Jets vs. Bills: Game Breakdown & Five Requests For Five Jets

First a few updates:

1. Jerricho Cotchery, Damien Woody, Brad Smith, and Shaun Ellis all sat out practice again today. Ellis and Woody are expected to start, Smith is questionable and I wouldn’t bet on Cotcherysuiting up this weekend. If both Smith and Cotchery are down, the Jets will only be carrying three receivers on Sunday: Braylon Edwards, David Clowney, and Wallace Wright. Danny Woodhead has been taking reps at receiver on the practice squad but I wouldn’t count on him playing receiver for the Jets anytime soon.

2. Obviously if the Jets are limited at receiver, there should be a greater opportunity for Dustin Keller to get involved in the passing game. Mark Sanchez admitted that he apologized to Keller after the Monday night game for not looking to him more. I am not crazy about that, Sanchez needs to go where the coverage dictates and shouldn’t be forcing himself to get the ball to anybody. Brian Schottenheimer needs to design some screens and quick passes to get Keller more involved, and allow him to run space.

3. ALCS and NLCS Predictions: Phillies in 6 over the Dodgers. Yanks in 6 over the Angels.

4. Don’t forget that new episode of TOJ TV is coming tomorrow.

5. From the mouth of Bart Scott…“(Monday night) was the one time we had this year to show the world what type of team we are, and now they believe we’re something else…. I can’t wait to hit somebody. I can’t wait to step out there and see somebody in another jersey, so I can take all this pain and all this embarrassment I’m feeling and inflict it on someone else.” Sounds good…but now actually make it happen.

Jets vs. Bills: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: Buffalo isn’t a bad team defensively, but neither were the Dolphins and the Jets found a way to put 27 points up. The bad weather expected to come Friday and Saturday should be gone by Sunday at 4 PM, but it will be still be colder than Mark Sanchez is accustomed to. Regardless, the Jets have enough weapons even with an injured Jerricho Cotchery to run a balanced attack each week. Mark Sanchez is now heading into his 6th start and by all indications the training wheels are off on this offense. Expect the Bills to heavily concentrate their coverage on Braylon Edwards, who should still be targeted frequently when Sanchez needs a bail out because of his size. Also, Edwards gained Sanchez’s trust last week by going up in coverage and coming down with a few balls, which means he won’t hesitate to look down the field for him again in similar circumstances.

With all the attention on Edwards, David Clowney and Dustin Keller should be freed up in single coverage. I am sure Brian Schottenheimer is feeling a push to get Keller the ball and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a quick slant or screen thrown to him early in the game to get him involved. If Clowney is singled up consistently, it is foolish not to take a couple shots down the field to him. In the running game, the Jets did a good job getting Leon 10 carries last week but let’s see him get a few more touches on receptions out of the backfield. I got a feeling instead of seeing 12-15 carries for Thomas Jones this weekend and 3 for Shonn Greene, we will see something like 10-11 carries for Jones and 6-7 carries for Greene.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Bills have plenty of talent at the skill positions. Terrell Owens and Lee Evans are top flight receivers who can score on any given play. Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson are quality backs who have hurt the Jets in the past. Buffalo’s struggles have been based on their terrible offensive line play and the inconsistency of Trent Edwards. There is no excuse for the Jets not to get to the quarterback in this game. It isn’t all on Ryan to come up with blitz schemes, sometimes a player simply needs to beat his man and make a play. Four sacks is nowhere near enough for a defense with this type of talent through five games.

Lito Sheppard will be returning to the starting line-up at corner, which should help against Owens and Evans. Darrelle Revis is coming off a tough night against Miami and will certainly be looking to re-assert himself as one the league’s premier corners against two very good receivers. Like I have been saying all week, I still believe the Jets have a great defense. Four games of excellence is better proof than one game of incompetence. Buffalo only scored 3 points on a defense that features Eric Barton, Abram Elam, Hank Poteat, Kenyon Coleman, Jason Trusnik, CJ Mosley, and David Bowens last week. If the Jets minor league team can stop them last week, the real Jets better be able to stop them this week.

Five Requests For Five Jets

Leon Washington – You don’t have bigger fan or supporter of you receiving a new contract out there than  me, but I need a big play. You don’t have an offensive play longer than 19 yards this season or a touchdown, and haven’t ripped off a big kick return since week two. I am not saying you haven’t played well (4.1 yards per carry and 225 yards is respectable) but i need a big play.

Kerry Rhodes – You are one of the highest paid safeties in the league and one of the primary faces of this team. I need a sack or an interception or a forced fumble…just one of those three. Being third on the team in tackles and having 3 passes defensed is alright but below your pay grade. Start to be the playmaker you were in 2006-2007.

Braylon Edwards – Stay hungry and recognize what a golden opportunity you have in front of you. You went from irrelevancy in Cleveland, while trying to catch Derek Anderson ducks to playing in the world’s biggest media market and catching passes from Mark Sanchez. Keep playing to your potential and I can already see you and Sanchez on the cover of Sports Illustrated in their playoff preview edition.

Jerricho Cotchery – Sit out this week and get 100 percent healthy, it will do you and the team good in the long run.

Bart Scott – Play as angry as you are talking this week.

