Site Meter

New York Jets


Jets QB Geno Smith Continues to Impress - Leads Jets Past Falcons on MNF

Jets QB Geno Smith gets a thumbs up from me so far.

If any QB had a right to have a chip on his shoulder, it’s Geno Smith. If any QB would have been forgiven for cracking under the pressure it’s Geno Smith. But instead, going into Week 6, Smith is as cool and poised as he was the night he was embarrassed on national television when he wasn’t drafted in the first round. And when that happened, if you remember, Smith went home, grabbed the second outfit that he brought with him to New York and returned to Radio City Music Hall shaking off the folks who had laughed at him the night before. We should have known then that the kid was something special.

This is not to say that Smith has played perfect games, but he’s been more than competent for a QB thrust into a dysfunctional team and media environment. With an impressive win over a Falcons team that is struggling on defense, Smith once again held his composure on a national stage. I’ve seen 3 of Smith’s games this season and each time he’s been better than the game before. It seems like a lifetime ago that certain draft scouts scoffed at his work ethic and leadership ability. When was the last time a QB made a point of apologizing to his defense and emphasizing how critical they’ve been to the team’s success?

I’m not jumping out the window on Smith or making any bold proclamations. But I’ve been impressed thus far and I want to be part of helping Smith’s story be told in real time. RG3 was such a dazzling and dynamic player with an amazing story in his rookie season last year. Colin Kaepernick’s run to the Superbowl after Alex Smith suffered a concussion was something to behold. But while all of that was happening, Andrew Luck was recharging the Colts and Ryan Tannehill was quietly exceeding expectations down in Miami. Some folks are still unaware of this as attention remains on RG3 and Kaepernick. Both QBs are struggling to live up to their potential and match the bar they set last year. Smith’s accomplishments would be easy to lose in the shuffle.

What I’ve seen of Smith so far is a guy who is patient in the pocket and lets the game come to him. If anything, he trusts the Jets haphazard O line more than he should. His blind spot is more like a gaping hole at the moment but that can be improved. He’s reasonably fast in his reads and is confident enough on the move that not being truly mobile isn’t the limitation that it could be. And while some QBs are staring receivers in the eye down field and missing the trees for the forest, Smith rarely loses sight of guy nearest to him. Those traits alone are something for Jets fans to celebrate. His poise alone gives him a real advantage over Mark Sanchez and I’ve never been one to rip Sanchez unnecessarily.

Coming up, I expect the Jets to roll over the Steelers. But the Bengals and Saints will be a real test for Smith. Can he withstand the pressure? Can he and the Oline jell enough to keep him on his feet? Will Rob Ryan’s mix of looks confuse the rookie? I’ll be watching to see.


How Can Anonymous Jets Comments Be a Sign of Discord When They All Seem to Agree?

Woke up to all these headlines about anonymous Jets players “ripping” Tim Tebow. So of course I assume that the Jets locker room has fallen apart again with infighting. I go read the quotes and that doesn’t seem to be the case. What it sounds like to me is a bunch of guys (including team staff) frustrated with the media and fans calling for Sanchez to be benched despite the fact that 1. Tebow is terrible (as one defensive player put it) and 2. the Jets have no receivers took an opportunity from a gossip rag to say what they’ve been dying to say.

Not the best way to do something but I sure do understand. 

it’s fine for the media to report this story as being about Tebow since the Daily News only wrote the story because of him, but to miss the rest of the picture entirely is just nuts to me. Dissing Tebow isn’t a sign of a locker room falling apart because it’s clear that nobody and I mean nobody, including Coach Ryan I would assume, even sees Tebow as a part of the locker room. The team, like many people in the public, doesn’t even take Tebow seriously. Further, how can a team be in discord when they all are saying the same thing! 

To the second point, about the lack of Jets receivers, it’s a point rational people have tried to make all season especially after seeing the ridiculous number of pass attempts Sanchez has made in some games. When Antonio Cromartie said he was the second best receiver on the team behind Santonio he wasn’t just tooting his own horn-he was letting people know that the team is in desperate need of talent on offense. But, again, the mostly turned that into a story about how cocky Cromartie is.

I thought it was interesting that the quotes about the receivers were mainly attributed to team staff. We already knew Woody Johnson was out of touch, now we know his employees agree.

In terms of the Jets players making their comments anonymously, the media has made impossible to criticize Tebow on record no matter who you are.  Obviously, a player shouldn’t criticize teammates period — on record or off — but when the media  and by proxy the fans are missing the big picture repeatedly players get frustrated.  I think the Jets players are genuinely worried that they will wake up one morning and Tebow will be starting QB for their team. Rex Ryan clearly doesn’t want that to happen, but he probably also didn’t want Woody Johnson to sign him the first place.

There are no guarantees here especially since the media has told players what they think of Tebow for an entire year. Remember, the Broncos defensive players had to wait until Tebow was traded to dispute the media’s recount of Tebow “inspiring” them to play better.

In a nutshell, from my perspective people tried to defend Mark Sanchez and Ryan’s decision not to play Tebow in the wrong way. But is it a sign of discord or a desperate plea to Woody Johnson to get rid of the circus guy and get some real personnel. I vote for the latter.

Related, Peter Carroll has stated that he didn’t think bringing Tebow helped Sanchez AND he said that Tebow is a distraction. At this point who can disagree?



Mark Sanchez may be fragile but his mental state isn’t the only one that matters

As you can see, took a modest approach to the Tebow-to-Jets story

A couple seasons ago we had a drinking game. If the Dolphins were playing (and you have the misfortunate of having to watch) take a drink every single time you hear the term “wildcat.” That season, if you played that game, you AND Ronnie Brown would be drunk by the end of the 2nd quarter. We tried to do it last season and were sober all game. The wildcat went the way of some other trends in the NFL. And I, for one, was glad to see it go.

Fast forward to this offseason (we need another word cause the NFL truly does not have one of those), the Jets have acquired former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano to run their offense and now Tim Tebow to…to…well, isn’t that the question? What exactly do the Jets want Tebow to do? Of course it’s possible that the Jets acquire Tebow as a true backup. A guy that only gets 2nd team reps and only plays if the starter cannot. But this smells like something more. Actually, it’s not a smell…it’s more like a stench.

Last year, to “motivate” Sanchez Rex Ryan started giving over-the-hill-no-chance-in-hell-he’d-ever-play-wasn’t-that-good-when-he-did-play back up QB Mark Brunell some of Sanchez’s reps. When the media and bloggers (including myself!) pointed out how effing ridiculous it is to try to motivate a starter by giving reps to someone who hasn’t a chance in hell of taking that person’s job the Jets pretended as though the change in reps was just par for the course and nothing to worry about.

Except people did worry. They worried that Sanchez wasn’t mentally tough enough to deal with all the pressure of being an NFL QB in a major media market. Fast forward to the end of the season and the Jets had a complete meltdown with the first of the strong rumblings coming after safety Eric Smith took a bad angle and couldn’t tackle Tebow costing the Jets an opportunity to win the game. When the season was officially over anonymous receivers named Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress couldn’t wait to criticize Sanchez. Next thing you know there were fingers being pointed everywhere and the Jets drama was dominating the news cycle with 8th string QBs giving us the 411.

You’d think a team that had gone through all of that would take the low key approach to fixing the mess in their franchise. But not the Jets. They first pursue Peyton Manning and after being brutally rebuffed make an odd gesture to Mark Sanchez by extending his contract unnecessarily — and without much extra money added to it. So basically they began yet another exercise in just plain being insulting. They barely waited a week before they jumped into the Tebow fray announcing the deal was done before reading Tebow’s contract and finding out they’d have to add another 5 million to the price. Yet another embarrassment. But not to be discouraged they ended up going through with the deal anyway.

