Archive for category New York Jets

Around the NFL – Vick/Kolb, Vincent Jackson, Braylon Edwards

Hey folks, been a while since I last did a plain old, normal blog post but felt like with so much going on around the league the last day or so, I should pontificate.

To Vick or not to Vick?

Well, Andy Reid made his bed and he’ll lie in it – messy as it is. I’m not saying it’s a bad decision, if he thinks he will win more games with Vick than Kolb. Remember, Kolb looked pretty brutal in the preseason as well as that one half of concussion-free football in Week 1.

Vick looks better than he ever did – we’ll see if he fares as well against a defense preparing for him.

But can Reid go back to Kolb if Vick flops? I’m not saying I want him to flop, I think a success story for Vick could be something special. But if he does flop – what will the locker room think? What does it think now?

And I wouldn’t have batted an eye if we were in Week 5. Or even Week 3, if Kolb had choked for two weeks straight? But now?

If you were in ‘win-now’ mode either you keep McNabb or start Vick from the get-go.

Michael David Smith (writer on Fanhouse.com) put it best when he said:

Lesson NFL players will take from Kolb-Vick switch: “If I get a concussion, no way I leave the game and let my backup take my job”

You have to wonder if guys who normally wanted to get back in there will hide a bad hit even more.

Rumor has it that the Cleveland Browns called the Eagles about Kolb and were turned away.

FREE VINCENT JACKSON!

The AJ Smith/Vincent Jackson staring contest is now officially ridiculous. By the time you read this maybe a trade has happened but you know what?

I wouldn’t be a damn bit shocked if it hasn’t.

The Rams have reportedly dropped out, The Vikings allegedly have a deal in place with VJack, but won’t toss a 3rd round pick in with a 2nd they already offered.

What’s Smith doing? Does he think Jackson will get with the program if he shoves being a Charger down his throat? When does this become less about ego and more about getting something for a player who will not happily play on your team again?

Smith never blinks but I think this time he’s over his head. I could be wrong.

Sidenote: Is a team willing to put two picks on a guy one bad decision away from a year long suspension?

Speaking of bad decisions….

Braylon Edwards is a dumbass

Sorry, he is. Especially when there are programs designed to pick a player up and get him home safe AND I”ve heard some of those programs have a second guy show up to drive your car home.

But Bomani Jones put it perfectly on The Morning Jones today.

What was your plan Braylon? You knew you were getting tipsy tonight so…. you drove? Did you think ahead to 5am and what shape you might be in? (Let’s not point out that practice after a 5am return home….. yeah not pleasant I imagine)

At what point were you thinking at all?

I mean, you just had one of your better games as a Jet in a huge win on a team you want a big contract from…. and you Plaxico yourself?

The next good decision Edwards makes could very well be his first.

On the flip side, I’m wondering what exactly is the source of the ’suspend him’ crowd in the media.

Listen, I think drunk driving is pretty stupid and we can all thank whatever God you worship nobody was hurt here and we didn’t have another Donte Stallworth incident.

I’m not sure that it’s instantaneously suspension-worthy. Other players have had a DUI (or DWI if you’re in another part of the country) and I never heard a call for their heads.

Why this reaction and why Braylon? (is it the Beard? It is rather intimidating.)

I don’t have an answer for that, maybe you do. If so, leave it in the comments. But honestly more than Edwards making a dumb choice (yet again), the media reaction in NYC has been almost as harsh as the traffic.

And if you’ve listened to the show at all since I moved here, you know how bad I think that is.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blurb TV – Ep 9 – Busts

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

My Q&A at NewYorkJets.DK

Just before the NFL Draft, I answered a few questions for Mark Bundgaard over at NewYorkJets.dk. As promised, I went back for more post Draft.

Follow the link for more NY Jets Q&A, including my thoughts on the Draft itself, standing pat and grabbing Kyle Wilson and the overall moves the team made over the Draft weekend.

