The shame of Monday night is that the defense continued to play at a high level in keeping the Jets in these games down the stretch. Here are several measures:
■ The Titans went 0-for-their-last-10 on third-down plays. That extends the defense’s streaks of third-down dominance to 4-for-46 for opponents since late vs. New England, and 1-for-23 in the second half since Thanksgiving night.
■ Because of that third-down dominance, opponents in the last three games have punted 28 times and have gone 3-and-out 21 times. Both are the best three-game totals for the Jets since the advent of 16-game schedules in 1978.
■ With the four-sack pressure combined with the back end coverage that held WR Kenny Britt to one catch for 7 yards, Jake Locker and the Tennessee passing offense managed 127 net yards, a total that lowered the Jets’ pass defense rating to second in the NFL behind top-ranked Pittsburgh. The last time the Jets were No. 2 was after Week 4 in 2011.
■ Perhaps most impressive, the Jets have turned the ball over 11 times in these last three games, and opponents have managed six points total, two thin field goals, after those giveaways. The last time the Green & White had a similar streak was six points allowed after 11 giveaways over the final 11 games in 1999. The last time they a better stretch: 1977, when they yielded just one field goal after 12 consecutive giveaways over a six-game span.
“That’ll tell you about the kind of pride and how resilient our defense has been playing,” head coach Rex Ryan told reporters on today’s late-afternoon conference call. “I think they’ve been doing an outstanding job. A lot of that credit goes to Mike Pettine and his staff as well as the players. I’m happy with that.”
Flags Still Favoring Jets
At least the Jets’ second-half penalty surplus continued. They were called for only four penalties for 23 yards on the night. The Titans, on the other hand, were hit with 14 penalties for 111 yards. The 14 flags is the most against an opponent since Oakland got 14 in 2008. The last time an opponent had more penalties was the Jaguars’ 15 at Jacksonville in 1996. The 111 yards is the 10th-most marked off against an opponent since 1978.
The Jets’ five turnovers and minus-5 TO margin had much to do with Ryan’s decision to shift from Mark Sanchez to Greg McElroy as his starting QB on Sunday against San Diego.
“Has Mark had better days than that? Absolutely,” Ryan said of Sanchez. “He had, obviously, a poor day, but you know, he wasn’t alone with that. But obviously, we can’t turn the ball over five times and expect to win.”
Absolutely true, that. It was the Jets’ 10th minus-5 game in franchise history and their record is 0-10 (and it’s 0-14 with a margin of minus-5 or larger). In the NFL, the record for minus-5 teams since 2002 is 3-65. The three winners: Dallas (with then-rookie K Nick Folk) by 25-24 at Buffalo in ’07, Jacksonville by 24-20 over Cleveland in ’10, and Atlanta by 23-19 over Arizona four weeks ago.
The average score of those 68 teams that go minus-5 in TO margin: a 33-11 loss. That the Jets had a chance to pull Monday’s game out with 47 seconds to go speaks to how well some parts of their operation (third-down defense, rush defense except for one small 94-yard Chris Johnson run, penalties, punt rush) played in Nashville less than 24 hours ago. But that’s cold comfort for all of us tonight.
Tags: Chris Johnson, Jake Locker, Nick Folk, Rex Ryan, Tennessee Titans, turnover margin
Posted in Randy Lange | 128 Comments »
Here are today’s first-half tweets for the Jets-Titans game at LP Field in Nashville, 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 captains today: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, C Nick Mangold, S Yeremiah Bell, S Josh Bush, WR Braylon Edwards.
#RL Rob Bironas comes out late to try 46-yd FG, Mo Wilkerson blocks at the line, no good. Bironas now 4-for-5 career vs Jets.
#RL Wilkerson gets Jets’ first FG block since Kris Jenkins vs ARZ in ’08, first road FG block since Shane Burton @ BUF in 2000.
#RL Jets 3rd-and-1 at TEN 25, Tim Tebow first action in 4 games runs forward to get the first down.
#EA TEN helping the Jets on this drive – 3 penalties. Edwards getting in the mix right away on this opening march.
#EA Sanchez has all day to throw the rock right now. Great job by the O-line. TEN was all over Luck last week.
#RL TE Jeff Cumberland appeared to grab 4-yd TD pass from Mark Sanchez, his 3rd TD of yr. But ref Walt Coleman reverses call to no catch…
#RL Nick Folk comes on for 22-yd FG. Good, making Folk 17-for-22 on FGs for the year. Jets lead 3-0 with 4:17 left in 1st qtr.
#RL Kyle Wilson nice third-down tackle on Nate Washington for a 5-yd reception on 3rd-and-8 as 1st quarter comes to an end…
#RL TEN continues as only NFL team not to have scored a 1st-qtr offensive TDs at home. Titans’ only 1st-qtr home TD came on PR in Game 3.
#RL Kyle Wilson nice third-down tackle on Nate Washington for a 5-yd reception on 3rd-and-8 as 1st quarter comes to an end…
#EA This is the Jets’ first lead entering the 2nd Quarter since Week 2 vs. PIT.
#RL Another nifty Robert Malone punt bounces backward from TEN-2 for 53-yd punt gross and net. 14th consec game for Malone with 50-yd punt.
#RL Chris Johnson bursts off RT, goes 94 yds for TD. Longest run vs. Jets since Garrison Hearst went 96 in OT in ’98 opener @ SF.
#RL Johnson 94-yd run is 2nd-longest by opponent in franchise history. Previous 2nd-longest: Sid Blanks, @ HOU Oilers, 12/13/64.
#RL Tim Tebow gets his first full drive as Jets QB, 7 snaps, 6 plays and pen, 22 yards. Has to throw 3rd-and-16 pass away.
#RL Calvin Pace gets his 3rd sack of the season, touching Jake Locker as he scrambles OB for a 2-yd loss on 3rd-and-7. TEN punts.
#RL Garrett McIntyre, starting for LB Bryan Thomas, gets 3rd sack of yr and 2nd big defensive play in 2 games w/ sack of Jake Locker.
#RL Jets go into halftime trailing 3-0. It’s 4th straight game they haven’t scored 1st-half TD, but they won their last 2, over ARZ, JAX.
#RL Jets lead in 1st downs (10-6), possession (15:52-14:08), but Titans lead in yards (198-99), takeaways (1-0) and score, 7-3.
Tags: Braylon Edwards, Calvin Pace, Chris Johnson, Garrett McIntyre, Garrison Hearst, Jake Locker, Kyle Wilson, Mark Sanchez, Sid Blanks, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow
Posted in Randy Lange | 86 Comments »
Here are today’s pregame tweets for the Jets-Titans game at LP Field in Nashville, 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 at kickoff for Jets-Titans is expected to be partly cloudy, possible showers, temps around 50, southerly winds.
#RL Jets 17-22-1 all-time vs Titans/Oilers but have won 5 of the last 6 since the team moved from HOU to TEN, and 3 of last 4 at LP Field.
#RL In first 23 games of rivalry, Jets were 8-14-1 with minus-22 turnover margin. In last 17 games Jets are 9-8 with +13 TO margin.
#RL Mark Sanchez is 1-0 vs Titans. In ’09 Game 3, Sanchez completed 17 of 30 (56.7%) for 171 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 81.4 rating in 24-17 win.
#RL Jets RB Shonn Greene in last 8 games: 154 atts, 666 yards, 4.3 avg., 5 TDs. He needs 117 yds to reach 1,000 for 2nd straight yr.
#RL Jets DE Mo Wilkerson in last 8 games: 4 sacks, 3 forced FUMs, 1 FUM-return TD (@ SEA), 2 PDs, 1 intl grounding forced
#RL TEN QB Jake Locker playing Jets for first time. Locker in 8 starts this yr is 2-6 with 10 TD drives, 9 TD passes, 9 INTs, 4 lost FUMs.
#RL TEN RB Chris Johnson has 1,037 rush yds, 4.7 avg. this season. Johnson in 2 games vs Jets: 32 atts, 143 yds, 4.5 avg, 0 TDs, 0-2 record.
#RL Titans are minus-12 in TO margin in 6 homes games, tied for lowest home margin/game in NFL with Chiefs at minus-2.0.
#RL Jets K Nick Folk playing TEN for 1st time in career. He’s 16-for-21 FGs this yr, 5-for-last-10, 5-for-6 in 4th qtr/OT, 3-for-4 from 50+.
#RL Jets wearing white jerseys, green pants for 2nd straight game. Jets in white/green u/Rex Ryan: 3-4 since ’09, 1-0 this season.
#RL Today’s referee is Walt Coleman. It’s Walt’s 18th Jets game as ref since 1995. Jets have lost last 8 games Coleman has refereed.
#RL NYJ inactives: QB Greg McElroy CB Aaron Berry LB Bryan Thomas DL Damon Harrison G Caleb Schlauderaff TE Dustin Keller WR Stephen Hill
#RL TEN inactives: QB Rusty Smith WR Damian Williams LB Colin McCarthy LB Xavier Adibi G Mitch Petrus T Daniel Baldridge DE Scott Solomon
#RL TEN K Rob Bironas career vs Jets: 4-4 on FGs, 4-4 on PATs.
#RL TEN is only NFL team that has scored no 1st-qtr offensive TDs at home. Titans’ only 1st-qtr TD at LP Field came on PR in Game 3.
Tags: Chris Johnson, Jake Locker, LP Field, Mark Sanchez, Monday Night Football, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Folk, Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans
Posted in Randy Lange | No Comments »
Rookie quarterback Greg McElroy didn’t seem to be in great pain, even though the inflated cast encasing his injured right thumb surely indicated the opposite.
“It’s football, it happens,” McElroy said, although he added, “I’m anxious to find out what the answers are tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is now today and McElroy not only got his answers but also got a medical procedure. A team spokesman said he underwent surgery this morning on his thumb, which was dislocated when he banged it against a Philadelphia player’s helmet on his follow-through after a second-quarter pass.
McElroy will be out indefinitely, but the spokesman said the Jets have no plans at this time to place him on injured reserve.
The injury was one of the negative developments of a very positive preseason for the heady kid who wore Joe Namath’s No. 12 jersey when he played at Alabama. One other small negative is that he won’t end up as the top-rated passer in this year’s well-populated rookie quarterback class.
McElroy came into this week’s final preseason games with a 90.6 passer rating, tops among the 13 rookie QBs. But his 3-for-6, 29-yard showing before injuring that thumb dropped his rating to 87.9. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s Jake Locker had a 15-for-17, 132-yard, one-TD showing at New Orleans on Thursday to raise his number from 67.7 to 88.5.
So with only Oakland at Seattle (and Seahawks rookie Josh Portis) tonight to be played, McElroy would appear poised to claim the No. 2 summer passer rating among the 15 rookies with at least 10 attempts.
That and a dislocated thumb won’t do much for a nascent pro career. But at least McElroy has the prospect of getting back soon and helping the Jets as they prepare to set out on the 2011 season.
Tags: Greg McElroy, Jake Locker, Philadelphia Eagles, right thumb
Posted in Randy Lange | 22 Comments »
The Jets aren’t in need of a quarterback, but one of the most prolific passers in franchise history is assisting heralded Washington prospect Jake Locker.
Ken O’Brien, who called signals for the Green & White from 1984-92, is mentoring Locker as the draft nears.
“It’s going great,” Locker told newyorkjets.com today. “He’s an awesome guy. He knows what he’s talking about on the field. He’s very encouraging and is very smart in the game of football. He works with Athletes First, the agency I signed with. So I’ve had the opportunity to work with him now for a couple of months and it’s been a great experience for me.”
The 50-year-old O’Brien finished his career with the Eagles in 1993, but that was only after he threw for 124 scoring strikes and 24,386 yards with New York’s AFC representative. Kenny O’s best statistical season came in 1985 when he hit on 60.9 percent of his passes for 3,888 yards with 25 TDs and eight INTs. A talented pocket passer, O’Brien is helping the athletic Locker with his mechanics.
“A little fundamentals, shortening the stride and being consistent where the ball is coming out — the little things that make a big difference,” Locker said. “He’s been a pleasure to work with. He’s very encouraging and pushes me every day.”
There is another Locker connection to the Jets. Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian taught Mark Sanchez in college when he was Pete Carroll’s offensive coordinator at USC.
“We ran a lot of the same concepts they ran when Mark was at SC,” said Locker, a 6’3”, 230-pounder who threw for 17 TDs last season. “We were able to watch the film of that and kind of see how he had success in that offense. He was somebody who was on in our film room quite a bit.”
Ellard Hoping for the Trifecta
The Jets would like to re-sign their talented trio of unrestricted free agent wide receivers — Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith — and WR coach Henry Ellard would feel fortunate if that triple does occur.
“What they bring to the team is amazing — their playmaking ability,” he told newyorkjets.com. “Not only that, but the character, especially in a Brad Smith, who does a little bit of everything for us, sometimes you don’t appreciate that until it’s gone.
“To be able to get everybody back, I’ll tell you what, I would be a happy guy for sure because it makes my job coaching a lot easier.”
In his first 12 games as a Jet, Holmes caught 52 balls and scored six times in the regular season. Edwards benefited from his first full offseason with the Jets, averaging a team-high 17.1 yards a reception and also pacing the club with seven touchdowns.
“Being together for an extended period of time, you can’t help but get better,” Ellard said of the continuity. “Going through the games and the playoffs, you get better in all those situations. Mark has gotten a lot better from the experience.”
Smith caught a career-low four passes, but he was used frequently in the Seminole formation, rushing for a career-high 299 yards, and added two scores on kickoff returns.
“The guys just work hard. The more you do it, the more comfortable you are in the system so the more you react and start to make plays,” Ellard said.
“And Santonio is just special. Just watching him you can’t help but get excited.”
Tags: Jake Locker, Ken O'Brien, NFL Combine, Steve Sarkisian
Posted in Eric Allen | 34 Comments »