Assessing Jets Needs Heading Into Draft

A quick run down as we are now less than a month away —

1. Defensive Line – If the season started today, the Jets would be starting Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, and Marcus Dixon up front with Ropati Pitoitua and Matt Kroul as the top backups…enough said. They need another player or two here and will likely spend their first round pick on the defensive line unless an outside linebacker jumps off the board. The Jets should also work to bring back Shaun Ellis and Trevor Pryce to improve their depth and to mentor the rookies brought in.

2. Outside Linebacker – The Jets need to improve their pass rush and in the 3-4 that means having outside linebackers who can get after the quarterback. Bryan Thomas is a solid, consistent all-around player but the Jets need more speed and athleticism off the edge to compliment Calvin Pace.

3. Secondary – The Jets could still use a play-making safety to pair with Jim Leonhard. Kerry Rhodes was a bust in Rex Ryan’s first year and the Eric Smith/Brodney Pool platoon from last year could stand to be improved. If Antonio Cromartie leaves via free agency, the Jets may also need to look at the corner position due to Kyle Wilson’s struggles last year.

4. Wide Receiver – This is under the assumption that either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes isn’t on the team next year. The offense could use a player with some upside to develop behind Jerricho Cotchery.

5. Backup quarterback – They need a long term answer to the question of who will be Mark Sanchez’s backup, especially since he has had more than one injury issue in his brief NFL career.

6. Offensive Line Depth – With either Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse moving into the starting line-up to replace Damien Woody and Robert Turner’s status uncertain for next year, the Jets could use another lineman who is versatile between the tackle and guard spots to provide depth.

Concern About The Jets Front Seven

And now back to football…

Appropriately there is a general consensus that the New York Jets need to improve their defensive front seven this off-season, which has been spearheaded by most mock drafts pairing them with a defensive lineman or outside linebacker.

At defensive line and linebacker, the Jets are a little bit old and a little bit slow. Outside of David Harris, all three starting linebackers are over 30 and none (including Harris) have great speed. On the defensive line, Sione Pouhaand Shaun Ellis (if he returns) are both into their 30’s and if you saw Mike DeVito trying to cover Danny Woodhead last year, you know he didn’t run track in high school or college.

The depth isn’t great at either position, Jamaal Westerman and Josh Mauga don’t project as future starters at linebacker. On the line, Marcus Dixon, Ropati Pitoitua, and Matt Kroul have potential but still a long way to go to prove they deserve regular spots in the rotation.

Where will the help come from? At a minimum, the Jets need a long term replacement for Bryan Thomas at outside linebacker, a defensive end to replace Shaun Ellis (even if he ends up coming back), and another interior lineman to boost the rotation and maybe eventually take over for Pouha.

The draft could only solve so much, especially with the Jets missing a second round pick. Hopefully, Mike Tannenbaum’s first round pick can contribute immediately and he finds another later round prospect or two that contribute at defensive line or linebacker. The Jets will likely be handcuffed in signing new players in free agency, as they will be limited by the same “Final Eight” rules they were last year, if an injunction is granted as expected on April 6th.

In reality, it is going to take multiple off-seasons to get the defensive front seven where it needs to be. The Jets can take a big step in the right direction this year by having a strong draft, hoping a few of their developmental players (Dixon, Pitoitua) contribute, and maybe swinging a deal or two via free agency or trade.

12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #2

Put it on your calendar, every Friday the rest of the off-season (however long that takes) for your 12 pack of Jets thoughts…

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1. Backup Issues – It will be interesting to see how the Jets handle their backup quarterback situation in 2011. You can’t expect Mark Brunell back for another year. The Jets were lucky to make it through the season without an injury to Mark Sanchez because I still hold firm in the belief that Brunell isn’t capable at his age to hold the fort down for a few weeks if Sanchez was hurt. Kellen Clemens doesn’t appear to have the confidence of the coaching staff and I’d be surprised if they let him compete for the number two spot. The Jets need to find a quality long term backup for their franchise quarterback who has been occasionally banged up over the first two years of his career. Fortunately, it has now been revealed that Sanchez won’t need off-season shoulder surgery. It is never good when your quarterback needs surgery the first two years of his career.

2. Safety Decision – There is likely going to be a decision made at whom to keep at safety between Eric Smith and Brodney Pool. This isn’t necessarily an easy choice since both began to play better towards the end of the season. Smith has slowly developed into one of Rex Ryan’s favorite players after he was initially skeptical about him. He also has the advantage of being a core special team player. Pool might fit better alongside Jim Leonhard and did provide more big plays than Smith last year. I could honestly see this decision going either way but the reality is the Jets still need to finda bigger playmaker to pair with Leonhard long term.

3. Prime-Time – Despite not making the Super Bowl, I still wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets end up with the most prime-time games of any team in 2011. They have become a national team and a running headline since Rex Ryan has taken over and there are plenty of intriguing match-ups to consider. Jets/Giants and one of the Jets/Patriots games both seem like prime-time locks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets/Cowboys, Jets/Eagles, Jets/Ravens, or one of the Jets/Dolphins games were on a Sunday, Thursday, or Monday night.

4. Youth Movement – Remember how much panic there was last season when Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Feely, and Kerry Rhodes (well maybe not him) all left the team? I expect a similar reaction this year when the Jets inevitably lose a fairly sizable group of contributors from the 2010 team. You can’t keep everybody and that is why it is important for young players to step up and to draft well. This past year Wayne Hunter, James Ihedigbo, Drew Coleman, and Mike DeVito all stepped up in bigger roles. In 2011, players like Joe McKnight, John Conner, Kyle Wilson, Patrick Turner, and Jeff Cumberland may need to do the same.

5. Road Warriors – This is fairly obvious but the Jets need to find a way to win their division next year so they can get some home playoff games. They haven’t played one since 2002, which means they have played 8 straight on the road. There certainly wasn’t a home-field advantage defined by this team in the new stadium and until they can improve on their 5-3 home record, they will have to do the tough sledding on the road in the playoffs. Regardless of the past success of wild-card teams, it is such an easier road to have a bye and then host a playoff game instead of trying to string together 3 straight road wins.

6. Scary Stats – The Jets didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher or receiver, a player with double digit sacks, or anybody with more than 55 receptions. They didn’t score a touchdown in any of their three home losses. My poor cousin went to three games this year since we split the season tickets and saw a grand total of 5 Nick Folk field goals as the Jets scoring.

7. Poetic Justice – I am pretty sure the Bart Scott post-game interview has exceeded Joe Namath’s “I want to kiss you” interview as the most popular in team history. I already have the auto-tune version on my I-Pod and if you think I won’t be celebrating every touchdown in my flag football league this spring with the airplane arms, you are crazy.

8. Super Bowl – Check out my Super Bowl XLV predictions on SeatGeek. SeatGeek is the leading ticket search engine that enables fans to discover the best deals for sports and concerts — Check out SeatGeek next season when you’re looking for NFL tickets.

9. 2011 Draft – In case you weren’t aware, the Jets have a draft pick in every single round this year except for the 2nd, which they lost in the Antonio Cromartie trade. They pick 30thoverall in the first round.

10.  Under the Radar – A few players who don’t get a ton of press but put together very good years – Brandon Moore, who many thought would finally get a chance at a Pro-Bowl in 2010 due to his consistently high level of play…Sione Pouha, who has been rock solid filling in for an injured Kris Jenkins the past two seasons…Tony Richardson who held off John Conner all year and kept paving the way for one of the NFL’s top rushing attacks…Ben Hartsock who cut down on the penalties and is a key part of the running game.

11. Here is hoping Curtis Martin gets in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, like he deserves to

12. Video Weekend Clips – Swaggerlicious edition

Grading Out Jets/Packers

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Quarterback (C-) An ugly statistical day for Mark Sanchez (16/38, 256 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs. He wasn’t helped by dropped passes all over the field, particularly by Jerricho Cotchery and Santonio Holmes. However, Sanchez still appeared erratic and out of rhythm all day. He needs to get himself back on track quickly if the Jets are going to keep pace with the Patriots in the AFC East.

Running Backs (C) A disappointing effort from the Jets rushing attack. LaDainian Tomlinson struggled to get going (16 carries, 54 yards), while Shonn Greene was never given the chance to get going (6 carries, 22 yards). The Jets must do a better job of balancing the carries between their top two backs. Greene also needs to catch the ball when it is thrown to him.

Wide Receivers (F) Jerricho Cotchery, what is happening to you? You have to wonder if he is feeling extra pressure because of the addition of Holmes and is pressing too much but I have never seen him struggle like that. Speaking of Holmes, he needs to catch the ball when it hits him in the hands too and become more consistent. Terrible job by both Brian Schottenhiemer and Mark Sanchez, not involving BraylonEdwards more in the offense. Brad Smith had a rare negative play with a fumble.

Tight Ends (C)  Dustin Keller has cooled off after his strong start to the season. You can’t let defenders just rip the ball out of your hands.

Offensive Line (C) They did a pretty good job protecting Mark Sanchez overall but didn’t get their usual push in the running game. I’d expect a much bigger commitment to the Ground and Pound in the upcoming weeks.

Defensive Line (A) The Packers did nothing running the ball and Mike DeVito was very active in particular with 5 tackles. The Jets aren’t getting much of anything out of Trevor Pryce or Vernon Gholston right now.

Linebackers (A) Great game for David Harris with 9 tackles and a sack. Bart Scott played one of his better games with 7 tackles and a tackle for loss. Jason Taylor and Bryan Thomas have been awfully quiet lately.

Secondary (A) Holding Aaron Rodgers to 15/34 for 170 yards is pretty damn impressive. Darrelle Revis appears to moving around much better than prior to the bye week. Dwight Lowery had a nice pass breakup and a sack. Kyle Wilson is going to start being inactive soon.

Special Teams (D) Basic football knowledge…you don’t fake punts on 4th and 18 from your own 20 yard line. Nick Folk shanked a 37 yard field goal.

Coaching (F) Bad use of challenges and time outs, along with a weak and predictable offensive game plan. Beyond that, Steve Weatherford should never have the jurisdiction to run that fake punt on his own.

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Nick Mangold didn’t practice for the second day in a row but is still expected to start Sunday night.

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: Game Breakdown

Offense: Let’s go with the assumption that Braylon Edwards is going to play the overwhelming majority of the snaps on Sunday night. The Jets are going to have match-ups to exploit in the Dolphins secondary. Mark Sanchez had two of his better games last season against Miami, including a 265 yard performance. There is no reason to bring the reigns back in on the offense. Let Sanchez attack down the field to Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, and yes Braylon Edwards. Miami’s defensive backs have played well so far this season but they are far from proven and can be beat down the field.

PhotobucketThe Jets have done a good job with the amount of touches they are giving LaDainian Tomlinson. 15 is the perfect number for him. I’d like to see Shonn Greene get 17-18 carries instead of 15, but if Tomlinson keeps playing so well that might not happen. I am not sure how banged up Brad Smith is but if David Clowney gets the same amount of reps he did last year, maybe he will get a shot down the field. Don’t forget in their Monday night match-up last year, The Clown pulled in 4 receptions for 72 yards.

Beyond that, I think you may see the Jets get a little more creative than usual against Miami. Maybe it is time to have Brad Smith throw a pass or let LaDainian Tomlinson throw one.

Defense: The Dolphins have scored two touchdowns through two games. Chad Henne hasn’t really been pushing the ball down the field and Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have both lost fumbles so far this season. Williams seems to be struggling a little bit, while Brown has racked up impressive yardage totals.

Obviously, the two key players the Jets need to stop are Brown and Brandon Marshall. Antonio Cromartie will draw the assignment of Marshall and have another chance to show the Jets could survive without Darrelle Revis. Cromartie has the size to compete with Marshall, but he has given up some big days to him in the past. After dealing with the receivers he has the past two weeks, Kyle Wilson should be more than ready for Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery did good with extended playing last week, let’s hope they don’t lapse into old habits on Sunday night.

Jason Taylor will be charged up to face his old team and the Jets need him to lead their pass rush, unless Bryan Thomas is going to play the way he did against Baltimore every week. How about Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito are #2 and #3, respectively in leading the NFL in tackles for defensive lineman? It is very difficult to run the ball on this Jets defense, which means it will be up to Chad Henne to beat the Jets.

Special Teams: Nick Folk and Steve Weatherford have been beasts through the first two weeks and they need to keep it up in week three. This will be a close, low-scoring game where field position is crucial and missed field goals can’t be afforded. Fortunately, the Jets don’t have to worry about kicking to Ted Ginn Jr. this year.

It is that time of the year

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: First Look

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First a few updates:

1. On Braylon Edwards’ stupidity…There is never any excuse to drive drunk and regardless of what the league sanctions, the Jets need to take some type of action to tone down some of the behavior on this team. Obviously, it would be nice if the Jets could “collect the facts” this week and then bench him against the Bills (because they are the Bills) and the Vikings (because Santonio Holmes will return). Yet, it is more likely he won’t play against Miami which is the appropriate action. I have confidence in Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller’s ability to step up, although Brad Smith and David Clowney are also going to have to produce. How about it The Clown?

Final Thoughts on Week 2:

Offensive MVP – Mark Sanchez – A no brainer here. It was the best game of our young QB’s short career. Sanchez played well in both games against Miami last year, so hopefully he can now start stringing together a few strong performances.

Defensive MVP – Antonio Cromartie –Played the part of “Revis Island” in the second half and rallied the secondary around him with a half time speech to his unit.

They Deserve Some Love Too – Nick Folk…How about 5/5 in two games? Steve Weatherford…who is kicking the crap out of the ball. Dustin Keller…for shredding the New England cover two in pieces…Sione Pouha/Mike DeVito…unsung heroes on the Jets defense. LaDainian Tomlinson…Bringing a ton of energy and explosiveness to the Jets offense. Matt Slauson…He has struggled at times but overall is holding his own well enough.

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: First Look

The Opponent: You aren’t much of a Jets fan if you can’t already feel the hate flowing through your veins when thinking about the upcoming match-up with Miami. The Dolphins swept the Jets despite going 7-9 last season, thanks mostly to Ted Ginn Jr, who is fortunately no longer on the team. In 2010, Miami is off to a 2-0 start thanks to an impressive win in Minnesota and a not so impressive win in Buffalo. Their defense has been terrific so far this year but their offense has been struggling to produce points.

Miami Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Chad Henne -30/49, 296 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 26 carries, 145 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 28 carries, 92 yards, 1 fumble
  • Fullback: Lousaka Polite – 6 carries, 16 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall – 12 receptions, 124 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Brian Hartline – 3 receptions, 28 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Davone Bess – 7 receptions, 63 yards
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasano – 3 receptions, 46 yards
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Richie Incognito
  • Center: Joe Berger
  • Right Guard: John Jerry
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 7 tackles, 1 sack
  • Nose Tackle: Randy Starks – 3 tackles, .5 sack
  • Defensive End: Jared Odrick -1 tackle
  • Outside Linebacker: Koa Misi – 6 tackles, 1 sack
  • Inside Linebacker: Bobby Carpenter – 4 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Karlos Dansby – 17 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 5 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 8 tackles, 1 INT
  • Corner – Jason Allen – 17 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 3 tackles
  • Safety: Chris Clemons – 9 tackles
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 20 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter – 2/3 FGs
  • Punter: Brandon Fields – 40.8 yards per kick
  • Kick Return: Clifton Smith – 17.3 yards per return
  • Punt Return: Clifton Smith – 4.5 yards per return

PhotobucketKey PlayersBrandon Marshall and Ronnie Brown are the Dolphins two biggest weapons on offense. Chad Henne has the ability to push the ball down the field and Ricky Williams has killed the Jets in the past. Davone Bess is a dangerous slot receiver. On defense, Cameron Wake leads Miami’s pass rush, while their young secondary has played well so far. Karlos Dansby is a very good inside linebacker.

Injuries – For the Jets, don’t expect Darrelle Revis or Calvin Pace to suit up. On Miami, Jared Odrick should be out.

Key Storylines – The rivalry…Can Rex Ryan beat the Dolphins? How will the Jets slow down Brandon Marshall without Darrelle Revis? Mark Sanchez’s follow up performance. Braylon Edwards suspension and how it affects the Jets offense. Jason Taylor’s homecoming.

Highlights of Dolphins Week Two Win

Initial Reaction: Silencer – Jets Roll Pats 28-14

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Now this is what we’ve been waiting for.

Mark Sanchez…you remember him right? The guy who is the sole reason the Jets can’t win the Super Bowl this year. The worst starting quarterback in the NFL. The face of the Jets disaster area of an offense. Yes him, well he threw for three touchdowns today, along with 220 yards including a collection of legitimate big time NFL throws in between two and three defenders. He was poised, confident, and sure as hell looked like a quarterback capable of leading a team deep into January. That Brady guy? He turned the ball over three times.

Antonio Cromartie? The walking penalty. The guy claiming to be a shut down corner, actually flipped the switch and became one in the second half when he completely took Randy Moss out of the game, after Darelle Revis left with a hamstring injury. The entire Jets defense rose to the occasion today after the Revis injury…even Drew Coleman had a nice tackle.

Braylon Edwards? The guy who can’t catch or live to the hype of being a number one receiver, put the Jets on his back when they needed it down 7-0 with a huge drive and an exceptional touchdown catch. Dustin Keller? Mr. 9 yards on 4th and 10, had the best game of his career with 7 catches for 115 yards and the game sealing touchdown.

LaDainian Tomlinson looks like a man on a mission this season. I love the passion he is playing with and I love how wrong I have been about him so far in 2010. Shonn Greene had a good bounce back game and how about the production the Jets are getting out of “no names” like Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito on the defensive line.

Basically, the Jets, who took unnecessarily high amounts of criticism all week for one, one point loss responded and shut their critics up with a gutsy, resilient performance. They dealt with injuries to Darelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Brad Smith, and Jason Taylor and kept rolling. Everybody who was out there made plays and really that is what being a legit contender is all about.

Enjoy this victory, it is one worth feeling great about. The Jets were the deeper, more talented team today, like we thought they would be the entire off-season. They are going to be a tough team to beat if they can throw the ball like they did today and keep it up on the defensive side of the football. The injuries are a slight cause of concern but don’t forget we have Calvin Pace and Santonio Holmes coming back sooner rather than later.

Bring on the Dolphins.

40 New York Jets Prediction For 2010 Season

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First a few updates:

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

2. Brodney Pool didn’t practice yesterday or today with a sprained ankle. Rex Ryan made it sound like he wasn’t going to practice Thursday either. Calvin Pace is apparently ahead of schedule in his rehab and could be back before week four. Finally, Darrelle Revis took part in about half of the team reps and pulled in a one handed interception, along with a few pass breakups.

50 New York Jets Prediction For 2010 Season

No introduction necessary:

1. Despite potentially missing up to four games, Calvin Pace will still lead the Jets in sacks this season with 8.5. David Harris and Jason Taylor won’t be far behind with 6.5 each.

2. Darrelle Revis won’t begin playing at his 2009 level until around week five. However, that doesn’t mean he still won’t be very, very good the first few weeks.

3. Antonio Cromartie will lead the Jets in interceptions with 7.

4. Kris Jenkins will benefit from having Sione Pouha spell him and from his weight loss this off-season to put together an All-Pro year.

5. Vernon Gholston will finally record his first NFL sack at some point during the 2010 season and prove to be a decent part of the defensive line rotation.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 2010, finishing with 19 TDs to 14 INTs.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish with 950 total offensive yards and 8 total touchdowns.

Photobucket8. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in rushing yards with 1200, and also add on 6 touchdowns of his own.

9. Joe McKnight will make no significant contributions to the Jets offense this season.

10. Jerricho Cotchery will lead the Jets in receptions, Dustin Keller won’t be far behind him and lead the team in touchdown receptions.

11. Motivated by not being the only member of the Core Four who didn’t get paid, David Harris will put together his best career season and get Patrick Willis type money next off-season.

12. Kyle Wilson will put together a strong rookie year as the Jets nickel back and will eventually become the primary punt returner. He will have two interceptions and two sacks in 2010.

13. Shaun Eliis will have a quiet but productive year with 4 sacks, in what will likely be his final season in green and white.

14. Brodney Pool will get his feet under him in the Jets defense after the bye week and finish the season strongly, proving to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes.

15. The Jets will go 4-2 in their six games prior their bye week.

16. The Jets will finish 7-3, en route to a 11-5 record and AFC East title.

17. The Jets will split with Miami and New England.

18. The Jets will avoid their yearly letdown against the Bills and sweep them in 2010.

19. Braylon Edwards will start the season strongly and remain a big play threat for the entire year. Yet, there won’t be enough touches for him to approach 1,000 yards receiving or have any more than 5-6 touchdowns.

20. Santonio Holmes return will be a major boost to the Jets offense in week 5 and he will develop into their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs.

21. Left guard will be an ongoing problem for the Jets in 2010, leading to Mark Sanchez taking more hits than any of us would like to see. If Sanchez misses any extended period of time and by that I mean more than a game or two tops, the Jets aren’t going to be a playoff team.

22. The Jets “Tiger” formation won’t be a major part of their offense, but Brad Smith will still provide an occasional big play every few weeks. Yet, Smith will be one of the Jets top special teams players along with Eric Smith.

23. Eric Smith will be the Jets most important defensive sub in 2010, not Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, or even Sione Pouha.

24. Jamaal Westerman will finish with three sacks and be a bigger part of the Jets defense than he was in 2009.

25. John Conner will play more and more as the season goes on, yet Tony Richardson and him will still be splitting reps about 50/50 by the end of the year.

26. Nick Folk will be good in 2010 but still won’t be at his All-Pro 2007 form.

Photobucket27. Jim Leonhard and Bryan Thomas will both have steady, consistent years despite not putting together stat lines that will turn any heads, similar to 2009.

28. There will be some type of storyline at least every other week about some player on the Jets upcoming opponent making a comment on how the Jets talk too much.

29. The Jets won’t have a 1000 yard receiver.

30. The Jets won’t miss Marques Douglas. Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha will be more than adequate in the defensive line rotation.

31. Despite having a good season as the Jets top back with the previously mentioned stats, Shonn Greene will still lose 2 – 4 fumbles.

32. The Jets will be back to where they were in 2009, in the AFC Championship Game except this time they will be facing the Baltimore Ravens.

33. Bart Scott won’t lead the Jets in tackles, sacks, or tackles for loss. Yet, you can bet he will lead the team in trash talk spoken.

34. Jerricho Cotchery will be the Jets primary third down target throughout the entire year, even after Santonio Holmes returns.

35. Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage will improve to around 56 percent, thanks largely to having a reliable check down back in LaDainian Tomlinson.

36. Pro Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris.

37. All-Pro – Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Nick Mangold, David Harris

38. Tony Richardson will have more receptions than Ben Hartsock this season, but big #84 will still pull in one touchdown, beating out Richardson’s 0. I am even signing up Matt Mulligan for 2 receptions in 2010.

39. Mark Sanchez won’t eat any concession stand food on the sideline, nor bring prepared notes to any post game press conferences.

40. Mike Francesa will need to move to drinking 39 Pepsis a day to handle the Jets being a legit contender all season, while the Giants wallow in irrelevancy with their subpar defense and offensive line.

Why The Jets Are The Real Deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“DARRELLE REVIS!”

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

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First a few updates:

1. After a few reports came out yesterday about the Jets bringing back defensive end Marques Douglas by the week’s end, it now sounds like the Jets are content with their youth movement on the defensive line and won’t pursue him. This is a statement of confidence in players like Mike DeVito, Matt Kroul, and Ropati Pitoitua to give the Jets quality reps in their defensive line rotation. DeVito is going to be the starter, after putting together a pretty strong season in 2009. Kroul and Pitoitua are untested and of course there still is that Vernon Gholston fellow, looking for his first career NFL sack.

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

3. The Jets are expected to sign quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow, with a release of Kellen Clemens following shortly after.

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

As training camp rapidly approaches, here are five questions about the Jets special teams that still need to be sorted out –

1. What The Folk?

– The Jets parted ways with Jay Feely this off-season, who was not only a reliable kicker but a good tackler and a political pundit. They replaced him with Dallas Cowboys castoff, Nick Folk, who despite being an All-Pro kicker in 2007 and hero of my fantasy football team that season, struggled heavily in 2009. The best way to describe Folk’s play for Dallas last year is absolutely brutal. He made 64.3 percent of his field goal attempts, spearheaded by him going 5/12 from the 40-49 yard range. He was cut after shanking a 24 yard field goal in a crucial late season game against the Saints. The Jets are confident that special teams guru Mike Westhoff can get him back on track but the reality is the Jets are taking a major risk by relying on Folk to be their kicker. In OTAs and mini-camp, Folk would have days where he missed four straight field goals and then follow up by going 7 for 7 the next day. The consistency clearly isn’t there yet and for a team built on defense and running the football, it is scary to have a kicker who isn’t reliable.

2. How much Antonio Cromartie will we see on kick and punt returns?

– The Jets were giving Cromartie reps at both kick and punt return during their off-season workouts. He is an explosive player in the open field with the ball in his hands, displayed by his four career return touchdowns. However, none of those were on kick or punt returns. They were from taking a missed field goal back, along with a few interceptions. Cromartie did have a 91 yard kick return in 2006. The Jets kick return job is open since Leon Washington is no longer on the roster and regardless of who the primary return guy is, Cromartie still could get put back there once or twice a game.

3. Can Kyle Wilson handle full time punt return duties?

– After the Jets drafted Wilson, Rex Ryan claimed he would be the team’s starting nickel back and primary punt returner. It is a big task for a rookie to be pressed into the punt return job, where any small mistake or misjudgement can swing an entire game. Do you remember when the Titans had a rookie back there last year against the Jets? From all reports in OTAs and mini-camp, Wilson looked terrific fielding punts. However, it is different when you are under the bright lights of Monday Night Football week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerricho Cotchery or Jim Leonhard still put back deep in certain situations, especially if a team is punting into the Jets endzone. Regardless, Wilson should provide the Jets some explosiveness in the punt return game they were lacking last year.

4. Will Steve Weatherford last the season as the Jets punter?

– The Jets went through about 27 punters last season before finally settling on Weatherford, who was pretty good in 2009. The best part about Weatherford may be that he averaged a whopping 26 yards per carry last season and he took the time to compliment Turn On The Jets on Facebook, which of course puts him alongside David Clowney and Donovan Warren with first team all TOJ status. In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see if Weatherford can make it through another full season as the Jets punter or if the team has a quick trigger finger like they did before the 2009 season kicked off.

5. Who will return kicks for the Jets in 2010?

– There are a ton of candidates on the roster to take over the primary kick return duties. Brad Smith did a good filling in for Leon Washington last season and is the favorite to take the majority of kicks back for the Jets this season. However, Joe McKnight, Kyle Wilson, Aundrae Allison, David Clowney, and Danny Woodhead are also all in the mix. As previously mentioned, Antontio Cromartie should also get a few chances back there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a committee approach to the kick return job this season, unless Brad Smith can do more of this on a consistent basis: