always loved Favre man” or because they thought he would carry the Jets to a Super Bowl…guess again, he flamed out in December. This is the Jets we are talking about and again this is Brett Favre we are talking about, who has now made a career of melting down in big spots. Tomlinson jerseys? Really? You really think he is going to be on the team for more than 1 season? A smarter investment would have been any other of the Jets new acquisitions or maybe their starting running back who is entering his second season in the NFL. Hey, at least you didn’t get a tattoo of “LT” on your calf or anything.

– They think Mark Sanchez is awesome – Look, I am as excited about Sanchez’s potential as the next fan and loved the way he played in the playoffs but you can’t be walking around going “bro, Sanchez is awesome.” I am sorry but if you watched the Jets last year, you know Sanchez threw 8 more interceptions than TDs and still has to prove himself as a franchise quarterback or anything near “awesome.” If you are talking about the caliber of women Sanchez dates…then yes he is “awesome.”

They don’t know who Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, or Brandon Moore are – If you start talking about any of these guys and a “Jets fan” tells you they don’t know who you are talking about, then you have spotted one. Or, if you are watching a game and one of the three does something or gets mentioned, and you get a “who the hell is that, anyway?” you found one. Sione Pouha started every game after week 6 last season and was terrific at nose tackle. Mike DeVito is going to be a starter this year and played a ton last season. Brandon Moore is one of the best guards in the NFL. He was better than Alan Faneca last season.

They cheer against the Jets on a particular play because somebody on their fantasy roster made a big play – Sorry guy, I don’t care how much you paid to get into your fantasy league, you don’t cheer when Maurice Jones-Drew rumbles in for a touchdown against the Jets defense. You don’t cheer when anybody scores or makes a big play against the Jets defense. You don’t cheer when Sanchez throws an interception. You don’t cheer when Nick Folk shanks a 28 yard field goal because the kid you are playing is starting him at kicker.

They agree with anything Mike Francesa or Mike Florio says about the Jets – Two chronic Jets haters who always go out of their way to find a negative angle about the team and take a shot at Rex Ryan (Francesa) or Mike Tannenbaum (Florio). Francesa is just bitter and likes to bother people because it is entertaining radio and I think Florio was beaten up for his lunch money by Jets fans when he was a kid.

They don’t think Jerricho Cotchery is a good receiver – If you have actually watched every Jets game since 2006, you would never say something like “thank god, they got Holmes, Cotchery can’t handle being a starting receiver.” Actually, yes he can and he was handling being a number one receiver just fine before the Braylon trade last year. I admit he is a better fit as a #2 but anybody who thinks he isn’t a more than capable starter just hasn’t watched him play.

They own a Giants jersey – Should I have to say anything? You can get jerseys from other teams, if you were younger and just wanted to get all the best players at the position you played but those other teams can’t include the Giants, Dolphins, Patriots, or Bills. I remember back in 8th grade, I had a sweet Issac Bruce Rams jersey because I was a monster on those recreation football fields at receiver. Of course, I also had a Chrebet and Keyshawn Johnson jersey but there was nothing wrong with wearing the ‘Ike back in the day. However, once you are over 16 you should be committing money to only your favorite team. I remember my one friend had a Kevin Johnson Browns jersey in high school. Yes, it was cool and rare at the time but where is that jersey now?

TOJ TV

The Jets Journey To Relevancy

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The Jets Journey To Relevancy

Today I was talking to a friend from Philadelphia about how big of a following the Flyers have in the city with their recent Cinderella run in the playoffs. He assured me the Flyers were a big deal within the city and had a rabid following that didn’t trail the Eagles or Phillies by as much as you’d expect. I thought about the New York sports market, where the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders are irrelevant topics on the back pages of newspapers, sports talk radio, and mainstream websites. The only buzz around the Knicks and Nets is associated with the prayer’s chance of recruiting LeBron James. Football and baseball dominate the town. The Yankees are the number one story and you would normally put the Giants and Mets right behind them with the Jets a distant fourth.

