TOJ Pick Six w/ Stephen Zantz (Week 9 Jets/Bills TNF)

Stephen Zantz tackles 6 fan questions ahead of this Sunday’s Jets-Bills game.

The Pick Six column officially returns as TOJ Live Co-Host Stephen Zantz answers your Twitter questions. He will also consider questions that Joe Caporoso doesn’t get a chance to answer during his weekly Saturday AMAs. Don’t forget to tweet Stephen questions every week at @szantz on Twitter.

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TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

The god Mike White has breathed new life into the New York Jets. A Thursday night showdown with the Colts will show us if Mike White can do it again.

Coaching: I love Frank Reich, and I know DA agrees, as that’s who he wanted as Jets HC when they hired Todd Bowles. Reich has had 4 different starting QBs in his 4 seasons as Colts HC and he has been able to coach a productive offense out of all of them. Reich is one of the best play-callers in the game and has the often-maligned Carson Wentz producing at a high level. DC Matt Eberflus interviewed for the Jets HC job this past off-season, and his defenses are always well- disciplined and often succeed at limiting explosive plays.

Personnel: Carson Wentz was, maybe, the worst starting QB in the NFL last year, but under Frank Reich he’s been better then league average. He is still prone to idiotic turnovers but he is consistently making big plays to counterbalance them. Jonathan Taylor is a top 5 RB in the game and is just as dangerous as a receiver as he is running the ball. Michael Pittman is a bonafide X WR and should be a great test for rising star Bryce Hall. The Colts OL has not been as dominant as it has been in recent years but it is still a very solid unit that will be a great test for the Jets DL.

LB Darius Leonard and DT Deforest Buckener make up the spine of this defense and are two of the very best at their respective positions. The Colts have taken some hits in their secondary as they lost star safety Julian Blackmon for the year and both starting CB’s Kenny Moore and Xavier Rhodes have battled injuries this year.

Potential Weaknesses: Carson Wentz has never met a play he doesn’t think he can make, and this often leads to sacks and turnovers. The Jets defense got their first pick of the season last week and riding that momentum will do wonders for their offense if they can get multiple short fields to work with.

Matchup: The Colts defense versus the Jets offense is the main talking point of this game. The Colts play the most cowardly defense in the league. They rarely blitz and they love sitting in their cover 2 zones and keeping everything underneath and then swarming to the ball with their sound tackling and athletic LBs. The thing is that’s what Mike White and the Jets want to do. They want to feed their guys underneath and let them make the plays necessary to win after the catch. Mike White hasn’t proven he can consistently make throws deep down the field and it remains to be seen if the Colts will break from their mold and force him to do so. The Jets defense can handle the Colts offense I think they’ll let up 20ish points.

Prediction: Colts 24 Jets 21 I think, to start the game, the Colts will let Mike White attack underneath and the Jets will put up points and have a halftime lead. Then with adjustments in the second half, you’ll see the Jets offense fizzle as we realize why Mike White isn’t a franchise QB just yet and the Colts sneak up with a field goal win.

TOJ Pick Six w/ Stephen Zantz (Week 8 Jets/Colts TNF)

The Pick Six column officially returns as TOJ Live Co-Host Stephen Zantz answers your Twitter questions. He, also, will consider questions that Joe Caporoso doesn’t get a chance to answer during his weekly Saturday AMAs. Don’t forget to tweet Stephen questions every week at @szantz on Twitter.

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TOJ’s 1st & 10: New York Jets QB Mike White? The GOAT!

1st…

The story of the day is Mike White. I think I speak for all fans when I say that leading up to this game, this kid was a complete mystery. None of us had any idea of what he was or could be, and probably envisioned another Luke Falk game as we braced ourselves for yet another stinkfest as the Jets took on a hot Bengals team on Halloween. Most, if not all, of us probably also spent the better part of the offseason criticizing Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh for not bringing in a true veteran quarterback to back up Zach Wilson… I know I’m guilty of that.

Well, for at least one week, we were ALL wrong.

White came out and impressed in a way that we have never seen. He only threw 8 incompletions all day on 45 attempts! He racked up 405 yards and 3 touchdowns against a good Bengals defense. The kid looked poised, competent, and controlled as he led the Jets to victory.  He took shots where he could, he checked down when he had to.  He executed the offense to near perfection.  What can’t be overlooked or undersold is how much fight he had in him. Coming back from back-to-back tipped ball interceptions (so many young QB’s would fold after that), a late first half fumble by Crowder, and an 11-point 4th quarter deficit to lead this team the way he did was unbelievable. Mike White deserves all the credit for this incredible performance. And I am so happy that something finally bounced in the Jets direction.

& 10…

1. Michael Carter was outstanding. He consistently made play after play, both in the run and pass game, and was a major reason why the Jets won this game. I don’t know if anyone else sees this, but Carter reminds me of Leon Washington. He is smaller in stature, deceptively quick, and a dual threat that consistently gets all yards available and then some. And he seems to rarely make a bad play (Oh and by the way, he’s a 4th round pick from an ACC school). Carter and Ty Johnson seem to forming a formidable running back tandem that compliment each other very well.

2. Mike LaFleur has been public enemy #1 amongst Jets fans for the first part of this season – right, wrong, or indifferent. However, credit him for this performance. He called a masterful game: pulled out the bag of tricks, improved situational play calling, and stuck to the gameplan despite being knocked down early. LaFleur called his best game as a Jet coach yesterday, and per Saleh, needs to stick in the booth moving forward.

3. I loved Elijah Moore’s involvement yesterday in every facet. His most important play was his touchdown-saving tackle on the interception.  That play alone probably saved the game for the Jets.

4. The Jets defense played well yesterday despite giving up 31 points. They were put in difficult positions early, but held their own. Sheldon Rankins was a force inside making plays in the run game and tallying a huge sack, and the rest of the defensive line played great as well. CJ Mosley looked like he was out for blood yesterday and I am all for it.

5. Here are some stats from the Jets offense yesterday: 12 possessions, 34 points, 32 first downs(!), 36:20 time of possession, 10 different receivers caught passes (14 catches for RB’s), and a 9 YPA for Mike White. Whatever you did, Mr. LaFleur, keep doing it.

6. If I have one complaint from yesterday, it is this: STOP ATTEMPTING 50+ YARD FIELD GOALS. If you’re at 40 yards and in, go ahead and kick. Anything else on the opponent’s side of the field, go for it.

7. Two things that I loved yesterday were: the offensive personnel use (limited TE targets and mixed WR/RB groups) as well as the young core involvement. The Jets won on the backs of Carter, Johnson, Moore and Mims. It was great to see and something to be very excited about moving forward.

8. The Stealth Black should be the Jets’ permanent uniforms. 

9. I don’t believe there is a quarterback controversy… yet. It was one week, let’s see what happens in Indy before we cross that bridge. But, if Mike White lights it up again, things could get interesting. I do believe though, that Zach Wilson will benefit a lot by taking a few games to reset and learn from how White executed this offense. I think we can pump the brakes on the Bledsoe/Brady comparisons for a bit.

10. This game is exactly what the fans want. Even if the Jets had fallen short, and ended up losing 38-34, that would have been ok. It is great to win, don’t get me wrong. Victory Monday’s feel amazing and there are so few for us that we have to enjoy them. But ultimately, having something to root for and be so invested in for 3+ hours on a Sunday afternoon is exactly what the fans want and need. Whatever happens, just be exciting and competitive… that’s all we ask.