TOJ Weekend Poll & Other Jets Notes

Click here to vote if you are happy with the Jets moving training camp from Cortland to Florham Park

Personally, I am…only because it is a substantially easier commute, which I am guessing is the case for the majority of Jets fans. However as Rex Ryan always says, there is a benefit to getting the entire team away for a few weeks where they can only focus on football. We will have to see if it impacts how the Jets start the season.

Mark Sanchez is being politically correct by saying he wants all the Jets free agents back but you have to think the young quarterback is prioritizing Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards well above anyone else. Perhaps he could restructure his contract to help make that happen.

In case you were wondering, I still rank the Jets top FA priorities in the following order: Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards. You can’t sign two receivers before a corner on a defensive minded team and Holmes should be the priority over Edwards. After those three, I would focus on getting Brodney Pool back to solidify the secondary, Damien Woody to secure right tackle, and Shaun Ellis to mentor Muhammad Wilkerson. I have already resigned myself to Brad Smith leaving.

AFC Championship Game Has Been Painful For Jets

Since winning their lone Super Bowl in 1969, the New York Jets have been on the cusp of a Super Bowl with four appearances in the AFC Championship Game. Yet, all four trips ended in painful disappointment. Let’s take a closer look at just how bad each one hurt and hope this is the year they finally get over the hump.

1982: Miami Dolphins – 14 New York Jets – 0– The “Mud Bowl”…Miami notoriously didn’t put a tarp on the field the night before the game, leading the playing surface to resemble a swamp. Jets quarterback Richard Todd threw five interceptions, including one that was returned for a score. This followed a strike shortened 9 game season, so I don’t know if that dulled the pain at all for Jets fans at the time (considering I wasn’t born until 5 years after this) yet judging from hearing my Uncle talk about this game, it didn’t.

1998: Denver Broncos – 23 New York Jets – 10 – Early in the second half, a blocked punt by Blake Spence set up a 1 yard touchdown run by Curtis Martin, giving the underdog Jets a surprising 10-0 lead. Yet, what followed was a complete meltdown that still stings to think about today. Denver ripped of 23 straight points and they moved up and down the field on the Jets defense at will. Their comeback was supported by a botched kick return that the Broncos recovered (thank you very much Dave Meggett). In the end, the Jets couldn’t overcome a mind-boggling six turnovers, including four fumbles.

2009: Indianapolis Colts – 30 New York Jets – 17 – The Jets came from 7-7 and being proclaimed out of the playoffs by their own coach to Indianapolis for the AFC Championship Game. Similar to 1998, the underdog Jets would build a double digit lead, this time at 17-6 late in the first half, and then watch their opponent storm back for the victory. The Colts scored 24 unanswered points as the Jets defense was helpless to stop Peyton Manning.

2010: Pittsburgh Steelers – 24 New York Jets – 19 – Coming off arguably the second biggest win in franchise history when they upset the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Jets sleepwalked out of the gate and fell behind 24-0. A furious second half comeback attempt fell just short as they couldn’t stop Pittsburgh on a key third down to give their offense one last shot for the win. Considering the way last season went, I still fully believe if the Jets stopped Pittsburgh on that third down and got the ball back, they would have scored the winning touchdown.

Which loss do you think was the most painful? I would say it was between last year and 1998. In ’98, the Jets had been rolling all year since Vinny Testaverde took over at quarterback and they had control of the game in the second half and to see it crumble so quickly was brutal to watch. Last season, you really felt after knocking New England off, it was the Jets year to fulfill all their pre-season hype and guarantees but it just didn’t happen for them.

New York Jets: Where Is The Homefield Advantage?

Through the first two years under Rex Ryan, the New York Jets have been frustratingly inconsistent at home. In 2009, playing in the old Giants Stadium, they only managed a 4-4 record. Things were supposed to change this past year as they moved into a new building, which could actually feel a little bit like their own.

Unfortunately for season ticket holders and the rest of the fans who shelled out money to come watch the team in person, the Jets went without a touchdown in three of their home games in 2010, all three of which were losses.

It is hard to pinpoint why the team has performed better on the road in both seasons under Ryan. This past season, the Jets offense and Mark Sanchez were substantially more consistent away from their own building. It doesn’t seem to make sense for a young quarterback to play better on the road but that has been the case for Sanchez, especially in the playoffs, where he has thrived away from the New Meadowlands.

I wouldn’t put it on the weather, considering he has played well late in the season in places like Cincinnati, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New England. Perhaps Sanchez presses too hard to impress his home fan base, which has led to a degree of inconsistency and occasional poor decision making.

After some problems in 2009, the Jets defense was excellent in their own building last year, allowing an average of about 13 points a game. The offense, led by Sanchez, needs to pick it up this season to give the Jets the homefield advantage all great teams in the NFL have.

Rex Ryan continually talks about improving enough so the Jets can play a home playoff game, yet as it stands the past two years they are better off on the road in January.

100 Days And Counting: The Nightmare of the NFL Lockout

I’ve heard talk of shortening the baseball season. Please don’t do that. I need something to sleep to. Baseball is the old man’s game, Played by people who generally have little to no personality. How can you have a personality on a baseball team? A fist pump after a strikeout? Not flashy enough. An occasional dirt kicking at the umpire? Why don’t we mic up the managers when they go out there for a good verbal throw down? Cliff Lee is about as exciting as Bingo at the Community Center, and I’ve never actually heard Roy Halladay speak…that’s baseball in a nutshell. If anyone still thinks Ozzie Guillen is edgy or interesting…I’ve walked through the Lower East Side and heard more truth, insight and rage in less time.

50 game NBA season? Maybe I can actually watch the Nets get themselves out of the running by game number five. Boy, that first week is going to be a blast though. I can predict with certainty that Indiana, Memphis and Oklahoma City are going to take big steps forward. There will be ten teams that have the potential to win the whole thing: angry Kobe, revenge of D-Rose, rise of Durant, the long sad story of Dwight Howard and the gondola singer that is Stan Van Gundy. the NBA may be one of the few sports that could actually benefit from a shortening of the season.

Football. It is hard to even type out. I’ve played so many hours of Madden my fingers begin making audible and hot route ps3 controller movements when I am sitting on the bus. I can’t do it anymore. every game brings me to tears (of joy or sadness I have yet to determine).

There are certain conclusions I can draw about what has happened so far in the off-season. The Bengals will never be good, not with their current owner at least. I would rather watch Cincinnati at the college level. Terrell Owens is done. Tiki Barber is a smiling joke who thinks using the term depression rights all the supreme wrongs he has committed throughout his miserable post football existence. The Giantswill yet again put out a defensive line that makes grown men feel like children, even if Osi isn’t there.

Sometimes I dream of a Jets/Giants Christmas Eve game, freezing at the Meadowlands, 10 below zero, screams coming from every direction, and then it happens: Woody Johnson and the Mara family come out to the 50 yard line, microphones in hand and begin to explain why there will be no game after the coin toss. The lights go dark. “revenue sharing model…cost efficiency with regard to player/owner incentives…rise in advertising and broadcasting costs.” It is a two hour speech and at the end, the players walk back to the locker room, handcuffed to each other as to not even throw a pass or run the ball. There is silence all around. There will be no more fun.

New York Jets Move Training Camp To Florham Park

As expected, the New York Jets have announced they will move this year’s training camp to the team facility in Florham Park, New Jersey instead of traveling to Cortland, New York for the third straight year. The decision makes sense considering how chaotic everything is expected to be in the coming weeks as the lockout ends. Unfortunately, Cortland will not receive the normal economic boom they do from the Jets coming to town, however the commute will now be easier for many local fans to see their team practice.

Rex Ryan has always been a big advocate of getting his team away from the local distractions, yet this is a necessary sacrifice that comes with such a long lockout. Many teams around the league will likely be making a similar decision.

The Jets are planning to resume their partnership with Cortland in 2012, which means a Florham Park training camp should be a one time thing.

