Jets vs. Bills Round 1: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets have signed former Ravens defensive end, Trevor Pryce to boost their interior pass rush and overall defensive line depth. Pryce is obviously familiar with Rex Ryan’s defense and does have an ability to get after the quarterback, as evidenced by his 6.5 sacks last year and 90 sacks throughout his career. Howard Green was released as a corresponding roster move but is expected to re-sign Monday.

2. Darrelle Revis will be out Sunday, as expected. Wayne Hunter and Jamaal Westerman are both also likely to miss the Buffalo game. Calvin Pace was limited in practice but it doesn’t sound like he is going to play either. Rex Ryan hinted that Joe McKnight could be active this week…he probably got sick of hearing about Leon Washington, Chauncey Washington, and Danny Woodhead.

Jets vs. Bills Round 1: Game Breakdown

Offense: Considering Mark Sanchez has turned into Peyton Manning, I think the Jets should come out in the 4 wide hurry up and have the kid let it fly 40-50 times….More seriously, the Jets must avoid the temptation to move too far away from their running game. They have looked great throwing the ball but let’s make sure LaDainian Tomlinson is electric gliding for at least 15 carries and Shonn Greene starts building some confidence back with 12-15 carries of his own. The Jets must maintain balance on offense, even against an average defensive unit like the Bills.

When the Jets are throwing the ball, you have to think Buffalo will be concentrating their coverage on Dustin Keller which should keep things open for Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, who has been very quiet so far this year. I am waiting for a break out game from both Cotchery and Greene. The Jets better keep Brad Smith involved in the game plan, because it seems like every time he touches the ball the Jets get at least 10 yards.

The best news? This is the last game without Santonio Holmes.

Defense: How about we get that pass rush going a little bit? I saw what Miami did to the Jets secondary, but Buffalo doesn’t a receiver in the same stratosphere as Brandon Marshall. Antonio Cromartie should take Lee Evans out of this game, while Kyle Wilson and Drew Coleman (who will be taking most of the first team reps, who would have thought?) should be able to handle Steve Johnson and Roscoe Parrish. The Jets need to come after Ryan Fitzpatrick early and often.

Buffalo does have talent at running back, but it doesn’t really seem like you can run the ball on the 2010 Jets. I am sure the Bills will play above their heads, as they usually do when they face the Jets but overall…c’mon. This Bills offense shouldn’t be able to put up more than 13 points  on this defense. They dropped 30 on a pitiful New England defense and that won’t happen this week.

Special Teams: If Joe McKnight is active, I would expect to see him get a shot on a punt return or two. Brad Smith looked great on kick returns last week, so no need to mess with that. Nick Folk? Steve Weatherford? Pro-Bowl? The Jets do have to be careful of Roscoe Parrish on returns, however.

Jets Thursday Training Camp Round-Up

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Some assorted thoughts on Jets training camp as we head towards the weekend –

First off, a friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets).

The Jets early practice was cut short by rain this morning and they only had a special teams session in the afternoon. Hence, the normal avalanche of information about specific plays in practice wasn’t released today, however here is a run down of the biggest headlines:

  • Joe Namath graced the organization with his presence today and was quick to pronounce his belief the Jets were poised to win the Super Bowl. For some reason this was reported as a major story. I am not sure it is so shocking that a Jets legend who is involved in working with the organization is going to say he is confident the Jets will be really good in 2010. It is about as surprising as Rex Ryan saying he thinks the Jets will have the best defense in the NFL, which he says about 11 times a day.
  • Kris Jenkins had a scare today when he took a shot to his leg and admitted he had a similar feeling to when he tore his ligaments last year. However, everything held together and he said surviving that shot has boosted his confidence about the strength of his leg heading into this season. I would still expect Jenkins to have very limited reps in the pre-season. It will also be interesting to see the amount of playing time Jenkins gets in the beginning of the regular season as the Jets attempt to keep him fresh for the stretch run. Sione Pouha is a more than capable back-up, who can provide a high amount of quality reps off the bench.
  • Linebacker Brashton Satele’s injury isn’t that serious and he should be back at practice within in the next few days.
  • Steve Weatherford was rested for this afternoon’s special teams practice. Apparently punter TJ Conley has improved substantially from last season but it sounds like Weatherford still has a very strong hold on the job.
  • Mike Westhoff announced today that Kyle Wilson will be the Jets primary punt returner and Brad Smith will be the primary kick returner heading into the pre-season. I would still expect to see some Jim Leonhard on punt return for certain situations, along with Antonio Cromartie getting a few reps occasionally at both punt returner and kick returner. Aundrae Allison or Joe McKnight should also get some reps in the pre-season to be given a chance to make an impression.
  • Rex Ryan signed the Jets logo on Adam Schefter’s ESPN training camp tour bus “Soon To Be Champs.”…you have to love the big guy.

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  • From listening to every single interview on WFAN and ESPN Radio today at Jets camp (I was stuck working construction)…it sounds like there has been no tangible progress on the Revis deal and we should all be settling in for a long wait. In the meantime, Revis has been pairing up with old his buddy Chad Ochocino Johnson to work on the OCNN Network. All of his teammates said all the right things about supporting his decision and believing the team could be fine without him, while he sorts out his contract situation. Overall, I would say Rex Ryan has absolutely made his imprint across this roster. The confidence across the board from all the players is extremely encouraging.
  • It continues to sound like Matt Slauson has a very good shot of beating out rookie Vladimir Ducasse for the starting left guard position.

The Jets have a practice at 8:20 and 4:20 tomorrow and then have their annual Green and White scrimmage on Saturday at 6 PM.

