AFC North: New York Jets

Live blog: Browns at Jets

December, 22, 2013
Join our NFL experts as they break down the Cleveland Browns' visit to the New York Jets. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET. And, be sure to visit our NFL Nation Blitz page for commentary from every game, as well as fan photos and the latest buzz from Twitter. See you there.

Double Coverage: Browns at Jets

December, 19, 2013
Dawan Landry and Jason CampbellUSA TODAY SportsDawan Landry's Jets and Jason Campbell's Browns are a combined 1-9 since the teams' Week 10 bye.
The New York Jets (6-8) play their final home game Sunday, facing the Cleveland Browns (4-10) in what could be Rex Ryan's MetLife Stadium farewell.

No, this isn't the sexiest game on the Week 16 schedule. In fact, the two teams are a combined 1-9 since Week 10, both crashing back to reality after promising starts. They've struggled for different reasons. The Browns, losers of five straight, can throw the ball but can't run. The Jets can run but can't throw. A half-empty stadium should see quite a matchup. Jets team reporter Rich Cimini and Browns reporter Pat McManamon break it all down.

Cimini: The Browns are a lot like the Jets in that they've bottomed out after the bye week. What has gone wrong?

McManamon: Short answer: different quarterbacks, no run game, one true playmaker and a defense that is adept at blowing late leads. Add in that the Browns were grossly overrated at 4-5 and it probably shouldn't be surprising this has happened.

The Browns have started three different quarterbacks. They traded Trent Richardson, and their leading rusher has less than 400 yards. The defense might be the most disappointing part of the equation, because in the offseason, the Browns made a lot of noise and spent a lot of money improving it. The numbers show things are working, but the crunch-time performance shows there is a long way to go.

Bottom line -- the Browns aren't that good. If Bill Parcells is right, and you are your record, then the Browns are a 4-10 team with only a hope of winning six.

This is the third season in a row the Jets will not make the playoffs. Has Ryan's time run its course, or are players still hearing his message?

Cimini: This three-year drought is the franchise's longest since the dark ages of the mid-1990s, when they went six seasons without a postseason appearance. Ah, memories. Frankly, I think Ryan has done a good job this season, considering the paucity of talent on offense. They played hard last week against the Carolina Panthers -- it was a three-point game before they collapsed in the fourth quarter -- so it's not like they've tuned him out.

This is a rebuilding season and, although management never called it that, owner Woody Johnson asked the fans before the season to be patient. The team has overachieved, but the problem for Ryan is that first-year general manager John Idzik might want to hire his own guy, presumably an offensive mind to help rebuild their offense.

At least the Browns can score points, Pat. I know the Chicago Bears did a good job of containing Josh Gordon, but his eyes will light up when he sees the Jets' secondary. I'm guessing the Browns are glad they didn't trade him, right?

McManamon: Sort of like they're glad Paul Brown took the job way back when. In truth, Rich, the Browns never really planned to trade Gordon unless they got an offer that knocked their proverbial socks off. That didn't stop them from answering the phone, which they did, which started the "trade talks" rumors. But the Browns' starting point for Gordon was always a first-round pick, and no team was willing to do that given he's one mistake from a one-year suspension. The Browns are thrilled he's with the team, but they also hold their breath about what could happen.

As for the Jets' secondary, of course he's eager to face it. On paper, he should have a huge game, but the same was true last Sunday against Chicago's secondary, and for whatever reason, the Browns didn't get him the ball enough, especially early. In the first half, he was targeted one time. That number has to increase this weekend.

Rich, there was some talk at last year's draft that the Browns should take Geno Smith with their first-round pick. Has Smith shown enough to justify the selection as the Jets' future quarterback?

Cimini: Absolutely not. The Jets will end this season in the same position they did last season -- not knowing their starting quarterback. Smith has the physical tools, but he has been wildly inconsistent. I could throw out a bunch of negative stats, but I'll just say this: He has had only two turnover-free games.

