Jun 122013

Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan9. New York Jets
Head Coach: Rex Ryan
2012 Record: 6-10
2012 Offense: 281 points scored, 28th in points, 30th in yards (30th passing, 12th rushing)
2012 Defense: 375 points allowed, 20th in points, 8th in yards (2nd passing, 26th rushing)

Key Additions
RB Mike Goodson, RB Chris Ivory, G Willie Colon, DL Antonio Garay, LB Antwan Barnes, S Dawan Landry, G Stephen Peterman, WR Ben Obomanu, CB Dee Milliner, DT Sheldon Richardson, QB Geno Smith, G Brian Winters

Key Losses
CB Darrelle Revis, S Yeremiah Bell, DL Mike DeVito, WR Braylon Edwards, RB Shonn Greene, TE Dustin Keller, S LaRon Landry, LB Bart Scott, DT Sione Pouha, G Brandon Moore, G Matt Slauson, WR Chaz Schilens, LB Bryan Thomas, QB Tim Tebow, S Eric Smith

Why 2013 will be better
Define better? If by better we mean that the Jets will no longer have a circus sideshow in Tim Tebow, then yes it will be better. Otherwise, I’m not so sure. But since this is the part of the article where we look for bright spots, let’s start with running back Chris Ivory, who appears ready to replace the steady but enigmatic Greene. There are question marks after Ivory, with Goodson appearing to be a personal train wreck. Still, Ivory looks like the real deal and will be getting the bulk of the snaps this season. Given a weak passing game, the Jets should once again rank in the top twelve rushing attacks. The offensive line is beginning to come together, with Nick Mangold, D’Brickasah Ferguson, Austin Howard, Willie Colon, and Brian Winters eyeing starting roles, and the group should be able to open holes for Ivory, but it is in pass protection where this group must improve, as the Jets ranked 30th in pass protection last season, yielding 47 sacks, along with one very memorable butt fumble. However, the Jets are very thin on the line after the five starters, so health will be a key to success. On defense, the team looks to improve on its sub-par performance in 2012 with Rex Ryan taking a more direct role in defensive meetings and play calling, and looks to be a better group. Muhammad Wilkerson is a dominant presence at end, and looks to be flanked by Sheldon Richardson, who also looks like a beast. The only downside is that Quinton Coples will see an increased role at outside linebacker, which does not appear to cater to his strengths. Kendrick Ellis, Garay, and Damon Harrison round out this solid unit.

Why 2013 will be worse
The quarterback controversy that consumed 2012 has a new face in 2013 in rookie quarterback Geno Smith. It remains to be seen who will win the competition, as Sanchez has the early lead but Smith has the bigger potential upside. That said, I am unconvinced that Smith’s game will translate to the NFL. The Jets gambled on a quarterback in a weak quarterback draft, and I suspect will lose this bet in the long run, just as they are losing their gamble on Sanchez. In an offense happy league, the Jets enter the fray with one arm tied behind their collective backs. The wide receiving corps is weak and wounded, with Stephen Hill dealing with a knee injury, and Holmes’ status is unknown for the start of the season. Jeremy Kerley is finally healthy, and could see his numbers increase in 2013. Jeff Cumberland takes over at tight end in place of Keller, but will have a difficult time filling Keller’s shoes when Keller was healthy. Hayden Smith may also see time, but this is not a group that will cause panic in opposing defenses. The linebacker unit will be interesting to watch with Coples moving outside, with David Harris and Demario Davis inside and Pace playing the opposite side. Pace was brought back after being cut, and struggles to apply pressure to the quarterback, resulting in the Jets bringing in Barnes, a pass rush specialist. Harris was one of the worst starting inside linebackers in the league last season, who despite good tackling numbers is a significant liability in pass coverage and who also had a poor year against the run. While the Jets’ defense will likely still be in the top half of the league this season, the linebacker group doesn’t appear to be as solid as it has been in years past. Losing Revis in the secondary doesn’t help matters, especially since Milliner is struggling to even get onto the field. Milliner is a natural talent but was a risky pick for the Jets, who need Antonio Cromartie to step up in a big way this season. Cro may not be able to remember his kids’ names, but he is a solid corner talent, and the drop-off should not be significant. Kyle Wilson started opposite Cro last season and may not be able to hold off Milliner for a starting nod once Milliner is healthy. At safety, the Jets replaced one Landry with another, but overall the safety group has slipped from last year’s one year rentals, both of whom performed admirably.

