Jets Desert Revis Island

So I guess it’s time to change my blog’s banner picture, eh?

Where to begin?  First off, welcome back!  It’s been awhile.  Has anything happened with the Jets while I’ve been on hiatus?  Let’s quickly get up to date…Since the last time I wrote,  the Jets have:

-Fired their GM and hired a new one

-Cut nearly half of their starters from last year

-Signed a number of “value” free agents

-NOT cut Tebow or Sanchez

But today’s trade was clearly the big bombshell.  It had been predicted and speculated on for weeks, but it doesn’t make it any less painful.  Any time you trade a player of Revis’ calibre, it hurts.  Players like him don’t come around very often – just look at the Jets’ recent draft picks to prove that.

But unfortunately, it was a deal that had to be done.  When the Jets signed Revis to the now infamous “band-aid” contract 4 years ago, they set themselves up for today.  Lacking the ability to franchise Revis, and promising to come back to the bargaining table in year 2 or 3 of the contract (which they never did), the Jets left themselves with very little recourse.  You can blame that on Tannenbaum and Woody.  Couple that with the horrendous contracts that were doled out to Sanchez, Holmes, etc. and a roster that is severely lacking in talent, and you are left with very few options.  And on top of all of that, Revis didn’t make life any easier by making it clear that he needed to be the highest paid defensive player in the league.

So all things considered, I think today’s trade is just fine.  Idzik was not exactly dealing from a position of strength here considering  that a) Revis is coming off the worst injury for a CB (torn ACL), b) the Jets made it clear that they had no interest in resigning him and c) they are in full rebuilding mode.  The Jets got their extra 1st round pick, and next year’s pick will become a 3rd pick as long as Revis is on the roster in March – which is almost a lock, unless he blows out his knee again.  There was speculation that the Jets were also to receive a 5th round pick, but really, are we that upset  that we didn’t receive an extra 5th round pick?  Name me 3 impact players that were drafted in the 5th round recently…

So the compensation was fine.  And all signs point to Idzik trading down for further picks, which is smart.  The Jets need as many picks as they can get.  But the bottom line is this – it’s a sad day for the New York Jets fans, and more importantly, Jets fans.  No longer do we get the pleasure every Sunday of watching one of the best players ever to play the position.  And despite the nasty contract disputes, he was a guy you loved rooting for and a great locker room presence for a team badly in need of leadership. No amount of draft picks can ever make up for that.  It’s a crappy situation, any way you slice it.

History won’t be able to judge this trade for at least a year or two – not until we see how Revis’ knee holds up , and not until we see what the Jets do with these extra picks.

So for now we will close this ugly and sad chapter in Jets history (one of many). That is, until Week 1 of the NFL season, when the Jets open up at home against….yes…the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

(And if you have any suggestions for a new blog banner pic…send them my way!)

Plenty of Ashes, But No Phoenix (yet)

Where to start?  With Sanchez’ now world-famous implosion on national TV?  With the decision to start your 3rd string QB this week?  With the Jets’ awful cap situation and future?  So much to write about, so little time…

By now you’ve probably read everything there is to read about what happened on Monday night.  It was quarterbacking at its worst.  The passes Sanchez threw at the end were akin to those thrown on Thanksgiving in your backyard.  Back-foot heaves into triple coverage. Reckless play that made Brett Favre look conservative.  It was as if Sanchez was daring the Jets to bench him.  Watch me throw another crazy interception!  What are you going to do?  You owe me $8MM guaranteed next year, suckas! (insert maniacal laugh)

Sanchez mercifully left Rex with no choice.  And the death threats Sanchez received this week (seriously? Especially after Newtown.  I’m ashamed to be part of this human race sometimes) only exacerbated things.  There was just no way Rex could trot out no. 6 next week.  So what do you do – start Tebow, your QB2 and constant source of media attention, but a guy who clearly has no future as the QB of the Jets?  Or do you go with Greg McElroy, your no. 3 QB who may have a future in this league – as a back-up.  The answer is:  Who Cares?  Neither guy is the QB of the future, and this team has so many problems, the last 2 weeks of the season will have no real impact on the future.   If this team were not in New York, no one would be writing about the travails of a 6-8 team without any direction.

One Last Walk-Off as the Jets' Starting QB

One Last Walk-Off as the Jets’ Starting QB

So what next?  The so-called experts in the Jets’ blogsphere and the Jets beat writers have started to chime in with their ideas.  Some good, some crazy, some predictable.  What’s pretty consistent amongst them all is that the Jets are screwed, at least for 2013, and most of that is due to Mike Tannenbaum and his epic failure of salary cap management.  Read this for some very useful analysis.

Here is one thing that I think is clear – Mark Sanchez will be with this team next year.  He makes a GUARANTEED $8MM in 2013, with a “cap hit” of $12MM.  If the Jets cut Sanchez before June 1st, his “cap hit” is $17MM.  The total cap for 2013 is projected to $120MM.  That would mean that if they cut Sanchez, a player that is no longer on the roster would make up nearly 1/6th of the salary cap.  Astounding.  And more importantly, it means they are not cutting him.

Wait - Are You Serious?  Sanchez Will Be Back Next Year?

Wait – Are You Serious? Sanchez Will Be Back Next Year?

So what do you do?  Trade him, many people say.  That would be great!  But seriously, what team in their right mind would trade for him?  Maybe, just maybe they would if the Jets assumed most of his salary, but I think that’s a long shot.  Other say that he’s so miserable, he’ll take a pay cut to get out of town.  Hmmm…maybe, but would you walk away from a guaranteed $8MM?  Or would you stick it out in New York and spend your $8MM on Eva Longoria look-alikes?  I know what I’d choose.

So where does that leave us?  It leaves us with Mark Sanchez still will the New York Jets in 2013.  He probably won’t be the starter, but he’ll be on the team.  That’s just the grim reality.

So how do the Jets get better?  It won’t be easy, but here are my top 5 priorities:

1. Fire Mike Tannenbaum and bring in an experienced GM who has rebuilt other franchises.  It was a good run Mike, but the work you’ve done the past 2 years has been a disaster.  Their best player (Revis) wasn’t drafted by him, and his track record in the draft (with the picks he hasn’t traded) has been spotty at best (Gholston, Wilson, Ducasse = bad.  Wilkerson, Coples, Kerley = good).  His FA signings and trades have been equally mixed (Landry, Bell, Tomlinson = good.  Tebow, Schillens = bad).

2. Retain Rex Ryan, fire the offensive staff.  A new GM may want to bring in an entire new staff, but my personal opinion is that Rex should come back.  As bad of a job as he did last year, he’s done an equally good job this year.  With the injuries to Revis & Holmes and the general lack of talent on the team, it’s a minor miracle that he kept this team together and in position to compete for a playoff spot.  He turned around the franchise and its culture when he arrived 4 years ago and twice had them a game away from the Super Bowl.  No other Jets coach has done that.  Give him 2 more years with a solid QB and talent around him.  On the flip-side, fire Tony Sparano and the entire offensive staff.  Bring in a proven offensive coordinator and one that can develop QBs – Norv Turner, anyone?

3. Find a new QB – duh!  This won’t be easy and their franchise QB is probably in the 2014 draft.  Sign a cheap, but serviceable QB (Matt Moore, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Shaun Hill) and have him run the team for a year until you find someone in the 2014 draft.  Sanchez is your back-up until you can cut him in 2014.

4. Trade players and draft picks for more draft picks.  Many have said they should trade Cromartie ($8MM) or Revis for picks.  I don’t love this idea – why weaken your only true strength?  But the Revis idea is an interesting one – he’s actually a bargain next year, and despite the ACL injury, he would net at least a 2nd round pick, and maybe even higher.  If you can trade Tebow for a late round pick, do it.  Whatever they do, they have to maximize next year’s draft – they need as many new bodies as they can find.

5. Cut your dead, over-the-hill weight – Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Jason Smith, Eric Smith (anyone named Smith) and yes, probably Dustin Keller.  All goners. Holmes might well be on this list too depending on his recovery from surgery.  Sign younger, faster players and build up some depth on the O-line and D-line.  This game is still won in the trenches.

See – easy!  The bottom line is this – the Jets will (should) be in full rebuilding mode next year.  We are looking at a 4-12 team at best.  But by the end of the year, they will be out of cap hell, with a top 5 draft pick and hopefully their QB of the future identified.  And as Andrew Luck and RGIII have shown, you can turn around a franchise in less than a year if you have the right guy under center.  One can dream, right?

We Will See More of This in 2013

We Will See More of This in 2013

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

This is really starting to get old.  Another week, another loss, and more controversy. The game on Sunday was a joke.  And nothing epitomized the Jets season like the 3 play sequence in the 2nd quarter where the Jets drove to the red zone and brought in Tebow on 3rd and goal to hopefully take it in for the TD.  By now, you know what ensued – Keller was called for a terrible false start penalty which led to Sanchez coming in to replace Tebow, who then threw one of the worst INTs of his career – and that’s saying a lot.  Everyone knows you can’t pump fake when you are that close to the end zone – there are too many defenders in a tight area; it negates the impact – but Sanchez pump faked twice, never taking his eyes off of his intended receiver.  It was a rookie mistake made by a 4th year QB.  Sadly, that pass did not rank as Sanchez’ worst of the year – this one did.  How is this guy still our starter?

QB Change? Not Likely.

The week that followed was typical Jets.  Rex continued to stand by his “franchise” QB even though the rest of the sports world is calling for a change.  An unnamed source inside the Jets locker room called Tebow “terrible,” which led to Ryan calling that player a coward.  A former Jet, Rob Turner (a back-up offensive lineman), who now plays for the Rams, called the Jets the “Chicago Cubs of football.”  And through it all, many players remain confident that the Jets, at 3-6, can still make the playoffs. Right. (that said, in 2009, the Jets were 4-6 and then went on to the AFC championship game).

A loss this week against the Rams would be the final dagger for any fan or player who still has hope for this season.  Even with an “easy” schedule ahead, at 3-7, the Jets would have to run the table to even have a chance at the playoffs.  And with New England coming to town on Thanksgiving night, that ain’t happening.

In the next few months, A lot will be written about what has to change with the Jets. I’ve been saying for some time that it starts with Tannenbaum.  After a great start to his career as GM, it’s been all downhill.  His strategy of trading away draft picks to move up in the draft has not paid off, and if you like at the Jets’ recent drafts, you would be hard pressed to find a ton of impact players (Wilkerson and Kerley are the exceptions with Coples, Hill and Davis showing promise).  This review of his performance in another Jets blog is pretty sobering:  http://tinyurl.com/akj8q8z.

It’s Time for Him to Go

 

I’ll still be watching on Sunday, but it’s hard to get excited about this team when you have no faith in the leadership.  To hear Rex and Tannenbaum stand by Sanchez and the rest of the team week after week is getting old.  There is no accountability and no real commitment to winning.  Thankfully, for the first time, Woody Johnson expressed some anger about the 3-6 record.  We can only hope that if the losing continues, he will force the needed changes.

On a lighter note:

  • Grantland last week ran one of the funniest stories about Tebow that I’ve ever read – it is a must read.
  • Huge congrats to R.A. Dickey on his Cy Young.  There hasn’t been much for us Mets/Jets fans to be happy about in 2012, but Dickey was one of them.  You would be hard pressed to find a more thoughtful and sincere player in sports in right now.  If the Mets don’t sign him to an extension, there should be a mutiny.
  • The Knicks are off to one of their best starts in franchise history.  Even with the loss to Memphis last night, you have to be excited about what’s happening at the Garden.  I grew up watching Knicks teams that were known for their intimidating defense – Oakley, Mason, Starks, Ewing, etc. – and it’s nice to see a return to that form.  Woodson deserves some kind of medal for even getting Carmelo to play defense.  If this team stays healthy (a BIG if), they will be a force to be reckoned with deep into the playoffs.

On a more personal note, it was a week of both loss and life in my family.  My paternal grandmother of 88 years left us last week.  Nearly 45 years ago, she and my grandfather decided to purchase season tickets for this “new football team” and a family of Jets fans were born.  She spent many a cold day in Shea Stadium with my grandfather and father, watching Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Richard Todd, Ken O’Brien, etc..  And while she undoubtedly saw more losses than wins, she always remained a loyal fan.  I’m sure she’ll be watching on Sunday from wherever she is.

Just a few days after her passing, the newest Jet fan in the family was born, as my sister gave birth to Luke Charles.  The circle of life and Jets fandom continues…

Week 7 Recap: It Still Goes Down As a Loss

Final Score (OT):
Pats: 29
Jets: 26

Reading all of the analysis in today’s papers and on the web, it would be easy to lose sight of the fact that nobody – NOBODY – gave the Jets even a remote chance of winning.  The fact that we are even talking about how close they came to winning this game, needs to be reflected upon for a moment.

Okay, enough reflection.  The reality is that the Jets blew a golden opportunity to pull off a major upset, and take sole possession of first place.  They had every opportunity to win this game at the end of regulation, but instead played very conservatively on both sides of the ball, and it burned them.  So much for Rex’s proclamation that you always “play to win the game.”  Last night at the end of the game, they played not to lose, or to tie at best.  It was a valiant effort, but there are no moral victories.  And at the end of the season, it still goes down as a loss.

Looking back on the game, there were I think a few critical decisions & plays that came back to haunt them:

  • On 3rd and 1 at the 2 yard line, they decided to throw a quick slant to Chaz Schillens, instead of running it up the gut.  This was an absolutely perplexing call.  For starters, your workhorse back, Shonn Greene, has been nearly perfect on 3rd and 1 situations all year long, including a previous conversion in that game.  Secondly, you have Tim Tebow – one of the best in the game in these situations.  This is why you traded 2 draft picks for him – for this very situation.  Finally, if you are Rex/Tony and you really think it calls for a pass, why in the name of Leon Hess are you passing to your no. 3 receiver, and a guy who has about 10 catches all year at this point?   Somebody please answer these questions.

    The Closest He’s Come to “Tebowing”

  • The final drive of the game – obviously there was the drop by Stephen Hill.  That was an absolute killer.  Santonio Holmes makes that catch.  But even so, the Jets were very conservative on much of that drive, which started at the Pats’ 20 yard line.  The Jets clearly felt that a 3 point lead with only 1 timeout for New England was a lower risk scenario vs. going for the 7 points, not getting it, and then leaving more time and timeouts for the Pats.  What happened next?  Tom Brady marched down the field in 90 seconds and set up a game-tying FG.
  • Employing a 3-man rush – On the last two drives, the Jets went heavy in pass coverage, and light on their pass rush.  Big mistake.  Brady carved up the Jets all day when they rushed 3 passers.  When they rushed 4 or more, his completion percentage really dropped.  How did the coaches not know this by the 4th quarter and make the appropriate adjustments?
  • Sanchez’ turnovers – all 3 were killers.  The 1st quarter fumble & safety was only partially his fault, and they survived it.  The INT in the 2nd quarter was one of those throws that just leaves you shouting at the television (apparently there were Boston area beat writers in the press box who were publicly saying that he was the “worst QB” in the league right after that), and then of course, the fumble in OT.  That was his 3rd turnover in OT since 2009 – 2 more than any other player in the league in that timeframe.  That’s called “not clutch.”

    The Definition of “Not Clutch”

A quick recap on the performances:

QB: As I wrote earlier, you live with Sanchez and you die with Sanchez.  His performance is so inconsistent, it’s maddening.  Get this: he went 16 for 20 with 190 yards and a TD after halftime, including that beautiful game-tying 92 yard drive in the 4th quarter.  Those are insanely good numbers on the road against New England.  But then of course there were the killer turnovers, including the game-ender.  How do you coach for this?  How do you know which Sanchez you can rely on in a given drive, let alone an entire game? Some will say these are growing pains.  Many, like me, increasingly believe that he’s no longer the answer.

I Wish I Were You

And the Tim Tebow experiment continues to fail miserably.  Just when you thought the Jets figured out to use him last week, they regress.  He was on the filed for less than 10 snaps and he wasn’t used on that key 3rd down situation at the 2 yard line.  Wasn’t this the reason you brought him here?  And while I love the 3 and 4 yard pick-ups he gets, can we please let the guy throw the ball?  Just once, to keep the defense honest.  I know I’m no expert here, but doesn’t everyone in the building know he’s going to run?

RBs:  A solid showing against a very tough run D.  Give credit to the Jets – they found a way to pick up tough yards when they needed it.  At the end of the game they were down to one healthy RB – rookie & former practice squad player, Jonathan Grimes.  Not exactly ideal.  Greene and McKnight put in gritty performances and I’m liking Lex Hilliard more and more.  It’s no surprise that with the return of a respectable run game, the Jets offense has looked better the past 2 weeks.

Receivers:  Hello Jeremy Kerley!  I think we’ve found ourselves a starting WR for years to come.  He was everywhere yesterday, making big play after big play including many key 1st downs.  I like his game.  And welcome back Dustin Keller.  7 receptions for 93 yards and a TD – yesterday showed how much we missed him.  As for Stephen Hill…we knew there would be days like this.  He’s going to mature into a big-time receiver in this league, but there will be growing pains along the way.

Welcome Back

Defense:  Despite the last two drives, you have to give these guys a lot of credit.  Everyone thought that this unit would get torched by the Pats, but they hung in there.  It was a frenetic pace, and the Pats did everything they could to keep them off balance.  Wilkerson and Coples had another solid game – these two will get better and better.  I loved rookie LB Demario Davis’ game (did we see the end of the Bart Scott era last night?) – he’s fast and a solid tackler.  And the secondary had a really solid game – no major blown coverages and they kept Welker (Isaiah Trufant?!) and Lloyd in check.  It was inevitable that Gronkowski would get his catches (the man is just unreal – a person that big should not be that fast with the ability to make diving catches in the end zone), but they did a decent job containing him and Hernandez.   Cro dropped a game-changing INT and Wilson was flagged for a questionable pass INT call in the 4th quarter, but overall solid performance.

Beast Mode

Special Teams:  I really thought Mike Westhoff was going to destroy someone on the sideline.  The kickoff return for a TD took away any momentum the Jets had after their first TD.  That team did atone for that mistake with the fumble they recovered at the end of the game.  And while he had a great game receiving, I’m not sure what Kerley is thinking when he fair catches the ball inside the 5 yard line – isn’t the golden rule that you let it go if it’s inside the 10?  Nick Folk was money – someone remarked he’s the most consistent player on the team.  Sad, but true.

Coaching:  First off – credit to Rex and co. for a great game plan and phenomenal preparation.  This team was not intimidated, and they had a plan to attack the defense and stop Brady.  And that plan, despite some shoddy execution by Sanchez and others, worked well for 3 1/2 quarters.  They Jets were aggressive on offensive and selectively aggressive on defense.  But then they got scared.  Scared of turnovers, and scared to get burned by Brady.  So they went conservative on offense and defense.  And they paid for it.

I know it’s easy to second guess – everyone is an expert on Monday.  But as a Jet fan, you’ve seen this happen so many times.  The team fights and claws its way back into the game, only to get conservative when victory is so close.  Rex has to know that while he has a very good defense, it is not a great defense.  It’s not a shutdown defense.  And asking any defense to limit Tom Brady – the master of the 2 minute drill and an offense built around that very scenario – to just 3 points when the game is on the line, is frankly asking too much.  Rex should have known better.

So, where does that leave us.  3-4, which is where I thought we’d be after the post-Revis predictions.  All in all, not terrible, especially when you consider that there are just three – yes, three – teams who are over .500 in the AFC right now.  That’s crazy.

It does make a victory next week pretty darn important.  Division game, at home, against the Dolphins.  A sweep of the season series would give them a huge advantage and would put them at .500 going into their bye week.  The Jets then hit the road for two tough road games against Seattle and St. Louis, before returning home to see the Pats on Thanksgiving evening.  That is going to be a fun one.

Who are these Jets?  Are they the “same old Jets” that we often cite and refer to?  Or are they a team of fighters who are just starting to come into their own, as Rex would have you think?  While, I still don’t think we can answer that, I think it’s safe to say that they still have a lot of work to do if they have any serious hope of making a real Super Bowl run.  Still too many mistakes, especially by their “franchise” QB, and too many holes on the roster.  But at least they are making it interesting and fun to watch on Sundays.   Because hey, it could be worse – you could be a Cleveland Browns fan.

Hi, I’m Evil. Thanks for Playing!

Just Another Reason to Hate the Pats

Week 4 Recap: Jets Hit New Low in Rex Ryan Era

Final Score:
49ers: 34
Jets: 0

Disgusting.  Awful.  Pathetic.  To be honest, those words don’t really do it justice.  I want to invent a new word to describe just how bad today’s game was – any suggestions?  It was so bad, that it’s not even worthy of a full recap.  No pictures, no witty remarks, no breakdown.  Take that, Jets.

For me, this loss should be pinned on 3 people – Rex, Tannebaum, and Sanchez.  And in that order.

Rex gets the blame for clearly not having his team ready to play today.  They were outcoached (and out wild cat’d) and outplayed, and looked disinterested for half the game.  The offensive “gameplan” – if you want to call it that – was non-existent.  I know they had an uphill battle to start and the odds of winning were low, but 34-0?  Perhaps even worse, his vaunted defense (best he’s ever had in New York, supposedly) gave up 245 yards rushing.  245.  Rex should be embarrassed.

Tannenbaum gets the blame for not providing the offense with the playmakers it needs to be credible.  Jeff Cumberland?  Epps? (I don’t even know if he has a first name).  Patrick Turner?  But Keller and Hill are hurt you say….big deal…half of these guys wouldn’t even start on a college team.  This team’s depth has been exposed in a big way.  And if you look at their last 3 drafts, you would be hard pressed to find non-1st round draft picks that are making meaningful contributions (Kerley is the only one I can think of).

And then finally, to Sanchez.  Even with the lack of weapons, he was still just awful. 13-29 for 103 yards  with 1 INT and 1 fumble.  The fumble was completely avoidable and took away a sure 3 points at the end of the 1st half – that in fact may have been the play of the game as the score went from what should have been 7-3 to 10-0 and the 49ers never looked back.  He was off all day – badly missing receivers, throwing tentatively.  It was a giant step back for a player who was meant to take a giant step forward this year.  They have NO chance of doing anything this year if he plays like that.  I know you will hear the calls for Tebow this week, but this still comes down to Sanchez.  They’ve pinned their hopes to this guy, and it’s looking increasingly like they will go down in flames with him.  Game 1 in Buffalo must have been a mirage because he has been just plain bad since then.  And I’ve been one of his biggest supporters and fans, but this was just not good.

Adding insult to injury, their best offensive playmaker, Santonio Holmes, appears to be lost for an extended period of time with a foot injury.  Another non-contact injury to one of their top players.  The football gods are not smiling upon us my friends (the fact that he fumbled the ball on that play which was then run back for a TD, was just comical.  That could only happen to the Jets)  I don’t see how they can muster any chance of winning without their two best players on both sides of the ball.  This season could be over before it’s really begun, sadly.

It would take a turnaround of monumental proportions at this point to turn things around.  This is a team with no identity, and more alarmingly, little talent.  The injuries have really exposed how thin the roster is.  There is just no depth behind the starters, and in a violent sport like football, that is a recipe for disaster.  It’s not looking good for Gang Green.

But hey, look on the brightside, we get to play the 4-0 Houston Texans on Monday Night Football next week….dare I say it….Same Old….

JETS – 2012 Season Preview!

So the 2012 season is finally upon us.  Another “quiet” offseason and preseason has come to an end, and it’s time to make that elusive Super Bowl run that us Jets fans have been craving for a lifetime.

I’ve purposely stayed quiet during the preseason.   Call it ignorance – I call it self-preservation.  There will be enough angst across the next 4 months – why waste it on a bunch of meaningless preseason games?

So instead of looking back, I choose to look forward with my position-by-position preview and my game-by-game predictions.  Feedback, as always, is welcome….

Quarterback – So, did anything change with the Jets’ QB situation this year?  Right.  I’ve said from the very first day they acquired Tebow, that Sanchez was still the man.  They did not draft him in the 1st round and give him a big extension for him to be a back-up.  This is his team, and I think (hope), his year.  The man has won more playoff games at this point in his career than many other acclaimed QBs (Eli, Brees, etc.) and has proven that he can succeed in the cauldron that is New York.  I’ve been so impressed by the way he’s handled himself since TebowMania descended upon us, and all of the preseason reviewers say he looks confident and poised with improved footwork and mechanics.

The key for Sanchez this year is turnovers.  He will not be asked or expected to win many games on his own this year.  The Jets gave up over 60 pts last year when the offense was on the field.  That’s nearly a touchdown every other game.  If Sanchez makes smart decisions, and limits the turnovers, I think they will be very successful.  The defense is not going to give up a lot of points – I think 17 points will win a lot of games for Gang Green.  It may not be fun to watch, but as long as they win, who cares?

As far as Tebow goes…well, I think you know what you are getting.  A supreme athlete, a hard worker, a ridiculously likeable guy, and a terrible passer.  We are all eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the Wildcat on Sunday…I say he gets 10 snaps total.   And if Tebow is the starting QB at any time this season for non-injury reasons then I think it means the season is close to over.

Because I Had To…

Running Back – What was once a strength for the Jets is now a question mark.  Shonn Greene had a decent year last year, and it is now firmly his job.  Backups Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight have shown some flashes, and the early word is that Powell could have a breakout year.  But no one in this crew causes opposing defenses to quiver.  Either way, we will be seeing a lot of these guys as the Jets get back to “Ground and Pound.”

Receivers – It’s boom or bust with this crew.  You could see Holmes returning to his Pro Bowl form, Kerley blossoming into a real slot and 3rd down threat, and Stephen Hill becoming the gamebreaker they drafted him to be.  On the other hand, you could just as easily foresee Holmes remaining the distraction he was a year ago, Hill dropping many passes as he did in the preseason, and Kerley on the sidelines with injuries.   Hey, at least there’s Chaz Schillens…..

Tight Ends – Every year I hear that this is the “breakout year” for Dustin Keller.  I’m not buying it – he disappears for long stretches and doesn’t break enough big plays.  He’s solid, but not a star.   But there is NO depth behind him, so he’ll be counted on a lot.

O-Line – It’s amazing that the Jets sent 3 players to the Pro Bowl last year, yet finished near last in rushing and gave up a ton of sacks.  Gone is Santonio’s best friend and target of Jets fan’s ire, Wayne Hunter, and in is Austin Howard and Jason Smith.  My money says that this line returns to the dominating form we saw 2 years ago – there’s just too much talent there – 3 First round picks in Brick, Mangold and Smith along with proven veterans Slauson and Moore.  Tannenbabum smartly added some depth here as well.

D-Line – Probably the most improved unit of the team.  First round pick Quinton Coples looked beastly in the preseason, and last year’s 1st round pick Mo Wilkerson  (it’s amazing what a near-death car accident will do to you) and 3rd rd pick Kenrick Ellis (its amazing what jail time will do to you) have both really stepped up and will make meaningful contributions.  Throw in vets DeVito and Pouha and you have the makings of a deep and talented unit.

Linebackers – While still a strength, this is an aging unit that is the weakest part of the D.  David Harris remains one of the most underrated players in the league, and he’s flanked again by the Mad Backer, Bart Scott and Calvin Pace.  Word is that Scott is playing like a man possessed, and he better as they drafted DeMario Davis to take his place.   This is a veteran unit that lacks speed however, and they will get exploited in the middle of the field by the league’s better Tight Ends (i.e. Gronkowski twice a year).

Secondary – The best corner in history and the most virile corner in history are both back.  They are joined by two newcomers at Safety – LaRon Landry (former 6th overall pick) and Yeremiah Bell, who takes over for the oft-injured and now departed Jim Leonard as the QB of the defense.  This unit could be one of the best in the league if they stay healthy.

Special Teams – Do you really care what I have to say about special teams?  If you do, then you are either a bigger Jet nerd than me, or you just love special teams.

Coaching – Rex is back, with less talking, and less weight.  Have you seen him?   Tony Sparano takes over the offense – all eyes will be on him the first few weeks for sure.

HOT DAMN REX –                                           YOU LOOK GOOD!!!

So, onto the predictions…..

Week 1 – Bills – Win.   Jets have dominated the recent series and despite the Bills’ additions on defense, they are still coached by the awful Chan Gailey.

Week 2 – @PIT – Loss – Jets have won once there – the must win game to get into the playoffs 2 years ago.  I don’t see it happening again.

Week 3 – @MIA – Win – Tannehill looks good, but there is a severe lack of talent on that team.

Week 4 – SF – Win – Alex Smith played out of his mind last year.  He’s not that good.  SF travelling cross-country never bodes well.

Week 5 – HOU – Win – At home on Monday night football.  Texans have a history of choking against the Jets.  Revis shuts down Johnson and Jets Run D shuts down Foster.  They matchup well

Week 6 – IND – Win – Andrew Luck’s first visit to New York.  Rex has a history of tormenting rookie QBs.

Week 7 – @NE – Loss – They look even better than last year.

Week 8 – MIA – Win – see above.

Week 10 – @SEA – Loss –  cross-country trip after a bye week = letdown loss.

Week 11 – @STL – Win – Jets vs Schotty.  Rams might be the worst team in football.

Week 12 – NE – Win – short week – Thursday night of thanksgiving.  Crowd will be fired up.

Week 13 – ARI – Win – Cardinals are not good.  East coast trip in December never bodes well.

Week 14 – @JAX – Win – I’m not buying Blaine Gabbert.

Week 15 – @TEN – Loss – Monday night football on the road in December – not a good combo.

Week 16 – SD – Win – Sunday night football and Chargers never do well on the East Coast in December

Week 17 – @BUF – Loss – I hope I’m wrong and I hope we don’t need it but Dec. 30th on the road in Buffalo is a brutal draw.

Total: 11-5….too optimistic?  Maybe…feel free to pick it apart.  But then I remembered this article and I really started to believe (BTW – some of the best writing on the Web right now is happening on Grantland.  If you don’t read it, I encourage you to give it a try – brilliant writers, great topics, lots of fun).

Kick-off is now less than 24 hours away…my Revis jersey has been pressed and cleaned, ready for another year.  The boys’ jerseys are ready to go.  8 months of peaceful Sundays are over – my wife is officially depressed.   Let’s Do This.

J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

I’ve Been Tebowed

Has anything been written about Tim Tebow in the last few days?  Even I, one of the biggest Jet fans around, has grown a little tired of Tebow-mania (ESPN.com alone had TWELVE Tebow posts today).  That said, man is this guy likeable.  I (sadly) watched much of today’s press conference, and all I could think was, “I really like this guy.”  (even my Dad, the world’s biggest Jets doubter, likes him) He’s humble, self-aware and maybe even more dreamy than Tom Brady.  And just for a few moments, I thought to myself….wow, this really could work.

Come here often, Tim?

But then reality set in and I thought – what if Mark Sanchez gets hurt?  It’s the question that nobody is asking.  Everyone has been so focused on Tebow supplanting Sanchez as the starter or how they will use Tebow as a complement, but what we should be asking is:  What the heck happens if the Sanchise goes down?  Last year, Denver Coach John Fox said that they would be “screwed” if Tebow were forced to run a “pro” style offense.  If Sanchez gets hurt, that is exactly the predicament that the Jets would find themselves in.  No time to install a Tebow-friendly offense.  They will have an option-style QB running a pro-style offense.  In other words: EPIC FAILURE.

This is my biggest fear – not how Sanchez will co-exist, or how the rest of the team will react or how they will use Tebow, but rather what happens if they HAVE to use Tebow?

The Jets better hope that Tebow saves a few prayers for Mark Sanchez.

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