Turn On The Jets Free Agency Day 1 Stock Watch

Mike Donnelly is buying and selling the early moves in NFL free agency

As we all know, the NFL league year started yesterday at 4:00 pm, and with that came the beginning of free agency. The start of free agency is always an exciting time of the year where the moves come fast and furiously, and this year was no exception. Let’s buy and sell some of the moves already made that could shake up the league in 2013.

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Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Super Bowl Weekend Edition

Mike Donnelly is buying and selling New York Jets off-season plans at Turn On The Jets

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets

With the NFL offseason about to kick off, there are a lot of issues to deal with here in JestLand. So many in fact, that I think the only way to properly break them all down is with a special edition of the Stock Watch to buy and sell all things Jets as we get ready for the 2013 season.

BUY: Marty Mornhinweg Hire – I’m all in on the Marty M. hire. Aside from an upgrade at QB, the easiest and quickest way to improve an offense is by hiring an excellent offensive coordinator, and Marty was about as good as there was available on the market this offseason. We’ve been over his history of top 10 offenses and his usage of the West Coast Offense plenty of times here, so by now you should know what he brings to the table. We’re going to see a completely different style of offense in 2013, and I expect things to improve drastically. I mean, they can’t get any worse, right?

BUY: Mark Sanchez at QB – (Ducks) Ok, I know saying Mark Sanchez should be the starting QB in 2013 makes many of you want to throw a shoe at the computer, but that’s just the way it is. Joe touched on this yesterday, and everything he said was completely right. I’m not saying Mark Sanchez is going to be the long-term answer at QB in 2014 and beyond, but for 2013, he’s the most likely, and quite frankly, the best option we have. Look at the options we have available other than him: Tim Tebow is a goner, Greg McElroy isn’t the answer, the best cheap free agent options are guys like Tarvaris Jackson and Jason Campbell who both stink, and the 2013 draft class is downright putrid. 2014 is going to be the time where this team will look for their long-term answer at QB, but for 2013 Sanchez represents the best chance to win.

Now I’m sure many of you are saying if Sanchez is the QB, then the season is screwed before it even gets started, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Call me crazy, or call me some disgusting urban dictionary words if you wish, but I think with this new system, some improvements on the line, and some continuity at the receiver position for once, Sanchez has a chance to be the serviceable QB he was before the 2012 catastrophe.

SELL: Trading Revis – We went over this in depth the other day, but it bears repeating. The Jets should absolutely NOT trade Darrelle Revis. We’re not going to get anywhere close to fair value, and trading him isn’t going to darrelle-revis-02magically land us a franchise QB. This is the number one issue with this team heading into the offseason, and we’re going to hear a thousand rumors between now and April, but I hope John Idzik’s first major order of business is to lock up the best defensive player in football long-term.

BUY: Draft a Pass Rusher at #9 – Since there is very clearly no QB worth drafting in the #9 spot of the first round, the Jets need to address their next most pressing need, and that is the pass rush. The team hasn’t had a pass-rushing OLB for years, and this is the time to get one. Our draft staff has done a great job breaking down the prospects in this year’s draft, and there are no less than 5 potential pass rushing options for us at #9. All of our linebackers are either useless, or heading into a retirement home, so we need a guy who can step in and play a major role from day one. Follow that up with at least one solid offensive line pick, and I’ll be happy with this draft.

BUY: Re-sign Braylon EdwardsWide receiver was a wasteland position for the Jets in 2012, but things can look much better in 2013 if Braylon is brought back. First of all, the team is up against the salary cap wall, so giving Braylon a 1-year low money contract makes a ton of sense. It will give Sanchez some continuity at the receiver position for basically the first time in his career, and it will give us four solid wide receiver options in Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, and Stephen Hill. Bringing Edwards back will give Hill time to develop and not force him into a major role, and it gives us two tall receivers who can get down the field. It sure beats having Jason Hill and Mardy Gilyard out there.

SELL: Vlad Ducasse – To be fair, the big oaf wasn’t too awful in 2012, particularly as a run blocker. That being said, he should get zero — I repeat, ZERO — consideration as a starting guard in 2013, despite Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore being free agents. If they want to keep him around as a backup, then that’s fine I guess, but generally the less Vlad we see, the better.

SELL: Mike DeVito – This one pains me to say because I’m as big a fan of his as anybody, but I just don’t see how he can be back in 2013. He’s basically a luxury we can’t afford at this point, and he’s going to be able to get much more money on the open market than the Jets can afford. We drafted Quinton Coples in the first round last year and it’s time to throw him into the fire full-time and let him and Muhammad Wilkerson anchor the line going forward. It’s going to be terrible when he ends up playing for the Patriots next year. Damn it.

BUY: Sione Po’uha and Bart Scott on 1-year deals – Obviously both of these guys and their huge salaries are going to be cut the first chance the team gets, but I wouldn’t mind either one coming back on a minimum type one-year deal. Both can still be useful players, and we can’t replace everyone in one offseason. Po’uha is still a valuable run plugger if healthy, and he can form a nice rotation with Kenrick Ellis. As for Scott, I’m not sold on Demario Davis playing a full-time role yet, and Bart can still be valuable leader for the defense.

SELL: Calvin Pace or Bryan Thomas back on 1-year deals – Both of these guys are either going to be cut or have their contracts expire, but I don’t expect either one of them to be back, no matter how low of a contract they’re willing to accept. Both finished up the 2012 seasons with monstrous forks sticking out of their backs, and it’s time to move on with some fresh blood at outside linebacker.

BUY: Rob Ryan as linebackers coach – I don’t know if the Jets want to bring in Rex’s brother to coach the linebackers, but I would have no problem with that at all. I know lots of stupid fans and even stupider media members would have a field day with a hire like this, but it makes sense. Rex trusts him, he’s a good coach, we have a hole at the position after the horrific Bob Sutton left, and he can provide a valuable resource for new coordinator Dennis Thurman to lean on. And hey, if the season ends up being bad on the field, at least things will be awfully entertaining off of it.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: The 2013 Defense

Mike Donnelly’s weekly Stock Watch is buying and selling members of the New York Jets defense

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In case you missed Part 1: The 2013 Offense, the link is right here. Today it’s all about the 2013 defense.

DEFENSIVE LINE

BUY: Mo Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Kenrick Ellis – These three guys are going to be the foundation of the defensive line hopefully for many years to come. Wilkerson has established himself as one of the elite interior defensive linemen in the entire league, and we can’t say enough good things about the job he’s done this year.

Quinton Coples has been brought along slowly by this coaching staff, and while it’s frustrating to not see him out there as much as we’d like, it’s important to remember he’s just a rookie and he’s playing in a very complex defensive scheme. I expect a big time season in 2013 from him. As for Ellis, a knee injury derailed parts of his 2012 season, but he flashed some serious talent when on the field, and he is likely to be our starting nose tackle next year. These three are the only linemen on the team that we can say will be back for sure next season.

SELL: Sione Po’uha – He’s a fan favorite and by all accounts a great teammate, but 350 pound men that develop back problems usually don’t get better as they get older. With his somewhat high price tag for 2013, he has cap casualty written all over him.

