Archive for October, 2009

INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – To say that the New York Jets are amped up for their rematch with the Miami Dolphins in the Meadowlands on Sunday would be a severe understatement.  They want to play right now.

“This is one that we really probably don’t have to wait until Sunday to play,” said head coach Rex Ryan in his news conference with the media this afternoon.

“I mean, we do have to, but both teams know each other well.  It’s been only a couple weeks, so I’m sure they could have scheduled this game earlier and both of us would have signed up for it.”

“I’m one of the few guys that have the guts to admit it, that absolutely I want to play this game again.  I wanted to play it three seconds after the first one.”

The Jets are jacked up for their rematch against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The Jets are jacked up for their rematch against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“The attitude in this locker room is that’s a game we should’ve won,” said receiver Braylon Edwards.  “That’s a game that we know we could have won.  So, going in there and not getting it done, it hurt these guys. “

“We’re ready, we’re more than ready.  We’ll play today, we’ll play tomorrow, we’ll play wherever.  But I think we feel good this time around, playing again and correcting all the minor things.”

It was just two short weeks ago that the Jets were handed arguably their toughest loss of the season in Miami on Monday night.  In the 31-27 loss, Miami used their famed Wilcat formation to perfection 16 times, gaining 110 yards with the set.

The Jets had no answer for the Wildcat, which was instrumental in three touchdown drives, including the Dolphins’ final score which came with ten seconds left in the game.

Gang Green was also done in by Miami QB Chad Henne.  Henne had a breakout game on the national stage, completing 20 of 26 passes for 241 yards with two touchdowns.  Several Jets, including Rex Ryan, admitted that they made the second-year quarterback “look like Dan Marino”.

Jets defensive end Sean Ellis believes that in order to shut down the Wildcat this time, the defense needs to focus on fundamentals.  “It’s just mainly about making the tackles, said Ellis.

“That game we had way too many missed tackles.  Up front, we’ve got to get off the block.  It’s just one of those things; it’s a tough nine on seven game.  It’s a running game with the Wildcat.  Yeah, they may pass out of it, but it’s mainly a run game.  If up front, we handle our responsibilities, the outside guys will handle theirs.”

So is revenge perhaps a fish that is best served cold?  Safety Kerry Rhodes seems to think so.

“We definitely owe ‘em one,” said Rhodes.  “We’re looking at this game as a payback game, there’s no secret about it.  We wanna come out and get them.”

INSIDER TIDBITS

Miller-time part deux

While the season-ending injury to Leon Washington hurts the Jets in several areas, one area that may not suffer too much is the return game.  Justin Miller, who the Jets brought back yesterday, offers a more than adequate replacement for the explosive Washington, who has given Gang Green superb field position all year, averaging 24 yards per kickoff return.

Justin Miller was back, practicing with the Green and White on Wednesday, this time wearing a number 32 jersey, instead of the 22 he wore during his last stint.  Miller seemed more than happy to be back in town.

“It’s great to be back,” said Miller.  “I definitely missed New York.  I missed the guys I was playing with.  But you understand this is part of a business that you go through and it’s just a blessing being back with these guys.”

Miller, a second round selection of the Jets in 2005, quickly burst onto the scene as one of the league’s deadliest return men.   In 2006, the 5-foot-10, 195 pound specimen with next-level speed and acceleration earned a Pro Bowl spot after posting over 1,300 return yards with two touchdowns.

However, the former Clemson Tiger suffered a rather quick fall from grace.  Miller suffered a season-ending knee injury in early 2007.

In May of 2007, he was arrested and charged with third-degree assault after he allegedly punched a woman in a New York City.  In early 2008, the Jets released Miller, in order to make room on the roster for the comeback tour of cornerback Ty Law.

Ryan indicated in his news conference that Miller looked solid in practice and should be ready to go for Sunday.   However, he made it clear that Miller will not be ready to get any reps in the secondary.

“He doesn’t know the system,” said Ryan.  “The first week, we’ll probably leave it up to the other guys (in the secondary).  But moving forward, I want to see what the guy can do. “

J-Co ready to go

With the bye-week approaching, and his hamstring still not totally 100-percent, one theory is that the intelligent move would be to rest Jerricho Cotchery again Sunday, so that he can have two weeks off and then come back strong in Week 10.  The sure-handed receiver begs to differ.

Cotchery, who was limited during today’s practice, made it clear that he’ll be ready to play, come game time Sunday.  “I’m ready to go man,” he said.   “It’s not anything where I’m trying to take baby-steps or anything like that.  I feel good.  I’m ready to go, bye week isn’t even on my mind.”

That’s outstanding news for quarterback Mark Sanchez who hasn’t had his receiving core at full strength since the Week 4 loss at New Orleans.

Sanchez expressed that it’s comforting to finally have both of his big time receivers, Edwards and Cotchery at his disposal.  “It’s a great comfort level,” said Sanchez.  “This is great; we’re going to be almost back to full strength in the passing game.  So, I think it’s going to help everyone out.”

JETS-RAIDERS: Previewing the Battle in the Black Hole

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

No more media circus, no more bandwagon, no more Super Bowl predictions.

With the media honeymoon over and the talks of “Same old Jets” mounting, the Jets find themselves with their backs up against the wall in their Week 7 showdown in Oakland.

The 2-4 Raiders are by no stretch of the imagination a juggernaut, but are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 13-9 defensive beat-down of the Philadelphia Eagles.

With their confidence brimming, they present a dangerous task for a Jet team in dire need of a win, by any means necessary.

Losers of three in a row, a fourth-straight loss could spell doom for this Jet bunch, and start the dramatic downward spiral of a once promising, 3-0, 2009 campaign.

The Jets need a strong bounce-back performance from rookie Mark Sanchez on Sunday (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The Jets need a strong bounce-back performance from rookie Mark Sanchez on Sunday (JetsInsider.com Photo)

KEYS TO VICTORY FOR GANG GREEN

1) Run, run, run

For the second straight week, the Jets face a defense that has struggled mightily to stop the run.  Combine that with the fact that the coaching staff said they will attempt to simplify things for quarterback Mark Sanchez, and the gameplan is pretty obvious; run until you can’t run anymore.  Expect a heavy dose of Thomas Jones (210 rushing yards last week against the Bills) and Leon Washington, early and often.

Jones acknowledges that this West Coast affair is a high stakes one for the Jets.   “The main goal is that we have to win this game, he said.  “It’s a big game for us, a West Coast game, an away game. It’s definitely one of those games where the team has to come together.”

Establishing the running game early will take the pressure off Sanchez and open up down-field opportunities for WR Braylon Edwards and WR David Clowney.

2) Limit the dumb penalties

In what has been becoming a theme early this season, the Jets committed an atrocious 14 penalties for 96 yards against Buffalo.  In fact, New York ranks fourth in the league, with 44 penalties in only six games.

As they found out last Sunday, penalties can be particularly taxing in the key moments of ball games.  Especially when going up against an inferior opponent.  The Jets need to limit the stupid mistakes against this Raiders team, which will look to capitalize on them.

3) Sanchize, not Broadway Schmo

The play of Mark Sanchez has been an accurate barometer of the Jets’ success this season.  In Jet losses, Sanchez has been putrid, completing 45 percent of his throws with eight picks and a pathetic 26.5 QB rating.  Two of the Jets’ three losses can be placed squarely on the rookie’s shoulders as he has struggled with ball security issues, bad throws and even worse reads.

The question of which Mark Sanchez will show up Sunday, will ultimately decide the game for the Jets.  If the Sanchez who showed great poise and made accurate throws in wins against Houston and New England shows up Sunday, the Jets will prevail.

If his turnover-prone alter ego, “Broadway Schmo”, is in attendance, it could be a long day for Gang Green, in a game that could very well define the direction the rest of this season heads.

4) Hire the Clown

Making his first career start against Buffalo last week, David Clowney didn’t see one ball come his way.  Sanchez appeared to be force-feeding balls the way of Braylon Edwards, and that came back to bite him on several occasions.

With Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith out for the second-straight week, the Jets need to find a way to get the talented Clowney more involved.  The six-foot speedster has shown he can produce when given the chance.  Against Miami two weeks ago, Clowney hauled in four receptions for 74 yards, including a 53-yarder.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer needs to utilize the down-field speed of Clowney on more go routes.  This would prevent the Oakland defense from keying in on Edwards and Dustin Keller.

5) Pressure, pressure, pressure

Pressure will be the name of the game for the Jet defense, which needs to find a way to get to Oakland QB JaMarcus Russell.  Russell has shown to struggle when faced with a strong pass rush and been apt to make mistakes.

Gang Green needs to take a page out of the Giants playbook, who were able to keep constant pressure on the young quarterback, sacking him six times while forcing three fumbles.

The Jets cannot let this struggling offense get comfortable and gain confidence early, with their raucous crowd behind them.  The tone needs to be set from the start on the defensive side of the ball.

Prediction

The Cali sunshine will prove to be the perfect medicine for Mark Sanchez.  The rookie has a bounce-back game, throwing for at least two touchdowns.  On the other side of the ball, the Jet defense will frustrate JaMarcus Russell, forcing a variety of turnovers and mistakes from the former number-one overall pick.  The Jets bounce back from their worst loss of the season and snap their three-game losing streak, as the running game propels them to an easy victory in the Black Hole: Jets 24, Raiders 10

INSIDER TIDBITS

Matchup history

The Raiders host the Jets for the second straight time on Sunday, and the ninth time in fifteen seasons.  Historically, Gang Green has had their share of problems against the Silver & Black.  Oakland holds the series advantage, posting a 20-14-2 all-time record against the Jets.

Last time they met…

The Raiders handed the Jets one of their worst losses of the 2008 season, defeating New York, 16-13 in an overtime affair.  In that game, the Raider defense caused three fumbles and two interceptions from Jets QB Brett Favre (Hmm..Turnovers from a Jets quarterback?  Sounds familiar). Sebastian Janikowski’s franchise-record 57-yard field goal gave Oakland the win with 2:30 remaining in overtime.  The Polish Powderkeg’s boot was the longest to win a game in overtime in NFL history.

Injury Report:  Jets paper-thin at wideout

The Jets will be without receivers Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) and Brad Smith (quad) for the second straight week.  WR David Clowney will make his second-straight start, in Cotchery’s absence.

CB Lito Sheppard aggravated his quad injury during last weeks’ game against Buffalo and will not play Sunday.  Gang Green will also be without special teams players James Ihedigbo and Marques Murrell, who were benched by head coach Rex Ryan and will not be with the team in Oakland, following their on-field altercation with Buffalo TE Derrick Fine last Sunday.

CB Donald Strickland, who has been sidelined with a nagging quad injury since Week 3, is expected to play Sunday.  The same goes for OT Damien Woody (knee, foot) who was limited during Friday’s practice.

The Raiders have listed LB Ricky Brown (ankle), G Robert Gallery (fibula), T Cornell Green (calf), RB Darren McFadden (knee), and WR Nick Miller (shin) as out for Sunday’s game.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha (eye), G Cooper Carlisle (ankle), RB Luke Lawton (ankle), and TE Brandon Myers (illness) are listed as probable.   DE Greg Ellis (knee), WR Chaz Schilens (foot) and DE Richard Seymour (illness) are questionable.

Seymour and Myers both missed practice time this week due to flu-like symptoms.  The Jets catch a huge break if Greg Ellis and Richard Seymour are unable to go, as they are both critical parts of Oakland’s pass rush.

INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – There was no beating around the bush Wednesday for Jets head coach Rex Ryan.

“We’re in need of a win bad,” said Ryan.  Damn right they are.

Losers of three straight and coming off an ugly home defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, Sunday’s tilt in the “Black Hole” is a must-win game, in every sense of the term.

Rex Ryan made it no secret Wednesday that the Jets need a win this week in Oakland (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Rex Ryan made it no secret Wednesday that the Jets need a win this week in Oakland (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Weeks ago, the October 25 showdown in Oakland appeared on the calendar as a “gimme” game for Gang Green.  But after losing defensive tackle Kris Jenkins for the season and with the confidence of quarterback Mark Sanchez floundering, Sunday’s game looks like it will be anything but a walk in the park for this Jets team.

The 2-4 Raiders are coming off their most impressive performance of the season, a 13-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.  Sunday, a Raiders defense which was referred to as scrimmage-quality by Giants’ linebacker Antonio Pierce a week before, shut down the high-powered offense attack of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Donovan McNabb and company were limited to 286 yards of total offense and kept out of the end zone all day.  McNabb was sacked six times, as he struggled against the variety of zone coverages and blitzes thrown at him by Oakland defensive coordinator John Marshall.

“I just thought we played with a higher intensity level,” said Raiders DE Richard Seymour in his conference call with the New York media Wednesday.  “In previous weeks, we came out and I don’t think we had the type of energy that we had last week.”

“Obviously Philly likes to throw the football, so we knew we had to come in and get after McNabb.  And it’s just the opposite this week.  We know they’re gonna come in and try to run the football, so we have to be prepared for that.  I’m sure they’ll mix in some play action passes and do some different things.  But I think the message out of there is that they don’t want to put too much on Sanchez’s plate.  Even though he’s a really good young player, they don’t want to overwhelm him at this point.”

While offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will do his best not to overwhelm Mark Sanchez on Sunday, the same can’t be said for the Raiders defense.

Seymour and veteran defensive end Greg Ellis will do their best to create havoc and force more bad decisions from Sanchez.  “We have to come after him early and often,” said Seymour.

Despite being losers of three straight, Rex Ryan believes that the team hasn’t taken a step back and that their goals are still in sight.

“The fact is right now we’re 3-3,” said Ryan.  “We’d feel a lot different if we had won our last three and lost our first three.  But right now we’re still 3-3, at the end of the day.  We still have a chance to accomplish everything we wanted to as a football team.  It’s right in front of us, there are ten games left.”

Right now the Jets need to buckle down and do something they haven’t done in three weeks; win one game.

“For us to get there and to reach those things, we’ve got to win one in a row,” said Ryan.    “Our focus has to be on the Oakland Raiders and that’s it.  You can’t look down the road and make an assumption here or this or that.  You’ve just got to focus on this football game and go out and do whatever you can to win this game.”

INSIDER TIDBITS

Big shoes to fill at nose tackle

With Kris Jenkins on the shelf till 2010, the Jets have an immense void to fill in the middle of their defense.  LB Bart Scott believes that while losing Jenkins hurts right now, it could end up paying dividends down the road.

“It’ll be tough, but that’s football,” said Scott.  “I’ve played with a lot of great players and they’ve went down.  It’s an opportunity for other guys to step up and when you come back next year, it makes the team that much stronger.  You just hope that it doesn’t hurt you this season.”

In 2005 with the Ravens, Bart Scott was one of the “other” guys who stepped up.  When Ray Lewis injured his hamstring early in 2005, Scott was thrust into a starting position for the first time in his career.  Scott did not disappoint, turning in a breakout season with 92 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles.

“I wouldn’t be standing here right now, you guys wouldn’t even care who I was with these microphones, if Ray Lewis didn’t blow his hamstring out in game six in 2005.  I would never have been discovered.  I would never have got an opportunity; I would’ve been labeled as a special teams player.  I always remind those young guys on the practice squad or whatever, that when their opportunity comes, you have to take advantage of it.   So this is an opportunity for a young guy to seize the moment, to become a star, to become a starter to change their stripes.”

Safety Kerry Rhodes is confident that his defensive teammates will rise to the occasion in Jenkins’ absence.

“We’ll have to figure out ways for other players to step up for us,” said Rhodes.  “And we have players that can do it.  Nobody can replace Jenkins but we have guys that are capable of getting it done and being effective for us.”

Injury Update

While wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) and Brad Smith (quad) were dressed during today’s practice, neither participated in team drills.  Braylon Edwards (quad), Shaun Ellis (knee) and Donald Strickland (ankle) were also limited during today’s practice.  Rex Ryan stated that Edwards is receiving treatment on the quad but should be fine for Sunday’s game in Oakland.

Talking to Cotchery after practice, it sounded like he is anything but a sure thing for Sunday.  Jerricho acknowledged that today was “one step” but the team doesn’t want to risk anything with the hamstring.  All indications point to him missing his second straight game this week.

Meanwhile, it appears that CB Lito Sheppard may have aggravated his quad injury during Sunday’s game against Buffalo.  Sheppard, along with OT Damien Woody (knee) took in Wednesday’s practice from the stationary bikes.  Ryan expressed in his news conference that he was “not confident” that Sheppard will go on Sunday

Cotchery, Smith return to practice

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Finally some good news for Gang Green.

Wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith returned to practice this morning.  Both Cotchery (hamstring) and Smith (quad) missed Sundays game against Buffalo, which the Jets lost 16-13.

Meanwhile, OT Damien Woody and CB Lito Sheppard took in practice from the stationary bikes.

More to come…stick with JetsInsider.com for the latest Jets news and notes.

Bills 16, Jets 13: Recap from the Meadowlands

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - 14 penalties, six turnovers, three-for-15 on third down conversions, five interceptions from their rookie quarterback.

Despite all of those horrendous numbers, the New York Jets still had a chance to defeat the Buffalo Bills with 6:37 remaining in overtime.

Taking over with solid field position at their own 46 yard line, Mark Sanchez made his fifth and final mistake of the night, as the rookie was picked off by Buffalo LB Paul Posluszny.

The Posluszny interception set up a game winning 47-yard field goal by kicker Rian Lindell, giving Buffalo the 16-13 victory over the Jets Sunday at Giants Stadium in one of the ugliest football games you will ever see.

Lindell made amends for the 46-yard attempt he missed as time expired in the fourth quarter, evoking memories of Scott Norwood, sending the game to overtime.

The Jets nearly took advantage of Lindell’s missed field goal, winning the toss going into the overtime period and putting themselves in range for a game-winning field goal on their first extra-time possession.  But once again, mistakes did the Jets in.

On second-and-9 from their own 16, Sanchez connected with WR Braylon Edwards for a 22-yard gain.  On the next play, Leon Washington broke off a 33-yard run down the right sideline, putting the Jets in field goal range at the Buffalo 29 yard line.  But once again, the Jets were done in by a costly mistake.

After a run by RB Thomas Jones, put the Jets inside the Buffalo 10 yard line, TE Ben Hartsock was flagged for holding, knocking the Jets  back to the Buffalo 32.  Following an incomplete pass by Sanchez on third down, the Jets lined up for a 50-yard field goal attempt to win the game.  But Jay Feely never even got a chance to kick the ball.

Punter Steve Weatherford botched the hold and took off running with the ball.  Weatherford fired a pass up into the air, intended for Hartsock, that was picked off by Bills safety John Wendling.  Five ugly possessions later, the game was lost.

Sanchez was simply atrocious, turning in what he referred to in his postgame news conference as the worst game of his life and “embarrassing”.

Jets QB Mark Sanchez had his worst day as a pro throwing 5 INTs and finishing with an 8.3 QB rating against the Bills. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Jets QB Mark Sanchez had his worst day as a pro throwing 5 INT's and finishing with an 8.3 QB rating against the Bills. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Sanchez completed only 10 of 29 passes for 119 yards with five interceptions.  Sanchez also lost 16 yards on a sack during a critical drive in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know if I can play any worse,” said a red-eyed emotional Sanchez.  “I just gave that team the win. “

“It was just a poor day accuracy wise, a couple misreads.  I really let this team down and there’s no excuse for that.”

While 30 mile per hour gusts roared through the Meadowlands throughout Sunday’s game, Sanchez refused to blame his poor performance on the cold, windy conditions.

“I don’t think it affected me at all,” said the rookie who posted an eye-popping quarterback rating of 8.3 on Sunday.

“The ball wasn’t slipping out of my hands.  The weather’s not a factor when you make a bad read.  The weather’s not a factor when you miss Dustin (Keller) wide-open over the middle.  There’s a lot to work on, I mean there’s no way I can blame it on the weather.  I really wish I could, but it’s totally my fault and I owe these guys a lot.”

Sanchez made a number of bad throws into double coverage and appeared to try to force too many balls the way of WR Braylon Edwards.  Head coach Rex Ryan revealed in his post-game news conference that he even thought about pulling Sanchez from the game, but decided against it.

“I thought he gives us the best chance to win,” said Ryan.  “I know there were some drops in there and he forced a few throws, but again, I believe in him.  It’s a bad day, but I think he’ll bounce back.”

As bad of a day as it was for Sanchez, it was even worse day for Bills’ QB Trent Edwards, who was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a head injury.

Edwards was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick who threw for 116 yards on 10 of 25 attempts with a touchdown and an interception.

Early on, it looked as though it would be smooth sailing for the Jets offense, which appeared to take over the game in the second quarter.

After a 64-yard dash by Thomas Jones set up a Jay Feely field goal to put the Jets up 6-3, Jones did it again on the next possession.

On first-and-long, Jones broke out again, this time down the left sideline, 71 yards to the end zone, extending the Jets lead to 13-3 with 8:06 remaining in the first half.

Jones finished the day with 210 yards on 22 attempts.  Despite his strong individual performance, Jones stressed that none of that mattered to him on a night like this.

“I don’t really care if I’m back on track,” said the ten-year veteran.  That has nothing to do with the way we feel right now.  We lost.  I could’ve had two yards.  We lost the game.”

After the Jets built a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter, Buffalo rattled off 13 unanswered points en route to their victory.

Offensive tackle Damien Woody also vented his frustrations after the game.  “I feel disgusted,” said Woody.  “We had every opportunity to win this game.  The turnovers and penalties really did us in.  With six turnovers and 14 penalties, that’s how you lose a football game, regardless of the referees.”

Rex Ryan, also visibly upset by his team’s embarrassing performance, says that it’s gut-check time for this Jets team.

“I think the character of this football team is gonna show,” said Ryan.   “I truly believe that, I think we’ll bounce back.  I said that last week, I understand I’ve said it three weeks in a row but I believe it.  I’m confident as heck in this football team.”

INSIDER TIDBITS

Injury Report

Missing from action for the Jets were WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), WR Brad Smith (quadriceps), and CB Donald Strickland (ankle).

NT Kris Jenkins went down in the second quarter with a right knee injury.  Rex Ryan stated that the team will know more about the injury tomorrow.  Jenkins was seen on crutches in the locker room, wearing a soft brace on his right leg.

Feely, Jones makes history

With his first quarter field goal, his 23rd consecutive successful attempt, Jay Feely broke the Jets’ franchise record for consecutive field goals, previously held by Pat Leahy.

Thomas Jones’ 64-yard dash down the right side in the second quarter was one of historic proportions.  Not only was the rush the longest of Jones’ career but was also the longest by a Jet since Adrian Murrell’s 78-yard run in Arizona in 1996.  Then on the next drive, Jones made personal history again, topping his 64-yarder with a 71-yard touchdown run.  Jones’ 210 rushing yards also set a Jets’ franchise record.

Live Blog

For  more on the Jets’ stunning loss to the Buffalo Bills, check out the transcript of Dan Troisi’s live blog from the Meadowlands.

Live Blog: Bills 16, Jets 13

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Greetings from atop the Meadowlands, Jet fans.  I’ll be providing live updates and analysis from the press box at Giants Stadium as the Jets take on the Buffalo Bills in today’s Week 6 matchup.  Kickoff is set for 4:15 so sit tight!

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — 3:35 p.m: Suddenly, the Jets’ loss two weeks ago in New Orleans doesn’t seem all that bad.  The New Orleans offense is absolutely decimating the Giants’ defense right now, 41-17, heading into the fourth.

3:37 p.m: In case you haven’t heard yet, both Brad Smith and Jerricho Cotchery will be inactive for today’s game.  David Clowney will get the start in place of J-Co.

The Jets will catch a break as Bills’ kick returner and human highlight-reel Roscoe Parrish is not active for today’s game.  He did practice this week but was listed on the injury report with a thigh injury.

3:42 p.m: Jets captains for today’s game will be Nick Mangold, David Clowney, Darrelle Revis, Jim Leonhard, and everyone’s favorite new slot receiver–Danny Woodhead.

4:05 p.m: Bills run out of the tunnel to a generous amount of boos.  Guess not too many Buffalo fans made the trip down to the swamp.

4:07 p.m: Jets about to make their grand entrance here on Fan Appreciation Day.  Here come the pyrotechnics.

4:10 p.m: I just got the chills as Darrelle Revis came out of the tunnel with “Empire State of Mind” blaring over the Meadowlands’ speakers.  It’s game time.

4:15 p.m: Buffalo wins the toss and have pulled a Rex Ryan-esque move, opting to defer.  Does anyone ever elect to receive anymore or is that a thing of the past?  Wind is wicked right now inside the stadium.

4:16 p.m: After a series of cutbacks, shimmies and shakes, Leon Washington is forced out at the 19.

4: 20 p.m: Jets go three and out on their first possession.

4:30 p.m: After a holding penalty and a false start penalty, Buffalo’s promising first possession is thwarted.  On third and long, Edward’s check down to T.O. is stopped by Vernon Gholston.  The Bills are forced to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Rian Lindell, to take a 3-0 lead.

4:36 p.m: After a 13-yard run by Leon Washington on first down, the Jets are unable to make anything of their second possession.  Sanchez overthrows Braylon Edwards on third down, unable to convert on third down for the second straight possession.  UPDATE:  The Bills are whistled for too many men on the field, and the Jets take advantage.  On 4th and inches, Thomas Jones grinds for two yards.

4:46 p.m: The Jets convert their first third down of the day as Sanchez completes an 11-yard play action roll-out to Dustin Keller.  Two plays later Leon Washington takes it down the left sideline for 25 yards, bringing the Jets down to the 11-yard line.

4:49 p.m: After falling short on third down, Jay Feely converts his 23rd straight field goal attempt to tie this ballgame up at 3-3 with 35 seconds to go in the first quarter.  With the field goal, Feely breaks the New York Jets franchise record, previously held by Pat Leahy.

4:57 p.m: One quarter in the books here at Giants Stadium.  Pretty mediocre quarter by the Jets who up until the fortunate penalties, made the Bills offense look like the Saints on that first drive.  Lucky to be tied right now.

5:01 p.m: The Jets get their first sack in what feels like forever, as Calvin Pace and David Harris wrap up Trent Edwards on third down.  It’s the teams’ first sack in three games.  Bills are forced to punt on their first possession of the second quarter.

5:09 p.m: Taking over at their own 30, Mark Sanchez wastes no time in giving it right back to the Buffalo Bills.  On the drive’s first play, Sanchez’s pass goes off the fingertips of Braylon Edwards and right into the hands of Bills DB Jairus Byrd.  Bills take over at their own 38 yard line with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

5:14 p.m: Terrell Owens drops a third down pass (his tenth of the season) from Fitzpatrick and is shaken up on the play.  One and half quarters into this game, and Buffalo’s offense is dropping like flies.  Jets take over at their own 9 after the punt.

5:19 p.m: Thomas Jones breaks off a 64-yard run down the right side, the longest of his career, setting the Jets up at Buffalo 20.  “Breaks off” is a loose term as Jones was unable to shake the one defender he needed to beat.  Leon Washington or Shonn Greene most likely would’ve been able to bring that one to the house.  Perhaps T-Jones should ease up on the Muscle Milk.

5:24 p.m: On fourth-and-1 from the 19, the Jets elect to go for it, sort of.  Sanchez attempts to draw Buffalo offsides but is unsuccessful.  The Jets are whistled for a delay of game penalty, setting up a 41-yard field goal attempt for Jay Feely.   Feely connects for the 24th straight occasion, putting the Jets on top 6-3, with 9:39 remaining in the first half.

5:32 p.m: Marshawn Lynch is stopped by big Kris Jenkins on third down, forcing Buffalo to punt for the third straight possession.  After a Braylon Edwards holding penalty, Thomas Jones takes off on his second big run of the day, a 71-yard stampede down the right side.  This time, Jones reaches the end zone, extending the Jets’ lead to 13-3 with 7:31 to go in the half.  Jones must have heard me…

5:37 p.m: A bit of history:  Thomas Jones’ 71-yard run is the longest by a New York Jet since–ready for this name Jet fans–Adrian Murrell’s 78-yard run in Arizona in 1996.

5:40 p.m: Kris Jenkins is down and being attended to by the Jets’ medical staff.  Jenkins left leg appeared to buckle under him on the last play.

5:44 p.m: On third down, Fitzpatrick is hit by Kerry Rhodes and coughs up the football, which is recovered by Jets LB Bryan Thomas.  Buffalo is challenging the ruling on the field that it was a fumble.  Going back to Jenkins, the more I look at that replay, the worse the injury looks.

5:46 p.m: The ruling on the field is overturned, and the play is ruled an incomplete pass. 4:48 remaining in the half as Buffalo punts once again.

5:51 p.m: On second-and-6, Sanchez checks down to Leon Washington who gets to the outside and takes off down the right sideline for 33 yards, down to the Buffalo 48.  Sanchez is unable to connect with Dustin Keller on third down and the Jets are forced to punt.  Buffalo takes over at their own 12 with 2:23 to go in the half.

5:53 p.m: Just got word that Jenkins has a knee injury and his return is “questionable”.

5:58 p.m: Three straight great plays by Darrelle Revis on first, second and third down.  On third down, Fitzpatrick completes a short pass to Owens, but Revis comes off a block to combine for the tackle with Eric Smith.  Owens is knocked back for a four-yard loss and the Bills are forced to punt…again.

6:03 p.m: Dustin Keller drops a third down pass from Sanchez.  However, on the fourth down punt by Weatherford, the ball appeared to hit the foot of Buffalo’s Josh Reed on a bounce and was pounced on by Larry Izzo, just inside the Buffalo 30 yard line.  The play is currently under review.  Also, just got word that Trent Edwards will not return to this game.

6:08 p.m: The ruling on the field stands and the Jets take over at the Buffalo 29.  Mark Sanchez is sacked on 2nd down for a loss of 7 yards and recovers his own fumble.  On third down, Sanchez  hands off to Leon Washington for a gain of six yards, setting up a 44-yard attempt for Jay Feely.  Rushing to beat the halftime clock, Feely’s kick is wide left, snapping his streak of 23 consecutive field goal attempts, and closing the curtain on an UGLY first half of football.

Halftime thoughts: After a promising first possession, the Buffalo Bills offense has proved to be as bad as advertised, amounting for only 119 yards in the first half.  It didn’t help though that Trent Edwards was knocked out of this game early.

The story of this game so far has been the performance of Thomas Jones, who after breaking off runs of 71 and 64 yards, leads the Jets with 154 yards on nine carries and a touchdown, going into the half.  Without the two game-breaking plays by Jones, the Jets offense would be lost. Mark Sanchez has struggled through the windy conditions, completing only 4 of 14 passes for 56 yards with an interception in the first half.

Both teams have shown a severe inability to convert on third down, as they combined for 1 for 14 on third down conversions in the first half.

Also, as I stated earlier the injury to Kris Jenkins does not look good at all.  We haven’t gotten any official word yet but I’d be very surprised if he returned to this game.

6:23 p.m: After Fred Jackson nearly takes the second-half kickoff all the way to the house, Buffalo is whistled for an illegal block in the back.  They’ll start their drive at their own 21.

6:24 p.m: On third-and-4, Terrell Owens drops yet another pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick, sending out the Buffalo punt team.

6:29 p.m: Mark Sanchez’s pass to Dustin Keller is picked off by Bills safety George Wilson, who made an incredible play on the ball.  Buffalo takes over at the New York 43.

6:36 p.m: After a series of runs by Jackson and Lynch, Buffalo brought the ball down inside the Jets 10-yard line.  On third down, Marshawn Lynch was stopped by Kerry Rhodes and Marques Douglas, for a one-yard loss.  A Meadowlands crowd which had been dead for quite some time finally erupted.

6:39 p.m: Lindell’s 25-yard field goal attempt sails through, and the Bills are back on the board for the first time since their opening possession.  Jets lead 13-6, 7:45 to go in the third.

6:44 p.m: Good evening Mr. Edwards.  Braylon makes his first catch of the game, an 8-yard completion on first down with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter.

6:45 p.m: Two plays later, Sanchez makes a terrible throw off his back foot downfield to Braylon Edwards.  The ball is under-thrown into a crowd of Buffalo defenders.  Jairus Byrd makes his second interception of the day.

6:52 p.m: On third down, Fitzpatrick is picked off by Lito Sheppard, but the veteran corner is whistled for illegal contact on the play.  On the very next play, Fitzpatrick completes an 18-yard pass to Corey McIntyre, bringing Buffalo down to the Jet 40-yard line.  Three plays later, Fitzpatrick finds an open Lee Evans who takes the pass 37-yards to the house.  This one’s tied up.

7:00 p.m: Thomas Jones is carrying the Jets on his back right now.  The ten-year veteran caught a 10-yard pass on third down and gained eight yards on the ground on the next play, as the third quarter comes to a close.  The Jets need to keep going to Jones, because Mark Sanchez has been atrocious.

7:03 p.m: Mark Sanchez’s horrendous day continues, as the rookie is picked off for the fourth time today.  This one comes at the hands of Buffalo CB Reggie Corner.  Bills take over at their own 22-yard line.

7:15 p.m: After coming up with another big third down stop, the Jets are pinned inside their own five by Bills punter Brian Moorman.  Huge possession for Gang Green with just over nine minutes remaining.

7:24 p.m: On second down, Mark Sanchez is sacked by Chris Draft for a 16-yard loss, crippling a promising fourth-quarter drive and forcing the Jets to punt with 4:12 remaining.  After Fred Jackson’s 27-yard  return, Buffalo takes over at the Jet 49-yard line.

7: 28 p.m: After a 12-yard completion to Lee Evans, an eight-yard rush by Fred Jackson brings us down to the two minute warning.

7:35 p.m: On a critical third-and-1, Fitzpatrick sneaks up the middle for 2 yards.  This game will come down to a 45-yard Ryan Lindell field goal attempt.

7:36 p.m: Lindell’s kick is wide right and the Jets have new life.   Not sure why Buffalo didn’t try to center the ball for Lindell.  Overtime here we come.  Jets win the toss and will receive.

7:40 p.m: Leon Washington returns the kickoff 26 yards but flags are thrown on the play.  In a bizarre bonehead move, special teamer James Ihedigbo threw a punch and was called for unnecessary roughness on the play.  The Jets were knocked back to their own 15 and Ihedigbo was ejected from the game.

7: 44 p.m: On a fake reverse, Washington runs up the middle and down the right sideline for 33 yards, bringing the Jets down to the Buffalo 29.  Two plays earlier, Mark Sanchez had connected with Braylon Edwards on a 22-yard deep ball.  Edwards made a great grab on another less than stellar throw from the rookie.

7:48 p.m: After a devastating 10-yard holding penalty by TE, Ben Hartsock, the Jets are pushed back to the 32 yard line where Jay Feely is sent on to attempt a 50 yard field goal.  However, Steve Weatherford bobbled the snap and threw the ball up for grabs, turning the ball over on downs.

7:50 p.m: Fitzpatrick’s pass on third down intended for Lee Evans is incomplete.  The Jets will get yet another chance to win this game.

7:53 p.m: After a false start penalty by Dustin Keller, the Jets begin the drive at their own 2.  Sanchez’s pass on third down intented for Keller is incomplete.  After Weatherford’s punt, the Bills take over at their own 45-yard line.

7:56 p.m: On second down, Dwight Lowery steps in front of Lee Evans and intercepts Ryan Fitzpatrick.  The Jets take over at their own 46.

7: 58 p.m: On third down, Mark Sanchez is intercepted by Buffalo’s Paul Posluszny, his fifth pick of the day.

8:05 p.m: Lee Evans makes a phenomenal grab on a sideline ball near the end zone.  It is ruled a catch by the official but the play is under review.  If it stands, Buffalo will have first-and-goal around the two yard line.  Looks like Evans bobbled the ball on the replay, but we’ll see.  3:38 remaining in this one.

8: 07 p.m: Another gift for the Jets.  The call is reversed after it was established that Evans did not have control of the ball.  Buffalo ball on the 33 yard line.

8: 10 p.m: So here comes Ryan Lindell for his second attempt at winning this game.  This one will be a 47-yarder.

8: 11 p.m: Lindell connects.   Buffalo wins, 16-13.

INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – What happens in Miami, stays in Miami.

Two days removed from a disheartening loss to the Dolphins at Landshark Stadium, the New York Jets returned to practice Wednesday, with all eyes looking ahead, not to the past.

Kerry Rhodes feels that the shortened work week has helped the Jets move on from their Monday night stinker (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Kerry Rhodes feels that the shortened work week has helped the Jets move on from their Monday night stinker (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“That thing is in the past, we’re moving on,” said head coach Rex Ryan.  “I hate being negative.  I hate being around negative people.   It’s time to move on.  I know it was an embarrassment and all that kind of stuff but it’s done.  There’s nothing we can do about it now.  Trust me; if we could I would have changed it.”

Safety Kerry Rhodes says the shortened work week has forced the Jets to move on.“I think it was helpful for us, with it being a short week,” said Rhodes.  “We couldn’t really dwell on it.  We went over it and talked about how bad it was, but we can’t dwell on it.”

Nose tackle Kris Jenkins believes that while the team has not totally erased Monday’s disappointment from their minds, they are ready to move on.

“I don’t think that there’s a depressed state,” said Kris Jenkins.  “I don’t think people are unraveling, where they’ve given up hope and thrown in the towel.  I don’t think it’s something like that.  I just think that it’s a situation where guys understand that wasn’t a good thing Monday.  We didn’t do as good of a job as we could’ve and could’ve done a lot of things better.”

“We’ve got to swallow that pill, but now it’s this week and it’s back to the big stakes.”

The pill should easier to swallow when taking a glance at the Jets’ upcoming opponent, the 1-4 Buffalo Bills.

The Bills are an agglomeration of a football team, a franchise in shambles right now.  They have lost three straight games and are coming off an embarrassing home loss to the Cleveland Browns.  Sunday, the Buffalo offense mustered only three points.   The Buffalo Sabres scored more in their Tuesday night tilt against Detroit.

The Bills are averaging only 15.4 points per game, through five games, 26th in the NFL.  They also find themselves at the bottom of the league in total offense, racking up only 290 yards per game.

Buffalo’s offensive ineptitude has been marked by an inability to get the ball to prime-time receiver Terrell Owens.  The six-time Pro Bowler has hauled in only 12 receptions through five games and it is speculated that Buffalo may be entertaining offers for the controversial receiver before next week’s trading deadline.

Despite the recent lack of success by Owens and the rest of the Bills’ offense, cornerback Darrelle Revis and head coach Rex Ryan are not by any means taking the upcoming opponent lightly.

“They’ve got two number ones,” he said.  “T.O. and Lee Evans on the other side.  I’m sure they’re gonna try and air it out.”

“We’ve got a tough task in front of us,” said Ryan.  “I don’t care what their record is, that team is a tough team.  I admire the way they play, they get after it.  They’re a sound fundamental team and they play hard.   They play with a lot of passion.”

“Any time you’ve got an offense with T.O., with Lee Evans, Marshawn Lynch, with Jackson, all those guys, that’s a talented football team.   So they’re gonna explode one day, I just don’t want them to explode on us.”

INSIDER TIDBITS

Injury report

Shaun Ellis (knee), Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring), Brad Smith (quad), and Damien Woody (foot) all rode the stationary bikes at practice.

Ryan noted that Cotchery’s condition hasn’t improved much since Monday and he will most likely miss tomorrow’s practice as well.

The secondary received a lift as both Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland practiced today.  Sheppard said that he will start Sunday, while Strickland rated his chances of playing at “65-35.”

Breakout week for ground attack?

Five weeks into the regular season, the Jets are still struggling to establish any semblance of a running game, which was thought to be one of the team’s strong points heading into the season.  If there is ever an opportunity for the ground game to be jump-started, this is the week.

While the Jets had 138 yards on the ground against Miami on Monday night, 26 of those came from the fake-punt rushes of Steve Weatherford.

To say that Buffalo has struggled to stop the run would be an understatement.  The Bills defense has given up an average of 154.6 rushing yards per game, 29th in the NFL.

Rhodes halts tweeting

Yesterday, Kerry Rhodes announced on his Twitter page that he will be taking a temporary break from tweeting.

Rhodes posted the following on his page Tuesday night:  “Twit fam I’m not gonna tweet for a while maybe that will help us win! Lol sorry to my real followers. Just give me a second.”

The safety refuted the perceived notion that the team had asked him to cut down on the tweeting.  “It’s a personal thing,” said the former All-Pro safety.

“You get tired of hearing some of the stuff on there because some people think they can say stuff that they shouldn’t.  If they see you in person, they wouldn’t say it, but on Twitter they think they’re big and bad.”

More from Bart

In the aftermath of Monday’s loss, a lot has been made in the media about the Jets needing to cut down on their “tough talk” which has become a locker room staple early on in the 2009 season.

Bart Scott made it clear that he wouldn’t take back anything he’s said so far this season.  “I don’t regret anything,” he said.  “I am who I am, and I’m gonna be me.  I mean, I can’t adjust to what other people think I should conform to.  Either you like me or you don’t; frankly I don’t give a s—t”.

Green-Out in the Meadowlands

The Jets will be holding Fan Appreciation Day for Sunday’s game against Buffalo.  As part of the team-sponsored event, the Jets are calling on fans to show up to the stadium decked out in green attire, for a stadium-wide “Green Out”.

The Second Annual Jets Fan Appreciation Day will feature sponsor giveaways, prizes, and other activities.

INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Eighteen mile-per-hour winds roared through the Jets’ practice Wednesday, making conditions difficult as Rex Ryan prepared his team for their Monday night matchup with the Miami Dolphins.  But those gusts paled in comparison to the furious trade winds that came from inside the Jets’ complex earlier this morning.

Earlier this morning, the Jets acquired WR Braylon Edwards from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for WR Chansi Stuckey, LB Jason Trusnik, and a pair of undisclosed draft picks.   It is believed that Cleveland is receiving a third and a fifth round pick from the Jets, but that is yet to be confirmed by either team.

After giving the Jets Mark Sanchez in April the team got another gift from their former coach Eric Mangini y trading them WR Braylon Edwards today.

After giving the Jets Mark Sanchez in April the team got another gift from their former coach Eric Mangini y trading them WR Braylon Edwards today.

Edwards arrived to the Jets’ complex around 2:00 today, greeted by a swoon of handshakes and chest bumps from his new teammates.  Edwards will wear the number 17 jersey with the Jets, as he did in Cleveland.

“First thing, I came in the locker room, there was jokes going on,” said Edwards in his introductory press conference Wednesday.  “A couple of guys cracked on the pants I had on.  Couple of guys made some comments in regards to some other things that were funny.  I think they received me well and I’m happy to be here.”

Edwards brings the Jets the big-time downfield threat the team has been searching for since the departure of Laveranues Coles, following the 2008 season.  Edwards is a 6-foot-3 physical specimen that possesses speed, athleticism, and play-making ability.

His mere presence will no doubt open up the running game as well as opportunities for WR Jerricho Cotchery and TE Dustin Keller.

“I’m a big guy, a physical wideout,” said Edwards.  “Thomas Jones is a great running back.  I can get on those defensive backs on the outside for him.  I can get to those safeties so he can have those big runs.”

“It’s gonna make everyone’s job a lot easier,” said Keller.   He’s gonna draw attention, I don’t think things are gonna be any easier for him, but he’s gonna draw a lot of attention.  I think it’s gonna open things up for other guys.”

“He’s a great receiver, big receiver, who’s obviously proven himself in this league.  Great receiver to be on the other side of Jerricho and I think we have a lot of weapons on this offense now.  At the same time, it’s tough to see Chansi Stuckey go, just because he’s a great teammate.  He knows the offensive line; he’s a very good player.  The guys upstairs are gonna make the best moves for this team and our goal this year is to win a Super Bowl.  We definitely think that he can come out and help us do that.”

Safety Kerry Rhodes knows a thing or two about receivers, going up against the league’s toughest wide-outs on a weekly basis.  Rhodes talked about the matchup problems that Edwards will create for opposing defenses.  “In one-on-one coverage he can’t really be stopped,” he said.  “Even against good coverage, he can go up and get the ball.  He makes spectacular plays.”

The trade for Edwards was not one that developed overnight.  GM Mike Tannenbaum said the team had long been in talks with the Cleveland organization, trying to get a deal done.

“We’ve been talking to Cleveland for a while, looking at all different combinations,” said Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum. “Finally we were able to get a landing spot that was good for them and good for us. We’re excited to add Braylon (Edwards) to our team. It was hard to let two good guys in Jason Trusnik and Chansi Stuckey go, but sometimes you have to give up value to get value.”

Head coach Rex Ryan talked about what Edwards brings to the Jets’ offense, calling him a “rare talent”.  “He’s young, fast, and big, he said.  “He’s got a size advantage, when he’s covered he’s still open.  He’s got great leaping ability.”   Ryan also stated that Edwards will indeed start Monday night.

Just two seasons ago, Edwards enjoyed a breakout season in which he caught 80 balls and emerged as one of the league’s top-flight receivers, en route to his first and only career Pro Bowl appearance.  Edwards broke Cleveland franchise records for receiving yards (1,289) and receiving touchdowns (16).

Since then Edwards has suffered a free-fall from grace.  Last season, Braylon and the Browns struggled to a 4-12 record, leading the league with sixteen dropped passes while making only 55 receptions for 873 yards and three touchdowns.  Along with his drop in production, knocks have been made against Edwards’ character and work ethic.

The former third-overall pick out of Michigan has been involved in a number of off-field transgressions, most recently his alleged assault of promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA-star LeBron James, outside a Cleveland nightclub.

The NFL is currently investigating the incident, which also being looked into by Cleveland Police.  The NFL’s conduct policy states that discipline may be imposed for the “use or threat of violence”.

When asked if he received any assurances from the league regarding Edwards’ situation, Tannenbaum failed to give a clear answer, but stated that the organization is “comfortable” adding Edwards to the team.

It’s just another piece that we wanted to add, said the team’s general manager.  “We’re excited to get Braylon; we think he’s going to help us.  It was a position that we liked but it was also a position we felt that if there was an opportunity to improve, we were gonna go ahead and do that.”

Edwards’ contract expires after this season, but Tannenbaum did not make any indications that a long-term deal was in the works.  “Right now, our intentions are that he’s gonna be here with the contract we acquired in the trade and that’s our plans,” he said.

INSIDER TIDBITS

Coincidence?  I think not

Rookie WR Michael Crabtree finally agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers on a six-year deal, ending his several-month long holdout.  It is it purely coincidence that the Jets completed a trade for a receiver on the same day that Crabtree came to a deal with the 49ers?  Probably not.

The timing of the Jets’ trade for Edwards suggests that perhaps there was indeed something to the tampering allegations filed by San Francisco.

Tannenbaum continued to deny any tampering allegations against the team on Wednesday.  “There is a league rule that after August 14 no unsigned player in the draft can be traded,” he said.  “As Coach Ryan said, we deny the allegation and it’s with the League.”

Change of Pace

The Jets welcome back LB Calvin Pace back into the fold this week against Miami.  Fresh off a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy, the 6-foot-4, 265 pound Pace is voluminous addition to an already dominant Jets’ defense.

Pace, arguably the team’s best pass-rusher, should aid the defense in their area of weakness; sacking the quarterback.  While sitting amongst the top of the league in total defense, pass defense, and points allowed, the Jets find themselves tied for second-to-last in sacks, with only four.

Since their season-opening win in Houston, where the defense registered two sacks and applied countless pressure on Texans’ QB Matt Schaub, the efficiency of the pass rush has dwindled.  The Jets did not register a sack and struggled to apply any sense of pressure on Saints’ QB Drew Brees in Sunday’s 24-10 loss.

Last season, his first with New York, Pace posted career highs with seven sacks, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.  Pace also led Jets’ linebackers in tackling, racking up an impressive 80 tackles, 62 of them solo.

Pace expressed that he is “beyond ready” to go Monday night.  “More than anything it’s just good to be back with the fellas,” said Pace.  “It’s like a tribute to something.  I’m sitting at home, working out, watching them play but to be able to come out here, get my work in and prepare for this game, it’s a great feeling.”

“I just wanna get going, and try to help boost our sack numbers up and pressure.  Maybe sometimes, somebody might see me out there and mess a protection up and whatnot and maybe I’ll free somebody else up.”

War of words continues

While Dolphins’ LB Channing Crowder has yet to throw anymore fuel on this week’s Monday night matchup, one of his teammates has picked up the slack.

Dolphins’ LB Akin Ayodele said the following on the Miami radio show of RB Ronnie Brown earlier this week:

“Their head coach really blew the fire even more this offseason with Channing (Crowder) and both of them going back and forth. How does a head coach, why would you even try and go with words, you know battle with a player? That to me doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the animosity is there, the hatred is there. You know there’s no love; it will feel great once we put that whooping on them.”

But the eight-year veteran didn’t stop there.  “I seriously do not like him,” he continued.  “I don’t like their team; I just don’t like the fact that he had that whole altercation with my boy (Channing Crowder). You can’t outtalk Channing Crowder.  Can’t do it.  I’m sorry.  And I really think it does brew the fire for this game coming up and it adds a little more to it.”

Bart Scott offered a response to Ayodele’s claims that Miami will put a “whooping” on the Jets.  “8:00 Monday night, he gets his opportunity to be Nostradamus,” said Scott.

In a surprising move, Dolphins LB Jerry Porter, one of the leagues’ most notorious trash talkers, refused to comment on the verbal feud, during a brief unproductive conference call with the New York media.

Rex Ryan offered one final humorous statement on the Channing Crowder at the very end of his press conference Wednesday.  “I’ll be easy to find,” joked Ryan.  “I’ll be easy to spot out there.   I’ll have a white jersey on with number 77 on it.  He can just have at it if he wants it.”

Injuries and everything else

CB Lito Sheppard practiced today and seems to be ready to go for Monday.  Damien Woody(ankle) rode the stationary bike at practice.  CB Donald Strickland did not practice and was nowhere to be seen…QB Mark Sanchez was fined $5,000 for his low-block on Saints’ LB Jonathan Vilma in Sunday’s loss in New Orleans.  Sanchez said that he has already reached out to the former Jets linebacker and apologized.

SAINTS 24 – JETS 10

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Sanchez turns in ‘rookie’ performance in Big Easy

NEW ORLEANS, LA – After a week of devising ways to stop the prolific offense of their opponent, the New York Jets were beaten by their own quarterback.

For the first time this season, Mark Sanchez appeared like a rookie out on the gridiron.   Sanchez threw three interceptions and fumbled a ball in his own end zone, as the Jets fell to the Saints 24-10 Sunday at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Mark Sanchez played like a rookie Sunday, spoiling a strong performance from the Jets defense in New Orleans (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Mark Sanchez played like a rookie Sunday, spoiling a strong performance from the Jets' defense in New Orleans (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“It’s tough when the rest of the team plays well enough to win and their quarterback doesn’t play very well,” said Sanchez.  “I just feel like I let these guys down and I need to prove to them that I can bounce back from some costly mistakes.”

The Jets’ defense came to play once again Sunday, limiting Saints’ QB Drew Brees to only 190 yard through the air, with no touchdowns.  The Saints’ league-leading offense was limited to ten points, with their two other scores coming off turnovers.

But for the first time this season, the Jets defense was exposed in spurts for being “too” aggressive.  Rex Ryan’s blitzing attack left the middle of the field exposed, where it was exploited by New Orleans’ backfield duo of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush.

Thomas and Bush combined for 223 yards on the ground, shedding a number of tackles from a Jets defense which had a number of missed tackles on the evening.

Despite the relatively strong performance by the Jets on the defensive side of the ball, DE Shaun Ellis made it clear that it’s hard to talk about positives in a losing effort.  “There’s some positives,” said Ellis.  “But in the end, we didn’t get the win.  It’s a team game. We would’ve loved to come out of here 4-0, but we didn’t, we’re 3-1.  We left a lot of plays out there.”

“It’s frustrating,” said safety Kerry Rhodes.  “We fully expect for us to win every game and come out to win every game but we didn’t get it done today.  That was a complete team effort, we didn’t get it done as a team.”

But the story of the game was the ineptitude of the Jets’ offense, featuring a poor performance from the offensive line, questionable play-calling in third down situations, and four costly turnovers.

The offensive line was unable to protect their quarterback as Sanchez faced multiple defenders in his face all day, leading to four sacks and the three turnovers from Sanchez.

The Jets offense, which had shown an innate ability to convert on third down in their first three games, was unable to do so on Sunday, converting only three of 12 third down attempts.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan expressed after the game, that the play of the Jets’ offensive line needs to improve.

“We’ve got to do a better job of protecting (Sanchez),” said Ryan.  “I’m sure that once we see film, our guys will agree that we can play better in a lot of phases of this game.”

After winning the toss and electing to receive the opening kickoff, New Orleans wasted no time in going to work on the offensive end.

Drew Brees marched New Orleans down the field on a 13-play, 60-yard opening drive, keeping the Jets defense off-balance with a mix of short passes and runs from both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.

On third-and-4 from the Jets’ 16, Brees fired a pass towards the end zone that was deflected by Kerry Rhodes, who made a great play on the ball.  The Saints were then forced to settle for an opening drive field goal by John Carney, going ahead 3-0 on a drive that chewed up over six minutes.

It marked the first time this season that the Saints did not score a touchdown on their first possession.

The Jets came right back on their first possession, as Mark Sanchez completed consecutive passes to Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery to jump-start the drive.

However, the drive came up short as Cotchery was unable to hold onto a third down pass from Sanchez.

The Jets weren’t any more successful on their second drive, which featured an 18-yard run by WR Brad Smith on a hand-off from Leon Washington out of the “Seminole” formation.

Just when it seemed that the Jets were ready to pounce on their first red zone opportunity of the game, Sanchez was picked off by Saints’ safety Darren Sharper at the 1 yard line.  The future Hall of Famer, took the interception 99 yards down the right sideline for the score, extending the New Orleans lead to 10-0.

After going three and out on their next possession, Saints’ safety Chris Reis appeared to get a hand on Steve Weatherford’s punt, which traveled a putrid nine yards to the Jets’ 37, adding insult to injury.

The Jets caught a break though, as New Orleans was assessed for an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty, setting them back ten yards.

On second-and-10, Brees completed a screen pass to Pierre Thomas who shed multiple tacklers in route to a 36-yard gain, bringing New Orleans down to the goal line.

The Jets’ defense forced incompletions from Brees on third and fourth down, regaining possession while keeping New Orleans out of the end zone.  But they wouldn’t be kept out for long.

Two plays later, Mark Sanchez’s ball security issues came back to bite him once again.  The rookie was hit in the end zone by New Orleans lineman Will Smith, coughing up the ball, which was pounced on by the Saints’ Remi Ayodele, giving New Orleans a commanding 17-0 advantage with 9:09 remaining in the first half.

Sanchez stated that in situations like fumble in the end zone, he needs to get rid of the ball sooner.  “I think it’s just a matter of getting rid of it sooner,” he said.  “Whether it’s not feeling that rush from behind me or just holding onto the ball a little too long, I don’t know.  I’ll watch it on film.”

The Jets finally got on the scoreboard with 1:48 left in the second quarter, as Jay Feely connected on a 38-yard attempt.  Feely’s 20th straight successful attempt, trimmed the New Orleans lead to 17-3, heading into the half.

The Jets’ caught their first big break of the second half as LB Bryan Thomas knocked forced Reggie Bush to fumble the ball following a three-yard gain with nine minutes remaining in the third.  The fumble was recovered by Dwight Lowery, giving the Jets offense great field position at the New Orleans’ 34-yard line.

For the first time of the night, the Jets offense took advantage.  On third-and-six, Sanchez completed a short pass to Leon Washington, who took it to the outside for 15 yards.  On the very next play, Thomas Jones awoke with a 15 yard sprint into the end zone, cutting the New Orleans lead to 17-10, with the momentum swinging in Gang Green’s favor.

On the Saints’ ensuing position, Rex Ryan’s defense came up huge once again.  After holding Reggie Bush inches short of the first down marker on third down, the Jets held strong on another fourth down.  Shaun Ellis and Kris Jenkins helped push the pile and stuff the line of scrimmage as Pierre Thomas was tackled by DT Sione Pouha on fourth down.

After going three and out on their next possession, the Jets defense was called on once again, with the secondary answering the call this time.

Darrelle Revis nearly came away with the interception on a pass to Marques Colston on first down.  Then on third down, CB Dwight Lowery tackled WR Devery Henderson just short of the first down marker.

New Orleans next possession would ultimately decide the game.  Beginning on their own 26, Brees helped engineer, an 11-play drive, seven minute march to the end zone. The drive was encapsulated by a 1-yard run at the goal line by Pierre Thomas, extending the lead to 24-10 with just over six minutes remaining in the ball game.

The drive’s key play came on a fourth-and-1 from the Jets’ 43.  Coming out of a timeout, Kris Jenkins was drawn offsides on a hard count from Drew Brees, giving the Saints a first down.

On the Jets’ next possession, Sanchez was picked off on third down by Sharper for the second time, dashing any hopes of a last-gasp comeback.

INSIDER TIDBITS

 

Greene impressive in debut

Rookie RB Shonn Greene turned some heads in his first regular season appearance.  Greene came out of the gates sprinting, with a nine-yard gain on his first carry, finishing with 23 yards on only four carries.

“I think this kid can play,” said Rex Ryan.  “You’re never gonna find out until you throw him in there.  I thought he made a good account of himself.”

Welcome to “Revis Island”: Marques Colston

Add Marques Colston to the list of star-receivers that have been blanketed by Darrelle Revis throughout the 2009 season.  The Saints’ receiver was limited to a meager 33 yards on only two catches.

Jones makes history

Thomas Jones became the 40th running back in NFL history to gain at least 8,000 yards rushing.  Jones accomplished this feat in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.  Jones ran for 48 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown.

Gang Pink

In honor of the NFL’s league wide campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Jets and Saints were both decked out with accents of pink Sunday.  Players wore pink wristbands, armbands, gloves and shoelaces while sporting breast cancer ribbons on their helmets.  Jets’ C Nick Mangold even rocked a pair of shiny pink cleats.

No “Easy” task

With the loss Sunday, the Jets fall to 5-6 all time against New Orleans, losing two straight.