Rex Ryan, channeling Billy Martin, feels strongly both ways about turnovers during Organized Team Activities.
On the one hand, the practices now are OTAs. Older offensive players are getting acquainted with new, all are learning Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast scheme. This is the time of year to make mistakes.
On the other hand …
“I’d rather not have him turn the ball over once,” Ryan said of QB Mark Sanchez, who turned the ball over three times in today’s practice session open to the media at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “These are the OTAs, but that’s the pressure we’re putting on him. You flat tell him we can’t have these and all that stuff, and he knows.”
No. 6 sure does know. He threw a pass down the middle that was snagged on the slide by No. 37 — no, not Yeremiah Bell but rather Jaiquawn Jarrett, the former second-round pick of the Eagles fighting for the safety job that Bell left open when he departed for Arizona — and slapped his side with a hint of frustration.
Another pick went to Damon “Snacks” Harrison, yes, the 350-pound second-year DT who was sent into space by Ryan and coordinator Dennis Thurman in a particular look that worked well for the defense but gave Sanchez a Randy Starks flashback.
There were two other offensive giveaways this day, and so Ryan was spreading his pointed talk and tough love around to the entire ball-security operation.
“I think it’s a huge issue for our football team,” he said. “Obviously in that position [QB] you have to protect the ball. You’re going to have the ball in your hand every snap. But it’s more than that. We evaluate the punt returners the same way, the kick returners the same way. Those are areas we know we have to improve in. Joe McKnight led this league in kick returns but Joe’s probably the first one to tell you, ‘I’ve got to protect it to help this team.’
“So,” the head coach said in bringing the subject back to the position at hand, “that’s going to weigh into the decision of who’s going to play quarterback.”
Rex and Jets fans don’t need any anecdotal or statistical evidence to back up the importance of ball security, but for those who do, here is one factoid:
Five NFL teams have averaged 2.0-plus giveaways per regular-season game for the past two seasons: the Eagles (75 GAs), Jets (71), Cardinals (66), Chiefs (65) and Bills (64). Their combined record: 60-100, a .375 winning percentage, with no playoff appearances.
Then there’s this, which hints of the Green & White problem and its cure:
The 2011-12 Jets and ’11-12 Cards are the only two teams since 2009 to have averaged two-plus giveaways one year and not improved on their turnover total the following year. So on the one hand (Billy the Kid one more time) the Jets have been a hard case in improving their turnover tendencies. But on the other, with a sense of urgency and focus, 16 other 2.0-turnover teams since ’09 have improved their showing the following year, by an average of 10 fewer turnovers.
There’s no time like the present to stress ball security. Even if the time is at an OTA in the middle of May.
“The defense is much further ahead than the offense,” Ryan said of the units getting back into the swing at this week’s OTA start. “We’re kind of throwing the kitchen sink at the offense. You don’t put up one coverage or one front [on defense] — that’s not realistic in the National Football League. We’re going to throw a lot at them, and hopefully when we get to the real games it’s all going to look easy to them.”
Another mitigating circumstance for Sanchez and Geno Smith in the offensive showing was a group of missing WRs. Ryan thinks Santonio Holmes’ return to full practicing “will probably be more training camp than minicamp.” Stephen Hill was sidelined with some knee swelling, although it’s not considered serious. Clyde Gates and Jordan White also sat out. … On the possibility of adding another QB to the Sanchez-Smith-Greg McElroy-Matt Simms competition, Ryan answered generally: “Any player we think can help this team, we would be open to.”
Ryan, speaking for the first time on QB David Garrard’s retirement and RB Mike Goodson’s legal issues, didn’t go into detail. On Garrard: “There’s still some paperwork that needs to be done. We understand he’s put in for retirement and all that. I would like to comment on him at the appropriate time.” On Goodson: “The organization’s already issued a statement on Mike so I will just leave it at that.”
Tags: Damon "Snacks" Harrison, David Garrard, Geno Smith, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Mark Sanchez, Mike Goodson, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | No Comments »
Updated, 2:30 p.m. ET
Today just happened to be a media day in the locker room at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. On media days, quarterbacks are front and center. One of the Jets’ veteran QBs, Mark Sanchez, was available. One of the other Jets vets, David Garrard, was not in the building.
“It was a little bit abrupt,” Sanchez said of Garrard “having to call it quits” because his knee “is not holding up,” as he said in his widely circulated text response to a question from SNY’s Adam Schein, adding that Garrard’s departure wasn’t something he saw coming. “He worked hard and he battled through some pain, it sounds like. Other than that, I don’t want to speak for David.”
But No. 6 did speak about Garrard, the nine-year QB for the Jaguars who signed with the Jets the week of the draft with the aim of providing competition at the position for the Jets heading deeper into the 2013 offseason and preseason schedule.
