Jun 212013

Darrelle Revis13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Head Coach: Greg Schiano
2012 Record: 7-9
2012 Offense: 389 points scored, 13th in points, 9th in yards (10th passing, 15th rushing)
2012 Defense: 394 points allowed, 23rd in points, 29th in yards (32nd passing, 1st rushing)

Key Additions
CB Darrelle Revis, S Dashon Goldson, WR Kevin Ogletree, DT Derek Landri, LB Jonathan Casillas, T Gabe Carimi, RB Brian Leonard, RB Jeff Demps, TE Tom Crabtree, TE Zach Miller, DT Andre Neblett, CB Michael Adams, CB Jonathan Banks, QB Mike Glennon, T Akeem Spence, DE William Gholston

Key Losses
S Ronde Barber, TE Dallas Clark, G Derek Hardman, DT Michael Bennett, DT Corey Irvin, DT Roy Miller, CB EJ Biggers, DB Brandon McDonald, T Jeremy Trueblood, WR Arrelious Benn, RB LeGarrette Blount, LB Quincy Black, RB DJ Ware

Why 2013 will be better
Lavonte David and Mason Foster lead a talented front seven on defense. With the best run defense and the worst passing defense in the league last season, it wasn’t hard to figure out where the Bucs would spend their energies in the off-season. Enter Revis and Goldson, who immediately improve a porous secondary by a lot, and who will serve as anchors for Eric Wright and Mark Barron. Adding Banks brings in depth with a ball-hawking corner. Suddenly a defensive liability looks much improved as long as Revis is healthy, and the Bucs defense promises to be one of the better units in the league. On offense, the line was riddled with injuries in 2012, yet still performed as a top ten offense. With a healthy and deep offensive line, Josh Freeman should have plenty of time to find favorite weapons Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Adding Ogletree is a solid move. Doug Martin had a fantastic rookie season, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns, as well as catching 49 passes out of the backfield.

Why 2013 will be worse
Freeman has been a model of inconsistency so far in his NFL career, and this is a make or break season for him in Tampa. Glennon is arguably one of the best quarterbacks from a thin quarterback draft, but isn’t ready to take the team over just yet. So the Bucs will live and die this season on a signal-caller who is 11-20 as a starter over the past two seasons with 43 touchdown passes and 39 interceptions. With Dallas Clark gone, the Bucs are thin at tight end, where Luke Stocker is the best choice among few options. Otherwise, the Bucs have a deep roster and appear ready to compete.

If we can assume that Josh Freeman simply serves as a neutral force, the Bucs appear prepared to challenge the Falcons and Saints in the NFC South. However, quarterback play is a significant predictor of team success, and the Bucs could go in either direction as a result. They ended 2012 losing five of their last six games, but have dramatically improved their pass defense, assuming Revis returns to a level close to what he played at with the Jets. If the offensive line stays healthy, this team should be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Their window appears to be anywhere from seven to ten wins, but I’ll set the over/under at nine.

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.

Apr 272013

Half MeasuresThe big talk of the second day of the 2013 NFL Draft is the Jets’ baffling selection of quarterback Geno Smith with the 39th pick. That’s right; a team riddled with needs and saddled with four non-starting quarterbacks bypassed all of their need areas to make a terrible quarterback situation even worse.

It was striking to me that immediately after Smith’s name was called, Jets’ fans in attendance at the draft were shown with their hands on their heads in stunned disbelief, while a Patriots’ fan was seen standing and applauding.

The decision to take Smith leads one to question who is calling the shots in New York. Is it owner Woody Johnson? Rookie general manager John Idzik? Or is it lame duck head coach Rex Ryan? It’s likely that fans will never know until all three write tell-all books blaming one another, but what is certain is that the debacle in New York promises to bring continued failure to Jets’ fans for the foreseeable future.

Jets’ fans stubbornly hold on to the fact that, not all that long ago, Head Coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez led the Jets to two straight AFC Championships. That has fueled the irrational hope in the fan base that the best days were still ahead… that the Jets would regain the glory they had last known with Broadway Joe. Guess again, Jets’ fans.

