Five Remedies To The New York Jets Offense

Relax and take notes Brian Schottenheimer before people start picketing in front of your home…

1. More McKnight, More Screens – The New York Jets always had an issue using Leon Washington enough back from 2006-2009. Not surprisingly, Brian Schottenhiemer has done a poor job of incorporating Joe McKnight into the Jets offense. Wasn’t he drafted because of his ability to spread out as a receiver, along with be a running back. Can we split him out and get a mismatch on a linebacker? Can we throw the guy a screen pass in some space, since he is ripping off a monster kick return a week right now? One carry isn’t enough, he should be getting 6-10 touches on offense and on the whole the Jets need to use more screens to him, LaDainian Tomlinson, Dustin Keller, and their starting wide receivers.

2. Look Deep Early – Teams load up to prevent the Jets running game and short/intermediate passing “attack.” They need to take a shot deep early in the game to loosen up the opposing defense. How about a slant and go, since the Jets throw about 8 slants a game? I recall the Jets running that route once under Schottenheimer and it going for a 80 yard touchdown.

3. Where Are You Dustin? – The Jets offense always seems to operate at a better rate when Dustin Keller is actively involved in the offense. He has been MIA the past few weeks after a big start. The excuse that teams are doubling him doesn’t work. He has the ability to move around all over the formation. The Jets need to get creative about getting him involved.

4. The Happy Medium – You don’t have to either be an all out Ground and Pound or a pass happy, chuck and duck attack. There could be a gray area or a happy medium. You run the football to help protect Mark Sanchez but don’t hold him back if the opportunities are available down the field.

5. More Of This – Back shoulder fades to Plaxico Burress…LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene in the same backfield…The Wildcat with Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight in the backfield…A vertical pass to Santonio Holmes.

Lost In The Rubble, Rex Must Lead Jets Back

TJ calls out Rex Ryan to start being himself and lead the Jets out of their current losing streak

The Jets have lost the road map. The swagger. They don’t know who they are. Or what they need to be. Key veterans are gone yet still Rex Ryan’s gang tried to return to what they once were on Sunday in Foxboro. That blast from the past only carried them so far. Rex Ryan may be the only one who can lead this team back to their winning ways. It is his team. Only Rex can remind these guys about who they are. Only Rex has the power to unite a locker room that lately has experienced the rumblings that are borne out the frustration of losing.

Rex needs to first and foremost, return to being himself. When was the last time Rex Ryan took a loss into the post game press conference and highlighted things that went well? “There were some encouraging signs” Ryan said following yesterday’s 30-21 defeat to the hated Patriots. There were? Rex, this was a game against Bill Belichick’s team. The guy whose rings you wouldn’t kiss. Moral victories are not part of team goals for any trip to Foxboro. Yesterday’s one that now has the Jets at 2-3, in third place of the AFC East, and reeling. Ryan has to stop worrying about congeniality. Yes the Jets must play better and talk is cheap, but this team thrives off of him. Who cares what Mike Francesa thinks? Who cares what Joe Namath or a Tony Dungy thinks? The team cares about what YOU think Rex.

Airing out dirty laundry in public as Santonio Holmes did weeks ago will also be a place where Ryan must lead. NOT BY CENSORING players uncharacteristically just because things are not going well. By being consistent in the message instead. “Hey, you wanna talk? go ahead. Back it up on the field though.”

The receivers according to Daily News, went to Rex and complained about Schotty last week. Rex denied it publicly but if the reports are true, then Ryan can go seek Plaxico Burress for his drops on Sunday after opening his mouth. You talk the talk, then walk the walk Plax. That’s leadership Rex.

If a new play caller IS the right direction, then Ryan must choose leadership over friendship. Tom Moore is part of the staff. So is Bill Callahan. Maybe the players DO have a point that a new approach would be a change that would help turn the page from the losses on offense of Tony Richardson, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith and Damien Woody. If the choice to stay put with Schotty is made, then all players need to zip it and produce when their number is called. Simple.

What about the defense? Many wonder where this top five group has gone as well. The defense used to carry Ryan’s Jets teams to the finish line. Well, the gameplan was great yesterday, despite Tom Brady’s three hundred plus yards and RB Ben Jarveuas Green Ellis 136 yards.

