TOJ’s 1st & 10: Jets QB Zach Wilson Goes Toe to Toe with The Goat!
I don’t know what narrative the readers follow regarding Zach Wilson, or what their ideal scenario was for this Jets team prior to draft night, but if you can’t see the steps forward from this young quarterback then I think you simply don’t like him.
22-year-old Zach Wilson just went punch for punch with Tom Brady and should have beaten him – barring a bizarre miscommunication on a 4th down call. The kid played lights out, turnover-free football for four quarters against the defending Super Bowl Champions, while missing his starting receivers, tight ends, and 2/5 of his offensive line! That, my friends, is progress.
The mere fact that since returning from injury, Wilson has had numerous games (Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay) that are being debated as his best games of the season, is a great sign! Since his return from injury in week 12, he has thrown for 1079 yards, 56% completion, 4 passing touchdowns and 4 rushing touchdowns and has only 2 interceptions! Oh and the Jets have been competitive in every game but one…
This is tangible progress from the rookie and from this team as we close out the season.
1. Mike LaFleur called another brilliant game. Kudos to him for getting Wilson in a groove early and continuing to build off of that as the game went on. You can make an argument that MLF has been the most improved Jet this season.
2. The Jets young cornerback group has easily been the most impressive unit on the team this season. I think Bryce Hall is an answer at one spot, and Echols may be another. But at least you know that you have depth pieces for the future, at a minimum.
3. Braxton Berrios should be extended… immediately. What a player.
4. I’m glad we got some clarification on the 4th down play call late in the game… It was a bad decision by Wilson to not go to Berrios on the reverse, but I love the aggressiveness to go for it there. Good by Saleh.
5. A close 2nd place to point #2 above would be the offensive line. This coaching staff has done a great job with this unit, and they continue to get better. There is no bigger proof than having the running game they did today against Tampa Bay with Dan Feeney and Chuma Edoga playing big roles. However, this unit is in no way a finished product.
6. Good for Kenny Yeboah for making plays down the middle of the field. It was nice to see a TE make a catch in the seam. Tight end is the biggest need for this offense to address in the offseason. Joe Douglas should make moves in both free agency and the draft.
7. Is it too much to ask for one game to go by where a Jets receiver doesn’t have a crucial, boneheaded drop?
8. Seeing Robert Saleh need his get back coach to pull him off the field after a Tom Brady sack may have been the highlight of the season for me.
9. The Jets defense actually played well today and held up vs. a good Buccaneers offense. You fault them for giving up a 3rd and 20 and for the final drive, but they held their own for most of the day and deserve credit. Per the usual with this team, it’s an insanely low bar to clear but they did it today.
10. The biggest needs the Jets have this offseason are: TE, IOL, WR, Edge, LB, CB and both safeties. My early feeling is to address offense heavy with 3 of the top 4 picks in the draft and try to solve your defensive problems during free agency. March and May are going to be so unbelievably fun. I believe that there is a clear vision here from Douglas and Saleh and they realize the need to compete in 2022. The Jets have money to spend, draft capital to play with, and a QB and Coach to build for. This will be a wild ride and it will never fail to entertain us…
Episode 551 – Midweek with Manish: Pay President Adams, Josh Allen Debate, & The Fall of an Empire
Scott Mason talks to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News for a midweek look at everything going on surrounding the New York Jets and the rest of the NFL!
Episode 551 of “Play Like A Jet” is here! Subscribe on iTunes or check out the audio below. Scott Mason talks to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News for a midweek look at everything going on surrounding the New York Jetsand the rest of the NFL!
-The merits of Josh Allen as a starting quarterback after 2 seasons
-The Patriots’ loss to Tennessee and the potential end to the New England dynasty
-The latest in the NFL Head Coaching Carousel
-A look at if the Jets would be wise to pay Jamal Adams now rather than waiting until later
-Breaking news on the Jets’ MetLife Stadium roommates
Play Like A Jet is part of the Turn On The Jets Digital Podcast network……
Episode 242: Is Tom Brady A Scientifically Proven Cheater? w/Ace Davis
Scott Mason talks to 10 year-old Ace Davis of Millcreek Elementary in Lexington, KY, whose science project on Tom Brady just may prove the legendary QB is a cheater!
Episode 242 of “Play Like A Jet” is here! Subscribe on iTunes or check out the audio below. Scott Mason talks to 10 year-old Ace Davis of Millcreek Elementary in Lexington, KY, whose science project on Tom Brady just may prove the legendary QB is a cheater!
Ace and his father Chris talk about Ace’s background, the idea for the science project, the work that went into it, and ultimately how a project that was meant to be a joke caught on like wildfire nationwide!
Oh, and Ace REALLY likes one of the Jets’ current players. Want to find out who it is? Give the show a listen!
Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll hear 2019 roundtable thoughts from TOJ writer and Senior Bowl correspondent Clayton Smarslok!
Play Like A Jet is part of the Turn On The Jets Digital Podcast network……..
New BTT Podcast: Mark Schofield joins Daniel Essien to discuss the ever important quarterback position.
What’s the most important position in football?…..It’s quarterback. Not a trick question. The quarterback position is the only one that can dictate the direction of football as a whole. It’s also the most fascinating in terms of how it’s coached and the traits required to succeed. Mark Schofield joins Dan Essien to discuss trends both past and present at the quarterback position. Make sure you, subscribe and leave a review on iTunes, if you haven’t!
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.
2-3. A mark most teams reach and start to wonder what isn’t going right. For the New York Jets, that’s quite a few things on both sides of the ball. Special teams? Could be the best in the league. Mike Westhoff will get returns with Sione Pouha, but sadly special teams accounts for but 30% of total play.
Offense. Surprisingly, the Jets are finally making the shift towards getting legitimate use out of their draft picks (except Ducasse). The Jets are testing out Jeremy Kerley, who will probably end up as the slot receiver by the end of the year unless Derrick Mason starts catching balls on 3rd down and quiets his criticisms of his offensive coordinator. The kick return job, which initially went to Antonio Cromartie, has been relegated to Joe Mcknight, who is finally emerging as a legitimate 4th round draft pick . McKnight got a few plays at running back, knowing Shonn Greene isn’t going to break anything to the outside and is better off with a full head of steam going north and south. If the Jets can get McKnight going, along with a steady power running game with Shonn Greene, LT may have even better stats than he did last year. Sadly, we must wait what will undoubtedly be a long 11 weeks and see if that pans out.
So what gets the Jets off to the slow start? Lack of a screen game. Lack of a power running game. Lack of a legitimate tall deep threat (No more Edwards). They have a middle of the field threat with Holmes and a sideline/end zone corner threat with Burress, but this whole going after aging talent that isn’t experienced with the system gamble is not working out the way it was supposed to. They can’t play off the run the way they are supposed to. They also can’t run the occasional Wildcat like they used to with Brad Smith. It is easy to see they should have paid Edwards and kept some sort of continuity with Sanchez and not have this receiving core of egos already blowing up against their coordinator.
Remedies? Can’t turn back time at this point in the season. Look at Philadelphia. On paper champions. If this was a video game, the Jets could probably run the table. Unfortunately, they have no run stopping linebacker with the loss of Bryan Thomas, and their backup center/guard Rob Turner isn’t going to be in for substitutions, which may lead to Vladimir Ducasse getting some sort of playing time.
Bill Belichick is the smartest coach in the NFL. There is no doubt at this point that he spent the large majority of his offseason trying to figure out the Jets and how they go about their defense against the Patriots. To the Patriots favor, some good things happened for their offense as opposed to the Jets defense. Their two tight ends are fully comfortable in this offense. They are too fast to play against linebackers, and they’re too strong to play against safeties. It just so happens the Jets have two undersized safeties and only two legitimate linebackers. Sure Revis took away Welker, but someone always has to account for those two tight ends, and no one on the Jets has the size or adequate speed save for Cromartie, who unfortunately spent his day attempting to catch Deion Branch as he got open for touchdowns.
Tom Brady has quite a few options if he decides to stay away from Revis. Deion Branch will usually have a corner playing against him, and if their two receivers are covered and the two tight ends stay in to run block on a play action, they can always jump out over the middle to get the ball up top, with the clear height advantage against Jets safeties or linebackers. And if the Jets bite on the play action? Well then they bring out the running back on either a wheel or circle route and utilize him as a receiver.
The clear difference with this Patriots team is the tempo. They will gash you down the field, run the ball to get a third and five, and then keep you guessing. In the past they would look for a short pass, but the new Patriots move at a pace they completely dictate. More often than not, they will run the ball on third down, knowing you will probably try and sub players out and waiting for one mismatch out of 5 matchups.
What puts the Patriots offense up to and beyond the light speed offense of the Packers is the legitimacy of their running game. With Ellis and Ridley, the Patriots have shown a willingness to put serious time in as a two tight end power running team that could at any point audible into a play action pass, keeping at least 2 linebackers or safeties dropping over the middle of the field.
Why did the Jets defense fail? No Trevor Pryce. No Shaun Ellis. Donald Strickland getting beat like a drum all day. No James Ihedigbo. No Dwight Lowery. No Drew Coleman. These were guys that were great at upsetting the rhythm of Brady. Ihedigbo and Coleman were both small speedsters who were great at matching up on the small Patriots receivers and occasionally sneaking in on a blitz. When Tom Brady is comfortable, you’re defensive coordinator is up in the booth counting to 3 and waiting for a completion. That is exactly how in control Brady is against a defense that simply can’t get to the quarterback the way it needs to with 4 down lineman.
Is it an indictment of Ryan? It’s hard to say. Muhammad Wilkerson is going to have to be a complete beast if the Jets defense expects to play with any sort of confidence. Sione Pouha? Good backup. Marcus Dixon and Mike DeVito? Both great rotation players, but these guys wouldn’t even make the Giants starting roster. If anyone in New York wants to look at the Giants for anything helpful, look how insanely productive the front 4 of the Giants defensive line are. If you can get pressure with 4 or 5, you’ll be able to drop 6 with very few holes. When you have to rush 6, you’ll always have holes in your defense. Sometimes the Giants only have to rush 3 to get pressure for gods sake.
What this season shows is how hard Rex Ryan’s job has been as a head coach, trying to get the most out of a team that is probably not even in the top 15 in terms of talent on both sides of the ball. As smart as they are, the following players wouldn’t even start on any other team in the NFL: Jim Leonhard, Matt Mulligan, Matt Slauson, Marcus Dixon. And on…
If the Jets are to make the playoffs this year, it would no doubt be a heroic effort of a team that is finding the crossroads of youth and veteran leadership rather difficult to overcome.
I noticed just a hint of hypocrisy today when reading an article on both Pro Football Talk and ESPN about how quiet New England is keeping their off-season workouts. Yes, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski bragged to the country’s largest sports media outlet about how the Patriots are “on the down-low” and not seeking the press like “other teams” cough cough, Jets West anybody?
Can we stop with the act that New England never runs their mouth? Let’s not pretend Tom Brady never gestures at opponent’s sidelines or Deion Branch doesn’t cry a river of tears complaining about the Jets celebrating on their field. You can’t brag to the media about not bragging there Gronk.
Yes, I know I have posted this video probably five times in the past two months for various reasons but this needed to be featured as our first installment of Random Great Moment…
Let’s be honest, even the most optimistic among us had a tough time seeing the Jets upsetting the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. The game got off to a rough start in case you forgot with the Jets punting on their first possession and New England rolling right down the field on a confused looking Jets defense.
Fortunately, Tom Brady made a horrific throw on this screen pass attempt and David Harris was there to capitalize. It still amazes me to this day that Harris was caught by Alge Crumpler. Honestly, Harris looks like he is running with a piano on his back (coming from somebody who used to look the same way in the open field).
Even though the Jets didn’t score on the following drive, this play gave both the team and everybody watching confidence that the Jets could slow down the supposed unstoppable New England offense. Brady was rattled from that point on and the Jets smacked him around the rest of the afternoon, en route to their upset victory.
Personally, I can say when Harris intercepted that pass it was the highest I jumped after a play all season, almost hitting my head on the ceiling in the my cousin’s apartment. We are all in a bit of daze watching New England surgically move down the field, feeling another blowout coming on, yet this interception snapped us back to life as well as it clearly did for the players.
As reliable as Chad Henne throwing an interception in a big game, the 12 pack is back with another edition. A friendly reminder to follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter. For today’s 12 pack we are going to count down the 10 most important players to the Jets getting over the hump and making it to the Super Bowl in 2011, along posting some links and our usual weekend video clips —
Ten Most Important Jets In 2011 –
10. Santonio Holmes – Everything we have heard this off-season indicates that he will be back with the team and that he is now their top priority after taking care of David Harris. Holmes needs to be the number one receiver the Jets are going to sign him to be on a consistent basis.
9. Jim Leonhard – The Jets defense needs a healthy Leonhard quarterbacking the secondary, especially with the spot opposite him a major question mark with Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and James Ihedigbo all free agents.
8. Calvin Pace – Regardless of who the Jets draft this year, Pace will be their top pass rusher entering the season. The Jets need a full 16 game season out of him, where he finally reaches double digit in sacks, which he should be more than capable of in this system with his skill set.
7. Dustin Keller – Based on the assumption that Braylon Edwards won’t be back, Keller will need to take on a bigger role in the offense and become the team’s primary red-zone threat because of his size. Even if Edwards returns, Keller needs to keep growing and become a reliable outlet for Mark Sanchez.
6. Kyle Wilson – Based on the assumption that Antonio Cromartie won’t return despite TOJ writing 1200 articles this off-season begging for the Jets to re-sign him. Wilson needs to be able to handle the daunting task of being the corner opposite Revis Island, along with stepping up in the return game on both punts and kicks. Even if Cromartie returns, Wilson needs to improve as a nickel back and be better on returns.
5. Vladimir Ducasse/Wayne Hunter – One of the two of them needs to step into the right tackle spot to fill in for the recently released Damien Woody. The Jets offensive line has been a major strength the past few years and they can’t afford a major drop off because of one player being released. The coaching staff will obviously be pulling for Ducasse, last year’s second round pick, to seize the job. However, if he isn’t up to the task, Hunter must be more consistent than he was last season when he stepped in for an injured Woody.
4. Nick Mangold/D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Brandon Moore – Don’t ever forget how much of the Jets success the past couple of years is from having such a solid, consistent center, tackle, guard combination.
3. Shonn Greene – The Jets need a lead back who can carry the load on a weekly basis and this is Greene’s year to show he is that guy. 2010 was a disappointing season for the second year back, who got off to a slow start and never became the workhorse he showed he had the potential to be during the 2009 playoff run. Greene has the physical ability to be a 1200-1400 yard back, but can he stay healthy and consistent enough to achieve those numbers?
2. Darrelle Revis – The Jets aggressive defense is predicated on their corners being able to shut down receivers in single coverage. Darrelle Revis needs to stay healthy and play at the level he did in 2009 and the second half of 2010, especially with the uncertainty at the spot opposite him.
1. Mark Sanchez – Was there any question? It always starts and ends with the quarterback. Similar to how Sanchez took a step forward in 2010, the Jets need him to do the same thing this year. He will given more responsibility on offense and likely be asked to throw more than he has in previous years. Sanchez needs to get his completion percentage closer to 60 and should able to get near 4,000 yards passing next season, while keeping his interception total in the 10-13 range.