The cold truth is that those two AFC Championship Games were a fluke, and that the team got there on their defense and in spite of Sanchez, not because of him. As the Jets’ defense began to break down, the pressure built on Sanchez to do more than simply not lose a game, and Sanchez clearly has not been up to the challenge. The bottom fell out last season as Sanchez couldn’t get out of his own way, and the butt-fumble served as the crystallization of not just Sanchez’ 2012 season, but of his entire tenure with the New York Jets.

The half measures began when Woody Johnson ditched Mike Tannenbaum, who created the salary cap hell that the team faced after last season, but held on to Ryan, despite the fact that Ryan had badly mismanaged the Jets for two consecutive seasons. The wiser move would have been to get rid of Ryan as well, and let Idzik work with Johnson to identify a head coach who could help them realize their plan… assuming they had one. Instead, they kept Ryan as a buffer; to have a fall guy when the 2013 season tanks at least as badly as 2012. Enter Idzik, who took on a position that many GM candidates did not want, and Idzik seemed to start out well. He slashed payroll to bring the Jets under the cap and relieve themselves of some over-priced players. He brought in David Garrard as competition for Sanchez, and although Garrard’s best days are behind him, he could at least serve as an interim plan until 2014, when a better crop of quarterback talent is set to hit the draft. The Jets then suffered through a mini-circus with Darrelle Revis, and try as they might to drum up interest in the mercurial corner, only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were interested, netting the additional first round pick this season and a conditional (third round) pick next season. It also seemed odd to me that the Jets stubbornly held on to Tim Tebow, seemingly under the delusion that any NFL team was going to offer anything more than a kicking tee for the personal punt protector. Through all of this the Jets were insisting that Sanchez was their quarterback but that a competition would determine who would play in 2013, when the better move would have been to mirror the approach of the Oakland Raiders; simply cut Sanchez and take the financial hit while planning for a brighter future.

Geno SmithBut that would have been too easy for the Jets. Instead they have stubbornly held on to both Sanchez and Tebow, and then last night threw more gasoline on the fire with the selection of Smith. Is it possible that Smith could be a successful NFL starter? Sure. But is it likely? I’m not thinking so. First, Smith is not NFL-ready. Yes, he has a high percentage rate and few interceptions, but he regressed in his play at West Virginia, and the Mountaineers ran a safe offense that sought to hide Smith’s weaknesses. He locks on to his first read, his ball sails, and he worked almost exclusively from the shotgun. Remember also that the comparable talent level for Smith in West Virginia was better than what he is going to have in New York. This is a kid who needs time to develop with the right mentor, but the current landscape he appears more likely to be starting when the Jets face the Buccaneers on September 8th.

And where is the mentoring of Smith to come from? Marty Mornhinweg?  The Jets’ offensive coordinator came to New York from the Eagles, where they have suffered through a similar drama with Michael Vick and a chorus of backup quarterbacks. Quarterbacks coach David Lee didn’t fare well with Ryan Fitzpatrick, so maybe Smith will have to look towards the other quarterbacks on the roster for some assistance. Sanchez? Probably not a good idea to have arguably the worst starter in the league mentor a guy to take his job, right? Well then, how about Tim Tebow? Yeah, never mind. David Garrrard? He hasn’t played in two years and his best season is seven years into his rear-view mirror. That leaves Greg McElroy and Matt Simms. Once again, the Jets are guilty of taking a player who needs significant development, and they delude themselves into believing that they can maximize his potential. Yet if the best indicator of future performance is past performance, there is zero objective evidence to suggest that the Jets will be successful. On a team loaded with holes, the Jets now have six quarterbacks on their roster, and none of them is a capable NFL starter.

Idzik did make one good move yesterday in trading the Jets’ fourth round pick to the New Orleans Saints to obtain running back Chris Ivory. The Jets’ know that the lack of a running game exposes the teams’ lack of a quarterback, and Ivory is a hard-nosed runner who has done well in limited opportunities with the Saints, rushing for 217 yards and two touchdowns last season. But the Jets still have no receiving corps to speak of, and their offensive line is in need of additional improvement. Throwing another quarterback into the mix is a waste of second round talent that would have been better applied somewhere else on the roster.

