Tag:Harris
Posted on: September 28, 2009 9:08 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2009 9:18 pm
  •  
 

Jets v. Titans: Recap

So, if you would have told me three weeks ago that the Jets would start the season 3-0, I would have thought you were crazy.  So I guess we're all a little crazy right now.  The New York Jets have gotten off to a 3-0 start by beating the high powered offense of the Texans.  The team they never could seem to beat in the Patriots.  And a team that finished 13-3 a year ago with the best record in the AFC, the Titans.  The Jets are doing it on both sides of the ball, while letting their quarterback learn on the fly.

QB Mark Sanchez led the Jets out of the gates on Sunday in a hurry.  He led the Jets on a 10 play 73 yard scoring drive which was capped off by Sanchez' 14 yard touchdown run.  New York opened up the passing game on the opening drive going into a no-huddle offense right off the bat.  He was able to hit WR Jerricho Cotchery and TE Dustin Keller for a few long passes while getting down to the Titans 14 yard line.  Then on 3rd and 10 from the Tennessee 14, Sanchez took off and plowed his way into the end zone for the Jets first score of the day.

After recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Sanchez led the Jets on another scoring drive, capping it off with a 2 yard touchdown to TE Ben Hartsock.  Before the Titans offense even took the field, the Jets were up 14-0.  After a lackluster performance by the offense in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, New York was able to capitalize on another Titans turnover.  Sanchez hit Cotchery for a 6 yard touchdown late in the 3rd quarter.  Overall on the afternoon, Sanchez was 17-30 for 171 yards, throwing for two touchdowns while running for another.  He did have one interception and one fumble, but in the end he protected the ball when he needed to and was able to help the Jets to another victory. 

Jerricho Cotchery is emerging as a reliable number one receiver in the NFL.  Not many thought he could be a number one, but he is proving the doubters wrong in a hurry.  On Sunday, he reeled in 8 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.  Dustin Keller had 2 receptions for 24 yards.  They had the bulk of the Jets receiving yards.

The Jets running game was never able to get going against a very good Titans defensive line.  RB Thomas Jones was only able to rack up 20 yards on 14 carries.  His lowest total yards in 2 seasons.  Leon Washington was a little more sucessful, getting 46 yards on 12 carries.  Tennessee was able to clog up the middle forcing Sanchez to beat them through the air.  Sanchez did not light it up against the Titans pass defense, which was the worst ranked group in the NFL coming into the game.  He did however do enough to win.

The Jets defense looked suspect in the 1st half of the game.  They stayed back in coverage early in the game letting Titans QB Kerry Collins get comfortable in the pocket.  Trailing 14-0, Collins was able to bring the Titans back into the game by scoring on 3 of their 5 possessions.  Collins and the Titans completely dominated the Jets in the 2nd quarter.  They scored 10 points and out gained the Jets on offense 157 to -3.  Collins kept the ball out of the Jets hands and got the Titans to within 14-10.

Titans RB Chris Johnson was able to help out the offense by running for 97 yards on 22 carries.  The Jets were not going to be able to stop Johnson, but they had to keep him in check.  He gained the yards but did not find the end zone.  RB LenDale White was able to do that in the 2nd quarter.  He was the first player to score an offensive touchdown against the Jets defense this season.  His score pulled Tennessee to within 14-7.  In the end, the Jets rush defense gave up 127 yards on the ground.  Not their best performance, but the made the stops when it counted. 

The Jets secondary did not allow a receiver to top the 59 yard receiving mark in the game.  Collins was able to dink and dunk to WR's Kenny Britt and Justin Gage, as well as TE Alge Crumpler.  But he was never able to get the big play downfield. 

The defense stepped up huge in the 4th quarter.  They were able to hold Collins to 0-13 over his last 13 pass attempts.  Jets LB David Harris was the star of the game with his defensive play in the 4th quarter.  On Tennessee's 2nd to last possession of the game, Harris was able to stop a Titans drive with an interception.  Then on their last possession, Harris had an sack on Collins for -8 yards to help preserve the Jets 24-17 win.  He gets the defensive game ball in this one.

It was not a pretty win for the Jets but it was still a win.  The defense showed some soft spots in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but really stepped it up when it counted in the 4th quarter.  The really started bringing the blitz in the 4th quarter, keeping Collins and the Titans offense guessing.  Good teams find ways to win when they are down and thats what the Jets did on Sunday.  The jumped out to a quick lead, lost it, regained it and held strong for the win. 

So the Jets stand at 3-0 on the season, leading the AFC East by a game over the Patriots.  The road does not get any easier this week with a trip down to New Orleans to play the high powered offense of the Saints.  But with the way Rex Ryan has this team believing they can win every game, don't be surprised if the Jets are standing at 4-0 next Monday.
Posted on: September 14, 2009 1:51 pm
 

Jets v. Texans: Week 1 Recap

So the Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan era finally began this past Sunday and it did not disappoint.  The Jets went down to Houston and totally dominated a Texans team that many have said are ready to have a break out season.  New York's defense was as good as advertised on Sunday and the Jets walked out of Reliant Stadium with a very impressive 24-7 win.

Mark Sanchez seemed to be the real deal on Sunday.  The rookie quarterback looked like a seasoned vet with all the poise he showed.  On the afternoon, Sanchez was 18-31 for 272 yards with a touchdown and an interception.  A very solid performance for the rookie quarterback.  But the most impressive stat were his third down numbers.  On third down, Sanchez was 12-18 for 191 yards.  The Jets offensive line also did a great job as Sanchez was not sacked in the game.  The rookie looked very comfortable in the pocket too, not letting the pressure get to him.

Thomas Jones picked up right where he left off last season, where he led the AFC in rushing.  Jones racked up 107 yards on 20 carries.  He also added 2 touchdowns to his stat line.  And after the Texans pulled to within 17-7, Jones broke off a 38 yard touchdown run to put the game away with about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.  The running game started off slow, but really came on in the second half.  Leon Washington also added 60 yards on 15 carries.  Rex Ryan has been saying since he became the head coach that he wanted to get Leon more touches per game.  He did that by having him run the ball 15 times as opposed to last season where he ran the ball about 5 times per game.  If the Jets want to win, they need to get Washington the ball at least 12 times per game.  Sunday was a good start.

The Jets, who flirted with the idea of acquiring Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall, showed that their receivers will be just fine on their own.  Jerricho Cotchery led the team with 6 receptions on Sunday for a total of 90 yards.  Chansi Stuckey also added 4 receptions of his own for 64 yards and a touchdown.  His touchdown was a key moment of the game as Sanchez hit Stuckey on 3rd down for a 30 yard touchdown reception.  Dustin Keller, who is becoming one of the best young tight ends in the NFL, continued his growth with 4 receptions for 94 yards.  His 40 yard reception in the 4th quarter set up Thomas Jones' 38 yard touchdown run.  Keller will be relied upon to be a top target for Sanchez and seemed up to the task in this game.

Rex Ryan proved that his defense is not all talk after the game in Houston.  The defense, led by Bart Scott and Kris Jenkins, totally shut down the Texans offense.  Steve Slaton was held to just 17 yards on 9 carries.  Slaton was coming off a rookie season that saw him gain almost 1300 yards, could not get it going against the Jets defensive line.  Kris Jenkins was a beast on Sunday.  He would not allow Slaton to get anything going and basically had his way with the Texans offensive line.  Linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris had constant pressure on Houston's quarterback Matt Schaub.  The Jets defense may have only had two sacks on the day, but they were constantly in Schaub's face. 

New York's secondary took a big step forward compared to last years unit.  They shut down pro bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson, allowing him only 35 yards on four catches.  Johnson was primarily matched up with Darrelle Revis most of the day.  Revis continued his pro bowl form by shutting down Johnson.  Playing opposite Revis was the Jets new acquisition, Lito Sheppard.  Sheppard had a solid game himself and capped off his Jets debut with an interception. 

There were two key stats in this game that led to a Jets win.  The first was the time of possession.  The Jets had the ball for over 38 minutes while the Texans only had it for 21 minutes.  The other key stat, and it was the big one, was the Jets out-gaining the Texans 462 to 183.  That was one heck of a performance by a revamped Jets team.  All in all it was a good game for Gang Green.  They dominated the Texans on both sides of the ball.  Sanchez looked very good in his first start.  Hopefully a sign of good things to come.  The defense was as good as advertised, totally shutting down the Texans big three of Shaub, Johnson and Slaton.  It was a good win on Sunday, but now the focus switches to a familiar foe in the New England Patriots.  They will be visiting New York in week 2.  The Jets looked good in Houston, but now its time for a real test on how good the Jets may be this season.
Posted on: September 9, 2009 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2009 12:10 am
 

Jets v. Texans: Week 1 (The Sanchez Era Begins)

So here we go again.  The 2009 New York Jets season is about to start and a lot has changed since the end of last season.  The Jets will take the field at Reliant Stadium on Sunday to take on the Houston Texans.  They will be led by new head coach Rex Ryan, who brings his defensive mind to New York from Baltimore.  The Jets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2008 season and it all starts Sunday in Houston.

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will at the helm for the Jets offense on Sunday.  Sanchez beat out Kellen Clemens for the starting job in the pre-season.  Sanchez will be starting with some lofty expectations from the Jets fans.  Since New York moved up in the draft to get him, he will be counted on to try to get this team in the playoffs.  It wont come easy though.  The Texans have one of the NFL's best pass rushers in Mario Williams.  Williams did have 12 sacks in 2008.  He will be going up against a very solid Jets offensive line.  This unit will be entering it's second season together after a strong 2008 campaign.  It will be up to them to keep Sanchez upright this season.

The Jets also return a strong running game this season with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.  Jones led the AFC in rushing last season with 1312 yards.  He also had a personal best 15 touchdowns as well.  He will be up against a Houston defense that ranked 31st against the run in 2008.  And with the way the offensive line blocked for him last season, we should expect the Jets to have a good game on the ground on Sunday.  Mr. Everything, Leon Washington, should also have a good overall game as well.  If the Jets are smart, they will find a way to get Leon the ball 10-15 times on offense.  Whenever he touches the ball he seems to make something happen.  Ryan has said since he was hired that Leon needs to get the ball more.  So lets start off on the right foot on Sunday and get Leon some touches.

One problem the Jets will run into on offense is the passing game.  They only have one proven wide receiver and that is Jerricho Cotchery.  And the problem with that is that Cotchery does not seem to be a number one receiver, he is a very solid number two though.  This puts Chansi Stuckey as the number two receiver this season.  Stuckey had a couple of big catches last season as he became a favorite target of Brett Favre for a few games, but in no way does that make him a proven receiver.  The Jets round out the receiving corps with Brad Smith and David Clowney.  Smith, a converted quarterback, is someone who the Jets are high on and will be counted on to come up big as the slot receiver.  Clowney brings plenty of speed with him.  He had a very good pre-season for the second straight year.  However, he was hurt for a big part of last season and does not have that much experience behind him.

A man who could become one of Mark Sanchez favorite targets is second year tight end Dustin Keller.  Keller started out slow last season but really emerged as a very solid option in the passing game for the Jets.  He proved that he can handle pressure situations last November in Foxboro against the Patriots, catching a few key passes in overtime to help the Jets to the win in New England.  This season Keller will be counted on to be a relible option for Sanchez.

New York's run defense returns with a few new pieces in 2009.  Free agent Bart Scott joins David Harris, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to form one of the strongest linebacking core's in the NFL.  Scott, a key in the Ravens defense for the past few years will be looked upon to help lead the Jets to one of the best run defenses in the league.  The run defense will be led by Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis.  The Jets had one of the best run defenses in the league last season until the beginning of December when they started to wear down.  The will have a tall order in week one against second year running back Steve Slaton.  Slaton is coming off a rookie year in which he ran for 1282 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Jenkins and Scott will need to shut down Slaton and make Matt Schaub beat them through the air.

Which brings us to the Jets achilles heal from last year, the Secondary.  Last season the Jets secondary surrendered 234 yards per game, good for 29th in the league.  To address this issue, New York brought in cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Jim Leonhard to join pro-bowl corner Darrelle Revis and safety Kerry Rhodes.  These upgrades should bring the secondary back to respectability.  They will be tested on Sunday against the Texans' Andre Johnson.  Johnson is coming off a season where he had 1575 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.  He will be matched up with shut-down corner Revis while Sheppard will be on Kevin Walter, who had a good season himself in 2008 with 899 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The few keys for the Jets this week will be to: A) protect Mark Sanchez.  The offensive line needs to try to keep the pressure off the kid so he can make some plays.  B) Establish the running game.  Jones should put up good numbers against a weak Texans run defense.  C) Get Leon Washington the ball more than 10 times.  The more he gets the ball, the more plays he is able to make.  This is a key for the whole season.  D) Get pressure on Matt Schaub.  Get the pressure on him and let the revamped secondary make some plays.  With Ryan's new attack style defense, the secondary should be able to make some key plays. 

The 2009 season is about to begin and the Jets are an enigma.  The have a very good defense on paper and have a very good running game.  The question this season is how fast Mark Sanchez will develop.  If he can settle in and have a season like Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan did in 2008, then the Jets will be in good shape.  If not, it may be another long season for Gang Green.  But for this week, the Jets will rely on the running game and should come out of Houston with a win to start the season.  I see the Jets winning 21-17.  Sanchez just needs to manage the game and let the running game and the defense do the rest.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 5:24 pm
 

Jets 2009 Training Camp Preview

So camp is finally open for the New York Jets.  "Another" new season of hope for Gang Green.  The Jets enter camp like most other teams in the NFL, with question marks.  A lot has happened for the Jets since the disappointing loss to the Dolphins to end the 2008 season.

The Jets did some house cleaning since January.  Out is head coach Eric Mangini, QB Brett Favre, WR Laveranues Coles, TE Chris Baker and CB Ty Law.  Mangini was let go right after the season ended.  The Jets had to make the move.  They were at one point 8-3 and leading the AFC East.  Only to lose four of the final five games to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.  When that happens, its on the coach as well as the players. 

Exit Mangini, enter Rex Ryan.  Ryan is a defensive minded coach from the Baltimore Ravens.  For the past 9 years or so, the Ravens defense has always been one of the best in the NFL.  Ryan was a big part of that.  He will be looked upon to get the Jets defense to one of the tops in the league.  His main focus should be on an average Jets secondary.  As good as the Jets defensive line was last season; their secondary was the complete opposite.  With the exception of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, the rest of the secondary was horrible.

Exit Ty Law, enter Jim Leonhard and Lito Sheppard.  Ryan brought in Leonhard, the hard hitting safety from the Ravens, to help bolster the team up the middle.  He was a solid backup for Baltimore playing behind Ed Reed.  He should be able to shine for the Jets with Kerry Rhodes in the secondary.  Lito Sheppard was brought in via trade with the Eagles.  Sheppard only started only 3 games last season for Philadelphia with Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown playing so well for the Eagles.  Sheppard the former two-time Pro Bowler will be a nice compliment to Revis on the other side of the field.

New York's crown jewel of free agency is LB Bart Scott.  Scott was signed away from the Ravens as well this off-season.  He will be relied on to shore up an already strong Jets run defense.  A unit, which showed signs of wear and tear over the final month of the season.  Scott along with David Harris, Calvin Pace (suspended for the first 4 games) and Bryan Thomas give the Jets one of the best line-backing cores in the NFL in the 2009 season. 

With Pace suspended for the first four games of the season, the Jets will be leaning on last years first round pick Vernon Gholston to pick up the slack.  Gholston, who was force in the 4-3 defense that Ohio State ran, never really adapted to the Jets 3-4 defense last season.  Ryan is looking forward to working with Gholston and is confident he can get him back on track and get a return on the investment for the Jets.

With Brett Favre opting for retirement form the second time in two seasons, the Jets decided to make some moves at this years NFL draft.  The traded up with the Cleveland Browns to land the number five pick in the draft.  They drafted USC QB Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez will hopefully be the Jets long term solution for the quarterback position.  Whether or not he will be ready to start the season as the Jets number one QB remains to be seen. 

Rex Ryan has stated that QB Kellen Clemens will be the #1 quarterback on the depth chart heading into training camp, but there will be an "open competition", which gives Sanchez every opportunity to win the job.  2009 will be Clemens fourth season with the Jets and fourth year working with Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.  Clemens definitely has a better understanding of the Jets playbook and should be listed as the number one QB for now.

Another question mark for Gang Green is their running backs.  Thomas Jones, who ran for 1,300 yards and 13 TD's last season, wants a new contract.  Leon Washington, who ran for 450 yards and 6 TD's last season, also wants a new contract.  Jones had an excellent season in 2008 after a disappointing 2007 season.  The Jets have said that they have no plans on restructuring Jones existing contract.  Will that affect Jones this season?  We will have to wait and see. 

Washington is in a different situation.  He is currently playing in the final year of his rookie contract and wants a big raise.  The Jets need to get him locked up for the long term.  Leon is the Jets "X" factor.  He does so much for the team between rushing, receiving, punt and kickoff returns.  He truly is irreplaceable for the Jets.

One of the Jets main concerns at this point is at wide receiver.  Right now, their only proven WR is Jerricho Cotchery.  Cotchery should not be considered a number one receiver either.  He is a very solid number two or a 1-A receiver.  The Jets now look at him as the number one with Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney and Brad Smith behind him. 

Stuckey had a few big catches last season and will be relied upon this season to fill the spot left open by Coles opposite Cotchery.  David Clowney was not activated until late in the season so he is not proven.  Although he is very fast, he has not made any impact as of yet.

As you can see, the Jets head up to Cortland with quite a few question marks for this season.  The way the team is constructed right now, they could be either an 5-11 team or an 10-6 team.  The defense will be strong with plenty of young veterans out there.  The offense will have its work cut out for them over the next six weeks.  Only time will tell where the Jets will end up this season, but this is just the start.
Posted on: December 15, 2008 5:20 pm
 

Jets v. Bills: Recap (Hey...It's a Win)

Jets 31.  Bills 27.  This game should be called the Miracle at the Meadowlands Part 2.  The Jets were able to escape a sure loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday thanks to some defensive heroics late in the 4th quarter.  The Jets can also thank Bills quarterback J.P. Losman for being J.P. Losman.  Overall, the Jets had another poor performance, especially on defense.  This time however, they managed to get a win that the desperately needed.

The offense showed up early in this game.  On the opening drive of the game, Brett Favre was able to get the Jets down the field for a touchdown.  This is something that the Jets did pretty consistently during their five game winning streak.  He came out on fire, leading the Jets to scores on their first two drives.  He had a better first half then he did in the second, but overall he was 17-30 for 207 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.  On the plus side he was able to complete nine of his passes to Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery.  Coles pulled in 5 receptions for 82 yards, all in the first half.  That is more catches then he has had the previous two weeks combined.  Dustin Keller also hauled in three balls for 35 yards.  After last weeks game, it was good to see the Jets top 3 receivers getting 12 catches between them.

The running game was solid once again.  On the day, Jones had 78 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown.  The touchdown turned out to be a little bit of Jets history.  It was his 15th of the season, which is now a Jets team record for rushing touchdowns in a season.  Jones is continuing his great season and is still the AFC leader in rushing yards.  Last week I said that Leon Washington needs to get more touches because you never know what he will do when he gets the ball.  On Sunday, he had one carry that went 47 yards for a touchdown, another solid game for the Jets ace in the hole.  All around the offensive line was solid.  They did not allow Favre to get sacked in the game as well as letting the offense rush for 165 yards on the ground.

The defense was all around shaky on Sunday.  The one strength the Jets have had all season is their run defense.  They had allowed only one rusher to gain 100 yards against them all season.  Well on Sunday, Marshawn Lynch was number two.  He ran all over the Jets defensive line for a total of 127 yards on only 21 carries.  A different story then a month ago when he only gained 16 yards against the Jets in Buffalo.  On the day the defensive line allowed a season high 187 rushing yards.  They also allowed backup running back Fred Jackson to score in the 4th quarter on an 11 yard run while dragging four defenders into the end zone with him.  Jets linebacker David Harris has now been back for two games and the defense has not improved.  The 49ers gained 100 yards on the Jets last week on the ground with a couple of different backs.  Now this week they gave up almost 200 yards, not acceptable.

While the run defense suffered, the pass defense had an improved game over what we have seen lately.  Losman was only able to throw for 148 yards and one touchdown.  Buffalo really did not need to throw with the running game going so well.  The pass rush was finally allowed to get some pressure on a QB and sacked Losman three times.  They also had three interceptions and a forced fumble.  With the Jets trailing 27-24 with 2 minutes to go in the game, the Jets sent Abram Elam in on a blitz and he was able to strip the ball from Losman causing one of the fumbles.  Shaun Ellis picked up the ball and ran it in for the game winning touchdown.  If you watched the game, the defense was nothing spectacular, but they did cause four turnovers.  If you have to look for a plus, there it is.

The Jets got lucky in this game.  Currently, they are still tied with the Patriots and Dolphins for the division lead.  They may have won the game on Sunday, but it was very sloppy all around for the Jets.  Favre is under throwing the receivers, the defensive line looks tired, and Mangini looks confused on the side lines.  Obviously the Jets needed the win and will take it anyway they can get it.  But the truth is, they only have two games left to try to get back on track and get into the playoffs with a little momentum on their side.  They have another tough week coming up against the Seahawks in Seattle.  They are 0-3 on the West coast this season, and they can not afford to lay another egg out there with the Dolphins coming up in two weeks.

Posted on: December 11, 2008 2:26 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2008 2:27 pm
 

Jets v. Bills: Week 15 (Time to Step It Up)

Thirteen down, three to go.  That's all that's left for the Jets to prove themselves, right the ship and get themselves into the playoffs.  Right now the Jets are reeling after consecutive loses to two average teams, the 49ers and Broncos.  Now they are down to the final three games and none of them are going to be easy, despite what their records are.  This week the Jets welcome the Buffalo Bills to the Meadowlands with a chance for the Bills to play the role of playoff spoiler. 

During the Jets five game winning streak last month, the offense was averaging about 32 points per game.  That has dropped to 17 over the past two games.  Brett Favre has not found the end zone over the past two games with the exception of a rushing touchdown last week.  Buffalo has a decent pass defense so this week will not be easy for Favre.  They only give up about 200 yards per game in the air.  The Jets and Favre have done a horrible job of getting the ball to their top two receivers in Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles over the past few weeks.  During the past two games, Coles has a total of 3 catches for about 7 yards.  That is just totally unacceptable.  New York has to get these two back in the offensive game plan once again.  It seems that if they can not get them the ball in the first quarter then they quit trying for the rest of the game.  Dustin Keller, who had been emerging as a huge threat during the month of November, was also shut down by San Francisco last week.  If this keeps happening, the Jets will not win another game this season.  In the beginning of the season, it seemed like the Jets used more play action and threw the ball deep.  Now, it is all about the dink and dunk over the middle.  If the Jets can re-establish the deep threat then the offense will be fine.

The running game has been solid all season.  Thomas Jones is still the AFC leader in rushing and he should have another good game this week.  The Bills run defense is in the middle of the pack, giving up about 110 yards per game on the ground.  Last week Jones only got 56 rushing yards, but that's what happens when you only get 10 carries.  Jones is the Jets workhorse and needs to get around 20 carries per game.  Nine times out of tem, when he gets 20 carries he will get 100 yards.  On the flip side, Leon Washington seems to be getting less carries out of the backfield.  Leon is the team's spark plug.  When he gets the ball, good things seem to happen for the Jets.  He is always a threat as a receiver but needs to get some carries as well.  He always has the ability to break off a 30-40 yard run from time to time with his limited action out of the backfield.  He needs to get the ball at least 10-15 times per game between rushing and receiving.  If they can get the running game going early, then they should be able to move the ball with the passing game.

New York's still one of the best at stopping the run.  They are currently ranked 4th in the league, giving up about 83 yards per game.  After their worst performance of the season two weeks ago, they bounced back last week by not allowing any back more than 52 yards on the ground.  The last time they faced the Bills, they held Marshawn Lynch to a career low 16 yards.  I expect them to step it up this week again and hold Lynch under 75 yards.  The pass rush was better in getting two sacks on Shaun Hill last week, but it has lacked over the past month or so.  The Jets are still 4th in the NFL with 37 sacks, but not too many of them have come over the past four weeks.  J.P. Losman is likely to start for the Bills and the Jets need to get pressure on him and keep it on.  Force him to make bad throws and cause some turnovers.

The Jets pass defense can now be considered a joke.  And that's hard to say with two possible Pro Bowlers in the secondary in Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis.  Even with the two of them out there the Jets have managed to have the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL, giving up 251 yards per game in the air.  Over the past four games they have given up 400 yards to Matt Cassell, 243 yards to Kerry Collins, 375 to Jay Cutler and 285 to Shaun Hill.  That's 1300 yards over four games with an average of 325 per game.  That's just pathetic.  If this is not improved over the next three games, then say goodbye to the playoffs.  David Harris had a nice return last week and led the team with 13 tackles and a sack.  Hopefully his continued presence on the field will help out with the passing defense, but only time will tell and the Jets are running out of time fast.

Three weeks ago, New York was considered the best team in the AFC.  Now they may not even make the playoffs.  Like I've said before, this team will only go as far as Favre will take them.  Mangini has to stop with the dink and dunk offense and all the trick plays and just let Favre do his thing.  The clock is ticking and the Jets season may be coming to a premature close.  A season that once looked so promising has done a huge u-turn and now no one knows where it will lead us.  It's time for the Jets to step up and show everyone what kind of team they are.  The team that beat the Patriots and Titans or the team that lost to the Raiders and the 49ers.  I guess we will find out over the next three weeks, starting with Sunday against the Bills.  Jets take a close one 24-20.  That's all they need right now.  A little confidence can go a long way.

Posted on: December 4, 2008 5:02 pm
 

Jets v. 49ers: Week 14 (Battle by the Bay)

The Jets head out west this week for the 4th time this season to take on the San Francisco 49ers (4-8).  They will try to put a horrible performance against the Denver Broncos last week behind them and look to pad their lead in the AFC East.  Currently they are one game ahead of the Patriots and Dolphins for the division lead.  This would seem like the perfect scenario for the Jets coming off that loss last week.  The 49ers are one of the league's worst teams, and on paper it looks like the Jets should run away with a "W" this week.  But after last week, you never can tell.

Lately, the Jets have not been airing it out like they were earlier in the season.  This is the time to let Brett Favre be Brett Favre.  San Francisco currently is ranked 28th in the league in passing yards allowed.  That all sounds well and good, but then again the Broncos were ranked 27th and the Jets did nothing against them in the air.  The Jets game plan has been calling for Favre to dink and dunk his was to managing a game.  It was working great during their five game winning streak, but Favre was brought here for two reasons.  One, he knows how to win and win big games.  Two, he has a better arm then Chad Pennington.  The conditions will be a lot better this week than last.  The weather in the Bay area calls for 61 degrees with a 10% chance for rain.  This will probably be the Jets warmest game the rest of the season, unless they get to Tampa on February 1st. 

The Jets best receiver over the past 3 weeks has been Dustin Keller.  He has become Favre's favorite target in the "dink and dunk" offense.  The Broncos did a good job taking Laveranues Coles out of the game plan last week and limiting Jerricho Cotchery to 40 yards on four catches.  The Jets and Favre need to get them the ball this week to re-establish the passing game.  Keller has been becoming a threat over the middle of the field as of late, but that will be tougher this week against the 49ers outstanding second year linebacker Patrick Willis who will be out there waiting for him.  Keller will probably still end up with 5-6 catches, but Willis will be on him so Coles and Cotchery need to get some distance from the corners and make some plays.

The Jets ground attack continues to improve with each passing week.  Thomas Jones, who leads the AFC in rushing with 1,088 yards and is 4th in the NFL, had another big day last week running the ball.  He tore up the Broncos for 138 yards and two touchdowns, and should have another big game this week.  The 49ers give up about 108 yards per game on the ground.  Jones should be able to rack up another 100 yard game with the way the offensive line has been playing.  One main key for the Jets is to get Leon Washington more touches.  Last week he only touched the ball 5 times on offense.  He may be the team's MVP to this point this year, and he needs to get at least 10-12 touches a game.  That would still give Jones about 20 which should get him his 100 yards.

New York's run defense had its worst game of the season last week, giving up 129 yards to rookie running back Peyton Hillis.  He was the first 100 yard rusher the Jets defensive line has allowed this season.  They will have a tough task this week against power back Frank Gore, but I think they will rebound.  They are still ranked 4th in the league in rushing, giving up 82 yards per game.  The Jets do need to step up the pass rush this week.  Last week was only the second time this season they had zero sacks in a game.  They are still ranked 5th in the NFL with 35 sacks, but most of those came over the first 9 weeks of the season.  They need to establish the pass rush and force the 49ers to make mistakes. 

If they are sticking with their recent pattern, the pass defense should have a good game this week.  Last week, Jay Cutler threw for 357 yards against the secondary in the Broncos 34-17 win.  This week the Jets will face Shaun Hill.  He has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns in only 5 games this season.  He led the 49ers to a 10-3 win over the Bills in Buffalo last week.  His numbers do not jump out at you, but the Jets secondary has been making young inexperienced quarterbacks look like All-Pro's this season.  It looks like the Jets will get a boost this week with the potential return of linebacker David Harris.  With him back in the middle, it should allow the safeties to play back and help out the corners. 

There are only four games remaining for the Jets to get to the playoffs.  I believe the Jets will only go as far as Favre can take them.  When he is on, the Jets can hang with anyone in the league.  But when he is off, a lot of other weaknesses are exposed.  The keys for Gang Green this week is A) tighten up the secondary; B) get Leon Washington more touches; C) get the ball to your top wide receivers; and D) pressure the QB.  If the Jets can manage this, then they will win this game.  If not, then they may be scratching and crawling their way to January.  Jets win 27-13.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2008 6:31 pm
 

Jets v. Broncos: Recap (Bump in the Road)

Well I think we can all see now that the Jets are not the team to beat in the AFC.  Not only was the Jets major weakness exposed in the sloppy loss to the Denver Broncos, their major strength was also knocked down a few pegs as well.  The weather in the Meadowlands was bad as was the showing of the Jets defense yesterday.  The Broncos, who are an average team in a horrible division, came into the Jets house and basically had their way with them.

I have to start with the defense today.  The other day I said that the Jets need to tighten up their passing defense in a major way because that has been their achilles heal this season.  So what happens?  Jay Cutler picks them apart for 357 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  The two men I said the Jets needed to watch out for, Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler, each had big games for the Broncos on Sunday.  Stokley has always been a threat going back to his days on the Colts.  He was able to grab two balls for 44 yards and a touchdown.  He is a good slot receiver and needs to be watched at all times when on the field.  Scheffler grabbed 7 catches for 90 yards, a very nice day for the Broncos tight end.  The Jets showed how much they miss LB David Harris in the middle of the field, after missing his 5th straight game with a groin injury.  In total, Denver had four receivers with over 55 yards.  If the Jets plan to make any noise in the playoffs, then this problem needs to be fixed.  Otherwise, it will be one and done for the Jets in January.

The one Jets strength, the run defense, had by far its worst game of the season.  They were ranked 3rd in the NFL against the run coming into Sunday, but rookie full back turned running back Peyton Hills was able to chalk up 129 yards on 22 carries and added a touchdown as well.  Hillis is the first back this season to gain 100 yards against the Jets defensive line.  The Broncos game plan kept the Jets off balance all afternoon, never allowing them to get into any sort of comfort zone.  As a result, the Jets were not able to get to Cutler at all, totaling zero sacks on the day.  The defensive line, which has been one of the best all season in the NFL, was due for a bad week.  I believe they got it out of their system and will be solid over the last four weeks heading into the playoffs. 

Brett Favre had an up and down game of his own yesterday.  He threw for 247 yards but also ended up with zero touchdowns on the day.  Denver never allowed Favre to get into any type of groove.  They did a very good job of taking Laveranues Coles out of the game plan for the Jets, limiting him to just two catches for two yards.  They were also able to hold down Jerricho Cotchery who had only four catches for 40 yards.  Cotchery ended up being involved in a very bizarre play in the first half.  Brad Smith lined up under center and took the snap and tried to hand off to Cotchery and he fumbled the ball.  Jerricho then jumped on the ball and somehow the ball squirted loose after he was touched and the officials called it a fumble.  The ball was picked up by Denver and returned for a touchdown.  They deemed it not reviewable by the Jets after Mangini threw the challenge flag, a very strange play to say the least.

There were two bright spots for the Jets however.  One was their running game.  Thomas Jones was able to gain 138 yards rushing on the afternoon on just 16 carries.  He also added two touchdowns to up his total on the season to a career high 11.  One touchdown came on the longest run of his career which was 59 yards and the other was a 29 yard run.  Jones was also to eclipse the 1000 yard mark for the fourth consecutive season.  He now has 1088 yards for the Jets this year.  The other bright spot for the Jets was the continued emergence of rookie tight end Dustin Keller.  He was able to haul in 7 more receptions for 77 yards.  He has become Favre's favorite target over the last 4 games.  He is really looking to have a very bright future in this league and should be a fixture for the Jets for years to come.

Hopefully this was just a bump in the road for the Jets.  They were going to lose another game this season, and hopefully this will be the last loss for a while.  The game was not a total loss though. With the Patriots losing to the Steelers on Sunday, the Jets maintain their one game lead in the division for at least another week.  They now head out to the west coast for the 3rd time this season to face the 49ers.  San Francisco is coming off a win in Buffalo and will be a tough task for Gang Green.  They will not be laying down for anyone so the Jets have their work cut out for them next week.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com