12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #3

The 12 pack is back with our third off-season edition, read it, comment on it, disagree with it, print it out and give it to your girlfriend for Valentine’s Day

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1. Early 2011 Procrastinating – The early talk on the 2011 season seems to place the New England Patriots as the favorite to come out of the AFC and make a Super Bowl appearance. I suppose this makes sense considering their collection of talented young players and all the off-season hardware collected by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  However, the Patriots have now lost three straight playoff games when they were considered heavy favorites, including two in a row at home where they were smacked around pretty badly. Also remember, the reality of them not having a good defense, at all. It may be better for the Jets if New England is the consensus favorite to win the AFC East, as you know Rex Ryan won’t hesitate to use it as motivation considering the Jets have beat the Patriots in two of their past three meetings.

2. AFC East Quarterbacking – We know Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Yet, it will be interesting to see how the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills handle their quarterback situations this off-season. The Bills could be content with Ryan Fitzpatrick who played well for most of last year, however they are a franchise in desperate need of a shot in the arm so I wouldn’t be stunned if they went quarterback with their number three overall pick. Cam Newton would be very intriguing for them. Miami has to decide whether to stick with Chad Henne. Maybe they will draft another quarterback in the second round, considering how well that has worked out for them. Those debates about Sanchez and Henne last off-season certainly sound funny now. The primary difference between the two is that when the spot gets bigger, Sanchez plays better and Henne plays worse…oh and that whole, being a winner thing. Remember Henne hasn’t won a single game of any importance yet in his NFL career.

3. Assistant Scorn – In the past month, the Jets have denied defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman the chance to interview for the Oakland defensive coordinator position, Bill Callahan the chance to interview for the Tennessee offensive coordinator position, and offensive line coach Mike Devlin the chance to interview for a few undisclosed positions. You have to wonder if frustration will start to build among the staff members. Callahan could have received assurance that he will take over for Brian Schottenheimer after his contract expires next year and there could be a thought that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will get hired as a head coach after next season if the defense keeps playing well, and Thurman will take over.

4. Quick Hitters – Brandon Moore underwent successful hip surgery and is expected back for training camp, whenever that ends up being…Kicker Nick Novak was signed out of the UFL, where he won special team player of the year. It will be good to provide Nick Folk with a little competition, if the Jets decide to bring him back…Despite my dismissal of the Mark Sanchez’s off the field drama, the guy does need to remember who he is, where he plays, and use better judgment.

5. Maybe Next Time – It was a shame to see Curtis Martin not make it into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Martin handled it graciously as expected and mentioned the possibility of being inducted with Bill Parcells next year, which would be interesting considering their history together. It is only a matter of time for him, considering his qualifications.

6. Scary Stats – Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage was under 55 this year, for the second straight time in his NFL career…Dustin Keller scored five touchdowns in the Jets first four games, and didn’t score a single one after that…Jerricho Cotchery led the team in dropped passes this season…Shonn Greene only received more than 20 carries in one game this season.

7. TOJ Housekeeping – In the next week, we will be starting coverage of the 2011 NFL Draft with the assistance of a new writer…Remember to check out the new “TiqIq” widget on the right side of the page and the “Buy Tickets” page on the navigation bar for the best prices to local sporting events…we are still (and always) looking for more advertisers…TOJ is also still looking for assistance in designing a new banner for the site, e-mail me if you are interested…I hope everybody is enjoying TOJ’s contributions at SB Nation New York and Gunaxin…Finally, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

8. Free Agent Talk – It looks like Cleveland is giving up on being the JV Jets by releasing Kenyon Coleman, Eric Barton, and David Bowens. They also released Shaun Rogers, which had some fans excited. However, Rogers has already visited Washington and there is talk Rob Ryan will go after him hard to join Dallas. I wouldn’t mind seeing Kenyon Coleman added back to the Jets defensive line rotation, as a depth player.

9. CBA – Not looking good so far…it is a scary thought to imagine next autumn without football. Beyond that, we can’t even enjoy the off-season the way we normally would because of all the negativity flowing around the negotiations. It would be a lie, if I said I knew anywhere near all the details of what is being discussed. Yet, everything I have heard or read, indicates the owners are being grossly selfish. Beyond that, it would be insanity to have an 18 game regular season. Did you see the type of injuries endured by the players this year?

10.  No to Ocho – Does anybody think it would be a good idea to target Chad Ochocinco, instead of focusing on getting the Jets own receivers back? Sorry Darrelle, I can’t agree with you on this one.

11. Franchise, Yes – Glad to hear the Jets are planning to use their franchise tag on David Harris, until they can negotiate a long term deal with him. It isn’t worth the risk of him hitting the market as a free agent, he is too important to their defense.

12. Random Video Clips – Enjoy your weekend

Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes?

Let’s a take a few paragraphs to expand on a popular debate among Jets fans and a major question the Jets front office is facing this year, if forced to pick one, who should the Jets focus on bringing back at wide receiver: Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes?

If you look at the statistics and their body of work from the 2010 season, you can make a convincing argument for both sides. Edwards finished with 53 receptions, 904 yards, and 7 touchdowns. He only dropped two passes all season and was a reliable target over the middle. Santonio Holmes ended up with 52 receptions, 746 yards, and 6 touchdowns in only 12 games of work. He caught the game winning pass three straight weeks in the middle of the year and racked up multiple highlight reel catches.

However, this is an argument that goes past statistics and an argument that I feel needs to end with Santonio Holmes being who the Jets focus on bringing back. I am aware he will command more money and is an off the field incident away from a season long suspension, yet it’s not like Edwards is going to come on the cheap and also isn’t on thin ice with the team and league for his off the field behavior.

Simply put, Holmes is a more irreplaceable player than Edwards. I saw Michael Safino of SNY.TV argue this the other way and I couldn’t disagree more. Holmes has unique game breaking ability and is one of the most clutch players in the NFL. He can do things on a football field that Edwards and just about no other receiver in this league are capable of.

Defensive coordinators lose sleep at night trying to figure out how to stop a slot receiver with the speed and run after the catch ability of Holmes. Nobody is saying Edwards isn’t a dangerous weapon but the Jets can replace him, internally. He does have a unique combination of size and speed, but an increased role for Dustin Keller will help compensate for the loss of Edwards height on the outside.

The Jets tight end is 6’2, 250 pounds and has shown the ability to make big plays down the field when given enough targets. There is also the off chance that Patrick Turner or Jeff Cumberland, who both have great size can develop into a contributing part of the Jets offense.

Santonio Holmes is simply a better all-around receiver than Braylon Edwards and has the potential to develop into a consistent All-Pro receiver if Mark Sanchez keeps progressing the right way. It would be a crime to take away somebody of Holmes’ unique ability from our young franchise quarterback.

Jets Best Defense Will Be Their Offense

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Rex Ryan has talked up the “Ground and Pound” since arriving in New York and we saw it in full force last week.

The primary reason the Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts last week was because their offensive line and running backs completed dominated the second half. Their running game set up manageable third downs, which the Jets routinely converted.

It can’t be any different this week against the New England Patriots, who can be run on. Before you throw away 111 yards on 23 carries, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene had in the 45-3 beatdown, remember 84 of those came in the first half when the game was still competititve. The two of them also combined for 128 yards in their week 2 match-up, with Tomlinson averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

The Jets must control the clock to keep Tom Brady off the field. It doesn’t start and end with the running game either. Mark Sanchez must be accurate in the short passing game and find ways to convert third downs.

Look at the Jets third down situations in the second half against the Colts –

  • 3rd and 2 – 5 yard by Shonn Greene. First Down.
  • 3rd and 3 – 20 yard pass to Dustin Keller. First Down.
  • 3rd and 7 – 9 yard pass to LaDainian Tomlinson. First Down.
  • 3rd and 1 – 6 yard run by Mark Sanchez. First Down.
  • 3rd and 1 – 1 yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson. Touchdown.
  • 3rd and 5 – Incomplete pass to Santonio Holmes.
  • 3rd and 5- Incomplete pass to Braylon Edwards.

As you can see the Jets were getting themselves in manageable situations through their running game. They finished 5/7 on third downs in the second half. Their only two misses were on a dropped pass by Santonio Holmes and an overthrow by Mark Sanchez to an open Braylon Edwards.

The Jets can’t afford those mistakes this week. No dropped passes. No overthrowing open receivers. Most importantly though is control the clock and setting up third and short through the running game. LaDainian Tomlinson and ShonnGreene both looked fresh and healthy last week and they should be the same this week, as neither reached 20 carries against Indy.

The less time Tom Brady is on the field and the more Jets shorten this game, the more likely it will be a one possession game in the 4th quarter, where one play can swing the game.

Points! Points! Points! – Jets Offense Needs to Reach Potential in Indy

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There has been plenty of talk this week about how the Jets structured themselves this off-season to beat the Indianapolis Colts. They added Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Brodney Pool to help cover his receivers and brought in Jason Taylor and eventually Trevor Pryce to put more pressure on him. It is true, that on paper those additions should help and you would hope the Jets defense can hold Peyton Manning to less than the 30 points they allowed in the AFC Championship Game.

However, it is hard to see this Jets defense turn this game into low scoring battle. The Colts are going to get their points and likely end up somewhere in the mid to high 20s on the scoreboard. Yet, what people forget about when discussing how the Jets built themselves to beat the Colts is how their offense is now better equipped to run up points on the Indianapolis defense.

The first thought when playing the Colts is rightfully to run the football down the throat of their 25th ranked rush defense and keep Manning off the field. Despite this, the Colts have been better as of late stopping the run and there is no reason to handcuff Mark Sanchez in this game.

Let me be clear, I am not saying the Jets should come out slinging the ball 45 times. However, the Jets must mix in a downfield passing attack to complement their running game because the potential for big plays will be there.

The Jets were able to complete big plays last year in the AFC Championship Game and now have Santonio Holmes as an additional weapon, LaDainian Tomlinson catching passes out of the backfield, and most importantly an improved Mark Sanchez. You can attack this Colts secondary, which has been a revolving door all season because of injuries. They simply don’t have the personnel to match-up with Braylon Edwards, Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, I am aware of their pass rush but we do have a Pro-Bowl tackle in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and held up fine against the Steelers pass rush and Julius Peppers, without Damien Woody who will now be back in the line-up.

Look at the stat-lines for the quarterbacks who have faced the Colts the previous seven weeks —

  • Week 17 – Kerry Collins – 28/39, 300 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 16 – Jason Campbell – 29/42, 231 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
  • Week 15 – David Garrard – 24/38, 294, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • Week 14 -Kerry Collins – 28/39, 244 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 13 – Jon Kitna – 18/26, 167 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
  • Week 12 – Philip Rivers – 19/23, 185 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
  • Week 11 – Tom Brady, 19/25, 186 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

Don’t be afraid to air it out a little bit this week Schotty.

Jets vs. Bears: 12 Pack Of Predictions

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Your Christmas present? A 12 pack from TOJ on the Jets-Bears…

1. The Jets defense has struggled getting after the quarterback throughout the season. However, Sunday will be a day for Rex Ryan to show off his ability to design blitzes that constantly harass the quarterback. Jay Cutler will be sacked at least 3 times and one of those will be a strip sack.

2. On the topic Cutler…he won’t shy away from attacking Darrelle Revis, which is going to result in Revis pulling in his first interception of the season.

3. Greg Olsen and Devin Hester are going to have big days working against the Jets secondary. The Jets still haven’t shown an ability to stop the tight end and Hester’s quickness will be problematic if he gets matched up with any of the Jets nickel or dime backs.

4. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene will combine for at least 35 carries. A Jets running back hasn’t scored a touchdown since they played Denver in week 6 but the streak will end on Sunday.

5. After his big game last week, the Bears will shift more attention to Braylon Edwards opening things up for Santonio Holmes to have a 100 yard performance.

6. Nick Folk is going to keep quietly building momentum heading towards the playoffs by hitting all of his field goal attempts.

7. After being shut out last week, Jerricho Cotchery will have a couple of receptions on Sunday. Dustin Keller will also have one of his better games in recent weeks, pulling in over 50 yards receiving.

8. Mark Sanchez will have another efficient game, completing at least 60 percent of his passes and throwing for just over 200 yards. However, I do think will turn the ball over at least once.

9. Devin Hester will find a way to have at least one big return.

10. Brad Smith will create a big play on offense for the first time since the Cincinnati game.

11. Matt Forte will rush for less than 60 yards against the Jets defense.

12. The Jets are going to relieve all of the unnecessary stress in week 17 by beating the Bears 20-13. I like the way they match-up with them and think it will be a big day for the defense, after a so so effort against the Steelers.

Finding Solutions For The Jets Offense

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Instead of sulking about the Jets disgusting offensive performance yesterday, which set the game of football back about 50 years, let’s look at some practical solutions on how they can manage a few touchdowns over the last three weeks of the season.

1. Glide To The Bench – It is painfully obvious how many steps LaDainian Tomlinson has lost throughout the course of the season. There were multiple times during the game yesterday, where there were holes that should have led to 8-10 yard runs and Tomlinson was getting 2-4 yards. The fact that he received 19 carries and Shonn Greene only got 8, is inexcusable. It is time to make Greene the starter and give him 20 carries a week. Tomlinson should be the team’s third down back and that is it. Beyond that, Joe McKnight needs to become part of this offense. He has received 1 non-garbage time touch all year, so he should be plenty fresh and he has a level of speed that none of the other Jets running backs possess.

2. Keep It Simple Stupid – Enough of the shotgun, 4-wide, shift to motion, when the Jets are going to throw the football. Unfortunately, it is time to cut the field in half again for Mark Sanchez to let him slowly build his confidence back up. The Jets need to increase their use of quick receiver screens, short stop routes, and stay with the slants so the ball can get into Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller’s hands in space.

3. Bag The Wildcat – When is the last time the Jets broke a big play when Brad Smith took a direct snap? Considering Brian Schottenheimer has decided to do nothing out of this formation except either having Smith hand off to Shonn Greene up the middle or run a quick option to the wide side of the field, it is time to put it on ice for a few weeks.

4. Better Shots – It feels like when the Jets want to take a shot down the field, all they can come up with is a go route down the sideline to Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes without play action involved. The double move to Holmes that he dropped was a step in the right direction but the offensive coaching staff must find more ways to get creative when looking down the field for a big play.

5. Get The Ball To Keller – Dustin Keller is too athletic and versatile to be such a small part of the Jets game plan. If you want to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL or a quarterback in the NFL, you should be able to find a way to get the ball to a player of his talent level more consistently.

6. Just Play Better – Not all of this is on Brian Schottenheimer. Mark Sanchez missed open receivers down the field and failed to execute a number of short passes and screens. Santonio  Holmes dropped an easy touchdown pass on a double move. Jerricho Cotcherydropped a pass over the middle on the final drive that would have been a monster play. The pass blocking was inconsistent. Sanchez and Schottenheimer deserves the lion’s share of blame but everybody else on this offense needs to elevate their play.

Jets Might Have Had To Go To That Place, To Get To This One

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The benefit of the New York Jets 9-2 start is that despite the 45-3 whooping they took from New England a few nights ago, they are still in position to achieve everything they want this season.

As a matter of fact, the loss may end up being a much needed wake up to the entire organization. 45-3 forces you to look in the mirror and reconsider a few things. Hopefully, the Jets realize they can’t just show up to play and expect to win because they are the New York Jets.

You can’t fall into big holes against playoff caliber teams and expect them to allow you to come rolling back and steal a victory. Detroit, Cleveland, and Houston are one thing but New England, and upcoming games against Pittsburgh and Chicago are another.

The Jets were riding on top of the NFL world heading into week 13. They believed they were the best team in the league and everything would come easy the rest of the way. Hopefully, New England smacked them back to the reality that the NFL is wide open in 2010 and nothing is going to come easy to any team. Unless of course you are the Patriots playing your “A” game, while the Jets are sleepwalking around the field.

In 2009, the Jets were at their best when everybody wrote them off. They weren’t thought of as contenders in the beginning of the year but won 3 straight. When they were 4-6 and considered dead, they again won 3 straight. At 7-7, even when their own head coach counted them out, they won two straight and made the playoffs. (Insert your obligatory comment about the Colts and Bengals laying down here). Finally, they went on the road twice in the playoffs as underdogs and pulled out victories before ultimately running out of steam in the AFC Championship Game.

Despite being 9-3, most people don’t consider the Jets a serious Super Bowl contender right now. They have only beat one team with a winning record and that team avenged their loss with a 42 point victory.

Maybe now, Rex Ryan will go back to the drawing board on defense to find a way to compensate for his below average safeties and nickel backs. Maybe now, he won’t make impulsive decisions in game management that come back to hurt the Jets. Maybe now Mark Sanchez, will refocus on protecting the football. Finally, maybe now the offensive coaching staff will rededicate themselves to letting Shonn Greene carry the load and getting tight end Dustin Keller involved in the offense.

Like every team in the NFL, the Jets have problems. Unlike many teams in the NFL, the Jets have the talent to overcome them. It starts this week at home against Miami, where it is time for the Jets to put together a complete well played game for the first time since September.

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TOJ Immature Gloating And Other Random Thoughts On Jets

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Every now and then the articles you write time up very well with what occurs on Sunday, for example –

http://turnonthejets.com/2010/11/11/new-york-jets-we-have-our-franchise-qb-standing-up-for-sanchez/

Nothing like lavishing praise on Mark Sanchez as a legitimate franchise quarterback before arguably the best game he ever plays as a professional. I could have sworn I was going to jinx him into a 14/34, 3 INT performance. However, I am not sure he has too many of those left in him for 2010. The strides Sanchez has made from year one to year two have been better than any of us expected, and with each passing week he looks more and more like the player we all hoped he could be for this team.

http://newyork.sbnation.com/new-york-jets/2010/11/12/1810522/ny-jets-or-ny-giants-go-green-nfl-week-10-previews-predictions

My argument for the Jets being the best team in the New Meadowlands looked much smarter and less like a homer fan rambling thanks to the Giants getting embarrassed at home by the 1-7 Cowboys, while the Jets took care of business in Cleveland. The Giants are starting to sustain too many injuries, don’t protect the football, and with Philadelphia coming up on the schedule could be heading into their second straight second half swoon. (How is that for an alliteration?)

Just For The Hell Of It, If The Playoffs Started Today In The AFC…

  1. New York Jets (7-2)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
  3. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)
  4. Oakland Raiders (5-4)
  5. New England Patriots (7-2)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
  7. Miami Dolphins (5-4)
  8. Tennessee Titans (5-4)
  9. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)
  10. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4)
  11. San Diego Chargers (4-5)
  12. Houston Texans (4-5)

Similar to last year, it should be another wild finish in the final weeks. The Jets need to take advantage of playing two sub .500 teams at home the next two weeks before they face four straight teams with winning records, with three of them being on the road…actually wait, the Jets never lose on the road.

Can I Get An Interception?

The Jets only have 5 total interceptions through 9 games. They haven’t pulled one in since week 5 against the Vikings when Dwight Lowery took one back to the house. Antonio Cromartie? Darrelle Revis? Brodney Pool? C’mon now. The only Jet who came close to intercepting one in previous weeks was big Sione Pouha against the Detroit Lions.

Quick Hitters

– For everybody who whines about Leon Washington (which includes myself) he has 59 rushing yards and 28 receiving yards this year. Brad Smith has 160 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards. In reality, Brad Smith has become our #3 running back since Joe McKnight can’t fill the role.

– Despite being 193 yards behind him right now, I wouldn’t be shocked if Shonn Green finished with more rushing yards than LaDainian Tomlinson.

– Mark Sanchez has the same amount of touchdown passes (12) right now that he had all of last regular season.

– Dustin Keller hasn’t caught a touchdown since week 4 against the Buffalo Bills.

– The Jets are more than likely going to go another year without a player with double digit sacks. Currently, Jason Taylor leads the team with 4. Calvin Pace only has 2.5 since returning 5 games ago.

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A Word On Jerricho Cotchery And The Jets Receivers Moving Forward

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It has been a tough couple of weeks for Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. He suffered his worst game as a professional in their week 8 loss to the Green Bay Packers with a collection of drops no seasoned Jets fans could believe, considering his history with the team. The problem followed him to Detroit where he dropped a couple of more passes and was officially demoted out of the starting line-up after holding down the position since the start of the 2006 season.

Cotchery has rightly been a fan favorite since becoming a starter on the team. He is a gutsy player with terrific hands, who always had a knack for making a big run after the catch. He has developed a reputation as a humble, hard-working, team first player who couldn’t represent the Jets organization on or off the field in a better way. (http://www.cotcheryfoundation.com/)

As we all expected he would, Cotchery bounced back in week 9 with a strong performance. I spent plenty of time this off-season writing about what an ideal fit he would be as a slot receiver and how he would be a killer weapon for the Jets on third downs, and that is exactly what he demonstrated yesterday. The stats (3 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD) don’t jump off the page but look a little closer:

  • He pulled in a 25 yard touchdown on a 3rd and 8 in the second quarter, where he operated the scramble drill to perfection with Mark Sanchez.
  • He had a 8 yard reception on a 3rd and 6 in the fourth quarter, which helped lead the Jets to a field goal, giving them a 20-13 lead.

And then of course, the play none of us will soon forget –

What can you really say? Just an awesome football play.

Unfortunately, the Jets will now be without Cotchery for at least a few weeks. Similar to hamstrings, groin pulls are tricky to recover from and Cotchery expressed how much pain he was in after the game. You would  hope he could be back by December 6th for Monday Night football in New England but that could be wishful thinking, so what will the Jets do moving forward?

Keep in mind the Jets only carry 4 active receivers on their roster: Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, and Cotchery. You can say that Smith could bump up to take Cotchery’s reps but that limits what the Jets can do in their “Tiger” formation with Smith, which as we saw yesterday is a big part of their offense. Beyond that, Smith is a very good all-around football player but not a true wide receiver. He has never demonstrated great route running or the hands needed of a true slot receiver.

The Jets could give their old friend Laveranues Coles a call. If he has been keeping himself in shape, maybe he could provide 20 quality snaps a game. Patrick Turner could be given a shot off the practice squad but he is very inexperienced. Another thought is that reserve rookie tight end Jeff Cumberland could finally get a bump to the active roster and take reps. Keep in mind, Cumberland played wide receiver in college and the Jets love his receiving skills, which is why he remains on the 53 man roster.

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