While I didn’t particularly like the Milliner pick (a high first round pick on a corner with bad shoulders), the Jets were practical on Day One, grabbing a corner and a defensive tackle. With their second Day Two selection they took a versatile guard, so they are  starting to address their larger needs. But adding Smith to the roster is an unnecessary distraction to trying to do business the right way. It adds to the circus atmosphere that the Jets have created, and squanders a second round draft pick.

Last season I (accurately) predicted that the Jets would collapse, and that both Tannnenbaum and Ryan would be fired (I got that half right). So here is another prediction for Jets’ fans to consider; three years from now, after the Oakland Raiders have completed the task of rebuilding their franchise, they will be on top of the AFC West and will return to being an annual contender. Meanwhile in New York, Ryan will be long gone, Idzik will be out the door, and the Jets will still be at the bottom of the AFC East and in search of their franchise quarterback. And Joe Willie will still want to kiss Suzie.

Mar 122013

Mike WallaceWe will continue updating this article for the next few days until may of the top tier free agents have landed. Some may get their own article, but this spot will keep track of the major comings and goings of players as the free agency period begins.


Tuesday, March 12

– Prior to the start of free agency today, the Jets released defensive tackle Sione Po’uha, who had a base salary of $4.9 million for the upcoming season, creating $3.8 million in cap space. No word yet on whether or not he is expected to re-sign at a lower price.

– The Panthers released linebacker James Anderson, whom they had overpaid for last season to the tune of 5 years and $22 million.

– The Chargers released tight end Randy McMichael.

– The Rams released safety Quintin Mikell, and have now parted ways with both starting safeties from last season.

– Word is that Wes Welker is still waiting to hear the Patriots’ first contract offer before free agency begins.  Tom E. Curran suggesting it is hard for the Patriots to know what the market for Welker will look like, but Welker is likely to wait for offers to increase his leverage. The soft market for wide receivers doesn’t help the Patriots. The Colts and Broncos may well rival the Patriots for Welker’s service. The Pats are risking not making the highest offer to Welker, and it might come back to bite them. Perhaps the Patriots are heading in another direction? One thing is for sure… Bill Belichick has ice water in his veins.

Tony Gonzalez looks like he is heading back to the Falcons.

– The Texans have released receiver Kevin Walter.

– The Vikings have re-signed receiver Jerome Simpson for one year. Meanwhile, the Steelers are giving Plaxico Burress another shot (drum roll).

– Safety James Ihedigbo has re-signed with the Ravens, insuring another year of him being able to drop to the ground in pain after every play.

– Linebacker Larry Foote has worked out a deal to stay in Pittsburgh. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley has also agreed to restructure his contract.

Santonio Holmes has worked out a deal to restructure his contract and remain with the Jets.

– Cornerback Antoine Winfield has been released by the Vikings.

– Running back Beanie Wells released by the Arizona Cardinals.

– The Rams reach a deal to keep defensive end William Hayes in St. Louis.

– As expected, the Eagles have released cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from their famous “Dream Team”

– Prediction 14 minutes before free agency begins, though not a stunner. Wes Welker is not returning to New England, and the Patriots don’t appear too concerned about losing him, despite numbers that put him on a path to the Hall of Fame.

– Giants sign cornerback Aaron Ross, who did not have to wait for free agency to begin as a result of being released by the Jaguars and going unclaimed.

– Vikings keep tackle Phil Loadholt just before free agency begins.

And now free agency begins…

Paul Kruger looks like he is headed to Cleveland… major surprise that the Ravens couldn’t get this one done. New word is that he has officially signed.

– The Bengals re-sign defensive end Robert Geathers.

– The Broncos steal away guard Louis Vasquez from the Chargers.

Mike Wallace appears set to make $13 million a year with the Miami Dolphins.

– Tight end Delanie Walker agrees to a deal with the Titans.

