Tag:Jenkins
Posted on: September 21, 2009 4:08 pm
 

Jets v. Patriots: Recap ("D" is for Dominating)

So it looks as if the New York Jets are not all talk.  The New England Patriots showed up at the Meadowlands on Sunday to teach the Jets a lesson and were punched in the face by a fast and smart Jets defense.  This was the first time the Jets have beaten the Patriots at home since the 2000 season.  The Jets came out swinging from the opening kickoff and did not let up during the game.  In the process, they sent a message to the league that they should not be overlooked.

We have to start this off by talking about the defense.  What a performance by Rex Ryan's bunch, holding the Patriots without a touchdown in a game for the first time since December 2006.  The defensive line held strong all afternoon, limiting to the Patriots to 83 rushing yards.  Laurence Maroney and Fred Taylor only ran the ball 14 times in the game for a total of 69 yards.  The defensive line, with the return of Shaun Ellis, was able to shut down the run and keep pressure on Tom Brady as well.  Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis are looking as strong as they did midway through last season when the Jets had one of the most solid defensive lines in the NFL.  Not only are they plugging the holes for the running backs, they are creating openings for the line backers to bring the blitz.  The line is looking very good to start the season.

The secondary also looked great on Sunday.  With the defensive line taking away the running game, Brady was forced to pass the ball 47 times.  Darrelle Revis is becoming one of the top three cornerbacks in the NFL.  He was matched up with WR Randy Moss and was able to hold Moss to 4 catches for 24 yards.  Late in the first quarter, Brady threw to Moss on a streak down the right side and Revis took the ball out of Moss' hands for the interception.  Last week, Revis held Andre Johnson to 4 catches for 35 yards.  Just to be noted, in week 2 against the Titans, Johnson hauled in 10 catches for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

The rest of the secondary is playing great also.  Jets CB Lito Sheppard, who was flagged in the second quarter for interference, followed up the penalty on the next play by knocking the ball away from a Patriots receiver in the back of the end zone.  New England had to settle for a field goal.  The only negative on the secondary was the coverage on Patriots rookie WR Julian Edelman.  Edelman was filling in for injured WR Wes Welker, who did not play due to a sore knee.  Edelman was able to 98 yards on 8 catches, mostly out of the slot position.  Other than that, the secondary was as good as advertised.

The offense was able to manage the game for the second week in a row.  Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez again started off a little shaky but rebounded in the 2nd half to lead the Jets to the win.  It did not start off that well for Sanchez though.  He was sacked on the first play from scrimmage for the Jets and fumbled the ball.  The Jets were able to recover the ball on their own 3 yard line avoiding serious damage.  New York was unable to get anything going in the 1st half.  Sanchez only had 15 yards passing in the 1st half of the game, but they came out firing in the 2nd half. 

The Jets received the ball to start the 2nd half and made an impact right away.  After starting on their own 44 yard line, Sanchez hit WR Jerricho Cotchery down the middle for a gain of 45 yards.  Two plays later, Sanchez hit TE Dustin Keller for a 9 yard touchdown in the back of the end zone.  On the next possession, Sanchez hit WR Chansi Stuckey for an 8 yard touchdown, but the score was called back on a challenge by New England.  The Jets settled for a field goal.  Overall on the day, Sanchez was 14-22 for 163 yards and a touchdown.  He is not making stupid mistakes and is protecting the ball very well so far.

The running game was solid although no one stood out in particular.  Jets RB Thomas Jones was able to gain 54 yards on 14 carries, while RB Leon Washington gained 58 yards on 14 carries.  Neither, Jones or Washington was able to break off any huge plays from the line of scrimmage.  They did do their best to control the game clock.  Both teams controlled the game clock for about 30 minutes a piece. 

The Jets talked trash all week leading up to the game and backed it up in a big way.  They were able to keep Brady on his toes all day.  He was never able to get into a groove, constantly looking at the defense trying to read the blitzes.  Jets S Kerry Rhodes said that the Jets wanted to "Embarrass" the Patriots.  They didn't embarrass them, but they did hang with them.  And in the end they were the better team on Sunday.  It was the first time since 2003 that the Jets defense has gone two games without allowing an offensive touchdown.  It was also the first time in 2 years that Tom Brady completed under 50% of his passes.  The last time that happened was against Rex Ryan's Baltimore Ravens defense. 

