NFL Week 5 Smart Bets: And The Yankees Post-Mortem

Yikes. Well my Week 4 picks didn’t go so well, thanks to two athletes who are quite similar, Tony Romo and Alex Rodriguez. We’ll get to the Week 5 NFL picks in a little bit, but if you recall one of my bets last week was the Yankees beating the Tigers in the ALDS. I also proclaimed that Jose Valverde’s consecutive saves streak would come to and end, and while it nearly did, well, it didn’t.

So what happened to the 2011 New York Yankees? We’ve had a little time to digest the Yanks’ postseason failure, and I’m going to take what will probably be a very unpopular view on this. This Yankees team actually overachieved. By a lot.

Yeah, it’s possible for a team with the highest payroll in the sport to overachieve.

Heading into the season, all the “experts” had the Red Sox winning the AL East and going to the World Series. And for good reason. Who wouldn’t have picked the BoSox with their rotation of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, a bullpen with the second best closer in the game (I think so at least), and a lineup that is stacked with multiple MVP candidates? If in February you would have told me that the Yankees would lose Alex Rodriguez for about half the season, Mark Teixeira would hit under .250, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (it is 2011!!!) would start 51 games combined, Derek Jeter would have a DL stint, A.J. Burnett would have an ERA in the fives and Rafael Soriano would pitch only 39 innings – and with all that the Yankees would win 97 games and win the division by six games, I probably would have told you to check into rehab immediately.

The fact of the matter is is that the Yankees were gritty and gutted their way through 162 games. Sure, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson had MVP-type seasons, with the latter putting up otherworldy numbers. Teixeria had good power numbers but let’s face it, it was a down year for him. Throw in all the Jorge Posada drama, and it wasn’t an easy task winning 97 games by any stretch. This season should go down as a good one for the Yankees. You can’t win it every year.

But in Yankees Universe we have to dissect the playoff meltdowns, and it really doesn’t get much easier than looking at the middle of the lineup. The Yankees simply needed much, much more out of their four, five and six hitters. A-Rod hasn’t been A-Rod all year, but he was vintage postseason A-Rod this year, and he’s starting to prove that his gargantuan 2009 playoff performance was an aberration. Rodriguez will be around for six more years, and thank goodness there is no salary cap in baseball. Additionally, it might be time for the Yankees to try something else in right field. Nick Swisher is a good player, seems like a great guy and teammate, and the fans like him. But man, how much more deer-in-the-headlights could you get than Swisher in the postseason?  Is it really worth the solid regular seasons if he’s going to be an automatic out in October? There are plenty of other players who could play a good right field with a solid bat and have a better approach at the plate in a big situation.

And I think Joe Girardi had a really rough time this postseason. Yanking Ivan Nova so early in Game 5 sent a message to the whole team that he was in panic mode. The Yankees can spin “forearm tightness” for Nova all they want. Girardi freaked out and pulled Nova. He also mismanaged the end of Game 2 by essentially giving away a run by bringing in Luis Ayala, a run that proved not costly but surely important. Girardi doesn’t need to be fired or anything, but he needs to learn from his poor managing the past two postseasons.

The future isn’t dark for the Yankees. Offensively they’ll be built around Cano and Granderson for the next few seasons, with Rodriguez and Teixiera of course capable of putting up big numbers. The pitching may lend itself to a youth movement, with Nova joining Sabathia and Phil Hughes in the rotation full time without the fear of being sent down (although maybe Girardi will pull him every time he gives up a few runs in the first two innings). Burnett will be back (it is what it is), and the Yankees can look to their youth with Dellin Betances or Hector Noesi for the fifth spot. The bullpen will be good as long as Rivera is around.

The Yankees are home early, and any first round loss stings. But fans should take a step back and look at the whole season, and realize that it could have been much, much worse.

And now, on to the picks –

Eagles -3 at Bills

The Eagles are a talented team and they are desperate. The Bills are a nice story, but I don’t think many people see them being a serious playoff threat. The Eagles won’t go 1-4. If they do, Andy Reid better walk around Cheesesteak Town in disguise.

Atlanta +6 vs Green Bay

I’m taking six points with Matt Ryan/Mike Smith at home. I think the Packers could very well win the game, but it will be close. One of the better games of the weekend.

Steelers -3 vs. Titans

I’ll take the Steelers at home off a bad loss. I know the Steelers are banged up, and very much like the Jets, look a little slow and old. But I think Mike Tomlin rallies the team, and at home, they don’t lose to a team quarterbacked by Matt Hasselbeck.

