Dan Essien gets weird with the Jets week 3 matchup with the New England Patriots.
The Jets current players and fanbase hearts are equally damaged right now as the team enters a daunting week 3 matchup with the New England Patriots. The Jets are down to their 3rd string quarterback as they to try to shock the world in Foxboro…or at least maintain respect. Here’s this week’s stats, stories, and predictions for week 3.
Chris Gross with his weekly Fact or False previewing the Jets/Patriots Thanksgiving Night showdown
Happy Thanksgiving, Jets fans! After a much-needed victory in St. Louis last week, the Jets find themselves in a familiar, yet unfamiliar, spot in the Rex Ryan era. What’s familiar about tomorrow night’s game against New England is that the Jets always seem to find themselves in a pivotal point of their season when matching up against the Patriots for the second time in the 17 week regular season.
In 2009, New York headed to Foxboro at 4-5. A win would have been monumental as it would have not only gotten the Jets back to .500, but it would have completed a regular season sweep of New England for the first time since the 2000 season, when they were still led by the likes of Vinny Testaverde and Curtis Martin. New York fell that week 31-14, aided partly by Mark Sanchez’s 4 interceptions.
In 2010, the 9-2 (!!) Jets squared off with New England in Foxboro for sole possession of 1st place in the AFC East. Heading into that game, New York’s average margin of defeat in their only two losses was a meager 5 points, so naturally most people were optimistic about 2010 finally being the year that the Jets knock Brady’s bunch off of their pedestal and claim dominance in the division for the first time in a decade. What happened that night? The Jets were embarrassed 45-3 on national, prime time television.
Finally, in 2011, the Jets were hosts to the second regular season matchup between the two clubs. New York stood at 5-3 heading into their week 10 matchup with New England, fresh off of a dominant performance against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, NY. The Patriots, on the other hand, were also 5-3, but seemed to be spiraling downward, coming off of a 2 game losing streak to the Steelers and Giants. This was finally it. The Jets had New England right where they wanted them – reeling with an equivalent record, in their own building. It finally seemed that New York was ready to take over the division and earn a home playoff game, something many felt had held them from reaching the Super Bowl in the previous two seasons. Unfortunately for Gang Green, same story, different day. The Patriots smacked the Jets 37-16 in a game that was never close. It seemed as if this habit of dropping the second regular season matchup to New England might never be broken.
Now, the Jets finally have a chance to break that very habit. New York finds itself at a crossroad in their season. Standing at 4-6, this team has been hit from all angles. Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes are out for the year with season ending injuries. The media has used Tim Tebow’s presence in various attempts to stir up drama and rip this locker room apart. Ryan, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, and Owner Woody Johnson, each praised for their brash styles at their respective positions in years past, have all come under heavy criticism. In short, Ryan’s once up and coming Jets have become the punch line for countless jokes revolving around the NFL.
So what does it all mean? It means the Jets face New England for the second time of the regular season in a relatively new position. Instead of being poised to topple the Patriots through a monumental victory that could shift the tide in the AFC East, New York now finds themselves with their backs against the wall. As we all know, Rex Ryan’s squad has done quite well in these situations in the past. Yes, in 2009, the Jets were aided by Jim Caldwell’s decision to pull all of his starters in their week fifteen matchup against the Colts in Indianapolis. However, New York still had to defeat the AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals in week 16 to secure a playoff spot. As you may recall, New York came out with a vengeance, blanking the Bengals 37-0, propelling them to their first AFC Championship Game run under Ryan.
Similarly, in 2010, the Jets traveled to Foxboro for the AFC Divisional Round game against the Patriots. No one in the world gave New York a chance, considering how lopsided the outcome of the previous matchup between the two clubs was. With their backs against the wall once again, New York pulled off one of the most satisfying wins in franchise history, upsetting the Patriots 28-21, leading to one of the most memorable post game speeches in the history of the sport.
By now, you are asking yourself what this all means for tomorrow night’s game. The answer is simple. These two teams have never faced each other under these circumstances. The Jets, although notoriously laughable in this game under Ryan, will be hosting the Patriots with their backs against the wall for the first time in this situation. You can throw the history books out, because regardless of the outcome, a new chapter will be written in this rivalry on Thanksgiving night. Key players on both teams are out of this competition. Rex is out to prove his worth as a head coach in an attempt to rally his team toward an unprecedented playoff run, a goal that suddenly becomes attainable with a win at MetLife stadium tomorrow, considering the fact that New York’s remaining opponents have a combined record of 17-33. The circumstances are different, but New York has another chance at a monumental victory over their long time foe.
How will it all pan out, though? For the Jets, there are several feats they need to attain to put themselves in a position to reign victorious. Rather than using outright predictions, this week’s New York Jets Fact or False highlights exactly what Gang Green needs to do in order to stage an upset of the Patriots on the biggest stage. Digest these proclamations with your holiday bird, and be sure to give thanks for a full day of NFL madness, regardless of any outcome.
The Jets need Shonn Greene to carry the load of the running game past the Patriots.False. This is a no brainer. New York looked like an entirely new offense last week using a running back by committee approach. While many have attributed their success to a poor opponent, St. Louis actually ranks thirteenth in total defense in the NFL. Are the Rams great? Absolutely not. But Jeff Fisher’s club is certainly not the laughing stock it once was. New York needed a strong offensive effort, and that is exactly what they got, led by the resurgence of Shonn Greene as the battering ram, the emergence of Bilal Powell, who scored his first two career touchdowns, as the elusive scat back, and the somewhat proper utilization of Joe McKnight as the explosive, all purpose back. The result? Mark Sanchez put together his most efficient performance of the season, and New York won in dominant fashion in a must win situation. Sticking to this philosophy is an absolute necessity against New England tomorrow. Control the clock, keep Brady off the field, and give Sanchez something to lean on.
The Jets need to find a way to pressure Brady without a heavy amount of blitzing.Fact. Most people are now aware of the blueprint on how to shut down Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense. Hit the prolific quarterback over and over and over. However, the reason that teams like the Giants have been so successful against New England is because they can do so without a heavy amount of blitzing. Tom Brady has been lights out against the blitz this year – 86 attempts, 10 TDs, 0 INTs, 90.0 QBR, and a 127.2 passer rating. New York needs to find a way to get in his face without using the blitz.
New England has lost three games this season – home against Arizona, and on the road in Baltimore and Seattle. In those three losses, Brady has been sacked 9 times, while being hit 17 times. New England’s offense can surely sputter if opposing defenses can get to Brady. The key is to do it without letting him burn you on the blitz. Rex and his staff need to get very creative disguising their pressure schemes to create the illusion that the Jets are bringing more heat than they actually are, through an effective use of zone blitzes, similar to how they were able to rattle Brady in the 2010 playoffs. Look for Ryan to mix up his fronts, using a variety of four man rushes, led primarily by Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. With All-Pro Guard Logan Mankins ruled out for tomorrow, New York will have optimal opportunity to generate a strong interior pass rush. Based on the play of Wilkerson and Coples as of late, New England could easily have their hands full tomorrow night.
Tom Brady is the only part of the Patriots offense that needs to be stopped.False. While Brady is certainly the key to New England’s offensive success, the run game must be stopped at all costs as well. In each of the Patriots three losses this year, they have failed to generate more than 90 total rushing yards as a team. New York needs to make the offense one dimensional, and then worry about getting to Brady. A tall task, yes, but nothing will be easy in achieving the upset tomorrow night.
The Jets need to generate turnovers to win.Fact. Historically, the Jets under Rex Ryan have had their best success against the Patriots when they’ve been able to take the ball away from Tom Brady. In Ryan’s 3 total wins against New England, Brady has thrown a total of four interceptions. In New England’s five victories against Ryan’s Gang, Brady has turned the ball over via interception just once. This trend holds true to two of New England’s three losses this year. Brady has just three interceptions on the season, however one came in the home loss to Arizona, with the other two coming from the loss in Seattle. Another daunting task for the Jets, particularly without Darrelle Revis, but remember, Brady is missing two key pieces of his offense, as well, in Mankins and TE Rob Gronkowski.
The Jets Special Teams need to wake up.Fact. In order to pull off this upset, the Jets need to be nearly perfect in all three phases of the game. New York’s once stout special teams has been a complete disaster as of late. Blocked kicks, big returns, losing focus and succumbing to a surprise onsides kick have haunted the Jets in previous weeks. To quote ESPN’s Cris Carter, “Mike Westhoff, where you at?!” The prolific coach, now a household name thanks to his role in HBO’s 2010 season of Hard Knocks, seems to have lost the grasp of a unit that was once regarded as a crutch for New York in times of struggle. Westhoff must get his unit ready to play. Any lapse on special teams will likely spell disaster for New York. While you may be able to get away with some blunders against mediocre teams, New England is a different animal. Bill Belichick has likely gone through hours of Jets special teams footage, looking for ways to exploit this suddenly weak group. A big play on special teams cannot happen in any way whatsoever if the Jets wish to begin a late season playoff push.
Enjoy the game, enjoy your families and friends, and most of all, enjoy the Jets tomorrow night, folks. From all of us here at Turn On The Jets, we wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving.
A guest post on TOJ, looking at how Bill Belichick turns the game of football into a glorified chess match better than any coach in the NFL
Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Kevin Kelly from GET Broken Record. If you are interested in contributing a guest post, send an email request with your idea to JoeC@TurnOnTheJets.com
Bill Belichick plays chess with human beings. And he’s better at this particular version of the game than any man alive.
Normal chess is man against man, mind against mind, strategy and tactical maneuvers engineered to attack while simultaneously defending.
Football is a complicated version of chess. Complicated for three reasons:
1. Only a few people realize it’s happening. Everyone else, the players included, are caught up in the excitement of the moment. 100,000 screaming fans, millions more watching at home, touchdown dances, cheerleaders, fireworks, explosions, the whole nine yards. But high atop the field watching quietly in the booth, a few select men sit quietly, studying, analyzing. They don’t see the sweat dripping off the faces of the athletes competing; they see pieces moving on a board. They watch. They look for patterns, holes, strengths and weaknesses not only in their own pieces, but also in the movements of the opponent.
2. There are multiple games being played simultaneously, and both games are using the same set of pieces. For example, the Offensive Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator both watch the game from the booth, and they play against a corresponding set of coordinators. If New York’s O.Coordinator bests New England’s defense, it means nothing if New York’s Defense gets trumped by the O.Coordinator for the Patriots. And it happens on the fly. All of this information, dozens of statistics and conditions and tangible pieces of evidence that suggest the what, where and how to succeed is then passed from the booth down to the coach.
3. This is where Belichick’s genius comes into play. He is a master at thin-slicing. He’s given an incredible amount of information and in the blink of an eye can deduce what needs to happen, to which he consistently adds resolve. Setting specific pieces into motion at certain times to evoke a reaction that butterfly effects a result two possessions or quarters or games later. It really is an incredible thing.
Rex Ryan screamed last Sunday. He screamed last Monday. On Tuesday, he probably yelled again for good measure. He talks trash. It has come to define him. But this Sunday he faces the Gridiron’s Bobby Fischer in a must-win situation. When Fischer beat the Russian Champion Boris Spassky in 1972 in a best of 7 series, Fischer didn’t show up for the first game. He intentionally took the loss. And it baffled the Russian. Without words, without doing anything at all, he planted a seed that chipped away at the best player in the world. Fischer took the series a few days later and became the first American Champion…ever.
Silence has a way of baffling the loud and outspoken. It’s a move they don’t understand, only drawing them further and further in, until it’s far too late.
If the Jets are to win on Sunday, their leaders need to shy away from the immediacy of the scream, away from the excitement of the moment and the roar of the crowd, and focus instead on the pieces on the board as Belichick has done for the last 20 years. It’s the NFL. Both sides have muscle, strength, and conditioning, top tier talent. All of that means nothing if you lose your mental, as reason walks out when emotion walks in. This is where New York needs to improve. And this is exactly what New England will look to exploit. Football is chess with living pieces. And in the immortal words of Bobby Fischer: Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind.
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Scouting The AFC East: New England Patriots
Our first look at the teams who share the division with the Jets and how they match up with them heading into 2010:
Offense – Tom Brady didn’t have his best season in 2009 after returning from ACL surgery, however he still was one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL and should be better in 2010 with a full year after the procedure under his belt. However, it remains to be seen when Brady’s top target, Wes Welker, will return from his knee injury and how effective he will be. Randy Moss was either hurt or just being lazy for long stretches of last season. The Patriots are hoping young receivers like Julian Edelman, Brandon Tate, and Taylor Price will adequately fill in for Welker until he returns and then become productive slot receivers behind him and Moss. Torry Holt was also signed this off-season but I don’t know how much he has left in the tank. It could be Joey Galloway 2.0 for the Patriots. At tight end, New England drafted two guys known for their pass catching ability in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski and signed veteran Alge Crumpler for blocking purposes.
The Patriots have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, although it isn’t as dominating a unit as it used to be. Their biggest problem on offense is the lack of a number one running back or even a back who can stay healthy. Laurence Maroney has been a disappointment and you have a better chance of seeing Rex Ryan beat Santonio Holmes in a 40 yard dash than seeing Fred Taylor or Sammy Morris make it through a full year without getting injured.
You have to feel confident about how the Jets match up against New England’s offense in 2010. They did a good job of getting to Tom Brady last season and that will only be aided by the addition of Jason Taylor. Wes Welker killed the Jets in 2009 but they now have Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to throw at him instead of Dwight Lowery, Lito Sheppard, or Drew Coleman. I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the Jets let Darrelle Revis match up on him and let Cromartie cover Moss. The Jets don’t have Kerry Rhodes at safety anymore, which means Laurence Maroney shouldn’t be running anybody over on our defense this season.
Defense – Yes there is still talent on the New England defense and they are still coached by Bill Belichick but they aren’t the same type of unit they were in years past. They maintained their personnel from 2009 despite their struggles against both the run and pass. First round pick Devin McCourty should help at corner and Darius Butler has some potential but overall the New England secondary isn’t a scary group. They are going to have a tough time matching up with Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Santonio Holmes (in the second meeting). They have always had a tough time covering Dustin Keller and that shouldn’t change this season either.
Mark Sanchez threw away the game the Jets lost to New England last season. If he can protect the football, the Jets should be able to run the ball against the Patriots and pick their spots down the field. Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren are still a handful up front but Nick Mangold and Brandon Moore can hold their own. I am sure Belichick will scheme up ways to attack Vladimir Ducasse but hopefully the Jets are prepared to counter his moves.
Special Teams – McCourty will be a big addition for the Patriots on special teams on all of their return and coverage units. Stephen Gostkowski is a quality kicker. However the Patriots did have their struggles with the Jets on special teams last season.
Overall – When you look at the Jets roster compared to New England, the only glaring advantage for the Patriots is at the quarterback position which is a testament to the work done by Mike Tannenbaum. The games against New England will always be a battle but the Jets have showed over the past few years they can beat them at home and on the road. I think the Dolphins will be the Jets top challenge for an AFC East title but the Patriots won’t be far behind.
1. Follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…for some reason we lost 2 fans in the past 2 days. I don’t think I offended anybody recently but who knows, all I know is we need somebody to make up for those 2 and we need to add a few more this week.
2. Good post today by Rich Cimini on who the Jets may be interested in for this year’s draft. #29 is a hard spot to project but Jared Odrick of Penn State has been a popular choice because of the Jets age and lack of depth on the defensive line. Yet, if Dez Bryant somehow falls to #29 or in the near proximity of it, it is hard not to see Mike Tannenbaum grabbing such a big name guy with such big time potential. Personally, I would rather see them take Odrick or another defensive lineman/outside linebacker instead of a receiver but you have to admit Bryant is an exciting possibility…and please, no Taylor Mays…we don’t need Vernon Gholston 2.0 at safety.
3. Nice quote from Calvin Pace in a Sporting News interview about playing for the Jets and their fans:
“When I signed with the Jets two years ago, I thought about that, and if that would help me do well. The people here are passionate, and you get really excited playing for the tem. That J-E-T-S chant gets you pumped up. It’s 24-hour football for these fans.”
4. As you can see at the bottom of the article, we have a new episode of TOJ TV. Our producer got a new camera and thought it would be fun to put together a movie trailer documenting how I began working for the site. I am saving all my football analysis for the upcoming Podcasts, which will world premiere on April 15thwith a draft preview, off-season review edition. TOJ TV can now fully embrace its role as entertaining videos related to being a Jets fan instead of a spot for analysis.
Are The Jets The Team To Beat In The AFC East?
A popular topic this off-season has been debating the question of whether the Jets or Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC East in 2010. On November 22nd 2009, this question would have been a no-brainer. New England took advantage of an awful Mark Sanchez performance and whipped the Jets 31-14. It seemed like the Patriots would be rolling to another division title and run at a Super Bowl while the Jets were headed to another year without the playoffs. However, over the last 6 weeks the Jets finished strong with a 5-1 record, while New England only went 3-3 down the stretch. In the wild-card round of the playoffs, the once mighty Patriots were completely humiliated on their home field by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14, while the Jets pulled out a gutsy win on the road against the Bengals 24-14. The Jets then followed that performance up with a 17-14 upset in San Diego, before eventually falling to the Colts by 13 in the AFC Championship Game. Is the torch ready to be passed?
So far this off-season, the Jets have had more than turnover than the Patriots. They added Antonio Cromartie to replace the ineffective Lito Sheppard, signed LaDainian Tomlinson to back up Shonn Greene instead of giving the job to the recently more effective Thomas Jones, and replaced the underachieving Kerry Rhodes with Brodney Pool. They let special teamers like Wallace Wright and Marques Murrell walk but recently signed special teams standout Lance Laury to help fill the gap left by them. It also appears Jay Feely and Marques Douglas won’t be back and the Jets are yet to fill the holes left by them…I don’t count Nick Folk and Mike DeVito as filling their spots properly.
New England has concentrated primarily on hanging on to their own players. They have brought back Leigh Bodden, Vince Wilfork, and Tully Banta-Cain on defense. On offense, they did let Chris Baker and Ben Watson walk at tight end but recently signed Alge Crumpler to fill the spot and also brought back Kevin Faulk and Stephen Neal.
Where does that leave the two teams right now? On offense, New England probably isn’t getting back Wes Welker until sometime in October and who knows when he will be back to 100 percent. Make no mistake, Welker is the Patriots most dangerous playmaker and important receiver, not Randy Moss who appears to be in decline. Also, spare me with the Julian Edeleman can be just as good as Welker in New England’s offense talk because regardless of Edeleman’s stats when Welker was out, here is what Tom Brady did without Welker in the lineup:
Vs Baltimore – 23/42, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
Vs Jets – 23/47, 216 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
Vs Atlanta – 25/42, 277 yards, 1 TD
Outside of a good game against a crappy Atlanta secondary, Brady could barely complete 50 percent of his passes without Welker in the lineup and had two of his worst games of the year when he didn’t have him as a safety valve. New England is still currently thin at receiver because Edeleman is injury prone (he missed 4 games last year) and Sam Aiken or Isaiah Stanback can’t handle major reps. They also have questions at running back because after a big rookie year, Laurence Maroney has been a bust who can’t hold on to the football. Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris are both ancient and can’t stay healthy and Kevin Faulk is nothing more than a third down back, although a good one at that. Beyond that, Tom Brady didn’t have his best year last season but considering the injury he was coming back from was still very good, until he had a meltdown in the playoffs. New England’s offensive line isn’t what it used to be but still remains one of the better units in the league.
On defense, the Patriots were pretty good last year. They finished #11 in total defense but laid an egg in the playoffs and were embarrassed a few times, including a dreadful performance on Monday Night against the Saints and when they choked away a big lead to the Colts in a Sunday Night game (no shame in that because the Colts also shredded up the Jets in the AFC Championship game and came back from a double digit deficit). Jerod Mayo was a disappointmentin his second year and they remain very average in the secondary. If you take Leigh Bodden’s stats away from the second Jets game when Sanchez gift wrapped him three interceptions, I don’t see how you could claim he is a legit number one corner and the rest of their corners are journeyman unless Darius Butler develops. New England’s front still has talent but you could run on them.
When I look at the Jets compared to the Patriots, I think they compare very favorably. The Jets have a superior offensive line, substantially more talent at running back, a better tight end, and a better #2 receiver until Welker makes it back to 100 percent. Yes, I would take Jerricho Cotchery over Julian Edeleman, Sam Aiken or anybody else they currently have to trot out there. The Jets don’t have somebody at receiver with the talent of Randy Moss but fortunately when we play them, we have Darrelle Revis to completely take him out of the game. Obviously, the Patriots have an advantage at quarterback but Brady is going to struggle against the Jets pass rush or any defense with a quality pass rush without Welker as a safety valve and a good running game to rely on. The Jets have a better all-around defense right now than New England. They are better at corner, linebacker, and with Jenkins back compare well with them on the defensive line.
They also have the benefit of playing the second place schedule instead of the first place schedule next year. Basically, that means they get the Texans and Broncos instead of the Colts and Chargers, yes it is only 2 games but in a likely close race, that could help the Jets. It would remiss not to mention the Patriots are set up much better for the draft than the Jets. New England has three second round picks, a higher first round pick than the Jets, and five seventh round picks. We have to wait and see how the Patriots could improve through the draft since they have missed more than a few recent selections.
Right now, I do think the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East. By the end of the season, they were the best team in the division and I think when you factor in the return of Kris Jenkins and Leon Washington, their roster has improved from last year. Even though he is showing signs of slipping from his untouchable genius ways, Bill Belichick will still have New England in contention next year, and they remain the Jets primary challenge for the division title. What about Miami, you ask? Karlos Dansby was a nice addition even though they overpaid for him, but I don’t think they have done enough yet to move from a 7-9 team who was a Danny Woodhead keeping his outside contain on kickoff and Bart Scott tackle away from being 5-11. (Can you tell I am still bitter about those losses?) What about Buffalo? I don’t know let me see who wins the quarterback battle between Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and then I will let you know.
I exchanged five questions with Patriots blogger Eric Cunningham of http://Patschowder.com about tomorrow’s game, here is our conversation:
PC: I read in the Boston Globe yesterday that Braylon Edwards’ arrival in New York may be too much for the rookie quarterback to handle. It’s sort of like a mini-TO effect. They’ve gone 1-4 with him. What are your thoughts on all of this?
TOJ: I don’t agree with that assertion at all. Edwards has been a good soldier since arriving and is clearly trying to convince the Jets he is worthy of a long term contract. Sanchez and Edwards have appeared to get along very well and Edwards was one of the first players to get his back after the Buffalo game when Sanchez threw 5 INTs. He also hasn’t complained at all about the number of touches he receives, even though he probably should be getting more. Edwards main focus when talking to the press has been his desire to win. I don’t think the Jets are 1-4 in their last 5 because of Braylon, I think it is because they can’t close teams out.
PC: In my opinion, I think the Jets biggest problem is the loss of Kris Jenkins. Is this their biggest problem?
TOJ: Their biggest problem is they don’t know how to win close games. They lost four games on the last play. Their defense laid an egg with the game on the line against Miami on Monday night and against Jacksonville, Sanchez, Ben Hartsock, and their special teams choked in OT to lose to the Bills and they couldn’t finish off a game winning drive at home against Miami.
PC: Ok, let’s not beat around the bush. How do you really feel about your head coach was crying at his latest press conference?
TOJ: Well, he didn’t cry at a press conference. He cried in a meeting with the team on Monday and it was leaked to the press. I don’t have a strong opinion of it, we all knew Rex was an emotional guy when he was hired so this is part of what you get. I will love it if the Jets win on Sunday and hate it if they lose.
PC: Shonn Greene has disappeared since his big breakout game in week 7. Is he not the right fit, or are the Jets just dropping the committee and planning on Thomas Jones the rest of the way?
TOJ: Greene has ran a little timid since fumbling against Miami in week 8. Jones receives the bulk of the carries because he is playing at such a high level. However, I would still expect Greene to get his usual 8-10 touches this weekend, which is fine for a rookie learning on the job behind a pro-bowl caliber running back.
PC: Lastly, I asked my Twitter followers what they would want to know from the Jets perspective, and @mndTiiu asked “Has Mark Sanchez met, exceeded, or fallen short of your expectations?”
TOJ: He has fell slightly short. He is turning the ball over more than I was hoping for and has made a few immature mistakes (eating a hot dog and running a scripted press conference). However, he has shown plenty of potential and intangibles and I still believe the Jets did the right thing by trading up for him. We will learn alot about him this weekend in the hostile conditions of New England.
TOJ: What is your opinion of Belichick’s decision on Sunday night to go for it on 4th and 2?
PC: I can’t honestly say that I loved the call, but I can say that I am less disappointed in the loss because of it. I love the fact that the Patriots have a coach that is willing to go out and win games as opposed to play safe and try not to lose them. In Sunday’s situation, I am pretty confident that Peyton Manning would have scored a touchdown from 60-yards out if he they had punted the ball anyway. Their best shot to win the game was to go for it by putting the ball in the hands of one of the best quarterbacks in the league and they did. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out.
TOJ: What is the biggest difference between the Pats team the Jets beat in week two and the Pats team the Jets are going to face this week?
PC: The big difference is Tom Brady. That Jets game early on was his first real test. Now that we are 10 weeks into the season Brady is playing at a much higher level. Also, the linebacking core has gotten healthier with Jerod Mayo back in the middle as things have started to fall into place around him.
TOJ: Why won’t anybody in New England give Darrelle Revis any respect? Moss hasn’t done much of anything in his last four games against the Jets, especially when Revis is on him so why won’t anybody give him credit?
PC: Well, I for one will give him credit. The guy is a beast and I hate seeing him on the other side of the field. However, I think the Patriots players not giving him credit is all psychological coach talk. If Belichick can get the guys believing that he’s not good, then he isn’t good. Right?
TOJ: How do you feel about Laurence Maroney being your lead back going into the stretch run of the season? Do you think he will be phased out of the offense or remain the primary ball carrier?
PC: He makes me nervous. I was very high on Sammy Morris coming into this season. That worked for all of one game before he was banged up. What I can say about Maroney is that it has never been as big a question of whether or not he can play in the NFL, but whether or not he can stay healthy. So far, he’s healthy and the production is coming as a result of that. That being said, I would love to have a better insurance policy.
TOJ: Prediction for the game?
PC: This one is in Foxboro and the Jets are fading fast. It’s a win for the Patriots for sure, however, the margin of victory is never a big one for these two teams. I’ll say 24-17 Patriots.
1. Apparently the 49ers are threatening the Jets with tampering charges for still unsigned receiver Michael Crabtree. I don’t know what the Jets could have done except maybe reach out to their agent for preliminary discussions about him for the 2010 draft, since it looks like that is where he is headed. The Broncos were threatening charges about Brandon Marshall and nothing came of it, so as of now I wouldn’t be too worried about this.
2. Some injury concerns from yesterday: Lito Sheppard has a quad injury, which could be trouble considering his history, Donald Strickland who has been sensational off the bench twisted his ankle, and Kris Jenkins had the wind knocked out of him late in the game (that’s alot of wind). In terms of Sheppard and Strickland you have to hope they will be back to 100 percent for the Saints game the week after next. I think Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman can hold the fort down against the Titans.
3. You have to love the excuses and lack of credit coming out of New England. First off, Randy Moss commenting that Darrelle Revis didn’t shut him down and that he always had help over the top, which is just laughable because anybody who watched the game knows Revis was one on one with Moss 90 percent of the time. Moss was held to 4 catches for 24 yards, was out jumped by Revis for an interception and appeared to give up on some of his routes because #24 gave him no room to breathe. Also, Boston talk radio today and the Patriots message board yesterday and today can’t seem to recognize the reality that the Jets out-played and out-coached them yesterday. If I was a New England player, fan, or media member I would stop crying about the Jets trash talk, mocking of them by making Kevin O’Connell, Larry Izzo, and Damien Woody captains and focus on upcoming games against Atlanta and Baltimore. How does 1-3 sound New England?
4. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 in his power rankings and put Darrelle Revis on his MVP watch list. I will say that it is nice to see some national media members (John Clayton also singled him out in his column) finally talking about Revis as arguably the best corner in the league.
5. Site Updates – I added the Jets/Pats highlights to the “Game Highlights” section, added the new episode of TOJ TV to the “TOJ TV” section, updated the stats and the depth chart.
6. The Yankees better take care of business against the Angles the next three games. I don’t want to be heading into the Boston series up 3 games or less.
7. Eric Mangini…yikes. How does 2-14 sound?
8. My fantasy team? Yikes…how does 2-11 sound? My top two quarterbacks (McNabb and Hassleback) are already down.
Grading Out the Jets/Pats Game
Quarterbacks: (B) It was a slow start for Mark Sanchez, who couldn’t move the offense in the first half and nearly had a disastrous fumble on his first play from scrimmage. Yet, the kid came out slinging in the second half. His two most impressive throws were the laser to Jerricho Cotchery to kick off the second half and the touch he displayed on his touchdown pass to Dustin Keller, just two plays later. 14/22 for 163 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions is enough for the Jets to win with this season. How about the rookie doubling Tom Brady’s quarterback rating? The best part about Sanchez is that he is only going to get better as the season progresses.
Running Backs: (B-) Leon Washington had a killer fumble that directly led to three points for New England and a dropped pass but beyond that put together a strong, productive game on offense. His 19 yard run in the fourth quarter was something else and he had a huge third down conversion on a reception over the middle. Thomas Jones was steady but was never able to break through to the second level. Jones and Washington combined for 31 touches (14 carries each, Washington had 2 receptions, and Jones had 1). I’d like to see that number closer to 40 but Brian Schottenheimer is still doing a great job of balancing their touches and using Leon Washington more.
Wide Receivers: (B) After being invisible in the first half, Jerricho Cotchery looked like a legit number one receiver in the second half. He did a great job staying on his feet and turning a 15 yard catch into a 45 yard gain and went down to make two other tough catches for Mark Sanchez, including one that converted a big third down. Cotchery looks like a 1200 yard receiver right now. Chansi Stuckey was productive with 4 catches, including a gutsy grab when getting leveled by 2 Pats defenders. Brad Smith had his standard one reverse, this time picking up seven yards. David Clowney still hasn’t had a ball thrown his way.
Tight Ends (B+) Dustin Keller stepped up in the red-zone, which will be key for the Jets this season. He did have a holding penalty but overall did a solid job with his blocking. Ben Hartsock played less than he did last week.
Offensive Line (A-) Another strong effort by this unit, who only allowed Sanchez to be sacked twice and opened enough holes in the running game. Alan Faneca may have been beat for a sack but had a heads up play by covering up the ball after everybody else seemed to stop, thinking it was an incomplete pass.
Defensive Line (B) These guys must be exhausted, since only four of them were active. Sione Pouha provided quality reps off the bench. Kris Jenkins appeared to be himself in the middle and Shaun Ellis had a huge stop on a 3rd and 1. Overall, the Pats ran the ball a little better than I expected them to but like the rest of the unit, the defensive line bent but never broke.
Linebackers (A) Was there two David Harris’ and Bart Scotts on the field yesterday? The Jets inside linebackers were constantly in Tom Brady’s face. Scott had 2 tackles for a loss and Harris had 3 hits on the quarterback. Bryan Thomas was also very active with 4 tackles and a few near sacks. Vernon Gholston didn’t play that much and when he was on the field didn’t have an impact. Imagine this defense when Calvin Pace comes back? Wow.
Secondary (A) Rex Ryan was smart to have 10 defensive backs active since the Patriots spent the whole game in 3 and 4 wide sets. Darrelle Revis was Darrelle Revis, the best corner in the NFL right now. Kerry Rhodes backed his words up with 8 tackles, a QB hit, and a PD. Jim Leonhard is always around the football. Donald Strickland was having the game of his life before leaving with an ankle injury. Dwight Lowery was excellent off the bench and could be seeing more playing time the next couple of weeks with the injuries to Strickland and Lito Sheppard.
Special Teams (A) A great game of kick returning by Leon Washington. Another good coverage day for the Jets punt and kick units. Jay Feely was 3/3 on kicks.
Coaching (A+) Rex Ryan can do no wrong right now. You can say his voice message to fans was cheesy but it worked. I have never seen the stadium like that in my life. In only a few months he has completely changed the culture around this team. I love how the Jets defer when they win the coin toss. I love how he made the ex-Pats the game captains and I love how he out adjusted Bill Belichick at half-time.
Is it just me or is it all of a sudden alot more fun to be a Jets fan? I just got back from the Meadowlands and I will say the fans game ball from Rex Ryan was well deserved. In my 18 years of going to Jets games, I have never seen a crowd like I saw it today. There was no sitting, just non-stop jumping, cheering, “Brady sucks” chants, “Defense” chants, “Boston Sucks” chants, and all that other good stuff. The fans were on their game today and fortunately so was Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and of course the Jets defense which is yet to allow a touchdown through 2 games.
Sorry Bill…You were out-coached today, the Pats were in control at halftime up 9-3 and you were out-adjusted by Rex Ryan at halftime as the Jets outscored you 13-0 in the second half. Your team was undisciplined, coming up with 11 penalties for 89 yards and not surprisingly you couldn’t even look Rex Ryan in the face and barely shake his hand after the game. You might have traded away one too many players on that defense. which simply isn’t on the same level as the Jets.
Sorry Tom…You look rattled and scared in the pocket, we could smell you crapping your pants from the Jets pass rush all the way up in Section 313. 23/47? I am not math whiz, but isn’t that below 50 percent? Back to back delay of game penalties? I thought Mark Sanchez was the rookie. Zero touchdowns and an interception? Yikes. I don’t know, that Patriots offense doesn’t look like anything too special to me.
How About…That Jets defense, I can’t talk enough about them. Darrelle Revis is the best corner in the NFL right now. Who else shuts down Andre Johnson (who by the way had 149 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns against all-pro corner Cortland Finnegan today) and Randy Moss in back to back weeks? Donald Strickland and Lito Sheppard both played very well and hopefully their injuries aren’t serious even though Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, and Drew Coleman all stepped up off the bench…Mark Sanchez protecting the football and coming up huge in the second half with two big strikes to Jerricho Cotchery, a beautiful touchdown pass to Dustin Keller, and a huge third down conversion to Chansi Stuckey. The best is that he is only going to get better…The previously mentioned receivers, all stepping up and providing another good game, especially Cotchery who had 87 yards receiving, all in the second half.
Much more to come tomorrow, right now my throat hurts, my legs are killing me, but damn we just held Tom Brady to 0 touchdowns, below 50 percent passing, out-coached Bill Belichick, and cheered the Pats into 4 delay of game penalties.
Enjoy it Jets Nation, you are 2-0, have a defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in 2 games, just beat New England, and you may have finally found the right coach and right quarterback. If you weren’t at the game today, find a way to get to a home game this season because that was place was rocking today, and if the Jets keep playing this way it is going to be rocking all season.