Welcome back to Turn On The Jets weekly ranking of the beat writers who cover the the team. The votes are tallied amongst myself, Mike Donnelly and Chris Gross with explanations written by the three of us below. For next week’s edition, we are going to be asking for your votes on Twitter, Facebook and here on the site, so make sure to follow us. On to the rankings…
1. Jenny Vrentas, The Star Ledger – Vrentas continued to dominate the rankings once again this past week. She ran several nice articles including Q&A segments with Quinton Coples and Dustin Keller, as well as solid piece on the retirement of LaDanian Tomlinson. However, where Vrentas truly shined this week was in her Sunday article on the passing aspect of the Jets new offensive scheme under the recently hired Tony Sparano. Not only was this piece extremely original, as it was certainly the first to give an in-depth examination of exactly what this part of the offense will look like this season, but it was extraordinarily insightful as well.
Vrentas explained how this offense is designed in every facet from route adjustments to the vocabulary. She explained how this system, unlike the previous one orchestrated by Brian Schottenheimer, gives the players much more freedom and flexibility to take advantage of looks given to them by opposing defenses. Vrentas revealed that this freedom comes with a bit more responsibility, as receivers and quarterbacks are required to know the blocking protection, as it affects the passing routes in terms of both timing and design. Jenny also emphasized on the preparation required by players and coaches alike to adjust to this new system, most notably Mark Sanchez going as far as making flash cards to learn the ins and outs of the offense.
This was somewhat of a ground breaking article by Vrentas. With so much emphasis on the Jets return to Ground and Pound this season, there was not been much focus on how the passing game will look, until now. Vrentas continues to put out relevant, original material. She remains the best at what she does, and until someone passes her in terms of content, creativity, and relevancy, she will remain on her first place pedestal here. – Chris Gross
2. Manish Mehta, The Daily News – I know what it looks like: I accepted Manish’s bribe last week at Jets Mini-Camp to move him up a spot, but trust me, that is not the case (although I happily would if any of the other beat righters are interested. Just saying..). We moved Manish up this week for a few other reasons. But before I get to that let me just say that before old fart Gary Myers sauntered on over with his bad 1987 clothing ensemble and even worse jokes last Thursday to disrupt my Jets chat with Mr. Mehta in a failed attempt to big-time him (Chronicled here on Deadspin.com, and also by me last week), he did address two of the main things that people have been complaining about when it comes to his Twitter page: Sulia and Tebow love.
In regard to Tebow, he simply said, “He’s popular, what can I do? Gotta write about him.” Fair point, even if many of us think it goes a little too far. When I brought up Sulia, it looked like he wanted to just tell me to F-off, but he restrained himself and simply said “Come on man, what do you want from me?” I want you to stop tweeting links to crappy Sulia. That’s what we wall want. In fact, from now on when I want to curse on the internet, I may just simply say Sulia instead. Sulia you, people who tweet links to that site! But alas, I think Sulia is here to stay sadly, and that’s probably the main thing keeping Manish from the top spot.
But even Sulia wasn’t enough to keep the determined Manish down this week, as he did lots of great stuff. Notably, he spent a solid 20 minutes or so on the inaugural radio show of the Flight Five Live on Friday and it was an excellent spot where he addressed many Jets topics, showing how knowledgable and great at his job he can be. (Speaking of being great at the job, check out that picture of him putting in work on the field!) He even promoted the show on his Twitter account, which was also darn decent of him. Beyond that, he wasn’t kidding when he told me he was working on a big article on the defense. Less than 24 hours later, a very nice piece on the Jets defense was put out in which we learned about Mike Pettine’s plans for the defense and using the “Best 11”. We also picked up this nugget on Manish’s Twitter page: Pettine telling him that they may not play any 3-4 base defense at all vs. division opponents. So yes, it was a big week from Manish Mehta this week, and if he ups his bribe offer before the next rankings, the #1 spot is his–err, I mean, if he keeps up the great work! You got this, Manish! – Mike Donnelly
3. Brian Costello, New York Post – While we don’t want to beat our own chest here at TOJ, there has been a noticeable and enjoyable improvement in Costello’s work since we are started these rankings. His Jets Blog is becoming more of a must read and he did a good job transcribing Ron Jaworski’s quotes on Mark Sanchez this past week. Costello also broke the news that the Jets would not be bringing Braylon Edwards back this season. Finally, his Twitter game has been on point. He does a good job of asking fans what they are looking for at practice and pulling observations about how certain players are being used around the formation on offense and defense. Of course, he receives a major bonus for a lack of Sulia links as well. Keep up the great work Coz! – Joe Caporoso
4. Rich Cimini, ESPN New York – It has been quite the rough week for Cimini after opening up with two consecutive weeks at the number two spot. Although his “Take 5” on the areas of concern for the Jets was on point, his Sunday notes along with his piece on the retirement of LaDanian Tomlinson have caused the ESPN New York columnist to drop two spots this week. Cimini’s first point of his Sunday notes addressed the issue of Dustin Keller’s contract situation. Rich offered the idea that the Jets would be smart to wait on giving Keller an extension until they see how he plays in the new offensive scheme under Tony Sparano, which places a greater emphasis on the blocking ability of the Tight End. This is an excellent point considering the fact that Keller has never been a strong blocker, leaving a fair amount of question marks about how he will fare in this new system. The problem with this assessment by Cimini is that he was nearly a week late to the party on this issue. Rich’s article was published on Sunday, June 17th. Five days earlier, I addressed the issue right here on TOJ with the exact line of thinking used by Cimini in his notes. Is the former Daily News beat writer a frequent visitor of Turn On The Jets? Who knows? Either way, Cimini analyzed this issue after it had already been deemed old news.
Other than sleeping on the Keller situation for five days, Cimini also made an interesting argument in his piece on Tomlinson’s retirement. First, Rich criticized LT for his post-season comments on the Jets locker room turmoil. He claimed Tomlinson made his negative statements about the organization on Showtime’s “Inside The NFL” as a publicity stunt to pave his way into the world of broadcasting. However, when, at any point during his career, did Tomlinson display any sign of self-promoting, especially with a controversial issue like this? LT was simply asked a question, and answered it honestly. It was the mainstream media that blew the entire situation out of proportion, not Tomlinson, who has been a class act since entering the league in 2001.
Furthermore, in the same piece on LT, Cimini made a claim that Tomlinson’s 2010 season was so impressive that it made Jets fans forget about Thomas Jones. However, when reviewing Jones’ final two seasons with the Jets in comparison to LT’s only two seasons, it is clear that Jones not only had a greater impact on New York’s rushing attack, but posted career numbers in nearly every statistical category as well.
Prior to leaving the Jets after the 2009 season, Jones rushed for a career high 1,402 yards along with, another career high, 14 touchdowns. In 2008, he rushed for 1,312 yards with, a then career high, 13 touchdowns. Tomlinson, on the other hand, rushed for only 1,194 yards and 7 touchdowns is his two seasons with Gang Green, combined. While LT will certainly be remembered as one of the greatest backs of all time, his success in New York was not nearly as high as that of Thomas Jones. So, while Jets Nation is certainly appreciative of what LT brought to the team during his brief stint, Thomas Jones remains, by and large, the best running back to carry the load for New York since the retirement of Curtis Martin. No one has forgotten about TJ. – Chris Gross
5. Jane McManus, ESPN New York – Another very solid week from Jane McManus, and she’s really knocking on the door to move up in these rankings. She kicked off the week with a genuinely hilarious tweet (seen below) after Brian Costello was claiming the top spot was going to be his. I’m pretty sure she was joking, but maybe Jenny Vrentas should hire a bodyguard just in case. Jane may know something the rest of us don’t. Ms. McManus also provided lots of solid info on her Twitter page, with quotes, player info, and she shows a great ability to only give us the important things Rex Ryan says instead of just tweeting every word that comes out of his mouth like some others do. Sometimes, less is more, and Jane does a great job with that. Additionally, she put out a great article on Laron Landry and how he’s recovering from his injuries and what we can expect from him this year. In non-Jets related topics, she did a great job with her take on Twitter of the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky mess, and she handled it well. (Jane: 1, Penn State students: 0). As I said, it was a very good week from Jane McManus, and she very well could be on the way up. – Mike Donnelly
6. Kimberly Martin, Newsday – We aren’t burying Kimberly in the #6 spot for the third straight week as a sign of disrespect to her but more as a sign of respect towards the others who have been on the beat longer. For our rankings we are still waiting for that one article or Tweet that is really going to jump off the page to move her up in the standings. We have heard from followers of this article and other beat writers that there other individuals who deserve inclusion in this list. Because of that, we are encouraging you to submit any other writer (must write for a mainstream publication/be credentialed) that you think belongs here. Please note that “must be credentialed” isn’t meant to elevate them above the rest of us who aren’t, it is just that we place them in a separate category and much of what we use in these rankings is how they handle interaction with the players on a day to day basis and what they pull from attending practices. – Joe Caporoso
Next week we will be giving your rankings. Submit your votes here, on the Turn On The Jets Facebook Page or respond to Mike, Chris or my Twitter Account. We will publish the results next Wednesday. Also let us know if there are any other writers you’d like to see included in these rankings