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BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Braylon Back With Jets

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

UPDATE: 4PM

FLORHAM PARK, NJ: Multiple sources have confirmed that the Jets have claimed WR Braylon Edwards off of waivers from the Seattle Seahawks. He is now property of the Jets and they are responsible for the remainder of his $875,000 one year contract (aproximately $164,000). He reportedly has joined the team in NJ and could be available to play on Monday vs. Tennessee. More details on this story as it becomes available.

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FORMER FAN FAVORITE MAY BE CLEARED FOR LANDING IN NEW YORK

According to Seth Walder, of the New York Daily News, the Jets and free agent wide receiver Braylon Edwards have been in discussion to rejoin the team for the final stretch run of the season — citing an anonymous team source.

Removed from the Seahawks’ injury list Monday, Edwards will hit waivers at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Conor Orr of the Newark Star Ledger has reported that the Jets have waived running back Khalil Bell — a move presumably done to make room for the original Flight Boy.

Reports are swirling that the New York Jets may claim the original Flight Boy, Braylon Edwards, off waivers to aid their depleted receiving corps. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Edwards, who enjoyed a fine season with the Jets — and more importantly, Mark Sanchez — in 2010 (53 rec / 904 yards / 7 TDs), made news when he came to the aid of his former QB on Twitter last week. “Don’t blame Sanchez. I played there. Blame the idiots calling shots. Mark is a beast and will (prove) it when given a proper chance,” he tweeted. Later, he apologized on Twitter for “insulted and disrespecting an administration I have the utmost respect for”.

Since leaving New York, Edwards has found little success. He’s made just 23 receptions in split time with the 49ers and Seahawks. In 10 games with Seattle this year, Edwards made eight receptions and caught one touchdown pass before he was waived last week due to his knee injury — one that has plagued him over the last two years.

The Jets have injury problems of their own when it comes to the wide receiver position. Already without Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller, it appears rookie Stephen Hill will miss time with a sprained right knee as his status is still uncertain. Rex Ryan was “hopeful” on Monday that Hill’s knee injury wasn’t too serious and that he would “bounce back”.

Seventh round draft pick Jordan White wasn’t active Sunday and receiver Clyde Gates missed the game with a concussion, but Ryan hopes to get Gates back for their Monday night game at Tennessee.

Sanchez’s top passing weapons stood as Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Mardy Gilyard and Konrad Reuland at the end of Sunday’s game.

On Monday, Rex Ryan wouldn’t comment entirely if the team was entertaining the idea of bringing back Braylon, saying “he’d rather focus on the guys he has”. He did, however, add this.

“We always look at all possibilities. I think our pro department does a tremendous job of finding guys for us … You guys know what I’ve always said about Braylon in the past, so you know how I feel about him.”

Additional Surgery Needed for Holmes

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

SANTONIO HOLMES WILL HAVE A SECOND SURGERY IN FEBRUARY. NO TIME TABLE FOR RETURN OF TONE TIME

LINDEN, N.J. — Santonio Holmes is miles from the home stretch of returning from a season-ending left leg injury.

It won’t be until April — best case scenario — that Holmes will be able to begin running as he told members of the media in his first appearance since suffering a Lisfranc injury to his left foot at the start of the fourth quarter in Week 4’s 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

“I knew the minute I didn’t get off the ground that my season was over,” Holmes, a carrier of the Sickle Cell trait, said at his third annual bowling event for his Third & Long Foundation to find a cure Sickle Cell Anemia where teammates Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight showed their support.

Sporting a large walking boot on his left leg, Holmes has spent the majority of his off time in his Florida home but recently went to the team’s practice facility in Florham Park, New Jersey to take part in the official team photo last week.

Santonio Holmes won't be able to start running again until April, as he told reporters Monday. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

“[Being out of the game] puts you in a mind frame of relaxation, but at the same time it’s a recovery process I have to go through. Mentally it brings you down at times because you can’t be active. I’ve just expanded my mind by reading more and spending more time with my kids, being more supportive,” he said.

With no official time table to returning to football activity, Holmes is slated to have surgery in February to remove a plate that was inserted in his left foot for extra support. At the current moment, he was uncertain about his return in time for training camp next August.

When asked to weigh in on the Jets newest quarterback controversy, the controversial Super Bowl MVP didn’t take the bait.

“If I get involved in that, it’ll be the talk of the world. I’m going to stay on the IR list and keep it moving,” he joked with reporters, but did add that judging from what he saw on Sunday the “coaches, like everyone else, was impressed with Greg McElroy’s performance”.

