TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: Week 13 v Philadelphia Eagles

The New York football Jets are coming off their first road win of the season and now return home for a showdown against the mercurial Philadelphia Eagles. The Jets are 0-11 all time against Philly so the question is will this be the year they finally get off the mat!?

Coaching: Rookie HC Nick Sirianni has been a pleasant surprise in the NFL this season. A lot of people thought he’d be a disaster given his wacky press conferences and flower planting analogies but he has this team playing hard and coordinating the 12th best offense by DVOA with not a lot of talent.

Jonathan Gannon is the Eagles DC. He is a first time coordinator and a disciple of Mike Zimmer. The Eagles defense doesn’t have a lot of talent in their back 7 but Gannon has gotten a lot out of that unit.

Personnel: The Strength of this Eagles team is their offensive line. They are snatching souls every week they play. Jordan Maliatta has blossomed into one of the best AND maybe the most violent LT in that NFL, and, man, are alot of people eating crow after Howie Roseman gave him the biggest contract imaginable despite him having only played a handful of snaps. Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce are healthy again and have returned to all-pro form and this OL has been the driving force behind a strong running game this year. Jalen Hurts is out for this game so expect this group to get another heavy workload in the run game. Devonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Myles Sanders are a solid skill group that are finally fully healthy this season.

The Eagles defense is built a lot like the Jets in that their DL is their biggest strength, except they’re actually consistent. Fletcher Cox is still Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrove is playing like a man possessed, while Josh Sweat has continued to be a disruptive player. The Jets catch a massive break with Brandon Graham missing this game through injury.

The Eagles back 7 lacks talent outside of CB Darius Slay who has had a nice return to form season in Philly in this defense with multiple pick 6s this year.

Potential Weaknesses : Gardner Minshew is playing in this game and, while he had a good rookie season, he was terrible in Jacksonville last year and hasn’t started an NFL game since last December. If the Jets sell out to stop the run and end up putting the game in Minshew’s hands, it could benefit them greatly. The Eagles back 7 outside of Slay is terrible: they especially have no serious NFL talent at LB so the Jets should be primed to take advantage of this.

Matchup: This time last week I hated this matchup for the Jets. Sirianni comes from the Frank Reich tree and, with the Eagles OL, I was expecting a repeat of the Colts game where they ran the Jets out of the stadium. Jalen Hurts does a lot for this running game though, as he always shifts the numbers in their favor given he’s always a threat to run. With Minshew, this threat is not there. I think the Jets defense can keep Minshew relatively in check and this game will come down to how well the Jets offense can do. We have seen this OL struggle to keep Zach upright and this is not the DL to play when you’re not on your A game. Zach needs to make quick efficient decisions to neutralize this pass rush, which is something we haven’t seen him do on a consistent basis yet.

Prediction: I think the Jets keep this one close. But ultimately Zach isn’t ready to do what it takes to win this game and the Eagles sneak out of MetLife winners by a 21-20 margin.

TOJ’s #BurningQuestions Heading into Jets-Eagles

TOJ Live Co-Host Stephen Zantz will be addressing the burning questions surrounding the team heading into Eagles week.

In this week’s burning questions column, TOJ Live Co-Host Stephen Zantz will be addressing the burning questions surrounding the team heading into Eagles week. The Jets defeated the Texans 21-14 for their 3rd win on the season.

(more…)

Burning Questions Heading into Jets-Texans

Stephen Zantz tackles fans’ burning questions ahead of the Jets-Texans game.

For the final 7 weeks of the season, TOJ Live Co-Host Stephen Zantz will be addressing the burning questions surrounding the team as the Jets take on their next opponent.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

TOJ Pick Six w/ Stephen Zantz (Week 7 Jets/Bengals)

Stephen Zantz analyzes fan questions in this week’s edition of Pick Six.

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.

(more…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOJ DraftSZN Presents Dylan’s Dimes: Week 6 Edition

Last week, I highlighted two guys on opposite sides of a Big Ten matchup and discussed Spencer Rattler. Despite the raw talent Rattler possesses, he proved some of his flaws that I pinpointed to be apparent when he lost control of the game and failed to work through his progressions, leading to his benching. This week, here’s to hoping the three players that go through the wringer don’t have similarly poor performances. 

Introduction:

Dylan’s Dimes will be a ten step breakdown of three of the biggest draft eligible players taking the field in some of the biggest matchups each week. I analyze background, on the field performance, off the field traits, opinions around the NCAA, all leading up to the dropping the dime on how they could fit with gang green.

1/10-The Prospects:

Every year, athletes that transcend their position come out of the draft. The Georgia Bulldogs are the top ranked team in the country, and a big part of their success is obviously tied to their talent. Coming off the edge, the Bulldogs have one of the most fluid pass rushers in EDGE, Adam Anderson.

The NBA Champions this year had their own Greek freak in Giannis Antetokounmpo. In Indiana, Purdue has their own version of the Greek freak. Despite a bumpy college career at times, the freak athlete and second edge going through the breakdown this week is EDGE, George Karlaftis. 

From high school, certain players emerge as stars. From high school star to college football national champion and being named an All-American, this player has had success at all levels. Despite LSU having a rough year and this player being out for the remainder of it, two years of Derek Stingley Jr.

2/10-The Measurables:

Anderson:

-Height: 6’5”

-Weight: 230 lbs

-Year: Senior

-Birthdate: 10/19/1999

-From: Rome, GA

Karlaftis:

-Height: 6’4”

-Weight: 275 lbs

-Year: Junior

-Birthdate: 4/3/2001

-From: Athens, Greece

Stingley Jr.:

-Height: 6’1”

-Weight: 190 lbs

-Year: Junior

-Birthdate: 6/20/2001

-From: Baton Rouge, LA

3/10-The Background:

Anderson:

Adam Anderson’s story is one of adversity and strength prevailing. After his sister and step father passed away at a young age, Anderson stepped up to help raise his family. Anderson produced on the gridiron to take care of them off it. Anderson was the 2016 state defensive plater of the year. He was highly touted and ranked as one of the top edge rushers in the country. He took off from there, committing to Georgia, then LSU, then back to Georgia. He bided his time behind Azeez Ojulari and other talented players, rotating in and making the most of each reps. 

Karlaftis:

Born in Greece, Yoros (renamed George) Karlaftis lived there until 2014 when unfortunately his father passed away, prompting a move to the United States. From there, Karlaftis found the game of football and excelled. He had 41 sacks in high school, was named to the U.S. Army All-American game in 2019 and was named defensive player of the year. In Track and Field, Karlaftis was a two-time state champion in shot put. Similarly to Anderson, Karlaftis dealt with the hand he was dealt and has excelled. 

Stingley Jr.:

Stingley Jr. has always had football in his blood. His grandfather played in the NFL and his father played in the AFL. He has been an absolute star from the start, putting up 27 interceptions in his time at The Dunham School. He was the Louisiana Gatorade Football player of the year and ranked as the top player in his class. He then committed to LSU where he started as a freshman, earned all-American accolades and had 6 INTs right out of the gate.

4/10-The Performance:

Anderson:

2020: 9 games, 13 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 5.5 Sacks, 1 FF & 1 FR.

2021: 5 games, 19 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 4.5 Sacks 

Karlaftis:

2019: 12 games, 54 tackles, 17.0 TFLs, 7.5 Sacks, 1 FF & 2 FR.

2020 (Injured for Majority of Season): 2 games, 4 tackles, 2.0 TFLs & 2.0 Sacks.

2021: 5 games, 20 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 1.5 Sacks & 2 FF.

Stingley Jr.:

2019: 15 games, 38 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 6 INTs, 15 PBUs & 1 FR.

2020: 7 games, 27 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 5 PBUs, 1 FF & 1 FR.

2021 (Will Miss Remainder of Season): 3 games, 8 tackles, 3.5 TFLs & 1 FF.

5/10-The Good:

Anderson:

Adam Anderson is an incredibly fluid and effective pass rusher. He uses his size well and his light frame to burst into the gaps and make plays. Speaking of making plays, despite rotating into action behind top tier guys as I mentioned before, he still produced 5.5 sacks in his Junior year. He constantly demonstrates a high motor as he flies all over the field making plays even when it may seem out of reach. He chased down guys like Desmond Ridder who has exceptional mobility. Anderson’s athleticism and burst are constantly prevalent and will make him a force at the next level.

Karlaftis:

Karlaftis a well rounded prospect with a top tier football IQ. He moves men around systematically to not just make plays but open up the field for his teammates to make plays. He doesn’t always need the headlines, he is okay opening things up. Karlaftis, similarly to Anderson can also move all over the field. What’s unique with him is despite his frame, he moves all over the field like a safety. He’s a constant play maker, for example in 2019, he had a forced fumble, recovered two and snatched an interception against TCU. He is constantly involved in the plays and always tries to make an impact. 

Stingley Jr.:

In high school, as I mentioned earlier Stingley had 27 picks, and in college that transition has been seamless. He’s a ballhawking corner that if the ball is in play, will most likely come down with it. He’s physical but he has superb control and technique to channel it and time routes nearly perfectly. He’s faced the best of the best and done a very good job, going against tight ends like Kyle Pitts and Heisman winners like Devonta Smith, frequently. He’s not going to win every matchup, but he may be the most proven commodity given how he’s faired against top receivers.

6/10-The Bad:

Anderson:

For Anderson, his biggest issue that I can point stems from lack of closing ability. More often than not, he finds his way in the backfield. Although he can tackle in open space and take care of guys with good mobility, when he has an opportunity for a sack he struggles to close and typically walks away with more pressures. This season he has closed more efficiently, but time will tell if he can continue to do this, especially at the next level.

Karlaftis: 

For Karlaftis, he’s rebounded from his injury well, but he’s lacked the same productivity he had in his freshman year. He looks to be focusing more on disruption than closing and producing as many substantial big plays. He lacks a pop in his tackling and tends to shy away from laying bigger hits on players. He certainly has the power, but he needs refinement in order to develop that power into a bigger asset.

Stingley Jr.:

When it comes to pushing off his man and getting involved in the run game, Stingley tends to struggle. He tends to hang with his man so long that it’s hard for him to catch backup as a tackler. His range for tackling could stand to improve and in zone he could struggle at times if he fails to advance that.

7/10-The Focus of Improvement:

Anderson: Closing Ability

Karlaftis: Power

Stingley Jr.: Run Support

8/10-The Potential:

Anderson:

Adam Anderson reminds me of two guys from last year’s class, Odafe Oweh and former teammate Azeez Ojulari. His fluidity allows him to constantly make plays and his high motor will serve him well at the next level, similarly to as it has for Oweh. Anderson can start as a rotational pass rusher, but could easily develop into an every down weapon at the next level. Anderson has potential to be an impact player and he’s demonstrated that at every step of the way.

Karlaftis:

Karlaftis has been a leader for his teams, he’s a superb talent and can make plays for himself and others. He’s an ideal edge rusher for a lot of teams and can be an immediate impact guy like Maxx Crosby was for the Las Vegas Raiders in year one. He needs to land in the right scheme that caters to his skill set and allows him to demonstrate more productivity, but regardless, I foresee him becoming an impact player relatively fast.

Stingley Jr.:

There are no sure things in football, or sports for that matter. If I’m a betting man though, I foresee Stingley being a top tier number one corner at the next level. He’s hung with guys who have transitioned to the NFL and become top play makers, proving he can hang with the talent he will line up against. Stingley can be a top corner in this league and I foresee him bouncing back from his foot injury, having a decent combine performance and finding himself as a top pick in this year’s draft.

9/10-The Outside Opinion:

Anderson:

“He’s still college football’s most potent pass rusher.”- Mike Renner, Pro Football Focus

Karlaftis:

“So far this season, Karlaftis has been one of the best players in college football and has shown any doubter that he is a blue-chip talent and on the same level as Thibodeaux, if not better.”- Jack Borowsky, Sports Illustrated

Stingley Jr.:

“Stingley remains a force in the secondary. No opposing team wants to throw the ball in his direction and risk a potential interception. His speed and vertical jump make him the standout cornerback of this draft class.”- Lukas Weese, The Undefeated

10/10-The Fit:

Anderson:

Anderson could find himself thriving in the Saleh/Ulbrich defense. Anderson is fluid and can adapt quickly given different blocking schemes. He’s smart and will pick up the system quickly, and make an impact. The team could pair Anderson with Lawson off the edge and have a formidable pass rush duo moving forward, with two guys who can make plays and demonstrated superb athleticism on the regular.

Karlaftis:

Karlaftis fit isn’t as seamless as Anderson, but the Jets can’t pass up talent. Karlaftis is a talent on an off the field, he has a high football IQ and he’s a coaches dream. If the Jets can get Karlaftis, you do it and figure out fit after. With a talent like him, the team could bolster the defense immediately and that’s hard to pass up.

Stingley Jr.:

Aside from Linderbaum, Stingley is the only other player I have watched to this point that I will bang the drum for aggressively. Stingley is a top tier corner and would give the defense a bonafide star at corner for the first time since the Revis Island days. I would feel comfortable saying he has the highest floor in the class and is a very safe bet for success. Given the emergence of Bryce Hall, pairing the two together could insure the Jets secondary is set up for the foreseeable and long term future.