[To read the rest of this post, click on the Read More tab below]



The NY Jets’ Expensive Apology to Sanchez and the mixed message it sends

When most of us heard about the NY Jets extending Sanchez's contract, this is the face we made.

As most of the football world was trying to decide if the Washington Redskins gave up too much to the St. Louis Rams to move up to the 2nd pick and grab Robert Griffin III, the Jets surprised everyone by extending their QB Mark Sanchez’s contract by 3 years and 40.5 million dollars. This came, of course, after the Jets expressed an interest in Peyton Manning who was officially released by the Colts last week. I think the general consensus is that this is a move to smooth things over with Sanchez so that he doesn’t feel so jilted knowing that the Jets have pursued a replacement.

I don’t understand this move. Yes, I understand the intention behind it. And I’d love it if someone would apologize to me with 20 million dollars in guaranteed money. But I think it’s one of a slew of mixed messages the NY Jets have ushered into the atmosphere. Last season, Mark Sanchez definitely wasn’t the only problem. As I’m typing this, the Jets are are shopping OL Wayne Hunter in hopes that someone, ANYONE, will take the backup-cum-whiffing-starter off their hands. And certainly Sanchez’s receivers deserved some blame as did a defense that was so scattered they were easily overcome by the Broncos late in the season.

But this extension is sort of like telling the whole team “it’s not Sanchez, it’s YOU” and that’s obviously not the case. Sanchez has shown he’s about as fragile as they come. Any lick of a pass rush seems to put his nerves on edge. The psychological moves the Jets keep trying in an effort to motivate Sanchez (like giving Mark Brunell extra reps)  are becoming the stuff of legend. At some point the game on the field has to take precedence over these mental ones. If Sanchez had one year left on his contract it might make sense to throw him a little more security. But he had two years left and I don’t think it would have been too much to ask to have him complete next season without an extension given how he’s played so far. If he couldn’t do that without crumbling into a pile then he’s probably not the guy you want anyway.

Now you have a situation where Sachez’s APY is right below Roethlisberger’s and slightly above Aaron Rodgers’. Regardless of whether there is an “out” (like when the Skins tried to fool the world with the McNabb extension),  if contracts are an indication of how a team feels about its QB the Jets just told the world he’s our guy and there’s no questions about it. Except, there are questions. Which makes this extension a puzzling move to everyone on the outside.


**Update: Andrew Brandt says the real increase of this contract is 2.5 million dollars. And that although 20.5 million is now guaranteed there’s a strong possibility that he would have gotten 17.75 million anyway. So…does this still work as an ego-smoothing gesture toward Sanchez???? Is there a point to this that I’m missing?


Are the New York Jets Victims of Overconfidence?

Even the princely Darrelle Revis lost his cool at times this season.

I’ve never hidden my feelings about New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. I think he’s too chatty. Much of his blustering is more agitating than entertaining. His preening in front of the press lacks the authentic eccentricity of his father, the great Buddy Ryan. It’s almost as if uses every opportunity to prove to everyone that he’s just as fiery as his father was during his prime.

That’s why I never thought I’d find myself in a position to feel sorry for Coach Ryan. But this week, I do.

As you know, the Jets began an epic team meltdown in mid-October when wide receiver Santonio Holmes, eschewing any tact or home training, publicly called out his teammates for something that only remotely seems relevant now. Fast forward to the Jets season ending with no appearance in the playoffs and suddenly you have Bart Scott flipping the bird to a reporter, and the usually princely Darrelle Revis refusing to talk to reporters (earlier this season he hung up on a badgering Mike Francesca, another sign of frustration), and an aging but still vocal LaDainian Tomlinson putting Holmes on public notice that his behavior wasn’t acceptable.

That was all in just one day. One day that ended with Ryan tearfully addressing his fractured team and urging them to come together. And by come together I’m sure he meant act professionally because with their season over the team won’t be physically coming together again until spring training begins. (Though if you listen to General Manager Mike Tannenbaum speak, you’d think they were headed full steam ahead into the playoffs this weekend).

At any rate, the team has ignored their crestfallen coach’s plea and continue to jaw and reveal their locker room’s deep divisions. This was certainly not how it was supposed to go for the Jets. This was, again, supposed to be their year. With two AFC championship appearances (but no wins) under their belts this year was supposed to yield that elusive Super Bowl appearance. And many of us in the public thought this year would, in fact, be a strong year for the Jets. If not a win or visit to the Super Bowl at least another AFC championship appearance which, by the way, is nothing to scoff at.

But after the Jets made a slew of poor decisions during the rushed free agency period that began as the lockout ended, the expectation that the Jets would blow into the playoffs and manage to beat the best teams despite a lesser roster were muted for most—but not Ryan. Despite the Jets having given away their jittery quarterback’s favorite receiver Braylon Edwards, neglecting to solidify a fresh running back to take the pressure off said jittery QB, and knowing the receiving core, offensive line and defensive line would be without the leadership and steadiness of Jericho Cotchery, Damien Woody, and Shaun Ellis, Ryan persisted in trying to convince us the Jets were something that they were not.

Earlier this season Michael Lombardi wrote that he felt Ryan’s bragging about the Jets was causing them more harm than good, calling Ryan’s overstatements “counterproductive.” Lombardi said:

His players know what he is saying is not true, because they watch the same tape he does. Do you really think star cornerDarrelle Revis thinks the Jets offense is Super Bowl-worthy? Revis is too smart for that. The fans in New York are too smart, too savvy to believe every word, as they can tell the difference between a good and a great team. And Ryan gives the opponents free bulletin-board material. This is where his bold predictions become counterproductive.

At the time, Lombardi’s take seemed perfectly logical-the team had to know that they weren’t as good as Ryan’s statements. But now I wonder if that’s not true. I wonder if rather than perceiving Ryan’s bold statements as part of the show, they instead bought into his insistence that they were a part of something great and not the so-so team they looked to be.

And I believe that may be a large part of why the team turned on each other. Each of them is looking for someone to blame for the fact that they underperformed. But the reality is that the Jets did not underperform. The Jets’ roster is consistent with that of the 8-8 team they were this year. A more realistic team wouldn’t have been surprised by its lack of playoff berth but rather could have taken pride in playing hard until the end despite some real challenges on the talent front.

My sympathy for Ryan comes not from agreeing with his tactics—I assure you I do not. But it comes from understanding that this is a man who has motivated his team using a certain method. And suddenly that method has blown up in his face in very public fashion. That’s a painful experience for someone who obviously cares so much. Even still, I’m not letting Ryan off the hook. He, of all people, knew the limitations of the individuals on his team and still he insisted upon ramping up expectations. So much so that the two AFC championship appearances in 2 years with second year coach and QB seemed like a failure on the surface. He has no one to blame but himself for that one.

When reporters asked Ryan if he was planning to change his style he said he wasn’t and that he’s a “confident” person. But next year I fully hope to see a further dialing down. This season it became clear that the New York Jets are not annoying trash talkers — Rex Ryan is an annoying trash talker. There was a point as the game between the Jets and New York Giants approached where you realized that the trash talk between the teams involved a bunch of mouthy giants and one Jet in the form of the coach. When responding to what the Giants players said about him, Revis’ defenses of himself were more obligatory than passionate. He just didn’t seem to care all that much about talking up a storm. In this instance, the player was much more mature than the coach. And that’s not a good thing.

People have already compared Rex Ryan to Tom Coughlin who relaxed his preachy ways in 2008 leading a team that had been full of drama the previous year to a Super Bowl win. And I think this is a valid comparison because at the root of both Coughlin’s initial issues with the Giants and Ryan’s issue with this year’s Jets is a motivating style that has outlived its usefulness. The question is whether Ryan is too confident to change.






Find a player or team

Posts By Year