PhotobucketI remember December 30th, 2007 sitting in the pouring rain at a half empty stadium watching the 3-12 Jets play the 4-11 Chiefs. It was an ugly and depressing game as I watched Kellen Clemens struggle through a 13/25, 115 yard performance. The Giants were headed to the playoffs. The Patriots had just completed an undefeated regular season. Little did I know that both were headed for an epic Super Bowl, which had one of the best fourth quarters and plays in league history. There you had it, the team the Jets shared the city with and their biggest rival battling on the world’s biggest stage while the Jets couldn’t be any more irrelevant. It was just another low point in the difficult life of being a New York Jets fan.

Yet today, when I was talking with my friend I had to put the Jets as the number two story in the New York sports market behind the defending champion Yankees. The Mets are slowly fading into their usual oblivion and somehow the Jets have become a better, more entertaining team and a bigger story than the New York Giants, a team who won arguably the greatest Super Bowl game ever played a little over 2 years ago.

How did this happen?

It started with an uncharacteristically aggressive off-season headed into the 2008 regular season. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum learned from his mistake heading into the 2007 season, when he incorrectly believed his 10-6 team was only a few minor tweaks away from being a Super Bowl contender. The Jets were a fun story in 2006 but they caught the league off-guard with a wild-card appearance thanks to a soft schedule, a surprisingly productive season from Chad Pennington, and career years from journeyman players like Victor Hobson, Cedric Houston, Anthony Clement, Chris Baker, Bryan Thomas, Hank Poteat, Erik Coleman, Justin Miller, and Andre Dyson.

The Jets did add Thomas Jones but thought they could get by another year with Clement on the line and Adrien Clarke stepping in for Pete Kendall at guard and made no major free agent additions to their defense. However, Tannenbaum did strike gold in the draft by trading up for future All-Pro defenders Darrelle Revis and David Harris. Regardless, Pennington succumbed to another injury and Kellen Clemens struggled heavily behind a terrible offensive line and the Jets disappointed with a 4-12 season.

With owner Woody Johnson’s blessing the Jets began a trend of recruiting and landing big time free agents. They broke the bank for perennial pro-bowler Alan Faneca and brought in veteran Damien Woody to complement him at tackle. They outbid Miami for Calvin Pace and swung a trade for Kris Jenkins. They also solidified their running game by adding fullback Tony Richardson and blocking tight end Bubba Franks. Despite Eric Mangini’s stringent ways and the organization operating under the New England state of mind, they were still able to recruit big name players to rebuild the roster.

PhotobucketTannenbaum didn’t finish his off-season until he shocked the football world by swinging a trade for Brett Favre. I know in the end, the Favre experiment didn’t work out considering the Jets failed to make the playoffs and his struggles down the stretch. However, the fact that Favre joined the Jets demonstrated to the rest of the league that the team was moving in the right direction. The pieces were being put into place to build a contender on both sides of the ball and they had a GM and owner who would aggressively pursue putting together a winner regardless of the cost.

The Jets could have faded back into irrelevancy into 2009 when they decided to cut ties with Favre and head coach Eric Mangini. Breaking with his personal characteristics and the Bill Parcells mindset he was groomed with, Mike Tannenbaum went for the boisterous, confident Rex Ryan. Mangini was a good football mind but had suffocated the life out of the organization. Ryan provided the shot of energy necessary to overcome the hangover from the disastrous end to the 2009 season and Favre’s departure. The bold moves from the previous off-season carried over into the months heading into 2009, starting with Ryan and his recruitment of former Baltimore Ravens, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Marques Douglas.

Yet, the most important decision came during the 2009 NFL Draft. The Jets weren’t making the playoffs with Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff at quarterback and everybody knew it. They needed a franchise quarterback to wash the bad taste out of everybody’s mouth that Favre had left. Working with their former head coach Mangini, they moved up to acquire USC’s Mark Sanchez.

The team had successfully moved out of the Mangini/Favre era with an exciting new head coach and quarterback. However, they retained the quality players acquired during Mangini’s two winning seasons in three years. The pieces were in place for a team with cautiously high expectations heading into the 2009 season.

In a rare occurrence, the football gods smiled on the ugly stepchild of New York City. A 7-7 team that appeared to be out of the playoffs was handed the backups of the best team in the league and took advantage. The victory positioned them to close out the stadium they had embarrassingly been tenants in, with a playoff berth in front of the whole country on Sunday Night Football. The Big Brother New York Giants had packed up their bags a few weeks too early and left with an ugly loss to the Carolina Panthers, leaving the Jets to fill the void as the team the New York sports market could get behind. Regardless of who the Bengals played or didn’t play, the Jets thrived for their fans and the city with a 37-0 victory.

