Philly’s Dream Team a Nightmare for Ryan’s Jets



Entering Sunday’s contest against New York, the Philadelphia Eagles were hands-down the NFL’s biggest disappointment this season.
With their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, the Eagles played like a team in complete desperation mode—hungry to keep their slim postseason dreams alive.

Philadelphia wasted little time in burying the Jets as they jumped out to a 28-0 lead—winning going away. Rex Ryan’s crew committed four turnovers, (two lost fumbles and two interceptions) the most crippling miscue occurring on New York’s first offensive possession as wide out Santonio Holmes coughed up the ball and Philadelphia’s Juqua Parker returned the fumble 47 yards for an Eagles touchdown.

Despite falling behind by 28 points early, New York closed the deficit to 28-13 at halftime. The Jets began the second half with offensive possession, but the opening drive stalled at Philadelphia’s 39-yard line and Ryan reluctantly sent his punt team on the field.

On the second play of the Eagles ensuing drive—a 2nd-and-11 from their own 11 yard-line—Vick found tight end Brent Celek for a 73-yard catch and run down to New York’s one-yard line. Two plays later, Philadelphia tailback LeSean McCoy burst through for his 18th touchdown of the year and in doing so tied former running back Steve Van Buren for the most rushing touchdowns by an Eagles player in a single season.

In the early stages of the fourth quarter, McCoy would break the franchise’s single-season rushing touchdown record as his 33-yard scamper all but sealed the Eagles victory.

Philadelphia played far from mistake-free football committing four turnovers of its own, losing three fumbles while quarterback Michael Vick tossed an interception on a Hailmary attempt to end the first half.
Gang Green failed to capitalize on Philadelphia’s mistakes, while the Eagles score 21 points off Jets turnovers. This holiday season both squads appeared to be in the spirit of giving.

Philadelphia continued its dominance over the New York Jets as they have now won all nine meetings in the history of the rivalry.

The Jets (8-6), locked into the sixth and final AFC wildcard spot (by virtue of a common games tiebreaker over Cincinnati), return to Metlife Stadium on Christmas Eve to face the New York Giants.

During next Saturday afternoon’s Big Apple Bash not only will bragging rights hang in the balance, but the losing team may very well be on the brink of postseason elimination.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

No More Hoopla Just Hoops: NBA Players and Owners Agree to a Tentative Deal



After all the hoopla surrounding the NBA’s labor dispute, the official end to the lockout appears to be in sight. Following 149 days littered with squabbling between NBA commissioner David Stern and Players Union chief Billy Hunter over Basketball Related Income (BRI), chief among the major labor concerns, the two sides seem to have found a happy medium. The NBA players strike more than doubled the length of Nets forward Kris Humphries and model/television star Kim Kardashian's glamorous but doomed 72-day marriage.

Unlike Humphries and Kardashian, players and owners were able to reconcile their differences at the negotiating table as they eyed Christmas Day as the ideal date for the commencement of the 2011-2012 NBA season. The players union is expected to recertify by Thursday with a new CBA likely ratified by the week’s end. Owners, players, media members and fans are rejoicing at the anticipated return of NBA basketball this season (66 games), a season that merely a week ago appeared to be in serious peril.

With a slate of five games scheduled for Christmas Day, the league is making up for lost times by spreading basketball joy this holiday season.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

D.Will to Big D in 2012?



Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports the Dallas Mavericks are saving up cap space with every intention of making a run at Nets free agent point man Deron Williams in the summer of 2012. With an aged Jason Kidd entering the final year of his contract and free agent Jose Barea’s future uncertain in Dallas, the Mavericks may be in dire need of a point guard next season.

Williams, a Dallas native, would have the opportunity to carry on Kidd’s winning tradition—not in the "Garden State"—but instead in the "Lone Star State." Speaking of lone stars, Dirk Nowitzki may be the Maverick’s only all-star around next summer with current free agents Caron Butler and Tyson Chandler likely playing elsewhere this upcoming season while Jason Terry and Kidd will be off Dallas’ payroll in 2012.

The Mavericks are expected to be 21 million dollars under the cap entering a 2012 free agency period headlined by: Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has hardly been gun-shy to pull the trigger on blockbuster trades or reluctant to whip out the checkbook to recruit additional talent to surround the franchise’s prized seven-footer. With Nowitzki in the midst of his prime and the Mavericks ready to begin their title defense, the Mavericks could be a sleeping suitor for Williams’ services in 2012.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets Steamroll Chiefs Behind Sanchez’s Four Touchdowns



Sunday’s lopsided 37-10 win propelled the New York Jets back into the sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture and may very well have restored Mark Sanchez’s shaky confidence. The third year quarterback became the first Jets player ever to score two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a single game. In Sanchez’s last three games, not coincidentally all Jets wins, #6 has compiled nine touchdowns (seven passing, two rushing), only one interception and a superb 98.3 quarterback rating. In fact the last two weeks the Jets offense has scored touchdowns on their opening drives after struggling the entire season to jump out to early leads.

Against Kansas City, Gang Green stormed out of the gate, as Rex Ryan—in contrast to his defensive minded style—elected to receive to start the game. New York took full advantage of its first offensive possession marching 77 yards on 11 plays punctuated by Sanchez’s nifty quarterback keeper on third-and-goal from the three-yard line. The Jets defense finally inherited an early lead to nurture, a lead that would swell to 28-3 at halftime. Kansas City went quietly into the night as the Jets called off the horses in the fourth quarter subbing in 41-year old quarterback Mark Brunell to the delight of the Met-life stadium crowd.

In light of Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland all losing in Week 14, the Jets are in complete control of their playoff destiny. Next Sunday, New York shuttles down the Jersey Turnpike to battle a talented but underachieving Eagles squad. The Jets have never won a game in the city of Philadelphia but will have to set history in Week 15 if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive and well.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Sanchez Criticism just Hogwash: Late Comeback Propels Jets to 34-19 Victory




With its playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the New York Jets turned to its franchise quarterback to ignite yet another fourth quarter comeback. Trailing 16-13 with 7:52 remaining in the game—and very possibly Gang Green’s season—Mark Sanchez notched his tenth career come-from-behind victory.

The Jets capitalized on favorable field position--taking possession at the Redskins 49-yard line—thanks in large part to Washington placekicker Gram Gano’s short kickoff. On the fifth play of the ensuing drive—a second and five from the 30-yard line—Mark Sanchez pump faked in the direction of Santonio Holmes who hit a slant and go route, slipping behind cornerback Josh Wilson for the go-ahead touchdown.

Following the score, Jets coach Rex Ryan pulled aside linebacker Aaron Maybin and barked in his ear “fourth quarter sacks win football games.” New York’s defense marched onto the field— and with Maybin clearly inspired by Ryan’s plea—the Jets linebacker did his coach one better. On third and ten from the Redskins 20-yard line—Washington quarterback Rex Grossman dropped back in the pocket and was instantly engulfed by “Mayhem Maybin” as the ball was jarred loose and recovered by fellow Jets linebacker Calvin Pace at the 9-yard line. A jubilant Jets sideline swarmed Maybin in celebration as the second year castoff from Buffalo is making his bid for the league’s most improved player of the year honors.

