New York Jets: It Feels Like Home

Rex Ryan talking big? Underdogs at home? It finally feels like a normal week for the New York Jets

Rex Ryan getting ripped to pieces in the media for an arrogant comment?

The New York Jets underdogs in their own building?

Somebody from outside the locker room (Kris Jenkins), criticizing the players on the team as being catty, selfish and more concerned with self-promotion than winning?

It finally feels like a normal week for the Rex Ryan led New York Jets. This team needs the headlines, controversy and doubt to play to their potential. Think about it –

In 2009, they started off with low expectations with a new coach and a rookie quarterback. They rip off three straight wins to start the season, including a stunner over New England. The praise and complacency start to come and they lose 6 out of 7.

At 4-6 they are written off in a similar way to they are being now. They respond by winning 4 out of 5 and making the playoffs. Yet, they still receive criticism and a lack of respect for how they got in. Rex Ryan outlandishly calls the Jets the Super Bowl favorites before the playoffs start, everybody thinks he is crazy until they win two straight on the road and are up by 11 in Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game.

It falls apart but everybody takes the Jets seriously as a Super Bowl contender heading into the 2010 season. They drop a stink bomb in week one, leading to everybody questioning everything about the team, particularly Ryan and Mark Sanchez. In response, the Jets win 9 of their next 10 and are arguably the best team in the league at 9-2 heading into New England. Too much confidence, too much praise, too much complacency and the Jets lose two straight and make themselves underdogs heading into Pittsburgh. They win a surprising game that ultimately propels them to the playoffs, where nobody picks them to beat Peyton Manning or Tom Brady but they do.

Finally everybody hops on the bandwagon, the trash talking disappears and they lose in the AFC Championship Game.

It seems to me that the Jets only respond as an underdog. They find ways to run their mouths and win games in ways that piss people off. Let’s hope history repeats itself the next 3 games when the Jets will likely be underdog in every single match-up, starting this week versus San Diego.

Game Breakdown: Jets vs. Chargers

TOJ breaks down the Jets week 7 match-up against the San Diego Chargers

Offense: How about a first quarter touchdown? Maybe even a first quarter first down? The New York Jets must find a way to start faster because of the firepower San Diego has on the offensive side of the football. It is on Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer in particular to come up with something to put the Chargers defense on their heels.

I would expect to see more LaDainian Tomlinson than usual on Sunday. He has looked better with the football in his hands all season than Shonn Greene and you know how motivated he will be for Sunday. Between Tomlinson, Greene, and hopefully a larger dose of Joe McKnight the Jets must establish a running game to keep the pressure off Mark Sanchez and open the play action passing attack down the field.

The Jets are going to need all of their pass catching options to step up on Sunday. Santonio Holmes must be the number one receiver they signed him to be and make another big play as he did the past two weeks. Plaxico Burress needs a couple of first quarter catches to get in the flow of the game. Dustin Keller should be able to stretch the seam with Jeremy Kerley. The offense only scored 17 points last week, which isn’t going to cut it this Sunday.

Defense: Ryan Matthews would seem to be type of back who will give the Jets defense a world of trouble. Of course, Ray Rice seemed that way too but they were able to keep him in check. Rex Ryan’s unit needs their “A” game like they had in Baltimore led by the defensive line up front slowing Matthews and Mike Tolbert down. Philip Rivers has been off so far this year but always has the ability to flip the switch and push the football down the field as well as any quarterback in the league.

I would expect Darrelle Revis to spend the overwhelmingly majority of the game on Vincent Jackson. The real question is going to be how will the Jets handle Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates if he suits up? Antonio Cromartie needs to show up and the safeties have to perform better. The Jets should also be able to get after Rivers. Aaron Maybin, Jamaal Westerman, and Calvin Pace must keep Rivers uneasy in the pocket and force another turnover or two.

Special Teams: An area of the game where the Jets could have a large advantage. A huge kick or punt return will go a long way towards helping pull off the “upset.” TJ Conley must also keep up his strong performances, as field position will be crucial in what should be a tight game.

