Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. According to Rex Ryan there is a chance that Jerricho Cotchery won’t play on Monday night because of a hamstring injury, which would be a big blow to the Jets passing game. Brad Smith would likely step into the starting line-up, with David Clowney seeing a substantial bump in reps. If the Jets were without Cotchery, the Dolphins would have no problem doubling Braylon Edwards and leaving the inconsistent Smith (3 catches, 22 yards) singled up. Damien Woody didn’t practice today but Ryan sounded optimistic about his chances of playing. Donald Strickland is out. Lito Sheppard will start at corner, with Dwight Lowery sliding into the slot.

2. Make sure you check out Episode V of Turn On The Jets TV tomorrow, in a special Saturday edition. I was going to post it tonight, but I kind of spent 12 hours working on a hellacious mid-term and I am about to collapse after writing this article.

3. How about those Yankees?

4. Apparently Channing Crowder and Rex Ryan squashed the beef at some point this off-season, with Crowder sending Ryan a gift basket. Leon Washington responded to Crowder’s recent trash talk by saying he eats “clam chowder for breakfast”…clever stuff.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: Expect to see the Jets get back to the ground and pound approach this Monday Night, especially if Jerricho Cotchery doesn’t suit up. The Jets may have got a little too comfortable with Mark Sanchez and forget the fact that he is a rookie, they have Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Shonn Greene, and supposedly one of the best offensive lines in the league. Regardless of Miami’s success against the run this season, it is time to give Thomas Jones his 20 carries, Leon his 15 carries, and yes even Shonn Greene his 5 carries.

An element that has been missing from the Jets offense this year is their screen game. We finally saw a successful one last week when they hit Leon Washington for 15 yards, but the Jets need to go back to it more often to all their players. What happened to the old receiver screen to Jerricho Cotchery or Dustin Keller, like we saw week one? Thomas Jones was a big part of the Jets passing game last season, and is yet to get involved so far in 2009. The screen game is a good way to get Mark Sanchez going early and pick up some easy yards against an aggressive Dolphins defense.

When the Jets do decide to go down the field, obviously an active Jerricho Cotchery would be a big plus. If he is in the game, Sanchez will have his pick of single coverage on either him or Braylon Edwards, which is obviously a positive. If Cotchery isn’t in the line-up, David Clowney obviously the speed to make the Dolphins below average secondary pay in single coverage but he is yet to have a single ball thrown his way this season. Brad Smith his a history of dropping passes, which means between him and Edwards, Sanchez might want to pull his hair out by the end of the night.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: I have confidence in Rex Ryan’s ability to stop the wildcat, based on what I saw last season. When the Dolphins are in a traditional set, expect the Jets to have just about everybody in the box. If the Jets can force Miami into third and longs, the Dolphins are in big trouble. I got news for you, Chad Henne isn’t going to have much success with the Jets pass rush, now including Calvin Pace, coming after him and receivers like his matched-up on cornerbacks like ours. I don’t understand people who are saying that Miami matches up well with the Jets, because they don’t have nearly enough talent on offense to move the ball on a defense like the Jets.

The only way the Jets can get in trouble on Monday is if they allow Ronnie Brown to get going. They were only average against the run the past two weeks, and Miami loves to hang around by holding on to the football through their running game. However, I expect the Jets to improve this week because of the return of Calvin Pace and I don’t think they are concerned about being beat through the air by the likes of Chad Henne, Ted Ginn Jr, and Devone Bess. If you can’t already tell from my writing, I am pretty damn confident in our defense against their offense.

Special Teams Breakdown: Hopefully Leon Washington will finally get a chance to return a kick. Is it me or is every kicker the Jets face have a ridiculously strong leg and boot the ball 8 yards into the end-zone? You know he is chomping at the bit. Jim Leonhard has quietly been very good on punt returns this season and Miami has below average special team units, so maybe he can break one. How about Jay Feely turning into one of the most reliable kickers in football? I am sure he will have revenge on his mind this week since the Dolphins cut him….maybe he will have a big hit on kickoff or something, or just do some extra bicep curls this week.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish the running game and slow down the Dolphins running game. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers. Chad Henne is overwhelmed by the Jets pass rush and has a few turnovers. Calvin Pace plays like a mad man who is desperate to make up for 4 weeks in one night. The Jets play with some extra motivation coming off their first loss and jump out to an early lead, forcing Miami to throw more frequently than they like to.

The Jets Will Lose If…Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams keep the chains moving, allowing Chad Henne to simply manage the game. The Jets can’t get their running game going and Mark Sanchez tries to do too much again, leading to some easy points for Miami. Braylon Edwards is quiet in his debut and struggles because Jerricho Cotchery isn’t active.