PhotobucketAny questions about the Jets validity as a playoff team were answered with subsequent road victories over the Bengals and heavily favored San Diego Chargers. The momentum carried right into the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, when the Jets were up 17-6. Unfortunately, an immortal quarterback rose to the top of his game and ended their run.

Despite the loss, the Jets had arrived. Their head coach whose ability to entertain and grab headlines was matched by his ability to design an elite defense and motivate his players, had claimed the Jets would be the number one show in town when the new Meadowlands began hosting NFL games and it was hard not to believe him. Tannenbaum didn’t back off. He must have remembered the off-season heading into 2007 again because he added Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, and Santonio Holmes to a team that was 28 minutes away from a Super Bowl.

Here we are today, with HBO knocking down the Jets door to feature them on Hard Knocks. Relevancy doesn’t equal success but any Jets fan will tell you it is refreshing to be the most hyped up team in the area. Giants fans will say they enjoy flying under the radar and I don’t blame them. They shouldn’t concern themselves with the attention being paid to a team who hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1969, when they have won 3 since then. However, the Jets don’t have to ignore the spotlight being shined on them. Yes, they bring the attention to themselves with the boasting of their head coach, big name acquisitions, and posturing of their owner but there is substance behind the hype around the team.

There is a system of playing defense and running the football, which is a familiar formula for playoff teams. The Jets have the ability to run the ball because they have assembled one of the best offensive lines in football and found a running back by trading up to get a guy that inexplicably slipped through the cracks to the third round. They have the ability to play defense because they drafted the best corner in the NFL, an All-Pro inside linebacker, and surrounded them with quality free agent additions. Yet, if you follow the NFL these days you know it takes more than running the ball and defense to win a championship, which is why the Jets have surrounded their franchise quarterback with one of the best three wide sets in the NFL, a pass-catching tight end, and one of better receiving running backs in NFL history.

Somehow, someway the Jets have navigated themselves into relevancy. The owner, GM, coach, and roster is finally in place to turn that relevancy into success. By success, I mean the one thing that could actually put the Jets on the same level of the Giants as a NFL organization and make sure the new stadium doesn’t turn into “Giants Stadium Part 2,” and that is win a Super Bowl.

Now Some Other Updates:

1. We have been locked at 315 fans on Facebook for 2 days now and that is getting me a little anxious. I need as many fans as possible to throw at the Jets media relations guy when I working on getting a press pass…so follow it on Facebook, tell you friends to follow it on Facebook and do the same for the Twitter account (TurnOnTheJets).

2. Remember we have other tabs on this site beyond the home page…we also have just added a tab for the Podcast, which links you to the site with the TOJ Podcasts.

3. (http://www.youhaveiwant.com/home.html) – Worth checking out, especially if you are looking to get your hands on New York area sports tickets.

4. Jets minor roster moves…they added offensive tackle Aaron Kia and released receiver S.J. Green and offensive tackle Matt Stommes. The depth chart has been updated accordingly.

5. Tough break for the New Jersey Nets last night. I can’t say that I wasn’t happy since I am a Knicks fan first and a Wizards fan second…yes I have a second favorite basketall team. How can I justify that? First off, the Knicks have been god awful the past decade, second I lived in DC for 6 months, attended some games at the Phone Booth when the Wizards were pretty good and became a big Agent Zero fan…before he decided to start bringing guns into the locker room. So, yea I broke out the John Wall dance in my Arenas shirt last night after they got the number one pick.

