Getting to Know the Writers: Stephen Zantz

Q&A with Turn on the Jets writer Stephen Zantz.

The inaugural installment of “Getting to Know the Writers” features TOJ writer and talk show host Stephen Zantz. We ask him about his background, why he wanted to write for TOJ, and his best Jets-memories.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I was born in Queens but grew up in Marlboro, NJ. Currently, I live in Midtown Manhattan.

Where did you go to school and what did you study? I am a WVU alumni who graduated with a degree in Marketing and a minor in communications. Go Mountaineers! Always will have a soft spot for Geno Smith.

What do you do for work? My job title is an Associate Director of Paid Search at an ad agency. I oversee the day-to-day of BMW and MINI Cooper’s paid search and manage a team of 5.

When and how did you become a Jets fan? I was born into this thanks to my dad (why couldn’t we like someone else as a family!). I would say it’s been my entire life but I didn’t really care a lot until middle school.

When was your first Jets game and how did it go? The 2004 home opener against Cincinnati. I’ll never forget it. Curtis Martin ran like a mad man against the Bengals defense. It was also Carson Palmer’s first career start. The Jets won so I thought they were a good team, little did I know.

What is your favorite Jets moment? This was the easiest to answer. The 2011 Divisional game against New England. As a 29-year old Jets fan, this is basically the super bowl for me because this team hasn’t won one in 52 years. The Bart Scott “Can’t Wait” interview is still my favorite to this day. Put some respect on Mark Sanchez’s name people!

Do you follow any other teams outside of the Jets? I love the Knicks (they are actually my favorite team but Jets are a close second). I am also a Yankee and Ranger fan but I’m not the biggest follower of both baseball and hockey.

How did you first become involved with TOJ? I followed Joe C on Twitter for years and read the site. I got pulled in by the weekly 12 pack and then really enjoyed the other content. Joe and I use to interact on Twitter and one day I reached out to him about becoming a writer. I sent him a sample and we published it a day later.

What is your favorite part about TOJ? It’s a great group of people who are super passionate about the team. Our slack group is much needed therapeutic relief of getting your thoughts and opinions out. I also love that every person who is part of the site doesn’t feel exactly the same. We share a lot of common opinions but we have some good arguments. I also like how everyone is really trying to find new ways to differentiate us from other websites. Couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

What is your favorite hobby? I’m really into music. I love making playlists on my spotify account specifically for old school hip hop/rap. I used to randomly DJ parties for my fraternity in college and people would love the songs I would throw on. Also love to play Warzone with my friends. I’ve never played with Connor Hughes if anyone is wondering.

Which do you like more: podcasts or books? Podcasts for sure. I listen pretty much daily. I love Bill Simmons’ podcast. I also used to big into Pardon My Take but haven’t been as into lately. I think podcasts are the best form of media out there today because there is one for everyone and it can be heard on your own time no matter how old it is.

What is your favorite Jets twitter account? I feel like I’ll be called a shill if I say Joe C but outside of Joe, I would definitely say Drew from Jersey. The guy just cracks me up. His Mahomes and Kingsbury tweet that he has pinned is an all timer. I also love his analogies for coaching candidates as well.

TOJ Pod ft. Connor Rogers

Will Parkinson interviews Connor Rogers on this episode of TOJ Pod.

On this episode of TOJ Pod, Will Parkinson interviews Bleacher Report’s Connor Rogers about the New York Jets. They discuss the following topics:

– Zach Wilson already a top 20 QB?
– Why is no one discussing Cory Davis?
– Must watch matchups
– Camp Battles
– Still high on Mims?
– Class of 2022 preview

TOJ Pod ft. Mike Tannenbaum

Will Parkinson interviews former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum on this episode of the TOJ Pod.

On this episode of the Turn on the Jets podcast, Will Parkinson interviews former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum about a variety of Jets-related topic including:

      • Zach Wilson
      • How the Jets young roster can make strides to compete and be sustainable like what Mike built in 06/07 and 08-10
      • Recapping moves like Revis, Vilma, Favre, Sanchez
      • Preview the Offensive line
      • Keys to Jets success in 2021
      • The QB extension market

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Is Safety a Position of Strength for the 2021 Jets?

Will Parkinson shares his thoughts on the 2021 Jets’ safety room.

When the Jets traded Jamal Adams last year, nobody knew what to expect out of the safety room. Adams was an all-pro player, and while Marcus Maye is talented, the room had a gaping hole from a leadership and talent perspective. However, through the 2020 season, the Jets learned just how good of a player and leader Marcus Maye is and also saw serious flashes from Ashtyn Davis during his up and down rookie campaign. As the Jets go into 2021, the safety room looks like it could be a bright spot on a feisty defense. The group is deep and should produce, whether it’s another dominant year for Marcus Maye, a year two improvement from Ashtyn Davis, or a return to consistent play from LaMarcus Joyner, who is moving back to his natural position.

For Marcus Maye, 2020 was a career year, as he emerged as one of the League’s better safeties even without his tag team partner, Jamal Adams. Maye posted an 82.9 grade according to PFF in 2020, the highest of his career while playing both the center field free safety role and the box strong safety role. Sam Monson of PFF mentioned on the TOJ Pod that Maye’s ability to play in the slot and in the box makes him even more valuable than Adams going into 2021. This further supported his ranking of Maye as the seventh-best safety in the NFL, while putting Adams at 10th. Erik Coleman, who is a former Jets safety, also mentioned the importance of Maye getting extended, noting his “great leadership, both vocally and doing things the right way, to earn that next contract” on the TOJ Pod on Friday. The bottom line for the Jets is that Maye has been one of the lone bright spots over the past four years and certainly warrants getting a new contract. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted that Maye and the Jets will likely not be coming to an extension agreement before the July 15th deadline, so it will be interesting to see how it affects the locker room. Maye is deserving of an extension, but Jets GM Joe Douglas has not shown a willingness to pay non-premium positions big money. That, in tandem with Maye being 28 years old, means that it’s likely that he will play on the franchise tag in 2021 and have his contract situation revisited after the season.

One of the biggest keys to the Jets defense taking a big step in 2021 is the development of Ashytn Davis. The second-year safety from Cal Berkley flashed in 2020. On the other hand, he did struggle a bit, specifically against the Chiefs and teams who attacked him vertically. Jamal Adams previously mentioned that the biggest adjustment from college, and growing from year one to two, was developing his eyes. The speed of the game in the NFL is so much faster than the speed of the college game. As a result, if you catch yourself peaking into the backfield or watching guys’ eyes instead of their hips, and only play off your instincts, then you risk getting torched. Coleman mentioned his struggles in rookie-camp, watching Wayne Chrebet’s eyes and having to learn to just “play football” and not overthink. Davis is a top-tier athlete who makes plays on the football. If he is deployed in more “cover 1” and “cover 3” in this new scheme, he could grow into the Jets’ long-term answer at safety.

Lastly, a key to the Jets safety group playing better in 2021, is Lamarcus Joyner. Joyner is a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Jets, especially if he can return to 2017 form. Safety is his natural position and had a career-best PFF grade of 91.0. Joyner is a talented football player but struggled out of position as a slot corner with the Raiders in 2019 and 2020. The Jets are hoping that, with a return to his natural position and change of scenery, they can get Joyner’s 2017 play


With Joyner hoping to return to his old form and Davis looking to take a leap in year two, the Jets are set up with strong depth and flexibility at the free safety position, while Marcus Maye dominates the strong safety position. Having built a top-tier defensive line and a returning star LB in CJ Mosley, the Jets should be able to cover up their question marks at corner, given their strength at safety. If they can do that, the Jets will be in a position almost every week to compete and give their young talented quarterback a chance to win a bunch of ball games.

What are fair expectations for Elijah Moore?

Will Parkinson offers his thoughts on Elijah Moore.

The hype train is humming over at One Jets Drive over the Jets second round pick Elijah Moore. The rookie wideout from Ole Miss who lead college football in yards per game last season has impressed in OTAs and minicamps thus far and the excitement from the coaching staff and fan base is skyrocketing. The question I, and many others, keep getting asked is “what are realistic expectations?” or “what is Elijah Moore’s ceiling?” The 5’9″, 178 lb. speedster is hoping to take the NFL and his Jets career by storm.

There have been many comparisons to Elijah Moore’s game and size from players like Steve Smith, Santana Moss and Tyreek Hill to guys like Antonio Brown and current Jet Jamison Crowder. While it is lofty praise for the 21 year old to be compared to Antonio Brown, who is arguably the best wideout over the past decade in the NFL, draft analyst Ryan Roberts said on the TOJ Pod that he would be wary of doing so: “…wow, that is some comparison and am a bit wary of something like that.” While Roberts didn’t feel great about the comparison, he did mention Moore’s elite ability to get open and create space saying that Moore is “…one of the best manipulators of space in this year’s draft.” While Moore’s style is like Brown’s, Moore has also reminded a lot of scouts and fans of Steve Smith and Santana Moss for their game breaking speed and ability in tight space but being incredible tough slot receivers with minimal drops. Moore has reps from the X and Z position as well but will function mostly out of the slot in this west coast Shanahan scheme for gang green. For the Jets’ sake, if Moore turns out to be any of the aforementioned players at pick at 34, he will be a homerun pick and building block for the future. 

Rookie wideouts have had the ability to come into the NFL right away over the past 2 years and make instant impacts, especially guys who possess an elite trait. Big bodied late 1st and 2nd round receivers like D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Chase Claypool, Tee Higgins, AJ Brown and Brandon Aiyuk have all seen success because of their size, speed and ball skills early in their career. For guys like Justin Jefferson and Deebo Samuel who have used their elite quickness and route running to make massive impacts out of a primary slot position early in their careers. Jefferson and Samuel offer a great platform for a guy like Moore who posses those qualities and will be in a very similar scheme to the ones ran in Minnesota and San Francisco. 

Long term what kind of career is he projected to have? If you look at where he can get to as his NFL ceiling it becomes a bit more challenging. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah has mentioned Moore as “an outstanding route runner” and a “natural hands catcher,” which bodes well for Moore becoming one of the top slot wideouts in the NFL and someone who projects to be a heavy-target option going forward. In today’s NFL you don’t have to be the traditional big bodied X wideout to be a team’s #1 guy, and it is realistic to think Moore will be that guy over the next 5-7 years. He is a guy who will be talked about down the line as an 80 catch, 1200-yard, 8-10 touchdown a year player who is always in contention to be pro bowl level player. It’s something the Jets have been looking for since the days of Keyshawn and Coles, and Joe Douglas hopes this is the Jets cornerstone offensive weapon of the future.

TOJ Live ft. Stephen Rodriguez

The TOJ Live hosts interview Stephen Rodriguez of FTN and Bleav Podcasts.

Check out the latest episode of Turn on the Jets Live on Youtube!

Hosts Stephen Zantz and Stephen Russo chat with Stephen Rodriguez of Bleav Podcasts and FTN about a variety of Jets-related topics.

Continue reading “TOJ Live ft. Stephen Rodriguez”

TOJ Pod ft. Lindsay Jones of The Athletic

Will Parkinson chats with Lindsay Jones of the Athletic on this episode of TOJ Pod.

On this episode of TOJ Pod, Will Parkinson interviews Lindsay Jones, who is a senior writer for The Athletic covering the NFL and a frequent guest on The Athletic Football Podcast. Lindsay and Will chat about a variety of Jets-related topics including:

– The Zach Wilson Hype Train
– Potential Breakout Players
– How impressive was Robert Saleh in 2020
– Realistic Jets Expectations
– Watson or Rodgers to Denver?

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