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Florham Park, NJ – Nobody watches the ProBowl…and by nobody, I mean a very slim majority of the NFL watching public. Still, being selected to play amongst the NFL’s best is an honor. The NFL is trying to garner interest in the pre-Super Bowl event by mixing the conferences. On January 22 live on the NFL Network, Pro Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice respectively will play the general managers and draft the teams. It means that it’s possible for Russell Wilson to play on the same team as J.J. Watt. The players who will have the honor to play in this speciality game were selected tonight.
I scrolled down the offensive Pro Bowl roster on NFL.com and I didn’t see anyone from the Jets…as expected. Then I went through the defensive Pro Bowl roster expecting to see some Jets, particularly Muhammad Wilkerson. I remember Rex joking in the beginning of the season that Mo was really the face of the franchise, but he didn’t quite fit the prototype.
I scrolled all the way down and Big Mo wasn’t on the Pro Bowl roster. So my next click was naturally, Pro Bowl snubs. That’s when the Jets defensive end’s name appeared. Greg Hardy, Cameron Jordan, Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, J.J. Watt, Mario Williams were all picked over Wilkerson. However, Wilkerson will be the first alternate for defensive end. (Nick Mangold is the first alternate for center.) Notably, Mo’s buddies on the defensive line rookie Shelton Richardson and Damon “Snacks” Harrison also won’t be making the trip to Hawaii.
Mo has had 10.5 sacks and 42 tackles so far this season. The 24-year-old New Jersey native is a powerhouse rush defender as well as a beast on pass defense. He was voted by his teammates the Curtis Martin award for Most Valuable Player earlier this week.
Just hours before the Pro Bowl roster was announced at 9 PM Friday night, Rex Ryan said, “I would be shocked if he isn’t on that list….Obviously, if Mo doesn’t make it, I don’t get it. It (will be) personal, somebody doesn’t like Mo Wilkerson for some reason.”
I say, don’t worry, Mo. Leo DiCaprio is snubbed all the time and he’s the best.
Rex also believed Nick Folk, who has only missed two field goals all year, would be selected today, but wasn’t. (Hey, the Ravens’ Justin Tucker is pretty great…despite single “footedly” kicking the Jets out of playoff contention last week.)
The Pro Bowl will be played under its new format on January 26, the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
East Rutherford, NJ – The Jets won’t be in the playoffs, but they’ve certainly distanced themselves from the very bottom of ESPN’s power rankings. After today’s 24-13 win over the Cleveland Browns (4-11) at home give the Jets a chance to finish .500. The Jets finish their 2013 with a 6-2 record at home.
If the Jets finish at that point, the decision to fire Rex sitting on the shoulders of Woody Johnson and John Idzik will start to feel heavier. This is the third consecutive year the Jets haven’t made the playoffs coming off of two consecutive AFC Championship appearances. He mentioned potentially being on the chopping block during one of last night’s meetings. It was motivational. The player’s coach asked the players to help him out.
Today was a good day for the struggling rookies. The Geno Smith we hadn’t seen since Week 5. He threw for 214 yards and completed 20 of his 36 pass attempts. You’ve seen glimmers of growth over the past three games, but today it culminated. It was the first game in the last six games Smith didn’t throw an interception. He was accounted for all three Jets touchdowns. Smith did this all under the pressure of a solid defense, who’s recently made other quarterbacks, like Brady, Brees, and Kaepernick look rough. The offense picked up in the second quarter. They converted 12 of 18 third downs, which was the highest conversion rate of the season.
Dee Milliner did it everyone! He got his first career interception! Milliner slowed down the leagues hottest receiver, Josh Gordon, who was targeted 16 times and only caught 6. Gordon dropped 3 passes, two of which were in the end zone. Interestingly, Cromartie wasn’t assigned to him. The rookie safety defended five passes and led the team with nine tackles. For safeties, confidence is key and based on his game, it looks like his could be elevating.
David Nelson, who was with the Browns this past preseason, got his first touchdown as a Jet today…and decided to make that two. It was the first time in his career and scored two touchdowns in a game. He had four catches for 33 yards.
The Jets offense gained 422 total yards on the day, marking their second game of the season in which they have broken the 400-yard plateau. Their last 400+ game was against Buffalo on September 22.
The offensive line was phenomenal. They helped pave the way for an awesome run day. Chris Ivory, always easily to spot from the press box because of his long dreads, had 109 yards, 5.5 yards per carry. Bilal Powell had some explosive long runs. He went for 54 yards and 7.7 yards per carry. The run game was able to perform well against the Browns who have a top 10 run defense. The o-line kept a clean pocket for Geno and prevented him from getting sacked. It’s not as if the Browns struggle at sacking the QB. They had 39 total sacks going into this game.
The defense was true to form. They only allowed 283 total yards, and 13 points. They turned 2 potential Browns touchdowns into field goals. They had 3 sacks and 2 picks. There was only one hiccup. 43 of the 109 running yards came from 3 carries from non-running backs. One long run came from Josh Gordon, the other game from Jason Campbell.
JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets when they host their last home game this season against the Cleveland Browns (4-10).
Florham Park, NJ – Ed Reed wouldn’t speak to the media yesterday. Some writers complained about it around sandwiches…which were really good. Today, Reed did talk today, but his frustration and disdain for those surrounding him with recorders was evident when the first question was asked.
What’s up with the missed tackles and big plays the Jets have allowed recently?
“You guys’ jobs is to critique, be critics,” he said. “That’s why you ask a controversial question—to try to be controversial and then trash people in the media. I could care less about that.”
The 35-year-old safety is having a rough year and the disappointment of not performing the way he had in his first 11 seasons in the league is showing. The future Hall of Famer finally got a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens last season. He had off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, and signed a three year deal with the Texans. He was released and joined the Jets and his former defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, in November.
“It’s been a long year,” Reed said. “Definitely not what I expected. Expectations (were) high coming into it, regardless of surgery. You know you leave a great organization thinking that you’re going somewhere else to build something, thinking they had something. But it turns out different.”
It sounds to me like he regrets the decision not to retire. However, he says otherwise.
“No regrets, though, because I’ve learned a lot this season,” Reed said.
Making the following comments about the New York media, may be his first regret. (Although, I doubt he’ll ever admit it.)
“Everything I’ve been through, I’ve been through for a reason, to learn a lot—even reading you guys’ blogs, listening to your comments, knowing half of ya’ll don’t know as much about football as you think you do, unless you come and sit in the film with us, and break the film down,” added Reed. “You don’t even know the schematic part of it.”
“You can ask the questions, but that don’t mean that you’re an expert at what we do. It’s funny to me. Reading it, I smile at it, laugh at it, but that’s your job. Some of your jobs, you tear people down, (or) try to, and tear the team down, not understand that it’s a team. You’d rather point the finger at one individual. It’s not an individual game. It’s a team sport—totally a team sport.”
At the press conference Rex laughed and supported the man he’s coached for 8 seasons. Quintessential Rex.
“Ed’s a prideful guy,” Ryan said. “I think he’s never faced criticism in his life because of the kind of player he is. He’s still an outstanding player and a great teammate and he’s a leader… Is he as good as he used to be? No, but guess what? The list really is short because you have to start with Ed Reed. In my opinion he’s the finest free safety in the history of this game. If he’s going down, he’s climbing down from the very top of the mountain, and that mountain is Everest.”
Rex tried to clear up what Reed meant when he criticized the media’s “lack of knowledge” on the sport.
“Sometimes it’s tough for players to understand that [the media doesn’t] get the coaching tape, they’re not sitting in the meetings, they can’t see everything,” Rex said. “But I’ve been around a lot of reporters and things like this, and shoot, you guys have a job to do, and you believe your eyes… If I don’t tell you whose fault it is, then you’re going to put what you see and what you believe to be that. And sometimes I won’t (say whose fault it is) to protect a player.”
Rex obviously went on and on about what an awesome guy and player Reed is. Reed showed his affection for his coach in a more simple way. He would probably only be interested in being a Jet again next year if Rex were to stay head coach.
Florham Park, NJ - It’s been a rough season. The Jets now have 12 players on the injured reserve list with the addition of wide receiver Stephen Hill today. Hill has been plagued with injuries throughout the season. Recently, the swelling in his knees have worsened and caused his season to end three weeks short.
Coach Rex Ryan addressed the issue in today’s press conference.
“This young man’s been battling the whole year,” he said. “He’s had some swelling in his knees. He’d come back, he’d rehab, get back. But it just seemed like almost any time that he would do a football-related activity, whether it was practice or, more specifically, games, his knees would swell.”
Stephen Hill had a breakout opening day performance against the Buffalo Bills last season. Hill made it look like the decision to move up in the 2012 draft for him was worth the while racking up 80 yards in that game. The 43rd overall pick shined again this season against the Bills in week 3 with a career high of 108 receiving yards. Something about playing the Bills gets Hill pumped up, just to start rolling downhill.
His rookie season consisted of three touchdowns and 21 catches for 252 yards. His sophomore season has also been as glum, having 24 receptions for 342 yards and one touchdown catch.
Rex had high hopes for the 22-year-old out of Georgia Tech when watching him in this summer’s training camp.
“He was absolutely having a terrific training camp,” Ryan said. “Then we went into the season and a few games we’re into it, it just seemed like he wasn’t the same guy with the knees. They were just swelling.”
In the last four games he’s played (he sat out against the Raiders this past Sunday) his reception count comes to one. He hasn’t caught the football since the Saints game on November 3.
Hill will have his last chance to prove he can be a starting wide receiver when he returns to the field next season.
“Obviously, there are frustrations from his point from everybody’s point [of view], because we’re waiting for him to take the next step that you would take and it just hasn’t happened,” Rex said. “Hopefully with this, we’ll get him back and we’ll get him healthy and be ready to roll next season.”
Some fans and critics have questioned Hill’s dedication and work ethic throughout his struggles, but Rex certainly doesn’t seem to believe there’s a problem in that department.
“The kid worked his tail off,” Rex said. “He was committed. He would be committed in the training room. He’d do everything that was asked of him. It’s just one of those things. He just wasn’t able to really get to where he could really be productive out there, so we ended up making that decision [to IR him] and that’s what it is.”
WR Saalim Hakin, known for his speed, will be elevated from the practice squad to replace Hill on the active roster.
JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets in a critical game against the Carolina Panthers (8-4) at the Bank of America Stadium.
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