First a few updates:
1. Your 2009 AL East Champs…The New York Yankees.
2. I review the weekend for the AFC East and entire NFL tomorrow, but just as a preface: The Jets aren’t looking so stupid for trading Chad Pennington anymore are they? It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming this year for the Dolphins who are well on their way to a 4-12 season. Pennington has never put together back to back healthy seasons in his career. Their schedule is substantially harder and they generally lack talent (especially in an overhyped, overrated linebacker core). Enjoy beginning to play out the string in October Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, and the rest of Dolphins nation. I do feel bad for Chad, who I always liked and I hope he gets healthy soon but how can I not enjoy the Dolphins being 0-3?
3. I actually felt bad for Eric Mangini watching his press conference yesterday. The Browns actually might go 0-16. It sounds like there isn’t a more hated coach in the league right now, since at least five of his players are filing grievances with the NFL about his fines. I thought Favre was more to blame than Mangini last year but I don’t understand why it appears that he didn’t learn anything from the mistakes he made with the Jets.
4. Speaking of those 3-0 Jets, I saw on ESPN that they are early 6.5 point underdogs to the Saints. This will be the third time in four games the Jets are underdogs.
5. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 is his weekly Power Rankings and put Darrelle Revis #5 on his MVP watch list.
6. Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Titans highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.
Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game
Quarterbacks: (B-) Sanchez came out of the gate on fire, then turned into the rookie he is supposed to be, and then finished strong enough for the Jets to get a win. It was an up and down for “The Sanchise,” who finished 17/30 for 171 yards, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The positives? He showed his toughness by barreling over Michael Griffin in the end-zone, had a beautiful play fake on his touchdown pass to Ben Hartsock, and showed his arm strength/accuracy on a picture perfect 46 yard connection down the side-line to Jerricho Cotchery. The negatives? He needs to work on his ball handling. The rain led to the ball slipping out of his hands a few times, and he was also stripped because he kept the ball too low. Also, don’t pile all the interception blame on Chansi Stuckey because Sanchez sailed that pass.
Running Backs: (D) Not a pretty day for Thomas Jones, who finished with 20 yards on 14 carries. Leon Washington had slightly better luck (12 carries, 46 yards) but still averaged less than 4 yards per carry. We are still waiting for Leon to rip off his first big run of the season and Jones looked a step slow to the hole, even though he wasn’t aided by the offensive line, who struggled. Don’t be surprised if Shonn Greene slowly begins to be worked into the offense next week. The Jets didn’t draft him to sit on the bench all season.
Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery played a terrific game and is turning me into a believer that he could be a legit number one receiver. He is catching every thing that comes near him and showed his speed on his 46 yard over the shoulder grab and his toughness on his touchdown catch. Brad Smith finally registered a couple of catches, including an impressive 16 yard grab as he a took a huge hit. Chansi Stuckey was quiet and David Clowney was inactive, which wasn’t surprising considering the conditions.
Tight Ends: (B) How great was Ben Hartsock’s prototypical white guy who has never scored a touchdown celebration? It consisted of him jumping straight up and down while holding up the #1 sign and then having an awkward timed jump into D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Dustin Keller had a leaping 18 yard catch on the first drive but was quiet after. I’d like to see the Jets get him more involved (probably because I have him on my fantasy football team).
Offensive Line: (D) You have to expect better than 83 rushing yards and three allowed sacks from an offensive line with this much talent. They also need to cut back on the penalties.
Defensive Line: (B) Great games by Kris Jenkins (2 TFL’s) and Shaun Ellis (.5 sack, 1 TFL). Sione Pouha and Marques Douglas were also active up front. The unit did a good job keeping Chris Johnson under 100 yards and was constantly pushing the pocket on Kerry Collins.
Linebackers: (A) Bart Scott was all over the field and David Harris keeps making big plays. Bryan Thomas has quietly put together a strong three games to start the season. Vernon Gholston looks like he is actually improving. I was somewhat surprised to Jamaal Westerman end up being inactive.
Secondary: (B) They were defintley some breakdowns and Kerry Collins threaded the needle on them a few times. However, Drew Coleman stepped up and had a great game as the nickel back. I still can’t believe this is the same Eric Smith from the past three years. He is all over the field and has turned into one of the Jets top playmakers on defense (6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception). Jim Leonhard always seems to be around the ball. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes didn’t have their best days. Dwight Lowery was okay as a replacement for Lito Sheppard.
Special Teams (A+) Forced two key turnovers that were the reason the Jets won on Sunday. Great all around play by Jason Trusnik on fumble during the kick return. Brad Smith made a smart play by wrapping up Ryan Mouton to prevent him from recovering his muffed punt and Larry Izzo hustled down to make the recovery. Jay Feely has now made 19 straight field goals. Steve Weatherford had one bad shank but beyond that had a decent day.
Coaching: (B) It was a good decision to come out with the no-huddle, passing attack which caught the Titans off guard. Rex Ryan started out with a less aggressive scheme but with the game on his line, went back to what the Jets do best, blitz the hell out of the quarterback. The bottom line is that the Jets avoided a natural let-down game and found a way to win without having their “A” game.
Jets/Titans Game Highlights