Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday News, Notes, and Thoughts

First, let's get some news items out of the way.

*TE Brad Listorti and P Waylon Prather are off the practice squad. 6th round WR Marcus Henry and WR Paul Raymond have been signed to the squad.

*CB Hank Poteat was signed today. OG Will Montgomery was waived. Interesting that the Jets would bring in a cornerback so late in the week, but Poteat was an important member of the secondary last week, and we'll see what he's able to bring to the table.

*Mike Nugent and David Clowney are out of Sunday's game. Reggie Hodges is also most likely going to miss again, as Ben Graham has taken the vast majority of punts this week. Brett Favre and Kris Jenkins were limited in practice, but both are expected to play (thank goodness).

Okay, so I've had a few days to digest this Monday Night Massacre. Obviously, it was a bad performance, losing 48-29 on national television is never good. But let's look at two of the stats that explain the outcome.

Third down conversions
San Diego: 9-13
New York: 1-8

Right there, you see how San Diego was able to stay on the field and score touchdowns. The defense didn't play that badly on 1st and 2nd downs, mainly because they were able to hold the Chargers to 108 yards on 32 carries, less than 3.5 yards per carry. However, Philip Rivers (19-25, 250, 3, 1) was on fire on third downs, and the defense just could not get off the field.

San Diego: 1
New York: 4 (3 in the first half)

The game was almost over after the first half because of three costly turnovers, two on Brett Favre interceptions and one on a Thomas Jones fumble. Two Chargers first half touchdowns were directly caused by turnovers, one was on an Antonio Croartie interception for a touchdown, and one was after the failed onsides kick which gave them fantastic field position.

The most frustrating point of the game as a Jets fan (out of many) was the seven play, 79 yard drive the Chargers used at the beginning of the 2nd half to score a touchdown that essentially put the game away. A quick stop would have given the defense a ton of confidence and potentially lead to Jets points and a two-score game. Instead, it was a 24 point deficit before Favre got the ball back, and the hill became simply too large to climb.

There are some positives in this game, such as the return of the solid Jets' special teams unit that we've seen over the past several years. Leon Washington's kick return in the 2nd quarter put the ball at the Chargers' 5-yard line, and Favre cashed in on a throw to Laveranues Coles.

Favre and his receivers were still not in sync yet (though Dustin Keller's 4 catches for 41 yards on 8 targets is promising), but being behind and throwing in the five receiver set should be beneficial long-term for their rapport. Time will tell how long it takes for the Jets to look like a well-oiled machine, but the Jets can ill-afford too many early losses in the AFC. Arizona is a difficult opponent Sunday, but they are certainly beatable.

After the Cardinals comes the bye week, which should be a watershed moment. Either the Jets will be 2-2, facing the easier part of their schedule after a bye, or they will be 1-3 and much more desperate. The bye will be instrumental in working on both sides of the ball. The pieces are all there for a good Jets team, but they haven't been able to put it together, and Eric Mangini's defenses have traditionally improved significantly after the bye.

The Jets currently are 1.5 point favorites, which means that Vegas thinks Arizona is a slightly better team, but the home-field advantage puts the Jets as small favorites.


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