That doesn’t mean, however, he hasn’t stayed in touch with head coach Rex Ryan and his teammates. He cited weekly phone calls and texts with Ryan as his main connection to the team while he’s rehabbing his left leg, but he still misses being around the football atmosphere.

“It made it hard for me to not be there for my guys — to support them. They were used to me being there and being supportive. It was just one of those things where you go in a shell and you come out when the timing’s right.”

Kerry Rhodes’ ‘Hollywood’ Return to New York

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

EX-JET BURNS TEAM IN A SCRIPTED FASHION WITH TREMENDOUS INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Called the “Hollywood type” and a “selfish-ass guy” by Rex Ryan in his 2011 book, Play Like You Mean It, Kerry Rhodes lived up to those labels — in all the right ways.

He ’selfishly’ picked off Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez twice and forced a fumble on running back Khalil Bell in his first game against the team that drafted him in the fourth round. He did so in a ‘Hollywood’-like way, intercepting Sanchez’s first pass on their very first play from scrimmage — a play, he said, was all too predictable.

“I knew exactly what the play was going to be. They run it a lot. As soon as they motioned down I knew the play. He threw the ball a little high and I jumped it,” Rhodes said.

Ex-Jet Kerry Rhodes gave Rex Ryan & Tony Sparano problems all afternoon. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Not bad for a guy who Ryan benched for a portion of time in the 2009 season in which he tweeted “a lot of teams would love to have me as their problem”, according to the Star Ledger.

When asked if there was any extra motivation to play well on Sunday, Rhodes took the high road.

“For me to come back and play well, it was good. Rex came up to me after the game and told me I played a hell of a game. There wasn’t an edge [though]. It was just an opportunity for me to come here and play well in front of friends and family,” he said after the game.

Familiarity with the organization is what gave the All-Pro safety an edge on Sanchez.

“The second [interception] they tried to run a pump so I kind of knew that one too. I tried to bait him into it a little bit and he threw it.”

Asked to comment on the first return for Rhodes since his book was published earlier in the week, Ryan dodged the question saying only “he is on one of the best defenses in the NFL”. Rhodes was traded to the Cardinals following the 2009 season for a fourth and sixth round pick.

Despite his great individual play, Rhodes didn’t call it a good return to New York.

“We didn’t get the win, so it wasn’t a good way to return.”

If he didn’t sound it, he certainly played like a Jet — or former one — on Sunday.

McElroy’s Moxie Ignites Offense, Fans & Controversy

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

A MENAGE E TOIS AT THE MEADOWLANDS LEAVES REX RYAN WITH TOUGH DECISION TO MAKE

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It looks like we have a third party entering the great debate over who should be the Jets starting quarterback.

Months of people clamoring over who should be the starting quarterback in New York — Mark Sanchez, a California golden boy who’s seen his production dip after two trips to the AFC Championship, or Tim Tebow, the polarizing, unorthodox quarterback who has all the unmeasurables — it may be the team’s 2011 seventh round pick with a championship pedigree that is the answer.

Greg McElroy came off the bench to deafening cheers of “MC-EL-ROY! MC-EL-ROY!” at the 4:48 mark in the third quarter to make his NFL debut, marched a, to that point, stagnant offense down the field for what would be the game-winning 1-yard bootleg option touchdown to a wide open Jeff Cumberland.

In a no-lose situation, with little expectations following another dismal performance by Mark Sanchez, McElroy ignited the offense with on-field moxie and in return awoke a dormant Jets fan base sans their fan spokesman, Fireman Ed, for the first time.

Greg McElroy has the pedigree, the brains, and "coachability" that suits a Rex Ryan/Tony Sparano offense well. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

“Well, you can definitely tell that the stadium was happy about [the change at quarterback],” safety Yeremiah Bell said.

The boos that were hanging over MetLife Stadium like the heavy fog that rolled in Sunday morning were soon replaced with gleaming cheers as sunshine broke through the overcast clouds. Divine intervention? Or did the Jets finally find themselves on the good side of Lady Luck?

With a heavy dose of Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, it’s what McElroy didn’t do that made the difference in the game and is, perhaps, the difference between himself and the man he replaced. Since last season, Sanchez has 31 interceptions and 20 fumbles. Too often those turnovers have come when he has tried to force the ball or make a big play. McElroy, who describeD himself as the “nerdy”-type, comes from a different school of thought.

“I think one of the things I really try to do is just play the game by the numbers. If it’s first and 10, we want it to be second and five. If it’s second and five, we want it to be third and manageable, so that’s two or three,” he said after the game. “If you keep it like that, you’re going to keep yourself sustaining long drives and things like that, minimize turnovers and explosive plays are essentially what wins the game. And that’s always been my train of thought.”

His college coach, Nick Saban, instilled him with that mentality — a man who McElroy thinks is very comparable to his professional coach, Rex Ryan.

“Coach Ryan, obviously him and Coach Saban have a lot of similarities and I’m very very grateful to play for a coach in the NFL that is so similar to what I’ve been used to and what I’ve grown up in,” he said.

While under Saban, he led a run-heavy offense at Alabama on their way to National Title. In a Ryan-Tony Sparano offensive scheme that’s predicated on ball control, defensive success and sound special teams a game manager who minimizes mistakes is necessary. McElroy doesn’t shy away from the game manager label. Instead he embraces it.]

“I think [my strength is] just managing the game. I think it’s often overused to a certain extent, but it’s so important and it’s something that I take great pride in. It’s something that I would like to continue to try to do well,” he said.

With McEloy’s emergence — albeit two drives — Ryan now finds himself in the middle of tricky love triangle. After standing up in front of the podium week after week declaring his “belief in Mark Sanchez giving this team the best opportunity to win games”, the Jets head coach had a different answer when asked if he still feels the same way.

“We’ll address that going forward.”

Asked how tough it would by psychologically to come in at quarterback after being benched, Sanchez flatly replied “I’m used to playing, so I think that would be easier” while not offering a comment on if he’ll be disappointed if he’s not the starter at Jacksonville next Sunday.

And let’s not forget about Tebow, the man everyone thought would be the Jets starter by now. Nursing a pair of broken ribs, Ryan said he “absolutely could have played, but it was a coach’s decision”. Tebow’s missed the last two games and prior to that was being fazed out of the offense. Traveling to play in his hometown next week there’s a possibility Tebow could be demoted to the third string quarterback at the birthplace of Tebowmania.

After talking all training camp about the importance of competition and teammates driving themselves to raise the expectations bar, Ryan may have — yet again — bit off more than he can chew.

Let the great debate begin. Again.

Jets bench Sanchez; McElroy leads Jets past Cardinals 7-6

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

REX RYAN BENCHED MARK SANCHEZ IN FAVOR OF GREG McELROY, WHO LED OFFENSE TO UGLY WIN.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Mark Sanchez era in a New York Jets uniform may have come to an end on Sunday.

It took three interceptions, two missed field goals, a 21.4 QB rating, a 47.6 completion percentage for Jets fans to finally get their wish of having the Jets back-up quarterback replace a slumping Sanchez.

The only problem was, Tim Tebow was made inactive prior to the game with a pair of broken ribs.

QB Greg McElroy celebrates throwing the game winning TD with TE Konrad Reuland as the Jets beat the Cards 7-6 (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Greg McElroy, the team’s third string quarterback who was made active just hours before kick-off, at the 4:48 mark in the third quarter, entered the game as Sanchez — hat on, helmet to the side — grabbed the clipboard. And on his first professional drive he led the Jets on a 10-play, 69 yard game-winning drive that was capped by a play-action bootleg rollout to the right side where McElroy found a wide open Jeff Cumberland in the endzone for a one-yard score which gave the Jets a 7-3 lead.

“To tell you the truth, it was a bit of a floater. It was a run reverse option and I almost didn’t want to throw it, but I had to just let it go. Jeff (Cumberland) did a great job of selling the run and Brandon Moore did a fantastic job getting in up front and trying to skirt the edge. It was just great execution,” McElroy said.

He would leave victorious after managing the Jets offense on two long drives where a combined 13:48 was elapsed in the second half, making for a shining outcome on a muddy game 7-6.

Rex Ryan tossed aside thoughts of the bigger picture and went with a win-now mentality, sending in the game-manager McElroy in attempt to earn a ball-control victory. After a first-half where the Jets were stagnant like the heavy fog that surrounded MetLife Stadium, the offense rallied about their new quarterback.

“It was just something I sensed, something I felt. When you’ve been around the league long enough, you get that sort of feeling where you say ‘I’ve seen enough’. Again I have confidence in Mark. I confidence in Tim. I confidence in Greg. But at that stage of the game I just thought it was time to make that move,” Ryan said after the game.

Sanchez was 10-21 for 97 yards O TDs, 3 INTs and was sacked three times. The fourth year starter went 1-5 for 2 yards and a sack in the second half before being benched for McElroy.

“It just wasn’t my day. I didn’t throw it well, didn’t see the first play very well. It’s unfortunate, but I’m really happy for the team and I’m happy for Greg,” Sanchez sad.

It was, however, a good day for the Jets rushing attack as Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell combined for 162 yards (Greene with 106 yards and Powell 58). With the offensive line dominating, the Jets were able to ride their running game to ease their passing woes.

The third-year player from Alabama not only sparked a sputtering offense with the help of the ground game, but bailed out a defense that pitched a near-perfect game.

In the first half rookie Ryan Lindley and the Cardinals offense could only muster two first downs, had four three-and-outs, an interception and a fourth down stop. After watching Tom Brady and Patriots pick a part his defense on third downs last Thursday, Rex Ryan’s defense did not allow a third down conversion forcing the Cardinals to go 0-15 on the afternoon.

“That was so important to bounce back,” Mike DeVito said,”and put that Jets defense back out there. You know we’ve had some rough ones this year, but today really showed (we can play well) and built our confidence back up and showed that we know that we can we go out there and play in this system, play the way we know we can play (and that) we can be a scary defense

Ex-Jet Kerry Rhodes had a scripted Hollywood ending in his first game against his former team. Rhodes, who was called “a selfish-ass guy” by Ryan in his autobiography, picked off Sanchez twice while forcing a fumble on running back Khalil Bell. No play, however, was bigger than the first offensive possession for the Jets, which saw Sanchez drop back to pass and lobbed a ball over the flailing arms of a defensive lineman — which made for an easy interception and tough hole to dig out of.

Former kicker Jay Feely accounted for the Cardinals’ only points on the afternoon after connecting from 35 and 48 yards. The Jets kicker, on the other hand, struck the upright twice — a missed 46-yarder that hit the right upright in the first quarter and then a 52-yard attempt that met the left upright in the second quarter.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL: Tidbits from MetLife

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

TIM TEBOW IS INACTIVE. THIRD-STRING QB GREG McELROY GETS BACK-UP NOD FOR GAME AGAINST CARDS

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Tim Tebow has been inactivated for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. The back-up quarterback has been battling broken ribs since the team traveled out to Seattle on Week 10.

Rex Ryan was holding out hope that Tebow could still fulfill his duties as the special team’s personal protector, but was less optimistic about Tebow playing a full game at quarterback — perhaps to the dismay of Jets fans.

Tim Tebow was made inactive for Sunday's game vs. the Cardinals. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

“I think with Tim, some of the things that he can do, specifically in the Wildcat and as a personal protector, you’re not going out there and asking him to throw it 50 times a game. If that was the case, I’m not sure he could do that, but in a limited role like he’s in, I really don’t even know where to start with that, but I think if he had to take 50 snaps and get hit every snap, I’m not sure if that’s the smartest thing,” Ryan said Friday.

Ryan stood firm on his stance of not dressing three quarterbacks — a rarity, according to him, by football coaching standards.

“I don’t know any team in this league that goes with three quarterbacks. I don’t even know if it’s done in the league,”

With Tebow inactive, Ryan doesn’t have to worry about bucking his trend. Sunday marks the first time he’s been inactive since joining the Jets and second-straight game without playing. Third-string quarterback Greg McElroy becomes active — assuming the duties of the back-up role.

Prior to the start of the game, McElroy was seen on the field working Jets quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh in pads — a sight that’s rarely been seen this season.

Without Tebow the Jets will be running short on their ‘Wildcat package’.  Rex said that the Wildcat is ‘part of what we do’, but  that they’d ‘obviously be out of that’

Should they decide to run any wrinkles of the Wildcat package, Joe McKnight has been known to take the direct snap, while Jeremy Kerley is the team’s emergency back-up quarterback.

“Jeremy Kerley never takes a snap at quarterback, but that’s a guy who was a former quarterback in high school (and) recruited that way. He can throw the football, but obviously it’s not a situation you’d want to be in,” he said.

Rex won’t give up on Top-5 Defense

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

JETS HEAD COACH ‘STUNNED’ BY DISMAL PASS RUSH PERFORMANCE BY DEFENSE.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan was confident in training camp that he was the best defensive coordinator in the game. Not only that, but he beat his chest while defiantly announcing his 2012 defensive unit as the ‘best group he’s coached’ since becoming a head coach.

After the New England Patriots put up 49 points on the Jets Thanksgiving evening, dropping them to the 19th-ranked defense in the NFL, Ryan, losing six of his last eight, is ’stunned’ by the recent play of his defense — particularly the pass rush — but isn’t ready to give up hope.

“I’m not willing to concede anything, though. Maybe we can have some of those great games. We’ve got five games left,” Ryan said Thursday.

As a manufacturer of perennial top-five defenses [he's ranked in the top five in total defense every year since 2005], Ryan — thirteen weeks into the season — isn’t giving up hope of meeting his lofty expectations, but believes it’ll take ’some doozies on defense to get there’.

