2 weeks worth of thoughts on the New York Jets after leaving the country
A huge thanks to Chris Gross for running Turn On The Jets, while I spent a couple of weeks aboard in Ireland, Netherlands, and Germany. It is good to be back and getting after it here at TOJ, stay posted throughout the week as myself, Chris, and the rest of our writing staff will be bringing you the high quality content you have come to expect.
1. How could you not laugh at the reaction to Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow’s performance in a 7 on 7 OTA practice? Get used to the meticulous tracking of every throw and movement they make at each practice and the unavoidable overreaction to it. Personally, I think without question Sanchez is the superior quarterback, should start and shouldn’t necessarily have a quick hook. However, I can admit it is crazy to get down on Tebow because he threw a pair of interceptions in his first practice in a new offense. Practice is important but nobody remembers your completion percentage in practices when the bullets start flying in a game. Sanchez is going to start the season under center and the media/certain fans will be screaming for him to be pulled after one bad game, regardless of how much he outperforms Tebow this summer.
2. I am very happy with the decision to sign Yeremiah Bell over Jim Leonhard, which is exactly what it was regardless of what Rex Ryan says. Bell has more size and athleticism than Leonhard and has simply been a more productive player over the past few years. Yes, the Jets are going to have coverage issues with Bell and LaRon Landry starting, along with Eric Smith coming off the bench but Bell provides both needed insurance to Landry at strong safety and more athleticism than Smith would at free safety. His signing hurts the chances of rookie Antonio Allen seeing much playing time this year. On the other hand, rookie Josh Bush should remain a factor in a centerfield type role in certain three safety looks.
3. It is a shame to hear about Kenrick Ellis, as his jail sentence will obviously slow his development. Hopefully, he can get it split so he doesn’t miss any training camp. Regardless, with a crowded depth chart at defensive line, his chances of becoming a major factor this year have only got slimmer.
4. Today, the Jets signed veteran tackles Stephon Heyer and Ray Willis. Both are journeyman but between them have 61 NFL starts. Considering the depth on the offensive line right now, don’t be surprised to see one or maybe both stick on the roster. These signings don’t bode well for Austin Howard.
5. I have no problem with Wayne Hunter and new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo talking tough about the upcoming season. I would hope they would project confidence in Hunter’s ability to handle a starting position. It is more than reasonable to be skeptical about Hunter but it certainly sounds like he will have every chance to prove his critics wrong.
6. Interesting but not surprising to hear Visanthe Shiancoe linked to the Jets in free agent rumors. They still badly need a number two tight end and Shiancoe is a proven veteran, who will give them a ton of versatility in their two tight end sets.
In a two part column, Assistant Staff Writer Mike Donnelly rates the NFL Offseason using a Richter Scale system. Be sure to check back Friday for Part II. – CG
While lying in bed and flipping through the channels the other night, I came across a Discovery Channel show about earthquakes (not the wrestler, unfortunately) and put the remote down. I was fascinated not so much by the earthquakes themselves, but by the tool they use to measure them: The Richter Scale. I think it’s great how they can measure any earthquake anywhere at any time and determine which ones were bigger than the others and give a definitive answer based on a 1-10 scale. Then a thought hit me: Wouldn’t it be great if we could measure everything in life and have an accurate ruling? And more importantly, how can I relate this to football? I’ve been meaning to put together an offseason review, so let’s go ahead and combine the two. I present the 2012 NFL Offseason Review, as graded by the Richter Scale.
(Please note I’ll be giving you the breakdowns of the real Richter Scale descriptions and the magnitude–or score–of each offseason move in it’s respective category)
Magnitude: -2.0 – 0 – “Laughable” (Yeah, I made this one up, but it’s surely worth mentioning)
-2.0 – Rams Hire Brian Schottenheimer as Offensive Coordinator – I can’t wait to watch Sam Bradford work with former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer this year and keep tabs on all the “Is Sam Bradford a bust?” stories that will inevitably be coming out. Just wait, Rams fans, just you wait. And fantasy football players out there, stay clear of this train wreck. You’ll thank me later. Now let’s move on.
Magnitude: 0 – 1.9 – “Micro” (Not felt)
0.1 – Lee Evans signs with the Jaguars – There are a ton of free agent signings you can put in this “micro” category, but this is my favorite one. Not because it’s a good signing or anything (it’s not), but how is Lee Evans still getting work? For years people said “If Lee Evans just had a good QB throwing to him..” Well, it turns out, Lee Evans just isn’t that good, and his final year in the league will be spent having Blaine Gabbert skip passes to him. At least the lasting memory of him won’t be that of dropping a touchdown in the final seconds of a playoff game that could have sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl or anything. Oh wait, yes it will.
2.2 – Brandon Jacobs signs with the 49ers – At this point Jacobs is more known for what he does off the field with his big mouth and delusions of being a professional racecar driver than for what he does on the field. I guess that makes sense, since what he does on the field these days is, well, nothing.
3.5 – Hines Ward and Matt Light retire – I bunched these two together because their situations are so similar: Once-great players who spent their entire careers winning with one franchise, whose play slipped dramatically seemingly overnight. Hines Ward became an afterthought in the Steelers offense last year, and Light was on the verge of being replaced by 2011 rookie Nate Solder anyway. Enjoy retirement, fellas.
Magnitude: 4 – 4.9 – “Light”(Noticeable, but no significant damage)
4.0 – Aaron Ross signs with Jaguars for $15 million – And that’s over three years! For Aaron Ross to deserve $15 million, the contract should span about 30 years, give or take a few. This doesn’t register a 4.0 because of Ross’s play on the field (that would be in the 1.5 range), but rather because of the impact it will have around the league. If Ross is worth $5 million a year, what is someone like Darrelle Revis worth? On a side note, New York fans everywhere are laughing at the Jaguars for signing Drew Coleman and Aaron Ross in back-to-back offseasons. Do some of these teams not have scouts?
