Inside Look: ESPN’s Idiotic Coverage Of New York Jets Training Camp

An inside look at ESPN’s idiotic coverage of New York Jets training camp

For everybody who was happy the New York Jets passed on Hard Knocks because of the excessive coverage it brought to training camp, they clearly didn’t realize the ESPN controversy stewing idiot box would be camped out in Cortland 24/7.

By the way, have you seen this trailer for Miami Dolphins Hard Knocks? Can you name one player you see? Can you stay awake listening to Joe Philbin talk? I am pretty sure I’d rather watch that new show with Matthew Perry NBC is pumping up more than this…and that show looks just awful.

Anyway back to the ESPN idiot box camped outside of Jets practice. This is a general outline of  their daily agenda –

– Find group of fans willing to chant Tebow, keep the camera in front of them all day. Every time we return from commercial, open with them and then cut to either Ron Jaworski or Skip Bayless smugly smiling.

– Allow Ron Jaworski to make poorly researched uninformed statements about the Jets offense and then hold the Jets quarterbacks to a double standard.

  • Mark Sanchez throws a deep out route low but it is still caught by Santonio Holmes. Cue Jaworski “That is the kind of throw you must get up higher…if you want to play…in the National…Football…League”
  • Tim Tebow sails a pass to Josh Baker over the middle and it is nearly intercepted. Cue Jaworski “Look at how Tebow has improved his throwing motion. He is really putting some nice arc on the ball. The Jets must get more athletic at tight end to help Tim Tebow play…in the National…Football…League”
  • Jaworski comments that Sanchez is comfortable with Jeff Cumberland and has chemistry with him but doesn’t have it with Josh Baker because they haven’t worked together. The only problem is Cumberland was on IR after week 3 last season and Baker spent the rest of the season practicing with the team, culminating with him catching a touchdown in week 16.
  • Jaworski notes that Tony Sparano is basically installing the same offense as Brian Schottenheimer. The only problem of course being that he is installing literally the complete opposite of what Schottenheimer did last year when the Jets base personnel was three receivers.

– Keep a microphone in front of Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes at all times and let the headlines run from there.

– Have Sal Paolantonio make regular observations of Tebow’s usage and Sanchez’s demeanor in response to it. “We heard Tebow could throw a pass at some point to keep defenses honest. Sanchez was reportedly a little upset because we saw him not get seconds at lunch today. Could the pressure be getting to him, both mentally and physically?”

– Have Skip and Stephen A debate any and everything Tebow. 

  • Why did Tebow run with his shirt off?
  • Why did Tebow decide against seeing a movie?
  • When is the last time Tebow got his hair cut?
  • Tim TEBOW might not be able to THROW THE FOOTBALL there Skip but don’t talk to me about Mark SAN-CHEZZZ leading this team, TEBOW IS A WINNER!!

Of course the Jets only have themselves to blame for consenting to having ESPN there for over a week. A day? Two days? You could deal with, but this long with this much coverage is ridiculous. So much for the escape to football paradise in Cortland where there are no distractions. For the rest of the world, we understand why you hate the Jets and are tired of hearing about them.

For us Jets fans, we know that behind all the BS is a potentially good football team, with plenty of good stories. This team is going to be disliked as long as Rex Ryan is the head coach and the cameras are everywhere, but doesn’t that just make it more fun to root for?

We are on a mission to civilize Jets coverage here at TOJ. Stay with us all season and make sure to wear that green and white proud.

Top Ten Head Coaches In NFL?

ESPN continued through their positional power rankings yesterday by ranking the top ten coaches in the NFL, here is what their list looked like:

  1. Bill Belichick
  2. Mike Tomlin
  3. Andy Reid
  4. Mike McCarthy
  5. Sean Payton
  6. Tom Coughlin
  7. Rex Ryan
  8. Love Smith
  9. Mike Smith
  10. Mike Shanahan/John Harbaugh

Personally, I think the panelists did a fairly good job. A key question when ranking head coaches is does winning a Super Bowl automatically place you above all your peers who have not. Clearly, the panelists didn’t feel that way by placing Andy Reid at number three and having Rex Ryan ahead of Mike Shanahan (even though it has been over a decade since he won his).

With a list like this, the question of who would you want coaching your team next year and moving forward needs to be factored in, not just who has the best lifetime resume. I would bump Sean Payton up to three on the  list, considering his Super Bowl victory and how the Saints, an organization that has traditionally struggled, have found consistent success under him. He is also one of the brightest offensive minds in the game, if not the brightest. I would put McCarthy ahead of Andy Reid as well, especially with his recent playoff victory over Reid’s team in mind and of course Green Bay’s Super Bowl victory last year.

You can see the ongoing debate between Tom Coughlin and Rex Ryan I am involved in but I think Reid belongs somewhere in the 5-7 range with both of them. I would also absolutely have John Harbaugh higher than Mike Smith. In the last three years, Harbaugh has won multiple playoff games and taken his team to the AFC Championship Game, Smith is yet to win a single playoff game despite being the home team twice.

To even have Rex in the discussion for being a top 5-7 coach in the league after only two years on the job is encouraging and has to make you excited about his potential in the coming years. However, it will ultimately take a Super Bowl title for Rex to become one of the league’s elite coaches.

Is Dustin Keller A Top Ten Tight End In The NFL?

ESPN continued their positional power rankings today, by ranking the top ten tight ends in the league. Dustin Keller of the New York Jets ended up coming in at number 12, only a few votes away from cracking the top ten, which looked like this —

  1. Jason Witten
  2. Antonio Gates
  3. Dallas Clark
  4. Vernon Davis
  5. Chris Cooley
  6. Tony Gonzalez
  7. Kellen Winslow Jr.
  8. Mercedes Lewis
  9. Brandon Pettigrew
  10. Jermichael Finley

What are your thoughts, besides why the hell isn’t Antonio Gates number one? Personally, I would have a hard time arguing for Keller to crack this list and think number 12 is an appropriate spot for him.

Keller is yet to have a breakout year in his three NFL seasons. Last year was his best, as he finished with 55 receptions, 687 yards, 5 touchdowns. There was a brief period over a three game span early in the year when Keller looked ready to jump to an elite tight end, pulling in 5 touchdowns and 241 yards between week two and week four. However, after Santonio Holmes returned from suspension Keller quieted down and didn’t score a touchdown or record a 100 yard game the rest of the season.

Despite flashes of brilliance and the elite athleticism that made him a first round pick, he hasn’t been consistent enough to merit top ten status. He has also been somewhat held back by the Jets breaking in a rookie quarterback and operating a run heavy offense. It will be interesting to see if they open things up more and one of their receivers doesn’t return in free agency, if Keller can make the leap to a consensus top ten player at his position in the league.

Jets vs. Bengals Position By Position Comparison

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan did what he does best today (except coach defense) and grabbed headlines by saying he believes the Jets should be favorites in the playoffs because of their defense and running game. This story will likely get blown out of proportion, basically Ryan was informed the Jets had the lowest odds (now 50 to 1) of any playoff team and said that he believes in his team and he would personally pick them as favorites…the guy has confidence in his team. Yes, it is crazy to think the Jets should be the favorites in these playoffs but if their head coach doesn’t believe they are going to win it all, why even bother…however that doesn’t mean he needed to say it to the press.

2. You want see Ryan’s impact on the Jets defense? Read this: (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/

kerry_byrne/01/05/ryan/index.html).

3. 11 out of 12? That is the highest I have seen them yet. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers

/don_banks/01/06/playoff.power.rankings/index.html).

Jets vs. Bengals Position By Position Comparison

Quarterback: Carson Palmer (3094 yards, 21 TDs, 13 INTs, 83.6 QB Rating) vs. Mark Sanchez (2444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs, 63.0 QB Rating) – Palmer isn’t the elite quarterback he used to be but is still a good player. This is really his first playoff game since he got hurt on the 1st play of his last playoff game. Sanchez has struggled with turnovers and consistency in his rookie year. Advantage: Jets….just kidding…Bengals.

Running Backs: Cedric Benson (1251 yards, 6 TDs, 4.2 YPC), Bernard Scott (321 yards), Brian Leonard (30 receptions) vs. Thomas Jones (1402 yards, 14 TDs, 4.2 YPC), Shonn Greene (540 yards, 2 TDs), Danny Woodhead (151 total yards) – I will take Thomas Jones over Cedric Benson any day of the week, Shonn Greene has been better than Scott this year despite not starting to play until the middle of the season. Leonard is a valuable third down back and a better player than Woodhead. Advantage: Jets.

Fullback: Tony Richardson (58 total yards) vs. Jeremi Johnson (49 total yards) – Johnson is a good player but Richardson is one of the best in the NFL. Advantage: Jets.

Wide Receivers: Chad Ochocinco (1047 yards, 9 TDs), Laveranues Coles (514 yards, 5 TDs), Andre Caldwell (432 yards, 3 TDs), Quan Cosby (4 catches, 55 yards) vs. Braylon Edwards (541 yards, 4 TDs), Jerricho Cotchery (821 yards, 4 TDs), Brad Smith (270 total yards, 1 TD), David Clowney (191 yards, 1 TD)Ochocinco is a better #1 receiver than Braylon but Cotchery is a substantially better #2 receiver than Coles. Caldwell is a better pure receiver than Brad Smith, but Smith is more of a weapon and big play threat. Clowney might not be active on Saturday. Advantage: Even.

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Tight Ends: J.P. Foschi (260 yards, 2 TDs), Daniel Coats (150 yards) vs. Dustin Keller (522 yards, 2 TDs), Ben Hartsock (1 TD), Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner – Keller isn’t used enough by the Jets but is still a much more productive and dangerous player than anyone the Bengals could line up at tight end. Advantage: Jets.

Offensive Line: Andrew Whitworth, Nate Livings, Kyle Cook, Bobbie Williams, Dennis Roland vs. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody – The Jets front five have started the past 32 games together and are arguably the best unit in the game. They are anchored by All-Pro center Nick Mangold. Advantage: Jets.

Defensive Line: Robert Geathers (36 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Domata Peko (23 tackles), Tank Johnson (29 tackles, 2 sacks), Jonathan Fanene (36 tackles, 6 sacks), Michael Johnson (17 tackles, 3 sacks) vs. Shaun Ellis (53 tackles, 6.5 sacks), Sione Pouha (45 tackles), Marques Douglas (64 tackles, 1.5 sacks), Mike DeVito (28 tackles) – Two underrated units who lack a big name but still get the job done. I will give the advantage to the Bengals because they do a better job of rushing the passer. Advantage: Bengals

Linebackers: Rashad Jeanty (20 tackles), Dhani Jones (113 tackles, 3.5 sacks), Keith Rivers (72 tackles, 1 sack), Brandon Johnson (58 tackles, 1.5 sacks) vs. David Harris (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks), Calvin Pace (55 tackles, 8 sacks), Bart Scott (92 tackles, 1 sack), Bryan Thomas (53 tackles, 2 sacks) – Even if Rey Maualuga didn’t get hurt, I would still give the advantage to the Jets. David Harris should be have been in the pro-bowl and if Calvin Pace didn’t miss the first four games with a suspension he might have made it also. Advantage: Jets

Corners: Leon Hall (71 tackles, 6 INTs), Jonathan Joseph (69 tackles, 6 INTs), Morgan Trent (28 tackles), David Jones (11 tackles) vs. Darrelle Revis (54 tackles, 6 INTs), Lito Sheppard (31 tackles, 1 INT), Dwight Lowery (24 tackles, 3 INTs), Donald Strickland (26 tackles, 2 sacks) – The Jets have the best overall player and better depth but the Bengals have a better starting duo. Advantage: Even.

Safety: Chris Crocker (51 tackles, 2 INTs), Chinedum Ndukwe (89 tackles, 1 INT, 2 sacks), Tom Nelson (25 tackles, 1 INT) vs. Jim Leonhard (76 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT), Kerry Rhodes (63 tackles, 3 INTs), Eric Smith (48 tackles, 1 INT), James Ihedigbo (2 sacks) – Pretty even here, although Kerry Rhodes is probably the most talented guy in the group despite having a very disappointing season. Advantage: Even.

Special Teams: Shayne Graham (23/28 FG’s), Kevin Huber (43.2 yards per punt), Bernard Scott (1 KR TD), Quan Cosby (11.9 yards per punt return) vs. Jay Feely (30/36 FGs), Steve Weatherford (42 yards per punt), Brad Smith (1 KR TD), Jerricho Cotchery (10.3 yards per punt return) – The numbers are very comparable across the board, although the Jets have pulled four successful fake punts this season. Advantage: Jets.


Jets vs. Bucs First Look

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets moved up to #19 in ESPN’s Power Rankings today. They are behind Atlanta, which I don’t agree with. The Falcons looked simply awful at home last week and are decimated with injuries. Pittsburgh is also ahead of them despite losing to Oakland at home (the Jets beat Oakland 38-0 by the way).

2. It is looking like Eric Smith will start his third straight game this week. According to the beat reporters, he ran with the starters in Monday’s walk through. I don’t see any reason why Kerry Rhodes should have his job back after a somewhat weak performance against Buffalo.

3. Backup offensive lineman and extra tight end in short yardage sets Robert Turner is going to be out this week and probably the following week. Corners Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowery are improving with their respective injuries but I wouldn’t bank on either of them playing on Sunday. I would rather see them at 100 percent against Indy then rush back this weekend against the Bucs weak receivers.

4. Green Bay helped the Jets playoff cause last night by beating the Ravens 27-17. Make sure you check back tomorrow for “Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide,” where I will discuss all the playoff scenarios and who Jets fans should be rooting for this week.

Jets vs. Bucs First Look

PhotobucketTampa Bay’s Key Players: On offense Josh Freeman has breathed some life into Tampa. However, he is coming off his worst game of the season. Freeman threw five interceptions last week in a loss to Carolina. On the season he has 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and is completing 54 percent of his passes. He is mobile in the pocket and has already racked up 134 yards rushing in a limited number of starts. Cadillac Williams is the Bucs leading rusher with 572 yards, with Derrick Ward chipping 304 yards. Neither of backs has an overly impressive yards per carry (4.0 for Williams and 3.6 for Ward). Tight End Kellen Winslow is putting together a strong season with 58 receptions for 633 yards, with 5 touchdowns. Maybe the Jets should put Darrelle Revis on him, since the top receivers for Tampa both have 27 catches. Yet, Antonio Bryant is averaging an impressive 17.6 yards per catch. Also watch out for ex-Jet fullback BJ Askew, who has 3 total  offensive yards this season.

On defense, the Bucs are very young and they struggle to stop the run (Run, TJ, Run). However, they do have some talented pass rushers. Stylez White has 5.5 sacks and Jimmy Wilkerson has 6 on the season. Barrett Ruud is a solid linebacker and leads the team in tackles. Aqib Talib is beat often at corner but does make some big plays. He currently has 5 interceptions and 11 passes defensed. Ronde Barber is still playing but doesn’t have an interception yet this season, despite having 2 sacks.

Typical Jets: How typical would it be for the Jets to go on the road and lose to the 1-11 Bucs? They got everybody excited about some type of crazy playoff run in December. They are getting help at every turn, with Oakland winning in Pittsburgh, the Dolphins losing to Buffalo and then coming back and beating New England, the Ravens losing on Monday night, the Texans melting down and on and on. Of course all these wacky playoff scenarios go to the wayside if the Jets can’t beat one of the leagues worst teams. Can we avoid the obvious loss this week and keep the pipe dream alive for another week?

NFL Week 10 Recap/Jets vs. Patriots Part II First Look

Jets vs. Patriots

First a few updates:

1. The Jets fired defensive line coach Kerry Locklin and promoted Jeff Weeks to his previous position. Apparently, there were some behind the scene issues with Rex Ryan and Locklin and this was a move that was a long time coming.

large_rex-ryan5142. The big guy broke down yesterday in a team meeting. It is being reported that Rex Ryan broke into tears during an emotional speech to his team when discussing the loss to Jacksonville and the upcoming games they face. According to Darrelle Revis and Damien Woody, it had a big impact on the locker room. However, as good as it sounds to have a head coach break down and his team rally behind him because they have his back, it doesn’t mean anything if the Jets can’t find a way to win a football game.

3. Jim Leonhard had the surgery on his thumb and is at least expected to miss this week. Eric Smith would step into the starting line-up.

4. The Jets fell to number 21 in the ESPN Power Rankings

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – New England put together a great game for about 55 minutes in Indy on Sunday night but unfortunately for them they couldn’t finish what they started. There is no logical defense for Bill Belichick’s decision not to punt and the genius was finally burned by his appropriately large ego. I do know this, the Patriots are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were in week two so the Jets better get creative in their game planning.

Miami Dolphins – The mighty Dolphins edged out the 1-8 Bucs at home on a last second field goal…and yes of course most of the national media still considers them a legit playoff contender despite the fact they haven’t beat a team with a winning record yet this season. They travel to Carolina on Thursday night where they are expected to be without Ronnie Brown and Joey Porter. I have a vested fantasy football interest (DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith) and vested hate in Miami interest in that game.

Buffalo Bills – Man, Buffalo is an awful team. Man, I can’t believe the Jets lost to them at home. Man, the Jets must be a pretty bad team themselves.

TOJ Top Ten

  1. New Orleans Saints – It wasn’t pretty but they found a way to stay undefeated.
  2. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – We all know Peyton is an all time great, but how good is Reggie Wayne?
  3. Minnesota Vikings – Rolling to a NFC North title.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – Favorite team #2 (because of Hard Knocks) is having an unbelievable season.
  5. San Diego Chargers – They have a chance to take over the AFC West lead this weekend by beating the fading Broncos.
  6. New England Patriots – Impressive in defeat, as much as it pains me to say it.
  7. Arizona Cardinals – Rolling to another NFC West title and if they keep running the football they may defend their NFC crown.
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers – Might have to settle for a wild card this year.
  9. Dallas Cowboys – Laid an egg in Green Bay.
  10. Denver Broncos – The metldown is in full swing.

Jets vs. Patriots Part II First Look

Patriots Jets FootballThe Opponent: My, how the times have changed since the Jets beat the Patriots in week two. Since that loss, New England is 5-2 and currently has a two game lead over the Jets in the AFC East. The Jets are appropriately double digit underdogs because simply put the Patriots have been a much better team than them in the past 8 weeks. Tom Brady has shaken off the early season rust and is putting together another all-pro season, while Wes Welker has returned to the line-up giving New England the best pair of starting receivers in the league. On defense, the Patriots remain good not great but will have Jerod Mayo back at linebacker, who didn’t play in the first meeting between these two teams. The national consensus on this game is that New England is angry about blowing last week’s game to the Colts, angry about losing to the now sub .500 Jets in week 2, and the Jets are a team reeling meaning the Pats are going to hang a 60 spot on Rex Ryan’s defense and look to run it up. It reminds me of the coverage before these teams met in December of 2007 (which I will detail in tomorrow’s article).

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Tom Brady – 233/352, 378 yards, 19 TD’s, 6 INTs
  • Running Back: Laurence Maroney – 94 carries, 378 yards, 4 TDs
  • Running Back: Kevin Faulk – 37 carries, 188 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Randy Moss – 58 catches, 891 yards, 7 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Wes Welker – 64 catches, 662 yards, 4 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Julian Edelman – 23 catches, 202, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Ben Watson – 20 catches, 307 yards 4 TD’s
  • Tight End: Chris Baker – 10 catch, 91 yards, 1 TD
  • Left Tackle: Matt Light
  • Left Guard: Logan Mankins
  • Center: Dan Koppen
  • Right Guard: Stephen Neal
  • Right Tackle: Nick Kaczur

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ty Warren – 3o tackles, 1 sack
  • Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork – 25 tackles
  • Defensive End: Jarvis Green – 18 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Pierre Woods – 24 tackles, 2 FF
  • Inside Linebacker: Jerod Mayo – 39 tackles, 1 sack
  • Inside Linebacker: Gary Guyton – 50 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Adalius Thomas – 22 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Tully Banta-Cain – 28 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Derrick Burgess – 13 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Corner: Leigh Bodden – 34 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Corner: Shawn Springs – 6 tackles, 1 FF
  • Safety: Brandon Merriweather – 44 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Brandon McGowan – 56 tackles
  • Safety: Pat Chung – 25 tackles, 2 sacks

SPECIALS

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
  • Punter: Chris Hanson
  • Kick Return: Laurence Maroney
  • Punt Return: Wes Welker

Injuries: Jim Leonhard probably won’t play for the Jets. New England has been a little banged up on the offensive line and has been without running backs Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris.

Early Story Lines: Jets in the middle of complete meltdown…How much will the Pats win by…New England is frustrated after losing last week and will take it out on their hated rivals…Can Mark Sanchez play in cold weather…Somehow the Jets would only be a game out of first place with a win

Highlights From Pats/Colts Game

Better Late, Than Never: TOJ TV Episode IX: Bye Week AC Trip

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets actually jumped up a spot to number 5 in ESPN’s Power Rankings despite their 14 point loss to the Saints. Their defense made a strong statement to the rest of the league that they are one of the elite groups in the NFL, regardless the offense has something to prove these next few weeks.

2. The trash talking has begun this week, courtesy of Dolphins linebacker Akin Ayodele discussing the Rex Ryan/Channing Crowder feud in the off-season, “Their head coach really blew the fire even more this offseason with Channing and both of them going back and forth. How does a head coach, why would you even try and go with words, you know battle with a player. That to me doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the animosity is there, the hatred is there. You know there’s no love, It will feel great once we put that whooping on them”.

3. MLB Playoff Predictions? Twins over the Tigers tonight. Yankees over the Twins. Red Sox over the Angels. Dodgers over the Cardinals. Phillies over the Rockies.

NFL Week 4 Recap/Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

Wrapping Up Jets/Saints

Defensive Player of the Game: Darrelle Revis – Another lockdown effort by the Jets corner, who held Marques Colston without a reception when he covered him. On the day, Revis only allowed one reception for 14 yards to Devery Henderson and also collected three passes defensed along with doing a strong job in run support.

Offensive Player of the Game: Shonn Greene – Why Shonn Greene who only had 4 carries for 23 yards? The reason is because his production provided some extra motivation for Thomas Jones who started out with 6 carries for 12 yards, and then after Greene took a series from him, came back with 8 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Greene will be healthy for this week and provide another weapon for the Jets rushing attack and keep Jones on his toes.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for having another strong game…Alan Faneca for some superb run blocking…Bryan Thomas for a productive, all-around game…Dwight Lowery for holding his own as the Jets starting corner the past two weeks…David Harris for racking up 12 tackles…Kerry Rhodes for piling up 8 tackles and a key pass defense.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Patriots scored a big victory over the undefeated Baltimore Ravens at home. They were aided by a few ridiculous roughing the passer penalties and a key drop by Mark Clayton on the Ravens final drive, but a win is a win. Also, Tom Brady appears to be looking like his normal self again. New England has another tough task this week, as they travel to Denver to face the undefeated Broncos.

Buffalo Bills – Yuck, what an embarrassing performance by the Bills in Miami who appear to be quitting on their coach. The Dolphins ran all over them and Trent Edwards and the rest of the Bills offense looked awful. The good news? They get to face Eric Mangini and the Browns this weekend.

Miami Dolphins – They got their first win of the season over Buffalo, who didn’t put up much of a fight. The Dolphins continued to run the ball successfully but let’s see what happens when a team stops the run and Chad Henne has to complete some passes for them to move the football.

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They will roll over Oakland this weekend and head to New Orleans at 5-0.
  2. Indianapolis Colts – Their offense is scary good right now, even without Anthony Gonzalez.
  3. New Orleans Saints – Big play defense to match their big play offense.
  4. Minnesota Vikings – Let’s see how Favre holds up into November/December.
  5. Denver Broncos – Their defense is legit…chance to make statement against NE this weekend.

TOJ Bottom Five

  1. Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell is terrible.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs – They showed some fight in the 2nd half against Giants but lack talent to compete.
  3. Tampa Bay Bucs – Josh Johnson at least let them be competitive on Sunday.
  4. Cleveland Browns – Good effort against the Bengals.
  5. St. Louis Rams – Wow…I think losing by less than 20 is a victory for them.

Jets vs. Dolphins First Look

The Opponent: Last year’s Cinderella story got a healthy dose of reality the first three weeks of the season with losses to the Falcons, Colts, and Chargers. They did respond with an impressive win over the hapless Bills last week, to move their record to 1-3. Chad Henne will be making his second career start against the Jets (Rex Ryan is salivating more than he does over a fresh pie of pizza). Miami relies on their rushing attack led by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Regardless, their gimmick based offense didn’t work in playoffs against Ryan last year and the Jets defense is better than any unit they faced this season. Miami had plenty to say about Ryan and the Jets this off-season, so let’s see if they can back their words up or if they are in over their head against an opponent with more talent.

Miami Dolphins Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarerback: Chad Henne – 24/41, 207 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 72 carries, 369 yards, 4 TD’s
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 50 carries, 248 yards, 2 TD’s
  • Running Back: Patrick Cobbs – 5 carries, 37 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Ted Ginn Jr – 14 receptions, 138 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Devone Bess – 20 receptions, 157 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Greg Camarillo – 11 receptions, 86 yards
  • Wide Receiver; Brian Hartline – 6 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasasno – 4 receptions, 18 yards
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Justin Smiley
  • Center: Jake Grove
  • Right Guard: Donald Thomas
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 10 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Jason Ferguson – 6 tackles
  • Defensive End: Randy Starks – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Phillip Merling – 8 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Joey Porter – 6 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Channing Crowder – 14 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Akin Ayodele – 16 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Jason Taylor – 8 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 6 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Corner: Will Allen – 16 tackles, 2 INT’s – 6 tackles
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 7 tackles
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 3 tackles, 1 INT
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 28 tackles
  • Safety: Gibril Wilson – 17 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter
  • Punter: Brandon Fields
  • Kick Returner: Patrick Cobbs
  • Punt Returner; Devone Bess

Key Players: Ronnie Brown is their most dangerous player on offense, especially out of the Wildcat formation. Devone Bess and Greg Camarillo are decent possession receivers. Tedd Ginn Jr has big play capability. On defense, they have a variety of pass rushers including Joey Porter, jason Taylor, and Cameron Wake.

Injuries: Joey Porter is recovering from an injury and missed last week. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland have missed the past two weeks, but should be back. Damien Woody has a bad ankle but is expected to play.

Early Story Lines: Channing Crowder vs Rex Ryan…Mark Sanchez bouncing back from his first bad game…Jets/Dolphins rivalry…How the Jets respond to their first loss of the season…Calvin Pace returns from his suspension.

Dolphins/Bills Highlights

Jets Positional Analysis: Outside Linebackers

First a few updates:

1. Rich Cimini is reporting that there has been substantial progress in Leon Washington’s contract talks, with hopes of finishing up a deal by Friday. If they are really that close to a deal, you would think Washington won’t bother skipping any days of training camp and accumulating daily fines.

2. Speaking of Leon Washington, here is an encouraging quote from Rex Ryan about #29 given to Peter King in his MMQB article, “He had six touchdowns on 73 carries last year. That number has to go up — drastically, and it will” Thank you, Rex.

3. How about those ESPN pre-training camp Power Rankings? The Jets came in at #23, despite going 9-7 last year and adding Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Lito Sheppard, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and Marques Douglas. Yes, they lost Brett Favre and his 23 interceptions but #23, c’mon now? Behind the Texans? Behind the 4-12 Seattle Seahawks? Behind the Bills? Behind the Redskins? Behind the 49ers?

4. The Yankees can tie for the best record in baseball tonight with a win and a Dodgers loss…who wants to bat against Burnett, CC, and Joba right now?

Jets Positional Analysis: Outside Linebackers

I am motivated to finish this before the Jets first practice on Friday morning, all I got left is the LB’s and special teams.

1. Calvin Pace #97, Starting Outside Linebacker (Suspended First Four Games), Last Season: 80 Tackles, 7 Sacks, 7 Tackles For Loss, 5 Forced Fumbles, 3 Passes Defensed

History: The Jets signed Pace to a monster contract before last season and he responded with a very good all around year. Despite some struggles in pass coverage, Pace was still one of the Jets top playmakers on defense. Rex Ryan’s scheme should allow Pace more chances to rush the quarterback, which plays to his strengths. Unfortunately, he has been suspended for the first four games of the 2009 season for using a banned substance, putting pressure on the younger Jets OLB’s to step up.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Pace comes back in week 5 as a man on a mission and exceeds his sack total from last season despite only playing 12 games. Ryan’s scheme plays to his talents and he provides a huge boost to the Jets D in the middle of the year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles to adjust and make an impact after missing the first four games and isn’t the same player he was last year.

Prediction: Unless Bryan Thomas and Vernon Gholston/Marques Murrell are revelations in the first four weeks, Pace will return as a starter in week 5 and should be even better than he was last season. Obviously, his numbers will be down because of his shortened season but he should still be more of a threat rushing the QB in 2009.

2. Bryan Thomas #99, Starting Outside Linebacker, Last Season: 57 Tackles, 5.5 Sacks, 6 Tackles For Loss, 3 Forced Fumbles, 1 Pass Defensed

History: Thomas has had a disappointing roller coaster career since the Jets drafted him in the first round back in 2002. After 4 quiet years, he had a breakout year in 2006 under Eric Mangini and was awarded with a new contract. He admittedly slacked off in 2007 and then rebounded with a strong start in 2008 but was very quiet in the second half of the year. With Calvin Pace suspended 4 games, Thomas needs to step up in 2008 as the Jets only veteran outside linebacker.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Thomas flourishes in Ryan’s system and starts the year off with a bang as the featured playmaker at OLB with Pace suspended. He matches his 2006 production level.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Thomas picks up where he left off when the 2008 season ended, leaving the Jets extremely weak at the OLB spot, especially in the first 4 weeks.

Prediction: Thomas will be a decent starter for the Jets in 2009, but hopefully begin to be rotated out towards the middle of the year with younger players like Vernon Gholston and Marques Murrell.

3. Vernon Gholston #50, Last Season: 13 Tackles (I just winced)

History: Gholston was the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft and showed nothing to merit that last year. He was basically invisible on defense and an average special teams player at best. The organization is hoping Rex Ryan can get the most out of Gholston’s immense talent and turn him into their version Terrell Suggs. Ryan has already proclaimed Gholston as the starter in Pace’s absence for the first four weeks, hopefully he can rise to the occasion.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Gholston takes advantage of Pace’s absence and plays well enough to move over to the other starting OLB spot when Calvin returns. He begins to show signs of being a great pass rusher, finishing with 7-9 sacks after having zero last year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Gholston is beat out by Marques Murrell or Jason Trusnik in training camp and isn’t a factor on the defense.

Prediction: I think Gholston will be adequate filling in for Pace but won’t play well enough to be a full time starter when he returns. I can see Gholston ending up with 5-6 sacks this year.

4. Marques Murrell #94, Last Season: 9 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble

History: Murrell has been a practice squad/special team player for the Jets the past couple of seasons and shown some decent potential. Rex Ryan praised him effusively during mini-camp, leading many to think he could end up being a factor on the defense this year. He will have a shot to carve out some playing time with Calvin Pace suspended for four games.

Chance of Making Roster: 90%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Murrell develops into a valuable pass rushing weapon and pushes Vernon Gholston for playing time at outside linebacker.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Murrell doesn’t rise to the occasion in pre-season and remains a special teams player.

Prediction: He will see some quality reps in the first four weeks of the year and then continue to have a role, though somewhat smaller, on the defense for the rest of the year.

5. Jason Trusnik #96, Last Season: 10 Tackles

History: Another young linebacker who showed some potential last season and could compete for extended playing time in 2009.

Chance of Making Roster: 85%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He develops into a valuable role player on defense and remains a good special teams player.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles in training camp and doesn’t end up making the active roster.

Prediction: Trusnik will be a role/depth player on defense and remain on the active roster.

Overall Position Analysis: All eyes will be on Vernon Gholston to step up and fill the void left by Calvin Pace. However, Bryan Thomas and Marques Murrell also need to step up their play to help fill the void for the first four weeks.

Jets Highlight of the Day: An entertaining highlight film of Vernon Gholston at Ohio State…the talent is there.