A Few Shovel Fulls of TOJ TV

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

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First a few updates:

1. After a few reports came out yesterday about the Jets bringing back defensive end Marques Douglas by the week’s end, it now sounds like the Jets are content with their youth movement on the defensive line and won’t pursue him. This is a statement of confidence in players like Mike DeVito, Matt Kroul, and Ropati Pitoitua to give the Jets quality reps in their defensive line rotation. DeVito is going to be the starter, after putting together a pretty strong season in 2009. Kroul and Pitoitua are untested and of course there still is that Vernon Gholston fellow, looking for his first career NFL sack.

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

3. The Jets are expected to sign quarterback Mark Brunell tomorrow, with a release of Kellen Clemens following shortly after.

Five Questions About The Jets Special Teams

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

1. What The Folk?

– The Jets parted ways with Jay Feely this off-season, who was not only a reliable kicker but a good tackler and a political pundit. They replaced him with Dallas Cowboys castoff, Nick Folk, who despite being an All-Pro kicker in 2007 and hero of my fantasy football team that season, struggled heavily in 2009. The best way to describe Folk’s play for Dallas last year is absolutely brutal. He made 64.3 percent of his field goal attempts, spearheaded by him going 5/12 from the 40-49 yard range. He was cut after shanking a 24 yard field goal in a crucial late season game against the Saints. The Jets are confident that special teams guru Mike Westhoff can get him back on track but the reality is the Jets are taking a major risk by relying on Folk to be their kicker. In OTAs and mini-camp, Folk would have days where he missed four straight field goals and then follow up by going 7 for 7 the next day. The consistency clearly isn’t there yet and for a team built on defense and running the football, it is scary to have a kicker who isn’t reliable.

2. How much Antonio Cromartie will we see on kick and punt returns?

– The Jets were giving Cromartie reps at both kick and punt return during their off-season workouts. He is an explosive player in the open field with the ball in his hands, displayed by his four career return touchdowns. However, none of those were on kick or punt returns. They were from taking a missed field goal back, along with a few interceptions. Cromartie did have a 91 yard kick return in 2006. The Jets kick return job is open since Leon Washington is no longer on the roster and regardless of who the primary return guy is, Cromartie still could get put back there once or twice a game.

3. Can Kyle Wilson handle full time punt return duties?

– After the Jets drafted Wilson, Rex Ryan claimed he would be the team’s starting nickel back and primary punt returner. It is a big task for a rookie to be pressed into the punt return job, where any small mistake or misjudgement can swing an entire game. Do you remember when the Titans had a rookie back there last year against the Jets? From all reports in OTAs and mini-camp, Wilson looked terrific fielding punts. However, it is different when you are under the bright lights of Monday Night Football week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jerricho Cotchery or Jim Leonhard still put back deep in certain situations, especially if a team is punting into the Jets endzone. Regardless, Wilson should provide the Jets some explosiveness in the punt return game they were lacking last year.

4. Will Steve Weatherford last the season as the Jets punter?

– The Jets went through about 27 punters last season before finally settling on Weatherford, who was pretty good in 2009. The best part about Weatherford may be that he averaged a whopping 26 yards per carry last season and he took the time to compliment Turn On The Jets on Facebook, which of course puts him alongside David Clowney and Donovan Warren with first team all TOJ status. In all seriousness, it will be interesting to see if Weatherford can make it through another full season as the Jets punter or if the team has a quick trigger finger like they did before the 2009 season kicked off.

5. Who will return kicks for the Jets in 2010?

– There are a ton of candidates on the roster to take over the primary kick return duties. Brad Smith did a good filling in for Leon Washington last season and is the favorite to take the majority of kicks back for the Jets this season. However, Joe McKnight, Kyle Wilson, Aundrae Allison, David Clowney, and Danny Woodhead are also all in the mix. As previously mentioned, Antontio Cromartie should also get a few chances back there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a committee approach to the kick return job this season, unless Brad Smith can do more of this on a consistent basis:

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

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First a few updates:

1. The NBA Playoffs is finally coming around a little bit. How can you not enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns play? They are like a #15 seed in the NCAA Tournament going for a upset with the amount of energy they play with. I just hope the Magic can overcome the corpse of Vince Carter dragging himself around the court to get another win tonight.

2. Some highlights from Rex Ryan’s video chat with fans today:

  • He was adamant that Nick Mangold isn’t going anywhere and that the organization will do what it takes to keep him a Jet for a long time.
  • He talked up Brandon Moore as one of the best guards in the NFL.
  • When discussing the running backs, he deflected a question about there being a battle for the starting running back job but said there would be weeks when Shonn Greene will have more carries and weeks when LaDainian Tomlinson will have more carries and that Tomlinson would also be the third-down back while Joe McKnight gets up to speed. He also raved about John Conner and discussed how he pushed for Mike Tannenbaum to draft him.
  • Ryan shot down the chemistry concerns and joked that nobody on the team but Eric Smith could pass a chemistry class.
  • He again penciled in Kyle Wilson as the starting nickel but said Dwight Lowery would still be used frequently at both corner and safety.
  • If the season started today Eric Smith would start at safety because of his knowledge of the defense but he expects Brodney Pool to be the opening day starter.
  • He talked up Brad Smith and the Jets use of the “Tiger” formation this year.
  • The player who has made the biggest improvements since he arrived is Mark Sanchez.
  • The biggest surprise and guy who has jumped out the most at OTAs has been Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker and as of today he is the team’s #3 inside linebacker.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets), I need all the ammunition I can when I talk with the Jets media relations guy in the coming weeks about getting a press pass for training camp and the pre-season games.

New York Jets Special Teams Questions

Hey, it is one-third of the game. No Jets fans can sleep on the importance of special teams after watching the negatives of Ted Ginn Jr. take two kicks back for a touchdown in a single game last season and Jay Feely miss three kicks versus Atlanta along with the positives of Brad Smith taking a kick back to the house in Indy and the Jets executing four successful fake punts in 2009. The Jets were up and down last season despite having one of the best special teams coaches in the business with Mike Westhoff and they still have plenty of questions heading into this year.

