Tuesday Thoughts On Jets/NFL Free Agency

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1. What the Folk? The Jets signed former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk to a one year deal today, which means they are going to let Jay Feely test the free agent market. Simply put, Folk was terrible last season. The guy was 5/12 on kicks between 40-49 yards and missed a big 23 yarder in a late season game against the Saints. I understand the Jets might be hoping that Feely picks up a decent deal with another team, giving them some flexibility to sign a free agent at another position, but isn’t this a big risk? The style of football the Jets play is conducive to a high amount of field goal attempts and a high amount of close games. Can the Jets really rely on Folk in a big spot next year?

2. The Jets hosted free agent defensive end Travis LaBoy yesterday. LaBoy sat out the ’09 season but prior to that was a decent pass rusher for both the Titans and Cardinals. He is only 28 and the Jets aren’t limited by any “final four” restrictions to sign him because he was released and isn’t a true UFA. He could be worth a shot, he has 23.5 career sacks and has started 32 games, which puts Vernon Gholston’s numbers to shame. He is only 250 pounds, so he would likely be a situational pass rusher on the Jets defense.

3. It also being reported that the Jets are going to let Marques Douglas hit the open market on March 5th, and then look to re-sign him, if he isn’t offered a big deal anywhere else. I hope Douglas ends up back next season, he was an underrated and valuable part of the Jets defense last year.

4. LaDanian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook have both been released. Westbrook obviously has some serious injury concerns if the Eagles let him go. We all saw how washed up Tomlinson was in the playoffs last year, maybe the Patriots will sign him and then he could join Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris on the inactive list with injuries for 10 games next year.

Photobucket5. Some people on the Jets ESPN Message Board disagreed with my thoughts about the Jets not really needing a receiver that badly. They made some valid points about the importance of having a quality slot guy to aid in Sanchez’s development and questioned whether Keller could be counted on as a consistent third option in the passing game. However, I am still not sure how many looks a #3 receiver is going to get in the Jets offense. Nobody in the NFL is anywhere near running the ball as much as the Jets do, are we going to spend a first round pick on a guy who is going to have 1 ball thrown his way a game? If the value doesn’t match the Jets need at corner or defensive line at number 29, I’d rather see them trade back than take a receiver, unless it is a guy the scouting department is convinced is a “must-get” or steal at 29. I wouldn’t have thought the Jets should be trading multiple picks to move up to grab a running back last year, but it turned out to be the right move. If they feel strong enough about a WR at 29, than you have to stick to your draft board. It will be interesting to see who is available at that point however because there seems to be a wide range of opinions on who the best receivers in this year’s draft are and what order they should be taken in.

6. I continue to be surprised by how many people believe the Jets should just let Thomas Jones go. Again, with how run heavy the Jets offense is, isn’t it a major risk to rely on Leon Washington (coming off major surgery) and Shonn Greene, who has never been a #1 back for an entire season and had some injury issues of his own last year. Jones isn’t going to be a 1400 yard back next year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute and add necessary depth, leadership, and intangibles.

7. I am interested to see if the Jets allow Leon Washington to return kicks next season. Brad Smith did a decent job last year and I would rather save Leon’s touches for the offense. The Jets completely lacked a screen game last year, after being successful with it in 2008. Sanchez’s completion percentage will improve with a reliable pass catching running back, and more screen passes called.

8. The Jets are going to have a big hole to fill, if Tony Richardson decides to retire. Hopefully, T-Rich decides to give it another year. He showed no signs of decline last season and I am not sure Jason Davis is ready to step into the job full time.

I Can’t Believe Somebody Actually Made This Video…I Hate Cowboys Fans

Bring Thomas Jones Back in 2010

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First a few updates:

1. I am having a somewhat difficult time pulling together a comprehensive list of the Jets UFAs and RFAs, I keep finding different lists on different sites. Going off the one from New York Jets Salary Cap (http://www.nyjetscap.com/index.html), I got – RFAs: Kellen Clemens, Braylon Edwards, Leon Washington, Brad Smith, Eric Smith, Drew Coleman, James Ihedigbo, Marques Murrell, David Clowney. UFAs:James Dearth, Wayne Hunter, Tony Richardson, Jay Feely, Marques Douglas, Howard Green, Larry Izzo, Ben Hartsock, Ryan Fowler.

2. Speaking of free agents, it was announced today the Jets will be tendering Brad Smith and Eric Smith, along with Kellen Clemens, Leon Washington, and Braylon Edwards. I am not sure about the futures of the rest of the Jets RFAs, but I would expect Ihedigbo and Clowney to be back. Murrell and Coleman are likely on their way out. In terms of UFAs, I don’t know if Dearth will be back since the Jets just brought in another long snapper. I am sure they will do what they can to bring Richardson, Douglas, Hunter and Feely back. I would love to see the Jets let Hartsock walk and try to upgrade the backup tight end position and I wouldn’t expect Green, Izzo, or Fowler back.

3. Gary Myers tweeted today that there is a zero chance the Jets will pursue Joey Porter after the Dolphins figure how to properly release him. I think Adalius Thomas is a more likely target for the Jets, after the Pats release him.

Bring Thomas Jones Back in 2010

On March 5th, the Jets will have to make a decision whether to pay a roster bonus to three veterans on their team: LitoSheppard, Kerry Rhodes, and Thomas Jones. Sheppard is due 10 million dollars, Rhodes is due 2 million dollars, and Jones is due 3 million dollars. I would say you have better chance of seeing David Barrett start at corner for the Jets next year than Sheppard seeing that bonus money. The Jets will likely explore the trade market for Rhodes but unless somebody blows them out of the water with an offer, I would expect him to be back and to receive his bonus. Most people are assuming the Jets will refuse to pay Jones his bonus, look to re-negotiate with him for less money, which he won’t be receptive to, ultimately leading to his release.

If the Jets can talk Jones into coming back for less money, good for Mike Tannenbaum but that will be a difficult task considering Jones is coming off a 1402 yard season with 14 touchdowns, which were both improvements from the previous year. The best course of action for the Jets this off-season is to pay Jones his money and bring him back for the 2010 season.

I saw the playoffs and I know it is clear that Shonn Greene should be the Jets lead back next year but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for Jones in the offense. During the Jets 7-2 finish to the season (including the playoffs), here is the number of times they ran the ball each game:

  • Week 12 vs. Carolina: 39 Attempts
  • Week 13 vs. Buffalo: 43 Attempts
  • Week 14 vs. Tampa: 41 Attempts
  • Week 15 vs. Atlanta: 33 Attempts
  • Week 16 vs. Indy: 44 Attempts
  • Week 17 vs. Cincy: 57 Attempts
  • Wild-Card vs. Cincy: 41 Attempts
  • Divisional Round vs. Chargers: 39 Attempts
  • AFC Championship Game: 29 Attempts

PhotobucketIn a normal game, the Jets are going to run the ball between 39-45 times. There are enough carries to go around for three backs, especially considering Leon Washington is coming off major knee surgery and will also get some of his touches through the passing game. Despite basically only playing half a season, Shonn Greene had injury issues in his rookie season. He missed nearly all of the pre-season and was inactive in week 1 with a rib injury. He was knocked out in the second half of the AFC Championship Game with a rib injury. He also had an ankle injury during training camp and was on the injury report late in the regular season with a shoulder injury. Greene looked like a future 1500 yard back in the playoffs but don’t forget he 3 lost fumbles during the regular season and struggled at times (8 carries for 18 yards against Miami, 7 carries for 26 yards against Jacksonville, 10 carries for 36 yards against Carolina, 8 carries for 30 yards against Atlanta). It is a big step going from being a #1 back for 2 and 1/2 games to being a #1 back for an entire season.

Jones did slow down at the end of the year, but he was dealing with a knee injury. Even if he can’t play at the level he did in 2009, he still is an excellent short-yardage and goal-line back. We haven’t seen Greene excel in those situations yet, especially since all his touchdown runs were big plays. Also, don’t forget Jones is a valuable leader in the locker room and is one of the most respected players on the team.

It would be an unnecessary risk to go into the year with just  Shonn Greene and Leon Washington at running back. They both have injury concerns and can’t be relied on to take all the carries if the other one gets hurt. Also, spare with me with the Danny Woodhead talk, because he didn’t show anything as a running back in the regular season last year. The Jets need Thomas Jones back in 2010.

An Old TJ Highlight

Revisiting 40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season: How Wrong Was I?

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First a few updates:

1. As you can see at the top of the page, we have a new section “2009 Highlights,” which is a collection of season highlight videos made by various people, and some of the best moments of the year from Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, and more. There is enough video in there to keep any Jets fan occupied for hours.

2. Rex Ryan is in the news again, this time for changing his hockey jersey in the middle of a Carolina/Philly game he attended last night…unfortunately for him and all of America that watched Sportscenter today, his stomach popped out…maybe exploded out, is a better word.

3. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…because 186 fans isn’t enough.

Photobucket4. Lost Season 6, Episode 3 “What Kate Does” Thoughts – You will rarely hear me criticize LOST but last night’s episode was a bit of a letdown, maybe it was inevitable after such a strong premiere, but overall I was somewhat disappointed. Basically, you had Sawyer sulking, Kate chasing him, Sawyer sulking some more, Jack asking 9000 questions to Dogen (the Japanese guy in the Temple), and Dogen finding a creative way to avoid answering any of them. The alternate storyline was a little dull and far-fetched at times, although it was clear some things from Kate’s time on the island are popping back into her mind (her looking back at Jack from the taxi, her reaction to seeing the whale in Claire’s bag) and I am assuming the only reason Claire trusted Kate so much was because she felt some type of bond with her. I did like the ending and the return of the “sickness” appearing in Claire, who looks all kind of crazy on the island, and unfortunately Sayid. How much longer is Sayid going to be around if he is about to be taken over by the “darkness” the guy said? Also, it looks like after 2 seasons of being dragged through the mud, Jack is finally going to become a smart/likable character again.

Revisiting 40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season: How Wrong Was I?

How smart was I back on September 7th, 2009? Let’s take a look at the 40 predictions I made for the Jets 2009 season, and my analysis of them now. I am hoping I at least cracked 50 percent.

1. David Harris will lead the Jets in sacks this season with 9. Calvin Pace will come in second despite missing the first four games, finishing with 7.5.

– It was actually Pace who led the Jets in sacks this season with 8, so at least I was just about on with his numbers. Harris was third on the team in sacks with 5.5, behind Pace and Shaun Ellis who had 6.5….so 0/1.

2. Vernon Gholston will be somewhere between slightly below average and okay during the first four games. He will begin to play better as a situational player when the season progresses, finishing with 5.5 sacks.

I think my first sentence is a pretty accurate description of Gholston’s play during the first four games, he wasn’t awful but he didn’t make any notable impact. However, I was way, way off on him beginning a situational player and recording 5.5 sacks…0/2.

3. Lito Sheppard will give up alot of plays but also make alot of plays, because of all the balls that will be thrown his way. He will start 16 games and lead the team in interceptions.

Oh boy, well at least Sheppard did give up alot of plays but he came nowhere near starting 16 games and only had 1 interception, which of course did not lead the team…0/3.

4. Darrelle Revis will be returning Hawaii. He will prove to be a top 3 CB in the NFL this season.

That is a little better, and of course by Hawaii I meant Miami in the Pro-Bowl. I don’t think anybody could argue that he is a top 3  CB in the NFL, and honestly most people now recognize him as the best overall corner in the league…1/4.

5. Howard Green will be an extremely valuable player off the bench on the Jets defensive line, providing a quality backup to Kris Jenkins.

It was actually Sione Pouha, who stepped up. Green was cut but eventually re-signed and never made a big impact..1/5.

6. Kerry Rhodes will have a much better year than he did last season but still won’t produce at his 2006 statistical level and won’t be a pro-bowler.

– He didn’t really have a better year than last season, I won’t give myself credit for saying he wouldn’t be a pro-bowler because when I wrote this I thought he would have a much better all-around year than he did…1/6.

7. Jim Leonhard will be a steady, consistent player on the Jets defense but his most important contributions will be as a punt returner.

– Damn, I couldn’t just stop at steady, consistent player on the Jets defense. He was okay on punt returns but had to give up the duty half way through the season because of a hand injury. I am giving myself a 1/2 point on this one…1.5/7.

8. The Jets will sweep the Miami Dolphins this season.

I am still bitter about this…1.5/8.

9. Thomas Jones won’t match last year’s gaudy numbers but will still finish with a solid 1175 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.

He actually exceeded last year’s numbers and finished with 1402 yards and 14 touchdowns, my bad TJ…1.5/9.

10. Leon Washington will have at least 50 more carries this season than he did in 2008, along with 10 more catches.

Unfortunately because of a leg injury, this didn’t happen…1.5/10.

11. Leon Washington will have 1100 combined rushing/receiving yards. He had 800 last year.

See Above…1.5/11.

12. Leon Washington will have 2 kick return touchdowns this season. Jim Leonhard will take one punt back.

I really have to stop talking about Leon…1.5/12.

13. Leon Washington will have a better season than Reggie Bush (sorry, Dan).

I really, really have to stop talking about Leon Washington…1.5/13.

Photobucket14. Shonn Greene will start out the season slow but become an important part of the offense in the second half of the season.

That’s what I am talking about. Greene wasn’t a factor until week 7 but was a key part of the Jets playoff run…2.5/14.

15. Bryan Thomas will very quietly have his best season since 2006, finishing with 67 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

Not quite, Thomas finished with 53 tackles and 2 sacks…2.5/15.

16. Shaun Ellis, Marques Douglas, Mike DeVito, and Ropati Pitoitua will be a surprisingly solid defensive end rotation.

They did prove to be a good rotation, especially after Kris Jenkins went down. Ellis had 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks. Douglas had 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 TFLs, and a TD. DeVito was a good role player off the bench. Pitoitua wasn’t much of a factor…3.5/16.

17. The Jets will split with New England for the third time in four years.

Yes they did…4.5/17.

18. Somebody on the offensive line will miss a few starts this season, exposing the Jets lack of depth at the position.

Fortunately, I was wrong about this. For the second year in a row, the entire offensive line started every single game…4.5/18.

19. Tony Richardson, the ageless wonder…will start another 16 games.

He did and hopefully he will be back for another 16 next year…5.5/19.

20. Jerricho Cotchery will just barely get 1000 yards receiving and finish with 5 touchdowns.

Cotchery finished with 821 yards and 4 touchdowns. He would have been at 1000 but he missed 2 full games and a large part of another…5.5/20.

21. Brad Smith will have less than 10 catches this season.

He finished with 7 catches for 63 yards…6.5/21.

22. Dustin Keller will be joining Darrelle Revis in Hawaii, finishing with 67 catches, 850 yards, and 7 touchdowns.

PhotobucketKeller was an under-utilized part of the Jets offense, finishing the regular season with 45 catches, 522 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He did step up in the playoffs, adding a touchdown in each game…6.5/22.

23. Mark Sanchez’s stats will look very similar to Joe Flacco’s last season. The Jets high paid rookie will finish with 15 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 2980 yards passing, and a 62.0 completion percentage.

Maybe if he played the way he did during the playoffs all year this would have been true. Sanchez finished the regular season with 12 TDs, 20 INTs, 2444 yards, and a 53.8 completion percentage…6.5/23.

24. David Clowney will catch at least 2 touchdowns of 40 yards or more.

He only caught one touchdown this season, and it was for 34 yards…6.5/24.

25. Chansi Stuckey won’t have stats that will impress anybody because of his low yards per catch average, but will be a valuable 3rd down weapon for the Jets.

He was traded after week 4…6.5/25.

26. The Jets defense will give up more big plays than expected but will have more sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns than in 2008.

It was actually nearly the opposite. They didn’t give up a ton of big plays but finished with 32 sacks, 17 interceptions, and 1 touchdown. In 2008, they had 41 sacks, 14 interceptions, and 3 touchdowns…6.5/26.

27. Despite having a better backup than he did last year, Kris Jenkins will start out slow because of missing most of the pre-season and will start 14 games this year, not the full 16.

He only ended up starting 6 games before sustaining a season-ending injury…6.5/27.

28. Brian Schottenheimer will be extremely conservative the first 5-6 games of this season, frustrating fans. However, as Sanchez gets more comfortable the Jets offense will begin to resemble its 2006 form.

It was almost backwards of this. The Jets offense became more conservative as the year went on…6.5/28.

29. Steve Weatherford won’t finish the season as the Jets punter….will he even finish this article as the Jets punter?

He actually did finish the year as the Jets punter…6.5/29.

30. The Jets will split with the Buffalo Bills this season.

Yes, they did…finally got one right…7.5/30.

31. Bart Scott will be a quality player and bring a nasty attitude to the Jets defense but he will be outplayed by David Harris at inside linebacker.

Two in a row? Here we go…8.5/31.

32. Thomas Jones will catch another 30 passes this season.

He only caught 10 passes this season…8.5/32.

33. Mark Sanchez’s inexperience will cost the Jets a couple of winnable games in the first half of the season. His talent level and growing comfort in the offense, will steal them a late season game they shouldn’t win.

It didn’t really work out like that…8.5/33.

34. The Jets will enter their week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and not be considered a serious playoff contender.

Yes, they did enter the week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and weren’t considered a serious playoff contender…9.5/34.

35. Similar to the 2006 team, they will rally to a 6-2 finish and end up as a 10-6 wild card team.

They rallied to finish 9-7 as a wild-card team, so I am giving myself that one…10.5/35.

36. They will either upset the Colts or Pats on the road in the second half of the season, not both. Their other second half loss will be at home to Atlanta…so yes, I am saying they win in Buffalo (aka Toronto), Tampa, and take care of the Panthers at home in the second half of the season.

Not bad…11.5/36.

37. Most Improved Player Offense – Dustin Keller.

I am not really sure who their most improved player was, but it wasn’t Dustin Keller who saw his numbers go down…11.5/37.

38. Most Improved Player Defense – Bryan Thomas, David Harris

I would probably say Sione Pouha was their most improved player…11.5/38.

39.  Pro-Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, David Harris, Leon Washington (kick returner), Nick Mangold

Right about Revis and Mangold…wrong about the other three…11.5/39.

40.  The Jets won’t add another veteran receiver this season, but it will be top priority in next year’s off-season.

They added Braylon Edwards after week 4…11.5/40.

11.5 out of 40? Not pretty.

No Video Today…just check out the new “2009 Highlights Section” for all the video you need.

Jets Offense Has Bright Future

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First a few updates:

1. Well, there really isn’t too much to update about the Jets. Last week the Jets signed Chiefs practice squad long snapper Tanner Purdum, which could mark the end of James Death era. They are in the running to sign CFL MVP linebacker Rickey Foley, and some people are talking about the Jets signing Donte Stallworth, which I don’t think is happening. From a football perspective, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea but I don’t think the Jets want the PR of signing a guy who was suspended a year for manslaughter.

2. Further in the category of jinxing the Jets next year, Herman Edwards picked the Jets and Cowboys to play in the Super Bowl next year, just like Gary Myers of the Daily News. My pick? Rams vs. Browns.

3. I have made the educated decision to not do any of my work for the rest of the week since we are supposed to be hit with 2 feet of snow, so now I am just playing the waiting game. The only thing left on my agenda from now until is Friday is blogging and watching LOST tonight, yes it is an exciting life I live.

4. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…we are locked in at 186 fans right now, and I need to get 200 by the end of the month.

Jets Offense Has Bright Future

Yesterday I wrote about the Jets defense and the holes they need to fill over the upcoming few off-seasons. Today, I am going to turn the focus over to the Jets offense. Despite a sluggish regular season, the long-term potential of this unit was on display during the playoffs. You have to be encouraged by the young core of talent the Jets have assembled on the offensive side of the football.

The regular season statistics were ugly but Mark Sanchez stepped up his game in the playoffs. With another year in the system and his knee taken care of, Sanchez should be a much improved quarterback next season. Nobody is saying he is ready to become a pro-bowler but I think the days of 6/12 for 65 yards are over with. There were flashes of what the Jets offense could be when Sanchez is playing well against the Texans, Patriots, Titans, and Dolphins last year during the regular season and of course in the wild-card round and the first half of the AFC Championship Game. There will be more responsibilitygiven to Sanchez next season and he should have better chemistry with Braylon Edwards after having a full off-season to work with him. Beyond that, he will be benefited from having Leon Washington as a check-down option and a threat in the screen game. It would be nice to see the Jets get a veteran backup for Sanchez, to give Erik Ainge another year to develop as a long-term backup. I am all for Chad Pennington coming back.

One of the most interesting parts of the Jets off-season will be seeing how they handle the situation with Thomas Jones. I think the Jets should pay him the bonus he is due and bring him back as their 1B option at running back. It is too risky to head into the season with Shonn Greene, who had some injury issues last year and Leon Washington who is coming off major surgery. Even though I think the Jets will open up the offense a little more, they will still be a run heavy unit so there is nothing wrong with having a 3 headed monster. Greene is going to be the primary guy and if he can stay healthy will be a 1500 yard back. I hope Leon can get back to where he was on offense and give the Jets the third-down back/screen threat they desperately needed last year. Even with Greene getting the bulk of the carries and Washington hopefully getting 10 offensive touches a game, Jones would still have value as a short-yardage/goal-line back and a guy who can chip in 10-12 carries or maybe more depending on the game plan. The Jets could also have a hole to fill at fullback if Tony Richardson decides to retire, but hopefully he will decide to come back on another 1 year deal after a productive season.

PhotobucketI have heard some people say the Jets need need a legit number one receiver but I think they are in good shape with Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery as their starters. Yes, Edwards made his share of mistakes last year but he also made his share of big plays. With a full off-season to work with the team and Sanchez, there is no reason Edwards can’t be the #1 receiver the Jets traded for him to be. Cotchery played at the level of a #1 receiver for most of last year and if it wasn’t for an ankle injury, would have been a 1000 yard guy. Is it crazy to think both Edwards and Cotchery could be right around or slightly over 1000 yards next year, with Sanchez a year better?

The Jets do need a number 3 receiver/slot guy. Brad Smith deserves a roster spot because of his value on special teams and gadget plays. However, either Wallace Wright or David Clowney need to be replaced with a guy who can make some plays out of the slot. Chansi Stuckey was really perfect for this role but unfortunately he had to be sent back in the Edwards trade. Dustin Keller needs to be used the way he was in the playoffs, because he should be much more than a 500 yard, 2 touchdown a season guy. I would love to see Ben Hartsock replaced with a player who can block but is also somewhat of a receiving threat. Overall, even if the Jets don’t add another receiver this off-season Edwards, Cotchery, and Keller are a pretty strong top three targets for Sanchez to grow with over the next few years.

The offensive line was superb last season but is getting old at couple of spots. Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Brandon Moore should all be in place for a long time but the Jets have to start thinking about who will eventually replace Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. Hopefully, both guys can give us another two strong seasons but nothing is guaranteed at their age. Robert Turner and Wayne Huner have gained some valuable experience the past few years as extra tight ends and could eventually be looked to as starters. Also, Matt Slauson was drafted in the 6th round last year and will hopefully develop into something down the road. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets grab another lineman in the late rounds of this year’s draft.

With a core of Mark Sanchez (23), Shonn Greene (24), Leon Washington (27), Dustin Keller (25), Braylon Edwards (26), Jerricho Cotchery (27), Nick Mangold (26), D’Brickashaw Ferguson (26), Brandon Moore (29), and Brad Smith (26), the Jets offense could be very good, for a very long time. I know many Jets fan have a strong hate for Brian Schottenheimer(that is an article for another day) but I think he did good last year, considering he was dealing with a rookie quarterback and a receiving core that was shuffled around in the first half of the season from trades and injuries. He is a creative guy and it will be a big benefit for Sanchez to play in the same offense with the same coordinator for the second year in a row. Ideally this off-season, the Jets will get Thomas Jones and Tony Richardson back, find a #3 receiver, improve their #2 tight end, get a veteran backup QB and draft a lineman in the late rounds.

Could It Be? Another 2009 Highlight Tape

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Moments

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets fined Rex Ryan $50,000 for flipping off a group of hostile Miami fans over the weekend. There is no further action expected from the NFL. Hey, at least Ryan didn’t pull a Ron Artest/Stephen Jackson and run into the crowd.

2. Mark Sanchez talked about his decision to get knee surgery today. Basically, the main piece of news is that the surgery will allow him to stop wearing a brace during games.

3. Speaking of Sanchez, head over to www.nfl.com/PepsiRefresh or text his name to P-E-P-S-I, to vote for his off the field program to receive a $100,000 grant from Pepsi. Sanchez is supporting Juvenile Diabetes/Type 1 Diabetes which hits close to home here at TOJ since my little sister has the disease. You have until midnight Friday to cast your vote so take 5 seconds of your day and do it right now….then come back to read the rest of the article.

4. Great stuff here: http://www.thejetsblog.com/2010/02/03/salary-cap-myths-misconceptions-faqs-part-one/ on the off-season rules for the uncapped year and how they affect the Jets.

Photobucket5. Lost Season, Episode 1/2 “LA X” Thoughts – Damn, what a premiere. I think we all kind of expected the alternate reality/reset storyline but it is weird how they have it running parallel to the castaways being shot back into 2007 because of the bomb. How are these two storylines going to converge? While I expected to see some type of reset action, I never expected to see the island at the bottom of the ocean. Clearly, setting off the bomb had larger ramifications then preventing Oceanic 815 from crashing which is also shown by the differences in some of the characters (Hurley being lucky, Desmond on the plane, No Shannon on the plane, etc). Also it definitely looked like Jack was having some deja vu on the plane and knew something might be off. It was nice to get confirmation that Locke (or the guy who took him over) is the smoke monster and finally see the Temple. However, we still got about 10000 new questions to answer now. Why does whomever Locke is now want to go home? Where is his home? How come Sayid was dead and is now alive? How did Juliet know “it worked?” And on and on. If all this sounded like Chinese to you, too bad it is the final season of Lost and I’m writing about it.

6. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook….everybody is doing it…well at least 179 people are.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Moments

Welcome to day three of the TOJ Awards for the 2009/2010 New York Jets season. Monday we honored the Jets best and worst players on each side of the ball. Yesterday, we looked at the best and worst games of the past season and today we will be looking at the best and worst moments/individual plays of the past year.

Offense

Top Five “Holy Sanchize, We Got A Quarterback” Moments

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5. Second Half Kickoff – After a 3/5 for 15 yards first half against the Patriots in week 2, Sanchez hits Jerricho Cotchery with a beautiful throw on a skinny post for a 45 yard gain on the first play of the 3rd quarter to move the Jets down to the Pats 11 yard line. Two plays later he dropped an equally impressive pass to Dustin Keller for a 9 yard touchdown to give the Jets a 10-9 lead en route to a 16-9 victory.

4. Rebound Performance – After a terrible game against the Saints in the Jets first loss of the season, Sanchez responded on Monday Night Football with 172 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers. Despite the loss, he showed an ability to push the ball down the field on a 53 yard completion to David Clowney and a 34 yard completion to the newly acquired Braylon Edwards.

3. Buckets – Returning from injury, Sanchez dropped a picture perfect pass to Braylon Edwards for a 65 yard touchdown against the Falcons to give the Jets a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. The rest of the day was ugly but that one completion was hopefully a sign of things to come for the next few years.

2. Make A Play – With the Jets trailing 7-3 in the 4th quarter of the Divisional Playoffs to the Chargers and facing a 3rd and goal from their 2 yard line, Sanchez went play action saw all of his options covered, rolled out…continued to roll out, waited and then fired a missile to Dustin Keller in the back of the end-zone for the go-ahead touchdown. A big time play in a big time spot. (I Know the video clip is from a weird angle, but look at all those Jets fans celebrating, I thought this was a San Diego home game?)

1. The Big Stage – On the road in the AFC Championship Game, Sanchez makes a statement with both his first half touchdown passes. On the first, he hits Edwards in stride for a 80 yard touchdown and more impressively on the second, he stands in the pocket, takes a monster hit and delivers a perfect throw on an option route to Dustin Keller for a touchdown, giving the Jets a 14-6 lead.

Top Five “What The Hell Is Going On Out There” Moments

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5. Anybody But Him – Rookie running back Shonn Greene fumbles behind the line of scrimmage and the ball bounces directly to Jason Taylor who runs it back for a 48 yard touchdown, promptly forcing Jets fans everywhere to throw up.

4. Really, Another One? – Mark Sanchez throws his 5th interception of the game against the Bills on a rainy Sunday afternoon in overtime, leading to them kicking the game winning field goal in a gut-wrenching loss.

3. Face-Catch – On a prime-time Thursday night game Braylon Edwards drops a wide-open 70 yard touchdown when he lets the ball bounce of his face mask. Fortunately, he responded with a touchdown later in the half and the Jets went on to win 19-13.

2. Just Ugly – Sanchez throws a ridiculously horrible interception out of his own end-zone in New England with the Jets down 24-14 to end any chance of a comeback. He scrambles around for 10 seconds and instead of throwing it away, throws it directly to Brandon Merriweather.

1. Yes, Yes…No – Wild-Card weekend, the Jets appear poised to tie the game at 7 on a perfect 50 yard pass from Mark Sanchez to Braylon Edwards, unfortunately Edwards forgets to catch the ball.

This probably fits somewhere in this list, also…

Top Five “Ground and Pound” Moments

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5. Opening With A Bang – The Texans appear ready to get back in the game after scoring a touchdown to cut the Jets lead to 17-7, fortunately Thomas Jones rips off a 34 yard run to extend the Jets lead to 24-7 and puts the nail in the coffin.

4. TJ, Run Our Play – The Jets need 1 yard to clinch a Divisional Round win over the heavily favored San Diego Chargers, despite sitting for most of the 4th quarter the Jets insert Thomas Jones for a crucial 4th and 1 with the instructions to “run our play”, Jones gets the ball behind a pulling Alan Faneca and gets 2 yards…clinching a Jets win.

3. Welcome To The NFL – After a quiet 6 weeks, Shonn Greene breaks on the scene with a 144 yard, 2 touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders.

2. Somehow, We Still Lost – Thomas Jones has a career day against the Bills, racking up 210 yards. However, somehow the Jets still manage to lose 16-13.

1. Boom – With the Jets holding on to 10-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Shonn Greene steamrolls Chargers safety Eric Weddle and rumbles for a 53 yard touchdown, capping it off with a mock LaDanian Tomlinson celebration…beautiful.

Defense

 Top Five “Revis Island” Moments

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5. Slouch – In week 2, before the injury that apparently made Randy Moss so lazy this year, Darrelle Revis out-jumps him for a beautiful interception down the sideline…with no safety help.

4. Slouch Part 2 – After completely owning Terrell Owens all game on Thursday Night Football, Revis clinches a Jets 19-13 victory by intercepting a deep ball attempt for Owens.

3. He Deserved An Easy One – The great ones always catch a break, against the Panthers a ball bounces right off Steve Smith’s foot into the hands of Darrelle Revis who easily runs it back for a touchdown.

2. Ocho-Stinko – Change your name back to Chad Johson, after shutting down “Ochocinco” down in week 17, Revis follows up with an encore performance in the playoffs, including an acrobatic interception over Johnson down the side-line.

1. He Caught That?  – I am still not sure how Darrelle Revis came up with this interception against Vincent Jackson in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Top Five “Swaggalicious” Moments

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5. The Whole Team Felt It – Despite an up and down season, Kerry Rhodes came up big in the Divisional playoffs with a huge sack of Phillip Rivers on a 3rd down in the fourth quarter. Rex Ryan later said, “when you hit the quarterback like that, the whole team feels it.”

4. Where Are You Going – David Harris makes a ridiculous move to sack Matt Schaub in week one, setting the tempo for the Jets defense the rest of the season.

3. End Of Game Stand – Despite struggling at the end of games most of the season, the Jets defense held firm against Tom Brady and the Patriots in week two, culminating with Dwight Lowery knocking away a fourth down pass and the whole stadium going insane.

2. For A Second I Thought We Had Him – The Jets get to the untouchable Peyton Manning two times in the first quarter of the AFC Championship game, with 2 sacks by David Harris. Unfortunately, Manning figured them out and Rex Ryan didn’t have a Plan B.

1. Momentum Swing – Jim Leonhard comes up with a huge interception against the Chargers late in the third quarter, leading to the Jets taking the lead and never looking back.

Overall

Season High Point – Calvin Pace blows up Joseph Addai, forcing a fumble deep in Colts territory with the Jets already up 14-6 against the heavily favored Colts. Tell me you didn’t think we were going to the Super Bowl after this play, yet it wasn’t meant to be cause it was all downhill from there. Other high points were going right down the field on the Bengals in week 17 to start the game because you knew we were en route a blowout and the playoffs…Beating New England in week 2…Watching Shonn Greene rumble for that 53 yard TD against the Chargers.

Season Low Point – I can’t decide between Manning giving the Colts the 20-17 lead in the AFC Championship game because you knew at that point he couldn’t be stopped or Tony Gonzalez scoring to apparently knock us out of the playoffs or the beating we took in New England that apparently knocked us out of the playoffs or watching scrub Ted Ginn Jr score on 2 kick returns.

Personal Favorite Moment – Wild-Card Weekend, I was surrounded by 12 people routing adamantly against the Jets. After the Bengals made the score 21-14, everybody was literally screaming in my face when the Jets got the ball back, yelling about how another meltdown was coming and so forth, fortunately two plays later Mark Sanchez hit Dustin Keller for a 45 yard gain, which let me turn around and give a big  “Shut the ‘Eff Up” to everybody.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Games

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First a few updates:

1. Mark Sanchez will be getting surgery on his left knee in a couple of weeks. The expected recovery time is two months, which should make him ready to go by April. Unfortunately, he will miss the first month of the off-season program. Regardless, it is better for the long term that he gets his knee taken care of now. He will be ready for OTAs in May and June and of course by training camp.

2. There has been some talk floating around about the Jets working to get Nnamdi Asomugha since he talked about the potential of pairing up with Darrelle Revis at the Pro-Bowl (andbrought to light potential tampering chargers by mentioning he talked to Rex Ryan about it). However, I don’t think this is happening. The Jets aren’t trading multiple draft picks again. Yes, it is a nice thought to have the two best corners in the NFL on the same team but it would just cost too much for a team that needs to add depth through the draft.

3. Along similar lines, many people are talking about the Jets acquiring Julius Peppers which is another thing is almost definitelynot happening. Beyond the Jets limitations because of the Final Eight Rules, I am not crazy about signing a 30 year old to play a position he has never played before.

4. Can I get me some season 6 LOST? Big premiere tonight and yes every week I will typing some type of recap/opinion of each episode in the update section.

5. Daily reminder…follow Turn On The Jets on facebook for extra commentary and links to things you should be reading on a daily basis.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Games

Welcome to day two of the TOJ Awards for the 2009/2010 New York Jets season. Yesterday we honored the Jets best and worst players on each side of the ball. Today, we will be looking at the best and worst games of the past season and tomorrow we will be looking at the best and worst moments/individual plays of the past year.

Best Defensive Game – October 4th At New Orleans, Loss 24-10

A loss for the best defensive game of the year? Absolutely, people always forget how well the Jets defense played in this game because of the loss but remember Mark Sanchez directly handed 14 points to the Saints. How about the Jets going into the building of the NFC Champions and holding the Saints to 10 offensive points, Drew Brees to 190 passing yards with 0 touchdowns, and Marques Colston to 33 receiving yards? Remember this is a team that scored 48 points at home against the Giants and 38 at home against the Patriots, with Drew Brees throwing for 371 yards.

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Honorable Mentions – September 13th At Houston, Win 24-7, January 17th At San Diego, Win 17-14

The Jets shut out the Houston in their building, remember their only points came on an interception/fumble return. Beyond that, they just physically dominated them from start to finish. The Texans turned out to be a 9-7 team that had one of the league’s best offense. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson both started in the Pro-Bowl (yes, Matt Schaub actually started in the Pro-Bowl), on this day Schaub threw for 166 yards with a INT, and Johnson had 35 receiving yards. Against the Chargers, the Jets were the first team to hold them under 20 points all season and came up with two huge INTs and 2 big sacks late in the game. This probably should have won the award, the only thing holding me back was the 344 total yards allowed, oh well…all three games were impressive as hell.

Best Offensive Game – January 9th At Cincinnati, Win 24-14

This was the game it all came together for the Jets offensively. Mark Sanchez was nearly perfect (12/15, 182 yards, 1 TD) with 2 of his 3 incompletions being dropped passes. Brian Schottenheimer called his best game of the season, with well-timed play action passes and a few good counter calls. Shonn Greene exploded for 135 yards and a touchdown. Thomas Jones chipped in 34 yards and a touchdown. Dustin Keller re-emerged with 99 yards receiving and a touchdown. Jerricho Cotchery was brilliant on third down and finished with 6 clutch catches for 67 yards. Braylon Edwards only finished with 2 catches for 15 yards, but if he rememberd to catch the football he would have finished with 65 yards and a touchdown and Sanchez would have been around 240 passing yards with 2 touchdowns.

Honorable Mention – November 1st Vs. Miami, Loss 30-25

An extremely painful loss but an all-around great game by the Jets offense. Sanchez had his best statistical game (20/35, 262 yards, 2 TDs), Thomas Jones ran for 102 yards and chipped in a 28 yard reception. Dustin Keller had 76 yards with a touchdown. Braylon Edwards had 74 yards with a touchdown. Jerricho Cotchery had 70 yards. Hopefully, this will be a nice preview of what the Jets offense could be next year with a little more Shonn Greene and Leon Washington thrown in…could be scary.

Most Painful Loss – November 1st At Miami, Loss 30-25

While we are on the topic of the second Miami game. I don’t know about you but it made me sick to see the Jets swept by an inferior Dolphins team in their own building, beyond all the offensive stats I just mentioned how about these stats for Miami on offense: Chad Henne 12/21, 121 yards and he was sacked 6 times, Ronnie Brown had 27 rushing yards, Ricky Williams had 27 rushing yards, no wide receiver on their team had more than 18 yards receiving. The Jets completely dominated this game but lost because they forgot how to cover kicks. Ted Ginn Jr is terrible 14 games a year but for reason always finds a way to make a big impact when he plays the Jets.

Honorable Mention – December 20th Vs Atlanta, Loss 10-7, January 24th At Indy, Loss 30-17

Everybody in the building on December 20th knew the three missed field goals would come back to haunt the Jets. Everybody knew Atlanta was driving down that field to win 10-7 and everybody knew on that fourth down play they were throwing to Tony Gonzalez, and yet we decided to move to zone coverage. At the time it seemed like the season was over (as Rex Ryan can attest to). Obviously, the actual season-ending loss in the AFC Championship Game hurt, especially because it felt like we were on our way after Calvin Pace caused that fumble in the 2nd quarter. However, we settled for a field goal, Peyton Manning led the Colts down the field in about 2 seconds and the rest is history.

Most Satisfying Victory – September 20th Vs New England, Win 16-9

The stadium was completely out of control in a good way on this day. It was one of the few Jets games I attended, where the crowd had a major impact on the game, forcing consecutive delay of game penalties at one point and contributing to 89 total penalty yards for the Patriots. It was the first time we beat New England at home since 2000 and showed the week one domination over Houston was no fluke. Hopefully, this will become a regular thing over the next few years as the Jets pass the Patriots as the best team in the AFC East.

Honorable Mentions – January 3rd vs. Cincinnati, Win 37-0, January 17th At San Diego, Win 17-14

I would have put beating Cincinnati to make the playoffs in the top spot because that was an awesome night at the Stadium, but I felt that win was expected. There was no way in hell the Bengals were beating the Jets that night. The New England win wasn’t expected at the time because how could you think the Jets were going to be New England when they have owned them at the Meadowlands for so long? Obviously, upsetting the Chargers and proving without a doubt we belonged in the playoffs was also a sweet day.

Most Boring Game – December 13th at Tampa Bay, Win 26-3

At one point in this game, Matt Slauson snapped the ball to Kellen Clemens who completed a pass to Matthew Mulligan, not exactly something we thought we’d see in December. Basically, the Bucs were simply awful and the Jets completed dominated which was of course fun to watch but the Jets offensive game-plan mirrored a 5th grade pop-warner one more than it even usually did. Beyond that, Kellen Clemens is just brutal to watch.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

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First a few updates:

1. I made a mistake when discussing restricted free agents in my last article. If you look at the comments section under the article, two people corrected me with the actual rules on RFA’s and the options the Jets have on players like Leon Washington and Kellen Clemens. Here is what they are eligible to do (pulled from comment by SBS0311, thanks to you and DEK for the heads up) –

Your tender suggestions on Clemens and Washington aren’t permitted under the CBA. There’s five distinctions:

No compensation

Draft Round compensation (ex. Clemens 2nd, Leon 4th).

2nd Round Compensation

1st Round

1st and Third

It would actually cost the Jets the same exact money to tender Clemens at a 2nd round level as it would to tender him at no compensation.

With Leon, the Jets will have to tender him at $1.545 M for 2nd round and then at increasing salaries for the 1st and then the 1st and 3rd.

Anyway, bad job by me with the mistake and thanks again for the corrections.

2. My thoughts on the whole Rex Ryan middle finger at Miami fans – I am sure Rex was prompted by excessive amounts of heckling (as was pointed out in this PFT article http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/31/rex-ryan-faced-extreme-provocation-before-firing-middle-finger/) However, as much as we all hate Dolphins fans and all enjoyed Rex calling out us sweeping them next year, giving the middle finder is something he just can’t do. I am sure he will pay a fine, which is deserved and hopefully that is the end of this issue. I don’t want Rex to change his personality but when he is out in public, he is going to have to contain the obscene gestures.

3. Nick Mangold discussed getting a long-term deal at the Pro-Bowl and honestly there is no reason the Jets shouldn’t act on it during this off-season. They are already limited at signing UFAs because of the “Final Eight” rules in the CBA agreement so why not take care of their own? Mangold is the best center in the NFL and has without question earned a long-term, big money deal from the franchise.

Turn On The Jets 2009/2010 Season Awards: Players

Welcome to day one of the TOJ Awards for the 2009/2010 New York Jets season. Today we will be honoring the Jets best and worst players on each side of the ball. Tomorrow, we will be looking at the best and worst games of the past season and on Wednesday we will be looking at the best and worst moments/individual plays of the past year.

Best Overall Player – Darrelle Revis, Cornerback – 54 tackles, 31 Passes Defensed, 6 INTs, 1 TD (2 INTs in Playoffs)

Revis had one of the best seasons in Jets history, at any position and was robbed of the Defensive Player of the Year Award. After his first pro-bowl season in 2008, Revis established himself as the league’s best cover corner and maybe the only  legit “shutdown” corner currently in the NFL. By the end of the year, Revis was getting the league-wide recognition he deserved all year for the job he did shutting down receivers like Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Randy Moss,  Marques Colston, Terrell Owens, and on and on. He was the cornerstone of the Jets defense and allowed them to play as aggressively as they did because of his man to man cover skills. Hopefully, being snubbed for the DPOY Award will inspire him to come back even better next year, which should be a scary thought to the rest of the league. The highlights say it all:

Best Offensive Player – Nick Mangold, Center

It was between him and Thomas Jones but in the end I decided to give it to the best lineman on the league’s best offensive line, which led the way for the league’s #1 ranked rushing attack. Darrelle Revis is the best in the league at his position and so is Nick Mangold, which is why he is deserving of that long-term contract he desires. Despite only being a fourth year player, Mangold quarterbacks a largely veteran offensive line that runs complex blocking schemes drawn up by Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan which had to counter defenses loading up the box.

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Best Defensive Player – David Harris, Linebacker – 127 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 2 FFs, 2 INTs

I am not going to double up on any awards which took Revis out of the running for this one. However, Harris deserves recognition for putting together an All-Pro caliber year as the top tackler in the league’s top defense. An all-around threat, Harris consistently made big plays for the Jets all season and then after bouncing back from an ankle injury finished the year with monster games against San Diego and Indy in the playoffs. He is only entering his 4th year and should be the heart of Rex Ryan’s defense for years to come.

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Most Underrated: Offense – Jerricho Cotchery, Receiver – 57 receptions, 821 yards, 4 TDs/Brandon Moore, Guard

Cotchery’s numbers won’t blow anybody away but if he didn’t basically miss three complete games (Buffalo, Oakland, and Miami where he barely played because of ankle injury) he would have been a 1000 yard receiverwith a rookie quarterback. Most people forget how well Cotchery played in the first four games of the year before Braylon Edwards was acquried and before an ankle injury slowed him down for a few weeks (90 yards week one, 87 yards week two, 108 yards 1 TD week three, 71 yards week four). Cotchery also stepped up in a big way during the Jets post-season run, routinely making clutch third down receptions along the sideline.

Brandon Moore is the least talked about guy on the Jets offensive line and the only player who isn’t a former first round draft pick. However, he has been a consistent player for them the past few years and is very good in both the running and passing game. His level of play isn’t too far below Alan Faneca’s.

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Most Underrated: Defense – Marques Douglas, Defensive End – 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 4 TFLs, 1 TD

Sione Pouha stepped up a big way after the Kris Jenkins injury, however I decided to go with Marques Douglas an unheralded off-season acquisition who proved to be a major upgrade over Kenyon Coleman and provided energy and some playmaking ability to the Jets defensive line. There were questions about whether Douglas could handle being a full-time starter and he answered them by playing a ton of reps in a defensive line rotation that for the most part only had four players getting serious reps.

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Biggest Disappointment: Lito Sheppard, Corner – 31 tackles, 8 Passes Defensed, 1 INT, Vernon Gholston, Linebacker – 17 tackles

It was hard to decide between these two so I decided they both deserved criticism. Sheppard couldn’t stay healthy and was extremely inconsistent when he was on the field, proving that he wasn’t the answer to the Jets #2 corner problem. Gholston made no impact in the first four games of the year when he had the chance to start and was a below average special teams player the rest of the season, who probably shouldn’t have even been active in most weeks.

Biggest Offensive Playmaker: Shonn Greene, Running Back – 540 yards, 2 TDs (304 yards, 2 TDs in Playoffs)

Even though Greene didn’t become a factor until week 7 with a breakout game against Oakland and was then relatively quiet for most of year, he exploded when it counted during the Jets last two regular season games and playoff run. Greene averaged 5.0 yards per carry in the regular season and bumped that up to 5.6 in the playoffs, including a long TD run in both the Cincinnati and San Diego game. Greene had some nagging injuries throughout his rookie year but if he can stay healthy next season, it is scary to imagine what his numbers could be.

Biggest Defensive Playmaker: Calvin Pace, Linebacker – 55 tackles, 8 sacks, 7 TFLs, 3 FFs

Keep in mind Pace only played in 12 regular season games, which means he likely would have been a double digit sack guy if he hadn’t been suspended the first month of the season. He remains the Jets best pass rusher until they hopefully upgrade the position. After a quiet first two games of the playoffs, Pace had a big day against Indy in a losing effort including a forced fumble deep in Colts territory.

 The Get Me The Damn Ball Award – Dustin Keller, Tight End – 45 receptions, 522 yards, 2 TDs (3 TDs in the playoffs)

The Jets did a poor job of using Dustn Keller enough throughout the season, some of the blame goes to Mark Sanchez and some goes to Brian Schottenheimer but they must find a way to get more targets to Keller. For an offense that is so reliant on the run, play action to the tight end should be a big part of the offense. Keller finally became more involved in the post-season and responded with 12 catches, 181 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 3 games…tempting me to draft him again in fantasy football, even after a disappointing statistical season.

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The Stop Talking, Start Tackling Award – Kerry Rhodes, Safety – 63 tackles, 3 INTs, 13 passes defensed

Kerry Rhodes is clearly a talented player but he is guy who is starting to wear thin on the organization according to multiple sources. He didn’t improve his play until he was benched and he doesn’t play nearly physical enough. I am not ready to give up on him yet like most people seem to be, because he showed his potential in a big spot against the Chargers during Divisional Weekend. However, he needs to cut back the media appearances and have a big off-season, which will hopefully translate into a better, more consistent 2010-2011 season.

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The Other Guys Who Deserve Positive Recognition Awards – Thomas Jones for putting together a career season and being a terrific short yardage/goal-line back…Jim Leonhard for being tough enough to play through his injured hand, and elevate his play during the playoff run…Damien Woody, Alan Faneca, and D’Brickashaw Ferguson for rounding out the best offensive line in football…Mike DeVito for developing into a quality role player off the bench.

Another Good Highlight Tape Of Jets Season

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

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First a few updates:

1. Chad Johnson still refuses to give Darrelle Revis credit as you can read here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9859/ochocinco-on-revis-child-please), this guy is crazier than I already thought.

2. Another reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook. I have a page up there that includes extra commentary and links to all the Jets coverage from other sources that you should be reading on a daily basis. We are at 171 fans right now, and I want that number doubled by the time the 2010 season starts.

3. Isn’t it great that Mark Sanchez already has more playoff wins than Tony Romo in his career? I am just saying since nobody likes those Maganelli Cowboys fans that are here in the area.

4. One of the main things I will be working on in the off-season is putting together a TOJ Podcast for the 2010 season, more details to follow.

5. Next week, I will be doing our usual updates and stuff if anything Jets related occurs. However, I will be focusing on the 2009 Season 1st Annual Turn On The Jets Awards. The best players, best moments, best games, best coaches and of course the worst players, worst moments, worst games, and wort coaches will all be recognized…so let’s hand out some hardware.

Recapping Jets GM Press Conference & Other Updates

Mike Tannenbaum (who we are a big fan of here at TOJ) took the podium today to discuss the Jets off-season, here are some highlights and analysis:

Mark Sanchez – Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrew yesterday to have his knee checked out. It sounds like he is going to have minor surgery to clean it up. The Jets haven’t made a final decision yet but Tannenbaum basically said he wanted to see Sanchez take part in some rehab and strengthen the knee, and that he would be back well before training camp if they decide to have him get surgery. Hopefully, he won’t have to miss any OTAs or mini-camp.

– Kellen Clemens  – Tannenbaum said the Jets are going to tender Kellen Clemens as a restricted free agent. I don’t know at what level he will be tendered but I would imagine it would be a very low pick (6 or 7) at the highest or maybe even without a pick. He also said just because they are going to tender him, doesn’t mean the Jets won’t look at a veteran quarterback.

Erik Ainge/Kevin O’ConnellTannenbaum said he likes both of them moving forward but the Jets would be crazy to proceed with them as the top two backups.

Thomas Jones – It certainly sounded like TJ will be back next year. The Jets are going to pay him his bonus and I am sure Jones will recognize he isn’t going to get big money anywhere else. Tannenbaum continually emphasized the importance of depth, especially at the running back position.

Leon Washington – The Jets are going to tender Leon as a restricted free agent. I would guess with a mid-round pick (2 or 3). It is hard to see any team making a big money offer to him for the Jets to match since he is coming off major knee surgery.

Braylon Edwards – Edwards will be back next year with a likely 1st and 3rd round pick tender. Tannenbaum pointed out how he was a big help in the Jets rushing game and has been a good fit in the locker room.

Kerry Rhodes – Many people have been speculating that the ongoing difference between Rhodes and the Jets is that they want him to take a pay cut. However, Tannenbaum made it clear there are no contractual issues between the two and that the key is they want Rhodes to commit to the Jets off-season program. It sounds like the organization wants more of Rhodes in the team facility and less of Rhodes posing for magazines and acting.

Vernon Gholston – Gholston is going to be back in 2010, although Tannenbaum is obviously not happy with his lack of production, they are going to give him another off-season to improve.

Secondary – Secondary was mentioned more than a few times as a key focus for the Jets off-season. Tannenbaum made it clear that Ryan loves defensive backs and he wants to give him as much depth as possible at the position. He didn’t say anything about Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, although I’d be shocked to see either back next season.

– Thank you to reader Ret2ski, who pointed out the Jets do in fact have a 5th round pick. So to my knowledge they have a 1,2,5,6,7. Another thing about the Jets this off-season, if a player is cut by a team before his contract expires the Jets are free to sign him without restriction. Overall, I would still guess the Jets will be relatively quiet in free agency, focus on acquiring more draft picks and actively work on adding depth to the defense, especially at the defensive back position.

Nice Highlight Tape Of TJ and Shonn Greene

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

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First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan ruffled some feathers yesterday by saying the Jets were going to be the best show in town next season. I listened to the press conference and think most people are taking it the wrong way as some big time shot at the Giants. Basically, Ryan said when the Jets were playing at home it was going to be Jets Stadium and when they were playing at home, they were going to be the biggest show in town. Giants fans really got their panties in a bunch yesterday on the local radio shows after hearing the press conference, which was pretty laughable. If they are so confident they are still the number one team in town (which they are until the Jets win or at least get to a Super Bowl) why are they so insecure about what a Jets coach says in a press conference? Maybe it is because their team quit on them the last two weeks of the year, has one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and is heading into 2010 as the third best team in their own division.

2. I am surprised the line is so high on the Super Bowl…the last I saw it was at 5.5 in favor of the Colts. I would imagine the Saints will be able to exploit the Colts secondary. However, I guess Peyton Manning is playing so well right now that nobody wants to bet against them. I will be pulling for the Saints, not out of bitterness but because they have never won one before and the Colts just got one in 2006.

3. I am still trying to find out where all the Jets draft picks are for April. Unless what I have read online is wrong (which is a definite possibility) the Jets only have a 1st round (#29 overall), 2nd, round, 6th round, and 7th round pick. They lost their 3, 4, and 5 from the Braylon Edwards and Lito Sheppard trades. This might be a year to trade down and stockpile some more picks.

4. Non-Jets Related Off-Season Talk – LOST premieres in a week and yes i am very excited about that, you want to fill your free time in the off-season go rent the DVDs and catch up…I was watching the Knicks before the AFC Championship Game and not only were they wearing ridiculously ugly orange socks, they also lost by 50 freakin’ points, it was like watching Marist play Syracuse, I mean c’mon now, we aren’t convincing LeBron to come play for a team that bad…Has anybody had a worse off-season in baseball than the Mets? Even though the Yankees won the World Series, they still did much more to improve their team. Have you seen their line-up and pitching rotation for 2010? Wow.

Preliminary Look At Jets Off-Season

There is nothing like the dead period from when your team is eliminated from the playoffs until the start of free agency (March 5th, my birthday by the way), plenty of time to enjoy mid-season NBA and NHL, and college basketball and off course look at all the potential things the Jets could do to improve in 2010. Make no mistake, the Jets have work to do this off-season. The playoff run was terrific. They found their identity. The future is bright. However, they only won nine games in the regular season. It is time to take the next step, which means becoming a 11-12 win division winner who is hosting playoff games and hopefully getting a bye. What are the issues facing the Jets this off-season and where could they improve? Let’s take a look:

Defense

PhotobucketThe early reports coming from the organization is that the Jets will be looking to revamp their secondary after it was torn to shreds by Peyton Manning. Rex Ryan didn’t sound too confident in Kerry Rhodes coming back in his press conference yesterday. Basically, he said he wasn’t going to beg anybody to come back who didn’t really want to be here and that he wants committed players on his defense. Ryan refused to give details about a discussion him and Rhodes had considering his future with the team. Personally, I think Rhodes improved after his benching and would be crazy to want to leave New York. I am not sure if a guy like him wants to move out of the biggest market in the country and what defensive player wouldn’t want to play for Rex Ryan? The Jets owe Rhodes a roster bonus in March and will likely explore trade options but I am not sure how big the market is going to be for him. Obviously, the Jets minor league team (Cleveland) will be interested but unless the Jets are getting good value back and have plan to replace him, I don’t want to see Rhodes go. The secondary isn’t improving by trading Rhodes for a 5th round pick and then having James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith split reps at safety.

Lito Sheppard is a goner. There is no way the Jets are paying him a roster bonus in March. It is also being reported that Jets are likely going to part ways with nickel back Donald Strickland, who was productive when healthy this past year but always seemed to be banged up. I’d also be shocked to see Drew Coleman back next year.

Remember the Jets are limited in free agency because of the rules under the old CBA. They can only sign the same number of free agents that they lose. Regardless, Mike Tannenbaum is a creative guy with trades and with Strickland, Sheppard, and potentially Rhodes all likely ending up with new teams the Jets will have some room to operate.

Remember the Jets spent all three draft picks on offense last year, so you can bet Rex Ryan will be pushing for defensive help in the first two rounds of the draft. The Jets need a corner to pair with Darrelle Revis and a guy to compete for nickel reps. You have to expect at least one of their draft picks to be on a defensive back and trade options to be explored. The cornerback market isn’t loaded with talent although there are some quality guys (Richard Marshall, Carlos Rogers, Fabian Washington). If the Jets get rid of Rhodes, Roman Harper, Nick Collins, and Antoine Bethea are all free agents.

Outside of the secondary, the Jets need a pass rusher. Everybody knows this but finding a big time pass rusher isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. If the Jets don’t spend their first round pick on a corner, it will be on on outside linebacker/defensive end pass rushing prospect. Vernon Gholston will likely be cut this year and even if he isn’t, he has proven to be a bust. The Jets are pretty old along the defensive front, so don’t be surprised to see more than one new face added through the draft, free agency, or a trade.

Offense

PhotobucketDespite the defense carrying the Jets this past season, it needs more help than the offense does. The Jets are young at key positions and have a talented core to build around (Sanchez, Greene, Washington, Edwards, Keller, Mangold, Ferguson, Cotchery, Smith). Braylon Edwards is going to be given the highest tender as a restricted free agent, so he will be back. Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller are a pretty good trio of targets for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets could still use a slot receiver. Brad Smith is a valuable offensive weapon but isn’t a wide receiver and David Clowney is no better than a number 4/5. Chansi Stuckey would really be the perfect guy to fill this role but unfortunately the Jets had to give him up to acquire Edwards. The Jets could also use a better #2 tight end. Ben Hartsock is a good blocker but is no threat as a receiver and has too many costly penalties called on him.

On the offensive line, the Jets need to start thinking about their long term replacements for Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. I am confident the Jets will pay Faneca his roster bonus in February because he has started every game since signing his contract and maintained a high level of play. Yet, the Jets could really only bank on one or maybe if they are lucky two more seasons from the Faneca/Woody combination before they break down or their level of play falls off. Hopefully, guys like Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, and Wayne Hunter are developing into potential starters but it wouldn’t hurt to spend another late round pick on an offensive lineman.

Running back will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. Will Tony Richardson want to come back for another year? If not, the Jets will have a big hole to fill at fullback. I think it is the right call to bring Thomas Jones back for the final year of his contract. You don’t know how Leon Washington is going to respond from his injury and Shonn Greene was banged up alot this year. With the way the Jets run their offense, there is no problem with having three backs getting carries. Hopefully, Jones can accept becoming option 1B, since Greene should clearly be the Jets 1A option at running back next year. Despite having a great regular season, there won’t be a huge market for Jones because of his age and because of how his production fell off in the playoffs so it makes sense for both sides to have Jones return.

The Jets also need a veteran backup at quarterback. Kellen Clemens is gone and they would be crazy to go into the year with Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell as their top backups. How about Chad Pennington? Seriously, who would be a better mentor for Sanchez and be better equipped to manage the Jets ground and pound if Sanchez was hurt?

Overall

If I had to list the Jets off-season needs as right of now it would look something like this:

  1. Secondary (#2 and #3 corner, potentially safety to replace Rhodes)
  2. Defensive Line/Outside Linebacker (Pass Rusher, Youth on defensive line)
  3. Veteran Backup Quarterback
  4. Offensive Line (Eventual replacements for Faneca/Woody)
  5. #3 Receiver
  6. #2 Tight End

Grading Out The AFC Championship Game

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First a few updates:

1. Of course it is raining today…when I reflect about yesterday’s game, you can’t get around the fact the Jets lost to a better team and that there was no stopping Peyton Manning yesterday, especially withDwight Lowery and Drew Coleman playing major reps at defensive back. You can look at different points of the games and different decisions, but the bottom line is that the Jets weren’t stopping Indy, period. Even if the Jets made both field goals, Shonn Greene stayed in the game, and on and on…the Colts still would have scored enough points to win.

2. There will be a few tweaks in the site for the off-season, the final stats and game highlights for the 2009 season have been put up. I switched out the 2009 schedule with the Jets 2010 opponents, and there will likely be a few other changes here and there. We are done with our in-season schedule, so there won’t be 6-7 articles a week here. I will be laying out an off-season schedule in an article in the next day or two as I finish up Jets/Colts coverage. Obviously, we will have free agency/draft coverage, reflections on the past season, individual articles grading out each player’s performance this season, and plenty of other things that I will figure out later.

3. Since a new Collective Bargaining Agreement hasn’t been figured out yet, the Jets will be under specific free agency rules. Tim Graham breaks them down here (http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/9749/jets-have-29th-pick-ufa-limitations) Basically, the Jets won’t be able to sign a free agent, unless one of their free agents signs with somebody else. However, this won’t impact their ability to make trades which we all know Mike Tannenbaum loves to do. In terms of the draft, the Jets will have the 29th overall pick in the first round.  I don’t know the rest of their picks as of right now, but I am pretty sure they don’t have a 3 or 4 because of the Braylon Edwards/Lito Sheppard trades…if anybody knows exactly, please post it.

4. Shaun Ellis will be replacing Robert Mathis in the Pro-Bowl.

5. Nobody chokes in a big spot like Brett Favre…last pass as a Packer was a brutal interception in the NFC Championship Game that cost his team the game. He choked down the stretch for the Jets and now his likely last pass as a Viking was a brutal interception in the NFC Championship Game that cost his team the game. Good article by Mike Florio and Favre being delusional and thinking he went out on top: (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/01/25/favre-cant-walk-away-yet/).

Grading Out The AFC Championship Game

Quarterback (A) – Mark Sanchez played arguably his best game of the season in the biggest spot of the year, which is a good sign for the future. He stood in the pocket, took huge hits, and delivered accurate passes especially on the touchdown to Dustin Keller. Sanchez is only going to get better with another off-season in the offense and even more time to work with Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery. I really believe the Jets made the right choice trading up for this guy and that their offense is on the way to catching up with their defense with Sanchez under center.

Running Back (C) – Shonn Greene is going to be the Jets feature back next season and they missed him badly after he left. However, Greene had injuries throughout his rookie season and he is going to have to find a way to stay healthy next year. Thomas Jones was clearly worn down or his knee injury was worse than the team was letting on. It will be very interesting to see if he is back next season. 

Wide Receiver (A) – Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery both stepped up with 100 yards games. They are a good duo of starting receivers for Sanchez to grow with. However, the Jets need better depth behind them. Brad Smith isn’t really a receiver. He is a more of gadget/special teams player. They need to find a quality slot guy.

Tight End (A) – Dustin Keller stepped up in the playoffs, with a touchdown reception in each game. It is good to see him and Sanchez on the same page because he has the talent to be a pro-bowl caliber type player.

 Offensive Line (B) – They were excellent in pass protection but didn’t have their best game against the run. How about this unit starting the past 35 games together?

Defensive Line (C) – Not a great overall day for this group. Ellis was clearly limited because of his hand injury and they couldn’t generate a pass rush or slow down the Colts running the ball.

Linebackers (C) – David Harris played a terrific game, racking up 11 tackles and 2 sacks. Calvin Pace made a huge play by forcing that fumble but beyond that he didn’t get to the quarterback. Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas barely played because the Jets were using so many defensive backs.

Secondary (F) – I think it is illegal in most states what Peyton Manning and Pierre Garcon did to Dwight Lowery. I don’t think you will be seeing Lowery, Drew Coleman, and Lito Sheppard in a Jets jersey next season.

Special Teams (C) – You need as many points as you can get against the Colts so the misses by Jay Feely hurt.

Coaching (C) – The Jets had no answer for Peyton Manning on defense. People have been criticizing Brian Schottenheimer but I thought overall he called a good game. The double move to Braylon was well-timed and he finally broke out the pass play for Brad Smith.

Jets/Colts Highlights