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Tag:Sheppard
Posted on: October 1, 2009 4:06 pm
 

Jets v. Saints: Week 4 (Big "O" v. Big "D")

So what's more important, a good defense or a good offense?  That's the question that will be answered this Sunday when the New York Jets bring their revamped defense down to the Big Easy to take on the high powered offense of the New Orleans Saints. Everyone says that defense wins championships, but the Saints are trying to prove that a very good offense can get you to a championship.  Both units will be put to the test on Sunday. 

New York's defensive unit will face its biggest test of the 2009 season so far, going up against QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense.  Brees has been off the charts over the past two seasons.  In 2008, Brees threw for 5069 yards and 34 touchdowns.  So far, three weeks into this season, he has 841 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Brees' career has really taken off in New Orleans and the Saints have all the tools around him to make a successful run at the playoffs in 2009.

Brees' number one target in the passing game is WR Marques Colston.  So far this season he only has 195 yards receiving through three games, but he has 15 receptions with 3 of them going for touchdowns.  He will be matched up with Jets Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis.  All Revis has been able to do this season has been shutting down Andre Johnson, Randy Moss and Justin Gage in successive weeks.  The key for Revis will be keeping Colston out of the end zone.   

The Jets are hurting a little in the secondary with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland still nursing injuries and are questionable for Sunday.  Revis and S Kerry Rhodes are also a little banged up, but they will be in the lineup on Sunday.  The Jets have to do their best to take away the receivers and make the Saints beat them in other ways. 

That's where the defensive line comes in.  Last week against in Buffalo, the Bills held Brees to only 172 yards passing.  The flip side to that was that the Saints ran the ball for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Jets run defense is ranked 9th in the NFL giving up 82 yards per game on the ground.  If the secondary is able to keep the receivers quiet, then the defensive line will have their hands full with RB's Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. 

The front seven of the Jets defense will need to keep pressure on Drew Brees and the running backs.  It will be tough but I'm sure Rex Ryan has a good game plan in place.  

One player that could end up having a good game is Saints TE Jeremy Shockey.  So far this season, he been able to haul in 14 catches in the first three games.  The Jets gave up some yards last week to Titans TE Alge Crumpler, so Shockey could be a huge factor in this game.  Expect the Saints to use short passes to Shockey and quick screens to Bush to help them control the clock. 

On the other side of the ball is the Jets offense led by rookie QB Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez is having a good year by rookie standards so far with 606 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He has only thrown two interceptions through three games, but does have 4 fumbles.  Sanchez, the NFL's offensive rookie of the month in September, has been working on protecting the ball better in the pocket.  As expected, he has made a few mistakes this season, but not when it counts.  He has been very solid during the important moments of the games so far.   

The Saints secondary is ranked 22nd in the NFL against the pass, giving up 245 yards per game through the air.  Sanchez will have to try to expose this so he can open things up for the running game.  He does have the luxury of passing to WR Jerricho Cotchery, who is currently 3rd in the NFL with 285 yards.  Throw in TE Dustin Keller and WR Chansi Stuckey with Sanchez' pocket presence and the Jets should be successful through the air on Sunday. 

A main key for New York is to get the ground game going to control the game clock.  Last week against the Titans, RB Thomas Jones was only able to get 20 yards on 14 carries.  The Saints running defense is currently ranked 5th in the league, giving up 67 yards on the ground per game.  Jones and Leon Washington got plenty of carries last week but could not get the yards against Tennessee.  New Orleans defense has really improved since last season and may have a good day against the Jets running backs.   

They key on offense this week for Gang Green is try to establish the running game against the Saints.  If they can do this, then the passing lanes will open up even more on a poor Saints secondary.  They have to establish the run and keep Drew Brees and Co. off the field.  The key on defense is to keep the pressure on Brees.  Get him confused and try to force him into a mistake.  But do not over do it on the blitz or he will burn you.  The Saints offense is too talented and will find ways to score.   

I have confidence that the Jets can win this game.  As long as they can keep the Saints offense some what in check, then I believe their offense can do enough to win.  But they are going to have to put some points on the board.  Jets head down south and take it 28-24. 

Posted on: October 1, 2009 4:06 pm
 

Jets v. Saints: Week 4 (Big "O" v. Big "D")

So what's more important, a good defense or a good offense?  That's the question that will be answered this Sunday when the New York Jets bring their revamped defense down to the Big Easy to take on the high powered offense of the New Orleans Saints. Everyone says that defense wins championships, but the Saints are trying to prove that a very good offense can get you to a championship.  Both units will be put to the test on Sunday. 

New York's defensive unit will face its biggest test of the 2009 season so far, going up against QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense.  Brees has been off the charts over the past two seasons.  In 2008, Brees threw for 5069 yards and 34 touchdowns.  So far, three weeks into this season, he has 841 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Brees' career has really taken off in New Orleans and the Saints have all the tools around him to make a successful run at the playoffs in 2009.

Brees' number one target in the passing game is WR Marques Colston.  So far this season he only has 195 yards receiving through three games, but he has 15 receptions with 3 of them going for touchdowns.  He will be matched up with Jets Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis.  All Revis has been able to do this season has been shutting down Andre Johnson, Randy Moss and Justin Gage in successive weeks.  The key for Revis will be keeping Colston out of the end zone.   

The Jets are hurting a little in the secondary with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland still nursing injuries and are questionable for Sunday.  Revis and S Kerry Rhodes are also a little banged up, but they will be in the lineup on Sunday.  The Jets have to do their best to take away the receivers and make the Saints beat them in other ways. 

That's where the defensive line comes in.  Last week against in Buffalo, the Bills held Brees to only 172 yards passing.  The flip side to that was that the Saints ran the ball for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Jets run defense is ranked 9th in the NFL giving up 82 yards per game on the ground.  If the secondary is able to keep the receivers quiet, then the defensive line will have their hands full with RB's Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. 

The front seven of the Jets defense will need to keep pressure on Drew Brees and the running backs.  It will be tough but I'm sure Rex Ryan has a good game plan in place.  

One player that could end up having a good game is Saints TE Jeremy Shockey.  So far this season, he been able to haul in 14 catches in the first three games.  The Jets gave up some yards last week to Titans TE Alge Crumpler, so Shockey could be a huge factor in this game.  Expect the Saints to use short passes to Shockey and quick screens to Bush to help them control the clock. 

On the other side of the ball is the Jets offense led by rookie QB Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez is having a good year by rookie standards so far with 606 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He has only thrown two interceptions through three games, but does have 4 fumbles.  Sanchez, the NFL's offensive rookie of the month in September, has been working on protecting the ball better in the pocket.  As expected, he has made a few mistakes this season, but not when it counts.  He has been very solid during the important moments of the games so far.   

The Saints secondary is ranked 22nd in the NFL against the pass, giving up 245 yards per game through the air.  Sanchez will have to try to expose this so he can open things up for the running game.  He does have the luxury of passing to WR Jerricho Cotchery, who is currently 3rd in the NFL with 285 yards.  Throw in TE Dustin Keller and WR Chansi Stuckey with Sanchez' pocket presence and the Jets should be successful through the air on Sunday. 

A main key for New York is to get the ground game going to control the game clock.  Last week against the Titans, RB Thomas Jones was only able to get 20 yards on 14 carries.  The Saints running defense is currently ranked 5th in the league, giving up 67 yards on the ground per game.  Jones and Leon Washington got plenty of carries last week but could not get the yards against Tennessee.  New Orleans defense has really improved since last season and may have a good day against the Jets running backs.   

They key on offense this week for Gang Green is try to establish the running game against the Saints.  If they can do this, then the passing lanes will open up even more on a poor Saints secondary.  They have to establish the run and keep Drew Brees and Co. off the field.  The key on defense is to keep the pressure on Brees.  Get him confused and try to force him into a mistake.  But do not over do it on the blitz or he will burn you.  The Saints offense is too talented and will find ways to score.   

I have confidence that the Jets can win this game.  As long as they can keep the Saints offense some what in check, then I believe their offense can do enough to win.  But they are going to have to put some points on the board.  Jets head down south and take it 28-24. 

Posted on: September 24, 2009 9:58 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2009 8:18 am
 

Jets v. Titans: Week 3 (Trap Game?)

So the Jets enter Sunday's game against the Titans with a record of 2-0.  Last week they outplayed and outcoached the New England Patriots, beating them in the Meadowlands for the first time since 2000.  Now they will play a Tennessee team that comes in at 0-2 and desperate for a win.  So far this week, the trash talking Jets have been remotely quiet.  After talking all week about the Patriots leading up to the game, the Jets have not posted any bulletin board material leading into the showdown with the Titans. 

We'll start off here with the Jets offense.  Last week against New England, the Jets could do nothing on offense in the 1st half.  All they were able to manage was a field goal.  Against the Texans in week 1, they managed only a field goal in the first quarter.  The Jets may not have the opportunity to start out slow this week.  Tennessee will be fired up in this game, looking to take the crowd out of it early.

The best way for the Jets to stop that is to establish the running game early.  Last week Thomas Jones rushed for 54 yards and Leon Washington rushed for 58 yards himself against New England.  Last November in Tennessee, Jones and Washington put up 178 yards against a defense led by Albert Haynesworth.  Now that Haynesworth is in Washington, the Titans run defense is not as strong as it was last season, but it is still very good.  They are currently 2nd in the NFL against the run, giving up about 99 yards per game.  Do not expect the Jets to put up 178 yards this time around, but expect a solid performance out of the running game on Sunday.  As long as they can get something going on the ground, they should be able to set up the play action passes and keep the Titans guessing.

When it comes down to it, the game may be Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez' for the taking.  While the Titans defense is ranked 2nd in the league against the run, their passing defense is on the opposite end of the spectrum.  They are currently ranked last in the NFL, giving up about 340 yards per game in the air.  This looks to be the perfect opportunity for the Jets passing game to finally take off.  Heading into week 3, New York is averaging about 205 yards per game in the air.  It's time for Brian Schottenheimer to use some spread formations and get some receivers downfield and see what Sanchez has. 

As of now Jets #1 WR Jerricho Cotchery leads the team with 10 receptions for 177 yards.  The yardage is not bad through two games but he needs to get more than 5 catches per game.  Jets #2 receiver Chansi Stuckey only has 8 catches in the first two games.  Sanchez needs to get him more involved in the offense this week.  WR's Brad Smith and David Clowney round out the top four and have not done much over the first 2 weeks. 

Sanchez has been very good over the first two games protecting the football.  He seems to be very smart with the ball in the pocket.  If he can find some open receivers, it will open some holes for the running game.  And if the Jets can run the ball, the pressure will be off Sanchez.  If he does have any trouble while dropping back, he can always get the ball over to TE Dustin Keller.  Keller is building off a solid rookie year to emerge as a solid option for the Jets in the passing game.

The rock of the Jets so far this season has been their defense.  Their front seven has looked very strong over the first two weeks.  They will have their work cut for them.  So far this year, the Titans have been averaging 163 yards per game on the ground.  Last week against the Texans, RB Chris Johnson ran for 197 yards and caught 9 balls for 97 yards.  His career day also included 3 td's.  A key for the Jets this week is to try to slow down Johnson.  It will be hard for them to stop him, so they need to limit the damage.  Stop Johnson and make QB Kerry Collins beat them through the air.

The passing game for the Titans, which is averaging 221 yards per game, is still not clicking on all cylinders yet.  Their top two receivers Kenny Britt and Justin Gage still have not taken off just yet.  Both of them only have about 100 yards on the season.  Meanwhile the Jets secondary has only been giving up about 180 yards per game, good enough for 9th in the NFL.  But the Jets are hurting out there right now.  CB's Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland both got banged up last week against the Patriots and have missed some practice time this week.  But with CB Darrelle Revis and S Kerry Rhodes still back there, the Jets should be ok this week.

This is a tough game to gage for the Jets this week.  They are riding high after shutting down two top offenses in the NFL in the Patriots and Texans.  In fact, they still have not surrendered an offensive touchdown this season.  While the Titans have lost two tough games and are looking to right their ship this week.  This is setting up to be a classic "Let-Down" game for the Jets.  But that is why Jets hired Rex Ryan, to keep this team motivated and ready to go come game days.  I think the Jets defense comes out firing on Sunday and knock Kerry Collins around to start the game.  Make him make mistakes and try to limit the damage from Chris Johnson.  If the Jets can do this, they will be off to their first 3-0 start in a while.  Jets open up the passing game and take this one 28-17. 
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 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.
 
 
 
 
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