Jets vs. Giants: What to Watch For

First a few updates:

New Pages Alert – Across the top of the site, you will find two new pages “Jets Commercials” and “Jets Game Highlights.” Commercials is a collection of Jets commercials, 2009 preview videos, and other funny video clips involving our team. Game Highlights is an ongoing collection of highlights from all of the Jets games this year, so far I have both the Rams and Ravens highlights in there.

1. The Jets appear to be completely healthy in terms of their starters and primary backups. The only two people who were working on the sideline today were Shonn Greene and reserve linebacker Joshua Magua. Rex Ryan said in today’s press conference that Greene has some cartilage issues in his ribs and that he will be out against the Giants and likely against the Eagles. Good thing the Jets didn’t trade Thomas Jones, right?

2. In response to Greene being banged up, the Jets signed undraftedrookie running back Anthony Kimble who played at Stanford. Look for Kimble and Danny Woodhead to get a ton of carries in that last pre-season game against Philly to save Thomas Jones and Leon Washington’s legs.

3. Ryan took another dig at New England today (although in a joking manner) when discussing the tampering rules. He was kidding around about the roster being nearly set and said unless somebody like Ed Reed came available he had an idea of who would make the team, he then commented he made sure that didn’t mention any New England players (referencing the Pats filing tampering claims a few years ago against the Jets when looking at Deion Branch)…always entertaining stuff from Ryan.

4. Ryan also confirmed that David Clowney would be seeing more reps with the first team against the Giants. Also, he stated the final roster spots at receiver aren’t set and implied that either Marcus Henry, Britt Davis, or Aundrae Allison could grab one of the 53 spots. When talking about the tight ends, he said nobody has emerged as the clear #2, although he expressed confidence in Wayne Hunter taking reps there.

5. Vernon Gholston will start and play the majority of the snaps with the first team against the Giants…oh boy.

Jets vs. Giants: What to Watch For

1. Doesn’t Get Any Easier, Rook – Mark Sanchez doesn’t get a break this week, as he will face another one of the NFL’s elite defenses. The Giants have the best collection of defensive lineman and pass rushers in the NFL, which will provide another test for Sanchez to adjust under constant pressure and different blitz packages. He will likely play into the third quarter and you would like to see him protect the football, take a few shots down the field, and get into some type of rhythm with Jerricho Cotchery who is yet to catch a pass from Sanchez this pre-season. Overall, the last thing you want to see is Sanchez implode after being named the starter, but judging from how this summer went that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

2. More Run D – The Jets run defense looked very good last week against Baltimore without Kris Jenkins, so logically they should be that much better on Saturday with him. Rex Ryan’s Ravens got embarrassed by the Giants running game last year and he hasn’t forgotten that. It will be a great test for the Jets front seven to go against the Giants offensive line and Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw.

3. Get After Eli – If there is an area I think the Jets have a nice advantage in against the Giants, it is their secondary against the G-Men’s receivers. Darrelle Revis will be back, rounding out a talented, deep Jets defensive backfield. The Giants have an inexperienced group of receivers and lack a legit #1 (and maybe even a legit #2 for that matter). I want to see the secondary smothering Steve Smith, Domenick Hixon, Sinorce Moss, Mario Manningham and whomever else the Giants throw out there. The Jets pass rush has been great this pre-season and the secondary’s coverage should help produce even more sacks on Saturday night. The only problem is that Vernon Gholston is starting and playing the majority of first team reps instead of Calvin Pace and that certainly won’t help the pass rush.

4. Who Is Catching This Ball – David Clowney will see a good amount of first team reps, so let’s see him make some plays against the Giants first team defense. Brad Smith is hanging by a thread as a player who will get meaningful reps. Chansi Stuckey has been quiet this pre-season and is slowly losing his spot to Clowney. Jerricho Cotchery needs to catch a few balls and start looking like a #1 receiver. I keep hearing hype about Britt Davis, but he hasn’t made any big plays. Also, at the tight end spot look for Sanchez to target Dustin Keller often. A young quarterback’s best friend is a pass catching tight end.

5. Can Anybody Punt – Rex Ryan didn’t hold back the criticism of his punters in today’s press conference. Hopefully, Reggie Hodges can step up and finally seize the job.

A Little Break From the Football Videos…

Monday Night Football: Jets vs. Ravens Preview

First a few updates:

1.  The Yankees took care of business this weekend, grabbing 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox. It would take a colossal Mets type meltdown for them not to win the division now. How about the season Hideki Matsui is putting together?

2. Television/Movie Discussion of the Day – Entourage was pretty good last night. They finally moved away from E’s relationships dominating the story line and introduced a few new interesting characters in the agency he is working in. Also it is always good to see Bob Saget back on the show…I saw Inglorious Bastards over the weekend, great movie that I highly recommend.

Jets vs. Ravens Preview

The Main Story Lines: Mark Sanchez makes his first start, with a chance to end the quarterback battle. Rex Ryan goes against his former team, that snubbed him for a head coaching job in 2008. The Jets offense faces arguably the best defense in football. The Jets defense will be without their two best players, Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis for the second straight pre-season game. The offensive line will be without Alan Faneca and Damien Woody, also for the second straight pre-season game.

The Best Case Scenario– The Jets offense holds their own against the Ravens defense, putting together a couple of scoring drives and not turning the football over. They are able to establish a running game and protect Sanchez, who is able to make Baltimore pay for stacking the box by hitting a big play deep. The defense continues to put pressure on the quarterback and forces a few turnovers.

The Worst Case Scenario – The Jets are completely out-classed by the Ravens on national television. Sanchez struggles immensely and keeps the quarterback battle alive for at least another week or two. The Jets defense can’t stop the Ravens running game and the backups forced to start look shaky, increasing questions about their depth on both sides of the ball.

You’d Like to See – Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey….the Jets starting receivers make some plays. Vernon Gholston have an active game at outside linebacker. Somebody seize control of the punting job. Shonn Greene continue to improve. Sione Pouha and Howard Green lead a strong run defense. Dwight Lowery have a strong bounce-back performance. Kerry Rhodes make a big play in the secondary.

Prediction – The Jets offense moves the ball but is forced to settle for a few too many field goals. Sanchez does well enough to end the quarterback battle. The defense struggles a little bit without Jenkins and Revis. Final Score….Ravens- 23 Jets-16.

Jets Positional Analysis: Special Teams

Jets Positional Analysis: Special Teams

Third article of the day, but hey training camp starts this week so it is time to step up. Of course since I mentioned the Yankees potentially having the best record in baseball, they are losing 6-1. Anyway, here is my next to last positional analysis (still have inside linebackers, which I will get to before Friday morning). Tomorrow I am planning to look at some under the radar players in training camp and I got a few other article ideas to get up before daily coverage of training camp starts at the end of the week.

Jay Feely #3, Kicker, Last Season: 24/28 Field Goals (2/2 50+ yards, 4/5 40-49 yards) 39/39 PAT’s

History: Political commentator, twitter enthusiast, and weight-room fanatic, Jay Feely became the Jets kicker in week 2 last season after Mike “Second Round Pick?!” Nugent was hurt. As you can tell from the numbers, he had a pretty good season which earned him a new contract with the Jets. Feely hit his two most clutch kicks last season, a game winner against the Patriots and a 50+ yarder that sent Oakland into overtime. He has decent length on kickoffs and didn’t struggle with the Meadowlands winds.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Feely has a similar season to last year and hits his clutch kicks, while Mike Nugent is booting kickoffs to the 20 yard line in the UFL.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Feely misses too many FG’s, gets cut week 3 and joins the FOX News staff.

Prediction: I don’t see any reason why Feely can’t be a productive kicker for the Jets this season.

Reggie Hodges #5, Punter, Last Season: Average Yard Per Punt 42.8 yards, 14 Punts Inside the 20, 6 Touchbacks

History: Hodges was signed to replace Ben Graham last season and did an okay job. He was cut by the Jets after the season but then re-signed a few months ago.

Chance of Making Roster: 50%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Hodges is a good punter for the Jets…what else can I say?

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He gets beat out in training camp and is cut.

Prediction: I am going with the rookie in his punting battle royale, meaning Hodges will join Nugent and Brooks Bollinger in the UFL.

T.J. Conley #9, Punter, Rookie

History: A UDFA out of Idaho, who had the highest net average of all college punters last season.

Chance of Making Roster: 50%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He wins the job and becomes a punting prodigy.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He gets cut, meaning nobody has my number on the Jets.

Prediction: Maybe it’s just because I like his number, but I am picking Conley to win this punting job…bold stuff, I know.

The Other Guys:

Long Snapper: James Dearth – One of the best in the business.

Kick Returner: Leon Washington – One of the best in the business.

Punt Returner: Jim Leonhard – Will take pressure off Washington and did a good job returning for the Ravens last season.

Overall Position Analysis: I always feel good about this group because Mike Westhoff is in charge and he is a hall of famer. Punter could obviously be a position of concern, though.

Jets Special Teams Highlight: Leon Washington is gone.

New York Jets Training Camp Preview 2009

First a few updates:

1. Yankees are up a healthy 2.5 games on Boston after taking 3 out 4 from the A’s, and 9 out of 10 on their home stand. Big week coming up with road trips to Tampa and Chicago though, I am saying they take 2 out 3 against the Rays to start the week off. How about those Mets, though? They won 2 out of 3 this weekend…shocking.

2. Big day tomorrow, we have our playoffs in my YMCA basketball league. The whole tournament is tomorrow, and we are entering as the #2 seed, despite our sub-par 3-3 regular season record. You heard it  here first, the green team is taking home the trophy….well we don’t have a trophy, but we are taking the title anyway.

New York Jets Training Camp Preview 2009

The Jets are heading up to Cortland, New York at the end of this week to begin their 2009 season. It will be Rex Ryan’s first camp as a head coach in the NFL and all ears will be up for the boisterous former defensive coordinator of the Ravens, while all eyes will be on prized rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. What should you look for over the next 6 weeks of non-regular season football? Here’s a guide…

– The primary storyline will be the quarterback competition between rookie Mark Sanchez and 4th year veteran Kellen Clemens. Expect daily tallies of their statistics in 7 on 7’s and team drills and a daily winner of the practice proclaimed by all the beat writers. August 14th is the date of the Jets first pre-season game, and it will be interesting to see if Mark Sanchez can unseat Kellen Clemens by that day, and if he doesn’t, if he can outplay him on that night. Clemens will take the first snap with the first offense this week, but Sanchez will be given every shot to win the job. Unless Clemens turns into Peyton Manning this summer or Sanchez turns into Brooks Bollinger, you can bet on #6 being under center for week 1.

– Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are both currently in contract disputes and it remains to be seen if they will skip training camp and accept the daily fines. Apparently, there has been minor progress in Washington’s talks but no movement on Thomas Jones. I am going to be an optimist and say that Washington shows up to camp and a deal is done within the first week. Jones will show up but won’t talk to the media. Eventually, the Jets will reach some compromise with him, as they did with Laveranues Coles and Chris Baker last year to appease Jones for this season before letting him go at the end of the year. In other running back news, keep an eye on rookie Shonn Greene and how many carries he is getting in goal-line/short yardage situations. The coaching staff loves him and believes he is the heir apparent to Jones. Danny Woodhead will make for some nice training camp stories but won’t make the roster, the fifth running back will be Jehuu Caulcrick, who has the ability to play both FB and RB and will remind Rex Ryan of Le’Ron McClain.

– Chansi Stuckey will start out as the Jets #2 receiver and probably won’t relinquish the job. David Clowney is probably the fastest guy on the team but needs to get over the case of the drops he had in the spring. Brad Smith will get everybody excited, like he does every August, but then likely settle in his #4 receiver role. Watch for Mario Urrutia and Huey Whittaker, two little known guys who have good combinations of size and speed. Urrutia is 6’6 and could provide the Jets with a much needed red-zone target.

– The battle for the Jets #2 tight end spot will be between converted defensive lineman Kareem Brown, journeyman backup Richard Owens, and two UDFA’s J’Nathan Bullock and Jack Simmons. The coaching staff must think Brown can handle the transition or else they would have signed somebody else, right? I am still skeptical but as of now, look for Brown and Simmons to rise to the top of this weak group behind Dustin Keller. Speaking of #81, it will be interesting to see all the different places Brian Schottenheimer has him lined up on in the offense.

– Watch the offensive lineman if you want, but just pray that none of the them get hurt. The coaching staff will be hoping to see 6th round draft pick Matt Slauson show long term potential and also that Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter can handle extended playing time if one of the front five go down. Expect to see Turner also used as an extra tight end in some short yardage sets.

– On defense, listen for Bart Scott’s incessant trash talking and enjoy the the thought of him and David Harris making all the tackles they want because of the protection provided by Kris Jenkins, who should have a light work load this August. Backups Sione Pouha and Howard Green need the reps. Also, watch out for Ropati Pitoitua who spent last season on the practice squad, but could be a factor on the defensive line rotation. Mike DeVito and Marques Douglas will be out to prove they can handle splitting the one starting defensive end spot this pre-season.

– Vernon Gholston will be facing tons of pressure and daily scrutiny to live up to his lofty draft status. It is on him to lead the way in filling the hole left by Calvin Pace for the first four weeks of the regular season. Marques Murrell and Jason Trunsick will also be seeing increased reps at the outside linebacker position. Another guy to watch for is UDFA Jamaal Westerman from Rutgers, who Rex Ryan has done nothing but rave about since the second he stepped on the field this past spring. Westerman was a defensive end in college but has been working at both inside and outside linebacker for the Jets.

– In the secondary, look for a more active Kerry Rhodes and and a battle for reps alongside Darrelle Revis at cornerback. Lito Sheppard should be the starter opposite him, but beyond him Dwight Lowery, Donald Strickland, Drew Coleman, and Ahmad Carroll will be battling for playing time.

– By the way, who is the Jets punter? Reggie Hodges? I hope not. Hopefully, rookie TJ Conley can seize the job.

Enjoy the practices, and let’s all look forward to:

1. The meticulously put together daily passing statistics of Mark Sanchez, with every pass dissected and analyzed.

2. The stories about how versatile Brad Smith is.

3. The stories about how Danny Woodhead is fighting against the odds, because he played Division II football and because he is really small.

4. The stories about Leon Washington getting the ball more.

5. Rex Ryan’s daily press conferences, filled with jokes, trash-talk, and amusing stories.

6. The discussion of how much more “fun” Ryan is than Eric Mangini and how he has brought a new attitude to the team.

7. The stories about Bart Scott yelling at the offense after every play.

8. The stories about how fast David Clowney is.

9. The inevitable player on offense and defense who comes out of nowhere to have a great camp, but then still gets cut after the last pre-season game.

10. The 17 articles that will be written if Vernon Gholston misses a tackle at practice.

Jets Highlight of the Day: Season highlights from 2006…the last time the Jets made the playoffs.