Only the most blindly loyal Jets’ fans will think this team has a chance of competing in 2013. New GM John Idzik tore the team apart to deal with Mike Tannenbaum’s salary cap debacle, but the Jets didn’t go as far as the Raiders did in simply blowing things up in order to start again. That’s why David Harris and Mark Sanchez still have jobs despite spotty performances (to be generous) and big salary cap hits. The Jets’ defensive front will be able to improve its performance against the run, but pass rushing issues have not been resolved, and a weakened secondary means their performance against the pass can be expected to slip. On offense, the quarterback drama promises to undo 2013 before it begins, and a lack of quality receivers who can’t stay healthy won’t help matters. Chris Ivory may be carrying a heavy load this season, but thankfully for the Jets he appears to be up to the task. In the final analysis the Jets got rid of Tim Tebow, but the circus remains firmly planted in town. I subscribe to the view that this is Year One of Idzik’s rebuilding plan, and that Year Two will be sans Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez, among others. The Jets will battle the Bills for third place in the AFC East, and can be expected to win anywhere from three to six wins in 2013.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, I missed the addition of Kellen Winslow, Jr. I must admit to not being real high on him as a solution at tight end. He is a beast of an athlete, but his attitude has gotten him run out of more than one town. The Jets are not a team I would send a reclamation project to, but he might none the less be helpful. Winslow has not signed yet, but he and Mike Sims-Walker have been trying out for the team.

Nov 162012

I’ll say at the outset that this article can be claimed to be the football equivalent of beating a dead horse; thus the title and the South Park graphic. But as someone who predicted the demise of the Jets a full year ago, I can’t help but look at the events that have unfolded recently in the New York Jets’ locker room and conclude that my article just after the launch of this website was prescient.

Not that the article was a huge stretch, but any objective observer of the New York Jets could have concluded that this was a team headed quickly towards a cliff, and Rex Ryan was driving with a blindfold on. But then Rex said it was ok because he had painted a pair of eyes onto the blindfold, which by his judgment meant he could see. Alas, the Jets’ front wheels have now gone over the cliff, and the rest of the clown brigade is poised to follow their clueless fearless into the abyss.

Recent events

So what has happened of late? For those who have not been paying attention, the Jets were coming off of pounding the Indianapolis Colts 35-9 and then put forth a solid effort before falling apart late against the Patriots in a 29-26 overtime loss. Since then the Jets’ dysfunction has soared, with a bye week being sandwiched by a 30-9 loss to the Dolphins and a hapless performance against the Seattle Seahawks, where the Jets’ offense managed 218 yards of total offense in a resounding 28-7 thrashing. Immediately following the loss to the Seahawks, Head Coach Rex Ryan could be seen teary-eyed, though he would not confirm crying in front of the players  after the loss. Rex than came out in defense of Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets, and why wouldn’t he? He traded Drew Stanton, the only real quarterback on the roster, to the Colts after Stanton asked for a trade in light of the Jets trading for Tim Tebow. Thus, the Jets sacrificed the backup quarterback position on their roster in order to secure someone who could best be described as a gadget player. And they did so without even having the slightest flipping clue about how to utilize said gadget player. While Tebow has made a handful of plays this season, the Jets’ use of him has been a failure of epic proportions, as his appearance for a few plays is episodic, often contrary to the flow of the game, and in some cases has disrupted what little rhythm Mark Sanchez was putting together. As I said at the beginning of the season, the Jets’ coaching has far greater belief in their own abilities than they deserve, and that starts with Rex Ryan.

After the loss, some of the Jets’ players tried to create the ultimate silver lining behind their last place 3-6 record by proclaiming that at least the locker room this season is free of the tension that ripped the locker room apart during the Jets’ three game losing streak to close the season out at 8-8 while missing the playoffs. But… wait for it… the Jets then went and created some of the drama they claimed to be free of. Matt Slauson got it started by stating that Sanchez was the Jets’ best quarterback by far, which is far more an indication of how bad the Jets’ quarterbacks are as a group than it is a vindication of Mark Sanchez. “It’s not even close,” Slauson said. “All the other quarterbacks know it. I have all the confidence in Mark. We don’t really have a choice… We have Greg (McElroy) . . . and we have an athlete..”

Other, unnamed players were more blunt about using Tebow, saying that the former miracle worker from Denver is “terrible” and is a “wildcat guy” rather than a quarterback. Another raised the question of whether or not using Tebow was relying on miracles to win. Still another raised questions about the receiving corps that Sanchez is throwing to, referring to the players as “garbage.” That’s right… no divisiveness in this locker room.

Predictably, Ryan had to get the back of Tim Tebow following those comments, making the argument that players making comments without using their names were acting cowardly. Ryan said he addressed the Tebow comments with his players and thought that the incident was bringing the team together as a unit. “I think this team is coming together,” Ryan said. “Could this galvanize it? I don’t know. Maybe so. This team, in my opinion, is not going to be pulled apart by outside people. I think inside the walls we are going to (be close).” Mind you, this is coming from the same coach who admitted losing the “pulse” of the 2011 locker room after acting like there was nothing wrong during the course of last season.

The next day Tebow admitted feeling frustration and sadness after the comments of other Jets’ players were made and published. To Tebow’s credit, he kept the spirit of his comments positive, talking about what he could control and how he tries to improve. But there has been no secret in recent weeks that Tebow was growing frustrated in his limited role.

Shonn Greene then opened up a can of worms when he told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports that it was time for Tim Tebow to run the offense. “You feel bad for Mark, but at the same time you want to win games. We’re not here to protect people’s feelings. If you want to win games, you’ve got to try something. If somebody’s not getting the job done, you see if somebody else can do it. It’s the same with coaching, or any position. You don’t mean to belittle someone or say ‘he sucks.’ That’s just the harsh reality.” Stunningly (or not), Greene later tried to walk those comments back in an interview with Manish Mehta.

Since then Bart Scott and Antonio Cromartie have defended themselves against allegations that they were unnamed sources in the article. Scott took exception to LaDainian Tomlinson’s belief that he was one of the sources,   while Cromartie also took exception to the comments of a “retired player” and asserted that he (Cromartie) was not a cowardly person. Mayhaps he is and mayhaps he ain’t, but this is coming from the same guy who is crowing that the Jets are going to the playoffs this season. And Scott doesn’t exactly have oodles of credibility after threatening a reporter earlier this season.

Perhaps the only thing that made sense this week was when two former Jets, Wayne Hunter and Kellen Clemens, came out and shared how happy they were to be in St. Louis, on a team that has a “great quarterback situation” and none of the drama of the Jets’ locker room.

UPDATE (11/17): No sooner do I publish this article does Mike Tannenbaum come out and defend himself for trading for Tim Tebow. I won’t update this article after every chucklehead on the Jets comes out, but it is very clear that this ridiculous soap opera is going to continue until there is a regime change.

Where is this headed?

If you have not read the article “Here Comes the Collapse“, please note that while I didn’t get each game right, I had the Jets nailed exactly at a 3-6 record heading into this week’s contest against the Rams. I had the Jets ending up at 7-9, but looking at the injuries, the pathetic offense, and the overrated defense, I am thinking that 7 wins might have been optimistic. While the schedule is moderately “easy” the rest of the way out,  the Jets simply don’t look good enough to contend. The playoffs are about as far away from reality as the thought of Tim Tebow succeeding as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

The Jets are capable of going 2-2 in their next four, with likely losses to the Rams and Patriots, and wins over the Cardinals and Jaguars. Chalk up road losses to the Titans and the Bills, and a home win against the under-performing Chargers, and the Jets might well go 6-10 this season, one game worse than I had predicted.

Unless the Jets recover and go on a serious winning streak and make the playoffs, big changes appear to be in store for the Jets. They have a handful of talented players on both sides of the ball, but the number is not what Jets’ fans once thought it was. Mike Tannenbaum seems to be a failure as the Jets’ GM, and changes must start in the front office with respect to the evaluation of talent. Quinton Coples has turned out to be a great find, but the Jets’ defense has fallen to 17th in the league (6th against the pass and 30th against the run). Perhaps it’s the fact that the defense spends a lot of time on the field (31:51), but more likely it is simply that they overrated their own talent, particularly in stopping the run. Yes, Revis’ injury has hurt the defense, but it is the responsibility of the front office to make sure that team depth provides effective replacements.

On offense the loss of Santonio Holmes has hurt the team’s offensive production, but it would not have been much better with Holmes, though he amazingly is still second on the team with 20 receptions. The rest of the receivers, described within the team as garbage, are certainly not players who would be starting on most other teams. Dustin Keller has been up and down, and Greene has racked up 567 yards, but with only 3.7 yards per carry; “ground and pound” has been an illusion in New York made worse by the fact that the arch-nemesis Patriots have developed a far superior running game. At quarterback, Sanchez has been a disaster with a 52% completion rating, 10 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, and a passes rating of only 70.4. The Jets need better talent on both sides of the ball, and the talent has deteriorated over the past two seasons.

Next on the list is the head coach. Rex Ryan is a solid defensive coordinator, and he should know his limits. He is too erratic to be in control of 53 men for the entirety of a season, and seems to have no clue as to how to get a team to buy into a shared vision and plan. He may not have come to New Jersey to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, but he would have been wise to learn the lessons that Belichick did in his coaching style with the Patriots, and how much it differs from his days in Cleveland. Can Rex Ryan be a good head coach? Maybe, but it’s not going to be happening at the head of the three ring circus of the Jets. His cardinal sin, in my view, was living and dying on the fate of Mark Sanchez, and then agreeing to peddle away the backup spot to a gimmick. Such a move should have sealed the fates of both Tannenbaum and Ryan.

Finally, the most obvious change that must come is at quarterback. Perhaps the answer is to be found in the draft, or maybe in free agency, but both Sanchez and Tebow have to go. Let Greg McElroy fight for a spot on the roster, but otherwise the Jets have to clean house at this position. Doing anything less invites another losing season in 2013.

As I have said before, as a Patriots’ fan I actually prefer better competition in our division, because it makes my favorite team a better club. But the Jets are not holding up their end of the bargain, and it is going to take significant change in New Jersey before this team gets back to being competitive. In the meantime, the circus surrounding the Jets is a sad reminder of the team that could have been.

Oct 172012

Here’s the thing. I just got done reading the GHOST RAT’s Week 7 Preview…. and I just can’t let that sort of thing go unanswered. My boys are hurting, yes. We have lost Revis and Holmes. We are likely without our starting and backup nose tackles. We are severely banged up at running back (both McKnight and Powell). Keller and Stephen Hill are still playing through recovery and Mangold has been questionable. You may say to me… How can you win? How is it possible that a defense that bad at stopping the run while healthy can win while hurt? How can an offense not producing consistently in run, pass, or play action take on the Patriots? I’ve got one word for you:


Listen, I’ll admit this team has proved nothing this season other than that it can be exceptionally average. We kill teams on the bottom tier like the Bills and the Colts, we get beat by teams in the top tier like the 49ers and the Texans, and we will likely have nail biters against other teams who should be playing better than they are (hey Steelers fans!) – but this week brings a challenge of a different sort, this week isn’t a middle tier verses a top tier. This week is the Jets vs. the Patriots and we HATE THESE GUYS.

It was 2010 when Bart Scott reminded us the “Anybody can be beat” and it was this Summer when Revis reminded us that Belichick is a “Jerk” and it is this Sunday that the Jets will remind the Patriots that the bigger you are the harder you can fall. (My guess is that this will come from a Landry – Gronk leveling that I will feel all the way from my couch at home) The Jets are coming off a great win last week. Yes, those were the Colts and yes… they are just bad, but if you watched closely you could see that my boys were hungry and ticked off. They have a chance to prove to the world that they are more than just the team that Holmes and Revis play on – they have a chip on their shoulder and this attitude and this kind of motivation is exactly what can give these boys an edge over Mr. Rat’s team.

Keys to a Gang Green Victory:

No Sanchize turnovers. We have based our offense around long (over the middle) passes and up the gut runs. We need to throw more 5-8 yard passes to give Mark some confidence and back the rush defense off a bit so that Bill will be forced to rely on a secondary that is weak.

Kyle Wilson needs to show up to play. This kid is no Revis, he is no Cro, he is no NFL caliber corner but over the last three seasons he has provided fan with glimpses of why the Jets drafted him and it is not his fault that he was forced to cover the slot receivers when he is more effective with a sideline. My guess is the Patriots will look for any time he is matched up with Welker and try to capitalize. This is likely to happen every third down and it is going to be up to Kyle to step up and make a play.

Dustin Keller. He was out for a couple weeks and Sanchez had to find other ideas, but he is back and there isn’t a lot of game tape on how the Jets are going to use him for Bill to watch. He was barely involved last week but this week is going to be a Keller breakout performance. The Jets receivers will be covered man to man while the Patriots blitz a ton to disrupt Sanchez. This will provide Keller opportunities to release for those 5-8 yard passed we just talked about.

Game Clock Management. Other than a bad hair day, there is nothing that the Tom Brady hates more than when he has to throw on the sidelines to stay warm enough to perform well. When teams can keep him off the field he can’t get in a rhythm and he can’t be Brady. If the Jets can mix things up enough, intentionally call two plays in the huddle and have rehearsed audibles, use hard counts to pull antsy, young defensive ends offsides, run the ball effective on third and short, and capitalize on screen passes; the Jets can feasibly keep Brady on the bench.

I believe in the New York Jets. Realistically, is this our year? Probably not… I’ve covered that before. I don’t think our window is as wide as it was in 2009 and 2010. I do, however think that this week is more possible that my colleagues 41-17 prediction indicates. We will have to see on Sunday.

My prediction:
New York Jets 16 Patriots 14

Ghost Rat you can leave the lair and vacation on Reyno Island anytime.

Oct 082012

Question: How do you get more people to vote in the Gridiron Rats poll?

Answer: Get a bunch of angry Jets’ fans to participate.

Actually, I expected a bit more anger in the poll than we actually got. As you will recall, last week’s poll question focused on identifying the main culprit of the New York Jets’ current woes. And the results are that those fans were surprisingly honest about the plight facing their favorite team. How do we know they were Jets fans? Because the overwhelming majority of votes were cast by those visiting us from Reddit.com, where we placed to poll on the Jet’s sub-reddit. So, without further ado and just in time for tonight’s clash with the Houston Texans, here are your poll results.

Poll #8: What is the biggest cause of the Jets’ current woes?

All of it; it’s a mess (65%, 22 Votes)
What are you talking about? The Jets are 2-2 and will be just fine (12%, 4 Votes)
The Jets’ lack of a starting quarterback (9%, 3 Votes)
Poor coaching (9%, 3 Votes)
The offensive line (6%, 2 Votes)
The defensive line (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 34

All in all, most folks believe the mess is systemic within the Jets’ organization. And if that is the case, the front office is the source of the problem. Since you can’t get rid of the owner, it would seem that if the season continues on its current trajectory, only getting rid of Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan is going to begin to address the situation, and the team – frankly – will need to be blown up and to start over. I know we are only five weeks in, but I think Reyno Island was spot on last week when he said the window was closed. Once that is accepted, the Jets’ will have the freedom to get rid of Mark Sanchez and a host of other players that will never win them a Super Bowl. Now one could just chalk this up to the gloating of a Patriots’ fan who wants to see the Jets fail, but that wouldn’t be the case; I would much rather see the Patriots win a strong division than a weak one. Doing so means the Patriots are a better team for it, and will perform better in the post-season. I also think rivalries are better when both teams are good. Unfortunately, right now the Jets are simply not a good football team.

Four people saw no problem with the franchise, presumably because they have a 2-2 record at the time of this writing. And as I said when I posted this poll last week, I want to thank Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Bart Scott for stopping by the site to take our poll (funny how four people chose that response).

With that poll in the books, our next question focuses on which team is the best surprise story of the 2012 season to date.

Poll #9: Which team’s start is the most surprising?

San Diego (3-2)
Minnesota (4-1)
Atlanta (5-0)
Arizona (4-1)
St. Louis (3-2)
Seattle (3-2)

As always, we welcome your votes and your comments.

Oct 012012

“It comes down to reality, and that’s fine with me cause I let it slide.” Billy Joel said it well. I think the NY Jets have walked face first into a reality check with their public dismemberment on Sunday against the 49ers.

As the resident Jet fan, I have moved rapidly through the five stages of grief. I’ve moved from:

DENIAL: The team that stomped us was the best team in the league. We were without Revis, Keller, and Hill… blah blah blah.

I’ve moved from ANGER: Really Rex? This is the best team you’ve ever coached? Really Cromartie? You’re the second best receiver on the team and the second best corner in the league? Really Bart? The media is just out to get you? Really Mark? You got picked on a screen pass and your explanation was “I was unlucky?”

I blew right past Bargaining: and the statement Jets haters have been chanting all along. Is it Tebow time? (spoiler alert… no)

I spent some time in Depression: whispering “I miss you” to my old Thomas Jones Jersey and thinking about what 2009/2010 felt like.

And now, I’ve come to the final stage. I’ve found the wonderful land of Acceptance. And I welcome all other Jets fans to join me.

In the land of Acceptance we come to terms with the following things:

1. Our window is shut. Every team has that window in which they are able to mount a Super Bowl run. The Jets had theirs and they did well. We made the AFC Championship two years in a row and we did it by reminding the pass-heavy NFL that a good run game and a strong defense can still be a formula for success. However, that team’s core is far gone, too old, or self-serving. Our successful running backs like Thomas Jones and LT are long gone. And now we have the slow and unreliable Shonn Greene and the young and mentorless Bilal Powell. We lost Damien Woody and were left with a front 5 that is slowly crumbling. How long do you think that Mangold and Brick are going to be able to pick up the slack for inconsistent Guards and the circus at Right Tackle? The answer… not much longer. Our best players are either hurt or on the wrong side of their careers. The clock isn’t ticking, the clock has ticked its last tock for this generation of NY Jet. It’s time to start over.

2. Ground and Pound is not an offense: or at least it isn’t one by itself. Every team in the league that is having success is doing so by being balanced. When you define your offense as run only, pass only, or option only, all you do is give away your control of how the opposing team views you. I would love to see us replace “Ground and Pound” with “Control the Clock.” Short passes, thought through routes, play action after SUCCESSFUL running plays and taking shots downfield when possible – that keeps the ball in our hands and allows a team that has a productive special teams and defense to share some of the bench.

3. There is no player on our offense to build a team around: Mark Sanchez is not the answer at Quarterback. Tebow isn’t either. Shonn Greene isn’t, Powell isn’t, McKnight isn’t. Our receiving core has an overpaid diva, a 6’5” rookie who can run a 4.3 but can’t catch, a guy who wasn’t good enough to play FOR THE RAIDERS??? And one fairly talented slot receiver (I like Kerley a lot actually). You can’t build the offense around Nick Mangold. You have a Tight End who can catch but can’t block. What do you have left? You have nothing. I honestly think that there may be something to be said for seeing if Greg McElroy (QB) can play with the big kids and then using the next draft to start over. The best case scenario is being a developed/competitive football team in 2016. I’ll be excited for that to get here.

4. Our staff is just not effective: Others may bash me for this but I’m not ready to give up Rex yet. He is a good coach and a great defensive mind. I do think that he is taken out of context too often (Try watching a FULL press conferences, not the sound bites that ESPN chooses to stir up a story). Rex aside, Mike Tannenbaum is not “magic mike” anymore. Lately he is “make money for Woody Mike” or “Media is gonna love this Mike” or “My god did we really just trade for Tebow Mike.” Call him what you want but there is nothing magical about the personnel decisions we have made in the last 3 seasons.

In addition… can someone explain to me how Matt Cavanaugh still has a job??? Is there anyone under the impression that he is doing a good job with our quarterbacks? Please name one Jets QB that has been strong since Vinny Testaverde?

5. We have to accept that no one is going to listen to us. I’ll say it now, Sanchez (injuries aside) is going to finish out the season. The Jets will likely draft someone like a Right Tackle or another mediocre pass rusher in 2013 instead of a new QB/RB. They may listen to me and get rid of Mike Tannenbaum (not likely), but anything less than a 9-7 season and Rex will probably be under fire (possibly let go). We may lose Revis because he will demand pre-injury money post-injury and we won’t give it to him. This organization is going to fall apart before it is put back together. Instead of trading in our car to take something off the price tag of a new model, we are going to drive it off a cliff and try to claim the insurance money. Get ready Jet fans. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Agree or Disagree? I’d love your comments.

I will close with an inspiring quote from the Immortal Joe Namath! A Jet for life and a man of many words:
“I don’t know whether I prefer Astroturf to grass. I never smoked Astroturf.”

Sep 212012

If Rex Ryan is the first ring of the Jets’ three ring circus, and if Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are fighting over the right to be the second ring, then Bart Scott has made a strong bid to be considered the third ring. Scott, who had previously spouted off about leading a “Media Mutiny” today threatened a reporter in the New York Jets locker room after the reporter took a cell phone picture of Scott.

According to ESPN:

Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential magazine approached the linebacker to snap a picture with his phone to use on his website.

Scott asked Leberfeld why he was taking another picture of him — after Leberfeld did the same thing Wednesday, upsetting another female reporter who was talking to the linebacker off the record.

Leberfeld, in his 18th season covering the team, told Scott he did it simply because he wanted to, and the linebacker told him to “get a life.” Leberfeld fired back with a similar response.

Scott said he’d hit Leberfeld, who responded: “I’ll sue you.” Scott shouted, “I don’t care!” and was led out of the locker room after a Jets media relations staffer intervened.

“We work hard to foster an appropriate working environment,” the team said in a statement. “We regret this incident occurred and are reviewing the matter.”

Leberfeld, who also works for Sirius XM Radio, told The Associated Press he never actually felt physically threatened.

“I don’t think a player would be that stupid,” he said. “A player would be suspended or have legal issues, so I don’t think a player would ever do that.”

There were many ways that Scott could have handled this confrontation, but it is absolutely no surprise that Scott managed to find the wrong way to do so. Scott is a player who has struggled with self control both on and off the field as a Baltimore Raven and as a New York Jet, and was previously fined $10,000 for showing an obscene gesture in front of a cameraman while in the locker room. While Scott’s legs have lost a step and he no longer plays at a Pro Bowl level, his mouth clearly continues operating at a world champion pace.

And the Jets wonder why they are considered a circus.

No doubt Scott will have to issue the dreaded non-apology apology at some point. To which all I can say is, “Can’t wait!”

Sep 102012

It was really nice to have football back on my television this weekend after a seven month wait. Football season has taken on a new meaning for me with the invention of Gridiron Rats, as I live blogged the Patriots game while doing my best to stay on top of the other action (thank you, DirecTV). Here are some of my early take-aways from Week One, with Monday night games still on the way.

1. The officiating was not good. There were many blunders in the 49ers-Packers game, and in the Broncos-Steelers contest last night. Some were benign, like misplacing the two minute warning in the Broncos’ game, while others were rather impactful. Tennessee fans in particular might be upset today that Jake Locker got hurt on a play that should have been blown dead and likely would have been with regular officials. Peyton Manning also got burned by the officials on a play that was vintage Peyton and should have worked to his advantage. He quick-snapped the Steelers, who had players still rotating off of the field. With regular officials that would have resulted in a free play and a penalty, but the replacement officials didn’t see it. I guess Peyton has to dumb his game down until the replacement officials can catch up. And there was a particularly bad call over a fourth timeout in the Seattle-Arizona game that was not only wrong, but then explained incorrectly. In any event, Mike Pereira can make a living off of criticizing the new officials, and anyone with the NFL who says that the replacement officials are adequate should probably be drug tested.

2. The Jets shocked everyone yesterday by scoring 20 points in the second quarter on their way to a 48-28 blowout win over the Bills. this tells us two things; that the Jets offense isn’t as bad as it looked in the pre-season, and that the Bills’ defense isn’t nearly as good as advertised. Clearly, Mark Sanchez needed a game like this to keep the boo-birds at bay and the cries for Tebow at a minimum. Yet in every silver lining, the Jets manage to find (or create) a dark cloud. After the game, linebacker Bart Scott teed off on the media, calling for a “media mutiny”.  When approached by a reporter, Scott opened up.

“You guys treat us like we’re a (bleeping) joke,” Scott said. “You all want us to feed your papers, but then you all talk (bleep) about us. So why would I want to give you all quotes to sell papers with if you all treat us like (bleep)? That doesn’t make sense. You all talk stuff about us, and then when we win you flip the story. You all win either way. I’m just going to be quiet.”

Where do I begin with Scott? First off, genius, I am pretty sure you mean “boycott” and not “mutiny”. I will refrain from commenting on his Southern Illinois University education, as someone very close to me holds a degree from that school, and I do happen to believe that it offers an outstanding education. Perhaps Scott slept through any classes in high school or college that might have included any vocabulary terms. And his frustration about the Jets’ being treated like a circus rings hollow with me. Why? The Jets act like a circus, which is ultimately what led to them being treated like one by the media.  This is the dark side of life with Rex Ryan, and Scott just doesn’t seem to comprehend that the New York Jets ARE a circus, even by New York media standards. Finally, on Scott’s final point that he will just keep quiet… from his mouth to God’s ears, my friend… can’t wait!

3. It’s going to be a long season and we have only seen Week One, but after yesterday I am absolutely convinced (as I was throughout the pre-season) that the Patriots’ defense is far more improved than that of the Packers. I realize that Jones and Hightower are only one game in, and that teams will learn to scheme against them, but with players like Wilfork, Mayo, Cunningham, Spikes, and McCourty on the field, there are plenty of players to make big plays. The Patriots suffocated Chris Johnson and look to have one of the league’s best run defenses. They might still give up a lot of yards, but I suspect there will be a lot of garbage time passing yards once again as the Patriots establish early leads and force teams to  throw, throw, and throw. The Packers were the fashionable Super Bowl pick this year with the rationale that an improved defense would be enough to vault them to another crown, but it’s the Patriots defense that looks far more improved, at least at this point of the year…. there’s a long way to go.

4. Speaking of the Patriots, I am of the opinion that Wes Welker is on his way out of Foxboro, and sooner rather than later. I noted yesterday that he was a non-factor in the game, catching only three passes for 14 yards. What I didn’t realize yesterday was that he was schemed out of the game, splitting his snaps with Julian Edelman, who caught one pass for seven yards. But it is the addition of the promising young slot receiver Greg Salas likely means that the Patriots are probably sitting by the telephone, waiting for a good offer to unload an amazing player who made the mistake of making his contract dispute public, a major no-no in Bill Belichick’s world. It’s entirely possible that this is a one game anomaly as a result of a scheme developed for the Titans,  but I’ve seen the Patriots make enough surprising moves over the years to know that when you fall out of favor in New England. you find yourself wearing new laundry in short order. We’ll see what happens as the season progresses and the trade deadline gets closer.

5. Speaking of sitting by the telephone, I suspect the Patriots and Brian Waters will want to work out their contract differences this week. While the Pats’ offensive line had an outstanding game yesterday, depth looks to be an issue, as Connolly got hurt during the course of the game. Waters’ return would help shore up the front five.

6. Because I live-blogged the Patriots-Titans game yesterday, I actually found myself far more focused on collecting data about the game rather than on cheering for my team. Don’t get me wrong, I still cheered, but did so with a far more objective lens than I normally would. I think that was reflected in what I recorded yesterday, but I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide. By the way, thanks to my three readers yesterday! For everyone else, check out the blog and see if you’ll visit me when I do it again.

7. Finally, maybe it’s just his change of laundry, but why do I suddenly like Peyton Manning a whole lot more than I used to? I couldn’t stand the man when he was with the Colts, and when the Colts they were certainly a much tougher rival than the Jets. Part of it is that he came off (to me) as an oaf who could put up stats but couldn’t win the big game, especially not against Tom Brady and the Patriots. That changed the year the Colts won the Super Bowl, but even that was due to a monumental collapse on the part of the Patriots’ defense in the AFC Championship Game. Part of my disdain also goes to his father Archie, who I despise for acting like the ultimate helicopter parent in forcing Eli’s trade from San Diego to New York. Yet strangely I have never disliked Eli, even though his Giants have twice beaten us in the Super Bowl. But last night I admired his performance in returning from a year off of football to lead the Broncos to a dramatic win over the Steelers. Part of it is my disdain for the Steelers and for their quarterback, who I suspect is devoid of character. But a large part of it was the perspective that Manning portrayed in the post-game interview, where he seemed to be far more mature than the Manning I used to loathe, and who had a greater humility than I have ever seen him display. I made the comment to Rat’s Widow as we watched, and I suddenly found myself liking the guy after all of these years. I’m sure I’ll feel differently in Week Five when the Broncos visit Foxboro, and I am not sure if this says more about me or more about Peyton, but it was nice to appreciate his work last night and not root for him to lose.

See you next time!