JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets in a critical game against the Raiders at home on Sunday.
“This team is particularly welcoming,” Jets wide receiver Greg Salas said. “It wasn’t hard to get used to this locker room…All the receivers are super cool. We’re always talking joking around in meeting out in practice. They’re a good group of guys.”
This week marks the first week that the receivers have all been healthy and active since Week 4. The injuries to Jeff Cumberland, Santonio Holmes, Clyde Gates, and Kellen Winslow’s suspension led them to adding David Nelson, Josh Cribbs, and Greg Salas to the roster.
“I was happy. Estastic!” Greg Salas said of being signed on October 15. “It’s all you can ever ask for, wish for, really, is a shot to play. I’m glad they picked me up and I was able to contribute while I’ve been here. It’s a dream come true, really.”
Salas’s debut game against New Orleans was his greatest so far. He was expected to play on only four-wide receiver sets, but when Jeremy Kerley left the game with an elbow injury his role expanded. He was the leading receiver in that game with 57 receiving yards.
This week, the Jets leading receiver and the guy he stepped in for, Jeremy Kerley, returns after a three game absence. Salas might see less time on the field because of it, but he knows a big piece of the Jets offense has been missing.
“It’s a big loss. It’s a huge loss,” Salas said. “[Kerley’s] been one of the most consistent and productive guys here. [He’s] a reliability. Him being the leader that he is. Having him out there and helping us out. He’s definitely someone who can contribute and help this team win, so it’s going to be big to have him back.”
The Jets haven’t won since Kerley’s last appearance on the field. During that period Salas had 7 receptions, for 137 yards. So 1/3 of Geno Smith’s 21 completed passes have been caught by Salas’s hands.
Salas thinks that with the whole receiving corp healthy again, things will start gelling better.
“Everyone’s been kind of nicked up and banged up,” Salas said. “Now we’re finally at the point where everyone’s healthy enough to get out onto the practice field. Just getting that timing and getting that chemistry with Geno. Being on the same page as the quarterback can be a big help.”
For the Jets sake, let’s hope he’s right. The offense can use all the help they can get after failing to get in the end zone the last two weeks.
For Salas despite the demotion he’ll go about things the same way. Get to the stadium, focus, and pop on his Drake-centric playlist.
The Jets made history as the first team with a 10 game “win-loss” streak since the NFL-AFL merger back in the 70s, but that streak ended a few weeks ago. Now the Jets might be heading into a streak that’s never been seen during their 5-years under Rex Ryan: 4 straight losses.
Luckily for the Jets, the Raiders have a troubling streak of their own. They haven’t won a game played in the eastern-time zone since 2009. That’s 12 straight losses out east for the black and silver who have lost four of their last five.
In fact this might be the perfect remedy for the Jets. Like Gang Green, the Raiders are a rebuilding team. At 4-8 they’ve already exceeded expectations for a team with a completely remade defense, and questions at quarterback. They haven’t decided if Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin will start in this one. Both have been better than expected, despite failing to solidify themselves as the future at the position.
Both teams seem like long shots for the playoffs at this point, but neither one has been mathematically eliminated. The Jets made the playoffs back in 2009 when they were in a similarly bleak position, and a win here could start them on that same track.
When: Sunday, Decemeber 8, 2013, 1:00 pm (TV-CBS Radio-ESPN)
Where: Met Life Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Injury Report (as of Thursday)
Jets –LMT: CB Antonio Cromartie (hip), WR Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (wrist), TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
Raiders – DNP: G Mike Brisiel (ankle, knee), LB Kaluka Maiava (ribs, calf), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), WR Denarius Moore (shoulder), RB Jeremy Stewart (ankle, knee), S Usama Young (neck) LMT: S Tyvon Branch (ankle), LB Miles Burris (toe), DE Jason Hunter (foot), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion)
Avoid the early deficit – The Raiders have been an aggressive team early in games this season, and have managed to get some early leads. While they’ve ultimately had a problem holding these leads, the Jets have had trouble mounting any sort of comeback. With how bad this offense has been recently, they can’t afford to fall behind early. Also, if you’re going to the game, make sure defense can hear you. The Jets are going to need as much home field advantage as they can get.
Protection – Going up against the Jets defense each week should prepare the offensive line for aggressive and creative blitzes, but that hasn’t been the case in recent weeks. The entire line has struggled, highlighted by the recent poor play of rookie Brian Winters. The Raiders love to blitz and dismantle the pocket. Smith is going to have no chance if they can get to him early.
Offensive Spark – The Jets offense is ranked 30th in the league. It’s the first time since week 4 that the whole offense is healthy. (See that clean injury report above?J) Santonio Holmes is still being bothered by a hamstring injury and may not play the whole game, but expect to see more of him than last week. A touchdown early on at home can literally be game changing.
X-Factor: The Jets leading and most consistent receiver Jeremy Kerley returns after missing the last three games with an elbow injury. They’ve really missed him. Rex said that he looked “outstanding” in practice today. Despite, being ruled out last Sunday, he was itching to get in. While his snaps may be limited, he can be a reliable receiver for Geno on third downs to help move the chains and keep the offense on the field. That might be enough to jumpstart this offense.
The Pick: When I first started writing this I wanted to pick the Jets to win, but I don’t have the confidence that the offense will be able to turn things around. This team has only managed a field goal in each of the last two games.
While the Jets defense has looked solid at times, they rank 25th in both pass defense and scoring defense. Last week was one of their weaker performances. On the flip side the Raiders haven’t looked awful despite the recent losses. Three of their four losses on this most recent stretch have been by a touchdown or less.
Raiders win 13-10
Florham Park, N.J. – The Jets hired Marty Mornhinweg to produce an “attacking” offense for Geno’s big arm. The plan was to move away from the out-of-date, Rex Ryan adored, ground-and-pound. As of now Geno Smith’s performance is making that transition difficult.
Smith has committed a league high 22 turnovers so far this season. He averaged over 18 completions in the first three games, but has failed to even hit double digits in his last three. Over the last five games the team has reverted to their old ways, running as much as they throw.
“Each week you go in with a certain plan and when they don’t work,” Ryan said. “I understand the questions or whatever, but each week, it’s a new challenge and your plan may vary one week from the next.”
Ryan won’t blame the rookie’s poor play for the change in the game plan.
“I don’t look at it just individually,” Ryan said. “I look at it as a unit and as a team. We know it comes down to execution and clearly we’ve been inconsistent in our execution, whether you can look at Geno, whether you can look at whoever. It’s the end result that counts and I think that’s more on the unit and the team.”
Smith shared his coaches sentiment.
“I don’t think we’ve shied away from it or gotten away from it,” Smith said. “I just think we haven’t executed it as well as we’ve done in the past.”
And Smith doesn’t think the failed execution is due to the play calling.
“We’ve had plenty of opportunities to take shots down the field,” Smith said. “One thing is that defenses are keying on that and playing us to that. They are trying to take that away.”
Despite the reason, it’s clear Smith’s attempts are down. He has thrown almost half as many 15-yard plus throws in the past 4 games as he did in the first seven weeks. But the rookie admits he could do better with the opportunities he has been given.
“When you get a chance to take shots, it’s always fun, you give your guys an opportunity to make plays,“ Smith said. “It takes a ton of precision [to throw downfield] and, quite honestly, I haven’t been as precise as I was in the first couple of games,”
“The precision in the passing game,” Mornhigweg pauses and feistily says, “There’s been none. And that really bothers me.”
Mornhigweg says this, but, like Rex, won’t blame Geno. “We’ve got to play better and I’ve got to do a better job,” the offensive coordinator says. “If [I] don’t take responsibility, [we’re] not going to get better.”
Both Rex and Mornhinweg said they’ve seen positive improvement in Geno.
“It might not look like it,” Rex said. “But last week, I thought he was tremendous in the pocket.”
“It sounds crazy, but Geno has made some strides,” Mornhinweg said.
But will there ever be a point when a coach actually says, “We’re not happy. We are over it.”?
Rex has made it clear this week that he’s not interested in replacing Smith with fellow inexperienced quarterback, Matt Simms. He even went to the extent to say something today that gets a lowbrow expression from me.
“Matt Simms is phenomenal on the sideline,” Rex said. “Everybody wants to play. Everybody wants to start. He pulls for him. I’m there with him. I see it. I hear it. It’s genuine. That’s a great thing about him. He’s in Geno’s camp all the way and vice versa.”
JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets when they finally come home again and take on division rivals the Miami Dolphins.
JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets when they face the defending Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens.
Florham Park - The Ravens and the Jets are two teams predicated on defense. They’re Rex teams. It wouldn’t be a shock to see a low-scoring affair Sunday, but while all the focus seems to be on the two defenses let’s focus on the Jets offense for a second.
The Raven’s have one of the greatest front sevens in the league. They’re stout against the run and are one of the top pass rushes. Needless to say the Jets offensive line better be up for the task.
“A huge challenge, not just for our line, but anybody’s line,” Rex said. “[The players] you mentioned, those are some of the top pass rushers in the league, especially Suggs, and Dumervil is always a guy that doesn’t seem to really get the credit.”
And Rex was quick to point out those aren’t the only two defensive players to watch out for.
“They have some guys inside, too,” he said. “Arthur Jones, I think, is an underrated pass rusher as an inside presence as well.
Rookie lineman Brian Winters is coming off a rough game against Buffalo. This week he’s going up against Haloti Ngata (if he’s healthy) another notable defensive player for the Ravens.
“[Ngata’s] a very talented, big man,” Rex said. “Fortunately, [Winters] goes against that every day here. We have some unusual guys as well. Haloti is an unusual guy. He’s got power. He’s got quickness. It’s going to be huge challenge. We’ll know where Haloti is also.”
Rex said that there were two problems with the offensive line against Buffalo: mental and physical.
“Certainly, we got beat on one-on-one battles more than anything, that was the key,” Rex said. “So, every guy has to step up and has to get better individually. Then, collectively, we missed a couple of calls, slide protection calls or whatever. But the mental part, I have no question we’ll improve in that area.”
He thinks the players were just having an “off day” when it comes to the physical part and he sees them rebounding this week.
“The one-on-one matchups have to get better and they’ve been better,” he said. “Some of our guys have been absolutely terrific all season and then kind of laid an egg last week.”
Geno Smith is young and turnover prone so let’s imagine what may happen if the offensive line lays more eggs. Yeah, the streak would break. But Rex lit up a bit when asked if Geno has learned anything from last week’s game. He said he’s been having a very accurate week at practice. That’s not the only thing the coach has observed.
“He sees certain coverages and knows that he can make some plays with his legs as well and I think that’s been encouraging to me,” Rex said.
The Internet came alive with Jets fans buzzing about Smith possibly being pulled to give Matt Simms a chance at the position if the second round pick continued to struggle.
Rex doesn’t seem to act as if this is a real possibility, saying he pulled him from the past two losses for two reasons.
“You can learn a lesson, but how many runs do you want the guy to give up leaving him out there?” Rex said. “Sometimes [you] pull him back, let him learn from the sideline. Also at the same time give Matt [Simms] some reps. He’s a young quarterback as well.”
In honor of the Hunger Games: Catching Fire being released…Jets, may the odds be ever in your favor.
I imagine the fans will be particularly wild when the defending Super Bowl champions take on the Jets Sunday in a game which is a must win for both teams. The Ravens and Jets are both competing for that final wild card slot, and the Ravens are only one game behind the Jets at 4-6. A win in this game will give either team an important tiebreaker at the end of the season.
The Ravens have lost 4 of their last 5 games and are coming off of an overtime loss to the Bears last weekend. Despite this trend the Ravens have not exactly been dormant. All four of those losses have been by three points or less.
Both teams have struggled on the road this season, and that doesn’t bode well for the Jets. In fact, the Jets have lost 15 of their last 21 road contests. This season they’ve been blown out in three of their five road games.You can usually tell when the Jets are going to have one of their stinkers. They tend to be outscored big time in the first quarter. They can’t afford to let things get out of hand early again this week.
When: Sunday, November 24, 2013, 1:00 pm (TV-CBS Radio-ESPN)
Where: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Injury Report (as of Thursday)
Jets – DNP: LB Garrett McIntyre (knee), WR David Nelson (illness), TE Kellen Winslow (knee) LMT: WR Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring), WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow)
Ravens – DNP: DT Haloti Ngata (knee) LMT: LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (abdomen)
Beware of the deep pass- The Jets have given up 33 pass plays of 20 yards are more. AKA, the secondary is struggling. WR Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith are two of the best deep threats in the league, and Joe Flacco throws one of the better deep balls. The secondary can’t afford to give up easy scores to the Ravens. The Jets are only averaging 13.2 points on the road.
Protection- The Bills were able to attack the Jets offensive line last week, and Brian Winters might have had his worst game so far. The Ravens might have a better front seven than the Bills. They are 11th in the league in run defense and tied for 3rd in sacks. Needless to say the line is going to need to have a better performance if they plan to leave with a win.
Geno- Over the last five games, Geno has thrown eight interceptions and one touchdown. He threw three last week and has been replaced by Simms in the last two losses. Getting that turnover number down is truly key.
X-Factor: Ed Reed will be facing his former team for the second time this season in Baltimore. The coaching staff showed a lot of faith in him, giving him the majority of snaps last week against Buffalo. They plan to play him a lot as that center field safety, and they’ll need him this week against those speedy receivers. If there’s anyone who will know how to defend against the Ravens offense it’ll be this guy who faced it in practice everyday for a decade.
The Pick: Bold Statement: The trend is breaking this week. The Jets are going to lose. Baltimore is too hard of a place to win, especially against the Ravens, who technically need this win more. The Jets will have their first losing record of the season.
Ravens win 24-10
JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets when the Jets face the Bills for the second time this season.
Florham Park, NJ - Hopefully, the bye week broke “the trend.” Or I at least hope the Jets lost some imaginary game during the bye. The Jets have gone into most of their match-ups this season being the underdogs and have defeated the odds pretty much 5 times (okay, probably 4 times.) This week Vegas will surely call the game in the Jets favor as they face their struggling division rivals in Buffalo. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. The second half of the season makes for a much less daunting set of match-ups. The Carolina Panthers (6-3) are the only team left on the Jets schedule with a winning record. The Bills have lost 3 straight and 5 of their last 6 games. It’s time for the team that’s surprised so many NFL fans that they can go on a streak.
As a good Jets fan, you know that if the playoffs were to start today, they’d be in it. But there’s 7 games left in the season and if I had to guess (yes, I’m editorializing) you all better have some blood pressure lower prescriptions ready for weeks 16 and 17. As Rex would say to us in a press conference, right now, let’s just focus on this week.
When: Sunday, November 17, 2013, 1:00 pm (TV-CBS Radio-ESPN)
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
Injury Report (as of Thursday)
Jets – DNP: WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow), LB Garrett McIntyre (knee), TE Kellen Winslow (knee), LMT: DT Kenrick Ellis (back), WR Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring)
Bills – DNP: WR Steve Johnson (groin), WR Robert Woods (ankle), LMT: S Da’Norris Searcy (hamstring)
-Defensive Line: Good thing this is a sweet spot for the Jets defensive, because the Bills are run team with backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson leading the way. On Sunday, they’ll be especially dependent on them as two of Buffalo’s top receivers, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods will either be out or out of top form. To top that off, rookie QB E.J. Manuel is going into his second game after returning from an ankle injury which sidelined him for a month. The Jets’ have only allowed 3.1 yards per carry on average this season. The Bills averaged 4.8 yards per carry on September 22 when the two teams last faced each other. It should be interesting to see how the numbers change.
The offense returns- Santonio Holmes, Jeff Cumberland, and Kellen Winslow will all return to the field on Sunday. This starting receiving core haven’t been out there together for six games. The Jets have decent standings despite their absence, so it should be awesome to see what they can do with their offensive weapons back. Chris Ivory had an explosive game against the Saints, but with these guys back don’t be surprised to see Marty Mornhinweg get pass happy again. Also look to see WR David Nelson getting involved as he faces his former team.
Beware of the secondary- Do you remember how Stephen Hill showed up in the last game against Buffalo? He had a 108 receiving yards. Last game? He had 0. Holmes also rocked that game leading with 154 receiving yards. Don’t expect it to be as easy to rack up those numbers again. The Buffalo secondary was missing Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd last time around.
X-Factor: All of the above. However, if I’m going to single out one player, my money is on Santonio Holmes for a big return game. This guy has missed too much football over the past two seasons. I hope we see him anxious to prove himself going into a contract year. When the Jets and the Bills meet, I always think of high numbers in receiving yards.
The Pick: This is a tough one. My gut hasn’t made up its mind yet and it’s usually particularly good at calling Jets games. Evan said a couple weeks ago in his prediction that he’s going to “ride the roller coaster until the pattern stops” and I’m still on the ride. So I guess I’m saying the Jets are going to make NFL history. With a loss this weekend, they’ll be the first team to alternate wins and losses up to this point in the season. The more doubt we throw their way, the more likely they are to surprise us.
Bills win 23-10