Happy Memorial Day From Turn On The Jets

As you all enjoy the end of your Memorial Day Weekend, we at Turn On The Jets would not only like to wish everyone well on this holiday, but more importantly would like to thank all the devoted men and women who have served, and are currently serving our great nation over seas. On days of reflection like Memorial Day, we realize how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the luxuries of sports, entertainment, and all other everyday freedoms we too often take for granted. Never forget, the United States of America is the land of the free, because of the brave. So, to all the proud veterans out there, Thank You for everything you have given us in order to enjoy all that we have.

As the long weekend finally winds down, I have just a few quick New York Jets thoughts to share before another full week of content at TOJ.

1.) On Karlos Dansby expecting the Dolphins to win the AFC East. I actually have absolutely no issue with Dansby’s comments. As a competitor and a professional football player, he should always expect his team to succeed and win, otherwise what would be the point of playing the game? Rex Ryan has not been shy about what he expects from the Jets, so Dansby’s attitude should be viewed no differently. There is a certain degree of respect you must have for someone to show that much confidence, not only in themselves, but in the men they compete alongside.

The issue I do have, though, is the Dolphins faithful that have been emerging arguing that they would rather have their 53 than the Jets’. Again, I respect the confidence, but as a fan, you need to be realistic. Other than OLB and Offensive Tackle, every position on Miami’s roster is inferior to New York’s. Miami fans should be excited about the idea of a new coaching regime and quarterback, but there comes a point when you must look in the mirror and realize you are still very far away from being a competitive team in this league.

2.) On the Jets stealing the headlines once again. Many believe that the Jets acquired Tim Tebow strictly for the publicity factor he would bring to the team. While I strongly disagree with this notion, if this was, in fact, their motivation for bringing in Tebow, it certainly worked. As pointed out by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, SI‘s Peter King reported that 77 percent of the coverage in the five New York newspapers last Friday focused on Tebow, while only 23 percent focused on the foot injury of the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks.

The injury to the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s top target is certainly more significant than Tebow throwing two interceptions in a May session of 7 on 7, but the Tebow headline sells more. So, if Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbuam’s sole motivation to bring in Tebow was to steal the headlines from the defending Super Bowl Champs, kudos to them.

3.) On Wayne Hunter declaring that Jets fans will see “a new Right Tackle” this season. One thing anyone can tell from listening to Wayne Hunter talk is that he is brutally honest. Hunter does not hide the fact that he was the weak link to an offensive line that struggled horribly at times last season. While he acknowledges the fact that he owes a lot to Brian Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan for the opportunity, he also makes it clear that new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and staff are certainly a breath of fresh air. Hunter points out that, in order to succeed, he needs to get out of the “reserve” mentality and be consistent on every single play. Why he is just coming to this revelation now is beyond me, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

4.) On Rex Ryan not ruling out a possible Jim Leonhard return. We will look at this possible scenario deeper during the week, but at the right cost, this would be a good thing for the Jets. Although New York suddenly has an abundance of Safeties, other than rookie Josh Bush, there is not a true cover safety in the bunch. No one knows the defense better than Leonhard, and he is the perfect personality to mentor the young talent on the roster. Of course, his health and cost will be the biggest issues for a possible reunion. If he can be had at a discount, it may be worth bringing him back.

Feeling the Tremors of the NFL Offseason – Part 2

Turn On The Jets Assistant Staff Writer Mike Donnelly breaks it down with Part 2 of his NFL Offseason Review, as graded by the Richter Scale. In case you missed Part 1, be sure to check it out Here, for a full explanation of each category. Also, make sure you are following Mike on twitter: @TheMikeDonnelly, along with the rest of the TOJ Staff. – CG

Magnitude: 6 – 6.9 – “Strong” (Can be destructive)

6.0 – Salary Cap Violations against Redskins and Cowboys– This was a pretty important story that kind of got swept under the rug, but these two teams were hit hard for supposedly cheating the system during the uncapped season. The Redskins were docked a whopping $36 million in cap space (spread over two seasons), while the Cowboys were docked $10 million. For two teams that play in the same division as Super Bowl champion New York Giants, that’s a major disadvantage. At least last time Mike Shanahan cheated the salary cap, he got two rings out of it. This time? Not so lucky.

6.6 – Calvin Johnson signs 7 year / $132 million extension with $60m guaranteed– Megatron wasn’t a free agent who could have left Detroit or anything, but any time a player shatters the previous record for highest contract ever, it certainly can cause damage around the league. Not only will Calvin be playing to prove he’s worthy of it and continue to dominate defenses on the field, but now off the field every player is going to try to surpass this deal when their time comes. Could be big trouble.

6.7 – Mario Williams signs with the Bills– The only reason Mario’s 6 year / $100 million contract with $50m guaranteed is rated slightly higher than Calvin’s is because Mario was actually a free agent, welcome to sign with any team he chose. And for some reason, he chose to live in Buffalo for the next 6 years.

On the field, this gives them a potentially dynamic defense with Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Nick Barnett, and rookie Stephon Gilmore. Oh, and yes, the Jets are planning on blocking him with Wayne Hunter or Vlad Ducasse. Should be fine.

