Life Without Mangold

How much will the Jets miss Nick Mangold if the center is truly out of action with a high ankle sprain? They’ll miss him plenty. The task of overcoming his absence is not however, insurmountable.  Shonn Greene could wake up from a sleepy September. The Jets could scale down their air attack, while leaning on their defense and special teams units. Both of whom have been quite resourceful this year. The Jets can continue their hot start minus Mangold only if they play it smart in all phases, and acknowledge which plays can’t be run when the three time Pro Bowler is not able to help spearhead them.

Provided that Mangold WILL be on the sidelines (there are differing reports as to the extent of the injury at this time) Jets and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will first have to try it on the ground. The problem with relying on that strategy is that RB Shonn Greene has averaged less than three yards a carry (26-75) so far WITH Mangold. Without the ability to find time to get the ball into their receivers hands, the focus for Oakland can center strictly around Greene. A dangerous scenario for the Jets who would then have to practically pitch a shutout in order to win.

Therefore the key may not be how Greene and the rushing attack adjust to life without number 74, but how the Jets passing game does. We suggest a higher percentage of plays out of a flex backfield attack that features more screens to trustworthy RB Ladainian Tomlinson. LT has already pitched in with clutch chain moving grabs so it only makes sense in this time of need, to go with what has been working. The quick drops and throws to the outside will not only relieve backup C Colin Baxter of the constant pressure that comes with reading stunts and withstanding bull rushes from interior defenders, it will also help tire out a Raider defense.

Baxter benefited greatly from the experience he gained at Met Life stadium Sunday. Mangold left in the first half, forcing the undrafted free agent into the fire. The rookie held his own but expectations for any first year lineman must be tempered. Especially when playing time comes as a result of having to replace a player like Mangold.

Losing their center will also mean that the Jets must scale down the amount of shots they take downfield. Baxter will have enough on his plate already and to have to add extended pass protection to his list of jobs on Sunday may be overload. Beyond that, RT Wayne Hunter has gotten off to a rough start, and it is clear that the Jets would be risking more than interceptions should they misdiagnose the effect Mangold has in keeping Sanchez safe and secure.

Rolling Sanchez out to find the emerging Dustin Keller quickly in the flat can also help alleviate the stress to what would be a revamped offensive line. 6’4 WR Plaxico Burress could provide a hand on more slant routes over the middle while perhaps being that big play target down the sidelines should one on one coverage situations (which Burress saw few of last Sunday) emerge. If so, it would behoove the Jets to force feed advantages in any of those matchups as often as possible.

The Jets can also take solace in the fact that their defense has created turnovers so far in 2011, while the special teams has made momentum changing plays two weeks in a row. Rex Ryan wanted more interceptions from his defense this year and on Sunday against the Jags he got four of them. Mike Westhoff’s unit also helped out big time in the week one 27-24 comeback win over Dallas, when a fourth quarter punt block by Joe McKnight was picked up for and run for a TD.

Another key will be playing these this next tough stretch of  road games (Oakland, Baltimore, New England) cleanly. No turnovers. No penalties. The Jets were uncharacteristically flagged too often (7-60 yds) against the Jags. That can’t happen now, given the circumstances of a team playing without it’s star center.

Regardless of whether Greene gets it going finally, the formula for navigating through this tough three game stretch with out Mangold will still remain twofold. Get the ball out fast in the passing game, while looking for big play opportunities on defense and special teams. It won’t be easy for Gang Green to keep the train rolling when the leader of the trenches is not in uniform, should that be the case for any number of games though, the Jets still DO own a roadmap to victory.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Jaguars

A few final thoughts on Jets/Jaguars…

Game MVP – It has to be Antonio Cromartie, who bounced back from being last week’s Goat in this article. Cromartie came up with 2 interceptions and 2 big kick returns, demonstrating his big play potential.

Game Goat – I will go with Wayne Hunter, who has given Jets fans no reason to believe the right tackle position is in good hands moving forward without Damien Woody.

Play of the Game – The first quarter touchdown strike from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes, ending the team’s first quarter touchdown drought, showing Sanchez’s accuracy and that Holmes was healthy.