4.1 – Ryan Tannehill and Joe Philbin are the new faces of the Dolphins – And you wonder why Dolphins fans stage rallies and protests outside the stadium to get GM Jeff Ireland fired? Tannehill went #8 overall! Really?! He’s likely to become the 73rd (or maybe it just seems that high?) quarterback to come in and fail since Dan Marino’s retirement. At least this is a better option than David Garrard, right Dolphins fans? Right? Ok, maybe not..
4.2 – Giants get Keith Rivers for a 5th round pick – A total win-win move for the Giants here. If Rivers stays healthy–which is a big if–they get a guy who was a top-10 pick just four years ago and has played well in his limited action between injuries. If he gets hurt again, it was still a worthwhile gamble for a team that is very thin at linebacker and they only lose a 5th rounder. Moves like this are why Jerry Reese is considered one of the best GM’s in the NFL.
4.4 – Falcons get Asante Samuel for a 7th round pick – Samuel is a limited cornerback, but he’s very good at what he does, which is cover people on the outside. The Falcons clearly need some help in the back end of their defense, and a 7th round pick is practically nothing to give up. Unfortunately for Atlanta, they have far bigger problems to deal with than their #2 cornerback situation–like figuring out why their quarterback hyperventilates and wets himself in the playoffs, for example.
4.5 – Alex Smith gets upset with 49ers, signs 3-year contract anyway – The 49ers were clearly not too concerned with Alex Smith getting any big offers elsewhere. They sniffed around Peyton Manning, evaluated all their options, then figured they’d bring Smith back short-term and just look to replace him again next year. After watching his comical performance down the stretch against the Giants in the NFC Championship last year, I can see why they weren’t so eager to bring him back right away. I mean you could actually see the fear on his face as he fired passes directly into the turf 4 yards ahead of him. But still, a Super Bowl favorite signing their starting QB is going to cause some ripples, any way you slice it.
4.6 – Laron Landry signs with the Jets – (And to a lesser extent Yeremiah Bell, plus the drafting of Josh Bush and Antonio Allen to overhaul the position) An argument can be made that this should register lower, but the homer in me says otherwise. If you’ve watched the Jets safeties play the last two seasons, you’d understand why this is such a big move. Landry has good size, great speed, can jam tight ends, and actually make tackles. It will be nice to see a Jets safety out there that doesn’t require a sun dial to time his 40 yard dash. If –and this is another big if — Landry can stay healthy, he can take the Jets defense from being “very good” back to being “dominant”.
4.8 – Randy Moss un-retires, signs with 49ers – I love that this happened. Randy Moss is one of the most dominant receivers of all time, and he will likely be playing with a major chip on his shoulder this year. That being said, he’s sulked and slouched his way through games and entire seasons when he wasn’t the focal point of the offense and catching highlight reel touchdowns. Now he’s on the run-first, run-second 49ers. Should be interesting. I’m prepared for anything.
Magnitude: 5 – 5.9 – “Moderate” (Can cause slight to major damage)
5.0 – Bucs spend big for Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Eric Wright – Another example of teams perhaps over-spending on free agents, but all three of these guys can help Tampa win. They likely won’t compete for the division title this year, but the signings of Jackson and Nicks will go a long way towards helping quarterback Josh Freeman progress into the franchise signal-caller they hope he can be. Plus, Tampa now has to be considered a potential target for big-time free agents. Hey, Greg Schiano always was a pretty good recruiter.
5.1 – Matt Flynn signs with Seahawks – I don’t necessarily think Flynn is going to turn into a star or anything, but how he plays these next few years will have a lot of impact on how much money future backups-hoping-to-be-staters can get in coming years, which is a pretty major thought. The last two high profile quarterbacks in that category, Matt Cassell and Kevin Kolb, have largely flopped, so let’s see if Flynn can buck the trend. Oh, and his performance will likely be the determining factor in whether or not Pete Carroll gets fired. No pressure. On the bright side, it sure beats having Charlie Whitehurst and Tavaris Jackson run the show.
5.3 – Patriots sign non-washed up veteran (Brandon Lloyd) and trade UP in draft– Whoa, talk about bucking some trends. The Patriots, for the first time in many years, sign a veteran player who is actually kind of in the prime of his career and can help Tom Brady on the field (Sorry, Ochocinco). Not only that, after years of trading down in the draft for future picks and taking project players, they shocked everyone and surprisingly took two defensive players with high ceilings that can come in and help their porous defense from day 1. Times, they are a-changin’! (Well, not changing that much. The Patriots are still going to be awesome. Also, Belichick couldn’t help himself and signed Joseph Addai. The washed up veteran signing streak lives.)
5.4 – Cowboys and Eagles bolster their defenses– I lumped these two together as well, because their moves are so similar. Both these NFC East contenders knew they had to do something about their defenses to compete against one another and the Giants this year, so they did. The Cowboys last year appeared to be running a charity on the field for opposing quarterbacks with their terrible secondary. To amend that problem, they signed CB Brandon Carr for big money and traded up in the draft for Morris Claiborne. On the flip side, the Eagles had no problems defending the pass, but their defensive front allowed holes big enough for trucks to drive though. So Andy Reid wised up and traded for run-stuffing Middle Linebacker DeMeco Ryans, and traded up for DT Fletcher Cox. Mission accomplished. The NFC East is going to be tough this year.