New York Jets: 10 Up, 10 Down

Ten New York Jets trending up, and ten New York Jets trending down

Up – Wayne Hunter

After an ugly start that had most of us clamoring for Damien Woody, Hunter has settled down and put together back to back solid performances, including a terrific one on Monday Night against Cameron Wake. Nobody ever expected Hunter to be a Pro-Bowl caliber player but if he can find some consistency and be an average starter, the Jets will at least have a year or two to find a long term replacement.

Down – Shonn Greene

I have always believed that if given the opportunity Shonn Greene could be a quality feature back. Through six games, Greene is making me reconsider that thought process. He needs to start breaking a few big runs, so his 21 carries for 71 yards could start looking like 21 carries for 115 yards. If he continues to be this sluggish, look for more carries for LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight down the stretch and then look for Mike Tannenbaum to make a strong play for Matt Forte or Maurice Jones-Drew this off-season.

Up – Joe McKnight

The new Brad Smith, who finds a way to make a few big plays each week either on offense or special teams. He should receive a bigger role as both a running back and receiver moving forward. When is the last time you heard anyone mention Leon Washington or Danny Woodhead by the way?

Down – Plaxico Burress

By everybody’s admission, he isn’t on the same page as Mark Sanchez yet which is somewhat understandable. However, the sulking on the field isn’t helping anyone. The question of if Burress is going to become a consistent weapon down the stretch, will go a long way to determining how serious of a playoff contender the Jets are.

Up – Aaron Maybin

His skill set is very raw, as basically all he could is speed rush. However, he is always going 100 miles per hour and has a natural ability to create turnovers as he seems to force a fumble every time he makes a tackle. He is a good project to continue developing in this defense and should create more plays as the season progresses.

Down – Matthew Mulligan/Patrick Turner

A symbol of Brian Schottenheimer’s problems as  aplay caller, as they are dead give aways to the Jets running the football. The problem is that neither seem to provide much of a threat as a pass catcher and the only impact plays I can remember from them is dropped passes by both them and the occasional holding call on Mulligan.

Up – Jamaal Westerman

He has finally broke through with 2.5 sacks in the past 2 games, providing the pass rush the coaching staff expected this off-season. However, Westerman still must become a complete player and set the edge better in the running game, as do all the Jets linebackers and ends.

Down – Mark Sanchez

Sanchez hasn’t been quite as bad as some will lead you to believe. Yet, his continued struggles with accuracy and slow starts remains frustrating to watch. The good news is that he has avoided turnovers the past two weeks but this offense needs more from him, especially in this critical upcoming three game stretch of games.

Up – Kenrick Ellis

The rookie third round pick was finally active last week and made a noticeable impact along the defensive line. Considering the Jets struggles stopping the run, expect to see much more Ellis moving forward. There is no questioning his talent but can he continue to improve in Rex Ryan’s system?

Down – Antonio Cromartie

He has been way, way too inconsistent this season. Cromartie should be as charged up as possible (no pun intended) for this Sunday, so hopefully he can begin to display some type of steadiness in the number two corner spot.

Up – Kyle Wilson

Wilson has quietly put together a much improved second year, highlighted by the job he did against Davone Bess in the slot last week. His role on the defense should only continue to grow and you feel like it is only a matter of time until he starts turning in some interceptions and sacks.

Down – Eric Smith

I am still not convinced he is anywhere near capable of being a full time starter at safety. His shortcomings in coverage are too much to overcome, particularly next to Jim Leonhard who already struggles in coverage.

Up – Nick Folk/TJ Conley

Nick Folk hasn’t missed a kick yet this year. Conley has been steady, which is saying something for the Jets punter position in previous years.

Down – Donald Strickland

It has been frustrating to see him injured again and not make much an impact when given the reps early in the year. With Wilson continuing to improve, I don’t see him having much of a role down the stretch.

Up – LaDainian Tomlinson

You have to expect a big game from Tomlinson this week against San Diego, right? LT has continued to be more productive with the football in his hands than any other running back on the team. If Greene continues to struggle, look for the Jets to lean more on Tomlinson down the stretch.

Down – Brodney Pool

I thought he could provide some support in pass coverage considering the shortcomings of Smith and Leonhard at the position. However, he hasn’t been much better and also been missing tackles all over the field in the running game.

Up – David Harris

So far Harris has been more active around the football than he was in 2010. Through six games, he has 33 tackles, an interception, 3 passes defensed, and 2 sacks.

Down – The Trips Wide Formation

There always seems to be a point in each game, where the Jets bunch three of receivers and split them out exceptionally wide. They proceed to always run the football out of the formation and opposing defenses know it. Once…I have seen the Jets run a bubble screen out of this for a 1 yard gain. It is time to can it.

Up – John Conner

The Terminator had been fairly quiet this year but has seen his usage increase in recent weeks. He had a crushing block on kick return to start the game last week and looked more efficient in the running game. Now, if he could only catch…

Down – The General Consensus On This Team

I think the win over Miami and the way it occurred may have put even more people down on this team than their three losses. They are now underdogs in their own building. Will it provide motivation?

New York Jets: Wins Are Good, Right?

Rob Celletti wonders what it will take to keep New York Jets fans happy

It is a funny game they play in the National Football League.  Sometimes, the post-game discussion and analysis is even funnier.

This past Sunday, the New York Giants won an important home game against the upstart Buffalo Bills.  A 24-24 nailbiter turned on a late red zone interception by the Giants’ Corey Webster, setting up a game-winning field goal for Big Blue.

On Monday morning, the New York media heaped praise upon Tom Coughlin’s team, and rightfully so.  The Giants were feeling “Super” (wink, wink) at 4-2 heading into their bye week, and Eli Manning was praised as an elite quarterback, despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the Giants’ victory (and nearly being intercepted to kill the eventual game-winning drive).

On Monday night, at the very same stadium, the New York Jets won a game by 18 points, against a division opponent that always challenges and plays them close.  Similarly, this game also turned on a red zone interception, complete with a highlight film 100-yard run-back, the only moment which garnered a significant reaction from the lifeless MetLife Stadium crowd.  Darelle Revis’ goal-line interception righted the ship for the Jets, who settled in for an eventually comfortable, if imperfect 24-6 victory.

But if you picked up a newspaper, logged onto a blog, or listened to a sports-talk radio show on Tuesday, you’d have thought the Jets lost.  The main talking points hadn’t changed much from what they were when the Jets were mired in a 3-game losing streak: the quarterback was inconsistent, the running game was not explosive, the defense gave up too many yards.

Isn’t winning supposed to be fun?

I am aware that the Buffalo Bills are a much better football team than the Miami Dolphins, who are probably now considering full tank-mode so they can draft Andrew Luck.  But my point in comparing the two scenarios is to bring to light just how asinine and absurd some of the post-game analysis of the NFL truly is.

A lot of people made the point on Tuesday that if Revis’ pick-six doesn’t happen, there’s a strong chance the Jets don’t recover from a 10-0 deficit and lose the game.  First of all, there’s no way to prove that.  Secondly, how does the Giants game turn out if Webster doesn’t make his interception?  For that matter, how does any NFL game turn out if key plays don’t happen, or go the other way?  That’s what makes them key plays, right?

And really, that’s what it is all about in the NFL.  The salary cap makes it arguably the most competitive pro sports league in the world.  The “any given Sunday” cliche is one that actually holds true, especially in division games, where you always throw records out the window.  A lot of NFL games are decided by one or two plays.  The Giants were praised for theirs, the Jets were scolded.

Again, I’m under no illusions here.  I know the Dolphins are a lost cause, and that the Jets need to play much, much better football, especially at the start of games.  I’m not apologizing for what I think is a defense that has some holes personnel-wise and an offense that is being held back by their offensive coordinator.  But, the Jets won a game and are right back into their season now.  And oh yeah, they won by 18 points, thoroughly dominating their opponent in the second half.  People seem to have overlooked that.

Perhaps it’s a product of Rex Ryan’s change in the culture of the team, but it seems as though Jets fans are not satisfied with anything other than a 63-0 victory in any contest.  It has gotten a little absurd, quite frankly.  And if you think back to last year, the Jets weren’t exactly juggernauts, either, despite all of the good will an 11-5 season and a 2nd straight AFC Championship Game appearance created.  They needed 4th quarter comebacks and/or overtime to beat some below-average competition.  Their defense looked just as vulnerable last year (at times) as it does this year, especially on third downs and late in games.

People predicting a special season this year from the Jets were probably a bit misguided, which has led to an enormous amount of criticism – some justified, some not – of this .500 team so far.  But in the NFL, it often boils down to one or two plays in a close game.  The Jets aren’t currently great, but they’re probably not far off either.

New York Jets: From One Must Win To The Next

This week’s home showdown against the San Diego Chargers is a pivotal game for the New York Jets season

The New York Jets pulled out their must win last night against the Miami Dolphins, thanks mostly to playing the Miami Dolphins. This week the competition level steps up substantially as they prepare to face the San Diego Chargers at home, where the early line has them as an underdog. The Chargers haven’t been overly impressive in their 4-1 start, considering they won tight games over Minnesota, Kansas City, Miami, and Denver…all contenders in the “Suck For Luck” sweepstakes but wins are wins and the Chargers are a dangerous opponent, as we will get into throughout the week.

Currently at 3-3 with their bye week on the horizon, this stands as a pivotal game for the New York Jets season. Let’s look at the two paths —


  • 4-3. Heading into the bye on a 2 game winning streak, making their 3 game losing streak a distant memory when they take the field on November 6th in Buffalo.
  • 2 weeks to prepare for the Bills, who will likely be 5-2 (they have a bye and play home versus Washington) and a single game ahead of the Jets in the AFC East and wild-card race.
  • An outside shot to catch New England remains, as the 5-1 Pats have a bye and then travel to Pittsburgh and host the Giants before coming to the New Meadowlands for a Sunday Night game versus the Jets. If the Jets beat San Diego and Buffalo, while New England loses one of those two. The Jets will be playing for a chance to pull even in first place in the AFC East.
  • An important tie-breaker with San Diego if they end up being a wild-card contender because Oakland takes the AFC West.
  • An important tie-breaker by improving their AFC record, as the Jets will likely be battling it out with 4 or 5 teams for a wild-card.


  • 3-4. Two weeks to sit on a home loss and for everybody to clearly state how the Jets are out of it and their season is over. Buffalo and New England licking their chops to truly bury their season.
  • Any small chance at an AFC East title is completely gone.
  • The Jets don’t have a tie-breaker with either Oakland or San Diego and have a 2-4 record in the AFC, hurting any tie-breaker chance they have.
  • Any facade of the Jets being a better home team this year disappears.

Which way will the Jets go?

New York Jets: Plaxico Burress Becoming Invisible

Plaxico Burress is becoming invisible on the New York Jets offense

Plaxico Burress started his New York Jets career with a bang, putting together a monster second half in their opening night victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, outside of a few plays in near garbage time against the Oakland Raiders, he has been an invisible man on the Jets offense. After dropping a pair of passes last week in New England, Burress had a concerning performance last night.

After not seeing a pass thrown his way in the first half, he finally caught a 16 yard slant route in the second half, which he followed by shaking his head repeatedly in a “why aren’t we doing this more often” kind of way. He followed up by dropping a dig route and then jogging on a deep ball that was thrown his way. Yes, Burress did throw a nice block on the Santonio Holmes touchdown and yes he has been surprisingly strong with that aspect of his game but what kind of factor will he be in the Jets passing attack moving forward?

Burress is clearly the type of receiver who appears to get frustrated if he is not involved early in game. Mark Sanchez and him have not fully developed their chemistry yet, while Brian Schottenheimer hasn’t found a way to get Burress in the rhythm of the offense. Where is the back shoulder fade that he traditionally runs so well? Where is the creativity in the red-zone?

The blame falls on all three of them, Burress, Sanchez, and Schottenheimer. In retrospect, it is looking like it might have been smarter just to keep Braylon Edwards as he had developed a good rapport with Sanchez and was coming off a strong season. However, the Jets are stuck with Burress now and he needs to run sharper routes, stop the sulking, work his way back to the football when it is thrown to him, and not jog any route. Sanchez and Schottenheimer need to find a way to get Burress going early, along with Sanchez improving his timing with him.

This offense needs a possession receiver and red-zone target opposite of Santonio Holmes. Burress is still working off the rust but the clock is ticking with a must win upcoming against the San Diego Chargers.