Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 6/19 – Wilkerson, Schilens, & Braylon

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch. Who are we buying and selling this week?

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch, make sure you give Mike a follow on Twitter and Turn On The Jets a follow on Facebook – 

It’s Tuesday so you know what that means: Time to combine the two things that take up most of my time and write a column! What are those two things you ask? Well, there’s sports of course, and specifically Jets football and then there’s boring financial work (Boo!). When put together we have the Stock Watch, where once again we’ll be buying and selling sports players, teams, ideas, and whatever else we see fit as if such things are able to be bought and sold. What’s that sound? It’s the Opening Bell! Let’s get started…

BUY

Mo Wilkerson – I put big Mo in the inaugural Stock Watch, but after seeing him up close at Jets Camp last week and reading the effusive praise rained on him by coaches, players, reporters, fans, analysts, and everybody in between, it’s time to double up and go in big on Big Mo. After coming out as a Junior from Temple, Wilkerson had a very strong rookie season (Had he stayed in school an extra year, he probably would have gone much higher in the draft this year).

By all accounts, he worked out extremely hard in the offseason to improve his strength, and he appears poised for big things. In fact, he, along with Quinton Coples, are going to be extremely important parts of the Jets new 46 defense. Mo’s athleticism and versatility will be the key to opening everything up up front. He can line up at any spot across the defensive line and that allows the Jets to shift in and out of different looks without having to change personnel. By the end of this year, Mo is going to be one of those guys that a few smart analysts and sites like ProFootballFocus.com will be raving about, while the uninformed general public will probably be late to the party and scoff when Rex Ryan raves about him. Thats fine by me. I’ll be watching, and I’ll be loving what I see — That’s why I’m doubling up this stock.

Robert Allen Dickey – More commonly known as R.A, Mr. Dickey has been absolutely dominating baseball lately. He’s riding a 42 and 2/3 inning wave where he hasn’t allowed an earned run. In his last 6 starts, he’s pitched 48 and 2/3 innings, allowed just a single earned run, gone 6-0, allowed just 21 hits and 5 walks, and struck out a ridiculous 63 batters. Ho. Ly. Crap. On the season he’s 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA and is hands-down the best pitcher in baseball. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even able to make an awful Mets team out of spring training two years ago. R.A Dickey has been so awesome he makes me want to go outside and start practicing knuckleballs, and that’s enough to make me buy this stock.

Chaz Schilens – An under-the-radar type signing this offseason by the Jets, Schilens was pretty impressive at Jets mini-camp. In fact, he was so impressive that the Jets decided not to pursue Braylon Edwards any longer (more on that later). Schilens has always shown flashes of his great ability, but injuries have always popped up to derail any momentum he got going. The Jets brought in new receivers coach Sanjay Lal this year from Oakland where he happened to coach Chaz. Obviously Lal felt Schilens had talent and was worth bringing here, so now he’s a Jet. It’s hard to rely on a rookie like Stephen Hill from the get go, so look for Chaz to play a big role this year, especially early in the season. If he can stay healthy, this will be a nice stock to own.

My meeting with Manish Mehta being chronicled on Deadspin – Perhaps this is a stock that interests only me, but oh well. For those that missed it, I suggest giving it a read, if only for the part about Gary Myers’ hilarious fashion choices. As some of you know, I reported on my day at Jets Mini-Camp last week as well, but make sure you check back tomorrow for this week’s Jets Power Rankings, where there will be plenty more to discuss.

SELL

The Buffalo Bills Hype – I was all prepared to write up a paragraph about how this Bills hype is getting out of control and there’s no way they are better than the Jets, but Joe put that baby to rest yesterday. Make sure you give that a read, as he covered all the bases and totally derailed the Bills Hype Train.

Braylon Edwards – It’s hard to believe that two years ago, Braylon was entering the 2010 season as the Jets co-#1 receiver and the front office was rumored to be struggling with who to sign long-term: Edwards or Santonio Holmes. After a very good season in which he approached 1,000 yards and played an integral role in the Jets playoff run, the Jets decided to go with Holmes and let Edwards go. He then allegedly got involved in a bar brawl — which was not what teams wanted to hear after his early season DUI arrest –and signed a one-year contract with the 49ers, injured his knee, barely contributed, and then get released mid-season. Now he can’t find a job. Yikes. Braylon was one of my favorite players, so I hope things turn around for him, but it sure doesn’t look too good right now.

Jets #2 TE Spot – I touched on this in my Day at Jets Camp piece, but man oh man is this spot a black hole right now. Jeff Cumblerland, by all accounts including my own, was absolutely awful last week. He dropped a ton of passes and got chewed out by Tony Sparano often. Hayden Smith has potential, but doesn’t seem ready. Josh Baker is not a true tight end. They need to really look into picking up a veteran, preferably one who can block. Perhaps Daniel Graham? The only positive here is that Matt Mulligan was hilariously snatched up by Brian Schottenheimer and the Rams this offseason (that explains a lot) so he won’t be in that role, and that’s something we can all be grateful for.

Idea that the Jets need another RB – Joe wrote a great article about this last week which was very convincing, but I respectfully disagree. I just don’t see the point in bringing in someone like Cedric Benson, paying him, and giving him carries over Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, and Terrance Ganaway. I know this idea has picked up steam amongst fans lately, but why not see what the young guys can do? Benson hasn’t averaged over 4 yards per carry since 2009, isn’t a good receiver, the Bengals couldn’t wait to dump him, and he doesn’t offer anything on special teams — and yet he’s actually the best option still available. I’ll pass on the veterans. The Jets have invested draft picks on these young guys, and it’s time to see what they can do.

James Harden – I tweeted about this during and after Game 3 of the NBA Finals, but when was the last time you saw a supposed “star player” not named LeBron James have such a bad NBA Finals performance? He was brutal and single-handedly cost the Thunder a 2-1 advantage. Hopefully someone got him a new bed in the past few days because he completely shit the bed all over his old one (By the way, is there a funnier term for failure than “shit the bed”?). If the Thunder are going to have a chance to win this series, Harden is going to have to do better than 2-10 shooting, but quite frankly, I’m not so sure he’s going to bounce back. I’d sell my Beard stock.