5.9 – Bears acquire Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush– After years and years of failing to provide Jay Cutler a solid NFL-calibre WR to work with, the Bears mercifully went out and got Cutler’s favorite receiver to play with, Brandon Marshall, for just two 3rd-round draft picks. How did they get an elite talent for so little? Well, other than Jeff Ireland being an idiot, it’s probably because Marshall allegedly assaulted yet another woman–this time in a bar–and might spend some time in prison. Should he avoid the slammer, Marshall gives them a legitimate receiving threat, while Bush will provide an excellent inside runner to pair with Matt Forte, who is coming off knee surgery.
Turmoil. Despair. Cancer. Implosive. These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the New York Jets since the conclusion of the 2011 season. The end of the season meltdown in Miami that capped a horrible December for the Jets last year, has stuck with them throughout the entire offseason, and will likely be around until game one of next year. Most fans of the NFL who don’t cheer for the green and white have relished in this. As they see it, the big bad Jets, who have never lived up to their coach’s brash guarantees, finally got what they deserved. This attitude certainly will not be easing up anytime soon. However, there are 5 scenarios that would ultimately prove to be devastating to everyone who thrives in New York’s sufferings, and would likely rip the soul out of any negative commentary directed toward the Jets.
5.) Quinton Coples Produces Double Digit Sacks As A Rookie. Most people who love to point out any hardships faced by the Jets always seem to use their history of ineffective drafting as one of the many forms of ammunition against them. We all know the story. Ken O’Brien over Dan Marino. Kyle Brady over Warren Sapp. Vernon Gholston over…well, anyone. Jets haters are praying that the next chapter reads “Quinton Coples over Melvin Ingram.” These fans would love nothing more than to see Coples come out and be the loaf that he has unfairly been portrayed to be among draft analysts, media, and some uninformed fans. Coples certainly has the potential to be an excellent player in New York’s defense for years to come, and him fulfilling this potential would surely leave quite the sour taste in the mouths of everyone wishing negativity upon the Jets.
4.) The Jets Display Great Team Chemistry. How happy do you think fans of teams like New England, the Giants, and Buffalo were to see Santonio Holmes screaming on the field like a 4th grader in Miami last season. What surely made them even happier was Holmes’ miserable mug on the sidelines, watching as the team he “captained” saw their season slip between their fingers. To add even more to their joy was the week that ensued from the blowup on South Beach. Bart Scott was flipping off the media, Rex Ryan was crying, and anonymous sources were telling everyone how bad Sanchez was. A nightmare for anyone associated with the Jets, but a dream come true for all of Gang Green’s most passionate haters.
Speaking of nightmares, though, how terrifying of a thought is it, to everyone that hates the Jets, of the team actually unifying and displaying great team chemistry throughout the entire season? We already saw how much Giant fans quiver at this idea, as displayed by the immense amount of boos directed toward Sanchez and Holmes when they attended a recent Knicks game together.
Not only do people love the idea of the Jets failing professionally, but to see them waist deep in turmoil and drama is pure bliss. Imagine how sick it would make these fans to see the Jets come together as one, and achieve the type of unification that propelled them to back-to-back AFC title games just over a year ago.
3.) Tim Tebow Is A Vital Piece To The Jets Offense, But Not As A Quarterback. The day the Jets traded for Tim Tebow was surely the happiest day of the offseason for everyone that despises New York. Mark Sanchez has become the most heavily scrutinized quarterback in the NFL today. No player in the history of the league has had such an early amount of success overshadowed by constant questions of job security. Due to the fact that Sanchez was able to achieve so much in his first two seasons, those who hate the Jets will take every opportunity to point out even the slightest flaw in number 6’s game. This same group of people undoubtedly would like nothing more than to see Sanchez dethroned by the newly acquired Tebow. Haters of Gang Green love the fact that the Jets brought in the most popular player in the NFL to undermine Mark Sanchez, and create, as they see it, an inevitable quarterback controversy to further add to the team chemistry issues.
Most people have started predicting not if, but when, Tebow will become the full time starter in New York. Sanchez’s success, coupled with his portrayal as a “pretty boy,” has caused him to be one of the most hated players in the league. Mass amounts of people would love to see nothing more than Tebow take the reigns from Sanchez, with the Jets eventually kicking the former 5th overall selection to the curb.
However, could you imagine the pain it would cause this same sample of fans to have to watch the Jets win with both Sanchez and Tebow contributing? Picture a world where Sanchez is the unquestioned starter, and leader, of the Jets, with Tebow being a vital piece to a successful offense as a running back, h-back, wild cat quarterback, jack of all trades type player. Most people seem to forget how effective Tebow can be as a runner in this league. Group that with Tony Sparano’s run first philosophy, and this hypothetical could very well become a reality.
2.) Mark Sanchez Makes The Pro Bowl. As stated above, Sanchez is probably the most hated player on the Jets, among the many players that draw so much angst from those who look upon New York with such disapproval. Other than fans and personnel of the team, no one on the planet wants to see Sanchez succeed. To see him lead the Jets to a division title, while making his first career pro bowl, would not only kill so many punch lines for those who like to poke fun at the Jets’ misfortunes, but would put an end to any questions regarding the position heading into next offseason.
1.) The New York Jets Win The Super Bowl. This would be the ultimate defeat for anyone who has even the slightest feeling of animosity toward the Jets. To see Rex Ryan finally hoisting that Lombardi Trophy above his head in the Superdome next February would probably drive some of New York’s biggest haters into exile for at least a few weeks. The amount of ammo that Jet fans would have to fire back at everyone who has sulked in the team’s recent struggles would certainly be too much for any of them to handle. Not to mention, there would be no further questions of controversy, internal dissent, or lack of leadership, and we would likely witness a disappearing act of every anonymous source living in the Jets’ locker room. What on earth would the mainstream media write about?
