New York Jets Considering Needed Veteran Additions In Secondary

The New York Jets are wisely exploring making veteran additions to their secondary

The New York Jets are having both veteran free agent safety Yeremiah Bell and cornerback Chris Johnson in for visits today. While it is doubtful either will be signed before the draft, it is a smart move to prepare contingency plans depending on what happens this weekend.

We have already discussed the reality that the Jets need more than one player added to their safety depth chart. While he isn’t the Pro Bowl player he was a few years back, Bell is a productive, reliable player who would provide needed insurance for LaRon Landry at strong safety. Beyond that, he has more size and athleticism than Jim Leonhard at free safety, if the Jets end up starting a veteran at that position. Bell is familiar with the Jets through offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. He would be a low cost addition that would provide much needed piece of mind to a depth chart at safety that is currently paper thin and one injury away from being a complete disaster.

Chris Johnson saw his role decline greatly in Oakland last year but he has starting experience and would fill the hole the Jets currently have at their fourth cornerback spot. Donald Strickland isn’t coming back and was average at best last year. Marquice Cole has left for New England. Johnson would have a small role on the Jets defense in their dime package, provide depth if one of the top three corners got hurt and be a quality special teams player. He should be a nice upgrade over what Strickland gave them last year.

Unless the Jets leave the draft with two safeties they feel very good about, look for Bell to be signed in the coming weeks. Similarly, unless they add a corner in the middle rounds, I would look for Johnson to be signed sooner rather than later in the days after the draft. Both players would be needed veteran additions at positions that could used improved depth. Don’t be surprised to see the same approach taken at wide receiver. If the Jets don’t add a player in the first three rounds, they will likely add Braylon Edwards at some point in May if his knee checks out.

Jets Must Learn To Win Close Games

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First a few updates:

1. For everybody sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to throw out their Kellen Clemens jersey and go buy a Mark Brunell one, the actual signing might not happen until tomorrow according to Rich Cimini. I am still not sold on this move, look at Brunell’s numbers the past three seasons and then tell me you’d be confident with him stepping in if Mark Sanchez got hurt.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also you can now find TOJ contributions at www.profootballnyc.com. Also I know everybody has to love that new logo for our site, which we are working on getting into the banner.

3. Chris Paul wants to be traded and the Knicks are on top of his wish list. Can you imagine how many assists CP3 would have in Mike D’Antoni’s offense? LeBron James who? I want our own big three of Amare Stoudemire, Chris Paul, and eventually Carmelo Anthony.

4. It sounds like there has been absolutely no progress on the contract talks with Darrelle Revis or Nick Mangold…let the circus at training camp begin.

Jets Must Learn To Win Close Games

A common argument against the Jets being one of the NFL’s elite teams in 2010 is they were only a 9-7 team in 2009 and made the playoffs because teams laid down against them in their final two games. This argument ignores or pays no respect to the two road, upset playoff wins the Jets pulled off. However you feel about that argument, many people forget how many games the Jets were one play away from winning last season.

PhotobucketWeek 5 – Holding a 27-24 lead with 5:05 left on the clock against the Miami Dolphins, the Jets defense allowed Miami’s offense to drive the length of the field and score the game winning touchdown with 6 seconds left. During this drive, Miami converted two key third downs, both on completions to Greg Camarillo, one of the receptions was on Drew Coleman and the other was on Dwight Lowery. For some reason, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Coleman or Lowery in this type of situation in 2010. Rex Ryan also did a poor job of not using his remaining timeouts to give the Jets offense a chance to respond.

Week 6 – The Jets lost in overtime to Buffalo 16-13, thanks mostly to Mark Sanchez’s five interceptions. However, this game was still there to be won in the extra period. Unfortunately, the Jets botched a field goal attempt to win the game and Sanchez then threw an interception after the Jets had crossed the 50 yard line on their next possession.

Week 8 –  Down 30-25 to the Miami Dolphins with a little under two minutes to go, the Jets had 1st and 10 from the Dolphins 12 yard line. Sanchez made a poor judgement call trying to run on second down,  took a sack on third down and threw the ball out of the end-zone on fourth down.

Week 10 – After taking a 22-21 lead with a little over 5 minutes left against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jets defense allowed Jacksonville to drive to the one yard line and kick a game winning field goal as time expired. On the drive the Jaguars completed a key third down pass to Mike Thomas who beat Donald Strickland for 15 yards and then on the following play hit tight end Mercedes Lewis for 33 yards, who beat Kerry Rhodes down the middle of the field.

Week 15 – Despite holding a 7-3 lead with 4:06 left on the clock, the Jets allowed the Atlanta Falcons to drive down the field for a game winning touchdown. On the drive Atlanta converted a key third down to Roddy White who beat Donald Strickland for 16 yards and then after the play Strickland was called for a 15 yard facemask penalty. Atlanta was down to 4th and goal from the 6 yard line, when Rex Ryan made the mistake to switch into zone coverage when man to man on tight end Tony Gonzalez had been working all day, Gonzalez found a soft spot in the zone and scored the game winning touchdown.

These were five games the Jets easily could have won. Even if they managed to go 2-3 in these contests, they would have been 9-5 heading into their final two games and not needed victories against the Colts or Bengals to grab a playoff spot. The bottom line is that the Jets lost these games. However, consider Rex Ryan was a rookie head coach last year and Mark Sanchez was a rookie quarterback. The two of them will learn from their late game mistakes in 2009. Beyond that, players on defense who killed the Jets by coming up small in big spots last year: Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, Drew Coleman, and Dwight Lowery, have been replaced by Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Brodney Pool.

If the Jets knew how to win close games in 2009, they could have been a 12-4 team. If they learn how to win them in 2010, they will be a 12-4 team.