With a four point cushion the Jets aimed to salt away the victory and Jets running back Shonn Greene was just the man for the mission. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Greene took the snap out of the Wildcat formation and slithered his way through the Redskins front and into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon. Greene would clinch a hat trick late in the final quarter as he lumbered for a 30-yard touchdown to put the finishing touches on the Jets 15 point victory.

In what looked to be yet another anxiety inducing game—the Jets managed to pull away in the final eight minutes of regulation—closing the game with a 21-3 spurt. The stands at FedEx Field were littered with green and white and J-E-T-S chants rained onto the field as the Jets exited to a warm reception from Firemen Ed and Gang Green die-hards. New York escaped the nation’s capital with a crucial win with the final four games of the season on the horizon.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Radio Review: Jets at Broncos



Join Rick Laughland and Daniel Feuerstein as they discuss the Jets 17-13 defeat at the hands of the Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos

Jets at Broncos Radio Review Show
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Keys to Victory: Jets at Broncos




Sunday’s Storyline:

Less than four days removed from New York’s disappointing 37-16 home loss to New England, the Jets trek to Denver aiming to put Sunday Night’s loss in their rearview mirror. The Jets squandered a golden opportunity to surge ahead of the Patriots in the standings along with a chance to host a home playoff game for the first time since 2002. Now with division title hopes fading, Gang Green sets its sights on Tim Tebow and Denver’s unconventional offensive attack. The Broncos are 2-0 with Tebow under center and the fans at Invesco Stadium will be in full throat as they support their unorthodox and spirited new quarterback. The Jets look to avoid a Sunday Night hangover as they fight for their playoff lives in a Thursday night showdown.

KEYS TO VICTORY

1. Do it for Dad

Deep rooted in football lore, Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense revolutionized the NFL. A staple of the Chicago Bears 1985 championship team, the “46” as it was called, gave opposing offenses fits. Since that time offensive coordinators have implemented spread formations to find matchups on the outside and force linebackers to play coverage instead of stacking the box for the run and pressuring the quarterback. In 2011, the Denver Broncos run a read option offense, frequently used at the college level to take advantage of a quarterback’s rushing ability. With Rex Ryan’s father inventing the kryptonite to a read option offense, it behooves the Jets to harken back to the days of the ’85 bears and use six linebackers to bottle up Tim Tebow and the Broncos bruising rushing attack.

2. Get offensive

Given the Broncos run heavy offense, the Jets will be left with fewer offensive possessions to produce points. New York can ill-afford to start slow as Denver’s ball control offense will make it doubly difficult for the Jets to mount a comeback. Gang Green’s red zone efficiency is critical as finishing drives with touchdowns will force the Broncos to move the ball through the air to get back in contention. Opposing a 20th rank pass defense, Mark Sanchez can exploit a secondary that has allowed four quarterbacks to pass for at least 300 yards. If the Jets can establish the run early they’ll have opportunities for big yardage with their play-action passes.

3. Let the Special Teams be Special

In Week 10 against New England, Jets punter Mike Conley did an exceptional job of pinning the Patriots deep in their own territory. Conley average 48.4 yards per punt while downing the ball inside the 20 yard-line twice. New York will need a repeat performance from Conley to force Tebow and the Broncos to drive the length of the field to score against Rex Ryan’s defense. Kick returner Joe McKnight muffed a punt last Sunday Night and in doing so handed New England three points. McKnight has been brilliant for New York this season averaging over 40 yards per kick return. The Jets will need McKnight to bounce back from his hiccup in Week 10 and revert to his game breaking ability in the return game. Placekicker Nick Folk will have to rebound also as he hooked a 24 yard field goal on Gang Green’s opening drive against the Patriots. If the Jets gain the extra boost from the special teams unit they will be in tremendous position to get back on the winning track.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Cheers and Jeers: Jets vs Patriots



CHEER:

Jets linebacker Jamaal Westerman sent the Metlife Stadium crowed into a frenzy-forcing an intentional grounding penalty on Tom Brady in the end zone-giving the Jets their first safety since the 2010 AFC Championship game. The Jets carried the momentum into the ensuing possession as Mark Sanchez directed a 7 play 64 yard drive, culminating in a two yard quarterback draw for a touchdown. New York was riding high off their scoring drive, their only downfall-giving Brady and the Patriots offense a chance to answer back with 1:28 remaining in the half.

JEER:

Rex Ryan referred to it as “the stupidest play in NFL history” and it may very well have been. Sanchez signaled for a timeout before the Jets third down-and-goal play as 20 seconds remained on the play clock and 1:30 left in the first half. The Jets would find the end zone the following play, but left #12 ample time to return the favor. Brady marched the Patriots 58 yards in 1:11, capping the scoring drive with an 18 yard touchdown fling to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Any impetus the Jets scoring drive produced evaporated into thin air as New England seized a 13-9 halftime lead, a lead they would not relinquish.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Following a muffed punt by returner Joe McKnight, the Patriots took over at the Jets 13 yard-line. On a 2nd-and-11 play Brady dropped back and slung a touchdown pass to Gronkowski to extend the Patriots lead to 14 points at 23-9. The scoring play was reviewed and it was determined that Gronkowski stepped out of bounds and was the first player to touch the ball-drawing an illegal touching penalty. The touchdown was nullified-and for the moment-the Jets defense played damage control, holding the Patriots to a field goal and a ten point lead.

HEAR HEAR:

"It just wasn't our night," Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "We earned what we got tonight."

BIG STAT:

For the first time since 2007-the same year the Patriots clinched an 18-1 record-the New York Jets dropped both regular season contests against the New England Patriots.

FINAL THOUGHT:

In a statement game, a contest that was deemed a must-win by Rex Ryan –the Jets underperformed in every facet of the game. Collectively the team unraveled and was unable to overcome a foolish timeout by quarterback Mark Sanchez who opened the door for Tom Brady and the Patriots to capture a halftime lead. The Jets clinched a 9-6 lead with 1:28 left in the first half and were outscored 31-7 from that moment on. Sunday night’s loss crippled New York’s chances of capturing its first division crown under Rex Ryan and a possible home playoff game. Now, with the Jets playoff lives in the jeopardy, they will have to ready themselves for a short turnaround as they travel to Invesco Stadium at Mile High to face Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos Thursday Night.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Radio Review: Jets vs. Patriots

Join Rick Laughland and Daniel Feuerstein as they discuss the Jets disappointing home loss to the New England Patriots at Metlife Stadium.

RADIO REVIEW JETS VS PATS

Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Podcast Preview: Jets vs Patriots




Join Rick Laughland and Daniel Feuerstein as they welcome special guest and WEEI in Boston's very own Chris Price.

SHOWTIME: Thursday November 11th at 4:00PM

DURATION: 30 mins

PODCAST PLAYER
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Is Eli Now Elite?




Is Eli Manning an elite quarterback?

This has been the prevailing question posed by NFL pundits, analysts and the media. In September, on ESPN New York’s the Michael Kay Show, Manning proclaimed he should be mentioned in the same breath as world class signal caller Tom Brady. Manning, a Super Bowl XXXXII MVP has the hardware to support his claim, but his inconsistent play and soft spoken nature are traits critics point towards to dismiss this notion.

This past Sunday, Manning led Big Blue on not one, but two- fourth quarter touchdown drives in the final five minutes to lift the Giants past the Patriots 24-20. Manning atoned for a costly red zone interception early in the fourth quarter which allowed New England to tie the game 10-10. Manning’s late game heroics beg the question yet again does #10 belong amongst the NFL’s elite?

While Manning’s critics are mum this week, the million dollar question still seems to be up for debate. With the Giants facing a murderous second half schedule, and injuries plaguing the team, Manning will have to play at an elite level to keep New York in first place in the NFC East.

It’s never easy living in the shadow of an star older brother and in Eli’s case, eldest sibling Peyton has embraced the limelight while being anointed the league’s best quarterback on a regular basis.

With Eli looking to solidify his football legacy, can he rise above the cynicism and sibling rivalry to prove that he is deserving of elite status?

The story is still being written and the book is not closed on this debate, but Big Blue’s second half successes or failures will in all likelihood reveal whether Eli Manning belongs with amongst NFL’s best quarterbacks.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Report Card: Jets at Bills



PASSING OFFENSE:

Mark Sanchez connected with six different receiving targets for 230 yards completing 71 percent of his pass attempts. The Jets were off to yet another sluggish start producing only three points through the first half of play. Sanchez’s two hiccups, an opening drive end zone interception and a second quarter fumbled snap were deflating moments for New York’s offense early on. Gang Green pulled through in the latter half; capitalizing on great starting field position to hand the Bills their first home loss of the season.
Grade: B

RUSHING OFFENSE:

The Jets fed the Bills a steady diet of run, compiling 39 rushing attempts for 112 yards. LaDanian Tomlinson and fullback John Conner both found the end zone on one yard touchdown rumbles. New York’s ground game was anything but explosive, with Shonn Greene’s ten yard scamper marking the team’s longest run, but the Jets brought a bruising and physical fight to the Bills keeping them on their heels all afternoon.
Grade: B

PASSING DEFENSE:

The Jets secondary blanketed Buffalo’s receiving corps victimizing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the process. David Harris and Calvin Pace tallied an interception apiece as Fitzpatrick struggled to find an open receiver producing a measly quarterback rating of 51.9. Oddly enough, Gang Green did not record a sack on Sunday, but their staunch man-to-man coverage disrupted Buffalo’s timing culminating in the Bills worst offensive output of the season.
Grade: A

RUSHING DEFENSE:

Fred Jackson was held under 100 yards rushing for just the third time this season. The Jets keyed on Jackson fully aware that the fifth year tailback has been a one-man wrecking crew for Buffalo this season. New York’s front seven played stout against the run bottling up the Bills and their No. 3 ranked rushing attack.
Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Joe McKnight nearly broke a kick return for a score to start the second half and Nick Folk connected on two field goals (49,50) while barely missing a 50 yard attempt in the third quarter. The Jets special teams set the offense up with prime field position fueling the Jets second half offensive eruption.
Grade: A

COACHING:

Rex Ryan has his team peeking at the right time as they look towards their colossal matchup with the Patriots Sunday night. The Jets played sound fundamental defense forcing Buffalo into a one-dimensional offensive attack. New York has a lofty task in handing New England its third straight loss, but with the Jets on the upswing and Patriots on the downturn that feat seems more and more attainable. Kudos to Gang Green’s coaching staff for lifting the Jets to their most complete win on the season.
Grade: A
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Cheers and Jeers: Jets Bounce Bills 27-11



CHEER:

New York’s defensive performance was masterful confounding Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills prolific passing attack to the tune of a 27-11 road victory. Gang Green neutralized a Buffalo offense that came into Sunday’s game averaging 30.7 points per contest. Jets linebackers David Harris and Calvin Pace each intercepted Fitzpatrick who completed a season low 45 percent of his passes. Rex Ryan’s defensive unit has played at an elite level during the team’s current three-game winning streak, allowing only three offensive touchdowns over that span.

JEER:

Quarterback Mark Sanchez relinquished the Jets first quarter momentum as his errant red zone interception halted the Jets 14 play 87 yard opening drive. New York chewed up over 10 minutes of game clock, showcasing an effective mix of run and pass with Buffalo’s defense backpedaling into the shadow of its own goal line. Sanchez hurled a pass intended for Dustin Keller but Bills safety Jarius Byrd hauled in the pick, shutting the door on New York’s methodical drive. New York’s signal caller regained his swagger in the second half, leading the Jets on three-touchdown scoring drives.

HEAR HEAR:

"I think our team is where we want to be right now,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “Obviously we knew this was going to be a tough game. Buffalo was undefeated here {at home}, playing really well. We also knew our team was going to come out guns blazing…I like the way our team played overall.”

BIG STAT:

The three first-half points were the fewest in a Jets first half since these two teams played a scoreless first 30 minutes in 2007 en route to Buffalo's 17-14 victory.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Joe McKnight, special teamer extraordinaire, took the second half kickoff 59 yards with kicker Ryan Lindell making a touchdown-saving shoestring tackle. McKnight’s return paved the way for New York’s 24 point second half surge.

FINAL THOUGHT:

Three short weeks ago the New York Jets were mired in a three-game skid with the proverbial dirt shoveled on its division title hopes. Now riding a three-game winning streak; New York has ascended into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East at a mark of 5-3. Next Sunday night 11/6, The Jets welcome the New England Patriots to Met-Life Stadium, aiming to hand their arch rivals a third straight loss as the Patriots did to New York in Week 5. The stage is set for an AFC East clash in which no love is lost between players, fans or coaches. Kickoff is slated for 8:30PM, so get your popcorn ready!
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Keys to Victory: Jets vs Bills



SUNDAY’S STORYLINE:

With its bye week in the rearview, New York sets its sights on a pivotal road contest against the AFC East’s first place team. That team, the Buffalo Bills, shares a 5-2 record with the New England Patriots, but by virtue of a head-to-head tie breaker they sit atop the division. The Jets know a thing or two about toppling division leaders notching four road playoff wins against Cincinnati, San Diego, Indianapolis and New England the past two years. Gang Green has been anything but a road warrior this season dropping all three road contests while allowing 30 or more points in each of those games. With Buffalo out to prove they are a legitimate contender in the AFC and the Jets determined to back up their Super Bowl proclamations, this game will certainly separate the contender from the pretender.

KEYS TO VICTORY

1. In Order to Stay Ahead- The Jets must Stop Fred

Buffalo’s tailback has totaled 1,074 all-purpose yards and has been the spark plug for the Bill’s dynamic offensive attack. Fred Jackson has put the NFL on-notice wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. The Jets have been prone to big running plays this season, while Jackson has gathered three runs of over forty yards through seven games. New York will need all hands on deck if they hope to contain Buffalo’s multi-faceted weapon on Sunday.

2. Lay the Hits on Fitz

Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off his best performance of the season in a 23-0 drubbing of the Washington Redskins in Week 8. In that game Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 262 yards, two touchdowns and a sterling quarterback rating of 116.4. If New York can take Fred Jackson out of the equation and make Buffalo’s offense one dimensional they can pin their ears back and come after the Bill’s signal caller.

3. On the Mark

New York’s offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has been reluctant to grant Mark Sanchez free reign of the offense. Buffalo’s defense ranks in the bottom third in both pass and run defense in the NFL. With that being said the Bills have been an opportunistic defense ranking amongst the league’s elite in forcing turnovers. Sanchez will have ample opportunities for scoring plays, but will need to make smart decisions against an aggressive ball hawking secondary.

