Archive for September, 2013

Running Ahead of the Pack

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Bilal Powell: This Week's Running Man

Florham Park, NJ - The run game is all on the legs of Bilal Powell. Chris Ivory, who’s suffering from a hamstring injury, won’t be playing on Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans and we’re still waiting for Mike Goodson’s debut in Week 5. Powell may be the quietest guy in the locker room, but his performance on the field during Saturday’s 27-20 win over the Bills spoke loudly.

“For a guy that is as aggressive as he is as a player, I think you would maybe expect a different personality,” said Coach Rex Ryan.

Powell racked up 149 yards on 27 carries last Sunday, but when he and the Jets face the Titans, it’ll be tough to match those stats. The Titans stand at 2-1 as do the Jets. The Titans finished with a 6-10 record last season, as did the Jets. The Titans defense has been more impressive than expected, ranking 13th in the league. The Jets place in the top 10. Both teams went into the 2013 season with low expectations and both are having a good time proving NFL fans and analysts wrong. The Titans rank just one spot higher than the Jets on the current ESPN power rankings at 17 and 18 respectively. I assume, you’re noticing these two teams are similar, so I’ll stop going on and on.

The Titans have added an average of 5 minutes of possession time on offense this season. They will try to tire the Jets D. Powell, however, would like the reverse to happen this week and have the Jets go “old-school” ground and pound.

“One of the biggest things in this league is trying to be physical (and) continuing to wear defense out late in the game, and finishing (plays) is one of the biggest things,” Powell said this week.

The 24-year-old, who is currently the 7th leading rusher in the league, came into his third season with the Jets ready to rock it. “I just came in more focused this year,” Powell said softly. “I just tried to pick up as much of the playbook as I could and that allowed me to go out there, play more comfortable and play faster.”

As he becomes increasingly more comfortable on the field, Rex wonders if he’ll become a more open personality…not that it really matters. “David (Harris) a couple years to come out of his shell, but now he’s super talkative, so we’ll see,” Rex said. “You don’t need a guy to change his personality, just go out and play. He’s earned the respect of everybody in this locker room.”

It Was All Yellow…

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

East Rutherford, N.J. - At halftime I tweeted that New York was playing a clean game…things certainly took a dirty turn in the second half. You’d have to look all the way back to 1987 to find a game where the Jets had as many penalty yards as they had tonight. In total they had 168 penalty yards on 20 penalties. Holy moley. But somehow they pulled off the 27-20 win.

Jets WR grabs a 51 yard TD during the Jets 27-20 win over Buffalo on Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Early on it looked like the Jets would run away with things. But those penalties were certainly the story of this game. Before they knew it they were in a nail biting 20-20 tie in the fourth quarter. Hey, they like to keep it interesting… Here’s the game in a nutshell…

I sort of joked on Friday that I wasn’t sure time off could really cure the drop situation the Jets suffered during the Patriots game. Apparently it did! The receiving core and offense in general looked good today. We expect good defense, but today’s offense rose above expectations. Remember when the Jets ranked 32 in the power rankings Week 1?

Stephen Hill, who had yet to really show up this season, had a 51-yard touchdown and, overall, had 3 catches for 108 yards, averaging 36.1 yards per catch. He loves playing the Bills. *Flash back to last year’s season opener. * Santonio Holmes was the game’s leading receiver, catching five passes for 154 yards and scoring the game-winning touchdown. That’s almost 100 more yards than he had in the last two games combined. They finally let him loose!  I have to mention, the Bills secondary is a little beat-up.

It was the showdown of the rookie quarterbacks. E.J. Manuel was the first QB chosen in this year’s draft and the only one picked in the first round, while Geno Smith was the second. “Second place” out shined Manuel today. While he wasn’t outstanding, he had his moments and he kept his head up even when the flags were flying and the score was narrowing. He had two deep throws that led to touchdowns and threw for 331 yards. On the downside, he had two interceptions. That makes for six interceptions on the season so far.  It’s not easy for a rookie QB to be put into Marty Mornhinweg’s system. Lots of passing…lots of long passing. Interesting it’s the antithesis to Rex Ryan’s ground and pound. Speaking of the run game, Bilal Powell turned it on today gaining 149 yards. RB Chris Ivory left the game with a hamstring injury in the first quarter.

Bills running back C.J. Spiller made only a small nine-yard appearance before getting hurt. RB Fred Jackson only had 72 yards, with 59 of those yards coming on one play. The Jets defense shut down the run and the pass. We knew going into this game Rex was going to have a good time messing with the rookie QB and messed he did. The Jets dominant defense sacked Manuel eight times and allowed the Bills offense to convert only four 3rd downs on 18 attempts. Buffalo’s offense only averaged 5 yards per pass. It’s the second straight game the Jets have prevented the opposing QB from completing less than 50% of their passes. Manuel completed only 19 of 42 pass attempts. Rex definitely won the defensive showdown between he and former Jets defensive coordinator turned Bills D.C. Mike Pettine.

Oops, They Did It Again

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Will Clyde Gates have a better grip on the football this Sunday?Florham Park, N.J. – The Jets are into themes this year. The mantra of competition is the obvious one…the other one…drops. The receiving core had a total of six last week against the Partiots (granted, it was pouring).

“You’re an NFL receiver, you’re paid to catch the football and we certainly need to do it,” Rex Ryan said. “Not saying that drops won’t happen, it’s just we’ve got to reduce that number.”

You may remember during training camp, WR Stephen Hill said with much bravado, “I don’t drop balls.” Well, we did see him drop one in primetime, but the guy with the recent case of the dropsies is WR Clyde Gates, whose butterfingers may have lost the game for the Jets in Foxboro last week.

“If we would have caught half of the balls we dropped, the outcome might have been a lot different,” Ryan said.

Gates dropped four balls in the Patriots game, including one in the end zone and another 10-yards outside of it. Having so much blame put on a player can really lower their confidence level a few notches. Gates even admitted to feeling down about his performance. However, Ryan doesn’t believe he has anything to worry about with Gates confidence going into this week’s game against Buffalo.

“Every receiver has drops,” Ryan said. “I know he’s going to have a big day. That’s kind of how I feel about it and I’m comfortable with it. And you know what, if he drops the first one, go catch the second one. I think that has to be his mentality. It has to be our mentality, ok that, ‘Now hey, I’m going to (catch it).’ But that’s the confidence that we have as a football team in each other.”

The team’s veteran receiver, Santonio Holmes, had some profound advise for the youngsters. “Catch the ball,” he said. “I don’t see any other way to correct it.”

Geno Smith is going to need his receivers to be on point when they face division rivals, the Bills on Sunday. Buffalo’s pass defense has looked solid so far this season. They’ve forced turnovers from Cam Newton and Tom Brady and sacked the QB nine times over two games.

The Jets did get a mini-vacay with the long week, we shall see soon if it did anything to cure the dropsies.

Preview: Jets (1-0) @ Pats (1-0)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

I don’t remember the last time the Patriots weren’t favored going into a game. No one is ever like, “Yay! We’re playing the Patriots this week! We’ve got this one!” They’re the fastest, most consistent team in the NFL. Facing them in Foxboro on a short week seems dooming…except this week. For the first time in a while, the Bellichick Bunch actually look a bit vulnerable, particularly on offense. Tom Terrific doesn’t have Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, or Rob Gronkowski (for now) out there now. Instead, he’s throwing to Michael Hoomanawanui, Josh Boyce, Matthew Slater, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Julian Edelman. The only veteran and NFL household name of the bunch is Edelman. And two of the big play makers for the Pats narrow win against the Bills, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola, won’t be playing Thursday night. This is the perfect opportunity for the Jets to build off their impressive defensive performance against the Buccaneers. But you know Bellichick is brainstorming a way to exploit where the Jets are most vulnerable…their rookie quarterback, Geno Smith.

Expect another big game from TE Kellen Winslow

When: Thursday, September 12, 2013, 8:25 pm, (NFL Network)

Where: Gilette Stadium, Foxboro, MA

Injury Report-

Jets- Out: QB Mark Sanchez (shoulder), DE Quinton Coples (ankle), WR Jeremy Kerley (concussion) Questionable: TE Kellen Winslow (knee), TE Jeff Cumberland (chin), WR Santonio Holmes (foot). Probable: CB Antonio Cromartie (hip)

Patriots- Out: RB Shane Vereen (wrist-Put on short term IR), WR Danny Amendola (groin) Doubtful: TE Rob Gronkowski (back, forearm) Questionable: RB Leon Washington (thigh), RB Brandon Bolden (knee), WR Aaron Dobson (hamstring), TE Zach Sudfeld (hamstring) Probable: RB Stevan Ridley (shoulder)

Game Keys:

Get to Brady (Duh)- Mo Wilkerson said yesterday, “As long as we get to Brady, we’ll be fine.” It’s the games where they’re able to get to Brady in the pocket and rattle him that they take home the W. It’s critical to pressure Brady who has been THE key to New England’s offense for 13 seasons now. He’s a dangerous quarterback and he is 6-3 against the Rex Ryan-led Jets, but he’s not well armed this week as I mentioned earlier.

The rookie and the run game- Belichick is going to have fun scheming how to bring Geno down. He’ll figure out a way to shake him up in a way Greg Schiano didn’t on Sunday. Marty Mornhinweg needs to run a game that won’t put too much pressure on his rookie quarterback. Establishing a running game would certainly do that. The problem is it was basically non-existent against the Bucs. We’re going to need to see more holes open up on the o-line and overall better performances from Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to see a Jets win in the Pats home opener.

Turnovers- Make them happen and don’t let them happen to you. It’s basic. It’s a key to victory every week whether or not we actually write it out. Smith only had one interception last week, which was perhaps a pleasant surprise after his performance against the Giants. The Pats have forced an interception for the past 28 games and we certainly shouldn’t expect the streak to stop now, but keeping the number low is critical. Expect the Pats to get creative on third down to create turnovers for the inexperienced man under center.

X-Factor:

Kellen Winslow- Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller were tight on and off the field and it seems a similar relationship is forming between Smith and Winslow. Winslow, who was a Patriot for one game last season, had a strong debut for the Jets last Sunday, catching 7 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Look for him to, again, be Smith’s go-to man.

The Pick: My gut is very much saying the Jets are going to pull off a stunner. The Pats are 12.5 point favorites. That’s just not going to happen, especially with New England’s depleted offense. If the Jets don’t get the win, the Pats margin of victory won’t be that vast as long as their defense remains solid. I see this game being another step in proving they shouldn’t be last place in the power rankings.

Jets: 24-21

Watch The Green and White Breakdown: Week 2

The Other Davis

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Florham Park, NJ – There are two Davis’ in the locker room. Demario Davis wears number 56 and Troy Davis sports number 58. The two Jets are both 6’2 and play linebacker. They can be easily confused. The difference: Demario had an impressive game on Sunday and Troy doesn’t hit the field at MetLife because the rookie out of Central Florida is on the practice squad. Still mix-ups happen and Davis feels a bit embarrassed when it does. “Someone told me good job on the sack yesterday,” Troy Davis said. They were obviously referring to Demario’s sack on Josh Freeman during the Jets win over the Bucaneers. He said it’s awkward “if someone congratulates me and I get someone else’s compliment.”

No, we're not talking about this guy.

Not sure how many compliments T. Davis is going to get from teammates and Jets fans on the NY Giants logo he has tattooed on his arm. I poke a little fun at the notion of him having the loyalty he possess for the cross city rivals permanently inked to his body. T. Davis insists multiple times it’s just to represent home. He grew up in Jamacia, Queens. “The Giants weren’t even my team. Fact!” Davis said, “I wasn’t really into the NFL growing up. I was more into college football. In college I started paying more attention to the NFL.”

Who knows why he didn’t get an Empire State Building tattoo instead?!

“My sophomore year, my coach asked me, ‘What if you go to the Jets?’” Davis said. “And I was like, ‘What’s the likelihood of me going to the Jets?’ Two years later, I’m here.”

He’s here at home and happy. “It’s a great feeling,” Davis said. “All my family is still up here and they’re really proud of me. Plus it’s a great organization to be a part of. Rex is a defensive guru and I play defense, so it worked out for the best.”

I’m still not completely buying the “it represents my city” alibi. Davis points to fellow practice squader Rontez Miles who has a Pittsburgh Steelers tattoo on his right arm. However, Miles doesn’t deny his fandom.

In his teens he always rooted hard for the University of Miami, but then he was accepted to play football at Central Florida and now it’s a different story. When asked if he watched the Miami game on Saturday, he said, heated up, “I ain’t watch them! I don’t like Miami no more! We’re rivals!”

I ask my go-to lighthearted locker room question. Which of your teammates would most likely figure out their way off a deserted island and save you from a life as Tom Hanks in Castaway? Davis’s eyes scan the locker room back and forth in a semi-circle. I like how much thought he’s putting into this question. “Well I want to make sure it’s someone creative,” Davis said. He finally comes to a conclusion. “Dave Harris. He’s a seasoned and intelligent man. I have a lot of confidence he’d get us off.”

If he puts as much effort into this season as he did that question, I have faith he can manage his way onto the roster. Who knows, the next compliment he gets might actually be meant for him.

Post-Game Breakdown: Jets v. Bucaneers

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit analyze the Jets 18-17 win over the Tampa Bay Bucaneers.

Green and White Breakdown: Week 1

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Before tomorrow’s first regular season game against the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, check out the second episode of The Green and White Breakdown with JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit. They discuss the keys to success and how the Jets will stand against Vegas odds.