Archive for September, 2011

Holmes will be key against Ravens

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Santonio Holmes believes the team has a better chance of winning  the more the ball is in his hands. To the former Super Bowl MVP, as he will tell you, it makes sense. Last year he was instrumental in many late-game comebacks, accounting for nearly five wins on his own heroics — earning him a $45 million extension and a front page photo of him topping off a bottle of Louis Roederer Cristal from 2002.

Holmes, who was targeted only twice in the 34-24 loss to the Raiders last week, has a long history with the Baltimore Ravens and is ready to use his experience to exploit the vaunted Ravens defense.

Experience aside, he has made a career at being a thorn in the side of the Ravens — pulling in a touchdown reception in seven straight games (including postseason). That’s more than any other player in the league. It makes sense, then, why Holmes would be stressing more attention this week.

“I don’t think they’re going to want to play a lot of man versus us. They’re going to come out in different coverages like they did when I played in Pittsburgh,” said Holmes, who was drafted by the Steelers in 2006. “It’s going to be blitzing, zones, man-to-man, Cover-2, one-high playing as if he’s a hole player. They’re going to be a lot of mixtures of coverages come Sunday, so we just definitely have to be prepared for it.”

Santonio Holmes has owned the Ravens, catching a TD in seven straight games. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

But according to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the offense sputtered last week after the Raiders secondary switched from their base man-to-man coverage to a zone scheme. This led to only two targets for Holmes last week.

“Once we got up on [the Raiders], they started playing a lot of zone. We had hit kind of a stale spot. There were clearly some things that I wish we probably would’ve recognized as a staff quicker,” Schottenheimer said.

Against a Super Bowl-favorite, like the Ravens and the Patriots next week, Schottenheimer and the offense are not going to have a choice to react slower. Mark Sanchez needs to get into early rhythms with either/or Holmes and tight end Dustin Keller in order for the offense to start clicking. The two offensive weapons have accounted for 37% of Sanchez’s completions so far. Schottenheimer recognizes the solution to the problem.

“Tone [Holmes] is a huge part of what we do. He’s a guy that we want to get the ball to. We have huge plays and huge packages for him,” Schottenheimer said.”You can’t be a fan of the league to recognize a punt return here and a big touchdown to win the game a couple of years ago on fourth down. He’s a great player. He’s had success against a lot of teams.”

The problem shouldn’t be Holmes getting open, he’s going against two young corners in Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams, but getting Holmes the ball. Despite the inexperience on the corners, the Ravens defense has been efficient at stopping receivers. That is mostly due to their tough front seven, who’s adept at rushing the passer. Pressure up the middle from Haloti Ngata and Ray Lewis will be tough on the rookie center, Colin Baxter. Nick Mangold (high ankle sprain) may be able to help, as he’s been labeled a game-time decision for Sunday’s contest. If it’s not from the inside, Terrell Suggs will be pressuring the corners all game.

With Holmes’ experience against the stingy Ravens defense, he knows it just focusing one play at a time taking everything yard by yard. “Every week, when it was time to play against those guys, it was always do what you can, help the team, everything else, it just falls in place,” he said.

The Morning After Report

Monday, September 26th, 2011

The Jets got sucked into the Black Hole on Sunday. Not good? How about, the Raiders ran over the Jets in Oakland? Eeh, I’ll work on it. Anyway you cut it, the Jets came up short at the Coliseum with their 34-24 loss. Jets Nation seems to be morning the hangover, ready to press the panic button.

A loss on their first leg of a three-game road stretch is tough, considering they go to Baltimore and New England in the next two weeks. But it was how the Jets loss that was most concerning. Raiders running back Darren McFadden manhandled a Jets defense that prides themselves on stopping the run and imposing their toughness on others. The Raiders outhit, outran, and out-toughed the Jets. The bullies were finally bullied — beat at their own game.

PASSING OFFENSE:  C+

  • Mark Sanchez (369 yards, 3 total TDs, 1 INT) played admirably for his team, despite the interception in the end zone early in the first quarter — wiping out a 53-yard punt return by Jeremy Kerley. He stood in there and took a lot of hits from the Raiders, sporting a cut on his face and a banged up nose. He told reporters after the game that he had to have X-rays on his nose to see if it was broken.
  • Speaking of the offensive line, they gave up four sacks and six more hits on the Sanchez, who was consistently rushed from the pocket. Baxter played well at times, but the loss of Mangold was felt as Sanchez had pressure up the middle all day.
  • Five receivers had three or more receptions, including LaDanian Tomlinson (5 receptions, 116 yards, 1 TD) who enjoyed a breakout game. They played the underneath pass too often against a defense that played man coverage –  an area they were notably going to attack earlier in the week.

Bart Scott was almost non-existant in the 34-24 beatdown by the Oakland Raiders Sunday. Expect him to come out fired up this Sunday night in Baltimore. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

RUSHING OFFENSE: B

  • Shonn Greene had a solid game (59 rushing yards, 3.9 yards per carry), but had the support of Tomlinson on the ground as well, who had 6 carries for 38 yards. Greene did his best LT impression, pulling in seven receptions for 47 yards.
  • The Jets were successful on runs to the outside and screens. That could have been due to an aggressive Raiders’ front, or the team feeling uncomfortable without Mangold under center.

PASSING DEFENSE: D

  • They allowed Jason Campbell to be in control. He played a mistake-free game, while keeping his jersey clean  (1 sack — where he was tripped up by McFadden and downed by David Harris. He completed two-thirds of his passes for 156 yards, which is all you could ask out him after the performance the Raiders got out their passing game.
  • Antonio Cromartie has proven to be one of the most polarizing figures on this Jets roster. He seems always to find his way at the apex of the game — for better or worse. This week it was worse, being penalized four times and having a costly fumble on a kickoff return that should’ve be downed in the first place. His reputation of being too touchy with receivers perceives him, giving the advantage to the receiver who has ever taken an acting class.
  • The pass rush has been a problem area all season, and against a rough and rumble Raider o-line it showed. The defensive backfield last year recorded nine sacks, but we have yet to see the Jets blitz defensive backs with the same consistency. Playing more nickel packages gives the option of sending that nickel back off the end or a safety up the gut while giving the offense a different look than a 3-4 or 46 defense.

RUSHING DEFENSE: F

  • Four touchdowns on the ground on a 234-yard rushing day that was the worst the Jets had allowed in 41 games—including playoffs—with Ryan as coach. They had three runs of 20 yards or more, including runs of 70 and 27 yards by McFadden and Denarius Moore turning 23-yards for a score on a reverse following McFadden’s run of 27 yards.
  • The Raiders offensive line overpowered the Jets front as they were able to get the second level of the defense — as proof by the vicious block on safety Jim Leonhard that scored as a metaphor for how the game went.
  • After two standout games, Bart Scott (4 tackles, 2 assisted) should take this one personally. Expect him to be dialed up returning to his former team in Baltimore and ready to prove that Sunday was a fluke. The defense runs through the confidence and play of Scott.
  • They faced their toughest test on the ground in McFadden and Michael Bush, and it doesn’t let up this week as they face Ray Rice of the Ravens. He’s slippery between the tackles and effective in the passing game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

  • Cromartie’s fumble sucked the air out the game for the Jets. He was trying to make a big play and didn’t see the ball in. And instead of falling on it, he tried to make up for his mistake and turned it over.
  • The fumble also over shadows a great game for Jeremy Kerley who took four punts back for 80 yards –  highlighted by a 53-yarder. Joe McKnight also chipped in with a 50-yard kick return late in the game.

COACHING: D

  • Schottenheimer dialed up Jeff Cumberland’s and Matt Mulligan’s number in the end zone instead of Dustin Keller or Plaxico Burress. Granted those attempts should have been completions but that uncertainty is what you get when going to younger players.  He called a great game, but as usual clammed up in the red zone.
  • Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan need to go plug their holes before facing Baltimore and New England, who both sport big offensive lines. They can’t afford to be beat on the ground like they were this past week.

Friday Fantasy Focus

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — After my first crack at knocking the Talented Mr. Roto off his fantasy perch in the first round — OK, maybe I wasn’t that spot on –  I’m ready to come out swinging in round two of my Friday Fantasy Focus. Forecasting fantasy football can be like forecasting the weather — you look like a genius when you guess right, and look down right dumb when you’re wrong.

The gloating over my Dustin Keller prediction and Shonn Greene’s touchdown was short-lived as I swung and miss badly on Santonio Holmes, who scored on the opening drive. Oops. Guess there was nothing to questionable about him. In my review of Holmes, I said more looks were going to Plaxico Burress. Ouch. That one hurt. But I’m still not jumping off his bandwagon.Unlike Yahoo! Sports users, who have made Burress the 27th most dropped WR in fantasy with 1,785 drops. If it’s receptions you’re looking for out of Burress, then sit him. He’s going to get his most value out of the red zone — which is where fantasy owners want him.

That’s why I’m buying him this week. It’s like roulette; if it’s been black for a while — and with his zero receptions last Sunday, it was — then it’s bound to hit red next. Right?

The Jets DEF/ST is a must play this week. Buying high on Gang Green in this week's Friday Fantasy Focus. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

FANTASY STUDS:

  • Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets — Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez addressed the issue before any reporters had a chance to even ask about his 0 receptions. They were aware of it and apologetic. Expect them to target Burress early on, especially in the red zone. He’s going against man-to-man coverage, which he prefers, and the Raiders are the sixth worst fantasy defense against receivers this year, according to Yahoo! Sports.
  • Dustin Keller, TE, Jets — He’s almost a no-brainer at this point. Last week against the Jaguars he accounted for a third of Sanchez’s completions. Sanchez can trust him to make the catch and from there he has the agility to make a few guys miss. May not get a touchdown this week, but will definitely help you out in PPR leagues.
  • Jets Defense/Special Teams — While the Raiders have been one of the worst teams for fantasy defenses in the first two games, they haven’t faced a defense like the Jets. Gang Green boasts the fourth best fantasy defense in league. The sacks may not come, as the Raiders offensive line has only given up one sack thus far, but expect turnovers. They have five turnovers in two games — with the majority coming against the Jaguars. If the Jets take an early lead, that’ll eliminate McFadden and force Jason Campbell to make plays. On special teams, well, in Mike Westhoff we trust. He may have the most physically gifted athlete he’s ever coached in Antonio Cromartie returning kicks.

FANTASY DUDS:

  • Shonn Greene, RB, Jets — I was high on Greene last week and he rewarded fantasy owners who stuck with him. The Jets are a running team, or at least that’s what they keep telling us. They’re essentially running a feature back offense, which sounds great in theory, but they are averaging just 78 rushing yards per game. And the offensive line has always been a huge weapon in their rushing attack. But with Nick Mangold ruled out of the game with an ankle injury, the line is hurting. Against a formidable front Raider front seven, I’d sit Greene this week if there is a good replacement for him. POTENTIAL PICK-UPS: Roy Helu, Redskins; Daniel Thomas, Dolphins; Ben Tate, Texans.
  • Jacoby Ford, WR, Raiders — Ford missed last week against the Bills and it appears he’ll be out (hamstring) against the Jets. He joins Burress on Yahoo! Sports top WR dropped list, standing strong at number four with 3,709 drops. POTENTIAL PICK-UPS: David Nelson, Buffalo; Devry Henderson, Saints; Eric Decker, Broncos.
  • Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders — He had one helluva game against the Bills last week, which sparked the love for many fantasy owners this week. But the Jets are the seventh best fantasy team against receivers, giving up just 227 yards and two TDs against all receivers in two games. Do yourself a favor, don’t start him. Hold off until the next week.