Saints -6.5 at Carolina

No spread is too high for the Saints these days. It could be a shootout, but I think the Saints put up a ton of points.

Non-Football Bonus Bet of the Week

NBA Playing entire season: 8-5

Yes, you can actually bet on this. Things sound a little uplifting recently, with David Stern caving a bit and offering the players close to 50% in revenue. Too much at stake for both sides, I think they get it done.

A Trip To Yankee Stadium: A Brief Encounter With History

“Yankee Stadium is one of the few places in America that can feel alive on a Monday Night”
– Anonymous

I walked out of the grand concourse subway station. I was not supposed to get off there. I was supposed to get off at Yankee Stadium, but because I drank two small nips of Southern Comfort on the subway ride uptown, I forgot I was supposed to get off at Grand Central and transfer from the 4 to the 5. Someone was apparently trying to close what seemed like a very large post office right outside the subway stairs. People were protesting. They were not happy. When 25% of The Bronx is underemployed, people do not take that walk from some work to no work lightly. And why should they? The financial district should have been arrested and forced into manual labor after the mess they created.

I got past the crowd and started walking down River avenue, which had the hills of a San Francisco slum. I couldn’t quite tell the burnt red factor buildings apart, but I was supposed to go in one and walk up to the 5th floor.
On the 5th floor I couldn’t quite tell the small grey cars apart but I finally approached one that looked friendly. The trunk had a cooler full of bud light. This would most definitely be a Monday night to forget.

The walk to the stadium was something unlike I had ever been a part of. You walk under the subway for a while, passing dump after dump until there it is, this gleaming tan colossus, lit up like Vegas on a Friday night. You get so caught up in staring at it that you forget you have two very busy streets to cross. Once across you see the entrance, and luckily, because we were doing our best impression of Miami Heat fans, we got to the stadium about 40 minutes after first pitch.

Perhaps here was the point that I should have had the good sense to stop drinking. There was no need to consume any more, especially because I was under the influence of a prescription medication for my rather weak night vision. But no, I was going to gleefully pay $12 for a beer, yes, in fact, give me two. I would be the king of the bleacher creatures, no price too high!

Now, I am of course a gentleman, so instead of waiting for a female acquaintance to buy her own beer, I decided to buy one for her. Except I soon found out that at $22 for two bud lights, chivalry can send you to the poor house rather quickly.

At a certain point, like all fans of baseball games, you are asked kindly to leave once the game is over. Apparently I did leave under my own power, smiling and tipping my cap to NYPD on our exit. I then proceeded to prance down the street until we reached the parking garage. Everything past that is fuzzy, right until 8:45 the next morning when I woke up and realized something was very much wrong.

What i was supposed to do, was get up at 6:45, wake my sister up, and get to the train station to take the 7:10 to Manhattan, which would get me into Penn about 8:30 with enough time to get to work by 9am. This did not go as planned. As soon as I turned my head, I felt everything sloshing around like someone hit me up side the head with a bat and poured vodka down my unconscious throat. Which may have happened. I have hired a private investigator to look into it.

I did in fact make it to work that day, and felt like dying at various points throughout the day. It was wonderful, that feeling like at any point you could throw up sausage, peppers, red bull, bud light, bud light, jolly ranchers?

Postscript: Baseball

Considering there are 81 home games to 8, you can understand the chance of seeing something at a football game that you have 9 more games to wait for in baseball. Which is why most people show up in the 3rd inning. To be honest, I have had a love/hate relationship with baseball my whole life. I played little league, but as I found the intricacies in sports like football and basketball, baseball seemed like a relic. It’s boxing and slow dances. Sunday drives and dinner with the family. We move faster now, we think faster, (for good or ill) and for all our advancement it remains the same as it’s always been. Chess for old men. But there is beautiful music made that people play chess to.

Five Final Thoughts on Jets/Dolphins Monday Night Game

First a few updates:

1. Jerricho Cotchery and Damien Woody are both expected to be in the starting line-up tonight. Cotchery may not be at 100 percent, so it will be interesting to see if the Jets spell him occasionally with Brad Smith and David Clowney. On defense, the good is news is that Calvin Pace is back. The bad news is that Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland won’t be playing again…fortunately, Miami’s starting receivers are better cast as #3 and 4 receivers.

