Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ben Graham cut, Will Montgomery back on active roster

News I forgot to mention last night: punter Ben Graham has been released for the 2nd time in the last two weeks. Presumably, Reggie Hodges is healthy enough to punt. Graham punted well against San Diego, but his only punts against Arizona did not seem to have much hang time, so his two game audition is over.

Montgomery was waived when Hank Poteat was signed a few days ago. He started the last two games of the season in 2007 at left guard for the Jets and can play both center and guard.

Monday, September 29, 2008

56 points? The Jets finally live up to their promise


56-35 isn't what you expected when the game started or even after the 1st quarter, which ended 0-0. But six Brett Favre touchdown passes later, and the Jets have the 2nd highest scoring game in franchise history. The most was 62, in a 34 point romp over Tampa Bay in 1985.

Favre broke his personal record with six touchdowns thrown, so four games into his Jet career and he's already eclipsed something he's done in Green Bay. Let's just say the offense looked a lot more in sync than it did in the previous three games.

Laveranues Coles had three touchdowns, all in the first half. Jerricho Cotchery added two more later, and Dustin Keller had a garbage time touchdown to put the game away (followed by a two-point conversion which seemed to be rubbing it in. If you're going to go for two, do it any of the previous times to make the lead 21 points. Don't do it with under two minutes left.).

Cotchery's second touchdown was a thing of beauty for Jets fans. With backup tackle Wayne Hunter in the game as an eligible player, Favre threw a play action bomb to the open Cotchery. Jets fans have been waiting for Favre to be Favre. Today, that finally came to fruition. Sure, he showed flashes against Miami, but today was the first game that he really was able to strut his stuff. Arizona's porous defense definitely helped though.

But at halftime, the story of the game was probably more the defense than the offense. The defense forced Kurt Warner fumbles and picked him off twice. Kris Jenkins, who had a great game, also blocked a field goal in the first quarter. David Bowens also forced two fumbles and had two sacks of his own. Darrelle Revis scored a walk-in touchdown after he read Warner's eyes for his first interception of the day. He added another one later. Shaun Ellis, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace also looked great getting into the backfield and making plays.

However, the game wasn't all good. 34-0 at halftime was an almost insurmountable lead, but Arizona scored three quick and easy touchdowns in the third quarter to make it a game. The defense was a sieve in that quarter, barely offering any opposition on those three drives. The Cardinals also recovered an onsides kick that led to one of the scores.

The Jets were able to answer with a 5:59 scoring drive that ended with a 17-yard Cotchery score. Arizona countered, then nearly recovered an onsides kick again. Then the play action bomb on 4th and 1 to Cotchery put an exclamation point on the game. Arizona again answered, but the Jets responded. After Jay Feely missed a 43-yard field goal, the Jets once again stripped Warner. Keller then scored on 4th down.

The last Cardinals drive nearly ended in disaster. Anquan Boldin went up for a catch in the endzone when Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith both hit him in the endzone. It was a brutal hit to watch from the stands, as Smith went facemask to facemask, knocking the star receiver out cold. It was a sour note to end the game on, and it will cost Smith $50,000 and a one-game suspension. He will miss the game against Cincinatti after the bye week.

All in all, a great Sunday for the Jets. As bad as the 3rd quarter was offensively, by that point it was garbage time. Sure, you'd like to see more resistance, but by that point the game was so far out of reach, the Cardinals would have had to get extremely lucky to have a chance. Also, they would have to stop the Jets offense, something they proved time and time again that they could not do.

The only downside of the game offensively was the inability to run the ball consistently. The numbers are weighed down a little by late game runs to wind the clock down, but Thomas Jones ended up with 18 carries for 46 yards. Leon Washington added 26 yards on seven carries, and Brad Smith gained 17 yards on a reverse.

Few other things I'd like to mention before I close this blog post.

*The Jets' next opponent, the Cincinatti Bengals, may have lost quarterback Carson Palmer. He was a late scratch against Cleveland, and some speculate it could be a serious injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled in place of Palmer, and if he is the quarterback for a while, that team is going to struggle even more than they have been.

*Kansas City beat Denver? Divisional games, anything can happen. Larry Johnson looks to have been buried too early.

*Houston finally threw the ball. Now if they can run AND throw the ball in the same game, they will have a chance. Jacksonville escapes 30-27.

*Tennessee is legit. They punch you in the mouth on defense, and Chris Johnson has been great.

*San Diego and Buffalo were both down to inferior opponents until coming back to win (and cover). Buffalo is 4-0. They are good, but their schedule hasn't been particularly difficult. San Diego is 2-2, heading to Miami this week.

*Chicago vs Philadelphia was a football purists' dream. Loved watching that game. Chicago's defense is back, and Kyle Orton isn't terrible. If Brandon Lloyd is hurt, they will miss him though. Philadelphia is now 2-2, last in the NFC East. Two weeks ago, they were the toast of the NFL. Ah, how things change.

*I was right about Washington. Did I expect them to win straight up? I'd be lying if I said they did, but they always play Dallas tough, and this was no exception. Throw out the Giants game, and this team looks good. Old friend Santana Moss has been fantastic.



2-1 on picks this week. Good bounceback, hopefully next week I can get a clean sweep. Now on to my radio show. To listen in, go to iTunes - radio - college radio - WXVU 89.1 FM between 8:30 PM and 10:00 PM.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week Three Picks and Prediction

Alright, week three time. 0-2-1 last week, 3-4-2 on the season. Looking to bounce back here, get on the right side of .500. So here we go...

Philadelphia vs Chicago under 40
I still can't really believe Chicago can score. Philadelphia has scored all season, but McNabb is banged up, and Westbrook is hurt. There just isn't much talent around McNabb offensively, and Chicago's defense has the swagger back. Philly's defense abused Ben Roethlisberger last week. What will Kyle Orton do?
Prediction: 16-10 Chicago

Washington +11 over Dallas
Washington is a solid team. Dallas has played a few big games in a row, and Washington will be hungry. 11 points is a lot to give to a Redskin team that is starting to click. Dallas might be the best team in the NFL, but I'm hoping they come out a little flat here. Washington will show up.
Prediction: 24-17 Dallas.

San Diego -7.5 over Oakland
Oakland looked pretty good as an underdog to Buffalo last week. San Diego is a smaller favorite than Buffalo was, which is hard to believe. They usually destroy Oakland, and with Darren McFadden banged up and Justin Fargas out, it's hard to think of how Oakland will score. We know the Chargers will put up points. How can the Raiders keep up?
Prediction: 24-10 Chargers

As for the Jets...

