What the Jets are incapable of doing...even versus Luke McCown.
No one has ever confused this current Jets team as modest, but the defense's self-aggrandizement after Sunday's 32-3 win against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars and the inept, ATROCIOUS! Luke McCown brought its ignorance to a new level.
After getting torn to pieces for three quarters by the Cowboys last week, Rex Ryan challenged his overrated unit to step up and deliver a knockout performance Sunday. They delivered, but it looked more like a Mayweather-Ortiz knockout---awkward, cheeky and a bit depressing---than a Clay-Liston KO. They tore the absolutely LAWST McCown to pieces, recording four interceptions, two sacks, and yielding a shockingly awful 1.8 quarterback rating to Jacksonville's No. 1, yet still could not put the game away until late in the third quarter. Don't get me wrong, the defense thoroughly dominated, but when you consider they did so against a quarterback who last threw a touchdown in 2007, you should consider the words of Winston Wolf, and remember: Let's not start...ahh, you know the rest.
Had this exact game happened last year early in the season, I would have been downright giddy. I mean how often do the Jets have 29-point home victories? Never? But we know too much about this team. They have fatal flaws, and more troubling than that, they are the same fatal flaws from last season. They still cannot cover a tight end (see: Jason Witten; the Jets lucked out big time with Marcedes Lewis missing Sunday's game) and they still do not have a right tackle. After getting steamrolled by DeMarcus Ware in Week One, Wayne Hunter opted to stop playing legally on Sunday, committing 25 yards worth of penalties in an attempt to keep Mark Sanchez alive. And now if you combine Hunter's ineptitude with Mangold's injury, not only will the Jets never establish a running game (another fatal flaw that has carried over from last season), Sanchez's health will be in serious jeopardy the next three weeks. The Raiders, Ravens and Patriots are all VIOLENT teams.
You Know Your Offensive Line Stinks When...Matt Slauson's name is a source of comfort and stability.
Anyway, I guess we're obligated to highlight the few positive things the Jets did on Sunday. Here they are...
-The Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time since Week Four of last season in Buffalo. The scoring play was a lovely pass from Sanchez to Santonio that threaded the proverbial needle. Unfortunately, that was the best pass Sanchez threw all day. While his final numbers were respectable (182 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs), the Jets franchise quarterback looked utterly lost at times. Yes, it had something to do with Mangold leaving the game, but did you see Brady fall apart last week when his center broke his ankle? No, he just decided to throw for 517 yards. Fifty-nine points in two games sounds nice, but if you've watched both wins, you'd know there's no run game and a terribly inconsistent passing game.
Oh, right. These are the highlights.
-Nick Folk is turning into the Jets most reliable performer and an early-season team MVP candidate...no joke.
-It was good to see Muhammad Wilkerson move ahead of Vernon Gholston on the Jets' all-time sacks leader board. It was doubly cool it came on a safety.
-Jeremy Kerley did not muff any punts. You heard it here first, Kerley will cost the Jets a game this season returning punts. His football IQ is commensurate with Daniel Murphy's baseball IQ.
-The Jets continued honoring armed forces members who have been awarded the Medal of Honor by the President. It remains the coolest, most consistent thing at Jets games this season. no comments
Tony hasn't got that excited since Pie-O-My came from behind to win her first race! Let's hope the 2011 Jets have a better fate than her!
Routines are boring. Their purpose is to provide you structure and keep you sane. There are no surprises with routines. I know tomorrow I'm going to wake up, brush my teeth, poop, and eat breakfast. I can damn near guarantee that. There's no excitement in that. No emotional involvement.
With two minutes remaining in the first half of last night's Jets-Cowboys game, I realized being a sports fan, namely a Jets fan, is something of a routine. For the second straight year I drove to the Meadowlands for a prime time season-opening game, arrived unnecessarily early, waited for my brother in the parking lot, stared at the drunk idiots around me with disdain and jealousy, went into the stadium, sat in section 109, and watched a timid Jets team get beaten by an inferior opponent. It was eerily similar to last year's season-opening loss to the Ravens.
During the two-minute warning, I wondered to myself how this routine was any different from my morning routine. I thought and I thought, but I could think of nothing.
That was until Joe McKnight happened and I realized why a sports routine is so damn exciting...
You never know what the f*ck is going to happen.
Joe McKnight. The same Joe McKnight who puked on himself in training camp last year and was the butt of more jokes than any Jets player on Hard Knocks, made the biggest play of the game (by a Jet), the biggest block punt by a Jet since Blake Spence took one off Tom Rouen's foot in the '98 AFC Championship Game, and perhaps, in the end, the biggest play of the Jets 2011 season.
I know, I know. It's Week One! Come the eff down, Buddy! I understand, but when you play in a division with the Patriots, every game is crucial. The Jets need to win the division this season. One loss can doom you, and that play likely saved the Jets a crushing first defeat. (The blocked punt and subsequent return for a touchdown produced a reaction from TLL and I that had not been seen since Endy Chavez's catch. Thankfully, this time our team won. In my delirious excitement I five-fingered the guy next to me, and he turned around with a look of I Would Crack You In The Face Right Now Under Any Other Circumstance But For Now I'll Give You A Big High Five And A Smile! It was great. Don't get me wrong, Endy's catch poops on McKnight's blocked punt in its importance and uniqueness. Blocked punts happen. Endy's catch does not happen.)
The haters, like Cimini and Francesa, will likely point out Cromartie's struggles (yes, he was burned for two TDs, but those were both unreal catches by star receivers), Hunter's inability to guard DeMarcus Ware (not many human beings can), and the team's inability to establish the run game (Greene only had 10 carries...the offense trailed during all of its possessions until the end of the game; they had to pass). Of those three criticisms, the only one that concerns me down the road is Hunter. I hope Damien Woody was getting in game-shape as he tweeted his heart out tonight.
As for the real hero of the game, Tony Romo, I now finally understand why most Cowboys fans loathe him. When you follow him as a fantasy football fan he seems like a great player, but when you see him play in a pressure situation and make decisions a high school quarterback wouldn't make, I totally empathize with them. He's not a winner. They learned that when he botched the field goal hold versus Seattle in the playoffs, when he fell apart against the Giants the following postseason, and Jets fans learned tonight he does not have it. Although he's no Johnny Unitas himself, Sanchez has WAY more of it, than Romo does.
And most importantly the Jets are developing it. In 2009 the Jets could not stop the Dolphins when Ronnie Brown scored his "walk-off" touchdown in Week Five of that season. Last year, however, in a nearly identical situation in Miami, the Jets intercepted Chad Henne in the end zone for the win. That was progress. In last year's season-opener the Jets fought back against the Ravens but could not ultimately overcome Baltimore's seemingly indomitable defense. But this year, in a very similar game, they got over the hump and stole a victory from the Cowboys. Once again, that's progress.
Will tonight be the difference in earning at least one home playoff game? Maybe. The Jets can't expect the opposing quarterback to self-destruct in the fourth quarter every game (well, maybe except next week...it is Luke McCown), and they sure as hell can't expect Joe McKnight to play the role of hero every week. But for one late summer night, with 78,000 people losing their collective minds for one thrilling quarter, none of that matters.
The Jets are 1-0. And it feels f***ing awesome.
I considered doing a "live" diary of tonight's game, but I when I got home I decided those should only be done for road trips. Nevertheless, here are my favorite musings from tonight's game:
-Well, it's basically only one musing. Listening and watching the fans in our section turn on the Jets in the first half was fascinating and hilarious.
10:27 left in 1st quarter: "They always come out flat in these emotional games! They don't know how to prepare for them!"
7:43 left in 1st quarter: (After Dez Bryant makes catch against him) "Make a play Revis you overpaid bum! What are we paying you for?!"
12:44 left in 2nd quarter: (After scoreboard shows Kenny Britt's big day for Titans) "I'd much rather have Matt Hasselbeck than Sanchez at QB..."
5:33 left in 2nd quarter: "Wilkerson is friggin' invisible! He's as bad as Kyle Wilson!"
3:16 left in 2nd quarter: (After Cowboys go up 10-0) "Rex is just a lot of f***ing hot air. So is Bart Scott. I CAN'T WAIT until he gets cut!"
Of course these fools were going bonkers when the Jets won but I loved how everyone gradually turned on each player. Loyal 'til the end, us Jets fans!
-Let the record show the Jets moved the chains for the first time this season on a Matthew Mulligan fumble recovery after Sanchez lost the ball. That's a Jets...FIRST DOWN!!!!! no comments
Rex Ryan lost a crucial ally when the team cut Scotty McKnight.
With age comes maturity. You learn how to manage expectations. You learn humility. You learn what to expect of people in certain situations. You learn, in theory, how to become a better person.
Well the same can be said about a football team, and that football team is the New York Jets. While no Rex Ryan coached team will ever fly under the radar, the Jets have been uncharacteristically quiet this offseason. Of course Rex occasionally blurts out some nonsense about the Jets owning New York, but other than Justin Tuck and some lowly Giants fans, no one cares. I'm talking more about the players. They've been far more quiet this summer than last. Shit, even Matt Slauson was guaranteeing a Super Bowl last September. Matt Slauson! All their chatter even rubbed off on me, Buddy Crutchfield. Take a gander at my 2010 preview. What the hell was I talking about?? Why didn't someone smack me in the face?
There was too much going on last season. I know that unfairly simplifies the team's struggles, but it's true. Between Hard Knocks, the Revis holdout, Braylon's DWI, Rex's feet fettish, and a million guys playing for a contract, there was just too much going on. Contract years are good for fantasy teams, not real teams. Uncertainty leads to instability and inconsistency, and we definitely saw that with the Jets last season. I know you can argue the Jets made it to the AFC Championship Game and were a few Beautiful Mind calls away from winning it, but if you look at their opponent you'll see what I mean. The Steelers are all about continuity. They've had three head coaches in the past 42 years! The Steelers don't talk about winning. They just do it.
And I think the Jets may finally be at that point. They have a system in place. There is stability and continuity in the ownership, front office, coaching staff, and roster. The players know what to expect of each other. Almost every guy on the team, save the wide receivers and defensive linemen, will be playing together for at least the third year in a row, including the quarterback. Whereas in the past the team may have lost confidence in Sanchez after a poor performance (see: Rex considering benching him after Dolphins loss), they now understand what they have in him. He may not be the most reliable friend in terms of making plans and throwing out the garbage, but you know when it really matters, when you really need him there, he'll show up for you in a big way. In other words, you trust him. And trusting your teammates, namely your quarterback, is YUGE. Mike Francesa YUGE.
So what does all this mean? It's hard to say, isn't it? I guess we'll just have to let it play out on the field and may the best team win, right?
Nonsense! The Jets are going all the way! Read 'em and weep! Now let's play Jets Over/Unders! The 2011 Season Preview Edition!
Jets DUIs: 1
Over. I'm feeling a member of the coaching staff, most likely a position coach, and Vlad Ducasse pulling in DUIs. Can't you see Vlad after a long night of drinking and realizing all his teammates abandoned him hopping in his car out of necessity to get home? Then you'll find a few weeks later Mr. T instructed the players to leave Vlad there so the team had an excuse to release him. It makes too much sense. Odds: 5-1
Santonio Holmes touchdowns: 9.5
Over. Santonio's career-high is eight but I'm saying he cracks double-digits this season. 'Tone caught four touchdowns in his final five games last season (playoffs included), and his strong preseason shows him and Sanchez have developed a real rapport in the red zone. I'd say this is a lock. Odds: 3-1
Highest sack total for Jets player: 6.5
Under. The Jets leaders in sacks last season were Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas (6). I can't see that number being eclipsed in 2011. The Jets did not add a bona fide pass rusher this offseason and despite proclamations his foot is 100%, Pace is good for one serious injury a season. If the team decides to follow its gameplan from the New England playoff victory (barely blitz, cover all receivers, get coverage sacks), that number could increase, but telling Rex not to blitz for an entire season seems unrealistic. Odds: 7-2
Women Antonio Cromartie impregnates: 1.5
Over. I know Cromartie has changed his ways and now "respects women" (his Twitter account is largely Bible verses and retweets from iRespect Women), but I can see Cro impregnating his current girlfriend/wife, and then around the time of the playoffs we find out there's another baby mama out there who took Cro's seed the night he signed his new contract. But then again maybe he'll pay her off to keep it silent. I'm not sure about this one. Odds: 50-1
Receivers/Running Backs with more than 1,000 yards, defensive player with more than 100 tackles: 2
Wash. Had the Jets won the Super Bow last season, I imagine they would have become the first team to win a championship (in at least 20 years?) with no player rushing or receiving for 1,000 yards, and no defensive player recording at least 100 tackles. I see that changing this season with Santonio breaking the 1,000-yard plateau and David Harris racking up at least 100 tackles. I'd like to say Shonn Greene is a lock for 1,000 yards but I simply do not trust the Beautiful Mind. Odds: 8-1
Music Videos Mark Sanchez stars in, in tribute to his recently released best friend, Scotty McKnight: .5
Over. Can't you see some pop star recording a song about lost friendships, and it shows Sanchez on both his knees hysterically crying in front of Scotty's locker on the day he got cut. Then it shows him laying in bed going through pictures of their first day together at training camp, their first Broadway show together...them posing with the cast after, and finally their goodbye hug. Sanchez openly disagreed with McKnight's release saying he and Scotty saw things differently from the organization. The only reason Scotty's release made me upset is because he's apparently dating Hayden Panettiere, the little blond girl (who is now 22-years old) from Remember The Titans. She could have been the celebrity girlfriend this team needed! Plus it would have been cool had she taken on the persona of Sheryl Yoast and sat in the stands with a radio freaking out on every play and gameplanning with Rex and promoting racial tolerance in the East Rutherford community. Now I'm really upset. Odds: 2-1
Number of Super Bowls won: .5
Over. I don't need to explain why the Jets will win the Super Bowl, I just know they will. Odds: 1-1
I'll stick by last year's prediction: Jets 22, Saints 17.
Season Prediction: 12-4, wins AFC East on tiebreaker over Patriots.
Sunday Prediction: Jets 27, Cowboys 17
The Likely Lad
Season Prediction: 10-6, wild card, loses in divisional round to Steelers
Sunday Prediction: Jets 20, Cowboys 16
(If you thought TLL was only being positive this season because of his preview post, here is his defense for forecasting an early playoff exit. "It's not that I'm optimistic about the results, it's that I accept the results. I love the results." We all need to get our hands on whatever drugs he is taking.)
(My favorite part of this legendary picture is seeing Mangold and his outstretched arms celebrating in the background.)
First question: What does Shonn Greene sound like when he speaks?
Second question: How old is Shonn Greene?
Third question: Does Shonn Greene prefer peeing standing up or sitting down so he doesn't have to wipe the seat in case his aim is off?
Realistically, a good Jets fan should know the answer to at least one of those questions. Before this morning, however, I knew none.
I have never heard him speak, or for that matter, read a quote from him in the newspaper or online. I assumed he was 24 years old (like most people three years out of college). And my spy camera has not been successfully installed in his bathroom yet.
Here are the correct answers...
1) (Note: You can stop the video after three seconds unless you want to know Shonn's favorite cartoon and hear him brag about ruining Penn State's undefeated season in '08.)
(Note: The interviews of him on YouTube are from before his 2009 rookie season. Do the Jets prohibit him from speaking to the media?)
2) He is 26 years old. Based on the fact he started college when he was 20 and missed the entire 2007 season due to "academic deficiencies" (he enrolled at community college to improve his grades), we'll assume he's a little slow in the classroom. Does this also explain the Jets reluctance to give him 300+ touches and goal line carries in the postseason when they have first-and-goal from the opponent's one-yard line? Quite possibly.
3) I'm going to say he pees sitting down, at least at night when he's too tired to fully open his eyes. Players drafted in the third round or later usually have roommates until their rookie contract expires. I could picture Shonn having no patience for lifting the seat and having to touch everyone's piss when his finger makes contact with the rim of the bowl.
If you're an avid reader of the blog you knew where this post was heading 283 words ago, but in case you aren't, we're going to interview Shonn Greene, with me asking the questions and then answering them on his behalf. After all, the Jets do not let him do interviews. I had no choice!
BC: Shonn, virtually every single Jets fan wants you to be the team's workhorse. We've given up on Establishing LT. You're big, strong, fast, and have that reckless abandon every great running back has. Yet despite all of this, the coaching staff does not seem to fully trust you. When pressed why they don't give you more carries, they often cite your "fumbling problem." Well, in two seasons you've fumbled the ball six times and lost five. While that's not good, it certainly isn't bad enough to keep you in the doghouse. So what's the deal? Are you simply not as good as everyone thinks? Were the 135 and 128-yard playoff performances in the '09 playoffs an aberration? Are you LaMont Jordan 2.0 or are you the real deal? Enlighten us!
SG: Damn, Buddy! That's the longest f***ing question anyone has ever asked me! Who's interviewing who here? Anyway, I'd say it's a little bit of both. I have definitely shown flashes of brilliance and I do believe I can be a 350-carry, 1,400 yard, 10 touchdown guy. Will I have the opportunity to do so? Who knows. Ask The Beautiful Mind the next time you speak to him.
But I'll be honest, there's also reason to believe I'm a fraud. Yes, I ran roughshod over the Bengals in that playoff game, and the following week forever etched myself into the memories of Jets fans when I steamrolled Eric Weddle on that 53-yard touchdown run (Editor's Note: That really was a great f***ing moment. YouTube it. I still get chills.), but outside of those two games, what have I done? Although my carries have been limited, I only have two, 100-yard games in the regular season for my career (the 38-0 W at Oakland in '09 and the 38-14 W at Buffalo in '10). For my career I'm averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Again, not great, not bad. I also lack any type of receiving skills which is a big minus. I have 16 catches in 29 regular season games. That ain't good. I'm very one-dimensional. My best case? Michael Turner. My worst case? Like you said, LaMont Jordan, minus the pass-catching ability.
BC: Many Jets fans including myself believe that you are the key to the offense's success this season. Sanchez will throw for his 3,500 yards, 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. We know that. But what are you going to offer us? If LT wasn't washed up by the end of last season he certainly is now. Joe McKnight is a waste. And Bilal Powell may be the slowest man alive. If you don't step up and have a big season, the Jets offense is going to be in big trouble. Do you share my thoughts and feelings?
SG: Hell yeah I share your thoughts and feelings! Don't tell anyone this, but I saw LT paying off Kyle Wilson to purposely miss tackles on him in practice! I said to LT, "I don't think Kyle needs your money to miss tackles." He responded, "Gotta play it safe, homie. Even that mook can take me down now." It's gotten real bad. I even think The Beautiful Mind will see he's done by Week 3.
Anyway, I'm not saying I'm the answer, but I'm definitely the team's best option. I was ready to be The Guy last year, but I fumbled twice in the season opener versus Baltimore. That really set me back. I'd argue it ruined my whole season. The coaching staff lost all of its confidence in me. This year, we need to establish a run game, just not with LT as the focal point of it. If teams know they can drop six guys back in coverage on every play, Sanchez is going to be in big trouble. Mason and Plax are too old to get separation from their guys anyway. The last thing they need is to have to beat double coverage. If I can't rush for 1,200+ yards and 10+ touchdowns, we're going to be in big trouble.
BC: All right, Shonn, last question. All of our readers want to know, when you go to the bathroom, do you p...
SG: Wait, what? The interview is over already? You only asked me two questions!
BC: Yeah, that's all we got. We reached our 1,100-word maximum. Most readers tune out after the first graf anyway. Now let me finish. Do you pi...
SG: Nah, f*** this! I thought I was going to be a 10-question, feature piece! I never get to talk to reporters! I have some steam I need to blow off!
BC: Shonn, I'm sorry. We'll schedule another date later in the season. Just let me finish! Do you piss sitting down or standing up? We. Need. To. Know.
SG: (Stands up) (Turns call off speaker, grabs phone) Fine, Buddy. I'll tell you. I pee... (bobbles phone, drops it, falls to floor, wire snaps, audio goes dead).
BC: Shonn, are you there?? (hears dial tone) Nooooooooo!!!!!!! no comments
Seven months later, I'm ready to love again.
Seven months gone now from frozen Heinz Field and that first half and those goal line abortions. The sadness is faded and the anger has been un-crumpled, along with "Martin 28." The cold weather passed and with it all things, this too.
I'm ready and I know just when it happened: Monday night, the third game of the preseason.
It was third down. Young Sanchez took a quick drop, locked in on Santonio, hop-hop... "Boom!" Or should it be, "Kerplunk!" Holmes waved his trailing arm as the ball, hammered in his direction before he could finish making his cut, spiraled viciously into the back of his helmet. And on came the punter.
On came the punter, but there we stayed. And there we'll be, like Buñuel's guests in The Exterminating Angel. For those unfamiliar with the 1962 film, I'll leave it to Roger Ebert to explain: "The plot involves a group of aristocratic guests who come to dinner - and then find themselves incapable of leaving the room. They bed down for the night, and the dinner party turns into a grotesque captivity lasting several days."
A grotesque captivity, indeed!
But I'm leaving the room, now. This season I'm going to love the Jets. And not just that... I'm going to love them better.***
Love is acceptance. It is reasonable. This is not mother and child -- irrational. This is mature love and it is taking the happiness from what's good and banking it because the sad days, days like Pittsburgh, are always in the post.
Not like an alcoholic conceding ground to his disease, love is concession to faith. (Hush!) Rather, it is grace. And from now on, I will carry on in that way.
And so we say:
Greene left, Tomlinson right, Keller just short of the sticks; Sanchez grounder to first; Sanchez to Burress, Sanchez to Holmes, Sanchez to... the sideline... for the Wildcat; Nick Folk wide left, Nick Folk wide lefter; Touchback! by Conley; Fear and Loathing in Matt Slauson's head; NO PASS RUSH; Comprenez-vous, Ducasse?; Holding, Number 31, of the defense, that's an automatic first down; Bart Scott, I swear he's playing today; The safeties don't cover...; The Schottenheimer Game(s); Establish LT Establish...
I repeat these words, speaking them without a sound, saying them always. I am the monk and they are my Jesus Prayer. I breathe them in and out, synchronizing them with my beating heart, calling out in silence.
There will be no more crying in this house. There will be God and there will be Zen and there will be Adonai and Allah in holy union.
The maudlin pre-game prose?
The anguished post-game trill?
No more. Now it belongs (listen careful!) to the ages.
Buddy will make you smile, with his breezy wit. But I'll be your bliss. We are what we are, and what we will be is not for us to know. Call it faith, call it fate, call it false.
I'll call it football. And that is all.
Eric Smith's long lost little brother!
If you went on a date with a really ugly girl or guy (we are now a gender-equal blog), and he or she had absolutely no personality but was desperate to get some, and in the end you got the person into bed, did you really learn anything about yourself? Do you really have that great a game? Are you really that attractive? Are you really that sought after by the opposite sex that after one lousy dinner you were able to get some arse?
Well, if I were the New York Jets, and for our purposes let's say I am, I would definitely be pleased with myself in the moment and for the accompanying 15 minutes after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 27-7 on Sunday night, but the next morning when I woke up and truly reflected on things, I would say to myself, "Wait, the Bengals may go 0-16 this season. Wait, Andy Dalton may throw 50 interceptions this season. Wait, Marvin Lewis' head may explode this season. Should I really be proud of what I just 'accomplished'?"
My answer would be: No. The Jets have enough confidence where they shouldn't allow a preseason beatdown of the 2012 Andrew Lucks to boost their collective self-esteem. With that said, there were things we learned about the 2011 Jets on Sunday night. And thanks to a minor league telecast from our geriatric local CBS affiliate, we learned some REALLY important things. Like the following:
-We learned that Billy likes to drink soda, Ms. Lippy's car is green...err, Jeremy Kerley's favorite "meal" is shrimp. And the one thing he really, truly, desperately wants us to know is that he actually is 5-foot-9! It's as if he read last week's blog post and was so offended he had to set the record straight. (Yes, I just made the inference that A) Kerley reads Rex Sanchez and B) We're the first people to ever question his height.)
And to top it off, Kerley revealed in his Sunday Q & A with Steve Sterby of the New York Post that he plans on becoming a Major League Baseball player and to man center field at Yankee Stadium one day.
We learned he's very dedicated to football...
-We learned Nick Folk actually has some cajones. We do love to rip on him, but it was nice seeing him make a legit tackle on the opening kickoff. As for his missed field goal, I really enjoyed how he stared in shock at the "grass" after the miss, like it jumped up and grabbed his foot on the kick. Maybe somebody should tell Nick it's not real grass.
-We learned that Plaxico Burress still has the ability to push off of third-string cornerbacks and make diving catches in the end zone. I'm not getting too giddy over the highlight reel touchdown catch, but it was nice to see he's still capable of making such an acrobatic reception.
I also like the fact he wears No. 17. It eases the blow of losing Braylon. They're both freakishly tall so that helps, too. But I guess in a way it's a constant reminder of how much I miss him. Now I'm confused. I thought I was over the breakup but I'm not! I wrote a motherf***ing 950-word tribute to the man! Someone help me!
-We learned that Ground And Pound isn't so much a dirty myth anymore as it is a decoy. Rex and Schotty talk about it so frequently that you'd think the Jets play with two running backs under center and no quarterback, but in reality four of the Jets five best players on offense are involved in the passing game: Sanchez, Santonio, Keller, Burress. If you're an opposing defense and you watch film you'd learn that: LT is washed up, Joe McKnight is useless, Billal Powell cannot run faster than 2 MPH, and Shonn Greene is grossly under utilized.
-We learned that Eric Smith is as dumb as he looks, pitching the ball to Revis after his first quarter interception. It's dumb for a multitude of reasons. 1) You're risking a fumble. 2) You're putting Revis at risk for injury by making people tackle him. 3) YOU'RE PUTTING REVIS AT RISK FOR INJURY!!!!
On a side note, have you noticed that Eric Smith looks exactly like Kyle's little brother, Ike, from South Park? Smith must have Canadian ancestors.
-We learned that Vladimir Ducasse still has not learned the meaning of "Hike!" His false starts weren't your tacky head twitch false starts that are sometimes called, but rather jump-out-of-your-stance-like-you-just-heard-a-fire-alarm-go-off-while-you-were-sleeping false starts.
He is so terribly, sadly LAWST!
-We learned that CBS sideline reporter Otis Livingston has THE single shiniest head in the history of heads. Between the stadium's lighting, the strong arch of his bald dome, and the endless rain, Livingston's head could have blinded fans in the upper deck. Couldn't someone have given the man a hat? Or even a poncho for heaven's sake?! I'm still seeing spots from staring at that thing.
-We learned that Mark Sanchez is playful. Wasn't it soooooo cute how after the touchdown pass to Plax how he grabbed Schotty's headset and yelled something to the guys upstairs?? He's so silly. My guess is that he said, "Guys, NOW can I throw a pass like that to Scotty? He's my best friend!!!!"
-We learned that Dustin Keller CLEANS UP. Oh wait, we already knew that. But you had to be impressed that he had his most shiny, and probably most expensive earrings on during the second half. Yes, I noticed this. But it was only because they were nearly as shiny as Livingston's head.
-We learned that Aaron Maybin, although the size of a weak-hitting second baseman, CAN get to the quarterback. He already showed more life with his strip sack of Jordan Palmer than Vernon Gholston did in three seasons.
-We learned that Drew Willy may be the worst quarterback in NFL history. His one pass was so wildly underthrown I assumed his arm was hit on the throw, but actually no one touched him. And then watching him slide two yards shy of the first down on the following play was truly comical. He and Curtis Painter should be friends.
I'll be honest. I thought Aaron Maybin was overrated at Penn State. He stunk in Buffalo, and I don't see how bringing him to another 3-4 defense will help him realize his "potential."
Much of my football-related disdain for him comes from his complete no-show against Iowa during his career season in 2008 (12 sacks, 20 tackles for loss). Penn State was three wins away from a perfect regular season and a place in the BCS Championship game, when they lost to the Hawkeyes 24-23 on a cold night in Iowa City. Bryan Buluga and the Hawkeyes offensive line shutdown Maybin, limiting him to one tackle and no sacks; it ended Maybin's four-game sack streak.
After the season, despite efforts from coaches convincing him to stay, Maybin bolted for the NFL and has not recorded a sack since.
Part of me feels Mr. T sees this as a chance for redemption for the Vernon Gholston pick. If he can turn one draft bust into a star, the Gholston error will be forgotten. Is that true? I'm not sure.
There is one reason to be optimistic that Maybin will contribute. His cousin: Cameron Maybin, the center fielder for the San Diego Padres. Like Aaron, Cameron was a first-round pick in his sport's rookie draft (10th overall; Aaron was 11th in 2009). Cameron struggled early in his career, batting .250 and .234 in '09 and '10, respectively. This past offseason though, Cameron was traded from the Marlins (the team who traded for him from Detroit in 2007) to San Diego for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica---two nobodies (unless you remember Mujica as the first winning pitcher in Citi Field history).
In 2011, his third "full" season in the bigs (175 at-bats or more), Cameron is batting .274 with eight home runs and 31 stolen bases.
Aaron is entering his third "full" season, too. Let's hope both the Maybins are late-bloomers.de no comments
Vlad: Schotty, please don't cut me! I'll let you run LT behind me all year!
TBM: Until he's Established??
It's August. The season is summer. The Mets have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. And I have enough skin color where I do not resemble the Pillsbury Doughboy.
For these reasons we're not going to overreact, for better or for worse, based on what we saw in Monday night's Jets preseason opener against the Houston Texans. Instead, like any good student of the game, we're going to learn from it. What we learned may have made us more cynical and pessimistic, but an erudite fan is a good fan, and here at Rex Sanchez, we are damn good fans.
So here it is, What We Learned From Week One of the 2011 New York Jets Preseason.
-We learned that the Jets should have heeded my advice and released Bart Scott. He's injury prone! (I'm kidding about the latter part, but I still say they should have released him and used his big cap number elsewhere. He's incredibly overrated. Josh Mauga forever!)
-We learned that the Jets starters on offense haven't missed a beat. Sanchez was 6-7 for 43 yards and Shonn Greene ran for 32 yards on five carries. Santonio and Derrick Mason each had a few nice grabs, primarily on three-step-drop slant passes. This was the first time I felt Mason could be more useful than Jerricho Cotchery. JCo dropped a handful of passes on crossing patterns last season (don't let his gutsy as f*** catch in Cleveland cloudy your memory). Mason seems to have more reliable hands. We'll see.
-We learned that the Jets offensive line has NO depth. With Nick Mangold out with a head/neck injury, Robert Turner started at center, but only a few plays into the game, he had to exit with a leg injury. That left only third-string center "Felix." I'm convinced the equipment manager did not know his real first/last name so he did the Brazillian soccer thing and just named him "Felix." Anyway, "Felix" was terrible. But even worse than "Felix" was last year's second-round pick, Vlad Ducasse. It wasn't just that Vlad allowed two sacks, but it was HOW he allowed them. It's one thing to get beat after contact at the line of scrimmage, but it's another (especially when he lined up at RT) to allow a non-blitzing defensive end to run unmolested to the quarterback. Vlad did not move an inch on the second sack. It was a little frightening to be honest. How can someone so talentless be drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft? My opinion of Mr. T's player evaluation skills decreases daily.
-We learned that The Beautiful Mind can't help himself...even in the preseason. LaDainian Tomlinson's one carry on the night came on a third-and-8 from the Houston 37-yard line---a bizarre time to Establish LT. So bizarre in fact that even Santonio gave Schotty a "What The F***, Man!" look on the sideline after the play. TBM laughed and gave him a Michael Jordan 1992 NBA Finals Shoulder Shrug, as to say, "I know...I know. I AM beautiful. I can't help it." What made the play call SO beautiful though was that Schotty called for LT to run it right up the gut, with you guessed it, "Felix" as his lead blocker. The weaker the link, the more Schotty likes him. You can't make this stuff up...or maybe you can.
--We learned that Nick Folk and Nick Novak look identical on the field, and we learned that Nick Folk is like a chef who constantly cooks you terrible meals, but just when you're ready to fire him, he concocts a beautiful dinner that prohibits you from letting him go. I would have loved for him to have shanked both his attempts. No such luck.
-We learned that Eric Smith still can't cover an above-average tight end. He was burned consistently by Owen Daniels, who if not for some poor passes from Matt Schaub, would have made Smith look silly. I really hope Rex comes to his senses and gives Brodney Pool the starting free safety job come September 11.
-We learned a lot about third-string quarterback Greg McElroy. He was 23-39 for 208 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut, and should have had a game-winning, second touchdown pass had Michael "I'm The Next Buddy Crutchfield" Campbell not dropped the ball in the end zone on the final drive. At times he looked utterly lost, but at others he looked like a leader with some real cajones in the pocket (mind you he had the likes of "Felix" protecting him). He proved that he is a worthy third-string quarterback (and maybe more in the future), but he also proved the Jets need a REAL backup behind Sanchez. Brunell looked downright OLD and feeble on the sideline. I'm afraid he'd be seriously injured if he ever takes a snap with "Felix" and Vlad (and Slauson) "protecting" him.
-We learned that Mike Westhoff should have cut tight end Matthew Mulligan last training camp. The blocking tight end was the primary culprit on the Texans' first sack and he was the cause of Sanchez's lone incompletion when he dropped an easy throw. With fellow tight ends Jeff Cumberland and Josh Baker having nice games, hopefully Mulligan will be pushed down the depth chart.
-We learned that the Jeremy Kerley Hype Train needs to slow down. He had three catches but he has neither blazing speed nor great moves nor the 5-foot-10 height he claims to have. I'd bet significant money he's no taller than 5-foot-7. no comments
Crouching Coach, Hidden Beauty.
If you've followed Rex Sanchez since its inception in September 2009, you'll know our favorite "guest visitor" is Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, a.k.a, The Beautiful Mind. During the season TBM gives us a weekly column breaking down his most beautiful play calls from the previous game, including how he tried his absolute best to Establish LT. He often supplements his game breakdown with a transcript of his postgame phone call with his father, Marty.
Today, TBM has chosen to share his thoughts on the team's offseason roster moves, former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore joining the team as a special assistant, and how he plans to Establish LT in 2011.
I cannot believe Buddy coaxed me into another season of this nonsense. Who the hell is he? He has no credentials. I don't even know his real name. I've pitched this column to every newspaper in the NY-NJ area and I haven't got a lick of interest. Don't the masses want to know of the beauty that engulfs my mind during Jets games? I'd raise the average IQ of readers by at least 10 points. Instead, I'm stuck here, at Rex Sanchez.
Anyway, I'm really feeling the Braylon and Cotchery for Plaxico and Mason swap. We got older, slower, and added more baggage. Braylon's legal transgressions are small potatoes compared to Plax's rap sheet. The guy brought a loaded gun to a New York City nightclub! Braylon's an idiot when he's drunk. Plax is an idiot when he's sober. Realllllly smart, Mr. T! Not to mention he'll be 34 on Friday and hasn't played a game since November 2008. Braylon single-handedly won us 2-3 games last season, including a playoff match. We won't miss him. As for the Cotchery-Mason swap, well, I love that, too! Now I can throw my pointless second and third down screen passes to a 37 (38 in January)-year old wide receiver who has seen his receptions and receiving yards decrease each of the past two seasons.
On the offensive line I'm loving Wayne Hunter as the starter. I was getting tired of running LT behind Slauson every play. Now, with Woody gone, we have TWO weak links on the O-line. My play calling was getting, and it pains me to say this, predictable. I know...I know. Predictability is the antithesis of The Beautiful Mind. I agree. That's why I went into Mr. T's office and convinced him Hunter played so well in the playoffs that he deserved to be the starter. That big, secretly condescending animal is surprisingly easy to sway. Rex wanted Woody. I wanted Hunter. But after Marty wrote what I should say to Mr. T, I sold him on Hunter. TBM 1, Rex 0. Now it'll be LT to the left AND right. How in the good lord's name will defenses be able to stop that? We may as well release Shonn Greene. He won't be needed this season.
As for that old fool Tom Moore, he's really doing his best to undermine me with his crazy passing schemes. For a 72-year old he's surprisingly nefarious. Marty coached against him with the Browns when Moore was the OC for the Steelers in the 80's. Dad said one year Moore passed so frequently that the team's leading rusher (Merril Hoge...yes, that Merril Hoge) had only 170 attempts! I was hoping to get LT at least 350 this season! He keeps telling Rex about these four and five-receiver sets that he used with Peyton in Indy. Well, Tom, my quarterback is Mark Sanchez! He spends half his time texting Brunell's daughter and the other half playing Patty Cake with his friend Scotty. I still have no idea who that kid is and why we drafted him.
Oh, and then there's Brad Smith's departure. I bet you thought, "Boy oh boy, TBM is gonna be PISSED! How else is he gonna cool off Sanchez when he gets hot. Last year as soon as Mark got hot TBM would bring in Brad for an automatic 1-3 yard loss on first down. Now there's no one to run the Wildcat."
Au contraire my Rex Sanchezian readers! You may have forgotten, but last year I ran the Wildcat with one of our running backs. Do you remember who?
That's right! L f***ing T!!!!!!!
Why waste time establishing him with meaningless handoffs when he can just get the ball straight from Mangold?! He's not just going to be the focal point of the offense, he's going to be the ONLY point. In my dreams I see him running solo against 11-man fronts, dancing and leaping over defenders with reckless abandon. He only accepted a pay cut (he's making $1.1 million this season) because I promised him at least 200 snaps under center. The guy has 8 career completions, 7 of which he threw for a touchdown. If he continues on that pace he'll shatter every record in the book!
So this year we will Establish LT on the ground, in the air, and if Nick Folk keeps shanking field goals in practice, by foot! It's going to be, in every sense of the word: BEAUTIFUL.
I found the above image scouring the Internet Friday afternoon. Yes, that is Braylon Edwards in a San Francisco 49ers uniform. And you know what, it hurts me to see it. Why though? Braylon played less than two full seasons with the Jets and did not win a Super Bowl. For most ex-Jets that is a recipe for perpetual anonymity. But Edwards is different. There's more than meets the eye with his Jets career. Edwards' 34-game journey with Gang Green came to represent the Rex Ryan Jets. Clutch, resilient but ultimately flawed on the field. Controversial, abrasive but ultimately lovable off it.
The Jets traded for Braylon Edwards on the morning of October 9, 2009. Their 3-1 record on that date was a pleasant surprise, as rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez and Tennessee Titans punt returner Ryan Mouton catapulted the Jets into first place. Despite the hot start, the Jets were extremely shorthanded at wide receiver with Jerricho Cotchery battling an injury, leaving David Clowney and Brad Smith as the team's top two receivers. That simply wasn't going to cut it with a rookie quarterback.
So that morning, only days after his infamous fight with LeBron's entourage (when Edwards allegedly hit LeBron's 130-pound friend, which LeBron compared to hitting "one of his children"), Tannenbaum took one of his characteristic gambles, and traded Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik and draft picks for the malcontent wide receiver.
Edwards first game as a Jet came on a Monday night in Miami. In typical Jets-Dolphins fashion, the game was an absolute classic, with the Dolphins beating the Jets 31-27 on what was essentially a Ronnie Brown fourth down, "walk-off" touchdown. That night though, Edwards showed you why the Jets traded for him, pulling in 5 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Although it was a nice but not jaw-dropping stat line, it was the acrobatic nature and clutchness of the receptions that made Edwards' Jets debut so memorable. It foreshadowed his Jets career in a way: modest numbers (88 receptions, 1,445 yards, 11 TD's in 28 reg. season games), big-time catches.
Edwards first catch as a Jet was a touchdown, but it was this fourth quarter reception on a third-and-22 that announced his arrival as a Jet.
The Jets went into a tailspin after that Monday night loss, losing five of six games and fading out of the AFC playoff picture. After a late-season surge, a Curtis Painter sighting, and two impressive playoff victories, however, they found themselves in the AFC Championship Game, one win away from the Super Bowl.
Despite struggling in his first two career playoff games, Edwards delivered the signature play of his '09 campaign and one of the more memorable plays in Jets history, connecting on an 80-yard touchdown pass with Mark Sanchez to give the Jets a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.
I've screamed like a little girl in my life, and then I've screamed like a little girl in my life. This was the latter.
Edwards kicked off his 2010 season by earning an inane taunting penalty after a touchdown catch versus New England in Week Two (he started to "Dougie" in front of Darius Butler after the catch; he was nearly called for a second taunting call later in the game), and then a DWI arrest the following Tuesday morning---an incident that still legally haunts him today.
It was a tumultuous start to the season. But in typical Edwards fashion, he suited up that Sunday night in Miami, the place where he made his Jets debut under similar controversial circumstances a year earlier, and made the biggest play of the game.
Despite jumping out to an early 14-0 lead, the Jets found themselves trailing the Dolphins by three points midway through the third quarter. With momentum slipping out of the Jets hands, Edwards responded with a 67-yard catch-and-run touchdown only 21 seconds after the Dolphins took the lead. The Jets never trailed again.
Don't get me wrong. I would still re-sign Santonio over Braylon in a second. (Although it is hard to believe Edwards received ZERO guaranteed money from the 49ers. The base salary is $1 million, and Edwards can earn an additional $2.5 million in incentives if he catches 90 passes and makes the Pro Bowl. His career-high is 80 receptions. His quarterback is Alex Smith. Good luck.) 'Tone Time is absolutely terrific. But don't forget one of 'Tone Time's signature moments last season could not have been made possible without Braylon's help.
But perhaps the most important catch of Edwards Jets career came in last season's 17-16 AFC Wild Card round victory over the Colts. Trailing 16-14 with 29 seconds left to play and the ball on the Indy 32, the Jets needed to get in better field goal position for Nick Folk. They did so not by looking for 'Tone or playing it safe with Shonn Greene, but rather throwing a fade down the far sideline into the outstretched arms of Braylon Edwards.
One play later Folk kicked a 32-yard field goal, sending the Gang Green to New England where Edwards would catch a touchdown pass that helped lead the Jets to the second most important win in franchise history.
Last weekend Edwards was allegedly involved in a bar fight in his hometown of Detroit. Two of Edwards' cousins were charged with felony assault. Following the incident, Edwards (drunk) tweeted: "Damn. Get ya knuckles ready." And then, "Don’t fight if. You don’t know how." The tweets were gone the following morning as Edwards claimed somebody stole his phone and tweeted from his account. Although no charges have been brought against him, many eyewitness accounts fingered Edwards as the instigator of the brawl.
Was this the nail in Edwards' Jets coffin? Possibly. I hope not, though. For the Jets to act all high and mighty and declare Edwards a "diva" would be pious and irresponsible. The Jets knew what they were getting in Edwards from Day One. And in the end, he delivered.
He delivered in every way the Rex Ryan Jets have delivered.
I will miss him.