The New York Jets Are The Second Best Team In The AFC East

A case against Buffalo being ranked as the second best team in the AFC East

An ongoing narrative this off-season in the NFL has been a love affair with the Buffalo Bills, who have been crowned by many as New England’s biggest threat in the AFC East and a sleeper Super Bowl contender. The consensus seems to be that the New York Jets window has closed and the Bills are ready to overtake them in the divisional standings. Where does the logic of this thinking come from?

Apparently Buffalo is going to have an elite defense this year despite finishing 26th in team defense last season. The reason? They signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to boost their defensive line and drafted corner Stephon Gilmore in the first round.

The problem is that Williams received the largest contract in NFL history for a defensive player despite having his tackles, sacks and forced fumbles decline every single year since 2008, while his missed games increased simultaneously.

  • 2008 – 53 tackles, 12 sacks, 4 forced fumbles (missed 0 games)
  • 2009 – 43 tackles, 9 sacks, 2 forced fumbles (missed 0 games)
  • 2010 – 28 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble (missed 3 games due to injury)
  • 2011 – 11 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumble (missed 11 games due to injury)

Mark Anderson had 10 sacks last season for the New England Patriots but the red flag is that in the five seasons before he totaled 13.5 sacks. Kind of sounds like a one year Belichick wonder, no? Gilmore is a rookie and even Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the NFL didn’t have an enormous impact in his rookie season…certainly not enough to carry a defensive unit from 26th to the top five.

You can excuse my hesitance in crowning the Bills as an elite defense, especially when comparing them to the Jets. In case you were under some other misconception, the Jets finished 5th in the NFL in total defense last season and they added Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry, Quinton Coples in the first round and Demario Davis in the third round. They are also coached by Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine who have a bit more of an impressive defensive pedigree in the NFL than Dave Wannstedt, the Bills current defensive coordinator.

Logic says the Jets will have a better defense than the Buffalo Bills. So the Bills must have a clear advantage on offense, right? Funny enough, everybody talks about the questions the Jets have at quarterback while ignoring the glaring question mark Buffalo has. Here are two sets of stats –

Quarterback 1

  • 2009 – 8 starts, 4-4 record, 1,422 yards, 9 TDs, 10 INTs
  • 2010 – 13 starts, 4-9 record, 3,000 yards, 23 TDs, 15 INTs
  • 2011 – 16 starts, 6-10 record, 3,832 yards, 24 TDs, 23 INTs

Quarterback 2

  • 2009 – 15 starts, 8-7 record, 2,444 yards, 12 TDs, 20 INTs – 2 road playoff wins
  • 2010 – 16 starts, 11-5 record, 3,291 yards, 17 TDs, 13 INTs – 2 road playoff wins
  • 2011 – 16 starts, 8-8 record, 3,474 yards, 26 TDs, 18 INTs

Shouldn’t there be more questions about quarterback 1 than quarterback 2? Ryan Fitzpatrick’s career highlights are playing 3 good games in September last season and he is considered a sure thing at quarterback? I’ll take Mark Sanchez, who didn’t just out-perform Fitzpatrick statistically last season but beat him twice head to head and has four road playoff wins to boot.

Surrounding Fitzpatrick, Buffalo has an average group of receivers, and an offensive line that doesn’t have anybody near Nick Mangold or D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s caliber of talent, and a very good duo of running backs in Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller who have durability issues.

On the whole, everybody is falling in love with a team who lost 8 of their last 9 games last season, hasn’t had a winning record since 2004, went 1-5 against the AFC East last season and is led by a Head Coach who has never won a playoff game. Buffalo is 2-10 over the past two years in the division and they are supposed to pressure New England this season?

If you remove the anti-Sanchez/I hate Rex Ryan because he talks too much bias, there is no logical reason to pick Buffalo to finish ahead of the Jets this season. The Jets project to have a better defense, a better quarterback, a better offensive line, a better group of receivers and to play better in the division.

A Visit To Florham Park: Observations From Jets Mini-Camp

TOJ’s Mike Donnelly spent the day in Florham Park yesterday for New York Jets mini-camp. Here are his observations

Turn On The Jets own Mike Donnelly spent yesterday in Florham Park for the last day of New York Jets mini-camp. Here are his observations and make sure you give Mike a follow on Twitter – 

With the Jets Mini-Camp coming to a close on Thursday, I decided to call out sick from work (Sorry, Brian) and take a drive over to Florham Park with my buddy Dan, pretty much on a whim. Camp was open to the public and I figured it would be a better way to spend the day than sitting in an office. I was right.

I also had grandiose images dancing in my head of showing up, observing all the comings and goings, taking Twitter by storm with my hilarious commentary and finally cracking that illustrious 100 follower milestone. I’d also befriend all the players, meet all the beat writers that we’ve begun ranking each week here on this very site, and then leaving triumphantly after Mark Sanchez gave me his cell phone number to meet up for a beer later in the day. Unfortunately, I was unprepared to accomplish any of this, as my phone was half-dead after my charger didn’t work the night before, I didn’t have my car charger or my iPad, and I was forced to rely on the power of memory. Damn you, stupid phone charger. Fortunately, between Dan and myself, we were able to piece together the entire day. Here is a rundown of my thoughts from my day at Jets Camp, in no particular order:

The Jets D-Line looks tremendous – You can read and hear about how big and athletic these guys are, but when you see them up close, it’s really something. Quinton Coples stands out and just looks like a physical freak, Sione Pouha is massive, and Mo Wilkerson looked awesome out there. On the very first play of team drills, he knocked down a pass and gave a Dikembe Mutombo-style finger wag to Mark Sanchez.  I said it a few weeks ago in my Stock Watch column, but it bears repeating: Mo Wilkerson is going to be a stud for this defense. That autograph I got from him today is going to be worth a fortune! (Ok, not really, but I’m still glad I got it.)

Speaking of autographs.. – Many of the players were extremely fan-friendly and personable. I didn’t run around trying to get them to sign my little “Jets Mini Camp” cardboard paper thing they handed out at the entrance, but many of them did come by where I was standing and signed it. Aaron Maybin was extremely personable and even posed for many photos with fans. Nick Mangold, Pouha, and Wilkerson all also came by and were very cool about signing for the fans, especially kids, which is always nice. Joe McKnight also signed a ton of stuff, gave away his gloves, and even cracked some jokes about eating McDonalds. Rookies Stephen Hill and Demario Davis signed for a while, and I was fortunate enough to get both of their John Hancocks (check out the picture below of DeMario’s signature, which has got to be the funniest one of all time). I also saw Dustin Keller, Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson (hold that thought on Slauson for a minute) and a few others spending more than their fair share of time signing stuff. Also signing autographs for a few minutes until it got a little out of control? Mr. Mark Sanchez. And yes, the Sanchize graced my little piece of paper by scribbling a few lines on it.

Matt Slauson’s shoulder is fine, and he isn’t happy playing RG – Here’s my semi-juicy nugget of information I came across while in Florham Park. While signing autographs, a fan asked Slauson how his shoulder was and why he was playing RG instead of LG. He said his shoulder is 100% healthy and that he doesn’t know why he’s playing RG. He then added with a bit of a smile although he didn’t seem pleased, “I told Vlad I’m not happy about it.” Bears watching when training camp starts. Are they grooming Vlad to be the new LG while reducing Slauson to more of a “swing role” since he has more versatility? Guess we’ll find out. (My guess: No. Vlad stinks.)

Aaron Maybin and Tim Tebow are HUGE – Much has been made of Tebow’s size the past few days in the media, especially from our pal Manish Mehta, who whipped out his tape measure and scale to compare Tebow’s height and weight to everyone from David Harris to Rex Ryan this week. But the fact is he does looks enormous, which is a good sign for our short yardage wildcat package and punt team I suppose. Maybin, who recently tweeted a picture of himself on the scale weighing 254 lbs, looks every bit of it. His arms and upper body were completely jacked, and you have to think that will only help him on the field.

Hard to get a read on the Offense – Any time Sanchez or Tebow throw an incomplete pass, everyone wants to jump all over them and say the offense sucks. We have the Sanchez fans rip the Tebow fans, the Tebow fans rip the Sanchez fans, and everyone hates everything. Like I wrote in my Take a Deep Breath column, everyone needs to relax. It’s June, and although Chaz Schilens was pretty impressive, these quarterbacks are still playing without Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, not to mention they’re learning a new system and going up against arguably the best defense in the NFL. Speaking of which, this is not exactly breaking news, but Darrelle Revis is still very awesome. Throwing to his side is a lost cause.

The #2 TE spot is not looking promising – Jeff Cumberland is a guy a lot of coaches and fans had high hopes for, but man oh man did #86 look awful on Thursday. He dropped a bunch of passes, and Tony Sparano was completely ripping into him about his curious pass-catching technique where he runs down the field and doesn’t turn his head around to look where the ball is, only to have it land a few feet away from him. Hayden Smith also doesn’t appear to be ready to play football at this level, which makes sense since he’s been playing rugby in Australia the past few years, but you can tell he has some potential — just not for this year probably.

Manish Mehta is a cool guy – I know, I know, judging by some of the feedback we’ve gotten in our Beat Writer Power Rankings, many of you have turned on Manish lately because of his apparent Tebow love and Sulia usage on Twitter. I get it, I agree with most of it, and I wrote about that in our initial rankings (I also mentioned how it wasn’t too long ago he was far and away the best Jets writer, though). But when he was standing a few feet away from me on the other side of the fence, I couldn’t help but to call out to him and introduce myself as the guy who has been grading his performance weekly online. Instead of blowing me off or just calling me an asshole, he couldn’t have been nicer. Manish was gracious enough to came over and chat for a few minutes. We joked about the power rankings and his placement in them (“As long as I stay in the top 6, we’re cool”), talked about the Tebow phenomenon (“He’s popular, what can I say?”), and even his Sulia love (“Ahh come on man, what do you want me to do?”).

We also talked about Revis, David Harris, TurnOnTheJets.com, and probably would have continued a little longer since it was a down period in practice if his colleague at the Daily News, old fart Gary Myers, didn’t come over to ask him if he was paying attention to practice or if he was “holding a dissertation over here”. Gary is lucky he’s not a beat writer, or else I’d rank him 17th out of 6 this week. Speaking of which, there is no truth to the rumor I happily accepted a bribe from Manish to move him up to #1 this week. Or is there? Guess we’ll see on Wednesday.

So there you have it. My day at Jets Camp. We’d love to hear stories from anybody else who was in attendance this week, and maybe I’ll see some of you in Cortland in a few weeks.

New York Jets: Sorting Through Rex-Talk

TOJ sorts through Rex Ryan’s praise for any and everything related to the New York Jets

To say Rex Ryan isn’t shy about praising his own players is an understatement. Rex wouldn’t hesitate to call Tanner Purdum the greatest long snapper he has ever coached or Matt Kroul the most talented third string center in NFL history. My personal favorite Rex-ism was calling Wayne Hunter the best backup tackle in the NFL during the 2010 season, like he had taken an inventory of all 32 teams 7th and 8th lineman and knew Hunter was the best.

Today’s press conference was a shining example as it seemed that Rex went through the entire roster in numerical order and offered everybody a “tremendous” or an “impressive” adjective. There isn’t a player on the team who hasn’t wowed the coaching staff on his return to the facility. Listen, I have no problem with Rex building up his players to the media. However, it makes sorting out who has actually been performing notably well a bit of a task.