Thanks as always to Mark for tossing me some questions my way.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2010 Draft Blurb Appearences

So I did a bunch of radio work this past weekend and didn’t have time to post it (and at times, didn’t have time to get a link to it) until now.

When you get a chance, check out the following bits of audio:

Friday Night I appeared on Brian Carriveau’s Cheesehead Nation show on Blogtalkradio.com. We talked about the first few rounds of Packer picks, which I actually like quite a bit. (about 10 minutes at the front  but the ep goes much longer)

I’m at the top but stick around for the whole show as they break down some of the picks more in depth later on. It’s good stuff, and Railbird Central is a great place to go for Packer stuff.

Saturday I joined my good friend Matt Levine of The Final Score of WSTC/WNLK in Connecticut to talk some Jets and Giants as well as some general NFL Draft stuff as well. I uploaded it here so you can hear what I had to say from Radio City. (about 20 minutes long)

On Sunday I got to hoof it to the home of Sirius Satellite Radio and join Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan in Denver and Footballguys.com as well as Russ Lande, analyst for SportingNews.com’s NFL Draft Warroom and head of GMJr for three hours of 2010 NFL Draft recap.

As Cecil’s show (every Sunday on the Fan) is on in Denver, we covered a lot of Broncos (and Tim Tebow) but also hit on the Draft in general and the AFC West as a whole.

You can also get a behind the scenes look at the three of us on this episode of Blurb TV. In fact you can get a look at ALL of my experience at the 2010 NFL Draft here at Thundering Blurb or over at my channel on Viddler as well.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Interview with NewYorkJets.DK

Hey folks,

Just a quick post to let you know about an interview I did with Mark Bundgaard at NewYorkJets.DK, a Danish blog devoted to the New York Jets.

I’ll always be thankful to Mark for this because I can now claim I’m really big in Denmark.

He shot some questions about what the Jets could and should do for this week’s NFL Draft. Find my answers at the link here.

We’ll be doing a recap after the Draft as well so stay tuned.

Thanks to Mark for having me by.

Tags: , , , ,

The Thundering Blurb Show – 4/14

REMINDER – NEXT WEEK’S SHOW IS ON MONDAY AT 10PM EST ON THE FANTASY SPORTS CHANNEL.

Also I will be at the NFL Draft all three days, live at Radio City Music Hall. You can follow me live blogging right here at the Blurb site, catch my instant thoughts on Twitter by following @thunderingblurb or by tuning in to 104.3 the Fan’s stream (they’re Denver so get ready for Broncos Talk).

 

 

Cupcakes from Crumbs were my birthday cake. My wife ROCKS.

Turns out not only was it my Birthdaystravoganzapalooza but the Denver Broncos gave us some news to talk about on last night’s show.

In order to make sure we had the 411 on the ins and outs of the trade and it’s impact on the Broncos, we welcome good friend of the show and twitter machine Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Frank and I chat about Marshall and his affect on the Broncos, and then talk about some of the other points of attack the team may have going into next Thursday. We also chat about the direction of the team, the different ways the offense could be heading and the fact that Denver might want to get a Center in at some point—since they don’t have one at all on the roster.

We cover all that and more Broncos talk before segueing into more general NFL talk, including the fact that we both have reservations about shifting the Draft so suddenly to Thursday and a three day format and why.

You can find Frank on the Twitters by following @fs3142 or head over to here and read his Gazette stuff.

After we bid Frank adieu (classy huh?) and take a brief break, I welcome in Shane Hallam. Shane does work everywhere including some nice videos on the Draft here and a podcast on BlogTalkRadio as well as contributing to Scott Wright’s site over at DraftCountdown.com.

Shane and I touch on a bunch of different Draft-related topics including running backs and wide receivers. Shane—as a Steelers fan—also helps me break down the Santonio Holmes to the Jets trade.

Along with all the above spots to catch Shane’s work, you can follow him on Twitter, @TheP1414.

Altogether good stuff. There might be better ways to spend your birthday but this was a pretty good one.

