Enjoy episode II of Turn on The Jets TV, where I recap week 1 in the NFL, predict the Jets/Patriots game and go over my anguish of watching the Jets lose to New England at home the last 8 years.
This Week’s Song: The Game – We Stand Alone
You couldn’t have asked for a better opening day effort from the New York Jets. They completely dominated a team that all the “expert” analysts were calling a serious playoff contender and a threat to the Colts in the AFC South, while everybody dismissed the Jets as the AFC East’s worst team, who wouldn’t be able to handle the Texans with a rookie quarterback and rookie head coach. Well, that’s why they play the game and there is no question that the Jets embarrassed an over matched, and likely overrated Houston Texans team.
First and Foremost….the Jets defense was phenomenal. Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and the Jets forced him into a crucial fumble. Andre Johnson was invisible (thank you very much Darrelle Revis, who owned their 1 on 1 match-up) and Matt Schaub looked terrible, mostly thanks to consistently vicious Jets pass rush, which was in his face all day. David Harris looked like an all-pro, racking up 11 tackles, a sack, and a pass defensed. Better yet, everybody contributed with guys like Donald Strickland, Eric Smith, Mike DeVito, and Jamaal Westerman (1st NFL sack before Vernon Gholston) chipping in. Rex Ryan called a great game, keeping Houston off balance.
He Sure Didn’t Look Like A Rookie…Outside of an interception and a handful of other risky throws, Mark Sanchez played very well providing the Jets with a balanced attack by racking up a 272 yard passing performance and a touchdown. Most impressive was Sanchez on third down, where he was nearly flawless routinely converting big throw, after big throw. i believe he was something like 12/15 in those situations. His biggest throw of the day was a 40 yard completion to Dustin Keller on a third down after the Texans had cut the lead to 17-7 on an interception return, completing stopping any chance they had at momentum.
40 Touches…I said before the game that if Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combined for 40 touches, the Jets would win and sure enough they combined for 39 and the Jets won. Brian Schottenheimer did an excellent job utilizing Leon Washington (15 carries, 60 yards, 4 catches 24 yards) and sticking with Thomas Jones who struggled early but broke through in the second half with 2 huge runs and 2 touchdowns. He finished the day with 107 yards on 20 carries. I also like the Jets “Seminole” aka their version of the Wildcat, which hit for a couple of nice runs to Washington.
No Brandon Marshall, No Laveranues Coles, No Problem…Great games by Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Chansi Stuckey who all raised their games on third downs to make big plays for their rookie quarterback. Cotchery ran well after the catch and was right around 100 yards, as was Keller. Stuckey obviously had the big 30 yard touchdown and ran well on receiver screens.
You What Is Even More Exciting?…We didn’t even have Calvin Pace, Shaun Ellis, or Shonn Greene today. The Jets D is going to be scary, scary good when those guys come back….No sacks allowed by the Jets -Line…Kris Jenkins is still a beast…The Dolphins looked like garbage today, getting beat down by Atlanta…We are playing New England next week, you have to love that early season big game.
And on that note, I will carry on being in a great mood for the Jets of my Sunday.
First a few updates:
1. Just a friendly reminder that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet radio show tomorrow at 11:15 AM to preview the Jets/Texans game, check it out http://ownersedge.fanball.com/fantasy_buffet.php
2. The Jets added fullback Jason Davis to their practice squad today and removed safety Emmanuel Cook from it.
Jets vs. Texans: Game Breakdown
Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Texans are not strong against the run, and were in the bottom third in all rushing defensive categories last season. Brian Schottenheimer and the rest of the Jets offensive coaching staff should be licking their chops thinking about their running game against the Texans front seven. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington should combine for 40 touches this Sunday, the closer they get to that number the more likely the Jets are to win. If the Jets are running the ball effectively and utilizing Jones/Washington in the short passing game, they will be keeping the dangerous Texans offense off the field and protecting their rookie quarterback.
Expect the Jets to come out fairly conservative in the first half, although I wouldn’t be shocked to see them try to catch Houston off guard by taking an early shot with David Clowney or Dustin Keller down the seam. However, for the most part expect alot of runs, screens, and short hitches/slants to Keller and Jerricho Cotchery. The Jets will want to get Sanchez going with easy completions, although I think they may elect to run the ball in some 3rd and long situations early in the game, similar to how they did against Baltimore in the pre-season.
To recap, expect a heavy, heavy dose of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington and a predominantly short, quick release passing attack. Although, don’t be surprised to see the Jets look to go up top at some point in the first quarter when the Texans overload the box. When David Clowney comes in the game, obviously all eyes will be on him going deep so the Jets might have to hit him with a curl or comeback first or look to get Cotchery or Brad Smith on a go route.
Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Texans have a dangerous offense, led by a strong pocket passer in Matt Schaub, a game breaking receiver in Andre Johnson, a Leon Washington clone in Steve Slaton, a pro-bowl tight (Owen Daniels) and a quality possession receiver (Kevin Walter). How do the Jets stop all of that? Well, the Jets aren’t half bad on defense themselves even without Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis. I expect the Jets to come after Schaub early and often and test his bum ankle. Rex Ryan won’t be scared to leave Darrelle Revis one on one in coverage with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter one on one with Lito Sheppard. Kerry Rhodes and David Harris both should be alright against Daniels at the tight end spot. In terms of Slaton, the Jets simply have to tackle. They can’t overload the box, miss a tackle and let him get in the open field because he will be gone.
I am concerned because the Texans are a big play offense and the Jets gave up a ton of big plays in the pre-season. I think Revis will hold his own against Johnson. The guy will get his catches but I don’t think he will kill the Jets with a big play or have one of his normal 8 catch, 130 yard, 2 TD performances. Keep an eye on Kevin Walter because honestly Lito Sheppard hasn’t looked good, and I’m sure the Texans will be looking to exploit that match-up.
The key for the Jets will be to prevent the big play. They need to make the Texans put together long drives to score points, and look to eventually create turnovers. Houston will get their yards but if the Jets can grab an interception and force a fumble, and hold the Texans to field goals instead of touchdowns, they have a great chance of coming out on top.
Special Teams Breakdown: Both teams have solid kickers. Obviously, you have to be concerned about the Jets punting situation but hopefully Steve Weatherford can be halfway decent and not kill the Jets with any shanks. Leon Washington and Jacoby Jones are both dangerous kick returners, and don’t forget about Jim Leonhard and Andre Davis as punt returners. Both teams have players who can change the entire dynamic of the game on their special teams units.
The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez plays beyond his years, managing to take a couple of shots down the field to keep the defense honest but avoiding any costly turnovers. Darrelle Revis contains Andre Johnson and the Jets don’t let Steve Slaton get in the open field. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington combine for 40 touches, letting the Jets dominate the time of possession, keeping the dangerous Texans offense on the side-line.
The Jets Will Lose If…The Jets defense allows the big play, letting Steve Slaton or Andre Johnson score a touchdown of 30 yards or more. Johnson beats Revis up and down the field, racking up yet another 100 yard game. Mark Sanchez tries to do too much and throws a costly interception in a big spot. Thomas Jones can’t get going in the running game and Leon Washington has less than 10 touches on offense.
First Time Starters For the Jets:
Tomorrow, check back for the first episode of “Turn on the Jets TV” where I will make by prediction for the Jets game and the rest of the NFL Games this weekend, along with some fantasy observations.
Get Ready to See Some Thomas Jones on Sunday
First a few updates:
1. Well you don’t have to worry about the Jets being jinxed by pre-season expectations. They were the consensus pick to finish in last place by all of ESPN’s “experts” and are also currently ranked #23 in their NFL Power Rankings, behind the Seahawks, 49ers, Bills, Redskins, and Texans. But, hey that’s why they play the game right?
2. The Jets added Danny Woodhead to their practice squad today and released Jehuu Caulcrick off it.
3. On the active roster, the Jets signed linebacker Ryan Fowler who played for the Titans the past few seasons, including starting 16 games for them 2 years ago and released fullback Jason Davis.
4. Mike DeVito didn’t practice today but is still expected to go on Sunday, as well is Shonn Greene who is recovering from a variety of injuries. Sione Pouha ran with the first team in practice today, with Kris Jenkins sliding out to defensive end for some looks when paired with Pouha.
Jets vs. Texans: First Look
The Opponent: The Houston Texans have been 8-8 the past two seasons, and are a trendy pick to take the step to the next level in 2009 and become a legitimate playoff contender. Their offense is expected to be one of the NFL’s best but they have a ton of question marks on defense, making them the complete opposite of the Jets who have the reverse problem. Over the past two seasons, the Texans are 12-4 at home and have generally been difficult to beat in their building since coming into the league. The latest lines I saw have them as 4-5 point favorites over the Jets. Regardless, the Jets must get this game. They don’t want to be heading home to play the Pats and Titans, teams with a combined record of 24-6 last year, as a 0-1 team.
Houston Texans Starters/Key Reserves
Key Players: Matt Schaub is a dangerous quarterback when he is healthy. He has a strong arm and can get the ball down the field. Andre Johnson is arguably the best receiver in football. Kevin Walter is an underrated player and a very good number two option, who caught more touchdowns than anyone on the Jets last year. Owen Daniels is a pro-bowl tight end. Steve Slaton is an explosive player, who averaged almost 5 yards per carry last season, although he did lose 3 fumbles. DeMeco Ryans is one of the best linebackers in football. Mario Williams is a top flight pass rusher. Houston coaches have been raving about rookie Brian Cushing at outside linebacker.
Jets Injury Concerns: Mike DeVito is a little banged up but expected to start for Shaun Ellis (suspension) and rotate defensive line reps with Sione Pouha, Marques Douglas, and Kris Jenkins. Shonn Greene is nursing sore ribs and a sore hamstring but should be active as the #3 RB. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens has a sore elbow, but will be the #2 QB on Sunday.
Early Story Lines: Rex Ryan’s first game as a Head Coach…rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez’s first start…Darrelle Revis vs Andre Johnson…Texans look to justify pre-season expectations…expected great defense (Jets) vs expected great offense (Texans).
I’m glad we got Darrelle Revis