Prediction: Jets 31 Buffalo 17
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Report Card: Jets vs Chargers




Passing Offense:
Mark Sanchez had a revelation; six foot five wide out Plaxico Burress is a deadly red zone target. Burress entered New York’s contest with San Diego having only two touchdowns to his credit, yet reeled in three scores on Sunday to lift the Jets to victory. Oddly enough, all three of Burress’ touchdowns were scored on third-and-goal plays, while his fourth quarter score put the Jets ahead to stay. Sanchez’s one hiccup occurred in the opening quarter as he aimed for Burress in the end zone only to underthrow the intended wide out with Chargers safety Eric Weddle intercepting the pass. Sanchez’s protection was solid as the signal caller had adequate time in the pocket and while his final stat-line was not exceptional; he engineered three second half scoring drives to lead the Jets to a rousing comeback win.
Grade: B+

Rushing Offense:
This was supposed to be LaDanian Tomlinson’s game, as the Canton-bound tailback was awarded the ceremonial start facing his former team. Unfortunately for Tomlinson he was forced out of action with the stomach flu, while running back Shonn Greene filled in valiantly and stole the show. Greene led all ball carriers with 112 yards on 20 carries; singlehandedly out-rushing San Diego’s dynamic duo of Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert. On a day when Greene achieved season highs in yards (112), yards-per carry average (5.6), along with team’s long run (24) the Jets regained their battering-ram running style and romped San Diego on the ground
Grade: A

Passing Defense:
With a 21-10 halftime lead, the Chargers looked primed to land a knockout blow; the problem was cornerback Darrelle Revis had other plans in mind. #24’s fourth quarter interception turned the tide for New York as San Diego began to unravel and the Jets defense regained its swagger. Kyle Wilson recorded his first career interception in the late stages of the final quarter denying Rivers yet another chance to put the Chargers in front.
Grade: A


Rushing Defense:
For the first time since Week 2 against Jacksonville, New York held its opponent under 100 yards rushing. Matthews and Tolbert were held in check as the Jets returned to their run-stuffing ways. Clearly Rex Ryan’s message rang true as he urged his squad to win the rushing battling following three consecutive defeats in which they were badly outgained on the ground.
Grade: B+


Special Teams:
Sunday was a quiet day for Mike Westhoff and his explosive special teams unit as returners Joe McKnight and Jeremy Kerley were held without any jaw-dropping runbacks. San Diego keyed on McKnight blasting three kickoffs for touchbacks; eliminating any chance of a return. Punter T.J. Conley has seen better days as his 36.7 kicking average was far and away his worst performance of the season. Nick Folk was true on his two field goals (27,33) helping the Jets squeak out a 27-21 win.
Grade: C


Coaching:
Rex Ryan and the coaching staff made the necessary second half adjustments to overcome an 11 point deficit; all the while flustering quarterback Phillip Rivers. Brian Schottenheimer utilize the play action passing game to Sanchez’s advantage; allowing the Jets to take the training wheels off their offense.
Grade: B+
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Cheers and Jeers: Jets Bolt Past Chargers 27-21



CHEER:

Plaxico Burress enjoyed a breakout performance snagging three touchdowns to the delight of the capacity MetLife Stadium crowd. Burress, who was overtly frustrated and discontent with his role in the Jets offense the past few weeks, emerged as the vital red zone threat New York envisioned when they signed him in the offseason. #17 finished the afternoon with four receptions for a mere 25 yards, yet his three scoring grabs proved to be the difference in Gang Green’s 27-21 triumph over San Diego.

Shonn Greene took 20 bruising carries for 112 yards in easily his best effort of the 2011 campaign. New York’s offensive front was tenacious in the trenches paving the way for a season high 162 rushing yards. LaDanian Tomlinson got the nod as the starting tailback in light of facing his former squad, but was forced to leave the game in the second half with the stomach flu. It was San Diego coach Norv Turner who was sick to his stomach at the conclusion of Sunday’s game as his Chargers failed to hold an 11 point lead late in the third quarter as New York outscored San Diego 17-0 in the second half of play.

JEER:

Sunday’s game was off to a catastrophic start for Gang Green as tight end Dustin Keller was stripped on the fourth play of the opening drive by Donald Butler who returned the fumble 37 yards for the score. New York could not have asked for a more disastrous beginning, particularly for an offense that produced four three-and-out possessions to start the past two games. Sanchez was able to right the ship as he steered New York on an eight play 60 yard field goal scoring drive on the offense’s next possession. The Jets spotted San Diego a seven spot, but conjured up some second half magic to hand the Chargers their second loss of the season.

BIG STAT:

For the first time since September 9th, 2007, Plaxico Burress recorded three receiving touchdowns in a game.

EXTRA BIG STAT:

LaDanian Tomlinson became the fourth running back in NFL history with 600 catches before leaving in the second half due to illness.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

For the second time in as many weeks Darrelle Revis made the decisive play of the game for the New York Jets. Facing a third-and-five at New York’s 25 yard-line and leading 21-17, Phillip Rivers flung a pass in the direction of wide out Vincent Jackson with the ball deflecting off the receivers pads and into the grasp of Revis. #24 returned the interception 64 yards, down to San Diego’s 19 yard-line; effectively halting the Charger’s drive and shifting the momentum in favor of Gang Green.

HEAR HEAR:

“I want to tip my hat to our fans,” acknowledged Rex Ryan. “I know we could barely communicate to each other, so obviously it had to be super hard for the Chargers to communicate. It was brutal. We were yelling and trying to get certain calls in, and it was rough. We talk about home field advantage, and that was probably the difference in the game.”

FINAL THOUGHT:

As the war of words between New York’s head man Rex Ryan and San Diego’s Norv Turner heated up during the week; the Jets backed up their mouthy coach earning a comeback win in dramatic fashion. A game that featured a combined 21 penalties for a whopping 165 yards was anything but a Rex Ryan coaching clinic, but a critical win for Gang Green nonetheless.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Miami Nice



Cheer:

Darrelle Revis showed Monday Night why he is hands down the best cornerback on the planet. In a week when Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall predicted he would win a shoving match with #24 and his secondary mate Antonio Cromartie; Revis’ 100 yard interception return for a touchdown lifted the Jets to a decisive win. Despite Marshall’s gaudy stat line: six receptions for 109 yards; the troubled wide out dropped his fair share of catchable passes including a mental error when he stepped out of bounds with a clear path to the end zone during his third quarter 39 yard grab; flinging the ball into the stands in frustration. Revis, not Marshall would be the one to find paydirt as Gang Green held the Dolphins anemic offense to just six points.

Jeer:

Another sluggish start for New York as it took until the 4:00 minute mark of the second quarter for Gang Green to produce a first down. Opposing Miami’s 31st ranked overall defense, the Jets struggled to move the ball both on the ground and through the air. In each of the past three games (Baltimore, New England, Miami) New York has failed to produce a first down on the team’s first four offensive possessions, a mind-numbing statistic for a Super Bowl hopeful squad. The Jets offense has looked handcuffed by self inflicted miscues and shoddy play calling. Speaking of cuffs, Plaxico Burress was a non-factor showing dismay on the sidelines. New York needs to uncover some answers to its offensive shortcomings as they play host to the San Diego Chargers and their second ranked pass defense this Sunday.

