Turn On The Jets Stock Watch – Seattle Meltdown Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanchez Breakdown: Toxic

Rob Celletti with a breakdown of the failures of both Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets

Before I get to Sanchez – which I will keep brief anyway – I’m going to abuse my power as a writer for this site to talk about the Jets as a whole.

I will never forget the text message I got from my father, a Jets fan since the Titans days and a season ticket holder since the 1970s, the day after Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the Jets. It read: “Rex Ryan 4 year deal: 9-7, 10-6, 8-8, 4-12, Bye bye.” I laughed. My father’s cynicism has certainly thickened with age, but deep down I thought: no one knows this team better than him.

And here we are, in year four, with the Jets stumbling towards another disaster and another rebuild. The ship is rudderless, the problems run deep, and indeed, the Jets are now 3-9 in their last 12 games with Rex Ryan at the helm. Blame Sanchez, blame Tannenbaum, blame whoever you want. The bottom line is that this is a bad football team, which routinely gets blown out in a league that is structured so that basically every game comes down to the final possession. When that’s happening, to paraphrase the great Mike Francesa: YOU STINK, and it ain’t just the quarterback.

But here’s what bothers me most about all of this: people are enjoying it, and those who love the Jets are even more guilty than those who hate them. Ever watch Jets Post Game Live? SNY is a breeding ground for the toxic atmosphere that constantly surrounds this team, as guys like Ray Lucas, Kris Jenkins and Adam Schein (a Giants fan, by the way) can’t wait to pile on after every game, win or lose. Remember, this fan base ran Chad Pennington out of town, and now they’re relishing in the impending round of public executions. The people who wore Tebow jerseys to the opening day game against Buffalo are a symbol of everything that’s wrong with this organization.  It is untenable for any type of long-term success.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying the Jets don’t deserve to be lambasted, nor that people shouldn’t lose their jobs after this season ends. I don’t expect anyone to try and be positive after another 20-plus point loss. But what this team needs is a change in culture…again. Rex Ryan seemed to bring that in 2009 and 2010, but at this point, how is this any different than the Eric Mangini or Herman Edwards eras? The only person who changed the Jets in a meaningful way was Bill Parcells, a first ballot Hall of Fame football mastermind with more clout than anyone else who has ever been associated with this cursed franchise. Anyway, let’s move on and critique the latest performance by THE SANCHISE.

Good lord. I’ve never played quarterback at a level higher than backyard signal-caller on Thanksgiving, and even I would have known to throw the damn ball out of the back of the end zone (was Stephen Hill open underneath the goalposts, by the way?) on the killer goal line interception. Was there any doubt that the game was lost after that play? If there was, Jeremy Kerley’s muffed punt sealed it anyway.

One of the great things about writing for a site like this is the connection you make with other Jets fans. I’ve really come to respect the opinion of Steve Hunter (@SportsGeek33 on Twitter, give him a follow if you haven’t already). His level-headed, fact-based commentary is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise badly polluted discourse when it comes to the Jets’ beleaguered quarterback. Steve made a comment during yesterday’s game that Sanchez’s faults are ingrained. At this point, it’s hard to disagree with this, as the sack-fumble in the fourth quarter yesterday proved. Hasn’t Sanchez been sacked enough times at this point to know not to try and throw it when he’s in the defender’s grasp? I guess not.

I have written thousands of words defending this quarterback, and now I’m spent. The statistics show regression, the eye test shows worse: a player who has no chance of succeeding in his current situation. The shame of it is that the Jets had a real chance to develop Sanchez into a good NFL quarterback after 2010. He was trending in the right direction. But the lack of support in terms of coaching and skill position players, not to mention the acquisition of Tim Tebow, combined with Sanchez’s own shortcomings have doomed this plan.

So of course, Sanchez will go somewhere like Arizona once he’s released and lead them to a division title, right? That would be SO Jets.

Turn On The Jets Week 10 Roundtable – Jets vs. Seahawks Predictions

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their predictions for Jets vs. Seattle

Joe Caporoso – 12 Pack 

Chris Gross – Prediction: Seahawks 23 Jets 13 – The Jets enter week 10 heading into a hostile environment at CenturyLink Field. Seattle utilizes their 12th man like no other team in the NFL, making CenturyLink a nightmare for opposing teams. In order to keep it close, the Jets must be able tune out the roaring crowd, a daunting task for a team that has shown little mental toughness all season long. Offensively, Seattle will look to attack New York’s vulnerable run defense, and based on the play of this unit over the past few weeks, coupled with the fact that NT Kenrick Ellis is out yet again this week, there is no reason to believe that the Seahawks won’t be able to get Marshawn Lynch and company going for 130+ yards. Lynch will be keyed, allowing for Russell Wilson to take some shots deep. There is no serious threat to the Jets secondary in Seattle’s receiving corps, but look for the Seahawks to use a lot of play action, particularly if Lynch is ripping off anywhere between 4-5 yards per carry. If New York can slow “Beast Mode,” they should be able to keep Seattle’s offense in check throughout the game. However, with the way Lynch has been running, don’t expect this sub par run defense to be able to contain him for 60 minutes.