BUY: Sione Po’uha being brought back on a reduced contract – There is no question Sione is getting released, but if he’s willing to take a 1-year deal at a reduced rate to come back, I could see the Jets doing that so that they don’t have to just throw Ellis into the fire full-time. I’m not so sure Damon Harrison will be ready to take on a meaningful role, so this could definitely happen.

SELL: Mike DeVito – DeVito has been one of my favorite players for quite a while now, but he’s a free agent and Quinton Coples was clearly drafted to take his spot on the line. I’m sure the Jets would love to have him back, but they just won’t be able to afford the veteran run-stuffer. Look for a cheap veteran to be brought in to spell the starters, someone in the Jay Richardson or Marcus Dixon mold from this past training camp.

LINEBACKERS

BUY: David Harris and Demario Davis – They are the only two linebackers you can say for sure will be back with the Jets in 2013. While Harris’s play has slipped this season, he’s still the best linebacker we have and his guaranteed salary means it will be difficult to find a trade partner, while releasing him would make no sense. As for Davis, he’s the future at linebacker in the green and white. He’s got rare athleticism and he’s already stepped up as one of the vocal leaders on the team. He’s one of the few players on this team that’s worth getting excited over heading into the future. Plus, he has a really hilarious signature:

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SELL: Bart Scott and Calvin Pace – There was a time these two were the rocks of the defense. Now, not so much. I’ve crapped on Calvin Pace a lot in this space throughout the season, so there’s no need to say much more about his play. Cutting him will save an awful lot of money on the 2013 cap, and that’s the first time something involving Calvin Pace has put a smile on my face in over two years.

Bart Scott is another sure cap casualty, and while many dislike him and his big mouth, I’m going to miss having him around. He’s something of an antiquated player in this new passing-happy NFL, but few linebackers are able to fill a gap and blow up a run play like Bart. When I think of Bart Scott, I’m not going to think of the guy pathetically chasing after Shane Vereen on Thanksgiving night, but rather the “Madbacker” who single-handily gave this defense a swagger and contributed a great deal to the 2009-10 teams.

BUY: Josh Mauga and Garrett McIntyre – The team needs solid backups who won’t cost much. These two guys have actually played well, especially McIntyre of late. He’s been our best outside linebacker the past few weeks, which is impressive until you remember who our other linebackers are. Still, he’s played well. Mauga was also a pretty solid player for us before he got injured. Look for him to come back next year and have a solid role with the team.

SELL: Bryan Thomas – The longest tenured Jet gave it everything he had this season and played surprisingly well as old-age and injuries started to take their toll on him. It’s sad to see a proud vet like Thomas end his career like that, but it’s over for B.T.

BUY: Signing 1 OLB, Draft 1 OLB  – It’s imperative that the Jets bring in a reliable veteran who doesn’t lumber like Frankenstein toward the quarterback. There are several nice options available this year in free agency including my personal favorite Conner Barwin of the Texans, who can definitely be had. Beyond him, the market includes guys like Anthony Spencer, Paul Kruger (who has Rex Ryan connections), and Shaun Phillips. Garrett McIntyre will likely be back next season, but he’s best suited as a part-time player who can split reps with a rookie, so a good reliable veteran NEEDS to be brought in.

This 2013 draft is loaded at offensive line and with edge rushers. Those are two things the Jets badly need, especially the linebackers. The Jets should absolutely use their first or second round pick on an edge rusher to give Coples and Wilkerson help up front. Look at the difference guys like Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Bruce Irvin and Jason Pierre-Paul have made for their defenses in recent years. The Jets need an immediate impact pass rusher this year. If you get a good one with the first round pick, sign a veteran like Barwin, and supplement that with a guy like McIntyre and hopefully a late-round project player as well, we’re starting to see a potentially excellent defense being formed. I’m giddy just thinking about the Calvin Pace-less linebacking corps!

SECONDARY

BUY: Revis and Cromartie – Many people are already starting to say the Jets should trade one of these two guys. 8957599-largePersonally, I really hope the Jets don’t. We all know what we have in Revis, and even coming off his ACL injury, he’s arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. I just don’t think you should go and trade away future Hall of Famers. Cromartie has blossomed into arguably the second best corner in the league this year behind Revis. That’s a lethal combination to have in such a pass happy league. Let them both lock down their receivers next year, add a pass rusher or two, and this defense can easily become the best unit in the league again.

BUY: Kyle Wilson – I am not a Kyle Wilson fan, but we can do worse at the third cornerback spot. In fact, we have been doing MUCH worse lately with Ellis Lankster in that role. Wilson has a modest price tag for next year, won’t yield much in a trade and cutting him is pointless, so he will almost certainly be back. Hopefully it’s as the #3 corner and he doesn’t have to move up to the #2 spot if the aforementioned trade occurs.

SELL: Ellis Lankster – I didn’t really enjoy the Ellis Lankster era, I’ll say that.

BUY: Aaron Berry – I was hoping we’d get to see more of him this year, but injuries knocked him out for most of the season. I expect him back to compete for a spot next year, and I’d like to see him win it.

BUY: Yeremiah Bell – Bell has very quietly put together a very good season this year. He’s getting up there in age, but he’s not going to break the bank and he provides solid veteran leadership. If he doesn’t retire, I think he will return to the Jets for another season and that would be a great move for us.

SELL: Laron Landry – I love Landry just as much as the next guy, but I think he’s going to price himself out of the Jets range. Landry has had an excellent season, and if there’s a way they can squeeze him under the cap, I’d LOVE to see him for a full season with Revis and Cromartie locking down receivers on the outside. I just don’t think it’s going to be feasible. Damn.

If Landry does end up pricing himself out of the Jets range, there are several other very good safeties who will be free agents. The most intriguing of course would be Ed Reed, who has been fighting with Baltimore over his contract for the last two years or so now. He has ties to Rex Ryan and it would be interesting to see if Rex could woo him here. Also available will be Jairus Byrd, Dashon Goldson, and Kenny Phillips of the Giants.

SELL: Eric Smith – YES! FINALLY! Good-bye Eric Smith! Go rough the punter somewhere else next year.

BUY: Antonio Allen and Josh Bush – Bush has been one of the few Tannenbaum draft choices who hasn’t been cut at least once this season, so he will definitely be back next year and will likely get more snaps. If Landry does leave, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allen play a much more meaningful role next season either.

Turn On the Jets Stock Watch: The 2013 Offense

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, buying and selling members of the New York Jets offense

NFL: New York Jets at Tennessee Titans

Well, it turns out I was wrong about this Jets team. I thought they were going to win their remaining 3 games and somehow steal a playoff spot, but alas it was not meant to be. Rather than Buy (Wilkerson, Cromartie, Coples) and Sell (Sanchez, Wilson, Lankster) the same old things like I’ve done with the same old players week after week, I’m going to take a look forward toward the 2013 season. Joe already gave a great cheat sheet for Woody Johnson on what to do this offseason, but I’m going to throw my two cents in and look at what kind of replacements we can look forward to possibly wearing the green and white in 2013. Today I’m going to focus on the coaching staff and the offense. Tomorrow I’ll be back with the defense, so be sure to check back.

