Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Update on Sanchez video

This week's Mark Sanchez throw-by-throw video will not be coming out today. Look for it to be uploaded on Friday. Each game file I get is different, and some take much longer to render (process) than others. I knew this one would take longer than usual when it said "Estimated time: 3 days." Well, now (2:20 PM EDT), it's down to about 40 hours left before I can finally start to work on it.

In the meantime, Jason Trusnik was AFC special teams player of the week.

*In response to the comment about the Jets' trash talking before, clearly, Ryan is sending a message to the team, but I don't think it's about trash talking. Clowney said he wished he had more playing time, and Ryan wants to send a message that there is no "me" on this football team. He even referenced Thomas Jones and Leon Washington putting aside their contractual problems for the betterment of the team this year.

Besides, Ryan was talking just as much trash before the season started, specifically with Channing Crowder. I think he's putting a message that there will be all "we" and no "me" on this football team. There are a lot of big egos on this team, and while they all get along and all seem to be good guys, losing will bring out the worst in everybody. The other message Ryan is sending is not to put things out in such a public atmosphere if you have a problem like that. If a player like Clowney feels he should get the ball more, tell the coach, not the general public.

And apologies for the wait time on the Sanchez video. It's out of my control, I swear.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A look ahead to New Orleans

Twitter has its first Jet victim. David Clowney was inactive last week for the Titans game because he wished he had more playing time against Tennessee. It is a very innocuous quote, but Ryan clearly wanted to send a message to his team. Ryan said that Clowney responded to the news with a great week of practice. I'd be surprised if he didn't have his first catch of the season at New Orleans.

Now, for some Saints-Jets thoughts...

*The Saints will probably try to do what New England tried to do against the Jets: spread them out and spread the ball around. The Saints have a number of weapons, and Drew Brees finds them all. At this point, Brees is better equipped to handle the rush than Brady, and he has a lot more help around him. Still, the most important factor for the Saints is that they have a very good offensive line. Left tackle Jammal Brown is out for the season, but the line hasn't missed a beat.

*The Jets will need all the help they can to stop this Saints' offense, especially in the secondary. They protected Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery with safety help a lot more last week, but it looks like Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland both might be ready to go on Sunday.

*The Saints are 6.5 point favorites. They've been a great home team recently, and this shows respect in Vegas, but every Saints line is inflated due to how good their offense is.

*This Sunday should be a huge game for Thomas Jones. The Jets will need to run the ball more productively than they have in the first three games if they expect to win. Running the ball will keep the Saints' offense off the field, and it should minimize turnovers. Jones will be key to the attack. His overall numbers don't look bad, but he has not looked the same as he has last year, and rookie Shonn Greene is still waiting for his opportunity.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ryan, Sanchez Era Still Flawless. Jets 24, Titans 17

Well, if you had any lingering doubts about this team, it is safe to squash them. After a hard fought 24-17 win (which I may have predicted and will gladly pat myself on the back for), the Jets sit at 3-0, setting themselves up perfectly for the rest of the season.

Now, it’s time for my post-game stream of consciousness, where I post all my thoughts of the game as they come to me.

*J – E – T – S – JETS – JETS – JETS! 3-0! Who would've thunk it?

*Jerricho Cotchery is a playmaker. He's physical, he has good hands, and he's hard to bring down in the open field. Today, he was everywhere for Mark Sanchez with 108 yards on 8 catches and a touchdown. Cotchery still needs to prove he can be as productive in the red zone as he can between the twenties, but he's been Mr. Consistent for the Jets' offense.

*The defense allowed its first points in the redzone, but allowing 17 points is a solid performance without Calvin Pace, Lito Sheppard, and Donald Strickland. The Jets did not seem to blitz nearly as much this week during the game, protecting the cornerbacks more often. They didn't get as much pressure on Collins as they did on Tom Brady last week, but in the Titans' final possession, Collins was under fire.

*The difference in this game were the two special teams turnovers directly setting up two of the Jets' three touchdowns. Hand it to Jason Trusnik who made a big play on special teams early. The Jets then took advantage of a second Byron Mouton fumble on a muffed punt in the third quarter en route to the eventual game winning score.

*The Titans uniforms look better the more I see them, but at least they weren't those lime green Seahawks jerseys. What the hell was that about?

*Thomas Jones could get nothing going again. He struggled most of the game against Houston, who has gotten gashed in back to back weeks by Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew, and 14 carries for 20 yards is not a step in the right direction. It's still too early, but the man is 31, and if he keeps struggling, Shonn Greene may start to cut into a few of his carries. New Orleans will be a big game for him.

*Kerry Collins misfired on his last 13 attempts. Some of them were drops, but that shows how good the Jets' defense was, even without Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland.

*Why did Collins insist on throwing at Darrelle Revis enough for him to end up with six tackles and two pass defenses? Good job by the Jets putting him in position to be around the ball.

*Mark Sanchez continued his rock solid play. His one interception could have easily been a completion to Chansi Stuckey, and he showed good poise and accuracy throughout the game. However, he can't afford to fumble the ball like he did twice. I attribute a good deal of it to the ball being slippery in the rain, but that's no excuse. Still, you can't help but continue to be impressed by the rookie, as he is the first rookie quarterback to start 3-0 since the merger.

*It looked early on as if the Jets were going to continue their third down magic, as they converted on their first four attempts. That thought came to a screeching halt as the Jets were 0-12 the rest of the game on third downs. That's a dangerous stat.

*3-0 (all in AFC, 1-0 division) against Houston, New England, and Tennessee is very impressive, especially the way they've done it. New Orleans will be a very tough task in the Superdome next week. After that, the schedule gets much easier, especially with the unfortunate news that Chad Pennington might be out a few weeks with a shoulder injury. The Jets play Miami in weeks five and eight.

*The Jets did what they needed to do early, jumping to a 14-0 lead. That's what the Jets want to do: get the lead and pound the football. But the run failed them most of the game, and the Titans clawed back in the game. The Jets capitalized on a Titans mistake and then were able to lean on their defense down the stretch. If the Jets have a 7 point lead halfway through the 4th quarter, you have to love their chances.

*Oh, and those of you waiting on my weekly Sanchez video, I haven't found a file of the game yet, and I can't start the video process until then, so don't expect it until Wednesday or Thursday.

Jets vs Titans Preview

Tennessee Titans at New York Jets
Giants Stadium, 1:00 PM EDT, CBS

The New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans will hook up Sunday in what has all the makings of a very good game. The Titans (who will be dressed in Houston Oilers uniforms) come in 0-2 and seething. Titans LB Keith Bulluck and FB Ahmard Hall among others have talked up this game’s importance because they know that an 0-3 football team probably is not making the playoffs.

By the same token, this has all the makings of a classic Jets letdown. After defeating the New England Patriots last week, in a game that Kris Jenkins compared to the Super Bowl, it’s natural to let up a little bit the week after. Rex Ryan’s job is to keep up the intensity level against a team not only smarting after two straight close losses but also hoping for revenge for the Jets’ spoiling their undefeated season the year before.

When the Jets have the ball…

As usual, the Jets are going to want to establish the run first. They have run the ball 57% of their plays, tops in the league. Much of that has been a byproduct of leads, but Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are both talented backs, and giving them the ball helps keep the pressure off of rookie QB Mark Sanchez.

This game may be different. The Titans have been far more susceptible through the air than on the ground in the early going. As a result, the Jets might let Sanchez throw the ball a little more to try and stop Tennessee from keeping eight in the box.

The secondary has ability, as CB Cortland Finnegan, S Michael Griffin, and S Chris Hope are all physical and talented. Finnegan and Jerricho Cotchery should be an exciting matchup all night long. However, the whole secondary has been prone to overplaying plays and taking too many chances. Against a rookie quarterback with their backs against the wall, it’s entirely possible they try to do too much again, and Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey might break a big play or two because of it. CB Nick Harper is the likeliest target. We may even have a David Clowney sighting.

Still, Washington and Jones should be the focal point of this offense. The order of those names is a major change in offensive philosophy, as Washington is now just as big a part of the offense as Jones, if not more, and he burned Tennessee last season. Shonn Greene might even see his first action. The Titans have been stout against the run, as opponents have managed just 2.9 yards-per-carry against them. Stephen Tullock and Keith Bullock anchor a solid run-stopping linebacking corps, and Jason Jones and Tony Brown have done a good job replacing Albert Haynesworth, at least against the run.

The Jets will try to run the ball first, which is what the Jets want. As great as it sounds to just let Mark Sanchez loose, this Titans defense is still one of the better ones in the NFL. The Jets should be able to move the ball, but touchdowns may be a little hard to come by. The Jets average 20 points a game against defenses with lesser pedigrees than the Titans, so it’s hard to predict many more than that.
Advantage: Titans

When the Titans have the ball…


Like the Jets, the Titans are going to be a run-first offense, and their top tailback is coming off an all-time great game. Chris Johnson scored three times from 50 yards or more last week, tallying 197 yards on the ground and another 87 through the air. Tennessee will no doubt continue to lean on Johnson, who might be the fastest runningback in the NFL. Any defensive miscommunication could mean a touchdown.

Stopping Johnson will be Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine’s primary task. The Jets contained Johnson last season, but if Johnson gets man-to-man coverage with a linebacker, that could be a problem. Steve Slaton and Kevin Faulk were both runningbacks who were threats in the passing game, but Johnson’s speed makes him a completely different animal.

However, the Jets should be able to contain the Titans run offense. Titans center Kevin Mawae tended to struggle against massive nose tackles like Kris Jenkins, and that should help stop the Titans from running the ball up the middle, LenDale White's forte. The Titans may try to stretch out the defense by running outside, away from Jenkins, Bart Scott, and David Harris.

