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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Instant Gift To Pats

Pats Always Get These Calls
The Jets got robbed on a call that may or may not have determined the winner of the game. With 8:31 to go in the 4th quarter Josh McCown (31-37, 354 yds.2 TDs, 2 INT.) threw a pass to the Pat's  2-yard line to Austin Seferian-Jenkins (8 rec.46 yds. 1 TD) who looked like he crossed the goal line to me and almost everyone else watching the game. The referees called the play a touchdown only to have it overturned and given to the Patriots as a touchback via a supposed Jenkins fumble. The NY Jets got screwed on this play and are owed an explanation from the league office. On top of that if there was ever a time when Todd Bowles needed to show passionate emotion on the sidelines, this was it. He is much too stoic. The play was called a touchdown and every angle they showed did not provide enough evidence to overturn it. Instant replay was not put into effect to overturn plays like this just because someone in the television booth in New York wants to decide what may have happened and overturns it. Where was the indisputable evidence? This was an insane call. With that being said there is no way of telling if the play remained a touchdown if the Jets would have won the game. But we will never know.  

Jets Smoking in the First 18 Minutes
The Jets came out smoking with a great game plan. They could not establish a running game for the second game in a row and McCown was on fire. He threw well and the Jets went out in front 14-0 on a touchdown pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins then one to Jeremy Kerley (2 rec. 61 yds).  On the first touchdown drive McCown hit Kerley for a 30-yard gain. McCown rolled out to his right and was actually almost tackled. He threw the ball high and Kerley made a leaping grab to set up a Sefarian-Jenkins TD catch three plays later. On the second TD, McCown hit Jermaine Kearse (4 rec. 79 yards) for 16-yards which took the Jets to the Pat’s 31-yard line. In the first quarter the Jets recovered a fumble by Mike Gillislee.

Brady Goes To Work
The Jets were leading 14-0 but the Patriots went to work putting together a 9-play drive that took 4:24 that ended with a Dion Lewis 1-yard TD run.. The big play on the drive was a pass interference by Jamaal Adams (he had a tough day) on Rob Gronkowski. After the two-minute warning the Jets punted the ball and the Pats drove but Gostkoswski missed a 47-yard field goal. The Jets started a drive but one of two key plays in the first half happened. McCown threw an interception to Malcolm Butler. The other big play was a potential interception dropped by Buster Skrine right in his hands. He intercepted Brady later in the second quarter but the McCown INT did the Jets in. I was watching the game in Connecticut with some relatives who were Patriot fans. After the interception I said “Here we go, 21-14.” My niece who was next to me said don’t you mean it will be 14-14. I said “Nope. Brady will score and lead the Pats to another score to start the second half.” And this is exactly what happened. After closing out the first half scoring with a TD pass to Gronkowski, Brady took the Pats dow the field on an 8-play drive that ended with a 33-yard TD pass to Gronkowski. The Jets traded field goals with the Pats in the fourth quarter but lost 24-17. The Jets last drive started on their own 27-yard line but stalled on their 49-yard line.

Jets Defense and Adams Whiff
Jamaal Adams had his second bad game in a row. With Brady and Gronkowski, it was like lesson day. Gronk had 6 receptions for 83-yards and 2 TD receptions. He made a very athletic Jamaal Adams look very un-athletic. Adams was not the only culprit on defense. Darron Lee continues to get burnt on pass coverage and even got away with an obvious pass interference. The Jets defensive line gets an F minus today. The Jets generated zero sacks (Pats had 4). Todd Bowles will tell you how sacks are overrated and pressure was put on Brady. But make no mistake Mo Wilkerson is doing his best to impersonate Claude Rains in the 1933 movie “The Invisible Man.” I’m tired of hearing about Wilkerson’s little nicks or toe turf. I can’t figure out which contract is worse, Wilkerson’s or Joakim Noah’s contract with the New York Knicks. You cannot beat Tom Brady without getting him sacked. I know he was hit a few times but when he gets sacked, he thinks about it and it affects his game. The Jets pass rush has been abysmal this season.