Trending Up

  • Dustin Keller – Back to back big games, as he finished with 101 yards and another touchdown.
  • Muhammad Wilkerson – First career NFL sack went for a safety.
  • Bart Scott – Second straight week with a sack. Scott looks poised for a big year.
  • Nick Folk – 3/3 on field goal attempts.

Trending Down

  • Nick Mangold – Will likely be out 3-4 games with a high ankle sprain.
  • Wayne Hunter – Badly in need of a steady performance against Oakland.
  • Derrick Mason – Still hasn’t found his niche in the offense.
  • Mark Sanchez – Two ugly interceptions. He must protect the football better.

1. Calvin Pace and Scott have been consistently getting pressure on the quarterback, which is limiting the need for the Jets to blitz as much. This is an encouraging trend moving forward. It will also help if Muhammad Wilkerson can continue to get after the quarterback.

2. Colin Baxter should be living at the Jets facility the next month. After Oakland, he has Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork headed his way. Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson need to step up to help him out.

3. Regardless of double teams and his mature attitude on the situation. The Jets must do a better job of getting Plaxico Burress involved in the offense, in the first half. Throw the guy a quick hitch or slant and let him get in the flow of the game.

TJ Rosenthal reviews his top 5 keys from the game

Initial Reaction: Brutal Beatdown – Jets Roll 32-3

They won’t use this game film to teach offensive football, especially on the Jacksonville side but the Jets beat up on a severely inferior Jaguars team today, winning 32-3. The primary story of the day was quarterback Luke McCown’s general awfulness, along with the domination from the Jets defense, who recorded four interceptions, a safety, and two sacks. Antonio Cromartie had a hell of a bounce-back performance with two interceptions and two big kick returns. Muhammad Wilkerson recorded the safety on his first ever NFL sack.

You never felt for a second that Jacksonville had a chance in this game, despite the Jets offense being frustratingly inconsistent. After a brilliant first drive that ended in a Santonio Holmes touchdown, Mark Sanchez struggled throwing two interceptions. He did put together a nice second half drive ending in a Dustin Keller touchdown, as the Jets tight end finished with 101 yards receiving. However, you would like to see better than 17/24, 182 yards, with the 2 interceptions.

The main negative story out of this game was the Jets offensive line. Nick Mangold left in the first half with what is currently being reported as a high ankle sprain. He is expected to miss at least a few weeks. Undrafted rookie Colin Baxter came off the bench and struggled as anyone would expect him to. What was even more disconcerting, was how bad Wayne Hunter was for the second straight week. The running stats weren’t pretty again. Shonn Greene finished with 16 carries for 49 yards with a touchdown.

The Jets will now gear up for a rough three game road trip, starting in Oakland this week. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery from Nick Mangold and that the Jets front office still has Damien Woody’s number.

TOJ Roundtable: Strongest and Weakest Position?

Welcome to the TOJ Roundtable, where a collection of our writers debate a pressing Jets question of the day –

What is the strongest position on the Jets current roster? The weakest?

Joe Caporoso: The strongest position on the Jets roster is cornerback. I would go with offensive line but I am little concerned about Brandon Moore missing so much time this pre-season, while they are breaking in a new full time right tackle in Wayne Hunter. The offensive line is still strong and if Hunter is anywhere near what Damien Woody was the past few years and Matt Slauson continues to improve, this will be their strongest unit. Yet, their corners led by Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, the league’s top starting duo in my mind, takes my vote at the moment. Let’s not forget nickel back Kyle Wilson was a first round pick last year for a reason and veteran Donald Strickland provides excellent depth if Wilson struggles. Marquice Cole has also shown flashes on defense and is more than capable of stepping into the nickel role for a few weeks if necessary.

Backup quarterback is the weakest spot on the Jets roster. If Mark Sanchez misses an extended period of time, you are kidding yourself if you think Mark Brunell is capable of taking over. He hasn’t played a meaningful snap since NFL Quarterback Club was the video game of choice. Greg McElroy is only a rookie and would be in over his head if pressed into immediate action.

TJ Rosenthal: Strongest Position: The offensive line. It contains two All-Pros in D’Brickshaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. The entire unit is intact from the 2010 playoff run. Few teams can boast of that continuity. No unit is as essential to the success of what the Jets want to do offensively as the guys in the trenches are.

Weakest Position: The backup quarterback position. If Mark Sanchez goes down for any extended time, we can’t say that we are comfortable with Mark Brunell, in his 19th season, running the show for any EXTENDED period of time. The backup quarterback should be a capable functional player with some NFL experience, especially given how physical the AFC East may be up front this year with the addition of Marcell Dareus to Buffalo and the new parts of the Patriots defensive line. The Jets are skating on thin ice at the ultimate security position.

Rob Celletti: The strongest position on the Jets’ roster in my opinion is cornerback.  Anchored by one of the best players in the entire league in Darelle Revis, it is an all-around solid unit.  With Antonio Cromartie out to prove something this year, and the ever-improving, aspiring Revis-clone Kyle Wilson at third on the depth chart, it is safe to say the Jets are going to be very difficult to throw on this season, at least to wide receivers.

The weakest position, and really the key to the season, is the defensive line.  The Jets will have a serviceable line under Rex Ryan’s tutelage, no question, but it is a point every fan and journalist has been harping on since the start of training camp: are the Jets relying too heavily on unproven commodities (Mo Wilkerson and Kendrick Ellis) alongside solid role players (DeVito and Pouha) without any real dominant force?  It is hard to call the position “weak”, but it definitely raises the most questions.

TOJ Roundtable: More Worried About Haynesworth Or Bush?

TOJ Roundtable: where a collection of our writers offer a quick opinion on a pressing Jets question of the day.

Are you more concerned about Albert Haynesworth going to New England or Reggie Bush going to Miami?

Joe Caporoso: I think you have to be more worried about Haynesworth because if he plays anywhere near his potential, it gives the Patriots a lethal combination of him and Vince Wilfork up front. Fortunately, the Jets do have Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore but that is still a scary combination regardless. Haynesworth has been good enough to be the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Reggie Bush has never been anywhere near that kind of player, he is a nice speciality running back but I certainly hope Miami is foolish enough to think he can be a lead back and give him 15-20 carries a game.

Rob Celletti: Absolutely, 100% Haynesworth, and it’s not even close.  The Dolphins are really a non-factor for me right now, whereas anything the Patriots do has the potential to doom the Jets’ chances at making a run for the division.  Like the Jets, the Pats wouldn’t make a move without doing their due diligence and making sure that the situation, salary and compensation were the right fit.  Throw in Belichick’s coaching and the fact that Haynesworth is only 30, this could turn out to be an absolute steal for New England.

AJ Malvisi:I think I’m more concerned about Haynesworth.  He has to know Bellicheck will not take any of his nonsense and see his value is way down from when the Redskins signed him. This is a crucial year for him if he wants to get another pay day. I do think he is not the player he once was and I have faith the Jets line will be able to handle him when the time comes. New England is just another stop on the long, strange trip that has been Albert Haynesworth’s career.

TJ RosenthalHaynesworth: If motivated, he could be a force inside with Vince Wilfork. If so Patriots run defense will be as tough as anyone’s. The question is, can a guy who has been an enigma for the past two seasons find his way again? If Haynesworth can’t kickstart his career with the great Bill Belichick, his days in the NFL may be over.

Bush: Reggie adds a nice dynamic of outside speed and big play ability for the Dolphins however, Miami has not had running problems. They’ve had issues throwing the ball down the field. If they don’t acquire a Kyle Orton type QB here in the free agency period, then Chad Henne has to step up. If not, the addition of Bush will have alot less of an impact.

Chris Celletti: You have to be more worried about Haynesworth to the Patriots. Bill Belichick has proven he can deal with a headache personality (see Randy Moss). He’s always been able to field a good defense with lesser name players so if he could keep Haynesworth in check and get him to play to his potential, that’s a great weapon for the Pats defense. Bush and the Dolphins? Well, not much the Dolphins can do would worry me right now.

NFL Free Agency 2011: AFC East Waking Up

The rest of the AFC East has woken up in the past few hours, with the New England Patriots trading a fifth round draft pick in 2013 for Albert Haynesworth. It is hard to criticize New England for taking a risk like this considering the success the Jets have had with players like say for example, Santonio Holmes…and look at him now.

Regardless, Haynesworth was absolutely toxic last year in Washington. I would also be more concerned if the Jets didn’t have the best center in football in Nick Mangold and one of the best guards in the NFL in Brandon Moore. The move does whiff a little bit of desperation from the Patriots doesn’t it? However, if Bill Belichick can get anything out of Haynesworth, a line-up with him and Vince Wilfork on it could be a little scary.

The Miami Dolphins have also made some waves by trading for running back Reggie Bush. He is a nice gadget player, who can provide big plays if put in the right spot but still doesn’t give the Dolphins the type of every down running game they need to support Chad Henne, or even Kyle Orton if they trade for him. I do think Orton would be a nice upgrade for them at quarterabck if they could work out the details of the trade.

Buffalo has been relatively quiet. They acquired Tyler Thigpen to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick and brought back cornerback Drayton Florence, who the Jets had expressed some interest in, yet also lost linebacker Paul Posluszny to Jacksonville.

TOJ Link Dump – July 18th

It now seems to be a foregone conclusion that a new CBA deal will be announced this Thursday at the owner’s meetings, followed by a 72 hour window where teams can negotiate with their own free agents, followed by the free agency floodgates opening to the entire league in what should be a massive spending spree. In about two to three weeks, we could have the New York Jets, however they are constructed at that point, on the field in Florham Park getting ready for the 2011 season.

It is about damn time.

It is pretty amazing how far ahead Nick Mangold ranks ahead of every other center in the NFL by these and just about any metrics. Tim Graham also recently ranked him as the 5th best player in the AFC East, which seems a touch low to me at first glance. I know Tom Brady and Darrelle Revis will be higher, but I am curious to see who else will be. Then again it could be hard to put too much stock in a list that ranked Cameron Wake higher than Santonio Holmes and D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

It is comforting to know the Jets do have the best center in the league anchoring their offensive line for the long haul. Getting him with the 29th overall pick in the draft was an absolute steal and is right up there with trading up for Darrelle Revis as the best draft day move Mike Tannenbaum has made.

TOJ’s good friend Jeff Capellini recently published this article at WFAN.com on how the Jets should approach free agency. He has remained optimistic about the Nnamdi Asomugha being swayed by the potential to win over the money and seems to think there is a better chance of Braylon Edwards returning over Santonio Holmes, two opinions I do not agree with. However, with the amount of interest the Washington Redskins apparently have in Holmes, bringing Edwards back could become a financial necessity to save money to help improve the rest of the team. At corner, I just can’t picture any scenario where the Jets pay anywhere near the amount of money it will take to bring Asomugha here and would rather see them focus on getting Antonio Cromartie back.

An intriguing free agent option mentioned for the Jets in this article is San Diego linebacker Antwan Barnes. He has played under Rex Ryan before and finished with 4.5 sacks last season as a pass rushing specialist for the Chargers. The Jets aren’t going to be able to spend big money at linebacker but need to improve their depth and pass rush options so either bringing Jason Taylor back or signing somebody like Barnes or Manny Lawson are possibilities.

A look at a potential worst case scenario for the Jets in free agency. There will obviously be tough decisions that have to be made in the coming weeks but hopefully Mike Tannenbaum can manuever the numbers to maintain as much of the current roster as possible, while a few other supporting pieces.

Just How Good Is Darrelle Revis?

In case you haven’t been following, the NFL Network has been ranking the top 100 players in the league through a 10 part series. D’Brickashaw Ferguson was ranked 79th, Santonio Holmes 76th, and Nick Mangold 47th. They are down to the final 10 players and Pro Football Talk has likely correctly assumed they will be: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis, Julius Peppers, Adrian Peterson, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, and Darrelle Revis. How high will Revis end up in the top ten? Personally, I’d rank those ten in the following order —

  1. Brady
  2. Polamalu
  3. Manning
  4. Brees
  5. Reed
  6. Revis
  7. Peterson
  8. Lewis
  9. Johnson
  10. Peppers

Revis was good enough in 2009 and the second half of 2010 to seriously be in the discussion as the best defensive player in football. Considering their body of work, I’d still put both Reed and Polamalu in front of him I am not sure a cornerback will ever get ahead of the elite quarterbacks on a list like this, but then again Revis did still manage to end up ahead of Aaron Rodgers (the fact that he wasn’t a top ten player is a bit of a joke).

Overall, I don’t think anybody would debate Ferguson, Mangold, Holmes, and Revis ending up in the Top 100. I also wouldn’t hesitate to argue that David Harris and Brandon Moore deserved consideration as well. The Jets certainly aren’t short on talent, it will just be a matter of keeping as much of it as possible this off-season and then getting that talent over the hump and into the Super Bowl.

Best New York Jet To Have A Beer With?

Can you tell we are in a lockout yet? Don’t worry, TOJ will be back at analyzing the more football centric aspects of the team tomorrow, but for tonight let’s explore this important question…

Which Jets player would the be most entertaining to spend a night on the town with, a few nominees in no particular order…

Nick Mangold – The Jets center seems to be a funny enough guy and you have to figure you’d be rolling with the other offensive lineman, which means you can get as rowdy as you want because who is messing with a bunch of NFL tackles, guards, and centers?

Mark Sanchez – You can’t not nominate him. He seems to be generous enough (think Jets West) and he can’t handle all those women at once, can he? I am pretty sure Sanchez’s scraps would be better than many players on the team top option.

This video still cracks me up…well done Sanchez, well done. Don’t be foolish enough to settle down with the girl from Heroes … do it Jeter style and stay single well into your 30s.

Bart Scott – I know Scott is a married guy who claims to never really leave the house on weekends, but you have to figure if he could get out of the cage it would be a great time rolling with him and the Jets linebackers. First off, invite all your friends who are Giants and Patriots fans because who is going to out trash talk Scott? Second, they are making a movie about Scott’s life so you know he will have some interesting stories to tell.

Darrelle Revis – Revis and best friend John Geiger seem like a knock off of Rob and Big and like they’d be an interesting crew to roll with. Beyond that, you know Revis isn’t short on cash and apparently he is dating Olivia from G-Unit, so maybe you can get some hang time in with 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks as well.

I guess it ultimately depends what type of night you are looking for. Let me know your thoughts here or on the Facebook and Twitter page. Also weigh in on our Forums

Damien Woody Coming Back?

In an interview today with Pro Football Talk, Daily News beat writer Manish Mehta said it is likely that offensive lineman Damien Woody will be back with the New York Jets in 2011 at a “reduced rate.” This corroborates an earlier report by ESPN’s Rich Cimini and makes sense considering how the long the lockout is anticipated to drag on.

The original thinking behind releasing Woody was that second year player Vladimir Ducasse would step into the role but considering his inability to work with the coaching staff due to the lockout, handing the tackle spot off to such an inexperienced player probably isn’t the smartest thing in the world. If the Jets brought back Woody, it would also show they weren’t impressed with the job Wayne Hunter did filling in for him last season, since they could bring back Hunter on a cheaper contract than Woody as a veteran fallback option.

Despite a handful of injuries last season, Woody has been very good for the Jets the past three years and has still only missed a total five games in that time. There is no reason to think he can’t give them another productive season at right tackle and he is still a safer option than Ducasse or Hunter.

While we are talking Jets offensive line, D’Brickashaw Ferguson made the NFL Network’s top 100 players in the league list at #79. Santonio Holmes came in at #76. They are only half way done with the countdown so far and I’d expect Nick Mangold to be in consideration for a top 20 spot and Darrelle Revis to be somewhere in the top ten.