Embarrassing: Jets Lay Egg In Philly

The New York Jets embarrassed themselves today in Philadelphia

It was about as ugly as you could imagine for the New York Jets today. A terrible game plan. Turnovers. Penalties. Just stupid football en route to a 45-19 loss.

Why the Jets coaching staff thought Wayne Hunter, one of the league’s worst starting offensive players, could block Jason Babin one on one is beyond me. Babin torched the Jets all day long, finishing with 3 sacks. Mark Sanchez never had a chance. On defense, we saw plenty of Eric Smith matched up one on one with Brent Celek who carved up the secondary for 150 yards and a touchdown. On the whole the defense was putrid, missing tackles all over the field. They looked slow and out of place.

What was especially disheartening was the showing from “captain” Santonio Holmes today. A first quarter fumble gave the Eagles their first seven points and then he dropped a pass in the red-zone that turned into an interception. Even more annoying to watch was him doing a pre-meditated touchdown celebration with his team down 19 points and drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty. Selfish and immature.

To lay an egg in such a big spot is inexcusable. It is poor coaching. It was poor coaching to put Hunter and Smith in the spots they were put in. It was poor coaching in the beginning of the year to make somebody like Holmes a captain.

How could you feel confident about this team making the playoffs after what you saw today? Yet, somehow thanks to the help they keep receiving, they actually still control their own destiny. Win their last two games and they are still in.

Jets vs. Eagles: 12 Pack Of Predictions

12 predictions for the Jets/Eagles week 15 showdown

Can the New York Jets take home their fourth victory in a row? Is another late season playoff run on deck? The 12 pack has a few ideas…

1. LeSean McCoy is going to rip one huge run off but beyond that will be bottled up. Ultimately, he will end up with a little under 100 yards and a touchdown.

2. Shonn Greene will have his second straight 100 yard game, wearing the Eagles defense down in the second half. He will also score another touchdown.

3. Mike Vick is going to turn the football over twice, one of which will come on a strip sack from Aaron Maybin.

4. Plaxico Burress will continue his Eagle killing ways, scoring two touchdowns in the red-zone.

5. Mark Sanchez will have an ugly first half turnover.

6. Jason Babin will have two sacks working against Wayne Hunter.

7. Darrelle Revis will keep DeSean Jackson under 50 yards receiving and without a touchdown.

8. Jeremy Maclin will burn Antonio Cromartie for a big play, but Cromartie will come up with an interception later in the game.

9. Brent Celek will have at least 4 receptions, so will Dustin Keller.

10. Jeremy Kerley won’t muff any punts.

11. Mike DeVito and Joe McKnight will both play on Sunday.

12. The Jets will be trailing throughout the entire game and head into the fourth quarter down by 7-10 points. However, they will stage a late rally and the Eagles will have yet another fourth quarter collapse. The Jets escape with a 27-24 win that will leave all of us with stomach pain.

Talking With The Enemy – Jets/Eagles Preview

TOJ talks Jets/Eagles with Mike Burke from Birds Fan. Who has the advantage on Sunday?

TOJ talked with Mike Burke from BirdsFan.com this week to preview the upcoming New York Jets/Philadelphia Eagles match-up:

TOJ: Is the Eagles defense truly as bad as it is hyped up to be?

BF: I don’t think it’s as bad as it has shown personnel wise.  They had a guy in Juan Castillo making a transition from coaching the offensive line to calling the plays on defense.  He really hasn’t utilized his talent to its fullest. We’ve seen the unit play pretty well at times, they’ve just failed to do so consistently.  It’s really a shame because it’s essentially been a waste of a season for a team who was supposed to be in a “win now” mode. Hiring Castillo was clearly an experiment, and a decision Andy Reid made based on his personal loyalty to the guy.  It has backfired big time and been quite an embarrassment to the organization.

Don’t get me wrong though, there are definitely holes on this defense.  The Eagles lack of commitment to the linebacker position has never been clearer than this season.  Ask any fan what position they believe the Eagles should draft in the first round next year, and I can guarantee an overwhelming number will say linebacker. I really don’t think they’re as bad as they seem.  If they add an experienced coordinator next season and bring in a few players through the draft or free agency, I think the unit can be very strong.

TOJ: Assess Mike Vick’s performance this season on the whole and how he looked when he returned to action last week?

BF: This definitely hasn’t been Vick’s best season.  Last year, we saw how dominate Vick can be at times and also how much he can struggle.  This season has been more about struggles. He hasn’t played horrible overall.  His biggest downfall has been his decision making.  He has turned the ball over way too many times, especially in key situations. When we saw him early last year, he was extremely comfortable in the pocket.  You could literally see him progressing through all of his reads and delivering the ball to the open receiver with accuracy every time he dropped back.

This seemed to change at the end of last season, and I placed a lot of this on him losing confidence in his line.  They weren’t playing well, and he was getting killed.  It was hard to blame him. This season, the line has played a lot better, but he isn’t making the correct reads and that has killed the offense. Of course, now that I mention how well the offensive line has played, we have to reflect on last week’s game against the Dolphins.  Vick was returning from his rib injury, and at a time where he needed his offensive line to protect him, they failed to do so.

It was very disappointing.  The unit played very well throughout the season but had an absolutely awful showing.  Vick did what he could with the time he was given.  With the play of the defense, he did enough to get the win and that’s what counts.  It’s hard to take too much away from his individual performance based on how the line played.

TOJ: Do you want Andy Reid back next year?

BF: This is a tough one.  If you asked me a few weeks ago, I’d say absolutely.  Now, I’m not so sure.  I think my opinion has changed for a few reasons.  The biggest reason is probably the fact that I truly believe he will return next season no matter how I or any of the other fans feel. The other reason is based upon the rest of the league.  A lot of coaches have been fired already and more will be continue to be fired.  There is no chance that the Eagles would let go of Reid before the season ended.  At this point, they would be one of a large number of teams looking for a head coach.  Many other teams would have a head start and I don’t think they’re the type of franchise ready to settle for just anyone that’s available.

Reid has really done everything for this franchise but win a Super Bowl.  That’s devastating, but who out there will give the ma better chance?  Like I mentioned before, the Eagles are supposed to be in a “win now” type mode, and I think they will continue that next season.  Bringing in a new coach with new thoughts and plans doesn’t help that mentality. I think they need to bring in a talented defensive coordinator who can run the show on that end and utilize the talent they have.

TOJ: Prediction?

BF: The Eagles offense struggled last weekend and a very talented defense is coming to town this week.  I’m not really sure why the offensive line struggled so much last weekend, but if it happens this week, the Eagles offense will struggle to do anything.  The Jets have talented corners so if they get a lot of pressure up front, Vick will have struggle throwing the ball.  I could very easily see this resulting in some turnovers.

In the end, I think the Jets defense will be too much.  Jets win 27-17.

BF: Mark Sanchez is one of those guys who just can’t seem to play with any consistency.  What are your feelings about Sanchez?  Do you think he could ever lead the Jets to a Lombardi trophy?

TOJ: I think Sanchez is one of the most unfairly criticized players in the NFL. If he was a religious man playing in Denver, he’d be lauded for his ability to win. The guy is 28-17 as a starter with 4 playoff wins already and hasn’t even played 3 full seasons yet. Yes, he struggles with his accuracy and decision making at times but he is a winner and players better the bigger the spot gets. I absolutely believe he can lead the Jets to a Super Bowl.

BF: The Jets sit in the driver seat right now.  How do you see the rest of the season playing out?  Do they make the playoffs? If so, how far do you think they can go?

TOJ: I think the Jets will ultimately find a way into the playoffs, probably as a 10-6 team. Once they are in, they are dangerous as we’ve seen the past two years. I think they can pull off an upset or maybe two but I am not sure they are equipped to get over the hump this season.

BF: How much of an impact do you see the loss of Jim Leonhard having on Sunday’s game? The rest of the season?

TOJ: It hurts, particularly in the punt return game. The Jets haven’t any consistency there except for Leonhard. On defense, they will miss his leadership but if Brodney Pool can stay healthy they should be okay.

BF: Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets first-round rookie draft picked, used to play his home games at Lincoln Financial Field with Temple last season.  How has he performed for the Jets this season?

TOJ: Wilkerson has quietly put together a very good year. He is solid against the run and has got a decent push rushing the quarterback. I am not sure he will ever be a Pro-Bowl type player but will likely be a key piece of the Jets defense for years to come.

BF: On Sunday, where will the Jets have an advantage on offense? On defense?

TOJ: The Jets biggest advantage is their physicality and ability to play well in the fourth quarter. On offense, I expect Shonn Greene to have a big day going North and South on the Eagles. On defense, I think Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie can get DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin out of their game.

BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?

TOJ: The Eagles speed on offense will be a big problem for the Jets, particularly from LeSean McCoy on the edges. On defense, Jason Babin could be a big problem for Wayne Hunter, the Jets inconsistent right tackle.

BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Jets on Sunday?

TOJ: Aaron Maybin. He is the only Jets player in the front seven with the speed to chase around Vick. If he can bring him down for a few sacks and force a fumble, it could be the difference in the game.

BF: Give me a score prediction.

TOJ: I think the Eagles will be leading the whole way, but the Jets will put together a big fourth quarter to escape with a 27-24 victory.

New York Jets: Can They Beat Another Finesse Team?

TOJ on if the New York Jets can handle another finesse team

Michael Lomdbardi of NFL.com recently referred to the Philadelphia Eagles as a “nickel” team. The basic premise behind it was that they are built to spread the field and force you into a track meet. They want to play with three and four receivers on the field on offense and three and four corners on the field on defense. In this way they are one-dimensional, ultimately being both a finesse and soft team.

Lombardi referenced the New Orleans Saints as an example of a team who was originally constructed as a “nickel” team but wised up to add a physical dimension to their game. The Saints can now line up and run a smash mouth offense with Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, or Mark Ingram. They don’t have to get gimmicky or throw the football on 3rd and 1. They can go north and south to beat opponents at the line of scrimmage. On the other side of the football, they focused on building their front seven and play an aggressive physical brand on defense.

Philadelphia remains in the “nickel” mode. Running back LeSean McCoy has racked up impressive yardage totals thanks to his big play ability but Philadelphia is still overly reliant on their passing game and spread formations. They aren’t consistent in short yardage situations or around the goal-line (see Ronnie Brown’s bizarre run/pass against San Francisco earlier in the year). When it gets to the fourth quarter, they can’t put teams away because they lack a power running game that wears you down, hence their struggles all season in that portion of the game.

On defense they have struggled all season stopping the run and have missed an inordinate amount of tackles. Similar to their offense, they can’t close games out because they wear down late. Their defensive line has a dangerous pass rush but doesn’t always get a push in the running game. The linebackers have been a mess all season and their secondary, despite having big names at corner, have been beat for big plays all season.

Rex Ryan’s first ever game as a head coach for the New York Jets was against the Houston Texans. His pre-game speech emphasized that the Texans were a finesse team who the Jets could simply out-physical to a victory. He was absolutely right, as the Jets rolled 24-7 that day. Earlier in the year, LaDainian Tomlinson gave fiery pre-game speeches before games against San Diego and Buffalo, echoing the same sentiment: “this team isn’t as physical as us, we can impose our will on them.” This Jets team plays extremely confident when they are going against finesse or “nickel” units.

There is no question that Philadelphia’s speed on offense could cause the Jets problems. That being said, the Jets should be able run the ball down Philadelphia’s throat all game long to help keep that offense off the field. This is the type of game where Shonn Greene gets 25 carries and LaDainian Tomlinson chips in another 10. In the passing game, it is when Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller should be breaking tackles and pulling balls down in traffic.

When it does get to Philadelphia being on offense, expect Rex Ryan to be blitz heavy as Mike Vick as struggled with the blitz in his face all year. With the blitzing, look for agressive man to man coverage on the outside from Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are dangerous outside the hashes but they don’t want any part of a physical game. They both have racked up dropped passes and fumbles all season. Cromartie in particular might give up a big play or two but he should also be able to make Vick pay for consistently throwing into traffic.

