Monday Night Football: Jets vs. Ravens Preview

First a few updates:

1.  The Yankees took care of business this weekend, grabbing 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox. It would take a colossal Mets type meltdown for them not to win the division now. How about the season Hideki Matsui is putting together?

2. Television/Movie Discussion of the Day – Entourage was pretty good last night. They finally moved away from E’s relationships dominating the story line and introduced a few new interesting characters in the agency he is working in. Also it is always good to see Bob Saget back on the show…I saw Inglorious Bastards over the weekend, great movie that I highly recommend.

Jets vs. Ravens Preview

The Main Story Lines: Mark Sanchez makes his first start, with a chance to end the quarterback battle. Rex Ryan goes against his former team, that snubbed him for a head coaching job in 2008. The Jets offense faces arguably the best defense in football. The Jets defense will be without their two best players, Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis for the second straight pre-season game. The offensive line will be without Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, also for the second straight pre-season game.

The Best Case Scenario– The Jets offense holds their own against the Ravens defense, putting together a couple of scoring drives and not turning the football over. They are able to establish a running game and protect Sanchez, who is able to make Baltimore pay for stacking the box by hitting a big play deep. The defense continues to put pressure on the quarterback and forces a few turnovers.

The Worst Case Scenario – The Jets are completely out-classed by the Ravens on national television. Sanchez struggles immensely and keeps the quarterback battle alive for at least another week or two. The Jets defense can’t stop the Ravens running game and the backups forced to start look shaky, increasing questions about their depth on both sides of the ball.

You’d Like to See – Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey….the Jets starting receivers make some plays. Vernon Gholston have an active game at outside linebacker. Somebody seize control of the punting job. Shonn Greene continue to improve. Sione Pouha and Howard Green lead a strong run defense. Dwight Lowery have a strong bounce-back performance. Kerry Rhodes make a big play in the secondary.

Prediction – The Jets offense moves the ball but is forced to settle for a few too many field goals. Sanchez does well enough to end the quarterback battle. The defense struggles a little bit without Jenkins and Revis. Final Score….Ravens- 23 Jets-16.

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

First a few updates:

1.  The Jets had their first annual “King Ugly” contest which names the three ugliest players/coaches in the organization. According to the beat writers and David Clowney’s twitter (also an interesting follow), first place was James Ihedigbo, second place was defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and third place was Leon Washington. Hey, it’s not a big deal guys…you play a sport with helmets on and I am pretty sure Pettine will be tucked safely away in the booth.

2. I was cleaning out my closet today and went through all my NFL Jerseys, which was obviously overloaded with Jets no longer on the team and WR’s and CB’s from other teams. For some reason when I was in high school I  wasted hundreds of dollars on jerseys of receivers and corners cause I played both positions. Anyway, look at this depth chart of jerseys and please if you are interested in buying any of them except for the guys currently on the Jets, feel free to let me know:

Jets Jerseys:

Still On The Team – Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, Kerry Rhodes

Legends – Curtis Martin

Out of Date – Santana Moss, Laveranues Coles, Curtis Conway (Yes, Curtis Conway), Jonathan Vilma, Chad Pennington, #9 Caporoso Jersey (a horrible gift from an ex-girlfriend)

Other NFL Jerseys:

Recievers: Anquan Boldin, David Boston, Issac Bruce

Corners: Terrence Newman, Phillip Buchannon, Charles Woodson, Quentin Jammer

Jets vs. Ravens: Five Players to Watch

I am going to do a full preview of the game before Monday Night but for now here is five players in particular to watch out for when the Jets play the Ravens:

Mark Sanchez – Obviously…the rookie is making his first start and it is on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses. What will be the most interesting to see is how he handles the intense amounts of pressure the Ravens will throw at him. Can he avoid sacks and move the pocket? Can he make the proper check at the line to a quick pass? Can he find the back or tight end to dump the ball off too? Even better, will he make the Ravens pay for crowding the box? Leading a scoring drive against the Rams is one thing but if Sanchez can put up some points against Baltimore’s first defense, that would be pretty impressive and leave us all feeling better heading into the season.

