Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

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

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

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

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

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Highlights From the Game Last Night:

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

First a few updates:

1. We got a nice long weekend of sports coming up. The Yankees and Red Sox start up tomorrow, hopefully the Yankees will deliver the knockout punch in the divisional race over the next three games. Fortunately, the Jets will prevent me from getting too depressed on Sunday night since they are on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, with Mark Sanchez making his first start under center.

2. I got my fantasy draft next weekend and I am still very undecided on my #5 pick. Although I am leaning towards Drew Brees or Larry Fitzgerald…yes Fitzgerald, I’m not shy about taking a WR at #5. Yes, I am also excited about taking Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller in the late rounds because nobody in my league touches any Jets because they are too high and mighty as Giants fans.

3. Minor Jets roster moves – They released guard Dennis Conley and signed safety Nate Ness.

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

Today was the final day of practice up in Cortland, New York and similar to how he exited mini-camp, Mark Sanchez ended with a bang. In the situational drills, which were set up to imitate the final play of the game with the Jets needing a touchdown from the 5 and 15 yard line, Sanchez twice found Brad Smith for a touchdown. Kellen Clemens on the other hand went 0-2 with an interception. Prior to the situational drills, Sanchez also hit Jerricho Cotchery with a 35 yard touchdown strike and Clemens was intercepted by backup DB Rashad Barksdale. Can anybody else read the writing on the walls? Unless Clemens lights it up on Monday night and Sanchez completely tanks or gets hurt, #6 will be under center for the first snap of every game in the 2009 season.

Up to this point both quarterbacks have been slightly inconsistent, trading good days with rough days and being overall pretty average. However, Sanchez is learning a new offense and adjusting to play at the NFL level. This is Kellen Clemens fourth year in the system and he hasn’t improved as camp went on. In fact, if you remember early on Clemens had a clear lead on Sanchez but slowly squandered it away. The rookie will take his lumps this year but should be able to stay healthy behind a premier (please stay healthy) offensive line and supported by a strong running game. In the long run, Sanchez will benefit from being thrown into the fire with a team that harbors playoff expectations. I believe he could play as well as Joe Flacco did last year and that he won’t impede the Jets from being a playoff contender.

What about the other training camp battles? We have had a strong camp by Chansi Stuckey, slowly being forgotten because of the recent resurgence of David Clowney who remains the Jets only legit home run threat at the position. Expect to see alot of Stuckey in the slot, with Clowney and Brad Smith (also quietly having a good camp) splitting out alongside Jerricho Cotchery. I expect the Jets to keep 6 receivers, with Wallace Wright and promising UDFA Britt Davis rounding out the depth chart.

Over at tight end, nobody has really stepped up behind Dustin Keller and I am still waiting for the Jets to bring in another veteran after roster cuts are made. Regardless, expect Jack Simmons and Wayne Hunter to see the majority of the #2 TE reps for now. At outside linebacker, neither Vernon Gholston or Marques Murrell has done anything that impressive this summer, with UDFA Jamaal Westerman arguably outplaying both of them. On the positive side, Bryan Thomas has had a very good camp and Calvin Pace looked like a beast in the Jets first pre-season game.

In terms of injuries, the Jets haven’t sustained anything major but rather a handful of minor injuries. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they will be missing anyone week one because of an injury. I would expect Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and maybe Alan Faneca to play in the third pre-season game and wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Mangold suited up on Monday.

Kerry Rhodes and Nick Mangold compete in throwing contests to prove who deserves the higher Madden rating:

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Quarterbacks: B+ – Mark Sanchez stole the headlines in this game, with his 3/4, 88 yards performance. He only played one series but led the Jets on a 95 yard touchdown drive and on his first play from scrimmage threw a beautiful 48 yard pass down the sideline that hit David Clowney in stride. He also converted a key third down when he hit Dustin Keller for a 26 yard gain. He sure the looked the part of a starting quarterback last night, even though it was only one drive. Kellen Clemens was OK. He threw the ball well (4/4 24 yards) and did a nice job avoiding one sack, but still had a fumble. I am sorry but it is time to face the reality that unless Sanchez bombs out the next 2 weeks, this competition is over. Erik Ainge played well in an extended duty, including a 50 yard touchdown strike to a wide open David Clowney.

Running Backs: B – The most exciting play of the night was a 34 yard rumble by rookie Shonn Greene. Thomas Jones was quiet but did punch the ball in the endzone when the Jets needed him to. Leon Washington showed his usual burst on a 8 yard run but beyond that he was also quiet. For all the talk about Danny Woodhead, he looked pretty ordinary last night.

Wide Receiver: A – A really encouraging night from the wide receivers. Cotchery and Stuckey didn’t play much, but the all the guys behind them contributed something positive. David Clowney obviously had a monster night with a 3 catch, 103 yard, 1 TD performance. You can’t teach speed and if he can stay healthy, Clowney should be a valuable weapon on the Jets offense this season. Brad Smith had a great 10 yard grab in traffic to convert a third down and a nice 28 yard run on a reverse. Wallace Wright got a little banged up but returned and had a nice 23 yard catch and finished with 3 catches. Britt Davis looked good when the ball was thrown in his direction (2 catches, 33 yards, 1 third down conversion). At this point, I’d be surprised if the Jets didn’t keep 6 receivers and they weren’t Cotchery, Stuckey, Clowney, Wright, Smith, and Davis.

Tight End: A – Dustin Keller looked like the beast the Jets are going to need him to be this season. It is hard to imagine Keller not being the Jets #2 WR, despite being listed as a tight end and having 70-80 catches this season. The guy is a match-up nightmare for defenses. Kareem Brown had 2 catches and Jack Simmons held his own with the first offense. We didn’t get to see Wayne Hunter at tight end since he had to play tackle with the starters.

Offensive Line: C – The backups did OK…Wayne Hunter was beat for a strip sack by Leonard Little. The first unit didn’t open up too many holes for the running backs but did a good job of pass protection on Sanchez’s drive. You would really like to see the full starting line up together next Monday night against the Ravens.

Defensive Line: C – A quiet night from this unit, although they weren’t as stout against the run as you’d like to see, obviously the absence of Kris Jenkins didn’t help.

Linebackers: B+ – Really impressive nights from Calvin Pace and David Harris who were all over the field. The Jets are going to miss Pace in a big way the first four weeks. Kenwin Cummings had a nice sack and Brandon Renkart was active. Another quiet night from Vernon Gholston (2 tackles), although he did have one pressure. Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman also didn’t flash as much as expected.

Seconadry: C – Dwight Lowery had a rough night, muffing a punt and getting beat deep on a 50 yard completion. Donald Strickland had a sack and an overall solid night in coverage. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard didn’t record any sacks but both did a good job pressuring the quarterback when they blitzed. Lito Sheppard looked good. It will be nice to have Darrelle Revis back next week.

Special Teams: D – Three muffed punts is no good. Jay Feely did his job, hitting both of his field goals. Reggie Hodges looked a little better than TJ Conely at punter.

Highlights from Last Night:

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

First a few updates:

1. Vick to the Eagles? Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. What an interesting move, that could be discussed for hours upon hours. I don’t know what type of shape Vick is in right now, but I would imagine by the time he is reinstated (probably somewhere between week 4-6), he will at least be the running threat he always was. Defensive coordinators will now have to prepare for a wildcat type formation or a package of plays that features Vick’s unique skill set. You can say what you want about Vick as a person but the guy is one hell of a football player, and I am sure Andy Reid’s staff will find a way to get the most out of him on the field.

2. Tom Brady returned tonight and of course threw two touchdowns to….Chris Baker. Yes, that Chris Baker who the Jets wouldn’t resign and are now stuck with Wayne Hunter and Jack Simmons battling it out for the #2 tight end job. I can already see Baker having 9 catches for 139 yards with 2 TD’s week two at the Meadowlands.

3. Did anybody see those “The Lighter Side of Training Camp” commericials featuring Thomas Jones, Nick Mangold, Leon Washington, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery? The one with Mangold trying to sell TJ’s car is hysterical. If you havent’ seen them, I suggest going over to www.thejetsblog.com and checking them out.

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

The Headline: The Jets are a little banged up on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense along their prized line. Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody will all sit out with injuries, thrusting Wayne Hunter, Rob Turner, and Stanley Daniels into the starting lineup. This will be a good chance for the Jets backups to gain some extra work and experience, and attempt to calm the organization’s concern about their offensive line depth. Unfortunately, because of the injuries both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez will play less to decrease the risk of injury. I’d expect 2-3 series from both of them before it becomes the Erik AInge show.

You Have to Be Excited to See: Mark Sanchez…obviously. The rookie should get some work with the first team offense and if he can move the ball effectively, will go a long way towards locking down the starting quarterback position. Shonn Greene…the third round pick should receive the bulk of the carries on the night and will be looking to prove the Jets have a three-headed monster at running back. Vernon Gholston…he has been playing better in practice, but how nice would it be to see the guy finally get a sack? Isn’t that what we drafted him for?

Position Battles: David Clowney vs. Brad Smith vs. Wallace Wright vs. Britt Davis for reps behind Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey. Let’s see if Clowney can match last season’s monster pre-season and if the undrafted rookie Davis can bounce back from a rough outing at the Green and White Scrimmage. Jack Simmons vs. Kareem Brown for the #2 tight end spot. Simmons has been active in camp but needs to be more consistent catching the football. Sione Pouha vs. Howard Green for reps behind Kris Jenkins at defensive tackle. Jenkins isn’t playing and Pouha will start but Green has had a strong camp and received plenty of praise from Rex Ryan.

What You Have to Hope For: No injuries. 7-9, 78 yards and a TD for Mark Sanchez. A sack and a forced fumble by Vernon Gholston. A highlight reel 70 yard touchdown run by Leon Washington that finally pushes Tannebaum over the edge to give him a new contract. A big day from the one the Jets receivers not named Cotchery or Stuckey.

Talking to the Opponent: Will Horton from http://Ramsherd.com and I exchanged e-mails about tomorrow’s game, here is a transcript of our conversation –

Will: This will be the first time that Marc Bulger plays without the red jersey, and will be free to take hits. How well does the new offensive line protect him, and how confident will he be in his throws? He’s looked good in practice, but he’s also been untouched. From the Jets’ perspective, who’s bringing the pass rush? 
 
Joe: The Jets top two sack guys from last season were Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace. Unfortunately, both are facing early season suspensions, with Pace missing 4 games and Ellis missing 1. Vernon Gholston will be stepping in for Pace and should see a ton of action against the Rams to get him ready for the first 4 weeks of the regular season. Also, keep an eye on under the radar linebackers, Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman who both have had very strong training camps.

Will: Will Spagnuolo be able to remake this Rams defensive front into a Giants-style penetrating attack? We got pushed sideways and backwards all last season, perhaps no game more so than against the Jets. (That video you posted is nightmarish for us!) With Mangold, Faneca and Woody out, are the Jets’ backups stout enough to hold the fort?

Joe:It is hard to evaluate their top backups because none of them have had extensive playing time. Regardless, Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter did contribute last season as extra tight ends in short yardage situations and are veterans of the Jets offense. Stanley Daniels, who will start for Alan Faneca is probably the biggest question mark of the three. Rex Ryan has already went on record stating he believes Wayne Hunter is a starting caliber tackle and Rob Turner is a versatile player with good size.

Will: If the Rams get to the red zone, can we score? How was the Jets’ red zone defense last season? How does it project this season?   
 
Joe:
The Jets red zone defense was pretty good last season and should project to be even better this year because of the depth they added at all three levels. Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard can man up on receivers and let the Jets stack the box. Kris Jenkins leads the charge on the D-Line and frees up space for the Jets exceptional pair of inside linebackers, Bart Scott and David Harris.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

New Starting Running Back?: According to the National Football Post, the Jets have been placing some calls around the league to gauge trade interest in starting running back Thomas Jones. The article specifically cites a NFC West team that the Jets have been in discussions with. You have to think that team would be Seattle, since the 49ers have Frank Gore, the Cardinals have Tim Hightower/Beanine Wells and the Rams have Stephen Jackson. Personally, I think it’s a crazy idea to trade Jones. If the Jets are going to run the ball as much as they say they are, why would you trade a pro-bowl workhorse like TJ? I understand the factors with his age and contract but just let him go after the season, that way Shonn Greene/Danny Woodhead/Jehuu Caulcrick all have a year to develop and gain some NFL experience, especially Greene. There is nothing wrong with having a potent three headed monster at running back, especially when you are thin at receiver/tight end and starting an inexperienced quarterback.

Camp Story of the Day: Both quarterbacks stepped up their games today. Sanchez was accurate and in-control while working with the first-team offense. Clemens had one of his best practices working with the second team and made an acrobatic play to Britt Davis for a two-point conversion. He also hit Brad Smith for a 50 yard bomb down the sideline…encouraging signs for both Smith and Clemens.

Pre-Season Update: Kris Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody won’t play on Friday…likely giving starts to Sione Pouha (NT), Dwight Lowery (CB), Rob Turner (C), and Wayne Hunter (T). Kellen Clemens will start at quarterback but Mark Sanchez will receive some work with the first team offense, although he won’t play into the second half. Rex Ryan said Erik Ainge will probably see the majority of snaps, likely playing most of the second half…oh boy. It will be important for Clemens to set the tempo early, avoid turnovers, and move the football. Sanchez will have lowered expectations because it is his first NFL action, but if he can engineer a scoring drive with the first-offense and protect the football, it might be lights out for Clemens in this QB battle.

First Pre-Season Game Ramble: You have to be excited as a Jets fan about this Friday. The best part of the first pre-season game is finally seeing what your team’s offense and defense looks like, in terms of formations and play calling, along with seeing all the new additions out there in Green and White. We will also get to see our new coaching staff on the sideline for the first time, and get some type of a sense about the 2009 team’s style and attitude.

X and Z, Receiver Talk: Rich Cimini pointed out how Jerricho Cotcheryhas been working at split end (X) with the Jets first offense, with Chansi Stuckey in the slot (Z). Cotchery has been the Z the past few years, but playing at X will allow him more 1 on 1 match-ups and create more space for him to get open. Stuckey has had a great camp but playing Z will be a big test for him, it is a tough position that requires alot of movement, different types of routes, and versatility.

Number Crunching: It will be real interesting to see if the Jets decide to keep 6 running backs, 6 receivers, or 10 secondary guys. People like Danny Woodhead, Britt Davis, and Drew Coleman need to show value on special teams in these upcoming pre-season games.

Jets Highlights of the Day: Speaking of Thomas Jones and the Rams, here is Thomas Jones highlights against the Rams from last year, not the best quality but still a decent watch.

Eight Observations on Jets Training Camp

First a few updates:

1. Some schedule news – The Jets open their pre-season schedule this Friday at home against the St. Louis Rams. On Thursday, their practice will be closed to the media. Wednesday is family night at 6 PM out at Hofstra, throwing a bone out to the Jets Long Island fans. Tomorrow they have one full practice in the morning and an afternoon special teams session.

2. The Jets released their first official depth chart today, I will update it accordingly on the site which can be accessed on the top of the home page.

Ten Monday Observations on Jets Training Camp

– I know it is only one game and I know that it was somewhat expected but don’t underestimate the blow of not having Shaun Ellis for week one against the Texans. The Jets will now have their top two sack leaders from last season suspended for week one against a Houston offense that loves to spread it out and throw the football. They will be also now be giving two players their first ever NFL start, likely Mike DeVito at defensive end and Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. If you want to look at the silver lining, DeVito and Gholston will gain some valuable playing time which will improve the Jets overall depth. However, in reality the Jets will be hurting without Pace and Ellis.

– Speaking of hurting, the list of minor Jets injuries is starting to concern me. It is almost comical how Rex Ryan brushes off every single injury as not significant and it’s not that I don’t believe him, it is just that a high number of key guys are nursing injuries. Nick Mangold’s knee is bothering him, Kris Jenkins is still out with a sore calf, Darrelle Revis isn’t taking part in team drills because of a tight hamstring, Tony Richardson is out with a hip pointer, Shaun Ellis sat out today with a tight back, and Donald Strickland is still out with a knee bruise…how can that not bother you a little bit? Richardson and Jenkins won’t play on Friday, which will give a big opportunity to Sione Pouha and Jehuu Caulcrick.

– Mark Sanchez has taken a few baby steps back since his big time performance with the starters on Saturday. He has struggled the last couple of practices with his accuracy, missing a few open targets while Kellen Clemens has been decent although he threw another interception today, giving him 11 throughout camp compared to Sanchez’s 3. Ryan is giving Clemens the start at home against the Rams because he will logically alternate and given Sanchez the 2nd start in the pre-season. Why would Ryan want Sanchez starting week 2? He wants to throw his highly touted rookie right into the fire on national television against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens on the road. You want to see what Sanchez has before the regular season…in Baltimore, against their starters for a full quarter on ESPN is a great test.

– So it looks like Wayne Hunter is really going to be the Jets #2 tight end. Apparently the big fella caught a 20 yard out route in front of Bart Scott the other day….impressive. Here is a fun fact about Wayne Hunter, the guy had an overall 100 morale rating in Madden 2008. Why is he so happy? I don’t know, but keep your spirits up Wayne and keep catching those passes.

– Rex Ryan raved about Vernon Gholston today like he was Bruce Smith because he has recorded a couple of sacks in the Jets last few practices. Yes, we are all happy to see Gholston finally making some plays in practice but keep in perspective that he has been outplayed all camp by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman. I think we all would be encouraged by a sack this Friday night.

– I am disappointed by the quiet training camps from Brad Smith and David Clowney, especially Clowney. However, I am intrigued to watch Britt Davis and Wallace Wright this Friday and see if they can make a move up the depth chart.

– You have to love Leon Washington for putting together such a strong camp despite the Jets playing hard-ball with him on his contract negotiations…just pay the man his money, Mike Tannenbaum.

– A few observations on the Jets depth chart – Surprised to see Kareem Brown in front of Jack Simmons at tight end, Jamaal Westerman has already hopped Larry Izzo and Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker, good to see Matt Slauson behind Alan Faneca at LG.

Sanchez's Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

First a few updates:

1. I would have wrote an article last night about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp, but I got caught up in the 15 inning classic between the Yanks and Red Sox. What a game, and with the way CC is pitching as I type this (1 hit through 6 innings) it looks the Yankees might take the first three games of this series.

2. Movie Review of the Day – I saw “Funny People” during the week and I’d give it 2.5 out of 4 stars. There are some great 1 liners, the big guy from Superbad is real funny but the movie is wayyyy too long and the whole love plot line is very dull.

3. Abbreviated version of what we have learned from the first week of Jets training camp: Kellen Clemens can’t protect the football…Chansi Stuckey has been the Jets 2nd best receiver, behind Jerricho Cotchery…Wallace Wright has been their third best receiver…Marques Murrell is more active around the football than Vernon Gholston…the Jets secondary is going to be very, very good…Wayne Hunter is leading the battle to be the #2 tight end, ut oh…Shonn Greene is going to contribute on offense this year…Rex Ryan loves David Harris, Jamaal Westerman, and Dwight Lowery…Mark Sanchez is going to start week one against Houston unless there is a drastic turn of the events in the pre-season.

Sanchez’s Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

Story of the Day: The Jets have decided to rotate their first team quarterback every other practice and today Mark Sanchez was under center with the 1’s and he didn’t disappoint. The rookie had his finest practice of training camp, going 10-19 and throwing two touchdowns, including a 40 yard post to Jerricho Cotchery over Darrelle Revis on the first 11 on 11 play. He then led a two minute drive that culminated in a 25 yard touchdown to Chansi Stuckey. Sanchez continued to show great command of the offense and the huddle and drew praise from numerous veterans after practice. Kellen Clemens continued to struggle, going 4-12 and throwing an interception. Regardless, Rex Ryan named Clemens the starter for the Jets pre-season opener against the Rams this Friday.

Opinion on Quarterback Battle: Ryan is giving Clemens the start only because he is the veteran. Unless Sanchez implodes, he will start the second pre-season game and every game after that. Sanchez has pulled ahead in the battle and it is doubtful that he will look back. He hasn’t turned the ball over as much as Clemens and is beginning to look comfortable in the offense, especially the two minute drill. More importantly, it appears the veterans are starting to gain some confidence in Sanchez.

A Vernon Gholston Sighting: #50 had a sack today! Gholston has been quiet all camp, being outplayed by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman, hopefully he can start to turn it up in time for the Jets first pre-season game.

Rex Talks: Ryan was effusive in his praise of linebacker David Harris, who is having a very good camp. He also continues to talk up the secondary, which should have excellent depth. It will be interesting to see how the reps are divided up between Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo behind the four starters in the secondary.

Injury Updates: Keith Fitzhugh remains out with a shoulder injury but should be back by the end of the week. Shonn Greene rested his sore ankle today. Kris Jenkins is close to coming back. Bart Scott also has a sore hamstring, that I’m sure the Jets will be careful with. Tony Richardson remains out with a hip pointer.

Don’t Sleep on Wallace: Who would have thought that Wallace Wright would be in contention for serious reps at receiver? So far he has outplayed David Clowney, Brad Smith, and the recently hyped up rookie Britt Davis. Wright is a strong route runner, with decent enough size who has great hands, meaning he could be a quality option for reps at split end so they could slide Chansi Stuckey in the slot. Keep an eye on #15 this Friday.

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

The Jets defense is way ahead of their offense, but hey…we knew that already. The Jets ‘Green and White’ scrimmage didn’t do anything to change that notion. Neither the first or second offense was able to manage any points (keep in mind, a couple of fourth down conversions were attempted and failed in field goal territory), the lone touchdown of the day came from the third offense, when backup receiver Paul Raymond scored on a 15 yard reverse. Let’s go over what we saw from each position….

Quarterback – Kellen Clemens didn’t turn the ball over, which was a positive. However, he didn’t do anything to separate himself from Mark Sanchez. He mostly threw short, safe passes and finished roughly 5-7 for 26 yards. His best throw was probably a 11 yard completion in the seam to Dustin Keller on a third down. His worst throw was on a 3rd and 20, when Chansi Stuckey got behind Drew Coleman and Clemens under threw him, leading to a jump ball that was nearly intercepted.

Mark Sanchez played very well and drew a high amount of praise from Rex Ryan. The rookie was victimized by four dropped passes, including two from Britt Davis (who received some press earlier in the day as the “mystery” receiver the Jets organization was excited about, maybe they jinxed him…) and one by Jack Simmons, who also didn’t help himself with an offsides penalty. Unofficially, Sanchez was 9-15 for 70 yards. He showed his chemistry with Wallace Wright, hitting him 3 times for 23 yards including a nice throw on a deep comeback route for about 15 yards. He didn’t have any turnovers but did take a sack, when he failed to notice a backside corner blitz. Sanchez made the quarterback battle even tighter with his performance today, I’d say right now it is an even 50-50, after it being slightly tilted in Clemens favor most of the week.

Erik Ainge actually played half way decent, hitting Marcus Henry for a 38 yard gain, which was the day’s biggest offensive play. He led the offense on their only scoring drive of the day.

Running Back – Thomas Jones was relatively quiet, except for a monster blitz pick-up. Leon Washington had 3 catches for 12 yards. Shonn Greene was the best news of the day on offense. The rookie third-round pick had 25 yards on 6 carries, including a 12 yard run when he broke to the outside. He also had a 33 yard reception on a screen pass. You have to get excited when thinking about the Jets potential three-headed monster at running back.

Receiver – Britt Davis received the hype today and struggled to validate the coaching staff’s excitement with two key drops. David Clowney had a quiet day with 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith didn’t do anything of note. Chansi Stuckey and Jerricho Cotchery had 2 catches a piece. Marcus Henry had the play of the day with a 38 yard reception over Drew Coleman. Wallace Wright had a strong outing and is pretty much locked into a roster spot. The only way Davis or Henry make the roster at this point is if the Jets decide to keep 6 receivers.

Tight End – Jack Simmons had a drop and a penalty. Kareem Brown had a 8 yard catch. Dustin Keller had one catch for 11 yards…the Jets still need help at this position.

Offensive Line – Three plays were called as “sacks,” although two came from members of the secondary which could fall on the running backs and their blitz pick-up. The best news? No injuries.

Defensive Line – Mike DeVito left with an injury but according to Rex Ryan it isn’t that serious. The Jets showed some unique looks on the defensive line, with Shaun Ellis sliding over to nose tackle and Sione Pouha dropping to MLB (no, that wasn’t a error).

Linebacker – Vernon Gholston had an active today, which is a step in the right direction for him. He was around the ball alot and made a handful of tackles. Marques Murrell had a tackle for a loss, Kenwin Cummings had a tackle for a loss, Jamaal Westerman had a sack, Brandon Renkart had a quarterback pressure. Ryan singled out Cummings and David Harris as having particularly strong days.

Secondary – The secondary continued their excellent training camp. Darrelle Revis was lockdown as usual, Lito Sheppard played well and did good in run support. Dwight Lowery had a sack, Drew Coleman had a couple of passes defensed. James Ihedigbo had a sack, Kerry Rhodes had a tackle for a loss. The Jets secondary is going to be very good this season, especially if second-tier players like Ihedigbo, Coleman, and Eric Smith keep playing well.

Tomorrow – The Jets have off and are taking a trip out to the pro football Hall of Fame…however, I won’t take off and will write an article about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp.

Jets Positional Analysis: Wide Receiver

First a few updates:

1. Visits to the site and comments on articles have been up recently, which is good news. I appreciate anybody who takes the time to read my stuff and love responding to comments on the articles, so keep ’em coming.

2. Big transaction for the Jets today, they claimed cornerback Rashad Barksdale off waivers. He was a sixth round pick of the Eagles two years ago and has bounced around a few different teams the past couple of years…hey nobody said, late June updates were going to be exciting.

3. A belated congrats to the U.S. Men’s Soccer team for upsetting Spain 2-0.

Jets Positional Analysis: Wide Receiver

Over the next 6 weeks, I am going to go through all of the Jets positions and assess each player, continuing today withthe wide receivers:

1. Jerricho Cotchery #89, Last Season: 71 Receptions, 858 yards, 5 TD’s

History: Cotchery has been a starter the past three seasons for the Jets. He had a breakout year in 2006, demonstrating a knack for making big plays and showing good run after the catch ability. In 2007, his receptions and yards went up but his touchdowns went way down. Last year, was a mildly disappointing one for Cotchery who couldn’t top the 1,000 yard mark. This year he will be the Jets unquestioned #1 receiver and needs his production level to match that title.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Cotchery develops in a reliable, consistent number one receiver. He is able to handle the double teams thrown his way and increases his reception, yardage, and touchdown total from the previous year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles with the pressure of being a #1 and can’t crack the 1,000 yard mark, and also reverts to his 2007 form of not being able to find the end-zone.

Prediction: Cotchery will have a good, not great season. He is able to handle the increased attention of being a #1 in most games but is quiet in a few. I feel comfortable predicting him for 80 catches, 1150 yards and 6 touchdowns.

2. Chansi Stuckey #83, Last Season: 32 Receptions, 359 yards, 3 TD’s

History: Stuckey was the Jets 7th round pick in 2007 but missed the entire year with a foot injury. He won the #3 position last year in training camp and played well in 2008, taking advantages of his opportunities when thrown the ball. For some reason, he was phased out of the offense down the stretch despite scoring a touchdown in the Jets first three games. However, he did put together two strong late season games against the 49ers and Dolphins.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Stuckey steps up and thrives in the #2 role, making people ask “Laveranues who?”

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: His durability issues flare up or he struggles immensely when asked to play as a split end, instead of his more natural slot position.

Prediction: Stuckey will be the week one starter opposite Cotchery and their second leading wide receiver in 2009. I could see him with 55-60 catches for 700 yards and 4 touchdowns.

3. Brad Smith #16, Last Season: 12 Receptions, 64 Yards, 0 TD’s

History: Smith was a record breaking college quarterback drafted by the Jets in the 4th round in 2006. He has been used primarily in gadget plays and bounced around between QB, WR, and RB despite never completing a NFL pass. He was given extended playing time in 2007 at receiver but struggled with drops. On the whole, Smith was very quiet last year. Every season he seems to get everybody excited in training camp with acrobatic catches but then never translates it over to real games.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: It finally clicks for Smith at wide receiver and he begins utilizing his rare combination of size and speed. He becomes a big play weapon for the Jets and bounces back and forth between their #2 and #3 receiver, depending on the situation.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He can’t make an impact on offense and is reduced to nothing more than a special teams player.

Prediction: I’m not sold on Smith as a receiver. I hope he proves me wrong but I think Stuckey and Clowney will have more of an impact on offense than he will this year. Outside of a few wildcat plays, reverses, and other gadget plays, I don’t think he’ll do much in 2009. Maybe 15 catches and 20 carries.

4. David Clowney #17, Last Season: 1 Reception, 26 yards, 0 TD’s

History: Clowney was a pre-season sensation for the Jets last year. He burst on the scene in their first pre-season game by catching two 70+ yard touchdowns and continued to excel until he broke his collar bone right before the regular season started. Clowney spent most of the season inactive but did make a one-handed grab against Buffalo in week 15 for 26 yards.

Chance of Making Roster: 95%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Clowney is able to stay healthy and become the deep threat the Jets have lacked since Santana Moss.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He continues to struggle with drops (as he did in mini-camp) and can’t get on the field or his durability issues turn up again.

Prediction: I think Clowney will be a big play guy for the Jets. Eventually, he will pass Brad Smith as the #3 receiver on the team and see some action in 2 WR sets when the Jets want to attack deep. This may be wishful thinking for a guy with 1 career NFL catch, but I am going to say 20-25 catches, 350 yards, and 3 touchdowns.

5. Wallace Wright #15, Last Season: Many special teams tackles

History: The Jets special teams ace who had a very good mini-camp at wide receiver. Wright saw some action at receiver in 2007 and did pretty good with it, catching 6 passes for 87 yards so there is some talk he will get on the field again this year with the position wide open after Jerricho Cotchery.

Chance of Making Roster: 95%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Wright keeps being a beast on special teams and finds a way to contribute on offense.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He suddenly forgets how to cover punts and kicks.

Prediction: Wright will continue doing what he does on special teams and fight his way into a few offensive packages.

The Rest of the Guys:

Marcus Henry, #14 – The Jets 2008 sixth round pick. He has good size but you never hear about him making plays in practice. He has an uphill battle against Clowney and Wright for a roster spot because I doubt the Jets will keep 6 active receivers.

Paul Raymond, #2 – The speedster from Brown always seems to be in camp but never sticks on the roster, doubt this year will be any different.

Huey Whittaker, #18 – He has good size and made a few plays in OTAs. He might be guy to keep an eye on.

Britt Davis, #17 – An undrafted rookie from Northern Illinois.

Overall Position Analysis: I feel pretty confident that Cotchery, Stuckey, Smith, Clowney and Wright will be the Jets five active receivers. The real question is who is going to step up as the #2 guy? I think Stuckey will mostly be the guy, but receive a good amount of help from Clowney. I am not as confident in Brad Smith but again, I hope he proves me wrong.