Time To Step Up: Jamaal Westerman

 

Rex Ryan always has a few interesting things to say about his line-up during training camp press conferences. Today was no exception, as he revealed:

  • Muhammad Wilkerson will start at defensive end from day one, which we will get into a little more in a separate article.
  • The kick return and punt return jobs are both wide open with Jeremy Kerley, Kyle Wilson, and Joe McKnight all expected to compete. Antonio Cromartie could also be used in late game situations on kick return.
  • And finally, when talking about linebacker Jamaal Westerman, he said the following – “It’s time to unleash him. I see Westerman as a DPR: Designated Pass Rusher.”

Westerman will now be entering his third year with the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers University. He impressed in his first year with his versatility of being able to line-up at defensive end, outside linebacker, and inside linebacker. He recorded a sack in his first professional game against the Houston Texans and finished his rookie campaign playing in 14 games, ending up with 10 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries. Last season, with Jason Taylor on the roster and due to some injuries, Westerman only played in 6 games and recorded 7 tackles.

Unfortunately, his most memorable play from last year was a roughing the punter penalty against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.

At the moment, it doesn’t look like the Jets are going to add a veteran linebacker which means Westerman will be the top backup to Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, along with be featured as a pass rusher in multiple packages. Is Rex Ryan expecting too much from Westerman, a player with 1 career sack or he is right to gamble on giving a young  player with potential a bigger role?

Westerman is one of the handful of players who need to improve substantially from last year if the Jets are going to remain a Super Bowl contender. You can include Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, and Wayne Hunter in that category of players who can compensate for the Jets technically not looking as good on paper as last year, by stepping up.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #11

As reliable as Chad Henne throwing an interception in a big game, the 12 pack is back with another edition. A friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. For today’s 12 pack we are going to count down the 10 most important players to the Jets getting over the hump and making it to the Super Bowl in 2011, along posting some links and our usual weekend video clips —

Ten Most Important Jets In 2011 –

10. Santonio Holmes – Everything we have heard this off-season indicates that he will be back with the team and that he is now their top priority after taking care of David Harris. Holmes needs to be the number one receiver the Jets are going to sign him to be on a consistent basis.

9. Jim  Leonhard – The Jets defense needs a healthy Leonhard quarterbacking the secondary, especially with the spot opposite him a major question mark with Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo all free agents.

8. Calvin Pace – Regardless of who the Jets draft this year, Pace will be their top pass rusher entering the season. The Jets need a full 16 game season out of him, where he finally reaches double digit in sacks, which he should be more than capable of in this system with his skill set.

7. Dustin Keller – Based on the assumption that Braylon Edwards won’t be back, Keller will need to take on a bigger role in the offense and become the team’s primary red-zone threat because of his size. Even if Edwards returns, Keller needs to keep growing and become a reliable outlet for Mark Sanchez.

6. Kyle Wilson – Based on the assumption that Antonio Cromartie won’t return despite TOJ writing 1200 articles this off-season begging for the Jets to re-sign him. Wilson needs to be able to handle the daunting task of being the corner opposite Revis Island, along with stepping up in the return game on both punts and kicks. Even if Cromartie returns, Wilson needs to improve as a nickel back and be better on returns.

5. Vladimir Ducasse/Wayne Hunter – One of the two of them needs to step into the right tackle spot to fill in for the recently released Damien Woody. The Jets offensive line has been a major strength the past few years and they can’t afford a major drop off because of one player being released. The coaching staff will obviously be pulling for Ducasse, last year’s second round pick, to seize the job. However, if he isn’t up to the task, Hunter must be more consistent than he was last season when he stepped in for an injured Woody.

4. Nick Mangold/D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Brandon Moore – Don’t ever forget how much of the Jets success the past couple of years is from having such a solid, consistent center, tackle, guard combination.

3. Shonn Greene – The Jets need a lead back who can carry the load on a weekly basis and this is Greene’s year to show he is that guy. 2010 was a disappointing season for the second year back, who got off to a slow start and never became the workhorse he showed he had the potential to be during the 2009 playoff run. Greene has the physical ability to be a 1200-1400 yard back, but can he stay healthy and consistent enough to achieve those numbers?