The key for New York’s offense once again lies with Mark Sanchez. Will Sanchez finally show some consistent leadership and tenacity, or will he come out petrified of Seattle’s vaunted pass rush forcing him to avoid stepping into his throws, missing target after target? The offensive line will need to be at its best and the Jets will likely provide help in pass blocking schemes, leaving an extra tight end or back in on anything greater than a 3 step drop. Shonn Greene will struggle to get going for anything more than 3.1-3.3 yards per carry, as he has a very limited supporting cast once again, so the play of Sanchez, his receivers, and the offensive line is crucial.
The Jets will do enough to keep it close for about 2 and a half quarters, with Seattle pulling away with a touchdown about half way through the fourth quarter. Sanchez will have opportunity to put the Jets in a position for a late comeback, however New York’s fate will ultimately be sealed by number 6 committing a turnover within 5 minutes left to play.

Mike Donnelly –  I touched on what I expect the Jets to do in my 2nd Half Preview Stock Watch. I think the Jets are going to play their best game of the season and win 20-16. Coming off their bye, these players and coaches know how important this game is if they’re going to make any kind of run in the second half of the season. I expect Mark Sanchez to play a very efficient — if unspectacular — game. The defense is where this game will be won, however. I’ve never been much of a believer in Russell Wilson and that hasn’t changed. The Jets are going to load up to stuff the run and come after Wilson in a big way. I have full confidence in Rex Ryan and his staff that he was able to fix some issues during their week off and add some new wrinkles that will make this defense start to look more like the dominant unit we all expected at the start of the season. Jets pull this one out, make everyone think they’re good again, then lose in comical fashion the following week. It’s all a very Jets thing to do.

Rob Celletti –  I’m not going to beat anyone over the head with logic or reason here. Instead, I’m going with my gut: I like the Jets to win this game.  I’m a believer in “due” and Seattle hasn’t lost a home game yet this season. NFL teams are usually energized after a bye week, so I expect a much better start from the Jets compared to what we saw two weeks ago. Russell Wilson is a rookie and I think the Jets have a good chance to force him into some mistakes, like they did to Andrew Luck (a better quarterback, in my opinion) a few weeks ago. I think the final score is close and the Jets pull it out, 19-16.

Chris Celletti – As I mentioned in our roundtable earlier this week, the most important matchup of this game, to me, is whether or not the Jets can keep Marshawn Lynch from running wild. You would think with some extra rest off the bye week the Jets’ defense should be fresh, but personally I just think that matchup favors the Seahawks too heavily and is going to prove to be too meaningful to this game. Although, I do fully expect the Jets’ pass defense to shut down Seattle’s passing attack with rookie QB Russell Wilson. If they can’t, it’s game over. Offensively, I don’t see how the Jets are going to put up too many points. This seems like a game where Mark Sanchez will struggle in, most quarterbacks do in Seattle. The Jets will need a big play or two on special teams in order to stay in this one late. Either way, I think Seattle defends their home, winning 23-16.

Turn On The Jets Week 10 NFL Picks

The Turn On The Jets staff gives their picks for week 10 of the NFL season

The Race for Steak continues. Note that last week’s record includes the most recent Thursday Night game –

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Mike Donnelly (70-60-3)

2. Rob Celletti (69-59-5)

3. Chris Gross (66-63-4)

4. Chris Celletti (61-68-4)

5. Joe Caporoso (57-72-4)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (9-5)

  • New England (-11) vs. Buffalo
  • Giants (-3.5) vs. Bengals
  • Tampa Bay (-3) vs. San Diego
  • Carolina (+4) vs. Denver
  • Titans (+6) vs. Dolphins
  • Raiders (+8) vs. Ravens
  • Falcons (-2.5) vs. Saints
  • Lions (-2) vs. Vikings
  • Jets (+6) vs. Seattle
  • Eagles (+2) vs. Dallas
  • 49ers (-11) vs. Rams
  • Bears (-1.5) vs. Texans
  • Steelers (-11.5) vs. Chiefs

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (3-11!)

