Late Tuesday the NFL finally released its official list of available free agents in four different categories for the signing period that began at 4 p.m. While most of you already are aware of this information and a lot more, for those who haven’t heard and in the interest of bookkeeping, here is a summation of what the release reads regarding the Jets:
Restricted Free Agents who received Qualifying Offers from their Prior Clubs and are subject to the First Refusal/Compensation system of the NFL CBA
T Austin Howard, Round 2
TE Jeff Cumberland, right of first refusal
The Round 2 designation for Howard is the pick a new club, if it were to sign Howard to an offer sheet, must send to the Jets, its own choice or a better choice in the round for the April draft. In Cumberland’s case, there is no compensation for a new club that would like to sign him to an offer sheet but the Jets still retain the right to match the offer and retain Cumberland. Offer sheets may be submitted up until Friday, April 19, one second before midnight.
Unrestricted Free Agents with four or more accrued seasons
S Yeremiah Bell
DT Mike DeVito
WR Braylon Edwards
K Nick Folk
RB Shonn Greene
RB Lex Hilliard
TE Dustin Keller
S LaRon Landry
G Brandon Moore
WR Chaz Schilens
G Matt Slauson
LB Bryan Thomas
Players with fewer than four accrued seasons who received no Qualifying Offer or minimum tender from their Prior Clubs
TE Dedrick Epps
LS Tanner Purdum
The fourth category is players who have been designated Franchise Players, but the Jets did not so designate anyone.
Tags: Austin Howard, Brandon Moore, Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, LaRon Landry, Nick Folk, restricted free agents, Shonn Greene, unrestricted free agents, Yeremiah Bell
Posted in Randy Lange | 88 Comments »
This is the companion list to my Jets Combine news advance featuring Stephen Hill, one of the top performers at last year’s workouts, that just went live.
The presentation is based on research that can be found by clicking on the Past Top Performers tab at nfl.com/combine.
The list comes in two sections. The top part shows future Jets who finished in the top 15 in a particular drill among all participants in a given combine. If an athlete’s performance can be extended to a top-15 finish for multiple years to the present, that is shown as well.
The second half is for Jets-to-be who finished in the top 15 among all the participants at ALL the combines from ’06-12 (or in the bench press from ’07-12) at each player’s position as listed heading into that combine.
The list includes players such as Antonio Cromartie who didn’t make their first NFL stops with the Jets as well as players in italics who are no longer with the Jets.
This week, with participants beginning now to descend on Indianapolis and combine drills ready to roll out starting Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, new Jets GM John Idzik and company have begun the process of finding the next Jets entries on these lists.
|Jets’Combine Bests, 2006-12|
|AMONG ALL PARTICIPANTS|
|Stephen Hill||4.36||’12||T-2nd; T-11th, ’09-12|
|Clyde Gates||40.0″||’11||T-8th; T-12th, ’11-12|
|Stephen Hill||11’1″||’12||T-1st; T-7th, ’06-12|
|Antonio Cromartie||11’0″||’06||T-4th; T-12th, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||10’11″||’08||T-4th; T-13th, ’07-12|
|Clyde Gates||10’11″||’11||2nd; T-13th, ’07-12|
|Nick Bellore||4.00||’11||T-7th; T-15th, ’10-12|
|220-Pound Bench Press|
|Vernon Gholston||37 reps||’08||T-1st; T-10th, ’08-12|
|AMONG ALL AT A PLAYER’S POSITION|
|LaRon Landry||4.35||’07||T-1st among Ss, ’06-12|
|David Clowney||4.36||’07||T-13th among WRs, ’06-12|
|Stephen Hill||4.36||’12||T-13th among WRs, ’06-12|
|Brad Smith||4.46||’06||4th among QBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||4.55||’08||T-8th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Brad Smith||39.5″||’06||2nd among QBs, ’06-12|
|Tim Tebow||38.5″||’10||4th among QBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||38.0″||’08||7th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Aaron Maybin||38.0″||’09||T-14th among DL, ’06-12|
|LaRon Landry||37.5″||’07||T-11th among Ss, ’06-12|
|Matt Slauson||34.0″||’09||T-6th among OL, ’06-12|
|Stephen Hill||11’1″||’12||T-3rd among WRs, ’06-12|
|Antonio Cromartie||11’0″||’06||T-5th among CBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||10’11″||’08||T-1st among TEs, ’06-12|
|Clyde Gates||10’11″||’11||5th among WRs, ’06-12|
|Brad Smith||10’8″||’06||1st among QBs, ’06-12|
|Vernon Gholston||10’5″||’08||6th among DL, ’06-12|
|Aaron Maybin||10’4″||’09||T-7th among DL, ’06-12|
|Demario Davis||10’4″||’12||T-11th among LBs, ’06-12|
|Nick Bellore||4.00||’11||T-3rd among LBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||4.14||’08||8th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Nick Mangold||4.36||’06||6th among OL, ’06-12|
|Tim Tebow||6.66||’10||1st among QBs, ’06-12|
|Dustin Keller||6.88||’08||12th among TEs, ’06-12|
|Tim Tebow||11.27||’10||1st among QBs, ’06-12|
|220-Pound Bench Press|
|Vernon Gholston||37 reps||’08||T-7th among DL, ’07-12|
|Demario Davis||32 reps||’12||T-5th among LBs, ’07-12|
|Dustin Keller||26 reps||’08||T-12th among TEs, ’07-12|
|Kyle Wilson||25 reps||’10||T-4th among CBs, ’07-12|
|Robert Malone||19 reps||’10||T-3rd, Specialists, ’07-12|
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Clyde Gates, Dustin Keller, NFL Combine, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 18 Comments »
Not surprisingly, Jets head coach Rex Ryan liked the combination of rushing offense and mostly stifling defense that got the Jets past the Jaguars on Sunday. In particular, he enjoyed the play of a few of his young guns on the front line of that defense.
