Rex & Mornhigweg See Improvement in Geno

November 29th, 2013

Geno getting fewer shots at the long passes

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 The plan was to move away from the out-of-date, Rex Ryan adored, ground-and-pound.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.”

Green and White Breakdown: Jets v. Dolphins

November 29th, 2013

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.

Green and White Breakdown: Jets @ Ravens

November 22nd, 2013

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.

Jets Can’t Lay Eggs, Ravens Can

November 22nd, 2013

Can Geno and the offense redeem themselves after last week?

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.

Preview: Jets (5-5) @ Ravens (4-6)

November 22nd, 2013

Ed Reed could be the x-factor against his former team.

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)

Game Keys:

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

Green and White Breakdown: Jets @ Bills

November 15th, 2013

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.

Preview: Jets (5-4) v. Bills (3-7)

November 15th, 2013

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.

Holmes and the receiving gang are back!

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)

Game Keys:

-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

They’re always surprising us…

November 8th, 2013

Did you know Demario...?

We’re midway through the season and if you’ve read my articles, you know I like to approach my stories from a more personal angle. Before talking football with the Jet I’m interviewing, I like warming them up with some light-hearted questions that’ll help me and our readers get to know the player beyond the field. I hear interesting stories and fun facts about the guys in green that would be too random to throw into a story, so I thought I would use the bye week as an opportunity to share some of those tidbits.

-Willie Colon has a tattoo of Scar from the Lion King. Why? “Because I’ve always been the bad brother.”

-Demario Davis met his wife during his senior year of college. She strategically waited to leave the classroom when he would in hopes he would talk to her. He said he knew she wanted to talk to him. He admitted that thought was “conceited and arrogant.”  The day after they met he took her to get her car’s oil changed and knew she was “the one” saying, “I was like, ‘I have to have this woman.’”

-Austin Howard and Josh Bush both produce music in their free time and they hope to collaborate on a song and play it for the other Jets in the locker room as pump up music.

-David Nelson has 22 adoptive kids in Haiti who he supports through his charitable “I’m Me” organization. He was Tim Tebow’s roommate in college. Nelson says he’s “most likely to look like some guy that you can’t put your finger on.”

-Tommy Bohanon’s celebrity crush is Mila Kunis…but then…who doesn’t have a crush on her?

-Mike Goodson favorite hobby outside of football is roller-skating…like on four-wheels.

-Brian Winters says the high he gets running onto the field at MetLife doesn’t even come close to the intense natural high he gets hunting deer. He’s already been to Woody Johnson’s farm multiple times to go hunting with him and some of his coaches.

-Sheldon Richardson loves the video game NBA 2K. If he wasn’t a football player, he’d want to be a basketball player. (This was many Jets “fallback” career.)

-Darrin Walls is known as the “best dressed” on the team. His favorite store is Zara.

-Antonio Cromartie and D’Brickashaw Ferguson lead the Jets weekly Bible study.

-Jeff Cumberland has a tradition of going to CVS the night before a game to get Red Bulls, White cheddar Cheese-Its, and Goldfish to eat during meetings.

-Leger Douzable goes home to Brooklyn once a week for his mama’s home cooking. His favorite is her macaroni and cheese. (A favorite food amongst many Jets.)

-Troy Davis has a New York Giants tattoo. (I included this in an article, but I’m reiterating it.)

-Jaiquawn Jarrett makes sound effects that coincide with what’s going on on the field, particularly when a teammate flubs up.

If you have any other off-topic/non-football related questions you’d like me to ask the Jets, please suggest them!

The Pattern Continues…Jets Beat the Saints 26-20

November 3rd, 2013

East Rutherford, NJ – You’re daydreaming about the playoffs again, right? I told you you would be at this time. I’m going to quote myself. In last week’s game recap, I said, “If the team follows suit, they’ll have an awesome last minute win next week. Around 4:00 pm next week, those daydreams about the playoffs will reemerge.”

Chris Ivory shines in win against his former team

Ok, there’s my pat on my own back moment. Now I’ll continue. The Jets took down the Saints today 26-to-20. I don’t know about you, but it felt like they won by more. Maybe it was the crowd noise, or the explosiveness of Chris Ivory, or the return of the defensive line that made the Jets seem so dominant. The important thing is that the Jets are going into the bye with a 5-4 record and have a solid chance at making a playoff run.

“It was huge,” Willie Colon said. “You want to go into a bye week with momentum. After getting our butts kicked in Cincinnati, something had to turn around.”

Let’s start off with the offense. By the numbers Geno didn’t have a fab game. He completed 8 passes on 19 attempts and racked up only 119 passing yards. But it didn’t look that way, because he protected the football and didn’t allow any interceptions. It’s his second game this season turnover free. Mornhinweg was being conservative with the game plan and that made a difference as well.

“The thing I was really proud of was that he didn’t force anything,” Rex said following the game. “He never really forced the issue. He had one throw that he really forced and other than that he was like, ‘Nah, I’m gonna throw it away.’ He’s not worried about stats. He’s worried about wins.”

Chris Ivory was killin’ it running for 139 yards, which isn’t an astronomical number, but it was all pretty explosive. He was traded from the Saints in the off-season for a 4th round pick. New Orleans was probably wincing at that decision during this game.

Ivory wouldn’t admit that the win meant more because it was against his former team. “You guys want me to say that [this game meant more], but that’s just not how it feels,” Ivory said. “I really look at it just like another game.”

It was classic ground and pound for the Jets in the third Ryan Brothers showdown. (Rex has won every time. The Ryan Bowl is much more worthy of a tough fight than the Snoopy Bowl * Rolls eyes *)

The Saints don’t have the finest run defense and the Jets took advantage. They managed the win completely out-passed. The Saints had 366 net yards passing, while the Jets had only 140.

“He had that go-go juice today,” Sheldon Richardson said on Ivory’s performance. “He was moving today. [He] couldn’t be brought down, I’m glad for him, it was [against] his old team. He had a statement to make and he made it.”

After the game, Geno spoke about how much easier his job is when the run game is running smoothy. “Not only are we not in third-and-long situations, but it’s wearing down the defensive line,” he said.

With Kellen Winslow,  Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, and Jeff Cumberland out of the game (and Stephen Hill targeted only once), most of the guys catching the ball today weren’t on the Jets roster as of Week 1. Greg Salas, Zach Sudfeld, Josh Cribbs and David Nelson stepped up and performed rather well. They combine for 7 catches and 128 yards.

We still don’t know where the Jets defense was in last week’s 40-point loss against the Bengals, but thank goodness they’ve returned. Dee Milliner had probably his best game of the season. His effort seemed more present than usual having 4 tackles, 2 assists, and an almost interception.

In fact, the entire secondary came to play. Even when Brees had time to throw it seemed he could never find an opening, often trying to fit the ball in tight windows.

The result? Drew Brees was intercepted twice. Once by Demario Davis and again by Antonio Cromartie. The Saints were never down by even as much as ten points, but could only muster two field goals in the second half. Brees accumulated 382 passing yards, but that was on 51 attempts for 7.5 ypa, a full yard below his season average. He also failed to complete 60% of his passes for only the second time all season.

Papa Buddy Ryan must have been proud to see how confused the Saints offense looked. They were forced to use three time outs in the first quarter alone.

Richardson noticed Brees being uncomfortable in the pocket. “We knew he had trouble seeing over the line,” he said. “It showed. It seemed like the first couple of series he was looking over the offensive line.”

Wilkerson agreed. “We knew he’s a short quarterback and we knew, obviously, he’s an elite quarterback and getting him off his mark would get him rattled,” he said. “And I think we did that, getting pressure on him, hits, sacks, and overthrows and batted balls. Credit to the whole defense for being disruptive.”

In conclusion, the Jets as a whole are still inconsistent, but Nick Folk is still perfect.

Green v. White Breakdown: Jets v. Saints

November 1st, 2013

JetsInsider.com reporters Ashley Iaconetti and Evan Slavit breakdown what to expect from the Jets when the Saints come marching in.