New York Jets Fact Or False: Secondary Edition

Chris Gross with his weekly Fact or False, this week focusing on the New York Jets secondary

Chris Gross is back with his weekly Fact or False, this week focusing on the New York Jets secondary. Make sure to give Chris a follow on Twitter

The New York Jets have one of the most intriguing defensive secondaries in the NFL. While they have, arguably, the greatest trio of cornerbacks in the league in (All-World) Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson, they have not been very strong at the safety position as of late. However, the Jets addressed this issue the best way they possibly could this offseason, by adding 4 newcomers. The two free agents, LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, along with the two rookies, Josh Bush and Antonio Allen, have the chance to revitalize this position for New York, and officially give the Jets the best secondary in the league. Will these additions, along with the players already on the roster, combine to make such a secondary? Find out all you need to know in this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

Kyle Wilson will emerge as a starter this season. False. Although I fully expect Wilson to improve greatly this season, as we witnessed a fairly decent leap in play from his rookie to sophomore season, he is still not ready to take over as a full time starter. Last season, Wilson ranked 59th among active cornerbacks in the NFL in completion percentage when targeted, as opposing quarterbacks completed 66.7% of their passes when throwing at the former first round pick out of Boise State. While this number is certainly a bit inflated due to the fact that Wilson is picked on as the nickel corner in the same secondary as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, this number will need to decrease if Wilson is going to become a starter on this defense. Players are not selected in the first round to serve as situational/back up players, so look for the Jets to attempt to increase Wilson’s role in the defense, but only if he proves capable.

There is not one Wide Receiver in the AFC East that will escape Revis Island this season. Fact. We’ve previously gone over why Chad Ochocinco is no threat to Revis, but the obvious argument here is Buffalo Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson. Many feel that Johnson “owns” Revis due to the fact that over two games last season, Johnson caught 11 balls for 159 yards and a touchdown. While these numbers certainly are not Revis-like, let’s not put Johnson in that life boat just yet. Although he did beat Revis on a 52 yard catch down the sideline during their week 9 match up in Buffalo, the sole touchdown that Johnson has on Revis in his career was a clear case of miscommunication within the defense.

Prior to the 5 yard touchdown Johnson snagged off of a slant route, Revis was lined up in what appeared to be man coverage, as displayed by the rather tight alignment to the line of scrimmage. Just before the snap, though, an obvious check in the coverage was made as Revis bailed out just as the play began. Johnson hit the slant, which should have been covered by Calvin Pace, who was running around like a chicken with his head cut off, as he clearly missed the check. So, while Johnson did have his 5 seconds of fame against Revis, he by no means “beat” the All-Pro corner. This is not to say that Johnson is incapable of such a feat, but let’s see him gain some consistency against 24 before declaring him the victor in any such matchup.

The Jets will add another Cornerback before the season. Fact. While the Jets have arguably the greatest trio of corners in the NFL in Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson, there is not too much experience on the depth chart behind them. The five other cornerbacks currently on the Jets roster have played in a combined 31 NFL games. While Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant have contributed on Special Teams in the past, it would not be wise for the Jets to enter the season with this amount of inexperience at the position, particularly if none of them stand out in training camp. One name that has been discussed greatly among Jets Nation is former Jet Drew Coleman. A free agent, Coleman is coming off of a career year in Jacksonville last season with 46 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 9 passes defended. Coleman is also familiar with Rex Ryan’s scheme having played in it in 2009 and 2010. This would be a great fit for both sides if the Jets decide to add depth heading into the season.

