Jets vs. Bills: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode VI

First a few updates:

1. Injury updates: Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith are listed as questionable this weekend. Don’t expect to see either of them in the line-up. David Clowney will start opposite Braylon Edwards, with Wallace Wright technically sliding into the #3 spot. However, don’t be surprised to see alot of Dustin Keller in the three wide set and plenty more balls coming his way. Obviously we all know Cotchery’s value, but don’t underestimate Brad Smith’s value on special teams. It also limits their “Seminole” package, since he is a big part of it. Damien Woody, Shaun Ellis, and Donald Strickland are listed as questionable. I would be shocked if Woody and Ellis didn’t play and would be equally shocked if Strickland suited up. Lito Sheppard will be in the starting line-up on Sunday and is listed as probable.

2. Look for Jamaal Westerman to be active this weekend. When you only have 4 sacks on the season and a guy who has one of them isn’t active, it doesn’t make much sense. My predicted Jets inactives this week…Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Donald Strickland, Erik Ainge, Matt Slauson, Marquice Cole, Ropati Pitoitua.

3. Make sure you check out http://greenrewind.com I recently did a podcast with Marty Schupak over there about the Jets/Bills match-up.

4. I am expecting to have an interview with David Clowney next week to post up on the site. Also, there is a potential interview with Rich Cimini of the Daily News coming in the future weeks. Finally, I am working hard to get a press pass for an upcoming game…we’ll see.

5. The Jets signed Danny Woodhead to the active roster today, which is an interesting move. We already know how short handed they are at receiver and maybe Woodhead will actually get some reps in the slot. I know he switched to #83 but somebody needs to tell the guy to switch to #80, if he is going to be playing slot receiver. The Jets also released backup defensive tackle Howard Green to make room for Woodhead.

Jets vs. Bills: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode VI

We had some technical difficulties this week, forcing me to put this up so late. We got some good stuff in the works for coming weeks and will really be trying to have these up first thing Friday mornings from now on. Here is part 1

The Song: Jason DeRulo – Riding Solo

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

First a few updates:

1. A bunch of the Jets talked about Rex Ryan’s pre-game speech before their beatdown of the Texans. According to Jay Feely, Ryan used the f-word about 52 times. The general gist of the speech was that the Texans were a soft, finesse team and the Jets were going to kick the crap out of them, and sure enough they did. Ryan sent a message to Houston right away by deferring after winning the coin toss, showing he wasn’t scared of their hyped up offense. Kris Jenkins joked that Ryan should be banned by the NFL as performance enhancing drug because of how motivated he had the team…I hope he has a strong encore performance for this week’s game.

2. The Jets don’t have permanent captains but their game captains for Houston were Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca, Howard Green, and James Dearth.

3. After being presented with the game ball by Kerry Rhodes, Rex Ryan turned and flipped it over to Woody Johnson for giving him the chance to be a head coach in the NFL, before getting a little emotional in the locker room. I wonder if Eric Manginishowed any emotion in his opening game with the Browns?

4. Shonn Greene was inactive because the Jets wanted to carry an extra linebacker because they were concerned about Bryan Thomas having a sore leg, so Jason Trunsik was active over Greene who is now 100 percent healthy.

5. Across the top of the page, you can now find “Jets Stats” which has their updated leaders in all major statistical categories. I also added the Jets/Texans highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, don’t be confused by the lettering on the video that says “Colts vs Jaguars,” it is the Jets/Texans highlights. Also the first episode of TOJ TV is archived under the “TOJ TV” page.

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

Quarterbacks: (A-) I’m not sure you could have asked for a better performance by Mark Sanchez in his first career start. Yes, he threw a costly interception and nearly had two others picked off but he dominated third down going 12/15 for 191 yards and a touchdown, showing his clutch ability. He also moved tremendously well in the pocket, avoiding sacks and keeping multiple plays alive. People love to talk about the “it” factor at quarterback, I’m not sure it is reasonable to assess a trait that can’t clearly be defined to somebody but it sure as hell looks like Sanchez has “it.” He plays with a ton of energy and acts like a leader on the field, sprinting out to break up a fight after Jay Feely knocked through a field goal. Would Brett Favre have been out there last year, trying to prevent a penalty?

Running Backs: (A-) 19 touches for Leon Washington? It is about damn time. Washington averaged 4 yards per carry and provided a consistent performance. He also chipped in 4 catches and a key pass breakup on a near interception. Thomas Jones started with 14 carries for 16 yards and finished with 20 carries for 107 yards, which is why you stick with the running game. Tony Richardson was excellent, providing a crushing block on safety Nick Ferguson that sprung Jones 38 yard touchdown run. I am going to keep harping on this…the closer Jones/Washington get to 40 touches a game, the more likely the Jets are to win. They combined for 39 against Houston, with a near perfect split of Jones having 20 and Washington having 19.

Wide Receivers: (B+) Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey’s ability to run after the catch converted a handful of key third downs for the Jets. After dropping his first pass, Cotchery caught the next 6 thrown to him. If they can play like this on a weekly basis, people won’t think twice about Laveranues Coles or any other veteran receiver for a long time. Brad Smith had a nice run on a reverse but also had a drop and a holding penalty. David Clowney wasn’t targeted at all.

Tight Ends: (A) Dustin Keller led the Jets in receiving yards with 94 and had two key third down conversions, including the biggest catch of the game, a 40 yard catch and run when the Jets faced a crucial 3rd and 3 with a 17-7 lead. He is going to be a nightmare match-up for defenses all season. Ben Hartsock played very well for somebody who just joined the team a week ago, providing steady blocking and playing a bunch of reps.

Offensive Line: (A) Whenever you allow zero sacks and have 190+ yards of rushing, you get an A. The only negative was three false start penalties. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody more than held their own against Mario Williams.

Defensive Line: (A) It was comical watching Kris Jenkins throw Texans center Chris Myers around like a rag doll all day. Jenkins didn’t have a big day statistically but anybody who watched the game knows how well he played. Mike DeVito had a big fumble recovery, thanks to his hustle down the field. Marques Douglas had a TFL…oh yea, Steve Slaton only ran for 17 yards.

Linebackers: (A) The A’s are getting redundant, but trust me I’m not getting tired typing them. David Harris was a beast with 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. He also knocked Andre Davis into another planet when he tried to come over the middle. Bart Scott set the tone early with a crushing blow on Matt Schaub, who played scared the rest of the game. Vernon Gholston had 3 tackles, a TFL and held his own for the entire day which is a step in the right direction for him. Jamaal Westerman continues to look like a UDFA steal, as he recorded his first NFL sack.

Secondary (A) Outside of Nnamdi Asomugha, who is a better corner than Darrelle Revis in the NFL? He is straight lockdown, period. Andre Johnson might as well stayed in the locker room because it was hard to notice he was even out there. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard were both active around the line of scrimmage. Donald Strickland had a great game with 3 tackles, a key forced fumble, and a QB pressure that led to an INT. Lito Sheppard was strong in run support and also had an interception. Eric Smith had a big 4th down pass break up and had a surprisingly active day.

Special Teams (A) Jay Feely made all his kicks. Steve Weatherford punted well and the Jets allowed zero return yards on punts. Leon Washington and Jim Leonhard were solid on returns.

Coaching (A) Rex Ryan had the Jets motivated and came up with a game plan that had Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak’s head spinning. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job using Leon Washington and throwing some well timed screens to keep Houston off balance.

Highlights of the Jets Week One Win Over Houston

Jets – 24 Texans – 7, Instant Reaction

You couldn’t have asked for a better opening day effort from the New York Jets. They completely dominated  a team that all the “expert” analysts were calling a serious playoff contender and a threat to the Colts in the AFC South, while everybody dismissed the Jets as the AFC East’s worst team, who wouldn’t be able to handle the Texans with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach. Well, that’s why they play the game and there is no question that the Jets embarrassed an over matched, and likely overrated Houston Texans team.

First and Foremost….the Jets defense was phenomenal. Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and the Jets forced him into a crucial fumble. Andre Johnson was invisible (thank you very much Darrelle Revis, who owned their 1 on 1 match-up) and Matt Schaub looked terrible, mostly thanks to consistently vicious Jets pass rush, which was in his face all day. David Harris looked like an all-pro, racking up 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. Better yet, everybody contributed with guys like Donald Strickland, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, and Jamaal Westerman (1st NFL sack before Vernon Gholston) chipping in. Rex Ryan called a great game, keeping Houston off balance.

He Sure Didn’t Look Like A Rookie…Outside of an interception and a handful of other risky throws, Mark Sanchez played very well providing the Jets with a balanced attack by racking up a 272 yard passing performance and a touchdown. Most impressive was Sanchez on third down, where he was nearly flawless routinely converting big throw, after big throw. i believe he was something like 12/15 in those situations. His biggest throw of the day was a 40 yard completion to Dustin Keller on a third down after the Texans had cut the lead to 17-7 on an interception return, completing stopping any chance they had at momentum.

40 Touches…I said before the game that if Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for 40 touches, the Jets would win and sure enough they combined for 39 and the Jets won. Brian Schottenheimer did an excellent job utilizing Leon Washington (15 carries, 60 yards, 4 catches 24 yards) and sticking with Thomas Jones who struggled early but broke through in the second half with 2 huge runs and 2 touchdowns. He finished the day with 107 yards on 20 carries. I also like the Jets “Seminole” aka their version of the Wildcat, which hit for a couple of nice runs to Washington.

No Brandon Marshall, No Laveranues Coles, No Problem…Great games by Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Chansi Stuckey who all raised their games on third downs to make big plays for their rookie quarterback. Cotchery ran well after the catch and was right around 100 yards, as was Keller. Stuckey obviously had the big 30 yard touchdown and ran well on receiver screens.

You What Is Even More Exciting?…We didn’t even have Calvin Pace, Shaun Ellis, or Shonn Greene today. The Jets D is going to be scary, scary good when those guys come back….No sacks allowed by the Jets -Line…Kris Jenkins is still a beast…The Dolphins looked like garbage today, getting beat down by Atlanta…We are playing New England next week, you have to love that early season big game.

And on that note, I will carry on being in a great mood for the Jets of my Sunday.

Brandon Marshall For David Harris? No, Thank You…

First, Let’s Hit a Few Other Jets Updates On a Busy Day:

1. The Jets signed veteran tight end Ben Hartsock today, after he was cut by the Atlanta Falcons to a one year, 1.275 million dollar contract. Over the past five seasons, Hartsock has played with the Colts, Titans, and Falcons andcollected 27 catches for 273 yards. Guess what that makes him? Easily, the second best tight endon the Jets roster. He will lstep right into the #2 spot on the Jets depth chart and serve as a the blocking tight end they desperately needed. This likely means that either Jack Simmons or Kareem Brown will not be making the final roster, my money would be on the Jets keeping Brown and stashing Simmons on the practice squad.

2. The Jets released punter Glen Pakulak…he had a distinguished 5 day career with the Jets. I guess it looks like Reggie Hodges is going to be the guy. Obviously, the position still remains an issue for the Jets but hopefully Hodges can show progress tomorrow night against the Eagles. Don’t underestimate the importance of punting on a team that is built like the Jets, who will try to win with defense, field position, and their running game.

3. Guess what was debated on NFL Live today? Who would you rather have on your team, Leon Washington or Reggie Bush? Showing some intelligence, Marcellus Wiley and Mark Schlereth both picked #29. If you want a better version of that debate, please look over these past articles from TurnOnTheJets.com, where I shredded my good friend Dan to pieces: http://turnonthejets.com/2009/07/05/jets-end-of-the-weekend-ramblings/ ….By the way, hasn’t Bush been hurt this pre-season?

4. Interesting that the Jets placed a waiver claim on Kevin O’Connell after the Pats released him, leaving their offense in the hands of Andrew Walter if Tom Brady’s knee doesn’t hold up. I think the Jets would have stashed O’Connell on the practice squad and let him compete with Erik Ainge for the backup spot next year after Kellen Clemens isn’t re-signed.

5. Rodney Harrison made some comments today about Rex Ryan comments on New England throughout the pre-season, I couldn’t hear exactly what he said over the sound of him taking performance enhancing drugs, taking cheap shots on everybody around him, and not breaking that Eli Manning to David Tyree pass…NBC will hire anybody these days.

Brandon Marshall For David Harris? No, Thank You…

The big news of the day has been the Jets reported interest in disgruntled, petulant receiver Brandon Marshall. In response, Denver has threatened tampering charges, which of course will never stick and then went on record to say they want Jets linebacker David Harris in any deal involving Marshall. Now you may think, I was a wide receiver, I love wide receivers, who doesn’t want an exciting playmaker on offense like Marshall…I can tell you that I don’t. The Jets would be crazy to trade David Harris in any deal for Brandon Marshall. Why?

1. Who steps in for Harris at inside linebacker in the Jets 3-4? Kenwin Cummings? Jamaal Westerman? I like Westerman but the guy is a rookie undrafted free agent and you are going to start him week one? All of the sudden the Jets would have a question mark in their middle of their defense, and if you have a question mark in the middle of your defense, you aren’t going to be a great defense like the Jets need to be this year in order to make the playoffs.

2. Have you watched Harris play this pre-season? The guy was built for Rex Ryan’s defense. He has been all over the field, recording multiple sacks, making a ton of tackles and intercepting a pass last week. Harris has easily outplayed Bart Scott this pre-season and let’s not forget Scott is an older player, and Harris is only entering his third season.

3. Let’s not be mistaken, Brandon Marshall is a beast on offense when healthy. Yet, he has recently had hip surgery and has missed the entire pre-season with a hamstring injury. How good of shape could he be in right now? He would also already be way behind in picking up the Jets offense and developing any type of chemistry with Mark Sanchez. Marshall also has a history of off the field issues, while Harris has been a model citizen for the Jets. It sends the wrong message and let’s be honest, you think Rex Ryan is trading away his 3rd year stud middle linebacker for a prima-donna wide receiver? I don’t think so…

4. The only deal I would make for Marshall is a trade that doesn’t cost a first round pick or a player like Harris. A second and seventh round pick? I can do that. A third round pick and Chansi Stuckey? I can do that. They want Dwight Lowery, David Clowney, or Brad Smith with a 2nd or 3rd round pick, they can have them for Marshall but no first round pick, no David Harris.

You Really Want This Guy?

Jets Defense in Trouble?

First a few updates:

1. The Jets began to make their roster cuts yesterday releasing quarterback Chris Pizzotti, receiver Huey Whittaker, safety Nate Ness, and linebacker Craig Kobel…no surprises there.

2. Apparently the Jets have no interest in adding Reggie Brown if he gets cut by Philly, according to Dave Hutchinson. The Jets may be satisfied with their group of receivers this late into pre-season. It will be a committee approach that will rely on different players to step up each week.

3. Oh boy, it’s Jets-Eagles pre-season week…there is nothing worse than week four of the pre-season. Thank god tomorrow is September, a month that will hopefully be filled up with the Yankees winning the AL East, the Jets getting off to a strong start, and my fantasy team going undefeated.

Jets Defense in Trouble?

The Jets defense has looked pretty good this pre-season. The first unit is stopping the run, getting to the quarterback, and created two turnovers on Saturday against the Giants. However, there is a growing list of concerns about the unit that could affect their early season play. In their first four games, the Jets play three of the best offenses in football. The Texans have a dangerous collection of weapons, including receiver Andre Johnson, running back Steve Slaton, and tight end Owen Daniels and the Patriots and Saints success speaks for itself. Will the Jets be equipped to handle these high caliber units, despite these problems:

1. No Calvin Pace, Big ProblemPace has been exceptional this pre-season when he has been on the field but unfortunately the Jets will be without him the first four weeks. Vernon Gholston finally showed some signs of life last week as his replacement but only as a pass rusher. The Giants ran the ball right at Gholston, who couldn’t get off his blocks, with a high degree of success. Teams will be targeting Gholston early in the year and the Jets will struggle to stop the run unless he can quickly improve. Jamaal Westerman could begin to see an increase in reps if Gholston doesn’t play well against the Eagles and then in week one against the Texans.

2. D-Line Depth Issues – The Jets already had some serious questions about their defensive line depth coming into the season and now they will be without Shaun Ellis in week one because of a suspension. Making matters worse is now his backup, Mike DeVito, has a pulled hamstring and could also miss some early season action. This will put serious pressure on highly inexperienced players like Ropati Pitoitua and Zach Potter to step up give quality reps. It also increases pressure on newly acquired Marques Douglas to have a strong start to the year and provide some stability to the defensive end position. Also, don’t be surprised if you see Howard Green slide over from defensive tackle to take some reps or Vernon Gholston put his hand in the dirt, while somebody like Westerman steps in at linebacker.

3. Picked On Corners – First it was Dwight Lowery against the Rams, then it was Drew Coleman and Marquis Cole getting beat deep against the Ravens, then it was Lito Sheppard having a rough night against the Giants…the Jets may have some issues opposite Darrelle Revis. Teams aren’t going to target #24 all that often, so Sheppard and Lowery are going to need to step up and be ready to handle a ton of balls coming their way. Yes, the Jets have Revis to counter Andre Johnson but Kevin Walter is a good player opposite him, the Saints have a group of speedy receivers across from Marques Colston, and the Patriots obviously have Wes Welker and Joey Galloway to with Randy Moss.

The pressure is on players like Vernon Gholston, Ropati Pitoitua, Marques Douglas, Dwight Lowery, and Lito Sheppard to improve their play and complement the rest of the talented Jets defense. It doesn’t matter how good Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, and David Harris are, in football you are only as good as your weakest link.

Mark Sanchez Pre-Season Highlights

Jets vs. Giants Highlights, A Day Late (Also Added to the Game Highlights Section)

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.

Battle For Bragging Rights: Jets vs. G-Men Preview

First a few updates:

1. Did anybody see that video of Brandon Marshall from practice that prompted his indefinite suspension from the Broncos? Punting the football away from the ballboys, knocking balls down in pass catching drills and walking around while the rest of the team runs…funny, albeit immature stuff. The guy must really not want to play football anytime soon because he just diminished his trade market substantially.

2. Pretty good debut for Michael Vick, it will be real interesting to see what that Eagles offense can do when his package of plays expands and he gets more comfortable.

Battle For Bragging Rights: Jets vs. G-Men Preview

The Opponent: The Giants are a somewhat similarly constructed team to the Jets. They have a great offensive line, a strong group of running backs, questions at receiver, and a very good defense. Yes, the G-Men do have a much better defensive line but I would argue the Jets have a better secondary and a better group of linebackers (cue argument from my friend Dan). Regardless, the Giants have a proven commodity at quarterback and are coming off a 12-4 season. With both teams starters playing the entire first half, it will be a great test for the Jets to go against one of the NFL’s elite teams. The Giants will attempt to pound the ball with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to soften up the Jets D and then hit them over the top with a big play to a guy like Sinorce Moss, Mario Manningham, or Hakeem Nicks. Steve Smith, Domenick Hixon and Kevin Boss are all decent in the shorter passing game. The Jets secondary didn’t do that well against an average group of Ravens receivers last week, so they need to bounce back against the Giants. It will certainly help to have Darrelle Revis back and Kris Jenkins pushing the pocket up front.

Jets Offensive Game Plan – Mark Sanchez has only thrown 12 passes in 2 pre-season games, many of them screens and check downs. Now that the Jets have a healthy offensive line, and their starting offense set in stone, it is time to open it up a little bit and let Sanchez get some throws under his belt. Let’s see him hit a few throws in the intermediate passing game to Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller, and take a few more shots down the field to David Clowney or Leon Washington out of the backfield. We know the Jets can run the football and I’m never going to get tired of watching Thomas Jones and #29 run around but the more experience Sanchez can get in the pre-season, the better. Going back to Keller and Washington, the Giants have struggled the past few years covering pass catching tight ends (Jason Witten) and running backs out of the backfield (Brian Westrbook) so look for a potential big game from both of them. (Nice job by #16 pointing this out in his comments on my last article).

Jets Defensive Game Plan – The Jets defense has looked pretty good so far this pre-season but it is time to cause a turnover. Vernon Gholston will be making the start for Calvin Pace and instead of asking for a sack from him like I do every week (and never happens) I would be satisfied with a couple of tackles or maybe a tackle for a loss. Hopefully, Kris Jenkins can begin the process of getting back into game shape and Darelle Revis will shore up the Jets secondary which has been shaky thus far. Also keep an eye on Jamaal Westerman and Marques Murrell who are pushing Gholston hard for playing time at the outside linebacker position.

Prediction – I’m not crazy about making predictions of scores in pre-season games. However, I anticipate Mark Sanchez playing better than he did last week although I wouldn’t be shocked if he had another turnover. On defense, I think it will be a hell of a battle between the Jets front seven and the Giants offensive line/running backs. For the second game in a row, you have to be real excited about pre-season football.

Knowshon Moreno Struggles Adjusting to Training Camp:

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

First a few updates:

1. We got a nice long weekend of sports coming up. The Yankees and Red Sox start up tomorrow, hopefully the Yankees will deliver the knockout punch in the divisional race over the next three games. Fortunately, the Jets will prevent me from getting too depressed on Sunday night since they are on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, with Mark Sanchez making his first start under center.

2. I got my fantasy draft next weekend and I am still very undecided on my #5 pick. Although I am leaning towards Drew Brees or Larry Fitzgerald…yes Fitzgerald, I’m not shy about taking a WR at #5. Yes, I am also excited about taking Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller in the late rounds because nobody in my league touches any Jets because they are too high and mighty as Giants fans.

3. Minor Jets roster moves – They released guard Dennis Conley and signed safety Nate Ness.

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

Today was the final day of practice up in Cortland, New York and similar to how he exited mini-camp, Mark Sanchez ended with a bang. In the situational drills, which were set up to imitate the final play of the game with the Jets needing a touchdown from the 5 and 15 yard line, Sanchez twice found Brad Smith for a touchdown. Kellen Clemens on the other hand went 0-2 with an interception. Prior to the situational drills, Sanchez also hit Jerricho Cotchery with a 35 yard touchdown strike and Clemens was intercepted by backup DB Rashad Barksdale. Can anybody else read the writing on the walls? Unless Clemens lights it up on Monday night and Sanchez completely tanks or gets hurt, #6 will be under center for the first snap of every game in the 2009 season.

Up to this point both quarterbacks have been slightly inconsistent, trading good days with rough days and being overall pretty average. However, Sanchez is learning a new offense and adjusting to play at the NFL level. This is Kellen Clemens fourth year in the system and he hasn’t improved as camp went on. In fact, if you remember early on Clemens had a clear lead on Sanchez but slowly squandered it away. The rookie will take his lumps this year but should be able to stay healthy behind a premier (please stay healthy) offensive line and supported by a strong running game. In the long run, Sanchez will benefit from being thrown into the fire with a team that harbors playoff expectations. I believe he could play as well as Joe Flacco did last year and that he won’t impede the Jets from being a playoff contender.

What about the other training camp battles? We have had a strong camp by Chansi Stuckey, slowly being forgotten because of the recent resurgence of David Clowney who remains the Jets only legit home run threat at the position. Expect to see alot of Stuckey in the slot, with Clowney and Brad Smith (also quietly having a good camp) splitting out alongside Jerricho Cotchery. I expect the Jets to keep 6 receivers, with Wallace Wright and promising UDFA Britt Davis rounding out the depth chart.

Over at tight end, nobody has really stepped up behind Dustin Keller and I am still waiting for the Jets to bring in another veteran after roster cuts are made. Regardless, expect Jack Simmons and Wayne Hunter to see the majority of the #2 TE reps for now. At outside linebacker, neither Vernon Gholston or Marques Murrell has done anything that impressive this summer, with UDFA Jamaal Westerman arguably outplaying both of them. On the positive side, Bryan Thomas has had a very good camp and Calvin Pace looked like a beast in the Jets first pre-season game.

In terms of injuries, the Jets haven’t sustained anything major but rather a handful of minor injuries. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they will be missing anyone week one because of an injury. I would expect Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and maybe Alan Faneca to play in the third pre-season game and wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Mangold suited up on Monday.

Kerry Rhodes and Nick Mangold compete in throwing contests to prove who deserves the higher Madden rating:

Eight Observations on Jets Training Camp

First a few updates:

1. Some schedule news – The Jets open their pre-season schedule this Friday at home against the St. Louis Rams. On Thursday, their practice will be closed to the media. Wednesday is family night at 6 PM out at Hofstra, throwing a bone out to the Jets Long Island fans. Tomorrow they have one full practice in the morning and an afternoon special teams session.

2. The Jets released their first official depth chart today, I will update it accordingly on the site which can be accessed on the top of the home page.

Ten Monday Observations on Jets Training Camp

– I know it is only one game and I know that it was somewhat expected but don’t underestimate the blow of not having Shaun Ellis for week one against the Texans. The Jets will now have their top two sack leaders from last season suspended for week one against a Houston offense that loves to spread it out and throw the football. They will be also now be giving two players their first ever NFL start, likely Mike DeVito at defensive end and Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. If you want to look at the silver lining, DeVito and Gholston will gain some valuable playing time which will improve the Jets overall depth. However, in reality the Jets will be hurting without Pace and Ellis.

– Speaking of hurting, the list of minor Jets injuries is starting to concern me. It is almost comical how Rex Ryan brushes off every single injury as not significant and it’s not that I don’t believe him, it is just that a high number of key guys are nursing injuries. Nick Mangold’s knee is bothering him, Kris Jenkins is still out with a sore calf, Darrelle Revis isn’t taking part in team drills because of a tight hamstring, Tony Richardson is out with a hip pointer, Shaun Ellis sat out today with a tight back, and Donald Strickland is still out with a knee bruise…how can that not bother you a little bit? Richardson and Jenkins won’t play on Friday, which will give a big opportunity to Sione Pouha and Jehuu Caulcrick.

– Mark Sanchez has taken a few baby steps back since his big time performance with the starters on Saturday. He has struggled the last couple of practices with his accuracy, missing a few open targets while Kellen Clemens has been decent although he threw another interception today, giving him 11 throughout camp compared to Sanchez’s 3. Ryan is giving Clemens the start at home against the Rams because he will logically alternate and given Sanchez the 2nd start in the pre-season. Why would Ryan want Sanchez starting week 2? He wants to throw his highly touted rookie right into the fire on national television against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens on the road. You want to see what Sanchez has before the regular season…in Baltimore, against their starters for a full quarter on ESPN is a great test.

– So it looks like Wayne Hunter is really going to be the Jets #2 tight end. Apparently the big fella caught a 20 yard out route in front of Bart Scott the other day….impressive. Here is a fun fact about Wayne Hunter, the guy had an overall 100 morale rating in Madden 2008. Why is he so happy? I don’t know, but keep your spirits up Wayne and keep catching those passes.

– Rex Ryan raved about Vernon Gholston today like he was Bruce Smith because he has recorded a couple of sacks in the Jets last few practices. Yes, we are all happy to see Gholston finally making some plays in practice but keep in perspective that he has been outplayed all camp by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman. I think we all would be encouraged by a sack this Friday night.

– I am disappointed by the quiet training camps from Brad Smith and David Clowney, especially Clowney. However, I am intrigued to watch Britt Davis and Wallace Wright this Friday and see if they can make a move up the depth chart.

– You have to love Leon Washington for putting together such a strong camp despite the Jets playing hard-ball with him on his contract negotiations…just pay the man his money, Mike Tannenbaum.

– A few observations on the Jets depth chart – Surprised to see Kareem Brown in front of Jack Simmons at tight end, Jamaal Westerman has already hopped Larry Izzo and Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker, good to see Matt Slauson behind Alan Faneca at LG.

Sanchez's Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

First a few updates:

1. I would have wrote an article last night about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp, but I got caught up in the 15 inning classic between the Yanks and Red Sox. What a game, and with the way CC is pitching as I type this (1 hit through 6 innings) it looks the Yankees might take the first three games of this series.

2. Movie Review of the Day – I saw “Funny People” during the week and I’d give it 2.5 out of 4 stars. There are some great 1 liners, the big guy from Superbad is real funny but the movie is wayyyy too long and the whole love plot line is very dull.

3. Abbreviated version of what we have learned from the first week of Jets training camp: Kellen Clemens can’t protect the football…Chansi Stuckey has been the Jets 2nd best receiver, behind Jerricho Cotchery…Wallace Wright has been their third best receiver…Marques Murrell is more active around the football than Vernon Gholston…the Jets secondary is going to be very, very good…Wayne Hunter is leading the battle to be the #2 tight end, ut oh…Shonn Greene is going to contribute on offense this year…Rex Ryan loves David Harris, Jamaal Westerman, and Dwight Lowery…Mark Sanchez is going to start week one against Houston unless there is a drastic turn of the events in the pre-season.

Sanchez’s Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

Story of the Day: The Jets have decided to rotate their first team quarterback every other practice and today Mark Sanchez was under center with the 1’s and he didn’t disappoint. The rookie had his finest practice of training camp, going 10-19 and throwing two touchdowns, including a 40 yard post to Jerricho Cotchery over Darrelle Revis on the first 11 on 11 play. He then led a two minute drive that culminated in a 25 yard touchdown to Chansi Stuckey. Sanchez continued to show great command of the offense and the huddle and drew praise from numerous veterans after practice. Kellen Clemens continued to struggle, going 4-12 and throwing an interception. Regardless, Rex Ryan named Clemens the starter for the Jets pre-season opener against the Rams this Friday.

Opinion on Quarterback Battle: Ryan is giving Clemens the start only because he is the veteran. Unless Sanchez implodes, he will start the second pre-season game and every game after that. Sanchez has pulled ahead in the battle and it is doubtful that he will look back. He hasn’t turned the ball over as much as Clemens and is beginning to look comfortable in the offense, especially the two minute drill. More importantly, it appears the veterans are starting to gain some confidence in Sanchez.

A Vernon Gholston Sighting: #50 had a sack today! Gholston has been quiet all camp, being outplayed by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman, hopefully he can start to turn it up in time for the Jets first pre-season game.

Rex Talks: Ryan was effusive in his praise of linebacker David Harris, who is having a very good camp. He also continues to talk up the secondary, which should have excellent depth. It will be interesting to see how the reps are divided up between Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo behind the four starters in the secondary.

Injury Updates: Keith Fitzhugh remains out with a shoulder injury but should be back by the end of the week. Shonn Greene rested his sore ankle today. Kris Jenkins is close to coming back. Bart Scott also has a sore hamstring, that I’m sure the Jets will be careful with. Tony Richardson remains out with a hip pointer.

Don’t Sleep on Wallace: Who would have thought that Wallace Wright would be in contention for serious reps at receiver? So far he has outplayed David Clowney, Brad Smith, and the recently hyped up rookie Britt Davis. Wright is a strong route runner, with decent enough size who has great hands, meaning he could be a quality option for reps at split end so they could slide Chansi Stuckey in the slot. Keep an eye on #15 this Friday.