“Muhammad Wilkerson, I promise you he’s getting the Pro Bowl vote from Jacksonville,” Ryan said at his midday news conference today. “It was a dominant performance from Mo. For an interior lineman, he’s just doing an incredible job. Statistically, he had the one sack, but he beat his guy over and over. Backs were having to pick him up — that’s rare when you have interior linemen getting attention from the backs. Usually that’s for the outside edge rushers. It just shows you what teams are thinking of this guy.”
And top draft pick Quinton Coples came on in the second half with one of his most impressive showings as a Jet.
“Obviously, Quinton’s athleticism jumps out at you. We always say he’s country-strong, and he is,” Ryan said. “What we’re starting to do now with him is mixing him up as an inside player, then an outside player. He missed a sack when he went over the top of [Chad] Henne, but he got one sack and he affected three more throws, including that last one at the end of the game. It looked like he was eating that tackle up pretty good over there.”
“I think the pass rush has been incredible,” said DT Mike DeVito of the Jets’ Sunday pressure that produced an unofficial total of 10 QB hits, the most this season. “It’s something we’ve been working on since day one, and to see Mo and Q doing that for us, that’s great. You can do so many more things when you can rush the quarterback.”
The only black mark on Wilkerson’s game actually was incorrectly graded. Referee Al Riveron called No. 96 for a 15-yard facemask penalty on a Henne third-down scramble on the Jags’ TD drive, but replays showed it was No. 98, Coples, who got his finger hooked in Henne’s mask on the play.
Still, that was the Jets’ only penalty of the game, another aspect of the win that pleased Ryan. The Jets are now third in the NFL in fewest penalties and fourth in yards, and they lead the league in both penalty categories since the bye week.
With the push up front and the creative backside play led by Antonio Cromartie and a cast that yesterday included Ellis Lankster, Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen, the Jets rankings continue to rise. If their eighth overall defensive-yardage ranking and their No. 3 against the pass hold through tonight’s Houston-New England game, it will be their highest weekly rankings of the season.
The third quarter’s been the charm for the Jets D the past two games. The Cardinals gained 6 yards in their third quarter and the Jaguars had the same on Sunday. These totals were the best third-quarter showing by the Green & White defense since they allowed the Dolphins 5 yards in their 2007 win at Miami. And they’re the lowest yardage total in any quarter since the ‘Fins had 3 yards in the fourth quarter of their Meadowlands win over the Jets in 2010.
WR Stephen Hill has an LCL knee sprain and LB Bryan Thomas has a pectoral muscle strain. The Jets are listing both as day-to-day. As for TE Dustin Keller (ankle), who stayed home from the Jags game, Ryan said, “I thought he was getting better as the week went on, but not to the point where he could play. Adding another day this week [for the Monday night game] , hopefully that’ll get him back on the field.”
This week’s first injury reports from the Jets and Titans won’t be issued until Thursday.
Bucking the Trend
The Jets on Sunday at Jacksonville did something they had never accomplished in franchise history and that no NFL team had achieved in the 19 previous seasons. They went scoreless in the first halves of back-to-back victories.
This is one of those glass-half-full-glass-half empty deals, akin to winning six fourth-quarter comebacks in a season. It’s definitely a good thing that the Jets beat both the Cardinals and the Jaguars despite zero first-half points, but it’s not something they want to make a habit of, such as trying for three in a row next Monday night at Tennessee.
On 10 previous occasions, the Jets went scoreless in back-to-back games. Only once did they win even one of the two games, in 1971 when they won at Miami, 14-10, before losing at New England, 20-0. (The Jets actually went scoreless for the first three quarters in both those games.) The other nine times they were 0-2.
But the Jets aren’t alone in struggling through two games of not being able to put point one on the board in the first 30 minutes. The last NFL team to do it was New Orleans in 1992. From 1993 through 2011, there were 79 occasions when teams went scoreless in the first half of consecutive games. None of them won both. Less than a third won one of the two games.
Another interesting note is that after 19 years of none of these occasions, the NFL has two teams who have qualified for the distinction this season, and in fact did it the last two weeks. The Jets have been joined by the Rams, who beat the 49ers in overtime, 16-13, last week and took out the Bills, 15-12, on Sunday.
“Inside the Jets”
Radio play-by-play voice of the Jets Bob Wischusen hosts tonight’s “Inside the Jets” show at the Grasshopper in Morristown, N.J. The show begins at 7 p.m. tonight and will be aired live on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. Bob’s guests are WR Chaz Schilens, QB Greg McElroy and assistant GM Scott Cohen.
Tags: Bryan Thomas, Dustin Keller, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike DeVito, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 141 Comments »
Mark Sanchez has had an “excellent week of practice,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said today.
“I see a lot of energy from him, I see him bouncing around,” Ryan said at his news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center following this morning’s final practice before Sunday’s game at Jacksonville. “You can tell he feels good, he feels good about the plan, he feels confident.”
