Initial reaction to the New York Jets win over Arizona and their decision to bench quarterback Mark Sanchez
The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals played arguably the ugliest football game of the 2012 NFL Season. Ultimately the Jets escaped with a 7-6 win but the story is Rex Ryan’s decision to finally bench Mark Sanchez…in favor of Greg McElroy. Considering how today’s game was going, Rex had no choice and there is no going back now. Sanchez is like The Sopranos…it is over…find a new show.
From the first play of the game when he threw a brutal interception, Sanchez looked completely lost out there. The team was lifeless with him and the game was there to be taken, thanks primarily to Ryan Lindley being the worst quarterback to ever take a snap in the NFL (10/31, 72 yards, 1 INT!). Making the switch to McElroy brought a shot of life to the offense, which promptly scored a touchdown. Outside of a back shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley to convert a third down, McElroy didn’t make any special plays. Yet, he steadied the offense and brought a much needed energy to the huddle.
There is no need to go crazy and crown McElroy as the next Joe Montana after a 5/7, 29 yard performance (which the New York media will inevitably do) but for right now, he can protect the football and manage a run heavy offense. The Jets were effective with the 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell (12 carries, 58 yards) and Shonn Greene (24 carries, 104 yards) and had an encouraging performance from Stephen Hill who had 5 catches. This is still not a good football and a team devoid of talent on offense but they should be able to compete, if not win their remaining four games.
Big picture – There is no reason not to stick with McElroy at this point. It is very clear the Tim Tebow trade was 100% a PR move orchestrated by Woody Johnson. Rex Ryan never had an interest in playing him. Mark Sanchez looks completely finished as a New York quarterback. Mentally and physically he looks defeated. There is no going back to him. See what McElroy can do with these last four games and if he could be a viable competitor next summer for an open quarterbacking job with a veteran who is brought in. At this point, it is worth wondering if the Jets will eat Sanchez’s guaranteed money and just get him off the roster in 2013.
This was an important day for Rex Ryan, who finally held Sanchez accountable for his poor play. It was likely too late and there are still major issues all over this roster…don’t allow a 7-6 win over a terrible team make you forget that. Regardless, Sanchez’s time as this team’s franchise quarterback is now officially over.
Chris Gross – Jets 16 Cardinals 9 – In one of the ugliest games of the season, the Jets will struggle to find ball movement against Arizona’s 7th ranked defense. Look for New York to try to pound the ball early through carries by both Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, while finding difficulty throwing the ball. Mark Sanchez will have at least one turnover in the first half, while the offensive struggles to move the ball will put the Jets defense in some tough spots early. However, New York’s defense will provide a dominant effort against 6th round rookie Ryan Lindley, setting the Jets up for a 4th quarter touchdown, that will ultimately prove to be the game winner. The Jets defense will record 4 sacks as a unit, while field goals are traded throughout the day, leading to the Jets scoring the only touchdown of the contest within ten minutes prior to the end of regulation. It will certainly not be a television friendly game, and mistakes will be made, but expect the Jets to play well enough to stop the bleeding of 2012 for at least one more week.
Chris Celletti – At this point, there isn’t a team n the entire league that you would pen the Jets for a surefire win against, which should make the end of this season interesting since the have some cupcakes on the remainder of the schedule. In our previous roundtable about Jets/Cardinals, I highlighted the strength of the Cardinals’ pass defense and how that probably means the Jets’ offense will struggle, as it has basically all season. I think that will be the case, and because of that I expect the game will be pretty close the entire way. Conversely, I think the Jets’ defense comes up with a big effort. Rex Ryan’s defenses usually eat quarterbacks like Ryan Lindley for lunch, and Arizona does not have a running attack that scares you, which plays into the Jets’ hands. As long as the Jets don’t turn the ball over like nuts (possible) or have a few shockers on special teams (also, very possible), I think they find a way to beat a poor west team playing early on the east coast. Jets 20, Cardinals 14.
Rob Celletti – Chris Celletti did a hell of a job recounting the crapfest that was Jets vs. Cardinals in 1999, and I’m expecting something of a similar game. Neither team is really any good. The Jets will be reeling after the embarrassment that was Thanksgiving, and the Cardinals haven’t won since September…the calendar now reads December.
