Jets Must Win Sunday

 Dolphins_vs_Jets_19a9

First a few updates:

1. David Clowney, Brandon Moore, and Lito Sheppard all missed practice today. Jerricho Cotchery was limited but told reporters he would be ready to go this Sunday and apparently he looked sharp in practice. Rex Ryan basically said Sheppard was out for this week. I am not sure how severe Clowney’s injury is but hopefully he won’t miss this week because Brad Smith might not be ready to come back yet either. Moore should be good to go against Miami.

amd_kerry-rhodes2. There has already been plenty of trash talk going back and forth between the Jets and Miami. A few Jets like Kerry Rhodes and Shaun Ellis took exception to Miami reacting like they won the Super Bowl after beating the Jets a few weeks ago. Ronnie Brown basically said the Jets don’t have the playmakers on defense that Baltimore did last year in his conference call with the New York media. Rex Ryan is using a Brown quote from after Miami beat the Jets about how the Dolphins were the tougher team as a motivational tactic. Bart Scott said he will be looking to get back some unnamed Miami offensive lineman for “dirty” play in the Monday night game. At this point, we get it…these two teams hate each other. The Jets don’t respect Miami. Miami doesn’t respect the Jets. Go out and take care of business this Sunday.

3. Apparently, Ted Ginn Jr is on the outs in Miami and has been demoted to third string duty because of his inability to catch the football…an important skill for a wide receiver. Of course he remembered how to catch the football the last time the Jets played Miami…just our luck.

Jets Must Win Sunday

You hate to throw out the term “must win” for a week 8 game but let’s be real here if the Jets want to be serious playoff contenders they must beat the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. By all indications, the race for the AFC East title and the race for AFC Wild Card spots are going to be tight, so yes there is a huge difference between 5-3 and 4-4 for the Jets at the bye week.

The Jets have a golden opportunity to bury the Miami Dolphins for the 2009 season. It is going to take 10 wins and a few tie breakers to have a shot at a division title or a wild-card spot in the AFC. If Miami loses they will fall to 2-5 and need to go 8-1 over their last 9 games, with include two match-ups with New England and a game against Pittsburgh, to have a chance to be in the playoff mix. It is time to knock out Miami while you have the chance and turn the focus towards catching New England.

Speaking of the Patsies, the Jets can pull within a 1/2 game of our New England friends with a victory and be in control of their destiny since they have a game left in their season series. Even though New England has some tough match-ups left including games in Indy and New Orleans, a 1/2 is obviously easier to make up than a 1 and 1/2 games. Beyond that, divisional record could come in to play as a tie-breaker later in the season. The Jets would fall to 1-3 with a loss to Miami and need to pick up road victories against both the Patriots and Bills to salvage a .500 record.

Rex Ryan has talked about changing the culture around this organization. He has talked about making the Meadowlands a place where teams don’t want to play. The Jets have already lost a home divisional game this season and with another loss would bring them to a subpar 2-2 record in their building. You need to protect your house and rack up victories in your building if you fancy yourself a legitimate contender in the NFL.

alg_dolphins-brownFinally, Miami embarrassed the Jets on national television. The Jets ran their mouths before the game and somehow ran their mouths after the game, referring to the Wildcat as a gimmick. Everybody in the Jets organization talks about having an elite defense and yet they choked away a lead three times in the fourth quarter to their primary rival on Monday Night freakin football. The Dolphins converted two third downs on the final drive and ran the ball right down the Jets throat on the final play for the victory.

Bart Scott missed countless tackles, including one on the game winning run by Ronnie Brown. Darrelle Revis was toasted for a 50 yard touchdown by a practice squad receiver. Calvin Pace was pushed around and looked out of place all night. What am i saying is that the Jets should be watching film from this game a few weeks ago and be chomping at the bit to get on the field against the Dolphins. Rex Ryan sure made it sound like in his press conference today that both himself and his defense feel that way.

A contender would go out on their home field and prove the Monday game against Miami was a fluke. A pretender would get swept by a sub .500 divisional rival and lose consecutive home games to divisional teams who came in with a combined record of 3-8. Which one are the Jets going to be in 2009?

Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. According to Rex Ryan there is a chance that Jerricho Cotchery won’t play on Monday night because of a hamstring injury, which would be a big blow to the Jets passing game. Brad Smith would likely step into the starting line-up, with David Clowney seeing a substantial bump in reps. If the Jets were without Cotchery, the Dolphins would have no problem doubling Braylon Edwards and leaving the inconsistent Smith (3 catches, 22 yards) singled up. Damien Woody didn’t practice today but Ryan sounded optimistic about his chances of playing. Donald Strickland is out. Lito Sheppard will start at corner, with Dwight Lowery sliding into the slot.