– The Bills have cut quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. I guess that prank phone call caused some embarrassment in western New York. Talk about addition by subtraction.

– The Chiefs have agreed to a deal with tight end Anthony Fasano.

– The Alex Smith to Kansas City trade is now official.

– Are the Colts set to steal both Talib and Welker from the Pats? A tweet from the Colts’ bizarre owner seems to go in this direction.

– Former Bills guard Andy Levitre headed to Titans on a six year deal.

– Or is this what Irsay was talking about? The Colts have reached agreement with offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus. Does he really merit that many exclamation points?

– Quarterback Chase Daniel agrees to terms with Chiefs.

– No, this is why Irsay is excited. The Colts have agreed to terms with cornerback Greg Toler. It’s a good move by Grigson.

– The Colts are on a roll. Linebacker Erik Walden has left Green Bay to join the Colts. Good moves by Indy, even if they aren’t sexy.

– Ah, the Colts did steal a Patriot! Guard Donald Thomas is headed to Indy.

– Punter Sav Rocca is staying with the Redskins.

– Elvis Dumervil now appears willing to take pay cut from Broncos; the two sides are apparently negotiating according to Ian Rapoport.

– Another Ravens loss: Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe reaches agreement in principle with Miami Dolphins.

– Colts make it five Day One signings as they pen linebacker Lawrence Sidbury from the Falcons. Busy day for the Colts.

Taking a dinner break now… will be back later.

Back from a long dinner break, and lots more has happened…

– Safety Darius Butler will be remaining with the Colts.

Martellus Bennett has landed with the Bears, with the tight end signing a four year deal.

– The Ravens signed defensive lineman Chris Canty to a three year deal.

– The Vikings re-signed fullback Jerome Felton to a three year deal.

– The Dolphins dumped linebacker Karlos Dansby, who started all 16 games last season playing with a torn biceps muscle and racking up 134 tackles. Ouch. They added linebacker Phillip Wheeler and re-signed safety Chris Clemons.

– The Rams are poised to sign the coveted tight end Jared Cook, formerly of the Titans.

– The Eagles get into action by signing former Patriots’ safety Patrick Chung (good riddance) and former Panthers’ linebacker Jason Phillips, as well as tight end James Casey from Houston.

– The Eagles keep it coming with former 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoga and former Rams’ cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

– The Raiders released receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and safety Michael Huff.

– The Chiefs have stolen away a Jets’ favorite by signing defensive tackle Mike DeVito.

– Apparently Warren Sapp doesn’t think much of covering Bill Belichick on the NFL Network. Or maybe he just doesn’t think.

– The Browns get another one with the signing of defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.

The pace is slowing down a little at 8:30 pm Central, but there may still be a few transactions before the end of the night. In the meantime, the free agents that we are waiting to see what transpires with on this thread include (in no particular order):

Cliff Avril (Det / SEA)
Wes Welker (NE / DEN)
Jake Long (Mia)
Greg Jennings (GB / MIN)
Aqib Talib (NE)
Dashon Goldson (SF / TB)
Osi Umemyiora (NYG)
Steven Jackson (StL / ATL)
Ed Reed (Bal)
Danny Amendola (StL / NE)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Phi / DEN)
Sebastian Vollmer (NE)
Connor Barwin (Hou / PHI)
Adrian Wilson (ARI / NE)
Andre Smith (Cin)
Cary Williams (Bal / PHI)
Brian Urlacher (Chi)
Dustin Keller (NYJ / MIA)
John Abraham (ATL / NE)

– Last one for tonight – offensive tackle Sam Baker is staying with the Falcons, signing a six year deal. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 13

A few early tidbits before the action begins again in earnest.

Wes Welker and the Patriots are described as very far apart on terms, with the Patriots maintaining an offer on the table. It will be interesting to see how this develops between now and the weekend.

– The Redskins signed defensive tackle Kedric Golston to a new three-year contract on Tuesday.

Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma are taking big pay cuts to stay in New Orleans.

– The Chargers signed former Eagles tackle King Dunlap to a two year deal.

– The Browns signed free agent linebacker Quentin Groves, who played in Arizona last season.

– The Jets housecleaning is in full swing. And even with Revis likely on his way out of town, it didn’t stop the the Jets from restructuring the contract of cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Baby Mamas should beware.

More to come as the day develops!

– The Ravens have just released safety Bernard Pollard. Is he worth a look in Foxboro?

Mike Giardi is tweeting that Wes Welker drew some attention, and those offers have impacted negotiations with the Pats. Expect the Patriots to move on and find a new slot receiver.

– The Lions have re-signed cornerback Chris Houston.

– The Broncos have guaranteed the salary of Peyton Manning for the next two seasons.

– Linebacker Manny Lawson has signed a multi-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.

– Some very interesting chatter about where Wes Welker may be going. Due to the source I won’t share where, but this is going to be a very interesting thing to watch. Plus I am going to lay $5 on my info.  I know, I know… big spender. :-)

– The Steelers have signed quarterback Bruce Gradkowski to a three-year deal.

– The Jaguars have waived wide receiver Laurent Robinson one year after signing the former Cowboy to a huge deal.

Wes Welker’s agent has described the Patriots’ offer to the wide receiver as “laughably low.” Sounds like all sides are ready to move on.

– The Giants have signed kicker Josh Brown.

– Former Colts’ receiver Donnie Avery is joining the Kansas City Chiefs.

– The Ravens have re-signed offensive guard Ramon Harewood.

Reggie Bush is the new lead back for the Detroit Lions.

– Word is that the Patriots offered 4 year, $32 million to Wes Welker and the Welker camp is unhappy. Suitors may be down to the Broncos and Pats, though I am hearing there are two dark horses, at least one of which has made a better offer than New England.

– The Arizona Cardinals agree on a one-year deal with former Steelers’ running back Rashard Mendenhall.

– A big one is off the market; the Rams have signed offensive tackle Jake Long to a contract. Update: Correction; an offer has yet to be made or accepted (as of 1:56 pm Central).

– It looks like the Broncos are working hard to get a deal with Wes Welker done today. I’m going to lose my five bucks.

– The Detroit Lions have added safety Glover Quin, formerly of the Texans; this is a big upgrade in their secondary.

– The Buccaneers have signed former 49ers safety Dashon Goldson to a five year deal.

– The Jaguars signed former Bears free agent linebacker Geno Hayes to a one-year deal.

– The Wes Welker to Denver deal is looking close to done.

– The 49ers have agreed to a contract with former Chiefs defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.

– The Titans have reached agreement on a three-year, $10 million deal with former Jets’ running back Shonn Greene.

– According to WEEI, Wes Welker’s camp has brought the Broncos’ offer back to the Patriots to give New England a chance to match. My guess is no, but this shows where Wes’ heart really is.

– The Broncos announce one-year deal with linebacker Stewart Bradley.

– Running back Lex Hilliard has signed a one year deal to stay with the Jets.

– Cornerback Drayton Florence has agreed to a one year deal with the Panthers. It looks like the corners are now going to start to go.

– Defensive tackle Samie Lee Hill has reached agreement on a three-year, $11.4 million deal with the Titans.

Wes Welker has agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos. Clearly, the Patriots declined the offer to match. It is only a two year deal, so it must be coming down to guaranteed money. Waiting for the details.

– Details on Wes Welker… it is “only” two years, $12 million. Must be fully guaranteed, and it must be that the Patriots set a value for the position and would not exceed it.  Sounds like the Patriots had already determined that Welker was no longer “Plan A.” Patriots have yet to make major moves, but it’s in the air. The next couple of days should show us the Pats’ off-season approach.

According to Greg Bedard, Patriots initial offer to Wes Welker was two years and $10 million with incentives. Albert Breer accurately notes that the Pats likely see Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker as redundant, and Hernandez is much younger and at least as difficult to cover. This deal underscores how much the Miami Dolphins, who have agreed to shell out $30.55 million over five years for Brian Hartline, overpaid for a number two receiver.

– Quarterback Drew Stanton signed a three year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. Here’s hoping they don’t trade for Tim Tebow.

– The Broncos have signed former Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.

OK… time for another dinner break… and to make sure I move the Wes Welker to the back of my closet.

– The Oakland Raiders signed linebacker  Kaluka Maiava and defensive tackle and defensive end Pat Sims, as well as defensive end Jason Hunter.

– The Arizona Cardinals signed cornerback Jerraud Powers and safety Yeremiah Bell.

– The Seattle Seahawks have landed defensive lineman Cliff Avril, who provides an instant upgrade to the Seahawks’ pass rush.

– Not waiting long to respond to Wes Welker’s deal with Denver, the Patriots have signed wide receiver Danny Amendola to a five year, $31 million deal,, with $10 million guaranteed.

– The Titans signed linebacker Moise Fokou, formerly with the Colts.

– The Broncos complete a successful day by reeling in cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a one year deal.

– The Colts have signed former Jets free agent safety LaRon Landry

That’s all for tonight…. more to come on Thursday!

Thursday, March 14

I’m expecting today to be a little bit slower as the agents and teams take a breath and assess where they are, and as remaining players line up visits with teams.

– Former Seahawks’ running back and return man Leon Washington will visit the patriots, who just lost their punt returner yesterday (what was his name again?). Washington has also been connected to talks with the Bucs.

– Cornerback Derek Cox has signed a four year, $20 million deal with the San Diego Chargers.

– Running back Chris Ogbonnaya will be staying in Cleveland, agreeing to a two year deal.

Greg Jennings will be visiting the Minnesota Vikings, who seem to be the front runners (along with Green Bay) to land the veteran wide receiver.

– A mystery suitor for Wes Welker has been revealed by Adam Schefter.. the Tennessee Titans. I rather suspect we will learn of one or two more teams in the coming days.

Great article from Mike Reiss details that Wes Welker went back to the Patriots with the Broncos’ offer, only to be later informed that the Patriots had already made a commitment to another player (Danny Amendola).

– The Chiefs have released Matt Cassel. Is a homecoming a possibility in Foxboro?

– The J-E-T-S are trying to build leverage by suggesting that they are not actively trying to trade Darrelle Revis.

– The Panthers are keeping quarterback Derek Anderson for another year.

– Cornerback Sean Smith has found a new home in Kansas City, agreeing to a three year deal.

– It turns out that the Patriots signed Danny Amendola on Tuesday, a full day before the Wes Welker drama took place. Anyone else think the team hadn’t already decided to move on?

– The Redskins and offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood have reached a deal.

Kevin Kolb is about to be released by the Cardinals, and his next destination appears to be the starting quarterback of the J-E-T-S.

Ricky Jean Francois has agreed to a four-year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

– The Vikings have landed quarterback Matt Cassel, who was just released from the Chiefs.

– The Eagles have added cornerback Cary Williams and safety Kenny Phillips .

– Cornerback Keenan Lewis has agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints on a five year deal.

– The Falcons have landed running back Steven Jackson to replace Michael Turner in Atlanta.

– Linebacker Connor Barwin leaves Houston for Philadelphia and a six year deal.

– The Patriots have landed kick returner and running back Leon Washington.

– The Buccaneers have signed wide receiver Kevin Ogletree.

 Friday, March 15

We’ll wrap this thread up with a recap of last night’s signings and some look at today.

– The Jets are close to signing running back Mike Goodson. UPDATE: Goodson has signed.

– Defensive end Michael Bennett has agreed to a one year, $5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers may be an early favorite for the Super Bowl, but right now they appear to have serious competition to win the NFC West.

– Former Vikings’ linebacker Jasper Brinkley has agreed to a two year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

– John Elway says that defensive end Elvis Dumervil’s salary is “out of whack.” From a business perspective Elway is right, but does anyone seeing a change of location coming for the pass rushing star?

– The Jaguars re-signed cornerback Antwaun Molden to a one-year veteran minimum deal.

– The Rams have re-signed defensive end William Hayes and defensive tackle Jeremelle Cudjo.

