New York Jets Fact Or False: The Tweeter’s Choice Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False on the New York Jets answers your submitted questions on the team

Throughout the season, we will periodically poll our Twitter followers for what they want to see addressed in New York Jets Fact Or False. For our inaugural edition of The Tweeter’s Choice, our readers brought the heat. Not one person disappointed with the issues they wanted to read about, which proves we have one of the most, if not the most, knowledgeable fan bases in all of football. Huge shout out to @Crazychimpan, @bleist25, @ItsOasus, @DrewFromJersey, and @Jetsforlife25 for sending in their suggestions this week. Be sure to give each of them a follow on twitter, and be sure to keep a look out all season, as we will certainly run another edition of this in the future. Thanks again, and enjoy!

8 DAYS UNTIL THE PRE-SEASON OPENER. WHERE IS YOUR NEW SHIRT?

The Jets will carry more than 5 RB/FBs going into season. (@Crazychimpman). False.

While five is a great over/under for the number of backs that will be on the active roster come opening day, don’t expect any more or any less. The three guaranteed spots will be Shonn Greene, who will presumably be the starter barring an injury, Joe McKnight, for his Special Teams value will lock him in, regardless of whether or not Bilal Powell gets the nod as the third down back, and John Connor, who established himself as the starting Fullback early in training camp as the team has already decided to waive journeyman Fui Vakapuna.

The next two spots are the intriguing ones. You’d have to think that, with all the talk about Powell, he will make it. However, Powell must truly prove that he is worthy of being a valuable option as a third down back. McKnight isn’t going anywhere, due to his worth on Special Teams, so for the team to carry two backs with strikingly similar skill sets, Powell must go above and beyond what’s asked of him.

Rookie Terrance Ganaway is also a very interesting case. Ganaway was seemingly drafted because he looks to be a perfect situational fit for this season, with the hope that he will develop into a perfect schematic fit long term. He has great experience in the option offense, running for an astounding 1547 yards and 21 touchdowns last season at Baylor, while posting a remarkable 6.2 YPC, which makes him the most logical back in any Tebow package. Ganaway also has tremendous size at about 6’0” 240 lbs, which makes him an ideal fit for the Ground and Pound that New York plans to implement under Tony Sparano. Unless Ganaway really struggles to prove he is not yet NFL ready, he should remain on the roster.

The Jets will likely remain set with these five backs. Unless Powell is written off, it looks very doubtful that New York will look to add a veteran. If Powell does not prove to be worthy of a spot by the time the season begins, the Jets still may remain content with just four backs, while relying on Tim Tebow to be a huge contributor to the run game. The only way I truly see New York adding a veteran is if Powell tails off, and Greene struggles immensely during the pre-season. Otherwise, it looks like the Jets are ready to roll into the season with what is currently on the roster.

Trader Mike will make a move for another RT before camp is over (@bleist25). Fact.

Tannenbaum took a shot swinging a deal with the Panthers for Tackle Jeff Otah, which clearly did not work out due to the former first rounder’s inability to pass a physical. With the Otah trade nullified, New York is back to square one with Wayne Hunter and Austin Howard as the two most logical choices at Right Tackle. Hunter has a serious edge over Howard, who will likely not see a significant down all season. That is a scary thought. Clearly, Mike T is aware of this, as displayed by the failed Otah trade. By now, I’m not sure anyone can argue with the notion that the Jets are not comfortable with the competition they currently have at the Right Tackle position.

The next logical step for Tannenbaum is to look to Free Agency. Many questioned why he hesitated to bring in a veteran during the offseason, but he likely wanted to see how Hunter and the other tackles looked during mini-camps and OTAs. Since Tannenbaum and the rest of the organization were clearly not satisfied, they can now look to add someone like Vernon Carey, who will come at a discount in comparison to what he may have cost them a few months ago.

“Mayhem” will play on more than just passing downs this season (ItsOasus). Fact.

Aaron “Mayhem” Maybin is already earning high praise from the media and coaching staff in the early stages of training camp. He has reportedly bulked up to 240+ pounds, which will help him greatly against the run. Calvin Pace will likely remain on one side of the field for the majority of downs, however the other side is open for competition. While most expect Bryan Thomas to retain the spot opposite Pace which he occupied prior to his season ending injury last year, there is a good chance we could see him in a limited role this season. While he has had success setting the edge on run-downs in the past, the praise Maybin has been receiving for his added size and relentless motor could propel him into an increased role to play a surplus of downs in a variety of spots on the outside. His versatility will be a huge weapon for Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine this season. Expect them to utilize that to the fullest extent.

Ricky Sapp will have more sacks than Calvin Pace this season (@DrewFromJersey). False.

Although Sapp has very exciting potential, he has still yet to record a sack at the NFL level. While he could very well break that trend this season, I wouldn’t give him an edge over the seasoned veteran that is Calvin Pace, even if he is entering the twilight of his career. Since joining the Jets, Pace has gotten to the Quarterback a total of 26 times. Sure, his sack total has decreased each year since 2009, however his experience, along with the amount of reps he will receive should make him good for at least 4 sacks, if healthy. Sapp, on the other hand, may still be able to compile 2-3, but will likely be used far less. Additionally, players with very little experience in real NFL game situations, unless tremendously talented, tend to compile more QB hurries and knockdowns, rather than actual sacks. Timing is everything on getting to the Quarterback before he gets rid of the ball, and it will likely take a full season of game experience before Sapp gets used to executing his moves just at the right time.

Early Camp Star Ellis Lankster will become a serious playmaker and collect at least 3 Interceptions as a shutdown nickel-guy this year (Jetsforlife25). False.

Lankster’s progress is extremely encouraging for New York thus far. With a serious question mark heading into training camp as to who would assume the role of the fourth cornerback, Lankster has provided a breath of fresh air for coaches and fans. However, he has played in just 17 total games over the course of his career, and has yet to register an interception. Additionally, the amount of reps he gets will likely be very limited. The Jets have a surplus of defensive backs including three excellent corners in All-World Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson, whom many believe is on his way to becoming a very good corner in this league, as well as the Safeties Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry, and Rookie Josh Bush, who is realistically the best cover Safety on the roster. For Lankster, it will all come down to scheme. His inexperience will have some, but not much, effect on his ability to become a playmaker.

However, if the Jets choose to put out more packages of Revis, Cromartie, Wilson, and two safeties, which seems like the most logical approach, other than third and long scenarios, Lankster may not get the amount of snaps necessary to truly establish himself as a serious playmaker, while compiling 3 interceptions. As well as Lankster has been playing, it is unlikely he will beat out Wilson for reps as the third CB. You’d like to think with improved Defensive Line and Safety play, New York will not see a surplus of third and long scenarios this season. However, if these positions fail to live up to their potential, then all bets are off.

Josh Baker is the 2nd best TE on the roster (DrewFromJersey). Fact.

Baker wins the spot as New York’s second best TE, somewhat by default. Jeff Cumberland has great potential, and has showed flashes of solid play in the past, but he has participated in just 4 career contests. Baker, on the other hand, saw action in 11 games last season, while hauling in 3 balls for 27 yards, including a touchdown on Christmas Eve against the Giants. Hayden Smith is very intriguing, but as a guy who has never played a down of football in his life, he certainly does not have the edge over his competition just yet. The key for whoever becomes the second Tight End this season will be their ability to block. Unfortunately for New York, not one of them has truly proved to be able to do that, so it will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Josh Bush will struggle in a forced role as the Jets only true cover safety (Jetsforlife25). False.

The fact that Bush will be forced into a role as the only true cover safety on the roster will actually benefit him. Prior to becoming a safety at Wake Forest, Bush was a corner, and has been noted for his cover abilities throughout his career. Last season, Bush had a team best 6 interceptions earning him First-Team All ACC accolades, as well as a spot as a third teamer on the All-American squad. Bush has sub 4.5 40 speed, and under the tutelage of savvy veterans like Landry, Bell, and Revis, he should fit nicely in a center field type role for the Jets. Sure, he will have his growing pains, but Bush will ultimately succeed more often than not this season.

New York Jets: Five Training Camp Questions

Five questions for the New York Jets heading into training camp

The New York Jets first full training camp practice will take place this Saturday at 8 AM in Cortland, New York. Check back throughout the rest of week for Turn On The Jets preview by myself, Chris Gross and Mike Donnelly. Today we look at five questions facing the team that still need to be sorted out in the coming weeks –

1. How Annoying Will The Tim Tebow Coverage Be? – My guess is somewhere between very, very annoying and painstakingly annoying. It has already started today with “Jets thinking about using Tebow on kickoffs story” and we know every step he takes will be tracked in excruciating detail. There is a ton of hype about all the different uses for Tebow but ultimately look for him to be a backup quarterback with a package of plays in the Wildcat. In a perfect world, Tebow will be a needed weapon in the running game, particularly in short yardage situations. Will there be times he is used as a punt protector or field goal holder? Probably, but don’t expect it to be a regular thing. Will the Jets run a trick play here or there with him? Sure, but it isn’t going to be every week.

2. The Battle For Right Tackle – The trade for Jeff Otah yesterday threw the right tackle position into a wide open competition. Otah is physically superior to incumbent Wayne Hunter across the board but has had issues with his health and motivation. If Otah can stay on the field and is in the right mindset he should run away with the job and relegate Hunter to the role he is best suited for, a backup swing tackle. It will be interesting to see how the reps are divided up in the beginning of camp and then headed into the pre-season.

3. Tweaking The Roster – Most people disagree with the notion that the Jets need another running back. Isn’t it foolish to head into camp with no backs besides Shonn Greene on the roster who have ran for more than 150 yards in a season? If he misses a few weeks, who is going to handle the bulk of the carries? Cedric Benson is there for the veteran’s minimum. Go get him. Beyond that, the Jets still need to add a blocking tight end and will likely do so sooner rather than later.

4. LaRon Landry’s Health – Landry is starting off camp on the Active PUP list. How many practices will he miss this August and at what point does he miss enough time not to be the week one starter? The Jets will be much better served with Landry starting at strong safety and Eric Smith coming off the bench as a role player. Yet, if Landry can’t get on the field, Smith will once again be forced into the starting role.

5. Wide Receiver Reps – All eyes will be on Stephen Hill at the wide receiver position. It won’t be easy for him to walk in and perform like a starter from day one and he will have Chaz Schilens pushing him. If Schilens performs well early in camp and Hill struggles to pick up the offense, how much playing time will he earn for himself? Would the Jets actually make Schilens the starter or keep Hill the starter in name and have Schilens take a big chunk of his reps?

Later Today – New York Jets Stock Watch

Tomorrow – 53 Man Roster Prediction

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New York Jets 2012: Interview With Rotoworld’s Evan Silva

TJ Rosenthal interviews Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, who gives his outlook for the 2012 New York Jets…and it isn’t pretty

TJ Rosenthal had the opportunity to sit down with Evan Silva from Rotoworld and Pro Football Talk to discuss the 2012 New York Jets and the reasons he believes the team will struggle so much. We never shy away from varying opinions and thank Evan for taking the time to so thoroughly explain his opinions…even if we do disagree with them. Take it away TJ…

Rotoworld Senior NFL Editor Evan Silva is one of the up and coming NFL analysts out there today. Silva, who also contributes to NBC Sports and Profootballtalk.com, has recently caught the attention of some Jets fans who have come across some not so promising tweets from him when it comes to the Jets outlook for 2012. The Jet Report caught up with him to discuss in further detail why he believes the Jets will struggle this season.

How will the Jets fare in 2012?

I don’t think they’ll be very good. The one factor that may prevent the Jets from finishing as one of the league’s worst teams in terms of won-loss record is an easy schedule. They have the AFC South and NFC West as non-division opponents. They should also be better than the Dolphins. But I think the Jets will start the season 1-4 and end up losing along the way a number of games most people believe they “should” win because they will struggle mightily to generate offense.

Mark Sanchez?

I usually try to avoid bandwagoning the mainstream, common refrains. And I realize it’s become mainstream to criticize Mark Sanchez. At the same time, I’ve seen enough of Sanchez to believe — know might even be a better word — that he’s not the answer at quarterback for the Jets. He’s a timid passer, scared to challenge deep, doesn’t trust his arm, and plays frenetically in the pocket. The Jets’ bye falls in Week 9 this year. Regardless of the phony offseason contract extension, I think Sanchez will lose his starting job before or during the off week.

I think if Sanchez is ever going to successfully engineer an offense — and not be a quarterback at the controls of a team trying to stay competitive despite him — it will happen down the road, outside of New York. I actually think that is going to happen. Sanchez will have some strong years later in his career, long after the Jets move on.

Is the AFC East “Patriot owned” with the closest challenger to the throne gearing up in Orchard Park not Florham Park, as many believe?

I like what the Bills did in the spring. They desperately needed to improve their pass rush, and they will be a more dangerous team defensively this year than they have been in quite some time. But I don’t think they’ll be more than a 7-9 win team. And I think the Jets are looking at about seven victories in an absolute best-case scenario. So, yes, I think the AFC East is Patriot owned.

The Ground and Pound: Talk about it as a viable or non viable concept at this point in time in the NFL.

It would be viable if the Jets had a premier NFL back and an offensive line capable of dominating in the trenches, snap to snap and game to game. The Jets do not have either of those elements. I have reviewed 2011 games, and I actually thought the Jets’ run blocking was better last year than it was given credit for. The front five opened lanes. There were plenty of cutback opportunities. The back consistently failed to capitalize. Shonn Greene is another major liability on this team, and I think you could make a good argument that he’s an even bigger liability than Sanchez.

Are the pieces in place for the Jets to at least achieve their goals with this system on offense?

I don’t think so. Not even close. I mean, what is the Jets’ strength on offense? It’s definitely not the passing game. And you can’t tell me it’s Shonn Greene. I enjoyed watching the Jets a couple of years ago when you had Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes threatening defenses vertically, and Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery working the seam. The offensive line was maybe the best in the league. The Jets didn’t have elite backs, but there was a vertical threat and a punishing front-five group that worked in unison to kind of compensate for the talent shortcomings in the backfield. The Jets won 11 games that year. They could compete with anyone.

The Jets have gotten worse since then, probably much worse. The right tackle is a major, major problem. Wayne Hunter isn’t just a poor pass-protecting tackle. He gets knocked off the ball in the run game, too. And right tackle in a run-first scheme is a crucial puzzle piece. You want a guy there that you can run behind. Pound it off his backside. Hunter isn’t remotely close to that guy.

How about adding Cedric Benson?

I don’t think Benson would be a terrible pickup. He can handle a large workload and fits the scheme from the standpoint that he’s a power runner. He does a better job of picking up blocked yards than Greene. He sees the field better than Greene. But Benson doesn’t have any big-play ability. He doesn’t play in the passing game. When Benson is in the game, the defense knows the run is coming, which makes the offense easy to defend. He would not solve the Jets’ problems.

Tim Tebow?

I like Tim Tebow. I think he fits the Jets philosophically because he is a run-first quarterback. Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano want to pound the rock. I think that by midseason, Tebow will have overtaken Sanchez because he’s a superior philosophical fit. He’s also willing to stand in the pocket and test the defense downfield. Even if he’s not putting it on the money every time, I think that’s more than you can say about Sanchez. I think Tebow gives the Jets a better chance of delivering the rock to Santonio Holmes in the vertical passing game than Sanchez does.

The Jets are begging for a quarterback controversy, by acquiring Tim Tebow. And I think it will start off very rocky. But I think ultimately he will prove their best option to play under center.

How do you see him fitting into the equation offensively should he remain QB2?

It’s pretty clear that he will be used on special teams, and on offense have a designed package of plays for about 5-12 snaps per game. Offensively, I think it will be a disaster because you already have a starting quarterback whose down-to-down consistency is a major issue, and then you are pulling him off the field for a different quarterback who is sure to be a fan favorite. There is little doubt in my mind that it will cause problems for the Jets internally, until Tebow takes over full time.

Will Tebow improve at throwing the football as a pro?

I don’t feel great about betting against Tim Tebow long term, but I don’t think he will improve as a passer. He’s not a natural thrower of the football. Passing the ball into tight windows with precision and consistency is not in Tim Tebow’s DNA. Watch a bunch of Tebow’s throws uninterrupted, and you can see it in the way the football comes out of his hand. I don’t think we’ll see him get much better, but I also don’t think that necessarily means he can’t quarterback a winning offense.

How much of Mark Sanchez’s inability to elevate his play in 2011 when the Jets started the year attempting to open it up, had to do with Brian Schottenheimer’s playcalling, and or any handcuffs having been put on him since day one?

The issues are with Sanchez. They’re not with Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer ultimately did not successfully coordinate an explosive offense, and by failing to do so he failed to do his job. I know it’s easy to pile on the guy who’s gone. The guy who failed. But if he had an effective quarterback, Schottenheimer would still be the Jets’ offensive coordinator. In Sanchez, he did not have that.

The Jets did open last season with a passing offense. For instance, in the Week 1 Dallas game, the Jets used shotgun on 38 of their 64 offensive snaps. The Jets were using three receivers as their base offense early in the year. They opened up their offense and gave their quarterback a chance to really establish himself as a top-flight NFL passer. When Sanchez failed to produce the results the Jets wanted, Ryan called the thing off and went back to the Ground and Pound. We’d be telling a different story — and Schottenheimer would still be around — if Sanchez had played well in the passer-friendly offense. It all comes down to execution. Sanchez did not execute.

Can Tony Sparano make Sanchez into the leader the Jets first envisioned, when they traded up to select him 5th overall in 2009?

I obviously don’t think so. I don’t even think Sparano is trying to do that. The Jets hired Sparano to implement a running-based offense. In the NFL these days, you don’t implement a running-based offense when you have a quarterback who throws the football effectively. With Sparano calling the offense, the Jets will try to get back to winning games in spite of Sanchez. That’s not an endorsement of the quarterback, and that’s probably not going to work unless you have an elite running foundation. And the Jets do not have that. Sanchez will be asked to manage games, avoid turnovers. Hit the open man in obvious passing situations. He’ll be a complementary piece — a role player. In pro sports, it’s difficult to truly be a great “leader” when you’re a role player.

Does the offensive line have the potential talent wise to rival Rex Ryan’s initial unit that once housed names like Faneca and Woody?

No, they don’t. This is pretty obvious. I think the Jets can be a decent run-blocking team, but not to the point that they open enough holes to turn Shonn Greene into a great back. A healthy Nick Mangold for an entire season will help, but otherwise you have all of the same linemen returning from last year. You have the new offensive line coach talking up Hunter like he can play. To me, these are the signs of a delusional organization that is internally evaluating its own talent poorly.

The rookies: The Jets are real high on Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill and Demario Davis, among others they selected during April’s draft. Can any team realistically expect a serious contribution from so many first and second year players?

Absolutely they can. First- and second-year players contribute at high levels every year. The jury is out on all three of the players you mentioned for various reasons. For Coples, his motor is a concern. And he’s not a bend-the-edge pass rusher. I watched quite a bit of Hill at Georgia Tech, and at times he looked like the best player on the field. At others, he looked like the worst. I think the Jets will struggle to get him the ball, and we don’t know a whole lot about him because he ran one route in college. Davis is a small-school phenom who is probably a year away from impact.

On defense the Jets want to alternate between the 3-4, 4-3 and 46. Will this provide more versatility or lead to more confusion?

Rex Ryan knows a lot more about defensive schemes than me, and I don’t doubt for a second that the Jets will trot out an effective 2012 defense no matter what formation they’re using. The Jets will play good defense. I still question whether they have a pass rusher capable of instilling fear in offenses and altering field position. I would also think that in order for the 46 to be successful, you’d need a quality centerfield safety to roam the deep middle. I don’t think the Jets have that, and my guess is that it’s an area in which they’ll be exposable. But all in all, I have the utmost confidence in Ryan’s defensive strategy and think his unit will play well.

I just think the Jets will be heavily reliant on their defense to score points. Perhaps too reliant on the defense to take the football away and score touchdowns. Because I don’t think the offense is going to move the ball and put it in the end zone. They will need the defense to do it.

Are LaRron Landry and Yeremiah Bell an upgrade at safety over Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool?

If LaRon Landry is healthy — and there is no way for any of us to tell whether he is — he is a ferocious in-the-box safety. He blows up ball carriers and can separate them from the football. He will be an upgrade if and only if he is healthy.

Yeremiah Bell is 34 years old and got destroyed in coverage by tight ends last season. I hope the Jets don’t plan on matching him up with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I think Bell can bring to the table run-support skills and veteran “leadership,” but the former is a dime-a-dozen trait at this point and the latter is unquantifiable in terms of value, and I’d ultimately put zero stock in it.

The Jets sense a big year out of Mo Wilkerson? Do you?

Wilkerson was a really good pass rusher in the MAC and he earned extensive playing time as a rookie, and played pretty productively. I’m not going to pretend to have watched him closely, but I think there are certainly promising signs and I would bet on him becoming a pretty good player. But the Jets seem to “sense” a big year out of every player on their roster. Shonn Greene, Wayne Hunter, Mark Sanchez, LaRon Landry, Kyle Wilson. So I don’t think it matters much that they “sense” a big year out of Wilkerson because they do that for everybody.

The current air attack corps: Holmes, Hill, Schilens, Kerley, Keller, Cumberland with of course some blocking TE’s, late picks and UDFA’s mixed in…A sufficient enough group to keep eight out of the box all day?

I don’t think the idea of keeping eight defenders out of the box has much to do with the pass-catching assembly. I think it has everything to do with the quarterback. And until the Jets get quarterback play that worries opposing defensive coordinators, those D-Coordinators are going to keep eight in the box, attacking the line of scrimmage and daring the quarterback to beat them.

Why not re-sign Braylon Edwards?

I don’t know how much Edwards has left. He’s coming off a troubling, recurring knee injury and couldn’t keep a starting job in a poor 49ers receiver corps last year. I know the New York Post reported that the Jets have essentially ruled out bringing Edwards back. So probably a moot point.

Why hasn’t Dustin Keller turned into a top tier TE yet?

I think Keller has developed into a nice player. He’s a solid starter, certainly not one of the Jets’ weaknesses. I think he’s not considered an elite tight end because he doesn’t put up huge stats. Stats for a player like this can be a function of the offense in which he plays. The Jets don’t throw the ball a ton. I also think it’s no secret that he blocks poorly. Keller can stretch the seam and has improved as a hands catcher. But he’s not a great fit for a run-first offense because he can’t block.

Some have recently said regarding your twitter posts on certain Jets personnel that “Evan Silva just hates the Jets, that’s all.” How would you respond to those who justify your take on the team as being more personal than analytical?

I’d just say I have nothing personal against the Jets. I don’t think they’re going to be a good ball club in 2012, and that’s precisely why I said those things.

2012 NY Jets Biggest strength: Darrelle Revis
2012 NY Jets Biggest weakness: Offense

Word association: In a few words or less:

Rex Ryan: Great defensive mind.
Tony Sparano: Fine coach, but I don’t see how he’s an upgrade on Callahan.
Mike Tannenbaum: Fired after this season.
Mark Sanchez: Benched by midseason.
The Ground and Pound: There are certain elements you need to make it work. Jets lack them.
Tim Tebow: Fun guy to root for.
Quinton Coples: Versatile five-technique end. Will be a solid — not spectacular — NFLer.
Darrelle Revis: Best defensive player in football.
Buffalo Bills: Fitzpatrick will hold them back.
NE Patriots: Have revolutionized the NFL.
The AFC Playoff Picture: Like the Pats and Steelers. Titans are my sleeper.
The Jets Offense in 2012: Hard to watch.
The Jets Defense in 2012: Must carry the team.
Jets Chemistry Issues of 2011: Don’t care much about them.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Sanchez, Holmes, and Linsanity Edition

Chris Gross weekly Fact or False focuses on Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Lin

With less than a week to go before the New York Jets report to Cortland for the start of training camp, there have been countless topics and stories emerging on the Gang Green front, some good, some not so good. Regardless of what most sports books are predicting, we are carrying on as usual here at Turn On The Jets. For this week’s edition of New York Jets Fact Or False, we’ll examine some of those recent Jets topics heading into training camp, along with a little dose of Linsanity and America’s #1 new soap opera “As The Dwight Turns.”

Mark Sanchez is “The East Coast Alex Smith.” False.

In a recent article on Bleacher Report, columnist Michael Schottey referred to Mark Sanchez as “Alex Smith with a Jheri curl.” However, Schottey fails to provide any factual argument to back his proclamation. This is likely because there are no facts to support the comparison between the two. Smith has played three more seasons in the NFL than Sanchez has, yet has thrown for only 3,334 more yards, less than the total number of yards Sanchez threw for last season alone. Additionally, Smith has thrown for only 13 more touchdowns than Sanchez has while compiling a total of 7 more interceptions than number 6. Again, Smith has played six full NFL seasons to Sanchez’s three. Numbers aside, Sanchez has already won 4 playoff games on the road, while Smith has won just a single playoff game, at home. It is surely shocking how far people will go in their attempst to bash Sanchez, and this ignorant comparison is just the tip of an iceberg of criticism that the Jets’ QB has faced this season.

A more realistic comparison to Smith would actually be Jets’ backup Tim Tebow. Both players have a similar style of play and both played in the same system in college under Urban Meyer. However, Tebow also has 2 national championship victories and a Heisman trophy on his resume, while winning a playoff game in only his second season as opposed to Smith who took six seasons to finally win in the post season. As the roster stands now, Smith would be the third best quarterback on the Jets if he were in New York. As for the comparison to Sanchez, there is no debate.

Santonio Holmes will be the Jets scapegoat all season. Fact.

The perception of Holmes as the largest villain to grace Gotham City since the Joker isn’t dying anytime soon. In an interview on NFL Network this past week, Holmes simply stated the obvious fact that even the most casual NFL fan knows, when he said that teams cannot succeed in a two quarterback system. Could you imagine if Marques Colston or Hakeem Nicks said the same thing? They’d be laughed at for stating something so obvious, while lauded for praising their starting quarterbacks.

Not only did Holmes simply state what everyone already knew, but he actually defended Sanchez, while subtly telling everyone to pump the brakes on Tebowmania in New York for now. Holmes noted that, in order for a Quarterback to get into a rhythm, he needs to be allowed to make mistakes early in games, while settling in and growing comfortable. Holmes is far from stupid. He knows, just as everyone else covering the Jets knows, that the moment Sanchez makes the slightest mistake, most fans will be calling for Tebow to take the helm. However, Holmes also knows that this would not put his team in the best position to win games. Sanchez will make his mistakes, every quarterback does. The key to his success, as well as the success of the Jets, will be his teammates and coaches being confident enough to allow him to correct those mistakes.

The bottom line with Holmes is that he simply wants to win. However, no matter what he says, it will likely be turned in a negative, selfish manner, until he lets his play do the talking.

 The Jets will add RB depth heading into training camp. False.

Cedric Benson recently revealed that the Jets were one of the teams to check in with the free agent veteran running back this offseason. While Benson joining Gang Green surely isn’t out of the question, don’t expect any moves to be made on this front anytime soon. The Jets are moving forward with Shonn Greene as the starter this season, regardless of what some may think. They are also ready to see what Joe McKnight can do as the primary backup to Greene, and rightfully so. McKnight has improved drastically since his rookie season when he was questioned for his work ethic and commitment. With an increased role on Special Teams last season, McKnight thrived as a kick returner. The Jets are hoping a similar increased workload on offense will produce parallel results.

Aside from Greene and McKnight, New York is also very eager to see if Bilal Powell is serviceable, as well as what newcomers Terrance Ganaway and John Griffin can do. They added these players because they are confident that Tony Sparano’s system will allow each of them to produce. If they prove incapable of such a feat over the course of the preseaosn, then the Jets may revisit bringing in a veteran like Benson. For now, they are more than ready to move forward with what they have.

Mark Sanchez will make the Pro Bowl this season. False.

While Sanchez is poised for a breakout year, the odds are against him to make the Pro Bowl this season. The new offensive system under Tony Sparano will likely limit the amount of passing attempts Sanchez has, thus limiting the statistics that would get him elected to a Pro Bowl. Additionally, outside of Santonio Holmes and Tight End Dustin Keller, Sanchez has an entirely new arsenal of weapons this season, most of whom come with very limited, if any, NFL experience. While Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schillens, and Jordan White could all prove to be productive, it is going to take time for them to develop chemistry with Sanchez. While I firmly believe that Sanchez will be a Pro Bowl caliber Quarterback at some point in his career, this season is more about improving his accuracy and developing relationships with his new targets.

The Knicks made the right move letting Jeremy Lin leave. Fact.

Knicks fans seem split on this issue. Some are up in arms that James Dolan and co. allowed such a young and exciting player to leave after his brief stint of success last season, while others are perfectly content with the club’s decision to move in another direction. While Lin could certainly become a very good point guard, the luxury tax ramifications the Knicks would have had to pay in the third year of the deal he agreed to with Houston would have been far too large of a financial commitment to a player who is still somewhat unproven. Remember, Lin’s numbers dropped after the departure of Mike D’Antoni. The Knicks already have an abundance of money committed to Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, so taking a risk on Lin simply would not have been worth it. Additionally, what no one seems to be talking about, is the fact that Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. Surely, there are no signs that Paul wants out of Los Angeles, but don’t forget, he is good friends with Anthony, and even hinted at the idea of playing with him and Stoudemire at Anthony’s wedding last summer. While this is a shot in the dark, don’t think for a minute that this did not cross the minds of the Knicks’ brass in weighing the decision of whether or not to re up on Lin.

Dwight Howard will start the season in Orlando. False. The ongoing saga of this situation is growing far too annoying, not only to NBA fans, but to people around the league as well. Howard wants out of Orlando, seemingly worse than Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver, and will not ease his stance on this issue. The Magic will soon realize that they need to rid themselves of this headache and start fresh. While General Manager Rob Hennigan has been rightfully patient in weighing his options, the alleged three-team deal that could soon be in place soon between the Lakers, Cavaliers, and Magic will reveal itself as the best option for all clubs involved. With Howard now committing to signing long term in LA, Mitch Kupchak and co. will go above and beyond to get a deal done. My prediction? Howard starts the season in the purple and gold.

Interview With Former New York Jets Scout Connie Carberg, Part 2

TJ Rosenthal sits down with former New York Jets scout Connie Carberg to discuss the current roster

TJ Rosenthal was fortunate enough to sit down for a lengthy interview with Connie Carberg, the NFL’s first female scout. Yesterday, she discussed her career with the New York Jets and today she and TJ discuss the 2012 Jets roster. Enjoy and make sure to follow both TJ and Connie on Twitter –

READ PART 1 HERE

2012 Jets

Let’s Fast Forward to the 2012 Jets and start with Rex Ryan. Assess his body of work so far and what he has to do to improve as an HC.

When I worked for the Jets, the best record we had in 8 years was 8-8, so to consider that we went to back-to-back AFC championship appearances (under Ryan) is pretty darn good. We had so many lean years, that you can appreciate good coaches. I went to Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl.

Jet Fans seem to forget our history was so bad for so many years and we’ve been to the playoffs many times with Herman Edwards, Eric Mangini and now Rex.

He said the locker room got ahead of him, and while it may sound strange, I believe the 2 years we were at Cortland made a huge difference in terms of team chemistry.  Last year, the team wasn’t even staying together in a hotel or dorms. You never had a chance to connect with folks you might normally not have. Hopefully this year at Cortland will make a big difference, and this Rookie class appears to be very tight and close together, with very good character.

Rex’s hirings of Sparano and Dunbar and his involvement on all facets of the team will make a big difference.

Mark Sanchez: Can the Jets win with him?

YES, I believe the Jets can win with Mark Sanchez. Even Namath took his 4th year before the Super Bowl, and with how many INT’s he threw, you realize how much seasoning it can take to be successful in this league. Also, let’s not forget that he has had to deal with new receivers every year, lacking consistency. Fans often want to discount this, but Namath knew who he would be throwing to every year, and that made a difference. We need consistency. I believe in Mark.

What do you make of the arrival and skill set of Tim Tebow?

I was shocked by the arrival of Tebow, but I was always an admirer of his emotional leadership and skills, and I think that if the press and fans will allow it, he and Mark can coexist.  I am real excited about this.

Assess the current draft class and is it realistic for the Jets to expect major contributions from too many rookies?

(Quinton) Coples has all the physical skills for a guy at 16 who has top 7 talent. I love Stephen Hill, and today, I watched an interview and if he can play as well as he can interview, we’ll have a deep threat we haven’t had since Wesley Walker. I know he went to an option college, but hopefully with others who have succeeded, he will do well especially in the red zone. I like Terrance Ganaway and Demario Davis has the skill set be very good.

Can the Ground and Pound get the Jets to a Super Bowl?

The Ground & Pound CAN WORK if it’s not ALL on Shonn Greene. We need John Conner and Joe McKnight and (Bilal) Powell and Ganaway in case anybody gets hurt. Our offensive Line has to get more consistent and I believe Sparano will help with that.

Let’s go back to the word association but this time, to cover some thoughts on the 2012 Jets and “friends.”

The Revis Contract Situation–– I hate it. Take care of the man. He’s an amazing ballplayer and some could argue that the last holdout severely injured the team with him being hurt throughout the season.

Santonio Holmes – I’m a fellow Buckeye and rooting for the Tone of 2 years ago, and for he and Mark to be on the same page.

Woody Johnson – Fan friendly owner who truly cares about the team and is doing everything in his power to make the team a winner.

Mike Tannenbaum – Genius salary cap/contract negotiator with a flair for the extraordinary and a willingness to take risks with the players he brings in.

Met Life stadium – I haven’t been there, but I still wish we didn’t share a stadium with the Giants. I will go there sometime and watch a game, but Shea will always be home to me.

Brady and Belichick – Enemy. Enemy. Enemy.

Local Rivalry with the Giants – When I was growing up, the Jets were always treated like 2nd class citizens, and then we won the Super Bowl but were still second banana. However, then we played the Giants at the Yale Bowl (August 1969), an exhibition game, and even Joe Namath has said that the Yale Bowl Game means as much if not more to him that SB III. Todays Jets don’t have that feeling, but I do, and I’ll forever hate the Giants and will NEVER root for the Giants as long as I live (that includes in Super Bowls against the Patriots).

Connie Carberg in 2012

What are you doing these days? 

I live in Coconut Creek FL, doing PR for Al Hendrickson Toyota as my full time job. My husband and I have been married for 33 years. My step daughter Lisa lives in Mystic,Connecticut and my Son, Chris lives in Orlando with his wife, Jenna. Both Die Hard Jet Fans. Everywhere I go, people know me as the biggest Jet fan there is down here.

Do you still go to training camp?

Yes, when I go back every summer, whether it’s at Hofstra, Cortland, or Florham Park, they treat me like family, and I NEVER take it for granted.

Tell us about your new Website and how the fans can contact you.

My website is www.ConnieScouts.com and has lots of great information to share, as well as stories from the past. I’ve probably had the luckiest life in the world (You can also find Connie on Twitter)

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack: New York Jets Statistical Predictions

The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack breaks out some stat predictions for the 2012 New York Jets

This week’s 12 Pack is going throw out some statistical predictions for members of both the New York Jets offense and defense. Credit for the idea goes to (@ItsOasus) on Twitter. Give the man a follow and while you are it give our fellow writers Chris GrossMike Donnelly and TJ Rosenthal a follow. 

In case you missed it this week…

Turn On The Jets shirts (designed and created by Bark Tees NY) are being shipped out this upcoming week and should be for sale no later than July 20th. 
Check out Gameday Goods for 10% off all New York Jets apparel. All you have to do is use the promo code “TurnOnTheJets”

1. Mark Sanchez – 256/432, 59.2 completion percentage, 3,360 yards, 25 touchdowns, 13 interceptions – I am basically projecting Sanchez for 16/27, 210 yards on a weekly basis. The yardage total might seem a little high but I think the Jets will attack down the field more often with Tony Sparano calling plays, will use Santonio Holmes more vertically and should have a viable deep threat in Stephen Hill. Yes, I believe he will do a better job of protecting the football and will cut 5 interceptions off his total from last season.

2. Shonn Greene – 280 carries, 1,175 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 5 touchdowns – Greene isn’t anywhere near an elite level back but considering their depth chart at running back and the offensive system the Jets are going to give him 17-20 carries per week. He should be able to translate that into a little under 1,200 yards considering his history. His touchdown total will be disappointing because Tim Tebow will be a major presence around the goal-line.

3. Santonio Holmes – 72 receptions, 1,044 yards, 7 touchdowns – Holmes averaged 15 yards per catch over the 3 years prior to 2011, let’s put him at 14.5 this season…a nice bump up from the 12.8 of last season. Sparano should also do a better job of getting the ball in his hands than Brian Schottenheimer did last season, so 4.5 catches per game seems reasonable. Holmes had 8 touchdowns last year, which tied a career high. He will end up with 7 this season.

4. Dustin Keller – 64 receptions, 832 yards, 7 touchdowns – Yes, I do think Holmes and Keller will equate for this large of a share of the Jets passing game. Keller was at 12.5 yards per catch last year, he’ll bump up to about 13 in Tony Sparano’s offense. 7 touchdowns would be a career high but he is due to be a sustainable red-zone presence throughout an entire season.

5. Stephen Hill – 40 receptions, 630 yards, 5 touchdowns – The reception total won’t be high but Hill will be a big play threat for the Jets, hence the high yards per catch average. His size and leaping ability ability will also make him a consistent red-zone threat.

6. Tim Tebow – 80 carries, 440 yards, 7 rushing touchdowns, 250 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns – Tebow is going to be a major factor in the red-zone as a rusher and overall should average out to about  5 carries per week. His passing totals are hard to project, because it remains to be seen how often the Jets will use him a passer. For the record, I do think Mark Sanchez, barring injury, starts every game this season at quarterback.

7. Aaron Maybin – 10.5 sacks, 26 tackles, 5 forced fumbles – With a full off-season under his belt, Maybin will become the first Jets defender to hit double digit sacks since John Abraham (!). If that forced fumble total seems high, remember he forced 4 last season in 13 games with a very limited role.

8. David Harris – 90 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 interceptions – Another rock solid, Pro-Bowl caliber season from the Jets inside linebacker. Don’t look for any drop-off in his regular production.

9. Quinton Coples – 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks – Rex Ryan and Karl Dunbar will get Coples in the proper position to make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. Towards the end of the season, he will begin to come on more as a complete player, particularly in run defense.

10. Muhammad Wilkerson – 55 tackles, 6 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss – I am on the Wilkerson bandwagon, who I think will play at a Pro-Bowl caliber level as a two way defensive end. Wilkerson and Coples will give the Jets their best pass rushing duo up front since John Abraham and Shaun Ellis were young pups.

11. Joe McKnight – 75 carries, 325 yards, 32 receptions, 320 yards, 2 offensive touchdowns, 1 special teams touchdown – A good all-around year for McKnight who will be able to handle the role of 3rd down back and be a reliable checkdown/screen option for Mark Sanchez. He also will remain one of the league’s better kick returners.

12. Jeremy Kerley – 45 receptions, 460 yards, 2 touchdowns – Kerley won’t have a high yards per catch but will develop into a reliable third down target, being a good option in the short to intermediate passing game.

 

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 7/3: New York Jets Rumors Edition

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch, focusing on a handful of rumors surrounding the New York Jets

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly Stock Watch, make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and leave any comments you have for him. Check back later in the day for our ongoing countdown of the top New York Jets on the roster. 

It’s Tuesday again, and that means another edition of the Stock Watch. I’ve been seeing, hearing, and reading an awful lot of nonsense lately, and that has put me in a pretty bearish mood when it comes to my buys and sells this week. I won’t be buying players, teams, and coaches in this edition, but rather selling some horrible ideas, predictions, and generally stupid thoughts that I’ve seen pop up over the past few weeks. The people buying this rubbish deserve to lose their fake investments in our fake stock market, while we’ll be cashing in. Let me show you why..

Sell: Idea Jets need another Veteran RB – To be clear, this is probably the only sell on the agenda today that I don’t think is totally idiotic. In fact, there have been some very logical arguments made in favor of it. That being said, it’s been debated ad nauseam lately on Twitter, Jets forums, here (and here, again) and seemingly everywhere else. This is why I think it’s a bad idea that just can’t happen:

1.) There just aren’t enough carries for someone like Cedric Benson here, and since he doesn’t play special teams, his value is roughly zero.

2.) TEBOW (!!!)

3.) Time to let Joe McKnight sink or swim.

In an ideal world, the Jets will run the ball somewhere around 575 times this year as they get back to their ground and pound attack, which boils down to about 36 rushes per game (They ran it 607 in 2009, 534 in 2010, and just 443 last year). Here’s how I expect the breakdown of carries to unfold, with McKnight graduating to LT’s old role, and Tebow here as basically a running back:

  • Shonn Greene – 275 carries (17 per game)
  • Joe McKnight – 110 carries (7 per game)
  • Tim Tebow – 95 carries (6 per game)
  • Bilal Powell / Terrance Ganaway – 40 carries combined (2.5 per game)
  • John Conner – 25 carries (1.5 per game)
  • Sanchez – 25 carries (1.5 per game)
  • Misc (Holmes, Kerley, etc) – 10-15 carries (1 per game)

So basically we’d be bringing in a guy like Benson or Grant to take over those 2.5 carries per game from Powell or Ganaway. The team invested draft picks in those guys the past two years, so why not give them a shot and see if one of them can prove themselves and perhaps earn more than the measly scraps left behind? Greene is going to start and get his 15-20 per game as the work horse (and no matter what you think of him, you can’t reasonably say Benson or Grant would be better options). Tebow is going to get his snaps and run 5 or 6 times per game on average, while McKnight provides the only real breakaway threat in the backfield. Those guys are going to play. There is just very simply no room for another running back on the team. It makes no sense to add one.

Sell: Idea that the Bills have surpassed the Jets – Yawn. This one just won’t go away, and likely won’t until some time around mid-November as the Bills are staring down the barrel at another 6-10 season. It’s amazing how many people see Mario Williams sign in Buffalo and assume that means a 4 or 5 win improvement is coming; especially since the Texans so easily replaced him last year, had their best season ever, and let him walk. Weird, huh?

And all the Bills backers out there will have to excuse me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for the Bills to overtake the Jets in the division. Without getting into all the specifics of why Buffalo just isn’t as good of a team as the Jets across the board, let me just say that we’ve been hearing this same nonsense for years now, and it’s getting a little old. First, it was the Dolphins — they were going to be better each year, Henne was a star, their defense was elite, blah, blah, and how’d that turn out? Then last year after a nice start, the Bills Bandwagon was just about full, playoff reservations were being made, and the pundits were lining up to dance on the Jets grave heading into week 9. Gang Green proceeded to kick the everliving crap out of those very Bills on their home turf that week, sending them into a tailspin where they lost 8 out of their last 9, securing them yet another top-10 draft pick. I smell a similar ending in 2012.

Sell: ESPN says Jets can go 5-11, 8-8, or 11-5 – Now that’s some hard-hitting analysis, James Walker and John Clayton! Couldn’t this same garbage be said about any team? It angers me seeing a clown like John Clayton on ESPN acting as if he is some kind of football expert, when in fact he probably only got his job by simply signing up back in the 80’s when ESPN was just starting up and realized they were short a football analyst. Can’t you just picture Clayton walking in, applying to work in the marketing department or something, only to see a sign on a wall at the last second that a “football talker” was needed, then furiously crossing off “marketing” and writing “football” on his application before handing it in? You know damn well that’s what happened. Ok, I’m rambling.

Anyway, here’s why the Jets won’t be going 5-11: They have a capable backup QB, so an injury won’t destroy the season; they have an ELITE defense; they play the Bills twice; they play the Dolphins twice; they play the Colts, Jaguars, and Titans; they play the horrific NFC West; they have the warm-weather Chargers at home in December; they will at least split the 49ers and Texans games at home. That sure looks a lot more like 11 wins than 5 to me.

Sell: Idea Sparano was a bad choice for OC because he was a bad HC – I’ve heard this one a lot since Tony was hired, mostly from pompous Giants or Patriots fans. Because, you know, there has never been a guy who could win Super Bowls as a Coordinator, but suck as a Head Coach, right Kevin Gilbride? Right Dick LeBeau, Steve Spagnuolo, Romeo Crennell, Charlie Weis, Dom Capers… ok, you get the point. Let’s not let facts get in the way of things here. Let’s not mention how when Sparano called plays in Dallas, they had tremendous success (Last week’s Stock Watch was centered on what Sparano brings to NY). Let’s not mention how he turned the Dolphins around from a 1-15 laughingstock to a division winner in one year. Maybe Sparano won’t be the long-term coordinator here, but he’s shown he can run an offense very well before, and more importantly, that he can change the culture of a team, which is something the Jets offense needed after the way 2011 ended.

Sell: Mike Florio says the old Chad Ochocinco is back! – No, really. The dude with the bad hairpiece really tried to push this crap on his website. And he backed it up with such tremendous logic, as well. You see, Chad was only awful last year playing with Tom Brady because he couldn’t Tweet and make a fool of himself. Says Florio, “For the X-and-O-obsessed crowd who summarily dismiss the impact of human factors on the game, think again.” You got that? The X-and-O crowd — the people who watched the games and saw Chad absolutely suck on the field — should have realized that Chad only sucked because Chad couldn’t be Chad.  It had nothing to do with the fact he’s washed up or anything. Seriously.

Sell: Rex Ryan is on the “Hot Seat” – I suppose if the Jets go 2-14 or something, Rex could — could — be in jeopardy (although the chances of a 2-14 season are approximately -0.0000003%). But that’s not what some guy named Eric Edholm had to say on Yahoo Sports last week. Nope, according to him, even a playoff appearance just “probably” keeps Rex safe this year. So, just to be clear: if Rex makes the playoffs for the 3rd time in 4 years, has 0 losing seasons in 4 years, and wins 4 (or more) playoff games in those 4 seasons, he still could be fired. Because it’s the Jets. Really, is it that easy to get a job writing on major websites like Yahoo or ESPN? Who is in charge of these things?! I can come up with things that make no sense, with no logic or reasoning behind it, with the best of them!

BONUS SELLS

(For those uninterested in the NBA, I’ll see you next week!)

Sell: Billy King – Holy crap has Billy King done a remarkable job during his tenure with the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets. I mean it’s clear he took notes from Isiah Thomas’s reign of terror with the Knicks, or as I call it, How to Destroy a Team and Their Fans’ Souls 101. It’s rare you see a GM come in and within two years just take an absolute blowtorch to an organization, making sure to leave no signs of life in his wake, but that’s exactly what Billy King has done! The Nets officially won’t be able to contend for a championship for at least the next 4 years after King’s recent exploits.

First, he traded the #6 overall pick in the draft for soon-to-be-30-year-old Gerald Wallace, a player already on the decline. To save face on that brutal trade, he decided to compound his mistake and give Wallace a $40 million extension. Then, just to make sure the team wouldn’t have enough cap room to pursue Dwight Howard (or anybody else for that matter), he decided to make a trade for Joe Johnson and his vomit-inducing contract (4 years, $89 million remaining), which is probably the worst in the league. Basically, Billy King (likely) kept Deron Williams in Brooklyn which was his main goal, but now instead of competing for a title, they’ll be in a battle to get that #5 seed and get swept out of the 1st round of the playoffs for the next 4 seasons. Well done, Billy!* Again, who hires these people?

(* If the Nets somehow still land Dwight Howard, forget I said anything. Go, Billy!)

Sell: Cleveland taking Dion Waiters #4 overall – I don’t hate Waiters as a player; in fact I think he can be a pretty good 6th man. But didn’t we learn from Marvin Williams that we shouldn’t be drafting college bench players at the top of the draft, especially ones who can’t shoot? I find it hard to believe they couldn’t have traded down and taken Waiters a little later. I just don’t think reaching for role players is the way to build a team, and that they probably should have taken Thomas Robinson in that spot. Oh well, it could have been worse: They could have traded the pick for Gerald Wallace or something.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch 6/26: The Tony Sparano Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly stock watch, focusing on Tony Sparano’s offense

Mike Donnelly is back with his weekly stock watch. Make sure to give Mike a follow on Twitter and Turn On The Jets a follow on Facebook

I’m going to mix things up this week and and list all my buys and sells under the umbrella of a much larger general investment strategy. That strategy is one that the New York Jets incorporated this offseason in an attempt to generate much larger returns  for the 2012 season. That strategy is simple:

SELL – Brian Schottenheimer

BUY – Tony Sparano

That’s not to say that all things Sparano brings are wonderful and the offense will automatically be a juggernaut, because there are certain aspects of the offense I am still not sold on. Likewise, not all things Schitty (that’s a typo, I swear!) brought to the table were awful. There was some good, I just don’t know what they were. Actually, forget I said anything; Brian Schottenheimer sucks. Anyway, I think the general theme of selling on Schotty and buying in to the Sparano era is going to be profitable for the Jets offense, and not just because like many Jets fans, I thought Schottenheimer was awful (I even wrote a whole column about how the Jets hired him to sabotage their QB’s with his incompetence), but also because Sparano brings a sorely-needed fresh approach. One play last year summed up Schotty’s offense and his reign as coordinator perfectly: 3rd and 6 against the Patriots, pivotal point in the game, needed a first down. This is what he came up with:

That’s right. Five receivers doing 4-yard curls on 3rd and 6! Needless to say, they did not  pick up the first down. The Brian Schottenheimer Era, ladies and gentlemen!

Further evidence of how he repeatedly hamstrung the offense can be found in this excellent piece by Jenny Vrentas, found Here. If you read between the lines of the players’ quotes, you can tell they couldn’t stand working within the confines of the his offense — it was too complicated, too restricting, too dumb, and too inflexible. He drew up bad game plans, confused his players, and couldn’t adjust when he had to. Against the Raiders, they threw him a curveball by switching to zone defense when all week the offense had prepared to face man coverage. That was apparently too much for Schotty to handle as he couldn’t –or wouldn’t– adjust, the offense collapsed, Holmes fumed, and the Jets lost. Mercifully, the book has closed on the Schottenheimer Era, and there’s a new hope for Jets fans.

Let’s take a look at what we should be buying and selling when it comes to Tony Sparano:

BUY- Tony Sparano the Play Caller and Line Coach – Contrary to popular belief, Sparano did not call plays in Miami. He did however call them in Dallas during the 2006 season when long-time bench warmer Tony Romo took the reigns and played very well. The offense finished 5th in the NFL in total yards, at 360 yards per game and 5th in passing with 239 per game. They also scored the 4th most points in the NFL. (If you want a good laugh, check out the ranks Schottenheimer has had during his career.) As the offensive line coach, he also built one of the best lines in the NFL during his tenure in Dallas. Solid players like Flozell Adams and Andre Gurode became Pro-Bowlers. Marginal players like Kyle Kosier and Marc Columbo became very dependable starters. Quite simply, Sparano has a history of success, and a proven track record of being very good at certain things. We can expect him to bring those things over with him to New York and improve parts of this offense.

BUY – Tony Sparano’s Attitude and Demeanor – Tony Sparano is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He’s loud, he screams, he curses, and he isn’t about to take any crap from the players. When asked about last year’s Holmes debacle, he said how he was a head coach and he knows how to handle problems. Reading between the lines, he was saying pretty much that that stuff isn’t going to happen this year. The Jets offense needed a swift kick in the ass heading into 2012, and Sparano is the exact kind of guy to deliver it.

BUY – Shonn Greene and the Run Game – I know there has been lots of debate lately about Greene and what kind of player he is after Evan Silva tweeted some less than flattering things about him. Why we are taking evaluation seriously from a guy whose job appears to be highlighting things beat writers tweet about, click “copy”, and then paste them on Rotoworld.com, I don’t know. I’m a believer in Greene and think he can do some great things when given the opportunity, but even his biggest supporters would admit he’s not a superstar. He’s just not that kind of player, but then again, you don’t need an Adrian Peterson to win a Super Bowl. That’s not to say Greene can’t carry the load and help this team win games though, because he can. Joe gave us a great look at Greene’s career and his production earlier today, and provided some valid observations, but there is plenty to be said in support of Greene, as well.

First of all, the new “power” system Tony Sparano brings with him is going to help Greene immensely. Last year Greene at times was the victim of thinking too much on the field instead of just hitting the hole and going, which is what he’s best at. He was also victimized by horrendous line play early in the season, as Nick Mangold went down with an injury and was slow to recover. Brandon Moore also started the season slowly as he was recovering from surgery. Once the line got it together, Greene took off in the second half of the season in a big way, despite not being used to his full potential and still finished with 4.2 yards per carry, which is very solid. Shonn is a streaky runner, so it was maddening to see him get on a role during games the past two years and then the team curiously going away from him for large stretches. Sparano has made it clear he’s going to ride his hot hand, so that shouldn’t be an issue this year. Greene also improved his receiving ability a great deal last year, as he caught 30 balls, which doesn’t make him Marshall Faulk, but it does make him more of a two-way threat.

The other important thing to keep in mind about Greene is that he offers great value to the Jets, and an awful lot of bang for their bucks. He is scheduled to make just under $800,000 this year which allows the Jets to allocate their salary cap dollars elsewhere (ahem, Revis), and with free agency around the corner, you better believe Greene is going to show up in shape, motivated, and ready to put up big numbers. I don’t believe investing big money in your backfield is the way to operate, but rather to have a few low-cost backs who can all get the job done, which is what the Jets have done. Greene may never be the “bell cow” Rex Ryan proclaimed him to be, but in a platoon with a guy like Joe McKnight, he can –and will– be extremely effective. We’ve seen what he can do when used properly, and I look forward to seeing more of it in 2012.

BUY – Mark Sanchez – Yes, I’m going to keep beating the Mark Sanchez drum. Sparano has had lots of success with quarterbacks in the past. I touched on Romo earlier, but he also did very good work in Miami with inferior talents to Mark Sanchez. Chad Pennington (not the Chad we all love from 2002, but rather the guy whose arm was hanging on by chewing gum and paper clips in 2008) finished 2nd in MVP voting. Average talents like Chad Henne and Matt Moore put up some very nice numbers. Mark Sanchez is better than all of them, and now that he’s been freed from Schottenheimer’s stale offense, we can all expect big things.

BUY- Jeremy Kerley and John Conner– Look at the way Davone Bess and Lousaka Polite were used in Miami, and it’s easy to see Kerley and Conner being big contributors this year. As a slot receiver, Bess recorded 54, 76, and 79 catches his first three years with Sparano. Look for Kerley to blossom in that role this year. As for the Terminator, I hope he’s ready for lots of short yardage work, because along with Tim Tebow, they’re going to be pounding lots of balls right up the middle on 3rd or 4th and 1’s.

SELL – Wayne Hunter – I’m sorry, but I’m just not buying all the “New and Improved” Wayne Hunter stuff. Yes, he will likely improve in this new blocking scheme but that’s kind of like saying you went from being the dumbest kid in class to the second dumbest. There’s only one way for Hunter to go, because he can’t possibly get worse than he was last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to all of a sudden be good. He’s more likely to get Mark Sanchez’s #6 jersey imprinted on the MetLife turf after he gets him flattened by Mario Williams than he is to become a very good starter.

Like I said, it’s not all flowers and rainbows with the Jets offense all of a sudden just because Sparano is here and Schotty is gone, but things are looking up. I’m buying the Tony Sparano Era. I hope we’re all cashing in in January.

No witty comment here to tie into the article but a sweet backpack, no? 10% off with “TurnOnTheJets” promo code

New York Jets: What Is The Verdict On Shonn Greene?

Is Rotoworld’s scathing criticism of Shonn Greene on point? Can the Jets survive with him as their lead back? TOJ explores…

We have discussed Shonn Greene and his validity as a lead back in the New York Jets offense at length this off-season here at Turn On The Jets. However, a recent article and series of Tweets from Evan Silva, a senior NFL editor at Rotoworld and a contributor to Pro Football Talk has reopened the debate amongst Jets fans. Here is a sampling of the Tweets from Silva after watching game film of Jets vs. Chiefs, Jets vs. Dolphins (week 6) and Jets vs. Raiders in the 2011 season.

“Shonn Greene even worse than expected. Leaves so many yards on field. Not an NFL starter, to me.”

“Very little short area burst/acceleration. Takes forever to reach top speed. No chance to get corner. Runs like he’s stuck in mud.”

“Constantly buried at LOS. Lacks power to push pile. Runs small for big man. Slow feet. Zero quicks.”

Sticking by players like Greene and Wayne Hunter – pretending they are good – gets front offices cleaned out. Coming soon to Jets”

First off, let’s be clear that like the rest of the PFT staff, Silva has never seen a Jets player, front office member or coach that he has liked. He sums up Mark Sanchez simply as being “Not good. Weak arm. Scared to challenge deep and frenetic in the pocket.”

A few weeks ago the only thing he discussed about Darrelle Revis was how Stevie Johnson had his way with him, continuing the fallacy of people throwing out Johnson averages against the Jets and incorporating his 2010 stats pertaining to Revis. It must be noted that every catch he had against the Jets in 2010 was not against Revis, go back and watch the film. Johnson had one good game against Revis in 2011, when he had 8 catches for 75 and a touchdown in the team’s second meeting. In their first meeting, he had one very nice sideline catch for 52 yards after the Jets were up by two touchdowns in the second half and beyond that did nothing.

You have to be constantly amazed at how the PFT staff thinks everybody associated with a team that is 28-20 with 4 playoff wins over the past three seasons is just so awful. What was the explanation when Greene, Sanchez and Hunter were all starters in a playoff win over New England in 2010 because those are the kind of things that get front offices extended, not cleaned out. Contrary to popular belief, the Jets didn’t go 4-12 last year, they went 8-8.

Regardless, despite Silva’s seeming lack of love for the Green and White. He is a good writer and somebody that is a necessary follow for any NFL fan. I do think he makes a few points worth considering when it comes to Greene, although he exaggerates his shortcomings.

For Greene defenders, you have to be lying to yourself if you claim to be satisfied with his level of production the past two years. Expectations for Greene were rightfully high after his monster showing in the 2009 playoffs. Yet, here are some very alarming numbers –

  • His three highest rushing totals in a single game came in 2009 (144 yards vs. Oakland, 135 yards vs Cincinnati, 128 yards vs. San Diego)
  • The three longest runs of his career came in the 2009 season (53 yards vs San Diego, 39 yards vs Cincinnati, 33 yards vs. Oakland)
  • Greene has only had 3 100+ yard games in the 2010 and 2011 season combined
  • He has one…one run over 30 yards since the end of the 2009 season
  • If you take away the Washington game last season when Greene scored 3 touchdowns, he has 5 touchdowns in his last 32 regular season starts…a little over one every six games.

Those numbers don’t lie. He was outplayed the majority of the 2010 season by LaDainian Tomlinson and had a decent 2011 season as the primary back. I have watched every game from last season twice and Greene did consistently leave yards on the field, very rarely made anybody miss, and didn’t break the amount of tackles you’d expect for somebody his size. The blocking of his offensive line did leave something to be desired at times, but overall Greene is generally a back who gets what is blocked for him and nothing more. The explosiveness we saw in 2009 was not consistently there.

However, last season Greene did overcome a very sluggish start and put together a more encouraging second half of the season that indicates his potential value in 2012. Look at how he turned it up after week 6 –

  • Weeks 1-6: 93 carries, 314 yards, 3.3 yards per carry, 2 touchdowns
  • Weeks 7-17: 160 carries, 740 yards, 4.6 yards per carry, 4 touchdowns

It was the second season in a row that Greene started painfully slow, which doesn’t speak well to his off-season workout habits. He appears to be a player who needs to work his way into shape during the season. Most people assume that Greene is a player who gets better with more carries per game, and the splits represent that to an extent. When looking at last season (note he missed the majority of the Denver game with an injury and only had 3 carries) –

  • 20-25 carries – 97.2 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry (5 games)
  • 15-20 carries – 76.5 yards per game, 4.5 yards per carry (4 games)
  • 10-15 carries – 50.1 yards per game, 4.0 yards per carry (6 games)

You are going to get more out of Greene by giving him 15+ carries, a half yard more per carry. When you look at the ceiling for him, let’s say he gets 18 carries a game because there is no discernible difference in his production when he gets between 15-20 carries and 20-25 carries and the Jets will want to get Joe McKnight and Tim Tebow their share of rushing attempts. 18 carries a game brings him to 288 on the season which will give him 1,296 yards (if he maintains the 4.5 YPC from last season in games he had between 15-25 carries). Considering his scoring rate from the past few years and the presence of Tebow around the goal-line, it is probably safe to say his max is 7 touchdowns in 2012.

A ceiling of 288 carries, 1,296 yards and 7 touchdowns isn’t awful, even if he falls a little below his ceiling and ends up with say: 250 carries, 1,075 yards and 5 touchdowns that could be enough for the Jets if McKnight is productive and Tebow brings a dynamic element to the running game.

Greene isn’t great but he certainly isn’t anywhere near awful enough to be a major factor in cleaning out the Jets front office as Silva suggests. What could get the front office cleared out? Greene getting hurt and the Jets Ground and Pound getting handed off to the trio of Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell and Terrance Ganaway

New York Jets: Get Another Running Back

The New York Jets need to add another running back to their depth chart

In case you haven’t heard, the New York Jets are committed to running the football this season. It is said so frequently, that you wonder if members of the organization think they could increase their yards per carry simply by talking about the running game. Here is an overview of the type of quotes we have been hearing all off-season about returning the offense to their lost “Ground and Pound” identity –

“We’re a power football team…we’re going to get physical with these guys, run, we’re going to punch the ball in there.” – Dustin Keller

“I think for us to be successful as a team, we have to be able to run the football. Sometimes is it going to be tough sledding? Absolutely. But that has to be who we are.” – Rex Ryan

“Start on the ground and take it from there” – Shonn Greene

“This is a physical football team; I like playing a physical style of offense. I think anybody that knows me knows I want to be physical.” – Tony Sparano 

“We are a team that’s built for that. I think bringing Tony Sparano in will be great for us, help us get back to our swag, and just help us get out there and do what we do best.” – John Conner on running the football

You would think for a team so adamant about running the football, there would be more of a concern about the current depth chart at running back. Currently this is what the Jets are heading into the season with –

Shonn Greene – The reality on Shonn Greene is this, if you remove three monster games during the 2009 season (2 of which came in the playoffs), he has proven to be a slightly above average NFL back at best. He is a good straight ahead runner but has shown little elusiveness and limited big play ability. His skill in the passing game leaves something to be desired. To his credit, his durability and fumbling issues are overstated. Greene didn’t lose a fumble last season and missed a portion of only one game. However, at his best Greene is a player that needs a quality supporting back alongside him.

Joe McKnight – McKnight has shown potential and it is fair to hope that with an expanded role he could become a capable third down back and big play weapon. Yet, he had 43 carries last season and averaged a disappointing 3.1 yards on those carries finishing only with 134 yards rushing. McKnight also has viable durability concerns as he was banged up all of last season despite only having a very limited role. As a backup to Greene, he is not built to run the ball inside when spelling him. If the Jets are running 35-40 times a game, could McKnight be counted on for 12-14 carries on a weekly basis?

Bilal Powell – A 4th round pick last year who didn’t look good when given a small opportunity. Last season he averaged 1.6 yards per carry and fumbled inside the 1 yard line when he was fortunately bailed out by Matt Slauson recovering the ball in the end-zone. Yes, he only had 13 carries in the regular season but in the pre-season when given a total of 22 carries, he finished with 62 yards (2.2 yards per carry). Basically, Powell looked like a slowed down version of Greene which is why many questioned taking him so high in the 2011 draft. He has been banged up for a portion of spring practices with a hamstring injury.

Terrance Ganaway – Yes he did run with an encouraging amount of power in college and is familiar with the option, which could get him on the field with Tim Tebow. But how much faith could you place in a 6th round rookie, who only started and produced for one season in college?

While I do think Tim Tebow will be a factor in the Jets running game, particularly in short yardage situations. I wouldn’t expect him to get more than 4-6 carries a game.

Doesn’t it make sense to add another running back? Shouldn’t a self-proclaimed run heavy team have as many reliable power running backs on their roster as possible? There is no need to risk having a major issue at running back if Greene happens to go down for a few weeks and then you are forced to hand the entire running game off to three unproven players in McKnight, Powell and Ganaway.

Right now there are two cheap, proven veteran options available in Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant. Benson had nearly identical statistics to Shonn Greene last year and is a capable power back. The Jets don’t need him to start but he could easily provide 6-8 carries a game and start a few games if Greene goes down with an injury. Grant has a higher upside and despite durability questions is only two years removed from a 1,253 yard season with 11 touchdowns. He could easily be a spot starter and is a more natural receiver out of the backfield than Shonn Greene.

Why not add another proven veteran at a place where you are thin? New England could have easily handed off their running game to just Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen but they covered themselves by signing Joseph Addai for insurance because that is what good teams do, they protect themselves.

There is no reason to be cheap at running back when your entire identity is going to be built around running the football. On a team like Green Bay or New Orleans, you can’t have enough receivers. On a team like the Giants, you can’t have enough pass rushers. On a team like the Jets, it should be that you can’t have enough running backs.