TOJ TV

Thoughts On Kerry Rhodes Trade & Weekend Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Great times yesterday at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hoboken…I am happy to report everybody I was with  avoided the $2,000 fines that were being handed out like candy on Halloween. I got a decent amount of love for my “Revis Island” shirt. Sure, there were plenty of bitter Giants fans celebrating the Antrel Rolle signing like they just picked up Ronnie Lott in his prime, but I mean hey any time you can make a guy who might not even be a top ten player in the league at his position the highest paid safety in NFL history…hey, go for it.

2. I am heading out to Austin, Texas from Tuesday to Sunday with some college friends, so posts might be a little more sparse than I would normally like but if anything major happens, I’ll obviously be on it and of course follow the facebook page and twitter account for updates.

3. The 2010 Draft section has been updated.

Thoughts On Kerry Rhodes Trade & Weekend Wrap-Up

When I woke up this morning and saw all the information on the Kerry Rhodes trade, I wasn’t surprised to see he was moved. The momentum had been building on this for awhile and even though Mike Tannenbaum made it sound like he would be back during the Antonio Cromartie conference call, you still had a feeling he wouldn’t be playing for the Jets in 2010. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled with the value they got back from Arizona. The original reports from last week had Arizona potentially sending over a 3rd round pick, but as we know it ended up being a 4th rounder and a 7th rounder next year. I suppose that it is decent value for a guy who has never been a pro-bowler but the Jets still now have a hole at safety.

PhotobucketIt sounds like the Jets are content to let Eric Smith take over but I can’t really see Tannenbaum standing pat here. I don’t know if he will try to make a move up in the draft to grab Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, look at the second round tender on Baltimore’s Dawan Landry or has something else in mind but I’d be shocked if the Jets didn’t bring in somebody else to pair with Jim Leonhard. Eric Smith is a decent player but he has some limitations in pass coverage and isn’t much of a playmaker. The Jets defense isn’t better with Smith and James Ihedigbo taking the major reps at safety over Rhodes.

In retrospect, I now have another jersey of a former Jets player. I could slide my #25 jersey next to my Chad Pennington, Jonathan Vilma, Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss, and Curtis Conway (yikes) ones. Like most Jets fans, I was huge Rhodes fan when he instantly became a productive player as a fourth round pick in 2005. He took his game to the next level in 2006 with a monster season, in which he probably should have received All-Pro recognition. Unfortunately, his play has declined in every season since, culminating with him being benched in week 10 this past year. Rhodes never seemed to click with the new coaching staff and was apparently wearing thin on the locker room with his “Hollywood” attitude. Regardless, TOJ wishes Rhodes luck in Arizona and will have always fond memories of the big plays he made from 2005-2009.

It is nice the Jets added a fourth round pick and now currently only have one round in which they don’t pick (third). I also expect they will pick up another selection when compensatory picks are announced. The Jets need depth on both sides of the ball and have been short on draft picks in recent years, so the more overall selections the better.

In terms of where they go from here, there hasn’t been much written on Adalius Thomas in the past 48 hours but I still expect when everything is said and done, that he will end up on the Jets. Mike Tannenbaum has been giving the impression the Jets will definitely add another one or maybe even two, corners. Corey Ivy remains a potential target. Ralph Brown, Frank Walker, Benny Sapp, and Roderick Hood are other available players the Jets could consider.

PhotobucketMarques Douglas is attracting interest from the Patriots, Panthers, and Titans. I really hope the Jets use some of the money they freed up from Kerry Rhodes, Thomas Jones, Donald Strickland, and Lito Sheppard to get Douglas back. He was a valuable part of their defense and is a quality 3-4 end, which are hard to come by. Mike DeVito was pretty good last year but is better served as a rotational player, providing depth very similar to Eric Smith. The Jets have the money to sign him and their defense will be better overall with him. There is no reason to have too much turnover on the league’s #1 defense.

Pro Football Talk is reporting the market could soon heat up for Leon Washington. Yet, they don’t name any specific teams. Even if another team signs Washington to an offer sheet, I can’t see the Jets letting Thomas Jones and Leon Washington walk in one off-season. Jones is going to get more money offered somewhere else and likely not return. Tannenbaum has said the Jets will target a veteran running back, although the options are fairly slim. Mike Bell’s name has been thrown around but beyond him I haven’t heard another running back specifically mentioned.

Aging Defense Jets Primary Off-Season Concern & Super Bowl Reaction

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First a few updates:

1. Gary Myers of the Daily News officially waited one day with an attempt to jinx the Jets for next year by picking them to win the AFC, in his article today.

2. Darrelle Revis did an interview with the The Big Lead the other day and offered a few interesting thoughts, including his belief that the Jets biggest off-season need is a corner, Jerricho Cotchery is their most underrated player (agreed), and he also gave the impression that Vernon Gholston won’t be back next year (we can only hope so).

3. The 2009 highlights section has been changed around, since most of the game highlights are being taken off youtube by the NFL. However, I am working on putting together all the various highlight tapes people have made of the Jets past season, as you can currently see in the section.

Super Bowl Reaction

1. The Colts…choking as heavy Super Bowl favorites since 1969.

Photobucket2. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in NFL but his legacy took a hit last night. If he completes that drive and leads the Colts to a win in OT, most people are saying he is the greatest QB ever or he is at least in the top 2/3 of the discussion, he has 2 Super Bowl rings, 2 Super Bowl MVPs, passes Tom Brady as the best QB of this generation, and spends the entire off-season being praised effusively by everybody associated with football. Yet, since he threw that interception he will spend the whole off-season hearing about his 9-9 playoff record, how despite dominating in the regular season for so long, only has 1 ring to show for it with a win over a mediocre Bears team, and how he was outplayed handily by Drew Brees in the Super Bowl. People are now wondering whether he is heading back to his choking ways of the past…talk about one play changing perspective.

3. Honestly, you had to root for the Saints last night. They were a more emotional/fun team to follow. They had a better story, and on and on which is why about 85 percent of the stadium was Saints fans last night. The Colts come off a little robotic…maybe that is just because their coach hasn’t changed his facial expression once the entire season.