Magnitude: 7 – 7.9 – “Major” (Can cause serious damage)

7.0 – NFL suspends 4 Saints players for roles in “Bountygate” – (To be clear, this is JUST the impact of the player suspensions, not the bounty scandal as a whole). Jonathan Vilma (1 year), Anthony Hargrove (8 games), Will Smith (4 games), and Scott Fujita (3 games) all had the hammer dropped on them by Commissioner Roger Goodell for their role in the bounty scandal, where they intentionally tried to injure opposing offensive players. Vilma got the harshest penalty, because he was found to be the one offering up cash rewards for injury inducing hits. Such harsh punishments show that Goodell means business and there is now a precedent set for future infractions. This is a big deal. In terms of this season’s impact on the field, it’s pretty big, but not Vince Wilfork big. Vilma is a shell of the player he used to be, Hargrove is now a backup for Green Bay, and Fujita was never that great to begin with. Smith’s absence will hurt the Saints, but they’ll get by.

7.2 – Tim Tebow traded to the Jets – While I was publicly against this trade, it is undeniable how big of an impact this move will have. Had this been graded strictly on his play on the field, it would be in the 5.0 range (or a -1.5 if based only on his passing), but there is so much more when it comes to Tim Tebow. The media attention, the scrutiny, his impact in the locker room and on Mark Sanchez, the off the field nonsense, and the fact that the possible Messiah will now be in the world’s greatest city is all enough to push this into the 7’s. If he runs in more than a few touchdowns and helps the Jets win a lot of games, this can easily register an even greater impact.

7.3 – Terrell Suggs tears Achilles tendon – Yikes. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year and unquestionably the most important player on the league’s most imposing defense tears his Achilles in May, likely knocking him out for the season. That’s a pretty major deal. Suggs claims he’ll be back in October, but logic seems to dictate otherwise. If Suggs is out for the season, or even severely limited upon his return, a Super Bowl contender takes a major step back. Unless of course Joe Flacco actually plays like the league’s best quarterback, which he hilariously claimed to be this offseason. (You read that right. He really said that.)

Magnitude: 8 – 9.9 – “Great” (Can be devastating) 

8.0 – Redskins trade three 1st-Round picks, one 2nd round pick for Robert Griffin III – If you’re saying that’s an awful lot to trade, give yourself a prize, because you are correct. The Redskins have been desperate for a franchise quarterback for a very long time now, and after the Shanahans (Mike and Kyle) hilariously thought they could make chicken soup out of chicken sh– err, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Beck, they needed to make a splash and get one of the best QB prospects to come out in years. Redskins fans finally have some hope as the RG3 era begins. Rarely do you see a player carry the entire weight of a franchise on his shoulders, but that’s what RG3 is doing here. Tough situation to be in.

8.5 – NFL Suspends Saints Coaches and Executives for roles in “Bountygate” – (As with the players section, this is strictly about the impact of the suspensions on the coaches and executives) A case could be made that no coach in the NFL has more of an impact on his team than Sean Payton does with the Saints. It’s as if he and Drew Brees share a brain out there. If Brees is the driver of the luxury automobile that is the Saints offense, then Payton is the engineer who specifically tailored every nook and cranny to fit Brees and the rest of the personnel to a T. Well, none of that will be happening in 2012, as Payton was given a full year suspension and is forbidden from contact with the team. Yikes.

Joining him on the couch this year is the new (and now former) St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was allegedly the mastermind of the whole bounty program. Williams was given an indefinite suspension and may never be allowed to return to the league. Good riddance. Interim Head Coach Joe Vitt was unable to escape punishment either, and was given a 6 game ban. General Manager Mickey Loomis was given 8 games. So if you’re scoring at home, the Saints decision maker (Loomis) is gone half the season, the Head Coach (Payton) is out for the entire season, and the guy replacing him (Vitt) is also missing 6 games. Yeah, this is going to have a pretty big impact on the Saints and the league in general.

9.0 – Junior Seau’s Suicide – In a truly sad story, legendary linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide on May 2nd. The motives are still currently unknown, but it very likely was the final call for help from the former player. This tale is sadly becoming all too prevalent amongst former players, and his death is hopefully going to be the wakeup call the league and players everywhere need. The sad truth is, many of these men are unprepared for life after football both physically and mentally. Things in the NFL are going to change in a big way going forward, and that’s why this gets such a high score.

Magnitude: 10+  “Massive” (Never recorded, widespread devastation)

10.0 – Colts cut Peyton Manning, draft Andrew Luck #1 overall – Never before has a team had a “once in a generation” player run their team for 14 years, then cut that player and be in a position to get the next “once in a generation player” that very same year. Think about this: Peyton Manning led this Colts team to the playoffs 9 consecutive seasons before he was knocked out of the entire 2011 season due to injury. In that time, he won a Super Bowl, played in another, won a whopping four MVP awards, and won at least 10 games in 11 of his 13 seasons as the starter. Not only that, but without him in 2011 the team, with largely the same players, went from 10 wins in 2010 and a division title to 2 wins and the #1 overall draft pick. Wow. You can see why many consider him to be the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but if anybody can do it, it’s probably Andrew Luck. The Stanford product is considered to be the best quarterback prospect to enter the league since–you guessed it– Peyton Manning. Over the last 30 years only Manning, Troy Aikman, and John Elway were considered such sure-things. That’s some pretty excellent company for young Mr. Luck. He’ll take his lumps early in his career on this poor team, but before long he will make Colts fans realize they made the right decision by cutting the legend for the young buck. There’s a very good chance you’ll never see a scenario like this unfold again.

10.0 – Broncos sign legendary QB Peyton Manning, trade possible Messiah– I could have lumped this one in with the last one, but it deserves its own section. How many times are you going to see a sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterback, perhaps the best of all time, who likely still has a few seasons left, come available in free agency? The answer is never. But that’s exactly what we saw happen this year, and the Broncos were the lucky winners of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. That alone makes this worthy of a 10, but when you add the Tim Tebow factor, it really goes off the charts. When have we ever seen a player (who may or may not have magical powers) become so simultaneously beloved, hated, respected, worshipped, and criticized, lead a team to a playoff win, become a local hero, then get dumped by that team after his second year in the league because a legend like Peyton freakin’ Manning was signed to take his place? I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. This Peyton Manning thing has had major implications for three NFL teams: the Colts, Broncos, and Jets. It’s rare you see such a wild chain of events, but we did. And that’s why this gets a 10.

10.0 – Dolphins sign Jamaal Westerman – Just kidding.

10.0 – BountyGate – We’ve already covered the coaches and players getting suspended, but the “BountyGate” scandal is far bigger than any individual players or coaches. We are talking about one of the biggest scandals in NFL history, where players and coaches were rewarded with money bonuses for purposely injuring opposing players. That is reprehensible, and something we have never seen before (and hopefully never see again). This is the kind of thing that causes major changes in the league, and Roger Goodell has shown he isn’t taking this stuff lightly any longer. This was a major story, not just for the Saints, but for the NFL as a whole, and that’s why this gets a 10 spot.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Post Draft Edition

For our first edition of New York Jets Fact or False here at Turn On The Jets, we observe some of the most prominent story lines that have been emerging since the end of the 2012 draft. For most teams, the period between the end of the draft and the beginning of mini camp is typically a quiet time. However, the Jets are not most teams. There are still several unanswered questions heading into the season ranging from the Jets’ Right Tackle situation to the name of Tim Tebow’s dog. With Gang Green, there is surely never a dull moment. For our inaugural NYJ Fact or False, we address the six most pressing issues heading into June for the New York Jets.

1.) The Jets will add a Right Tackle in Free Agency. False.

Everyone has seemingly been waiting for the Jets to pull the trigger and acquire a tackle to replace the not-so-dynamic duo of Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse. However, New York’s lack of activity in free agency and during the draft at the position, has our earlier notion suggesting that Mike Tannenbaum and co. still have faith in either one of these two, looking more factual by the day. The Jets passed on the opportunity to sign Eric Winston, Demetress Bell, and every other free agent tackle this offseason. They also neglected the position in the draft, having selected Guard Robert T. Griffin as their only offensive lineman this year. Take all of these facts, and combine them with new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo’s recent praise of Wayne Hunter, and it seems fairly obvious that the Jets will start some combination of Hunter and Ducasse at Right Tackle next season. They could always add a veteran at some point during training camp, but that is unlikely given the fact that the team recently guaranteed Hunter’s salary for 2012.

2.) At least 3 rookies will contribute significantly this season. Fact. Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill will contribute from week 1, if not in a starting role, then in a heavy amount of packages, before stepping in as starters at some point during the season. Rex has already declared this, and rightfully so. These two need to be on the field for a significant amount of time for the Jets to improve from their 8-8 record last season. Beyond the first two of the Jets’ eight selections in this years draft, there are two names that come to mind when thinking of who can contribute this season.

DeMario Davis should be an absolute monster on special teams. His tenacity and great speed, combined with his known ability to make big hits, should make him a favorite for Mike Westhoff. Davis will also likely play in several defensive packages, primarily on third downs in coverage or as a blitzer.

Also, expect Safety Josh Bush to develop into a solid contributor this year. His coverage skills are much better than Eric Smith’s, who will likely be the starter until Bush picks up the defense. Don’t be surprised to see Bush getting significant reps by midseason.

3.) The media’s portrayal of Tim Tebow as a super hero will die down. False.

Let’s face it, the mainstream media has a serious crush on Tim Tebow, as do the majority of football fans. There is certainly good reason for this. Tebow is a proven winner, an extremely hard worker, a great role model, and most importantly, he is a fantastic human being. The NFL’s most popular player will likely draw more attention this season than the man whose job he is trying to assume. Each week, be prepared to hear speculation of everything, from how many reps Tebow will get, to what he eats for his pregame meal. Also, get ready for media and fans alike to be calling for Tebow to take the helm the second Sanchez shows any sign of inconsistency. Until number 6 proves everyone wrong, he will most popularly be considered the villain, while Tebow will widely be viewed as the heroic savior.

4.) Tony Sparano will revive the Jets’ dominant run game. Fact. Word out of OTAs is already extremely complimentary of new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano. Sparano’s ideals seem to be identical to what Rex Ryan wants his offense to be. The Jets have a very talented group of running backs in Shonn Greene, who was able to rush for more than 1,000 yards last season despite playing for the philosophically confused Brian Schottenheimer, Joe McKnight, Tim Tebow, and promising rookie Terrance Ganaway. If the Right Tackle situation works out, the Jets will undoubtedly have an elite run offense once again.

5.) Darrelle Revis will hold out again. False. Although Revis is certainly worthy of being paid as the best defensive player in football, he knows this would be horrible timing for a hold out. As one of the unquestioned leaders of the Jets, Revis would be the ultimate hypocrite to hold out this year. First of all, he has two years remaining on his current contract. It is not the typical formality for a player to hold out with more than one year remaining on his current deal. Revis has already exercised this rare practice, and would be foolish to do so again.

More importantly though, is the picture a hold out would paint of Revis as one of those unquestioned leaders. How can the team’s best player bail on training camp, arguably the most important time for developing team chemistry, after the epic fallout of last season? It would be shocking to see Revis hold out this year, as it would put his character into serious question. The Jets need Revis more than ever in terms of both play and leadership, and he knows this. However, if no resolution is made in terms of an extension this season, it will be almost guaranteed that Revis does, in fact, hold out heading into 2013.

6.) Rex Ryan will tone down the bravado. Fact.

This is an evolution in Ryan that we are currently witnessing. Usually by this time every year, Rex has already predicted a Super Bowl victory. The brash head coach finally realizes that he can no longer put that type of pressure on his team. He saw what it caused last year, and he knows very well, that if he allows that type of melt down again, there is a good chance it will cost him his job. Expect Ryan to remain the jovial, confident coach that we have all come to know and love, but don’t expect many guarantees this year, if any.

Give Me A Controversy: The New York Media’s Love Affair With Tim Tebow

Prepare yourself for five months of positive press on Tim Tebow and negative press on Mark Sanchez

Yesterday the Daily News published an article using New York Jets quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh as the primary source. The article generally portrayed Mark Sanchez in a negative light. Today they also published an article using Cavanaugh as the primary source, this time portraying Tim Tebow in a positive light. Erik Manassy of Jets Twit provides a terrific breakdown of the two articles here.

First off, Cavanaugh made himself look foolish by praising Tebow’s mechanics after criticizing Sanchez’s development, considering he has overseen that very development. It doesn’t take a football savant to see how far Tebow’s mechanics still need to go, so even if Cavanaugh was truly pleased with them it was odd to pair it with the Sanchez criticism.

We already discussed Cavanaugh’s unimpressive resume today at TOJ. He maintained his job this off-season, only after the Jets struck out chasing Todd Haley and Karl Dorrell. It would make sense for him to stay out of the media and focus on developing his starting quarterback primarily, and then his Wildcat/backup.

Yet, what I really want to focus on is the beginning of a trend you will see in the coming months. Manish Mehta of the Daily News has already shown his affinity for anonymous sources ripping Mark Sanchez since the season ended and many of the other beat writers have followed a similar path. The New York media wants a quarterback controversy. It sells newspapers.

Beyond that, they will create caricatures of members of the Jets to help write stories throughout the year. Santonio Holmes, the selfish bogeyman who is the team villain. Mark Sanchez, the fading star who is mentally weak. Tim Tebow, the heroic backup who can do no wrong.

Expect a steady stream of pro-Tebow and anti-Sanchez articles in the coming months. I can promise you a Daily News article this summer quoting unnamed sources that Tebow is outperforming Sanchez in practice and will soon take over as the starter. I can promise if Sanchez has one poor game, there will be rumors from those unnamed sources claiming that Sanchez will be benched or is one bad quarter away from being benched.

Get used to it.

TOJ 12 Pack: New York Jets Post-Draft Predictions

Turn On The Jets gives out 12 post-draft predictions for the 2012 season

The New York Jets had open media availability yesterday and the top stories of the day were Tim Tebow’s dog, Darrelle Revis hating the Patriots and where Tim Tebow doesn’t live. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a 12 pack of information on that you are on the wrong site and should instead read some of the local newspapers. Instead I give you a 12 pack of post-draft predictions for the Jets 2012 season. If you are looking for more reading throughout the day, check back later this afternoon as Chris Gross will finish up our draft pick analysis by looking at Quinton Coples. I will also provide links to our other articles covering the rest of the picks.

On to the predictions…

1. Wayne’s World – The Jets opening day starter at right tackle will be Wayne Hunter. Should you be thrilled about this? Probably not, but perhaps this article from our good friend Jeff Capellini will make you feel better. It has become clear the Jets are content to let Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse battle for the position. While I think the organization would love to see Ducasse win, I think Hunter is the day one starter in camp and is steady enough to hold off Ducasse who hasn’t shown much of anything through two years. Tony Sparano will feel better going with a guy who has over a season of starting experience instead of the unproven Ducasse. For those who are asking, I do not think Austin Howard is a factor in this competition. If he was, the Jets wouldn’t have paid Hunter 2.5 million to comeback. They would have just let Howard compete with Ducasse.

2. Slow Safety – The Jets opening day starting safeties will be LaRon Landry and Eric Smith. At this point, I don’t think they will add Yeremiah Bell and even if Jim Leonhard returns, I don’t think it will be in a starting role. Look for rookie Josh Bush to be a factor in a centerfield type role when the Jets go to three safety looks and for rookie Antonio Allen to get on the field as a blitzer or to fill in for Landry if he gets hurt.

3. Out Wide – Braylon Edwards isn’t coming back. The Jets wide receiver depth chart will be Santonio Holmes as the starting flanker, Stephen Hill as the starting split end and Jeremy Kerley as the slot receiver. Behind them, I expect Chaz Schilens, Patrick Turner and Jordan White to stick as backups. White could be relegated to the practice squad unless he shows value on special teams.

4. Must Addition – The Jets will add a blocking tight end at some point. How can you run Tony Sparano’s offense without a single blocking tight end on the roster?

5. Where The Rookies Land – As I mentioned previously, I do think Stephen Hill will start from day one. Quinton Coples will be a de facto starter on the defensive line but will be rotated through with Mike DeVito, Muhammad Wilkerson, Marcus Dixon and Kenrick Ellis. Demario Davis will be a key special teams player and play in some defensive packages, same for Josh Bush and Antonio Allen. Robert T. Griffin has practice squad written all over him. Jordan White could join him unless he sticks as the #5 receiver and a special teamer. Finally, I think Terrance Ganaway will beat out Bilal Powell and be the third rushing option behind Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight.

6. Everybody Loves Tony – Leading up to the regular season, Tony Sparano will be one of the most popular men in the Jets organization with fans and players, simply because of how much everybody disliked Brian Schottenheimer.

7. Puppy Eyes – Tim Tebow’s popularity will be at a fever pitch heading into the season. He has already won over the media and skeptics of the trade with his quotes and smiles. Listen, I won’t argue that Tim Tebow seems like genuinely a great human being. It is good to have a player like that part of this organization. I also won’t argue that he works his ass off to get better. However, Mark Sanchez works hard too. Mark Sanchez is a better quarterback than Tim Tebow…by a good amount. If the Jets are going anywhere this season, it is with Sanchez as their starting quarterback and Tebow as a versatile weapon off the bench. Don’t forget that, regardless of how many times Tebow smiles for the camera.

8. Bounce Back – Santonio Holmes is going to have a very good year from start to finish. Why? Great football players are motivated to bounce back from down years and I don’t care what you think of Holmes personally, he is a great football player and the Jets top playmaker on offense. I think he will use everything the media has said about him as fuel. So let him keep being snippy with them, as long as he is catching touchdowns.

9. K-Ball – Josh Brown is going to be the Jets kicker this year, not Nick Folk. TJ Conley isn’t going to be the punter either. You could tell from Mike Westhoff’s quotes last week that he wants no part of Folk and Conley for another year.

10. Big Plays – Look for an increase in Dustin Keller’s yards per catch this season, same goes for Holmes. Anthony Fasano was posting higher yards per catch than Keller in Sparano’s offense and Keller has much more athleticism than him.

11. Annoying Training Camp Stories About Things That Will Have No Impact On The Jets Season – Anything related to Tim Tebow’s personal life. Any story on Matt Simms. Excessive coverage of Hayden Smith. Amateur psychology pieces on Mark Sanchez’s facial expressions during press conferences and practices. Rex Ryan looking skinnier (no joke).

12. Low, Low Expectations – Expect most people to pick the Jets to finish either 3rd or 4th in the AFC East, with a record between 6-10 (pessimistic) or 9-7 (optimistic).

TOJ 12 Pack: Nobody Likes Mark Sanchez Edition

The TOJ 12 pack runs down Mark Sanchez’s doubters this off-season

Today’s TOJ 12 pack is dedicated to those who have already decided Mark Sanchez will be benched for Tim Tebow. A quarterback who isn’t half the quarterback he is and who didin’t accomplish half as much as he did in his first two years. I see positives in the Tebow addition but I do not think the Jets would be anywhere near better off with him under center full time than Sanchez, who I believe is a far superior quarterback. Anyway here is a little extra motivation for you #6 –

1. Amani Toomer, Good Receiver, Awful Analyst (Seriously, have you ever heard his color commentary?)“I don’t see Sanchez being the starter for the entire season,” Toomer told reporters, including the Daily News’ Eb Samuel, at the launch of the league’s new apparel partnerships. “(Sanchez) is not a great quarterback. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that.”

2. Von Miller, Wayne Hunter’s Biggest Fan, Cheap Shotted Sanchez Last Year – Miller said: “I think everybody’s mistaken if you think he’s just going to go over there and be a wildcat quarterback or a situational quarterback. The Tebow that I know is going … to be able to compete for that starting job.”

3. Michael Irvin, Great Receiver, Predicted Mark Brunell Would Take Over For Sanchez Last Year – “You can have a plan,” the always-animated Irvin continued. “Brad Smith, all of that stuff is a whole different thing. Because when Tebow makes a play and everbody starts hollering ‘TE-BOW! TE-BOW!’ They never hollered ‘BRAD SMITH! BRAD SMITH!’ That’s going to affect Mark Sanchez. And I don’t care if you lose that Buffalo Bills opener and then Pittsburgh knocks you around, he will be starting by the Miami Dolphins game…. That’s the third game of the season. Sanchez: put your petal to the metal. Get going!”