Like a lot of rookie quarterbacks, he'll lock on to his No. 1 read, drawing safeties into the play. He has to do a better job of finding his checkdown options and reading blitzes, a huge problem. The kid can sling it and he's durable, but he hasn't done enough for the decision-makers to say, "He's our guy." They will draft another quarterback and make it an open competition or acquire a proven veteran to take the No. 1 job. Mark Sanchez figures to be a goner.

So, Pat, it's hard to find a lot of positives in a 4-10 record, but have you seen enough to believe coach Rob Chudzinski can be "the guy"?

McManamon: I've seen enough to believe he deserves a fairer chance. No coach that has three different starting quarterbacks and four different starting running backs can win a lot. That Chudzinski had the team at 4-5 at the bye is pretty amazing. That he lost five in a row since the bye is disappointing but shouldn't be surprising.

Chudzinski has brought an aggressive attitude to the Browns, and he has handled himself well. There have been mistakes -- taking a timeout when the clock was stopped before New England's game-winning touchdown was an egregious mistake that considerably hurt the Browns' chances to win -- but also some good moments. He has handled the quarterbacks properly, shown patience with players who needed it and helped bring along Jordan Cameron and Gordon. Chudzinski looks like he could and should be the answer, but he sure deserves a fuller deck than the one he was given this season.

Old friend of the Browns Kellen Winslow spent this season in New York. Has he made any major contributions?

Cimini: Well, he made a few headlines but not for his work on the field. He got off to a decent start -- the team's leading receiver through five games -- but he was slapped with a four-game PED suspension. (He blamed it on an allergy medication, which caused some eyes to roll.) Since his return, his role has diminished. He plays only 20 to 25 snaps a game, prompting him to publicly wonder about his lack of playing time. I don't think the Jets' Thought Police appreciated the comments, so now all he does is speak in clichés.

He also didn't win any friends when he recently predicted via Twitter a Patriots-Broncos championship game -- even though the Jets were still alive. Get the picture? Winslow can still catch, but his surgically repaired knee is shot and he can't stay on the field for long stretches.


Double Coverage: Jets at Ravens

November, 22, 2013
Muhammad Wilkerson and Ray RiceGetty ImagesMuhammad Wilkerson's Jets stuff the run, but Ray Rice will be coming off a 131-yard performance.

The Baltimore Ravens play host to the New York Jets in a showdown that has more meaning than another reunion with safety Ed Reed. These teams are battling for the final playoff berth in the AFC, even though neither has a winning record. Welcome to parity in the NFL.

The Jets (5-5) currently hold the second wild-card spot, based on a tiebreaker with Miami. The Ravens and five other teams with 4-6 records are one game behind the Jets in the playoff race.

Here's how Jets reporter Rich Cimini and Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley see this Week 12 matchup unfolding.

Jamison Hensley: The unbelievable stat with Jets quarterback Geno Smith is the 20 turnovers. How much of those interceptions and fumbles can be blamed on him? And, even though he is expected to start, what are the chances he finishes the game?

Rich Cimini: Smith’s 20 turnovers lead the league. If you’re keeping score at home, it’s 16 interceptions and four lost fumbles. I could go on and on with statistical stuff, but the bottom line is he’s making poor decisions. He’s not reading safeties well. He tends to throw late. At times, he "leaves the game plan," according to the coaches -- meaning he forces things, especially late in games. He doesn’t handle adversity well. If he struggles early, there’s a good chance it’ll be a bad game. That said, he’s a rookie with intriguing physical skills. He has a terrific arm. The Jets aren’t ready to write him off, but it’s getting down to crunch time and they can’t survive if the turnovers continue. Matt Simms has finished the past two losses, both blowouts. If Smith is a train wreck in the first half, it wouldn’t shock me if Rex Ryan turns to Simms again.

What’s wrong with Joe Flacco? I mean, 13 interceptions. That’s Geno-like.