2. Darrelle Revis – The Jets aggressive defense is predicated on their corners being able to shut down receivers in single coverage. Darrelle Revis needs to stay healthy and play at the level he did in 2009 and the second half of 2010, especially with the uncertainty at the spot opposite him.

1. Mark Sanchez – Was there any question? It always starts and ends with the quarterback. Similar to how Sanchez took a step forward in 2010, the Jets need him to do the same thing this year. He will given more responsibility on offense and likely be asked to throw more than he has in previous years. Sanchez needs to get his completion percentage closer to 60 and should able to get near 4,000 yards passing next season, while keeping his interception total in the 10-13 range.

Weekend Links

– Keep up with your Gunaxin reading with a suggestion of things certain NFL players should be doing during the lockout and the John Madden Scale of Rating Women. 

– Good read on lockout frustration.

– Joe Namath coming to HBO.

Weekend Video Clips – Rex Sox are 0-6, so laugh at Boston edition

Assessing Jets Needs Heading Into Draft

A quick run down as we are now less than a month away —

1. Defensive Line – If the season started today, the Jets would be starting Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, and Marcus Dixon up front with Ropati Pitoitua and Matt Kroul as the top backups…enough said. They need another player or two here and will likely spend their first round pick on the defensive line unless an outside linebacker jumps off the board. The Jets should also work to bring back Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce to improve their depth and to mentor the rookies brought in.

2. Outside Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their pass rush and in the 3-4 that means having outside linebackers who can get after the quarterback. Bryan Thomas is a solid, consistent all-around player but the Jets need more speed and athleticism off the edge to compliment Calvin Pace.

3. Secondary – The Jets could still use a play-making safety to pair with Jim Leonhard. Kerry Rhodes was a bust in Rex Ryan’s first year and the Eric Smith/Brodney Pool platoon from last year could stand to be improved. If Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, the Jets may also need to look at the corner position due to Kyle Wilson’s struggles last year.

4. Wide Receiver – This is under the assumption that either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes isn’t on the team next year. The offense could use a player with some upside to develop behind Jerricho Cotchery.

5. Backup quarterback – They need a long term answer to the question of who will be Mark Sanchez’s backup, especially since he has had more than one injury issue in his brief NFL career.

6. Offensive Line Depth – With either Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse moving into the starting line-up to replace Damien Woody and Robert Turner’s status uncertain for next year, the Jets could use another lineman who is versatile between the tackle and guard spots to provide depth.

Turn On The Jets 2010/2011 Report Cards – Calvin Pace

Today we start our series of evaluating how each player on the Jets performed this past season, along with looking forward to what their role on the team will be next year…up first, outside linebacker Calvin Pace –

Stat Line – 51 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 3 PDs, 1 INT, 1 FF, missed 4 games due to a foot injury

Playoff Stat Line – 10 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF

Best Moment – His bone crushing strip sack of Tom Brady in the Jets divisional round playoff victory over the New England Patriots, which landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Fast forward to 4:18 to see the play…

Best Game – He didn’t have one that jumped off the page, but did finish with 7 tackles and a sack against both Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Overall Evaluation – It is hard not to be somewhat disappointed with the production from Pace this past year. For the second straight season, he missed 4 games and he had 2.5 less sacks than he did in 2009. There was also a fairly substantial drop off in the number of big plays he caused. The most encouraging thing about his season was that he recorded a sack in each of the Jets three playoff games. Pace remains the Jets best overall pass rusher, which is less of compliment towards him and more of a statement on how desperately they need to add one. He is a very good all-around football player but shouldn’t be relied on as your number one option to get after the quarterback. (B-)

Future: Pace isn’t going anywhere any time soon considering the monster deal he signed before the 2008 season. It would be nice to see him play 16 games this year and when healthy he will remain a key part of the Jets defense for the foreseeable future. Look for the team to attempt to upgrade the outside linebacker spot opposite him, which could help boost his production.

Duck Eli!

Continue the conversation on Facebook and Twitter

A Formula For Jets Playoff Success

Photobucket

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jets vs. Bengals: 12 Pack Of Predictions

Photobucket

A very special Thanksgiving edition of the 12 pack…

1. Enough is enough. The Jets are going to break through and finally intercept a couple of passes. I know I have said this in previous weeks, but c’mon now this is Carson Palmer we are talking about. It time for 2-3 interceptions in a single game by this secondary.

2. Inactive list – Jerricho Cotchery, Dwight Lowery, Marquice Cole, Damien Woody, Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Clemens, Marcus Dixon, Jamaal Westerman

3. Terrell Owens will have less than 35 yards receiving…and still run his mouth after the game.

4. The Jets will try to re-establish Shonn Greene’s confidence early and for the third week in a row he will finish with more carries than LaDainian Tomlinson. Greene will also score his second touchdown of the season.

5. Dustin Keller is way overdue for a touchdown. He hasn’t scored since week 4. This is the week he gets touchdown number six.

6. Mark Sanchez won’t throw for 300 yards but he will add another 2 touchdowns to his season total without producing any turnovers.

7. The Jets will spend plenty of time in their “Tiger” formation which gashed the Bengals last regular season. Brad Smith will have at least 45 total offensive yards and a big kick return.

8. Calvin Pace will record a multiple sack game and provide some hope for the Jets pass rush moving forward into December.

9. LaDainian Tomlinson will have at least 5 more receptions to add to his team leading total. Braylon Edwards will also have a big game, as Cincinnati has nobody to match-up on him since they will likely put Leon Hall on Santonio Holmes and Jonathan Joseph is hurt.

10. Chad Ochcocinco will unfortunately score a touchdown. Fortunately, it will likely be in garbage time since the Bengals spend most of their season in garbage time.

11. The Jets are getting a comfortable 30-14 win. That being said, considering the way this season is going they will probably go up 30-14, fall behind 31-30 with 8 seconds left and then complete a 90 touchdown to Patrick Turner or something like that to win.

12. Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers, followers, commenters, and anybody else who takes the time to stopt by the site, facebook page, or twitter account…you could be anywhere in the world, but you’re here with me…and I appreciate that.

Week 12 Picks (Lines From BetUS)

  • Lions (+8.5) vs. Patriots
  • Saints (-4.5) vs. Cowboys
  • Jets (-9) vs. Bengals
  • Vikings (+1) vs. Redskins
  • Bills (+8) vs. Steelers
  • Jags (+7) vs. Giants
  • Bucs (+7.5) vs. Ravens
  • Eagles (-4.5) vs. Bears
  • Falcons (-1) vs. Packers
  • Chiefs (-2.5) vs. Seahawks
  • Broncos (-4) vs. Rams
  • Chargers (+3) vs. Colts
  • I refuse to pick the MNF Game because it is so terrible the NFC West should never be featured in prime-time.

Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)

Thanksgiving Antipasto: Assorted Thoughts On Jets

Photobucket 

Yes, it is a cheesy name for the article but c’mon now, who doesn’t love a good antipasto? You can bet I do and I will be shoveling it down my gullet tomorrow as I root for the Lions to upset the Patriots. Anyway, here are some assorted Jets thoughts for you before our usual 12 pack of predictions on Thanksgiving day tomorrow:

– You have to just laugh at Terrell Owens, who finds a way to insult other players around the league on a weekly basis. This week it was calling Darrelle Revis an “average” corner and saying Ben Roethlisberger was “soft” on his and Ochocinco’s weekly TV show. It is truly comical to watch a player on arguably the worst team in football (okay, fine that is Carolina but the Bengals are close) still run his mouth. In terms of Revis, we all saw how he embarrassed Owens last year and basically forced him to quit in both games. I expect nothing less tomorrow night.

– Are the Jets ever going to get an interception again? They are going on five games strong now without one. Considering they are playing Carson Palmer this week, I think this would be a good week to end the slump.

– We were all excited about the Santonio Holmes addition but I don’t think anybody could have anticipated just how good he has been. I love the way Braylon Edwards has played this year but if it comes down to choosing one in the off-season, it has to be Holmes who brings a dynamic to the Jets offense that has rarely existed in their franchise history. Hopefully, something can be worked out for both players but unless Edwards is willing to take a little less to stay in New York, it probably won’t.

– Why has the Jets defense been disappointing in 2010? Some ideas…

  • New additions Jason Taylor and Brodney Pool have been average and made a minimal amount of impact plays.
  • The already questionable defensive line depth took a major hit with season ending injuries to Kris Jenkins and Ropati Pitoitua.
  • Calvin Pace missed 4 games due to a foot injury and hasn’t looked himself since returning.
  • Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard have consistently been exposed as liabilities in pass coverage.
  • Rookie Kyle Wilson hasn’t been anywhere near the contributor to this point that everybody around the team expected.
  • Teams have poured over the film from last year and are no longer surprised by the Jets exotic blitz packages and that is on Rex Ryan to find a counter.

– It is awfully hard not to look ahead to the Monday night showdown in New England for first place, isn’t it?

Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)

Jets vs. Browns: 12 Pack of Predictions

Photobucket

Nothing better or more refreshing than a 12 pack from TOJ to start off your weekend

1. I like the under (38) in this game. It is going to be a physical, defensive struggle in which I think the first team to 20 is going to win. Both units with be throwing a myriad of confusing looks at the opponent’s young quarterbacks who will need time to adjust.

2. It is All-Disappointment week for the Jets, with Vernon Gholston likely starting, Kyle Wilson moving back into the nickel role, and Joe McKnight being active for the first time since week 4. I predict Gholston won’t be getting his first NFL sack, Wilson will show some improvements from earlier in the year, and McKnight will actually get an offensive touch that isn’t in garbage time.

3. Inactive list – Marquice Cole, Kellen Clemens, Jarron Gilbert, Marcus Dixon, Josh Mauga, Vladimir Ducasse, Jeff Cumberland, Jamaal Westerman.

4. This is the week it finally happens…Shonn Greene gets more carries than LaDainian Tomlinson and starts to look like the Jets #1 back.

5. Braylon Edwards is going to have his first 100 yard game of the season and get in the end-zone. Get ready for the Dougie, Dawg Pound.

6. The Browns will pull at least one trick play on offense and one trick play on special teams. Mangini will be dumping out the playbook to upset his former team.

7. Mark Sanchez and Colt McCoy will both turn the ball over, whichever team takes bigger advantage of the opposing quarterback’s mistakes will go a long to deciding the outcome.

8. I think there will be a Calvin Pace sighting this week. He is too good of a player to be quiet this many weeks in a row. Jason Taylor? I think he might be moving into being a major disappointment this year.

9. Jerricho Cotchery is going to play less than 30 reps this week, as his demotion into the #3 receiver role is fully cemented.

10. Peyton Hillis is going to run for less than 100 yards. I got faith in Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott, and David Harris to keep doing what they’ve been doing all season.

11. Abram Elam is giving up a big play in the passing game…because, he is Abram Elam after all.

12. I like the Jets in an ugly, sloppy game that won’t quiet any questions about when they are going to finally put it all together. I am taking them 16-13.

Week 10 Picks (Lines Courtesy of BetUS)

  • Peyton Manning (-7) vs. Bengals
  • Jaguars (PK) vs. Texans
  • Titans (-3) vs. Dolphins
  • Vikings (-2.5) vs. Bears
  • Bills (-3) vs. Lions
  • Bucs (-7) vs. Panthers
  • Chiefs (-2.5) vs. Broncos
  • Rams (+5) vs. 49ers
  • Cardinals (-3.5) vs. Seahawks
  • Giants (-13.5) vs. Cowboys
  • Steelers (-4) vs. Patriots
  • Eagles (-3.5) vs. Redskins

TOJ Mid-Season Awards

Photobucket

Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)

Here we are half way through the 2010 regular season already. The Jets sit at 6-2 and are on pace for the 12-4 record that many predicted for them. It hasn’t always been pretty but overall it is hard to complain at this point. Out of the final 8 games, only 3 are against teams who are currently under .500, so the Jets still have plenty of work to do. However, here is what our awards are looking like heading into week 10 –