Antonio Cromartie is unfairly criticized based on performance. Fact. While Cromartie’s tackling has certainly never been the strength of his game, his coverage numbers have been very good for a number 2 corner. Cromartie is typically criticized for poor play, however in his two seasons with the Jets, he has 7 interceptions with 29 passes defended. While he certainly gives up his share of catches, and misses more tackles than anyone would enjoy seeing, Cromartie has arguably the toughest job in football: playing opposite Darrelle Revis. It is nearly impossible for anyone who is targeted as much as Cromartie, due to the presence of his counterpart, to maintain a perfect resume. Therefore it should not come as a surprise to anyone to see him give up a few catches. Yes, the best ones prove to consistently shut down anyone that lines up against them, but how many corners are there like that in the league? About one, and he plays in the same secondary as Cromartie.

The Jets collectively have the biggest group of meat heads at the Safety position in the NFL. Fact. Although their coverage skills are going to be tested to their greatest extent this season, is there truly a bigger group of meat heads at this position than LaRon Landry (6’0″ 220 lbs), Yeremiah Bell (6’0″ 205 lbs), and Eric Smith (6’1″ 207 lbs)? While their play on the field is critical to the success of the Jets defense this year, there is no debating the fact that these guys get after it in the weight room. Besides the countless bone crunching hits we’ve seen from them in the past, this picture should put any argument on this issue to rest.

Bonus – Having no captains will hurt the Jets this season. False. The no captains policy that took effect at the conclusion of last season following the Miami meltdown has been blown out of proportion ever since Rex Ryan uttered those words at his year end press conference. Guard Matt Slauson summed it up perfectly when he said that not naming captains has forced players to step into leadership roles. Leadership ability is something that players either have or don’t have, it is not a quality that can be attained or taught. Appointing captains can sometimes hurt a team because it could place the wrong people in leadership roles that they are unfit for, while excluding players who are natural leaders from such a position (Brandon Moore anyone?). While captains have been important to sports, the title does not automatically make a player a leader. The focus on this issue is certainly being sensationalized. Regardless of whether or not players have the “C” on their jerseys, those who are leaders are going to lead, it is encrypted in their DNA. Expect to see players like Moore, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, and David Harris step into those leadership roles this season, on and off the field, without being officially declared as captains.

TOJ’s Top 50 New York Jets Countdown: 1-9

Turn On The Jets counts down the top 50 New York Jets currently on the roster, finishing today with the top 9 players on the team

Frustrated and confused after seeing the NFL’s Top 100 player list? TOJ was as well. Due to that, we have decided to rank the current New York Jets on the roster from 50 all the way down to 1. Along the way, we will be classifying the players into the following five categories:

  • Bottom of the Roster (strictly a depth and developmental player)
  • Middle Class (Situational player, spot starter)
  • Quality Starter (Capable starting player or very good role player)
  • Red Chip (Swiping this term from Michael Lombardi, an above average stater/borderline Pro-Bowler)
  • Blue Chip (Another swipe from Lombardi, an elite player at his position)

READ NUMBERS 40-50 HERE

READ NUMBERS 30-40 HERE

READ NUMBERS 20-30 HERE

READ NUMBERS 10-20 HERE

(STILL IN QUALITY STARTER CATEGORY)

9. Dustin Keller, Tight End – Keller has played great for stretches of time and put together a few monster games here or there but has never consistently played at a Pro-Bowl level for an entire season. He is coming off his best statistical season with 65 receptions, 815 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2011. The hope is that with Tony Sparano calling the plays, Keller will get the chance to stretch the field a little more and not have stretches where he seems to be forgotten in the game plan.

RED CHIP

8. Antonio Cromartie, Cornerback – Cromartie catches flak from fans at times for giving up big plays and not creating enough on his own. Yet few players in the NFL could stand up to the number of targets he faces opposite Darrelle Revis. Cromartie remains a very good corner, capable of manning up most receivers in the league which is essential in Rex Ryan’s defense.

7. Brandon Moore, Guard – One of the most underrated guards in the NFL, Moore has played at a Pro-Bowl level the past few seasons and is a key part to paving the way for the Jets running game. He is one of the most respected players in the locker room and a leader on the offensive side of the football.

6. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Tackle – Despite coming off a disappointing season, Ferguson is one of the top left tackles in football. Considering his level of play since being drafted in 2006, it is hard not to expect him to come back strong in 2012.

5. Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver – The biggest playmaker on the Jets offense and a receiver capable of taking over games. Holmes looked the part of a number one receiver in 2010 but struggled last season without a viable threat opposite of him. Hopefully with Stephen Hill’s speed and a further developed Jeremy Kerley, Holmes will see more favorable match-ups and go back to creating the big plays we expect of him.

BLUE CHIP

4. Sione Pouha, Defensive Tackle – Has worked his way into being one of the best run stopping defensive tackles in football. Pouha is an essential piece of the Jets 3-4 and is versatile and athletic enough to play in a 4 man front as well. Arguably the best move the Jets made this off-season was signing him to a contract extension. Along with Brandon Moore, Pouha is one of the players on the team who actually deserves a “C” on their chest for his leadership abilities.

3. David Harris, Linebacker – A tackling machine and one of the best inside linebackers in football. It is crime that he hasn’t been a perennial Pro-Bowler and has only made the All-Pro team once (2nd team in 2009). He isn’t a flashy player but is more important to the Jets defense than any player not named Revis.

2. Nick Mangold, Center – A laughable joke that he wasn’t named to the NFL’s Top 100 player list. Mangold is the best center in the NFL and has been All-Pro the past three seasons. The Jets badly missed him in 2011 when he missed a handful of games due to injury. He is the leader of the offensive line and the anchor for the Jets rushing attack.

1. Darrelle Revis, Cornerback – The best corner in the NFL and arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. Outside of a handful of quarterbacks, there is nobody in the league who dominates their competition more thoroughly than Revis does on a week to week basis. Simply put, a beast and a guy well on his way to being a first ballot Hall of Famer.

The Five Greatest Jets Of The 2000s

 

In light of TOJ Editor-In-Chief Joe Caporoso’s absence, the weekly 12 pack will be put on hold until next Friday. For today, we have a special request from TOJ Twitter frequenter Tommy Lessman to breakdown the five greatest New York Jets from the year 2000 on.

Honorable Mention

Vinny Testaverde – Although Testaverde is certainly a fan favorite of New York Jets fans, primarily for his vast bravado, along with taking the Jets to a game within the Super Bowl in 1998, Vinny’s best years with Gang Green came prior to the new millennium.

Mo Lewis – Lewis was All-Pro in 2000, but like Testaverdere, his best years as a Jet came during the 90s. Lewis is also responsible for propelling the New England Dynasty by famously knocking out Drew Bledsoe in week 2 of the 2001 season, paving the way for Tom Brady and three Super Bowls.  

Chad Pennington – I always say that if injuries didn’t hamper his career, Pennington would have been an outstanding quarterback for the Jets. He led New York to two playoff victories in two separate seasons, including a 41-0 rout of Peyton Manning and the Colts in the 2002 playoffs. Pennington also holds the highest completion percentage in league history (with a minimum of 1,000 attempts), having completed 66.0 percent of his passes over his 11 year career. Unfortunately, countless rotator cuff injuries did hamper his career, and by the time he left New York in 2008 upon the arrival of Brett Favre, Pennington’s throwing shoulder was seemingly hanging on by a paper clip. Still, we love you Chad.

Wayne Cherbet – Cherbet is the ultimate underdog. Undrafted out of Hofstra in 1995, he churned out a very solid 11 year career with the Jets, and remains 2nd in franchise history in receptions with 580, while he is 5th in yards from scrimmage with 7,365. Cherbet compiled 41 touchdowns over his 11 seasons, and was awarded the Jets Alumni Association’s “Jets Player of the Year” Award in 2001, while also receiving the Ed Block Courage Award in 2005. Unfortunately, like Pennington, Cherbet’s career was hampered by injuries, and he was forced into retirement in 2005 after a long history of concussions.