4. Give to credit to Dwight Freeney for putting up a hell of an effort on his bad ankle last night.

5. The commercials? Disappointing, at best. Even the Tim Tebow supposedly “controversial” ad was boring.

6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook….because 185 other people are, and why wouldn’t you want to be one of them?

Aging Defense Jets Primary Off-Season Concern & Super Bowl Reaction

The Jets defense carried them to the AFC Championship Game this past year. Despite the offense coming on late in the season, the 2009/2010 Jets were about defensive football, finishing with the league’s #1 overall ranking. It was a constant storyline from the beginning of training camp how far ahead the defense was of the offense, yet moving forward into this off-season and likely the few following it, the Jets need to focus on their defense instead of their offense.

On the offensive side of the football, the Jets have a good, young core that should be in place for awhile as we will get to in another article on another day. On defense, the front office is going to have some work to do.

The main focus of this off-season will likely be the secondary. Darrelle Revis will be getting a monster contract either this year or next year. #24 isn’t going anywhere, so feel free to buy yourself his jersey, maybe even an authentic one if you have some money. Jim Leonhard is only 27 years old and will be around for awhile, especially with Rex Ryan in charge of the defense. Beyond that, there is nothing but question marks. Lito Sheppard won’t be back next year. Donald Strickland is also likely going to be released and even if he sticks around, he can’t be relied on to stay healthy. Drew Coleman doesn’t belong on an active NFL roster. Dwight Lowery should be a #4 corner/specials teamer and Marquice Cole is a strictly specials guy. Kerry Rhodes is rumored to be on the trading block, although I think when everything is said and one, he will be back next season. If Rhodes can play to his potential, it will alleviate many potential problems on their defense. They will have a pair of good, 27 year old safeties in place for the forseeable future withtwo quality backups in Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo.

Smith and Ihedigo are good options as #3 and #4 safeties but would be miscast as starters or even as guys splitting starting time. If the Jets can’t work things out with Rhodes, they better find a way to fill his spot before trading him for a middle-round draft pick or else they are only creating another hole to fill. They already need a long term starter opposite Darrelle Revis at corner and a reliable nickel-back, who could also provide depth if Revis (scary to think about) or the eventual starter got hurt. We can’t have Dwight Lowery one snap away from playing starters minutes next season.

PhotobucketAt linebacker, the Jets aren’t necessarily old but they aren’t young either and they lack depth. Similar to Revis, David Harris is going to be around for a long time and will be a lynch pin of the defense hopefully for another 7-8 years. Bart Scott is going to turn 30 this year but should pair inside with Harris for a few more years. The top backup at inside linebacker is Ryan Fowler, who has some starting experience but is much better suited as a special teams player. Past him, I wouldn’t expect Larry Izzo back and Kenwin Cummings has never played an NFL snap. Calvin Pace also turns 30 this year and similar to Scott will likely play out the huge contract the Jets gave him as a productive starter (or at least we hope so). Bryan Thomas turns 31 this year and since the Vernon Gholston completely flamed out, has remained a starter longer than many in the organization probably wanted to see. Thomas has been okay the past two years, but the Jets need to upgrade to a more dynamic pass rusher. Unfortunately, because of the Gholston bust, their depth is also weak. Marques Murrell might not back next year after spending plenty of time on the inactive list last season. Jamaal Westerman has potential as a back-up at both positions, but disappeared after a strong start as a pass rusher last year.

On the defensive line, Kris Jenkins is turning 31 and coming off major surgery. I would be thrilled if we could get 2 more seasons out of him at 2008 level and then have him still be productive in a somewhat lesser role after that but even that might be asking too much. Sione Pouha just turned 31 but is only entering his 6th season next year, so hopefully he could remain a key part of the defensive line rotation for a few years. I don’t know if Howard Green will be back next year. Marques Douglas and Shaun Ellis both turn 33 this season so even though both are coming off good years, the Jets need to start thinking about long term replacements at defensive end. Mike DeVito is only 25 but is best used in a reserve role. Ropati Pitoitua hasn’t been able to earn any major reps the past two years.

So in retrospect, yes the Jets had a very good defense last year and yes they should be even better in 2010 with Jenkins returning and another year in the system. However, they still need two corners, an upgrade at outside linebacker, long term answers at defensive end, and better depth at the linebacker position.

In The Category Of Random Related Videos To The Jets Defense

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

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First a few updates:

1. Chad Johnson still refuses to give Darrelle Revis credit as you can read here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9859/ochocinco-on-revis-child-please), this guy is crazier than I already thought.

2. Another reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook. I have a page up there that includes extra commentary and links to all the Jets coverage from other sources that you should be reading on a daily basis. We are at 171 fans right now, and I want that number doubled by the time the 2010 season starts.

3. Isn’t it great that Mark Sanchez already has more playoff wins than Tony Romo in his career? I am just saying since nobody likes those Maganelli Cowboys fans that are here in the area.

4. One of the main things I will be working on in the off-season is putting together a TOJ Podcast for the 2010 season, more details to follow.

5. Next week, I will be doing our usual updates and stuff if anything Jets related occurs. However, I will be focusing on the 2009 Season 1st Annual Turn On The Jets Awards. The best players, best moments, best games, best coaches and of course the worst players, worst moments, worst games, and wort coaches will all be recognized…so let’s hand out some hardware.

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

Mike Tannenbaum (who we are a big fan of here at TOJ) took the podium today to discuss the Jets off-season, here are some highlights and analysis:

Mark Sanchez – Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrew yesterday to have his knee checked out. It sounds like he is going to have minor surgery to clean it up. The Jets haven’t made a final decision yet but Tannenbaum basically said he wanted to see Sanchez take part in some rehab and strengthen the knee, and that he would be back well before training camp if they decide to have him get surgery. Hopefully, he won’t have to miss any OTAs or mini-camp.

– Kellen Clemens  – Tannenbaum said the Jets are going to tender Kellen Clemens as a restricted free agent. I don’t know at what level he will be tendered but I would imagine it would be a very low pick (6 or 7) at the highest or maybe even without a pick. He also said just because they are going to tender him, doesn’t mean the Jets won’t look at a veteran quarterback.

Erik Ainge/Kevin O’ConnellTannenbaum said he likes both of them moving forward but the Jets would be crazy to proceed with them as the top two backups.

Thomas Jones – It certainly sounded like TJ will be back next year. The Jets are going to pay him his bonus and I am sure Jones will recognize he isn’t going to get big money anywhere else. Tannenbaum continually emphasized the importance of depth, especially at the running back position.

Leon Washington – The Jets are going to tender Leon as a restricted free agent. I would guess with a mid-round pick (2 or 3). It is hard to see any team making a big money offer to him for the Jets to match since he is coming off major knee surgery.

Braylon Edwards – Edwards will be back next year with a likely 1st and 3rd round pick tender. Tannenbaum pointed out how he was a big help in the Jets rushing game and has been a good fit in the locker room.

Kerry Rhodes – Many people have been speculating that the ongoing difference between Rhodes and the Jets is that they want him to take a pay cut. However, Tannenbaum made it clear there are no contractual issues between the two and that the key is they want Rhodes to commit to the Jets off-season program. It sounds like the organization wants more of Rhodes in the team facility and less of Rhodes posing for magazines and acting.

Vernon Gholston – Gholston is going to be back in 2010, although Tannenbaum is obviously not happy with his lack of production, they are going to give him another off-season to improve.

Secondary – Secondary was mentioned more than a few times as a key focus for the Jets off-season. Tannenbaum made it clear that Ryan loves defensive backs and he wants to give him as much depth as possible at the position. He didn’t say anything about Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, although I’d be shocked to see either back next season.

– Thank you to reader Ret2ski, who pointed out the Jets do in fact have a 5th round pick. So to my knowledge they have a 1,2,5,6,7. Another thing about the Jets this off-season, if a player is cut by a team before his contract expires the Jets are free to sign him without restriction. Overall, I would still guess the Jets will be relatively quiet in free agency, focus on acquiring more draft picks and actively work on adding depth to the defense, especially at the defensive back position.

Nice Highlight Tape Of TJ and Shonn Greene

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers yesterday by saying the Jets were going to be the best show in town next season. I listened to the press conference and think most people are taking it the wrong way as some big time shot at the Giants. Basically, Ryan said when the Jets were playing at home it was going to be Jets Stadium and when they were playing at home, they were going to be the biggest show in town. Giants fans really got their panties in a bunch yesterday on the local radio shows after hearing the press conference, which was pretty laughable. If they are so confident they are still the number one team in town (which they are until the Jets win or at least get to a Super Bowl) why are they so insecure about what a Jets coach says in a press conference? Maybe it is because their team quit on them the last two weeks of the year, has one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and is heading into 2010 as the third best team in their own division.

2. I am surprised the line is so high on the Super Bowl…the last I saw it was at 5.5 in favor of the Colts. I would imagine the Saints will be able to exploit the Colts secondary. However, I guess Peyton Manning is playing so well right now that nobody wants to bet against them. I will be pulling for the Saints, not out of bitterness but because they have never won one before and the Colts just got one in 2006.

3. I am still trying to find out where all the Jets draft picks are for April. Unless what I have read online is wrong (which is a definite possibility) the Jets only have a 1st round (#29 overall), 2nd, round, 6th round, and 7th round pick. They lost their 3, 4, and 5 from the Braylon Edwards and Lito Sheppard trades. This might be a year to trade down and stockpile some more picks.

4. Non-Jets Related Off-Season Talk – LOST premieres in a week and yes i am very excited about that, you want to fill your free time in the off-season go rent the DVDs and catch up…I was watching the Knicks before the AFC Championship Game and not only were they wearing ridiculously ugly orange socks, they also lost by 50 freakin’ points, it was like watching Marist play Syracuse, I mean c’mon now, we aren’t convincing LeBron to come play for a team that bad…Has anybody had a worse off-season in baseball than the Mets? Even though the Yankees won the World Series, they still did much more to improve their team. Have you seen their line-up and pitching rotation for 2010? Wow.

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

There is nothing like the dead period from when your team is eliminated from the playoffs until the start of free agency (March 5th, my birthday by the way), plenty of time to enjoy mid-season NBA and NHL, and college basketball and off course look at all the potential things the Jets could do to improve in 2010. Make no mistake, the Jets have work to do this off-season. The playoff run was terrific. They found their identity. The future is bright. However, they only won nine games in the regular season. It is time to take the next step, which means becoming a 11-12 win division winner who is hosting playoff games and hopefully getting a bye. What are the issues facing the Jets this off-season and where could they improve? Let’s take a look:

Defense

PhotobucketThe early reports coming from the organization is that the Jets will be looking to revamp their secondary after it was torn to shreds by Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan didn’t sound too confident in Kerry Rhodes coming back in his press conference yesterday. Basically, he said he wasn’t going to beg anybody to come back who didn’t really want to be here and that he wants committed players on his defense. Ryan refused to give details about a discussion him and Rhodes had considering his future with the team. Personally, I think Rhodes improved after his benching and would be crazy to want to leave New York. I am not sure if a guy like him wants to move out of the biggest market in the country and what defensive player wouldn’t want to play for Rex Ryan? The Jets owe Rhodes a roster bonus in March and will likely explore trade options but I am not sure how big the market is going to be for him. Obviously, the Jets minor league team (Cleveland) will be interested but unless the Jets are getting good value back and have plan to replace him, I don’t want to see Rhodes go. The secondary isn’t improving by trading Rhodes for a 5th round pick and then having James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith split reps at safety.

Lito Sheppard is a goner. There is no way the Jets are paying him a roster bonus in March. It is also being reported that Jets are likely going to part ways with nickel back Donald Strickland, who was productive when healthy this past year but always seemed to be banged up. I’d also be shocked to see Drew Coleman back next year.

Remember the Jets are limited in free agency because of the rules under the old CBA. They can only sign the same number of free agents that they lose. Regardless, Mike Tannenbaum is a creative guy with trades and with Strickland, Sheppard, and potentially Rhodes all likely ending up with new teams the Jets will have some room to operate.

Remember the Jets spent all three draft picks on offense last year, so you can bet Rex Ryan will be pushing for defensive help in the first two rounds of the draft. The Jets need a corner to pair with Darrelle Revis and a guy to compete for nickel reps. You have to expect at least one of their draft picks to be on a defensive back and trade options to be explored. The cornerback market isn’t loaded with talent although there are some quality guys (Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Fabian Washington). If the Jets get rid of Rhodes, Roman Harper, Nick Collins, and Antoine Bethea are all free agents.

Outside of the secondary, the Jets need a pass rusher. Everybody knows this but finding a big time pass rusher isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. If the Jets don’t spend their first round pick on a corner, it will be on on outside linebacker/defensive end pass rushing prospect. Vernon Gholston will likely be cut this year and even if he isn’t, he has proven to be a bust. The Jets are pretty old along the defensive front, so don’t be surprised to see more than one new face added through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

Offense

PhotobucketDespite the defense carrying the Jets this past season, it needs more help than the offense does. The Jets are young at key positions and have a talented core to build around (Sanchez, Greene, Washington, Edwards, Keller, Mangold, Ferguson, Cotchery, Smith). Braylon Edwards is going to be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent, so he will be back. Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller are a pretty good trio of targets for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets could still use a slot receiver. Brad Smith is a valuable offensive weapon but isn’t a wide receiver and David Clowney is no better than a number 4/5. Chansi Stuckey would really be the perfect guy to fill this role but unfortunately the Jets had to give him up to acquire Edwards. The Jets could also use a better #2 tight end. Ben Hartsock is a good blocker but is no threat as a receiver and has too many costly penalties called on him.

On the offensive line, the Jets need to start thinking about their long term replacements for Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. I am confident the Jets will pay Faneca his roster bonus in February because he has started every game since signing his contract and maintained a high level of play. Yet, the Jets could really only bank on one or maybe if they are lucky two more seasons from the Faneca/Woody combination before they break down or their level of play falls off. Hopefully, guys like Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, and Wayne Hunter are developing into potential starters but it wouldn’t hurt to spend another late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Running back will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Will Tony Richardson want to come back for another year? If not, the Jets will have a big hole to fill at fullback. I think it is the right call to bring Thomas Jones back for the final year of his contract. You don’t know how Leon Washington is going to respond from his injury and Shonn Greene was banged up alot this year. With the way the Jets run their offense, there is no problem with having three backs getting carries. Hopefully, Jones can accept becoming option 1B, since Greene should clearly be the Jets 1A option at running back next year. Despite having a great regular season, there won’t be a huge market for Jones because of his age and because of how his production fell off in the playoffs so it makes sense for both sides to have Jones return.

The Jets also need a veteran backup at quarterback. Kellen Clemens is gone and they would be crazy to go into the year with Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell as their top backups. How about Chad Pennington? Seriously, who would be a better mentor for Sanchez and be better equipped to manage the Jets ground and pound if Sanchez was hurt?

Overall

If I had to list the Jets off-season needs as right of now it would look something like this:

  1. Secondary (#2 and #3 corner, potentially safety to replace Rhodes)
  2. Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker (Pass Rusher, Youth on defensive line)
  3. Veteran Backup Quarterback
  4. Offensive Line (Eventual replacements for Faneca/Woody)
  5. #3 Receiver
  6. #2 Tight End

Jets vs. Colts Position By Position Comparison

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First a few updates:

1. The recent surge of comments has been a nice positive for the site. I knew I would be hearing plenty from “Coach” this week since he is a die-hard Colts fan who is convinced Super Bowl III was rigged. Also, I just received a breakdown of the site traffic which has been very strong over the past month…a special shout out to our international readers, including people from Denmark, France, Japan, Philippines, and Mexico.

2. Why do I have time to write back to back articles this afternoon? I have a big space between my 11 AM class and 4 PM class, what else would I do? This is Championship week, c’mon now.

3. Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, and Mark Sanchez are talking to the media at 3:45 today.

Jets vs. Colts Position By Position Comparison

Quarterback – Peyton Manning (4500 yards, 33 TDs, 16 INTs) vs. Mark Sanchez (2444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs) – Well then…at least admit you were surprised by how many interceptions Manning has thrown this year. Sanchez needs to manage the game, make a couple of plays and avoid turnovers while Manning is the single person that turns the Colts from a 6-10 team to a 14-12 team. Advantage: Colts

Running Back – Joseph Addai (828 yards, 10 TDs, 336 receiving yards), Donald Brown (281 yards, 3 TDs) vs. Thomas Jones (1402 yards, 14 TDs), Shonn Greene (540 yards, 2 TDs) – Greene is playing better than any running back in football right now. The guy is averaging 6 freaking yards per carry. Jones has been slightly phased out but still remains valuable, especially in short yardage situations and goal-line situations. Joseph Addai averaged less than 4 yards per carry this year and Brown is a talented rookie, who adds some size to the Colts offense. Advantage: Jets

