12 Pack of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #2

Put it on your calendar, every Friday the rest of the off-season (however long that takes) for your 12 pack of Jets thoughts…

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1. Backup Issues – It will be interesting to see how the Jets handle their backup quarterback situation in 2011. You can’t expect Mark Brunell back for another year. The Jets were lucky to make it through the season without an injury to Mark Sanchez because I still hold firm in the belief that Brunell isn’t capable at his age to hold the fort down for a few weeks if Sanchez was hurt. Kellen Clemens doesn’t appear to have the confidence of the coaching staff and I’d be surprised if they let him compete for the number two spot. The Jets need to find a quality long term backup for their franchise quarterback who has been occasionally banged up over the first two years of his career. Fortunately, it has now been revealed that Sanchez won’t need off-season shoulder surgery. It is never good when your quarterback needs surgery the first two years of his career.

2. Safety Decision – There is likely going to be a decision made at whom to keep at safety between Eric Smith and Brodney Pool. This isn’t necessarily an easy choice since both began to play better towards the end of the season. Smith has slowly developed into one of Rex Ryan’s favorite players after he was initially skeptical about him. He also has the advantage of being a core special team player. Pool might fit better alongside Jim Leonhard and did provide more big plays than Smith last year. I could honestly see this decision going either way but the reality is the Jets still need to finda bigger playmaker to pair with Leonhard long term.

3. Prime-Time – Despite not making the Super Bowl, I still wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets end up with the most prime-time games of any team in 2011. They have become a national team and a running headline since Rex Ryan has taken over and there are plenty of intriguing match-ups to consider. Jets/Giants and one of the Jets/Patriots games both seem like prime-time locks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets/Cowboys, Jets/Eagles, Jets/Ravens, or one of the Jets/Dolphins games were on a Sunday, Thursday, or Monday night.

4. Youth Movement – Remember how much panic there was last season when Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Feely, and Kerry Rhodes (well maybe not him) all left the team? I expect a similar reaction this year when the Jets inevitably lose a fairly sizable group of contributors from the 2010 team. You can’t keep everybody and that is why it is important for young players to step up and to draft well. This past year Wayne Hunter, James Ihedigbo, Drew Coleman, and Mike DeVito all stepped up in bigger roles. In 2011, players like Joe McKnight, John Conner, Kyle Wilson, Patrick Turner, and Jeff Cumberland may need to do the same.

5. Road Warriors – This is fairly obvious but the Jets need to find a way to win their division next year so they can get some home playoff games. They haven’t played one since 2002, which means they have played 8 straight on the road. There certainly wasn’t a home-field advantage defined by this team in the new stadium and until they can improve on their 5-3 home record, they will have to do the tough sledding on the road in the playoffs. Regardless of the past success of wild-card teams, it is such an easier road to have a bye and then host a playoff game instead of trying to string together 3 straight road wins.

6. Scary Stats – The Jets didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher or receiver, a player with double digit sacks, or anybody with more than 55 receptions. They didn’t score a touchdown in any of their three home losses. My poor cousin went to three games this year since we split the season tickets and saw a grand total of 5 Nick Folk field goals as the Jets scoring.

7. Poetic Justice – I am pretty sure the Bart Scott post-game interview has exceeded Joe Namath’s “I want to kiss you” interview as the most popular in team history. I already have the auto-tune version on my I-Pod and if you think I won’t be celebrating every touchdown in my flag football league this spring with the airplane arms, you are crazy.

8. Super Bowl – Check out my Super Bowl XLV predictions on SeatGeek. SeatGeek is the leading ticket search engine that enables fans to discover the best deals for sports and concerts — Check out SeatGeek next season when you’re looking for NFL tickets.

9. 2011 Draft – In case you weren’t aware, the Jets have a draft pick in every single round this year except for the 2nd, which they lost in the Antonio Cromartie trade. They pick 30thoverall in the first round.

10.  Under the Radar – A few players who don’t get a ton of press but put together very good years – Brandon Moore, who many thought would finally get a chance at a Pro-Bowl in 2010 due to his consistently high level of play…Sione Pouha, who has been rock solid filling in for an injured Kris Jenkins the past two seasons…Tony Richardson who held off John Conner all year and kept paving the way for one of the NFL’s top rushing attacks…Ben Hartsock who cut down on the penalties and is a key part of the running game.

11. Here is hoping Curtis Martin gets in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, like he deserves to

12. Video Weekend Clips – Swaggerlicious edition

TOJ's Initial Thoughts On Jets 2011 Defensive Depth Chart

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First guess on the what the defense will look like 2011…

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Defensive Line – Draft Pick, Free Agent, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Ropati Pitoitua – I think Kris Jenkins will agree to take a major pay cut and give it another shot for the Jets. What other option does he have? Nobody is paying him with how much time he missed the past two years. I can see negotiations with Shaun Ellis getting ugly, the Jets letting him waver in free agency for awhile but then ultimately finding a way to bring him back on a cheap, short-term deal. Does he really want to go somewhere else after spending his whole career here? He is another guy who won’t get big money elsewhere. The Jets do need to spend an early draft pick at defensive end and should sign a veteran to replace Trevor Pryce. Hopefully, Pitoitua can contribute this year.

Linebackers – David Harris, Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Draft Pick/Free Agent, Jamaal Westerman, Josh Mauga – This is another area the Jets need to spend a draft pick in. I am not sure what free agency will look like in this area but it would be good to see them add some youth here. Jason Taylor won’t be back. Westerman and Mauga have shown potential in the past couple years and are developmental players. David Harris isn’t going anywhere, you can bank on that.

Secondary – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, Kyle Wilson, James Ihedigbo, Marquice Cole, Dwight Lowery, Draft Pick – I think the Jets will find a way to get Cromartie back after dealing with Harris and Santonio Holmes. They can’t keep everybody so don’t be surprised to see Drew Coleman and Eric Smith leave, as they will want Kyle Wilson to have a bigger role and Pool’s play improved down the stretch. I am sure Rex Ryan will insist they spend another draft pick in the secondary, either at safety or corner.

Overall – I think the Jets will be able to get Jenkins and Ellis back on the cheap as they work younger players into the defensive line positions. The bottom line is that long term replacements are needed for Ellis and Bryan Thomas and the Jets aren’t loaded with draft picks, so Mike Tannenbaum needs to hit in the first and third round or get creative with free agency or a trade. Rex Ryan loves his corners, which is why I think after taking care of Harris and Holmes, the Jets next priority won’t be Braylon Edwards or Brad Smith, but will rather be Cromartie. Eric Smith, Drew Coleman, Jason Taylor, and Trevor Pryce are the major contributors who won’t be back.

TOJ Mid-Season Awards

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Here we are half way through the 2010 regular season already. The Jets sit at 6-2 and are on pace for the 12-4 record that many predicted for them. It hasn’t always been pretty but overall it is hard to complain at this point. Out of the final 8 games, only 3 are against teams who are currently under .500, so the Jets still have plenty of work to do. However, here is what our awards are looking like heading into week 10 –

Offense

MVP – Mark Sanchez – Yes, you can make a strong case for LaDainian Tomlinson but I am going with our quarterback who has taken major strides in the right direction so far in year two. At this time last year, the Jets were 4-4 and Sanchez had 8 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, currently the Jets are 6-2 and he has 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. Beyond that, he has led the team to two late comeback victories, something he never did in 2009.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – LaDainian Tomlinson – I predicted before the season that Tomlinson would only have 900-1,000 yards of total offense for the Jets and be a clear cut #2 to Shonn Greene…whoops. Tomlinson already has 790 yards of total offense, 5 touchdowns, and is clearly the Jets #1 back. However, he has slowed the previous few weeks and I still believe Greene needs a bigger role in the offense.

C’mon Man – Shonn Greene, Jerricho Cotchery, Brian Schottenheimer – Shonn Greene got off to a slow start but has looked better as of late. Yet, he still isn’t being given enough touches by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer who has been inconsistent at best with his playcalling this year and downright infuriating at worst. Jerricho Cotchery leads the team in drops and really who could have saw that coming. He is also only averaging 10.5 yards per catch, en route to a weak 272 receiving yards.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Braylon Edwards- I did predict Braylon Edwards would lead the team in receiving yards and put together a better than expected year and so far he is making me look good with a team leading 453 yards, along with 5 touchdowns.

Pleasant Surprise – Matt Slauson – Slauson has been very good so far at left guard and made sure none of us miss Alan Faneca all that much.

Pro-Bowl CaliberBrandon Moore, Dustin Keller (447 yards, 5 TD’s), D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Nick Mangold are all putting together excellent years so far.

Getting The Job Done – Ben Hartsock and Tony Richardson aren’t pro-bowl caliber but they are getting the job done also at their respective positions. Brad Smith remains a valuable, versatile weapon for the Jets.

Defense

PhotobucketMVP – David Harris – Most people have been saying Antonio Cromartie, but I am going with the Jets middle linebacker who never gets any respect. Harris has been rock solid in the middle and is a huge part of why the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed. He leads the team in tackles and is tied for the lead in tackles for a loss, along with recording a sack and having 2 passes defensed.

Make TOJ Look Like An Idiot – Brodney Pool – I spent plenty of time in the off-season hyping up Pool as quietly being the Jets best addition this off-season…um, what? After missing week one, Pool has been average at best for the Jets alongside Jim Leonhard at safety. So far through 8 games he has recorded 19 tackles, 0 sacks, 5 passes defensed, and 1 INT.

C’mon Man – Jim Leonhard, Jason Taylor, Darrelle Revis, Kyle Wilson – I know the Island is back now but you can’t let him off the hook for contributing nothing the first 6 weeks of the season. Jim Leonhard has been a liability in pass coverage and hasn’t made any impact plays yet. Jason Taylor had a pretty good start but has been invisible the past few weeks. Kyle Wilson apparently doesn’t know how to find the football in the air or when to turn around, which isn’t good for a first round draft pick. He doesn’t even play on defense anymore, as the immortal Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery jumped him on the depth chart.

Make TOJ Look Smart – Sione Pouha – I have always loved the big fella and he is putting together a great all-around season. He is 4th on the team with 32 tackles, recorded a sack, and somehow has 3 passes defensed.

Pleasant Surprise – Mike DeVito – DeVito has shown that without question he is capable of being a full time starting defensive end. He has also racked up 32 tackles, along with 3 tackles for a loss and is a huge reason the Jets are 4th in rushing yards allowed.

Pro-Bowl Caliber – David Harris and Antonio Cromartie have both played at a Pro-Bowl level to this point of the season, although Cromartie’s lack of big plays could keep him from getting the national respect.

Getting The Job Done – I don’t know if he will ever be a pro-bowler but Pouha has been terrific this year. Shaun Ellis, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas have been steady as usual. Dwight Lowery has been good in his role so far in 2010.

Special Teams

Just a paragraph to offer high praise to this entire unit. Nick Folk has been unbelievably consistent this year, especially considering how he played in 2009. Steve Weatheford, fake punt aside, has been booming the football and great at pinning teams inside their 20. Brad Smith has developed into a quality kick returner. Eric Smith, Lance Laury, and Marquice Cole have led the way on the coverage units.

First Half Highlights

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Nick Mangold didn’t practice for the second day in a row but is still expected to start Sunday night.

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: Game Breakdown

Offense: Let’s go with the assumption that Braylon Edwards is going to play the overwhelming majority of the snaps on Sunday night. The Jets are going to have match-ups to exploit in the Dolphins secondary. Mark Sanchez had two of his better games last season against Miami, including a 265 yard performance. There is no reason to bring the reigns back in on the offense. Let Sanchez attack down the field to Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, and yes Braylon Edwards. Miami’s defensive backs have played well so far this season but they are far from proven and can be beat down the field.

PhotobucketThe Jets have done a good job with the amount of touches they are giving LaDainian Tomlinson. 15 is the perfect number for him. I’d like to see Shonn Greene get 17-18 carries instead of 15, but if Tomlinson keeps playing so well that might not happen. I am not sure how banged up Brad Smith is but if David Clowney gets the same amount of reps he did last year, maybe he will get a shot down the field. Don’t forget in their Monday night match-up last year, The Clown pulled in 4 receptions for 72 yards.

Beyond that, I think you may see the Jets get a little more creative than usual against Miami. Maybe it is time to have Brad Smith throw a pass or let LaDainian Tomlinson throw one.

Defense: The Dolphins have scored two touchdowns through two games. Chad Henne hasn’t really been pushing the ball down the field and Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have both lost fumbles so far this season. Williams seems to be struggling a little bit, while Brown has racked up impressive yardage totals.

Obviously, the two key players the Jets need to stop are Brown and Brandon Marshall. Antonio Cromartie will draw the assignment of Marshall and have another chance to show the Jets could survive without Darrelle Revis. Cromartie has the size to compete with Marshall, but he has given up some big days to him in the past. After dealing with the receivers he has the past two weeks, Kyle Wilson should be more than ready for Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery did good with extended playing last week, let’s hope they don’t lapse into old habits on Sunday night.

Jason Taylor will be charged up to face his old team and the Jets need him to lead their pass rush, unless Bryan Thomas is going to play the way he did against Baltimore every week. How about Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito are #2 and #3, respectively in leading the NFL in tackles for defensive lineman? It is very difficult to run the ball on this Jets defense, which means it will be up to Chad Henne to beat the Jets.

Special Teams: Nick Folk and Steve Weatherford have been beasts through the first two weeks and they need to keep it up in week three. This will be a close, low-scoring game where field position is crucial and missed field goals can’t be afforded. Fortunately, the Jets don’t have to worry about kicking to Ted Ginn Jr. this year.

It is that time of the year

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: First Look

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First a few updates:

1. On Braylon Edwards’ stupidity…There is never any excuse to drive drunk and regardless of what the league sanctions, the Jets need to take some type of action to tone down some of the behavior on this team. Obviously, it would be nice if the Jets could “collect the facts” this week and then bench him against the Bills (because they are the Bills) and the Vikings (because Santonio Holmes will return). Yet, it is more likely he won’t play against Miami which is the appropriate action. I have confidence in Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller’s ability to step up, although Brad Smith and David Clowney are also going to have to produce. How about it The Clown?

Final Thoughts on Week 2:

Offensive MVP – Mark Sanchez – A no brainer here. It was the best game of our young QB’s short career. Sanchez played well in both games against Miami last year, so hopefully he can now start stringing together a few strong performances.

Defensive MVP – Antonio Cromartie –Played the part of “Revis Island” in the second half and rallied the secondary around him with a half time speech to his unit.

They Deserve Some Love Too – Nick Folk…How about 5/5 in two games? Steve Weatherford…who is kicking the crap out of the ball. Dustin Keller…for shredding the New England cover two in pieces…Sione Pouha/Mike DeVito…unsung heroes on the Jets defense. LaDainian Tomlinson…Bringing a ton of energy and explosiveness to the Jets offense. Matt Slauson…He has struggled at times but overall is holding his own well enough.

Jets vs. Dolphins Round 1: First Look

The Opponent: You aren’t much of a Jets fan if you can’t already feel the hate flowing through your veins when thinking about the upcoming match-up with Miami. The Dolphins swept the Jets despite going 7-9 last season, thanks mostly to Ted Ginn Jr, who is fortunately no longer on the team. In 2010, Miami is off to a 2-0 start thanks to an impressive win in Minnesota and a not so impressive win in Buffalo. Their defense has been terrific so far this year but their offense has been struggling to produce points.

Miami Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Chad Henne -30/49, 296 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Ronnie Brown – 26 carries, 145 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble
  • Running Back: Ricky Williams – 28 carries, 92 yards, 1 fumble
  • Fullback: Lousaka Polite – 6 carries, 16 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall – 12 receptions, 124 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Brian Hartline – 3 receptions, 28 yards, 1 TD
  • Wide Receiver: Davone Bess – 7 receptions, 63 yards
  • Tight End: Anthony Fasano – 3 receptions, 46 yards
  • Left Tackle: Jake Long
  • Left Guard: Richie Incognito
  • Center: Joe Berger
  • Right Guard: John Jerry
  • Right Tackle: Vernon Carey

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Kendall Langford – 7 tackles, 1 sack
  • Nose Tackle: Randy Starks – 3 tackles, .5 sack
  • Defensive End: Jared Odrick -1 tackle
  • Outside Linebacker: Koa Misi – 6 tackles, 1 sack
  • Inside Linebacker: Bobby Carpenter – 4 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Karlos Dansby – 17 tackles, 1 sack
  • Outside Linebacker: Cameron Wake – 5 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Corner: Vontae Davis – 8 tackles, 1 INT
  • Corner – Jason Allen – 17 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Corner: Sean Smith – 3 tackles
  • Safety: Chris Clemons – 9 tackles
  • Safety: Yeremiah Bell – 20 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Dan Carpenter – 2/3 FGs
  • Punter: Brandon Fields – 40.8 yards per kick
  • Kick Return: Clifton Smith – 17.3 yards per return
  • Punt Return: Clifton Smith – 4.5 yards per return

PhotobucketKey PlayersBrandon Marshall and Ronnie Brown are the Dolphins two biggest weapons on offense. Chad Henne has the ability to push the ball down the field and Ricky Williams has killed the Jets in the past. Davone Bess is a dangerous slot receiver. On defense, Cameron Wake leads Miami’s pass rush, while their young secondary has played well so far. Karlos Dansby is a very good inside linebacker.

Injuries – For the Jets, don’t expect Darrelle Revis or Calvin Pace to suit up. On Miami, Jared Odrick should be out.

Key Storylines – The rivalry…Can Rex Ryan beat the Dolphins? How will the Jets slow down Brandon Marshall without Darrelle Revis? Mark Sanchez’s follow up performance. Braylon Edwards suspension and how it affects the Jets offense. Jason Taylor’s homecoming.

Highlights of Dolphins Week Two Win

40 New York Jets Prediction For 2010 Season

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First a few updates:

1. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (@TurnOnTheJets).

2. Brodney Pool didn’t practice yesterday or today with a sprained ankle. Rex Ryan made it sound like he wasn’t going to practice Thursday either. Calvin Pace is apparently ahead of schedule in his rehab and could be back before week four. Finally, Darrelle Revis took part in about half of the team reps and pulled in a one handed interception, along with a few pass breakups.

50 New York Jets Prediction For 2010 Season

No introduction necessary:

1. Despite potentially missing up to four games, Calvin Pace will still lead the Jets in sacks this season with 8.5. David Harris and Jason Taylor won’t be far behind with 6.5 each.

2. Darrelle Revis won’t begin playing at his 2009 level until around week five. However, that doesn’t mean he still won’t be very, very good the first few weeks.

3. Antonio Cromartie will lead the Jets in interceptions with 7.

4. Kris Jenkins will benefit from having Sione Pouha spell him and from his weight loss this off-season to put together an All-Pro year.

5. Vernon Gholston will finally record his first NFL sack at some point during the 2010 season and prove to be a decent part of the defensive line rotation.

6. Mark Sanchez will throw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 2010, finishing with 19 TDs to 14 INTs.

7. LaDainian Tomlinson will finish with 950 total offensive yards and 8 total touchdowns.

Photobucket8. Shonn Greene will lead the Jets in rushing yards with 1200, and also add on 6 touchdowns of his own.

9. Joe McKnight will make no significant contributions to the Jets offense this season.

10. Jerricho Cotchery will lead the Jets in receptions, Dustin Keller won’t be far behind him and lead the team in touchdown receptions.

11. Motivated by not being the only member of the Core Four who didn’t get paid, David Harris will put together his best career season and get Patrick Willis type money next off-season.

12. Kyle Wilson will put together a strong rookie year as the Jets nickel back and will eventually become the primary punt returner. He will have two interceptions and two sacks in 2010.

13. Shaun Eliis will have a quiet but productive year with 4 sacks, in what will likely be his final season in green and white.

14. Brodney Pool will get his feet under him in the Jets defense after the bye week and finish the season strongly, proving to be an upgrade over Kerry Rhodes.

15. The Jets will go 4-2 in their six games prior their bye week.

16. The Jets will finish 7-3, en route to a 11-5 record and AFC East title.

17. The Jets will split with Miami and New England.

18. The Jets will avoid their yearly letdown against the Bills and sweep them in 2010.

19. Braylon Edwards will start the season strongly and remain a big play threat for the entire year. Yet, there won’t be enough touches for him to approach 1,000 yards receiving or have any more than 5-6 touchdowns.

20. Santonio Holmes return will be a major boost to the Jets offense in week 5 and he will develop into their unquestioned number one receiver during the stretch run and into the playoffs.

21. Left guard will be an ongoing problem for the Jets in 2010, leading to Mark Sanchez taking more hits than any of us would like to see. If Sanchez misses any extended period of time and by that I mean more than a game or two tops, the Jets aren’t going to be a playoff team.

22. The Jets “Tiger” formation won’t be a major part of their offense, but Brad Smith will still provide an occasional big play every few weeks. Yet, Smith will be one of the Jets top special teams players along with Eric Smith.

23. Eric Smith will be the Jets most important defensive sub in 2010, not Jason Taylor, Kyle Wilson, or even Sione Pouha.

24. Jamaal Westerman will finish with three sacks and be a bigger part of the Jets defense than he was in 2009.

25. John Conner will play more and more as the season goes on, yet Tony Richardson and him will still be splitting reps about 50/50 by the end of the year.

26. Nick Folk will be good in 2010 but still won’t be at his All-Pro 2007 form.

Photobucket27. Jim Leonhard and Bryan Thomas will both have steady, consistent years despite not putting together stat lines that will turn any heads, similar to 2009.

28. There will be some type of storyline at least every other week about some player on the Jets upcoming opponent making a comment on how the Jets talk too much.

29. The Jets won’t have a 1000 yard receiver.

30. The Jets won’t miss Marques Douglas. Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha will be more than adequate in the defensive line rotation.

31. Despite having a good season as the Jets top back with the previously mentioned stats, Shonn Greene will still lose 2 – 4 fumbles.

32. The Jets will be back to where they were in 2009, in the AFC Championship Game except this time they will be facing the Baltimore Ravens.

33. Bart Scott won’t lead the Jets in tackles, sacks, or tackles for loss. Yet, you can bet he will lead the team in trash talk spoken.

34. Jerricho Cotchery will be the Jets primary third down target throughout the entire year, even after Santonio Holmes returns.

35. Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage will improve to around 56 percent, thanks largely to having a reliable check down back in LaDainian Tomlinson.

36. Pro Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris.

37. All-Pro – Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Nick Mangold, David Harris

38. Tony Richardson will have more receptions than Ben Hartsock this season, but big #84 will still pull in one touchdown, beating out Richardson’s 0. I am even signing up Matt Mulligan for 2 receptions in 2010.

39. Mark Sanchez won’t eat any concession stand food on the sideline, nor bring prepared notes to any post game press conferences.

40. Mike Francesa will need to move to drinking 39 Pepsis a day to handle the Jets being a legit contender all season, while the Giants wallow in irrelevancy with their subpar defense and offensive line.

Why The Jets Are The Real Deal

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As the NFL season inevitably inches closer, more and more skepticism about the chances of the Jets having a successful season are becoming present. Fans of the team are reverting back to their usual pessimism. NFL analysts are nitpicking reasons to avoid picking the Jets as a serious contender. Giants fans can’t understand why nobody is talking about their team, leading to them arguing the Jets will be a let-down, have a tough schedule, can’t win with Sanchez, can’t overcome losing Faneca and Jones and on and on. Patriots and Dolphins fans feel the same way. Everybody in New England thinks the world is sleeping on Brady and Belichick, as if that was possible. All the fans in Miami are convinced Chad Henne is the next Dan Marino after the epic run he took the team on last season. I guess it was an impressive 7-9 season.

Anyway, you may hate the confidence the Jets carry themselves with. You might be tired of hearing Rex Ryan talk or seeing Darrelle Revis in those Nike commercials. Unfortunately for you though, the Jets have the talent to back up their words and outside of the team with Peyton Manning under center, they are the favorites to win the AFC. Here is why the Jets are the real deal:

PhotobucketLet’s start with the easiest part, the Jets have the best defense in NFL. They had the best defense in 2009 and substantially improved it over the off-season. You can start in the secondary where the two weak links of the league’s number one ranked passing defense (by 30 yards I might add), were replaced. Antonio Cromartie will take over for Lito Sheppard opposite Darrelle Revis, giving the Jets arguably the best pair of starting corners in the NFL. Kerry Rhodes is now gone and Brodney Pool will take his place. Anytime you can replace a matador with somebody who can tackle, it helps the situation. Dwight Lowery has been moved into the number four cornerback spot, with rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson now becoming the nickel back.

Outside of the improvements in the secondary, Jason Taylor was signed from Miami to enhance the Jets pass rush. The Jets did occasionally struggle against the run in 2009. However the return of All-Pro nose tackle Kris Jenkins should provide help, along with having the previously mentioned Rhodes now doing photo shoots and missing tackles in Arizona. Beyond that, the Jets will now be in the second year of Rex Ryan’s system. Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, and anybody else who played a substantial role in their first year of Ryan’s defense in 2009 will be that much more comfortable this season.

When you look at the additions and subtractions made to the Jets defensive depth chart and their familiarity with the system in year two, it is hard to argue the unit won’t be better in 2010. This should be a scary thought for the rest of the NFL, considering how good they were in 2009.

On offense, you could question Mark Sanchez all you want. His regular season statistics justify thequestioning. However, don’t ignore that he won two road playoffs games in his rookie year and played a terrific game on the road in the AFC Championship Game. Also, consider if the Jets could manage an AFC Championship Game trip with him throwing 20 interceptions to 12 touchdowns, what they could do if he makes the likely year two improvements.

PhotobucketThe Jets have questions at running back. Shonn Greene has to prove he is a lead back but he certainly looked the part down the stretch in the regular season and in the playoffs. At worst LaDainian Tomlinson can catch the ball out of the backfield and be a quality goal-line back. Outside of that, the Jets offense is stacked. Even without Alan Faneca, who was awful in pass protection last year by the way, they still have a top five offensive line in the NFL. At receiver, they have three guys capable of being a number one. They have an athletic tight end, who can stretch the field and is a mismatch against most defenses.

What about the competition in the AFC East? What did New England do to make sure they aren’t run off the field by teams like Baltimore again in 2010? Who is their lead running back? Is there defense any good? Who is filling for Wes Welker until he comes back? Will Welker get back to 100 percent this season?

Is Brandon Marshall enough to improve Miami from a 7-9 team that was two Ted Ginn Jr led victories against the Jets away from being 5-11? Can Ronnie Brown ever play a full season? Can Chad Henne win a late season game? Who is going to catch passes for the Dolphins when Marshall is safely locked away on Revis Island?

Yes, I think the Jets talent backs up their words. They do have the best corner and center in the NFL, along with one of the best tackles (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), guards (Brandon Moore), defensive tackles (Kris Jenkins), and linebackers (David Harris). It is always a good sign when people like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Antonio Cromartie are in your second tier of talented players. It is also positive when you can sign players like Jason Taylor and LaDainian Tomlinson be backups.

You can make excuses about why the Jets won’t be good in 2010 or you can just accept that they are going to be one of the best teams in the NFL and right in the mix for a Super Bowl. It would probably be better to make up your mind now instead of changing your story mid-season.

“DARRELLE REVIS!”

Five Questions About The Jets Defense

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First a few updates:

1. Rich Cimini is reporting the Jets will sign quarterback Mark Brunell as early as this Thursday and there still remains a good chance defensive end Marques Douglas will be brought back before training camp. I am all for bringing Douglas back, who quietly had a very good 2009 season. As for Brunell, I would rather see him as the team’s #3 quarterback instead of their #2 but it seems like the Jets are ready to part ways with Kellen Clemens and let Brunell be Mark Sanchez’s primary backup.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets)…good links today about Rex Ryan convincing Kris Jenkins not to retire, Woody Johnson’s opinions of the Jets contract problems, and a few season preview videos and articles.

Five Questions About The Jets Defense

As training camp rapidly approaches, here are five questions about the Jets defense that still need to be sorted out –

1. How large of an upgrade will Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson be over Lito Sheppard and Dwight Lowery at the cornerback position?

– I don’t think there is any question that Cromartie and Wilson will be an improvement over what the Jets had opposite Darrelle Revis at corner in 2009. Yet, Cromartie is coming off two relatively sub par seasons after a monster 2007 campaign. He was banged up those seasons and the Jets system should play better to his strengths, which should lead to improvements in 2010. However, it remains to be seen how close Cromartie can come to being the playmaker and shut down corner he was in 2007. The Jets are going to give him every chance to succeed with their style of play on defense and it sounds like he will get some reps at both kick and punt returner. If Cromartie can play to his potential, the Jets will have the best pair of starting corners in the NFL by a good margin. Kyle Wilson was considered by some to be the best corner in the 2010 draft and is an aggressive, physical player who will be asked to take over the nickel spot on the Jets defense. He is a rookie so there will be some bumps along the way but the upgrade of his physical talent over Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman last year should provide a huge boost to the Jets defense. This question really comes down to, exactly how dominant is the Jets pass defense going to be?

2. Will Kris Jenkins regain his 2008 form?

Photobucket– To be a little more accurate, will Kris Jenkins regain his form from the first 11 games of the 2008 season when he was the most dominant player on the Jets roster? He is coming off ACL surgery and is going to be 31 years old this season. The Jets need to do a better job of monitoring Jenkins reps this season to enhance his productivity when he is on the field and make sure he still has gas left in the tank when December rolls around. Fortunately, the Jets have a more than capable backup to Jenkins in Sione Pouha, who had a very good season last year after Jenkins went down with his injury. If the Jets can get the Jenkins from the first 11 games in 2008 this season, their defense is going to be that much better than it already is.

3. How much will Jason Taylor improve the Jets pass rush?

The Jets didn’t have overly impressive sack totals in 2009 and they signed long time rival Jason Taylor to help change that. He had seven sacks for the Dolphins last season but Rex Ryan is confident with the Jets scheme, he can get Taylor back to double digit sack totals. Bryan Thomas is going to remain the starter at outside linebacker but Taylor will be used on third downs and in pass rushing situations. Ryan will also likely move him all over the formation to attack the quarterback. Don’t be shocked to see Taylor with his hand in the dirt on some plays or blitzing from an inside linebacker spot, to keep teams off guard. I still think Calvin Pace may end up leading the Jets in sacks but if Taylor can give them 8 – 11 himself, than signing him was the right decision.

4. How much of an improvement will Brodney Pool be over Kerry Rhodes at safety?

Kerry Rhodes failed to live up to expectations in 2009. He had a tough time adjusting to no longer being a leader on the defense and was a little too concerned with his off the field lifestyle. Brodney Pool has spent his career on bad football teams and should be chomping at the bit to get his chance starting at safety for this Jets defense. The coaching staff has raved about Pool’s work this off-season and considering the type of season he has having before his injury in 2009, he could be in store for a big year. It won’t take much from Pool to be an improvement from Rhodes last year but hopefully he can bring some of the playmaking ability expected from the safeties in Rex Ryan’s system.

5. Will Vernon Gholston give the Jets anything this year?

Outside of Sione Pouha, the rotation spots on the Jets defensive line off the bench are up for grabs. It would be nice if Vernon Gholston can turn into a competent backup defensive end, who can occasionally provide some type of pass rush. It is shame that is what we have to hope for now from the #6 pick in the draft but at this point it would be better than nothing. If players like Ropati Pitoitua and Matt Kroul are getting more reps than Gholston by the time 2010 comes to an end, that will be the end of Gholston’s career in green and white.

TOJ TV

New York Jets Defense – Three Layers Of Excellence

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The New York Jets had the NFL’s number one ranked defense last season and there is plenty of reasons to believe they will improve in 2010. Whether it is the increased familiarity the returning players have with Rex Ryan’s system or the influx of talent through trades, free agency, and the NFL draft; the Jets are position to improve their defensive weaknesses from 2009 and become an even more dominant unit.

PhotobucketThe Jets had the number one ranked total defense thanks to their number one ranked passing defense, which blew away the rest of the NFL by allowing 153.7 yards per game. The second place team was over 30 yards behind. There is no reason to think the Jets pass coverage should suffer in 2010, considering they upgraded their second, third and fourth cornerback and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool.

Despite having such an exceptional pass defense, the Jets didn’t rack up impressive sack totals in 2009. They finished tied for 18th in the league with 32.0 sacks. This number should improve in 2010 because of the addition of Jason Taylor, who Rex Ryan will use as a pass rush specialist. The return of a healthy Kris Jenkins will also help push the pocket on the quarterback. Finally, the Jets will have their returning sack leader, Calvin Pace, for 16 games instead of the 12 they had him for in 2009.

The Jets had the 8th ranked rushing defense in the NFL in 2010, nothing to be ashamed of but also nowhere near the level of their pass defense. Again the return of Jenkins at nose tackle should lead to improvement and having Pool at safety instead Rhodes, who struggled in run support and tackling in general last season, will help.

PhotobucketThe return of Kris Jenkins at nose tackle gives the Jets a legitimate All-Pro caliber player at all three levels of their defense. Jenkins on the defensive line, David Harris at linebacker, and Darrelle Revis in the secondary. This is a luxury few teams in the NFL currently have and means you need to have exceptional talent on the offensive line, running back, and receiver position to handle all three of these players.

Jenkins is flanked by a collection of blue-collar players who fit well into Ryan’s system. Shaun Ellis is the most well-know of the rest of the bunch and is one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the league. He has the ability to stop the run and provide a solid pass rush. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito aren’t household names but they did more than an adequate job when Jenkins went down last season and are good run stopping defensive lineman.

PhotobucketHarris is surrounded by two borderline pro-bowl caliber players in Bart Scott and Calvin Pace at linebacker, along with Taylor who is a former All-Pro that should benefit from only having to focus on rushing the passer and from Ryan’s aggressive scheme overall. Bryan Thomas is the lowest profile player in the linebacker group but remains a competent starter who does many of the little things for this defense that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Revis is now paired with Antonio Cromartie at cornerback, who could have made the claim to being the best corner in the NFL after the 2007 season. I don’t know if Cromartie will ever play at that level again but he will certainly have opportunity to flourish in New York because of how his skill set matches up to the Jets defensive system and because of how many balls will be thrown his way. Rookie first round pick Kyle Wilson will be asked to step into the nickel role, which speaks to the talent in front of him. Former starter/nickel back Dwight Lowery can now slide into the #4 corner/extra safety in certain packages role, which best suits him. The Jets don’t have big names at safety in Jim Leonhard and Brondey Pool, but Leonhard is consistent and won’t give up the big play and Pool will have the chance to shine the way Rhodes was supposed to in 2009. Reserve safeties Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo are also key contributing members to this unit off the bench.

There are questions about the Jets heading into the 2010 season but it is hard to see their defense not being an elite unit in the NFL again. Considering what they did last year and their influx of talent, it would be a legitimate disappointment if they didn’t have the NFL’s number one ranked unit.

What To Watch

Projecting The Jets Defensive Statistics

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First a few updates:

1. RIP George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. The greatest owner and PA announcer both gone in back to back days…sad stuff. It will make the Yankees inevitable 28th championship a little sweeter when they win it for both of them though.

2. NBA Free Agency Thoughts – Despite my intense hatred of the Miami Heat, bringing back Udonis Haslem and adding Mike Miller were both solid moves. Miller is going to have insane amounts of open looks from three point range and Haslem is a solid all-around role player. However, they are still behind the Lakers in my mind, especially since Derek Fisher decided to head back to LA and will now pair with Steve Blake at point guard. Also if the Lakers pick up Raja Bell, it will be a big addition for them. It will give them three top level on ball defenders with him, Kobe, and Ron Artest. The Heat will score points in bunches but can they stop anybody? Despite not getting LeBron or Wade, the Chicago Bulls have quietly upgraded their roster substantially. Carlos Boozer up front to pair with Joakim Noah and Kyle Korver and JJ Redick to boost their backcourt. They have more than enough all around talent to give the Heat a serious run. It was obviously a dissapointing off-season for the Knicks. However, they have a young, talented roster in place and should compete for a 7 or 8 seed in the East season after adding Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, and Anthony Randolph. Now we are just holding out hope for Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony to eventually come on board. For all the hype about the Nets during the first couple of weeks of free agency, they ended up having Travis Outlaw and Jordan Farmar to show for it.

3. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Mark Brunell will be joining the Jets on July 22nd and that move will be coupled by the release of Kellen Clemens. Again, I agree with decision to sign Brunell but not the decision to cut Clemens. Why not keep Clemens as the #2 and let Brunell be the #3? It is a better depth chart than having Brunell as the #2 and Kevin O’Connell or Erik Ainge as the #3. I am also holding out hope that the Jets will bring back defensive end Marques Douglas. Why not have the rich get richer on defense?

Projecting The Jets Defensive Statistics

Depsite having a notoriously aggressive pass rush, the Jets didn’t have impressive overall sack numbers in 2009. They looked to remedy that this year by adding Jason Taylor, who should primarily play on third downs and passing situations. I trust Ryan’s ability to utilize Taylor’s ability to rush the passer and think he will end up in the 9 -11 sack range in 2010. I also think Calvin Pace will crack double digits, based on the fact he had 8 sacks in only 12 games during his first season in Ryan’s defense. Outside of that, Shaun Ellis should be good for his usual 5 – 7 sacks and the defensive backs should rack up a decent amount, considering how much Ryan loves sending them off the edge at the quarterback. Look for Kyle Wilson, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo, and Dwight Lowery to all get plenty of opportunities to pull in a few sacks each. If Kris Jenkins is kept fresh by rotating with Sione Pouha, he should also be good for a handful of sacks.

Photobucket– In the defensive backfield, it isn’t out of the question for Darrelle Revis to exceed his 6 interceptions from last year. The beauty of Rex Ryan’s system is that it forces opposing offenses to challenge Revis and the overwhelming majority of the time, he wins the battle. Revis is basically always going to be covering the team’s top option, which sometimes includes sliding in the slot to cover their primary third down target. For example, against the Chargers last year he spent time on Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, and LaDainian Tomlinson out of the backfield depending on the situation. He also slid inside to cover Legedu Naanee on some third downs, because he was a favorite target of Philip Rivers in that particular situation. Ryan makes it nearly impossible to avoid throwing at Revis at least a few times a game. Antonio Cromartie should see plenty of balls come his way also when teams attempt to work away from Revis and he has the athleticism to make teams pay for challenging him, especially if he is covering their second or third option. Honestly, there is no reason Revis and Cromartie can’t both pull in 6 – 8 interceptions in 2010. Beyond that, I think Brodney Pool will have the third most. He had 4 interceptions in 11 games last year on a relatively poor defense, so it will be interesting to see how many he grabs on this team.

– Unless there is an injury, David Harris is going to lead the team in tackles by a good margin with Bart Scott finishing up in second place. Harris filled up the stat line last year (127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FFs) and those numbers should only increase as he gets more comfortable in Ryan’s system. Scott had an impressive 11 tackles for loss last season but hopefully he can cause a few more turnovers and get to the quarterback more in 2010. He had 0 FFs and INTs in 2009, along with only 1 sack.

– It will be interesting to see how the Jets rotation off the bench works on defense. You know Taylor and Wilson will see a good amount of reps and will almost always be in on third downs and passing situations. Depending on the game plan, Eric Smith should be on the field frequently to match-up with tight ends, running backs, or be used as a blitzer. Ryan also showed last year that he likes to use James Ihedigbo in pass rush situations. Dwight Lowery is working both at safety and corner now, which will help increase his reps. He will likely only get substantial playing time against teams who spread the field. On the defensive line, Sione Pouha will play near a starter’s amount of reps to help keep Kris Jenkins fresh and to occasionally pair up with him. Hopefully, either Vernon Gholston, Ropati Pitoitua, or Matt Kroul can step up to also give some quality reps off the bench.

That’s How You Come After the QB

What To Watch