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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Reaction To Super Bowl Announcement, And Speaking Of The Super Bowl…

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets have hired former Appalachian State receiver coach Lance Taylor as an offensive assistant.

2. The Jets have the day off from OTAs tomorrow but we will back on Thursday with full media availability. There was some released statements from players on the team, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan on the Super Bowl announcement and obviously everybody was excited. It is a nice moment for the organization.

Reaction To Super Bowl Announcement, And Speaking Of Super Bowl…

As expected, the new Meadowlands Stadium was awarded the Super Bowl in 2014. Over the last few days it had become relatively apparent this was going to happen and the announcement didn’t take anyone by surprise. Personally as a North Jersey native, I am very pumped about the Super Bowl taking place 20 minutes from my house. I know everybody refers to it as the New York Super Bowl but keep in mind it is beautiful East Rutherford, New Jersey that will be hosting the game. It is being estimated the game, being held in 2014, will generate approximately $550 million for the local economy.

PhotobucketI could only hope that gives the state enough money to either knock down Xanadu or actually some functioning stores in it. We are all getting tired of looking at that empty, bizarrely colored building which is an ugly sign of recent economic problems in the area. The announcement should help sell the naming rights to the stadium, which is currently just being called The New Meadowlands Stadium.

I think the concern over cold weather is overrated. Is there anything better than a good snow game? If you disagree…stop being so soft, football is supposed to be played in the elements. However, if the Jets happen to make the 2014 Super Bowl and the weather negatively impacts them, then I reserve the right to change my mind. Seriously though, I hope this starts a trend of occasionally having the game in cold weather locations and by that I mean I hope this isn’t the only time it ends up in this stadium. The only other cold weather stadium that could have a shot would be New England but let’s be real it is no New York up there so that probably won’t happen.

PhotobucketAnyway since we are talking about the Super Bowl, what are your expectations for the Jets in 2010? Is anything short of a Super Bowl appearance considered a disappointment? You would think when a team is winning in the second half of the AFC Championship Game the previous season, the logical next step and expectation should be a Super Bowl appearance. While it is bizarre to expect a team who hasn’t won a AFC Championship since 1969 to do it this season, that is the reality for the Jets in 2010. Nobody is going to be happy with a divisional title. Nobody is going to be satisfied with a couple of playoff wins. We saw that last year. The talent is in place and the Jets have talked the talk since the season ended, so now it is time to walk the walk.

There are no certainties in the NFL. There may not even be a season in 2011. If there is, the Jets are going to have to make some difficult roster decisions. No, it isn’t as bad as some writers make it out to be. There isn’t going to be a need to blow up the team. Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson will get their money from the Jets but some of the recent additions could be moving on (Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson) along with certain veterans like Shaun Ellis and Damien Woody.

The point is that while the Jets should still be a good team past this season, they are in the best position they have been in a long time to reach a Super Bowl. The roster is loaded on both sides of the ball. The Patriots are down. The Dolphins have plenty of question marks. The Jets showed they can handle the Chargers and we’ll see how they match-up with the Ravens in week one. Obviously the top team in the conference is still the Colts but the Jets have spent the entire off-season building themselves to beat them, by adding Cromartie, Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, and Brondey Pool.

A successful season for the Jets in 2010 equals an appearance in the Super Bowl and in reality nobody is satisfied with a loss in the big game, so yes it is championship or bust in 2010 for the New York Jets.

Go Shonn, Go

Saturday Afternoon Thoughts On Jets Rivals

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Another beautiful overcast day here in Whitehall, Pennsylvania and since I am looking for an excuse to procrastinate on filling out job applications, let’s get to some Saturday afternoon thoughts on the Jets rivals.

Patriots – Could this be the year the Patriots finally fall off? I amazed when people talk up the off-season they had and discuss them as a top 5 or 6 team in the league. I am pretty sure I saw a team that was falling off as the 2009 season ended, capped with a blowout loss in their building in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Yes, they still have Brady and Belichick which means they are going to be competitive week in and week out but beyond that, what else has New England done this off-season to make you think they are improving on their 10-6 record from last year, instead of getting worse?

Don’t underestimate how much the Patriots will miss Wes Welker on offense. Any Jets fan saw the difference between New England’s offense with Welker and without him when comparing week 2 to week 11 last year. The Patriots still don’t have a number one running back but have instead decided to collect aging, injury-proned players and stay with perpetual disappointment Laurence Maroney. On defense, New England struggled heavily in 2009 and outside of drafting Devin McCourty in the first round, what have they done to improve? The Patriots look like an 8-8 team to me this season.

PhotobucketDolphinsAfter acquiring Brandon Marshall, I am starting to think the Dolphins will be the Jets main competition for an AFC East title in 2010. Yes, they still have some questions on their defense but Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick will help them, and you know they can run the football. Marshall finally gives them a legitimate weapon in the passing game and Brian Hartline should develop into a decent number two receiver. The whole world seems ready to pronounce Chad Henne a franchise quarterback but let’s wait and see if he can win a big game first. I am pretty sure when the Dolphins had a chance to make the playoffs last season, he went 0-3.

Giants – Brandon Jacobs recently grabbed some headlines by claiming New York is still the Giants city because they won a Super Bowl recently. First off, Jacobs might want to worry about improving that ugly stat line from last season before he gets shipped out of New York, but second you can’t say that he doesn’t have a point. If I was a Giants fan or player, I would tire of reading about the Jets every single day considering they haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 or a division title since 2002. Yet, the NFL and the mainstream media is a what have you done for me lately business and the last thing in everybody’s memory is the Giants quitting and being embarrassed the last 2 games of the 2009 season, while the Jets had a run to the AFC Championship Game, followed by the Jets having a better off-season. Personally, I don’t root against the Giants the way I used to when I was younger and outside of annoying my friends who are all Giants friends, I don’t really concern myself with what they do. The two teams don’t impact each other this year, unless they are going to meet in a Super Bowl, which would be terrific.

Other TOJ Updates

– Keep the Facebook fans coming…we are at 356 right now and I’d like to hit 500 by week 1 of the pre-season. Unlike a site like The Jets Blog, TOJ is a one man show so I basically use the Facebook page as my version of The Jets Blog. I use it to aggregate everything a Jets fan should be reading on a daily basis, along with quick commentary on each links. I will also throw up some non-Jets related things occasionally, if the situation calls for it. Keep in mind I am also a Yankees and Knicks fan, and watch massive amounts of television and movies….because you know, I am an unemployed college student (at least for a few more months). You can also follow TOJ on Twitter (Turn On The Jets) and on the ESPN Jets Message Boards (WR09CB), Digg, and Ballhype (all the account information is in the “About The Author” section of the web site).

– Remember the other links at the top of the page…Turn On The Jets TV, 2009 Highlights, 2010 Schedule, 2010 Depth Chart, 2009 Stats, The Podcast which can be accessed here (http://web.me.com/turnonthejets/Site/Podcast/Podcast.html).

– We should have a new Podcast up in the next week or two.

– As we head into the Lost finale tomorrow, which means you will never have to deal with reading about the show at TOJ again, I leave you with my favorite scene from each season:

Season 1 – The Opening

Season 2 – Down The Hatch

Season 3 – We Have To Go Back

Season 4 – I Always Have A Plan

Season 5 – Jacob?

Season 6 – The Timelines Merge

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.

Post-Draft AFC Power Poll

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First a few updates:

1. What a let down from the Heat only taking one game from the Celtics…all the more reason for D-Wade to throw on the blue and orange in New York next year. Even the Knicks have more help for him than the Heat did this past year, did you see who Wade was trying to win with last night? Their starter with the second most points was Carlos Arroyo with a whopping 8…Carlos Arroyo. Well at least we get to watch LeBron steamroll the Celtics out of the playoffs now. How about those Milwaukee Bucks by the way? How the hell did the Knicks pass on Brandon Jennings?

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

3. Kerry Rhodes…Jay Feely…Alan Faneca…The Cardinals are turning into the NFC Jets, which is better than being the Minor League Jets aka the 2009 Cleveland Browns.

Post-Draft AFC Power Poll

It was feeling like that time to put together another power poll, especially with the draft over and most major transactions taken care of. Most teams are ready to head into the 2010 season with their roster constructed the way it is today. Hopefully, I won’t be looking back in January and see the 12-16 teams in this poll still playing.

Tier 1 – The Favorites – The division favorites who should be jockeying for a first round bye. All these teams should have a double digit win total and potentially be in the 11-5 to 13-3 range.

1. Indianapolis Colts – They were basically undefeated last year during the regular season and reached the Super Bowl where they lost a tight game to the Saints. They are number one until somebody knocks them off and as long as Peyton Manning continues to be an absolute beast behind center. I don’t care about the rest of their roster, Manning makes them the team to beat.

Photobucket2. New York Jets – Yes, the AFC’s runner up last year stays in the number two spot. They were already going to be better this year because of Mark Sanchez’s continued development and the defense getting more comfortable in Rex Ryan’s scheme and that was before they added Antonio Cromartie, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brodney Pool, Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes, and Kyle Wilson.

3. Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens had a good run last year despite having a weak receiving core and Joe Flacco struggling down the stretch. Now they have added Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth at receiver and Flacco should be improved. Beyond that, they just stole Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody in the second round of the draft to add to their defense.

4. San Diego Chargers – They are still loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and play in a crappy division. If they can’t go 5-1 in the AFC West than shame on them.

Tier 2 – The Contenders – The teams who should battle for a division title and be anywhere from around .500 to 10-6/11-5.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Most people seem to think the Bengals are going to struggle this season but I am not sure why. They added a legit number two receiver in Antonio Bryant, drafted a quality pass catching tight end in Jermaine Gresham, and still should be solid on defense and running the football.

6. New England Patriots – They didn’t do much in free agency but had a pretty good overall draft. Brady and Belicheat will keep them competitive, and of course the referees will always be there to help them with roughing the passer penalties.

7. Houston Texans – Everybody loves them every year and every year they go 8-8 (okay, they went 9-7 last year but you get the point). They are a talented team but when will they win a big game?

8. Miami Dolphins – Brandon Marshall was a much needed addition to their offense, while Karlos Dansby and Jared Odrick will improve their defense. Even though I have the Patriots ranked higher, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Dolphins be the primary challenge to the Jets for a division title.

Tier 3 – The Question Marks – Teams with major questions surrounding them who could go anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers – Outside of their starting quarterback being suspended six games and trading away their best receiver for nothing, they had a pretty good off-season.

10. Tennessee Titans – Vince Young is always a question mark and now they have to deal with Chris Johnson holding out. However, they could be dangerous next year if Young gets rolling, especially if Kenny Britt continues to develop into a legit number one receiver.

11. Denver Broncos – I am not sure if they have improved at all this off-season. Yet, they are in a crappy division so they could hover around .500 again.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars – They added some pieces on defense but I am not sure how far David Garrard can carry them. Beyond that, they are in a tough division.

13. Oakland Raiders – Yes, the Raiders. Keep in mind they were 5-11 last year with a defensive tackle playing quarterback the majority of the time. With Jason Campbell under center, they  might actually get somewhat near .500.

Tier 4 – The Basement Dwellers – Teams who shouldn’t be planning on playing meaningful games in December next year.

14. Cleveland Browns – They had a good off-season so far and improved on both sides of the ball but how is that offense going to score points? Nobody is worried about Jake Delhomme throwing to Chansi Stuckey.

15. Kansas City Chiefs – Anytime you give Matt Cassel that much money, you are probably going to struggle for a few seasons.

16. Buffalo Bills – Trent Edwards vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Brian Brohm…with no offensive line…sorry Buffalo.

Yes, We Are Pretty Good At Corner

Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…for some reason we lost 2 fans in the past 2 days. I don’t think I offended anybody recently but who knows, all I know is we need somebody to make up for those 2 and we need to add a few more this week.

2. Good post today by Rich Cimini on who the Jets may be interested in for this year’s draft. #29 is a hard spot to project but Jared Odrick of Penn State has been a popular choice because of the Jets age and lack of depth on the defensive line. Yet, if Dez Bryant somehow falls to #29 or in the near proximity of it, it is hard not to see Mike Tannenbaum grabbing such a big name guy with such big time potential. Personally, I would rather see them take Odrick or another defensive lineman/outside linebacker instead of a receiver but you have to admit Bryant is an exciting possibility…and please, no Taylor Mays…we don’t need Vernon Gholston 2.0 at safety.

3. Nice quote from Calvin Pace in a Sporting News interview about playing for the Jets and their fans:

“When I signed with the Jets two years ago, I thought about that, and if that would help me do well. The people here are passionate, and you get really excited playing for the tem. That J-E-T-S chant gets you pumped up. It’s 24-hour football for these fans.”

4. As you can see at the bottom of the article, we have a new episode of TOJ TV. Our producer got a new camera and thought it would be fun to put together a movie trailer documenting how I began working for the site. I am saving all my football analysis for the upcoming Podcasts, which will world premiere on April 15thwith a draft preview, off-season review edition. TOJ TV can now fully embrace its role as entertaining videos related to being a Jets fan instead of a spot for analysis.

Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?

PhotobucketA popular topic this off-season has been debating the question of whether the Jets or Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East in 2010. On November 22nd 2009, this question would have been a no-brainer. New England took advantage of an awful Mark Sanchez performance and whipped the Jets 31-14. It seemed like the Patriots would be rolling to another division title and run at a Super Bowl while the Jets were headed to another year without the playoffs. However, over the last 6 weeks the Jets finished strong with a 5-1 record, while New England only went 3-3 down the stretch. In the wild-card round of the playoffs, the once mighty Patriots were completely humiliated on their home field by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14, while the Jets pulled out a gutsy win on the road against the Bengals 24-14. The Jets then followed that performance up with a 17-14 upset in San Diego, before eventually falling to the Colts by 13 in the AFC Championship Game. Is the torch ready to be passed?

So far this off-season, the Jets have had more than turnover than the Patriots. They added Antonio Cromartie to replace the ineffective Lito Sheppard, signed LaDainian Tomlinson to back up Shonn Greene instead of giving the job to the recently more effective Thomas Jones, and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool. They let special teamers like Wallace Wright and Marques Murrell walk but recently signed special teams standout Lance Laury to help fill the gap left by them. It also appears Jay Feely and Marques Douglas won’t be back and the Jets are yet to fill the holes left by them…I don’t count Nick Folk and Mike DeVito as filling their spots properly.

New England has concentrated primarily on hanging on to their own players. They have brought back Leigh Bodden, Vince Wilfork, and Tully Banta-Cain on defense. On offense, they did let Chris Baker and Ben Watson walk at tight end but recently signed Alge Crumpler to fill the spot and also brought back Kevin Faulk and Stephen Neal.

Where does that leave the two teams right now? On offense, New England probably isn’t getting back Wes Welker until sometime in October and who knows when he will be back to 100 percent. Make no mistake, Welker is the Patriots most dangerous playmaker and important receiver, not Randy Moss who appears to be in decline. Also, spare me with the Julian Edeleman can be just as good as Welker in New England’s offense talk because regardless of Edeleman’s stats when Welker was out, here is what Tom Brady did without Welker in the lineup:

  • Vs Baltimore – 23/42, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Vs Jets – 23/47, 216 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
  • Vs Atlanta – 25/42, 277 yards, 1 TD

PhotobucketOutside of a good game against a crappy Atlanta secondary, Brady could barely complete 50 percent of his passes without Welker in the lineup and had two of his worst games of the year when he didn’t have him as a safety valve. New England is still currently thin at receiver because Edeleman is injury prone (he missed 4 games last year) and Sam Aiken or Isaiah Stanback can’t handle major reps. They also have questions at running back because after a big rookie year, Laurence Maroney has been a bust who can’t hold on to the football. Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are both ancient and can’t stay healthy and Kevin Faulk is nothing more than a third down back, although a good one at that. Beyond that, Tom Brady didn’t have his best year last season but considering the injury he was coming back from was still very good, until he had a meltdown in the playoffs. New England’s offensive line isn’t what it used to be but still remains one of the better units in the league.

On defense, the Patriots were pretty good last year. They finished #11 in total defense but laid an egg in the playoffs and were embarrassed a few times, including a dreadful performance on Monday Night against the Saints and when they choked away a big lead to the Colts in a Sunday Night game (no shame in that because the Colts also shredded up the Jets in the AFC Championship game and came back from a double digit deficit). Jerod Mayo was a disappointmentin his second year and they remain very average in the secondary. If you take Leigh Bodden’s stats away from the second Jets game when Sanchez gift wrapped him three interceptions, I don’t see how you could claim he is a legit number one corner and the rest of their corners are journeyman unless Darius Butler develops. New England’s front still has talent but you could run on them.

When I look at the Jets compared to the Patriots, I think they compare very favorably. The Jets have a superior offensive line, substantially more talent at running back, a better tight end, and a better #2 receiver until Welker makes it back to 100 percent. Yes, I would take Jerricho Cotchery over Julian Edeleman, Sam Aiken or anybody else they currently have to trot out there. The Jets don’t have somebody at receiver with the talent of Randy Moss but fortunately when we play them, we have Darrelle Revis to completely take him out of the game. Obviously, the Patriots have an advantage at quarterback but Brady is going to struggle against the Jets pass rush or any defense with a quality pass rush without Welker as a safety valve and a good running game to rely on. The Jets have a better all-around defense right now than New England. They are better at corner, linebacker, and with Jenkins back compare well with them on the defensive line.

They also have the benefit of playing the second place schedule instead of the first place schedule next year. Basically, that means they get the Texans and Broncos instead of the Colts and Chargers, yes it is only 2 games but in a likely close race, that could help the Jets. It would remiss not to mention the Patriots are set up much better for the draft than the Jets. New England has three second round picks, a higher first round pick than the Jets, and five seventh round picks. We have to wait and see how the Patriots could improve through the draft since they have missed more than a few recent selections.

PhotobucketRight now, I do think the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East. By the end of the season, they were the best team in the division and I think when you factor in the return of Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington, their roster has improved from last year. Even though he is showing signs of slipping from his untouchable genius ways, Bill Belichick will still have New England in contention next year, and they remain the Jets primary challenge for the division title. What about Miami, you ask? Karlos Dansby was a nice addition even though they overpaid for him, but I don’t think they have done enough yet to move from a 7-9 team who was a Danny Woodhead keeping his outside contain on kickoff and Bart Scott tackle away from being 5-11. (Can you tell I am still bitter about those losses?) What about Buffalo? I don’t know let me see who wins the quarterback battle between Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and then I will let you know.

TOJ Movie Trailer

Randy Moss Is A Slouch While On Revis Island

Can The Jets Be The #1 Show In Town?

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First a few updates:

1. The 2010 Draft Section is now up and running, as you can see at the top of the page. You can head over there to see a run down of the Jets picks, draft rankings from Scout.com and a list of potential 1st round targets for the Jets from www.thejetsblog.com, along with links to their articles which include highlights/scouting reports.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because we are only 96 fans away from 300.

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3. How about that cover of the Daily News today? Every Knicks fan better be rooting for the Cavs to somehow be upset in the first round so LeBron is more anxious to come to New York. C’mon LeBron, how much longer do you really want to play in Cleveland? Look at these two videos and you tell me where you would honestly rather play.

Can The Jets Be The #1 Show In Town?

In his season ending press conference Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers when he said the following quote:

  • “Let’s play this game in front of our fans and our stadium, the new Jets stadium. I can’t wait. We get our own stadium and we are not visitors in our stadium. This is our stadium. We are the biggest show in town, and that’s what it’s going to be.”

Giants fans and Mike Francesa reacted like Ryan personally insulted all of their mothers and sisters. However, I don’t know if Ryan was really taking a shot at the Giants. I think he sometimes just says things with the intent to fire up his team and build some excitement around the Jets, but you know what? It is going to be nice for the Jets to be out of Giants Stadium. They were visitors in that building and I don’t think that will be the case from now on. Hopefully, the Jets will now have more of a home-field advantage and they won’t have to deal with seeing a Jets banner sloppily stuck on the wall around the stadium and field covering up the Giants logo.

PhotobucketFor a few weeks in December and January, the Jets were the biggest show in town. Can this continue in the foreseeable future? The reality is that the Yankees are the biggest show in town and when baseball comes to an end, the Giants remain the biggest show in town until the Jets can win a Super Bowl. The Giants just won a dramatic Super Bowl in 2007, in the one of the most sickening years imaginable for Jets fan. Since then, things have improved drastically for the Jets and things have gradually declined for the Giants, since there is obviously nowhere to go but down after being Super Bowl champs. Regardless, the G-Men did have a particularly ugly season this past year, finishing the season 3-8 after a 5-0 start and finishing the season by being embarrassed twice.

Of course it was enjoyable to poke fun at Giants fans during this past post-season run, but in the end who really cares who the biggest show in town is? I think the Jets will probably be a better team than the Giants next season and as of right now might have a better looking future but those things can change in an instant. All I am worried about is avoiding a let down after this past season. I want to see the Jets beat New England and Miami and move to becoming a division champ with a home playoff game. If the Giants are also good, which certainly a strong possibility, then good for them and good for the New York sports market. 

I would love to see Dallas, Philadelphia, New England, and Miami fans all sulking as both the Jets and Giants won division titles next year. Both the Jets and Giants should be good football teams in 2010. They will both likely have plenty of prime-time games to show off the new stadium. The Jets will enjoy moving out of Giants Stadium for obvious reasons and the Giants will enjoy the improvement from arguably the league’s worst stadium to arguably the league’s nicest stadium. Giants fans don’t need to get salty about Rex being Rex. He only cares about continuing to build confidence in and around his team. Last year in a rare turn of events, the Jets were the number 1 show in town, now let’s string together a few years of that and get a Super Bowl along the way.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Colts

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1. I hope everybody has really taken the time to sit back and enjoy this playoff run…the extra media coverage, the bandwagon fans, and everything this else that comes with success. However, let’s not be satisfied with making it to the AFC Championship Game. I am not buying a AFC Championship t-shirt, I want a Super Bowl t-shirt. We are past the point of everything being “gravy” or playing with house money. The Jets need to seize this opportunity by the throat tomorrow. If you think this past month has been fun, imagine what the next two weeks would be like.

2. You have to love Mayor Bloomberg renaming Manhattan, “Revis Island.” You also have to love how the Empire State Building has been green the past month. I was only 10 years old in 1998, so my memories aren’t great but I don’t think the Jets have ever had such a hold on this town before.

3. I referenced the bandwagon fans before. I am in my second semester of taking classes at Lehigh and working at Muhlenberg and I can promise you I was the only person on either campus wearing any Jets stuff first semester. Yet, the past week all of a sudden I saw about 25 Sanchez jerseys, and I am pretty sure I could see the tags hanging out the back of them. Beyond that, I keep hearing all these casual/new Jets fans talking about the team when they clearly haven’t followed them all year…if they had been, they wouldn’t be wearing a Sanchez jersey, they would be wearing a Revis/Greene/or Mangold jersey haha.

4. I am getting up bright and early tomorrow and heading down to South Jersey for a full day of tailgating before watching the game with my cousins, Uncle, and Dad. I am telling you right now, I got some butterflies but overall I feel confident. For all the bandwagon fans out there, even more haters exist who refuse to give the Jets credit.

5. I am sorry this is a little late but check out http://davissportsdeli.com/podcasts/?p=325 for the DavisSportsDeli Podcast, which I made an appearance on yesterday. Aaron Fischman does a great job with the show, so it is something worth checking out over the next few months.

6. I think the Jets receivers are going to have big games tomorrow and by big, I don’t mean necessarily huge statistical days but both Braylon and Cotchery are going to haul in a few catches each in big sports. I like how they match up with the Colts cornerbacks. I also think Kerry Rhodes is going to step up again.

Nice Jets Video Posted Over on Youtube that I Saw Linked At Barstool Sports

TOJ TV

And Of Course…Al

NFL Week 13 Recap, Jets News and Notes

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First a few updates:

1. As you can tell from all the sweet white boxes with red x’s in the corner in my last few articles and the lack of pictures in today’s article, there are still technical problems with the site. I am trying to work them out ASAP.

Jets News and Notes

1. The Jets had an abbreviated practice today, which was closer to a walk through than anything else. However, Mark Sanchez didn’t take part. Rex Ryan said he has been going through intense rehab and that he still is optimistic about him suiting up this Sunday. I would expect him to be limited in Wednesday’s practice. If he is going to start, the Jets will want him out there for the installation of the game plan. Sanchez will be wearing a brace on both legs for the rest of the season. It will be interesting to see how he responds from his first somewhat serious injury as a pro and how the knee will affect his play.

2. Rex Ryan didn’t say if Eric Smith or Kerry Rhodes would start at safety. It would be hard to justify giving Rhodes his job back after his quiet performance against Buffalo. I don’t know who taught Rhodes how to tackle but whomever they are was incorrect in showing him that you tackle by throwing your shoulder into the ball carrier with your hands at your side.

3. The Jets caught some breaks yesterday in their bid for a playoff spot. It should be a wild final four weeks in the AFC. Everybody needs to put on their Aaron Rodgers jersey tonight and pull hard for the Packers to knock the Ravens down to 6-6. I will break down in more detail what the Jets need to happen this Sunday to help their playoff hopes in my Wednesday article, “Jets Playoff Pipe Dream: Week 14 Viewing Guide.” It is still a long shot but the Jets are very much alive, especially if the Packers take care of business tonight.

4. The Jets are currently ranked #1 in the NFL in both rushing and total defense…usually those type of rankings equal a division lead, not a 6-6 record.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Maybe now everybody will stop saying the Patriots are an elite team in the NFL, since the only road game they have won this season was against Tampa Bay in London. The reality is that Bill Belichick has made some stupid decisions the past few weeks, including trying to convert a 4th down against Miami instead of taking a field goal that would have put New England up by two possessions. New England is an average team this season, which makes it more of a shame that the Jets couldn’t tackle Ted Ginn Jr…or stop Jacksonville in the 4th quarter…or avoid 6 INTs against Buffalo…or tackle Ronnie Brown on Monday night…and on and on. It is going to make me sick if the Patriots go 9-7 or 10-6 and win this division.

Miami Dolphins – I hate Miami and I hate giving them credit but that was a big time win for them and a big time performance by Chad Henne. How do you get blown out by Buffalo and throw three interceptions and then come back and beat New England and play like a franchise quarterback…that is the state of the NFL and the AFC East this year. They have a huge game in Jacksonville this weekend, which at first glance is a tough game to decide who to root for if you are a Jets fan. A closer look at both team’s schedule confirms that we should be pulling for the Jags because they are likely to lose their next two after Miami (against Indy and in New England). If Miami does win, we are going to need some AFC South help from the Titans and Texans against the Fins in the following two weeks. (I find it very hard not to discuss the 200000 playoff possibilities all the time, but I am trying to save it for Wednesday).

Buffalo Bills – We can only hope they can contribute to the Patriots meltdown by beating them up in Buffalo in a few weeks, which is something I wouldn’t be shocked to see happen. The Bills should have beat New England in week one and they are always tough in their building…not in Toronto in front of 80,000 uninterested Blue Jays and Maple Leafs fans.

Other NFL Observations

Has anything more improbable this season happened than Bruce Gradkowski driving Oakland down the field in Pittsburgh with under two minutes to play to steal a victory, bizarre stuff, this is the defending champs we are talking about…Yes, I giggled like a school girl watching Brett Favre play like crap last night and throw two interceptions, hopefully this a sign of things to come…I still can’t believe Washington found a way to blow that game against the Saints…Good win for the Giants, who continued to prove that Dallas will never win an important game with Wade Phillips and Tony Romo leading the way…Good weeks for my Super Bowl picks, as the Chargers and Eagles each racked up another win…How can we convince Jim Caldwell to rest Peyton Manning against the Jets in week 16?

TOJ NFL Power Rankings (Only teams with a playoff pulse are ranked, no matter how weak that pulse is)

  1. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings (12-0) – Business like victory over the previously red-hot Titans.
  2. New Orleans Saints (12-0) – Amazing victory over Washington, keeps undefeated hopes alive.
  3. Minnesota Vikings (10-2) – Wow, they looked bad last night…was it an aberration or a sign of things to come?
  4. San Diego Chargers (9-3) – Tough games approaching on the schedule.
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-3) – Running away with the AFC North.
  6. Arizona Cardinals (8-4) – Don’t sleep on the defending NFC Champs…they can play with anybody.
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) – Their offense is a big play machine…huge game in the Meadowlands this Sunday night.
  8. Denver Broncos (8-4) – Fought off their 4 game losing streak with two impressive wins.
  9. Green Bay Packers ( 7-4) – We are pulling for you tonight.
  10. New York Giants (7-5) – Big plays led to big win over Dallas, who they own.
  11. Dallas Cowboys (8-4) – With upcoming games against San Diego and New Orleans…here comes the meltdown.
  12. New England Patriots (7-5) – Battling Dallas for the league’s weakest division leader.
  13. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5) – Up by 4 with 5 minutes to go…thank you very much #1 ranked Jets defense.
  14. Baltimore Ravens (6-5) – Do us all a favor, and come out flat tonight and don’t give the ball to Ray Rice too often.
  15. Miami Dolphins (6-6) – Thanks for beating New England, but it is time to start losing again.
  16. New York Jets (6-6) – Have to take care of business this week and hope to continue to receive help.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6) – You lose to Oakland…at home? Let’s go Mangini and the Browns on Thursday.
  18. Tennessee Titans (5-7) – Take care of Miami in week 15 for us.
  19. Atlanta Falcons (6-6) – Things have gone south quickly for the dirty birds.
  20. Houston Texans (5-7) – Speaking of going south quickly.
  21. San Francisco 49ers (5-7) – I said even teams with a weak playoff pulse would be ranked…case and point.
  22. Seattle Seahawks (5-7) – See 49ers.

Pats Lose to the Fins

Raiders Shock Steelers