Archive for October, 2011

Who really beat the Chargers?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Is it a cop out? A slight of the opponent? Not giving credit where credit is due? Back-up tight end Randy McMichael didn’t think the Jets deserved much of anything after handing the 4-2 Chargers a 27-21 road loss; a game in which the San Diego was shut out in the second half, committing two turnovers in the process. McMichael said after the game that it was the Chargers who beat themselves, “taking their foot off the gas” when they had a lead.

He would go on to blast the Jets defensive secondary, who came up with two interceptions in the fourth quarter on Sunday’s contest, saying they “didn’t do anything”.

Antonio Cromartie, the former Charger, doesn't buy claims that San Diego beat themselves on Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

On the heels of McMichael’s controversial comments cornerback Quentin Jammer said the game was decided by partial refereeing on the side of the Jets. He told the New York Post that “no way the game was called fairly”.

Such words prompted head coach Rex Ryan to channel is inner Ron Burgundy, reminding the Chargers to “stay class, San Diego.” But do the Chargers have a point? It’s not an uncommon thing to hear from a losing team. And it is certainly possible that a team can beat themselves. Did the second-half adjustments the Jets made baffle the eighth-rated offensive attack in the league or did Philip Rivers and company grow complacent with their lead?

First Half      Second Half
Points  21      0
Yards   151     117
Turnovers       0       2
Third Down      6-for-7 (86%)   1-for-7 (14%)

Antonio Cromartie, who spent his four years in the league as the Chargers number one cornerback, felt it was the adjustments his unit made at half time that sparked the 11-point comeback. “Our whole thought process during [that] time was, ‘OK, we’re down,’ but there were some adjustments that we knew we needed to make and that’s exactly what we did. [Philip] Rivers was 8-for-20 in the second half. When you can make a quarterback do that and throw two interceptions, it speaks volumes about what kind of defense we can be,” he said.

Apparently their performance wasn’t loud enough to be heard in San Diego. Taking a closer look at the numbers, the Jets defense held the Chargers below the majority of the top-flight offensive categories for the season. At 4-3, the Jets are not a team to be overlooked. They have moved on from the dreadful looking team that lost three straight road games a month ago. The win over the Chargers marked their first victory against a team with a winning record this season.

Season Avg.     Season Rank     Today
Yards   416.2   6th     268
Third-Down Percentage   56.5%   1st     7 for 14 (50%)
Time of Possession      35:17   1st     27:14
Rivers Completion Pct.   67.2%   4th     50.0%
Rivers Passing Yards     307.2   6th     179
Rivers Passer Rating     87.6    15th    51.4

Sure, it’s possible that the Chargers just didn’t play their best. And it’s more than likely the Jets had a big reason to do that. There is no clear cut answer, as any one choice is influenced by bias. But as the old adage goes, ‘on any given Sunday any given team can be beat’. The Chargers, whether it was because of them or a better opponent, was not the better team on Sunday. But they’re right about one thing, they have only themselves to blame for not leaving New Jersey with a win.

(Stats provided by Jets media relations department.)

Morning After Report

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Last week Jets Nation took a collective step back from the ledge and breathed a sigh of relief. A win against an 0-5 Miami Dolphins team quieted the hysteria. Week 7’s 27-21 victory over the then-4-1 San Diego Chargers restored a ’super’ confidence in the New York Jets.

Looking for a signature victory and a complete game, they found it at MetLife Stadium — where they are now 4-0. Mark Sanchez was efficient. Shonn Greene showed guts and glamor. Plaxico Burress showed his worth. And the defense shutout a potent Chargers attack in the second half. And despite claims from the Chargers that they beat themselves, the Jets came up with the big play when necessary and overcame mistakes of their own.

At 4-3 with two straight victories the Jets are flying high, well higher, and feeling good going into their bye week.

PASSING OFFENSE: B+

  • They’ve scaled back the offense for Sanchez, who was 0-4 on throws more than 21 yards. He overcame early obstacles — the fumble by Dustin Keller and an interception in the endzone. He found Plaxico Burress three times in the red zone and hit Santonio Holmes on a beautiful strike down field before being negated by a penalty.
  • Sanchez has a new tool on his utility belt, the hard count. A timely skill, he drew the Charger defense offsides at least 4 times by my count.
  • Been saying it all season: Keller (4 receptions, 53 yards) is the catalyst for the offense.
  • Burress wasn’t signed to pull down 90 receptions and rack up 1,200 yards. For the 34-year-old Michigan State alum, it’s the contrary. His 4 receptions, 25 yards, 3 TD performance is exactly what Brian Schottenheimer wants out of him.

Plaxico Burress was an offensive standout with 3 TDs on Sunday, but Shonn Greene was the reason the offense was clicking. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

RUSHING OFFENSE: B+

  • Shonn Greene (20 rush, 112 yards) easily had his best game of the season. He showed off his versatility as a runner; cut back runs, speed on the edge, superior field vision, and brute strength.
  • It was his fifth 100-yard game of his career, including the postseason. Averaging 5.6 yards per carry, it might have been his best performance his regular-season career.
  • With three offensive attempts, albeit gaining an unimpressive 11 yards, Joe McKnight still isn’t getting enough touches.

PASSING DEFENSE: B+

  • Led by another dominating performance by Darrelle Revis, the defense stymied Philip Rivers, who completed only 50% of his passes for 179 yards.
  • Aaron Maybin is making a lot of western New York citizens scratch their heads at his impressive performance this year. With one sack against the Chargers he now three sacks and three forced fumbles, three more than his career totals in Buffalo for both statistics.
  • “He’s progressing a lot. [He] comes in, makes sure he’s learning and doing what he’s supposed to do. You see that he’s improving every single game. That’s all you can ask from him. He’s going out there, competing and having fun with it.” — Antonio Cromartie on Kyle Wilson, who recorded his first interception of the season.
  • The mis-communication between safeties Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith on the Antonio Gates touchdown is a microcosm for their play against tight ends all season.

RUSHING DEFENSE: B+

  • For the first time since Week 1 against the Cowboys, the Jets held a team under 100 yards for a game. They slowed Ryan Matthews (3 yards per carry) and limited Michael Tolbert to 53 yards and a touchdown.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

  • Nick Folk has been money this season, going 10-for-10 in field goal tries. He bested his former competition in Nick Novak, now playing with the Chargers, who had zero attempts. His 30-yarder in the fourth quarter sealed the game.

COACHING: A

  • Their second half adjustment defensively turned this game around. Credit goes to the players for execution, but more credit to the staff for changing-up their game plan and implementing a new attack.
  • The Jets were called for 12 men on the field on Sunday. It’s been a reoccurring issue for this team all season. Communication between team personnel and the players needs to be better.
  • Rex Ryan won the game against Norv Turner after their war of words leading up to the game. As the Jets were 0-3 against teams over .500, he took his spotlight off his team and placed it on himself..again. This is not a new tactic for Ryan, and shouldn’t have been taken as anything more than a tactic.

Darrelle Revis: Gotham City’s ‘Dark Knight’

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

He’s quiet; lurking alone on his Island, waiting for his moment.  Made known only when approached, he strays away from confrontation — but never backing down when propositioned.

Waiting for that moment. Watching for the highest point of distress, he looks to the smokey night skyline for a sign — a symbol, if you will, from Fireman Ed. Baring no cape yet draped with a hunter green uniform, only his helmet emblazoned with ‘NY’ on either side shields his true identity from those he protects.

Understated and sometimes — unbelievably –  underrated, Darrelle Revis is the guardian of the Gotham-inspired New York City and their hometown Jets. Truly a ‘Dark Knight’; not the hero they deserved, but the hero they needed.

Understated, but never overlooked. Darrelle Revis is the Jets' 'Dark Knight'. But you can just call him the Bruce Wayne of the game. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Jets fans have been waiting for their savior for 43 years since a slick-talking, suave adopted-Southerner in fur coats and a flare for the dramatics guaranteed his way to a Super Bowl shuffle down Broadway. With the short shadow the glitz and glamor of this city casts, it’s expected that it’s  a flashy, rah-rah guy that’s a necessity to succeeding in this often brutal place. But there’s a grit to this city that conveys a larger portion of this community as well; a grime that gets stuck beneath your fingernails. A calloused hand tells a story of struggle, defiance and nobility of having done it on your own.

While the boy wonder struggles to juggle the expectations of leading a veteran team and a city that demands immediate results with posing scantily-clad in magazine spreads, there’s Revis lurking; quietly waiting to make his presence known once more.

Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes the people need to have their faith rewarded. Recognized as a leader on defense and deemed ‘impenetrable’ by any quarterback’s best weapon, Revis sat in the shadows, somewhat, as Mark Sanchez was anointed the city’s ‘boy wonder’ –  slapped with the pressures of ending a recession for a group that’s suffered in the hallowed hallways of their own self-pity.

And amidst a media witch hunt, a locker room turmoil and an insistence of Super Bowl dreams by their Commissioner, Rex Ryan, it was not Sanchez who bailed out their Jets team. It was the city’s quiet, unsung hero who rewarded the people for their good faith.

Sending such villains to the Revis Island ‘Insane Asylum’ like Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson, Chad Ochocinco and Andre Johnson in his career, Revis sent the thorn-in-their-side Dolphins to a group holding cell after watching the offense falter for 24 minutes on Monday night. It was Revis, and not the appointed boy wonder, who struck at the darkest point of the Jets season thus far.

The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming. A promise that has yet to be fulfilled completely. And Revis is not here to speak those words. He never has. He’s followed only by his quiet confidence, a stern swagge that’s screaming come kickoff. But when the time is right, when the team and city need him most. He will be there. Watching. Waiting.

No performance invokes said comparisons more than his game-sealing interception in the Week 1 match-up against the glitzy Dallas Cowboys, who were driving their way to a stunning upset of New York’s team. All this on the 10-year anniversary of September 11th no less. And, in the blink of an eye, came Revis swooping in and snatching victory from the hands of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo, thwarting any aspirations of a high-stakes heist.

Revis, from the rural Aliquippa, Pennsylvania yet supplanted in the rough and tumble Gotham streets, may be the ultimate representation of the city; a blue collar worker striving  — and reaching — success at its highest point.

Sometimes criticized (his highly publicized contract dispute last year), often overlooked (losing out on the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year award to a more known Charles Woodson), Revis is Gotham’s Dark Knight.

Not the hero they deserved, but the hero they needed.

Morning After Report

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Well, it’s a win. And the losing streak is over. It’s a great morning in Jets Nation; hysteria dying down in the community after the Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins, 24-6, on Monday Night Football.

The Jets (3-3) are now 3-0 against teams with a combined record of 3-13, while 0-3 against teams with a combined record of 13-4. Mediocrity is thriving in Florham Park. And, yes, a win is a win, but with their next three teams a combined 14-4 (vs. Chargers, @ Bills, vs. Patriots) that is certainly a cause for concern.

It wasn’t all that pretty. Eyes squinting, watching the game through my hands I saw a revived defense will their way to a victory. Perhaps the most understated factor of this team throughout the recent skid, the defense holds the key to this teams’ success.

The offense still looks lost, inept, stagnant –  whatever you want to call it. But if the defense can string a couple more performances like these together, that might be enough time to get this offense in order.

How fitting is it that after a week’s worth of in-house feuding, media hounding and out right questioning the identity of this team, that their leader, Darrelle Revis, starts and ends this game. Those who are searching for the Jets identity look no further than their lock-down, All-Pro, other-worldly cornerback.

PASSING OFFENSE: C-

  • Starting slow is an understatement. With their first four offensive opportunities all resulting in three & outs. That is the second straight game the offense started like that. Additionally it marked 11 three & outs in their last 15 drives. Someone tell Rex Ryan he’s taking the “it’s not how you start” quote too far.
  • After that Sanchez was smartly efficient going 11-of-18 for 118 yards with two total touchdowns and no turnovers.
  • We had a Plaxico Burress sighting (1 reception, 16 yards). But what stuck out more than his one reception was the sight of him dogging it out the few deep routes Sanchez threw his way.
  • Wayne Hunter, often under criticism, had an amazing night blocking the ferocious Cameron Wake.

Joe McKnight is finally getting some face time on offense. This comes after sparking huge plays on special teams and defensively. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-

  • After a sluggish start for Shonn Greene, the running back by committee seemed to find some success. LaDanian Tomlinson averaged four yards a touch, while Brian Schottenheimer finally realized that Joe McKnight could be used on offense.
  • This may be the end of ground and pound as we’ve known it. Sanchez said it himself, that type of system is dependent on a specific personnel. While Greene fits the mold, he needs a counter-part (alas Thomas Jones).

PASSING DEFENSE: B+

  • The defense can really be summed up in two words: Darrelle Revis.
  • In two seasons in Buffalo, Aaron Maybin did not record a sack or forced fumble. In three games with New York, Maybin has two sacks and three forced fumbles. *removes ‘bust’ label and brushes shoulder off*.
  • Antonio Cromartie pulled himself out of the game after re-activating a lingering groin injury. He insists he’ll be ready for Sunday.

RUSHING DEFENSE: C-

  • Reggie Bush averaged 7.1 yards per carry against the Jets. There’s actually people out there who would trade that man for a $10 Pizza Hut pizza. And he did that to the Jets D?
  • The run defense did a better job, only allowing 118 yards this week. That’s still a far cry from what this team accomplished the last two years.
  • Bart Scott update: 4 tackles, .5 sack, 1 forced fumble.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

  • T.J. Conley had a career-game, registering career highs for gross average (48.5), net average (39.4) and punts inside the 20 (3).
  • A rare mental lapse by Mike Westhoff’s unit nearly cost the team seven points. Luckily, Revis was able to bail them out.
  • The Dolphins’ Dan Carpenter was clearly trying to avoid McKnight, the league’s top return man — as far as return yardage (no disrespect to Devin Hester.) — kicking the ball short on two of the team’s three kickoffs.

COACHING: B+

  • I’m still scratching my head at the failed halfback pass. Schottenheimer being Schottenheimer.
  • Credit goes to Ryan and the staff for turning the team around in the locker room, and having their team buckle down. More so, because of the war of words between players and the medias attempt to tear this team apart, inside out.

Friday Fantasy Focus: Late Edition

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Admittedly, I use this column to get out a lot of my frustrations with my own fantasy team. I’m frustrated. I know my team is good. I was projected to be the top team in the league by Yahoo! Sports after my draft. That’s gotta count for something, right?

But I’ve come out of the gates sputtering to a dismal 1-4 record. What gives? I’ve got a great team…outside of Dallas Clark. He’s absolutely killed me. How Peyton Manning was able to take advantage of him and Curtis Painter can’t is beyond me.

This week is a huge week for me, I’m playing the first-place team in my league and, like the Jets, I’m at a crossroads in my season. If I win, I will continue to march on. A loss will most likely spell the end of my fantasy dreams and I’ll attempt to sell my team off to get a bunch of draft picks for next year.

So maybe the Jets aren’t in the exact same position, but a loss this week to the 0-4 Miami Dolphins will lead them one more step in that direction. But as for you, the fantasy reader, this Jets-Dolphins game has some great match-ups for players on your fantasy team. It’s not time to wave the white flag just yet.

Shonn Greene should have another solid week for fantasy owners against the 0-4 Miami Dolphins on Monday night. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

FANTASY STUDS:

  • Dustin Keller, TE, Jets — You know the Jets are in a three-game losing streak. That’s the obvious. But in the last two weeks Keller has three catches for 19 yards. I’ve been saying it all season, Keller is the key to Sanchez and winning. Against the 31st-ranked Dolphin pass defense, the middle of the field should be wide open, a known weak area.
  • Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins — He’s averaged over four yards a carry this season and is — I can’t believe I’m saying this –  the 32nd rush defense in the league. He’ll get plenty of chances with Matt Moore at quarterback. Plus, I just couldn’t be lower on Reggie Bush.
  • Shonn Greene, RB, Jets – They showed glimpses of their old ‘ground & pound’ selves on offense with Greene gaining four yards per carry on his way to 83 yards and a touchdown. And while the ‘Phins pass defense may be bad, the rush defense isn’t much better either. With the Monday night spotlight on the Jets, I wouldn’t be surprised if they turn back the clock and get back to a more physical game.

FANTASY DUDS:

  • Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins — He’s made headlines already, claiming he expects to be ejected from this game. Not a great sign for fantasy owners. Throw in a one-way trip to Revis Island with Moore feeding him the ball and I’d say dud. POTENTIAL PICK-UPS: Jason Avant, PHI / Doug Baldwin, SEA / Jason Hill, JAC.
  • Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins — Take the Pizza Hut pizza. Everytime. POTENTIAL PICK-UPS: Jonathan Dyer, PIT / Jackie Battle, KC / Kendall Hunter, SF.

Media Blame Game

Friday, October 14th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The sky is falling on the New York Jets. Amidst a three-game losing, the Jets are in a proclaimed “mutiny”; firing shots at one another publicly, calling for the head of their offensive coordinator (what else is new?), and trading away a receiver that is supposed to “send a message” to the team.

At least that’s what the media is proclaiming.

William Randolph Hearst would be proud of his New York predecessors for the amount of gusto in their sensationalism, myself included. Often perceived as the preeminent place for an athlete to be, New York is a double-edge sword. Win and you’ll be treated like a God amongst men; just ask Derek Jeter or Joe Namath. Lose, and, well, just ask Brett Favre, Randy Johnson, or Stephon Marbury about the repercussions.

But let’s take a step back from everything for a moment. At 2-3, the Jets’ season is far from over. Yes, they have lost games to some of the top tier teams in the AFC and a tough road loss to the Raiders, but there are still 11 games to play before everything is decided. It pains me to write this in Week 6, but the Jets still control their own destiny, on the field anyway.

Plaxico Burress (above), and the rest of the Jets offense, has been targeted by the media and fans alike.

Last week I wrote a piece where I stated the game against the Patriots was the apex of their season: a win would calm the nerves of New Yorkers while a loss would send the fans and, more notably, the team in a tailspin. I might have been a tad preemptive, with the possible apex coming in Week 9 when the Patriots travel to New York.

They welcome an 0-4 Miami Dolphins team to MetLife Stadium on Monday Night Football, perhaps the perfect remedy for their road woes. A Rex Ryan-coached team with the spotlight of the whole country on them, facing their bitter rival at home, hungry for a victory. Mark Sanchez believes that the national spotlight brings the best out of them.

“We’re excited to play on a national stage. I feel like most of the time we play our best that way.” He would go on to say that the best identity for this offense is winning. “That’s what New England’s identity is right now, and I think that’s what we’re looking for, just a couple of wins.  We rattle off a couple of wins in a row, all the criticism and doubt, that stuff kind of fades away and guys are confident again and ready to play.”

After all, a wise man did say that winning cures everything. It can cure the cries to cut ties with Brian Schottenheimer, end the speculation surrounding ridiculous trade claims while stopping the backlash against Plaxico Burress.

But until that win comes, whether it’s Monday night or next Sunday against the Chargers or whenever, the media is still in control of this team’s destiny. Despite numerous refutes against the accusations regarding in-house mutinies and players clashing, many aren’t convinced otherwise.

The Jets fan base is not too dissimilar from their baseball counterpart in Queens in the sense they are always waiting for the sky to fall. And like their other counterpart in the Bronx, they expect a quick fix involving All-Pro players to stop the bleeding.

As the trade deadline approaches such names as Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd and Robert Mathis have surfaced as the solution to many of the Jets’ fans’ concerns. The problem is, they brought in former All-Pro Burress at receiver while spending a first round draft choice on pass rusher Muhammed Wilkerson in the off season. If either Burress or Wilkerson was unsure of the term “faster than a New York minute”, they should get it by now. Five weeks into the season and people are calling for their heads, after being as big-time additions.

Blame the media for Burress. At 34 and coming off a 2-year prison stint, it’s impossible to expect him to be back at his All-Pro form. Hell, it took Michael Vick — a better all-around athlete — one year to get acclimated to the game again. After a hot start in the preseason, Burress faced an insurmountable wall of expectations here. But hiring mercenaries is not going to help this team get back on the right track.

Neither is making a mid-season coaching change, even if the man making the calls on offense deserves the old heave-ho. In football, change is not always good — especially mid-season changes. Bringing in a new guy with new schemes and new systems will not bode well for this unit or its quarterback.

So, as a member of the media, I send my condolences to you, the fans. For you have put up with this sensationalism for far too long. Do not be caught up in the hoopla of back-page headlines and stories citing “sources close to the team”. Certainly the Jets’ treadmill is on a steady incline to reach their goal of a Super Bowl, but there’s still a long way to go.

Remember what that wise man said, winning is the ultimate cure-all.

Jets Trade a disgruntled Mason

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Just a day after head coach Rex Ryan said that wide receiver Derrick Mason would still be “apart of what we do on offense”, he was traded to the Houston Texans for a conditional 7th round draft choice, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Mason, 37, signed with the team via free agency on August 6, 2011. He was brought in to assume the void left by veteran receiver, Jerricho Cotchery. Through five games this season Mason totaled 13 receptions for 115 yards and zero touchdowns.

Jets traded WR Derrick Mason to the Texans on Monday night for a conditional 2012 draft choice. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

The move comes on the heels of an appeared “mutiny” within the Jets locker room, who are amidst in a three-game losing streak. In the past week he spoke to the media about apparent “cracks” in the offense that needed to be filled, while be cited in a report from the New York Daily News that said himself, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress were all complaining to Ryan about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s schemes. The Jets denied that report.

Mason was benched for a portion of the Week 5 game against the New England Patriots. Ryan denied any reports that the move occurred because of his remarks to the media.

“I’ll tell you this, it had nothing to do with a  conversation that he had with the media. I had a conversation with Derrick, and the reason he never played as much had absolutely nothing to do with the conversation he had with [the media]. You guys know I have an open policy with the media. I don’t put a muzzle on anybody,” Ryan said.

When asked if Ryan was pleased with the performance of Mason thus far, he said that he expected Mason to catch “80-90 balls and that hasn’t happened”.

Rookie Jeremy Kerley will most likely be the benefactor of the trade, who fulfilled Mason’s duties against the Patriots. He has mostly contributed on special teams as a punt returner, but against the Patriots he reeled in three receptions for 35 yards and his first professional touchdown.

With an extra roster spot, it has been speculated the Jets will bring back linebacker Eddie Jones, who was cut today to make room for cornerback Eric Lankster.

Morning After Report

Monday, October 10th, 2011

The ‘break in case of emergency’ glass is broken. A flashing red light stares Jets Nation in the face. Push it. It’s time. You know you want to. Hands clasped together, clammy from a nervous sweat, only inches separate the Jets from pushing the panic button on their 2011-12 season that was once (again) filled with guarantees of a Super Bowl trophy.

Like it or not it’s now time to start panicking for Jets fans and their players. Lost in the abyss is their identity –  lacking a running game and a defense able to stop an opponent’s ground attack. Once the bullies of the block, the Jets cowered to the presence of the AFC’s elite; the Ravens, the Patriots and the Raiders (?!).

It was very weird seeing long time Jets DE Shaun Ellis in Patriots red on Sunday (JetsInsider.com Photo)

Now at 2-3, the Jets seem mediocre — at best –  losing three straight games on the road, following a 30-21 victory by the New England Patriots on Sunday. A mutiny has been proclaimed in New York as, allegedly, the offensive players are fed up with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s schemes. Star receivers are calling out the offensive line and the play of their captain and quarterback, Mark Sanchez.

If the Jets plan to fulfill Rex Ryan’s third guarantee at a Super Bowl they have to pull themselves out of this self-loathing tailspin. And it starts with getting some home cooking and welcoming in the 0-4 Miami Dolphins next Monday night.

PASSING OFFENSE: C

  • Mark Sanchez played a ball-control game; no interceptions, played it safe with the checkdowns, and didn’t fumble the ball. That’s a great game plan…if it was still Sanchez’s rookie year. Ryan and Schottenheimer took the wheels of Sanchez, slapped a “C” on his chest and threw out in the real game. And it looks like they had to bring him back to the stable.
  • The return of Nick Mangold showed a vast improvement on the offensive line, allowing only 2 sacks this week.
  • The disappearing act of Dustin Keller is back for a second stint starring in Schottenheimer’s offensive playbook. He’s such a great tool for a young quarterback, yet Sanchez goes to Plaxico Burress (2 drops) and Santonio Holmes (1 drop).

RUSHING OFFENSE: C+

  • Shonn Greene did a good job on the ground — could that be because of Mangold’s return or facing on one of the worst defenses in the league?
  • The rushing attack, and the offense as a whole, did a commendable job against the Patriots. The problem is one that’s been going on for the last two years: sustaining drives. The Jets were 3-11 on third downs compared to the Patriots’ staggering 50% rating, going 7-14.

 

PASSING DEFENSE: D

  • Tom Brady completed 73% of his passes on his way to over 300 yards passing while Wes Welker only needed five passes to total 124 yards. Outside of Cromartie’s interception to end the first half, the Patriots looked well polished and well executed against the Jets defense.
  • Whether it was Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski or Deion Branch, the Jets defensive backfield was too thin to stop Brady, as each hauled in at least four receptions.
  • The four sacks, while impressive on the superficial level, were mostly due to coverage sacks where it was the smartest play to take the sack.

RUSHING DEFENSE: F

  • The Jets are now the worst ranked rushing defense in the NFL, giving up an average of 135 yards per game.
  • After claiming the Patriots defense ‘couldn’t stop a nose bleed’, Bart Scott and his defense were the ones looking leaky, allowing the Patriots offense to stay on the field for nearly 34 minutes and completing half of their third down conversations.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-

  • Looks like Mike Westhoff has found his new Swiss Army knife in Joe McKnight. This guy is electric on the field. Drafted as a running back, McKnight’s made an impact on defense and special teams, now all he has to do is break in on the offense.
  • Nick Folk was held without at field goal try. That’s only two field goal tries in his last three games, after hitting five in his first two games.

COACHING: D

  • The Jets have failed to put together a complete game at all this year. The offense has sputtered the last two games, but when it shows up, the defense ‘can’t stop a nose bleed’. While a lot of that is attributed to poor execution, it’s the coaches’ responsibility to get the players ready.
  • If the Jets are ever going to make a mid-season move concerning Schottenheimer, wouldn’t now be the most opportune time to do so? The Jets have Bill Callahan who took the Raiders to the Super Bowl in 2001 and Tom Moore who’s won a Super Bowl with the Colts and Peyton Manning. I don’t think Mike Tannenbaum would do that, but finding an in-house solution is possible.

Jets drop 3-Straight; Lose 30-21 to Patriots

Monday, October 10th, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, M.A. — After a week filled with talk about the Jets rededicating themselves to their patented ground and pound style, it was the New England Patriots who pounded the ball on Sunday. BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a career-high 136 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots ran over the Jets at home, 31-20, in front of a sold-out crowd at Gillette Stadium.

The Jets (2-3) lost their third-straight road game and are amidst their first three-game losing streak since 2009, Mark Sanchez’s rookie season. Now standing in third place in the AFC East, the Jets will welcome the Miami Dolphins (0-4) to MetLife Stadium on next Monday.

“I don’t know the reason we came out so slow. It’s really too bad.” Sanchez would go on to say, “I never thought we’d have a losing-streak like this. It’s just really frustrating.”

Tom Brady passed for 321 yards and one touchdown, completing 27 passes, while the offense struggled against the Patriots’ (4-1) 32nd-ranked defense — totaling 255 yards on the day. One week after totaling 111 yards passing against the Ravens, Mark Sanchez threw only for 166 yards today.

“Obviously, they were the better team today,” Rex Ryan said of the Patriots. “We’ve got to be smarter, we’ve got to play smarter.”

The Patriots never trailed. They scored the game’s first ten points and went into halftime with a 10-7 lead.

After falling behind 24-17, the Jets began to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter following an 85-yard drive capped by a 21-yard touchdown reception by Santonio Holmes. It was Sanchez’s most effective sequence as he went 5-of-6 for 65 yards on the drive.

But the Patriots sealed the game by following with a good drive of their own that last 6:12 and scoring with 1:02 left in the game after Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard field goal.

“Against New England, you’ve got to get off the field. They did a great job sustaining drives. You’ve got to give them all the credit. They earned it,” Ryan said.

Although the Jets held Pats WR Wes Welker in check for most of the game he did beat the Jets secondary for this 73 yard catch and run. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

On the first play of the second half, Brady found Wes Welker for a gain of 73-yards, who split poor zone coverage between Darrelle Revis and Eric Smith. Three plays later Brady hit Deion Branch, who was wide open on the left side of the end zone, for the score.

The Jets answered quickly when Joe McKnight took the ensuing kick-off 88-yards. He tied the team record for a kickoff return touchdown last week against Baltimore when he took back an 107-yarder. From there, the offense only needed three plays to find the end zone. Sanchez hit rookie Jeremy Kerley on a three-yard strike, cutting the deficit to 17-14.

Green-Ellis then answered with his second three-yard touchdown run of the day with a little over a minute to go in the third quarter. Gostkowski added a 24-yard field goal with 13 minutes to go in the game.

After going four straight offensive possessions without a first down, punting on all drives, Shonn Greene got the offense going for the Jets. They held the ball for nearly eight minutes and on the thirteenth play, Greene picked up the final three yards in 78-yard drive cutting the Patriots lead to 10-7.

On the following drive the Patriots marched down the field to the Jets 11 with nine seconds left. Brady was looking for tight end Aaron Hernandez, who had the ball tipped off his fingertips before falling into the hands of Antonio Cromartie to end the first half.

That was Brady’s first regular season red zone interception at home in his career.

Green-Ellis got the scoring starting with a three-yard rush halfway through the first quarter.

Jets dispute Daily News report

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

FOXBOROUGH, M.A. — The New York Jets released a statement at 2:37 p.m. EST refuting an earlier report from the New York Daily News today that claimed offensive players went to head coach Rex Ryan to complain about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

The New York Jets deny a report this morning that wide receivers Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason have gone to head coach Rex Ryan individually in the past few weeks to question offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s system.”

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is on the hot seat with all the recent rumblings regarding his performance. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

This comes off the heels of well-chronicled offensive deficiencies in their back-to-back losses to the Raiders and Ravens. Holmes and Mason both have showed their frustrations through the media, with Holmes calling out the offensive line and the play of quarterback Mark Sanchez this week. And Mason citing “cracks” in the offense.

For those who follow the Jets, complaints towards Schottenheimer are nothing knew. Fans continually call for his head during stretches like this current run for the Jets. Between the 20’s he can be masterful. But it’s the documented struggles in the red zone that has haunted him and his unit.

As of the current moment, the Jets offensive ranks are as follows: 25th in total yards, 30th in rushing yards, 16th in passing and tied for 23rd in sacks allowed.