In Case You Missed It:

Jets Right tackle Wayne Hunter has been a lightning rod of negativity with the struggles of Gang Green’s offensive line this year. Hunter was superb on Monday Night as he stymied Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who owns three of Miami’s twelve sacks on the season. Wake was held without a sack or quarterback hit as Hunter bounced back from criticism and elevated his play in front of a national television audience.
Final Thought:

New York’s three game skid is history as the Jets earned an ugly win on Monday Night. No brownie points for this game, as the Jets offensive woes continued, begging the question how can the Jets overcome their first half offensive futility?
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets at Patriots: Report Card




Passing Offense:
Heading into Sunday’s matchup, New England’s secondary ranked dead last in the NFL surrendering nearly 390 passing yards per contest. Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense managed merely 169 yards thr
ough the air as Gang Green would convert only 3 of 11 third down attempts; finishing the game with seven three and out offensive possessions. This performance was hardly anything to write home about.
Grade: C

Rushing Offense:
With center Nick Mangold back in the lineup, tailback Shonn Greene finally found his way out of the Jets backfield and past the first down yard marker. Greene hit the ground running busting through for 83 yards on 21 attempts, highlighted by his three yard touchdown rumble in the second quarter. The Jets atoned for back-to-back subpar rushing outputs against Oakland and Baltimore; finding daylight against New England’s run defense.
Grade: B+

Passing Defense:
Tom Brady was terrific as usual completing 24 of his 33 passes for 321 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Jets secondary committed untimely penalties while blown coverage assignments came back to haunt them. Brady found Wes Welker on a 73 yard catch and run as New York’s safety Eric Smith bit on the run fake and two short plays later he connected with Deion Branch on a three yard scoring grab as cornerback Antonio Cromartie lost sight of the receiver. Gang Green made a few mistakes in their coverage scheme and Brady made them pay dearly on Sunday.
Grade: B-

Rushing Defense:
Patriots halfback BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a field day against New York’s front seven as he broke both New York’s run containment and the hearts of Jets fans. With the Jets fully geared up for an aerial onslaught from quarterback Tom Brady and his deep and talented pool of receivers; head coach Bill Belichick elected for a more balanced offensive attack. New England rushed the ball 35 times for 152 yards and two scores; as they kept New York guessing and on its heels the entire game.
Grade: D

Special Teams:
For the second consecutive week returner Joe McKnight ignited New York, providing superb starting field position. McKnight’s 88 yard return came on the heels of New England extending its lead to ten points early in the third quarter. Mike Westoff and the special teams unit continue to shift the momentum in New York's favor, yet the offense has failed to capitalize on this trend two weeks running.
Grade: A+

Coaching:
Rex Ryan ate his fill of humble pie as Bill Belichick out-schemed and out-coached Ryan on Sunday. New York’s offensive game plan was flawed as they did not test New England’s lowly secondary; instead electing to ride the running game to a third consecutive defeat. Another ill-conceived offensive game plan and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s days with the Green and White could be numbered.
Grade: C
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets vs. Patriots: Cheers and Jeers



Cheer:
With New York’s ground and pound on life support, the Jets revived their rushing game with Shonn Greene carrying the ball 21 times for 83 yards including a three yard touchdown rumble. Nick Mangold returned to the starting lineup for Gang Green after missing two games with a high ankle sprain. Mangold made an immediate impact creating running lanes for Greene and Tomlinson while keeping Mark Sanchez relatively clean in the pocket. Green showed a great burst, hitting the hole with authority and finishing runs with fervor.

Jeer:
New England’s tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis, otherwise known as “the Law Firm,”
charged the Jets defense with multiple counts of poor tackling technique and run containment. Green-Ellis finished with a career high 126 yards and two touchdowns on 26 touches. Gang Green’s defense failed to set the edge on the Patriots running plays, as the combination of Green-Ellis and rookie running back Stevan Ridley gashed the Jets on the ground Sunday.

Maybe You Missed It:
New England grabbed a 24-14 lead early in the third quarter as Tom Brady found a wide open Deion Branch in the left corner of the end zone for a three yard scoring grab. The Jets Joe McKnight answered the bell as he broke off an 88 yard kick return taking the ball inside the Patriots 20-yard-line, setting up a nine yard touchdown catch by rookie Jeremy Kerley as New England’s lead shrunk to three points.

Big Stat:
The New England Patriots have won 30 consecutive regular season games at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough. The Patriots last home loss came in November of 2006 to the New York Jets.

Hear Hear:
"I never thought I’d be here losing three straight," admitted head coach Rex Ryan. "That’s where we’re at right now. This is a resilient team. We are the only team in NFL history to overcome two three game losing streaks. We’ve been down that road before. The only way to get back to winning is you have to roll your sleeves up and keep working and hopefully the tide will turn our way."

Final Thought:
In a matchup that pitted the Patriots potent passing attack against Gang Green’s staunch pass defense, the story of the game was the Jets inability to contain New England’s ground and pound. New York’s defense was unable to get off the field, while the Jets offense started the game with four straight three down and out possessions, a recipe for disaster opposing a Tom Brady led offense and a Bill Belichick coached club. With their record dipping to 2-3 and mired in a three-game-skid, the Jets have stumbled out of the gate and will need to rally to put together a playoff push. New York will welcome the winless Miami Dolphins to MetLife Stadium next week and with both clubs desperate for a win, this Monday Night Showdown will be sure not to disappoint.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

The NFL’s Fall Classic: Jets vs. Patriots


Sunday’s Storyline:
When New York and Boston collide in October, they’re normally playing for a spot in the Fall Classic. With the Red Sox eliminated from postseason contention, the focus has shifted to the Jets Patriots matchup as it is the buzz of the Northeast. Gang Green’s last appearance at Foxboro, a 28-21 victory in the divisional round of the 2010 playoffs, dealt New England’s title hopes a devastating blow; fueling the fire of an already terrific rivalry. Speaking of terrific, Tom Brady has stored that excruciating loss in his memory bank aiming to return the favor to New York on Sunday. With the Jets coming off back to back uninspiring losses to Oakland and Baltimore, many experts in the football realm see Gang Green as more of a pretender than a contender. Sunday’s Week 5 contest will go a long way in setting the record straight as to who is the team to beat in the AFC East. (My apologies to the diehard Bills fans)

Three Keys to Victory:
1.Go to the Ground Game: Give Shonn the Greene Light
New York’s ground and pound has been a s
hell of its former self; literally descending from first to worst in the league’s rankings. With Nick Mangold likely to give it a go on Sunday; the Jets have a great opportunity to trample a 18th ranked Patriots run defense that is without their leading tackler Jared Mayo who suffered an MCL sprain Week 4 against Oakland. The duo of Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson has yet to light it up on the ground this season, but as the saying goes “it’s now or never.” If New York is able to re-establish their bruising running game; this will take the onus off Mark Sanchez and open up the play action passing game which has been an effective weapon for Gang Green the past few seasons.

2. Give and Take: Win the Turnover Battle
Not surprisingly, in New York’s two losses they lost the turnover battle 6-3. The Jets defense has forced ten turnovers (six interceptions, four lost fumbles) through four games. Yet New York is even in the turnover margin as they have ten giveaways, five by way of the interception and five fumbles lost. Ball security will be paramount on Sunday, as New England’s high powered offense will make New York pay dearly for any mistakes. Sanchez should have plenty of chances to make plays against New England’s worst ranked passing defense, but it will be the throws that he doesn’t force that may be the difference. If Sanchez can avoid costly turnovers and adopt the “live to play another down” mantra, the Jets passing game can rebound from a pitiful performance at Baltimore.

3. Where’s Wes: Contain #83
Wes Welker has enjoyed an MVP caliber season early on hauling in 40 receptions for a whopping 617 yards, throw in five touchdowns including a 99 yard scoring grab to boot and there’s no question he has caught the attention of the Jets coaching staff. Containing Welker is much easier said than done, but if there is a man for the job, it’s the Jets superstar Darrelle Revis. Welker has all expenses paid trip to the desolate and lonely "Revis Island." The winner of this marquee matchup will likely have a major influence on the outcome of this game. Although Brady has a plethora of passing options at his disposal fazing Welker could very well be the difference between a Patriots laugher and a Jets win.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets at Patriots Preview Podcast

Jets at Patriots Preview Podcast


Showtime: Friday, October 7th at 4:00PM.
Join Rick Laughland, Daniel Feuerstein and special guest WEEI's very own Chris Price as they preview the New York Jets upcoming clash with the New England Patriots.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Mangold: The Jets Missing Centerpiece


It’s no coincidence that the Jets downturn in rushing has snowballed since Center Nick Mangold’s high ankle sprain forced him out of action the past two games. A vital cog in New York’s ground attack; Mangold commands the offensive line, barking out protection calls and blocking assignments to create running lanes while helping to keep quarterback Mark Sanchez clean in the pocket.

Sanchez was anything but “clean” on Sunday night as the Ravens demolished the Jets offensive front and put the Jets signal caller on his back virtually every drop back. Widely regarded as the league’s premier center, Mangold has been a pillar of strength for the Jets since he was drafted with the 29th overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft.

Mangold succeeded Kevin Mawae, a canton-bound c
enter and six-time Pro-Bowler in his own right. With expectations sky high, Mangold has quickly ascended to the league’s elite and is a sorely missed presence along the Jets line. Suffice it to say that the Jets struck gold in drafting him near the end of the first round.

In any case, the Jets are mired in a two game skid, with their toughest challenge lurking in the bowels of Gillette Stadium at Foxboro. With Mangold’s status uncertain for Sunday’s clash with the Patriots; New York’s playoff hopes may rest on the flowing golden locks of its burly center.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week Four Grades: Gang Green has an Identity Crisis



PASSING OFFENSE:
Mark Sanchez was a sitting duck in the pocket, getting peppered with hits from every angle. New York’s offensive line was just that, offensive. The Jets were forced to shrink their play calling selection to one and two step drop backs and even Sanchez’s quick hit passes were returned for six points. Sunday night was an all around miserable performance leaving much to be desired.
Grade: F

RUSHING OFFENSE:
Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson could barely manage their way out of the Jets backfield. The Ravens had more carries (40) than New York had rushing yards (38). In the absence of Nick Mangold New York’s offensive front struggled to win the battle at the line of scrimmage as Gang Green’s backs were engulfed by a ravenous Baltimore defense. New York’s decline in rushing output is a disconcerting trend for a team that rode their robust ground game to two straight AFC title appearances.
Grade: F

PASSING DEFENSE:
Joe Flacco went two quarters without a completion, finished 10 for 31 for 163 yards including an interception returned for a touchdow
n, yet he still managed to outplay Mark Sanchez. Flacco looked bewildered at times, but with his Ravens building a two score advantage, Baltimore’s signal caller made the high percentage plays to lead his team to victory.
Grade: A

RUSHING DEFENSE:
The Jets limited Ray Rice to a 2.6 yard per carry average and 66 total rushing yards; a much better effort than last week’s dismantling in Oakland. Linebacker Calvin Pace forced a fumble on Ravens tailback Ricky Williams, while the Jets held Baltimore to a long run of 10 yards.
Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS:
One of the few bright spots for Gang Green, highlighted by Joe McKnight’s first quarter 107 yard kick return. McKnight’s run back set a new Jets franchise record eclipsing Brad Smith’s 106 yard return against Pittsburgh Week 15 of the 2010 season. Nick Folk connected on his only field goal attempt, a 40 yarder, making him a perfect 7 for 7 so far this season.
Grade: A-

COACHING:
Rex Ryan was misty eyed returning to the city where he spent nine years of his assistant coaching career; including earning a Super Bowl ring with the 2000 Ravens. Ryan left Baltimore Sunday night, with tears of frustration as his Jets were outmanned, outcoached and outplayed in virtually every facet of the game. It’s back to the drawing board as the guys in headsets need to help Gang Green rediscover their identity.
Grade: D
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

A Marked Man: Sanchez's Sunday Nightmare


Rex Ryan was not the only one returning to Baltimore Sunday Night. Two fumble returns, two interception returns and 107 yard kickoff return to boot marked the wildest and most mistake laden game of Week four in the NFL. New York’s patchwork offensive line was no match for Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs and the rest of Baltimore’s menacing front seven. The Ravens wreaked havoc on Jets signal caller Mark Sanchez hitting him ten times, sacking him twice all the while forcing four fumbles (three lost) and one interception. With All-Pro Center Nick Mangold missing his second consecutive game with a high ankle sprain; New York was unable to counter the Ravens pass rushers, who pinned their ears back and punished Sanchez.

New York ran 19 times for 38 yards, an all-time low rushing output for a Rex Ryan coached ball club. For a Gang Green squad anointed the league’s premier “Ground and Pound Team,” Ryan’s bunch appear to have lost their offensive identity.

New York’s identity crisis could not come at a worse time. Mired in a two game losing streak, with a trip to Foxboro looming week five, the Jets need to uncover some answers and quick.

The Jets are in a state of disarray, with untimely injuries, baffling play calling and slopping execution all lending itself to a 2-2 start. Gang Green will have to put this humiliating loss in the rear view mirror as they set their sights on Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, who will certainly have a few surprises in store for a troubled Jets squad .
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week Four: Keys to Victory




Keys to Victory:

1: Stop Ray’s Runs
After getting gashed on the ground by Darren McFadden for 171 yards on 19 carries, a whopping nine yard per carry average, New York is pitted against yet another elite back in Ray Rice. In Baltimore’s two wins, Rice averaged 6.7 yards per carry, while in the Raven’s lone loss his average dipped to 3.3 yards a carry. The Ravens run game has been a key component of their winning formula the past few seasons. With the Jets licking their wounds after the pounding McFadden and the Raiders dealt them last week; the task will not be any easier heading into Baltimore Sunday night. New York will need to tighten up its run defense, if it plans on escaping with the win.

2. No more Shotty Playcalling
The Jets looked like a Jekyll and Hyde team week 3. The first half New York opened up the playbook winging the ball up the field on play action passes and establishing a solid running attack. In the second half, it all unraveled as McFadden ran wild on the Jets and Antonio Cromartie’s mishandled kick return culminated in a two score deficit. It’s critical that New York gets on top early so they can maintain an offensive balance. When Gang Green keeps their opponents guessing they’ve been able to matriculate the ball down the field effectively. Facing a vaunted Ravens defense, New York will need to dig deep into the play call sheet to keep Baltimore on its heels.

3. Make the Right Reed
Suffice it to say that Ed Reed is one of the premier defensive players in the NFL. Mark Sanchez will need to identify where Reed is on the field before every snap, as the ball hawking safety has the potential to turn any play into a defensive score. Sanchez has a propensity for throwing the football up for grabs; something that Reed will make him pay dearly for Sunday night.

Prediction: 17-13 Ra
vens.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Giants Receiving Core Rammed by Injuries


Facing the prospect of an (0-2) start; the Giants answered the bell and disposed of the St. Louis Rams 28-16 Monday night. If Big Blue thought they had injury problems coming into Monday’s game; their issues just got a heck of a lot worse.

Wide receiver Mario Manningham left the game in the second quarter following his bobbling 31 yard catch in the final minutes of the half. The team initially called it a neck injury, but it’s now reported Manningham has been diagnosed with a concussion. On the first play after Manningham’s grab, Dominick Hixon performed his own version of the juggling act reeling in a 22 yard touchdown, but tweaking his knee in the process. With two of the G-men’s top receivers likely on the shelf for Sunday’s contest in Philadelphia; New York will look to their star wide out Hakeem Nicks to percolate in Week three.

Newly acquired veteran Brandon Stoakley’s role in the offense will likely increase, while second year player Victor Cruz will see action as the number three receiving option. In an offseason where New York lost wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss to free agency; Eli Manning’s receiving weapons are disappearing fast.

With New York’s Bye Week still four weeks away, Big Blue will have to patchwork their offensive attack to stay afloat in the cutthroat NFC East.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jaguars vs. Jets Review Show

chez-jets-jaguars.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear:right; float:right; margin-left:1em; margin-bottom:1em">

Join Rick Laughland and Daniel Feuerstein as they review the Jets 32-3 romping of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Showtime: Monday, September 19th at 2:00PM

Duration: 30 minutes

Jaguars vs Jets Review Show
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week Two Grades: Jets turn McCown Upside Down




Passing Offense:
Mark Sanchez tossed two first half interceptions, but Gang Green’s defense righted the ship paving the way for a blowout victory. Sanchez was impressive on the Jets opening drive, connecting on all four of his passes for 60 yards, including a 17 yard touchdown strike to Santonio Holmes. The man they call the Sanchize would finish 17 of 24 for 182 yards with two touchdowns and two picks on the afternoon. The Jets third year quarterback looked to force the issue early on, culminating in his two turnovers, but once the defense took a stranglehold on the game, Sanchez played within himself.
/> Grade: B-

Rushing Offense:
Give the Jaguars defensive front some credit as they plugged up New York’s running lanes, limiting ball carrier Shonn Greene to 49 yards on 16 touches, including a one yard touchdown rumble. The Jets offensive line was beat to the punch, and when Nick Mangold’s high ankle sprain forced him out of action in the first quarter, New York’s run game took a nosedive. Tackle Wayne Hunter committed a hold and a false start penalty catching the ire of the coaching staff for the second consecutive week. Questions remain whether starting tailback Shonn Greene can shoulder the workload of a full-time back, with Sunday’s performance pedestrian at best.
Grade: C

Passing Defense:
Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown amassed a quarterback rating of 1.8. That’s not a typo or a cruel joke, Jacksonville’s signal caller had a nightmarish game facing a rabid Jets defense. Antonio Cromartie stole the show, with his two interceptions crushing the spirit of Jacksonville and leaving little doubt as to who deserves MVP honors on Sunday. In a game where McCown tossed four picks, the Jets had countless opportunities for more, in what was a historic day for the Jets secondary.
Grade: A+

Rushing Defense:
The human pinball, Maurice Jones-Drew, had 107 all purpose yards; yet the Jets prevented Jacksonville’s tailback from breaking off big running plays. With a long run of 16 on the afternoon, Jones-Drew was kept at bay and unable to find the end zone on Sunday. Jones-Drew 16 carries for 88 yards doesn’t have the looks of a poor performance, but given the back’s dynamic game-changing ability, the Jets were more than satisfied with his final stat line.
Grade: B+

Special Teams:
Nick Folk made good on his three field goals tries (38,45,23) and Antonio Cromartie brought back two kicks for a total of 85 yards as the Jets put the special in special teams play. New York had great starting field position, while the Jaguars were pinned deep in their own territory much of the afternoon. Hats of once again to Mike Westoff and the special teams unit.
Grade: A

Coaching:
The game plan for New York was simple, stop Maurice Jones-Drew. They executed well and were able to force Luke McCown to try and beat them, but instead he beat himself. The Jets first down play calling was predictable and ineffective as they tried time and time again to ground and pound between the tackles with Jacksonville loading up the box. When offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer went to the play action pass, the game opened up for Sanchez and his receivers and the Jets moved the ball with success. Head Coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Petine overwhelmed Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown, possibly costing him his starting job. The Jets racked up seven penalties for 70 yards and looked sloppy at times, but the team was prepared and executed the game plan well.
Grade: B+
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Cheers and Jeers: Jaguars Eat Cro


CHEER:
The Jets jump started their engines, marching 65 yards on their opening possession capping the six play drive with a 17 yard bullet to Santonio Holmes. Sunday marked the first time since Week four of the 2010 season that Gang Green’s offense found the end zone in the first quarter of play.

With the Jets off to a soaring start, New York’s defense wreaked havoc on Jacksonville’s journeyman signal caller Luke McCown. Jets rookie defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson started the onslaught on the Jaguars first offensive possession, a third down and nine play from the Jaguars 10 yard line.

McCown dropped back surveying the field, and with the Jets pressure flushing him out of the pocket, Wilkerson flew through wrapping up McCown and emphatically slamming him to the turf for a Jets safety. The Metlife Stadium crowd went into a frenzy as the Jets captured the early momentum and rattled the Jaguars quarterback.

JEER:
Ma
rk Sanchez’s decision-making was nothing short of baffling as his errant throws kept Jacksonville in contention, particularly early on. With a 9-0 advantage, and Jets fans in full throat, Sanchez hurled a deep pass intended for a triple covered Derrick Mason as Jaguars defensive back William Middleton reeled in the pick and returned the ball 11 yards into New York territory.

Sanchez’s lack of coverage recognition was evident once again with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter as he lobbed a desperation pass for wideout Santonio Holmes with Jacksonville’s Rashean Mathias stepping in front for the interception.

The Jets were able to overcome Sanchez’s mistake as Cromartie would hault the Jaguars ensuing drive with the first of his two interceptions on the day. In a game where the Jets third year quarterback was expected to manage the game and limit turnovers, his two early miscues breathed second-life into an otherwise inept Jaguars squad.

MAYBE YOU MISSED:
Antonio Cromartie was a jack of all trades for the Jets on Sunday. His second interception of the day was nearly returned for a touchdown with an official review marking the Jets cornerback out at the one-inch-line. Cromartie was a ball hawk in coverage nabbing two interceptions, while breaking off two kickoff returns for a combined 85 yards, a one man wrecking crew for Gang Green.

BIG STAT:
Luke McCown’s quarterback rating of 1.8 was the lowest by a Jets opponent in the franchise’s 41 year history.

HEAR HEAR:
“Really, I was proud of our effort,” stated Rex Ryan. “We’re where we wanted to be at 2-0, two home wins. We talked about getting better at home. This is our second home win so I feel great about that.”

