New York Jets Fact Or False: Passing Game Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False looks at the New York Jets passing game

The New York Jets passing offense of 2012 will likely be one of the hottest topics in the NFL this season. Countless story lines centered around the heavily criticized Mark Sanchez, the polarizing Tim Tebow, and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano are sure to have every major media outlet placing New York’s passing attack under the microscope. For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, lets examine what we should and should not expect from Sanchez, Tebow, and the rest of the bunch this season.

1.) Chaz Schilens will play a significant role this season. False. The Jets signed Schilens to a 1-year, $765,000 contract this off-season. Prior to the start of free agency, the only other receiver with significant playing time that would have been capable of starting opposite Santonio Holmes was Jeremy Kerley. While Kerley is certainly a very promising young talent, he is best suited as a number 3, slot type receiver, rather than a number 2. As a result, the Jets grabbed Schilens as a cheap, low risk option to add depth to their receiving corps. However, with the addition of second round pick Stephen Hill in this year’s draft, Schilens may struggle to find a spot on the roster.

Schilens and Hill are both similar in size, both around 6’4” in the 215-225 lb range. However, Hill has much more upside than Schilens due to his youth, big play ability, and willingness to block. This is not to say that Schilens will not display such attributes, however with his history, it is highly unlikely. Since entering the NFL in 2008, Schilens has had an injury-plagued career and has played in only 44 out of a possible 64 total NFL games. His production has been very sub par, as he has recorded just 72 catches for 902 yards over his brief four-year career in Oakland. Of course, a fresh start in New York could replenish Schilens, but don’t count on it.

Schilens was seemingly brought in for his size and speed, however with the addition of Hill, the Jets got a much better, younger player to add that dimension to their offense. Schilens will likely remain on the roster because he is such a cheap option, but if rookie Jordan White emerges during training camp, as I fully expect him to do, Schilens could find himself battling it out with Patrick Turner, Scotty McKnight, and a few others for the fifth receiver spot on the roster. Regardless of whether he makes it or not, I wouldn’t expect Schilens to contribute in a significant manner for the Jets this season.

2.) Rookie Stephen Hill will open up the passing offense early and often. Fact. While we all know Hill is certainly a raw product, having come from the triple option offense at Georgia Tech, the threat of his size and speed alone will add a new dimension to the passing game this season. While Hill should certainly develop into a more polished receiver as his career progresses, his fantastic size and speed (4.30 40 yard dash) will make him an immediate deep threat. Defenses will have no choice but to account for him, whether it be through double teams, or sliding their coverage toward him when he is on the field. This should, realistically, open up a great amount of underneath and sideline work for Holmes, Kerley, and Tight End Dustin Keller, which is where they have thrived in the past. Hill’s big play ability will be a plus for the Jets this season, not only in making those plays, but for what his presence alone will bring.

3.) Santonio Holmes will make the Pro Bowl this season. False. While it is highly likely that Holmes will improve drastically from last season, I wouldn’t bank on him making a Pro Bowl, at least for this year. Holmes has never been voted to the Hawaiian exhibition, and while there is certainly a first for everything, especially for a talent like #10, who many forget achieved a career high in touchdown receptions last season (8), the Jets will be going back to their ground and pound approach under Tony Sparano this year. Unfortunately, this is not exactly the philosophy that will statistically get a wide receiver a Pro Bowl nod.

However, elite talent knows no boundaries. Brandon Marshall made two Pro Bowls playing in this system in Miami, so if Holmes can re-establish himself to the level that earned him a Super Bowl MVP trophy in 2009, a Pro Bowl is certainly not out of the question in the future. For this year though, it could be tough for him to accumulate numbers worthy of the honor in the inaugural season of a new offensive system. Still, expect to see Holmes return to his 2010 form.

4.) Jordan White will make an impact as a rookie. Fact. Anyone who has read my rookie analysis series knows what I think of Jordan White. White is an extremely tough, hard working, determined player who put up a career of immense production at Western Michigan (306 receptions, 4,190 yards, 32 touchdowns). His route running ability and knowledge of the game is NFL ready, which will give him an immediate advantage heading into training camp. White will undoubtedly prove his worth on special teams, and not only do I expect him to make the active roster, but I would be shocked if he did not contribute to the offense at some point during the season. White is a player whose intelligence, work ethic, and reliability, could make him a perfect fit with Quarterback Mark Sanchez.

5.) Tim Tebow will become the starting quarterback at some point this season. False. Most people seem to be afraid to touch this issue because, like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, they believe the fix is in for Tebow to dethrone Sanchez as the Jets starting quarterback. However, let’s all take a deep breath and think about this situation. People can say that the Jets brought in Tebow for the publicity factor that he would bring with him. While this could be the case, that does not mean they brought him in to be the starting quarterback. Regardless of what everyone thinks, Tebow will be a role player this year. Teams do not place players whom they feel are going to be their starting quarterback on special teams. In today’s NFL, that will simply never happen. There is far too much of a liability factor involved to be risking the health of your offensive general as a personal protector on the punt team. If the Jets seriously thought Tebow was going to beat out Sanchez, they would not even consider placing him anywhere other than an offensive formation.

The Jets have been criticized for bringing in Tebow, as many see this move as the team ultimately setting up Sanchez to fail. Yet, remember how New York was bashed after the Drew Stanton signing? Most observers felt this was yet another incompetent quarterback who would not realistically challenge Sanchez. The same people who stressed the importance to bring in competition to push Sanchez, highly due to the publicized notion that the organization babied their young quarterback, are now the ones who are criticizing the Tebow move. The Jets traded for arguably the hardest working, most encouraging player in all of professional football, who will undoubtedly push Mark Sanchez to get the most out of himself this season, not by breathing down his neck, but by providing stability behind him, while contributing as a significant role player, whether it be in the wildcat, as a running back, or as an H-back.

Like any backup quarterback, Tebow will be ready if Sanchez fails to get New York to where they need to be. However, that will not happen this season, nor is it why Tebow was brought to New York. He was brought here because he is a terrific overall football player, and an even better teammate, something greatly needed in a locker room that is currently being rebuilt. Tebow will certainly get his plays this year, but barring an injury, don’t expect to see #6 on the sidelines watching him run the every down offense.

6.) Mark Sanchez will silence all of his critics. Fact. Every hater of Sanchez and the Jets are on the edge of their seat waiting to see, not if, but when he will finally succumb to all the pressure and negativity, and pack it in, paving the way for Tim Tebow to enter and install the heroics he displayed in Denver last year. I apologize in advance to these people because this is simply not going to happen.

Despite Sanchez putting up a career high in touchdowns last season (32 overall), many still insist that the young quarterback regressed in his third year as a pro. Unfortunately, those who believe this are completely ignorant to an abundance of facts. First of all, Sanchez was under the tutelage of arguably the least competent Offensive Coordinator in the league last season. Brian Schottenheimer saw Sanchez’s strengths in his first two years, yet seemingly wanted to become some type of mastermind, genius coordinator, and force his quarterback into game plans he clearly was not comfortable in (see 12/24/11). The Jets offensive line was also the worst it has been since Sanchez arrived in 2009, yet the kid showed his tenacity and competitiveness by hanging in there game in and game out, taking repeated beatings, while never breathing a word of negativity about the lack of blocking he was getting, despite the unwarranted claims that he is mentally weak.

The Jets replaced a Sanchez favorite in Braylon Edwards with the prehistoric Plaxico Burress, who could not get separation between the twenties if his life depended on it. The struggles of the offensive line also hurt the Jets once elite running attack, which in turn, all but eliminated the play action pass, something Sanchez is highly successful at.

However, this season, Sparano brings in a new offensive regime. The Jets have seemingly addressed what issues caused the struggles for Sanchez last season. They have hired a coordinator who vows to return to the philosophy that gave the Jets so much success in 2009 and 2010. They drafted youth and speed at vital positions of the offense, and they have added a new dynamic to that offense with Tebow. New York will be tougher, faster, and flat out better, in every area that the offense struggled in last season, and I firmly believe that the new coaching staff will reveal an improved Wayne Hunter for 2012. Sparano has already stressed the need to create “chunk” plays offensively, many of which are likely to come via play action pass, especially in this run heavy offense. Expect to not only see Sanchez make strides under Sparano, but to lead New York back to the playoffs, while establishing himself as the unquestioned leader of the Jets and silencing all of his critics along the way.

New York Jets Passing Offense: Tony and ‘Tone

How will Santonio Holmes fit into Tony Sparano’s offense?

We know the New York Jets will be re-embracing their “Ground and Pound” identity this season under newly hired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. However, Sparano and the rest of the offensive unit has emphasized a large part of the new offense will be looking to acquire big chunks of yardage off the play action passing attack, which Mark Sanchez has been productive with so far in his career.

When taking a broader look at the Jets passing game, which struggled desperately to create big plays last year, it is impossible not to focus on wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Despite second round pick Stephen Hill’s endless potential, Jeremy Kerley’s quickness in slot and Dustin Keller’s notable chemistry with Sanchez, it is Holmes who is without question the Jets biggest playmaker in the passing game and on the entire offense.

Like many parts of the team, Holmes disappointed last season. Yet, don’t become victim to a short memory and forget his heroics from the 2010 season and the Super Bowl MVP he has under his belt. The Jets need Holmes to be the number one receiver they are paying him to be and that he has the talent to be.

How will Holmes fit in Sparano’s offense? Last season, Holmes had 102 targets and 51 receptions. Here are the targets and receptions for Sparano’s number one receiver the past 4 seasons –

  • 2008 – Ted Ginn (93 targets, 56 receptions)
  • 2009 – Davone Bess (113 targets, 76 receptions)
  • 2010 – Brandon Marshall (147 targets, 86 receptions)
  • 2011 – Brandon Marshall (145 targets, 81 receptions)

The past two years were the only time Sparano had a true number one receiver and Marshall received substantially more targets in both seasons than Holmes did under Brian Schottenheimer last year. Obviously, the playcaller has far from exclusive control over targets but at a minimum I would expect Holmes to see more plays called that are designed for him as the primary option than he did in 2010.

Holmes is most productive in the intermediate passing game and running after the catch. I would expect Sparano to move him around the formation a good amount and in certain instances, use him how he used Bess in Miami by giving him shorter passes in space, where he can create yards on his own after the catch.

While Holmes deserves his share of the blame for struggling to get open last season. He was hampered by having the immobile Plaxico Burress opposite of him and not much else. Stephen Hill’s speed and a more experienced Jeremy Kerley will allow the Jets to line up Holmes at split end, flanker and in the slot and use him on a higher variety of routes.

Ideally, Holmes is going to be a primary target on many intermediate crossing routes off play action, where he can catch the ball with a head of steam and should also be a reliable target on deep comeback routes with Sanchez rolling out. Outside of an occasional double move off a short or intermediate route, I don’t think you will see him sent deep frequently. Hill has the raw speed and size for the go route and should also see more favorable match-ups, at least early in the season.

Tony Sparano has an unenviable list of challenges this year as the Jets offensive coordinator but he can maintain a big play element to his unit by keeping Holmes properly involved.

Why Do You Hate The Jets? NFC East Edition, Part II

Previously at Turn On The Jets, we reviewed which teams in the AFC East had the right to speak out against the Jets, who had some room to run their mouths, and who should just shut up. As part of our Why Do You Hate The Jets? series, we looked at the first part of the NFC East last week, focusing on why the Washington Redskins should keep quiet when it comes to Gang Green. In the second part of our NFC East review, we examine yet another team who should Just Shut Up, in the Dallas Cowboys, while also looking at why the Philadelphia Eagles have much in common with the Jets, and finally, why the Giants of New York have unconditional bragging rights, at least for the next four seasons, or until the Jets win a Super Bowl, whichever comes first.

Just Shut Up

Dallas Cowboys – While America’s team has been all over the headlines since the emergence of Tony Romo, they’ve seemingly gained popularity through all aspects of football other than winning. They have a glamor quarterback in Romo, a diva of an owner in Jerry Jones, and have experienced a coaching carousel that has seen five different head coaches since 1998. Sound familiar?

However, unlike the Jets, Dallas has won just a single playoff game in the past 15 seasons, despite entering several years as the preseason favorites. While the verdict is certainly still out on Jason Garrett as a head coach, the Cowboys have displayed no recent amount of stability, while maintaining themselves as one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams year in and year out. Tony Romo has been praised as one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, having earned three trips to the pro bowl during his young career, however he is just 1-3 in playoff games. Mark Sanchez is one of the most, if not the most, heavily criticized quarterbacks in all of football, but is 4-2 in the post season. Regular season statistics are great, but an inability to win games when they matter the most can, and should, tarnish the status of any quarterback.

Similar to the Jets, the Cowboys have also done their fair share of signing high profile players with character concerns throughout the years. However, unlike the Jets signees, the troubled stars that Dallas has signed have rarely worked out.

In 2008, the Cowboys traded for troubled Tennessee Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Jones had been fresh off of several arrests as a Titan, most notably the infamous “making it rain” incident in which an alleged member of his entourage reportedly fired repeated gunshots into a crowd, following an altercation at a Las Vegas strip club. Believing they could assist in developing the young corner’s character, Dallas took a serious gamble on Jones. During his first season in Big D, Jones was involved in yet another incident in a Dallas hotel, and eventually checked himself into an alcohol rehab center following a mid season suspension.

Jones would return to play for Dallas in 2008, however he suffered a neck injury against Pittsburgh, leading to his eventual release in February of 2009, following just one season as a Cowboy. The Jets have been criticized for bringing in a cornerback of their own with supposed character issues, in Antonio Cromartie, yet Cro has not been involved in any serious off the field issues, while maintaining a solid level of play opposite the best defensive back in all of football.

Along with Jones, the Cowboys also signed Tank Johnson following his release from the Chicago Bears after repeated off the field incidents, including possession of illegal fire arms. Also a very talented player, Johnson could quite never get it right in Dallas, playing in just 24 games while recording 33 tackles and 3 sacks.

Arguably the most famous free agent signing by the Cowboys in the Tony Romo era is Terrell Owens. Although no one can deny Owens’ tremendous talent, there is also no denying the immense amount of headaches he has caused teammates, coaches, and front office personnel over the course of his career. Owens was up and down during his time in Dallas, but could never quite establish the dominance needed to propel Tony Romo into becoming a truly elite quarterback in the NFL. Owens was released by Dallas in 2009, followed by brief one year stints in Buffalo and Cincinnati, respectively. Owens now obtains work from the Indoor Football League’s Allen Wranglers. As for his time in Big D, Owens will undoubtedly be remembered for this famous press conference.

Some Room To Talk

Philadelphia Eagles – Although Philadelphia absolutely dominated the Jets in every aspect of their 45-19 blowout over Gang Green last season, they are strikingly similar to the Jets as an organization. Despite having great stability at the head coaching position since the arrival of Andy Reid in 1999, the organization has similarly struggled in championship games. Between 2001-2004, the Eagles made four consecutive NFC Championship games, losing all but one. Although the argument can be made that, unlike the Jets, they were able to get over the hump and actually make a Super Bowl, they were defeated by New York’s rival New England Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX.

More recently, though, the Eagles have prioritized themselves in signing high profile free agents. Just a season ago, the Eagles made the big free agent splash by signing CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DT Cullen Jenkins, WR Steve Smith, and QB Vince Young, who famously deemed Philly the “Dream Team,” prior to finishing an ultra disappointing 8-8, coincidentally the same record as the 2011 Jets.

Like the Jets, the Eagles certainly have a vast amount of character issues throughout their roster. Many people remember Santonio Holmes as the Wide Receiver to have a public meltdown during a game last season, however that same group of people should not forget the antics of Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson, who, after a disagreement with Vince Young, was seen blatantly ignoring his quarterback on the sidelines, while he seemingly attempted to make peace with the star wideout.

Jackson has had questions about his character throughout his entire playing career, but like Santonio Holmes, was rewarded with a 5 year, $51 million contract this past offseason. Unlike the Holmes deal, Jackson got a new contract after his meltdown, rather than before it, as was the case with Holmes. Instead of questioning the move to pay a player with such character issues, Philadelphia has been lauded for taking care of their own. The Jets, on the other hand, have been heavily criticized for giving Holmes a similar deal more than a year ago, due to his public meltdown in Miami last season, and constant portrayal as the Jets’ villain throughout this entire offseason. However, since becoming a Jet, Holmes has certainly been no greater of a headache than Jackson, and has caught four more touchdowns, despite playing one less game during that time frame. To the critic, the Jets paying Holmes was a poor decision, while the Eagles paying Jackson is a classy organizational move to reward its own players, a double standard to say the least.

Unconditional Bragging Rights

New York Giants – The Giants have done everything the right way in establishing themselves as one of the NFL’s elite teams year in and year out since the arrival of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. They’ve built champisionship caliber teams through the draft, rather than over paying for high profile free agents, even if it has meant allowing some of their fan favorites to leave along the way. The Giants have groomed Eli Manning from the young, raw, question mark he once was, to a polished, elite NFL Quarterback with two Super Bowl MVPs.

Besides the fact that they have won four championships since the Jets won their single Super Bowl in 1969, the Giants have flat out dominated the Jets in terms of play. They all but ended the Jets’ season last year, after a horrible showing by Gang Green in the 29-14 Christmas Eve embarrassment. The G-Men have won two Super Bowls in the past four seasons, while the Jets have merely made it to two AFC Championship games. Giant fans, brag all you want. Until the Jets can prove to dethrone them, Big Blue remains King in New York. For now, Jets Nation can cling to this.

New York Jets: Day One Of New Offense

The New York Jets process of learning Tony Sparano’s new offense officially started today

The headlines surrounding the New York Jets first day of voluntary workouts centered on Santonio Holmes tone with reporters and his entertaining decision to Tweet a picture of himself wearing a shirt that said “captain.” Personally, I couldn’t give a damn if Holmes gave an attitude to reporters and how could you not crack a smile at that picture?

Let’s talk about more important things. In case you haven’t noticed, the Jets roster isn’t going to look much different from last season. They are relying on improvement to come from within and from a new offensive system led by Tony Sparano.

Not only does Sparano have to teach starting quarterback Mark Sanchez a new offense, different from the only one he has ever learned in the NFL, he needs to figure out how to best incorporate Tim Tebow’s Wildcat/Option package. He also needs to help the Jets rediscover their elite power running game, which was absent last year and find a way to hit big plays down the field in the passing game. Should be a busy man, no?

At a minimum, Tebow’s arrival should make the running game more dangerous and dynamic. If designed properly there will be more lanes for Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight from Tebow’s presence under center. Yet, the Jets will need Tebow to not just be their backup quarterback but be a primary ball carrying option. Greene hasn’t proven to be the “bell cow” the team thought he could be and McKnight, despite showing potential, hasn’t shown he is capable of being a 1B option full time.

Basically you are hoping Greene can be a 1A when he has produced like a 1B and that McKnight can be a 1B when he has produced like a backup. If they can both improve and Tebow gives them 5-10 strong carries a game, the Jets have the makings a capable three headed monster running the football. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a late round pick on a running back to compete with Bilal Powell for a roster spot.

In the passing game, Sparano must find a way to compensate for Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse’s shortcomings at right tackle in pass protection. If the Jets can protect Sanchez, he has the ability to connect on passes down the field and outside of the hashes, areas he rarely had the opportunity to throw to in Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme.

Who will stretch the field? Santonio Holmes isn’t a true vertical receiver. He works better in the intermediate passing game and then making people miss after the catch. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t shake a defender with a double move every now and then, as he did in the Washington game last season on his game winning catch. Chaz Schilens has the top end speed and the size to be a good candidate to run go routes down the sideline, but can he stay healthy and can he produce consistently? Perhaps at a minimum he can give the Jets a Dedric Ward type threat. In 1998, Ward caught only 25 passes but averaged 19.8 yards per catch and hauled in 4 long touchdowns.

Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley both have the ability to get down the seam. Yet, with Kerley I would expect him to be used in a Davone Bess type role in Sparano’s offense, working in the slot and primarily in the short passing game. Bess averaged between 10 and 10.5 yards per catch the last four seasons under Sparano.

When it comes to Keller, interestingly enough Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano has averaged more yards per catch in three of the last four seasons. Most people have talked about Sparano using the tight end primarily as a blocker yet he has found ways to create a higher YPC for Fasano, despite him being much less than athletic and versatile than Keller. As we say every year, Keller has the skill set to consistently be a big play weapon. Can Sparano get the most out of him and have him picking up the big chunks of yardage this offense desperately needs?

Despite a lack of depth of receiver, running back, and right tackle, this offense still has talent. It is now up to Sparano to do what Brian Schottenheimer couldn’t, maximize that talent.

Santonio Holmes Organizes Team Workouts In Florida

Santonio Holmes has organized workouts for his teammates and notes on the Jets in free agency

It was reported today by Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger that Santonio Holmes reached out to teammates about holding organized workouts in Florida. He has since been joined by quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receiver Patrick Turner and tight end Dustin Keller with running back Joe McKnight also on the way.

The words coming from the workouts are encouraging, with Sanchez leading his teammates a few other players through offensive sessions, hopefully from incorporating what he learned about Tony Sparano’s offense from Chad Pennington.

Obviously this is what you want to hear after reported disagreements between Sanchez and Holmes last season. To most of the media, Holmes has bought himself the role of villan thanks to his actions in the regular season finale and from his inconsistencies, Sanchez has bought himself the role of hapless quarterback waiting to be benched for a guy who can’t complete an out route.

Yet, we know this: since the season ended Sanchez has tracked down Chad Pennington to take time to learn his new offense, has avoided the media spotlight and now is working out with his top two targets. Santonio Holmes has done charity work in Africa, worked out in Florida and now invited his teammates to join. Not bad for a pair of guys who are frequently discussed only in negative terms.

Other Notes

– Don’t expect the Jets to make any moves in free agency until the dust settles after the draft. They will then assess their depth chart and likely add a couple of low cost players to boost their depth on both sides of the ball.

Something to think about when wondering why the Jets are keeping cap space available.

Santonio Holmes, The New York Jets Bogeyman

The New York media has continued vilify Santonio Holmes and the fanbase is blindly hopping right on the bandwagon

Big bad Santonio Holmes is at it again. The poster boy for the New York Jets locker room dysfunction grabbed himself a front page of The Daily News by giving the following quotes to Manish Mehta in the middle of one of his off-season workouts in Florida –

“The media don’t make me and the media don’t break me…I am Santonio Holmes and that’s it”

“You haven’t seen Santonio Holmes stories in the news since the season was over”

“My offseason is just beginning”

“I don’t care”

Yes, that’s it. That is everything Santonio Holmes said, everything else that is being trumped as headline material was said by an unnamed player who trains with Holmes or his strength coach Tom Shaw. All those words about “chanting for Tebow” or wanting “the damn ball” didn’t come from Holmes mouth, they came from yet another anonymous source or a strength coach.

