Throwback Thursday: A Trip Down Jets-Titans Memory Lane

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday and takes a look at past games between the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans.

Usually at Throwback Thursday, we pick one game from the Jets’ past against the week’s upcoming opponent and reminisce about how awful it was. Myriad games exist from Jets history that warrant a negative look back (even a lot of the wins!), and the act of harping on these fits perfectly with the self-loathing respect in which Jets fans generally operate. For a week, we’ll take a mini-break from that, perhaps because things seem pretty good in JetLand these days. It’s worth remembering some of the good times in franchise history too. Right?

But don’t fret! This week isn’t going to pull an entire 180. The Jets and Titans have played each other six times prior to this Sunday’s game. Of course, this isn’t going back to 1960 when the Jets were the Titans and the Titans were the Oilers and in Houston, but then they were the Tennessee Oilers for those two years, because it all just gets too confusing. Let’s just stick with the very-recent New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans history.

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Throwback Thursday: Jets vs. Bills, October 28, 2007

Chris Celletti goes Throwback Thursday on an “epic” game in the history of the Jets/Bills rivalry

Throwback Thursday is a feature at Turn On The Jets, where we take a stroll down Jets Memory Lane and reminisce about past great Jets games against the upcoming week’s opponent. (Word to be taken with an enormous grain of salt: “great”)

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Two Decades of Jets Quarterbacks – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

TOJ would like to welcome another new writer to our staff, Rob Celletti…weclome aboard! – JC

Some people love to watch players like Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu lay out an unsuspecting wide receiver, others love the rush of a long kickoff return by Brad Smith. Me? I always watch the quarterback.

I don’t just watch the quarterback when a play starts.  I watch the quarterback warm up.  I watch his interactions with coaches and other players.  I watch his mannerisms in the huddle.  If I’m lucky to be at the game, I try to read the defense along with him (not hard from row 23 of section 317 in the New Meadowlands, from which the game looks like a Google Maps satellite photo). 

In my first article here at TOJ, I will look at the Jets quarterbacks that I have watched during my two decades as a fan.  No, the Jets have not been blessed with an all-time great quarterback since Joe Namath. Yet, there have been bright spots sprinkled among some ugly seasons.  So here they are: the Jets quarterbacks, from 1993-2010, in reverse chronological order* –

*This list only includes primary starters and completely disavows the existence of Brett Favre and the 2008 season, the year that made me believe I was going to give up on this team for life.

Mark Sanchez (2009 – present)

What you love: From a technical standpoint, Sanchez is relatively gifted. He doesn’t have the biggest arm but makes up for that with his ability to scramble, improvise and make a big play out of nothing.  He’s a smart kid with the right demeanor for New York and a great work ethic, but the most important thing is his ability to perform in a big spot.  Just take a look at the playoff statistics (all road games).

What you hate: Sanchez has problems with accuracy and decision-making, and the numbers bear that out.  He’s completed less than 55% of his passes and thrown  33 interceptions through his first two full seasons.  Though I don’t want to get into the “body language” discussion, it’s pretty clear that when things go bad for Sanchez, they can snowball rapidly.  He allows his bad throws to turn into bad quarters and his bad quarters to turn into bad games.

Best season 2010 – Led the Jets to an 11-5 regular season record and a second consecutive AFC Championship Game.  Threw for 3,291 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  He led the Jets on three consecutive game-winning drives in the 4th quarter/overtime in weeks 9-11.

Worst season: 2009 – Sanchez’s rookie campaign was wildly inconsistent. He gave fans everything from his inspiring debut vs. the Texans to the infamous color-coded wristband.  Still, Sanchez showed he could compete at the NFL level and win road playoff games.

Chad Pennington (2002 – 2007)

What you loved: Did anyone get more of a kick out of proving people wrong than Chad Pennington?  He was such a fierce competitor and leader, which is what ultimately made the Pennington story so difficult to swallow for so many Jets fans.  With an average-at-best arm battered by numerous injuries, Pennington kept coming back. What made that possible? His football acumen. Outside of Peyton Manning, I don’t believe there was a smarter quarterback in the league during Chad’s time. Also, did anyone throw a better fade route from the half-yard line?  I kid, but Pennington was arguably (and actually IS, statistically speaking) the most accurate Jets passer of all time.

What you hated: The injuries.  Pennington just couldn’t stay healthy, to the point that it became sort of laughable.  The end of Pennington’s Jets career was particularly painful and unjust, as he was released so the Jets could sign Brett Favre.  Of course, Chad had his revenge, leading the Dolphins to the AFC East Championship in 2008, clinching the crown against the Jets at the Meadowlands.

Best season: 2002 – Pennington burst onto the scene in relief of the aging and ineffective Vinny Testaverde. He took over a floundering 1-3 team, and even though he lost his first start, rallied the Jets to a 9-7 record and an AFC East Championship (thank you Travis Minor). The numbers were mind-boggling (in 12 starts): 3,120 yards, 22 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, a completion percentage of 68.9% and a passer rating of 104.2 (both Jets’ single-season records).

Worst season: 2007 – For the most part, the Jets had successful seasons when Pennington was healthy, but that was always the problem, wasn’t it?  2007 was the beginning of the end. Kellen Clemens took most of the snaps as the year progressed, as the Jets were just 1-7 in Pennington’s starts and finished an abysmal 4-12.

Vinny Testaverde (1998 – 2003)

What you loved: Being born in Brooklyn didn’t hurt him, but Vinny is one of the most beloved Jets of all time.  He was a classic pocket passer with a cannon of an arm.

