TOJ Interview: LaDainian Tomlinson

Future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson was nice enough to take a few minutes to talk with TOJ about his work with with Gatorade this off-season, how he is staying in shape during the lockout, the future of the Jets backfield, Mark Sanchez and more…

TOJ: What led to your decision to work with the Gatorade G Series and GNC Athletic Performance Clinic at Mission Viejo High School this past week?

LT: I have had a relationship with Gatorade for years and when they came out with the G Series Pro Line, we thought it was perfect for what I am all about, which is nutrition and taking care of your body. So we are out here at Mission Viejo High School teaching kids about what they need to learn on that topic. Young athletes need to know that what you put into your body is what you are going to get out of your body.

TOJ: Outside of the Jets West, how have you worked to stay in shape this off-season with the lockout currently in place? Also, have you worked with any other teammates besides your days at Jets West?

LT: I have been doing my own thing. I normally work with a trainer all off-season. I have always been a guy who doesn’t take much time off anyway. Overall, I am just staying in good shape and making sure I am on top of my game for when football starts back up. I have been talking with some of my teammates and we are planning workouts together in the New Jersey area in the coming month.

TOJ: Can you talk about your relationship with Mark Sanchez and how he has grown into a leader on this football team?

LT: Every year single year in the NFL you grow and that is what we have seen from Mark. He has really taken the challenge of being the coach on the field this off-season because he knows what the coaches will expect from everybody. He has mastered the ins and outs of what all of us on the field are supposed to be doing. I’ve been in this offense for a long time, so I also know what is going with everyone, which means Mark can come to me about different stuff and I can go to him to ask what he wants in different situations. He is not a hard guy to get along with. Mark is a passionate about what he does, wants to win, and is overall a great guy.

TOJ: Earlier this off-season, you said you were ready to embrace the role of a third down back on this team, which is not a common thing for running backs in the NFL to say. What was the thinking behind that statement?

LT: This is my 11th year and I am a guy who still has something left in the tank. I want to use that in terms of coming out of the backfield, running routes, and blocking in third down situations, which is an important role on the team. I feel like it is necessary because we have a guy in Shonn Greene, who can handle the bulk of the carries. That doesn’t mean I won’t carry the ball ever, but I just don’t need to be the primary ball carrier. I want to be the guy who keeps the chains moving.

TOJ: Can you talk about the young running backs on this team, specifically Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight?

LT: I think Shonn definitely has what it takes. It is all about knowing your role and what is expected out of you. The last two years he has learned alot and taken the challenge on. He is ready to become a lead back in this league. Joe has shown flashes and glimpses that he can handle being a productive NFL back. He is versatile and can do a little bit of everything: return kicks, catch the ball, and block. I think he definitely has potential but now it is all about learning, honing your skills and perfecting it.

New York Jets: What To Do With All Those Running Backs?

One the of more crowded positions on the Jets roster heading into the 2011 season will be running back, where four players will be battling for reps and touches. Let’s take a quick look at the depth chart —

1. Shonn Greene

  • 2010 stats – 185 carries, 766 yards, 2 touchdowns.
  • 3rd year veteran, strong inside runner who has an ability to wear down a defense and pop a big run.
  • Struggles with consistency, fumbling, and injuries.

Greene is coming off a disappointing 2010 season where he never seized the starting job. Rex Ryan has been on record has saying Greene will be his “bell cow” this season and that the starting job is his to lose. It will be interesting to see how he can handle 17-20 carries on a weekly basis if the Jets give him that opportunity.

2. LaDainian Tomlinson

  • 2010 stats – 219 carries, 914 yards, 6 touchdowns.
  • Future hall of famer, great vision and quickness. Excellent receiver out of the backfield.
  • Aging, struggled down the stretch last season.

Tomlinson exceeded expectations last year, especially in the first half of the season. He gradually began to wear down but still was productive in the playoffs. Tomlinson has already publicly embraced the role of third down back and is a valuable leader on the Jets offense.

3. Joe McKnight

  • 2010 stats – 39 carries, 189 yards
  • 2010 4th round draft pick, selected for speed, big play ability, and receiving skills.
  • Overwhelmed in rookie year and never made any signifigant contributions.

Everybody is waiting to see if Joe McKnight’s rookie struggles will provide a kick in the butt for him in year two. He has plenty of talent and potential but can he carve out a role for himself in the Jets offense? Hopefully, he can contribute on outside handoffs or tosses, screens, and use his receiving ability occasionally in the slot.

4. Bilal Powell

  • 2011 4th round pick
  • Had monster senior season at Louisville after three quiet years.
  • Similar running style to Shonn Greene.

The Powell selection surprised many but the Jets are hoping he can develop into Shonn Greene’s long term backup, while McKnight works into being the third down back eventually. Powell could have a shot to make an impact his rookie year if there are injuries or McKnight struggles in training camp again.

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #14

After a one week hiatus for the NFL Draft, the 12 pack is back with twelve assorted thoughts about the New York Jets…

1. Rex, Rex, Rex – The guy is everywhere. He might have did about 4,000 interviews this past week to promote his new book, which I am currently working through. I can tell you already that it is a must read for any Jets fan or anybody who gets a kick out of Ryan’s personality. Yet, if you don’t like Rex, it will be just be more fuel to your fire. He remains true to himself in the book, which is no filter, borderline cocky, and brutally honest. Do I think it is a little much for Ryan to be writing a book two years into becoming a head coach, without a winning Super Bowl? Not necessarily, the guy has enough stories to tell with his long assistant coaching history, being Buddy Ryan’s son, and the amount that has happened in his first two years as a head coach to craft an interesting read, so more power to him.

Very glad to see that Rex didn’t go on Mike Francesa’s show by the way.

2. The People’s Champ – Braylon Edwards popularity with Jets fans has skyrocketed over the past year. His decision to show up for Jets West and even mention taking a hometown discount, when SantonioHolmes was nowhere to be found and has already made it clear he has no interest in signing the Jets tender and wants to go to the team where he can get the most money possible, has only helped Braylon’s popularity. Most fans seem to believe Braylon’s heart is truly in New York and admired the consistency and toughness of his play in 2010. Does that mean he will be back or will take a discount that will actually make a different? Only time will tell…

3. LT Glide – I am going to expand on this in an article for SB Nation later in the day, but you have to love the attitude of LaDainian Tomlinson. How about this first ballot hall of famer taking the time to attend Jets West with mostly rookies and also saying he will embrace being a third down back in 2011? Tomlinson has been a model teammate since joining the Jets and is beyond valuable with the leadership and experience he provides on offense.

4. Tiger Formation – It is was also impressive that Brad Smith decided to show up for Jets West without a contract. There is a good chance he won’t be back next year, as another team will probably offer him more money and a bigger role on offense, yet if he does end up back he will have a jump on getting more reps at receiver if Edwards or Holmes leaves.

5. Too Early On The Compliments – All the beat writers have been raving about fifth round pick Jeremy Kerley, by saying how quick and fluid he looks at receiver. Let’s see this guy in pads and with some defenders around him first before giving him too much credit. I do think he has good potential but you can’t get worked up over any thing you saw at these past workouts.

6. My Two Cents – On the Braylon/Santonio and defensive backs debate I posted earlier this week – I think Holmes is a better all-around receiver than Edwards, but if Edwards will come that much cheaper than it could be a smarter move to bring him back. Beyond that, if Holmes refuses to sign his one year tender as a restricted free agent (if he remains that under the new CBA), then try to work out a trade for him if he isn’t going to be reasonable on his long term contract demands. The Jets don’t need another holdout headache this summer. In terms of the DBs, I think Antonio Cromartie and Brodney Pool should be brought back as starters, and then you go from there depending how much money guys like Eric Smith and Drew Coleman are being offered. The Jets should be able to work out a fairly cheap deal with James Ihedigbo.

7. McKnight Anger – Glad to hear Joe McKnight is “pissed” and that it “added fuel to his fire” when the Jets selected Bilal Powell in the NFL Draft. McKnight should already be pissed about how he represented himself last year. If he has head on straight, he has an immense amount of talent and can be a dynamic playmaker in the Jets offense. Let’s hope the Powell selection helps push him even harder this off-season.

8. What About Powell? – You never know, especially with injuries but I think Powell will likely end up spending many games inactive this season. After LaDainian Tomlinson retires, hopefully he can become Shonn Greene’s primary backup, while McKnight moves into the third down role.

9. Entourage – How does everybody feel about the selection of Scotty McKnight? Does it bother you to see the Jets selecting Mark Sanchez’s buddy or do you think his chemistry with Sanchez and productivity at Colorado will lead to a successful NFL career?

10. Jets/Giants – How much fun is Christmas Eve going to be? Personally, I think Rex stirring the pot on a rivalry that isn’t really there is a great thing and will just make their regular season meeting that much more entertaining. Since Rex has taken over, the Jets have been the better, more interesting, and more entertaining team…let’s just hope that will equal a Super Bowl sooner rather than later because it is going to take one of those for the Jets to truly dominate this town.

11. Lockout – stay…appeal…stay…8th circuit…deny…stay…appeal…the clock is ticking.

12. Weekend Video Clip – More Muhammad Edition

What Can Jets Get Out Of Joe McKnight Next Year?

The highlights of Joe McKnight’s rookie season were vomit, fumbles, and failed conditioning tests…not exactly what the Jets were hoping for when they traded Leon Washington away and drafted McKnight in the 4th round last year.

There was a flash of light at the end of the tunnel however when McKnight played well in the Jets meaningless regular season finale, posting 158 yards on 32 carries. He also began to become a decent special teams contributor toward the end of the season. Did McKnight learn his lesson and was this a sign of things to come, or are we kidding ourselves getting excited about a game that was treated like the pre-season and a few good reps on the punt team?

Rex Ryan has talked about giving McKnight a bigger role on the offense in his second year. The Jets drafted him to be their long term third down back but he won’t quite have that role this year because of LaDainian Tomlinson’s presence. Regardless, you would think the Jets will have a package of plays to keep him involved on a consistent basis.

McKnight was drafted because of his speed and versatility. He has the ability to be split out and be a threat catching passes out of the backfield. When the Jets decide to attempt a screen pass (which has been a recurring nightmare under Brian Schottenheimer), McKnight should be a frequent target. He should be also getting reps on stretch plays and tosses that take advantage of his speed.

It is has also been revealed that Jim Leonhard will no longer return punts, which opens up an opportunity for McKnight  on special teams. There is also a chance he could be the team’s kick returner if Brad Smith doesn’t come back next season.

Nobody is expecting a monster year from McKnight in 2011. Yet, he needs to provide a few productive plays each week on offense, along with becoming a reliable returner. If he can do that, he will take a big step in the right direction towards becoming this team’s long term third down back.

How To Use LaDainian Tomlinson In 2011

One of the more interesting quotes from Rex Ryan out of the league meetings, was the following on their running back situation —

Rex on Joe McKnight “”I think he’s earned more opportunities, he could play ahead of Shonn and LT in some things. He’s earned that. Clearly, we have a 1-2 punch with Greene as our bell cow and LT. But I think this kid Joe McKnight has earned some reps.”

The first question might be, is how the hell did McKnight earn some reps? I assume he is talking about his strong performance in the season finale against Buffalo and perhaps he did some good work in practice. McKnight did also flash a little bit on special teams and nearly blocked a couple of punts.

Regardless of his overall lackluster rookie year, I do agree with Ryan, the Jets need to give McKnight a shot to contribute on offense. They spent a fourth round pick on him and there is no question that he has plenty of talent, speed, and versatility. Ideally, you want him to develop into the team’s long term third down back.

Ryan calling Shonn Greene the “bell cow” is also encouraging and corroborates what have heard about Greene taking over as the lead back in 2011. It is time to see if Greene has the make-up to be a 1200-1300 yard back and the only way to find out is to give him around 20 carries each week.

If everybody develops the way the organization is hoping for, the Jets will be set at fullback (John Conner), halfback (Greene), and third down back (McKnight) for a long time. However, where does that leave LaDainian Tomlinson in what will likely be his final year in the NFL?

We all saw how impressive he was the first half of the 2010 season but also saw how he gradually wore down. Tomlinson did rise up in the playoffs with a big game against the Colts and a solid effort against New England but then seemed to burn out again in the AFC Championship Game.

He will only be a year older in 2011 and with more reps needed for both Greene and McKnight, it will be on Brian Schottenheimer to figure out how to get the most out of him.

Outside of the leadership he provides, Tomlinson still has value to the Jets offense. He should be the primary third down back, with McKnight being gradually groomed into the role. Tomlinson can also contribute in short yardage, and can spell Greene for a series or two each half.

If Tomlinson’s touches are limited to around 10 a game, the Jets should be able to get a productive season from him, with LT occasionally providing big plays and giving them a consistent weapon on third down. He is a good check down option for Mark Sanchez and with Tony Richardson and Damien Woody likely not returning in 2011, he will be a necessary veteran voice in the huddle.

I will post it any chance I get —

New York Jets 2011 Backfield Taking Shape

Tuesday was a day filled with news on the New York Jets running back position. From the various beat reports surrounding the team, we learned three things —

  1. LaDainian Tomlinson will be back in 2011 to finish out his contract.
  2. Despite returning, Tomlinson will be used in more of a complimentary role, with Shonn Greene becoming the feature back and Joe McKnight receiving more work on offense.
  3. John Conner will be the starting fullback in 2011.

None of these items of news are surprising and are logical decisions considering the age of everybody involved and how last season finished.

It is smart to bring Tomlinson back to maintain depth in the backfield. He is a valuable leader on the offense and is an excellent security blanket for Mark Sanchez. However, he shouldn’t be receiving anywhere near the number of carries he did last year as he faded pretty strongly down the stretch and is only getting older. Tomlinson can be a very valuable weapon in a complimentary role but it is Shonn Greene’s turn to really get a shot at being the feature back.

Considering Greene’s rushing style, he needs to be given 15-20 carries on a weekly basis to be the most effective. He never received that chance in 2010. Let’s see him get around 20 carries on a weekly basis so we can find out if he is our feature back of the future.

Joe McKnight was a major disappointment in his first year but the Jets held on to him because he was a fourth round pick. He gave the team some hope with his performance in week 17 but it is time to see what he can bring to this offense. Hopefully he is going to be the Jets long term third down/change of pace back and now he will gradually have the role handed to him from Tomlinson.

At fullback, the writing was on the wall for John Conner to take over for Tony Richardson when the season ended. Conner got a full year learning behind one of the best in the business at his position and should be ready to start now. Richardson, a class act and true professional, will likely now retire after a long, successful NFL career.

Give us something next year, McKnight

Looking Back on 2010 New York Jets Predictions Part 1

Before the season began, I made 40 predictions for the 2010 New York Jets. Let’s see how I did in my first 20…I never claimed to be Nostradamus and I have a feeling this article will show that I am far from it

1. Despite potentially missing up to four games, Calvin Pace will still lead the Jets in sacks this season with 8.5. David Harris and Jason Taylor won’t be far behind with 6.5 each. WRONG — Bryan Thomas led the team with 6 sacks, Pace only finished with 5.5. Harris finished with 3 sacks and Taylor ended with 5. Can we get a pass rush?

2. Darrelle Revis won’t begin playing at his 2009 level until around week five. However, that doesn’t mean he still won’t be very, very good the first few weeks. WRONG — Revis was good week one against the Ravens but hurt himself in week two. He didn’t start playing at his 2009 level until around week 7 or 8.

3. Antonio Cromartie will lead the Jets in interceptions with 7. RIGHT…Kind of — Cromartie did tie Dwight Lowery for the team lead in interceptions, but it was only at 3, not 7.

4. Kris Jenkins will benefit from having Sione Pouha spell him and from his weight loss this off-season to put together an All-Pro year. WRONG — Jenkins was lost for the season in the first quarter of the Jets first game this year.

5. Vernon Gholston will finally record his first NFL sack at some point during the 2010 season and prove to be a decent part of the defensive line rotation. WRONG — Gholston never recorded a sack and never became a consistent contributor on the defensive line.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 2010, finishing with 19 TDs to 14 INTs. RIGHT — Sanchez did throw for more touchdowns than interceptions, finishing with 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions…not bad TOJ…not bad.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish with 950 total offensive yards and 8 total touchdowns. WRONG — Tomlinson finished with 1,282 rushing yards and 6 total touchdowns, exceeding most of our expectations.

8. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in rushing yards with 1200, and also add on 6 touchdowns of his own. WRONG — Tomlinson led the Jets with 914 rushing yards, Greene finished with 766. I still want to see what Greene can do with 20+ carries in more than one game next season.

9. Joe McKnight will make no significant contributions to the Jets offense this season. RIGHT — Bingo…no week 17 doesn’t count.

10. Jerricho Cotchery will lead the Jets in receptions, Dustin Keller won’t be far behind him and lead the team in touchdown receptions. WRONG — Dustin Keller led the Jets in receptions and Braylon Edwards led the way in touchdown receptions. Cotchery had a fairly disappointing year.

11. Motivated by not being the only member of the Core Four who didn’t get paid, David Harris will put together his best career season and get Patrick Willis type money next off-season. TBA — It is hard to say whether Harris had his best career year, statistically he certainly didn’t but he was voted Team MVP. He just received the franchise tag, which gives him the average pay of the top five linebackers in the league and there is still a good chance he will get a long term deal.

12. Kyle Wilson will put together a strong rookie year as the Jets nickel back and will eventually become the primary punt returner. He will have two interceptions and two sacks in 2010. WRONG — Wilson struggled on defense and special teams, finishing with zero interceptions and zero sacks.

13. Shaun Eliis will have a quiet but productive year with 4 sacks, in what will likely be his final season in green and white. RIGHT — Sounds about right to me as Ellis finished with 4.5 sacks but was still strong in run support. Let’s hope he comes back to finish his career in New York.

14. Brodney Pool will get his feet under him in the Jets defense after the bye week and finish the season strongly, proving to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes. RIGHT — It took a little longer than I thought but Pool did play better after the bye week and finished the season especially strong. I would argue he was better than Kerry Rhodes was for the Jets in 2009.

15. The Jets will go 4-2 in their six games prior to their bye week. WRONG — The Jets went 5-1 in their six games prior to their bye week, not far off though.

16. The Jets will finish 7-3, en route to a 11-5 record and AFC East title. — RIGHT…kind of, I know they actually finished 6-4 in these games but I still got the final record right despite them not winning the AFC East.

17. The Jets will split with Miami and New England. RIGHT — They split with both teams.

18. The Jets will avoid their yearly letdown against the Bills and sweep them in 2010. RIGHT — Yes, he is heating up…

19. Braylon Edwards will start the season strongly and remain a big play threat for the entire year. Yet, there won’t be enough touches for him to approach 1,000 yards receiving or have any more than 5-6 touchdowns. RIGHT — I am giving myself this one, Edwards started the year strong and was a big play threat all season. He didn’t reach 1,000 yards, finishing with 904 and ended with 7 touchdowns.

20. Santonio Holmes return will be a major boost to the Jets offense in week 5 and he will develop into their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs. RIGHT/WRONG — Holmes was a huge boost to their offense and even though you would hesitate to say he was their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs, he did lead the team in receiving yards in weeks 9, 10, 11, and 13 and led the team in receiving touchdowns during the playoffs.

Check back tomorrow to see how I did in the last 20…

Who Will Lead the Ground and Pound in 2011?

In his end of the year press conference, Mike Tannenbaum left the door open for LaDainian Tomlinson being potentially released before the 2011 season starts. As of now, I would still stay it sounds more likely that Tomlinson will be back to finish out his contract with the New York Jets but this team hasn’t been shy about cutting veterans as the season approaches in the past.

Under the assumption that Tomlinson is back in 2011, it would have to be in a reduced role which is something Tomlinson himself said he would be open to in a recent interview. Shonn Greene was never really given the chance to shine as a feature back because of a fast start by Tomlinson and a fumble in week one by Greene.

Considering the type of back Greene is, he needs more carries to be at his best. He has the ability to wear down a defense and remain strong into the fourth quarter of a game. Unfortunately, Greene was only given more than 20 carries once all season and had 12 or less carries in nine games.

In 2011, Greene needs to be in the 17-22 carry range, week in and week out to see if he can be the 1,200 yard back we all think he is capable of being. There also needs to be a role for Joe McKnight in the offense this season. I am aware what a let-down he was in 2010 but he did show potential against Buffalo in week 17 and there is no question he has talent as both a runner and receiver.

Personally, I am all for Tomlinson coming back in 2011. Yet, it needs to be as the team’s primary third down back and as a guy who occasionally spells Greene for a series or two. He shouldn’t be getting more than 8-10 touches a game on offense, considering McKnight should get a shot unless he falls flat on his face in pre-season again. The Jets would be too thin at running back if they let Tomlinson walk, unless of course they could find a way to get Chauncey Washington or Danny Woodhead back.

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12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #1

We can’t just stop the 12 pack because the Jets decided to only play one half in the AFC Championship Game. On to edition #1 of the off-season 12 pack, but not before a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets)…check out that new Twitter bar on the side of the home page, not bad right? A special thanks to Will Horton who migrated TOJ off the Fanball server and on to our new one.

1. The Running Backs – I am certainly not against LaDainian Tomlinson coming back for another year with the New York Jets. He is a valuable outlet for Mark Sanchez and provides necessary leadership on the offensive side of the football. However, the Jets have to be careful to not let him stunt the growth of Joe McKnight and especially Shonn Greene. Due to Tomlinson’s strong start, Greene never really received the chance to develop into the number one back we all envisioned him as. Down the stretch when he started to play better, he still wasn’t getting enough carries because Tomlinson maintained a big role in the offense.

Joe McKnight wasn’t ready to contribute this past season but did show signs of hope towards the end of the year. The coaching staff apparently loves his skill set and the only way to see if he can become a part of this offense is to give him a chance. If Tomlinson returns, it needs to be in a reduced role that allows Greene to get 17-20 carries a game and McKnight to get 7-9 offensive touches himself at running back and receiver. The future of this backfield is Greene, McKnight, and John Conner at fullback and the future should start in 2011.

2. The Mark Sanchez Question – I am still amazed at how hesitant some people are to give Sanchez credit for the type of season he put together in 2010. There is no question he struggles with inaccuracy at times and hits stretches of inconsistency, however on the whole he threw 5 more touchdowns and 7 less interceptions, along with over 800 more yards than he did his rookie year. He took major strides forward in his second year as a starting quarterback and is developing into one of the best quarterbacks in the league at avoiding the pass rush and making a play outside of the pocket. Most importantly, he has the necessary intangibles to be a leader of a team and consistently plays well in big spots. The guy has four road playoff victories in his first two years and has a bright future as the Jets offense becomes more aggressive.

3. Changing Faces – Marcus Dixon, Marquice Cole and James Ihedigbo are three role players who I expect to see more playing time on defense in 2011. They all showed potential in limited reps and with at least a few defensive backs and defensive lineman leaving as free agents or being released, should get an opportunity to create bigger roles for themselves.

4. Bye, Vernon – Mike Tannenbaum made it pretty clear today that we shouldn’t expect to see Vernon Gholston back in 2011. Why would the team even bother at this point? Three seasons, zero sacks, and limitless hype and “Gholston is finally getting it” stories…it is time to move on.

5. Let’s Not Repeat – Let’s face the reality that Kyle Wilson showed signs of being a bust in his rookie year. He seemed overwhelmed by the NFL game and was out-played by Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery all season. Wilson will be given every opportunity to be at least the nickel back if not the starter opposite Darrelle Revis (if Antonio Cromartie leaves) and he needs to take advantage of it. Hopefully, he will learn from his rookie mistakes instead of losing confidence from his struggles.

6. Scary Stats Part 1 – Bart Scott has 2 sacks and 1 forced fumble in two seasons with the Jets. Drew Coleman had 4 sacks and 5 forced fumbles this season for the Jets…Bryan Thomas had less than 40 total tackles this season despite starting every game at outside linebacker…Dwight Lowery had the same amount of regular season touchdowns this season as Shonn Greene.

7. Preparing For Life Without Brad – We all want him back and we all know how valuable he is, but I have hard time seeing the Jets pay Brad Smith, Josh Cribbs type money in a year they have to pay David Harris, Antonio Cromartie, and Santonio Holmes. Joe McKnight needs to pick up the slack on kick return and as an option running the football. Patrick Turner can help fill the void at receiver and will get more playing time any way with Braylon Edwards likely leaving.

8. To Shaun Ellis and Mike Tannenbaum – Let’s have cooler heads prevail this off-season and work something out. Nobody wants to see Ellis finish his career in a different color jersey than Green and White and he would be a great mentor to whatever young defensive lineman the Jets draft this year.

9. Already Excited – New York’s current JV team (the Giants) at New York’s finest this season…you know that game has Monday or Sunday night football written all over it.

10. Plax and Aso – There has been plenty of chatter about both Plaxico Burress and Nnamdi Asomugha joining the Jets this year. However, I would say there is less than a ten percent chance of either happening. Asomugha is only coming here if he agrees to take much less than he is worth, which I doubt he will do. I could see the Jets exploring Burress but I’d be surprised to see them add another sideshow especially since there is no guarantee he’d be anywhere near the player he once was considering his time off.

11. Anybody Else – Been spending time wondering what would have happened if Ben Roethlisberger didn’t complete that third and six pass to Antonio Brown?

12. Video Therapy (Wide Receiver Edition) —

Enjoy your weekend…

Jets Best Defense Will Be Their Offense

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Rex Ryan has talked up the “Ground and Pound” since arriving in New York and we saw it in full force last week.

The primary reason the Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts last week was because their offensive line and running backs completed dominated the second half. Their running game set up manageable third downs, which the Jets routinely converted.

It can’t be any different this week against the New England Patriots, who can be run on. Before you throw away 111 yards on 23 carries, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene had in the 45-3 beatdown, remember 84 of those came in the first half when the game was still competititve. The two of them also combined for 128 yards in their week 2 match-up, with Tomlinson averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

The Jets must control the clock to keep Tom Brady off the field. It doesn’t start and end with the running game either. Mark Sanchez must be accurate in the short passing game and find ways to convert third downs.

Look at the Jets third down situations in the second half against the Colts –

  • 3rd and 2 – 5 yard by Shonn Greene. First Down.
  • 3rd and 3 – 20 yard pass to Dustin Keller. First Down.
  • 3rd and 7 – 9 yard pass to LaDainian Tomlinson. First Down.
  • 3rd and 1 – 6 yard run by Mark Sanchez. First Down.
  • 3rd and 1 – 1 yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson. Touchdown.
  • 3rd and 5 – Incomplete pass to Santonio Holmes.
  • 3rd and 5- Incomplete pass to Braylon Edwards.

As you can see the Jets were getting themselves in manageable situations through their running game. They finished 5/7 on third downs in the second half. Their only two misses were on a dropped pass by Santonio Holmes and an overthrow by Mark Sanchez to an open Braylon Edwards.

The Jets can’t afford those mistakes this week. No dropped passes. No overthrowing open receivers. Most importantly though is control the clock and setting up third and short through the running game. LaDainian Tomlinson and ShonnGreene both looked fresh and healthy last week and they should be the same this week, as neither reached 20 carries against Indy.

The less time Tom Brady is on the field and the more Jets shorten this game, the more likely it will be a one possession game in the 4th quarter, where one play can swing the game.