Unfortunately, most people have been too lazy to make this distinction and are ripping Holmes for his continued selfishness. In reality, all he has done this off-season is stay out of the limelight and spend two weeks in Africa helping impoverished kids with Pros For Africa. Of course that received no media coverage…that received no headlines. Doing charity work doesn’t sell newspapers unless you are Tim Tebow.

There is nothing wrong with Holmes saying the media doesn’t break him, because it shouldn’t. Just like he said, he shouldn’t give a damn what is being written about him. All he is currently doing is minding his own business, staying out of trouble and working out in Florida to get ready for next season.

The guy made a mistake in the Miami game last year. He was frustrated from being given a number one receiver role and not receiving the looks he desired down the stretch. His behavior was unacceptable but one bad week shouldn’t define his NFL or Jets career, just like we say three bad games last year shouldn’t define Mark Sanchez’s career. Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP and without his clutch play in 2010, the Jets get nowhere near the AFC Championship Game.

The media and fanbase love to pick villains and they have one in Holmes. Don’t blindly hop the bandwagon without taking the time to comprehend what the media is trying to do with a story like this.

Lies And Legacies: The Week Tebow Took New York

Justin recaps the week that took us up to Tim Tebow’s press conference at noon today

It takes too much effort to try and rationalize any of the things that have happened in the past week in the NFL. Sean Payton is going to be on his couch for the year, Gregg Williams is facing what may be a “multi-year” ban from the NFL, and the team that threw for 5000 yards is probably not going to make the playoffs if: the Panthers get a defense, the Buccaneers get an offense, or the Falcons get a little bit of both.

The Jets, on a clownier note, signed Drew Stanton, Matthew Stafford’s backup from Detroit, but something far more complex happened only a fortnight later. Because of the fact that Indianapolis failed miserably without Peyton Manning last year, they are getting the number one draft pick, which they are using on a quarterback, which means Peyton Manning needed to find a new place to play, which is going to be Denver, where Tim Tebow, my vote for least and most human athlete on the planet, played until Thursday.

The deal broke like this: initial news breaks that the Jets are getting Tebow. Mark Sanchez begins pushing half naked women off of him and instantly becomes transfixed on the television. Santonio Holmes opens a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue, Tony Sparano starts pulling out 2008 game film and laughing like some kind of maniacal genius (Dr. Strangelove?), sunglasses and all.

I immediately let it be known that I love this trade for all the wrong reasons. I love the fact that Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow will be at some point, talking to each other as teammates. I send text messages to family members, Giants fans, Patriots fans, Cowboys fans, pretty much anyone who has watched more than one game in the past year.

So am I buying into the circus? Yes. Front row seat. Let’s get a few things clear. The Jets got Tebow in a trade, but only hours later it became known that there was a contract issue, the Jets not realizing that they would have to reimburse Denver of a $5 million guaranteed roster bonus. Apparently Tannenbaum was so blinded by faith…eh…that he forgot to even look at the details. Other GM’s instantly chimed in, casting Tannenbaum and the entire office as a bunch of used car salesman who would get laughed out of any legitimate franchise.

They didn’t read the contract? Nonsense says Tannenbaum days later, but let’s keep the narrative going first. So everyone in New York is on pins and needles, Santonio is checking Adam Schefter’s Twitter like a high school ex-boyfriend, Sanchez is on bended knee, thanking whatever deity up there that this thing CAN’T POSSIBLY GO THROUGH with teams like the Rams (who are so desperate for anything relevant they would have given the $5 million in a briefcase handcuffed to Sam Bradford on a lear jet) and the Jaguars (you know, the Jaguars, in Jacksonville, the general area where Tim Tebow became the closest thing to a God on earth by winning a Heisman and two national championships and whose owner has proclaimed he would have taken Tebow number one overall if he was the owner.)

So the Jets start bluffing, claiming no one would be dumb enough to pay $5 million for a backup quarterback who is going to draw a following that is equal parts Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Jeremy Lin. A wholesome following that has decidedly creepy undertones, much like the Tea Party movement. On the surface it sounds fine, but then you talk to someone who genuinely terrifies you in their complete and utter devotion. Cue the Pat Robertson wishing injury on Peyton Manning quotes.

Where were we? Oh yes, so Antonio Cromartie is at this point dropping his phone in a glass of water so he doesn’t send something out that already destroys any hope of camaraderie, Rex Ryan is coming up with lists of local churches in the New Jersey area, and Mike Tannenbaum is doing his best Pawn Stars impersonation. “He isn’t worth $5 million, not here, maybe if you find someone willing to take on the following, which you know puts undue pressure on your entire franchise. No one wants that pressure. Not after last year.”

Word now breaks that it’s going to be down to Jacksonville and New York, the Rams getting shoved out of the conversation because of the simple fact that they are the St. Louis Rams and do nothing particularly well.

This is what some would call the high point of the drama. Jacksonville, where Tim Tebow can take a piss on someone’s lawn and have them smile and say thank you, and New York, home of sex, drugs, and every other sort of temptation known to man. It would be Midnight Cowboy on overdrive. It can’t happen. That’s like having LeBron get a choice of going to Cleveland or the Lakers coming out of the draft.

No, it’s worse than that because Lebron didn’t win college national championships in his home state. To be fair, there is no honest comparison in this century or last.

Ok, so things start to go sideways right about now. It suddenly becomes news that Denver has decided to have a soul about this. They’re going to let Tim Tebow go home, to the south, where according to a family friend, he wanted to go. Or he can go to New York. What? Why even continue to cover this? This is like asking Charlie Sheen to go to Vegas or to Boise for the weekend.
At this point, people are pulling Gator jerseys out of their closet, waving them around, running down to the local bar and screaming “He’s coming home! There is a God!” The lord had apparently intervened, saved the golden boy from the den of vice. He has a choice, and it would be some unholy act of a biblical Judas to choose New York over going home to Jacksonville.

And then the world turns a little faster than usual. Tim Tebow chooses to go to the New York Jets. I begin frantically finding out if this is true, because for the past few hours I was cooking on the rooftop of the Avalon Bowery, indulging in a few of the things Tim Tebow renounced a long time ago. I tried to knock it out of my mind, as even the pros couldn’t figure out which way was forward in any of this. Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, and Tim Tebow? What is this a god damned fantasy draft of good and evil?

So the questions begin. What are the Jets going to charge for tickets? Triple the price of last year? It would be fair. This is like putting Justin Bieber in a Tarantino movie.

Tebow is going to be the backup quarterback, which creates a trifecta of quarterbacks that equates the pretty boy Sanchez with 4 playoff road wins in his first two years, the savior Tebow, who did everything right at the right time to win games (despite throwing incompletions for 3 quarters), and the brains with McElroy, who by the end of the season will have started calling plays himself as Tony Sparano shuffles tight ends, slot receivers and extra lineman like a street hustler hosting a game of chase the ace.

Triple option bunch formation? I’ll take a little of that. Bone formation read option? Give me one of those too. Four wide with McKnight in the backfield? OK.

And so the pressure on Mark Sanchez has gone from LIRR going under the river to being 2 and a half miles below sea level,watching the 4 inch thick glass around you begin to splinter and implode. Although I don’t think Sanchez is going to flounder as grossly as he did last year, I think people are going to get real curious real fast.

I know I’m going to get curious. Will Tebow throw the deep ball? How close will the two playbooks be? Is anyone seriously expecting this to be a top 10 offense? If the Jets grab another pass rusher I’m going to have enough faith in Rex Ryan and his scheme to know that the defense will outplay the offense. But what if Tebow is successful? How long before Judas takes the throne? Is anyone going to care about Mark Sanchez if Tebow has a game winning drive?

There is only one answer for Sanchez. Do not throw interceptions. Do not turn the ball over. Even if your stat line is garbage, you better keep that turnover ratio on the plus side. There is no forgiving Sanchez for throwing an interception his first pass last year.

Which is why I think Sanchez is going to show up bigger (reports already indicate he is adding 5-10 lbs of muscle), smarter (better master this offense before Tebow even opens his playbook), and faster in his decision making. What could aid this? Anything named Cotchery or Edwards.

It’s already being sneered at by everyone in the media, which is probably the best thing that can happen to the Jets. They thrive on beating teams by slowing things down and taking the life out of opposing offenses. The draft is getting close. If there is not a 1st or 2nd round offensive lineman on the Jets draft board, it won’t matter who sits back there. Let Sparano do his thing, for the love of all things holy.

New York Jets: Keeping Santonio Holmes Is No Brainer

The New York Jets made the only logical choice today by not releasing Santonio Holmes

There are plenty of New York Jets fans calling for the head of Santonio Holmes today. It isn’t happening. It was never going to happen. Yes, they are now on the hook for not just his 7.75 million this year but also his 7.5 million next year and honestly it was a no brainer for the organization not to release him today.

You have every right to be pissed off with his 2011 season, in particular with the way he quit at the end of the Miami game and the reported problems he had in the locker room with quarterback Mark Sanchez. Holmes still needs to prove that he can be this team’s number one receiver and needs to earn the respect back of many of his teammates.

Yet, this is an offense woefully short on speed and playmakers who already has salary cap issues. There is no way to improve the offense by cutting ties with Holmes, eating his 7.75 million of cap space this year and then trying to find both a number one and number two receiver, along with a right tackle, backup quarterback and running back depth.

Let’s not act like the 2010 season didn’t happen and Holmes didn’t make the game winning play in four regular season games, and make two huge touchdown catches during their playoff run. The existence of chemistry between him and Mark Sanchez isn’t a lost cause.

Holmes was saddled with an inefficient number two receiver opposite him this year, who had no ability to create separation between the 20s, an average running game, an inconsistent quarterback, and questionable playcalling. He handled these problems poorly both on and off the field without question but let’s not write off his career yet.

Let’s see Holmes with the “C” taken off his chest and in an improved offensive system, hopefully paired with a split end who can stretch the field along with a dangerous slot receiver in Jeremy Kerley.

The Jets have enough holes to fill on offense this year without creating another one by releasing Holmes, while simultaneously limiting their ability to fix their other problems by taking on his cap hit. Locker room problems can be fixed easier than finding receivers as talented and clutch as Holmes.

What To Do About Santonio Holmes?

What should the New York Jets do about team cancer Santonio Holmes this off-season?

From ‘Tone Time to Quit Time.

Santonio Holmes made quite the impression on his teammates this season. In the past few days, he has been referred to as a cancer, a ten year old, a joke, lazy, and destructive to the locker room. One veteran commented they “didn’t see how he could be brought back.”

Unfortunately, the New York Jets and Rex Ryan have made their bed and it is likely they are going to have to sleep in it. The reality is that unless the Jets want to take a major cap hit, they are probably going to have to bite the bullet and bring Holmes back.

Considering the amount of needs this team has on both sides of the football, how could they sacrifice such a large chunk of money to a player who won’t be on the team? Nevermind, that you will once again be sticking two new starting receivers with quarterback Mark Sanchez for the fourth year in a row, because Plaxico Burress is as good as gone.

The anger directed at Holmes right now is justified and maybe he has reached a point in the locker room of no return. That is a decision that Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan need to reach, in consultation with the few leaders that remain in the locker room, namely Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Sione Pouha, David Harris, and Brandon Moore. Ryan can’t be foolish enough to trust his own judgement in this situation since he failed so miserably in judging and handling Holmes this past year.

If the Jets aren’t going to get anything back from moving Holmes except dead cap space when they already need another receiver besides him, another running back, a right tackle, and a backup quarterback just on their offense, do you still want him moved?

Nobody except the people in the locker room know if his situation is salvageable or not but the decision on how to handle it could go a long way to shaping the Jets 2012 season.

Santonio Holmes: Captain In Name Only

Santonio Holmes has been a captain in name only this season for the New York Jets

This isn’t the first time this season I have taken the time to criticize Santonio Holmes captaincy of the New York Jets. Similar to his early season antics of publicly criticizing teammates, Holmes made Rex Ryan look foolish again yesterday for putting a “C” on his chest.

Fumbles happen. Dropped passes happen. Great players make mistakes. What can’t happen is unsportsmanlike penalties from excessive celebration when you are losing 28-3 and score a touchdown. This is common sense. It is clear Holmes had a pre-mediated routine that he had in his mind all week and wasn’t going to let the scoreboard stop him. Outside of the penalty, doesn’t Holmes have a sense of how ridiculous he looks?

The answer sadly, is probably not. This is a player who does extended celebrations for 7 yard catches that go for a first down, even if his team is losing by 2 or 3 touchdowns. There is nothing else to say, except he needs to grow up.

I have no problem with playing emotionally and or players having fun on the field. I love the Flight Boys celebration. Yet, do it when you scored a go-ahead or game winning touchdown. Common sense.

I don’t get the vibe that Holmes is a bad guy, who isn’t liked around the team. He is a gamer, clutch, works hard, and plays with passion which his teammates have to respect. Yet, he remains prone to these foolish bouts of immaturity that make it look insane that he has a “C” on his chest.

You can’t ignore the playmaker Holmes has been since he arrived. Considering his skill on the field, I would bank on a big day for him this Saturday against a subpar Giants secondary. Fans have every right to be frustrated with him today but those same fans will be gushing about “Tone Time” if he grabs a pair of touchdowns this week.

Holmes hasn’t grown into a being a team leader yet, maybe he will in time…maybe he won’t. Right now all that matters is that he learned some kind of humility lesson on Sunday and won’t get anymore penalties this season and will also be motivated by how stupid he looked on the field and respond with a big time performance.