Funny Video About Cleveland…originally posted over www.thejetsblog.com

Jets vs. Dolphins: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. Lito Sheppard has been on the practice field the past two days and is expected to start this Monday night. Damien Woody remains questionable with an ankle injury and didn’t practice today. Wayne Hunter would start in his place. Donald Stickland hasn’t been practicing and isn’t expected to play, which means Dwight Lowery would slide into the nickel role.

2. Braylon Edwards was out on the practice field and has been making good progress with the offense according to Rex Ryan. He will be in the starting line-up this Monday night.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Dolphins game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

Bart Scott/David Harris/Calvin Pace/Bryan Thomas vs. Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams: The Jets linebackers need to swarm the Dolphins two talented running backs, especially Brown who is playing as well as anybody back in the league right now. He has been particularly dangerous in the wildcat formation and has allowed the Dolphins to control the clock, and protect the inexperienced Chad Henne last week. The Jets need to stop the run early and on first/second down force Henne into third and long situations. Miami simply doesn’t have the personnel to convert third and longs or consistently move the ball through their passing attack. The Jets linebackers must get to Brown and prevent him from having another 100 yard effort. As a whole, the unit needs to tackle better than they did against New Orleans. The return of Calvin Pace should be a big boost in the both pass and run defense.

Rex Ryan vs. The Wildcat: In two games against the Dolphins last year, Ryan’s defense allowed only 22 points, held Ronnie Brown to 46 rushing yards, and forced 6 turnovers. If Ryan can continue to outscheme the wildcat, the Dolphins will have no way to move the football. Let’s be real here, you think Chad Henne can drop back and pick apart the Jets defense with targets like Ted Ginn Jr, Devone Bess, and Greg Camarillo in a conventional offense? Absolutely not. The only way the Dolphins will be able to move the ball is on the ground, where a good amount of their production comes from the Wildcat. I think Ryan has been all over his defense about stopping run the this week, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see 8 guys in the box frequently this Monday night.

Mark Sanchez vs. Last Week’s Performance: All eyes will be on how Mark Sanchez responds to his first ugly NFL performance. Expect the Jets to focus on running ball and have a relatively conservative game plan this week. Regardless, there will be times when Sanchez has to make plays down the field and he needs to step up as he did during the first three weeks of the season. The most important thing is that he must protect the football. He needs to get through a game without having a fumble or interception.

Thomas Jones vs. Dolphins Run Defense: There has been alot talk about Braylon Edwards opening up space for Thomas Jones, who has struggled so far this season. Miami has one of the league’s best run defenses, so it would show something if Jones can get back on track. All of the Jets running backs and offensive line need to step up so the Jets can return to the “ground and pound” approach Ryan desires. It will be interesting to see how many reps Shonn Greene gets this week, and also if Leon Washington will get more than the four carries he got last week.

Nice to finally have a Jets player with a fantasy files commercial

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets actually jumped up a spot to number 5 in ESPN’s Power Rankings despite their 14 point loss to the Saints. Their defense made a strong statement to the rest of the league that they are one of the elite groups in the NFL, regardless the offense has something to prove these next few weeks.

2. The trash talking has begun this week, courtesy of Dolphins linebacker Akin Ayodele discussing the Rex Ryan/Channing Crowder feud in the off-season, “Their head coach really blew the fire even more this offseason with Channing and both of them going back and forth. How does a head coach, why would you even try and go with words, you know battle with a player. That to me doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the animosity is there, the hatred is there. You know there’s no love, It will feel great once we put that whooping on them”.

3. MLB Playoff Predictions? Twins over the Tigers tonight. Yankees over the Twins. Red Sox over the Angels. Dodgers over the Cardinals. Phillies over the Rockies.

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

Wrapping Up Jets/Saints

Defensive Player of the Game: Darrelle Revis – Another lockdown effort by the Jets corner, who held Marques Colston without a reception when he covered him. On the day, Revis only allowed one reception for 14 yards to Devery Henderson and also collected three passes defensed along with doing a strong job in run support.

Offensive Player of the Game: Shonn Greene – Why Shonn Greene who only had 4 carries for 23 yards? The reason is because his production provided some extra motivation for Thomas Jones who started out with 6 carries for 12 yards, and then after Greene took a series from him, came back with 8 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Greene will be healthy for this week and provide another weapon for the Jets rushing attack and keep Jones on his toes.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for having another strong game…Alan Faneca for some superb run blocking…Bryan Thomas for a productive, all-around game…Dwight Lowery for holding his own as the Jets starting corner the past two weeks…David Harris for racking up 12 tackles…Kerry Rhodes for piling up 8 tackles and a key pass defense.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots scored a big victory over the undefeated Baltimore Ravens at home. They were aided by a few ridiculous roughing the passer penalties and a key drop by Mark Clayton on the Ravens final drive, but a win is a win. Also, Tom Brady appears to be looking like his normal self again. New England has another tough task this week, as they travel to Denver to face the undefeated Broncos.

Buffalo Bills – Yuck, what an embarrassing performance by the Bills in Miami who appear to be quitting on their coach. The Dolphins ran all over them and Trent Edwards and the rest of the Bills offense looked awful. The good news? They get to face Eric Mangini and the Browns this weekend.

Miami Dolphins – They got their first win of the season over Buffalo, who didn’t put up much of a fight. The Dolphins continued to run the ball successfully but let’s see what happens when a team stops the run and Chad Henne has to complete some passes for them to move the football.

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They will roll over Oakland this weekend and head to New Orleans at 5-0.
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Their offense is scary good right now, even without Anthony Gonzalez.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Big play defense to match their big play offense.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – Let’s see how Favre holds up into November/December.
  5. Denver Broncos – Their defense is legit…chance to make statement against NE this weekend.

TOJ Bottom Five

  1. Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell is terrible.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – They showed some fight in the 2nd half against Giants but lack talent to compete.
  3. Tampa Bay Bucs – Josh Johnson at least let them be competitive on Sunday.
  4. Cleveland Browns – Good effort against the Bengals.
  5. St. Louis Rams – Wow…I think losing by less than 20 is a victory for them.

Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

The Opponent: Last year’s Cinderella story got a healthy dose of reality the first three weeks of the season with losses to the Falcons, Colts, and Chargers. They did respond with an impressive win over the hapless Bills last week, to move their record to 1-3. Chad Henne will be making his second career start against the Jets (Rex Ryan is salivating more than he does over a fresh pie of pizza). Miami relies on their rushing attack led by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Regardless, their gimmick based offense didn’t work in playoffs against Ryan last year and the Jets defense is better than any unit they faced this season. Miami had plenty to say about Ryan and the Jets this off-season, so let’s see if they can back their words up or if they are in over their head against an opponent with more talent.

Miami Dolphins Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarerback: Chad Henne – 24/41, 207 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 72 carries, 369 yards, 4 TD’s
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 50 carries, 248 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Running Back: Patrick Cobbs – 5 carries, 37 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Ted Ginn Jr – 14 receptions, 138 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Devone Bess – 20 receptions, 157 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Camarillo – 11 receptions, 86 yards
  • Wide Receiver; Brian Hartline – 6 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasasno – 4 receptions, 18 yards
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Justin Smiley
  • Center: Jake Grove
  • Right Guard: Donald Thomas
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Ferguson – 6 tackles
  • Defensive End: Randy Starks – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Phillip Merling – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter – 6 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Channing Crowder – 14 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Akin Ayodele – 16 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Jason Taylor – 8 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 6 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Corner: Will Allen – 16 tackles, 2 INT’s – 6 tackles
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 7 tackles
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 3 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 28 tackles
  • Safety: Gibril Wilson – 17 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter
  • Punter: Brandon Fields
  • Kick Returner: Patrick Cobbs
  • Punt Returner; Devone Bess

Key Players: Ronnie Brown is their most dangerous player on offense, especially out of the Wildcat formation. Devone Bess and Greg Camarillo are decent possession receivers. Tedd Ginn Jr has big play capability. On defense, they have a variety of pass rushers including Joey Porter, jason Taylor, and Cameron Wake.

Injuries: Joey Porter is recovering from an injury and missed last week. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland have missed the past two weeks, but should be back. Damien Woody has a bad ankle but is expected to play.

Early Story Lines: Channing Crowder vs Rex Ryan…Mark Sanchez bouncing back from his first bad game…Jets/Dolphins rivalry…How the Jets respond to their first loss of the season…Calvin Pace returns from his suspension.

Dolphins/Bills Highlights

Where to Begin? Recapping an Active Week of Jets Football

I’m back from vacation and finally finished going through the massive amounts of Jets stories/happenings from the past eight days. I was able to follow what was going on in Vegas to an extent but I was beilacked out from any type of updates in Mexico. Fortunately, there was no shortage of information or sources to read through all day today about everything that has been going on in the world of the Jets, here’s my extended reaction and opinions in an attempt to catch up, followed with regular, daily updates for the rest of the year starting with coverage of practice tomorrow:

First a few vacation thoughts:

1. It was my first time in Vegas and it met and exceeded expectations. I was lucky enough to actually win some money, thanks in part to hitting on Leon Washington’s #29 on the roulette tab.

2. American Airlines? Can you give me something to eat? A five hour flight from Dallas (we had a stopover) to Jersey and nothing more than some ginger ale…give me a break. I almost stormed first class in search of a sandwich but figured the risk outweighed the reward.

3. Cabo is one hell of a place…really beautiful. Obviously, I will let you know if I get the swine flu but from my perspective there was absolutely no danger in traveling there.

Back to the trash-talking, swaggalicious Jets:

1. Who isn’t excited about AFC East football this year? There is no need to repeat all of the quotes that have been thrown around by Rex Ryan, Channing Chowder, Kerry Rhodes, Joey Porter…etc but the trash-talk is flowing in full force already in June. I think Ryan’s quote about “not kissing Bellicheck’s rings” is music to Jets fans/players ears. I also don’t think there is anything disrespectful about what Ryan said. You can’t be standing around in awe of New England’s past success and expect to beat them out in the AFC East. The Jets need to be aggressive and hit the Patriots in the mouth to show they aren’t going to back down from them. I don’t care about regular season records, neither of them made the playoffs last year and they split their regular season games, there is no reason the Jets shouldn’t expect to beat the Patriots at home in week 2 this year.

I think it is comedic how concerned the Dolphins are about what analysts are saying about their team in June. They should enjoy flying under the radar and let all the pressure be on the other AFC East teams and then worry about sneaking up on everybody again. What do they care if Vegas sports books are picking them to win 8 games this year? The whole Channing Crowder/Rex Ryan exchange is a little more light-hearted than people are making it out to be. Of course now that I said that, watch the two of them rumble at the 50 yard line before the Jets/Fins Monday Night game.

Crowder also came after Mark Sanchez and Kerry Rhodes. His comments on Sanchez basically claimed he was soft because of his photo spread and that Chad Pennington/Chad Henne were tougher because they wouldn’t do that stuff. All I know is that if Sanchez isn’t throwing 4 INT’s in a playoff game like Pennington or riding the bench like Henne, he can take all the pictures in GQ he wants. Obviously, he needs to produce this year to silent critics of his photo shoot and critics in general.

Crowder went below the belt by saying Rhodes should worry about his off the field problems. Rhodes isn’t a suspect in any criminal investigation and never called out Crowder by name. All Rhodes did was post on twitter his belief that the Jets would have the best defense in the league. I love the confidence of the group and the support he received from other players and Ryan who backed him up, but still you need to show it on the field first before saying you are the best overall in the league.

Regardless, how different is this team from Eric Mangini’s group of robots from last year? I love the new confidence/emotion/swagger but it remains to be seen if it will lead to an improvement from 2008. I would take a group of 11-5 robots over a 7-9 group of trash-talking, emotional players. As of right now though, I agree with Kris Jenkins…hiring Ryan was an even better decision than building their new state of the art facility.

2. Mark Sanchez signed his contract today, which is for 5 years and about 50 million dollars making him the highest paid player in Jets history…pressure, anyone? It is great that the Jets wrapped this up long before training camp, which will allow Sanchez the best possible opportunity to win the starting job and excel in Brian Schottenheimer’s offense.

Turning the focus to on the field, Sanchez has been making steady progress and has flashed better than expected arm strength. The general consensus is that quarterback battle has been about even so far, with Kellen Clemens probably having a slight edge. However, you still have the feeling that inevitably Sanchez is going to keep improving and lock down the starting job by week one.

3. Leon Washington spoke to the media and made it clear that he wants a “fair market value” deal. He showed up for the last week of voluntary workouts as a goodwill gesture but no deal appears imminent. Can we please give this guy his money? He is too valuable to the Jets offense and special teams to be missing any parts of training camp. Thomas Jones still isn’t talking to the media and there are rumors circulating that the Jets may look to trade him this summer. I know they like Shonn Greene, but why trade away a pro-bowl running back when you are going to be starting an inexperienced quarterback? The Jets need to find some way to placate Jones for this season so Green has a year to learn behind him and carry a lighter workload. In 2010, I’d feel much better about Green/Washington backfield than I would in 2009.

4. Chansi Stuckey seems to be creating some space in the battle to start opposite Jerricho Cotchery. Stuckey is the most accomplished guy in the competition, runs fluid routes, and has great hands. He is probably better suited to be in the slot as a #3 guy but if he is the best guy, he deserves to start. Wallace Wright has been flashing a little bit on offense and did show some potential in 2007. Over at tight end, Dustin Keller has had a strong May/June and even drew a compliment from Bart Scott, who said he could be a top 5 receiving tight end in the league. Kareem Brown is also making strides in his transition from defensive end to tight end. Also, if you asked me if I would want Plaxico Burress for 12 games this year…the answer would definitely be yes.

5. On defense, Eric Smith pulled in 3 interceptions the other day and has played well in OTAs. He provides good depth behind Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard. Inside linebacker Jamaal Westerman continues to be a favorite of Ryan, who can’t stop raving about him. Ahmad Carroll has also continued his strong play at cornerback and could see some time on defense this year.

6. The Jets cut punter Eric Wilbur and re-signed Reggie Hodges…thrilling stuff in the punting battle. They also signed LB Craig Kobel and cut LB Nate Harris and DL Brian Schafering.

Tomorrow: Coverage of Thursday’s OTA and more reaction to AFC East trash talking.