– The Bears re-signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one-year contract.

– Former Bears’ linebacker Nick Roach has joined the Oakland Raiders.

– Adam Schefter is expecting cornerback Aqib Talib to return to the Patriots, as the cornerback market is not drawing the same dollars it was just a year ago.

We’ll keep updating the list presented at the end of Day One, but we will only be posting updates for bigger news the rest of the way out.

– OK, this is worth an update. According to PFT, the 49ers are in “serious discussions” with cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Charles Woodson.

– The Patriots have signed former Bills’ wide receiver Donald Jones.

– Tight end Dustin Keller has joined the Miami Dolphins, who appear to be cementing second place in the AFC East.

Kevin Kolb is being released in Arizona. Is New York next?

– Cornerback Kyle Arrington has re-signed with the Patriots and a four year deal.

– Running back Danny Woodhead has signed to two year deal with the San Diego Chargers.

– Offensive Lineman Willie Colon has joined the Jets.

– Safety Louis Delmas has signed back on with the Detroit Lions.

– Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy has a one-year deal in Arizona.

– Huge drama surrounding Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil agreed to a salary reduction but the paperwork did not get filed on time by his agent. The Broncos were seven minutes late filing, and Dumervil has been officially released. The release, along with Welker’s new deal, has just created a cap problem in Denver. The Broncos can likely still work out a deal, but they now have a huge financial mess on their hands. UPDATE: The release creates $4.87M in dead money for this season, meaning Denver will be hard pressed to bring Dumervil back. Question: Why are teams in a multi-billion dollar industry still relying on fax machines?

– While fax machines are being flung out windows in Denver, defensive end John Abraham officially becomes a member of the New England Patriots.

– Eagles announce they acquired wide receiver Arrelious Benn, a former 2nd-rd pick, and 7th-rounder from Tampa Bay for a 2013 6th-rounder and 2014 conditional pick.

– Wide receiver Brandon Gibson is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.

– Running back Justin Forsett has agreed to terms with the Jaguars.

– Big news breaking that the Patriots have signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet, which is undoubtedly front-loaded with case. The cap-strapped Pittsburgh Steelers now have a chance to match the offer. It’s been a big day for the Patriots.

– The Cardinals agree to terms with cornerback Antoine Cason on a one year deal.

– Safety Adrian Wilson has signed a three year deal with the New England Patriots. Right now Bill Belichickk is looking like a salary cap genius.

– Big news in Minnesota… the Vikings have signed wide receiver Greg Jennings away from Green Bay.

– The Jets signed defensive tackle Antonio Garay to a one year deal. That’s two good moves in the same day, Jets’ fans.

– The Ravens signed defensive lineman Marcus Spears to a two year deal.

Saturday, March 16

– Per Adam Schefter, the Patriots have not signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet… yet. They are mulling over the possibility. That may be a cap issue, or it may be an issue of whether or not they believe they can fit Sanders in with Lloyd, Amendola, Jones, Gronk, Hernandez, and Balllard. The Pats have also been quiet on the re-negotiations with Lloyd, so that may be part of the calculus.

– Hearing that something is likely forthcoming on cornerback Aqib Talib’s return to the Patriots. All is still quiet on the Sebastian Vollmer front.

Mar 122013

Wes WelkerYes, we’ve been on a little self-imposed hiatus here at GiR. Personally, I have no one to blame for that other than myself, being a parent, having a day job, having a sideline job, and finishing a degree. Yep, it’s a boring life. :-) I can’t speak for our other contributors, but suspect the same thing is true, though I have been holding off on a series of articles already written by the one guy (DJ Crash) who has been writing. (Sorry DJ – they will be up soon).

But the start of free agency later today gives us the perfect time to jump back into the fray. But before the madness begins later this afternoon, here are some of the recent development that have helped set the stage for the madness that is now likely to ensue:

1. It looks like Baltimore’s Paul Kruger won’t be hitting the open market. That’s a smart move by the Ravens. The Browns are waiting in the wings if the Ravens don’t get it done.