I capped the evening off (post-show) with a 90 minute chat on Jared Faree’s What’s Your Fantasy show talking movies. Check that out here for some movie madness as we decide what flicks Jared has to see of the vast list of stuff he hasn’t.

As always, thanks for listening and following.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Santonio Holmes to the Jets – Reaction

It’s crazy to wake up on a Monday-at 6 AM no less – and realize you somehow missed a trade THAT morning.

Yet even the mighty Adam Schefter was busy getting shut eye when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded wide reciever Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets for a 2010  fifth round pick. (edit: thanks to Fred Cannock for catching my typo – wrote first – should have been fifth. Arg…)

This does not include Leon Washington by the way. Washington would have to have signed his tender in order to get traded and he hasn’t.

At first my thought was ‘why so cheap’? Santonio Holmes has become a very good receiver and in theory shouldn’t he be worth more?

But Holmes is cheap because he is facing a four game suspension. He’s also cheap because he is in the last year of a deal and the Steelers probably didn’t want to have to negotiate a contract with a guy one strike away from a year suspension.

For the Steelers it’s a chance to get something now while getting rid of a headache. For the Jets, it’s a cheap rental they can sign longer if Holmes acquits himself well on an off the field.

Here’s where the trade leave the teams…

JETS:  Braylon Edwards is on notice. I mean, Sir Drops-A-Lot was before, but with Holmes there his situation is even shakier than his hands. Edwards has (potentially) four games to prove to Ryan, Schottenheimer and Sanchez that he can be depended upon to catch what is thrown at him reliably.

Otherwise, if Holmes plays as Holmes can play, Edwards might potentially watch as the long-term deal he covets goes to Holmes.

When he gets on the field post-expected-suspension, Holmes helps this team tremendously. His speed, hands and overall game are elements the Jets have lacked in their pass game for a long time. Holmes will give Sanchez a vertical weapon—sorry a reliable vertical weapon—which will allow him to stretch the field.

Sanchez’s development should be helped by this—he’ll have the weapons to succeed and now he will have to take the next step himself. 

Despite what one might think, this will help Jerricho Cotchery more than hurt him.

We already know he’s the reliable one in this offense. As much as I love Cotchery, he’s not a true #1. Having a real threat across from him will give him a little more room to move.

At worst though, it shouldn’t hurt his targets too much, unless Edwards lights it up while Holmes is out.

For a fifth round pick—which is about the point in the Draft where players taken can easily be gone by September—it’s a pretty safe move for the Jets.

Yes, Holmes will be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season. But that leaves the Jets plenty of time to decide what they can get from him long term.

And if you know he’ll out-perform the production of a fifth round rookie.

Even if this goes south, the Jets gave up little to get Holmes and the upside is huge. Now they can also focus on something else for the Draft as well.

This buys them at least a year and potentially more.

Steelers: The Steelers are having a rough off-season. Ben Roethlisberger is/was embroiled in yet another off-the-field scandal and even if he is cleared, it’s happening way too frequently.

Holmes is gone for the first four games and is another bad decision away from potentially missing a whole season.

He’s also in the final year of a contract, and I could see why would the Steelers would want to avoid having to negotiate with a guy who can’t keep his nose clean off the field.

It’s going to be hard to give him what he wants when you know he could be taken from you at any time due to continued bad decisions.

You get something while you can for him—and his trade value isn’t going up as we approach the season.

This definitely moves the wide receiver position to near the top of the list for the Steelers at next week’s Draft.

Mike Wallace was a find last season and he will probably step up into Holmes’ slot. Hines Ward has at least another year in him.

But after that, who is there? Perennially underachieving Antwaan Randel-El? Journeyman Arnez Battle? Limas Sweed?

This is a team which depended on the pass more than we expected them to in 2009, especially with a mediocre offensive line and a streaky at best running game.

They’ll need to find some help and soon. It’s not a crisis by any means, but losing Holmes means they have one more hole to fill for the future.

Short term, we may see more of a focus on the run for the Steelers. It will be interesting to see what adjustments they make here.