(Keep in mind this is going to obviously change drastically between now and when the offseason gets into full swing, but this sure beats discussing the Chargers game, right?)

FRONT OFFICE

SELL: Mike Tannenbaum and Terry BradwayFIRED.

COACHING

BUY: Rex Ryan and the Defensive Coaching Staff – Rex Ryan absolutely deserves the benefit of the doubt and should get another crack at getting this thing right. The guy gets his team ready to play every week, and the players love and respect him. Woody Johnson is not going to throw gold bars at Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden to come here, so where are we going to get a better coach than Rex? Do you want to be sitting there in two years saying “I wish we kept Rex!” as our defense flounders? I don’t.

SELL: Tony Sparano, Matt Cavanaugh, Dave DeGuglielmo – Cavanaugh’s firing is a long time coming, so there’s really not much else to say that I haven’t already. As for Tony Sparano, I don’t think he’s done an awful this year, it’s just that it hasn’t been very good. Aside from the awful statistics and whatnot, it is unacceptable how often this team looks completely and utterly confused. It looks as if the call comes in on the headset in Japanese and Sanchez does his best to translate to everyone, so what we end up seeing is the clock running down, guys frantically trying to get to their spot, Sanchez can’t get a look at the defense, and the defense jumps the snap because they know it’s about to happen. Ugh.

Oh, and he can take his delusional buddy Coach Gooch with him. Who is Coach Gooch you may be asking? He’s they psychopath who emphatically claimed Wayne Hunter was the best right tackle out there and they’d have to shoot him dead to bench him. That man has an eye for talent

BUY: Norv Turner as OC – This it he kind of guy Rex Ryan should have had in here since Day One. When great coordinators take over the Head Coach position, they need to be paired with a very strong coach on the other side of the ball, because their natural inclination is to focus on what they know. Instead, we suffered through three years of Brian Schottenheimer, and one year of Tony Sparano who seemed way in over his head. Look around the league and you’ll see how the Jets butchered even this. Gary Kubiak was on the verge of being fired until he hired Wade Phillips. Mike McCarty was given Dom Capers. Get Rex someone like Norv who is an excellent offensive coach, and this team can turn things around rather quickly.

QUARTERBACKS

BUY: Sanchez being here – Might as well get used to it now. He’s going to be here.

BUY: McElroy and Matt Moore – Having these two guys compete with Sanchez in a true competition in training camp is probably the best we can hope for at this point. Good quarterbacks don’t grow on trees, and if we’re going to just take a mid-round prospect, we might as well see what McElroy can do first, right?

SELL: Tim Tebow – I feel really bad for Tebow for having to endure this crap all year, and I genuinely like him. I just don’t want him as our quarterback, and he’s going to force his way out the first chance he gets.

RUNNING BACKS

Jets Jaguarslw23SELL: Shonn Greene – Personally, I have no problem with Greene and I think he’s a strong complimentary runner. The problem is it seems like the team is going to go with Bilal Powell as the 1B option, so we are going to need a better 1A option, preferably someone who can break a big play once in a while.

BUY: Making a Trade – This appears to be a pretty good year to go out and get a veteran running back. There should be plenty of options available for a trade and most won’t cost all that much. The top of the line guys who may be available via trade or after they’re released are MJD, Darren McFadden, Deangelo Williams, Steven Jackson and Chris Johnson. I doubt the Jets will be able to afford any of them, but there are plenty of second tier options as well. A guy I’d love to see them explore is Ben Tate of the Texans, who is glued to the bench behind Arian Foster. I also agree with Joe that Chris Ivory is a guy to definitely sniff around, and after his poor year, Rashard Mendenhall can likely be had for a mid-to-late round pick. There are solid options here, but if all else fails, I actually wouldn’t mind bringing Greene back either.

BUY: Joe McKnight – Whoever our new coordinator is: Please… please try to use Joe McKnight at least a little bit. Thanks.

SELL: Lex Hillard – Good-bye.

RECEIVERS / TIGHT ENDS

BUY: Holmes, Kerley, Stephen Hill – All three will be here next year playing major roles, and if Hill develops heading into year 2, it’s actually a nice trio of receivers. Of course, Hill can’t totally be relied upon, so it would be nice to have a veteran receiver who can get deep down the field and also provides a big reliable target. If only Tannenbaum brought in a guy like that prior to the season… oh wait, in week 15 he did! You know who I mean…

BUY: Braylon Edwards – Braylon never should have been allowed to leave after 2010, that much is obvious. Now that he’s back, he obviously wants to stay, and he will be willing to take a low guarantee/incentive-laden type contract. There is no reason this shouldn’t happen.

SELL: Chaz Schilens, Jason Hill, Clyde Gates, Mardy Gilyard – Ha.

SELL: Dustin Keller – One of the Jets “premiere” free-agents this year is Dustin Keller. His great value to the team was he was the receiver who had the best chemistry and rapport with quarterback Mark Sanchez. Well, now that Sanchez’s days appear to be numbered, there’s no real point in keeping Keller around. He’s undersized, doesn’t have elite athleticism, and he’s a below average blocker. Let someone else overpay him this offseason.

BUY: Anthony Fasano – It makes too much sense, so it probably won’t happen, but Fasano is the exact kind of tight end this team can use. He’s a big, physical player and he’s a strong blocker. He can also get down the seam and make an occasional big play, as well as being a big red-zone target. He’s not great, but he’s the kind of low-cost role player this offense needs. Other options could include Delanie Walker of the 49ers, or James Casey of the Texans.

BUY: Cumberland and Reuland – If a player like Fasano is brought in, I have no problem with Cumberland being the #2 TE who can provide a bit of a receiving threat. I’m not the biggest fan of him, but we can do worse.

OFFENSIVE LINE

BUY: D’Brickashaw and Mangold – Two elite players at their positions, so they won’t be going anywhere, nor should they.

BUY: Austin Howard – I had my doubts at the beginning of the season, but Howard has really come on lately and been a solid player for us. He’s not a Pro Bowler or anything, but he can provide a low-cost and reliable option going forward. His pass protection leaves something to be desired, but he can push the pile and is a very good run blocker.

SELL: Matt Slauson – I like Slauson and wouldn’t mind seeing him back, but he’s a free agent and will likely be seeking a pay increase. He’s a slightly above average player and could hold the fort, but it will likely come down to him or Brandon Moore being retained, and Moore will likely win out. One of the guard spots needs to be upgraded to get this line back to the dominant unit it used to be, and Slauson will likely get the boot.

BUY: Using a 1st or 2nd Round Pick on a Guard – There are plenty of excellent linemen in this draft and this is the year to get one of them. The Big Ugly, Vlad Ducasse will likely be back as the first backup off the bench, perhaps even taking the Jason Smith “extra tight end” role. Get used to hearing “62 is eligibile”!

SELL: Jason Smith – Speaking of Smith, he has a 0% chance of not being cut due to his contract numbers. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him back under a much cheaper deal, but the Jets likely won’t be able to afford whatever he will be asking for.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: Week 15 Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, buying and selling as the Jets head into week 15

Lots to get to in Jets Land as usual with just three games left to play, so let’s just jump right into this week’s Stock Watch.

BUY: Braylon Edwards Signing – I know lots of Jets beat writers and “expert” types rushed to their laptops and smart phones to make their very own Braylon jokes on Twitter as soon as news of the signing broke, but make no mistake about it: This was a GOOD signing. Here is a list of players that have lined up at wide receiver this season for the Jets (other than legitimate NFL options Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley): Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, Clyde Gates, Jason Hill, Mardy Gilyard, Jordan White and Antonio Cromartie. Seriously.

So my question to these “experts” is how is this in any way, shape, or form a bad move?  The Jets picked up a veteran receiver who has a rapport with their quarterback and a familiarity with the team, city, and locker room. If he isn’t healthy enough to contribute, then you cut him and lose nothing. If he plays bad, you cut him and lose nothing. If he says or does something stupid, then you cut him and lose nothing. More than likely though, you are getting a motivated player who knows he’s on his last chance and is going to give everything he has to this team and to this quarterback. And yes, I’m aware he called the general manager an idiot on Twitter in a moment of frustration, but so what, Mike Tannenbaum IS an idiot when it comes to building a roster. That being said..

BUY: Mike Tannenbaum – Yes, he’s done a horrible job with this offense and roster in general the past two years, but kudos to Mr. T for putting his pride to the side and doing what is clearly best for this team in signing a real NFL-caliber receiver for a change. Some people may say the organization is too soft on Sanchez and signing one of his favorite ex-receivers is another example of that, but I say it’s about time Tannenbaum threw Sanchez a bone and let him throw some passes to a player he’s comfortable with rather than needlessly dismantling the offense so they can sign 53-year-old Derrick Mason and fresh out-of-Oz, Plaxico Burress. Ehhh…

SELL: Mike Tannenbaum – Yeahhhh.. he still should probably be fired

BUY: Quinton Coples – I’ve been as big of a Coples supporter as there is out there, and I’ve been dying to see him get more playing time. (I’ve bought more stock of him in this column than I know what to do with.) This week we finally got to see him in action for extended time (although it still should have been more) and he did not disappoint. He only recorded 1 sack on the stat sheet, but he should have closed the deal on two others, and he was directly responsible for the game-ending interception as he got in Chad Henne’s face and forced a poor pass. The Quinton Coples break out is coming and he’s going to be a major force by the time 2013 rolls around. That reminds me..

SELL: Garrett McIntyre Getting So Many Snaps – There were times in the 4th quarter agains the Jaguars we saw two down linemen rushing the passer with blitzes coming from all over the place. Those two linemen were the tremendous Mo Wilkerson (who is having an All-Pro caliber season), and… Garrett McIntyre?! I know Calvin Pace is basically useless at this point in his career, so I understand him not being out there, but why not let Coples and Wilkerson feast on the Jags offensive line in those obvious passing situations?

SELL: All Corner Backs Not Named Cromartie – When Cro left the game and was headed to the locker room in the 4th quarter on Sunday, I thought this defense was toast. All of the corners on this team not named Cromartie are awful. Kyle Wilson has played a little better of late (and even stopped doing his ridiculous finger wag!), but he’s still no better than a solid 3rd corner. Ellis Lankster is a fine 3rd corner as well, as long as we’re talking about being a 3rd corner on some sort of low-grade independent football league out in the midwest or something. Aaron Berry has been hurt since the day he signed his contract with the Jets, which is unfortunate, because I was really hoping to see more of him out in the nickel spot this year.

BUY: 3-0 The Rest of the Way – The manta is “One Game at a Time” for the Jets, but I’m just a guy writing about them on the internet, so I’m allowed to look ahead. It is 100% conceivable that this team is going to go 3-0 the rest of the way with this schedule. The Titans are suffering from injuries to FOUR of their offensive linemen. Believe me, I was a Chris Johnson fantasy owner, I know how incredibly putrid this team is. It doesn’t help them that Mike Munchak looks more like a guy who should be driving a tow truck than being an NFL coach either. And speaking of comical head coaches, the Jets get to then close out the season against Norv Turner and Chan Gailey, who have both been updating their resumes for two solid months now in hopes of getting an offensive coordinator job in 2013. I don’t know if the Jets will get the necessary help to make the playoffs, but just that it’s possible is truly crazy.

BUY: Rex Ryan – That this team — with this talent — has a chance to go 9-7 really speaks to how good of a coach Rex Ryan is. I’m really tired of hearing people rip this guy and saying they want him fired. Just remember: The grass is not always greener on the other side. We have a good thing here with Rex Ryan. Just imagine how much better it can be once someone comes in here who can evaluate talent and give him the necessary pieces to become a dominant team again.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Angry Rant Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, buying and selling on all the Jets problems

It feels like I could just copy and paste parts of this column from the last few weeks and nobody would be able to tell the difference. Week after week it’s becoming the same old stuff when it comes to this Jets team. Too many turnovers, ineffective run game, blowouts, Calvin Pace sucks, Bart Scott sucks, Kyle Wilson is a delusional finger-wagger with an incredibly false sense of accomplishment, and Tannenbaum needs to be fired. It’s all on repeat, on a continuous loops, and no matter how much we all desperately want things to change, they aren’t going to. This team just has no talent, and off the field things are going from bad to worse. Let’s examine some of our recent issues.

BUY: Fireman Ed– I was never a huge fan of the Fireman, but for him to have to “resign” due to continued harassment and threats is downright disgusting. Let me get this straight: JETS fans went to JETS games to root for the JETS and decided to harass and curse off a big JETS fan, because he wore a JETS jersey of a JETS player to support him during his struggles to hopefully help the JETS win. Got it. That makes a ton of sense. And you wonder why Jets fans have such a bad reputation. Whether you like Ed or not, there is no reason for that kind of treatment.

He made game days more enjoyable for many people, even if you didn’t like him. He continued a Jets tradition, bringing the J-E-T-S chant over from Shea Stadium, and helped give the Jets an identity. Fans of every team know the Jets chant, and it’s an positive identifiable thing for a team that’s only other trait seems to be embarrassing losses. I’ve seen a ton of kids at home games throughout the years be hilariously pumped up to do the chant and see Fireman Ed, and to think that could be over now because of a few jerks, is disgusting. If you were one of those people trying to fight Ed because he wore a Sanchez jersey, well shame on you. You can turn in your Jets fan card at the door. Thanks.

SELL: Fans Cursing off Players – I’m sure you’ve seen the video of Jets fans cursing off players as they walked to the locker room at half time last Thursday by now. Again, if you were one of those people, you don’t deserve to call yourself a fan. I’m sick of hearing “I paid my money, I can say what I want at the game”. Well next time I hope someone punches you in the face. I was there and just as mad as anybody else, but can you show just a little self-restraint maybe?

SELL: $100 Jets Hoodies – I tweeted about this when I was on my way out of the Stadium on Thursday, but where do the Jets get off trying to sell their fans $100 sweat shirts?! Are they aware of what kind of product they’re putting on the field? I guess they need to sell a few of these so they can afford to bring Jason Hill back for the 12th time this year.

SELL: Ellis Lankster – Ellis Lankster just continues to ruin my football Sundays, or in this case Thursday holidays. Sadly, most of my friends are Giants fans, and I swear most of them look forward to watching the Jets game more than the Giants game each week just so they can laugh at me and comment on things like Calvin Pace’s lack of speed, Mark Sanchez’s turnovers, Stephen Hill’s drops, etc., etc. 

But lately Ellis Lankster has become the biggest cause of jokes and pain. Most of the things they say are unsuitable for print, but I thought I was in the clear on Thanksgiving night, since I was at the game with other Jets fans and was far from their wrath. Nope. My phone received no less than 15 text messages, all laughing and taunting me about how incredibly awful Ellis Lankster is. The sad part is I can’t even defend it. Ellis Lankster is THE WORST. When I rated him 47th out of 53 on this team back in October, I was being generous. They should run a contest every week where they pick a random seat number and the winner gets to go down to the field and play nickel back for the Jets defense. I swear they couldn’t do any worse than Ellis Lankster.

BUY: Getting to play Ryan Lindley and Arizona’s Offensive Line – If the Jets defense doesn’t step up and have an absolute party on the field this week, then I give up. Arizona has the worst offensive line in the league, and the worst quarterback play in at least a decade that doesn’t involve the words Jamarcus or Russell. I expect a few turnovers and — I hope you’re sitting down — maybe even a sack!

SELL: Having to play the Arizona Defense – Sigh. The Cardinals have an excellent defense and it’s going to be really hard for the Jets to move the ball. It’s going to be completely up to the defense to score and put this offense in extremely positive situations if they’re gonna have any hope.

SELL: The Jets going on a run – Sadly, I think the Jets are going to win 3 or 4 games down the stretch, including this one, and finish probably 7-9. That will mean they don’t get a high draft pick, they might not fire Mike Tannenbaum, and we will have to deal with a lot of the same crap next year. Ahh..,the Jets. What a team!

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Jets/Patriots Preview Edition

Mike Donnelly is buying and selling for his weekly Turn On The Jets Stock Watch. This week previewing Jets vs. Patriots

It’s a bit of a shame that the Jets play on a short week against the Pats this week because I would like to savor that curb-stomping Rex Ryan and his defense handed to former Jets coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s current St. Louis Rams offense just a little bit longer. After all, we haven’t had all that much to be pleased with this year, right? It sure was sweet to be on the other side of a patented Schotty game for a change. The Rams were gashing the Jets early with the run but I wasn’t worried at all. I’d seen this movie too many times and I know how it ends. Naturally, he immediately stopped calling run and a smile broke across my face. Just like we had seen for years here in New York, Schotty much preferred the 2 yard outs and 3 yard crossing patterns that repeatedly resulted in incomplete passes. It was all so very familiar, and all so gratifying to watch. Thank you, Schotty, thank you. Finally, you brought me some joy after six painful years.

Now before we sweep the Rams game under the rug, let’s touch on a few things from it before moving on into full-on Patriots Week mode…

SELL: The “Schotty’s Revenge” jokes – It was funny checking my Twitter after the Rams scored that opening touchdown, seeing all the many, many, many, many stupid and ignorant jokes put out there by so many “experts”, reporters, fans, and haters, all based around the premise that Schotty is, was, and forever will be a genius who the Jets stupidly got rid of. Ha-ha, jokes on the Jets, right? By the 2nd quarter, when Schotty was back to doing Schotty things, leading to his offense not moving the ball, I didn’t see a single thing about it. Weird how that works, huh?

SELL: The Mark Sanchez haters – It’s really gotten to the point that even when Sanchez plays well he’s going to get zero credit and zero respect, huh? Prior to the game all I read about was how the Rams defense was going to tear the Jets apart. Didn’t quite happen. Hey Jets fans, Mark Sanchez is the quarterback of the Jets. Regardless of how you feel about him, when he does well, you should be happy. I will never understand this.

BUY: Tony Sparano’s Gameplan – This was probably Sparano’s best game of the season. The use of play-actions, rollout passes, and creativity in getting the Jets’ many bad receivers open in space was great to see. What else? Glad you asked..

BUY: The Jets 3-Headed RB Attack – FINALLY! I re-watched the game tape five times just to make sure that what I thought I had seen on the TV was not a figment of my imagination: We actually had a Joe McKnight sighting on offense! It was pretty funny — and sad — watching the game and hearing the shock and disgust in the announcer’s voice when he said “That was Joe McKnight’s first catch of the season!” Tell me about it. After 10 weeks of praying to various Gods, lighting candles, begging, pleading, writing letters, and ritualistically sacrificing a few Patriots fans (ok, the last one may not have actually happened), the Jets FINALLY did what I wanted and got Joe McKnight involved in the offense, and threw him a pass. That’s all I wanted, just one pass to show me the coaches were aware it is in fact legal to throw a pass to the running back.

It was also great to see Bilal Powell get a few touches and turn them into two touchdowns. Who would have known that maximizing the various talents your running backs possess would be a better alternative than just having Shonn Greene stumble into the line 20 times a game?

SELL: Joe McKnight Inside the 5 yard line – I am all for more McKnight, but perhaps using him as a pseudo goal-line back is not the proper time. Let’s go ahead and rip that page out of the playbook and pretend it never happened, Tony.

SELL: Calvin Pace, Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster – Just reminding you that they still stink. This game changed nothing.

SELL: Jets Special Teams (other than Joe McKnight) – Also still very bad.

BUY: Mo Wilkerson – Big Mo has started to look like the dominant All-Pro defensive lineman Rex Ryan talked him up as prior to the season. The last few weeks have been especially impressive for the 2011 first round pick. The scary thing is that he’s only beginning to scratch the surface on what he can do on the field as well. As Quinton Coples develops next to him and an edge rusher is presumably brought in to come around the corner and clean up after Wilkerson’s disruption up the middle, he’s really going to look tremendous. Nobody gives more crap to Mike Tannenbaum and his player evaluation ability than me, but I have to give him credit for Wilkerson. Having Mo and other young talent on defense like Coples, Kenrick Ellis, and Demario Davis will set this defense up very nicely up front for years to come.

SELL: Stephen Hill being “raw” – Ok, enough praise of Tannenbaum. The Stephen Hill debacle looks worse and worse every week. All we heard about after the draft was how “raw” Hill was and how he would need time to develop. Well if that was the case, WHY THE HELL would you not bring in a reliable #2 receiver to start while the rookie developed? And not to mention, it’s always been my understand that “being raw” means he runs the wrong route from time to time, or can’t separate from the cornerback at the line of scrimmage. Being raw, to me, doesn’t include “not being able to catch”, because that seems like a pretty basic thing that all wide receivers should have learned sometime around the 6th grade. If Hill doesn’t learn to catch — and fast — he’s going to just be another in the long line of bust wide receivers who can run real fast and jump real high, but aren’t actually good at playing football — which is a pretty important thing.

Now about that little ol’ Patriots game we have coming up this week. Below are my three keys to this game. If I’m not back here next week in this very column buying all of these, there’s a really good chance I’m also going to be loading the column up with more than a few expletives because the Jets will have lost another big game and the season will more than likely be kaput.

1. Pressure Tom Brady – Mo Wilkerson is going to be double-teamed the entire game because quite frankly, Bill Belichick isn’t dumb. He knows Wilkerson can single-handily disrupt the Patriots offense by getting in Tom Brady’s face all night, just like Shaun Ellis did in the 2010 playoffs. So it’s going to be up to Quinton Coples to step up, along with Calvin Pace (doubtful) and Ricky Sapp (maybe) around the edge. Bryan Thomas has also elevated his play of late, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him turn back the clock a little bit and step up in what will likely be his last Jets-Pats game ever.

2. Stop Wes Welker – With Rob Gronkowski out and Aaron Hernandez likely to be slowed a little by his injury, stopping Wes Welker will be an even bigger key to this week’s game than usual. Typically the Jets would be able to just put him on Revis Island and forget about it, but that option isn’t available this week. And as amazing as Antonio Cromartie has been this season, moving to the slot and covering shifty guys like Welker has never been his strong suit. And that means that — sigh — it’s going to be up to guys like Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster to play as well as they possibly can (which isn’t very well, unfortunately) and slow Wes down. There’s going to be a ton of bracket coverage played, and don’t be surprised to see Demario Davis play a major role this week covering some of these short passes over the middle. Just writing this paragraph is giving me anxiety. Ugh.

3. NO TURNOVERS!! – This is the biggest one of them all. When the Jets don’t turn the ball over, they win. Mark Sanchez is unquestionably at a crossroads of his Jets career, and a big-time performance this week against the Patriots will go a long way toward building the confidence not just of himself, but all of his teammates, and the fans. We all know the Patriots defense is comically bad, but they thrive on being opportunistic and causing turnovers, so the Jets absolutely can not fall into that trap. The mission statement on offense this week is simple: Protect the ball, find the many, many soft spots in the defense, and win the game. Easier said than done, unfortunately.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Seattle Meltdown Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, buying and selling after the Jets meltdown in Seattle

There’s nothing quite like New York Jets football, is there? Just prior to the game, we as fans talk ourselves into thinking that this week will be different. This is the week the Jets will get their crap together. This is the week they turn in a solid performance, win, and turn their season around. Then kickoff comes and we spend three agonizing hours breaking down every single play, watching in horror as they find new ways to lose, break our hearts, and then it’s over. We spend the next few days running the full gamut of emotions from rage, to pain, to acceptance, to peace with the situation, and then it’s back to thinking next week will be different again.

I’m not going to get into the whole Mark Sanchez debacle this week, because thinking about how we got from him throwing 3 TD’s in Foxboro during a playoff game to…whatever the hell this is now, physically makes my head hurt. But I will get into the horrible job Mike Tannenbaum has done with this roster that helped usher in this new era of unwatchable football, so don’t worry. Also, believe it or not, there were a few positives from this week’s game, so let’s start with those.

BUY: The Defensive Line – If you just look at the stat sheet, you probably wouldn’t know it, but the defensive line played extremely well this week and has pretty much all year, despite a season-long injury to Sione Po’uha. After a slow start to the season, Mo Wilkerson has been playing like the All-Pro calibre player Rex Ryan talked him up as (which was, of course, a rare instance in which Rex was actually right about one of his guys). According to ProFootballFocus.com, in fact, he’s been the second best defensive end in the entire league this year, trailing only J.J. Watt, who you may have heard is pretty awesome. Along with Wilkerson, Quinton Coples has really started to flash the past few weeks and is good for a few “wow” plays per game. The reason the stats aren’t racking up is because there is literally ZERO pass rush from the edge. So, even though Wilkerson and Coples are pushing the pocket and causing some havoc up front, there is nobody coming around the corner to help out. It’s a good thing Mike Tannenbaum brought in zero OLB’s the past 4 years, huh?

BUY: Bart Scott – I know Bart has lost a step or three the past year or so, but he looked great against Seattle. He’s always been a force against the run, and considering the Jets are going to be facing a ton of runs as the clock gets milked against them in plenty more losses this year, we can’t throw dirt on his playing career coffin just yet. Demario Davis is the future at the position, but he’s still very raw and not ready to take over the role full-time. Plus, Bart Scott is a great veteran to have around teaching these young guys, as Marcus Dowtin referred to in his interview here on TOJ. Bart most likely won’t be back in 2013, and I must say, I’m going to miss him.

SELL: Outside Linebackers – Back to the OLB’s for a second. It blows my mind to see a Rex Ryan team have negative amounts of skill at the edge rusher spots. Calvin Pace is absolutely awful and reaffirmed my hatred of him as he repeatedly blew containment on his side against Seattle. Bryan Thomas plays hard, but at this point all he is, is a constant reminder that we should have drafted Ed Reed instead of him in 2001. Backing those two corpses up on the depth chart are Useless Garrett McIntyre — who is absolutely terrible — and Ricky Sapp, who despite some unwarranted hype prior to the Seattle game, is not the answer. In fact, the only reason I knew Sapp was even playing in that game was because he was unable to recover a fumble deep in Seattle territory that was right in his hands. That being said, I want to see him play more, because the alternatives are just so unbelievably terrible. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Also deserving more playing time is Marcus Dowtin. I don’t even care where he lines up at this point, I just want to see someone who doesn’t appear to be wearing cement sneakers out there.

Speaking of terrible, in a move that should have shocked nobody, Aaron Maybin was released today. He wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire out on the field, but I still find it hard to believe he couldn’t offer more to this team than Useless Garrett McIntyre (which should be his new official name). If this team doesn’t bring in a linebacker who doesn’t need to be timed in the 40-yard dash with a sun dial this offseason, then I give up.

SELL: Kyle Wilson & Ellis Lankster – Clearly, Pete Carroll and his coaching staff had a great big laugh watching film of the Kyle Wilson prior to this week’s game. How do I know? Because they attacked him IMMEDIATELY, on their second and third play from scrimmage, which resulted in gains of 18 and 36, the second of which of course being a touchdown. Shockingly, Wilson did not unleash his patented “Finger Wag of Doom” at that time. He waited until much later in the game to show off that nifty little taunt, when he shocked the world and actually broke up a pass. It takes a real special kind of delusional to think you should be wagging your finger in people’s faces when you’ve been worked over all game, but that’s exactly what our 2010 1st round pick does.

As for Lankster, well, the guy is just terrible and somehow manages to get worse weekly. If he’s on the field, it should only be to blitz, because when he’s in coverage it can only result in one of two things: 1) A pass interference penalty; or 2) A touchdowns. In the 3rd quarter against Seattle, he managed to achieve both those things on the same play, which was pretty impressive. Way to go! Aaron Berry must just be completely unable to grasp the playbook or something, because there’s no reason he shouldn’t be out there getting snaps in place of either of these two guys.

SELL: Mike Tannenbaum – I present to you the reason that I have so many complaints about this team… Mr. Mike Tannenbaum! I was going to list a few of the horrible things he’s done the past two years to lead us to this position here in this paragraph, but it wouldn’t be fair to Mike to just gloss over them like that. He deserves a full blown column to really detail the impressive job he’s done in managing to keep his job despite being so completely and utterly terrible at it. (Kind of like my Letter to him, or my evisceration of the roster he built, or even how he couldn’t develop a QB.) I’ll be back tomorrow with more on our wonderful GM, so be sure to check back for that.

Turn On The Jets Stock Watch: 2nd Half Outlook Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch, providing a second half outlook for the New York Jets

After the disaster of watching the Jets get absolutely demolished by the Miami Dolphins in person at MetLife Stadium, I, like many of you, was extremely down on this team. In my head I had all kinds of ideas about who I’d be selling in my Stock Watch, what players I’d attempt to publicly complain about some more (Calvin Pace), and already start thinking about who we’d be looking at with our top 5 draft pick. But then, after the disaster of watching the Jets, another disaster hit the area (Screw you, Sandy), and I was unable to do a Stock Watch. Perhaps not being able to write that column was for the best. Now I’m back with a fresh outlook on the team, and I hope everyone out there is safe, healthy, and on their way to rebounding back after the recent disaster… kind of like our Jets. Also, please check out my Jets (and NFL) First Half Awards to get my take on the confusing first 8 games of this season. (Or even if you don’t care about my football thoughts, I’d love to hear what you think about Homeland.)

BUY: 9-7 record and Wild Card Spot – Yes, despite how incredibly down I was on this team, after careful reconsideration, I think a 6-2 record over these final 8 games is not only possible, but it’s going to happen. Every year there are teams that get totally written of and then go on a big run to make some serious noise. Don’t believe me? Ask the 2011 Giants, 2010 Packers, or even our 2009 New York Jets. And I know it’s hard to find many positives with this entire organization right now, but let’s take a look at how this playoff birth can happen.

  • BUY: @ Seattle – Remember, this is the Jets. They’re 7 point underdogs this week and everyone is writing them off. Nobody thinks they’ll be able to move the ball or stop Marshawn Lynch. Well, this is the Jets we are talking about, and they usually do things nobody expects, both good and bad.
  • SELL: @ St. Louis – And this will prove my point. After the win at Seattle, everyone will start the “Maybe the Jets can sneak in there” talk, and then they’ll take a dump all over whatever the hell the Rams call their field the next week, and lose to Brian Schottenheimer in the process. Ugh.
  • BUY: Vs. New England – And then just as we’re all ready to hate the team again, they go out and beat the Patriots at home. They should have won the last matchup in New England, and they won’t mess it up again.
  • BUY: Vs. Arizona – Normally this would be a huge letdown spot where the Jets blow an easy game after a big win, but since they have 10 days to prepare for this game, and they’ll be facing John Skelton and the Cards offensive line, they’ll pull it out. Barely.
  • BUY: @ Jacksonville – Another game that will be much harder than it should be, but the Jets will pull it out over Blaine Gabbert.
  • SELL: @ Tennessee – At this point everyone will be talking the Jets up as a playoff team, and then they’ll go into Tennessee and lose by double digits somehow. I hate this team already and this hasn’t even happened yet.
  • BUY: Vs. San Diego – Norv Turner.
  • BUY: @ Buffalo – And then just as it doesn’t look good, the Jets will go into Buffalo and absolutely drop a hammer on this Bills team that will have already thrown in the towel while Chan Gailey and Dave Wannstedt are making calls at halftime to see if any college teams will hire them.

See, it’s not so far-fetched. You have to figure the Steelers and Ravens will both make the playoffs out of the AFC North, so that leaves one other wild card spot. Nobody from the West is worth a crap besides Denver. In the South, the Colts are 5-3 and are right in the mix of things now, but they’ve been playing over their heads. Such a young team is unlikely to win the tough games down the stretch to secure a playoff spot. They have games @NE, @ Det, and two against the Texans, not to mention a Thursday night game tonight @ Jacksonville, which they will lose. They’re looking at 7-9 or 8-8 at best, and the Jets own a tiebreaker over them. The other team the Jets are competing with is the Miami Dolphins, who sit at 4-4. Unfortunately for them, they have two games against the Patriots, one @ San Francisco, and one @ Buffalo in cold November, which is never a picnic for a warm-weathered Miami team. So keep your fingers crossed. It can happen.

So, how are the Jets players going to be performing in these final 8 games to secure that 6-2 record? Glad you asked!

BUY: Shonn Greene over 1,100 yards – Greene sits at 509 yards rushing right now with 91 receiving. He also has 5 touchdowns. As we all know, Shonn Greene is a perpetual slow starter who really turns it on in the second half of the season. I think we are looking at a final stat line of 1,150 rushing yards, 8 TD’s, and 225 receiving yards. He will fall short of my preseason prediction of 1,500 total yards from scrimmage, but it won’t be by that much. Remember, he’s playing for a contract these final 8 weeks.

BUY: Mark Sanchez 8 starts – Yes, Mark Sanchez will start all 8 remaining games, so you might as well just accept it.

BUY: Mark Sanchez finishing with solid stats – His stat line this year is not quite as bad as many would have you believe, but it’s certainly not Manning-esque or anything. Right now he’s got 1,736 yards, 10 TD’s, and 8 interceptions to go with a 52.9 completion %. By the end of the season I think he’ll be looking at 3,600 yards, 22 TD, 16 interceptions, and 58% completions. Not bad.

BUY: Tim Tebow will score a Touchdown – And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more like 3 or 4. If the coaching staff didn’t reevaluate things this bye week and realize Tebow should be taking some carries inside the 5 yard line, then I give up.

BUY: Jeremy Kerley over 1,000 yards – Right now he has 478, and he’s getting better every week. Over 1,000 yards should be in the bag, despite defenses starting to give him more attention.

BUY: Stephen Hill over 500 yards – 196 right now, but he’s missed two games and had some rookie struggles. He’ll be inconsistent the rest of the season, but I definitely see a big game or two in his future that will easily push this number over 500. Not only that but don’t be shocked if he racks up 5 more touchdowns, pushing his total to 8, either.

SELL: Jason Hill over 5 catches – One of the burning questions for all Jets fans the rest of the way. Can the great Jason Hill get to 5 whole catches this year? He has 2 right now, so can Mike Tannenbaum’s prized free agent pickup that I can only assume he found while turning over all those stones looking for talent do it? We’ll have to wait and see! (The answer is no. Jason Hill sucks, and dropping a promising safety like Antonio Allen for him is Reason # 23,529 that Mike Tannenbaum needs to be fired)

SELL: Clyde Gates & Jeff Cumberland – Just reminding you they’re still on this team and that they still suck.

BUY: Quinton Coples over 6 sacks – He currently has 2 sacks, but probably should have 1 or 2 more that he just missed. You can see things are starting to click for the rookie first round pick, and with increased playing time, he’s going to start racking up some numbers. Finishing with 6 sacks would clearly give him the team lead, and even though it’s the Jets and he has no competition, that’s still pretty good.

SELL: Ricky Sapp over 1.5 sacks – Speaking of Coples and sacks, I really, really hope I’m wrong about this one, because Quinton sure could use some help out there. Sapp was a guy I had a lot of hope for entering the season, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy and put it all together. Please, don’t confuse my pessimism for some kind of hatred when it comes to Ricky Sapp. I 100% absolutely want to see him play and I think he deserves to be in there over washed up bums like Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, or Garrett McIntyre. (Actually, McIntyre isn’t washed up, he just moves around like he is.) It’s just that when was the last time a team promoted a guy from their practice squad in week 10 and had him solve their pass rush issues? Prove me wrong, Ricky! Please!

BUY: The Defense – Right now the defense is ranked 16th overall and a ridiculous 29th against the run. Don’t think for one second Rex Ryan doesn’t go to bed every night distraught while thinking about that. Well, that and the fact he can’t finish the second half of that large pizza he was eating because his lap band won’t allow it, but mostly the defensive numbers. There is no way, repeat: NO WAY, that this defense finishes the season allowing 141 yards per game rushing and 347 overall. I fully expect them to slowly but surely make their way into the top 10 overall and start shutting down some running attacks. Rex Ryan is too good of a coach to allow that to continue, and with the infusion of youth and speed making it’s way onto the field with players like Demario Davis, Marcus Dowtin, Quinton Coples, and even Ricky Sapp, things are going to get better before long.

Turn On the Jets Stock Watch: Patriots Edition

Mike Donnelly with his weekly Stock Watch. Buying and selling after Jets/Patriots

After the Jets crushing loss to the Patriots on Sunday, all Jets fans seemed to fit squarely into one of two categories: Either you were happy with the way the team played, showing fight, never quitting, and going toe-to-toe with the Patriots in Foxboro, OR you pulled the “there are no moral victories!” card, bashed Mark Sanchez for his costly fumble, and said a loss is a loss is a loss, no matter what. I don’t think things have to be quite so black and white, and the appropriate way to feel about this Jets team right now is somewhere in the middle.

The game was right there for the taking, and there is no question the Jets should have pulled it out if not for a curious lack off aggressiveness when it came time to step on the Patriots throat and put them away. The offense played for 3 instead of 7 and then the defense unsurprisingly was unable to hold Tom Brady when it mattered most. We all know what happened by now. It was about as painful of a regular season loss as I’ve seen from the Jets in years. HOWEVER, there is plenty to be happy about with this team and the way they played. Let’s take a look.

BUY: Mark Sanchez & Dustin Keller – It’s amazing how much better the offense looks when Dustin Keller is on the field, isn’t it? He clearly has the most rapport with Mark Sanchez out of anyone on the roster and it really shows. In fact, in the 3 games Dustin has been on the field this year, here are Mark Sanchez’s passing numbers:

58-86, 67.4%, 676 yards, 6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Those are excellent numbers no matter how you slice it, and it really speaks volumes. Mark Sanchez is not perfect by any stretch, but the kid is a GOOD quarterback. For the majority of the season his top targets were Jeff Cumberland and Chaz Schilens. Think about that. Nobody can thrive when put in that position, but now that Jeremy Kerley is emerging, Stephen Hill is coming along, and Dustin Keller is getting healthy, Mark is playing some of his best ball. Unfortunately, there are fans out there who won’t give #6 any form of credit no matter what he does, and that is a disgrace. (I even tweeted about this during the game.) The bottom line is this: Mark Sanchez played an excellent game on Sunday, making great throws to Keller and Kerley all over the field and all anybody wants to bring up is the fumble and the admittedly horrible interception in the end zone. Other than that, he was pretty much flawless, and when he left the field with just over a minute to play in the 4th quarter, his team had the lead. Everyone wants to pile on and trash him when he makes a bad play, but lets give him credit when it’s due.

SELL: The playcalling – We’ve been over this ad nauseam since Sunday so I won’t beat a dead Sparano, but that sequence of plays when the Jets had the ball at the Pats 4, 3rd & 1 and a half or so, you’ve got to have Tebow in the game to plow forward. The slant to Chaz Schilens is a terrible play call anywhere on the field and that situation was no different. Just had to mention this. Again.

BUY: Shonn Greene & Joe McKnight – Shonn Greene is another guy Jets fans love to hate, but his performance on Sunday was really great to see. He ran for the tough yards all day against a stout Patriots run defense, and contributed 6 big catches to move the chains and give the Patriots something else to think about on defense. And let’s be real, Shonn Greene is A MAN. There’s no other way to really describe him. After seeing him bounce back up after that crushing show from Brandon Spikes, then return to the game because the team needed him, well it was pretty awesome.

Same goes for Joe McKnight, who had his typically tremendous day in the kick return game and managed to grind out 7 carries for solid yardage after Greene’s injury, despite hobbling around on one leg and looking like he was in a great amount of pain all game. When Bilal Powell returns from injury, the Jets will have a pretty solid little trio of backs, especially when you throw Lex Hilliard into the mix. They’re not the most talented group around, but they can definitely get the job done.

SELL: Matt Slauson & Brandon Moore – Yes, our guards are now officially bad. Matt Slauson was beat several times during the course of the game and actually had me calling to see more Vlad Ducasse. Yes, that Vlad Ducasse. Brandon Moore’s struggles are tough to watch, because he’s been such an underrated and key player of this team for so long. Last year, his run blocking slipped noticeably, but was still excellent protecting the quarterback. This year, not so much. He’s still serviceable, but we are likely seeing the last few games of Moore’s very good career. Look for an overhaul at the position in the offseason as both starters are likely to be replaced.

Fortunately, Nick Mangold is as good as ever and D’Brickashaw Ferguson is looking more like the 2010 version than 2011. If Chandler Jones had been playing, I’m sure Brick would have had a much worse game, though. Oh wait, Jones did play? And he did nothing? Weird..

BUY: Mo Wilkerson & Quinton Coples – Chandler Jones may not have made a peep all game, but Quinton Coples sure did. Coples was routinely getting pressure in the Pats backfield, and should have recorded his 3rd sack of the season, but David Harris cleaned it up and got the credit. Chris will cover this more in his defensive breakdown, but there is little doubt Coples is going to be an excellent player for the Jets. As for Wilkerson, he’s really starting to come into his own as the dominant force on the defensive line we all expected this season. He was double-teamed nearly the entire game and still managed to almost single-handily disrupt the Pats run game as well as get up into Tom Brady’s face. Throw in Kenrick Ellis, and the Jets defensive line is looking like a major strength for the next few years.

BUY: Demario Davis & Antonio Allen – It was great seeing Demario Davis play so much this week and to make such an impact. When he knifed his way through the line and made a stuff in the backfield, I could hardly believe my eyes. It had been so long, I forgot a linebacker was allowed to do something like that. Davis is far from perfect, but he’s super athletic, fast, and he can lay the wood. The same goes for Allen, who played a lot in the Jets “big nickel” defense, to slow down the Pats tight ends while keeping an eye on the run game. For most of the game, it worked very well. New “hybrid” defenders like Davis and Allen, along with perhaps Marcus Dowtin, are the new breed of defenders in the NFL and will be key for the Jets going forward defending teams like the Patriots. More Davis and Allen, less Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, and Eric Smith is a great thing.