Kicker – The Jets got a problem here. Jay Feely was a reliable kicker the past two seasons and the Jets decided not to bring him back and replace him with Dallas castoff Nick Folk, who was an ugly 18/28 last season before being cut. Apparently Folk had an ugly start to his Jets career last week by missing just about every kick he took during OTAs. I know I don’t feel confident in Folk lining up for a big kick this season and if he continues to struggle this off-season look for Matt Stover to be added to the roster sooner rather than later. Stover might not have the greatest leg strength at this stage of his career but he is reliable in the 40-45 yard range and you can’t say the same for Folk right now.

Punter – Steve Weatherford managed to keep his job throughout the entire 2009 season and did an okay job. It looks like he will be the Jets guy going forward and hey the guy averaged 21 yards per carry last season. Hopefully a full off-season of working with Westhoff will improve Weatherford’s consistency in 2010.

PhotobucketKick Return – It will be very interesting to see what the Jets do here. Brad Smith did a pretty gob job in this role last season. Antonio Cromartie got some reps in OTAs and was impressive. Rookies Kyle Wilson and Joe McKnight will likely get some opportunities in training camp and the pre-season. David Clowney could get a shot. Aundrae Allison was impressive last pre-season and is probably the fastest guy on the team. Dwight Lowery took some reps last year before Smith locked the job down. If I had to guess today, Smith and McKnight will be the primary guys with Cromartie getting occasional reps. However, keep an eye on Allison during training camp as a dark horse.

Punt Return – This will be Kyle Wilson’s job to lose, although I could see Jim Leonhard or Jerricho Cotchery getting some reps in a big spot or when a team is kicking from around mid-field, when it would be better to have an experienced veteran back there.

Coverage – The Jets lost valuable special teams players like Wallace Wright, Larry Izzo, and Ryan Fowler this off-season but did sign Lance Laury who was a stand out special teams player in Seattle. They will also look to guys like Kenwin Cummings, Jamaal Westerman, and Marquice Cole to fill the void. Eric Smith, Brad Smith, and John Conner should all also be core special teams players.

Maybe the play that saved the Jets season in 2009

Scouting The Chargers From a Jets Perspective & Other Divisional Round Thoughts

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First a few updates:

1. First off, today is a very happy day over here at TurnOnTheJets.com. The site was lucky enough to be honored with the 2009 Fanball Sports Network Blog of the Year Award. I honestly have to say it does feel great to have the work I put in here recognized with such an award but a special thanks needs to be given to many other people: my roommate and good friend James Corbett who puts in a ton of time on TOJ TV, all of the fellow bloggers here at Fanball, Bryan Douglass who hired me, everybody who follows and comments on facebook or twitter, all of the readers and frequent commenters most notably: The Iron Marshall, BruceHarper, Simplysimon2, my oldest friend Dan Donohue who has been fighting about sports with me since we were three years old, my good friend Sean Santagato who spends an hour a day on the phone with me talking NFL, Tom Santagato, who despite hating the Jets finds time to come on the site and comment, and of course my Dad who pays for our season tickets despite being a Giants fan, checks the site daily and comments (under Jetbo) and is a constant reminder that hard work pays off. Finally, my Grandpa who is the reason I became a Jets fan, my Uncle Mike who took me to games when I was little, and my Uncle Frankie and cousins Chris and Rob, who are the only three other Jets fan I know crazy as I am…and yes thank you too Mom.

Since I figure I will never win an Oscar, I might as well get that speech out while I can. Anyway, on to more important things like the Jets playing in the divisional round of the playoffs and Darrelle Revis being robbed of Defensive Player of the Year…

2. What the hell, NFL? Charles Woodson? I don’t care about the stats, did you watch the first round of the playoffs? This requires a whole article, which I have been meaning to write for awhile, well it is going up later in the day…forget about looking for jobs to start my career, this is a much more important issue. Rex Ryan took the time today to congratulate the people who voted for Darrelle Revis, and pointed out the Jets gave up 8 passing touchdowns all year, while Green Bay nearly gave up 8 last week against Arizona!

3. Was I the only person who turned off the TV when Mark McGwire started crying about his steroid use?

4. Braylon Edwards didn’t practice today because of a court appearance related to an incident in Cleveland when he allegedly punched one of  the friends of LeBron James and Lito Sheppard missed because his wife gave birth. Shaun Ellis (knee), Howard Green (knee), Bart Scott (ankle), and David Harris (ankle) were all limited today. Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, and Drew Coleman all practiced full today which is great news. Steve Weatherford is expected to punt this weekend, which is also good news.

Scouting The Chargers From a Jets Perspective & Other Divisional Round Thoughts

SAN DIEGO OFFENSIVE STARTERS/KEY RESERVES

  • Quarterback: Philip Rivers – 317/486, 4254 yards, 28 TDs, 9 INTs, 104.4 QB Rating
  • Running Back: LaDanian Tomlinson – 223 carries, 730 yards, 3.3 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns, 154 receiving yards
  • Fullback: Jacob Hester – 21 carries, 74 yards, 24 receiving yards
  • Fullback: Mike Tolbert – 25 carries, 148 yards, 1 touchdown, 192 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
  • Third Down Back: Darren Sproles – 93 carries, 343 yards, 3.7 yards per carry, 3 touchdowns, 497 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns
  • #1 Wide Receiver: Vincent Jackson – 68 receptions, 1167 yards, 9 touchdowns
  • #2 Wide Receiver: Malcom Floyd – 45 receptions, 776 yards, 1 touchdown
  • #3 Wide Receiver: Legedu Naanee – 24 receptions, 242 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • #4 Wide Receiver: Craig Davis – 6 receptions, 52 yards
  • Tight End: Antonio Gates – 79 receptions, 1157 yards, 8 touchdowns
  • Left Tackle: Marcus McNeill
  • Left Guard: Kris Dielman
  • Center: Nick Hardwick
  • Right Guard: Louis Vasquez
  • Right Tackle: Brandyn Dombrowski

