Why The Jets Must Be On Hard Knocks

Photobucket 

First a few updates:

1. Jets safety Eric Smith signed his one-year tender today as a restricted free agent. Smith is expected to compete with Brodney Pool, James Ihedigbo, and any other player the Jets may add at the safety position through the draft or free agency for the starting role opposite Jim Leonhard. Smith has grown on me but I still don’t think he has the skill set to be a full time starter. He is a better fit as a role player on defense, like being used as a blitzer and in coverage on tight ends or running backs in certain packages. Smith is also a pretty good special teams player.

2. Some thoughts on other NFL moves– I am not sure what Pete Carroll and the Seahawks see in Charlie Whitehurst but I can’t believe what they gave up to acquire him and how much they are paying him, considering he has never played an NFL snap…I don’t know who has a worse quarterback battle this year, the Browns (Jake Delhomme vs Seneca Wallace vs Brett Ratliff) or the Bills (Ryan Fitzpatrick vs Trent Edwards vs Brian Brohm), who remembers the days of Chad Pennington vs Patrick Ramsey vs Kellen Clemens vs Brooks Bollinger?…I find it funny that Chad Henne, who has started 13 career NFL games and has 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, along with a career 75.2 QB Rating, thinks he is qualified to say that Tim Tebow isn’t a NFL quarterback…I think Anquan Boldin is going to have a monster year for the Ravens…Derek Anderson will be starting by week five over Matt Leinart…Hey Oakland, you have a problem with your franchise quarterback when you are bragging about him “slimming down” to 271 pounds.

3. The Jets off-season program begins on Monday, apparently there is some concern about Braylon Edwards showing up since he hasn’t signed his tender yet. All I know is that Edwards better get to Florham Park, find a jugs machine and get to work. Couldn’t you see Mike Tannenbaum findng out Edwards didn’t show up, and working out a trade for Brandon Marshall in about an hour?

4. The talk about Laveranues Coles returning to the Jets has quieted down for a few days, yet it is still a move I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jets make. As long as Coles can swallow his pride and accept his role, he would be a perfect fit as a #3/slot receiver.

5. Remember there are other sections to the website besides the home page. We have the “2010 Draft” Section, which includes a comprehensive list of players the Jets could target (courtesy of www.thejetsblog.com), a list of all their draft picks, and the top five players at each position. We have the “2009 highlights” Section, which includes multiple highlight tapes of the Jets past season. We have also have the updated depth chart, statistics from last year, the Jets 2010 opponents…and of course, the About The Author page.

6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because we are only 75 fans away from 300.

Why The Jets Must Be On Hard Knocks

I have always been a big fan of HBO’s Hard Knocks, which documents a NFL team’s training camp experience. It is a fascinating and highly entertaining look inside the dynamics of a NFL roster and coaching staff. After watching every episode covering the Bengals last year, all I could think throughout this past wild Jets season was how perfect they would be for Hard Knocks. Sure enough, it was recently reported the Jets are a serious candidate for the show, which makes sense for so many reasons that it would be a crime to the entertainment industry if they weren’t chosen.

First off, look at all the television shows you are getting rolled into one by featuring the Jets (please have a sense of humor and don’t criticize me for being insensitive, obviously TOJ is pulling for Rex to get healthier, etc):

  • The Biggest Loser – Rex Ryan is an overweight NFL coach attempting to lose weight, so much so that he decided to have lap band surgery this past off-season. Watch Ryan fight the temptations as the players around him stuff massive amounts of food down their throat in-between practices, couldn’t you see a distraught Ryan after the offense scores on his defense during a two-minute drill racing up to his emergency stash of KFC, while Mike Pettine and Brian Schottenheimer attempt to hold him back?
  • Photobucket

  • Entourage – Instead of having a bunch of east coast guys follow their friend out to the west coast, we could watch a bunch of west coast guys follow their friend (Mark Sanchez, of course) out to the east coast. This is an even better fit since Sanchez looks exactly like Vinny Chase. The only problem is that the Jets hold training camp in Cortland and Sanchez’s hometown buddies likely won’t be accompanying him to upstate New York. Regardless, it would still be entertaining to watch Sanchez, Erik Ainge (as Johnny Drama), Dustin Keller (as E), and Braylon Edwards (as Turtle) enjoy that Cortland night life and sweep upstate New York ladies off their feet,
  • Antonio Cromartie Plus 8 – Since TLC cancelled Jon and Kate plus eight for various reasons, Antonio Cromartie and his seven kids could step up to fill the void. Yes, I know I put plus 8 but considering Cromartie’s rate of procreating, bumping the number up to 8 is a safet bet.
  • The Late Show With Bart Scott – Scott runs his mouth enough to carry on a monologue for an entire hour…no guests would even be needed.
  • Iron Chef 77 – We all know Big Jinx loves to cook and who is going to be brave enough to tell him he didn’t put together the best meal?

Second, look at all the terrific plot lines you have going on with the Jets team this upcoming season, there will be more going on than an episode of LOST and no time travel, alternate time lines, smoke monster, 4 toed statues, or polar bears would even be needed:

  • Braylon Edwards dealing with irony of being a wide receiver who can’t catch…The camera could watch him in front of the jugs machine taking one off the nose every 5 minutes.
  • LaDainian Tomlinson attempting to handle not being the most popular running back on his team anymore…The camera could watch him sulk to himself as Shonn Greene and Leon Washington rack up big plays against the Jets defense in practice and then in pre-season games.
  • Vernon Gholston standing at 6 foot 3, 265 pounds, running a 4.4 forty, being able to bench 675 pounds…yet not being capable of recording a single sack or meaningful tackle, the audience could watch in awe as he aimlessly runs around the field and collects 6 million dollars from the Jets.
  • Dwight Lowery watching and re-watching footage of the AFC Championship Game as he slowly drives himself insane, while muttering “Garcon” to himself.

PhotobucketBeyond all of this the Jets have the best corner in football. The work of Darrelle Revis should be documented for all defensive backs to learn from. The same thing goes for Nick Mangold, who is the best center in football and of course could also throw in an advertisement for the shampoo he uses to keep that long hair going strong. You have Washington and Jenkins battling back from injury, a 82 year old fullback named Tony Richardson who is still a beast lead blocker, Calvin Pace giving advice on what supplements to take, and Shaun Ellis running a D.A.R.E. program.

How could you not choose the Jets? C’mon now, HBO.

Get Rex On Camera

2009 Evaluations: The Quarterbacks

Photobucket

First a few…or actually alot of updates:

1. I would have wrote my normal article yesterday but my three friends from college decided to visit in the middle week for whatever reason, so instead of doing school work, blogging, and eating…my normal activities during the week, I ended up drinking, playing NBA Jam and NBA Jam related drinking games, and continuing my reign as our group of friend’s best beer pong player. Anyway, I have some catching up to do.

2. Mark Sanchez had his knee surgery yesterday and according to him everything went well…can you hear the collective sigh of relief from Jets fans everywhere? He is expected back in time for training camp.

3. The Jets worked out former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk. I had Folk last year for a little while in fantasy and let me tell you…he was terrible. I understand Jay Feely is a free agent and might be asking for a little too much money, especially since Oakland just paid Sebastian Janikowski like he was a franchise quarterback, but a team like the Jets can’t deal with a downgrade from Jay Feely to Nick “What The” Folk. I am already having nightmares about him missing 34 yard field goals in New England next year.

4. The Jets are likely headed back to Cortland for training camp next year.

5. Some delayed links that I promised: (http://southfloridajetsfanclub.wetpaint.com), check out Rob Nacarano’s site and stop by www.Thon.org to see some quality charity work being done by my fellow PVSC landscaper and other PSU students.

6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…I am happy to say we finally cracked 200 fans and now currently sit at 203…Now I want 300.

Photobucket7. Thoughts On Lost Season 6 Episode 4 “The Substitute” – A nice improvement from last week’s episode, “The Substitute” was a Locke-centric episode with an intriguing alternate timeline story and even better action on the island. First in the alternate reality, Locke has much a different personality. He no longer believes in destiny or miracles and seems like he is somewhat happy with his life. I enjoyed all the cross-overs with other characters (Hurley, Rose, Ben) but I am starting to wonder when the characters are going to become conscious of their history/whatever you want to call it on the island. As much as I enjoy watching Ben and Locke teach junior high school, I need to start seeing some connection to the other storyline. On the island, we got some answers and hell of alot more questions. Who is that weird kid with the bloody arms chasing around the Man in Black? Why does the Man In Black want Richard’s support? When was the Man In Black…actually a man and not the smoke monster? I thought the numbers in the cave was obviously a cool scene, but what a hell of a commute Jacob has to make every time he wants to write somebody’s name down…get some paper man. I am not sure I believe half the stuff the Man In Black told Sawyer and I am pretty sure Sawyer is looking to con him.

8. Now that the Cavs acquired Antawan Jamison…get ready for the Cleveland/L.A. series we were denied last year. By the way, the Knicks actually did something somewhat smart by getting Tracy McGrady because they are now going to be able to clear some serious cap space next season.

2009 Evaluations: The Quarterbacks 

Mark Sanchez
 
Stat Line: 196/364, 2444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs, 53.8 completion percentage, 63.0 QB Rating (41/68, 539 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 60.3 completion percentage, 92.7 QB Rating in playoffs)
 
The Good: You can see the vast improvement in Sanchez’s regular season numbers to postseason numbers, which is obviously a good sign. Despite his inconsistencies, Sanchez showed he has the talent to be a very good NFL quarterback in his rookie season, whether it was during his terrific three game start, both regular season games against Miami, or during the Jets playoff run, the “it” factor the Jets drafted him for is there. Even though he was a rookie, he appeared to quickly gain the respect of his teammates as a leader on offense. Sanchez showed good mobility and a consistent ability to throw the ball well on the run. He can throw all the necessary passes in a NFL offense and has great touch/accuracy on his deep balls.
 
The Bad: Inconsistent. Sanchez was awful at times during his rookie season, mostly as a result of poor decision making and attempts to force plays when there was nothing there. He needs to improve in the 2 minute drill and his accuracy/decision making in the short/intermediate passing game. Occasionally, Sanchez tends to lock on a receiver and not look off defensive backs. He needs to learn better ball protection skills when he is in the pocket and scrambling. Also, he has to improve his sliding skills. No more hot dogs on the sideline and no more index cards at post game press conferences.
 
Best Moments: Played a great game in both the wild-card round and the AFC Championship Game…Made a clutch third down touchdown pass in the Jets Divisional Round win…Improved his play during the stretch run of the regular season by being more careful with the football.
 
Overall Grade (C+/B-) The regular season stats aren’t pretty. Yet, Sanchez found a way to get the Jets into the playoffs as a rookie and most importantly elevated his game in the post-season.
 
Kellen Clemens
 
Stat Line: 13/26, 125 yards, 62.3 QB Rating
 
The Good: He managed not to lose the game when he had to start against Tampa Bay and step in during the second half of the Buffalo game. Clemens provided a good mentor to Sanchez and never is a problem in the locker room or with the media.
 
The Bad: He lost yet another quarterback battle. He could barely get out of his own way against the Bills when he relieved Sanchez. He looked like he has regressed from a couple of years ago during his start against the Bucs.
 
Best Moments: Getting a win against Tampa…Taking a knee against the Bengals after the Jets clinched a playoff spot.
 
Overall Grade (C-) I don’t have any confidence in him as a starter, if he had to step in for an extended period of time.
 
Erik Ainge/Kevin O’Connell
 
Comments: Ainge looked pretty good in the pre-season and could be a long term answer as the team’s #2 quarterback. The Jets must think O’Connell has some type of potential since they held on to him all season.

Crazy Sunday For Jets: Updated Look At 53 Man Roster & Cuts

No time for non-football updates, on what has been a suprisingly active Sunday for the Jets:

1. The Jets have acquired former New England backup quarterback Kevin O’Connell from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed draft pick (likely a conditional 6th or 7throunder). Regardless, both Dave Hutchinson and Rich Ciminihave confirmed that Kellen Clemens isn’t going anywhere and will remain the #2 quarterback for now. Why did the Jets make this move? Apparently the front office has always been high on O’Connell and wanted to jump at the chance to get him on the roster. Kellen Clemens is going to be gone after this season and they want somebody to battle it out with Erik Ainge for the #2 spot behind Mark Sanchez in 2010. In terms of this season, the Jets won’t carry four quarterbacks on their active roster, as Hutchinson smartly points out expect either Ainge or O’Connell to pick up a phantom injury and end up on injured reserve for 2009.

2. The Jets have also been working the waiver wire, today they acquired punter AJ Trapasso from the Tennessee Titans. Bye, Bye Reggie Hodges. Trapasso executed a fake punt for touchdown in the Hall of Fame Game this season and also boomed one off the Cowboys new scoreboard. They also picked up tight end Matthew Mulligan from the Titans, who is regarded primarily as a blocking tight end. He is a second year player from Maine, who is 6’5 270 pounds. In the pre-season he recorded 3 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Finally, they picked up fullback Jason Davis, who is a fourth year player that has primarily been with the Chicago Bears. Last year in Chicago, he started three games, had a rushing attempt and a reception for 12 yards.

3. Since the Jets have now added four players (O’Connell, Trapasso, Mulligan, Davis) they released running back Danny Woodhead, tackle Michael Kracalik, punter Reggie Hodges, and linebacker Brandon Renkart.

Quarterbacks:

  1. Mark Sanchez – Let’s translate strong pre-season into strong regular season.
  2. Kellen Clemens – Some concerns about an injured elbow, but remains backup for now. Gone in 2010.
  3. Erik Ainge – Great pre-season, could be eventual #2.
  4. Kevin O’Connell – There are some rumors the Jets may trade him to Denver now, but if he stays put expect him or Ainge to end up on the IR and then both compete in 2010 for the #2 spot.

Running Backs:

  1. Thomas Jones – Could be last year in Green and White.
  2. Leon Washington – Hope a new contract gets done soon.
  3. Shonn Grenne – Don’t know if he can contribute early because of injury plagued pre-season.

Fullbacks:

  1. Tony Richardson – Solid veteran.
  2. Jason Davis – Starting experience. I guess the Jets weren’t sold on Jehuu Caulcrick.

Receivers:

  1. Jerricho Cotchery – First year as an unquestioned #1 receiver.
  2. Chansi Stuckey – Top of the committee approach to the #2 spot.
  3. David Clowney – Another monster pre-season.
  4. Brad Smith – Quiet pre-season.
  5. Wallace Wright – Special teams ace.

Tight Ends:

  1. Dustin Keller – Potential for a monster season.
  2. Ben Hartsock – Doesn’t know the offense but is the #2.
  3. Matthew Mulligan – Doesn’t know the offense but is the #3.
  4. James Dearth – Long Snapper.

Tackles

  1. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Hopefully can take game to next level in ’09.
  2. Damien Woody – Seems fully recovered from pre-season concussion.
  3. Wayne Hunter – Also has value as backup tight end.

Guard

  1. Alan Faneca – Stay healthy.
  2. Brandon Moore – Got a well deserved new contract, hopefully he maintains level of play.
  3. Robert Turner – Also the backup center.
  4. Matt Slauson – Draft pick, means he gets more time to develop,

Center

  1. Nick Mangold – One of the best in the business.

Defensive Ends

  1. Shaun Ellis – Will be back in week 2.
  2. Marques Douglas – Should be good replacement for Kenyon Coleman.
  3. Mike DeVito – Should start week one for Ellis.
  4. Ropati Pitoitua – Strong pre-season earned him roster spot.

Defensive Tackle

  1. Kris Jenkins – Straight beast when healthy.
  2. Howard Green- Great pre-season.
  3. Sione Pouha- Might not play much but provides decent depth.

Linebackers

  1. Bart Scott – Still love watching him rip that ball out of Brandon Jacobs hands.
  2. David Harris – Two words in this defense: Pro Bowl.
  3. Calvin Pace – Back in week four.
  4. Bryan Thomas – Had a quiet but strong pre-season.
  5. Vernon Gholston – Showed a pulse the past couple of pre-season games.
  6. Marques Murrell- Good special teams/depth player. Could see some defensive action in weeks 1-4.
  7. Jamaal Westerman – I think he probably hopped Murrell on the depth chart. Could be Jets top backup in weeks 1-4 at linebacker.
  8. Jason Trunsik – Quiet pre-season. Might be released when Pace or Ellis returns.
  9. Larry Izzo- Earned spot on reputation. Could still be cut when Pace/Ellis return.

Cornerbacks

  1. Darrelle Revis – Lock Down
  2. Lito Sheppard – Real worried about him.
  3. Dwight Lowery – Finished pre-season strong.
  4. Donald Strickland – Quietly will be a good addition for the Jets on defense.
  5. Ahmad Carroll – Special teams ace.
  6. Drew Coleman – Could be gone soon.
  7. Marquis Cole – Either him or Coleman could be gone in week 2 or 5. Seven corners is a bit excessive.

Safeties

  1. Kerry Rhodes – Should have a big year.
  2. Jim Leonhard – First time beginning season as a starter.
  3. Eric Smith – Good depth/special teams player.
  4. James Ihedigbo- Good depth/special teams player.

Specials

  1. Jay Feely – Quality kicker.
  2. AJ Trapasso – Bye Reggie Hodges.

To recap, strong candidates to be cut after the return of Ellis and Pace are: Larry Izzo, Drew Coleman, Marquis Cole, Jason Trusnik.

Our New Punter Scores a Touchdown

Grading Out the Jets/Giants Game

First a few updates:

1. We had our fantasy football draft this past Saturday and I must say that I made out like a bandit. How about these receivers? Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, and TJ Houshmanzedah, with Devin Hester coming off the bench? C’mon now…of course I picked up Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller, rounding out the roster I have DeAngelo Williams, Tennessee’s D, Nick Folk, Donovan McNabb, Matt Hassleback, Felix Jones, Julius Jones, Josh Morgan, and Vishante Shinaoce…not bad.

Grading Out the Jets/Giants Game

Quarterbacks: B+ – The rookie didn’t look half bad, did he? Mark Sanchez put together a solid performance against a very good defense that was constantly in his face with their pass rush. He displayed his mobility, ability to make plays outside of the pocket, and arm strength. His touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey was something that gives hope to the Jets offense this year and for the next decade, it takes some serious arm strength to make that throw under pressure. Another throw which brought me out of my seat (yes, I know it is pre-season but I got issues) was the quick post he threw to Jerricho Cotchery for a 28 yard gain…another big time NFL throw. He showed good command of the offense and played with confidence. I am not saying Mark Sanchez is going to be a pro-bowler this year or anywhere near one for that matter, but he may be plenty good enough for the Jets to win with this season. Erik Ainge…one pass, one touchdown…not bad. Did Kellen Clemens even play?

Running Backs: B+ – Leon Washington averaged 7 yards per carry…imagine if the Jets actually gave him more than 9 carries? This guy better be getting at least 10 carries a game in the regular season, along with 3-5 passes thrown his way…he is far and away the Jets most explosive player on offense. Thomas Jones didn’t have pretty numbers but got the job done on the goal-line, which is important (especially for my fantasy team). Danny Woodhead again failed to distinguish himself.

Wide Receivers: A – That is what you want to see out of your starting receivers. Jerricho Cotchery looked like the player from 2006 who was constantly breaking tackles and adding long runs after the catch. Chansi Stuckey raised up and locked down his starting position with a 4 catch 69 yard, one touchdown performance. How about that run on his touchdown? I didn’t know he could break tackles like that. Aundrae Allison showed off his speed on a 70 yard touchdown. I wouldn’t be shocked if he made the roster as a #6 receiver because of his speed and kick return ability. Brad Smith, David Clowney (nobody is perfect), Britt Davis, and Wallace Wright were all invisible.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet day from this group, Dustin Keller had two catches for 15 yards and Kareem Brown pulled one in for 5 yards and also saw extended time with the first offense as the #2 tight end. Jack Simmons had yet another drop.

Offensive LIne: B – They did pretty good against the pressure the Giants brought and sprung some big runs for Leon Washington. It was good to see the whole starting unit out there for an extended period of time. They will probably only play a series or two against Philadelphia on Thursday. D’Brickashaw Ferguson had a rough night, giving up a sack and getting called for two penalties.

Defensive Line: C+ – They did OK against the run and got a decent push occasionally. However, Eli had a little too much time back there in the pocket and Kris Jenkins jumped offsides in a big spot. Mike DeVito could be out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury, which could be trouble because the Jets are already without Shaun Ellis for week one and have questionable depth behind him.

Linebackers: B+ – They gave up some plays and made some penalties but they also made their share of big plays. As he said, Bart Scott “just wanted it more” than Brandon Jacobs when he ripped the ball out of his hands. David Harris made a diving interception thanks to a Vernon Gholston pressure (yes, that Vernon Gholston) and Scott deflection. Jamaal Westerman and Jason Trusnik had sacks. Gholston had a sack and a forced fumble that was negated because of a helmet to helmet hit. I still can’t believe I just typed Gholston and sack in the same sentence.

Secondary: C – Lito Sheppard had a night he’d like to forget. He got called for two pass interference penalties and was smoked by Steve Smith on what should have been a 90 yard touchdown, fortunately Smith like the rest of the Giants receivers (except for Hakeem Nicks), can’t catch…poor Eli. Sheppard better get used to getting picked on, with Darrelle Revis opposite him. Drew Coleman was beat again for a big play. Eric Smith also got beat.

Special Teams: C – The punting wasn’t good again. Jay Feely made both his field goals.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

1. John Clayton speculated it would take a 1st and 4th round pick for the Jets or any other team for that matter to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos…that is a steep price for the Jets, who only drafted three players last year and still badly need to add depth/talent to the WR, TE, and OL/DL. However, how much better would Mark Sanchez be with a guy like Marshall to throw to? It is an interesting debate, as of now I still wouldn’t expect anything to happen.

2. The Rex Sox just acquired Billy Wagner…did somebody say desperate? Also, it is really historically unbelievable how bad the Mets season has gone, in terms of injuries and everything else that has happened around the team.

3. I just found out you can download something called “NFL Replay” which allows you to watch any NFL game on your computer within 24 hours of it ending. Thank god…I was contemplating not going to Italy with my family because I would miss the Jets/Colts week 16 game.

4. My fantasy football league is holding our live draft this Saturday…and I am stuck the #5 pick. Suggestions are still welcome.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

Quarterbacks: D+ – Yeeesh. Let’s be honest here, outside of one play it was an ugly, ugly night for Mark Sanchez. The rookie threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown (a ridiculously athletic play by Haloti Ngata), threw another ball right into the arms of Ray Lewis, fumbled an exchange, had two delay of game penalties, and a miscommunication with Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, he did make an athletic play and a great throw on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on a third down, which shows some character and a short memory, both necessary for a successful quarterback but outside of that play, he was simply bad. Hopefully, this night be will remembered as an important part of his development and learning curve as a NFL QB. The Ravens in their building are as good as it gets in the NFL…Sanchez will learn from last night and be better prepared the next time around.

Kellen Clemens had a real shot to make the quarterback battle alot more interesting last night but didn’t respond to the challenge. He threw a horrible interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown and only completed 50 percent of his passes. He did drop in a nice 28 yard touchdown to David Clowney (who else?) and threw a beautiful long ball to Brad Smith that was dropped (shocking…I know).

The Jets are built to play defense and run the ball. They need a quarterback who can protect the football and not give points to the opposing team. If you take away the 2 INT’s for touchdowns last night, the Jets win that game handily. They can’t have turnovers from the quarterback position, period.

By the way, Erik Ainge looked pretty good last night and is probably on his way to being the #2 quarterback next year when Clemens isn’t resigned.

Running Backs: A – Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. #29 is the engine the keeps the Jets offense running. He put on a display last night that clearly showed his value to the Jets. 48 rushing yards on a 6.0 yards per carry (just like last season…give him more touches), 2 receptions for 35 yards including a 19 yard touchdown, and a 52 yard kickoff return. Pay Leon Washington. Thomas Jones also looked like he was in 2008 form with 32 yards on 8 carries. Shonn Greene had a nice 15 yard catch but took a rib shot that limited his action. I am still not that impressed with Danny Woodhead, who isn’t going to make the roster. Brock Christopher looked pretty good filling in for Jehuu Caulcrick. Good to see Tony Richardson back out there.

Wide Receivers: D – Nothing from Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith dropped a touchdown and had an offensive pass interference penalty. Britt Davis dropped a long touchdown. Marcus Henry couldn’t get open on the 2 point conversion that could have won the game. Wallace Wright was quiet. On the positive side, David Clowney just keeps making plays as he caught another touchdown pass, using his speed to blow by Frank Walker. How can Clowney not be the Jets #2 receiver right now? Everybody talks about how much they love Stuckey in the slot, so put Clowney and Cotchery on the outside and have Stuckey work the slot.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet night from Dustin Keller. Jack Simmons had a drop and Kareem Brown didn’t have a catch, although they all deserve some credit for strong blocking in the running game.

Offensive Line: B+ – It says alot about Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca that they strapped it up last night…that is exactly what you want to see from your veterans, that they are excited about the team/season and are raring to get back out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes in the running game and did decent in pass protection, considering the amount of blitzes the Ravens threw at them. Wayne Hunter played much better filling in for Damien Woody than he did last week.

Defensive LIne: B+ – Very strong games from both Howard Green and Ropati Pitoitua, who both recorded a sack and are showing that the Jets have pretty good depth along their defensive line. The run defense was great and the entire line got a solid push all night. It will be a huge boost to get Kris Jenkins back in the next couple of days.

Linebackers: B – David Harris is going to record alot of sacks in Rex Ryan’s defense. He continued his terrific pre-season with 5 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott missed a tackle in the backfield on third down that would have ended a drive. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace both had productive games, including another sack from Pace who the Jets are going to miss badly for the first four games this year. Kenwin Cummings and Marques Murrell were both active. Vernon Gholston did nothing except get out-run by Joe Flacco.

Secondary: C – They badly miss Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were picked on all night. Coleman had a nice pass deflection but was toasted deep by Derrick Mason. Lito Sheppard was beat a couple of times. Kerry Rhodes was pretty active and had a nice pass deflection, to break up a screen play. Marquice Cole had a nice interception but was beat deep later in the game. James Ihedigbo had an interception called back on a penalty.

Special Teams: C – Average punting, decent kicking, a big kick return by Leon Washington, a nice job on punt returns by Jim Leonhard and a near turnover by Aundrae Allison.

Highlights From the Game Last Night:

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Quarterbacks: B+ – Mark Sanchez stole the headlines in this game, with his 3/4, 88 yards performance. He only played one series but led the Jets on a 95 yard touchdown drive and on his first play from scrimmage threw a beautiful 48 yard pass down the sideline that hit David Clowney in stride. He also converted a key third down when he hit Dustin Keller for a 26 yard gain. He sure the looked the part of a starting quarterback last night, even though it was only one drive. Kellen Clemens was OK. He threw the ball well (4/4 24 yards) and did a nice job avoiding one sack, but still had a fumble. I am sorry but it is time to face the reality that unless Sanchez bombs out the next 2 weeks, this competition is over. Erik Ainge played well in an extended duty, including a 50 yard touchdown strike to a wide open David Clowney.

Running Backs: B – The most exciting play of the night was a 34 yard rumble by rookie Shonn Greene. Thomas Jones was quiet but did punch the ball in the endzone when the Jets needed him to. Leon Washington showed his usual burst on a 8 yard run but beyond that he was also quiet. For all the talk about Danny Woodhead, he looked pretty ordinary last night.

Wide Receiver: A – A really encouraging night from the wide receivers. Cotchery and Stuckey didn’t play much, but the all the guys behind them contributed something positive. David Clowney obviously had a monster night with a 3 catch, 103 yard, 1 TD performance. You can’t teach speed and if he can stay healthy, Clowney should be a valuable weapon on the Jets offense this season. Brad Smith had a great 10 yard grab in traffic to convert a third down and a nice 28 yard run on a reverse. Wallace Wright got a little banged up but returned and had a nice 23 yard catch and finished with 3 catches. Britt Davis looked good when the ball was thrown in his direction (2 catches, 33 yards, 1 third down conversion). At this point, I’d be surprised if the Jets didn’t keep 6 receivers and they weren’t Cotchery, Stuckey, Clowney, Wright, Smith, and Davis.

Tight End: A – Dustin Keller looked like the beast the Jets are going to need him to be this season. It is hard to imagine Keller not being the Jets #2 WR, despite being listed as a tight end and having 70-80 catches this season. The guy is a match-up nightmare for defenses. Kareem Brown had 2 catches and Jack Simmons held his own with the first offense. We didn’t get to see Wayne Hunter at tight end since he had to play tackle with the starters.

Offensive Line: C – The backups did OK…Wayne Hunter was beat for a strip sack by Leonard Little. The first unit didn’t open up too many holes for the running backs but did a good job of pass protection on Sanchez’s drive. You would really like to see the full starting line up together next Monday night against the Ravens.

Defensive Line: C – A quiet night from this unit, although they weren’t as stout against the run as you’d like to see, obviously the absence of Kris Jenkins didn’t help.

Linebackers: B+ – Really impressive nights from Calvin Pace and David Harris who were all over the field. The Jets are going to miss Pace in a big way the first four weeks. Kenwin Cummings had a nice sack and Brandon Renkart was active. Another quiet night from Vernon Gholston (2 tackles), although he did have one pressure. Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman also didn’t flash as much as expected.

Seconadry: C – Dwight Lowery had a rough night, muffing a punt and getting beat deep on a 50 yard completion. Donald Strickland had a sack and an overall solid night in coverage. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard didn’t record any sacks but both did a good job pressuring the quarterback when they blitzed. Lito Sheppard looked good. It will be nice to have Darrelle Revis back next week.

Special Teams: D – Three muffed punts is no good. Jay Feely did his job, hitting both of his field goals. Reggie Hodges looked a little better than TJ Conely at punter.

Highlights from Last Night:

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

First a few updates:

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

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

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

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

Green and White Scrimmage Recap

The Jets defense is way ahead of their offense, but hey…we knew that already. The Jets ‘Green and White’ scrimmage didn’t do anything to change that notion. Neither the first or second offense was able to manage any points (keep in mind, a couple of fourth down conversions were attempted and failed in field goal territory), the lone touchdown of the day came from the third offense, when backup receiver Paul Raymond scored on a 15 yard reverse. Let’s go over what we saw from each position….

Quarterback – Kellen Clemens didn’t turn the ball over, which was a positive. However, he didn’t do anything to separate himself from Mark Sanchez. He mostly threw short, safe passes and finished roughly 5-7 for 26 yards. His best throw was probably a 11 yard completion in the seam to Dustin Keller on a third down. His worst throw was on a 3rd and 20, when Chansi Stuckey got behind Drew Coleman and Clemens under threw him, leading to a jump ball that was nearly intercepted.

Mark Sanchez played very well and drew a high amount of praise from Rex Ryan. The rookie was victimized by four dropped passes, including two from Britt Davis (who received some press earlier in the day as the “mystery” receiver the Jets organization was excited about, maybe they jinxed him…) and one by Jack Simmons, who also didn’t help himself with an offsides penalty. Unofficially, Sanchez was 9-15 for 70 yards. He showed his chemistry with Wallace Wright, hitting him 3 times for 23 yards including a nice throw on a deep comeback route for about 15 yards. He didn’t have any turnovers but did take a sack, when he failed to notice a backside corner blitz. Sanchez made the quarterback battle even tighter with his performance today, I’d say right now it is an even 50-50, after it being slightly tilted in Clemens favor most of the week.

Erik Ainge actually played half way decent, hitting Marcus Henry for a 38 yard gain, which was the day’s biggest offensive play. He led the offense on their only scoring drive of the day.

Running Back – Thomas Jones was relatively quiet, except for a monster blitz pick-up. Leon Washington had 3 catches for 12 yards. Shonn Greene was the best news of the day on offense. The rookie third-round pick had 25 yards on 6 carries, including a 12 yard run when he broke to the outside. He also had a 33 yard reception on a screen pass. You have to get excited when thinking about the Jets potential three-headed monster at running back.

Receiver – Britt Davis received the hype today and struggled to validate the coaching staff’s excitement with two key drops. David Clowney had a quiet day with 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith didn’t do anything of note. Chansi Stuckey and Jerricho Cotchery had 2 catches a piece. Marcus Henry had the play of the day with a 38 yard reception over Drew Coleman. Wallace Wright had a strong outing and is pretty much locked into a roster spot. The only way Davis or Henry make the roster at this point is if the Jets decide to keep 6 receivers.

Tight End – Jack Simmons had a drop and a penalty. Kareem Brown had a 8 yard catch. Dustin Keller had one catch for 11 yards…the Jets still need help at this position.

Offensive Line – Three plays were called as “sacks,” although two came from members of the secondary which could fall on the running backs and their blitz pick-up. The best news? No injuries.

Defensive Line – Mike DeVito left with an injury but according to Rex Ryan it isn’t that serious. The Jets showed some unique looks on the defensive line, with Shaun Ellis sliding over to nose tackle and Sione Pouha dropping to MLB (no, that wasn’t a error).

Linebacker – Vernon Gholston had an active today, which is a step in the right direction for him. He was around the ball alot and made a handful of tackles. Marques Murrell had a tackle for a loss, Kenwin Cummings had a tackle for a loss, Jamaal Westerman had a sack, Brandon Renkart had a quarterback pressure. Ryan singled out Cummings and David Harris as having particularly strong days.

Secondary – The secondary continued their excellent training camp. Darrelle Revis was lockdown as usual, Lito Sheppard played well and did good in run support. Dwight Lowery had a sack, Drew Coleman had a couple of passes defensed. James Ihedigbo had a sack, Kerry Rhodes had a tackle for a loss. The Jets secondary is going to be very good this season, especially if second-tier players like Ihedigbo, Coleman, and Eric Smith keep playing well.

Tomorrow – The Jets have off and are taking a trip out to the pro football Hall of Fame…however, I won’t take off and will write an article about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp.

Jets Positional Analysis: Quarterback

First a few updates:

1. According to Rich Cimini of the Daily News, the Jets interest in Plaxico Burress is “cooling off” despite the increased likelihood of him being able to play in 2009. The Burress argument is an interesting one, with fans split on whether the risk outweighs the reward of bringing him in. I still think it is a long shot he ends up in green and white, but crazier things have happened.

2. The Jets signed third round draft pick running back Shonn Greene to a four year deal, meaning all three of their draft picks are locked up. Good work by the Jets front office in getting all their rookies signed well before training camp. Now they can hopefully shift their focus towards pleasing their two pro-bowl running backs…Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

3. The Jets signed free agent linebacker Brock Christopher, who was a UDFA signed by the Falcons after this year’s draft.

Jets Positional Analysis: Quarterback:

Over the next 6 weeks, I am going to go through all of the Jets positions and assess each player, starting today with the quarterback position:

1. Kellen Clemens #11, 4 years in NFL, Career Stats: 1,555 yards passing, 5 TD’s, 11 INT’s

History: Last year, he didn’t play a meaningful snap as Brett Favre’s backup. In training camp he was competing for the starting quarterback position but was being handily outplayed by Chad Pennington before the Jets traded for Favre. The year before he flashed some potential despite playing behind a terrible offensive line and having a weak, injured receiving core.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: For Clemens? It is shocking the world and beating out prized rookie Mark Sanchez for the Jets starting quarterback job and giving the Jets a Drew Brees/Philip Rivers scenario. The Jets organization would like to see Sanchez start but if Clemens can get the job done, they will take who can get them wins. The best thing for the Jets would be for Clemens to push Sanchez to the limit all summer, and eventually lose a close battle before becoming a capable number two for them in 2009.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Clemens struggles heavily in training camp, failing to push Sanchez and inspire confidence as even a #2 quarterback.

Prediction: He gives Sanchez a run for his money, but is eventually named the backup before the third pre-season game. Clemens spends the year as the #2 again and leaves in free agency after the season.

2. Mark Sanchez #6, Rookie, No Career Stats

History: The Jets showed their faith in Sanchez by trading up to select him with the number 5 pick in the NFL Draft and signing him to a 60 million dollar contract. Sanchez is coming off a brilliant year at USC but questions remain about his lack of experience as a starting quarterback. After some initial struggles in OTAs, Sanchez progressed nicely and finished on a high note.

Chance of Making Roster: 110%…C’mon Now.

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Joe Flacco/Matt Ryan…Sanchez leads the Jets into the playoffs as a rookie by protecting the football, learning on the job and occasionally hitting the big play down the field. He makes the front office look great for trading up for him and looks the part of a franchise quarterback from the time he steps on the field in week one.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Matt Leinart…Sanchez can’t even come close to beating out Clemens this year or even next year for that matter. He becomes a 60 million dollar insurance policy and eventually is photographed holding beer bongs for 20 year old girls in Morristown, New Jersey.

Prediction: Sanchez wins the starting job and takes the expected rookie lumps in year one. The Jets are able to win because of their running game and defense but Sanchez progresses as the year goes on. He leads them into playing meaningful games in late December.

3. Erik Ainge, #10, 2nd year, No Career Stats

History: Yikes…was the Jets 5throunnd pick last year but was inactive all season. He was also suspended four games for a substance abuse violation. Ainge also missed most of the off-season workouts for personal reasons and went from being mentioned as a contender for the starting job to battling for the #3 spot.

Chance of Making Roster: 50%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Ainge shows growth in the pre-season and locks down the number three job. He has such a strong pre-season and overall year as the look squad quarterback, the Jets feel comfortable making him their number two behind Sanchez in 2010.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He is cut during the pre-season and the Jets look elsewhere for their #3 quarterback.

Prediction: He shows some measure of progress, at least enough to be the Jets number three quarterback for another year but not enough to be their number two next year.

4. Chris Pizzotti, #19, Rookie, No Career Stats

History: The Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent. He was a very successful college quarterback at Harvard. Pizzotti has good size (6’5, 225 lbs) and apparently a strong arm.

Chance of Making Roster: 25%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He beats out Erik Ainge for the #3 spot and becomes Brett Ratliff 2.0.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He gets cut, sooner rather than later.

Prediction: He makes the practice squad.

Overall Position Analysis: There is almost no experience to speak of in this group. All eyes will be on the Sanchez/Clemens battle in training camp. Hopefully, they will bring the best out of each other and one of them can step up to be playoff caliber quarterback this year.