1st & 10: The Football Gods Giveth and Taketh Away

Stephen Russo gives his 10 takeaways from the Jets-Colts game.


We’ve had four days to let this loss marinate and while I thought it would get easier… it didn’t. Jets fans have been through enough, particularly in the quarterback department. For far too long, we’ve experienced inept quarterback play before we’ve even gotten to the backup.  From Luke Falk to Bryce Petty to Greg McElroy to Brooks Bollinger (shall I keep going?), it’s been death by a thousand cuts. I feel like we’d have to go all the way back to Ray Lucas to talk about a backup quarterback that had any sort of success with the Jets. But not this year! Mike F’n White comes out of nowhere to throw for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Bengals to lead this team to victory and give us all a glimmer of hope for some exciting football on Thursday night. Then, the kid actually follows it up by delivering a game-tying touchdown pass to our beloved Elijah Moore in the first quarter before realizing that he has no feeling in the fingers on his throwing hand and will miss the rest of the game…


Father & Son: A Jets Bond Like No Other

Stephen Russo shares his story of he and his dad’s Jets fandom.

The first six weeks of this NFL season have been difficult for me. Not because the Jets are 1-4, I’ve grown accustomed to that, unfortunately. However, it’s because this is the first time not sharing it with father in my 36 years on this Earth. He was the greatest man I knew. He was smart, witty, and kind. He was my best friend, and we lost him to a 4+ year battle with stage 4 brain cancer about two months ago. Dealing with something like this is never easy. There’s no playbook for it. There’s no right or wrong. You feel what you feel and you don’t hide from it. There are times when I am ok, and I know that he is in a better place because the last few months were tough to watch him go through. There are other times when I am mad that a man that was so unbelievably intelligent could get a disease that ultimately stripped him of his ability to share his thoughts with his loved ones. And then there’s sadness. That never goes away. I’m sad that I lost my best friend in this world way too soon. He was only 71 – cancer sucks.


1st & 10: Zach Squanders Opportunity Against the Patriots

Stephen Russo analyzes the Jets’ Week 2 performance in this week’s 1st & 10.

This was a winnable game and the Jets will be kicking themselves for squandering this opportunity. It was the home opener, with fans chomping at the bit for Jets football, and quite frankly, Zach Wilson pissed it away. The rookie is going to have games like this, but we have to call it what it is: a poor performance by a young QB when everything else went surprisingly well. The Jets’ linemen blocked, the defense played well, and they ran the ball effectively. And while you know struggles are going to come, you really wish they weren’t against the Patriots for once. This one is on Zach Wilson.

TOJ 1st & 10: 10 Things To Watch for the New York Jets (Week 1)

DA Osorio gives 10 thoughts heading into week 1 of the 2021 season.

That’s right, my boys: week one is upon us, and I’m here to pinch-hit for the good brother Stephen Russo for this week’s 1st & 10. By the time the Jets kick off their season in Charlotte, North Carolina, it would’ve been 252 days since Adam Gase patrolled the sidelines and Sam Darnold was throwing passes into triple coverage. That era? Gone. It is now Bobby Duran Saleh and Zach Morris Wilson’s turn to right this ship and gets the Jets back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Here are 10 things I’ll be looking for.

1. How good CJ Mosley looks:
He was the best defensive player for the Jets the last time he was on the field and he is the unquestioned leader of this unit. If Mosley is the same player he was versus Buffalo (9 tackles and a pick-six), it makes the Jets defense that much more formidable. There are questions at the cornerback position, but the middle of the Jets defense (Quinnen Williams, Marcus Maye, and CJ) will go a long way towards mitigating those concerns if they’re as good as they have shown. It starts with #57.

2. How Mehki Becton and Morgan Moses handle Brian Burns and Haason Reddick:
21.5 sacks last year for Brian Burns and newly-signed EDGE Haason Reddick, so the Jets’ bookends will be tested right out of the gate. How well they handle that will go a long way towards determining if the trip to the Queen City is a successful one or a disaster. Becton had an 83.8% pass rush win rate last year, while the former WFTer Moses allowed 5 sacks and had 6 penalties. Something has to give.

3. How Bryce Hall matches up with DJ Moore:
DJ Moore might really be the most underrated WR in the NFL, as he’s coming off back-to-back 1000+ yard seasons despite not having the chance to play with a starting-caliber NFL QB. That won’t change with Sam Darnold, but clearly, it hasn’t stopped him from producing. Moore played on the outside on 83% of his snaps last year and received the 6th most deep targets in the league with 26. He was 14th in yards per reception, 11th in yards per target, and 12th in yards per route run. He didn’t win by getting a ton of separation, so theoretically this could be a good matchup for the physical Hall, but if not then this could be a big game for DJ.

4. How Robby Anderson and Terrence Marshall are defended by the rest of the Jets secondary:
Terrence Marshall enters his first regular-season game as the highest-rated rookie WR via PFF, and Jets fans are very familiar with the Sun Gawd as he’s coming off his first 1,000+ yard season. The Jets spent three day-3 picks on cornerbacks and released Blessaun Austin in order to give the young corners a chance. Well, they’re going to get their chance, alright. Marshall slots in as the replacement for Curtis Samuel in Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady’s offense, and figures to draw either rookie Michael Carter (a much-smaller corner) or rookie Jason Pinnock while Anderson draws rookie Brandin Echols. If the Jets have intentions of winning this game, we cannot see the back of their jerseys too often.

5. If Quinnen Williams dominates Pat Elflein:
Coming off a strong sophomore season, the addition of EDGE Carl Lawson was supposed to give Williams the chance to really dominate in year 3. DraftSZN’s Michael Meegan has predicted that Q is talked about as a top-3 IDL by season’s end and, while I do not share that optimism, it is hard not to be excited for what the former ‘Bama DT gives us this season. He’s going against Pat Elflein (and, at times, John Miller), so this is advantage Jets on literally every snap. He had seven sacks and two forced fumbles last year and the addition of Sheldon Rankins means teams will be wise to not double-team him every chance they get. An errant Sam Darnold pass caused by a Quinnen Williams bull-rush might as well be written in blood.

6. Who emerges at RB out of the gate:
Ty Johnson was the best back in camp, but Michael Carter has the highest ceiling, and free-agent addition Tevin Coleman figures to be in the mix. Carolina’s defense was 20th against the run last year and 28th in yards allowed per attempt. There will be plays in the run game, and who is the one making them will be interesting to watch.

7. How is Elijah Moore used:
The Jets have the deepest WR group they’ve had in a really long time, and that was true before they took the Ole Miss standout with their first pick at the top of the second round. A much better pick than the New York Giants taking AR Toney 14 picks earlier, Elijah Moore can play in the slot or on the outside, and it is safe to assume the Jets will move him around a lot in the formation. We have to assume because Moore didn’t see the field at all during the preseason, but his first action comes against a team with the 3rd fewest interceptions last year. Similar to Carolina’s WRs versus the Jets corners, the Jets have the advantage versus the Carolina secondary, and Moore is a big reason why.

8. Corey Davis versus rookie Jaycee Horn:
I’ve said all offseason that the signing of Corey Davis feels very much like the signing of Plaxico Burress by the Giants from the Steelers: a young guy with a ton of talent who is just much better in his 2nd contract, Davis already has a rapport with his young QB and will be heavily featured in this passing game. He draws who I had at CB1 in South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, who seemed to be picking off Sam Darnold daily in Panthers training camp. For Zach Wilson to have a productive game, Corey Davis needs to school the young corner: Horn struggled with Elijah Moore and guys like him in college, whereas bigger targets where Horn could get his hands on them didn’t pose much of a threat. Davis fits the latter, except he also has deceptive speed. If he is cooking Horn repeatedly and Wilson is finding him, I expect the Jets offense to dominate.

9. Can Connor McGovern keep DT Derrick Brown from collapsing the pocket:
If he can’t? Game over.

10. Will Zach Wilson be better than Sam Darnold:
This is it right here and let me just say this: entering the draft, Zach Wilson in 2021 was better than Sam Darnold in 2018. There is no comparison between either of them as prospects entering their first NFL season. I’d even argue that 2021 Zach Wilson is a better QB today than QB Sam Darnold was leaving New York, as he was the 39th best QB in a league with only 32 teams. ALOT will be written after this game about two things:

one: how the Jets did the right thing by moving on from Darnold if they win
two: how the Jets did the wrong thing by not trading back from 2 and building around Darnold if they lose

None of those questions will be answered one Sunday afternoon in September, but if Zach Wilson balls and outplays Darnold (like I think he will), then it will go a long way towards silencing the beat writers who already have the #IToldYouSo pieces written. Wilson has a lot of talent on his OL and at WR, way more help than Darnold ever had, but he also is the more talented QB. I expect him to show that on Sunday, and for the Jets to leave Ric Flair Country 1-0.