Top 5

T-5.) Nick Mangold – Upon being drafted by the Jets in 2006, Mangold had the immense responsibility of stepping in for New York legend Kevin Mawae at the Center position. The first round pick out of Ohio State did not disappoint one bit. Starting all 16 games as a rookie, Mangold allowed only 0.5 sacks, while committing just 3 penalties throughout the entire season. He is a 4 time consecutive Pro Bowler from 2008-2011, as well as a 3 time consecutive All Pro from 2009-2011. He was the anchor for the league’s top rushing offense in 2009, and the fourth best rushing offense in 2010. In 2010, the Jets rightfully made Mangold the highest paid Center in the history of the NFL. His value was even more exposed last season, as displayed by the Jets’ horrific offensive struggles during his absence due to injury.

T-5.) Shaun Ellis – Over his 11 seasons as a Jet, Ellis compiled 559 tackles, 72.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and an interception. Prior to departing via free agency to rival New England last season, Ellis was the longest tenured New York Jet. He was a 2 time Pro Bowl selection in 2003 and 2009, and was the recipient of the 2010 Ed Block Courage Award. He always handled his business with class, and was the foundation of the Jets defensive line for over a decade. Ellis will always be remembered in the history of Gang Green, and could eventually find himself a spot in the Jets Ring of Honor.

4.) John Abraham – In his 6 seasons with the Jets from 2000-2005, Abraham compiled an astonishing 275 tackles, 53.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries. He was a 3 time Pro Bowl selection as a Jet in 2001, 2002, and 2004, and is a member of the New York Jets All-Time Four Decade Team. Abraham is also the last Jets player to record double digit sacks in a single season. Oh, what New York would surely give to have a healthy John Abraham in his prime with Rex Ryan at the helm.

3.) Darrelle Revis – Revis came on the scene after the Jets traded up in the 2007 NFL Draft to obtain him with the 14th overall pick. At the young age of 26 years old, Revis already holds the franchise record for most career passes defended with 95, along with holding the record for the longest interception returned for a touchdown (100 yards vs. Miami on 10/17/2011) in franchise history. Other than the two records the young CB already holds, he has compiled 283 tackles, 18 interceptions, 3 touchdowns, and 1 sack during his 5 seasons as a Jet. Revis is a 4 time consecutive Pro Bowler from 2008-2011, as well as a 3 time consecutive All Pro from 2009-2011, was the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, and is widely regarded as the best defensive back in all of football. By the time it is all said and done, we may not be deeming Revis the greatest Jet of the 2000s, but rather of all time.

2.) Kevin Mawae – Mawae was the Jets ultimate Iron Man, having started 177 games from 1994-2005. In 2000, he anchored the Jets offensive line that ranked 1st in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed with only 20 throughout the entire season. He was a 6 time consecutive Pro Bowl invitee with the Jets, including five in the 2000s from 2000-2004. Mawae was also a 6 time All Pro with Gang Green, 4 of which came in the 2000s from 2000-2004. He was voted to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, while maintaining a spot on the Jets All-Time Four Decade Team. A torn left triceps in 2005 not only ended his consecutive starts streak, but his career as a Jet as well. Mawae was a vital part of Curtis Martin’s immense success as a Jet, and is one of the greatest contributors to the star Running Back’s Hall of Fame career.

1.) Curtis Martin – No one can argue that the first ballot Hall of Famer has been the greatest Jet to date since the year 2000. Martin was a 5 time Pro Bowler, including 3 with the Jets, 2 of which came in the 2000s. He was also a 5 time All Pro, and was the oldest player to ever win the NFL Rushing Championship at age 31 in 2004, when he compiled a total of 1,697 yards on the ground. Martin was the NFL Alumni Running Back of the year in that same year, along with the FedEx Ground Player of the Year. The following season, he was awarded the Bart Starr Man of the Year Award.

