Did The New York Jets Turn A Corner?

TOJ examines if the Jets really turned a corner with their victory over San Diego

The New York Jets victory over the San Diego Chargers was without question a crucial and pivotal win. It set the table for their upcoming games against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots to truly be relevant, meaningful games as the Jets are now in the thick of both the AFC East and wild-card race. The impact on the standings was nice but won’t last long if the Jets don’t handle their business after the bye week.

In reality, the main reason the victory was so important was because of how the Jets won. This was a replication of the 2009/2010 Jets smacking around and beating up on a finesse team. Prior to kickoff, LaDainian Tomlinson yelled the following in his pre-game speech –

“We couldn’t be more different. Weakness vs. Strength. Finesse vs. Power. West Coast vs. East Coast.”

He was absolutely right. San Diego is everything the Jets aren’t. They put up big-time stats and win “pretty.” The Jets will never turn heads with their statistics and win ugly. The bigger the game gets, the worse San Diego plays. The later in the game it gets, the worse San Diego plays. In contrast, the Jets thrive in big spots and in late game situations. When it comes down to it, San Diego is a finesse team led by a subpar coach and a quarterback high on passing stats but low on playoff victories, who spent their post-game crying about the officials. The Jets couldn’t let a team like that beat them in their own stadium in a such big spot in their season and they responded by going back to their winning formula, running and defense.

A second half run by the New York Jets is highly plausible. After their back to back showdowns against Buffalo and New England, the schedule becomes more friendly. They fully have the ability to take advantage of it, especially if they continue to thrive in their proper identity.

On offense, Shonn Greene needs to balance the offense with a productive 20+ carries each week. Mark Sanchez plays much better with an effective rushing attack to throw play action off of. There may be times he has to throw 35 passes in a game but for the most part, the Jets will be in a better situation when he has 22-28 attempts per game. His top two targets should most consistently be Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. Jeremy Kerley should be a third down weapon, working quick outs, whip routes, and the short crossing routes. Plaxico Burress should be the primary red-zone option who provides an occasional big target over the middle.

Defensively, Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine have shown the ability to coach around their unit’s shortcomings in the past and they must do it again. Right now, the Jets are weak at outside linebacker and safety. However, with a young and improving defensive line, Aaron Maybin turning into a legitimate pass rushing threat on third downs, and Darrelle Revis playing at the top of his game the Jets have enough on defense to play their “Ground and Pound” style.

We will learn if the team really turned a corner these next two weeks, when they have a chance to show that they are the team to beat in a division where many think they are the third best team.

Grading Out Jets/Chargers

TOJ grades out the Jets week 7 win over the San Diego Chargers, who are still sobbing about the referees as we speak

Quarterback (B+) – Mark Sanchez overcame a first half red-zone interception to put together an all-around solid performance. Beyond his 173 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, he also broke off a 25 yard run and ran for a key first down late in the game. After a rough outing in Baltimore, Sanchez has steadily improved the past three weeks.

Running Backs (A) – Shonn Greene finally put together the type of game we have been waiting for. If he can run the football like that on a consistent basis, the Jets offense is going to be difficult to stop. LaDainian Tomlinson struggled with the flu but should be fresh for the second half the season due to his minimal amount of usage early in the year.

Wide Receivers (A) – Plaxico Burress did what he was brought here to do, score red-zone touchdowns. Jeremy Kerley did what he was brought here to do, convert third-downs. Santonio Holmes had a quieter day, but he should be back to making plays by the Buffalo game.

Tight Ends (B-) – The Dustin Keller fumble was disappointing to see, however he did make a few plays down the field. Matthew Mulligan played nearly the whole game and seems to be providing a good push in the running game.

Offensive Line (B+) – The penalties were obviously disappointing. However, the pass protection has came miles since the Baltimore game and the run block is improving. Wayne Hunter is staring to settle down into a decent right tackle and Matt Slauson keeps getting better.

Defensive Line (A-) – A very good all-around performance, especially considering Mike DeVito was out and Kenrick Ellis left early in the game. Muhammad Wilkerson had one of his better games, finishing with 5 tackles and 1 for a loss.

Linebackers (C+) – It was an inconsistent first half, as the linebackers continue to struggle in coverage and with missed tackles. Yet, they settled down in the second half. We saw a good amount of Josh Mauga, who looks like he will be platooning with Jamaal Westerman at outside linebacker moving forward. Aaron Maybin racked up another sack and a few more quarterback pressures. I would expect to see his role continue to grow, as he is quickly becoming the team’s best pass rusher.

Secondary (A) – Darrelle Revis is the Defensive Player of the Year through the first 7 weeks. Antonio Cromartie had one of his better games and Kyle Wilson continued his strong season, pulling in his first interception. Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard still give up plays, but this is what they have to work with the rest of the year.

Special Teams (A) – Very good as usual. How about Nick Folk 10/10 on field goals?

Coaching (A) – The “A” comes from the half-time adjustments, which shut down the San Diego offense in the second half and kept their own offense rolling.

Initial Reaction: They’re Not Dead Yet, New York Jets Win 27-21

The New York Jets put together a complete team effort to come up with a huge win over the San Diego Chargers

This was the New York Jets team we expected to see in the 2011 season. An offense led by a power rushing attack, with Shonn Greene racking up nearly 6 yards per carry (20 attempts, 112 yards) supported by an improving Mark Sanchez (18/33, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT). Plaxico Burress being a beast in the red-zone (3 touchdowns) and contributions from the other receiving options when Santonio Holmes has a quiet day (Dustin Keller 53 yards, Jeremy Kerley 4 receptions). On the other side of the football, a defense shutting down one of the league’s top offenses and coming up with big plays in big moments.

We got it today, as the Jets won a crucial home game over the San Diego Chargers 27-21, moving to 4-3 on the season and 4-0 at home. It is time now to gear up for back to back AFC East showdowns against the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots.

What was impressive was the resiliency shown by the team today. At the half this was a 21-10 San Diego lead, as the Jets failed to take advantage of a strong offensive performance. On defense the Jets were getting pushed around and looked like they were ready to allow 35+ points. However, give credit to Rex Ryan and the rest of the unit for shutting out the Chargers in the second half and allowing the offense to score 17 unanswered. The defense also came up with two interceptions, including yet another one by Darrelle Revis who is making another campaign for Defensive Player of the Year.

This team is far from perfect but I got news for you, the AFC is wide open this year. The Jets still have a shot to make noise in the AFC East and if the Patriots do happen to pull away, they are going be right in the mix for a wild-card spot with a cluster of other teams. This offense has enough weapons to consistently score 24-28 points and even though the defense has some issues at linebacker and safety, with Rex Ryan’s coaching they can still flip the switch to come up with big time performances.

Bring on the Bills.

TOJ Roundtable Week 7 – Jets/Chargers Predictions

The TOJ writers put in their picks for the Jets/Chargers week 7 showdown

Joe Caporoso: 12 Pack

TJ Rosenthal: The Jets win if: They can avoid falling behind too far early in the game against a team that historically can put up points. This high powered reputation may be masking the Bolts current potency but the Jets shouldn’t be careless by being inefficient with the ball, in order to test this hypothesis out.

The Jets, even with their struggles on offense this year, average the same 24 points a game that the Bolts do. With Vincent Jackson headed for a battle on Revis Island, the key may simply be to keep Ryan Matthews from tearing up the ground. Especially out on the edges. The Chargers are 4-1 but have won 4 games against teams with a combined 4-17 record. Stay in the game early. Then attack when the time is right.

Jets 23 Chargers 20

The Jets Lose if: The Chargers offense gets rolling thanks to the healthy return of Antonio Gates and Ryan Matthews. The Jets defense again fails to slow down big gains to the outside. They fail to cover a tight end again, and the offense provides a carbon copy of it’s past efforts that featured consistent three and outs. Hope turns bleak and the team starts to breakdown mentally. Many will both write the Jets off and target Ryan’s weekday comments as a primary culprit.

Chargers 38 Jets 27

Rob Celletti: Make no mistake, this is going to be a tough game.  But earlier this week, I took an optimistic view of the Jets, and I’m going to let that optimism ride.  I’ve always liked the Jets’ matchup against “finesse” teams like the Chargers and Texans. No, the Jets’ defense and running game isn’t as imposing in 2011 as it was in ’09 or ’10, but I still think this is a football team that wants to play physical on defense, run the ball and control the clock. The Jets can do this against a Chargers team whose 4-1 record is a bit deceiving (the Chargers have beaten precisely zero good teams: Minnesota, Kansas City, Miami and Denver, to be exact). Keep in mind as well that, even though they’re coming off a bye, the Chargers are making the long flight east and will be playing a game at what may feel like 10:00 AM to them.

Philip Rivers will get his yards, but he’ll also throw an interception or two, and the Jets will hold the Chargers to 20 points. Offensively, I expect both running backs to have solid, if not spectacular games.  Mark Sanchez will throw an interception (he’s just due), but it won’t cost the Jets, who take this game 24-20.

New York Jets Saturday Notes

Will WR Eron Riley make an impact this year? Kenrick Ellis should see major playing time tomorrow and a few words on Kris Jenkins

A few notes and thoughts before the New York Jets take on San Diego tomorrow at home –

1. The team has placed WR Logan Payne on IR, ending his season. This is a somewhat surprising move as Mike Tannenbaum had recently mentioned him as being part of the team’s plans this season. However, I think the recent signing of WR Eron Riley may have had something to do with it. Jon Heath from Broncos Talk reached out to me with the following words on Riley.

“Riley, 6-3, 207 pounds, is a second year player out of Duke that went undrafted in 2009.  He has loads of potential and a sick vertical leap, which compliments his impressive speed and reliable hands.  I was really hoping the Broncos would activate him to the active roster because I knew somebody would sign him off Denver’s practice squad if he stayed there too long. In the preseason, Riley led the Broncos in catches (6), yards (187) and receiving touchdowns (2).  He also had nice rhythm with quarterback Tim Tebow.”

2. The team has also signed DT Martin Tevaseu back to their active roster. There is a chance Mike DeVito might miss tomorrow’s game and if he does it will be rookie Kenrick Ellis getting the start, but Tevaseu would also likely see a good chunk of playing time.

3. What is with Kris Jenkins recent assault on the New York Jets players and Rex Ryan? You had never had a problem with Rex when you were in his locker room and now that you are out of it, you are going to hop on the media bandwagon and start bashing him for how he acts? Give me a break.

Revis Island Takes Over Mike Francesa’s Show

Add Mike Francesa to the list of people shut down by Darrelle Revis

FOOTAGE OF THE INTERVIEW

It was somewhat head turning today when we heard that Darrelle Revis would be making an appearance on Mike Francesa’s show, especially considering Francesa’s incessant bashing of the New York Jets and Rex Ryan. When it comes to the New York Jets, there is no other way to put it except that Francesa is a complete asshole and revels in it to get a rise out of Jets fans.

In his interview, he began pressing Revis that on his interception return for 100 yards he should have been called for defensive pass interference for pushing off on Brandon Marshall. Revis stood up for himself and said the play was legal, the pass was behind him and that he made the play. Francesa continued to push him saying he knew it was penalty and that everybody knew it was penalty. Revis said he didn’t care what Francesa thought and that Francesa never played a down, so he wouldn’t know better than him and he would continue to believe what he believed as a pro football player. The discussion got more contentious until a Jets PR rep got on the phone and said Revis should get off the line.

Revis then said “that is why nobody talks to this guy. You have never played the game” and hung upon Francesa. After that, Francesa went on to confirm that he in fact does know more about football than Darrelle Revis and Giants fans flooded the line supporting this line of thinking. Because of course Mike Francesa does know more about football, than Darrelle Revis the best corner in football, right?

Add Francesa to the list of people shut down on Revis Island.

Jets vs. Chargers: 12 Pack of Predictions

12 Predictions for the Jets/Chargers week 7 match-up

Pivotal game in the New York Jets season this Sunday

1. LaDainian Tomlinson will play his best game of the season to this point, finishing with over 140 yards of total offense and a touchdown, which will be his first home touchdown as a New York Jet. Shonn Greene will chip in 55 yards rushing and Joe McKnight will have 35 total yards of offense.

2. Ryan Matthews will have a big day against the New York Jets defense, finishing with over 100 total yards and a pair of touchdowns.

3. Philip Rivers will throw for 270 yards but will also be sacked 3 times and throw at least one interception. Antonio Gates, who is going to play and Malcolm Floyd will be his top targets throughout the day.

4. Mark Sanchez will not have a turnover for the third straight week, and will throw a pair of touchdown passes. However, he will be sacked at least 3 times.

5. Joe McKnight will return a kick for over 50 yards, setting up a Jets touchdown.

6. Santonio Holmes will score a touchdown for the third straight week. Plaxico Burress will play better, but still only finish with 45 yards receiving.

7. The Jets will at least get a first down in the first quarter…that isn’t expecting too much of this offense, is it?

8. This game will be a tie heading into the half and will be a one possession game heading into the final few minutes.

9. Antonio Cromartie will give up a few big plays down the field, attempting to be too aggressive. However, he will come up with at least one huge play for the Jets defense.

10. Aaron Maybin will come up with another big play for the Jets defense, as his role continues to grow.

11. Nick Folk will miss his first field goal of the year.

12. As I said earlier, this will come down to the final minutes and I think tapping into a little of last year’s late game magic, the Jets will pull one out a 27-24.

New York Jets: It Feels Like Home

Rex Ryan talking big? Underdogs at home? It finally feels like a normal week for the New York Jets

Rex Ryan getting ripped to pieces in the media for an arrogant comment?

The New York Jets underdogs in their own building?

Somebody from outside the locker room (Kris Jenkins), criticizing the players on the team as being catty, selfish and more concerned with self-promotion than winning?

It finally feels like a normal week for the Rex Ryan led New York Jets. This team needs the headlines, controversy and doubt to play to their potential. Think about it –

In 2009, they started off with low expectations with a new coach and a rookie quarterback. They rip off three straight wins to start the season, including a stunner over New England. The praise and complacency start to come and they lose 6 out of 7.

At 4-6 they are written off in a similar way to they are being now. They respond by winning 4 out of 5 and making the playoffs. Yet, they still receive criticism and a lack of respect for how they got in. Rex Ryan outlandishly calls the Jets the Super Bowl favorites before the playoffs start, everybody thinks he is crazy until they win two straight on the road and are up by 11 in Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game.

It falls apart but everybody takes the Jets seriously as a Super Bowl contender heading into the 2010 season. They drop a stink bomb in week one, leading to everybody questioning everything about the team, particularly Ryan and Mark Sanchez. In response, the Jets win 9 of their next 10 and are arguably the best team in the league at 9-2 heading into New England. Too much confidence, too much praise, too much complacency and the Jets lose two straight and make themselves underdogs heading into Pittsburgh. They win a surprising game that ultimately propels them to the playoffs, where nobody picks them to beat Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but they do.

Finally everybody hops on the bandwagon, the trash talking disappears and they lose in the AFC Championship Game.

It seems to me that the Jets only respond as an underdog. They find ways to run their mouths and win games in ways that piss people off. Let’s hope history repeats itself the next 3 games when the Jets will likely be underdog in every single match-up, starting this week versus San Diego.

New York Jets Fans Want More Joe McKnight

TJ on the desire of New York Jets fans to see more Joe McKnight on offense

The combination of a struggling offense and some big time plays on special teams from Joe McKnight have helped peak the curiosity around Jets Nation as to what the former USC product could bring to the table, in any sort of extended role.

So far in 2011, McKnight’s accomplishments include blocking a key punt that led to a comeback win, running back the longest kickoff return on Jets history. He’s also caught a few passes downfield after lining up in the slot, and has had a few tries out of the backfield taking pitches outside hoping to break one down the sidelines. So now what?

We polled Jets Nation on Twitter by asking them “What size role do you want to see the Jets give Joe McKnight at this point in the season?”

31 Percent – 5-10 TOUCHES at RB/WR

24 Percent- 10 TOUCHES at RB 24 pct

15 Percent – 10-15 TOUCHES at RB

7.5 Percent – 15 TOUCHES as KR/RB/WR combined

7.5 Percent – Part of an even spread three ways (Greene, LT, McKnight)

7.5 Percent – Split carries 50/50 with Shonn Greene 7.5 pct

7.5 Percent – Continue along in the same role.

92.5 Percent – Role to increase towards a minimum of 5-10 touches per game.

The reasoning behind the increase in activity for McKnight included the following:

  • Simply faster than both Shonn Greene, and Ladainian Tomlinson.
  • At this point the Jets have nothing to lose.
  • McKnight hits the hole faster.
  • He’ll be effective in the same role as a Danny Woodhead: RB/WR
  • The Offense needs a spark and additional breakaway speed.

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Game Breakdown: Jets vs. Chargers

TOJ breaks down the Jets week 7 match-up against the San Diego Chargers

Offense: How about a first quarter touchdown? Maybe even a first quarter first down? The New York Jets must find a way to start faster because of the firepower San Diego has on the offensive side of the football. It is on Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer in particular to come up with something to put the Chargers defense on their heels.

I would expect to see more LaDainian Tomlinson than usual on Sunday. He has looked better with the football in his hands all season than Shonn Greene and you know how motivated he will be for Sunday. Between Tomlinson, Greene, and hopefully a larger dose of Joe McKnight the Jets must establish a running game to keep the pressure off Mark Sanchez and open the play action passing attack down the field.

The Jets are going to need all of their pass catching options to step up on Sunday. Santonio Holmes must be the number one receiver they signed him to be and make another big play as he did the past two weeks. Plaxico Burress needs a couple of first quarter catches to get in the flow of the game. Dustin Keller should be able to stretch the seam with Jeremy Kerley. The offense only scored 17 points last week, which isn’t going to cut it this Sunday.

Defense: Ryan Matthews would seem to be type of back who will give the Jets defense a world of trouble. Of course, Ray Rice seemed that way too but they were able to keep him in check. Rex Ryan’s unit needs their “A” game like they had in Baltimore led by the defensive line up front slowing Matthews and Mike Tolbert down. Philip Rivers has been off so far this year but always has the ability to flip the switch and push the football down the field as well as any quarterback in the league.

I would expect Darrelle Revis to spend the overwhelmingly majority of the game on Vincent Jackson. The real question is going to be how will the Jets handle Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates if he suits up? Antonio Cromartie needs to show up and the safeties have to perform better. The Jets should also be able to get after Rivers. Aaron Maybin, Jamaal Westerman, and Calvin Pace must keep Rivers uneasy in the pocket and force another turnover or two.

Special Teams: An area of the game where the Jets could have a large advantage. A huge kick or punt return will go a long way towards helping pull off the “upset.” TJ Conley must also keep up his strong performances, as field position will be crucial in what should be a tight game.