Kurt Snibbe of ESPN.com Page 2 came up with these updated NFL Logos for 16 teams, here is the link to the article http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=snibbe1/091006&sportCat=nfl

Jets…let’s get back to being this:

And Remember the Bills Are This…

If you are upset about last week’s loss…remember when things were this bad

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. The only Jets who didn’t practice today were Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Ryan didn’t sound too optimistic about either of them playing, especially Strickland. It definitely isn’t a good week to be without your #2 and #3 corners but Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman have showed they are capable replacements off the bench.

2. Make sure you check out episode IV of Turn On the Jets TV tomorrow, Corbett (my editor) and myself will in the studio (our apartment) filming a recap on week 3 and a prediction for Jets/Saints, along with a few other things for your entertainment.

3. Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month award. It is the first time a Jets player has ever won that award. Sanchez has 606 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

4. It will be good to see the Jets back in their normal green and white jerseys this week.

5. Just a reminder that after this game, the Jets get outside linebacker Calvin Pace back (80 tackles, 7 sacks, 5 forced fumbles in 2008).

6. The Jets are 6.5 point underdogs this week…no respect.

Jets vs. Saints: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: It has been tough sledding for the Jets running game so far this season but this is the game they need to break out of their funk. On the road, in the deafening Superdome, against the league’s best offense you need to establish a strong running game to keep Drew Brees and co. off the field and not put too much pressure on your rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington need their combined 40 touches and they need to make the most out of them. Leon is way overdue to rip off a big play on offense and Jones needs to get back above 4 yards a carry to start moving the chains again. If Jones starts off slow, don’t be surprised to see rookie Shonn Greene get a few carries. The better the Jets run the football, the better Mark Sanchez will play and the better chance the Jets will have to win this game.

When the Jets do need to pass, Sanchez must do a better job of protecting the football than he did last week. The Jets offense can’t let New Orleans get a short field because of a turnover or give them any points to make the defense’s task harder than it already is. Outside of his touchdown grab against New England, Dustin Keller has been very quiet the past two weeks and the Jets need to get him involved in their passing attack. Jerricho Cotchery needs to keep it going as the go to receiver, and Chansi Stuckey needs to bounce back after only having 11 yards receiving last week. Let’s see if this is the game that David Clowney can get a ball thrown his way, since he is coming off a couple of strong weeks in practice as a response to his deactivation against the Titans. I would like to see the Jets run another play out of their “Seminole” package beyond Leon Washington just faking the reverse to Brad Smith and keeping it. They tried a throwback to Sanchez last week but it got called back on a holding penalty.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: The Jets banged up secondary will have a difficult task against Drew Brees and co. this week. Darrelle Revis will likely be locked up Marques Colston and should be able to handle him. However, that will leave speedster Devery Henderson on Dwight Lowery, who has struggled with faster receivers in the past and been beaten deep on occasion. Don’t be surprised if the Jets give Lowery some help over the top. Expect to see Eric Smith either shadowing Jeremy Shockey or Reggie Bush out of the backfield. It will be interesting to see how often the Saints go to their running game with Pierre Thomas or Bush against the Jets front seven. I have confidence in the Jets ability to contain the run but they must continue to be aggressive their pass rush to help out their secondary this week.

New Orleans won’t drop as many passes as the Titans did and they have more players on the outside who can make you play for a blown coverage. This game is a golden opportunity for the Jets defense to make a statement that they are the league’s best. If they can go into New Orleans and keep Drew Brees in check, how are you going to say another unit has been better than them through four weeks?

Hopefully, the Jets can jump out to an early lead which will force the Saints to rely even more on the passing game than they already do, allowing the Jets to get some hits on Brees and force him into a few turnovers. This is Vernon Gholston’s last game as a starter, so far he only has 6 tackles and 1 TFL. There isn’t a better time for him to get his first NFL sack than this week.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington almost broke a few against New England, let’s see if can rip off a huge kick return against the Saints suspect coverage unit on the fast track at the Superdome. Reggie Bush is always dangerous on punt returns, but guys like Wallace Wright, Jason Trusnik, and Eric Smith have been excellent in coverage this season.

The Jets Will Win If…They establish a strong running game and get Thomas and Leon their combined 40 touches. Mark Sanchez doesn’t have any turnovers and hits a few big plays down the field to keep the Saints defense honest. The Jets defense gets to Drew Brees early and often, forcing him into a few bad decisions. Darrelle Revis continues to prove why he is the best corner in football, by locking down Marques Colston.

The Jets Will Lose If…Mark Sanchez plays like a rookie and struggles with the crowd noise, along with the Saints opportunistic defense. Dwight Lowery gets torched by Devery Henderson for a big play. Reggie Bush rips off a long run after a catch out of the backfield to get some revenge on Bart Scott. Drew Brees isn’t pressured in the pocket and carves up the Jets banged up secondary.

A Memorable Moment in Jets/Saints History

Jets vs. Texans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets first injury report today had Mike DeVito listed as limited, although he is still expected to play. There are some rumblings that Sione Pouha will start at defensive end and that DeVito will rotate in off the bench but that remains to be seen. Kellen Clemens, Bryan Thomas, Wallace Wright, and Shonn Grenne were also listed on the injury report but all participated in the full practice today.

2. The Sporting News came up with a list of the top 100 players in the NFL: three Jets made it on the list, with Alan Faneca coming in at #34, Kris Jenkins #69, and Darrelle Revis at #98. No, Nick Mangold? I was a little surprised by that.