2. Peter King dropped the Jets down to #8 in his Power Rankings and picked the Dolphins to win tonight, as are more people than I expected. The Jets are only 1 point favorites despite having a 2 game better record…we shall see tonight.

3. You have to love Paplebon choking in the 9th and the Red Sox getting swept out of the playoffs, the same day the Yankees swept the Twins and the same day the Patriots lost. Watching all those depressed/confused faces in Fenway, I have to say things are starting to feel right in the sports world again.

4. Congrats to Eric Mangini for getting his first win in Cleveland, despite his quarterback going 2/17 for 23 yards with an INT. I am 90 percent confident I could have replicated those stats, if I was under center for the Browns yesterday. Chansi Stuckey must be crying himself to sleep looking at pictures of Mark Sanchez.

Five Final Thoughts on Jets/Dolphins Monday Night Game

1. Back to Basics – The Jets need to run the football tonight, early and often. Expect to see Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have their stats look similar to the way they did in the Houston game. Also, don’t be shocked to Shonn Greene get a series in each half. The Jets offensive line has something to prove tonight.

2. When We Do Throw – The Jets will take at least one shot down the field to Braylon Edwards tonight who racked up his only three 100 yard efforts last year in primetime. It will be a message to upcoming defensive coordinators about the new capabilities of this offense. I am going to predict Edwards ends up with 4 catches for 62 yards. Also keep an eye on Dustin Keller, because the Dolphins linebackers and safeties aren’t good in coverage…remember what Dallas Clark did to them a few weeks back.

3. Mismatch – I wouldn’t start Chad Henne on my fantasy team tonight. The guy is going to be in for a rough night facing a Jets pass rush bolstered by Calvin Pace and a Jets secondary that should be able to handle the Dolphins receivers even without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Ronnine Brown might throw for more yards than Henne tonight.

4. It All Comes Down To – The Jets ability to stop the run. If Miami can’t move the football on the ground, they have no chance to even remain competitive tonight. However, if Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams get going the Jets could be in for a long night.

5. Bury Them – The Jets can basically bury the Dolphins with a win tonight by opening up a 3 game lead over them. I hate to pencil in victories but the Jets get the Bills and Raiders the next two weeks, which means they can open up even more space throughout October.

Turn On the Jets TV Episode V

Turn On the Jets TV New Commercial

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Midnight Miracle

More on Braylon & New York Jets: Hi Hater

First a few updates:

1. Feeling pretty good about the Yankees right now, up 6-2 in the 7th inning with CC rolling. How about the captain with that 2 run home run to tie the game up before? The Yanks are making my time between Jets game go much quicker.

2. Mark Sanchez was fined $5,000 for his hit on Jonathan Vilma. He called to apologize about the hit and VIlma made amends with him. I am sure the rookie learned his lesson and won’t be getting called for a personal foul anytime soon.

3. The Dolphins have been carrying on with the endless amounts of trash talk this week. Today something came out about Channing Crowder hating Leon Washington and saying he is going to curse out Mark Sanchez, which of course begs the question…who is Channing Crowder and does anybody care about what he has to say? The Dolphins are 1-3…1-3. They need to worry about winning some games instead of talking like they are some type of contender this season.

4. Site updates…I have updated the depth chart, reflecting the trade. Tomorrow I will write my normal Wednesday article about the key individual match-ups for the Jets/Dolphins game…Friday I will write my excessively comprehensive game breakdown AND post episode V of TOJ TV, which I know everybody is waiting on. Saturday, I will be grading out the Jets/projecting their stats through the first quarter of the season. Sunday, I will be watching football and tracking my horrible fantasy team. Monday, I will be writing on the Jets recent domination of their rivalrywith Miami, including some great video footage. Set your schedules accordingly

More on Braylon & New York Jets: Hi Hater

Wrapping up the Deal: The terms of the deal have been confirmed as Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, a conditional third round pick and a fifth round pick. Only if Edwards has an inordinate amount of catches this season, could the third rounder be bumped up to a second rounder. It appears that the Jets will likely be without their 3rd, 4th (Lito Sheppard trade), and 5th round pick in the 2010 draft. Mike Tannenbaum said there are no immediate plans to restructure Edwards’ contract. It will depend on the Collective Bargaining Agreement whether Edwards is a restricted or unrestricted free agent (similar to Leon Washington) after the season. Obviously his on field production and off the field behavior the rest of the season will determine how the Jets handle his contract this off-season, though an eventual long term deal makes sense since they sacrificed two draft picks for him.