I am surprised to see Holmes go so cheap, but I can’t blame the team for moving him given the tumultuous off-season so far.

In the end, it’s a step back for the Steelers. When losing a player like Holmes, how could it be anything else? But they have one less distraction heading into camp and can try to circle the wagons and focus on football.

In the end I think this could be a win-win for both teams. The Jets get a stud wide receiver (with baggage) for a one year rental while paying a low price. The Steelers get something for a player they would not have been able to easily move come summer and whom they didn’t want to have to negotiate with after he played a shortened season.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

NFL Late Hits

I’ve been throwing out my thoughts on Monday mornings on Twitter and will probably continue to do so, but felt like a proper article makes a ton of sense.

With that in mind, welcome to NFL Late Hits, my new Monday article here at The Thundering Blurb. It won’t cover everything that happens in the NFL on a Sunday, just the stuff that for whatever reason sticks in my brain by day’s end.

Two huge plays yesterday have caused some chaos in the NFL media and Fantasy Football community – one was the 4-2 call to go for it by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, the other, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew taking a knee at the one to milk the clock in the Jets game.

Let’s start with the call by Belichick. I’ll admit, I didn’t see it when it happened.

I did discover a new food allergy so, you know, win!

Instead, I went over the hightlites and looked over the game info at NFL.com. I can’t say I thought it was the best call, but I’m not sure it’s the worst ever.

Say what you will, but Belichick goes on fourth pretty often and it works out for him more than most coaches. I may be remembering wrong, but on NFLN last night, I believe Mariucci said it worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 78% of the time for him.

It’s not a bad percentage – on the other end of the field.

Look, Belichick has forgotten more about football in the time it took me to type this sentence out than I know now. So I’m sure he had all the facts, figures and percentages in his head when he made the call.

I just don’t know why you risk giving Peyton Manning the ball on your side of the field.

A great coach rolls the dice. Sometimes you hit the point, sometimes you crap out. Like The Hoodie said in his press conference, people will question you anyway.

I think it was a bad call. I also think the media shouldn’t be pulling their hair out over it.

Especially since, had the Pats made it, we would have had another round of ‘This is the kind of GENIUS which has made him so successful’.

A little perspective please.

Speaking of perspective – ok, so if you lost your Fantasy Matchup because Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee on the one yard line, you might want to skip a few paragraphs to where I chat about Brian Westbrook.

This was the right call. Could Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee have biffed the extra point kick? Sure. It happens less than 2% of the time, but like the man said ’so you’re saying there’s a chance?’.

Listen, when people say Fantasy Football is ruining enjoyment of the game, it’s because of reactions like this.

Scobee – shaky though he has been – wasn’t missing that kick. A short, high, kick is very hard to block. I know it cheeses you off not to get the 6 points but the Jags needed to milk the clock.

Whether reports are true that Head Coach Jack Del Rio called for a knee prior to the play or not, it was the right decision.

Seemingly overlooked in the ‘DAMMIT MJD YOU COST ME MY GAME’ shouting was the fact that Jones-Drew picked up the first down. That game was done. They could burn the clock all the way to the wire (which they did) and kick a ‘gimme’ field goal (which they also did).

It’s a no brainer. Sure, like Belichick’s call above if something bizarre had happened and the Jets had gotten the ball back and won, it would look foolish.

But the best way to finish a game and win is to keep the ball out of the hands of the opposing offense’s hands. They did that. As much as I don’t love the thought of Mark Sanchez having to lead his team 80 yards to a win, all it would have taken was a missed tackle and the Jets could have walked away with a win.

Why take that chance? Keep the ball in your hands as long as you can. Milk the clock. Kick the field goal.

It’s maddeningly simple to me, as it was when Brian Westbrook did it previously.

Hell, MJD even apologized to you which he really didn’t need to. Of course he admitted he had himself and screwed himself too, but also pointed out that hey ‘you play to win the game’.

Side note: With players owning themselves and other players in leagues that often deal with pots of prize money, is the league going to come down on this as gambling?  I know the arguement has been Fantasy isn’t gambling, but you have to wonder if the NFL worries.

Things didn’t go all that well for the guy who last took a knee at the line either. Brian Wesbtrook suffered his second concussion in less than a month yesterday and you have to start thinking we’re seeing the end of him in the NFL.

Listen, I’m no doctor – in fact I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night – but twice in a month is bad. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s awful.

The more often you get them, the more easy it is to get them. More than one player can testify to that and with the recent discussion in the media and NFL circles about head injuries and their long term effects I cannot imagine the Eagles rushing him back out there.

Especially not with LeSean McCoy there. I mean, isn’t this what you picked him for?

Maybe not, if you run a grand total of 13 times.  The Eagles only threw to the backs a total of five times as well.

Sure, they were down and yes they moved the ball through the air effectively in the fourth quarter. Still, there was never a threat that they were running the ball – I wonder if the success moving the chains via air freight than on the ground says more about deficiencies in the Chargers secondary than the Eagles pass attack

Either way, one hopes the Eagles – and Westbrook himself – are very cautious this time out.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trendspotting: Thomas Jones & Leon Washington

NFL_new_york_jets_1[1]Before Brett Favre came to town in 2008, the New York Jets had built their offense to be one that would center on – though not exclusively – the ground game.
 
However, the moment Favre arrived, the Jets morphed into a more evenly balanced attack. Yet despite that, Thomas Jones had his fourth straight 1,000 yard season and his first with double digit touchdowns (Jones had 13 on the ground and a pair receiving).
 
Meanwhile, if you look at his partner in the backfield, most onlookers felt that Leon Washington was criminally underused by the former head coach, Eric Mangini. 
 
Ryan has brought a new attitude to Gang Green

Ryan has brought a new attitude to Gang Green

When new Head Coach Rex Ryan came on board he promised to utilize the offensive line to run block, as it was designed to do. He promised more Leon Washington (so much so that Peter King predicted 300 touches) and drafted a rookie quarterback who would need an effective ground game to keep him from having to win with his arm. 

 
In fact, since Ryan came from the Baltimore Ravens – who had just shepherded their own rookie, quarterback Joe Flacco – confidence was high that this could be a very good season for he Jets rushing attack.
 
After three weeks, what do we have? The Jets are tied for the tenth ranked rushing offense, though that’s largely skewed by game one. Leon Washington has barely topped 40 carries in three games and only has seven receptions. Thomas Jones has had only seven more carries than Washington and only 17 more yards.
 
Both Jets fans and fantasy owners are left wondering what is happening and how much longer it will last.
 
For today’s Trendspotting, let’s take a stab at answering these questions.
 
First let’s look at some hard facts.
 
As ineffective as the Jets run game has seemed, they’ve actually run a ton. They’ve run the ball 104 times versus the 83 times they have passed, a percentage of 56% of the time. A bit more balanced than we anticipated but still not a minuscule amount.
 
In fact, their 104 attempts put them second behind fellow New York team, the Giants. While neither team is totalling extreme numbers, the Jets rank 11th in total ground yards (The GMen are 8th).
 
Where the Jets are struggling is in yards per carry. They are at 3.8 ypc, ranking 22nd in the league. While you might throw the 3.8 out with a mere ‘it’s too early to count it yet’, with the exception of the Giants all the other teams with over 100+ carries are significantly better per carry.
 

TEAM

ATTEMPTS

YARDS PER ATTEMPT

DENVER BRONCOS

102

4.7

MIAMI DOLPHINS

102

4.7

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

102

5.0

BALTIMORE RAVENS

101

4.7

 
Now of course, it’s just three weeks and there are teams who came close to 100 carries like the Detroit Lions (90) with similar YPC (in Detroit’s case, 3.5).
 
Putting aside the small sample size, that’s a significant drop off from the 4.7 that three other 100+ carry teams have the the Jets’ 3.8.
 
So while they are running the ball often, they aren’t doing it effectively.
 
Individually, the yards per carry actually look fine for both backs. Thomas Jones has a 3.77 while Leon Washington has a 4.00 yards per carry.
 
Respectable, right?
 
Well here’s a closer look which tells you things may not be what the appear.
 
 
Watching Thomas Jones the first two weeks didn’t excite me much. Frankly, he looked slow and plodding. He didn’t seem to hit the holes when they were there. 
 
Even in Week 1, when he totalled 107 yards and two touchdowns (his only two thus far this season) Jones looked bad for much of the game. He broke two big runs – one 39 yard touchdown road and a second 39 yard run where he cut back across the defense, who had over-pursued too far to one side of the field.
 
I hate to play ‘taking away run X’ but in order to get a sense of what Jones is doing, you really have to. Because looking at the game as a whole, Jones didn’t look good at all and his yards per carry was awful for most of the game. Same with Week 2. 
 
The majority of runs for Jones are for one or two yards. Occasionally he gets an eight or ten yard run – even more rarely he gets a big gain like the 39 yard runs from Week 1. 
 
Raye's departure could be hurting Jones

Raye's departure could be hurting Jones

For sure, part of this is due to the departure of running back coach Jimmy Raye, who left to be the Offensive Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Under Raye, Jones had two of his most productive years ever. When a coach like that leaves, it certainly can have an affect on a player.

 
Of course, another part of this is could be Jones.
 
I’ll give this to Jones – he is not mailing it in. He may look a little slower than in the past, but he’s fighting hard.
 
Jones’ biggest issue might be – and here’s a shock – the offensive line.
 
As I said earlier, watching him on television for two weeks left me less than enthused. I got even more concerned when I saw Jones in person against the Titans in Week 3 but it wasn’t just because he looked a little slow.
 
Granted the Titans are a great team against the run even at 0-3. Record aside, they are ranked second in the NFL against the rush and they found ways to meet Jones at the line all day. The Jets line really struggled with the inside stunts the Tennessee unit threw at them. 
 
What makes it more difficult for Jones is that he can’t really attack the edge. He doesn’t have that speed and ability to turn that outside corner and when the Jets try that with him, he gets caught. So the Jets have to keep him pounding the middle even when he’s ramming into a wall of defenders.
 
The offensive line play hasn't been as good as expected

The offensive line play hasn't been as good as expected

During the Titans game the Jets’ offensive line didn’t get enough initial push – something that was the case against the Patriots in Week 2 as well. Sure, Jones has lost a step and yeah maybe he’s not all that happy with his contract but those are not affecting his overall work. On Sunday he recovered a fumble, sold the heck out of a play-fake and did some great pass-blocking.
 
Jones is giving effort, he’s just not getting enough help from his line. While I wasn’t in love with his play in Week 1, I’m more concerned with the line’s play in Weeks 2 & 3.
 
I think Jones can still have a very nice season and as Coach Rex Ryan has publicly stated he isn’t planning on putting Shonn Greene in more, he will continue to have opportunity. He’ll turn it around, and we’ll get to that in a minute. First, we have to look over the other half of the rushing attack.
 
Big numbers have eluded Washington so far this year

Big numbers have eluded Washington so far this year

Leon Washington
Ryan promised to use more of Washington in 2009. After an almost criminal under-utilization of Washington last year, fans and owners alike were ecstatic.
 
Washington is certainly getting more snaps, averaging 13.67 a game. He can run between the tackles, though he runs into the same problem Jones does in terms of no push from the offensive line.
 
What I am not seeing enough of, certainly considering what we expected, is a ton of pass targets.
 
In the first game, Washington had six targets, four of which he hauled in for a total of 24 yards. But the last two games he’s seen just five. He’s caught three of them and totaled in two games what he got in Week 1 – 24 yards.
 
Washington is very dangerous out in space and when catching a screen pass yet he hasn’t been used in that manner very often the last few games. Part of that is that teams now what he can do and guard against it. Yet it also comes down to play-calling.
 
Why aren’t Ryan and Offensive Coordinator utilizing him in the pass game more? Perhaps it has just been that in game planning for the last two match-ups, they were concerned both defenses might be waiting for it. That’s the problem early in the season – not a ton of empirical evidence to look over.
 
It could be Washington isn’t in as often on third downs as Jones is, as Jones has been a very good pass-blocker and may have an easier time doing that due to his heavier weight.
 
While Washington has been getting half the carries in the run game and plenty of touches overall, he may not be getting the right touches currently. Just having him run between the tackles – something I saw a bunch on Sunday against the Titans – seems to be a waste of his abilities.
 
 
Sanchez has won Rookie of the Week 3 Weeks in a Row - but that's not helping the run game

Sanchez has won Rookie of the Week 3 Weeks in a Row - but that's not helping the run game

Mark Sanchez
Wait a minute. Why is the rookie Quarterback in this edition of Trendspotting? We’re talking RUNNING BACKS.
 
Well, next to the oline, nobody on the field will impact the not-so-dynamic-duo as much as the ‘Sanchize’.
 
Sanchez – while now a three time Offensive Rookie of the Week and according to the media the ‘front-runner’ after three whole weeks for Rookie of the Year – isn’t perfect.
 
Listen, he’s cool in the pocket, brave to the point of insanity (ever hear several thousand Jets fans shriek ‘SLIDE MARK SLIDE’? I have.) and has been playing pretty contained football so far during this young season.
 
Yet he has forced throws, been baited into bad decisions and at times looked like what he is – a rookie quarterback. The thought prior to the season is that the team would protect him with a solid run game and that might up Jones and Washington’s numbers as it would increase their carries.
 
Of course, there was some discussion about how a rookie quarterback makes it hard on the run game. Defenses decide most of the time to make the rookie beat them and stack or attack the run. They don’t give up on the pass defense entirely, but a rookie quarterback has to earn their respect.
 
This seemed to get lost in some of the conversation about the Jets rushing attack just before the season.
 
As much as opposing teams respect what Sanchez brings to the table and as much as he has shown flashes of the ability to burn them long, he doesn’t do it consistently enough for them to lay off the run. 
 
OC Schottenheimer keeps things simple for rookie QB Sanchez

OC Schottenheimer keeps things simple for rookie QB Sanchez

Further, Schottenheimer and Ryan are keeping things pretty simple for the rookie. They don’t want to risk overwhelming him with too many schemes and choices. Keeping things a little plain allows the defenses playing against the Jets to focus on fewer potential looks and scenarios.

 
Given the large amount of carries, we know the team is protecting Sanchez with the run. But the vanilla plays they often run (with the exception of the occasional WildCat or razzle dazzle) allow the defense to concentrate on stopping that run.
 
Sanchez needs to get better and make a few more plays downfield if the Jets are to pull the dogs off Jones and Washington at the line. It wouldn’t hurt to see a few more screens to Washington either.
 
What To Do?
 
Both of these players are worth hanging on to. When it comes to Thomas Jones, if you have him and are not hemorrhaging points at the RB2 or Flex spot, hold him.
 
As for Washington, like Jones, he isn’t playing as well as we’d hoped. You probably drafted him much later than Jones, so he may not be hurting you as much. I believe he will continue to get his half of the carries and I believe that as Mark Sanchez continues to improve he will be able to move defenses off the line of scrimmage more.
 
Finally, you have to like the Jets schedule as it stands.
 
There are some tough teams, especially at first glance.
 
Looking over the whole of it though, the Jets have some match-ups which should make their backs salivate. Carolina (29th vs run), Oakland (28th), Tampa Bay (31), Atlanta (24th) and perennial good RB match-up Indianapolis (21st) all should be good days for the Jets tandem. Some of them will improve as the season goes and some of their stats are skewed due to small sample size (three weeks folks). 
 
Still they mark some good potential games for the Jets down the road.
 
Also, some of the tough match-ups aren’t necessarily all they appear. 
 
Sure, Miami (3rd vs the run), Jacksonville (14th) and Cincinnati (11th) seem tough against the run – until you look at their pass defense. Miami (26th), Jacksonville (32nd) and Cincinnati (19th) all struggle against the pass. So that’s what teams do – they pass against these shaky secondaries.
 
It doesn’t mean they aren’t decent run defenses or won’t improve. It does mean that a bad pass defense may be inflating what appears to be a good run defensive ranking. 
 
Many of the best match-ups come late in the Fantasy Season – in fact, Indianapolis is there for many owners Championship Week in Week 16. Carolina, Tampa Bay and Atlanta are all late season match-ups as well.
 
In both cases, these are players worth hanging on to. As I believe they will trend upwards over the next month or so, I would also recommend seeing if you can buy low on them. Point out the offensive line woes and the low total yards past week 1.
 
Looking forward I think this is a rushing attack that will improve as the season gets older.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Breaking Down the Jets Draft: Shonn Greene, Running Back

With two big moves in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jets showed they were worried about quality not quantity when it cam to draft strategy.

After trading up for Mark Sanchez in round 1, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Head Coach Rex Ryan decided to roll the dice again and bundle most of the rest of their 2009 picks in a bid to grab arguably the top remaining running back left on the board, Iowa Hawkeye Shonn Greene.

With many Jets fans wondering what is so special about Greene, here is my analysis of the newest Gang Green power running back and how he might fit in the new regime’s plans.

Ht: 5-10 (1/2) – Wt 227

Pluses
Greene is an incredibly powerful runner, who can not only show patience in waiting for a hole to develop and the vision to see it happening, but is very tough to bring down for the defense. When they do drag him down, he’ll get you that extra distance more by falling forward. He also gets stronger as the game goes on and doesn’t easily tire out.

Even though he is older than your average rookie (at 24), he actually doesn’t have much wear and tear on those legs. He doesn’t cough the ball up, is a very hard worker and a solid team player.

Minus
While he is a very good inside runner, he has problems getting outside and turning the corner. He’s not terribly fast and he won’t be winning any footraces against most defenders.

There are some doubts about his football IQ and while he shows patience waiting for a play to develop, he sometimes appears indecisive. As he missed some games with shoulder and knee injuries early in his career and has had ankle injuries during his college career.

How It Comes Together
Many feel this pick was a shot across Thomas Jones’ bow to end his holdout, but I don’t know that’s the case. Erik Boland put it best in his Jets Blog on Newsday – even if Jones wasn’t holding out, the guy is 31.

The classic thought on running backs is that 30 is the beginning of the end and while Jones has continued to play well, how much tread does he have left? Boland is right – they needed to get younger at the position and look towards the future.

If Jones holds out, the Jets bring Greene in and run him between the tackles while Leon Washington continues to work the outside. Greene can wear the defense down and then Washington can light them up.

If Jones doesn’t hold out, or if Greene struggles in camp, he can still rotate in on occasion and give Jones a breather throughout the season as he gets his NFL legs.

And when Jones is done, Greene can move into the backfield with a year of experience and get the hard yards.

Either way I think Greene has a very good chance to be the future power back in an offense that will be geared to the power run behind an offensive line that is built to succeed in the arena.

This will also take pressure off Mark Sanchez if he starts this year or Kellen Clemens if Sanchez gets a year holding a clipboard.

The biggest question is whether the Jets bypassed bigger needs with the trade (there were several solid defensive linemen they could have drafted at that spot or later if they didn’t trade up) or if they gave up too much to move up from their position in the third to the top of the round.

Time will tell. What is certain is the fact that the Jets saw an opportunity to jump up and grab at the brass ring not once but twice.

In what is considered an overall weak draft class, they decided that it wasn’t how many picks they had or how many rookies they could throw on the field, but instead the quality of those players and what they could mean for the franchise in the long term.