New York Jets Draft Wrap-Up

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook or twitter (TurnOnTheJets). You need those updates because Mike Tannenbaum makes a trade every 4.8 seconds.

2. Here is a run down of all the reported UDFAs the Jets signed: Michigan CB Donovan Warren, Illinois WR Jeff Cumberland, Texas G Charlie Tanner, Nevada DE Kevin Basped, Pittsburgh DT Mick Williams, Baylor DE Jason Lamb, North Dakota State OT Keith Buckman, Bethune-Cookman WR Phillip Kirkland, Alabama LB Cory Reamer, California SS Marus Ezeff, Indiana State SS Donye McClesky, Northeastern State DT T.J. Raymond, William Paterson WR Joel Rivera

3. The depth chart has been updated to include draft picks and UDFAs. Also the 2010 Draft section has been remodeled into “2010 Draft Picks,” which has information on the four players the Jets drafted and the UDFAs they signed.

New York Jets Draft Wrap-Up

I would have never thought the Jets would spend three of their four picks on offensive players. Yet, Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office decided to use the 2010 draft to primarily reshape their offense by parting ways with two veterans and adding three new long term pieces on that side of the ball.

A few things became clear this weekend. First off despite the recent acquisitions of Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, the Jets will still be a run first, run heavy offense. It is obvious the Jets like to have their young backs learn from veterans before taking over big time roles. Shonn Greene spent a season behind Thomas Jones and is now the Jets #1 back. Joe McKnight will spend a season or two behind LaDainian Tomlinson before becoming the Jets full time change of pace back/#2 option. John Connor will spend a year behind Tony Richardson before becoming the Jets long time starter at fullback. One thing you can’t argue with is the fact the Jets are now set in the backfield for the future.

PhotobucketSecond on defense, the line of thinking that defensive ends aren’t premium positions in Rex Ryan’s scheme held true. Ryan believes he can get by with a defensive end rotation of Shaun Ellis, Mike DeVito, Vernon Gholston, and Ropati Pitoitua. He confirmed in the post draft press conference that Marques Douglas won’t be back and Gholston will now be a full time end. At least Gholston adds some speed and youth to the end position…even if he can’t you know…play football. Ryan is also comfortable with the three man rotation at outside linebacker of Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Jason Taylor for the next year or two, which will also hopefully give enough time for a guy like Jamaal Westerman to develop into a more consistent player.

The Jets defense and Rex Ryan in particular values corners over just about any position. Kyle Wilson will basically be a starter for the Jets because their nickel back is on the field so frequently. Ryan is also confident Brodney Pool will be the answer at safety and that he if he does get hurt, Eric Smith or James Ihedigbo can adequately step in.

PhotobucketThe decision to part ways with Alan Faneca and Leon Washington hasn’t been a popular one, both with the team and with fans. Yet, keep in mind how many long term contracts the Jets will have to work on after this season. Nobody is saying the Jets offensive line will be better this year with Matt Slauson or Vladimir Ducasse at left guard but for the long term cutting Faneca was the right choice. He was their 5th best lineman last year and Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson both need new deals next off-season. Ducasse or Slauson will be fine because the Jets are lucky enough to surround them with one of the best offensive line coaches in the game in Bill Callahan and pro-bowl talent in Mangold and Ferguson.

Nobody liked Leon Washington more than me but he wasn’t getting a long term deal from the Jets and is likely starting out the season on the PUP list. McKnight has the skill set to effectively replace him as the Jets third down back and has a year or two behind Tomlinson to develop into a quality #2 back behind Shonn Greene. McKnight and Kyle Wislon also have the ability to fill the hole left by Leon in the return game.

Maybe Not The Next Reggie Bush But Hopefully The Next Leon Washington

Help Needed: Jets #1 Ranked Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Leon Washington spoke to the press yesterday and it sounded like it is all good between him and the organization. As expected, nobody signed him to an offer sheet, leaving him to sign the Jets tender. His goal is to be back for the first day of training camp on August 1st and work his way back to getting the amount of carries he was receiving before his injury last year. Here’s hoping Leon could get back 100 percent to the player he once was and TOJ is obviously glad he will be back with the team in 2010.

2. The Jets will be moving on without long time long snapper James Dearth this year. He won’t be signed to a new deal, which I don’t quite understand, Dearth has always been reliable. Anyway the Tanner Purdum era now begins at long snapper…hopefully I will never have to type his name again. New long snapper? Crappy kicker? No Wallace Wright? Anybody else worried about the Jets special teams this year?

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…Because Dwight Lowery promised me he’d never be beat deep again if we got 300 fans by May 1st.

4. Read here (http://www.thejetsblog.com/2010/04/16/revis-carefully-sets-the-trap-everyone-knows-white-boys-cant-refuse-cabo-san-lucas/) about a funny prank involving Dustin Keller, Nick Mangold, and Darrelle Revis.

5. Every 5 minutes the story changes on Jason Taylor and the Jets…one second it is a done deal…the next second a decision is still far away. Hopefully this can get decided either way before the draft because it obviously impacts the Jets plans.

6. Congratulations San Francisco you just gave up a 5th round pick for Ted Ginn Jr and we gave up a 5th round pick for Santonio Holmes…that is like paying the same price for a Big Mac as a filet mignon…actually forget that analogy, Big Macs are way better than Ted Ginn Jr.

Help Needed: Jets #1 Ranked Defense

The draft is only 6 days away and as the Jets head into it their primary needs remain on the defensive side of the football. Despite having the league’s #1 ranked unit last year, there is much more work to be done to their defense than their offense. Here are some of the holes that currently exist on the Jets D:

Defensive End – Look at the Jets depth chart right now at this position: Shaun Ellis as one starter, who is 32 years old and had issues with his knee and hand last year and Mike DeVito as the other starter, who has been a backup his entire career and has 0.5 career sacks. The top backup? Ropati Pitoitua who was inactive for 8 games last season. Like I said…help needed. I am keeping my fingers crossed like most people that Jared Odrick somehow falls to the Jets at #29.

PhotobucketLinebacker – I feel good about our starters, even Bryan Thomas who does alot of little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. However, the Jets need a pass rusher, whether that comes in the form of Jason Taylor or a draft pick. They are also lacking depth at both the inside and outside position. The top backups right now are Vernon Gholston, who…well I don’t need to say it and Jamaal Westerman, a UDFA who did show some potential last year but doesn’t have much experience on defense.

Secondary – The Jets need another corner to develop. I don’t like being one injury away from Dwight Lowery starting and Drew “toast” Coleman playing nickel back. At safety, it is risky to assume Brodney Pool can last for 16 games with his injury history and I’d rather keep Eric Smith in a reserve roll. Don’t tell me that Mike Tannenbaum won’t get trigger happy if Earl Thomas starts sliding close to #29.

Jets Send Us Into Weekend With Headache

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First a few updates:

1. Big list of quality Jets material published within the last two days, of course you can easily find the links to every Jets related piece of material you should be reading on the Internet by following Turn On The Jets on facebook…go ahead and do that right now…in case you are being stubborn here are a few highlights with some analysis

Photobucket2. First off, ESPN finally launched their ESPN New York site here {http://espn.go.com/new-york/), Jane McManus is doing the Jets blog for it. This is just what I need, another site to check on a daily basis sandwiched between the 19 other Jets sites, Barstool Sports, Lost blogspot and lostpedia so I can figure out what the hell is going on, the message board for our touch football league which I make I living talking trash on, and of course the occasional stop at my school email address…anyway Jane’s first post was on LaDainian Tomlinson who defended his lack of production the last few years by blaming it on the Chargers,“Because the things that happened in San Diego, everything was taken away from me. There wasn’t an emphasis on running the football anymore, my best fullback was gone, the linemen were pass blocking and it was a passing QB and a passing coach.”…well LT will have no such excuses in New York running behind T-Rich and the Jets offensive line. Tomlinson also went on to say he hopes Shonn Greene and himself will be like Jordan and Pippen…does that make Leon, Toni Kukoc?

3. Great article by Tim Graham on his AFC East Blog (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/12137/jets-overtake-patriots-as-the-team-to-hate) about the Jets now being the team to hate in the division. Personally, I love the Jets new style and I say bring the hate on.

4. Rich Cimini also a few recent posts, highlighting some locker room talk (http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/jets/) and a few other things. He also discusses the Jets off-season motto “212 degrees,” which is the temperature at which water boils. I think is is clever enough.

Jets Send Us Into Weekend With Headache

PhotobucketWhy are the Jets sending me into the weekend with a headache? The primary reason is that Jay Feely just signed with the Cardinals and it is being reported the Jets had a chance to match the offer and chose not to. Really? The front office and coaching staff is really satisfied going into the year with Nick Folk at kicker? I understand we saved a million dollars because Folk was signed basically for the veterans minimum but there was a reason the Jets were able to sign him for that…because he was awful last year.

I don’t understand how a team who is essentially built to play close football games and plays their home games in a stadium that is notoriously difficult to kick in could undervalue the kicker position so much. The Jets had a very good one in Jay Feely and made a poor decision to be cheap in this instance.

The Jets have developed a reputation as a high spending team yet they lowballed Leon Washington, which could eventually lead to a separation between the two. They went cheap at kicker. They have decided not to re-sign their reliable long snapper for the past decade, James Dearth. Why would you switch your long snapper? If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. They refuse to pay Marques Douglas who wouldn’t even cost that much money and was very productive last year. They went cheap at safety to replace Kerry Rhodes with a guy who is one head injury away from having his career be over.

I am big Mike Tannenbaum fan and maybe these moves are all in preparation of long term deals for Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Braylon Edwards (if he has a good year in 2010) but as of right now the Jets are taking some key risks:

  • They have damaged their relationship with Leon Washington, who has been a great player for them on the field and a great role model off the field. He is rightly a fan favorite but now you have to worry about the Jets ability to ever lock down a long term deal with him, and still be concerned about a team offering him a contract in the next month as a RFA.
  • They are going into the year with a kicker coming off a terrible season, with nobody to compete against him in training camp.
  • Their depth in the secondary is questionable at best. They lost two corners (Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland) and only replaced them with one (Antonio Cromartie). Brodney Pool is injury prone at safety and they only have in-house backups to compete with him for the starting spot.
  • They are thin on the defensive line because of the decision not to bring back Marques Douglas. This could be remedied after the draft but as of now, Shaun Ellis and Mike DeVito are the starters with zero viable backups unless they plan on sliding Sione Pouha or Howard Green out to defensive end.

And if that isn’t enough to give you a headache, Mark Sanchez hasn’t been cleared to run yet even though his surgery was 6 weeks ago. He isn’t going to take part in OTAs, which means it is the Kellen Clemens show in June. Where is the Advil?

This Cheers Me Up

Aging Defense Jets Primary Off-Season Concern & Super Bowl Reaction

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First a few updates:

1. Gary Myers of the Daily News officially waited one day with an attempt to jinx the Jets for next year by picking them to win the AFC, in his article today.

2. Darrelle Revis did an interview with the The Big Lead the other day and offered a few interesting thoughts, including his belief that the Jets biggest off-season need is a corner, Jerricho Cotchery is their most underrated player (agreed), and he also gave the impression that Vernon Gholston won’t be back next year (we can only hope so).

3. The 2009 highlights section has been changed around, since most of the game highlights are being taken off youtube by the NFL. However, I am working on putting together all the various highlight tapes people have made of the Jets past season, as you can currently see in the section.

Super Bowl Reaction

1. The Colts…choking as heavy Super Bowl favorites since 1969.

Photobucket2. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in NFL but his legacy took a hit last night. If he completes that drive and leads the Colts to a win in OT, most people are saying he is the greatest QB ever or he is at least in the top 2/3 of the discussion, he has 2 Super Bowl rings, 2 Super Bowl MVPs, passes Tom Brady as the best QB of this generation, and spends the entire off-season being praised effusively by everybody associated with football. Yet, since he threw that interception he will spend the whole off-season hearing about his 9-9 playoff record, how despite dominating in the regular season for so long, only has 1 ring to show for it with a win over a mediocre Bears team, and how he was outplayed handily by Drew Brees in the Super Bowl. People are now wondering whether he is heading back to his choking ways of the past…talk about one play changing perspective.

3. Honestly, you had to root for the Saints last night. They were a more emotional/fun team to follow. They had a better story, and on and on which is why about 85 percent of the stadium was Saints fans last night. The Colts come off a little robotic…maybe that is just because their coach hasn’t changed his facial expression once the entire season.

4. Give to credit to Dwight Freeney for putting up a hell of an effort on his bad ankle last night.

5. The commercials? Disappointing, at best. Even the Tim Tebow supposedly “controversial” ad was boring.

6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook….because 185 other people are, and why wouldn’t you want to be one of them?

Aging Defense Jets Primary Off-Season Concern & Super Bowl Reaction

The Jets defense carried them to the AFC Championship Game this past year. Despite the offense coming on late in the season, the 2009/2010 Jets were about defensive football, finishing with the league’s #1 overall ranking. It was a constant storyline from the beginning of training camp how far ahead the defense was of the offense, yet moving forward into this off-season and likely the few following it, the Jets need to focus on their defense instead of their offense.

On the offensive side of the football, the Jets have a good, young core that should be in place for awhile as we will get to in another article on another day. On defense, the front office is going to have some work to do.

The main focus of this off-season will likely be the secondary. Darrelle Revis will be getting a monster contract either this year or next year. #24 isn’t going anywhere, so feel free to buy yourself his jersey, maybe even an authentic one if you have some money. Jim Leonhard is only 27 years old and will be around for awhile, especially with Rex Ryan in charge of the defense. Beyond that, there is nothing but question marks. Lito Sheppard won’t be back next year. Donald Strickland is also likely going to be released and even if he sticks around, he can’t be relied on to stay healthy. Drew Coleman doesn’t belong on an active NFL roster. Dwight Lowery should be a #4 corner/specials teamer and Marquice Cole is a strictly specials guy. Kerry Rhodes is rumored to be on the trading block, although I think when everything is said and one, he will be back next season. If Rhodes can play to his potential, it will alleviate many potential problems on their defense. They will have a pair of good, 27 year old safeties in place for the forseeable future withtwo quality backups in Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo.

Smith and Ihedigo are good options as #3 and #4 safeties but would be miscast as starters or even as guys splitting starting time. If the Jets can’t work things out with Rhodes, they better find a way to fill his spot before trading him for a middle-round draft pick or else they are only creating another hole to fill. They already need a long term starter opposite Darrelle Revis at corner and a reliable nickel-back, who could also provide depth if Revis (scary to think about) or the eventual starter got hurt. We can’t have Dwight Lowery one snap away from playing starters minutes next season.

PhotobucketAt linebacker, the Jets aren’t necessarily old but they aren’t young either and they lack depth. Similar to Revis, David Harris is going to be around for a long time and will be a lynch pin of the defense hopefully for another 7-8 years. Bart Scott is going to turn 30 this year but should pair inside with Harris for a few more years. The top backup at inside linebacker is Ryan Fowler, who has some starting experience but is much better suited as a special teams player. Past him, I wouldn’t expect Larry Izzo back and Kenwin Cummings has never played an NFL snap. Calvin Pace also turns 30 this year and similar to Scott will likely play out the huge contract the Jets gave him as a productive starter (or at least we hope so). Bryan Thomas turns 31 this year and since the Vernon Gholston completely flamed out, has remained a starter longer than many in the organization probably wanted to see. Thomas has been okay the past two years, but the Jets need to upgrade to a more dynamic pass rusher. Unfortunately, because of the Gholston bust, their depth is also weak. Marques Murrell might not back next year after spending plenty of time on the inactive list last season. Jamaal Westerman has potential as a back-up at both positions, but disappeared after a strong start as a pass rusher last year.

On the defensive line, Kris Jenkins is turning 31 and coming off major surgery. I would be thrilled if we could get 2 more seasons out of him at 2008 level and then have him still be productive in a somewhat lesser role after that but even that might be asking too much. Sione Pouha just turned 31 but is only entering his 6th season next year, so hopefully he could remain a key part of the defensive line rotation for a few years. I don’t know if Howard Green will be back next year. Marques Douglas and Shaun Ellis both turn 33 this season so even though both are coming off good years, the Jets need to start thinking about long term replacements at defensive end. Mike DeVito is only 25 but is best used in a reserve role. Ropati Pitoitua hasn’t been able to earn any major reps the past two years.

So in retrospect, yes the Jets had a very good defense last year and yes they should be even better in 2010 with Jenkins returning and another year in the system. However, they still need two corners, an upgrade at outside linebacker, long term answers at defensive end, and better depth at the linebacker position.

In The Category Of Random Related Videos To The Jets Defense

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

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First a few updates:

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

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

No compensation

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

2nd Round Compensation

1st Round

1st and Third

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

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

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

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

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

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

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

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

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

Best Offensive Player – Nick Mangold, Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Good Highlight Tape Of Jets Season

How The Jets Can Make A Playoff Run

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First a few updates:

1. Rich Cimini posted an article today which cited a few sources within the Jets organization that pinned the decision to draft Vernon Gholston on ex head coach Eric Mangini. We had been hearing this for awhile now about Mangini’s pre-draft infatuation with Gholston but regardless Mike Tannenbaum is supposed to make all final decisions on the draft so it isn’t fair for him to completely pass the buck to Mangini. The entire organization deserves blame for the Gholston pick which has not worked out at all. Gholston was drafted to sack the quarterback and in 24 NFL games, he hasn’t recorded a single sack. The reality is that Gholston should be inactive for every game in the second half of the season. Jamaal Westerman is a better reserve pass rusher on defense and Marques Murrell, Ahmad Carroll, and Westerman are all better special teams players than him.

2. Peter King gave the Jets some love in his mid-season All-Pro Team by placing Darrelle Revis, David Harris, and Nick Mangold on it.

3. The Jets reportedly have no interest in recently released Chiefs running back Larry Johnson…well duh. Who would want this washed up head case, especially with Thomas Jones and Shonn Grenne on the roster and Leon Washington coming back next year?

4. CBS has protected the Jets/Pats 4:15 game on November 22nd, preventing NBC from moving it to Sunday Night Football. At least we have our prime-time game against the Bills in Toronto to get excited about.

5. A few highlights from Rex Ryan’s press conference today: Vernon Gholston sat out practice with a hamstring injury, while Lito Sheppard and Brad Smith were both limited but still are expected to play this weekend. Ryan confirmed Sheppard would return to the starting line-up when he comes back. He also complimented Mark Sanchez for practicing without sleeves today and admitted he needs to learn how to deal with the cold weather if the Jets are going to be successful in the second half of the season.

Some Quick NFL Second Half Predictions

In my “2009 NFL Predictions” article here: http://turnonthejets.com/2009/09/07/2009-nfl-predictions/, I predicted the AFC playoff teams would be: New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Baltimore (wild card), New York Jets (wild card). In the NFC: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Atlanta, Arizona, New York Giants (wild card), Green Bay Packers (wild card). My Super Bowl prediction was Philly vs. San Diego.

Obviously, it isn’t fair to revise picks half way through the season. However, in the AFC I’d like to trade Baltimore out and take Cincinnati in but beyond that I am feeling alright. I am thinking San Diego will win the AFC West and Denver will fade away in the second half. In the NFC, I look completely idiotic for not picking New Orleans to even make the playoffs so I need to trade the fading Giants and the mediocre Packers out to bring the Saints and Cowboys in.

I won’t bail on my Super Bowl picks because I think both teams will still be in the mix come January but if I had to switch it up now I would say we are looking at a Colts/Steelers AFC Championship Game and a Saints/Vikings NFC Championship game with the Steelers and Saints meeting in the Super Bowl.

How The Jets Can Make A Playoff Run

I have already stated my belief that the Jets are going 6-2 in the second half of the season and will find a way to sneak in the playoffs, but what do they need to do to make that happen? Let’s look at the three separate phases of the game:

large_marky-markOffense: It all starts and ends with the quarterback, if Mark Sanchez can take what he learned from the first half of the season and put together an improved second half the Jets are going to have a very good offense. He needs to continue doing what he did in the past two games, which means protecting the football, hitting big plays down the field when the defense stacks the box, and avoiding sacks by checking the ball down or throwing the ball away. Keep in mind Sanchez lost two games for the Jets in the first half of the season with amazingly bad, turnover-filled performances. I think those type of games are behind him which is going to prevent the Jets from having a let down against inferior teams like Jacksonville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Buffalo. The real question is going to be can Sanchez rise up on the road in games against New England and Indy and at home against Atlanta and Cincinnati to lead the Jets to a couple of upsets.

Beyond the quarterback, Brian Schottenheimer needs to remember what the Jets identity is on offense. They need to keep running the football. I hope Thomas Jones got his rest over the bye week because the guy should be getting 22-25 carries every single week for the rest of the season. Shonn Greene needs to bounce back from a rough Miami game and become a reliable 10-12 carry guy off the bench. I know Schottenheimer is going to be tempted to air it out with a healthy Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards and a rejuvenated Dustin Keller but the Jets aren’t going anywhere throwing 35 passes a game. When teams stack the box and finally begin slowing down the Jets #1 ranked rushing attack, then they need to take advantage of single coverage on either Edwards, Cotchery, or Keller. With how well the Jets run the football, they should be able to hit big plays down the field in the passing game.

126926_featureDefense: Outside of the weak showing on Monday night against Miami, the Jets defense has been exceptional this year. Over the past two weeks, they have finally started creating turnovers and sacking the quarterback and that needs to continue. If the Jets are going to pull some of the necessary upsets to make the playoffs, it will be led by strong defensive performances that will keep games against New England, Indy, Atlanta, and Cincy close and give the Jets a chance to steal the game in the fourth quarter. On the defensive line, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, and Marques Douglas need to keep their elevated level of play going to fill the void of Kris Jenkins. They will be tested right out of the gate against Maurice Jones-Drew and will also have to deal with DeAngelo Williams, Michael Turner, and Cedric Benson later in the year.

At linebacker it is time to plant Vernon Gholston on the bench and let Jamaal Westerman become the primary pass rusher off the bench. In the secondary, Lito Sheppard’s return will boost the secondary by allowing Dwight Lowery, who is talented enough to be a starter, to slide into the nickel role. Kerry Rhodes also needs to get it going. The Jets are going to need some defensive touchdowns or key turnovers that give easy points to the offense, and for that to happen Rhodes to start making some big plays.

Special Teams: Tackle, Tackle, Tackle. The Jets won’t make the mistake of making Marques Murrell and Ahmad Carroll inactive in the same week again. Jay Feely has been very good this season and needs to keep it up. Steve Weatherford has been okay and you’d like to see a slight improvement from him. In the return game, hopefully Justin Miller got back up to speed over the bye week and will provide a threat on kick returns.

Who Else Could We Have Had With This Pick?

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

First a few updates:

1. As expected, Leon Washington was placed on the IR today. It will be interesting to see who the Jets add to their roster to fill that spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Danny Woodhead back to running back and then added another defensive lineman to the roster.

2. Another thing to keep an eye on is who will return kickoffs now for the Jets, some names to look out for will be Dwight Lowery, Danny Woodhead, Wallace Wright, or David Clowney.

3. The Game Highlights, Stats, and Depth Chart pages have been updated.

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez wasn’t asked to do much but he did a good job with what was handed to him. You could see him making a conscious effort to protect the football by throwing passes away and checking down. He also did a better job of avoiding sacks. On third down he was 5-8 for 65 yards, re-establishing his early season ability to come up with key first down conversions. Sanchez also executed a beautiful play fake and dropped in a nice pass to David Clowney for a 35 yard touchdown. There were still some missed throws and for some reason he can’t get on the same page with Dustin Keller but yesterday was a step in the right direction.

Running Backs: (A+) Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones completely wore down the Raiders defense. There wasn’t anything flashy or fancy about the Jets running game yesterday, they went right up the gut with Jones and Greene who combined for 265 yards. Jones certainly doesn’t look like a 30 year old running back and Greene has an unbelievable burst through the hole. We are all going to miss Leon Washington, but Jones and Greene will be a handful for defenses the rest of the season.

Wide Receivers (B) They weren’t given a ton of opportunities but did a good job when their numbers were called. David Clowney stepped up in particular with 4 catches for 79 yards, including a 35 yard touchdown. He showed an ability to be more than a deep threat by breaking some tackles and catching a tough pass over the middle. Wallace Wright recorded his first two catches of the season and Braylon Edwards had a drop but also pulled in a tough catch over the middle. I would expect Jerricho Cotchery to be back in action next week, which will be a big boost.

Tight Ends: (C) Good job blocking by Dustin Keller and Ben Hartsock. Keller also did a great job selling the play fake on his 26 yard reception. He was open a couple of other times but Sanchez missed him. One of these weeks it is going to click for Keller and Sanchez, who started off the year strong but have struggled to connect recently.

Offensive Line: (A+) Awesome job by the Jets front five, there really isn’t much to say except that Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Robert Turner dominated and embarrassed Oakland’s front seven. I bet Richard Seymour is regretting saying the Raiders are going to be a playoff team…unless he meant a high school playoff team.

Defensive Line: (B) The committee approach to replace Kris Jenkins got off to a decent start. Yes, the Jets gave up a little more rushing yards than you’d like to see but overall their defensive line was active, especially Mike DeVito and Howard Green. They have a hell of a challenge coming up this week against Miami.

Linebackers: (A) Quiet games for Bart Scott and David Harris but the grade is picked up by a terrific day from Calvin Pace, who racked up 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Jets are going to need that type of effort from him the rest of the season because Pace is unquestionably their top pass rusher. Vernon Gholston has been demoted behind Jamaal Westerman in pass rushing situations.

Secondary: (A) Darrelle Revis is something else…that interception was ridiculous. Do you think he is fired up for this week after getting burned by Ted Ginn Jr (aka Panhands) on national television? Jim Leonhard made his first interception of the season and Dwight Lowery continues to put together a strong season in replacement of Lito Sheppard. Donald Strickland was back and always seems to be around the ball.

Special Teams: (B) Steve Weatherford might run for 100 yards this season. It is not a good sign that Jay Feely has missed two short kicks in consecutive weeks.

Coaching: (A) Mike Pettine made a nice adjustment on defense, allowing Calvin Pace more pass rushing opportunities. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job sticking with the run and Rex Ryan clearly had the troops motivated. Let’s see how they handle Miami this week.

Jets/Raiders Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

First a few updates:

1. A bunch of the Jets talked about Rex Ryan’s pre-game speech before their beatdown of the Texans. According to Jay Feely, Ryan used the f-word about 52 times. The general gist of the speech was that the Texans were a soft, finesse team and the Jets were going to kick the crap out of them, and sure enough they did. Ryan sent a message to Houston right away by deferring after winning the coin toss, showing he wasn’t scared of their hyped up offense. Kris Jenkins joked that Ryan should be banned by the NFL as performance enhancing drug because of how motivated he had the team…I hope he has a strong encore performance for this week’s game.

2. The Jets don’t have permanent captains but their game captains for Houston were Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca, Howard Green, and James Dearth.

3. After being presented with the game ball by Kerry Rhodes, Rex Ryan turned and flipped it over to Woody Johnson for giving him the chance to be a head coach in the NFL, before getting a little emotional in the locker room. I wonder if Eric Manginishowed any emotion in his opening game with the Browns?

4. Shonn Greene was inactive because the Jets wanted to carry an extra linebacker because they were concerned about Bryan Thomas having a sore leg, so Jason Trunsik was active over Greene who is now 100 percent healthy.

5. Across the top of the page, you can now find “Jets Stats” which has their updated leaders in all major statistical categories. I also added the Jets/Texans highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, don’t be confused by the lettering on the video that says “Colts vs Jaguars,” it is the Jets/Texans highlights. Also the first episode of TOJ TV is archived under the “TOJ TV” page.

Grading Out the Jets/Texans Game

Quarterbacks: (A-) I’m not sure you could have asked for a better performance by Mark Sanchez in his first career start. Yes, he threw a costly interception and nearly had two others picked off but he dominated third down going 12/15 for 191 yards and a touchdown, showing his clutch ability. He also moved tremendously well in the pocket, avoiding sacks and keeping multiple plays alive. People love to talk about the “it” factor at quarterback, I’m not sure it is reasonable to assess a trait that can’t clearly be defined to somebody but it sure as hell looks like Sanchez has “it.” He plays with a ton of energy and acts like a leader on the field, sprinting out to break up a fight after Jay Feely knocked through a field goal. Would Brett Favre have been out there last year, trying to prevent a penalty?

Running Backs: (A-) 19 touches for Leon Washington? It is about damn time. Washington averaged 4 yards per carry and provided a consistent performance. He also chipped in 4 catches and a key pass breakup on a near interception. Thomas Jones started with 14 carries for 16 yards and finished with 20 carries for 107 yards, which is why you stick with the running game. Tony Richardson was excellent, providing a crushing block on safety Nick Ferguson that sprung Jones 38 yard touchdown run. I am going to keep harping on this…the closer Jones/Washington get to 40 touches a game, the more likely the Jets are to win. They combined for 39 against Houston, with a near perfect split of Jones having 20 and Washington having 19.

Wide Receivers: (B+) Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey’s ability to run after the catch converted a handful of key third downs for the Jets. After dropping his first pass, Cotchery caught the next 6 thrown to him. If they can play like this on a weekly basis, people won’t think twice about Laveranues Coles or any other veteran receiver for a long time. Brad Smith had a nice run on a reverse but also had a drop and a holding penalty. David Clowney wasn’t targeted at all.

Tight Ends: (A) Dustin Keller led the Jets in receiving yards with 94 and had two key third down conversions, including the biggest catch of the game, a 40 yard catch and run when the Jets faced a crucial 3rd and 3 with a 17-7 lead. He is going to be a nightmare match-up for defenses all season. Ben Hartsock played very well for somebody who just joined the team a week ago, providing steady blocking and playing a bunch of reps.

Offensive Line: (A) Whenever you allow zero sacks and have 190+ yards of rushing, you get an A. The only negative was three false start penalties. D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody more than held their own against Mario Williams.

Defensive Line: (A) It was comical watching Kris Jenkins throw Texans center Chris Myers around like a rag doll all day. Jenkins didn’t have a big day statistically but anybody who watched the game knows how well he played. Mike DeVito had a big fumble recovery, thanks to his hustle down the field. Marques Douglas had a TFL…oh yea, Steve Slaton only ran for 17 yards.

Linebackers: (A) The A’s are getting redundant, but trust me I’m not getting tired typing them. David Harris was a beast with 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. He also knocked Andre Davis into another planet when he tried to come over the middle. Bart Scott set the tone early with a crushing blow on Matt Schaub, who played scared the rest of the game. Vernon Gholston had 3 tackles, a TFL and held his own for the entire day which is a step in the right direction for him. Jamaal Westerman continues to look like a UDFA steal, as he recorded his first NFL sack.

Secondary (A) Outside of Nnamdi Asomugha, who is a better corner than Darrelle Revis in the NFL? He is straight lockdown, period. Andre Johnson might as well stayed in the locker room because it was hard to notice he was even out there. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard were both active around the line of scrimmage. Donald Strickland had a great game with 3 tackles, a key forced fumble, and a QB pressure that led to an INT. Lito Sheppard was strong in run support and also had an interception. Eric Smith had a big 4th down pass break up and had a surprisingly active day.

Special Teams (A) Jay Feely made all his kicks. Steve Weatherford punted well and the Jets allowed zero return yards on punts. Leon Washington and Jim Leonhard were solid on returns.

Coaching (A) Rex Ryan had the Jets motivated and came up with a game plan that had Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak’s head spinning. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job using Leon Washington and throwing some well timed screens to keep Houston off balance.

Highlights of the Jets Week One Win Over Houston

Jets – 24 Texans – 7, Instant Reaction

You couldn’t have asked for a better opening day effort from the New York Jets. They completely dominated  a team that all the “expert” analysts were calling a serious playoff contender and a threat to the Colts in the AFC South, while everybody dismissed the Jets as the AFC East’s worst team, who wouldn’t be able to handle the Texans with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach. Well, that’s why they play the game and there is no question that the Jets embarrassed an over matched, and likely overrated Houston Texans team.

First and Foremost….the Jets defense was phenomenal. Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and the Jets forced him into a crucial fumble. Andre Johnson was invisible (thank you very much Darrelle Revis, who owned their 1 on 1 match-up) and Matt Schaub looked terrible, mostly thanks to consistently vicious Jets pass rush, which was in his face all day. David Harris looked like an all-pro, racking up 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. Better yet, everybody contributed with guys like Donald Strickland, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, and Jamaal Westerman (1st NFL sack before Vernon Gholston) chipping in. Rex Ryan called a great game, keeping Houston off balance.

He Sure Didn’t Look Like A Rookie…Outside of an interception and a handful of other risky throws, Mark Sanchez played very well providing the Jets with a balanced attack by racking up a 272 yard passing performance and a touchdown. Most impressive was Sanchez on third down, where he was nearly flawless routinely converting big throw, after big throw. i believe he was something like 12/15 in those situations. His biggest throw of the day was a 40 yard completion to Dustin Keller on a third down after the Texans had cut the lead to 17-7 on an interception return, completing stopping any chance they had at momentum.

40 Touches…I said before the game that if Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for 40 touches, the Jets would win and sure enough they combined for 39 and the Jets won. Brian Schottenheimer did an excellent job utilizing Leon Washington (15 carries, 60 yards, 4 catches 24 yards) and sticking with Thomas Jones who struggled early but broke through in the second half with 2 huge runs and 2 touchdowns. He finished the day with 107 yards on 20 carries. I also like the Jets “Seminole” aka their version of the Wildcat, which hit for a couple of nice runs to Washington.

No Brandon Marshall, No Laveranues Coles, No Problem…Great games by Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Chansi Stuckey who all raised their games on third downs to make big plays for their rookie quarterback. Cotchery ran well after the catch and was right around 100 yards, as was Keller. Stuckey obviously had the big 30 yard touchdown and ran well on receiver screens.

You What Is Even More Exciting?…We didn’t even have Calvin Pace, Shaun Ellis, or Shonn Greene today. The Jets D is going to be scary, scary good when those guys come back….No sacks allowed by the Jets -Line…Kris Jenkins is still a beast…The Dolphins looked like garbage today, getting beat down by Atlanta…We are playing New England next week, you have to love that early season big game.

And on that note, I will carry on being in a great mood for the Jets of my Sunday.

Jets vs. Texans: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Just a friendly reminder that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet radio show tomorrow at 11:15 AM to preview the Jets/Texans game, check it out http://ownersedge.fanball.com/fantasy_buffet.php 

2. The Jets added fullback Jason Davis to their practice squad today and removed safety Emmanuel Cook from it.

Jets vs. Texans: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Texans are not strong against the run, and were in the bottom third in all rushing defensive categories last season. Brian Schottenheimer and the rest of the Jets offensive coaching staff should be licking their chops thinking about their running game against the Texans front seven. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington should combine for 40 touches this Sunday, the closer they get to that number the more likely the Jets are to win. If the Jets are running the ball effectively and utilizing Jones/Washington in the short passing game, they will be keeping the dangerous Texans offense off the field and protecting their rookie quarterback.

Expect the Jets to come out fairly conservative in the first half, although I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to catch Houston off guard by taking an early shot with David Clowney or Dustin Keller down the seam. However, for the most part expect alot of runs, screens, and short hitches/slants to Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. The Jets will want to get Sanchez going with easy completions, although I think they may elect to run the ball in some 3rd and long situations early in the game, similar to how they did against Baltimore in the pre-season.

To recap, expect a heavy, heavy dose of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington and a predominantly short, quick release passing attack. Although, don’t be surprised to see the Jets look to go up top at some point in the first quarter when the Texans overload the box. When David Clowney comes in the game, obviously all eyes will be on him going deep so the Jets might have to hit him with a curl or comeback first or look to get Cotchery or Brad Smith on a go route.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Texans have a dangerous offense, led by a strong pocket passer in Matt Schaub, a game breaking receiver in Andre Johnson, a Leon Washington clone in Steve Slaton, a pro-bowl tight (Owen Daniels) and a quality possession receiver (Kevin Walter). How do the Jets stop all of that? Well, the Jets aren’t half bad on defense themselves even without Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis. I expect the Jets to come after Schaub early and often and test his bum ankle. Rex Ryan won’t be scared to leave Darrelle Revis one on one in coverage with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter one on one with Lito Sheppard. Kerry Rhodes and David Harris both should be alright against Daniels at the tight end spot. In terms of Slaton, the Jets simply have to tackle. They can’t overload the box, miss a tackle and let him get in the open field because he will be gone.

I am concerned because the Texans are a big play offense and the Jets gave up a ton of big plays in the pre-season. I think Revis will hold his own against Johnson. The guy will get his catches but I don’t think he will kill the Jets with a big play or have one of his normal 8 catch, 130 yard, 2 TD performances. Keep an eye on Kevin Walter because honestly Lito Sheppard hasn’t looked good, and I’m sure the Texans will be looking to exploit that match-up.

The key for the Jets will be to prevent the big play. They need to make the Texans put together long drives to score points, and look to eventually create turnovers. Houston will get their yards but if the Jets can grab an interception and force a fumble, and hold the Texans to field goals instead of touchdowns, they have a great chance of coming out on top.

Special Teams Breakdown: Both teams have solid kickers. Obviously, you have to be concerned about the Jets punting situation but hopefully Steve Weatherford can be halfway decent and not kill the Jets with any shanks. Leon Washington and Jacoby Jones are both dangerous kick returners, and don’t forget about Jim Leonhard and Andre Davis as punt returners. Both teams have players who can change the entire dynamic of the game on their special teams units.

The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez plays beyond his years, managing to take a couple of shots down the field to keep the defense honest but avoiding any costly turnovers. Darrelle Revis contains Andre Johnson and the Jets don’t let Steve Slaton get in the open field. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combine for 40 touches, letting the Jets dominate the time of possession, keeping the dangerous Texans offense on the side-line.

The Jets Will Lose If…The Jets defense allows the big play, letting Steve Slaton or Andre Johnson score a touchdown of 30 yards or more. Johnson beats Revis up and down the field, racking up yet another 100 yard game. Mark Sanchez tries to do too much and throws a costly interception in a big spot. Thomas Jones can’t get going in the running game and Leon Washington has less than 10 touches on offense.

First Time Starters For the Jets:

  • Mark Sanchez, Quarterback – The rookie needs to manage the game but if the Texans load up the box, he has to make them pay over the top.
  • Chansi Stuckey, Receiver – Keep an eye on him on third downs, when he slides into the slot.
  • Mike DeVito/Sione Pouha – Filling in for Shaun Ellis, these guys need to support Kris Jenkins up front and apply pressure on Matt Schaub.
  • Vernon Gholston – Expect the Texans to run at him early and often. Hopefully his bench press can translate to the field.

Tomorrow, check back for the first episode of “Turn on the Jets TV” where I will make by prediction for the Jets game and the rest of the NFL Games this weekend, along with some fantasy observations.

Get Ready to See Some Thomas Jones on Sunday