One of Bill Parcells’ favorite phrases to reporters gushing about one player or another at his many NFL stops was “Let’s not send him to Canton on roller skates yet, fellas.”
Parcells didn’t exactly get to football’s shrine on an express train, but he got there as he should have nonetheless. He was voted for induction on Feb. 2, is being introduced tonight along with the Hall’s Class of ’13 by Jets great Joe Namath at the Gold Jacket Dinner, and will be enshrined in ceremonies at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on Saturday night.
“The Big Tuna” did many great things at his head-coaching stops with the Giants, Patriots and Cowboys, but a significant part of his legacy and of Jets history was his three-season tenure as the Jets’ head coach from 1997-99.
“Bill Parcells infused new life into this franchise on many levels,” owner Woody Johnson said in a statement back in February. “From acquiring players like Curtis Martin to bringing back a winning culture, we will always be grateful to Bill for his contributions to the New York Jets. On behalf of the entire organization, I congratulate Bill on his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Below is my top 10 list of Bill Parcells coaching victories in those three seasons. It’s far from a scientific survey, just a list based on the importance of the game and the stage it was played on (primetime, playoffs). You may have some comments on other favorite BP games, so send them on to me, and you can also vote on your favorite regular-season Parcells win in the poll on our home page. (Games in chronological order, CAPS denote home teams.)
Aug. 31, 1997 — Jets 41, SEAHAWKS 3
It doesn’t start any better than this. In Parcells’ first regular-season game as head coach, the Jets pummeled the Seahawks in the Kingdome. Neil O’Donnell threw five touchdown passes, two to Wayne Chrebet and two to Jeff Graham, as the Green & White posted a 38-point win that to this day is the largest opening-day margin of victory in franchise history.
Oct. 19, 1997 — JETS 24, Patriots 19
New England came to the Meadowlands undefeated and opened a 12-3 lead on the first drive of the second half. On the Jets’ first drive of the half, Parcells made an unexpected switch at QB, replacing starter O’Donnell with backup Glenn Foley, who directed three straight touchdown drives to forge the 24-19 triumph for Parcells’ first win over the team he left to coach the Jets.
Dec. 14, 1997 — JETS 31, Buccaneers 0
The Jets were reeling after two losses dropped them to 8-6 while Tampa Bay came to town at 9-5. But the winds of the Meadowlands breathed new life into the Green & White for a win-and-we’re-in regular-season finale at Detroit the next week. Key Trent Dilfer tormenter this game: Otis Smith, who returned two interceptions for TDs in a 4:46 span of the second quarter.
Sept. 20, 1998 — JETS 44, Colts 6
Vinny Testaverde was getting his first start as the Jets QB since Parcells brought him in as a free agent in the offseason. His opposite signalcaller: first-pick-of-the-draft rookie Peyton Manning. This one was no contest as Testaverde threw four touchdown passes and Leon Johnson scored three TDs.
Oct. 19, 1998 — Jets 24, PATRIOTS 14
Parcells was so “disgusted” that he walked out on a midweek practice before this Monday night road test against 4-0 New England. The ploy had its effect as the Jets stayed close to the Patriots, then Testaverde struck for a touchdown toss to Kyle Brady and a 43-yard go-route TD to Dedric Ward in a 5:25 span of the fourth quarter to pull away for the inspiring triumph.
Oct. 25, 1998 — JETS 28, Falcons 3
This one turned out in retrospect to be the most frustrating win of the Parcells tenure, since the Jets disposed of Atlanta, which went on to finish 14-2 and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Victor Green (strip of QB Steve DeBerg) and Jerome Henderson (fumble-return TD) teamed up for one score and Testaverde threw two third-quarter TD passes.
Dec. 13, 1998 — Jets 21, DOLPHINS 16
Jumbo Elliott confirmed after this Sunday night game that Parcells had “promised” him back in the offseason that the Jets would be going to the playoffs this year. That’s in fact what they clinched with this triumph, as LB Chad Cascadden applied the crushing score on a strip-sack of Dan Marino and fumble-return TD with 1:51 to play.
Jan. 10, 1999 — JETS 34, Jaguars 24 (PO)
This was the centerpiece to the Parcells tenure in green — the Jets’ first home playoff game since ’86, which turned into their first playoff win in 12 years as Keyshawn Johnson scored on a reception and then an end-around, recovered a Jacksonville fumble and intercepted Mark Brunell’s Hail Mary pass to send them on to the AFC Championship Game at Denver.
Nov. 15, 1999 — Jets 24, PATRIOTS 17
It was a Monday night in Foxboro Stadium and not much of a contest was expected from the 2-6 Jets vs. the 6-2 Patriots. But Ray Lucas, back as the starter after sitting a game with injury, directed the Jets offense to three second-quarter touchdowns that held up to down Drew Bledsoe & Co.
Dec. 27, 1999 — Jets 38, DOLPHINS 31
The Jets won their last four games in ’99, all against playoff teams. This one was symbolic of that closing kick as Lucas defeated Marino for the second time in three weeks, this time in Miami on Monday night and coming from behind in the fourth quarter with a pair of 50-yard scoring strikes, to Wayne Chrebet and Dedric Ward.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Hall of Fame, Keyshawn Johnson, Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 67 Comments »
Wayne Chrebet will be representing the Green & White in primetime again, this time on Friday, April 26, when the former Jets wide-receiving great will step to podium in Radio City Music Hall and announce the Jets’ second-round selection, the 39th pick overall, of the NFL Draft.
Chrebet will be one of 32 legendary NFL alumni, one for each team, who will announce their teams’ selections in the second/third rounds of the draft.
Chrebet, of course, is the Jets’ iconic wideout from Garfield, N.J., and Hofstra University who signed as an undrafted free agent after the 1995 draft and rose from 10th on their training camp depth chart to make that ’95 team as well as the next 10 Jets teams before retiring following the 2005 season.
No. 80 is second in franchise history with 580 receptions, third with 7,365 receiving yards and third with 41 receiving touchdowns. Playing in 152 regular-season games with 104 starts, he set the Jets mark for rookie receptions with 66 in ’95 and established career highs with 84 catches in ’96, 1,083 yards in ’98 and nine touchdown grabs in ’02.
Two other players with Jets ties are among the 32 alumni who will be making these team draft choice announcements a week from Friday. QB Mark Brunell (2010-11) will announce the Jacksonville Jaguars’ second-round pick and DT Tony Casillas (1994-95) will reveal the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 2 choice.
This year’s announcements of draft picks by NFL greats is a continuation of the program that began in 2011. DT Marty Lyons, the Sack Exchange stalwart and Jets’ radio analyst, made the second-round call in 2011 and Wesley Walker handled the second- and third-round announcements last year.
Tags: Mark Brunell, Marty Lyons, Tony Casillas, Wayne Chrebet, Wesley Walker
Posted in Randy Lange | 37 Comments »
Bill Parcells will be dressed to the nines tonight as he waves and smiles at the Superdome crowd and NFL Nation during his introduced along with his Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 mates. He’ll look every bit like your favorite football uncle or professor, friendly and knowledgeable and ready to help out.
And just think that before Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Melchiorri and Anne Burrell, Parcells already had established his own reality series as the new sheriff from hell — or was it heaven? — for so many pro football players who passed through his neck of the woods.
Parcells was hardly the first rough, tough, son-of-a-gun pro football coach. But he was one of the best at rolling the good cop and the bad cop all into one larger-than-life persona. And that’s one of the reasons he’s in the Hall of Fame tonight.
“The thing about Bill was he kept you on your toes,” Wayne Chrebet, Jets fans’ favorite wideout, reminisced with me late Saturday night about his on-field boss with the Green & White from 1997-99. “You’re walking around the complex and he’s coming down the hallway toward you and you really don’t know what to say. You’re looking down and he’d say, ‘Don’t worry, kid. We’ll get ‘em.’ He’d extend that hand and pick you up. You’re smiling and he’d say, ‘What are you so happy about?’
“He kept you on your toes. He never let you relax. And he always got the best out of you.”
Aaron Glenn, who played corner on Parcells’ Jets those same years and then two more years for the Cowboys, had a similar story to tell.
“He had these mind games he always played on me,” AG said. “He’d say I was too small. He’d say I couldn’t cover the best receivers in the game. I used to think, if he thinks I couldn’t cover those guys, why’d he match me up against those guys in the games? I wanted to show him what I could do.”
Parcells, who I remember more than a few times denying that he played mind games with his players, let alone us reporters, had a number of favorite tactics to get through to “his guys” as well as the guys who were his for the moment on whatever team he was resurrecting.
“I remember as a rookie,” Curtis Martin recalled of the roots of his trademark ball security, “I fumbled the ball a couple of times in training camp and Bill made me carry that ball for, like, a week straight. I wasn’t allowed to be caught without the ball. When I was eating lunch or dinner or in meetings, I had the ball in one hand. He told the entire team to knock it out of my hands whenever they saw me. I was penalized if they were able to knock it out. That attention made me focus on the ball. It was a huge part of my game, to the level that giving up the ball was letting my team down.”
There was the time, Chrebet recalled, dusting off a classic Parcells-ism, that he told No. 80, “Hey, Chrebet, your career’s going over a cliff like a dumptruck with a cement parachute.” There was that other time, early in ’98, when Wayne suffered a bad ankle sprain going out of bounds and jumping rope with the chain crew on the sideline. And a week later Bill came by to check on Wayne as he was rehabbing the injury — by kicking him in the ankle.
“It hurt enough without him kicking it,” Chrebet said, “I looked at him like ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. What’s wrong with you?’ But even at the moment, I couldn’t be mad at him. He was just making sure I was really hurt.”
He wasn’t mad, but he got some classic Tuna payback late in the ’98 season as the Jets headed for the playoffs and their highest points of the Parcells regime.
“My family was Jets fans, of course, but they were diehard Giants fans,” Chrebet reminisced one more time for me. “It was ’86. I would’ve been 13 years old. And I’m watching and thinking it’s the coolest thing in the world when Harry Carson’s got on the yellow jacket and he sneaks up behind Parcells and dumps the Gatorade on him. I said I want to do that, and I want to do it to Bill, too. It was a pipe dream at the time.”
Then as events sometimes unfold, Chrebet got his chance. He doesn’t remember which game it was (maybe the win over New England in the regular-season finale?), but he was on the sideline late in the game and he said the thought struck him: “I’m gonna get this guy for all the stuff he gave me all year. I’m gonna douse this guy with Gatorade.”
“And he laughed. He took it. He wasn’t upset. He loved every part of it,” Chrebet said, no doubt looking at the Parcells-autographed photo of the prank hanging on the wall of his den. “He was just part of the team. He was right in our circle. He brought us all together.”
There were lots of other elements to the Parcells persona, naturally: Bill’s fierce, feisty competitiveness, his cadre of selfless assistants who implemented his one-voice philosophy, his attention to all the details in all the meeting rooms.
It all came together to produce wonderful results. Teams that hadn’t been winning started winning again. The Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys, even the Dolphins whom he finished up with as team president, did better than they had been once he arrived.
And most of the players, especially “Bill’s Guys,” all sounded variations on the theme of what he meant to them.
Martin, as he was approaching his Hall enshrinement last year: “I know I wouldn’t be in this position I’m in had I not listened to him.”
Glenn: “He once told me, ‘I challenged you. I knew what you had and I wanted to get the best out of you.’ That’s something he can do with any player at any level.”
Giants great Lawrence Taylor to ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday: “If I’d played for another coach on another team, I probably would’ve been a good player. But Bill was the one who made me LT.”
“Somebody told me that if Bill doesn’t mess with you, you’re in trouble,” Chrebet said. “He messed with me a lot. We were both Jersey guys and he busted my chops. The good thing was you could fire back at him a little bit, but you knew your limits. But I wanted to coached, Bill knew everything that was going on, and everybody bought into it. This guy came in and I’m like, ‘I’m glad you’re here. I’m ready to win.’ “
For these reasons and many others, we’ll get to see Bill Parcells holding forth one more time from the field on Super Bowl Sunday.
Tags: Aaron Glenn, Bill Parcells, Curtis Martin, Lawrence Taylor, New Orleans, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Superdome, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 243 Comments »
Last week, in Tone’s Flags Drawn, Chapter 1, we examined the four penalties Santonio Holmes forced the Steelers into as they tried to cover him at Heinz Field, and how rare that accomplishment was in recent Jets history.
It’s so rare that in Miami, Holmes did it again. A pass interference against CB Nolan Carroll and an illegal contact and a PI against Richard Marshall were marked off for first downs. And a hold on Marshall was declined, because of course it came on Tone’s 38-yard hookup with Mark Sanchez that set up Nick Folk’s winning field goal.
Holmes thought about it when asked how to explain this case of yellow fever he’s been inducing in opposing DBs, and he came up with a few thoughts.
“It’s Coach Sanjay [Lal] telling me to play fast,” he said. “He studied a lot of film on me, from the moment he walked in, and that’s all we’ve been talking about: How can Number 10 play faster? I think just playing faster and being smarter, knowing I have an advantage with my stride length, my speed, my quickness, my ability to catch on these defensive backs. These guys are going to play to their advantage. I would rather take the penalty if I was a defensive back than to give up a big play by Number 10.”
Needless to say, Number 10 would prefer the catch over the flag.
“It’s really messing with my catches, I can honestly say that. It’s keeping them down by having the penalties drawn,” he said. “If we can keep stats on penalties per game per player, I think those yards would add up. We can add them to our receiving yards. They really do count.”
That’s why we’ve been counting the penalties drawn against the Jets as well as those caused by the Green & White since the mid-Nineties. These numbers are not official, since the Elias Sports Bureau only recently has been even unofficially charting penalties by individual players. But what Holmes has done in three games, in addition to his nine catches for 147 yards vs. the Dolphins, has been stunning.
He already has forced eight penalties this season (seven marked off). The only Jets wideouts who forced eight penalties in an entire season since ’95 are Keyshawn Johnson (13, 1999), Wayne Chrebet (14, 2000), Laveranues Coles (eight in 2005, 10 with one coming in the playoffs in 2006), Plaxico Burress (eight last season), and Holmes (10 for 120 yards last season).
So in his three Jets seasons, Holmes has coaxed 24 flags. And by maintaining his pace of the first three games, he should end up with, oh, 42 or 43 penalties drawn this year.
But then again, with the NFL referees replacing the replacement officials this week, perhaps Tone’s flags will taper off. But Santonio’s fine either way.
“It really doesn’t make a difference who’s out there calling it,” he said. “We could have guys off the streets just come in and call fouls on the football field. It’s according to what we do and how well we execute. For me as a receiver, my job is to continue getting open and drawing penalties, no matter what.”
So far, so good.
McKnight’s Still Wanted at RB
Head coach Rex Ryan let fans — and Joe McKnight — know today that McKnight’s days on offense are not over, despite the concentration this week on his new role in the secondary.
“I think Joe misunderstood,” Ryan said at his midday news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “He still has a role on offense. It’s not that he’s being forgotten as a running back. I want him to learn the coverages and things like that on defense because the way the league is now, you almost can’t have enough corners. They’re going four or five wide receivers.
“From a talent and physical standpoint he can definitely match up. He has some natural instincts. When we used to put him on the scout team, that’s what we saw. I’m putting him in defensive meetings right now because I think he needs that. He has enough grasp on the offense. We’re going to work him on defense and he still will have a role on offense.
Thursday Injury Reports
The Jets’ injury report grew by one to 20 today with the addition of G Matt Slauson (knee), but Slauson practiced full. LB Bart Scott was elevated from not participating Wednesday to limited participation today. So was S Eric Smith (hip/ankle), while S LaRon Landry did his usual Thursday deal, sitting out practice to help keep his heel at its so far optimum level.
The Jets could get one offensive weapon back for San Francisco on Sunday but lose one as well. TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) was limited for the second day this week. “Hopefully, Dustin will be out there this week,” said Ryan. “I assume he will be.”
But rookie WR Stephen Hill’s aching hamstring, which resurfaced late in Miami, has kept him sidelined this week and could keep him out of the 49ers game.
The Niners’ five-player I-report was identical to Wednesday’s report. Isaac Sopoaga (ankle/knee), their starting NT, remained a DNP while WR Ted Ginn (ankle) and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee) were limited.
Tags: Dustin Keller, joe McKnight, Keyshawn Johnson, Laveranues Coles, Matt Slauson, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 27 Comments »
The Sporting News provided great award news for the Jets and their followers by announcing today that it has selected WR Plaxico Burress as its comeback player of the year. You can find the TSN story on Plax’s award here.