“David worked hard and he had a great attitude,” Sanchez said. “He was one of those guys I felt I’d be able to bounce my ideas off of, having that kind of experience. It’s tough to see a guy go like that. You just wish him the best, health-wise first. He’s played a long time in this league and did a heck of a job. So it was great to be around him the short time I had with him. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Garrard actually did speak, although not to Jets reporters in Florham Park, N.J. He talked with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon on SiriusXM NFL Radio this afternoon and told them his knee, while it was well enough for him to run around, continued to swell on him.
“I thought, ‘I look pretty good right now. Maybe if I get on with the team, the treatment that they have there, the round-the-clock treatments you pretty much get, that should probably help me out.’ ” Garrard said. “So that’s how I was thinking. When it was healthy, when I was able to go out and participate in practice and run around. I mean, I looked great, I was excited and ready to go.
“But then I’d get four or five days of good work on it in and then the next two days it’s swollen and I have to do everything I can to get the swelling out. Start the next week over and it would just be the same process every time. And so it was never allowing me to just go on and play without any worries. So I just kept thinking, ‘How am I going to compete for the starting job if every four days I’ve got to stop and have an ice bag on my knee while the guys are practicing?’ ”
The Jets still have not made any official comment about Garrard’s status. But if the man who wore No. 9 for less than a month isn’t returning, the QB depth chart at the moment is now at four, with Sanchez beginning his fifth year the clear veteran of the group that includes third-year man Greg McElroy, second-round draft pick Geno Smith and first-year free agent Matt Simms.
“Nothing’s changed. My mindset’s the same,” Sanchez said about his approach assuming Garrard’s taking himself out of the picture. “Stay focused, master this offense, improve on the fundamentals, be as accurate as possible, take care of the football, and lead this team.”
Garrett “Gets a Family”
Last season LB Garrett McIntyre got his first two-sack game and his first two tackles for loss of his career. Last week he celebrated another double as his wife, August, gave birth to their first two children.
“Twin daughters,” proud papa Garrett beamed at his locker. “Summer and Harper McIntyre. They were born May 7 back in Cali. A little premature, but they’re in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] and are doing great.”
Congratulations to the McIntyres, all four of them. And now, Garrett, back to work on orchestrating that first two-touchdown game of your career.
WR Jordan White has returned to uniform No. 17, the number he began with last season as the Jets’ seventh-round WR out of Western Michigan. WR Marcus Davis, just acquired on waivers, is No. 89.
Tags: David Garrard, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Matt Simms
Posted in Randy Lange | 58 Comments »
Rex Ryan, fresh from the owners’ meetings in Arizona and a few pro days and perhaps en route to some NCAA Tournament watching this weekend, made a radio stop with Michael Kay and Don La Greca on Mike’s show on ESPN New York 98.7 this afternoon.
And Rex wasn’t about to be pinned by the Kay-La Greca tag team. The Jets head coach declined to discuss any Darrelle Revis speculation or to entertain notions that he’s coaching for his job in 2013.
The best of his take on Revis: “I’m on board with any Jet decision, any decision that’s in the best interests of the New York Jets. I’ve always been on board with it. Any decision we think as an organization is the best move for the organization, I will be behind it 100 percent, regardless of what that move is. And that’s not saying any specifics about this player or that player.”
And his best take on his quarterbacks wasn’t terribly new but was a further firming up of the competitive nature of the beast at every spot on this John Idzik/Ryan creation. It came when he was asked if he knew who his opening-day QB will be.
“No I don’t. It’s going to be a position where we’re bringing in competition,” he said. “That old thing about competition making the best of us all, I think that’ll be true. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite in my opinion. I just think it’s going to be competition from day one.”
Does this hint at a loss of confidence in Mark Sanchez?
“I haven’t lost confidence in Mark, but I do know this: The play at quarterback has to get a lot better, there’s no doubt,” Ryan said. “Whether it’s Mark or somebody else, we know we have to improve in that area. I guess we can file that in the ‘no kidding’ category, but that’s it — it has to get better. I believe Mark will play a lot better. But I also believe there’s going to be some stiffer competition than maybe there’s been in the past here.”
Rex had a few bullet-point opinions on some of the newest Jets. On G Willie Colon: “He’s a huge person, a guy that can knock people off the ball, a mauler, very physical.”
And the thing he liked about RB Mike Goodson besides his explosiveness and speed was that “He was targeted 16 times last year in the [Oakland] passing game and caught all 16. That’ll give you an idea how effective he is out of the backfield.”
That’s a statistic that’s worth expanding on just a little. True enough, Goodson was 16-for-16 for the Raiders, according to Stats Inc., not a lot of passes but nice production with what he got, especially considering his 12.2 yards per catch on those 16 balls.
For his career with the Panthers and Raiders, Goodson caught 59 of the 78 passes thrown his way (75.6%) for a solid 8.9-yard average and a 10.4-yard average after the catch.
It’s certainly not a fair comparison, one player’s four-year career vs. a number of backs’ one season in the same offense, but the Jets’ backs last year unofficially had 80 balls targeted for them and caught 44 (55%) for an average of 7.8 yards per catch and 6.6 YAC.
Of course, those numbers won’t mean much once the Jets take the field in the coming months. This team figures to be vastly different than any of Ryan’s four previous teams. We’ll be pointing out the positives as we are wont to do, but there will be many negatives and bumps in the road as the Jets get themselves back on track.
Yet if that’s the hand you’re being dealt, don’t grumble about it and blame the football gods. Play it the best way you know how. And that’s what Ryan appears to be gearing up himself and his team to be doing soon. That came through in his answer to Kay’s question about his possible lame-duck status heading into ’13.
“I totally disagree with that,” Rex said agreeably. “I believe we’re going to have a football team that’s going to play a certain brand of football that I don’t think we’ve played yet. I think there’s much more for our players to give and I think we’re going to get it out of them.
“We’re going to be committed to that style of football, and quite honestly to playing that style of football that can make our fans proud. We understand that. It was a rough season on the fans as well as on our team. They deserve better than that, and I think we’re going to give it to them.”
Next week we’ll begin to crank up our annual draft preview here on newyorkjets.com with position-by-position previews by reporter John Holt and myself, a piece on the Jets quarterbacks on the roster and perhaps available in this draft from the independent personnel analysts at Real Football Services, and blogs from Eric Allen and myself. For now, enjoy the free agency, the NCAA hoops, and the rest of this weekend.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Don LaGreca, John Idzik, Mark Sanchez, Michael Kay, Mike Goodson, Rex Ryan, Willie Colon
Posted in Randy Lange | 166 Comments »
David Garrard’s back. Now a few questions would involve whether his back and his knee are back along with him.
The newly signed veteran Jets QB chatted with beat reporters in a conference call this afternoon, and one of the first questions involved those two parts of his anatomy, which in part led to his not playing the previous two seasons.
Brian Costello of the New York Post came in with Question No. 2 regarding Garrard’s training room scene on last year’s Hard Knocks.
“Yeah, that was a tough situation for me,” the personable Garrard said. “I feel like I had come back great from my back. My back is no issue. I was really battling down there, having a lot of fun, being on the field, doing what I do. Then my knee starts creeping up a little bit swelling up. I needed [arthroscopic] surgery.
“But my knee is great now. I’m really excited to get back in the league, playing ball. I’m very thankful the Jets have given me this opportunity.”
Needless to say, the opportunity can head in several different directions. One topic on Jets fans’ minds regarding the signing is the state of his body. Is he starting to break down, as virtually all athletes great and small do at some point? Indeed, in that key Hard Knocks episode, Garrard reported to the Dolphins trainer that turned to watch one of his children swimming in the pool and “felt something crunch in that knee.”
“Didn’t bang it on anything, didn’t fall on it or anything,” Garrard said then. “Maybe it’s father time.”
Today he had no reservations about his health. Perhaps it’s March machismo, but Garrard, who is a good-sized (6’1″, 239) QB, says despite the “nicks and knacks” of the past two years and the celebration of his 35th birthday last month, he’s still got what it takes to maneuver the ball down the field.
If I have to get a first down, I can, I can tell you that much,” he said. “As a quarterback, as you continue to get older, you have to be smarter with your body, smarter getting the ball out. Really the No. 1 thing for me as I continue to grow in this league, I’m realizing if I can get the ball to my back or dump it to the tight end, they can probably get as many yards and maybe more and I take less of a beating. That’s just the way the game is. As a quarterback, they don’t want you to be all broken up, sore, can’t move around in the pocket. I’m definitely smarter with the ball.
“But if I have to get a first down to keep chains moving or get the ball in the end zone, I’m going to do what I have to do.”
Yet the most healthy thing of all, on first listening to Garrard’s first public remarks as a Jet, is his outlook on the Jets’ starting job. He’s clearly for winning it, but first and foremost he’s clearly for his new team’s success.
“I just expect to go out and compete and really try to help this team out in any way possible,” he said. “If the way I play on the field allows that to happen, then I think great. If it doesn’t, I’m going to still be the best teammate I can be and help out this team as much as I can. It’s a team spot. not just me and the other QBs. It’s everybody pulling together, helping this ballclub out as much as possible.”
“All I know is I can compete and I’m going to have fun and make the team better.”
Tags: David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins
Posted in Randy Lange | 47 Comments »
It’s the closing of a circle for David Garrard, or at least the completion of a long lap up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
The 35-year-old quarterback (no, not 38 or 37 as some have speculated) was born in East Orange, N.J., about 20 minutes from the Jersey Meadowlands in February 1978, which was about 6½ years before the Jets even moved there.
Now after his upbringing in Plainfield, N.J., and Durham, N.C., his college ball at East Carolina, and his nine-year playing career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, plus a small stop last offseason with the Miami Dolphins, Garrard has signed on with the Jets to provide competition for Mark Sanchez and the rest of the Green & White QBs.
“I definitely think it’s the ideal situation,” Garrard told SiriusXM NFL Radio last week about the Jets after his visit. “It was a great workout. Every drill they had me do, I did great in. I felt like my old self again.
Word of Garrard’s possible signing grew cold publicly for a while, because it was reported the Jets had to do some cap work if they wanted to bring him to their roster. Whatever had to happen has been done because the team announced the signing late this afternoon.
New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg had his first conference call with Jets reporters today at 1 p.m. ET and was not asked about Garrard. But about competition in general for Sanchez, et al, MM said that while “Mark will probably have a little bit of a leg up, it would appear,” he also said, “We like competition at all spots, and certainly at that spot. Competition just makes everybody better.”
When Garrard was at the peak of his game, he was nicely competitive for the Jaguars. From 2005, when he finally started to get playing time, through 2010, he assembled a portfolio that sported a 38-35 record as a starter, 62.1% completion accuracy, and a decent 22.0% touchdown drive rate (the NFL average is about 18.5%).
Garrard faced the Jets exactly once since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2002 draft by the Jaguars out of East Carolina as the eventual successor to, yes, Mark Brunell. That meeting was at the old Meadowlands on Nov. 15, 2009, and it was a microcosm of his only Pro Bowl season that year. On a cloudy, cool fall day, he completed 16 of 26 passes for 221 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for an 11-yard score.
And after the Jets, led by then-rookie Sanchez, had come back from a 21-10 first-half deficit for a 22-21 lead on a Thomas Jones power TD with 5:04 to play, Garrard led the Jags on an 11-play, 80-yard drive with 4-for-6 passing — including that crushing 33-yard catch-and-run by TE Marcedes Lewis — and Maurice Jones-Drew’s clutch kneeldown at the Jets 1 with a minute to play, setting up Josh Scobee’s game-winning chip-shot field goal as time expired.
Even though Garrard’s ’09 season was one of his better showings, it wasn’t his best. He took the Jags to a 9-3 record and a playoff road win at Pittsburgh on the strength of such skills as his 64.0% completion percentage and 18 TD passes to just three interceptions.
That 6.0 TDs/INTs rate, by the way, is the fifth-best season in NFL history among qualifying QBs, trailing only Kansas City’s Damon Huard (11.00, 11/1 in 2006), New England’s Tom Brady (9.00, 36-4 in 2010 after 6.25, 50/8 in 2007) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (7.50, 45/6 in 2011).
Many Jets fans are skeptical as to how much competition a QB out of the NFL for the past two seasons could give a fifth-year incumbent and several more signalcallers this offseason and summer. But just keep in mind that he had that strong tryout with the Jets recently, and some say he was poised to begin last season as the Dolphins’ starter — that is, until he injured his knee, missed the entire preseason schedule and was released as the ‘Fins began the Ryan Tannehill era quicker than maybe they had planned.
All of this is tank-half-full/tank-half-empty talk, of course. Is DG the catalyst to getting the Jets offense back on its feet? Or will he be one-and-done, whatever “one” is defined as? Will No. 9 beat out No. 6 in the coming offseason/preseason competition, or will Sanchez be spurred on to new professional growth? What about Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and whoever may arrive in the draft?
We’ll learn a little more Tuesday, when Garrard is scheduled to talk with reporters on a conference call, and then as the veterans return to the offseason conditioning program, OTAs and the veteran minicamp from mid-April to mid-June.
For now, though, assuming Garrard’s health and competitive juices and considering what we know of the Jets’ situation, it looks like a good fit as an able body has been added to help with the ongoing construction project.
Tags: David Garrard, Greg McElroy, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mark Brunell, Mark Sanchez, Marty Mornhinweg, Tim Tebow
Posted in Randy Lange | 76 Comments »
Updated 6:19 p.m. ET
In theory the NFL Combine is a place to talk with, talk about, time, measure and analyze the draft-eligible college players heading into the draft two months down the road.
In reality, John Idzik and Rex Ryan held an impromptu Darrelle Revis news conference when they spoke with reporters at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this afternoon.
The new general manager and the fifth-year head coach had the same bumper sticker for the media, fans and the NFL: WE ♥ REVIS ISLAND.
“Darrelle Revis is obviously a great football player, a great New York Jet and a tremendous asset to our team,” said Idzik at the podium shortly after 4 p.m. ET. “I don’t know that anything has really changed. We’ve always wanted Darrelle as part of our team. That has not changed.”
Idzik declined several times to respond to questions about Revis rumors, contract matters or trade terms. But, he stressed, “In respect to Darrelle, our focus is to aid him any way we can in his rehabilitation so he can return to the player we all know he is.”
Ryan followed Idzik to the microphone — each talked for about 16 minutes — and recounted a phone conversation he had with Revis, who’s rehabbing the knee injury that ended his season in Game 3 at Miami, about trade rumors that surfaced the day before Idzik held his introductory news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
“I told him it’s not accurate,” Ryan said. “If he’s going to be involved in a trade, I think he and his agents would know about it, as would the GM and myself. There’s no validity to it. I don’t know where that gets drummed up. … I provided him the answer that I know to be true, which is that was not accurate.”
It was certainly likely that the game of Twit-for-Tat between Revis and Seahawks CB Richard Sherman the past day or so would be posed in the form of a question to Ryan. Rex declined to get into the middle of that Twitter war while still strongly supporting his former All-Pro corner.
“I will say this: Obviously the guy [Sherman]‘s a heck of a football player. I don’t know him well enough to compare him to Darrelle Revis,” Ryan said. “But if you’re putting yourself in that company, that’s the company you want to be in, that’s for sure.”
The two-fer news conferences were about more than Revis. Both Jets officials were asked about their quarterbacks, specifically Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.
Idzik had a new turn of phrase to describe the way the teamwide 2013 depth chart will shake out.
“I don’t think you isolate it to any one or a few positions. We’re going to have a general mantra here with the New York Jets and it’s going to be ‘Competition Through and Through,’ ” he said. “That’s going to be true this year as we enter free agency, it’s going to be true as we go into the draft, it’s going to be true as we come out of the draft, it’s going to be true as we go into training camp and into the regular season. And if we have success and we win a championship, it’ll be true after we win a championship.
“I think everyone, Mark included, recognizes that he, our offense — shoot, our team as a whole — has to perform better than we did in 2012. And we’re going to do that. We’re going to do everything to increase the competition so that he plays better. We’ve got a new offensive coordinator, we have a new quarterback coach, we have staff changes that I think will be healthy for Mark and so that we can again get the juices flowing and turn the page into 2013, not look back to 2012, start anew and get rolling.”
“We’re bringing in competition at every position, not just the quarterback position,” Ryan said. “That’s what we want to do here. To say Mark Sanchez, this quarterback, that quarterback — clearly there’s going to be competition at that position.”
Tebow’s situation arose only late during Ryan’s time at the mike.
“Tim’s under contract to be a New York Jet,” the head coach said, “and we’ll see how things go in the offseason.”
We’re expediting the processing of transcripts of both Idzik’s and Ryan’s remarks today and they’ll be up on newyorkjets.com shortly.
Draft Order Update
The NFL has released its tentative round-by-round order for the 2013 draft. The order is tentative because it doesn’t include compensatory picks, which will be awarded at the bottom of Rounds 3-7 and announced next month. So the Jets’ first three picks are fixed and the positions of Rounds 4-7 will change depend on how many compensatories are inserted at the end of each prior round. Here are the Jets’ picks at the moment:
Round 1 — 9th in the round, 9th overall
Round 2 — 8th in the round, 39th overall
Round 3 — 10th in the round, 72nd overall
Round 4 — 9th in the round (103rd-plus overall)
Round 5 — 8th in the round (134th-plus overall)
Round 6 — 10th in the round (168th-plus overall)
Round 7 — 9th in the round (199th-plus overall)
Tags: Darrelle Revis, John Idzik, Lucas Oil Stadium, Mark Sanchez, NFL Combine, Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow
Posted in Randy Lange | 204 Comments »
As we come off the holiday and into the bright, harsh sunlight of 2013, we’re awaiting any developments in the Jets’ postseason plans along with the start of the playoffs. While in neutral in that area, here are a few loose ends that we wanted to tie up from the season finale at Buffalo:
For many skill position players, their 40 time is important. For Jeremy Kerley, his “40″ plays are paramount.
Kerley had a pair of 40-yard receptions from Mark Sanchez at Buffalo — the slip screen that converted third-and-16 in the second quarter (which as we noted Sunday was the longest third-down conversion completion since Sanchez-to-Braylon Edwards on third-and-21 in 2009 Game 5 at Miami, Edwards’ first game as a Jet) and the sideline grab over Stephen Gilmore in the third quarter.
This generated several 40-yard factoids:
■ It was the first time in 41 games that the Jets completed two 40-yards-plus passes in a game. The last time was 2010 Game 10 vs. Houston, when Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes for a 41-yard TD, then found Edwards late for the 42-yarder that set up Holmes’ comeback-securing second TD.
■ It was the first time a Jet had two 40-yard receptions in the same game since the 2009 AFC Wild Card Game at Cincinnati, when TE Dustin Keller nabbed 45- and 43-yarders from Sanchez.
■ It was the first time a Jets WR had two 40-yarders in the same game since 2007 Game 15 at Tennessee, when Jerricho Cotchery caught 48- and 41-yarders from Chad Pennington.
■ And just for fun, I went back to the last time a WR caught two 40-yarders in a Jets victory. That was Santana Moss, who had a 65-yard TD and a 43-yard catch from Pennington in the 2003 Game 9 overtime win at Oakland.
Here’s some related trivia:
The Jets’ last seven 40-yard pass plays have all involved Kerley. He had five 40-yard receptions this season. And he completed the 41-yard pass to Matt Mulligan in the 2011 season finale at Miami and the 42-yarder to Clyde Gates vs. San Diego.
All we can say is, Jeremy, keep ‘em comin’ … and maybe if you can cut back on your NFL-record number of punt fair catches from this season as well, that would be AOK, JK.
Third-Down D Lost Its Grip
The Jets defense put together a strong piece of third-down efficiency since the end of the New England Thanksgiving turkey. Through the first third-down situation of the third quarter Sunday, the D had allowed just seven conversions on 63 third-down plays. That’s an 11.1% rate that’s great in anyone’s book.
However, the defense couldn’t hold on after that as the Bills converted six of their last nine third downs, including a pair of Brad Smith “Mizzou”-style runs, for the 4-yard touchdown and a 16-yard pickup.
And it sometimes gets overlooked in assessing “crunch-down” defense but from Arizona on, opponents converted on six of seven fourth downs, including Tashard Choice’s late 13-yard dash on Sunday.
Still, the Jets finished 12th in the NFL with an opponents’ third-down conversion rate of 30.2%, and that was quite an improvement from 31st at a 40.8% rate after the Patriots game.
Muhammad Wilkerson had only one roughing-the-passer penalty marked off against him all season, back in Game 6 vs. Andrew Luck and the Colts. And it didn’t really look like a flaggable offense when Mo crushed Ryan Fitzpatrick hard in the pocket, not late, no helmet-to-helmet, no blow to the head, in the third quarter and was called for roughing by ref Terry McAulay.
Wilkerson evidently didn’t think so either, because on the next series he popped Fitz again, quite legally, then looked at McAulay with his hands out, as if to say, “Was that one OK, ref?”
The Jets took four penalties for 45 yards on the day at Buffalo, one of which was quite unusual — when LB David Harris jumped offside on a Fitzpatrick hard count on the Bills’ opening drive. It was the Hitman’s first penalty of any kind in 33 games, or since getting served for a facemask against BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the 2010 AFC Divisional Round Game at New England, and Harris’ first presnap penalty in his six-year career.
The team totals were still in keeping with the Jets’ emphasis on cutting down on penalties in the second half of the season. They finished fourth in the NFL for fewest penalties with 83 and third for fewest penalty yards with 708. The last time they had less than their 233 yards in penalties from Games 9-16 in an inseason eight-game span was in ’07.
Turnover Tale of Woe
We wrote about how important it was for the Jets to come up with a big takeaway/giveaway effort in our advance for the game at Tennessee. It didn’t work out that way, of course, as the Jets went minus-5 in that game, the centerpiece of their turnover travails late in the season.
Mark Sanchez had 18 interceptions, eight lost fumbles and 26 individual giveaways for the second straight season. And the offense had a 17.5% turnover drive rate (34 GAs, 194 drives) that was third-highest in the NFL behind Kansas City (18.8%) and Philadelphia (17.9%).
But the defense didn’t lighten the load down the stretch. The Jets had no interceptions their last three games, and the Mike DeVito force/Yeremiah Bell recovery of C.J. Spiller’s fumble to open the third quarter was the only FF and FR in the last five games.
Revising that GA/TA stat we mentioned last week, the Jets combined for a minus-14 turnover margin for the season, their lowest since the 1996 team went minus-20. And their minus-15 over the final six games equaled the lowest inseason six-game TO margin in franchise history, set in the final six games of the ’76 season.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Chad Pennington, David Harris, Jeremy Kerley, Mark Sanchez, Muhammad Wilkerson, Santana Moss
Posted in Randy Lange | 355 Comments »
Here are today’s first-half tweets for the Jets-Bills game at Ralph Wilson 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 captains: G Brandon Moore, DT Mike DeVito, T D’Brickashaw Ferguson, WR Jordan White, CB Darrin Walls
#RL Shonn Greene has 17 yards on 3 carries, has reached 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight season.
#RL Nick Folk 47-yd FG is good. Folk now 19-for-24 on season, 11-for-13 career vs BUF. Jets lead 3-0…
#RL Jets have 2 TDs, 2 FGs on 16 opening drives this season.
#EA Entering Week 17, teams averaged 5.1 a carry on the Bills D. Jets ran 9 times on that 1st drive for 42 yards — a 4.7 average.
#RL Jets lead the NFL with 27 inside-the-20 kickoffs but ex-Jet Brad Smith doesn’t cooperate, going 27 yds on KO return to BUF 31.
#RL With BUF punt, Jets opponents have gone their last 6 opening drives w/o scoring a point. (4 TDs, 2 FGs on 16 opening drives overall.)
#RL LB Bryan Scott nabs Mark Sanchez pass, goes 20 yds for BUF TD. 2nd INT-return TD vs. Sanchez this season, 7th in his career.
#RL Lex Hilliard’s first catch in 6 games goes for 7 yds on 3rd-and-7 for 1st down at BUF 44 as 1st qtr comes to an end.
#EA Giveaways have been a problem the entire season. The Jets now have 36 and that was the 19th INT.
#RL Nick Folk 2-for-2 on FGs today, although his 23-yarder just got over the crossbar after tip by Alex Carrington. Folk on year: 20-for-25.
#EA Powell almost equaled a career-long with that 18-yard run. He had a 19-yarder vs. the Cards on Dec. 2.
#EA With 51 yards on the ground, Greene is up to 1,040. He needs only 15 yards to set a career-high (1,054 in 2011).
#RL Bilal Powell 33-yard reception wiped out by Austin Howard hold. So Jeremy Kerley goes 40 yds on third-and-16…
#RL Jets’ longest 3rd-down conversion on a pass play since Mark Sanchez-to-Braylon Edwards for 34 yds on 3rd-and-21 @ MIA in 2009.
#RL Nick Folk 28-yd FG gives Jets 9-7 lead. Folk’s first 3-FG first half since 2010 Game 5 vs. MIN.
#RL CJ Spiller 66-yd TD catch/run longest reception by opposing RB in road game since Fred Taylor 72 yds w/ Mark Brunell pass @ JAX ’02.
#RL Jets CB Donnie Fletcher has hamstring injury, his return to this game is questionable.
#RL Jets hold edges in yards (204-132), 1st downs (13-4), possession (23:04-6:46) but Bills have 14-9 halftime lead.
#RL Jets’ 23:14 first-half possession time is their most in 1st half since 2009 “Win and We’re In” Game 16 vs CIN (24:50).
Tags: Austin Howard, Bilal Powell, Brandon Moore, Braylon Edwards, Buffalo Bills, C.J. Spiller, Mark Sanchez, Nick Folk, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Shonn Greene
Posted in Randy Lange | 152 Comments »
Here are today’s pregame tweets for the Jets-Bills game at Ralph Wilson 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-Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium today: ptly cloudy, temps in high 20s (wind chill around 9°), winds gusting to 20 mph.
#RL Jets 50-54 all-time vs BUF, 23-28 in western NY. But Jets have won last 6 in rivalry, 8 of last 9, and last 4 on the road.
#RL Mark Sanchez last 6 starts vs BUF: 6-0 record, 77-for-129 passing (59.7%), 941 yds, 11 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 sacks, 101.0 rating.
#RL Ryan Fitzpatrick last 5 starts vs Jets: 0-5 record, 80-for-152 passing (52.6%), 876 yds, 9 TDs, 6 INTs, 9 sacks, 73.2 rating.
#RL Jets’ Shonn Greene needs 11 rush yds to reach 1,000 yds for 2nd straight season, 2 TDs to become 11th Jet w/ 10 rush TDs in season.
#RL BUF’s CJ Spiller in ’12 opener vs NYJ: 14 atts, 169 yds, TD. First Jets opp w/ two 40+ runs in 1 game since Barry Sanders (@ DET ’97).
#RL Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson last 10 games: 5 sacks, 3 forced FUMs, 1 FUM-return TD, 4 PDs, 3 penalties forced, 1 blkd FG.
#RL Rookie DE Quinton Coples (5.5) and Wilkerson (5.0)–former Hargrave MA teammates–are 1-2 for Jets sack leadership.
#RL Jets K Nick Folk: 18-for-23 on FGs this season. Career vs BUF: 10-for-12. @ Ralph Wilson: 7-for-9.
#RL Bills K Rian Lindell: 21-for-22 on FGs this season. Career vs NYJ: 25-for-27 on all FGs, 17-for-17 on FGs from 42 yds/closer.
#RL Jets HC Rex Ryan is 5-0 since ’10 vs BUF HC Chan Gailey. Gailey is 0-6 all-time vs Jets (0-1
#RL NYJ inactives: QB Greg McElroy CB Ellis Lankster LB Bryan Thomas C Caleb Schlauderaff TE Dustin Keller WR Chaz Schilens (6 inactives).
#RL Jets roster at 52 players, including RB John Griffin, signed from practice squad during the week. Griffin is active, will wear No. 21.
#RL BUF inactives: QB Tarvaris Jackson WR Kevin Elliott S Da’Norris Searcy G Keith Williams DT Jay Ross T Chris Scott DE Mark Anderson
#RL CB Donnie Fletcher, LB Ricky Sapp, DT Damon Harrison also active for Jets.
#RL Today’s referee is Terry McAulay. It’s his 11th Jets game as ref since ’01. Jets have won 4 of last 5 he’s officiated in.
#RL Jets wearing white jerseys, white pants for today’s game. Jets in white/white: 2-3 this season (wins vs BUF, STL), 16-12 u/ Rex Ryan.
#RL Jets D has held opponents to 6 conversions on their last 58 3rd downs. (0-for-2 vs NE, 0-15 vs ARZ, 2-16 @ jax, 2-13 @ TEN, vs SD 2-12)
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Mark Sanchez, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Folk, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Rex Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Shonn Greene
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Rex Ryan refers to his last news conference of the work week jocularly as “Fast Friday,” since the Q&A session is normally a bit shorter and lighter than the Wednesday or Thursday sessions.
Today was a changeup. Maybe “Fast Yet Furious Friday.”
“There was a report this morning that was untrue,” Ryan told reporters at the top of his afternoon news conference regarding a Daily News story under the headline that Ryan “would welcome firing if Gang Green fails to make over offense.”
“I was disappointed and quite honestly mad as a hornet.
“The fact is, and it’s simple, this is the only team I want to coach, period. Anybody who knows me knows I’m telling the truth. Has it been perfect? No. Would I like this player or that player? Sure, anybody would. But this is my team, these are my players.”
The coach was irritated over several issues. It was stated in the story that “Ryan declined comment about his future when reached by The News,” although Ryan said, “When I had a conversation with this reporter, it wasn’t reported that way in the article, and the headline reads a certain way.”
The coach also disputed the impression provided through quotes from unnamed sources that he was trying to influence owner Woody Johnson into a particular endgame scenario after the season concludes at Buffalo on Sunday and that he might also be trying to set up a landing spot with another team.
“I called Mr. Johnson as soon as I read the article,” Ryan said. “I let him know that absolutely, 100 percent is not my intention, no way in heck. I’m not putting an ultimatum to this man that hired me, no chance.
“This is his football team. I take it as my team, the guys I coach, the football part of it, that’s how I approach it. But at the end of the day, it’s Mr. Johnson’s team. I feel honored he hired me to do a job. I’ve told you from day one what an opportunity I had. This is the fact — I always wanted to be a head coach, but to be the New York Jets head coach, it’s unbelievable.
“The Jets were the first professional team my dad ever coach, eight years. This was my team growing up. The fans, I identify with that because I was one of them also. Now I’m the head coach of their football team, too.
Ryan said he also spoke to the team this morning about the story, “probably a little more passionate, emotional or whatever you want to call it” than he was speaking to reporters. He said he brought the matter up on all these fronts to make sure his perspective on the subject is heard.
“I want to be the Jets head coach for the next 15 years. And there’s probably a lot of fans out there that hope that isn’t the case, but I’m just telling you from my heart that this is the job I’ve always wanted and that’s it,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure everybody understood how I feel about this team. I don’t want to go anywhere, I don’t want to coach anywhere but the New York Jets, period. I want everybody to know it.”
Look Ahead at the 2013 Sked
Each NFL team’s schedule for the following season is always known by the end of the final game of the regular season, and that’s the case again this year. Almost all of the Jets’ 2013 opponents are set. Ahead of Sunday’s full slate of games, here’s how the ’13 sked is shaping up:
Opponents Already Determined: Home — Buffalo, Miami, New England, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay. Away — Buffalo, Miami, New England, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina.
Opponents Yet to Be Determined: Home — AFC West. Away — AFC South.
The Jets play the team in the South and the team in the West that finish in the same standings spot in their division as the Jets finish in the AFC East. The Jets will come in either second or third. They would be second with a win over Buffalo and a Miami loss to New England because they would then finish tied with the Dolphins at 7-9 and would have the edge based on better division record than the ‘Fins (3-3 to 2-4). The Jets can’t finish fourth even with a loss to the Bills because then, even though both would be 6-10, the Jets would still get third place based on better record in common games (6-8 to 4-10).
So where the Jets finish will determine whether they will travel to the second-place Colts or the third-place Titans, and whether they will host the second-place Chargers or the third-place Raiders.
We’ll have those questions answered late Sunday afternoon, shortly after the end of the Jets-Bills and Dolphins-Pats games, both kicking off at 1 p.m. ET.
Friday Injury Picture
The big injury news for the Jets today was that DE Muhammad Wilkerson (concussion/knee) practiced full today and is being listed as probable for the Bills. Also, CB Ellis Lankster (concussion) was limited and is questionable for the game. There was no change in QB Greg McElroy’s concussion situation. McElroy is listed as doubtful but Ryan has said he’s not playing and that Mark Sanchez will start.
TE Dustin Keller (ankle), WR Chaz Schilens (knee) and LB Bryan Thomas (chest) all didn’t participate at today’s practice and are also doubtful, and WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring/knee) was limited and his game status is also questionable. The other 18 Jets were all full-go and are probable for the Bills.
Buffalo’s report lists three players ruled out for the game: DE Mark Anderson (knee), starting TE Scott Chandler (knee) and S Da’Norris Searcy (groin). Nine of the 11 other injured Bills were limited at today’s practice in western New York but are listed as probable, including seven starters: LB Nick Barnett (knee), S Jairus Byrd (ankle), G Andy Levitre (knee), RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder), DT Kyle Williams (ankle), DE Mario Williams (wrist) and C Eric Wood (knee).
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Daily News, Ellis Lankster, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rex Ryan, Woody Johnson
Posted in Randy Lange | 39 Comments »