Martin is the New York Jets All-Time leading rusher with 10,302 rushing yards as a Jet, and his total career rushing yards of 14,101 rank 4th all time among the NFL’s all time leading rushers, behind only Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, and Emmitt Smith. He ranks 7th All-Time in yards from scrimmage with 17,430 yards. Martin is a member of the New York Jets Ring of Honor, while holding franchise records not only in rushing yards, but touchdowns as well (58). He ran for over a thousand yards in each of his first 10 seasons, including 7 of his 8 years with the Jets, 5 of which came in the 2000s. While Darrelle Revis certainly has the potential to eventually dethrone him, Curtis Martin is undoubtedly the greatest Jet since the turn of the century.

Santonio Holmes Organizes Team Workouts In Florida

Santonio Holmes has organized workouts for his teammates and notes on the Jets in free agency

It was reported today by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger that Santonio Holmes reached out to teammates about holding organized workouts in Florida. He has since been joined by quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receiver Patrick Turner and tight end Dustin Keller with running back Joe McKnight also on the way.

The words coming from the workouts are encouraging, with Sanchez leading his teammates a few other players through offensive sessions, hopefully from incorporating what he learned about Tony Sparano’s offense from Chad Pennington.

Obviously this is what you want to hear after reported disagreements between Sanchez and Holmes last season. To most of the media, Holmes has bought himself the role of villan thanks to his actions in the regular season finale and from his inconsistencies, Sanchez has bought himself the role of hapless quarterback waiting to be benched for a guy who can’t complete an out route.

Yet, we know this: since the season ended Sanchez has tracked down Chad Pennington to take time to learn his new offense, has avoided the media spotlight and now is working out with his top two targets. Santonio Holmes has done charity work in Africa, worked out in Florida and now invited his teammates to join. Not bad for a pair of guys who are frequently discussed only in negative terms.

Other Notes

– Don’t expect the Jets to make any moves in free agency until the dust settles after the draft. They will then assess their depth chart and likely add a couple of low cost players to boost their depth on both sides of the ball.

Something to think about when wondering why the Jets are keeping cap space available.

New York Jets: The Good Guys

TOJ on the New York Jets who actually lived up to or exceeded expectations this season

Despite many players falling well short of expectations for the New York Jets this past season, not every player had a disappointing year. Here is a look at the guys who carried their weight in 2011 –

Darrelle Revis – The best corner in football played like the best corner football. Beyond being his usual lockdown self, Revis also made a number of big plays that led to victories. The only thing more you’d like to see from him at this point is a more assertive leadership role taken.

David Harris – This was one of the most productive years of his career. Harris is solid in both run and pass defense and remains a key part of the Jets 3-4 scheme.

Kyle Wilson – After a rough rookie season, Wilson took a step towards shedding the “bust” label by having a solid year as the Jets nickel back. I am not sure if he is ready to be a full time starter yet but he is moving in that direction.

Muhammad Wilkerson – The rookie had a good, not great year from start to finish. He started every game, was good against the run, and provided an occasional push against the pass. Look for a big jump from him in year two.

Sione Pouha – Pouha has established himself as one of the best run stopping defensive lineman in the league and took leadership over a position group that overachieved all season.

Marcus Dixon – He has turned into a quality rotational player that did an admirable job filling in for Mike DeVito when he was injured.

Aaron Maybin – The only player this year who provided some kind of a pass rush.

Brandon Moore – A Pro-Bowl caliber guard and a leader in the locker room who did the right thing by standing up to Santonio Holmes criticism of the offensive line earlier in the year.

Nick Mangold – The best center in football, who showed his true value by missing a few games this year.

Dustin Keller – His most productive season and one of the few Jets pass catchers who didn’t mope around at all this year.

Jeremy Kerley – One of the only explosive players on the Jets offense. He showed a ton of potential this year and should be a big part of the offense next season.

Joe McKnight – A Pro-Bowl caliber special teams player, who showed glimpses on offense. Is he ready to be a full time third down back?