3. Brett Favre said some garbage today about being hurt towards the end of last season and a belief that he probably should have sat because his arm hurt so much. Yea, I’m sure Favre was just begging to be taken out when the Jets were 8-4 or 8-5. I really hope Cleveland and Minnesota end up in a 0-0 tie this weekend, with Favre throwing 4 INT’s, I’m not really interested in seeing him or Mangini win.

4. A little heads up that I will be making an appearance on The Fantasy Buffet at www.fanball.com at 11:15 AM on Friday to preview the Jets/Texans game.

Jets vs. Texans: Key-Match Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Texans game and then again on Friday for my prediction, today I am going to focus on the key individual match-ups for this Sunday’s game.

Darrelle Revis vs. Andre Johnson: Everybody knows Andre Johnson is one of the three best receivers in the NFL, if not arguably the best overall one. Few people respect Darrelle Revis as one the league’s top 3-5 cornerbacks, but make no mistake, he is. Johnson is the type of player who can change a game on any given play, having the ability to score from any place on the field which only increases the pressure on Revis. With Rex Ryan’s aggressive style, I don’t know how much help Revis will have over the top. As long as he can keep Johnson in front of him and prevent him from killing the Jets with the big play, he will have done his job.

D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Damien Woody vs. Mario Williams – Ferguson and Williams is a battle of former top 5 picks in the 2006 draft, so it will grab more headlines but I am worried about Woody struggling with a speed rusher like Williams. Despite having a solid season in 2008, Woody is still a former interior lineman who sometimes struggles against the pass rush. I think Ferguson has the feet to handle Williams and will be able to protect Sanchez adequately. Don’t be surprised to see the Jets chip Williams occasionally with a back or tight end. The last thing they need is Sanchez getting pounded into the turf or running for his life all day on Sunday.

Leon Washington vs. DeMeco Ryans – Ryans is a lethal combination of speed and talent at the middle linebacker position, while Leon Washington is one of the hardest people to tackle in the NFL in the open field. When the Jets drop off a screen to Washington or send him on a wheel route out of the backfield, it will be up to Ryans to prevent him from creating a big play.

Lito Sheppard vs. Kevin Walter – The Texans aren’t going to stop throwing to Andre Johnson because Darrelle Revis is on him but they will certainly be throwing a ton of balls to Walter, an 8 touchdown 900 yard receiver, against Sheppard who struggled all pre-season. Lito is in desperate need of a strong performance to calm everybody’s nerves about him opposite Revis. Walter has good size and is frequently targeted around the red-zone, Sheppard has good hands and can make big plays but also has been a penalty machine this pre-season and been beat often.

We Never Get Enough Leon Washington here at TurnOnTheJets.com

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

First a few updates:

1. We got a nice long weekend of sports coming up. The Yankees and Red Sox start up tomorrow, hopefully the Yankees will deliver the knockout punch in the divisional race over the next three games. Fortunately, the Jets will prevent me from getting too depressed on Sunday night since they are on Monday Night Football against the Ravens, with Mark Sanchez making his first start under center.

2. I got my fantasy draft next weekend and I am still very undecided on my #5 pick. Although I am leaning towards Drew Brees or Larry Fitzgerald…yes Fitzgerald, I’m not shy about taking a WR at #5. Yes, I am also excited about taking Thomas Jones and Dustin Keller in the late rounds because nobody in my league touches any Jets because they are too high and mighty as Giants fans.

3. Minor Jets roster moves – They released guard Dennis Conley and signed safety Nate Ness.

Sanchez Nears Knockout Punch in QB Battle

Today was the final day of practice up in Cortland, New York and similar to how he exited mini-camp, Mark Sanchez ended with a bang. In the situational drills, which were set up to imitate the final play of the game with the Jets needing a touchdown from the 5 and 15 yard line, Sanchez twice found Brad Smith for a touchdown. Kellen Clemens on the other hand went 0-2 with an interception. Prior to the situational drills, Sanchez also hit Jerricho Cotchery with a 35 yard touchdown strike and Clemens was intercepted by backup DB Rashad Barksdale. Can anybody else read the writing on the walls? Unless Clemens lights it up on Monday night and Sanchez completely tanks or gets hurt, #6 will be under center for the first snap of every game in the 2009 season.

Up to this point both quarterbacks have been slightly inconsistent, trading good days with rough days and being overall pretty average. However, Sanchez is learning a new offense and adjusting to play at the NFL level. This is Kellen Clemens fourth year in the system and he hasn’t improved as camp went on. In fact, if you remember early on Clemens had a clear lead on Sanchez but slowly squandered it away. The rookie will take his lumps this year but should be able to stay healthy behind a premier (please stay healthy) offensive line and supported by a strong running game. In the long run, Sanchez will benefit from being thrown into the fire with a team that harbors playoff expectations. I believe he could play as well as Joe Flacco did last year and that he won’t impede the Jets from being a playoff contender.

What about the other training camp battles? We have had a strong camp by Chansi Stuckey, slowly being forgotten because of the recent resurgence of David Clowney who remains the Jets only legit home run threat at the position. Expect to see alot of Stuckey in the slot, with Clowney and Brad Smith (also quietly having a good camp) splitting out alongside Jerricho Cotchery. I expect the Jets to keep 6 receivers, with Wallace Wright and promising UDFA Britt Davis rounding out the depth chart.

Over at tight end, nobody has really stepped up behind Dustin Keller and I am still waiting for the Jets to bring in another veteran after roster cuts are made. Regardless, expect Jack Simmons and Wayne Hunter to see the majority of the #2 TE reps for now. At outside linebacker, neither Vernon Gholston or Marques Murrell has done anything that impressive this summer, with UDFA Jamaal Westerman arguably outplaying both of them. On the positive side, Bryan Thomas has had a very good camp and Calvin Pace looked like a beast in the Jets first pre-season game.

In terms of injuries, the Jets haven’t sustained anything major but rather a handful of minor injuries. As of right now, it doesn’t look like they will be missing anyone week one because of an injury. I would expect Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson, and maybe Alan Faneca to play in the third pre-season game and wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Mangold suited up on Monday.

Kerry Rhodes and Nick Mangold compete in throwing contests to prove who deserves the higher Madden rating:

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Grading Out the Jets First Pre-Season Game

Quarterbacks: B+ – Mark Sanchez stole the headlines in this game, with his 3/4, 88 yards performance. He only played one series but led the Jets on a 95 yard touchdown drive and on his first play from scrimmage threw a beautiful 48 yard pass down the sideline that hit David Clowney in stride. He also converted a key third down when he hit Dustin Keller for a 26 yard gain. He sure the looked the part of a starting quarterback last night, even though it was only one drive. Kellen Clemens was OK. He threw the ball well (4/4 24 yards) and did a nice job avoiding one sack, but still had a fumble. I am sorry but it is time to face the reality that unless Sanchez bombs out the next 2 weeks, this competition is over. Erik Ainge played well in an extended duty, including a 50 yard touchdown strike to a wide open David Clowney.

Running Backs: B – The most exciting play of the night was a 34 yard rumble by rookie Shonn Greene. Thomas Jones was quiet but did punch the ball in the endzone when the Jets needed him to. Leon Washington showed his usual burst on a 8 yard run but beyond that he was also quiet. For all the talk about Danny Woodhead, he looked pretty ordinary last night.

Wide Receiver: A – A really encouraging night from the wide receivers. Cotchery and Stuckey didn’t play much, but the all the guys behind them contributed something positive. David Clowney obviously had a monster night with a 3 catch, 103 yard, 1 TD performance. You can’t teach speed and if he can stay healthy, Clowney should be a valuable weapon on the Jets offense this season. Brad Smith had a great 10 yard grab in traffic to convert a third down and a nice 28 yard run on a reverse. Wallace Wright got a little banged up but returned and had a nice 23 yard catch and finished with 3 catches. Britt Davis looked good when the ball was thrown in his direction (2 catches, 33 yards, 1 third down conversion). At this point, I’d be surprised if the Jets didn’t keep 6 receivers and they weren’t Cotchery, Stuckey, Clowney, Wright, Smith, and Davis.

Tight End: A – Dustin Keller looked like the beast the Jets are going to need him to be this season. It is hard to imagine Keller not being the Jets #2 WR, despite being listed as a tight end and having 70-80 catches this season. The guy is a match-up nightmare for defenses. Kareem Brown had 2 catches and Jack Simmons held his own with the first offense. We didn’t get to see Wayne Hunter at tight end since he had to play tackle with the starters.

Offensive Line: C – The backups did OK…Wayne Hunter was beat for a strip sack by Leonard Little. The first unit didn’t open up too many holes for the running backs but did a good job of pass protection on Sanchez’s drive. You would really like to see the full starting line up together next Monday night against the Ravens.

Defensive Line: C – A quiet night from this unit, although they weren’t as stout against the run as you’d like to see, obviously the absence of Kris Jenkins didn’t help.

Linebackers: B+ – Really impressive nights from Calvin Pace and David Harris who were all over the field. The Jets are going to miss Pace in a big way the first four weeks. Kenwin Cummings had a nice sack and Brandon Renkart was active. Another quiet night from Vernon Gholston (2 tackles), although he did have one pressure. Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman also didn’t flash as much as expected.

Seconadry: C – Dwight Lowery had a rough night, muffing a punt and getting beat deep on a 50 yard completion. Donald Strickland had a sack and an overall solid night in coverage. Kerry Rhodes and Jim Leonhard didn’t record any sacks but both did a good job pressuring the quarterback when they blitzed. Lito Sheppard looked good. It will be nice to have Darrelle Revis back next week.

Special Teams: D – Three muffed punts is no good. Jay Feely did his job, hitting both of his field goals. Reggie Hodges looked a little better than TJ Conely at punter.

Highlights from Last Night:

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

First a few updates:

1. Vick to the Eagles? Wow, I didn’t see that one coming. What an interesting move, that could be discussed for hours upon hours. I don’t know what type of shape Vick is in right now, but I would imagine by the time he is reinstated (probably somewhere between week 4-6), he will at least be the running threat he always was. Defensive coordinators will now have to prepare for a wildcat type formation or a package of plays that features Vick’s unique skill set. You can say what you want about Vick as a person but the guy is one hell of a football player, and I am sure Andy Reid’s staff will find a way to get the most out of him on the field.

2. Tom Brady returned tonight and of course threw two touchdowns to….Chris Baker. Yes, that Chris Baker who the Jets wouldn’t resign and are now stuck with Wayne Hunter and Jack Simmons battling it out for the #2 tight end job. I can already see Baker having 9 catches for 139 yards with 2 TD’s week two at the Meadowlands.

3. Did anybody see those “The Lighter Side of Training Camp” commericials featuring Thomas Jones, Nick Mangold, Leon Washington, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery? The one with Mangold trying to sell TJ’s car is hysterical. If you havent’ seen them, I suggest going over to www.thejetsblog.com and checking them out.

Pre-Season Week One: Jets vs. Rams Preview

The Headline: The Jets are a little banged up on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense along their prized line. Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, and Damien Woody will all sit out with injuries, thrusting Wayne Hunter, Rob Turner, and Stanley Daniels into the starting lineup. This will be a good chance for the Jets backups to gain some extra work and experience, and attempt to calm the organization’s concern about their offensive line depth. Unfortunately, because of the injuries both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez will play less to decrease the risk of injury. I’d expect 2-3 series from both of them before it becomes the Erik AInge show.

You Have to Be Excited to See: Mark Sanchez…obviously. The rookie should get some work with the first team offense and if he can move the ball effectively, will go a long way towards locking down the starting quarterback position. Shonn Greene…the third round pick should receive the bulk of the carries on the night and will be looking to prove the Jets have a three-headed monster at running back. Vernon Gholston…he has been playing better in practice, but how nice would it be to see the guy finally get a sack? Isn’t that what we drafted him for?

Position Battles: David Clowney vs. Brad Smith vs. Wallace Wright vs. Britt Davis for reps behind Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey. Let’s see if Clowney can match last season’s monster pre-season and if the undrafted rookie Davis can bounce back from a rough outing at the Green and White Scrimmage. Jack Simmons vs. Kareem Brown for the #2 tight end spot. Simmons has been active in camp but needs to be more consistent catching the football. Sione Pouha vs. Howard Green for reps behind Kris Jenkins at defensive tackle. Jenkins isn’t playing and Pouha will start but Green has had a strong camp and received plenty of praise from Rex Ryan.

What You Have to Hope For: No injuries. 7-9, 78 yards and a TD for Mark Sanchez. A sack and a forced fumble by Vernon Gholston. A highlight reel 70 yard touchdown run by Leon Washington that finally pushes Tannebaum over the edge to give him a new contract. A big day from the one the Jets receivers not named Cotchery or Stuckey.

Talking to the Opponent: Will Horton from http://Ramsherd.com and I exchanged e-mails about tomorrow’s game, here is a transcript of our conversation –

Will: This will be the first time that Marc Bulger plays without the red jersey, and will be free to take hits. How well does the new offensive line protect him, and how confident will he be in his throws? He’s looked good in practice, but he’s also been untouched. From the Jets’ perspective, who’s bringing the pass rush? 
 
Joe: The Jets top two sack guys from last season were Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace. Unfortunately, both are facing early season suspensions, with Pace missing 4 games and Ellis missing 1. Vernon Gholston will be stepping in for Pace and should see a ton of action against the Rams to get him ready for the first 4 weeks of the regular season. Also, keep an eye on under the radar linebackers, Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman who both have had very strong training camps.

Will: Will Spagnuolo be able to remake this Rams defensive front into a Giants-style penetrating attack? We got pushed sideways and backwards all last season, perhaps no game more so than against the Jets. (That video you posted is nightmarish for us!) With Mangold, Faneca and Woody out, are the Jets’ backups stout enough to hold the fort?

Joe:It is hard to evaluate their top backups because none of them have had extensive playing time. Regardless, Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter did contribute last season as extra tight ends in short yardage situations and are veterans of the Jets offense. Stanley Daniels, who will start for Alan Faneca is probably the biggest question mark of the three. Rex Ryan has already went on record stating he believes Wayne Hunter is a starting caliber tackle and Rob Turner is a versatile player with good size.

Will: If the Rams get to the red zone, can we score? How was the Jets’ red zone defense last season? How does it project this season?   
 
Joe:
The Jets red zone defense was pretty good last season and should project to be even better this year because of the depth they added at all three levels. Darrelle Revis and Lito Sheppard can man up on receivers and let the Jets stack the box. Kris Jenkins leads the charge on the D-Line and frees up space for the Jets exceptional pair of inside linebackers, Bart Scott and David Harris.

Eight Observations on Jets Training Camp

First a few updates:

1. Some schedule news – The Jets open their pre-season schedule this Friday at home against the St. Louis Rams. On Thursday, their practice will be closed to the media. Wednesday is family night at 6 PM out at Hofstra, throwing a bone out to the Jets Long Island fans. Tomorrow they have one full practice in the morning and an afternoon special teams session.

2. The Jets released their first official depth chart today, I will update it accordingly on the site which can be accessed on the top of the home page.

Ten Monday Observations on Jets Training Camp

– I know it is only one game and I know that it was somewhat expected but don’t underestimate the blow of not having Shaun Ellis for week one against the Texans. The Jets will now have their top two sack leaders from last season suspended for week one against a Houston offense that loves to spread it out and throw the football. They will be also now be giving two players their first ever NFL start, likely Mike DeVito at defensive end and Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. If you want to look at the silver lining, DeVito and Gholston will gain some valuable playing time which will improve the Jets overall depth. However, in reality the Jets will be hurting without Pace and Ellis.

– Speaking of hurting, the list of minor Jets injuries is starting to concern me. It is almost comical how Rex Ryan brushes off every single injury as not significant and it’s not that I don’t believe him, it is just that a high number of key guys are nursing injuries. Nick Mangold’s knee is bothering him, Kris Jenkins is still out with a sore calf, Darrelle Revis isn’t taking part in team drills because of a tight hamstring, Tony Richardson is out with a hip pointer, Shaun Ellis sat out today with a tight back, and Donald Strickland is still out with a knee bruise…how can that not bother you a little bit? Richardson and Jenkins won’t play on Friday, which will give a big opportunity to Sione Pouha and Jehuu Caulcrick.

– Mark Sanchez has taken a few baby steps back since his big time performance with the starters on Saturday. He has struggled the last couple of practices with his accuracy, missing a few open targets while Kellen Clemens has been decent although he threw another interception today, giving him 11 throughout camp compared to Sanchez’s 3. Ryan is giving Clemens the start at home against the Rams because he will logically alternate and given Sanchez the 2nd start in the pre-season. Why would Ryan want Sanchez starting week 2? He wants to throw his highly touted rookie right into the fire on national television against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens on the road. You want to see what Sanchez has before the regular season…in Baltimore, against their starters for a full quarter on ESPN is a great test.

– So it looks like Wayne Hunter is really going to be the Jets #2 tight end. Apparently the big fella caught a 20 yard out route in front of Bart Scott the other day….impressive. Here is a fun fact about Wayne Hunter, the guy had an overall 100 morale rating in Madden 2008. Why is he so happy? I don’t know, but keep your spirits up Wayne and keep catching those passes.

– Rex Ryan raved about Vernon Gholston today like he was Bruce Smith because he has recorded a couple of sacks in the Jets last few practices. Yes, we are all happy to see Gholston finally making some plays in practice but keep in perspective that he has been outplayed all camp by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman. I think we all would be encouraged by a sack this Friday night.

– I am disappointed by the quiet training camps from Brad Smith and David Clowney, especially Clowney. However, I am intrigued to watch Britt Davis and Wallace Wright this Friday and see if they can make a move up the depth chart.

– You have to love Leon Washington for putting together such a strong camp despite the Jets playing hard-ball with him on his contract negotiations…just pay the man his money, Mike Tannenbaum.

– A few observations on the Jets depth chart – Surprised to see Kareem Brown in front of Jack Simmons at tight end, Jamaal Westerman has already hopped Larry Izzo and Kenwin Cummings at inside linebacker, good to see Matt Slauson behind Alan Faneca at LG.

Sanchez's Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

First a few updates:

1. I would have wrote an article last night about what we have learned through the first week of Jets training camp, but I got caught up in the 15 inning classic between the Yanks and Red Sox. What a game, and with the way CC is pitching as I type this (1 hit through 6 innings) it looks the Yankees might take the first three games of this series.

2. Movie Review of the Day – I saw “Funny People” during the week and I’d give it 2.5 out of 4 stars. There are some great 1 liners, the big guy from Superbad is real funny but the movie is wayyyy too long and the whole love plot line is very dull.

3. Abbreviated version of what we have learned from the first week of Jets training camp: Kellen Clemens can’t protect the football…Chansi Stuckey has been the Jets 2nd best receiver, behind Jerricho Cotchery…Wallace Wright has been their third best receiver…Marques Murrell is more active around the football than Vernon Gholston…the Jets secondary is going to be very, very good…Wayne Hunter is leading the battle to be the #2 tight end, ut oh…Shonn Greene is going to contribute on offense this year…Rex Ryan loves David Harris, Jamaal Westerman, and Dwight Lowery…Mark Sanchez is going to start week one against Houston unless there is a drastic turn of the events in the pre-season.

Sanchez’s Saturday: Rookie Has Big Morning Practice

Story of the Day: The Jets have decided to rotate their first team quarterback every other practice and today Mark Sanchez was under center with the 1’s and he didn’t disappoint. The rookie had his finest practice of training camp, going 10-19 and throwing two touchdowns, including a 40 yard post to Jerricho Cotchery over Darrelle Revis on the first 11 on 11 play. He then led a two minute drive that culminated in a 25 yard touchdown to Chansi Stuckey. Sanchez continued to show great command of the offense and the huddle and drew praise from numerous veterans after practice. Kellen Clemens continued to struggle, going 4-12 and throwing an interception. Regardless, Rex Ryan named Clemens the starter for the Jets pre-season opener against the Rams this Friday.

Opinion on Quarterback Battle: Ryan is giving Clemens the start only because he is the veteran. Unless Sanchez implodes, he will start the second pre-season game and every game after that. Sanchez has pulled ahead in the battle and it is doubtful that he will look back. He hasn’t turned the ball over as much as Clemens and is beginning to look comfortable in the offense, especially the two minute drill. More importantly, it appears the veterans are starting to gain some confidence in Sanchez.

A Vernon Gholston Sighting: #50 had a sack today! Gholston has been quiet all camp, being outplayed by Marques Murrell and Jamaal Westerman, hopefully he can start to turn it up in time for the Jets first pre-season game.

Rex Talks: Ryan was effusive in his praise of linebacker David Harris, who is having a very good camp. He also continues to talk up the secondary, which should have excellent depth. It will be interesting to see how the reps are divided up between Donald Strickland, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, and James Ihedigbo behind the four starters in the secondary.

Injury Updates: Keith Fitzhugh remains out with a shoulder injury but should be back by the end of the week. Shonn Greene rested his sore ankle today. Kris Jenkins is close to coming back. Bart Scott also has a sore hamstring, that I’m sure the Jets will be careful with. Tony Richardson remains out with a hip pointer.

Don’t Sleep on Wallace: Who would have thought that Wallace Wright would be in contention for serious reps at receiver? So far he has outplayed David Clowney, Brad Smith, and the recently hyped up rookie Britt Davis. Wright is a strong route runner, with decent enough size who has great hands, meaning he could be a quality option for reps at split end so they could slide Chansi Stuckey in the slot. Keep an eye on #15 this Friday.

5 Questions About the Jets Receivers Answered

First a few updates:

1. A little two-a-day action today in honor of training camp being only 9 days away. I just recorded the podcast with Marty Schupak over (www.greenrewind.com), go check it out.

2. TV Discussion of the Day – Episode 2 of Entourage? Better than the first I thought, the whole Turtle/Seth Rogan thing was hilarious and TurnOnTheJets.com can never get enough of Sloan or Meadow Soprano for that manner. I am not a big fan of this new girl E is hooking up with however, he can do better. Also, I am embarrassed to admit I am excited about Comic-Con being this weekend…why? We may finally get some information about LOST’s final season…very exciting stuff. You can hate all you want, but go watch the show and then come talk to me.

3. Boston is currently losing 3-1 in the 6th inning…2 game lead for the Yanks, anyone? Did I just jinx them?

5 Questions About the Jets Receivers Answered

Mark Bungaard runs a Danish Jets Blog over at (www.newyorkjets.dk), which will be now be linked up on the side of the site. I actually won their website’s 2008 prediction challenge, which required me to guess a bunch of stats about the team and yes I expect to defend my title this year. Anyway, Mark has noticed my extensive writing on the Jets WR’s and e-mailed me 5 questions about them, here are my responses and make sure to check out his site over at (www.newyorkjets.dk).

1. The Jets enter the 2009 season with Jerricho Cotchery as the number one receiver. Now you could argue that he was number one last year, but back then he had Laveranues Coles to take some of the pressure off of him. Do you think Cotchery is capable of being a productive number one this year?

It depends on how you define productive, he won’t produce like the top flight number one receivers in the game and won’t have pro-bowl caliber numbers but he will be a consistent, tough player week in and week out. Cotchery should be in the 80-85 catch, 1100-1200 yard range, similar to how he was in 2007 except hopefully he will score more touchdowns. The Jets need #89 to find the end-zone and create a few big plays with his exceptional run after the catch ability to help out their young quarterbacks.

2. A lot of people have Chansi Stuckey pencilled in as the starter opposite Cotchery, but is he really suited for this role or would his skillset be better utilized in the slot?

– Stuckey’s skill set is a much better fit for the slot than as the split end opposite Cotchery. However, as of right now he is the Jets second best overall receiver, which means he deserves the spot and the second most reps. Expect the Jets to get creative to find ways to flip him and Cotchery around in different formations to play better to Stuckey’s skill set and Cotchery’s versatility to play both outside and in the slot.

3. There is no doubt that Brad Smith has the physical tools to become a good WR but he is still learning the position. Do you think he will ever develop into a valuable player for the Jets or is he a lost cause?

– I don’t want to say he is a lost cause because I think he has value as a gadget player/red-zone target/and special teams player but don’t expect him to go out and have 50 catches this season. Smith has the size and versatility to be a valuable role player on the Jets offense. They can use him in the wildcat, use him on reverses, throw the fade ball to him but I don’t think he will ever develop into a full time starter.

4. Wallace Wright reportedly looked good in mini camp and OTAs. Do you think he’ll emerge as a receiver or is he strickly a special teamer?

– Wright is a guy to keep an eye on. He had a chance to play a little receiver in 2007 and did pretty good with it. He is obviously athletically gifted because of how he excels on special teams and apparently lit it up during OTAs, catching Rex Ryan’s attention. If there is a season where Wright can battle for some WR reps, this is it.

5. David Clowney looked really interesting last preseason. How do you think Shottenheimer plans to use him this year?

– Hopefully Schottenheimer will use him as the Jets primary deep threat but also allow him to run some other routes so teams don’t know the long ball is coming whenever he is in the game. Defenses will respect Clowney’s speed, which will open up the deep curl and comeback for him, making him a potentially valuable weapon for the Jets offense. 
 
Jets Highlight of this Article: Jerricho Cotchery makes an amazing one-handed catch against the Pats last season.

Jets Positional Analysis: Wide Receiver

First a few updates:

1. Visits to the site and comments on articles have been up recently, which is good news. I appreciate anybody who takes the time to read my stuff and love responding to comments on the articles, so keep ’em coming.

2. Big transaction for the Jets today, they claimed cornerback Rashad Barksdale off waivers. He was a sixth round pick of the Eagles two years ago and has bounced around a few different teams the past couple of years…hey nobody said, late June updates were going to be exciting.

3. A belated congrats to the U.S. Men’s Soccer team for upsetting Spain 2-0.

Jets Positional Analysis: Wide Receiver

Over the next 6 weeks, I am going to go through all of the Jets positions and assess each player, continuing today withthe wide receivers:

1. Jerricho Cotchery #89, Last Season: 71 Receptions, 858 yards, 5 TD’s

History: Cotchery has been a starter the past three seasons for the Jets. He had a breakout year in 2006, demonstrating a knack for making big plays and showing good run after the catch ability. In 2007, his receptions and yards went up but his touchdowns went way down. Last year, was a mildly disappointing one for Cotchery who couldn’t top the 1,000 yard mark. This year he will be the Jets unquestioned #1 receiver and needs his production level to match that title.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Cotchery develops in a reliable, consistent number one receiver. He is able to handle the double teams thrown his way and increases his reception, yardage, and touchdown total from the previous year.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles with the pressure of being a #1 and can’t crack the 1,000 yard mark, and also reverts to his 2007 form of not being able to find the end-zone.

Prediction: Cotchery will have a good, not great season. He is able to handle the increased attention of being a #1 in most games but is quiet in a few. I feel comfortable predicting him for 80 catches, 1150 yards and 6 touchdowns.

2. Chansi Stuckey #83, Last Season: 32 Receptions, 359 yards, 3 TD’s

History: Stuckey was the Jets 7th round pick in 2007 but missed the entire year with a foot injury. He won the #3 position last year in training camp and played well in 2008, taking advantages of his opportunities when thrown the ball. For some reason, he was phased out of the offense down the stretch despite scoring a touchdown in the Jets first three games. However, he did put together two strong late season games against the 49ers and Dolphins.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Stuckey steps up and thrives in the #2 role, making people ask “Laveranues who?”

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: His durability issues flare up or he struggles immensely when asked to play as a split end, instead of his more natural slot position.

Prediction: Stuckey will be the week one starter opposite Cotchery and their second leading wide receiver in 2009. I could see him with 55-60 catches for 700 yards and 4 touchdowns.

3. Brad Smith #16, Last Season: 12 Receptions, 64 Yards, 0 TD’s

History: Smith was a record breaking college quarterback drafted by the Jets in the 4th round in 2006. He has been used primarily in gadget plays and bounced around between QB, WR, and RB despite never completing a NFL pass. He was given extended playing time in 2007 at receiver but struggled with drops. On the whole, Smith was very quiet last year. Every season he seems to get everybody excited in training camp with acrobatic catches but then never translates it over to real games.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: It finally clicks for Smith at wide receiver and he begins utilizing his rare combination of size and speed. He becomes a big play weapon for the Jets and bounces back and forth between their #2 and #3 receiver, depending on the situation.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He can’t make an impact on offense and is reduced to nothing more than a special teams player.

Prediction: I’m not sold on Smith as a receiver. I hope he proves me wrong but I think Stuckey and Clowney will have more of an impact on offense than he will this year. Outside of a few wildcat plays, reverses, and other gadget plays, I don’t think he’ll do much in 2009. Maybe 15 catches and 20 carries.

4. David Clowney #17, Last Season: 1 Reception, 26 yards, 0 TD’s

History: Clowney was a pre-season sensation for the Jets last year. He burst on the scene in their first pre-season game by catching two 70+ yard touchdowns and continued to excel until he broke his collar bone right before the regular season started. Clowney spent most of the season inactive but did make a one-handed grab against Buffalo in week 15 for 26 yards.

Chance of Making Roster: 95%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Clowney is able to stay healthy and become the deep threat the Jets have lacked since Santana Moss.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He continues to struggle with drops (as he did in mini-camp) and can’t get on the field or his durability issues turn up again.

Prediction: I think Clowney will be a big play guy for the Jets. Eventually, he will pass Brad Smith as the #3 receiver on the team and see some action in 2 WR sets when the Jets want to attack deep. This may be wishful thinking for a guy with 1 career NFL catch, but I am going to say 20-25 catches, 350 yards, and 3 touchdowns.

5. Wallace Wright #15, Last Season: Many special teams tackles

History: The Jets special teams ace who had a very good mini-camp at wide receiver. Wright saw some action at receiver in 2007 and did pretty good with it, catching 6 passes for 87 yards so there is some talk he will get on the field again this year with the position wide open after Jerricho Cotchery.

Chance of Making Roster: 95%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Wright keeps being a beast on special teams and finds a way to contribute on offense.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He suddenly forgets how to cover punts and kicks.

Prediction: Wright will continue doing what he does on special teams and fight his way into a few offensive packages.

The Rest of the Guys:

Marcus Henry, #14 – The Jets 2008 sixth round pick. He has good size but you never hear about him making plays in practice. He has an uphill battle against Clowney and Wright for a roster spot because I doubt the Jets will keep 6 active receivers.

Paul Raymond, #2 – The speedster from Brown always seems to be in camp but never sticks on the roster, doubt this year will be any different.

Huey Whittaker, #18 – He has good size and made a few plays in OTAs. He might be guy to keep an eye on.

Britt Davis, #17 – An undrafted rookie from Northern Illinois.

Overall Position Analysis: I feel pretty confident that Cotchery, Stuckey, Smith, Clowney and Wright will be the Jets five active receivers. The real question is who is going to step up as the #2 guy? I think Stuckey will mostly be the guy, but receive a good amount of help from Clowney. I am not as confident in Brad Smith but again, I hope he proves me wrong.