New York Jets Fact Or False: Preseason Week 1 Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False previews the New York Jets opening pre-season game against the Cincinnati Bengals

For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we will begin a trend that will be prevalent all season long. Each week, F or F will be dedicated to the upcoming Jets game, as we will look at the most pressing issues facing Gang Green each week. For our initial take, let’s have a look at what to expect to see, as well as what to watch for, in tomorrow night’s game in Cincinnati.

AJ Green vs. Darrelle Revis will be the most intriguing matchup of the game. Fact.

AJ Green had a stellar rookie season last year, joining with Quarterback Andy Dalton to form the first ever rookie QB/WR tandem to make the Pro Bowl. Green hauled in 65 passes for 1,057 yards and 7 Touchdowns last season, while facing some excellent defenses along the way. However, this will be his first career matchup with Revis, and not to disrespect any other players, he has never quite faced a talent like this in his entire playing career. Revis is a completely different animal, but Green certainly has immense talent. Rest assured both of these players cannot wait to face each other, not only for the challenge, but for the opportunity to assert their dominance. Revis would undoubtedly like to strand yet another receiver on Revis Island, while Green would love to be one of the very few to get off. Although they will get limited reps against one another, expect each of those reps to provide the best matchup on the field tomorrow night.

Andy Dalton will outperform Mark Sanchez. False.

Although Dalton had a very solid rookie campaign last season, his numbers were average at best when facing defenses ranked in the top ten in the NFL. Against those opponents, Dalton completed 175 of 311 passes for 1,954 yards, 11 Touchdowns, and 10 interceptions with a completion percentage of 56.27 and a passer rating of 77.28. These numbers certainly are not terrible, especially for a rookie, but Dalton clearly struggled to protect the football. While he has already faced the stellar defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice each, he has yet to come up against a Cornerback tandem with the combined talent of Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson. Factor in what should be improved Safety play, and Dalton could get overwhelmed quickly. He will certainly get his completions, however don’t expect him to outshine Sanchez. Sanchez is coming into this game with an extreme sense of confidence in relation to his knowledge of the new offensive system, and you’d have to think after what was probably the longest offseason of his playing career, he will be coming out with a heavy chip on his shoulder. Each of these players’ reps will be very limited, but look for Sanchez to play at a higher level than Dalton.

This will be a great test for the Ground and Pound. Fact.

Cincinnati ranked 7th in total defense last season, and for good reason. They have talent all over the board, especially in the front seven. They posses great size up front in players like Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, as well as defensive leader Rey Maualuga who racked up 88 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and an interception in just 13 games last season. This is a very tough, hard nosed defense, with great experience against offenses that can effectively run the ball, as they play Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice each season. Any team that has to face Ray Rice twice in the same year is no stranger to power football, so this will be a very good, early test for the Jets’ projected return to the “Ground and Pound” philosophy. Friday night should be an excellent gauge of how far along this new system is, as well as where improvements need to be made. It will be very interesting to see how the heavily scrutinized Shonn Greene, the rising Bilal Powell, and the polarizing Tim Tebow contribute.

Mark Sanchez has the most to prove in this game. False.

While Sanchez may have the most to prove over the course of the entire season, this game will have little effect on how he is judged as the Quarterback of this team. He will see very limited reps, plus there are a countless number of players with much more to prove tomorrow night.

Patrick Turner is certainly one of those guys, as he is constantly overlooked despite having quietly developed what seems to be a nice chemistry with Sanchez. Jordan White was extremely productive in college and should have ample opportunity to prove his worth with all of the injuries at Wide Receiver. LaRon Landry certainly would love to show that he is healthy and capable of playing at the level that made him the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Quinton Coples would love to put all the question marks surrounding him to bed, and although that will not be possible in just one game, he can certainly take a step in the right direction.

Austin Howard will get plenty of reps with Wayne Hunter being sidelined, and he needs to prove to the organization that they do not need to add depth at the tackle position from the outside. As the season progresses, veterans like Bart Scott, Tim Tebow, Jeremy Kerley, and Santonio Holmes will all be highly motivated to put recent criticism behind them, but that will not happen in the first game of the preseason, especially for Holmes and Kerley who will not be participating in the contest. Tebow and Scott could certainly play well, but they will not be considered to have proven anything until the regular season.

The Jets Defense Will Impress Early. Fact.

Many observers forget how good this defense actually is. Rex Ryan and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine produced a top 5 defense last season, despite finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the first time with the Jets. New York has done what it could to address the areas of need at Safety and in the pass rush, so each of those areas should be improved in comparison to last season. More importantly though, the Jets defense seems to have gotten their edge back. Reports out of camp already reveal that Bart Scott is back to his “Madbacker” form. Antonio Cromartie, although many times painfully outspoken, certainly will be coming into this game a bit enraged due to all the recent criticism directed toward him in the past week. LaRon Landry seems ready to run through a brick wall if he doesn’t hit someone in a different colored jersey soon, and Aaron Maybin and Ricky Sapp have been turning heads all camp.

From what we have seen in training camp so far, this defense has regained its speed, its motor, and most importantly, its swagger. Expect the starting unit to come out looking to make a statement early, especially considering the fact that they realize they will only have a few series to do so.

Rex Ryan is the most intriguing coach in this game. False.

Rex undoubtedly loves to be in the spotlight, and the media generally loves to focus on him. However, this game is not so much about Ryan as it is about the newcomers. It is going to be very interesting to see the first live action of Tony Sparano’s new system. There is plenty to look for including an established running game, command of the offense by Sanchez, and whether or not the offensive line has improved yet.

Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, it will be extremely intriguing to see the work of new defensive line Coach Karl Dunbar. Dunbar certainly has a surplus of depth and talent up front, so it will be interesting to see if he is in the early stages of maximizing that. New York’s pass rush has been built primarily on scheme since the appointment of Rex Ryan as head coach, so if they can generate a rush without having to blitz as much, it will be a very positive sign for Dunbar and his unit. Wide Receiver’s coach Sanjay Lal is another newcomer to the staff, and considering all the injuries at the position so far, the wide receiver play could say a lot about his coaching ability. If the younger, less experienced players come out strong, it could tell us something very good about Lal.

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Turn On The Jets Beat Writer Rankings 8/8 – NFL Edition

Turn On The Jets beat writer rankings discuss the best and worst NFL writers heading into the 2012 season

This week’s edition of the Turn On The Jets beat writer rankings is going to take a break from our New York counterparts. Today we are going to discuss our favorite and least favorite NFL writers heading into the 2012 season. Enjoy and feel free to add your comments here or on our Facebook Page –

Joe Caporoso

Favorite – Greg Cosell/Mike Mayock/Trent Dilfer – I couldn’t settle on one individual. However, what these three have in common is their dedication to breaking down film and providing fascinating, in-depth Xs and Os analysis. Even in the case of Cosell, whose opinion I frequently disagree with, I respect the way he formulates his arguments and can understand why he has his perspective.

Worst – Mike Lupica – Legitimately can’t stomach even getting through a paragraph of one of his articles at this point. He writes about the Jets as an individual who only receives his information on the team via one of Sal Pal’s updates on ESPN or a Skip Bayless rant on First Take. Lazy garbage. Honorable mention goes to the newest scribe at Pro Football Talk Darin Gantt, who seems as if he was hired specifically to post two articles a day that end with a sentence about what wild soap opera circus the Jets are.

Mike Donnelly

FavoriteBucky Brooks – Going outside the box here perhaps a little with this pick, but Bucky Brooks does a great job and really takes the time to research and understand what he’s writing about before he puts it out there. I was put on to Brooks when he put out an excellent breakdown of the Jets new 46 Defense a few weeks ago, and I’ve been a fan ever sense, and also enjoyed his take on the Jets QB situation through a series of tweets. Unlike most in the national media he didn’t just rehash the same old nonsense and write “Sanchez stinks! Tebow is a winner! Last place!”, and I appreciated the time he clearly put into understanding things before throwing it out there and seeing if it stuck. I’d recommend him on Twitter, and be sure to check out his work.

Worst – (Tie) Evan Silva and Mike Florio – This makes sense considering Silva used to work with Florio on ProFootballTalk.com and they have continued to share the same brain ever since. Florio clearly uses loaded headlines and antagonistic comments to lure in readers, so there’s at least a method to his madness I suppose. That doesn’t excuse the fact he’s basically just a West Virginia lawyer who has a limited understanding of football, but still.

Silva is a homer Patriots fan who hates all things New York, he fancies himself an “expert” and talks about scouting and reviewing film, yet never provides anything worth a damn. He has the Jets ranked as the 27th best team in the NFL (I can’t wait to call him out on that one), and tore apart Shonn Greene’s “game tape” during games where Colin Baxter was the starting Center and the offense couldn’t function. Fair and balanced all the way! And that doesn’t even begin to get into his fantasy football content. I’d rather throw darts at a board than take his advice on which players to start. More on this in the coming weeks, I promise…

Chris Gross

Favorite Adam Schefter – Schefter, to me, is the cream of the crop when it comes to, not only NFL journalists, but to sports journalists in general. He certainly has some great colleagues at ESPN like Chris Mortenson and John Clayton, however, Schefter continuously separates himself from the pack with unbelievable insight. Whether it be analysis or breaking headline stories, there is not a writer in the country that gets after it harder than Schefter. I mean seriously, have you seen ESPN during the NFL Free Agency and Draft periods? I don’t think the man sleeps. Schefter is beyond dedicated to what he does, and you can just feel his passion through his work. He never writes with any bias whatsoever, something so many journalists struggle to do these days. Schefter simply gives honest, coherent, and accurate analysis day in and day out. If you had to compare NFL writers to NFL players, Schefter would be in that elite group similar to Tom Brady, Drew Brees, the Mannings, and Aaron Rodgers. Nobody does it better.

Worst James Walker – This should come as no surprise to anyone who is a regular follower of Turn On The Jets. While I can certainly respect the position Walker is currently in, as I am sure he gives valiant effort to his work, the man simply struggles to publish anything worth reading. From his AFC East Quarterback “ranking” system last year, in which he gave no explanation to how he was really ranking them, to his endless posts preaching the obvious (his most recent about New England RB Stevan Ridley and how he must restrain from fumbling this season to earn playing time), Walker truly struggles to write anything noteworthy. He constantly retweets himself on twitter, something many are still trying to figure out the exact reasoning for, and apparently doesn’t like criticism, as he blocked my twitter account after our initial Beat Writer Power Rankings, where I deemed him “the bottom of the barrel” of NFL journalists. Nothing personal, but JW is easily my least favorite NFL writer.

New York Jets: What We Have Actually Learned At Training Camp

Turn On The Jets cuts through the BS coverage of the New York Jets and discuses the developments on the field

The New York Jets first pre-season game is only two days away. From a distance the only information you may have heard about the team involves a backup quarterback being shirtless, an altercation between players, and a cornerback talking about playing wide receiver. Yet, believe it or not there has actually been some football played on the fields of Cortland. A few interesting developments have taken place that actually involve you know…the game. Let’s run them down –

Bilal Powell – We discussed Powell last week and his production hasn’t tailed off. By all accounts he has been the best running back on the field and is about to leap frog Joe McKnight as the number two back and primary third down back. Out of all the Jets backs, Powell has the best overall combination of skills which could lead to him eventually cutting into Shonn Greene’s carries, if Greene struggles to catch the football. McKnight hasn’t helped his cause lately by consistently being banged up. Obviously Powell still needs to show it on the game field but he has a real chance to become a major contributor on offense this season.

Mark Sanchez – Remember him? The Jets starting quarterback has quietly (somehow) put together a very good all-around camp. Sanchez has protected the football and shown an impressive command of Tony Sparano’s new system. There was never a quarterback controversy and if Sanchez develops the way he should, there never will be.

Patrick Turner – A receiver who has actually stayed healthy all camp! Turner has been consistently producing. He has very good height and hands, along with familiarity with Tony Sparano’s offense and chemistry with Mark Sanchez. Considering how thin the Jets are at receiver, Turner has a good chance to work himself into reps at split end this season.

Aaron Maybin – A practice hasn’t passed yet where he hasn’t recorded at least 1 sack. His speed and increased size combined with Rex Ryan’s creativity should be a scary thing for opposing offenses. Even as a situational player, Maybin has the look of a 10 sack player in 2012.

Ricky Sapp – Another edge rusher who has flashed all throughout camp. Sapp seems to be a lock to make the roster and a guy who could be on the field in passing situations. Could this be Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum’s second pass rushing reclamation project in as many years? They are almost halfway to making up for Vernon Gholston.

Josh Baker – The tight end/H-Back/Fullback has been all over the field making plays in the passing game. It appears he will be more of a factor than Jeff Cumberland this season and could also take away reps from John Conner.

Rookie Rundown

  • Quinton Coples – Been quieter than you would like and Mike DeVito remains firmly entrenched as the starter in 3 man looks. However, Coples still has the talent to be a factor in pass rushing situations.
  • Stephen Hill – He has flashed enough promise to be very excited about his potential this season. The other day he beat Darrelle Revis deep for a 50 yard touchdown. Hill is going to disappear for stretches this season but will also have his share of big plays.
  • Demario Davis – Back from a hamstring injury and should be starting in the sub packages by week 1.
  • Josh Bush – A very, very quiet camp. Could be losing his grip on 4th safety spot to fellow rookie Antonio Allen.
  • Terrance Ganaway – Been a little banged up and struggled at times but has shown versatility to also play fullback. Tony Sparano will find a use for him this season.
  • Robert Griffin – Practice squad.
  • Antonio Allen – Has been making plays all over the field and could be on the way to working himself into some defensive reps.
  • Jordan White – Back from a hamstring injury and has a golden opportunity to contribute as a slot receiver.

New Addition Rundown

  • Tim Tebow – He is a great athlete and will be a weapon running the ball. Takes too many sacks and is inconsistent passing…so exactly what we thought.
  • LaRon Landry – On a pitch count but on pace to start week 1 and be a frequent blitzer/run stopper in Rex Ryan’s scheme.
  • Yeremiah Bell – Taken over veteran leadership role in the secondary. He will struggle in coverage at times.
  • Chaz Schilens – Banged up and inconsistent. Turner has outplayed him all camp.

Disappointments

  • Jeremy Kerley Could still be out another full week with a hamstring injury and is firmly in Rex Ryan’s doghouse for a lackluster offseason.
  • Joe McKnight – Seemed to have number 2 running back job on lockdown heading into camp…it isn’t that way anymore.
  • Jeff Cumberland – Thoroughly being outplayed by Josh Baker.

 

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Pre-Season Opener Edition

Mike Donnelly’s stock watch is buying and selling for the New York Jets pre-season opener this Friday

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch. If you missed it earlier today, check out his piece on fantasy football. Chris Gross also had a great read on Aaron Maybin and yours truly looked at the Jets lack of depth on offense. Yes, we are getting after it here…and yes you should be celebrating the return of Jets football in 3 days by rocking this new shirt –  

With the Jets first preseason game a mere three days away, fans everywhere have been stricken with a major case of Jets-fever. No matter where you look, whether its the TV, Twitter, Jets forums, the radio, this website, or wherever else, people want to discuss all of the ins and outs of the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. This week’s Stock Watch is going to focus on the players and storylines that I’m looking forward to in these preseason games.

BUY: Bilal Powell – The second-year RB was written off by virtually everyone heading into the season, but has by all accounts shown some great ability during training camp. Despite being held down on the ground in last week’s green and white scrimmage (3 offensive linemen were out and he was facing arguably the league’s top D), he did still manage to score a touchdown on a short pass from Mark Sanchez. I’m looking forward to seeing how he handles reps with the first team against some live competition.

SELL: The WR Situation – This has been discussed a ton lately, including on this very site, but it bears watching. The wide receiver situation right now is downright abysmal. With 3 projected top receivers Santonio Holmes, Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley all suffering from injuries we are looking at Stephen Hill and Patrick Turner as the #1 and #2 receivers heading into these pre-season games. Look for a veteran to be brought in after the first wave of cuts around the league, but for now, this position is not looking too strong to say the least.

BUY: Jordan White – All that being said about the WR position being so weak is definitely true, but if there’s a silver lining it is that young players such as 7th round pick Jordan White will get a chance to shine. Our very own Chris Gross was extremely high on this prospect and we’re going to see just how right (or horribly, horribly wrong) he was in projecting White’s talents.

SELL: Austin Howard – With Wayne Hunter banged up, you have to figure Austin Howard is going to get extended looks with the first team unit. Mike Tannenbaum has been talking Howard up for months now, but at this point it’s hard to take him seriously when it comes to these bottom of the roster players. I just don’t think Austin Howard is that good, and I don’t want to see him in there blocking for The Sanchize.

BUY: Quinton Coples – Coples has apparently come alive in a big way the past few days, first with a solid performance in the Green & White Scrimmage, and then again the day of the Brawl to End All Brawls, as he managed to sack quarterback Tim Tebow twice. I am very excited to see our first round pick in some live action.

BUY: Kenrick Ellis – Ellis is definitely going to get extended playing time throughout the preseason and I’m very excited to see how the massive nose tackle has developed heading into year 2. He has the natural ability to be a major contributor on the defensive line, and a strong preseason could really springboard him into more playing time once the games count for real.

BUY: Ricky Sapp – We’ve been talking him up here for months, and doubled down on buying his stock recently, and I for one am very excited about seeing him in action. I think he is going to really play well against the second and third stringers that he will be up against this week and earn himself some more reps with the big boys in coming weeks. He has a lot of potential and could end up playing a key role for the defense before too long.

BUY: The Safeties (Except Eric Smith, obviously) – I’m sure I’m not the only one excited to see our new safety corps in action, particularly LaRon Landry. I know after watching Jets safeties last year, it seems as though ANYBODY would be an upgrade, but this new duo of Landry and Yeremiah Bell could actually be considered very good if they stay healthy and play up to their potential. I’m also very excited to see impressive rookie Antonio Allen in action. We have potentially gone from zero good safeties to 3 or 4. That is very encouraging.

SELL: Injuries – Let’s all just keep our fingers crossed that the Jets don’t suffer any more injuries this preseason. We’ve been fortunate enough to not witness anything too serious yet, and let’s hope it stays that way.

New York Jets: An Examination Of Aaron Maybin’s “Ego”

Chris Gross on why the recent criticism of Aaron Maybin has been unwarranted

In an article published to BuffaloNews.com, columnist Tim Graham observed recent comments made by New York Jets OLB Aaron Maybin. Graham, like many fans and analysts out there, has taken a very negative view of what Maybin has said, declaring him as egotistical and “delusional.” However, when looking at Maybin’s thoughts and comments, with bias aside, there is certainly another way to interpret what the former first round draft choice was preaching. Let’s take a look at each quote while observing how people are interpreting it, along with an alternate translation.

“Me and that slow-down button don’t get along too well, but I’m learning.”

This quote was used as an example to demonstrate how Aaron Maybin’s ego has been refueled in New York. However, finishing the quote by saying “but I’m learning,” tells me something else. Maybin seemingly realizes that he plays completely out of control at times. Although he accumulated 6 sacks over 12 games last season, anyone who knows anything about rushing the passer can tell you that he probably would have reached double digits in sacks if he played with any type of control. Maybin’s high motor is certainly one of the positives to his game, however, getting to the quarterback is an art. Not only do you need to be extremely fast and explosive off of the line of scrimmage, but you also need to have the awareness to slow it down just at the right moment, or you will find yourself running right past the quarterback as he steps up into the pocket, something Maybin did countless times last season. So, while some wish to consider him egotistical for praising his own motor, it is actually a case of Maybin seemingly poking fun at himself, while making the clear assertion that he needs to be more under control to build on his success from last year.

“It is hard to say that you are satisfied, but I am saying this is probably the most fun I’ve had in a training camp in my career.”

Apparently this has been interpreted as Maybin taking a shot at the Bills. People have criticized this comment because Maybin has only been in about 2.5 training camps, if you take his rookie hold out and the fact that he was released twice last season into account. So, because he doesn’t quite have three full training camps under his belt, he isn’t allowed to have fun? Graham makes the argument that he speaks as if he has experience similar to that of Pro Football Hall of Famers.

I’m just not sure what to make of this. Yes, Maybin certainly does not have the most experience in the NFL. However, he simply declared, in comparison to his prior experience, this is the most fun he has had in camp during his short career. Putting any Jets or Bills bias aside, it is fair to say that the more significant role you have on the team, the more enjoying practice will be. This can be related to any field of work. Who do you think has more fun at ESPN every day, Adam Schefter or the night cleaning crew? Who has more fun at the Tonight Show, Jay Leno, or the people collecting tickets at the door? No disrespect to anyone, but work is simply more enjoyable when you have a prominent role in your company, regardless of what field you are in. Maybin finally has a significant role, in an elite defense mind you, so to him, it is exciting to get out there and work towards improving himself and the team every day.

As far as his statement declaring that it is hard to stay satisfied, there is no doubt that anyone associated with sports at any level knows that the best ones never are. Do you think Kobe Bryant is content with five NBA championships? Is Tom Brady happy with his three Super Bowls? Is LeBron James all set now that he has finally won a single Championship? If they were, what would be the point of playing the game? The great ones are never satisfied, regardless of the amount of success they have had. Peyton Manning would already be in discussion as the greatest Quarterback to ever play the game if he were to retire today, however he has worked himself back from a very serious neck injury to continue his career. I can assure you his motivation was not financially related. Any of these players are perfectly fine in that area. Instead, it is that competitive drive, the lifeblood that has propelled each of their careers since the day they began playing their respective sports. Is it a coincidence that players like Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, and Michael Jordan had such a difficult time walking away from the game?

For the most part, anyone who has made it to the professional level, possesses or has possessed that drive at some point during their careers. Maybin struggled early, but because of his hunger, worked himself to a notable season last year. Now, he has simply tasted how sweet personal success is, and he wants more. Maybin is hungry to bring further success not only to himself, but to his team as well. So, while he is being criticized for being cocky, it is simply a matter of the mindset of a professional athlete, the desire to be the best of the best, the need for success and nothing else. Some have it, others don’t, and that can be the difference between good and outstanding when it comes to sports. Maybin is being condemned for speaking about his drive, but he should instead be praised for his continued work ethic to build on his strong 2011.

The final point to be made is the hypocritical title of Graham’s article, since it was posted to a Bills biased news source. Graham entitled his article “Aaron Maybin pretends he has veteran perspective.”

Again, Graham, like everyone else, is entitled to their own opinion and interpretation of quotes. However, Graham claims that Maybin is “a tad delusional about his brief NFL tenure.” This is an interesting choice of words considering how most people closely associated with the Bills seem more than a tad delusional about their complete lack of success over the past two decades. The last time the Bills even appeared in the post season, they fell to Tennessee in what is today known as the Music City Miracle. Yet, Buffalo had a strong offseason and everyone is ready to crown them as the number two team in the division with an almost guaranteed wild card spot. To talk about another team or player having an undeserving sense of entitlement, is beyond hypocritical of anyone associated with Buffalo, considering the franchise’s extensive stretch of below average play.

New York Jets: Offensive Depth Still Area Of Concern

The New York Jets still have depth issues on the offensive side of the football

There is a fine line between having confidence in your young players and being ignorant about the depth on your roster. The New York Jets are walking that line right now. A suggestion for the addition of a veteran running back or wide receiver isn’t a questioning of the future potential of the youth at those positions but a call for needed insurance, in case of injury or a lack of productivity.

Let’s start at running back. Shonn Greene has stayed healthy throughout camp so far. He will likely receive minimal work throughout the pre-season and has proven to be fairly durable over the past two years. However, as we have mentioned before a rolled ankle or separated shoulder leaves the Jets perilously thin at running back for an offense built to be run heavy…very run heavy.

Yes, Bilal Powell has had a strong camp. He is likely the team’s best combo back because of a skill set has features traits needed for both a “A” and “B” back in their system. Powell has shown he can pass protect, catch the football well out of the backfield and mix up running inside and outside. That being said, he still hasn’t proven it in a NFL game and he is really ready to handle 20 carries in a game if Greene misses a few weeks?

Terrance Ganaway was back on the practice field today but has been banged up all throughout camp. He is a rookie 6th round pick. Joe McKnight did look good early in camp but seems to be losing ground to Powell as the team’s primary third down back. Beyond that, McKnight was very fragile with limited touches last year and is already nursing a shoulder injury this camp.

The question remains, why keep such an unproven (Powell, Ganaway) and injury prone (McKnight) group behind Greene with no support? Signing a player like Cedric Benson or Ryan Grant or swinging a trade for a player who is tumbling down the depth charts elsewhere like Knowshon Moreno is low risk, high reward move. Benson or Grant would come on a veteran minimum deal. Moreno wouldn’t cost more than a 6th round pick and has first round talent. You bring them into the rotation and if an injury occurs or  a 1B back never steps up on the Jets roster, you have insurance.

We have seen Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant and Knowshon Moreno run for a 100 yards in a NFL game. Insurance never hurts. New England is loaded at tight end because their offense is built around them. New Orleans and Green Bay is loaded at wide receiver because their offense is built around them. The Jets offense is built around their running game, why not work to be loaded at running back?

The presence of a veteran doesn’t mean you can’t give a player like Powell his touches. It just means that if he gets hurt or doesn’t perform in a game, you have another option.

At wide receiver, it is the walking wounded for the Jets. Santonio Holmes has sore ribs and he will miss the first pre-season game. Fine, he is a proven veteran and will be ready to go for the regular season. Stephen Hill has managed to stay healthy but remains a rookie. Patrick Turner has quietly put together a strong camp and does have a few NFL receptions under his belt. After that…everybody is hurt. Jeremy Kerley is out for another 1-2 weeks with a hamstring injury. Chaz Schilens has been banged up all throughout camp and has never been healthy in his NFL career. Jordan White is just returning from an injury and is a rookie. Dexter Jackson has flashed at times but is completely unproven.

Yesterday the Jets cut bottom of the roster dwellers Scotty “Can I have your girlfriend’s number?” McKnight and DaMarcus “why does this Jets Tweeter love me so much” Ganaway. The logical assumption would be that Mike Tannenbaum is getting ready to add somebody at the position. This makes sense because the Jets will be running out a 3 wide of Hill (0 NFL receptions), Turner (8 NFL receptions) and White/Jackson (0 NFL receptions) with Mark Sanchez this Friday if Holmes and Schilens don’t play.

Tannenbaum isn’t going to go big here. So get Mike Wallace and Dwayne Bowe out of your head (sorry fake Adam Schefter account from last night). If they look to the trade market, James Jones of Green Bay makes sense because of the surplus the Packers have at the position and because Randall Cobb has all but taken his job. Jones won’t be too pricey and is a proven big play receiver who can stretch a defense.

If they look to the free agent market, Greg Camarillo makes the most sense. He knows Sparano’s offense, is a reliable route runner and has very good hands. The hope is that Jordan White can seize the slot receiver role is Jeremy Kerley doesn’t get his act together but it never hurts to have insurance for a rookie 7th round pick. Again, Camarillo will cost you the veteran’s minimum. Low risk for a proven veteran if the injuries remain an issue.

It always better safe than sorry. Didn’t we learn that at the center position last season?

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New York Jets Headline Watch – The Brawl Of The Century

Turn On The Jets looks at the over analysis of the New York Jets training camp fight today

Shockingly enough the New York media and the mainstream media will occasionally twist headlines to generate some type of controversy. We will use this series of columns to review what was actually said and whether there is any reason to be up in arms about it. Today’s topic is the brawl of the century that occurred at practice, along with a few other comments about today’s “newsworthy” topics –

The Headlines

The finger waving

What actually happened –

Defensive back D’Anton Lynn hit running back Joe McKnight late out of bounds. McKnight responded by throwing the football back at Lynn, leading to roughly a 20 player brawl on the sideline somewhat near the fans. The fight was broken up within a minute or so and practice resumed.

Of course the national hand wringing began immediately. Look at the Jets! No chemistry! Out of control again! Of course New England had about three brawls last week but you would never hear too much about that.

Needless to say, fights happen in training camp. A brawl between a player who won’t make the roster and a third down back isn’t going to make or break the Jets season.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the only dominant non-important  Jets news story dominating headlines today. Boomer Esiason thinks the Jets should cut Tim Tebow. Okay? They aren’t going to cut him, so why even bother discuss it? Boomer is a radio host…and a good one at that and comments like this are given to generate ratings.

What should be discussed today is how rookie Stephen Hill beat Darrelle Revis deep for a touchdown on a perfectly thrown 50 yard pass from Mark Sanchez. This is big news because nobody beats Revis deep. The Jets desperately need Hill to grow up fast because of how banged up their wide receivers are and because Sanchez is continuing a very strong training camp.

If you want to talk about the fight, talk about the mature way Sanchez handled it to the media today.

No Huddle – Curtis Martin, Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow

TJ Rosenthal goes No Huddle looking at Curtis Martin HOF speech, Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow

TJ Rosenthal is back with his weekly No Huddle, talking on a number of different issues surrounding the New York Jets as they prepare for their first pre-season game. Make sure to follow on TJ on Twitter –

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As we head into week one of the preseason schedule we take a look back on the past seven days in Jets nation. Never a dull moment around here –

Curtis Martin: 

What a Hollywood movie Curtis Martin’s life has been. From his tragic youth to redemption through the love for his mom and family, football and the coaches who become role models.

After making us all cry in the early part of his story, Curtis offered that even though he never grew up a football fan, the sport taught him about life. His speech taught us a few things too about perseverance, and the value of what’s truly important in this world.

Few Hall Of Fame acceptance speeches have been better.

A Week in The Life Of Antonio Cromartie:

Cro is a character. He’s up, he’s down, he’s athletic, he’s a game changer yet wears a bullseye on his back when he struggles. He’s quotable and he’s always honest.

That said, calling himself the second best WR on the Jets, even if it was taken out of context of it being a smack talk joke, was not what the Jets needed most regarding the passing game. What they needed and still need more, is for a true WR2 to emerge. And fast.

Later last week, Cro then of course goes ahead and almost breaks WR1’s rib during a Saturday night scrimmage. Figures. Only the Jets, right?. Luckily Mr. Holmes is OK.

Now Cro, make the same noise you made last week on the field and off, at your actual position. Be consistent. Lock down WR2. Jump some routes. Be that playmaker week in week out, that we envisioned you would be when you arrived.

As for wideout, if you streak downfield every so often on offense, we won’t complain either.

The Holmes scare:

Taking the Cromartie hit on Santonio during Saturdays intrasquad scrimmage a step further, sometimes a little doomsday fear is a good thing. Do the Jets REALLY feel safe if Tone were to go down? The answer is, depending on how they reacted for those few hours whoever awaiting X-Rays. Depth with experience still an issue.. Relying on potential for a win now team is a dangerous proposition.

Our suggestion? Pick up a vet who has made a few plays in this league before week one. This player can always be cut as time goes on. Be smart, not stubborn. Kids are kids. Give them time to develop and when the time is right, then allow them centerstage. Don’t just hand a young player a big job because there is no other choice.

Obama Chimes In On Jets QB situation:

First off, we truly believe Rex when he says as he did last week that Mark Sanchez is the clear cut QB and Tim Tebow is a special weapon who poses unique problems for opponents. We disagree with the Prez that fans should fear a controversy. We also wonder, ‘Mr President shouldn’t you be focused more on that 1970’s game show host that you will be facing in November?’

Then again, the NFL is alot more fun to banter about than any wonk talk about the economy is. Another diversion from the real issues, by some Commander in Chief.

We get it.

Boomer Esiason Says Jets Should Cut Tebow:

The former Jet QB now turned WFAN radio host offered this opinion this morning, mostly due to how Tebow throws the ball. Enough already with this people.

Tim Tebow is a runner who CAN throw at times, got it? The Jets do. As his role develops into something of a hybrid playmaker based on the potential to line up in many places, maybe everyone will finally believe Gang Green when they say they have a clear cut starter in Sanchez.

Now in defense of Boomer, the Jets will have to slide somebody up to the QB2 role at some point. No backup should be taking and delivering the hits that Tebow will this season. If the McElroy-Simms battle for the QB3 spot doesn’t develop one of those players into a viable 2 right now, the Jets might want to hit the market for a veteran.

Even if the move becomes a trick play on Tebow, who thought he was signing on here to be the backup. Hey, whatever is best for the team isn’t that true 15? You’ve said it yourself, that this is your goal in New York.

On more than one occasion.

Well what’s best may soon mean a slight change in plans. Tanny, Move Tebow to QB3 in time. This way, there will be a viable option if 6 goes down for a period of time. It’s still a passers league right now. The Jets have to prepare for the worst and be able to take part in an aerial show to some degree, if the worst does happen.

New York Jets: WR Depth A Serious Concern

Chris Gross takes a closer look at the New York Jets depth issues at wide receiver

Among the positives that came out of yesterday’s Green and White scrimmage for the New York Jets, eyes were opened to a serious concern when starting Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes was sidelined with what was originally thought to be a fractured rib. X-rays have reportedly come back negative on Holmes, who is listed as day to day, however, with Mark Sanchez’s primary target down, it became truly evident how thin the Jets are at the Wide Receiver position.

Other than Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, there is an alarming lack of experience on the roster. Hopes are high for rookie Stephen Hill, but coming from a triple option offense at Georgia Tech, combined with the fact that he has never taken a single NFL snap, it is far too early to depend on him to carry the workload in the receiving corps. Jeremy Kerley had a very promising rookie campaign last season, but he’s been put in Rex Ryan’s dog house in the early days of training camp for what seems to be a conditioning issue. Regardless, Kerley is much more of a slot type receiver, who may not be very serviceable if plugged into the first or second spot on the depth chart.

Among the other receivers on the roster, newcomer Chaz Schilens has the most experience with four NFL seasons under his belt, however, his career has been plagued by injuries, having played a full 16 games in only his rookie season. Patrick Turner showed some positive signs at the end of last year, hauling in a touchdown in the season finale in Miami, but like many of his colleagues, he too has very little NFL experience, with just 20 games under his belt. Rookie Jordan White had an astounding college career at Western Michigan, but he has been hampered by a lingering foot injury during the first week of camp, so his potential level of production is still extremely hard to gauge.

To put it nicely, if Holmes were to miss significant time, New York would be more dependent on Sanchez and the run game than they have ever been. With this reality looming over the team, there is a good chance General Manager Mike Tannenbaum will look to bolster his group of receivers in some way, shape, or form. Certainly, trades are always a possibility with Tannenbaum, as he didn’t get the nickname “Trader Mike” because it has a nice ring to it. However with very few, if any, realistic trade scenarios out there, the most logical step would be to look at who remains in Free Agency. While there is certainly no abundance of talent left on the open market, New York could use, at the least, a veteran presence in its receiving corps. Here are some names to keep in mind in the coming weeks:

Greg Camarillo – 2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings, Stats: 13 GP, 9 receptions, 121 yards, 0 Touchdowns. 

Camarillo is coming off of his worst statistical season as a pro last year with the Vikings. However, the Quarterback situation in Minnesota was comparable to that of the Jacksonville Jaguars, simply atrocious. Donovan McNabb was released by December, and rookie Christian Ponder struggled greatly at times. However, Camarillo has a great sense of familiarity with new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano’s system. The sixth year veteran out of Stanford played for Sparano during his first two seasons at the Miami Dolphins’ Head Coach, and accumulated the two most productive seasons in his career. In the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Camarillo played in a combined 27 games, while catching 105 balls for 1,165 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although these numbers aren’t jumping off of the stat sheets, this level of production looks impressive when compared to what is behind Holmes, if Camarillo can return to that under Sparano. The reliable target (0 drops in 2009) would likely come at a very cheap price as well. Tannenbaum may be picking up the phone to get him in for a workout at some point in the near future.

Mike Sims-Walker – 2011 Team: St. Louis Rams/Jacksonville Jaguars, Stats: 6 GP, 12 receptions, 150 yards, 0 Touchdowns (Season ending knee injury).

Sims-Walker faced a bit of a rough patch in his career last season, having played in just 6 games. However, before being hit by the injury bug, he was quite productive in 2009 and 2010 for Jacksonville, having played in 29 games while catching 106 passes for 1,431 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sims-Walker worked out for the Houston Texans in June, and reportedly looked healthy and impressive according to Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Concerns over his knee are likely why Sims-Walker remains a free agent, but he could be worth a glance.

Roy E. Williams – 2011 Team: Chicago Bears, Stats: 15 GP, 37 receptions, 507 yards, 2 Touchdowns.

Of the remaining free agents, Williams has probably been the most productive over the course of his career (393 receptions, 5,715 yards, 44 touchdowns), however he has been bounced around between Detroit, Dallas, and most recently, Chicago since becoming the 7th overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft. At 6’3” 215 lbs, Williams has the physical ability to contribute as a solid run blocker, something that is crucial in this offense, but he must be willing to do so. At 30 years old, he likely has some decent football left in him, and the Jets could certainly look his way as well.

Bernard Berrian – 2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings, Stats: 5 GP, 7 receptions, 91 yards, 0 Touchdowns.

Berrian hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2009, which was also the last time he caught a touchdown. After signing a $42 million dollar contract with Minnesota in 2008, Berrian was productive early for the Vikings (103 receptions, 1,582 yards, 11 touchdowns over 2008-2009 seasons combined). Unfortunately, like many of the others, he has been nagged by injuries lately, making him simply irrelevant. New York would be much better suited looking to one of the previous three, before kicking the tires on Berrian.

Anthony Gonzalez – 2011 Team: Indianapolis Colts, Stats: 8 GP, 0 receptions, 0 yards, 0 Touchdowns.

While the Quarterback situation in Indianapolis last year was well below par, Gonzalez has played in just 11 games over the past 3 seasons. He was signed by New England earlier this offseason, but was released prior to training camp due to lingering injuries. His career is seemingly over.

Terrell Owens – 2011 Team: Allen Wranglers (Indoor Football League), Stats: 8 GP, 35 receptions, 420 yards, 10 Touchdowns.

This is simply not going to happen. New York is trying to repair their public image and what many consider a fractured locker room, not further tarnish it.

Plaxico Burress – 2011 Team: New York Jets, Stats: 16 GP, 45 receptions, 612 yards, 8 Touchdowns.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently had a sit down with Burress, whom he reported to be in tremendous shape. While he was very productive in the red zone for the Jets last season, New York has simply moved on. Burress was publicly critical of Mark Sanchez and the organization after the conclusion of last season, yet still remains without a job. A reunion can be ruled out by nearly 100 percent.

It will be very interesting to see how this situation plays out in New York. The Jets have to be aware of the lack of experience on the depth chart behind Holmes and will likely look at some of the names mentioned above. While nothing is imminent, Mike Tannenbaum could be picking up the phone in a couple of weeks, particularly if the receiving corps does not impress in the early preseason games.

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New York Jets: Green and White Scrimmage Recap

Mike Donnelly recaps the New York Jets Green and White scrimmage

Mike Donnelly provides a recap of today’s Green and White scrimmage. Make sure to give him a follow on Twitter and check back tomorrow for Chris Gross’ overview of the Jets options at wide receiver with Santonio Holmes likely being out for 4-6 weeks with a broken rib. 

With today’s first Jets Green and White scrimmage taking place, the important thing to remember is that today is August 4th and the season doesn’t begin for another five weeks. So getting too up or too down about certain players or position groups on this team based on one glorified practice is a pretty futile exercise. That being said, there would be no fun in keeping a level head and not breaking down the action that we saw, heard, or read tweets about this afternoon.

The main thing to know about today’s scrimmage was that in addition to learning a whole new system on the fly, the Jets offense was without wide receivers Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, and Chaz Schilens, plus 3/5 of their starting offensive line were out. (Nick Mangold was off in London to watch his sister compete in the Olympics, Brandon Moore was out watching Curtis Martin get inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Wayne Hunter was not playing, which would usually be good thing until you remember his backups are even worse, but that’s a whole other issue). Oh, and they were only going against arguably the best defense in the NFL.

No big deal. That of course won’t stop many “experts” and commenters from bashing the offense and making unfunny Twitter jokes, but the fact is, the defense is supposed to dominate in situations like that. So for the purposes of this article, I’m going to be looking at all of the positives that came out of today’s scrimmage and not taking petty shots at anyone; not even at Tim Tebow, i promise. Let’s break this down in easy-to-read fashion with random thoughts:

Quinton Coples – I guess all the fans ready to call him a Gholston (it seemed like some actually want him to fail so they can say “I told you so”, which blows my mind) can exhale and actually, you know, give the first round pick more than 6 practices before writing him off. On the very first play of the scrimmage he beat his man, knifed in, and stuffed Shonn Greene behind the line of scrimmage. After that, by all accounts he played very well and should only build off this performance.

Flashes of the new Defense – Rex Ryan started to show some wrinkles he’s incorporating into the new 46 defense this year, and came in with many different looks. Aaron Maybin was all over the field lining up at many different positions, and we even saw some looks where Calvin Pace and Coples were standing up next to each other on the same side of the line. It’s very easy to get excited about this defense, especially when you read things like…

Antonio Allen, Garrett McIntyre, and Ricky Sapp all looked great – Three guys who are all under-the-radar and unknown to casual fans all have had very strong camps and continued that today. Allen has looked like an absolute steal as a 7th round pick, and Sapp and McIntyre are proving that the Jets are not as thin at OLB as many would think. Those Stock Watch Buys of Sapp the past few weeks are looking like money makers so far!

Dustin Keller – Keller caught 3 passes for 31 yards against the first string defense, which is a very positive sign. It appears as though new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano got the memo Brian Schottenheimer never got around to reading, about Dustin Keller being a legit weapon for this offense and if put in the proper position can really do well. Better late than never I suppose. Speaking of Sparano..

Sparano makes adjustments, Sanchez looks sharp – After getting it handed to them early in the scrimmage, when the offense came out for the first drive after halftime, they looked totally different. Mark Sanchez looked great as he went 7-9 for 52 yards during a 60-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Bilal Powell. That halftime adjustment already gives Sparano one more than Schotty had in six years here as coordinator. Sad, but true.

Santonio Holmes broke his ribs – Oh wait, that’s not a positive at all. But it looks as though that is the case, as he was apparently leveled by #2 wide receiver Antonio Cromartie — yes, Antonio Cromartie made a big hit. Seriously. — and came out of the scrimmage. If the rib is indeed broken, his status for week 1 is very much up in the air. The options to replace him from outside the organization are downright putrid now that Braylon Edwards just signed with Seattle, so someone has to step up. If there is a silver lining to all of this, it will give players like Chaz Schilens, Patrick Turner, Jeremy Kerley and even Jordan White the opportunity to step in and show the coaching staff something. It remains to be seen whether or not they will do so, but if all else fails, I guess we can just look forward to watching a 57-8 run/pass ratio in week 1, right?

Curtis Martin going into the HOF – Not part of today’s scrimmage, but definitely worth mentioning. One of the greatest Jets of all time is heading into the Hall of Fame tonight, and we couldn’t be happier for him here at TOJ. If you missed my column on why Curtis deserves this honor so much, you can check that out here.