New York Jets: Safety Remains Major Concern

The New York Jets enter the off-season with major issues at the safety position

The New York Jets have had inconsistent play at the safety position since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. The problem is magnified because they play in the same division as the New England Patriots, who have the best tight end in the league, Rob Gronkowski, and another top ten tight end in the league in Aaron Hernandez. It isn’t just New England who attacks the middle of the field on the Jets, any team with an athletic tight end smartly stays away from the outside of the field, where the Jets have Darrelle Revis, Antontio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson and instead attacks their safeties.

Currently the Jets have Eric Smith under contract and nobody else. (Sorry Tracy Wilson and Gerald Alexander, until you play a down for the team, I can’t count you). The free agent market is thin, as it is currently headlined by LaRon Landry, Dwight Lowery, and Reggie Nelson. Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool were with the team last year but both are free agents now as well.

In the draft, Mark Barron is considered the top safety by a good margin. His recent double sports hernia has prevented him from working out thus far, keeping his positioning on most draft boards in somewhat of a flux. He will be available at #16 but might slide far enough where the Jets could consider trading up their second round pick to snag him in the back end of the first round, or just trading back in the first round to take him. Harrison Smith, Markelle Martin, Antonio Allen, and Brandon Taylor could all be 2nd or 3rd round options for the Jets at safety if they don’t end up with Barron.

So, how will the Jets proceed? Brodney Pool most likely isn’t coming back. He can’t stay healthy and hasn’t distinguished himself in the past two years with his play. It would likely be wise to bring Leonhard back on the veteran’s minimum, considering how well he knows the defense. Eric Smith is coming back and if used in the proper role, can be an effective player. Don’t forget how well Smith was playing in 2009 when he was used as a situational player and on special teams. He simply lacks the skill set to be a full time starter.

What that equates to, is that you need two more safeties in a bad way. Smith should be the #3 safety, used in certain packages and as an emergency starter. Leonhard should be the place holder for the rookie the Jets add in one of the first rounds of the draft, helping ease his transition and gradually sliding into a part time/depth player only role. A free agent needs to be brought in who can start immediately or the Jets need to swing a trade for one.

LaRon Landry is a big name that will get people excited. The problem is that he will command a big price tag that comes with durability concerns and questionable coverage skills. In reality, Lowery could be the best option out there. He spent last off-season preparing to be a full time safety and then the Jets traded him to Jacksonville where he took advantage of that off-season by putting together his best year in the NFL. Mike Tannenbaum would have to swallow his pride but bringing Lowery back makes plenty of sense.

Dwight Lowery: The Forgotten Defensive Back

One of the few New York Jets defensive backs who isn’t a free agent, is cornerback/safety Dwight Lowery. There hasn’t been talk about Lowery’s role with the team moving forward this off-season, yet he was a key part of their defense in 2010.

Similar to Drew Coleman, Lowery was a defensive back who rotated into their various nickel, sub, and dime packages and made a surprisingly high amount of impact plays. He finished the season with 3 interceptions, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns, 2 sacks, 7 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery. Most notably, Lowery iced the Jets win over the Vikings with an interception return for a touchdown and then their win over the Denver Broncos the following week with a fumble recovery.

Due to injuries, Lowery began to work more at safety towards the end of last season. Many people have been clamoring for him to move there, considering his ball skills and how he struggles in man to man coverage at cornerback. Lowery’s primary position will likely depend on which free agents are brought back out of Antonio Cromartie, Drew Coleman, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo. Obviously, it is a benefit to the Jets that Lowery has shown he can play both positions and he should remain a big part of their defense moving forward.

I am not sure if Lowery is physical enough to play safety full time, but he does fit well there in pass heavy situations. The more the Jets can let Lowery roam in zone coverage, the better, because he lacks the ideal speed to match-up with most receivers in single coverage.