The D didn’t finish though. They couldn’t get the ball back to the offense down 27-21 with 7:00 left. THAT’S where Rex has to get after his group this week. Make them fifteen round fighters again. The ones who got the Jets the ball back LAST year when they made those fourth quarter come back. Who play the entire 60 minutes. That has to be Ryan’s message this week.

Perhaps Joe Namath hit on something when he said weeks back that the Jets may have felt invincible or anointed after their success of two years and possibly Ryan’s coddling. Maybe cracks in camaraderie that began with the many personnel changes this Summer have grown larger over the past month, and are now the bigger issue.

Whatever the culprit may be, this 2-3 start HAS TO falls on Rex’s desk because he is the only one who can fix it. HE moved the Jets organization away from self pity and built a winning mindset instead. HE talked Super Bowl. HE’s brought in HIS guys. HE can navigate this team out of the rubble. If heads need to roll or roles need to change, guess who must make those decisions? NOW. No more Mr. nice guy Rex.

Three Game Losing Streak No Stranger To Rex’s Jets

Rex Ryan’s tenure with the New York Jets has been a successful one to date. However, there has always been bumps in the road. Is this recent three game losing streak the biggest bump they have encountered under his leadership?

In 2009, the team started 3-0 and followed with three straight losses. An ugly loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, a last second loss on the road to the Miami Dolphins and then a 5 interception Mark Sanchez performance in an overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills. If you remember at that point, most people were calling for a Sanchez benching and Brian Schottenheimer to be fired. After a win in Oakland, the Jets lost another three straight, falling at home to Miami and Jacksonville and then getting crushed by New England on the road putting their record to 4-6. You can imagine how loud those calls for Sanchez and Schottenheimer’s head were then.

The team did respond in 2009 to win 5 of their last 6 and make the playoffs. In 2010, the Jets didn’t have a 3 game losing streak but did have ugly back to back losses late in the year to New England and Miami. The peaks and valleys have always been present under this regime, which doesn’t make them acceptable but does mean they could be overcome.

We are all fed up with the offense at this point. Sanchez is in his third year and has enough talent around him to put a more consistent product on the field. Some of the blame falls on him. Some falls on Schottenheimer. Some falls on Rex Ryan. Some falls around to the other players on the unit. There is no single culprit. You can run the football, while mixing in a downfield passing attack. It is possible. I am not sure why every other team in the NFL can hit a 15 yard dig route a few times a game, while the Jets may hit it once every 4 games. When is the last time the Jets hit a pass when the ball traveled over 30 yards in the air?

Rex Ryan needs to always be involved on both sides of the football, not just when crisis strikes. He is the head coach, not a glorified defensive coordinator. Brian Schottenheimer needs to run the football 25-30 times a game and still take shots down the field that utilize the Jets weapons. If he can’t do that, turn the offense over to Bill Callahan. Mark Sanchez needs to be more accurate and consistent. The receivers can’t drop passes and the offensive line has to protect Sanchez and get a better push up front. There isn’t an easy answer. The answer is that the entire unit has to get better.

On defense, the Jets aren’t a great unit. They are a good but inconsistent unit. Here it is on Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to scheme around their deficiencies at safety and linebacker, while hoping somebody like Jamaal Westerman can build on his performance last week.  The Jets need Westerman, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Kyle Wilson to grow up fast in contributing roles. Eric Smith needs to not be on the field on passing downs and instead be replaced by Brodney Pool. Long term, the linebacking core needs more speed, the safety position needs more size and talent, and the defensive line needs more options. Yet, for now they have to work with what they have.

Everything the Jets want is still on the table in front of them. If they win their next two games at home, they have a bye week to prepare for Buffalo and New England in back to back weeks, which will be their last chance to make a move in the AFC East. Otherwise the rest of the year will be a scrap to stay around .500 and hope for a break in the wild-card race.

Jets In Oakland: The Numbers Simply Don’t Add Up

In Oakland, Jets QB Mark Sanchez threw for 369 yards and lost while the Jets defense gave up 15 more points than their 2010 average. In two of three games the Jets have played this season, the personality on both sides of the ball has changed in comparison to that of last year’s AFC championship runner ups. The Jets might want to look at what has occurred in these areas as a warning sign. Before a brutal four game AFC stretch, three of which take place on the road takes place.

On offense, the Jets and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer came out of the gates  looking to prove to the league, themselves, their fans, and anyone else, that Mark Sanchez could throw the ball and be trusted. They have thrown it 111 times already compared to 71 rushing attempts so far. Last season though, the team amassed 534 rushing attempts compared to only 525 through the air. Sanchez’s totals have ballooned from his 205 yard per game average in 2010 to 350 yards a game passing against Dallas and Oakland. Yet the Jets are only 1-1 over those two games.

Has the switch to more passing helped in scoring? Barely. The Jets averaged 22 points a game last year in going 11-5. In the two games aforementioned (forget the Jacksonville game for obvious reasons) the Jets have only raised their scoring by a field goal (25.5). This combined with an inability to keep teams out of the end zone has left the Jets with plenty of question marks. Despite having won two of their first three contests.

Rex Ryan’s defense has allowed 58 points against teams who albeit house big play stars such as Tony Romo and Darren McFadden. That’s a 29 points per game average compared to the 19 a game they were giving up in 2010 when they were the league’s third ranked defense. They’ve also yielded 385 yards. A total that is slightly less than a hundred MORE (291 yds given up per game in 2010) yards per game than their average total last season. A reality that does NOT portray the Jets defense as a unit who opposing teams with weapons, are playing in fear of.

It is clear that the Jets Ground and Pound of 2009 has morphed into the “run and screen” game with LaDainian Tomlinson as the feature outside of the hashes. It’s also apparent that the Jets are still developing the relationship between Sanchez and his new WR corps while featuring the emerging TE Dustin Keller within it.

The problem lies in how to blend the two together.

The Jets led 17-7 into the late second quarter Sunday based on a shrewd gameplan that incorporated the screen game with a rushing attack that finally took the ball outside of the hashes. However in the second half things changed. The Jets looked downfield more often and payed for it.

When asked to protect Sanchez for longer pass routes, a makeshift offensive line that included rookie C Colin Baxter and a struggling Wayne Hunter, began to collapse. Why the sudden switch from the matriculation that was paying off? The Raiders came into the game ranked 27th against the run. Surely it seemed as though it would have been worth testing to see if they had worn down at all after getting hit hard and burned by RB Shonn Greene early on.

The reason may be twofold.

Perhaps Oakland adjusted their style on defense at halftime. If so, hats off to Raiders coach Hue Jackson and his staff.  The other scenario, a frightening one for the Jets could be that Gang Green is still trying to figure their approach out when they have the ball. Looking to find ways to spread the ball around, give Sanchez more responsibility, while regaining their running prowess, all at the same time.

Not having three time All Pro stalwart Nick Mangold certainly altered the initial offensive game plan yesterday. Still, The Jets must take the positives they see on film from Sunday in the run game and now devise a plan for how and where to attack with Greene and company.

The defense has ten returning starters from last year’s top five unit but must slow down fast teams that are scoring and gaining more than they did when they truly were the top five unit that Ryan would brag about on a weekly basis. As of right now, teams are not respecting the Jets defense in the way that they respect themselves. The numbers so far are proving that. They don’t add up.

For the Rex Ryan Jets the mantras aren’t matching the play. There is no more “Ground and Pound.” The defense has not smothered the good teams yet.

Amidst the search for consistency, the Jets still remain mentally tough. Often finding ways to win late in games as they did against the Cowboys in the opener and many times throughout 2010. Almost climbing back into the game during the waning moments in the Black Hole as well. Regardless of the need to tighten up the nuts and bolts, the Jets, as October approaches, have put themselves in position to still get where they want to go.

At 2-1, there should be no cause for panic. This solid but imperfect start in the standings should be seen a lift off point. With a little correction and adjustment time mixed in. However, if the Jets don’t keep a close eye on the guidelines and winning formula that they have set for themselves on paper over the past few years, then they may take on a personality that is truly not who they are. Or who they want to be.

The Importance Of Plaxico Getting Involved Early

Wide receiver is an isolated position on the football field. You spend the majority of the game on an island with another individual, separated from the cluster around the football. This location requires a receiver to be strong mentally and consistently focused. The film doesn’t lie, especially when you are a receiver. Every step you take can be easily analyzed and picked apart by your coaches. The mental strength is needed to stay sharp in the gaps of action when you aren’t involved in a major way during the play being run, which happens the majority of the time in a standard NFL offense.

There will be running plays where your block on the corner or safety is crucial. There will also be plenty where it isn’t. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hustle, it just means by the time you engage your block the play could already be over, especially if it is a 2-3 yard run. There is going to be pass plays where you are running a decoy route, or are the fourth or fifth option for a quarterback. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run your route hard, as any play can break down and lead to a scramble and a reception. What I am getting to is that over the course of a game, it requires mental discipline to stay entirely focused at the receiver position.

This process can be eased by an early reception to get into the flow of the game. The simple process of a short catch and being tackled, engages the receiver. Despite double teams or different types of coverage being shown by the defense, the Jets can find a way to get Plaxico Burress a catch in the first quarter. Throw him a quick hitch, a smoke screen, or a short slant. Let him get that 6 or 7 yard reception under his belt early. Burress can play the good soldier all he wants and it is a great thing that he is, but no receiver enjoys taking 40 straight snaps without receiving a look from the quarterback. It isn’t natural and he shouldn’t enjoy it. Burress is too talented of a playmaker for that scenario to ever occur any way.

Forcing Burress the ball is one thing and isn’t productive. Yet, subbing out a running play for a smoke screen to Burress on the first offensive drive is another. If you are looking for 5 yards on first down, aren’t you better off throwing it to Burress in space, letting him run 3 yards, get tackled, fall forward and finish with a 5 yard gain because of his massive height instead of handing it to Shonn Greene and his 2.9 yards per carry right up the middle behind a rookie center? It is also on Brian Schottenheimer to occasionally move Burrress out of the split end or “X” role and get him into the slot or send him in motion to free him up.

I would love to break down the film to prove this but I bet a receiver who catches a pass on the first drive is more effective as a run blocker and route runner the next 20 snaps, than a receiver who doesn’t. It is human nature. Frustration builds from not being involved and then it leads to pressing to get somebody involved late in a game, which almost got Mark Sanchez hurt last week.

It is isn’t a hard process. You have a 6 foot 5 wide receiver who is a proven playmaker. Find a simple, short route to throw him on the first drive to get him into the flow of the game and your offense.

Top Five Keys For Jets/Cowboys

It is finally here. A game that so many have circled on their calendars from the minute that the 2011 NFL schedules became official. The Jets and America’s team. On the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. Sunday night football on the first Sunday of the season. It doesn’t get any better than this in September. Here are our top five keys for the Jets as they take on the Dallas Cowboys.

SANCHEZ, YEAR THREE BEGINS: It seems obvious and easy to choose the Jets QB as the top key for any game. We do it here though to make a statement on the entire season. This is Mark Sanchez’s team now. He will be judged according to where the Jets end up. This week we’ll see how the “Sanchise” pulls together a WR corps that was revamped on the fly this summer. With the Jets it starts on the ground but it will only end up in Indianapolis if Sanchez takes the next step in 2011.

KEEP ROMO CONTAINED: Cowboys QB Tony Romo is most dangerous when his blocking breaks down. It is then that he breaks free, begins to improvise, and ultimately devastate. The Jets pass rush up front has provided little pressure this preseason. What they can’t do is compound that by allowing Romo to escape the pocket where he likes to sling it Brett Favre style, often times with downfield success. Even worse for the Jets, Romo has Jason Witten. The 2010 Jets had problems covering tight ends.

CROMARTIE VS BRYANT AND AUSTIN: You can already predict what Revis Island will look like on Sunday night. Barren. Deserted. The other side of the field though, will be the opposite. Balls will be flying like Juy 4th fireworks in CB Antonio Cromartie’s work area.

With the game breaking combo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin coming to town, “Cro” can ill afford a night like the one he had last year in week one against the Ravens. A performance that featured constant holding and illegal contact calls, when he wasn’t getting beat. Cromartie can give up catches in front of him. He just can’t become an EZ pass toll booth for the Cowboys to race past at will.

KELLER AND WITTEN: Jason Witten is the template for how an All Pro tight end should perform and be employed in the passing game. Keller has been “emerging” since his rookie year. It is time for number 81 to be that weapon that the Jets don’t make excuses about anymore.

