Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. The only Jets who didn’t practice today were Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Ryan didn’t sound too optimistic about either of them playing, especially Strickland. It definitely isn’t a good week to be without your #2 and #3 corners but Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman have showed they are capable replacements off the bench.

2. Make sure you check out episode IV of Turn On the Jets TV tomorrow, Corbett (my editor) and myself will in the studio (our apartment) filming a recap on week 3 and a prediction for Jets/Saints, along with a few other things for your entertainment.

3. Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month award. It is the first time a Jets player has ever won that award. Sanchez has 606 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

4. It will be good to see the Jets back in their normal green and white jerseys this week.

5. Just a reminder that after this game, the Jets get outside linebacker Calvin Pace back (80 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles in 2008).

6. The Jets are 6.5 point underdogs this week…no respect.

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: It has been tough sledding for the Jets running game so far this season but this is the game they need to break out of their funk. On the road, in the deafening Superdome, against the league’s best offense you need to establish a strong running game to keep Drew Brees and co. off the field and not put too much pressure on your rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington need their combined 40 touches and they need to make the most out of them. Leon is way overdue to rip off a big play on offense and Jones needs to get back above 4 yards a carry to start moving the chains again. If Jones starts off slow, don’t be surprised to see rookie Shonn Greene get a few carries. The better the Jets run the football, the better Mark Sanchez will play and the better chance the Jets will have to win this game.

When the Jets do need to pass, Sanchez must do a better job of protecting the football than he did last week. The Jets offense can’t let New Orleans get a short field because of a turnover or give them any points to make the defense’s task harder than it already is. Outside of his touchdown grab against New England, Dustin Keller has been very quiet the past two weeks and the Jets need to get him involved in their passing attack. Jerricho Cotchery needs to keep it going as the go to receiver, and Chansi Stuckey needs to bounce back after only having 11 yards receiving last week. Let’s see if this is the game that David Clowney can get a ball thrown his way, since he is coming off a couple of strong weeks in practice as a response to his deactivation against the Titans. I would like to see the Jets run another play out of their “Seminole” package beyond Leon Washington just faking the reverse to Brad Smith and keeping it. They tried a throwback to Sanchez last week but it got called back on a holding penalty.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Jets banged up secondary will have a difficult task against Drew Brees and co. this week. Darrelle Revis will likely be locked up Marques Colston and should be able to handle him. However, that will leave speedster Devery Henderson on Dwight Lowery, who has struggled with faster receivers in the past and been beaten deep on occasion. Don’t be surprised if the Jets give Lowery some help over the top. Expect to see Eric Smith either shadowing Jeremy Shockey or Reggie Bush out of the backfield. It will be interesting to see how often the Saints go to their running game with Pierre Thomas or Bush against the Jets front seven. I have confidence in the Jets ability to contain the run but they must continue to be aggressive their pass rush to help out their secondary this week.

New Orleans won’t drop as many passes as the Titans did and they have more players on the outside who can make you play for a blown coverage. This game is a golden opportunity for the Jets defense to make a statement that they are the league’s best. If they can go into New Orleans and keep Drew Brees in check, how are you going to say another unit has been better than them through four weeks?

Hopefully, the Jets can jump out to an early lead which will force the Saints to rely even more on the passing game than they already do, allowing the Jets to get some hits on Brees and force him into a few turnovers. This is Vernon Gholston’s last game as a starter, so far he only has 6 tackles and 1 TFL. There isn’t a better time for him to get his first NFL sack than this week.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington almost broke a few against New England, let’s see if can rip off a huge kick return against the Saints suspect coverage unit on the fast track at the Superdome. Reggie Bush is always dangerous on punt returns, but guys like Wallace Wright, Jason Trusnik, and Eric Smith have been excellent in coverage this season.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish a strong running game and get Thomas and Leon their combined 40 touches. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers and hits a few big plays down the field to keep the Saints defense honest. The Jets defense gets to Drew Brees early and often, forcing him into a few bad decisions. Darrelle Revis continues to prove why he is the best corner in football, by locking down Marques Colston.

The Jets Will Lose If…Mark Sanchez plays like a rookie and struggles with the crowd noise, along with the Saints opportunistic defense. Dwight Lowery gets torched by Devery Henderson for a big play. Reggie Bush rips off a long run after a catch out of the backfield to get some revenge on Bart Scott. Drew Brees isn’t pressured in the pocket and carves up the Jets banged up secondary.

A Memorable Moment in Jets/Saints History

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

Jets vs. Titans: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan doesn’t think corner Donald Strickland is going to play this week, while Lito Sheppard will probably end up being a game-time decision. Expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman as the nickel, also keep an eye out for Ahmad Caroll or Marquice Cole to potentially get some reps off the bench.

2. The Jets added recently released tight end Mattthew Mulligan to their practice squad.

3. Bart Scott took a stand for Darrelle Revis, who received no respect from Randy Moss after being shut down by him last Sunday. Here is what Scott had to say, “I hear the easy cop-out by Moss that anyone can play cornerback. Sometimes, you got to give the man his credit, that [Revis] was the better man that day. It doesn’t take away from the fact that Moss is a great receiver in this league. But [Revis] shut him down. Randy was coming across the middle real slow. Tell him to man up and come across the middle like a man if he wants to be a complete receiver in this league.” Whooo, well said Bart.

4. Make sure you check in tomorrow for episode III of Turn On the Jets TV. I got some great footage from the Jets/Pats game from inside the stadium, along with a prediction for the Jets/Titans game, some smack talk for the rest of the AFC East and plenty more.

5. Jerricho Cotchery’s foundation will be hosting their second annual “Tailgate with the Pros” at the ESPN Zone in New York City on Monday, October 19th from 7:30-10:30 PM. The event will feature Jets players, great food, a comedian, and the Monday night game. All proceeds from the event go to the Pride Academy Charter School in East Orange, NJ and six Citizen schools in Newark, Brooklyn, and Harlem, helping create more educational opportunities for the children.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Titans have been stingy against the run so far this season but have struggled heavily against the pass. Regardless, the Jets shouldn’t forget who they are on offense and turn away from Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Yes, they should open it up a little more than they did last week and use some spread looks, along with a few more vertical passes but there is no reason Jones and Washington shouldn’t remain in the 35-40 touches range. The Titans have allowed three different receivers to go for over 100 yards on them in only two games so Jerricho Cotchery should be licking his chops. I think he has looked the part of a #1 receiver so far, and the potential is there for a big game on Sunday.

It will be interesting to see if the Jets attempt to get a few other players involved in the offensive game plan this Sunday. David Clowney and Brad Smith are yet to record a reception this season. Shonn Greene is also yet to receive a carry. Sanchez has only taken two shots down the field so far, once he hit Chansi Stuckey for a touchdown and he overshot Jerricho Cotchery last week. I really do think this will be the week where the Jets go play action and attempt to air one out to Clowney.

Don’t forget about Dustin Keller, who pulled in 6 catches against the Titans last year. He was only involved in the short passing game last week, so look for the Jets to try to hit him down the seam. I was disappointed to see the Jets only attempt one screen last week (it went to Thomas Jones for a 1 yard gain). Leon Washington and Keller are both big threats on a well executed screen, and the Jets hurt the Titans with a few last season. Rex Ryan got on his offensive line a little bit last week, so they’ll be playing with something to prove, particularly in the running game.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: All eyes will be on Chris Johnson, who is coming off one of the better games a running has put together in recent history. Johnson is a burner, who can score any time he touches the football so the Jets need to swarm him and wrap him up before he builds up a head of steam. Don’t expect Rex Ryan to scale back his aggressive style because of Johnson’s big play ability. He will put his faith in his defenders to make open field tackles and not allow Johnson to break free.

Kerry Collins isn’t very mobile and prone to fumbling the football, so the Jets will looking to hit him early and often. They didn’t record a single sack last week, despite spending the entire game in Tom Brady’s face. I am sure Ryan will be reminding his defenders about being sack-less in his pre-game speech. The Jets could be short handed in the secondary with injuries to Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, which will put pressure on Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman to step up. Tennessee has some speed at receiver and will take their shots down the field, likely on Lowery since it makes no sense to throw the ball at Darrelle Revis.

Special Teams Breakdown: Reggie Hodges will be looking for punting revenge against the Jets, as he was signed to replace the injured Craig Hentrich. Leon Washington had a big game returning kicks last week, although the Titans usually are very solid all the way around on special teams.

The Jets Will Win If…They come out with the proper mindset and haven’t been reading too many of their press clippings this week. Mark Sanchez is able to hit a few big throws down the field to soften up their defense, allowing Thomas Jones and Leon Washington to get going. The Jets force Kerry Collins into a couple of turnovers with their constant pressure and Chris Johnson isn’t able to rip off any monster runs or receptions to give the Titans quick points.

The Jets Will Lose If…They can’t match the intensity of a 0-2 Titans team playing for their lives. Chris Johnson has another monster day. Mark Sanchez finally looks like a rookie and has a few turnovers. The Jets running game never gets going, forcing Sanchez into too many obvious passing situations where their pass rush gets to him.

Every Mark Sanchez Pass From Last Week

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed corner Marquice Cole from their practice squad to the active roster, and released tight end Matthew Mulligan. Lito Sheppard (quad) and Donald Strickland (ankle) both didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan didn’t sound that confident when discussing either of them playing this Sunday. If both those guys don’t play, expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman move into the nickle spot.

2. Michael Ventre of NBC Sports doesn’t seem to like the Jets or their fans too much, as expressed here: (http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32975810/ns/sports-nfl//) . He made alot of less than flattering generalizations about Jets fans and seems to have us all pegged as overweight, stupid, and unable to put sentences together without a profanity. He also doesn’t have much faith in the Jets sustaining their success. I don’t know Michael Ventre, but it sounds like his girlfriend cheated on him with a guy from New York or something.

3. The Jets are ranked #4 in USA Today’s Power Rankings, let’s not read the press clippings like last year.

4. Jets are currently ranked #1 in yards allowed and still are yet to allow a touchdown. If you take away the Sanchez interception and the field goal from Leon Washington’s fumble, and they have allowed 6 points.

5. Good to have the Yankees back in the playoffs, where they belong. However, I am not getting too excited until they lock up the AL East crown.

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Titans 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 vs. Chris Johnson: Johnson is coming off a game where he had 197 yards rushing and 87 yards receiving, no that isn’t a misprint. He has tremendous speed and game-breaking ability that likely keeps many defensive coordinators up at night. It will be on the Jets linebackers, led by Scott and Harris to get Johnson in the backfield before he can explode through the hole and to wrap him when they get a chance. A missed tackle against this guy could lead to a 70 yard touchdown. The Jets are going to have to commit a corner or safety to him in coverage when he splits out, but if he is catching passes out of the backfield, Harris or Scott have to recognize the play and react before he builds up a head of steam.

Jerricho Cotchery/Chansi Stuckey/David Clowney/Dustin Keller vs. Cortland Finnegan/Nick Harper/Michael Griffin/Chris Hope: The Titans pass defense has been awful through the first two weeks of the regular season. Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and Andre Johnson all went for over 100 yards on them. Despite having a rookie quarterback, this might be the game for Brian Schottenheimer to turn the spread/passing offense a little bit loose. Jerricho Cotchery had the best statistical game of his career against the Titans two years ago (8 receptions, 152 yards, 1 TD) and also had a nice day against them last year with 6 catches for 55 yards. Dustin Keller had 6 catches last year against the Titans, converting multiple key third downs. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez can air a few out this Sunday and maybe hit a guy like David Clowney or Cotchery on a few big plays. Nobody is saying the Jets should abandon their running game, but if there are opportunities for big plays in the passing game, the Jets need to take advantage of them.

Jets Offensive Line vs. Titans Defensive Line: The Jets ran all over Tennesee last year en route to a 34-13 victory. Rex Ryan has expressed some mild disappointment with the Jets production on the ground so far and both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are coming off quiet games running the ball. The Titans have one of the NFL’s best run defenses, so it would make a statement if the Jets could have the type of success they did last year.

Rex Ryan vs. The Let Down Game: The Jets are coming off an emotional victory and are suddenly becoming the national media’s darlings. Tennessee is a team that is much better than their 0-2 record indicates and is facing a desperation game, because coming back from 0-3 in the AFC South would be near impossible. All in the ingredients are in place for the Jets to have a major let down performance/reality check. Can Rex have his team ready to go with the same intensity he did last week?

Leon Delivers the Knockout Punch to Tennessee Last Year

Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game

First a few updates:

1. Apparently the 49ers are threatening the Jets with tampering charges for still unsigned receiver Michael Crabtree. I don’t know what the Jets could have done except maybe reach out to their agent for preliminary discussions about him for the 2010 draft, since it looks like that is where he is headed. The Broncos were threatening charges about Brandon Marshall and nothing came of it, so as of now I wouldn’t be too worried about this.

2. Some injury concerns from yesterday: Lito Sheppard has a quad injury, which could be trouble considering his history, Donald Strickland who has been sensational off the bench twisted his ankle, and Kris Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him late in the game (that’s alot of wind). In terms of Sheppard and Strickland you have to hope they will be back to 100 percent for the Saints game the week after next. I think Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman can hold the fort down against the Titans.

3. You have to love the excuses and lack of credit coming out of New England. First off, Randy Moss commenting that Darrelle Revis didn’t shut him down and that he always had help over the top, which is just laughable because anybody who watched the game knows Revis was one on one with Moss 90 percent of the time. Moss was held to 4 catches for 24 yards, was out jumped by Revis for an interception and appeared to give up on some of his routes because #24 gave him no room to breathe. Also, Boston talk radio today and the Patriots message board yesterday and today can’t seem to recognize the reality that the Jets out-played and out-coached them yesterday. If I was a New England player, fan, or media member I would stop crying about the Jets trash talk, mocking of them by making Kevin O’Connell, Larry Izzo, and Damien Woody captains and focus on upcoming games against Atlanta and Baltimore. How does 1-3 sound New England?

4. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 in his power rankings and put Darrelle Revis on his MVP watch list. I will say that it is nice to see some national media members (John Clayton also singled him out in his column) finally talking about Revis as arguably the best corner in the league.

5. Site Updates – I added the Jets/Pats highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, added the new episode of TOJ TV to the “TOJ TV” section, updated the stats and the depth chart.

6. The Yankees better take care of business against the Angles the next three games. I don’t want to be heading into the Boston series up 3 games or less.

7. Eric Mangini…yikes. How does 2-14 sound?

8. My fantasy team? Yikes…how does 2-11 sound? My top two quarterbacks (McNabb and Hassleback) are already down.

Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game

Quarterbacks: (B) It was a slow start for Mark Sanchez, who couldn’t move the offense in the first half and nearly had a disastrous fumble on his first play from scrimmage. Yet, the kid came out slinging in the second half. His two most impressive throws were the laser to Jerricho Cotchery to kick off the second half and the touch he displayed on his touchdown pass to Dustin Keller, just two plays later. 14/22 for 163 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions is enough for the Jets to win with this season. How about the rookie doubling Tom Brady’s quarterback rating? The best part about Sanchez is that he is only going to get better as the season progresses.

Running Backs: (B-) Leon Washington had a killer fumble that directly led to three points for New England and a dropped pass but beyond that put together a strong, productive game on offense. His 19 yard run in the fourth quarter was something else and he had a huge third down conversion on a reception over the middle. Thomas Jones was steady but was never able to break through to the second level. Jones and Washington combined for 31 touches (14 carries each, Washington had 2 receptions, and Jones had 1). I’d like to see that number closer to 40 but Brian Schottenheimer is still doing a great job of balancing their touches and using Leon Washington more.

Wide Receivers: (B) After being invisible in the first half, Jerricho Cotchery looked like a legit number one receiver in the second half. He did a great job staying on his feet and turning a 15 yard catch into a 45 yard gain and went down to make two other tough catches for Mark Sanchez, including one that converted a big third down. Cotchery looks like a 1200 yard receiver right now. Chansi Stuckey was productive with 4 catches, including a gutsy grab when getting leveled by 2 Pats defenders. Brad Smith had his standard one reverse, this time picking up seven yards. David Clowney still hasn’t had a ball thrown his way.

Tight Ends (B+) Dustin Keller stepped up in the red-zone, which will be key for the Jets this season. He did have a holding penalty but overall did a solid job with his blocking. Ben Hartsock played less than he did last week.

Offensive Line (A-) Another strong effort by this unit, who only allowed Sanchez to be sacked twice and opened enough holes in the running game. Alan Faneca may have been beat for a sack but had a heads up play by covering up the ball after everybody else seemed to stop, thinking it was an incomplete pass.

Defensive Line (B) These guys must be exhausted, since only four of them were active. Sione Pouha provided quality reps off the bench. Kris Jenkins appeared to be himself in the middle and Shaun Ellis had a huge stop on a 3rd and 1. Overall, the Pats ran the ball a little better than I expected them to but like the rest of the unit, the defensive line bent but never broke.

Linebackers (A) Was there two David Harris’ and Bart Scotts on the field yesterday? The Jets inside linebackers were constantly in Tom Brady’s face. Scott had 2 tackles for a loss and Harris had 3 hits on the quarterback. Bryan Thomas was also very active with 4 tackles and a few near sacks. Vernon Gholston didn’t play that much and when he was on the field didn’t have an impact. Imagine this defense when Calvin Pace comes back? Wow.

Secondary (A) Rex Ryan was smart to have 10 defensive backs active since the Patriots spent the whole game in 3 and 4 wide sets. Darrelle Revis was Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the NFL right now. Kerry Rhodes backed his words up with 8 tackles, a QB hit, and a PD. Jim Leonhard is always around the football. Donald Strickland was having the game of his life before leaving with an ankle injury. Dwight Lowery was excellent off the bench and could be seeing more playing time the next couple of weeks with the injuries to Strickland and Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A) A great game of kick returning by Leon Washington. Another good coverage day for the Jets punt and kick units. Jay Feely was 3/3 on kicks.

Coaching (A+) Rex Ryan can do no wrong right now. You can say his voice message to fans was cheesy but it worked. I have never seen the stadium like that in my life. In only a few months he has completely changed the culture around this team. I love how the Jets defer when they win the coin toss. I love how he made the ex-Pats the game captains and I love how he out adjusted Bill Belichick at half-time.

Enjoy the Highlights One Last Time

Ain't It Beautiful: Jets Beat Pats, Initial Reaction

Is it just me or is it all of a sudden alot more fun to be a Jets fan? I just got back from the Meadowlands and I will say the fans game ball from Rex Ryan was well deserved. In my 18 years of going to Jets games, I have never seen a crowd like I saw it today. There was no sitting, just non-stop jumping, cheering, “Brady sucks” chants, “Defense” chants, “Boston Sucks” chants, and all that other good stuff. The fans were on their game today and fortunately so was Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and of course the Jets defense which is yet to allow a touchdown through 2 games.

Sorry Bill…You were out-coached today, the Pats were in control at halftime up 9-3 and you were out-adjusted by Rex Ryan at halftime as the Jets outscored you 13-0 in the second half. Your team was undisciplined, coming up with 11 penalties for 89 yards and not surprisingly you couldn’t even look Rex Ryan in the face and barely shake his hand after the game. You might have traded away one too many players on that defense. which simply isn’t on the same level as the Jets.

Sorry Tom…You look rattled and scared in the pocket, we could smell you crapping your pants from the Jets pass rush all the way up in Section 313. 23/47? I am not math whiz, but isn’t that below 50 percent? Back to back delay of game penalties? I thought Mark Sanchez was the rookie. Zero touchdowns and an interception? Yikes. I don’t know, that Patriots offense doesn’t look like anything too special to me.

How About…That Jets defense, I can’t talk enough about them. Darrelle Revis is the best corner in the NFL right now. Who else shuts down Andre Johnson (who by the way had 149 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns against all-pro corner Cortland Finnegan today) and Randy Moss in back to back weeks? Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard both played very well and hopefully their injuries aren’t serious even though Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, and Drew Coleman all stepped up off the bench…Mark Sanchez protecting the football and coming up huge in the second half with two big strikes to Jerricho Cotchery, a beautiful touchdown pass to Dustin Keller, and a huge third down conversion to Chansi Stuckey. The best is that he is only going to get better…The previously mentioned receivers, all stepping up and providing another good game, especially Cotchery who had 87 yards receiving, all in the second half.

Much more to come tomorrow, right now my throat hurts, my legs are killing me, but damn we just held Tom Brady to 0 touchdowns, below 50 percent passing, out-coached Bill Belichick, and cheered the Pats into 4 delay of game penalties.

Enjoy it Jets Nation, you are 2-0, have a defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in 2 games, just beat New England, and you may have finally found the right coach and right quarterback. If you weren’t at the game today, find a way to get to a home game this season because that was place was rocking today, and if the Jets keep playing this way it is going to be rocking all season.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Check out http://web.me.com/greenrewind.com where I recently did an interview on Marty Schupak’s program to discuss the Jets/Pats game.

2. The New England locker room is likely buried in bulletin board material this week, since Kerry Rhodes didn’t hold back in an interview with Gary Myers of the Daily News. Rhodes stated, “You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them. Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don’t want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, ‘We’re not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it’s not going to be luck, it’s not going to be a mistake.” He also promised the Jets will hit Brady more than six times, which is how many hits the Bills got on him. Well at least we know the Jets aren’t lacking confidence heading into this game.

3. Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha, Wallace Wright, and Damien Woody were all limited at practice today.

4. Check back tomorrow for Episode II of “Turn On the Jets” TV, where I ramble about my frustration with the Jets/Pats rivalry, review week one of the NFL, preview week two and make a pick for the Jets/Pats game.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Jets need to build on what they did last week against the Houston Texans. There shouldn’t be any type of excessively conservative play calling because Mark Sanchez is a rookie and is facing Bill Bellicheck. Obviously, a large portion of the Jets game plan will revolve around Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and potentially Shonn Greene running the football and I still believe Jones/Washington need to be at or around 40 touches for the Jets to win but the Jets can’t be afraid to spread it out and throw the football. They have the personnel to attack the Patriots. I will say this again, don’t confuse New England’s defense with the Ravens or Steelers, this isn’t one the elite units in the league, especially without Jerod Mayo.

I have watched Jerricho Cotchery repeatedly kill the Pats secondary since 2006, and they even used to have better corners than they do now. Dustin Keller snagged 8 passes last November when the Jets won in New England. The Jets should be comfortable in their three wide set with Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, and Keller with Leon Washington in the backfield. Also, they shouldn’t shy away from using their “Seminole” package with Leon Washington or Brad Smith working from the shotgun. I will also be real interested to see if the Jets take a home run shot to David Clowney some time in the first half to keep New England off balance.

The bottom line is that the Jets can’t go into a shell because they are playing the big, bad Patriots who usually push them around in their building. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington still need their carries but the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to take their shots to Dustin Keller down the seam or David Clowney down the side-line.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: Tackle, tackle, and tackle. The Patriots always kill the Jets with a barrage of short passes and screens to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk. It is the entire defense’s responsibility to recognize the play, swarm to the football, and wrap these guys up. Darrelle Revis will prevent the big play from Randy Moss over the top, which means it is on guys like Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, and Jim Leonhard to keep Welker and Faulk in front of them and tackle them at first contact.

The Patriots also have a deep collection of running backs, led by Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney. They couldn’t move the ball on the ground against Buffalo but don’t expect them to abandon the running game against the Jets. The run defense  starts with Kris Jenkins who is nursing a sore back, despite being boosted by the return of Shaun Ellis, guys like Howard Green and Sione Pouha need to step up and provide quality reps for Jenkins off the bench.

I am expecting a blitz happy scheme from Rex Ryan, which will test Brady under pressure early and often. This will make the secondary’s task even more difficult but Ryan seems to have total confidence in Revis, Sheppard, Leonhard, and Rhodes. David Harris & co need to stay in Brady’s face all day, because if Brady has time to stand back there, he is lethal.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington took a kick back for a touchdown the last time these two teams met, so keep an eye on #29 as usual. Wes Welker is always dangerous on punt returns and Maroney is a pretty good kick returner himself. Hopefully, Steve Weatherford can continue his strong punting.

The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez protects the football. Brian Schottenheimer catches New England off guard by coming out in the spread offense and showing confidence in his rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones/Leon Washington do their usual work with their 40 combined touches. The Jets get points either on special teams or because of a defensive turnover. The pass rush stays in Tom Brady’s face all day, keeping him uncomfortable in the pocket. New England can’t run the football, making their offense one-dimensional and opening Brady up to more hits.

The Jets Will Lose If…Tom Brady has all day in the pocket and picks apart the Jets with short passes to his tight ends, Wes Welker, and Kevin Faulk. Mark Sanchez is confused by Bellicheck and throws a couple of costly interceptions, forcing the Jets to be conservative on offense. Thomas Jones starts out with 16 yards on 14 carries but never gets the chance to have a big finish like he did versus Houston. The Jets fall behind early and the crowd/team fall into the normal New England depression/losing attitude.

Help Rex Out

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

First a few updates:

1. A bunch of the Jets talked about Rex Ryan’s pre-game speech before their beatdown of the Texans. According to Jay Feely, Ryan used the f-word about 52 times. The general gist of the speech was that the Texans were a soft, finesse team and the Jets were going to kick the crap out of them, and sure enough they did. Ryan sent a message to Houston right away by deferring after winning the coin toss, showing he wasn’t scared of their hyped up offense. Kris Jenkins joked that Ryan should be banned by the NFL as performance enhancing drug because of how motivated he had the team…I hope he has a strong encore performance for this week’s game.

2. The Jets don’t have permanent captains but their game captains for Houston were Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca, Howard Green, and James Dearth.

3. After being presented with the game ball by Kerry Rhodes, Rex Ryan turned and flipped it over to Woody Johnson for giving him the chance to be a head coach in the NFL, before getting a little emotional in the locker room. I wonder if Eric Manginishowed any emotion in his opening game with the Browns?

4. Shonn Greene was inactive because the Jets wanted to carry an extra linebacker because they were concerned about Bryan Thomas having a sore leg, so Jason Trunsik was active over Greene who is now 100 percent healthy.

5. Across the top of the page, you can now find “Jets Stats” which has their updated leaders in all major statistical categories. I also added the Jets/Texans highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, don’t be confused by the lettering on the video that says “Colts vs Jaguars,” it is the Jets/Texans highlights. Also the first episode of TOJ TV is archived under the “TOJ TV” page.

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

Quarterbacks: (A-) I’m not sure you could have asked for a better performance by Mark Sanchez in his first career start. Yes, he threw a costly interception and nearly had two others picked off but he dominated third down going 12/15 for 191 yards and a touchdown, showing his clutch ability. He also moved tremendously well in the pocket, avoiding sacks and keeping multiple plays alive. People love to talk about the “it” factor at quarterback, I’m not sure it is reasonable to assess a trait that can’t clearly be defined to somebody but it sure as hell looks like Sanchez has “it.” He plays with a ton of energy and acts like a leader on the field, sprinting out to break up a fight after Jay Feely knocked through a field goal. Would Brett Favre have been out there last year, trying to prevent a penalty?

Running Backs: (A-) 19 touches for Leon Washington? It is about damn time. Washington averaged 4 yards per carry and provided a consistent performance. He also chipped in 4 catches and a key pass breakup on a near interception. Thomas Jones started with 14 carries for 16 yards and finished with 20 carries for 107 yards, which is why you stick with the running game. Tony Richardson was excellent, providing a crushing block on safety Nick Ferguson that sprung Jones 38 yard touchdown run. I am going to keep harping on this…the closer Jones/Washington get to 40 touches a game, the more likely the Jets are to win. They combined for 39 against Houston, with a near perfect split of Jones having 20 and Washington having 19.

Wide Receivers: (B+) Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey’s ability to run after the catch converted a handful of key third downs for the Jets. After dropping his first pass, Cotchery caught the next 6 thrown to him. If they can play like this on a weekly basis, people won’t think twice about Laveranues Coles or any other veteran receiver for a long time. Brad Smith had a nice run on a reverse but also had a drop and a holding penalty. David Clowney wasn’t targeted at all.

Tight Ends: (A) Dustin Keller led the Jets in receiving yards with 94 and had two key third down conversions, including the biggest catch of the game, a 40 yard catch and run when the Jets faced a crucial 3rd and 3 with a 17-7 lead. He is going to be a nightmare match-up for defenses all season. Ben Hartsock played very well for somebody who just joined the team a week ago, providing steady blocking and playing a bunch of reps.

Offensive Line: (A) Whenever you allow zero sacks and have 190+ yards of rushing, you get an A. The only negative was three false start penalties. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody more than held their own against Mario Williams.

Defensive Line: (A) It was comical watching Kris Jenkins throw Texans center Chris Myers around like a rag doll all day. Jenkins didn’t have a big day statistically but anybody who watched the game knows how well he played. Mike DeVito had a big fumble recovery, thanks to his hustle down the field. Marques Douglas had a TFL…oh yea, Steve Slaton only ran for 17 yards.

Linebackers: (A) The A’s are getting redundant, but trust me I’m not getting tired typing them. David Harris was a beast with 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. He also knocked Andre Davis into another planet when he tried to come over the middle. Bart Scott set the tone early with a crushing blow on Matt Schaub, who played scared the rest of the game. Vernon Gholston had 3 tackles, a TFL and held his own for the entire day which is a step in the right direction for him. Jamaal Westerman continues to look like a UDFA steal, as he recorded his first NFL sack.

Secondary (A) Outside of Nnamdi Asomugha, who is a better corner than Darrelle Revis in the NFL? He is straight lockdown, period. Andre Johnson might as well stayed in the locker room because it was hard to notice he was even out there. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard were both active around the line of scrimmage. Donald Strickland had a great game with 3 tackles, a key forced fumble, and a QB pressure that led to an INT. Lito Sheppard was strong in run support and also had an interception. Eric Smith had a big 4th down pass break up and had a surprisingly active day.

Special Teams (A) Jay Feely made all his kicks. Steve Weatherford punted well and the Jets allowed zero return yards on punts. Leon Washington and Jim Leonhard were solid on returns.

Coaching (A) Rex Ryan had the Jets motivated and came up with a game plan that had Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak’s head spinning. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job using Leon Washington and throwing some well timed screens to keep Houston off balance.

Highlights of the Jets Week One Win Over Houston

Jets – 24 Texans – 7, Instant Reaction

You couldn’t have asked for a better opening day effort from the New York Jets. They completely dominated  a team that all the “expert” analysts were calling a serious playoff contender and a threat to the Colts in the AFC South, while everybody dismissed the Jets as the AFC East’s worst team, who wouldn’t be able to handle the Texans with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach. Well, that’s why they play the game and there is no question that the Jets embarrassed an over matched, and likely overrated Houston Texans team.

First and Foremost….the Jets defense was phenomenal. Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and the Jets forced him into a crucial fumble. Andre Johnson was invisible (thank you very much Darrelle Revis, who owned their 1 on 1 match-up) and Matt Schaub looked terrible, mostly thanks to consistently vicious Jets pass rush, which was in his face all day. David Harris looked like an all-pro, racking up 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. Better yet, everybody contributed with guys like Donald Strickland, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, and Jamaal Westerman (1st NFL sack before Vernon Gholston) chipping in. Rex Ryan called a great game, keeping Houston off balance.

He Sure Didn’t Look Like A Rookie…Outside of an interception and a handful of other risky throws, Mark Sanchez played very well providing the Jets with a balanced attack by racking up a 272 yard passing performance and a touchdown. Most impressive was Sanchez on third down, where he was nearly flawless routinely converting big throw, after big throw. i believe he was something like 12/15 in those situations. His biggest throw of the day was a 40 yard completion to Dustin Keller on a third down after the Texans had cut the lead to 17-7 on an interception return, completing stopping any chance they had at momentum.

40 Touches…I said before the game that if Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for 40 touches, the Jets would win and sure enough they combined for 39 and the Jets won. Brian Schottenheimer did an excellent job utilizing Leon Washington (15 carries, 60 yards, 4 catches 24 yards) and sticking with Thomas Jones who struggled early but broke through in the second half with 2 huge runs and 2 touchdowns. He finished the day with 107 yards on 20 carries. I also like the Jets “Seminole” aka their version of the Wildcat, which hit for a couple of nice runs to Washington.

No Brandon Marshall, No Laveranues Coles, No Problem…Great games by Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Chansi Stuckey who all raised their games on third downs to make big plays for their rookie quarterback. Cotchery ran well after the catch and was right around 100 yards, as was Keller. Stuckey obviously had the big 30 yard touchdown and ran well on receiver screens.

You What Is Even More Exciting?…We didn’t even have Calvin Pace, Shaun Ellis, or Shonn Greene today. The Jets D is going to be scary, scary good when those guys come back….No sacks allowed by the Jets -Line…Kris Jenkins is still a beast…The Dolphins looked like garbage today, getting beat down by Atlanta…We are playing New England next week, you have to love that early season big game.

And on that note, I will carry on being in a great mood for the Jets of my Sunday.

Jets vs. Texans: Talking to the Opponent

First a few updates: 

1. A big congratulations to Derek Jeter for breaking the all-time Yankees hit record.

Jets vs. Texans: Talking to the Opponent

I exchanged questions with Texans writer Mike Kerns from (http://dontmesswithtexans.com/) here is our conversation about the Jets/Texans match-up:

MK: With the apparent “QB battle” over and Mark Sanchez winning the starting job (was there really any doubt?), what does the team plan to do with Kellen Clemens. Does he become the primary backup? Or does Rex Ryan plan to see if Clemons can garner any interest on the trade market? Also, is he okay with just being a backup?

JC: Clemens will be the Jets backup this season because none of the quarterbacks on the roster have any experience but this will be his last season in green and white since his contract expires and the Jets like the long term potential of Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell. I’m sure Clemens isn’t okay with being a backup, but he had enough chances to be a starter and never took advantage.

MK: A lot of Texans fans were all about trading down in the 2006 draft and taking D’brickshaw Ferguson with their first pick. Now that the fallout from the Mario Williams pick has cleared (and most are now declaring him the right pick for #1 overall) you don’t hear much about Brick in Houston anymore. With this being the first match up between the two high draft picks, who do you give the edge to?
JC: I would give the edge to Williams, who has been a pro-bowl caliber player the past couple of seasons. D’Brick has been pretty good but not great since the Jets drafted him, although he is predicting a pro-bowl appearance for himself this season. It will be fun to watch those two battle on Sunday though, since they two of the more athletic people at their positions in the NFL.
MK: Is the new stories about Brett Favre calling out Jets officials about making him play injured last season as big of a story around the team as ESPN is making it out to be?
JC: I think Favre is just making excuses for his poor play down the stretch. Mike Tannenbaum admitted today that he should have listed Favre as probable, but it remains to be seen if the NFL will take any disciplinary action against the Jets
MK: Derrelle Revis and Andre Johnson. All-Pro vs. All-Pro. This is the one that seems to be getting the most attention on Texans fan sites. Last season, only Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders was able to keep Andre Johnson in check. Revis isn’t exactly a slouch though. What’s your gut telling you the outcome will be in this match up?
JC: Andre Johnson will get his catches, but I think Revis will be able to prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play. He usually rises up against the elite receivers in the league. I can see Johnson having something like 5 catches for 59 yards, but he won’t go off for one of his 8 catch, 130 yard, 2 TD’s performance.
MK: With the Jets strong running attack being matched up against Houston’s weakness (Run Defense), what kind of day are you expecting from Thomas Jones and Leon Washington?
JC: I am expecting Jones and Washington to combine for 40 touches on Sunday. I think TJ will get 22-25 carries and be right around 100 yards. Washington should be in the 10-12 carry range, along with a few receptions and should be good for a couple of big plays as usual.
 
JC: My prediction for the game:  Jets- 23, Texans – 20
JC: Expectations have never been higher for the Texans, do you think they will finally get over the hump and challenge the Colts for the divisional title or at least a wild card spot?
 
MK: Well, I am kind of on the fence about that one. The Texans were a trendy sleeper pick last year, as well. But I think either way it goes, it wouldn’t surprise me. We have gotten so used to things going wrong here that we have gotten used to it. We expect bad things to happen and expectations to come up short. I don’t necessarily think it is pessimism. Just realism. But to answer your question, it all depends on Matt Schaub. If he can stay on the field for a full season, I think Houston reaches double digits in wins for the first time in franchise history. The defense only needs to be middle of the pack with the high power offense. And it all starts, and ends, with Matt Schaub.
JC: How healthy is Matt Schaub and if he gets knocked out of the game, will Dan Orlovsky or Rex Grossman come into the game?
 
MK: Matt Schaub declared himself ready to go for the game Sunday. When asked if he was 100%, he replied “in this league, you are never 100%.” But I really think the ankle sprain he suffered against Minnesota has really only been made a big issue because of his durability problems in the past. The team is just being overly cautious. As they should be.
 
With his strong showing in the preseason finale, Rex Grossman won the backup job. But I have to believe he will have a very short leash, especially since the Texans gave Dan Orlovsky a 3 year/9 Million dollar contract this offseason.
JC: How concerned are you about the secondary and the Texans defense overall?
 
MK: I thank the lord above that Dunta Robinson ended his holdout. He immediately became the Texans best CB simply by walking back through the door. Jacques Reeves is still out with a broken fibula, so Fred Bennett will start opposite Robinson on Sunday. Aside from Dunta, I am very concerned about the secondary. As I have been for the past few seasons.
 
With a new defensive coordinator, Frank Bush, I expect some big plays to be given up sometimes by the Texans defense (See Adrian Peterson). Amobi Okoye is in his third year and is teetering into the “bust” stereotype. DeMeco Ryans is 100% healthy this year and playing for a new contract, so I expect him to bring the pain even more that usual. Mario is Mario, so I’m not worried about him. But I want to see more than just these two guys making plays. Okoye and free agent acquisition Antonio Smith need to work at slowing down the run. I really do not know what to expect from first round draft choice Brian Cushing. He missed the entire preseason, yet he is starting on Sunday. Should be interesting.
JC: Do you think Houston will target Kevin Walter often, since it will be matched up on Lito Sheppard who has struggled this pre-season, or do you think they won’t shy away from throwing at Darrelle Revis because they have Andre Johnson?
 
MK: I don’t think they will go to Kevin Water that much since he will probably not play. He suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason and he didn’t even practice today. Andre Davis or David Anderson will probably step in. I’d like to see Jacoby Jones get some time simply for his playmaking abilities, but his immaturity keeps him strictly a punt returner and special teamer. But I think you will see TE Owen Daniels with a big game.
 
As much as I admire Darrelle Revis, Andre Johnson has simply looked unstoppable for a couple of years now. So I don’t see offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan letting Revis take away their greatest weapon on offense. And I am sure Andre will be up for the challenge as well. He was only thrown to one time against Nnamdi Asomugha last year and I hope they don’t do the same this year against Revis. 
JC: What is your prediction for the final score?
 
MK: I think either one of two things happen. Either Houston comes out and gets up by a couple of scores in the first quarter and forces the Jets to make Mark Sanchez feel like he has to air it out. This slowing down the powerful Jets running game. Or, what is more likely, Houston’s defense is slow to arrive and relies on the potent Texans offense to play catch up all game. So, I predict a Kris Brown field goal with under a minute left puts Houston up 24-20 with under a minute left and Mark Sanchez is unable to make the game winning drive in his first NFL start. So, Houston wins a tough one 24-20. But only because they’ve become so tough at home.