Offense

MVP – Mark Sanchez – Yes, you can make a strong case for LaDainian Tomlinson but I am going with our quarterback who has taken major strides in the right direction so far in year two. At this time last year, the Jets were 4-4 and Sanchez had 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, currently the Jets are 6-2 and he has 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Beyond that, he has led the team to two late comeback victories, something he never did in 2009.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – LaDainian Tomlinson – I predicted before the season that Tomlinson would only have 900-1,000 yards of total offense for the Jets and be a clear cut #2 to Shonn Greene…whoops. Tomlinson already has 790 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns, and is clearly the Jets #1 back. However, he has slowed the previous few weeks and I still believe Greene needs a bigger role in the offense.

C’mon Man – Shonn Greene, Jerricho Cotchery, Brian Schottenheimer – Shonn Greene got off to a slow start but has looked better as of late. Yet, he still isn’t being given enough touches by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who has been inconsistent at best with his playcalling this year and downright infuriating at worst. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team in drops and really who could have saw that coming. He is also only averaging 10.5 yards per catch, en route to a weak 272 receiving yards.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Braylon Edwards- I did predict Braylon Edwards would lead the team in receiving yards and put together a better than expected year and so far he is making me look good with a team leading 453 yards, along with 5 touchdowns.

Pleasant Surprise – Matt Slauson – Slauson has been very good so far at left guard and made sure none of us miss Alan Faneca all that much.

Pro-Bowl CaliberBrandon Moore, Dustin Keller (447 yards, 5 TD’s), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold are all putting together excellent years so far.

Getting The Job Done – Ben Hartsock and Tony Richardson aren’t pro-bowl caliber but they are getting the job done also at their respective positions. Brad Smith remains a valuable, versatile weapon for the Jets.

Defense

PhotobucketMVP – David Harris – Most people have been saying Antonio Cromartie, but I am going with the Jets middle linebacker who never gets any respect. Harris has been rock solid in the middle and is a huge part of why the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss, along with recording a sack and having 2 passes defensed.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – Brodney Pool – I spent plenty of time in the off-season hyping up Pool as quietly being the Jets best addition this off-season…um, what? After missing week one, Pool has been average at best for the Jets alongside Jim Leonhard at safety. So far through 8 games he has recorded 19 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 1 INT.

C’mon Man – Jim Leonhard, Jason Taylor, Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson – I know the Island is back now but you can’t let him off the hook for contributing nothing the first 6 weeks of the season. Jim Leonhard has been a liability in pass coverage and hasn’t made any impact plays yet. Jason Taylor had a pretty good start but has been invisible the past few weeks. Kyle Wilson apparently doesn’t know how to find the football in the air or when to turn around, which isn’t good for a first round draft pick. He doesn’t even play on defense anymore, as the immortal Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery jumped him on the depth chart.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Sione Pouha – I have always loved the big fella and he is putting together a great all-around season. He is 4th on the team with 32 tackles, recorded a sack, and somehow has 3 passes defensed.

Pleasant Surprise – Mike DeVito – DeVito has shown that without question he is capable of being a full time starting defensive end. He has also racked up 32 tackles, along with 3 tackles for a loss and is a huge reason the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed.

Pro-Bowl Caliber – David Harris and Antonio Cromartie have both played at a Pro-Bowl level to this point of the season, although Cromartie’s lack of big plays could keep him from getting the national respect.

Getting The Job Done – I don’t know if he will ever be a pro-bowler but Pouha has been terrific this year. Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas have been steady as usual. Dwight Lowery has been good in his role so far in 2010.

Special Teams

Just a paragraph to offer high praise to this entire unit. Nick Folk has been unbelievably consistent this year, especially considering how he played in 2009. Steve Weatheford, fake punt aside, has been booming the football and great at pinning teams inside their 20. Brad Smith has developed into a quality kick returner. Eric Smith, Lance Laury, and Marquice Cole have led the way on the coverage units.

First Half Highlights