Updated, 5:35 p.m. ET
Champagne and congratulations are on the menu for ageless No. 16 in green and white.
Before Vinny Testaverde came to the Jets in 1998, he had already made NFL stops with Tampa Bay and with the Cleveland Browns, who turned into the Baltimore Ravens. But before the Buccaneers, Testaverde was a great college quarterback for the University of Miami.
And it was that superb four-season career with the Hurricanes that led to Vinny T’s honor today of being named one of 14 members of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Testaverde was selected the College Football HOF on a national ballot of 77 candidates from a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees. The announcement was made from the NASDAQ OMX MarketSite in Times Square, which has hosted the event for the past five years, and televised on ESPN3 for the third consecutive year.
The 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the 56th annual NFF awards dinner on Dec. 10 at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. They will be honored guests at the National Hall of Fame Salute at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2, 2014, and officially enshrined in the summer of 2014.
Needless to say, Testaverde’s accomplishments as a Jet — leading them to an 11-1 record as the regular-season starter and on to the AFC Championship Game at Denver, guiding another 10-win season and playoff visit in 2001, compiling a 35-26 record as a Jets starter from ’98-03 and ’05 — had nothing to do with his achievements in South Florida in the Eighties, but Jets Nation will be among the well-wishers for Testaverde, a Long Islander and New Yorker and one great football player and human being.
Here is the profile that the NFF has provided today on Testaverde’s exploits at “the U”:
One of the most celebrated players in a Hurricane program stocked with mythical talent, Miami’s Vinny Testaverde claimed virtually every major award during his senior season in 1986. He becomes the sixth Hurricane to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
As a senior, Testaverde earned unanimous First-Team All-American honors, and he won the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and UPI Player of the Year awards. He led the ‘Canes to three consecutive bowls, including the 1987 Fiesta Bowl National Championship game. He finished his collegiate career with more than 6,000 passing yards and 48 touchdown passes, and he still ranks in the top five in virtually every passing category in school history.
Testaverde, who was a redshirt on Miami’s 1983 national championship team, went 23-3 as a starter playing for legendary coaches Howard Schnellenberger and Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson.
Tampa Bay selected Testaverde as the No. 1 overall selection in the 1987 NFL Draft, and his pro career spanned 21 seasons with seven different teams. The 1998 All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection finished his NFL career seventh all-time in passing yards (46,233) and eighth in touchdowns (275).
The Elmont, N.Y., native currently resides in Florida, where he plays an active role with the Children’s Cancer Center of Tampa. Testaverde remains among only four Hurricanes to have their jerseys retired at Miami.
Who’s Number One?
Two late transactions were announced late this afternoon. The waivings of WRs Emmanuel Arceneaux and Thomas Mayo brought the Jets’ roster down to 90.
With a cut this early in the offseason, it’s not likely we’ll get to know these two in green and white. But here are a few trivia items to clutter up your mind two days before the Jets rookies report for this year’s three-day minicamp.
Arceneaux is considered a second-year NFL player. In fact, he has some NFL production to point to, but only a little. He was limited to one pro catch for the Vikings in ’11. But he had an outstanding two seasons with the CFL’s BC Lions, including 7 TD catches in ’09, 1,114 receiving yards in ’10 and 147 receptions in all north of the border.
For Mayo, one is also the loneliest number. That was his uniform number, assigned to him by equipment manager Gus Granneman and his crew shortly after Mayo was signed as a first-year man out of California (Pa.) in March.
And thus for today’s quick three-part trivia quiz: Who was the last player to wear uniform No. 1 for the Jets at any time. Who was the last to wear it in a regular-season game? And who was the last non-kicker to wear it in a game?
And one more for you Radar nightbirds: Who will be the next Jet to wear Numero Uno?
Tags: Class of 2013, College Football Hall of Fame, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 36 Comments »
Rex Ryan, emulating the late, great Orson Welles, will name no quarterback before its time. And today wasn’t the time for the Jets head coach to designate his starter for Jacksonville on Sunday.
“I’ll definitely need a little more time to make that decision,” Ryan said one day after Greg McElroy replaced Mark Sanchez, with Tim Tebow sidelined, and rescued the Jets’ 7-6 win over Arizona with a touchdown drive and a clock-draining final drive to the Cardinals’ 1-yard line. “I’m comfortable and confident with all three quarterbacks. I think all three guys now have proven they can win — Greg at the end of the game, Mark’s history here, and the way Tim has played.
“We have three guys I’m confident in and I’ll make that decision as the week goes on.”
So does that mean any of the three QBs on the Jets’ roster has a chance to start against the Jaguars? We’ll leave that odds box for sports editors with time on their hands to pitch to their beatwriters for tomorrow’s sports sections. But it may a measure of the decision ahead for Ryan that there are pros and cons for him to name any one of the three as his fire-starter for the Jags.
