Archive for October, 2011

Friday Fantasy Focus

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — First off, I’d like to apologize for missing out on last week’s edition.  The thing is, I didn’t even do anything else. I was just being lazy. I slept in, had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios in bed while watching Sportscenter. Then I caught up on my DVR, went to the gym and before I know it the story of was completely behind me.

It’s inexcusable, really. I should be ashamed of myself. It was unprofessional. I’m a sorry excuse of a productive human.

Self-loathing at it’s finest, folks.

And while I really wasn’t that hard on myself (I had an awesome time.), it serves a purpose as we hit Week 5 in our fantasy leagues. A slow 1-3 start can really put a damper on the high hopes that the draft brings. Don’t let a few bad plays cut your dreams of hoisting fantasy gold at the end of the season. The goal is still within arm’s reach. At the quarter-mark of the season, don’t get down on yourself for the level of play. There’s a still a long way to go.

Moving on to the mega match-up between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets this weekend. It’s going to be a feast for fantasy owners of many players in this game. Let’s take a look at this weeks’ fantasy studs and duds.

Will Mark Sanchez (right) and Plaxico Burress (left) help the Jets break out of their fantasy funk this week? (JetsInsider.com)

FANTASY STUDS:

  • Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots – The rookie running back has steadily been gaining speed as the Patriots have been gaining confidence in their first-round pick. In his last three games his carries have increased from 2 to 6 to 10, and he’s taken advantage of it; averaging 4.5, 7.0 and 9.7 yards per carry. The Jets are the 23rd ranked fantasy defense against running backs giving up an average 117.3 yards and 1.3 TDs, according to Yahoo! Sports. With Danny Woodhead listed as doubtful with an ankle injury, he could be the offensive x-factor.
  • Plaxico Burress, WR, Jets — I’ve been hot and cold on Plax, but this week — if the offense does anything — it will be with his help. Devin McCourty will be covering Santonio Holmes for most of the game and with Leigh Bodden (groin) and Ras-I Dowling (hip) listed as questionable it will be the 5′10″  Hofstra alum Kyle Arrington covering the 6′5″ Burress. He’s still the Jets premier redzone option, they just have to get their first.
  • Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets — I know, I know. He’s looked awful in the last two weeks. But Sanchez always seems to up his play for the Patriots. He’s thrown more TDs against New England than any other NFL. And against the 32nd ranked passing defense, he should be able to find holes in their secondary. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Patriots are the second-worst fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks, giving up an average of 376.8 yards per game in the air.

FANTASY DUDS:

  • Deion Branch, WR, Patriots — There are plenty of options on this team, so there’s always guys who will get left out from week to week. This is two straight weeks that Branch has been absent from the action. Now that Aaron Hernandez (knee) seems likely to play this week expect the action to back to the tight ends. POTENTIAL PICK-UPS: Preston Parker, TB; Victor Cruz, NYG; Pierre Garcon, IND.
  • Shonn Greene, RB, Jets — I know Nick Mangold will be back come Sunday, magically dispelling the Jets of all their running woes. Saying they’re rededicating themselves to the run game and producing are two different things. They are still going to have to deal with a stout Patriots defensive front that will feature Albert Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork. POTENTIAL PICK-UPS: Ryan Torain, WAS; Michael Bush, OAK; Isaac Redman, PIT.

Forked in the Road

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood / And sorry I could not travel both / And be one traveler, long I stood / And looked down as far as I could / To where it bent in the undergrowth; -Robert Front, The Road Not Taken

Sporting an even 2-2 record, coming off of two straight road losses of 10 or more points, the Jets find themselves at the possible apex of their season. Facing “That Team Up North”, the 3-1 New England Patriots, in a hostile Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

Rex Ryan and the Jets can be found standing in that yellow wood Frost so poignantly painted in his signature 1920 poem, with their two destinies staring them in the face. If they lose, the proverbial panic button will be all but pushed, sending out an S.O.S. about the shattered state of Jets Nation. While a win does not mean they are out of the woodwork just yet, but does serve as a signature performance the team can hinge their season on and pull themselves out of the abyss.

Ryan understands what is facing him and his team.

The Jets must come together as a the team they are known for being if they expect to beat the Patriots on Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

“We’re 2-2. That’s where the team is, that’s where the coaches are. We want to be base on wins and losses. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Right now, we’re 2-2 with a huge challenge in front of us,” he said.

Is the challenge a Patriots team that has not lost a regular season home game with their soon-to-be Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, under center in 29 chances?

Brady is building on his MVP 2010 season by leading the league in nearly every passing category, with help from his slippery slot receiver Wes Welker — who, coincidentally, leads most receiver categories this season –  and his two-headed tight end monster, Aarob Gronknandez (Aaron Hernandez & Rob Gronkowski).

However the challenge isn’t so much the Patriots, as they have shown they can confuse the usually-unflappable Brady and dictate their game plan when executed properly. The challenge stares right back at them when looking in the mirror.

Can the Jets find their true identity? Prided by their gritty ‘ground and pound’ style offensive persona coupled with the ‘I’m gonna give you a swirly’ attitude of a bully on defense, the Jets have been far from that in three out of their four games this season.

After seeing their running game grounded and pounded while the defense was hung by their underwear in the bathroom by the Raiders and Ravens, an identity crisis is the last thing this team needs before taking aim at the Patriots in front of a rowdy New England crowd.

Ryan has made it a point of emphasis to make sure the team gets back to ‘playing like a Jet’, citing a dedicated return to the ground game. For the thirtieth rank rushing offense, it couldn’t come at a better time. They are expected to have their All-Pro center, Nick Mangold, back starting — which offers a huge boost not just to their rushing attack, but protection formations as well.

Add the loss of Patriots’ defensive captain, Jerod Mayo, and the ground game may be ready to break out of their funk. Mark Sanchez believes it all starts with his play calling.

“It’s my job to put us in the right play.” he said. “It’s the offensive line’s job to create holes and the running back’s job to find the hole and get through there. We’re going to do our best to get back on track run-wise, but at the end of the day, we want to win the game. So whatever that means, whether running it or throwing it, we need to be able to do both.”

As far as the defense goes, who’s still morning the loss of linebacker Bryan Thomas to an Achilles’ tear, it’s about regaining that confident swagger that defined Gang Green. It starts with how the Jets cover Welker and their explosive tight ends.

“[They] have a one-two punch & have great chemistry [with Brady]. They work well together,” cornerback Darrelle Revis said, who seems ready to cover Welker although Ryan would not confirm the match-up.

Frost famously ends The Road Not Taken by taking the ‘road less traveled’. For Ryan and the Jets they hope to take the road that hasn’t been traveled since 2006 — the last time the Patriots lost at home with Brady at the helm. But the emphasis is on ‘less traveled’, for they have been down this road before. The last team to beat the Patriots and Brady at home?

The Jets.

Bryan Thomas (Achilles’ Tear) Out For Season

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Outside linebacker Bryan Thomas’s season is done for the New York Jets. He left midway through the first quarter of the Sunday Night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Early news was an unknown ankle injury.

But news has since surfaced that the 10-year veteran out University of Alabama – Birmingham will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn left Achilles’ tendon. Thomas amassed 14 tackles in four games this season while failing to record a sack. He is regarded as one of the premier run stoppers from the outside edge.

Bryan Thomas (above) is done for the season. He suffered a torn Achilles' tendon in the first quarter against the Ravens on Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

Head coach Rex Ryan was ambiguous when asked who will fill Thomas’ starting role at outside linebacker, citing a multitude of possibilities. But his uncertainty to hand the duties over to Jamaal Westerman was apparent.

“If Westerman steps up and plays that way, then maybe it is, but I’m not ready to anoint anybody the starter there,” Ryan said. “I think we’ll have a combination of guys fighting for that job.  There is Josh Mauga, who has been cross-trained for that.  You can use four down linemen if you need to.  You always have different plans going in there.”

They also could use Aaron Maybin, who had a great game as a designated pass rusher. He led the team in sacks, with three, during preseason before being cut after training camp and he recorded a timely strip/sack of the Ravens’ Joe Flacco last night.

The new of Thomas adds to an already deflated Jets team that’s lost handily in their last two road games before traveling behind enemy lines to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots this Sunday.

“It’s tough when you lose a guy that is a true Jet, a guy that’s played a lot of snaps for us,” safety Jim Leonhard said. “We’ve got some guys that need to step up. There’s no question about it. We feel like we have the guys in the room that can do it. They really need to step up.”

The loss adds to the ever-growing injury report for the Jets who already lost tight end Jeff Cumberland to a similar Achilles’ injury and Nick Mangold, who missed the last two games due to a high ankle sprain.

Thomas, 32, is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

Morning After Report: Late Edition

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Ever have one of those nights where instead of pulling an all-nighter in the library before a big exam you stay out with your college buddies a tad too late and have one too many $3 pitchers at your local watering hole? You remember how banged up you felt the morning after? You have that amber goodness that went down so smoothly now slowly eating away at your stomach, causing a thin band of pain starting just above you forehead and working its way to deep behind your eye socket.(I may or may not be writing from a personal experience or two)

Do you remember how well you did on that exam? The grade was probably bad enough where it took another one of those nights just to forget it. In case you need a reminder, take a look at the grades the Jets received this week in the Official JetsInsider.com’s ‘Morning After Report: Late Edition’. Nostalgia aside, I’m not revisiting my college youth for no reason. After getting bullied by the Raiders in Oakland last week, the Jets were just beat down by the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday –  unable to get over the Black Hole hangover.

An offense who couldn’t get out of their own way and a leaky defense that could only do so much, was saved — if only for a moment — by an electrifying 107-yard kickoff return by Joe McKnight and David Harris’ 53-yard interception return, sparked by McKnight’s (yes, you read that right) penetration off a corner blitz.

Mark Sanchez (above) and the rest of the New York Jets are left to ask "What's wong?" after losing their second straight road game on Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

PASSING OFFENSE: F

  • Is it time to really start questioning if Mark Sanchez can be a elite quarterback in this league? He fumbled four times — three were lost and two were returned for touchdowns — and a costly pick-six that stole any momentum the team had going for them.
  • He was supposed to make that jump from not losing games to being the reason they won. But in their first four games he has six TDs to five interceptions and a completion percentage of 55%. His career numbers are 35 TD/38 INT, 54 completion percentage, and a QB rating of 71. His 2011-12 numbers look to be on the same lackluster pace of his career.
  • The offensive line, still without All-Pro center Nick Mangold (high ankle sprain), struggled mightily against the daunted Ravens defense — allowing two sacks and ten hits on Sanchez all night. Rookie center Colin Baxter was benched, where starting right guard Matt Slauson assumed his duties while Vladimir Ducasse took over at guard. The adjustment proved to be a failure as the professional game appears to still move too fast for Ducasse.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F

  • What happened to the identity of this team? Rex Ryan loves an old school, ground and pound offensive attack, but the team ranks 30th in rushing yards per game at 71. Only the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans are averaging less than Gang Green’s ground attack. They totaled a meek-like 38 total yards on the ground against the Ravens.
  • Part of the poor ground game can be attributed to the struggles of the offensive line, but it’s mostly due to the ineffectiveness of the now-feature back Shonn Greene. LaDanian Tomlinson seems to strictly be a receiver out of the backfield and couple that with Greene’s north-south running style and there’s a degree of predictability when defenders see either Greene or Tomlinson in the backfield.
  • The lack of another running back to split the carries with Greene allows defenders to load up in the box when he’s in the backfield while keeping an extra man in coverage when LT lines up. At this point, why not give McKnight a chance to show off his athletic skill set that he’s been showing off on special teams and defense?

PASSING DEFENSE: C+

  • Running back Ray Rice and tight end Ed Dickson did the most damage for the Ravens passing game, combining for six receptions and 109 yards. No surprise there, the Jets defense has nightmares covering tight ends and running backs in the receiving game.
  • Aaron Maybin proved he belongs on this team after being re-signed this week. His strip/sack of Joe Flacco in the third quarter and his near-miss in the first showed Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine that he can be their DPR (designated pass rusher). His emergence comes at a good time, after Bryan Thomas left the game with an ankle injury former DPR Jamaal Westerman took over the starting reps at outside linebacker.
  • The defense played a solid game, allowing only one offensive touchdown and holding Rice to only 66 yards on the ground, while Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin combined for 2 receptions and 29 yards.

RUSHING DEFENSE: C+

  • After giving up over 200 yards on the ground in Oakland, the Jets defensive front rebounded nicely in containing the slippery-when-wet Rice.
  • They did have trouble stopping back-up Ricky Williams (12 rushes, 49 yards), who average 4.1 yards per carry despite losing a fumble .
  • This marks the third straight week that the defense has given up over 100 yards to their opponent.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B+

  • This unit continues to be the x-factor and lone bright spot on a team that recently has had a dark cloud hanging over them. Enough credit can’t be given to special teams coach Mike Westhoff who continues to be the leading innovator in his field.
  • McKnight’s 107-yard return tied a franchise record last night. This is McKnight’s second stellar play on special teams on Sunday Night Football. In Week 1 against Dallas, his blocked field goal proved to be one of the signature plays in a memorable Jets come-from-behind victory.
  • T.J. Conley continues to get a lot of reps at punting, going for eight last night and ending the night with an average punt of  43.3 yards.

COACHING: D

  • Westhoff — and maybe Pettine –  aside, the rest of the coaching staff has a lot explaining to do. Staring with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. We all know Sanchez is great off the play-action and when he’s rolling out of the pocket, but defenses don’t buy the play-fake when the ground game is ineffective. Additionally a play-action pass is designed to draw the defensive backs closer to the line leaving the back end of the field open for a deep pass, but the play-action pass becomes ineffective when you use it on short slants and bubble screens — allowing the defenders to jump the pass.
  • The team amassed just seven first downs while holding the ball for a mere 22 minutes. It doesn’t take a genius to see that teams don’t win when the can’t advance the ball and sustain drives. Add to that nine penalties for 69 yards and your team is beating themselves before their opponent even has a chance to.

Offensively Defensive: Jets lose at Ravens, 34-17

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

BALTIMORE, M.D. — Ask Rex Ryan what he thinks about the old adage “the best offense is a good defense”.

On Sunday night he watched a Baltimore Ravens defense, the fruits his 10-year tenure, score on three returns against his current team, the New York Jets, which led to the 34-17 road loss.

The Ravens tied a franchise record for most defensive return touchdowns in a single game. Jameel McClain took a Mark Sanchez fumble six yards on the Jets first offensive play of the game. Ed Reed came in untouched from the right side, Sanchez’s blind side, and knocked the ball loose. Jarret Johnson took a fumble 26-yards before LaDarius Webb returned an interception for a touchdown that put the Ravens up 17 points midway through the third quarter.

“I’ve been around football a long time and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Ryan said during his post-game press conference. “The performance by their defense was spectacular. They were coming after us. That’s a Ravens defense. It reminded me of the 2000 and 2006 defenses.”

That’s the words of a shocked man. Shocked is how the Jets offense looked for most of the game, amassing a mere 150 total yards, seven first downs, and four turnovers.

The Jets (2-2) have lost two straight on this crucial three-game road trip. After giving up over 200 yards on the ground to Oakland last week, turnovers by Sanchez ultimately were the difference against the Ravens. His three lost fumbles — two of which led to return touchdowns –  and a pick-six interception decided the game. He went 11-for-35 for 119 yards while posting a completion percentage (31.4) that’s half of his season percentage (60.2).

“We all had our share in this loss,” Sanchez said. “I’m fine pointing out my mistakes; as far as my mistakes, I’ll take the blame for it.”

The offensive line earned plenty of the share, giving up two sacks and allowed 10 QB hits to the Ravens. Nick Mangold (high ankle sprain) was a game-time decision, but was ruled out — missing his second-straight game. Undrafted rookie Colin Baxter got his second career NFL start, and the Ravens attacked the middle like an open wound.

He would be benched for starting right guard Matt Slauson, who slid over to the center, and back-up utility lineman Vladimir Ducasse assumed the right guard duties. The adjustment proved fruitless.

Now a game back in the three-team AFC East race, the Jets travel to Foxborough to play the  New England Patriots (3-1), currently tied with the Buffalo Bills (3-1) for the division lead.

Outside linebacker Bryan Thomas (above) suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

A relentless Raven attack started early and Chuck Pagano, current defensive coordinator, didn’t let up on the gas. On New York’s first offensive possession Ed Reed came in untouched on Sanchez’s blind side and delivered a blow that jarred the ball loose. McClain picked up the fumble and walked into the end zone. That would be the first of four fumbles by Sanchez on the day.

On the ensuing kickoff Joe McKnight, who assumed return duties after Antonio Cromartie suffered a rib injury last week, took the ball from seven yards deep in the end zone and took a straight shot past the Ravens coverage team for the 107-yard return, tying the game at seven with 11:43 left in the first quarter.

“I had my mind made up all week I was going to run one back,” McKnight told the Newark Star-Ledger.

A three-yard scamper up the middle by the Ravens elusive All-Pro running back, Ray Rice, gave them a 17-10 lead as the first quarter came to a close. They scored 20 unanswered in the first half after a 38-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff and 26-yard fumble return by Johnson to take a 27-10 advantage with 8:11 left in the half.

The Jets got in on the defensive scoring party as well. McKnight, drafted a running back yet playing defensive back, was sent on a corner blitz that spooked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. His errant pass went to inside linebacker David Harris, who took it back 35 yards for a defensive score of their own. The Jets then trailed 27-17 with six minutes left in the third quarter.

Aaron Maybin, the former Bills pass rusher that signed with the Jets during training camp – was cut – then was re-signed this week, made his impact felt. He nearly missed on his first professional sack early in the first before recording a strip sack on Flacco with four minutes into the second half.

This appeared to be a turn of momentum in the Jets favor. But on the ensuing play Webb took a Sanchez pass 73-yards for a score, making the final score of 34-17.

GAME NOTES: The victory is the Ravens 12th straight at home and marks the seventh straight over the Jets. They defeated the Jets on first game of the 2010 season 10-9. Jets OLB Bryan Thomas left midway through the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.

JetsInsider Point/Counter Point

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Usually, the JetsInsider.com reports on the news and happenings with the Jets on the field activities. This week, however, the Jets have made a lot of headlines for activities off the field. From re-signing Aaron Maybin to the active roster, to critiques of Antonio Cromartie, to Joe Namath and Rex Ryan war of words through the media.

Not that all the off-the-field happenings this week is anything new for this team. In fact, since the short-lived Brett Favre era the Jets have had a flare of dramatics on and off the field. Instead of doing a straight article covering these topics, Chris Nimbley and myself decided to have a back-and-forth conversational style breaking down our thoughts on all the issues.

The great thing about this style of writing is we would love to hear your thoughts on our thoughts and the topics themselves. Let us know what you, the diehard Jets fans, think about your team.

On the Antonio Cromartie:

Wesley Sykes – To me he’s become, along with Mark Sanchez, the most polarizing figure on this team. More than any other defensive player that I can think of. His freakish athletic ability usually places him in the center of the action — with the outcome usually being the apex of the game. Of course, this topic comes to mind because of the last three games where they hinged on his plays — His near-INT in the end zone against Miles Austin Week 1, then the 2-INT and great return game against the Jaguars Week 2, and now a 4-penalty and costly KR fumble performance Week 3 against the Raiders.

When he’s producing well, fans love him. Media pundits claim that he is an invaluable piece to this team, saying he’s more physically gifted than Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha. When he’s not, claims of his lack of aggressiveness and knack for tallying penalties surround his name.

Chris Nimbley – With all due respect, and I do mean all due respect, I just don’t see Cromartie as being very polarizing at all. This is in large part due to the position he plays, it’s the nature of the position that regardless of how good you are (unless your name is Darrelle Revis), you’re going to get beat and give up some big plays. Yes, Cromartie had a bad night against the Cowboys and an even worse day against the Raiders (most people would say Cromartie deserved the biggest piece of blame pie for that game), with an outstanding game against the Jaguars mixed in, but so goes the life of a cornerback. The thing with Cro is, you don’t hear people question his talent or ability. They question his technique and consistency, which is a more than fair criticism, but at the end of the day I don’t hear too many fans yelling or complaining that Cro, just flat out sucks.

Jets fans, hell fans of any team, will always support players who make big time highlight reel plays, even if they are on the wrong end of the highlight from time to time. In today’s day and age, everything is about highlights and stats. Stats have become all consuming and the problem is people don’t seem to have any use for context of those stats (see anytime someone breaks out the Chad Henne > Sanchez argument). Which brings me to the guy who I think is clearly the most polarizing player on the Jets (other than Sanchez), Bart Scott. No other player faces more unjustified criticism from fans than Scott, his detractors point to his lack of “stats” but conveniently ignore everything he brings to this defense and the fact that this defense is designed to spread the “stats” around to everyone with it’s amoeba-like style. Scott’s job is not to get sacks, it’s not even to get tackles, in a 3-4 defense his job is to occupy a couple of blockers and open things up for teammates. But don’t take my word for it, the great people at Profootballfocus.com, did an excellent job of making my point for me . Jets fans have no problem pointing to the same site for proof that Nick Mangold is easily the best center in the league, but obviously there’s some sort of disconnect with Scott because the very day after you poised this question, this thread popped up in our forums, forever sealing my case for me.

On if the negative attention occurs more so playing next to Revis:

Rex Ryan is usually all smiles, but when former-Jet Joe Namath spoke out against him and the team, Ryan turn serious. (JetsInsider.com Photo).

WS — Playing next to Revis has got to weigh on him. It’s no question that no quarterback wants to throw on Revis’s side, so Cromartie is going to have the spotlight on him constantly. It’s the fact of life that the number two cornerback of the New York Jets is going to have to live with — whether it’s Cromartie, Asomugha or whomever. We’ll see if Kyle Wilson is ready for that bright spotlight if Cromartie can’t go against Baltimore. And I guarantee, win or lose, people are going to say “We need Cro back!”. Playing in Revis’s shadow ironically casts a very big spotlight. I think Cromartie’s done a good job living in it. In San Diego he had a Revis-like respect as the team’s number one corner, now he is targeted by default. The guy is a great corner, one of the best in the NFL. He said he’s coming into this year with a chip on his shoulder and he’s been playing like it. It may not always work in his favor, but the aggressiveness is there.

CN – Playing with Revis obviously effects Cromartie in many different ways, but the thing is I’d argue it helps Cro in as many ways it hurts him. Yes, obviously whoever the number two corner is opposite Revis will face a lot more targets than your normal number two corner, but he also gets the benefit of not having to match-up against the other teams best WR. Just look at the Dallas game for example. The Jets game planned to have Revis on Miles Austin and Cro on Dez Bryant, after that first drive Revis switched on Bryant for the rest of the game when it became clear just how dangerous Bryant was. Also the fact that many QB’s will enter games with the mind set to avoid Revis at all costs, will in turn cause them to force more passes Cro’s way, that they wouldn’t force if Revis wasn’t on the other side, which can lead to big plays by Cro.

Now does Cro’s weaknesses become more noticeable because of the perfection of Revis? Sure, of course it’s only natural and the same would have applied to Asomugha. I agree Cro has done a great job handling the difficulties of what is asked of him more often than not. His aggressiveness is what makes him such a good player and while I agree it can sometimes work against him, the biggest criticism Cro faces is the fact that he doesn’t like to get physical at the line. When Cro attacks his WR with bump-and-run coverage he becomes a much more effective corner, but for some reason he shies away from this coverage too often and that, to me, is his biggest problem.

On Bart Scott and short safeties:

WS — I know Chris believes the ‘most-polarizing’ title deserves to be Bart Scott. And I can’t completely disagree. When the defense is clicking he is at the center of praise. And same if the defense isn’t. The mouth of Scott places a pretty big target on his back from media and fans alike. People listen when he talks and they remember. So when he doesn’t produce it makes people go, “What happened to everything you were saying two days ago?” But I still give it to Cromartie for the one-on-one match-ups that decide the outcome of the game. Scott doesn’t have those same one-on-one match-ups, on the edge, with the spotlight on you. It can be easy to get lost in the trenches, just ask any offensive lineman.

The same goes for Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard. They are two of the game’s smartest players, and when the Jets defense lives up to its potential you can usually look back to the play of these two. It’s no secret that the team has difficulty covering tight ends, and that usually plays a huge factor in games. But it’s still got to be Cromartie for me.

CN – The thing is just you made my point for me. It’s far more difficult for Scott to flash and stand out than for Cromatie too, especially in this Rex Ryan defense. Even when Scott does exactly what he is supposed to, there’s a good chance it will go unnoticed by most fans. Does Scott bring some of it on himself because of the way he loves to talk? No question, fair or unfair the more you say the more people expect from you and the more they will criticize you if they feel your production doesn’t match your mouth.

But again I’d argue that most of the viral hatred you see spewed at Jets players from their own fans is directed at Scott with the two short safeties at number two and three. The only way to consider Cromartie is with a ‘prisoner of the moment’ mind state because of the debacle that was last Sunday, but other than that you don’t hear/see Jets fans calling for Cro to be cut, while that is a common theme in reference to Scott, Leonhard and Smith. I’d also argue most fans know that this type of up-and-down performance is the most you can ask for from Cro while playing opposite of Revis, while fans generally don’t have any realistic idea of what to expect from Scott, because he is asked to do something that you can’t measure with stats and numbers. Ask most fans what they think of Cro and you’ll get basically the same answer, ask about Scott and you’ll hear every possible different answer, ranging from very good to historically bad.

On if Aaron Maybin makes an impact this week:

WS Maybe Maybin will have an impact. It’s too easy to avoid it, I apologize. But what the Jets got burned in was speed on the edge. Maybin brings exactly that. Whether he has an impact and nearly impossible to predict at this point. But if the defense can create a pass rush and knock around a quarterback or two, that’ll take pressure off the corners not named Revis. The question will be can he hang with the slippery Ray Rice. He’s the focal point of the Raven’s offense, as was Darren McFadden for the Raiders. If the Jets are down a corner this week, it will force a lot of outside linebackers to cover Rice as opposed to a nickel or dime corner. Rex Ryan may use Maybin’s speed to combat Rice’s. That is asking a lot out of a player who only had three weeks with the team.

CN – With regards to Maybin, I think anyone who expects him to contribute heavily this Sunday is expecting far too much. This move was not made for an immediate fix to be able to deal with Ray Rice. The Jets signed him to hopefully help out the rest of the season. There’s no doubt the speed of the Raiders helped push the Jets to bring him back, but I also think the disappointing play of Jamaal Westerman is every bit as responsible. All camp long we heard about how Westerman was ready to take that step and become the team’s DPR (designated pass-rusher), only problem is he hasn’t shown anything that would make me think that was remotely possible. Maybin does possess a talent in an area of need for the Jets, which is why it made so much sense to give him another shot.

I fully expect the Jets to use Maybin in the same way they have been trying to use Westerman, which is strictly in the DPR role. If he can succeed in that role the team may look to increase his role, but he wasn’t brought in to defend running backs, he’s here to get after the quarterback.

On the beef between Joe Namath and Rex Ryan:

WS — Does Namath have a point? Yeah, I hear the frustration he’s voicing. Strip down Namath of his celebrity and he’s just another Jets fan. Of course we can’t just do away with who Namath is, so we can’t write him off as just another fan. He’s not. He’s Broadway Joe — the guarantee-making, mink coat wearing, ‘I wanna kiss you’ quoting, gun-slinging quarterback who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl title. He has to show some sort of restraint in his public negative outcries towards this team and the coach. This is not Namath’s team, and with the weight his words carry can go a long way in damaging the psyche of this team and its fans.

I’m happy Ryan stood up against Namath, not that I expected anything less. Namath doesn’t see the day-to-day operations of the team. Ryan does and has for the past two plus years. It’s his team. Of course he has the right to say his team is going to win it all. He should think that it. It’s his job to think that.

CN – I really hate that people even thought this was worth talking about. Broadway Joe is without question the greatest Jet whoever lived, but it’s as much for what he accomplished as it’s for what the franchise has failed to accomplish since his success. The thing that bothers me most about it is it seems to me that Namath goes out of his way to bash Rex and Sanchez every chance he gets. And this isn’t like Michael Strahan or Tiki Barber sending shots at old teammates, because they were getting paid to have those view points, that’s part of their job. Now to be fair, I may just feel this way because I don’t listen to his appearances and I could end up only hearing about the negative, but still most of his complaints come across as sour grapes, because Namath is an old-school rah-rah, in your face type guy and he doesn’t seem to like the new school swagger of Rex’s.

Namath’s complaint, and to be fair it’s the complaint of many others as well, is that Rex doesn’t hold his players as accountable as a head coach should. Which is just pure nonsense, I know this, you know and every other Jets beat writer knows this as well. Rex allows his players the freedom to be whatever type of person they naturally are, but he demands them to be the type of player that he expects them to be. There were numerous times last year, where the players would tell us they got heavily scolded for their poor play, Rex definitely holds his players to his expectations of them as players, not people. He will absolutely send messages to his players, he just won’t use the media to do so, he will tell them to their face and we will never hear about it.

I agree with Namath on one point, but I think he’s pointing the blame in the wrong direction. Yes Rex’s confidence is instilling unrealistic expectations, but not to his players. No the unrealistic expectations are being made by fans, fans like Namath. It’s Namath and the fans that are expecting too much from the Jets, they are the ones drinking the Rex Ryan Kool-Aid.

In Rex’s first two years he has given this franchise the most success it has had since Namath and now after one loss to the Raiders in week three Namath wants to act like everything that worked so well the past two years needs to change?

This team lost in Oakland, because the Raiders simply played better, this is the NFL that’s what happens, hence the phrase ‘Any Given Sunday.’ To suggest that everything that worked so well for the Jets the past two years needs to be flipped is pure crazy talk.