While the Jets are nurturing a young quarterback and taking him along slowly, the Titans know exactly what they have in Kerry Collins. He’s a game manager who doesn’t make many mistakes. However, Collins is a statue in the pocket, so the Jets are likely to tee off at him like last week. The difference is that the Jets are down Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, the #2 and #3 cornerbacks, so Justin Gage, Kenny Britt and Nate Washington will have physical and athletic advantages on Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman. Darrelle Revis will probably face Gage most of the game, but if Collins throws one ball towards him, it’s probably one ball too many.

Coleman and Lowery haven’t seen a ton of action on defense in the first two games, but now they are thrown straight into the fire. Lowery and Coleman have both been up-and-down during their respective careers, so Britt and Washington might be able to break a big play or two. That, of course, assumes Collins has the time to throw, which is why it will be imperative to get pressure.

The Titans have a strong offensive line that will go toe to toe with the Jets defense. However, the Titans’ passing game has a lot to prove, and Chris Johnson has a tendency to get his yardage in chunks. If the Jets can stop him from breaking open the big play, the Titans could struggle to put up points.
Advantage: Jets

Intangibles


The Titans desperately need this game, while the set-up is prime for a Jet letdown. However, the Jets are aggressive and are still trying to prove that their defense is worth the hype. A raucous crowd will do its part to get behind its defense.
Advantage: Push

Outlook


As of now, it looks like it’s going to pour at the Meadowlands tomorrow throughout the game. While common sense dictates that rain would help the defenses, it tends to make the field slippery, which could cause some big plays. Both defenses are very good, but both offenses have guys with speed who can make plays in the open field.

This is going to be a very tough game for the Jets to win. Not only do they need to deal with Chris Johnson in the open field, but can’t you see Drew Coleman falling down and Kenny Britt or Nate Washington racing for a touchdown? However, it’s more likely that Collins uses a lot of checkdowns to Johnson and tight ends Bo Scaife and Alge Crumpler.

Of course, the Jets have a few guys who can make plays for them as well. Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and Chansi Stuckey aren’t easy to bring down when they have the football, and both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington can break a big run.

Both teams might make a few big plays, but the key will be which team makes fewer mistakes and doesn’t turn the ball over. Mark Sanchez’s ability to elude pass rushers could come in handy, as the Jets will move him around to keep the Titans off-balance defensively. Look for Collins to have a fumble or two that give the Jets enough possessions to win the game. Perhaps even a defensive touchdown may be in the cards.

Prediction: Titans of New York 24, Tennessee Titans 17

NFL Picks for Week Three

A 2-1 week last week brings me to 5-1 on the year. I really like the games this week, so let's get right to it.

Bengals +4.5 over Steelers
The Steelers are a good team, but they have a lot to prove in the trenches. Cincinnati fanns hate Pittsburgh and they are looking to beat them for the first time at home since 2001. The defense is playing very well, and Cedric Benson has been surprisingly solid. The Steelers have had a lot of trouble running the football in the past two weeks, and that's not going to change this week. This is going to be a tough football game between two teams who need a big divisional win. It should be close, and with the Bengals at home getting 4.5 points, I'm very confident they will at least cover.
Cincinnati 17, Pittsburgh 14

Texans -4.5 over Jaguars
The Texas were 12-4 at home the past two seasons before the Jets embarrassed them in front of their home crowd. The Jaguars have all sorts of problems in their secondary, and they are not built to come from behind. Andre Johnson should have a big game, so Maurice Jones-Drew won't be able to get as many carries as he needs. The Texans should put up a big number. Jacksonville won't.
Houston 31, Jacksonville 20

Cardinals -2.5 over Colts
Arizona in September is sure to be a tough place to play for Indianapolis. Coming off a short week to face a Cardinals team coming off a big win, the Colts could have trouble. The Colts have had all sorts of trouble stopping the run. Even Tim Hightower and Chris "Beanie" Wells should be able to run the football, providing much needed balance to their offense. The Colts' offense is good, but Peyton Manning is going to rely heavily on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark because his other weapons are largely unproven. Indianapolis is banged up on both sides of the ball. The Cardinals impressed me last week, and I expect their winning streak to continue this week.
Arizona 31, Indianapolis 24

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Notes - Sheppard and Strickland may not play Sunday

Tennessee is going to come in to Meadowlands an angry team. They have always been a prideful team under Jeff Fisher that will run the ball and stop the run. This year, that has certainly been the case again, but Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Schaub torched the secondary in back to back weeks.

How will Brian Schottenheimer respond? While the Jets have run the ball 57% of the time, the most in the league, they likely will have to open it up a little against Tennessee. They have been especially burned by the tight end, so Dustin Keller should get involved early and often. Cortland Finnegan hasn't been the same cornerback he was early last season, but he and Jerricho Cotchery will be a tough, physical matchup.

Mark Sanchez has yet to have to win a game in the 4th quarter for the Jets. This may be the first game he has to carry the offense on his shoulders. He has a 91.3 quarterback rating in the first two games, so he has certainly looked the part so far, but the Titans know the Jets want to run the ball, and they certainly have the capability to stop the run. If Sanchez can keep up similar yards-per-attempt and keep the turnovers down with more throws, the Jets should win this game.

In fact there's a good chance both teams will be throwing more than they normally like. Tennessee, a run-first team like the Jets, may be taking aim a secondary down two key players. Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland are both very questionable to play, with Strickland being more likely to sit. If both are out, Dwight Lowery is opposite Darrelle Revis, and Drew Coleman is the nickelback. One of those three won't have passes thrown in his direction.

Other names on the injury report this week include QB Mark Sanchez, who has minor knee tendinitis. He fully participated in practice, so don't worry at all. The rest of the injury report you can find here, but there's nothing really serious.

Cimini also has some interesting quotes by Titans FB Ahmard Hall, who has some harsh quotes about Bart Scott. There could be some bad blood there, and with the Titans at 0-2, frustration could spill out if they fall behind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Every Mark Sanchez Pass - Week 2


Back by popular demand, here is every throw Mark Sanchez made against the New England Patriots! Okay, so it's not every throw. Every throw but one. For some reason, I couldn't get that part of the video. Instead, I threw in the Ryan-Bellichick post-game handshake, and Sanchez playing hide-and-seek with Bellichick.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How good has Sanchez been?

How good has Mark Sanchez been? Let's look at his 3rd down numbers.

On third downs, Sanchez is 17-23 for 228 yards and a touchdown. That's good for a 119.5 quarterback rating, fourth best in the NFL in that situation. However, on 3rd and 7 or longer, he's been even better. He's 13 for 14 for 149 yards and a touchdown on 3rd and long! That's unbelievable.

*With Donald Strickland suffering a quadriceps injury, the Jets re-signed CB Marquice Cole from their practice squad and released TE Matthew Mulligan. Mulligan was inactive for the first two games, so the Jets chose to bolster their cornerback depth rather than keep the extra tight end.

Monday, September 21, 2009

San Francisco accuses Jets of tampering with Crabtree

What is it with the Jets and allegedly tampering with diva receivers? First, Deion Branch, then Brandon Marshall, and now Michael Crabtree. Crabtree's camp hinted that other teams would give him more money than what San Francisco was offering, and the 49ers are accusing one of those teams as being the Jets.

As expected, the Jets denied any wrongdoing. Keep an eye on this off the field. Teams can be fined or docked draft picks if found guilty. In the 2006 Branch case, the Jets were completely exonerated, and the Broncos never formally filed chargers regarding Marshall.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jets Conquer New England 16-9

The Jets did exactly what they said they would do, beating Tom Brady and the Patriots 16-9. Did the Jets "embarrass" the Patriots as Kerry Rhodes has said? Not really. But when was the last time Brady had back-to-back delay of game penalties to push a possible scoring drive out of field goal range? The raucous crowd wreaked havoc on the Patriots' communication at the line of scrimmage, and the Jets' defense didn't allow the Patriots to score a single touchdown.

In fact I would argue that 6 of the 9 points that the Pats scored were referee hand-outs. Washington's knee was down when he fumbled, and that illegal contact call that directly led to a field goal was a joke. But I digress...

*The Jets defense is legitimate. Two of the most explosive offenses in the NFL could not muster an offensive touchdown against this defense. Darrelle Revis is a shutdown cornerback, the tackling is usually strong, and the pass rush clearly has thrown off opposing quarterbacks. Tom Brady was 8-20 in the 2nd half.

*Even the Patriots can be rattled by a good crowd. Four delay of game penalties, including two back-to-back, and one before a punt. This was one of the loudest crowds in recent Jets' history. If the fans can get this riled up at home every week, the Jets could turn the last season of Giants Stadium into a huge homefield advantage.

*Leon Washington and Thomas Jones are in a near 50/50 split in carries. Washington takes care of most third downs, but he's getting more action in the early downs to give him more chances to make a big play. I saw them both line up in the backfield on third down on at least one occasion, too.

*Kevin O'Connell, Larry Izzo, and Damien Woody were all name captains for this game as well as Shaun Ellis. Three former Patriots and the longest tenured Jet. Nice touch, Rex.

*Did I mention how good Darrelle Revis is? First, Andre Johnson, now, Randy Moss. Two stud receivers made non-factors because of Revis being draped all over them.

*Wes Welker was missed in this game by New England. Julian Edelman played well in his place, but Welker would have been perfect to fit the Patriots' scheme this game, which was to get the ball out of Tom Brady's hands as quickly as possible. Welker excels at short routes.

*Once again, the Jets' receivers look like the real deal. Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey made plays for the second straight game showing good hands and toughness throughout the game. A player like Brandon Marshall would turn this unit from solid to elite, but for the time being, the Jets are perfectly fine at receiver.

*Mark Sanchez did not turn the ball over. In fact he kept the ball out of harm's way virtually every throw. He did everything the Jets wanted him to do, making just enough plays to win while not doing anything to lose the game. At some point, it would be good to see him have to lead a drive late in a game in which the Jets are either tied or behind, but that can wait.

Did he play great? Absolutely not, and he can't fumble the football at the 3 yardline, even if he recovers it. Brian Schottenheimer didn't want to risk a turnover deep in his side of the field, which is where the Jets usually were in the first half. Sanchez got the ball in the 2nd half, and led a three play touchdown-scoring drive just when the Jets needed it to turn the tide of the game.

*8 penalties for 55 yards is better than last week, but it still needs improvement. For a team trying to win primarily with defense and field position, giving up free yards simply can't happen.

*That Donald Strickland can hit for a cornerback. The Jets might need him more if Lito Sheppard's quadriceps injury flares up during the week.

*The Jets had no sacks, but they were in Brady's face all night. The sacks will come; Brady was just smart enough to get rid of the ball quickly every time. His timing was definitely off, and you could tell he did not want to get hit.

*Prevent defense? What prevent defense? Late in the game, the Jets only sent more and more players after Brady, including on the final plays of the game. Being passive killed Buffalo last week. New England never had a shot.

*21 players got their names in the defensive stat sheet. Vernon Gholston was not one of them.

*Neither was Calvin Pace. He'll be back week five in Miami. He was probably the Jets' most productive linebacker last season, and he's another good fit for this system. It's hard to imagine what this defense might look like at full strength.

*Jay Feely: 3-3 on field goals. They were all within 40 yards, but if he's making his kicks and his kickoffs are reaching the endzone, the Jets are happy with him.

*The Jets' leading tackler? Kerry Rhodes, with six solo and two assisted. Don't say he didn't back up his talk.

*At 2-0 overall and in conference, and 1-0 in the division, the Jets have set themselves up very well. The first five game stretch is difficult, but after watching the games Sunday, the Jets are probably better than the Titans. I also can't wait to see Chad Pennington and the Dolphins against Ryan's defense. The Jets could definitely start 4-1, but keep in mind, at 0-2, the Titans will be desperate, and Chris Johnson has the speed to make the Jets pay for any mistakes.

*Enjoy first place while you can!

Jets vs Patriots Preview

It’s almost gametime. Where everything that has been said, from Ryan’s “kiss the rings” comment to Kerry Rhodes expressing that he hopes to “embarrass” New England to Rhodes’s ensuing Twitter-fight with Rodney Harrison is out the window. The Jets will have to live up to all the hype that they have brought upon themselves both with their talk and with their play against the one team fans want to beat most: the New England Patriots.

So how will both teams respond? Can the Jets back up the talk or will the Patriots overmatch them and continue their Meadowlands dominance? Let’s look at the matchups, and then I’ll make my final prediction.

When the Jets are on offense…

Bill Bellichick has spent his entire career feasting on rookie quarterbacks. Will Mark Sanchez be his next victim? It’s easy to forget Sanchez’s lack of playing experience given the poise he has shown as the starter, but Bellichick will probably throw everything he can at the rookie to see what he’s got. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer realizes this, so he probably will try to keep it simple early in the football game to ease his quarterback into the game.

That means a lot of runs. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington should get the ball early and often, probably in a 65-35 timeshare. The Patriots know this, so they will probably load the box earlier to try to stop the run and put the Jets in a bunch of third and longs, which is exactly what happened last week against Houston. New England would just need to take the next step and actually stop the pass on third and eight, something Houston didn’t do. The key for the Jets will be to create holes and get bigger gains on first and second down to take pressure off of Sanchez on third downs.

The Patriots’ front seven has suffered a few big losses in the past couple weeks with Tedi Bruschi, Richard Seymour, and Jerod Mayo out of action. This is one of the few times lately in this series where the Jets have the advantage in the trenches, which is a big reason to have faith in an upset.

But can Sanchez make plays like he did last week? On paper, the Patriots secondary looks beatable. Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs are solid veterans who are strong tacklers, but Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey should be able to get open and make a few plays for Sanchez. Bills tight ends Derek Schouman and Shawn Nelson combined for 5 catches for 54 yards and a touchdown last week, so Keller should be able to get involved.

There’s no reason the Jets shouldn’t move the ball on the Patriots’ defense. The questions will be how well the Jets take care of the football and whether or not they can generate points in the red zone. Those two categories as well as third down efficiency will determine the offense’s overall success not just in this game but the entire season. The Jets probably won’t dominate the clock like they did against Houston, but that is their goal.

Sanchez threw one pick in week one, and there were a few more passes that easily could have been intercepted. The Patriots have always been able to capitalize on mistakes, so Sanchez must take care of the football. As good as the Jets’ defense might be, giving extra possessions to Tom Brady is a recipe for disaster. They know that, so Schottenheimer probably won’t take too many chances. That should limit their opportunities to put up a huge point total, but the Jets don’t plan to win via their offense anyway…

Advantage: Push

When the Patriots have the ball…

…they plan to with their defense. Maybe you’ve noticed this. The defense has been doing a lot of talking after all. But on the field, they still need to get in Tom Brady’s face for any of that talk to mean anything. Kerry Rhodes says they’ll hit Brady “more than six times.” Brady has a knack for moving around the pocket and staying upright, but the Jets are going to throw everything they can at him to throw off his timing.

The Jets completely manhandled the Texan offensive line last week. David Harris and Bart Scott may be the best middle linebacking corps in the game, and the talented Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis protect them up front. Still, New England won’t breakdown so easily. The Jets will get pressure on Brady throughout the game, but the Jets may struggle on third downs as Brady has so many weapons to go to.

Luckily for the Jets, Wes Welker has been slowed in practice by a knee injury and may not be 100%. However, Kevin Faulk, Randy Moss, Ben Watson, Chris Baker, and Joey Galloway are all around and all are capable of making plays. Brady likes to spread the ball around, and he will pick the Jets apart on a few screens to Faulk or Welker when they blitz.

Expect the Patriots to try to run more of a spread offense to try to take advantage of Dwight Lowery, Lito Sheppard, and Donald Strickland. If they can force Vernon Gholston into coverage, all the better. New England has the quarterback and the weapons to do just that, and it may be the best chance for them to win.

It’s hard to see the Patriots getting a lot going on the ground. Laurence Maroney, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk is one of the weaker rushing attacks in the league, and they struggled to get traction against Buffalo (22 carries for 63 yards for Patriot runningbacks). The Jets have had a stout run defense since Kris Jenkins arrived, so the Patriots’ fate likely rests on Brady’s shoulders.

Last week Brady threw for 378 yards, but the offense only managed 25 points. Something similar could occur this week, as New England will try to throw the ball a lot, but the Jets may not allow a lot of points. You could even see some no huddle early on if the Patriots want to try to throw off the defense’s timing and tire Jenkins.

Advantage: Push

Special Teams

While the Jets have struggled to find a punter all offseason, Steve Weatherford did a solid job last year, and he may be the answer this year. With that shored up, the Jets’ special teams is one of the better units in the NFL thanks to Leon Washington’s kick returns. He brought back a kickoff for a touchdown last year in New England last season, so the Patriots know how dangerous he can be.

The Patriots special teams are above average in all areas. Stephen Gostkowski is a good kicker, Chris Hanson is a good punter, and Kevin Faulk is a good return man. However, Faulk doesn’t really have the ability to break a long return for a touchdown like Washington, so while the Patriots have the otherwise better unit, the Jets have the wild card factor.

Advantage: Push

Coaching

This one’s easy. Rex Ryan already told you the answer: it’s Bill Bellichick and the Patriots! But is it that simple? Ryan has rejuvenated the Jets’ fan base and been the mastermind behind a team that looks primed to have one of the best defenses in the NFL. But until he gets one, maybe even two rings, it’s hard to go against the Hoodie.

Advantage: Patriots

Intangibles

It’s no secret the Jets are preparing for this game as if it were the biggest game of the season. The players and fans are sick of losing at home, and Ryan wants to make the early salvo. And while it would appear from the outside that the Jets would have more to play for to back up their talk, in reality, they have nothing to lose. Tom Brady’s team is supposed to beat a rookie quarterback. The Jets should be able to play free and loose to try and back up all their talk during the week.

The home field advantage hasn’t helped in the past eight seasons, but with a more creative defense, a loud crowd should help more than usual. The only worrisome thing is penalties. The Jets had 10 penalties for 80 yards last week after having problems in that category in the preseason. If emotions run wild, that could spill over into some stupid penalties that could help give the Patriots the edge. But in the end, the Jets have a number of things going in their favor to give them the edge.

Advantage: Jets

Prediction

The Jets’ defense gets a big boost with the return of Shaun Ellis, and as good as Tom Brady and the Patriots are, right now, their offense is one dimensional and the defense has a lot of things to prove. As long as Sanchez takes care of the football, Leon Washington should provide a big play or two to make the difference.
Jets 24, Patriots 20

Week 2: NFL Picks

After a perfect 3-0 week one (albeit, a lucky one), I'm ready to take on week two. And don't worry, Jets fans, the Jets-Patriots preview will be up soon, though there will be a sneak peek at that in this post. I feel confident about these three teams, so let's try and make it 6-0.

Jacksonville -3 over Arizona

Arizona does not look like the defending NFC champions. They look more like one of the many recent Super Bowl runner-ups suffering a disappointing follow-up year. Kurt Warner has not been himself, and receivers Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston have both been banged up. The Cardinals have historically struggled playing 1:00 PM games on the east coast. Jacksonville wants to assert its physicality on teams and go back to what used to make them successful. Arizona will be a perfect team for them.
Jaguars 24, Cardinals 14

New York Jets +4 over New England Patriots
This might give away who I'm leaning towards in my preview that will be posted shortly after this, but I'm confident. Rex Ryan is right. The Patriots have a better head coach and a better quarterback, but other than that, every unit is either a push or in favor of the Jets. Will that be enough for the Jets to break the eight game losing streak at home to the Patriots? Maybe, maybe not, but it should be a close game. I could see the Patriots winning by three or four, which would be a push or a split, or a Jets win, which would obviously be a cover. My prediction will come in my upcoming preview post.

Cincinnati Bengals +9.5 over Green Bay Packers
The Bengals have the makings of a surprisingly good defense. A healthy Carson Palmer has a game under his belt, while the Bengals figure out the best way to use weapons Chad Ochocinco, Laveranues Coles, Andre Caldwell, and Chris Henry. The Packers did not look particularly good on Sunday night. They should bounce back a little at home, but the Bengals should come out motivated after losing a heartbreaker at home as a live underdog that can win both a defensive struggle and a shootout. The Packers should win, but Cincinnati won't go away easily.
Green Bay 28, Cincinnati 21

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rhodes: We'll try to 'embarrass' the Patriots

Is this really the Jets' Super Bowl? Kris Jenkins has already said that his team is preparing for it that way. Rex Ryan said back in June that he's not going to kiss Bill Bellichick's rings. Yesterday, he sent a voicemail to Jets' season ticket holders to try to rally the fanbase heading into Sunday's game. In it he implores fans not just to be the 12th man, but the 13th as well.

Need any more proof that this game means a lot to the Jets? Just listen to Kerry Rhodes, as he says what he intends to do to New England Sunday.

"You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them," Rhodes said. "Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don't want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, 'We're not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it's not going to be luck, it's not going to be a mistake."

Tom Brady responded with "Talk is cheap" during his presser, but clearly, the Jets are doing everything they can to build this game up. And honestly, they really don't need to. The Patriots have beaten the Jets eight straight times in the Meadowlands, and the fans definitely noticed that. Plus, do we really need another reason to root against Bill Bellichick and Brady?

For the second straight year, this is a chance for the Jets to make a huge statement in their home opener. Last year, the Jets had a new star quarterback in Brett Favre, a much improved defense bolstered by Kris Jenkins, and the Patriots looked vulnerable after losing Tom Brady in the opener. If the Jets could have won that game, it would have been a statement that they were claiming the AFC East. Instead, they took a step back, and Miami ended up taking the Patriots' throne.

This year the Jets again are looking to make a big statement. With a brand new quarterback in Mark Sanchez and a much improved defense (sound familiar?), the Jets look to beat a Patriots team that are ripe to be beaten after nearly losing their home opener to Buffalo. The primary reason for a Jets fan to have hope this time will be different was because the Jets clearly have the better defensive unit heading into this one. The Patriots are better at head coach and quarterback, as Rex Ryan said, but other than that, the Jets probably have the advantage. The Patriots' defense struggled to stop the Bills' offense when it had to, and they'll be playing without rising star linebacker Jerod Mayo.

But it was Brady that Rhodes took his next shot at. When told that the Bills knocked Tom Brady down six times, Rhodes had this response.

"We will hit him more than six times, I promise you that."

Music to my ears! Eric Mangini's gameplan in 2006 when the Jets beat the Patriots in the mud in Gillette Stadium helped make me a believer in him. If the Jets can knock Brady around any way like they did that day in 2006 at home, the Meadowlands will go crazy, and Ryan will have the tri-state area in the palm of his hand. Now all the Jets need to do is play half as well as they can talk.

David Harris: AFC Defensive Player of the Week


Jets inside linebacker David Harris was given AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his 11 tackle, 1 sack, 1 pass defense performance against Houston. Harris was all over the field Sunday, and the stats don't tell the whole story of just how well he played. He and fellow inside linebacker Bart Scott set the tone early with some huge hits, and no play defined the football game more than when Harris caused Texan receiver Andre Davis to hear footsteps and drop what would have been a first down. Davis still got drilled so hard that he got a concussion. Note to all receivers: if you're going over the middle, you're going to get hit anyway, so you might as well come down with the ball.

Wes Welker is a much, much tougher #2 receiver than Davis, but he's also smaller. If Harris or Scott or any other hard-hitting Jet can get a couple shots like that against Welker, it could make him think twice about going over the middle and making some of those huge third down catches that have killed New York in recent Jets-Pats games.

So what was that about trading David Harris and a pick for Brandon Marshall? Would any Jets fan ever trade Harris for Marshall straight up at this point? I certainly wouldn't. Harris has the ability to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL. In fact I would argue he already is one of the best, he just has to build up a track record. He was a stud late in 2007 when he took Jonathan Vilma's starting job. Last season was a bit of a letdown as he got hurt early in the season, but now Harris is back with a vengeance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Every Pass Sanchez Threw vs Houston



I've been editing/uploading/compressing this video for two days. I wish the quality were better, but I had to lower it for YouTube. I know there's a way around it, but i'm not quite sure of it yet.

Either way, enjoy.

*The Jets were fined $75,000 today over the Brett Favre injury report controversy. Mike Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini were also fined $25,000 each. In other news hopefully we don't have to hear another word about Brett Favre's relationship with the Jets any more this season.

Breakdown of Ryan's blitz scheme

Rich Cimini has a good, layman's terms breakdown of the Jets' blitzing schemes last game.

3-man rushes -- 3 (2-for-3, 34 yards)

4-man rushes -- 17 (10-for-17, 84 yards)

5-man rushes -- 16 (6-for-13, 48 yards, 1 INT, plus two sacks, 1 QB scramble)


It's impressive that the Jets generated such intense pressure and still be able to keep six guys in coverage the entire game. Very impressive. I'm sure Rex Ryan held something back for the Patriots, but it's hard to see what. He used blitzes up the middle and on the outside, overload blitzes, and delayed blitzes, and that was just with five guys. And no Shaun Ellis or Calvin Pace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jets News and Notes, Monday Night Reaction

Watching this New England game is making me salivate want to kill someone. New England beat Buffalo 25-24 in a game that looked for most of the game that they were going to lose until #$%@%@#! Leodis McKelvin fumbled the kickoff, handing the Patriots victory. I had an entire post written out about how happy I was about this game and how much I was looking forward to smacking them around, and now I have to edit it all. I still can't wait for Sunday, but as a lifetime Patriot hater, this one hurts. Thank goodness there's another football game, or I'd be stewing over that all night. I still probably will...

New England didn't look bad, but the fact that they lost should have lost at home to a team that looked to be in turmoil just a week ago is would have been shocking. They dominated many of the yardage categories, but the offense wasn't totally crisp until the last little drive to win the game, and the defense sprung a few leaks.

For the Jets, that game can only give you more confidence. The Patriots look more like the 10-6 team that took the field last season than the one who took the NFL by storm in 2007. Buffalo's touchdown drive to make it a two-score game late in the fourth quarter was something that you rarely see against a Bill Bellichick defense. They looked like a good, not great team, and at home with Rex Ryan's defense, there is no reason the Jets don't have a good chance of finally beating the Patriots at Giants Stadium. The Jets have a better offensive line than Buffalo and very capable weapons, so there's no reason to think they won't have some success, too.

Brady will get better as he shakes the rust off, and he looked pretty good tonight. Clearly, his timing is off a little bit, and that will only improve with time. But the Bills defense is good, not great, and the Jets' defense looks like it will be near the top in the NFL. They survived one test against Houston. New England's offensive line will hold up better in pass protection, but that just means they won't completely disintegrate like Houston's did.

But that game is six days from now, and we have plenty of time to get ready for that. But I already have a feeling this will be a long week... It's definitely going to be a long night...

*Rex Ryan delivered an impassioned speech that drove some players to tears and helped motivate the team for week one. Kris Jenkins had the quote of the day.

“Honestly,” he said, “it’s kind of hard to put into words but we have come to the conclusion that we need to call the NFLPA and put him on the banned substances list because whatever he said was performance-enhancing, definitely. You could just tell by the excitement that a lot of the guys believe in the system. We really think this is going to be a structured year for us. We are just trying to make sure that we do everything we can to keep this coach around.”

That camaraderie can't hurt, can it?

*The Jets' defense will receive a lift this coming Sunday when DE Shaun Ellis returns. Unfortunately, his return meant a pink slip for one Jet, and the guy who was let go was CB Marquice Cole. Chances are, the guy was going to be him or Drew Coleman, two cornerbacks who were both left on the inactive list. Look for Cole to be resigned to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 1 Rewind: Jets Manhandle Texans 24-7

Going into the game, I had two mindsets going into the game, before I make a prediction, I try to argue in my head between a rational NFL fan and the fanatical Jet fan that I am.

Rational me: A rookie quarterback in a hostile environment on the road against a team that probably has a top 5 offense in football? No chance. Even if the defense is good, the Texans offense is probably better, and without Ellis and Pace, how good can the defense really be?

Fanatical me: Sanchez is the real deal, the Jets will be able to run the football, and stop the run. Darrelle Revis can slow Andre Johnson, no Kevin Walter is a help, and if the Jets can score enough points, they match up pretty well and might be able to make some points.

What ended up happening? Everything I hoped for and more. Let's go down the list.

Mark Sanchez had a phenomenal game for his debut, going 18-31 for 272 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception . Most impressive was his performance on third down. The offense struggled early to pick up yards on first and second down, but Sanchez made play after play to move the chains and keep possession. The offensive line did a good job keeping him upright, and even when there was pressure, he was capable enough to elude it and make good throws on the move.

Sure, there were some rookie mistakes. He made a bad throw that ended up being intercepted and returned for a touchdown, negating what would have been a shutout by the Jets' defense. He made a few other passes that were either dangerous or nearly intercepted. But those are mistakes even veterans make sometimes, and he made more than enough good plays to make up for it.

Still Sanchez was not the most impressive part of Rex Ryan's new look Jets. Far from it. That honor belongs to the defense. I can't even single out a particular unit to impressive. They were in sync, flying after the football, hitting people hard, playing every bit the way Ryan said they would when he first took the job. Whether or not you believed him then, you better trust him now.

Yes, it was just one game. But this was the 3rd ranked offense in the NFL from 2008 playing in their home stadium opener when they have a significant home field advantage. And they were suffocated by this Jets defense. Matt Schaub was only sacked twice, but he was hurried constantly, and he never got in a rhythm.

The guy who was seemingly in the middle of it all was David Harris. He was involved in 10 tackles and sacked Schaub. He also delivered several bone-jarring hits that helped set the tone early and often. Trade him for Brandon Marshall? This guy may end up being considered a top five middle linebacker in football by the time the season is over if he keeps up this pace.

Darrelle Revis continued to live up to his billing as a shutdown cornerback, not allowing Andre Johnson to seriously get involved in the offense. Johnson ended up with just 4 catches for 35 yards. For a guy with 115 catches last season, that is a heck of a job. Johnson's teammate Kevin Walter didn't play in this game, so Revis was blanketed on Johnson virtually the entire game man coverage.

The defense was so stout that even Vernon Gholston looked like he belonged, at least a little bit. The Ghost had 3 tackles and had a decent game. In the stats department, he was upstaged by undrafted rookie Jamaal Westerman who had a sack.

The Texans got in the red zone once the entire game, and the play in which they arrived, Donald Strickland knocked the ball loose right to Mike DeVito, giving the Jets the ball back. Lito Sheppard later added an interception on a play in which Schaub was yet again under heavy pressure. All in all, it was a physically dominant performance by Gang Green, as they really kept the pressure off the Jets offense and allowed them to control the clock and the game.

And that's exactly what they did. Save the one interception, the Jets efficiently on offense. Thomas Jones had 107 yards (106 in the 2nd half) on 20 carries with a touchdown. He strugled early to find holes in the Texans defense, but as the game wore on, Jones got better. He had runs of 39 and 38 yards in the 2nd half to help ice the game. And for once, Leon Washington got the ball as much as he should have. Washington had 15 carries for 60 yards, 4 catches for 24 yards, 1 kick return for 20 yards, and 2 punt returns for 16 yards. And while we're talking runningbacks, let's not forget Tony Richardson's contribution, as the old fullback pancaked a safety on Jones's long touchdown run.

The passing game was shallow in terms of players catching the ball, but all four caught at least four balls. Washington's numbers are listed above. Chansi Stuckey was the recipient of Sanchez's first touchdown pass, and he caught 4 passes for 64 yards and made some nice plays after the catch. So did Dustin Keller, who also had 4 catches but for 90 yards. Jerricho Cotchery was the most frequent target with 6 catches for 90 yards. On third down, these guys made plays to get open and move the chains, especially Cotchery.

Jets vs Texans Game Thread!

Game 1: New York Jets (0-0) at Houston Texans (0-0)

This will be the JetsDaily game thread. I will update periodically with game updates.

Inactive list: RB Shonn Greene, G Matt Slauson, TE Matthew Mulligan, LB Ryan Fowler, CB Drew Coleman, and QB Kevin O'Connell. Erik Ainge is the emergency quarterback.

GO JETS!

1:03 PM: Got some music pumping, ready to go. Today's choice? AC-DC - Thunderstruck, but I've been listening to some T-Rex, Tool, and Coheed and Cambria to help get me in the mood, too.

FIRST QUARTER
1:08: Bart Scott in the middle of the first 2 plays, drilling Schaub and getting in a little skirmish on the first play. Chris Brown able to pick up the first down. Brown is their short yardage back.

1:10: Jets showing a lot more aggression defensively so far. Some Texans are getting hit hard though. If they want to keep single-teaming Jenkins, it will keep happening. Jets force a punt with Schaub under heavy pressure by Harris after an all out blitz.

1:17: Jets go 3 and out. Sanchez never had much of a chance to succeed that possession after a 3 yard loss on first down.

1:19: Bart Scott with another hurry. The Jets are drilling Schaub almost every play they throw. This has to be a little bit unnerving for Schaub and the Texans. Jets are using Leon Washington back on punts, which is a bit surprising. Washington and Leonhard were both back for that punt.

1:24: Not too happy with the run blocking so far. But it's very early. Sanchez hasn't had to do much of anything yet, but the running game isn't helping.

1:25: Sanchez's first NFL first down on a fantastic effort by Chansi Stuckey on a bubble screen on 3rd down. Nice play.

1:27: There's Sanchez's first rookie mistake. He does a phenomenal job avoiding the sack, but he almost throws a pick trying to throw the ball away. Creative playcalling by Schottenheimer sets up a first down to Keller. This could be a little bit like the 2006 offense, where Pennington didn't have to do much except make accurate short throws.

1:29: Apparently the Jets Wildcat offense is called "Seminole" for Leon Washington's college. Either way, it's good enough for 7 yards on a direct snap to Washington. Faneca with a bad false start putting the Jets out of even long field goal range, unless they pick up some yards on 3rd and 88.

1:34: The Jets can't get ANYTHING going on first down, but they've come up with some huge plays on third down. You have to like what you've seen from Sanchez so far. Facing 3rd and 5 at the 6, we'll see if Sanchez can pull some more third down magic this drive.

1:37: Feely field goal is good from 23 yards out. 3-0 Jets. D'Brickashaw Ferguson called for unnecessary roughness. Remember when you never would have expected him to get a flag like that? I wouldn't mind seeing Gholston getting one of those...

1:41: A Vernon Gholston sighting...as he chases Vonta Leach on a pass which he could not guard the fullback in the flat.

END OF QUARTER: JETS 3, TEXANS 0

SECOND QUARTER

1:46: The Jets defense is already taking its toll on opposing teams. Andre Davis looks at David Harris instead of catching the ball. Harris drills him anyway, and Davis drops the first down pass. This defense has come as advertised!

1:48: Woody Johnson sitting between Joe Namath and Wayne Chrebet. How much would you love to be the fourth person in that group?

1:54: 11:28 remaining in the 2nd quarter. That's the first time an opposing fanbase booed their home offense because they can't get anything going against the Jets defense. The Texans take advantage of the Jets' aggression on a screen play on 3rd and 14, but still, you'll be hearing a lot of boobirds if the defense is this good without two starters. Bart Scott is very slow to get up after the play, so it might be three starters, soon, but it doesn't look too serious as he is walking under his own power.

1:59: SLATON FUMBLES! Jets recover as Donald Strickland pops the ball straight up in the air, Mike DeVito catches it, and the Jets stop a possible scoring drive!

2:04: Sanchez nearly throws a pick to Mario Williams as he just underthrew Ben Hartsock. Then on 3rd down, he makes another beautiful play, avoiding the rush and making a bullet pass to Chansi Stuckey who made a Wayne Chrebet-like play to just get open.

2:09: Sanchez's first career NFL touchdown to a wide open Chansi Stuckey! 10-0 Jets! No one guarded Stuckey! You couldn't ask for a better start!

2:20: Barring a collapse, the Jets will have a first-half shutout. Sanchez gets his first 2 minute drill with about a minute to go and one time out starting from almost midfield. And the best part is there isn't a whole lot of pressure on him as the Jets have done a phenomenal job on defense so far. They look like a brand new unit, just as Rex promised.

2:23: So the two minute drill doesn't go very well, as the Jets seem content to try one Hail Mary. Not sure if they're just happy going into half with the score the way it is or what, but a bit strange how the Jets didn't seem to try to score at all there. Either way, 10-0 at halftime and getting the ball in the second half. Can it get any better than that as a Jet fan? Sanchez looks great, and so does the defense.

HALFTIME
Jets 10, Texans 0


What a first half! Everything is as good as advertised except for the running game, which could improve as the defenses respect the passing game more and more. The Jets have struggled on first downs, but their third down efficiency (6-10) has more than made up for it.

Team leaders:
Sanchez: 11-20, 154 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Washington: 8 carries, 25 yards
Jones: 5 carries, 1 yard

Stuckey: 4 receptions, 64 yards, 1 TD
Keller: 2 receptions, 43 yards
Cotchery: 3 receptions, 34 yards
Washington: 2 receptions, 13 yards

Harris: 3 tackles, 3 assisted, 1 pass defense
Strickland: 1 forced fumble
DeVito: 1 fumble recovered

No sacks for either team, but the Jets have been in Schaub's face all day. In the 2nd half, the Jets should tee off even more on the quarterback.

As a Jets fan, I almost want to turn the game off now because I don't think it can get much better than this. But a win here would be immeasurably huge for this team. 1-0 with New England coming to town is much more appealing than 0-1. Go Jets!

THIRD QUARTER
2:44: I thought the Jets didn't have enough weapons. Leon Washington, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery seem to be doing fine. Jets catch a break as Jones fumbles, Woody recovers.
2:48: Thomas Jones with a one yard touchdown. Jets showing a ton of different looks on offense, and all of them seem to be working right now. 17-0 Jets! Wow! Glad I was wrong about this one!
2:56: This might be the best Jets defense I have ever seen. Granted, I'm only 21 years old, but still. This is the #3 offense in the NFL last year who missed their QB for 5 games last year. This is a team that's hard to keep under 30 at home. The Jets are shutting them out. Unbelievable start!
3:11: Texans went for it on 4th down in their own territory but failed. Jets can't capitalize, but the Texans are pinned at their own 11. 54 seconds left in the third quarter, Jets up three scores.
END OF THREE QUARTERS: JETS 17, TEXANS 0

FOURTH QUARTER
3:25: Texans get a burst of energy as Sanchez throws his first pick to backup safety John Busing. Ball gets fumbled and the faster Dominique Barber picks the ball up and runs it in for the touchdown. Unbelievable turn of events. 17-7 Jets. This game isn't over yet.
3:30: Dustin Keller with a 40 yard grab on 4th down! Huge play for the Jets as they're now almost in field goal range, and it breaks a streak of three straight weak possessions by the Jets.
3:33: Thomas Jones busts open a 38 yard touchdown the very next play! Touchdown Jets! 24-7 Jets!
3:44: I can't wait to see this defense against New England next week. The offensive line will be better, but I'd love to give Brady a few of those hits the Jets are giving Schaub. Donald Strickland and Kerry Rhodes flew at Schaub that play as he chucked a prayer deep hoping for a miracle. Lito Sheppard answered his prayer not quite the way he wanted. If I'm the Texans, I might take Schaub out. He could get hurt.
3:47: 39 yards for Jones around the right side. This Texans team is just being physically dominated by the Jets. I love it!
3:52: So proud of this team. 2 minutes to go. The Jets are going to be 1-0. I kept saying all offseason that I trusted Ryan and this defense, and I predicted Houston to put up 27 points just because Ellis and Pace were gone. Shows what I know.
3:59: This game is over!
END OF GAME
FINAL SCORE

New York Jets: 24
Houston Texans: 7


More later... Unbelievable game. Check out some stats here.

NFL Picks of the Week

I can't believe I almost forgot about one of my favorite parts of the NFL season: picking the games! With just 15 minutes until the 1:00 games start, I'm in a bit of a hurry to post this, so let's get on with it.

Washington +7 over the Giants
Will the Redskins win this game? I don't know. What I do know is that the Redskins return Clinton Portis, one of the more underappreciated runningbacks in the game and they bring in a defense that should strike fear in opponents. It was good last year, now add the most dominant defensive player in the NFL in Albert Haynesworth as well as rookie pass rusher Brian Orakpo! Expect a close, low-scoring, typical NFC East matchup.
Giants 17, Redskins 13

49ers +6.5 over Cardinals
I'm not super high on the 49ers this year, but this is too high a spread for week one. Shaun Hill is not a bad quarterback, and the Cardinals could struggle with Frank Gore. Kurt Warner has struggled with his timing in training camp, and at 38 years old and after almost having retired last year, I have to question his motivation a little bit. Anquan Boldin might not play and definitely won't be 100%. San Francisco will keep this close and maybe even win.
Cardinals 24, 49ers 21

Baltimore -13.5 over Kansas City
The Chiefs are a mess right now. Matt Cassel will not play, but that won't make a difference. Baltimore is a great team at home, and Joe Flacco is poised to take the next step forward into becoming a very good NFL quarterback. Kansas City simply doesn't have enough up front on either line to hold up against the Ravens, and this should get ugly quickly.
Ravens 31, Chiefs 6

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jets vs Texans Preview


A look at the Texans
The Texans are a chic pick to make the playoffs this year as they have been for the past several. This season, however, they are poised to play meaningful games in January for the first time in their history because of runningback Steve Slaton.

Slaton gives Houston the first legitimate rusher since Domanick Davis (remember him?). He’s everything the Jets hope Leon Washington can be offensively: a speedy, shifty back with great hands who is tough enough to run decently between the tackles. Entering his second season, he’ll be asked to carry more of the load.

He’s such a dangerous weapon primarily because teams can’t load eight in the box to stop him or the passing game will kill them. Andre Johnson fits the prototype at receiver in that he’s a physical specimen in terms of size and speed and he also catches the football. Kevin Walter is an underrated number two receiver who has good size and is a thread in the redzone. Fortunately for the Jets, he’s currently dealing with a tender groin, and the receivers behind him are largely unproven. He should play, but he may be limited. Those two and Slaton would be enough to deal with in the passing game, but tight end Owen Daniels is also one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he’s especially good between the twenties. He’ll be a tough matchup for the Jets linebackers to cover.

Finally, there’s the quarterback, Matt Schaub. If he stays healthy for 16 games, which he has not done the past two seasons, the Texans should be a good enough team to make the playoffs. But Schaub played just 11 games the last two years, and he’s already dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the third preseason game (the one against Brett Favre and the Vikings). He threw for over 3000 yards last year in those 11 games, which would be right in line with some of the best passers in the NFL. He threw 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, too, and he loves to go down the field.

Of course, the one unit we haven’t talked about on Houston’s offense is the one that has historically held them back since their inception: the offensive line. Well, it’s better than it used to be by a long shot, and thanks to former Broncos offensive line coach Alex Gibbs, the run blocking is an effective zone blocking scheme. The pass blocking has some work to do to keep Schaub upright, but they return the same starting five as last year, and continuity is almost always a good thing for an offensive line.

Defensively, it’s a unit of a few stars but little supplemental help. New coordinator Frank Bush is hoping to improve a unit that allowed 4.5 yards per carry for opposing runningbacks and a 92 quarterback rating for opposing QB’s. DE Mario Williams and LB DeMeco Ryans are as good as it gets at their respective positions, and there are a few other talented young players in the front seven, but the secondary has a lot of question marks, and it remains to be seen how good several young complementary players can be.

The Texans received a ton of flak for drafting Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young, but he has clearly been the best player of the three. The 6-7, 291 pound physical specimen has 26 sacks in his last two seasons and is sure to be a major test right out of the gate for D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Amobi Okoye is entering his third year in the NFL, but at 22 years old, he is clearly on the rise. DelJuan Robinson and former Cardinal Antonio Smith will fill out the front four.

Ryans is a tackling machine at middle linebacker for the Texans, having tallied over 100 tackles in each of his three NFL seasons. He will be flanked by a couple of youngsters: rookie Brian Cushing and second-year player Xavier Adibi. Adibi missed nine games last year, and the additions of Cushing and Smith as well as the continued maturation of Williams, Ryans, and Okoye should help the Texans improve on their 23rd ranked run defense (4.5 yards per carry) from last season.

In the secondary the big name is franchise player Dunta Robinson. Unfortunately for Houston, Robinson’s dissatisfaction with being franchise tagged caused him to sit out almost all of training camp only to return on Monday. He’ll still probably start and play a lot, but he’ll have to shake off a lot of rust before he can be the shutdown cornerback he’s paid to be. The rest of the secondary is fairly mediocre, with Fred Bennett, Glover Quin, annd Antwaun Moldin rotating in at cornerback after Robinson. Former Patriot Eugene Wilson and Dominique Barber (Marion’s younger brother) man the safety positions, though former Jet Nick Ferguson should see time.

As far as specialists go, Kris Brown and Matt Turk are middle of the road. Brown is probably a above average kicker, while one-time Jet Matt Turk seemed to be on the downside of his career in 2002 when he averaged 34.9 net yards per punt with the Jets, but at 41 years old, he’s still around and kicking, literally. Andre Davis is a dangerous kick return man who will likely get to use his dangerous speed on offense more due to Walter’s injury.

Jets Pass Offense vs Texans Pass Defense

A lot of pressure will be on Mark Sanchez from the start. The early part of the schedule is incredibly difficult, and Sanchez has already coined week one a must-win. This defense can be susceptible to both yards and points, so if the Jets’ stellar offensive line can keep Sanchez upright and away from the grips of Mario Williams, he should be able to have a decent opening game.

The biggest question for the Texans is how ready is Dunta Robinson? The star cornerback is expected to start after less than a week of practice. Jerricho Cotchery might be able to take advantage of that. But the matchup the Jets will most look to exploit is Keller against rookie outside linebacker Brian Cushing. Cushing is a great athlete, but in his first game, Keller could be a difficult matchup. In fact this is one of the few games where the Jets’ receivers and Keller may have an advantage over a secondary. The question will be if Sanchez can deliver them the ball. My answer? Yes.
Advantage: Jets

Jets Run Offense vs Texans Run Defense
Even though I give the Jets the advantage (slightly) in the passing game, there’s no question that they will be a run-first team under Rex Ryan. Thomas Jones led the AFC in rushing last year, while Leon Washington is primed to receive more carries. Don’t look for Shonn Greene to make too much of a difference in this game, but Washington could have a field day in the open field both as a runner and as a pass catcher. Houston is athletic but young on defense, and good blocking combined with Washington’s big play ability could provide a long play or two from Washington. Jones has to be salivating at the Texans’ 4.5 yards per rush allowed last year. They made a few changes, but the Jets still are better in the trenches at running the ball, so they should be able to win this battle and move the chains when they have to.
Advantage: Jets

Texans Pass Offense vs Jets Pass Defense
If Matt Schaub can stay upright, he has all the weapons in the world. Andre Johnson may be the best receiver in the NFL. The matchup between him and Darrelle Revis is one to watch all game long, but if Revis is able to shut him down, Schaub still has other weapons to throw to. TE Owen Daniels is particularly worrisome for the Jets, as stopping the tight end has often been a Jet weakness. Daniels had 70 grabs for 862 yards last season. Bryan Thomas will have his hands full all game long with Houston’s athletic tight end. Lito Sheppard will probably be picked on as well, but if Kevin Walter does not play, Andre Davis, David Anderson, and Jacoby Jones are not nearly as dangerous as Walter, even though all have good speed.

If New York wants to win this game, they need to put all the pressure they can on Schaub and take advantage of turnovers. Schaub is prone to the occasional interception when hurried, and if he gets hit a few times early, the Jets might be able to get in his head a little. The lack of Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis is going to no doubt hurt the Jets and make that task more difficult. Vernon Gholston is not ready to start against such a high powered offense, and the Mike DeVito/Sione Pouha combination might not either. The Jets will blitz a lot. Will they get there? That may be the most important matchup in the game. The Texans pass blocking is susceptible, but do the Jets have the pure pass rushers to get the sacks on time?
Advantage: Texans

Texans Run Offense vs Jets Run Offense
Steve Slaton gives the Texans a runningback the quality that they have never really had. As I mentioned earlier, he is everything the Jets hope Leon Washington can be in a more featured role. Slaton stayed healthy for 16 games last year, but RB Chris Brown should get goalline carries to try to keep Slaton fresh and healthy. The loss of Ellis and Pace really hurts again here, as both are good run stoppers and their replacements are much more unproven.

Look for Gholston to be tested early and often until he proves (or doesn’t prove) that he can hold up in run support and not fall for misdirections and counter plays. The Jets run defense was stellar last season largely due to Kris Jenkins. It should be just as good in 2009, but without Pace and Ellis, that severely hurts them stopping the outside runs, which Slaton loves. While most weeks, the Jets earn the advantage as a run stopping unit, they need to prove it to me first, especially without two starters in the front seven.
Advantage: Texans

Intangibles

Over the past two seasons, the Texans have had the second best homefield advantage in the NFL. The offense in particular is even more dominant at home, and on opening day, the crowd will be loud. The Jets will definitely want to try to start the Sanchez and Ryan eras off the right foot, while Houston hopes to avoid slow starts which have plagued them in recent years. If they truly want to be a playoff team, this is a game the Texans should win.
Advantage: Texans

If the Jets win…
…the defense has forced at least 3 turnovers. The Jets want to win with their defense first, but it will be hard to hold up with the Texans’ well-oiled machine. Turnovers will even the playing field and give the Jets the extra possessions (and field position) they will need to take the game.

If the Texans win…
…they stop the run and score early. If the Jets can’t run the ball, and Sanchez has to beat them through the air, which should be the Texans plan, it could be tough sledding. The secondary isn’t particularly good, but neither are the Jets receivers, so if the Texans jump out to an early lead and the Jets are forced to pass more early, the Texans might be able to take advantage of the rookie.

Prediction
If Ellis and Pace were playing, I might have a completely different view. But as is, the Texans’ offense at home with a healthy Schaub will be a very difficult group to stop. The Jets will score and keep it close enough, but in the end, there are just too many pitfalls for Gang Green to overcome to win this one.
Texans 27, Jets 21

Friday, September 11, 2009

FB Jason Davis to PS, Emanuel Cook gone

Jason Davis was released almost immediately after the Jets signed him, making him a typical Mike Tannenbaum post-training camp player. Davis was a bit of a surprising cut given that he was let go on the same day as the only other fullback not named Tony Richardson: Jehuu Caulcrick. Well, Davis is back on the practice squad after clearing waivers. S Emanuel Cook was let go to make room for Davis.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New deal for DeVito

DE Mike DeVito has some job security, as he was signed to a three-year contract extension. His salary this year remains the same, but he will make $1,04m in 2010, $1.475m in 2011, and $1.31m in 2012 in base salary.

DeVito practiced today after suffering a hamstring injury, so look for him to play Sunday against Houston. Sione Pouha may get the start, however.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Woodhead back, Fowler signed, Davis, Caulcrick gone

That Mike Tannenbaum never rests.

Ryan Fowler, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, signed with the Jets today after working out with the team yesterday. Fowler (6-3, 250) has the size and experience to contribute at middle linebacker. He started all 16 games for the Titans two seasons ago, and at 27 years old, he'll add solid depth. Of course, he's the 10th linebacker on the team, so that's a position which could be trimmed down at some point. Jason Davis, the fullback the Jets claimed just days ago, was let go.

As for the Danny Woodhead saga, he was NOT claimed on waivers by another team, and the Jets signed him back to the practice squad. For the Jets this has to be the ideal situation as they still have him around. If one of their top three backs goes down, Woodhead can step right onto the active roster. If he proves to be too good to leave on the practice squad unprotected, then sign him to the active roster. There are only four backs on the team now. The Jets let go of Jehuu Caulcrick to make room on the practice squad.

As for Kerry Rhodes's twittergate, it was much ado about nothing in terms of personnel moves. That news broke this morning, and at 1:00, Rhodes announced that he would offer tickets to the Jets-Dolphins Monday night game in Miami and pay for hotel. That's pretty cool, but not what many fans had hoped for. I probably jumped the gun speculating on Marshall, but if Rhodes hadn't hinted at it, I wouldn't have run with that speculation. I hope nobody actually expected Marshall. Blind faith and hope like I had is one thing. Expectation is another.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jets Announce Practice Squad, Replace Punter

A.J. Trapasso is gone. He lasted just one day on the Jets roster, as the team released the rookie punter in favor of veteran Steve Weatherford, formerly of the Jaguars. Weatherford averaged 42 yards per punt in his four seasons in the NFL. He was probably the best and most proven punter available on the free agent market, and the Jets will likely use him a lot. That is, if the Jets don't find someone else they like more tomorrow.

Now, without further ado, here is your 2009 Jets initial practice squad.

RB Jehuu Caulcrick

DB Emanuel Cook

ILB Kenwyn Cummings

S Keith Fitzhugh

WR Marcus Henry

DT Matt Kroul

OT Ryan McKee

TE Jack Simmons


I'm a little surprised Zach Potter isn't on the list. Brandon Renkart, Danny Woodhead, and Michael Kracalik are all options for the practice squad, too, if they clear waivers. They made the initial 53-man roster before being cleared out for other players, so unless other teams pick them up, there's a good chance they could be back. Woodhead, in my opinion, is the most likely to be claimed elsewhere.

Now, as for Twittergate, there is no update. Cimini reports that the Jets are still looking for a receiver, but not Marshall. Rhodes has no relevant updates to his Twitter.

Cimini has reported on a number of occasions the Jets still are looking at receivers on the trading block. No names have been named, but when there's smoke, there's probably fire. Who the Jets might bring in that would make a serious impact at this point besides Marshall, I haven't the faintest idea.

Jets Acquire QB O'Connell, 3 Others, Drop Woodhead

The Danny Woodhead era lasted just one day as the diminuitive fourth runningback was let go to make way for three waiver claims and a trade. Woodhead was a fan favorite because he was a real life Rudy: an undersized runningback from a no-name school who played his heart out. Plus, he was a white runningback in a league where there are very few.

In his place, as well as the places of Reggie Hodges, OT Michael Kracalik, and LB Brandon Renkart, are QB Kevin O'Connell, P A.J. Trapasso, TE Matthew Mulligan, and FB Jason Davis.

O'Connell (6-5, 230) was acquired from the Detroit Lions for undisclosed compensation, presumably a late draft pick. The 24-year old had been released from New England last week after being their 3rd round pick in 2008, and the Lions picked him up in waivers. The Jets made a claim for him as well, and now they'll acquire him at a slightly more expensive cost.

What does this mean? It's unclear as of now. The most obvious implication would be that Kellen Clemens is a goner after this year. Ainge and O'Connell would battle for the backup job. In the meantime Jets brass will pick his brain for any details about the Patriots playbook. That's right. The gamesmanship has begun.

Trapasso will be the most important signee for the 2009 season. If you remember, he's the guy who hit the jumbotron against the Cowboys. He's also the guy who ran the fake punt in for a touchdown during the Hall of Fame Game. Tennessee released him, and the Jets snatched him up and handed him the punting job. They had expressed interest in signing him to the practice squad after he averaged 40.5 yards per punt (39.0 net) in 16 preseason attempts. The 23-year old finally puts Hodges out of a job after the Jets tried to replace him all summer.

Mulligan (6-5, 256, 24 years old) fills a gaping hole at tight end, though he adds versatility as an H-Back. Mulligan was undrafted out of Maine last year and spend eight weeks on Miami's practice squad. In a 2008 interview, he cites fellow Maine player Mike DeVito as the best player he ever played against in college.

Davis (5-10, 245) replaces Woodhead as the fifth back on the roster, and as a fullback, he has more use to the Jets than a fourth halfback. He does a little bit of everything well, and offers good size. He could be groomed to replace Richardson, who won't be playing much longer.

***Marshall Update***
Okay, I don't know if this is a Marshall update or not, but Twitter is abuzz with Kerry Rhodes's tweets Sunday night. First, at around 7:30 PM.

jet fans expect a big announcement coming soon lol!


Now this would normally be brushed off as nothing, but given that it's so close to the start of the season and that Rhodes is supposedly friends with Brandon Marshall, you never really know.

About four hours later, he posted again.

Sorry 4 the hold up fans but this stuff sometime takes time but just stay tuned u will find out soon. Not trying to hold u guys in limbo ...


That's all we have from Rhodes. A message about a big surprise, and then pleas for patience. What do other Jets know? Very little. Jay Feely doesn't know, saying that he is "in the dark like you" on his Twitter.

So that brings us to Nick Mangold.

He wanted to find out from Rhodes what the secret is. Rhodes wouldn't post it on Mangold's Twitter for obvious reasons, so Mangold asked Rhodes to text him on Twitter. Yes, that's what sports journalism has come to, folks.

Here's Mangold's tweet after the text message (around 11:30 PM).

I must tell you all ignorance is bliss. Now I have to keep a secret that I'd love to share but I need to investigate futher. Good things tho


Soon after, he tweeted again.

Tho I have talked to @kerryrhodes I still know nothing real and have no details. I'm just as pumped to find out as the rest of you. G'night


So something is up. A few people know what's going on. The rest of us are in the dark. Why Kerry Rhodes would know before anyone else is anybody's guess, but a Marshall trade would make more sense than most theories. There is a mutual fit between the two sides, and both sides have expressed some interest. The question has always been how much Denver wants back in return.

That brings us back full circle to the beginning of the day and the acquisition of Kevin O'Connell. Denver has Kyle Orton and Chris Simms as its top two quarterbacks. Both have struggled at times, and both are already banged up. McDaniels coached O'Connell last year in New England and was part of the coaching staff that drafted him. Denver wants a player back in the trade who can help them now. O'Connell might not help them now, but he could give McDaniels a long-term answer at quarterback if he still likes him.

Why else would the Jets trade a draft pick for a fourth quarterback? O'Connell might be the backup next season, but keeping four quarterbacks on the team is never the best use of roster space (neither is seven cornerbacks for that matter). Something is up indeed. I have no idea what exactly, but I would not be surprised if Marshall is a Jet by Tuesday. This is purely based on information I posted above, from Twitter, from previous rumors and speculation, and the mutual fit that exists between the two teams.

But now, more than ever, it makes sense.

EDIT (4:10 AM): Why I'm still awake is a mystery to me, but I forgot to add the most intriguing part of Rhodes's Twitter. Someone named "ChrebetBoy1" tweeted at Kerry Rhodes the following.

Hey im tellin ya, Clemens is gone. Jets traded for K.O'Connell, watch, Jets are making trade move with denver as we speak.


Rhodes responded.

u may be right!!! (hint hint)


Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cut-down day: Woodhead, Cole, Kracalik make final roster

EDIT (4:23 PM)
The full cut list is in.

Injured Reserve:
WR Aundrae Allison


Waived:
CB Rashad Barksdale
TE Kevin Brock
TE Kareem Brown
RB Jehuu Caulcrick
FB Brock Christopher
S Emanuel Cook
LB Kenwin Cummings
OL Stanley Daniels
WR Britt Davis
K Parker Douglass
WR Marcus Henry
RB Anthony Kimble
DL Matt Kroul
T Nevin McCaskill
OT Ryan McKee
C Michael Parenton
DE Zach Potter
TE Jack Simmons
DL Ty Steinkuhler

Reserve/Suspended:DL Shaun Ellis
LB Calvin Pace

First reaction: CB Marquise Cole makes the final roster as well as the other 10 DB's I had before. That's 11 defensive backs. That can't possibly last. I had Cole making the roster earlier, but this is a bit of a surprise.

I make my thoughts clear on Danny Woodhead below.

Zach Potter is gone. Pitoitua gets the nod over Potter, which isn't much of a surprise. Both have some talent, and I expect Potter to be named to the practice squad.

Allison to IR? Not sure why just yet, but it's a good way to stash him for next year. With Danny Woodhead, David Clowney, and Ahmad Carroll all on the roster, Allison's talents aren't too unique just yet.

Kracalik is on the roster, too. He's huge and has shown some ability, so it makes sense they would keep him around, too. He won't play much.

UPDATE (4:59 PM)
Weighing in a little bit more on the roster (which is listed below.

QB: Sanchez, Clemens, Ainge
WR: Cotchery, Stuckey, Clowney, Smith, Wright
TE: Keller, Hartsock
RB: Washington, Jones, Greene, Woodhead
FB: Richardson
OT: Ferguson, Woody, Hunter, Kracalick
OG: Faneca, Moore, Slauson
C: Mangold, Turner

NT: Jenkins, Pouha, Green
DE: Douglas, DeVito, Pitoitua, Ellis
OLB: Thomas, Gholston, Murrell, Westermann, Pace
ILB: Scott, Harris, Renkart, Trusnik, Izzo
CB: Revis, Sheppard, Lowery, Strickland, Carroll, Cole, Coleman
S: Rhodes, Leonhard, Ihedigbo, Smith

P: Hodges
K: Feely
LS: Dearth

*Woodhead deserved to make the final roster, but he'll be lucky if he ever gets the ball. I expect him to get IR'd at some point this year if someone above him on the depth chart doesn't get hurt. I could see a phantom injury being the means of the Jets stashing him until next year, when Thomas Jones is likely gone.

*11 defensive backs? I doubt that lasts. 7 cornerbacks is a little overkill, especially when there's a glaring need for a third tight end. The problem is the three players who made the roster (Carroll, Cole, Coleman) are probably part of the best 53 on the team.

*9 offensive linemen is one more than expected, but if the Jets really plan on keeping Keller and Hartsock as the only two viable tight ends, then keeping Kracalik around allows for Hunter or Turner to be used as eligible tight ends.

*Aundrae Allison limped off in the Eagles game and was IR'd. There's no word on how bad his injury is, but this does allow the Jets to keep Allison around another year and not waste a roster spot like the Jets did with Clowney last year.

*Speaking of receivers, with Allison IR'd and Henry gone, there's room for another receiver if the Jets want to bring somebody in. Five receivers is fine to go into a roster with, but it lets them bring in a sixth if the right person is cut. Deion Branch could have been that guy if Seattle dumped him, but it looks like he's making the Seahawks final roster.

Original Post (12:00 PM)

I will update this as the news come in.

So far here's the cut list.

FB Jehuu Caulcrick
TE Kevin Brock
TE Kareem Brown
TE Jack Simmons
WR Britt Davis
WR Marcus Henry
LB Kenwyn Cummings
T Stanley Daniels


There was a link on Cannizarro's blog earlier that included RB Anthony Kimble and G Ryan McKee, but it's gone missing. Neither of those two players are expected to make the roster anyway.

One guy who WILL make the roster is RB Danny Woodhead.

I don't know how long Woodhead will stay on the roster because he has three backs firmly ahead of him. Unless one of them gets injured, and to this point, Jones and Washington have been durable, Woodhead likely won't get off the inactive list. Something tells me he'll get released down the line to make room for someone who can play more, unless they plan on bringing him onto the team next year when Thomas Jones is presumably gone.

I'll update this more when I have more information.

3 QB: Sanchez, Clemens, Ainge
5 HB: Jones, Washington, Green, Woodhead, Kimble
2 FB: Richardson, Christopher
6 WR: Cotchery, Stuckey, Clowney, Smith, Wright, Allison
3 TE: Keller, Hartsock, Dearth
12 OL: Ferguson, Faneca, Mangold, Moore, Woody, Slauson, Turner, Hunter, Parenton, McKee, Kracalik, McCaskill
7 DE: Douglas, Ellis, DeVito, Potter, Pitoitua, Steinkuhler, Kroul
3 DT: Jenkins, Green, Pouha
10 LB: Pace, Harris, Scott, Thomas, Gholston, Westerman, Murrell, Izzo, Renkart, Trusnik
8 CB: Revis, Sheppard, Lowery, Strickland, Coleman, Carroll, Barksdale, Cole
5 S: Rhodes, Leonhard, Smith, Ihebdigo, Cook
2 K: Feely, Douglass
1 P: Hodges

That's 67 players. For week one, the Jets can have 55 players, for week 2 it has to be down to 54 when Shaun Ellis comes back to the roster, and then it has to be down to 53 when Calvin Pace returns from his suspension.

Here are my predictions for the remaining cuts (also known as the guys in italics):
T Nevin McCaskill
T Michael Kracalik
G Ryan McKee
C Michael Parenton
K Parker Douglass
DL Matt Kroul
DL Ty Steinkuhler
LB Jason Trusnik
CB Rashad Barksdale
CB Marquice Cole
S Emanuel Cook
FB Brock Christopher
RB Anthony Kimble

Keep in mind that's 13 players. I think the Jets are going to keep an open roster spot for some interesting players that may get cut elsewhere. I'd be shocked if they go into week one with Keller, Hartsock, and Dearth as the only tight ends on the roster. They could use linemen to play tight end, but still, one more guy would be very helpful.

Carroll and Coleman also will need to watch out. 10 defensive backs is a lot for this team to carry, especially given the versatility that both safeties provide. It would be a surprise to see both those two and Strickland all last the season.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Preseason Ends with Jets Outscoring Eagles 38-27

Preseason is over, just nine days until the real fun starts!

Positives from the preseason:
Mark Sanchez: The rookie asserted himself as the worthy starter in the last two games, peaking with a 5-5, 67 yard, 1 TD performance last night against Philadelphia. That's a 158.3 QB rating folks, it doesn't get any better than that. We finally got to see what the kid could do with time to throw, and it was a beautiful thing.

Defensive aggression: Was the defense better this preseason under Rex Ryan than it was under Eric Mangini? No, but it was more aggressive with blitz packages, and we began to see some of the new attitude this defense is aiming for. Bart Scott is usually right in the middle of it, whether he's ripping the ball from Brandon Jacobs's hands or nearly starting a fight around the goalline yesterday. Once these guys figure out defensive schemes, they should be a force to be reckoned with. 18 sacks in a four-game preseason is the most of any team since the 2003 Patriots, so there are positive signs.

Leon Washington: The offensive MVP this preseason for the Jets is playing like he wants to get paid. Washington was dynamic every time he touched the football, making his case not just to get more money, but more offensive playing time as well.

David Harris: After a superb rookie season, Harris struggled a little bit last season largely due to injuries. However, the new regime seems to have brought out the beast inside #52 as he has arguably been the best defensive player during the four preseason games. Trade him for Brandon Marshall? Harris is proving that would be a mistake.

Erik Ainge and David Clowney
It's deja vu all over again, but instead of Brett Ratliff and David Clowney, it's Erik Ainge and David Clowney! Clowney had another long touchdown against Philadelphia as he was far and away the leading receiver in preseason. Ainge was pretty darn good himself. After most Jets fans had very low expectations for him, he has now played so well that he could challenge for Clemens's backup role.

Negatives from the preseason:
Punting
Rex Ryan went into camp hoping, praying to find a punter. For a ball-control offense relying on winning close games by running the ball and playing good defense, a punter will have a big impact on a lot of games. Unfortunately, the last man standing so far is Reggie Hodges and the Jets have tried ever since last season ended to replace him. And the worst part is he hasn't won the job. Everyone else just lost it.

Penalties
It's great to be aggressive defensively, but the penalties have got to stop. Lito Sheppard has been burned for a few pass interference penalties, and he may be the main culprit, but 17 penalties for 196 games in the last two preseason games alone is pathetic. And the first-team defense is a major contributor to the high totals.

Cornerback
By cornerback, I mean anyone other than Darrelle Revis. Dwight Lowery and Lito Sheppard both got extensive playing time in the preseason, and neither played particularly well. Both showed some flashes of being a good complement to Revis, but the consistency was not there at a position where one let-down can lead to a huge play for the opposing team. Sheppard is going to be thrown at a ton this season, and after losing playing time in Philadelphia, it may take him some time to get used to bringing it every play. A week one matchup against Kevin Walter of the Texans necessitates that he better be almost ready for primetime.

Kellen Clemens
Heading into 2009, a lot of people thought a lot of different things about Clemens. Some thought he sucked, some thought he deserved a fair chance at the job, some thought that if he couldn't beat out Chad Pennington, how could he beat out Mark Sanchez, and others thought that he should start to bring the young fella along slowly and to maximize Clemens's value. All had valid points, so it was intriguing to see how this would play out. However, when you get outplayed by a rookie both in training camp and in actual games, that's a major disappointment. Perhaps the most damning bit of information for Clemens is that the Jets tried to bring in former Patriots' backup Kevin O'Connell. The way Ainge has played this preseason, and Clemens's upcoming free agency means that it was more likely that Clemens would be the one on his way out, not Ainge.