Let’s go over what we know from OTAs and mini-camp so far –

1. Boom Not Bust – Of course it is too early to call first round pick Quinton Coples anything. However, by every indication he has been a borderline dominant presence since suiting up for the Jets in practice. A day hasn’t passed where he hasn’t came up with a sack or two. The other day he intercepted a pass and knocked another one down. More importantly, he seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder and a high amount of energy/emotion. Nobody could ever question Coples talent, it doesn’t mean that some of us (including me) didn’t question taking him in the first round. He has a long way to go but so far, so good.

2. Young Pups – While we are talking about rookies, Demario Davis and Josh Bush have both spent time with the first defense in multiple practices, a very encouraging sign for mid-round draft picks. Both of them should be factors in passing situations. Davis is the fastest linebacker on the team and Bush is the only true free safety on the roster. If these two pan out alongside Coples, Mike Tannenbaum very well may have rebuilt his defense for the long run in a single draft.

3. O’ No – Same song every year. The offense is behind the defense. This makes even more sense this year since they are installing a new system and the wide receivers have been banged up. Is it a cause for concern? Not yet but it hasn’t been pretty out there for the Jets passing game thus far.

4. Forgotten Man – Chaz Schilens was a forgotten man by many after the Jets drafted Stephen Hill in the second round. However, he has taken advantage of extended playing time due to Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill’s injuries. Schilens has been one of the bright spots on offense and has the skill set to be a big play factor on offense.

5. Watch For ‘Em – Ellis Lankster as the #4 corner and a core special teams piece. Royce Pollard on punt returns and somebody who just may stick on the roster. Jeff Cumberland seeing a big bump in playing time. Yeremiah Bell seeing more time at free safety than he was accustomed to in Miami.

TOJ New York Jets Beat Writer Power Rankings – June 13th

Turn On The Jets weekly ranking of the New York Jets beat writers

Welcome back to Turn On The Jets weekly ranking of the New York Jets beat writers as compiled by myself, Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly. See how the writers fared last week here and make sure to leave comments on the site, our Twitter accounts or on the TOJ Facebook Page

1. Jenny Vrentas, The Star Ledger – In my best Howard Finkel voice: Aaaaaanndd STILL, Jets Beat Writer Power Rankings Champion, Jeeeeennnnnyyy Vrentas! (Speaking of the Fink, any wrestling fan from the 80’s and 90’s has got to watch this video of the Fink doing wedding introductions.) Another excellent week from Jenny, as she seemingly widened the gap between herself and the competition. At this point even a bad week won’t be enough to knock her off her throne, similar to how a 12-0 NFL team wouldn’t be dropped after one fluke loss. That being said, the way she’s going I wouldn’t count on even that happening.

This week she again gave Jets fans all the pertinent information we were looking for on her Twitter page, without any of the fluff or full-fledged Tebow love affair that some of her fellow beat men and women seem to have. All of the relevant injury news, quotes, performance info, and lineup changes are all easily accessible, and she topped that off with some very good articles that didn’t just regurgitate the same old stuff. For example, last Thursday she put out an excellent piece about new kicker Josh Brown that gave unfamiliar fans some good insight into the man who we will likely be cursing for missing field goals for us this year. We’d like to see perhaps a little more fan interaction, but she did acknowledge these very power rankings and her position in them, so that scores her bonus points. What also scores her points is her NOT using the devil of Twitter, Sulia. We thank you for that, Jenny. Keep up the great work. – Mike Donnelly

2. Rich Cimini, ESPN – Another week of consistent content from Cimini, who provides a weekly chat and an entertaining “Take 5” piece which I particularly liked from this past week with a look at Bryan Thomas’ favorite memories with the team. His column on Rex looking to change the attitude around the team was a good read and provided an interesting parallel to the 2004 team under Herman Edwards. However, he had eye rolling article about the “quarterback controversy” that stated nothing but the obvious. Fortunately, he remains off Sulia on Twitter. – Joe Caporoso

3. Manish Mehta, The Daily News – Manish had a solid week following our inaugural beat writer power rankings. Although he did not run too great a surplus of stories, the ones he did run were quite impactful. His notes following the first day of mini camp yesterday were very significant, and he did a good job of reporting on several key issues that have been prevalent over the past week. Granted, the Holmes incident from OTAs has gotten a bit repetitive, but in the defense of Manish, every Jets writer has been beating this to death. The bottom line for Holmes is that he needs to realize, after the events of last season, he is going to be under the microscope of the media every second they are allowed access to team activities. He needs to start helping himself if he truly wants to repair his image. Although most readers are annoyed by these reports, one cannot fault Manish and the rest of the writers on the Jets beat for publicizing it so heavily.

Manish also reported, via his twitter, that people within the organization are becoming more impressed by DeMario Davis each day. Although this is exactly what we expected, it is still significant, and encouraging news for New York’s defense. Davis will likely be used in several sub packages with the first team this season, while developing into the long term answer following the eventual departure of Bart Scott, so any news regarding his status and performance gets a plus. Overall, solid work from Manish this week as he is displaying qualities that, if continued, could bump him to the #1 spot in the coming weeks. – Chris Gross

4. Brian Costello, New York Post – The Coz had a hell of a week in our opinion. His Twitter game stepped up tremendously as he provided insightful updates and made a few keen observations about the lineups the Jets were using on both sides of the football. He also had an intriguing blog update that focused on Jeff Cumberland improving his blocking to lock down the number two tight end spot. Also in that post, he was the first to report that Rex Ryan would now do press conferences in the morning before practice along with an explanation as to why. – Joe Caporoso

5. Jane McManus, ESPN – While McManus does not quite put out as much content as her counterpart at ESPN New York, her piece on Bart Scott this past week was excellent. We will look at Scott’s revival more closely as the week progresses, but McManus did an excellent job in noting that Scott’s notorious vocal activity is back and better than ever this off season. This is certainly a far cry from what we last saw of Scott following the conclusion of last season when he departed the team facility with a familiar gesture to the media present that day. While Scott will likely neve return to being a 100+ tackler at this point in his career, McManus notes that he has lost about 9 pounds this off season, and looks rejuvinated from the player we saw post an abysmal 66 tackles last season, his lowest total since 2004.

Scott’s production level, and leadership ability this season are going to be vital not only to the defense, but to the team as well. We have all come to love Scott for his presence as a leader both in terms of play and vocals so any news that he is working toward reviving himself this season is quality content. If McManus can get her quanity of content to match quality like her Scott piece, she could find herself moving up the rankings rather soon. – Chris Gross

6. Kimberly Martin, Newsday – Last week we didn’t have all that much to go on when it came to the great Rod Boone’s replacement at Newsday, but this week Kimberly Martin really started to establish herself in our minds. She really stepped up her Twitter game and provided all the information Jets fans need at OTA’s and Mini-Camp. She also mixed in some humor with her tweets, so following her also came with some bonus entertainment. And the best part of it all of course, was the lack of any Sulia links in her timeline. Major bonus points there. The drawbacks, however, would be a bit of a lack of real good original articles that don’t just give us the same exact thing we can read 10 other places. Again, she’s pretty new when it comes to the Jets beat, and I expert her to move up these rankings in the coming weeks. – Mike Donnelly

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 6/12: Jets, NFL Over/Unders, Tebow

Mike Donnelly gives us his weekly stock report. Who should you be buying or selling this week?

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly stock watch. Make sure you give Mike a follow on Twitter and give Turn On The Jets a like on Facebook.

It is that time of the week again: Stock Watch! It’s been a busy week with the Jets as always, and in the sports world in general. We had some big news as Santonio Holmes threw his helmet (on no!) and the media had a collective aneurysm running to their computers to throw him under the bus. We also saw a rigged boxing match, the NBA Finals get set (be sure to check out Joe’s Finals preview), the Kings win the Stanley Cup, and the Yankees mop the floor with my Mets and their abomination of a bullpen. We’re gonna touch on some of those with buy and sell advice, but this week the big stock tips come in the form of some NFL over/unders for wins. Vegas released their totals two weeks ago, and after several sleepless nights crunching the numbers –or just taking some guesses– I’ve come up with a few to invest in. Let’s dive in…

BUYS

Jets 8.5 Wins – Perhaps I’m a Jets homer, but I think this is a slam dunk. I can’t help but laugh when people say “Oh the Jets are the third best team in the division!”. We’ve been hearing that same crap for 3 years now, and it’s yet to happen. The fact is, the Dolphins and Bills just aren’t that good, and that isn’t going to change this year. Last year, the Jets had a disaster of a season, and they still finished with 8 wins and easily could have had one or two more. This year I’m expecting 4-2 in the division (split with Pats, 3-1 vs. Bills and Fins), and then score very likely wins against the Colts, Cardinals, and Chargers at home; and Rams, Jaguars, and Titans on the road. That leaves tough games in Pittsburgh and Seattle (always a tough place to play), and against the 49ers and Texans at home. A split amongst those 4 isn’t unlikely. With a potentially dominant defense and an offense that improved simply by getting rid of Brian Schottenheimer, I just don’t see this team not winning 10 or 11 games.

Cowboys 8.5 Wins – I hate backing the Cowboys, because every offseason people look at their roster and talk about how this is the year they put it all together and they’re going to the Super Bowl. Just to be clear, I don’t think that, but I do think this team has enough talent to win 9 or 10 games. The only reason they failed to get there last year was because of a secondary that featured several guys whose performances rivaled Eric Smith. And as all Jets fans know, that’s not a compliment. This year, however, they added the best corner in free agency, Brandon Carr, and traded up to draft the best corner in the draft, Morris Claiborne. 9 wins here we come!

Bears 8.5 Wins – I’m a big Bears fan this year. Da Bears have Jay Cutler coming back from injury, they added Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to the receiving corps, and they brought in Michael Bush as Matt Forte insurance. Oh, and they still have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Not only do I think they easily clear 8.5 wins, but I think they have a chance to give the Packers a run for their money in the NFC North.

Ricky Sapp, Joe McKnight, Jeff Cumberland, Vlad Ducasse – Yes, even Vlad Ducasse. I’m buying this group of 4 “under the radar” players, because I’m very interested in hearing how they do in Mini-Camp the next few days. All 4 guys have a chance to contribute in a meaningful way this year, especially McKnight and Sapp.

Jenrry Mejia – As a Mets fan, I’m absolutely disgusted with their bullpen. I don’t know what the hell Sandy Alderson was thinking this offseason putting this group of bums together, but there is hope on the horizon — Jenrry Mejia. One of the best pitching prospects in the Mets system, they recently moved him to the bullpen in Triple A, with the intention of having him come up and rescue this sad sack of relievers. I’m excited. And yes, I know that makes me pathetic getting excited for a middle reliever, but I’m a Mets fan, what do you want from me?

Kevin Durant – I love the NBA. I hate the regular season when the players openly don’t give a crap, but the playoffs are awesome, and I love when a young guy breaks down the door and announces he’s arrived. That’s what Kevin Durant is doing right now, and I couldn’t be more excited to watch his Thunder take on the hated Miami Heat and LeBron James.

SELL

That John Malkovich iPhone Commerial – Ugh. Had to mention this one first. I can’t be the only person who gets legitimately angry every time this commercial comes on, can I? And I can’t help but think Apple has a few more of these atrocities ready to put out there. It’s like they’re daring me to buy non-Apple products, knowing full well I am going to just sit here, do nothing, and continue to watch John Malkovich commercials while playing on my iPad. Screw you, John Malkovich.

Lions 9.5 Wins – I’m sorry, but I think the Lions are going to take a tumble this year. They’re the sexy pick for “Team Ready to Take the Leap into Super Bowl Contention”, but I don’t see it. The secondary still stinks, the offensive line is a mess, their coach is a raving lunatic, and this might be the year Ndamukong Suh attempts to become the first player to use the football to actually beat an opposing player into a coma. That’s not to mention Matt Stafford miraculously avoided injury all of last year, and is unlikely to happen again. I can see this Lions season going very, very badly.

Chiefs 8 Wins – Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see this at all. The Chiefs just aren’t that good. They have a solid defense, but questions at quarterback, Jamaal Charles is recovering from a blown out knee, and last I checked, Romeo Crennel is their head coach. Sell this one.

Dolphins 7.5 Wins – Sorry Dolphins fans, this one is going way under. As of now, the #1 quarterback on the depth chart is David Garrard. Yes, that David Garrard. The one who was out of football last year. The one who will be throwing passes to…umm, Brian Hartline? Davone Bess? Oof. The only way that can be worse is if they sign someone like Chad Ochocinco. Oh wait, that’s exactly what Jeff Ireland did. On the bright side, they have a solid defense and a pretty easy schedule, but the fact is, the Dolphins are the exact team other teams’ fans see on the schedule and say, “That should be a win there.”

LaRon Landry – Let’s just say I’m starting to get a little nervous about this guy and his prospects for the 2012 season. I’ll reserve judgment until closer to the season, but it’s not looking all that promising.

Boxing – I’m selling the sport as a whole. I know this same thing has been written 500 times since the fixed Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight on Saturday, but the sport is just a joke. I wish we could organize a worldwide boycott of a rematch if it comes to fruition, because seriously, what’s the point? The only guy I’d pay to watch fight at this stage is Mike Tyson, and that’s not a joke. At least that would be entertaining.

Tebow (!!!) Coverage at Mini-Camp – Get ready, Jets fans. The Jets are holding a 3 day mini-camp this week, and we’re about to get bombarded with Tim Tebow information. Not only will we know about every pass he throws within 10 seconds of it slamming into the turf, but get ready to find out some real important personal things about Tebow; things such as: his favorite color, his favorite book, his pick on the NBA Finals, if he prefers Coke or Pepsi, and what toppings he likes on his hot dogs. Crap, I think I just gave the media some ideas. My bad, Jets fans. My bad.

New York Jets: What To Look For At Mini-Camp

Turn On The Jets takes a closer look at the top storylines heading into the New York Jets 3 day mini-camp

The New York Jets have a 3 day mini-camp kicking off tomorrow. It will be the last time the full team is gathered before training camp which starts at the end of July. The skill position offensive players will be gathering in the coming weeks for Mark Sanchez’s “Jets West” camp but that will smartly be closed to the media. I threw the question out on Twitter earlier today, “What is one storyline you’ll be focusing on for #Jets mini-camp the next 3 days? (Non-Tebow related).” Here are a few responses I received, along with more extended commentary on them than what I could give in 140 characters –

@GreenLanternJetWhat other RBs will step up to spell Greene and be 3rd down back?

The Jets current depth at running back is absolutely a cause for concern. For starters, Shonn Greene is going to need an improved performance from what we have seen the past two seasons. He is never going to be an elite back but if he gives the Jets 1,200 yards, keeps his YPC comfortably over 4.0 while protecting the football, it is satisfactory. However, he will need support. Ideally, Joe McKnight will seize the 3rd down role and be able to handle being his primary backup. McKnight’s potential was never fully realized in Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme (a recurring theme for many players). It will be interesting to see if Tony Sparano can find a way to use McKnight in similar ways to how he used Reggie Bush in Miami.

Outside of Greene and McKnight, the Jets need either Bilal Powell or Terrance Ganaway to step up as a short yardage, power running option off the bench. Ganaway is comfortable with the option from college, which could help get him on the field with Tim Tebow. Powell disappointed last season but was taken in the fourth round for a reason and should benefit from his first full NFL off-season. If both players struggle in camp, could the Jets consider adding Cedric Benson?

@TeamThirstTrap – How the 46 defense will function/look?

This year’s defense should have more depth and versatility than any unit Rex Ryan has had since taking over as the Jets head coach, particularly on the defensive line. One of the most interesting things to watch the next 3 days and all throughout training camp is the number of different positions certain players are lining up at. The Jets have the ability to run a hybrid 3-4/4-3/46 that will give offensive coordinators and opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Up front, Quinton Coples, Aaron Maybin, Calvin Pace and Muhammad Wilkerson should be all over the place depending on the personnel group. On the back end, Ryan has to figure out how to best utilize his three strong safeties: Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry, and Eric Smith while piecing together coverage from whomever lines up at free safety.

@KristineReese – I am very anxious to hear how Wayne Hunter is coming along

Aren’t we all? Considering that Vlad Ducasse has spent all of OTAs filling in for Matt Slauson at guard and that Stephon Heyer and Ray Willis are career journeyman, it looks like Wayne Hunter is a safe bet to be the opening day right tackle. Skepticism of this decision is more than warranted but it is also reasonable to assume that Hunter has a chance to improve to his 2010 level of play, particularly with a new coach and system that supposedly will play better to his strengths.

@e_man – Holmes

Enough said. Holmes will be the most closely scrutinized player on the Jets roster heading into the season who isn’t a quarterback. The New York media will do no favors for him but he isn’t going to help his cause by throwing helmets at open practices. How will he develop in Tony Sparano’s offense? Will he ever receive credit for doing positive things, like mentoring the younger receivers on the roster? Will his stand-off relationship with the local media continue to sour? #10 is certainly worth keeping your eyes on in the coming months.

LaRon Landry getting acclimated to the defense

I received multiple questions about Landry. He is expected to be attendance but I’m not sure anybody knows how far along he is in his rehab. It will be good to have him around the team but I wouldn’t expect to see him taking extended reps until we get into training camp. By all accounts, Yeremiah Bell has looked terrific since joining the team, so it would be nice to see how Rex plans to use him in tandem with Landry. Unfortunately, we probably won’t have a clear picture of that until week 1.