David Clowney – Can the speedy receiver keep up his pre-season dominance and more importantly, can he stay healthy? I would like to see Clowney catch a few balls that aren’t deep bombs (obviously in addition to catching a deep bomb or two) to show that he could work in traffic and be a complete receiver. Teams are going to start respecting his deep speed, which will open up the deep curl and comeback for him. Clowney has had some issues catching the football, so he needs to prove he can pull in a few difficult passes. Also, we’d all like to see him catch another touchdown and do that bizarre dance.

Vernon Gholston – Paging Mr. Gholston…paging Mr. Gholston….will you ever record a sack? Even in a pre-season game? Why can Kenwin Cummings get a sack last week but you can’t? I am tired about hearing how strong he is at the point of attack and how he has all the tools. It is time for Gholston to make a pass rush move and use his speed to put the quarterback on the ground.  We are all sick of seeing the #6 pick in the draft end of the game stats be 2 assisted tackles and 0 impact plays.

Dwight Lowery – The second year corner is coming off a rough outing against the Rams and should start again in place of Darrelle Revis and also see extended reps because Donald Strickland is sitting out with a sore toe. Lowery apparently struggled last game because he was dealing with some personal issues involving a friend nearly being deported. Hopefully, he can put that behind him, go out and have a strong bounce-back performance. You can never have enough depth in the secondary and Lowery is a talented guy who has a chance to be a big part of the Jets nickle and dime packages on defense this season.

Wayne Hunter – The backup tackle will start again for Damien Woody. Hunter struggled last week, giving up a 3rd down sack to Leonard Little of the Rams. It would be nice to see Hunter have a solid performance against a top tier defense, showing the Jets have somewhat decent depth on the offensive line. Also, keep an eye out to see if he gets any reps at tight end with the second offense.

Another Funny Jets Commercial, this time starting Fireman Ed:

Troubling Trends at Jets Camp

First a few updates:

1. Sorry about the lack of posts since Saturday, I just moved in to my new apartment out by Lehigh and had orientation for grad school all day yesterday. I don’t know if anybody who reads this has ever been to the campus but let me tell you it was quite a workout finding my way around. Our orientation was held on top of Mt. freakin Everest, it was like being at Mile High Stadium up there, I needed oxygen.

2. Last night I just finished re-watching the last season of The Sopranos, so of course I spent the majority of my day reading theories on the final scene. I am convinced now the big guy was whacked, unfortunately.

3. I played in a touch football tournament over the weekend. My team lost in the finals but we had a great run in preparation for the spring league which we will be taking part in. I was like Keyshawn on the 1998 Jets out there but I am now paying the consequences since I have been hobbling around my apartment the past few days.

4. Brett Favre with the Vikings? A team built to play defense and run the ball, with average receivers?…good luck Minnesota.

5. I updated the Jets depth chart with the subtractions of TJ Conley, Keith Fitzhugh and J’Nathan Bullock and the addition of Ken Parrish, Joshua Magua, and Huey Whittaker.

Troubling Trends at Jets Camp

I have to say I felt really good after the Jets pre-season opener last Friday night. Mark Sanchez looked great. David Clowney looked like a viable deep threat. Shonn Greene showed some burst. The first team defense was all over the place and had a great pass rush. Regardless of the loss, there were plenty of encouraging things shown by the team. However, since the game has passed there have been some things you have to be concerned about, things that are getting me worried we could be running into a pre-season buzzsaw this Monday Night on national television against the Ravens.

1. Nagging Injuries – Alan Faneca is out for the Baltimore game and potentially the rest of the pre-season with a broken finger. Ryan wants to hold him out until week one, although Faneca has expressed interest in getting some pre-season reps. I wouldn’t mind seeing him play a series or two against the Eagles in a few weeks but over all he is a pro’s pro and should be fine for the regular season. Kris Jenkins still isn’t participating in team drills and isn’t going to play Monday. I would really like to see the big fella in there against the Ravens running game to see where the defense is truly at. Darrelle Revis might play, but he is still nursing a sore hamstring which is a nightmare for skill position players. I doubt we will see Damien Woody until the regular season because it isn’t worth risking it with a concussion. Tony Richardson is also still out with a hip pointer. On the positive side, Nick Mangold is probably going to play this Monday and is recovering well from his twisted knee.

