Jets Fans: Stop The Pity Party

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Do you remember December 30th 2007? I do. I was sitting in the pouring rain watching the 3-12 New York Jets play the 4-11 Kansas City Chiefs. The Jets won the game 13-10. I left the stadium frustrated because we hurt our draft position, ultimately falling to number six where the team would select Vernon Gholston. Our quarterback of the future, Kellen Clemens, had just played one of his better games of the 2007 season: 13/25, 115 yards, TD. Our newly signed starting running back, Thomas Jones, scored his second touchdown of the season. The offensive line was in shambles. The defense prominently featured players like Dewayne Robertson, Victor Hobson, David Barrett, and Erik Coleman.

Fast forward to January 20th, 2008. The New York Giants upset the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, sending the Jets in-stadium rivals to face their division rivals, the New England Patriots (coming off a perfect regular season) in the Super Bowl. The Giants and Patriots went on to play one of the most memorable championship games in league history, while the Jets wallowed in complete and utter irrelevancy.

Do you remember those days? They weren’t too long ago. Do you remember gearing up for a broken down Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens quarterback battle? What about the few months of the Kellen Clemens/Brett Ratliff/Erik Ainge battle? How about heading into training camp with Brad Smith/David Clowney/Chansi Stuckey fighting it out for a starting receiver spot? At cornerback, do you recall players like Hank Poteat, Drew Coleman, and Barrett rotating in a starting spot? The Jets offensive line used to feature players like Anthony Clement and Adrien Clarke.

Yes, the Darrelle Revis holdout sucks. There really isn’t a better way to put it. Revis was a player our organization was savvy enough to trade up to select, who developed in front of our eyes into the league’s best cornerback and arguably best defensive player. The entire league took notice. We got to see one of our players featured in Nike commercials and constantly be talked about on the NFL Network and ESPN. Everybody was looking forward to his encore performance to an epic 2009 season. Bring on Brandon Marshall. Bring on Randy Moss. Bring on Chad Ochocinco Johnson. Bring on Andre Johnson. Send every diva, big-name receiver at our defense and watch him disappear.

PhotobucketIt now looks like that may not happen. Before you bury the Jets organization, before you bury Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan, remember this: Tannenbaum brought this team back to relevancy with the resources provided to him by Johnson. He got us Mark Sanchez so we didn’t have to watch Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff one-hop curl routes. He beefed up the defense by trading for Kris Jenkins and Antonio Cromartie, hitting on David Harris in the second round, and signing Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and Jim Leonhard. On offense, he collected an impressive arsenal of weapons for his franchise quarterback.

Rex Ryan may have hurt the Jets bargaining position by showing too much love for his player to the media. However, that is Ryan’s personality. Don’t talk about loving all the swagger and confidence he brought to the organization and then get mad when he gives due praise to a player. I will take the negative impact on negotiations Rex Ryan brings, in exchange for all the positives he has brought the Jets, which shouldn’t have to be listed.

Don’t talk yourself into hating Revis either. The Jets organization approached him about re-negotiating his contract and after hearing everything they said about him, he expects to be compensated at a substantially higher level in 2010 (currently scheduled to be the eight highest paid defensive back on the Jets). Yes, he should understand that Al Davis is clinically insane and gave Nnamdi Asomugha an aberration of a contract and yes he has three years left on his deal but this is a business. The Jets botched the Leon Washington situation to an extent, which has burned a scary image into the heads of current players. Who wants to shipped off to the rain in Seattle to play for Pete Carroll without a new contract?

There is plenty of blame to go around. The Jets organization gets a little. Darrelle Revis gets a little. Al Davis can have a little. Leon Washington’s injury is a factor. Yet, there is no reason to spend all pre-season pouting and looking for somebody to blame.

PhotobucketGuess what? Even without Darrelle Revis, the Jets are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. They are still the favorite in the AFC East. They are being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. They have knocked the Giants and yes even the Yankees off the back page. We aren’t playing in Giants Stadium anymore. The Jets are playing in primetime in weeks 1, 3, and 5 to start off the season, along with Thanksgiving night and a December Monday night showdown in New England. Beyond that, there is still a relatively good chance Revis will join the team at some point before the regular season starts, despite all of Woody Johnson’s posturing today.

So relax Jets fans, life is good, enjoy the ride in 2010. We are the team everybody loves to hate and really what is better than that in sports?

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Pondering A Season Without Revis

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Monday Practice Recap –

  • Good to hear Mark Sanchez went 9/12 with a touchdown today. This is his first practice with a completion percentage over 50 percent. Hopefully, he is building off a relatively strong showing at the Green and White Scrimmage.
  • David Clowney was back on the practice field and pulled in a 20 yard touchdown reception from Sanchez to end the team’s two minute drill. It hasn’t been released why Clowney missed the past few days.
  • Rex Ryan’s press conference love affair with Vernon Gholston continued today. Gholston better drop Eli Manning and Jim Sorgi two times a piece next Monday.
  • Dwight Lowery went to the coaching staff to volunteer his starting position (in place of Darrelle Revis) to rookie Kyle Wilson. Rex Ryan praised the team mentality and commented that Lowery would play a variety of roles on the Jets defense anyway. This move was probably going to happen anyway, with the longer Revis holdout lasted. It is better to thron the rookie out there now because it is starting to become more and more likely Revis could miss a portion of the regular season, if not the entire thing.
  • Nick Folk…5/5.
  • Jason Taylor tweaked his groin. Braylon Edwards had limited reps with a sore knee. Mario Davis, Jeff Cumberland, and Brashton Satele all missed practice with minor injuries. Surprise, surprise…Joe McKnight was suffering from dehydration.

Pondering A Season Without Revis

Let’s get to the big news of the day. The Jets met with Darrelle Revis’ representatives at Roscoe’s Diner in New York on Friday night (where all major NFL business happens) and received a proposal. When discussing the Revis negotiations with the media today, owner Woody Johnson offered the sunny forecast that he didn’t think a new deal would be reached before the season starts and that his gut feeling is that Revis won’t play for the Jets in 2010.

So it could really come to this?

PhotobucketThe Jets have never had more hype surrounding their organization and haven’t been this widely recognized as a Super Bowl contender since 1999 and they can’t get their best overall player on the field. Their defense is built around sending as many people after the quarterback as possible and leaving their corners on an island with receivers and they are going to move ahead without the best corner in football. Mike Tannenbaum found a way to get Brett Favre on this team, trade up for Mark Sanchez, trade for Kris Jenkins, Antonio Cromartie, and Santonio Holmes but can’t work a deal out with Revis. Woody Johnson just paid for a new stadium but won’t pay for his best player to play in it.

Darrelle Revis is going to sit out an entire season just after arriving as an elite player in the NFL. He is going to wave good-bye to all those new advertisements and publicity that has been coming his way as the second coming of Deion Sanders. He is going to push his way out of New York, the city that renamed Manhattan “Revis Island” and the organization that traded up for him. He is going to pass up the chance to play on a legitimate Super Bowl contender. There may not even be football in 2011 and he is going to skip 2010.

I hope the Jets win a Super Bowl without Revis, trade him to Tampa Bay for a 1st round pick and he becomes irrelevant on a crappy team.

The Jets organization is moronic for not shelling out the money for Revis. After all the moves they made to position themselves for a Super Bowl, they won’t go the extra step here to insure they are putting the best team possible on the field.

It is hard not to feel the tug of both sides in this ongoing contract dispute. Both sides are in the wrong to a certain extent. Yet a Jets team without Revis, is bad for the organization, bad for Revis, bad for fans, and good for opposing receivers.

However, this season can’t just end if the team’s best player doesn’t report. There is too much talent spread across the roster. The offense can still run the football. Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller will all be catching passes. On defense, Kris Jenkins, David Harris, Bart Scott and company aren’t going to say “oh well, so much for repeating as the league’s top unit. We don’t have Revis.”

The Jets aren’t going to have an all-time great defense without Darrelle Revis. Yet, they still will have one of the league’s top units and could probably maintain their top overall spot if Antonio Cromartie finds his 2007 form and Kyle Wilson grows up quickly. Both of those are major ifs.

No team isn’t going to suffer at least a little bit from losing their best player. However, this team is too confident and well-rounded to fade off into irrelevancy because of one individual. Could we see a re-enactment of the Bill Simmons “Ewing Theory” that when a team loses their best player, they play better? Will the Jets defense rally around the loss and have other players step up to fill the void? Repeating as the NFL’s number one defense may be a little much to ask but remaining a legitimate Super Bowl contender is not.

Also, thanks again Al Davis.

Holding Out: Final Words Before Jets Practice Kicks Off

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And so it begins…

Nobody should have been surprised about Darrelle Revis not showing up at training camp in Cortland, New York today. From everything that is being reported this has all the makings of a long, ugly dispute between the Jets and their best overall player. Needless to say, this is not how you want to start the most hyped up season in franchise history.

Revis’ agent Neil Schwartz said his client’s “action will speak louder than words. And his absence will be deafening.” Unfortunately, he is right. Don’t be mistaken, the Jets defensive scheme is largely dependent on having a lock down corner who can handle elite receivers 1 on 1. You can’t blitz the way the Jets do, unless you have a player who can take Randy Moss, Brandon Marshall, or Chad Ochocinco Johnson out of the game by himself. Antonio Cromartie might have that potential and maybe in time Kyle Wilson can give it a run but right now on this Super Bowl or bust team, Darrelle Revis is the best in the business. He is the best corner in the NFL and maybe the best defensive player in the NFL. The Jets defense could be very good in 2010 without Revis but they won’t be an elite unit.

It is justified to be frustrated with the actions taken by Revis. He has three years left on his original contract. Nick Mangold is in the final year of his deal, is rightly unsatisfied with his current contract and he still showed up on good faith about a deal getting done. Nobody likes to see a highly paid athlete who stars in Nike commercials complaining about not making enough money. Yet, Revis is scheduled to be the 8th highest paid defensive back on the Jets in 2010. He listens to his coach say he is the best defensive player in the league all the time and wants to be compensated as an elite player in the NFL.

PhotobucketThere has to be a half way point the Jets are willing to meet Revis at. Mike Tannenbaum has to come up with a band-aid for the next year or two before a long term contract is finalized. The Colts, Chargers, Ravens, Dolphins, Patriots, and Bengals aren’t dealing with this type of distraction now.  You want to talk the talk about being the best team in the NFL and chasing a Super Bowl, it is time to walk the walk and pay your best player. You don’t win championships by not keeping people like Darrelle Revis happy.

There is spin control coming out of both sides right now. The Revis camp is saying the Jets gave him no quality offers. Mike Tannenbaum is saying he offered Revis a long term deal, a short term deal, and a third deal in between the two, all of which were rejected by the Revis camp. He is also saying he offered to meet his representatives in person and they denied the request. Expect the back and forth to continue until some type of middle ground is finally met. Let’s just hope the verbal sparring doesn’t get too ugly. In the end, I can’t imagine the Jets will let this go on for more than a few weeks. Rex Ryan is going to tire very quickly of watching his prized defense practice without its best player, the pressure will build on the organization, Revis’ public image will take a hit, and both sides will realize it is in their best interest to compromise.

According to Tannenbaum the disagreement is over the amount of guaranteed money and whether Revis is going to be paid as the top corner in the league. Thank you again Al Davis for breaking the market trend with that contract for Nnamdi Asomugha.

Other updates –

  • Rex Ryan expressed his disappointment with the Revis absence and said Dwight Lowery and Kyle Wilson will rotate with the first team. I wonder how many deep balls caught on Lowery will inspire Woody and Tannenbaum to get a deal done. Ryan also said anything short of a Super Bowl win is a failed season.
  • In the much ballyhooed weight loss contest, Kris Jenkins took home the title by losing 33.6 pounds on his all cookie diet. Damien Woody came in second by losing 26.2 and Rex Ryan came in third by losing 20.
  • Nick Mangold admitted he was still disappointed with his contract situation but he was still in attendance.

What about some football?

Let’s hope Mark Sanchez comes out of the gate strong in his second training camp. It will be interesting to see the different formations Brian Schottenheimer came up with and how the ball is spread around. On defense, the spotlight is going to increase on Kyle Wilson. If there is one positive of the Revis holdout, it is the extra work and experience Wilson will receive. On special teams, it would be nice if Nick Folk got off on the right foot. Nobody needs to hear about him going 2/7 tomorrow.

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TOJ TV

Monday Minicamp Review: Who Should You Be Mad At Over Revis Contract Dispute?

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First a few updates:

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2. What is it going to take to remind the rest of the Lakers outside of Kobe that they are in the NBA Finals?

Monday Minicamp Review: Who Should You Be Mad At Over Revis Contract Dispute?

Let’s start with the good news…

Nick Mangold showed up despite not being satisfied with his contract, which is encouraging since he is in the final year of his deal unlike another player who happens to have three years left on his deal and has missed time. Similar to this player, Mangold is the best in the NFL at his respective position and is looking for a new deal. Apparently the progress has been slow on Mangold’s deal but hopefully Mike Tannenbaum and the rest of the front office will pick it up soon. There is no adequate replacement for Mangold if he misses time in training camp and the Jets need him there as much as possible to help develop Vladimir Ducasse at left guard. Regardless of who else is seeking a new deal, Mangold should really be priority number one considering he is the best player on the team who has one year left on his deal. Hopefully, he keeps showing up and hopefully there is some movement on his negotiations in the near future.

PhotobucketAccording to those in attendance, Braylon Edwards continued to have a great off-season by having another big day of practice. One of the more encouraging stories of the off-season has been how Edwards really seems to have his head on straight and for lack of better wording has been working his ass off to improve within the Jets offense. There isn’t going to be enough money to go around for everybody next off-season but it appears Edwards is focused on making sure there will be some for him. Edwards is the most physically gifted Jets offense player when you factor in his size and speed. This guy had a 17 touchdown season with Derek Anderson throwing him the ball. Don’t underestimate how dangerous he could be if continues to improve his consistency and further develops his chemistry with Mark Sanchez.

Speaking of Sanchez, he participated in morning 11 on 11 drills, where his numbers were average (5/9 with an INT) and then rested in the afternoon 11 on 11 session. The plan seems to be to rest him in all the afternoon sessions, which is fine because there is no reason to push him now. He needs to be 100 percent for training camp and the pre-season. Kris Jenkins returned to 11 on 11 drills today and was in good spirits about how his knee felt after practice. The more weight he loses and the more reps Jenkins can rest early in the season, the more likely the Jets will get a full, productive 16 games from him.

And how about Nick Folk having another good day of practice? It is always good news, when there is no news about him missing field goals. Antonio Cromartie also continued to impress with his athleticism. I probably slept on Cromartie a little bit when writing that Brodney Pool would prove to be the biggest addition to the Jets this off-season. If Cromartie is anywhere near his 2007 form, the Jets secondary is going to be the best in the NFL by a long shot.

And now to that Revis guy…

PhotobucketAn ugly situation got uglier today when Darrelle Revis took himself out of practice to stage a mini-protest over the lack of progress in his contract negotiations. The public opinion is starting to turn against Revis Island, and this somewhat juvenile move isn’t going to help. He isn’t going to gain any sympathy points from fans by talking about “putting food on the table” or basically saying anything in general. The more Revis has talked about his contract, the more selfish he has sounded. Keep in mind he has three years left on his original deal. He talks about being loyal but by stubbornly insisting on receiving more money than Nnamdi Asmougha, who was given a ridiclous contract by Al Davis and America’s dysfunctional team, the Oakland Raiders, he is preventing teammates Nick Mangold and David Harris from getting paid when they are in the final year of their deal.

On the other hand, Revis is the best corner in football. We know it. Mike Tannenbaum knows it. Rex Ryan knows it and says it every chance he gets. Apparently Tannenbaum told Revis they thought he was the best defensive player in football and would be treated accordingly, so then why wouldn’t Revis expect Asmougha money? Even though Revis is the best player of the three, you would think Mangold and Harris would be higher priorities because their deals are done after the season and both are All-Pro caliber players also. However, Revis appears to be priority number one right now.

Basically what I am saying  is that it is hard to sympathize with Revis because of the time left on his deal, his rhetoric and some of his actions. Yet, it is also hard not to understand where he is coming from with his demands. The whole situation is frustrating because an inordinate amount of Rex Ryan’s press conference and all the media coverage is focused on a negative thing, the growing ugliness of this contract negotiation. Even when the Jets have the highest expectations in franchise history, we can’t enjoy it. Maybe Jets fans can focus all their anger on Al Davis instead of our best player or our GM, who has been terrific since being hired.

Apparently the Jets have been offering Revis around 10 million a year (Asmougha got about 15.1). If I was Tannenbaum, I would up the contract to 13 million, increase the guaranteed money substantially and say we need that extra 2-3 million to make sure we can lock down Mangold and Harris now. The Jets do one of their infamous press leaks to publicize Revis accepting less money for the good of his team, allowing them to lock down two other core players for the long term. They have a big press conference for the three contracts and everybody is happy. Darrelle, I am sure you could feed your family on the 13 million and get the fans back on you side.

Some much needed humor on a “our best player is preparing to hold out” Monday

Jets Thoughts To Take You Into The Weekend

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First off, get yourself excited for the 2010 Jets despite Revis skipping OTAs yesterday by enjoying a new episode of TOJ TV…don’t worry if you hate my acting, this is a highlight video to get fired up for next year by producer James Corbett.

Second, relax a little about the Revis negotiations (and this is also a note to myself). John Geiger, who is Revis’ best friend and manager said encouraging news could be coming for Jets fans today. I doubt something gets done in the next few hours but it still shows there is progress being made. How long could Tannenbaum really let this go on, despite holding all the cards since Revis has three years left on his deal and stands to lose out on up to 20 million dollars if he starts skipping mandatory practices? If I am the Jets or Revis, I want this behind us before training camp and then let’s move on to addressing Nick Mangold’s contract. Get creative, Tannenbaum.

Third, the Jets signed fifth round pick fullback John Conner today, which means it will only be four years until there is a potential contract problem with him.

Fourth, interesting question to throw out for Jets fans, if you could only have one player spend the rest of his career with the team would it be Nick Mangold or Darrelle Revis? I think I am going with Revis. You just don’t see legit lock down corners like him in the NFL.

Fifth, what would be the worst Jets jersey to buy this season? My vote is for Jason Taylor or LaDainian Tomlinson. They are going to on the team for no more than two years and really, how could you get a Taylor jersey? If you buy a Tomlinson jersey, you look like a bandwagon fan. Other nominees include the collection from the under 15 dollar bin at Wal-Mart, featuring:

  • Kellen Clemens
  • Vernon Gholston
  • Nick Folk (who will inevitably be cut before week 1)
  • Dwight Lowery (marked down after the AFC Championship Game)

Finally, if I could change one thing about Mark Sanchez, who I am a huge fan of, it would be his soccer-esque celebrations after touchdowns. I want him to make the switch to the Jordan/Kobe single fist pump and hold or break out the “you can’t see me” face wave directed to the opposing sideline.

Watch It, Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), Check out the Podcast (see tab on top of page), and be prepared for TOJ: The Store

Pay The Man

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Unless you lack access to technology, you have heard by now that Darrelle Revis skipped the Jets OTA today because of dissatisfaction with his contract situation. We knew there was a chance this could happen but Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post is reporting that Revis is “furious” with the recent offer he was presented with. He is also accusing the organization of leaking the 20 million per year number to make him look bad. According to Hubbuch the Jets recent offer was “pitifully low.” By the way…Nick Mangold also spoke today about potentially holding out if his contract discussions don’t pick up soon. Mike Tannenbaum spoke today and did his normal “speak in circles and say nothing” routine. He said the Revis negotiations were tough because of the uncertain future of the CBA and yada, yada, yada…

We all remember how things went with Pete Kendall, Chris Baker, and Laveranues Coles and I am sure it is weighing in the minds of Revis, Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and David Harris. We all like how aggressive and creative Tannenbaum can be as a GM but he needs to demonstrate that he is willing to take care of his own. He became the team’s GM in 2006 and since then his major draft picks have been Mangold, Ferguson, Revis, Harris, Vernon Gholston, Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez, and Shonn Greene. Keller, Sanchez, and Greene won’t be problems for a few years in terms of a contract but the core four are rightly looking for their pay day now. Tannenbaum is already 0 for 1 in the “taking care of your own” category because of how the Leon Washington situation went. It is time for him to set a precedent by taking care of the Jets version of the “core four.”

This is no time for posturing. It is time to pay the best corner and best center in the NFL. They are the cornerstones of your team. They have been great both on and off the field. They are everything you want a member of the Jets organization to be. I don’t care about the uncertain future of the CBA, get these contracts done before the season starts. This team doesn’t need the distraction of their best offensive player and their best defensive player being disgruntled. If you want to build a championship contender year in and year out, you start by making sure Mangold and Revis are around for the long term…then you move to locking down Ferguson and Harris.

Need I Say More?

How To Start Your Summer: 50 Things For Jets Fans To Smile About

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Memorial Day Weekend is about to kickoff and what is a better way to start off your summer than by reading 50 things to be happy about if you are a Jets fan. I hear some occasional criticism for being too positive about the team this season, even when a simple click through the archives will show I have written plenty of articles about potential problems the entire team, certain players, and certain positions will have in 2010. Regardless, today is a day to enjoy the optimism that every Jets fan should rightfully have heading into this year, so without further delay here 50 things for Jets to smile (or brag) about heading into this season:

(By the way, that’s my man JetBo from Section 313 in the old stadium)

1. Our 23 year old quarterback has already won two road playoff games.

2. Our 23 year old quarterback has more playoff wins in one season than Tony Romo has in seven. (For all those Maganelli Dallas fans in the area).

3. Our number three receiver was the 2009 Super Bowl MVP.

4. Fine, you say he isn’t our number three receiver than our number three receiver had 1130 receiving yards in 2007.

5. You say he isn’t our number three receiver either, than our number three receiver had 17 touchdowns in 2007.

6. If you moved our starting tight end to wide receiver, he’d be better at it than anybody Buffalo is trying to start opposite Lee Evans.

7 . Our second year running back already has two career playoff 100 yard rushing games.

8. We have the best center in the NFL.

9. We have the best corner in the NFL.

10. We had the number one defense in the NFL last season, without one of the best defensive lineman in the NFL who is now returning from injury.

11. We have a Pro-Bowl left tackle.

12. Our defense is good enough that our first round corner from the 2010 NFL Draft comes off the bench.

13. We have two corners who have been All-Pros. They are 26 and 24 years old.

14. A player with 127.5 career sacks is our #3 outside linebacker.

15. A player with 138 career touchdowns is our backup running back.

16. We have one of the best fullbacks in the NFL.

17. We drafted the best fullback in the 2010 NFL Draft to back him up.

18. Our third and fourth best offensive lineman are better than most team’s first and second best offensive lineman.

19. The New England Patriots lost 33-14 in their home building in the first round of the playoffs last year. Their biggest off-season acquisitions were Torry Holt, David Patten, and Alge Crumpler.

20. New England’s top three running backs are Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, and Sammy Morris.

21. Miami is relying on this guy to improve their offense:

22. We have this guy to cover him:

23. We have an All-Pro inside linebacker who is 26 years old.

24. We are going to be featured HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer.

25. We don’t play in Giants Stadium anymore.

26. Our stadium is hosting the 2014 Super Bowl.

27. We have the most aggressive GM in the NFL.

28. We have the funniest head coach in the NFL.

29. Our head coach is one the best defensive minds in the NFL.

30. Our defensive blitzes more than any team in the NFL.

31. Our players love playing for our head coach and players now actually want to join the New York Jets.

32. Despite winning a Super Bowl in 2007, the Giants are frustrated by all the attention the Jets receive from the local media.

33. We have five games in primetime this season.

34. We host the first Monday Night Football game of the season.

35. We get to boo our lungs off at Brett Favre at a home Monday Night game.

36. We are playing on Thanksgiving this year for the second time in 4 years.

37. Our quarterback threw 8 more interceptions than touchdowns last year and we still made the AFC Championship Game.

38. Our number four receiver can do things like this:

39. Our top outside linebacker only played in 12 games last season but still had 8 sacks.

40. The Patriots are either going to be starting a rookie, Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, or Terrence Wheatley at corner. We could go four wide with Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller.

41. Those White Titans throwback jerseys are pretty slick looking.

42. We had a complete bust with the #6 overall pick in the 2008 draft and still had the league’s #1 overall defense last season.

43. Everybody thinks Chad Henne is a franchise quarterback and the biggest game he ever won in the NFL was beating the Jets in a week 5 game.

44. Our starting right guard is one of the most underrated players in the NFL and is hysterical on twitter. (@ShitMeatSays)

44. Bill Belichick is clearly starting to lose his mind:

45. The Jets piss off everybody in the NFL.

46. Our owner called out the NFL Commissioner for holding a fake coin toss to give the Giants the first home game in the new stadium.

47. A Rex Ryan press conference is more entertaining than 3/4 of the shows on TV right now.

48. Randy Moss doesn’t even bother to try against us anymore.

49. You could say “I expect the Jets to win the Super Bowl this season” and people won’t look at you like you have three heads.

50. The Empire State Building is going to spend plenty of time looking like this over the next few years.

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The Jets Journey To Relevancy

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The Jets Journey To Relevancy

Today I was talking to a friend from Philadelphia about how big of a following the Flyers have in the city with their recent Cinderella run in the playoffs. He assured me the Flyers were a big deal within the city and had a rabid following that didn’t trail the Eagles or Phillies by as much as you’d expect. I thought about the New York sports market, where the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders are irrelevant topics on the back pages of newspapers, sports talk radio, and mainstream websites. The only buzz around the Knicks and Nets is associated with the prayer’s chance of recruiting LeBron James. Football and baseball dominate the town. The Yankees are the number one story and you would normally put the Giants and Mets right behind them with the Jets a distant fourth.

PhotobucketI remember December 30th, 2007 sitting in the pouring rain at a half empty stadium watching the 3-12 Jets play the 4-11 Chiefs. It was an ugly and depressing game as I watched Kellen Clemens struggle through a 13/25, 115 yard performance. The Giants were headed to the playoffs. The Patriots had just completed an undefeated regular season. Little did I know that both were headed for an epic Super Bowl, which had one of the best fourth quarters and plays in league history. There you had it, the team the Jets shared the city with and their biggest rival battling on the world’s biggest stage while the Jets couldn’t be any more irrelevant. It was just another low point in the difficult life of being a New York Jets fan.

Yet today, when I was talking with my friend I had to put the Jets as the number two story in the New York sports market behind the defending champion Yankees. The Mets are slowly fading into their usual oblivion and somehow the Jets have become a better, more entertaining team and a bigger story than the New York Giants, a team who won arguably the greatest Super Bowl game ever played a little over 2 years ago.

How did this happen?

It started with an uncharacteristically aggressive off-season headed into the 2008 regular season. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum learned from his mistake heading into the 2007 season, when he incorrectly believed his 10-6 team was only a few minor tweaks away from being a Super Bowl contender. The Jets were a fun story in 2006 but they caught the league off-guard with a wild-card appearance thanks to a soft schedule, a surprisingly productive season from Chad Pennington, and career years from journeyman players like Victor Hobson, Cedric Houston, Anthony Clement, Chris Baker, Bryan Thomas, Hank Poteat, Erik Coleman, Justin Miller, and Andre Dyson.

The Jets did add Thomas Jones but thought they could get by another year with Clement on the line and Adrien Clarke stepping in for Pete Kendall at guard and made no major free agent additions to their defense. However, Tannenbaum did strike gold in the draft by trading up for future All-Pro defenders Darrelle Revis and David Harris. Regardless, Pennington succumbed to another injury and Kellen Clemens struggled heavily behind a terrible offensive line and the Jets disappointed with a 4-12 season.

With owner Woody Johnson’s blessing the Jets began a trend of recruiting and landing big time free agents. They broke the bank for perennial pro-bowler Alan Faneca and brought in veteran Damien Woody to complement him at tackle. They outbid Miami for Calvin Pace and swung a trade for Kris Jenkins. They also solidified their running game by adding fullback Tony Richardson and blocking tight end Bubba Franks. Despite Eric Mangini’s stringent ways and the organization operating under the New England state of mind, they were still able to recruit big name players to rebuild the roster.

PhotobucketTannenbaum didn’t finish his off-season until he shocked the football world by swinging a trade for Brett Favre. I know in the end, the Favre experiment didn’t work out considering the Jets failed to make the playoffs and his struggles down the stretch. However, the fact that Favre joined the Jets demonstrated to the rest of the league that the team was moving in the right direction. The pieces were being put into place to build a contender on both sides of the ball and they had a GM and owner who would aggressively pursue putting together a winner regardless of the cost.

The Jets could have faded back into irrelevancy into 2009 when they decided to cut ties with Favre and head coach Eric Mangini. Breaking with his personal characteristics and the Bill Parcells mindset he was groomed with, Mike Tannenbaum went for the boisterous, confident Rex Ryan. Mangini was a good football mind but had suffocated the life out of the organization. Ryan provided the shot of energy necessary to overcome the hangover from the disastrous end to the 2009 season and Favre’s departure. The bold moves from the previous off-season carried over into the months heading into 2009, starting with Ryan and his recruitment of former Baltimore Ravens, Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Marques Douglas.

Yet, the most important decision came during the 2009 NFL Draft. The Jets weren’t making the playoffs with Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff at quarterback and everybody knew it. They needed a franchise quarterback to wash the bad taste out of everybody’s mouth that Favre had left. Working with their former head coach Mangini, they moved up to acquire USC’s Mark Sanchez.

The team had successfully moved out of the Mangini/Favre era with an exciting new head coach and quarterback. However, they retained the quality players acquired during Mangini’s two winning seasons in three years. The pieces were in place for a team with cautiously high expectations heading into the 2009 season.

In a rare occurrence, the football gods smiled on the ugly stepchild of New York City. A 7-7 team that appeared to be out of the playoffs was handed the backups of the best team in the league and took advantage. The victory positioned them to close out the stadium they had embarrassingly been tenants in, with a playoff berth in front of the whole country on Sunday Night Football. The Big Brother New York Giants had packed up their bags a few weeks too early and left with an ugly loss to the Carolina Panthers, leaving the Jets to fill the void as the team the New York sports market could get behind. Regardless of who the Bengals played or didn’t play, the Jets thrived for their fans and the city with a 37-0 victory.

PhotobucketAny questions about the Jets validity as a playoff team were answered with subsequent road victories over the Bengals and heavily favored San Diego Chargers. The momentum carried right into the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, when the Jets were up 17-6. Unfortunately, an immortal quarterback rose to the top of his game and ended their run.

Despite the loss, the Jets had arrived. Their head coach whose ability to entertain and grab headlines was matched by his ability to design an elite defense and motivate his players, had claimed the Jets would be the number one show in town when the new Meadowlands began hosting NFL games and it was hard not to believe him. Tannenbaum didn’t back off. He must have remembered the off-season heading into 2007 again because he added Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, and Santonio Holmes to a team that was 28 minutes away from a Super Bowl.

Here we are today, with HBO knocking down the Jets door to feature them on Hard Knocks. Relevancy doesn’t equal success but any Jets fan will tell you it is refreshing to be the most hyped up team in the area. Giants fans will say they enjoy flying under the radar and I don’t blame them. They shouldn’t concern themselves with the attention being paid to a team who hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1969, when they have won 3 since then. However, the Jets don’t have to ignore the spotlight being shined on them. Yes, they bring the attention to themselves with the boasting of their head coach, big name acquisitions, and posturing of their owner but there is substance behind the hype around the team.

There is a system of playing defense and running the football, which is a familiar formula for playoff teams. The Jets have the ability to run the ball because they have assembled one of the best offensive lines in football and found a running back by trading up to get a guy that inexplicably slipped through the cracks to the third round. They have the ability to play defense because they drafted the best corner in the NFL, an All-Pro inside linebacker, and surrounded them with quality free agent additions. Yet, if you follow the NFL these days you know it takes more than running the ball and defense to win a championship, which is why the Jets have surrounded their franchise quarterback with one of the best three wide sets in the NFL, a pass-catching tight end, and one of better receiving running backs in NFL history.

Somehow, someway the Jets have navigated themselves into relevancy. The owner, GM, coach, and roster is finally in place to turn that relevancy into success. By success, I mean the one thing that could actually put the Jets on the same level of the Giants as a NFL organization and make sure the new stadium doesn’t turn into “Giants Stadium Part 2,” and that is win a Super Bowl.

Now Some Other Updates:

1. We have been locked at 315 fans on Facebook for 2 days now and that is getting me a little anxious. I need as many fans as possible to throw at the Jets media relations guy when I working on getting a press pass…so follow it on Facebook, tell you friends to follow it on Facebook and do the same for the Twitter account (TurnOnTheJets).

2. Remember we have other tabs on this site beyond the home page…we also have just added a tab for the Podcast, which links you to the site with the TOJ Podcasts.

3. (http://www.youhaveiwant.com/home.html) – Worth checking out, especially if you are looking to get your hands on New York area sports tickets.

4. Jets minor roster moves…they added offensive tackle Aaron Kia and released receiver S.J. Green and offensive tackle Matt Stommes. The depth chart has been updated accordingly.

5. Tough break for the New Jersey Nets last night. I can’t say that I wasn’t happy since I am a Knicks fan first and a Wizards fan second…yes I have a second favorite basketall team. How can I justify that? First off, the Knicks have been god awful the past decade, second I lived in DC for 6 months, attended some games at the Phone Booth when the Wizards were pretty good and became a big Agent Zero fan…before he decided to start bringing guns into the locker room. So, yea I broke out the John Wall dance in my Arenas shirt last night after they got the number one pick.

6. Thoughts On Lost Final Season, Episode 16 “What They Died For” –We ended our one episode break in 23 A.D. with glowing caves and terrible kid actors by getting back to our main characters with a very, very good episode. Everybody kind of saw it coming with Jack replacing Jacob, but it almost seemed like it happened too easy. I have a feeling when it is all said and done, Jack won’t be taking the job as island protector. I liked the sideways action…Desmond is well on his way to putting together the greatest reunion concert ever. Instead of breaking down all the details of last night’s episode, here are my predictions for the finale and you can trust I have avoided all spoilers this season:

  • Richard and Lapidus aren’t dead yet.
  • Sawyer will die on the island.
  • Juliet is Jack’s ex-wife in the sideways timeline.
  • Jack will cure Locke in the sideways but find a way to kill him on the island.
  • Ben is pulling a long con on Locke and will end up being a good guy at the end…and the new island protector.
  • Desmond is going into the yellow cave…and I don’t know what happens from there.
  • I still have no idea how they merge both timelines.
  • Rose and Bernard helped Desmond out of the well.
  • Final scene? It was all the dog’s dream.

The Players Who Can Take The Jets To The Next Level

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First a few updates:

1. Not a pleasant day of stories for Jets fans today…Darrelle Revis is talking about holding out, Nick Mangold wants a new deal like Revis, David Harris doesn’t want to be left out of these new contracts either. There has also been some talk about the Jets being potentially blacked out if they can’t sell the rest of their PSLs. Since those stories have been released, the Jets have came out and said they will not let any games be blacked out…and all I can say is they better not, don’t tell me I could watch the Jets on HBO this summer and then not watch them on CBS when they are playing New England.

We know the Jets are going to have some serious money to pay out on long term contracts in the coming years. The smart thing to do is take care of Revis and Mangold now before this season starts. Revis is the best corner in football. Mangold is the best center in football. You pay these two guys…don’t let a contract situation linger over this season. They get taken care of first and then you start working on David Harris and D’Brickashaw Ferguson and then you worry about Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, and Braylon Edwards.

2. It really sounds like we are going to end up with a New York Super Bowl in 2014…good job by the Jets and Giants working together on the presentation yesterday.

3. Check back later tonight for how to access the first ever Turn On The Jets Podcast.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook…I will let the people know over the weekend who won the DVDs and send them out early next week.

The Players Who Can Take The Jets To The Next Level

The Jets expectations this year are to take the next step from being a 9-7 wild card team who fell short in the AFC Championship Game, to the next level…and rightfully so. After watching how the Jets finished the season, looking at their off-season additions, and considering how certain players will continue to develop, the Jets should have division title, first round bye and ultimately Super Bowl on their mind. yet where are the spots on the team that need to make the jump that will allow the Jets to go from 9-7 and over-matched in the AFC Championship Game to 12-4 and hopefully a Super Bowl?

Mark Sanchez – The most obvious player to start with is the quarterback. Nobody is saying Sanchez has to be a pro-bowl player for the Jets to make the jump but he does need to be better than 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns with a 52.0 completion percentage. If Sanchez can play the way he did during the first three games of the season and the last three games of the season…the Jets offense is going to be right up there with their defense at the top of the league.

Braylon Edwards – Can you imagine if Edwards could play the way he did in 2007 for the Jets this year? If Santonio Holmes keeps developing the way he has been in recent years and Jerricho Cotchery is his usual self, the Jets will have the best group of receivers in the NFL. Don’t forget Braylon had 17 touchdowns in a single season to go with 1289 receiving yards. The guy is going to get himself open but he has to catch the football more consistently and take advantage when the coverage is rolled over to Holmes or Cotchery in certain situations.

PhotobucketAntonio CromartieEverybody who watched the Jets last year, especially in the AFC Championship Game knows the team needed substantial help at the corner position opposite Revis Island. Cromartie was well on his way to being the best corner in football during 2007 but got sidetracked by a number of issues over the past few years both on and off the field. If Cromartie can provide stability on the other side of the field from Revis and be the playmaker he used to be with all the balls that will be coming his way, the Jets will be nearly impossible to throw the football on. They also may get a few more defensive touchdowns this season.

Kyle Wilson – Yes, the rookie who will be the manning the crucial nickel spot on the Jets defense and the punt returner position. When you are working to get past pass first offenses like the Colts, Chargers, and Patriots you need three quality corners. Wilson will see plenty of action in man coverage in both the slot and the outside and hopefully can provide an explosive element to the Jets punt return game that has been lacking in recent years.

Jason Taylor – I hate to type this but the Jets need a pass rusher and Taylor is the best equipped player on the team to get double digit sacks in a single season. The Jets struggled to get to the quarterback on third downs last season and Taylor was brought in to be the remedy…he can dance all he wants, as long as he has 10-12 sacks, I’ll be happy.

Jets Offense: Don't Forget These Players

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First a few updates:

1. We have got a good response on the TOJ DVD Contest, yet it is technically still open so recruit five new fans for the Turn On The Jets Facebook page, e-mail me their names, and you will have a chance to win a free copy of “New York Jets Best Games of the 2009 Season” from Warner Home Video. The DVD isn’t being released until June 1st and you have a shot to get your hands on it for free so start recruiting.

2. You have to love Rex Ryan challenging Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins to a weight loss contest…I am sure the local food establishments aren’t happy but we need all three in shape.

3. The Jets and Giants are making their bid for a New York (well technically, New Jersey) Super Bowl in 2014 tomorrow…it is hard not to get excited picturing the new stadium hosting the Super Bowl. There is nothing wrong with the cold weather, football is supposed to be played in the elements.

4. The TOJ Podcast has finally been recorded and will be up by week’s end and there is a good chance a new TOJ TV will be on the way shortly also.

Jets Offense: Don’t Forget These Players

The original idea for this article was to just focus on Jerricho Cotchery as an underrated player on the offense but there are a few other guys who will have a prominent role on the team in 2010 who need a mention. Yet, let’s start with Cotchery:

PhotobucketAnybody who reads this site knows J-Co is a TOJ favorite. It is easy to get excited about Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, with their big play potential and forget that the Jets number one receiver is still currently Jerricho Cotchery.

It is a shame Cotchery hurt his hamstring and missed two games (actually three because he was playing at 50 percent in week 5 against Miami) because he would have broke the 1000 yard mark if he didn’t, which would have been especially impressive considering how the Jets offense operated last year. Many people forget how Cotchery was playing before the injury, which also coincided with the Braylon Edwards trade:

  • Week 1 At Houston – 6 receptions, 90 yards
  • Week 2 Vs New England – 4 receptions, 87 yards
  • Week 3 Vs Tennessee – 8 receptions, 108 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Week 4 At New Orleans – 5 receptions, 71 yards

After he returned, he continued his consistent production:

  • Week 8 Vs Miami – 3 receptions, 70 yards
  • Week 10 Vs Jacksonville – 6 receptions, 68 yards, 1 touchdown
  • Week 11 At New England – 3 receptions, 84 yards, 1 touchdown

Like every other receiver on the team, his numbers fell off during the final six regular season games because the Jets basically stopped the football and Kellen Clemens had to start a game. However, Cotchery stepped up in the playoffs with 6 receptions for 67 yards in the wild-card round, a quiet 3 catches for 25 yards in the divisional round (yet all three were for key first downs), and finished with 5 receptions for 102 yards in the AFC Championship Game.

It became clear in the playoffs that when the Jets needed a big third down completion, Cotchery was the primary target. Sanchez seems to be the most in sync with him, especially when it comes to option routes. Most people assume Braylon was or is the Jets number one receiver, but look how their stats compared after the trade heading into week 5 (including the playoffs):

  • Edwards – 41 receptions, 697 yards, 4 TDs
  • Cotchery – 45 receptions, 659 yards, 3 TDs

Now keep in mind Cotchery played in three less games in that time frame and still put up nearly identical stats.

Holmes is suspended for the first four games. Cotchery is going to be the number one receiver on this team for those four games and in reality even longer than that considering it will take some time for Holmes to get integrated into the offense. There is also a chance Edwards could be suspended in week one, which will give Cotchery an even bigger role earlier in the season…yes it is just one game, but against Baltimore on Monday night…that is a big game.

Brad Smith/David Clowney – If Edwards is suspended in week one, one of these guys will be starting. Beyond that, one of them will be the number three receiver until week five. In reality, Smith isn’t a true receiver and is more of a gadget player. So despite Clowney being depressed on Twitter about the Holmes trade, he could still be a a big factor in the early part of the year and will have a chance to show he deserves some type of role as a deep threat.

Ben Hartsock/Tony Richardson – The Jets made a smart move by bringing both these veterans back, who are key parts of their running game as blockers. Hartsock is basically another tackle for the Jets and Richardson remains one of the better fullbacks in football. He will also have the chance to mentor/help groom 5th round pick John Connor this year.

Some Brad Smith Action