6. Thoughts On Lost Final Season, Episode 16 “What They Died For” –We ended our one episode break in 23 A.D. with glowing caves and terrible kid actors by getting back to our main characters with a very, very good episode. Everybody kind of saw it coming with Jack replacing Jacob, but it almost seemed like it happened too easy. I have a feeling when it is all said and done, Jack won’t be taking the job as island protector. I liked the sideways action…Desmond is well on his way to putting together the greatest reunion concert ever. Instead of breaking down all the details of last night’s episode, here are my predictions for the finale and you can trust I have avoided all spoilers this season:

  • Richard and Lapidus aren’t dead yet.
  • Sawyer will die on the island.
  • Juliet is Jack’s ex-wife in the sideways timeline.
  • Jack will cure Locke in the sideways but find a way to kill him on the island.
  • Ben is pulling a long con on Locke and will end up being a good guy at the end…and the new island protector.
  • Desmond is going into the yellow cave…and I don’t know what happens from there.
  • I still have no idea how they merge both timelines.
  • Rose and Bernard helped Desmond out of the well.
  • Final scene? It was all the dog’s dream.

Jets vs. Patriots: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets added recently released cornerback Marquice Cole to their practice squad and released tight end Jack Simmons off it.

2. Kris Jenkins missed a small portion of practice today to receive some treatment on his lower back, according to both him and Rex Ryan it isn’t anything serious but we’ll see on Sunday if Jenk is his normal dominating self.

3. The Jets have no interest in recently released Eagles receiver Hank Baskett.

4. Rex Ryan left all Jets season holders a voice mail today encouraging them to help the team out at home this Sunday be being as loud as possible. He reaffirmed his quote of the week about Bellicheck being a better coach than him and Tom Brady being a better quarterback than Mark Sanchez, but that it remains to be seen who has the better team. So, yes at this moment I am sipping on some green tea and getting my voice ready for the game on Sunday which I will be attending. Hey, all of section 313 and myself won’t be letting Ryan down, I can tell you that much.

5. Bill Bellicheck ignored questions about Rex Ryan’s “kiss the rings” comment in every way imaginable today. Tom Brady pointed out that “talk is cheap,” and disagreed with Kris Jenkins’ comment that the Jets are preparing for this game like it is the Super Bowl, reminding us that “Super Bowls are played in February,” regardless I hope Brady is having his face slammed into the turf as many times as he did the last time he played in February…remember New England fans, when you were undefeated but choked in the Super Bowl?

6. Patriots middle linebacker Jerod Mayo is out 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL, which means he won’t be suiting up on Sunday. Another blow to the Pats defense which is quickly turning into a collection of strangers.

7. David Harris was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week…hopefully the first of many accolades for him this season.

Jets vs. Patriots: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Pats 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. Randy Moss: Revis is at the top of the match-up list again as he gets no break after shutting down Andre Johnson last week. Ever since Randy Moss shredded the Jets for 9 catches, 183 yards and a touchdown on opening day in 2007 (also the first game of Revis’ NFL career), Revis has more than held his own against Moss. In their second meeting in 2007, Moss had 5 catches for 79 yards and Revis had a spectacular one-handed interception over him. In 2008, Moss was held to 2 catches for 22 yards in their first meeting and 3 catches for 26 yards in their second meeting, although he did catch the game tying touchdown (but it was on Ty Law). It will be important for Revis to continue keeping Moss from killing the Jets with the big play. Moss is coming off a great performance on Monday Night against the Bills, where he racked up 12 receptions. If Revis could start out the season shutting down Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, who else is going to catch passes on him this year?

Mark Sanchez vs. Bill Bellicheck: Bill Bellicheck excels at confusing quarterbacks young and old with his complex defensive schemes. Mark Sanchez had a great start to his NFL career last week against a suspect Houston defense but the challenge is obviously greater this week. New England won’t drop the interceptions the Texans did last week, so Sanchez needs to be extra careful with the ball while still playing with his usual confidence and swagger. Regardless, let’s not confuse this New England defense with the 2000 Ravens despite who is coaching them. Trent Edwards went 15/25 for 212 yards and 2 TD’s against them last week.

Dustin Keller vs. Adalius Thomas/Pierre Woods/Brandon Merriweather: Or whomever the Patriots decide to use in coverage versus Keller, who killed the Patriots when the Jets beat them last season with 8 catches for 87 yards, many of them converting big third downs. Keller is a difficult match-up for any defense and needs to build off his strong game in Houston last week. Look for Mark Sanchez to target his tight end early and often against New England.