2. Make sure you check out Episode V of Turn On The Jets TV tomorrow, in a special Saturday edition. I was going to post it tonight, but I kind of spent 12 hours working on a hellacious mid-term and I am about to collapse after writing this article.

3. How about those Yankees?

4. Apparently Channing Crowder and Rex Ryan squashed the beef at some point this off-season, with Crowder sending Ryan a gift basket. Leon Washington responded to Crowder’s recent trash talk by saying he eats “clam chowder for breakfast”…clever stuff.

Jets vs. Dolphins: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: Expect to see the Jets get back to the ground and pound approach this Monday Night, especially if Jerricho Cotchery doesn’t suit up. The Jets may have got a little too comfortable with Mark Sanchez and forget the fact that he is a rookie, they have Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Shonn Greene, and supposedly one of the best offensive lines in the league. Regardless of Miami’s success against the run this season, it is time to give Thomas Jones his 20 carries, Leon his 15 carries, and yes even Shonn Greene his 5 carries.

An element that has been missing from the Jets offense this year is their screen game. We finally saw a successful one last week when they hit Leon Washington for 15 yards, but the Jets need to go back to it more often to all their players. What happened to the old receiver screen to Jerricho Cotchery or Dustin Keller, like we saw week one? Thomas Jones was a big part of the Jets passing game last season, and is yet to get involved so far in 2009. The screen game is a good way to get Mark Sanchez going early and pick up some easy yards against an aggressive Dolphins defense.

When the Jets do decide to go down the field, obviously an active Jerricho Cotchery would be a big plus. If he is in the game, Sanchez will have his pick of single coverage on either him or Braylon Edwards, which is obviously a positive. If Cotchery isn’t in the line-up, David Clowney obviously the speed to make the Dolphins below average secondary pay in single coverage but he is yet to have a single ball thrown his way this season. Brad Smith his a history of dropping passes, which means between him and Edwards, Sanchez might want to pull his hair out by the end of the night.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: I have confidence in Rex Ryan’s ability to stop the wildcat, based on what I saw last season. When the Dolphins are in a traditional set, expect the Jets to have just about everybody in the box. If the Jets can force Miami into third and longs, the Dolphins are in big trouble. I got news for you, Chad Henne isn’t going to have much success with the Jets pass rush, now including Calvin Pace, coming after him and receivers like his matched-up on cornerbacks like ours. I don’t understand people who are saying that Miami matches up well with the Jets, because they don’t have nearly enough talent on offense to move the ball on a defense like the Jets.

The only way the Jets can get in trouble on Monday is if they allow Ronnie Brown to get going. They were only average against the run the past two weeks, and Miami loves to hang around by holding on to the football through their running game. However, I expect the Jets to improve this week because of the return of Calvin Pace and I don’t think they are concerned about being beat through the air by the likes of Chad Henne, Ted Ginn Jr, and Devone Bess. If you can’t already tell from my writing, I am pretty damn confident in our defense against their offense.

Special Teams Breakdown: Hopefully Leon Washington will finally get a chance to return a kick. Is it me or is every kicker the Jets face have a ridiculously strong leg and boot the ball 8 yards into the end-zone? You know he is chomping at the bit. Jim Leonhard has quietly been very good on punt returns this season and Miami has below average special team units, so maybe he can break one. How about Jay Feely turning into one of the most reliable kickers in football? I am sure he will have revenge on his mind this week since the Dolphins cut him….maybe he will have a big hit on kickoff or something, or just do some extra bicep curls this week.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish the running game and slow down the Dolphins running game. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers. Chad Henne is overwhelmed by the Jets pass rush and has a few turnovers. Calvin Pace plays like a mad man who is desperate to make up for 4 weeks in one night. The Jets play with some extra motivation coming off their first loss and jump out to an early lead, forcing Miami to throw more frequently than they like to.

The Jets Will Lose If…Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams keep the chains moving, allowing Chad Henne to simply manage the game. The Jets can’t get their running game going and Mark Sanchez tries to do too much again, leading to some easy points for Miami. Braylon Edwards is quiet in his debut and struggles because Jerricho Cotchery isn’t active.

Funny Video About Cleveland…originally posted over www.thejetsblog.com

Scouting the AFC East: Miami Dolphins

First a few updates:

1. There has been a good amount of talk about kicker Jay Feely’s recent comments on Sean Hannity’s show, where he expressed a lack of confidence in President Obama and said he “scares him.” Honestly, the guy is entitled to his opinion, even though I and many people disagree with the things he said. I write about sports here, so the only coverage Jay Feely will get is if he makes or misses field goals.

2. I can’t get enough of those Most Valuable Puppet Commercials with LeBron and Kobe, they just released like 4 new ones…hysterical.

3. Eric Allen wrote an interesting article on www.newyorkjets.com about Chansi Stuckey spending his free time working out with former NFL receiver Terrence Mathis. Stuckey is looking like the starter opposite Jerricho Cotchery as of right now, hopefully he can pick up a thing or two from Mathis who was a successful receiver in Atlanta, not as much with the Jets.

Scouting the AFC East: Miami Dolphins

Along with the positional analysis articles, I am going to take a look at each of the AFC East teams in the next week and how the Jets stack up against them, ending today with the Miami Dolphins

2008 Record: 11-5

2008 vs. Jets: The Jets and Dolphins split their games last year, with each team winning on the road. In week 1, the Jets won in Miami 20-14 thanks to two touchdown passes from Brett Favre, including a miracle pass on a fourth down to Chansi Stuckey. In that game, Jerricho Cotchery also caught a 56 yard touchdown and Thomas Jones pounded the Dolphins defense for 101 yards on 22 carries, with a touchdown himself. Chad Pennington threw for 251 yards in his Miami opener but was picked off by Darrelle Revis to end the game. Revis completely shut down Ted Ginn Jr. in week one, holding him to 2 receptions for 17 yards. Bryan Thomas had 2 sacks in week one (yes, that Bryan Thomas). In week 17, the Dolphins won in the Meadowlands to clinch the AFC East (owch, it still hurts). Favre killed the Jets with 3 INT’s. Leon Washington played well with 10 carries for 60 yards and a TD. Chansi Stuckey had a nice game also with 4 catches for 50 yards. Pennington threw for 200 yards and 2 TDs and Ted Ginn Jr burned the Jets for a 44 yard gain and 27 yard touchdown.

2009 Additions: They added Gibril Wilson at safety and signed corner Eric Green to boost their secondary. Also, they signed center Jake Grove and guard Joe Berger for their offensive line. Miami also brought twinkle toes aka Jason Taylor (see TOJ Hall of Shame) back, who will hopefully be more focused on Neutrogena commercials instead of sacking Mark Sanchez. Their first round pick was corner Vontae Davis. In the second round they picked quarterback/receiver Pat White, who should fit nicely into the Wildcat. They also drafted Mark Sanchez’s favorite target last year, wide receiver Patrick Turner.

2009 Losses: They released the immortal John Beck and traded center Samson Satele to the Raiders. Safety Renaldo Hill and corner Andre Goodman also left via free agency to Denver.

Why the Jets Should Be Worried: Miami was the division champs last year and did beat the Jets in their own building. Their secondary should be improved with the additions of Wilson, Green, and Davis. On offense, they are returning all their skill position players for another year in the Wildcat and their draft picks White and Turner should make their offense harder to deal with. Joey Porter and Jason Taylor are going to be difficult to handle coming off the edges and Phillip Merling is a talented, young player on their defensive line. Tony Sparano is a good coach and Bill Parcells obviously knows what he is doing in the front office.

Why the Jets Can Handle Miami: Rex Ryan looked awfully good coaching defense against the Dolphins last year. Chad Pennington and the rest of the Dolphins offense were overwhelmed by Ryan’s scheme. Obviously the Ravens also had a ton of talent on defense, but so do the Jets this year. Their secondary still has question marks, despite their new additions. Their wide receivers aren’t very good, and they lack a number one. I love Chad Pennington (see TOJ Hall of Fame), but when is the last time he put two really good, healthy seasons together in back to back years? I can tell you the answer…it is never.

Prediction: The 2008 Dolphins reminded me of the 2006 New York Jets. They took advantage of an easy schedule, used a gimmicky offense led by Chad Pennington, and played solid defense to surprise everybody by making the playoffs. I think the 2009 Dolphins will be similar to the 2007 Jets to an extent. They won’t be 4-12, I know that but teams are going to catch on to the wildcat and will be all over that playoff tape on how to rattle Pennington and their schedule is much harder. They aren’t sneaking up anybody this year. I think they will be a 7-9 to 9-7 team. In terms of the Jets, I always expect a split but then I thought about it, before last year’s week 17 loss the Jets had beat Miami 5 times in a row and 8 of their last 9. I am calling for the Jets sweep this year.

2009 Games: Week 5 At Miami, 8:30 PM Kickoff (Monday Night Football aka Crowder vs Ryan Round 1), Week 8 at New York Jets, 1 PM Kickoff.