2. What’s Up Mark? – Ever since the most heralded 3/4 90 yard performance in NFL history, Mark Sanchez has been awful in practice. His numbers the past few days have been things like 4/12 with 2 interceptions and 2/11 with three wide open receivers missed. Is he being complacent? I don’t think so. I think it is just normal rookie inconsistency. However, there is something about an inconsistent rookie on an off day starting behind an offensive line featuring Wayne Hunter and Stanley Daniels against arguably the best defense on football that is causing me to lose sleep.

3. Take it Easy, Rex – Let’s be clear I love the bravado and swagger Rex Ryan has brought to the Jets team. However, his comments about the Ravens were a little unncessary. We understand he was disappointed he didn’t get the job last year, but still talking about it now and calling it “BS” sounds a little immature. Also, criticizing the organization for giving out Michael McCary’s number to a rookie is a little over the top. Just worry about the Jets.

I don’t know maybe it is the pessimistic Jets fan inside of me but is anybody else worried about a rough showing on Monday Night Football this week? This team has had good training camp, a pretty encouraging pre-season opener and seems to have alot of confidence. I would hate to see an ugly performance against the Ravens that makes questions swirl about the quarterback battle, offensive line depth, and exactly how good the defense will be, because at this point…who the Jets have is who they are playing with in 2009.

I just can’t get enough of this commercial:

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

First a few updates:

1. Vick to the Eagles? Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. What an interesting move, that could be discussed for hours upon hours. I don’t know what type of shape Vick is in right now, but I would imagine by the time he is reinstated (probably somewhere between week 4-6), he will at least be the running threat he always was. Defensive coordinators will now have to prepare for a wildcat type formation or a package of plays that features Vick’s unique skill set. You can say what you want about Vick as a person but the guy is one hell of a football player, and I am sure Andy Reid’s staff will find a way to get the most out of him on the field.

2. Tom Brady returned tonight and of course threw two touchdowns to….Chris Baker. Yes, that Chris Baker who the Jets wouldn’t resign and are now stuck with Wayne Hunter and Jack Simmons battling it out for the #2 tight end job. I can already see Baker having 9 catches for 139 yards with 2 TD’s week two at the Meadowlands.

3. Did anybody see those “The Lighter Side of Training Camp” commericials featuring Thomas Jones, Nick Mangold, Leon Washington, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery? The one with Mangold trying to sell TJ’s car is hysterical. If you havent’ seen them, I suggest going over to www.thejetsblog.com and checking them out.

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

The Headline: The Jets are a little banged up on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense along their prized line. Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody will all sit out with injuries, thrusting Wayne Hunter, Rob Turner, and Stanley Daniels into the starting lineup. This will be a good chance for the Jets backups to gain some extra work and experience, and attempt to calm the organization’s concern about their offensive line depth. Unfortunately, because of the injuries both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez will play less to decrease the risk of injury. I’d expect 2-3 series from both of them before it becomes the Erik AInge show.

You Have to Be Excited to See: Mark Sanchez…obviously. The rookie should get some work with the first team offense and if he can move the ball effectively, will go a long way towards locking down the starting quarterback position. Shonn Greene…the third round pick should receive the bulk of the carries on the night and will be looking to prove the Jets have a three-headed monster at running back. Vernon Gholston…he has been playing better in practice, but how nice would it be to see the guy finally get a sack? Isn’t that what we drafted him for?

Position Battles: David Clowney vs. Brad Smith vs. Wallace Wright vs. Britt Davis for reps behind Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey. Let’s see if Clowney can match last season’s monster pre-season and if the undrafted rookie Davis can bounce back from a rough outing at the Green and White Scrimmage. Jack Simmons vs. Kareem Brown for the #2 tight end spot. Simmons has been active in camp but needs to be more consistent catching the football. Sione Pouha vs. Howard Green for reps behind Kris Jenkins at defensive tackle. Jenkins isn’t playing and Pouha will start but Green has had a strong camp and received plenty of praise from Rex Ryan.