Jets Organization/Jets Fans vs. The Aura of New England: We are all feeling it right now…we are excited about our new coach, new quarterback, and general new direction of the team. Yet, here come the Patriots to ruin it, like they always do. I have been at every single Jets/Pats game in the Meadowlands since 2001, which means I have sat through 8 losses like many of you out there. I remember believing in Herman Edwards in 2002 and 2004. I remember believing that Pennington would lead us to an upset in 2003 or that Brooks Bollinger could somehow get us a Monday Night win in 2005. I remember believing the Man-genius and Pennington would take us to an upset in 2006 and then kick the season off right in 2007. Of course, I thought Brett Favre would beat Matt Cassell last year in week two, and yet the last 8 years I have left the stadium disappointed…freakin 8 years, since I was 14 years old! I wasn’t even in high school yet the last time the Jets beat New England at home. This organization and fan base needs to forget the past, forget “kissing the rings” and go out and expect to beat New England, because we have a better defense, a better group of running backs, and a better offensive line…will it happen or will Brady, Bellicheck and the Pats find a way to curb all of our enthusiasm? Only time will tell.

One of my favorite vids of all time…it’s good to beat the Patriots, and I’ll say this, I don’t like Brett Favre and think he killed the Jets last year but you have to love the end of the video when he runs into the locker room screaming “F%#@ Yea!”

Troubling Trends at Jets Camp

First a few updates:

1. Sorry about the lack of posts since Saturday, I just moved in to my new apartment out by Lehigh and had orientation for grad school all day yesterday. I don’t know if anybody who reads this has ever been to the campus but let me tell you it was quite a workout finding my way around. Our orientation was held on top of Mt. freakin Everest, it was like being at Mile High Stadium up there, I needed oxygen.

2. Last night I just finished re-watching the last season of The Sopranos, so of course I spent the majority of my day reading theories on the final scene. I am convinced now the big guy was whacked, unfortunately.

3. I played in a touch football tournament over the weekend. My team lost in the finals but we had a great run in preparation for the spring league which we will be taking part in. I was like Keyshawn on the 1998 Jets out there but I am now paying the consequences since I have been hobbling around my apartment the past few days.

4. Brett Favre with the Vikings? A team built to play defense and run the ball, with average receivers?…good luck Minnesota.

5. I updated the Jets depth chart with the subtractions of TJ Conley, Keith Fitzhugh and J’Nathan Bullock and the addition of Ken Parrish, Joshua Magua, and Huey Whittaker.

Troubling Trends at Jets Camp

I have to say I felt really good after the Jets pre-season opener last Friday night. Mark Sanchez looked great. David Clowney looked like a viable deep threat. Shonn Greene showed some burst. The first team defense was all over the place and had a great pass rush. Regardless of the loss, there were plenty of encouraging things shown by the team. However, since the game has passed there have been some things you have to be concerned about, things that are getting me worried we could be running into a pre-season buzzsaw this Monday Night on national television against the Ravens.

1. Nagging Injuries – Alan Faneca is out for the Baltimore game and potentially the rest of the pre-season with a broken finger. Ryan wants to hold him out until week one, although Faneca has expressed interest in getting some pre-season reps. I wouldn’t mind seeing him play a series or two against the Eagles in a few weeks but over all he is a pro’s pro and should be fine for the regular season. Kris Jenkins still isn’t participating in team drills and isn’t going to play Monday. I would really like to see the big fella in there against the Ravens running game to see where the defense is truly at. Darrelle Revis might play, but he is still nursing a sore hamstring which is a nightmare for skill position players. I doubt we will see Damien Woody until the regular season because it isn’t worth risking it with a concussion. Tony Richardson is also still out with a hip pointer. On the positive side, Nick Mangold is probably going to play this Monday and is recovering well from his twisted knee.

2. What’s Up Mark? – Ever since the most heralded 3/4 90 yard performance in NFL history, Mark Sanchez has been awful in practice. His numbers the past few days have been things like 4/12 with 2 interceptions and 2/11 with three wide open receivers missed. Is he being complacent? I don’t think so. I think it is just normal rookie inconsistency. However, there is something about an inconsistent rookie on an off day starting behind an offensive line featuring Wayne Hunter and Stanley Daniels against arguably the best defense on football that is causing me to lose sleep.

3. Take it Easy, Rex – Let’s be clear I love the bravado and swagger Rex Ryan has brought to the Jets team. However, his comments about the Ravens were a little unncessary. We understand he was disappointed he didn’t get the job last year, but still talking about it now and calling it “BS” sounds a little immature. Also, criticizing the organization for giving out Michael McCary’s number to a rookie is a little over the top. Just worry about the Jets.

I don’t know maybe it is the pessimistic Jets fan inside of me but is anybody else worried about a rough showing on Monday Night Football this week? This team has had good training camp, a pretty encouraging pre-season opener and seems to have alot of confidence. I would hate to see an ugly performance against the Ravens that makes questions swirl about the quarterback battle, offensive line depth, and exactly how good the defense will be, because at this point…who the Jets have is who they are playing with in 2009.

I just can’t get enough of this commercial:

Jets Training Camp: Five Position Battles

First a few updates:

1. RIP to former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who was one of the brightest minds in the NFL.

2. Brett Favre has decided to stay retired…boohoo.

Jets Training Camp: Five Position Battles

1. Starting Quarterback: Mark Sanchez vs. Kellen Clemens vs. Erik Ainge (Just Kidding)

Why Sanchez Will Win: The Jets didn’t trade up to draft Sanchez and pay him 60 million dollars to have him sit on the bench. Rex Ryan watched Joe Flacco lead the Ravens to the AFC Championship game last year and will believe Sanchez can do the same. The rookie from USC only has to keep it close with Kellen Clemens this summer and the job will be his.

Why Clemens Will Win: He is more experienced in the offense and the Jets are built to win now. Sanchez only had 16 starts at USC and simply won’t be ready to lead a NFL offense by September. Similar to how Chad Pennington was out playing him last summer, Clemens will use his knowledge of Brian Schottenheimer’s offense to handily outplay the overwhelmed rookie this summer.

Prediction: The two quarterbacks will play relatively even this summer, which means Mark Sanchez will win the job.

2. Starting Wide Receiver: Chansi Stuckey vs. Brad Smith vs. David Clowney

Why Stuckey Will Win: He performed the best in mini-camp and OTA’s and is coming off the best season in 2008. He had more catches than Smith and Clowney combined last year, and is by far the most polished of the group at the position.

Why Clowney Will Win: Speed kills and the Jets desperately need it on offense. Clowney will get over his drops in the spring and be a big play machine all summer.

Why Smith Will Win: He has the best combination of size and speed and is the best overall athlete. He will finally put it all together this summer as a wide receiver.

Prediction: Stuckey will receive most of the reps as the #2, followed by Clowney, and then Smith.

3. Outside Linebacker (Week 1-4): Vernon Gholston vs. Marques Murrell

Why Gholston Will Win: The guy was the number 6 overall pick in the draft for a reason. Rex Ryan will push Gholston towards becoming the elite pass rusher the Jets drafted him to be.

Why Murrell Will Win: He is hungrier than Gholston and plays with more passion for the game. Gholston was simply a workout wonder and won’t be able to translate his talent to the NFL level.

Prediction: Gholston will start, but Murrell will still receive 25-30% of the reps.

4. Nickel-Back: Donald Strickland vs. Dwight Lowery

Why Strickland Will Win: The veteran has been a pretty good nickel back the previous few seasons and Ryan will feel comfortable with him in the game in key 3rd down situations.

Why Lowery Will Win: He showed plenty of talent in his rookie season and was a quality starter for the first few weeks of the year. Lowery will learn from his rookie mistakes and develop into a quality nickel-back.

Prediction: Even though most people expect Strickland to win the job, I like what I saw from Lowery last season and think he will be guy.

5. #2 Tight End: Kareem Brown vs. Richard Owens vs. Jack Simmons

Why Brown Will Win: After being moved from defensive end, Brown had a productive spring and impressed the coaching staff with the potential he has displayed. Somehow, he has the most experience in this offense despite only being on it since the 2008 season ended.

Why Owens Will Win: He is the only player among these three with NFL experience at tight end.

Why Simmons Will Win: The UDFA had a strong showing in the spring and will build on that in the summer. He was a productive player last season in college and is the only player of the three who played tight end at any level of football last year (Owens was out of the league and Brown was a DE).

Prediction: I think Brown and Simmons end up splitting the reps as the #2 tight end.