It ia always the same response from Gang Green regarding Keller’s lack of activity. The one that reads “Keller draws attention and therefore it is hard to force feed him the ball.” Does that mean that Witten grabs a hundred balls a year because he doesn’t draw attention? Hardly. The Jets need to stop talking about why Keller gets bottled up, and start making him the threat he has the ability to be.

SCHOTTY VS ROB RYAN: How entertaining and charming are the big loud Ryan brothers? We love them, they are great for football. We wish only the best for their father Buddy, who will be in attendance despite battling cancer for a second time.

Beyond their brothers natural media abilities, the Ryans are no nonsense on that field. The Cowboys new defensive coordiantor Rob made the Browns, that’s right the Browns defense, respectable last year.

Jets embattled offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has been, despite the clubs two straight trips to the AFC title game, the target of may die hards anger. This for his lack of faith in Sanchez and a seemingly lack of creativity in finding ways to get the Jets in position to score more points. Those complaints are not all warranted, yet can all be put to rest finally, if the offense begins to click consistently.

Schotty has weapons galore. The new personnel offense hasn’t gelled yet due to such limited time with each other, but the names on the backs of the jerseys are big ones. High profile ones. Potentially explosive ones. Coordinating means putting it all together. That is Schotty’s responsibility, one that will include an even greater scrutiny should the Jets stumble often on offense this season, like they have in the previous two.

We can guarantee what a Ryan run defense will bring. A Schotty offense? The Jets offensive “guru” has had to overcome game calling for a young, and often times mistake prone QB, on a team with an excellent defense that doesn’t need a scoreboard to light up in order to win. However, it is time to brand this unit. Time to blend the run game with what ought to be an emerging passing game.

For now two key questions remain: When if ever, will the veil come off of Sanchez? When does that blind mutual trust between OC and QB truly begin?  A stalemate in this one on one battle of the headsets will keep the Jets in the game. Anything less may leave the Jets at 0-1 and prepping for Jacksonville.

TOJ Top Five: Meaningless Lockout Stories

Today’s edition of the TOJ Top Five, will look at the five dumbest New York Jets stories that became a bigger deal than they should have because of the lockout…

5. Schotty’s ExcusesWe aren’t interested in your side of the story, just find a way to get the ball into the end-zone on four tries from the 2 yard line…yes, I am still bitter about this. How about four straight handoffs to Shonn Greene who was a bowling ball in this game?

4. The Receiver Procession Line – I am all for free agency speculation and I gladly took part in it, but the considering it was pushed back three months (and counting) the amount of names linked to the Jets at wide receiver and the amount of coverage they received was a bit much. Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith…I’d think we’d all sign up for just having Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back, let’s hope Mike Tannenbaum can work magic.

3. Scotty McKnight’s High School Essay – When the back cover of the New York Post is about a rookie 7th round pick writing an inappropriate essay as a high school student, you know it is a slow day in the sports world.

2. Rex’s Guarantees – If you haven’t noticed by now, Rex Ryan thinks the Jets are going to win the Super Bowl every single year. It isn’t a story anymore when he is interviewed and he comments that he thinks his team is going to win it all. I am pretty sure he has made the exact same comment in every interview he took this off-season.

1. Sanchez vs. McKnight vs. Klitschko – There were rumors floating around all off-season that Mark Sanchez was dating Vladimir Klitschko’s girlfriend, Hayden Panetierre…yet in the end, it turned out that it was Scotty McKnight who was dating her. First off, for a rookie 7th round pick…that is pretty good work. Second, if Klitschko is coming after anybody, I’d rather it be McKnight than Sanchez…sorry, Scotty.

Looking At Shonn Greene As A Lead Back

Whether it is from Rex Ryan, LaDainian Tomlinson, or Brian Schottenheimer…we have heard that Shonn Greene will be the Jets lead back this year. One of the more frustrating parts of 2010 was the limited amount of opportunities Greene had to carry the ball and it now appears that problem will be remedied.

It was understandable in the beginning of the year why LaDainian Tomlinson was receiving more carries. He was simply playing better. Yet, considering his age and how Tomlinson wore down as the season went on, Greene should have been getting more touches later in the year. He is built to wear defenses down and is the type of back who gets better with the more carries he receives.