Philadelphia is a dangerous opponent. Everybody is familiar with the talent from top to bottom on their roster. Beyond that Philadelphia is a notoriously hostile environment. Yet, the Eagles ultimately are the type of a “finesse” team that the Jets have had their way with in previous years. This is the week to take pride in the Ground and Pound identity and run Philadelphia into the ground.

Ten Preliminary Thoughts On Jets/Eagles

TOJ with ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 match-up with the Philadelphia Eagles

Ten preliminary thoughts on the New York Jets week 15 match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles.

1. Philadelphia’s speed on offense is a major concern for the Jets. LeSean McCoy is capable of breaking a big run at any moment. The Jets must be extremely disciplined on the edges, most notably Calvin Pace and Jamaal Westerman at linebacker. On the defensive line, Mike DeVito is a long shot to play so the Jets will need a big game from Muhammad Wilkerson and for Marcus Dixon to step up again.

2. Mike Vick’s ability to scramble is always an issue for opposing defenses but he has been turning the ball over like crazy this year. This is a big game for Aaron Maybin who has the most speed of any Jet in the front seven by far and has forced four fumbles this year. Vick will also throw a few up for grabs. Isn’t Antonio Cromartie do for an interception?

3. Considering DeSean Jackson’s general attitude and demeanor this year, I believe Darrelle Revis has a great opportunity to get into his head early and completely take him out of this game. Beyond that, Revis has the size and strength to toss him around at the line of scrimmage.

4. Two guys who have the ability to really hurt the Jets on Sunday are Brent Celek and Jason Avant. This defense always struggles with tight ends and slot receivers. It will be on Brodney Pool to step up with his coverage of Celek and Kyle Wilson to have a big game in the slot on Avant.

5. Shonn Greene and the rest of the Jets rushing attack should be licking their chops against Philadelphia’s front seven. The Eagles have been soft up the middle all year and have major question marks at linebacker. There is no reason for Greene not to have another 20+ carry, 100+ yard performance.

6. Plaxico Burress always killed the Eagles during his time with the Giants. He has been quiet the past two weeks and seems due for a big game. While the Eagles corners have big names and big play potential, they have given up a ton of big plays this season.

7. Speaking of their corners, you can bet Rex Ryan will be reminding his team how Nnamndi Asomugha spurned them to join Philadelphia this off-season. Asomugha has been a let down all season and I don’t expect the Jets to be shy about going after him. Antonio Cromartie should have also have a little extra motivation this Sunday.

8. Joe McKnight should be back in the line-up this week, providing a nice boost to the Jets kick return and their screen game on offense.

9. Philadelphia is the complete opposite of the Jets in the following regard: they start fast and finish poorly. The Jets have consistently risen up in the fourth quarter under Rex Ryan for comeback wins, while the Eagles have fell apart all season in crunch time. If this game is tight in the fourth quarter, Jets fans should be confident.

10. Mark Sanchez on the road…in Pennsylvania…week 15…Jets fans should remember how well he played in Pittsburgh last year at this exact time of the season.

The Illustrious History Of Jets vs. Eagles In Pre-Season

In case you forgot how memorable tonight’s game could be, here is a look back at some fun facts from the past five contests:

2010 – Chauncey Washington led the way with 12 carries for 56 yards and Mark Brunell threw a pair of touchdown passes, including a 51 yarder to Santonio Holmes. Matt Kroul had a pair of sacks. 100 million dollar Mike Vick was a backup then by the way.

2009 – Some guy named Danny Woodhead ran for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns (oops). David Clowney had 108 yards on only 2 catches, along with a touchdown. Vernon Gholston actually had a sack in this game.

2008 – Jesse Chatman ran 29…yes 29 times for 93 yards and a touchdown and also chipped in 6 receptions for 87 yards. How about Brett Ratliff hitting Paul Raymond with a 11 yard touchdown?

2007 – A 13-11 thriller, where Marques Tuiasosopo was the Jets leading passer and Stacy Tutt led the team in rushing, along with Frisman Jackson being the leading receiver. Don’t forget about 3 sacks from CJ Mosley.

2006 – Cedric Houston had a monster 25 carries for 108 yards and Trevor Johnson led the way on defense with 9 tackles. Brad Smith had the game winning 9 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Jets vs. Eagles: Battle Of The Backups Preview

Ah, the annual pre-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles aka the battle of backups provides our last look at many New York Jets scrapping to make the roster as reserves. Here are a few players to keep an eye on tonight before the countdown can begin to week one (how about 7 days to Saints/Packers?)

Greg McElroy – The rookie quarterback has impressed all pre-season and will get the start under center tonight. Mark Brunell will return to the backup role when the regular season starts but you have to wonder if Mark Sanchez were out for an extended period of time, if the Jets would consider handing the reigns off to McElroy instead of the 65 year old Brunell.

Muhammad Wilkerson – It has been a good, not great pre-season for the Jets first round pick. He was ejected last game for getting into a scuffle with Brandon Jacobs and still hasn’t generated much pressure on the quarterback, despite being solid against the run. He should log a ton of playing time tonight, so hopefully he can take advantage of the Eagles backups.

Nick Bellore/Garret McIntyre – A pair of undrafted rookie linebackers who have a very good shot to make the roster after strong training camps and pre-seasons. The Jets could be risking it by going so young with their backups but if they are the best players on the roster after the starters, they deserve a spot on the final 53.

Aaron Maybin – He needs to make a play or two to intrigue the coaching staff enough to keep him around for a longer look. The speed is there but Maybin is easily pushed around because of his lack of size.

Joe McKnight – It has been a strong all around pre-season for the Jets second year running back, who could use one more solid performance to demonstrate that he should be involved with the first offense when the regular season starts. McKnight could bring a much needed speed dimension to the Jets running back group.

Jeff Cumberland – The second year tight end missed last week with an injury but should be back. I’d be shocked if the Jets didn’t keep him on the final 53 because of his size and potential but he needs a good performance to lock himself in.

The Final Days Of Pre-Season

We are less than two weeks away from Jets vs. Cowboys: week one, Sunday night football. Ryan vs. Ryan. The Jets blitz vs. Tony Romo. Miles Austin/Dez Bryant vs. Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie. D’Brickashaw Ferguson vs. DeMarcus Ware….the list goes on.

Yet, we need to finish up the pre-season first, namely the Jets last game at home against the Philadelphia Eagles this Thursday. The final roster cuts still need to be made and I wouldn’t expect too many shockers. They have already decided their kicking options by keeping Nick Folk and TJ Conley over Nick Novak and Chris Bryan. Both battles were close throughout the pre-season, so why not go with the more experienced kicker in your building and a punter who has now spent three training camps with you?

The Jets also have to be concerned about starting fullback John Conner who is in walking boot now with a sprained ankle. He is expected to be start in week one but if he has any setbacks, the team is going to have to dust off Tony Richardson from retirement, which certainly isn’t a bad fallback option.

Around the rest of the roster, I would expect Patrick Turner to end up as the number five receiver now that Logan Payne has a dislocated wrist. Scotty McKnight belongs on the practice squad…if that. Payne probably would have claimed the number five spot but his injury will likely either put him on the IR or the practice squad for the time being.

Undrafted rookie linebackers Nick Bellore and Garret McIntyre both have a great shot of making the final 53 and could bump recently signed Aaron Maybin off the roster. Maybin would need a monster performance against Philadelphia on Thursday to give the coaching staff second thoughts.

Journeyman offensive lineman Robby Felix and Dennis Landolt will also likely make the final 53, as the Jets will risk it with questionable depth on that unit. It is sounding like Rob Turner will be kept on the roster in hopes that he is healthy by the end of October. On the other side of the ball, Ryan will probably keep 7 or 8 defensive lineman in a group that looks to have solid depth thanks to strong pre-seasons from Ropati Pitoitua, Martin Tevaseau, and Marcus Dixon.

At this point, it is hard to not just root for Thursday to be over with so the final roster can be locked in and the preparation/preview for Dallas can start.