Starting tonight I will be heading over to Europe until Sunday, May 27th. In the meantime, Chris Gross will be running the site. Stay with us for new content from him, our newest writer Mike Donnelly and Justin Fritze. Make sure you are following all of them on Twitter. I will miss all of you…I won’t miss hearing about what Tim Tebow eats for lunch, what his dog is called or where he is residing in New Jersey.
For now, I will spread the good word of Turn On The Jets to Ireland, Netherlands, and Germany. Where hopefully they will be open to hearing about my confusion over the entire Jets organization verbally assaulting their starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, while effusively praising their backup quarterback. Along with why it makes little sense to hop on the bandwagon and pick the Buffalo Bills to finish over the New York Jets, since the Jets have owned them the past 3 years and the Bills don’t have a quarterback. Anyway…
I am looking forward to coming back for a strong June and I’m officially handing it off to Chris until then, unlike the Jets backup he is more than capable of running 20 plays per game and can complete a 10 yard out route.
Chris Gross looks at what AFC East teams have the right to run their mouths about the New York Jets
In a new column, Chris Gross will be going through the NFL by division and determining which teams and fan-bases actually have a good claim to hating the New York Jets and running their mouth on the organization and which do not, up first the AFC East –
Since Rex Ryan became Head Coach of the New York Jets, his brash personality has caused his team to become one of the most hated, if not the most hated, teams in professional football. Other than Jets fans, it seems as if everyone who has even the slightest knowledge of the NFL loves nothing more than to see Gang Green face hardships. Mark Sanchez has become the punch line of every joke related to football, as has Santonio Holmes’ personality, Antonio Cromartie’s kids, and Rex Ryan’s weight. People truly love to take shots at the Jets, and will not waste any opportunity to do so.
However, only a handful of teams actually have the right to poke fun at the Jets. Since Ryan took the helm in New York, the team has gone from a mediocre, occasional playoff team, to a serious contender each year, regardless of the abysmal 8-8 performance last season. Rex has let it be known that the Jets will be in contention every single year that he is the head coach, and he has actually lived up to those statements. Although he has yet to deliver on his Super Bowl guarantees, Ryan has put the Jets on the map, and whether or not people like to admit it, they will be in the mix in the AFC each year he remains in charge.
This simple fact surely irks anyone who is not a fan of the Jets. Although his bold predictions haven’t quite come true, the Jets have proved they will compete every year under Ryan. What other first time head coaches have combined with their rookie quarterback to win 4 road playoff games in their first two seasons together? That’s correct, none. In fact, only a handful of teams have had more success than the Jets in the three years Ryan has been the head coach.
When it comes to hating on the Jets and making jokes about the team’s scarce struggles, there are three basic categories. There are the teams that have absolutely no right whatsoever to engage in such practice, there are teams that historically have been more of a laughing stock than the Jets have ever been, but have earned some recent bragging rights, and then there are teams that do, in fact, have the right to make all the fun of the Jets they want, until they are unseated from such a position. When looking division by division, the list of teams that has no ground to ever breathe a word of negativity about the Jets organization is much larger than the other two categories.
In the coming days, we will give a close examination of each NFL team by division, and place them into one of these three categories. For our inaugural TOJ Why Do You Hate The Jets?, let’s take a look at New York’s very own AFC East.
Just Shut Up:
This section contains the teams that have been inferior to the Jets during the past three seasons. The majority of these teams have also been dominated by New York during that time, and have historically faced much greater hardships then the Jets have had under Ryan.
Buffalo Bills – The self proclaimed “Bills Mafia” that has recently become the favorite to unseat the New England Patriots in the AFC East, while having been handed two victories against the Jets in 2012 already, should take a long hard look in the mirror. Mario Williams has been painted as the “savior” for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1993. However, Buffalo shelled out 100 million dollars to a player whose sack production has dropped steadily in each of the past 5 seasons. In 2007, Williams tallied 14 sacks, followed by 12, 9, 8.5, and 5 in each of the following seasons, respectively.
Then, there is Stevie Johnson, the Bills supposed marquee offensive playmaker. This is the same guy who was more focused on mocking Plaxico Burress last season, than he was on catching passes. This is the same guy who blamed God for dropping an overtime touchdown pass against Pittsburgh in 2010. Say what you want about Tim Tebow praising God, but there is nothing more ridiculous and childish than a professional athlete publicly blaming his lack of ability on a higher power.
As for the AFC Title Game loss jokes, lets not forget that the Bills are the team that lost in 4 straight Super Bowls. You tell me what hurts worse.
And last, but certainly not least, the Bills have not even appeared in the post season since 1999, when they saw their season end on one of the most hilarious plays in NFL playoff history.
I could certainly go on and talk about how the Bills are 1-5 against the Rex Ryan led Jets, or how Chan Gailey has had a joke of a career as an NFL head coach (28-36 overall record), but the numbers speak for themselves.
Some Room To Talk:
These are the teams that have recently had success against the Jets, earning themselves some bragging rights. However, these teams have also been subpar in the grand scheme of the NFL during that same time period, and although have played the Jets tough, have not even sniffed their overall success.
Miami Dolphins – Much to their credit, the Dolphins took advantage of the Jets’ end of the season meltdown last year, and were able to put the fork in a team that had been done for a month leading into the game. Miami certainly has more room to talk than Buffalo, having actually won the division in 2008, even though they were bounced out of the first round in a dominating performance by the Baltimore Ravens. Miami has consistently been able to challenge the Jets, as Ryan is just 2-4 against the fish. However, the man who led those Dolphins teams to so much success against New York, is now the Jets Offensive Coordinator.
The quarterback situation in Miami is a laughable one. With the quarterback duo of Sanchez and Tebow, the Jets are an easy target for a QB joke, however when a team’s backup quarterback has the same amount of playoff wins as all of another team’s quarterbacks combined, where is the real joke? The Dolphins haven’t had a legitimate threat at quarterback since Dan Marino’s departure, minus the year that ex-Jet Chad Pennington led them to a division title.
Also, who is catching passes in Miami this year? The team traded away the only valuable offensive asset it had in Brandon Marshall this offseason, and did nothing to replace the void left in the receiving core. The Jets may not have the world’s greatest depth at wide receiver, but any of the receivers on New York’s roster would likely be a starter for Miami this season.
Unconditional Bragging Rights
These teams have every right to make any joke they please at the Jets. Other than a few bright spots, they have either repeatedly asserted their dominance over the Jets, or amongst other teams in the NFL during the three years that Ryan has been in New York.
New England Patriots – Jets fans certainly do now want to hear this, but New England has every right to make as many jokes about the Jets as they want. Other than Gang Green’s epic playoff victory in Foxboro during the 2011 playoffs, Bill Belichick has had his way with Rex’s Jets. Posting a 2-4 record against New England since Ryan’s arrival, the Jets have been outscored by the Patriots during that span by a score of 160-98. While the rivalry hasn’t been completely one sided, it has included two blowouts and a sweep last season, not to mention, the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearance last year.
New York has proved that it can challenge New England for the crown in the AFC East, however they need to do it consistently. Until that time, the Patriots, unfortunately, have unconditional bragging rights. Meanwhile, New York can hang onto this in the process of taking the reigns in the division.
Prepare yourself for five months of positive press on Tim Tebow and negative press on Mark Sanchez
Yesterday the Daily News published an article using New York Jets quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh as the primary source. The article generally portrayed Mark Sanchez in a negative light. Today they also published an article using Cavanaugh as the primary source, this time portraying Tim Tebow in a positive light. Erik Manassy of Jets Twit provides a terrific breakdown of the two articles here.
First off, Cavanaugh made himself look foolish by praising Tebow’s mechanics after criticizing Sanchez’s development, considering he has overseen that very development. It doesn’t take a football savant to see how far Tebow’s mechanics still need to go, so even if Cavanaugh was truly pleased with them it was odd to pair it with the Sanchez criticism.
We already discussed Cavanaugh’s unimpressive resume today at TOJ. He maintained his job this off-season, only after the Jets struck out chasing Todd Haley and Karl Dorrell. It would make sense for him to stay out of the media and focus on developing his starting quarterback primarily, and then his Wildcat/backup.
Yet, what I really want to focus on is the beginning of a trend you will see in the coming months. Manish Mehta of the Daily News has already shown his affinity for anonymous sources ripping Mark Sanchez since the season ended and many of the other beat writers have followed a similar path. The New York media wants a quarterback controversy. It sells newspapers.
Beyond that, they will create caricatures of members of the Jets to help write stories throughout the year. Santonio Holmes, the selfish bogeyman who is the team villain. Mark Sanchez, the fading star who is mentally weak. Tim Tebow, the heroic backup who can do no wrong.
Expect a steady stream of pro-Tebow and anti-Sanchez articles in the coming months. I can promise you a Daily News article this summer quoting unnamed sources that Tebow is outperforming Sanchez in practice and will soon take over as the starter. I can promise if Sanchez has one poor game, there will be rumors from those unnamed sources claiming that Sanchez will be benched or is one bad quarter away from being benched.
New TOJ writer Mike Donnelly has found excerpts of the book the New York Jets have written – “How NOT To Develop A Young Quarterback”
Turn On The Jets would like to welcome our newest assistant staff writer, Mike Donnelly on board. Mike was previously writing for You Don’t Know Football and freelancing for his own site on the New York Jets. Make sure you follow him on Twitter –
When the New York Jets made the shocking trade for Tim Tebow earlier this offseason, people had many different takes and opinions on it. Beyond just the normal Jets-bashing and Tebow-trashing, some people loved the move because of Tebow’s running ability and some people hated it, mainly due to the effect it would have on Mark Sanchez both on and off the field. Sanchez is a fine young quarterback who has improved each year and had a lot of success — despite what his detractors say — so the Tebow trade was a curious one.
I did a little digging however, and found out there was a method to the madness. If it seemed like the Jets as an organization were going out of their way to push Sanchez to the side and stunt his development, it’s because they were, and this was just the latest in a series of questionable decisions. Apparently, in their never-ending quest for more publicity, the Jets decided to see how far they can push this thing and publish the first ever “How NOT to Develop Your Young Quarterback” handbook. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on a rough copy and will share some excerpts with you.
Chapter One – “What you want to do is hire a defensive Head Coach who has no interest in the offense whatsoever. The real trick, though, is you want to give the keys to the entire offense to an unqualified coordinator who has had no success in the NFL at all. In our case, that man was Brian Schottenheimer. Schotty had been here for three years already by the time we drafted Mark, and before that he was the quarterbacks coach in San Diego. It was during that time that Drew Brees had the worst years of his career before moving to New Orleans and carving out a Hall of Fame career under new coaches. We knew Schotty would do a pretty bad job, but we had to be absolutely sure we couldn’t let Sanchez improve at all. That’s why we also hired Matt Cavanaugh to come in and be the QB’s coach in 2009, and that was a major coup for us…”
Wow. If the goal was really to hire two incompetent coaches to coach the offense and Mark Sanchez specifically, they did a great job with these two. First, let’s start with Schottenheimer. By now everybody knows how bad of a job he did here and that his offense was too complicated and too ineffective. Chad Pennington even had a tough time grasping it. Brett Favre basically ignored it. Many current players complained about it. Let’s quickly take a look at some of Schotty’s failures:
95.7 and 107.2. Those are Brett Favre’s QB ratings the year before and after he worked with Schotty, respectively. His rating with Schotty? 81.0 to go along with his 22 interceptions.