PREVIEW: Jets (2-0) @ Raiders (1-1)

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets will be welcomed to the unwelcoming Black Hole, home of the Oakland Raiders, as they kick off the west coast swing of a grueling three-game road trip. Already without All-Pro center Nick Mangold for the road trip, the Jets cannot be caught looking ahead to their tougher games against Baltimore and New England.

A Rob Ryan and Nnamdi Asomugha-less Raiders team still have an aggressive, physical defense led by a their front seven. Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Ronaldo McClain and Kamerion Wimbley will be zeroing in on an offensive line that is weak up the middle. Pressure up the middle is the last thing a quarterback wants, so something tells me you won’t find Mark Sanchez ‘hot dogging’ it on the sidelines this year.

WHEN: Sunday, September 25, 2011 @ 4 p.m. EST (Can bee seen on CBS or heard on 1050 ESPN Radio).

WHERE: Oakland Coliseum / Oakland, CA (capacity: 63, 132)

SERIES HISTORY: 38th meeting; Raiders lead 20-15-2

LAST MEETING: Jets 38 – Raiders 0 @ Oakland Coliseum on 10/25/09

Bryan Thomas (above) and Calvin Pace will have their hands full covering the elusive Darren McFadden out of the backfield. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

NOTABLE: The Jets have won four of the last five contests between these two former AFL rivals, scoring 23-or-more points in each of the four victories. In the last game, New York earned a 38-0 win and rushed for 316 yards and four touchdowns on 54 carries (5.9 avg.). The team finished with two 100-yard rushers, Thomas Jones (26-121-1) and Shonn Greene (19-144-2). It was the first 100-yard game of Greene’s career. Two of the last five games have extended into overtime with the teams splitting victories. The Jets won a 27-24 tilt (11/9/03) and Oakland outlasted the Jets 16-13 (10/19/08), with both games occurring
in Oakland.

STATISTICS:

  • JETS – OFFENSE; 29.5 PPG (7th), 321.5 Total Yards PG (21st), 78.0 Rush Yards PG (28th), 248.5 Pass Yards PG (13th), 34.6% 3rd Downs (21st), 5 Sacks Allowed (17th T). DEFENSE; 13.5 PPG (3rd), 296.5 Total Yards PG (8th), 88.0 Rush Yards PG (9th), 208.5 Pass Yards PG (11th), 6 Sacks (6th T), 29.2% 3rd Downs (4th).
  • RAIDERS — OFFENSE; 29.0 PPG (8th), 371.5 Total Yards PG (12th), 211.0 Pass Yards PG (23rd), 160.5 Rush Yards PG (4th), 1 Sack Allowed (2nd T), 50% 3rd Downs (6th T). DEFENSE; 29.0 PPG (26th T), 395.5 Total Yards PG (25th), 268.0 Pass Yards PG (21st), 127.5 Rush Yards PG (27th), 5 Sacks (14th T), 41.7% 3rd Downs (20th T).

HEAD COACHES:

  • JETS — Rex Ryan, 3rd season / 22-12 regular season /4-2 postseason
  • RAIDERS — Hue Jackson, first season / 1-1 regular season

INJURY REPORT: (as of 9/23/11)

  • JETS — OUT – Nick Mangold (ankle), Logan Payne (wrist), Robert Turner (leg); QUESTIONABLE – Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder); PROBABLE – Mike DeVito (shoulder), Marcus Dixon (knee), David Harris (toe), Santonio Holmes (quad), Jim Leonhard (hamstring), Derrick Mason (knee), Mark Sanchez (right elbow), Eric Smith (ankle).
  • RAIDERS — OUT – Louis Murphy (groin), Jacoby Ford (hamstring), Michael Mitchell (knee); QUESTIONABLE – DeMarcus Van Dyke (knee); PROBABLE – Kevin Boss (knee), Jerome Boyd (knee), Jason Campbell (foot), Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), Sebastian Janikowski (left foot), Chris Johnson (groin), Darren McFadden (shoulder).

KEY MATCH-UPS:

  • Raiders DTs vs. Colin Baxter — A fairly obvious, but very key match-up. Seymour and Kelly are savvy veterans that are scary good in the middle. The Jets are saying all the right things to instill confidence in the rookie Baxter, but expect them to give him all the help he may require — sliding Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore in the middle for extra protection. Sending that extra protection may create holes for MIKE McClain up the middle or leave a one-on-one match-up for Wimbley on the outside.
  • Jets OLB vs. Darren McFadden/Michael Bush — The Jets should be fine in man coverage against these young Raider wideouts. The real problem will be stopping Oakland’s dual-headed monster out of the backfield. Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas and Jamaal Westerman are very good at stopping the run from the edge, but covering a back in the flats? Not as much. McFadden and Bush are lightning quick can turn a screen pass into a 50-yard play in a blink of an eye. The solution might be to play more nickel and dime packages, however that may leave the the defense to spread out to stop the run.
  • Plaxico Burress vs. Raiders’ Man Coverage — It’s no secret by now that Burress was without a reception last week. And it’s also no secret the Jets are aware of the man coverage the Raiders play in their secondary. Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller should still be Mark Sanchez’s go-to targets but Burress’s height in man coverage should be taken advantage of in the red zone. More on Burress in JI’s Friday Fantasy Focus.

X-FACTORS:

  • Jason Campbell, QB, Raiders — The ground game of McFadden and Bush are going to be the main focus for both the Raiders offense and the Jets defense. If Campbell can pass on Antonio Cromartie — the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week –  and Darrelle Revis, he can give his team a shot at stealing one at home. He has to hold on to the ball and have a smart game plan in place. Tight end Kevin Boss needs to be a priority in order for this to happen.
  • Shonn Greene, RB, Jets — The team has averaged just 78 rushing yards over their first two games. That’s a huge problem for a Ryan-coached team. Yes, Greene did have a touchdown last week, but that was a gift via Cromartie’s interception return to the one-yard line. Greene had a great game last time at the Coliseum and would make a victory this week a lot easier with his ground game. A problem I see so far is that the Jets are really going with Greene as a feature back — something they haven’t done with Ryan. Tomlinson gets a couple carries, but is primarily used as a receiver out of the backfield. The offense needs another running back to step up to take pressure off Greene. (Hello Joe McKnight?)

THE PREDICTION: Jets 24 — Raiders 17. A lot of Jets fan see this game as a cake walk, cleverly naming Oakland as the #OverRaiders on Twitter. But I don’t see this as that easy of the game. The loss of Mangold will show. And the Raider offense will move enough to be in range for Sebastian Janikowski’s leg (which is practically anywhere after the 50).

JetsInsider’s Inside the Tailgate Experience

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

“We’re not here for the game. The game is nothing. The game is crap. The game makes me sick. The reason we Americans put up with sports is for this: Behold, the tailgate party. The pinnacle of human achievement. Since the dawn of parking lots, man has sought to fill his gut with food and alcohol in anticipation of watching others exercise.” – Homer J. Simpson, “The Simpsons

The great philosopher Homer Simpson nearly hit the nail on the head with that famous monologue to his children. Of course, we don’t think the game is nothing. We love the game. But the tailgate, now, that just might be the pinnacle of human achievement.

Over the course of the season, the JetsInsider.com will be bringing you an inside look in the world of the New York Jets tailgating crews. We start with the L7 Tailgate, an overnight cult-status sensation of a group of enthused Jets fans who bond over football, beer pong, crepes and something called the Rex Ryan dog for every Jets home game. The only entry fee is coming with arms full and a promise of a good time.

Joseph Grinwis(@L7Panda), Mike Milillio and Mike Catalano began the group with humble hopes in August 2010.  Taking advantage of the social media phenomanom Twitter, the crew reached out to #Jets fans from all over country to be a part of this Gang Green party. {For pictures of all the L7 Tailgate, click here. Photos courtesy of @TheSheikh).

“We went on [Twitter] to find people who were without a tailgate, whether it because of PSL situations or if they wanted to branch out from their normal routine,” Grinwis said. “Maybe they have six people at their tailgate, so we’re like  ‘Well, we’re going to have a bunch of people here, so why not have a bunch of Jets fans together’ and have a good time.”

And that’s what happened. At last season’s home opener against the New England Patriots they had 35 people. By this season’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys they had roughly 120 people. And they come from all over. Brian and Suzette Tomaska come from Seymour, Connecticut. Erik Manassy (@e_man), who is the creator of JetsRant.com, comes from Pennsylvania. And Lori Branigan comes to every home game all the way from Washington D.C.

Jets fan found a place to eat, drink, laugh and talk football at the L7 Tailgate. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Through word of mouth and the influence of Twitter, L7 Tailgate quickly gained a reputation for good times, good food and good people.

“It all came about through Twitter,” Tomaska (@btomaska), one of the co-creators, said. “These people were friendly with each other [on Twitter] and decided we finally wanted to meet and the Jets game was a great platform. There’s only a handful of season ticket holders. The rest only come to about one or two games. It’s all word of mouth. There was a guy here earlier who was walking around picking out all the people he followed. It’s almost like a celebrity status.”

Speaking of celebrities, they have been visited from Jets owner Woody Johnson and executive vice president of business operations Matt Higgins, who had to see the action first hand. WFAN’s Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts came through for the October 11th Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings. For the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Damien Keller (@Damien05Keller), Dustin’s brother, showed up for the festivities as well.

“L7 Tailgate gets down like nobody else. When we were walking here, we saw people and they were mingling, having a good time. But L7 is a straight party. It’s really something else. They’re a lot different than other places. They know how to have a good time and that’s what we’re all here for,” Keller said.

And I haven’t even mentioned the food. From the Rex Ryan Dog to the Panda Patties to the breakfast buffet spread for the 1 p.m. games L7’s chef, Suzette (@CrepeSuz0106), leaves no stone unturned. Not a chef by trade, Suzette has adopted the title for her creative take on what it means to tailgate. From filet mignon sandwiches with arugula and truffle butter to Swedish meatballs to her infamous crepe station, she brings a woman’s touch to the art of the tailgate.

“If it’s warmer, you want easier food. So I do a lot of things with toothpicks. You don’t want to be juggling your drink and food at the same time,” she, always keeping in mind the social aspect of things, said. “And when it gets colder I’ll do chilis, soups, spiked hot chocolate. You name it. I take it pretty seriously.”

And of course you have your traditional hot dogs, hamburgers and sausages straight from Brooklyn (where else?). According to Grinwis, who challenges anyone to find a better sausage around, Brian Imbemba (@NYJSec133) has “unmatched” sausage and peppers. Let’s go have a God-damn snack!

For Jets fans, this all sounds like great fun. But are opposing fans welcomes at L7? What if a Patriots fan doing his best Tom Brady impression wants to show up for the festivities?

“We’re going to poke some fun. We’re going to bust your chops a bit,” Imbemba, whose personality is the only thing bigger than him, said when posed the question. “But you’re more than welcome to come. Have some food. Have some drinks. Have a good time. That’s what we’re here for.”

In fact, they have a regular who is a diehard Cowboy fan, Hector Rosado (@M2daOOSE). And Grinwis says they’ve accepted him as their “adopted child” in their Jets family.

More than a tailgate, L7 is a militia of men and women who love the Jets. They come out with an army of supporters and take over not just a few parking spots, but the entire L7 section. A warm welcoming inside is covered with a tough exterior — a sea of Gang Green faithful can look intimidating to the average outsider. But this group is anything but.

The L7 Tailgate crew will be throwing down at 3:30 p.m. on October 17th for the Monday night match-up against the Miami Dolphins. But they will be looking for extra troops when the Jets L7 militia travels up to New England in three weeks.

“If we’re going up to Boston, we’re going at least fifty deep,” Imbemba said.

Morning After Report: Emmy Edition

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Photo Credit: Mario Anzunoi/Reuters

The New York Jets had a cast of contributors as they collectively handled the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, handing them an old fashioned 32-3 beat down at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. On the other side of the country in Los Angeles, Hollywood was preparing to hand out their biggest awards for the Silver Screen. Aside from my pleasure in seeing ‘Modern Family’ take home five Emmy’s and my insane rage that ‘Broadwalk Empire’ got beat out by the likes of ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘Mad Men’ I had a great night. How can a show that features booze, mobsters, Atlantic City and overall chronicling of the high-society crime in a [then] modern day Sodom and Gorromah be beat out by one show on A&E and another that’s a glorified teenage angst movie?

Anyway I’m pretty sure I’ve strayed way off the topic of this article. Well, kinda sorta. With the collective efforts by defense and special teams and the offense making the most of their opportunities, there’s a lot of love to go around. Well, not all around. (Not everybody, sorry Wayne Hunter). I have major concerns about this offensive line, something I never expected to say with this group. But it seems only to make sense to have an Emmy-laced Official JetsInsider.com Morning After Report. We’re handing out awards to everybodyI hope everyone breaks a leg. (Sorry Nick Mangold, too soon?)

A little bit cheesy, right? I’m caking it on heavy today and so was Rex Ryan, who gave out some of his own awards after last night’s performance. Check out Chris Nimbley’s article to see who got game balls from Sunday’s Jags game.

BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE IN A MINI-SERIES: Jason Hill, WR, Jaguars — *Chris Carter voice* C’mon, man. How are you going to call out the best cover corner in the game…and then not even be active in the game to back it up? Revis didn’t even know who he was. In trying to stir up a little national media attention for the small-market Jaguars, he might’ve woken a sleeping giant. The Jets didn’t let the Jaguars in the end zone, surrendering only a field goal in the first quarter. Talk about your all-time backfires.

BEST COMEDIC SERIES IN A GAME: Jaguars First Offensive Possession, 11:32 in 1Q — Three plays. Total yardage – negative eight yards. Time of possession – one minute, one second. Result  – safety. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed to the right for a gain of one. Luke McCown threw an incomplete pass to the right. McCown is sacked by Muhammed Wilkerson. McCown is sacked for a safety. That’s literally how the Yahoo! Sports play-by-play read. Can’t really think up a worse way to start an offensive series.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A GAME & BEST COMEBACK PERFORMANCE: Antonio Cromartie, CB, Jets — Yesterday was his day. Two interceptions — one that was this close to being a touchdown. He averaged 40+ yards in the return game, creating a shorter field for the offense to take advantage of. He nearly single-handedly won the game for the Jets in the process of showing that he has one of the most electrifying skills sets in the NFL.

Did Plaxico Burress win a Morning After Report Emmy for last night's game after his 0 reception, 1 target performance? (JetsInsider.com Photo).

All this came after getting burned for two touchdowns to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and taking the heat from the New York media. Couple that with the team leaving him on hold while they tried to sign Nnamdi Asomugha and tell me that there’s someone more deserving of these fake awards? No one, I say, no one. Cromartie told reporters on the first day of training camp that he was coming in to this season with a chip on his shoulder. He showed it yesterday.

BEST DRAMATIC SERIES: Jets First Offensive Possession, 14:53 in 1Q — Six plays. Sixty-six yards. Three minutes and fourteen seconds elapsed. Highlighted by a 33-yard reception by Dustin Keller and the 17-yard strike from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes, this drive ended their first quarter touchdown-less drought at 16 games. Ryan, who always has a flare for the dramatics, challenged his team to come out and break the streak on their first offensive possession –  and the team responded.

BEST OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE IN A GAME: Dustin Keller, TE, Jets: He’s proven to be the fluid cog in an offensive motor that often shows rust. His six reception, 101 yard, 1 TD game fueled the offense and Sanchez, as Keller accounted for a third of the quarterback’s completions. The 33-yard connection in the first quarter to help snap the aforementioned ugly streak was only topped by his touchdown catch for 11 yards, fighting defenders in the middle the entire way.

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A GAME: Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets: He had one target on Sunday, and that came late in the game. He didn’t even record a reception. Then why give him an award, you ask? What is this? The end of the summer camp celebration where every one is a winner, you say? No. But his presence alone demanded rolling coverage and double teams on the outside. That left plenty of open space in the middle of field for Keller to do his work and have a Pro Bowl type day. Did he complain after the game? Nope. Did he complain during the game? According to Ryan, nope. Plaxico Buress; supporting his teammates one non-reception at a time.

BEST DIRECTING IN A GAME: Mike Pettine, defensive coordinator, Jets: The guy nearly pitched a shut out after getting worked for 390 yards last week against Dallas. He was clearly a snub for ‘Comeback Performance’. Hell, he’s used to it. Being the defensive coordinator of a Rex Ryan-coached team is like being Stedman to Oprah: You get to play with all his toys, but you never get anything of your own. Not that Ryan hogs the spotlight, but he gets so much credit for this defense while it is Pettine’s unit.

After letting the Jaguars hang around in the first two quarters, the defense turned up the heat in the second half. Posting three interceptions, four punts and one turnover on downs, the Pettine’s defense morphed from the Titans of New York back to that nasty Gang Green defense in that second half.

Sorry for the lack of Jaguars’ players, but most of their performances were a bit to low brow for my high brow taste. Any snubs? Did I miss any other awards? Let me hear it. I’d love to get a head start for the Morning After Report: Oscar Edition.

Quick Hits from MetLife Stadium

Monday, September 19th, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Sure the offense might have looked inept at times, but on the whole this was another well-rounded Jets victory. Chalk that up for the second game in a row the entire team chipped in to record the W. Here are a few quick hits to wrap the 32-3 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

  • The Jets snapped a three-game losing streak against the Jaguars, posting their first win against Jacksonville since the 2003 season when the defeated the Jaguars at home, 13-10 (11/23/03). They improved their overall record against Jacksonville to 3-6 in the regular season. THE GOOD: The Jets handled a lesser opponent that has historically given them a rough time. THE BAD: A stagnant offense from half way through the first quarter to the end of the first half kept the Jaguars in the game for too long. Against better teams, the Jets may not be so lucky.
  • Wearing their navy-and-mustard Titans of New York uniforms, the Jets improved their record to 5-1, winning their last five games. THE GOOD: The Jets play better as the Titans than the Titans played in the league formerly known as the AFL. THE BAD: Those jerseys are down right hideous.

Date                  Opponent           Result

10/14/07          PHI                   L, 16-9

10/02/07          at MIA               W, 40-13

09/28/08          ARZ                  W, 56-35

10/12/08          CIN                   W, 26-14

09/27/09          TEN                  W, 24-17

09/18/11          JAX                   W, 32-3

  • With 29 yards on three carries, QB Mark Sanchez established a new career-high for rushing yards, surpassing his previous best of 27 yards on three carries vs. Carolina (11/29/09). The last time Sanchez wore the navy-and-gold Titans of New York uniform he scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on a 10-yard run vs. the Tennessee Titans (09/27/09). THE GOOD: Sanchez’s feet made up for the mistakes by his arm, while keeping the chains moving. THE BAD: Sanchez had 20 less yards than their leading rusher, running back Shonn Greene.
  • Antonio Cromartie enjoyed a career day, playing exceptionally well on defense, special teams and even got a play on offense. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

    With his 10-yard reception at the end of the third quarter, Dustin Keller registered his first 100-yard performance since totaling seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown vs. New England (09/19/10). He finished today’s game with six receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. Today’s effort marked his third career 100-yard receiving contest. THE GOOD: Maybe offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer finally realized that the passing offense lives and dies with the play of Keller. When utilized, the Jets offense runs efficiently. THE BAD: Not much bad to say, except they don’t use him enough.

  • The Jets intercepted McCown four times holding him to a 1.8 passer rating, the lowest passer rating an opposing quarterback has ever registered against the Jets. The previous low was a 5.4 rating by Jim Plunkett with the Patriots (10/29/72), when he completed seven-of-28 passes for 120 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. THE GOOD: Anytime you have four interceptions and hold a quarterback to a lower passer rating than Braylon Edwards’ BAC it’s a good day. THE BAD: It was done against career-journeyman Luke McCown.
  • CB Antonio Cromartie contributed to the Jets win in all three phases. On defense, he intercepted two passes for 63 yards. On special teams, he averaged 42.5 yards on two kickoff returns. He also entered the game on offense, registering the first rushing attempt of his career when he took a reverse for one yard, the first rushing attempt by a defensive back in the NFL since former Cardinals DB Antrel Rolle carried for nine yards against Vikings (12/09/09). THE GOOD: Cromartie has proven to be instrumental not just defensively, but on offense as well. His return skills gives a hot/cold Jets offense a consistent shorter field. THE BAD: It could prove to be a costly ploy if Cromartie is to get injured returning kicks.

Breakdown of Cromartie’s Touches:

Quarter                   Cromartie’s Play                   Ensuing Drive                 Result

First Quarter             39-yard kickoff return            6 plays, 65 yards           Touchdown

First Quarter             46-yard kickoff return            8 plays, 39 yards           Field Goal

Second Quarter         1-yard rush                          7 plays, 25 yards           Interception

Second Quarter         37-yard interception return     6 plays, 16 yards           Punt

Third Quarter            26-yard interception return     2 plays, 1 yard               Touchdown

  • K Nick Folk connected all three of his field goal attempts and has hit all five of his kicks this season. The last time Folk hit three field goals in a game was vs. Houston (11/21/10). THE GOOD: Folk seems to have shaken off the ’shaky’ label that haunted him in Dallas. THE BAD: Three field goals means three drives that the Jets were stopped in their opponent’s side of the 50.

(Writer’s note: Statistics and information provided by the Jets PR Staff. Much Thanks.)

Sanchez, Cromartie lift Jets over Jaguars 32-3

Monday, September 19th, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For the Jets, it was never about how they finished but how they started. Staring down an awful statistic of going 16-straight games without scoring a first quarter touchdown, the Jets were challenged by head coach Rex Ryan to come out of the gates firing against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Last night we challenged our team that if there was one streak we wanted to break that was it, struggling offensively as they always put it,” Ryan said.

And Mark Sanchez and the rest of the offense went to work early and connected with Santonio Holmes on a 17-yard strike just three minutes into the game. Antonio Cromartie chipped in on defense and special teams, intercepting Jaguars’ QB Luke McCown twice while averaging 42.5 yards returning kicks, as the team steamrolled the Jaguars 32-3.

“[Ryan] put the challenge on us and we answered the call,” Sanchez said after the game.

The Jets (2-0) won the toss and received the ball — something that has only happened only a handful of times in the Ryan era. They moved the down field swiftly before Sanchez capped his 4-for-4 60-yard drive with the 17-yard strike to Holmes.

First round pick Muhammed Wilkerson’s first career sack came three plays later. And the big man from Temple did it in a big way — a safety. That’s when the Jaguars and McCown knew it just wasn’t going to be their day. McCown was picked off four times and sacked twice.

“It was a tough one.  The good thing, is it only counts for one game and not the other 14 we have left. We’re 1-1, that’s where we stand. We have to go back to work and get better,” McCown said.

WR Santonio Holmes and QB Mark Sanchez celebrate after hooking up for a TD against the Jaguars on Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Eric Smith and Josh Mauga account for the other two interceptions for McCown (6-for-19, 59 yards), and posted an abysmal 1.8 QB rating. This is just the second start for McCown in a Jaguars uniform, replacing former QB David Garrard — who was cut prior to the start of the season. The tenth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, Blaine Gabbert (5-for-6, 52 yards), came in to relieve McCown and the offense, who went without their star tight end Marcedes Lewis.

“I’m proud of them. You can’t affect how you get on the field. You can affect how you get off it. That’s got to be a mentality and that is the mentality around here,” Ryan said about the defense.

The Jets left their home field 2-0, a place where they struggled last year. The emphatic victory comes right before a grueling three-game road trip that features visits to Oakland, New England and then Baltimore. A west coast trip then back-to-back games with the cream of the AFC crop will be a titanic test for the former Titans of New York, who moved to 5-1 when playing in their blue and mustard AFL Titan jerseys.

It’s unknown if they will have their All-Pro center, Nick Mangold, on that road trip. Mangold suffered a high right ankle sprain in the first quarter and was seen on crutches wearing a boot afterward. X-rays on his ankle come up negative, yet he still will have an MRI taken on Monday.

“I felt like I could give it a go, but [my ankle] didn’t want to agree with me on that. I couldn’t really put too much pressure on it. I don’t know we’re just playing it safe,” Mangold said.

Dustin Keller (6 receptions, 101 yards, 1 TD) proved to be a significant cog in keeping the Jets offense rolling. In fact, all the Jets tight ends played a role in offensive momentum as they accounted for nine of Sanchez’s 17 completions. For Keller, who’s in a contract year, it was his second straight game with a touchdown.

“They pretty much gave us the middle of the field and they were playing a lot of zone.  They just left the middle of the field wide open so that left a lot of things wide open for me,” Keller said.

Plaxico Burress had zero receptions today and only one target from Sanchez. For large chunks of this game it seemed like he wasn’t even on the team. Ryan attributed that to the Jaguars rolling safeties toward him for double teams.

“He was taking double coverage a ton. On one of those touchdown catches they had two guys on him. He’s great, never complained, never said anything. He just kept taking two guys with him the whole time. That opened things up for others,” Ryan said of Burress.

The fast start of the Jets really set the tone for the game, leaving the Jaguars forced to play from behind just five minutes into the first quarter. After the 17-yard score from Sanchez, Wilkerson sacked McCown in the end zone for a safety. The play was reviewed and Wilkerson’s first NFL sack was upheld.

“It felt great to get there and get my first-career sack in the NFL.  It felt really good,” Wilkerson said.

“The Jets had their way a little bit. They forced us to turn the ball over more than we can. They deserved to win today and won handily,” Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said after the game. “It wasn’t an ideal way to start this ball game, that’s for sure.”

Jets Insider’s Friday Fantasy Focus

Friday, September 16th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — No, unfortunately the Flight Crew is not a part of this fantasy. But the Flight Men are! (Sorry).

I can’t believe this hasn’t been done before! Well, there’s a first time for everything I suppose. Starting today, every Friday will be devoted to helping fantasy owners make all the tough decisions heading into the weekend. Want to know the inside scoop on which injured player’s practiced during the week? Which stud player will be shut down? Who’s due for a break out game? And which team’s statistically doomed come kick off? Be sure to check out JetsInsider.com Fridays for all things fantasy related.

Of course, the fantasy tidbits will be geared towards the Jets and their opponent for that week. I’m going to be breaking down headlines, what not to read in to, assessing player injuries, evaluating player match-ups and looking over stacks of stats to help you be envied and hated by your friends. Because isn’t that what fantasy football is all about anyway?

The Jets Week 2 match-up features a home battle against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets are favored by a healthy 9.5 points, but are historically bad against the small-market team (3-6 overall record/2-3 home [1-0 postseason]). The last time these two teams met up (11/15/09’s  24-22 home loss), Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio sent fantasy owners into a frenzy as he memorably ordered running back and fantasy stud Maurice Jones-Drew to take a knee at the one-yard line — the smart football play, but costly to any parlays or PPR leagues — taking away any possible time for the Jets to score.

ATTN FANTASY OWNERS: If TE Dustin Keller is available in your league, grab him this week. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

FANTASY STUDS:

  • Speaking of Jones-Drew (97 rushing yards, 1TD last WK vs. TEN), he is a must start for all leagues. I know, I know. The Jets are a superior run stopping team and the Jags have no other superstar players to give the ball to. MJD is not scarred of the Gang Green (can they be called Gang Green if they wear the blue and gold Titan jerseys?) defense. In that 24-22 victory, MJD had 123 rushing yards and 1 TD, gaining 5.1 yards per carry. And in two games against the Jets he’s fared pretty well, averaging 91 yards, 4.9 YPC and has 3 TDs. He is my Brain Dead Move of the Week.
  • Shonn Greene, RB, Jets — Talk about beating a dead horse. Despite Mark Sanchez attempting a career-high in attempts (44), this is still a ground and pound team. The high total of passing attempts was part of the game-plan. A Ryan defense is stout against the run and Dallas was hurting in the secondary. Expect the Jets to get back to their bread and butter on offense early and often with Greene getting the brunt of the grunt work. It just makes too much sense that an offense that puts as much emphasis on running the ball as the Jets do will have a stud feature back one of these weeks.
  • Dustin Keller, TE, Jets — He, along with LaDanian Tomlinson, is Sanchez’s safety valve. After posting a great Week 1 (5 receptions, 61 yards & 1 TD), Keller ranks seventh in Yahoo! Sports leagues in tight end pick-ups this week (1,766 adds). He’s available in 30% percent of Yahoo! Sports leagues and is not being started by 70% of them. Big mistake. We saw a four-game stretch where Keller showed his fantasy value last year, the Jets just need to utilize him more often. With the possibility of being without Santonio Holmes this week (see below), he will be utilized more. Telling stat: Jaguars were the third worst fantasy defense against TEs, giving up an average of 11.51 points to the position.

FANTASY DUDS:

  • Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars — He’s been listed as ‘doubtful’ all week with a calf injury — meaning he likely has a 25% chance of playing Sunday.(Injury Report Rule of Thumb: Doubtful = 25%, Questionable =50%, Probable = 75%.) He played sparingly last  week against Tennessee (2 receptions, 28 yards) and while the Jets are weak defending a play-making TE (see Witten, Jason: 6 receptions, 110 yards last WK), I don’t see Lewis being healthy enough to produce. Yahoo! Sports fantasy users seem to agree, as he’s the number one TE to be dropped this week (5,426 drops).
  • Mike Thomas, WR, Jaguars — He enjoyed a nice breakout season last year (66 receptions, 820 yards, 5 total TDs [1 PR]). But after the sharp words of his receiving mate, Jason Hill, to All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis, who will be covering Thomas, I wouldn’t expect much of anything from the receiver come Sunday. Click the link to read a statistical breakdown of just how lonely it is on Revis Island. That aside, opposing quarterbacks have been held to a 69.3 passer rating since 2009 — that’s ranks first for NFL defenses during that time. Additionally, opposing QBs have completed just 51.6% of their passes against the Jets — also tops in the league defensively. And who’s the Jaguars quarterback? Luke McCown? Yup. ‘Nuff said.
  • Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets — It won’t be ‘Tone Time on Sunday. There’s still a chance he plays — he’s currently nursing knee and quad injuries. He’s listed as questionable and was limited in practice on Friday. Here’s Ryan on Holmes’ status: “[He] looked good early in the week in practice, but right now [he's] questionable. He did kind of get hurt in practice. It wasn’t a game thing, I don’t believe.” The Jets had a physically and mentally draining game against Dallas and following that up by welcoming an aggressive Jaguars defense to town is not what the doctor ordered before heading out for a grueling three-game road trip. I think he, if anything, sees limited playing time with a lot more balls going to Keller, LT and Plaxico Burress.

Revis ‘Over-hyped’? Not a Chance

Friday, September 16th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Oh no he didn’t. Jaguars wide receiver  Jason Hill didn’t just say what I think he did. Did he? Did he just put Darrelle Revis’ name in the same sentence as…over-hyped? Blasphemy, I say! Hill, a sixth year receiver with 55 career catches to his name, just booked  his one way ticket to Revis Island on Sunday.

Hill told the Florida Times-Union Thursday that Revis, as well as the Jets as a whole, are over-hyped because of the amount of media coverage New York offers.

“This is a league full of great players. I think sometimes they get overhyped,” Hill said.

But he didn’t stop at the jab at the All-Pro corner. He also dragged in Jaguars cornerback Drew Coleman, who played for the Jets for his first five seasons. “I talked to Drew , he played there. He says it’s just the aura of New York. They got a big media. That’s not the Jacksonville paper, that’s the big New York Times paper so they get more publicity. That’s what it is.”

Darrelle Revis is over-hyped? That's news to every Pro Bowl-caliber WR he's covered. Apparently Jags WR Jason Hill thinks so. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

It must be easy for Hill to take shots at Revis since he’s been unable to practice due to a hip injury all week. His status for the game is currently in the air. We’ve seen players challenge Revis in the past and, in return, get shut down on Sundays –  most notably Chad Ochocinco not once, but twice on back-to-back weeks in 2009. Revis has shut down the league’s top receiving threats from Ochocinco to Randy Moss to Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson. That didn’t stop Hill from continuing his verbal jabs.

“It’s a game that we all play. He been playing the game, Revis, just as long as I’ve been playing. This is a game full of good players making plays. He just made a lot more plays on TV than we’ve made being here in Jacksonville,” Hill said.

Then it got me thinking, is Revis over-hyped? After all he failed to record an interception in 13 games last season, despite being named to his third-straight Pro Bowl and second-straight All-Pro nomination. So I looked in to and concluded that Hill is either completely delusional or is attempting to become a master in the art of manipulation.

Since Rex Ryan has been at the helm, Revis has posted the lowest burn percentage of any cornerback  in the league. (Burn Percentage, according to StatsPass, tracks how a defensive player performs in defending passes in which he is a the defensive target. A “burn” happens when said player allows a completed pass.) Over the past two seasons Revis has been targeted 164 times and has been burned on 59 of those targets, good for a 36% — nearly 9 percentage points ahead of Brandon Carr’s second-rated 43.8%. For those wondering Antonio Cromartie ranks seventh on the list with a 49.2 burn percentage.

And while the interceptions dropped off last year, it is not always the most telling statistic on judging a defensive backs’ performance. Last season arguably four of the NFL’s top cornerbacks (Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Woodson & Champ Bailey) combined for five interceptions. That’s two less than leaders Asante Samuel and Devin McCourty had by themselves. What’s more appropriate is the number of passes defended — where Revis defended 25 percent (41 of 164) of the passes thrown in his direction, tops in the league last year.

He’s also come up with a big play when the team needed it most. Throughout his career, Revis has seven interceptions in the fourth quarter, with four coming when the game is within seven points and less than two minutes remaining. Most recently, his game-sealing interception (his 15th career pick) against Dallas comes to mind.

So is Revis over-hyped? Hell, you may be better off saying he’s underrated.

REVIS FIRES BACK: Revis responded to Hill’s comments on Friday. When told about the Jaguars receivers’ comments, he looked around and questioned to the reporters, ‘Who is he?’. Humorous, yes. What’s even funnier is he looked serious. The two-time All-Pro corner went on to say that he’s more concerned with covering Mike Thomas, not “Jason whatever.” He was then informed that Hill has been limited in practice due to a hip problem and might be out for the game. His response? “I hope [the Jaguars] let him play. Then he’ll see how over-hyped the Jets are.”

WHO IS JASON HILL?: He’s a sixth year receiver out of Washington State, drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round (76th overall) in 2007. His best season occurred in 2008 with the 49ers where he started two games, caught 30 balls for 317 yards and two touchdowns. In six games with the Jaguars in 2010, Hill started one game and had 11 receptions for 278 yards and a touchdown. Last week had four receptions for 53 yards in a 17-16 home win over the Tennessee Titans.