Yet Sanchez, playing for the first time since Ryan pulled him in the third quarter of the Arizona game last Sunday, could be without one of his biggest security blankets of the past four seasons. TE Dustin Keller (ankle) did not practice again today and is listed as doubtful for the Jaguars.
“With me, doubtful usually means he’s not going,” Ryan said. “It’s unfortunate, but this is like the sixth time this season we haven’t had Dustin.”
If Keller is inactive for the Jags, it will be the fifth game he’s missed this season, and he had one-catch contributions in the Buffalo opener and the Indianapolis game sandwiched around that early four-game hiatus due to his aggravated hamstring injury.
DK is on pace for 48 targets, 37 catches and 423 yards, which would all be career lows since his 2008 rookie season. He was the Jets’ receptions leader in 2010 and ’11, the first Jets TE with that distinction since Mickey Shuler in 1984-85.
That’s a difficult security blanket to reweave, but Jeff Cumberland has at least filled in well in his first full, healthy season with the Green & White. His 35 targets, 21 catches, 233 yards are close to Keller’s line and his two TD catches match Keller’s scores. And even with Keller missing for a stretch, the tight end numbers this year are pretty close to the previous three seasons, with the average yards per catch at the position (11.3) the lowest since 2008 yet not far off the Keller-influenced 11.5 for the position in ’09.
Injury Statuses for the Game
As for the rest of the Jets’ injured players, only WR Clyde Gates (concussion) has been declared out, and NT Damon Harrison (ankle) is the only other “doubtful.” There are three questionables: QB Tim Tebow (ribs), WR Stephen Hill (knee) and NT Sione Po‘uha (low back), all of whom were limited in practice.
All 17 other Jets on the report are probable for Jacksonville, including RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle/ribs), who practiced full. Click here for the full report.
Jacksonville’s final report is one of extremes. Six of their 13 injured players are out for the Jets: RBs Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Rashad Jennings (concussion), WR Cecil Shorts (concussion), OL Mike Brewster (hand), CB Aaron Ross (calf) and DE George Selvie (concussion).
The other seven are all probable: S Dwight Lowery (foot), CBs Derek Cox (hamstring) and Rashean Mathis (groin), D-linemen Tyson Alualu (calf) and Austen Lane (foot), C Brad Meester (foot), and FB Greg Jones (thigh).
A Tale of Two “Strengths”
ESPN has noted that the Jets have gone from first in the NFL to last in one interesting measure: strength of schedule.
In the first 12 games of the season, Jets opponents’ combined record is 83-59-2, a .583 winning percentage that is first in the league. In other words, the Jets had the NFL’s toughest schedule (based only on opponents’ combined record) in the first three-quarters of the season.
The final four Jets opponents’ composite record is 15-33-0, a .313 percentage that is 32nd in the league. The Jets’ final quarter is the league’s “easiest” finish. Ominously, with Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati at least two games ahead of them for AFC Wild Card berths, that favorable final quarter may not be enough to provide a 2009-like storybook regular-season stretch run into the postseason grid.
But as Mike Westhoff said this week, “I’m a big believer that until someone tells us that we’re not in it, we can finish strongly and be in this thing, so that’s how I’m seeing it every week. You just don’t know in our crazy business, and it’s our responsibility to fight through that to the very end.”
And ours as well.
Tags: Dustin Keller, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jeff Cumberland, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Posted in Uncategorized | 30 Comments »
Here are today’s first-half tweets for the Jets-Cardinals game at MetLife Stadium, in case you missed them on Twitter. Follow Bob Wischusen, Eric Allen and me for our tweets during each Jets game on https://twitter.com/nyjets.
#RL Jets gameday captain vs ARZ: LB Calvin Pace, backed up by David Harris, Bart Scott, Demario Davis, Nick Bellore, Garrett McIntyre, NT Sione Po‘uha.
#RL Jets win toss, defer. Since 09 Jets have won opening toss and deferred 29 times (6 times this yr). Jets record in pvs 28 games: 12-16.
#RL Jets stop Cards on their 1st 3rd-down attempt of the game, Eric Smith PD, Donnie Fletcher on blitz vs QB Ryan Lindley.
#RL Jets run defense stops ARZ on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, get ball back for the offense at Jets 18 following Sanchez INT on first off play.
#RL Nick Folk 46-yd FG attempt off left upright, no good. Folk now 5-of-7 at home this year with only other miss a blkd try vs MIA.
#EA Bilal Powell off to a good start in the backfield. He has quality vision and continues to be an asset in pass pro.
#EA Jets D doing what they’re supposed to do. Zona last in the NFL in 3rd down conversions (28.4%) entering – now 0 of 3 today.
#RL S Kerry Rhodes has his 2nd INT of Mark Sanchez. 1st Jets opponent w/ 2 1st-quarter INTs since LA Rams’ Kirk Collins in ’83.
#RL Ryan Lindley’s rushed third-and-8 pass incomplete, Jets defense has now stopped Cardinals on all 5 third-down plays.
#EA Jets have held Beanie Wells to 1 yard on 7 attempts. They are winning the battle up front against a young line.
#RL LaRon Landry makes his 2nd INT of season, on Ryan Lindley longball intended for rookie WR Malcolm Floyd. Landry returns to ARZ-38.
#RL Nick Folk tries to convert from 52 yards out. This try hits the right upright. He’s 0-for-2 with two uprights, game continues scoreless.
#RL Nick Folk had hit his previous 4 FG tries from 50-plus yards before the 52-yard miss.
#RL Jets defense in last 6 drives has an INT, a fourth-and-1 stop and 4 three-and-outs.
#RL Defense bringing it today: Cards had 33 drive yards on their opening series and have 26 yards combined on their last 6 series.
#RL Rookie WR Stephen Hill grabs 6-yd pass for first down. Hill now leads all receivers in this game with 4 catches for 37 yds.
#EA Stephen Hill has 4 receptions in the first half. The rookie’s career-high was 5 in Week 1 vs. BUF.
#RL Rex Ryan challenging spot of Dustin Keller completion, a foot short of 1st down. Ryan’s been successful in 12 of previous 17 challenges.
#RL Rex now 13 of 18 on replay challenges. Keller gets 1st down, Jets have it 1st-and-10 at ARZ-44.
#RL Rashad Johnson goes 40 yds on fake punt snap. Longest fake by Jets opps since 40-yd pass from Rohn Stark to Michael Prior vs IND in ’90.
#RL Ex-Jets K Jay Feely hits 48-yd FG as time expires in first half. Cards lead 3-0 over Jets at halftime.
#RL Jets lead at half in yards (146-115), 1st downs (9-4), possession (17:14-12:46), Cards lead in takeaways (3-1) and score (3-0).
#RL First 3-0 Jets game at halftime since 2011 Game 8 (@ BUF, Jets 3-0), first at home since 2010 Game 7 (vs GB, Packers 3-0).
Tags: Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Kerry Rhodes, Dustin Keller, Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals, Jeff Cumberland, Patrick Peterson
Posted in Randy Lange | 87 Comments »
Here are today’s pregame tweets for the Jets-Patriots game at MetLife Stadium, in case you missed them on Twitter. Follow Bob Wischusen, Eric Allen and me for our tweets during each Jets game on https://twitter.com/nyjets.
#RL Weather for Jets-Patriots at MetLife Stadium tonight expected to be clear/cold, temps falling through low 40s during game, little wind.
#RL Jets tonight are playing in the 8th Thanksgiving game in their history. Their record: 4-3 overall, 3-0 @ home (wins in ’60, ’61, ’10).
#RL NYJ inactives: QB Greg McElroy, RB Kahlil Bell, CB Aaron Berry, NT Damon Harrison, G Caleb Schlauderaff,G Hayworth Hicks,TE Hayden Smith
#RL WR Jordan White (#17), CB Donnie Fletcher (#34), CB Darrin Walls (#27), signed from practice squad, all active for Jets tonight.
#RL NE inactives:CB Marquice Cole OL MarkusZusevics G Logan Mankins T Sebastian Vollmer TE Rob Gronkowski DEs Jake Bequette & Chandler Jones
#RL Jets gained 403 yds of offense @ NE last month, their first 400-yd game vs Patriots since 1996.
#RL Mark Sanchez career passing numbers vs NE: 140-for-237 (59.1%), 1677 yds, 12 TDs, 10 INTs, 19 sacks, 80.1 rating, 3-5 record.
#RL TE Dustin Keller has 8 catches in a game 4 times in career. First time: Thursday night 11/13/08 as a rookie in Jets’ 34-31 OT win @ NE.
#RL DE Mo Wilkerson has 2 forced fumbles, 1 FR-TD in last 2 games. Last Jet w/ 4 fumble plays in back-to-back games: LB Calvin Pace, 2008.
#RL Nick Folk has eight 50+ FGs in his Jets career, 3 this season–pair of 51-yders @ STL on Sunday, 54-yder @ NE last month.
#RL Tom Brady career numbers vs Jets: 479-for-753 (63.6%), 5360 yds, 32 TDs, 11 INTs, 42 sacks, 92.7 rating, 17-5 record.
#RL NE’s Wes Welker vs Jets: 11 games, 75 receptions, 874 yds (11.7 avg), 3 TDs, 3 100-yd games.
#RL Tonight’s referee is Mike Carey. It’s Carey’s 18th Jets game as ref since ’95. He also officiated 2010 Jets-Bengals Thanksgiving game.
#RL Jets have scored on 2 of their 10 opening drives this season — 2 TDs (@ PIT, @ NE),
#RL Jets opponents have scored on 6 of their 10 opening drives—4 TDs (@ MIA, HOU, @ SEA, @ STL), 2 FGs (@ PIT, MIA).
#RL Jets wearing green jerseys, green pants tonight, for 6th time under Rex Ryan. Record in g/g: 4-1 u/ Rex, 11-8 since ’02.
#RL We’ve cleared 500,000 followers. Amazing! And to think 3 years ago we had 500 followers. Thanks, Jets Nation.
Tags: Dustin Keller, Mark Sanchez, MetLife Stadium, Muhammad Wilkerson, New England Patriots, Nick Folk, Tom Brady, Wes Welker
Posted in Randy Lange | 60 Comments »
Rex Ryan and the Jets did in fact enjoy their two-hour plane ride back from St. Louis to Newark on Sunday night, as he suggested they should. And the head coach was still smiling over the Jets’ not-perfect-but-strong-nonetheless 27-13 win over the Rams the day before.
But Ryan and his players had no time to banter or trashtalk too much about their Thanksgiving night home matchup with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots.
“Right now we’re just swinging,” Rex said, going into heavy boxing/UFC metaphor. “We’re going to focus on our opponent specifically, but we’re behind where we have to be. We can only focus on ourselves. Like I say, just find a way to punch and swing. We earned where we are and we have to find a way to punch our way out. I’m not even worried about tweaking New England. It’s to a point where we have to focus on just us.”
The Jets did that with an altered schedule, returning to the Atlantic Health Training Center this morning and working out and meeting all day before starting the “first practice of the week” late this afternoon into early evening, which necessitated the lights ringing the complex’s outdoor turf field to be turned on for the session’s conclusion.
If any of the players lose focus now, it might not just be about losing that one-game-at-a-time mentality but also realizing how achy and breaky one’s body is after playing in St. Louis and before taking the field against the Pats’ band of offensive wizards and defensive opportunists three nights later.
“You have to see today like it’s a Wednesday practice,” TE Dustin Keller said from the . “You have to forget about the game yesterday. If you think about the game yesterday, you’re going to make yourself that much sorer.”
“It was a good win for us,” QB Mark Sanchez said. “We’re past that now, on to the next one. We have to try to get as many as we can.”
But only one at a time, CB Kyle Wilson said.
“We’re just really looking to improve this week, get better every day,” said Wilson. “We’re just focusing on New England. That’s all that’s there.”
One player who may not be there at MetLife Stadium, at least not in uniform, is New England’s Rob Gronkowski. Belichick told Patriots reporters on a conference call today, “I really don’t have anything” on the condition of the monster TE’s left forearm. And the Patriots’ official injury report released this evening only lists him as Did Not Participate in today’s practice, with a “forearm/hip” injury.
Unofficially it was being reported that Gronk fractured the arm while blocking on the final extra point of the Pats’ 59-24 win over the Colts and would be undergoing surgery sometime today.
“They have like five tight ends on their roster, so I don’t know if they will put another guy in that role,” Ryan said. “I’m not sure how they’ll do it. New England’s so multiple, they’ll give you four wides, five wides, a bunch of tight ends, so we’ll see as the game goes on how it affects them.
“Obviously, Gronkowski’s a huge target, especially in the red zone. I never like to see anybody get hurt. I’m not sad that he’s missing our game, but I hope he gets back soon.”
Sanchez has experienced the lows and highs of life as a quarterback the last two games, specifically when it comes to third-down accuracy.
At Seattle, Sanchez was 1-for-7 on third down, a 14.3% accuracy that was the lowest on that down of any game in his career.
Then at St. Louis, he rebounded with 8-for-9 accuracy at crunch time vs. the Rams. The 88.9% figure is the highest on that down in any game in his career.
On the other sideline, QB Sam Bradford and OC Brian Schottenheimer experienced those highs and lows in the same game. After one quarter, which was Bradford and Coach Schotty’s impressive 13-play opening touchdown drive, the Rams passer had a rating of 135.4 on 6-of-8 for 60 yards and the TD to Brandon Gibson.
The rest of the game, Bradford had to wonder where the magic went. He was 17-for-36 for 110 yards, one more TD to Gibby but one interception to Eric Smith, which all toted up to a 51.9 rating.
Love Those Short Fields
A few more note on the Jets-Rams drive chart. With the Rams help, the Jets finished 10 of their 13 drives in St. Louis territory. And two of those three series they didn’t cross the 50 were the Sanchez end-of-half kneeldowns.
Further, thanks to their three takeaways, the onside kick that Dustin Keller rescued, and a loss on downs after that, the Jets started five drives in St. Louis territory. That all added up to an average start on all drives of the Jets 45.9-yard line.
That is the best average drive start in a road game since we started tracking that number in 1990. There are only three home games that exceeded that number: 2001, Game 13, vs. Cincinnati (46.8), 2003, Game 5, vs. Buffalo (49.8), and 2008, Game 4, vs. Arizona (49.8). That last is the last time the Jets and Cardinals met before they’re set to do it again a week from Sunday. But first, of course, the Jets must figure out ways to maximize their field position and hidden yardage on Thursday night vs. the Patriots.
The Early Injury Picture
This is the week for the special Wednesday Injury Report, Monday Edition. The Jets and Patriots both filed reports after their practices today.
For the Jets, 19 players are on the report but it has the feel of last week’s report, which is to say fairly healthy for November. Only one player didn’t participate today and that’s WR Jason Hill (low back), who hasn’t played in the last two games after being re-signed.
Six players are limited, including WR Jeremy Kerley (heel/hamstring), who participated in only 19 offensive plays and none on specials vs. the Rams as he played through his issues. Also, NT Kenrick Ellis, who left the game after aggravating the knee injury that kept him out the four previous games, said he feels OK and did some work. The other limiteds: RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle), DT Sione Po‘uha (low back), LB Bart Scott (toe) and CB Aaron Berry (quadriceps).
Also for the first time since before the Week 6 game vs. the Colts, C Nick Mangold is no longer being listed with an ankle injury, only with a thumb deal. He’s one of 12 Jets who were full-go today.
For the Patriots, G Logan Mankins (ankle/calf) and rookie DE Chandler Jones (ankle) joined Gronkowski as DNPs. Thirteen players were limited: DT Ron Brace (elbow), S Patrick Chung (shoulder/hamstring), G Dan Connolly (back), S Steve Gregory (hip), TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), WR Brandon Lloyd (knee), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), DE Trevor Scott (hamstring), LB Brandon Spikes (knee), T Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee), WR Wes Welker (ankle) and LB Tracy White (foot).
LB Bart Scott is known for his Thanksgiving charity work in the city of Baltimore, where he started his pro career in 2002. Since ’03, he’s fed 250 men in the Helping Us Mission homeless shelter there, and this the fourth Turkey Day that Bart has conducted the dinner from a distance. The Ravens RB Ray Rice hosts in Bart’s absence, but the Madbacker talks with the attendees through Skype. This year’s event is Tuesday night.
Now rookie D-lineman Quinton Coples joins in the holiday cheer. Coples, who has a special affinity for his hometown of Kinston, N.C., gave away 250 turkeys in that town today. “Q” also is here in New Jersey, so his representatives, Millennium Sports Management, and volunteers distributed the birds on his behalf.
Tags: Bart Scott, Bill Belichick, Dustin Keller, Kyle Wilson, Mark Sanchez, New England Patriots, Quinton Coples, Rex Ryan, Rob Gronkowski, St. Louis Rams, thanksgiving, Tom Brady
Posted in Randy Lange | 34 Comments »
Updated, 7:10 p.m. ET
After catching all seven passes thrown to him for 93 yards and scoring a fourth quarter touchdown during Sunday’s overtime loss to the New England Patriots, Dustin Keller appears to be in a familiar spot.
“I’m finally getting into the swing of things and starting to get a real good feel for the passing game and all that stuff, because when you’re gone for a while, you don’t see those looks for a little while and it’s kind of a little weird when you first get out there,” the tight end said this afternoon after practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “But I feel back in the swing of things and pretty much back to where I was.”
Keller had missed four games earlier this season due to a hamstring injury, but returned to the Jets lineup against Indianapolis on Oct. 14. In that game, he had one catch for 6 yards on the only pass thrown his way by Mark Sanchez. However, in Foxboro, the QB/TE duo were able to regain their strong connection.
“I think there’s a major comfort level,” Keller said of his relationship with Sanchez, “and also at the same time, if there’s anything that feels a little cloudy in our minds, we both are comfortable enough to come up to each other and be like, ‘What were you thinking on that play?’ Just so we’re thinking alike. We both know exactly what each other is thinking. I try to do that anytime there’s a little bit of a question in my mind on any play.”
No. 81’s touchdown against New England came on the final play of the 92-yard drive that cut the Patriots’ lead to 23-20 with just under six minutes remaining in regulation. Sanchez threw the pass in a tight window and Keller was able to haul in the 7-yard reception in the middle of the end zone.
“The whole play worked because Mark put it in the only spot they couldn’t get it,” the fifth-year TE said.
As the Green & White gear up to take on the Miami Dolphins for the second time this season, Keller has been encouraged with how the Jets receivers have progressed since Santonio Holmes, their No. 1 WR, went down with a season-ending foot injury on Sept. 30.
“I think all the guys have done a great job of picking up the slack since Santonio’s been out,” Keller said. “Everybody has been picking up a little bit. Obviously there’s not one guy that’s going to pick up all the production and do all the things that Santonio was doing for us. But the guys that are here have been doing a great job.”
The Dolphins didn’t have an answer for Holmes when the teams first met last month. Tone finished that day with nine receptions for 147 yards and the Jets picked up their lone road victory of the season, leaving Sun Life Stadium with the 23-20 overtime victory. Keller was sidelined for the matchup but still analyzed the team’s performance.
“I think we did some good things the first game,” he said. “We were lucky enough to pull away the game. I don’t think we played our best football, but we did enough in each area, special teams, defense and offense, to win the game.”
Heading into their second meeting, Keller believes the Jets have an advantage against the Miami pass defense, which is allowing 284.8 yards per game, 28th in the NFL. But regardless of what the stats indicate about Miami, Keller knows how important Sunday’s contest is. And when you consider that the Jets enter their bye week after the game, it makes things even more critical.
“I feel like all AFC East games are rivalry games,” Keller said. “Anytime you’re going to get a team twice in a season, that’s a rivalry to me. But it’s always a tough game. All the AFC East games are tough, but for some reason, Miami, it seems like it’s been a big one for us.”
Rex and Reggie
The week before the Jets faced the Dolphins last month, Jets head coach Rex Ryan made comments describing how his team planned to contain running back Reggie Bush that drew some heat after the fact.
At the time, Ryan said, “Obviously, we have to do a great job of getting a lot of guys to him and getting him on the ground. Put some hot sauce on him, if you will.”
The Jets defeated Bush and the Dolphins, 23-20, in overtime. Bush produced 61 yards on 10 carries before leaving the game with a knee injury late in the second quarter. Late in the third quarter, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis went down with a season-ending torn left ACL.
Days after the game, Bush said: “It’s like the old saying, what goes around comes around. They talked all week about putting hot sauce and this and that, and they ended up losing their best player for the rest of the season. So it’s sad that it happened because of that, but I’m going to be back.”
As the AFC East foes prepare to meet again Sunday, Ryan was asked about the topic during his news conference this afternoon and explained the theory behind his statement.
“I never was saying that we were going to try to injury Reggie Bush,” Ryan said. “That’s not even close. He’s going to get our attention. I’m sorry, but he’s the type of player that’s going to warrant our attention and we’re going to give it to him, there is no question. That was what I meant by my comments. If it was taken differently, out of context or whatever, I apologized for that. Trust me, we know when he’s in the game. He is still going to get our attention.”
Ryan added that he never wants to see a player get hurt. He said as bad as he wants to beats Tom Brady, he would never want to see the Patriots QB out due to injury.
“Shoot, I’m a football fan as well as a coach,” he said. “This game is great because of the players and the talent that plays in this league.”
Bush enters Round 2 with the Green & White having started all six of Miami’s games with 98 rushes for 434 yards and three touchdowns.
Wednesday Injury Reports
The swelled-up Jets’ injury list continues to come back to earth slowly. The list now has 16 players, equal to its shortest Wednesday of the season. New to the list are TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist, did not participate) and G Vlad Ducasse (knee, full), but off the list completely are Keller, WR Stephen Hill and LB Bryan Thomas.
Eight players were DNPs for today’s practice. Besides Keller, they were NT Kenrick Ellis (knee), C Nick Mangold (ankle), RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle), LB Calvin Pace (who was kicked in the shin vs. the Patriots), RB Bilal Powell (shoulder), LB Bart Scott (toe) and S Eric Smith (knee).
McKnight is being brought along carefully after injuring the ankle against the Colts. As he said today, “If Coach Westhoff can play with a rod in his leg, I can play with a sore ankle.”
Also, NT Sione Pouha (back) was limited, as he was last Thursday and Friday. “I’m encouraged he’s out there giving it a shot this week,” said Ryan. “Big Bo” has missed the last three games and four of the seven this season.
The Dolphins’ list, on the other hand, is short by almost any standard. Only five players are listed by coach Joe Philbin: DNP — CB Richard Marshall (back) and DT Randy Starks (non-football); Limited — S Jimmy Wilson (ankle); Full — LB Koa Misi (hamstring) and RB Daniel Thomas (concussion).
Tags: Bilal Powell, Dustin Keller, joe McKnight, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Sione Pouha
Posted in John Holt | 33 Comments »
Here are today’s pregame tweets for Jets-Patriots at Gillette Stadium, in case you missed them on Twitter. Follow Bob Wischusen, Eric Allen and me for our tweets during each Jets game on https://twitter.com/nyjets.
#RL Sunny now at Gillette Stadium. Weather for Jets @ NE from 4:25 pm ET KO expected to be mostly clear, temps in high 50s, some wind.
#RL Patriots lead Jets all-time including playoffs 53-52-1, lead at home in series 29-25-1, lead at Gillette Stadium over Jets 8-4.
#RL Since 2001 Jets have won @ NE 5 times (’01, ’02, ’06, ’08, ’10 POs). No other Pats opponent has won more than twice @ NE in that span.
#RL New England has been 3-3 or better after 6 games for 12 consecutive seasons, longest current streak in NFL.
#RL Jets, Patriots, Bills, Dolphins begin today all tied for AFC East lead at 3-3. Last time all 4 teams were tied for division lead: 1987.
#RL Mark Sanchez career vs. Patriots: 112-for-196 passing (57.1%), 1,349 yds, 11 TDs, 9 INTs, 78.0 rating, 3-4 record.
#RL Shonn Greene, coming off career rushing game vs. IND, in last 3 games at Gillette has 51 carries, 4.4-yd avg, 2 TDs, 14 1st downs.
#RL TE Dustin Keller career vs. NE: 9 games, 31 catches, 367 yds (11.8 avg), 2 TDs, 21 first downs.
#RL Tom Brady career vs. Jets: 453-for-711 passing (63.7%), 5,101 yds, 30 TDs, 11 INTs, 92.7 rating, 16-5 record.
#RL WR Wes Welker for NE vs. Jets: 10 games, 69 receptions, 808 yds (11.7 avg), 3 TDs, 3 100-yd games, all @ Gillette, in ’08, ’09, ’11.
#RL TE Rob Gronkowski vs. Jets: 5 games, 18 receptions, 235 yds (13.1 avg), 2 TDs, 14 first downs.
#RL RB Danny Woodhead vs. Jets: 3 games, 23 rushes, 95 yds (4.1 avg.), 0 TDs, 5 receptions, 110 yds (22.0 avg), 0 TDs.
#RL First-round rookies lead both teams in sacks. Quinton Coples tied for Jets lead with 2.0 sacks, Chandler Jones tops Pats with 5.0.
#RL Patriots have not lost a fumble vs. the Jets in the last 4 games in the series and the last 3 games at Gillette Stadium.
#RL Jeff Triplette is referee. He has reffed 10 Jets games since ’99, incl 3 games vs. Patriots (@ NE ’05, @ Meadowlands ’07, @ NE ’09).
#RL Jets wearing white jerseys, white pants. They’re 15-10 in white/white overall, 12-8 on the road under HC Rex Ryan.
#RL NE wearing throwback uniforms–red jerseys, white pants, white “Pat Patriot” helmet. NE last wore throwbacks in win over Jets last yr.
#RL Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski has made 26 of 29 career FG tries vs. Jets (6 of 7 from 40+) and 14 of 15 at Gillette vs. Jets.
#RL Nick Folk as Jets K vs. Patriots has made 3 of 6 FG tries. Folk this season is 7-for-7 on FG tries.
#RL Jim Nantz, Phil Simms handling broadcast for CBS. This is Nantz/Simms team’s 2nd straight Jets game, 3rd this season
#RL NYJ inactives: QB Greg McElroy, WR Clyde Gates, RB Bilal Powell, S Eric Smith, G Caleb Schaulderaff, NT Sione Po‘uha, NT Kenrick Ellis.
#RL RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle) is active and has been running and stretching along with the other early Jets warming up on the Gillette turf.
#RL NE inactives: S Patrick Chung, S Steve Gregory, RB Brandon Bolden, LB Tracy White, G Logan Mankins, DE Jake Bequette, DL Ron Brace.
Tags: Danny Woodhead, Dustin Keller, Gillette Stadium, joe McKnight, Logan Mankins, Mark Sanchez, New England Patriots, Patrick Chung, Rob Gronkowski, Shonn Greene, Steve Gregory, Tom Brady, Wes Welker
Posted in Randy Lange | 1 Comment »
Updated, 6:20 p.m. ET
Head coach Rex Ryan said he was hoping against hope but that the more medical news that came in, the less hope there was.
So this afternoon Ryan announced that CB Darrelle Revis will be placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season.
“I know I had said before that I’d like to wait for Darrelle to have surgery,” Ryan said at his afternoon news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Unfortunately, really with our time situation and Eric Smith being out this week, we’re going to need that roster spot.
“And when I said there was a point-zero-zero-two chance, it’s not that high. In the best interests of the organization and Darrelle, we’ll place him on IR. He won’t be designated for return. And that will be it. I was holding out hope, but the more information we got, the more you realized it wouldn’t be good for Darrelle either.”
Ryan said Revis will undergo surgery on his torn ACL on Thursday, Oct. 18. He also reported that WR Santonio Holmes (foot) and LB Josh Mauga (pectoral) have already undergone surgery for their injuries. Holmes’ Lisfranc injury occurred against San Francisco and Mauga’s came Monday night vs. Houston.
“We’re anticipating and assuming, really, that these guys will be full-go when we come back in the offseason,” the coach said.
The Jets also announced tonight that they are filling Revis’ roster spot by signing S Antonio Allen, their seventh-round pick out of South Carolina, from the practice squad. Due to Smith’s injury Allen could be in uniform Sunday. With Stephen Hill’s potential return to action, it’s possible five of the eight members of the Jets’ 2012 draft class could see action vs. the Colts.
Hill Will “Try to Make a Big Difference”
Newyorkjets.com reporter John Holt reports from the Jets locker room this afternoon on rookie Stephen Hill:
It’s been a little over a month now since rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill broke onto the NFL scene.
The 6”4’, 215-pounder has missed the last two games rehabbing from a hamstring injury that he suffered during the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win against Miami back on Sept. 23.
“It’s been hard,” Hill said this afternoon after practice, “but the guys in here have been keeping me grounded and making sure I get back out there as quickly as possible.”
It appears that No. 84 will make his return Sunday when the Jets host No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. The Colts hold a 2-2 record and are coming off an impressive 30-27 win over Green Bay.
“I feel pretty good,” Hill said. “I’m just looking forward to Sunday.”
After catching five passes for 89 yards and scoring two touchdowns in his NFL debut, Hill was held without a reception in his next two games.
While sidelined, one of his biggest mentors, WR Santonio Holmes, suffered a season-ending foot injury. Hill, the Green & White’s second-round draft selection, understands that although he still is a rookie, he will be expected to step up moving forward.
“I’m going to try and make a big difference, as much as I can, any plays that I’m in,” he said. “But other than that, we’ve been doing a great job. We just have to get that connection. Once we get that connection, it’s going to be great.”
Besides Hill, the Jets also expect to have tight end Dustin Keller back Sunday. Keller, who previously hadn’t missed a game or practice in his four-year career, has missed the past four games, also with a hamstring injury.
With both receiving options expected back, quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense should receive a significant boost.
“It’s frustrating,” Hill said, “especially as a guy that doesn’t do that, just sit on the sideline for an injury. But you know, I had to go through it and I hope it’s best for me, so I didn’t have to hurt anything.”
The Rest of the Injuries
Besides Hill, the Jets listed three other players as limited today: TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), C Nick Mangold (ankle) and LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring). Keller and Thomas are both probable to play vs. the Colts. As Keller said in one last visit with reporters today, “I would never guarantee anything, but I think I’m pretty much 100 percent.”
Mangold is listed as questionable with the ankle he injured early in the third quarter against Houston. Although he returned at the end of the third quarter and finished the game, he was held out of team drills all this week. But Ryan said today, “I definitely am hopeful he plays” against Indy.
Five players did not participate and all are listed as doubtful: FB John Conner (hamstring), DT Kenrick Ellis (knee), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), DT Sione Po‘uha (back) and S Eric Smith (knee).
The Colts are listing six players as out for the Jets — LB Pat Angerer (foot), RB Donald Brown (knee), LB Robert Mathis (knee), DT Fili Moala (knee), G Joe Reitz (knee) and DT Martin Tevaseu (ankle) — and one player as doubtful — CB Vontae Davis (ankle). All but Angerer and Tevaseu, the former Jet, are starters.
Three Colts are probable for the game: LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), RB Mewelde Moore (ankle) and C Samson Satele (knee).
Cena Steps into the Ring Sunday
WWE Superstar John Cena will lead the Jets chant pregame and serve as an honorary team captain before Sunday’s game against the Colts at MetLife Stadium. WrestleMania XXIX will be coming to MetLife Stadium on April 7, 2013. Cena will be playing his new role six days after comedian Kevin James handled the chant duties at Monday night’s game against the Texans.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Eric Smith, Indianapolis Colts, injured reserve, Josh Mauga, Nick Mangold, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »