Archive for September, 2010

LT adds options to Jets offense

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Going in to Week 4 of the NFL season, and LaDanian Tomlinson looks to have taken his perch as a starting running back in the league. Shonn Greene, who was named the Week 1 starter after his strong playoff performance, has struggled mightily out of the gates.

The Jets might not come outright and say that Tomlinson is the official starter, but the proof is in the playing time.

LaDanian Tomlinson, signed to a back-up role in the off-season, has been getting the starting treatment through the first three weeks. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

He started in first game as a New York Jet in Sunday night’s 31-23 win over the Miami Dolphins. He was on the field over 80% of the time to Greene’s 20 percent. By the looks of it, they don’t seem to be equal interchangeable parts, at least thus far.

Coming into the season, Tomlinson, 31, was signed to a back-up role for Greene. He would spell Greene on third downs and catch a few balls out of the backfield, and perhaps mentor the young second-year back about the nuances of becoming a successful back in the league.

However his fast start has the Jets envisioning the glory days Tomlinson had during his tenure with San Diego. While the disparage in carries is minor, Tomlinson has 37 carries to Greene’s 30, what both have been able to do with those carries is alarming. Tomlinson has rushed for 208 yards while Greene has a feeble 106 yards.

Pepper in Tomlinson’s nine receptions for 60 yards and it’s no wonder his game and Brian Schottenheimer’s system has made for a recipe of success.

Thus far, the fact of the matter is the Jets offense is more predictable with Greene in the backfield than with Tomlinson. Greene is a traditional north-south, between the tackles running back. As we saw in the game against Baltimore, he isn’t the best at catching the ball out of the backfield. Knowing that, defenses can send run stuffers to the middle in anticipation of the up-the-gut run.

Schottenheimer’s offense thrives off people who can be utilized in multiple alignments, and in return create mismatches in the offense’s favor. This offense has helped the likes of Dustin Keller and Brad Smith make the most of their abilities and capitalize on those mismatches. Tomlinson is a perfect fit for Schotty’s offense, where he can run inside and outside while being a legitimate pass-catching threat as well.

From the beginning Schottenheimer has said that they would play the hot hand as far as playing time goes for Tomlinson and Greene. Tomlinson may have the hot start, but as the season continues it might be likely to see Tomlinson’s 31-year-old legs wear down. Greene, the younger and stronger back, may enjoy a second-half surge after seeing less time in the first eight weeks.

NOTES: While we’re talking about running backs, yesterday the St. Louis Rams signed RB Chauncey Washington from the Jets practice squad. Washington is the second running back to be signed from the Jets practice squad after the Patriots plucked Danny Woodhead from the Jets before their Week 2 match-up. Woodhead scored his first NFL touchdown on a 22-yard run against the Buffalo Bills last week.

Both Washington and Woodhead outplayed rookie RB Joe McKnight in preseason despite McKnight getting a roster spot and the vote of confidence from the Jets. So far, McKnight has been inactive in all three regular season games.

Calvin ahead of Pace, Revis not?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The Jets defense, which was torched for 436 total yards last week against Miami, may have help on the way. After giving up the second most yards by a Rex Ryan defense since 2005, the Jets defense will likely be welcoming back their 2009 sack leader, Calvin Pace, this week against the Buffalo Bills.

After missing the last four weeks due to foot surgery, the Jets are optimistic about the return of Calvin Pace this week against the Bills. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

Pace, who missed the first three games of the season after breaking his foot in the August 27th pre-season game against the Washington Redskins, had surgery and his return is on the shorter side of a four-to-six week diagnosis. As his progression continues it is likely the Jets will use him in a situational role, rather than throw him out there as the full-time starter.

Darrelle Revis’ return, however, does not seem as optimistic.

Ryan said that he was ‘hopeful’ that the Jets corner will play this week at Buffalo, but expect the team to err to the side of caution as no one wants this injury to drag on through the course of the season.

“You almost have to be 100 percent, or right at 100 percent, to play corner or you’re going to be having to face this the whole season,” Ryan said. “Hopefully, we can have him this week. If not, we have to find a way to get it done.”

Revis tweaked his hamstring the Thursday before the game against New England. He pulled his hamstring after Randy Moss’s highlight reel catch that Sunday. He has not been on the field since the Moss touchdown grab, being ruled out for the Miami game as early as last Wednesday.

Revis’ replacement, rookie Kyle Wilson, has struggled mightily in the starting role as his inexperience has been exposed in all three games. In a single touchdown drive for Miami, Wilson accounted for 64 yards – letting up two completions and a 27-yard pass interference penalty.

Thirteen year veteran Jason Taylor has stepped up in Pace’s role quite nicely, recording two sacks and a forced fumble in three games. Having Pace back, even on the situational basis will help the defensive pass rush, and in return the defensive secondary until Revis is 100%.

Morning After Report

Monday, September 27th, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NY – Going in to Week 4, after the daunting three game gauntlet of Baltimore, New England and Miami, the Jets are in first place in the AFC East sporting a sprightly 2-1 record. Even if it is due to an early divisional tie-breaker, given the obstacles that have been hurdled to get to this point, there is plenty to smile about. However there is, clearly, vast room for improvement.

Last night’s game showed just how good the Jets offense can be and just how bad the defense looks without Darrelle Revis, Calvin Pace and Kris Jenkins. Despite the defensive deficiencies, Gang Green persevered and held on for a 31-23 road win against the Miami Dolphins.

Here’s the Official Jets Insider’s Week 4 report card:

PASSING GAME: A

  • Let this next sentence sink for a moment. Through three weeks of the NFL season, Mark Sanchez has yet to turn the ball over. For a sophomore, who in his rookie year led the NFL with 22 interceptions, that is taking huge strides in the right direction.
  • Not only does he not turn the ball over, but for the second straight week has thrown for three touchdowns. He never did that last year.
  • The Sanchez-Dustin Keller connection has come on strong. His six reception, 98-yard, 2 TD performance drew Rex Ryan to boast, “We said to the fantasy leaguers that they should take him. He’s really a nightmare to cover.”
  • Braylon Edwards, minus the beard, made the most of his time on the field. He took a 15-yard pass 55 yards to the house on his possession and also grabbed a 20-yard ball on a key third down that eventually led to a touchdown. He also drew a key pass interference call in the endzone on Dolphins’ CB Jason Allen. Despite missing the first quarter due to his Tuesday morning arrest, Edwards showed his big play potential and just how important he is to this offense.
  • After averaging three sacks in their first two games, the Dolphins rarely got to Sanchez as the Jets offensive line did not allow a sack for the first time all season.

Nick Mangold (left) and Matt Slauson (right) and the rest of the Jets OL did not allow a sack in the 31-23 victory over the Dolphins. They helped earn an A for the passing game in this week's Morning After Report. (JetsInsider.com photo).

RUNNING GAME: B

  • The tandem backfield of LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 111 yards and touchdown. Sprinkle in Brad Smith’s wildcat yardage of 41 yards and the ground game offers a very steady balance to the aerial assault Sanchez has put on the last two weeks.
  • Let all the LT naysayers take a moment to insert their feet in mouths. With that taken care of, it’s safe to say that Tomlinson looks to be in mid-20’s form. He has taken very well to the splitting duties with Greene. But to those who still believe that Greene is the starter, look at this: LT was in 45 of 57 offensive plays last night. He might not admit to it, but LT is no back-up.
  • Greene’s stumbling out of the gates in the first two weeks has helped with an increase in LT’s touches along with making the most of every opportunity he has.

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN: C+

  • In what has been the most injured department of the Jets team, the front seven held their own despite missing Pace and Jenkins.
  • They held the pesky Dolphins ground game to 84 yards rushing, averaging 3.7 YPR.
  • The replacement team of DeVito/Green/Pouha accounted for four tackles and one pass defended.
  • Former Dolphin Jason Taylor and Shaun Ellis each recorded sacks.
  • The defensive pass rush is painfully missing the eight sacks of Calvin Pace. The lack of a pass rush allowed time for Chad Henne to sick back and pick apart the Revis-less defensive backfield of the Jets, as he had a career day throwing the ball.

DEFENSIVE SECONDARY: D

  • I give them a D as in they need Darrelle Revis. Henne carved up the secondary for a career high 363 yards and two scores.
  • The much anticipated showdown between Brandon Marshall and Antonio Cromartie ended up being the Brandon Marshall show. He pulled down 10 balls for 166 yards and a touchdown.
  • Rookie Kyle Wilson must not be used to playing on a green field, because he has been getting burnt all season long.
  • Dolphins’ third down beast, Davone Bess, lived up to his reputation has three of his six catches were on third down conversions. The Jets’ struggles with stopping teams on third down continued as they the Dolphins converted 47% of third downs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B+

  • Return specialist Brad Smith had four returns and averaged 37.5 yards. It was that great starting field position that allowed the Jets offense to get rolling.
  • Special teams coach Mike Westoff got a deflection for the second straight week as Eric Smith got a hand on a Brandon Fields punt.
  • Jets’ punter Steve Weatherford averaged 46 yards over four punts and twice pinned the Dolphins within their own twenty yard line.
  • Kicker Nick Folk looked strong striking the ball. He lined up for a 56-yard FG try to end the first half, but a false start penalty on Rob Turner forced him at an unreasonable 61 yards.