Expect ugly football: missed assignments, poor tackling, turnovers. In a game between two teams like this, it’s prudent to pick the home team. The Jets will also be well-rested, for what it’s worth. The Jets haven’t been involved in many close games this year, so I feel like they’re due for one. A late Folk field goal wins it for the Jets, 19-17
The Turn On The Jets 12 pack gives predictions for Jets vs. Cardinals
Sanchez! Lindley! The NFL on FOX, Next! The Turn On The Jets 12 pack is here with predictions for the battle of 4-7 offensive juggernauts that will take place at MetLife Stadium this weekend. It will certainly be interesting to see what starters the team decides to call out, since they have had to resort to calling out the special teams and first responders to Hurricane Sandy in recent weeks. The New York Jets are probably the only team in football who has to consistently tell their starting quarterback and his offense…sorry, we aren’t comfortable sending you out through that tunnel on a name by name basis.
And who can blame them? We all know it would be boo-city. Beyond that the Jets insist on spouting out irrelevant tidbits about their starters before they run out through the tunnel…like saying “Pro-Bowler…Bart Scott!” when he was in the Pro-Bowl in 2006. Or “1st round pick…Bryan Thomas!” when he was a first round pick in 2002. Can you imagine the offensive starters? (Picture these with “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem playing the background, which the Jets insist on continuing to play)
“At quarterback…completing over 50% of his passes…once bedded supermodel Kate Upton…MARK SANCHEZ!”
“At wide receiver…his friends call him Clyde…and he runs super fast in a straight line…EDMOND GATES!”
“At running back…averaging 3.2 yards per carry…scored 2 touchdowns in 2009 playoffs…SHONN GREENE!”
“At right tackle…he isn’t Wayne Hunter…AUSTIN HOWARD!”
On to the predictions…
1. The much-maligned New York Jets defense is going to have a big day against Ryan Lindley and the Arizona Cardinals slopfest offensive line, finishing with 4 sacks, 2 turnovers and holding them under 17 points.
2. Mark Sanchez is going to struggle against the Arizona defense. The Jets will roll with a very conservative gameplan. Sanchez will throw for less than 200 yards and have at least one turnover.
3. Bilal Powell will have at least 12 touches on offense and Joe McKnight will also have at least 5 touches. Shonn Greene will have 17 carries for 80 yards with a touchdown.
4. Dustin Keller will be the Jets leading receiver.
5. Stephen Hill will have a quietly productive 4 catch, 45 yard game with 0 drops.
6. Larry Fitzgerald will have less than 50 yards receiving. Antonio Cromartie will also have an interception when Lindley tries to force the ball to Fitzgerland.
7. Andre Roberts will have a big day working against Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster, finishing with at least 70 yards receiving.
8. Greg McElroy (who will be active as the 2nd quarterback) will not see the field and will not start a game this year.
9. Kyle Wilson is going to fumble a punt.
10. Joe McKnight will return a kick out past the 50 yard line.
11. Jordan White will have his first NFL reception.
12. The Jets will win an ugly, low-scoring 16-10 game…moving to 5-7 and inspiring no confidence in the process.
A look at why the New York Jets have never adequately addressed their porous pass rush
Among the phrases I most frequently utter during a New York Jets game, “We really need a sack right here. When is the last time we got a sack?” is high up on the list. It isn’t just the 2012 version of the Jets who are awful at getting after the quarterback, it has been a recurring trend on the Jets over nearly the past decade. Did you know the last Jets player to register double digit sacks in a season was John Abraham in 2005 with 10.5? The last time the Jets had a double digit sack guy, Brooks Bollinger was throwing passes to Doug Jolley! Since then here are their sack leaders in each respective season –
2006 – Bryan Thomas – 8.5 sacks
2007 – David Harris – 5 sacks
2008 – Calvin Pace – 7 sacks
2009 – Calvin Pace – 8 sacks
2010 – Bryan Thomas – 6 sacks
2011 – Aaron Maybin – 6 sacks
2012 – Bryan Thomas – 2.5 sacks
Wow, that is a depressing list. It is even more depressing when you share the city with the New York Giants and Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora are having 4-5 sack games each season. This list shows the Jets haven’t had anybody anywhere near a feared pass rusher in 7 full years. Why hasn’t this team properly addressed their pass rush in so long?
After Abraham was traded, the Jets had so many other holes to fill (sound familiar) that pass rush was generally ignored. They lucked out and got the most productive season of Bryan Thomas’ career in 2006 and promptly rewarded him with a large contract, figuring he was finally reaching his first round potential now that he was paired with Eric Mangini. Guess what? 2006 turned out to be an outlier/fluke and Thomas was back down to 2.5 sacks the following season.
After 2007, the Jets decided to finally get their needed pass rusher by selecting Vernon Gholston with the #6 overall pick. Swing and a miss! Gholston never recorded a NFL sack and is out of the league. This selection marked the beginning of the end of smart drafts by Mike Tannenbaum, who would add to bust-trophy case with Vladimir Ducasse, Kyle Wilson, and now likely both Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene.
In 2008, the Jets looked to remedy their previous two mistakes by giving big money to Calvin Pace who did get 15 total sacks between 2008 and 2009…good not great. Pace also was suspended the first four games of the 2009 season and missed the first four games of the 2010 season due to a foot injury. Since that injury, he has never been the same player.
2009 and 2010 saw complete ignorance of pass rushers. Many figured Rex Ryan could turn Vernon Gholston into a reclamation project, which never happened. Meanwhile Pace and Thomas’ skills continued to deteriorate while no adequate long term replacements were brought in. Instead they tried a stop-gap help with Jason Taylor in 2010, who ended up being one and done with the Jets.
Even in the 2011 draft when the Jets drafted defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round, he wasn’t taken under the expectation of being a double digit sack guy…ends in 3-4 schemes don’t put up those kind of numbers. The Jets didn’t even bother to spend a middle or late round pick on an outside linebacker. They were fortunate to get 6 sacks out of Aaron Maybin who was brought in off the scrap heap. Instead of looking to the fill the need this past off-season from outside the organization, they decided to be content with just bringing Maybin back and hoping first round pick Quinton Coples could provide an interior pass rush.
Unfortunately, Maybin turned out to be a one trick pony who was cut after 8 games this year. He recorded 0 sacks and 1 tackle in those 8 games. Coples has shown immense talent but is frequently double teamed inside with Wilkerson because nobody respects Pace and Thomas (yes those same two are still here) coming off the edge.
So what happened? The Jets guessed wrong about Thomas being able to sustain his success heading into 2007 season. They guessed wrong with Gholston in the 2008 Draft. They thought a little too highly of Pace in 2008-2010 and gave Maybin too much credit heading into this year. All personnel mistakes and poor self-scouting…a recurring trend with this team.
After this year both starters, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas will be gone, offering the opportunity to fill two long standing positions of need for this team. The Jets MUST find competent pass rushers to get the most out of their first round picks, Wilkerson and Coples, who are on the cusp of being special players but need less attention consistently being given to them. Outside linebacker needs to be addressed once or twice in rounds 1-3 by the team in this year’s draft and in the free agency/trade market. This defense will never reach their potential unless this is handled properly.
The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they are most looking forward to in Jets/Cardinals
The TOJ staff discusses what match-ups they are most looking forward to in this Sunday’s game between the Jets and Cardinals.
A quick shout out to Santonio Holmes who is running an online raffle to raise money for his Third and Long Foundation. The contest runs through this Saturday and the prize is 2 tickets to watch the Jets game this week in a suite at MetLife with Holmes. Check out http://www.monjigame.com for more information – Help support a great cause!
Joe Caporoso – The Jets vs. Our Collective Sanity – The New York Jets have just about pushed their fans to the breaking point this year. Yet, if this eternally hyped defense can’t put a hurting on Ryan Lindley and the worst offensive line in football what else is there to do but fire everybody who is associated with this organization? This is the type of game the Jets defense needs to post 5 sacks, 2 turnovers and carry the torch to an ugly 13-3 win. If the Jets manage to lose this game, they may not win the rest of the season.
Chris Gross – Jets Defensive Line vs. Cardinals Offensive Line: If Arizona had a capable quarterback, this would easily be focused on Antonio Cromartie against Larry Fitzgerald. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, however, the quarterback situation in the desert is more laughable than any team around the league (including the Jets and Kansas City). The Cardinals have given up an NFL worst 46 sacks this season, with the Jets only getting to opposing quarterbacks a mere 17 times. Something has to give, here right?
Arizona will be starting rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley for the second straight week. Despite throwing 4 interceptions against St. Louis last week, Lindley still threw for 312 yards. The talent is there at wide receiver for the Cardinals. Third year pro Andre Roberts is quietly having a decent year for Arizona with 50 receptions and 5 touchdowns, including 9 grabs in the loss to the Rams last week. While Cromartie should be able to keep Fitzgerald in check for the better part of the game, Roberts and Michael Floyd could cause problems for the rest of the Jets below average secondary.
In order to prevent a surplus of Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster miscommunications, the Jets simply need to wreak havoc on the rookie signal caller. There is no excuse for not getting to the quarterback this week. Lindley needs to be hit early and often in order for the Jets to neutralize the mismatches at WR2 and WR3. Muhammad Wilkerson should have a big game, with Quinton Coples, and one of the Jets outside linebackers contributing as well (Anybody? Bueller?? Bueller??). If the pass rush is neutralized against the poor pass blocking offensive line of the Cardinals, another home loss could be looming, particularly due to the strong defensive presence that Arizona has still maintained, despite losing 7 in a row
Mike Donnelly – The matchup I’m most looking forward to this Sunday is Quinton Coples, Mo Wilkerson, and Ricky Sapp against the Cardinals porous offensive line. I know it seems weird to include someone like Sapp in a group with 1st round picks like Coples and Wilkerson, but hear me out. If Ricky Sapp can’t get anything going this week against this Cardinals offensive line which is downright atrocious, then we know he truly is never going to help this team in any meaningful way. The Cardinals field two of the very worst offensive tackles in the NFL, and they aren’t that much better up the middle. Mo Wilkerson has been on an absolute tear lately and I’m looking forward to seeing him really put up a monster game, while this could also be Quinton Coples’s big “I’m here” game. Coples has been on the brink of busting out for a few weeks now, and if he’s given enough reps, he can really do some damage and build some momentum for himself going forward and into the 2013 season. Wins or losses are almost meaningless at this point in the season for this Jets team, so the main thing is seeing the young foundation pieces for next year improve and show what they can do.
TJ Rosenthal – The biggest matchup this weekend will be the battle for Jets mascot supremacy now that Fireman Ed has abdicated his throne. How many new challengers will emerge seeking followers of their J-E-T-S chanting lead? We expect an embarrassing competition consisting of grown ups wearing wings for arms, and mini airplanes on their heads.
You don’t actually think that we are curious about any matchup in particular between a team on a seven game skid with a practice squad quarterback, and a team with one healthy wide receiver and a franchise quarterback fresh off a near concussion. This thanks to running into his own lineman’s derrière. On national tv no less. Do you?
Chris Celletti – Mark Sanchez has to start putting some solid performances together quickly if he has any visions of staying in the NFL as a starting quarterback. And you might want to do that soon, Mark, because the Kate Uptons and Eva Longorias of the world don’t date backups.
The Jets’ schedule the remainder of the way is littered with bad teams, so it seems that the Jets’ signal caller will have his chances to put together a solid personal finish to the year. However, this Sunday’s task – going by the numbers – will be the hardest of the bunch. Despite losing seven straight games, Arizona still has a very solid defense. They’re fourth in the NFL against the pass, allowing an average of just 204 yards per game. Couple that with the fact that the Jets are the fifth-worst passing team in the league (201 yards a game, GOOD GOD) and the fact that there’s a good chance Sanchez will be throwing actual NFL passes to guys named Mardy Gilyard, Jack McSwillywiggins and Jordan White (only one of those names was made up), it could get ugly once again.
Thankfully, there will only be about 35,000 actual human beings in the stands at MetLife, so the TEEEBOOOWWW chants and boos will only be about half as loud as they normally are. Expect a similar outcome on the other side with the Jets’ pass defense and Cards’ QB Ryan Lindley, so this game really has a chance to set football back about 72 years. But at home, against a west coast team in an early Eastern time kickoff, the Jets really should win as long as Sanchez doesn’t mutilate the game.
Turn On The Jets dips into the mailbag to answer your questions about the New York Jets heading into week 13
(Because aren’t you tired of pictures of Rex Ryan or Mark Sanchez at the top of these articles?)
Welcome to the Turn On The Jets mailbag, where we will go through your questions on the New York Jets among other things. We are going to try to make this a somewhat regular thing. Questions can be sent to JoeC@TurnOnTheJets.com, on Twitter or Facebook. Let’s get into it –
John Lavin – “Do you think Mike T and Rex will be fired in a full-clean house or will Rex make the cut?”
Personally, I think it is the right decision to fire Mike Tannenbaum and keep Rex Ryan. However, I am concerned about Woody’s personal relationship with Tannenbaum clouding his judgement. At this point and this is subject to change pending how the last five games go, Tannenbaum will likely be demoted to a more salary focused position with another football personnel guy brought in to work alongside him. Rex will probably be back in 2013 but will once again need to fire his offensive coordinator and this time find one who has a 21st century offense. And for God’s sake, could he find Sanchez a new quarterback coach?
Brandon Wood – “Do you think Mark Sanchez would play better with a team that has less pressure from the media and fans?”
I think Mark Sanchez would play better on a team with NFL caliber receivers, a capable running back and a very good line…like he did for parts of 2009 and all of 2010. Yet, it is fair to question at this point if the New York market has finally worn him down and if he wouldn’t be better served in a market like Arizona, Kansas City or something like that. Sanchez has the skill set to be a successful NFL quarterback but a change of scenery could do him good if he continues to struggle like he has this season.
J Bones “How do you rank this disaster of a season with our past disasters?”
An interesting and painful question to contemplate. The Jets expectations weren’t that high coming into this year so few people could claim to be shocked by a 6-10 or 7-9 finish. It is really the ass-fumbling way the Jets are losing games this season that is making it feeling disastrous. That New England game was one of the three or four most embarrassing losses in recent Jets history. However, season-wise I’d say 1999 was more of a disaster after seeing a Super Bowl favorite’s season go down the drain in week 1 because of a ACL tear. The Favre meltdown was a worse disaster because you could have argued the Jets were the best team in football after beating New England and an undefeated Tennessee team on the road before going 1-4 down the stretch to miss the playoffs. The 2005 team was awful and completely devoid of talent (much like this team!) so that compares as well.
Sean L Durham – “Is it likely that the Jets dump GM Mike Tannenbaum and shake up the coaching staff but let Rex remain as HC or is everyone going to pay for the Thanksgiving Night Massacre including Rex? Also, what’s your thoughts on possibly trading players like Revis and Harris away for extra picks?”
Unfortunately the Thanksgiving Night Massacre didn’t happen late enough in the season to have the true “clean-house” effect that it should. Can’t you see the Jets winning 4 of their last 5 against their terrible competition, finishing 8-8 and the day after the season press conference opening something like this?
Woody Johnson – “You know looking at everything and after talking to Mike about it…we were 8-8, only 1 game out of the playoffs and that was without two of our best players all season. You put Revis and Holmes in there and who knows what happens? So we don’t really feel that far away. I don’t see any major changes necessary.”
Mike Tannenbaum – “Let me just hop in here and say we’re happy to have Woody’s support and feel that with a few tweaks here or there, we can be right back to being a playoff team.”
(Meanwhile Jets fans across the tri-state area break their respective laptops and televisions).
In all honesty, if I had to bet on it today – I’d say it is most likely that both Tannenbaum (in some capacity) and Rex are back.
In terms of trading away valuable players for picks, I don’t think that is a bad approach. The Jets aren’t in a great salary cap position and the Revis negotiations could get ugly. There wouldn’t be anything that crazy about trading him for a first and fourth round pick and taking the extra cap space…actually it would probably be a smart idea considering how awful this entire roster is right now. You won’t find a trading partner for Harris because he is the most overpaid player in football right now.
Jason DeBoer – “All of my coworkers are Patriots fans. How do I make it through yet another Patriots playoff season? How can I keep up with the water cooler talk?”
What god-awful place do you work at? There is nothing worse on this planet than Patriots fans or Boston fans in general. If you are living in the greater New England area, move. You don’t want your children eventually raised in such surroundings. If you don’t live in the greater New England area, where is this secret office of hellish misery? Can you put the company out of business? If you succeed, we will hire you here at TOJ (both college credits and Shake Shack gift cards offered! No 401K yet though).
Your best approach would be to remind them how the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since they were caught…you know…cheating. Also remember there is a good chance they are all no-knowledge front-runners who couldn’t tell you who the team’s quarterback was before Drew Bledsoe. If that doesn’t work, avoid the water cooler in January and watch this on repeat at your desk while laughing to yourself like a crazed maniac…that should keep them away!
Ryan Lynch – “Can you speak on how to improve in the draft. Tanny drafted well with Mangini. Why not Rex?”
The Jets need to improve their scouting and personnel department from the top to bottom. Anybody who voted to take Kyle Wilson in the first round and Vladimir Ducasse in the second round should immediately be hunted down and fired. Tannenbaum/Mangini had two very good drafts together in 2006 and 2007 yet people tend to overlook the stink bomb they dropped in 2008 when they took Vernon Gholston with the #6 overall pick and traded into the first round for Dustin Keller, who is pretty good but has never been a Pro-Bowl caliber player. After that they completed missed on Erik Ainge, Marcus Henry and Nate Garner (although he would eventually see some PT with the Dolphins). They did find Dwight Lowery in that draft but traded him for no good reason before the beginning of last year.
With Rex at his side, the 2009 and 2010 drafts are looking like complete disasters but the 2010 and 2011 drafts could still have hope of being half decent. Some of the blame goes to Rex but more goes to Tannenbaum and the personnel department, which for some reason still has Terry Bradway in a prominent role. You remember Bradway…the guy who traded a first round pick for Doug Jolley and a second round pick for Justin McCariens? The guy who traded up for Dewayne Robertson? The guy who took Mike Nugent in the second round?
My suggestion is to fire Tannebaum. Fire Bradway. Gut the personnel department and look to start stockpiling picks. No more leaving the draft with 3-5 players. Walk out with 8-10 and don’t cut 3 of them before the season starts (see: this year).
Peter – “You against drafting a guard/tackle in the first round?”
No, not at all. Pro Football Focus rates Austin Howard as a bottom ten tackle in the league right now and Matt Slauson has been generally terrible the past year and a half. It depends on where the pick is and who is on the board. The Jets have so many holes that they should just be picking the best player available at their spot…just not a defensive lineman…for God’s sake no more defensive lineman!
How the New York Jets should handle their offense in the final five games of the 2012 season
In case you haven’t noticed the New York Jets offense is awful. Truly, almost indescribably awful. It is the lethal combination of mediocre talent, poor coaching and a lack of organization. The result is consistent failures in short yardage and the red-zone, turnovers, penalties and of course…ass-fumbles. Yet, there is still five games left to play. Five very winnable games against similarly poor football teams. How should the New York Jets approach these games to both remain competitive and be productive for their 2013 season? Let’s take a position by position look –
Quarterback – Whether you want to accept it or not, Mark Sanchez is going to be on the roster next year because of his contract. Hopefully a competent veteran is brought in to compete with him. Tim Tebow didn’t play when he was healthy. He isn’t going to play with broken ribs. He isn’t going to be team’s quarterback next year so get the idea of him starting out of your head. The wisest course of action is to have Sanchez play out the string and hopefully take steps towards improving and building some type of momentum towards next year. The only way we are going to see Greg McElroy under center is if the Jets lose their next three games. At that point, particularly if Sanchez continues to struggle it would be wise to give him a look. Although Jets fans need to taper any kind of expectations for him, he was a seventh round pick for a reason and hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in his pre-season opportunities.
Running Back – Unlike at quarterback, the incumbent starter isn’t going to be back next year. The Jets are going to let Shonn Greene walk in free agency because he isn’t a lead back, can’t contribute in the passing game and can’t make anybody miss. Why continue to give him 15+ carries per game? We’ve seen this movie before. Give Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight and particularly Kahlil Bell extended work. Find out if any of the three can be your 1B option next season when you go find a new starter via free agency, trade or the draft. McKnight is averaging 6 yards per carry (with a small sample size) and Bell has a career average of 4.5 yards per carry…isn’t that worth a look?
Wide Receiver – No more Clyde Gates, who shouldn’t be on a NFL roster. Jeremy Kerley should remain the primary “Z” receiver with Stephen Hill taking as many reps as he can get at split end. Yes, this contradicts what we said last week about sending him to the bench but with the playoffs now out of the question and Chaz Schilens banged up, give Hill the reps and let him build some confidence heading into next year. Throw him smoke screens. Throw him hitches. Get him going again on easy catches and yards after the catch and then take some shots down the field with him. He is likely the opening day split end next year, so why not let him work through improvements now? The slot receiver should be fellow rookie Jordan White. Give him the reps now and see if he can be a contributor next year. If Hill and White show anything these next five games, next year’s group of receivers with them, Kerley and Santonio Holmes might actually be a productive group.
Tight End – Dustin Keller’s future remains up in the air but you have to keep playing him because the Jets only have so many players who can get open. It probably wouldn’t hurt to give Hayden Smith a longer look at some point but this team likely needs to revamp this entire position in the off-season.
Offensive Line – Bench Matt Slauson and Austin Howard for Vladimir Ducasse and Jason Smith. We suggested this during the bye week and it hasn’t happened yet, so why not now? Let’s see what Ducasse and Smith can do with 100% of the reps at their respective positions. We know Slauson (who is gone after this year when his contract expires) and Howard (same thing) aren’t the long term answers, so give their backups a chance. If you don’t have confidence in Ducasse, how about playing Caleb Schlauderaff or Hayworth Hicks? They are taking up roster space, so why not use them?