New York Jets: Smith, Moss, Ocho, or Plax?

One of the ongoing themes of the off-season…or whatever you want to call the endless cycle of appeals, stays, and mediation, has been the New York Jets being linked to any big name receiver who could potentially be available. Most people are under the assumption that either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards won’t return next year, which is likely correct. Brad Smith is also likely to leave for more money and a bigger role on offense somewhere else. The Jets did add two potential slot receivers in the draft by selecting Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight but could use another free agent if Edwards or Holmes leaves along with Smith. If the Jets had to add one of these big name players at the receiver position, who would you prefer to see them sign?

Randy Moss

  • Plays when he wants to play
  • Two different teams got rid of him last year and he looked done in Tennessee
  • Still a vertical threat and was good enough to beat both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie deep for touchdowns last year
  • He isn’t going to bring much over the middle or with his blocking.
  • Can probably get him on a cheap one or two year deal.

Chad Ochocinco

  • Very entertaining on Twitter
  • Basically got himself kicked out of Cincinnati
  • Coming off one of his least productive seasons
  • Vertical threat who is more consistently passionate about the game than Moss.
  • Jets would have to trade for him and he wouldn’t come as cheap as Moss or Burress.

Plaxico Burress

  • He hasn’t played a snap in two full seasons while sitting in jail and is going to be 34 years old
  • Should be able to be signed on a relatively cheap, short-term deal
  • Excellent size and red-zone presence

Steve Smith

  • Jets would have to trade for him and he would be the most costly out of any of these receivers
  • Just turned 32 years old and is coming off a down season (although much of that blame could go to Jimmy Clausen)
  • Passionate player but does have history of erratic (and violent) behavoir towards teammates

Jets vs. Bengals Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris did practice today, although he was limited. However, from all reports he looked pretty good and should start at linebacker on Saturday. Donald Strickland was the only other player who was limited in practice and he could be a game-time decision. Steve Weatherford (who complimented my prediction skills on facebook) was practicing full and should be 100 percent for Saturday.

2. It is looking like somewhere between 10-20 degrees with a chance of flurries on Saturday at 4:30 PM…you are a long way from USC Mark Sanchez.

3. Rex Ryan continued to argue for Darrelle Revis as the Defensive Player of the Year today…you focus on the Bengals, Rex…I am going to argue for Darrelle’s cause a little later in the day.

4. Stop by (www.greenrewind.com) to check out Marty Schupak’s latest podcast, which features an appearance by yours truly along with plenty of other Jets writers/bloggers. Also check out the Fantasy Buffet radio show at (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fanball/2009/12/21/fantasy-buffet) where I will be making an appearance tomorrow around 11 AM.

5. Don’t forget to friend me on facebook and then become a fan of the Turn On The Jets page to find extra commentary, links to other Jets article, along with all the stuff you could here on this site.

6. A new episode of TOJ TV has been filmed and should be posted tomorrow afternoon or maybe even tonight if I decide to avoid being lazy.

Jets vs. Bengals Game Breakdown

Offense: The playoffs is not the time for the Jets to abandon what got them there. It is time to run the football. I have to give Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan credit for their creativity with the Jets rushing attack. Teams know the Jets are going to run the ball and try to keep it out of Sanchez’s hands but they have still found a way to get the job done. Expect to see plenty of Wayne Hunter and Robert Turner off the bench, which means the Jets are going to have seven lineman in the game and are basically saying “we are running the ball, we know you know it but you can’t stop it.” You can bet on Thomas Jones getting his 20-25 carries and Shonn Greene adding on another 12-15.

The key for the Jets running game is going to be setting up third and short for Mark Sanchez, where the Jets have a reasonable option to both run and pass. One of the Jets favorite plays in a 3rd and 3 type situation is putting Jerricho Cotchery in the slot, bringing him in motion over the center and then sprinting him back out towards the slot, having Sanchez roll out and throw a quick 3 yard out to him, if you fast forward to 6:44 in this clip below, you will see a variation of this play. I don’t have the exact numbers on this play but by my count the Jets are about 10 for 10 on this play this year (they also ran it with Keller as the 2 point conversion vs the Colts, as you could see in the other clip below at the 2:46 mark and with Edwards against Jacksonville as you could see in the clip below that at the 2:59 mark). The point is that, they need to put themselves in situations where they could run this play and other ones they are comfortable with/have a high success rate with on third down.

You will also see plenty of the Jets “Tiger” formation. I don’t care how much time the Bengals spent on Brad Smith this week, NFL teams are not used to defending all the variations of option the Jets could run with Smith under center. It is a tremendous advantage that Smith can’t not only run the traditional “Wildcat” but is comfortable taking direct snaps. He has shown an ability to execute the pitch relationship with Shonn Greene and convert the pitch to him if the defensive end gets out in front of him. Also, let’s not forget Smith threw for 8,000 yards in college and I can promise you one of the first “Tiger” plays the Jets run will involve Smith throwing a pass (likely a short one to be safe) just to make the Bengals think twice every time Smith rolls out and if they hesitate, there is no reason this can’t happen again:

It would go a long way towards a Jets victory if Mark Sanchez and Braylon Edwards can convert on a big play down the field. The Jets obviously struggle scoring points and if they could grab a quick seven, it would be a huge boost in a low scoring game and soften up the Bengals defense against the Jets run. Sanchez has done a good job on deep balls this season but hasn’t always been helped by his wide receivers. Here are three clips of Sanchez throwing and connecting on a well-thrown deep ball. Finally, it has been said a thousand times but Sanchez must protect the football at all costs. If he doesn’t turn the ball over, there is no reason the Jets can’t be off to Indy or San Diego.

Sanchez to Cotchery at 3:04

Sanchez to Braylon at 0:51

Sanchez to Clowney at 2:02

Defense: The key for the Jets is to slow down Cedric Benson and the Bengals rushing attack. The Jets defensive line has overachieved all season and Marques Douglas, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, and Shaun Eliis need a big game. We need David Harris to continually introduce himself to Benson throughout the game and force the Bengals into third and long, and then eventually abandon their running game. The bottom line is that the Bengals can’t throw on the Jets. Darrelle Revis will do his job on Ochocinco and they have nobody else who can hurt the Jets down the field. However, it goes beyond the Jets limiting the Bengals rushing attack and preventing big plays in the passing game. The Jets need to force turnovers and sack the quarterback, to help their offense score points.

Outside of Cedric Benson, the Bengals starting offense played last week for the entire half and was completely embarrassed. Whether or not they ran a vanilla package and hid some things, don’t tell me there isn’t some doubt in their mind about their ability to move the ball on the Jets defense. It isn’t like they just had a bad half of football…a bad half is getting shut out but still gaining some yards and completing some passes. Carson Palmer was 1/11 for 0 yards with an interception and the only first down the Bengals got was on a questionable penalty on the Jets. If the Jets can get off to a fast start on defense and force a few 3 and outs, the Bengals are going to start questioning themselves and maybe trying to force some things.

Special Teams: This is going to be a low scoring game, which means a big return could swing the final results. It has to be the Jets who get good field position or a touchdown because of their special teams units, not the Bengals. One of the things I am most worried about is a big return from Bernard Scott on kickoffs. However, don’t be shocked to see a fake punt from Mike Westhoff and the Jets special teams units.

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris and Steve Weatherford missed practice today. Harris is likely going to be a game-time decision, while I would expect Weatherford to play. James Ihedigbo left practice today with a stinger but did return. Thomas Jones and Tony Richardson were given the day off. The backup to David Harris, Ryan Fowler, was limited with a head injury and if for some reason he and Harris couldn’t play…Kenwin Cummings would start at inside linebacker.

2. Cedric Benson told the media today that he didn’t even know who David Harris was and that he doubted the Jets would struggle without him. Harris is the leading tackler on the Jets #1 ranked defense with 127 stops, along with 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. I wonder if Benson knows who Thomas Jones is? The guy he was drafted to replace in Chicago but could never beat out. The guy who despite being 5 years older than him finished with 151 more rushing yards and 8 more touchdowns than him this season and was able to stay healthy enough to play all 16 games, while Benson couldn’t.

3. Condolences to Jets owner Woody Johnson and his family. His daughter passed away yesterday.

4. How about Teddy Bruschi on ESPN saying that the Jets have the best chance to make the Super Bowl out of the two wild-card teams? I think he was trying to jinx them.

5. The Bengals are coming into the came 100 percent healthy with Chad Ochocinco, Chris Crocker, and Domata Peko all expected to start.

6. The Jets finished #12 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, not bad for a team that started the season as ranked #23.

7. Well we know how Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN feels about the Jets (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=chadiha_jeffri&id=4795473), then again this guy is picking Tony Romo to win three playoff games, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

Bengals Offensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Quarterback: Carson Palmer – 282/466, 3094 yards, 60.5 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 83.6 QB Rating.
  • Running Back: Cedric Benson – 301 carries, 1251 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 6 TD’s.
  • Third Down Back: Bernard Scott – 74 carries, 321 yards, 4.3 yards per carry.
  • Back-Up Running Back: Larry Johnson – 46 carries, 204 yards, 4.4 yards per carry.
  • Other Third Down Back: Brian Leonard – 27 carries, 84 yards, 3.1 yards per carry, 30 receptions, 217 yards
  • Fullback: Jeremi Johnson – 4 carries, 8 yards, 6 receptions, 41 yards.
  • #1 Receiver: Chad Ochocinco – 72 receptions, 1047 yards, 9 touchdowns.
  • #2 Receiver: Laveranues Coles – 43 receptions, 514 yards, 5 touchdowns.
  • #3 Receiver: Andre Caldwell – 51 receptions, 432 yards, 3 touchdowns.
  • #4 Receiver: Quan Cosby – 4 receptions, 55 yards
  • Tight End: J.P. Foschi – 27 receptions, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • #2 Tight End: Daniel Coats – 16 receptions, 150 yards
  • Left Tackle: Andrew Whitworth
  • Left Guard: Nate Livings
  • Center: Kyle Cook
  • Right Guard: Bobbie Williams
  • Right Tackle: Dennis Roland

Bengals Defensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Defensive End: Robert Geathers – 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Defensive Tackle: Domata Peko – 23 tackles
  • Defensive Tackle: Tank Johnson – 29 tackles, 2.0 sacks
  • Defensive End: Jonathan Fanene – 36 tackles, 6.0 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Rashad Jeanty – 20 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: Dhani Jones – 113 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Keith Rivers – 72 tackles, 1 sack
  • Corner: Leon Hall – 71 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Corner: Jonathan Joseph – 69 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Safety: Chris Crocker – 51 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Chinedum Ndukwe – 89 tackles, 1 INT

Special Teams

  • Kicker: Shayne Graham – 23/28 FGs, 28/29 PATs, (1 miss from 20-29 yards, 2 misses from 30-39 yards)
  • Punter: Kevin Huber – 43.2 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Bernard Scott – 1 return touchdown, 31.5 average
  • Punt Return: Quan Cosby – 11.9 per return.

PhotobucketOffense – The Bengals offense is built like the Jets offense, which means they live by the run. Carson Palmer isn’t an elite quarterback anymore but still had a good overall season. He can be relied on to make some plays if the running game is slowed down, yet the Bengals are weak at wide receiver. Chad Ochocinco isn’t going to be a factor this week, I can promise you that and beyond him the Bengals have nothing at receiver. Laveraneus Coles is washed up and Andre Caldwell is average. They also don’t have a pass catching threat at tight end. Cedric Benson has been very good this year and Brian Leonard has made plays for them on third downs. However, I have a tough time seeing Benson gashing the Jets defense. Honestly, I would be shocked if the Bengals scored more than 17 points unless Sanchez turns the ball over.

Defense – Cincy has been very strong against the run all season. However, they are now missing linebacker Rey Maualuga which will have a negative impact on them. The Jets are going to run the ball, regardless of how many people the Bengals put in the box. I am sure Cincy has spent plenty of time on Brad Smith this week in practice and they should expect more of him this week. The Bengals have two very good corners and talent at safety as well. Mark Sanchez has to be careful against their secondary because there isn’t going to be a ton of space for Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery to work with.

Special Teams – I am very worried about Bernard Scott ripping off a kick return touchdown against us this week. However, keep an eye on Brad Smith on our kick return unit because he has been improving all season. I think we have an advantage at the kicker position.

Well They Couldn’t Beat Oakland

Beautiful Night At The Meadowlands: Jets Heading To Playoffs

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I just got back from the Meadowlands and have finally got feeling in my hands again, allowing me to type this article. Simply put tonight was a complete and utter beatdown. The Bengals played their starters the entire first half minus Cedric Benson and were beat 27-0. Carson Palmer went 1/11 for 0 yards with an interception. Chad Ochocinco was obviously shut down by Darrelle Revis (like we didn’t see that coming) he also had two drops and was flattened by Kerry Rhodes over the middle.

I love how bitter the rest of the NFL is about the Jets making the playoffs. Bengals fans making excuses, saying Cincy lost on purpose because they wanted to avoid playing the Texans? The Texans?! You remember them right, their quarterback was nearly in tears when the Jets shredded them up back in week one. Dolphins fans are wiping their tears away over their 7-9 record (which I brilliantly predicted, along with a Jets playoff berth in the pre-season). I love how Jason Taylor left for a year, they made the playoffs, he comes back and they are back to being mediocre and sitting home in January. Steelers fans are crying, like they earned a playoff spot by losing to the Chiefs, Browns, and Raiders.

The bottom line is that Cincy tried to compete tonight in the first half and they were steamrolled by the Jets. Can I get me some Brad Smith? The Jets “tiger” formation ripped apart the Bengals, as Smith had 92 rushing yards and a touchdown. Thomas Jones added 78 more yards with two touchdowns and Shonn Greene chipped in 62 yards on 4.8 yards per carry. Their defense allowed one completion in the first half and shut down the running game, along with pulling an interception (Dwight Lowery). Mark Sanchez had only one stat that matter…zero turnovers.

You would have to be stupid to think the Bengals confidence isn’t somewhat shaken by tonight’s game. But, I really look forward to the whole world to picking Cincy to beat the Jets on Saturday…I do. They are already 4 point favorites and can I already see all the NFL experts penciling in a Bengals victory, don’t worry I will be keeping track of them all week.

It is playoff time, which means it is time to put in work around here. One article a day isn’t going to cut it, so look for two a days starting tomorrow. You are going to be able to right a thesis on the Jets/Bengals match-up by the end of the week, along with all the other wild-card games. I will be tracking all of the coverage and all the disrespect from the national media, that will hopefully be motivating the team this week and of course be doing plenty of gloating tomorrow to Giants and Dolphins fans.

In the end, the team with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach is playoff bound. The team that lost Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington still found a way to get it done.  After the 37-0 beatdown was over, my two cousins and I walked out savoring one of the few great moments we got to enjoy as Jets fans. I drove away from the stadium still covered in confetti. It was more than likely the last game I will ever attend in Giants Stadium, a building that I have been coming to Jets games in since I was 4 years old and a building that I won a high school state championship win (LL ’05 I see you). As I took off down Route 3, I turned up the Rex Ryan press conference, looked in my rear view and saw the Empire State building brightly lit in a nice shade of Jets green, and just smiled to myself…picture me rolling.

By the way, the Jets are playing at 4:30 this Saturday in the playoffs does anyone know what time the Giants or Dolphins are playing? Anyone? I can’t seem to find this information anywhere.