Reviewing Mike Tannenbaum’s Draft Picks

Most New York Jets fans are appropriately big supporters of General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, his aggressive nature has kept off-seasons entertaining and helped shape the Jets into one of the league’s best teams. With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, let’s take a look at every selection Tannenbaum has made since taking over as GM in 2006 —

2006

  • Round 1, Pick 4 – D’Brickashaw Ferguson
  • Round 1, Pick 29 – Nick Mangold
  • Round 2, Pick 49 – Kellen Clemens
  • Round 3, Pick 76 – Anthony Schlegel
  • Round 3, Pick 97 – Eric Smith
  • Round 4, Pick 103 – Brad Smith
  • Round 4, Pick 117 – Leon Washington
  • Round 5, Pick 150 – Jason Pociask
  • Round 6, Pick 189 – Drew Coleman
  • Round 7, Pick 220 – Titus Adams

This was one hell of a draft for Tannenbaum to start his career with. It was a bold move to take two offensive lineman in the first round for a first-time GM, especially deciding to pass on quarterback Matt Leinart, who would have been an extremely popular (but in hindsight an extremely stupid) selection. Ferguson and Mangold have developed into the foundation of the Jets offensive line and are both Pro-Bowl caliber players.

Yes, Kellen Clemens never panned out and the highlight of Anthony Schlegel’s career was muffing an onside kick, but he compensated for it by getting Eric Smith, Brad Smith, Leon Washington, and Drew Coleman in later rounds, who all turned into major contributors on playoff teams.

2007

  • Round 1, Pick 14 – Darrelle Revis
  • Round 2, Pick 47 – David Harris
  • Round 6, Pick 177 – Jacob Bender
  • Round 7, Pick 235 – Chansi Stuckey

Another terrific draft for Tannenbaum who traded up to get Darrelle Revis, who is now the consensus best corner in football and David Harris who is a Pro-Bowl caliber inside linebacker. Bender never amounted to anything but Stuckey turned into a quality player who was an important part of the Braylon Edwards trade.

2008

  • Round 1, Pick 6 – Vernon Gholston
  • Round 1, Pick 30 – Dustin Keller
  • Round 4, Pick 113 – Dwight Lowery
  • Round 5, Pick 162 – Erik Ainge
  • Round 6, Pick 171 – Marcus Henry
  • Round 7, Pick 211 – Nate Garner

Without question Tannenbaum’s worst draft and probably worst overall few days as the Jets GM. Gholston was a complete bust, Ainge had serious drug problems and was suspended multiple times, Henry and Garner never played a regular season snap for the team. Dustin Keller has obviously been an important part of the offense and Lowery has been a serviceable role player but the Gholston pick hurts.

2009

  • Round 1, Pick 5 – Mark Sanchez
  • Round 3, Pick 65 – Shonn Greene
  • Round 6, Pick 193 – Matt Slauson

Two more trade ups that have paid early dividends for the Jets. Say what you want about Mark Sanchez, he certainly has looked the part of the franchise quarterback the Jets drafted him to be by winning four road playoff games in his first two years. Greene was a disappointment in year two but his terrific playoff stretch in his rookie year helped carry the Jets to the AFC Championship Game. Matt Slauson is now the starting left guard and was steady in that role last year.

2010

  • Round 1, Pick 29 – Kyle Wilson
  • Round 2, Pick 61 – Vladimir Ducasse
  • Round 4, Pick 112 – Joe McKnight
  • Round 5, Pick 139 – John Conner

The jury is still very much out on this draft class but the early returns weren’t very good. Wilson struggled heavily his rookie year and barely contributed. Ducasse was beat out by Matt Slauson for the left guard spot and will now compete to be the starting right tackle. McKnight showed up to camp out of shape and didn’t give any meaningful reps all season. Conner showed potential and will be the starting fullback this season.

A Formula For Jets Playoff Success

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Excuse me for not being more excited about previewing the Jets/Bills backup bowl this Sunday, but my mind is already on Wild Card Weekend, where the Jets will either be traveling to Kansas City or Indianapolis. Despite the two teams being very different, the Jets road to the Super Bowl is going to need the following formula regardless of who they play.

1) The Good Mark Sanchez – We have seen the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde act from Sanchez at times over the past two years. The encouraging thing is that he played very well in last year’s playoffs and has looked great the previous two weeks. This is a quarterback driven league and the Jets are no different than any other team in that, they need their guy playing at a high level if they want make any noise in January. Sanchez has more weapons at his disposal in this year’s playoffs than he did last year, so hopefully he can create big plays and points to support his struggling defense.