2. But the Ravens committed a stupid move by shipping Anquan Boldin to the 49ers for a sixth round pick. Newsflash to the Ravens and their fans: the Ravens don’t win last month’s Super Bowl without Boldin… he was amazing n the post-season and (in my view) made Joe Flacco look better than he probably is. Flacco gets the new contract, and now Boldin will be saying “Coach Harbaugh” on the west coast.

3. Might Bryant McKinnie be next in Baltimore? He claims no more discounts for the Ravens.

4. The J-E-T-S are likely to move Darrelle Revis soon through a trade. A good business move for the team living in cap hell. It won’t help their defense, but one very good cornerback is the least of that team’s concerns right now.

5. The J-E-T-S have signed quarterback David Garrard. Garrard just became the best quarterback on the team despite not having played a down in the NFL since 2010. No doubt Rexy will now predict a Super Bowl win for the Yets.

6. The Vikings have shipped unhappy wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, where it is believed he will earn $12 million a year. The Vikings are getting a first-rounder and a seventh-rounder this April, and a mid-round selection in 2014.

7. The Patriots are scrambling to sign wide receiver Wes Welker and cornerback Aqib Talib. Robert Kraft has stated that he wants Welker to be a “Patriot for Life”, though Welker will certainly have offers on the table if he feels otherwise. In the meantime, the Pats are thought to be trying to leverage a crowded cornerback market to get Talib to take a team friendly deal, but the Redskins are rumored to be ready to pay Talib what is looking for if (and it’s a big if) they can clear the cap room.

8. Finally, rumors have Ed Reed likely headed to San Francisco and Dwight Freeney headed to Denver, so there will be a lot of fun to watch over the coming days.

Now that we’re back, stick with us to see where some of the top flight free agents end up.

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 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.”

Oct 012012

Last week we asked how many wins you expect the New Orleans Saints to tally this year. Most of those who voted (62%) thought the Saints would have an impressive recovery and bounce back to win as many as 9 games, but not make the playoffs. Personally, I’m with the contingent that thinks that the Saints will only pick up between 4-6 wins, given a porous defense and a less than adequate offensive line. The Saints are now down to 0-4, with a tough game coming up against the Chargers next Sunday night. One person thought the Saints would rebound to win at least 10 games and make the playoffs, and we’d like to thank Mr. Brees for taking our poll. :-)

Poll #7: How many games will the New Orleans Saints win this season?
7-9; they’ll recover, but not enough to make the post-season (62%, 13 Votes)
4-6; too many problems to be a competitive team (24%, 5 Votes)
0-3; this team is a mess (10%, 2 Votes)
10-13; Drew’s right – they are fine and will storm through the rest of the regular season (4%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 21

Poll #8: What is the biggest cause of the Jets’ current woes?
This week’s poll focuses back on the AFC East and the New York Jets. After scoring 48 points in Week One, the Jets have scored only 33 points in the subsequent three games for 81 total points. Their showing against the 49ers was abysmal, and they are without Darrelle Revis for the season and Santonio Holmes for the moment, while Mark Sanchez has looked every bit of the “yet another failed USC starter” in two ugly losses, and even in their win over the Dolphins. It’s no wonder Rex Ryan wants his team to stay away for a couple of days while he polishes up his resume…er… works with his coaches to correct the problems. So this week’s question is… what is the biggest cause for the Jets’ current woes?

Your choices:
– The Jets’ lack of a starting quarterback
– The offensive line
– The defensive line
– Poor coaching
– All of it; it’s a mess
– What are you talking about? The Jets are 2-2 and will be just fine

Please note that if you vote for Option #6 that we will assume your first name is either Mark, Tim, Rex, or Bart.

Sep 252012

Well, you already know the story lines for how Week Three turned out, given the immense amount of chatter in regards to the NFL and officiating. We would have had this posted a bit sooner, but you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been a little distracted. While there was plenty of great action on the field, this week of play will forever be overshadowed by terrible officiating that influenced the outcomes of at least two games and directly decided one.

Here are the Week Three scores: