Jets vs. Dolphins: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode V

First a few updates:

1. Bad news on the injury front for the Jets: Jerricho Cotchery and Damien Woody are both listed as questionable. It would be a big blow if both of those guys were out. Brad Smith and Wayne Hunter would step in respectively. Lito Sheppard apparently had a late week setback and is now listed as doubtful, which means don’t expect to see him out there. Donald Strickland will be out for the third straight game. Obviously, it will be on Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman to step up again. After getting away with no injuries last year, the Jets have been hit with a rash of them here early in the season. Fortunately, they have the depth in the secondary to cover for it, however it remains to be seen if Brad Smith and Wayne Hunter can get the job done. Also expect to see more David Clowney on offense if Cotchery can’t go.

2. There was an interesting article today on newyorkjets.com about Ryan Fowler stepping in for Jason Trusnik on special teams. Hopefully, the Jets have enough personnel where there won’t be a drop off because one guy is missing.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode V

Song: Jay-Z – Run This Town

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

First a few updates:

1. Damien Woody left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Wayne Hunter. Apparently it isn’t that serious and Woody absolutely expects to play this Monday night. There is no question that the Jets offensive line is off to slow start, which could be attributed to the missed time of many of the starters in the pre-season or maybe Woody and Alan Faneca are getting a step slower at their age.

2. Shonn Greene also has an ankle injury that isn’t considered serious, but if it wasn’t that bad why didn’t the Jets use him in the second half after such a strong showing on his first four carries? Obviously the status of Woody and Greene will be something to keep an eye on all week, but at least they have an extra day to get healthy since the Jets are playing on Monday night.

3. I’d be shocked if Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland weren’t ready to go this week.

4. The Jets bumped down to #6 Peter King’s weekly power rankings and Darrelle Revis climbed to #4 on his MVP watch list, after another strong showing.

5.  Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Saints highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

Quarterbacks: (F) It was about as bad as it could get for Mark Sanchez yesterday. He directly handed the Saints 14 points off turnovers, including a telegraphed interception and a fumble in the end-zone where he held on to the ball for too long. There were also two more late interceptions on forced passes as the Jets attempted a desperation comeback. We’ll learn about the rookie this Monday night by seeing how he responds to his first poor performance in a nationally televised game on the road against a hated division rival. Give Sanchez credit for taking the blame after the loss but he needs to learn from his mistakes and start immediately protecting the ball better. He also needs to stop getting personal fouls for taking out people’s legs on his interceptions.

Running Backs: (C) Thomas Jones got off to another sluggish start but looked substantially better after Shonn Greene began taking his reps. Greene tweaked his ankle after only four carries and wasn’t used in the rest of the game after his strong start (4 carries, 23 yards). Leon Washington wasn’t involved with only 4 carries. The Seminole package looked good but the Jets still aren’t a anywhere near where they were last year running the football.

Wide Receivers: (C) Jerricho Cotchery had another good effort (5 catches, 71 yards) but did have a key dropped pass on a third down. Chansi Stuckey was invisible for the second week in a row. Brad Smith made an impact with a big run in the Seminole package and also registered a reception. David Clowney was active but still hasn’t had a pass thrown his way in four weeks. Somebody needs to step up to support Cotchery.

Tight Ends: (C) Dustin Keller had a big grab down the seam but the Jets need more out of him than 31 yards receiving. Since week one, his yardage totals have been extremely low and he hasn’t been the consistent impact player he was during stretches of time last year.

Offensive LIne: (D) Another sub-par effort by this unit, who just hasn’t looked right this season. I don’t know if it is because of age or because they didn’t play together alot in the pre-season but they aren’t producing. Mark Sanchez can’t be sacked four times and the ground game can’t keep struggling like this if the Jets are going to be serious contenders.

Defensive Line: (B) Good all around effort up front, especially in the short yardage situations. Sione Pouha (3 tackles) and Marques Douglas (5 tackles, 1 TFL) were particularly active. Kris Jenkins played well but had a killer offsides penalty on a fourth and short situation.

Linebackers: (A-) David Harris racked up 12 tackles and Bart Scott had a pair of tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit. Bryan Thomas had his best game of the season. Vernon Gholston registered one tackle and failed to record a sack in any of his four starts. Fortunately, the Jets best pass rusher, Calvin Pace is returning from suspension this week.

Secondary: (A) Despite being without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland for the second straight week, the unit had a very good effort. Darrelle Revis knocked down 3 passes and held Marques Colston without a reception. Both of his catches came with Drew Coleman on him, who still played a pretty good game as the nickle back. Dwight Lowery was solid and made a great play on a deep ball to Robert Meachem. Kerry Rhodes saved a touchdown on the first drive of the game by knocking away a pass intended for Reggie Bush and had 8 tackles. Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith had quiet games.

Special Teams: (B) Jay Feely is putting together a very good season. Steve Weatherford had a bad shank but responded with a 56 yard punt. Leon Washington never got a chance to get going because the Saints forced him into a touchback every time but once.

Coaching: (C) Some questionable play calling in short yardage situations. The defense did their job and had a strong all around game plan but the offense let the entire team down. Let’s see how this staff will respond to their first loss and how they can motivate their team against inferior opponents the next four weeks.

Jets/Saints Game Highlights

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 vs. Texans: Talking to the Opponent

First a few updates: 

1. A big congratulations to Derek Jeter for breaking the all-time Yankees hit record.

Jets vs. Texans: Talking to the Opponent

I exchanged questions with Texans writer Mike Kerns from (http://dontmesswithtexans.com/) here is our conversation about the Jets/Texans match-up:

MK: With the apparent “QB battle” over and Mark Sanchez winning the starting job (was there really any doubt?), what does the team plan to do with Kellen Clemens. Does he become the primary backup? Or does Rex Ryan plan to see if Clemons can garner any interest on the trade market? Also, is he okay with just being a backup?

JC: Clemens will be the Jets backup this season because none of the quarterbacks on the roster have any experience but this will be his last season in green and white since his contract expires and the Jets like the long term potential of Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell. I’m sure Clemens isn’t okay with being a backup, but he had enough chances to be a starter and never took advantage.

MK: A lot of Texans fans were all about trading down in the 2006 draft and taking D’brickshaw Ferguson with their first pick. Now that the fallout from the Mario Williams pick has cleared (and most are now declaring him the right pick for #1 overall) you don’t hear much about Brick in Houston anymore. With this being the first match up between the two high draft picks, who do you give the edge to?
JC: I would give the edge to Williams, who has been a pro-bowl caliber player the past couple of seasons. D’Brick has been pretty good but not great since the Jets drafted him, although he is predicting a pro-bowl appearance for himself this season. It will be fun to watch those two battle on Sunday though, since they two of the more athletic people at their positions in the NFL.
MK: Is the new stories about Brett Favre calling out Jets officials about making him play injured last season as big of a story around the team as ESPN is making it out to be?
JC: I think Favre is just making excuses for his poor play down the stretch. Mike Tannenbaum admitted today that he should have listed Favre as probable, but it remains to be seen if the NFL will take any disciplinary action against the Jets
MK: Derrelle Revis and Andre Johnson. All-Pro vs. All-Pro. This is the one that seems to be getting the most attention on Texans fan sites. Last season, only Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders was able to keep Andre Johnson in check. Revis isn’t exactly a slouch though. What’s your gut telling you the outcome will be in this match up?
JC: Andre Johnson will get his catches, but I think Revis will be able to prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play. He usually rises up against the elite receivers in the league. I can see Johnson having something like 5 catches for 59 yards, but he won’t go off for one of his 8 catch, 130 yard, 2 TD’s performance.
MK: With the Jets strong running attack being matched up against Houston’s weakness (Run Defense), what kind of day are you expecting from Thomas Jones and Leon Washington?
JC: I am expecting Jones and Washington to combine for 40 touches on Sunday. I think TJ will get 22-25 carries and be right around 100 yards. Washington should be in the 10-12 carry range, along with a few receptions and should be good for a couple of big plays as usual.
 
JC: My prediction for the game:  Jets- 23, Texans – 20
JC: Expectations have never been higher for the Texans, do you think they will finally get over the hump and challenge the Colts for the divisional title or at least a wild card spot?
 
MK: Well, I am kind of on the fence about that one. The Texans were a trendy sleeper pick last year, as well. But I think either way it goes, it wouldn’t surprise me. We have gotten so used to things going wrong here that we have gotten used to it. We expect bad things to happen and expectations to come up short. I don’t necessarily think it is pessimism. Just realism. But to answer your question, it all depends on Matt Schaub. If he can stay on the field for a full season, I think Houston reaches double digits in wins for the first time in franchise history. The defense only needs to be middle of the pack with the high power offense. And it all starts, and ends, with Matt Schaub.
JC: How healthy is Matt Schaub and if he gets knocked out of the game, will Dan Orlovsky or Rex Grossman come into the game?
 
MK: Matt Schaub declared himself ready to go for the game Sunday. When asked if he was 100%, he replied “in this league, you are never 100%.” But I really think the ankle sprain he suffered against Minnesota has really only been made a big issue because of his durability problems in the past. The team is just being overly cautious. As they should be.
 
With his strong showing in the preseason finale, Rex Grossman won the backup job. But I have to believe he will have a very short leash, especially since the Texans gave Dan Orlovsky a 3 year/9 Million dollar contract this offseason.
JC: How concerned are you about the secondary and the Texans defense overall?
 
MK: I thank the lord above that Dunta Robinson ended his holdout. He immediately became the Texans best CB simply by walking back through the door. Jacques Reeves is still out with a broken fibula, so Fred Bennett will start opposite Robinson on Sunday. Aside from Dunta, I am very concerned about the secondary. As I have been for the past few seasons.
 
With a new defensive coordinator, Frank Bush, I expect some big plays to be given up sometimes by the Texans defense (See Adrian Peterson). Amobi Okoye is in his third year and is teetering into the “bust” stereotype. DeMeco Ryans is 100% healthy this year and playing for a new contract, so I expect him to bring the pain even more that usual. Mario is Mario, so I’m not worried about him. But I want to see more than just these two guys making plays. Okoye and free agent acquisition Antonio Smith need to work at slowing down the run. I really do not know what to expect from first round draft choice Brian Cushing. He missed the entire preseason, yet he is starting on Sunday. Should be interesting.
JC: Do you think Houston will target Kevin Walter often, since it will be matched up on Lito Sheppard who has struggled this pre-season, or do you think they won’t shy away from throwing at Darrelle Revis because they have Andre Johnson?
 
MK: I don’t think they will go to Kevin Water that much since he will probably not play. He suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason and he didn’t even practice today. Andre Davis or David Anderson will probably step in. I’d like to see Jacoby Jones get some time simply for his playmaking abilities, but his immaturity keeps him strictly a punt returner and special teamer. But I think you will see TE Owen Daniels with a big game.
 
As much as I admire Darrelle Revis, Andre Johnson has simply looked unstoppable for a couple of years now. So I don’t see offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan letting Revis take away their greatest weapon on offense. And I am sure Andre will be up for the challenge as well. He was only thrown to one time against Nnamdi Asomugha last year and I hope they don’t do the same this year against Revis. 
JC: What is your prediction for the final score?
 
MK: I think either one of two things happen. Either Houston comes out and gets up by a couple of scores in the first quarter and forces the Jets to make Mark Sanchez feel like he has to air it out. This slowing down the powerful Jets running game. Or, what is more likely, Houston’s defense is slow to arrive and relies on the potent Texans offense to play catch up all game. So, I predict a Kris Brown field goal with under a minute left puts Houston up 24-20 with under a minute left and Mark Sanchez is unable to make the game winning drive in his first NFL start. So, Houston wins a tough one 24-20. But only because they’ve become so tough at home.

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.

Sanchez Is Starting…Duh, But What Now?

First a few updates:

1. RIP Ted Kennedy.

2. Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Donald Strickland, and Jay Feely all returned to practice. Hopefully, the Jets will be at full strength for the Giants game this Saturday, which should see the starters play into the 3rd quarter.

3. The Jets waived offensive lineman Tavita Thompson.

4. Tonight is my first night of extensive graduate school homework but what better way to procrastinate than with an article about the Jets. Also, the Yankees are on ESPN tonight and Hard Knocks is on at 10…could be a late night.

Sanchez Is Starting…Duh, But What Now?

Today’s big news is that Mark Sanchez has been named the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. If you have been following the Jets all summer, you knew this was coming and it was only a matter of when not if Sanchez was going to be named the starter. Any individual who has kept track of the Jets on a daily basis would tell you it has either been a draw to this point or that Sanchez has slightly outplayed Clemens. Rex Ryan made the right decision. Kellen Clemens couldn’t outplay the rookie despite having 4 years of experience in this offensive system and showed no reason to believe he could be a reliable veteran quarterback that would protect the football. He consistently turned the ball over more than Sanchez, despite taking less risks down the field. In reality this decision was a no-brainer for Ryan, you don’t hold back your franchise quarterback for somebody of Kellen Clemens’ talent level.

So now what? First off, Jets fans need to accept the reality that Mark Sanchez is going to take his lumps, which should be an obvious. Yet, they also need to understand the type of football the Jets will be playing this year. This team has been built to win through their defense and running game. Sanchez isn’t going to  be airing it out or putting up pretty statistics. There is going to be plenty of times this season when it is 3rd and 9 and the Jets are on their own 30 yard line, down 7-3 in the third quarter and they are going to hand the ball off to Leon Washington and then punt…this is okay and smart football. You punt, play defense and wait until you have better field position. A good game for Sanchez this year could be 10/15 for 139 yards with 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s, if the Jets win. Gradually the offense will begin to open up more as his experience grows.

In terms of what is around Sanchez, apparently Mike Tannenbaum said in a recent interview that “nothing was imminent” in the contract talks with Leon Washington. Give the guy his 6 million a season and get the job done. He is their most valuable offensive player and a proven game-breaker. Washington is the type of guy you want spending 12 seasons in green and white, especially as your 60 million dollar quarterback grows…there are certain times to play hardball and certain times when you need to pay your stars, it is time to pay your star running back.

At the wide receiver position, David Clowney was working extensively with the first team today. It is about time. If you are evaluating the receiver position right now, Cotchery and Clowney should be starting with Stuckey playing the slot and working in alongside Cotchery on certain plays. Brad Smith is a few notches back and should be a #4 receiver used in certain packages of plays. There are rumors swirling about the Jets desperately looking to acquire another receiver in a trade, but at this point who are they going to get? It appears things are starting to go smoother with Brandon Marshall and the Broncos and he would also have a monstrous price tag. When looking at a few lower profile guys to consider, how about Reggie Brown on Philly or DJ Hackett on Washington?

The Jets offense has potential to be better than people think. Let’s not forget they have a top flight offensive line, a great stable of running backs, a very good fullback, a playmaking tight end, and a competent number one receiver. They also appear to have a legitimate deep threat in David Clowney. Mark Sanchez is going to be handing the ball off alot, throwing a ton of screen passes and intermediate passes to Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. He will probably only be taking a few shots a game to a guy like Clowney or Keller down the seam. Beyond that, the Jets will look for the big plays to come from their running game or Leon Washington turning a screen pass into a 30 yard gain. They will also fool around with the wildcat with Brad Smith behind center and use him on some reverses.

An Awesome Video Made by JetNaton.Com, Put Chills Down My Spine…How Many Days Until We Play Houston?

Jets Positional Analysis: Special Teams

Jets Positional Analysis: Special Teams

Third article of the day, but hey training camp starts this week so it is time to step up. Of course since I mentioned the Yankees potentially having the best record in baseball, they are losing 6-1. Anyway, here is my next to last positional analysis (still have inside linebackers, which I will get to before Friday morning). Tomorrow I am planning to look at some under the radar players in training camp and I got a few other article ideas to get up before daily coverage of training camp starts at the end of the week.

Jay Feely #3, Kicker, Last Season: 24/28 Field Goals (2/2 50+ yards, 4/5 40-49 yards) 39/39 PAT’s

History: Political commentator, twitter enthusiast, and weight-room fanatic, Jay Feely became the Jets kicker in week 2 last season after Mike “Second Round Pick?!” Nugent was hurt. As you can tell from the numbers, he had a pretty good season which earned him a new contract with the Jets. Feely hit his two most clutch kicks last season, a game winner against the Patriots and a 50+ yarder that sent Oakland into overtime. He has decent length on kickoffs and didn’t struggle with the Meadowlands winds.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Feely has a similar season to last year and hits his clutch kicks, while Mike Nugent is booting kickoffs to the 20 yard line in the UFL.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Feely misses too many FG’s, gets cut week 3 and joins the FOX News staff.

Prediction: I don’t see any reason why Feely can’t be a productive kicker for the Jets this season.

Reggie Hodges #5, Punter, Last Season: Average Yard Per Punt 42.8 yards, 14 Punts Inside the 20, 6 Touchbacks

History: Hodges was signed to replace Ben Graham last season and did an okay job. He was cut by the Jets after the season but then re-signed a few months ago.

Chance of Making Roster: 50%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Hodges is a good punter for the Jets…what else can I say?

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He gets beat out in training camp and is cut.

Prediction: I am going with the rookie in his punting battle royale, meaning Hodges will join Nugent and Brooks Bollinger in the UFL.

T.J. Conley #9, Punter, Rookie

History: A UDFA out of Idaho, who had the highest net average of all college punters last season.

Chance of Making Roster: 50%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He wins the job and becomes a punting prodigy.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He gets cut, meaning nobody has my number on the Jets.

Prediction: Maybe it’s just because I like his number, but I am picking Conley to win this punting job…bold stuff, I know.

The Other Guys:

Long Snapper: James Dearth – One of the best in the business.

Kick Returner: Leon Washington – One of the best in the business.

Punt Returner: Jim Leonhard – Will take pressure off Washington and did a good job returning for the Ravens last season.

Overall Position Analysis: I always feel good about this group because Mike Westhoff is in charge and he is a hall of famer. Punter could obviously be a position of concern, though.

Jets Special Teams Highlight: Leon Washington is gone.

Scouting the AFC East: Miami Dolphins

First a few updates:

1. There has been a good amount of talk about kicker Jay Feely’s recent comments on Sean Hannity’s show, where he expressed a lack of confidence in President Obama and said he “scares him.” Honestly, the guy is entitled to his opinion, even though I and many people disagree with the things he said. I write about sports here, so the only coverage Jay Feely will get is if he makes or misses field goals.

2. I can’t get enough of those Most Valuable Puppet Commercials with LeBron and Kobe, they just released like 4 new ones…hysterical.

3. Eric Allen wrote an interesting article on www.newyorkjets.com about Chansi Stuckey spending his free time working out with former NFL receiver Terrence Mathis. Stuckey is looking like the starter opposite Jerricho Cotchery as of right now, hopefully he can pick up a thing or two from Mathis who was a successful receiver in Atlanta, not as much with the Jets.

Scouting the AFC East: Miami Dolphins

Along with the positional analysis articles, I am going to take a look at each of the AFC East teams in the next week and how the Jets stack up against them, ending today with the Miami Dolphins

2008 Record: 11-5

2008 vs. Jets: The Jets and Dolphins split their games last year, with each team winning on the road. In week 1, the Jets won in Miami 20-14 thanks to two touchdown passes from Brett Favre, including a miracle pass on a fourth down to Chansi Stuckey. In that game, Jerricho Cotchery also caught a 56 yard touchdown and Thomas Jones pounded the Dolphins defense for 101 yards on 22 carries, with a touchdown himself. Chad Pennington threw for 251 yards in his Miami opener but was picked off by Darrelle Revis to end the game. Revis completely shut down Ted Ginn Jr. in week one, holding him to 2 receptions for 17 yards. Bryan Thomas had 2 sacks in week one (yes, that Bryan Thomas). In week 17, the Dolphins won in the Meadowlands to clinch the AFC East (owch, it still hurts). Favre killed the Jets with 3 INT’s. Leon Washington played well with 10 carries for 60 yards and a TD. Chansi Stuckey had a nice game also with 4 catches for 50 yards. Pennington threw for 200 yards and 2 TDs and Ted Ginn Jr burned the Jets for a 44 yard gain and 27 yard touchdown.

2009 Additions: They added Gibril Wilson at safety and signed corner Eric Green to boost their secondary. Also, they signed center Jake Grove and guard Joe Berger for their offensive line. Miami also brought twinkle toes aka Jason Taylor (see TOJ Hall of Shame) back, who will hopefully be more focused on Neutrogena commercials instead of sacking Mark Sanchez. Their first round pick was corner Vontae Davis. In the second round they picked quarterback/receiver Pat White, who should fit nicely into the Wildcat. They also drafted Mark Sanchez’s favorite target last year, wide receiver Patrick Turner.

2009 Losses: They released the immortal John Beck and traded center Samson Satele to the Raiders. Safety Renaldo Hill and corner Andre Goodman also left via free agency to Denver.

Why the Jets Should Be Worried: Miami was the division champs last year and did beat the Jets in their own building. Their secondary should be improved with the additions of Wilson, Green, and Davis. On offense, they are returning all their skill position players for another year in the Wildcat and their draft picks White and Turner should make their offense harder to deal with. Joey Porter and Jason Taylor are going to be difficult to handle coming off the edges and Phillip Merling is a talented, young player on their defensive line. Tony Sparano is a good coach and Bill Parcells obviously knows what he is doing in the front office.

Why the Jets Can Handle Miami: Rex Ryan looked awfully good coaching defense against the Dolphins last year. Chad Pennington and the rest of the Dolphins offense were overwhelmed by Ryan’s scheme. Obviously the Ravens also had a ton of talent on defense, but so do the Jets this year. Their secondary still has question marks, despite their new additions. Their wide receivers aren’t very good, and they lack a number one. I love Chad Pennington (see TOJ Hall of Fame), but when is the last time he put two really good, healthy seasons together in back to back years? I can tell you the answer…it is never.

Prediction: The 2008 Dolphins reminded me of the 2006 New York Jets. They took advantage of an easy schedule, used a gimmicky offense led by Chad Pennington, and played solid defense to surprise everybody by making the playoffs. I think the 2009 Dolphins will be similar to the 2007 Jets to an extent. They won’t be 4-12, I know that but teams are going to catch on to the wildcat and will be all over that playoff tape on how to rattle Pennington and their schedule is much harder. They aren’t sneaking up anybody this year. I think they will be a 7-9 to 9-7 team. In terms of the Jets, I always expect a split but then I thought about it, before last year’s week 17 loss the Jets had beat Miami 5 times in a row and 8 of their last 9. I am calling for the Jets sweep this year.

2009 Games: Week 5 At Miami, 8:30 PM Kickoff (Monday Night Football aka Crowder vs Ryan Round 1), Week 8 at New York Jets, 1 PM Kickoff.

Jets Thursday OTA: Sanchez Progressing, Jones Silent

The Jets had their OTA open to the media today, so here’s a quick run down of the day’s events with some analysis:

1. Mark Sanchez improved from last week’s rough performance. After initially struggling during 7 on 7’s and his first two minute drill, he responded by leading the second offense down the field for a touchdown. Also, according to Rex Ryan he had a strong practice on Wednesday, which included a beautiful deep ball on a corner route for a touchdown. Sanchez is facing a difficult, complex defense in practice and any type of improvement is positive. Beyond that, when you hear quotes from Sanchez like this, you have to feel encouraged:

“I’ve made friends with the cleanup crew because I’ve been staying so late…I want to know it (the offense). I want to master it by tomorrow. I want to master it 10 minutes ago. ”

You have to like the guy’s attitude. As for now, Kellen Clemens remains ahead in the QB competition, which is to be somewhat expected. Clemens has been steady during OTAs and isn’t going down without a fight. Right now, he is more comfortable in the offense and isn’t making as many mistakes or miscommunications.

2. Thomas Jones did practice and apparently looked great. Nobody expected Jones to show up out of shape, since the guy lifts more than some of the offensive lineman on the team. He chose not to speak to the media, which is fine. I’d rather have him not talking to the media, than ripping the organization. According to Rex Ryan, Jones stated he is happy to be here and Sanchez, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody all said Jones was in good spirits and helpful on offense. Bob Glauber of the Daily News proposed an interesting compromise in today’s paper, which would have the Jets pay Jones his 3 million roster bonus this year instead of next year. I don’t know if that will happen or if it is even necessary at this point, but it is something to consider.

3. David Clowney had a pretty rough day, with some uncharacteristic drops. Chansi Stuckey seems to be creating some distance for himself at the #2 receiver spot, since he has been consistently making plays all off-season. Rex Ryan again stated that he is comfortable with his group of receivers and it appears at this point the Jets won’t add anybody else. He also complimented little know receiver, Huey Whittaker who is a guy the Jets pulled out of the Arena League. Whittaker has good size (6’2, 220 lbs) and speed and could be a player to keep an eye on.

4. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes both had strong practices, recording an interception each. Jay Feely awarded them co-player of Thursday’s practice on his twitter account. David Harris and Jim Leonhard had a nasty collision, when Leonhard was trying to catch a punt. What is with all these collisions at the Jets non-contact practices?

5. Kerry Rhodes refused to discuss the pending legal investigation about a possible rape at his Morristown residence. It is important to remember that Rhodes is not a subject of the investigation and hasn’t been accused of anything.

6. A quick programming note: I am going on vacation to Las Vegas and Cabo from June 1st-June 9th, which means posts may be sparse during those days. However, fortunately I will be getting back in time for mandatory OTAs. I full anticipate having at least one post a day throughout the duration of the summer when I return from vacation.

Five Underappreciated Jets

First a few updates:

1. Thomas Jones did show up for OTAs today…and that is all we know. He will have his chance to say his piece tomorrow to the media. Hopefully, it won’t be the third year in a row where an established veteran on the team is ripping the organization in the off-season. Pete Kendall put on his show two years ago, Chris Baker did his last year, and now Jones may be following their example.

2. The Jets claimed tight end Martrez Milner off waivers today from the New York Giants. Milner was a fourth round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. During that season, he made two starts and had 9 catches for 50 yards. He was inactive all of last year. They also released offensive lineman Kyle Link and tight end Rob Meyer,

3. There still hasn’t been any movement in the Leon Washington situation. I am going to be sick to my stomach if he skips mandatory sessions, which begin on June 9th. Washington is the Jets most dynamic playmaker on both offense and special teams.

Five Underappreciated Jets

It easy to talk about Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Leon Washington, or Thomas Jones. Everybody is well aware of how valuable they are to the team. However, there are plenty of players who don’t receive much press but were extremely important to the Jets in 2008 and who the team needs another big season from in 2009. Here are five in particular:

Tony Richardson

Everybody talks about Thomas Jones improving so much in 2008 because of the Jets revamped offensive line, but don’t sleep on the difference fullback Tony Richardson made. Despite his advanced age, Richardson remains a great blocking back, who vastly improved the Jets overall rushing attack, especially in short yardage. He also did a good job running the ball the few times his number was called, finishing with 65 yards on 10 carries.

Brandon Moore

The Jets least heralded offensive lineman but arguably their most consistent. Fortunately, the Jets came to their senses and did the right thing this off-season by re-signing Moore after originally letting him go. Moore is solid in both run and pass blocking, never gets hurt, and is the Jets longest tenured starter on the line. Alan Faneca may receive all the hype and accolades but Moore was every bit as good as him at Guard last year.

Shaun Ellis

For some reason alot of people were calling for the Jets to release Ellis this off-season, which makes no sense. Despite doing some stupid off the field things, Ellis is still coming off a 8 sack season as a 3-4 defensive end. He is talented enough to be an every down player and is a veteran leader on the defensive side of the ball.

Wallace Wright

You have to give some love to the special teams. Wallace Wright was an undrafted free agent who has carved out a nice role for himself on all of the Jets coverage and return units. Last year he recorded 22 tackles and always seems to make at least one key play a game on special teams. He has also done a pretty good job when asked to play receiver, espcially as a blocker.

Jay Feely

More special teams love…Feely came in for an injured Mike Nugent last year and did an excellent job, going 24/28 on FG’s. He hit two that were over 50 yards and handled his pressure kicks well, especially when he buried a 50+ yarder against Oakland to force overtime. The Jets were confident enough in Feely to let Nugent (a former second round pick) go this off-season.