Jets vs. Vikings: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Calvin Pace practiced full today and should be back in the starting line-up Monday night. Darrelle Revis was limited and his status remains somewhat in the air. The Jets should also be getting backup tackle Wayne Hunter back from a shin injury.

2. Brett Favre is taking his talents to South Beach all over Deadspin today…proceed with caution.

Jets vs. Vikings: Game Breakdown

Offense: Is do what you been doing the past three games too easy? Seriously, the Jets seem to have found a nice balance between their rushing and passing attack, along with a good division of touches between their various playmakers. Minnesota is a tough defense to run the ball on but that doesn’t mean they should shy away from having LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combine for 35-40 touches. The Jets offense is most effective when the running game gets going, opening up the play action attack for Mark Sanchez.

The big news on this side of the ball is obviously that Santonio Holmes is returning to the line-up. It will be very interesting to see how many snaps he plays and his integration into the offense. I would imagine the smoke screens and quick receiver screens the Jets usually like throwing to Jerricho Cotchery, will now be going to Holmes. Yet, the Jets don’t want to just use Holmes run after the catch ability. He is the most complete receiver on the roster and I expect Brian Schottenheimer to be excited about his new toy, and hence take an early shot down the field to him.

I would say Minnesota will likely focus their coverage on Dustin Keller, but really how could they? If they want to consistently leave Braylon Edwards and Holmes in single coverage with their corners, then good luck. Don’t forget Lito Sheppard plays major reps for them at corner and even if he gets matched up with Jerricho Cotchery in the slot, the Jets could do some damage.

Beyond that, there is also that Brad Smith guy running around on reverses, options, and quarterback draws.

Defense: The Jets need to put this game in Brett Favre’s hands. Adrian Peterson has been a monster this season (as usual) and even though the run defense has been stout so far, he has the ability to change that quickly. Worry about stopping AP first and then let the old gunslinger (aka dongslinger as Jason Whitlock is now calling him on Twitter) take his shots on our secondary.

If Darrelle Revis does play, he shouldn’t be tracking Randy Moss all over the field. Antonio Cromartie already showed he can shut him down. Let Revis get a few shots at him to keep him off balance but for the most part let Cromartie man him up. Revis can work on Percy Harvin, while Kyle Wilson will probably primarily be matched up on Vishante Shiancoe, which he better have safety help on. Shiancoe has been banged up though and could be less than 100 percent.

Favre can take his chances on our secondary and I wouldn’t be shocked if he hit one big play to Moss. As we saw in week two, the Jets can survive one big play by Mr. Play When He Wants To. I’d be shocked if Favre didn’t throw at least one interception into the hands of Cromartie this Monday and maybe a few more to our other DBs to boot.

Special Teams: Be wary of Harvin on returns and keep Jim Leonhard going on the punt returns, he looks much better than Kyle Wilson. Nick Folk, forget that 30 yard miss from last week.

Why The Jets Are The Real Deal

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As the NFL season inevitably inches closer, more and more skepticism about the chances of the Jets having a successful season are becoming present. Fans of the team are reverting back to their usual pessimism. NFL analysts are nitpicking reasons to avoid picking the Jets as a serious contender. Giants fans can’t understand why nobody is talking about their team, leading to them arguing the Jets will be a let-down, have a tough schedule, can’t win with Sanchez, can’t overcome losing Faneca and Jones and on and on. Patriots and Dolphins fans feel the same way. Everybody in New England thinks the world is sleeping on Brady and Belichick, as if that was possible. All the fans in Miami are convinced Chad Henne is the next Dan Marino after the epic run he took the team on last season. I guess it was an impressive 7-9 season.

Anyway, you may hate the confidence the Jets carry themselves with. You might be tired of hearing Rex Ryan talk or seeing Darrelle Revis in those Nike commercials. Unfortunately for you though, the Jets have the talent to back up their words and outside of the team with Peyton Manning under center, they are the favorites to win the AFC. Here is why the Jets are the real deal:

PhotobucketLet’s start with the easiest part, the Jets have the best defense in NFL. They had the best defense in 2009 and substantially improved it over the off-season. You can start in the secondary where the two weak links of the league’s number one ranked passing defense (by 30 yards I might add), were replaced. Antonio Cromartie will take over for Lito Sheppard opposite Darrelle Revis, giving the Jets arguably the best pair of starting corners in the NFL. Kerry Rhodes is now gone and Brodney Pool will take his place. Anytime you can replace a matador with somebody who can tackle, it helps the situation. Dwight Lowery has been moved into the number four cornerback spot, with rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson now becoming the nickel back.

Outside of the improvements in the secondary, Jason Taylor was signed from Miami to enhance the Jets pass rush. The Jets did occasionally struggle against the run in 2009. However the return of All-Pro nose tackle Kris Jenkins should provide help, along with having the previously mentioned Rhodes now doing photo shoots and missing tackles in Arizona. Beyond that, the Jets will now be in the second year of Rex Ryan’s system. Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, and anybody else who played a substantial role in their first year of Ryan’s defense in 2009 will be that much more comfortable this season.

When you look at the additions and subtractions made to the Jets defensive depth chart and their familiarity with the system in year two, it is hard to argue the unit won’t be better in 2010. This should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL, considering how good they were in 2009.

On offense, you could question Mark Sanchez all you want. His regular season statistics justify thequestioning. However, don’t ignore that he won two road playoffs games in his rookie year and played a terrific game on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Also, consider if the Jets could manage an AFC Championship Game trip with him throwing 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns, what they could do if he makes the likely year two improvements.

PhotobucketThe Jets have questions at running back. Shonn Greene has to prove he is a lead back but he certainly looked the part down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs. At worst LaDainian Tomlinson can catch the ball out of the backfield and be a quality goal-line back. Outside of that, the Jets offense is stacked. Even without Alan Faneca, who was awful in pass protection last year by the way, they still have a top five offensive line in the NFL. At receiver, they have three guys capable of being a number one. They have an athletic tight end, who can stretch the field and is a mismatch against most defenses.

What about the competition in the AFC East? What did New England do to make sure they aren’t run off the field by teams like Baltimore again in 2010? Who is their lead running back? Is there defense any good? Who is filling for Wes Welker until he comes back? Will Welker get back to 100 percent this season?

Is Brandon Marshall enough to improve Miami from a 7-9 team that was two Ted Ginn Jr led victories against the Jets away from being 5-11? Can Ronnie Brown ever play a full season? Can Chad Henne win a late season game? Who is going to catch passes for the Dolphins when Marshall is safely locked away on Revis Island?

Yes, I think the Jets talent backs up their words. They do have the best corner and center in the NFL, along with one of the best tackles (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), guards (Brandon Moore), defensive tackles (Kris Jenkins), and linebackers (David Harris). It is always a good sign when people like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Antonio Cromartie are in your second tier of talented players. It is also positive when you can sign players like Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson be backups.

You can make excuses about why the Jets won’t be good in 2010 or you can just accept that they are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and right in the mix for a Super Bowl. It would probably be better to make up your mind now instead of changing your story mid-season.

“DARRELLE REVIS!”

Thoughts On Kerry Rhodes Trade & Weekend Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Great times yesterday at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hoboken…I am happy to report everybody I was with  avoided the $2,000 fines that were being handed out like candy on Halloween. I got a decent amount of love for my “Revis Island” shirt. Sure, there were plenty of bitter Giants fans celebrating the Antrel Rolle signing like they just picked up Ronnie Lott in his prime, but I mean hey any time you can make a guy who might not even be a top ten player in the league at his position the highest paid safety in NFL history…hey, go for it.

2. I am heading out to Austin, Texas from Tuesday to Sunday with some college friends, so posts might be a little more sparse than I would normally like but if anything major happens, I’ll obviously be on it and of course follow the facebook page and twitter account for updates.

3. The 2010 Draft section has been updated.

Thoughts On Kerry Rhodes Trade & Weekend Wrap-Up

When I woke up this morning and saw all the information on the Kerry Rhodes trade, I wasn’t surprised to see he was moved. The momentum had been building on this for awhile and even though Mike Tannenbaum made it sound like he would be back during the Antonio Cromartie conference call, you still had a feeling he wouldn’t be playing for the Jets in 2010. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled with the value they got back from Arizona. The original reports from last week had Arizona potentially sending over a 3rd round pick, but as we know it ended up being a 4th rounder and a 7th rounder next year. I suppose that it is decent value for a guy who has never been a pro-bowler but the Jets still now have a hole at safety.

PhotobucketIt sounds like the Jets are content to let Eric Smith take over but I can’t really see Tannenbaum standing pat here. I don’t know if he will try to make a move up in the draft to grab Eric Berry or Earl Thomas, look at the second round tender on Baltimore’s Dawan Landry or has something else in mind but I’d be shocked if the Jets didn’t bring in somebody else to pair with Jim Leonhard. Eric Smith is a decent player but he has some limitations in pass coverage and isn’t much of a playmaker. The Jets defense isn’t better with Smith and James Ihedigbo taking the major reps at safety over Rhodes.

In retrospect, I now have another jersey of a former Jets player. I could slide my #25 jersey next to my Chad Pennington, Jonathan Vilma, Laveranues Coles, Santana Moss, and Curtis Conway (yikes) ones. Like most Jets fans, I was huge Rhodes fan when he instantly became a productive player as a fourth round pick in 2005. He took his game to the next level in 2006 with a monster season, in which he probably should have received All-Pro recognition. Unfortunately, his play has declined in every season since, culminating with him being benched in week 10 this past year. Rhodes never seemed to click with the new coaching staff and was apparently wearing thin on the locker room with his “Hollywood” attitude. Regardless, TOJ wishes Rhodes luck in Arizona and will have always fond memories of the big plays he made from 2005-2009.

It is nice the Jets added a fourth round pick and now currently only have one round in which they don’t pick (third). I also expect they will pick up another selection when compensatory picks are announced. The Jets need depth on both sides of the ball and have been short on draft picks in recent years, so the more overall selections the better.

In terms of where they go from here, there hasn’t been much written on Adalius Thomas in the past 48 hours but I still expect when everything is said and done, that he will end up on the Jets. Mike Tannenbaum has been giving the impression the Jets will definitely add another one or maybe even two, corners. Corey Ivy remains a potential target. Ralph Brown, Frank Walker, Benny Sapp, and Roderick Hood are other available players the Jets could consider.

PhotobucketMarques Douglas is attracting interest from the Patriots, Panthers, and Titans. I really hope the Jets use some of the money they freed up from Kerry Rhodes, Thomas Jones, Donald Strickland, and Lito Sheppard to get Douglas back. He was a valuable part of their defense and is a quality 3-4 end, which are hard to come by. Mike DeVito was pretty good last year but is better served as a rotational player, providing depth very similar to Eric Smith. The Jets have the money to sign him and their defense will be better overall with him. There is no reason to have too much turnover on the league’s #1 defense.

Pro Football Talk is reporting the market could soon heat up for Leon Washington. Yet, they don’t name any specific teams. Even if another team signs Washington to an offer sheet, I can’t see the Jets letting Thomas Jones and Leon Washington walk in one off-season. Jones is going to get more money offered somewhere else and likely not return. Tannenbaum has said the Jets will target a veteran running back, although the options are fairly slim. Mike Bell’s name has been thrown around but beyond him I haven’t heard another running back specifically mentioned.

A Longer Look At Antonio Cromartie Deal & The Impact It Has On Jets Off-Season

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A Longer Look At Antonio Cromartie Deal & The Impact It Has On Jets Off-Season

Here I am, ready to type up a nice short article with some final thoughts before free agency kicked off at midnight. Before I started writing, I decided to check Rich Cimini’s The Jets Stream and see he has two really short posts, right in a row which usually only means one thing, the Jets have done something big. Sure enough, Mike Tannenbaum did what he does best and he couldn’t even wait until tomorrow to pull the trigger. The Jets have acquired former Chargers corner Antonio Cromartie for a 2011 third round pick, which could turn into a 2nd rounder based on his performance and playing time. (Jay Glazer is being credited with breaking the story, by the way).

PhotobucketObviously, there is always some initial excitement when your team makes a big move, which was conveyed in my initial post on this trade. However, you can’t just look at the glass half full with this deal. Yes, Cromartie is an extremely physically gifted player. Yes, he was a beast in 2007 when he had ten interceptions and was an All-Pro. Yes, he is a playmaker, with four career touchdowns, including one on a 109 yard return of a missed field goal. His physical attributes are summed up nicely by this scouting report from ESPN Insider, linked by The Jets Blog here, (http://www.thejetsblog.com/2010/03/04/antonio-cromartie-scouting-report/).

Now turning to the glass being half empty: since 2007, Cromartie has had as many paternity suits (5) as he has had interceptions (5). In 2008, he only had two interceptions, both of which ironically came against the Jets on Monday Night Football, including one he ran back for a touchdown. At the end of the year, he blamed his poor play on a hip injury, which he sustained in week one. In 2009, he finished with three interceptions, thirty-three tackles, and ten passes defensed. All Jets fan also got a first-hand look at his laziness in the divisional round of the playoffs, when he made a poor effort on Shonn Greene’s 53 yard touchdown run and then topped it off with a cheap shot on Greene in the end-zone, which I ripped him for in my “Cheap-Shot Chargers” article way back in January. San Diego made it known they were fed up with Cromartie’s occasional lazy play and inconsistency, which is never something you want to hear about a player.

Adam Schefter is reporting the Jets will not be giving Cromartie a new deal, which means he will be playing in his contract year. Overall, similar to Lito Sheppard and Braylon Edwards, the Jets are rolling the dice on a guy with physical talent who has some question marks surrounding him. It didn’t work out with Sheppard and it remains to be seen how everything shakes out with Edwards but clearly the Jets aren’t afraid to take risks on players.

Cromartie will have a chance to play on the league’s best defense for a coach players love and live in a cornerback’s dream: having a ton of balls thrown is way, giving him a chance to make plays and never having to worry about the opposing team’s best receiver. For a third round pick next year? I think the risk outweighs the reward. If the Jets hit on this trade, they could have two legit pro-bowl corners next year and see Cromartie rack up 6-7 interceptions, along with a few touchdowns. If they miss, they lose a third round pick next year and have to deal with more Dwight Lowery down the stretch. I think there is a good chance it lands somewhere in the middle of those two, Cromartie isn’t going to bounce back to 2007 form but I think he will be motivated by Ryan, the challenge of playing opposite Revis, and of course a contract year. Richard Marshall would have been safer, but Cromartie has more upside.

It is honestly hard not to be excited about the thought of Revis and Cromartie next year, period, There are valid concerns but at least we have a GM who goes after it.

So, where does this leave the Jets the rest of the off-season?

  • Forget about spending that first round pick on a corner. I still wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets pursue Corey Ivy for the nickel role however, Donald Strickland will likely be released and they need somebody to fill his spot.
  • Adalius Thomas still remains a likely target at outside linebacker.
  • Rich Cimini is reporting the chances are “very remote” Thomas Jones returns next year. The Jets could  focus on guys like Mike Bell or Chris Brown if TJ doesn’t come back.
  • Unless the Kerry Rhodes for Anquan Boldin deal is swung, receiver could become a first round target now or the Jets could look defensive line/outside linebacker.
  • I am expecting Rhodes to be moved for a third round pick tomorrow…just a gut feeling, which also means the Jets could look to draft a safety in round 1 or 2.
  • How about Laveranues Coles and Chris Baker both being cut? I guess Mike T was smart not to pay them the money they were demanding. I wouldn’t mind seeing Baker as a #2 tight end or even Coles back a slot receiver.
  • It looks Chad Pennington is heading back to Miami…oh well.

Antonio Cromartie: The Good

The Scary Good

The Ugly

Is Shonn Greene Ready?

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First a few updates:

1. The fallout over the Thomas Jones release hasn’t been pretty. The fans are pissed off. The beat writers are ripping the move. Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, Alan Faneca and a few other anonymous players are expressing their dissatisfaction with the decision. As one player said, it doesn’t make the locker room happy when somebody like Vernon Gholston gets his money and another chance next year but Thomas Jones can’t collect his bonus money and is sent packing. Obviously, this wasn’t going to be a popular decision yet it might not the complete unmitigated disaster some people are making it out to be. I don’t agree withthe move. I think it is a big risk. The Jets now need another running back for depth purposes but overall this doesn’t change my mind about the Jets still being the favorite in the AFC East as of right now. This situation reminds me a little bit of Laveranues Coles from last off-season. It isn’t entire comparable because Jones was a much better player and much more of a team leader, but the decision to let Coles go wasn’t popular at the time and it ended up working out. Maybe Jones ends up having another big year in 2010 or maybe he runs for 800 yards in Cleveland, while Shonn Greene racks up 1300 yards for the Jets. We shall see.

2. Rich Cimini of the Daily News is reporting there still is a good chance the Jets will look to trade Kerry Rhodes. Apparently his sources are indicating the coaching staff still isn’t sold on him or his attitude. Unless Mike Tannenbaum has a replacement in mind via trade or free agency, I don’t see Rhodes going anywhere. The Jets aren’t getting anything but a 5th round pick for him and that doesn’t fill the spot he would leave on their defense.

3. Remember to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…Also check out the 2010 Draft Section of the site (http://turnonthejets.com/2010-draft/). The depth chart has been updated to include all the recent players the Jets signed to future/reserve contracts, and to include the pending release of TJ and Lito Sheppard…(http://turnonthejets.com/2009-depth-chart/).

4. When the Jets release Lito Sheppard, he won’t be counted as UFA which means the Jets can’t sign another UFA to replace him. This puts a dent in their hopes of signing a guy like Dunta Robinson, as explained here (http://www.thejetsblog.com/2010/03/02/salary-cap-update-lito-is-not-a-ufa/).

5. The Jets remain far apart on locking down long term deals for Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis.

6. Bart Scott was a guest on Mike and Mike this morning and discussed the desire of Adalius Thomas to be a Jet. If I had to make a prediction today, it would be that Thomas will be the Jets biggest UFA signing and maybe their biggest overall off-season acquisition unless Tannenbaum swings a big trade.

Is Shonn Greene Ready?

PhotobucketWith the release of Thomas Jones coming this Friday, the torch is being passed to Shonn Greene as the Jets #1 running back. Greene took the NFL by storm during the first two rounds of the NFL playoffs last season. In the wild-card round against Cincinnati, he rushed for 135 yards on 21 carries, averaging 6.4 yards per carry and had a 39 yard touchdown run. In the divisional round against San Diego, he rushed for 128 yards on 23 carries, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and had a 53 yard touchdown run.

Those were two terrific performances that were somewhat foreshadowed at other points during the Jets regular season. Greene racked up 144 yards on only 19 carries during a week 7 win against the Raiders. He put up solid efforts against the Bills (11 carries, 59 yards), Bucs (6 carries, 41 yards), Colts (16 carries, 95 yards), and in the regular season finale against the Bengals (13 carries, 62 yards). These weren’t earth-shattering games but they showed Greene’s natural talent. He has a tremendous burst through the hole, is rarely tackled by the first guy who hits him, and has a second gear that allows him to rip off long runs.

There is no reason not to be excited about Greene’s potential to be franchise running back. By any account, he had a very good rookie year but let’s take off the green and white shades for a moment and look at some facts you can’t ignore:

  • Greene came off the bench last season and gashed defenses after Thomas Jones had softened them up. He rarely received carries in the 1st and 3rd quarter. His production was absolutely enhanced by having a bruising back in front of him.
  • Despite only having 108 carries in the regular season, Greene dealt with multiple injury issues in his rookie year. He missed nearly all of the pre-season and was inactive week 1 because of a rib injury. He was knocked out of the AFC Championship Game with a rib injury after only having 41 yards on 10 carries (a 4.1 average, which is down from the previous two playoff games). During training camp he also had an ankle injury and late in the regular season, he was on the injury report with a shoulder injury.
  • Greene lost three fumbles during the regular season. He lost a fourth one in week 17 but it was called back because of a penalty.
  • Greene had zero receptions during the regular season and only one during the playoffs.
  • Despite the previously mentioned impressive stat lines, he also had these not so impressive outings against Miami (8 carries, 18 yards), Jacksonville (7 carries, 26 yards), New England (3 carries, -1 yard), Carolina (10 carries, 36 yards), Atlanta (8 carries, 30 yards).\

I hate to take off those green and white shades and be so negative but the reality is Greene still has plenty to prove. There is big difference between coming off the bench and having a couple of great games and being a #1 back week in and week out for entire season. He needs to work on his consistency, ball protection, and receiving skills. You can’t have a #1 back who fumbles and who goes through the entire season without catching a single pass.

PhotobucketThe positives are that Greene got better as the season went on last year. He didn’t fumble the ball in the last six games, in which he received 91 total carries. Next season he will be playing behind the best offensive line in football and should be supported by an improved passing game, as Mark Sanchez continues to develop. He will also be more experienced, more comfortable in the offense, and better prepared to handle the rigors of an entire NFL season as a second year player instead of a rookie. The talent is clearly is there. It isn’t crazy to think Greene could realistically be a 1300-1400 yard back next year, especially when you consider how often the Jets run the ball.

The torch has been passed to Shonn Greene, let’s all hope he is ready to take it.

 

My Favorite Play Of The Past Season

Greene Touchdown Against Bengals

Greene’s First NFL Touchdown

Revisiting 40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season: How Wrong Was I?

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First a few updates:

1. As you can see at the top of the page, we have a new section “2009 Highlights,” which is a collection of season highlight videos made by various people, and some of the best moments of the year from Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, and more. There is enough video in there to keep any Jets fan occupied for hours.

2. Rex Ryan is in the news again, this time for changing his hockey jersey in the middle of a Carolina/Philly game he attended last night…unfortunately for him and all of America that watched Sportscenter today, his stomach popped out…maybe exploded out, is a better word.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because 186 fans isn’t enough.

Photobucket4. Lost Season 6, Episode 3 “What Kate Does” Thoughts – You will rarely hear me criticize LOST but last night’s episode was a bit of a letdown, maybe it was inevitable after such a strong premiere, but overall I was somewhat disappointed. Basically, you had Sawyer sulking, Kate chasing him, Sawyer sulking some more, Jack asking 9000 questions to Dogen (the Japanese guy in the Temple), and Dogen finding a creative way to avoid answering any of them. The alternate storyline was a little dull and far-fetched at times, although it was clear some things from Kate’s time on the island are popping back into her mind (her looking back at Jack from the taxi, her reaction to seeing the whale in Claire’s bag) and I am assuming the only reason Claire trusted Kate so much was because she felt some type of bond with her. I did like the ending and the return of the “sickness” appearing in Claire, who looks all kind of crazy on the island, and unfortunately Sayid. How much longer is Sayid going to be around if he is about to be taken over by the “darkness” the guy said? Also, it looks like after 2 seasons of being dragged through the mud, Jack is finally going to become a smart/likable character again.

Revisiting 40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season: How Wrong Was I?

How smart was I back on September 7th, 2009? Let’s take a look at the 40 predictions I made for the Jets 2009 season, and my analysis of them now. I am hoping I at least cracked 50 percent.

1. David Harris will lead the Jets in sacks this season with 9. Calvin Pace will come in second despite missing the first four games, finishing with 7.5.

– It was actually Pace who led the Jets in sacks this season with 8, so at least I was just about on with his numbers. Harris was third on the team in sacks with 5.5, behind Pace and Shaun Ellis who had 6.5….so 0/1.

2. Vernon Gholston will be somewhere between slightly below average and okay during the first four games. He will begin to play better as a situational player when the season progresses, finishing with 5.5 sacks.

I think my first sentence is a pretty accurate description of Gholston’s play during the first four games, he wasn’t awful but he didn’t make any notable impact. However, I was way, way off on him beginning a situational player and recording 5.5 sacks…0/2.

3. Lito Sheppard will give up alot of plays but also make alot of plays, because of all the balls that will be thrown his way. He will start 16 games and lead the team in interceptions.

Oh boy, well at least Sheppard did give up alot of plays but he came nowhere near starting 16 games and only had 1 interception, which of course did not lead the team…0/3.

4. Darrelle Revis will be returning Hawaii. He will prove to be a top 3 CB in the NFL this season.

That is a little better, and of course by Hawaii I meant Miami in the Pro-Bowl. I don’t think anybody could argue that he is a top 3  CB in the NFL, and honestly most people now recognize him as the best overall corner in the league…1/4.

5. Howard Green will be an extremely valuable player off the bench on the Jets defensive line, providing a quality backup to Kris Jenkins.

It was actually Sione Pouha, who stepped up. Green was cut but eventually re-signed and never made a big impact..1/5.

6. Kerry Rhodes will have a much better year than he did last season but still won’t produce at his 2006 statistical level and won’t be a pro-bowler.

– He didn’t really have a better year than last season, I won’t give myself credit for saying he wouldn’t be a pro-bowler because when I wrote this I thought he would have a much better all-around year than he did…1/6.

7. Jim Leonhard will be a steady, consistent player on the Jets defense but his most important contributions will be as a punt returner.

– Damn, I couldn’t just stop at steady, consistent player on the Jets defense. He was okay on punt returns but had to give up the duty half way through the season because of a hand injury. I am giving myself a 1/2 point on this one…1.5/7.

8. The Jets will sweep the Miami Dolphins this season.

I am still bitter about this…1.5/8.

9. Thomas Jones won’t match last year’s gaudy numbers but will still finish with a solid 1175 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.

He actually exceeded last year’s numbers and finished with 1402 yards and 14 touchdowns, my bad TJ…1.5/9.

10. Leon Washington will have at least 50 more carries this season than he did in 2008, along with 10 more catches.

Unfortunately because of a leg injury, this didn’t happen…1.5/10.

11. Leon Washington will have 1100 combined rushing/receiving yards. He had 800 last year.

See Above…1.5/11.

12. Leon Washington will have 2 kick return touchdowns this season. Jim Leonhard will take one punt back.

I really have to stop talking about Leon…1.5/12.

13. Leon Washington will have a better season than Reggie Bush (sorry, Dan).

I really, really have to stop talking about Leon Washington…1.5/13.

Photobucket14. Shonn Greene will start out the season slow but become an important part of the offense in the second half of the season.

That’s what I am talking about. Greene wasn’t a factor until week 7 but was a key part of the Jets playoff run…2.5/14.

15. Bryan Thomas will very quietly have his best season since 2006, finishing with 67 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Not quite, Thomas finished with 53 tackles and 2 sacks…2.5/15.

16. Shaun Ellis, Marques Douglas, Mike DeVito, and Ropati Pitoitua will be a surprisingly solid defensive end rotation.

They did prove to be a good rotation, especially after Kris Jenkins went down. Ellis had 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Douglas had 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 TFLs, and a TD. DeVito was a good role player off the bench. Pitoitua wasn’t much of a factor…3.5/16.

17. The Jets will split with New England for the third time in four years.

Yes they did…4.5/17.

18. Somebody on the offensive line will miss a few starts this season, exposing the Jets lack of depth at the position.

Fortunately, I was wrong about this. For the second year in a row, the entire offensive line started every single game…4.5/18.

19. Tony Richardson, the ageless wonder…will start another 16 games.

He did and hopefully he will be back for another 16 next year…5.5/19.

20. Jerricho Cotchery will just barely get 1000 yards receiving and finish with 5 touchdowns.

Cotchery finished with 821 yards and 4 touchdowns. He would have been at 1000 but he missed 2 full games and a large part of another…5.5/20.

21. Brad Smith will have less than 10 catches this season.

He finished with 7 catches for 63 yards…6.5/21.

22. Dustin Keller will be joining Darrelle Revis in Hawaii, finishing with 67 catches, 850 yards, and 7 touchdowns.

PhotobucketKeller was an under-utilized part of the Jets offense, finishing the regular season with 45 catches, 522 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He did step up in the playoffs, adding a touchdown in each game…6.5/22.

23. Mark Sanchez’s stats will look very similar to Joe Flacco’s last season. The Jets high paid rookie will finish with 15 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 2980 yards passing, and a 62.0 completion percentage.

Maybe if he played the way he did during the playoffs all year this would have been true. Sanchez finished the regular season with 12 TDs, 20 INTs, 2444 yards, and a 53.8 completion percentage…6.5/23.

24. David Clowney will catch at least 2 touchdowns of 40 yards or more.

He only caught one touchdown this season, and it was for 34 yards…6.5/24.

25. Chansi Stuckey won’t have stats that will impress anybody because of his low yards per catch average, but will be a valuable 3rd down weapon for the Jets.

He was traded after week 4…6.5/25.

26. The Jets defense will give up more big plays than expected but will have more sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns than in 2008.

It was actually nearly the opposite. They didn’t give up a ton of big plays but finished with 32 sacks, 17 interceptions, and 1 touchdown. In 2008, they had 41 sacks, 14 interceptions, and 3 touchdowns…6.5/26.

27. Despite having a better backup than he did last year, Kris Jenkins will start out slow because of missing most of the pre-season and will start 14 games this year, not the full 16.

He only ended up starting 6 games before sustaining a season-ending injury…6.5/27.

28. Brian Schottenheimer will be extremely conservative the first 5-6 games of this season, frustrating fans. However, as Sanchez gets more comfortable the Jets offense will begin to resemble its 2006 form.

It was almost backwards of this. The Jets offense became more conservative as the year went on…6.5/28.

29. Steve Weatherford won’t finish the season as the Jets punter….will he even finish this article as the Jets punter?

He actually did finish the year as the Jets punter…6.5/29.

30. The Jets will split with the Buffalo Bills this season.

Yes, they did…finally got one right…7.5/30.

31. Bart Scott will be a quality player and bring a nasty attitude to the Jets defense but he will be outplayed by David Harris at inside linebacker.

Two in a row? Here we go…8.5/31.

32. Thomas Jones will catch another 30 passes this season.

He only caught 10 passes this season…8.5/32.

33. Mark Sanchez’s inexperience will cost the Jets a couple of winnable games in the first half of the season. His talent level and growing comfort in the offense, will steal them a late season game they shouldn’t win.

It didn’t really work out like that…8.5/33.

34. The Jets will enter their week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and not be considered a serious playoff contender.

Yes, they did enter the week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and weren’t considered a serious playoff contender…9.5/34.

35. Similar to the 2006 team, they will rally to a 6-2 finish and end up as a 10-6 wild card team.

They rallied to finish 9-7 as a wild-card team, so I am giving myself that one…10.5/35.

36. They will either upset the Colts or Pats on the road in the second half of the season, not both. Their other second half loss will be at home to Atlanta…so yes, I am saying they win in Buffalo (aka Toronto), Tampa, and take care of the Panthers at home in the second half of the season.

Not bad…11.5/36.

37. Most Improved Player Offense – Dustin Keller.

I am not really sure who their most improved player was, but it wasn’t Dustin Keller who saw his numbers go down…11.5/37.

38. Most Improved Player Defense – Bryan Thomas, David Harris

I would probably say Sione Pouha was their most improved player…11.5/38.

39.  Pro-Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, David Harris, Leon Washington (kick returner), Nick Mangold

Right about Revis and Mangold…wrong about the other three…11.5/39.

40.  The Jets won’t add another veteran receiver this season, but it will be top priority in next year’s off-season.

They added Braylon Edwards after week 4…11.5/40.

11.5 out of 40? Not pretty.

No Video Today…just check out the new “2009 Highlights Section” for all the video you need.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

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First a few updates:

1. I made a mistake when discussing restricted free agents in my last article. If you look at the comments section under the article, two people corrected me with the actual rules on RFA’s and the options the Jets have on players like Leon Washington and Kellen Clemens. Here is what they are eligible to do (pulled from comment by SBS0311, thanks to you and DEK for the heads up) –

Your tender suggestions on Clemens and Washington aren’t permitted under the CBA. There’s five distinctions:

No compensation

Draft Round compensation (ex. Clemens 2nd, Leon 4th).

2nd Round Compensation

1st Round

1st and Third

It would actually cost the Jets the same exact money to tender Clemens at a 2nd round level as it would to tender him at no compensation.

With Leon, the Jets will have to tender him at $1.545 M for 2nd round and then at increasing salaries for the 1st and then the 1st and 3rd.

Anyway, bad job by me with the mistake and thanks again for the corrections.

2. My thoughts on the whole Rex Ryan middle finger at Miami fans – I am sure Rex was prompted by excessive amounts of heckling (as was pointed out in this PFT article http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/31/rex-ryan-faced-extreme-provocation-before-firing-middle-finger/) However, as much as we all hate Dolphins fans and all enjoyed Rex calling out us sweeping them next year, giving the middle finder is something he just can’t do. I am sure he will pay a fine, which is deserved and hopefully that is the end of this issue. I don’t want Rex to change his personality but when he is out in public, he is going to have to contain the obscene gestures.

3. Nick Mangold discussed getting a long-term deal at the Pro-Bowl and honestly there is no reason the Jets shouldn’t act on it during this off-season. They are already limited at signing UFAs because of the “Final Eight” rules in the CBA agreement so why not take care of their own? Mangold is the best center in the NFL and has without question earned a long-term, big money deal from the franchise.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

Welcome to day one of the TOJ Awards for the 2009/2010 New York Jets season. Today we will be honoring the Jets best and worst players on each side of the ball. Tomorrow, we will be looking at the best and worst games of the past season and on Wednesday we will be looking at the best and worst moments/individual plays of the past year.

Best Overall Player – Darrelle Revis, Cornerback – 54 tackles, 31 Passes Defensed, 6 INTs, 1 TD (2 INTs in Playoffs)

Revis had one of the best seasons in Jets history, at any position and was robbed of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. After his first pro-bowl season in 2008, Revis established himself as the league’s best cover corner and maybe the only  legit “shutdown” corner currently in the NFL. By the end of the year, Revis was getting the league-wide recognition he deserved all year for the job he did shutting down receivers like Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Randy Moss,  Marques Colston, Terrell Owens, and on and on. He was the cornerstone of the Jets defense and allowed them to play as aggressively as they did because of his man to man cover skills. Hopefully, being snubbed for the DPOY Award will inspire him to come back even better next year, which should be a scary thought to the rest of the league. The highlights say it all:

Best Offensive Player – Nick Mangold, Center

It was between him and Thomas Jones but in the end I decided to give it to the best lineman on the league’s best offensive line, which led the way for the league’s #1 ranked rushing attack. Darrelle Revis is the best in the league at his position and so is Nick Mangold, which is why he is deserving of that long-term contract he desires. Despite only being a fourth year player, Mangold quarterbacks a largely veteran offensive line that runs complex blocking schemes drawn up by Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan which had to counter defenses loading up the box.

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Best Defensive Player – David Harris, Linebacker – 127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 FFs, 2 INTs

I am not going to double up on any awards which took Revis out of the running for this one. However, Harris deserves recognition for putting together an All-Pro caliber year as the top tackler in the league’s top defense. An all-around threat, Harris consistently made big plays for the Jets all season and then after bouncing back from an ankle injury finished the year with monster games against San Diego and Indy in the playoffs. He is only entering his 4th year and should be the heart of Rex Ryan’s defense for years to come.

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Most Underrated: Offense – Jerricho Cotchery, Receiver – 57 receptions, 821 yards, 4 TDs/Brandon Moore, Guard

Cotchery’s numbers won’t blow anybody away but if he didn’t basically miss three complete games (Buffalo, Oakland, and Miami where he barely played because of ankle injury) he would have been a 1000 yard receiverwith a rookie quarterback. Most people forget how well Cotchery played in the first four games of the year before Braylon Edwards was acquried and before an ankle injury slowed him down for a few weeks (90 yards week one, 87 yards week two, 108 yards 1 TD week three, 71 yards week four). Cotchery also stepped up in a big way during the Jets post-season run, routinely making clutch third down receptions along the sideline.

Brandon Moore is the least talked about guy on the Jets offensive line and the only player who isn’t a former first round draft pick. However, he has been a consistent player for them the past few years and is very good in both the running and passing game. His level of play isn’t too far below Alan Faneca’s.

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Most Underrated: Defense – Marques Douglas, Defensive End – 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 4 TFLs, 1 TD

Sione Pouha stepped up a big way after the Kris Jenkins injury, however I decided to go with Marques Douglas an unheralded off-season acquisition who proved to be a major upgrade over Kenyon Coleman and provided energy and some playmaking ability to the Jets defensive line. There were questions about whether Douglas could handle being a full-time starter and he answered them by playing a ton of reps in a defensive line rotation that for the most part only had four players getting serious reps.

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Biggest Disappointment: Lito Sheppard, Corner – 31 tackles, 8 Passes Defensed, 1 INT, Vernon Gholston, Linebacker – 17 tackles

It was hard to decide between these two so I decided they both deserved criticism. Sheppard couldn’t stay healthy and was extremely inconsistent when he was on the field, proving that he wasn’t the answer to the Jets #2 corner problem. Gholston made no impact in the first four games of the year when he had the chance to start and was a below average special teams player the rest of the season, who probably shouldn’t have even been active in most weeks.

Biggest Offensive Playmaker: Shonn Greene, Running Back – 540 yards, 2 TDs (304 yards, 2 TDs in Playoffs)

Even though Greene didn’t become a factor until week 7 with a breakout game against Oakland and was then relatively quiet for most of year, he exploded when it counted during the Jets last two regular season games and playoff run. Greene averaged 5.0 yards per carry in the regular season and bumped that up to 5.6 in the playoffs, including a long TD run in both the Cincinnati and San Diego game. Greene had some nagging injuries throughout his rookie year but if he can stay healthy next season, it is scary to imagine what his numbers could be.

Biggest Defensive Playmaker: Calvin Pace, Linebacker – 55 tackles, 8 sacks, 7 TFLs, 3 FFs

Keep in mind Pace only played in 12 regular season games, which means he likely would have been a double digit sack guy if he hadn’t been suspended the first month of the season. He remains the Jets best pass rusher until they hopefully upgrade the position. After a quiet first two games of the playoffs, Pace had a big day against Indy in a losing effort including a forced fumble deep in Colts territory.

 The Get Me The Damn Ball Award – Dustin Keller, Tight End – 45 receptions, 522 yards, 2 TDs (3 TDs in the playoffs)

The Jets did a poor job of using Dustn Keller enough throughout the season, some of the blame goes to Mark Sanchez and some goes to Brian Schottenheimer but they must find a way to get more targets to Keller. For an offense that is so reliant on the run, play action to the tight end should be a big part of the offense. Keller finally became more involved in the post-season and responded with 12 catches, 181 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 3 games…tempting me to draft him again in fantasy football, even after a disappointing statistical season.

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The Stop Talking, Start Tackling Award – Kerry Rhodes, Safety – 63 tackles, 3 INTs, 13 passes defensed

Kerry Rhodes is clearly a talented player but he is guy who is starting to wear thin on the organization according to multiple sources. He didn’t improve his play until he was benched and he doesn’t play nearly physical enough. I am not ready to give up on him yet like most people seem to be, because he showed his potential in a big spot against the Chargers during Divisional Weekend. However, he needs to cut back the media appearances and have a big off-season, which will hopefully translate into a better, more consistent 2010-2011 season.

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The Other Guys Who Deserve Positive Recognition Awards – Thomas Jones for putting together a career season and being a terrific short yardage/goal-line back…Jim Leonhard for being tough enough to play through his injured hand, and elevate his play during the playoff run…Damien Woody, Alan Faneca, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson for rounding out the best offensive line in football…Mike DeVito for developing into a quality role player off the bench.

Another Good Highlight Tape Of Jets Season

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

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First a few updates:

1. Chad Johnson still refuses to give Darrelle Revis credit as you can read here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9859/ochocinco-on-revis-child-please), this guy is crazier than I already thought.

2. Another reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook. I have a page up there that includes extra commentary and links to all the Jets coverage from other sources that you should be reading on a daily basis. We are at 171 fans right now, and I want that number doubled by the time the 2010 season starts.

3. Isn’t it great that Mark Sanchez already has more playoff wins than Tony Romo in his career? I am just saying since nobody likes those Maganelli Cowboys fans that are here in the area.

4. One of the main things I will be working on in the off-season is putting together a TOJ Podcast for the 2010 season, more details to follow.

5. Next week, I will be doing our usual updates and stuff if anything Jets related occurs. However, I will be focusing on the 2009 Season 1st Annual Turn On The Jets Awards. The best players, best moments, best games, best coaches and of course the worst players, worst moments, worst games, and wort coaches will all be recognized…so let’s hand out some hardware.

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

Mike Tannenbaum (who we are a big fan of here at TOJ) took the podium today to discuss the Jets off-season, here are some highlights and analysis:

Mark Sanchez – Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrew yesterday to have his knee checked out. It sounds like he is going to have minor surgery to clean it up. The Jets haven’t made a final decision yet but Tannenbaum basically said he wanted to see Sanchez take part in some rehab and strengthen the knee, and that he would be back well before training camp if they decide to have him get surgery. Hopefully, he won’t have to miss any OTAs or mini-camp.

– Kellen Clemens  – Tannenbaum said the Jets are going to tender Kellen Clemens as a restricted free agent. I don’t know at what level he will be tendered but I would imagine it would be a very low pick (6 or 7) at the highest or maybe even without a pick. He also said just because they are going to tender him, doesn’t mean the Jets won’t look at a veteran quarterback.

Erik Ainge/Kevin O’ConnellTannenbaum said he likes both of them moving forward but the Jets would be crazy to proceed with them as the top two backups.

Thomas Jones – It certainly sounded like TJ will be back next year. The Jets are going to pay him his bonus and I am sure Jones will recognize he isn’t going to get big money anywhere else. Tannenbaum continually emphasized the importance of depth, especially at the running back position.

Leon Washington – The Jets are going to tender Leon as a restricted free agent. I would guess with a mid-round pick (2 or 3). It is hard to see any team making a big money offer to him for the Jets to match since he is coming off major knee surgery.

Braylon Edwards – Edwards will be back next year with a likely 1st and 3rd round pick tender. Tannenbaum pointed out how he was a big help in the Jets rushing game and has been a good fit in the locker room.

Kerry Rhodes – Many people have been speculating that the ongoing difference between Rhodes and the Jets is that they want him to take a pay cut. However, Tannenbaum made it clear there are no contractual issues between the two and that the key is they want Rhodes to commit to the Jets off-season program. It sounds like the organization wants more of Rhodes in the team facility and less of Rhodes posing for magazines and acting.

Vernon Gholston – Gholston is going to be back in 2010, although Tannenbaum is obviously not happy with his lack of production, they are going to give him another off-season to improve.

Secondary – Secondary was mentioned more than a few times as a key focus for the Jets off-season. Tannenbaum made it clear that Ryan loves defensive backs and he wants to give him as much depth as possible at the position. He didn’t say anything about Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, although I’d be shocked to see either back next season.

– Thank you to reader Ret2ski, who pointed out the Jets do in fact have a 5th round pick. So to my knowledge they have a 1,2,5,6,7. Another thing about the Jets this off-season, if a player is cut by a team before his contract expires the Jets are free to sign him without restriction. Overall, I would still guess the Jets will be relatively quiet in free agency, focus on acquiring more draft picks and actively work on adding depth to the defense, especially at the defensive back position.

Nice Highlight Tape Of TJ and Shonn Greene

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers yesterday by saying the Jets were going to be the best show in town next season. I listened to the press conference and think most people are taking it the wrong way as some big time shot at the Giants. Basically, Ryan said when the Jets were playing at home it was going to be Jets Stadium and when they were playing at home, they were going to be the biggest show in town. Giants fans really got their panties in a bunch yesterday on the local radio shows after hearing the press conference, which was pretty laughable. If they are so confident they are still the number one team in town (which they are until the Jets win or at least get to a Super Bowl) why are they so insecure about what a Jets coach says in a press conference? Maybe it is because their team quit on them the last two weeks of the year, has one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and is heading into 2010 as the third best team in their own division.

2. I am surprised the line is so high on the Super Bowl…the last I saw it was at 5.5 in favor of the Colts. I would imagine the Saints will be able to exploit the Colts secondary. However, I guess Peyton Manning is playing so well right now that nobody wants to bet against them. I will be pulling for the Saints, not out of bitterness but because they have never won one before and the Colts just got one in 2006.

3. I am still trying to find out where all the Jets draft picks are for April. Unless what I have read online is wrong (which is a definite possibility) the Jets only have a 1st round (#29 overall), 2nd, round, 6th round, and 7th round pick. They lost their 3, 4, and 5 from the Braylon Edwards and Lito Sheppard trades. This might be a year to trade down and stockpile some more picks.

4. Non-Jets Related Off-Season Talk – LOST premieres in a week and yes i am very excited about that, you want to fill your free time in the off-season go rent the DVDs and catch up…I was watching the Knicks before the AFC Championship Game and not only were they wearing ridiculously ugly orange socks, they also lost by 50 freakin’ points, it was like watching Marist play Syracuse, I mean c’mon now, we aren’t convincing LeBron to come play for a team that bad…Has anybody had a worse off-season in baseball than the Mets? Even though the Yankees won the World Series, they still did much more to improve their team. Have you seen their line-up and pitching rotation for 2010? Wow.

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

There is nothing like the dead period from when your team is eliminated from the playoffs until the start of free agency (March 5th, my birthday by the way), plenty of time to enjoy mid-season NBA and NHL, and college basketball and off course look at all the potential things the Jets could do to improve in 2010. Make no mistake, the Jets have work to do this off-season. The playoff run was terrific. They found their identity. The future is bright. However, they only won nine games in the regular season. It is time to take the next step, which means becoming a 11-12 win division winner who is hosting playoff games and hopefully getting a bye. What are the issues facing the Jets this off-season and where could they improve? Let’s take a look:

Defense

PhotobucketThe early reports coming from the organization is that the Jets will be looking to revamp their secondary after it was torn to shreds by Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan didn’t sound too confident in Kerry Rhodes coming back in his press conference yesterday. Basically, he said he wasn’t going to beg anybody to come back who didn’t really want to be here and that he wants committed players on his defense. Ryan refused to give details about a discussion him and Rhodes had considering his future with the team. Personally, I think Rhodes improved after his benching and would be crazy to want to leave New York. I am not sure if a guy like him wants to move out of the biggest market in the country and what defensive player wouldn’t want to play for Rex Ryan? The Jets owe Rhodes a roster bonus in March and will likely explore trade options but I am not sure how big the market is going to be for him. Obviously, the Jets minor league team (Cleveland) will be interested but unless the Jets are getting good value back and have plan to replace him, I don’t want to see Rhodes go. The secondary isn’t improving by trading Rhodes for a 5th round pick and then having James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith split reps at safety.

Lito Sheppard is a goner. There is no way the Jets are paying him a roster bonus in March. It is also being reported that Jets are likely going to part ways with nickel back Donald Strickland, who was productive when healthy this past year but always seemed to be banged up. I’d also be shocked to see Drew Coleman back next year.

Remember the Jets are limited in free agency because of the rules under the old CBA. They can only sign the same number of free agents that they lose. Regardless, Mike Tannenbaum is a creative guy with trades and with Strickland, Sheppard, and potentially Rhodes all likely ending up with new teams the Jets will have some room to operate.

Remember the Jets spent all three draft picks on offense last year, so you can bet Rex Ryan will be pushing for defensive help in the first two rounds of the draft. The Jets need a corner to pair with Darrelle Revis and a guy to compete for nickel reps. You have to expect at least one of their draft picks to be on a defensive back and trade options to be explored. The cornerback market isn’t loaded with talent although there are some quality guys (Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Fabian Washington). If the Jets get rid of Rhodes, Roman Harper, Nick Collins, and Antoine Bethea are all free agents.

Outside of the secondary, the Jets need a pass rusher. Everybody knows this but finding a big time pass rusher isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. If the Jets don’t spend their first round pick on a corner, it will be on on outside linebacker/defensive end pass rushing prospect. Vernon Gholston will likely be cut this year and even if he isn’t, he has proven to be a bust. The Jets are pretty old along the defensive front, so don’t be surprised to see more than one new face added through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

Offense

PhotobucketDespite the defense carrying the Jets this past season, it needs more help than the offense does. The Jets are young at key positions and have a talented core to build around (Sanchez, Greene, Washington, Edwards, Keller, Mangold, Ferguson, Cotchery, Smith). Braylon Edwards is going to be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent, so he will be back. Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller are a pretty good trio of targets for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets could still use a slot receiver. Brad Smith is a valuable offensive weapon but isn’t a wide receiver and David Clowney is no better than a number 4/5. Chansi Stuckey would really be the perfect guy to fill this role but unfortunately the Jets had to give him up to acquire Edwards. The Jets could also use a better #2 tight end. Ben Hartsock is a good blocker but is no threat as a receiver and has too many costly penalties called on him.

On the offensive line, the Jets need to start thinking about their long term replacements for Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. I am confident the Jets will pay Faneca his roster bonus in February because he has started every game since signing his contract and maintained a high level of play. Yet, the Jets could really only bank on one or maybe if they are lucky two more seasons from the Faneca/Woody combination before they break down or their level of play falls off. Hopefully, guys like Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, and Wayne Hunter are developing into potential starters but it wouldn’t hurt to spend another late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Running back will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Will Tony Richardson want to come back for another year? If not, the Jets will have a big hole to fill at fullback. I think it is the right call to bring Thomas Jones back for the final year of his contract. You don’t know how Leon Washington is going to respond from his injury and Shonn Greene was banged up alot this year. With the way the Jets run their offense, there is no problem with having three backs getting carries. Hopefully, Jones can accept becoming option 1B, since Greene should clearly be the Jets 1A option at running back next year. Despite having a great regular season, there won’t be a huge market for Jones because of his age and because of how his production fell off in the playoffs so it makes sense for both sides to have Jones return.

The Jets also need a veteran backup at quarterback. Kellen Clemens is gone and they would be crazy to go into the year with Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell as their top backups. How about Chad Pennington? Seriously, who would be a better mentor for Sanchez and be better equipped to manage the Jets ground and pound if Sanchez was hurt?

Overall

If I had to list the Jets off-season needs as right of now it would look something like this:

  1. Secondary (#2 and #3 corner, potentially safety to replace Rhodes)
  2. Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker (Pass Rusher, Youth on defensive line)
  3. Veteran Backup Quarterback
  4. Offensive Line (Eventual replacements for Faneca/Woody)
  5. #3 Receiver
  6. #2 Tight End

Ten Things I Noticed From Jets/Colts Week 16

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets are on the cover of Sports Illustrated…ut-oh. There is something you don’t see everyday. Obviously, Sanchez was going to get the cover shot and even though it is a cool picture and I will be buying three copies from Lehigh’s bookstore in an hour it would have been nice to see our defense or offensive line get the cover, since they have carried us this far. Oh well, I guess people aren’t going to buy a magazine with Brandon Moore and Damien Woody executing a down block.

2. Newsday is reporting the Jets are planning to tender Braylon Edwards as a restricted free agent next year and set his compensation at a 1st and 3rd round pick, which means #17 will be back next year and have more time to prove he deserves a long term contract.

3. If you follow the site, friend me on facebook and I will send you an invite to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook which offers extra coverage and commentary.

4. There is going to be a rally in Times Square tomorrow from 5:30-6:30 for the Jets and a team sendoff at the Atlantic Health Facility in Florham Park, New Jersey on Saturday at 10:30 AM.

5. Shaun Ellis didn’t practice today because of his broken hand. Thomas Jones was held out for his normal rest. They both are going to play this Sunday. David Harris and Bart Scott were both limited with their ankle injuries. Scott’s injury is a little more serious but both are going to play this Sunday as well.

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Ten Things I Noticed From Jets/Colts Week 16

Regardless of whether you consider it irrelevant or not, the Jets played the Colts starters in Indy for 2 and 1/2 quarters less than a month ago. Since I was in Italy, I have a VHS copy of the game and decided to re-watch it last night. Here are ten things I noticed:

1. On two separate plays, the Jets went with an empty backfield and failed to have anybody (and I mean anybody) block Dwight Freeney who flew off the edge and sacked Mark Sanchez twice. I am glad they made this mistake already and hopefully they will either scrap the empty formation or find a way to properly protect their quarterback.

2. The Jets did a poor job when Joseph Addai was running the ball. They were burned on a well-timed draw call and allowed him to easily rip off a 21 yard touchdown. Beyond that, he had 5 carries for 19 yards which still is more yards per carry than you would like to allow to the league’s worst rushing offense. When Donald Brown was in with the starters he ran 12 times for 24 yards with one touchdown. The Jets had a nice stand on 4th and 1 that was negated on a tripping penalty by Bart Scott.

3. Austin Collie shredded up Lito Sheppard for 94 yards in less than a full game’s work. However, the Jets were called on three very suspect defensive pass interference/illegal contact penalties, while Braylon Edwards was completely mugged on a third down and there was a no call.

4. Darrelle Revis played Reggie Wayne pretty well overall, yet he was beat deep once but Manning over shot him. Manning also over shot Dallas Clark on what would have been an easy touchdown to put Indy up 13-0.

5. Shonn Greene had 4 carries for 30 yards in the first half and looked two steps faster on the turf. Thomas Jones also played well but the Jets have to feature Greene more than TJ in this game because of his speed.

6. Braylon Edwards had a bad drop on the Jets first drive that would have given them a first down. Beyond that, Sanchez was 2/2 for 19 yards on third down in the first half and also had a nice completion to Jerricho Cotchery for a 12 yard gain on second down.

7. The Jets did a bad job overall on Dallas Clark who racked up 57 yards in limited action. It looked like Kerry Rhodes was out of place a few times.

8. The Jets only got their hands on Peyton Manning once and were lucky a roughing the passer penalty wasn’t called when they actually hit him.

9. The blocking was amazing on Brad Smith’s kick return for a touchdown. He didn’t have to use anything but his speed.

10. The most concerning drive of the game was when the Jets were up 1o-9 and Manning led the Colts down the field on a 8 play drive to immediately give them the lead again.

Overall, this might sound negative but let me end with something encouraging. The Jets forced the Colts to punt four times in the first half and settle for a field goal in the red-zone. They also stopped Peyton Manning’s two minute drive at the end of the first half by forcing him into three straight incompletions. If Brian Schottenheimer didn’t stupidly call a reverse for David Clowney which resulted in a 14 yard loss the Jets would have likely kicked another field goal and only been down 9-6 at the half. The Colts don’t kick their field goal in the second quarter if Lito Sheppard isn’t called for a highly questionable defensive pass interference penalty. Honestly, this game was one bad call from the Jets OC and one bad call from the referee from being 6-6 at half time…so there is a little optimism for you.

Great Video From Leroy  Skywalker Off YouTube

Highlights From Week 16