Chad Pennington’s QB rating with Schotty over 2 years: 83.3. The year he left? 97.4 and a 2nd place MVP finish. Hmm.
16 straight games, including 3 playoff contests, where he couldn’t come up with a game plan to score a 1st quarter touchdown
58 straight weeks without a 300 yard passer between 2006 and 2010
Passing offense never finished higher than 16th in NFL
And it is not like Cavanaugh helped matters. Before coming to the Jets to mentor Sanchez, he was the offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh University where his claim to fame was being part of the brain trust that decided to start Tyler Palko at QB over future NFL 1st round pick Joe Flacco. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens during the era where their offensive ineptitude was the butt of many jokes. During his last three years on the job, the passing offense ranked 27th, 32nd, and 31st. A perfect candidate to come in and help a young QB become a great passer! He was clearly everything the Jets were looking for in their handbook.
Chapter 4 – “Once you’ve established that the young QB won’t get any competent coaching, the next thing you want to do is take away anything he’s familiar with and not let him get into any kind of comfort zone. So what we did is change the receivers Mark would be throwing to every season. The thinking was, if he we let him get comfortable and grow with any receivers, his stats would improve, and that’s a no-no. In 2011 we even took it a step further and not only did we take away the two receivers he was most familiar with, we replaced them with two guys who couldn’t run anymore! It was great…”
The Jets did a great job adhering to this. In 2009, the first receiver Sanchez got comfortable with was Chansi Stuckey, so he was traded by week 5. They brought in Braylon Edwards, though, which was actually a great thing for Sanchez. Too great of a thing, apparently, because just a year and a half later he was gone. In 2010, Santonio Holmes was brought in, but due to his 4 game suspension, it took a while for him and Sanchez to get on the same page. With the trio of Edwards, Holmes, and Cotchery, Sanchez had an excellent, young corps of receivers to work with. So naturally the whole thing was blown up after the 2010 season that nearly ended in a Super Bowl. Edwards was let go, Cotchery was released, and they were replaced by the decrepit Derek Mason and fresh from prison Plaxico Burress. The Jets apparently didn’t ask Plaxico to work out for them or run a 40 yard dash before signing, probably because they didn’t have a sun dial available. So not only was Sanchez left without a deep threat, but he had to break in these new receivers during a lockout without coaches being present. No big deal.
Later in Chapter 4– “And just to be sure the quarterback won’t be comfortable at all, you might want to go ahead and weaken his offensive line a great deal. Nothing frazzles a QB more than being hit every play, so we decided to put Wayne Hunter at tackle and back him up with Vlad Ducasse. Doesn’t get much worse than that! Speaking of backups, make sure you have none, so if one of your starters like Nick Mangold does get injured, your QB will get buried…”
Well, this strategy definitely did work. Gotta give them credit.
Chapter 8 – “If you’ve come this far, it means you’ve done everything you physically can to your QB to make sure he fails. Now it’s time to work on the mental side and really ruin his confidence. It will be hard to top what we did, because a guy like Tim Tebow only comes along once in a lifetime, but if possible, you have to bring in an extremely popular player to back up your quarterback. That way, every time he throws an incomplete pass or messes up, the whole crowd will be pushing for the backup to play, even if he can’t throw a forward pass! Plus the entire media will report on every little move he makes and make it nearly impossible for him to not crack under the pressure. This is an important step in the process here…”
Well, they were right about it being hard for future teams to one-up them when it comes to Tebow. In fact, I don’t think any starting QB that has had the success Sanchez has, has ever had to deal with something like Tim Tebow being brought in and getting on the field for up to 20 plays per game every Sunday. The Jets really broke new ground with this one. It was a nice touch added on also to have Matt Cavanaugh criticize Sanchez publicly while also talking about how wonderful Tim Tebow is. Smooth.
Look, I’m a big Mark Sanchez supporter and fan. I think he’s gotten a bum rap, and it’s totally undeserved. People seem to forget that he only just completed his 3rd season in the league, and is actually ahead of where many other star players were at the same point in their careers, just look at Drew Brees’ stats early in his career. Or even better, look at Eli Manning, who many Giants fans wanted to run out of town after 3 years.
There are lots of similarities between Sanchez and Eli that go beyond just the stats. After Eli’s third year, they fired the offensive coordinator who wasn’t using Eli to the best of his abilities and became way too predictable. Sound familiar? They replaced him with Kevin Gilbride, a former Head Coach who had success as an offensive coach prior to flopping as Head Coach. Again, sound familiar? I hope the Jets took some notes. The Giants let Eli work out his problems, progress, and late in Year 4, Eli started to “get it”. He cut out the silly mistakes, grasped the offense that suited his skills, and he led them to the Super Bowl. I’m not saying that’s what will happen this year with Mark Sanchez, but he deserves the opportunity to do so. Mark Sanchez has proven he can handle the big stage in the past, and I wouldn’t bet against him rising up and doing so again.
Chris G gives one final round-up of the New York Jets 2012 draft class
After watching hours of film on every selection made in the 2012 Draft by the New York Jets, we have analyzed each player and where we think they will fit in with the team, based on their skill set and potential. Now, it’s time to have fun with some predictions for each of these rookies in 2012 and beyond. Let’s have a look at what a yearbook of the Jets’ 2012 Draft Class would probably read.
Most Likely To Succeed – DE Quinton Coples. This was a very tough decision, as I think Stephen Hill will undoubtedly have a successful career in the NFL. However, Rex Ryan is a defensive minded coach, and besides Darrelle Revis, has yet to have a player in New York with the physical upside of Coples. With all the criticism emerging from the Jets’ decision to pass on Melvin Ingram for Coples, expect Rex to make it a priority to ensure the young DE out of North Carolina will thrive underneath him.
Most Likely To Be Considered A Steal – LB DeMario Davis. Davis has the passion, drive, and physical ability to be an elite NFL linebacker down the road. It will benefit him greatly to play in a system designed by Rex Ryan, while learning under the tutelage of David Harris and Bart Scott in the early years of his career. From what Davis was able to demonstrate in college, along with his tremendous speed and size for the position, there is a very high chance that, in the coming years, people will be questioning how he ever fell to the third round.
Biggest Sleeper Pick –WR Jordan White. Not too many people are talking about White, but when taking a closer look, this kid has all the potential in the world to be a very solid NFL Wide Receiver. His production at Western Michigan speaks for itself, while he has repeatedly proved to be tough, physical, and athletic on film. His intelligence displayed by his ability to find holes in the defense, as well as his fantastic route running ability will put him right where he needs to be in camp in order to compete for a roster spot. I would be shocked if he is not on the active roster at some point this season, while developing into a reliable safety net for Mark Sanchez in the future.
Best Value – S Antonio Allen. After reviewing the game film of safety Josh Bush, I have an excellent feeling about his play and how he will succeed as a Jet. However, I have had Allen rated as the third best safety in this year’s class right behind Harrison Smith. A further review of his game film only solidified that notion, and in the 7th round, the former Gamecock was certainly the best value pick by New York this year. The Jets likely selected Bush ahead of Allen because of their greater need for a true centerfield-type safety, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum were ecstatic to see him still on the board in round 7.
Least Likely To Ever Play A Significant Down – G Robert T. Griffin. Don’t get me wrong, Griffin’s massive frame, and great tenacity give him tremendous upside. However, he appears to be light years away from being a capable NFL offensive lineman. His skill set is very far behind in terms of his strength, footwork, and technique. There’s always a chance that he proves this assertion to be false, but in all likelihood, Griffin will find a home on the practice squad and settle there for a few years, before becoming a career backup, at best.
Only time will truly tell how each of these young men will fare as NFL players. Surely, they have all done things well enough to find themselves in the rare position that they are in. There’s no doubt that they are all good football players, but which of them will go the distance to ensure success in the NFL?
Will the lowered expectations for the New York Jets 2012 season, equal better than expected results?
The prognosticators aren’t going to be kind to the New York Jets in the coming months. Who wouldn’t want to kick Rex Ryan and his fat mouth when he is down? His team is coming off a 8-8 season playoff-less season and they had a controversial and potentially ineffective off-season. Beyond that. Ryan admittedly lost the locker room last season to petty in-fighting.
This year’s “it” pick in the AFC East will be the Buffalo Bills to challenge and potentially unseat the New England Patriots and grab a playoff spot or division title in the process. New York’s other, other team had a flashy off-season by bringing in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to beef up the now supposed best front seven in football. They also kept the core pieces of their offense intact by resigning Stevie Johnson and extending Fred Jackson’s contract.
Of course, everybody is too busy criticizing Mark Sanchez to take the time to question Ryan Fitzpatrick. In case you haven’t noticed, Fitzpatrick was awful the second half of last season, has never won anything in his NFL career and is a substantially bigger question mark than Sanchez heading into this season.
Regardless of the Jets perceived hierarchy in the AFC East, there are valid questions about their roster which will lead most to pick them to go anywhere from 6-10 to 9-7. The looming quarterback controversy between Sanchez and Tebow, the shaky right tackle and safety situation, and lack of a proven big time running back will all be consistently referenced.
Fortunately, lower expectations may not be a bad thing for this team. As a matter of fact, if recent history proves anything…it is that when the Jets have low expectations, they exceed them and when they have high expectations, they struggle. Remember in 2004, 2006, and 2009 nobody expected the Jets to sniff the playoffs and they made it all three of those years and in 2007, 2008, and most recently last year when they were a popular pick as a contender and flamed out.
I firmly believe you will see a toned done Rex Ryan to the public this year, further removing the target from the Jets back. Nobody thinks the Jets have an elite defense anymore. Nobody thinks they have an elite offensive line. Everybody thinks Santonio Holmes forgot how to get open and that Mark Sanchez is seconds from the bench. David Harris is under still under the radar and most assume Quinton Coples will be a bust. We can only hope the Jets are reading their press clippings this season and saving every single one of them maybe then they can get back to surprising teams with a hit in the mouth.
Chris Gross breaks down New York Jets first round pick, defensive end Quinton Coples
Today we come to the end of our complete breakdown of every New York Jets draft pick, by looking at first rounder Quinton Coples. In case you haven’t been paying attention, here are the links to all the previous articles. Another huge shout out to Chris Gross, TOJ’s own Mike Mayock, who didn’t leave the film room the past two weeks.
When the New York Jets selected Quinton Coples with the 16th overall selection in this year’s NFL draft, the organization immediately found itself under heavy criticism. Many expected the Jets to trade up for DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, but when he fell to New York at 16, it was seemingly too good to be true. When the Jets opted to pass on the highly touted player out of South Carolina, the reaction was not very warm among the green and white faithful. What made the decision to pass on Ingram even worse was the scrutiny that Coples found himself under in the weeks leading up to the draft. Once regarded as the best pass rushing prospect in this year’s class, red flags regarding his character and effort level began to surface on draft boards throughout the entire nation.
However, it is an unfortunate occurrence when individuals let others decide their opinion. With several draft experts in the media declaring Coples a talented, but lazy player, unworthy of the spot he was drafted in, people adopted this opinion as their own. But on what basis were these declarations made? On what grounds do analysts have the proper footing to deem Coples a lazy, unmotivated player? For the final edition of our draft analysis here at Turn On The Jets, my primary goal in evaluating Coples was to generate a completely objective opinion. I shelved everything I had heard about him, and simply watched him as if he were any other player. Some concerns about Coples may not be totally unwarranted, however to declare this young man as a waste of a selection and label him as a guy with a bad work ethic is completely unfair.
The first characteristic that stands out on Quinton Coples when evaluating his game film is, undoubtedly, his explosiveness. Coples gets off the ball perhaps faster than any defensive player in this year’s draft class. He also plays with excellent leverage, as he demonstrates the ability to get underneath offensive lineman, which is even more impressive when considering his 6’6” stature. The majority of the time, he is very aggressive in his approach to an opponent by showing an attack first mentality. Rarely does he allow the offensive lineman to initiate the contact with him. He is adamant about striking fast, and controlling the blocker.
Along with explosion, Coples, most notably, has exceptional pass rush skills. He reads his keys extremely well, and displays tremendous ability to “run the circle.” For a defensive lineman, the ability to run the circle refers to how well the player can dip their shoulder to gain leverage on the opposing lineman, while maintaining enough speed and coordination to stay in their pass rush lane and get to the quarterback. Coples does this just as good, if not better, than anyone I have evaluated in this year’s class, including Ingram and Courtney Upshaw of Alabama.
Coples is also very versatile. During his reign at UNC, he lined up at defensive end, tackle, and even some outside linebacker. His physical tools give him the ability to move all over the field, something Rex Ryan will surely take advantage of. He is very powerful, but at the same time, is extremely agile and smooth in his movements. During his junior season, Coples played primarily defensive tackle, and registered 10 sacks. His ability to play both inside and outside on the defensive line should make his value immeasurable to a creative coach like Ryan.Although Coples effort and work ethic came into question following his senior season at North Carolina, there is not enough substantial evidence to label him anything remotely close to “lazy.” Countless times, Coples showed valiant effort in his play either by continuing to work up field on a pass rush with double moves, spin techniques, or an extra push, or on run plays where he repeatedly screamed down the line of scrimmage chasing runs away from his side of the field.
The knocks on Coples being inconsistent are generally the only ones that I found to be true. There are times during games when he does not consistently play at a high level. However, there are several factors that are rarely considered as to why this happens. The first, and probably most obvious, is that regardless of the player, it is just about impossible to maintain an elite level of production on every single play. Secondly, with the immense amount of success Coples had during his junior year, coupled with the threat his physical abilities make him to opposing offenses, teams clearly game planned around him last season. There were numerous plays in which Coples faced double, and even triple, teams last year. It is very likely that #90 was circled on every offensive game plan among North Carolina’s opponents in 2011. A player like Coples needs to be accounted for at all times, because if he is not, it can cost coordinators and coaches their jobs.
Another very important factor that may have played into Coples inconsistency was the amount of turmoil that the North Carolina football program faced during his time as a Tar Heel. Besides the heavy amount of negative publicity and suspensions the team was dealt within the past two years, Coples also had the unfortunate burden of playing for four different position coaches in each of his four years with the program. It is very difficult for a player to get comfortable and gain consistency when there is no stability whatsoever. The fact that he still was able to perform at a level high enough for him to be considered one of the best, if not the best, defensive lineman in the draft should speak volumes to his character, rather than tarnish it. Granted, the argument can be made that as a division I scholarship athlete, there should be no excuses like these, but it is often forgotten that these players are simply kids. Instability within a program can be detrimental to a young man.
With all of that being said, I still did not find enough substantial evidence to consider Coples a “lazy” player. He is ferocious off the ball, chases plays down, and has great tenacity. He even showed enough of a motor in the Virginia Tech game last year to have ESPN analyst, Jesse Palmer refer to him as a “high effort player.” To me, it is a mystery as to where the claims on Coples’ motor came from. Inconsistent, perhaps, but the bottom line is that he shows passion in his play and gets after it far more often than not.
Coples’ largest challenge as a Jet is going to be earning the love and respect of the fans. Although it is completely out of his hands, the choice by New York to pass on the highly regarded Ingram for Coples will be criticized until he lets his play speak for him. He needs to come out of the gate in a dash and keep his foot on the pedal without a second of hesitation. He will most likely be compared to Ingram, at least for this season, in terms of production and quality of play. Coples needs to show why Rex Ryan and the Jets have so much faith in him, and everyone in New York will soon forget about all of the other defensive players taken following the 16th pick.
Coples true character should show early in the season. One would expect a player as highly criticized as he has been to come out with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove all of his doubters wrong. Expect Coples to display high energy, tenacity, and motor from the moment he takes the field this season. If he does anything else, then, and only then, will it be time to raise the red flags.
As far as his role with the Jets, Rex Ryan has already declared that he will see the majority of defensive snaps this season. While this is not necessarily a statement I am too fond of, for a player should have to earn that type of recognition, it is certainly something that needs to be done. Coples is far too big, strong, athletic, and versatile to be wasting time on the sidelines. He needs to play immediately and prove his worth as the 16th overall selection. Rex will certainly utilize his abilities to the highest degree. Expect to see Coples in a vast amount of packages, primarily at defensive end, while sliding all over on passing situations. Ryan feels he can get double-digit sack production out of Coples, and based on the UNC product’s abilities, there is no reason to think otherwise. Consistency of play is going likely going to be the most important factor in his success.