Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Sanchez’s 34 Dropbacks

A breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s 34 dropbacks against the Houston Texans. Does he grade out positively or negatively?

This week’s Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown is going to focus strictly on Mark Sanchez’s 34 dropbacks against the Houston Texans. Each play is going to be graded as either a positive (+) or a negative (-) based on the following criteria: Did Sanchez execute the proper read or decision based on what the defense was giving him? Let’s take a closer look – 

1 – 2nd and 10 at their own 13 (Incompletion to Jeremy Kerley) – The Jets ran a rub route underneath with Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley. Cumberland ran a poor route, hesitating and sitting too soon. If he takes one more step in his route, Kerley is wide open across the field. Kerley was still open but it was a tight window and Sanchez held the ball a split second too long as the pass rush collapsed around him and was forced to throw it away as he was nearly sacked. Lex Hilliard did a poor job of blitz pickup on this play, although he wasn’t helped by Austin Howard at all. Yes, Sanchez received poor help but he still could have found a way to complete this pass (-)

2 – 3rd and 15 at their own 8 (13 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – Sanchez drives a deep out route to Kerley who runs his route about 2 yards short of the marker. Kerley needs to push a little further. However, there was a beautifully formed pocket and Sanchez had Chaz Schilens at the top of the field on an in-cut that was wide open for an easy first down. The blame goes to both Kerley for not running his route deep enough to Sanchez for taking advantage of the extra time to find the open receiver for a bigger gain on the other side of the field. (-)

3- 3rd and 10 at their own 28 (Incompletion to Clyde Gates) – This was a poor route from Gates. He got held up at the top of his route. If he snaps his deep in-cut earlier and at the proper yardage, he would have been wide open. Sanchez threw it to the right spot but was victimized by poor route running. (+)

4 – 1st and 10 at their own 43 (27 yard completion to Clyde Gates) – Gates gets a little redemption here. After Antonio Cromartie’s INT, the Jets called three “go” routes. Houston obliged by putting 7 in the box and playingCover 1. Basically leaving all the Jets receivers in man to man and daring them to throw deep. Sanchez delivered a beautifully thrown ball down the sideline to Gates’ outside shoulder. Gates went up and made an athletic grab over Jonathan Joseph, one of the league’s better corners. (+)

5 – 3rd and 7 on Houston 27 (27 yard touchdown to Jeff Cumberland) – We get on Jeff Cumberland plenty here but he ran a textbook seam route down the hash here. He beat his guy, stayed skinny on his route and bent in at the perfect time. Sanchez drops in another gorgeous pass, his second in a row. This is why his inconsistency is so frustrating. The talent is clearly there. The past two throws were big boy NFL throws that Tim Tebow simply cannot make. (+)

6 – 3rd and 3 at their own 22 (2 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – The Jets ran another rub route over the middle. Sanchez does an excellent job of stepping up in the pocket and sliding to avoid the rush. However he has Schilens open basically right at the first down marker but instead of throwing it out in front of him, he throws it high and behind. Schilens has to twist to make a very tough (and impressive) catch but is wrapped immediately and unable to extend the ball. Could the route have been a yard deeper, yes? Regardless if it was a better throw, it is still a first down (-)

7 – 1st and 10 at their own 27 (Incompletion to Konrad Reuland) – A poor play design where basically Reuland is the only option on a bootleg in the flat. Tony Sparano needs to keep this play on ice until Dustin Keller is back. Reuland was blanketed and Sanchez had nowhere else to go with the ball. He threw it low and away and it was deflected. Hard to blame him on this one. We’ll give him neither a (+) or (-)

8 – 2nd and 10 at their own 27 (Incompletion to Bilal Powell) – A well designed play that motioned Powell into the slot and had him run a speed out. The Jets got the coverage they wanted and Powell would have been wide open but he tripped out of his break. He must be hanging out with Shonn Greene too much. Sanchez threw it on point but Powell fell so it was incomplete. (+)

9 – 3rd and 10 at their own 27 (Incompletion to Bilal Powell) – The Jets basically cleared out for Powell underneath who was wide open. Sanchez delivered it on time but the pass was batted down. I am taking a case by case basis with the passes knocked down at the line. In this case, Sanchez had time to slide and give himself a better passing lane. By his fourth season, he needs to recognize the need to do this. (-) 

10 – 3rd and 4 at their own 34 (3 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – This play was designed for Kerley all the way. He came in motion to run a speed out from the slot. Honestly, this was just a great tackle by Kareem Jackson. Kerley probably should have pushed it a half yard deeper but it is hard to fault any Jet on this play, certainly not Sanchez who threw the ball out in front of Kerley where it needed to be. (+)

11 – 1st and 10 at their own 39 (Incompletion to Antonio Cromartie) – Cromartie ran a beautiful double move and blew right past the cornerback. This should have been an easy 61 yard touchdown. Unfortunately Sanchez threw the ball too far to the outside, forcing Cromartie out of bounds, where he still made a ridiculous catch. Simply put, Sanchez HAS to hit this throw. Separation like this must lead to a touchdown. (-)

12 – 2nd and 10 at their own 39 (Incompletion to Jeff Cumberland) – The Jets ran a deep back shoulder fade to Cumberland. Sanchez put it in the perfect spot but Cumberland dropped it. This should have been about a 25 yard gain. Missed opportunities. (+)

13 – 3rd and 10 at their own 39 (Incompletion to Bilal Powell) – Nobody was open down the field and the pocket quickly collapsed thanks to Brandon Moore, who had a rough night. Sanchez got rid of the ball before taking a sack. (+)

14 – 2nd and 6 at their own 11 (5 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – Sanchez is very rarely accurate on passes 5 yards and under so this was encouraging to see. Schilens settles into tight window on an option route and Sanchez fired it in there after waiting for the window to open up in the zone coverage. Well done by both Sanchez and Schilens. (+)

15 – 1st and 10 at their own 18 (Strip Sack by Brooks Reed) –  The Jets went into their heavy package and were looking for the home run to Clyde Gates off play action. They were likely hoping to catch Houston napping, thinking they were just going to run the clock out. Unfortunately Gates was doubled deep as was Jeff Cumberland underneath. Sanchez should have thrown it away but held it a little too long and was sacked from behind by Brooks Reed who beat Jason Smith. Obviously this has been a recurring problem for Sanchez who must have better pocket presence and protect the football. (-)

16 – 2nd and 3 at their own 25 (Incompletion to Clyde Gates) – Tony Sparano went back to the same vertical play that they hit Gates on earlier for a big gain. Sanchez makes a very good throw but Gates is held by the corner who wasn’t flagged and can’t get to the ball. This was the play Gates’ shoulder popped out. (+)

17 – 3rd and 3 at their own 25 (12 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – Sanchez bangs a slant route to Schilens who is wide open after coming in motion. Simple pitch and catch on a route Sanchez traditionally throws well. (+)

18 – 1st and 10 at their own 37 (36 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – The throw of the night by Sanchez who stands tall in the pocket, takes a huge shot and drops in a beautiful pass between two defenders to Kerley down the seam. Only increases the frustration that he can’t be more consistent because again this a big boy, 1st round draft pick throw. This is why Rex Ryan is keeping Mark Sanchez as his starter. (+)

19 – 1st and 10 at Houston 27 (10 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – It looked as if Sanchez and Schilens checked to this at the line after they saw a blitz coming. A well timed throw. A good adjustment and an easy 10 yards. (+)

20 – 2nd and 5 at Houston 12 (Interception) – You’ve seen this play 1,000 times by now. Is the deflection Sanchez’s fault? Not really. Yet, he still made the wrong read on this play. Jeremy Kerley was going to take career ending hit if he caught this ball. Sanchez should went to the flat on the opposite side of the field. So we end the end the half with a (-)

FIRST HALF – 20 Dropbacks – 12 Positives, 7 Negatives, 1 Undecided.

21 – 1st and 10 at their own 28 (24 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland) – Good Mark Sanchez is back, dropping in a pretty deep out route to Jeff Cumberland off play action that goes for 24 yards. He does a nice job of putting enough touch on it to get it over the linebacker but enough zip to get it out front of the safety so Cumberland can turn up field. (+)

22 – 2nd and 14 at their own 47 (36 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – Jeremy Kerley is turning into a damn good NFL wide receiver. He shakes the corner at the line of scrimmage, forcing him to fall and then holds on as he takes a huge hit from the safety. Sanchez could have put a little more zip on this cover 2 hole shot but that is probably nit-picking. (+) 

23 – 2nd and goal at the Houston 3 (Incompletion to Chaz Schilens) – Damn JJ Watt. This is easy touchdown for the Jets over the middle to Chaz Schilens who ran a slant out of the bunch. Sanchez makes the right read and then Watt makes the type of play that is going to win him Defensive Player of the Year. I am sorry but Sanchez is at no fault here. He did everything right. This was just a tremendous play from Watt. (+)

24 – 3rd and goal at the Houston 3 (Incompletion to Chaz Schilens) – The Jets wanted to go backside to Kerley on a slant-fade route. Basically where Kerley takes three hard steps to the slant and then breaks out to the fade but it was well covered. Sanchez correctly moves to his next read, which is Schilens who appears to be running a deeper slant and then whipping back out along the back line. A tough and bizarre route that is ran very poorly by Schilens from start to finish. Again, this is not on Sanchez but on poor route running and play design. (+) 

25 – 2nd and 18 at their own 46 (19 yard completion to Shonn Greene) – Sanchez did everything fine here. (+) – Let me take a minute to riff on Shonn Greene’s general awfulness. If Greene had one capable NFL running back move this is a 54 yard touchdown. Look how much space he has!

Of course Greene slows down and leans to the inside where there is nothing but green to the outside. Instead of making a move, he then continues to slow down, crouches down and slams head first into the defender, allowing the pursuit to catch up with him.

He will never start another game in the NFL after this season, period.

26 – 2nd and 10 at Houston 35 (Incompletion to Shonn Greene) – Sanchez opted to check down to Greene, which based on the coverage was not a poor decision. His primary reads were all well covered. Sanchez threw the ball a little to Greene’s right to move him away from the linebacker but Greene dropped a ball that him in both hands. (+)

27 – 3rd and 10 at Houston 35 (Sacked) – Sanchez had Jeremy Kerley down the seam for a big play and he stepped up into the pocket to make the throw. However, JJ Watt made another ridiculous play, beating Brandon Moore and taking Sanchez’s legs out. Initially I thought this play would be on Sanchez for taking a sack in a bad spot but after watching the film, I’m not sure what else he could have done here considering the play Watt made. We’ll give him an undecided here.

28 – 2nd and 2 at their own 24 (Incomplete pass to Antonio Cromartie) – A poorly designed play that was rushed because of unnecessary substitutions that shouldn’t be occurring in a 2 minute drill. The swing screen was deflected by Conner Barwin but even if Cromartie caught it, he wasn’t going anywhere. Another undecided.

29 – 3rd and 2 at their own 24 (6 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – Excellent patience by Sanchez who waited for Kerley to get all the way across the set on a drag route and then fired in an accurate pass to move the chains on 3rd down. (+)

30 – 1st and 10 at their own 30 (10 yard yard completion to Jason Hill) – Sanchez went back to his bread and butter, the slant route. Hill stumbles a bit at the top of the route but Sanchez gets it to him anyway. At this point, it felt like the Jets were actually putting something together on their final drive. (+)

31 – 1st and 10 at their own 40 (Incompletion to Jeremey Kerley) – Sanchez was looking for Kerley on a 10 yard out route from the slot but simply missed the throw, putting it too low and to the outside. There is no reason this shouldn’t have been a 10-15 yard gain. (-)

32 – 2nd and 10 at their own 40 (Sack) – The Texans dialed up a blitz off the edge that the Jets completely failed to pick up (looking at you Bilal Powell). However, Sanchez should have recognized the pressure was going to come off the left side and move Powell there before the snap to make his job easier and the blitz easier to recognize here. Sanchez double clutched and probably could have got rid of the ball to an underneath receiver. Tough play with the blitz? Yes. Still you cannot take a sack here. (-)

33 – 3rd and 18 at their own 32 (Interception) – For some reason the Jets rushed to get this play off right before the two minute warning. They should have taken their time and went to the sideline to regroup after the sack. Sanchez made the right read. Jeff Cumberland was the primary read, he was open on about a 12 yard out route. Sanchez makes a good, not great throw that bounces off Cumberland hands for a game ending interception. Yes, Cumberland should have caught the ball. But why rush to the line in this situation? (-)

34 – 1st and 10 at their own 9 (Incompletion to Jeremy Kerley) – The Jets last second desperation play. You’d like to find a way to complete this so you at least have a chance to lateral. (-)

SECOND HALF – 14 Dropbacks – 8 Positives, 4 Negatives, 2 Undecided

TOTAL – 34 Dropacks, 20 Positives, 11 Negatives, 3 Undecided

Overall Analysis – It is fair to say that Mark Sanchez played better than his stat line indicated. However, that doesn’t absolve him of the inconsistencies he demonstrated. What is frustrating about re-watching this game tape is that this game was there for the Jets to win. They weren’t blown off the field by Houston. They weren’t outclassed. In a way that is encouraging for the rest of the season. If they cut back on the missed opportunities and mistakes, they are going to win football games. You can’t miss on a 61 yard touchdown to Antonio Cromartie. You can’t drop 25 yard completions. You can’t make the wrong read near the end-zone. However, you also won’t be dealing with JJ Watt and the Houston Texans every week. Sanchez was much better against Houston than he was against San Francisco and even Miami. It would not be surprising to see him put up a solid stat line against a Colts defense that is a major step down from Houston. Beyond that, everybody now has another game of experience in the offense and Dustin Keller should be back.

New York Jets – Look Towards Future At Wide Receiver

The New York Jets can’t make a knee jerk reaction at wide receiver

There are unconfirmed reports that New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes is out for the season with a foot injury. Even if the news proves to be untrue, it is unrealistic to expect Holmes back before December considering how long his medical results are taking to be announced. This news has led many Jets fans to throw out names in desperation knee jerk reactions –

Plaxico Burress? It isn’t happening. Burress was a disaster scene in the Jets locker room last season. The team not bringing him back goes beyond being concerned about Mark Sanchez’s feelings as some have suggested. Burress was problematic for the whole offense. There is a reason he hasn’t been signed by anybody yet and has literally worked out for one team since the season ended. Outside of the off the field issues, he can’t get separation anymore. His skill set is not worth the headache. People go crazy about his 8 touchdowns last year. I have news for you 3 came in one game against San Diego, two came in garbage time, one against Oakland and one against Philadelphia. You take away the Chargers game, he had 3 meaningful touchdowns in 15 games.

Chad Ochocinco? Terrell Owens? Neither player is worth the side show. There is no reason for a long paragraph since neither is capable of being a productive NFL receiver at this point of their career.

It is time to face the reality that the New York Jets roster needs to be completely rebuilt. Why not start now? If you acquire a wide receiver, go trade for a young receiver with long term upside. A type of player like James Jones, who the Jets should have traded for this off-season but now might not be able to be had because of how productive he has been and because of Greg Jennings injury problems.

The other option is to let the young players play. You drafted Stephen Hill in the 2nd round. No, he isn’t ready to be a full time NFL receiver yet but you might as well give him those reps now and let him work through the mistakes. He needs to be your opening day starter in 2013 or you wasted another 2nd round pick, just like you did with Vladimir Ducasse and Kellen Clemens. Jeremy Kerley is a very talented slot receiver, figure out the best way to use him and make sure he is ready to fulfill his potential next season in the slot and as a rushing option.

Chaz Schilens has looked good in limited duty through four games. Play him and maybe he gives you a productive season. Now you have another option heading into next year, now you are building depth on your roster. Bring 7th round pick Jordan White back and let him play 20 plays a game, maybe he develops…maybe he doesn’t but at least you are giving reps to one of your rookie draft picks and not a 37 year old veteran with no future.

Don’t dump money away. You have needs all over the field to fill next off-season. Let your draft picks play and hope they fulfill their potential.

Turn On The Jets Week 4 Fantasy Football Preview

It has only been three weeks of fantasy football so far, and I totally understand your natural reactions to your team’s start. If you’re 3-0, you think the good times will never end, while if you’re 0-3, you’re cursing Evan Silva and the other “experts” who insisted you draft guys like Ryan Mathews and Cam Newton with top 5 picks. I get that, it’s perfectly natural to feel like that. But no matter what has happened so far, and no matter how well you drafted, you’re going to need to add some pieces off the waiver wire. The key to keeping your 3-0 team on top is going to be building solid depth for bye weeks and protect yourself against an injury. If your team looks poor now, all it takes is one big time waiver wire pick up and you’ll be right back in it.

Every year, starting players get injured and the backup steps in to take the league by storm. Some of these players single-handedly win fantasy leagues for people. Already this year we have seen a few players seemingly come out of nowhere to have monster games and are now mainstays on teams. Take a look around your fantasy league and you’ll see guys like Mikel Leshoure, CJ Spiller, Andre Brown, Christian Ponder, and Dennis Pitta already littering rosters and contributing in a big way. The key for your team going forward is to identify possible break-out candidates that are almost always running backs, stash them on your bench, and then keep your fingers crossed. Let’s identify some of these potential break through guys.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers – Readers of this column will know that I have been beating the Jacquizz drum since before the season. I think Michael Turner is absolutely useless, and you can see that the Falcons coaching staff is close to fully agreeing with me. Last week Jacquizz recorded 10 carries, 5 catches, 67 total yards, and a touchdown. In PPR leagues, he should already be on a roster in your league, but if he’s still there no matter what kind of league you are in, stop reading this now and pick him up.

RB Bilal Powell – Shonn Greene’s struggles this season have been well documented amongst Jets fans, and after last week’s game in Miami it appears as though the team is starting to lean more towards a running back by committee approach with Bilal Powell getting more and more touches. He was already the full-time 3rd down back and the preferred passing target out of the backfield, but now it seems as though he’s going to get a steady 10 carries or so a week with a chance for that number to greatly increase.

RB Kendall Hunter – The 49ers are going to remain a predominantly running team as long as Alex Smith is the quarterback, and I don’t think you can rely on starter Frank Gore all season long. The guy has a history of nagging injuries, and now that he’s getting older the team may err on the side of caution and start working Hunter in more and more, perhaps even getting a few starts.

RB Robert Turbin – The Seahawks loved the bruising RB in the preseason, and he’s the clear backup to Marshawn Lynch, who has been playing through a lingering back problem. Should Lynch break down from the 30 touches a week the Seahawks are forcing on him, Turbin would be in line for 20 or so touches a week, which makes him a real candidate to be a breakout star.

RB Lamar Miller – Jets fans everywhere are now rooting for Reggie Bush to get injured after his Darrelle Revis comments, and judging by the disgraced former Heisman winner’s history, it’s only a matter of time until he does indeed get injured. When he does, rookie Lamar Miller looks poised to take over rather than the terrible Daniel Thomas. If and when that happens, Miller could become a stud, even on a crappy Dolphins team.

RB Ronnie Hillman – Willis McGahee is a prime candidate for “starting RB who gets injured” status, and I believe rookie Ronnie Hillman will be the man to step in and get the bulk of the carries rather than Knowshon Moreno (who the coaches clearly hate), or Lance Ball (who isn’t that good).

RB Mike Goodson – If you own Darren McFadden and don’t have Mike Goodson on your bench to protect yourself, you need your head examined. If, or WHEN, McFadden suffers his yearly injury, Goodson should be in line for 15+ touches and some solid production.

WR Jeremy Kerley – Just a hunch…

WR Jerome Simpson – The Vikings are supposedly in love with Simpson and can’t wait to get him out on the field starting in week 4. He’s gotten a lot of buzz, but it’s guys like this who could end up turning your middle of the pack fantasy team into a legit contender.

WEEK 4 ONE-LINERS

“Get em in there!”

QB Christian Ponder @ Det – Few QB’s are playing better than Ponder, while few pass defenses are playing as poorly as Detroit.

QB Andy Dalton @ Jax – The Jags pass D is anemic, and AJ Green is dominating defenses.

RB Mikel Leshoure vs. Minn – The Vikings no longer have the dominant run defense they once did, and Leshoure is clearly the Lions bellcow, especially with Stafford hurting.

RB Ryan Williams vs. Mia – Yes, the Dolphins have a stout run defense, but Williams is a very talented runner and he no longer has to split reps with the useless Beanie Wells.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Car – The Panthers defense stinks, but the game could turn into a shootout where Rodgers gets lots of targets from Matt Ryan.

WR Jordy Nelson vs. NO – As a disgruntled Nelson owner, I feel your pain. But make sure you keep him active in week 4 as he catches up on 3 weeks worth of stats against that garbage Saints defense.

WR Lance Moore @ GB – I’d normally never recommend starting Moore outdoors, but this game is going to likely be a shootout, and someone has to rack up the yards.

WR Kenny Britt @ Hou – The Texans have a tough run defense, and this could be Britt’s 2012 coming out party.

WR Brandon Marshall @ Dall – I’ve seen him ranked in the late 20’s on plenty of ranking lists this week. I don’t get it at all, he’s a #1 receiver still.

TE Dennis Pitta vs. Cle – His season has not been a fluke. He’s the most targeted TE in football.

TE Martellus Bennett @ Phi – The Eagles linebackers still stink.

“Not this week”

QB Matt Stafford vs. Minn – Reports say he’s going to play. Unfortunately those reports don’t say he might just end up leaving the game after a few series.

QB Michael Vick vs. NYG – There’s a really great chance he doesn’t finish this game.

RB Frank Gore @ NYJ – I think the Jets D steps it up big time this week.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw @ Phi – Just don’t trust him to take back the job from Andre Brown quite yet.

RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis @ Jax – I’d still start him if you got him, but I wouldn’t expect the kind of production many are calling for this week.

WR Hakeem Nicks @ Phi – The Eagles are going to stick Asomugha on him and do everything they can to slow him down.

WR Marques Colston @ GB – I don’t expect Colston to rack up big numbers this week, despite the game likely turning into a shootout.

WR Dez Bryant vs Chi – The Bears cover 2 defense limits the big plays, and that takes away from Bryant’s output this week.

TOJ Staff Thursday Night Football “Race For The Steak” Picks:

Joe Caporoso – Baltimore (-12)

Chris Gross – Cleveland (+12)

Mike Donnelly – Cleveland (+12)

Chris Celletti – Cleveland (+12)

Rob Celletti – Cleveland (+12)

New York Jets Week 4 – Early Thoughts On Jets/49ers

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 4 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers

A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets week 4 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers. Check back later today for Chris Gross’ defensive film breakdown and our roundtable discussion on the game –

1. Underdog. Underdog. Underdog. There won’t be a single person out there who picks the New York Jets to win this game and with good cause. San Francisco was the consensus best team in the league until they were smacked by a mediocre Minnesota Vikings team last week and the Jets have just lost their best player and are coming off a poor showing, despite winning. Fortunately, they play the games for a reason and nobody picked Minnesota to beat San Francisco last week either and we all saw how that went.

2. The Jets best opportunity to pull an upset is to get an early lead. San Francisco struggles to play from behind because they aren’t built to throw the ball down the field. The more that is put on Alex Smith, the better.

3. Vernon Davis has the potential to be an absolute nightmare for the Jets defense, who has still struggled to cover the tight end. This is a game for LaRon Landry to really show his value. Rex Ryan needs to scheme up both an adequate pass rush and a coverage answer for Davis, who is the 49ers best weapon in the pass game.

4. The Jets have two defensive touchdowns and a special teams touchdown so far this season. They are going to need one this week because points are going to be very hard to come by against a loaded 49ers defense.

5. The best approach on offense is going to be running a more spread attack than usual. This is the type of game to get into the 3 wide and have Bilal Powell take the bulk of reps at running back. The Jets are delusional if they think they are going to move the ball by coming out in their three tight end and look and handing dives to Shonn Greene.

6. In general the Jets need to be getting Jeremy Kerley more involved on offense. He needs more targets in the passing game and should be involved in the running game. Use him in the Wildcat, give him pitches and reverses. Kerley is one the team’s few playmakers and needs the ball in his hands.

7. The Jets should get Dustin Keller back and he is desperately needed. He will help prevent too much coverage from being rolled to Santonio Holmes. Look for Chaz Schilens to start in place of Stephen Hill, who should be out with a hamstring injury.

8. It is time for the Jets to mix up the looks in their front seven in hopes of generating more of a pass rush. More Quinton Coples. More Demario Davis. More speed. 3 sacks in 3 weeks isn’t enough.

New York Jets Offense – How To Use Their Weapons

Joe Caporoso and TJ Rosenthal on how the New York Jets can get the most out of Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight

Yesterday TJ Rosenthal wrote an article here looking at how the New York Jets can utilize the speed in their offense, namely Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight. Today TJ and myself take a closer look at what each player brings to the table –

Santonio Holmes

Joe Caporoso – Holmes is an elite route runner and is explosive after the catch. He works best in the intermediate passing game, where he can catch the ball with a little space to improvise after catching the ball. Can we see this guy run another route besides a slant?

TJ Rosenthal – Get Tone the ball. Let 10 set the tempo in the passing game. In fact, the Jets should be including Holmes in the discussion as far as what he feels can work given the QB he has and the protection issues that have taken place. He doesn’t need a “C” on his chest to feel as though he is being asked to provide leadership. Make him part of the process of devising ways to get him the ball. This will also put the onus on him to make sure he is calling for plays that are possible at this given time. We already know how clutch he can be already.

Stephen Hill

Joe Caporoso – Hill has elite top end speed and size at the wide receiver position. He is built to run deep posts and go routes, just like he did his entire career at Georgia Tech. With his frame he should also be effective on slant routes. A nice part of Hill’s game is a willingness to block down the field, which could help spring big plays in both the run game and short passing game. He is going to have occasional mental lapses as a rookie receiver and has struggled with drops in August. Look for Hill to fluctuate between big plays and errors all season. 

TJ Rosenthal – We heard so much about Stephen Hill’s blocking prowess yet all we’ve seen so far have been half hearted attempts to get his feet wet as a pass catcher. Let a guy play to his strengths, and feel good about himself. This will help relax him. In a four wide speed package, Hill can be a deep down the sideline guy but use him more so, as  the one who can crack OLB’s as Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley come across with the catch. Allow Hill to gain confidence as a deadly blocker who springs the little guys down the sidelines. Let him use his height and speed yet think less with some go routes in this formation as well. Hill can also be the short slant guy the way Braylon Edwards, and his 6’4 frame was in 2010.

Jeremy Kerley

Joe Caporoso – Kerley is more quick than fast and is built like a prototypical slot receiver. He is going to run a ton of option routes and quick outs, making him a primary target on most 3rd and short situations. However, if he can get matched up on a linebacker or safety, he should be able to get down the seam and make plays.

TJ Rosenthal – He needs to be an underneath route guy who can make big plays with his feet in space. He’s not a household name yet, but a few short receptions that turn into 25 yard gains will help the offense create a threat that can open up room for guys like Dustin Keller. Like McKnight, Kerley can be a slot screen option. Especially on the side of Hill should he line up that way.

Joe McKnight

Joe Caporoso – McKnight is a running back who can run routes and catch the football like a receiver. He also has durability issues and is prone to mental mistakes. The Jets can get the most out of him by working him on screen passes and then lining him up in the slot and hoping to get him matched up on linebackers. Tony Sparano needs to find a way to get him the ball in space consistently

TJ Rosenthal – Part of the reason in making 25 a slot guy is his inability to pass protect. A problem that has given Bilal Powell time on third down. This is a bigger problem for the Jets offense. One that needs explosive laymakers on the field as often as possible. Stop thinking about McKnight as solely a RB and use him on flares, screens and short underneath routes. Having him out there even as a decoy can serve the same purpose of opening up room for Keller as any success by Kerley would provide. Lining up Keller and McKnight to one side could create favorable one on one’s near the line of scrimmage.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Week 3 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the Jets third pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers

For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we examine the most pressing issues facing Gang Green heading into their third preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

Austin Howard will prove he is the answer at Right Tackle. False. While many people are getting caught up in today’s news that Austin Howard has replaced Wayne Hunter as the Jets starting RT, there is still no reason to believe that Howard is the savior. Will he play better than Hunter? Probably. But unfortunately for Wayne, the Jets could have likely put Tony Sparano himself in there, and he wouldn’t have looked much worse than Hunter did last week. Hunter’s contract should have never been guaranteed after his abysmal 2011 and now Mike Tannenbaum is in one of the worst positions he has ever been in as the Jets GM. Howard will get the start tomorrow by default, but the Jets will likely remain active in their hunt to bring in a tackle from the outside. Don’t expect Howard to be the long term solution here.

The Offense will score a touchdown. Fact. I mean, they have to…right? The Jets offense remains without a touchdown over two preseason games thus far. Although the game plans have been very vanilla as they are implementing a new system, it is now time to spice things up. The basics of this new offensive scheme should be more than engraved into every offensive players head at this point in the preseason, so it is time for Sparano to mix it up a bit. It is extremely difficult to take shots down the field when there is virtually no time to properly execute a 5 or 7 step drop, however, look for the Jets to take advantage of a very average defense. With the likely return of Jeremy Kerley this weekend, Sanchez gets back with a familiar target that he can rely on to help move the chains. Regardless of how poor they have looked, there is simply too much talent on this offense to go another game without crossing the goal line.

We will finally see some of the wildcat. False. For everyone waiting to see the marvelous Wildcat formation, it looks as if you will have to wait until, at the earliest, September 9th in the season opener against Buffalo. At Rex Ryan’s press conference today, the fourth year head coach stated that he did not expect to see any Wildcat during this preseason. Of course, this could be Rex throwing a smokescreen at fellow defensive mind Ron Rivera, however, Ryan is likely being honest here. There is no reason to unveil this formation and give the Bills a series of plays to watch on film and prepare for. Tebow enthusiasts, keep on waiting.

The Jets starting defense will have its best test against the run. Fact. While Cincinnati and the Giants certainly have established running offenses, neither of them quite compare to the four headed monster of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Cam Newton, and Mike Tolbert. This will be a great test for the Jets as they will face a very unique combination of size, speed, agility, and athleticism, that they have yet to see this preseason. If they can hold the Panthers to less than 100 combined rushing yards through the first 2-3 quarters, it will be a very good sign of things to come for the defense this season.

The Jets will have ease running the football. False. This is certainly not to say that the Jets will not run the ball effectively in this game, because they very well just may. However, Carolina has a daunting young pair of linebackers in two time All-Pro Jon Beason, who returns after missing last season with a tear in his Achilles tendon, as well as rookie Luke Kuechly, the 9th overall selection in this year’s draft out of Boston College. This will be yet another great test for Greene, Tebow, and the rest of the running attack to get themselves on track and finally show some of that ground and pound that has been preached so frequently since the hiring of Sparano.

This is the best opportunity for Quinton Coples to prove his worth thus far. Fact. Coples faced an excellent offensive line last week against the Giants, but this week he has the opportunity to play against All-Pro Jordan Gross, along with Matt Kalil, and Bruce Campbell. With these three, Carolina has one of the most respected offensive lines in the league. If Coples can duplicate what he has been doing through the first two games against this unit, it will be an excellent sign of progress. A sack, a QB knockdown, or a tackle for loss will all be indications of further improvement and more good things to come.

New York Jets Offense – Offset Pressure With Speed

TJ Rosenthal on the need for the Jets offense to offset the pass rush they are facing with their speed

We all know that necessity is the mother of invention. That said, all that the Jets had hoped to achieve through the air in 2012 has to be under review in the coaches offices out in Florham Park these days. Better invent something fast. Well, one adjustment to complimenting a run first attack could be force feeding a “four wide” speed package. With on emphasis on short receptions and yards after the catch. Stretching the field will of course open up any run game but sacks, as we’ve seen since early 2011 on into this summer, will devastate it.  Maybe an empty backfield speed formation, sprinkled in with occasional shots “up top” can help.

In Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, and Joe McKnight, the Jets have four pieces on offense whose forty yard dash times can impress. Why not line them all up at once? With Kerley and McKnight in the slots?

Given the Jets struggles to protect the QB so far this summer, it might be a wise idea for OC Tony Sparano, in the search for an air approach that can ease the heat off of the QB. If three of the four make like Wes Welker, and work near the line of scrimmage while one goes deep, there will be home run hitters spread across and down the field.

Hill in particular, is known for his blocking, and could be a big help should Kerley or McKnight head his way with the rock after hauling in a catch made  after a safe three step drop by Mark Sanchez, a QB who could seriously benefit from positive plays that don’t entail running for his life prior to making them.

Unlike Hill, lining up McKnight up as a WR eliminates the need to use him as a blocker. A place where he has had troubles, but allows him to still make plays. Like the ones he made in open space on special teams last year.

Due to the early August injuries to Holmes and Kerley, the Jets offense has been unable to settle in at all on the outside, let alone feature any idea of four fleet footed players together all at once. With Kerley back now at a reported 90 percent, and Holmes close to a return as well, perhaps the time is near for to get a clearer sense of what they have.

In the meantime, if Sparano hasn’t already, he might want to get out a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, and begin to draw up a few “four wide” designs with this crew. Plays whose end goal would be to find that one on one mismatch. Given the pass protection issues that threaten the notion of too many downfield attempts this season, it may be time to give the four wideout speed package serious consideration. Use the weapons you have at your disposal,

Right?

Short, quick, high percentage throws that land in the hands of threats who can eat up the turf. That’s a weapon. No, we don’t mean roll out tosses to guys like John Connor folks. Please Sanchise. Enough with the fullback. Utilize speed instead. Gang Green has it in four guys who can catch passes, and must to overload defenses with the fear of it. It may be one of the few defenses against pressure the Jets have left.

New York Jets: Make or Break Year For Dustin Keller

This is a make or break year for New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller

New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller is entering the most crucial season of his NFL career. The team has understandably held off on giving him a large contract extension, instead choosing to wait and see how he produces in Tony Sparano’s offense. Through four years, Keller has been good but has never truly broke out in the way many around the team expect him to. This season, more than ever the Jets need the Pro-Bowl season that he has personally declared is on the way.

It doesn’t take an expert to see that the Jets are lacking proven offensive playmakers heading into this season, particularly in the passing game. Beyond that, Mark Sanchez is yet to have an opportunity to work with two of his top three receivers, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley, this pre-season because of his injuries. Without question, Keller is the receiver he is most comfortable with and should see a ton of passes coming his way all season.

Keller has never been able to sustain productivity throughout his career. The four seasons are marked by stretches of All-Pro caliber play followed by weeks of inactivity. The productivity tends to occur early in the season and then tail off throughout the year.

Last season, Keller caught 16 passes for 249 yards 2 touchdowns in the Jets first three games. Over the next six games, he only collected 15 receptions for 224 yards and o touchdowns. He improved slightly down the stretch but not much, finishing the season with only 5 touchdowns and 12.5 yards per reception. In 2010, it was the same story. He caught 5 touchdowns in the Jets first 4 games and then didn’t catch one the rest of the season. He also saw a gaudy early season yards per catch average drop off to 12.5 by the end of the year.

Keller needs to improve his consistency, his red-zone production and downfield playmaking ability. All of these issues don’t fall solely on him. It is fair to place blame on Brian Schottenheimer’s horizontal passing attack and perplexing game plans. It is also fair to blame Mark Sanchez for his occasional struggles.

Regardless, the top priority of the Jets passing game this year should be keeping Keller involved on a weekly basis and getting him the ball inside the 20 yard line. His yards per catch should improve thanks to Tony Sparano’s scheme. Anthony Fasano averaged 13.5 yards per catch and 14.1 yards per catch the past two years respectively and he is substantially less athletic and versatile than Keller.

It can’t be used as an excuse that defenses are keying on Keller. Santonio Holmes is enough of a threat on the outside to keep double teams away from Keller in most situations, nevermind if Stephen Hill develops into a viable deep threat. Keller needs to be moved around the formation to get matched up on defensive backs who he can take advantage of with his size, particularly in the red-zone. If he is seeing coverage from linebackers, the Jets have to get him down the seam where Mark Sanchez throws the ball particularly well.

The Jets can’t afford to have Keller go 5 straight weeks with less than 3 receptions. The Jets can’t afford Keller to have another 5 touchdown season. It is time to expand his route tree beyond bootlegs. Creativity will be needed because he is without question the team’s second best all around receiver and their most versatile weapon in the passing game.

New York Jets: Offensive Depth Still Area Of Concern

The New York Jets still have depth issues on the offensive side of the football

There is a fine line between having confidence in your young players and being ignorant about the depth on your roster. The New York Jets are walking that line right now. A suggestion for the addition of a veteran running back or wide receiver isn’t a questioning of the future potential of the youth at those positions but a call for needed insurance, in case of injury or a lack of productivity.

Let’s start at running back. Shonn Greene has stayed healthy throughout camp so far. He will likely receive minimal work throughout the pre-season and has proven to be fairly durable over the past two years. However, as we have mentioned before a rolled ankle or separated shoulder leaves the Jets perilously thin at running back for an offense built to be run heavy…very run heavy.

Yes, Bilal Powell has had a strong camp. He is likely the team’s best combo back because of a skill set has features traits needed for both a “A” and “B” back in their system. Powell has shown he can pass protect, catch the football well out of the backfield and mix up running inside and outside. That being said, he still hasn’t proven it in a NFL game and he is really ready to handle 20 carries in a game if Greene misses a few weeks?

Terrance Ganaway was back on the practice field today but has been banged up all throughout camp. He is a rookie 6th round pick. Joe McKnight did look good early in camp but seems to be losing ground to Powell as the team’s primary third down back. Beyond that, McKnight was very fragile with limited touches last year and is already nursing a shoulder injury this camp.

The question remains, why keep such an unproven (Powell, Ganaway) and injury prone (McKnight) group behind Greene with no support? Signing a player like Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant or swinging a trade for a player who is tumbling down the depth charts elsewhere like Knowshon Moreno is low risk, high reward move. Benson or Grant would come on a veteran minimum deal. Moreno wouldn’t cost more than a 6th round pick and has first round talent. You bring them into the rotation and if an injury occurs or  a 1B back never steps up on the Jets roster, you have insurance.

We have seen Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant and Knowshon Moreno run for a 100 yards in a NFL game. Insurance never hurts. New England is loaded at tight end because their offense is built around them. New Orleans and Green Bay is loaded at wide receiver because their offense is built around them. The Jets offense is built around their running game, why not work to be loaded at running back?

The presence of a veteran doesn’t mean you can’t give a player like Powell his touches. It just means that if he gets hurt or doesn’t perform in a game, you have another option.

At wide receiver, it is the walking wounded for the Jets. Santonio Holmes has sore ribs and he will miss the first pre-season game. Fine, he is a proven veteran and will be ready to go for the regular season. Stephen Hill has managed to stay healthy but remains a rookie. Patrick Turner has quietly put together a strong camp and does have a few NFL receptions under his belt. After that…everybody is hurt. Jeremy Kerley is out for another 1-2 weeks with a hamstring injury. Chaz Schilens has been banged up all throughout camp and has never been healthy in his NFL career. Jordan White is just returning from an injury and is a rookie. Dexter Jackson has flashed at times but is completely unproven.

Yesterday the Jets cut bottom of the roster dwellers Scotty “Can I have your girlfriend’s number?” McKnight and DaMarcus “why does this Jets Tweeter love me so much” Ganaway. The logical assumption would be that Mike Tannenbaum is getting ready to add somebody at the position. This makes sense because the Jets will be running out a 3 wide of Hill (0 NFL receptions), Turner (8 NFL receptions) and White/Jackson (0 NFL receptions) with Mark Sanchez this Friday if Holmes and Schilens don’t play.

Tannenbaum isn’t going to go big here. So get Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe out of your head (sorry fake Adam Schefter account from last night). If they look to the trade market, James Jones of Green Bay makes sense because of the surplus the Packers have at the position and because Randall Cobb has all but taken his job. Jones won’t be too pricey and is a proven big play receiver who can stretch a defense.

If they look to the free agent market, Greg Camarillo makes the most sense. He knows Sparano’s offense, is a reliable route runner and has very good hands. The hope is that Jordan White can seize the slot receiver role is Jeremy Kerley doesn’t get his act together but it never hurts to have insurance for a rookie 7th round pick. Again, Camarillo will cost you the veteran’s minimum. Low risk for a proven veteran if the injuries remain an issue.

It always better safe than sorry. Didn’t we learn that at the center position last season?

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New York Jets: WR Depth A Serious Concern

Chris Gross takes a closer look at the New York Jets depth issues at wide receiver

Among the positives that came out of yesterday’s Green and White scrimmage for the New York Jets, eyes were opened to a serious concern when starting Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes was sidelined with what was originally thought to be a fractured rib. X-rays have reportedly come back negative on Holmes, who is listed as day to day, however, with Mark Sanchez’s primary target down, it became truly evident how thin the Jets are at the Wide Receiver position.

Other than Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, there is an alarming lack of experience on the roster. Hopes are high for rookie Stephen Hill, but coming from a triple option offense at Georgia Tech, combined with the fact that he has never taken a single NFL snap, it is far too early to depend on him to carry the workload in the receiving corps. Jeremy Kerley had a very promising rookie campaign last season, but he’s been put in Rex Ryan’s dog house in the early days of training camp for what seems to be a conditioning issue. Regardless, Kerley is much more of a slot type receiver, who may not be very serviceable if plugged into the first or second spot on the depth chart.

Among the other receivers on the roster, newcomer Chaz Schilens has the most experience with four NFL seasons under his belt, however, his career has been plagued by injuries, having played a full 16 games in only his rookie season. Patrick Turner showed some positive signs at the end of last year, hauling in a touchdown in the season finale in Miami, but like many of his colleagues, he too has very little NFL experience, with just 20 games under his belt. Rookie Jordan White had an astounding college career at Western Michigan, but he has been hampered by a lingering foot injury during the first week of camp, so his potential level of production is still extremely hard to gauge.

To put it nicely, if Holmes were to miss significant time, New York would be more dependent on Sanchez and the run game than they have ever been. With this reality looming over the team, there is a good chance General Manager Mike Tannenbaum will look to bolster his group of receivers in some way, shape, or form. Certainly, trades are always a possibility with Tannenbaum, as he didn’t get the nickname “Trader Mike” because it has a nice ring to it. However with very few, if any, realistic trade scenarios out there, the most logical step would be to look at who remains in Free Agency. While there is certainly no abundance of talent left on the open market, New York could use, at the least, a veteran presence in its receiving corps. Here are some names to keep in mind in the coming weeks:

Greg Camarillo – 2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings, Stats: 13 GP, 9 receptions, 121 yards, 0 Touchdowns. 

Camarillo is coming off of his worst statistical season as a pro last year with the Vikings. However, the Quarterback situation in Minnesota was comparable to that of the Jacksonville Jaguars, simply atrocious. Donovan McNabb was released by December, and rookie Christian Ponder struggled greatly at times. However, Camarillo has a great sense of familiarity with new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano’s system. The sixth year veteran out of Stanford played for Sparano during his first two seasons at the Miami Dolphins’ Head Coach, and accumulated the two most productive seasons in his career. In the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Camarillo played in a combined 27 games, while catching 105 balls for 1,165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although these numbers aren’t jumping off of the stat sheets, this level of production looks impressive when compared to what is behind Holmes, if Camarillo can return to that under Sparano. The reliable target (0 drops in 2009) would likely come at a very cheap price as well. Tannenbaum may be picking up the phone to get him in for a workout at some point in the near future.

Mike Sims-Walker – 2011 Team: St. Louis Rams/Jacksonville Jaguars, Stats: 6 GP, 12 receptions, 150 yards, 0 Touchdowns (Season ending knee injury).

Sims-Walker faced a bit of a rough patch in his career last season, having played in just 6 games. However, before being hit by the injury bug, he was quite productive in 2009 and 2010 for Jacksonville, having played in 29 games while catching 106 passes for 1,431 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sims-Walker worked out for the Houston Texans in June, and reportedly looked healthy and impressive according to Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Concerns over his knee are likely why Sims-Walker remains a free agent, but he could be worth a glance.

Roy E. Williams – 2011 Team: Chicago Bears, Stats: 15 GP, 37 receptions, 507 yards, 2 Touchdowns.

Of the remaining free agents, Williams has probably been the most productive over the course of his career (393 receptions, 5,715 yards, 44 touchdowns), however he has been bounced around between Detroit, Dallas, and most recently, Chicago since becoming the 7th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. At 6’3” 215 lbs, Williams has the physical ability to contribute as a solid run blocker, something that is crucial in this offense, but he must be willing to do so. At 30 years old, he likely has some decent football left in him, and the Jets could certainly look his way as well.

Bernard Berrian – 2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings, Stats: 5 GP, 7 receptions, 91 yards, 0 Touchdowns.

Berrian hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2009, which was also the last time he caught a touchdown. After signing a $42 million dollar contract with Minnesota in 2008, Berrian was productive early for the Vikings (103 receptions, 1,582 yards, 11 touchdowns over 2008-2009 seasons combined). Unfortunately, like many of the others, he has been nagged by injuries lately, making him simply irrelevant. New York would be much better suited looking to one of the previous three, before kicking the tires on Berrian.

Anthony Gonzalez – 2011 Team: Indianapolis Colts, Stats: 8 GP, 0 receptions, 0 yards, 0 Touchdowns.

While the Quarterback situation in Indianapolis last year was well below par, Gonzalez has played in just 11 games over the past 3 seasons. He was signed by New England earlier this offseason, but was released prior to training camp due to lingering injuries. His career is seemingly over.

Terrell Owens – 2011 Team: Allen Wranglers (Indoor Football League), Stats: 8 GP, 35 receptions, 420 yards, 10 Touchdowns.

This is simply not going to happen. New York is trying to repair their public image and what many consider a fractured locker room, not further tarnish it.

Plaxico Burress – 2011 Team: New York Jets, Stats: 16 GP, 45 receptions, 612 yards, 8 Touchdowns.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently had a sit down with Burress, whom he reported to be in tremendous shape. While he was very productive in the red zone for the Jets last season, New York has simply moved on. Burress was publicly critical of Mark Sanchez and the organization after the conclusion of last season, yet still remains without a job. A reunion can be ruled out by nearly 100 percent.

It will be very interesting to see how this situation plays out in New York. The Jets have to be aware of the lack of experience on the depth chart behind Holmes and will likely look at some of the names mentioned above. While nothing is imminent, Mike Tannenbaum could be picking up the phone in a couple of weeks, particularly if the receiving corps does not impress in the early preseason games.

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