TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: Week 7 v New England Patriots

The first of three repeat opponents on the year, the Jets travel to Gillete Stadium for their second meeting with the New England Patriots. Their first meeting went horrible as Zach Wilson threw 4 picks and the Jets lost 26-6. Zach is going to have to be much better if the Jets are going to make this a game.

Coaching: Bill Belicheck still has the prestige of a legendary coach but 9-13 without Tom Brady has certainly put some chinks in his armor. His defense is still very good and he remains a horrid matchup for a rookie QB like Zach Wilson who is struggling to get through his progressions. Josh McDaniels is a much more maligned figure at OC as a massive debate has broken out over whether he is to blame for the lack of explosive plays in the offense or the sputtering offense is Mac Jones’s fault Ulbrich and Saleh did a good job pressuring the Pats in week 2 and we will have to see how McDaniels adjusts with a beat up Patriots OL.

Offense: Mac Jones is an efficient QB who completes a high number of his passes but has been reluctant to push the ball down field. Damien Harris is a solid RB but this skill group should not scare anyone. The Patriots OL has been hit with injuries and a Covid outbreak so its unclear if that unit is back to full strength even though none appeared on the injury report this week.

Defense: The Patriots defense is still good but the Jets caught a break as Stephon Gilmore was scheduled to come off PUP for this game but Bill Belicheck decided a 6th round pick was more useful so he now plays for the Carolina Panthers. Matt Judon and JC Jackson have been awesome for the Pats this year and JC Jackson picked Wilson twice in week 2. Dont’a Hightower however looks nothing like the player he was in 2019 and the Jets would be wise to try to take advantage of the Patriots LB room.

Potential Weaknesses- Patriots OL seems to be back healthy but they have not been good this year and Mac Jones has taken some big hits this season because of it. Patriots offense has struggled to consistently find explosive plays on offense and are a team who will struggle when they have to play from behind.

Matchup- I hate this matchup for the Jets. They always suck in New England and Belicheck is 18-0 vs rookie QBs in Gillete and Zach looks poised for another multi turnover game. CJ Mosley is doubtful for this game, which is a massive blow to this defense.

Prediction- Patriots 20 Jets 6- Zach Wilson has not put together 4 good NFL quarters in a row yet in his young career. This is not the week that changes unfortunately. I think the Jets struggle to move the ball and the Patriots win comfortably and the Jets’ questions about their offense persist.

TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: New York Jets v. Tennessee Titans

The Jets are trying to avoid going 0-4 for the 3rd straight season. On tap for today is a banged-up Titans team that the Jets have no excuses to not be competitive against.
Coaching: Mike Vrabel has made the playoffs his last 2 years in Tennessee and had a winning record every year. However, he has struggled to field a competent defense since Dean Peas left after the 2019 season. Todd Downing is the OC who replaced Arthur Smith, was one of the best play callers the past 2 seasons, and it remains to be seen if Downing can maintain the high standards Smith set.

Offense: Ryan Tannehill has undergone a late-career renaissance in Tennessee as he has been one of the most efficient QBs in the NFL the past 2 years and has kept that up this season. Derrick Henry remains one of the best running backs in the league and will no doubt be featured heavily today. AJ Brown and Julio are two of the 10 best WRs in the NFL, in my opinion, and would decimate our corner group but thankfully both will not play today. The Titans OL is not what it used to be and what was once a dominant unit has become the middle of the pack.

Defense:  The Titans defense is bad. Like lol bad. They tried retooling it this off-season by adding Bud Dupree for their pass rush and getting younger at corner with First-rounder Caleb Farley and 3rd rounder Elijah Molden, but Farley and Dupree are both hurt. Jeffrey Simmons is one of the best defensive tackles in the league and he can wreck a game especially when the Jets continue to start the Chuckle Brothers that are Mcogvern and Van Rotten.

Weaknesses: As previously mentioned the Titans are dealing with injuries at key spots: let me reiterate that they are missing their two best WRs, starting edge rusher and cornerback. Their OL is also dealing with nagging injuries. Chandler Jones and Arizona destroyed this OL week 1 and the Jets DL will be the best one the Titans have faced since so they should be poised to take advantage.

Matchup: With Brown and Julio out This offense is all on Derrick Henry. If the Jets can limit Henry and keep Tannehill in 3rd and long all game they should have great success with their pass rush. Let’s be clear: WR1 Josh Reynolds isn’t scaring anyone. The Jets offense has been abysmal and it still remains to be seen if they can take advantage of a weak defense. The Titans are 31st against play-action passes so hopefully, Lafleur is dialing those up early and often.

Prediction: if the Jets are the frisky 6-7 win team we thought they were this game has to be competitive. I think it will be and I think we will see Zach Wilson’s best day in a Jets uniform and a turnover-free day. A back and forth game that ends with Zach Wilson completing a 2 min drill TD.
Jets 21, Titans 20
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TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: Week 2 v New England Patriots

We all know this team.  We all hate this team.  But this team is not Tom Brady’s Patriots anymore.

Coaching- Bill Bellicheck has been at the top of  the game for 20 years. He still runs the defense for the Pats and that unit is always well coached and aggressive. Josh McDaniels runs the offense and, while he has the reputation for being a good offensive mind, his non-Tom Brady offenses have not been good at all.

Offense: Mac Jones was efficient in his debut and is an accurate QB, but he is still a rookie making his first road start.  The Patriots OL is excellent: Isaiah Wynn is one of the better LTs in the game and both Shaq Mason and Michael Onwenhu are ass-kickers at guard.  Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are good tight ends and Damien Harris is a solid running back, but this offense really lacks the playmakers to make explosive plays.

Defense: Even without Stephon Gilmore, this defense is very good.  After opting out of 2020 Dont’a Hightower is back and he is still one of the best linebackers in the game.  The Patriots have the most edge talent  they have had in years  with a solid veteran in Matt Judon and exciting ascending players like Josh Uche and Chase Winnovich.  JC Jackson is a ball hawking corner who Zach Wilson should avoid targeting as much as possible.

Weaknesses- Due to the Stephon Gilmore injury, Jalen Mills has to start and he is terrible.  Zach Wilson’s favorite target should be whoever Mills has to cover on the given play.  Mac Jones is a rookie making his first road start so he is going to make mistakes. With Trent Brown out, the Jets’ DL has the ability to really pressure Mac and force a couple of turnovers.

Matchup- Seeing how bad the Jets OL played in week 1 this Pats defense should scare you, especially with no Mekhi Becton.  Belicheck is the best in the league at designing creeper pressures and stunts and that can really destroy an OL who has massive communication issues.  The Jets corners were frisky week 1 and I do not think the Pats have the WRs or the QB who can really take advantage of this inexperienced group. The Pats want to run the ball and that plays into the Jets strength with their DL.  Bill Belicheck has a great record against rookie QB’s at 21-6 but he is only 8-6 vs. them on the road  so I think if Zach continues his play from last week this team can score points.

Prediction: Patriots 20 Jets 16. I do not think the Patriots offense can make explosive plays and can blow teams out.  I think the Jets keep it close but ultimately the OL lets them down again and the Pats win a close back and forth game.

Know Your Opponent: Carolina Panthers

Michael Meegan gives a preview of the Jets-Panthers matchup.

Week 1 the Jets find themselves in a game filled with outside narratives.  They head to Carolina to face Sam Darnold their former QB who they traded away in April which kick started the Zach Wilson Era.  Now with the Jets 5 point road underdogs lets dive into Sunday’s matchup.

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TOJ’s Year In Preview: New York Jets QBs

As we head towards the start of the regular season, the TOJ team will be previewing every position group for the New York Jets. Our own Michael Meegan takes a crack at the QB position.

Quarterback is the most important position in sports.  It is a position the Jets have struggled with my entire life.  In 2021 Jets fans should be hoping that QB is a position no longer a question mark.

Depth Chart: Zach Wilson, Mike White

Zach Wilson: Was the Jets’ number 2 overall pick in the draft this year and Jets fans should be optimistic, for the upcoming year and going forward, given Wilson’s physical tools and his impressive preseason performance that he can be the franchise QB we have been waiting decades for.

Mike White: Is not good and I have no idea why he is on the team.