Who Is The Most Popular New York Jet?

Heading into the final quarter of the season, who is the most popular player on the New York Jets?

TOJ took a quick Twitter and Facebook poll this evening, on who the most popular player on the New York Jets currently is, here are the results

*Out of the first 50 responses

  1. Aaron Maybin – 40%
  2. Darrelle Revis – 40%
  3. Mark Sanchez – 8%
  4. Nick Mangold – 6%
  5. Santonio Holmes – 2%
  6. David Harris – 2%
  7. Plaxico Burress – 2%

A few selected responses from Twitter where Maybin was particularly popular  –

Kind of crazy that a guy who wasn’t even on the team until week 4 is already this popular. However, it is clear the fans appreciate the energy and passion he brings to the team. Honestly, you’d be hard pressed to find another player on the roster who looks like they are having more fun than #51 and who has a better motor. The Jets may have finally found their needed pass rusher with Maybin. Let’s hope he finishes strong this year and is locked down for the long term in the off-season.

By the way, I am pretty sure Matthew Mulligan and Eric Smith came in 60th and 61st in this poll…behind all the practice squad players.

Can Rex Ryan’s Defense Rise Up?

Can Rex Ryan get the most out of a mostly average defensive unit for the rest of the season?

Despite the reputation of the New York Jets, when you look at the current roster it is pretty clear that there is more talent on the offensive side of the football than the defensive side. The success of the Jets defense in recent years has been a testament to Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine.

Right now this unit, has a good, deep defensive line rotation. One great linebacker, surrounded by a generally mediocre group around him. One great corner, surrounded by below average safeties and a wildly inconsistent starter opposite him. It is the recipe for a pretty average defense. Unfortunately, the Jets need this defense to be well above average to compensate for an inconsistent offense that doesn’t regularly play to their talent level.

For that to happen it is on Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to get creative with their game plans. Those game plans need to be complimented by Darrelle Revis and David Harris playing to their elite level, which they have all year with the exception of Revis last week. The pass rush is going to have to keep coming from Aaron Maybin, who needs an enlarged role and from the blitzing. Unlike previous years, Jets defensive backs haven’t been racking up sacks…that needs to change down the stretch. Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery, and James Ihedigbo combined for 9 sacks in 2010. All three are gone now and the Jets haven’t replaced that production.

The defensive line may have to pick up the slack of the linebackers. Hopefully the coaching staff will consider more 4-3 looks to take advantage of their depth up front. Bart Scott and Garrett McIntyre aren’t going to get any faster overnight but should be more effective with less reps and being reduced to situational players.

Rex loves to talk about his defense and having the reputation of being a great defensive mind in the NFL…with the sputtering Redskins, Chiefs, and Eagles coming up on the schedule, it is time to show he can get the most out of a mostly average group.

Unnecessary Hype – Darrelle Revis and Tim Tebow

TOJ on the comical double standard Jets players are treated with by the media

These were the quotes Darrelle Revis had about Tim Tebow and Denver’s offense.

On if the option offense could have sustained success – “Yeah, if you have Michael Vick and Chris Johnson at running back. Yeah, it can work. Those are probably the two fastest guys that can get out on the edge.

On if Tebow could have sustained success with it – “No. Not for a whole season,” Revis said. “We know what they’re doing. And we feel comfortable in our game plan.”

On defending it in the secondary – “The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep,” Revis said. “It can get boring, especially if a team keeps on just running the ball, series after series, play after play.”

And so the headlines fly…

Revis disrespects Tebow!

Revis thinks Tebow is boring!

Revis doubts Tebow!

And the criticism for the big, bad mean Jets running their mouths again starts up. Who does Darrelle Revis think he is, to make that kind of judgement? I don’t know…maybe the best defensive player in football? Shame on him!

Did I miss something?

Where was the passionate criticism of the Detroit Lions after this article came out? How about this quote from the article —

“Come on – that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’

Where was the hate for the anonymous Detroit Lions player? Oh that’s right. He was anonymous. He was a coward and couldn’t stand behind his words. In the hush-hush, anonymous quote, fake your injury report, say nothing world of the NFL, the Jets actually speak their mind and put their names behind their quotes. And unless you are Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, or Green Bay you haven’t had more success than them the past two years, so you should have nothing to say on their style.

In the same article, Cliff Avril was quoted ripping Tebow. There was no ongoing dialogue about him saying Tebow make “crazy decisions.” There was no criticism for Lions players mocking Tebow’s patented celebration. Could you imagine the reaction if Darrelle Revis picked one off from him and did that? Mike Francesa and Mike Florio’s head might explode. Of course, it was all in good fun when Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler did it.

What did Revis even say, that Mike Vick is faster than Tim Tebow? Guess what, he is. That defending the option from a cornerback positon is boring? Guess what, it is. Any cornerback at any level of football would tell you that.

Revis is the best corner in the NFL and probably the best defensive player in football this year, he can say what he wants about an unproven quarterback, especially if what he says is nowhere near being out of line.

A Closer Look At The New York Jets Stats

TOJ with a closer look at the New York Jets stats through 7 games

Passing

  • Mark Sanchez – 129/231, 55.8 completion percentage, 1545 yards, 12 TDs, 6 INTs

Despite all of the scrutiny he is under, Sanchez is on pace for a season that many of us would have signed up for statistically. Of course, the Jets don’t need him to rack up All-Pro stats. All that matters is his ability to continue to win football games, play well in big spots, and be a leader on the offense. Considering their move back to Ground and Pound and the expected continued growth in chemistry with Plaxico Burress, there is no reason Sanchez can’t finish with over 25 touchdowns and around 3,500 yards.

Rushing

  • Shonn Greene – 113 carries, 426 yards, 3.8 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns
  • LaDainian Tomlinson – 34 carries, 111 yards, 3.3 yards per carry
  • Joe McKnight – 10 carries, 26 yards
  • Mark Sanchez – 13 carries, 67 yards, 2 touchdowns

Shonn Greene is getting the bulk of the carries, as was talked about all off-season. He wasn’t doing much with it until last week. A big second half from Greene will likely equal a new contract and a commitment to him as the long term feature back. A shaky second half could lead to a spirited pursuit of Matt Forte or Maurcie Jones-Drew next off-season. Tomlinson’s top contributions come in the passing game. McKnight is slowly becoming more acclimated to the offense. Sanchez is underrated as a mobile quarterback.

Receiving

  • Dustin Keller – 25 receptions, 372 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Santonio Holmes – 22 receptions, 311 yards, 3 touchdowns
  • LaDainian Tonlinson – 2o receptions, 260 yards 1 touchdown
  • Plaxico Burress – 18 receptions 243 yards, 5 touchdowns
  • Jeremy Kerley – 9 receptions, 82 yards, 1 touchdown

I would expect Keller to end up leading the team in receptions. Holmes numbers will eventually pick up but it is hard to see him ending up being a 1,000 yard receiver. If Burress finishes with 40 receptions, 500 yards but over 10 touchdowns, I consider his signing a success. Jeremy Kerley’s role will only continue to grow throughout the year. I would expect him to finish with over 30 receptions.

Kicking

  • Nick Folk – 10/10 Field Goals, Long of 50 yards

He never misses.

Return

  • Joe McKnight – 13 attempts on kick return, 520 yards, 40.0 average, 1 TD
  • Jeremy Kerley – 14 attempts on punt return, 143 yards, 10.2 average

McKnight has been a Pro-Bowl caliber kick returner so far this year. Kerley is also an explosive option on punt returns.

Defense

  • Eric Smith – 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT
  • David Harris – 36 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
  • Bart Scott – 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF
  • Calvin Pace – 33 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 FF
  • Darrelle Revis – 20 tackles, 10 PDs, 4 INT
  • Muhammad Wilkerson – 17 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL
  • Antonio Cromartie – 22 tackles, 5 PDs, 3 INT
  • Jamaal Westerman – 16 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Aaron Maybin – 6 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 FF

A few highlights from the defense. Despite their stat lines, it does feel like Bart Scott and Calvin Pace have missed their share of tackles and are struggling a little bit out in space. The coaching staff has been raving about Pace and their improvement in run defense against San Diego should be attributed to him helping set the edge. Darrelle Revis has been the Defensive Player of the Year in my opinion. Aaron Maybin racked up those 3 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in a limited amount of time. You will see plenty more of him down the stretch and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up with double digit sacks. Eric Smith and Antonio Cromartie both have decent enough stat lines but have been wildly inconsistent so far.

TEAM RANKINGS

  • Passing Yards – 207.7 yards per game, 24th in NFL
  • Rushing Yards – 92.4 yards per game, 28th in NFL
  • Opposing Passing Yards – 196.7 per game, 7th in NFL
  • Opposing Rushing Yards – 126.9 per game, 26th in NFL

Other Notes

  • 11 interceptions through 7 games in 2011, 12 interceptions all of 2010 season. The defense is also on pace for more forced fumbles and sacks this year.

Did The New York Jets Turn A Corner?

TOJ examines if the Jets really turned a corner with their victory over San Diego

The New York Jets victory over the San Diego Chargers was without question a crucial and pivotal win. It set the table for their upcoming games against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots to truly be relevant, meaningful games as the Jets are now in the thick of both the AFC East and wild-card race. The impact on the standings was nice but won’t last long if the Jets don’t handle their business after the bye week.

In reality, the main reason the victory was so important was because of how the Jets won. This was a replication of the 2009/2010 Jets smacking around and beating up on a finesse team. Prior to kickoff, LaDainian Tomlinson yelled the following in his pre-game speech –

“We couldn’t be more different. Weakness vs. Strength. Finesse vs. Power. West Coast vs. East Coast.”

He was absolutely right. San Diego is everything the Jets aren’t. They put up big-time stats and win “pretty.” The Jets will never turn heads with their statistics and win ugly. The bigger the game gets, the worse San Diego plays. The later in the game it gets, the worse San Diego plays. In contrast, the Jets thrive in big spots and in late game situations. When it comes down to it, San Diego is a finesse team led by a subpar coach and a quarterback high on passing stats but low on playoff victories, who spent their post-game crying about the officials. The Jets couldn’t let a team like that beat them in their own stadium in a such big spot in their season and they responded by going back to their winning formula, running and defense.

A second half run by the New York Jets is highly plausible. After their back to back showdowns against Buffalo and New England, the schedule becomes more friendly. They fully have the ability to take advantage of it, especially if they continue to thrive in their proper identity.

On offense, Shonn Greene needs to balance the offense with a productive 20+ carries each week. Mark Sanchez plays much better with an effective rushing attack to throw play action off of. There may be times he has to throw 35 passes in a game but for the most part, the Jets will be in a better situation when he has 22-28 attempts per game. His top two targets should most consistently be Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. Jeremy Kerley should be a third down weapon, working quick outs, whip routes, and the short crossing routes. Plaxico Burress should be the primary red-zone option who provides an occasional big target over the middle.

Defensively, Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine have shown the ability to coach around their unit’s shortcomings in the past and they must do it again. Right now, the Jets are weak at outside linebacker and safety. However, with a young and improving defensive line, Aaron Maybin turning into a legitimate pass rushing threat on third downs, and Darrelle Revis playing at the top of his game the Jets have enough on defense to play their “Ground and Pound” style.

We will learn if the team really turned a corner these next two weeks, when they have a chance to show that they are the team to beat in a division where many think they are the third best team.