  • Patriots -12
  • Giants -3.5
  • Bucs -3
  • Panthers +4
  • Titans +6
  • Raiders +7.5
  • Falcons -2.5
  • Lions -2.5
  • Jets +6
  • Cowboys -2
  • 49ers -11.5
  • Texans +1.5
  • Steelers -11.5

Rob Celletti

Last Week (8-6)

  • Patriots (-11)
  • Bengals (+3.5)
  • Bucs (-3)
  • Broncos (-4)
  • Titans (+6)
  • Ravens (-8)
  • Saints (+2.5)
  • Vikings (+2)
  • Jets (+6)
  • Cowboys (-2)
  • Rams (+11)
  • Bears (-1.5)
  • Steelers (-11.5)

Chris Celletti

Last Week (8-6)

  • Bills
  • Giants
  • Chargers
  • Broncos
  • Titans
  • Ravens
  • Falcons
  • Vikings
  • Seahawks
  • Cowboys
  • Rams
  • Bears
  • Chiefs

Chris Gross

Last Week (9-5)

  • Patriots (-12)
  • Giants (-3.5)
  • Chargers (+3)
  • Broncos (-4)
  • Titans (+6)
  • Ravens (-7.5)
  • Saints (+2.5)
  • Vikings (+2.5)
  • Seahawks (-6)
  • Eagles (+2)
  • 49ers (-11.5)
  • Bears (-1.5)
  • Chiefs (+11.5)

Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, Week 10 – Jets vs. Seattle

12 predictions for the New York Jets week 10 match-up vs. Seattle

Gates? Greene? Howard? I’m getting the hell out of here…” – Mark Sanchez in above photo 

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is back to kick off your weekend. Personally, I am in an extra jovial mood this Friday. Outside of the Boomer and Carton shout out, they are serving free BBQ in my office today. Anybody can order free pizza or sandwiches, but free BBQ? That is a job well done by my company. When we eventually have official TOJ offices, outside of serving the logical 12 pack to accompany the article every Friday, we will also serve BBQ. Because nothing makes for more productive afternoons than weighing employees down with massive meals and alcohol. 

While I am food ranting, the top two snack choices for TOJ this season has been Hint of Lime Tostitos and Ken’s Honey Mustard Pretzel Bites. Any recommendations to knock them out of the top two spots? 

On to the predictions

1. The New York Jets special teams is going to play a very good all-around game and will make a play that directly leads to points. Frank Isola may disagree but Mike Westhoff is a Hall of Fame coach and I can’t see his unit tanking it for two weeks in a row. Both Antonio Cromartie and Clyde Gates have the speed to make a big play on kick return. Jeremy Kerley is explosive at punt returner and is due for a big one.

That feels like a hundred years ago, right? Let’s not also forget that this is the Jets so writing off a big return from Leon Washington would be foolish.

2. Russell “The Nicest and Smartest Man To Ever Play Quarterback in the NFL According To Every Analyst” Wilson is going to struggle against the Jets defense. Seriously. have you heard analysts talk about Wilson? It is a good thing Jim Nantz isn’t calling the game this week as I could see this occurring while I vomit up the previously mentioned Hint of Lime Tostitos. “Look at Wilson’s smile…look at his charisma…look at how intelligently he holds that football…his grace reminds me of a embracingly warm April afternoon in Augusta.” Put Wilson down for under 200 yards passing and a turnover.

3. Mark Sanchez is going to be sacked at least 3 times and the Jets are going to have at least two false start penalties. The Jets offense will also have at least one turnover. Anybody curious why Matt Cavanaugh is a working coach in the NFL still, anybody? In a perfect world him, Mike Tannenbaum and Terry Bradway will be selling insurance with Mark Brunell next November.

4. Marshawn Lynch will be productive but won’t destroy the Jets. Put him down for 85-105 yards and a touchdown.

5. Dustin Keller will lead the Jets in receptions and receiving yards. The Jets wide receivers are going to have a tough time getting open and Seattle hasn’t been great against tight ends this year. Look for Keller to be as productive as he was against New England a few weeks ago.

6. Quinton Coples will have his third sack of the season. It still won’t make Jets fans feel better about not having Bruce Irvin or Chandler Jones.

7. Bilal Powell will have 5 carries and 2 catches as he returns from an injury. Shonn Greene will finish with 75 yards rushing and 2 catches.

8. That Tebow guy will have 3-5 carries and throw a pass. He will run for a first down on 2nd and 2 with 5:04 left in the 2nd quarter and flex his muscles while yelling, this will prompt Twitter to explode for calls for him to stay in the game for his demonstrated leadership. The announcers will then also remind everybody that “TEBOW IS A JUST A FOOTBALL PLAYER! HE JUST PLAYS FOOTBALL SO MUCH!”

9. Golden Tate is going to have a big day working against Kyle Wilson. I can already see Tate with 6 catches for 115 yards and then blowing by Wilson for another long completion in the 4th quarter, except he happens to drop it. Wilson will then respond by wagging his finger at the Seattle sideline while they look at him with baffled faces.

10. Stephen Hill is going to struggle against Seattle’s aggressive cornerbacks. Don’t bank on him going over 40 yards receiving. Jeremy Kerley will make some plays from the slot and have a productive day.

11. Antonio Cromartie is going to shut down Sidney Rice and record an interception of Russell Wilson.

12. The New York Jets are appropriately heavy underdogs in this game but they will put forth a scrappy effort coming off the bye week. However, I don’t think they will have enough offense to steal one late against the Seahawks. I’m taking Seattle 16-13.

Predicted Game Outcome Record (7-1) 

Turn On The Jets Week 10 Best Bets

Chris Celletti with his weekly NFL Best Bets

Week 9 Record: 2-1

Season Record: 10-16-1

Why do the Giants always look like such a good bet? It’s like every single week I look at them and I’m like “Yeah of course they’re covering that.” Look at this week, -3.5 against the Bengals? Really? I feel like the Giants win this game by four points or more 99% of the time. So am I going to go with them as one of my three highlight picks this week? Not a chance. Moral of the story is, no matter what, you just can’t rely on your rival when you need them. Not only would a Giant cover last week against the Steelers have given me a 3-0 record for the week, it would have helped out the Jets, ever so slightly, in their grave playoff hopes. So I won’t go with the Giants this week. This means the Giants will win by 17 points.

Conversely, my go-to look every week is towards the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of course they played in the useless Thursday night game, and I write my Best Bets piece for Friday, so this week I couldn’t rely on them.

That got me thinking about on these Thursday night games. This year’s full-season Thursday night slate is proof that NFL is immune to it’s own stupidity and selfishness. The Thursday night games have been AWFUL. Absolutely, horrifyingly terrible. And it’s no wonder why. Football players are supposed to have five, six days off between games, and it’s showed in almost every Thursday night game this year. On top of that, by guaranteeing every team in the league be featured, we’re consistently seeing terrible teams every Thursday.

But the immunity of the league is proven when you go on social media on Thursday nights, and of course in the television ratings. I didn’t watch a single snap of Colts-Jaguars last night. I’m admittedly not a total crazy football nut as some other people, and because of that, Colts-Jaguars does absolutely nothing for me. But when I went on Twitter last night, I saw people complaining about the game. This has been a trend every Thursday night this season. You hop on social media and see things like “Oh my god, this is horrible football!”  There’s an easy solution to this: nobody is forcing you to watch Thursday Night Football.

Don’t give me that you just love football so much that it doesn’t matter who plays or how miserable the game is, you watch it no matter what. That’s stupid. Basketball is my favorite sport to watch, I love both the NBA and college ball. The other day, Sixers-Hornets was on ESPN. I didn’t sit there and watch all 48 minutes because I love basketball. I watched Nick Young clank three contested fadeaways in a row and saw Greivis Vazquez chuck an outlet pass into the ninth row and said “Yeah, no thanks.”

So next Thursday when you sit there watching the Bills and Dolphins sling crap around on your TV for three hours, realize that you probably wasted some valuable time. You could have been doing something productive with your life, like playing video games, posting political statuses on your Facebook page, or best yet, writing a column about how bad the Thursday night NFL games are.

On to the picks:

Broncos -4 at Carolina – The Broncos did well for me last week and I like this line just right where it is, thank you.

Bears -1.5 vs. Texans – The weather could be bad on Sunday night in the Windy City, which I think favors the Bears. Their defense is just too good right now.

/Really wants to take the Giants. GAAHHHHH

Chargers +3 at Buccaneers – I really can’t explain my choice here. This is just a bad sporting event in general.

Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week (Season Record: 3-5-1)

Last week I didn’t believe the Knicks would beat the Heat to start their season and I was gladly wrong. I’ll take it. The Knicks have been so impressive early on. Carmelo Anthony is scoring – of course – and rebounding and playing defense. Ray Felton and Jason Kidd are helping zip the ball around on offense, finding open guys. J.R. Smith looks like the Sixth Man of the Year. Ronnie Brewer (Ronnie Brewer?!) is draining threes. Kurt Thomas is fouling the living hell out of people. God I love Kurt Thomas. Steve Novak was only 2-of-8 in the last two games. Huh? GET WITH THE PROGRAM, STEVE.

Knicks -6 vs. the Mavs? In oh-so-eloquent words of Walt Clyde Frazier: YYYYYYYYYYYup!

Five Second Half Keys For The New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal with five second half keys for the New York Jets

The 3-5 New York Jets have an embattled GM, a coaching staff searching for answers, and a fan base wondering where the talent and depth filled “Goddamn Snack” squads of 2009 and 2010 went. Gang Green must go 6-2 in order to have a probable shot at a postseason berth. Here are five keys needed in order to make it happen.

1 – The Quarterback Becomes The Leader

Mark Sanchez will be given every opportunity to remain the starter. If the Jets can’t rise on offense collectively, will Tim Tebow get the chance to elevate his teammates? The Jets desperately need leadership at the QB position in the second half.

2 – A Pass Rusher Is Found: Coples Anyone?

The Jets have to locate a pass rushing presence among it’s own front seven. Rookie Quinton Coples has recently begun to show signs of life. If he can take it to the next level, the Jets secondary can collectively settle in, and even choose to play the ball more often.