Let’s look back at Greene’s first two years at the ten games he received the most carries in —

  • 23 carries, 128 yards, 1 touchdown at San Diego in 2009 Divisional Playoff Game
  • 22 carries, 117 yards at Buffalo in 2010 regular season game
  • 21 carries, 135 yards at Cincinnati in 2009 Wild-Card Playoff Game
  • 20 carries, 72 yards at Cleveland in 2010 regular season game
  • 19 carries, 144 yards, 2 touchdowns at Oakland in 2009 regular season game
  • 19 carries, 70 yards at Indianapolis in 2010 Wild-Card Playoff Game
  • 18 carries, 70 yards vs Cincinnati in 2009 regular season game
  • 17 carries, 76 yards, 1 touchdown at New England in 2010 Divisional Playoff Game
  • 16 carries, 95 yards at Indianapolis in 2009 regular season game
  • 15 carries, 52 yards vs New England in 2010 regular season game

First off, a somewhat odd trend is that eight of those ten games were on the road. A major reason for that is that half of them are Jets playoff games and they have been a wild-card the past two years. It is clear the offense turns to Greene more in bigger spots and he has always responded, with most of his best performances coming in the playoffs or in important regular season match-ups.

This is a player who has only received over 20 carries four times in his NFL career but has responded with a 100 yard game in three of those games. It is still a question mark how he will produce over a full season but there is reason for optimism.

How To Use LaDainian Tomlinson In 2011

One of the more interesting quotes from Rex Ryan out of the league meetings, was the following on their running back situation —

Rex on Joe McKnight “”I think he’s earned more opportunities, he could play ahead of Shonn and LT in some things. He’s earned that. Clearly, we have a 1-2 punch with Greene as our bell cow and LT. But I think this kid Joe McKnight has earned some reps.”

The first question might be, is how the hell did McKnight earn some reps? I assume he is talking about his strong performance in the season finale against Buffalo and perhaps he did some good work in practice. McKnight did also flash a little bit on special teams and nearly blocked a couple of punts.

Regardless of his overall lackluster rookie year, I do agree with Ryan, the Jets need to give McKnight a shot to contribute on offense. They spent a fourth round pick on him and there is no question that he has plenty of talent, speed, and versatility. Ideally, you want him to develop into the team’s long term third down back.

Ryan calling Shonn Greene the “bell cow” is also encouraging and corroborates what have heard about Greene taking over as the lead back in 2011. It is time to see if Greene has the make-up to be a 1200-1300 yard back and the only way to find out is to give him around 20 carries each week.

If everybody develops the way the organization is hoping for, the Jets will be set at fullback (John Conner), halfback (Greene), and third down back (McKnight) for a long time. However, where does that leave LaDainian Tomlinson in what will likely be his final year in the NFL?

We all saw how impressive he was the first half of the 2010 season but also saw how he gradually wore down. Tomlinson did rise up in the playoffs with a big game against the Colts and a solid effort against New England but then seemed to burn out again in the AFC Championship Game.

He will only be a year older in 2011 and with more reps needed for both Greene and McKnight, it will be on Brian Schottenheimer to figure out how to get the most out of him.

Outside of the leadership he provides, Tomlinson still has value to the Jets offense. He should be the primary third down back, with McKnight being gradually groomed into the role. Tomlinson can also contribute in short yardage, and can spell Greene for a series or two each half.

If Tomlinson’s touches are limited to around 10 a game, the Jets should be able to get a productive season from him, with LT occasionally providing big plays and giving them a consistent weapon on third down. He is a good check down option for Mark Sanchez and with Tony Richardson and Damien Woody likely not returning in 2011, he will be a necessary veteran voice in the huddle.

I will post it any chance I get —

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #3

The 12 pack is back with our third off-season edition, read it, comment on it, disagree with it, print it out and give it to your girlfriend for Valentine’s Day

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1. Early 2011 Procrastinating – The early talk on the 2011 season seems to place the New England Patriots as the favorite to come out of the AFC and make a Super Bowl appearance. I suppose this makes sense considering their collection of talented young players and all the off-season hardware collected by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  However, the Patriots have now lost three straight playoff games when they were considered heavy favorites, including two in a row at home where they were smacked around pretty badly. Also remember, the reality of them not having a good defense, at all. It may be better for the Jets if New England is the consensus favorite to win the AFC East, as you know Rex Ryan won’t hesitate to use it as motivation considering the Jets have beat the Patriots in two of their past three meetings.

2. AFC East Quarterbacking – We know Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Yet, it will be interesting to see how the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills handle their quarterback situations this off-season. The Bills could be content with Ryan Fitzpatrick who played well for most of last year, however they are a franchise in desperate need of a shot in the arm so I wouldn’t be stunned if they went quarterback with their number three overall pick. Cam Newton would be very intriguing for them. Miami has to decide whether to stick with Chad Henne. Maybe they will draft another quarterback in the second round, considering how well that has worked out for them. Those debates about Sanchez and Henne last off-season certainly sound funny now. The primary difference between the two is that when the spot gets bigger, Sanchez plays better and Henne plays worse…oh and that whole, being a winner thing. Remember Henne hasn’t won a single game of any importance yet in his NFL career.

3. Assistant Scorn – In the past month, the Jets have denied defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman the chance to interview for the Oakland defensive coordinator position, Bill Callahan the chance to interview for the Tennessee offensive coordinator position, and offensive line coach Mike Devlin the chance to interview for a few undisclosed positions. You have to wonder if frustration will start to build among the staff members. Callahan could have received assurance that he will take over for Brian Schottenheimer after his contract expires next year and there could be a thought that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will get hired as a head coach after next season if the defense keeps playing well, and Thurman will take over.

4. Quick Hitters – Brandon Moore underwent successful hip surgery and is expected back for training camp, whenever that ends up being…Kicker Nick Novak was signed out of the UFL, where he won special team player of the year. It will be good to provide Nick Folk with a little competition, if the Jets decide to bring him back…Despite my dismissal of the Mark Sanchez’s off the field drama, the guy does need to remember who he is, where he plays, and use better judgment.

5. Maybe Next Time – It was a shame to see Curtis Martin not make it into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Martin handled it graciously as expected and mentioned the possibility of being inducted with Bill Parcells next year, which would be interesting considering their history together. It is only a matter of time for him, considering his qualifications.

6. Scary Stats – Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage was under 55 this year, for the second straight time in his NFL career…Dustin Keller scored five touchdowns in the Jets first four games, and didn’t score a single one after that…Jerricho Cotchery led the team in dropped passes this season…Shonn Greene only received more than 20 carries in one game this season.

7. TOJ Housekeeping – In the next week, we will be starting coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft with the assistance of a new writer…Remember to check out the new “TiqIq” widget on the right side of the page and the “Buy Tickets” page on the navigation bar for the best prices to local sporting events…we are still (and always) looking for more advertisers…TOJ is also still looking for assistance in designing a new banner for the site, e-mail me if you are interested…I hope everybody is enjoying TOJ’s contributions at SB Nation New York and Gunaxin…Finally, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

8. Free Agent Talk – It looks like Cleveland is giving up on being the JV Jets by releasing Kenyon Coleman, Eric Barton, and David Bowens. They also released Shaun Rogers, which had some fans excited. However, Rogers has already visited Washington and there is talk Rob Ryan will go after him hard to join Dallas. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kenyon Coleman added back to the Jets defensive line rotation, as a depth player.

9. CBA – Not looking good so far…it is a scary thought to imagine next autumn without football. Beyond that, we can’t even enjoy the off-season the way we normally would because of all the negativity flowing around the negotiations. It would be a lie, if I said I knew anywhere near all the details of what is being discussed. Yet, everything I have heard or read, indicates the owners are being grossly selfish. Beyond that, it would be insanity to have an 18 game regular season. Did you see the type of injuries endured by the players this year?

10.  No to Ocho – Does anybody think it would be a good idea to target Chad Ochocinco, instead of focusing on getting the Jets own receivers back? Sorry Darrelle, I can’t agree with you on this one.

11. Franchise, Yes – Glad to hear the Jets are planning to use their franchise tag on David Harris, until they can negotiate a long term deal with him. It isn’t worth the risk of him hitting the market as a free agent, he is too important to their defense.

12. Random Video Clips – Enjoy your weekend