Wide Receiver – Reggie Wayne (1264 yards, 10 TDs), Pierre Garcon (765 yards, 4 TDs), Austin Collie (676 yards, 7 TDs) vs. Braylon Edwards (541 yards, 4 TDs), Jerricho Cotchery (821 yards, 4 TDs), Brad Smith (270 total yards, 1 TD) – Reggie Wayne is one of the best receivers in football. Garcon is a burner who didn’t play when the Colts faced the Jets back in week 16. Collie is a rookie who is very good in the slot. While I think Garcon and Collie are good players, I do think their stats are inflated because of their quarterback. I would love to see Jerricho Cotchery’s stats if he played a year in the Colts offense. Regardless, you can’t argue who has the advantage here. Advantage: Colts

Tight End – Dallas Clark (1106 yards, 10 TDs) vs. Dustin Keller (522 yards, 2 TDs) – Keller has caught a touchdown in each of the Jets playoff games and I hope one day he becomes the type of player Dallas Clark is right now. Advantage: Colts

Offensive Line – Charlie Johnson, Ryan Lilja, Jeff Saturday, Kyle DeVan, Ryan Diem vs. Damien Woody, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, D’Brickashaw Ferguson – The Jets have the best offensive line in the NFL. Advantage: Jets

Defensive Line – Dwight Freeney (13.5 sacks), Robert Mathis (9.5 sacks), Daniel Muir (52 tackles), Antonio Johnson (34 tackles, 1 sack), Raheem Brock (32 tackles, 3.5 sacks) vs. Shaun Ellis (53 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Marques Douglas (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Sione Pouha (45 tackles), Mike DeVito (28 tackles), Howard Green (23 tackles) – Freeney is the best pure pass rusher in the AFC (I am giving the NFL crown to Jared Allen right now) and Mathis is a pro-bowl caliber defensive end. Shaun Ellis will be playing with a broken hand, while Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha are coming off their best games of the season. Advantage: Colts

Linebacker – Phillip Wheeler (61 tackles, 1 sack), Gary Brackett (99 tackles, 1 sack), Clint Session (103 tackles, 2 INTs), Freddy Keiaho (38 tackles, 1 sack) vs. Calvin Pace (55 tackles, 8 sacks), David Harris (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks), Bart Scott (92 tackles, 1 sack), Bryan Thomas (53 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Colts linebackers have great speed and Gary Brackett is one hell of a player but David Harris will be the best linebacker on the field Sunday. Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas both played very well last week, while Calvin Pace is the Jets best pure pass rusher. Advantage: Jets

Corners – Jacob Lacey (85 tackles, 3 INTs), Jerraud Powers (66 tackles, 1 INT), Kelvin Hayden (50 tackles, 1 INT) vs. Darrelle Revis (54 tackles, 6 INTs), Lito Sheppard (31 tackles, 1 INT), Dwight Lowery (24 tackles, 3 INT), Donald Strickland (26 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Colts are fairly average here, meaning there will be chances for the Jets to make big plays down the field if they can pass protect. Darrelle Revis will do his thing but the pressure is on Sheppard, Strickland, and Lowery to have big games against Collie, Garcon, and Clark. Advantage: Jets

Safeties – Antoine Bethea (95 tackles, 4 INTs), Melvin Bullitt (77 tackles), Tim Jennings (57 tackles, 2 INTs) vs. Kerry Rhodes (63 tackles, 3 INTs), Jim Leonhard (76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT), Eric Smith (48 tackles, 1 INT), James Ihedigbo (19 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Jets safeties came up huge last week against the Chargers and need another big game this week. They need to apply pressure when sent at the quarterback and find a way to contain Dallas Clark. The Colts safeties better be ready to hit or else Shonn Greene is going to make them pay (see Eric Weddle last week). Advantage: Jets

Special Teams – Matt Stover (9/11 FGs), Pat McAfee (44.3 yards per punt), TJ Rushing (5.7 per punt return), Chad Simpson (1 kick return TD) vs. Jay Feely (30/36 FGs), Steve Weatherford (42 yards per punt), Jerricho Cotchery (10.3 per punt return), Brad Smith (1 kick return TD) – I like the Jets here. Jay Feely has been money ever since the Atlanta game. Cotchery is a better punt returner than Rushing and Brad Smith already took one back 106 yards against the Colts coverage units. Advantage: Jets

Somebody Told Me The Jets Are In The AFC Championship Game, So I Should Be Working Around The Clock On The Site, This Is What I Told Them:

Scouting The Chargers From a Jets Perspective & Other Divisional Round Thoughts

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First a few updates:

1. First off, today is a very happy day over here at TurnOnTheJets.com. The site was lucky enough to be honored with the 2009 Fanball Sports Network Blog of the Year Award. I honestly have to say it does feel great to have the work I put in here recognized with such an award but a special thanks needs to be given to many other people: my roommate and good friend James Corbett who puts in a ton of time on TOJ TV, all of the fellow bloggers here at Fanball, Bryan Douglass who hired me, everybody who follows and comments on facebook or twitter, all of the readers and frequent commenters most notably: The Iron Marshall, BruceHarper, Simplysimon2, my oldest friend Dan Donohue who has been fighting about sports with me since we were three years old, my good friend Sean Santagato who spends an hour a day on the phone with me talking NFL, Tom Santagato, who despite hating the Jets finds time to come on the site and comment, and of course my Dad who pays for our season tickets despite being a Giants fan, checks the site daily and comments (under Jetbo) and is a constant reminder that hard work pays off. Finally, my Grandpa who is the reason I became a Jets fan, my Uncle Mike who took me to games when I was little, and my Uncle Frankie and cousins Chris and Rob, who are the only three other Jets fan I know crazy as I am…and yes thank you too Mom.

Since I figure I will never win an Oscar, I might as well get that speech out while I can. Anyway, on to more important things like the Jets playing in the divisional round of the playoffs and Darrelle Revis being robbed of Defensive Player of the Year…

2. What the hell, NFL? Charles Woodson? I don’t care about the stats, did you watch the first round of the playoffs? This requires a whole article, which I have been meaning to write for awhile, well it is going up later in the day…forget about looking for jobs to start my career, this is a much more important issue. Rex Ryan took the time today to congratulate the people who voted for Darrelle Revis, and pointed out the Jets gave up 8 passing touchdowns all year, while Green Bay nearly gave up 8 last week against Arizona!

3. Was I the only person who turned off the TV when Mark McGwire started crying about his steroid use?

4. Braylon Edwards didn’t practice today because of a court appearance related to an incident in Cleveland when he allegedly punched one of  the friends of LeBron James and Lito Sheppard missed because his wife gave birth. Shaun Ellis (knee), Howard Green (knee), Bart Scott (ankle), and David Harris (ankle) were all limited today. Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Drew Coleman all practiced full today which is great news. Steve Weatherford is expected to punt this weekend, which is also good news.

Scouting The Chargers From a Jets Perspective & Other Divisional Round Thoughts

SAN DIEGO OFFENSIVE STARTERS/KEY RESERVES

  • Quarterback: Philip Rivers – 317/486, 4254 yards, 28 TDs, 9 INTs, 104.4 QB Rating
  • Running Back: LaDanian Tomlinson – 223 carries, 730 yards, 3.3 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns, 154 receiving yards
  • Fullback: Jacob Hester – 21 carries, 74 yards, 24 receiving yards
  • Fullback: Mike Tolbert – 25 carries, 148 yards, 1 touchdown, 192 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Third Down Back: Darren Sproles – 93 carries, 343 yards, 3.7 yards per carry, 3 touchdowns, 497 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns
  • #1 Wide Receiver: Vincent Jackson – 68 receptions, 1167 yards, 9 touchdowns
  • #2 Wide Receiver: Malcom Floyd – 45 receptions, 776 yards, 1 touchdown
  • #3 Wide Receiver: Legedu Naanee – 24 receptions, 242 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • #4 Wide Receiver: Craig Davis – 6 receptions, 52 yards
  • Tight End: Antonio Gates – 79 receptions, 1157 yards, 8 touchdowns
  • Left Tackle: Marcus McNeill
  • Left Guard: Kris Dielman
  • Center: Nick Hardwick
  • Right Guard: Louis Vasquez
  • Right Tackle: Brandyn Dombrowski

SAN DIEGO DEFENSIVE STARTERS/KEY RESERVES

  • Defensive End: Jacques Cesaire – 26 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Ogemdi Nwagbuo – 19 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Luis Castillo – 25 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Shaun Phillips – 59 tackles, 7 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Stephen Cooper – 102 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Kevin Burnett – 66 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Shawne Merriman – 36 tackles, 4 sacks
  • Linebacker: Brandon Siler – 67 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
  • Linebacker: Tim Dobbins – 55 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
  • Linebacker: Larry English – 36 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Corner: Quentin Jammer – 58 tackles, 3 INTs
  • Corner: Antonio Cromartie – 33 tackles, 3 INTs
  • Corner: Antoine Cason – 41 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Steve Gregory – 71 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
  • Safety: Eric Weddle – 82 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Kevin Ellison – 52 tackles, 1 sack
  • Safety: Paul Oliver – 49 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Nate Kaeding – 32/35 FGs, 2 missed 40-49 yards, 1 missed 50+ yards
  • Punter: Mike Scifers – 45 yards per punt
  • Return: Darren Sproles – 24.1 yards per kickoff return, 7.0 yards per punt return, 1 touchdown

PhotobucketThoughts On the Match-Up – I have confidence in Darrelle Revis on Vincent Jackson. However, I am worried about Lito Sheppard on Malcom Floyd, who has been a big play receiver this season. This is a big game for Sheppard to prove his value to the Jets and earn a chance to get a new contract from them next season. Antonio Gates is obviously going to be an issue, Kerry Rhodes has the physical talent and size to match-up with Gates but he needs to bring his A game. It is alot of pressure on two guys, Sheppard and Rhodes, who have had up and down seasons but have been playing as of late. I am not scared of Tomlinson or Sproles running the football but I am worried about Sproles in the passing game. You know the Chargers have watched the tape of Ricky Williams shredding the Jets on screen passes and they will be dialing them up to counter the Jets pass rush. Beyond that, the Jets don’t have a linebacker who could cover Sproles. I would expect to see alot of Eric Smith or Donald Strickland attempting to cover him in the flats.

On offense, I feel surprisingly good. I think this unit is finally hitting their stride and will put together another 20+ point effort. I think the Jets will be able to run the ball, chew up some clock, and consistently move the football. The success the Jets will have running the ball should open up some opportunities down the field. However, will they take another shot with Braylon Edwards or will they give the deep ball or Jerricho Cotchery or maybe even David Clowney? Edwards will likely get another shot, but my god…catch the damn ball, #17! The Chargers are likely going to over-scheme for Keller, which should open things up for Cotchery, Edwards, and maybe Brad Smith who was quiet last week.

I am worried about Sproles on returns, but I am confident we are going to see a big play from the Jets special teams this week. I don’t know if it is going to be a kick or punt return, or a fake punt at a surprising time or something…but it is on the way.

Other Quick Thoughts On Divisional Round…As of today, I am liking the Cardinals in the upset against Saints. New Orleans is coming in ice cold, and the Cardinals can go point for point with them. I am feeling a 45-42 game. If the Ravens somehow beat the Colts Saturday night, I am going to get 20 percent more confident in the Jets pulling off the upset because that would mean another thing broke their way in this odd 2009 season. I am really looking forward to Brett Favre being knocked out at home and watching him and the Vikings head into a tail spin, culminating with a 33-10 loss in week 7 at new stadium in the Meadowlands, as the Jets rack up 7 sacks and send the Minnesota to a 2-5 start in 2010 leading Favre to retire in half way through the season.

LaDanian Tomlinson Slid His Way To 3.3 Yards Pery Carry

Awesome Defense By Woodson and the Packers

Your 2009 Defensive Player of the Year

Jets vs. Bengals Prediction: TOJ TV Wild-Card Edition

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris and Donald Strickland are both listed as questionable for Saturday. I’d be shocked  if Harris didn’t start…Strickland should be involved in the Jets dime package.

2. Is anybody else looking forward to calling in to Miked Up after the Jets win and shutting up Francessa?

3. If you haven’t friended me on facebook for the purpose of becoming a Turn On The Jets fan on facebook…please do so now…I can wait, this article isn’t going anywhere.

4. Congratulations to D’Brickashaw Ferguson for being selected to the pro-bowl to fill in for an injured Jake Long.

Jets vs. Bengals Prediction: TOJ TV Wild-Card Edition

I love this match-up for the Jets…am I being biased? Maybe a little, but ever since the Jets moved to 7-6 and back into the playoff picture, I have been telling anyone who would listen that if they managed a first round game against the Bengals, they would have a hell of a chance to advance to the divisional round. For some reason, God has been smiling on the Jets ever since the Atlanta game, they caught a break against the Colts and then demolished a not fully focused Bengals team, along with every other AFC playoff contender melting down when it counted and he continues to smile on them with this match-up.

What do I expect? I expect an ugly first half, while both teams feel each other out. I think Sanchez struggles early but avoids turning the ball over, leading to a 6-3 halftime score in favor of the Bengals. I think in the locker room, the Jets are going to realize they weathered the storm of any early emotion/adrenaline the Bengals had with home field advantage (even though they can’t sell out their game…pathetic) and come out on fire in the third quarter. I think the Jets score two second half touchdowns to go up 17-6, before the Bengals respond to cut the lead to 17-13…because nothing ever comes easy for the Jets.

At this point of the game, the Jets are going to get the ball back with about 3:50 on the clock, with Cincy having two timeouts. Every Jets fan will have visions of the Bengals stopping us and then driving down the field for the game winning touchdown…however, it won’t come to that because Thomas Jones and the Jets offense will convert a pair of key first downs that take away the Bengals time outs and leaves no time on the clock.

Jets win…17-13…see you in Indy.

Other wild-card weekend picks:

Philadelphia – 27 Dallas 20: Too much pressure on Tony Romo and the whole Dallas organization. McNabb isn’t missing a wide open DeSean Jackson this week.

New England – 17 Baltimore – 14: I hate picking them but I think they find a way to win…with some help from the officials.

Green Bay – 30 Arizona – 27: High-scoring battle that the red hot Packers prevail in.

TOJ TV Wild-Card Weekend Edition

Well-Done Craig

Jets vs. Colts: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets announced their team awards today: Darrelle Revis was the team MVP (no-brainer), Thomas Jones won the Dennis Byrd Award for most inspirational player, D’Brickashaw Ferguson won the Marty Lyons Award for his off the field work, and David Harris won the Ed Block Courage Award.

2. The Jets appear to be 100 percent healthy heading into the Colts game, with backup offensive lineman/tight end Robert Turner returning from injury.

3. How about those Knicks? 11-17? They have been bad enough the past ten years that I am excited about a 11-17 record. Quick shout out to my friend Dan who is still an adamant Nets fan despite them just losing to the Timberwolves to fall to 2-28…yikes. Don’t worry Dan, you can keep voting for Brook Lopez for the all-star game 28 times a day to counter all those losses. At least the Cowboys will probably choke and allow the Giants to get in the playoffs so you can watch me suffer through another year of watching them playing in January, while the Jets head off on their yearly vacation.

4. Here’s hoping Santa brings the following to the Jets: Better hands for Shonn Greene and Braylon Edwards, the ability to read a defense for Mark Sanchez, the ability to compose an intelligent game-plan for Brian Schottenheimer, the ability to impersonate Darrelle Revis for Lito Shepppard and Donald Strickland, the ability to become a NFL player for Vernon Gholston, and the ability to become a holder for Kellen Clemens.

Jets vs. Colts: Game Breakdown

Offense: The Jets need to hold the ball and gain a significant advantage in time of possession. Thomas Jones and the Jets running game needs to prove they are the league’s best rushing attack by chewing up clock and taking the pressure off Mark Sanchez. However, Sanchez is going to have to protect the football, as in zero turnovers and convert some short throws to keep the chains moving. Can the Jets complete a screen pass? Thomas Jones has 9 catches this season and Shonn Greene has zero. Dustin Keller hasn’t caught a screen since week one. The Jets need to find a short passing game that can substitute for a running game occasionally.

I don’t want Sanchez taking shots down the field. The Colts have an opportunistic defense and will make big plays. I want to see Sanchez go 14/18 for 150 yards with zero turnovers. Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene will have to do the heavy lifting and be the guys who put the ball in the end-zone. You would figure for the Jets to have a chance they are going to need at least 24 points and some of those are going to probably have to come from their defense or special teams.

PhotobucketDefense: The league’s #1 ranked defense, who can’t seem to find a stop when it matters most is going to have to play the game of their lives. I have faith in Darrelle Revis to do his job on Reggie Wayne. I have faith in the Jets front seven in slowing down the Colts anemic running game. What I am worried about is Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, and Kerry Rhodes matching up with Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, and of course Dallas Clark. Beyond that, I am worried about the Jets getting to Peyton Manning. The Jets are a defense that need to blitz to get pressure and Manning is the type of quarterback who makes teams pay for coming after him.

The Jets need sacks and turnovers to win this game. They need a defensive touchdown or the defense to at least set up easy points for the offense. Manning has to be hit early and often. They need to have Jim Caldwell considering pulling Manning because he is hitting the turf too many times.

Special Teams: The Jets must win this third of the game. They need to make all their field goals, create a big play with a return or fake punt and avoid allowing the Colts any cheap big plays on special teams.

I Think A Major Upset Over the Colts Every 40 Years Is Reasonable