Hensley: Rich, that's the most surprising part of Flacco's season. You can debate whether Flacco became an elite quarterback by leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl, but what Flacco has always done since coming into the league in 2008 is protect the ball. He'd never thrown more than 12 interceptions in a season before throwing his 13th this season -- and it's still November. There are a lot of factors for the increase in turnovers, starting with a routinely collapsing pocket, but I don't think he will throw an interception Sunday. Flacco typically plays better at home and has thrown just of his two interceptions at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. Another reason is that the Jets don't pick off passes, at least not this season. Their five interceptions are fewer than all but four teams in the NFL.

Of course, that could change with Reed in the Jets secondary. Reed returns to Baltimore for the second time since leaving the Ravens. He goes to the Jets after being a nonfactor in Houston. After seeing Reed play one game, what kind of an impact might he have with New York? Is the Jets' pass defense still vulnerable?

Cimini: Surprisingly, Reed started in his Jets debut and played 59 of 67 snaps on defense. Playing mostly as the single-high safety, he had no virtually no impact against the Bills. He didn’t make any glaring mistakes, but he also didn’t have any plays on the ball. They had him blitz twice, the first time ending with a long touchdown pass over Dee Milliner in zero coverage. Reed was late in deep coverage on a 43-yard touchdown pass over Antonio Cromartie, but it wasn’t an easy play, as he was coming from the opposite hash. I liked the Reed signing. The price was right and, in time, I think he’ll help with their issues on deep balls. The real problem with the pass defense is the cornerback play. Milliner is experiencing rookie growing pains, and Cromartie is having a disappointing season.

The Ravens are familiar with Jets coach Rex Ryan, who was Baltimore's defensive coordinator from 2005 to 2008. Is there still any carryover from Ryan's days with the Ravens to this season's defense?

Hensley: The tradition of getting after the passer and showing no fear in the red zone remains strong with the Ravens. Like Ryan, defensive coordinator Dean Pees will come after quarterbacks, whether it's with a safety or cornerback Lardarius Webb from the slot. The Ravens have had at least two sacks in 18 straight games, the NFL's second-longest streak since 1990. This defense also is stingy when backed up to its own end zone. The Ravens are the NFL's top-ranked red zone defense, giving up a touchdown just 32.1 percent of the time from inside their own 20-yard line. This is a big advantage for Baltimore because the Jets are tied for 22nd in red zone offense, reaching the end zone just 50 percent of the time.

Going back to Ryan, the Ravens are 2-0 against their former defensive coordinator. How would you evaluate his performance this season?

Cimini: All things considered, I think Ryan is doing a nice job. Despite having a turnover-prone rookie at quarterback, the Jets are still in the thick of the wild-card chase. Sometimes, I wonder how he’s doing it. The Jets have the worst turnover margin in the league (minus-14) and the second-worst points margin (minus-85), yet they’re 5-5. The primary reason is the defense. Ryan lost his best player (Darrelle Revis) and integrated seven new starters -- no easy task. They have the No. 1 run defense in the league, thanks to a young and promising line. I think Ryan needs to win at least two or three more games to keep his job. A win over his old team would really help his cause.

But it’s always tough to knock out the champ. Do you think the Ravens have enough heart to get back in the race and defend their title?

Hensley: Honestly, it's not about heart, because the Ravens play hard. It's more about their ability to weather the storm, which was literally the problem last week with a tornado watch in Chicago. The Ravens have come up short late in games because the other team has been making the plays and the defending champions have not. It's why the Ravens are tied for the league lead with four losses by a field goal or less. They have to figure out a way to put away teams in the fourth quarter. If they don't do that Sunday against the Jets, the Ravens' hopes of repeating will be over.

Live blog: Steelers at Jets

October, 13, 2013
Join our NFL experts as they break down the Pittsburgh Steelers' visit to the New York Jets. Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET. And, be sure to visit our NFL Nation Blitz page for commentary from every game, as well as fan photos and the latest buzz from Twitter. See you there.

Double Coverage: Steelers at Jets

October, 11, 2013
Ben Roethlisberger and Geno SmithUSA TODAY SportsBen Roethlisberger and the 0-4 Steelers take on Geno Smith and the surprising Jets.

Things you didn't expect to see in the standings when the NFL released the schedule last April: The New York Jets at 3-2, the Pittsburgh Steelers at 0-4.

The rebuilding Jets were supposed to struggle under a coach who already was being called a lame duck, and the Steelers ... well, they were supposed to be the Steelers, a model of consistency.

The two teams meet up Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Steelers are off to their worst start since 1968, the year of the Jets' only Super Bowl season. If the Steelers lose this game, they're pretty much done in terms of playoff aspirations. The Jets played a similarly desperate team Monday night, and that didn't seem to faze them, as they stunned the Atlanta Falcons on the road. The Steelers should be well-rested coming off a bye week. Jets team reporter Rich Cimini and Steelers reporter Scott Brown break down the matchup:

Cimini: Scott, I look down the Steelers' roster and I still see a lot of those familiar names -- Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Troy Polamalu, LaMarr Woodley, etc. It's hard to imagine how the Steelers could be this bad. I'm sure you could write 5,000 words on why they're 0-4, but how 'bout a few thoughts on what has gone wrong?

Brown: Rich, I think I have written triple that amount on everything that has gone wrong, but yes, who would have thought the winless Steelers would be playing the 3-2 Jets even just a couple of weeks ago? Turnovers have been the biggest problem for the Steelers, and that is on both sides of the ball. The Steelers have committed 11 of them with six coming in the last two games by Roethlisberger alone, and they are still without a takeaway, which is unbelievable when you think about it.

Playing from behind has a lot to do with the Steelers’ turnover problem, especially on defense. The defense is at its best when it puts opposing quarterbacks in obvious passing situations and forces them into the kind of mistakes that lead to turnovers. Would you believe the Steelers have had exactly two leads this season and those were 2-0 and 3-0 in the season opener against the Titans and in the second game at Cincinnati, respectively?

Rich, this defense usually confuses and frustrates rookie quarterbacks, but Geno Smith has hardly played like a first-year signal caller. Has his play surprised you, and is it sustainable?

Cimini: I was surprised by how well he played Monday night in Atlanta because he had been a turnover machine -- 11 in his first four games. All of a sudden, something clicked. I don't know if it was a one-game thing or the start of a trend.

I know the Steelers' defense isn't what it used to be, but Dick LeBeau will have had two weeks to cook up something to confuse the kid. How he responds to new looks from the defense will decide this game. The Jets leaned a bit more on the running game last week, taking some pressure off Smith, and I suspect they'll take a similar approach on Sunday. Blitz pick-up will be a key, as will the receivers' ability to gain separation. I remember the Steelers were very aggressive last season in Week 2 with the Jets' wideouts. While on the subject of quarterback play, how would you assess Big Ben's play to this point?

Brown: It has been fine other than the turnovers, and I think it will get better with tight end Heath Miller back and running back Le'Veon Bell giving the Steelers a legitimate threat in the ground game. Roethlisberger is on pace to throw for almost 5,000 yards this season, which would obliterate his career-high of 4,328 yards (2009). But Roethlisberger is also averaging just over 40 pass attempts per game. That number is way too high, especially given how leaky the Steelers’ offensive line has been through the first quarter of the season.

The emergence of Bell should restore balance to the Steelers’ offense. My question for you is whether or not such balance will have to wait a week? The Jets’ defensive line looks awfully physical, and it is hard to envision that Steelers having much luck running the ball against it.

Cimini: You're right, Scott, the Jets have been very good against the run. They've faced some good backs -- Chris Johnson, C.J. Spiller, Doug Martin -- and they're allowing only 76.2 yards per game and 3.0 per carry. I'd be surprised if the Steelers have much success on the ground.

The Jets' front seven is much improved from last season. They added more athleticism at nose tackle (Damon Harrison), tackle (Sheldon Richardson), weak inside linebacker (DeMario Davis) and rush linebacker (Quinton Coples). They're no longer vulnerable on the perimeter, as they were last season. I think they will make the Steelers one-dimensional, which should allow them to get good pressure on Roethlisberger. Speaking of pressure ... four sacks for the mighty Steelers? What happened to that defense?

Brown: Man, depends on who you ask. The easy answer is to say that age has finally collared a once fearsome defense, but that is not entirely accurate. Defensive end Brett Keisel, strong safety Polamalu and cornerback Ike Taylor are among the most tenured Steelers, and they have played well this season.

Age has caught up with the Steelers a little bit, and the defense needs to get more out of younger players such as cornerback Cortez Allen and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. Jones, the Steelers’ No. 1 pick last April, is going to be really good, but he has not made much of an impact as a pass-rusher. The Steelers desperately need Jones to emerge opposite Woodley, who has three of the Steelers’ four sacks.


AccuScore: Predicting Steelers-Jets

September, 15, 2012

Prim Siripipat goes inside the numbers for the Jets-Steelers game.

Video: Previewing Steelers-Jets

September, 15, 2012

Rich Cimini of discusses the three keys to the Jets-Steelers game and gives his prediction.
The news early Thursday was that James Harrison was going to play Sunday against the Jets after the Steelers linebacker told a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter that he would do so. Hours later, Harrison continued to be a non-participant at practice, which cast doubts on whether he would suit up this weekend.

The headline in this morning's Post-Gazette read: "Harrison will not play Sunday." But when you read the article, it only says "Harrison looks like a no-go again."

So, is Harrison going to play or not? Friday's practice report will provide more conclusive information. If Harrison doesn't practice, which has been the case since he underwent a minor procedure on his knee Aug. 15, it's highly unlikely he will play Sunday. If he is limited, that would provide a sliver of hope he would be on the field chasing down Mark Sanchez.

Harrison has been one of the most durable linebackers in the league, which is why many believed he would be back by the season opener. Now, he is close to missing two games.

Wear and tear appears to be taking its toll on the 34-year-old Harrison. From 2007 to 2010, he missed one start in 64 games. Harrison had two back surgeries during the 2011 offseason and came back sooner than the doctor's timetable to play in that season's opener. This time, the Steelers' fast healer -- as coach Mike Tomlin once described him -- is taking longer than expected.

You still have to question whether this would be an issue if Harrison had the surgery in June instead of August. It's been reported that rest was expected to cure his knee ailment. Some believe Harrison pushed too hard to get back, which aggravated the knee. Whatever the case -- whether it was indecision or impatience -- the Steelers are paying the price for not having a five-time Pro Bowl player and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

"I can't imagine how much it's bothering him," nose tackle Casey Hampton told the paper. "I think he thought he would be back by now, so I think that's making it a lot tougher on him."
No one knows whether Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer or Rashard Mendenhall will be the Steelers' featured running back Sunday against the New York Jets. The one certainty is that all take their direction from running-backs coach Kirby Wilson, who will be on the sideline for his first regular-season game at Heinz Field since being injured in a house fire in January.

[+] EnlargeKirby Wilson
Zuma Press/Icon SMIKirby Wilson, seen here during training camp, suffered severe burns during a January house fire.
Wilson was burned on 45 percent of his body and spent two months in the hospital recovering from his injuries. When training camp began, Wilson was back yelling instructions to his players and even ran with them from drill to drill.

He has been overseeing one of the most banged-up groups on the team. Mendenhall, the team's leading rusher, returned to full practice after having surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament. Redman has had to deal with a hip injury, but he's no longer on the injury report. And Dwyer came back to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday with a foot injury.

While the road to recovery for these backs no way compares to what their coach had to endure, Wilson serves as the perfect role model for perseverance.
CINCINNATI -- No Chad Ochocinco, eh, I mean Johnson. No Twitter. No drama.

The Bengals are enjoying a quiet training camp, which is put into perspective by Friday's preseason opponent, the New York Jets.

"We're going to play the headline team, so it's good," said Lewis, alluding to the attention directed at the Jets from Tebow-mania to their daily fights. "They're a good football team. They're well coached. They have very good players. They were disappointed in their season last year just like we were disappointed in our 2010 season. Now, they got something to prove just like we feel like we have something to prove."

Here are some other notes from Lewis' talk with reporters Wednesday:

On playing a game with replacement officials: "No concerns. It's not in my control. I told my guys to go play and it'll be what it'll be. These guys have been working collegiate games. They're the guys who have been chosen to go. They're going to do the best job they can. I'm sure when I meet with them before the game, that's what they're going to tell me."

On whether the starters will play a half like they did last year: "I doubt that they would play that much. I give them certain goals to reach. If they reach them, earn your way out."

On Johnson's profanity-filled news conference featured on "Hard Knocks" last night: "See he's acting then. He's not being himself. He doesn't really curse. He's not a real curser."

On whether first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick, who has begun on-field work, will be ready to return in a week or two: "We'll see. Whenever they tell me he's ready."

Most assume the Cleveland Browns will take running back Trent Richardson with the fourth overall pick. But, at this point, the Browns can't assume he's going to be available when they're on the clock.

The Minnesota Vikings could be the Browns' worst enemy because they're apparently shopping the third overall pick.

One team that the Browns apparently don't have to worry about is the New York Jets. A day after speculation started that the Jets could be interested in trading up 13 spots to take Richardson, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported Thursday that there is a "zero-point-zero percent chance" the Jets will make such a move.

A bigger threat to take Richardson away from the Browns is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who currently have the No. 5 pick. This would be an easier trade to work out, but the Buccaneers might not be willing to give up any picks. Tampa Bay has several needs and only six draft choices.

Another team to watch is the St. Louis Rams, who are at No. 6. ESPN's Todd McShay estimated that there's a 20 percent chance that the Rams would trade up for Richardson.

"They are infatuated with Trent Richardson," McShay told ESPN's "Mike & Mike In the Morning", "and would at least consider it or try to see if they would get a good deal to move up."

If a team trades up to get Richardson, the Browns will have an opportunity to move down because there will teams interested to move up for offensive tackle Matt Kalil. According to the NFL Network, the Buffalo Bills are thinking of jumping from No. 10 to get Kalil and would give up their second-round pick (41st overall) to do so (which would almost satisfy the draft-pick value chart). The Browns could fall back to that spot and get Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd.

It's also possible that the Browns don't care if Richardson is there or not. Cleveland could be targeting Oklahoma wide receiver Justin Blackmon or LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 4. In that scenario, the Browns would take a running back like Boise State's Doug Martin with their second first-round pick (22nd overall) or their second-round one (No. 37).

The popular pick for the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 is Alabama running back Trent Richardson. But what if he's not there?

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio is hearing rumblings that the New York Jets might trade up to No. 3, one spot ahead of the Browns, to grab Richardson. Also, according to ESPNNewYork's Rich Cimini, Richardson said the Jets called him Sunday to verify correct contact info just in case they trade up for him.

This would be a costly move up from No. 16 for the Jets, although it won't be as drastic as the Atlanta Falcons jumping up 21 spots last year. The odds are probably against the Jets making such a move, but you can't discount it because the Jets have moved up in the past.

This would be another setback for the Browns, who also lost out on the chance to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III. Some would say the Browns' next option is wide receiver Justin Blackmon or offensive tackle Matt Kalil, but I wouldn't rule out LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. Basing it on best player and not need, Claiborne is the better pick. Blackmon, though, would address a bigger need at wide receiver.

If the Jets do steal Richardson from Cleveland, the best move the Browns could make is trade back. With Richardson off the board, there's not an offensive player who warrants a top-five pick and can fill a need for Cleveland. Kalil is a good prospect, but teams don't take right tackles that high. The Browns' game plan should be to fall back and see if they can draft Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd.

Countdown Live: Jets-Ravens

October, 2, 2011
Join our and NFL experts as they break down the tough AFC match up between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens.

Contribute your thoughts and questions beginning at 8:20 p.m. ET. See you there.

Video: Bengals-Jets pregame

August, 21, 2011

Rachel Nichols reports from New York, where the Jets will play host to Cincinnati at 7 p.m.