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: Arizona Cardinals, Dustin Keller, Jay Feely, Jeff Cumberland, Kerry Rhodes, Mark Sanchez, Patrick Peterson, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 87 Comments »
For whatever reasons, ever since returning from their bye week, the Jets’ special teams haven’t been as sharp and efficient as usual.
Trouble began in Seattle on Nov. 11 when punt returner Jeremy Kerley muffed a second-quarter punt, which the Seahawks recovered and soon thereafter turned into seven points.
That was followed up at St. Louis the next week when one of Nick Folk’s field goals was blocked and a Tim Tebow fake-punt shovel pass to Lex Hilliard was stopped.
And most recently, against the Patriots on Thanksgiving, Joe McKnight fumbled a kickoff return, resulting in a TD for the opposition.
Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff didn’t have a clear explanation for the recent struggles.
“We do things in practice,” Westhoff said, “but there’s only so many things you can do. I mean, we can’t run a live kickoff coverage in practice this time of the year. We’ve already had a million. You have to be able to hang onto it. So those instances, even though they’re separate entities — very, very frustrating.”
Yet Westhoff was pleased with his kickoff covereage unit against the Pats.
“They couldn’t get to the 20,” Westhoff said. “They couldn’t have gotten to the 20 with an all-star team running that against what we were doing. We had it. I look at it technically. I know what I’m talking about. So we have them covered.”
Westhoff was shocked the McKnight miscue occurred, particularly because it looked like he had a chance to take the return all the way.
“Here I’m seeing this develop,” the ST coordinator said. “I’m thinking, ‘We’ve got them. We’re going to hit this.’ All of a sudden it ends up becoming a gigantic play for them and they get the big Thanksgiving celebration and we get a weekend in Palookaville.”
Jets seventh-year safety Eric Smith said the mistakes and errors on special teams haven’t only been discouraging for Westhoff but for the entire unit.
“We’ve just given up a lot of plays that we don’t need to,” Smith said. “We’ve got them schemed up well, we’ve just got some guys out of position, missed some tackles or missed some blocks.”
The Arizona Cardinals, Sunday’s opponents, feature one of the NFL’s premier punt returners in Patrick Peterson. Last season as a rookie, Peterson tied the NFL single-season punt-return touchdown record, finishing with four, with all four of his scores at least 80-yard returns. Those impressive numbers certainly haven’t gone unnoticed by Westhoff.
“I’ll tell you what he’s incredible at aside from being a prolific punt returner,” Westhoff said. “He rushes field goals as good as maybe anybody I’ve ever seen. He can run under a chair. He explodes and he’s low. He’s strong. At 220 pounds, he runs through a lot of things aside from being so explosive. He’s a real factor.
“Sometimes his numbers maybe aren’t quite what he would want them to be. He takes chances. I mean, he ran a 99-yard punt return. That meant he fielded it on the 1. A lot of guys wouldn’t do that. He does that kind of stuff. So he’s very daring.”
When Peterson entered the NFL out of LSU in 2011, Westhoff listed him as his top draft prospect.
“He’s extremely, extremely talented,” Westhoff said. “I have tremendous respect for him.”
The unit is also hoping personal protector Tim Tebow will be ready to go after he didn’t see action in last week’s game due to his broken ribs.
“I think I know Tim Tebow pretty well,” Westhoff said. “The guy’s pretty tough. Anytime you have one of those things, there’s always a safety or precaution because you don’t know what it could become.”
If the Jets envision being successful Sunday, one area they should attempt to capitalize on McKnight’s specialty, kickoff returns. Arizona ranks 30th in the NFL in both their 27.9-yard average return allowed and opponents’ averaged 24.3-yard-line drive start. But as Westhoff cautioned, it all circles back to fundamentals.
“Every play is measured by the proper execution of that play,” he said. “Sometimes a really good punt return is a fair catch. That can be a heck of a play, things like that. Whatever the situation requires, I want to try to win at that situation. And I want everyone to win at it, every single guy. That’s my goal.”
*Special Teams Saturday
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Eric Smith, Jeremy Kerley, joe McKnight, Mike Westhoff, New England Patriots, Nick Folk, Patrick Peterson
Posted in John Holt | 19 Comments »
When we sat down with Mike Tannenbaum in Indianapolis, I asked the Jets’ GM if Rex Ryan twisted his arm at all in order to get more defensive players on the roster.
“It’s been about 30 seconds since we‘ve added a corner. I expect a change there momentarily,” said a smiling Mr. T during a break at the team hotel. “Rex is great. We have a philosophy that we’re going to get the best player we can.”
Some will make the argument that LSU CB Patrick Peterson is the top overall prospect in the 2011 draft. Imagine the scene if Peterson is still available when the Jets come to the clock with their 30th overall selection. Ryan would probably get out the keys to his truck and tell Tannenbaum to put Peterson’s hometown — Pompano Beach, Fla. — into the GPS. The Jets’ third-year head coach probably wouldn’t mind giving the 6’0”, 219-pounder a hand with some moving boxes.
On the surface, it appears this Bayou Bengal doesn’t have a weakness.
“My ball skills, toughness, I can support the run,” Peterson said when asked about his strengths from a podium at Lucas Oil Stadium. “I’m an all-around cornerback and that’s what I wanted to do when I went to college and I definitely want to continue that trend going into the NFL.”
Peterson (remember we just said he weighs 219 pounds) posted two sub-4.4 times in the 40 Tuesday as the combine workouts in Indianapolis reached a conclusion. Even though he wanted a 4.2, the 4.32 and 4.37 times will work for all NFL scouts. Petersen, who captured both the Thorpe (top defensive back) and Bednarik (top defender) awards last season, had four interceptions and also ranked fourth in the nation with a 16.1-yard punt return average and ninth nationally with a 29.1-yard kickoff return average.
While Peterson might be the king of the corners, Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara also performed well in the 40 with a 4.43. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year had 13 PDs as the ‘Huskers finished fifth in pass defense. Colorado CB Jimmy Smith will escape most of the headlines, but he’s an intriguing prospect as well who excels in press man coverage.
Even though Ryan loves his corners, the Jets may be in a favorable position to address their front seven come draft weekend.
“It doesn’t take a super scout to figure out we’ve got some pretty good defensive linemen in this year’s class,” ESPN’s Todd McShay told newyorkjets.com. “Right now I have eight defensive ends with first-round grades, and it could be nine if Cameron Heyward of Ohio State didn’t have the Tommy John surgery. It just moves him over to early second round. I’ve got another four defensive tackles with first-round grades, so you’re talking about 13, 14 defensive linemen that have a chance to come off the board in the first round.”
The Green & White officially released two front-seven players this week as both NT Kris Jenkins and OLB Jason Taylor were set free. Taylor accounted for five of the team’s 40 sacks during regular-season action.
“They need a front-seven player who can rush the passer and not have to rely on their scheme as much,” said NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi. “Those 40 sacks were really a reflection of their scheme and their ability to pressure the quarterback by their design, not necessarily by their talent.”
As far as outside linebackers are concerned, Texas A&M’s Von Miller leads the way. After tallying 17 sacks as a junior, Miller fought off an ankle injury and amassed 10.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles behind the line as a senior. Missouri product Aldon Smith played only two seasons for the Tigers but racked up 17 sacks along the way. Unless they move up in the first round, the Jets (who currently don’t own a second-round selection) might have to be patient on that first night of the draft
“I think you’re going to see guys like Robert Quinn from UNC way off the board. Akeem Ayers [out of UCLA] will come off the board earlier than that,” McShay said. “But a player like Justin Houston out of Georgia, who’s a good talent but not quite as explosive and who doesn’t have the elite bend around the edge like a guy Quinn brings to the table, I could see him possibly falling to the late round.”
There are a number of linemen who could fit well in the Jets’ 3-4 base look.
“I do think there’s some depth there this year, and I do think the fact that more college teams are running the 34 defense will help the process as far as guys we’re looking at because we’re a 34 team,” said Joe Clinkscales, the Jets’ VP of college scouting.
“The other thing, too,” added McShay, “is you can never have enough good defensive linemen, so even though they’re inside guys in the 3-4, bringing in a player, one of these defensive ends has to fall. We have three guys who played the 5-technique that belong in the first round — J.J. Watt, Muhammad Wilkerson out of Temple and Cameron Jordan out of California. You have those three guys and one of them may fall, so there is an opportunity there. And maybe you move up a few spots if the right guy is there to not only take on blocks but also can get pressure on the quarterback.”
Wilkerson, a big-time basketball recruit out of high school, had 9.5 sacks, 70 tackles and two forced fumbles in 2010. Jordan’s stock continues to rise after a 16.5-sack career at Cal. And Watt, an early entry, had 36.5 tackles for losses and 11.5 sacks in just two seasons at Wisconsin.
Even though Ryan loves corners, the Jets will stick to the philosophy of drafting the best player available. If a prospect can “Play Like a Jet,” meaning he is passionate about the game and plays hard, then the coaching staff will always find a way to use more talent.
“The strength of our system is its flexibility,” said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. “If a guy is a football player and he makes plays and is productive, we can find a home for him.”
Tags: Cameron Heyward, Joey Clinkscales, Mike Tannenbaum, Patrick Peterson, Rex Ryan, Todd McShay
Posted in Eric Allen | 41 Comments »