SAN DIEGO DEFENSIVE STARTERS/KEY RESERVES

  • Defensive End: Jacques Cesaire – 26 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive Tackle: Ogemdi Nwagbuo – 19 tackles, 1 sack
  • Defensive End: Luis Castillo – 25 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Shaun Phillips – 59 tackles, 7 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Stephen Cooper – 102 tackles
  • Inside Linebacker: Kevin Burnett – 66 tackles, 2.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Shawne Merriman – 36 tackles, 4 sacks
  • Linebacker: Brandon Siler – 67 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
  • Linebacker: Tim Dobbins – 55 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
  • Linebacker: Larry English – 36 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Corner: Quentin Jammer – 58 tackles, 3 INTs
  • Corner: Antonio Cromartie – 33 tackles, 3 INTs
  • Corner: Antoine Cason – 41 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Steve Gregory – 71 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
  • Safety: Eric Weddle – 82 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Kevin Ellison – 52 tackles, 1 sack
  • Safety: Paul Oliver – 49 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Nate Kaeding – 32/35 FGs, 2 missed 40-49 yards, 1 missed 50+ yards
  • Punter: Mike Scifers – 45 yards per punt
  • Return: Darren Sproles – 24.1 yards per kickoff return, 7.0 yards per punt return, 1 touchdown

PhotobucketThoughts On the Match-Up – I have confidence in Darrelle Revis on Vincent Jackson. However, I am worried about Lito Sheppard on Malcom Floyd, who has been a big play receiver this season. This is a big game for Sheppard to prove his value to the Jets and earn a chance to get a new contract from them next season. Antonio Gates is obviously going to be an issue, Kerry Rhodes has the physical talent and size to match-up with Gates but he needs to bring his A game. It is alot of pressure on two guys, Sheppard and Rhodes, who have had up and down seasons but have been playing as of late. I am not scared of Tomlinson or Sproles running the football but I am worried about Sproles in the passing game. You know the Chargers have watched the tape of Ricky Williams shredding the Jets on screen passes and they will be dialing them up to counter the Jets pass rush. Beyond that, the Jets don’t have a linebacker who could cover Sproles. I would expect to see alot of Eric Smith or Donald Strickland attempting to cover him in the flats.

On offense, I feel surprisingly good. I think this unit is finally hitting their stride and will put together another 20+ point effort. I think the Jets will be able to run the ball, chew up some clock, and consistently move the football. The success the Jets will have running the ball should open up some opportunities down the field. However, will they take another shot with Braylon Edwards or will they give the deep ball or Jerricho Cotchery or maybe even David Clowney? Edwards will likely get another shot, but my god…catch the damn ball, #17! The Chargers are likely going to over-scheme for Keller, which should open things up for Cotchery, Edwards, and maybe Brad Smith who was quiet last week.

I am worried about Sproles on returns, but I am confident we are going to see a big play from the Jets special teams this week. I don’t know if it is going to be a kick or punt return, or a fake punt at a surprising time or something…but it is on the way.

Other Quick Thoughts On Divisional Round…As of today, I am liking the Cardinals in the upset against Saints. New Orleans is coming in ice cold, and the Cardinals can go point for point with them. I am feeling a 45-42 game. If the Ravens somehow beat the Colts Saturday night, I am going to get 20 percent more confident in the Jets pulling off the upset because that would mean another thing broke their way in this odd 2009 season. I am really looking forward to Brett Favre being knocked out at home and watching him and the Vikings head into a tail spin, culminating with a 33-10 loss in week 7 at new stadium in the Meadowlands, as the Jets rack up 7 sacks and send the Minnesota to a 2-5 start in 2010 leading Favre to retire in half way through the season.

LaDanian Tomlinson Slid His Way To 3.3 Yards Pery Carry

Awesome Defense By Woodson and the Packers

Your 2009 Defensive Player of the Year

It's The Quarterback, Stupid

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris is the only player who didn’t practice today. However, the Star-Ledger (http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2010/01/ny_jets_lb_david_harris_is_exp.html) reported that he is going to play on Saturday and that the sprain is only mild. Rex Ryan didn’t refute that report today. Obviously, this is very good news and I think we are all looking forward to David Harris introducing himself to Cedric Benson.

2. Punter Steve Weatherford was a full participant in practice today.

3. Good article on ESPN.com by Tim Graham on the impact of the Jets pass rush on opposing quarterbacks, along with Carson Palmer’s handling of the blitz all season. (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/8743/cincy-might-consider-riot-gear-for-jets-d).

4. The latest line I have seen on the Jets/Bengals game is Cincy at 2.5 favorites. The latest odds I have seen for the Jets winning the Super Bowl is 45 to 1, which is of course the lowest out of any NFL playoff team.

It’s The Quarterback, Stupid

The primary reason for the Jets ending the season winning 5 of their last 6 games was because they finally embraced their identity as a run first offense that was going to rely on their defense to win games. Mark Sanchez’s early season success led to Brian Schottenheimer embracing a more balanced approach and putting too much in his rookie’s hands too early, leading to losses against the Saints, Bills, Jaguars, and Patriots. It has been a weird ride for Sanchez this season, culminating with a 6/12 63 yards Wing-T high school quarterback stat line. I know the Jets are built on their running game and defense but they are going to need more than 63 yards from Mark Sanchez if they want to do any damage in these playoffs. Sanchez is easily the 12th best quarterback in these playoffs but if he could somehow duplicate his early season play for stretches of games, the Jets have enough talent around him to rip off a victory or two or maybe even three? I don’t want to push it. First, let’s run through the odd 2009 season of #6:

Week 1 At Houston: 18/31, 272 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT – Arguably Sanchez’s best all-around game of the season. He was unbelievable on third down in this game and showed good movement in the pocket, poise, and confidence.