What You Have to Hope For: No injuries. 7-9, 78 yards and a TD for Mark Sanchez. A sack and a forced fumble by Vernon Gholston. A highlight reel 70 yard touchdown run by Leon Washington that finally pushes Tannebaum over the edge to give him a new contract. A big day from the one the Jets receivers not named Cotchery or Stuckey.

Talking to the Opponent: Will Horton from http://Ramsherd.com and I exchanged e-mails about tomorrow’s game, here is a transcript of our conversation –

Will: This will be the first time that Marc Bulger plays without the red jersey, and will be free to take hits. How well does the new offensive line protect him, and how confident will he be in his throws? He’s looked good in practice, but he’s also been untouched. From the Jets’ perspective, who’s bringing the pass rush? 
 
Joe: The Jets top two sack guys from last season were Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace. Unfortunately, both are facing early season suspensions, with Pace missing 4 games and Ellis missing 1. Vernon Gholston will be stepping in for Pace and should see a ton of action against the Rams to get him ready for the first 4 weeks of the regular season. Also, keep an eye on under the radar linebackers, Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman who both have had very strong training camps.

Will: Will Spagnuolo be able to remake this Rams defensive front into a Giants-style penetrating attack? We got pushed sideways and backwards all last season, perhaps no game more so than against the Jets. (That video you posted is nightmarish for us!) With Mangold, Faneca and Woody out, are the Jets’ backups stout enough to hold the fort?

Joe:It is hard to evaluate their top backups because none of them have had extensive playing time. Regardless, Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter did contribute last season as extra tight ends in short yardage situations and are veterans of the Jets offense. Stanley Daniels, who will start for Alan Faneca is probably the biggest question mark of the three. Rex Ryan has already went on record stating he believes Wayne Hunter is a starting caliber tackle and Rob Turner is a versatile player with good size.

Will: If the Rams get to the red zone, can we score? How was the Jets’ red zone defense last season? How does it project this season?   
 
Joe:
The Jets red zone defense was pretty good last season and should project to be even better this year because of the depth they added at all three levels. Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard can man up on receivers and let the Jets stack the box. Kris Jenkins leads the charge on the D-Line and frees up space for the Jets exceptional pair of inside linebackers, Bart Scott and David Harris.

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

Jets Training Camp Wrap Up: August 11th, Jones on the Market?

New Starting Running Back?: According to the National Football Post, the Jets have been placing some calls around the league to gauge trade interest in starting running back Thomas Jones. The article specifically cites a NFC West team that the Jets have been in discussions with. You have to think that team would be Seattle, since the 49ers have Frank Gore, the Cardinals have Tim Hightower/Beanine Wells and the Rams have Stephen Jackson. Personally, I think it’s a crazy idea to trade Jones. If the Jets are going to run the ball as much as they say they are, why would you trade a pro-bowl workhorse like TJ? I understand the factors with his age and contract but just let him go after the season, that way Shonn Greene/Danny Woodhead/Jehuu Caulcrick all have a year to develop and gain some NFL experience, especially Greene. There is nothing wrong with having a potent three headed monster at running back, especially when you are thin at receiver/tight end and starting an inexperienced quarterback.

Camp Story of the Day: Both quarterbacks stepped up their games today. Sanchez was accurate and in-control while working with the first-team offense. Clemens had one of his best practices working with the second team and made an acrobatic play to Britt Davis for a two-point conversion. He also hit Brad Smith for a 50 yard bomb down the sideline…encouraging signs for both Smith and Clemens.