This is a big, big week for New York. A win and they are headed into the bye on a great note with a soft part of the schedule coming up. A loss, and two weeks of second guessing will not be fun to endure. I think the Jets have more overall talent than the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are scary, but ask the Detroit Lions, receivers don't make a football team. Arizona is much, much better than Detroit, but the point remains. At home, the Jets have to win this. But it won't be easy.

Prediction: 21-17 Jets

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jets vs Cardinals Keys


*Win the turnover battle. Arizona was +5 in the first two games, they were 2-0. Last week, they had two turnovers and lost the game. Favre needs to limit his mistakes as much as possible, and Jones can't have fumbles in back-to-back games. Turnovers are the silent killer of many a football team, and it's a big reason why the Jets were blown off the field by San Diego. Arizona QB Kurt Warner has been prone to turnovers in the past, though he seems to have found new life in the southwest.

*Run the ball! Thomas Jones was held to just 10 carries for 37 yards last week. More accurately, the Jets held him to that as they were so far behind they couldn't really run the ball any more. The Jets need to establish him early and often, and maybe get Leon Washington the ball, too. Arizona has allowed 105.3 yards per game on the ground, 14th in the NFL. They have some talented players in the front seven, but they are 11th through the pass, so there's no easy solution against this Cardinals' defense.

*Slow Arizona's passing game. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are stars in this league for good reason. Darrelle Revis is a great cornerback, but he can't do it alone. This will be a major test for Dwight Lowery, as he likely has his toughest test yet this week. Former Michigan playmaker Steve Breaston also looms as the #3 receiver. Of course, there's another way to stop the pass, and that is to get to the quarterback. They did it in weeks one and two, but San Diego was able to keep Philip Rivers upright. Warner has shown throughout his career that he can get a little rattled if pressure starts to get to him, so Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, Vernon Gholston, and company will have their work cut out for them.

*Make plays in the passing game, and keep Brett upright.
The pass blocking has not been a big problem so far this year, but it's always a key. Arizona has eight sacks in their first three games, so they can generate some pressure. Favre needs to show some improvement from last week for this game to go the way New York wants. Early in the San Diego game, there were several miscommunications, and the team just looked out of sync. Later in the game, when the Jets were forced to pass almost every down, they looked better. Hopefully that was actual improvement, and not just a late-game tease.

*Keep Arizona one-dimensional
Warner, Boldin, and Fitzgerals is a dangerous passing attack. Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower should be much easier to stop on the ground. The two average 102 yards per game, 21st in the league. Many, including myself, believe that the 30-year old James is a shell of his former self. He's averaged 4.0 yards a carry this year, so he can matriculate the ball down the field before they give the ball to rookie Hightower (2.6 YPC) near the goalline. As long as Kris Jenkins plays, and it sounds like he will, the Jets should be able to bottle up their rushing offense.

*Win the special teams battle. The special teams have had more than their fair share of ups and downs (mostly the latter), and it was a big reason behind the loss to New England. Ben Graham and Jay Feely are far from elite. Arizona kicker Neil Rackers has a big leg, while Dirk Johnson is a run-of-the-mill punter. Washington, who almost scored last week, has the edge over Breaston in terms of the return game, but the Arizona returner is both quick and fast, with one career punt return TD in his rookie year last year.

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.

Turnovers
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.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First half thoughts

Disgraceful performance so far. 31-14 deficit and the Chargers can do what they want on the Jets' defense. They've limited them rushing the ball so far (20 carries, 64 yards), but they're still able to gain enough positive yards to make 3rd downs easy, so they can convert those 3rd downs (6-8).

Two big plays, one kick return by Leon Washington, one pick-six by David Barrett, have kept it mildly respectable, but the Jets are in danger of getting blown out on national television.

Winning this game is not out of the question, but the Chargers look like a juggernaut offensively, and the Jets are so out of sync offensively, it's hard to see a comeback. But you can never count out a Brett Favre-led team.

Update (10:22 PM): This is bad.
Update (11:07 PM): Well, an onsides kick and 9 more points, and it's not quite so bad anymore. Still, 15 points need to made, and the Jets need to stop the Chargers offense. Starting at the 20 is a good help.

Jets at Chargers Preview

With two punters, two kickers, and four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, the New York Jets travel to San Diego, looking to bounce back after a 19-10 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots. Fans are angry about last week's performance, especially after Chad Pennington (well, Ronnie Brown) and the Miami Dolphins trounced the Pats 38-13 in New England.

If there's a team the Jets have traditionally played well against, it would be San Diego. The last few times the Jets have played out there have been successful, including a 44-13 demolition in 2002 when the Jets came in 2-5. In 2004 the Jets won two games at QualComm Stadium, topped by a memorable playoff game in which the Jets battled and won 20-17 in overtime.

Today, the Chargers appear to be a better team than they were back then, but the loss of Shawne Merriman and the toe injury limiting LaDainian Tomlinson have not helped. They are 0-2, losing two heartbreakers, one on the last play to Carolina, and one on a two-point conversion against Denver after appearing to have won the game just a few plays earlier.

Tomlinson is expected to start tonight, but he was upstaged by backup Darren Sproles. The 5'6" Sproles had 317 total yards last week, and he is a tough player for defenses to handle. With or without LT, the Chargers offense is tough to deal with, as Chris Chambers has stepped up at wide receiver to give tight end Antonio Gates some more help.

The Chargers defense can be beaten, however, especially through the air. Quentin Jammer and the secondary were torched by Jay Cutler and co. last week. Look for the Jets to try to attack San Diego more through the air this week (though I thought the same thing last week).

People say the Chargers are desperate, but so is New York. Brett Favre wants to play big on the big stage, and the whole team wants to prove that not only are they for real, but that there is more to the team than Favre.

That said, this will be difficult. The defense has played well, but San Diego is a much tougher test than Miami or New England. The offense has struggled through the air at times, but if Thomas Jones can have another nice day running the ball, Favre should be able to connect with Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery for some big plays.

I don't know if this is with my head or my heart, but I've seen the Jets beat good Chargers teams in San Diego before, and Favre is 5-0 against San Diego. I keep thinking that the Jets are going to be able to come away with this game, making just enough plays to win the game, especially defensively with a turnover or two.

28-26 Jets.

6th round pick Marcus Henry waived to make room for Ben Graham

Marcus Henry has been waived in order to create a roster spot for recently signed Ben Graham, but Reggie Hodges remains on the team, out for this game. I imagine they want Hodges to be the long-term punter, which puts Graham in a very awkward spot. Waylon Prather is still on the practice squad, but the Jets are opting for Graham. That probably doesn't bode well for Prather's long-term roster chances, but that's just speculation on my part.

Expect the Jets to try and add Henry to the practice squad (or back to the official roster) as soon as he clears waivers.

Meet the New Punter: Same as the Old Punter

The punter for the Jets Monday night will be...

Drumroll please...

Ben Graham!

The Aussie is back as his replacement Reggie Hodges appears to be out with a thigh injury. Another day, another punter.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quick Picks for Week Three

1-1-1 last week
3-2-1 on the season
Carolina +3.5 against Minnesota.
Tarvaris Jackson is bad. I get it. But is Gus Frerotte that much better? Toss in injuries to Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian, and Adrian Peterson, and I see an 0-2 team getting worse against a 2-0 team getting its best playmaker in Steve Smith back. It looks too good to be true getting 3.5.

Prediction: 24-13 Carolina

Cleveland vs Baltimore under 38
Baltimore's offense is an absolute mess, but their defense impressed me week one against Cincinatti. They've had two weeks to get ready for this, and their defense should put together another good outing. Cleveland's offense is struggling right now, and Baltimore's offense should be bad enough to allow Cleveland's porous defense off the hook.

Prediction: 17-13 Cleveland

Chicago vs Tampa Bay under 36.5
Two great defenses. Two inept offenses. Kyle Orton has the lowest percentage of touchdowns thrown of any quarterback in the NFL. Matt Forte has looked good, but Tampa Bay can contain him. Brian Griese isn't bad, but Chicago's defense should be pumped in the home opener.

Prediction: 13-10 Chicago

New Punter Already Hurt?

Guess who is questionable for Monday night's game?

Recently signed punter Reggie Hodges has landed on the injury report with a hamstring injury. Signed Wednesday to replace Ben Graham, the 26-year old has yet to even play a game yet, but it's never good to be put on the report this late in the week. Chances are, Waylon Prather, signed the same day to the practice squad will be punting, but we'll find out by gametime.

Let's look at the Jets' special teams' recent upheaval at kicker and punter.

Week one vs Miami: Mike Nugent and Ben Graham
Week two vs New England: Jay Feely and Ben Graham
Yesterday: Jay Feely and Reggie Hodges
Monday: Jay Feely and Waylon Prather?

Welcome back Mike Westhoff!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet the Newest Jet Punter: Reggie Hodges


The Jets today signed Reggie Hodges as the new punter. A former sixth round pick from Ball State, Hodges has punted in eight games in the NFL, all in 2005.

In three games with Philadelphia, he punted 19 times for 699 yards, a 36.8-yard average (33.5 net) with six punts inside the 20. In five games with St. Louis, he punted 22 times for 836 yards, a 38.0-yard average (31.0 net) with three inside the 20.

In other words, his numbers in limited time are pretty poor. Here's Eric Mangini on Hodges.

"With Hodges, we had a high grade on him coming out of college. We follow those guys based on their college grades to see how they've progressed, we've been to a couple of preseason camps and we've also worked some of these independent kicking clinics. We follow them pretty quickly.

"With Reggie, we've been watching his development over time and we've been pretty pleased with it. He came in yesterday and had an outstanding workout. Not that I've been to that many punter workouts, but it was pretty impressive."

"Reggie gives us some flexibility with kickoffs, PATs and field goals — he's functional in both those areas," Mangini said. "He has the ability to throw the football, which gives us some opportunities in terms of fakes."

In other news, punter Waylon Prather replaces Paul Raymond on the practice squad.

Three audition for Jets' vacant punter job

According to Rich Cimini, the three punters who tried out for the job are Reggie Hodges, a current Patriots practice squadder who has failed to hold onto a punting job since he was drafted in round six in 2005, veteran Josh Miller, and rookie Waylon Prather.

Hodges is believed to be the favorite, but we'll obviously find out more about this situation soon, as the team would probably like to make a decision sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jets Release Ben Graham

Sorry, I was very busy with homework, and when I finally had time last night to update, the internet went out and just came back a few hours ago.

Anyway, the Jets finally gave up on the Ben Graham experiment. This means in just a few weeks, Mike Nugent and Graham are out. Jay Feely is in at kicker. Nobody has been named as a replacement, and no rumors are out there yet. But the former Geelong star (Aussie Rules Football) is out. That much we know.

As for the game, I'll have a few more thoughts soon, but I'm not as disappointed as I've seen many Jets fans be. It's upsetting they couldn't make a statement at home, but they'll have another chance later. People say the Jets were lucky to get Cassel in his first ever start, but the Jets have more room for improvement than New England. Brady is a huge, huge loss, but the rest of the team is the same as usual. Favre is still learning the offense, and the defense has several new players playing key positions.

Plus, who really knew what the Patriots would do with Cassel? The defense played fine for New York, but the late drive led by LaMont Jordan for the game-clinching field goal was alarming. The Jets need another nose tackle (Sione Pouha, I'm pointing at you) to step up and keep Jenkins fresh while still holding the fort.

Chansi Stuckey has two touchdowns in two games, the only two Jets passing touchdowns. They sign Bubba Franks, draft Dustin Keller, and already have two solid receivers in Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, but the smallest receiver on the field has the two touchdowns. Go figure.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Three Reasons the Patriots beat the Jets

Most games aren't this easy to dissect, but the Patriots are not your normal team. They play mistake-free football, and watch the other team beat themselves.

In the 19-10 New England victory over the Jets, there are three obvious parts of the stat sheet that stand out.

1. Field position (well, special teams in general)
2. Penalties
3. An interception by Brett Favre

Seven of nine possessions started at the 20-yard line, with the other two starting at the 23 and 25 yardlines. You can't score consistently with horrible field position.

The total net yards was 260-256 in favor of New England. Both teams played good defense, but moved the ball on occasion. Jay Feely missed a pretty short field goal, taking three points off the board. Ben Graham was inconsistent, with two shanks. That helped New England start five possessions in Jets territory.

Let me repeat that. New England started five drives in Jets territory. The Jets defense did a good job holding them to 19 points, though the underneath passing of Matt Cassel and the late game running by former Jet LaMont Jordan was frustrating to watch at times.

Penalties were also a big deal, as it seemed every borderline call went in New England's favor. But that's what winning teams do, they find ways to stay on the right side of the NFL law. Six penalties for 60 yards for the Jets, including two 15-yard personal fouls put the Jets in a few difficult 3rd and longs, and Calvin Pace's roughing the passer for going helmet-to-helmet on Cassel as he tried to pull up helped allow Stephen Gostkowski to kick his fourth and game-sealing field goal.

New England had two penalties for 10 yards.

Finally, in a game against New England, there is one thing you simply cannot do: make mistakes. Mistakes can be penalties, as I showed above. Or they can be turnovers. And Brett Favre threw a duck to Brandon Meriweather which led to the Pats' lone touchdown by Sammy Morris (8 rushes, 0 yards, 1 TD. Fun statline).

The Jets wanted to make an early statement as the AFC East team to beat, but home divisional losses are tough to overcome. The Jets will have one more chance at New England later this year, but right now, they are looking up at the standings at both the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills.

1-1-1 on my picks. Denver's two-point conversion for the win was exciting, but it only gave me a push. Damon Huard's injury hurt the Kansas City pick, but that team is just a trainwreck. Never again will I take them as a favorite. At least Tampa Bay rolled. I love Earnest Graham, why they don't give him the ball more, I do not understand...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

NFL Picks: Week 2


Week one of the NFL was a good showing for my picks, starting off 2-1. The Jets (-3) and the Bills (-1) were winners, but Cincinatti (-1.5) was a horror show.

What we learned in week one:
*The Patriots struggled at home to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, a team who probably won't win more than six games this year. Matt Cassell (13-18, 152, 1 TD, 0 INT) played pretty well, but can he handle a hostile road crowd? Damon Huard represents a much better betting option than Brodie Croyle.

*Are the Eagles that good or is St. Louis that bad? Probably a mixture of both. St. Louis looked absolutely horrible, with Philadelphia's backup receivers and the rest of the passing game racking up 414 yards. St. Louis's offensive line? Same old, same old.

*The Giants can run the ball down team's throats. Washington looked bad. Will Jason Campbell, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, and Antwaan Randle-El be able to have a passing game?

*The Titans are a tough team to figure out, but as long as Albert Haynesworth is healthy, they'll be tough to beat. Vince Young isn't that good, but is Kerry Collins any better? Chris Johnson looked very good last week. Jacksonville could not run the ball last week, gaining just 33 yards. Their offensive line needs to play better for them to have a chance (7 sacks allowed).

*Seattle is not a good football team. Matt Hasselbeck is a solid quarterback, but he has absolutely no help around him. Buffalo will welcome back Jason Peters to left tackle, which should help out Marshawn Lynch and the Bills, who should continue to be a good sleeper pick.

*Michael Turner and the Falcons looked very good, and could be overvalued after 34-21 win against the Lions. This could set up a nice fade on Atlanta and give Detroit some value. Tampa Bay should dominate the rookie quarterback, while Detroit is a much, much better team at home.

*New Orleans and Tampa Bay played a hard-fought game that confirmed the two as NFC powers.

*Pittsburgh destroyed a lot of people's favorite sleeper pick, Houston. I thought the Steelers were overvalued, and I still think they are, but that was impressive. Houston isn't that bad, but until a runningback steps up, they'll be extremely inconsistent.

*The Jets new offense and defense held Miami at bay before almost allowing a late Chad Pennington touchdown that could have won it. New York will only get better each week, while Miami looks like a competent football team. They still will struggle, but against a big spread, they could surprise.

*Carson Palmer and the Bengals looked horrible against Baltimore, whose defense looked like the Ravens of old. They still can't score, so their totals should be very low. Cincinatti's defense looked better, but that could be attributed to Baltimore's inept offense. Cincy's offense won't be nearly as bad the rest of the year.

*Dallas played like everyone expected. Cleveland was a major disappointment, but they should be much better with Derek Anderson and Braylon Edwards working on their chemistry.

*Carolina's dramatic road win against San Diego was especially impressive because they played the game without Steve Smith. With their number one receiver back in the lineup next week, they could be an NFC contender. San Diego continues to frustrate. All the talent is there, but the loss of Merriman hurts their defense a lot. It's not an absurd statement to say Denver might be the best team in that division.

*San Francisco looked like a competent football team, despite falling to Arizona 23-13. Their four fumbles cost them a chance to win that game, while Arizona looked very methodical. Both these teams could be undervalued.

*The Bears 29-13 road destruction of Indianapolis featured rookie back Matt Forte breaking a 50-yard touchdown run. I'm still not a believer, but their defense was fearsome. Indianapolis should bounce back, though injuries to Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark might not bode well.

*Minnesota looked dangerous against Green Bay, but Tarvaris Jackson's (16-35, 178, 1 TD, 1 INT) passing struggles cost them this game. If he can play competently, they should be one of the top teams in the NFC. If not, they'll struggle against good teams. Green Bay didn't miss a beat with a very efficient Aaron Rodgers (18-22, 178, 1 TD, 0 INT).

*Eddie Royal, Jay Cutler, and the Broncos looked simply dominant against an overmatched Oakland Raiders team. With Brandon Marshall back in the lineup, it will be interesting to see what roles he and Royal will play with the emerging Jay Cutler at quarterback. Oakland can still run the ball, but they have no weapons around JaMarcus Russell at receiver.

Now, my picks...

Tampa Bay -7 over Atlanta
Give me the Bucs defense against a rookie quarterback making his first roarany day of the week. Michael Turner looked phenomenal against Detroit, but Tampa Bay won't let him run wild. Expect a heavy dose of Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn, with Atlanta struggling to score many points. Brian Griese instead of Jeff Garcia is an interesting twist, but I trust Jon Gruden in this situation. Griese can run the offense well.

Prediction: 24-10 Tampa Bay.

Kansas City -3.5 over Oakland.
Oakland was awful on Monday Night Football at home. Kansas City is a middling team, but Larry Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, and Tony Gonzalez are weapons. Expect a big game from Tony Gonzalez exploiting the weak defense. Damon Huard is an upgrade at quarterback over Brodie Croyle. I'll take the Arrowhead Stadium homefield advantage and the Chiefs' experience over the young Raiders.

Prediction: 21-13 Kansas City.

Denver -1 over San Diego
I don't understand this line. Denver looked that good without Brandon Marshall, he comes back, Shawne Merriman is out, and I can get Denver giving less than a field goal? LT and Cromartie are both banged up as well. Denver in their home opener coming off a huge win should be able to carry the momentum. San Diego will be angry after their last second loss, but I'll take Mike Shanahan over Norv Turner.

Prediction: 31-24 Denver.

Other picks I like: Tennessee +1, Washington +1, Buffalo/Jacksonville under 37, Buffalo +5

Friday, September 12, 2008

Patriots Preview: Plus, Allianz Stadium No More


Maybe the backlash finally got to them.

Sports Illustrated reports that Allianz and the two NFL teams have ended talks that would make the new stadium named after a company that once sponsored Nazi activity during World War 2.

Two days until gameday. The Jets opened as 2.5 point favorites once it was found out Brady was out for sure. It's now down to Jets -1. It's a tough line. If the drop-off from Brady to Cassel is immense, then it could be great value on the Jets. If it isn't, then the Patriots as an underdog against a team that won four games last year looks like a steal.

That being said, it's the Jets' home opener. With Favre at quarterback, the Patriots on the other side of the field, and Brady out of the game, the atmosphere should be ridiculous. The Patriots defense is good, but it's not particularly scary. The offense will rely on a dual running attack with Sammy Morris and Laurence Maroney each receiving 10 carries last week. Kevin Faulk returns from a one-game suspension for New England as well. Former Jet LaMont Jordan also could be in the mix.

Randy Moss and Wes Welker represent the two main passing threats. Moss is a simply dominant receiver; Darrelle Revis will have his hands full covering him, but he's up to the task, and should be able to slow Moss down a little. Welker could be a problem for rookie cornerback Dwight Lowery, but if there's anything we've learned from him since he was drafted in the 4th round from San Jose State, it's not to doubt him. Jabar Gaffney and tight end Ben Watson will also receive looks.

Perhaps the key to the game for New York is to get pressure on Cassel. It was always the plan against Brady, but it rarely worked. Cassel was sacked twice last week, and is more likely to go down than his mentor. The Jets will no doubt use Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, and even Vernon Gholston to rush the passer and try to make Cassel sweat. Lowery, Revis, and Kerry Rhodes could reap the benefits with a pick or two.

For the Jets, Brett Favre will try to attack a secondary that allowed Kansas City to throw for over 200 yards last week. Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles lead the passing attack against Lewis Sanders and Ellis Hobbs. Without Asante Samuel, the Patriots secondary doesn't look nearly as good on paper, though with Bill Bellichick as coach, that's never really seemed to matter.

The front seven for New England is as talented as ever. Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, and Richard Seymour are the prototypical front three in a 3-4 defense. The linebackers are aging a little, with Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi on the outside. Adalius Thomas was the big free agent pickup last year, and he played very well for them last season. Rookie Jerod Mayo was drafted to infuse some youth in this defense. He made six tackles in his first game.

They will have to battle the improved Jets rushing offense. Thomas Jones ran for over 100 yards in the first game behind the revamped offensive line. He and Leon Washington will have their work cut out for them. Larry Johnson and Jamaal Charles were able to run for 102 yards last week, but it took them 27 carries to get that total. The Jets would be happy if they could get a similar output from their running game, so the Patriots would have to respect it.

This game largely comes down to how Matt Cassel does. If he plays well, the Patriots have a great chance of winning. If the Jets can bring some pressure and protect Favre, they should be the better team. The home crowd should be electric. Can a guy who hasn't started since high school be able to take it? The Patriots have owned the Jets for the most part under Bellichick, but now Chad Pennington is gone. They had Pennington's game down to a tee. Will they be able to stop the Jets with a brand new quarterback who can make all the throws? We'll see.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baker conflict resolved, Jets extend tight end.


Remember when Chris Baker was whining and many people assumed he wouldn't be with the Jets anymore. Remember when the Jets drafted Dustin Keller, and it looked like the writing might be on the wall?

Well, today the Baker saga came to an anti-climactic ending with the two sides agreeing to a three year contract extension according to Adam Schefter.

The deal was actually finalized Friday, but his base salary didnt change at all, so it was far under the radar. The extension makes him a Jet through 2012, and it's worth $12.2 million dollars. That money is guaranteed if he plays 50% of the snaps, and he is still on the roster on the 5th day of the new league year.

My take: Good deal for both sides. Jets keep their tight end happy to a modest enough deal with a way to get out of it if they want after this year. Baker gets the extension he wanted, and if he plays enough this season, then he'll either get guaranteed money in New York or elsewhere as a free agent.

Kenwin Cummings released

To make room for Jay Feely, the Jets released DL/LB Kenwin Cummings. If he clears waivers, chances are he'll join the practice squad.

Speaking of the practice squad, OL Stanley Daniels and WR Larry Brackins were both let go. OL Stefan Rodgers was signed to the PS. He was last seen with the Eagles.

Former Dolphins LB Edmond Miles and former Illinois Fighting Illini standout J Leman were both brought in for workouts.

Update (6:22 PM)
TE Brad Listorti has also been added to the practice squad.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Updates might occur sparingly for the next few days.


No idea why, but the internet at my house hasn't worked at all for two full days now. Hopefully it comes back on soon, but Comcast is horrible. Hopefully soon because I've been excite about this Patriots game since the schedule was released.

*One news item: the Jets signed Jay Feely. Presumably, he'll be the kicker Sunday. Brady out; Nugent out. Seems pretty fair, right? Here are Feely's last three years.

2005: NYG. 35-42 FGs.
2006: NYG. 23-27 FGs.
2007: MIA. 21-23 FGs.

Miami let him go as part of their rebuilding plan, and because rookie Dan Carpenter outperformed him. Kansas City gave him a tryout, but he was released after one day. Despite that, the Jets have a high percentage field goal kicker from the last three years.

Hopefully I can update more later. And nice cover, right? Too bad SI has a cover jinx, otherwise I'd be prouder.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jets hold on, beat Dolphins 20-14, Opportunity Arises


In one of the more exciting 1:00 games of the day (though watching all the games from a bar in King of Prussia, there wasn't a whole lot of competition), the New York Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins 20-14.

The story of the game heading in was how the two quarterbacks would play with their new teams. Both responded with solid games in their debuts.

Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes, one to Jerricho Cotchery, and one on a 4th and 13 to Chansi Stuckey that showed Jets fans what he could bring to the table. The 56 yard pass to Cotchery showed a brand new dimension to the offense that simply wasn't there with Pennington. He ended up 15-22 for 194 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.

But more importantly, weren't you just happy to see a Jet quarterback who could throw the deep ball? Or throw the ball down the field more? With some zip on the ball?

Chad Pennington was Chad Pennington for the Dolphins. He played exactly like he did last season. Not surrounded by a ton of talent, he managed to string together some short passes by taking what the defense gave him, but he wasn't able to put up many points. 26-43 for 251 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception isn't bad, but if you remember, he had a lot of games like that last season, but the wins and the points weren't there.

Remember the Buffalo game last year? He was 32-39 for 291 yards last year, with 1 touchdown, and 2 picks, an 84.9 quarterback rating. Look at the first Patriots game. He posted a 130.5 QB rating, despite losing 38-14.

But speaking of the Patriots, did you hear that Tom Brady is probably out for the season? As a diehard Jets fan, I'd be lying if I said I shed a tear for Brady's demise. Never root for injuries, but this one certainly makes things interesting in the division. We'll have all week to discuss the ramifications of Brady's injury, so I digress back to the game.

Outside of Favre's performance, the two biggest positives of the game from a Jets perspective are the running of Thomas Jones (22 carries, 101 yards, 1 touchdown) and the performance of the run defense against Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. The tandem combined for 16 carries, tallying just 47 yards between them.

Kris Jenkins's presence was felt immediately in the middle of the defense, and the team was able to do its thing. No single defender stood out, but Bryan Thomas posted two sacks and Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace had one each.

Laveranues Coles played, but he only made one catch for five yards.

Here's how the rookies did.

Vernon Gholston - Was seen involved in a few pressures, but didn't register in the stat book.
Dustin Keller - No catches.
Dwight Lowery - Started and played very well on defense. Defended three passes, including the last play of the game.
Erik Ainge - Inactive
Marcus Henry - Inactive
Kenwin Cummings - Inactive

If Tom Brady is out for the season....

I firmly believe the Jets are the best team in the AFC East.

More to come...

Today's Inactives

Here's the list of the Jets' inactive players for today's game.

CB Justin Miller
QB Brett Ratliff
QB Erik Ainge
WR Marcus Henry
WR David Clowney
LB Kenwin Cummings
C Robert Turner
DE Kareem Brown

I likely will be at a bar, so I doubt I'll be live blogging, but GO JETS.

I hate CBS

I'm in Wayne, PA, near Villanova University just a few miles outside of Philadelphia. CBS has one game this week. What game has more intrigue, Houston vs Pittsburgh or New York vs Miami?

Usually Philadelphia gets the national telecast game on CBS if the Eagles aren't on, but for some reason, the Texans and Steelers is apparently a bigger deal.

Lame.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Jets vs Dolphins Preview


It's hard to imagine a more intriguing opening game between two teams that won five games between them last year.

The Dolphins come into 2008 off an abysmal 1-15 season that abruptly ended the Cam Cameron era. Enter Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano to try to turn around the Fish.

Sparano and Parcells hope to install a more physical, smash-mouth style of football like Bill has tried to do everywhere else he's been. The problem here is that he has absolutely no talent to deal with.

The quarterback position was a menagerie of mediocrity before the Jets got Brett Favre, but Favre's arrival allowed for Chad Pennington to become available. Miami jumped at the opportunity to pick up a more proven quarterback, but Jets fans know Pennington's limitations.

Pennington will direct an attack that will likely start Ricky Williams at halfback. Yes, that Ricky Williams. Remember him? He's out of retirement, no longer suspended, and finally healthy. Is the 32 year old Doobie Brother ready to carry Miami's offense? He's going to have to with Ronnie Brown still not 100% off a major knee injury because the receivers are very suspect. Ted Ginn Jr, Greg Camarillo, Ernest Wilford, and Derek Hagan represent the top receiving options, and only Ginn is a threat to a defense.

Like the Jets, the Dolphins attempted to revamp their offensive line. They signed guard Justin Smiley from San Francisco and drafted Michigan tackle Jake Long 1st overall. The talent is there for a decent line, but it still can't be considered a strength.

On defense, Miami has some talent in place, but not nearly enough playmakers yet. Former Jet Jason Ferguson anchors the nose in their 3-4 with Kendall Langford and Vonnie Holliday playing at end. The linebackers are the team's strength with Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele inside and Joey Porter and Matt Roth outside.

The unit was dead last in rushing defense last season, so Sparano has stressed stopping the run as the number one goal of his team this season. As is the case with most awful teams, that stat can be misleading since they faced so many deficits that teams ran the clock out on them.

That is why Miami's 4th-ranked pass defense last season was also likely a mirage. Will Allen and Andre Goodman man the corners while Yeremiah Bell and Chris Crocker handle the safety duties.

Ginn is the playmaker on special teams. He is a gamebreaker with speed, vision, and agility in the open field to make big plays. Rookie kicker Dan Carpenter beat out Jay Feely in camp to win the kicking job, while Brandon Fields enters his second year punting for Miami.

Brett Favre completely changes the outlook of the Jets offense. It's no longer a dink-and-dunk, long drive offense as the former Packer adds a huge deep element to the offense. He's still learning the offense, so he won't have nearly the entire playbook at his disposal. This is a big tuneup before the New England game, too, so the pressure is on early.

His receivers all have something to prove as well. Jerricho Cotchery had 1130 yards last year, but only two touchdowns, so he wants to prove he can be a top receiver. Laveranues Coles has been limited in practice, but he should start, though he needs to work on his rapport with Favre. Cotchery has a leg up there. Chansi Stuckey and Brad Smith are the other receivers who might have an impact, as camp crowd pleaser David Clowney is injured.

Dynamic rookie Dustin Keller should be good for a big play or two as the Jets have loved using his mismatch capabilities in practice. Chris Baker is still the reliable starting tight end after a training camp contract squabble, while Bubba Franks might be a redzone target as the third tight end.

The offensive line had two weak links last season, left guard and right tackle. Adrian Clarke and Anthony Clement are gone, as Alan Faneca and Damien Woody were signed to big offseason contracts. D'Brickashaw Ferguson needs to keep developing at left tackle for this offensive line to reach its full potential because Nick Mangold is a horse at center, and Brandon Moore is a steady right guard. Ferguson was drafted 4th overall in 2006, but his first two seasons haven't lived up to his draft billing.

On defense the 3-4 has a completely new look this season because of former Carolina Panther defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. The massive nose tackle provides the presence the position demands, making the jobs easier for the rest of the defense. Kenyon Coleman and Shaun Ellis are steady ends next to him at the line.

The Jonathan Vilma era is over at linebacker. The torch has been passed to second-year linebacker David Harris. He was a tackling machine in the second half of last season, and he's a better fit for the 3-4. Calvin Pace is the other big new defensive addition, and he will be asked to be a key utility man in this defense. Eric Barton has had a nice camp at the other inside linebacker spot, while Brian Thomas looks to rebound from a mediocre 2007 season. First rounder Vernon Gholston will see time, but he's yet to make a significant impact in camp or games.

Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis are both on the verge of being NFL stars. Rhodes is already at that level as he is a fantastic athlete in the secondary. Revis was the prized first rounder last season, and he had an impressive rookie season. If he builds on that, he can be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Ballhawking 4th rounder Dwight Lowery is opposite Revis. He's been impressive at camp, and Drew Coleman, Justin Miller, and Ahmad Carroll will also see time. Eric Smith, David Barrett, and Abram Elam will likely rotate at safety opposite Rhodes.

Leon Washington is coming off a great year returning kicks. He will be the primary return man, but Dwight Lowery, Ahmad Carroll, and Justin Miller could all see time at both return spots. Mike Nugent missed a potential game-tying field goal badly in the first home preseason game against Washington, but his job is safe at kicker. Punter Ben Graham beat out competitor Jeremy Kapinos to retain the punting job for another year.

Let's now look position by position, comparing the Jets and Dolphins followed by a final prediction.

Quarterback: Jets
Runningback: Push
Wide receiver/Tight End: Jets
Offensive Line: Jets
Defensive line: Jets
Linebackers: Jets
Defensive backs: Jets
Special teams: Jets

Prediction
New York is a much better team than Miami, and that should be enough to win this game. South Florida is difficult in September, where temperatures are still high, but that won't stop the deep ball or score touchdowns.

Expect a bit of a sluggish game between two teams trying to find out what they are. Leon Washington should have an impact as the backup runningback, while Ricky Williams could be able to take advantage of the transitioning Jets defense. Pennington and Williams will look good on their first drive, but the Jets will adjust and clamp down the rest of the game. Expect Favre to have a promising first game: 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions (one horrible one, one not his fault), and about 200 yards passing. 20-13 Jets.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Is Al Michaels a degenerate gambler?


I wasn't planning to post on the Giants-Redskins game. Sure, my NFL week one picks only have a little to do with the Jets, but this made me laugh last night.

Near the end of last night's Thursday Night Football telecast, Al Michaels had a very interesting comment with 7 seconds to go. "Giants up 9, 7 seconds left. The game is over, but some people are still watching pretty intensely."

Who would be watching pretty intensely? Fans who care about the outcome of the game already have their answer. Could he have meant fantasy football owners? Doubtful. After all, if you're watching the first game of the week, praying that Santana Moss can get you a touchdown, you should probably just go to bed.

The only plausible explanation for that quote (and it might not be entirely exact, considering I'm going straight by memory) is that he's talking to the sports bettors out there. With the point spread set between 3 and 5 in the Giants favor depending where you looked, Michaels had to be referring to the possibility of a backdoor cover if Jason Campbell were to throw a last second touchdown.

Giants and Redskins fans might not care except for the final stats, but a last second touchdown, but millions of sports bettors across the world sure did. With over 92 million dollars bet on last year's Super Bowl, sports betting is the multi-million dollar industry that Roger Goodell tries to brush under the rug.

It's easy for anyone to make an account on a sportsbook, deposit some money, and start making bets right away. With NBA referee Tim Donaghy in jail for helping out NBA bettors, and players such as Pete Rose and Charles Barkley getting in various sorts of trouble for betting, it's certainly conceivable that an announcer could gamble on sports. Sports are these people's lives, but they're detached from the actual games themselves, so their gambling would have no outcome on the game itself.

I'm not accusing Michaels of gambling on games he's announcing. He could have just been referencing it, knowing so many people did bet on the game. In that sense, maybe he actually knows he's catering to the audience that's still watching the game.

Also, would it really be that bad if he did actually gamble on his own games? His announcing has zero impact on the game, and he's continued to be an objective enough announcer for so long that it clearly doesn't affect that much. Besides, wouldn't it be fun to have a game announced by two guys with huge bets on the opposite teams? That would be reality television at its finest.

It's hard to contrive a scenario that doesn't connect this innocent quote to sports betting. He was subtle enough about it that only those familiar with handicapping would fully understand, making it sort of an inside joke between him and the bettors. But how inside the game is Al Michaels?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week One NFL Picks


Fall is here. Leaves are changing colors, the heat isn't quite as unbearable, and football season is upon us. The NFL is the most exciting sport of the year, but what makes it even more compelling is how well it conforms to sports betting.

You can bet the total number of points in a game. You can bet on a team to win the game straight up or giving or taking points. And those are just the simplest bets. Think Eli Manning will go the entire game Thursday without throwing an interception? You can get 3-to-2 odds on that in sportsbooks.

But the bread and butter of sports betting is playing the point spreads. It's what separates the men from the boys, and this season, I'm willing to offer three picks every week to throw myself at your mercy. Will I prove myself to be a handicapper you can trust? Or am I just another wanna-be who will keep writing articles anyway?

Find out after week 17.

Buffalo -1 over Seattle

Buffalo is an up-and-coming team in the AFC with Marshawn Lynch at runningback complementing a pretty good defense. Seattle is flying all the way across the country with a completely banged up wide receiving corps. Matt Hasselbeck is a very good quarterback, but he has no weapons to throw to, and the Seahawks are not as good as advertised, especially right now.

Cincinatti -1.5 over Baltimore

Cincinatti is a road favorite, but Baltimore is starting a rookie quarterback and their offense is simply atrocious. Chad Johnson might not be able to play all season, but he's in now, and Chris Perry should be an upgrade at runningback over Rudi Johnson as long as he's healthy. The Bengals have fallen out of favor, so they represent decent value, while Baltimore is simply awful.

New York Jets -3 over Miami

Call me a homer if you want, but I'm not buying Miami. They won 1 game last season, and their team is no better than it was last season. I've seen what Chad Pennington does without a lot of talent around him. It isn't that pretty. The Jets really want this game with New England and San Diego next on the schedule, and Miami simply is not a good team. I hate going against a home underdog week one in a rivalry, but I think the Jets can win 10-11 games while Miami will win 3-5. I'll give the 3.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One more note: Jets bring in Vernand Morency


Morency was a 2005 Houston Texans 3rd round pick who fell out of favor there and was dealt to Green Bay for Samkon Gado. He was a Packers' final cut this year, and the Jets are apparently interested in his services with Jesse Chatman suspended four games.

He has 726 career yards and 4 career touchdowns in 3 seasons. His best season was 2006 with Green Bay when he ran for 421 yards and 2 touchdowns. In college, Morency was a standout at Oklahoma State.

Thanks to http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifJets Central.

Jets' Team Captains Announced Plus Injury Report


Team captains were announced today, and here they are.

Offensive Captains
Brett Favre
Alan Faneca

Defensive Captains
Shaun Ellis
Kerry Rhodes

Special Teams Captains
David Bowens
Leon Washington


It's interesting that both offensive captains are newcomers. Then again, the Jets offense wasn't really led particularly well by anyone last year, was it?

And according to Eric Boland, Mike Westhoff has taken command of the special teams. Certainly, this was expected, but it's good to have him healthy and back out there.

And a list of the first injury report of the year.

Out
WR David Clowney (shoulder)

Limited Participation in Practice (Wednesday)
CB David Barrett (shoulder)
WR Laveranues Coles (thigh)
DE Shaun Ellis (hand)
WR Marcus Henry (calf)
CB Justin Miller (foot)
G Damien Woody (shoulder)

The Dolphins list no one.

Slow days before Sunday

I direct you to Rich Cimini if you want to read anything particularly new. Here's a quick rundown.

*John Lynch hasn't signed yet, and it's looking more likely that he'll head back to New England after week one.

*The Jets also placed a call to former Patriot safety Eugene Wilson, but don't get your hopes up.

*Finally, Armando Salguero had a very interesting nugget in his Miami Dolphins blog. Did you know Mike Westhoff was in Dolphins camp, attending and looking at their special teams under Bill Parcells's watch? Does this mean anything? Probably not. If you think the Dolphins gave Westhoff their playbook and their secrets, you've got another thing comin' as Judas Priest would say.

*TheJetsBlog also links to an ESPN blog talking about Calvin Pace's free agent courting by Miami and New York. Pace said that Parcells really wanted him, but he felt the Jets were the best fit at the end of the day. I'm starting to love #97.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Developing story: Jets looking at John Lynch?


Rich Cimini has been covering this developing story. The Jets are showing interest in former Pro Bowl safety John Lynch. He had been let go by both Denver and New England, as his speed has become a major detriment at this stage of his career.

The Jets tried to sign Lynch twice. The first time was when Herman Edwards was coach back in 2004, but despite their tight relationship, he went to Denver. This time around, Eric Mangini wanted him around for some veteran depth, but he opted for the Patriots. He was released, but many assume they will bring him back after week one when contracts are no longer guaranteed.

The Jets are working on it. It might be a longshot, but it's a possibility. Another former Patriot safety who was released was Eugene Wilson, so the Jets may be interested in him, though that's just speculation on my part.

Other news and notes.

*The Patriots have signed TE Jason Pociask to their active roster and OT Jacob Bender to their practice squad. Gotta love this rivalry.

*Miami signed OT Nate Garner to their practice squad, so both rivals are getting in on the acton.

*The Jets formally brought back Mike Westhoff today, who will work with Kevin O'Dea on the special teams. He'll be calling the special teams plays, but Eric Mangini does not want to call him a replacement.

*Finally, the players finally moved to the new Florham Park facility, which was by all accounts a beautiful venue, filled with big screen TV's. It's sad leaving Hofstra, but a new, upgraded facility should be exciting for the players.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Allianz Stadium?

It could be. According to the New York Times, the Jets and Giants are in negotiations with German-based financial services giant Allianz to buy the naming rights to their new stadium, set to open in 2010.

According to the Times, the deal could be for at least 30 years for around $25 million or more annually, which the teams would split.

Allianz also owns the naming rights to Bayern-Munich's football (soccer) team, and it sponsors Formula One racing. The estimated $25 million a year would exceed the $20 million that CitiGroup will pay for the new Mets' stadium and that Barclays will pay for the proposed Brooklyn-based Nets' arena.

This would be a welcome change for Jets fans, most of whom would love a corporate name to grace the stadium after years of playing in Giants Stadium.

Thanks to the SportsBlogNet Union for the tip.

Jets' Practice Squad Announced

Here's the list of this season's first practice squadders, courtesy of newyorkjets.com.

WR Larry Brackins (6'4", 221/Pearl River CC/Dothan, AL)

Brackins was just recently signed after his Arena league season ended. He has size and speed, and the Jets obviously think enough about him to keep him around, so this is interesting.

RB Jehuu Caulcrick (6'0", 254/Michigan State/Findley Lake, NY)

No surprises here. Caulcrick is a huge fullback who is good in short yardage. He's working on his blocking and receiving, but he has NFL ability and desire.

OL Stanley Daniels (6'4", 320/Washington/San Diego, CA)

Spent time in both Rams and Jets camp last offseason. A workable body in camp who can possibly challenge for a backup role.

DB James Ihedigbo (6'1", 202/Massachusetts/Amherst, MA)

Ihedigbo is a high energy safety who will make his share of both great plays and boneheaded plays. Stands out when he plays, for good or for bad, so it's worthwhile to keep him around.

OL Matt McChesney (6'4", 307/Colorado/Santa Cruz, CA)

McChesney is a converted defensive lineman who the Jets have liked for years. He was first in Hofstra in 2005, playing one game at defensive line, recording one tackle and one QB pressure.

DE Ropati Pitoitua (6'8", 290/Washington State/Spanaway, WA)

Pitoitua is a hulking defensive lineman whom the Jets hope to develop into a possible rotational player.

WR Paul Raymond (5'10", 185/Brown, Miami, FL)

Raymond turned heads in camp with his speed, but he drew the ire of Jets fans by dropping a gamewinning pass in the endzone against Washington. The former Ivy Leaguer made up for it with his play in the next game. The Jets have nine receivers on their roster.

LB Brandon Renkart (6'2", 236/Rutgers, Piscataway, NJ)

Renkart is a smart, somewhat athletic two-year starter at Rutgers. He sounds like a player Eric Mangini would love: smart, versatile, and coachable.