Veterans Available: Blake Bortles, Ben Dinucci, Nick Foles (Trade)

Former Jaguars QB Blake Bortles: is not good but in a funny way, not in a pathetic way like Mike White, so I guess that is progress?

Former Cowboys QB Ben Dinucci- Terrible QB but Sopranos memes/clips always slap, so would be a welcome addition.

Current Chicago Bears QB Nick Foles- trading any compensation for him is silly, but Ryan Pace is dumb. Unless the Bears attach a pick to this trade, no reason to do this.

Upgrade/Downgrade: Upgrade 1000000000000%

Sam Darnold was the 38th best QB in the league last year: for context, there are only 32 teams in the NFL.  This, coupled with not having to follow Jordan Palmer on Instagram anymore and watch QB throwing drills at the beach, is more than enough evidence to declare Wilson as a substantial upgrade to the Jets 2020 QB’s.

Best Case Scenario: Wilson Balls out

It’s no secret that Zach Wilson’s performances matter more than the Jets 2021 record.  If he is legit good from the jump, it elevates the Jets in 2021 and years to come.  If we are sitting here 12 months from now and have not had to read a million pieces about Zach taking the 2nd year leap because he was already good as a rookie, it’s a home run for the Jets and positions them to be a team that can make noise in the playoffs in 2022 and hopefully every year after that.

Worst Case Scenario: We have to see any QB not named Zach Wilson start a game or more.

Sam Darnold missed time each of his 3 years: in all those games, the Jets were essentially unwatchable and they lost every game.  I would much rather see Wilson take his lumps as a rookie and learn from them playing 17 games than having to miss three to four games and go into 2022 with durability questions.

Prediction: Zach Wins OROY and Mike White does not make me want to shove scissors in my eyes.

Wilson is going to be very good this year and it starts with shutting up the Darnold apologists week 1. Then he collects his OROY trophy posting a 25 TD, 7 INT, 65% comp, 3890-yard season.  Mike White never touches the field and we can forget he existed in 2022.

 

TOJ Pod: 53 Man Roster Thoughts

Zach Wilson Signs His Rookie Contract

Michael Meegan reacts to Zach Wilson signing with the Jets.

Our long 2 day nightmare is over!!!!

Zach Wilson finally signed his rookie contract today around 1pm, where the Jets got their offset language and Zach got his 22.9 million signing bonus paid within 15 days.  This is exactly the structure Sam Darnold had and I do not know why it took 3 months to find this “compromise” given that there was an obvious precedent set with Sam, but the Johnson’s never know how to get out of their own way so I’m not really surprised.

Anyway the Jets really needed Zach in camp as James Morgan and Mike White are not good and it was hurting the whole team not being there.  The offense cannot build continuity without Zach and it does not help the defense when they’re not being tested by QB’s who are NFL level players.  Now with fans in attendance on Saturday, we get to see launch Zach  missiles all over the field for the rest of camp and be ready for preseason which is only 16 days away. The good vibes are finally back and hope they are here to stay.

UDFA Spotlight Kenny Yeboah

Michael Meegan analyzes UDFA TE Kenny Yeboah.

The Jets needed to add to their TE room and they decided to wait until after the draft and snagged Ole Miss TE Kenny Yeboah as a UDFA.  With the mercurial Chris Herndon and blocking TE Tyler Kroft as the only real players on the depth chart, Yeboah has a legit shot to make this roster.

Yeboah is an athletic TE who really blossomed under Lane Kiffin during his last year at Ole Miss.  Yeboah put up an impressive 29 catches for 524 yards and 6 TD’s in just 7 games.  Yeboah’s best game came against National Champion Alabama where he went for 7 catches 181 yards and 2 scores.

Yeboah is best as a WR when he can attack the seams.  He has really solid hands and a surprisingly  nuanced route tree. Yeboah needs work as a blocker but he displays a lot of effort while blocking and with the right coaching he can really grow.  Zach Wilson has struggled for consistency in attacking the middle of the field and a weapon like Yeboah can really be helpful for him as he tries to improve in that part of his game.

I will never give up on Chris Herndon but I really do hope Yeboah can make this roster because as a tandem I think they can be really exciting.  I think Yeboah is way too talented to have not been drafted and has a clear path to be a guy who can make an impact on this roster.