COACHING: B-

  • The Jets had a great offensive game plan, feeding the Dolphins defense a steady dose of run and pass. It was probably the most complete game we’ve seen from the offense this year. While a lot of credit goes to the players for their execution, credit OC Brian Schottenheimer for putting the game plan in place.
  • The mental mistakes continue to haunt the Jets as they were penalized 9 times for 81 yards. They’ve been penalized 29 times thus far.
  • Rex Ryan made most of his challenges going 2-for-2 with the red flags. The first on a potential Sanchez interception, however the review showed that the ball hit the ground before Allen could gain possession. The other gave the Jets offense a fresh set of goal line downs after challenging whether the Dolphins defense had 12 men on the field. The call worked out and the Jets scored. Heads up play by the head coach.



Jets survive late ‘Fins surge, win 31-23

Monday, September 27th, 2010

MIAMI, FL – Mark Sanchez threw three touchdown passes for the second week in a row, and the Jets are in a three-way tie atop the AFC East with the Dolphins and Patriots. All are 2-1.

Bradon Marshall may have torched a Revis-less Jets secondary for 10 receptions 166 yards and a touchdown , but it was Braylon Edwards who made the night’s biggest grab. Benched briefly because of a drunken-driving arrest, he caught a short pass, juked cornerback Jason Allen to the ground and sprinted untouched to the end zone to put New York ahead. They would not relinquish the lead.

“The biggest thing I can say about this week is that I really am glad that I have teammates and an organization like the Jets,” Edwards said. “They’ve been very supportive, been there for me and they’ve allowed me to have a better week than maybe somewhere else.”

After pulling ahead with an eight-point lead just under two minutes to play, the Dolphins starting marching down the field. On the last play of their seven-play, 69-yard drive Drew Coleman picked off Chad Henne in the endzone to seal the 31-23 win.

Jason Taylor, who returned to his old stomping grounds, was named a team captain for the game and was booed regularly by the sell-out crowd in what was the Dolphins’ home opener. At the end of the game, Rex Ryan assisted in letting the former Dolphin get a shower a littler earlier as he helped pour Gatorade over Taylor.

The victory capped an emotional week for Taylor, and a stressful one for Edwards. The receiver was arrested in Manhattan around 5 a.m. Tuesday and apologized the next day. After a media outcry for his punishment, the Jets decided to bench him for the first quarter of action Sunday night.

“It was obviously not the situation I want to be in,” Edwards said. “But I was there supporting my team. I was there for every play, watching and knowing what it was, up and cheering guys on. I was just being the best teammate I could be.”

LaDanian Tomlinson had 88 total yards and a late-game touchdown in the Jets 31-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins Sunday night. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

He had two catches in the game, a 67-yard touchdown pass and a 20-yard catch on third down to keep their final touchdown drive alive. The drive was later capped off by a 1-yard LaDanian Tomlinson rush to the endzone.

The Dolphins’ Henne then took his team down the field with 35 seconds left, only to have the ball deflected in the endzone by Eric Smith and intercepted by Coleman.

“We kept fighting at the end,” Henne said. “Sad how it turned out.”

Smith was making plays defensively and on special teams as he blocked a punt that would eventually set up a field goal.

Miami fought back from a 14-0 deficit with help from Marshall, who had his first touchdown for the Dolphins. They opened the second half with a 6-minute, 73-yard drive capped by Henne’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Marshall on third down.

That gave the Dolphins the 17-14 lead. It would be the only time in the game that the Jets were trailing.

The Jets answered with Edwards catching a 12-yard pass near the sideline and taking it 55-yards for the score. It took 18 seconds for the Jets to retake the lead.

“All week we said we just want to make plays after the catch,” Edwards said. “Anybody can throw a deep ball. For us, we just wanted yards after the catch. It was a situation where I caught it outside and Jason slipped, and I was able to go the distance.”

It was his longest play as a member of the New York Jets.

The Jets took the opening possession and marched 72 yards for a touchdown. Sanchez converted two third downs with completions, then hit Dustin Keller with a 24-yard score. Sanchez would follow that up with an equally impressive 12-yard strike to Keller again that capped off a 90-yard drive, giving them a 14-0 lead.

The Jets were able to stop the Dolphins from beating them four straight times. They did so by stopping their dangerous run game/Wildcat offense. Ronnie Brown ran for 54 yards, while Ricky Williams had 28 yards and 2 fumbles (one lost). However for a second time, Henne had over 300 yards passing against the Jets (a career-high 363 yards).

“This is one of those games where you’ve got to have it,” Marshall said. “It was a fun atmosphere to play in. The crowd was awesome, and I’m disappointed we couldn’t get them the win.”

The Jets next face Buffalo at home on October 3rd at 1 p.m. EST. The Jets will look to continue their win streak within the division.

Woody ‘disappointed’ by Edwards ordeal

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – In what was his first public address since WR Braylon Edwards was slapped with a DWI early Tuesday morning, Jets owner Woody Johnson sounded more like the head of M.A.D.D. than an NFL owner.

“I think we’re just beginning. We’re going to push [implementing an alcohol awareness program] as hard as we can push it. There’s no tolerance for anyone to be drinking and driving. I don’t want anyone drinking and driving. That’s my personal goal.”

Jets owner Woody Johnson gave his first public address since the Braylon Edwards' DWI charge. He was adament about having zero tolerance on drunk driving. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

Well, maybe not Mothers Against Drunk Driving, but Managers Against Drunk Driving doesn’t have a bad ring to it. With the regularity of this offense in the NFL, I’m sure Johnson wouldn’t have a very hard time getting other front office figures involved.

The owner spoke candidly for about 15 minutes on the topic of the Jets’ troubled wide-out, recalling how he heard about the incident and expressed his feelings on the issue.

“I was extremely disappointed when I found out this had happened. That’s the only way to put it. This is a very serious thing he’s been accused of. I’m sorry this happened to one of our guys,” said Johnson.

“We do have Player Protect. It is encouraged. It’s a great system where a player can call up at any time, and remain anonymous. If I find out a player took this, I’m firing the service. There’s not supposed to be a stigma with this. If you have one drink, you should not be driving. We’re set up to do that.”

Johnson would go on to reiterate his extreme disappointment of the Edwards’ occurrence but expressed pleasure in his team’s reaction to the media backlash. He made sure to note that no one is shying away from questions and, like it has been all season, their locker room is open for everyone to view – good or bad.

When asked about the slap-on-the-wrist punishment of losing his starting job rather than a one-game suspension, Johnson had quite the opposite take than most have taken on the issue.

“Braylon’s losing more than his starting role. He’s got a serious ticket in front of him. If proven guilty, he has a serious taint on his record. He’s going to be a free agent at some point. I would guess that this would negatively affect his new contract. So, I think he’s got a heavy load in front of him.”

He would go on to say that anyone who considers themselves as a starter in the NFL would characterize the punishment as pretty severe. When deciding how to approach Edwards’ punishment, the front office reviewed similar cases that have occurred over the past year. They found that no precedent of suspension had happened until after the legal process had been carried out.

So how long it will be before Jets’ fans will see Edwards on the field? That still has yet to be determined. In all likelihood, the decision will come on Sunday before kick-off.

And as for Johnson heading up the official Managers Against Drunk Driving coalition, he offered a joke.

“I could be the permanent funder for all this stuff. I’m pretty good at setting up these sorts of organizations. So maybe I’m the guy.”

We’ve all heard the old adage before, a lot of truth is said in jest.

Early Practice Notes

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Jets center, Nick Mangold, and Darrelle Revis painted a scary picture Thursday morning as they stayed in stride side-by-side on the stationary bikes. That is $101 million sitting on the sidelines. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – With the amount of money, $101 million to be exact, the Jets had riding the stationary bike at the start of practice, you’d swear they signed Lance Armstrong to a contract. However it was Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and Nick Mangold (shoulder), not the seven-time Tour De France champion, who stayed in stride side-by-side for the duration of practice.

Revis has already been ruled out for this Sunday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins (2-0) with the possibility of missing the following week’s game at Buffalo. No one, including Revis, wants the All-Pro corner to rush back after his 37-day holdout from training camp.

“I’m just going to take my time and get back to 100 percent and then I’ll be playing,” he said. “I’m progressing every day and [the hamstring] is getting better every day.”

As for Mangold, this is the second straight day he did not participate in practice with a shoulder injury suffered in last week’s victory over New England. The severity of the injury is still gray, however when the injury reports are released later on today, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on his status for Miami.

Jason Taylor, who was limited in practice yesterday, participated in early team drills before the media were asked to leave the practice field. Despite early participation, Taylor is still sporting the Barry Bonds-like protective armor on his left arm. When asked about his status for facing his former team, Taylor said “I’ll be there Sunday. As far as how great it will be, I don’t know.”

Edwards adds to Jets’ Frathouse Persona

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – As it was already reported by the Jets Insider early this morning, Jets WR Braylon Edwards was pulled over at roughly 5:15 a.m. EST leaving in lower Manhattan for illegal tints on his window. He was charged with driving while intoxicated as he blew a .16 blood-alchol level on a breathalyzer, double the legal limit. The police officer then tacked on an extra . 15 after Edwards excessively celebrated for being under .20.

The officer would go on to say that he could smell alcohol on Edwards breath, but there are reports that Edwards actually had drinks hidden in his beard as well.

All jokes aside, the punishment has yet to be passed down, however it will come from the Jets rather than Roger Goodell and the NFL. It could only be a fine, or it could be a fine and a one-game suspension. The suspension would come at a bad time if they were to decide to suspend him for the Week 3 match-up against AFC East foe, the Miami Dolphins. The loss of Edwards, coupled with the four-game suspension to WR Santonio Holmes, would spell significant trouble against an aggressive Dolphins defense and would force no. 3 wideout Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith to step up in their absences. However, don’t surprised if the suspense happens during the Week 4 game against the Buffalo Bills, who is seen as a weaker opponent.

While athletes get slapped with DWIs and other minor offenses with regularity, this particular incident is painting a larger, rather darker picture for how people view the 2010 New York Jets.

Despite the team offering The Player Protect program, which offers designated drivers to Jets players, Braylon Edwards was issued a DUI. He posted a .16 blood-alcohol level, twice the legal limit. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

The news of Edwards’ DWI comes just days after the NFL released the details to the investigation against the Jets regarding the sexual harassment of female reporter Ines Sainz. Players and coaches allegedly took part in the cat-calling and whistling, as the Mexican TV reporter stood on the sidelines. Coaches also allegedly drew up dummy plays so that players could run by and admire her up close.

There is nothing wrong with have a little school yard fun, after all football is a game. However this Jets team is quickly turning from a lovable cast of quotable characters to arrogant, pig-head jocks. They have opened up their locker room to three players who were labeled as distractions on their old teams (Edwards, Holmes and Antonio Cromartie). And while only one has drawn negative headlines, the moves will leave fans scratching their heads if the off-the-field dramatics outweigh the on-the-field output.  In the case of Edwards, that couldn’t be more of the truth.

Upon being traded to New York halfway in October, Edwards was accused of punching LeBron James’ friend at a Cleveland nightclub. Edwards settled on a no contest plea to aggravated assault, $1,000 fine, put on probation and a suspended 180-day prison sentence. His recent trouble could face complications as Edwards is still on probation from the Cleveland incident.

Aside opening up their locker room to the questionable character guys, the Jets also opened up the locker rooms to the whole world, allowing families across America see and hear the “I hope you don’t kiss your mother with that mouth” banter by the guy who sets the tone for the team, head coach Rex Ryan. While some appreciate his unadulterated style (mostly the media), others see his crass tone as setting the bar low for his players and forgetting about how they are role models as much as they are warriors.

If the Jets organization had any backbone, they would suspend Edwards for this week’s game against the Dolphins to send a message that they are committed to not ending up like the Cincinnati Bengals circa 2007-08. Benching him for a big AFC East showdown would show the world that athletes, All-Pro or practice squad, need to be held accountable for their actions. If they end up fining him or suspending him for what is seen as a “weaker” game, it will show they are only concerned with winning.

Sometimes, even in sports, winning isn’t everything.

The Morning After Report

Monday, September 20th, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – I’m not sure what’s louder; the roar of Jets fans yelling “I told you so” or the silence of their  skeptics. After the Jets thrashing of the New England Patriots fans have plenty to cheer for. The offense not only showed signs of life, but proved they can be a juggernaut like they were anticipated to be. The defense shut down Tom Brady, without CB Darrelle Revis, and forced him into three turnovers. Also plenty of reason to silence the critics who said the Jets were all bark and little bite.

But the day belonged to the so-called sophomoric second-year quarterback, Mark Sanchez, who went toe-to-toe with one of the NFL’s heavyweight champs, Tom Brady. Coming into the game, Rex Ryan admitted that the Patriots were better than the Jets in two areas: the head coach and the quarterback positions. In a move that was more of a compliment to the Patriots than a slight to his team, there was no doubting that Sanchez and Brady were incomparable. Except for last night. Sanchez looked poised standing tall in the pocket and rolling out on the bootleg. There were no signs of the scared child that looked over-matched against the Ravens.

Not only did Sanchez match Brady drive for drive, but KO’d the Super Bowl MVP when it mattered the most. After Brady constructed a 16-play, 75-yard drive that ate up over eight minutes for the first score of the game, Sanchez answered back with an equally masterful 12-play, 78-yard drive for seven minutes. And while a Revis-less Jets defense forced Brady in to three turnovers, Sanchez picked apart a young Patriots secondary for three scores and zero turnovers. Through two games, Sanchez has yet to record a turnover.

Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer were clicking on all cylinders as they torched the Patriots, 28-14. On the day Sanchez was 21-for-30 for 220 yds & 3 TDs. (Photo by JetsInsider.com).

After being on the hot seat for his offensive schemes, coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s motion and shift system worked perfectly against young secondary. On Sanchez’s second touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery, it was easy to see the misdirection and stop-and-go routes confused CBs Darius Butler (who Sanchez frequently picked on) and Devin McCourty. They still made a living on the short-route passes and a steady serving of the run, but it allowed the Jets to stretch the field on occasion -  which they converted with great success.

While the day belonged to Sanchez, who displayed his leadership on a veteran team and his label as a gamer, the game had another subplot; injuries to key players. Revis, who was limited in practice on Thursday after tweaking his left hamstring, re-aggravated that same hamstring on a touchdown pass to Randy Moss. With Moss streaking down the center of the field, Revis trailed by a step or two, Brady heaved a bomb toward the endzone. The ball was perfectly thrown. Moss reached out – one arm, one hand – and plucked the ball out of the air. Revis made a last-second lunge for the ball but grabbed his hamstring. While Moss got his flotation device off Revis Island, Revis was getting his ego and hamstring rubbed out on the sideline. He would not return.

Much like the injury to Kris Jenkins, it would take the collective effort of the defensive secondary to replace the play of Revis. Antonio Cromartie played exceptionally well on Moss, perhaps forcing the Freak into the Slouch. In his first game as a Jet – a la in the back-up role due to injury, safety Brodney Pool had a DVR-worthy pick on Brady in which Pool catches a tipped ball, inches from the sideline, and he gains control of the ball and plants his toes to the turf as the rubber beads were his alibi.

Center Nick Mangold left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. He sat out on the Jets go-ahead drive while back-up Rob Turner took the snapping duties. He did return for the game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter.

Jason Taylor’s first sack as a Jet came with a lot of impact. Not only did he force a fumble late in the game on the sack, but he re-injured his left elbow. He would leave the game and leave the stadium with it heavily wrapped.

And as for the rest of the defensive front seven, they held their ground allowing 52 yards rushing and getting two more sacks to add to Taylor’s late strip-sack. The platoon replacement of Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito combined for 11 tackles. Not a bad way to forget about the large loss of Jenkins.

In a complete 180 degree turnaround from last week, the Jets won the battle of the boxscore – beating the Patriots in the most-telling statistics in football. They led the time of possession 32 minutes to 28 while recording more first downs (23). After only converting one third down against the Ravens, the Jets were a shade under 50%, going 6-for-13 on third downs. They allowed only one sack – albeit a bone-crushing hit from Gerard Warren. And the best stat of all? The Jets committed only six penalties for 58 yards, cutting that number in half from last week.

While the Jets have plenty to smile about after such a team-oriented win, they have to re-focus as they travel to the 2-0 Miami Dolphins this week. The Jets will have their work cut-out for them as the Dolphins defense looked strong against the Vikings yesterday. With the addition of Brandon Marshall and the emergence of Chad Henne, their offense has a different look than the Wildcat offense that has been a thorn in the side of team’s around the league since they introduced it.

JETS – PATRIOTS PREVIEW

Friday, September 17th, 2010

This Sunday the Jets face what could be the biggest Week 2 game in Jets history. Coming off a demoralizing 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens to kick-off Monday Night Football and their new home, the Jets know the New England Patriots are coming. With a Super Bowl prediction looming over their heads and the start of division play, the Jets need to get a win in their new stadium. The action kicks off at 4:15 pm EST. CBS has coverage on the game.

When: Sunday, September 19th 2010 4:15 pm EST – CBS

Stadium: New Meadowlands Stadium (capacity: 82,500)

Series: 99th meeting, Jets lead series 50-48-1

Last Meeting: Patriots 31, Jets 14, Gillette Stadium, 11/22/09

Last Jets Win: Jets 16, Patriots 9, Meadowlands, 9/20/09

Notable: The Jets are 29-22 overall at home and 2-1 in overtime games against the Patriots.

Head Coaches: Rex Ryan, Jets – second season, 9-8 regular season, 2-1 postseason; Bill Bellichick, Patriots – 11th season, 149-92 regular season, 15-5 postseason.

Last Week: Jets – 10-9 LOSS vs BAL; Patriots – 38-24 WIN vs CIN

Injury Report: JETS; OUT – Pace (foot), Jenkins (knee) / PROBABLE – Revis (hamstring) / QUESTIONABLE – Pool (ankle). PATRIOTS; OUT – Kaczur (back), Wheatley (foot) / PROBABLE -  Brady (rt. shoulder), Taylor (toe), Welker (not injury related) / QUESTIONABLE – Julian Edelman (foot).

Jets Rankings: OFFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 9 (28th), TOTAL YARDS 176 (30th), RUSHING 116 YPG (13th), PASSING 60 YPG (32nd), 3rd DOWN 9% (30th-T); DEFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 10 (6th-T), TOTAL YARDS 282 (10th), RUSHING 49 (3rd-T), PASSING 233 (20th), 3rd DOWN 58% (31th).

Patriots Rankings: OFFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 38 (1st-T), TOTAL YARDS 376 (7th-T), RUSHING 118 (11th-T), PASSING 258 (8th-T), 3rd DOWN 69.2% (1st); DEFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 24 (24th-T), TOTAL YARDS 428 (30th), RUSHING 87 (10th), PASSING 341 (30th), 3rd DOWN 53.3% (28th-T).

Key Match-ups:

  • WR Wes Welker vs. CB Cromartie/Wilson: Of course the premier match-up will be Darrelle Revis on Randy Moss, but with the possibility of the Pats’ deep threat being stranded on Revis Island, Tom Brady’s go-to-guy will be and always has been Welker. The last time Welker played the Jets, he torched them for a league record 15 receptions for a 192 yards. Even on a bum knee, Welker still poses a very serious threat to the Jets secondary. Raven’s Joe Flacco regularly picked on Cromartie and Wilson either completing passes or drawing flags. Against an offense that looked to be in mid-season form, those types of mistakes won’t be tolerated.
  • S Jim Leonhard vs. Patriot TEs: Rookie TEs Aaron Hernandez (6-1, 245) and Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265) are big, fast, and physical. Leonhard is fast, physical and might have more heart than anyone one the field but is lacking the size. Last week Leonhard had a tough time matching up against the big and physical Todd Heap, which the Ravens exploited for a few big plays late in the game. Safety Brodney Pool (ankle) would ideally take on the challenge but has been limited in practice this week and failed to play in the opener last week. The Jets will have to punish the rookies at the line of scrimmage, throwing off the timing of their routes or hope for help from CB Dwight Lowery or Drew Coleman.
  • QB Mark Sanchez vs. Patriot CBs: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Rex Ryan have both said they expect to stretch the field this week after playing a timid, conservative style against the aggressive Ravens defense. They might have picked the right team to do it, the Patriots allowed the Bengals to gain 341 yards in the air. Second-year corner Darius Butler and the rookie from Rutgers, Devin McCourty, were tested early and responded nicely against the loud-mouth tandem of Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens, but play like that can’t be expected week in-week out from the young defensive backs. The Jets receiving core should have favorable match-ups with the perpetually under-rated Jerricho Cothcery and deep threat option Braylon Edwards. Now all Sanchez has to do is get the ball to them. *Note: Sanchez went 4-for-4 in bounce back games in 2009. After having statistically his four worst games in 2009, Sanchez would go on to have four of his best games – definitely a sign of gamer.

X Factors:

  • JETS – LaDanian Tomlinson, 21, RB: Tomlinson may hate the Patriots more than any one else on the Jets, but he does love playing against them. LT has been a terror on the ground and in the air through out his career with the Patriots amassing 670 yards rushing, and 191 yards receiving. His seven career TDs are the most by any active player against the Patriots. Last week against Baltimore he was the lone bright spot in the Jets offense breaking runs of 17 and 21 yards. With a banged up front seven that’s no where near as ferocious as the Ravens, the Patriots will get a steady dose of the LT.
  • PATRIOTS – Patrick Chung, 25, S: The Patriots have been looking for a player like Chung to come along and replace the hard-hitting shoes of Rodney Harrison. Chung, a second-year player out of Oregon, is a ball hawk who has a hard-nose style of play. Last week against Cincinnati he recorded 9 tackles while wreaking havoc on receivers. Coupled with the equally punishing Brandon Meriwether, Chung should be the focus of Sanchez at all times. He has that Troy Polamalu big-play potential.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

  • The Jets hope to get enough first downs this week to avoid back-to-back losses to open the season. They play the New England Patriots Sunday @ 4:15 pm EST. (Photo by JetsInsider.com)

    3rd DOWN EFFICIENCY- There’s no need to sugar-coat it, the Jets down-right sucked on third down conversions on both sides of the ball. The Jets offense couldn’t convert a third down until it was too late (9% efficiency), while the Jets defense were handing out first downs like they volunteered at a soup kitchen (58% efficiency). The Patriots are very adept at keeping the drive going, so once they get rolling the harder it is to stop them.

  • HOLES AT LEFT GUARD: In an interesting turn of events, both the Jets and Patriots are without the premier left guard that has anchored their respective line in years past. The Jets let go of Alan Faneca in favor of the floundering platoon of Matt Slauson/Vladimir Ducasse. So far, they have been accused of attempted murder for the way they let defenses pounce on Sanchez. Similarly, the Patriots have been without Logan Mankins, who is a restricted free agent and is holding out for a new contract/be traded. Dan Connolly has come out from the woodwork and off the bench to replace the Patriots Pro Bowl left guard. Both defenses are going to be eyeing that hole at left guard as a vulnerability. And like sharks who smell blood in the water, they will attack.
  • MENTAL TOUGHNESS: Some made a very good argument that the Ravens didn’t beat the Jets, the Jets beat themselves. They were penalized 14 times for 125 yards last week against Baltimore. That falls on the coaches as well as the players. At practice this week, players who committed penalties were forced to count off up-downs for his entire team to do – a high school approach to ridding a team of mistakes. But whatever gets the job. A lot of the defensive penalties led to the high rate of success the Ravens had on third down, so if the Jets keep the penalties to a minimum expect their third down success to better.

THE PICK: Patriots 24, NY Jets 21 – Mark Sanchez and the Jets will play better than their Week 1 dud, but still won’t have all the pieces together to pull out a victory. The Jets looked susceptible to the pass, an area where the Patriots excel more than any other team in the league. They may be able to take away Moss, and possibly contain Welker, but the combination of Brady-to- Hernandez/Gronkowski will ultimately be the difference.

Front 7 will fill Jenkins’ big shoes

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Kris Jenkins plugs up a big hole in the middle of that line of scrimmage. He leaves an even bigger whole when he’s gone. For the second year in a row, the Jets are realizing just how hard it is to continuously re-fill that hole.

Sure with the combination of Howard Green, Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha the Jets were able to have the number one total defense in the league last year. But that is last year.

This year they have the loss of Jenkins coupled with ‘09 sacks league Calvin Pace to worry about. The Jets will not be so lucky to have the full attention of their defensive reserves with the outside pass rush lacking without Pace. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has already said that it will take a collective effort to fill the gaps missing from the top defense from last year.

Jets DE Shaun Ellis is one of several Jets Linemen that have to step it up with Kris Jenkins gone. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“We’re going to have to come together and work hard,” said DeVito. “The thing is we all did this last year so we know what it takes. It takes a lot of extra work. We have to play well as a unit and know where we are at all times.”

Versatile lineman DeVito, who helped fill those big shoes of Jenkins last season, has a starting role on the outside but will still be used to line up under the nose or in a 3-technique stance as well. Pouha, who had a coming-out game against the Ravens with two fumble recoveries, will be the starting defensive tackle this week against New England.

Pettine also discussed, but would not go into detail, about using defensive ends Shaun Ellis and Vernon Gholston a little differently to help fill the open voids. Gholston, who failed converting to the OLB position, has familiarity with reading a defense from the two-point stance and can offer minimal help on coverage. The newly re-signed DT Howard Green will in all likelihood not play against New England, where he was signed mid-week. Expect him to see game action the following week at Miami.

“Jenkins [and Pace] are a big loss, so collectively as a defensive line we got to step up our game and make plays,” says Green.

Jason Taylor, who was expected to spell Pace from the outside, has instead taken over his duties until his return. (INJURY UPDATE: Pace was seen riding the bike today at practice. He’s listed as OUT for this week’s game and likely next week’s game against Miami). He filled in nicely for the Baltimore game tallying three tackles, three assisted tackles and two for a loss. If anyone doubted the Taylor signing, they certainly are now thanking GM Mike Tannenbaum for it.

On the other end, OLB Bryan Thomas has stepped up nicely since the loss of Pace, arguably having his best game as a Jet. He was involved on the opening defensive strip sack with Bart Scott, and also found his way in on another sack later in the game, providing that pressure that will be missed without Pace and Jenkins.

NOTES: Rex Ryan forced a sloppy Jets teams “back to grade school” at practice today. Offensively, the team had to re-do any third down play that was not converted during practice. Ryan hopes this rights the sinking ship the Jets have been in all pre-season and during the first game with third downs. Against Baltimore they were 1-for-11 on third down conversions, with lone conversion coming late in the fourth quarter.

Look for the Jets to tone done all the pre-snap shifts and motions this week against New England. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has drawn criticism for the complicated bells and whistles to his offense, which is supposed to put players in favorable match-ups, but has made second-year starter Sanchez look lost or timid at times.

Defensively, the Jets were getting a bit of leg work in. When a defender was called for a penalty, the rest of the unit would be forced to do up-downs or push-ups while the player who committed the foul would run laps around the rest of the defensive unit. The Jets were called for 12 penalties for over 100 yards in the 10-9 loss to Baltimore. “We’re going to do anything, whatever it takes to solve this,” said Ryan after practice. “That’s what we’re going to do. I know it’s an old high-school trick, but sometimes those old high-school tricks still work on this level.”