TOJ Podcast Episode 11 – Rotoworld’s Evan Silva

The TOJ Podcast talks with Senior Football Editor at Rotoworld, Evan Silva

Check out episode 11 of the Turn On The Jets Podcast featuring Senior Football Editor at Rotoworld, Evan Silva. We discuss the prospects for the New York Jets offense, fantasy football strategy and the overrated Miami Dolphins

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New York Jets Roundtable – Turn On The Jets vs. Silva

The Turn On The Jets staff and Rotoworld’s Evan Silva have a roundtable discussion on the 2013 New York Jets

Turn On The Jets is happy to welcome back Evan Silva of Rotoworld and Pro Football Talk to discuss the New York Jets and the NFL. We may have had our share of Twitter scraps with Evan but we give credit when credit is due and he pretty much nailed it with this interview last year. (Of course he also picked the Jets to go 0-16 in 2012 via his popular match-ups column and criminally overrated Ryan Matthews fantasy value but hey we miss on our share of predictions here as well) Our staff and Evan answered the following 20 questions about both the upcoming off-season and season. Give us your feedback on here and on Twitter. A big thanks to Evan for taking the time to speak with us and also a thanks from me for the good call on Danario Alexander last year, who helped carry me to a fantasy title –

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New York Jets 2012: Interview With Rotoworld’s Evan Silva

TJ Rosenthal interviews Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, who gives his outlook for the 2012 New York Jets…and it isn’t pretty

TJ Rosenthal had the opportunity to sit down with Evan Silva from Rotoworld and Pro Football Talk to discuss the 2012 New York Jets and the reasons he believes the team will struggle so much. We never shy away from varying opinions and thank Evan for taking the time to so thoroughly explain his opinions…even if we do disagree with them. Take it away TJ…

Rotoworld Senior NFL Editor Evan Silva is one of the up and coming NFL analysts out there today. Silva, who also contributes to NBC Sports and Profootballtalk.com, has recently caught the attention of some Jets fans who have come across some not so promising tweets from him when it comes to the Jets outlook for 2012. The Jet Report caught up with him to discuss in further detail why he believes the Jets will struggle this season.

How will the Jets fare in 2012?

I don’t think they’ll be very good. The one factor that may prevent the Jets from finishing as one of the league’s worst teams in terms of won-loss record is an easy schedule. They have the AFC South and NFC West as non-division opponents. They should also be better than the Dolphins. But I think the Jets will start the season 1-4 and end up losing along the way a number of games most people believe they “should” win because they will struggle mightily to generate offense.

Mark Sanchez?

I usually try to avoid bandwagoning the mainstream, common refrains. And I realize it’s become mainstream to criticize Mark Sanchez. At the same time, I’ve seen enough of Sanchez to believe — know might even be a better word — that he’s not the answer at quarterback for the Jets. He’s a timid passer, scared to challenge deep, doesn’t trust his arm, and plays frenetically in the pocket. The Jets’ bye falls in Week 9 this year. Regardless of the phony offseason contract extension, I think Sanchez will lose his starting job before or during the off week.

I think if Sanchez is ever going to successfully engineer an offense — and not be a quarterback at the controls of a team trying to stay competitive despite him — it will happen down the road, outside of New York. I actually think that is going to happen. Sanchez will have some strong years later in his career, long after the Jets move on.

Is the AFC East “Patriot owned” with the closest challenger to the throne gearing up in Orchard Park not Florham Park, as many believe?

I like what the Bills did in the spring. They desperately needed to improve their pass rush, and they will be a more dangerous team defensively this year than they have been in quite some time. But I don’t think they’ll be more than a 7-9 win team. And I think the Jets are looking at about seven victories in an absolute best-case scenario. So, yes, I think the AFC East is Patriot owned.

The Ground and Pound: Talk about it as a viable or non viable concept at this point in time in the NFL.

It would be viable if the Jets had a premier NFL back and an offensive line capable of dominating in the trenches, snap to snap and game to game. The Jets do not have either of those elements. I have reviewed 2011 games, and I actually thought the Jets’ run blocking was better last year than it was given credit for. The front five opened lanes. There were plenty of cutback opportunities. The back consistently failed to capitalize. Shonn Greene is another major liability on this team, and I think you could make a good argument that he’s an even bigger liability than Sanchez.

Are the pieces in place for the Jets to at least achieve their goals with this system on offense?

I don’t think so. Not even close. I mean, what is the Jets’ strength on offense? It’s definitely not the passing game. And you can’t tell me it’s Shonn Greene. I enjoyed watching the Jets a couple of years ago when you had Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes threatening defenses vertically, and Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery working the seam. The offensive line was maybe the best in the league. The Jets didn’t have elite backs, but there was a vertical threat and a punishing front-five group that worked in unison to kind of compensate for the talent shortcomings in the backfield. The Jets won 11 games that year. They could compete with anyone.

The Jets have gotten worse since then, probably much worse. The right tackle is a major, major problem. Wayne Hunter isn’t just a poor pass-protecting tackle. He gets knocked off the ball in the run game, too. And right tackle in a run-first scheme is a crucial puzzle piece. You want a guy there that you can run behind. Pound it off his backside. Hunter isn’t remotely close to that guy.

How about adding Cedric Benson?

I don’t think Benson would be a terrible pickup. He can handle a large workload and fits the scheme from the standpoint that he’s a power runner. He does a better job of picking up blocked yards than Greene. He sees the field better than Greene. But Benson doesn’t have any big-play ability. He doesn’t play in the passing game. When Benson is in the game, the defense knows the run is coming, which makes the offense easy to defend. He would not solve the Jets’ problems.

Tim Tebow?

I like Tim Tebow. I think he fits the Jets philosophically because he is a run-first quarterback. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano want to pound the rock. I think that by midseason, Tebow will have overtaken Sanchez because he’s a superior philosophical fit. He’s also willing to stand in the pocket and test the defense downfield. Even if he’s not putting it on the money every time, I think that’s more than you can say about Sanchez. I think Tebow gives the Jets a better chance of delivering the rock to Santonio Holmes in the vertical passing game than Sanchez does.

The Jets are begging for a quarterback controversy, by acquiring Tim Tebow. And I think it will start off very rocky. But I think ultimately he will prove their best option to play under center.

How do you see him fitting into the equation offensively should he remain QB2?

It’s pretty clear that he will be used on special teams, and on offense have a designed package of plays for about 5-12 snaps per game. Offensively, I think it will be a disaster because you already have a starting quarterback whose down-to-down consistency is a major issue, and then you are pulling him off the field for a different quarterback who is sure to be a fan favorite. There is little doubt in my mind that it will cause problems for the Jets internally, until Tebow takes over full time.

Will Tebow improve at throwing the football as a pro?

I don’t feel great about betting against Tim Tebow long term, but I don’t think he will improve as a passer. He’s not a natural thrower of the football. Passing the ball into tight windows with precision and consistency is not in Tim Tebow’s DNA. Watch a bunch of Tebow’s throws uninterrupted, and you can see it in the way the football comes out of his hand. I don’t think we’ll see him get much better, but I also don’t think that necessarily means he can’t quarterback a winning offense.

How much of Mark Sanchez’s inability to elevate his play in 2011 when the Jets started the year attempting to open it up, had to do with Brian Schottenheimer’s playcalling, and or any handcuffs having been put on him since day one?

The issues are with Sanchez. They’re not with Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer ultimately did not successfully coordinate an explosive offense, and by failing to do so he failed to do his job. I know it’s easy to pile on the guy who’s gone. The guy who failed. But if he had an effective quarterback, Schottenheimer would still be the Jets’ offensive coordinator. In Sanchez, he did not have that.

The Jets did open last season with a passing offense. For instance, in the Week 1 Dallas game, the Jets used shotgun on 38 of their 64 offensive snaps. The Jets were using three receivers as their base offense early in the year. They opened up their offense and gave their quarterback a chance to really establish himself as a top-flight NFL passer. When Sanchez failed to produce the results the Jets wanted, Ryan called the thing off and went back to the Ground and Pound. We’d be telling a different story — and Schottenheimer would still be around — if Sanchez had played well in the passer-friendly offense. It all comes down to execution. Sanchez did not execute.

Can Tony Sparano make Sanchez into the leader the Jets first envisioned, when they traded up to select him 5th overall in 2009?

I obviously don’t think so. I don’t even think Sparano is trying to do that. The Jets hired Sparano to implement a running-based offense. In the NFL these days, you don’t implement a running-based offense when you have a quarterback who throws the football effectively. With Sparano calling the offense, the Jets will try to get back to winning games in spite of Sanchez. That’s not an endorsement of the quarterback, and that’s probably not going to work unless you have an elite running foundation. And the Jets do not have that. Sanchez will be asked to manage games, avoid turnovers. Hit the open man in obvious passing situations. He’ll be a complementary piece — a role player. In pro sports, it’s difficult to truly be a great “leader” when you’re a role player.

Does the offensive line have the potential talent wise to rival Rex Ryan’s initial unit that once housed names like Faneca and Woody?

No, they don’t. This is pretty obvious. I think the Jets can be a decent run-blocking team, but not to the point that they open enough holes to turn Shonn Greene into a great back. A healthy Nick Mangold for an entire season will help, but otherwise you have all of the same linemen returning from last year. You have the new offensive line coach talking up Hunter like he can play. To me, these are the signs of a delusional organization that is internally evaluating its own talent poorly.

The rookies: The Jets are real high on Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis, among others they selected during April’s draft. Can any team realistically expect a serious contribution from so many first and second year players?

Absolutely they can. First- and second-year players contribute at high levels every year. The jury is out on all three of the players you mentioned for various reasons. For Coples, his motor is a concern. And he’s not a bend-the-edge pass rusher. I watched quite a bit of Hill at Georgia Tech, and at times he looked like the best player on the field. At others, he looked like the worst. I think the Jets will struggle to get him the ball, and we don’t know a whole lot about him because he ran one route in college. Davis is a small-school phenom who is probably a year away from impact.

On defense the Jets want to alternate between the 3-4, 4-3 and 46. Will this provide more versatility or lead to more confusion?

Rex Ryan knows a lot more about defensive schemes than me, and I don’t doubt for a second that the Jets will trot out an effective 2012 defense no matter what formation they’re using. The Jets will play good defense. I still question whether they have a pass rusher capable of instilling fear in offenses and altering field position. I would also think that in order for the 46 to be successful, you’d need a quality centerfield safety to roam the deep middle. I don’t think the Jets have that, and my guess is that it’s an area in which they’ll be exposable. But all in all, I have the utmost confidence in Ryan’s defensive strategy and think his unit will play well.

I just think the Jets will be heavily reliant on their defense to score points. Perhaps too reliant on the defense to take the football away and score touchdowns. Because I don’t think the offense is going to move the ball and put it in the end zone. They will need the defense to do it.

Are LaRron Landry and Yeremiah Bell an upgrade at safety over Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool?

If LaRon Landry is healthy — and there is no way for any of us to tell whether he is — he is a ferocious in-the-box safety. He blows up ball carriers and can separate them from the football. He will be an upgrade if and only if he is healthy.

Yeremiah Bell is 34 years old and got destroyed in coverage by tight ends last season. I hope the Jets don’t plan on matching him up with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I think Bell can bring to the table run-support skills and veteran “leadership,” but the former is a dime-a-dozen trait at this point and the latter is unquantifiable in terms of value, and I’d ultimately put zero stock in it.

The Jets sense a big year out of Mo Wilkerson? Do you?

Wilkerson was a really good pass rusher in the MAC and he earned extensive playing time as a rookie, and played pretty productively. I’m not going to pretend to have watched him closely, but I think there are certainly promising signs and I would bet on him becoming a pretty good player. But the Jets seem to “sense” a big year out of every player on their roster. Shonn Greene, Wayne Hunter, Mark Sanchez, LaRon Landry, Kyle Wilson. So I don’t think it matters much that they “sense” a big year out of Wilkerson because they do that for everybody.

The current air attack corps: Holmes, Hill, Schilens, Kerley, Keller, Cumberland with of course some blocking TE’s, late picks and UDFA’s mixed in…A sufficient enough group to keep eight out of the box all day?

I don’t think the idea of keeping eight defenders out of the box has much to do with the pass-catching assembly. I think it has everything to do with the quarterback. And until the Jets get quarterback play that worries opposing defensive coordinators, those D-Coordinators are going to keep eight in the box, attacking the line of scrimmage and daring the quarterback to beat them.

Why not re-sign Braylon Edwards?

I don’t know how much Edwards has left. He’s coming off a troubling, recurring knee injury and couldn’t keep a starting job in a poor 49ers receiver corps last year. I know the New York Post reported that the Jets have essentially ruled out bringing Edwards back. So probably a moot point.

Why hasn’t Dustin Keller turned into a top tier TE yet?

I think Keller has developed into a nice player. He’s a solid starter, certainly not one of the Jets’ weaknesses. I think he’s not considered an elite tight end because he doesn’t put up huge stats. Stats for a player like this can be a function of the offense in which he plays. The Jets don’t throw the ball a ton. I also think it’s no secret that he blocks poorly. Keller can stretch the seam and has improved as a hands catcher. But he’s not a great fit for a run-first offense because he can’t block.

Some have recently said regarding your twitter posts on certain Jets personnel that “Evan Silva just hates the Jets, that’s all.” How would you respond to those who justify your take on the team as being more personal than analytical?

I’d just say I have nothing personal against the Jets. I don’t think they’re going to be a good ball club in 2012, and that’s precisely why I said those things.

2012 NY Jets Biggest strength: Darrelle Revis
2012 NY Jets Biggest weakness: Offense

Word association: In a few words or less:

Rex Ryan: Great defensive mind.
Tony Sparano: Fine coach, but I don’t see how he’s an upgrade on Callahan.
Mike Tannenbaum: Fired after this season.
Mark Sanchez: Benched by midseason.
The Ground and Pound: There are certain elements you need to make it work. Jets lack them.
Tim Tebow: Fun guy to root for.
Quinton Coples: Versatile five-technique end. Will be a solid — not spectacular — NFLer.
Darrelle Revis: Best defensive player in football.
Buffalo Bills: Fitzpatrick will hold them back.
NE Patriots: Have revolutionized the NFL.
The AFC Playoff Picture: Like the Pats and Steelers. Titans are my sleeper.
The Jets Offense in 2012: Hard to watch.
The Jets Defense in 2012: Must carry the team.
Jets Chemistry Issues of 2011: Don’t care much about them.

New York Jets: What Are Reasonable Expectations?

What are reasonable expectations for the New York Jets in 2012?

The general consensus from the mainstream media about the 2012 New York Jets isn’t positive. We have seen them ranked as low as 27th in Power Rankings by Evan Silva of Rotoworld, along with most commentators pegging them for 3rd or 4th in the AFC East behind Buffalo and in some cases behind Miami. This line of thinking isn’t that surprising when you step back and consider a few things.

Most people view the Jets as a brash talking organization who has seen their small window close. They are a roster stuffed with overhyped, overpaid players who had an ugly meltdown to end the 2011 season. Everybody who doesn’t wear a green and white jersey on Sundays is giddy at the thought of Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez failing and being out of a job this time next year.

The hate towards Ryan makes sense. He bit off more than he could chew last year when his big words weren’t matched by a successful January run that came up just short of a Super Bowl appearance. Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants made him look foolish and petulant. He is an easy target because of his personality. Yet, it doesn’t mean the man can’t coach the hell out of a defense or that he wasn’t more successful than 95% of NFL coaches are in their first three years.

The hate towards Sanchez is a little more perplexing because few individuals in the league face more unwarranted criticism. It could be because of the Hollywood, appearing on GQ Cover persona. It could just be having Rex Ryan as his head coach. Whatever it is, Sanchez is treated as a backup, masquerading as a starter instead of a young, developing quarterback like his counterparts Josh Freeman (who was truly awful last year) and Joe Flacco. Nobody is saying Sanchez has been anywhere near a great quarterback the past three years, but he has had more than enough great moments to merit faith in him being the future quarterback of a successful team.

Certain prominent players on the Jets roster have a negative public perception which blurs objectively looking at their talent on the field. Santonio Holmes is a selfish diva, not a former Super Bowl MVP who had 4 game winning receptions for the Jets in 2010 and 2 more in 2011. Antonio Cromartie is a guy with a ton of kids, not one of the best number two corners in football. Other prominent players are soft-spoken and stay out of the limelight leading to them being overlooked. People forget David Harris is a top five inside linebacker in football. Nick Mangold is the best center in the NFL and Sione Pouha is one of the league’s top nose tackles. Is there 10 better guards in the league than Brandon Moore or 5 better left tackles than D’Brickashaw Ferguson? I’m not so sure.

It almost seems that with each passing month the Jets 2011 record got a game worse. You would think from commentary on their team that they finished at 4-12 or 5-11 last year. The reality is that they were 8-5 and lost their last 3 games to finish a very average 8-8. A tip here or a tip there away from being a playoff team at 9-7 or 10-6.

So where does that put them heading into 2012?

It is equally as foolish to rank the Jets as a top five team heading into the 2012 season, as it is to rank them a bottom five team. The Jets didn’t get worse this off-season by making their starting tandem at safety Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry instead of Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith. They didn’t get worse by adding Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis through the draft. And if used properly, they didn’t get worse by adding Tim Tebow and all that he brings to their offense. Finally, they certainly didn’t get worse by replacing Brian Schottenheimer with Tony Sparano at offensive coordinator.

Considering the talent on their defense (which was still top five in the NFL last season by the way) and a schedule that features games against offensive juggernauts like St. Louis, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Miami (twice) and Seattle, the Jets have the look of a team that will range between 7-9 and 11-5 depending on how they play in close games.

The Jets are built to play tight, low scoring football. The results of these games will depend on winning the turnover battle, special teams, and finding a way to make the big play at an opportune time.

A large burden falls on Mark Sanchez to protect the football and hit big plays when they are available. He has a wide receiver who has the longest resume of clutch receptions currently in the NFL. A very good receiving tight end who he is comfortable with and a rookie speedster who is 6 foot 4. This team doesn’t need 45 pass attempts and 350 yards from Sanchez. It needs 18/25 for 200 yards but most importantly accuracy and smart decision making in big moments, which Sanchez has displayed in the past. They have the makings a competent, not great running game that could be dynamic at times if Tim Tebow is used properly.

Ultimately, there is too much talent on this roster to see the Jets as a 5 or 6 win team but there is enough questions to prevent expecting double digit wins. The difference between another 8-8 year and a playoff run into January will be their offense or special teams doing more of this in big spots –

And less of this –

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/10 – Jets West Edition

Mike Donnelly’s weekly TOJ Stock Watch is buying Jets West and selling on Evan Silva’s rankings

It is a bit of a dead period in the sports world right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of stuff going on that I can make jokes about and sell for profit in our fantasy land stock market. And after last week’s bear market where I sold any and all things, I’ll even recommend a few buys this week. Let’s dive in..

BUY: Jets West Camp – Last year with the lockout going on, it was harder for the Jets players to organize “Jets West” properly. Rookies couldn’t get their playbooks from the team or speak to coaches, and then there was the little issue of not even knowing who was going to be on the team. Santonio Holmes was a free agent, Braylon Edwards was in limbo, Jeremy Kerley was a rookie, and Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason were, well… Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason.

This year, Mark Sanchez got the band back together and just about all of the offensive skill position players are expected to be in attendance. Even bad guy Santonio Holmes is there and already causing major problems, as this Twitter photo he posted shows. By making that X with his chop sticks, he’s obviously conveying his hatred for his quarterback. Oh wait, sorry, I was doing my Mike Florio impression there and didn’t warn you, nevermind. Not only is Santonio there, but he’s going to be a major positive influence on players like Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley. Despite what the media would have you believe Santonio is actually a very good teammate and teacher to the young wide receivers. Speaking of the media, this year Mark has decided to close the camp to the public, which is a great idea, since the mythical figure that is Tim Tebow will be there. People can make all the jokes they want, but this 5 day camp out in California is going to be a major positive.

BUY: Spending a Month at Cortland – And if you think the few day “Jets West” is going to be a major step in the right direction, just wait until the team heads off to Cortland for four weeks. Everyone underestimated just how much of an impact the lockout had last year, not just with the rule changes and having to cram 6 months worth of activity into about 6 weeks, but it precluded teams like the Jets from going away to training camp. On a team with so many big personalities (to put it kindly), that bonding time is extremely important. In 2009 and 2010, many players spoke of how important that time bunked up in dorm rooms with only each other to lean on was. Well, it’s back this year, and I suspect it’s going to help solve a lot of the turmoil that may be carried over from last season. Plus, Vladimir Ducasse will get a chance to defend his King Ugly crown. That’s very important, too.

SELL: Evan Silva ranking the Jets 27th in the NFL in Power Rankings – I was going to break this one into 2 different sells, because Evan Silva deserves his own. That guy is just the worst. The. Worst. He got his foot in the door of the NFL world by being the guy who copies what beat writers post on Twitter, and pasting it (usually incorrectly) onto RotoWorld.com, a fantasy football site. He’s probably the guy at the office who makes inappropriate Tim Tebow jokes repeatedly and creeps out all his co-workers.  Somehow all of that qualified him to be an NFL analyst and post nonsense like this.

I’ve been over this before, but just for fun, let’s show Mr. Silva one more time why the Jets won’t finish as the 27th best team in the NFL:

  • Top 5 defense, arguably #1
  • Great backup QB, so an injury won’t cripple the season
  • Coming off a very disappointing year in which they still won 8 games
  • They dumped Brian Schottenheimer, major addition by subtraction there
  • Games vs. the awful Dolphins (twice), the hilariously overrated Bills (twice), the Colts, the Rams, the Seahawks, the Cardinals, the Titans, the Jaguars, and the Chargers at home in December. They’ve also got the Texans and 49ers at home, the declining Steelers on the road, and a hopeful split against the Patriots.

Not only will the Jets not finish in the bottom 6 teams of the NFL with 5 or fewer wins, they won’t even finish with an under .500 record. You’ve been put on notice, Silva. I’m going to call you on your crap all year, both Jets related and your horrible fantasy football advice.

And now, this week’s edition of “Why the Bills Hype is Wrong”… 

SELL: The Bills – While many in the media are tripping over themselves to fit Ryan Fitzpatrick for his Super Bowl ring, I’d just like to remind everyone of a few things:

The 2011 Eagles – Signed Nnamdi Asomugha to a mega-deal, and also added Cullen Jenkins, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They finished 8-8 in hilarious fashion, and they were FAR more talented than this Bills team.

The 2009 Redskins –  Signed Albert Haynesworth for $100 and two years later he is out of the league, while the Redskins are a perennial laughingstock. In fact, the Redskins make huge splashes all the time and are the winners of the offseason. Then they’re the losers on the field. Take notes, Buffalo.

The Chargers, Cowboys, Redskins – Every year they are the offseason darlings and paper champions. How’s that working out?

The “Chic” Pick – Every year there’s a team that the media drools over heading into the season for various reasons–strong finish to the last season, great draft, big free agent, whatever it may be. And it NEVER works out. In 2010 it was the 49ers, last year it was the Rams and Cardinals. This year it’s obviously the Bills, despite the fact they lost 8 of their last 9 games, have Ryan Fitzpatrick as their QB, and just gave the largest contract to a defender in NFL history to a guy coming off serious surgery and whose team improved last year after he got injured. They’re more likely to win 6 games again than they are to win 10. (Add the Lions to the Chic Pick teams that are going to fall on their faces this year).

BUY: BIlly King and the Brooklyn Nets! – Just as I’ve been saying for weeks, there’s a method to Billy King’s madness and he’s going to build a powerhouse. Ok, I’ve actually been mocking him relentlessly and selling Billy King stock like it was the plague, but whatever. If the proposed Dwight Howard trade goes through, the Nets will officially be a powerhouse and I will apologize for all the terrible things I said about Bill along the way. I still think the Gerald Wallace contract is terrible and was unnecessary, but the way he brilliantly handled the Mirza Teletovic contract–not giving him the full mid-level exception–can not be overstated, and opened the door for a potential Howard trade. Now, if the Howard trade doesn’t go through, they’re still stuck fighting for a 5 seed every year and suddenly he doesn’t look so smart anymore. But I’m pulling for him.

SELL: Tony LaRussa not starting R.A. Dickey in the All-Star Game – In the B.S. move of the week, Tony LaRussa reminded everyone why we hated him all these years, and he decided to start Matt Cain over Dickey for strategic reasons in an ALL-STAR GAME, despite Dickey being better than Cain in literally EVERY SINGLE STATISTICAL CATEGORY. I can not stress enough how terrible I think this is. Dickey is 37-years-old and has been the story of baseball this year. He earned this. He deserve the start, especially since he likely won’t have another opportunity like this in his career. And I don’t want to hear about the “strategy”. To say it’s better to bring him and his knuckleball in during the middle innings to throw the opposing hitters off is dumb, because with all the substitutions, they likely won’t even be the same hitters who faced the fireballing Cain earlier.

New York Jets: What Is The Verdict On Shonn Greene?

Is Rotoworld’s scathing criticism of Shonn Greene on point? Can the Jets survive with him as their lead back? TOJ explores…

We have discussed Shonn Greene and his validity as a lead back in the New York Jets offense at length this off-season here at Turn On The Jets. However, a recent article and series of Tweets from Evan Silva, a senior NFL editor at Rotoworld and a contributor to Pro Football Talk has reopened the debate amongst Jets fans. Here is a sampling of the Tweets from Silva after watching game film of Jets vs. Chiefs, Jets vs. Dolphins (week 6) and Jets vs. Raiders in the 2011 season.

“Shonn Greene even worse than expected. Leaves so many yards on field. Not an NFL starter, to me.”

“Very little short area burst/acceleration. Takes forever to reach top speed. No chance to get corner. Runs like he’s stuck in mud.”

“Constantly buried at LOS. Lacks power to push pile. Runs small for big man. Slow feet. Zero quicks.”

Sticking by players like Greene and Wayne Hunter – pretending they are good – gets front offices cleaned out. Coming soon to Jets”

First off, let’s be clear that like the rest of the PFT staff, Silva has never seen a Jets player, front office member or coach that he has liked. He sums up Mark Sanchez simply as being “Not good. Weak arm. Scared to challenge deep and frenetic in the pocket.”

A few weeks ago the only thing he discussed about Darrelle Revis was how Stevie Johnson had his way with him, continuing the fallacy of people throwing out Johnson averages against the Jets and incorporating his 2010 stats pertaining to Revis. It must be noted that every catch he had against the Jets in 2010 was not against Revis, go back and watch the film. Johnson had one good game against Revis in 2011, when he had 8 catches for 75 and a touchdown in the team’s second meeting. In their first meeting, he had one very nice sideline catch for 52 yards after the Jets were up by two touchdowns in the second half and beyond that did nothing.

You have to be constantly amazed at how the PFT staff thinks everybody associated with a team that is 28-20 with 4 playoff wins over the past three seasons is just so awful. What was the explanation when Greene, Sanchez and Hunter were all starters in a playoff win over New England in 2010 because those are the kind of things that get front offices extended, not cleaned out. Contrary to popular belief, the Jets didn’t go 4-12 last year, they went 8-8.

Regardless, despite Silva’s seeming lack of love for the Green and White. He is a good writer and somebody that is a necessary follow for any NFL fan. I do think he makes a few points worth considering when it comes to Greene, although he exaggerates his shortcomings.

For Greene defenders, you have to be lying to yourself if you claim to be satisfied with his level of production the past two years. Expectations for Greene were rightfully high after his monster showing in the 2009 playoffs. Yet, here are some very alarming numbers –

  • His three highest rushing totals in a single game came in 2009 (144 yards vs. Oakland, 135 yards vs Cincinnati, 128 yards vs. San Diego)
  • The three longest runs of his career came in the 2009 season (53 yards vs San Diego, 39 yards vs Cincinnati, 33 yards vs. Oakland)
  • Greene has only had 3 100+ yard games in the 2010 and 2011 season combined
  • He has one…one run over 30 yards since the end of the 2009 season
  • If you take away the Washington game last season when Greene scored 3 touchdowns, he has 5 touchdowns in his last 32 regular season starts…a little over one every six games.

Those numbers don’t lie. He was outplayed the majority of the 2010 season by LaDainian Tomlinson and had a decent 2011 season as the primary back. I have watched every game from last season twice and Greene did consistently leave yards on the field, very rarely made anybody miss, and didn’t break the amount of tackles you’d expect for somebody his size. The blocking of his offensive line did leave something to be desired at times, but overall Greene is generally a back who gets what is blocked for him and nothing more. The explosiveness we saw in 2009 was not consistently there.

However, last season Greene did overcome a very sluggish start and put together a more encouraging second half of the season that indicates his potential value in 2012. Look at how he turned it up after week 6 –

  • Weeks 1-6: 93 carries, 314 yards, 3.3 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns
  • Weeks 7-17: 160 carries, 740 yards, 4.6 yards per carry, 4 touchdowns

It was the second season in a row that Greene started painfully slow, which doesn’t speak well to his off-season workout habits. He appears to be a player who needs to work his way into shape during the season. Most people assume that Greene is a player who gets better with more carries per game, and the splits represent that to an extent. When looking at last season (note he missed the majority of the Denver game with an injury and only had 3 carries) –

  • 20-25 carries – 97.2 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry (5 games)
  • 15-20 carries – 76.5 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry (4 games)
  • 10-15 carries – 50.1 yards per game, 4.0 yards per carry (6 games)

You are going to get more out of Greene by giving him 15+ carries, a half yard more per carry. When you look at the ceiling for him, let’s say he gets 18 carries a game because there is no discernible difference in his production when he gets between 15-20 carries and 20-25 carries and the Jets will want to get Joe McKnight and Tim Tebow their share of rushing attempts. 18 carries a game brings him to 288 on the season which will give him 1,296 yards (if he maintains the 4.5 YPC from last season in games he had between 15-25 carries). Considering his scoring rate from the past few years and the presence of Tebow around the goal-line, it is probably safe to say his max is 7 touchdowns in 2012.

A ceiling of 288 carries, 1,296 yards and 7 touchdowns isn’t awful, even if he falls a little below his ceiling and ends up with say: 250 carries, 1,075 yards and 5 touchdowns that could be enough for the Jets if McKnight is productive and Tebow brings a dynamic element to the running game.

Greene isn’t great but he certainly isn’t anywhere near awful enough to be a major factor in cleaning out the Jets front office as Silva suggests. What could get the front office cleared out? Greene getting hurt and the Jets Ground and Pound getting handed off to the trio of Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell and Terrance Ganaway