It’s never too soon to start prepping for the arrival of the 2013 schedule. In a biweekly series on into July, I’ll post some blogs capturing some bullet points for each game on the slate, by quarters of the season. Today we review the First Quarter (a.k.a. Games 1-4):
Game 1 — vs. TAMPA BAY, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m.
■ Jets will be going up vs. remade TB secondary featuring Darrelle Revis, their former Pro Bowl CB, S Dashon Goldson (from SF), and top draft pick CB Jonathan Banks.
■ Jets opened their season once before vs. Buccaneers — at home in the Meadowlands in ’91, 16-13 win secured with Pat Leahy 40-yd FG with 1:22 to play.
■ Jets are 9-1 overall and 6-0 at home all-time vs. TB. Six home wins are the most without a loss for the NYJ vs. any NFL opponent.
■ Green & White’s last home game vs. Bucs: 2005, when QB Vinny Testaverde “climbed off his couch” to start his first Jets game in two years, lead 14-12 win.
Game 2 — @ NEW ENGLAND, Gillette Stadium, Thursday, Sept. 12, 8:25 p.m.
■ Is this the best time to get the Patriots? NE is 8-5 in September since ’09, 1-3 in Game 2′s (and 0-2 vs. Jets) since ’09.
■ Patriots are 10-1 in home openers since ’02. But that one loss came last year, by 20-18 to Arizona — in Game 2.
■ Third time in franchise history Jets will play Game 2 on three days’ rest (1984, Thurs night loss to PIT; 1986, Thurs night loss to NE).
■ 10th time in last 15 seasons Jets will play NE in first two weeks of season, but first time in the first two weeks since 2010.
Game 3 — vs. BUFFALO, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 22, 4:25 p.m.
■ Jets will want to welcome new BUF coach Doug Marrone, their OL coach from 2002-05, into the big leagues with a rousing home win over their longtime AFL rivals.
■ Jets lead this series at home, 27-25, after taking four of the last five, including last year’s season-opening 48-28 shootout at MetLife Stadium.
■ Which QB will Green & White face? They’ve never played vs. Kevin Kolb or first-round rookie EJ Manuel, faced Tarvaris Jackson in relief only once in ’06 win @ MIN.
■ C.J. Spiller had 56-yard TD run, 49-yd run in opener, 66-yd TD reception in finale vs. Jets. First Jets opponent with three 40-plus plays in a season since Chiefs WR Carlos Carson (2 games in ’88).
Game 4 — @ TENNESSEE, LP Field, Sunday, Sept. 29, 4:05 p.m.
■ RB Chris Johnson had unusual game vs. Jets last year: 10 yds in his first 7 carries, 18 yds in his last 13 carries, 94-yd TD burst on his 8th carry that helped TEN post 14-10 win.
■ Titans who’ll be familiar to Jets: RB Shonn Greene, four-year Jets back now backing up Johnson, plus DE Ropati Pitoitua, S Tracy Wilson, and ex-Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
■ Despite last year’s loss, Jets have fared well recently against AFC South, winning 9 of last 13 beginning with ’08 road win at TEN.
■ Jets have lost 16 of 22 on the road in this series, but have won 3 of last 5 on road since Titans moved to Tennessee, including ’98 at Vanderbilt, ’06 in season opener, ’08 when Titans were 10-0.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Chris Johnson, Darrelle Revis, Doug Marrone, New England Patriots, Shonn Greene, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 16 Comments »
Updated, Dec. 21, 11:58 a.m. ET
Mike DeVito is about to wrap up his sixth season in the NFL.
He’s played in 80 career games and all 80 have been with the New York Jets.
He’s producing a career year in 2012 with a career-bests 60 tackles and a career-best 8.0 tackles for loss/no gain. He was also drew a holding call against Tennessee on Monday, the third time he was held this season, another career high. But it’s also the final year of his contract.
“It’s definitely strange,” DeVito said in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room after practice this afternoon. “I’m looking at it like nothing’s guaranteed. I mean, I have two games left and then I don’t know what’s going to happen next year. So I’m going to enjoy every minute I get a chance to be on this field, be with these guys and play in these last two games because you just don’t know.”
DeVito sure played like he was enjoying himself Monday night against Tennessee. In that game, he finished with a team-best eight tackles and two of his eight takedowns proved to be tackles for loss when Titans RB Chris Johnson was carrying the ball.
After one of those takedowns of Johnson, ESPN broadcast analyst Jon Gruden said of DeVito: “He’s an excellent football player. He can stuff the run.”
The performance also was the first time in a game in the past two seasons that DeVito led the Jets defense in tackles.
“I kind of took this mindset Monday I’m just going to go out there and have fun and enjoy it and enjoy this time,” No. 70 said. “I definitely was happy with that. Obviously [there are] plays I can get better at though, and I’m going to continue to try and get better each week.”
The tackle total at Tennessee wasn’t a season high for DeVito, but the number certainly caught head coach Rex Ryan’s eye.
“Mike DeVito. he had eight tackles — that’s impressive,” Ryan said at his news conference this morning. “When you watch that game, that might have been his top game since I’ve been here. He was absolutely tremendous.”
Twice this season DeVito recorded nine tackles, against the Dolphins in Week 3 and vs. Houston in Week 5.
“I feel confident out there,” he said. “I feel good and I feel like I can continue to get better. I feel like I haven’t peaked at my talent. I’m not satisfied.”
Except for the second quarter 94-yard TD run — on which DeVito may have been the only Jet to get a hand on Johnson — he and his Jets defensive teammates contained the Titans’ star RB.
“That was so frustrating,” DeVito said of Johnson’s touchdown, “because when you look at the stats, I think it was 20 carries for 28 yards and then they had that one long run. But we can’t let that happen. That’s something we had talked about all week, going into the week, was you can have 20 carries for 28 yards but Chris Johnson can break that one. It’s frustrating, but we learned from it. We saw the mistakes and are moving forward.”
As the Green & White continue preparing for this week’s game against San Diego, DeVito said the Chargers’ offensive line might be the most physical bunch the Jets defense has faced all year.
“I really like their offensive line,” he said. “They’re tough up front. Every time we play against these guys it’s always a battle up front.”
Possibly a good sign for the Jets is that San Diego won’t have primary RB Ryan Mathews, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. However, DeVito doesn’t see Mathews’ absence necessarily working as an advantage for the Green & White.
“It will be a good challenge for us up front,” he said, “because when you have an offensive line like that, it doesn’t matter who’s back there.”
It will be the final home game of the season for the Jets at MetLife Stadium and DeVito states his family will be in attendance. But will he be playing in his final home game with the franchise? Only time can determine that answer.
“I’m a New York guy,” he said. “My family is over here and has been here for six years. Obviously I love this organization, and I love the people here, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
Thursday Injury Reports
TE Dustin Keller (ankle), S LaRon Landry (heel) and CB Aaron Berry (hamstring) were the three players who did not participate in team drills at today’s practice. G Brandon Moore (foot/hip) was a DNP Wednesday but was full-go today. Five Jets were limited: WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring), DT Sione Po‘uha (low back), LB Ricky Sapp (ankle), LB Bryan Thomas (chest), and WR Chaz Schilens (calf/knee), who didn’t practice a day ago. Fourteen players were full, including new listees K Nick Folk (back) and WR Mardy Gilyard (illness).
For the Chargers, LB Takeo Spikes (hamstring) and DT Aubrayo Franklin (knee) remained not practicing and LB Demorrio Williams (ankle) remained limited. Two players limited Wednesday, RB Ronnie Brown (hamstring) and LB Donald Butler (groin), were full today.
Tags: Chris Johnson, Jon Gruden, Mike DeVito, Rex Ryan, Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans
Posted in John Holt | 68 Comments »
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 »
For Josh Bush, it seems like only yesterday when he was gearing up for his first NFL training camp.
Now it’s the middle of December and his rookie season is reaching its final stages.
“It’s gone by very fast,” Bush said Thursday inside the Jets locker room. “People were telling me stories about the rookie wall and this and that, but it’s flying by to me.”
Unlike his teammate, wide receiver Stephen Hill, Bush said of the rookie wall: “I haven’t experienced it.”
The Jets’ sixth-round draft selection described his first year in the pros as fun but admitted things could be better if the team had a winning record. The Green & White are 6-7 but still have a chance to end their season with an above-.500 record as three regular-season games remain.
One week ago, Bush made one of the best plays of his young NFL career during the Jets’ 17-10 win Jacksonville. On the second-half kickoff, he beat his block and took down returner Jordan Todman with a low tackle at the Jaguars’ 11-yard line. The play seemed to ignite the entire team as the Jets defense immediately forced a three-and-out and minutes later the Jets offense scored their first TD of the afternoon when RB Shonn Greene rushed for a 1-yard score to cap a nine-play, 57-yard drive.
“We just went over it in a special teams meeting,” Bush said of the play. “We put something new in. Coach Westhoff drew up a great play. I was really coming down, stacking up behind Antonio [Allen], and I read it. Nick [Bellore] was playing off of me, and the hole just opened up.”
No. 32 said he was only doing his job on the play, but acknowledged it was nice to see the play executed properly.
“We definitely practiced it,” he said. “That was exactly what we practiced.”
Bush, a safety on defense, has played a significant role on special teams this season. He played on 15 special teams plays against Jacksonville and on 168 this season, 44% of the Jets’ total ST plays. And his tackle of Todman was his 13th on kick and punt coverage this season, tying him for the team lead with Nick Bellore and fellow rookie Demario Davis.
Yet he never played special teams in high school and his only action on specials at Wake Forest occurred early his freshman year.
Although he hasn’t seen much action at his natural position, he has valued the opportunity to learn from coordinator Mike Westhoff, now in what he’s said is his final season as an NFL coach. Bush said what Westhoff has taught him most is that focusing on the task at hand can lead to successful things getting done. Yet early on, Bush said the ST coach had his doubts on whether he could ever be a special teams factor.
“He honestly told me when they drafted me that he didn’t think I’d be able to play special teams,” Bush said. “So just to hear that from him, and him telling me that I’ve been doing a good job, that’s just a positive.”
The Jets rank eighth in opponents’ kickoff-return average and are 13th with opponents’ drives averaging starts at their 21.5 yard-line. At the same time, they lead the league with 22 opponents’ drives starting inside their own 20. While the ranking certainly isn’t despairing, Bush knows it could be better.
“We’ve had ups and downs,” Bush said. “But for the most part, it’s not where we want to be.”
Tennessee’s kick-return unit ranks 31st in the NFL in return average, but Bush said the Jets, in a must-win situation every week now, can’t afford to overlook main returner Darius Reynaud and the Titans.
“It’s the NFL,” Bush said. “You can’t sleep on anyone. Special teams is a very important part of the game, so you’ve got to bring it every time.”
*Special Teams Sunday
Tags: Darius Reynaud, Demario Davis, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jordan Todman, Josh Bush, Mike Westhoff, Nick Bellore, Tennessee Titans
Posted in John Holt | 63 Comments »
There may be a perception among NFL watchers and fantasy players that Chris Johnson is having a down year. But then again, everything after his 2,006-yard sophomore season as the Titans’ tailback would pale in comparison.
But CJ2K also is making a comeback of sorts. He’s already cleared 1,000 rushing yards for the fifth time in five seasons and his 4.7 yards per rush are his best since his 5.6 in 2009.
“He’s still one of the leading rushers in the league,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said today. “He’s a dangerous guy. He’s somebody, every time he touches it, you hold your breath. He’s that kind of athlete, so a dropoff in play? I don’t know. I don’t necessarily see it because he’s the same explosive guy to me on tape. You don’t get a whole lot of sleep worrying about this guy, that’s for sure. He’s a great player. Obviously, everybody knows about him. He’s no secret.
“I think when he first got into the league, you weren’t necessarily that sure. You saw a guy, ‘Hey, he’s a little undersized for a running back,’ and then he’s blowing by you and ‘Oh, man.’ You can say a guy is fast, you can read the numbers, but when you see it on the field, it’s happening right in front of you, it’s a little scary. I saw it first-hand several times when we played against him here but also in Baltimore.”
Actually, Ryan defenses have done pretty well against Johnson. In ’08, Rex’s last year with the Ravens, Johnson had 44 yards on 18 carries. The next year vs. the Jets, he had 97 yards on 22 carries. But the Titans lost both of those games.
However, while the Jets have improved in many areas and rankings on defense, is this year’s run defense improved as well? The Jets are still ranked 29th in rush yards allowed per game, not a good omen against Johnson and running QB Jake Locker. Ryan said, “I think our run defense has definitely improved,” but he was clearly unhappy with yielding that untouched 32-yard TD jaunt by Montell Owens at Jacksonville.
Yet one ranking that isn’t mentioned a lot is opponents’ rush yards per carry. The Jets after five games were allowing 4.9 yards per carry, 29th in the league. In the last eight games, the average is 4.0, which has improved their league ranking to 19th.
It will have to be good enough. As Ryan said, this week vs. Tennessee “is a bit of a challenge.”
Tebow Upon Further Review
One day after Rex Ryan said he didn’t see Tim Tebow Wildcatting and personal protecting on Monday night at Tennessee due to his still sore ribs, the Jets coach saw enough improvement at Thursday’s practice to put all the familiar TT roles back on the table today.
“I was just adamant about, well, there will be no Wildcat, but I’m like, he may be able to go back to similar roles,” Ryan said at today’s news conference. “He’s always been cleared to play, but as good as he looked to me, I don’t want to rule that out for the simple fact that this is as good as he’s looked in several weeks.”
Tebow, holding rare back-to-back locker room news conferences (he normally talks to reporters Wednesday and Friday, but before the Monday night game, Thursday was the new Wednesday this week), was encouraged.
“I try to go out there and compete like any other practice. I’m glad he felt good about it and thought highly,” Tebow said, adding about getting ready for game contact for the first time since Nov. 18 at St. Louis, “I’ll be ready for that first hit … I think I will be.”
So the ‘Cat is back in the game plan? “I guess,” Tebow said, “it could be considered.”
Cynics might say this is all a ploy to make sure Tennessee is spending extra time getting ready for the Wildcat when the Jets really aren’t planning to run it. Well, maybe, but as Titans coach Mike Munchak said Thursday, “I think it’s obviously something we would prepare for anyway.”
Friday Injury Picture
Ryan reported today that X-rays on RB Bilal Powell’s toe came back negative. Both Powell and LB Bryan Thomas (chest) went from DNPs to limited work in team drills at today’s practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center. S LaRon Landry (heel) got his usual mid-practice-week day on the sideline. The rest of the Jets report remained the same as Thursday.
WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring) was limited for a second straight day. Ryan: “We’re being cautious there. I’m going to lean on the trainers. We’re hopeful he’ll be able to go on Monday.”
Titans RB Chris Johnson (ankle), who didn’t practice Thursday, and T Michael Roos (knee), who was limited, both were full-go at today’s practice in Nashville.
One Confusing Facemask
Upon reviewing the video of the Jets’ Sunday win at Jacksonville, we wanted set the record straight one more time, primarily because it involved some fans perhaps giving Muhammad Wilkerson a demerit for his latest strong performance when in fact Mo didn’t deserve the markdown.
The play was the fourth-quarter penalty on the Jets (their only flag of the game) for grasping the facemask of scrambling Jaguars QB Chad Henne. Referee Al Riveron got the error parade going by announcing, “Personal foul, facemask, No. 96.” That’s Wilkerson, but No. 98, Quinton Coples, was actually the guilty party, as the CBS slow-mo replay showed.
A referee announcing the wrong number on a penalty isn’t a frequent mistake although it happens probably more than you’d think. In this case, 96 and 98 are swarming the QB, Riveron is told the wrong number by the side judge or the head linesman, he reports it to the world.
However, that’s when network analyst Solomon Wilcots compounded the error as he spoke over the replay of Coples clearly hooking Henne’s mask as Wilkerson was closing ground from the left.
“He was going down anyway,” Wilcots said. “Take a look here. Now why’d you have to grab the facemask? There it is right there, Muhammad Wilkerson. Wow.”
Monday McKnight Football
Laura Clemente, our communications coordinator and social media maven, reports on an opportunity to win a neat prize during Monday’s Jets-Titans game:
“While the team is on the road and you’re tuned in to the Jets-Titans Monday night match-up on ESPN, you will have an exclusive opportunity. All you need to do is check into the game via Viggle on your smartphone or iPad and you could win a Joe McKnight autographed football. So watch the Jets on MNF, download the free Viggle app from the App Store or Google Play and enter for a chance to win! Check out viggle.com for more on how to download the app, win great prizes and get points for rewards.”
Tags: Bilal Powell, Braylon Edwards, Chris Johnson, Rex Ryan, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow, Wildcat
Posted in Randy Lange | 30 Comments »
Updated, 5:40 p.m. ET
Is the Jets’ version of the Wildcat dead? Well, maybe it’s only catnapping.
But Rex Ryan indicated today that Tim Tebow’s situation with the Jets at this moment is, well, complicated.
The Jets head coach was asked if Tebow, with his cracked ribs, could return to his role as personal punt protector as soon as Monday night at Tennessee.
“I don’t really see him in that role,” said Ryan, who then immediately jumped to Tebow’s role on offense. “As far as the Wildcat, obviously with the ribs the way they are, that’s a role, hopefully, that once we get the OK with those ribs, we probably expand that. But it’s not necessarily going to be a big part of our game plan. I think he’s improving, but improving to where you’re going to run the powers and the counters, I’m not sure about that.”
Yet Ryan acknowledged that Tebow has been cleared by the Jets’ medical staff and there is nothing else wrong with him, and so he continues in his role as the first in behind Mark Sanchez.
“He can be the backup quarterback and run some base things,” the coach said, adding about the ‘Cat, “There’s always a chance you can put him in that role.”
Rex also said that Greg McElroy continues in the third QB role and could be active vs. the Titans. But as he explained last week after Joe McKnight’s pregame migraines rippled through the roster and forced Ryan to keep an extra RB (Kahlil Bell) up just in case and to deactivate McElroy, “Each week is different.”
“Obviously, Tim’s had many more reps and I’m just more comfortable with Tim,” Ryan said about his choice of No. 2 QB for now. “I like Greg. I think Greg has improved a ton since his rookie year. I’ve always liked him, but I felt his arm strength had to improve to play at this level and I think he’s done that. I think his arm is getting better. I’m excited about Greg, I am. The fact that I have Tim over him doesn’t mean that I don’t like Greg as an option at quarterback. I like Greg.”
The new flurry of Tebow/McElroy/WC/PP questions were spurred in part by Ryan’s interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM the day after the Jaguars game in which he said Tebow being disappointed about this season “is probably a fair statement.” But both Ryan and then Tebow today elaborated on the “duality of disappointment” or some similar psychological theory in which a player can be happy to be a Jet but underwhelmed about how being a Jet has gone so far.
“I think you take everything in stride and you try to handle everything the best you can,” Tebow said in front of his locker this afternoon. “Obviously, it hasn’t gone exactly how we wanted, starting off the year with wins and everything as a team. Sometimes you have ups and downs and you just try to deal with them as best you can. They’re all learning opportunities, and when you believe everything happens for a reason, it makes it a whole lot easier.”
As for what this means for the Jets’ QB and Wildcat depth chart at Tennessee, your guess is as good as ours. It sounds as if Tebow may or may not play, McElroy may or may not be active, the Wildcat may or may not be implemented. The Titans simply need to be ready for every contingency.
Wednesday I-Reports/Special Thursday Edition
Updating Ryan’s pre-practice list with the official list submitted after 4 p.m., the Jets list 21 players on today’s first injury report of the week. Six did not practice today at the Atlantic Health Training Center, topped by RB Bilal Powell, who came off his career game at Jacksonville with a possible toe fracture to go along with his rehabbing shoulder. But Ryan said, “We think he’ll be all right, though,” for Monday night.
Also DNP: TE Dustin Keller (ankle), WR Stephen Hill (knee), CB Aaron Berry (hamstring) and WR Clyde Gates (concussion), LB Bryan Thomas (chest).
Two limited players were newly re-arrived WR Braylon Edwards (hamstring) and NT Sione Po‘uha (low back).
Thirteen Jets were listed but full-go, all of them holdovers from last week’s list. No longer on the list this week are DT Mike DeVito, FB Lex Hilliard, WR Jeremy Kerley (who had been on the list the previous five weeks with either a heel, a hamstring or both) and WR Chaz Schilens. The Jets’ full, updated I-report can be found here.
As for the Tennessee I-report that just came in, four players did not practice today, topped by RB Chris Johnson (ankle). WR Damian Williams (hamstring), DE Scott Solomon (knee) and LB Colin McCarthy (concussion) also were DNPs. The rest of the TT report: Limited — DT Jurrell Casey (knee), T Michael Roos (knee). Full — WR Kenny Britt (knee), CB Michael Griffin (neck), QB Jake Locker (left shoulder), DE Kamerion Wimbley (toe).
Tags: Bilal Powell, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Tennessee Titans, Tim Tebow
Posted in Randy Lange | 44 Comments »
Congratulations to Antonio Cromartie, the latest member of the NFL’s Two-Way Football Club.
Many Jets fans are aware that Cro got a rare double start on Sunday at Jacksonville. He was lined up at split end on the game’s first offensive play and he was at his old, familiar right corner spot for the defense.
Have any other Jets done the double before Cro? I can’t find any back to 1977. Of course we remember WR Keyshawn Johnson doing it all in the 1998 AFC Divisional Round Game vs. Jacksonville, including coming up with an interception off of an end-of-game Hail Mary fired up by none other than Jaguars QB Mark Brunell. But Key didn’t get the start on defense. And Bobby Humphery started four games at WR in 1984 before flipping over to LCB, where he started 35 games, including every game in 1988-89, but again, Humphery never started on O and D in the same game.
However, we can say that Cromartie became the first NFL player since 2008 to start for his team on offense and defense in the same game. The last player with that daily double was Spencer Larsen, who was the Broncos’ precocious rookie middle linebacker in ’08 and at Atlanta on Nov. 16 also started at fullback.
(As a completely unrelated trivia aside, five other players besides Larsen started that day in that game who either previously had been or subsequently would become Jets. How many of those five can you name? Answer below.)
We remember Cromartie getting his feet wet at wideout this summer. He got his first work with receivers in the second half of individual drills at the Aug. 13 practice at SUNY Cortland, after which he said he’s looking forward to playing offense in a game.
“I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to try to play both ways in the NFL for a while,” Cro said then. “It’s fun. It’s just an opportunity to get the ball in your hands and another challenge. I’m looking at going out and playing receiver as a challenge for me. I’ve been asking for it since I was a rookie in San Diego.”
AC didn’t take his WR game into the preseason nor into the first four regular-season games. But he was on the offensive side of the ball for three plays against the Texans and had two passes thrown his way by Mark Sanchez, both incomplete. Including his three offensive plays at Jacksonville, he has 15 plays on offense this season.
And counting his one catch for a 2-yard loss against the Jags, Cromartie now has one pro catch for minus-2 yards. His debut as a pass catcher instead of a catch preventer came late in the first quarter, when he motioned out of the slot, took a short pass from Mark Sanchez, and couldn’t escape the clutches of Jason Babin to get upfield.
Will Cro’s wideout career ever get flying? He could obviously still be used in a pinch in the final three games this year. However, if Braylon Edwards is healthy and ready to participate immediately (we’ll find that out Thursday), if Stephen Hill’s knee sprain comes around quickly, and/or if Clyde Gates gets clearance from his concussion, plus Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Mardy Gilyard, there may not be any spare reps to be had at the position.
But we expect Cromartie to keep turning up here and there regardless as he just keeps trying to help his team win.
Pro Bowl Stretch Run
It’s been a rough year for the Jets and that is reflected in the Pro Bowl snapshot as the fan online balloting on NFL.com heads down the stretch. No Jet is in the top 10 as released by the league today, and no Jet is a leader at his position among AFC vote-getters.
But needless to say, some Jets may still get their names called for the annual all-star game, and if you want to help your favorite player in green and white make it to Hawaii, you can still vote here on NYJets.com.
Balloting concludes Monday, Dec. 17, following the conclusion of the Jets-Titans Monday night game.
Would you like to see C Nick Mangold make his fifth Pro Bowl and fourth as a starter? Want to send LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson to Oahu for his fourth straight appearance? Support RG Brandon Moore, who went to his first PB last year? Drape Cromartie, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, S LaRon Landry or LB David Harris in leis and in the red-and-white AFC jerseys the week before this year’s Super Bowl?
The AFC and NFC squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent the conferences. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on Dec. 20-21. The game is Jan. 27, 7 p.m. EST, televised live by NBC from Aloha Stadium.
Edwards is expected to wear uniform No. 17, as he did when he was with the Jets for 34 games in 2009-10 and in fact as he has worn for his entire pro career. … Falcons starters on 11.16.08 against Denver were DE John Abraham, FS Erik Coleman and TE Ben Hartsock. Broncos starters that game were former Jets first-rounder Dewayne Robertson and C Casey Wiegmann, who played three games for the 1996-97 Jets.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Bobby Humphery, Brandon Moore, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Keyshawn Johnson, LaRon Landry, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Pro Bowl, Spencer Larsen, Tennessee Titans
Posted in Randy Lange | 52 Comments »
Updated, Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. And the same goes for the Jets, who will need several presents from their distant relatives next weekend to feel better about the holidays and reach the playoff wonderland for the third time under head coach Rex Ryan.
Here are the different scenarios with explanations to help you get through today and head into the coming week’s preparation for the Dolphins:
First of all, the Jets have to win and the Bengals have to lose. In addition, if the 9-7 teams vying for the sixth seed are …
1. JETS and CIN only (TEN loses and either DEN or OAK loses)
The Jets are in as the AFC’s sixth seed.
The Jets’ conference record would improve to 7-5 with a win at MIA, while the Bengals’ conference record would fall to 6-6 with a home loss to BAL.
Will the Ravens have something to play for? You betcha. A BAL loss and a PIT win at CLE gives the AFC North title to the Steelers at 12-4 and the Ravens would go in as the fifth seed, on the road for Wild Card Week. A BAL win OR a PIT loss gives the Ravens the 2-seed, a bye week and a home game at M&T Bank Stadium, where they just finished their 8-0 regular season.
2. JETS, CIN and TEN (either DEN or OAK loses)
Jets are out.
CIN beat TEN in Week 9 but that washes out because the Jets didn’t play either team. In Scenario 1 above, CIN falls away due to conference record, but Jets and TEN, with a win at HOU, would both be at 7-5. Next tiebreaker is common opponents. Titans win, 4-1 to 3-2.
Does Houston have something to play for? No. Their AFC South title and first-ever playoff appearance is locked up. But even with a win to go to 11-5 and BAL and PIT losses to drop both to 11-5, the Texans cannot get the 2-seed because BAL would win the AFC North and the Texans lost to the Ravens in Week 6. This is not a good scenario for the Jets.
3. JETS, CIN and OAK (TEN loses, DEN wins)
Jets are out
The only way OAK gets into a wild-card tiebreaker scenario is if the Raiders, vs. SD, and the Broncos, vs. KC, both win. DEN wins the AFC West based on a better common-opponents mark than OAK, 8-6 to 7-7. The Broncos can’t be in a tiebreaker scenario with the Jets. Either they win the West at 9-7 or they finish second at 8-8.
CIN didn’t play OAK so the Raiders’ Week 3 win over the Jets doesn’t matter … yet. Next tiebreaker is conference record, with CIN again falling out at 6-6 to the Jets’ and Raiders’ 7-5. Then the Jets and OAK revert to the first tiebreaker, head-to-head. This is where the Raiders’ 34-24 win over the Green & White comes in and why the Jets go bye-bye.
4. JETS, CIN, TEN and OAK
Jets are out.
Originally (and as we mentioned, unofficially) we saw a possibility of the Jets being able to make up a strength of victory deficit to OAK and TEN, but upon further review, that can’t happen.
CIN again is a quick elimination based on conference record. Then it’s the Jets, Titans and Raiders in a tiebreaker steel-cage match. TEN and OAK didn’t play so head-to-head-to-head is out. Conference records would be identical 7-5′s. Common opponents requires a minimum of four games and these three combined only have three games each against common foes, so that’s out. On to strength of victory.
Based on current records plus the assumed wins or losses by teams to force this four-way tie, the Raiders’ strength of victory is now 62-78, the Titans’ 57-81 and the Jets’ 52-87. The Jets can make up only five wins (if DAL, JAX, WAS and BUF also win, with the Bills counting twice because the Jets beat them twice), not enough to catch the Raiders.
One final note: If the Jets do get in as the sixth seed, their first game would be at Houston vs. the third-seeded Texans.
These scenarios are not official, so if you see or hear something amiss above or just want to make a comment, come on down. We’ll be open (an hour here, an hour there) for Christmas.
Plays and Drives at Jets-Giants
The Jets’ 89 offensive plays Saturday was the sixth-most in a game in franchise history, the second-most in a non-overtime game, and the most in a home non-OT game. The only regulation match with more Jets plays were their 91 snaps, coincidentally on Christmas Eve, in the 34-20 loss to the Ravens (with Rex Ryan as their DL coach) to end the 2000 season.
The 64 dropbacks by Sanchez (59 passes, five sacks) was tied for third-most in a game in Green & White annals. The only games with more dropbacks were that ’00 Ravens game (70) and vs. the Baltimore Colts at home in 1970 (65).
Victor Cruz’s 99-yard catch-and-run from Eli Manning was not only the longest play from scrimmage by an opponent in Jets franchise history but also equaled the longest opponent drive by yards in Jets history. In the last quarter century there have been only three other 99-yard drives — at Buffalo in ’99, vs. the Ravens at home in ’98 and at Miami in ’89.
Tags: AFC playoffs, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, PIttsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans
Posted in Randy Lange | 167 Comments »