The sports magazine selects its comeback player based on a vote of NFL players, coaches and executives. And as eye-opening as the award itself is the fact that Plax was the clear winner. The top four vote getters were:
1. Plaxico Burress, 164 votes
2. Alex Smith, San Francisco QB, 91 votes
3. Elvis Dumervil, Denver DE, 46 votes
4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit QB, 42 votes
Burress earned the award by resuscitating his career with 45 receptions for 612 yard and eight touchdowns, modest numbers by the standards he set with the Steelers and Giants yet solid in light of the 20 months he served in prison following his conviction on weapons charges.
Among Burress’ highlights for the Jets in the 2011 regular season was his three red zone touchdown grabs in the 27-21 victory over the Chargers, making him the 17th player and 14th WR in franchise history to come down with at least three TD catches in a game.
In fact, the 6’5″, 232-pound target and his connection with QB Mark Sanchez were arguably the main reasons the Jets were the league’s No. 1 red zone offense with their 65.5 percent touchdown drive percentage. Burress’ numbers inside the opponents’ 20 were all team-leading stats: 13 receptions, 121 yards, 12 first downs and all eight of his touchdowns.
The last Jets pass-catcher to have a similar red zone impact was Wayne Chrebet, who had 12 catches for 124 yards and nine TDs in the zone in 2002.
Congratulations to Plax on opening up his wingspan, sticking out his big Velcro mitts and coming down with this honor.
DeGuglielmo’s Connecting Flights
Dave DeGuglielmo officially joined the Jets’ reforming coaching staff when head coach Rex Ryan this afternoon announced that he is the Jets’ new offensive line coach. But Dave D has too many Jets connections to have stayed away from the team for much longer.
For starters, he coached up Miami’s OL pretty well for the past three seasons as the Dolphins took four of six from the Jets in their AFC East series.
For the four seasons prior, he came to work in the same Sunday office as the Jets as he coached the Giants’ O-line from ’04-08.
For the five seasons before that, he learned his OL coachcraft at South Carolina under Lou Holtz, who, as all Jets fans of a certain age know, coached the Green & White for 13/14ths of the 1976 season.
And DeGuglielmo first emerged in the trench trade when he was named All-New England first-team guard/center for Boston University. His OL coach for his final three seasons at BU was none other than new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. Of course, you could say the Sparano connection was the most important of all, but all things considered it looks like a great fit for coach and team.
Tags: Comeback Player of the Year, Dave DeGuglielmo, Mark Sanchez, Plaxico Burress, Rex Ryan, The Sporting News, Tony Sparano, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Randy Lange | 126 Comments »
Another career snapshot of Curtis Martin, who is in the running to be a first-year inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 5 in Dallas:
Here’s a list of the starting quarterbacks that Curtis Martin played alongside during his Jets and Patriots careers: Vinny Testaverde, Glenn Foley, Ray Lucas, Rick Mirer, Chad Pennington, Quincy Carter, Brooks Bollinger, Scott Zolak and Drew Bledsoe. During that stretch from 1995-2005 when Martin was active, none of these quarterbacks could say what he could — that they had a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
In the 2000 season and again in 2001, the Jets’ No. 28 threw the ball once for an 18-yard touchdown pass to WR Wayne Chrebet. For his career that makes Martin 2-for-2 for 36 yards and two TDs. Not a bad statistic to go along with the fourth-most rushing yards in NFL history.
The two games in which he threw those passes couldn’t have been any different. The first touchdown pass was the game-winning score in the fourth quarter of the “Flashlight Game” when the 3-0 Jets visited the 3-0 Buccaneers. In the week before that game, Buccaneer wideout and former Jet Keyshawn Johnson referred to himself as a “star” and Chrebet as a “flashlight”.
Martin, who had 120 yards rushing and receiving, had already caught a touchdown pass from Testaverde to bring the Jets within three points with 1:54 to play. Martin then put the Jets ahead for good, 21-17, with his strike in the back of the end zone to Chrebet with 52 seconds left. Afterwards, Key and Curt gave a hug at midfield, as the photo in our centerpiece captures.
A little more than a year later, back in Martin’s hometown of Pittsburgh, the 7-4 Jets faced the 9-2 Steelers in a game that could have drastically improved the Green & White’s playoff status with a victory. Unfortunately, the home team dominated the day, but the highlight for the Jets was Martin’s touchdown pass to Chrebet, which resulted in their only points of the night as they fell 18-7.
Regardless of the outcome, Martin, who had 87 yards rushing and receiving, proved in two important contests that he could be relied on to be a weapon not only on the ground, but also through the air.
Visit the Curtis Martin for Hall of Fame page
Tags: Curtis Martin, Keyshawn Johnson, PIttsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Nick Gallo | 14 Comments »
Wayne Chrebet’s 16th blog of the season for newyorkjets.com:
Huge win on the road in a place that we’ve never won before. A lot of questions got answered from this win:
1. Can the Jets win on the road in a hostile environment?
2. Can they do it vs. a good team?
3. Can they bounce back after two tough losses?
4. Can Sanchez play in a pressure game, and can he do it in tough weather conditions?
5. Can Schottenheimer get the offense rolling like earlier in the year?
The answer is “yes” to all these questions.
Love the naked bootleg on Sanchez’s touchdown and the direct snap to Tomlinson. Pittsburgh didn’t give this game away. They played good football. The Jets earned this one — offense, defense, and special teams.
I sure hope that Brad Smith gets a chance to go to the Pro Bowl. I think he deserves it. What a way to start a game like this one. Another big factor was the punter, Steve Weatherford. He did a great job. His punt in the fourth quarter put the Steelers inside their 5-yard line. That enabled the Jets to get the safety on them, which was huge because then the Steelers had to get a touchdown instead of a field goal.
It looked like the old Jason Taylor on that safety. He looked like he got shot out of a cannon and he just ragdolled the running back. Great play.
The defense played a good game. It was nerve-wracking at the end but they made the plays when they needed to. It’s tough when you’re only rushing three guys and dropping eight into coverage. Giving a quarterback like Ben that much time is tough to stop. Whether you felt the Jets should have blitzed or played coverage doesn’t matter. The end result is what matters. Two plays on the 10-yard line with 9 seconds left. I’ve said it a couple of times this year. These are the games that we didn’t win in the past. These coaches and players are tough, they welcome the challenge. Of course everybody would have liked the defense to stop them before they got downfield but you have to admit, that last 9 seconds was exciting. Nailbiting, but exciting.
So the defense has had to make the play to the win the game on the last play as had the offense. You can’t put a value on having already been in that situation and succeeding going into the playoffs. Maybe I’m jumping the gun but all the Jets have to do is win one game or Jacksonville or the Colts need to lose one. I don’t care who those two teams are playing. You want to win your way into the playoffs and I believe they will.
Chicago would be a great place to do it this week. Another playoff-caliber team — they already clinched their division Monday night — and another hostile environment. Even though the Bears manhandled the Vikings, they are still a beatable team. Cutler is a pretty good quarterback but will throw his share of picks. He has a great arm. Their defense is stacked. The addition of Julius Peppers has made everybody on their defensive unit better. He draws a lot of attention and makes a ton of plays.
The key — the big key — to the game is controlling Devin Hester. Statistically he is the best return man to play the game. At any given time he can score. Punt, kickoff, and now he plays offense. Scary thought. I know Coach Westhoff will have something special for him.
I checked the weather for this week. Snow every day this week and low 20s Sunday. And the wind whips through that stadium. Going to be another hard-hitting game. A great one to watch.
To everybody who reads this blog, Happy Holidays to you and yours. I read and appreciate all your comments every week and just wanted to say I’m glad you like it and I’m looking forward to continuing it well into January. Go Jets!
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Brian Schottenheimer, Mark Sanchez, PIttsburgh Steelers, Steve Weatherford, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Uncategorized | 59 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 »
Wayne Chrebet’s 14th blog of the season for newyorkjets.com:
It’s very difficult to come up with a start to this blog. Enough has been written in the past couple days. Most articles and TV shows starting with some sort of smart*** remark: “In a matter of 60 minutes everything that had been accomplished in the first 11 games was lost.” “Season might as well be over.” “We knew they weren’t that good.” “They only beat bad teams.” “They’re lucky.” And so on and so on. It seems like people have had these comments earmarked for their first big loss.
Yes, this was a big loss. Huge, in fact. I, with a million other people across the country, saw what happened. The players and coaches are the first to say that there is no excuse for the way they played. They caught a very good team on the wrong night. I don’t think that there is a team in the league that could have beaten the Patriots Monday night. I won’t make excuses. That was one of the worst performances in recent history for the team. Good season or bad season, it ranks right up there. I played on some bad teams in the beginning of my career. We lost games in every way imaginable. We got beat one Sunday night game in the Meadowlands against the Raiders so bad that the whole stadium started cheering “Let’s Go Raiders!” No lie. It was one of my worst memories of my playing career.
Sometimes it happens. Difference is that this team is considered one of the contenders to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. That’s why it makes it that much worse. This game was built up for 11 days. And nothing. Not even a game.
Expectations have been high since last offseason. Rex put it out there that they’re going to win the Super Bowl. Fine. That’s his right to be so vocal about it. A huge bull’s-eye was put on the teams back because of that comment and comments like that that have followed since then. That’s a lot of pressure. You make a prediction, you have to make it happen. I see guys every so often with a “We’re going to win this week, I guarantee it.” Or “We’re 2-5 and we’re going to win the rest of the games and win our division”. Rah-rah. Does it happen? Rarely. Do they ever hear crap about it? No. Will Rex hear crap about it? Yes.
The original was Joe Namath and Super Bowl III. Most others are just posers looking for attention. I know a poser when I see one, and in my heart of hearts I know Rex is not one of them. Nothing has changed. The mission is still ongoing. The ship has been thrown completely off course, but there is time to right it. That phrase is uttered a lot but it still is appropriate here.
So you know, I do not know Rex, but I respect the hell out of him. I met him briefly at a golf event and our conversation consisted of “I admire you as a player” and “ I admire you as a coach.” I have had all sorts of coaches from my youth into my professional career. All kinds. In-your-face guys, X’s and O’s guys, motivators, coaches who don’t really care, complete asses, all kinds.
I read the paper, I watch the games, and I hear what people say about anything involving my Jets. Oh, this one was great: It only took three quarters before Mike Tirico said that these are the same old Jets. Real original. A 9-3 team being compared to a one-win season like in 1996.
Back to my point. If you want to see what kind of team you’re rooting for, then watch a clip of Rex’s press conference from Tuesday. He was truly humbled. So you say “Well, I would be too.” He knows how bad it was. We watched a three-hour game. That fourth quarter probably lasted a week on the sideline. I’ve been there. Not sticking up for them. Not trying to make you feel sorry for them. It’s a fact. A lot of stuff goes through your mind during that point in the game when it’s freezing out, you played like crap, you feel like crap. You think about everything. The things that your teammates and coaches will say. You even think about what the conversation will be with the guy you buy breakfast from and the guy who pumps your gas. It all stinks.
Here’s the thing. It could only last for six days and you get to fight again. They are fighters. Rex is a fighter. Sanchez played his worst game of his career in a huge game. A lot of guys get outplayed by Tom Brady. But he’s a fighter. They’re all fighters.
So when I had to choose which way I was going to go with this blog, I keep the faith. I support my team. You probably expected that. Of course you expected that. Anyone who does differently need not be a fan.
Do I sound upset? That’s because I am. So many people jumped ship. It’s amazing. The papers are going to write what they write and the TV analysts are going to be hard on the team. That’s their right. A lot of it will be criticism. Do they deserve it? Yes. To a certain point they do. It happened. These are the facts. The Pats embarrassed us. They also kept throwing the ball up 40 points. Put that in the vault. Morale might be down. Briefly. We’re grown men, we bounce back. We look forward. Grown men don’t cry. And they’re not crying.
Here’s what’s most important. Forget predictions right now. The Jets are 9-3. They’re 9-3. They control their own destiny. They win, they’re in. Plain and simple. It could take winning all four. It could take winning one. Who knows?
Look. I don’t know what the future holds for the last four games. Can they win all four? Yes. Can they lose all four? Maybe. They beat two of them already. The Dolphins and the Bills. And they go to Chicago and Pittsburgh. The Pats play the same three but the Packers instead of Pittsburgh. Those are the facts. There are already ways that the Jets can clinch a playoff berth by winning this week and by others losing this weekend. This is all silver-lining stuff. It’d be sick to go 13-3, make the playoffs, and not get a bye or home-field advantage but you have to be in it to win it.
Miami. Who knows what to make of them? Scary thought. They’re 1-5 at home and 5-1 on the road. Really doesn’t matter. Throw the records out. It could be 15-0 against 0-15. It’s going to be a game. They have alternated wins and losses since Week 4 and they’re coming off a loss. So they’ll be ready. They are always ready.
It’s simple. If the Jets come out with the chip on their shoulder that they have had up until the last game, they win. They have a better team. Only glaring weak spot in the past couple of weeks is the kicking game. Going to be windy the rest of the season, need to get him back on track.
Defense and a good running game go a long way when the weather gets cold and the Jets have both of them. If Sanchez can put that game behind him, Miami has weakness in the secondary. Doesn’t hurt having one of the best receiver/tight end tandems in the league. Not sure what happened to the defense but they remain one of the best. Hate to be the Dolphins QB because I think Rex is going to release the dogs on him. Should be your typical Dolphins-Jets knock-down-drag-out fight.
Tags: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Rex Ryan, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Uncategorized | 46 Comments »
Wayne Chrebet’s 11th blog of the season for newyorkjets.com:
Another game. Another nail-biting victory. A game with some of the Jets’ best plays of the year.
Before I get into that — Sunday is the 11th annual Military Appreciation Day at the stadium. It’s to salute the men and women who serve our country. This is a day that I will not miss. I am proud to say that my father was in the Army and fought in the Vietnam War. He’ll be there right beside me. When I’m out with my family and we see a soldier, my kids like to go up to them and say “Thank you for serving our country.” Makes me proud that they like to do that. My boys are 6 and 8 and they already understand the significance of our Armed Forces.
Now my favorite part of the day. Out of all the things that I experienced in my NFL career, this is what got me the most fired up before a game. The flyover. Sunday an F-16 will fly by the stadium and the Army Knights will parachute down to the field. It’s worth getting to the stadium a little early to check it out. When those planes go over, I used to get chills up my spine. As a matter of fact, when the team honored me two years ago, they knew how I felt about this and presented me with a blown-up picture of three military choppers hovering over the stadium. Very thankful for that.
This past week’s game wasn’t the prettiest game to watch. Definitely edge-of-your-seat exciting. Here’s the important fact — they won the game. They dug deep and made the plays that needed to be made at the right times. I’m sure everyone would like to see a blowout win very week but games like this will only serve them better going forward.
Here’s a statistic: The Jets offense ran 97 plays. I’ve never heard of that before. Yes, there wasn’t a lot of scoring from the offense, but they moved the ball up and down the field. Tough situation kicking a field goal in that stadium, but if you’re going to go deep in the playoffs, they need to be made. Especially the chip shots.
Jerricho Cotchery. He did something that I haven’t seen before. He made the catch of the year in this game. When I saw it live I was like “Wow, what a great catch.” Then I saw the replay. The guy tears his groin, hops on one foot, then dives for a ball and makes the catch. Take it from me, the toughest catch is the one when the ball has already passed your body. Even harder is tucking the ball into your body before you hit the ground. Sick catch.
It was all made possible by Sanchez being able to get away from the Cleveland defenders and buying the receivers more time. He’s really getting good with his escapability. I’m pretty sure that’s a word. Santonio obviously made an outstanding catch. He really is a great addition to the offense.
The Houston Texans are coming to town this week. Here’s the breakdown. Defensively, they gave up almost 500 yards to the Jaguars this past week. They’re 32nd in yards given up per game, 31st in points allowed. Not very good. Actually pretty terrible. I can say that because I don’t have to go on the field this Sunday. On the offense, they can put up some points. They’re 10th in points per game scored with 24. Best player? Receiver Andre Johnson. Top-tier receiver, big guy. Great matchup with Revis. Will be fun to watch. This could be a shootout.
Either way, the Jets are the better team and playing with a lot of confidence. And it’s good to be home.
Tags: Andre Johnson, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jerricho Cotchery, Military Appreciation Day, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »