Jets Tuesday Recap & AFC East Training Camp Round-Up

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Jets Tuesday Recap

1. Mark Brunell is going to be the number two quarterback this season, with Kellen Clemens and Kevin O’Connell battling it out for the number three spot. I wouldn’t bet on Clemens, considering the Jets just traded a draft pick for O’Connell last season and clearly have no faith in Clemens. I’m not a believer in Brunell as the backup yet, despite his relatively strong start in training camp. He should see plenty of action this Monday night against the Giants, hopefully he puts together a strong performance which demonstrates the Jets could handle a Mark Sanchez injury for a short period of time.

2. Matt Slauson will start at left guard against the Giants, which wasn’t a surprising announcement considering his strong start to camp and Vladimir Ducasse’s struggles. It will be interesting to see how early the Jets will officially hand the job to Slauson and then begin grooming Ducasse to replace Damien Woody at right tackle at some point in the near future. I also wonder if Ducasse will be worked in with Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter on the Jets short yardage packages.

3. Rex Ryan’s daily love affair with Vernon Gholston continued in his press conference today. Apparently, Gholston beat D’Brickashaw Ferguson a few times in pass rushing situations. Either Gholston has magically remembered how to rush the passer or Ferguson was having a tough day at the office. Imagine what a pleasant surprise 5 – 7 sacks from Gholston would be in 2010?

Photobucket4. The biggest news of the day was Rex Ryan commenting the Jets “had everything they needed on defense” without Darrelle Revis and that people shouldn’t feel sorry for them. Of course classic Jets haters Mike Francesa and Mike Florio ran with these comments as being hypocritical due to Ryan’s previous effusive praise. I am not really sure what they expected Ryan to say. “You know what, our defense isn’t going to be good this season. We can’t survive without Revis. I have no faith in everybody else on our defense to step up. We will probably pack it in and concede the division to the Patriots or Dolphins and battle for 3rd place with the Buffalo Bills.” Give me a break, Ryan is confident in his system and oh by the way the Jets still have David Harris, Kris Jenkins, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor, Jim Leonhard, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Shaun Ellis, and on and on.

5. There was a high amount of Brad Smith at quarterback today. I am curious how big of a role the “Tiger'” formation will play on the Jets offense in 2010. It certainly doesn’t hurt to show it once or twice a game to keep defenses off balance and force them to prepare for it each week.

6. Kyle Wilson will be starting at corner opposite Antonio Cromartie from now on after Dwight Lowery volunteered his position to him. It was a weird move by Lowery, who admitted Wilson needs the experience and seemed to embrace the inevitable that he was the first round pick and would eventually be starting anyway. Wilson had flown under the radar somewhat for a first round pick because of all the other hoopla around team but he is now being thrust into the spotlight because of the Revis holdout. Cromartie will really be filling the spot of Revis but teams will certainly target Wilson, due to his lack of experience. Lowery will play some safety in the Jets sub package, along with work in the nickel role. Marquice Cole has also been seeing extended reps, including some work with the first team.

AFC East Training Camp Round-Up

New England Patriots – The Patriots just finished a scrimmage with the New Orleans Saints. The primary news coming out of it is how good Wes Welker is looking after his season ending injury last year. Did you hear that Kyle Wilson? Fred Taylor has been working as the Patriots first team running back. Randy Moss has had a particularly strong camp. Ty Warren and Nick Kaczur have all been banged up. Darius Butler has impressed so far at cornerback. The Saints play the Patriots on Thursday night.

Miami Dolphins – Not to put too much stock in pre-season depth charts but the Dolphins have Joe Berger and Richie Incognito listed as their starting center and guard, respectively. Brian Hartline, as expected, is working as the starter opposite Brandon Marshall at receiver. Rookie Koa Misi is listed as the starting strong-side linebacker, with second year player Cameron Wake at the starting weak side spot. Chad Henne has had some inconsistencies in camp, including a poor showing at a recent scrimmage. The Dolphins play the Bucs on Saturday.

Buffalo Bills – The Bills also recently released their depth chart and here is their top four receivers: Lee Evans, Steve Johnson, Roscoe Parrish, and Felton Huggins. At least the Jets won’t miss Darrelle Revis against that receiving group. Trent Edwards looks like he is going to win the starting job at quarterabck. C.J. Spiller’s holdout ended recently and he has been participating in practice. Buffalo plays Washington Friday night.

Your New Starting Corners

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Major Storylines

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First a few updates:

1. Sorry for the lack of a morning article, but fortunately all the Terrell Owens nonsense has already came and passed. It would have made absolutely zero sense for the Jets to sign him. Anybody think the Jets just put their “interest” out there to drum up media attention before training camp starts? Anyway, I am glad the Owens circus will be joining the Chad Ochocinco Johnson circus in Cincinnati. The Jets were equipped to handle the Bengals offense in 2009 and that is still the case, even after the Owens signing.

2. Jason La Confora is reporting the Jets are working out quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow along with a few other veterans.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

4. A reminder there will be a 12 minute preview of Hard Knocks on HBO tomorrow night at 11 PM.

5. Justin Tuck told the New York Post the Jets talk too much. I think Justin Tuck should spend more time worrying about improving his defense to being anywhere near as good as the Jets, instead of getting jealous of their press clippings.

New York Jets Training Camp Preview: Major Storylines

In the second part of our training camp preview, we look at the major storylines that will be or should be covered from Cortland, New York.

Brad Smith is Versatile – The beat writers love putting together massive amounts of articles about how versatile Brad Smith is every summer. The worse was in 2007 when Transformers came out in the theaters and there may have been 900 articles comparing Smith to the movie because of all the positions he can play. We have all seen Brad Smith play receiver, running back, quarterback, cover kicks, and return kicks. There is a general understanding of his versatility. Rex Ryan will provide no help in avoiding this story either because every time he mentions Smith, he cites his rushing and passing statistics in college.

Danny Woodhead Is Small – Another beat writer favorite, that HBO is a lock to eat up in Hard Knocks. “Danny Woodhead may be small in size and have played at a small college but nobody would ever say his heart or toughness is small.” He is an easy guy to pull for because of his long shot odds and he does help himself by playing two positions, running back and receiver. However, in the end there will be too much ink and time dedicated to a player who isn’t going to make an impact on the Jets season. Considering his nondescript special teams performance in 2009, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was cut before the end of camp.

Nick Folk – This is a story that will rightfully be scrutinized by everybody. Folk’s daily statistics are going to be closely watched by everybody who is properly concerned about the Jets kicking situation. He may be back to back bad days away from being cut. Hopefully, he can build on the momentum he had at the end of mini-camp, when he had a few very good practices. Beat writers…get those Folk stats going.

An Unlikely Marriage – The somewhat awkward ongoing interaction between Jason Taylor and Jets fans should be something frequently focused on by the beat writers, HBO, and the national media. At this point I think it is clear that Jets fans have embraced him in hopes that he brings 1o – 12 sacks to the team.

PhotobucketChemistry! Chemistry! Chemistry! – The most overblown issue about the Jets this season. Here is my response (http://turnonthejets.com/2010/04/29/death-of-the-jets-chemistry-discussion/).

LaDainian Tomlinson’s Attitude – It will be interesting to see how Tomlinson handles being the Jets backup running back. Will he demonstrate any frustration with Shonn Greene receiving more touches or if Joe McKnight comes in to spell him for a certain situation? This is going to be the first pre-season Tomlinson has played extended reps in for a long time. He needs to prove to the Jets and the rest of the NFL, he can still be a productive player.

Vladimir Ducasse – You can bet any offsides penalty or allowed sack by Vladimir Duccasse will be covered like a natural disaster. I am already waiting for the first wave of “how much will the Jets pay for releasing Alan Faneca” stories.

Contracts – The biggest story heading into training camp is the contract situation of Darrelle Revis. Everybody will be waiting on pins and needles to see if he shows up and if he does show up, how he carries himself. Will he ignore the media or will he just ignore their questions about his contract? Will he address the situation openly? Nick Mangold has already ended the circus around himself by claiming he will show up. Darrelle Revis has decided to keep us waiting.

Eyes On The Waist – Whenever you have a public weight loss contest, you are calling attention to your figure. Let’s see how Rex Ryan, Damien Woody, and Kris Jenkins look in August and who the ultimate winner of their contest will be. Jenkins has been on an all cookie diet and on Twitter Damien Woody is promising a huge surprise about the contest.

PhotobucketThe Sanchize – Of course we will get the daily round up of Sanchez’s statistics, along with the feature stories about whether he “gets it” yet or if he can avoid holding the Jets back. I can’t even imagine how many minutes HBO is going to spend with cameras jammed in his face. Unfortunately, we can’t even vicariously enjoy his bachelor lifestyle because he has settled down with Meadow Soprano. Then again, I doubt the nightlife in Cortland is anything to get excited about.

Share The Love – One of the things I am most fascinated to see is how the passes are being divided up between Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller. Beyond that, how much of the Tiger formation will we see? Can David Clowney still make an impact with so many players in front of him? What about lesser name players like Britt Davis and Aundrae Allison? There will be plenty of receivers looking for receptions this August and it will be entertaining to see how Mark Sanchez, whomever the backup ends up being, and Brian Schottenheimer attempt to keep everybody happy.

Injury Watch – Kris Jenkins coming back from his ACL surgery. Jason Taylor has been dealing with shoulder issues. If Shonn Greene gets banged up at all this training camp, it is going to raise millions of valid questions about his durability. Sanchez is also coming back from off-season surgery, so his mobility will be something to keep an eye on.

Your Daily Stand Up Routine – You have to look forward to Rex Ryan’s press conferences and any face time he gets on Hard Knocks. He is bound to give bulletin board material to New England and Miami, along with claim every single person in the Jets organization is the best in the NFL at what they do.

TOJ TV

Ranking The Jets Offensive Starters & Weekend Video Clips

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I recently saw Mike Reiss of ESPN rank the entire New England Patriots roster 1 – 82. Let’s try that on a smaller scale with the Jets starting with their offensive starters today.

1. Nick Mangold – The best player in the NFL at his respective position. Hopefully, the Jets will be locking him down to a long term deal in the coming weeks.

2. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – One of the best tackles in the NFL, who the Jets just gave a massive extension to.

3. Brandon Moore – Three offensive lineman in a row? Yes, Brandon Moore is in the top tier of guards in the NFL, despite flying under the radar.

4. Braylon Edwards – The most physically talented player on the Jets roster. However, he still lacks consistency.

5. Jerricho Cotchery – The most reliable receiver the Jets have. I believe he is a borderline #1 guy, but the Jets have the luxury of letting him be a #2/#3 when Santonio Holmes returns from suspension.

6. Dustin Keller – He had a promising rookie season and then finished his second season on fire in the playoffs. He has pro-bowl level talent but I don’t know if he can get enough looks in this offense to reach that level.

7. Damien Woody – He has been rock solid since the Jets signed him, starting every game at right tackle and playing at a consistently high level.

8. Tony Richardson – Still one of the better fullbacks in the game. Yet, I wonder if he will see a dip in reps this season after Holmes returns in week 5.

9. Mark Sanchez – He had a roller coaster rookie season but finished strong in the playoffs. There is no doubt he has the potential to be a franchise quarterback but he has to be more consistent.

10. Shonn Greene – Similar to Sanchez, came on strong in the playoffs. Greene has the tools to be a number one back but has to stay healthy and protect the football.

11. Vladimir Ducasse – The newcomer to the offensive line. He will have a major jump from I-AA to the NFL.

Argue, away…

Cheer Up Knicks Fans…At least we don’t live in Cleveland:

Rookie Highlights

Of Course, TOJ TV

Ut-Oh

Ok, #17

12 Reasons Why The Jets Will Win 12 Games

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also check out the new episode of TOJ TV at the bottom…And now follow Turn On The Jets on YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Turn0nTheJets

2. I will making an appearance on Marty Schupak’s Green Rewind Podcast tonight, I will post the link once he has it up and running.

3. The Jets signed 4th round pick Joe McKnight today. They still have to sign Kyle Wilson and Vladimir Ducasse to finish up their draft pick deals.

12 Reasons Why The Jets Will Win 12 Games

I was amazed by  how high the levels of optimism were when I was interviewing Jets fans at mini-camp practice this past week. Out of the 40 people we interviewed, not a single person put their record below 11-5. Personally, I share the optimism because I genuinely believe this is a 12 win, division winner type team this season just I like I genuinely believed they would be a 10 win, wild-card  type team last season (close enough on the win total). Am I being blinded by the fact I am a Jets fan? I don’t think so, why should I say a team that should win 12 games, shouldn’t? Here are 12 reasons, why the Jets will win 12 games in 2010

Photobucket 1. Familiar With Defensive System – This is year two in Rex Ryan’s defensive system, which means all of the returning starters will be substantially more comfortable. They were already number one in the league and now they will have the ability to expand into more complex packages and blitz schemes. The players will also be given more of a chance to freelance and create plays based on what they see from the offense.

Some quotes from Bart Scott earlier in the off-season on this issue…

“Now it’s not what the coaches can do more of, it’s what the players can do more of. Last year we were doing everything pretty much straight by the book. Now we can improvise…The only field coaches we had last year were me, Marques Douglas and Jim Leonhard.  Now you’ve got 22 people here that know the defense and can teach the defense.”

2. Improved Sanchez – I find it hard to believe after the solid postseason Mark Sanchez had, an off-season spent at the team facility, and a year of experience under his belt that he won’t improve on his 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns from last season. The Jets won 9 games with Sanchez having a pretty awful statistical season, just imagine how many they could win if he makes the expected improvements to his touchdowns, interceptions, completion percentage, and QB rating.

3. Welcome Back – One of the top defensive lineman in the NFL will be returning to the Jets this season. They did struggle against the run at times last season, especially in the wild-card round against the Bengals but the return of Kris Jenkins should alleviate those problems. He will also provide a much better push on the pocket in passing situations.

4. First Down – The addition of Santonio Holmes will allow the Jets to run a wide variety of personnel groupings and formations with their three wide receivers, who are as good of a top three as any in the NFL. Watch for Jerricho Cotchery to become to one of the best slot receivers in the NFL on third downs this season, while all the attention is being paid to Holmes and Braylon Edwards on the outside.

5. No More Corner Problems – The Jets weak spot on defense last year was the cornerback position opposite Darelle Revis. How do you solve a problem like that? You trade for a former All-Pro corner who is one of the best overall athletes in the NFL and spend a first round pick on one of the draft’s top corners. I doubt you can name a team with four corners better than Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Dwight Lowery.

Photobucket6. A Mismatch NightmareThe Jets loaded receiver position and number one ranked rushing attack, makes you forget they have one of the better pass catching, and most athletic tight ends in the NFL in Dustin Keller. His regular season numbers weren’t overwhelming last season but in the playoffs, he caught a touchdown in every single game and appeared to finally be on the same page as Mark Sanchez. Keller will get plenty of favorable match-ups this season with attention focused on the Jets receivers and running backs.

7. Defensive Depth – The growth of young players Jamaal Westerman and Kenwin Cummings, along with the additions of veterans Jason Taylor and Lance Laury has given the Jets solid depth at the linebacker position. You already read about their corner depth, which is matched by quality depth at the safety position with Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Donovan Warren. The defensive line could use a little more but that problem could be solved if they add Marques Douglas to the roster over the summer.

8. Safety Valve – The Jets have added two very good pass catching running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight which will benefit Mark Sanchez. Unlike previous years, the Jets screen game was nearly non-existent last season. Sanchez lacked a good outlet out of the backfield. The presence of Tomlinson and McKnight will help his completion percentage and also create some big plays in the screen game.

9. Playing For The Money – The Jets have three very, very talented players in Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie playing for a contract that will secure them for the rest of their careers.

10. Safety Upgrade – Despite not having as big of a name, Brodney Pool will prove to be an upgrade for the Jets at the safety position over Kerry Rhodes, who was a major disappointment last season.

11. Offensive Line – Even with the subtraction of Alan Faneca, who was arguably the Jets fifth best lineman last year anyway, the Jets will still have a very good offensive line in 2010. Nick Mangold is an All-Pro. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is a Pro-Bowl player. Brandon Moore should have been a Pro-Bowl player last year. Damien Woody is a solid, consistent veteran. Their experience will help overcome the growing pains of Vladimir Ducasse.

12. Special Playmakers – The Jets have a serious collection of playmakers for their return game. Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Brad Smith, Aundrae Allison, and David Clowney give Mike Westhoff plenty of options.

New TOJ TV

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

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First a few updates:

1. Congrats to the Lakers on repeating as NBA Champions. I thoroughly enjoyed the Celtics choking and blowing a 13 point second half lead. Don’t compare LeBron to Kobe. Kobe has five championships. However, please still come to New York, LeBron.

New TOJ TV: Live Footage From Jets Minicamp

Enjoy our new episode of TOJ TV, featuring a terrific new intro, footage of the new stadium, minicamp practice, interviews with numerous Jets fans, and much more. Special thanks to Damien Woody’s entire family for shouting out Turn On The Jets at the end of the video:

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…There is no logical reason for you not to do it.

2. Game 7 here we come…should be fun. I was little surprised at the extent Boston just laid down and died last night.

3. Another thank you to David Clowney and Donovan Warren for taking the time to do interviews with Turn On The Jets. We are working on future interviews with Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and James Ihedigbo.

Wednesday Minicamp Review: A Day At The New Stadium

Our video producer, James Corbett and myself made the trip out to the New Meadowlands Stadium today for minicamp. We arrived about 15 minutes late for the 11:30 practice, and the first thing I noticed was how many people had turned out for a Wednesday morning. There were people in full tailgate mode and I can’t argue with finding an excuse to play beer pong in a parking lot on a Wednesday morning in June. As usual, there was plenty of energy from the fans. The new stadium is enormous compared to the old one.

I doubt it will be like this on game days, but they had it set up that you could basically walk right up behind the sideline at the ground level and watch behind a small fence. You could literally stand about 10 yards from the field. We pushed to the front and got a spot right in front of the defensive back drills, where Darrelle Revis was receiving plenty of support. There were constant “Please Pay Revis” chants and a bunch of signs saying “Pay Revis.” Antonio Cromartie is huge in person. He either bulked up or the television makes him look skinnier than he really is. He was getting a ton of love from the fans and turned about five times to wave to everybody.

PhotobucketWe then relocated to seats on the 50 yard line for 11 on 11 drills. Sanchez hit Braylon on dig route but then had to run a penalty lap because half of the offensive line jumped offsides. Kellen Clemens came in and promptly threw an interception on a deep ball to Antonio Cromartie who had a long run back and looks scary elusive in the open field. Later in the 11 on 11s, Sanchez hit Cotchery on a nice deep crossing route, where he beat Kyle Wilson.

A few other observations, from that period: Brad Smith is getting a ton of work at quarterback and he isn’t just running Wildcat stuff. He was basically the number two today and received more reps than Clemens, Kevin O’Connell, and Erik Ainge (who barely played and appears to be falling behind O’Connell). Smith actually had a few nice throws, including hitting a deep in route to Marcus Henry. He also ran a few options with Danny Woodhead. Another guy who impressed me was receiver Larry Taylor. He is a small, shifty guy who looked very good out of the slot.

The Jets then moved to 7 on 7s. The first thing to notice is how many different looks the Jets can run with their personnel. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Jerricho Cotchery were being moved all over the place. When the Jets go to three wide, Cotchery primarily works out of the slot. However, Braylon was being sent in motion frequently. The Jets were also showing plenty of looks with Keller split out, and Joe McKnight or LaDainian Tomlinson in the slot.

During this period, Brodney Pool and Darrelle Revis had nice pass breakups. Dustin Keller just beat Bart Scott for a short touchdown. LaDainian Tomlinson had a pretty grab out of the backfield that he took in for a 20 yard touchdown. When the backups were in, James Ihedigbo broke up a corner route to rookie tight end Jeff Cumberland, who looked pretty good out there, right in front of us.

In the last 11 on 11 drills, Cotchery had a rare drop but was consoled by Sanchez right as a plane flew over, which said “Happy Birthday Jerricho.” All of the fans sang a few verses of Happy Birthday to J-Co, who turned and waved. The Jets also ran their patented sideline comeback to Cotchery but Revis was all over him and broke it up, which was followed by another “Please Pay Revis” chant.

At the end of the practice, the entire team took a lap to high five the fans. We got some great footage of this as the new episode of TOJ TV will show. On the way out, we got some interviews with fans and funny enough got an interview with Damien Woody’s whole family by accident. We were simply approaching fans asking what they thought the team’s record would be, so we approached Woody’s wife and kids (unknown to us). They answered our questions and shouted out the site, when I complimented his son’s jersey (a Titans white Woody jersey), she said “well we better be Woody fans, I am his wife.” So that was interesting.

Finally, we drove by the player exit and caught Jason Taylor walking out. Nobody has hated on Taylor more than me, but I give him credit for taking his time and signing every single person’s autograph and taking about 35 pictures. Good work JT. (And no I didn’t ask for an autograph, but Corbett did get good footage of him).

Some other loose-end observations: Dwight Lowery was particularly active and had some nice pass break-ups…John Conner is quicker than I expected…Joe McKnight looked like he is going to be a serious weapon out of the slot…Brian Schottenheimer is loud…Nick Mangold got some reps at safety against the second offense and had a few nice blitzes off the edge…Braylon Edwards beard is nasty looking but Edwards was the most impressive offensive player on the field by a good margin.

Anyway, that was it. Keep an eye for new TOJ TV, which will have great footage of the new stadium, practice, and plenty more.

Get Hyped For This Season

Sunday Night Pre Minicamp Jets Thoughts

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…And if you happen to be at minicamp on Wednesday at the new stadium keep an eye out for TOJ TV, we will be interviewing the crowd and building up some street credit for the site as part of my case for a press pass.

2. Big win for America’s favorite touch football team in the wild-card round of the ACFL playoffs today…look at that huddle. We are just like Sanchez, J-Co and Braylon out there.

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Sunday Night Pre Minicamp Jets Thoughts

Some thoughts before the three day avalanche of updates on Sanchez’s 7 on 7 numbers, contract problems, and Rex Ryan press conference quotes…get pumped about minicamp in June:

– You never want to get crazy about non contact practices in June but this an important three days for Mark Sanchez. He finally will be out there at 100 percent leading the first offense through all the sessions. It would be nice to see him put together three solid practices, where he is protecting the football and improving his rhythm with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. Sanchez and Cotchery already seemed to be relatively locked in, but this is Edwards full off-season with the team and Holmes is obviously a new addition.

– Speaking of Santonio, good quote about him from Sanchez pulled from Rich Cimini on his blog over at ESPN New York.

“When you get a new receiver as a quarterback, it’s like a new toy,” he said. “Let’s say it’s a race car. What’s the first thing you do? You floor it. Pedal to the metal, let’s go. Let’s see what he’s got. I want to see what my race care has, I want to see what Santonio has.

“When we first started throwing, when we had a ‘9’ route, I launched it about as far as I could … He’s running, looking up at the ball, takes his eyes off the ball, gets into another gear, looks back up, late hands, tracks the ball … (Completion). He just knew. I mean, you don’t coach that. He’s unbelievable.”

When is the last time a quarterback could say that about a Jets receiver? Sanchez throws a nice deep ball and you can already see that some time on the Jets first possession in week five, Brian Schottenheimer is going to be dialing up a “go” route for Holmes. Points didn’t come easy for the Jets last season, so it would be nice to grab some touchdowns on a 60 yard bomb here or there.

– Can we not rush Kris Jenkins back for minicamp? Let the man keep dieting and working himself back into shape for training camp. All North Jersey fast food establishments should not be allowed to serve Jenkins until after the season…that goes for Damien Woody and Rex Ryan too.

Photobucket We really haven’t heard much about Shonn Greene so far this off-season. Does everybody remember he is the starting running back on a team that runs the ball more than anybody in the NFL? Beat writers, I need some Monday and Tuesday updates on how #23 is looking and then I will see for myself on Wednesday. Hopefully, he spent some time on the jugs machine this off-season to work on those pan-hands.

– Speaking of running backs catching passes, I hope to see the return of the Jets screen game this season. They were terrific from 2006-2008 in that area but didn’t do anything with it last season. Obviously, LaDainian Tonlinson will be a big help but hopefully Joe McKnight can also get going early in the year.

– What am I looking forward to the most from these next three days? I want to see if Nick Folk can keep up his momentum of making field goals. I want some quality Rex Ryan quotes. I want everybody to stay healthy. I want Kyle Wilson to make progress in the nickel role and I want the contract rhetoric to get a little less combative from Revis and Mangold, which hopefully means there has been some progress in negotiations.

Three Offensive Question Marks For The Jets

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First a few updates:

1. It is always fun to rile up Dolphins fans. A big thank you to everybody from Miami who took the time out of their day to visit my site to criticize my article on their delusional beat writer and team.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

3. Episode number 2 of TOJ: The Podcast is now up and running, as you could see in the story below this one and from “The Podcast” link on top of the page. Give it a listen, as me and Dan Donohue debate the Jets and Giants records in 2010 and where LeBron James will end up.

4. The Jets have OTAs today and tomorrow, followed by ones on June 8th and June 10th.

5. NBA Finals – I am having a real tough time making any type of prediction in this series. It should be a 6 or 7 game battle that is very evenly matched. This series is huge for Kobe Bryant, who could cement himself as one of the five greatest players in NBA History in my mind, if he could beat the Celtics (who embarrassed him last time) and win his second title without Shaq. The major differences between this match-up and the 2008 match-up is that the Lakers now have Ron Artest “Say Queensbridge!” to guard Paul Pierce, Andrew Bynum can give them some minutes in the middle, and on the other side Rajon Rondo has turned into arguably the best point guard in the NBA. I respect what the Celtics have done this year but that doesn’t mean I can’t stand them and their constant whining at the officials…plus I have a natural hate of Boston sports teams. So let’s get it done Black Mamba…I am taking the Lakers in 7.

6. More charity work being done by one of the classiest guys on the team, receiver Jerricho Cotchery. http://bplolinenews.blogspot.com/2010/04/bpl-to-host-score-big-with-new-york.html

Three Offensive Question Marks For The Jets

In reverse order of importance…

Number Three – The Running Backs

PhotobucketThe Jets had the number one ranked rushing attack in the NFL last season, when they racked up 2756 yards and 21 rushing touchdowns. An extremely large chunk of that came from Thomas Jones who ran for 1402 yards and 14 touchdowns. Leon Washington also chipped in 331 yards before his week 7 injury. Jones is now in Kansas City and Washington is now in Seattle. Shonn Greene will be replacing Thomas Jones as the number one back and LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight will be combining to replace Leon Washington. I doubt the Jets production will match what is was in 2009 because they are going to throw the ball more and because they will miss Jones and Alan Faneca’s run blocking. That being said, while there are some fair questions about Greene’s ability to be a number one back, he did come on very strong at the end of last season and did show he can carry the load in two playoff games. If he is healthy for all 16 games, he should be a 1100-1200 yard back in this offense. Tomlinson will be relied on to score a big portion of the touchdowns Jones did last season, as he will likely be the team’s goal-line and short yardage back. He will also have to spell Greene a series or two each half and hold down the third down back spot until McKnight is ready. The quicker McKnight can learn pass protections, the quicker he can become a contributing part of the offense.

Number Two – Left Guard

Alan Faneca was probably the Jets fifth best offensive lineman last season. However, he was still a very good run blocker and provided plenty of intangibles and veteran leadership. Despite talk of a competition between this year’s second round pick Vladimir Ducasse and second year player Matt Slauson, it looks like the job is Ducasse’s to lose. He will be making a major jump from Division I-AA at UMass to the NFL. Fortunately, he will be supported by playing in-between two Pro-Bowl players in Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson and he has one of the NFL’s best offensive line coaches in Bill Callahan. Look for the Jets to primarily run the ball behind Brandon Moore in big spots to take pressure off the left guard but either Ducasse or Slauson still has to hold up in pass protection and when the team needs to run to the left side.

Number One – The Quarterback

Well, obviously. It is encouraging that the Jets made it to the AFC Championship Game with Mark Sanchez throwing 12 touchdowns to 20 interceptions and having a 53.8 completion percentage but the team needs more from him in year two. If Sanchez can play the way he did in weeks 1-3, both Dolphins games and the playoffs, the Jets are going to be a 12-4 or 13-3 team and I truly believe that. He needs to find some level of consistency in year two, do a better job of protecting the football, and be more accurate. There isn’t a team in the league with a better top four targets than Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller…Sanchez has to take advantage of that.

No Questions At Receiver

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

Jets Offense: Don't Forget These Players

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First a few updates:

1. We have got a good response on the TOJ DVD Contest, yet it is technically still open so recruit five new fans for the Turn On The Jets Facebook page, e-mail me their names, and you will have a chance to win a free copy of “New York Jets Best Games of the 2009 Season” from Warner Home Video. The DVD isn’t being released until June 1st and you have a shot to get your hands on it for free so start recruiting.

2. You have to love Rex Ryan challenging Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins to a weight loss contest…I am sure the local food establishments aren’t happy but we need all three in shape.

3. The Jets and Giants are making their bid for a New York (well technically, New Jersey) Super Bowl in 2014 tomorrow…it is hard not to get excited picturing the new stadium hosting the Super Bowl. There is nothing wrong with the cold weather, football is supposed to be played in the elements.

4. The TOJ Podcast has finally been recorded and will be up by week’s end and there is a good chance a new TOJ TV will be on the way shortly also.

Jets Offense: Don’t Forget These Players

The original idea for this article was to just focus on Jerricho Cotchery as an underrated player on the offense but there are a few other guys who will have a prominent role on the team in 2010 who need a mention. Yet, let’s start with Cotchery:

PhotobucketAnybody who reads this site knows J-Co is a TOJ favorite. It is easy to get excited about Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, with their big play potential and forget that the Jets number one receiver is still currently Jerricho Cotchery.

It is a shame Cotchery hurt his hamstring and missed two games (actually three because he was playing at 50 percent in week 5 against Miami) because he would have broke the 1000 yard mark if he didn’t, which would have been especially impressive considering how the Jets offense operated last year. Many people forget how Cotchery was playing before the injury, which also coincided with the Braylon Edwards trade:

  • Week 1 At Houston – 6 receptions, 90 yards
  • Week 2 Vs New England – 4 receptions, 87 yards
  • Week 3 Vs Tennessee – 8 receptions, 108 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Week 4 At New Orleans – 5 receptions, 71 yards

After he returned, he continued his consistent production:

  • Week 8 Vs Miami – 3 receptions, 70 yards
  • Week 10 Vs Jacksonville – 6 receptions, 68 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Week 11 At New England – 3 receptions, 84 yards, 1 touchdown

Like every other receiver on the team, his numbers fell off during the final six regular season games because the Jets basically stopped the football and Kellen Clemens had to start a game. However, Cotchery stepped up in the playoffs with 6 receptions for 67 yards in the wild-card round, a quiet 3 catches for 25 yards in the divisional round (yet all three were for key first downs), and finished with 5 receptions for 102 yards in the AFC Championship Game.

It became clear in the playoffs that when the Jets needed a big third down completion, Cotchery was the primary target. Sanchez seems to be the most in sync with him, especially when it comes to option routes. Most people assume Braylon was or is the Jets number one receiver, but look how their stats compared after the trade heading into week 5 (including the playoffs):

  • Edwards – 41 receptions, 697 yards, 4 TDs
  • Cotchery – 45 receptions, 659 yards, 3 TDs

Now keep in mind Cotchery played in three less games in that time frame and still put up nearly identical stats.

Holmes is suspended for the first four games. Cotchery is going to be the number one receiver on this team for those four games and in reality even longer than that considering it will take some time for Holmes to get integrated into the offense. There is also a chance Edwards could be suspended in week one, which will give Cotchery an even bigger role earlier in the season…yes it is just one game, but against Baltimore on Monday night…that is a big game.

Brad Smith/David Clowney – If Edwards is suspended in week one, one of these guys will be starting. Beyond that, one of them will be the number three receiver until week five. In reality, Smith isn’t a true receiver and is more of a gadget player. So despite Clowney being depressed on Twitter about the Holmes trade, he could still be a a big factor in the early part of the year and will have a chance to show he deserves some type of role as a deep threat.

Ben Hartsock/Tony Richardson – The Jets made a smart move by bringing both these veterans back, who are key parts of their running game as blockers. Hartsock is basically another tackle for the Jets and Richardson remains one of the better fullbacks in football. He will also have the chance to mentor/help groom 5th round pick John Connor this year.

Some Brad Smith Action