Pre-Season Update: Kris Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody won’t play on Friday…likely giving starts to Sione Pouha (NT), Dwight Lowery (CB), Rob Turner (C), and Wayne Hunter (T). Kellen Clemens will start at quarterback but Mark Sanchez will receive some work with the first team offense, although he won’t play into the second half. Rex Ryan said Erik Ainge will probably see the majority of snaps, likely playing most of the second half…oh boy. It will be important for Clemens to set the tempo early, avoid turnovers, and move the football. Sanchez will have lowered expectations because it is his first NFL action, but if he can engineer a scoring drive with the first-offense and protect the football, it might be lights out for Clemens in this QB battle.

First Pre-Season Game Ramble: You have to be excited as a Jets fan about this Friday. The best part of the first pre-season game is finally seeing what your team’s offense and defense looks like, in terms of formations and play calling, along with seeing all the new additions out there in Green and White. We will also get to see our new coaching staff on the sideline for the first time, and get some type of a sense about the 2009 team’s style and attitude.

X and Z, Receiver Talk: Rich Cimini pointed out how Jerricho Cotcheryhas been working at split end (X) with the Jets first offense, with Chansi Stuckey in the slot (Z). Cotchery has been the Z the past few years, but playing at X will allow him more 1 on 1 match-ups and create more space for him to get open. Stuckey has had a great camp but playing Z will be a big test for him, it is a tough position that requires alot of movement, different types of routes, and versatility.

Number Crunching: It will be real interesting to see if the Jets decide to keep 6 running backs, 6 receivers, or 10 secondary guys. People like Danny Woodhead, Britt Davis, and Drew Coleman need to show value on special teams in these upcoming pre-season games.

Jets Highlights of the Day: Speaking of Thomas Jones and the Rams, here is Thomas Jones highlights against the Rams from last year, not the best quality but still a decent watch.

Jets Positional Analysis: Offensive Line

First a few updates:

1. Following the release of Bubba Franks, the Jets have signed the immortal Richard Owens to play tight end. He wasn’t in football last season but in the four seasons prior to that he racked up 17 catches for 141 yards and 1 touchdown…yippeee. Where is Doug Jolley when you need him?

2. I updated the depth chart for the first time in a month, no major changes but worth a glance if you are interested in seeing everybody the Jets currently have at every position.

Jets Positional Analysis: Offensive Line

Over the next 6 weeks, I am going to go through all of the Jets positions and assess each player, continuing today with the offensive line:

1. Nick Mangold #74, Starting Center, Last Season: Started 16 Games, Selected to Pro-Bowl

History: A first round pick of the Jets in 2006, Mangold has been a great all-around lineman since the moment he put on green and white. After being an alternate in the pro-bowl his first two seasons, he was selected last year and it was well deserved. He is mobile and does a good job in both pass protection and run blocking, and should be an anchor on the Jets line for the next decade.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Mangold stays healthy and develops into a leader on the offense. He begins a long stretch of seasons as an all-pro center.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: It is hard to see Mangold regressing at this point of his career, so the only worst case I think of is him getting hurt.

Prediction: I have my fingers crossed for another healthy 16 games of pro-bowl caliber play from Mangold and if he is healthy than you should expect an all-pro appearance.

2. D’Brickashaw Ferguson #60, Starting Left Tackle, Last Season: Started 16 Games, Pro-Bowl Alternate

History: The fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft, Ferguson has been a good but not great player. He has improved each year but still isn’t an elite tackle in the NFL. Regardless, he has never missed a game in his first three seasons and is excellent in pass protection.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: D’Brick takes his game to the next level and makes his first pro-bowl appearance. He improves his run blocking and his allowed sack total drops from the previous season.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles as he did during the 2007 season, regressing from last season’s success or is injured.

Prediction: D’Brick will remain a very good starter for the Jets and if a few things break a certain way, he might end up in Hawaii at the end of the year.

3. Alan Faneca #66, Starting Left Guard, Last Season: Started 16 Games, Selected to Pro-Bowl

History: The Jets signed Faneca to a massive contract last season, despite his somewhat advanced age. He responded witha very good season, where he provided strong veteran leadership to both Mangold and Ferguson. He made the pro-bowl because of his reputation.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Faneca matches his play from last year, showing no signs of decline due to age.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He begins to break down in only the second year of his five year contract.

Prediction: Faneca is a pro’s pro and will be a solid piece of the Jets offensive line for another year.

4. Brandon Moore #65, Starting Right Guard, Last Season: Started 16 Games

History: He has started 73 consecutive games for the Jets at right guard, getting better with age. He is extremely underrated and arguably out-played Alan Faneca last season. The Jets were almost stupid enough to let him get away this year but fortunately brought him back.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He keeps doing what he has been doing the past few years, and maybe receives a little more recognition now that he signed a new contract.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: An injury ends his consecutive starts streak.

Prediction: After the past few years, how can I not predict Moore to start 16 games and be a very good guard for the Jets?

5. Damien Woody #67, Starting Right Tackle, Last Season: Started 16 Games

History: The Jets biggest question mark on offensive line heading into last season and most questionable signing, Woody responded with a strong season. He is especially valuable because of his ability to also play guard and center.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Woody does exactly what he did last year, making Mike Tannenbaum look smart for giving him that big contract last year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Woody struggles at tackle, making Mike Tannenbaum look stupid for giving him that big contract last year.

Prediction: The guy I am most worried about on the Jets offensive line. I think (more like hope) Woody does duplicate his play from last year.

6. Robert Turner #75, Backup Guard/Tackle, Last Season: Active For 16 Games

History: Turner has been a Jets backup lineman the past two years. He saw action in 2007 at guard and last season as an extra tight end in short yardage packages. He would be the first one off the bench if Faneca or Moore got hurt this season.

Chance of Making Roster: 90%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He contributes again in short yardage packages and is able to answer the bell if he is called to play because of injury.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles in training camp and is cut, leaving the Jets even thinner at the backup OL spot.

Prediction: Turner is a pretty good athlete and does have experience, I see him remaining the Jets top backup this year and seeing the field in short yardage sets.

7. Wayne Hunter #78, Backup Tackle, Last Season: Active for 16 Games

History: He has been with the Jets the past two years after playing with Seattle and Jacksonville. He was an extra tight end in some short yardage packages last year (look at the big fella out in space last year against the BIlls). As of now, he is the first tackle off the bench in case of injury.

Chance of Making Roster: 80%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He steps in, if needed and hopefully he isn’t needed.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He loses his roster spot to one of the younger lineman.

Prediction: I don’t see why he wouldn’t remain on the active roster, unless somebody really sticks out in pre-season or bombs out.

8. Matt Slauson #68, Backup Guard/Tackle, 6th Round Pick in 2009 NFL Draft

History: The Jets took him in the 6th round this year. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan is familiar with him from his days at Nebraska. The Jets like his versatility, since he has starting experience at tackle and guard. He played guard last season for the Cornhuskers.

Chance of Making Roster: 80%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He learns the next couple of seasons behind the veterans and eventually becomes a starter.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He gets cut.

Prediction: I think he will be on the 53 man roster and bounce between being active and inactive.

The Rest of the Guys:

9. Stanley Daniels #64 – Backup tackle who has bounced around the Jets practice squad/training camp the past couple of years.

10. Tavita Thompson #62 – UDFA Tackle from Oregon State.

11. Ryan McKee #69 – UDFA Tackle from Southern Mississippi.

12. Michael Kracalick #76 – Big (6’8, 335 Lbs) tackle who has been in the NFL for 4 seasons.

13. Michael Parenton #56 – UDFA Center from Tulane.

14. Nevin McCaskill –  A tackle, Jets just signed him a few days ago

Overall Position Analysis: The Jets have one of the best front fives in football but some question marks behind them. Mangold and Ferguson should keep improving, Moore is as steady as they come, and hopefully Faneca and Woody won’t start breaking down yet. Hopefully, Slauson turns into a good prospect/eventual starter for this team.

New Jets Player Highlight: Rookie running back Shonn Greene has a day against Wisconsin, going for 217 yards and 4 TD’s. His second touchdown run at the 1:55 mark is extra pretty. Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and now this guy? I like it.

Ten Ways For the Jets To Win Ten Games

First a few updates:

1. Now that I finished going through the entire AFC East, writing articles about how the Jets match-up against the Bills, Dolphins, and Patriots, I thought I’d share each fan bases respective reactions. When I wrote the articles, I posted a copy of the link in ESPN Message Boards for each team.  Here is what I got:

– Bills fans were by far the most civil, offering a reasonable debate about their team. They disagreed with a few of my statements, but for the most part thought I had a fair analysis of their team.

– Patriots fans offered the most comments, all of which described my low levels of intelligence and general idiocy. Obviously, they are the Patriots and clearly they are going 15-1 and nobody can tell them anything different. I will say that it was my mistake to say the Pats defense is old, because it really isn’t. Two of their linebackers are old, their secondary is young but is simply not very good, and they have a very good d-line.

– Dolphins fans cracked me up the most. They talk like Miami went 16-0 last season and rolled through the playoffs. Yes, they had a nice season in 2008 but remember how they squeaked in the playoffs by beating the Jets by 7 in week 17 and then were humiliated at home 27-9 during wild-card weekend. I got news for you Dolphins fans, you aren’t going to be a 13-3 team. Come back to reality.

– My final view of the AFC East at this point is that the Patriots are the best team and will probably be in the 10-6 to 12-4 range. The other three teams will be battling it out, and all be around .500 at worst. One of those teams will win double digits and give New England a run for the division, will it be Buffalo, Miami, or the Jets? We’ll see. But expect to see the standings that look something like this:

  1. New England: 10-6/11-5
  2. Buf/NYJ/Mia: 10-6/11-5
  3. Buf/NYJ/Mia: 8-8/9-7
  4. Buf/NYJ/Mia: 7-9/-8-8

The Jets are going to have to find a way to win their division games, if they want to be in that #2 slot or maybe even that #1 spot.

Ten Ways For the Jets To Win Ten Games

1. Most Important Position Produces – The Jets aren’t going anywhere unless they have consistent, steady quarterback play. Mark Sanchez or Kellen Clemens don’t need to produce pro-bowl numbers but need to protect the football, hit the occasional big play when the opportunity is there, and overall be an effective game manager.

2. Number Two Receiver Steps Up – It doesn’t matter if it is Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith, David Clowney or a combination of the three. The Jets need production opposite of Jerricho Cotchery to keep double teams off him and to make their offense harder to defend. I really think Stuckey can be a 60 catch guy in a full time role. The guy caught 32 passes last year despite receiving limited playing time, especially down the stretch. I am hoping Clowney can be the 2009 version of Dedric Ward in 1998. Remember Ward? In 1998, he had 25 receptions for 477 yards (19.1 yards per catch) and 4 touchdowns, all on bombs that put the nail in the coffin in huge games for the Jets.

3. Playmakers Make Plays – I am talking about Dustin Keller and Leon Washington, the Jets two most difficult match-ups. Both of these guys should get more touches on offense this year and need to step up. Keller should be able to be a 65-70 catch guy in this offense. Washington needs more carries and receptions. The only thing that stopped him last year was the Jets coaching staff.

4. Secondary Improvement – Lito Sheppard is going to see a ton of balls thrown at him this year and if he can’t play at the level he did a few years ago, the Jets are going to be in trouble. Jim Leonhard is also entering his first year as a full-time starter and needs to do his job well enough to allow Kerry Rhodes to freelance and make plays. Finally, don’t forget about guys like Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Eric Smith who will be on the field often against the spread offenses of the Bills and Patriots.

5. The Big Man Stays Healthy – The Jets defense starts and ends with Kris Jenkins. They need him healthy and productive for all 16 games, leading the charge against the run and freeing up Bart Scott and David Harris to make plays. Howard Green and Sione Pouha need to provide adequate relief off the bench to help keep the big guy fresh.

6. Offensive Line Stays Healthy – If Damien Woody, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson can stay healthy for all 16 games, it will go a long towards making the Jets a playoff caliber team.

7. TJ – The Jets need Thomas Jones in 2009. I am not ready to start giving Shonn Greene 20 carries a game. Jones has to be the workhorse he was in 2008, if Rex Ryan wants to win football games his way. Mike Tannenbaum…find a way to compromise with Jones to keep him in green and white for this upcoming season.

8. Pressure – Every great defense needs a strong pass rush. Calvin Pace needs to match his level of play from last season and receive some support from Vernon Gholston and Bryan Thomas. It is sad that as the #6 pick in the draft, Gholston would make Jets fans thrilled if he could just manage 6-8 sacks this year but we’d take it. Thomas needs to play the way he did the first half of last season for the whole year.

9. Revis Keeps Improving – Darrelle Revis is already one of the five best corners in the league but he will have his hands full this year: T.O. twice, Randy Moss twice, Steve Smith, Andre Johnson, Ted Ginn Jr (kidding), Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White. The Jets need him to be a lockdown corner against the elite receivers they face this year.

10. Cotchery Becomes a #1 – Nobody expects a pro-bowl appearance from Jerricho Cotchery but he needs to produce like a number one receiver. 80 catches, 1150 yards, 6-8 touchdowns would be a nice year for him.

Jets Thursday OTA: Sanchez Progressing, Jones Silent

The Jets had their OTA open to the media today, so here’s a quick run down of the day’s events with some analysis:

1. Mark Sanchez improved from last week’s rough performance. After initially struggling during 7 on 7’s and his first two minute drill, he responded by leading the second offense down the field for a touchdown. Also, according to Rex Ryan he had a strong practice on Wednesday, which included a beautiful deep ball on a corner route for a touchdown. Sanchez is facing a difficult, complex defense in practice and any type of improvement is positive. Beyond that, when you hear quotes from Sanchez like this, you have to feel encouraged:

“I’ve made friends with the cleanup crew because I’ve been staying so late…I want to know it (the offense). I want to master it by tomorrow. I want to master it 10 minutes ago. ”

You have to like the guy’s attitude. As for now, Kellen Clemens remains ahead in the QB competition, which is to be somewhat expected. Clemens has been steady during OTAs and isn’t going down without a fight. Right now, he is more comfortable in the offense and isn’t making as many mistakes or miscommunications.

2. Thomas Jones did practice and apparently looked great. Nobody expected Jones to show up out of shape, since the guy lifts more than some of the offensive lineman on the team. He chose not to speak to the media, which is fine. I’d rather have him not talking to the media, than ripping the organization. According to Rex Ryan, Jones stated he is happy to be here and Sanchez, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody all said Jones was in good spirits and helpful on offense. Bob Glauber of the Daily News proposed an interesting compromise in today’s paper, which would have the Jets pay Jones his 3 million roster bonus this year instead of next year. I don’t know if that will happen or if it is even necessary at this point, but it is something to consider.

3. David Clowney had a pretty rough day, with some uncharacteristic drops. Chansi Stuckey seems to be creating some distance for himself at the #2 receiver spot, since he has been consistently making plays all off-season. Rex Ryan again stated that he is comfortable with his group of receivers and it appears at this point the Jets won’t add anybody else. He also complimented little know receiver, Huey Whittaker who is a guy the Jets pulled out of the Arena League. Whittaker has good size (6’2, 220 lbs) and speed and could be a player to keep an eye on.

4. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes both had strong practices, recording an interception each. Jay Feely awarded them co-player of Thursday’s practice on his twitter account. David Harris and Jim Leonhard had a nasty collision, when Leonhard was trying to catch a punt. What is with all these collisions at the Jets non-contact practices?

5. Kerry Rhodes refused to discuss the pending legal investigation about a possible rape at his Morristown residence. It is important to remember that Rhodes is not a subject of the investigation and hasn’t been accused of anything.

6. A quick programming note: I am going on vacation to Las Vegas and Cabo from June 1st-June 9th, which means posts may be sparse during those days. However, fortunately I will be getting back in time for mandatory OTAs. I full anticipate having at least one post a day throughout the duration of the summer when I return from vacation.