Week 2 Vs New England: 14/22, 163 yards, 1 TD – If this wasn’t his best all-around game, it was his most impressive performance since he was going against Bill Belichick and outplayed Tom Brady. He protected the ball and elevated his play in the second half, including two beautiful passes to Jerricho Cotchery and a nice touchdown pass to Dustin Keller.

Week 3 Vs Tennessee: 17/30, 171 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT – Another good performance, although ball security issues began to surface in this game with the interception and a couple of fumbles. Sanchez also added a rushing touchdown this game.

Week 4 At New Orleans: 14/27, 138 yards, 3 INTs – Oh boy…Sanchez directly hands the Saints 14 points and basically costs the Jets a victory wasting a terrific performance by their defense.

Week 5 At Miami: 12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD – A good bounce-back performance, Sanchez threw the ball well down the field in this game. If he can play like this against the Bengals, the Jets will win.

Week 6 Vs Buffalo: 10/29, 119 yards, 5 INTs – I’m not sure I have ever seen a quarterback play a worse game.

Week 7 At Oakland: 9/15, 143 yards, 1 TD – Week one of the “stay the hell out of the way Sanchez” game plan. However, he played well and added a rushing touchdown.

Week 8 Vs Miami: 20/35, 265 yards, 2 TDs – Probably his best game of the year and the second half of this game was easily the best we have seen Sanchez all season. However, this was probably a bad thing because it led the Jets to give him too much freedom the following two weeks.

Week 10 Vs Jacksonville: 16/30, 212 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs – Played a good fourth quarter but beyond that was pretty bad.

Week 11 At New England: 8/21, 136 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs – The low point for the Jets season and Sanchez who regressed back to Buffalo game.

Week 12 Vs Carolina: 13/17, 154 yards, 1 INT – The color code system begins and the Jets embrace the “stay the hell out of the way Sanchez” game plan again…if you remove the INT, the Jets could win this Saturday with these numbers from Sanchez.

Week 13 At Buffalo: 7/15, 104 yards, 1 TD – The numbers don’t show it but Sanchez was playing well this game before he got hurt…don’t forget Braylon Edwards dropped an easy 80 yard touchdown pass this game.

Week 15 At Atlanta: 18/32, 226 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs – Too many passes by Sanchez leads to too many turnovers.

Week 16 At Indy: 12/19, 106 yards – Stay out of the way Mark…although he made some key third down throws in this game.

Week 17 Vs Cincy: 6/12, 63 yards – He didn’t need to throw at all because of the Jets running all over the field…Edwards should have caught a 50 yard touchdown from him.

PhotobucketSo, what do the Jets need from Sanchez to beat the Bengals? They aren’t going to get away with 12 passes. Their offense needs to put Sanchez in third and shorts, which he has shown a decent ability to convert throughout the season. There are going to be opportunities for the Jets to hit big plays down the field and if he could hit one (and this is also on you to catch the damn ball Braylon) it will go a long way to a Jets victory. If Sanchez turns the ball over, the Jets don’t have a chance. Yes, maybe they could overcome one interception but beyond that, they aren’t good enough to win with Sanchez throwing two INTs and having a fumble. We need:

  1. A good third-down conversion rate (aided by the running game setting up third and short/medium).
  2. A big play down the field or at least some intermediate completions to soften the defense.
  3. No turnovers.

The weather is going to be crappy but if somehow Sanchez could duplicate his Monday night performance (12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD) the Jets will beat the Bengals. It may be asking too much for those numbers but the Jets could probably even survive with a 13/18, 130 yards, 1 TD type game. If Brian Schottenheimer is smart he will start Sanchez off with some quick screens to Cotchery and Edwards to get his confidence up, and then gradually move him to some slants/hitches. There is going to be a spot in this game when it is 2nd and 3 from the Bengals 47 yard line and they are going to have 8 in the box, and Sanchez is going to have hit a play down the field. When he is dropping back to throw that pass you want him to be 4/6 for 40 yards or something, not 1/7 for 2 yards with two near interceptions.

Could you imagine if Sanchez hopped in the time machine and played like he did back in weeks 1-3…that would be a scary, dangerous team in the playoffs. Why can’t he do that? Because this is the Jets and that would be too easy…instead we have to cross our fingers for a 55 completion percentage, 130 yards and no turnovers.

Mark Sanchez…Playing Like A Quarterback Who Could Win The Playoffs

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

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First a few updates:

1. David Harris and Steve Weatherford missed practice today. Harris is likely going to be a game-time decision, while I would expect Weatherford to play. James Ihedigbo left practice today with a stinger but did return. Thomas Jones and Tony Richardson were given the day off. The backup to David Harris, Ryan Fowler, was limited with a head injury and if for some reason he and Harris couldn’t play…Kenwin Cummings would start at inside linebacker.

2. Cedric Benson told the media today that he didn’t even know who David Harris was and that he doubted the Jets would struggle without him. Harris is the leading tackler on the Jets #1 ranked defense with 127 stops, along with 5.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. I wonder if Benson knows who Thomas Jones is? The guy he was drafted to replace in Chicago but could never beat out. The guy who despite being 5 years older than him finished with 151 more rushing yards and 8 more touchdowns than him this season and was able to stay healthy enough to play all 16 games, while Benson couldn’t.

3. Condolences to Jets owner Woody Johnson and his family. His daughter passed away yesterday.

4. How about Teddy Bruschi on ESPN saying that the Jets have the best chance to make the Super Bowl out of the two wild-card teams? I think he was trying to jinx them.

5. The Bengals are coming into the came 100 percent healthy with Chad Ochocinco, Chris Crocker, and Domata Peko all expected to start.

6. The Jets finished #12 in ESPN’s Power Rankings, not bad for a team that started the season as ranked #23.

7. Well we know how Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN feels about the Jets (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=chadiha_jeffri&id=4795473), then again this guy is picking Tony Romo to win three playoff games, so I wouldn’t be too worried.

Jets vs. Bengals First Look

Bengals Offensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Quarterback: Carson Palmer – 282/466, 3094 yards, 60.5 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 83.6 QB Rating.
  • Running Back: Cedric Benson – 301 carries, 1251 yards, 4.2 yards per carry, 6 TD’s.
  • Third Down Back: Bernard Scott – 74 carries, 321 yards, 4.3 yards per carry.
  • Back-Up Running Back: Larry Johnson – 46 carries, 204 yards, 4.4 yards per carry.
  • Other Third Down Back: Brian Leonard – 27 carries, 84 yards, 3.1 yards per carry, 30 receptions, 217 yards
  • Fullback: Jeremi Johnson – 4 carries, 8 yards, 6 receptions, 41 yards.
  • #1 Receiver: Chad Ochocinco – 72 receptions, 1047 yards, 9 touchdowns.
  • #2 Receiver: Laveranues Coles – 43 receptions, 514 yards, 5 touchdowns.
  • #3 Receiver: Andre Caldwell – 51 receptions, 432 yards, 3 touchdowns.
  • #4 Receiver: Quan Cosby – 4 receptions, 55 yards
  • Tight End: J.P. Foschi – 27 receptions, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • #2 Tight End: Daniel Coats – 16 receptions, 150 yards
  • Left Tackle: Andrew Whitworth
  • Left Guard: Nate Livings
  • Center: Kyle Cook
  • Right Guard: Bobbie Williams
  • Right Tackle: Dennis Roland

Bengals Defensive Starters/Key Reserves

  • Defensive End: Robert Geathers – 36 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Defensive Tackle: Domata Peko – 23 tackles
  • Defensive Tackle: Tank Johnson – 29 tackles, 2.0 sacks
  • Defensive End: Jonathan Fanene – 36 tackles, 6.0 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Rashad Jeanty – 20 tackles
  • Middle Linebacker: Dhani Jones – 113 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Keith Rivers – 72 tackles, 1 sack
  • Corner: Leon Hall – 71 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Corner: Jonathan Joseph – 69 tackles, 6 INTs
  • Safety: Chris Crocker – 51 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Safety: Chinedum Ndukwe – 89 tackles, 1 INT

Special Teams

  • Kicker: Shayne Graham – 23/28 FGs, 28/29 PATs, (1 miss from 20-29 yards, 2 misses from 30-39 yards)
  • Punter: Kevin Huber – 43.2 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Bernard Scott – 1 return touchdown, 31.5 average
  • Punt Return: Quan Cosby – 11.9 per return.

PhotobucketOffense – The Bengals offense is built like the Jets offense, which means they live by the run. Carson Palmer isn’t an elite quarterback anymore but still had a good overall season. He can be relied on to make some plays if the running game is slowed down, yet the Bengals are weak at wide receiver. Chad Ochocinco isn’t going to be a factor this week, I can promise you that and beyond him the Bengals have nothing at receiver. Laveraneus Coles is washed up and Andre Caldwell is average. They also don’t have a pass catching threat at tight end. Cedric Benson has been very good this year and Brian Leonard has made plays for them on third downs. However, I have a tough time seeing Benson gashing the Jets defense. Honestly, I would be shocked if the Bengals scored more than 17 points unless Sanchez turns the ball over.

Defense – Cincy has been very strong against the run all season. However, they are now missing linebacker Rey Maualuga which will have a negative impact on them. The Jets are going to run the ball, regardless of how many people the Bengals put in the box. I am sure Cincy has spent plenty of time on Brad Smith this week in practice and they should expect more of him this week. The Bengals have two very good corners and talent at safety as well. Mark Sanchez has to be careful against their secondary because there isn’t going to be a ton of space for Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery to work with.

Special Teams – I am very worried about Bernard Scott ripping off a kick return touchdown against us this week. However, keep an eye on Brad Smith on our kick return unit because he has been improving all season. I think we have an advantage at the kicker position.

Well They Couldn’t Beat Oakland

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

First a few updates:

1. As expected, Leon Washington was placed on the IR today. It will be interesting to see who the Jets add to their roster to fill that spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved Danny Woodhead back to running back and then added another defensive lineman to the roster.

2. Another thing to keep an eye on is who will return kickoffs now for the Jets, some names to look out for will be Dwight Lowery, Danny Woodhead, Wallace Wright, or David Clowney.

3. The Game Highlights, Stats, and Depth Chart pages have been updated.

Grading Out The Jets/Raiders Game

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez wasn’t asked to do much but he did a good job with what was handed to him. You could see him making a conscious effort to protect the football by throwing passes away and checking down. He also did a better job of avoiding sacks. On third down he was 5-8 for 65 yards, re-establishing his early season ability to come up with key first down conversions. Sanchez also executed a beautiful play fake and dropped in a nice pass to David Clowney for a 35 yard touchdown. There were still some missed throws and for some reason he can’t get on the same page with Dustin Keller but yesterday was a step in the right direction.

Running Backs: (A+) Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones completely wore down the Raiders defense. There wasn’t anything flashy or fancy about the Jets running game yesterday, they went right up the gut with Jones and Greene who combined for 265 yards. Jones certainly doesn’t look like a 30 year old running back and Greene has an unbelievable burst through the hole. We are all going to miss Leon Washington, but Jones and Greene will be a handful for defenses the rest of the season.

Wide Receivers (B) They weren’t given a ton of opportunities but did a good job when their numbers were called. David Clowney stepped up in particular with 4 catches for 79 yards, including a 35 yard touchdown. He showed an ability to be more than a deep threat by breaking some tackles and catching a tough pass over the middle. Wallace Wright recorded his first two catches of the season and Braylon Edwards had a drop but also pulled in a tough catch over the middle. I would expect Jerricho Cotchery to be back in action next week, which will be a big boost.

Tight Ends: (C) Good job blocking by Dustin Keller and Ben Hartsock. Keller also did a great job selling the play fake on his 26 yard reception. He was open a couple of other times but Sanchez missed him. One of these weeks it is going to click for Keller and Sanchez, who started off the year strong but have struggled to connect recently.

Offensive Line: (A+) Awesome job by the Jets front five, there really isn’t much to say except that Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Robert Turner dominated and embarrassed Oakland’s front seven. I bet Richard Seymour is regretting saying the Raiders are going to be a playoff team…unless he meant a high school playoff team.

Defensive Line: (B) The committee approach to replace Kris Jenkins got off to a decent start. Yes, the Jets gave up a little more rushing yards than you’d like to see but overall their defensive line was active, especially Mike DeVito and Howard Green. They have a hell of a challenge coming up this week against Miami.

Linebackers: (A) Quiet games for Bart Scott and David Harris but the grade is picked up by a terrific day from Calvin Pace, who racked up 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. The Jets are going to need that type of effort from him the rest of the season because Pace is unquestionably their top pass rusher. Vernon Gholston has been demoted behind Jamaal Westerman in pass rushing situations.

Secondary: (A) Darrelle Revis is something else…that interception was ridiculous. Do you think he is fired up for this week after getting burned by Ted Ginn Jr (aka Panhands) on national television? Jim Leonhard made his first interception of the season and Dwight Lowery continues to put together a strong season in replacement of Lito Sheppard. Donald Strickland was back and always seems to be around the ball.

Special Teams: (B) Steve Weatherford might run for 100 yards this season. It is not a good sign that Jay Feely has missed two short kicks in consecutive weeks.

Coaching: (A) Mike Pettine made a nice adjustment on defense, allowing Calvin Pace more pass rushing opportunities. Brian Schottenheimer did a great job sticking with the run and Rex Ryan clearly had the troops motivated. Let’s see how they handle Miami this week.

Jets/Raiders Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Dolphins Debacle & NFL Week 5 Recap

First a few updates:

1. Jerricho Cotchery admitted that he was nowhere near 100 percent and probably re-aggravated his injury trying to play in a limited role last night. The smartest thing for the Jets to do would be rest Cotchery for this week and allow him to get back to 100 percent or else he will be dealing with this hamstring injury all year.

2. David Clowney only had leg cramps last night and will be fine moving forward. Brad Smith had a foot injury in the first half but was out in there second half, regardless it is still something to keep an eye on this week. Who knows when Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland will be back at this point.

3. Calvin Pace refused to respect Miami’s Wildcat offense and had some pretty stupid stuff to say after the game, which can be read here http://www.thejetsblog.com/2009/10/13/calvin-pace-clearly-not-fond-of-wildcat/. He should probably spend more time worrying about setting the edge so the Dolphins can’t run high school Wing-T Jet Sweep around him every time for 15 yards and maybe getting within 5 yards of the quarterback.

Grading Out the Jets/Dolphins Debacle & NFL Week 5 Recap

Quarterbacks: (B) Mark Sanchez did more than enough for the Jets to get a win and twice in the fourth quarter drove them down the field for go ahead touchdowns. His numbers weren’t all that impressive (12/24, 172 yards, 1 TD) but he didn’t turn the ball over and made beautiful down field throws to David Clowney (53 yard gain) and Braylon Edwards twice (34 yard gain and drawn pass interference penalty). It is good to see him bounce back from a bad performance and hopefully he can keep it going this week against Buffalo.

Running Backs: (B-) Thomas Jones is slowly turning into nothing more than a very good goal-line back. He only finished with 42 yards and a 3.2 yards per carry average and is making the Jets look smart for not extending his contract. Leon added a little juice to the running game with 10 carries for 44 yards but still doesn’t have an offensive play that has went longer than 20 yards this season. Shonn Greene didn’t get much of a chance with only 3 carries, but don’t be surprised to see him get more carries in upcoming weeks.

Wide Receivers: (A) Braylon Edwards sure looked like a legit number one receiver last night despite being in the Jets offense for only 5 days and not having a healthy Jerricho Cotchery opposite him. The one major positive from this game is the how clearly the Jets improved their offense with the Edwards trade. Cotchery played mostly as a decoy despite a hamstring injury but will be better served by resting this week and getting back to 100 percent. David Clowney stepped up in a big way with 4 catches for 72 yards, including a 53 yard bomb…expect to see alot more of “The Clown” in coming weeks. Brad Smith had a nice catch and run for 19 yards and a huge play on a fake punt, where he shook about 3 tackles.

Tight Ends: (F) Paging Dustin Keller….are you still there…paging Dustin Keller…are you still a member of this Jets offense? Obviously some of the blame falls on the playcalling but Keller also did a poor job of blocking last night.

Offensive Line: (B) A better performance by this group but they still aren’t performing at the level they did last season. We haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since week one and Sanchez was still sacked once and hit three times, including being forced into an intentional grounding penalty.

Defensive Line: (D) I thought Howard Green played pretty well off the bench and Kris Jenkins had his moments but beyond that this unit was pushed around all night and applied absolutely no pressure to the quarterback. Marques Douglas and Sione Pouha might have been pancaked about 10 times.

Linebackers: (D) Don’t be fooled by tackling stats, Bart Scott, David Harris, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace were all invisible in this game when it counted. They all missed countless tackles and they all failed to apply pressure to the quarterback…wait why did I give them a D? How about a F.

Secondary: (D) Torched by Ted Ginn Jr…really, Darrelle Revis? You can cover Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, and Marques Colston but not Ted Ginn Jr? C’mon now. Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman were both exposed in big spots. Will Lito Sheppard ever recover from his quad injury? Kerry Rhodes hasn’t made a big play in seemingly 25 games. Seriously, is it so much to ask for this guy to have a sack, forced fumble, or interception?

Special Teams: (A) Steve Weatherford might soon be taking Thomas Jones job, by showing more elusiveness than Jones has did all season. Brad Smith was clutch on the other fake punt. Jay Feely is money in the bank. Leon Washington needs to improve on kick returns.

Coaching: (D) The Jets weren’t prepared to stop Miami’s offense and Rex Ryan did a poor job by not using his timeouts at the end of the game. Ryan was served a heaping dish of humble pie last night, so let’s see how his defense responds in the coming weeks.

NFL Week 5 Quick Recap

TOJ Top Five

  1. New York Giants – They finally play a NFL caliber team this weekend.
  2. Minnesota Vikings – Good test for them against the Ravens this week.
  3. Denver Broncos – When did Kyle Orton turn into one of the better QB’s in the league?
  4. New Orleans Saints – Huge game against the Giants coming up.
  5. Indianapolis Peyton Mannings – They will clinch the division in about 4 weeks.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – The Pats lost the type of the game they usually don’t lose in Denver. Fortunately for them, they get the hapless Titans at home this week. Their defense is more vulnerable than it has been in years and Brady still isn’t all the way back.

Miami Dolphins – Say what you want about their gimmick offense, they can run the football. I was wrong for burying them at 0-3 but we’ll see how legit they are after these next 3 games against New Orleans, New England, and the Jets in the Meadowlands.

Buffalo Bills – I am shutting the site down if they beat the Jets this week.

Jets/Dolphins Highlights

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

First a few updates:

1. Damien Woody left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Wayne Hunter. Apparently it isn’t that serious and Woody absolutely expects to play this Monday night. There is no question that the Jets offensive line is off to slow start, which could be attributed to the missed time of many of the starters in the pre-season or maybe Woody and Alan Faneca are getting a step slower at their age.

2. Shonn Greene also has an ankle injury that isn’t considered serious, but if it wasn’t that bad why didn’t the Jets use him in the second half after such a strong showing on his first four carries? Obviously the status of Woody and Greene will be something to keep an eye on all week, but at least they have an extra day to get healthy since the Jets are playing on Monday night.

3. I’d be shocked if Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland weren’t ready to go this week.

4. The Jets bumped down to #6 Peter King’s weekly power rankings and Darrelle Revis climbed to #4 on his MVP watch list, after another strong showing.

5.  Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Saints highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Saints Game

Quarterbacks: (F) It was about as bad as it could get for Mark Sanchez yesterday. He directly handed the Saints 14 points off turnovers, including a telegraphed interception and a fumble in the end-zone where he held on to the ball for too long. There were also two more late interceptions on forced passes as the Jets attempted a desperation comeback. We’ll learn about the rookie this Monday night by seeing how he responds to his first poor performance in a nationally televised game on the road against a hated division rival. Give Sanchez credit for taking the blame after the loss but he needs to learn from his mistakes and start immediately protecting the ball better. He also needs to stop getting personal fouls for taking out people’s legs on his interceptions.

Running Backs: (C) Thomas Jones got off to another sluggish start but looked substantially better after Shonn Greene began taking his reps. Greene tweaked his ankle after only four carries and wasn’t used in the rest of the game after his strong start (4 carries, 23 yards). Leon Washington wasn’t involved with only 4 carries. The Seminole package looked good but the Jets still aren’t a anywhere near where they were last year running the football.

Wide Receivers: (C) Jerricho Cotchery had another good effort (5 catches, 71 yards) but did have a key dropped pass on a third down. Chansi Stuckey was invisible for the second week in a row. Brad Smith made an impact with a big run in the Seminole package and also registered a reception. David Clowney was active but still hasn’t had a pass thrown his way in four weeks. Somebody needs to step up to support Cotchery.

Tight Ends: (C) Dustin Keller had a big grab down the seam but the Jets need more out of him than 31 yards receiving. Since week one, his yardage totals have been extremely low and he hasn’t been the consistent impact player he was during stretches of time last year.

Offensive LIne: (D) Another sub-par effort by this unit, who just hasn’t looked right this season. I don’t know if it is because of age or because they didn’t play together alot in the pre-season but they aren’t producing. Mark Sanchez can’t be sacked four times and the ground game can’t keep struggling like this if the Jets are going to be serious contenders.

Defensive Line: (B) Good all around effort up front, especially in the short yardage situations. Sione Pouha (3 tackles) and Marques Douglas (5 tackles, 1 TFL) were particularly active. Kris Jenkins played well but had a killer offsides penalty on a fourth and short situation.

Linebackers: (A-) David Harris racked up 12 tackles and Bart Scott had a pair of tackles for a loss and a quarterback hit. Bryan Thomas had his best game of the season. Vernon Gholston registered one tackle and failed to record a sack in any of his four starts. Fortunately, the Jets best pass rusher, Calvin Pace is returning from suspension this week.

Secondary: (A) Despite being without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland for the second straight week, the unit had a very good effort. Darrelle Revis knocked down 3 passes and held Marques Colston without a reception. Both of his catches came with Drew Coleman on him, who still played a pretty good game as the nickle back. Dwight Lowery was solid and made a great play on a deep ball to Robert Meachem. Kerry Rhodes saved a touchdown on the first drive of the game by knocking away a pass intended for Reggie Bush and had 8 tackles. Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith had quiet games.

Special Teams: (B) Jay Feely is putting together a very good season. Steve Weatherford had a bad shank but responded with a 56 yard punt. Leon Washington never got a chance to get going because the Saints forced him into a touchback every time but once.

Coaching: (C) Some questionable play calling in short yardage situations. The defense did their job and had a strong all around game plan but the offense let the entire team down. Let’s see how this staff will respond to their first loss and how they can motivate their team against inferior opponents the next four weeks.

Jets/Saints Game Highlights