2) Shonn Greene – The benefit of still using LaDainian Tomlinson too much down the stretch is that Shonn Greene is especially fresh for the playoffs. He is the type of back built for January, with his hard charging north/south running. Tomlinson is fine as a change of pace back and a 3rd down receiving option but the Jets would be foolish to not have Greene in the 18-20 carry range when the playoffs start.

3) Defensive Answers – The Jets are lacking the personnel to have a great defense but let’s be honest they aren’t completely devoid of talent and they are supposed to have one of the top defensive minds in the league coaching them. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine are going to have to get creative to manufacture a pass rush and to avoid leaving players like Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery on an island too frequently. Beyond that, players like Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor simply have to play better.

4) Special Teams Boost – Another way to cover for the Jets defensive shortcomings is to win the special teams battle. Kick returner Brad Smith and punter Steve Weatherford have both had Pro-Bowl quality years and the Jets need them both to keep it up. Nick Folk needs to stay reliable, as he has been the previous few weeks and it wouldn’t hurt if they could rip off a big punt return at some point.

5) Santonio – I love what Braylon Edwards has done for the Jets this year, as he has surprisingly been their most reliable and consistent receiver. Yet, Santonio Holmes is the only game-changing player on the Jets offense. He is the guy who can take a 3 yard slant route and turn it into a 70 yard touchdown or come up with a 7 catch, 165 yard game where an opposing defense just can’t stop him. The Jets need ‘Tone Time to last all the way through January if they want a shot of playing in February.

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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TOJ Mid-Season Awards

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Here we are half way through the 2010 regular season already. The Jets sit at 6-2 and are on pace for the 12-4 record that many predicted for them. It hasn’t always been pretty but overall it is hard to complain at this point. Out of the final 8 games, only 3 are against teams who are currently under .500, so the Jets still have plenty of work to do. However, here is what our awards are looking like heading into week 10 –

Offense

MVP – Mark Sanchez – Yes, you can make a strong case for LaDainian Tomlinson but I am going with our quarterback who has taken major strides in the right direction so far in year two. At this time last year, the Jets were 4-4 and Sanchez had 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, currently the Jets are 6-2 and he has 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Beyond that, he has led the team to two late comeback victories, something he never did in 2009.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – LaDainian Tomlinson – I predicted before the season that Tomlinson would only have 900-1,000 yards of total offense for the Jets and be a clear cut #2 to Shonn Greene…whoops. Tomlinson already has 790 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns, and is clearly the Jets #1 back. However, he has slowed the previous few weeks and I still believe Greene needs a bigger role in the offense.

C’mon Man – Shonn Greene, Jerricho Cotchery, Brian Schottenheimer – Shonn Greene got off to a slow start but has looked better as of late. Yet, he still isn’t being given enough touches by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who has been inconsistent at best with his playcalling this year and downright infuriating at worst. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team in drops and really who could have saw that coming. He is also only averaging 10.5 yards per catch, en route to a weak 272 receiving yards.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Braylon Edwards- I did predict Braylon Edwards would lead the team in receiving yards and put together a better than expected year and so far he is making me look good with a team leading 453 yards, along with 5 touchdowns.

Pleasant Surprise – Matt Slauson – Slauson has been very good so far at left guard and made sure none of us miss Alan Faneca all that much.

Pro-Bowl CaliberBrandon Moore, Dustin Keller (447 yards, 5 TD’s), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold are all putting together excellent years so far.

Getting The Job Done – Ben Hartsock and Tony Richardson aren’t pro-bowl caliber but they are getting the job done also at their respective positions. Brad Smith remains a valuable, versatile weapon for the Jets.

Defense

PhotobucketMVP – David Harris – Most people have been saying Antonio Cromartie, but I am going with the Jets middle linebacker who never gets any respect. Harris has been rock solid in the middle and is a huge part of why the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss, along with recording a sack and having 2 passes defensed.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – Brodney Pool – I spent plenty of time in the off-season hyping up Pool as quietly being the Jets best addition this off-season…um, what? After missing week one, Pool has been average at best for the Jets alongside Jim Leonhard at safety. So far through 8 games he has recorded 19 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 1 INT.

C’mon Man – Jim Leonhard, Jason Taylor, Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson – I know the Island is back now but you can’t let him off the hook for contributing nothing the first 6 weeks of the season. Jim Leonhard has been a liability in pass coverage and hasn’t made any impact plays yet. Jason Taylor had a pretty good start but has been invisible the past few weeks. Kyle Wilson apparently doesn’t know how to find the football in the air or when to turn around, which isn’t good for a first round draft pick. He doesn’t even play on defense anymore, as the immortal Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery jumped him on the depth chart.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Sione Pouha – I have always loved the big fella and he is putting together a great all-around season. He is 4th on the team with 32 tackles, recorded a sack, and somehow has 3 passes defensed.

Pleasant Surprise – Mike DeVito – DeVito has shown that without question he is capable of being a full time starting defensive end. He has also racked up 32 tackles, along with 3 tackles for a loss and is a huge reason the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed.

Pro-Bowl Caliber – David Harris and Antonio Cromartie have both played at a Pro-Bowl level to this point of the season, although Cromartie’s lack of big plays could keep him from getting the national respect.

Getting The Job Done – I don’t know if he will ever be a pro-bowler but Pouha has been terrific this year. Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas have been steady as usual. Dwight Lowery has been good in his role so far in 2010.

Special Teams

Just a paragraph to offer high praise to this entire unit. Nick Folk has been unbelievably consistent this year, especially considering how he played in 2009. Steve Weatheford, fake punt aside, has been booming the football and great at pinning teams inside their 20. Brad Smith has developed into a quality kick returner. Eric Smith, Lance Laury, and Marquice Cole have led the way on the coverage units.

First Half Highlights

Jets vs. Lions: Game Breakdown

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Offense: Hey Brian Schottenheimer, you see those two guys…#21 and #23? They are your running backs. This football team is built around their running game and defense. You have a terrific offensive line, so how about you run the game plan through them? By the way, Detroit is 27th in the NFL at stopping the run. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene need to combine for 35-45 carries this Sunday, as the Jets get back to their formula for success since the beginning of the Rex Ryan era.

When they do throw the football, Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller need to get involved early, especially Edwards. He has been their best receiver so far this year so throw him a quick screen or hitch in the first series to make sure he is in the flow of the game. Keller wasn’t utilized enough last week and is always a threat off play action.

If the Jets are going to only run two plays out of the Tiger formation, they need to can it. It is time to expand the package of plays and come up with a few new wrinkles in it.

I don’t doubt that Jerricho Cotchery will bounce back with a strong performance this week, same with Santonio Holmes. It would be nice to see the Jets throw Holmes something besides a quick slant or an under route though.

Defense: Darrelle Revis vs. Calvin Johnson is just going to be fun to watch. I would expect Revis on him the overwhelming majority of the time, or at least he should be if he is actually 100 percent healthy. Antonio Cromartie should be able to handle Nate Burleson. However, the Lions tight ends should be a cause for concern. The Jets have struggled to defend the tight this season at times and Detroit has two good ones in Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. Brodney Pool, Jim Leonhard, Dwight Lowery, and Eric Smith are going to need to step up their coverage to protect the middle of the field.

The Lions don’t have much of a running game (ranked 30th in the NFL) yet Jahvid Best is dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield with 36 receptions. There isn’t much speed for the Jets at linebacker so it will be interesting to see if the Jets shadow him with either Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, or maybe Dwight Lowery.

I would like to see the Jets pass rush from their outside linebackers wake up a little bit this week. It has been a very quiet couple of weeks from Calvin Pace, Jason Taylor, and Bryan Thomas. The Jets only have 15 sacks in 7 games, which isn’t enough for a team as aggressive as they are.

Special Teams: You think Steve Weatherford will think twice about taking off for a fake punt this week? The Jets should be wary of Stefan Logan in the return game. The Redskins ran a kick back for a touchdown on the Lions last week and Brad Smith has been very good as a returner this year, so the Jets might be able to pop one.

Will Revis Island Resurface?

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The most exciting news coming out out of Florham Park during the Jets bye week was the proclamation by Darrelle Revis that he is now “100 percent.” Bringing some hope to those around the organization that he can finally begin the process of living up to the monster contract extension that he held out all summer for.

We have all been impressed by the way Antonio Cromartie stepped his play up as the Jets number one corner. Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery have also been playing above their head to extent, helping fill the void by Revis who has missed time and when he has been on the field, has been far from 100 percent.

PhotobucketHowever, through their first six games the Jets are allowing 229 passing yards per game, which puts them at 22nd in the NFL. 100 yard receivers against their defense are becoming common place. They have been a far cry from the lock down unit they were in 2010. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a healthy Darrelle Revis makes a difference.

All of the anger that has been rightfully directed at Revis from fans so far will quickly disappear if he can get back to his 2009 level of play over the next 10 games. The Jets need him to because their defense isn’t going to make the strides Rex Ryan keeps talking about unless he does. Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Terrell Owens, Hines Ward and Brandon Marshall are all upcoming on the schedule and the trickle down effect of a Revis Island return is extensive.

Consider this, if Revis can get his swag back: The Jets will have the best number one corner in football, arguably the best number two corner in football in Cromartie, who will now be in more positions to make big plays considering he will be covering lesser receivers that will be targeted as quarterbacks avoid Revis. Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery, and Kyle Wilson can all work at the nickel and dime spots they are much better suited for. The pass rush, which has been somewhat disappointing so far, will improve because of the enhanced coverage.

It has been nothing short of very impressive that the Jets built a 5-1 record without their best player. Yet, if they want to become the 12-13 win team they have the potential to be, Revis Island must resurface.

Jets vs. Broncos: First Look

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Final Thoughts On Week 5

Offensive MVP – The Offensive Line – It isn’t easy to run for 155 yards on the Minnesota Vikings and the big fellas up front deserve some credit. Matt Slauson is beginning to come along at left guard and after five weeks the Jets have the NFL’s #1 ranked rushing attack…so much for not being able to survive without Alan Faneca and Thomas Jones.

PhotobucketDefensive MVP – Antonio Cromartie – I know he allowed the one touchdown to Randy Moss, but I am not sure he could have defended that play any better. Beyond that, Cromartie was in Darrelle Revis circa 2009 form. There were plenty of valid questions about bringing him over from San Diego, yet since a tough week one, Cromartie has been an excellent addition to the Jets defense.

They Deserve Some Love Too – Drew Coleman & Dwight Lowery…TOJ never hesitates to rip on these two, but they both deserve credit for their play last night and thus far in 2010…Shonn Greene…There is the late touchdown run after the defense is worn down, that we’ve been waiting for…David Harris…Very strong all around game….Calvin Pace…Looked great back out on the field with 1.5 sacks….Nick Folk…Money in the bank, who would have thought?…Steve Weatherford…Having a great season so far in 2010.

Jets vs. Broncos: First Look

The Opponent: The inconsistent Denver Broncos have done one thing very well so far in 2010 and that is throw the football. Surprisingly, Kyle Orton has developed into a big time quarterback (at least statistically) and is getting the job done without any big name receivers. Denver is ranked 2nd in the NFL in passing yards but 32nd in rushing yards. Honestly, they have been completely putrid attempting to the run ball as the stats demonstrate. On defense, they are ranked 25th at stopping the run (Ground and Pound, anyone?) and 16th at stopping the pass.

Denver Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Kyle Orton – 141/213, 1733 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Running Back: Knowshon Moreno – 39 carries, 111 yards, 2 TDs
  • Running Back: Correll Buckhalter – 32 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Laurence Maroney – 29 carries, 56 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Brandon Lloyd – 30 receptions, 589 yards, 3 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Eddie Royal – 29 receptions, 330 yards, 2 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Jabab Gaffney – 31 receptions, 327 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Demaryius Thomas – 13 receptions, 161 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Daniel Graham – 11 receptions, 84 yards, 0 TDs
  • Left Tackle: Ryan Clady
  • Left Guard: Stanley Daniels
  • Center: J.D. Walton
  • Right Guard: Chris Kuper
  • Right Tackle: Ryan Harris

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ryan McBean – 5 tackles
  • Nose Tackle: Jamal Williams – 10 tackles
  • Defensive End: Justin Bannan – 12 tackles
  • Defensive End: Kevin Vickerson – 15 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Mario Haggan – 29 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: D.J. Williams – 45 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Robert Ayers – 19 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Jason Hunter – 22 tackles
  • Corner: Champ Bailey – 10 tackles, 1 INT
  • Corner: Andre Goodman – 2 tackles
  • Corner: Perrish Cox – 17 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Nate Jones – 23 tackles
  • Safety: Brian Dawkins – 27 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
  • Safety: Renaldo Hill – 21 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Matt Prater – 9/9 on FGs
  • Punter: Britton Colquitt – 43.9 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Demaryius Thomas – 33.0 per kick return
  • Punt Return: Eddie Royal – 10.2 per punt return

PhotobucketKey Players: Kyle Orton does a great job spreading the ball around. Brandon Lloyd is turning in a terrific season so far off the scrap heap at wide receiver. Champ Bailey is one of the top corners in football and D.J Williams is a very good all around linebacker.

Injuries: Brian Dawkins will be out. Rookie wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and corner Andre Goodman will likely be out. Robert Ayers will be out with a broken foot. Knowshon Moreno is expected back in the line-up.

Key Storylines: Cross-country trip for the Jets on a short week…Darrelle Revis likely missing another game…Can the Jets running game take advantage of Denver’s defense?

Highlights from Denver’s Loss Last Week

Grading Out Jets/Vikings

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1. Darrelle Revis admitted after the game what everybody could plainly see, he still isn’t 100 percent back from his hamstring injury and it now sounds like he might not play against the Broncos. It was foolish for Revis to attempt a comeback, unless he was truly 100 percent. You get the feeling this is going to be a nagging injury all year and we won’t be seeing any of the 2009 version of Revis this year.

2. The stats section is now updated.

Grading Out Jets/Vikings

Quarterback (B-) The stats (21/44, 191 yards) don’t show a very productive game for Mark Sanchez. However, there were at least 4 dropped passes by his receivers and he was dealing with poor weather conditions. Most importantly, Sanchez has now gone five full games without a single turnover.

Running Back (A) Another strong night for LaDainian Tomlinson with 94 yards on 20 carries, along with 5 receptions. I am a little concerned with him getting worn down, 25 touches is a bit too much. Shonn Greene only had 10 carries, which isn’t enough. He got rolling in the second half and finally popped through for a touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

Wide Receiver (C) Too many drops from this unit, particularly Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. Edwards did have another productive night with 70 yards on 5 receptions, but it could have much more. Jerricho Cotchery had a good night with 5 catches for 46 yards.

Tight End (C) Dustin Keller was due for a quiet night (2 receptions, 14 yards).

Offensive Line (A) They did a terrific job run blocking against a physical Minnesota front seven. The pass protection was very good for most of the night. They are getting better with the penalties and starting to more closely resemble the unit they were in 2009.

Defensive Line (A-) They did a solid job against Adrian Peterson, holding him to under 100 yards. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito both had 5 tackles and were active all night. Shaun Ellis added a half sack and didn’t appear limited by his leg injury last week.

Linebackers (A) Very active night for David Harris with 9 tackles, including a few big shots on Adrian Peterson. Calvin Pace made his presence felt with 1.5 sacks. Jason Taylor had another sack. A quiet night for Bryan Thomas. Bart Scott had a fumble recovery.

Secondary (B) There still seems to be miscommunication at times and Darrelle Revis is far from being his old self, however Antonio Cromartie played a great game despite allowing the one touchdown to Randy Moss, Drew Coleman is playing the best football of his life, and even Dwight Lowery made a huge play in a big spot.

Special Teams (A+) Nick Folk is playing like the All-Pro he used to be, by going 5/5 including a 53 yarder. Steve Weatherford also continued his strong 2010 campaign, continually pinning the Vikings deep and having great hang time on his kicks. Brad Smith ripped off a huge kick return that set up a field goal.

Coaching (C) I am downgrading them all the way to a C for the horrific time management in the final few minutes. The Jets gave the Vikings an extra minute to drive down for the go ahead field goal. There was no reason to throw ball on that second down before the two minute warning. Yes, Sanchez did a bad job not running the play clock all the way down but a pass never should have been called.

Highlights From The Win