FINAL THOUGHT:
In a game that was dubbed a favorable matchup for the Jets, New York earned a lopsided win, terrorizing Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown in the process. Gang Green brought the fight to Jacksonville early and cruised to a decisive victory. With New York embarking on a three game road trip including stops in Oakland, Baltimore and New England; the Jets depart Metlife Stadium winners of their first two home contests of the season and put their unbeaten record on the line as they tangled with the Raiders next Sunday, September 25th with kickoff set for 4:15pm.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week Two Preview Show: Jaguars vs Jets

Join Rick Laughland and Daniel Feuerstein as they preview this weekend's matchup as the New York Jets (1-0) play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)

Jaguars vs. Jets Podcast Preview Show


Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week Two: Jets Keys to Victory


Sunday’s Storyline:

Fresh off their improbable comeback win over Dallas, the Jets return to the friendly confines of Metlife Stadium and tangle with the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday at 1pm. New York, aided by a miraculous punt block from Joe McKnight along with a few blunders by Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo, emerged victorious on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Gang Green will try to avoid a let-down this week against a Jaguars squad that dealt New York a crushing 24-22 defeat in Week nine of the 2009 regular season. In the final minutes of that contest, Jaguars tailback Mauric
e Jones-Drew escaped for a nine yard scamper and with the goal line in-sight and the Jets out of timeouts, he alertly dove down at the one inch line. The Jaguars would milk the clock and with three seconds remaining Josh Scobee knocked through a 21 yard game winning field goal, much to the dismay of the Jets faithful.

With that bitter loss fresh in the minds of fans and players, the Jets aim to exorcize the demons from that gut wrenching loss just two seasons ago and delight fans on Sunday in what is expected to be a capacity Meadowlands crowd.

Keys to Victory:


1. Stop Jacksonville’s Mo-Jo
The secret is out. At five foot seven inches tall and 208 pounds, Maurice Jones-Drew is a human wrecking ball at the running back position and a holy terror for opposing defenses. The man they refer to as “Mo-Jo” is powerful and elusive, artful at hiding behind his mammoth lineman then hitting a crease and finding the open field. Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is mindful of Jones-Drew’s game-breaking ability and won’t be shy in packing the box with eight or nine defenders to smother the Jaguars diminutive, but dynamic back.

2. Turn McCown Upside Down.
An eighth year journeyman out of Louisiana Tech University, quarterback Luke McCown was thrust into a starting role when Jacksonville unexpectedly released their franchise signal caller David Garrard prior to week one. With more career interceptions (10), than touchdowns (9), McCown will likely be on the business end of the Jets blitzing schemes. If New York can dial up the pressure early they can disrupt McCown’s timing and create scoring opportunities for their defense and build a sizeable first half lead.

3. Early in the End zone
The Jets have failed to score a first quarter touchdown in their last 16 games. If my calculations are correct that’s an entire season without an opening period end zone celebration. For one, it’s miraculous that the Jets have a winning record over that span, but more importantly Jets fans are growing tired of waiting until the second half for Gang Green’s offensive attack to ignite. The Jets will need to feed their two headed monster of LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, establishing the run and stretching the field with play action passes. If New York can find the right mix of run and pass offense early, it could be a long day for the Jaguars.

Prediction: Jets 31- Jaguars 13 F.
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Jets Ground and Pound, Nowhere to Be Found


Sunday night’s poor rushing performance against Dallas was not the least bit pleasing to New York’s head man Rex Ryan. 45 yards on 16 carries, Gang Green’s lowest run production during Ryan’s tenure as coach has the team searching for answers.

Some may credit Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s commitment to stymieing the Jets run game, by stacking the line of scrimmage; while others attribute poor offensive line play as the culprit for a dismal rushing output. Whatever the case may be, New York wants to reclaim their ground and pound identity and for tailbacks Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson that task begins this Sunday when the Jets play host to Jacksonville. In Week one, the Jaguars rushing defense held the league’s most prolific back, Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, to a mere 24 yards on 9 carries.

If the Jets are going to rebound from a disappointing ground game opening night, they will have to do it against a Jaguars defense that perennially ranks amongst the NFL’s top run defenses. Questions remain whether third year
rusher Shonn Greene is ready to become New York’s feature back, with LaDanian Tomlinson utilized as a third down back and a sure-handed receiving option for quarterback Mark Sanchez. While Greene has shown to be an electrifying and punishing ball carrier for the Jets the past two postseasons; his durability and stamina have yet to be tested as a starter through the grinds and rigors of a 16 game regular season.

Rex Ryan and his Jets are hopeful that Week One was an aberration and the Jets will revert to their dominant run heavy schemes that helped them clinch two consecutive AFC title berths. For one thing, Ryan is relieved he won’t have to square off with his brother Rob again in the regular season, but didn’t dismiss the possibility of the two matching up again come February’s big game.

“As much as I love him {brother, Rob Ryan}, I always want to beat him and that's it,” declared Rex Ryan. "We played far from a perfect game. Not even close. That's an excellent football team. I'll sign up right now to play them in the Super Bowl."
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Week One Grades: Jets Comeback Kids Once Again



Passing Offense:
Non-existent for most of the first half, Mark Sanchez orchestrated a brilliant 9 play, 83 yard touchdown drive in the waning moments of the second quarter, closing the scoring gap to 10-7. Sanchez proved effective in the no huddle offense particularly in the final minutes of both halves connecting with seven different receiving targets for 335 yards. Sanchez’s lone interception cost the Jets a touchdown as Dallas linebacker Sean Lee returned the ball to the one yard-line, and two plays later halfback Felix Jones found the end zone for six. Sanchez was vulnerable to a few mistakes but made the big plays down the stretch to give Gang Green second life.

Grade: B

Rushing Offense:
Rex Ryan’s ground and pound was held in check by Cowboy’s defensive coordinator, and younger brother Rob Ryan. Gang Green’s offensive front was manhandled at the line of scrimmage, providing no running lanes for the Jets duo of Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson who were stopped in their tracks. New York would finish the day with 45 yards on 16 carries, the lowest rushing total produced during the Rex Ryan era.

Grade: F

Passing Defense:
The Jets had no answer for Dallas tight end Jason Witten who hauled in 6 receptions for 110 yards including a 64 yard catch and rumble in the early stages of the final period. Tony Romo made good on 23 of 36 passes for 345 yards including two touchdowns. The Jets capatil
ized on Romo’s over-aggressiveness on Dallas' final possession of the game as Darrelle Revis undercut and intercepted a pass intended for wide receiver Dez Bryant, setting up Nick Folk’s game winning 50 yard field goal.

Grade: C+

Rushing Defense:
New York’s run defense was in mid-season form surrendering just 64 yards on 17 carries, limiting the Cowboys to a long run of eight yards on the evening. Rex Ryan’s defensive front did not allow Tony Romo to escape the pocket rushing for only nine yards on three scampers. Jets defensive end Mike DeVito provided the play of the game, when he stripped a scrambling Romo down by New York’s goal line deep into the fourth quarter.

Grade: A

Special Teams:
Improbable as it was, running back Joe McKnight played the role as the Jets savior Sunday night blocking Dallas punter Mat McBriar’s boot, which danced into the hands of Isaiah Trufant who brought it in for the game- tying score. Mike Westoff’s designed punt block was executed to perfection as the Jets overloaded the Cowboy’s strong side, allowing McKnight to run in free up the middle. Nick Folk was perfect on his two field goal attempts capping a stellar effort by Gang Green’s special teamers.

Grade: A
Rick Laughland Rick Laughland Author

Popular Posts

Facebook

Follow by Email

Contact Form

Name

Email *

Message *