Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Sanchez’s 34 Dropbacks

A breakdown of Mark Sanchez’s 34 dropbacks against the Houston Texans. Does he grade out positively or negatively?

This week’s Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown is going to focus strictly on Mark Sanchez’s 34 dropbacks against the Houston Texans. Each play is going to be graded as either a positive (+) or a negative (-) based on the following criteria: Did Sanchez execute the proper read or decision based on what the defense was giving him? Let’s take a closer look – 

1 – 2nd and 10 at their own 13 (Incompletion to Jeremy Kerley) – The Jets ran a rub route underneath with Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley. Cumberland ran a poor route, hesitating and sitting too soon. If he takes one more step in his route, Kerley is wide open across the field. Kerley was still open but it was a tight window and Sanchez held the ball a split second too long as the pass rush collapsed around him and was forced to throw it away as he was nearly sacked. Lex Hilliard did a poor job of blitz pickup on this play, although he wasn’t helped by Austin Howard at all. Yes, Sanchez received poor help but he still could have found a way to complete this pass (-)

2 – 3rd and 15 at their own 8 (13 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – Sanchez drives a deep out route to Kerley who runs his route about 2 yards short of the marker. Kerley needs to push a little further. However, there was a beautifully formed pocket and Sanchez had Chaz Schilens at the top of the field on an in-cut that was wide open for an easy first down. The blame goes to both Kerley for not running his route deep enough to Sanchez for taking advantage of the extra time to find the open receiver for a bigger gain on the other side of the field. (-)

3- 3rd and 10 at their own 28 (Incompletion to Clyde Gates) – This was a poor route from Gates. He got held up at the top of his route. If he snaps his deep in-cut earlier and at the proper yardage, he would have been wide open. Sanchez threw it to the right spot but was victimized by poor route running. (+)

4 – 1st and 10 at their own 43 (27 yard completion to Clyde Gates) – Gates gets a little redemption here. After Antonio Cromartie’s INT, the Jets called three “go” routes. Houston obliged by putting 7 in the box and playingCover 1. Basically leaving all the Jets receivers in man to man and daring them to throw deep. Sanchez delivered a beautifully thrown ball down the sideline to Gates’ outside shoulder. Gates went up and made an athletic grab over Jonathan Joseph, one of the league’s better corners. (+)

5 – 3rd and 7 on Houston 27 (27 yard touchdown to Jeff Cumberland) – We get on Jeff Cumberland plenty here but he ran a textbook seam route down the hash here. He beat his guy, stayed skinny on his route and bent in at the perfect time. Sanchez drops in another gorgeous pass, his second in a row. This is why his inconsistency is so frustrating. The talent is clearly there. The past two throws were big boy NFL throws that Tim Tebow simply cannot make. (+)

6 – 3rd and 3 at their own 22 (2 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – The Jets ran another rub route over the middle. Sanchez does an excellent job of stepping up in the pocket and sliding to avoid the rush. However he has Schilens open basically right at the first down marker but instead of throwing it out in front of him, he throws it high and behind. Schilens has to twist to make a very tough (and impressive) catch but is wrapped immediately and unable to extend the ball. Could the route have been a yard deeper, yes? Regardless if it was a better throw, it is still a first down (-)

7 – 1st and 10 at their own 27 (Incompletion to Konrad Reuland) – A poor play design where basically Reuland is the only option on a bootleg in the flat. Tony Sparano needs to keep this play on ice until Dustin Keller is back. Reuland was blanketed and Sanchez had nowhere else to go with the ball. He threw it low and away and it was deflected. Hard to blame him on this one. We’ll give him neither a (+) or (-)

8 – 2nd and 10 at their own 27 (Incompletion to Bilal Powell) – A well designed play that motioned Powell into the slot and had him run a speed out. The Jets got the coverage they wanted and Powell would have been wide open but he tripped out of his break. He must be hanging out with Shonn Greene too much. Sanchez threw it on point but Powell fell so it was incomplete. (+)

9 – 3rd and 10 at their own 27 (Incompletion to Bilal Powell) – The Jets basically cleared out for Powell underneath who was wide open. Sanchez delivered it on time but the pass was batted down. I am taking a case by case basis with the passes knocked down at the line. In this case, Sanchez had time to slide and give himself a better passing lane. By his fourth season, he needs to recognize the need to do this. (-) 

10 – 3rd and 4 at their own 34 (3 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – This play was designed for Kerley all the way. He came in motion to run a speed out from the slot. Honestly, this was just a great tackle by Kareem Jackson. Kerley probably should have pushed it a half yard deeper but it is hard to fault any Jet on this play, certainly not Sanchez who threw the ball out in front of Kerley where it needed to be. (+)

11 – 1st and 10 at their own 39 (Incompletion to Antonio Cromartie) – Cromartie ran a beautiful double move and blew right past the cornerback. This should have been an easy 61 yard touchdown. Unfortunately Sanchez threw the ball too far to the outside, forcing Cromartie out of bounds, where he still made a ridiculous catch. Simply put, Sanchez HAS to hit this throw. Separation like this must lead to a touchdown. (-)

12 – 2nd and 10 at their own 39 (Incompletion to Jeff Cumberland) – The Jets ran a deep back shoulder fade to Cumberland. Sanchez put it in the perfect spot but Cumberland dropped it. This should have been about a 25 yard gain. Missed opportunities. (+)

13 – 3rd and 10 at their own 39 (Incompletion to Bilal Powell) – Nobody was open down the field and the pocket quickly collapsed thanks to Brandon Moore, who had a rough night. Sanchez got rid of the ball before taking a sack. (+)

14 – 2nd and 6 at their own 11 (5 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – Sanchez is very rarely accurate on passes 5 yards and under so this was encouraging to see. Schilens settles into tight window on an option route and Sanchez fired it in there after waiting for the window to open up in the zone coverage. Well done by both Sanchez and Schilens. (+)

15 – 1st and 10 at their own 18 (Strip Sack by Brooks Reed) –  The Jets went into their heavy package and were looking for the home run to Clyde Gates off play action. They were likely hoping to catch Houston napping, thinking they were just going to run the clock out. Unfortunately Gates was doubled deep as was Jeff Cumberland underneath. Sanchez should have thrown it away but held it a little too long and was sacked from behind by Brooks Reed who beat Jason Smith. Obviously this has been a recurring problem for Sanchez who must have better pocket presence and protect the football. (-)

16 – 2nd and 3 at their own 25 (Incompletion to Clyde Gates) – Tony Sparano went back to the same vertical play that they hit Gates on earlier for a big gain. Sanchez makes a very good throw but Gates is held by the corner who wasn’t flagged and can’t get to the ball. This was the play Gates’ shoulder popped out. (+)

17 – 3rd and 3 at their own 25 (12 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – Sanchez bangs a slant route to Schilens who is wide open after coming in motion. Simple pitch and catch on a route Sanchez traditionally throws well. (+)

18 – 1st and 10 at their own 37 (36 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – The throw of the night by Sanchez who stands tall in the pocket, takes a huge shot and drops in a beautiful pass between two defenders to Kerley down the seam. Only increases the frustration that he can’t be more consistent because again this a big boy, 1st round draft pick throw. This is why Rex Ryan is keeping Mark Sanchez as his starter. (+)

19 – 1st and 10 at Houston 27 (10 yard completion to Chaz Schilens) – It looked as if Sanchez and Schilens checked to this at the line after they saw a blitz coming. A well timed throw. A good adjustment and an easy 10 yards. (+)

20 – 2nd and 5 at Houston 12 (Interception) – You’ve seen this play 1,000 times by now. Is the deflection Sanchez’s fault? Not really. Yet, he still made the wrong read on this play. Jeremy Kerley was going to take career ending hit if he caught this ball. Sanchez should went to the flat on the opposite side of the field. So we end the end the half with a (-)

FIRST HALF – 20 Dropbacks – 12 Positives, 7 Negatives, 1 Undecided.

21 – 1st and 10 at their own 28 (24 yard completion to Jeff Cumberland) – Good Mark Sanchez is back, dropping in a pretty deep out route to Jeff Cumberland off play action that goes for 24 yards. He does a nice job of putting enough touch on it to get it over the linebacker but enough zip to get it out front of the safety so Cumberland can turn up field. (+)

22 – 2nd and 14 at their own 47 (36 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – Jeremy Kerley is turning into a damn good NFL wide receiver. He shakes the corner at the line of scrimmage, forcing him to fall and then holds on as he takes a huge hit from the safety. Sanchez could have put a little more zip on this cover 2 hole shot but that is probably nit-picking. (+) 

23 – 2nd and goal at the Houston 3 (Incompletion to Chaz Schilens) – Damn JJ Watt. This is easy touchdown for the Jets over the middle to Chaz Schilens who ran a slant out of the bunch. Sanchez makes the right read and then Watt makes the type of play that is going to win him Defensive Player of the Year. I am sorry but Sanchez is at no fault here. He did everything right. This was just a tremendous play from Watt. (+)

24 – 3rd and goal at the Houston 3 (Incompletion to Chaz Schilens) – The Jets wanted to go backside to Kerley on a slant-fade route. Basically where Kerley takes three hard steps to the slant and then breaks out to the fade but it was well covered. Sanchez correctly moves to his next read, which is Schilens who appears to be running a deeper slant and then whipping back out along the back line. A tough and bizarre route that is ran very poorly by Schilens from start to finish. Again, this is not on Sanchez but on poor route running and play design. (+) 

25 – 2nd and 18 at their own 46 (19 yard completion to Shonn Greene) – Sanchez did everything fine here. (+) – Let me take a minute to riff on Shonn Greene’s general awfulness. If Greene had one capable NFL running back move this is a 54 yard touchdown. Look how much space he has!

Of course Greene slows down and leans to the inside where there is nothing but green to the outside. Instead of making a move, he then continues to slow down, crouches down and slams head first into the defender, allowing the pursuit to catch up with him.

He will never start another game in the NFL after this season, period.

26 – 2nd and 10 at Houston 35 (Incompletion to Shonn Greene) – Sanchez opted to check down to Greene, which based on the coverage was not a poor decision. His primary reads were all well covered. Sanchez threw the ball a little to Greene’s right to move him away from the linebacker but Greene dropped a ball that him in both hands. (+)

27 – 3rd and 10 at Houston 35 (Sacked) – Sanchez had Jeremy Kerley down the seam for a big play and he stepped up into the pocket to make the throw. However, JJ Watt made another ridiculous play, beating Brandon Moore and taking Sanchez’s legs out. Initially I thought this play would be on Sanchez for taking a sack in a bad spot but after watching the film, I’m not sure what else he could have done here considering the play Watt made. We’ll give him an undecided here.

28 – 2nd and 2 at their own 24 (Incomplete pass to Antonio Cromartie) – A poorly designed play that was rushed because of unnecessary substitutions that shouldn’t be occurring in a 2 minute drill. The swing screen was deflected by Conner Barwin but even if Cromartie caught it, he wasn’t going anywhere. Another undecided.

29 – 3rd and 2 at their own 24 (6 yard completion to Jeremy Kerley) – Excellent patience by Sanchez who waited for Kerley to get all the way across the set on a drag route and then fired in an accurate pass to move the chains on 3rd down. (+)

30 – 1st and 10 at their own 30 (10 yard yard completion to Jason Hill) – Sanchez went back to his bread and butter, the slant route. Hill stumbles a bit at the top of the route but Sanchez gets it to him anyway. At this point, it felt like the Jets were actually putting something together on their final drive. (+)

31 – 1st and 10 at their own 40 (Incompletion to Jeremey Kerley) – Sanchez was looking for Kerley on a 10 yard out route from the slot but simply missed the throw, putting it too low and to the outside. There is no reason this shouldn’t have been a 10-15 yard gain. (-)

32 – 2nd and 10 at their own 40 (Sack) – The Texans dialed up a blitz off the edge that the Jets completely failed to pick up (looking at you Bilal Powell). However, Sanchez should have recognized the pressure was going to come off the left side and move Powell there before the snap to make his job easier and the blitz easier to recognize here. Sanchez double clutched and probably could have got rid of the ball to an underneath receiver. Tough play with the blitz? Yes. Still you cannot take a sack here. (-)

33 – 3rd and 18 at their own 32 (Interception) – For some reason the Jets rushed to get this play off right before the two minute warning. They should have taken their time and went to the sideline to regroup after the sack. Sanchez made the right read. Jeff Cumberland was the primary read, he was open on about a 12 yard out route. Sanchez makes a good, not great throw that bounces off Cumberland hands for a game ending interception. Yes, Cumberland should have caught the ball. But why rush to the line in this situation? (-)

34 – 1st and 10 at their own 9 (Incompletion to Jeremy Kerley) – The Jets last second desperation play. You’d like to find a way to complete this so you at least have a chance to lateral. (-)

SECOND HALF – 14 Dropbacks – 8 Positives, 4 Negatives, 2 Undecided

TOTAL – 34 Dropacks, 20 Positives, 11 Negatives, 3 Undecided

Overall Analysis – It is fair to say that Mark Sanchez played better than his stat line indicated. However, that doesn’t absolve him of the inconsistencies he demonstrated. What is frustrating about re-watching this game tape is that this game was there for the Jets to win. They weren’t blown off the field by Houston. They weren’t outclassed. In a way that is encouraging for the rest of the season. If they cut back on the missed opportunities and mistakes, they are going to win football games. You can’t miss on a 61 yard touchdown to Antonio Cromartie. You can’t drop 25 yard completions. You can’t make the wrong read near the end-zone. However, you also won’t be dealing with JJ Watt and the Houston Texans every week. Sanchez was much better against Houston than he was against San Francisco and even Miami. It would not be surprising to see him put up a solid stat line against a Colts defense that is a major step down from Houston. Beyond that, everybody now has another game of experience in the offense and Dustin Keller should be back.

Sanchez Breakdown: Passing Grade?

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance last night

Stat line: 14/31, 230 Yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions – 54.5 QB rating, 45.2 completion percentage

Season stats: 77/159, 1,043 Yards, 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions – 66.6 QB rating, 48.4 completion percentage

Last week, I eviscerated Mark Sanchez in this space, and rightfully so.  But if last week was time for a rant, then this week is time for some rationality.

Mark Sanchez was inconsistent last night, but he played more than well enough to keep his job. Rex Ryan is famous for overhyping his players in press conferences, but last night he said that Sanchez played better than the numbers indicated, and I agree with him. Amazingly, the mainstream media tacitly agreed with Ryan, as no one stooped to the absurd level of asking about Sanchez’s job security. Sanchez was in a pass or fail situation, and he passed.  Was he graded on a curve last night? Absolutely, and he should be. When fans are furiously checking Twitter to get injury updates on Clyde Gates, how much blame can really be placed at the feet of the quarterback?

The Best: There was a lot of idiocy cascading down from the stands at MetLife Stadium last night after every incomplete pass, which was frankly infuriating. What these boo-birds failed to realize is that Sanchez actually made some excellent throws in this game; throws that Tim Tebow couldn’t make in a backyard game in Gainesville. The touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, the seam route to Jeremy Kerley, the deep cross to Cumberland.  These are NFL level throws that Sanchez executed with aplomb that require a proper read, sound mechanics and timing. In the NFL, if your quarterback can’t make these throws, you just aren’t going to win many games. It’s a passer’s league, period. As is the case throughout his career, Sanchez has shown flashes of ability – the oft-repeated line of course is, “he can make every throw” and he can – but has failed in the consistency department.

The Worst: The Jets had success throwing the ball down the field last night, but struggled mightily in the short passing game.  This is what is so frustrating about watching Sanchez. For every perfect downfield touch pass or frozen rope that pierces zone coverage, he skips a 4-yard out pattern or overthrows a checkdown receiver. This partly explains why his completion percentage is so low. Completing a dump-off to a running back should be a foregone conclusion, but it is anything but in the Jets offense. These accuracy issues are likely a combination of many factors, and the Jets don’t exactly have the most dependable receivers out of the backfield, but if Sanchez doesn’t improve on the short stuff, expect the completion percentage number to remain ugly and the Jet offense to continue to stall.

The Key Moment: When a team is playing poorly as the Jets are, it seems like the worst mistakes always happen at the most crucial moments of the game. You can see where this is going.

The situation was 2nd and 5 from the Texans’ 12-yard line, with the Jets driving for a potential game-tying score heading into halftime. The Jets had just run a draw play for 5 yards and with 30 seconds on the clock and two timeouts, they kept the foot on the gas pedal as opposed to calling timeout, and set up a bread-and-butter play for Sanchez. For all of the short passing woes noted above, Sanchez has typically been reliable on the quick slant. Unfortunately, J.J. Watt stood between Sanchez, the Jets, and six points last night, and Brice McCain grabbed the tipped pass and changed the tenor of the game. Turnovers are going to happen no matter who the quarterback is, and it’s obviously unfair to fault Sanchez for this one last night, but he seems to have a knack for giving the football away in the worst possible moments.

As you know, we’re on a constant Mission to Civilize Jets analysis and discussion here at Turn on the Jets, and it’s important to manage the expectations in regards to Sanchez, given the talent (talent, ha!) that he’s now being forced to work with on offense.  At the same time, everyone is still waiting for him to put it all together, and maybe even carry this rag-tag team on his back and win them a game or two on his own. If you were in MetLife Stadium last night though, you realized that fairly or not, patience is wearing thin with the fourth-year quarterback.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 5 Edition

With the first quarter of the 2012 NFL regular season in the books, the New York Jets stand at 2-2 atop the AFC East. However, anyone following this team knows that, with the way the Jets have played since week 2, there is little to no security in that position. Sure, New York is .500 and in first place in their division, but the reality of the matter is, with their 2 best players out, Mark Sanchez seemingly going in the tank, and the defense giving up yardage like it is going out of style, the Jets season seems all but lost already.

The Jets face yet another daunting task this Monday night as they host the undefeated Houston Texans, deemed by many as the best team in the league this season. Can the Jets beat Houston at home? Sure, this is the NFL where upsets happen all the time. However, this is also a team that is seemingly becoming all too familiar with losing.

The Jets are desperate for a convincing win, something they’ve had very few of over the past calendar year. Although a win will be extremely difficult to come by this Monday, New York can certainly take a step in the right direction with competitive play in which they show desire, drive, and confidence, while the offense displays ball security and the defense shows the ability to stop the run and get off the field on third downs. Still, an extrememly difficut task against a team like Houston.

So, how will the Jets fare? Is this the end of the Mark Sanchez era in New York as we know it? Will Rex Ryan’s defense get back to its old ways of dominance, or is that just a mirage at this point? And will Mike Tannenbaum’s inactivity with this roster prove to be the ultimate demise of this team? Find out all you need to know about this week’s game in our latest edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

Houston will sack Mark Sanchez multiple times. Fact. While the Jets offensive line has been improved in pass protection over these first four games, Houston’s defense has 13 sacks in that same time span, averaging just over 3 per game. Defensive End J.J. Watt is putting together one of the greatest performances by a defensive lineman in recent memory, leading the NFL with 7.5 sacks. While San Francisco’s pass rush was certainly the best the Jets had seen up until that point last week, Houston has an abundance of pass rushers at every position. The Jets will likely slide a lot of protection toward Watt leaving players like Brian Cushing and Brooks Reed, two players who also have a history of getting to the quarterback, for single blocking.

Texans’ Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will certainly get very creative with his blitz packages and rush schemes, something he has become notorious for since joining Houston last season. New York will do their best to keep Sanchez upright, however expect Watt, Cushing, and Reed to all combine for anywhere between 3-4 sacks.

The Jets will finally run the ball effectively. Fact. This is a very bold prediction here, considering how poor New York’s rushing offense has been. Houston’s run defense ranks 11th in the NFL, allowing just over 90 yards per contest. However, the Texans gave up 144 yards on the ground last week to Chris Johnson, who up until that point, was the only starting running back in the league averaging less YPC than Shonn Greene with 1.4. Against the Texans, however, Johnson posted a season high 5.6 YPC.

Yes, Johnson is much more physically gifted than Greene, and unlike the Jets starter, runs with some form of identity. However, if Johnson can make somewhat of a revival, there is no reason the Jets entire rushing attack cannot as well. The key for Tony Sparano will be to identify the holes and weaknesses in Houston’s front seven, something that will certainly be no walk in the park. However, with the right amount of Greene, complemented with Bilal Powell and possibly Joe McKnight, coupled with a coherent Tim Tebow game plan, there is no reason the Jets cannot at least make some sort of improvement in the run game this week. Will it need to be done with gimmick plays and creative formations? Absolutely. But, with the personnel left on this offense, that will likely be the only way to get things materialized from here on out.

Aarian Foster will run for 100+ Yards. False. Yes, another bold prediction considering how bad the Jets run defense has looked recently. However, with Sione Pouha likely out this week, Kenrick Ellis will be receiving most of the reps at Nose Tackle, which will prove to be a blessing in disguise for this defense. Ellis has been the best defensive lineman for the Jets thus far this season. His ability to take on double teams, and occupy two blockers, is head and shoulders above what Pouha’s is right now. This will allow for less free shots at the linebackers, who will be more free to roam the field and make plays. Quinton Coples will likely see more reps as an every down player, as his workload has been increasing each week, and that will give the Jets much more athleticism and explosion up front. While Houston will likely rack up over 100 yards on the ground collectively, it will likely be through a committee effort. Plus, the Jets couldn’t possibly miss 17 tackles again…right?

The Jets pass rush will finally show some signs of life this week. Fact. By now, you’ve realized this piece is full of bold predictions. However, considering how dead the Jets pass rush has been throughout the first 4 games, 2 sacks and 3 QB hits would be considered a revival. Throughout our film breakdowns, it has become extremely apparent that the Jets’ pass rushing problems stem, not from lack of effort or technique, but mostly lack of speed from the starters. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, despite each recording a sack last week, are simply too slow to get to the quarterback at this point in their careers. DeMario Davis and Quinton Coples are beginning to see extended reps in passing situations, something that will prove to be brilliant as the season progresses. Each has tremendous speed, and Coples is undoubtedly the most talented lineman on the team, just still a bit raw. Kenrick Ellis gets an excellent push up the middle in his pass rush, which will ultimately help flush Matt Schaub out of the pocket, hopefully into an edge player. If Aaron Maybin can somehow develop a few pass rush moves, the Jets’ rush may not be as dormant anymore.

Houston’s Brian Cushing will have an excellent performance in his Homecoming game on Monday Night Football. Fact. Former AP Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing makes his return home to North Jersey this Monday night. A graduate of Bergen Catholic High School, Cushing won a state championship in the very same complex, at the old Giant Stadium, as a high school senior. Now, Cushing comes back to the Meadowlands as Houston’s 2012 leading tackler.

While he will surely be fired up for this game, in which he takes on former college teammate Mark Sanchez, Cushing is physically a mismatch for the Jets offense. Possessing great speed, athleticism, and tenacity from the inside, Cushing’s versatility makes him a dangerous weapon for Wade Phillips. As previously noted, New York will likely pay a lot of attention to J.J. Watt, leaving Cushing to roam the field, and make plays, exactly what he does best. Expect a stat line close to 10 tackles, 1 sack, and a tackle for loss for the former BC Crusader.

This will be Mark Sanchez’s last game as the starting Quarterback of the New York Jets. False. While the clock certainly seems to be ticking on Sanchez, as many are convinced it is not a matter of if but when he will be replaced by Tim Tebow, don’t expect a decision to come after this game. Even if Sanchez plays poorly again, something that could very well happen against this defense, New York is simply not ready for a change, because they know like everyone else, once they go to Tebow, there is no turning back.

Regardless of his performance, Sanchez will be given amnesty due to the fact that he has had to face arguably the two best defenses in the NFL in consecutive weeks. However, if his poor play continues into the Colts game, not only will the fans and Woody Johnson call for Tebow to take the reigns, Rex Ryan and the coaching staff likely will as well.

New York Jets: Sanchez’s Last Stand

Mark Sanchez is running out of opportunities as the New York Jets starting quarterback

I wonder if Mark Sanchez longingly studies the depth chart of the quarterbacks drafted in the same year as him or the years right around him. Does he complain to Eva Longoria about Joe Flacco handing the football to Ray Rice and throwing the ball as far as he can to Torrey Smith while Anquan Boldin cleans up underneath? Does he shake at his head at Sportscenter highlights of Calvin Johnson leaping 18 feet in the air to pull down a Matthew Stafford pass? Does he go home in the off-season sit by the beach and imagine what it would be line up under center, look to his left and see Julio Jones, look to his right and see Roddy White and then look back to his left to see Tony Gonzalez. Does he take out the calculator and try to figure out how the small market Tampa Bay Bucs can provide Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin to Josh Freeman? He’d be crazy not to, right?

Nobody is saying that Mark Sanchez would be the same quarterback as Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, or Matthew Stafford in the same situation. You might have argued that in 2010 when Sanchez led a 11-5 team to the AFC Championship Game and seemed to be growing as he outplayed Tom Brady in his own building in the playoffs. Those days are long gone now. Gone like the days when the New York Jets had one of the league’s best offensive lines, a rushing attack that could average more than 2.8 yards per carry and wide receivers who didn’t belong on a UFL roster.

Even a self-professed Sanchez Apologist has to admit there has been a clear regression in his play. Stats don’t need to tell the story because the game film does. In 2011, we saw the same inconsistencies we saw from Sanchez in 2010 except he didn’t rally in a big spot the way he traditionally did. He tanked in the team’s three biggest games of the season and didn’t offer a signature win all year.

It was also clear by the end of the season Sanchez’s supporting cast needed a tune up. The Jets were no longer a feared rushing attack and they didn’t have enough weapons in the passing game. Their once dominant offensive line had sunk to mediocre. Financially, the Jets doubled down on Sanchez by guaranteeing his money the next two years and proclaiming him their franchise quarterback. The next logical step was improving the rest of the offense to make sure that investment was a wise one.

We all know what happened. The Jets overvalued their own talent, believing Shonn Greene was a 1,500 yard back, Wayne Hunter and Matt Slauson would improve, and that Santonio Holmes could carry an inexperienced group of receivers. The only addition was Tim Tebow. We were given a cute story about how Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan discussed the acquisition in an airport , realizing it made perfect sense with Tony Sparano now the offensive coordinator. Tebow would fill the talent gaps because the Jets had a unique plan to mix him into their offense which would provide a spark to both their running and passing game.

It has been pretty apparent through four games that it was a line of bullshit. The Jets coaching staff is completely clueless when it comes to mixing Tebow into their offense, failing to even take advantage of him in obvious situations, like 3rd and short. With each passing week, the Tebow acquisition is looking more and more like a 100% money-grab business decision. The reports are already surfacing now about Jets owner Woody Johnson pushing for Tebow in the starting line-up and now it seems like only a matter of time until #15 is under center full time.

Where does all this leave Sanchez? The guy who started out the season on fire for 5 quarters, followed it with 6 abysmal quarters, rallied late against Miami and then bottomed out against San Francisco. It leaves him facing the league’s best team in primetime with the worst collection of skill position players in the NFL, no seriously. Go bring up every depth chart in the NFL and tell me who has a worst group of running backs than Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. Go bring up every depth chart in the NFL and tell me who has a worst group of wide receivers than Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, and Clyde Gates. There isn’t a worst starting tight end in the NFL than Jeff Cumberland. There isn’t a worst fullback in the NFL than John Conner.

(For the record, Jeremy Kerley is a very talented slot receiver. He is seriously miscast as a number one receiver at this point of his career though. Stephen Hill has a very high ceiling as a big play wideout but right now he is a rookie from a triple-option college offense)

It almost seems like Mike Tannenbaum is setting Sanchez up to fail…almost. I don’t buy into the conspiracy theories, I just think Tannenbaum is incompetent as a talent evaluator. Sanchez has been dealt a crap hand and needs to find a way to make it work. He needs to hold Tebow off for one more week, so he can remain under center for the Jets final three games before the bye where they have a puncher’s chance of going 2-1 to hit the halfway mark at 4-4.

If Sanchez duplicates his performance against San Francisco on Monday night, how could you not support calls for him to be benched? He must protect the football. He must be more accurate. He must show command of the offense. He doesn’t need to pull the upset off, he just needs to keep the Jets competitive against the league’s best team with his excessively weak supporting cast. It is sad expectations but they are realistic.

Why show any hesitance in handing the team off to Tebow? The reason is a 8-8 season from Tebow will be considered magical and create a media firestorm, the type of media firestorm that will encourage Woody Johnson to bring him back as the team’s starter next year. Where I believe you will be looking at another 8-8 type season. I will take Tebow more seriously as a starting quarterback than Sanchez when he shows he can beat New England, not lose by 30 points. I will take Tebow more seriously as a starting quarterback when he can win double digit games in a season and a road playoff game. If he does that as a starter for the Jets this year, then by all means make him your long term starting quarterback.

Ultimately, I’m still of the belief that if Sanchez is surrounded with a competent supporting cast that the Jets ceiling remains higher than it would with Tebow running a read-option offense. With no supporting cast? Maybe Tebow is a better option cause of his diverse skill set but knowing the history of this franchise, there is a reasonable fear the Jets will double down on Tebow if he is just decent the rest of 2012 dooming themselves to a few more years of mediocrity. I could see myself writing the same article at this time next year when the Jets are 1-3 because they didn’t upgrade the offense around Tebow and thought he could just carry it on his own.

Mike Tannenbaum’s recent failings as a General Manager and his own inconsistencies have pushed Mark Sanchez to the brink of his career as the New York Jets starting quarterback. Can he get off the mat one last time?

Turn On The Jets “Offensive” Film Breakdown – Jets vs. 49ers

A breakdown of the “offensive” game film from Jets vs. 49ers

The New York Jets didn’t play much, if any at all, NFL offense this past Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. However, that didn’t stop us from subjecting ourselves to the offensive game film. Make sure to check back later for when Chris Gross breaks down the defensive game film. Also check out our latest deal from Night Out at Tammany Hall Tavern. Make sure to take advantage for when you are watching the games this weekend –

Mark Sanchez – Without question, this was the worst game Mark Sanchez has played this season and maybe in his NFL career and he has had some bad ones. The problems started right on the first drive when the Jets had already passed the 50 by virtue of Jim Harbaugh not challenging a long completion to Chaz Schilens when Sanchez was across the line of scrimmage. Harbaugh probably knew he could afford to give up those yards with the offense he was facing all day. On a 3rd and 2, Tony Sparano makes a terrific play call that gets Santonio Holmes wide open over the middle of the field. Wide open. Open enough that if he catches it, he probably has the Jets down around the 20 yard line because of all the space behind him.

For some reason, Sanchez doesn’t even turn his head to look at Holmes, who is the primary option on the play. He holds the ball excessively long waiting for Jeff Cumberland out to the left to break open and then steps up in the pocket, still has time to get it to an open Holmes and then takes a sack. This play set the tone for the whole day for Sanchez who was skittish and not on the same page with his receivers.

Later in the half, with the Jets again driving Sanchez faced another third down. This time, the play call and the routes were not great. San Francisco had every Jets every blanketed. Sanchez has enough time to recognize this and either throw the ball away or dive forward for a short gain to set up a field goal.

We all know what happens. He shows no ball security by not tucking it away and is hit from behind for a fumble. This is a rookie level mistake and completely inexcusable. Sanchez came out in the second half and actually made his best throw of the day, a 14 yard deep out route to Chaz Schilens. This was the only time he looked like a NFL quarterback on Sunday, executing a play-action and delivering a perfectly timed bullet to him.

Tony Sparano followed this play up with a well-timed screen pass to Shonn Greene. This play was wide open and set up perfectly. Even the NFL’s slowest back, Greene, could have picked up 20-25 yards here. However, with a pass rusher in his face Mark Sanchez fades away and doesn’t put enough air under the ball. In this situation, he needs to either slide away to get Greene the football or stand tall, take the hit and get more air under it.

Of course we know he didn’t and from this point on, Sanchez was completely checked out of the game. He could not buy a completion and wasn’t even really looking down the field at all.

Receivers – The only positive praise you will see in this article is for Chaz Schilens. I mentioned this last week and it showed again, Schilens runs sharp routes and plays with confidence. He looks like a NFL receiver out there, which is saying something on this Jets offense. He can be a productive number two or number three, although he unfortunately might be stretched too thin with Santonio Holmes now hurt.

The Jets don’t ask Jeremy Kerley to do enough. He can bring more to the offense than running 4 yard option routes. He needs to be sent down the field more and worked into there Wildcat package as a runner. Patrick Turner, who is now cut, looked how you would expect him to look after not being on the roster the past few weeks.

The tight end issues remain the same. Jeff Cumberland, to his credit, caught the ball well and broke a few tackles. However, remains utterly incompetent when it comes to blocking. His route running is also inconsistent and frequently throws off the timing and rhythm of the passing game.

Running Back – Different week. Same story. There was less room than ever for the Jets running backs this week but they continued to leave yards on the field. Shonn Greene might need 500 carries this season to crack 1,000 yards. This was a disappointing game for Bilal Powell who left more yards on the field than he has in previous weeks. The Jets have signed Lex Hilliard this week and he should be starting over John Conner by this Monday night.

Offensive Line – This was the poorest effort of the season from this unit. Nick Mangold had maybe his worst game as a pro. He was thrown around the field way more than we’ve ever seen. Matt Slauson and Vlad Ducasse are basically splitting reps at this point but both are way too inconsistent and give up pressure routinely. This was a decent game for both of the Jets tackles, considering the defense they went against, it is hard to get down on Austin Howard.

New York Jets – Minor Changes Won’t Solve Problems

The New York Jets need more than minor changes to solve their long list of problems

The New York Jets losing to the San Francisco 49ers yesterday should not have surprised anybody. It does not merit a shocked or angry reaction. The approach to the game and the emphatic manner in which they lost does however merit a response. Hopefully that response is taking place among the coaching staff and front office of the organization as they take today and tomorrow to reflect on a few harsh realities.

On the game film from yesterday, the coaching staff is going to see what a legitimate Super Bowl contender looks like. The 49ers are the team Rex Ryan wants. A smash-mouth, versatile running game supported by an efficient quarterback on offense and an elite defense that can get after the quarterback and force turnovers. The New York Jets can’t be them because Muhammad Wilkerson isn’t Justin Smith. David Harris isn’t Patrick Willis. Quinton Coples isn’t Aldon Smith. Bart Scott isn’t NaVorro Bowman. Not even remotely close. Shonn Greene isn’t half the running back Frank Gore is. Dustin Keller is a very poor man’s Vernon Davis. Colin Kapernick is a fast Tim Tebow who can throw the football. And right now, Mark Sanchez isn’t anywhere near the quarterback Alex Smith is and that is saying something because Smith isn’t very good.

The Jets don’t have Super Bowl talent. The Jets have 8-8 talent with zero depth. There is no middle class on the Jets roster. There is no capable backups with bright futures. Continuing the San Francisco comparison because it really drives it home – the 49ers 3rd and 4th running backs, Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James could very well be the Jets 1st and 2nd best running backs. The 49ers 4th, 5th, and 6th wide receivers, Kyle Williams, AJ Jenkins and Ted Ginn Jr would be the Jets top three receivers this Monday night.

The lack of talent and depth gets dumped on Mike Tannebaum’s lap and it appears more analysts are finally jumping on the Mike Tannenbaum is doing an awful job train we have been driving here at TOJ the past year or so. When you have a pair of lackluster off-seasons in a row and don’t draft well it catches up to you. Unfortunately, there is no cure all trade or signing that can be made at this point. It is going to take a purging of overpriced veterans this off-season and a wise use of available cap space, something that Tannenbaum shouldn’t be given the chance to do but probably will because of his relationship with Woody Johnson.

Where does that leave the 2012 Jets right now? The problem with the game-plan against San Francisco was that the Jets approached the game like they had enough talent to compete with the 49ers. They mistakenly thought they could play their normal defensive scheme minus Darrelle Revis and stop their offense. They thought they could run a standard offensive game plan and score on the 49ers defense. They could not have been more wrong and that is on Rex Ryan’s hubris.

Similar to Tannenbaum, Ryan does a poor job of self-scouting his own talent. He overestimates the players on his roster. Hopefully, yesterday’s game tape will be a needed hard smack in the face resulting in Ryan realizing his team’s deficiencies. Against San Francisco the Jets should have been emptying the book on offense, mixing in gadget plays and new formations in hopes of catching their defense off guard. On defense, they should have been trying new formations, blitz schemes and personnel. Houston is coming to town this Monday and they are a better all-around team than San Francisco. If the Jets play straight up, they will lose by 30 points for the second week in a row.

On defense, it is time face the reality about the Jets linebackers. They have one very good inside linebacker who is having a poor year in David Harris and not much else. Bryan Thomas and Garrett McIntyre can’t play major reps on a good NFL defense. Calvin Pace and Bart Scott are slow, 2 down linebackers who are average players at best. The less linebackers on the field for the Jets, the better. We discussed in the off-season how the Jets are better built for a 4-3 or 46 and it is time for Rex to stop trying to fit square pegs in round holes in the 3-4.

Get Quinton Coples in the starting line-up and start showing more 4-3 looks. Accept the reality that Siona Pouha is hurt and give him time to heal while getting Kenrick Ellis more reps. At linebacker, more reps need to be given to Demario Davis immediately. Let him make his mistakes now and grow into the position he will hopefully be holding the next few years for the Jets. They need his speed out there. Put Aaron Maybin on the inactive list until he learns a second pass rush move and give Ricky Sapp a chance to rush the passer on third downs. In the secondary, hopefully Aaron Berry gets up to speed quickly. From a talent perspective, he could very well be starting over Kyle “I taunt the receiver when I’m beat by 10 yards” Wilson in a couple of weeks. Beyond that, you hope Antonio Cromartie and LaRon Landry continue their elevated level of play.

On offense, the solutions are going to be much harder to come by. Mark Sanchez was abysmal yesterday and the lack of supporting cast isn’t going to help him out of his slump. Tim Tebow is not the answer as a full time quarterback. He can be the answer as a shot in the arm to the offense if he is used properly, which Tony Sparano has shown no concept of doing. No more reps at H-Back. No more reps in the slot. No more reps at fullback. Get Tebow in the shotgun with Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley next to him and let him run option and take off up the middle on short yardage situations. Give him 10-12 carries a game. Treat him like a running back who is taking direct snaps and then pop in a deep pass on occasion to keep defenses honest.

The Jets are so bad at running back, that it wouldn’t be irrational to give recently signed Jonathan Grimes and roster ping pong ball Joe McKnight extended work. How could they be less productive than Shonn Greene? Go with a committee approach that hopefully pops a few big plays with the two of them and Bilal Powell. I mentioned Kerley in the Wildcat because he is type of player who should be getting 8-12 touches a game, especially in an offense as devoid of talent as the Jets. Use him how Green Bay uses Randall Cobb. Give him handoffs, pitches, quick screens…get the ball in his hands.

Mark Sanchez is so inconsistent that he may not be salvageable at this point. He needs to be given quick reads where he can get the ball out of his hands without too many progressions. Hopefully an improved, creative run game will open up some type of play action for him down the field. At wide receiver and tight end, you can only hope Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller get healthy and Chaz Schilens can be relied upon.

The Jets need a roster overhaul but they have 12 games left. In order to make those 12 games competitive, it is going to take creativity on both sides of the ball and a shake up of the depth chart. Hopefully Rex Ryan and his staff are smart enough to realize that.

Sanchez Breakdown: Jumping Ship?

Rob Celletti breaks down Mark Sanchez’s performance on Sunday…you could imagine how this went

Stat line: 13/29, 109 Yards, 1 interception – 39.9 QB rating, 44.8 completion percentage

Season stats: 63/128, 813 Yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions – 69.6 QB rating, 49.2 completion percentage

Last week, I joked that I wouldn’t abandon the format of this particular article.  Well today, I’m not in a joking mood.  To try and pin down individual moments in this game would be skirting a more pressing issue: the fact that Mark Sanchez might be less than a month away from his last action as a New York Jet.  Seriously. It’s time for a good, old-fashioned rant. So as The Joker once said: here…we…go!

Let’s get some things out of the way in as few words as possible. Mark Sanchez had a snowball’s chance in hell at succeeding this year. Everything the Jets did in the wake of last season’s meltdown set this quarterback up to fail. The contract extension rang hollow, because days earlier, the Jets got very publicly into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Then they traded for Tim Tebow.  Then, as we tore days off the calendar in March, and April, and May and June, we wondered, will the Jets address their needs? Are they really going into this season with one proven NFL weapon in Santonio Holmes? What about depth at running back and tight end? Was Wayne Hunter actually going to see another snap on Sanchez’s offensive line? Mike Tannenbaum’s negligence on the offensive side of the ball is a fireable offense.

All of that said, Mark Sanchez has been 50 shades of awful. In the modern NFL,  completing less than 50% of your passes one time is bad enough. To do it three weeks in a row is unconscionable. It was both laughable and painful watching other teams around the league executing in the passing game with such ease. The 49ers are talented defensively, but as our own Chris Gross Tweeted last night, it would be nice to root for a quarterback that fans don’t need to make excuses for every week. Brandon Weeden kept the Browns competitive, on the road, against a good defense on Thursday night. Ask yourself: could Mark Sanchez have done the same?

The Jets have absolutely no rhythm or tempo on offense.  Sanchez’s fundamentals have gone into the toilet; everything that looked picture perfect about his play in week 1 has all but evaporated. He was intercepted on a screen pass. When receivers got open (a rarity), he missed them, and not just by inches, but yards. The sack-fumble at the end of the first half is the kind of mistake that happens to a first or second year quarterback. Unfortunately, Sanchez is in his fourth season.

And really, that was the moment that changed things for me.  Look back through my archives on this website. I have defended Mark Sanchez endlessly; his triumphs were always vindicating, his failures always a result of his inexperience, or a lack of execution by his teammates. In the end, what separates truly good players from the below-average ones, at any position in any sport, is consistency. I’ve made the case that I never believed in Shonn Greene because if you look through his game logs, he has almost never played two good games in a row in his career. If you apply that logic to Mark Sanchez, you can draw the same conclusions.  The flashes of brilliance have too often been evened out, and now weighed down, by performances like Sunday’s.

Make no mistake, I am not calling for Tim Tebow (he should be released or traded immediately).  After all, the quarterback of a modern NFL team needs to be able to throw the ball consistently. He needs to be able to make his teammates better. He needs to show command of an offense. I refuse to comment on Sanchez’s demeanor; in-game, post-game, whatever. I have no idea what the man is thinking or feeling. But what he showed on Sunday was that he is simply not improving as an NFL quarterback, and that he may even be regressing. What’s my conclusion?  That the answer to the Jets’ problems at the sport’s most important position may not be on the current roster. I hope I’m proven wrong in the coming weeks, but after yesterday…

I’m officially out of excuses.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 4 Edition

As we enter the final week of the first quarter of the 2012 NFL season, we still aren’t necessarily sure who this New York Jets team is just yet. For a team striving to be built primarily through strong defense and a ground and pound offensive philosophy, the 2012 Jets have been anything but that. New York currently ranks 21st in overall defense this season, a ranking that could certainly grow worse with the loss of the team’s best overall player, CB Darrelle Revis. Offensively, the Jets rank 22nd overall, but are 29th in rushing yards per carry, with an abysmal average of 3.3. Shockingly, however, New York’s offense ranks just outside of the top ten in points scored, standing at 11th overall, only one spot behind Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, with 81 total points.

Translation? All is not lost for New York just yet, despite countless fans and media members declaring them dead without Revis lurking in the defensive secondary. For a team ranking in the bottom tier in defense and rushing offense, New York still stands at 2-1 and first in the AFC East. However, it is no secret that this team needs vast improvements in most aspects of the game, otherwise they will in fact suffer the complete landslide that everyone seems to be waiting for.

How can the Jets get back into that upper tier of teams without Revis? It begins with a few things. First, the Jets need to begin to limit Shonn Greene’s touches. By now, it is no secret that Greene is not the feature back New York thought he was going to turn into. Averaging an extremely disappointing 3.1 YPC this season, Greene has been arguably the most boring running back in the NFL this year. His lack of ability to make defenders miss and break tackles is noticeable to even the most fair weather fans. It is time Tony Sparano begins to divide his workload amongst the other backs on the Jets roster, namely Bilal Powell, who averaged 4.5 YPC last week in Miami, and (you guess it) Tim Tebow. Rex Ryan will also need to prove how great of a defensive mind he really is. Without Revis eliminating a player from opposing offenses, Ryan is going to need to show what made him such a successful defensive coordinator during his days in Baltimore. He will need to be very creative both schematically and personnel wise in order for this defense to assert itself as one of the league’s best again.

This week is sure to be a daunting test for each area of improvement for the Jets. Will New York be able to make the necessary adjustments in all phases of the game to overcome the powerhouse that is the San Francisco 49ers? Find out how it all will shake out in this week’s New York Jets Fact Or False.

Quinton Coples will register his 1st NFL sack. Fact. As good as San Francisco’s offensive line is in the running game, they have struggled so far in protecting quarterback Alex Smith this season. Smith has been sacked 10 times through the first three games this year. While Green Bay, Detroit, and Minnesota certainly have better pass rushes than the Jets, don’t be surprised to see New York’s first round selection get himself his first career sack this Sunday.

Although he has seen limited reps in his first few games, Rex Ryan proclaimed today that he expects the rookie out of North Carolina to take on a heavier workload this week. Coples has been an absolute mismatch when he’s been lined up on the inside on passing downs due to his superior athleticism against interior lineman. He has also been tremendous on the few stunts that he has run, often playing with excellent agility and leverage. Expect Ryan and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine to get creative with their blitzes and stunts this week to confuse an offensive line that has struggled in pass protection this season. That could very well leave the door open for Coples to get to Smith for his first, of what could be many, NFL sacks.

Mark Sanchez will finish with a higher passer rating than Alex Smith. False. This is not to say that Sanchez will not play good. However in terms of passing efficiency, there have been very few who have done it better than Smith over the past year. This season alone, Smith ranks 7th in passer rating among all starting quarterbacks in the NFL with a rating of 102.7, that includes 5 touchdowns to just 1 interceptions and a completion percentage of 69.6.

Sanchez on the other hand ranks last in the league in terms of completion percentage, having completed just 50.5% of his passes with passer rating of 78.3. Of course, Sanchez has been hindered by the Jets’ lack of running ability as well as a very inexperienced group of receivers.

This is not to say that this unit will not get it together and outperform Smith and the 49ers’ passing attack this Sunday, however, the primary X-Factor in this is the absence of Darrelle Revis. Without Revis in the secondary, opposing teams are completing over 70% of their passes against New York. When facing a team like San Francisco, whose entire passing game is built on efficiency and a lack of mistakes, it will be very difficult for Sanchez to outperform his counterpart.

Frank Gore will rush for 100+ yards. Fact. Over the course of his first three games, Gore has run for 264 yards on just 45 carries, for an excellent average of 5.9 YPC. Although he has surpassed the century mark just once this season, he has yet to be given a heavy workload, with a season high of 17 carries in week 2 against Detroit.

This week, however, expect San Francisco to put the Jets 22nd ranked defense to the test. Based on the success that CJ Spiller and Reggie Bush experienced against this defense, the 49ers would be wise to give Gore the ball early and often. While New York is much better suited to defend backs like Gore, rather than Spiller or Bush, do not be surprised to see the former Miami Hurricane get anywhere from 20-25 carries, taking him over the 100 yard mark for the second time this season.

The Jets will not surpass 100 yards rushing as a team. False. Yes, the Jets have struggled to run the ball this season, but as addressed above, that is a heavy result of the inabilities of Shonn Greene. To think that New York is going to abandon its ground and pound philosophy after just three games under Sparano is utter blasphemy. New York’s inability to run the ball is undoubtedly keeping Sparano up at night, surely enough to devise a very clever game plan against one of the league’s top defenses.

Sparano and co. are likely wise enough to realize that they will struggle to pound the ball against this defense in jumbo packages. Expect New York to come out in various spread formations, and actually look to pass early to open up the running game. If Sanchez can be efficient and prove to be able to stretch the field in the first few offensive drives, San Francisco will have no choice but to unload the box, giving New York ample space to run the ball. The Jets should divide the workload amongst an abundance of ball carriers who will all collectively gain over 100 yards.

At least 4 different players will carry the ball for the Jets. Fact. As touched on above, Shonn Greene’s days as a 20-25 carry back are seemingly over. It is time for the Jets to divide his carries amongst Powell, Tebow, and possibly the newly acquired Jonathan Grimes. While Greene will likely still get around 10-12 carries this Sunday, look for Powell to cut into that load the most with about 15-17 carries. Tebow will likely chip in out of the Wildcat with somewhere around 5-7 carries, and New York would be foolish not to give the ball to the speedy Grimes, or the recently “traded” Joe McKnight a few times to attempt a home run play.

While the Shanahan approach of playing an abundance of Running Backs is not necessarily a popular one in this league, Greene has left the Jets with no choice. In order for this offense to get on track, they need to be able to run the ball, and in order to be able to run the ball, the Jets need to divide the workload, plain and simple.

New York Jets Week 4 – Early Thoughts On Jets/49ers

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 4 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers

A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets week 4 match-up against the San Francisco 49ers. Check back later today for Chris Gross’ defensive film breakdown and our roundtable discussion on the game –

1. Underdog. Underdog. Underdog. There won’t be a single person out there who picks the New York Jets to win this game and with good cause. San Francisco was the consensus best team in the league until they were smacked by a mediocre Minnesota Vikings team last week and the Jets have just lost their best player and are coming off a poor showing, despite winning. Fortunately, they play the games for a reason and nobody picked Minnesota to beat San Francisco last week either and we all saw how that went.

2. The Jets best opportunity to pull an upset is to get an early lead. San Francisco struggles to play from behind because they aren’t built to throw the ball down the field. The more that is put on Alex Smith, the better.

3. Vernon Davis has the potential to be an absolute nightmare for the Jets defense, who has still struggled to cover the tight end. This is a game for LaRon Landry to really show his value. Rex Ryan needs to scheme up both an adequate pass rush and a coverage answer for Davis, who is the 49ers best weapon in the pass game.

4. The Jets have two defensive touchdowns and a special teams touchdown so far this season. They are going to need one this week because points are going to be very hard to come by against a loaded 49ers defense.

5. The best approach on offense is going to be running a more spread attack than usual. This is the type of game to get into the 3 wide and have Bilal Powell take the bulk of reps at running back. The Jets are delusional if they think they are going to move the ball by coming out in their three tight end and look and handing dives to Shonn Greene.

6. In general the Jets need to be getting Jeremy Kerley more involved on offense. He needs more targets in the passing game and should be involved in the running game. Use him in the Wildcat, give him pitches and reverses. Kerley is one the team’s few playmakers and needs the ball in his hands.

7. The Jets should get Dustin Keller back and he is desperately needed. He will help prevent too much coverage from being rolled to Santonio Holmes. Look for Chaz Schilens to start in place of Stephen Hill, who should be out with a hamstring injury.

8. It is time for the Jets to mix up the looks in their front seven in hopes of generating more of a pass rush. More Quinton Coples. More Demario Davis. More speed. 3 sacks in 3 weeks isn’t enough.

Turn On The Jets Offensive Film Breakdown – Jets vs. Dolphins

Turn On The Jets offensive film breakdown from the Jets week 3 win against the Miami Dolphins

A collection of observations after watching the New York Jets offensive game film against the Miami Dolphins. We will focus on a handful of plays before breaking down key individual position group’s performance. Make sure to check back later in the day for Chris Gross defensive film breakdown –

Operation Clusterf*** – The second interception thrown on the day by Mark Sanchez which came in the end-zone during the third quarter was a complete disaster from start to finish, beginning with the play call and ending with a horrid throw. With the ball on the 7 yard line, Tony Sparano called for a smash/fan combination to the right side of the formation. Jeff Cumberland was lined up at split end and Stephen Hill was in the slot.

A smash/fan is one of the most basic route combinations in football and one of the easiest reads for a quarterback. Basically the outside receiver will run 5-7 yards and hitch back to the quarterback. The slot receiver runs a post-corner route. If the outside corner squats on the hitch route, the quarterback throws to the post corner, if the cornerback bails at all, the quarterback throws to the hitch route.

The problem with the play call on the 7 yard line is that it limits the space between the two routes, making it easier for the outside corner to play both routes at once. What is also a problem is that they had Cumberland, who isn’t accustomed to lining up at receiver, running the outside route. His inexperience would shine through on this play by pushing his route way too far into the end-zone. Basically he ran a 9 yard route instead of a 5-7 yard route, which made the outside corner’s job that much easier. In the slot, Stephen Hill rounded off his route and didn’t make a sharp plant and cut to shake his coverage. In a tight space, making a hard sell to the inside is that much more important. Hill could get away with routes like this at Georgia Tech but not in the NFL.

On to Sanchez, who showed no patience and put way too much air under his pass. Basically Sanchez pre-determined in the huddle he was throwing to Hill at the back pylon. He takes three steps and releases the ball immediately, despite having excellent protection. If he would have waited an extra half second, he would have seen how deep Cumberland pushed his route at which point he could have either threw it on a line to Hill instead of floating it or could have put more air under it and got the ball to the back pylon, where it would have been caught by Hill or went out of bounds. Finally, he also could have saw how poor the route combination broke and turned back side to a wide open Santonio Holmes, who probably catches the ball at the 2 yard line and walks into the end-zone.

Sanchez – Overall it wasn’t a pretty day for Sanchez. The positives? He showed good pocket presence, repeatedly stepping up and delivering the ball down the field. He heated up late in the game and showed terrific chemistry with Santonio Holmes…finally. What is so frustrating is that throughout this game Sanchez made every throw necessary in a NFL playbook. He hit the deep dig route, he hit the comeback route outside the numbers, he hit the deep ball in stride down the numbers. However, there is no consistency. He repeatedly missed open receivers down the field and showed a lack of patience. On his first interception of the game, he needs to recognize how poor of a route Clyde Gates ran and how Richard Marshall is ready to jump it. Beyond that, if he is going to throw it, it must be more up the field. He will make throws like this and then make textbook throws like he did on Jeremy Kerley’s 66 yard catch (we’ll get to that later). The inconsistency is incredibly frustrating.

The Wide Receivers – Santonio Holmes did a complete 180 from last week. He ran sharp, aggressive routes and did a good job working back to the football when it came to him. Richard Marshall was unable to handle Holmes from the opening snap. He has the skill set to beat up on weaker corners like him. Holmes also handled rolled coverage very well, showing patience and finding the necessary windows.

Stephen Hill was a disaster out there. He had his leg rolled up early in the game and wasn’t the same after. Hill ran tentative routes and was shoved all over the field by Sean Smith. In the end-zone, he dropped a perfectly thrown fade ball and also had a long pass down the middle of the field bounce off his hands. It is doubtful Hill will play this week because of a hamstring injury but when he returns, he should be splitting reps with Chaz Schilens. Seeing his most extended work of the season, Schilens put together an impressive game. He ran crisp routes and should have a 69 yard touchdown if Mark Sanchez didn’t throw overthrow him on a beautifully executed double move. Schilens carries himself like a confident NFL receiver. Hill gets his confidence shaken too easily.

Jeremy Kerley deserves more playing time. He continued to demonstrate his big play ability, most notably on his 66 yard catch and run which was a thing of beauty from start to finish. The play was designed to clear out the middle of the field for Kerley, who drove his route hard up the field, snapped it back and then broke to the outside on a perfectly thrown ball from Sanchez who threw it away from the corner breaking to Kerley’s inside shoulder.

Kerley then shook both the corner and safety and was off to the races. When you see plays like this, it makes the inconsistency of the Jets offense that much more frustrating. The other receiver to play major reps was Clyde Gates, who simply put doesn’t merit any playing time. He rounds off every route and has no answer for physical coverage.

Offensive Line/Tight Ends – The protection in the passing game was very impressive, particularly in the second half. Austin Howard has very quietly put together a strong start to the season. Sanchez had a well formed pocket to throw from during most of the game. The run blocking wasn’t awful but has room for improvement. There are too many instances when Matt Slauson or Brandon Moore are knocked off the ball, clogging up running lanes. There were enough lanes to average more than 2 yards per carry as Shonn Greene did but that doesn’t mean the offensive line can’t perform at a higher level.

The fact that Jeff Cumberland is starting games at tight end is an embarrassment and a direct reflection on the poor job Mike Tannenbaum did this off-season building depth. He can’t block. He shows a lack of understanding of the offense and runs generally poor routes. Konrad Reuland is a better all around player than him by a sizable margin. Reuland shows a willingness to block and clearly understands his assignment on every play.

Running Backs – I won’t beat a dead horse. When a play is blocked like this, it needs to be more than a 2 yard gain –