New York Jets Receive Plenty Of Love At Media Day

The New York Jets received plenty of love yesterday at media day

It was a day full of sunshine and love for the New York Jets yesterday as the New York Giants and New England Patriots did everything they could to kick the Jets while they are down —

Antrel Rolle got in a few more jabs at Rex Ryan and confirmed it was the Jets who began the Giants run to the Super Bowl. Imagine if Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie could tackle? Or if Eric Smith wasn’t the slowest safety in the NFL?

Brandon Jacobs talked about Plaxico Burress wanting to be with the Giants this past year, not the Jets. Along with subliminally criticizing the Jets organization, offensive system and quarterback Mark Sanchez.

John Mara also took a shot at Rex Ryan’s personality when talking about why he liked Tom Coughlin.

Shaun Ellis talked about the Jets lack of loyalty.

Tom Brady talked about being happy for Shaun Ellis after he never went anywhere with the Jets.

It is Rex Ryan’s fault the Giants kept Victor Cruz.

Good times, right Jets fans? We will really be able to separate the bandwagoners and the real Jets fans in the coming months/season. It was easy to be a Jets fans the past two years, let’s see who sticks around after a season that is more in line with the rest of their history.

Would You Trade Dustin Keller?

Would you consider trading Dustin Keller this off-season? TOJ explores…

Whether there is any validity to the rumors that New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller is on the trade market remains to be seen. Most of the speculation likely stems from the fact that he is entering the final year of his contract and is entering a new offense that may not be an ideal fit for his skill set. Tony Sparano is expected to want a strong blocking tight end and Keller isn’t that and probably never will be. He is at his best when he is being moved around the formation to create mismatches because of his receiving skills.

The Jets have an extensive list of needs on both sides of the football, including right tackle, linebacker, safety, wide receiver, backup quarterback, and running back. A trade of Keller could go a long way to helping fill one of these needs.

All that being said, I do think the speculation about a Keller trade is overstated. When Sparano is breaking down the Jets tape from the past year he is going to see Keller as the Jets most productive and consistent receiver. His versatility can help cover for the deficiencies at wide receiver and are you really going to take away Mark Sanchez’s security blanket and the player he has the best chemistry with? If Sparano is a good coach, he will find a role…a big role for Keller in the Jets offense if he has him on the roster.

Keller isn’t an untouchable player. I would say the Jets only have four of those: Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, David Harris, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The right offer for Keller might not be able to be ignored. Would you trade Keller under any circumstance? What would it take for you to move him?

Let us know here or on Facebook or Twitter.

Superbowl Week Distractions For New York Jets Fans

A handful of distractions for New York Jets fans during Super Bowl week

In only seven days the NFL season will be over and every team will be back to 0-0. Think of that if you are wallowing around in Giants/Patriots depression right now, New York Jets fans. Here are a few other rumors, tidbits and links to help pull you through the rest of the day –

Roll Tide – Early draft speculation has linked the New York Jets to three Alabama players, defensive end/outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, safety Mark Barron, and running back Trent Richardson. Mike Tannenbaum would likely have to do some maneuvering to get his hands on Upshaw or Richardson who probably won’t be around at number 16. In terms of need, running backs are much easier to find than pass rushers which means the Jets should heavily explore doing what it takes to add Upshaw or another pass rushing threat in the first round.

Coaching Staff – The Jets have added former Minnesota Vikings coach Karl Dunbar to their staff as the defensive line coach, prior to that they added Dave DeGuglielmo from Miami to coach the offensive line. They still need to find a quarterbacks coach for Tony Sparano’s offensive staff.

Pro-Bowl Pondering – When 3 of your 5 starting offensive lineman are in Hawaii, you shouldn’t have the issues protecting the quarterback and running the football the Jets did this past season. Hopefully Sparano will help change some of that yet finding a new right tackle is priority 1A alongside adding a pass rusher this off-season.

Something To Root For – Curtis Martin is making another push for Canton. Let’s hope the Jets running back receives the recognition he deserves this year and is enshrined alongside Bill Parcells, his long time head coach.

The Knicks Awfulness – I figured the Knicks would be a welcome distraction for me when the Jets season ended, unfortunately they have been a massive disappointment by stumbling out to a 7-13 start. I don’t how know much Baron Davis is going to help but things can’t get much worse than they are right now.

New Game Of Thrones Trailer

The Reality Of Peyton Manning To The New York Jets

TOJ on the reality of Peyton Manning to the New York Jets

We might as well get this out of the way now. Let’s talk about Peyton Manning and the New York Jets by starting with a few clear realities –

1. Peyton Manning isn’t going back to Indianapolis.

2. It remains up in the air whether or not Manning is going to be healthy enough to play this year or ever again.

3. If Manning is medically cleared for the 2012 season, the New York Jets will absolutely explore the option of signing him.

You are kidding yourself if you think Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan aren’t going to do their due diligence on Manning if he is available and healthy. It would be negligent for them not to.

Before we even examine if it is smart for the Jets to sign Manning. First, you have to answer if he would even want to come here. From what we have heard Arizona, Miami, and Washington are all viable options for him as well. Arizona offers warm weather, Larry Fitzgerald, and a team that played very well down the stretch last year. Miami also offers warm weather and a team that played very well down the stretch, along with a new head coach who will embrace a pass heavy system. Washington has a Super Bowl winning head coach and a very capable defense. I would say the Jets have an equal or maybe slightly lower, and definitely not higher chance of getting Manning than either of those three teams.

The outside perception of the Jets right now is that they are in complete disarray in the locker room. I doubt that scares Manning entirely off but does he really want to come to a cold weather team and share New York with his little brother? Could he handle being paired with a personality like Rex Ryan? What about new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who wants to predominantly run the football?

From the Jets side of things, if you don’t think there is a recipe for potential disaster in signing a quarterback of Manning’s age with neck issues you haven’t been watching the past 40 years. Beyond that, forget Ground and Pound or anything Sparano wanted to implement, this becomes Manning’s offense, which means you now have dueling philosophies between Manning and Ryan.

For as great as Manning has been, he hasn’t played in a full season. It would be silly to assume he will come back and immediately be 100 percent of the player he used to be.

You will also be saying good-bye to Mark Sanchez. The Jets won’t be sitting on his salary alongside Manning’s and by bringing in Manning they are throwing in the towel on Sanchez as their franchise quarterback. He isn’t going from starting for three years to sitting on the bench on a first round draft pick’s salary to serve as an apprentice under Manning. So if Manning injuries himself or does the Favre one and done, you are back to square one in finding a quarterback.

Ultimately, everything I wrote above is to point the ignored the negatives in the hysteria of potentially adding one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. In reality, I’d say Manning to the Jets has about a 5% chance of happening. If it does happen and he is healthy, would I be excited about the potential of it? You are damn right I would be. Yet, we would not know the answer on whether or not it was the right decision until Manning got through a whole season and took the Jets to and past the AFC Championship Game and that is a hell of an if.

For whatever Mark Sanchez and the Ground and Pound is, it has gotten the Jets within a few plays of the Super Bowl two of the last three years. If Manning Ball can’t get them past that, then it will always be viewed as the wrong decision.

What I want to see is the Jets front office making football decisions, not media decisions. It was a media decision to sign Brett Favre and it failed. It was a media decision to bring in Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason, while letting Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery walk and it failed. The chase of Nnamdi Asomugha was a media decision and it failed while hurting the Jets off-season last year. Football decisions this year would seem to be based around building a stronger offensive line, rushing attack, and split end option for Mark Sanchez coupled with a ball hawking safety and a pass rusher for the defense. A media decision would seem to be adding Manning at all costs, so you could see why I am skeptical.

New York Jets: The Disappointments, Part 2

A look at the New York Jets players who disappointed on defense and special teams

Yesterday we looked at the New York Jets players on offense who disappointed. Today we will focus on the defense and special teams. Unfortunately these two lists combine to be much longer than the players who exceeded expectations in 2011.

Bart Scott – Over his first two years with the team, Scott was praised for his ability to do the dirty work alongside David Harris at inside linebacker. He was a reliable tackler, was comfortable in Rex Ryan’s system, and a supposed leader on the team. This past season he struggled so much he was reduced to being a situational player, leading to reported dissatisfaction in the locker room from him. The Jets owe Scott about 4 million dollars in guaranteed money next year but it is still being reported that he will likely be cut.

Calvin Pace – For the amount the Jets paid Pace before the 2008 season, they aren’t getting a quality return on their investment. Pace is a pretty good three down linebacker in the Jets 3-4 system but can’t consistently get pressure on the quarterback and fails to make an impact in too many games. The Jets lack speed at linebacker and Pace is a big part of that.

Eric Smith – I think most of us did a double take when the Jets gave Smith a seemingly big contract to return as their starting safety this past year before they brought back Brodney Pool. He had always struggled in pass coverage and often look over stretched in a full time role. 2011 emphatically proved that Smith is not a capable NFL starter. Apparently, the Jets have an out on his contract and it is hard to see him back in a starting role or in any role at all next year with the team.

Jim Leonhard – It was disappointing to see Leonhard suffer a season ending injury for the second year in a row. Prior to that, he was average at best. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets brought him back on a veteran’s minimum deal to play alongside the new safety or two they bring in via the draft and free agency this year.

Antonio Cromartie – When you think about Cromartie’s 2011 season, what do you remember? I remember two muffed kicks, Miles Austin ripping the ball out of his hands for a touchdown, and Brad Smith beating him for a ridiculous touchdown catch. Outside of a big game against Jacksonville in week 2, when else did be bring the big play element to the Jets defense that he was supposed to? He settled down in coverage towards the end of the year but on the whole it wasn’t a very good season for #31.

Nick Folk – It was just an okay year for Folk who took a small step back this year and missed key short kicks against New England and the Giants.

New York Jets: The Disappointments, Part 1

A look at the New York Jets players on offense, who had disappointing seasons

Earlier in the off-season, we looked at the New York Jets players who exceeded expectations this past season. Today, we look at the players who fell short of expectations on the offensive side of the football. Tomorrow we will look at the defense and special teams.

Mark Sanchez – He did make statistical improvements in some key areas this season, notably touchdown passes, total touchdowns, and completion percentage. However, he struggled heavily down the stretch and didn’t play well in the biggest moments of the season. Instead of solidifying himself as the quarterback of the future, Sanchez is now facing a make or break year as the Jets quarterback. He needs to improve his play on the field, fix a broken relationship with Santonio Holmes, and work towards assuming more of a true leadership position in the locker room.

Shonn Greene – After watching Greene’s body of work for three years and him spend this whole past season as the Jets lead back, it is hard to come to any assumption other than that he is a fairly average player. He isn’t explosive, doesn’t create big plays, and hasn’t broken enough tackles. In a run heavy system that I anticipate the Jets to have, they need another back to pair alongside him. It will be interesting to see how they approach free agency and the draft in regards the running back position.

Hard to read this now, considering the failings of Sanchez and Greene in year three.

Santonio Holmes – You want a frustrating stat? On Victor Cruz’s 99 yard touchdown catch against the Jets, he had more receiving yards than Santonio Holmes has had in any game this season. You can blame some of that on coaching and quarterbacking but sometimes you need to break a tackle and take one to the house, especially if you are supposed to be a number one receiver. Nevermind the whole thing about the everybody hating him in the locker room and him quitting on the team.

Plaxico Burress – He was productive in the end-zone but couldn’t get open between the 20s and faded down the stretch. Burress will be one and done with the Jets.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson – For whatever reason, this was an off year for the Jets left tackle. Ferguson was shaky in pass protection from the beginning of the year and never was able to get into a rhythm.

Wayne Hunter – A revolving door at right tackle and arguably one of the worst starters in the NFL. At least he stood up to Santonio Holmes in the huddle though.

Matthew Mulligan – Holding. Offense. Number 82. 10 yard penalty. Repeat first down.

Stop The Pity Party Jets Fans

New York Jets fans need to stop the pity party over the upcoming Super Bowl

I am not going to sit here and act like it doesn’t completely suck to have the Giants and Patriots playing in the Super Bowl for the second time in five years, because it does. The New York Jets have scrapped and clawed to relevancy and respectability since the Giants and Pats met in the big game after the 2007 season and now it feels like they will begin back at square one next season.

All the ground they seemed to be making up has disappeared in a highly public flame out and locker room meltdown, coupled with their two natural rivals winning their respective conferences.

That being said, the constant complaining about the luck received yesterday from the Giants and Patriots needs to stop. A win is a win. A playoff win is a playoff win. Also the endless whining about how awful this is for Jets fans doesn’t help the situation.

Look at it this way, either the Giants and their rightfully annoying fans who surround your daily life will be disappointed in two weeks or Brady, Belichick and everything we hate about New England, Boston, their city, their sports fans, and their franchise will be disappointed. Personally, I’d rather see the Giants win. If you have your own personal reasons where stomaching a Patriots win would be easier than root for them, if you want to root for neither and hope for the impossible scoreless tie than do that instead.

Yet, endless whining only increases the pleasure for Giants/Patriots fans and perpetuates the ongoing negative stereotype of Jets fans.

Our team is back to starting at square one in the 2012 season. The underdogs. The clear cut little of brothers of New York and the AFC East. No hype. No expectations. Just another 8-8 team who needs to make a few moves to get themselves back into the playoffs next year. I am excited for the off-season to start and to see if Rex, Sanchez, and everybody else in this organization can pick themselves up off the mat.

For now, I love the game of the football. The games were terrific yesterday. The media coverage will be tough to endure the next 13 days but I will keep you distracted with articles about our team here. In 13 days, I will watch what should be a great football game. I will be happy to see Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo get a shot to play in the Super Bowl. I will be curious if Eli Manning can get a win to proclaim full dominance over New England and start the debate if he is a better quarterback than his brother or see if Tom Brady can continue his revenge tour and if New England can actually win a Super Bowl with a defense that bad.

It sucks, but hey life could be worse…what do you think Ravens or 49ers fans feel like today? What do you think Kyle Williams and Billy Cundiff feel like today? Poor Williams is getting death threats to his family for dropping a football in a game.

Regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl, you will still be excited when free agency starts. You will still be counting the seconds until the draft. And you will still be in front of your TV or at the game when the season kicks off next year.

For now, stop the complaining and crying. Nobody feels bad for you, nor should you want them to do.

What The Jets Can Learn From The Rangers

What the New York Jets can learn from their city counterparts, the New York Rangers

One of the ways I’ve been able to distract myself from the ulcer-inducing aftermath of the 2011 New York Jets has been to focus on another New York team that I’m extremely passionate about: the New York Rangers.

In case you don’t know (and you might not, since “the worldwide leader in sports” has chosen to bury hockey for the last decade, especially now that it no longer broadcasts hockey games), the Rangers currently stand tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the best record in the entire NHL.  Say what you want about the Giants, but the New York Rangers have been this city’s most consistent winner since October.  Still, it was no easy task to get to where the Rangers are, and they really aren’t all that close to the ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup anyway; almost three months of regular season, plus four grueling playoff series stand between them and hockey nirvana.

However, I began to think: maybe the Jets could learn a thing or two from the Rangers, despite the fact that hockey and football are two entirely different sports.  The history of these two teams is not all that dissimilar.  Flashes of past glory, but a tradition that consists mostly of disappointment for a large, passionate fanbase.

For those of you not well-versed in Rangers history, here’s the Cliff Notes version:  They have won exactly one championship in the last 72 years.  For the last two decades, the Rangers have largely built their team by bringing in high-priced free agents with flashy names (sound familiar?), with only one instance of success: 1994.  After Mark Messier, the Rangers inked the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Holik, Pavel Bure, Jaromir Jagr, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, with results ranging from one-and-done playoff appearances to complete and utter disaster.

So, it was time to shake things up.  Sometime within the last six or seven years, the Rangers have instead focused on building their roster through the draft and minor league system.  They brought in a coach with a specific style and personalty and have stuck with him (rather than firing him for missing the playoffs in the 2009-2010 season), allowing the players to mature.  They have supplemented a very young roster with shrewd trades and yes, one or two big-money free agent acquisitions.

Here are five lessons the Jets can learn from the Rangers:

Lesson 1: Patience

When the Rangers hired coach John Tortorella in the winter of 2009 after firing Tom Renney, the organization began to change its philosophy.  The changes were subtle at first, and they would take time to implement.  The first lesson the Jets could learn?  Patience. Tortorella knew that the roster he inherited in 2009 was not one that could win a championship. The goal was, instead, was to simply improve the team on a day-by-day basis, not only in hockey terms, but also in terms of how it was built (read: slowly, and through the draft). “One step at a time” might be the most insufferable sports cliche of them all, but it has become the Rangers’ mantra. Now in 2012, three full years later, they are seeing the results of that approach.

Lesson 2: Leadership

One of the organization’s goals was also to cultivate an internal leadership group among the players so that “the locker room could sustain itself,” as Tortorella likes to say. Sounds like the complete opposite of the Jets, doesn’t it?  One of the most direct comparisons between the two teams across completely different sports is the choosing of captains. Football has even gone so far as to copy hockey and put the letter “C” on the designated player’s uniform.  Tortorella’s choices for captains (one player gets a “C” and two get “A”‘s as alternate captains, for the uninitiated) were easy:

Ryan Callahan, captain – a player who embodies the Rangers’ aggressive yet responsible style of play and leads by example; 4th round pick (127th overall) in the 2004 draft.

Marc Staal, alternate – when healthy (he missed roughly the first half of the season with a concussion and is just getting his feet back under him after about 10 games now), one of the best shutdown defensemen in the NHL; 1st round pick in the 2005 draft.

Brad Richards, alternate – Richards was the Rangers big free agent splash last summer, but he played under John Tortorella in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.  That team won a Stanley Cup; Richards was the playoff MVP, awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. Tortorella felt that Richards was the perfect veteran role model that some of the younger Rangers needed to show them how to be a professional, on and off the ice.

Lesson 3: Identity

Perhaps what doomed the Jets even more than their locker room squabbles was the loss of their identity as a team that wanted to dominate the line of scrimmage, run the ball, and play great defense. Ground and Pound was forgotten. The Jets were all of a sudden slow at linebacker and were gashed by opposing running backs more than anyone could have predicted.  What could they learn from the Rangers in this regard?  Pick your style, embrace it, stick to it, and build your team around it.

The Rangers have become one of the toughest teams in the NHL to play against.  They’ve allowed the 2nd fewest goals in the league.  They are built from their net out, with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist providing the foundation that the team stands on. If quarterback is the most important position in football, goalie is that position in hockey. The Rangers are covered there, as Lundqvist is putting together another Vezina Trophy caliber season as one of the league’s best goalies.

The similarities between the teams are more obvious than you’d think. Neither the Rangers defense-first approach nor the Jets “ground and pound” mantra will consistently score style points or entertain the masses. They leave open the possibility of close, late losses, simply because the offense might not generate enough goals or points.  But they are both effective philosophies that, applied over the long-haul, can lead to consistent winning.

Lesson 4: Narrow the Focus

Earlier this week, Madison Square Garden Chairman James L. Dolan made a bold proclamation that the Rangers were “close” to winning a Stanley Cup. John Tortorella quickly fired back, calling that “a bunch of bullshit”. Tortorella wasn’t trying to embarrass his boss, rather, he was trying to keep his team’s focus where it should be: on the next game. Cups are not awarded in January.

Super Bowls are not awarded in June.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the Jets often let their focus stray too far down the road.  I’m not saying the Super Bowl shouldn’t be the goal every year, because it should be.  But it might be time for Rex Ryan to shelve some of his dramatic predictions (no matter what their motives actually are) and just focus on winning the next game.  In all professional sports, there’s an element of “grinding” through a long season to get to where you want to be.  The 2011 Jets were not a team that was willing to grind (their losses to the Raiders and Eagles are great examples of this, I think) through the less exciting parts of their schedule.

Lesson 5: The Right Amount of Swagger

There’s a fine line in all sports between confidence and cockiness. A team is in danger though, when it begins to believe its own hype. Part of what made the Jets successful in 2009 and 2010 was their brash, “we can beat anybody” attitude. The other side of that coin is the overconfidence that this cultivates, and results in a season like 2011.

The Rangers are never going to be guaranteeing victories in the media before games (unless Mark Messier laces ’em up again), but the belief in their ability is there.  The team plays with a quiet confidence. Young defenseman Michael Del Zotto has said repeatedly that coach Tortorella urges him to play “with swagger”.  The message is there, it’s just not broadcast.

So there you have it: five lessons that the Jets would be well-served to learn from their unlikely hockey counterparts before they kick off their 2012 campaign.  There are plenty of football-specific moves that need to be made, and will be discussed ad nauseum here and plenty of other places.

In the meantime, I urge even non-hockey fans flip on MSG (provided you’re not subject to the Time Warner Cable/MSG Network mess) and take a look at a team that has been New York’s most consistent winner since October. There’s a lot to like.

Nine Moments When You Knew This Wasn’t The Jets Season

The nine key moments when you knew 2011 wasn’t the Jets season

It was easy to remain somewhat optimistic all the way to the end of the New York Jets 2011 season. Despite their ongoing struggles, they remained viable playoff contenders all the way until the final minutes of their schedule. Yet, throughout the year there were ongoing moments, where you had to say to yourself “this just isn’t our year.”

1. Oh What A Start – Most people forget the Jets season started with Dallas marching right down the field on their defense and scoring a touchdown as Dez Bryant ripped a fade route away from Antonio Cromartie. Their first play on offense was then DeMarcus Ware ripping past Wayne Hunter and nearly killing Mark Sanchez. We should have known right there this defense would be a disappointment and Hunter would be a disaster.

2. Oakland Meltdown – The Jets were in control against Oakland week 3, up 17-7 and looking like they were headed to a 3-0 record. Yet, what followed was a complete meltdown which showed a mentally weak team that lacked character. Missed tackles. Muffed kicks. And just like that a 3 game losing streak was underway.

3. Accept Losing – The way the Jets locker room treated their week 5 loss to New England should have raised red flags. They sounded all too content to have lost a relatively close game. The confidence that they were better than New England was clearly gone.

4. Brady/Tebow – In retrospect, the Jets season was summed up by their two ugly losses in a four day span to New England and Denver in the middle of the season. There was something particularly soft about the way they went down against Denver that really drove the point home.

5. Pathetic Win – Considering how bad the Buffalo Bills were playing before their week 12 match-up with the Jets, it is was kind of embarrassing that they needed a late drop by Stevie Johnson to preserve a win at home.

6. No Show – How do you no-show in Philadelphia the way the Jets did with a playoff spot on the line? Calvin Pace thanked the Eagles after the game for showing mercy because he admitted the Jets had no chance of stopping them.

7. No Tackle – The Jets were in complete control of their game against the Giants until they failed to tackle Victor Cruz on a 8 yard out route that turned into a 99 yard touchdown. If you had watched this team all season, you knew the game was over after that play…and it was.

8. Bubby Brister – Anytime you throw not one, but two interceptions to a defensive lineman, in a single game…you aren’t a playoff team.

9. Quit – Captain Holmes wanted no part of the Jets come back.

New York Jets Locker Room: We Get It…

Like most stories around the New York Jets, the chemistry issue has been beaten to death

In case you haven’t received the memo yet, the New York Jets locker room was an ugly situation this past season.

We have heard the same story reiterated every three days or so since the season ended. Whether it is a current player, an anonymous player, or an ex-player. Everybody has come out of the woodwork to drive home how completely dysfunctional this organization is.

Does it not feel like the Jets went 2-14 last year?

Their locker has been portrayed as having been such a disaster scene that it is mind blowing to think they actually were 8-8. Could you imagine if Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes could move from being 2pac to Biggie to just a couple guys who generally didn’t like each other next year?

The point is that this story, like most surrounding the team, has been beaten to death. Chemistry was a major issue for the 2011 team but there were other problems, notably a lack of talent in certain key spots and questionable coaching.

Plenty will be made out of the Jets going back to Cortland this year as a team building exercise. I am sure Rex Ryan will be talking all the time about he feels the 2012 has improved chemistry and is getting along. You can already see the team motto being “One Team. One Direction” or something like that.

The reality is that unless they improve their safeties and linebackers, they won’t be able to stop New England and won’t win the AFC East. If Mark Sanchez doesn’t improve, along with the protection around him, and his running game, the Jets won’t be a playoff team even if they are having slumber parties and making popcorn together.