Minor League: Final condolences to Chansi Stuckey and Jason Trusnik who are now joining the Jets AAA affiliate in Cleveland. I heard a rumor the Browns will soon be trading Joe Thomas, Shaun Rogers, and Josh Cribbs for Wayne Hunter, Mike DeVito, Wallace Wright, and Drew Coleman. How about nine former Jets currently on the Browns active roster? I always liked Stuckey but the guy is built to be a #3 receiver, while Edwards is built to be a legit #1. Trusnik is a very good special teams player with a history of injuries.

Press Conferences: Ryan sounded confident in his ability to handle Edwards, who he believes will fit right in with the rest of the team. He said Edwards “better be ready to go” as a starter this Monday night because that is what the Jets brought him in for. He also talked about his firsthand knowledge of the difficulty to cover Edwards and how he is confident the acquisition will open up the Jets offense. He didn’t offer any tantalizing soundbites on the Jets/Dolphins game but joked that Channing Crowder could find him Monday night in a white #77 jersey. Ryan also confirmed what Mike Tannenbaum said about the Jets doing a thorough background check and being confident that Edwards will stay out of legal trouble the rest of the year. I would imagine that any legal problems involving Edwards and LeBron’s entourage would result in a suspension in 2010, not this season.

Edwards press conference didn’t offer anything too noteworthy. He repeatedly expressed how excited he was to be in New York (obviously) and how the constant losing in Cleveland was beginning to wear on him. Edwards said he is comfortable with the guys in the Jets locker room, who welcomed him with some jokes about the suit he was wearing. He also discussed his excitement about working with Mark Sanchez and his belief that Jerricho Cotchery and himself could compliment each other. Interestingly enough, he even mentioned looking forward to contributing to the running game by adding some down field blocking for Thomas Jones. Edwards didn’t discuss his off the field troubles but instead talked about his desire to change the perception of himself, and the positive off the field work he has done in his career.

Hi Hater: You have to love the hate from president of the New England Patriots fan club aka Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who will find anyway to demean the Jets for this move, where if it was another team they would be praised for making a bold decision. I love how PFT writes a story about Derek Anderson being thrilled with Edwards leaving, like it is supposed to concern Jets fans. Derek Anderson? The guy has been straight awful since his 2007 season, does anybody care about his opinion? He started out the year backing up Brady Quinn, which should show how talented he is.  Also, I loved reading the Patriots and especially the Dolphins fans criticizing the moves on the ESPN message boards for the Jets. You want to hear something funny? Ted Ginn Jr has 4 career touchdown receptions…that means Braylon Edwards had 4 times as many touchdown receptions in his 2007 season than Ginn does for his whole career. You can hear the insecurity and nervousness from the Pats and Dolphins fans as the Jets clearly established themselves as the team to beat in the AFC East with this move. Yes, I just said as of right now the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East. Not Miami, who will promptly be put in their place (TOJ TV spoiler alert) as a 4-12 team by the Jets this Monday Night and not New England, who already lost to the Jets and only has three wins because of Leodis McKlevin’s charity and insanely terrible officiating/Mark Clayton’s dropped pass in the Ravens game.

Jets/Dolphins Week: Get Fired Up

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

First a few updates:

1. The Jets signed corner Marquice Cole from their practice squad to the active roster, and released tight end Matthew Mulligan. Lito Sheppard (quad) and Donald Strickland (ankle) both didn’t practice today and Rex Ryan didn’t sound that confident when discussing either of them playing this Sunday. If both those guys don’t play, expect to see Dwight Lowery start opposite Darrelle Revis and Drew Coleman move into the nickle spot.

2. Michael Ventre of NBC Sports doesn’t seem to like the Jets or their fans too much, as expressed here: (http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32975810/ns/sports-nfl//) . He made alot of less than flattering generalizations about Jets fans and seems to have us all pegged as overweight, stupid, and unable to put sentences together without a profanity. He also doesn’t have much faith in the Jets sustaining their success. I don’t know Michael Ventre, but it sounds like his girlfriend cheated on him with a guy from New York or something.

3. The Jets are ranked #4 in USA Today’s Power Rankings, let’s not read the press clippings like last year.

4. Jets are currently ranked #1 in yards allowed and still are yet to allow a touchdown. If you take away the Sanchez interception and the field goal from Leon Washington’s fumble, and they have allowed 6 points.

5. Good to have the Yankees back in the playoffs, where they belong. However, I am not getting too excited until they lock up the AL East crown.

