Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jets sign DE Trevor Pryce

With Ropati Pitoitua and Kris Jenkins done for the season, depth along the defensive line was a concern for this team. While Shaun Ellis, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, and Vernon Gholston have done a great job in stopping the run, the Jets couldn't pass up a productive veteran like Trevor Pryce. The Jets signed the 35-year old Pryce to a one-year deal after Baltimore released him earlier in the week to make room for S Ken Hamlin.

The Ravens planned all along to bring Pryce back next week. Baltimore even kept his locker intact, just as the Jets did with Tony Richardson just a few weeks ago. But Rex Ryan and the Jets had other ideas. Pryce was a big fan of Ryan when he was the defensive coordinator in Baltimore, so it shouldn't be that big of a surprise. Pryce could add some interior pass rush as he led the Ravens in sacks last year with 6.5. Plus, as one of Ryan's guys from Baltimore, he should already know the system and be able to contribute right away.

The best thing about the addition of Pryce is that the Jets are once again pretty deep on the line. Ellis, Pouha, Pryce, DeVito, and Gholston make a deep and productive defensive line. Heck, even Howard Green made a few nice plays last game on the interior. But Pryce is 6-5, 290 with prototypical size and strength for the 3-4 DE spot.

And if anyone knows he can still play, it would be his former coach Ryan, his coach of three seasons in Baltimore. Remember, Ryan did not sign Adalius Thomas after bringing him in for a physical. Even at 35-years old, Pryce has more in the tank.

No word yet on what player will be released to make room for Pryce.

Other quick hits...

*OLB Calvin Pace's status for Sunday's game in Buffalo is up in the air. Pace suffered a broken foot in the third preseason game. He has returned to practice, but he's received limited work. Even if he doesn't play this Sunday, which is probably about 50-50, expect him to be ready for next Monday night's game against Minnesota.

*CB Darrelle Revis is not expected to play Sunday with his strained hamstring. Cornerback Drew Coleman would get the start in his place over rookie Kyle Wilson who has struggled a little this season. Ryan feels Coleman is better suited to start on the outside with Wilson moving into the slot. Coleman has been a whipping boy among Jets fans for years, but he's played very well this year. While against superior competition, he would get picked on, against Buffalo, the Jets should be fine against the Bills' weak receiving corps.

*With both Danny Woodhead and Chauncey Washington signed away by other teams, the Jets' runningback depth is perilously thin behind Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson. To add a warm body, the Jets added former Bill RB Xavier Omon to the practice squad. G Chad Rinehart, formerly of Washington, was also signed to the practice squad.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Jets take 1st place, beat Dolphins 31-23

Maybe this team is pretty damn good after all.

One week after Mark Sanchez showed up and the Jets beat New England, Gang Green went on the road and defeated the only undefeated team left in the division in Miami. It wasn't always pretty, but the Jets started the game off well and they closed it out.

Early on, it was all about Sanchez to Dustin Keller. The tight end was the leading receiver through two games, and he was fed the ball constantly in the first half. He had all his 98 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Jets sliced through the Dolphins' defense on two of their three first quarter drives.

The defense for once was the unit lagging behind, allowing the Dolphins to dominate time of possession and get 10 points back in the 2nd quarter. Miami scored on both of its possessions in that quarter and its first two possessions in the 2nd half. A touchdown on the opening drive of the third gave them their first lead, but on the Jets' first play after getting the ball back, Sanchez found an open Edwards who made Jason Allen miss and ran 67 yards for a touchdown. The maligned Edwards made two huge plays in this game, that touchdown and a key third down catch to help put the game out of reach late. He probably shouldn't have done a touchdown dance after scoring considering all he's gone through this week, but he's a knucklehead.

Miami answered the Edwards touchdown with a field goal. The Jets soon matched after Eric Smith blocked a punt to set up the Jets in the red zone. Miami tacked on another field goal in the 4th quarter, giving the Jets a one point lead and the ball with 6:42 left. The Jets responded with five first downs that drive, including Edwards drawing a pass interference to set the ball at the one-yardline. Then LaDainian Tomlinson punched in a touchdown with under two minutes to go.

The Jets defense bent, allowing Miami to pretty easily get to the Jets' 11 yardline. But Miami would get no further, as the Jets held and won the game 31-23.

The key to this game was Sanchez. The defense struggled at times, but the offense put up 402 total yards and converted in key situations. They jumped out early on Miami, and when they needed to put together a drive to put the game away, they responded. Sanchez had a couple near picks in the fourth quarter, but when they hit the ground, all is well. He only completed 15 of his 28 passes, but they went for 256 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Through three games, he now has 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and a quarterback rating over 100 for the season.

The running game was effective when called upon again, averaging five yards per carry. Much of that was Brad Smith who covered 41 yards on 3 carries, fooling the Dolphins at their own game.

The Wildcat and the Dolphin running game wasn't great even though Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown both averaged at least 4 yards per carry. Neither got any big plays and neither could get into the endzone.

Chad Henne played very well again against the Jets, racking up 363 yards. Brandon Marshall clearly got the best of Antonio Cromartie and the rest of the Jets' defense with 166 yards and a touchdown. But it did just enough and held on the final drive of the game, so it gets a pass. Clearly, the secondary misses Revis. The Jets won't play another dominant deep threat receiver again until Halloween (unless you count Lee Evans), so they should survive. However, if Revis can't get back to 100%, the Jets may have to rethink this dominant defense because Henne and the Dolphins moved the ball very well.

The only two negatives from this game are third down efficiency on defense and the amount of offensive penalties. A Matt Slauson holding penalty wiped away a Mark Sanchez rushing touchdown, and all in all the Jets had 9 penalties for 81 yards. Meanwhile, Miami converted on 8 of its 16 third down attempts. The Jets were dead last in the NFL coming into this game in third down efficiency, and they very well may stay in last again.

Still, right now is a time to celebrate. The Jets have survived their first three weeks at 2-1, including 2-0 in the division. Next week is a date in Buffalo against a struggling Bills team. A win there, and the Jets are in dominant early position in this division and the schedule eases up a little bit.

For now, the Jets own the tiebreaker for first place, and the offense finally may be close to matching the defense. If that happens, this team could be scary.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 3 NFL Picks

Back to back 2-1 weeks put me at 4-2 this year. Like this week's card a lot, hoping to have another winning week!

Chiefs +4.5 over 49ers
Kansas City is 2-0, yet they're getting over a field goal at home against an 0-2 San Francisco team. The 49ers did look good on Monday night, and their season may be on the line, but the Chiefs won't be easy. San Francisco has a short week and they're playing at 1:00 PM EST, something west coast teams traditionally struggle with. Kansas City has the running game to move the football, and the defense has improved a lot. And I don't trust Alex Smith laying 4.5 points on the road to anyone. Look for a close game here. Regardless of the outcome, I still think the 49ers win the awful NFC West and the Chiefs don't make the playoffs. But a Kansas City win sure would make it interesting.
Chiefs 20, 49ers 17

Seahawks +6 over Chargers
Another home underdog! Seattle is a Jekyll and Hyde team: they're great at home, they're terrible on the road. San Diego is a team that sleepwalks through the beginning of the season every year, and their offense isn't nearly as explosive as usual. Fullback Mike Tolbert will carry the bulk of the load on the ground, and the offense may struggle to get on track. The crowd will be into it, and the Chargers don't have the pass rushers to take advantage of an inexperienced Seahawk offensive line. Meanwhile, the Seahawks do have enough of a pass rush to fluster Rivers a little bit. This is going to be an ugly football game, but Seattle will make a game of it, lead at halftime, and hang on for the cover.
Chargers 21, Seahawks 20

Colts -6.5 over Broncos
The Broncos' secondary is banged up just in time for Peyton Manning and the Colts. Not good. Manning will put up big numbers as is usual for him, while the Broncos lack the firepower to keep up. Once the Colts get up on you, their pass rushers can have free reign to get after the quarterback, and it's hard for them to lose. With Knowshon Moreno not playing, it's not likely the Broncos can take advantage of a mediocre Colt run defense. I know I've been liking the home underdogs this week, and I kind of like how Josh McDaniels gets that team to play, but Manning is a machine Denver won't be able to stop.
Colts 27, Broncos 14

Jets vs Dolphins Preview

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Sunday, September 26, 8:30 PM.
Sun Life Stadium

With all AFC East opponents playing each other once in the first four games of the season, the race for the division starts early. Miami is on top right now with the only 2-0 record, but their next two opponents, the Jets and the Patriots, both will try to knock the Dolphins off and assert their own power. Both of those games for Miami will be at their home stadium after starting the season with back-to-back games on the road.

The Jets come in after an extremely encouraging performance against New England. After struggling early in the game, the Jets dominated the second half to the tune of 18-0, a number near and dear to the Patriots hearts, and fired the first salvo in that rivalry. Now, Miami is left with two home games where they can possibly be 4-0, 3-0 in the AFC East, and lead the division by two games after just a quarter of the season. But if the Jets can win, they would have a similar opportunity to be 3-0 in division and have the early tiebreaker over their rivals. One week after Jets-Patriots was billed as a huge game, this is just as big an opportunity for the Jets to keep momentum going, especially considering the Dolphins swept this series last year.

Gang Green will miss Darrelle Revis for the whole game and Braylon Edwards for part of it after Revis strained his hamstring last Sunday and Edwards stupidly received a DWI earlier this week. Miami is close to full strength at this game. This has all the makings of another Jets-Dolphins classic.

When the Jets have the ball...
The Jets want to pick up where they left off last week. They finally started to develop some sort of an identity on offense in the second half, putting up 18 points and running and passing the ball well. But in reality, the key is converting on third down. The Jets have run effectively in both games this season, and they will need to again in this game to put Mark Sanchez in more manageable third downs.

That was the key last week. After converting just one third-down conversion in week one, the Jets were very efficient last week, moving the ball well on third-and-short situations. Sanchez was much more accurate and made far better decisions more confidently. He was willing to throw down the field at times to keep the Patriots honest, but it was his short passing that moved the chains that won them the game.

Miami's defense has been very solid so far, but they've faced two offenses that have yet to find themselves in Buffalo and Minnesota. The Jets could fall under that category, which is why Sanchez's play will be key. Minnesota shot themselves in the foot constantly last game, wasting red zone opportunities and turning the ball over. While the Jets haven't done much offensively yet, one thing they haven't done is turn the ball over. Say what you want about Sanchez, but he has not turned the ball over once this season, as the Jets only turnover came on a Shonn Greene fumble week one.

Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson will need to carry a lot of the load offensively. Edwards will miss part of the game as punishment for his DWI, so the Jets will definitely run the ball as much as always. The Jets need to generate push up front so Greene and Tomlinson can get to the second level and break open some big plays. Center Nick Mangold is banged up, but he will play, and it has to be a good sign that the Jets didn't miss a beat with Robert Turner in the game last week.

When the Jets do throw the ball, Jerricho Cotchery should have a bigger impact in Edwards's temporary absence. But once again, look for tight end Dustin Keller to be the focal point of the passing game, creating mismatches against linebackers. Keller has been the Jets' leading receiver this season so far, and don't expect that to change.

The Dolphins have a few playmakers on this defense that will try to create some big plays on defense. Vontae Davis is a good young cornerback, while Randy Starks is a very underrated nose tackle. Cameron Wake is the primary edge rusher Sanchez will have to deal with. He's replacing Jason Taylor and has 2 sacks in 2 games.

Sanchez was pretty efficient in two games last season against Miami. Even though he didn't win either game, he also didn't throw a single interception and his game in Miami on Monday night was one of the best of his career, so the spotlight shouldn't bother him. But if Sanchez is under pressure and he begins to lose confidence, his ability to bounce back and right the ship will be paramount. The three keys are getting touchdowns instead of field goals, converting on third downs, and not turning the ball over, they should be able to move the ball.

When the Dolphins have the ball...
Despite the Dolphins' 2-0 record, they have just 2 offensive touchdowns all season. However, quarterback Chad Henne has yet to turn the ball over, a key factor to the Dolphins' record, and part of that is due to the addition of Brandon Marshall. Marshall is a big target that provides the best receiver the Dolphins have had in years. Without Revis, the Jets will have to make due with Cromartie covering him, a rematch of their Bronco-Charger days, which was a mixed bag of results.

But the Dolphins, like the Jets, want to run the ball first. Gang Green's defense has been stout, allowing just 1.8 yards-per-carry in the first two games, but the Dolphins' offensive line and scheming is a whole different animal. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have split carries so far almost 50/50, but Brown has been far more effective. His combination of size, speed, and a knack of falling forward for extra yards make him a tough matchup, but if anyone can handle it, it's New York. The heat and humidity may play a role, like it did last year, but for a night game, it shouldn't be an excuse.

The X-factor for Miami last year in both games between the two teams was Ted Ginn Jr. He's gone now, so there's no real deep threat in the receiving corps. Marshall has the talent, but he's been more of a possession receiver in his career. Cromartie has all the talent to stick with him, but he needs to avoid the stupid penalties he received week one and play physically and smart.

The key for the Jets will be getting off the field on 3rd down. As good as the Jets' defense is, they are dead last in third down efficiency so far this season. Henne killed the Jets with accurate dinking and dunking in the first matchup between these two teams last year, and while Marshall, Brown, and Williams are the biggest playmakers, the Jets need to watch for Davone Bess and Anthony Fasano on third downs. If the Jets can stop the run on 1st and 2nd down, it'll be much easier for them to force Henne to make mistakes on 3rd down.

This, like most Jets games, looks like it should be a low scoring game. The Jets have a stout front seven that has been dominant against the run so far. And there's no team more adept at taking away the opposition's number one receiver than the Jets, although without Revis, that notion will be put to the test. Still, the Dolphins lack the big play ability offensively, and it's not easy to string long touchdown drives together against the Jets. Even if they can move the ball effectively, putting the ball in the endzone could prove difficult.

Prediction
It's always hard to predict this rivalry. Last year, the Jets had the best defense in football, but the two games against Miami were their two highest scoring games all year. However, don't expect that this time around, especially without Ginn around. This is going to be a slugfest that will probably come down to the end. Expect the Jets to outgain Miami on the ground en route to a close road victory, but don't be surprised either way.
Jets 20, Dolphins 16

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jets beat Patriots 28-14

Remember all the negative vibes that surrounded the Jets all week after losing to Baltimore on Monday? I didn't think so. The New York Jets beat the New England Patriots 28-14 in a convincing all-around win, firing the first salvo in the rivalry and in the race for the AFC East title.

The offense that looked completely inept just six days ago showed up in a big way. LaDainian Tomlinson once again stole the show at runningback, tallying 102 total yards and having the fans chant his name multiple times. But it was the quarterback, the maligned Mark Sanchez, who was the biggest factor behind this victory. 21-for-30 for 220 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions is exactly the stat line this team is looking for from Sanchez. Convert in the red zone, don't turn the ball over, and move the chains. He did all three of these things Sunday afternoon.

Sanchez's favorite target was again Dustin Keller who had 7 catches for a career high 115 yards and a touchdown. This was the most impactful regular season game of his career. Braylon Edwards also had a strong game, catching 5 passes for 45 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion. Jerricho Cotchery also added 26 yards and a touchdown.

The offense looked like a completely different unit. There was less pre-snap motion. There was more play action. Sanchez had more time to throw. And most importantly, Sanchez looked confident and willing to make throws down the field. On one play in particular, a 3rd and 1 inside the 20 yardline, rather than dumping the ball off to an open Tony Richardson or running for a first down, he confidently threw a deep pass down the field to Keller for the big gain instead.

He was more willing to let his receivers make plays. And Edwards, Keller, Cotchery, and Tomlinson aggressively attacked the football when called upon in the passing game, making catches and making things happen afterwards.

Defensively, things started off poorly, but a second half shutout was key in winning this game. Tom Brady had time to throw and was moving the chains at will early on. Just before halftime, with the score tied at 7, Randy Moss beat Darrelle Revis deep catching a one-handed pass without ever protecting the ball with his off-hand. Rather than be deflated, however, the Jets offense came back with a field goal before halftime. And that was the last New England would score.

In the 2nd half, even without Revis who pulled his hamstring on the Moss touchdown, the defense was a whole new unit. Antonio Cromartie stepped up in Revis's absence and shut down Moss, while Kyle Wilson also redeemed himself with a strong performance. Even Drew Coleman, a player few Jets fans ever give credit to, covered and tackled well all game. And when the Jets got the lead, New England was obviously one-dimensional, opening up the playbook for Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to attack Brady.

When the Patriots did try to run the ball, they were mostly unsuccessful, thanks to the efforts of Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, David Harris, and others. New England ran for 52 yards on 20 carries and mostly abandoned it once they got behind.

The man who finally put the game away for good on defense with a strip-sack of Brady was none other than Jason Taylor. I think it's safe to say Taylor has earned his jersey now, and Jets fans like myself need to not think of him as that prancing Dolphin and more of a key cog in the best defense in the NFL. He's clearly banged up as he had to leave the game twice, but once Calvin Pace gets back, he and Taylor will be a tough duo to stop.

Finally, Ryan and the rest of the staff deserves a lot of credit for calling a great game. Offensively, the Jets were in rhythm, something that seemed impossible last week. The defense held Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Aaron Hernandez to just 14 points. And Ryan was correct on two challenge flags he threw, one that overturned a potential Sanchez interception that actually hit the ground and one that found Brodney Pool to be in bounds on his interception, giving the Jets the ball with the lead.

After this game, it doesn't get any easier, as the Jets now will have another game that will be hyped up as a major statement game, and for good reason. The Jets will travel to Miami to take on a Dolphins team that is 2-0 this year, winning two road games. This is a team that swept the Jets last year, and if the Jets want to get over .500 and truly stake their claim on top of the division, that would be a big win for them to get. Otherwise, the Dolphins are already two games ahead of the division with the early tiebreaker.

But for now, enjoy it. Beating the Patriots is always great, and we deserve another day or two to savor it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 2 NFL Picks

I should just stick with my locks. I was 2-1 on those picks, and embarrassing on the other picks. So I'm just going to stick with the three, I've been over .500 two years running doing that. Let's have another winning week this week.

Jets +4.5 over Patriots
Me picking the Jets is never a good idea. But getting 4.5 points at home with the defense the Jets have is too good to pass up. This is going to be a close game. Most likely, it will be decided by 3 or 4 points. These teams should be pretty evenly matched, and this should be a field goal fest. The Patriots have a lot of weapons, but they are one-dimensional. The Jets will focus on stopping Brady, Welker, Moss, and his two rookie tight ends. The Jets actually ran the ball alright last week. If they stick with the run, and Sanchez plays just a little better, the Jets very well may win as I predicted. They're coming off a 1-point loss at home against likely a better team in Baltimore. I think they stay close with Baltimore and possibly even win.

Panthers -3 over Buccaneers
Carolina is a team that is much better when they have the lead. And against an inferior Tampa Bay team at home, they should be able to do what they do best: run the ball and stop the pass. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combine for the toughest running game in the NFL, and with both healthy, the Bucs will struggle to stop them. Throw in Steve Smith over the top, and the young Bucs will have a tough time on the road. The Panthers are also a very good team at providing pressure and stopping the pass, something Tampa will struggle with once they get behind. Carolina's not a great team, but they have a good formula for victory that a bad team like Tampa can't stop.
Panthers 24, Buccaneers 14

Broncos -3 over Seahawks
Seattle is coming off a surprising blowout home victory over San Francisco, but don't be fooled. Seattle is a team that is far better at home then on the road, and they could struggle with Denver's altitude. Kyle Orton isn't a great quarterback, but he finds the open receivers, and Seattle lacks playmakers defensively to make him pay. Offensively, the Seahawks really aren't that good: they struggle to run the ball, and their receivers are totally unproven. Even in victory, their stats were not very good at all. Denver needs to win this game. They will.
Broncos 24, Seahawks 17

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jets vs Patriots Preview

New England Patriots at New York Jets
September 19, 2010, 4:15 PM EST. CBS-TV
New Meadowlands Stadium

Two of the league's biggest rivals will battle this Sunday at the Meadowlands in an important early season game. The Patriots look to continue their success after dominating the Cincinnati Bengals in their home opener while the Jets hope for their first win of the season. Winning at home is one thing, but going on the road and beating the Jets would assert the Patriots' dominance in this division, giving them an early two-game lead on them. Meanwhile, the Jets want to show that losing at home by 1 to the Ravens is no reason to panic, no matter how bad the offense looked. After talking as much trash as the Jets have this offseason, losing two straight home games to start the season would be an utter disaster. And with a road game against Miami, the other team in the AFC East that thinks it can win this season, looming, this is as close to a must-win as you can get in week two.

When the Patriots have the ball...
Tom Brady is another year removed from injury, and he has as many weapons as he's ever had. Randy Moss and Wes Welker return, despite Moss complaining about not having a new contract and Welker coming off a devastating knee injury just nine months ago. Then throw in Julian Edelman, who caught 8 passes in the opener between these two teams last year, Brandon Tate, who returned the opening second-half kickoff for a touchdown last week, and rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, each of whom had a big play last week, and the passing game should be as dominant as ever.

Darrelle Revis, limited at practice with a tight hamstring, is expected to play, and if he's 100%, he should be able to take Moss largely out of the game. But Brady is as good at finding his secondary options as anyone, particularly Welker. Welker dominated the only game he played last year in this series. The Jets hope Kyle Wilson or Antonio Cromartie can do a better job on him, but last week can't give fans too much confidence just yet.

Still, Cromartie and Wilson both have the raw skills to have big games and play well. And they will need to as Brady will be throwing to his secondary, check-down options most of the day. As usual, the Jets will blitz like crazy. If they get there, this could be a duplicate of last year's home game, where the Jets had just enough offense to win, took Moss out of the game, and New England eventually couldn't move the ball. Welker's presence is huge, but he needs one or two more games like last week to show that he's completely over his knee injury.

The Patriots will run the ball just enough to keep the Jets honest. 34-year old Fred Taylor will be the feature back after perennial underachiever Laurence Maroney was traded this week. The Patriots trust Taylor because he doesn't fumble much, he has pretty good hands, and he runs hard between the tackles. He's far from a gamebreaker, but he's a chainmover who won't screw things up. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, more of a power back, will be his change of pace, along with longtime third-down back Kevin Faulk.

But make no mistake about it, the Patriots want to throw, and that's what they will do. The key is to fluster Brady. It's not easy to do, but the Jets were able to do it once last year. Hit him. Make him throw it early. Make him have to move his feet. Don't let him get comfortable. The Patriots' offense relies on timing, and if the Jets can throw that off, Brady will make more inaccurate throws, and receivers might not be ready for the ball. New England will counter the Jets' blitzing with bubble screens and quick three-step drops most of the day. If the Jets can jam the Patriots' receivers effectively and tackle well, that will help almost as much as getting to Brady.

And of course, the battle of Moss and Revis will take center stage. The last time these two saw each other, with a 31-14 lead, the Patriots were throwing the ball deep to Moss on Revis with 30 seconds left just to see if they could catch him napping. The Patriots will test Revis, especially with news of his tight hamstring coming out yesterday. Moss wants to prove New England should give him a new contract, and Revis still could have some rust, so it isn't a guarantee Revis wins this battle. But it's hard to bet against him.

As far as injuries are concerned, Edelman is expected to play for the Patriots after week one. Jets OLB Calvin Pace has been ruled out for this week, so Jason Taylor will get another start. NT Kris Jenkins is out for the season, so the Jets will have to get used to playing without him, just like last year. NT Howard Green was brought in for depth, but don't expect him to play this week. Finally, S Brodney Pool might make his Jets' debut this week. He returned to practice on Wednesday. If he can cut comfortably on Sunday, he'll probably play. His physicality and coverage skills would be a welcome boost to the secondary.

When the Jets have the ball...
The Jets' offense looks to bounce back after an abysmal performance last week. Mark Sanchez threw for just 74 yards in the entire game. He never turned the ball over, which is half of what the Jets ask of him, but he never threw the ball down the field and rarely kept the chains moving. Against the Patriots, the Jets will once again hope their young quarterback can control the ball, but this time hopefully they can get some points out of it.

Running the football well will be paramount. Shonn Greene was taken out of last week's game after his second fumble was recovered by the Ravens. The coaching staff instituted a policy in the preseason that if a player other than Sanchez fumbles, they will be taken out of the game, so that's how important they view controlling the football. Because of Greene's fumbling, he is now in a full timeshare with LaDainian Tomlinson, who, just like in the preseason, was the Jets only ray of hope offensively. It's too much to ask him to be his old self, but if the Patriots can start a 34-year old at runningback, there's no reason the most effective runningback of the past decade can't be a major addition.

Tomlinson is especially useful because he's very good coming out of the backfield, an area in which Greene struggles in. When LT is in the game, the Jets can either run or pass the ball, whereas Greene being in the game means the odds are in favor of a run that particular play. The two combined for 5 yards-per-carry last game but on only 16 carries. If they can get anywhere near that per-play production this week, when the two are more likely to get 25-30 carries combined, the Jets are probably going to win this game.

Through the air, Dustin Keller, Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, and Tomlinson will get virtually all the targets this week. Keller has developed a better rapport with Sanchez for this season, and even though he couldn't pick up the first down on the last play of the game last week, his development will be crucial for Sanchez this week and this year. Cotchery always seems to step his game up against New England. He had a rare drop last week. That might be the only one you see all year. Edwards lacks Cotchery's sure hands, but he's a much better deep threat. Last week, the Jets didn't test the Ravens deep at all. This week, against a less effective pass rush, it's more likely the Jets see if they can get a quick 7 deep with Edwards.

But for that to happen, the offensive line needs to pass block better. Last week, everything was a mess when Sanchez went back to pass. If the throw was on target, the receiver dropped it. If Sanchez had time to throw, he was fairly accurate, but that was a rare occurrence. Even though they looked good last week at home against the Bengals, New England lacks the dominant front seven of Baltimore. Sanchez should have a little more time to work. We'll see how much more effective that makes him.

The key number for this game, and for any Jets game really, is 20. If the Jets can get 20 points offensively, with that defense, they should be able to win almost every week. The pressure is on offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who has taken a lot of heat over the past week for the gameplan. It's impossible to tell if the calls were bad or if Sanchez was checking down too quickly, but Schottenheimer needs to keep the Jets' offense in rhythm and get the Patriots' defense off-balance. A lot of that will start up-front, because if the Jets can block and run the ball well, it will set up everything else. But last week's offense was extremely predictable, and extremely ineffective. Another performance like that by the offense, and the Jets will be staring 0-2 in the face.


Prediction
After watching the way both the Jets and Patriots played offense last week, it's hard to pick against New England. But the Patriots have been a different team at home and on the road in recent years. The defense is young and they did give up some yards through the air in the second half to Cincinnati. The Jets are going to try to overpower them up front with their offensive line, control time of possession, and run the ball, but Sanchez will need to make some plays. This isn't the Ravens' defense, which made life miserable for him last week, but Bill Belichick is one of the best at confusing young quarterbacks. While it seems like the sky is falling after last week, if the Jets play disciplined, the defense should be able to contain the Patriots. Shonn Greene should have a bounceback game and the Jets will control the line of scrimmage in a game that will go down to the final possession. Call me a homer, but I'm picking the Jets in a tight game.
Jets 16, Patriots 13

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Penalties, Lack of Offense Doom Jets in Home Opener

What a mess.

After 8 months of hype, the Jets fell flat on Monday Night Football, losing to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9. While the defense was pretty much everything that had been advertised, this looked like a game that could have been plucked straight out of last year.

The passing offense could not have been more inept despite Mark Sanchez not turning the ball over once. If you had told me that before the game, I would have loved the Jets' chances. But 10-21 for 74 yards will never get it done. That's an atrocious effort against a secondary that on paper looked like it could be beaten. The Jets just never took any real chances downfield, with Sanchez overthrowing a covered Jerricho Cotchery on the one time they did try.

Brian Schottenheimer showed once again why Jets fans can be so frustrated with him. The Jets averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry, but they only ran it 21 times (two by Sanchez on QB scrambles). Granted, his team never had the ball, so all the stats are small. But 1-11 on third downs is absolutely pathetic. The only time the Jets did convert was on the last drive of the game. Before then, if the Jets saw 3rd down, they could have just brought on Steve Weatherford then to punt it away because they simply weren't getting it.

Not all the blame falls on Schottenheimer and Sanchez, however. Jerricho Cotchery failed to reel in a key 3rd down catch late in the game that he should have had. And the pass blocking, a question coming into this game, failed Sanchez many times, as he was rarely able to get set in the pocket and make throws down the field. He checked down all the time, and not very accurately.

Despite the complete ineptitude of the passing offense, the Jets were right in this game until the very end. That's because they won the turnover battle 3-1, and the Ravens ran for just 49 yards on 35 attempts. But 14 penalties for 125 yards by the Jets cost them the game. The only touchdown Baltimore scored came after a borderline Braylon Edwards running-into-the-kicker penalty and a pass interference penalty in the endzone on Kyle Wilson that gave the Ravens the ball on the 1-yardline. 125 yards in penalties, 1-11 on offensive 3rd downs, and giving up 11-19 on defensive 3rd downs is certainly not the recipe to win.

And even still, the Jets had one last chance to win. On a 4th and 10 play, the Jets needed to move about 35-40 more yards to set up a field goal with 47 seconds left. Sanchez found Keller for what appeared to be a rare conversion. But inexplicably, Keller stepped out of bounds without reaching the ball over the first down marker, and the game ended.

There is so much blame to go around in this game, but the Jets can't feel sorry for themselves as the schedule doesn't get any easier. Tom Brady and New England come to town on Sunday, with the Jets having a short week to prepare against a team that looked fantastic week one. Lose that, and they go 0-2 in home games to go on the road and face a Dolphins team that swept them last year.

Needless to say, the Jets need to figure out a way to score touchdowns and stay disciplined, and they need to do it now. This wasn't a must-win game, but if the Jets aren't careful, this season could spiral out of control before the calendar turns to October.

But hey, at least Nick Folk, Steve Weatherford, and LaDainian Tomlinson played well!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ravens vs Jets Preview

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets
New Meadowlands Stadium
September 13, 2010, 7:00 PM.

The Jets open up their season in a game Jets fans have been anticipating since January. Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens come to town in a battle of two teams that think they can win the Super Bowl. The two teams have staged a minor war of words, which tends to happen with the Jets since Rex Ryan became the coach, but Monday's game means a lot more to the Jets than to the Ravens.

This is the home opener at the Jets' brand new stadium, and this game will allow the Jets to assert themselves as an AFC power. Losing at home to start the season, with back-to-back games against New England and Miami to follow, could get this season started on a really bad foot.

This figures to be a low-scoring game, with two prideful defenses trying to impose their will against another AFC contender.

When the Jets have the ball...
The Jets will go into Monday night with just three receivers dressed. If that doesn't tell you what they plan to do during the game, nothing will. They are going to run the ball until Baltimore proves they can stop it. Of course, the Ravens just happen to have one of the most fearsome front sevens in the NFL, so there's a good chance they're going to slow down the Jets' rushing attack a lot.

This is going to be an extremely physical matchup, with two teams that like to hit the other. If Ray Lewis and John Conner (or Shonn Greene for that matter) collide, the earth might implode. The main key for the Jets on the ground is to just keep getting positive yards. If Greene or LaDainian Tomlinson break open a big play, that's great, but if they can keep manageable 3rd down scenarios for Mark Sanchez and pick up positive yards on 1st downs, they will have done their job.

However, points will need to come out of the passing game. While the Ravens have a stout defensive line and linebacking corps, the secondary is vulnerable. If Sanchez has time to throw, Braylon Edwards should be able to get open deep. If Edwards can stretch the field and give the Ravens a reason to respect the passing game, the Jets' offense might have some success in this game. And without Ed Reed patrolling the middle, the Jets will be able to attack the middle of the field with more confidence.

That is where Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery get their work done. Keller, in particular, needs to create separation on the linebackers and safeties covering him to give Sanchez a safety valve and a red zone target.

Everything will need to start up front though, as the offensive line needs to be able to protect Sanchez. In particular, D'Brickashaw Ferguson needs to handle Terrell Suggs. The last thing the Jets want to see is their quarterback taking hits.
However, the most important thing, as always, is limiting turnovers. After throwing 20 interceptions his rookie season and nearly torpedoing the Jets' playoff chances last season, Sanchez needs to play mistake-free football and not let the opportunistic Ravens' defenders get their hands on the football. If the Jets' offense doesn't turn the ball over, that will almost be a win.

When the Ravens have the ball...
When you think Baltimore Ravens' offense, you think a smash-mouth, running attack that only throws when it has to. But this year will probably mark a shift in philosophy for John Harbaugh's team. Quarterback Joe Flacco enters his third season in the NFL healthy and with some new weapons to throw to.

Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh were brought in this offseason to join Derrick Mason in the passing game. However, with Donte Stallworth out for several weeks, the Ravens lack a deep threat, making them slightly easier to defend.

The bulk of the Ravens' offense goes through Ray Rice. The former Rutgers standout is an all-around threat, as he can run over and around you, and he's also a great pass-catcher out of the backfield. With so many players who can catch the football, the Ravens should throw more this year and test Flacco. But when the Ravens do run, Kris Jenkins needs to be disruptive, and the linebackers need to tackle well.

Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine will dial up a lot of blitzes as usual to see if Flacco can handle it, and Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson match up well physically with the three veteran Ravens. The Jets hope Flacco won't have time to throw because of all the players in his face. Right tackle Oniel Cousins, taking the place of Jared Gaither, may be targeted with a lot of overload blitzes.

If those blitzes rattle Flacco and force him to make bad decisions, the Jets should be able to win this game. If not, Flacco has three savvy veterans who should be able to keep moving the chains. Then it's up to the red zone defense to hold the Ravens to field goals. Baltimore will be a difficult test, but the Jets should be able to handle it. To what extent is the question, as the offense probably won't be scoring many points.

Prediction
This game will most likely come down to Mark Sanchez and the passing game. Sanchez doesn't have to be great, but he needs to move the chains, not turn the ball over and possibly hit one big play. Cotchery, Keller, and Edwards should be able to do enough against this secondary, which lacks the playmakers to capitalize on Sanchez's inconsistencies. This game can go either way. In the end, the Ravens lack of deep threats will come to haunt them as the Jets will come away with a big early season win.
Jets 13, Ravens 9

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Week 1 NFL Picks

2 winning seasons in a row for me. This year, I'm going to try to pick every game. I hit Saints -4.5 Thursday barely, and I hope to keep picking winners this season.

Let's start with my three top picks as usual.

Chiefs +5.5 over Chargers
San Diego has ruled the AFC West for years, but that success usually doesn't start in the first week. Kansas City has playmakers on offense in Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, and for a home opener, the fans have some hope for an improved season. San Diego started off last season with Oakland and struggled on Monday night before winning late. Every year they seem to start slowly before figuring it out late. Without OT Marcus McNeil and WR Vincent Jackson, this year should be no different. In front of a home crowd, look for the upset in the last game of the week.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 20

Bengals +5 over Patriots
This shapes up to be one of the best games of the week. New England is a perennial power, but Cincinnati is shaping up to be a lot better this season. The defense, which was ravaged by injuries at the end of last year, is healthy again, and they still have Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph, one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL. Terrell Owens might still have something left, he might not, but it's safe to say he's better than Laveranues Coles at this stage. Jermaine Gresham also adds an interesting athlete at tight end, making the Bengals a very well-rounded team offensively. New England can pass, but Cincinnati can slow down it down, and New England's defense has too many question marks to keep up with Chad Ochocinco, Owens, Cedric Benson, and Gresham. They could even get the road win, but somehow I think Brady pulls it out in the end.
Patriots 28, Bengals 27

Steelers +2.5 over Falcons
No Roethlisberger and no Holmes means that Pittsburgh is suddenly a home underdog week one. However, Dennis Dixon is an interesting mobile quarterback who should give Atlanta fits and be better than expected. But the bigger question is how does Atlanta score? Pittsburgh's defense is stout up front, and with Troy Polamalu healthy, the secondary should be a lot better than it was last season. The Falcons also have struggled on the road in the past few years, so facing a Steelers team in their home opener will not be easy for Matt Ryan and company. This game will be close, and it very well could be a field goal fest. Take the better team and the points.
Steelers 17, Falcons 16

Now, for the other games.
Bears (-6.5) 31, Lions 24
Colts (-2.5) 24, Texans 20
Browns (+2.5) 20, Buccaneers 17
Giants 20, Panthers (+6.5) 17
Dolphins 24, Bills (+3.5) 21
Rams (+3.5) 17, Cardinals 13
Jaguars (-2.5) 24 , Broncos 20
Titans (-6.5) 28, Raiders 17
49ers (-3.5) 20, Seahawks 14
Packers 20, Eagles (+4) 17
Cowboys (-3.5) 21, Redskins 14

Thursday, September 9, 2010

AFC East Preview

Football season starts tonight (I like the Saints -4.5, for the record), so it's time to take a look at the Jets' immediate competition for this season. The AFC East is perennially one of the top divisions in football, and this season should be no difficult. Just like the Jets, New England and Miami both have Super Bowl aspirations, and while the Bills are clearly in rebuilding mode, no matter how bad they are, they always seem to manage a split with the Jets during the season.


Buffalo Bills
Plain and simple, the Bills are several notches below their divisional counterparts. In a division that features some teams that are dominant in the trenches, Buffalo is sorely lacking in those areas. The offensive line was a mess last season, so Trent Edwards should be running for his life far too often. The runningbacks are talented, and the addition of C.J. Spiller in the draft adds a big play dynamic. But he can't fix the passing game or the run defense enough to take the Bills out of the cellar.


New coach Chan Gailey will bring in some offensive wrinkles to take advantage of the Bills' offensive talent. Lee Evans, Fred Jackson, Spiller, and even Marshawn Lynch can all play, but the other skill position players are completely unproven. They have enough offensively to surprise certain teams with some big plays, but a good defense should still shut them down.


Defensively the Bills were atrocious stopping the run last season. Teams who ran the ball on them all game long were typically rewarded unless the quarterback threw five interceptions (right, Mark Sanchez?). However, the secondary is underrated, with Leodis McKelvin and Jairus Byrd leading the way. They are ballhawks who can frustrate opposing quarterbacks into turning the ball over.

This is clearly a team you want to jump ahead on early because the Bills are going to want to run the ball and stop the pass. If they get behind, double Evans and keep an eye on Spiller, and they should be shut down. The Bills will be better than last season with an upgrade at head coach and a lot of their depth players coming back from injury, but they are too weak at quarterback and in the trenches to make any headway this season.

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have high hopes for this upcoming season and for good reason. Quarterback Chad Henne looked good down the stretch and now he actually has a legitimate number one receiver in Brandon Marshall. Marshall should make a big difference in this offense with his ability to make both short and long plays. Of course, if things go badly, he could self-destruct, but the Dolphins are hoping that won't happen.

Ronnie Brown returns from injury to help run the Wildcat offense. Brown certainly has to have the injury-prone tag on him by now, but if he is as healthy as he says he is this season, he will be tough to stop. Despite the surprise cut today of center Jake Grove, the Dolphins' offensive line is still one of the best in the league, and gimmicks aside, a strong group of run blockers with a pair of talented runningbacks in Brown and Williams makes the Wildcat work.

Defensively, the Dolphins are lagging behind a little bit, but there is some talent, particularly in the secondary. Vontae Davis and Sean Smith are a pair of second-year cornerbacks who give Miami a very good foundation. Tackle Randy Starks is also an underrated disruptor in the middle. But the rest of the defense is mediocre at best. Miami's opponents averaged an NFL high 8.2 yards per attempt through the air and a very average 4.2 yards per carry.

The Dolphins have high hopes for this season, but they need a lot of players to step up to reach their potential. Their best hope is for the offense to become one of the better units in the NFL. For that to happen, Henne needs to take major strides, Brown needs to stay healthy, and Marshall needs to stay sane. Defensively, the good players need to become great and the role players need to be effective. There's a chance they put it all together, but it's more likely Miami is a year or two away.


New England Patriots
Despite all the talk coming out of New York and Miami, the defending AFC East champions are Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. And until proven otherwise, Brady and Belichick are the tandem to beat.

Brady has as many weapons as he's ever had. Randy Moss isn't happy, but he's playing for a contract. Wes Welker tore up his knee nine months ago, but miraculously enough, he's playing opening day. His younger clone Julian Edelman is also there to be a slot receiver. Plus, rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have each shown impressive pass-catching ability.

However, while the passing game should be as strong as ever, there are questions everywhere else on the team. Logan Mankins might just be stubborn enough to sit out the entire season looking for a new contract, dealing a major blow to the offensive line. The Patriots may also have the worst runningbacks in the league with 34-year old Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney leading the way.

And the defense was very vulnerable at the end of last season. You can never count out a Belichick defense, but season-ending injuries to Leigh Bodden and Ty Warren start this season off on the wrong foot. The acquisition of safety Jarrad Page will help, but it also shows the Patriots still are looking for answers. Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo are great, but that's not enough.

Still, Belichick has made it work with less, and Tom Brady is another year removed from his devastating leg injury. New England has had a winning record every year since 2001, so they're definitely going to be a factor. There are a lot of questions on this team, but Brady, Belichick, Moss, and Welker ensure that the Patriots will be there until the end.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Latest News and Notes, Practice Squad announced

A lot of interesting tidbits in the last few days as we are now less than a week away from the season. The biggest news is the return of Tony Richardson after a two-day vacation. The Jets released him late Sunday night despite Hard Knocks showing Rex Ryan calling T-Rich a lock to make the team. However, it was just so the Jets had an extra day or two to decide who to release to make room for Darrelle Revis. Richardson did not have to clear waivers, so the Jets could bring him back anytime, and yesterday, they did.

*The practice squad is slowly being announced. It's still a fluid situation, especially with the recent release of Brian Jackson, whom the Jets will probably try to bring back once he clears waivers. While there were reports of Arizona's 2nd round pick last year Cody Brown being signed onto the practice squad, according to Jenny Vrentas, here is the current practice squad roster.

Practice squad last updated 7:12 PM. Warren and Foley cut. LB Cody Brown added. WR Patrick Turner, who was waived about 2 hours ago, is expected to be added.
LB Josh Mauga
C Robby Felix
DE Jarron Gilbert
NT Martin Tevaseu
WR/KR Larry Taylor
RB Chauncey Washington
LB Cody Brown

Warren and Mauga suffered concussions and missed a lot of training camp, but must have shown enough when they were healthy to earn a second chance. Warren, in particular, garnered mini-camp hype but he never had the chance to prove it on the field. Gilbert was a JetsDaily draft favorite last season who was miscast in the 4-3 in Chicago where the team had him lose 18 pounds and he struggled last season. Tevaseu is an intriguing nose tackle at 6-2, 340 pounds, and he could be a nice developmental prospect.

Foley, the former CFL star, was signed a week ago and promptly released a few days later. Taylor is purely a return man at his size (5-6, 177), but he showed enough in camp and preseason to keep around. Felix bounced around the Ravens and the UFL, but he was the most impressive undrafted lineman the Jets brought in. Finally, Washington ran hard all training camp and preseason, showed good power both running the ball and hitting people on special teams. He actually made the final roster but was let go to bring in OT Patrick Brown from waivers. If one of the Jets' runningbacks gets hurt, Washington will likely be promoted.

By the way, here is your complete Jets' roster right now. The Darrelle Revis exemption is still in effect, so one of these players will be let go soon.

QB: Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Kellen Clemens
HB: Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Danny Woodhead, Joe McKnight
FB: Tony Richardson, John Conner
WR: Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Patrick Turner
TE: Dustin Keller, Ben Hartsock, Matthew Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland
OL: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, Matt Slauson, Vladimir Ducasse, Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner, Patrick Brown
DL: Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito, Matt Kroul, Vernon Gholston, Marcus Dixon
LB: David Harris, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Jason Taylor, Jamaal Westerman, Lance Laury, Kenwin Cummings, Calvin Pace
CB: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman, Marquice Cole
S: Brodney Pool, Jim Leonhard, Eric Smith, James Ihedigbo
P: Steve Weatherford
K: Nick Folk
LS: Tanner Purdum


*WR Santonio Holmes and QB Erik Ainge do not count towards the 53-man roster.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Jets agree to terms with Darrelle Revis!

The holdout is over! Darrelle Revis has agreed to a 4 year, $46 million contract with $32 million in guaranteed money. It appears as if it will be officially a 7-year deal that will almost certainly void after 4 years.

With just a week remaining before the regular season starts, it was now or never for the Jets and their star cornerback to make a deal, and the two sides got a deal done. Revis gets plenty of guaranteed money, and the Jets get one extra year of Revis under contract and don't have to pay him the obscene money that had been floated around in rumors.

He'll now be able to practice all week for the first week of the season against Baltimore, giving the Jets a pair of dominant cornerbacks that should allow Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to dial up some crazy blitzes to test opposing quarterbacks.

Both sides are ecstatic that this is over, with Revis finally breaking his Twitter silence to apologize for the process. There wasn't much more time to get something done, but this was the type of deal that was going to get done at the last possible second or not at all, and both sides came to an agreement.

While the Revis deal is far and away the biggest news after cut-down day, there is some other big roster news for the Jets. WR David Clowney, RB Chauncey Washington, and FB Tony Richardson are all gone. Richardson is the biggest surprise, as Rex Ryan was seen on Hard Knocks earlier this week practically guaranteeing the veteran fullback a roster spot. John Conner seems ready, and the Jets want to see what he can do, but it's a risky move, both in cutting another starter and another leader in the locker room. Clowney wasn't quite good enough on special teams or at receiver to keep his roster spot. Washington was simply a victim of numbers as the 5th halfback on the team.

In their place, the Jets acquired WR Patrick Turner, OT Patrick Brown, and DE Marcus Dixon off waivers. Turner is a tall receiver drafted in the 3rd round last year by Miami out of USC, while Dixon and Brown have bounced around practice squads in their short careers.

The Jets aren't done yet, as someone else, probably a cornerback, needs to be let go of to make room for Revis. But I doubt the Jets have any problem letting a young player go when it means Darrelle Revis is flying in. He should practice tomorrow and be ready to go on Monday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jets' 53-man roster being unveiled

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I was on a quick vacation all week and had very limited internet access.

Then again, it's not like I've missed much. The Jets-Eagles game was a typical 4th preseason game: no starters and a lot of sloppiness.

The most important things from yesterday's game are that Mark Brunell doesn't look so terrible, Joe McKnight still does, and Vernon Gholston is continuing to improve. Santonio Holmes getting on the board for his first Jets' touchdown is nice, but against players who may never play in a real NFL game, the former Super Bowl MVP should be able to dominate.

Now, it's up to trimming down the final roster. By 6:00 PM, the roster must be down to 53 players, not counting Holmes (suspended), Darrelle Revis (holding out), Erik Ainge (drug rehab), and Ropati Pitoitua (injured reserve).


Here's what Manish Mehta expects the roster to look like come cut-down time according to his sources.

Quarterbacks (3): Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Kellen Clemens
Halfbacks (5): Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Chauncey Washington, Danny Woodhead, Joe McKnight
Fullbacks (2): Tony Richardson, John Conner
Wide Receivers (4): Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, David Clowney
Tight Ends (4): Dustin Keller, Ben Hartsock, Jeff Cumberland, Matt Mulligan
Offensive Line (8): Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody, Matt Slauson, Vladimir Ducasse, Rob Turner, Wayne Hunter
Defensive Line (6): Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha, Shaun Ellis, Vernon Gholston, Mike DeVito, Matt Kroul
Cornerbacks (6): Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Dwight Lowery, Marquice Cole, Brian Jackson, Drew Coleman
Safeties (4): Jim Leonhard, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, James Ihedigbo
Linebackers (8): David Harris, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Jason Taylor, Bryan Thomas, Jamaal Westerman, Kenwin Cummings, Lance Laury
Specialists (3): K Nick Folk, P Steve Weatherford, LS Tanner Purdum

However, it's very unlikely this is the roster that is brought into opening day. While Joe McKnight's roster spot is safe as a 4th round pick, Rex Ryan has said he doesn't have confidence in the rookie right now. Still, it's rare for a team to keep seven runningbacks; five is typically the amount teams use. Look for the Jets to shop Chauncey Washington to see if they can get anything for the powerful USC product who ran very hard in preseason. He'd likely have more value than Woodhead, and trading McKnight would be admitting a mistake too early. He'll be safe until next year, where he needs to be better or he might get cut.

Lance Laury is also still on the bubble, as one of the rare veteran backups on this team. The Jets have been cutting corners financially this offseason at times, and the Jets may opt to bring in a cheaper rookie to replace him. However, Laury is immediately one of the Jets' best special teamers, and in an uncapped year, it would come off as cheap to let him go.

But just as last year the Jets brought in guys like Jason Davis, Matthew Mulligan, and Ben Hartsock, the Jets will monitor other teams' final cuts to see if they can bring in some help. Last year, it was obvious the Jets needed another tight end or two. This year, it's slightly less obvious. A linebacker who can get after the quarterback while Calvin Pace is out or a wide receiver who can help carry the load while Holmes is suspended could be brought in. Also, another rotational defensive lineman could be acquired, although Vernon Gholston's recent play is a huge positive.

Finally, while there are six cornerbacks on the team right now, there's always the matter of Darrelle Revis. If he reports to the team, someone will have to be cut. If he doesn't report to the team, the Jets might need to bring in a dime back to improve over Drew Coleman.

And there's still the matter of the practice squad.

Right now, here's my prediction of the Jets' practice squad.
CB Brian Jackson (waived for future FA pickup)
LB Cory Reamer
LB Brashton Satele
DT Martin Tevaseu
DE Jason Lamb
S Emanuel Cook
S Donovan Warren
WR Larry Taylor