Thoughts On Jets 53 Man Roster…As Of Right Now

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View the Jets current depth chart here http://turnonthejets.com/2009-depth-chart/

Obviously, there could be some changes in the upcoming days but for now…

The biggest surprises on the final 53

  • CB Brian Jackson – Benefits from the Revis holdout and Rex Ryan’s desire to carry as many corners as possible at all times. He also played well in the final pre-season game.
  • RB Chauncey Washington – A distant longshot when camp started but earned his spot through his tough inside running and solid special teams play.
  • TE Jeff Cumberland – Surprising the Jets carried four tight ends but they clearly love his potential.

Weird Numbers Game

  • The Jets are carrying seven running backs and only four receivers (until Santonio Holmes returns in week five). However, they can do this because Danny Woodhead can play running back and receiver.
  • Four tight ends, as previously mentioned, is somewhat rare.
  • Only six defensive lineman, not too shocking considering the Jets run a 3-4 and how much Ryan loves defensive backs.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

  • Brian Jackson, Chaucney Washington, and David Clowney could all be victimized by either the end to the Darrelle Revis contract dispute or the return of Santonio Holmes in week five. Also, I’d be surprised if Mike Tannenbaum didn’t find somebody off another roster before the season starts.

Enjoy Your Labor Day Weekend

Jets Weekend Video Clips & Roster Observations

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First a brief TOJ schedule update:

  • Saturday – Thoughts on final roster and depth chart
  • Monday – 100 Predictions about the Jets season
  • Tuesday – 2010 NFL Predictions
  • Wednesday – Initial thoughts on Jets/Ravens and week in 1 in NFL
  • Thursday – New TOJ TV/Something else
  • Friday – Jets vs. Ravens Game Breakdown
  • Saturday – Jets vs. Ravens prediction
  • Sunday – Final notes on Jets on Ravens
  • Monday – Thoughts on week one of NFL and final thoughts on Jets/Ravens

Thoughts on the Jets recent round of cuts –

– To be honest, there was absolutely no surprises. The only player I was disappointed to see leave is receiver Larry Taylor. Hopefully, he can stick on the Jets practice squad or get another chance next season. Danny Woodhead and David Clowney are widely being reported as having roster spots locked down. Unfortunately, Joe McKnight will make the 53 man roster because he was a fourth round pick. It will be a damn shame if Chauncey Washington gets bumped off because of the lackadaisical and soft McKnight. Washington is the kind of player who could actually contribute in some situations and fits well with the Jets ground and pound approach. He provides quality depth and showed he can play on special teams. Hopefully, he sticks on the final 53 even if it means the Jets keep six running backs.

Jets Weekend Video Clips

Welcome to the bench, Brandon Jacobs…it’s a hard knock life, right?

Now, Let’s Get Some Snacks

I Hear You, Random Sports Report Girl

Come Back, Leon

What Darrelle Revis Will Be Doing While The Jets Battle For An AFC East and Super Bowl Title

Could We Be Electric Gliding More Than Expected This Year?

Look at LT go…and Rex talking that smack on the field

Outdated, But Still Hysterical

Thank God The Pre-Season Is Over: Jets Beat Eagles 21-17

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I think everybody can sympathize with me when I say “Thank god, the pre-season is over.” It wasn’t the prettiest of games tonight but hear is a quick recap:

Joe McKnight doesn’t deserve a spot on the Jets 53 man roster. He is going to get one because the Jets spent a fourth round pick on him but the guy has been terrible this August, simply terrible. He lost three fumbles, including another one tonight that went back for a touchdown. He doesn’t hit the hole hard and runs timid. The guy is more scared of contact than Kerry Rhodes…no wonder he wears #25. Chauncey Washington ran the football the way it is supposed to be run tonight with 56 tough yards on 12 carries. He earned a spot on this roster. Danny Woodhead added 45 yards and a touchdown. He earned a spot on this roster.

Don’t give me any BS standing up for McKnight either. Go back and watch the highlight of his reaction after he fumbled tonight. Look at the way he didn’t go after the ball and look how he hung his head, this guy has been a disaster. The Jets made an absolute mistake by parting ways with Leon Washington and drafting McKnight.

The numbers aren’t going to show it but Kellen Clemens still looked better than Mark Brunell tonight and I am still adamant in my belief that Clemens should be the number two quarterback.

Great night for Matt Kroul who locked himself down a roster spot with two sacks. Vernon Gholston had another active night and clinched the game with a bone crunching sack. I was also impressed with Brian “King Ugly” Jackson. I don’t know if he can stick on the 53 man roster but he could be a good practice squad candidate. Similar to Jackson, Larry Taylor flashed a few times but is probably destined for the practice squad.

In the end, it wasn’t the most exciting pre-season in Jets history. I am just happy it is over.

Bring on the Ravens.

Jets Training Camp: Five Things We Learned In Cortland

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A few highlights from this morning –

  • The defense dominated practice. Mark Sanchez struggled, going 5/11 with an INT, which was picked off by David Harris. Jason Taylor also swatted a pass up in the air and into the arms of D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
  • Nick Folk went 5/5 today, including making a 56 yarder.
  • Mark Brunell and Laveranues Coles hooked up 3 times in the two minute drill for the second offense. When is the last time you hear about David Clowney doing anything?
  • Jim Leonhard recorded a sack. Kyle Wilson and Dwight Lowery both had passes defensed against the first offense.
  • Sanchez and Braylon Edwards hooked up for a 55 yard bomb down the sideline.
  • Donovan Warren didn’t practice today, due to a head injury.
  • Rookie corner Brian Jackson was tied to the goalpost after practice and had two buckets of Gatorade dumped on him. The reason? Apparently, he complained to defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman about how he was being used in the defense.
  • Jamaal Westerman, Kenwin Cummings, and Matt Kroul all sat out practice as a reward for winning an “Iron Jet” award this off-season.
  • Rookie show and King Ugly contest in Jets camp tonight.
  • Expect to see plenty of Mark Brunell and Laveranues Coles on Saturday night.

Five Things We Learned In Cortland

After tonight’s practice the Jets will be packing it up and heading out of Cortland, New York. Next week they will have practices at their Florham Park facility and out at Hofstra.

Photobucket1. Tale of Two Rookie Running Backs – The Jets selected halfback Joe McKnight in the fourth round and fullback John Conner in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Most people assumed McKnight would move into a Leon Washington type role on the team, while Conner spent a year learning behind Tony Richardson. Yet, both players have made a distinctly different impression so far in training camp. Conner has quickly become a favorite of the coaching staff because of his physicality and now appears likely to be the opening day starter at fullback. McKnight has disappointed the coaching staff with his hesitancy to run inside and his attitude. If the Jets are going by on-field production, McKnight doesn’t deserve to be on the active roster as of right now.

2. The Underdog – Most people, including myself, believed Vladimir Ducasse would end up being the starting left guard on opening day. Shame on me for sleeping on Matt Slauson who has built a comfortable lead over Ducasse in the battle to replace Alan Faneca. The coaches love how physical Slauson has been playing and he obviously already had a jump on knowing the offense. I will be interested to see if the Jets begin grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle, if he doesn’t end up beating out Slauson.

3. Thumbs Up On The Kyle Wilson Selection I guess there could be some propaganda behind the coaching staff hyping up Kyle Wilson but every report out of camp is that he looks like a seasoned veteran out there. Most importantly, he is demonstrating a strong knowledge of the defense and is very coachable. Could you imagine the luxury of having him in the nickel role, with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in front of him? We have also learned that Dwight Lowery hasn’t shaken off the AFC Championship Game yet and that Drew Coleman still can’t cover anybody.

4. Good RecoveriesKris Jenkins appears to be his old self after season ending ACL surgery last year, which is obviously a major boost to the Jets defense. Mark Sanchez hasn’t shown any signs of being slowed down by his off-season surgery either. I certainly hope Sanchez can keep building on his performance against the Giants, where outside of an early interception, he demonstrated accuracy, the ability to spread the ball around, and complete control of the offense.

5. Good Camp/Bad Camp –

  • Good – Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards, LaDainian Tomlinson, Kyle Wilson, John Conner, Nick Folk, Kenwin Cummings, Jeff Cumberland, Matt Slauson, Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes, Aundrae Allison, Danny Woodhead, Vernon Gholston
  • Bad – Dwight Lowery, Marquice Cole, Drew Coleman, Joe McKnight, David Clowney, Kevin O’Connell, Donovan Warren, Vlad Ducasse, Chauncey Washington

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Offense

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First a few updates:

1. A reminder to check out Turn On The Jets, new site (http://web.me.com/turnonthejets/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html), where you could find our Podcast and eventually a few other things. It is in the early stages of construction but episode 1 of The Podcast is up and running so give it a listen.

2. Congratulations to Chris Embree and Shawn Perincheril for winning the TOJ DVD Contest, both will be receiving free copies of “New York Jets Best Games of 2009” from Warner Home Video.

3. The final week of LOST is under way and the real question is now what show should I start watching when it is over. I think my plan is to watch “The Wire” from start to finish, followed by the “The West Wing” but I am open to suggestions on shows currently on TV.

4. I have read some bad Power Rankings in my day…but Peter King putting the Dolphins at #6 in his power poll and the Carolina Panthers at #8 has to be up there among the worst.

Photobucket5. Let me just throw in some quick commentary on the Jets PSL/Parking Lot situation – It was bad enough when Deadspin released this story about how the Jets hosted their draft party (http://deadspin.com/5533012/tell-me-how-my-class-tastes-scenes-from-the-worst-nfl-draft-party-ever) but now the reports about the Jets dividing up parking lots based on whether you own a PSL or not have taken the organization’s arrogance to a new level. We knew PSLs were coming for the Jets and they managed to keep out of the upper levels (where my family has their season tickets) but telling people they can’t park near the stadium because they sit in the upper level is a joke. They are breaking up groups of people who have been tailgating together for years and diminishing the game day experience for fans who look forward to hanging out with their friends in the parking lot before and after games. I don’t mind the long walk to the stadium from the parking lot but plenty of older fans and people with younger children certainly will. The Jets have a predominantly working class fanbase and the team has done a spectacular job of alienating them as much as possible with their decisions on the new stadium. The fact that the team is nowhere near selling all the PSLs after one of the best season’s in franchise history, one of the best off-seasons in franchise history, and the rise of the team to one of the biggest stories in the NFL, speaks to that point.

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Offense

1. You have to wonder how many reps Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell will get during OTAs with the first team offense. Mark Sanchez won’t be participating until mid-June and even though Kellen Clemens is still technically number two on the depth chart, there is a good chance he won’t be with the team when week 1 comes around. Obviously, the Jets think O’Connell has potential since they carried four quarterbacks last season and Ainge had a very good pre-season in 2009. If either of these guys can play well during OTAs, it could expedite the process of getting rid of Clemens. The Jets will also likely sign Mark Brunell after July 22nd to be the backup for this season but in the long term, Ainge and O’Connell are battling to be Sanchez’s backup. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get an extended look with the starters while Sanchez continues to rehab.

2. The Jets may be better off if Matt Slauson can beat out Vladimir Ducasse in training camp for the starting left guard position. If this happens, Ducasse can spend time learning behind Damien Woody to take over at right tackle, when Woody is no longer with the team which is coming sooner rather than later. If Slauson has a good camp and pre-season, wins the job and can hold his own in 2010, the Jets will be heading into 2011 with a young group on the offensive line, and will have effectively replaced Alan Faneca and Damien Woody which has been a concern since they both were brought in before 2008. Ducasse might also benefit from having a season coming off the bench and slowly working into the Jets offense in short yardage packages, considering he is raw coming out of a I-AA school and won’t have to deal with the pressure in his rookie year of filling Alan Faneca’s shoes. Slauson has a year of learning in the Jets system already and gained valuable experience playing behind Faneca and Brandon Moore in his rookie season.

Photobucket3. It will be very interesting to see how the Jets integrate Santonio Holmes into their offense starting in week five. Unless somebody is really struggling or gets hurt, the Jets aren’t going to pull Jerricho Cotchery or Braylon Edwards from the starting line-up but obviously as the weeks pass with Holmes in the lineup he is gradually going to build up more reps. Cotchery is a team player and won’t have a negative public reaction to losing reps but will Braylon be able to keep his mouth shut if his playing time starts to decrease substantially in his contract year? His best remedy to the problem is to simply catch the football when it is thrown to him.

4. The decision to trade Leon Washington is going to increase LaDainian Tomlinson’s reps on the Jets offense, especially if Joe McKnight can’t get his feet under him in the early part of the season. The Jets can’t trust McKnight in the third down role right out of the gate, so Tomlinson will have to take the bulk of those reps, along with spelling Shonn Greene, and being the Jets likely short-yardage and goal-line back. If Tomlinson is as washed up as he looked towards the end of last season, the Jets could have serious problems with their Ground and Pound approach. Maybe, rookie fullback John Conner will take some short yardage carries to lighten the load on Tomlinson. I am not writing off McKnight in his rookie year but remember it took Shonn Greene awhile to get involved in the Jets offense last year.

5. Speaking of Greene, what are fair expecations for him this season? Honestly, I just want to see him stay healthy for 16 games, protect the football, and make some strides as a pass catcher. If he can do those three things, nobody is going to miss Thomas Jones. I also don’t doubt if he can do those three things, he won’t duplicate the number of yards Jones had rushing in 2009, although I doubt he comes near the 14 touchdowns because Tomlinson will be taking away goal-line carries.

6. If Mark Sanchez makes the expected strides in his second year, how much of the Jets “Tiger” formation will we see? The Jets won’t be helping their offense if Sanchez is in rhythm with Braylon, Cotchery, and Santonio by pulling him out and sticking Brad Smith in to run the option. That being said, Smith is still a valuable big-play weapon so it benefits to find a way to involve him in the game plan in some way on a weekly basis…it is just a matter of having the proper timing and using the proper plays.

Photobucket7. It is easy to lose him in the shuffle when talking about all the Jets wide receivers and running backs but Dustin Keller remains a potential x-factor on the Jets offense. He should be a primary target whenever the Jets get near the end-zone because of his ability to create mismatches. Keller is also benefited by Mark Sanchez’s ability to throw on the run because the Jets love calling the play action bootleg for him, in which Keller is normally the number one option. I don’t know if Keller will have the stats to be a pro-bowl tight end but he should be able to provide the Jets with a big play or two each week.

8. The Jets are going to throw the football more this season than they did last year but will they have a smooth transition into a more balanced offense? We all know Rex Ryan loves to run the football and allow his defense to win games but what happens if the Jets throw the ball 30 times in one week and that leads to a couple of Sanchez interceptions. Will the color code system go back into effect, with the Jets throwing the ball 14 times a game? How much rope will Brian Schottenheimer have with the offense in 2010?

9. Names to remember…Chauncey Washington, if one of the Jets running backs gets hurt he could get called up to the active roster and see some substantial playing time. Britt Davis, had a strong training camp last year and could push for a roster spot at receiver. Matthew Mulligan, the Jets number three tight end who is battling for long snapper job with Tanner Purdum. Aundrae Allison, maybe the Jets fastest player who could push for a roster spot at receiver and kick returner.

10. If you assumed the Jets had 60 plays in a game, how would you ideally divide up the touches as of right now? (assuming it is week 5 and Holmes is back)…here is my crack at it:

  • Sanchez – 24 pass attempts, hopefully 16-18 completions. Let’s say 17 for the sake of this.
  • Greene – 21 carries.
  • Tomlinson – 9 carries.
  • McKnight – 4 carries.
  • Smith – 2 carries
  • Cotchery – 4 catches
  • Holmes – 4 catches
  • Keller – 3 catches
  • Edwards – 3 catches
  • Tomlinson – 2 catches
  • McKnight – 1 catch

Let Us Tailgate In Peace

Analyzing The Jets Offensive Depth Chart

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets have signed tryout linebackers Cory Reamer from Alabama and Brashton Satele from Hawaii and released linebacker Broderick Stewart. Ryan was raving about Reamer throughout the Jets rookie minicamp and it will be interesting to see if he has a real chance to stick on the active roster. The depth chart has been updated accordingly and I also finally got rid of that Kerry Rhodes picture in the 2009 stats section.

2. It is being reported Leon Washington will have to play with a rod in his leg this season and there is still a chance he could start the year on the PUP list. Hopefully Leon can get himself back to 100 percent but you have to wonder if these injury concerns played a major part in the Jets decision to trade him and draft Joe “Get The Guy Some Rolaids” McKnight.

3. Anybody else enjoying the Red Sox being well on their way to a 75 win season? Also, you have to feel bad for Mets fans…I mean they get themselves in position for a big early season series against the Phillies, they are in great position to steal 2 out of 3 but then their ace walks a 47 year old pitcher with the bases loaded en route to being completely shelled.

Digging A Little Deeper Into The Jets Roster

By this point we have a general idea of who the starters for the Jets will be on both sides of the ball and who many of the key reserves coming off the bench will be. However, there are still some spots that remain up for grabs on the Jets final 53 man roster. Let’s take a look through at current situation on the Jets depth chart heading into May’s full squad OTAs, starting today with the offense:

Quarterback

  1. Mark Sanchez – Locked in as the #1 quarterback, likely won’t participate in all of the Jets OTAs as he recovers from off-season surgery.
  2. Kellen Clemens – Has a very, very tenuous hold on the #2 job. I wouldn’t bet on him being a Jet when the season starts.
  3. Erik Ainge – He will be given every opportunity to make a run at the #2 job.
  4. Kevin O’Connell – The Jets must think he has potential to compete for the backup job since they held on to him all last season as their #4 quarterback.

Potential Additions – Mark Brunell – If one of the other Jets UFAs signs somewhere, Brunell will likely be quickly added or they could wait until July 22nd to sign him after the Final Eight rules stop restricting them.

Analysis – I wouldn’t expect the Jets to carry four quarterbacks for the second year in a row. It is a waste of a roster spot. It is hard to determine right now what the Jets depth chart will look like behind Sanchez on opening day. If I had to guess today, Brunell will be brought in as the #2 quarterback while Ainge and O’Connell battle for the #3 spot and long term backup position. Kellen Clemens will either be traded to a team who suffers an injury at quarterback in camp or be released.

Running Back

  1. Shonn Greene – Locked in as the starting running back.
  2. LaDainian Tomlinson – Locked in as the number two back.
  3. Joe McKnight – Considering the Jets spent a fourth round pick on him and traded up to get him…locked in as the #3/third-down back.
  4. Chauncey Washington – Unless there is an injury, he won’t be on the 53 man roster.

Fullback

  1. Tony Richardson – He will start out the year as the team’s #1 fullback and mentor to 5th round pick John Connor.
  2. John Connor – He will be on the 53 man roster to learn from Richardson and be groomed as the full time fullback.
  3. Jason Davis – Unless there is an injury, he won’t be on the 53 man roster.

AnalysisI would expect the Jets to carry Greene, Tomlinson, McKnight, Richardson, and Connor on their 53 man roster. McKnight or Connor will be battling to be active each week, depending on the game-plan, their progress, and how much they are contributing on special teams.

Tight End

  1. Dustin Keller – Locked in as the team’s starting tight end.
  2. Ben Hartsock – The Jets #2/blocking tight end.
  3. Matthew Mulligan – Battling Tanner Purdum for the long snapper job.
  4. Tanner Purdum – Not technically a tight end but battling for the long snapping job with Mulligan.

Analysis – The Jets will carry Keller, Hartsock, and whoever ends up being their long snapper.

Wide Receiver

  1. Jerricho Cotchery – I still consider him the Jets #1 receiver until Braylon is more consistent and Santonio returns from suspension.
  2. Braylon Edwards – Playing for a long term contract.
  3. Santonio Holmes – Man, we have a hell of trio at receiver.
  4. Brad Smith – He will be on the roster because of his versatility, big play ability and special teams skills.
  5. David Clowney – He will have a tough time making the roster because of his lack of contributions on special teams.
  6. Danny Woodhead – He is versatile but needs to show more on specials to stick.
  7. Aundrae Allison – Has incredible speed and potential as a kick returner, which makes him intriguing.
  8. Britt Davis – Made an impression last season in training camp but needs to show something on special teams.

Potential Additions – Laveranues Coles – Apparently the Jets have recently been in contact with Coles and his agent, but I doubt anything happens. He would have to accept being a number 4 receiver after Holmes returns from suspension.

PhotobucketAnalysisOne of the more interesting position battles on the team will take place for the #5 receiver spot. I doubt Coles joins the Jets, which means Clowney, Allison, Woodhead, and Davis will fight it out. Since Holmes will be suspended for the first four games, two of them will likely make the opening day roster with one of them being cut or moved to the practice squad after he returns from suspension. Clowney has the advantage of gaining starting experience last year. I don’t think Woodhead can stick as a full time receiver and he didn’t do much on specials last year. Davis has good size and could be a good project player to hold on to. If Allison can win the kick return job, than he will obvious stick as the #5.

Offensive Line

  • LT – D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Bookend tackle.
  • LG – Vladimir Ducasse – He will be one of the most watched players in training camp as he battles to replace Alan Faneca.
  • C – Nick Mangold – The best in the business.
  • RG – Brandon Moore – Rock solid and underrated.
  • RT – Damien Woody – Solid veteran.
  • G – Matt Slauson – He will battle for the starting left guard spot with Ducasse…has an uphill battle considering where Ducasse was drafted.
  • C – Robert Turner – Mike Tannenbaum said after the draft Turner would backup Mangold and he also contributes as an extra tight end in short yardage packages.
  • T – Wayne Hunter – Backup tackle who also plays in short yardage packages.

Potential Additions – Veteran Left Guard – If Ducasse and Slauson struggle in camp, don’t be shocked if the Jets look to add a veteran guard.

Analysis – I would anticipate the Jets carrying their five starters with Slauson/Ducasse, Turner, and Hunter as their backups.

Overall Analysis – If you figure the Jets carry three quarterbacks, five running backs, six receivers (until Holmes comes back), three tight ends, and eight offensive lineman, that totals 25 players, which gives Rex 26 defensive players to keep (with the kicker and punter rounding out the roster). He could also add another defensive player to the 53 man roster after week 4 when Holmes comes back and the Jets likely demote one of their receivers to practice squad or release them.

Don’t Sleep On J-Co

Final Word On Thomas Jones & Free Agency Week Begins

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First a few updates:

1. Busy week coming up here at TOJ. The posts were a little sparse last week, due to my laptop dying after a historic 5 year run of being dropped, having food spilled on it, and generally accumulating dirt and dust, along with professors having the audacity to assign schoolwork to their graduate school students. I also took my first trip up to Boston during the weekend, good times. Anyway, free agency starts this Friday so it is all business this week, who needs a laptop anyway? Yet, feel free to buy me one for my birthday, which also happens to be this Friday.

2. As you can see on the home page, I posted up the Jets pick in the Fanball Mock Draft earlier today. Feel free to criticize.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook….because we are only 85 fans away from 300.

4. Nothing Rex Ryan said at the combine really caught my attention. It was nice of him to attempt taking some of the blame for Vernon Gholston but the reality is that the Jets just missed with the guy. He doesn’t deserve more reps. He didn’t even deserve to be active last season.

Photobucket5. There has been alot of buzz about the Jets pursuing Adalius Thomas. Despite being on the outs in New England and seeing some decline in his production, he is a guy who is obviously a good fit in Ryan’s scheme and would probably more than welcome going from the grim secret society culture of New England to the Rex Ryan, middle-finger waving Jets. If the Jets spend the money on Thomas, most people are assuming Bryan Thomas will be let go. However, I think there still couldbe a role for him. I think both Thomases…Adalius and Bryan, could be better served splitting time and only playing in certain packages. There isn’t going to be a trade market for BT, especially since Mangini isn’t calling the shots in Cleveland anymore, so why just release him? Do you really want Vernon Gholston stepping in, if one of the Jets outside linebackers get hurt?

6. The Jets will be releasing Lito Sheppard on Friday…I don’t think anybody is going to shed a tear over that one.

Final Word On Thomas Jones & Free Agency Week Begins

We all know the news now, the Jets will be releasing Thomas Jones on Friday. Everybody saw this coming and no matter how many articles I wrote on it over the past 2 weeks, it was going to happen. I still don’t agree with the move. Obviously, Jones wasn’t going to agree to restructure coming off a 1400 yard, 14 touchdown season. I know on the surface it doesn’t make perfect financial sense to pay TJ his full 3 million dollar bonus, but I do believe this could come back to haunt the Jets next season…and please spare me with the Mike Tannenbaum quote saying he is confident about Chauncey Washington as the team’s third running back. The Jets now have another need on offense. For a team that runs the football more than any other team in the NFL, it is a big risk to go into the season with their current depth at running back.

We all saw Shonn Greene in the playoffs last year. We all love his potential, yet he still has plenty to prove as I will detail in an article at some point this week. Nobody likes Leon Washington more than I do, but he also has plenty to prove coming off major surgery. The Jets need a third guy who can handle a few carries a game and more importantly be ready to step in and take 10-15 touches a game if somebody in front of him gets hurt or fumbles once or twice and needs to be taken out. Danny Woodhead isn’t that guy. Chauncey Washington hasn’t really gotten a chance but I have to think there is a reason that Jacksonville cut him so quickly after spending a draft pick on him.

Yet, let me just take a moment to thank Thomas Jones for time with the Jets. He struggled a little bit in 2007 behind a crappy offensive line and with no help at quarterback but still ran for 1119 yards. In 2008, he ran for 1312 yards with 13 touchdowns and then bumped his numbers up even higher last year to 1402 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Also, over the past three years he has 74 receptions and 3 receiving touchdowns. Jones has been a leader in the locker room and an example around the team complex about how players should carry themselves. I have no doubt that Shonn Greene and Leon Washington will both be much better off because of their time spent with Jones. So good luck TJ, I hope you get a good deal in free agency on a team that isn’t playing the Jets over the next couple of years.

PhotobucketOn to other issues with free agency…There has been some talk about the Jets pursuing Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle. Yet, there will likely be a decent market out there for him and I am not sure how much the Jets would spend on a guy who could end up being very similar to Kerry Rhodes in their defense. If Rex Ryan wants a more physical player at the safety position, is he going to give money to a smaller guy who used to be a corner? I still think Rhodes will be back next year and hopefully improved. Overall, it is hard to tell who the Jets will target because of the restrictions placed on them. As of right now, I am hoping they could bring Marques Douglas, Tony Richardson, and yes even Jay Feely (I know it isn’t happening but I am terrified of Nick Folk) back. James Dearth, Larry Izzo, and Ben Hartsock will all likely walk. I can’t see anybody matching the Jets RFA tenders, unless somebody wants to take a big risk on Leon Washington. Unlike the past two seasons, the first week of free agency isn’t going to be a chaotic signing of big name players for the Jets. Their primary needs are a corner, a pass rusher, defensive line depth, and offensive line depth. Their secondary needs are a slot receiver, a running back, a veteran quarterback, and a backup tight end. I am not sure how many of those needs can actually be filled through free agency, so keep an eye for out potential trades and an active draft weekend where the Jets look to accumulate more picks.

No More Funny Jets Commercials For Thomas Jones

Jets vs. Falcons: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan still hasn’t named a starter at quarterback for Sunday yet, but all signs are pointing towards Mark Sanchez getting the nod. He took 75 percent of the snaps with the first team today and showed improved movement, along with no swelling from practicing yesterday. I am not sure of all the drama Ryan is trying to create here, but we all know Kellen Clemens isn’t coming out of that tunnel as a starter with the season on the line against a semi-decent team. Sanchez needs to play this week. We need to see our franchise quarterback in a December home game that actually means something.

Photobucket2. Rex Ryan also gave a lengthy campaign type speech for Darrelle Revis and his candidacy for Defensive Player of the Year. I think the guy absolutely deserves it…and don’t hit me with the BS about Charles Woodson and his stats. First off, Revis has 27 passes defensed…20 freakin 7…beyond that, what elite receivers has Woodson shut down this year? Did he shut down Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Marques Colston, Randy Moss twice, and Terrell Owens twice? I didn’t think so. Revis is the best player on the league’s number one ranked defense, on a team that is a making a playoff push. Check out that cool screen shot 0n the side from NFL.com, that a reader sent in to the the jets blog (www.thejetsblog.com)

3. The Jets signed offensive tackle Dan Gay to their practice squad.

Jets vs. Falcons: Game Breakdown

Offense: This is an easy section to write every week because we know the Jets formula for victory involves a run heavy, conservative approach. You are going to see Thomas Jones get his 20-25 carries this week, but what will really be interesting to see is how the carries are divided up behind him. Will Danny Woodhead, Brad Smith, or even Chauncey Washington pull some carries away from Shonn Greene because of his fumbling problems? I definitely would expect to see more of Brad Smith in the wildcat formation or involved in some gimmick plays, after his strong showing last week.

Atlanta does have a very, very weak secondary. Whether it is Sanchez or Clemens under center, the Jets have to be able to punish the Falcons for stacking the box and leaving their shaky corners/safeties on Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller who has been invisible the past few games. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets take an early shot down the field to create some space for their running game.

PhotobucketDefense: Matt Ryan and Michael Turner both did practice today and will likely be game time decisions. Regardless, the Jets defense just needs to keep doing what they have been doing…stuffing the run, pressuring the quarterback, and smothering opposing receivers. Roddy White will do nothing because of Revis but I am a little worried about Tony Gonzalez. This is a big week for Kerry Rhodes to step up in coverage.

I think whether Matt Ryan or Chris Redman play, the Falcons will have a run heavy game plan. Both quarterbacks have been susceptible to turnovers this season so hopefully the Jets can keep up their recent run of creating big plays on defense. The Falcons offensive line is also banged up so there will plenty of opportunities to get after the quarterback.

Special Teams: The Falcons recently signed Matt Bryant to replace Jason Elam at kicker. It is supposed to be windy, cold and potentially snowy this Sunday so it could be a difficult conditions especially for a dome kicker. Jay Feely has been putting together a great season and will likely be called upon to kick 2 or 3 more on Sunday.

Falcons vs. Saints Last Week

NFL Week 14 Recap/Jets vs. Falcons First Look

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First a few updates:

1. Like the the rest of the Jets, I took yesterday off as a “victory Monday.” Actually, I have been suffering from a lovely combination of strep throat and a fever so I tried to sleep it off to be as healthy as possible for the final three weeks of the regular season. Yes, I consider my health of crucial importance to the Jets hopes for a miraculous playoff run.

2. According to Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens are going to split reps at practice on Wednesday and then he will decide on a starter. I would be shocked if Sanchez isn’t under center this weekend but maybe that is just wishful thinking to avoid watching another Kellen Clemens performance. The Jets could get away with playing Clemens against the Bucs, but starting him against Atlanta could be pushing it.

3. Rich Cimini is reporting there is a strong chance the Jets/Bengals regular season finale could be moved to Sunday night since it is the final game in Giants Stadium. If somehow, someway the Jets are playing for a playoff spot…that place is going to be rocking…and yes I will be finding a way to bring myself to that game.

4. Some impressive Jets defense stats compiled by the Star-Ledger: They are ranked first in the NFL in total defense, first in pass defense, first in points allowed, first in three and outs, first in yards per play, first in fewest first downs allowed…along with of course having the NFL’s #1 ranked rushing offense…and yet we are still barely hanging in playoff contention.

5. The Jets have signed running back Chauncey Washington to their active roster off the Dallas Cowboys practice squad and released tackle Ryan McKee. This could be a reminder to Shonn Greene to tuck the football away.

6. Rex Ryan was very complimentary about Kerry Rhodes all-around performance against Tampa, saying he was strong in run support and was key in shutting down Kellen Winslow Jr. Let’s see how Rhodes finishes the final three games, which will go a long way to determining his future with the team.

7. The Jets are currently ranked #16 in ESPN’s Power Rankings…slowly climbing back up into the top half of the league.

8. The stats, depth chart, and game highlights section have been updated.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – An unimpressive win over a bad Panthers team has left me a little hope that the Patriots could struggle in Buffalo next week and in Houston the final week of the season. Randy Moss is starting to melt down. Their defense is extremely vulnerable, especially to the pass. Tom Brady isn’t playing like a pro-bowl quarterback. Bill Belichick is coaching like a guy who has won 3 Super Bowls and can do whatever he wants…could New England lose two of their final three? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not, they are most likely looking at a first round loss.

Miami Dolphins – We are moving closer and closer to my nightmare of a Miami/New England first round game. Vince Young you need to get healthy this week, Chris Johnson you need to stay motivated to break the single season rushing record, and Tennessee you need to focus on getting back to .500 in your building. I predicted Miami to be a 6-10 team this year and they have now shut me up on that prediction but I’d settle for 8-8 and missing the playoffs. The Dolphins could just as easily win their last three games, as they could lose them.

Buffalo Bills – Congratulations on winning arguably the most boring game of the season…now let’s focus on upsetting the Patriots in your building. Just remember to play physical with Randy Moss so he quits early.

Other NFL Observations

DeSean Jackson is still running wide open through the Giants secondary…Fortunately for the Giants, the Cowboys annual meltdown will allow them to make the playoffs even if they lose another game this season…My Super Bowl picks, the Eagles and Chargers are rolling right now…Is it just me or does anybody think the Bengals just aren’t that good?…I was glad to see Detroit put up such a strong effort against Baltimore last week…Any hopes I had of Oakland upsetting Denver this week ended when Bruce Gradkowski left with an injury…I vote the Colts play their starters this week against Jacksonville and then rest them the following week against the Jets…Some of the more unconventional hopes I have for the Jets making the playoffs involve either the Broncos or Bengals suffering an epic meltdown and losing out.

TOJ NFL Power Rankings (Only teams with a playoff pulse are ranked, no matter how weak that pulse is)

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (13-0) – You don’t want to put Peyton Manning in front of the Jets defense in week 16…much too risky, right? However, feel free to beat Jacksonville on Thursday since their city doesn’t deserve a football team.
  2. New Orleans Saints (13-0) – I am happy for Jonathan Vilma…great guy and great former Jet enjoying tons of success with a great team.
  3. San Diego Chargers (10-3) – They are going to roll over the Bengals this weekend…would love to see them against the Colts in the playoffs.
  4. Minnesota Vikings (11-2) – They are going to get a much needed bye…I hope Green Bay gets a shot at them in the second round.
  5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) – Their offense is explosive and their defense makes big plays…a very dangerous team.
  6. Green Bay Packers (9-4) –  A great defense, a strong running game, and a big play passing game could equal a dangerous playoff team.
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) – About to catch a beating in San Diego.
  8. Arizona Cardinals (8-5) – Why can’t they beat the 49ers?
  9. Denver Broncos (8-5) – I’m not sold on them as a very good team, but who else I am going to put here? They are likely going 10-6 because of remaining home games against Kansas City and Oakland.
  10. New England Patriots (8-5) – They have a relatively easy remaining schedule so they should roll into the playoffs, where they will be knocked out in the first round.
  11. Baltimore Ravens (7-6) – As of right now, they have the best shot for the final wild card spot in the AFC.
  12. Miami Dolphins (7-6) – Let’s go Titans.
  13. Dallas Cowboys (8-5) – 8-8…here we come.
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-6) – Overachieving team that will likely fall short of the playoffs.
  15. New York Giants (7-6) – Their defense is putrid but they can go 8-8 and still likely make the playoffs.
  16. New York Jets (7-6) – Mission improbable to make the playoffs.
  17. Tennessee Titans (6-7) – Big Titans fan this week.
  18. Houston Texans (6-7) – Big Houston fan for the rest of the season with games left against Miami and New England.
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-7) – Big Steelers fan for the rest of the season with games left against Baltimore and Miami.
  20. San Francisco 49ers (6-7) – Hoping for a Cardinals or Giants meltdown.
  21. Atlanta Falcons (6-7) – Hopefully the Jets can bury them this weekend.

Jets/Falcons First Look

PhotobucketThe Falcons are in the middle of a free fall and have endured tons of injuries, especially to key players. I wouldn’t expect to see starting quarterback Matt Ryan or starting running back Michael Turner this Sunday, which is obviously a big help for the Jets. The Jets are also benefited by getting a dome team in their building in the middle of December. Atlanta’s biggest weapons on offense are Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. White might as well not even bother suiting up because Darrelle Revis is going to take him out of the game. Kerry Rhodes will have a hell of a challenge against Gonzalez and a chance to show his value to the Jets defense. Atalnta’s defense has struggled all season, especially against the pass. However, if the Jets are smart they will stick to their ball control, run-dominated offense. Most people seem to be thinking the Jets are going to roll in this game, however I think this will be a close one. I like the Jets to get a home victory but it won’t be easy.

Jets/Bucs Highlights