To help him in formulating his call this week, Ryan said he might turn to his confidantes in the coaching fraternity for some guidance, but more than likely it will be a decision formulated solely behind the walls of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
“I want to make sure I talk to Tony [Sparano], Matt [Cavanaugh] and everybody, make sure I get a sense of what will be the right decision,” he said. “I think I’ll just lean on the guys in here. Again, the decision will be made based on our situation and our football team, on what ultimately I feel will give us the best opportunity to win.”
The opportunity to win means Jacksonville, of course, but also Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo after the Jags, and conceivably there are considerations for even beyond this season.
“A lot of things go into every decision you make,” Ryan said. “There are three priorities — the team, the team and the team. If you follow that, the decision’s always easier. You’ve got to take away personal feelings outside of it because it’s bigger than just me or this person or that person.”
“Never Let ‘Em See You Sweat”
However it shakes out, McElroy made a statement in his first pro action. Not every Jets QB guides his offense to a touchdown in his first full drive in green and white. Vinny Testaverde did in Game 3 of the 1998 season against then-rookie Peyton Manning and the Colts. Chad Pennington did, too, if you count the last drive of the blowout Sunday night loss at Oakland in 2000. But Sanchez didn’t, nor did Ken O’Brien, nor did Richard Todd, nor did Joe Namath.
It’s not an achievement you put high up on the NFL résumé. On the other hand, it was a TD drive that the Jets needed quickly, and in more ways than one, and McElroy helped deliver.
Then the Jets’ final drive secured the victory as it melted the final 7:55 off the clock. That was the fourth-longest game-ending drive by time since 1990, trailing Kellen Clemens’ monster 11:09 final drive in the rout of St, Louis in 2008, O’Brien’s 9:13 march at Indianapolis in 1991, and Neil O’Donnell’s 8:47 closer in the wind-aided shutout of Tampa Bay in 1997. Fifth on the list was then-rookie Sanchez’s 7:20 deal-sealer in his and Ryan’s first game with the Jets at Houston in ’09. None of those games was as close as this one was.
McElroy explained his rising to the moment on a conference call with reporters this afternoon.
“That thing, confident bordering on cocky, I would like to think its leaning a little bit more towards confident,” he chuckled. “But yeah, basically one thing that I’ve always tried to learn, one thing I’ve always tried to approach this game with, is you just never let them see you sweat. And that includes the players in your huddle, the players in the opposite huddle, the players on the opposite sideline, on your sideline. Regardless of the situation, always stay with an even keel, always have a positive mindset, and good things will happen. And that’s been the case up to this point.”
Tebow also spoke with reporters on this “Victory Monday” and said he’s “not sure” how close he is to playing. “I feel like I’m healing up and getting there,” he said. He shrugged off all the questions about if he could have played Sunday, if he’ll start this weekend — in his hometown of Jacksonville, no less — and the unfairness and controversy of it all.
“Obviously, Jacksonville is where I grew up and it will always be a special place for me. It doesn’t matter how many family members or friends are going to be there. You just have to look at it as another game,” he said, adding of his opportunities this season: “I’m thankful for every one I am given. I think you just try and handle every situation the best you can and I’ve tried to handle every situation this year the best way I know how and make the most of every situation.”
Odds and Ends
The Jets defense against Arizona set, well, if not an NFL record at least a milestone for other big, bad defenses to try and pass as they ride roughshod over struggling offenses. The Elias Sports Bureau revealed that by blanking the Cardinals on 15 third-down conversion attempts, the Jets posted the first 0-for-15 in the NFL since the 1970 merger. The previous oh-fir mark was 0-for-14, set by Denver against San Diego in 1975 and equaled by the Jets at Tampa in 2009.
The Jets achieved a rarity by getting Sunday’s win despite a minus-3 turnover margin. The last time they won with a minus-3 was Game 7 in 2008, the 28-24 comeback win over Kansas City with Brett Favre at the controls. The Jets all-time are 5-56-3 when they have three more turnovers in a game, 5-105-4 when they have three or more TOs.
Sanchez’s interception on the Jets’ first play from scrimmage was not his first time. He also threw a pick on the opening play vs. Jacksonville in Game 9 of 2009. Interestingly, he’s at least in good company. Vinny Testaverde threw interceptions on the Jets’ first plays in back-to-back games in 1998, against Buffalo in Game 9 (win) and at Indy in Game 10 (loss).
Ryan said of the two injured offensive players that TE Dustin Keller’s ankle injury “doesn’t look like a high ankle sprain” but that he “has some swelling,” and that RB-KR Joe McKnight has a rib injury but that tests “were negative as far as broken ribs or anything.”
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Greg McElroy, Jacksonville Jaguars, Ken O'Brien, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cavanaugh, Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow, Tony Sparano, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 175 Comments »
Stephen Hill showed a remarkable skill with some impressive namedropping during his first news conference as a Jet at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
“Yeah, definitely Calvin Johnson,” Hill, the Georgia Tech wideout, told reporters at midday today when asked if he agreed with VP of college scouting Joey Clinkscales’ likening of Hill to “Megatron.” the Madden NFL ’13 cover dude. “And if I can say a little old school, I’d say Jerry Rice.”
If you look at one set of Hill’s Yellow Jackets numbers, his receptions, you’d say, well, good luck with that. In Tech’s triple-option offense he totaled only 49 career receptions, an average of 16.3 per season, 1.3 per game.
But look at another set and you might say, why not? Hill had nine touchdown receptions in his college career, each of which went for an average of 55.2 yards per catch. As a junior last year, he had five TDs for a 64.0 average per catch. His 29 total catches averaged 29.3 yards per catch, leading all of college football.
That Georgia Tech offense was feast and famine for a wideout of Hill’s skills, but as he said about shifting gears from the triple option to whichever pro offense he was ticketed for, “I’ve been away from school for four months. I did a lot of transitioning, especially going down to the IMG campus, working hard six days a week. My only transition is just playing faster and playing against great guys.”
And to help him with that transition, well, Hill dropped a few more names, this time of some quarterbacks.
“I worked out with Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins,” Hill said. “And Vinny Testaverde kind of threw it to me, too.”
Yes, that Vinny T, the Jets’ own former QB who helps out some young up-and-comers at the Bradenton, Fla., complex.
“Oh, yeah, definitely Vinny can still spin that thing,” Hill told Eric Allen for newyorkjets.com. “It’s amazing to see a guy who played so many years and still moves so great. He gave me a lot of tips, on how to get in and out of breaks. And he told me to just stay in my place, go out there and be a pro.”
Hill, who just celebrated his 21st birthday the day before the draft began, has a great head start on that goal. Every player is more than the sum of his numbers, but in Hill’s case some additional numbers pop out and tell a little something more about how the 6’4″, 215-pounder from Lithonia, Ga., may adapt to North Jersey and a New York state of mind:
4.36 — That was Hill’s announced 40 time at the February combine, although he was told one watch had him at 4.28. “I’ve had that speed since I was a kid. I just keep working, working, no days off. I’m in a no-days-off period. I knew I was fast when I started running track at the age of 6,” he told reporters. To EA he agreed, “It’s good to have this type of speed. It’s a blessing to have this type of speed.”
11’1″ — That’s Hill’s broad jump distance. Sound like a long way to leap? That’s tied for the seventh-longest broad jump at the combine at all positions since 2006. I won the states in my junior year and in my senior year I came in third behind Eric Berry and Brandon Boykin. Jumping against those guys was such a boost to my confidence.” As a senior Hill set the Georgia state long jump record at 25’8¾”.
39’5″ — His announced vertical leap at the combine. That’s just a merely impressive stat, tied for fifth-highest among all positions at this year’s workouts. But wait, there’s a catch. “I really thought I had a better jump, but they had me redo it.” He said his best vertical came in high school, a 42’0″ leap. That would have been in the top 10 for verticals in the last seven combines.
84 — That’s the uniform number Hill is expected to wear as a Jet. Why 84 after he wore 5 at Georgia Tech and 25 at Miller Grove High School? “I wore 84 in high school for an All-America bowl game after my senior season. My dad, Henry Hill, wore it when he was in high school, and I had a big game wearing it. Now I’m getting to wear it again.”
Hill’s dad, mom and family came up from Georgia with him for his introduction to the area today. And he’ll be back for next weekend’s rookie minicamp here at the Jets facility, where we’ll get to see No. 84 start working on some new numbers and achievements at the next level.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech, Henry Hill, Jerry Rice, Stephen Hill, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 66 Comments »
Updated, 7:52 p.m. ET
Curtis Martin is not the only football player with Jets connections who could be entering a Hall of Fame this year.
The National Football Foundation mailed out this year’s College Football Hall of Fame ballot this week, and there are a handful of good men on the list who became members of the Green & White after they starred in college.
Vinny Testaverde, for instance, is up for the College Hall this year. The quarterback’s finest season as a Jet was his first, 1998, when he helped guide them to the AFC Championship Game in Denver. More than a decade earlier, of course, Vinny starred for the Miami Hurricanes in 1982 and ’84-85.
Also in the running this year is John “Jumbo” Elliott, who more than a decade before he caught his famous 3-yard touchdown pass from Testaverde in the 2000 “Monday Night Miracle” victory over the dolphins, excelled at tackle for the Michigan Wolverines from 1984-87.
Paul Crane, the Alabama center/linebacker from the early Sixties, played on the Jets’ Super Bowl III team plus a few others during his seasons in green from 1966-72.
Dennis Thurman is the Jets’ secondary coach but more than three decades ago he patrolled Southern Cal’s defensive backfield from 1974-77.
WR Art Monk, who played just one season of his Pro Football Hall of Fame career as a Jet in 1994, is now in consideration for entry into the College HOF after catching pass after pass for Syracuse in the late Seventies.
Those five are among the 76 players and eight coaches on this year’s Football Bowl Subdivision ballot. More than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers are eligible to cast votes. Those votes will be tabulated and submitted to the NFF’s Honors Court, which will then select the Class of 2012.
That class will be announced in New York during a noon ET news conference on May 15. The induction will take place at the foundation’s 55th annual awards dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria.
As the NFF likes to say, only 900 have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame — less than .0002 percent of the 4.86 million who have played since Rutgers and Princeton kicked off the college game in 1869. So the odds are long for Vinny, Jumbo, D.T. and Art.
But they’ve all got great chances to enter those hallowed halls, just as Marty Lyons did a year ago. The Jets’ “Sack Exchange” D-lineman and their current radio analyst — and, like Crane, a standout player at Alabama — was in inducted last Dec. 6 into the 16-member Class of ’11. Good luck, guys.
Tags: Art Monk, College Football Hall of Fame, Dennis Thurman, Jumbo Elliott, Marty Lyons, National Football Foundation, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 40 Comments »
The one-line transaction this morning read:
LB Mike Vrabel announced his retirement to become linebackers coach at Ohio State.
And Jets fans might be tempted to say “good riddance.”
All in jest, of course. But green-clad fanatics were none too jovial about the present they received on the 13th day of Christmas in 2005, when Vrabel, then a versatile starting linebacker for the Patriots, turned into an offensive red zone monster against the Jets in that Dec. 26 Monday night affair.
Lining up at tight end, Vrabel caught a pair of touchdown passes from Tom Brady. His first, 9:33 into the game, put New England ahead, 7-0. His second gave the Pats a 14-7 lead they never lost in their 31-21 win over the Jets.
Not surprisingly, no other primarily defensive player has ever scored two offensive touchdowns in his entire career against the Jets. And Vrabel turned in his two in a span of 14:22 in the first half, a nice set of bookends to go with his team-high six tackles and one sack of Jets starter Brooks Bollinger that night.
The game was oddly historic in Jets and NFL history for a few other reasons. As many will remember, it was the last Monday Night Football telecast by ABC before handing that franchise over to ESPN in 2006. Talk about your bookends — ABC debuted MNF when the Jets and Joe Namath took on and lost to the Browns, also by 31-21, back on Sept. 21, 1970.
Then there was Vinny Testaverde’s contribution to the evening. Vinny famously climbed off his Long Island couch for a classic return as the Jets starter after the season-ending injuries to Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler and provided some early highlights, but soon he was showing his age, suffered a ding or two himself, and had settled back on the depth chart as Bollinger showed a little late promise.
Which caused some eyebrows to arch when coach Herm Edwards said Testaverde would see some action in the final two games of the Jets’ 4-12 campaign. “I think it’s important,” Coach Herm said at the time, “for a lot of reasons.”
One reason was for the record books. If Testaverde, who had thrown no TDs that season, found just one receiver for a score, he’d hold the mark for the most consecutive seasons with a touchdown pass in NFL history. He was tied at the time at 18 straight seasons with Fran Tarkenton (1961-78).
“Just Herm mentioning it says a lot,” Testaverde said during the week of the PT offer. “I’d love to get in there, don’t get me wrong. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m OK with that, too.”
It did happen. No. 16 came back on the field for the Green & White’s final series, and with 2:10 left, on his final play as a Jet, Testaverde hooked up with Laveranues Coles from 27 yards to set the record at 19 straight seasons. (Which he then extended to 21 seasons with one TD pass for the Patriots in ’06 and five for the Panthers in ’07.)
Back to Vrabel, who triggered this funky trip down memory lane. He played 17 games against the Jets as a Patriot from 2001-08 (just one with the Steelers in ’00 and none with the Chiefs in ’09-10). In those games, he had 81 tackles, 7.5 sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles, and the Pats went 13-4 against the Jets. Thus we impersonate Michael Kay and say to Vrabel, “See Ya!”
But if he can coach up a ‘backer or two at The Ohio State University that can help the Jets out in the coming years, well, all will be forgiven. Good luck, Mike.
Tags: Brooks Bollinger, Laveranues Coles, Mike Vrabel, Monday Night Football, Ohio State, Tom Brady, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 20 Comments »
Another career snapshot of Curtis Martin, who is in the running to be a first-ballot inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 5 in Dallas:
On Dec. 3, 2000, the 8-4 Jets were in need of just a few more wins to make the playoffs. When the Indianapolis Colts (7-5), then their AFC East rivals, came to town, Curtis Martin knew that he and the Jets needed to make a statement.
On the Friday before the game, Martin and quarterback Vinny Testaverde gave the team a heartfelt speech after practice. The generally quiet Martin lit a fire and then sparked a 27-17 victory at the Meadowlands with a franchise-record rushing effort.
“I do more talking than what it appears,” Martin said after the game. “When it’s necessary, I’m not a guy who wastes words. I speak when I need to.”
Martin also rolled for a career-high and Jets-franchise record 203 rushing yards on 30 carries. During the first half alone he ran for 152 yards, including 93 second-quarter yards. Martin’s consistency and ability to move the chains helped the Jets muster 26 first downs for the game, 11 on the ground, and eat up a whopping 41:25 of the game clock against Peyton Manning and the Colts.
Not only did Martin bruise through the offensive line with power but he also did it with speed and style, as he ripped off runs of 55 yards and 36 yards in the first half, which helped boost his average to 6.8 yards per carry on the day.
No. 28′s most important work, however, came in the fourth quarter as the Green & White’s 20-0 lead had dwindled to 20-17. Taking advantage of an Indianapolis turnover, Martin ran over right tackle for a 2-yard touchdown with 3:17 to go that put the game out of reach.
“The thing that I am happy about is I feel I had a major part in this win,” Martin said. “We brought our lunchpails to work and we worked hard on the running game and it paid off.”
Visit the Curtis Martin for Hall of Fame page
Tags: Curtis Martin, Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Nick Gallo | 6 Comments »
Time is growing short, not only to secure a playoff berth but to nail down Pro Bowl berths. And Jets fans can still help their favorite players move into contention for berths on this year’s AFC squad.
The fan voting ends next Monday night, Dec. 20, at midnight. And the teams will be revealed in an NFL Network special on Tuesday night, Dec. 28.
The fan vote as you know by now is one-third of the total Pro Bowl vote, sharing weight with the votes by players and coaches around the league. But it’s an important third which could give a favorite player just the ballot-box recognition he needs to earn his first berth or his 10th as an NFL all-star. Click here to find your official 2010 Pro Bowl ballot.
Nick Mangold has been to two Pro Bowls already in his young career and he’s angling for No. 3, considering he’s second among AFC centers behind the Colts’ Jeff Saturday. LaDainian Tomlinson had secured the most votes among Jets players, almost 320,000. And the two super cover corners, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, were running 2 and 3 at CB behind only the Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t vote for Jets players because they wear green and white on gamedays (although that’s perfectly legal) but rather because you think they’re the best players for the position. Here is a list of the Jets who are in the top five in the AFC at their positions, with their ranking and vote totals in parentheses, updated today on nfl.com.
Running Back — LaDainian Tomlinson (5th, 362,893)
Fullback — Tony Richardson (4th, 109,397)
Tight Ends — Dustin Keller (5th, 145,949)
Tackles — D’Brickashaw Ferguson (4th, 173,773)
Centers — Nick Mangold (2nd, 213,538)
Defensive Ends — Jason Taylor (5th, 85,809)
Defensive Tackles — Shaun Ellis (5th, 115,366)
Cornerbacks — Darrelle Revis (2nd, 239,542), Antonio Cromartie (3rd, 182,396)
QB Mark Sanchez and G Brandon Moore have fallen out of the top five at their positions in the past week. Also not in the top fives at their positions are such worthy candidates as ILB David Harris, KR/ST Brad Smith, WRs Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, P Steve Weatherford and kick-cover guy James Ihedigbo. Take your pick, check the boxes and help send a few of the Green & White to Hawaii for this year’s game.
Numbers Game I
One of the most stunning statistical wrinkles of these last two losses to AFC East foes is the split personality the Jets’ pass defense showed after the catch.
By my unofficial charting, the Jets gave up exactly 200 yards after the catch to the Patriots. Sound like a big number? It sure is. I’ve been tracking YAC for the Jets since the mid-Nineties and that is the most YAC allowed by the Jets in a game in that time.
Then flash ahead to the Dolphins. Yes, wet weather. But also yes, Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano and Chad Henne, passing-game parts that have hurt the Jets in the past. And no YAC. Or more accurately, 9 yards after the catch on Miami’s five completions. Those 9 yards are the least a Jets opponent has gained since Game 6 of the 1995 season at Buffalo.
Many Green & White fans will remember that game well. It was the day Bruce Smith ripped past Everett McIver and rocked Boomer Esiason for a concussion. It was also a game dominated by Thurman Thomas and the Bills’ 220-yard ground game. As a result, Jim Kelly only completed nine passes for 101 yards, and only 7 of those yards came after the catch. But the Bills didn’t need the YAC in that 29-10 win. Ah, memories.
Numbers Game II
You never want to get in third-and-long, but it happens. And it also happens that sometimes offenses convert those bad boys. In fact, the Jets had any chance at all in their 10-6 loss to the Dolphins because they converted three third-and-13′s or longer. The last time the Jets could say that was in 2003, when the Vinny Testaverde-led offense did the same in the Game 2 win over the ‘Fins.
Mark Sanchez scrambled for one of those Sunday conversions and hit Jerricho Cotchery for the other two. J-Co’s conversions give him 14 chain-movers on third-and-11 or longer, the most by a Jets receiver since Wayne Chrebet had 21 such conversions through the end of his career in 2005.
Numbers Game III
OK, the stats are not all great at this crucial stretch in the season. The red zone continues to be a red wall for the Jets offense. For the season the offense has scored just 14 touchdowns on 38 drives inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, a 36.8 percent success rate that is 30th in the NFL.
But it’s been even less productive recently. From Game 5, the Nick Folk five-FG game vs. the Vikings, the Jets have cashed in just six TDs in 24 RZ trips, a 25 percent rate. This is the second-slowest nine-game stretch of red zone offense in the last 25 seasons, trailing only the 22.6 percent (7-for-31) rate from Games 6-14 of the 2007 season.
And that is just not good enough, especially when heading into Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers’ fourth-ranked red zone defense before the Heinz Field fanatics on Sunday.
For those of you who are interested — and we know you’re out there — here is a partial playlist from Sunday’s Jets-Dolphins game at New Meadowlands Stadium:
Forget You — Cee Lo Green
Here I Go Again — Whitesnake
Rock N Roll All Night — Kiss
MC Hammer — Rick Ross
Starlight — Muse
Lose Yourself — Eminem
Start Me Up — Rolling Stones
Just Like That — Bun B
Body Count — Fabolous
Bang Your Head — Quiet Riot
Amber — 311
Everything Zen — Bush
Are You Gonna Go My Way — Lenny Kravitz
No Love — Eminem
Can’t Be Touched — Roy Jones Jr.
Till I Collapse — Eminem
Now for Rock — Breaking Benjamin
In The End — Linkin Park
Numb/Encore — Jay Z, Linkin Park
Remember The Name — Fort Minor
Boom Boom Pow — Black Eyed Peas
Get It Started — Black Eyed Peas
Fight For Your Right — Beastie Boys
Bawitdaba – Kid Rock
The Pretender — Foo Fighters
Tags: Boomer Esiason, Bruce Smith, Buffalo Bills, Jerricho Cotchery, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mark Sanchez, Pro Bowl, Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 7 Comments »
Sorry for the pregame blog delay and change in plans. Similar to the opening night against the Ravens, the start of tonight’s Jets-Minnesota game has been delayed by the weather. The thunderstorms that hit the Meadowlands area let up for a while but have just started again and the Jets and Vikings were warming up but have left the field.
The new timeline for tonight, just announced in the pressbox:
8:55-9 p.m. — Players return to field.
9:10 — Coin toss.
9:12 — National Anthem.
9:15 — Opening kickoff.
But also in the building are the Monday Night Miracle Jets. I took some time out to meet and greet the guys as they went from one VIP room at New Meadowlands Stadium to another and then hit the elevator for their suite before coming out at halftime for a big celebration of the 2000 win over the Dolphins.
It was great to see them all here again, in the vicinity of that 23-point comeback at the old Meadowlands stadium. Vinny Testaverde is in the building, taking the measure of the new place. I didn’t see him in the VIP room but many of the others were there looking none the worse for wear 10 years later.
The guys who blocked for Testaverde, Curtis Martin and the offense were there in force — Jason Fabini, Randy Thomas and Kerry Jenkins, with Jumbo Elliott said to be en route to the stadium and probably in the building now.
Ray Lucas, Testaverde’s backup QB who’s coming off of successful neck surgery and back at his broadcasting duties, is still looking great. The tight ends were also represented well in Anthony Becht and Fred Baxter. Fullback Jerald Sowell and wide receiver Dedric Ward, now a coach at his alma mater of Northern Iowa, made the trip.
The defense was well-represented also. CB Marcus Coleman, he of the three-interception game against the Dolphins, still looks as if he could play and is working and doing a sports talk radio gig back home in Houston. Marvin Jones came up from Florida for this weather. DBs Victor Green, Ray Mickens and Chris Hayes are on the scene.
It’ll be interesting to see how all the events tonight fit in. Hopefully the rain delay, the game and the celebration won’t take us to 1:20 a.m., but if it results in another memorable Monday night triumph for the Green & White, we’ll work with it.
The Inactive Lists
The inactives were announced back at 7 p.m. but here they are again. Jets who have been deactivated are RB Joe McKnight, LBs Kenwin Cummings and Jamaal Westerman, OL Vlad Ducasse, TE Jeff Cumberland and D-linemen Marcus Dixon and Matt Kroul. Kellen Clemens is again the third QB.
Noticeably missing from the list are CB Darrelle Revis and LB Calvin Pace, who are ready to play tonight.
For the Vikings, inactives are WR Hank Baskett, S Tyrell Johnson, nickel CB Chris Cook, RB Albert Young, starting C John Sullivan, DT Fred Evans and DE Everson Griffen. The third QB is Joe Webb.
The Jets are wearing their green jerseys and white pants for tonight’s game. They wore their green-and-whites for all four preseason games this summer but the last time they wore that combination in a regular- or postseason game was for their last one to be played in the old Meadowlands, the 37-0 “Win And We’re Win” rout of Cincinnati on Jan. 3.
Pete Morelli is the referee tonight. Morelli has been an NFL ref since early in the decade but this is only his sixth Jets game since 2003 and his first since working the San Diego loss and Kansas City win in 2008. He also presided over the Jets’ ’06 regular-season victory at New England.
Monday Night Record
This game, when it’s played, will be the Jets’ 42nd Monday night game since the series began with the Jets-Browns in 1970. Interestingly, the Jets lost in their first seven appearances on Monday night before splitting their last 34 games, 17-17.
And the team that got the Jets off the MN schneid? The Minnesota Vikings. The Jets prevailed, 14-7, that night in a game that was also the franchise’s first Monday night home game.
An omen for tonight? Perhaps.
Tags: Minnesota Vikings, Monday Night Miracle, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 4 Comments »
Tonight’s the night, for a lot of reasons. The Jets play the Vikings to try to go 4-1. Santonio Holmes, Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis will be in green and white. Brett Favre and Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson will be in purple and gold. It’s another primetime game at New Meadowlands Stadium.
And it’s time to celebrate the Monday Night Miracle.
Some 20 players from the Jets team that mounted that monumental comeback from 23 points down with a quarter to play all the way to the 40-37 overtime victory over the Dolphins on Oct. 23, 2000, will be at the stadium tonight and will be part of the halftime celebration of that triumph that happened a dozen days shy of a decade ago.
To get everyone in the mood, here’s a game of 20 Questions, with all the questions having to do with that game. Some are tough, some are easy, and each perhaps will trigger a memory or an emotion about that classic contest that will carry you up to the opening kickoff of tonight’s game, when it is hoped the Jets will begin work on another Monday Night classic, only without the 23-point deficit. Sorry, no prizes, but we hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane. Answers follow the 20th question.
1. Name the four Jets who caught fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Vinny Testaverde in the game.
2. Who intercepted three passes for the Jets on the night, including two in the overtime period?
3. Who had the game’s only fumble?
4. Which Pro Football Hall of Fame player-to-be forced that fumble?
5. Which Jet had the most receptions in the game, in fact equaling the most receptions in a game by any Jets receiver from 1989 to present?
6. Who were the two Jets, one in his 10th NFL season, one in his rookie season, who had sacks of Miami’s Jay Fiedler in the game?
7. Who led the Jets in total tackles and who led the Jets in solo tackles that night?
8. Who was the Jets starting DE in this game and thus was kicker John Hall’s teammate, two years after playing for the Dolphins and blocking two Hall field goals in the 1998 season?
9. Who had the Dolphins’ only sack in that game, 10 seasons before he recorded his first sack as a Jet?
10. Who scored two touchdowns for Miami, the second coming with 12 seconds left in the third quarter to give the visitors their 30-7 lead?
11. Who were John Hall’s snapper and holder for his 40-yard field goal 6:47 into overtime that won the game, 40-37?
12. Miami’s starting left guard in the game, who began his NFL career as a Jets free agent center, was making what would be his only start of the 2000 season and, as it turned out, the last start of his playing career. Who was he?
13. What player who played for the Dolphins in the Monday Night Miracle two seasons later was the leading rusher for the Jets in their 2002 home opener against New England?
14. Name the three ABC booth announcers for the game.
15. Name the game referee.
16. The Jets and Dolphins entered the game with identical records. What were the records?
17. What color jerseys and pants did the Jets wear in the game?
18. What surface was the game played on?
19. Name the four members of head coach Al Groh’s Jets coaching staff who either had been or would go on to become NFL head coaches.
20. What time did the game end on the East Coast?
1. Laveranues Coles, Jermaine Wiggins, Wayne Chrebet, Jumbo Elliott.
2. CB Marcus Coleman.
3. Marcus Coleman at the end of his first interception of overtime.
4. Dolphins RB Thurman Thomas.
5. FB Richie Anderson with a career-high 12 catches for 109 yards.
6. Bryan Cox, Shaun Ellis.
7. Cox, 14 total tackles, Marvin Jones, 10 solo tackles.
8. Shane Burton.
9. LB Jason Taylor.
10. RB Lamar Smith.
11. Snapper Bradford Banta, holder Tom Tupa.
12. John Bock.
13. Punter Matt Turk, who led the Jets in their ’02 home opener with one rush for 14 yards on a fake punt.
14. Al Michaels, Dan Fouts, Dennis Miller.
15. Walt Coleman.
16. Both teams entered with 5-1 records.
17. Green jerseys, white pants.
18. Grass. It was the first of three seasons in which the Jets played on a grass tray system at the Meadowlands.
19. Todd Haley, wide receivers (Chiefs, 2009-10); Dan Henning, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks (Falcons, 1983-86, Chargers, 1989-91); Mike Nolan, defensive coordinator (49ers, 2005-08); Ken Whisenhunt, tight ends (Cardinals, 2007-10).
20. 1:20 a.m. ET, although Al Michaels recently pegged Hall’s game-winning kick coming at 1:17 a.m.
Tags: 20 Questions, John Hall, Monday Night Miracle, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Randy Lange | 4 Comments »
Was there any doubt after the offensive’s first drive at Buffalo? Sanchez led them right down the field like he did in Miami last week. And just like in Miami, the crowd got quiet, The Bills fans with their faces painted barely got a chance to sit down and it was the beginning of the end. It was a heavy dose of LT (still great) and some precise passing by Mark.
While they were the shining stars, the offensive linemen were the unsung heroes. All day they were. When both your running backs rush for over 100 yards and your QB barely gets touched, that means that they played their butts off. And most importantly, no turnovers, you’re going to win a lot of ballgames.
I haven’t mentioned it yet in previous blogs, but Sanchez’s game has really matured a lot since last year. Think about it. He’s thrown 8 TDs vs. 0 interceptions. He’s only been sacked 5 times. I knew that he was playing very well but when I Googled his stats I got to wondering who has been as efficient as he has been the past 3 games.
The first game he looked like he was checking the ball down too soon to his safety valve. That could’ve been the gameplan. Who knows? Now, he’s reading the whole field, staying in the pocket longer. Some quarterbacks, especially young ones, get happy feet back there and take off before they need to. And I don’t know if you noticed it, but he has really gotten good at play action passing. He hides the ball very well.
OK. I don’t know if he’s the second coming, but for what it’s worth I’m really impressed by him.
Here’s the other side of the coin. Guess who’s coming to town? None other than Brett Favre. I have so much to say about him that I don’t know where to start. Now I’m friendly with him. I played in his charity golf outing in Mississippi a couple of times and with him in a flag football game in Florida. I like him a lot and certainly respect his play. You’d be crazy to not think he is one of the best to play the game.
It doesn’t matter what I think of him. What matters is how his former teammates do. That will tell you what kind of man and player that they think he is. From what I heard, he wasn’t the most liked in the locker room. I think it’s kind of the way it was with Vinny. He was an older guy, old enough to be my Dad. He has played in more games and experienced far more than any other player in the locker room. His taste in music is different and he probably didn’t understand the lingo that we used.
But Vinny was right in the middle of it. Laughing, probably more at us than with us. Ask anybody who ever played with Vinny and it would be unanimous that everyone thought that he was a great guy. Now with Brett being in the same situation, I was told that he pretty much segregated himself from the team. So it seems like he left a bad taste in some of the players’ mouths. Well, for those players on the defensive side of the ball, it’s their chance to let him know how they feel.
If you’ve ever gotten a chance to go to training camp and watched the team practice, you’ll know that the QBs wear red jerseys. Yellow jerseys mean take it easy. Seems prissy, but I wore it sometimes to keep from getting my head beat in. I saved my best concussions for the field. Not funny but who cares at this point? Anyway. The QBs wear RED. Which means DO NOT TOUCH!!! Occasionally it happens by accident. And man, if it’s a young guy who does it, they’re going to hear about it.
Point of the story — Monday night, Brett’s wearing purple. He might as well be wearing green because these guys are going to be coming at him full speed with every thing they’ve got. And he knows what he’s up against. He knows the defense and the defense knows him. The Jets know how he plays the game. Heck, they know his cadence. His way to draw the defense offsides.
And most importantly, they know that if they pressure him there’s a chance that he might throw some picks. He always tries to get a pass off. Off balance, going down, over the shoulder, shuffle pass. Jets fans witnessed that. I don’t know how his shoulder is healed but he is dead accurate when he’s on. But you make him throw the ball 25-30 times, you might get one.
Now there’s only two ways to get him to attempt so many passes and that is to either be ahead later in the game or if you stop Adrian Peterson. Easier said than done.
If you’ve never had a chance to watch Adrian play, you’re in for a treat. This will be the toughest test that the defense will have all year. Seriously, this guy is an animal. He is a straight north-south runner. He’s got great moves but he hits the hole hard. And he only needs a crease. He’s run for 87, 145 and 180 yards. He went for 80 yards last week. Straight up the gut, a nasty stiff-arm on the safety and he was gone. Just like that. I don’t think one guy can tackle him straight up. The Jets need to put as many helmets on him as they can when he gets the ball. I know I’m really pumping him up, but he is that good.
The receivers make a lot of plays for them. Hopefully Revis is back. Since that first game, Cromartie has really stepped up his game. Ask Lee Evans.
Last topic. The bye week. The Vikings are coming off their bye week. Really early in the season for a bye, but after a 1-2 start they might have needed it. Some teams come off the bye better and some not. The bye week is great. You get some time off. Time with your family, some light practices. You come back with a fresh outlook, a fresh attitude. But sometimes it’s hard to get back in sync when the next game first starts.
The Jets have jumped out of the gate in these last games. And they need to continue this this week. Get the crowd into it. Important, most important, stop them on third down. Put them in a third-and-long. I compare third down to two strikes in a baseball game. There’s two strikes, the crowd comes alive and they go nuts when they call that third strike.
Same in football. Third down. The crowd gets louder. You stop them, thunderous applause. They get the first down, the crowd sits down.
This is what happened in the Ravens game. The fans got quiet more than getting loud. Last week the Bills were blanked on third down. The defense repeats that performance and the O plays how it has … Say Goodnight … 4-1.
Tags: Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez, Vinny Testaverde
Posted in Uncategorized | 41 Comments »