Its only week two in the NFL, but the Jets look good.  As long as the defense keeps playing like they are, then rookie QB Mark Sanchez will not have to do more than just manage the game for the time being.  The running will be better than is was against New England and the defense will continue to improve.  With the addition of LB Calvin Pace in three weeks, this defense will be very scary.  The win against the Patriots was huge, but there are still 14 games remaining.  And after last season, its never good to get too excited too early.

Posted on: September 17, 2009 4:34 pm
 

Jets v. Patriots: Week 2 (Round 1, Ding..Ding)

To quote Terrell Owens, "Get your popcorn ready!"  The New York Jets and the New England Patriots will renew their heated rivalry this weekend in the Meadowlands.  Both teams come into the game atop of the AFC East, both posting a 1-0 record.  New England, in true Bill Belichick form, are treating the game as just another game on the schedule.  While the trash talking, Rex Ryan led Jets are treating it like Armageddon.  Which as a Jets fan you have to love.  He sure does talk a good game.

The Jets are coming off a very dominating performance in Houston last week and are amped up for Sunday.  They totally shut down a very good Texans offense.  While the Patriots were two minutes away from a loss against the Bills, until Buffalo KR Leodis McKelvin fumbled a kickoff which led to another Tom Brady comeback win.  Both teams will be ready to play and play hard on Sunday.

Mark Sanchez is now being called "Sanchise" after his solid performance in his first game last week in Houston.  The Jets rookie quarterback picked apart the Texans for 272 yards and a touchdown.   191 of those yards came on 3rd down.  But just like the Jets teams of the past, Sanchez will have his hands full with the Patriots defense.  Rookie quarterbacks always seem to have a hard time with Belichick's defenses.  The offensive line should have a slightly easier time then in the past with the absence of DE Richard Seymour, who was recently traded to the Raiders.  Sanchez has a pocket presence about him after watching last weeks game.  As long as the offensive line can give him some time, he will be able to find his open receivers.

The Jets receivers did a good job of finding openings in the Texans secondary and they will need to do the same this week.  Jets TE Dustin Keller was the teams leading receiver last week with 94 yards.  He should be able to find openings across the middle with Patriots LB Jerod Mayo out with an injury.  It's not that the Patriots do not have good role players, but the loss of Mayo and Seymour is something the Jets need to take advantage of.

Jets number one receiver Jerricho Cotchery will most likely be matched up with CB Shawn Springs, so don't expect a huge game from him.  Chansi Stuckey, who had a good game himself last week, will need to take pressure off Cotchery and make some plays himself.  I think the key for the Jets will be to have Brad Smith and David Clowney involved in the passing game this week.  Neither one recorded a catch last week.  Smith could be a key for Sanchez and the offense this week.

The passing game may be tested in a big way if Gang Green can not get the running game going.  Thomas Jones picked up right where he left off last season by posting another 100 yard game last week.  He will be leaned on to get the offense started this week behind a strong offensive line.  He will be up against a Patriots defensive line that surrendered 90 yards on the ground against the Bills.  Since the start of last season Jones has been pretty consistent at putting up 90 yards a game and I don't think that will change this week.

It took two season, but Leon Washington finally got more than 10 touches in a game.  He was able to gain 60 yards on 15 carries against the Texans.  Throw in 4 catches for 24 yards and I'd say he had a good day.  And that does not include what he does on special teams.  Any way you slice it, Leon has to get the ball at least 12 times against New England.  Even if it's in the "Wildcat" which the Jets ran a few times last week.  He is a main key to any success the Jets will have in 2009.

What more can you say about the way New York's defense played last week.  They totally dominated the Texans offense and shut out that side of the ball.  If that was their "A" game, then they need to bring their "A+" game this week.  Unfortunately for Rex Ryan and the Jets defense, Tom Brady is no Matt Schaub.  Brady is a master at picking apart a weak spot in a defense, so the Jets better not show any holes in their defense.  Just like last week, the defense needs to send a message early.  On the Texans first series, Jets LB Bart Scott buried his helmet in Shaub's chest after a pass attempt to set a tone.  And it worked.  They must send a similar message this week.  A good thing for the Jets is the return of DE Shaun Ellis from his one game suspension this week.  The defensive line was great last week and now you add Ellis back to it.....scary.

CB Darrelle Revis will be matched up with WR Randy Moss and should be able to keep him in check most of the game.  The key for the secondary will be to keep an eye on WR Wes Welker and TE Benjamin Watson.  Watson put up 2 touchdowns last week and is always a threat in the red zone.  Welker had 12 catches for 93 yards last week, but did have a few key drops on 3rd and 4th down.  With a potential neutralized Moss, stopping Welker and Watson is crucial.

The Patriots running game is inconsistent at best.  RB's Laurence Maroney and Fred Taylor did not have the best showing against the Bills.  Combined they were only able to rush for 55 yards.  Kris Jenkins and the Jets "D" line was able to hold Steve Slaton to just 17 yards on 9 carries.  They totally dominated the line of scrimmage.  With the way they played and the return of Ellis I don't really see the Patriots running game being a huge factor in this game.

Patriots - Jets is always a huge game for both teams.  The main reason is the divisional matchup and the standings afterword.  It just always seems to be a little bit bigger for the Jets.  They are the ones with something to prove, not New England.  The Jets need to focus on: 1) controlling the game clock.  Let the running game do its thing and eat up that clock.  2)  Try to contain the Brady to Welker connection.  They wont be able to stop it, but try to limit the damage.  3)  Start drives with good field position.  This is something the Jets have done pretty well over the past two seasons with Leon Washington.  If they can execute these things, then I think they can win this game and stop the 8 game losing streak at the Meadowlands.  If they don't execute, then Brady can have a field day and this game could be over by halftime.  I say the Jets stick to the game plan from last week and squeak out a 20-17 win on Sunday.  They have the talent and the attitude, but they need to execute.

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: January 20, 2009 5:24 pm
 

Jets Offseason Report: Rex Ryan Hiring

So the New York Jets have their new head coach, Rex Ryan.  The Jets were able to lure the defensive guru away from the Baltimore Ravens, where he has been for the past 10 years.  New York offered Ryan a 4 year deal worth about 11 million dollars.  He now takes over a Jets defense that was all over the map in 2008.

The Jets pass defense was the team's achilles heal all throughout the 2008 season.  They ranked 29th in the league in passing yards against, giving up 235 yards per game in the air.  A very odd stat considering you have Kerry Rhodes and Darelle Revis in the secondary.  This is an area that needs to be addressed for the Jets to be successful in 2009. 

The Jets defensive line was very successful for the first 11 games of the season.  With Kris Jenkins leading the 3-4 defense, the Jets were ranked in the top 4 in the NFL throughout the first 11 games, surrendering about 78 yards per game on the ground.  During that same time period, they did not allow a rusher to top the 100 yard mark.  Over the final 5 games, the Jets allowed three 100 yard rushers and the other 2 games; they allowed over 100 total yards to multiple rushers.  The defensive line just seemed to be tired and worn down at the end of the season.

We all have seen what the Ravens defense has done over the past 10 years.  They always seem to be ranked near the top of the league, especially against the run.  Baltimore has always seemed to have very talented players on their defense, including Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs to name a few.  The question is:  Is Ryan that good of a defense guru?  Or is he only as talented as the players he is coaching?  I personally would like to see Ryan call a lot of the defensive plays, but we shall see what the Jets do about hiring a defensive coordinator. 

In January 2006, the Jets hired the Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini as their head coach after seeing what he did with a beat up defense in New England.  As we all saw, one year as a defensive coordinator was obviously not enough to lead a defensively challenged team such as the Jets.  Ryan has been the Ravens defensive coordinator for the past four years and was a defensive assistant for the six years previous to that.  He has been on a Super Bowl winning team, a team that won a division once and a team that made the playoffs 5 times during the past 10 years.  Only time will tell how Ryan fits with the Jets.  And from what we have seen in the past with these Jets, he will have his hands full.

Posted on: January 8, 2009 2:27 pm
 

New York Jets 2008 End of Season Review

What a difference six months makes.  The Jets were heading into the 2008 season with a handful of offseason acquisitions that were brought here to improve on a disastrous 2007 season which say the team go 4-12.  The Jets made the most noise in the off-season with the signings of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Calvin Pace, Bubba Franks, Tony Richardson and the trade for Kris Jenkins.  Faneca and Woody were brought here to sure up the offensive line that already consisted of budding stars Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, attempting to protect injury prone quarterback Chad Pennington.  Jenkins was brought in to anchor a 3-4 defense that was missing a true nose tackle.  Pace was brought in to establish a better pass rush.  Coming into training camp in late July, things were looking better for the Jets and they were looking like a 8-8 or 9-7 team, much better than the 2007 season.  Then on August 6th the whole landscape of the franchise changed.

On that day it was announced that the Jets had traded for future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.  Favre was brought in to try to revive a franchise that was only going so far on the shoulder of Pennington.  Favre was coming off a solid season in Green Bay in which he threw 28 touchdowns, passed for over 4,000 yards and took the Packers to the NFC Championship game.  So with Favre came bigger expectations for Gang Green.  The Jets finally had a QB that could hang with Tom Brady and keep the team in the race for a division title.  So Favre had about 4 weeks to learn a totally new offense and try to get the Jets into the playoffs.

Going into week 1 against the Dolphins, the Jets were looking like a possible 10-6 or 11-5 team with Favre and the new acquisitions leading the way and then Tom Brady got hurt.  With Brady out for the season, everyone was saying the division was the Jets for the taking.  So after the Jets win in week 1, the talk was now of the Jets possibly going 12-4 with their pretty weak schedule.  The team must have believed the hype because Matt Cassell, playing in place of Brady and making his first career start in the NFL, came into the Meadowlands and beat the overconfident Jets.  They then headed out west to play the 0-2 Chargers and got blown out.  So with all the high expectations the Jets were at 1-2 at this point in the season.

They came home to a must win game against the Arizona Cardinals.  The offense really took off in this game.  Favre set a personal record high in throwing for 6 touchdowns in the game.  The Jets put up 56 points, but their passing defense was really exposed in the game.  They gave up over 400 yards passing to Kurt Warner with most of that coming in the second half of the game.  The Jets then had their bye week early and welcomed in the Bengals in week 6.  New York won the game but the offense was not on point as it was against Arizona.  So the Jets were at 3-2 heading out to play the awful Oakland Raiders.  The Jets struggled all day on offense and eventually lost the game in overtime to a Sebastian Janikowski 57 yard field goal. 

So the 3-3 Jets came home to play one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Jets had a lead late in the 4th quarter until Favre threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and gave the Chiefs a 24-21 lead.  Favre then put together a drive, in the two minute offense, that led to a touchdown catch by Laveranues Coles and a Jets win.  From this point, the team really started to take off.  They followed up the game against the Chiefs with relatively easy wins over the Bills and Rams over the next two weeks.  This set up a battle for first place in the AFC East against the Patriots.  Both teams were sitting at 6-3 with the winner taking a one game lead in the division. 

The Jets jumped out to a huge lead by the end of the first half, 24-6.  The offense and defense both looked great and the team was rolling.  Then came the second half.  The huge lead was gone and Cassell hit Randy Moss in the end zone for a last second touchdown to tie the game.  On the first drive of overtime, Favre led the Jets down the field to setup the game winning field goal by Jay Feely.  The Jets took over first place and headed out to play the 10-0 Tennessee Titans in Tennessee.  The Titans had a very good defense and had been getting solid play from QB Kerry Collins.  Everyone figured this is where the Jets four game winning streak would end and the Titans would remain unbeaten.  Well they were all wrong.  The Jets went down there and totally dominated the Titans on offense and defense and came out of the game with a 34-13 win.  New York found itself at 8-3, two games behind the Titans for the #1 seed in the AFC and tied with the Steelers for the #2 seed.  The Jets looked like a force to be reckoned with in the NFL and the sky was the limit.  Unfortunately, this was about as good as it would get for the 2008 Jets.

The Jets came home at 8-3 to face the 6-5 Denver Broncos.  Again, the Jets must have really started to believe the hype that they were an elite team, because they played like the total opposite.  They laid an egg against Denver and lost 34-17.  No big deal right?  They would get back on track in the next game against the 49ers right?  Well that didn't happen either.  They went out to San Francisco and could not get out of their own way.  They let another team with an inexperienced quarterback get the best of them in a game that they should have won easily. 

So they came home with a record of 8-5 to take on the Buffalo Bills.  Buffalo ran all over the Jets and nearly pulled off the win, if not for the poor play calling by Buffalo.  All they had to do was run out the clock with under two minutes remaining.  Instead, J.P. Losman fumbled and Shaun Ellis returned it for a touchdown and the Jets won a must win game.  With the win, the Jets controlled their own destiny at 9-5 to make the playoffs.  Win their last two games and they were in.  So they hit the road again to play the Seattle Seahawks who, at the time, held a record of 3-11.  The snow was falling and so were the Jets.  They were outplayed in snowy Seattle and lost 13-3.  Not only did they lose the game, they no longer controlled their own destiny with the Dolphins and Patriots both winning that week. 

Coming into the last week, the Jets would need to beat Chad Pennington and the Dolphins and hope for some help from other teams.  If the Dolphins win, they win the division.  You could not have written a better script for this game.  A must win against a former teammate.  The game was tight in the first half and the Jets were on the losing end at the time.  But they took the lead in the beginning of the third quarter, 17-14.  And it was all over after that.  Pennington took apart the Jets with the dink and dunk passes and gave the Dolphins a lead they would keep.  The Dolphins won 24-17 and won the AFC East in the process.  The Jets finished the season at 9-7 and were officially eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.

Back in August, it looked like this may be a special season for the New York Jets and it turned out to be what all us Jets fans are used to, a big disappointment.  The Jets loaded up in the offseason to try and right the ship from a forgettable 2007 season.  When they were at 8-3 in late November, it looked as though all those moves were the right ones.  But in the end it was not enough to get the Jets over the hump.  For a team that was on such a roll, winning five straight games to get to 8-3, to lose four of their last five and not make the playoffs is very disappointing on so many levels.  Now the Jets stand without a coach and a quarterback who will keep everyone in limbo on whether or not he will return in 2009.  The team has a lot of questions to answer in the offseason, but it may only take a few key moves to get this team on the right track again next season.  2008 was filled with a lot of memorable moments and tons of hope.  Unfortunately, it ended the way that it did.  But we will stick by our Jets next season and beyond, and hope that one day this franchise will figure it out and get back to the Super Bowl.

Posted on: December 27, 2008 12:21 am
 

Jets v. Dolphins: Week 17 (The Final Act?)

So this is it?  Chad Pennington comes back into town to knock the Jets out of the playoff picture.  Basically, to try and put the final nail in the coffin for the New York Jets 2008 season, a season that has made a complete u-turn over the past four weeks.  The Jets have totally fallen apart at the seams since beating the Titans in late November.  So let's break down what will either be the Jets last game of the season or a push into what may become a memorable playoff run.

So the Jets slim playoff hopes rest on the 39 year old sore shoulder of Brett Favre.  For the first 12 games of the season, Favre was all the Jets could have hoped for.  For the past 4 games, he has been about as lost as the entire Jets offense.  Like I've said before, the Jets will only go as far as Favre takes them.  While the Jets were on their five game winning streak, their offensive game plan consisted of a very balanced attack.  Not so much over the past four games.  Dustin Keller has disappeared and Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery have been used sparingly in the passing game.  The Dolphins have the 25th ranked passing defense in the league, giving up 226 yards per game.  New York needs to take advantage of this if they want to win this game.  I know Brett's shoulder may be sore, but they need to get the ball downfield, even if it's only 2 or 3 times during this game.  He has to be able to have the "deep ball" in his back pocket and use it when he really needs it.  On top of that, Keller really needs to be back in the game plan this week.  During their winning streak, Keller was he key 3rd down man.  We need to see more of that on Sunday. 

The offensive also needs to keep Favre upright during this game. They have to be able to contain Joey Porter, who is one of the league leaders in sacks this season with 17.5.  The Dolphins will be bringing the pressure against Favre knowing that he will throw interceptions when forced to make bad throws.  So the offensive line really needs to man-up his week and do whatever they have to do to keep Brett on his feet.  Give him 3-5 seconds to throw the ball, he will find someone that is open downfield.

If the offensive line is solid then the Jets should be able to run the ball with some success on Sunday.  That will be a tough task though, since Miami has the 10th ranked rushing defense in the NFL, giving up around 103 yards per game.  As we all know in the NFL, you work your passing off the running game.  Over the past three games, Thomas Jones has only averaged 67 yards rushing, which is another reason why the Jets have lost two of those three games.  During their wins this season, the Jets had a good balance or run and pass in the offense.  New York should try more two back sets with Jones and Leon Washington back there at the same time.  I've been saying all season that Washington needs to get more touches then he has been and this is the last chance to get that done.  Washington is the Jets best offensive weapon and most dynamic offensive player on the team.

We all have seen how bad the pass defense has been this season, and lately the run defense has been equally as bad.  Over the first 11 games of the season, the Jets did not allow a 100 yard rusher in any of their games.  Over the past four games they have allowed three 100 yard rushers.  The defensive line has looked tired and run down in the month of December.  Kris Jenkins, who was up for defensive MVP through the first 11 games, has taken a lot of the blame for he run defense's decline this month.  They will have their hands full on Sunday against Miami's two headed monster of Ronnie Brown ad Ricky Williams.  Together they lead Miami to a tune of 118 yards per game, while the Jets are giving up 92 yards per game on the ground.  They really need to keep an eye on Brown, especially if he lies up in the wildcat formation.  We all saw what he did to the Patriots earlier in the season.  And especially with a division championship on the line, I would expect the Dolphins to break out all the tricks this week.

The Jets pass defense has looked better in recent weeks, but that is a tribute to bad teams and bad weather, any now the face Chad Pennington.  A man who is on a mission with something to prove to the team who let him go back in training camp.  Believe it or not, Pennington has passed for more yards than Favre this season and has made a lot fewer mistakes.  All us Jets fans know that Pennington will not force bad throw or make mistakes to jeopardize is team. He has always been a smart quarterback and that did not change this season.  Chad will be facing the 29th ranked pass defense in the NFL this week and I expect him to have success against it.  This is the best QB the Jets have faced over the past three weeks and he will try to carve up the Jets secondary with tons of short passes for first downs.

The Jets will have a hard time guarding the Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano this week.  The Jets have had a hard time guarding TE's all season and this will be no different.  He is currently fifth on the team with 415 yards, but does lead them in touchdowns with 6 on the season.  Between Fasano and Ted Ginn,Jr. , New York will definitely have their hands full this week.  Ginn is the Dolphins leading receiver on the season and has been coming up huge in recent weeks.  However, he only has one touchdown on the season. 

So the Jets head into the final week of the season facing former quarterback Chad Pennington who would love nothing more then knock them out of playoff contention.  They also face a running attack that will be very tough to defend.  Especially the way the Jets defensive line has played over the past month.  The Jets need a lot of help to make the playoffs, but it all starts by winning on Sunday.  Then we will see if the football gods will allow them to sneak in by the skin of their teeth.  It would be nice to see if Brett Favre will get one more shot at a memorable playoff run, or the best we will see is the annual Favre watch that will start in February.  I'm not sure how to call it this week.  I want to say the Jets win 23-20 on a last minute field goal, but with the way they are playing, I just dont know.  All I can say is GOOD LUCK to my Jets and hopefully there is still some good football left in you.

Posted on: December 18, 2008 3:59 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2008 4:01 pm
 

Jets v. Seahawks: Week 16 Preview

The Jets have just hit the two minute warning.  Week 16, two games to go and a three way tie for the division lead.  Now if someone would have said back in the summer that the Jets would be 9-5 after 14 weeks and they would control their own destiny for the division, I'm sure all Jets fans would have signed up for that in a heartbeat.  But with the Jets, things like that are never easy.  This week they head up to the Pacific Northwest to take on the 3-11 Seahwaks.  This is their fourth trip to the West coast this season, where at the moment they are 0-3 out there this year.  But with the way things are going this season, if they lose this game, they may as well not come home.

If you go by the numbers, then this week should be a good week for New York and their passing game.  The Seahawks have the 32nd ranked passing defense in the NFL.  They have been giving up an average of 261 yards per game in the air this season.  This may be just what Brett Favre and the offense need to get going for the rest of the season and hopefully the playoffs.  Over the past three games, Favre has passed for 591 yards, one touchdown and 4 interceptions to add to his lead leading total of 17.  If there is any chance to get back on track, it is this week.  After two straight weeks of no shows, Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery finally were involved in the offense last week for a total of 9 catches for 116 yards.  However, Coles had no catches in the second half of that game.  I expect Coles, Cotchery and Dustin Keller to all have big games this week.  They also need to re-establish the screen pass in the offense again.  Get the ball on a screen over to Leon Washington two or three times on Sunday and see what happens.

The Jets running game should also be solid this week as well.  Seattle is ranked toward the bottom of the league in rushing defense, giving up around 120 yards per game on the ground.  On the flip side, the Jets as a team get about 130 yards on the ground on offense, so I would expect the same on Sunday.  Thomas Jones has had a great season to this point and with the way the offensive line has played this season, he should keep trucking along.  He is still the AFC's leading rusher and will be able to plow over the Seahawks defensive line this week.  With Jones and Washington in the backfield doing what they do, the Jets should be able to open up the passing game with better results then over the past three weeks.

After their second sub-par performance in the past three weeks, the run defense needs to bounce back in a big way this week.  The Bills and Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Jets last week for a total of 187 yards, by far their worst performance of the season.  They are still among the league leaders in yards allowed, giving up about 90 per game.  Maurice Morris will be starting for Seattle this week and his numbers don't really jump out at you.  He has only played in 11 games this season and is getting about 38 yards per game on the ground.  This matchup seems to favor the Jets in a huge way.  New York's Pro Bowl nose tackle Kris Jenkins has shown signs of wearing down over the past couple of weeks.  With that being said, I expect him to have a huge game on Sunday.  When they have had bad performances this season, he takes the blame on himself and usually bounces back with a solid performance.  He knows what is on the line for the Jets and will use that as motivation this week.

Ironically enough, the passing defense is coming off one of their better games of the season last week.  Against the Bills and backup QB J.P. Losman, the Jets gave up 148 yards passing and intercepted him three times.  They are still ranked near the bottom of the league in yards allowed, giving up 241 yards per game.  This week, the Jets will face Seneca Wallace who will be filling in for Matt Hasselbeck again this week.  The good news for the Jets is that Wallace only throws for about 138 yards per game, but he does not turn it over.  In the eight games he has played this season, he has thrown only one interception.  As long as the Jets take away Seattle's running game then Wallace will have to beat them through the air.  Sounds all well and good, but even that is tricky since he does not turn over the ball.  If the Jets do not keep pressure on Wallace, then they will have a hard time covering the Seahawks number one receiver, John Carlson.  The Jets have had a rough time covering TE's this season and if their not careful, he could burn them throughout this game. 

The bottom line this week is that the Jets have no margin for error.  Right now they control their own destiny in the division and a loss would cripple their playoff chances, especially with the Dolphins and Patriots playing so well right now.  This is a veteran team and they know what they have to do.  It's just time for the veteran leaders to step up and get this team where they need to go.  Winning this will only make things easier heading into next week's showdown against the Dolphins.  I say the Jets take care of business this week up in Seattle and take the game by a 30-13 score.  The matchups seem to favor the Jets this week in a big way.  If they do not win this week, you will be hearing a lot about the "Same Old Jets" next week.

 
 
 
 
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