The New York Jets are reportedly interested in trading for New Orleans Saints Restricted Free Agent Running Back, Chris Ivory. The Jets hosted Ivory for a visit on Friday, but are unlikely to sign him to an offer sheet due to the second round tender New Orleans placed on him earlier this offseason. New York would prefer to exchange a later round draft pick for Ivory, rather than surrendering the 39th overall pick, according to multiple reports.
First a few updates:
1. I would like to say I am feeling refreshed after taking the past three days off from the site and not having to deal with the stress of a Jets game yesterday, however I had a thoroughly exhausting reunion weekend with my college friends. The final stats on the weekend include 2 hours of sleep, large amounts of Saki and sushi consumed, a Muhlenberg football loss at Ursinus, hundreds of dollars lost in Atlantic City, thousands of insults exchanged, about 400 miles added to my car because my friend who is supposedly from Philadelphia didn’t remember how to get from his home city to our college, and a dead cell phone leading to an angered girlfriend. I do have to shout out my man Leon Washington because I hit #29 on the roulette table saving me from complete financial disaster. I spent yesterday laying in my bed recovering by watching Larry Fitzgerald and DeAngelo Williams carry my fantasy team, a despondent Joey Porter being shut up by New England (let’s see the national media come after him now for talking too much), the Giants lose their fourth straight game, and both a great Sunday night game and great Curb Your Enthusiasm episode.
2. I know everybody missed Turn On The Jets TV last weekend but don’t worry we will back this Thursday or Friday (hopefully Thursday) with a new episode documenting how I kept myself occupied during the bye week and previewing the Jets/Jags game.
3. The Jets were back to work today in preparation for the Jaguars, here a few things Rex Ryan talked about: In the category of head coach standing up for under achieving players: He continued to stand up for Vernon Gholston saying he is playing well on special teams and was making progress on defense but hasn’t played much because they haven’t needed more interior defensive lineman the past couple of weeks…He also stood up for Kerry Rhodes play and said he believes the turnovers will come for his safety. Ryan couldn’t resist looking a little ahead to New England but did give plenty to Jacksonville and said they have the same record as the Jets and the league’s #9 offense, making them a dangerous team.
Back From Vacation, Back to Work: Make or Break Three Weeks on Horizon For Jets
You could tell my rust from taking three days off by the unnecessarily, long, run-on title I came up with. Anyway, the Jets face both an uphill climb towards a wild-card spot and a division title over the next 8 weeks. In terms of the wild card, San Diego (5-3), Houston (5-4), Baltimore (4-4), Pittsburgh (5-2), and Jacksonville (4-4) remain in the mix. The Jets have a tie breaker with the Texans and I think they will fade down the stretch to their normal .500 record anyway. They have a chance to gain a tie breaker with Jacksonville this weekend and the Jaguars don’t seem capable of winning more than 7 or 8 games either. Baltimore should be in the mix but they have a tough remaining schedule and I still wouldn’t be shocked to either the Chargers or Steelers catch the Broncos and Bengals respectively which still means both wild card teams are going to have at least ten wins. I don’t know how the Jets tie breakers would shake out with San Diego, Denver, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh but my guess is that it wouldn’t be good because of our poor divisional record.
However, when you turn the focus to the division it becomes clear that the Jets 2009 season comes down to the next three weeks. Right now the Patriots are 6-2, while our Jets sit at 4-4, 2 games behind with 8 games each to play. The next three weeks New England travels to Indianapolis (8-0) host the Jets at home and then travel to New Orleans (8-0). In contrast, the Jets host Jacksonville (4-4), travel to New England, and then host Carolina (3-5). What does all that mean? It means it is time for the Jets to make their move if they want to win the 2009 AFC East title. The November 22nd match-up in New England is the make or break game for the Jets division hopes. New England will lose to either Indy or New Orleans, maybe both of them. The Jets need to avoid the let down and handle the inferior Jaguars and Panthers at home and they will set themselves up as the front runner in the division heading into the final five games of the season.
I am ready for anything, from the Jets running the table to the Jets losing out…from the Jets winning by 28 this weekend to Maurice Jones-Drew running for 348 yards en route to a Jacksonville blow out…from Mark Sanchez adjusting to cold weather and pulling out a victory on a November day in New England (where you know it will be hailing and snowing because Belichick controls the weather up there) to Sanchez throwing 4 INTs and weeping as he sips on a hot chocolate on the sideline…it is the Jets, so who knows, in the end they will probably get all our hopes up and then break our heart, but hey there is always that 1 percent chance that this could be year everything changes, so because of that I will be driving up to the Meadowlands this Sunday ready and excited for the second half of the season to kick off. It could be worse right? I could be a Browns fan.
The Disaster That Happens When Second Rate Cities Try to Imitate First Rate Ones, Wow This Is Bad
If You Haven’t Seen These Clips Yet of This Crazy New Mexico Women’s Soccer Player, Watch and Be Scared
First a few updates:
1. The TOJ Hall of Fame and TOJ Hall of Shame are now fully up and running. Take the time to check out the pages, which are linked across the top of the web-site.
2. For some reason, NFL Films is running a replay of the Jets/Bills regular season game in Buffalo from this past season. A few observations after re-watching the game today: Drew Coleman is awful, Kris Jenkins is unstoppable when he is at his best, Brian Schottenheimer is way too conservative, Calvin Pace doesn’t get enough for credit for how good he is, Jerricho Cotchery has great hands but has a tough time getting separation, Dustin Keller needs to increase his football IQ, and Thomas Jones is quicker than he gets credit for.
3. Pacman Jones to the Jets? I don’t buy this rumor for a second. The Jets have no need for him, as they have good depth at corner and obviously don’t need a guy like that in the locker room.
What are Reasonable Expectations for the Jets?
The Jets were a 9 win team last season who just missed making the playoffs. After this off-season, I believe it is fair to expect them to be a 10+ win team and strongly contend not just for a playoff spot but also for a deep run into January. It may sound like a bold statement, but let me argue why that isn’t necessarily the case.
I look at their defense and see a unit that was very good last season. They have improved at inside linebacker by upgrading from Eric Barton to Bart Scott. Vernon Gholston has nowhere to go but up from last year, and if Rex Ryan can get anything out of him this year, the Jets will be upgraded at outside linebacker also. The Jets other returning outside linebackers, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas are both former 4-3 defensive ends, which means they have strong pass rushing skills. Rex Ryan’s new defensive scheme is more conducive to their talents, than Eric Mangini’s defense which often asked them to drop into pass coverage.
In the secondary, the Jets have upgraded at both cornerback and safety. Lito Sheppard is a better starter than Dwight Lowery, and Donald Strickland will provide a veteran nickel-back who will also push Lowery to become better. Basically, last year’s #2 corner (Lowery) is now bumped down to being their #4 corner. Abram Elam wasn’t an awful starter at safety last year but Jim Leonhard’s skill set is a better fit for the defense, and he provides better pass coverage skills along with a similar presence inside the box against the run.
They are thinner on the defensive line this season. However, Kris Jenkins has recently went on record to say that Rex Ryan’s defense won’t be as physically demanding on his body. If Jenkins can remain fully healthy all season, the Jets will be getting a major improvement at defensive tackle over the last 5 games of the regular season compared to 2008. There is pressure on Marques Douglas and Mike DeVito to match Kenyon Coleman’s production on defense, although the only production he really had was against the run. He only managed 0.5 sacks last year, so it shouldn’t be hard for the two of them to match his pass rushing skills.
On offense, the Jets improved their depth at running back and added another short yardage/goal-line threat by drafting Shonn Greene. They are returning their entire starting offensive line, and added more depth by drafting Matt Slauson in the 6th round. Their top two backups from last year (Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter) are also returning with more experience under their belt. At quarterback, Mark Sanchez/Kellen Clemens can’t play any worse than Brett Favre did in the last 5 games of the regular season last year. When the Jets were winning last season, Favre was managing the game in a similar way that the Jets quarterback will be asked to this year. Look at Favre’s numbers in the Jets key wins last year:
Week 1 vs Miami: 15/22, 194 yards, 2 TD’s.
Week 6 vs. Cincinnati: 25/33, 189 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT’s
Week 8 vs. Kansas City: 28/40, 290 yards, 2 TD’s, 3 INT’s
Week 9 vs. Buffalo: 19/28, 201 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Week 10 vs. St. Louis: 14/19, 167 yards, 1 TD
Week 12 vs. Tennessee: 25/32, 224 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT
Week 15 vs. Buffalo: 17/30, 207 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT’s
The point is outside of two Jets wins (Arizona and New England) Favre never really put up great numbers when the Jets won games. I think Mark Sanchez or Kellen Clemens can handle going 15/21 for 190 yards and that they are going to throw less interceptions. If whomever the Jets quarterback is next year can throw 12 INT’s instead of 22, it is going to make a big difference in a positive way for the team.
The Jets are weaker at tight end and wide receiver than they were in 2008. They haven’t replaced Chris Baker (a strong blocker and 21 catches) or Laveranues Coles (70 catches, 850 yards, 7 TD’s). However, at tight end Dustin Keller should be improved in his second year and at wide receiver, a guy like David Clowney (pictured to the left) could turn into a big time playmaker now that he is being given an opportunity. Regardless, the Jets still need to add depth at both positions.
The 2009 schedule isn’t a friendly one but it certainly is manageable. Outside of their division, 6 of their 10 games are against teams who didn’t make the playoffs last year. Within the division, New England is always tough, the Bills added TO but beyond that had a weak overall off-season and have major questions at the offensive line and running back. The Dolphins are going to struggle this year. They were the 2006 Jets last year, and are going to be the 2007 Jets this year. I love Chad Pennington but teams are going to be all over their gimmick based offense and their lack of talent on that side of the ball will hurt them this year.
Right now I’d say the Jets are a 10 win team and if they add another tight end and receiver, they could be a 11-12 win team. Right out of the gate we will find out where they stand since in their first 6 games they play all three divisional opponents and 2 other quality teams (Tennessee and New Orleans).