New York Jets Fans: Take a Deep Breath

Mike Donnelly implores New York Jets not to overreact to things occurring in June

Everyone, please take a deep breath and absorb the following facts:

  • Today is June 10th.
  • The Jets first regular season game is on September 9th.
  • Training camp doesn’t open for roughly 7 weeks.
  • The events taking place now at Jets OTA’s are not even mandatory for the players.

Please, try to remember these things next time you take to your keyboard to bash Jets players and coaches on Twitter or your Jets message board of choice. Remember that before you bash Santonio Holmes to your co-worker at the water cooler. Hell, try to remember that before you comment on this very article or on my Twitter page to tell me what an idiot I am for saying these things. Let’s all just take a deep breath and remember today is June 10th, because I’m getting awfully fed up with reading some of the things the media and Jets fans alike have been spewing the past few weeks. Let’s run down the ridiculousness:

Santonio Holmes threw his Helmet– Yes, Santonio Holmes threw his helmet on the field because his body was breaking down and he felt like he couldn’t continue with more reps. So? This is a far more common occurrence at spring OTA’s than all the genius commentators would like to believe. Also, before Holmes sat out, he was working with all the Jets young receivers on their routes and being a leader, as much as it pains some of you to admit. And no, Holmes wasn’t prepared for a full workload, which is somewhat disappointing to some. But why was that? Glad you asked..

Santonio Holmes chose to spend time in Germany instead of with Jets– Yep, some Jets fans, and even one prominent beat writer whose name rhymes with Pitch Fimini, decided to take shots at Holmes because he was late to OTA’s due to being in Germany — doing charity work!  It’s June, and he was a few days late to voluntary workouts because he was doing charity work. Let’s just cut him right now! And don’t laugh, because thats exactly what I’ve been reading from some super-smart internet posters. I even saw some of them say Holmes purposely schedules these charity events during football times so he doesn’t have to show up. I’m literally shaking my head right now. Nevermind that Holmes is back now and committed to showing up to Jets West this year. Why does nobody care about that? Because..

TEBOW (!!!) is going to Jets West!– That’s right, hold the presses! A Jets player is going to Jets practices! And not only is he just going, but because he’s going, it shows that..

Mark Sanchez is scared of Tebow– Yep, these are real things we have been hearing. Mark Sanchez invited Tebow to Jets West, not because Tebow is a quarterback and could use the offensive practice with his teammates, but because Mark is weak and scared of Tebow. Somehow this makes sense to some. I wish I was making this up. I wish I was also making up these big stories..

Tim Tebow’s dog is named Bronx, and he may or may not live in Hoboken – Glad we cleared those things up. That’s the kind of hard hitting analysis and pertinent information the internet was created for. I guess it was also created so Jets beat writers could tell us in real time that..

The Jets Offense is Terrible – Yes, the Jets offense stinks. Might as well not even show up come September. Sure Thursday’s practice took place on June 7th, with the season three full months away. And sure, they’re working on a whole new offensive system with many new players being incorporated. And sure Holmes, Stephen Hill, and Matt Slauson weren’t participating. The fact is the Jets offense stinks, and that’s final. Nevermind that the offense has to go against arguably the best defense in the NFL that has been playing together and in the same system for four years now. And let’s not focus on the fact that Quinton Coples, Mo Wilkerson, DeMario Davis, and some of the other young defenders up front have looked great. The easy story to sell here is that the Jets offense stinks, and that’s what we’re going with! Oh, speaking of the defense and easy stories to sell..

Darrelle Revis is “an asshole”– Yep, it’s true. He has shown up to every single team event, function, and practice this whole offseason but somehow he’s Public Enemy #1 because he might hold out. That’s right, he MIGHT hold out. He didn’t say he will, or that it’s even likely. He hasn’t skipped any OTA’s or boycotted any team events. But still, “Jets fans” everywhere have already begun bashing him on the internet, with one particularly caring fellow eloquently telling him on Twitter to “Eat shit”. Stay classy! How else can we create some headlines? Just say..

Jets will be interested in (Fill in the Recently Released Washed Up Veteran here)– In this case, the Recently Released Washed up Veteran is Chad Ochocinco. Twitter pal Kristine Reese just wrote an excellent article about this. Before Ocho, it was Terrell Owens. Ochocinco was just cut from the Patriots and appears washed up, which is still a few steps ahead of his former teammate. Owens was recently released from the UFL, but hey, he was a big name a few years ago, so surely the Jets want him, right? If you’re a Jets fan and you want these guys on the 2012 team, please go find a wall and slam your head into it a few dozen times until you realize the error of yours ways. When you’re done doing that, you can also apologize for saying that..

Joe McKnight ate McDonalds and is fat now – Ugh. So Joe McKnight, who played last season at around 200 lbs, knew he was going to have a bigger role on offense this year and bulked up to 215 lbs to be better prepared for the season. To me, that seems like a GOOD thing. A player went out on his own time and improved his body to better perform this season. But when he showed up to camp, he joked that he put on that weight by eating McDonalds every day. Did it matter that he was just joking and there’s not an ounce of fat on him? No, of course not. The fans who never quite forgave him for looking bad on Hard Knocks jumped all over this and talked about how he’s out of shape and a bust. Great.

I hope Joe learned a valuable lesson there. When it comes to the Jets, every single little thing you say or do gets sensationalized, scrutinized, and talked about for days. It’s easy to blame the media for all this, but it’s the fans’ fault too. So please, Jets fans everywhere, I implore you: Before the next time you go off on a rant about your favorite team or some of the players this summer, please try to remember: Today is June 10th, and to borrow a quote from Allen Iverson, we’re talking about practice. Get back to me on September 9th. Or even better, get back to me next January when the Jets are making a run through the playoffs.

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – The Other Guys

TOJ shines the light on 12 New York Jets who haven’t received much attention this off-season

The goal of this Friday’s 12 pack is to discuss twelve players on the New York Jets roster who haven’t been mentioned much, if at all this off-season. Middle class and bottom of the roster players play a crucial role in forming a deep, playoff-caliber team. Let’s give “the other guys” their day in the sun here at Turn On The Jets. Crack open the 12 pack, give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter…and enjoy –

1. Greg McElroy – The other guy in the quarterback room besides Tebowmania and The Sanchize. McElroy showed promise last pre-season and looked like he could be a long term backup for the team. He surrounded himself in some controversy by criticizing the locker room environment last year. This is an important season for McElroy to establish that he can be a backup quarterback in the NFL.

2. Josh Mauga – A forgotten man at linebacker since the Jets selected Demario Davis in the third round. However, Mauga has the skill set to be a very good special teams player and a capable backup at inside linebacker. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him in certain sub packages on defense because he has decent coverage skills compared to the rest of the linebacker group.

3. Ricky Sapp – He has received a little hype from the coaching staff as a role player/backup at outside linebacker. If he can stay healthy and produce with the second team in the pre-season, there is no reason he shouldn’t stick on the 53 man roster. Sapp has intriguing pass rushing skills.

4. Ellis Lankster – It looks like he will be the fourth corner heading into the season, which is an important part of Rex Ryan’s defense. Lankster will also be relied on to be a core special teams player, replacing Marquice Cole on many of the coverage units. The fact that the Jets didn’t sign Chris Johnson, after kicking his tires, shows their faith in Lankster to take on an expanded role.

5. Patrick Turner – By all accounts, he had a very strong practice this week and took advantage of Stephen Hill being on the sideline with a hamstring injury. Turner has good size and is familiar with Tony Sparano’s offense. He had a few catches last season and will battle it out with Chaz Schilens and Jordan White for the 4th and 5th spot on the receiver depth chart behind Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley.

6. John Conner – What ever happened to “The Terminator?” He was average at best last season and didn’t contribute much overall. Can he take on a bigger, more important role in Tony Sparano’s offense? His lead blocking will be crucial to helping establish the Jets as a power running team again and he also is a good short yardage back.

7. Jeff Cumberland – If the season started today, he’d be the number two tight end. Cumberland has good size and hands but similar to Dustin Keller, he is more of a receiver than blocker. If Cumberland can become more consistent blocking, he should see a good chunk of playing time in Tony Sparano’s offense.

8. Bilal Powell – Many (including myself) think that rookie Terrance Ganaway has the ability to pass him up on the depth chart. However, let’s not forget Powell was a fourth round pick and despite a disappointing rookie year should get a good chance in the pre-season to stake a claim on the third running back spot on the depth chart.

9. Matt Kroul – Competing with Caleb Schlauderaff (Mike Tannenbaum’s favorite player) for the backup center position behind Nick Mangold. He also has the ability to play guard. Kroul is a former defensive lineman. You know who also used to be a defensive lineman? Brandon Moore.

10. Tanner Purdum – You never want to hear about the long snapper but Purdum will be back for his second season with the team. The James Dearth era is truly over.

11. Martin Tevaseau – Competing with Kenrick Ellis for reps in the defensive line rotation. He has the advantage of Ellis missing the first few days of training camp because of a jail sentence.

12. Nick Bellore – A linebacker who will have a tough time seeing any reps on defense but does have the ability to become a quality special teams player. He is firmly on the bubble of the 53 man roster after the Jets selected Demario Davis in the third round.

New York Jets: Six Pack Of Special Teams Observations

Six observations about the New York Jets special teams

The New York Jets special teams in 2011 was a roller coaster. They were either returning kicks for a touchdown or muffing punt after punt. Overall, it is fair to classify last season’s performance as disappointing considering the normal high standard of performance set by Mike Westhoff’s units. Considering his body of work, it is reasonable to expect a bounceback year from a group that has potential to be one of the league’s best.

1. Kicker vs. Kicker – The kicking battle between Josh Brown and Nick Folk should be closer than most people expect. Everybody seems ready to hand the job to Brown, which is understandable considering Folk’s inconsistencies the past two years. However, there was a reason Brown was a free agent this year. He is coming off a very average season and has been primarily kicking in a dome the past 4 years. Brown certainly has the ability to beat Folk out but don’t necessarily expect him to run away with the job.

2. Be The Best – In Westhoff’s scheme, there is no reason Joe McKnight can’t be one of the best, if not the best kick returner in the NFL. He has the needed speed and vision, demonstrated by his four returns of over 40 yards last year and his 31.6 average per kick return. McKnight now has a full year under his belt with the job and should only improve because of his experience.

3. Big Play Potential – Look for Jeremy Kerley to be the primary punt returner. If he can curtail his ball security issues, he has the big play potential the Jets have lacked in recent years at punt returner with people like Jim Leonhard and Jerricho Cotchery deep. Unfortunately, without Leonhard on the team who Rex Ryan always claimed “could catch the ball in a Hurricane,” the Jets need Kerley to also become reliable when catching punts near the end-zone and in poor weather conditions.

4. Open For Business – I wouldn’t be surprised if TJ Conley wasn’t the Jets opening day punter. Look for the Jets to bring in more competition for him throughout training camp. Conley was average at best last year. Beyond that, the Jets need a punter who can run the option with personal protector Tim Tebow, no?

5. Coverage – The Jets missed Brad Smith, Drew Coleman, and Lance Laury on their coverage units last year. This season they will need players like Ellis Lankster, Josh Mauga and rookies Demario Davis, Josh Bush, and Antonio Allen to step up.

6. Tebow’s Here – A random Tebow anecdote. When I was in college, we heard a story that whenever Tebow walked into a class at Florida, he would motion his arms into a “T” and go “Tebow’s Here!” It became an ongoing joke on our football team, long before “Tebowing” became all the rage. While TOJ is the self-proclaimed most Pro-Sanchez site on the Internet, I did take the time to drop a Tebow outside the Bruce Springsteen concert I just attended in Germany to see how many people would recognize what I was doing…not many did.

Anyway, I don’t think people should get too carried away with Tebow’s special teams involvement. Will there be a fake or two throughout the season? Yes but don’t expect the Jets to breaking out fake punts or field goals every other attempt.