4. Heath Evans, Okay Fullback I Guess, Commentator on NFL Network – “Tebow will start by week 3…of the pre-season” – NFL Network

5. Vince Wilkfork, Defensive Tackle, 3 Losses To Sanchez, Zero Losses To Tebow – ”I’d start Tebow. He’s a winner. He’s proven.

6. Percy Harvin, Noted For Migraines and Choking His College WR coach, Former Tebow Teammate – “For anybody to think he’s not going in there to win the starting job, you’re fooling yourself. “

7. Mike Lombardi, The Smartest Fired GM Who Can’t Get Hired Again – “For all the talk of being a leader, Sanchez never operates like one. No matter what the Jets claim publicly, they don’t really believe in Sanchez.”

8. Gregg Rosenthal, Mike Florio’s Former Employee – If New York can’t stay above .500 during their five-game stretch to start the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Tebow was the team’s starter before the Jets head to Foxborough in Week 7″

9. Bill Barnwell, Said Chad Henne Was Second Coming Of Drew Brees – Sanchez has failed to launch since 2009, but he was able to duck the criticism during his first two years with playoff runs that saw him raise his level of play and the team enjoy an inordinate amount of luck.”

Let’s stop with the negativity for a second and finish up with some encouragement for our quarterback

10. Joe Montana, Kind Of Understands This Quarterback Thing – “Mark is a better player right now and that’s it,” he said in an email to the Daily News. “As long as Mark believes in himself and plays, it’s not an issue. It’s more of an issue for those of you who write, or blog or tweet and all the other methods of delivering content.”

11. The Smartest City In The World – The poll, released Monday, showed both general New York residents and the state’s football fans felt strongly that Sanchez is the best option at quarterback.

12. The Playoff Game Sanchez Started In New England Versus The Playoff Game Tebow Started In New England –

New York Jets: Expanding Tebow Past Quarterback Is Smart Move

The New York Jets plan to use Tim Tebow as more than a quarterback is a wise decision

The early talk out of the New York Jets first voluntary workouts yesterday is that Tim Tebow will not just be used as a backup quarterback but will also line up at H-Back, fullback, running back and the personal protector on the punt team. This is a smart decision that will allow the Jets to both maximize Tebow’s skill set and add another dimension to their offense and special teams.

If Tebow is going to be on the field 20-25 snaps a game as Rex Ryan indicated. You don’t want him throwing the football on anywhere a high percentage of them. You also want him disrupting Mark Sanchez’s rhythm as little as possible. Tebow lined up as H-Back or running back provides the threat of a trick play or given his size and running skill set, the opportunity to simply hand the football off or throw a screen pass to a strong runner.

You are maximizing your investment on Tebow if he is your number two quarterback, Wildcat quarterback, number three running back and backup H-Back, along with him contributing on special teams.

The potential for Tebow on Mike Westhoff’s punt and kick units is exciting. When lined up as a personal protector, there is a constant threat for a fake. If he is the team’s holder, the same threat is there. If you line up to punt on 4th and 3 from the 50 yard line, you can have Tebow take a shotgun snap and hopefully barrel through a lane for the first down or pull up and deliver a short pass to one of the ends.

Ideally, Tebow’s presence will push Sanchez to performing more consistently and the Jets will use Tebow in enough ways to fill up the stat sheet. How about 20 snaps that have Tebow finishing with 5 carries for 25 yards, with 3 of those carries converting first downs, 2/2 passing for 15 yards, 1 reception for 10 yards, and a special teams tackle along with serving as a valuable decoy on the rest of plays?

It could happen if the Jets are smart about his usage.

New York Jets: Day One Of New Offense

The New York Jets process of learning Tony Sparano’s new offense officially started today

The headlines surrounding the New York Jets first day of voluntary workouts centered on Santonio Holmes tone with reporters and his entertaining decision to Tweet a picture of himself wearing a shirt that said “captain.” Personally, I couldn’t give a damn if Holmes gave an attitude to reporters and how could you not crack a smile at that picture?

Let’s talk about more important things. In case you haven’t noticed, the Jets roster isn’t going to look much different from last season. They are relying on improvement to come from within and from a new offensive system led by Tony Sparano.

Not only does Sparano have to teach starting quarterback Mark Sanchez a new offense, different from the only one he has ever learned in the NFL, he needs to figure out how to best incorporate Tim Tebow’s Wildcat/Option package. He also needs to help the Jets rediscover their elite power running game, which was absent last year and find a way to hit big plays down the field in the passing game. Should be a busy man, no?

At a minimum, Tebow’s arrival should make the running game more dangerous and dynamic. If designed properly there will be more lanes for Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight from Tebow’s presence under center. Yet, the Jets will need Tebow to not just be their backup quarterback but be a primary ball carrying option. Greene hasn’t proven to be the “bell cow” the team thought he could be and McKnight, despite showing potential, hasn’t shown he is capable of being a 1B option full time.

Basically you are hoping Greene can be a 1A when he has produced like a 1B and that McKnight can be a 1B when he has produced like a backup. If they can both improve and Tebow gives them 5-10 strong carries a game, the Jets have the makings a capable three headed monster running the football. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they spent a late round pick on a running back to compete with Bilal Powell for a roster spot.

In the passing game, Sparano must find a way to compensate for Wayne Hunter or Vladimir Ducasse’s shortcomings at right tackle in pass protection. If the Jets can protect Sanchez, he has the ability to connect on passes down the field and outside of the hashes, areas he rarely had the opportunity to throw to in Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme.

Who will stretch the field? Santonio Holmes isn’t a true vertical receiver. He works better in the intermediate passing game and then making people miss after the catch. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t shake a defender with a double move every now and then, as he did in the Washington game last season on his game winning catch. Chaz Schilens has the top end speed and the size to be a good candidate to run go routes down the sideline, but can he stay healthy and can he produce consistently? Perhaps at a minimum he can give the Jets a Dedric Ward type threat. In 1998, Ward caught only 25 passes but averaged 19.8 yards per catch and hauled in 4 long touchdowns.

Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley both have the ability to get down the seam. Yet, with Kerley I would expect him to be used in a Davone Bess type role in Sparano’s offense, working in the slot and primarily in the short passing game. Bess averaged between 10 and 10.5 yards per catch the last four seasons under Sparano.

When it comes to Keller, interestingly enough Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano has averaged more yards per catch in three of the last four seasons. Most people have talked about Sparano using the tight end primarily as a blocker yet he has found ways to create a higher YPC for Fasano, despite him being much less than athletic and versatile than Keller. As we say every year, Keller has the skill set to consistently be a big play weapon. Can Sparano get the most out of him and have him picking up the big chunks of yardage this offense desperately needs?

Despite a lack of depth of receiver, running back, and right tackle, this offense still has talent. It is now up to Sparano to do what Brian Schottenheimer couldn’t, maximize that talent.

Can New York Jets Running Game Be Dominant?

Can the New York Jets return to having a dominant running game in 2012?

The New York Jets were 22nd in the NFL last season when it came to running the football, finishing with 105.8 yards per game. In 2009, Rex Ryan’s first year, they finished first in the league at 172.2 yards per game and in 2010 they dropped to fourth at 148.4 yards per game. Obviously, they are trending the wrong way and last year clearly failed to keep the “Ground” in “Ground and Pound.”

What is it going to take for the Jets running game to return to its once dominant form?

First off, the hiring of Tony Sparano to replace Brian Schottenheimer would seem to be a step in the right direction. Schottenheimer became increasingly pass happy in the previous two years, while the general impression of Sparano is that he is content to operate a run heavy offense. We know that Mark Sanchez performs at a higher level when the running game is humming and he could work off play action. Beyond that, a successful running game will help mask some of the inevitable problems the Jets will have protecting Sanchez with somebody like Wayne Hunter or Vlad Ducasse at right tackle.

Second, the Jets current group of running backs has so far proven to be nothing special. Shonn Greene has looked like a back who needs a strong compliment and isn’t capable of creating big plays. Joe McKnight has never really been given the chance to use his abilities on offense and Bilal Powell looked very average when given opportunities last season. The Jets are going to need Greene to run with the explosiveness he did during his rookie year and for McKnight to provide the compliment he needs. We saw Reggie Bush flourish in Miami last year, McKnight has a similar skill set and should be able to use his speed to create plays on the edges.

The real x-factor this season with the running game is Tim Tebow. I was not in favor of the trade for a variety of reasons, but at a minimum Tebow should provide a much needed shot in the arm to the Jets rushing attack. His ability to run the ball himself will provide another compliment to Greene and will open up lanes for both Greene and McKnight when the Jets are using the Wildcat or option.

Tebow rushed for 660 yards last season at 5.4 yards per carry. If the Jets had added a running back who did that last season, you’d be excited about them finding a needed 1B back to Greene right? There is no reason the Jets shouldn’t punish teams in short yardage situations with Tebow, Greene and fullback John Conner. Tebow’s threat to keep the ball will also create big creases on the edge for McKnight to take advantage of his speed on option pitches or sweeps.

The Jets haven’t done much this offseason to improved their passing game, pass rush or ability to cover the tight end yet by bringing in Sparano and Tebow, they have taken strides to move back towards having a dominant running game. A dominant running game has the ability to mask many other problems.

New York Jets Off-Season: Getting Inside Mike Tannenbaum’s Head

Just what exactly has New York Jets GM Mike Tannenabum been thinking this off-season?

At this point in the New York Jets off-season, it is easy to be a little confused, angry and disappointed. Here is a review of what they have done so far –

  • Signed a highly injury prone strong safety, LaRon Landry
  • Signed a highly injury prone wide receiver, Chaz Schilens
  • Traded for a backup quarterback/wildcat option, Tim Tebow
  • Re-signed Sione Pouha and Bryan Thomas
  • Guaranteed Wayne Hunter’s salary next year
  • Held on to Santonio Holmes by guaranteeing his salary the next two years
  • Signed Drew Stanton…then traded Drew Stanton after trading for Tebow
  • Gave Mark Sanchez an overhyped extension that basically didn’t change much to his original contract but brought a wave of publicity with it

So, what the hell is Mike Tannenbaum thinking? Let’s try to figure it out –

Starting on offense, we told you throughout February the Jets would not be spending big money at the wide receiver position opposite of Santonio Holmes. The hiring of Tony Sparano confirmed a commitment to a run heavy offense and with so much already invested in Holmes, it doesn’t make philosophical sense to splurge financially for another receiver. Their approach is taking a low cost risk on a player like Schilens and then seeing how the draft shakes out before exploring the option of bringing Braylon Edwards back.

Do not look for the Jets to take a receiver early in the draft, unless somebody they fall in love with drops into their lap in round 2 or 3. I would expect them to take a receiver with one of their late round picks and then check out Edwards knee in May. If he passes the team’s physical, he can be brought back on a low cost deal and likely provide all the production they’d need from the number two receiver spot, with Schilens providing insurance.

The Tebow trade was clearly not something in the original off-season plans as demonstrated by the Stanton signing. There was speculation about the Jets signing or trading for another running back to compliment Shonn Greene but bringing in Tebow is going to prevent that from happening. He will be a weapon in the running game more than anything and outside of potentially a mid or late round pick, look for the Jets running back depth chart to stay the same.

Tebow’s trade was fueled by Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano’s desire to run and protect the football coupled with the business aspects of it endorsed by Woody Johnson. Tannenbaum saw Tebow become available, had his head coach, offensive coordinator and owner express interest and made it happen. Mark Sanchez was a peripheral thought in all of this, as I do think the organization still believes he could be the franchise quarterback but saw the Wildcat dimension/business aspects of Tebow too valuable to pass it up. Only time will tell, if it was worth it.

At tackle, Tannenbaum probably looked at Hunter’s contract and figured at a minimum he was a good depth player, which he is and something that the Jets badly lacked last year. The hope in the organization is that with a full off-season to learn the position, Vladimir Ducasse will be a viable option at right tackle. Teams don’t like giving up on second round picks after two years, regardless of how awful they looked throughout those two years. At this point, I fully expect the Jets to open camp with Hunter and Ducasse competing for the job, with Austin Howard maybe grabbing a few reps.

If they struggle, the Jets could hope that Vernon Carey is still on the market. He is a veteran who knows Sparano’s system that could immediately hop in or Tannenbaum could swing a trade in August to supplement the position. It is a risky strategy and not one I agree with, but it appears to be the planned approach at the moment.

Defensively, the Jets wanted to pair LaRon Landry and Reggie Nelson as their shiny, new safety duo. Unfortunately, they struck out with Nelson leaving a gaping hole at free safety. The Jets protected themselves from Landry’s injury with how the contract is structured but the defense will suffer if he misses extended periods of time in 2012. I would expect the Jets to seriously consider finding a way to add a free safety in one of the early rounds of the draft and then bring back Jim Leonhard in May or June as veteran insurance. Missing out on Nelson hurt and the Jets are now going to need to rely on a healthy Landry and likely a draft pick to improve the position’s play.

The team hasn’t been shy about their desire to improve the pass rush. It would be an upset at this point if they don’t find away to take a outside linebacker in the first round. The question is only how aggressive will they pursue one? Would they trade up for Melvin Ingram or Quinton Couples? Could they trade back for Andre Branch? Is Courtney Upshaw on the board for them at number 16? The Jets want a young pass rusher to take Bryan Thomas off the field on passing downs and eventually off the field all together. They likely envision a third down defense that prominently features this first round pick opposite of Aaron Maybin, who should only get better in Rex’s system in year two.

One other thing that should be noted, the locker room chaos last year clearly made a huge impression on the Jets front office. Re-signing Sione Pouha was a smart football move but became such a major priority because he was a respected captain last year. The quick re-signing of Bryan Thomas, a longtime good guy veteran of the organization was also a larger priority than it would have in years past. Bringing back Hunter, who despite his on field struggles, is a respected player in the locker room who stood up to Santonio Holmes slacking last year supports the notion of emphasizing the importance of improving the locker room. Finally, while the Tebow trade was primarily motivated by the Wildcat and business, it would be foolish to think his personality didn’t play a factor in it as well.

So what else should you expect the rest of the way from the Jets? I would look for an outside linebacker and safety early in the draft, along with an eventual signing of Braylon Edwards and Jim Leonhard. If the Jets make an addition at right tackle, it probably won’t happen until training camp. It isn’t the flashiest off-season but the Jets are clearly banking on Tony Sparano improving Mark Sanchez’s play and Tim Tebow adding an element to the Jets offense that will make it harder to defend. Rex Ryan is always going to be confident in his defense and I am sure he thinks with a new pass rusher, Landry, and a free safety the group will take major strides from last year.

Finally, what about that extra money the Jets still have? Remember they are going to have to pay Darrelle Revis next off-season to avoid another holdout, along with Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene’s contracts both being up. Those considerations have to be a factor in the Jets spending right now.

Doesn’t cheer you up? Well maybe this will…feels like a hundred years ago, right?