Jets vs. Titans: Key Match-Ups

Tomorrow check back for an excessively comprehensive breakdown of the Jets/Titans 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.

Bart Scott/David Harris vs. Chris Johnson: Johnson is coming off a game where he had 197 yards rushing and 87 yards receiving, no that isn’t a misprint. He has tremendous speed and game-breaking ability that likely keeps many defensive coordinators up at night. It will be on the Jets linebackers, led by Scott and Harris to get Johnson in the backfield before he can explode through the hole and to wrap him when they get a chance. A missed tackle against this guy could lead to a 70 yard touchdown. The Jets are going to have to commit a corner or safety to him in coverage when he splits out, but if he is catching passes out of the backfield, Harris or Scott have to recognize the play and react before he builds up a head of steam.

Jerricho Cotchery/Chansi Stuckey/David Clowney/Dustin Keller vs. Cortland Finnegan/Nick Harper/Michael Griffin/Chris Hope: The Titans pass defense has been awful through the first two weeks of the regular season. Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, and Andre Johnson all went for over 100 yards on them. Despite having a rookie quarterback, this might be the game for Brian Schottenheimer to turn the spread/passing offense a little bit loose. Jerricho Cotchery had the best statistical game of his career against the Titans two years ago (8 receptions, 152 yards, 1 TD) and also had a nice day against them last year with 6 catches for 55 yards. Dustin Keller had 6 catches last year against the Titans, converting multiple key third downs. It will be interesting to see if Sanchez can air a few out this Sunday and maybe hit a guy like David Clowney or Cotchery on a few big plays. Nobody is saying the Jets should abandon their running game, but if there are opportunities for big plays in the passing game, the Jets need to take advantage of them.

Jets Offensive Line vs. Titans Defensive Line: The Jets ran all over Tennesee last year en route to a 34-13 victory. Rex Ryan has expressed some mild disappointment with the Jets production on the ground so far and both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are coming off quiet games running the ball. The Titans have one of the NFL’s best run defenses, so it would make a statement if the Jets could have the type of success they did last year.

Rex Ryan vs. The Let Down Game: The Jets are coming off an emotional victory and are suddenly becoming the national media’s darlings. Tennessee is a team that is much better than their 0-2 record indicates and is facing a desperation game, because coming back from 0-3 in the AFC South would be near impossible. All in the ingredients are in place for the Jets to have a major let down performance/reality check. Can Rex have his team ready to go with the same intensity he did last week?

Leon Delivers the Knockout Punch to Tennessee Last Year

Jets Positional Analysis: Defensive Line

First a few updates:

1. Sean Payton filled in for Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback article and predicted the Jets would be a playoff team this season and also spoke highly of Mark Sanchez. Big news? Not really, but it is nice to hear a respected quarterback coach in the NFL have a favorable view of Sanchez.

2. No news on the Thomas Jones/Leon Washington front and enough of this nonsense about Danny Woodhead and Shonn Greene being able to step in for them this year…get your two pro-bowl running backs into camp on time, you have a rookie quarterback who you just invested 60 million dollars in…help the guy out.

3. I recently found out where my season tickets in the new stadium were located…10 rows higher than my previous ones and in the endzone instead of the 30 yard line…thank you New York Jets.

4. Just watched Hideki Matsui hit a walk off home run, and I am now hoping Texas can hold on against Boston to put my Yanks in first place by the time I wake up tomorrow.

Jets Positional Analysis: Defensive Line

Over the next 6 weeks, I am going to go through all of the Jets positions and assess each player, continuing today with the defensive line:

1. Kris Jenkins #77, Starting Defensive Tackle, Last Season: 50 Tackles, 3.5 Sacks, 4 Tackles For Loss, 1 Forced Fumble, Selected to Pro-Bowl

History: The Jets acquired the big fella in a trade before last season and he responded positively to a new environment. Jenkins was a dominant player on the Jets defense during the first 11 games last year before injuries slowed him down. Rex Ryan must find a way to properly rest him throughout the season so he can be 100 percent during the stretch run in December.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Jenkins plays at the level he did during the first 11 games last year for an entire season and returns to the pro-bowl.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Injuries take a toll on him and he misses extended time, severely hurting the Jets run defense.

Prediction: I think after watching tape from last season, Rex Ryan will find a way to maximize the big fella’s extraordinary talent on the Jets defense by moving him around the defensive line and properly resting him. Jenkins will have a slightly better season than he did in 2008, and return to the pro-bowl.

2. Shaun Ellis #92, Starting Defensive End, Last Season: 60 Tackles, 8 Sacks, 1 Tackle For Loss, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Large Snowball Tossed

History: Ellis is the longest tenured Jets player, spending all of his 10 seasons in green and white. Very quietly, he had a very good season in 2008. 8 sacks for a 3-4 defensive end is extremely impressive. Ellis remains a solid two way end and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down with age.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He duplicates his performance from last season, except he isn’t arrested for marijuana and doesn’t throw a huge snowball in the stands after the Jets lose a game.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Ellis begins to break down with age, leaving the Jets ridiculously thin at defensive end.

Prediction: I think Ellis will be a good player in Rex Ryan’s system. I don’t expect him to match the 8 sacks from last season but I think 5-6 is a reasonable number.

3. Marques Douglas #93, Starting Defensive End, Last Season: 36 Tackles, 5 Tackles For Loss

History: The Jets signed Douglas as a depth player who was familiar with Rex Ryan’s system. However, after they traded Kenyon Coleman in the Mark Sanchez deal, Douglas became the presumed starter. He has been a backup mostly throughout his career but now will have an expanded amount of reps.

Chance of Making Roster: 100%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He keeps his tackles for loss numbers high and holds his own as a starter. There is no drop off from Kenyon Coleman to Douglas and he helps teach the D-Line Ryan’s scheme.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He can’t handle being a full time player and the Jets struggle on the defensive line all season because of it.

Prediction: Douglas won’t be a downgrade from Kenyon Coleman but won’t be a noticeable upgrade either. The Jets need to address defensive end next season with Ellis aging and Douglas better suited to be a role player than a starter.

4. Mike DeVito #70, Backup Defensive End, Last Season: 24 Tackles, 0.5 Sacks, 2 Tackles For Loss

History: A UDFA who has stuck on the Jets roster the past three years and should see a major bump in playing time this season as the primary backup defensive end to both Ellis and Douglas. He has a good motor and the defensive coaching staff is high on his potential.

Chance of Making Roster: 95%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: DeVito blossoms in Ryan’s system and becomes a capable NFL starter at defensive end.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He bombs out in camp and can’t stay on the active roster.

Prediction: I think DeVito will prove to be a solid player off the bench and may show enough to become an eventual starter.

5. Sione Pouha #91, Backup Defensive Tackle, Last Season: 23 Tackles, 0.5 Sacks, 1 Tackle For Loss

History: The Jets drafted him in 2005 but he has struggled with injuries and been nothing but an average backup. He had a pretty good year in 2007 but seemed to regress last season.

Chance of Making Roster: 90%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: He plays the way he did during 2007 and is part of a group that does a good job spelling Kris Jenkins.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: He struggles in camp and during the season, forcing Jenkins to play more reps than he should, leading to declining production from him as the season goes on.

Prediction: Pouha wasn’t very good last year so it is hard to predict a solid season for him in 2009 but hopefully he can be a decent role player.

6. Howard Green #95, Backup Defensive Tackle, Last Season: 21 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Tackle For Loss, 1 Forced Fumble

History: The Jets signed him this off-season to improve the depth behind Kris Jenkins and push Sione Pouha for reps. Green had a decent season in Seattle last year and before that played in New Orleans.

Chance of Making Roster: 90%

Best Case Scenario for 2009: Green develops into a very good backup for Kris Jenkins.

Worst Case Scenario for 2009: Green proves to be nothing more than a journeyman and is cut.

Prediction: I think Pouha and him will split reps behind Jenkins and be adequate.

The Rest of the Guys:

7. Ropati Pitoitua #79, Defensive End – Huge player (6’8, 310) who was on the practice squad last season, could battle for a backup defensive end spot.

8. Zach Potter #98, Defensive End – A UDFA from Nebraska.

9. Matt Kroul #63, Defensive Tackle/End – A UDFA from Iowa.

10. Ty Steinkuhler #61, Defensive End/Tackle – Another UDFA from Nebraska.

Overall Position Analysis: Jenkins is a dominant force in the middle, Ellis is a quality NFL starter, but Douglas/DeVito have to step up at the other DE spot this year. There is also pressure on Pouha and Green to give Jenkins a rest and provide good reps off the bench.

Jets Highlight of the Day: In honor of the defensive line, here is Shaun Ellis having a snowball fight with the Seattle fans last season.