Previously On TOJ:

Author: Dalbin Osorio

Dalbin Osorio is a Case Planner for Graham-Windham, New York's oldest child welfare agency. He is, also, a student at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Dalbin graduated from Monroe College with a degree in Business Administration. A 3 sport utility man in high school (think a mix of Jerome WIlliams, Brad Smith, and Jayson Nix), he joined TOJ in 2013.

1st & 10: Jets vs. Giants Preseason Edition!

Stephen Russo’s latest first & 10 column


I thought this game had everything you’d want to see from our first preseason action in two years. The Jets showed life, an ability to move the ball on offense, a defense that got after it, and most importantly – no injuries! The biggest takeaway from this game was how Zach Wilson looked in his first game action as a pro. He looked in command and comfortable as he found a little bit of a groove in his two series of action. His ball had zip, he converted a few third downs (what a novel concept!), and he didn’t shy away from the pressure that he did face when it came his way. Overall, it was a great start for the rookie QB as he went 6/9 for 63 yards and led the starting Jets offense to 3 points.

& 10

1. Boy is it good to see Robert Saleh on the sidelines after staring at Adam Gase’s face for two years.

2. I think the absence of Elijah Moore helps, but I believe we are starting to see Corey Davis solidify himself as the clear cut #1 wide receiver on this team. And rightfully so.

3. CJ Mosley is ready to return with a vengeance this year. If he stays healthy, I think he is going to be a Pro Bowler.

4. There has been concern about the offensive line’s ability to pass block in the first few weeks of training camp – I was happy that they kept Zach Wilson clean in his two series.

5. One interesting nugget to keep an eye on with Saleh that hasn’t been on the radar is discipline. Saleh’s personality screams that he is diligent and detail oriented, which should translate to having a disciplined team that doesn’t punish themselves. It’s early and I’m slightly nitpicking but 6 total penalties, and a few that either negated a first down or gave the Giants a first down, are not what you want to see. It’s the 1st preseason game but it bears watching.

6. The Jets defensive line is going to be VERY good this year. Carl Lawson is going to get a lot of headlines, but I’d keep an eye on guys like JFM and Bryce Huff (who really flashed Saturday night). I could easily see Lawson having 10+ sacks with a few others also having 6 or more this year. They are going to feast on opposing quarterbacks and it is going to be glorious.

7. Good for Denzel Mims.

8. I think I like the Jets’ running back group. Ty Johnson and Michael Carter have some pep, and La’Mical Perine has impressed thus far. And we haven’t even considered Tevin Coleman. This could be an underrated unit that could surprise us with success as a group.

9. It makes me so happy that I can have a year where I don’t have to convince myself that Jeff Smith, Lawrence Cager, or Josh Malone can turn into the next Jerry Rice as they’re playing meaningful minutes on Sundays.

10. I found the starting tight end depth chart to be interesting. Ryan Griffin played with the starters, with Kroft and Herndon sprinkled in. It could be a committee approach; it could be that the coaching staff is still figuring it out. I think it’s time for one to separate himself from the pack.

Insights from Today’s Jets Practice

Four of our writers and podcast hosts offer their takeaways from seeing the Jets in person today.

Turn on the Jets was fortunate to have four writers and hosts at today’s Jets practice. In this article, they share with you their impressions of the day’s events, ranging from Zach Wilson’s performance to Jeff Ulbrich’s defense.

What were your impressions of watching Zach Wilson in person today?

Matt Gianesses: Zach looked very comfortable today. He threw mostly good, accurate balls with only a few incompletions – one of which was a drop. His throws have significantly more zip on them than the other two QBs on the field, (Morgan and White). The ball flies out of his hand.

Stephen Zantz: Zach looked great. He was decisive and accurate. The Elijah Moore deep ball is going to big talking point but Zach made a ton of other solid throws. Besides the Moore TD, he had a great rollout bullet throw to Denzel Mims. Overall, this was a great bounce back practice for Zach after a rough day 1.

Stephen Russo:  Wilson had a great day of camp and it was great to see him bounce back from a subpar first practice.  The ball popped and he showed the ability to climb the pocket, move around within the pocket, and get out on rollouts and scrambles.  It was all capped off by a great deep ball to Elijah Moore that got the entire crowd (and Jets Twitter) fired up!

Will Parkinson: I was impressed with Wilson and it was for a few reasons. I thought he showed a swagger and confidence that was evident, especially after struggling heavily on day 1. I liked his ability to put touch on the ball when needed and then fire in a fastball when needed. Lastly, although there is a ton of room to grow, what I saw on film from Wilson was shown on the field Saturday.

What are your thoughts on Mike LaFleur’s offense now that you’ve seen it in person?

Matt Gianesses: It’s hard to tell this early on, but Zach rolled out of the pocket more than once, which was something Gase refrained from designing for his quarterbacks. I also found it amusing seeing a pre-snap motion in training camp, as Gase-led offenses rarely motioned in the regular season. 

Stephen Zantz: It’s polar opposite to what we saw with Adam Gase. The biggest thing I noticed was amount of rollouts and use of Zach’s feet. Gase never let Darnold run so it was nice to see an offensive coordinator that is utilizing a QB’s athleticism. Jet fans should be happy that we now have a seblance of what an offense should look in the 2021 NFL.

Stephen Russo:  It’s not an Adam Gase offense so immediately it’s an improvement, right?! In all honesty, it’s difficult to tell this early on but a few things that jump out are the pre-snap motion, designed rollouts, and the ability to get a lot of guys involved.  I also think that the “run-first” mentality of this offense may hold true to set up the pass, and the Jets look to be in decent shape with that RB room as Carter, Perine, and Johnson all looked good today.

Will Parkinson: A few different things stood out to me. The use of pre snap motion was something Jets fans haven’t seen in a long time and they got a bunch of yesterday just 4 days into offensive install. There was a nice mix of play action, inside and outside zone runs and straight 5 step drops. Very early on but the Jets using motion as well as a ton of 11 personal(3 WRs, 1 RB, 1 TE) was something that stood out as well; sounds crazy to fans, but actually maximizing your talent–unlike previous regimes.

Did any other offensive players stand out to you for positive reasons?

Matt Gianesses: To me, Elijah Moore looks like a seasoned NFL veteran. Not just from his on field play, but from the way he carries himself throughout stretches, drills, and team huddles. You could find him dancing, instigating the crowd, and cheering on his teammates. He looks like he’s been here before.

Stephen Russo:  Simply put, Elijah Moore.  He was everywhere, and already seems to have a great rapport with Wilson and is clearly his favorite target.  It doesn’t seem like Moore is a rookie and he is going to make it difficult to keep him off the field.  If the Jets plan on starting the best 3 receivers, he is easily in that group and probably at the top at this point. 

Will Parkinson: The easy answer here is Elijah Moore. Lined up everywhere mostly outside opposite Corey Davis and excelled. I really liked what I saw from Michael Carter, LaMichael Perine, DJ Montgomery, Tyler Kroft as well as how physically imposing Morgan Moses is. As big as Mehki Becton is, Morgan Moses doesn’t exactly look small compared to him, the Jets certainly have some monsters at left and right tackle.

Today’s practice was notable because of how well Zach Wilson played. Based on reports, it seems like the defense struggled. Was that your impression of today’s practice?

Matt Gianesses: The secondary definitely struggled. The pass rush did not. There were throws from Wilson, Morgan, and White that easily would have resulted in sacks. Lawson put on an absolute clinic in his limited reps.

Stephen Zantz: I wouldn’t say the defense struggled as a whole but the secondary was very shaky. A few nice PBUs but overall they were cooked by Zach. Carl Lawson was held relatively in check by Becton today but the DL was getting into the backfield a lot today. Zach’s bomb TD to Moore probably would have been a sack if it was a real game because he held onto the ball for about 4-5 seconds. I think the defense was solid but the offense was just better today.

Stephen Russo:  I don’t necessarily think the defense struggled but it was a good day for the offense.  If you were going to point to one concern, it would be the secondary but we already knew that – and we are in day 4 of training camp with a litany of rookies and second year guys getting rotated in.  Jason Pinnock made a great, acrobatic pick off his back and probably returned it for a TD.  I thought that Lawson and John Franklin-Myers flashed as well and Jets fans are going to be happy with the D-Line production this year. 

Will Parkinson: I wouldn’t say the defense played badly at all. Firstly, without full pads or even uppers on its very difficult to tell because of how cluttered run fits can look and how the outside battles can be. That said, Carl Lawson flashed every single play and the defense as a whole played fast even though they lost some battles in 50/50 balls on the outside. I didn’t think the defense played badly, but today was just more about the excitement of Zach Wilson showing his potential.

Were there any standout players on defense that you noticed?

Matt Gianesses: Carl Lawson pressured the quarterback on what felt like every other rep he took today. He was a nightmare for the offense. The Jets desperately need to keep him healthy alongside Quinnen Williams.

Stephen Zantz: No one specifically stuck out to me on defense. Granted most of my attention was on the offense looking for big plays. The one thing I will say was Saleh was super involved in the cornerback positional drills. It was great to see him providing input on a unit that definitely needs work.

Stephen Russo:  Carl Lawson would be the one defensive player who flashed.  Him and Becton going at it day after day is going to be great for both of them.  Outside of Lawson, there was nothing really notable for the defense, but it wasn’t a bad day either.  

Will Parkinson: Carl Lawson. I’ve written and studied him all winter and spring and he is every bit the player I’ve watched on film. He’s physical, he’s intelligent, he’s fast and has a million pass rush moves. He is going to make Mehki Becton so much better from battling everyday but Lawson will only get better once the pads come on. Jets may have finally solved there edge problem.

Are there any other observations or thoughts that you would like to share with fans based on today’s practice?

Stephen Zantz: The biggest takeaway I have is that Elijah Moore is going to be a really good player for the Jets for a long time as long as he is healthy. You can see the difference between him and everyone else. His route running and speed combination was awesome to see. He looked like the best player out there today. Something I also loved to see was how involved Saleh was with all the units during practice. I saw him taking notes as he walked around the field. It was just really refreshing to see his approach conmpared to what Gase was doing the past two years. Overall, it was a great day for the fans and I highly recommend people try and go to a practice or the green/white game.

Stephen Russo:  Robert Saleh addressing the fans at the end of practice is exactly why this fanbase is so optimistic going into 2021.  He wrapped practice up with the team, grabbed the mic, and thanked us all for being there and told us about about the character of his guys.  He ended it with an “All Gas, No Brake” chant that got the crowd completely fired up and was a great way to end a great day.  We’re 4 days into camp so I don’t to put the cart before the horse, but I truly believe that the combination of Saleh and Douglas could have the Parcells-ian like impact on this franchise.  All Gas, baby!!

Will Parkinson: I think the biggest takeaway was the the culture and vibes around one Jets Drive are certainly changing. They are still a major work in progress but the energy was buzzing and you could tell they’re trying to build something short term and long term here. There’s a lot of young talent and some high level veterans that will have to gel and have things break their way, but the fans, players and coaches all seem to be trying to build something special.


A Plea to Jets Fans: Don’t Hit the Panic Button

Stephen Russo on why Jets fans have reason for optimism.

There is no doubt the Jets delivered a gut punch to every fan this past Sunday in Los Angeles. Somehow, some way, Adam Gase managed a win against Sean McVay on the back of 76-year-old Frank Gore and his 24 touches (and his 2.7 yards per rush). The entire Jets fanbase took a collective hit to the groin like we did when Keith Byers fumbled in Denver, or when Drew Coleman let Peyton Manning’s pass go over his fingertips to Pierre Garcon, or when Big Ben hit Antonio Brown on 3rd down to seal the deal, or when Ryan Fitzpatrick almost connected with Kenbrell Thompkins in the 4th quarter in Buffalo, or… did I make my point clear enough?


New York Jets – Ranking The Head Coach Candidates

Stephen Russo ranks the New York Jets head coaching candidates…

Adam Gase’s 23-month tenure as HC of the NYJ has been one for the record books. He has set records for bad offense, ruining careers, ineptitude, affinity for 37-year-old running backs, and number of people involved in a single play call. However, one thing that Gase should include on his resume is that he was the first person since Bill Parcells to unite the Jets fanbase. It seems as though he is the one person who is unanimously hated across all of Jets land, and pretty much has been since day one. You don’t have to go back too far to realize that Gase was very low, if not the lowest, on everyone’s totem pole of candidates back in January, 2019. He may have gotten a slight nod over Rich Kotite or Lou Holtz, but in his almost 2 years he has proven every single one of us right.


The New York Jets Dream Offseason

Stephen Russo with his dream offseason for the New York Jets

In a season mired by historical ineptitude, the Jets have also managed to find themselves on the verge of some other history. They are well on their way to the worst season in franchise history, possibly having the worst season in NFL history and they are pairing that with potentially the worst point differential of any team, ever. They are led by a historically bad head football coach, and to top it all off I think that we can all agree that they have made history for the earliest they have ever made a fanbase want to fast forward to the offseason. However, the upcoming offseason provides the light at the end of the tunnel that so many of us need.