New York Jets Special Teams Questions

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First a few updates:

1. The NBA Playoffs is finally coming around a little bit. How can you not enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns play? They are like a #15 seed in the NCAA Tournament going for a upset with the amount of energy they play with. I just hope the Magic can overcome the corpse of Vince Carter dragging himself around the court to get another win tonight.

2. Some highlights from Rex Ryan’s video chat with fans today:

  • He was adamant that Nick Mangold isn’t going anywhere and that the organization will do what it takes to keep him a Jet for a long time.
  • He talked up Brandon Moore as one of the best guards in the NFL.
  • When discussing the running backs, he deflected a question about there being a battle for the starting running back job but said there would be weeks when Shonn Greene will have more carries and weeks when LaDainian Tomlinson will have more carries and that Tomlinson would also be the third-down back while Joe McKnight gets up to speed. He also raved about John Conner and discussed how he pushed for Mike Tannenbaum to draft him.
  • Ryan shot down the chemistry concerns and joked that nobody on the team but Eric Smith could pass a chemistry class.
  • He again penciled in Kyle Wilson as the starting nickel but said Dwight Lowery would still be used frequently at both corner and safety.
  • If the season started today Eric Smith would start at safety because of his knowledge of the defense but he expects Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter.
  • He talked up Brad Smith and the Jets use of the “Tiger” formation this year.
  • The player who has made the biggest improvements since he arrived is Mark Sanchez.
  • The biggest surprise and guy who has jumped out the most at OTAs has been Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker and as of today he is the team’s #3 inside linebacker.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), I need all the ammunition I can when I talk with the Jets media relations guy in the coming weeks about getting a press pass for training camp and the pre-season games.

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

Hey, it is one-third of the game. No Jets fans can sleep on the importance of special teams after watching the negatives of Ted Ginn Jr. take two kicks back for a touchdown in a single game last season and Jay Feely miss three kicks versus Atlanta along with the positives of Brad Smith taking a kick back to the house in Indy and the Jets executing four successful fake punts in 2009. The Jets were up and down last season despite having one of the best special teams coaches in the business with Mike Westhoff and they still have plenty of questions heading into this year.

Kicker – The Jets got a problem here. Jay Feely was a reliable kicker the past two seasons and the Jets decided not to bring him back and replace him with Dallas castoff Nick Folk, who was an ugly 18/28 last season before being cut. Apparently Folk had an ugly start to his Jets career last week by missing just about every kick he took during OTAs. I know I don’t feel confident in Folk lining up for a big kick this season and if he continues to struggle this off-season look for Matt Stover to be added to the roster sooner rather than later. Stover might not have the greatest leg strength at this stage of his career but he is reliable in the 40-45 yard range and you can’t say the same for Folk right now.

Punter – Steve Weatherford managed to keep his job throughout the entire 2009 season and did an okay job. It looks like he will be the Jets guy going forward and hey the guy averaged 21 yards per carry last season. Hopefully a full off-season of working with Westhoff will improve Weatherford’s consistency in 2010.

PhotobucketKick Return – It will be very interesting to see what the Jets do here. Brad Smith did a pretty gob job in this role last season. Antonio Cromartie got some reps in OTAs and was impressive. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight will likely get some opportunities in training camp and the pre-season. David Clowney could get a shot. Aundrae Allison was impressive last pre-season and is probably the fastest guy on the team. Dwight Lowery took some reps last year before Smith locked the job down. If I had to guess today, Smith and McKnight will be the primary guys with Cromartie getting occasional reps. However, keep an eye on Allison during training camp as a dark horse.

Punt Return – This will be Kyle Wilson’s job to lose, although I could see Jim Leonhard or Jerricho Cotchery getting some reps in a big spot or when a team is kicking from around mid-field, when it would be better to have an experienced veteran back there.

Coverage – The Jets lost valuable special teams players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, and Ryan Fowler this off-season but did sign Lance Laury who was a stand out special teams player in Seattle. They will also look to guys like Kenwin Cummings, Jamaal Westerman, and Marquice Cole to fill the void. Eric Smith, Brad Smith, and John Conner should all also be core special teams players.

Maybe the play that saved the Jets season in 2009

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Mark Sanchez threw some passes during the Jets OTA practice today, which is obviously good news. The entire roster participated outside of Kris Jenkins and Jason Taylor. Jenkins was continuing to rehab his injury on the sideline and Taylor was finishing up charity work in Miami. There is a ton of pictures of today’s action on www.newyorkjets.com, including shots of Santonio and LaDainian in the green and white.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

Ten Monday Thoughts On The Jets Defense

1. It will be very interesting to see how the reps are divided up in the Jets defensive backfield this season. Rex Ryan loves using packages that are overloaded with DBs but beyond Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Jim Leonhard, who else will be prominently featured in the Jets various sub, nickel, and dime packages? Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Dwight Lowery, James Ihedigbo, and to a lesser extent Drew Coleman, Marquice Cole, and Donovan Warren will all be competing for a bigger role on the defense.

2. Most people are targeting Jason Taylor as the guy on the Jets who could come up with double digit sacks. Yet keep in mind, Calvin Pace had 8 sacks in only 12 games last season. How about the Jets get two guys in the double digit sack range?

3. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been talking about second year player Matt Kroul as a key piece of the Jets defensive line rotation this season. Players like Kroul and Ropait Pitoitua need to step up to give the Jets the necessary depth on the line and take pressure off Kris Jenkins up front, who will also have his reps limited by the presence of Sione Pouha.

Photobucket4. I know we are all excited about Kyle Wilson’s coverage skills but don’t sleep on his value as a blitzer in Rex Ryan’s defense. He loves sending defensive backs off the edge and Wilson is athletic and physical enough to get 3 or 4 sacks this season to complement his coverage skills.

5. Nobody is a bigger fan of Darrelle Revis than Turn On The Jets but 20 million dollars a year? The guy is the best corner in football but he wants to be the highest paid player in the league, which is hard to swing if you aren’t a quarterback. These negotiations aren’t going to be pretty.

6. What is the reason we can’t resign Marques Douglas? We can’t give him a one year deal to boost the depth on the defensive line? Maybe I am underestimating Mike DeVito, who for some reason is my cousin’s favorite player on the defense.

7. What are the odds that Vernon Gholston is even active for more than half of the Jets games in 2010? I just can’t see him making a successful transition to defensive end, especially in the 3-4. He isn’t going to play special teams over Lance Laury or Jamaal Westerman.

8. Unlike last year when the Jets defense dominated the offense throughout training camp, it should be a little more even this season. How about watching Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson battle against Edwards, Cotchery, and Holmes on a daily basis? That kind of competition is going to make everybody better…and yes, Dwight Lowery and David Clowney could make each other better also.

9. I want some more defensive touchdowns this season…I am looking at you Antonio Cromartie…and Revis, you really can’t get any better than you were last season but if you want 20 million dollars, let’s take a couple back to the house this year.

10. What defensive player jersey are you looking to buy this season? I got Revis but beyond that I am swamped with offensive jerseys…Harris? Wilson? Leonhard? Drew Coleman?

Analyzing The Jets Defensive Depth Chart

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…because I can’t be typing about all the Jets related links you should be reading here.

2. Turn On The Jets has climbed to #2 when you google “Jets Blog”…now you may be asking, who the hell ever googles “Jets Blog?” and it is a good question but  I am pumped about it anyway. Wait until I finally get that press pass this summer, get the podcast up and running, and redesign the site.

3. Darren Sharper re-signed with the Saints. I never thought he would end up with the Jets anyway, the organization seems to be high on Brodney Pool and if he doesn’t work out Eric Smith is a reliable back-up.

4. There is still plenty of chatter about Laveranues Coles joining the Jets but again I don’t see it happening unless it gets to July 22nd and Coles hasn’t found a team yet. I can’t see him accepting being a number four receiver for 12 weeks of the season, which he would be after Santonio Holmes returns from injury. On the other hand, I wold bet on Mark Brunell joining the Jets after July 22nd and Adalius Thomas also joining the team some time in June (he was cut and isn’t a UFA so the Jets could sign him whenever).

5. Philadelphia…the only place where a father tells his 17 year old son to run on the field during a MLB game and then watches as his son proceeds to be tazed by the cops and thrown in jail.

6. What the hell was that last night Cleveland? I run my mouth on twitter talking you guys up over Boston and you lay an egg like that?

Analyzing The Jets Defensive Depth Chart

PhotobucketBy this point we have a general idea of who the starters for the Jets will be on both sides of the ball and who many of the key reserves coming off the bench will be. However, there are still some spots that remain up for grabs on the Jets final 53 man roster. Let’s take a look through at current situation on the Jets depth chart heading into May’s full squad OTAs, continuing today with the defense. After looking at the offense yesterday, it is fair assume the Jets will keep 26 players on this side of the ball and maybe add another when Santonio Holmes returns from suspension and the Jets release a receiver:

Defensive Tackle

  1. Kris Jenkins – The big fella is returning from a season ending injury and looking to regain his form from early in the 2008 season.
  2. Sione Pouha – Did a great job stepping in for Jenkins last year. He will play a ton to keep Jenkins fresh for the stretch run.
  3. Matt Kroul – Coaching staff is apparently very high on him, should push for a roster spot.
  4. Ty Steinkuhler – Outside chance of pushing for a roster spot.

Defensive End

  1. Shaun Ellis – The longest tenured Jet and a solid veteran player.
  2. Mike DeVito – Could be pushing it by asking him to be a full time starter.
  3. Vernon Gholston – Should be cut…but won’t be until after this season.
  4. Ropati Pitoitua – Is expected to be a big part of the defensive line rotation this year.

Potential Additions – Marques Douglas – This could be more of wishful thinking on my part but if there is an injury or the defensive ends struggle in camp, don’t be surprised to see the Jets bring Douglas back.

Analysis – Jenkins, Ellis, DeVito, Pouha, and Gholston are all locks to make the roster. I would be shocked if Pitoitua doesn’t end up on the final 53 either because the Jets like his potential. Kroul will likely be the 7th and final guy they carry unless somebody else steps up in camp.

Inside Linebacker

  1. David Harris – All-Pro caliber linebacker.
  2. Bart Scott – Emotional leader of the defense.
  3. Jamaal Westerman – Showed potential last year, could have bigger role in sub packages this season.
  4. Lance Laury – Special teams ace brought in to replace Larry Izzo.
  5. Kenwin Cummings – Talented guy from small school, who stuck around the team the past couple of years.
  6. Brashton Satele – Made good impression in minicamp.

Outside Linebacker

  1. Calvin Pace – Very good all around player, who the Jets get for all 16 games this year instead of 12.
  2. Bryan Thomas – Not flashy but does his job well.
  3. Jason Taylor – Brought in to sack the quarterback and make Jets fans nauseous.
  4. Corey Reamer – Made a strong impression in minicamp.
  5. Kevin Basped – Also made a strong impression in minicamp.

Potential Additions – Adalius Thomas – A Rex Ryan favorite who has the versatility to line up all over the place in his defense. The Jets will likely wait a few weeks before making a move to sign him.

Analysis – Harris, Scott, Pace, Thomas, Taylor are all locks for the final roster. Westerman and Laury are overwhelmingly likely to make it because of their special abilities and in Westerman’s case, his long term potential. My guess is the Jets will carry 8 linebackers, with the eighth either being Adalius Thomas or one of the UDFAs like Reamer or Basped.

Corner

  1. Darrelle Revis – The Island is the best in the business.
  2. Antonio Cromartie – Playing for a long term contract and to show he can still be an all-pro player.
  3. Kyle Wilson – He was a steal at #29 and should flourish in this defense.
  4. Dwight Lowery – I feel a hell of alot better with him as our #4 corner instead of our #2.
  5. Drew Coleman – Hanging by a thread.
  6. Marquice Cole – Played well last pre-season, could easily jump Coleman on the depth chart and maybe even Lowery.
  7. Brian Jackson – UDFA who played well in minicamp.

Safety

  1. Jim Leonhard – Comfortable in Rex’s system…steady player.
  2. Brodney Pool – Let’s hope he can stay healthy.
  3. Eric Smith – Versatile player, who did a good job last season off the bench.
  4. James Ihedigbo – Good on blitzes and special teams.
  5. Donovan Warren – Could turn out to be a huge steal as a UDFA.

Analysis – My guess today is that everybody I just listed sticks on the final roster, except either Drew Coleman or Brian Jackson. Rex loves DB’s and don’t be shocked to see him carry 11.

PhotobucketOverall AnalysisThe way I see it now is the Jets will carry 7 defensive lineman, 8 linebackers, and 11 secondary guys. They could add another defensive lineman or linebacker after the Holmes suspension ends and the Jets release a receiver. Don’t be shocked to see Adalius Thomas be one of the linebackers on the final roster. Also, keep an eye on Donovan Warren as somebody who could sneak up the depth chart.

Kris Jenkins Is A Beast

Looking Over The Jets Secondary

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First a few updates:

1. Austin…great city, I am getting my rest in now before another night out…I am looking forward to a little dinner cheering on Seton Hall over Notre Dame.

2. Just as it was announced the Jets had interest in former Colts corner Marlin Jackson, the Eagles moved first and signed him.

3. It doesn’t look like Darren Sharper will be going back to New Orleans and he has expressed his interest in playing in the New York market. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jets sign Sharper to a one or two year deal, and then draft a safety in the middle rounds and have him learn the ropes behind him.

4. Quick Thoughts on LOST Season 6 Episode 7 “Dr. Linus” – It is pretty clear season 6 is starting to pick up some momentum. I thought this was a great all around episode. The flash sideways had interesting parallels to the on the island story and Ben’s past. It was good to see the good guys pick up a few people and gather together on the beach, setting up the inevitable clash with Locke’s group. The scenes with Richard and Jack were particularly strong. It looks like Jack is finally embracing his importance to the island. Another great ending this week, with Widmore heading back to the island which should add an interesting dynamic to the conflict.

Looking Over The Jets Secondary

No position on the Jets roster will have more of an overhaul than their secondary,  Mike Tannenbaum has made it clear the Jets will add a few more players to their group which has already parted ways with Kerry Rhodes, Lito Sheppard, and Donald Strickland and only been supplemented by the addition of Antonio Cromartie. Let’s take a look at what the Jets currently have and where they make some additions, along with who the targets could be:

Corners

Darrelle Revis – The best player in the NFL at his position. Tannenbaum is currently working on a long-term deal for Revis, which if it doesn’t get done this off-season will likely be priority number one next year.

Antonio Cromartie – The Jets biggest off-season acquisition so far. If Cromartie can get near his 2007 level of play, the Jets will have the best cornerback duo in the NFL.

PhotobucketDwight Lowery – Everybody is way down on Lowery after the abuse he took in the AFC Championship game, yet to think of Lowery as a complete lost cause would be a mistake. Over his first two years in the NFL, Lowery has been a productive player for the Jets but it is clear he lacks the skill set to be a full time starter. He still has value as a #3 or #4 corner, spot starter, and special teams player.

Drew Coleman – A guy with good speed and value on special teams. However, I think the Jets are pushing it when they rely on him to be their nickel corner. I would rather see him as a #4 or #5 corner. He could have a difficult time making the roster this season.

Marquice Cole – He had a strong pre-season last year and was active in a few games. Rex Ryan seems to have taken a liking to him. I wouldn’t be shocked if he had a chance to gain an expanded role this season.

Safeties

Jim Leonhard – A Rex Ryan guy, who makes the calls in the secondary and had a strong first season with the Jets. He is a blue-collar player, who isn’t afraid to step up in the box and be a physical player.

Eric Smith – Smith started the year off strong  as a role player on the defense and did a pretty good job when he was promoted over Kerry Rhodes. He is better served as a #3 safety/role player/special teams guy than a starter, regardless of what Mike Tannenbaum says.

James Ihedigbo – A very good special teams player and a guy who became more involved on the defense as a blitzer on third down late in the year, which is the perfect role for him regardless of what Mike Tannenbaum says.

I would expect the Jets to add a corner who could compete with Lowery, Coleman, and Cole for the nickel role. At this point, I am not sure who they would target outside of Corey Ivy in the free agent market. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a late round pick on a corner to add depth to the position. Regardless of what Tannenbaum says, the Jets are going to add another safety whether it is Brodney Pool, Darren Sharper, or a high draft pick.

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed corner Marquice Cole from their practice squad to the active roster, and released tight end Matthew Mulligan. Lito Sheppard (quad) and Donald Strickland (ankle) both didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan didn’t sound that confident when discussing either of them playing this Sunday. If both those guys don’t play, expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman move into the nickle spot.

2. Michael Ventre of NBC Sports doesn’t seem to like the Jets or their fans too much, as expressed here: (http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32975810/ns/sports-nfl//) . He made alot of less than flattering generalizations about Jets fans and seems to have us all pegged as overweight, stupid, and unable to put sentences together without a profanity. He also doesn’t have much faith in the Jets sustaining their success. I don’t know Michael Ventre, but it sounds like his girlfriend cheated on him with a guy from New York or something.

3. The Jets are ranked #4 in USA Today’s Power Rankings, let’s not read the press clippings like last year.

4. Jets are currently ranked #1 in yards allowed and still are yet to allow a touchdown. If you take away the Sanchez interception and the field goal from Leon Washington’s fumble, and they have allowed 6 points.

5. Good to have the Yankees back in the playoffs, where they belong. However, I am not getting too excited until they lock up the AL East crown.

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Titans game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

Bart Scott/David Harris vs. Chris Johnson: Johnson is coming off a game where he had 197 yards rushing and 87 yards receiving, no that isn’t a misprint. He has tremendous speed and game-breaking ability that likely keeps many defensive coordinators up at night. It will be on the Jets linebackers, led by Scott and Harris to get Johnson in the backfield before he can explode through the hole and to wrap him when they get a chance. A missed tackle against this guy could lead to a 70 yard touchdown. The Jets are going to have to commit a corner or safety to him in coverage when he splits out, but if he is catching passes out of the backfield, Harris or Scott have to recognize the play and react before he builds up a head of steam.

Jerricho Cotchery/Chansi Stuckey/David Clowney/Dustin Keller vs. Cortland Finnegan/Nick Harper/Michael Griffin/Chris Hope: The Titans pass defense has been awful through the first two weeks of the regular season. Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and Andre Johnson all went for over 100 yards on them. Despite having a rookie quarterback, this might be the game for Brian Schottenheimer to turn the spread/passing offense a little bit loose. Jerricho Cotchery had the best statistical game of his career against the Titans two years ago (8 receptions, 152 yards, 1 TD) and also had a nice day against them last year with 6 catches for 55 yards. Dustin Keller had 6 catches last year against the Titans, converting multiple key third downs. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez can air a few out this Sunday and maybe hit a guy like David Clowney or Cotchery on a few big plays. Nobody is saying the Jets should abandon their running game, but if there are opportunities for big plays in the passing game, the Jets need to take advantage of them.

Jets Offensive Line vs. Titans Defensive Line: The Jets ran all over Tennesee last year en route to a 34-13 victory. Rex Ryan has expressed some mild disappointment with the Jets production on the ground so far and both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are coming off quiet games running the ball. The Titans have one of the NFL’s best run defenses, so it would make a statement if the Jets could have the type of success they did last year.

Rex Ryan vs. The Let Down Game: The Jets are coming off an emotional victory and are suddenly becoming the national media’s darlings. Tennessee is a team that is much better than their 0-2 record indicates and is facing a desperation game, because coming back from 0-3 in the AFC South would be near impossible. All in the ingredients are in place for the Jets to have a major let down performance/reality check. Can Rex have his team ready to go with the same intensity he did last week?

Leon Delivers the Knockout Punch to Tennessee Last Year

Jets vs. Patriots: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets added recently released cornerback Marquice Cole to their practice squad and released tight end Jack Simmons off it.

2. Kris Jenkins missed a small portion of practice today to receive some treatment on his lower back, according to both him and Rex Ryan it isn’t anything serious but we’ll see on Sunday if Jenk is his normal dominating self.

3. The Jets have no interest in recently released Eagles receiver Hank Baskett.

4. Rex Ryan left all Jets season holders a voice mail today encouraging them to help the team out at home this Sunday be being as loud as possible. He reaffirmed his quote of the week about Bellicheck being a better coach than him and Tom Brady being a better quarterback than Mark Sanchez, but that it remains to be seen who has the better team. So, yes at this moment I am sipping on some green tea and getting my voice ready for the game on Sunday which I will be attending. Hey, all of section 313 and myself won’t be letting Ryan down, I can tell you that much.

5. Bill Bellicheck ignored questions about Rex Ryan’s “kiss the rings” comment in every way imaginable today. Tom Brady pointed out that “talk is cheap,” and disagreed with Kris Jenkins’ comment that the Jets are preparing for this game like it is the Super Bowl, reminding us that “Super Bowls are played in February,” regardless I hope Brady is having his face slammed into the turf as many times as he did the last time he played in February…remember New England fans, when you were undefeated but choked in the Super Bowl?

6. Patriots middle linebacker Jerod Mayo is out 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL, which means he won’t be suiting up on Sunday. Another blow to the Pats defense which is quickly turning into a collection of strangers.

7. David Harris was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week…hopefully the first of many accolades for him this season.

Jets vs. Patriots: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Pats game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

Darrelle Revis vs. Randy Moss: Revis is at the top of the match-up list again as he gets no break after shutting down Andre Johnson last week. Ever since Randy Moss shredded the Jets for 9 catches, 183 yards and a touchdown on opening day in 2007 (also the first game of Revis’ NFL career), Revis has more than held his own against Moss. In their second meeting in 2007, Moss had 5 catches for 79 yards and Revis had a spectacular one-handed interception over him. In 2008, Moss was held to 2 catches for 22 yards in their first meeting and 3 catches for 26 yards in their second meeting, although he did catch the game tying touchdown (but it was on Ty Law). It will be important for Revis to continue keeping Moss from killing the Jets with the big play. Moss is coming off a great performance on Monday Night against the Bills, where he racked up 12 receptions. If Revis could start out the season shutting down Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, who else is going to catch passes on him this year?

Mark Sanchez vs. Bill Bellicheck: Bill Bellicheck excels at confusing quarterbacks young and old with his complex defensive schemes. Mark Sanchez had a great start to his NFL career last week against a suspect Houston defense but the challenge is obviously greater this week. New England won’t drop the interceptions the Texans did last week, so Sanchez needs to be extra careful with the ball while still playing with his usual confidence and swagger. Regardless, let’s not confuse this New England defense with the 2000 Ravens despite who is coaching them. Trent Edwards went 15/25 for 212 yards and 2 TD’s against them last week.

Dustin Keller vs. Adalius Thomas/Pierre Woods/Brandon Merriweather: Or whomever the Patriots decide to use in coverage versus Keller, who killed the Patriots when the Jets beat them last season with 8 catches for 87 yards, many of them converting big third downs. Keller is a difficult match-up for any defense and needs to build off his strong game in Houston last week. Look for Mark Sanchez to target his tight end early and often against New England.

Jets Organization/Jets Fans vs. The Aura of New England: We are all feeling it right now…we are excited about our new coach, new quarterback, and general new direction of the team. Yet, here come the Patriots to ruin it, like they always do. I have been at every single Jets/Pats game in the Meadowlands since 2001, which means I have sat through 8 losses like many of you out there. I remember believing in Herman Edwards in 2002 and 2004. I remember believing that Pennington would lead us to an upset in 2003 or that Brooks Bollinger could somehow get us a Monday Night win in 2005. I remember believing the Man-genius and Pennington would take us to an upset in 2006 and then kick the season off right in 2007. Of course, I thought Brett Favre would beat Matt Cassell last year in week two, and yet the last 8 years I have left the stadium disappointed…freakin 8 years, since I was 14 years old! I wasn’t even in high school yet the last time the Jets beat New England at home. This organization and fan base needs to forget the past, forget “kissing the rings” and go out and expect to beat New England, because we have a better defense, a better group of running backs, and a better offensive line…will it happen or will Brady, Bellicheck and the Pats find a way to curb all of our enthusiasm? Only time will tell.

One of my favorite vids of all time…it’s good to beat the Patriots, and I’ll say this, I don’t like Brett Favre and think he killed the Jets last year but you have to love the end of the video when he runs into the locker room screaming “F%#@ Yea!”

NFL Week 1 Recap/Jets vs. Pats: First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets released cornerback Marquice Cole to make room for Shaun Ellis who is now reinstated and will be back in the starting line-up when the Jets play the Pats this Sunday.

2. The Jets made a nice little jump in ESPN’s Power Rankings from #23 to #16, giving them the week’s biggest improvement.

3. A few non-Jets things: The Yankees should be clinching that AL East title any day now and yes I believe they are the team to beat in the playoffs…Last week’s Entourage was a bit of a let down…But you have to be fired up about that new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starting up this Sunday.

NFL Week 1 Recap

Wrapping Up Jets/Texans

Defensive Player Of The Game: David Harris/Darrelle Revis – It is impossible not to recognize both of them, which is why Rex Ryan gave them both game balls. Harris was all over the field and Revis shutdown arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

Offensive Player Of The Game: Mark Sanchez – Another easy pick, Sanchez looked like a seasoned veteran in his first career start. The tests only get tougher with the Patriots and Titans coming to town.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for being clutch on third downs and looking like a running back after the catch…Donald Strickalnd for making two impact plays in a limited role…Sione Pouha/Mike DeVito for filling for Shaun Ellis and not letting the D-Line miss a beat…Leon Washington for 120 total yards…The Jets offensive line…Steve Weatherford for bringing some stability to the punting position.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Was it just me or did the Patriots look nothing like an elite team last night? I’m pretty sure I saw Buffalo physically dominate them for 58 minutes and then choke away the game in a manner that only the Bills could. Give Tom Brady credit for a strong finish and leading the game winning drive and to Randy Moss/Ben Watson for having big time nights. However, let’s be honest the Pats defense didn’t look good, they had no running game, and Brady looked a little shaky in the pocket. How often you think Rex Ryan will be sending the house next week?

Miami Dolphins – Welcome to reality Miami fans aka your 2009 season. I have been saying this for months, Miami has 6-10 written all over them, last year’s magical run is over and it is time for a tough schedule and a lack of talent to catch up with them. Chad Pennington won’t finish the season as their starter, and they will be 0-2 after losing to Indy this Monday night.

Buffalo Bills – Smart play, Leodis McKlevin…just brilliant. You really showed everybody what a game breaker you were last night by taking the ball out of the end-zone with your hands team blocking for you and then trying to fight for extra yards after getting lit up by Brandon Merriweather…awesome, real smart football. Beyond that, Buffalo was impressive and should be 1-0. How do you bench Fred Jackson when Marshawn Lynch comes back?

Five Teams That Impressed Me

  1. Philadelphia Eagles– Steam rolled the Panthers in their building, but better hope McNabb gets back quickly.
  2. Oakland Raiders – Put up a fight on Monday Night Football when everyone expected them to lose by 30.
  3. Buffalo Bills – See above.
  4. San Francisco 49ers – Big opening day win against the defending NFC West champs.
  5. New York Giants – Dominated the Redskins, don’t let the score fool you.

Five Teams That Looked Like Garbage

  1. St. Louis Rams – Absolutely no fight from this team, are they really that bad?
  2. Cleveland Browns – They are going to average about 10 points a game this year.
  3. Carolina Panthers – They aren’t going anywhere with Jake Delhomme, who looks like his confidence is shot after last year.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – What happened to that offense from last season?
  5. Miami Dolphins – The first of many losses for them this year.

Other Observations

Let’s see if the Vikings can win when somebody stops the run (if it is possible to stop AP)…At least on Sunday night I was happy we didn’t trade for Jay Cutler, 4 picks owch…The poor Bengals, they had become my 2nd favorite team after Hard-Knocks and they lose like that? (By the way, Laveranues had 1 catch and 2 drops)…Good effort by a young Jacksonville team to nearly upset the Colts…I’d still take Darren Sproles over LaDanian Tomlinson, regardless of what anyone says about him having some type of big bounce back year…Reggie Bush: 7 carries for 14 yards, glad we got #29.

Jets vs. Patriots First Look

The Opponent: Everybody’s pick to win the AFC East, Las Vegas’s favorite to win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are the team that every analyst and expert loves to love. The Pats were 11-5 last year without All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady who has now returned. New England looked less than impressive as they escaped with a week one victory because the Buffalo Bills choked in the final minutes. Regardless, they have won their last eight games in the Meadowlands against the Jets and have one of the league’s most potent offenses. Despite questions on defense, the Pats will be consensus favorites to beat the Jets this week as the media hypes up Rex Ryan’s quote that he won’t “kiss Bill Bellicheck’s rings.” If the Jets want to be considered serious AFC contenders, a win at home against the Pats would be a good place to start.

New England Patriots Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Tom Brady – 39/53, 378 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Laurence Maroney – 10 carries, 32 yards
  • Running Back: Fred Taylor – 9 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Kevin Faulk – 3 carries, 7 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Randy Moss – 12 catches, 141 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Wes Welker – 12 catches, 93 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Joey Galloway – 0 catches
  • Tight End: Ben Watson – 6 catches, 77 yards 2 TD’s
  • Tight End: Chris Baker – 1 catch, 7 yards
  • Left Tackle: Matt Light
  • Left Guard: Logan Mankins
  • Center: Dan Koppen
  • Right Guard: Stephen Neal
  • Right Tackle: Nick Kaczur

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ty Warren
  • Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork
  • Defensive End: Jarvis Green
  • Outside Linebacker: Pierre Woods – 4 tackles, 2 FF
  • Inside Linebacker: Jerod Mayo
  • Inside Linebacker: Gary Guyton – 4 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Adalius Thomas – 1 sack, 5 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Tully Banta-Cain – 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Derrick Burgess – 1 sack
  • Corner: Leigh Bodden – 5 tackles, 1 pass defense
  • Corner: Shawn Springs – 6 tackles, 1 FF
  • Safety: Brandon Merriweather – 8 tackles,
  • Safety: James Sanders – 4 tackles

SPECIALS

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
  • Punter: Chris Hanson
  • Kick Return: Laurence Maroney
  • Punt Return: Wes Welker

Key Players: Obviously Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are the Pats best weapons on offense. They have a deep group of running backs led by Laurence Maroney and their offensive line is consistently solid. On defense, they have a strong rotation at outside linebacker who all contribute to their pass rush. Brandon Merriweather is a rising star in the secondary.

Injuries: The Jets appear to be 100 percent healthy heading into this game, nobody will be inactive because of an injury. Pats middle linebacker Jerod Mayo was hurt last night and is questionable to play this week.

Early Story Lines: Pats have won 8 straight in the Meadowlands…Rex Ryan “kiss the rings” quote…Battle for early lead in AFC East…Darrelle Revis vs Randy Moss…The Jets defense getting after Tom Brady…Mark Sanchez vs Bill Bellicheck’s defensive scheme.

Good Luck Blocking Kris Jenkins

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

First a few updates:

1. John Clayton speculated it would take a 1st and 4th round pick for the Jets or any other team for that matter to acquire Brandon Marshall from the Broncos…that is a steep price for the Jets, who only drafted three players last year and still badly need to add depth/talent to the WR, TE, and OL/DL. However, how much better would Mark Sanchez be with a guy like Marshall to throw to? It is an interesting debate, as of now I still wouldn’t expect anything to happen.

2. The Rex Sox just acquired Billy Wagner…did somebody say desperate? Also, it is really historically unbelievable how bad the Mets season has gone, in terms of injuries and everything else that has happened around the team.

3. I just found out you can download something called “NFL Replay” which allows you to watch any NFL game on your computer within 24 hours of it ending. Thank god…I was contemplating not going to Italy with my family because I would miss the Jets/Colts week 16 game.

4. My fantasy football league is holding our live draft this Saturday…and I am stuck the #5 pick. Suggestions are still welcome.

Grading Out the Jets/Ravens Game

Quarterbacks: D+ – Yeeesh. Let’s be honest here, outside of one play it was an ugly, ugly night for Mark Sanchez. The rookie threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown (a ridiculously athletic play by Haloti Ngata), threw another ball right into the arms of Ray Lewis, fumbled an exchange, had two delay of game penalties, and a miscommunication with Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, he did make an athletic play and a great throw on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Leon Washington on a third down, which shows some character and a short memory, both necessary for a successful quarterback but outside of that play, he was simply bad. Hopefully, this night be will remembered as an important part of his development and learning curve as a NFL QB. The Ravens in their building are as good as it gets in the NFL…Sanchez will learn from last night and be better prepared the next time around.

Kellen Clemens had a real shot to make the quarterback battle alot more interesting last night but didn’t respond to the challenge. He threw a horrible interception at the end of the first half, which was returned for a touchdown and only completed 50 percent of his passes. He did drop in a nice 28 yard touchdown to David Clowney (who else?) and threw a beautiful long ball to Brad Smith that was dropped (shocking…I know).

The Jets are built to play defense and run the ball. They need a quarterback who can protect the football and not give points to the opposing team. If you take away the 2 INT’s for touchdowns last night, the Jets win that game handily. They can’t have turnovers from the quarterback position, period.

By the way, Erik Ainge looked pretty good last night and is probably on his way to being the #2 quarterback next year when Clemens isn’t resigned.

Running Backs: A – Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. Pay Leon Washington. #29 is the engine the keeps the Jets offense running. He put on a display last night that clearly showed his value to the Jets. 48 rushing yards on a 6.0 yards per carry (just like last season…give him more touches), 2 receptions for 35 yards including a 19 yard touchdown, and a 52 yard kickoff return. Pay Leon Washington. Thomas Jones also looked like he was in 2008 form with 32 yards on 8 carries. Shonn Greene had a nice 15 yard catch but took a rib shot that limited his action. I am still not that impressed with Danny Woodhead, who isn’t going to make the roster. Brock Christopher looked pretty good filling in for Jehuu Caulcrick. Good to see Tony Richardson back out there.

Wide Receivers: D – Nothing from Jerricho Cotchery or Chansi Stuckey, who combined for 1 catch for 7 yards. Brad Smith dropped a touchdown and had an offensive pass interference penalty. Britt Davis dropped a long touchdown. Marcus Henry couldn’t get open on the 2 point conversion that could have won the game. Wallace Wright was quiet. On the positive side, David Clowney just keeps making plays as he caught another touchdown pass, using his speed to blow by Frank Walker. How can Clowney not be the Jets #2 receiver right now? Everybody talks about how much they love Stuckey in the slot, so put Clowney and Cotchery on the outside and have Stuckey work the slot.

Tight Ends: C – Quiet night from Dustin Keller. Jack Simmons had a drop and Kareem Brown didn’t have a catch, although they all deserve some credit for strong blocking in the running game.

Offensive Line: B+ – It says alot about Nick Mangold and Alan Faneca that they strapped it up last night…that is exactly what you want to see from your veterans, that they are excited about the team/season and are raring to get back out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes in the running game and did decent in pass protection, considering the amount of blitzes the Ravens threw at them. Wayne Hunter played much better filling in for Damien Woody than he did last week.

Defensive LIne: B+ – Very strong games from both Howard Green and Ropati Pitoitua, who both recorded a sack and are showing that the Jets have pretty good depth along their defensive line. The run defense was great and the entire line got a solid push all night. It will be a huge boost to get Kris Jenkins back in the next couple of days.

Linebackers: B – David Harris is going to record alot of sacks in Rex Ryan’s defense. He continued his terrific pre-season with 5 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott missed a tackle in the backfield on third down that would have ended a drive. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace both had productive games, including another sack from Pace who the Jets are going to miss badly for the first four games this year. Kenwin Cummings and Marques Murrell were both active. Vernon Gholston did nothing except get out-run by Joe Flacco.

Secondary: C – They badly miss Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were picked on all night. Coleman had a nice pass deflection but was toasted deep by Derrick Mason. Lito Sheppard was beat a couple of times. Kerry Rhodes was pretty active and had a nice pass deflection, to break up a screen play. Marquice Cole had a nice interception but was beat deep later in the game. James Ihedigbo had an interception called back on a penalty.

Special Teams: C – Average punting, decent kicking, a big kick return by Leon Washington, a nice job on punt returns by Jim Leonhard and a near turnover by Aundrae Allison.

Highlights From the Game Last Night: