New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 5 Edition

With the first quarter of the 2012 NFL regular season in the books, the New York Jets stand at 2-2 atop the AFC East. However, anyone following this team knows that, with the way the Jets have played since week 2, there is little to no security in that position. Sure, New York is .500 and in first place in their division, but the reality of the matter is, with their 2 best players out, Mark Sanchez seemingly going in the tank, and the defense giving up yardage like it is going out of style, the Jets season seems all but lost already.

The Jets face yet another daunting task this Monday night as they host the undefeated Houston Texans, deemed by many as the best team in the league this season. Can the Jets beat Houston at home? Sure, this is the NFL where upsets happen all the time. However, this is also a team that is seemingly becoming all too familiar with losing.

The Jets are desperate for a convincing win, something they’ve had very few of over the past calendar year. Although a win will be extremely difficult to come by this Monday, New York can certainly take a step in the right direction with competitive play in which they show desire, drive, and confidence, while the offense displays ball security and the defense shows the ability to stop the run and get off the field on third downs. Still, an extrememly difficut task against a team like Houston.

So, how will the Jets fare? Is this the end of the Mark Sanchez era in New York as we know it? Will Rex Ryan’s defense get back to its old ways of dominance, or is that just a mirage at this point? And will Mike Tannenbaum’s inactivity with this roster prove to be the ultimate demise of this team? Find out all you need to know about this week’s game in our latest edition of New York Jets Fact Or False.

Houston will sack Mark Sanchez multiple times. Fact. While the Jets offensive line has been improved in pass protection over these first four games, Houston’s defense has 13 sacks in that same time span, averaging just over 3 per game. Defensive End J.J. Watt is putting together one of the greatest performances by a defensive lineman in recent memory, leading the NFL with 7.5 sacks. While San Francisco’s pass rush was certainly the best the Jets had seen up until that point last week, Houston has an abundance of pass rushers at every position. The Jets will likely slide a lot of protection toward Watt leaving players like Brian Cushing and Brooks Reed, two players who also have a history of getting to the quarterback, for single blocking.

Texans’ Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will certainly get very creative with his blitz packages and rush schemes, something he has become notorious for since joining Houston last season. New York will do their best to keep Sanchez upright, however expect Watt, Cushing, and Reed to all combine for anywhere between 3-4 sacks.

The Jets will finally run the ball effectively. Fact. This is a very bold prediction here, considering how poor New York’s rushing offense has been. Houston’s run defense ranks 11th in the NFL, allowing just over 90 yards per contest. However, the Texans gave up 144 yards on the ground last week to Chris Johnson, who up until that point, was the only starting running back in the league averaging less YPC than Shonn Greene with 1.4. Against the Texans, however, Johnson posted a season high 5.6 YPC.

Yes, Johnson is much more physically gifted than Greene, and unlike the Jets starter, runs with some form of identity. However, if Johnson can make somewhat of a revival, there is no reason the Jets entire rushing attack cannot as well. The key for Tony Sparano will be to identify the holes and weaknesses in Houston’s front seven, something that will certainly be no walk in the park. However, with the right amount of Greene, complemented with Bilal Powell and possibly Joe McKnight, coupled with a coherent Tim Tebow game plan, there is no reason the Jets cannot at least make some sort of improvement in the run game this week. Will it need to be done with gimmick plays and creative formations? Absolutely. But, with the personnel left on this offense, that will likely be the only way to get things materialized from here on out.

Aarian Foster will run for 100+ Yards. False. Yes, another bold prediction considering how bad the Jets run defense has looked recently. However, with Sione Pouha likely out this week, Kenrick Ellis will be receiving most of the reps at Nose Tackle, which will prove to be a blessing in disguise for this defense. Ellis has been the best defensive lineman for the Jets thus far this season. His ability to take on double teams, and occupy two blockers, is head and shoulders above what Pouha’s is right now. This will allow for less free shots at the linebackers, who will be more free to roam the field and make plays. Quinton Coples will likely see more reps as an every down player, as his workload has been increasing each week, and that will give the Jets much more athleticism and explosion up front. While Houston will likely rack up over 100 yards on the ground collectively, it will likely be through a committee effort. Plus, the Jets couldn’t possibly miss 17 tackles again…right?

The Jets pass rush will finally show some signs of life this week. Fact. By now, you’ve realized this piece is full of bold predictions. However, considering how dead the Jets pass rush has been throughout the first 4 games, 2 sacks and 3 QB hits would be considered a revival. Throughout our film breakdowns, it has become extremely apparent that the Jets’ pass rushing problems stem, not from lack of effort or technique, but mostly lack of speed from the starters. Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, despite each recording a sack last week, are simply too slow to get to the quarterback at this point in their careers. DeMario Davis and Quinton Coples are beginning to see extended reps in passing situations, something that will prove to be brilliant as the season progresses. Each has tremendous speed, and Coples is undoubtedly the most talented lineman on the team, just still a bit raw. Kenrick Ellis gets an excellent push up the middle in his pass rush, which will ultimately help flush Matt Schaub out of the pocket, hopefully into an edge player. If Aaron Maybin can somehow develop a few pass rush moves, the Jets’ rush may not be as dormant anymore.

Houston’s Brian Cushing will have an excellent performance in his Homecoming game on Monday Night Football. Fact. Former AP Rookie of the Year Brian Cushing makes his return home to North Jersey this Monday night. A graduate of Bergen Catholic High School, Cushing won a state championship in the very same complex, at the old Giant Stadium, as a high school senior. Now, Cushing comes back to the Meadowlands as Houston’s 2012 leading tackler.

While he will surely be fired up for this game, in which he takes on former college teammate Mark Sanchez, Cushing is physically a mismatch for the Jets offense. Possessing great speed, athleticism, and tenacity from the inside, Cushing’s versatility makes him a dangerous weapon for Wade Phillips. As previously noted, New York will likely pay a lot of attention to J.J. Watt, leaving Cushing to roam the field, and make plays, exactly what he does best. Expect a stat line close to 10 tackles, 1 sack, and a tackle for loss for the former BC Crusader.

This will be Mark Sanchez’s last game as the starting Quarterback of the New York Jets. False. While the clock certainly seems to be ticking on Sanchez, as many are convinced it is not a matter of if but when he will be replaced by Tim Tebow, don’t expect a decision to come after this game. Even if Sanchez plays poorly again, something that could very well happen against this defense, New York is simply not ready for a change, because they know like everyone else, once they go to Tebow, there is no turning back.

Regardless of his performance, Sanchez will be given amnesty due to the fact that he has had to face arguably the two best defenses in the NFL in consecutive weeks. However, if his poor play continues into the Colts game, not only will the fans and Woody Johnson call for Tebow to take the reigns, Rex Ryan and the coaching staff likely will as well.

New York Jets: Sanchez’s Last Stand

Mark Sanchez is running out of opportunities as the New York Jets starting quarterback

I wonder if Mark Sanchez longingly studies the depth chart of the quarterbacks drafted in the same year as him or the years right around him. Does he complain to Eva Longoria about Joe Flacco handing the football to Ray Rice and throwing the ball as far as he can to Torrey Smith while Anquan Boldin cleans up underneath? Does he shake at his head at Sportscenter highlights of Calvin Johnson leaping 18 feet in the air to pull down a Matthew Stafford pass? Does he go home in the off-season sit by the beach and imagine what it would be line up under center, look to his left and see Julio Jones, look to his right and see Roddy White and then look back to his left to see Tony Gonzalez. Does he take out the calculator and try to figure out how the small market Tampa Bay Bucs can provide Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin to Josh Freeman? He’d be crazy not to, right?

Nobody is saying that Mark Sanchez would be the same quarterback as Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, or Matthew Stafford in the same situation. You might have argued that in 2010 when Sanchez led a 11-5 team to the AFC Championship Game and seemed to be growing as he outplayed Tom Brady in his own building in the playoffs. Those days are long gone now. Gone like the days when the New York Jets had one of the league’s best offensive lines, a rushing attack that could average more than 2.8 yards per carry and wide receivers who didn’t belong on a UFL roster.

Even a self-professed Sanchez Apologist has to admit there has been a clear regression in his play. Stats don’t need to tell the story because the game film does. In 2011, we saw the same inconsistencies we saw from Sanchez in 2010 except he didn’t rally in a big spot the way he traditionally did. He tanked in the team’s three biggest games of the season and didn’t offer a signature win all year.

It was also clear by the end of the season Sanchez’s supporting cast needed a tune up. The Jets were no longer a feared rushing attack and they didn’t have enough weapons in the passing game. Their once dominant offensive line had sunk to mediocre. Financially, the Jets doubled down on Sanchez by guaranteeing his money the next two years and proclaiming him their franchise quarterback. The next logical step was improving the rest of the offense to make sure that investment was a wise one.

We all know what happened. The Jets overvalued their own talent, believing Shonn Greene was a 1,500 yard back, Wayne Hunter and Matt Slauson would improve, and that Santonio Holmes could carry an inexperienced group of receivers. The only addition was Tim Tebow. We were given a cute story about how Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan discussed the acquisition in an airport , realizing it made perfect sense with Tony Sparano now the offensive coordinator. Tebow would fill the talent gaps because the Jets had a unique plan to mix him into their offense which would provide a spark to both their running and passing game.

It has been pretty apparent through four games that it was a line of bullshit. The Jets coaching staff is completely clueless when it comes to mixing Tebow into their offense, failing to even take advantage of him in obvious situations, like 3rd and short. With each passing week, the Tebow acquisition is looking more and more like a 100% money-grab business decision. The reports are already surfacing now about Jets owner Woody Johnson pushing for Tebow in the starting line-up and now it seems like only a matter of time until #15 is under center full time.

Where does all this leave Sanchez? The guy who started out the season on fire for 5 quarters, followed it with 6 abysmal quarters, rallied late against Miami and then bottomed out against San Francisco. It leaves him facing the league’s best team in primetime with the worst collection of skill position players in the NFL, no seriously. Go bring up every depth chart in the NFL and tell me who has a worst group of running backs than Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight. Go bring up every depth chart in the NFL and tell me who has a worst group of wide receivers than Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, and Clyde Gates. There isn’t a worst starting tight end in the NFL than Jeff Cumberland. There isn’t a worst fullback in the NFL than John Conner.

(For the record, Jeremy Kerley is a very talented slot receiver. He is seriously miscast as a number one receiver at this point of his career though. Stephen Hill has a very high ceiling as a big play wideout but right now he is a rookie from a triple-option college offense)

It almost seems like Mike Tannenbaum is setting Sanchez up to fail…almost. I don’t buy into the conspiracy theories, I just think Tannenbaum is incompetent as a talent evaluator. Sanchez has been dealt a crap hand and needs to find a way to make it work. He needs to hold Tebow off for one more week, so he can remain under center for the Jets final three games before the bye where they have a puncher’s chance of going 2-1 to hit the halfway mark at 4-4.

If Sanchez duplicates his performance against San Francisco on Monday night, how could you not support calls for him to be benched? He must protect the football. He must be more accurate. He must show command of the offense. He doesn’t need to pull the upset off, he just needs to keep the Jets competitive against the league’s best team with his excessively weak supporting cast. It is sad expectations but they are realistic.

Why show any hesitance in handing the team off to Tebow? The reason is a 8-8 season from Tebow will be considered magical and create a media firestorm, the type of media firestorm that will encourage Woody Johnson to bring him back as the team’s starter next year. Where I believe you will be looking at another 8-8 type season. I will take Tebow more seriously as a starting quarterback than Sanchez when he shows he can beat New England, not lose by 30 points. I will take Tebow more seriously as a starting quarterback when he can win double digit games in a season and a road playoff game. If he does that as a starter for the Jets this year, then by all means make him your long term starting quarterback.

Ultimately, I’m still of the belief that if Sanchez is surrounded with a competent supporting cast that the Jets ceiling remains higher than it would with Tebow running a read-option offense. With no supporting cast? Maybe Tebow is a better option cause of his diverse skill set but knowing the history of this franchise, there is a reasonable fear the Jets will double down on Tebow if he is just decent the rest of 2012 dooming themselves to a few more years of mediocrity. I could see myself writing the same article at this time next year when the Jets are 1-3 because they didn’t upgrade the offense around Tebow and thought he could just carry it on his own.

Mike Tannenbaum’s recent failings as a General Manager and his own inconsistencies have pushed Mark Sanchez to the brink of his career as the New York Jets starting quarterback. Can he get off the mat one last time?

Two Weeks In The Life Of The New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal with a look at two weeks in the life of the New York Jets

“I read the news today oh boy..” are the epic words that kick off the Beatles timeless 1967 song “A Day In The Life.” The song’s story, which told the tale of the routines that take place during a typical person’s twenty four cycle, meets a monstrous crashing orchestral cresendo of mayhem during the songs middle. A sound that may best describe the entire past two weeks in the life of the New York Jets. A team that despite being in a three way tie for first place, have gone helmet to helmet lately, with the explosive speed of their own headline grabbing existence

Here’s a look back:

Sept 21: LB Bart Scott has to be held back from Jets Confidential reporter Dan Leberfeld, who took a photo of Scott with a female reporter. Scott, who has boycotted the press for labeling the Jets a circus act prior to training camp, took issue with the photo.

Sept 22: Longtime Jet LB Bryan Thomas is released with the notion that he will be re- signed the following Monday. Thomas is insulted, but remains professional about it.

Sept 23: Jets win a wild 23-20 OT thriller at Miami but Darrelle Revis leaves the game with what many fear is a season ending ACL injury. The game is as crazy as the Jets season has been to date. A stalled offense, an inability to slow down a rookie QB late in the game, and a missed FG by trusted Dolphins K Dan Carpenter leave the Jets just enough room to escape. The win is overshadowed by gloom over the impending doom  of losing the NFL ‘s top corner.

Sept 24: Jets officially announce that Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Thomas is re-signed, as originally planned by the club.

Sept 26: With Revis out, Jets move RB/KR Joe McKnight to CB. McKnight tells the media he will interpret the switch to defense as a sign that he failed as a RB.

Sept 28: Jets announce they won’t put Revis on season ending IR, in order to hold out for the possibility that he could be back in time for the Super Bowl. Provided the Jets get there and that Revis is somehow up to speed by then.

Sept 30: 49ers blow out the Jets 34-0 at home in a game that the wildcat, the Jets secret summer formation, is used against them. Tim Tebow’s first complete pass goes to TE Dedrick Epps, who then fumbles, gets injured on the play, and is released on Monday. Worse, Santonio Holmes also goes down after a catch on a play that becomes a 51 yard fumble recovery for TD for the Niner defense.

Oct 1: One day after the embarassment at Met Life, Owner Woody Johnson tells Bloomberg TV that if it came down to the Jets having a winning season and Mitt Romney winning the White House “you always have to put your country first.” Johnson is the chairman of Romney’s campaign in New York.

Oct 2: ESPN reports that two people close to Johnson speculate that the owner will push his football people to start Tim Tebow at QB. The sources are, and continue to be unnamed. This on the same day that Johnson’s wife Suzanne unveils her new NFL womens apparel at a Gala event in New York City atended by Mark Sanchez.

Oct 3: A busy day: Holmes, the only proven playmaker the Jets have on offense, is ruled out for the season with a Lisfranc injury to his foot. WR Jason Hill, who as a Jaguar in 2011 called the Jets “overhyped” prior to their matchup with Gang Green, is signed to fill the void. 49ers DB Carlos Rogers tells Sirius XM radio that the Jets defense essentially quit days prior. A charge that Rex Ryan defended by saying his unit was tired by the fourth quarter. Legendary Jets Superfan Fireman Ed calls Holmes “a selfish bastard” on twitter, adding “let’s see how Jets do without the ME guy” who caught 9 balls for 147 yards in saving his team two weeks back. Romney fares well in his first debate against President Obama in Denver, Colorado. Tebow’s old stomping grounds.

Oct 4: Starters WR Stephen Hill and TE Dustin Keller do not practice again, leaving the Jets in danger of rolling out a starting corps of journeyman Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley, and backup TE Jeff Cumberland, to take on the undefeated Houston Texans on Monday Night Football Oct 8. Ryan notes that Sanchez throws just one incompletion at practice earlier.

Now, we ask any team on Earth, to try and top that timeline given the window of days within which all of those events took place. As the late Clash frontman Joe Strummer once plainly and famously said, “the future is unwritten.” God only knows what’s in store next for the ever changing 2012 Jets.

Turn On The Jets Week 5 Roundtable – Jets vs. Texans Match-Ups

The TOJ staff discusses what match-up they are most looking forward to in Jets/Texans

Joe Caporoso – Smart Football vs. Making Money – If the New York Jets are smart they will run a crafty offensive game plan that utilizes trick plays, occasional Tebow use and anything else to avoid playing the Houston defense straight up. If they are stupid and looking to shatter what little confidence Mark Sanchez has left, they will run a standard game plan, hand the ball to Shonn Greene 15 times and drop Sanchez back while he waits for receivers like Clyde Gates to get open. In that scenario, Sanchez is obviously going to struggle, leading to him being benched for next week’s “easy” game against Colts and the ushering in of the Tebow era. We are already hearing chatter about owner Woody Johnson pushing for him to play as it seems the Jets care more about being a money making gimmick than building a successful football team.

Tebow has value on this team, as a runner with occasional passes mixed in. As a full time starting quarterback for the long term? Absolutely not.

Chris Gross – The Jets Run Defense vs. Houston’s Running Attack – New York is coming off their most embarrassing defensive performance in the Rex Ryan era, having allowed 245 yards rushing to 9 different ball carriers in their home blowout to the San Francisco 49ers. For a team that was once proud of stout defense, the Jets seem to have lost their roots. However, after extensive film review, many of New York’s defensive woes are fixable. With the 9th ranked rushing offense coming to town this Monday night, it will be very interesting to see how this unit responds after such a disappointing performance. Will they go in the tank and continue to be pushed around by opposing offenses week in and week out? Or will they find that notorious swagger that propelled them to two consecutive AFC Championship games just a couple seasons ago, by shutting down the two headed monster of Arian Foster and Ben Tate? Monday night will tell us a lot about where this team is headed for the remainder of this season.

Chris Celletti – Matchup: Jets’ run defense vs. Arian Foster/Ben Tate. Rex Ryan’s defense has been completely torn apart so far in 2012, and surprisingly it’s the run defense specifically that has been putrid. The Jets’ have been exposed as an aging,  slow and poor-tackling defense, which does not bode well when you’re trying to stop your opponents’ rushing attacks. On Monday night, the Jets have no chance to beat the Texans if Arian Foster and Ben Tate run wild. If Houston controls field position and time of possession, do you expect the Jets’ offense to do anything positive against Houston’s tough defense, having limited possessions and bad field position? The only way the Jets win is if they’re the ones who can limit Houston’s possessions and win the field position battle. That starts with stopping the ground game, a very tall order for this current Jets’ defense. If Foster has a big day, the Jets will be 2-3 and on the verge of an early season meltdown.

TJ Rosenthal – The matchup we anticipate the most is Mark Sanchez going against the crowd, his own inner demons, and the Texans. All with limited weaponry to aid him. Can Sanchez somehow keep his cool, avoid mistakes and moping, and save his job? After all, we hear the owner, a huge Romney fan by the way, bigger than he is a Jet fan, is rumored to be pushing for Tebow to take his job. If things crash Monday for 6, there will be a new pilot sooner rather than later. Right or wrong, that’s where the Jets are at this moment.

Rob Celletti – Matchup? Do the Jets match up anywhere on the field with the Houston Texans? This game barely feels like a fair fight. The Texans sport an elite rushing attack; the Jets’ answer is the second-worst run defense in the league. Calling the Jet offense anemic would be a compliment; actually, calling it an “offense” is a compliment. Meanwhile, the Texans’ defense is downright ferocious.

So what matchup am I looking forward to this week? Mark Sanchez vs. the bloodthirsty MetLife Stadium crowd? Rex Ryan vs. heartburn? Actually, I’m looking forward to seeing how Bob Malone does. Seriously. Sort of.  The recipe for a major upset in the NFL usually involves most, if not all of the following: mistake-free football, taking advantage of good starting field position, and scores from unexpected places. The Jets’ special teams is the one part of their game that hasn’t been lambasted for the last 10 days, and there’s a reason for that: the unit is capable and well-coached. The only way the Jets are competitive in this game is if they get an otherworldly special teams performance, coupled with some timely (and of course highly unlikely) defensive stops.

New York Jets Defensive Film Breakdown: Week 4

Chris Gross breaks down the New York Jets defensive film against the San Francisco 49ers

The New York Jets 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past week was undoubtedly one of the worst performances in the Rex Ryan era. New York’s brash head coach, the self proclaimed “best defensive mind in football,” watched helplessly from the sidelines as his unit was gashed for 245 yards by Frank Gore and company. The 49ers did to the Jets what the Jets wish they could do to every team on their schedule. They effectively ran the ball with a surplus of ball carriers – 9 to be exact – including an excellent demonstration of how to run the Wildcat, something the Jets were supposed to threaten the league with this season. 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick rushed for 50 yards on 5 carries, including a 7 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Jim Harbaugh beat Rex Ryan at his own game, in dominating fashion.

But where did New York go wrong? What happened to a defense that has had great success in the past, and was regarded as one of the league’s best heading into week 1? A combination of poor technique, lack of speed, abysmal execution, and apparent conditioning issues all contributed to the Jets being laughed off the field in their own stadium. For our fourth edition of this column, we’ll once again start from the front and work our way back to dissect exactly what is wrong with the Jets defense.

Defensive Line – 

Muhammad Wilkerson – Wilkerson has been horribly inconsistent all season long, and that did not change this past week against San Francisco. Mo was relatively quiet all game, however he was going up against one of the best Offensive Tackles in the NFL in Joe Staley. Still, if Wilkerson wants to be regarded as one of the upper tier defensive lineman in this league, he will need to begin to prove he can compete with the elite offensive lineman.

What really stood out in terms of Wilkerson’s role from Sunday was how much he was moved around the defensive line. On passing situations, he was frequently lined up at the nose, with players like Mike DeVito and Quinton Coples lined up at the tackle and end positions. While Wilkerson is certainly versatile enough to play just about any position on the defensive line, he is best coming off of the edge as a pass rusher, rather than up the middle. For a defense that’s edge rush is virtually non-existent, it seems a bit curious that Wilkerson would be placed at the nose in those situations. Certainly, several NFL defenses have personnel packages designed specifically for passing situations, where they will line defensive ends up on the inside to increase the athleticism of the entire front, however the presence of Mike DeVito in these situations contradicts that due to how limited he is in rushing the passer.

Wilkerson’s natural abilities, combined with some recent poor performances by the other players on the defensive front, might be a reason for his expanded responsibilities, which could be a primary cause for his inconsistencies. As a second year player, it is important to get comfortable in one role, before taking on multiple roles. The Jets seemingly want to give Wilkerson a little taste of everything, in terms of alignment on the defensive line, so he may be struggling to find a rhythm.

Sione Pouha – Pouha continues to struggle since his return at Pittsburgh in week 2. He shows virtually no explosion off the ball, and can absolutely not take on a double team like he has done in the past. Against San Francisco, he was repeatedly driven off the ball, creating a number of problems for the Jets defense.

First, just the ground he is giving up is creating ample running room at the first level, something that causes serious problems for the Jets’ rather slow linebacker corps. Second, the ease at which he is being blocked allows for more single blocking rather than double teams. What this means is that, rather than occupying two blockers like he has in the past, Pouha is now getting chipped by one lineman, while another takes over the drive block, allowing the would-be double teamer to get a clear lane to the second level and seal the linebackers, creating running lanes all over the field.

It is clear that Pouha is not himself. Whether it is due to injury or age, he has become a serious liability for New York. He has never been great at rushing the passer, so combine his lack of ability in that area with his newly found struggles against the run, and he is ultimately useless to this defense. It is simply a matter of time before Kenrick Ellis replaces Pouha as the full time starter at NT this season.

Mike DeVito – No surprises on DeVito’s performance. Another average day in run defense, coupled with a disappearing act when it came to rushing the passer. DeVito is a very solid role player, and can be very effective as a reserve player, coming in fresh in run situations to clog gaps and occupy blockers. However, the Jets are seriously reaching with the every down role they currently have him in. Quinton Coples has proved to be effective against the run in the limited reps he has had so far this season, and inserting him as the starter in place of DeVito would help this line tremendously. DeVito certainly still holds value on this team, as a veteran leader who will give the team everything he has in any capacity. DeVito certainly does not get worse each week, but he also does not get better. At some point, New York needs to go with the youngster with tremendous upside and let him grow naturally, with DeVito serving in a reserve/mentor type role.

Quinton Coples – Coples likely saw more reps this past week than he has all year and his rate of growth from rep to rep was highly notable. Early in the game, Coples played rather familiarly in terms of his technique and execution. He began the game as a mismatch on inside stunts, as he has been all year due to his superior athleticism against opposing interior lineman. He did, however, struggle to use his hands, something that would make him a nightmare to opposing lineman because of his tremendous length. On a few particular plays, after showing great burst off the line, Coples would allow Staley and other 49ers lineman to get into him, rendering him completely useless with no counter move.

However, during the second half, Coples corrected this error, and the results were obvious. He became very violent with his hands, striking the opposing lineman quickly right out of his initial burst. What this allows defensive lineman to do is to dictate their own actions on that particular play. Coples repeatedly executed text book stack and shed technique as he would engage the lineman, occupy his gap responsibility, then shed the blocker and make the play. By my count, the improved technique resulted in Coples obtaining two tackles for loss, and multiple QB pressures.

Coples rate of growth from the first quarter to the fourth was the most encouraging aspect of the defensive performance on Sunday. With more reps, you can see him becoming more familiar with his opponents and more comfortable with his role within the defensive scheme. His ability to fix his mistakes within a game is a sign of coachability and attention to detail, part of the little things that will allow him to take his vast potential beyond its limit. Consistency will be key for him moving forward, assuming he will get the extended reps that he deserves.

Kenrick Ellis – Ellis continued to impress against San Francisco. Unlike Pouha, he is stellar against the double team, and is clearly a natural fit at the Nose Tackle position. He plays with amazing leverage, which as previously noted, is deadly when combined with his strength and athleticism. He simply cannot be blocked with one man, something that benefits not only the remaining defensive line, but the entire run defense, as it allows for the linebackers to run free after the ball carrier.

The only poor play Ellis had was late in the game. In the 4th quarter, Ellis was lined up as a 3-technique on the outside shade of the guard, where he was double teamed (by the guard and Joe Staley) and driven about 5 yards off the ball. However, at that point in the game, it is doubtful that even the best defensive linemen in the league would be able to withstand such a double team. Ellis, like Coples, needs to be the primary guy for New York, whether Pouha is healthy or not. He is a natural run stuffer, gets much more of a push in his pass rush, plays with an edge that is necessary for the position, and most importantly, is consistent week in and week out.

Aaron Maybin – Another quiet day for Maybin in what is turning out to be a very disappointing season for a player that led this team with 6 sacks just a season ago. Maybin continues to simply run up the field with no regard for where the quarterback actually is. The league has seemingly caught up to his tactics, as displayed again this past Sunday. Numerous times, Staley and the rest of the 49ers offensive line could allow Maybin to run by them, like he always does, and simply ride him past the quarterback, making him virtually useless.

Maybin did have a nice play on his sole tackle of the day, in which he strung out a sweep and made a leg swipe tackle. Maybin has been very disappointing, proving he is not working to add any type of pass rush moves. However, the true disappointment here is Karl Dunbar. Where on earth is the coaching for a player like this? Perhaps Dunbar is attempting to coach Maybin on these issues, but he is being insubordinate. If that is the case, there is no way he should even step on the field. Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed, or Maybin will undoubtedly finish without a single sack this season, and likely run his way right out of the league.

Calvin Pace – Pace, again, proved to be the most fundamentally sound of anyone in the front seven. However, Pace, again, proved to be too slow to do anything truly effective with that technique, other than his single sack of Alex Smith in the first half. While he is solid against the run, setting the edge, allowing virtually nothing to get outside of him, Pace is almost useless in the passing game at this point in his career. He has very little burst left in his pass rush, and continues to struggle in coverage. Still, he plays with the most confidence out of anyone in the front seven, and should continue to start due to the fact that, despite his flaws, he is still head and shoulders above the next player at his position.

Linebackers – The Linebackers had some serious issues this week. Both Bart Scott and Davis Harris had far too many missed tackles as a result of poor technique, poor pursuit angles, and improperly taking on lead blocks. Too often did each of them take on the fullback or wrapping offensive lineman with the wrong shoulder, creating a crease for the back to get through. There were countless plays that both Harris and Scott should have made for 0-2 yard gains that turned into 5-7 yard gains as a result of this poor technique. Take a look below.
Here, Bart Scott over ran the play in his pursuit, causing him to attempt to adjust back to Hunter and make an arm tackle, which Hunter would run through with ease. A proper pursuit angle would have stopped Hunter at about the 32 yard line.
Here, David Harris seems to be demonstrating exactly how not to tackle. His head is down and his feet are not underneath him, allowing Gore to run past him with ease. Again, a gain of about a yard turns into 6. Crucial mistakes that were made all game and certainly were a key factor to the 49ers 245 yard rushing performance.
DeMario Davis finally saw extended reps on third down as pass rushing outside linebacker, with a bit of coverage responsibilities sprinkled in. He was ineffective as a pass rusher, but did nothing to hurt the team in coverage.
Secondary – LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell were relatively solid, however Landry did get beat a few times by Tight End Vernon Davis.
Antonio Cromartie was very solid filling in as the number one cornerback with Darrelle Revis out, despite giving up one medium range pass, that looked to be more of a result of zone coverage, rather than Cromartie getting beat.
Kyle Wilson will likely try to forget this performance, despite his antics throughout the game of celebrating overthrown wide receivers who were wide open as a result of beating the former first rounder out of Boise State in coverage. Wilson has been playing like a fourth round pick, rather than a first rounder so far this season, and that only became more apparent this past week.
What is really troubling is his lack of awareness. Early in the game, the outside and slot receivers ran crossing routes, with Wilson’s man running an out in the flat, and the inside receiver, seemingly belonging to Bart Scott, running deep. In what one would expect him to do, Scott switches to the receiver in the flat, while Wilson watches the inside man run right past him for a 26 yard completion.
At the top of the screen, you will notice Scott taking the receiver in the flat, with Wilson about five yards behind him realizing that he missed his assignment, Mario Manningham, who is wide open at the 42 yard line.
Wilson also joined the party of missed tackles on Sunday, with this horrible effort on Manningham’s 28 yard End Around.
Other than the lack of execution for the better part of 60 minutes on Sunday, what is very worrisome about this defense is what seems to be a lack of preparation. When San Francisco came out in the Wildcat, the formation the Jets were supposed to be specialists in, the defense was frantically screaming and adjusting their alignment as if they had never seen the formation before. One would think that a team that has been exposed to a formation in practice would have no problem defending it.
New York also showed absolutely no concept of assignment when San Francisco ran the option. On the first option play that brought the 49ers to the Jets 2 yard line, eventually setting up the 7 yard Kaepernick touchdown run, just about everyone on the defense bit on the dive, leaving Calvin Pace in the open field with both QB Alex Smith and the pitchman, WR Kyle Williams.
I am not sure if there is anyone in the league that can defend two guys with such athleticism, at once, in the open field, let alone Calvin Pace. Pace is forced to make a decision, going with Smith, and leaving Williams with no one within 10 yards of him, allowing the WR to make it to the Jets 2 yard line before he is touched.
Clearly, there are several issues with this defense. However, if there is anything positive to take from this performance, it is that the majority of these issues are fixable. The key moving forward will be how the personnel and coaching staff respond to this. The right pieces need to be put in the right places, and if the technique can be corrected, this unit can, at the least, be respectable again. If not, make no mistake, it is going to be a very ugly year for the New York Jets.

New York Jets Week 5 – Early Thoughts On Jets vs. Texans

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 5 match-up against the Houston Texans

There has been no game since Rex Ryan has taken over the New York Jets where the team has been a larger underdog and rightfully so. The Houston Texans are loaded and are likely the league’s best team, the Jets will be running out their weakest overall roster since the 2007 season. Here are some early thoughts on Jets/Texans – 

1. Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill’s status remains up in the air for this game. If they do not play, you are looking at a top three wide receivers of Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates with Jeff Cumberland at tight end. Wow. Needless to say, Tony Sparano is a complete moron if he thinks he can run a traditional offense with that collection of skill players (never-mind Shonn “2.8 YPC” Greene at halfback) and move the ball against Houston’s defense. It is time for a gadget play heavy, Wildcat infused, empty the kitchen sink approach.

I am talking about lining Joe McKnight at wide receiver since he is better at the position than Gates, along with throwing him screen passes and using him in the Wildcat. I am talking about having Tim Tebow running option to either side of the formation with McKnight, Bilal Powell or Jeremy Kerley. I am talking about making sure Kerley, the unit’s most proven playmaker, gets 8-12 touches between receptions and rushes. I am talking about halfback passes, jump passes, reverses and anything else that might catch Houston off guard. Drop in a full series of Tebow here and there. Do something. Just for the love of god, don’t come out and give Shonn Greene 14 carries for 27 yards and hope you can drop Sanchez back while relying on people like Clyde Gates to beat coverage.

2. The Jets 31st ranked rushing defense has to find a way to deal with Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Justin Forsett…three backs that are better than any back on their roster. Memo to Mike Tannenbaum – You need good running backs to Ground and Pound. There is no easy answer here. Try more 4-3 and 46 looks, get Kenrick Ellis in the starting line-up for an injured Sione Pouha and try to force Houston to throw the ball. When they do that, you have to hope Antonio Cromartie is up to the challenge of covering Andre Johnson and that Matt Schaub ignores throwing at Kyle Wilson for sympathy out of how awful he is.

3. The Jets special teams, which has been solid so far this year needs to come up with a few big plays. The only way this game is competitive is if they find ways to manufacture points through the return and kicking game.

4. Monday is really a matter of pride. The Jets have to know the whole country will be watching with glee hoping they get curb-stomped 47-0. Are they going to lay down and let that happen on national television in their own building or are they going to have some respect for themselves as professional athletes? We shall see.

Breaking Down the Jets Roster From Top To Bottom

Mike Donnelly takes a comedic look through the New York Jets current roster

There’s been an awful lot of talk the past few days about the Jets poorly constructed roster and the mind-blowing lack of depth. Readers of this site know we have been beating that drum for months, but after the humiliating loss to the 49ers last week and the crippling injuries to Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis, the spotlight is shining squarely on Mike Tannenbaum’s masterpiece.

There is no question at this point that he has done a terrible job the past two offseasons. Let me show you how poor this collection of “talent” is from top to bottom, as I rank all the players on the Jets roster from 1-53 and place them in one of five different categories. Keep in mind as we go through this that I’m being very generous in my letter grade evaluations of these players, especially the ones that I rank as “useful” when that may not exactly be the case (I’m looking at you, Calvin Pace). Also, after the top 15 or so, I started to become physically ill when trying to best rank these players because I thought I was in the 40’s already and wasn’t. Anyway, here are the five categories the players are placed in:

  • Category 1, The Darrelle Revis Division: An excellent NFL player who would either start for every team in the league, or would have any team in the league loving to get him (example: Quinton Coples falls into this category because of his potential, recent draft position, and big upside).
  • Category 2, The Dustin Keller Division: A solid NFL starter that just about any team in the NFL would like to have, or a player with a lot of value.
  • Category 3, The Mike DeVito Division: An average NFL player that has a role in the league and can contribute to a winning team.
  • Category 4, The Calvin Pace Division: A below average NFL player that shouldn’t be starting for any team, but could contribute in the right situation — in small doses — as a role player, or on special teams (shocker: We have a lot of these!)
  • Category 5, The Jeff Cumberland Division: Useless players – (double shocker: We have plenty of these, too!)

Let’s take a look. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these rankings as well in the comments or on Twitter.

CATEGORY 1, The Darrelle Revis Division

1. Darrelle Revis, A++. Obviously. One of the best players in the entire league.

2. Nick Mangold, A++. Best Center in the NFL, a true stud.

3. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, A. Slipped last year, but still an excellent Left Tackle.

4. Antonio Cromartie, A. Some don’t like him, but the fact is he’s one of the best corners in the NFL.

5. David Harris, A-. A top MLB, even if he’s not in the elite class.

6. Santonio Holmes, A-. Still a great WR when given the chance. Well maybe not anymore after this severe foot injury. At least he’s guaranteed $7.5 million next year, whether he plays or not, so that’s good…

7. Mo Wilkerson, A-/B+. Hasn’t dominated the way Jets fans hoped this year (yet), but he’s still an extremely promising lineman who has shown flashes of greatness.

8. Quinton Coples, A-/B+. Obviously we haven’t seen much yet, but the 2012 1st-round pick has a chance to be a star player. One of the few players on the roster all 31 other teams would take without thinking twice.

CATEGORY 2, The Dustin Keller Division

9. Laron Landry, B. A Godsend for the Jets D this year, despite his injury-prone past and not being the best in coverage. That he’s that high on the list speaks more to the rest of the crappy roster than his own play though, unfortunately.

10. Dustin Keller, B. Solid TE, but far from elite. Can’t block and doesn’t have great size.

11. Sione Pouha, B. Off to a slow start due to a back injury, but an elite run stuffer when healthy.

12. Stephen Hill, B-. Sure, the 2nd round pick can’t catch, but he has a ton of potential and any team would take him.

13. Brandon Moore, B-. His run blocking has slipped, but he’s still an above average Guard.

CATEGORY 3, The Mike DeVito Division

14. Mark Sanchez, B-/C+. I believe Sanchez will be a very good QB in this league. Unfortunately, I’m starting to think it won’t be with the Jets, who have absolutely mishandled him from the get-go and failed to develop him.

15. Demario Davis, C+. I think I speak for most Jets fans when I say I’m looking forward to seeing him play the rest of the season. Sadly, like Landry, his high placement on this list has more to do with the other players below him than what we’ve seen from Davis himself. Has a lot of potential.

16. Kenrick Ellis, C+. Ditto everything I said about Demario Davis.

17. Jeremy Kerley, C+. Kerley shouldn’t be the 17th best player on any team, despite his solid punt returning ability and slot receiver skills.

18. Mike DeVito, C. Solid run stuffer on the D-Line.

19. Kyle Wilson, C. I wanted to put this waste of a 1st-round pick lower, but…

20. Shonn Greene, C. See? It’s really a tossup at this point. Greene is the definition of an average running back right now. In the right situation he could still be very productive, though. This Jets team, unfortunately, is not the right situation.

21. Yeremiah Bell, C. Solid veteran safety. Nothing special. At #22. Thanks Mike Tannenbaum!

22. Aaron MaybinC. I think this is a fine spot for our pass rush specialist with 0 sacks.

23. Nick Folk, C. Folk has quietly become a very good kicker here. And yes, our average kicker is this high on the list. I wonder where Lawrence Tynes would rank on the Giants?

24. Matt Slauson, C. As average of an average lineman as you’ll see. We’re only up to #24, and it’s Matt freakin’ Slauson. Tan-Nen-Baum! Tan-Nen-Baum!

CATEGORY 4, The Calvin Pace Division

25. Joe McKnight, C. A great kick returner, but he apparently sucks so much as a Running Back that they wanted him to play Corner after he couldn’t get on the field for a team averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

26. Bilal Powell, C-. How many other teams would have their fans clamoring to see Bilal Powell run the ball more? I can’t think of many.

27. Tim Tebow, C-. Yeahhhh, I got nothin to say here. You know the deal with Tebow. If he can’t heal Revis or Holmes by touching their injured body parts, then there’s not much use for him on this team. Then again, he did lay some pretty sweet weak side blocks last week!

28. Calvin Pace, C-. Wanted to put him lower, but how could I when I look at this list? Make no mistake about it, though: Calvin Pace absolutely brings nothing at this stage of his career.

29. Bart Scott, C-/D+. It pains me to say it, but it’s over for Bart. It’s to the point now I want him off the team just so I no longer have to read corny jokes like this from writers who think they’re hilarious:

30. Tanner Purdum, D+. Great long snapper, gotta admit that!

31. Eric Smith, D+. Good special teamer, terrible safety. Certainly not worth $2.5 million/year. How are we not in the 40’s yet?

32. Austin Howard, D+. Perhaps he can develop, but as it stands now the best thing that can be said about him is that he isn’t Wayne Hunter.

33. Chaz Schilens, D+. It shows how terrible the Jets offensive weapons are that some fans are really pushing to see more of Chaz.

34. Josh Bush, D+. He was a Jets draft pick, so chances are he will be released soon.

35. Bryan Thomas, D. If Bryan Thomas was a dog, Rex Ryan would bring him out behind the shed and shoot him. It’s over.

36. Greg McElroy, D. Can be a solid backup QB for a few years here, and that ain’t bad!

37. Josh Mauga, D. I mean, I guess this is a good spot for him?

38. Nick Bellore, D. If Bellore and Mauga switched uniforms, would anybody tell the difference? And yes, this is the part of the roster rundown where I’d recommend you start drinking.

39. Jason Smith, D. At least he’s not Wayne Hunter.

40. Vlad Ducasse, D. It’s pretty hilarious to think back to Draft Day 2010 when the Jets were rumored to be looking at him in the 1st round. Shouldn’t it have raised some flags that he was still around when they picked late in round 2 and several linemen went instead? The reason is because he sucks. He sucked then, and he sucks now.

41. Robert Malone, D. He’s actually been really good this season. If he keeps it up, he can be much higher on this list later this year. Sadly, that’s not much of a compliment. On a side note, I would like to start calling him “Mayday” though, which will be fun when he punts 17 times a game.

42. John Conner, D-. I told you I was going to be generous with my grades. He’s useless on offense, but he’s still a solid special-teamer! I might as well be picking names out of a hat at this point to fill out the list.

43. Caleb Schlauderaff, D-. Honestly, I didn’t bother to even make sure that’s how you spell his name. That’s really all you need to know about the guy that Mike Tannenbaum FOR SOME REASON has a hard-on for and calls out by name in every interview for being a great depth player (his “next Victor Cruz!” obsession). Somehow, he’s not one of the 10 worst players on the team.

CATEGORY 5, The Jeff Cumberland Division

44. Garrett McIntyre, F. – A useless player. How are there 9 players worse than him on this team? If you increased your drinking rate at this point while reading, I don’t blame you.

45. Damon Harrison, F. – His only skill appears to be that he’s a big fat guy. 8 more to go!

46. Konrad Reuland, F. I actually don’t hate this guy. He can be useful in small doses.

47. Ellis Lankster, F. He showed last week why he should never, ever be on the field for defense.

48. Jonathan Grimes, F. I’ve never even seen him play, but he can’t be worse than the last 5 guys.

49. Isaiah Trufant, F-. He’s a poor man’s Ellis Lankster. And considering Lankster has a homeless man’s amount of ability, I’m not even sure what that would make Trufant.

50. Jeff Cumberland, F-. An absolutely useless player in every sense of the word. Can’t block, can’t catch, can’t play special teams. Other than that, Tannenbaum hit a home run with this guy!

51. Clyde Gates, F-. Because not everyone can be ranked last, right??

52. Lex Hilliard, F– Sigh.

53. Dedrick Epps, F- –. That’s right, he gets two minuses for being the 53rd man on the team with the worst depth in the NFL. He seriously wouldn’t even play for the University of Alabama I don’t think.

And there you have it. The roster with the worst depth in the NFL run  down from 1-53. It’s become painfully clear that the roster was poorly constructed, there was no plan (and still isn’t), and that there isn’t much hope for an immediate turnaround. We’d love to hear thoughts from everyone on this.

Turn On The Jets “Offensive” Film Breakdown – Jets vs. 49ers

A breakdown of the “offensive” game film from Jets vs. 49ers

The New York Jets didn’t play much, if any at all, NFL offense this past Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. However, that didn’t stop us from subjecting ourselves to the offensive game film. Make sure to check back later for when Chris Gross breaks down the defensive game film. Also check out our latest deal from Night Out at Tammany Hall Tavern. Make sure to take advantage for when you are watching the games this weekend –

Mark Sanchez – Without question, this was the worst game Mark Sanchez has played this season and maybe in his NFL career and he has had some bad ones. The problems started right on the first drive when the Jets had already passed the 50 by virtue of Jim Harbaugh not challenging a long completion to Chaz Schilens when Sanchez was across the line of scrimmage. Harbaugh probably knew he could afford to give up those yards with the offense he was facing all day. On a 3rd and 2, Tony Sparano makes a terrific play call that gets Santonio Holmes wide open over the middle of the field. Wide open. Open enough that if he catches it, he probably has the Jets down around the 20 yard line because of all the space behind him.

For some reason, Sanchez doesn’t even turn his head to look at Holmes, who is the primary option on the play. He holds the ball excessively long waiting for Jeff Cumberland out to the left to break open and then steps up in the pocket, still has time to get it to an open Holmes and then takes a sack. This play set the tone for the whole day for Sanchez who was skittish and not on the same page with his receivers.

Later in the half, with the Jets again driving Sanchez faced another third down. This time, the play call and the routes were not great. San Francisco had every Jets every blanketed. Sanchez has enough time to recognize this and either throw the ball away or dive forward for a short gain to set up a field goal.

We all know what happens. He shows no ball security by not tucking it away and is hit from behind for a fumble. This is a rookie level mistake and completely inexcusable. Sanchez came out in the second half and actually made his best throw of the day, a 14 yard deep out route to Chaz Schilens. This was the only time he looked like a NFL quarterback on Sunday, executing a play-action and delivering a perfectly timed bullet to him.

Tony Sparano followed this play up with a well-timed screen pass to Shonn Greene. This play was wide open and set up perfectly. Even the NFL’s slowest back, Greene, could have picked up 20-25 yards here. However, with a pass rusher in his face Mark Sanchez fades away and doesn’t put enough air under the ball. In this situation, he needs to either slide away to get Greene the football or stand tall, take the hit and get more air under it.

Of course we know he didn’t and from this point on, Sanchez was completely checked out of the game. He could not buy a completion and wasn’t even really looking down the field at all.

Receivers – The only positive praise you will see in this article is for Chaz Schilens. I mentioned this last week and it showed again, Schilens runs sharp routes and plays with confidence. He looks like a NFL receiver out there, which is saying something on this Jets offense. He can be a productive number two or number three, although he unfortunately might be stretched too thin with Santonio Holmes now hurt.

The Jets don’t ask Jeremy Kerley to do enough. He can bring more to the offense than running 4 yard option routes. He needs to be sent down the field more and worked into there Wildcat package as a runner. Patrick Turner, who is now cut, looked how you would expect him to look after not being on the roster the past few weeks.

The tight end issues remain the same. Jeff Cumberland, to his credit, caught the ball well and broke a few tackles. However, remains utterly incompetent when it comes to blocking. His route running is also inconsistent and frequently throws off the timing and rhythm of the passing game.

Running Back – Different week. Same story. There was less room than ever for the Jets running backs this week but they continued to leave yards on the field. Shonn Greene might need 500 carries this season to crack 1,000 yards. This was a disappointing game for Bilal Powell who left more yards on the field than he has in previous weeks. The Jets have signed Lex Hilliard this week and he should be starting over John Conner by this Monday night.

Offensive Line – This was the poorest effort of the season from this unit. Nick Mangold had maybe his worst game as a pro. He was thrown around the field way more than we’ve ever seen. Matt Slauson and Vlad Ducasse are basically splitting reps at this point but both are way too inconsistent and give up pressure routinely. This was a decent game for both of the Jets tackles, considering the defense they went against, it is hard to get down on Austin Howard.

New York Jets Running Out Of Hands To Play

TJ Rosenthal on what solutions remain for the New York Jets

As news of Santonio Holmes reportedly being out for the season hits the twittersphere today, one thing is for certain. The Jets are staring desperation in the face because they gambled too much. Playing roulette senselessly with their roster on offense in a variety of ways since the 2011 season ended. The Jets put way too much faith in younger, unproven players on that side of the ball . This while stubbornly overvaluing the talent level of some slated to be key pieces. The Jets armed themselves with no security against injuries and shoddy play on offense, through any addition of proven veteran backups as well. Some would even say they chose style over substance in one major case too. Now, the Jets have limited ideas left to try, based on who they currently possess. Their schemes have yielded 16 points over the past 33 possessions, and they have few new ways to turn. Many thought the Jets would fail to survive the first five games this season but the truth is, they actually will. Being at worst after next Monday night, just one game back in the AFC East. The sad part though, is that even though they are currently in a three way tie for first, and 2-0 in the division, the mood going forward has rightfully become desperate, when it didn’t have to be .

Many of the Jets senseless rolls of the dice, have now led them spiraling towards a reality that, barring any shotgun wedding signings these next few days, they will be facing the undefeated Texans on Monday night with: a QB fighting for his job and in a fog, no pass rush, the worst run defense in football, a no named receiving corps, and a backfield that averages just 86.5 yards per game. With Darrelle Revis gone and Holmes probably now as well, the road to the playoffs is practically unforeseeable. The Jets could have prepared better.

Here are some of the moves we would’ve avoided:

Signing Tim Tebow, But Not Adding A Top Running Back or Wide Receiver:

Seeing him as a playmaker who could aid a pedestrian run game, create energy and provide clutch plays, we were all for the signing of Tim Tebow back in March. We felt that Mark Sanchez was better and unthreatened at the time anyway, and the Jets would be able to handle the sideshow that comes with “Tebowmania.” After all, they are a franchise built for endless media coverage. Others who disagree, saying the move was solely done to sell tickets, have a right to feel that way too. What neither side of the Tebow debate could predict was, that no quality depth would be added to the WR corps or backfield AFTER he became a Jet

Was Tebow seriously the only major skill position addition the Jets would make in the offseason? Yes. THAT was the most inexcusable part of the Tebow signing to us.

Letting Stephen Hill Start at WR2, Instead of a Proven Veteran:

Braylon Edwards who had great chemistry with Mark Sanchez in 2009-2010 (how many receivers can you say THAT about), was available this summer. So too was Plaxico Burress, who helped the Jets out tremendously in the red zone just last year and to this day, remains unsigned. Plax and the Jets were, and probably still are at odds over some things that took place in 2011, but business is business, right? Not everyone has to love each other all the time.

Terrell Owens. Chad Johnson. Individually, aging headaches in their own right for sure. Neither causing the need to reach for the advil though more than getting goose egged at home has.

All three are certainly servicable and were cheap enough weeks back, to financially have made sense as 4-6 game starters to kick off 2012. Thus allowing Hill some time to grow and get comfortable. What was this dying need to thrust Hill into the starting role, where rough games were bound to happen early as experienced cornerbacks taught him hard lessons about the NFL?

Chaz Schilens, Patrick Turner were on the roster from the start of training camp but they had never proven anything as pros to this point. These two as starters, would have been the same to us as Hill getting the nod. In sum, there were other options aside from chucking a rookie WR not known for receptions, into the fire on a “must win now” team. Those options could have come from the outside.

Wayne Hunter and Shonn Greene: Examples of Overvaluing Your Own Roster

The Jets were steadfast on believing that RT Wayne Hunter would rebound. Shipping Hunter to the Rams after realizing he wouldn’t, and replacing him with Austin Howard, luckily came in the nick of time. Yet didn’t it provide us all with a window into the cocksure mindset of Jets brass, who overshot their view of other positions too? Ones that are REALLY hurting the Jets right now?

Like starting running back for example?

Shonn Greene was, and can still be, a terrific compliment to a rushing attack that is rolling downhill late in games. Buying into the concept that he was the bell cow back who had to be fed 25 plus carries, the way the Jets did heading into the year though, WAS INSANE. Greene gets nicked up too often first off all. Secondly, he doesn’t gain enough yards on his own after he passes the line of scrimmage. Finally, HE HAS ALREADY HAD HIS CHANCE to take over for Thomas Jones as the feature back twice. In both years LT had to take the reigns and bail Greene and the Jets out.

What were the Jets thinking in going with a run heavy approach that featured Greene, with an unproven Bilal Powell, and never used Joe McKnight behind him? This while opting NOT to add to a backfield that originally was slated to carry the offense, with proven guys like Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant who were out there. After productive players like BenJarvus Green-Ellis signed as free agents elsewhere?

Refusing to Add Depth on Offense:

Burress, Owens, Johnson, Benson, Grant. There were others too who may have better equipped the Jets forsome rainy day alternative. Instead, the Jets took a huge uneeded risk in blindly assuming that there would be no need for any plan B. Now as a result, we have to give you plan C:

Our ideas for what can be done, based on the roster as it exists now.

Ideas Anyone?

Before we bring you into the lab of madness let us first acknowledge that without improved play from Sanchez, better tackling, a semblance of a pass rush, and the continued health of the starters on the offensive line, these hairbrained ideas designed to help move the offense along won’t matter. Assuming that the aforementioned areas DO gain some traction, why not try these in addition:

After all, it’s about one thing: Playmakers.

Give Tebow Extended Drives, Not Plays:

We don’t love it either, but do you have a better idea for making plays on a team that will line up Schilens, Kerley and Cumberland a good portion of the time without Holmes, Hill and Keller? We don’t. Let 15 run the wildcat and just do what he does, backyard style. Fist pumping and inaccurate throwing included. Maybe the chains will move after the stadium ground shakes from the energy that this guy brings to a stadium. No one else on the Jets does THAT as well as Tebow. Not even close.

We’re not saying bench Sanchez. We ARE saying use Tebow. If he scores and there is a controversy, so what. We’d rather hear talk about “who should play QB” after a touchdown than after a shutout.

Powell and McKnight Time: 

Stop worrying about fumbles from RB’s 2 and 3 and change the damn backfield depth chart already. The Jets should worry more that Shonn Greene is rushing for 2.8 yards a game again. Constant three and outs are bleeding the Jets to death anyway and have done so for almost two years straight now. One common thread that ties this 20-plus game stretch together is Greene as the primary back. Let’s see if Powell can be shiftier than Greene is, while giving McKnight a shot to finally to get a groove going. One that can yield some big plays on the ground with speed. As much as the Jets seem adamantly against the thought of such a thing.

Add recently acquired Johnathan Grimes to the active roster too. He was behind Foster and Ben Tate in Houston, so maybe some of that Texan running magic has rubbed off on him. As for Greene? Let him sit, wait, and marinate. See if some sideline time adds to some extra yardage the next time he carries the rock. A little anger mixed in with some fatigue on the opposing team’s defense…Perhaps that can help up that paltry ypc average.

Go To A Three (Four) Wide Speed Package:

Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight, Clyde Gates: What these three have in common besides owning less than 20 NFL catches combined is foot speed. With Keller and the WR’s injured, and the running backs struggling, how about Tony Sparano creating some sets for the little guys? If one can somehow catch a pass against a LB in a one on one mismatch, then the Jets could wind up with scoring shots in the red zone thanks to one play. Foregoing the constant need for long drives and a plethora of weaponry.

We know these little guys are little known and that McKnight is really a running back, or cornerback or, well, what is he now exactly? All kidding aside, the point is, that there are so few edges the Jets have on paper, that to not consider bunching this group together just seems lazy at this point. Rumor has it that Schilens is also fast for a big guy. We haven’t seen examples of it yet, but if it’s true, then go four wide and add him into the group.

Send some deep and others over the line of scrimmage racing around, while searching for some open space. Together.

Grab Some Free Agents This Week:

The Jets don’t seem to want to grab any vets for offense. Defense, yes. Aaron Berry, welcome to the Jets world. Offense? No. Either that, or they are Alexander Hamilton, and the NFL is Aaron Burr. Quicker draws to the punch.

WR Jabar Gaffney just got signed by Miami as we speak. Burress, Owens and Johnson are still out there. Roy Williams. So is one time star TE Chris Cooley who on one leg, still has to be more agile than Jeff Cumberland has been for the Jets in the passing game. There’s also Kevin Faulk, Chester Taylor. Don’t laugh, you get the get the point. We are not looking for a ten year deal for any of these fellas. Just an ounce of quality over 12 games at low financial risk.

We wish it was done months ago, but with the dearth of healthy proven guys, there still has to be an upside to adding one or a few of these graybeards.

Trader Mike, Take A Shot Downfield

Mike Tannenbaum for all of the blame he will take if this season crashes on the runway, has to get on the phone and at least try. He has pulled last minute moves out of thin air before.

Brett Favre anyone?

Lets assume the Jets GM is giving the trade route a go as we speak. With the Jets WR situation looking so bleak, he should dial up the receiver rich Saints and the receiver deep Eagles first. Maybe there is one to be had for a 2nd round pick.

Tanny should also look around the league for any disgruntled receivers who want out of their situation. There HAS to be a useful player out of this hypothetical group who could be plucked for the right late round pick in exchange.

Let Coples and Davis Play Now:

First round pick Quinton Coples and LB Demario Davis are the future of the Jets defense, but it’s been four games. Let them play more now. Alot of the vets on the front seven are looking slower. Why else have there been so many missed tackles and two hundred thousand yards gained on the ground by opponent RB’s so far? Let the kids play. Do it, and also be willing to accept some rookie mistakes, in exchange for some added motivation, and fresh legs.

Plan D:

The Doomsday Plan:

Plan D’s include starting QB changes.Tebow for Sanchez, even 3rd string QB Greg McElroy for Tebow AND Sanchez (or call that plan E). Cromartie plays both ways, and any other Pop Warner craziness one could imagine. You get where we’re headed.

Plan D is the blueprint designed to be unveiled when all hope for the postseason is lost. Some of these concepts though, could happen if the Jets fall to barely breathing at 2-6 heading into the bye week. Just to keep interest at Met Life stadium.

In Parting…

Players get hurt. Others don’t play well. This happens to every franchise. The Jets could have provided better security for themselves regarding injuries, experience and production way back before the season started. Since they chose not to, they now have to take the scarce proven resources they have, and look to make something of them. The same old plays aren’t working. The same old players aren’t either. It’s time to give alot of unproven NFL players the Jets have and Tim Tebow a shot, and it’s time to alter other parts of the 53 man roster. Which includes offically putting Revis on IR.

The Jets took too many risks with their roster choices on offense for no reason leading up to week one. Now they have to live with it, and take some risks ON the field. While trying to stay afloat in the AFC at the same time. If the season crashes, they may find they’ll have nobody to blame but themselves.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Fire Sale Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch. Where everything must go!

At this point there isn’t a whole heck of a lot left to say about the debacle of a game last week against the 49ers that hasn’t already been said by everyone. Sanchez stunk. The run game is crap. The wide receivers wouldn’t even start for the University of Alabama. The tight ends wouldn’t even MAKE the University of Alabama team. The linebackers should be put out to pasture. There is no pass rush. Kyle Wilson is yet another blemish on Mike Tannenbaum’s draft record. Ah yes, Mike Tannenbaum, the General Manager who refused to read my letter to him before the season. Perhaps he should have heeded my advice, because I warned him in that letter that the complete and utter lack of a plan on this team was going to get him fired, and it’s looking like that’s going to be the case. (Crossing my fingers.)

Rather than buy and sell, or more accurately just sell everything from last week’s performance, I’m going to run down the things I’m buying for the rest of the season and what I — and all Jets fans — should be hoping to see from here on out.

BUY: Mark Sanchez start every game – I don’t care how bad he looked last week (and even the most ardent Sanchez supporter would have to say he played poorly), he is the best option for this team at quarterback. Tim Tebow is not the solution long-term so what is the point? Greg McElroy isn’t the answer, unless the question is “Who should be the backup quarterback next season?”. Let’s see if Sanchez can make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. His receivers without Holmes are terrible. TERRIBLE. His right tackle is terrible. His tight ends with Keller out are terrible. Actually “terrible” isn’t even a strong enough word for Jeff Cumberland and Dedrick Epps. I’d need to combine several gross words to describe them. They’re terribawfulcrap. The run game is an embarrassment to run games. I wouldn’t even call it a “run game” because what they do isn’t running the ball as much as much as it’s just slowly falling forward each time it’s handed off. The point is, Sanchez has the worst supporting cast around him in the NFL at this point. Let’s see if he can play well despite that and earn the trust of the coaching staff and fan base going forward. I’m still a believer.

BUY: Powell, McKnight, and Grimes at RB – Nobody defended Shonn Greene more than me heading into this season, but it’s over. He’s a complementary back, and it won’t be for the Jets going forward so there’s not much of a point to seeing him plod ahead and fall down for 3 yards over and over. We know what he can do. He’s still a useful player in the right situation, and if the Jets were good still, I’d be saying he should definitely be getting plenty of touches. But the Jets aren’t good. Let’s see if Bilal Powell can be next season’s starter. Let’s FINALLY see what Joe McKnight can do — on offense, not as a cornerback. And let’s see if this Jonathan Grimes character off the Texans practice squad can offer anything at all. Why not, right?

BUY: Hill, Kerley, Schilens at WR – Could this be considered a “good” group of WR’s? No of course not. That’s a laughable thought. It’s probably the worst group in the NFL. But there certainly isn’t much of a point to bringing in Terrell Owens or Plaxico Burress is there? Could a guy like Plax help this team go from a 5 win team to a 6 win team? Perhaps, but in the long run that hurts us. Let the young guys play and hope they improve enough to be reliable contributors next season, especially Hill. It’s a good thing Mike Tannenbaum loaded this roster with #4 receivers though, isn’t it? Any time you can give your starting QB two #4 receivers, a solid slot guy, and a #142 tight end to throw to, you do it and wait for the wins to pile up!

BUY: Vlad Ducasse at Guard – Gulp. Yes, I said it. If the team is going to pretend Vlad Ducasse is a real NFL player and hope none of us notice, then let’s freaking see it. Throw the big oaf out there and let’s see if he can manage to not get any of his teammates killed. And if he trips and falls over Jeff Cumberland and knocks him out a few weeks, then at least we can say Vlad finally contributed to the team.

BUY: Quinton Coples – !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I know it’s a novel concept, but let’s play our first round pick who just happens to be our ONLY threat as a pass rusher up front. Last week the Jets had 3 pressures, which sadly is not a misprint. Anyway, Coples had 2 of them in limited action. Let’s see more 4-man fronts, and I don’t want to hear about how Coples struggles against the run for two reasons. 1) I don’t even think that’s true, and 2) Even if it is true, are Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and Garrett McIntyre doing ANYTHING out there that would make you think they deserve snaps? Speaking of which..

BUY: Aaron Maybin – Same logic as with Coples, really. He can rush the passer, which the Jets seem to be allergic to. And sure he sucks against the run, but here’s the thing: SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE! Who cares? Maybe he’ll manage to create some havoc and get into the backfield for a change. And if he doesn’t, there’s really not much difference than the other guys.

BUY: Demario Davis at LB – It sure would be nice to see a linebacker who doesn’t need a sun dial to time his 40 yard dash, wouldn’t it? I know I’ve used that joke before, but I will continue to do so until it isn’t relevant to the Jets roster. The linebackers are ssslllloooooowwwww. If it was 1988, then having all these big, slow as crap linebackers would probably be a good thing. But it’s not 1988, and it’s definitely not a good thing.

BUY: Aaron Berry at CB – Kyle Wilson sucks. I was hoping against hope that it wasn’t true, but it is. The guy looks like he has absolutely no clue what he’s doing out there. And after watching him finger-wag Mario Manningham last week after getting absolutely torched repeatedly, he makes me think he’s the worst kind of suck too. He legitimately thinks he’s good and has a major false sense of accomplishment. Considering he’ll be out of the league in 2 years, I hope he saved up some of that big bag of money that Mike Tannenbaum gave him. Aaron Berry is a horrible human being, but he was a pretty solid cornerback for Detroit and likely will help more as a nickel back between Revis and Cromartie than Wilson ever did.

BUY: A high draft pick – Sadly, it’s looking like the team that was oh-so-close just two years ago is completely shot. The team needed to be re-tooled over the past two offseasons at several key positions like linebacker, offensive line, and running back, but it never happened. Draft busts like Kyle Wilson, Vlad Duacasse, and pretty much all the running backs that Tannenbaum loves collecting have been useless. There is no depth, no talent on offense, little talent on defense, and our star player in Darrelle Revis is injured. As a fan, it’s impossible to root against the Jets when they play on Sundays, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if this ends in 5-11 or something like that. Tannenbaum will likely be canned, veterans like Pace and Scott and their big contracts with be purged, and things will look much different next year. Hopefully all these injuries and subpar performances land us a really high draft pick for the first time since 2008 so even our pathetic scouting department can’t mess it up.

Oh wait, that year we drafted Vernon Gholston. We are doomed.