Short of getting the New York Sack Exchange back on the field, the 2012 Jets will buck Ryan’s defensive trend. Currently, the Jets are giving up 354.1 total yards per game — good for 19th in the NFL. Ranked 30th in the league with 17 team sacks and with Bryan Thomas your leader with 2.5 sacks, getting to the quarterback — much like gas in the Greater New York area — has come at a premium.

Rex Ryan has been 'stunned' by the mediocre play of his defense in 2012. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Through 11 games, the Jets have averaged  1.54 sacks per game — which, in return, would work out to 24.64 sacks through a 16-game season. To put that in perspective nineteen other teams already have 24 team sacks.

The reason for the lack of sacks is two-fold. One, the loss of Darrelle Revis — the type of unique player that allows head coaches to not worry about one side of the field — forced Ryan to change his approach. Instead of having a lock-down corner who can provide single man coverage on either end of the field, he has one. Having a healthy two would allow the defense to send an extra pass rusher if desired, where Ryan wouldn’t have to worry about the back end coverage. Without Revis, however, he has to worry about the back end coverage and, instead, replaces an extra would-be pass rusher with a defensive back.

The other reason is Aaron Maybin. He unexpectedly exploded for the Jets in 2011 — leading the team in sacks and forced fumbles while only playing in half the season. After given a new contract, new job security and new life in the NFL, Maybin brought the mayhem in training camp — where the only thing that was louder than his skull-cracking hits was his mouth. The problem was, it never translated to the regular season. Maybin was cut at the mid-point of the season for his lack of production.

Ryan wouldn’t place blame solely on Maybin however, citing that often times the sack statistic can be overrated. And he’s right, a bigger picture point-of-view of the pass rush takes QB hurries and hits into account when measuring pass rush efficiency.

“Sometimes sacks are a little misleadings, I remember we played New England the first year I was here and we knocked [Tom] Brady down 22 times and had no sacks. Sometimes that can be misleading, but we wont a Super Bowl in Baltimore with 35 regular season sacks,” he said.

When looking at the bigger picture of pass rushing, however, the Jets individually still have trouble treading water. A Pro Football Focus study on Pass Rushing Productivity[ Sacks (1) + Hits (.75) + Hurries (.75) / # of pass rushing attempts x 100] indicates that only rookie DE Quinton Coples has been the most productive Jets pass rusher, scoring a 7.4 PRP after getting 16 QB pressures over 168 pass rushing snaps.

He ranked tied for tenth among inside pass rushers.

The rest of the Jets? Well, they reside in the murkiness of mediocrity — as PFF only focuses on either end of the spectrum and offers little information on the middle men.

PREVIEW: Patriots (7-3) @ NY Jets (4-6)

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The Jets play host to the New England Patriots in the Thanksgiving nightcap game that will surely help any turkey-glutton football fan in avoiding the mandatory post-meal nap.

Clawing to their playoff hopes the Jets are facing a must-win game on a short week as they look to capture back-to-back wins since winning their first two games of the season. The Patriots, fresh off their 59-24 drumming of the Indianapolis Colts, are looking to all but secure their ninth division title in ten years.

At 4-6, the Jets currently find themselves in the ten spot in the hunt for the AFC playoffs — on the outside looking in with the likes of San Diego, Tennessee and Cincinnati. With the sour taste of a would-be win left in their mouths following the October 21 29-26 OT loss, Rex Ryan and the Jets have even more motivation to defeat New England on Thursday.

Mark Sanchez had what was perhaps his best game of the season in New England — who’s secondary is, at best, opportunistic and, at worst, leaky. At Sanchez’s best, he’s passing in and out of the pocket, spreading the ball around to his receivers. At worst he’s turnover prone.

If he’s at his worst Thursday, expect the Jets to be in a long day. While the Bill Belichick’s defense has ranked among the bottom half in the league in recent years — they consistently rank tops in the league when it comes to takeaways. When the Patriots win the turnover battle they are 35-10 (including the playoffs) since 2010. When Sanchez has a turnover in a game the Jets are 16-21 since 2009 and 2-5 through 10 games in 2012.

WHEN: Thursday, November 22, 2012 @ 8:20 pm EST (can be seen on NFL Network or ESPN Radio).

WHERE: East Rutherford, NJ / MetLife Stadium (capacity: 82,500)

SERIES HISTORY: 108th meeting; Patriots lead regular season match-up 54-52-1

LAST MEETING: Patriots 29 — Jets 26 F/OT (10/21/12 @ Gillette Stadium)

NOTABLE: The winner of the turnover battle has won six of the eight games (including postseason) between the two franchises since Rex Ryan joined the Jets in 2009. The only exceptions came on 09/20/09 when the two teams broke even in the turnover battle and the Jets won 16-9 and again on 10/09/11 when the Patriots overcame a minus one in the category to win 30-21.

Jeremy Kerley (heel/hamstring) said he feels ready to go Thursday, but will he be the x-factor? (JetsInsider.com Photo).

HEAD COACHES:

  • Patriots – Bill Belichick / 13th Season with Patriots / 162-62 with New England / 199-107 overall as an NFL head coach (including postseason).
  • Jets — Rex Ryan / Fourth Season with Jets / 36-28 (including postseason).

INJURY REPORT:

  • PATRIOTS — DNP - Rob Gronkowski (forearm/hip), Chandler Jones (ankle), Logan Mankins (ankle/calf). LIMITED - Ron Brace (elbow), Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring), Dan Connolly (back), Steve Gregory (hip), Aaron Hernandez (ankle), Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), Brandon Lloyd (knee), Nick McDonald (should), Brandon Spikes (knee), Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), Wes Welker (ankle), Tracy White (foot). FULL — Julian Edelman (hand), Kyle Love, (knee), Jerod Mayo (elbow).
  • JETS — LIMITED – Sione Po’uha (back), Kenrick Ellis (knee), Joe McKnight (ankle), Bart Scott (toe), Jeremy Kerley (heel/hamstring), Aaron Berry (quad). FULL - Bilal Powell (shoulder), Mark Sanchez (low back), Brandon Moore (hip/foot), Matt Slauson (knee), Mike DeVito (finger), Clyde Gates (shoulder), Jeff Cumberland (wrist), Tim Tebow (ribs), Calvin Pace (shoulder), Stephen Hill (ankle), LaRon Landry (heel), Nick Mangold (thumb).

KEY MATCH-UPS:

  • Mark Sanchez vs. Himself — It’s been a tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Sanchez all season. At times he’s proven he can make every throw on the field. And at others he’s looked like a monstrosity — looking lost, flat and shown an inability to hold on to the football. It’ll take a mentally tough Sanchez to overcome the obstacles an opportunistic Patriots defense (led by ball hawk Rob Ninkovich) and steal a victory. As Sanchez stated Monday, the preparation for a short week is 100% mental.

It really is a mental battle all week. We have to prepare well mentally … Ninkovich is one of the best at [creating turnovers], it seems. He’s really getting after the quarterback. He’s getting after the football and that’s really their whole defense. That’s kind of their M.O. and they’ve always played well.

  • Ellis Lankster vs. Wes Welker — Isaiah Trufant did a surprisingly excellent job at slowing down the speedy Welker in Gillette Stadium, however with Trufant on season-ending IR it was Lankster who stepped up in his absence. Lankster played well — getting two passes defended against St. Louis. He’ll have a far tougher task in clamping down Welker than any of the Rams’ receivers offered.
  • Muhammad Wilkerson vs. Nate Solder – #BeastMo is no longer a reference to going hard at the gym. Jets fans have gone to Twitter to show their love for their former first round pick. And what isn’t there to love about Wilkerson’s beastly game? In his last five games, Wilkerson has 37 tackles, two sacks, three passes defended, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery he returned 21 yards for a touchdown.

X-FACTOR:

  • Julian Edelman, WR/PR, Patriots — You know never know who’s going to be the x-factor for the Patriots as every week another player seems to have a big week. Coming off five receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD and a 47-yard rush, Edelman’s week may have come versus the Colts. Having said that however, I suspect Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady will be able to find the mismatch on the field and exploit it. In this case, Edelman on a slower linebacker.
  • Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets — He’s the x-factor for the Jets week-in/week-out. Given that he has heel/hamstring issues, his effectiveness Thursday is questionable. Kerley has proven to be the deep threat the Jets desperately need against an iffy Patriots secondary.

THE PICK: The home team on Thursday night games have reaped the benefits through the first 10 weeks, earning a 7-3 record. Home teams are also averaging 20 more yards and three more points in Thursday match-ups. That said, the Patriots are 8-2 in November games since 2010 and look to be getting in postseason mode. Sanchez mistakes prove too costly, Jets lose the turnover battle and, thus, the game. PATRIOTS 31 – JETS 24

MORNING AFTER REPORT: Running the Show

Monday, November 19th, 2012

JETS OFFENSE KICKS IT INTO HIGH GEAR AS DEFENSE STIFLES SCHOTTY’S RAMS OFFENSE.

The Jets managed to put aside the gigantic off-the-field distraction of yet another anonymous player bashing teammates for a convincing win in St. Louis Sunday. Further more, they left their three-game losing streak in the review; riding a trio of running backs and a smothering defense on their difficult path to the playoffs.

All this against former offensive coordinator and scapegoat, Brian Schottenheimer.

Mark Sanchez (15/20, 178 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) was efficient — sharp, even — shaking off two previous shaky performances where the offense scored once in nine quarters. The offense on Sunday didn’t fail to do anything wrong, balancing a solid passing game off a reliable rushing attack that led to winning two key statistical categories: time of possession (33:03 – 26:57) and first downs (17 – 15).

What’s truly noteworthy was the zero turnovers by the Jets offense — an area that’s proven to be a costly thorn in their side.

Defensively, the Jets welcomed Schottenheimer’s sputtering Rams offense with open arms — particularly the open arms of DE Muhammad Wilkerson. His strip of Sam Bradford in the second quarter marked his second-straight week with turnover-turned-touchdown — with the strip leading to a 25-yard touchdown by Sanchez to WR Chaz Schilens three plays later and the strip/sack fumble return touchdown last week.

The Jets defense forced three turnovers and continually confused Schottenheimer’s offense. After a Rams’ first drive that went 13 plays, 86 yards and resulted in a touchdown they were stymied Ryan’s defense gaining only 57 yards on 16 plays in their following five drives.

The bigger picture still has the Jets on the outside looking in from the 10th spot in the AFC. A win on Thursday at home against the AFC East leading New England will be another step in the right direction.

PASSING OFFENSE: B+

  • Not explosive enough for an A grade, but Sanchez played within himself and made big plays when he had to. He registered a 123.2 passer rating in the first half after completing nine-of-13 pass attempts with one touchdown and no interceptions. Sanchez finished the game 15-of-20 with a touchdown, no interceptions and 178 yards for a passer rating of 118.3 — finding nine different receivers, four at least twice.
  • Three first half sacs allowed by the offensive line is forgivable given they cleaned up their mistakes in the second half. All-in-all a great overall performance by the o-line. Two of the three sacks were given up by RBs Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell — with a possible miscue in slide protection by Austin Howard in the first quarter when Chris Long got off the line untouched and Howard double-teaming Kendall Langford on the inside.
  • Schilens hauled in a 25-yard pass from Sanchez to give New York a 10-7 lead over St. Louis with 4:37 left to play in the second quarter. It is the second touchdown reception by Schilens in the past three games, he caught his first as a Jet vs. MIA (10/28).  WR Jeremy Kerley averaged 19.8 yards a reception on the road in 2012. In the second quarter, Kerley caught a 32-yard pass to the Rams 40-yard line at the two-minute warning. The reception setup a second K Nick Folk 51-yard field goal and extended the Jets lead to 13-7.

Shonn Greene, with help from Powell & McKnight, led the way Sunday to a convincing 27-13 road win. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-

  • Greene carried the load for the offense by setting the tone early to the tune of 32 yards on seven carries over their first three drives. He finished the afternoon with a hard-earned 64 yards on 18 carries. His downhill running set-up the shifty styles of Powell and Joe McKnight.
  • With 14:16 remaining in the fourth quarter Powell carried the ball five-yards for his first career touchdown. The score capped a 12-play, 63-yard, 6:58 drive. He recorded the second touchdown of his career later in the quarter when he carried the ball 11-yards to give the Jets a 27-7 lead.
  • McKnight’s 74 total yards on six touches exemplifies his explosiveness when he touches the ball.
  • The offensive, which has struggled in run protection throughout the season, had a great interior attack largely due to linemen Nick Mangold, Matt Slauson, Brandon Moore and Vlad Ducasse.

PASSING DEFENSE: A

  • Think Ryan had an idea of how to attack Schotty’s offense? On multiple plays Ryan sent DB blitzes from the corner trying to jump the snap. Additionally the never allowed a ball to get behind the secondary — speaking to the play from safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry.
  • Prior to Sunday’s game, Wilkerson had registered 33 tackles, one sack, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery returned 21-yards for a touchdown in his last four games.
  • CB Ellis Lankster was a solid play in the nickel for the Jets defense. Lankster assumed the nickel duties after the Jets lost Isaiah Trufant to the season-ending IR list. He had two passes defended on the afternoon.
  • Landry’s eight solo tackles and two forced fumbles was easily the defensive performance of the day.

RUSHING DEFENSE: C

  • Schottenheimer was hell-bent at establishing Stephen Jackson early in the game. And for the most part, it was effective. The problem was Bradford couldn’t generate anything off the deep pass to spread out the Jets defense. Jackson gained 81 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Back-up RB Darryl Richardson averaged 4.3 yards per carry on six attempts but had a costly fumble late.
  • David Harris picked up his play Sunday and with a healthy Sione Po’uha back healthy the Jets front seven seems to be heading in the right direction … for now.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D

  • This is the second time in three weeks Mike Westhoff has seen a blocked special teams play and the second time he’s seen a blocked field goal this season. Rookie CB Janoris Jenkins got a free release on Folk’s 26-yard attempt in the second quarter. D’Brickashaw Ferguson was the outside blocker on the play. He has double duty — assigned to blocking the inside man but must also, at the very least, get a hand on Jenkins to slow his pursuit to the kicker. Ferguson got locked inside, leaving Jenkins a free angle to the ball.
  • Folk connected on two 51-yard field goals in the first half. He is the second kicker in Jets history to register two 50+ yard kicks in the same game; Pat Leahy (53, 52) was the first to do it at NE (10/20/85). For his career, Folk has connected on 13 kicks of more than 50 yards, eight as a member of the Jets.

Date             Opp.          Yds.

10/11/10    vs. MIN      53

10/17/10    at DEN       56

09/11/11    vs.DAL       50

11/06/11    at BUF       50

12/04/11    at WAS       51

10/21/12    at NE         54

11/18/12    at StL          51

11/18/12    at StL          51

COACHING: A

  • An all-around complete game for the Jets. They managed the Wildcat package well [translation: they used it sparingly]. The Tebow package brings confusion to the personnel, momentum to a halt, offers little production and takes Sanchez out of the rhythm. They were more in tune to the flow of the game than they were the last two games.
  • Credit Tony Sparano for adjusting the offensive line scheme in the second half. After allowing three sacks in the first half, he shifted the pocket a couple of times after the snap to ensure better protection on Sanchez roll outs.
  • Time management was right on time Sunday — another area of concern for the coaching staff to this point.

ANONYMOUS SOURCE: The 54th Man

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets saw just how effective Seattle’s twelfth man was in their 28-7 loss on Sunday. Wednesday, once again, we saw the Jets’ mysterious 54th man –an anonymous source — rear his ugly head. His effectiveness can only be truly measured over time, however the immediate impact is damaging nonetheless.

One starter defensive starter told the New York Daily News that Tebow is “terrible,” and another, when asked about switching to a Tebow-run wildcat offense, said, “We can’t win running that s—.”

Rex Ryan, after dealing with a similar locker room mutiny due to an anonymous source last season, had difficulty hiding his distaste for what is being called a “cowardly” act.

“I absolutely addressed it because I think it’s a cowardly thing. If you’re not going to put your name to it, I think that’s about as cowardly of a thing as there is. I even mentioned that. I don’t want to get into the specifics of what I said, but I did address it with our football team,” he said Wednesday.

Tim Tebow was the target of the 54th man of the Jets roster -- an anonymous source -- that took shots at Mark Sanchez last season. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Since coming to the Jets, Ryan has never put a muzzle on players when it came to the media; allowing them to speak their minds — an ideology that should nip this very type of predicament in the bud. So while Ryan was noticeably peeved at the 54th man, he was forgiving to left guard Matt Slauson, who spoke on the record — even if it were statements made “months” ago.

“I said from the day one when I took the job we’re not always going to be lined up exactly as is, but we’re actually going to tell you what we believe. I have no problem with Matt Slauson because he put his name on it. I don’t agree with everything Matt said. I agree with the fact we have a starting quarterback. We’re confident, and obviously Matt is confident in Mark Sanchez,” he said.

Having been in a similar last season, Sanchez offered a bit of his own advise to the polarizing back-up quarterback.He reiterated his message from last year that not putting your name on a quote like that is “cowardly” and “not professional”. In other words, “it’s just not cool”.

“I feel for Tim, that sucks, it just sucks.  I know, it can’t feel good.  But at the same time, I’ve been there. You just wake up the next day and keep playing and stay positive and smile and have fun and know you’re playing a game and have a good time with it.  Just focus on the positive stuff and try to stay above it,” Sanchez said.

As the team addressed the issue, it’s clear a conscious effort is being made to move on and regain focus on football. The pink elephant, however, is still in the circus tent. After a kumbaya-like off-season filled with new beginnings in Cortland, another season of Jets West and trust seminars there is still a lack of respect for the fellow men in the locker room.

The 54th man is leading the circus show, however to call whomever the anonymous source is a leader is incorrect because no one follows a man without a name.