What you hated: Vinny was notorious for his killer interceptions and fumbles.  For his career, Testaverde threw 275 touchdowns, but also 267 interceptions, many of them complete head-scratchers that cost his team games.

Best season: 1998 – Bill Parcells acquired the 35 year-old Vinny and taught the old dog some new tricks,  turning him into an efficient, nearly turnover-free machine.  He threw for a single-season Jets record 29 touchdowns and completed nearly 62% of his passes.  Testaverde led the Jets to a 12-4 record, the AFC Championship game, and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

Worst season: 2000 – After rupturing his Achilles Tendon in 1999, shattering the Jets’ momentum coming off one of the best seasons in team history, Vinny came back at age 37 and put together some respectable games in leading the Jets to a 9-4 record after 14 weeks.  But it’s hard to forget how this year ended, in complete and utter heartbreak, with three consecutive losses to the Raiders, Lions (at home) and Ravens.  That loss to the Ravens, on Christmas Eve, is one of the all-time great Jet collapses, largely due to Testaverde’s implosion, in which he threw 3 interceptions and lost two fumbles.

Neil O’Donnell (1996 – 1997)

What you loved: I’ll abstain.

What you hated: Everything?

Best season: 1997 – It’s easy to focus on the negative with O’Donnell, but when Bill Parcells became the Jets’ coach, he coaxed a decent season out of his quarterback, by mostly keeping him on a short leash.  If nothing else, O’Donnell stopped turning the ball over (just 7 interceptions in 460 attempts). The Jets were one win away from the playoffs after going 1-15 in the previous season.

Worst season: 1996 – Started 6 games, lost all 6 and was benched in favor of Frank Reich after an “injury” during pre-game warmups.  The Jets were on their way to an infamous 1-15 season.

Boomer Esiason (1993 – 1995)

What you loved: Long Island born and bred, Boomer came home to play for the Jets after Cincinnati traded him for a third round pick.  Boomer was the consummate professional and deserved better during his time in New York, as he played under three different coaches during the end of the Hess ownership.

What you hated: Though Boomer was more a victim of circumstance and suspect coaching under Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll and Rich Kotite, he was never the All-Pro quarterback for the Jets that he was in Cincinnati.  As a matter of fact, the Jets had two chances to make the playoffs with Esiason at the helm in 1993 and 1994, but their offense was downright anemic at the end of both seasons.

Best season: 1993 – Boomer made the Pro Bowl in his first year as a Jet, throwing for 3,421 yards and 16 touchdowns (the NFL was a different animal back then).  The Jets finished with an 8-8 record, and even though the offense sputtered down the stretch, fans were optimistic, at least about the quarterback position.

Worst season: 1995 – Boomer went down with a major concussion and missed four games, but that’s not what sunk the Jets to 3-13 in 1995.  The aging Esiason completed just 56.8% of his passes, was intercepted 15 times, and had nearly a career-low 5.8 yards-per-attempt.  The Jets record was 2-10 in the games he started.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for Jets fans in terms of quarterbacks throughout the last two decades. Mark Sanchez has a few things on his side that none of his predecessors did, namely his youth and a stable coaching staff/front office/ownership situation which fully supports him. It’s now up to Sanchez and the Jets to build on the experience from his first two seasons and translate that into consistency, more wins, and a Super Bowl.

Jets Fans: Stop The Pity Party

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Do you remember December 30th 2007? I do. I was sitting in the pouring rain watching the 3-12 New York Jets play the 4-11 Kansas City Chiefs. The Jets won the game 13-10. I left the stadium frustrated because we hurt our draft position, ultimately falling to number six where the team would select Vernon Gholston. Our quarterback of the future, Kellen Clemens, had just played one of his better games of the 2007 season: 13/25, 115 yards, TD. Our newly signed starting running back, Thomas Jones, scored his second touchdown of the season. The offensive line was in shambles. The defense prominently featured players like Dewayne Robertson, Victor Hobson, David Barrett, and Erik Coleman.

Fast forward to January 20th, 2008. The New York Giants upset the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, sending the Jets in-stadium rivals to face their division rivals, the New England Patriots (coming off a perfect regular season) in the Super Bowl. The Giants and Patriots went on to play one of the most memorable championship games in league history, while the Jets wallowed in complete and utter irrelevancy.

Do you remember those days? They weren’t too long ago. Do you remember gearing up for a broken down Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens quarterback battle? What about the few months of the Kellen Clemens/Brett Ratliff/Erik Ainge battle? How about heading into training camp with Brad Smith/David Clowney/Chansi Stuckey fighting it out for a starting receiver spot? At cornerback, do you recall players like Hank Poteat, Drew Coleman, and Barrett rotating in a starting spot? The Jets offensive line used to feature players like Anthony Clement and Adrien Clarke.

Yes, the Darrelle Revis holdout sucks. There really isn’t a better way to put it. Revis was a player our organization was savvy enough to trade up to select, who developed in front of our eyes into the league’s best cornerback and arguably best defensive player. The entire league took notice. We got to see one of our players featured in Nike commercials and constantly be talked about on the NFL Network and ESPN. Everybody was looking forward to his encore performance to an epic 2009 season. Bring on Brandon Marshall. Bring on Randy Moss. Bring on Chad Ochocinco Johnson. Bring on Andre Johnson. Send every diva, big-name receiver at our defense and watch him disappear.

PhotobucketIt now looks like that may not happen. Before you bury the Jets organization, before you bury Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan, remember this: Tannenbaum brought this team back to relevancy with the resources provided to him by Johnson. He got us Mark Sanchez so we didn’t have to watch Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff one-hop curl routes. He beefed up the defense by trading for Kris Jenkins and Antonio Cromartie, hitting on David Harris in the second round, and signing Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and Jim Leonhard. On offense, he collected an impressive arsenal of weapons for his franchise quarterback.

Rex Ryan may have hurt the Jets bargaining position by showing too much love for his player to the media. However, that is Ryan’s personality. Don’t talk about loving all the swagger and confidence he brought to the organization and then get mad when he gives due praise to a player. I will take the negative impact on negotiations Rex Ryan brings, in exchange for all the positives he has brought the Jets, which shouldn’t have to be listed.

Don’t talk yourself into hating Revis either. The Jets organization approached him about re-negotiating his contract and after hearing everything they said about him, he expects to be compensated at a substantially higher level in 2010 (currently scheduled to be the eight highest paid defensive back on the Jets). Yes, he should understand that Al Davis is clinically insane and gave Nnamdi Asomugha an aberration of a contract and yes he has three years left on his deal but this is a business. The Jets botched the Leon Washington situation to an extent, which has burned a scary image into the heads of current players. Who wants to shipped off to the rain in Seattle to play for Pete Carroll without a new contract?

There is plenty of blame to go around. The Jets organization gets a little. Darrelle Revis gets a little. Al Davis can have a little. Leon Washington’s injury is a factor. Yet, there is no reason to spend all pre-season pouting and looking for somebody to blame.

PhotobucketGuess what? Even without Darrelle Revis, the Jets are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. They are still the favorite in the AFC East. They are being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. They have knocked the Giants and yes even the Yankees off the back page. We aren’t playing in Giants Stadium anymore. The Jets are playing in primetime in weeks 1, 3, and 5 to start off the season, along with Thanksgiving night and a December Monday night showdown in New England. Beyond that, there is still a relatively good chance Revis will join the team at some point before the regular season starts, despite all of Woody Johnson’s posturing today.

So relax Jets fans, life is good, enjoy the ride in 2010. We are the team everybody loves to hate and really what is better than that in sports?

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The Jets Journey To Relevancy

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The Jets Journey To Relevancy

Today I was talking to a friend from Philadelphia about how big of a following the Flyers have in the city with their recent Cinderella run in the playoffs. He assured me the Flyers were a big deal within the city and had a rabid following that didn’t trail the Eagles or Phillies by as much as you’d expect. I thought about the New York sports market, where the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders are irrelevant topics on the back pages of newspapers, sports talk radio, and mainstream websites. The only buzz around the Knicks and Nets is associated with the prayer’s chance of recruiting LeBron James. Football and baseball dominate the town. The Yankees are the number one story and you would normally put the Giants and Mets right behind them with the Jets a distant fourth.

PhotobucketI remember December 30th, 2007 sitting in the pouring rain at a half empty stadium watching the 3-12 Jets play the 4-11 Chiefs. It was an ugly and depressing game as I watched Kellen Clemens struggle through a 13/25, 115 yard performance. The Giants were headed to the playoffs. The Patriots had just completed an undefeated regular season. Little did I know that both were headed for an epic Super Bowl, which had one of the best fourth quarters and plays in league history. There you had it, the team the Jets shared the city with and their biggest rival battling on the world’s biggest stage while the Jets couldn’t be any more irrelevant. It was just another low point in the difficult life of being a New York Jets fan.

Yet today, when I was talking with my friend I had to put the Jets as the number two story in the New York sports market behind the defending champion Yankees. The Mets are slowly fading into their usual oblivion and somehow the Jets have become a better, more entertaining team and a bigger story than the New York Giants, a team who won arguably the greatest Super Bowl game ever played a little over 2 years ago.

How did this happen?

It started with an uncharacteristically aggressive off-season headed into the 2008 regular season. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum learned from his mistake heading into the 2007 season, when he incorrectly believed his 10-6 team was only a few minor tweaks away from being a Super Bowl contender. The Jets were a fun story in 2006 but they caught the league off-guard with a wild-card appearance thanks to a soft schedule, a surprisingly productive season from Chad Pennington, and career years from journeyman players like Victor Hobson, Cedric Houston, Anthony Clement, Chris Baker, Bryan Thomas, Hank Poteat, Erik Coleman, Justin Miller, and Andre Dyson.

The Jets did add Thomas Jones but thought they could get by another year with Clement on the line and Adrien Clarke stepping in for Pete Kendall at guard and made no major free agent additions to their defense. However, Tannenbaum did strike gold in the draft by trading up for future All-Pro defenders Darrelle Revis and David Harris. Regardless, Pennington succumbed to another injury and Kellen Clemens struggled heavily behind a terrible offensive line and the Jets disappointed with a 4-12 season.

With owner Woody Johnson’s blessing the Jets began a trend of recruiting and landing big time free agents. They broke the bank for perennial pro-bowler Alan Faneca and brought in veteran Damien Woody to complement him at tackle. They outbid Miami for Calvin Pace and swung a trade for Kris Jenkins. They also solidified their running game by adding fullback Tony Richardson and blocking tight end Bubba Franks. Despite Eric Mangini’s stringent ways and the organization operating under the New England state of mind, they were still able to recruit big name players to rebuild the roster.

PhotobucketTannenbaum didn’t finish his off-season until he shocked the football world by swinging a trade for Brett Favre. I know in the end, the Favre experiment didn’t work out considering the Jets failed to make the playoffs and his struggles down the stretch. However, the fact that Favre joined the Jets demonstrated to the rest of the league that the team was moving in the right direction. The pieces were being put into place to build a contender on both sides of the ball and they had a GM and owner who would aggressively pursue putting together a winner regardless of the cost.

The Jets could have faded back into irrelevancy into 2009 when they decided to cut ties with Favre and head coach Eric Mangini. Breaking with his personal characteristics and the Bill Parcells mindset he was groomed with, Mike Tannenbaum went for the boisterous, confident Rex Ryan. Mangini was a good football mind but had suffocated the life out of the organization. Ryan provided the shot of energy necessary to overcome the hangover from the disastrous end to the 2009 season and Favre’s departure. The bold moves from the previous off-season carried over into the months heading into 2009, starting with Ryan and his recruitment of former Baltimore Ravens, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Marques Douglas.

Yet, the most important decision came during the 2009 NFL Draft. The Jets weren’t making the playoffs with Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff at quarterback and everybody knew it. They needed a franchise quarterback to wash the bad taste out of everybody’s mouth that Favre had left. Working with their former head coach Mangini, they moved up to acquire USC’s Mark Sanchez.

The team had successfully moved out of the Mangini/Favre era with an exciting new head coach and quarterback. However, they retained the quality players acquired during Mangini’s two winning seasons in three years. The pieces were in place for a team with cautiously high expectations heading into the 2009 season.

In a rare occurrence, the football gods smiled on the ugly stepchild of New York City. A 7-7 team that appeared to be out of the playoffs was handed the backups of the best team in the league and took advantage. The victory positioned them to close out the stadium they had embarrassingly been tenants in, with a playoff berth in front of the whole country on Sunday Night Football. The Big Brother New York Giants had packed up their bags a few weeks too early and left with an ugly loss to the Carolina Panthers, leaving the Jets to fill the void as the team the New York sports market could get behind. Regardless of who the Bengals played or didn’t play, the Jets thrived for their fans and the city with a 37-0 victory.

PhotobucketAny questions about the Jets validity as a playoff team were answered with subsequent road victories over the Bengals and heavily favored San Diego Chargers. The momentum carried right into the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, when the Jets were up 17-6. Unfortunately, an immortal quarterback rose to the top of his game and ended their run.

Despite the loss, the Jets had arrived. Their head coach whose ability to entertain and grab headlines was matched by his ability to design an elite defense and motivate his players, had claimed the Jets would be the number one show in town when the new Meadowlands began hosting NFL games and it was hard not to believe him. Tannenbaum didn’t back off. He must have remembered the off-season heading into 2007 again because he added Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, and Santonio Holmes to a team that was 28 minutes away from a Super Bowl.

Here we are today, with HBO knocking down the Jets door to feature them on Hard Knocks. Relevancy doesn’t equal success but any Jets fan will tell you it is refreshing to be the most hyped up team in the area. Giants fans will say they enjoy flying under the radar and I don’t blame them. They shouldn’t concern themselves with the attention being paid to a team who hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1969, when they have won 3 since then. However, the Jets don’t have to ignore the spotlight being shined on them. Yes, they bring the attention to themselves with the boasting of their head coach, big name acquisitions, and posturing of their owner but there is substance behind the hype around the team.

There is a system of playing defense and running the football, which is a familiar formula for playoff teams. The Jets have the ability to run the ball because they have assembled one of the best offensive lines in football and found a running back by trading up to get a guy that inexplicably slipped through the cracks to the third round. They have the ability to play defense because they drafted the best corner in the NFL, an All-Pro inside linebacker, and surrounded them with quality free agent additions. Yet, if you follow the NFL these days you know it takes more than running the ball and defense to win a championship, which is why the Jets have surrounded their franchise quarterback with one of the best three wide sets in the NFL, a pass-catching tight end, and one of better receiving running backs in NFL history.

Somehow, someway the Jets have navigated themselves into relevancy. The owner, GM, coach, and roster is finally in place to turn that relevancy into success. By success, I mean the one thing that could actually put the Jets on the same level of the Giants as a NFL organization and make sure the new stadium doesn’t turn into “Giants Stadium Part 2,” and that is win a Super Bowl.

Now Some Other Updates:

1. We have been locked at 315 fans on Facebook for 2 days now and that is getting me a little anxious. I need as many fans as possible to throw at the Jets media relations guy when I working on getting a press pass…so follow it on Facebook, tell you friends to follow it on Facebook and do the same for the Twitter account (TurnOnTheJets).

2. Remember we have other tabs on this site beyond the home page…we also have just added a tab for the Podcast, which links you to the site with the TOJ Podcasts.

3. (http://www.youhaveiwant.com/home.html) – Worth checking out, especially if you are looking to get your hands on New York area sports tickets.

4. Jets minor roster moves…they added offensive tackle Aaron Kia and released receiver S.J. Green and offensive tackle Matt Stommes. The depth chart has been updated accordingly.

5. Tough break for the New Jersey Nets last night. I can’t say that I wasn’t happy since I am a Knicks fan first and a Wizards fan second…yes I have a second favorite basketall team. How can I justify that? First off, the Knicks have been god awful the past decade, second I lived in DC for 6 months, attended some games at the Phone Booth when the Wizards were pretty good and became a big Agent Zero fan…before he decided to start bringing guns into the locker room. So, yea I broke out the John Wall dance in my Arenas shirt last night after they got the number one pick.

6. Thoughts On Lost Final Season, Episode 16 “What They Died For” –We ended our one episode break in 23 A.D. with glowing caves and terrible kid actors by getting back to our main characters with a very, very good episode. Everybody kind of saw it coming with Jack replacing Jacob, but it almost seemed like it happened too easy. I have a feeling when it is all said and done, Jack won’t be taking the job as island protector. I liked the sideways action…Desmond is well on his way to putting together the greatest reunion concert ever. Instead of breaking down all the details of last night’s episode, here are my predictions for the finale and you can trust I have avoided all spoilers this season:

  • Richard and Lapidus aren’t dead yet.
  • Sawyer will die on the island.
  • Juliet is Jack’s ex-wife in the sideways timeline.
  • Jack will cure Locke in the sideways but find a way to kill him on the island.
  • Ben is pulling a long con on Locke and will end up being a good guy at the end…and the new island protector.
  • Desmond is going into the yellow cave…and I don’t know what happens from there.
  • I still have no idea how they merge both timelines.
  • Rose and Bernard helped Desmond out of the well.
  • Final scene? It was all the dog’s dream.

Free Agent Anxiety: Where Do The Jets Go From Here?

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I was clearly spoiled by the past two off-seasons from the Jets. Since Thursday, they have pulled off two pretty major trades and I am still sitting here getting anxious because there isn’t much talk out there about any substantive transactions on the horizon for them. Only one new player has been added so far: Antonio Cromartie, while Kerry Rhodes, Donald Strickland, Lito Sheppard, and likely Thomas Jones have all been let go. The future in green and white of Marques Douglas, Wallace Wright, Howard Green, and to some extent Leon Washington remain up in the air. I am confident Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets scouting department will do a good job in the draft with their current six selections, but beyond that what is left for this Jets off-season? Let’s take a quick position by position run through –

Quarterback – It doesn’t look like the Jets will be bringing in a veteran backup for Mark Sanchez. I can’t see any team showing any interest in Kellen Clemens as a RFA or even in a trade, meaning he will likely be back. The Jets organization seems to be pretty high on the potential of both Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the three of them battle for the #2 spot behind Sanchez in 2010. The idea of Chad Pennington coming back ended when he re-signed with the Dolphins and there has been other movement with backup quarterbacks, David Carr to San Francisco, AJ Feely to the Rams and rumors of other movement, Jim Sorgi to the Giants and Jeff Garcia to multiple teams but there hasn’t been anything reported on the Jets showing interest in any quarterbacks.

PhotobucketRunning Back – Thomas Jones has most recently been linked to the Chiefs and it sounds like a long shot he will end up back with the Jets. Mike Tannenbaum has said the Jets will add a veteran running back but I think he could wait until the summer to see what some of the training camp cuts are. He discussed Tony Richardson in a conference call with reporters today, saying it was a “priority” to re-sign him which is good news. I am sure at his age, Richardson would like to come back for another year with the Jets instead of moving out to another team. There is no reason to go cheap at fullback, especially with a lack of veteran leadership now at the running back position. I still doubt any team signs Leon Washington to a contract as a RFA, but that could just be a hopeful thought.

Wide Receiver – Another key point of Tannenbaum’s conference call today was confirming the Jets interest in Laveranues Coles. It has been reported over the past week that LC has an interest in returning to New York and I think he could be a good fit in the Jets offense. He has the skill set to be a very good slot receiver, as long as at this stage of his career he can accept a more limited role.

Tight End – The Jets re-signed backup tight end Ben Hartsock to a 2 year deal today. I believed the Jets could upgrade over him to a slightly more versatile guy. Hartsock is basically another tackle out there, but I suppose his value as a blocker is crucial in the type of offense the Jets run.

Offensive Line – Haven’t heard much of anything at this position but I still expect the Jets to spend a mid or late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Defensive Line – Marques Douglas is rightly attracting alot of interest in the free agent market but as I have written many times here before, the Jets would be foolish not to bring him back. Pay the guy his money. Quality 3-4 defensive ends are hard to come by and the Jets had one last year in Douglas. Even if the Jets bring Douglas back, I could still see them taking a defensive lineman in the first or second round…Dan Williams and Jared Odrick are some first round names that have been linked to the Jets in a few mock drafts.

Linebackers – Adalius Thomas hasn’t been released by the Patriots yet but when he is, I would expect the Jets to act quickly. They could also look for a pass rushing prospect at outside linebacker in the first or second round of the draft.

Secondary – Mike Tannenbaum has made it sound like he will be adding two or three more members to the Jets secondary before the off-season is done. Whether it is through the draft or free agency, I would expect to see a new safety, a nickel back, and a depth player at either corner or safety brought in.

Special Teams – Wallace Wright was just signed by Carolina, which is a shame. He has been the Jets top special teams player for a few years now.  Jay Feely hasn’t been signed by anybody yet, so I could hold on to the thought that Nick Folk won’t be kicking for us next year.

Dusting Off LC Footage

Big Expectations Usually Equal Bad News For Jets

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First a few updates:

1. There isn’t much to update, so check out the facebook page to see other recent Jets links you should be reading/viewing. Also, don’t forget about the other sections we have across the top of the page, including the new 2010 Draft Section.

2. Non-Jets Thoughts – Good new show on HBO, “How to  Make it in America”…I am fired up about seeing “Shutter Island” this week, you can’t go wrong with Scorsese and Leo…Tough start for Antawan Jamison with the Cavs last night, I think he went 0/12 from the field, I like Jamison but I need to root for the Cavs to struggle so LeBron is more inclined to come to the Knicks…Could Tiger Woods have been more robotic during that press conference the other day?

Big Expectations Usually Equal Bad News For Jets

The Jets rightly will have alot of positive buzz around their team heading into the 2010-2011 season. They are coming off a surprising run to the AFC Championship Game, have a young up and coming offense led by Mark Sanchez, Nick Mangold, and Shonn Greene, arguably the league’s best defense, and a coach the team believes in. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people picked them to win the AFC East and some people pick them as legit Super Bowl contenders this summer. Unfortunately, when this has happened in recent history, things haven’t turned out according to plan.

1999 – Most people assumed the Jets would take the next step after losing to Denver in the AFC Championship Game in 1998 and become the team to beat in the AFC after John Elway’s retirement. All of the pieces seemed to be in place, but in week one Vinny Testaverde took one step to try and recover a fumble, and tore his ACL. The Jets season went down in flames with Rick Mirer behind center, until Ray Lucas stepped and led them to a respectable 8-8 record. Regardless, the season was a major disappointment and the final year for Bill Parcells.

Photobucket2002 – The Jets were coming of a 10-6 season and a wild-card loss. If I recall correctly, many people thought the Jets would improve and challenge for a division title and after a 2-5 start, they actually turned out to be right as Chad Pennington took over mid-season for Testaverde and led the Jets to an improbable 9-7 AFC East crown. Despite finishing a game worse in the regular season, the Jets won the division and won a wild-card game, before eventually seeing their season end at the hands of the Oakland Raiders 30-10.

2003 – Everybody was fired up to see Pennington lead the Jets for an entire season and thought the Jets could overcome the loss of Laveranues Coles, Chad Morton, Randy Thomas, and John Hall to the Redskins. Unfortunately, Pennington was hurt in the pre-season, and the Jets stumbled to a 0-4 start. They improved after Chad’s return in week 8 but still finished a disappointing 6-10.

2005 – After being robbed of a Divisional Round win against the Steelers by kicker Doug Brien, the Jets and many people around the NFL figured they would be Super Bowl contenders simply by replacing Brien with 2nd round (yes, 2nd round) draft pick Mike Nugent. The Jets also foolishly traded their first round pick for tight end Doug Jolley. Shockingly enough, Pennington suffered another injury, this time in week 3. The Jets floundered to a 4-12 record, with Brooks Bollinger playing quarterback for the bulk of the season.

2007 – Eric Mangini and the Jets shocked everyone in 2006 by going 10-6 and grabbing a wild-card spot. Most people figured they would be ready to challenge the Patriots for the division title in 2007, especially with the addition of Thomas Jones at running back. Guess what happened? Pennington was hurt in week one, and then after returning in week 3 struggled before being benched for Kellen Clemens. The Jets went 4-12.

2008 – I think most people thought the Jets should be a playoff team with the additions of Alan Faneca, Calvin Pace, Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and of course Brett Favre. It looked like they were right when the Jets were 8-3, but we all know how the rest of the season turned out.

What can I say about 2010? Stay healthy, Mark Sanchez. As for the rest of the team, don’t read your press clippings.

Remember This Guy?

Super Bowl Friday Thoughts/NFL Playoffs 2010 Recap

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First a few updates:

1. Rich Cimini wrote an article today discussing Chad Pennington returning to the Jets next season as a backup. He discussed it with Pennington, who admitted it would be tough but said it was a move he would definitely consider. I am all for Pennington coming back. First off, I can get some use out of his jersey that I still own in the pre-season and when he is playing mop-up duty against the Dolphins and Bills next years. Did I just say mop-up duty against teams the Jets went 1-3 against last year? Yes, I did. There isn’t going to be anymore 5 interception games or fluke Ted Ginn Jr touchdowns. Second, Pennington is an upgrade over Kellen Clemens.

2. When Leon Washington was talking about playing next season with the Jets, he discussed going back to returning kicks. Personally, I’d rather just leave Brad Smith back there and let Leon worry about offense. One thing the Jets offense missed in a big way last season was a screen game and running backs catching the ball out of the backfield in general (8 receptions for Thomas Jones or 0 for Shonn Greene during the regular season).

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…everybody is doing it…well, 183 people now are. (I told you I was putting this up with every post).

4. The Game Highlights section has been somewhat ripped apart by videos being taken down on youtube. I will be revamping that into something different next week.

Super Bowl Friday Thoughts

First off…let’s look back at the 2010 Playoffs. Personally, my two favorite weekends of the year are wild-card weekend and divisional weekend. I consider them holidays. Unfortunately, outside of our Jets most of the games were letdowns. Jets/Bengals got things started off right with an exciting 24-14 game, in which I got to watch a bunch of bitter Giants sulk in their recently purchased Chad Ochocino Johnson jerseys. I was expecting a great Saturday night game between Dallas and Philly but my Super Bowl pick decided to get completely blown out. Clearly, Andy Reid made zero adjustments from the two previous losses his team had to the Cowboys. Beyond that, nobody ever wants to see Cowboys fans happy…Maganellis.

Outside of anything Jets related, there was nothing I enjoyed more this NFL season than the first quarter of the Ravens/Patriots wild-card game. Nothing beats watching Bill Belichick be completely out-coached and standing there gawking on the side-line while Tom Brady throws interception after interception and keeps fumbling…great stuff. After the Belichick/Brady meltdown this year in a home playoff game, can we say the Pats dynasty is on the way out? I think you can, their defense isn’t good. They don’t have a running back. Wes Welker might not be back for the start of the next season and Randy Moss is a slouch. The Packers/Cardinals game was obviously very exciting, although it was pathetic how bad both defenses were. It was also frustrating to watch “Fake Defensive Player of the Year” Charles Woodson and the rest of his secondary get torched for 51 points, 379 passing yards, and 5 passing touchdowns. One last time, it was a complete joke that Darrelle Revis didn’t win that award this year.

PhotobucketDivisional weekend? Saints vs. Cardinals was a complete beatdown. On top of that, I had to watch Reggie Bush have a monster game, after ripping him all off-season and saying Leon Washington was better. One thing you have to say about Bush, is that there is a reason everybody was so “shocked” to see him play so well and run so hard…because he hasn’t been doing it his entire of NFL career. You shouldn’t decide to run hard one day, you should be doing it every game, especially when you are the #2 pick in the draft. Colts/Ravens was a disappointing game because I was obviously routing for the Ravens since I wanted a home AFC Championship Game.

On Sunday, it was nice to see Dallas remember they can’t win a big game and get blown out by the Vikings. To top it off, we got to see Keith Brooking and his stupid pre-game chant (we gonna hit them in nose, we gonna hit them in face….give me a break) leave a river of tears on the field. Of course, the late game on Sunday was just terrific and turned out to be the best overall game of the weekend. You can’t beat the defensive beatdown the Jets put on the Chargers in the second half and Shonn Greene rumbling through the Chargers secondary.

Everything about Championship Sunday was great right up until Peyton Manning got the ball back down 17-6. Fortunately, I got a little joy later that night watching Brett Favre choke away the NFC Championship Game…which brings us to Colts/Saints.

1. I think this game goes one of two ways: 1) We have an all-time game, an absolute shootout where the team with the ball last wins…something like 45-42 or 2) the Colts fall behind a little early, Manning reacts and then the Colts roll in the second half to a double-digit victory.

2. The only way the Saints are winning this game is if they find a way to out-score Manning because they aren’t stopping him.

3. My predictions:

  • Super Bowl MVP – Peyton Manning (A real stretch, I know)
  • First touchdown – Pierre Thomas
  • Final Score: Colts – 41 Saints – 30

Another Jets Highlight Tape

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

First a few updates:

1. Your 2009 AL East Champs…The New York Yankees.

2. I review the weekend for the AFC East and entire NFL tomorrow, but just as a preface: The Jets aren’t looking so stupid for trading Chad Pennington anymore are they? It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming this year for the Dolphins who are well on their way to a 4-12 season. Pennington has never put together back to back healthy seasons in his career. Their schedule is substantially harder and they generally lack talent (especially in an overhyped, overrated linebacker core). Enjoy beginning to play out the string in October Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, and the rest of Dolphins nation. I do feel bad for Chad, who I always liked and I hope he gets healthy soon but how can I not enjoy the Dolphins being 0-3?

3. I actually felt bad for Eric Mangini watching his press conference yesterday. The Browns actually might go 0-16. It sounds like there isn’t a more hated coach in the league right now, since at least five of his players are filing grievances with the NFL about his fines. I thought Favre was more to blame than Mangini last year but I don’t understand why it appears that he didn’t learn anything from the mistakes he made with the Jets.

4. Speaking of those 3-0 Jets, I saw on ESPN that they are early 6.5 point underdogs to the Saints. This will be the third time in four games the Jets are underdogs.

5. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 is his weekly Power Rankings and put Darrelle Revis #5 on his MVP watch list.

6. Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Titans highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

Quarterbacks: (B-) Sanchez came out of the gate on fire, then turned into the rookie he is supposed to be, and then finished strong enough for the Jets to get a win. It was an up and down for “The Sanchise,” who finished 17/30 for 171 yards, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The positives? He showed his toughness by barreling over Michael Griffin in the end-zone, had a beautiful play fake on his touchdown pass to Ben Hartsock, and showed his arm strength/accuracy on a picture perfect 46 yard connection down the side-line to Jerricho Cotchery. The negatives? He needs to work on his ball handling. The rain led to the ball slipping out of his hands a few times, and he was also stripped because he kept the ball too low. Also, don’t pile all the interception blame on Chansi Stuckey because Sanchez sailed that pass.

Running Backs: (D) Not a pretty day for Thomas Jones, who finished with 20 yards on 14 carries. Leon Washington had slightly better luck (12 carries, 46 yards) but still averaged less than 4 yards per carry. We are still waiting for Leon to rip off his first big run of the season and Jones looked a step slow to the hole, even though he wasn’t aided by the offensive line, who struggled. Don’t be surprised if Shonn Greene slowly begins to be worked into the offense next week. The Jets didn’t draft him to sit on the bench all season.

Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery played a terrific game and is turning me into a believer that he could be a legit number one receiver. He is catching every thing that comes near him and showed his speed on his 46 yard over the shoulder grab and his toughness on his touchdown catch. Brad Smith finally registered a couple of catches, including an impressive 16 yard grab as he a took a huge hit. Chansi Stuckey was quiet and David Clowney was inactive, which wasn’t surprising considering the conditions.

Tight Ends: (B) How great was Ben Hartsock’s prototypical white guy who has never scored a touchdown celebration? It consisted of him jumping straight up and down while holding up the #1 sign and then having an awkward timed jump into D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Dustin Keller had a leaping 18 yard catch on the first drive but was quiet after. I’d like to see the Jets get him more involved (probably because I have him on my fantasy football team).

Offensive Line: (D) You have to expect better than 83 rushing yards and three allowed sacks from an offensive line with this much talent. They also need to cut back on the penalties.

Defensive Line: (B) Great games by Kris Jenkins (2 TFL’s) and Shaun Ellis (.5 sack, 1 TFL). Sione Pouha and Marques Douglas were also active up front. The unit did a good job keeping Chris Johnson under 100 yards and was constantly pushing the pocket on Kerry Collins.

Linebackers: (A) Bart Scott was all over the field and David Harris keeps making big plays. Bryan Thomas has quietly put together a strong three games to start the season. Vernon Gholston looks like he is actually improving. I was somewhat surprised to Jamaal Westerman end up being inactive.

Secondary: (B) They were defintley some breakdowns and Kerry Collins threaded the needle on them a few times. However, Drew Coleman stepped up and had a great game as the nickel back. I still can’t believe this is the same Eric Smith from the past three years. He is all over the field and has turned into one of the Jets top playmakers on defense (6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception). Jim Leonhard always seems to be around the ball. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes didn’t have their best days. Dwight Lowery was okay as a replacement for Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A+) Forced two key turnovers that were the reason the Jets won on Sunday. Great all around play by Jason Trusnik on fumble during the kick return. Brad Smith made a smart play by wrapping up Ryan Mouton to prevent him from recovering his muffed punt and Larry Izzo hustled down to make the recovery. Jay Feely has now made 19 straight field goals. Steve Weatherford had one bad shank but beyond that had a decent day.

Coaching: (B) It was a good decision to come out with the no-huddle, passing attack which caught the Titans off guard. Rex Ryan started out with a less aggressive scheme but with the game on his line, went back to what the Jets do best, blitz the hell out of the quarterback. The bottom line is that the Jets avoided a natural let-down game and found a way to win without having their “A” game.

Jets/Titans Game Highlights

AFC Power Rankings: Where Do the Jets Fit?

First a few updates:

1. It’s officially training camp week, with the Jets opening up this Friday in Cortland, New York. Later in the day, I will be posting an extended, comprehensive (two big time adjectives there) training camp preview. Also, I will finish up my positional analysis this week, with a look at the team’s linebackers and special teams. You can look back through the archives for my breakdown of all the other positions on the roster.

2. I will be appearing on a podcast on our site tomorrow around 11:30 to discuss the Jets, the link is http://ownersedge.fanball.com/fantasy_buffet.php

3. By the end of the week, I plan on making additions to both the TOJ Hall of Fame and TOJ Hall of Shame…thrilling stuff for everybody, I know. Also, I am stuck with the 5th pick in upcoming fantasy football draft and I am open to suggestions on who I should pick…Brees, Fitzgerald, Jones-Drew, Westbrook, Brad Smith, Wallace Wright?

AFC Power Rankings: Where Do the Jets Fit?

I don’t like to rank teams from 1-16, but instead separate them into different levels. With training camps starting up this week, here is how I see the AFC breaking down:

The Favorites

Pittsburgh Steelers – The defending champions are returning all of their major parts and should be right back at the top of the AFC North. Their defense should be one of the league’s best and if they can get something out of Rashad Mendenhall and Limas Sweed this year, their offense could be even more dynamic.

New England Patriots – They have the best coach in the NFL, a good defense, and potentially the best offense in football if Tom Brady is back at 100 percent. If the Jets want to win the AFC East, the road goes through New England (sorry Dolphins fans).

Indianapolis Colts – They were playing as well as anyone in football last year before getting bounced in the wild-card round to the Chargers. Even without Tony Dungy, they still have a quality defense and tons of weapons on offense, including first round pick Donald Brown, who should flourish in their system.

San Diego Chargers – They have as much talent as anyone in football, but can they put it together? Fortunately for them, the AFC West is a weak division and they shouldn’t have any trouble repeating as champs.

The Contenders

Baltimore Ravens – A great defense, a young quarterback who is only going to get better, and a dominant running game should equal another double-digit win total for the Ravens.

Tennessee Titans – I think they will take a big step down from last year’s win total. They sure didn’t feel like a 13-3 team last year, but maybe that’s just because I watched the Jets embarrass them in their home building. They got a shot for revenge in the Meadowlands in week 3, though.

Question Marks

Miami Dolphins – They have 6-10 written all over them this season and I’m not saying that as a biased Jets fan. The Wildcat won’t fool anybody this year and Chad Pennington has never put together two healthy, productive seasons in a row. Yet, they have a good defense and running game which will keep them competitive.

Buffalo Bills – There is a ton of talent at the skill positions but can Trent Edwards stay healthy and take his game to the next level? Can Dick Jauron get out of his own way?

New York Jets – I expect a great defense and a great running game but there is still question marks at quarterback, receiver, tight end, and depth on both lines.

Houston Texans – Every year everybody picks them to make a big jump but it never seems to happen. If Matt Schaub can stay healthy, their offense will be scary good with Steve Slaton and Andre Johnson making plays but they still have question marks on defense, as usual. The Texans will be a good test for the Jets in week one.

Bigger Question Marks

Denver Broncos – You don’t improve from 8-8 by going from Jay Cutler to Kyle Orton at quarterback.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Torry Holt will help them on offense, but unless David Garrard goes back to his 2007 form, the Jaguars aren’t going to be any better than they were last season.

The Basement Dwellers

Oakland Raiders – There is obviously talent on offense and some pieces on defense, but hasn’t that been the case on Oakland for the past few years? I’m sure they will go 5-11 but still find a way to beat the Jets.

Kansas City Chiefs – Matt Cassell isn’t going to look so good without Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and one of the best offensive lines in football.

Cincinnatti Bengals – If Carson Palmer can play a full 16 games, they could improve a few games from last season but that would only put them in the 6-7 win range.

Cleveland Browns – Have fun Eric Mangini, but hey they said the same thing about your Jets in 2006 and look what happened.

Jets Highlight of the Day: After spending another weekend of arguing with my friend’s about Leon Washington’s talent level, I decided to throw up some of his highlights, Give 29 a new contract: