New York Jets Fact Or False: Sanchez, Holmes, and Linsanity Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False focuses on Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Lin

With less than a week to go before the New York Jets report to Cortland for the start of training camp, there have been countless topics and stories emerging on the Gang Green front, some good, some not so good. Regardless of what most sports books are predicting, we are carrying on as usual here at Turn On The Jets. For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we’ll examine some of those recent Jets topics heading into training camp, along with a little dose of Linsanity and America’s #1 new soap opera “As The Dwight Turns.”

Mark Sanchez is “The East Coast Alex Smith.” False.

In a recent article on Bleacher Report, columnist Michael Schottey referred to Mark Sanchez as “Alex Smith with a Jheri curl.” However, Schottey fails to provide any factual argument to back his proclamation. This is likely because there are no facts to support the comparison between the two. Smith has played three more seasons in the NFL than Sanchez has, yet has thrown for only 3,334 more yards, less than the total number of yards Sanchez threw for last season alone. Additionally, Smith has thrown for only 13 more touchdowns than Sanchez has while compiling a total of 7 more interceptions than number 6. Again, Smith has played six full NFL seasons to Sanchez’s three. Numbers aside, Sanchez has already won 4 playoff games on the road, while Smith has won just a single playoff game, at home. It is surely shocking how far people will go in their attempst to bash Sanchez, and this ignorant comparison is just the tip of an iceberg of criticism that the Jets’ QB has faced this season.

A more realistic comparison to Smith would actually be Jets’ backup Tim Tebow. Both players have a similar style of play and both played in the same system in college under Urban Meyer. However, Tebow also has 2 national championship victories and a Heisman trophy on his resume, while winning a playoff game in only his second season as opposed to Smith who took six seasons to finally win in the post season. As the roster stands now, Smith would be the third best quarterback on the Jets if he were in New York. As for the comparison to Sanchez, there is no debate.

Santonio Holmes will be the Jets scapegoat all season. Fact.

The perception of Holmes as the largest villain to grace Gotham City since the Joker isn’t dying anytime soon. In an interview on NFL Network this past week, Holmes simply stated the obvious fact that even the most casual NFL fan knows, when he said that teams cannot succeed in a two quarterback system. Could you imagine if Marques Colston or Hakeem Nicks said the same thing? They’d be laughed at for stating something so obvious, while lauded for praising their starting quarterbacks.

Not only did Holmes simply state what everyone already knew, but he actually defended Sanchez, while subtly telling everyone to pump the brakes on Tebowmania in New York for now. Holmes noted that, in order for a Quarterback to get into a rhythm, he needs to be allowed to make mistakes early in games, while settling in and growing comfortable. Holmes is far from stupid. He knows, just as everyone else covering the Jets knows, that the moment Sanchez makes the slightest mistake, most fans will be calling for Tebow to take the helm. However, Holmes also knows that this would not put his team in the best position to win games. Sanchez will make his mistakes, every quarterback does. The key to his success, as well as the success of the Jets, will be his teammates and coaches being confident enough to allow him to correct those mistakes.

The bottom line with Holmes is that he simply wants to win. However, no matter what he says, it will likely be turned in a negative, selfish manner, until he lets his play do the talking.

 The Jets will add RB depth heading into training camp. False.

Cedric Benson recently revealed that the Jets were one of the teams to check in with the free agent veteran running back this offseason. While Benson joining Gang Green surely isn’t out of the question, don’t expect any moves to be made on this front anytime soon. The Jets are moving forward with Shonn Greene as the starter this season, regardless of what some may think. They are also ready to see what Joe McKnight can do as the primary backup to Greene, and rightfully so. McKnight has improved drastically since his rookie season when he was questioned for his work ethic and commitment. With an increased role on Special Teams last season, McKnight thrived as a kick returner. The Jets are hoping a similar increased workload on offense will produce parallel results.

Aside from Greene and McKnight, New York is also very eager to see if Bilal Powell is serviceable, as well as what newcomers Terrance Ganaway and John Griffin can do. They added these players because they are confident that Tony Sparano’s system will allow each of them to produce. If they prove incapable of such a feat over the course of the preseaosn, then the Jets may revisit bringing in a veteran like Benson. For now, they are more than ready to move forward with what they have.

Mark Sanchez will make the Pro Bowl this season. False.

While Sanchez is poised for a breakout year, the odds are against him to make the Pro Bowl this season. The new offensive system under Tony Sparano will likely limit the amount of passing attempts Sanchez has, thus limiting the statistics that would get him elected to a Pro Bowl. Additionally, outside of Santonio Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, Sanchez has an entirely new arsenal of weapons this season, most of whom come with very limited, if any, NFL experience. While Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schillens, and Jordan White could all prove to be productive, it is going to take time for them to develop chemistry with Sanchez. While I firmly believe that Sanchez will be a Pro Bowl caliber Quarterback at some point in his career, this season is more about improving his accuracy and developing relationships with his new targets.

The Knicks made the right move letting Jeremy Lin leave. Fact.

Knicks fans seem split on this issue. Some are up in arms that James Dolan and co. allowed such a young and exciting player to leave after his brief stint of success last season, while others are perfectly content with the club’s decision to move in another direction. While Lin could certainly become a very good point guard, the luxury tax ramifications the Knicks would have had to pay in the third year of the deal he agreed to with Houston would have been far too large of a financial commitment to a player who is still somewhat unproven. Remember, Lin’s numbers dropped after the departure of Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks already have an abundance of money committed to Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, so taking a risk on Lin simply would not have been worth it. Additionally, what no one seems to be talking about, is the fact that Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. Surely, there are no signs that Paul wants out of Los Angeles, but don’t forget, he is good friends with Anthony, and even hinted at the idea of playing with him and Stoudemire at Anthony’s wedding last summer. While this is a shot in the dark, don’t think for a minute that this did not cross the minds of the Knicks’ brass in weighing the decision of whether or not to re up on Lin.

Dwight Howard will start the season in Orlando. False. The ongoing saga of this situation is growing far too annoying, not only to NBA fans, but to people around the league as well. Howard wants out of Orlando, seemingly worse than Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver, and will not ease his stance on this issue. The Magic will soon realize that they need to rid themselves of this headache and start fresh. While General Manager Rob Hennigan has been rightfully patient in weighing his options, the alleged three-team deal that could soon be in place soon between the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Magic will reveal itself as the best option for all clubs involved. With Howard now committing to signing long term in LA, Mitch Kupchak and co. will go above and beyond to get a deal done. My prediction? Howard starts the season in the purple and gold.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/17 – Jets Hype And NBA Edition

TOJ’s weekly Stock Watch looks at the negativity surrounding the Jets heading into the season and recent NBA headlines

Welcome back to TOJ’s Weekly Stock Watch by Mike Donnelly…make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter here and give Turn On The Jets a follow on Facebook here – 

With this being a bit of a dead period in the NFL, this week’s Stock Watch is going to focus mainly on the NBA offseason, but there are two Jets related Buys and Sells I’d like to start the column off with:

SELL: This article on TheJetsBlog.com – I’d like to thank the dozen or so people who pointed this out to me. Now, full disclosure here: I’m a big fan of that site and read it pretty regularly. I’m also fully aware that there are very few original ideas left out there when it comes to blogging or sports writing, but this is quite a coincidence here, isn’t it? I mean right down to the intro:

In my very first Stock Watch in which I bought and sold Jets players, I wrote this: “That got me thinking. What if we could buy and sell players and teams the way we do stocks?” before getting into the under and over valued player stocks I’d invest in.

In this TJB article? Slightly different: “If you woke up this morning thinking Football players are a helluva lot like publicly-traded stocks, you’re right!  Obviously.”, before getting into the buys and sells.

You can check the whole thing out yourself and let me know what you think, as it’s still a pretty good read. I mean after all, it was good when it was posted here on TurnOnTheJets.com two months ago, so why wouldn’t it still be good now, right? Ok, perhaps that was taking it too far with the self-praise. That ends the “patting myself on the back” portion of today’s column. Let’s move on.

BUY: All the Anti-Jets Sentiment out there – I’m not buying this nonsense because I agree with it or think that the Evan Silvas of the world are right; I’m buying this because I think it’s exactly what this Jets team needs to hear. Back when this team was at it’s best it was when they were the underdog facing uphill battles. They were the only ones who believed they could march through the playoffs and pull off upsets week after week. They need to get back to that “Us vs. the World” mentality and rally around each other. The media and football fans everywhere are just lining up waiting for the Jets to fail so they can mercilessly rag on them. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

(If you’re not an NBA fan or just came here for the Jets content, then this is where we should probably part ways for today. You’ve been warned.)

SELL: Kobe Bryant saying the 2012 Olympic team could beat the Dream Team – I want to just fill up this whole paragraph with “HA HA HA’s” but I’ll refrain from doing so. The notion that this team with Tyson Chandler as their only center could beat the famed 1992 Dream Team is so ridiculous on so many levels, that I don’t even know where to begin. We could start with the Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love vs. Hall of Famers Patrick Ewing and David Robinson in the post; Or maybe we can mention that the ’12 team would have no answer for Charles Barkley and Karl Malone; Maybe we can start by saying this year’s team nearly lost to BRAZIL last night and were actually down by double digits at one point. All would be great starting points in picking apart Kobe’s statements, but I choose this one: They had MICHAEL FREAKIN’ JORDAN. Sorry Kobe, you’re no Michael, and your team would learn a painful lesson in that fantasy matchup.

BUY: The Dream Teamers responses to Kobe – The way members of the Dream Team came out to basically laugh in Kobe’s face through the media over his comments was downright hilarious. From Magic Johnson taking to Twitter to Michael Jordan literally laughing out loud and basically calling Kobe an idiot while playing golf and smoking a cigar (Is there anybody cooler than Michael Jordan?), it was all very awesome, and I’d expect nothing less. Especially since they were all right. My favorite response, though, came from Scott Pippen, who was guest commentating during a USA team game the other day and casually started they’d win by at least 25 points in a head-to-head matchup.

BUY: The Knicks Bench Moves – I know a lot of people were down on adding two veterans pushing 40, but the Knicks picking up Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby, while retaining Steve Novak and JR Smith were pretty excellent moves for a team that lacked depth big time last year. When Iman Shumpert comes back from his knee injury during the season, this team is going to be very deep and potentially explosive. It’s easy to forget how great they were playing down the stretch last year before being wiped out by the Heat in the playoffs, but this team can absolutely make some noise next year.

SELL: Jason Kidd getting a DUI already – And then Jason Kidd goes and does something like this that makes you question bringing him into the fold. If the reports from TMZ.com are true that he had to be carried to his car after leaving the party he was at, it makes him an even bigger idiot. These guys really can’t just call a taxi? Really?

BUY: Carmelo Anthony’s comments on Jeremy Lin’s contract – I’ve seen a lot of fans and media talking heads jumping on Carmelo for saying Lin’s offer sheet was ridiculous… and I just don’t get it. It WAS ridiculous for the Rockets to offer him that much and it WOULD be ridiculous for the Knicks to match it with the luxury tax implications hanging over their heads. I agree with Carmelo, and JR Smith’s comments about Lin’s contract causing a problem in the locker room were very telling. It’s time for Linsanity to move on.

SELL: Linsanity – With Mike D’Antoni gone, there was a good chance “Linsanity” as we knew it was over anyway, but with his move to Houston, we will all forget his name soon enough. He can still be a good quality NBA point guard, but all the publicity and hoopla are finished. By 2014, Jeremy Lin will be a good punch line to many jokes, and I’m sure the “30 for 30: Linsanity” on ESPN will be cool to watch in five years.

New York Knicks: All About ‘Melo Now

It is time for Carmelo Anthony to make his mark on this city

Carmelo Anthony has had his moments since joining the New York Knicks last season. Unfortunately, they have been overshadowed by an alleged dispute with former head coach Mike D’Antoni and a winning streak that he wasn’t apart of. Yet, now Anthony is part of the Knicks winning 7 of their last 8, moving back to .500 and getting within striking distance of first place in the Atlantic Division…and now, more than ever, Anthony must assert himself as this team’s franchise player.

Amare Stoudemire is likely out until the playoffs begin, if he is lucky and the Knicks happen to get there. Jeremy Lin is banged up and won’t be suiting up tonight against Orlando, the conference’s third best team. Anthony is dealing with a groin pull himself which he gutted through in the fourth quarter and will gut through again tonight against the Magic. It is admirable to see him play through pain, especially when the lifting will be so heavy without his power forward and point guard.

The Knicks have quality role players around Anthony and have learned to win ugly with defense, hustle and rebounding which is a beautiful and welcome sight to basketball fans in this city who have fond memories of the early 90s. Yet, if they are going to get through this brutal stretch of the schedule which is filled with playoff caliber opponents, it must be Anthony who takes the lead on both ends of the floor. The Knicks need their franchise player to carry them to a playoff spot and just maybe a division title.

These are the kind of situations where elite players are made and Anthony knows that.

“A situation like this requires me to step my game up a little bit more, take it up a notch,” Anthony said. “I love moments like this.” – Carmelo Anthony on Monday.

The Knicks brought him here to love moments like this and to thrive in them. There is enough talent around Anthony to make some real noise in the Eastern Conference, now it is up to him to lead the charge.

Gutless New York Knicks Keep Losing

The gutless New York Knicks hit rock bottom today

A week ago I wrote an article about the New York Knicks failing a big test in Boston when they lost an overtime heartbreaker. The reality is that since Paul Pierce hit that ridiculous three pointer, the Knicks have played their worst basketball of the entire season.

You can tolerate losing when a team is out there scrapping and playing their hearts out. If you don’t have enough talent or catch enough breaks, losses happen and you can accept it. This isn’t the case with the Knicks team, who is overloaded with talent but lacks heart, leadership, and physicality which makes them nearly insufferable to watch at times.

There is no shame in losing in Dallas and San Antonio. Those are tough places to play against two very good teams. It is how they lost those games, by carelessly throwing the ball away and allowing a barrage of uncontested dunks, lay-ups and open three point attempts.

There is shame in losing in Milwaukee, especially when you allow 119 points to a subpar team. How are you letting the Bucks so clearly want a game more than you? Where is the pride?

Today was a must win game at home against the division leading Sixers. The Knicks responded with turnovers, weak defense, and a muddled offensive attack. It became clear by midway through the third quarter that they were going to be outclassed. Outclassed, despite having a roster with their type of talent.

Where does the blame go? Most people want to throw it at Carmelo Anthony but I think Bill Simmons was dead on his analysis of the anger being directed at Anthony in this article. He needs to get better on defense but he is the least of the Knicks problems right now. This is a team that needs to get better across the board on both ends of the floor. Mike D’Antoni needs to find the answers on offense because that is what he is supposed to be able to do. Defense comes from energy, hustle and the willingness to be great on that end of the floor. D’Antoni can’t force that on his players. They need to look in the mirror and step up.

There is a hesitancy to criticize Amare Stoudemire because he came here first last year and chose the Knicks in free agency. I don’t even care about him losing a step on offense. What I do care about is the putrid defensive that trickles down to the rest of this team. He is nearly 7 feet tall and has some measure of athleticism left. There is no reason for him to be THAT bad on defense.

Jeremy Lin has come back down to Earth. Nobody expects him to score at the rate he was last month. He must learn to protect the basketball however, just like Baron Davis must learn to protect the ball.

You can’t have a prominent big man on your team not defend and your point guards not protect the ball. It trickles down the bad habits to the rest of the team.

We are now at the point where it looks like the Knicks will be scrapping for the number eight seed in the East. I still believe anything can happen in these lockout shortened playoffs (see the Knicks last run to the NBA Finals), especially when you have Anthony in short series. For now, can we at least see a little heart?

New York Knicks Linsanity: Going Forward

Rob Celletti how will Jeremy Lin mesh with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire when they return?

Last night’s third episode of MSG’s new hit series “Linsanity” was a lot like the first two: exhilarating, uplifting, improbable and ultimately satisfying.  Jeremy Lin has single handedly revived a Knicks team that was practically dead in the water at 8-15 and given New York hope that its basketball team might make something of its 2012 season after all.

Lin’s first two NBA starts are statistically comparable to Isiah Thomas and LeBron James. Pause and read that sentence again. Furthermore, his coach tacitly compared him to Steve Nash. Don’t mistake me for a D’Antoni supporter – I honestly believe he was the main reason for the team’s inexcusably bad start – but the coach knows a thing or two about point guards.

The excitement over Lin is palpable, and even though he’s only played a significant role in three games, it’s very possible that the Knicks have found their solution at point guard. So now the question is, what happens when Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire return?

The Knicks’ offensive efficiency problems have been well-documented since they traded for Carmelo Anthony a year ago. The terms “volume shooter” and “ball-stopper” are commonplace in the Knicks fan’s vernacular. Many analysts don’t believe it’s possible for Stat and ‘Melo to coexist with just one basketball between them.

These are real problems. But if Mike D’Antoni is, as advertised, an offensive guru, now that he has a functioning point guard at his disposal, I think it’s reasonable to expect the Knicks to play at a very high level once their superstars return. Here’s why:

First of all, there might not be a better finisher at the basket than Stoudemire, especially off the pick-and-roll. That’s the bread and butter of the D’Antoni system and Lin has already proven that he can execute it. His instincts are top-notch in terms of whether to keep the ball, pass it to the roll guy, or kick out to an open shooter.

Then, there’s ‘Melo. Make no mistake, I’m a big Carmelo Anthony fan. I’m about as steadfast in my defense of the trade as I am in my defense of Mark Sanchez, which if you know me, is pretty steadfast.  The point is that Anthony is one of the best pure scorers on planet Earth right now and any team with him on the roster is potentially dangerous. But he needs to be deployed the right way, and D’Antoni’s experiment with him at point-forward failed miserably.

Ideally, Anthony will live in his favorite spot on the floor: the wing. Except he won’t start with the ball on every set. Maybe the Knicks screen for him and get an easy bucket on a backdoor cut. Maybe when Lin drives, Anthony’s defender will leave him to help on Lin, and Anthony will have a wide open 18 foot jumper. And yes, there still should be some isolation plays in the Knicks’ arsenal, because there’s no denying ‘Melo’s 1-on-1 talent when he’s firing on all cylinders (see last year’s legendary 48-point performance vs. Boston in the playoffs).

Most importantly, Lin makes the Knicks deeper, allowing them to slot the rest of their players into their natural positions. Iman Shumpert and (hopefully) Toney Douglas will be the energetic combo guards off the bench. Steve Novak and Bill Walker the outside threats, and Jared Jeffries the defensive specialist. If Baron Davis ever gets healthy, he’s certainly not a bad guy to share the backcourt with Lin and show him the ropes in the NBA.

Don’t expect the hysteria to last forever, but at the very least, Jeremy Lin has brought some energy back to the Knicks. Now, the team needs to sustain that success, especially when its two superstars return.

New York Knicks: Complete Linsanity

Jeremy Lin has brought life into a previously lifeless Knicks season. How long can it last?

What is going on here? In a fairly joyless past few months of sports watching, this Jets/Knicks fan finally has something to feel positive about. Out of nowhere, it appears the starving for a point guard Knicks have found their man buried on their own bench. Of course I am talking about Jeremy Lin, who turned some heads Friday night, nearly brought the roof of the Garden Monday night and led the Knicks to their third straight victory tonight.

I am sorry but it is hard to buy any fluke talk about Lin’s talent when he goes for a minimum of 20 points and 8 assists in three straight games, especially with two coming against DeRon Williams and John Wall. Tonight he racked up 23 points and a career high 10 assists en route to a 107-93 win over the Washington Wizards. For the second straight game, the Knicks were without both Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire but still found a way to win.

I am aware two of the three previous wins have come against the lowly Nets and Wizards. Yet, it is admirable how scrappy the Knicks have been the past two games without their two superstars. It is exciting to imagine the possibilities of this offense when they are at full strength. Having a point guard who produces like Lin, makes a world of difference especially for a team who was so inconsistent in that area like the Knicks.

In the immediate future, the Knicks are going to have a hard time this weekend facing the Lakers and Timberwolves without Anthony and Stoudemire. If they could find a way to split, they will be in good shape to make a run back to .500 when they return the following week. The absence of Stat and Melo has forced the Knicks to discover how to move the ball again on offense, spearheaded by Lin. Also spearheaded by Lin is Tyson Chandler playing his best basketball of the season, Steve Novak turning into a major weapon off the bench, and Landry Fields playing with a ton of confidence.

If…if Lin keeps playing at this level, the Knicks could have a very solid backcourt rotation to compliment their big three up front in the second half of the year. Lin, a healthy Baron Davis, an improving Iman Shumpert, and Fields playing like the first half of last season isn’t half bad.

There appears to be hope in a season that was once looking hopeless for the Knicks. Like a quarterback in football, a point guard can change everything.

Let the Linsanity continue.