3 – Dustin Keller Emerges

This was yet again, supposed to be a breakout year for the eternally emerging tight end. A hamstring injury however, slowed him in the first six games. Keller has to become that All-Pro threat over the next eight games, in order to help open up the passing game outside.

4 – The Special Teams Unit Reawakens

What in the world has gone on with Mike Westhoff’s group over the past two games? A Jets special teams crew that has thrived under Westhoff, a true gem coaching in his final season, has suddenly gone south. Lately, monumental game changing plays have gone against a unit that is always heavily counted on. Despite their recent struggles, this area will still be a key part of the winning formula for the Jets down the stretch.

5 – 
The 2012 Jets Identity Finally Crystallizes

Who are these 2012 Jets? Good question. We hear all the time about who they want to be. They are not however, that dominant ground attack and feared defense that Ryan hoped they would turn into. Not yet at least. Add in the confusion surrounding Tim Tebow’s purpose (or lack thereof) in the offense, and you have an even bigger mystery. 

Let’s hope that the bye week helped the Jets assess who they ought to become the rest of the way based on what they truly are and can achieve. Any gadgetry and trickery that lends itself to the game plan is fine by us. A continued lack of honesty regarding this club’s identity on either side of the ball, is not.

New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 10 Edition

Chris Gross with his weekly Fact or False breaking down the Jets week 10 match-up in Seattle

The New York Jets begin the second half of their 2012 schedule with what will be a daunting task. The Jets head into Seattle to take on the 5-4 Seahawks, a franchise that has exceeded expectations up until this point through a variety of talent, tenacity, energy, youth, and passion. Pete Carroll has injected a positive influence over his team that is reflected by the Seahawks’ fierce competitive nature.

New York, on the other hand, is on the verge of watching their 2012 season slip through their fingers. The Jets have lost 4 of their last 5 and are coming off of their worst loss of the season, prior to the bye week, a 30-9 embarrassing loss at home to AFC East foe, Miami Dolphins.

This team’s fan base is seemingly on the brink of revolting against the front office, starting at the top with owner Woody Johnson and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, and rightfully so. The Jets have been down right embarrassing this season. 2 of their 3 wins have come against inferior ball clubs at home, games that no one expected them to lose. But when will the Jets win a game that they aren’t “supposed” to? Does this team have the mental makeup to pull of an upset, in a hostile environment, on the road? A win in Seattle this week would surely be a step in the right direction, as New York currently stands as a 7 point underdog. However, this will  be no easy task. Seattle is dominant in two areas that the Jets have failed to respond to all season long – running the ball and rushing the passer.

Will New York dig deep to shutdown Marshawn Lynch? Will the offensive line step up and provide a spark to a running game that absolutely must be ignited in order to win? Will that same unit be able to hold off a tenacious Seattle pass rush and give Mark Sanchez time and room to get comfortable? Will Sanchez be able to tune out the 12th man and stay poised, or will we see him express that look of a frightened turtle, eager to hide in his shell, that we have all become much too familiar with? Find out all of this and more in this week’s New York Jets Fact Or False.

Marshawn Lynch will run for 100+ yards and 1 touchdown. Fact. New York’s run defense has been laughable all season long as a shell of what this unit once was. The Jets currently rank 29th in run defense, surrendering an average of 141.4 yards per game to opposing offenses. Lynch, on the other hand, ranks second to only Adrian Peterson in rushing yards this season, as he has already compiled 881 yards and 4 touchdowns on the ground. “Beast Mode” has surpassed the century mark in 5 of his team’s 9 games this year, including a 103 yard performance against the league’s second ranked defense in week 7 at San Francisco. The Jets will surely look to key Lynch, as he poses much more of a threat to their defense than rookie QB Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ aerial attack. Kenrick Ellis is set to return from injury which will greatly bolster the front 7, but expect Seattle to realize the glaring weakness in the Jets defense by feeding Lynch 25-30 times. With a season average of 4.8 yards per carry, that will be ample opportunity for Lynch to amass 100 yards on the ground, an opportunity he will surely take advantage of.

Russell Wilson will not throw a single interception. False. While Seattle will likely lean heavily on Lynch to carry the offense, they are still going to need to pass the ball at times. The Jets have fared very well against rookie quarterbacks this season. In two complete games against rookies (Tannehill week 3, Luck week 6), New York has yet to surrender a touchdown pass, while forcing 3 interceptions, and holding the young quarterbacks to a combined completion percentage of just 47.5. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine will surely throw some exotic looks at Wilson, who will commit at least one turnover by interception this Sunday.

Mark Sanchez will be sacked 3 times. Fact. Seattle ranks third in the NFL in sacks with 25 total, including 7 from Chris Clemons and 5 from rookie Bruce Irvin. You think these guys are licking their chops at the though of lining up against Austin Howard this week? The noise of the 12th man, and the thought of Clemons and Irvin slamming him to the ground, will surely affect Sanchez’s mentality on Sunday. Look for number 6 to try and get the ball out as quickly as possible. However, with what will likely become a pedestrian effort to run the football by New York, the Jets are poised to be stuck in some third and long situations, forcing Sanchez into 5 and 7 step drops, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Clemons, Irvin, and Co. will be pinning their ears back and coming at Sanchez like bulls chasing a matador. New York will likely give as much help to the offensive line through protection schemes as it can, but don’t expect Sanchez to be able to avert a hat trick of sacks by the Seahawks’ defense.

Tendencies of Rex Ryan’s Jets on the West Coast will come into play this weekend. False. Why, you ask? Because the Ryan led Jets have yet to develop any type of pattern when traveling across the country. Ryan is 2-2 on the west coast. He has a blow out victory (2009 at Oakland), a close victory (2010 at Denver), an embarrassing defeat (2011 at Oakland), and a Tebowed defeat (2011 at Denver) all under his belt. Sanchez has also yet to develop any type of pattern when returning to his home time zone either, as his career numbers on the west coast (77/130, 59.2 completion percentage, 962 yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs), are very…well, Sanchez-esque. With this group, the cross country trip will likely have no impact on the outcome of this game. As for the hostility of Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, that is an entirely different issue.

Mark Sanchez will remain the starting quarterback next week, despite how he performs on Sunday. False. Many are convinced that Sanchez is safe for the remainder of the year no matter how poorly he may play down the stretch. There is certainly good reason for this popular belief. Sanchez is due a large amount of guaranteed dollars next year, and Tim Tebow is a highly unlikely long term replacement for the position. However, has everyone forgotten how big Rex Ryan’s ego is? This is the same guy who guaranteed Super Bowl victories prior to each of his first three seasons in New York, despite the Franchise’s inability to even return to the big game since Super Bowl III. It has to be absolutely killing him that his team is on the verge of a total collapse and that his starting quarterback could seemingly care less, considering how comfortable he has become with his job security. It will take a lot, but if Sanchez comes out and lays an egg the way he did against San Francisco and Miami, there is a good chance Rex finally snaps and gives 15 the nod in week 11 at St. Louis.

Think about it. At 3-6, the chances of making the playoffs, when looking at the remainder of the schedule, are extremely slim. Why not see what you have in your polarizing backup quarterback? Could things possibly get any worse? Oh, and incase you forgot, the Jets travel to St. Louis in week 11, where Sanchez’s former mentor Brian Schottenheimer happens to be on staff as the team’s current offensive coordinator. Can you imagine the detailed report Schotty could give to St. Louis’s defensive staff regarding Sanchez’s weaknesses? It may come in more volumes than the Harry Potter novels. It will have to be disastrous performance by Sanchez, but this is the New York Jets we are discussing, and much crazier things have happened throughout the history of this franchise.

Turn On The Jets NFC Mid-Season Power Rankings

Chris Gross with a power poll for the NFC at the halfway point of the season

Yesterday, Turn On The Jets brought you their mid-season AFC power rankings. Tonight, we breakdown how the NFC stacks up heading into the final half of the 2012 NFL season. Categorically, these rankings hold the same idea, with a slight variation. We will divide the 16 NFC teams into 4 separate categories, placing each team where we see them fitting at this point in the season. Explanations for each category will precede the respective rankings.

Contenders

The following teams have proved to be the real deal up until this point. All have a very realistic chance to win their respective division, and barring any unlikely second half meltdowns, all will earn trips to the postseason.

1.) Chicago Bears (7-1) – Yes, the 8-0 Atlanta Falcons continue to get very little respect as the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL. The Falcons have played great football, make no mistake, but Chicago is playing with all the intangibles necessary for a deep postseason, possible championship, run. Defensively, the Bears made history in Tennessee last week as they became the first NFL team to return 7 interceptions for touchdowns through their first 8 games. In fact, Chicago’s defense has 28 total takeaways (17 INTs, 11 Fumble Recoveries), resulting in a league best 3.5 takeaways per game, with an astounding league high +2.0 turnover differential. While the Bears statistically rank 6th in overall defense, they stand behind only San Francisco in points allowed per game, surrendering just 15 each week. Led by a strong veteran presence in the front 7 in Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers, Chicago ranks 3rd in the league in sacks with 25 total, helping propel them to a league best +116 point differential, which is by far the highest in the conference (SF +86).

Offensively, Chicago may not be jumping off any stat sheets, outside of Brandon Marshall who is putting together one of the greatest seasons you will ever see by an NFL wide receiver, but Chicago has the necessary weapons in place to complement their dominant defense, making them arguably the most balanced team in the entire league. While Jay Cutler is certainly sporadic at times, he has the tools and mental tenacity to take this team deep into the post season. Matt Forte is undoubtedly one of the most balanced backs in the NFL, and role players like Michael Bush and Alshon Jeffrey have contributed nicely at times. If the Bears’ continue to play at the level they have been playing at, they will likely nudge Atlanta for the coveted #1 playoff seed.

2.) Atlanta Falcons (8-0) – Although Atlanta has yet to face defeat all season, they are still partially untested, having beaten only one team with a winning record. However, while they currently rank behind the Bears here, the Falcons are certainly not pretenders. Matt Ryan has put together a fantastic first half, throwing for 17 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions. With a surplus of offensive weapons in Roddy White, Julio Jones, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez, just to name a few, Atlanta certainly has the offensive fire power to compete with any defense, not only in the NFC, but in the entire league. To edge out the Bears as the top team in the NFC, Atlanta needs to win some games more convincingly, meaning not winning nail biters against Carolina, Oakland, and Dallas (combined 8-16 record) at home.

3.) New York Giants (6-3) – While the Giants surely disapointed this past week at home, most people are making this loss out to be a far greater upset than it actually is. The league seems to have fallen asleep on the Pittsburgh Steelers, despite the fact that they have a two-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback, and a Super Bowl coach, along with a defense that still has the pieces in place to dominate on any given Sunday. New York is surely notorious for poor play in the month of November, but Eli Manning has played MVP caliber football, despite going cold in recent weeks. What stands out about the Giants, and separates them from the teams that fall behind them here, is their ability to come up big in big spots. New York already has a very convincing 26-3 road victory, against an excellent team (SF) under their belts. Although they have struggled to defend the pass and have been relatively mediocre running the ball, New York excels in areas necessary for a championship team – quarterback play and rushing the passer.

4.) San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – The 49ers, aka Rex Ryan’s idols, are winning with the same formula that propelled them to the NFC Championship game last season – dominant defense and a strong rushing offense, ranking 2nd and 1st in the entire league, respectively. Like the Jets in the early days of the Rex Ryan era, though, San Francisco’s only handcuff may be the quarterback position. Can Alex Smith take that next step and lead his team to a Super Bowl? Probably not, but the way the rest of this team is playing, all he has to do is avoid preventing them from taking him there.

5.) Green Bay Packers (6-3) – While Green Bay started somewhat rocky, the Packers have rattled off four straight victories, a streak that began with a dominant road win over the AFC’s best Houston Texans. Aaron Rodgers seems to be finding that MVP form that helped win this team 15 games last season, despite losing top target Greg Jennings to injury.

Sink or Swim

These teams have been relatively up and down all season, and at the halfway point, will either take the step into the upper echelon of teams, or will sink to the bottom of the barrel.

6.) Seattle Seahawks (5-4) – Seattle has been a great story this season, led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, one of the greatest underdogs in sports today. The Seahawks, or as we call them “San Francisco Lite” posses a very talented, young, and fast defense, coupled with a dominant rushing offense, led by “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll seems to have gotten his guys to buy into his high energy philosophy, and this team has suddenly become fun to watch. However, like San Francisco, Seattle will ultimately end up being hampered by the play at the quarterback position. While Russell Wilson is surely a great story, and has played relatively above average, he is still a rookie whose inexperience will cause his physical limitations to be exposed down the road. If Seattle can overcome this, they too may be poised for a postseason run.

7.) Minnesota Vikings (5-4) – The Vikings have been a reflection of their young quarterback up until this point – the epitome of inconsistency. After an early season 3 game win streak, which began with a dominant defeat of the San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota has dropped 3 of their last 4, and quarterback Christian Ponder’s play has dipped dramatically. However, the Vikings still have Adrian Peterson at the helm of their 5th best rushing attack, along with players like Jared Allen who make their defense competitive each week.

8.) Detroit Lions (4-4) – Despite leading the league in passing yards per game (307.3), Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson have hooked up for a score just once this season. The defense has been average, and seems to have lost that nasty edge that it had last year. In a division that is all but sure to place at least two teams in the playoffs, Detroit will need to have an extremely strong second half to return to the postseason.

9.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) – 2-2 on the road, 2-2 at home. The Bucs have been a very average team thus far. However, they may have found lightning in a bottle, or a muscle hamster, last week, after rookie RB Doug Martin exploded onto the scene for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. Quarterback Josh Freeman is very quietly putting together an excellent season, having already thrown 16 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Tampa ranks 1st in the NFL in run defense, surrendering just 77.3 yards per game, and despite being only .500, have an average margin of defeat of just 5.5 points. The Bucs have won convincingly in three of their last four games, and could very well be poised to turn the corner as the season enters the final furlong.

10.) New Orleans Saints (3-5) – After an uncharacteristic 0-4 start, New Orleans has responded by winning 3 of their last 4, setting themselves up to make a second half postseason push. Despite the struggles, Drew Brees has still played at an elite level having completed over 61% of his passes for 2,549 yards and 22 touchdowns. Although the NFC South is likely lost to Atlanta at this point, the Saints could certainly find some fire down the stretch and steal a wild card spot. The world knows the NFL is a quarterback driven league, and New Orleans still has one of the best.

Free Falling

These teams had high expectations after starting the year hot, but have fell down a slippery slope as of late. While none are mathematically dead, the odds of any of these teams making the playoffs at this point are about the same as Mike Tannenbaum telling the truth about…well, anything.

11.) Arizona Cardinals (4-5) – After starting the year with 4 straight wins, Arizona has seemingly fallen into the abyss of the losers by dropping 5 in a row. The quarterback situation in the desert is more laughable than that of the Jets, and the Cardinals rank dead last in rushing offense, averaging a putrid 76.2 yards per game. Ken Whisenhunt is surely feeling the flames on his backside these days.

12.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) – There was once a time when this team was proclaimed “The Dream Team,” and Nnamdi Asomugha was viewed as an equal to Darrelle Revis. My, how the mighty have fallen. The Eagles have become the biggest disappointment in Philadelphia since Rocky Balboa was KO’d by Clubber Lang at the Spectrum in ’81. The defense has been horrible, resulting in the firing of Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo, and the offensive line has seemingly been persuaded by PETA to let opposing defensive lineman tee off on Michael Vick. There is really no sign of any possible reconciliation in Philly, which will likely result in a complete regime overhaul this offseason, starting with Vick and Head Coach Andy Reid.

13.) Dallas Cowboys (3-5) – After an eye opening road victory against the defending Super Bowl Champions on opening night, Dallas has completely fallen apart. Tony Romo, for some reason, has the longest leash of any player in league history, as he continues to get a public backing from GM/Owner/Dictator Jerry Jones, despite throwing three more interceptions than touchdowns this season. Jason Garrett looks lost on the sidelines most of the time, and the entire offense seems to have no cohesion or continuity whatsoever. One bright spot has been Rob Ryan’s fifth ranked defense, but even Rex’s brother himself cannot save the Cowboys from their ultimate destiny of hardship.

14.) Washington Redskins (3-6) – The skins have dropped 3 straight after finishing the first 6 weeks at .500. Rookie sensation Robert Griffin III has looked magnificent at times, but has certainly shown his human side as well. Washington has a promising future ahead, but Mike Shanahan and co. do not quite posses the pieces to make a serious run this year.

Bottom of the Barrel 

These teams have already started planning their January vacations.

15.) St. Louis Rams (3-5) – The Rams have one of the most promising defensive front sevens in all of football led by emerging stars Chris Long, James Laurinatis, and Robert Quinn. However, Sam Bradford cannot stay off of his back, and Brian Schottenheimer is their offensive coordinator. Need I say more?

16.) Carolina Panthers (2-6) – Has the league caught on to Cam Newton? It sure seems that way based on the reigning offensive rookie of the year’s rather pedestrian play this season. Newton has thrown for just 6 touchdowns thus far, and has yet to surpass the 2,000 yard mark. General Manager Matt Hurney has already been dismissed of his duties, and more pink slips could certainly trickle down by the end of the year, including one to second year head coach Ron Rivera.

 

New York Jets Week 10 – Early Thoughts On Jets/Seahawks

Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 10 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks

A collection of thoughts on the New York Jets week 10 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks 

1. On paper this is a terrible match-up for the Jets. Seattle has an elite defense led by a great secondary with an elite pass rush bolstered by the best homefield advantage on football. The Jets have a below average offense with an inconsistent passing game that can’t protect their quarterback. Seattle also has the league’s second leading rusher in Marshawn Lynch who is the best back after contact in the NFL right now. The Jets defense has struggled to stop the run mostly because they can’t tackle.

2. Where do the Jets find a hope for an upset? Seattle’s offense has been inconsistent and is led by a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson. He has been much better at home than on the road. Unfortunately the Jets have to face him in his building. Regardless, he remains a rookie and we saw what the Jets defense did to Andrew Luck a few weeks back. Seattle will likely have a tough time moving the ball through the air but if the Jets can’t slow down Lynch, that won’t matter anyway.

3. Dustin Keller needs to have a big week. Their wide receivers are going to struggle against Seattle’s cornerbacks, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, so Keller needs to be a factor in the middle of the field. The running game must also take pressure off of Mark Sanchez. Fortunately, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight are both expected to play to help support Shonn Greene. It isn’t worth making any comments about Tim Tebow’s usage at this point until the Jets show any desire to use him more than 4 plays per game.

4. The Jets special teams needs a bounce-back in a major way. A key recipe for any upset is making big plays in that third of the game. Whether it is a big return, a turnover or a faked punt. The Jets need to get points here.

5. Ultimately this is a gut-check game for the Jets. If you want to be relevant for the second half of the season you need to pull the upset here. They had an extra week to prepare and this team should be playing with immense desperation and aggressiveness. A big upset on the road is the type of thing that can propel a 6-2 second half and a run to a playoff spot. A blowout loss is the type of thing that can propel a 5-11 season.

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