Jets Highlight of the Article: Who can forget this 2007 match-up between the Jets and Rex Ryan’s (as a D coordinator) Baltimore Ravens. Look at my boy Cotchery tearing it up, but more importantly look at $#%$% Justin McCariens dropping passes. I will never forget shattering a remote control on this day because of #81.

5 Questions About the Jets Answered

First a few updates:

1. There still has been no progress with contract negotiations for either Thomas Jones or Leon Washington and training camp is only 12 (yes, just 12) days away. The last thing this team needs right now is two holdouts from two pro-bowl players, the front office needs to get to work.

2. The Jets released their training camp schedule, a few days of note: Green and White scrimmage on August 6th at 7 PM, Family Night Practice 6 PM at Hofstra Univesity on August 12th (If you don’t feel taking the spaceship up to Cortland to watch the Jets practice), and practices in Florham Park on August 22nd, 26th, and 27th. The pre-season opener is on August 14th at home against the Rams.

3. If you take a look over at the links section on the side of the page, you will notice that I added www.jetsgab.com and http://ganggreenation.com as two more recommended daily stops for Jets fans.

4. Big 3 game sweep for the Yankees, who are now only 1 game behind Boston, it was about time Joba pitched well.

5 Questions About the Jets Answered

John Butchko, who is the lead writer for Gang Green Nation (http://ganggreennation.com) is putting together a series of interviews on his site with different Jets writers to gauge the attitude of the fanbase heading into the season, here is my response to his questions:

1. If you could go back to January, would Rex Ryan be your first choice to coach to 2009 Jets. If the answer is no, who would you choose? Eric Mangini? Somebody else?

If I could go back to January, Rex Ryan wouldn’t have been the first person that came to my mind. I thought Eric Mangini took the fall for Brett Favre’s terrible play down the stretch, however didn’t think a change was the worst thing in the world. Originally, I was interested in the big names like Bill Cowher and Steve Spagnuolo but when those didn’t work out, I had no problem with the selection of Ryan. I would have been disappointed if Brian Schottenheimer was named the head coach because he didn’t deserve a promotion and when Ryan was hired, he seemed like the best guy for the job.

2. What are your thoughts on the offseason the team had? What did you like? Is there anything you wish the front office had done differently?

I think the Jets had a good, but not great off-season. I loved the job they did with their defense and believe Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Lito Sheppard will all be upgrades at their respective positions. Also Scott, Leonhard, and Marques Douglas will help with the transition into a new defensive scheme since they are familiar with Rex Ryan. I was a big fan of the Mark Sanchez trade because the Jets didn’t give up any future picks, just three backup caliber players for a potential franchise quarterback. I like Shonn Greene but thought the Jets gave up too much to move up for him. This team had too many holes (OL depth, WR, TE, DL depth) to only add three players through the draft and no offensive players of note through free agency.

3. What scares you the most entering the season?

Most of my major concerns are on the offensive side of the football. I am scared of prolonged holdouts by Thomas Jones and Leon Washington impacting the development of the offense during training camp. I am scared of Mark Sanchez struggling his rookie season when he inevitably becomes the starter. I am scared of a major injury on the offensive line that could hurt our running game and our franchise QB’s health. I am also worried that we have 1 NFL capable tight end on our roster.

4. The biggest difference between the 2008 Jets and the 2009 Jets will be…

The coaching style and attitude of the players. The Jets will be a more aggressive group of players that play with a little more swagger than they did in 2008 and also now have a coach who isn’t shy around the media and won’t force his players to be shy with them either. I think you will see more pressure/big plays from the defense and a offense that runs the ball even more than they did the previous year, with a significant bump in touches to Leon Washington and Dustin Keller.

5. Will the Jets make the Playoffs if they stay healthy?

I can’t hold myself to a yes or no answer yet, but I will say that I believe if they stay healthy they will be playing meaningful games in late December, meaning they will be right in the mix for a playoff spot. A healthy Jets team will have 9-11 wins.

New Jets Player Highlight of the Day: A highlight reel of new CB Donald Strickland…yes, I do find some humor in this 7 minute highlight film of an average NFL player but as a guy who made a 28 minute highlight film of himself from college despite only having 49 catches and 3 TD’s, I can sympathize.