Grading Out The Jets/Dolphins Game

Dolphins Jets Football

First a few updates:

1. The Game Highlights and Stats section have been updated.

2. A few things from Rex Ryan’s press conference today: He pointed out a potential problem on special teams might have been having Ahmad Carroll, Marquice Cole, and Marques Murrell inactive due to some injury situations and mentioned they may need to always have guys like them active regardless of their lack of participation on defense. Ryan also stood firm on having a “hands-off” approach on offense and special teams, and relying on the ‘expertise’ of the coordinators. He also defended giving the team 6 days off this week because of the team’s need to get away from football for a little while and then come back fresh. Something interesting he said about the bye week is that he will have the offensive coaches break down the Jets defensive tape and the defensive coaches break down the Jets offensive tape, to analyze each group tendencies and make recommendations to each other. Regardless of the criticism, Rex Ryan said he isn’t going to change his personality or his confident style of talking/coaching. Like I said yesterday, you are what you are. This is the guy the Jets hired, don’t expect him to change. If you liked him in week 3, then you should still like him now. If you thought he was too brash/cocky from the beginning, then you should obviously still feel that way now.

Grading Out The Jets/Dolphins Game

Quarterbacks: (B+) Mark Sanchez had his best game since the early weeks of the season, finishing 20/35, with 265 yards, 2 passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over for the second week in a row. He got off to a slow start and played tight early, missing a few throws over the middle. However, he put together a great second half and led the Jets on three touchdown drives. On the final drive, he has to avoid taking a sack on third down and make a quicker decision on the fourth down play. He turned their fourth and 13 play into a hail mary, which he pretty much threw out of the end-zone. I don’t know what the play call was in that situation, but I would I think the best bet would be for him to take a 5 step drop and put up a jump ball to either Braylon Edwards or Dustin Keller and hope for them to make a play or draw pass interference.

Dolphins Jets FootballRunning Backs: (B) Thomas Jones was terrific for the third straight week, rushing for 102 yards and adding in a 28 yard reception. Shonn Greene killed the Jets with a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and appeared to run tentative after that play. The Jets are going to need Greene in the second half of the season so he needs to shake off the fumble and keep running hard.

Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery only had three receptions but all three were huge plays, including a 53 yarder, a third down conversion, and an impressive sideline grab during the final drive. Braylon Edwards was a beast and has earned a fat, new contract from the Jets for his two performances against Miami this season. David Clowney had three down third down catches, which were all short of the first down marker. On the first two, he did a bad job of running his route to the right depth.

Tight Ends: (B) Dustin Keller…welcome back. I don’t think Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer will be forgetting about #81 anytime soon after the game he put together yesterday. Ben Hartsock specializes in having ridiculously costly penalties and probably should be cut.

Offensive Line: (C) Alan Faneca had a rough day and let up a huge sack on the final drive. Sanchez took some monster hits this game. The running was also didn’t pop any huge plays.

Defensive Line: (A) Shaun Ellis (1.5 sacks), Marques Douglas (1 sack, 1 TFL), and Sione Pouha (5 tackles, 1 TFL) all played their best game of the season. Howard Green also chipped in with a solid effort off the bench. It is a shame that it went to waste in a loss. Hopefully, they can keep the production up in the second half of the year.

Linebackers: (A) Post-game sarcasm aside, Bart Scott played his best game as a Jet with 8 tackles, a sack, and two tackles for a loss. David Harris had a big sack and another solid overall day at the office. Bryan Thomas was beat for second half touchdown but beyond that played one of his better games of the year. Calvin Pace was somewhat quiet.

Secondary: (B) Jim Leonhard recorded a half sack and played a quality game. Darrelle Revis and Dwight Lowery didn’t give up any big plays or make any big plays. Kerry Rhodes had more contact in pre-game, than he did during the game where he only recorded 1 tackle.

Special Teams: (F-) Every Jets fan love affair with Danny Woodhead should end after this game because he blew outside contain on both kick return touchdowns. Ryan Fowler, Larry Izzo, Wallace Wright, Jay Feely, and Donald Strickland were also victims off horrible tackling/decision making on both kick return touchdowns. The quarterback lost the games against Buffalo and New Orleans. The defense lost the first game against Miami and the special teams lost this one against Miami.

Coaching: (C) The two point decisions were questionable. However, the Jets played a terrific game on defense and put up 25 points on offense, which should have been enough to win. Rex Ryan is never going to shut his mouth, even if the Jets lose their next 8 games so get used to it and either accept him as our coach or get off his bandwagon for good now. You can’t nominate him for NFL Coach of the year in week 3 and then ask for him to be fired in week 8.

As Usual For Us Jets Fans, “It is getting hard to believe things are going to get better…”

Jets Must Win Sunday

 Dolphins_vs_Jets_19a9

First a few updates:

1. David Clowney, Brandon Moore, and Lito Sheppard all missed practice today. Jerricho Cotchery was limited but told reporters he would be ready to go this Sunday and apparently he looked sharp in practice. Rex Ryan basically said Sheppard was out for this week. I am not sure how severe Clowney’s injury is but hopefully he won’t miss this week because Brad Smith might not be ready to come back yet either. Moore should be good to go against Miami.

amd_kerry-rhodes2. There has already been plenty of trash talk going back and forth between the Jets and Miami. A few Jets like Kerry Rhodes and Shaun Ellis took exception to Miami reacting like they won the Super Bowl after beating the Jets a few weeks ago. Ronnie Brown basically said the Jets don’t have the playmakers on defense that Baltimore did last year in his conference call with the New York media. Rex Ryan is using a Brown quote from after Miami beat the Jets about how the Dolphins were the tougher team as a motivational tactic. Bart Scott said he will be looking to get back some unnamed Miami offensive lineman for “dirty” play in the Monday night game. At this point, we get it…these two teams hate each other. The Jets don’t respect Miami. Miami doesn’t respect the Jets. Go out and take care of business this Sunday.

3. Apparently, Ted Ginn Jr is on the outs in Miami and has been demoted to third string duty because of his inability to catch the football…an important skill for a wide receiver. Of course he remembered how to catch the football the last time the Jets played Miami…just our luck.

Jets Must Win Sunday

You hate to throw out the term “must win” for a week 8 game but let’s be real here if the Jets want to be serious playoff contenders they must beat the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. By all indications, the race for the AFC East title and the race for AFC Wild Card spots are going to be tight, so yes there is a huge difference between 5-3 and 4-4 for the Jets at the bye week.

The Jets have a golden opportunity to bury the Miami Dolphins for the 2009 season. It is going to take 10 wins and a few tie breakers to have a shot at a division title or a wild-card spot in the AFC. If Miami loses they will fall to 2-5 and need to go 8-1 over their last 9 games, with include two match-ups with New England and a game against Pittsburgh, to have a chance to be in the playoff mix. It is time to knock out Miami while you have the chance and turn the focus towards catching New England.

Speaking of the Patsies, the Jets can pull within a 1/2 game of our New England friends with a victory and be in control of their destiny since they have a game left in their season series. Even though New England has some tough match-ups left including games in Indy and New Orleans, a 1/2 is obviously easier to make up than a 1 and 1/2 games. Beyond that, divisional record could come in to play as a tie-breaker later in the season. The Jets would fall to 1-3 with a loss to Miami and need to pick up road victories against both the Patriots and Bills to salvage a .500 record.

Rex Ryan has talked about changing the culture around this organization. He has talked about making the Meadowlands a place where teams don’t want to play. The Jets have already lost a home divisional game this season and with another loss would bring them to a subpar 2-2 record in their building. You need to protect your house and rack up victories in your building if you fancy yourself a legitimate contender in the NFL.

alg_dolphins-brownFinally, Miami embarrassed the Jets on national television. The Jets ran their mouths before the game and somehow ran their mouths after the game, referring to the Wildcat as a gimmick. Everybody in the Jets organization talks about having an elite defense and yet they choked away a lead three times in the fourth quarter to their primary rival on Monday Night freakin football. The Dolphins converted two third downs on the final drive and ran the ball right down the Jets throat on the final play for the victory.

Bart Scott missed countless tackles, including one on the game winning run by Ronnie Brown. Darrelle Revis was toasted for a 50 yard touchdown by a practice squad receiver. Calvin Pace was pushed around and looked out of place all night. What am i saying is that the Jets should be watching film from this game a few weeks ago and be chomping at the bit to get on the field against the Dolphins. Rex Ryan sure made it sound like in his press conference today that both himself and his defense feel that way.

A contender would go out on their home field and prove the Monday game against Miami was a fluke. A pretender would get swept by a sub .500 divisional rival and lose consecutive home games to divisional teams who came in with a combined record of 3-8. Which one are the Jets going to be in 2009?

What Happened to the Jets?

First a few updates:

1. Rex Ryan commented that the team seemed “off” today in practice, which is certainly the last thing any of us want to hear after three straight losses. Obviously, the three straight losses are starting to weigh on everybody but this is no time for the energy level to sink.

2. Braylon Edwards has been receiving treatment for a sore quad….terrific. Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith were limited in practice, but remain questionable for this week. Ryan also said he is hopeful that corner Donald Strickland will return this week. Lito Sheppard’s status also remains up in the air.

What Happened to the Jets?

I was back home in New Jersey on Monday, which allowed me to spend the day listening to New York sports radio along with my usual reading of the daily newspaper/blog clips covering the Jets and I couldn’t help but laugh. It is amazing how in the span of three weeks Rex Ryan has become clueless as a head coach, the Jets defense became average and Mark Sanchez became a clueless rookie, and the thought of Kellen Clemens actually playing is being mentioned. It must have been 3 years ago that the Jets beat the Tennessee Titans to move their record to 3-0, right? Nope, actually it was only 3 weeks ago but maybe we can begin looking there to understand what has happened to the Jets season these past few weeks. 

We began to see some chinks in the armor during that September victory over the now 0-6 Titans. After a fast start, the Jets were outplayed the rest of the game and in reality only held on to a victory because of a crucial muffed punt by Ryan Mouton who also handed them 7 points early in the game on a fumbled kick return. The defense didn’t look elite that day. We saw Tennessee move the ball up and down the field on the Jets. We saw a lack of quarterback pressure and we saw them run the football. We also saw receivers running wide open and the problem was only masked by drops from the Titans receivers. It was also the beginning of Mark Sanchez’s ball security problems, including multiple fumbles and an interception.

Since that game, we did see the Jets defense play an excellent all around game in New Orleans and we saw Mark Sanchez protect the football in Miami. Yet, the consistency hasn’t been there and the injuries have began piling up. Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Lito Sheppard, Brad Smith, Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, and Donald Strickland have all now missed time with injuries.

On defense, teams watched the game tape from the Houston and New England game and have schemed ways to protect against Rex Ryan’s blitzes. Ryan hasn’t come up with something to counter these adjustments yet. He isn’t being helped by the fact that the Jets lack an elite pass rusher. Vernon Gholston isn’t that kind of player and probably never will be. The guy has played a ton of snaps this year and made zero impact plays. Calvin Pace has been slow adjusting back after his 4 game suspension and Bryan Thomas and Shaun Ellis have been quiet rushing the quarterback. Eric Smith has been invisible the past three games after being all the over field in the Jets three wins and none of the other defensive backs are getting near the quarterback on Ryan’s blitzes.

On offense, Brian Schottenheimer has got too comfortable with Mark Sanchez after his surprisingly strong start to the season. What happened to running the ball 40-45 times a game and only having your rookie quarterback throw 15-18 times? Against Buffalo Mark Sanchez threw 29 times and Thomas Jones had 22 carries, how about flipping those numbers and then giving Leon Washington three more carries, so you got Sanchez throwing 19 times, Jones with 29 carries, and Washington with 22 carries? I know those sound like insanely high rushing attempt numbers but against Buffalo it would have made sense since Jones was averaging 9 yards per carry and Washington was averaging 6 yards per carry.

Rex Ryan was absolutely right on Monday when he said that the Jets need to scale things back for Sanchez. Simplify the kid’s reads, run the football, and play the defense/field position game. The Jets are at a crossroads in their season right now. They have 2 games left until their bye week, which will mark the halfway point of the season. If they turn the ship around and head into the bye at 5-3, this three game losing streak will be a distant memory. If they lose to Oakland or get swept by Miami, it is going to be one hell of an uphill for a playoff spot in the second half of the season.

Jets vs. Bills: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode VI

First a few updates:

1. Injury updates: Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith are listed as questionable this weekend. Don’t expect to see either of them in the line-up. David Clowney will start opposite Braylon Edwards, with Wallace Wright technically sliding into the #3 spot. However, don’t be surprised to see alot of Dustin Keller in the three wide set and plenty more balls coming his way. Obviously we all know Cotchery’s value, but don’t underestimate Brad Smith’s value on special teams. It also limits their “Seminole” package, since he is a big part of it. Damien Woody, Shaun Ellis, and Donald Strickland are listed as questionable. I would be shocked if Woody and Ellis didn’t play and would be equally shocked if Strickland suited up. Lito Sheppard will be in the starting line-up on Sunday and is listed as probable.

2. Look for Jamaal Westerman to be active this weekend. When you only have 4 sacks on the season and a guy who has one of them isn’t active, it doesn’t make much sense. My predicted Jets inactives this week…Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Donald Strickland, Erik Ainge, Matt Slauson, Marquice Cole, Ropati Pitoitua.

3. Make sure you check out http://greenrewind.com I recently did a podcast with Marty Schupak over there about the Jets/Bills match-up.

4. I am expecting to have an interview with David Clowney next week to post up on the site. Also, there is a potential interview with Rich Cimini of the Daily News coming in the future weeks. Finally, I am working hard to get a press pass for an upcoming game…we’ll see.

5. The Jets signed Danny Woodhead to the active roster today, which is an interesting move. We already know how short handed they are at receiver and maybe Woodhead will actually get some reps in the slot. I know he switched to #83 but somebody needs to tell the guy to switch to #80, if he is going to be playing slot receiver. The Jets also released backup defensive tackle Howard Green to make room for Woodhead.

Jets vs. Bills: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode VI

We had some technical difficulties this week, forcing me to put this up so late. We got some good stuff in the works for coming weeks and will really be trying to have these up first thing Friday mornings from now on. Here is part 1

The Song: Jason DeRulo – Riding Solo

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

First a few updates:

1. Your 2009 AL East Champs…The New York Yankees.

2. I review the weekend for the AFC East and entire NFL tomorrow, but just as a preface: The Jets aren’t looking so stupid for trading Chad Pennington anymore are they? It didn’t take a genius to see what was coming this year for the Dolphins who are well on their way to a 4-12 season. Pennington has never put together back to back healthy seasons in his career. Their schedule is substantially harder and they generally lack talent (especially in an overhyped, overrated linebacker core). Enjoy beginning to play out the string in October Jason Taylor, Channing Crowder, and the rest of Dolphins nation. I do feel bad for Chad, who I always liked and I hope he gets healthy soon but how can I not enjoy the Dolphins being 0-3?

3. I actually felt bad for Eric Mangini watching his press conference yesterday. The Browns actually might go 0-16. It sounds like there isn’t a more hated coach in the league right now, since at least five of his players are filing grievances with the NFL about his fines. I thought Favre was more to blame than Mangini last year but I don’t understand why it appears that he didn’t learn anything from the mistakes he made with the Jets.

4. Speaking of those 3-0 Jets, I saw on ESPN that they are early 6.5 point underdogs to the Saints. This will be the third time in four games the Jets are underdogs.

5. Peter King ranked the Jets #4 is his weekly Power Rankings and put Darrelle Revis #5 on his MVP watch list.

6. Site Updates – The new episode of TOJ TV has been uploaded to the “TOJ TV” page and Jets/Titans highlights have been added to the “Game Highlights” section. The stats have also been updated.

Grading Out the Jets/Titans Game

Quarterbacks: (B-) Sanchez came out of the gate on fire, then turned into the rookie he is supposed to be, and then finished strong enough for the Jets to get a win. It was an up and down for “The Sanchise,” who finished 17/30 for 171 yards, with 2 touchdowns and an interception. The positives? He showed his toughness by barreling over Michael Griffin in the end-zone, had a beautiful play fake on his touchdown pass to Ben Hartsock, and showed his arm strength/accuracy on a picture perfect 46 yard connection down the side-line to Jerricho Cotchery. The negatives? He needs to work on his ball handling. The rain led to the ball slipping out of his hands a few times, and he was also stripped because he kept the ball too low. Also, don’t pile all the interception blame on Chansi Stuckey because Sanchez sailed that pass.

Running Backs: (D) Not a pretty day for Thomas Jones, who finished with 20 yards on 14 carries. Leon Washington had slightly better luck (12 carries, 46 yards) but still averaged less than 4 yards per carry. We are still waiting for Leon to rip off his first big run of the season and Jones looked a step slow to the hole, even though he wasn’t aided by the offensive line, who struggled. Don’t be surprised if Shonn Greene slowly begins to be worked into the offense next week. The Jets didn’t draft him to sit on the bench all season.

Wide Receivers: (A) Jerricho Cotchery played a terrific game and is turning me into a believer that he could be a legit number one receiver. He is catching every thing that comes near him and showed his speed on his 46 yard over the shoulder grab and his toughness on his touchdown catch. Brad Smith finally registered a couple of catches, including an impressive 16 yard grab as he a took a huge hit. Chansi Stuckey was quiet and David Clowney was inactive, which wasn’t surprising considering the conditions.

Tight Ends: (B) How great was Ben Hartsock’s prototypical white guy who has never scored a touchdown celebration? It consisted of him jumping straight up and down while holding up the #1 sign and then having an awkward timed jump into D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Dustin Keller had a leaping 18 yard catch on the first drive but was quiet after. I’d like to see the Jets get him more involved (probably because I have him on my fantasy football team).

Offensive Line: (D) You have to expect better than 83 rushing yards and three allowed sacks from an offensive line with this much talent. They also need to cut back on the penalties.

Defensive Line: (B) Great games by Kris Jenkins (2 TFL’s) and Shaun Ellis (.5 sack, 1 TFL). Sione Pouha and Marques Douglas were also active up front. The unit did a good job keeping Chris Johnson under 100 yards and was constantly pushing the pocket on Kerry Collins.

Linebackers: (A) Bart Scott was all over the field and David Harris keeps making big plays. Bryan Thomas has quietly put together a strong three games to start the season. Vernon Gholston looks like he is actually improving. I was somewhat surprised to Jamaal Westerman end up being inactive.

Secondary: (B) They were defintley some breakdowns and Kerry Collins threaded the needle on them a few times. However, Drew Coleman stepped up and had a great game as the nickel back. I still can’t believe this is the same Eric Smith from the past three years. He is all over the field and has turned into one of the Jets top playmakers on defense (6 tackles, 2 passes defensed, and an interception). Jim Leonhard always seems to be around the ball. Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes didn’t have their best days. Dwight Lowery was okay as a replacement for Lito Sheppard.

Special Teams (A+) Forced two key turnovers that were the reason the Jets won on Sunday. Great all around play by Jason Trusnik on fumble during the kick return. Brad Smith made a smart play by wrapping up Ryan Mouton to prevent him from recovering his muffed punt and Larry Izzo hustled down to make the recovery. Jay Feely has now made 19 straight field goals. Steve Weatherford had one bad shank but beyond that had a decent day.

Coaching: (B) It was a good decision to come out with the no-huddle, passing attack which caught the Titans off guard. Rex Ryan started out with a less aggressive scheme but with the game on his line, went back to what the Jets do best, blitz the hell out of the quarterback. The bottom line is that the Jets avoided a natural let-down game and found a way to win without having their “A” game.

Jets/Titans Game Highlights

Jets vs. Patriots: Prediction, TOJ TV Episode II

Enjoy episode II of Turn on The Jets TV, where I recap week 1 in the NFL, predict the Jets/Patriots game and go over my anguish of watching the Jets lose to New England at home the last 8 years.

This Week’s Song: The Game – We Stand Alone

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

First a few updates:

1. Check out http://web.me.com/greenrewind.com where I recently did an interview on Marty Schupak’s program to discuss the Jets/Pats game.

2. The New England locker room is likely buried in bulletin board material this week, since Kerry Rhodes didn’t hold back in an interview with Gary Myers of the Daily News. Rhodes stated, “You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them. Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don’t want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, ‘We’re not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it’s not going to be luck, it’s not going to be a mistake.” He also promised the Jets will hit Brady more than six times, which is how many hits the Bills got on him. Well at least we know the Jets aren’t lacking confidence heading into this game.

3. Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha, Wallace Wright, and Damien Woody were all limited at practice today.

4. Check back tomorrow for Episode II of “Turn On the Jets” TV, where I ramble about my frustration with the Jets/Pats rivalry, review week one of the NFL, preview week two and make a pick for the Jets/Pats game.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Jets need to build on what they did last week against the Houston Texans. There shouldn’t be any type of excessively conservative play calling because Mark Sanchez is a rookie and is facing Bill Bellicheck. Obviously, a large portion of the Jets game plan will revolve around Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and potentially Shonn Greene running the football and I still believe Jones/Washington need to be at or around 40 touches for the Jets to win but the Jets can’t be afraid to spread it out and throw the football. They have the personnel to attack the Patriots. I will say this again, don’t confuse New England’s defense with the Ravens or Steelers, this isn’t one the elite units in the league, especially without Jerod Mayo.

I have watched Jerricho Cotchery repeatedly kill the Pats secondary since 2006, and they even used to have better corners than they do now. Dustin Keller snagged 8 passes last November when the Jets won in New England. The Jets should be comfortable in their three wide set with Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, and Keller with Leon Washington in the backfield. Also, they shouldn’t shy away from using their “Seminole” package with Leon Washington or Brad Smith working from the shotgun. I will also be real interested to see if the Jets take a home run shot to David Clowney some time in the first half to keep New England off balance.

The bottom line is that the Jets can’t go into a shell because they are playing the big, bad Patriots who usually push them around in their building. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington still need their carries but the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to take their shots to Dustin Keller down the seam or David Clowney down the side-line.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: Tackle, tackle, and tackle. The Patriots always kill the Jets with a barrage of short passes and screens to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk. It is the entire defense’s responsibility to recognize the play, swarm to the football, and wrap these guys up. Darrelle Revis will prevent the big play from Randy Moss over the top, which means it is on guys like Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, and Jim Leonhard to keep Welker and Faulk in front of them and tackle them at first contact.

The Patriots also have a deep collection of running backs, led by Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney. They couldn’t move the ball on the ground against Buffalo but don’t expect them to abandon the running game against the Jets. The run defense  starts with Kris Jenkins who is nursing a sore back, despite being boosted by the return of Shaun Ellis, guys like Howard Green and Sione Pouha need to step up and provide quality reps for Jenkins off the bench.

I am expecting a blitz happy scheme from Rex Ryan, which will test Brady under pressure early and often. This will make the secondary’s task even more difficult but Ryan seems to have total confidence in Revis, Sheppard, Leonhard, and Rhodes. David Harris & co need to stay in Brady’s face all day, because if Brady has time to stand back there, he is lethal.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington took a kick back for a touchdown the last time these two teams met, so keep an eye on #29 as usual. Wes Welker is always dangerous on punt returns and Maroney is a pretty good kick returner himself. Hopefully, Steve Weatherford can continue his strong punting.

The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez protects the football. Brian Schottenheimer catches New England off guard by coming out in the spread offense and showing confidence in his rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones/Leon Washington do their usual work with their 40 combined touches. The Jets get points either on special teams or because of a defensive turnover. The pass rush stays in Tom Brady’s face all day, keeping him uncomfortable in the pocket. New England can’t run the football, making their offense one-dimensional and opening Brady up to more hits.

The Jets Will Lose If…Tom Brady has all day in the pocket and picks apart the Jets with short passes to his tight ends, Wes Welker, and Kevin Faulk. Mark Sanchez is confused by Bellicheck and throws a couple of costly interceptions, forcing the Jets to be conservative on offense. Thomas Jones starts out with 16 yards on 14 carries but never gets the chance to have a big finish like he did versus Houston. The Jets fall behind early and the crowd/team fall into the normal New England depression/losing attitude.

Help Rex Out

NFL Week 1 Recap/Jets vs. Pats: First Look

First a few updates:

1. The Jets released cornerback Marquice Cole to make room for Shaun Ellis who is now reinstated and will be back in the starting line-up when the Jets play the Pats this Sunday.

2. The Jets made a nice little jump in ESPN’s Power Rankings from #23 to #16, giving them the week’s biggest improvement.

3. A few non-Jets things: The Yankees should be clinching that AL East title any day now and yes I believe they are the team to beat in the playoffs…Last week’s Entourage was a bit of a let down…But you have to be fired up about that new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starting up this Sunday.

NFL Week 1 Recap

Wrapping Up Jets/Texans

Defensive Player Of The Game: David Harris/Darrelle Revis – It is impossible not to recognize both of them, which is why Rex Ryan gave them both game balls. Harris was all over the field and Revis shutdown arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

Offensive Player Of The Game: Mark Sanchez – Another easy pick, Sanchez looked like a seasoned veteran in his first career start. The tests only get tougher with the Patriots and Titans coming to town.

Honorable Mentions: Jerricho Cotchery for being clutch on third downs and looking like a running back after the catch…Donald Strickalnd for making two impact plays in a limited role…Sione Pouha/Mike DeVito for filling for Shaun Ellis and not letting the D-Line miss a beat…Leon Washington for 120 total yards…The Jets offensive line…Steve Weatherford for bringing some stability to the punting position.

AFC East Observations

New England Patriots – Was it just me or did the Patriots look nothing like an elite team last night? I’m pretty sure I saw Buffalo physically dominate them for 58 minutes and then choke away the game in a manner that only the Bills could. Give Tom Brady credit for a strong finish and leading the game winning drive and to Randy Moss/Ben Watson for having big time nights. However, let’s be honest the Pats defense didn’t look good, they had no running game, and Brady looked a little shaky in the pocket. How often you think Rex Ryan will be sending the house next week?

Miami Dolphins – Welcome to reality Miami fans aka your 2009 season. I have been saying this for months, Miami has 6-10 written all over them, last year’s magical run is over and it is time for a tough schedule and a lack of talent to catch up with them. Chad Pennington won’t finish the season as their starter, and they will be 0-2 after losing to Indy this Monday night.

Buffalo Bills – Smart play, Leodis McKlevin…just brilliant. You really showed everybody what a game breaker you were last night by taking the ball out of the end-zone with your hands team blocking for you and then trying to fight for extra yards after getting lit up by Brandon Merriweather…awesome, real smart football. Beyond that, Buffalo was impressive and should be 1-0. How do you bench Fred Jackson when Marshawn Lynch comes back?

Five Teams That Impressed Me

  1. Philadelphia Eagles– Steam rolled the Panthers in their building, but better hope McNabb gets back quickly.
  2. Oakland Raiders – Put up a fight on Monday Night Football when everyone expected them to lose by 30.
  3. Buffalo Bills – See above.
  4. San Francisco 49ers – Big opening day win against the defending NFC West champs.
  5. New York Giants – Dominated the Redskins, don’t let the score fool you.

Five Teams That Looked Like Garbage

  1. St. Louis Rams – Absolutely no fight from this team, are they really that bad?
  2. Cleveland Browns – They are going to average about 10 points a game this year.
  3. Carolina Panthers – They aren’t going anywhere with Jake Delhomme, who looks like his confidence is shot after last year.
  4. Arizona Cardinals – What happened to that offense from last season?
  5. Miami Dolphins – The first of many losses for them this year.

Other Observations

Let’s see if the Vikings can win when somebody stops the run (if it is possible to stop AP)…At least on Sunday night I was happy we didn’t trade for Jay Cutler, 4 picks owch…The poor Bengals, they had become my 2nd favorite team after Hard-Knocks and they lose like that? (By the way, Laveranues had 1 catch and 2 drops)…Good effort by a young Jacksonville team to nearly upset the Colts…I’d still take Darren Sproles over LaDanian Tomlinson, regardless of what anyone says about him having some type of big bounce back year…Reggie Bush: 7 carries for 14 yards, glad we got #29.

Jets vs. Patriots First Look

The Opponent: Everybody’s pick to win the AFC East, Las Vegas’s favorite to win the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are the team that every analyst and expert loves to love. The Pats were 11-5 last year without All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady who has now returned. New England looked less than impressive as they escaped with a week one victory because the Buffalo Bills choked in the final minutes. Regardless, they have won their last eight games in the Meadowlands against the Jets and have one of the league’s most potent offenses. Despite questions on defense, the Pats will be consensus favorites to beat the Jets this week as the media hypes up Rex Ryan’s quote that he won’t “kiss Bill Bellicheck’s rings.” If the Jets want to be considered serious AFC contenders, a win at home against the Pats would be a good place to start.

New England Patriots Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Tom Brady – 39/53, 378 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT
  • Running Back: Laurence Maroney – 10 carries, 32 yards
  • Running Back: Fred Taylor – 9 carries, 25 yards, 1 TD
  • Running Back: Kevin Faulk – 3 carries, 7 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Randy Moss – 12 catches, 141 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Wes Welker – 12 catches, 93 yards
  • Wide Receiver: Joey Galloway – 0 catches
  • Tight End: Ben Watson – 6 catches, 77 yards 2 TD’s
  • Tight End: Chris Baker – 1 catch, 7 yards
  • Left Tackle: Matt Light
  • Left Guard: Logan Mankins
  • Center: Dan Koppen
  • Right Guard: Stephen Neal
  • Right Tackle: Nick Kaczur

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Ty Warren
  • Nose Tackle: Vince Wilfork
  • Defensive End: Jarvis Green
  • Outside Linebacker: Pierre Woods – 4 tackles, 2 FF
  • Inside Linebacker: Jerod Mayo
  • Inside Linebacker: Gary Guyton – 4 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Adalius Thomas – 1 sack, 5 tackles
  • Outside Linebacker: Tully Banta-Cain – 2 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Derrick Burgess – 1 sack
  • Corner: Leigh Bodden – 5 tackles, 1 pass defense
  • Corner: Shawn Springs – 6 tackles, 1 FF
  • Safety: Brandon Merriweather – 8 tackles,
  • Safety: James Sanders – 4 tackles

SPECIALS

  • Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski
  • Punter: Chris Hanson
  • Kick Return: Laurence Maroney
  • Punt Return: Wes Welker

Key Players: Obviously Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are the Pats best weapons on offense. They have a deep group of running backs led by Laurence Maroney and their offensive line is consistently solid. On defense, they have a strong rotation at outside linebacker who all contribute to their pass rush. Brandon Merriweather is a rising star in the secondary.

Injuries: The Jets appear to be 100 percent healthy heading into this game, nobody will be inactive because of an injury. Pats middle linebacker Jerod Mayo was hurt last night and is questionable to play this week.

Early Story Lines: Pats have won 8 straight in the Meadowlands…Rex Ryan “kiss the rings” quote…Battle for early lead in AFC East…Darrelle Revis vs Randy Moss…The Jets defense getting after Tom Brady…Mark Sanchez vs Bill Bellicheck’s defensive scheme.

Good Luck Blocking Kris Jenkins

40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season

First a few updates:

1. The Jets waived punter AJ Trapasso after picking him up yesterday and signed former Jaguars punter Steve Weatherford. It is now becoming a daily part of my day to read about the Jets changing punters: get up, eat breakfast, go to class, read about the Jets new punter, and so on…

2. I think the Yankees might win the AL East by 12-15 games this season.

3. The rumors continue to swirl about the Jets adding a receiver, thanks mostly to a twitter by Kerry Rhodes about some type of big announcement coming for the Jets. Most people are reporting that Brandon Marshall is out of the question at this point but the Jets are continuing look at other team’s rosters. I am not sure who they can add right now besides Marshall, that would be such a huge upgrade over Chansi Stuckey or David Clowney.

4. So my old piece of crap I-Pod broke a few weeks ago, leaving me i-pod less. But how about this? My girlfriend and I were taking a cab back to Grand Central Station on Friday and what do I find in the cab? A brand new I-Pod, one that holds 5000 songs compared to my old one which only held 1000 songs. Even better, it is a nice shade of Jets green…now if that isn’t a good omen for this season than I don’t know what is. It is also helped me feel better about spending 11 dollars per drink in NYC, when I currently have no source of income. In about 3 weeks, I will be eating all my meals off the Taco Bell dollar menu.

5. The Jets named their Danny Woodhead-less practice squad today. The fan favorite running back probably got picked up on waivers by another team. Here is the PS: Jehuu Caulcrick, Keith Fitzhugh, Emmanuel Cook, Jack Simmons, Marcus Henry, Kenwin Cummings, Matt Kroul, Ryan McKee

40 Predictions For 2009 New York Jets Season

Tomorrow, I will start coverage of the Jets week one match-up against the Houston Texans but today is the perfect day to make my 2009 NFL Predictions, starting with 40 (I don’t know, the number just came to me) about our New York Jets.

1. David Harris will lead the Jets in sacks this season with 9. Calvin Pace will come in second despite missing the first four games, finishing with 7.5.

2. Vernon Gholston will be somewhere between slightly below average and okay during the first four games. He will begin to play better as a situational player when the season progresses, finishing with 5.5 sacks.

3. Lito Sheppard will give up alot of plays but also make alot of plays, because of all the balls that will be thrown his way. He will start 16 games and lead the team in interceptions.

4. Darrelle Revis will be returning Hawaii. He will prove to be a top 3 CB in the NFL this season.

5. Howard Green will be an extremely valuable player off the bench on the Jets defensive line, providing a quality backup to Kris Jenkins.

6. Kerry Rhodes will have a much better year than he did last season but still won’t produce at his 2006 statistical level and won’t be a pro-bowler.

7. Jim Leonhard will be a steady, consistent player on the Jets defense but his most important contributions will be as a punt returner.

8. The Jets will sweep the Miami Dolphins this season.

9. Thomas Jones won’t match last year’s gaudy numbers but will still finish with a solid 1175 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.

10. Leon Washington will have at least 50 more carries this season than he did in 2008, along with 10 more catches.

11. Leon Washington will have 1100 combined rushing/receiving yards. He had 800 last year.

12. Leon Washington will have 2 kick return touchdowns this season. Jim Leonhard will take one punt back.

13. Leon Washington will have a better season than Reggie Bush (sorry, Dan).

14. Shonn Greene will start out the season slow but become an important part of the offense in the second half of the season.

15. Bryan Thomas will very quietly have his best season since 2006, finishing with 67 tackles and 6.5 sacks.

16. Shaun Ellis, Marques Douglas, Mike DeVito, and Ropati Pitoitua will be a surprisingly solid defensive end rotation.

17. The Jets will split with New England for the third time in four years.

18. Somebody on the offensive line will miss a few starts this season, exposing the Jets lack of depth at the position.

19. Tony Richardson, the ageless wonder…will start another 16 games.

20. Jerricho Cotchery will just barely get 1000 yards receiving and finish with 5 touchdowns.

21. Brad Smith will have less than 10 catches this season.

22. Dustin Keller will be joining Darrelle Revis in Hawaii, finishing with 67 catches, 850 yards, and 7 touchdowns.

23. Mark Sanchez’s stats will look very similar to Joe Flacco’s last season. The Jets high paid rookie will finish with 15 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 2980 yards passing, and a 62.0 completion percentage.

24. David Clowney will catch at least 2 touchdowns of 40 yards or more.

25. Chansi Stuckey won’t have stats that will impress anybody because of his low yards per catch average, but will be a valuable 3rd down weapon for the Jets.

26. The Jets defense will give up more big plays than expected but will have more sacks, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns than in 2008.

27. Despite having a better backup than he did last year, Kris Jenkins will start out slow because of missing most of the pre-season and will start 14 games this year, not the full 16.

28. Brian Schottenheimer will be extremely conservative the first 5-6 games of this season, frustrating fans. However, as Sanchez gets more comfortable the Jets offense will begin to resemble its 2006 form.

29. Steve Weatherford won’t finish the season as the Jets punter….will he even finish this article as the Jets punter?

30. The Jets will split with the Buffalo Bills this season.

31. Bart Scott will be a quality player and bring a nasty attitude to the Jets defense but he will be outplayed by David Harris at inside linebacker.

32. Thomas Jones will catch another 30 passes this season.

33. Mark Sanchez’s inexperience will cost the Jets a couple of winnable games in the first half of the season. His talent level and growing comfort in the offense, will steal them a late season game they shouldn’t win.

34. The Jets will enter their week 9 bye as a 4-4 team and not be considered a serious playoff contender.

35. Similar to the 2006 team, they will rally to a 6-2 finish and end up as a 10-6 wild card team.

36. They will either upset the Colts or Pats on the road in the second half of the season, not both. Their other second half loss will be at home to Atlanta…so yes, I am saying they win in Buffalo (aka Toronto), Tampa, and take care of the Panthers at home in the second half of the season.

37. Most Improved Player Offense – Dustin Keller.

38. Most Improved Player Defense – Bryan Thomas, David Harris

39.  Pro-Bowlers – Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, David Harris, Leon Washington (kick returner), Nick Mangold

40.  The Jets won’t add another veteran receiver this season, but it will be top priority in next year’s off-season.

The Jets Clinching a Playoff Spot in Their Last Home Game in 2006, I am expecting a similar situation when they beat the Bengals in week 17 this year to clinch a playoff spot:

Jets Defense in Trouble?

First a few updates:

1. The Jets began to make their roster cuts yesterday releasing quarterback Chris Pizzotti, receiver Huey Whittaker, safety Nate Ness, and linebacker Craig Kobel…no surprises there.

2. Apparently the Jets have no interest in adding Reggie Brown if he gets cut by Philly, according to Dave Hutchinson. The Jets may be satisfied with their group of receivers this late into pre-season. It will be a committee approach that will rely on different players to step up each week.

3. Oh boy, it’s Jets-Eagles pre-season week…there is nothing worse than week four of the pre-season. Thank god tomorrow is September, a month that will hopefully be filled up with the Yankees winning the AL East, the Jets getting off to a strong start, and my fantasy team going undefeated.

Jets Defense in Trouble?

The Jets defense has looked pretty good this pre-season. The first unit is stopping the run, getting to the quarterback, and created two turnovers on Saturday against the Giants. However, there is a growing list of concerns about the unit that could affect their early season play. In their first four games, the Jets play three of the best offenses in football. The Texans have a dangerous collection of weapons, including receiver Andre Johnson, running back Steve Slaton, and tight end Owen Daniels and the Patriots and Saints success speaks for itself. Will the Jets be equipped to handle these high caliber units, despite these problems:

1. No Calvin Pace, Big ProblemPace has been exceptional this pre-season when he has been on the field but unfortunately the Jets will be without him the first four weeks. Vernon Gholston finally showed some signs of life last week as his replacement but only as a pass rusher. The Giants ran the ball right at Gholston, who couldn’t get off his blocks, with a high degree of success. Teams will be targeting Gholston early in the year and the Jets will struggle to stop the run unless he can quickly improve. Jamaal Westerman could begin to see an increase in reps if Gholston doesn’t play well against the Eagles and then in week one against the Texans.

2. D-Line Depth Issues – The Jets already had some serious questions about their defensive line depth coming into the season and now they will be without Shaun Ellis in week one because of a suspension. Making matters worse is now his backup, Mike DeVito, has a pulled hamstring and could also miss some early season action. This will put serious pressure on highly inexperienced players like Ropati Pitoitua and Zach Potter to step up give quality reps. It also increases pressure on newly acquired Marques Douglas to have a strong start to the year and provide some stability to the defensive end position. Also, don’t be surprised if you see Howard Green slide over from defensive tackle to take some reps or Vernon Gholston put his hand in the dirt, while somebody like Westerman steps in at linebacker.

3. Picked On Corners – First it was Dwight Lowery against the Rams, then it was Drew Coleman and Marquis Cole getting beat deep against the Ravens, then it was Lito Sheppard having a rough night against the Giants…the Jets may have some issues opposite Darrelle Revis. Teams aren’t going to target #24 all that often, so Sheppard and Lowery are going to need to step up and be ready to handle a ton of balls coming their way. Yes, the Jets have Revis to counter Andre Johnson but Kevin Walter is a good player opposite him, the Saints have a group of speedy receivers across from Marques Colston, and the Patriots obviously have Wes Welker and Joey Galloway to with Randy Moss.

The pressure is on players like Vernon Gholston, Ropati Pitoitua, Marques Douglas, Dwight Lowery, and Lito Sheppard to improve their play and complement the rest of the talented Jets defense. It doesn’t matter how good Darrelle Revis, Kris Jenkins, and David Harris are, in football you are only as good as your weakest link.

Mark Sanchez Pre-Season Highlights

Jets vs. Giants Highlights, A Day Late (Also Added to the Game Highlights Section)