Jets Need A Thumper
The trend in the NFL was going away from drafting running backs early. In this quarterback driven pass happy league, the passing game was taking precedent. This is changing as teams are beginning to draft running backs early again. The Jets need what I call a "thumper." A running back who loves to hit people and run into the line of scrimmage. A running back who will wear down defenses in the second half. The Jets have had a few the last few years. Chris Ivory, Thomas Jones and Shone Greene were all pretty good thumpers. Leonard Fournette (Jaguars) is a good thumper. The Jets offensive line has given Josh McCown pretty good pass protection the last two game but their running game has been MIA (Missing In Action). 74 net yards today and 34 net yards against the Browns. This is not acceptable in the NFL. The running backs the Jets have are not thumpers. Also it looks like tackle Brent Qvale is a better run blocker than Brandon Shell. When Shell was sidelined, the running game had more giddy up to it. John Morton has got to get this straightened out. Looking ahead, coming out of college in the next draft are a couple of good thumpers; Jaylen Samuels, FB, N.C. State  and  Dimitri Flowers, FB, Oklahoma.

Green Tidbits
…..Time of possession, Pats 26:20, Jets 33:40….Zebras picked up their flag. No penalty after it was called when Robby Anderson got whacked pretty good by a Pat player leading with his helmet…..Morris Claiborne got burned a few times but his play was excellent…..Hold it a second, Judge and Sanchez just struck out again….Pats got 24 unanswered points. Not good!…..McCown burned 2 timeouts in 3rd quarter. Can’t happen…..Through six games Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson both have zero sacks…..DB Daryl Roberts who missed Browns game continues to keep other DBs on the bench when he plays. He was a good pick up…..Jets fans and Todd Bowles need to understand that clock management is not just the last 2 minutes of each half. Clock management in the NFL is a 60 minute effort.....The Jets got robbed bad by the officials on the Seferian-Jenkins non-touchdown, but here's the thing about these Jets: They didn't quit….

QB Watch
The 3 Amigos
1. Sam Darnold USC, 27-50 358 yds. 3TDs in win vs. Utah
2. Josh Rosen UCLA, 20-34 219 yds. 0 TDs, 3 INTs in loss vs. Arizona
3. Josh Allen Wyoming, 18-26 208 yds. 1 TD, 1 INT in win vs. Utah State

1. Lamar Jackson Louisville, 19-39 332 yds. 2 TDs, 1 INT in loss to Boston College
2. Baker Mayfield Oklahoma, 17-27 302 yds.2 TDs, 1 INT in win vs. Texas
3. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, 19-31 459 yds. 3 TDS in win over Baylor
4. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern, 27-49 293 yds. 1 TD, 1 INT in win over Maryland
5. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State, 19-30 241 yds. 2 TDs, 2 INT in win over BYU
6. Chase Litton, Marshall, 12-23 176 yds. 3 TDs in win over Old Dominion 

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

1-2-3! We Want More!

  When you open the newspaper or go on the Internet and look at the NFL standings you’ll see the Jets in first place in the AFC East tied with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. Next Sunday October 15 with the Bills on a bye week, the Jets-Patriots game will be for sole possession of first place. What happened today in Cleveland should not really surprise any fan with the way the season has been going. The Jets should give Hue Jackson, coach of the Cleveland Browns a game ball. He went for it on fourth down deep in Jets territory when any first grader will tell you he should have gone for the chip shot field goal. We were watching two different Jet offenses and two different quarterbacks the way Josh McCown played in each half. This isn’t to be confused with the Cleveland Browns who actually used two different quarterbacks. With a lot of help from Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, the Jets got two gift turnovers inside the Red Zone. Going into the game the Jets were missing some key players on defense. Kony Ealy, Josh Martin, Darryl Roberts and Juston Burris were all out. It was noticeable but the Jets defense rose to the occasion while getting gifts from the football Gods!
  In the first quarter the Browns started a drive going right through the Jets defense. They were manhandled at the line of scrimmage and the linebackers were slow to fill the holes. Then with 1:24 left in the quarter on 14th play of the drive (yes I said 14th!!!) DeShone Kizer from the Jets three-yard line tried to flip the ball to running back Isaiah Crowell who could not handle it. Linebacker Freddie Bishop (#50) just brought up from the practice squad recovered the fumble. This was a huge momentum changer.
  The Browns continued to move the ball but could not score. With 10:05 to go in the half, the Browns missed a52-yard field goal. The Jets decided to give the ball right back to the Browns with a third down interception thrown by McCown. With 8:37 to go the Browns started their second long drive in the first half going eleven plays to the Jets 4-yard line. DeShone Kizer went back to pass and throwing to his right, Jets rookie safety Marcus Maye intercepted the pass at the one yard line and ran it back to the Jets fourteen. 
  The Browns continued to miss opportunities to score missing on a 39-yard field goal attempt. Up till this point in the game with 31 seconds to go in the half, the Jets offense was invisible. They could not develop any kind of ground game and their passing game was inept. The offensive line was not opening up holes at all. To make matters even harder for the viewers was that this was a God awful boring first half to watch up to this point. But things would start changing and right here let’s give credit to the Jets MVP this season, offensive coordinator John Morton.
  The Jets got in six plays within 31 seconds and scored on a 57-yard field goal. The play calling and clock management was excellent. On the play before the field goal, the Jets lined up for what looked like a Hail Mary play. But on the play which started with six seconds to go on the clock Jeremy Kerley slipped down for an 8-yard reception and stepped out of bounds with one tick remaining on the clock. Great play calling by John Morton and a great field goal by Chandler Catanzaro.
  In the second half the Browns came out with a different quarterback, Kevin Hogan. The Jets also came out with a different quarterback but he was in the same body. Josh McCown was truly a different player in the second half. For the game he was 23/30 with 192 yards 2 TD passes and 1 INT.
  The Browns who got the second half kick-off went on another long drive. It was ten plays and lasted 5:37. The only difference here was that they scored on a great one-handed catch by rookie tight end David Njoku. 
  Later in the quarter Jets DB Morris Claiborne (#21) intercepted a pass and returned it to the Browns 13-yard line. After a pass to Mcguire, McCown threw a perfect fade route pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a touchdown. A note here is that the Jets lost their first two games while Sererian-Jenkins was serving a suspension. Since he is back, the offense looks much better and the Jets are 3-0. The Jets have to lock up this gifted tight end.
  As the 4th quarter started ,the Browns were in the midst of one of their long drives. On 4th down, instead of going for a field goal, Coach Hue Jackson opts to go for the first down. A bad move and the Jets defense came up big stopping the Browns! A few Jets were in on the play but it looked like linebacker Jordan Jenkins came up big.
  The Jets took over from their own three yard line and go on a 97-yard drive led by McCown who was at his best for the day and maybe the season! He was 6-6 on this drive and showed everything you would want in a quarterback. The biggest play of the drive was a third down pass play to back-up tight end Eric (I’m not George Sauer)Tomlinson (#83) who rambled 34-yards up field. Another key play was on third down McCown hit the new revitalized Jeremy Kerely for 18-yards. McCown then hit Jermaine Kearse with a 24-yard touchdown pass. The Browns scored a touchdown late in the quarter and the Jets recovered an on sides kick to end the game, set and match!
  This was truly a satisfying victory. The Jets special teams deserves tons of credit with the long field goal and some great punting by Lac Edwards. When Bilal Powell went out of the game, there was virtually no running game. Give McCown, and the offense credit, they moved the ball in the second half and the offensive line tightened it up to help give McCown time to throw.

Spread It Around Coach McCown
Interestingly during the game the announcers spoke how Browns coach Hue Jackson offered Josh McCown the job of quarterbacks coach at the end of last year. He turned them down because he still had the fire to play and not coach yet. Lucky for the Jets. Many fans including me figured this was about the time (after game 5 or 6) that the 0-6 Jets would change quarterbacks. McCown has different plans. He continues to show his deficiencies but is playing great and is leading this team. He will someday be an excellent quarterback coach but that may not be for a year or two.
McCown spread the ball around to seven different receivers. Jeremy Kerley and Jermaine Kearse (the JK Brothers) continue to be very consistent. These are two players were not on the roster at the end of August. Kearse continues to lead the team in receptions with 22. But Seferian-Jenkins who led the Jets with 6 receptions today might pass him eventually. 

Secondary Steps Up
When I heard that Darryl Roberts and Juston Burris were banged up and that Marcus Williams would see a lot of action, I thought the Jets had no chance. Give the secondary credit, they did a good job in the second half. They were handicapped because the Jets defense only sacked the quarterback once. Where are Wilkerson and Williams? Our pass rush is very disappointing thus far this year. Besides his excellent interception. Morris Claiborne had an excellent game and seemed to be all over the field. Claiborne has played good this year and can play better. He gives too much cushion on the wide receivers sometimes. Make no mistake, this player is a talent. He was the #6th pick in the 2012 NFL draft. The downside is he has been injury prone and cannot stay on the field. He is a huge improvement after seeing Darrelle Revis’s play last year.

Maye Day
Marcus Maye made a nice interception. He has played very good football this year. He and Jamal Adams are two of the more active safeties in the NFL that are versatile enough to move them all over the field. He played at the University of Florida and some scouts had him rated as a late first round pick. Maye will be making more interceptions as his career moves forward. 

Duped and Juked By Duke Johnson
One of the nicer plays of the day was a touchdown pass to the Brown’s Duke Johnson. A screen pass set up on the left, the Browns had the perfect scenario with the Jets blitzing. They missed a ton of tackles but it was one of the nicer plays of the game.
Another nice play was a pass to a leaping Kasen Williams down the left side that he caught over Marcus Williams. An incredible athletic effort! The reception was overturned because his elbow touched out of bounds before both feet landed in bounds. How Marcus Williams did not knock that pass down I will never know.

Jet Tidbits
……The penalties in the first half were inexcusable…..Like what I see of ArDarius Stewart so far. Jets need to get rookie WR Chad Hansen more reps…..LB Demario Davis continues his excellent play. He lacks pass coverage ability but he has found new lateral speed going sideline to sideline making tackles…..Hope Bilal Powell is okay. He is one we cannot afford to lose…..Except for one or two screw ups on pass coverage, Darron Lee also had a very good game….Brian Winters and his penalties are beginning to get on my nerves…..Elijah McGuire had to know it’s not that easy week to week in the NFL. He did have an important pass reception in the second half…..Under the radar that rookie Dylan Donahue was injured last week and is out for the year. He was beginning to be an effective pass rusher…..Hey Jet fans. Keep enjoying this. You never know.....

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Jet Fans, Ride The Wave!

Nuts to 0-16! If you are a Jet fan rooting against your team to capture a high draft pick, please reconsider. There is no guarantee that quarterbacks Sam Darold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen are sure things. No matter what the situation, I cannot root against the green and white. If they go 2-13 and the last game might give them a chance to get a Peyton Manning, I could possibly see rooting against them. But I want all Jet fans to get on the bandwagon and enjoy this while it lasts. Sometimes in sports all the stars line up correctly for your team. Who knows! Maybe Robby Anderson turns into the next Jerry Rice! Maybe 6th round draft pick Elijah McGuire turns into player like Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos) another 6th round pick. And maybe just maybe a 38-year old journeyman quarterback catches lightening in a bottle and has a career year. Can’t happen? See Earl Morrall of the Baltimore Colts in 1968. Or even Joe Kapp of the 1969 Minnesota Vikings. Both these journeyman quarterbacks led their teams to the Super Bowl. The Jets may end up going 2-14 but give the organization credit, something is happening in Florham Park. And it is good!

How did they do it (so far)?
1. First off remember how upset Jet fans were cutting Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Nick Mangold and not resigning Brandon Marshall and trading Sheldon Richardson? The only one who has done anything is Decker. And he has only 12 receptions for104 yards and no TDs. And Richardson has no sacks with Seattle. 
2.  Draft picks. The Jets had nine and all nine are still on the team. Most are contributing. Jeremy Clark, 6th round pick is on the “Reserve/Non-Football Injury” list.
3.  #1 and #2 draft picks, Safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye have looked great! Adams has played as advertised and at times has been used as a hybrid linebacker moving all over the field allowing the Jets to play the nickel with an extra DB more often.
4. The offensive line. Playing much better than was expected. They have given up sacks but some are McCown’s fault.
5. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and using the tight ends in general have helped open up the offense.
6. Demario Davis. When the Jets brought him back, I could not believe it but he has shown Jet fans and me that he can play at a high level in this league.
7. Offensive Coordinator John Morton. This guy gets it! He is willing to play rookies! Willing to take chances! Has the offense playing well. 
8. Mike Maccagnan. Whether it is picking up Kony Ealy, Jeremy Kerley, David Bass or trading for Jermaine Kearse and Terrence Brooks, his moves the last six weeks have been outstanding!
9. The locker room. The toxic atmosphere last year appears to have been a lot worse than anybody knew. Ridding themselves of Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson were the right moves! The present team chemistry is working.
10. Josh McCown. In this quarterback driven league, McCown could take the blame for a few things. Missing Robby Anderson ahead of the field or holding the ball too long. But this 38-year old has shown tremendous grit. His 87.8 QB rating won’t get him into the Pro Bowl but he has been better than average. When was the last time the Jets had a quarterback with a 70% completion percentage?
11. Todd Bowles. He drives Jet fans crazy with his clock management and his in-game decisions sometimes but give him credit for one thing, this team is playing hard for him.

Jermaine Kearse
Let’s give this wide receiver who is playing like a professional the credit he deserves. He was a local guy born in Lakewood, Washington and signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent from the University of Washington. He was on the 2013 Super Bowl winning team. He caught that incredible pass in the Super Bowl in 2014 against the Patriots that was tipped by Malcolm Butler but he continued to hold on to it as it bounced all over his body. He was living the dream as a local guy who makes good! The Seahawks are perennial playoff contenders every year. Then it happened. This past September 1st, Kearse gets traded along with a number two draft pick for Sheldon Richardson to the worst team in the NFL. He could have figuratively packed it in and tried to get waived or traded to a contender. But Kearse and the Jets have embraced each other. To date he is the leading receiver on the team with 18 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdown receptions. He has become Josh McCown’s favorite target. When Quincy Enunwa went down with a season ending injury, the receiving corp looked very thin. Jermaine Kearse has given the receivers stability and has become a quiet leader. He has been an excellent reliable pick-up so far! 

Jets Should Draft Two Quarterbacks In 2018
We all know the Jets will probably pick a quarterback in the first round. Looking ahead, the way I am reading the draft for 2018 is that the Jets have nine picks. They get an extra 2nd round pick from Seattle for Sheldon Richardson. And they get an extra 5th round pick for a trade they made with the Cowboys on draft day in 2017. The Jets should think outside the box. With the number of NFL quarterback prospects growing almost weekly, I would take a second quarterback in the 4th or 5th round. I really don’t think two of the Jet quarterbacks will be back next year and possibly all three. By drafting two quarterbacks, the Jets would be hedging their bets so to speak. Crazy you say? Go back some 50+ years and I know it was a very different time but look what the Jets did and eventually it put them on top. The Jets drafted two quarterbacks in 1965.  Everyone knows the story of Joe Namath and the $427,000 contract.  However, with their 12th-round selection, the Jets also picked up Notre Dame star and Heisman Trophy winner, John Huarte. No doubt there were more rounds in the draft than today.  But the way certain parts of the team have begun to come together this year, they really should consider drafting two quarterbacks. 

Quarterback Watch
1. Sam Darnold, USC. 15-29, 164 yards with one interception in a 30-27 loss to Washington State.
2. Josh Rosen, UCLA, 28-45, 372 yards with one touchdown  a 27-23 win over Colorado. 
3. Josh Allen, Wyoming, 14-24, 219 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-10 win against Texas State.

The others
4. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
6. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
7. Luke Falk, Washington State
8. Jake Browning, Washington
9. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern * 
10.Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State * 

* The player is a Junior and may or may not come out.

What the Jet scribes are saying:

Rich Cimini, ESPN
Wrap your brain around this: The Jets (2-2) and New England Patriots have the same record at the quarter pole of the season. This doesn't mean the Jets are a legitimate contender (some perspective, please), but they're better than we thought because they've established an identity. They can run the ball and play some defense. They displayed resilience, too, reclaiming a game that appeared to be lost in overtime. They got lucky because the Jaguars outcollapsed the Jets, but rebuilding teams shouldn't have to apologize for wins. How the Jets won this game is beyond explanation, but they displayed a formula that can drive them for the rest of the season. Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire ran for a combined 256 yards. With Matt Forte (turf toe) sitting out, Powell and McGuire scored on 75- and 69-yard runs, respectively, the first time since 2002 the Jets produced two touchdown runs of at least 65 yards in the same game. Wonder if Forte ever heard of Wally Pipp. Powell and McGuire are younger and faster than Forte, and they should be the focal points of the running game as the season moves forward.

Brian Costello, NY Post
The Jets have come a long way in a few weeks. They have learned how to handle adversity and bounce back from bad plays. The Jets could have folded Sunday after blowing a 10-point lead, but did not. That is a credit to Todd Bowles. Defensively, Bowles and Kacy Rodgers had a good plan to stop the Jaguars. John Morton dialed up the right mix of run and pass against a Jaguars defense with talented cornerbacks…..Austin Seferian-Jenkins was getting dressed at his locker after the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win over the Jaguars on Sunday, when someone asked if he knew what the preseason over/under win total was for the Jets.“Six?” Seferian-Jenkins asked. Nope. He was then told it was 3 ½.

“Three and a half? Whoa,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I hope someone put a lot of money on that we were going to go over.”

The Jets are halfway to making those who took the over happy. They won their second straight game Sunday and at 2-2, look like they will be much better than most people predicted. So, what did the oddsmakers and experts miss when predicting this team to be 0-16, 1-15 or 2-14? “These people, they make their predictions and all that. Most of the time they’re on, but sometimes they’re off,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I think it comes down to the determination of the guys in the room and how hard do they want to play and how committed they are to each other. I think the cool thing about this team is that we are all really committed to each other — the coaches, the players. We’re playing for one another. We’re not playing for ourselves. I think that’s why we’ve been able to be successful.” The Jets have gotten stronger play than expected from quarterback Josh McCown, who has completed over 70 percent of his passes. The offensive line has played much better than anyone anticipated, paving the way for 256 rushing yards Sunday. Rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye look like seasoned veterans. The secondary has allowed one pass of 40 yards or more this season after allowing 13 last year. But ask Jets players and coaches and they will echo what Seferian-Jenkins said. They believe the key to this team being better than outsiders expected is the togetherness it has.

Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
To hear some people tell it, the Jets were being led by a bumbling, unquotable, uninspiring, clueless fool on the sideline this season. The HC of NYJ was some sort of lost soul incapable of motivating a sad-sack team destined to circle the drain during this tank-a-palooza, they said. The particularly dense contingent went so far as to laughably claim that the Jets might rue the day that they let Amos Alonzo Marrone, the current Jaguars head man, leave One Jets Drive without a job offer a couple years ago. How dare Woody Johnson hire Todd Bowles instead of that quitter from Buffalo? The outrage! Bowles beat Marrone and his overrated Jag crew Sunday, prompting many Suck for Sam Truthers to wonder whether to rejoice or curse the moment. The Jets’ 23-20 overtime triumph over Jacksonville at MetLife Stadium has them even in the standings with – wait for it – the Patriots in second place in the AFC East at the quarter pole of the season. The team left for dead before the race actually began has a long way to go, but the facts are indisputable: The Jets are 2-2 at a time when plenty of folks figured they’d be six feet under.

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