Start looking for your hotels in Morristown and Hanover…

An Inside Look At Jets Camp Lockout

Enjoy the third episode of Sione Pouha’s “Life of a Lockout” series with an inside look at Jets Camp Lockout:

  • Good to hear that Mark Sanchez thinks Kyle Wilson was the most impressive player on the field.
  • Mike DeVito has some serious moves in touch football.
  • How good is your Bart Scott impression? Check out the his new contest…

Also check out some footage from Jerricho Cotchery’s recent surprise birthday party

NFL Free Agent Primer

A quick look around the league at a few intriguing unrestricted free agents at each position, if the 4th year players will be UFAs as expected in the new labor deal —

Quarterback

  • Alex Smith – It sounds like the 49ers will bring him back for another year but the former number one pick should attract some interest.
  • Bruce Gradkowski – Good backup, even though they won’t pursue him, I’d feel much better if he was the Jets number two quarterback than Mark Brunell.
  • Matt Moore – There are rumors the Dolphins could sign him to compete with Chad Henne…yikes.

Running Back

  • Ahmad Bradshaw – It will be interesting to see how much money the Giants will be willing to throw at him. He is an explosive player but has a tough time staying healthy.
  • Ricky Williams/Ronnie Brown – What will the Dolphins backfield look like in 2011?
  • Cedric Benson – Hard to see the Bengals letting him go anywhere, especially since they will likely be starting a rookie quarterback.
  • DeAngelo Williams – A proven big play back who should command a hefty contract on the open market.

Wide Receiver

  • Santonio Holmes/Braylon Edwards/Brad Smith – Mike Tannenbaum just shakes his head.
  • James Jones – Very talented player who could really thrive with a bigger role.
  • Lance Moore – Productive slot receiver with a knack for making big plays.
  • Steve Smith (NYG) – Hard to see the Giants letting him go anywhere.
  • Plaxico Burress – I would guess the Eagles, Rams, or Jets.
  • Randy Moss – Somebody will give him a shot.
  • Sidney Rice – The Vikings will probably give him the money necessary to keep him.
  • Terrell Owens – Still TO…but coming off a very productive season.
  • Steve Breaston – Under the radar a little bit on this FA market but has potential to be a very good number two receiver somewhere.

Tight End

  • Kevin Boss – He had injury issues last year but has been consistently good since becoming a starter.
  • Bo Scaife – Should be able to catch on somewhere outside of Tennessee where he will get more opportunities.
  • Daniel Graham – Good blocking option.

Offensive Line

  • Doug Free – Hard to see Dallas letting him walk after a better than expected year.
  • Jared Gaither – Should be one of the most sought after offensive lineman on the market, as he isn’t expected to re-sign with Baltimore.
  • Jermon Bushrod – He has stated he wants to return to New Orleans but it remains to be seen if the Saints will pay to keep him.

Defensive Line

  • Cullen Jenkins – Brother of Kris…most people don’t expect him back in Green Bay next year.
  • Mathias Kiwanuka – Good pass rushers are always hard to find.
  • Ray Edwards – He isn’t expected back in Minnesota and could provide a solid pass rush to many teams. Cleveland is reportedly very interested in him.

Linebacker

  • Paul Posluszny – He has struggled with injuries but has the potential to be a key part of a young and improving Bills defense.
  • Matt Roth – Don’t be surprised to see the Jets make a run at him.
  • Stephen Tulloch – Had a good year in Tennessee and should be heavily pursued by multiple teams including Detroit and Buffalo.

Secondary

  • Nnamdi Asomugha – He will command a monster contract. Expect the Texans, Redskins, and Eagles all to be in the mix.
  • Antonio Cromartie – Considering how much Rex Ryan loves corners and their defensive system, there is a pretty good chance he will be back despite the high cost.
  • Jonathan Joseph – A quality starter who should get decent money in this market.
  • Carlos Rogers – He could be a good fallback option for the teams who can’t sign Asomugha or Cromartie.

Specials

  • David Akers – The long time Eagle could be testing the market.
  • Ryan Longwell – Another veteran who should find a home somewhere, if not immediately than when training camp starts.

Where Will The Jets Go Cheap?

There will inevitably be some tough decisions the New York Jets front office will have to make when free agency starts. Certain positions are going to see a higher concentration of money spent, while others will be forced to be handled more cheaply with hopes of younger players stepping up. Where will Mike Tannebaum decide to invest the most?

Wide Receiver – We know money is going to be spent to keep either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, but would the Jets invest enough in the receiver position to keep both, or perhaps one along with Brad Smith? It doesn’t seem likely considering this is a run first offense, but they may want to insure Mark Sanchez has the best weapons possible at his disposal to help him flourish into a top-tier quarterback in the NFL.

Defensive Line – The Jets could go young and not pay up to bring Shaun Ellis back and also not work to coax Trevor Pryce out of retirement. However, they will be putting a high amount of pressure on first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson to produce immediately and relying on unproven players like Ropati Pitoitua and Marcus Dixon to play large roles on the defensive line rotation. If they can’t work something out with Ellis, it would be smart to at least bring Pryce back on a cheap, one-year deal as insurance.

Offensive Line – When the Jets released Damien Woody this off-season, the original plan seemed to be allowing second year player Vladimir Ducasse battle with veteran Wayne Hunter to take over at right tackle. Hunter filled in for Woody a few games at the end of last season and is also a free agent, but would cost less to bring back. Now with the way this off-season has been affected by the lockout, can the Jets risk thinking Ducasse is ready to compete for a starting job and have somebody like Hunter as the only alternative or will they pay up to bring Woody back for another year? They also need to decide if they are going to bring back versatile back-up Robert Turner.

Secondary – Antonio Cromartie is going to be a highly sought after free agent and if the Jets decide to let him walk, they will be taking a risk at corner opposite Darrelle Revis by hoping Kyle Wilson is ready to step in as a starter. The Jets could always look to sign a free agent to compete with him but if they are going to spend money on a veteran, why not just stick with Cromartie who is comfortable in the system and handled the job well last year? They also need to make a decision at safety, where Brodney Pool will probably cost more than Eric Smith but provides better range and long-term potential next to Jim Leonhard.

Linebacker – The Jets could go into the year with their current depth chart and hope a player like Jamaal Westerman or Josh Mauga steps up as an option in certain packages and as reliable backups or look to bring back Jason Taylor or sign a free agent to support a position that is relatively thin.

New York Jets Have Finally Created An Appealing Situation

It is starting to sound like there may be a light at the end of this lockout tunnel and if everything breaks right in the coming weeks there is going to be a furious two to three week stretch of free agency in early July. No matter how the negotiations end up setting the framework for the rules in the 2011 season and the new CBA, the New York Jets are going to have their hands full. Yet, one of the positive things the Jets will have working for them is they have created an organizational culture that is appealing to players around the league.

Leading the New York Jets is an owner willing to spend money, on state of the art facilities and top tier talent, a general manager who is willing to pursue that top tier talent and remain aggressive to keep the Jets consistently competitive, and a head coach who is as popular with players as any in the NFL.

Say what you want about Hard Knocks but it was great advertising for the New York Jets. The days of this franchise being a clumsily run, bumbling second class NFL citizen are over. They have a brand new stadium, brand new training facilities, and most importantly an identity as a physical, talented football team that is developing into a consistent winner.

The Jets top concern in free agency will be bringing their own players back, yet if they have holes they need to fill, they should have the ability to recruit the necessary replacement pieces, which is a credit to Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum, and Woody Johnson.

Thoughts On Jets Full Team Workouts

The New York Jets are currently holding workouts in North Jersey, it is being reported that somewhere around 40 players are in attendance, with a partial listing of who is there right here. Mark Sanchez had previously mentioned bringing together as much of the team as possible if the lockout extended into the middle of the June. These workouts are looking to serve as informal replacement for mini-camp, which would normally take place around this time.

I wouldn’t get too worked up about who does and doesn’t attend these workouts which are expected to last for three days. There seems to be increasing optimism that the lockout is going to end within a month or so to allow for a full training camp and a pre-season, preceded by an abbreviated free agency period. You can’t expect potential free agents to risk an injury so close to a time when they will be looking for a new contract, which is why players like Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie are likely working out on their own during these days. It is worth noting that Brad Smith is in attendance despite being a free agent.

These few days will be good work for the rookies and younger players on the Jets roster who are expected to move into bigger roles. It is also another demonstration of Mark Sanchez’s leadership on this team, as he was able to gather up this many players for workouts. Sione Pouha said it a few weeks ago “when Mark makes the call…we’ll be there.”

Hopefully the amount of work Sanchez has put in participating, leading, and coaching these workouts will continue his development at a somewhat comparable pace to the work around the team facility he did last off-season.

The end may be finally be getting near for the lockout and on the whole it has been encouraging to see the amount of work the Jets players have put it in to stay in shape the previous few months.