Archive for October, 2011

Mangold Full Go at Practice

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.- Without Nick Mangold the Jets offensive line was a horrid mess, but once the All-Pro center returned the offensive line steadily improved to get back on track and it’s hardly a coincidence that the Jets won two of their three games since Mangold’s return. After a few straight weeks of playing with limited practice reps Mangold has good news for Jets fans, he’s well rested, healed and back to full go at practice.

With a healthy enough to play, but not practice, Mangold the Jets offensive line got back to protecting Sanchez and opening holes for Shonn Greene, now that they have Mangold back at 100 percent things should continue to improve as this offensive line starts to gel and get in a rhythm of their own. And the Jets will need Mangold at his best as well as they need the line to be a cohesive unit if they want to continue their winning ways in these next few weeks. With a road trip up to Buffalo to face the surprising Bills and a home game against the hated Patriots a week later (and the Bills again just two weeks after the Pats) nothing will come easy to this Jets team and they will need to be clicking on all cylinders in order to emerge from this stretch of games in pole position for the division. Which is a very real possibility thanks to the Steelers knocking off the Patriots yesterday and bringing the Jets to within a game of the division lead. (more…)

Game Balls All Around

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.- Just two weeks ago the Jets season seemed to be spiraling out of control. Fans were sending out their ‘the sky is falling’ warning signals and many members of the media were gloating about how Rex Ryan had ‘lost’ his team and his ‘big mouth’ was going to be the end of the Jets 2011 season. But a funny thing happened in these last two weeks, the Jets did what they always seem to do when Ryan is their coach, they bounced back when their backs were against the wall and everyone had counted them out and they now head into the bye week coming off two straight victories and just barely on the outside looking in on the playoff race with a record of 4-3 (Buffalo would be the final wildcard team if playoffs started today with a 4-2 record and the Raiders currently hold the tiebreaker over the Jets at 4-3 would be the seventh placed team).

4-3 is not exactly the record Ryan and his players, nor their fans, had expected at this point in the season, but it’s what they have to work with and they seem determined to make it enough. A loss to the Chargers wouldn’t have been the end to the Jets season, but it certainly would have put them on the doorstep of failure. (more…)

Tension Calmed, But Issues Remain For Jets

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.- They say winning cures everything and they’re absolutely correct, but like anything else the cure is hardly permanent. After a week of stories about locker room turmoil and dysfunction among the ranks all that quickly fades to the background following the win over the Dolphins. The bickering and finger pointing has stopped, for now at least, and the players are once again feeling good about themselves after earning a hard fought victory, but some serious issues remain a thorn in the Jets side and need to be fixed somehow, someway.

There are many issues to choose from, some old, some new, but problems just the same. Slow starts, third down efficiency, inconsistent quarterback play are all problems that have plagued this team for three years now, but even worse there are other problems popping up that are proving to be just as troublesome. The offensive line, which had been the foundation of this team the past two years has been shaky all season long, and although they did just put together their best performance of the season it’s still a fair question to wonder if they can right themselves before the season is over. With the offensive line having problems, not only is Sanchez negatively impacted, but so is the running game, which has been another staple of a Rex Ryan coached Jets team. And to top it all off the Jets defense is giving up far too many big rushing plays as the team is having trouble setting the edge and stopping running backs from beating them around the perimeter of the lines. (more…)

Jets Get Much Needed Win Over Dolphins, 24-6

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

East Rutherford, N.J.- “We needed a win in the worst way. We’re just happy that we found a way to get one.” (c) Rex Ryan.

Coming off a three game losing streak and faced with a 2-3 record the Jets absolutely needed a win in the worst way. With the Bills losing on Sunday and the Raiders losing their quarterback for a few weeks with a broken collarbone the door had been cracked back open to give the Jets playoff hopes new life. A loss against the winless Dolphins would have likely ended any hope the Jets would have had about making the playoffs, but with a win tonight and a chance to make it two in a row against the Chargers next week the Jets find themselves right in the thick of things as far as the AFC Wildcard is concerned.

WR Santonio Holmes does the "Met Life Leap" celebrating a TD during the Jets win over Miami. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

All’s well that ends well and all that jazz, but things certainly didn’t start well for the Jets on offense. The Jets won the coin toss and Rex Ryan decided to shake things up by electing to receive the opening kickoff. With hopes of getting the offense off to a fast start no doubt, but to no avail as the Jets offense once again stumbled out of the gate. Through the Jets first four possessions their best offense was Darrelle Revis as he intercepted Matt Moore, who repeatedly challenged the league’s premier corner and paid for it on this play, in the end zone and did his best Deion Sanders impersonation as he scampered for a 100 yard return and six points giving the Jets all the points they would need as they took a 7-3 lead with just under six minutes left in the first quarter.

“He (Brandon Marshall) ran a double post. Brandon cut in front of me and he kind of tripped a little bit.” Revis said of the game-changing play, “I kind of moved out of the way and the ball was right there. I started running, made one cut, I saw daylight and I just kept running.”

The offense would finally get their act together and if you guessed it was on the last drive before the end of the first-half then you win for selecting the most obvious answer. Four straight drives, four straight three-and-outs as the Jets offense looked like it was the 0-4 team in the middle of a ‘Suck For Luck,” campaign. The slow starts and overall ineptitude of the Jets offense to start games is still beyond head-scratching, but once they finally got the ball rolling tonight they were able to build on it and pick up steam as they continued on to bury the Dolphins, with a big helping hand from the Dolphins own ineptness.

After the game Ryan said, “It took us a little time again, but once we got going we’re hard to stop.” And that’s exactly what happened.

With 6:54 left in the half and the Jets holding onto a 7-6 lead despite the fact that they had only gained 10 total yards on offense at this point, Sanchez finally got his act together and put together a solid 11 play, 81 yard drive capped off by a quarterback draw for a five yard touchdown as Sanchez dove head first into the end zone. Sanchez got off to a shaky start, a bad read here and badly overthrown ball there and the offense couldn’t stay on the field, but on this last drive of the half Sanchez was throwing darts and spreading it around the field. The play calls had the Dolphins off balance and the Jets capitalized, but even more importantly they kept the momentum going into the second half.

In the second half the Jets came out and put together another long drive to tack on a field goal to start the half and they continued to have sustained drives that not only got them some yards and more points but also kept the Dolphins offense on the sidelines, which ironically was probably a good thing for the Dolphins as they were able to move the ball with some success early but continued to find ways to hurt themselves as the Jets defense clamped down on them. The offense may have finally woken up, but make no mistake this game was won because of the defense, specifically Revis and his two interception.

The Jets now stand at 3-3 and with the Chargers coming to town next week the Jets know they have to be ready to bounce back quickly in this short week. This win feels great for now, but all this joy can be easily forgotten if followed by a loss next week. But a win and all of a sudden the Jets will head into their bye week at 4-3 and in prime position to close out the regular season just like they had originally hoped they would.

“Losing three in a row is tough for us, something we’re not used to.” Dustin Keller said after the game, “It seems like the last few years we’ve had a situation like that, we lose a few in a row and we’ve done a good job responding and coming back. So hopefully that’s the start of that.”

Game Notes:

With all the “turmoil” surrounding the team in the last week, specifically the minor disagreement between Brandon Moore and Santonio Holmes the Jets quickly moved passed that drama as Ryan, flashing his flair for the dramatic, named Moore and Holmes team captains for the game. After the game Ryan said, “That was just a coincidence (joking). I talked to both of them. We had to get some things off our chests, but I can assure you that we’re together. That’s the important thing.

“When you look at it, losing three (straight) games in this league is tough. Things like this happen in every locker room. The difference is I think we’re open. Maybe it’s noticed more from our end, but we’re moving past that thing. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but that’s the way it goes. We’re chasing a much bigger thing than that.”

Ryan said they decided to pull Nick Mangold at the end of the day, purely as a precautionary measure and he will be fine for Sunday and Antonio Cromartie had to leave the game with a pulled groin, but Ryan said he anticipates he’ll play no matter what considering it’s the Chargers coming up next week. After the game Cromartie gave a quick and emphatic, “I’m alright. I’ll be fine (for next week).” to reporters on his way out of the locker room.

Twitter Tells Kerley It’s His Turn

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.-  For Jermey Kerley last night started out as a regular Tuesday night in the life of an NFL rookie, but around 10:00 p.m. all that changed when he went on Twitter. Today Kerley told a group of reporters huddled around his locker room that he found out about the Derrick Mason trade from Twitter, just like everyone else. He didn’t believe it at first he saying, “You can’t believe everything on Twitter,” but approximately 30 minutes later Kerley received confirmation on not only the trade, but also on the faith the Jets brass has in him when GM Mike Tannenbaum called the talented young rookie to tell him of his promotion.

Tannenbaum informed Kerley that Mason had in fact been traded and then asked if he was ready to step up as the Jets slot receiver, to which Kerley simply said, “Definitely.”

“Camp was tough and I got through that and I feel like it helped me out.” Kerley told the reporters today, “I’m definitely ready.” (more…)

Good News, Bad News

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Florham Park, N.J. – After following up the last two weeks with another loss to the Patriots, I can think of only one direction to go from here. That direction is the Good News, Bad News game.

The good news is the Jets showed some signs of life and looked like a legitimate NFL team for the first time in six quarters of football, the bad news of course is they weren’t good enough to beat the hated Patriots and prevent a three game losing streak. The Jets played good enough to beat probably about 85 percent of the league yesterday, but they didn’t play the bottom 85 percent yesterday. They played the Patriots and they didn’t play a perfect enough game to emerge victorious. (more…)

Preview: Jets (2-2) at Patriots (3-1)

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.- With the Yankees now having joined the Red Sox on vacation, we are left with the Jets and the Patriots carrying the torch for the New York/Boston rivalry until the spring. Since Bill Belichick ditched the Jets and took off for New England the Patriots had dominated the Jets to the point of the match-up being unworthy of an actual rivalry, but since Rex Ryan has taken over the Jets, the rivalry has been rekindled. While the Patriots have finished with a better regular season than the Jets these past two seasons, it has been the Jets making it further into the postseason both years with the Jets sending the Patriots packing in the playoffs last season.

Think of the Patriots as a classic example of a team built to roll through the regular season with ease only to face unconquerable obstacles in the playoffs if you’d like, but remember this is still a regular season game which makes this task of ending their two game losing streak that much tougher for the Jets. (more…)

Rex Ryan Needs to Channel His Inner Avon Barksdale

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.- “Yeah, I ain’t no suit-wearing businessman like you. You know I’m just a gangsta I suppose… And I want my corners.” (c) Avon Barksdale

See the game has changed, whether we’re talking about the drug game that Avon Barksdale and Stringer Bell discuss in the greatest television series in the history of time, “The Wire,” or we’re talking about the way NFL teams run their offense. For those unfamiliar with “The Wire,” in this scene I’m referencing Avon is the kingpin in the city of Baltimore and Stringer is his business-minded number two. Stringer, fresh out of business class, is trying to convince Avon to adapt with the times. He tries to sell Avon on the idea that the days of drug dealers having to worry about territory and “corners,” are over, there’s too much collateral damage that can be avoided with that old school mentality in this new world of the present. But Avon doesn’t want to hear anything about making business deals and remaining low key, he is who he is and even though he can see the merit in some of what Stringer is saying, he still wants his “corners.” (more…)

The Schottenheimer Problem

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Florham Park, N.J.- I should start this article off by explaining that I am normally not one to blame all of the problems of a struggling offense on the offensive coordinator. I’m a big subscriber in the belief that the players on the field are usually the ones to blame for a struggling offense and there’s no escaping this reality as a part of the reason this particular Jets offense continues to have problems.

The offensive line has been a disaster so far this year, which has led to a poor rushing attack and little time to allow Sanchez to throw the ball more than five-yards down the field. And Sanchez himself still needs to become more consistent and avoid momentum killing turnovers, but there was a particular quote from Brian Schottenheimer that struck me as rather disturbing. (more…)