New York Jets: Seattle Seahawks

Pete Carroll: From Jets castoff to champion

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Nineteen years before his confetti shower Sunday night at Super Bowl XLVIII, Pete Carroll was a guy without a job. It was early January 1995, and he walked into his owner’s office, carrying a binder that included his offseason plan for the New York Jets.

Carroll had gone 6-10 in his first season as head coach, but he had worked a week of 15-hour days when the season ended. Now he was looking forward to presenting his strategy to 80-year-old Leon Hess, best known for his expertise in oil, not football. Carroll sat in an anteroom with colleagues; it was like being outside the curtain, waiting to see the Great Oz.

His meeting with Hess lasted only 45 seconds, according to a person who was there -- a dark chapter Carroll has refused to discuss.

"I'm done," a stunned Carroll told a friend as he walked out.

Rock, meet bottom.

Carroll rebounded from that low point, reaching the top of his profession on the same plot of swamp land in New Jersey on which he failed in his first head-coaching gig. The Super Bowl was over almost as quickly as his meeting with Hess all those years ago, as the Seattle Seahawks jumped Peyton Manning and cruised to a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium.

A nice guy finished first.

Afterward, Carroll stood at an interview podium, with two pieces of green confetti shimmering in his silver hair. At 62, he was the third-oldest coach in history to win a Super Bowl, a twice-fired NFL head coach who bolted his USC dynasty before the NCAA posse arrived in town.

Now, he's a Super Bowl champion.

"Is this vindication for the 'spike' play?" he asked, alluding to Dan Marino’s legendary fake spike in November 1994 -- the play that doomed Carroll.

Looking into the cameras, Carroll said, "Hey, Marino, you got a lucky freaking play, all right? It happened. That was a long time ago."

Carroll never got a chance to use that meticulously prepared plan in New York, but he saved it and -- with help from general manager John Schneider -- rebuilt the Seahawks with that very blueprint. It was on display on the sport's biggest stage. To say the Seahawks dominated would be like saying their owner, Paul Allen, is rich.

The Seahawks captured their first Super Bowl with a performance that reflected Carroll's personality. They were loose and confident, energetic and California cool -- not bad for a team that had no players with previous Super Bowl experience.

Carroll set an early tone with trickeration, an end around for Percy Harvin and a throwback pass to quarterback Russell Wilson. The latter didn’t work, but it sent a message.

Carroll, all about having fun, was going to play this game the same way. Hey, maybe he learned something from funny man Robin Williams, an old high school classmate. In contrast, the Broncos were tight, and it showed on the first play -- a miscommunication that resulted in an errant shotgun snap and a safety.

Twelve seconds into the game, the score was 2-0.

It felt like 22-0.

Before it was over, the Seahawks had scored almost every way imaginable -- a safety, an interception return and a kickoff return. All three phases contributed to a monster performance.

"That’s exactly how we try to play," Carroll said. "We’ve put that up pretty consistently for a lot of years -- not just [in Seattle], but for a lot of years. I'm thrilled that it came out so clearly, so obviously, because that's how we wanted to put a stamp on a world championship."

Throughout the blowout, Carroll never stopped being Carroll, bouncing around, patting rears and slapping shoulder pads. Back in the day, he was mocked for his player-friendly style, and critics claimed he was too nice to be a leader of men.

The criticism resurfaced in 1999, when he was fired by the New England Patriots after three seasons. The daunting challenge of succeeding Bill Parcells proved too great for Carroll. It ended with another owner, another meeting and another pink slip.

[+] EnlargePete Carroll
AP Photo/Matt SlocumSeahawks coach Pete Carroll stayed true to his coaching beliefs -- despite a couple of NFL pink slips -- to earn his first Super Bowl title Sunday night.
Carroll never changed his ways. He just became an older version of himself. He wore a badge of that enthusiasm on his left cheek, a three-inch scratch. He revealed that it occurred in Friday’s practice, when he volunteered to return a kickoff in a drill. He stepped in because he wanted to give Harvin a rest, and -- sans helmet -- he received a glancing blow from Derrick Coleman.

He laughed about it. Why not? Carroll became the third coach in history to win a Super Bowl and an Associated Press national title in college. He joined Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson in that small fraternity.

"It feels very much the same," said Carroll, comparing a bowl win with a Super Bowl win.

Carroll put the Seahawks in the right frame of mind by balancing fun and X's and O's. Not known as a micromanager, he actually practiced halftime in Friday’s practice. That’s right, they orchestrated the entire thing, minute by minute, familiarizing the players and staff with the longer-than-usual halftime for the Super Bowl.

"I think Pete does a great job of making every day seem like a championship," cornerback Byron Maxwell said.

The "score" was 14-14 when they did it in practice. On Sunday, the halftime score was 22-0, which became 29-0 when Harvin returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown. That came with 12 seconds gone, same as the safety at the start of the game.

It truly was a testament to the 12th Man, Seattle's home crowd.

"He's the most forward-thinking coach for the players of today that I've ever seen," said Allen, marveling at Carroll's halftime prep.

Carroll was thinking that way in 1994, when the Jets -- a backward franchise at the time -- took their forward-thinking coach and sent him packing with a "You’re fired!" that was so quick and cold that it would've made Donald Trump blush.

Prediction: Peyton wins in Eli's house

February, 2, 2014
Feb 2
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Pre-game thoughts from Super Bowl XLVIII:

Okay, I was only half-right on my pre-playoff Super Bowl prediction. I had the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers making it to MetLife Stadium. In the interest of consistency, I'm going to ride the Broncos over the Seahawks. Forecast: Broncos 28, Seahawks 20.

A few thoughts:

1. Peyton Manning is the best player in the game, and when the best player happens to be a brainiac, all-time great at the quarterback position, it's hard to ignore. Manning hasn't been sacked in the postseason, and I don't think the Seahawks' four-man rush will generate a lot of pressure. If the Seahawks send five or six, Manning will find the soft spot in their coverage.

2. The Seahawks play a fairly simple defensive scheme. They don't try to confuse opponents with exotic looks; Pete Carroll doesn't trick it up because he has the utmost confidence in his players to thrive in their man-to-man scheme. So, basically, it'll be mano y mano -- the Broncos' wide receivers and tight ends versus the Seahawks' cornerbacks and safeties. It's a fascinating matchup because the Broncos are prolific with YAC (yards after catch) and the Seahawks' -- sound tacklers -- lead the league in limiting YAC.

3. I'm curious to see how the Seahawks use cornerback Richard Sherman. During the season, he lined up to the offense's right on 98 percent of the snaps, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Everyone assumes he'll be covering Demaryius Thomas the entire game. If he does, it'll take him out of his comfort zone because Thomas lines up 55 percent of the time on the left. The scouting reports also say Manning is more efficient when he throws to his left. I suspect Manning will be throwing to where Sherman isn't.

4. Manning will be involved an intriguing chess match with the Seahawks' defensive. I suspect the Seahawks, keying in on history's most prolific passing attack, will use a seven-man box, daring Manning to run. Manning will recognize this, obviously, and check into running plays. That's why I see Knowshon Moreno having a big game.

5. In contrast, I think the Broncos have to play an eight-man box against Marshawn Lynch & Co. He's the kingpin of the Seattle offense. I don't think the Broncos' run defense gets enough credit. They allowed only 3.7 yards per carry on runs between the tackles, which bodes well for their chances of stopping Lynch. They have to put the game in Russell Wilson's hands. I like Wilson, but he's gone six straight starts with a QBR under 50. The wild card is wide receiver Percy Harvin. If the Seahawks can get him involved, maybe with a gadget play or two, it could really crease the Denver defense.

6. In the end, there's the destiny factor. This is Manning's year. He dominated the regular season, and I think a Super Bowl championship is meant to be.
Dan QuinnAdam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsSeahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been in demand.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Dan Quinn is a Jersey Guy. He grew up in a five-bedroom colonial in Morristown, listening to Bon Jovi and rooting for the New York Giants of Parcells and Taylor and Carson. He lived for the Jersey Shore, long before it was a TV show, and he dreamed of one day of coming home to coach football.

Quinn did it for two years, in 2007 and 2008, coaching the defensive line for Eric Mangini's New York Jets. You never know, maybe there will be more green in his future, because if Rex Ryan disappoints in 2014 and gets fired, Quinn will be high on general manager John Idzik's list of replacement candidates.

But that's crystal ball talk, especially this week, with Quinn back home for Super Bowl XLVIII. He's the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, and his job is to figure out what so many others have tried (and failed) to do this season: Make Denver Broncos star Peyton Manning play like a mortal quarterback.

Quinn, 43, isn't coming into this with decades of been-there, done-that experience, that's for sure, but he has worked for several respected coaches in a relatively short amount of time. Pete Carroll. Nick Saban. Steve Mariucci. And the late Joe Gardi, the former Hofstra coach who made his bones as a Jets defensive assistant during the heyday of the New York Sack Exchange.

"It was one of the most awesome places to come up as a young coach," Quinn said of his five years at Hofstra (1996-2000), which produced NFL players Wayne Chrebet, Willie Colon, Lance Schulters and Marques Colston before the university's suits decided to shut down the football program.

After jobs with the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, Quinn ended up back on the Hofstra campus, except it was to work for the Jets, who trained at the Long Island school before moving to Florham Park, N.J., in 2008. He saw a lot in a short amount of time with the Jets, experiencing one of the most talked-about years in team history.

[+] EnlargeDan Quinn
Al Pereira/Getty ImagesQuinn, who spent two seasons coaching the Jets' defensive line, is no stranger to working in East Rutherford, N.J., site of Sunday's Super Bowl.
Brett Favre, 2008.

Quinn said the quarterbacks had a small basketball hoop in their meeting room and that, during breaks, Favre organized games. He described the future Hall of Famer as ultra competitive.

"He was one of the most fun guys to be around," Quinn said, smiling. "He had a great energy about him in terms of the way he conducted himself."

Unfortunately for the Jets, Favre's arm gave out, the team collapsed in the home stretch, it missed the playoffs, and Mangini was fired.

In came Ryan, who cleared out almost the entire coaching staff, including Quinn. But there was something different about Quinn's departure. People remember how a variety of staffers, from the video department to the grounds crew, showed up to say goodbye -- a reflection of his popularity.

Quinn went to Seattle, where he was introduced to Idzik, then a Seahawks executive. Quinn stayed for two years and returned this season, with a two-year stint as the University of Florida defensive coordinator sandwiched in between. He was Carroll's immediate choice to replace Gus Bradley, who left to become the Jacksonville Jaguars' coach.

Under Quinn, the Seahawks improved, going from No. 4 to No. 1 in total defense. Obviously, he inherited a tremendous amount of talent, but there's something to be said for not messing up a good thing. In some ways, he made it better, especially against the pass.

"He represents our mentality and our approach really well, that's why we were so excited to get him back," Carroll said. "He's everything beyond what I thought he'd be. He was able to not just capture [our philosophy], but accent it, doing it in his fashion."

Quinn has worked for polar opposites in Carroll and Mangini. Carroll is laid back, the epitome of California cool. Mangini is rigid and uptight, a micromanager. But Quinn liked his time with Mangini, praising his organizational skills and saying "there was an upper level of thinking with Eric."

Carroll has a Mr. Nice Guy reputation, but he challenges his assistants in the meeting room, seeing how they respond in hypothetical game situations. Of course, there's a soft edge.

"There are a lot of different ways to do the job," Quinn said.

Quinn has drawn attention around the league. During the Seahawks' playoff bye, he interviewed for the Cleveland Browns' head-coach vacancy. He might have landed the job, but he was penalized by the Seahawks' success. The Browns didn't want to wait for Quinn, so they hired Mike Pettine.

"No complaints on my end," said Quinn, who will be a hot candidate next year.

What's to complain about? He's preparing for a Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J., where he spent part of his youth cheering for his champions. If he wins Sunday, he'll walk among them.

Pete Carroll laments Jets win that got away

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
Welcome to the Super Bowl, coach. Now about that game you lost 20 years ago. ...

That's pretty much how it went Sunday night for Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who arrived in New Jersey and -- eight questions into his first news conference -- was asked about his ill-fated season as the New York Jets' head coach, 1994. The turning point, as every tortured Jets fan knows, was Dan Marino's game-winning fake spike play in the 12th game.

"It could have been entirely different had we just hung on and won that game," Carroll said.

Quick history lesson: The Jets were 6-5, playing the Miami Dolphins for a share of first place in the AFC East. The Jets blew a 24-6 lead and lost in the final seconds, when Marino duped the Jets into thinking it was a "clock" play -- except he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Mark Ingram. Carroll lost the next four games, finished 6-10 and got fired. In came Rich Kotite, who lost 28 of his 32 games.

The fake spike is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in Jets history.

“It didn’t have to be," Carroll said. "When you look back on it, that’s what you would point to because we lost four games after that as well. There was a time in that game when we were ahead and doing great, and it just kind of went south on us. That play has been a pretty famous play, and I’m glad for Dan. That’s the only guy I’m glad for, that he pulled it off. It was a moment when things turned."

Carroll hasn't talked much over the years about his bitter divorce from the Jets, but on the first official night of Super Bowl hype -- before a packed news conference comprised of many local reporters -- he took the high road. He spoke glowingly of his five seasons with the Jets, the first four as the defensive coordinator.

No, he didn't think about it on the long plane ride, "but I have thought about it quite a bit," he said. "It has come up in the week’s preparation already. I’ve always loved playing in New York. I loved the fact that I had a chance to be here for five years. To have a chance to be a head coach in New York is an extraordinary honor because of the history and the following and all that goes along with that.

"Unfortunately it didn’t last very long, but it still was a great experience and I remember it well. I’m really proud to come back here and coach in a game like this, this status, in places we once lived and worked. It’s a special honor to do that.”

Well played.

Championship predictions: Broncos, 49ers

January, 18, 2014
Jan 18
I went 4-0 last week with my divisional round picks, bringing my postseason record to 6-2. Anyone who followed my weekly picks for the New York Jets knows my playoff success is against the norm. As Rex Ryan would say, I'm ascending. Without further delay, predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games:

Denver Broncos 31, New England Patriots 28


Who's going to the Super Bowl?


Discuss (Total votes: 12,822)

At the start of the playoffs, I picked the Broncos to win the AFC, so I have to ride that horse all the way. You have to admire what Bill Belichick has done with the Patriots, truly a fantastic coaching job, but I don't think he'll have enough answers on defense to stop Peyton Manning & Co. The Broncos' offense is so balanced. In fact, they have five players with at least 10 touchdowns, an NFL record. Yeah, yeah, I know about Manning's playoff hiccups, but I also know that, statistically, he usually improves when he gets a second crack at a team in the same season.

In the Week 12 meeting, the Patriots played rope-a-dope, playing a light "box" and daring the Broncos to run. And they did, rushing for 280 yards on 47 carries against six or fewer defenders in the box, according to ESPN Stats & Information -- 14 more attempts than any team over the past six years. Incredibly, the Broncos still lost after a miracle comeback by the Bradys. This time, the Patriots will have to show more respect for the Broncos' running game. In turn, that will open things up for Manning, who will torch the Patriots' safeties and linebackers with play-action passes. In two weeks, Manning will be playing for the Super Bowl title in his little brother's house.

San Francisco 49ers 23, Seattle Seahawks 17

I picked the 49ers to go all the way, so there's no point in jumping off the bandwagon. This game features a new-age quarterback matchup between Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, both of whom can make plays outside the pocket. This will be a huge key in the game. I think the team that defends it better probably will win. On paper, that edge goes to the 49ers, whose defense is No. 3 in QBR against passes outside the pocket. We should note that Wilson has thrown more passes outside the pocket than any quarterback in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Meanwhile, the Seahawks' defense, while dominant in so many other areas, isn't so hot in that situation -- only 15th in QBR. There will be opportunities for the elusive Kaepernick.

The 49ers have won eight straight, including two playoff games on the road. Yes, they've struggled in Seattle -- who hasn't? -- but they're playing with an incredible sense of urgency. The Seahawks are sputtering a bit on offense, with Wilson off his game in recent weeks, so I'm taking the hot team and the hot quarterback.

Braylon, foot in mouth, gets boot

December, 4, 2012
Former Jets receiver Braylon Edwards tried to defend Mark Sanchez on Twitter, and he ended up signing his pink slip.

[+] EnlargeBraylon Edwards
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsBraylon Edwards has a grand total of 23 receptions in the two seasons since he left the Jets.
Edwards, who referred to the Jets' front office as "idiots" for the way it has treated Sanchez, was released Tuesday by the Seahawks. He was waived/injured.

Coincidence? Probably not.

Edwards, who played with the Jets in 2009 and 2010, tweeted this gem: "Don't blame Sanchez. I played there. Blame the idiots calling shots. Mark is a beast and will prove it when given a proper chance."

Edwards didn't name names, but he was obviously referring to GM Mike Tannenbaum, owner Woody Johnson and perhaps even coach Rex Ryan.

A few hours later, Edwards was in serious damage control. He offered another tweet, trying to make amends:

"I would like to apologize to the Jets family and my fans for my emotional outburst. Mark is a friend and former teammate who I wholeheartedly support. Nonetheless, I have disrespected and insulted an administration that I have the utmost respect for."

Edwards, whose career has been in decline since leaving the Jets as a free agent, caught only eight passes for the Seahawks. In 2011, he had only 15 receptions for the 49ers.

Playing-time analysis: Defense

November, 13, 2012
A breakdown of the defensive snaps from Sunday's game (based on a total of 72):

Muhammad Wilkerson: 59 snaps/82 percent
Mike DeVito: 55 snaps/76 percent
Sione Po'uha: 35 snaps/49 percent
Quinton Coples: 30 snaps/42 percent
Damon Harrison: 2 snaps/3 percent

David Harris: 72 snaps/100 percent
Calvin Pace: 65 snaps/90 percent
Bryan Thomas: 49 snaps/68 percent
Bart Scott: 36 snaps/50 percent
Demario Davis: 21 snaps/29 percent
Garrett McIntyre: 20 snaps/28 percent
Ricky Sapp: 13 snaps/18 percent

LaRon Landry: 72 snaps/100 percent
Yeremiah Bell: 72 snaps/100 percent
Antonio Cromartie: 71 snaps/99 percent
Kyle Wilson: 64 snaps/89 percent
Eric Smith: 31 snaps/43 percent
Ellis Lankster: 24 snaps/33 percent
Isaiah Trufant: 1 snap/1 percent

Analysis: Rex Ryan said last week that certain defensive players would have expanded role, and we saw that with Smith, McIntyre and Sapp, who was called up from the practice squad. They deployed Smith in a "Big Nickel" look, with three safeties. ... Lankster got more playing time, too, but that was because of an early knee injury to Trufant. ... Scott returned after a one-game toe injury and was involved in a time-share with Davis, who played mostly on passing downs.

Playing-time analysis: Offense

November, 13, 2012
A breakdown of the offensive snaps from Sunday's game (based on a total of 52):

Mark Sanchez: 45 snaps/87 percent
Tim Tebow: 8 snaps/15 percent

Shonn Greene: 36 snaps/69 percent
Lex Hilliard: 19 snaps/37 percent
Bilal Powell: 11 snaps/21 percent

Dustin Keller: 44 snaps/85 percent
Jeff Cumberland: 23 snaps/44 percent
Jason Smith (jumbo): 13 snaps/25 percent
Konrad Reuland: 7 snaps/13 percent

Stephen Hill: 33 snaps/63 percent
Jeremy Kerley: 28 snaps/54 percent
Clyde Gates: 26 snaps/50 percent
Chaz Schilens: 17 snaps/33 percent
Jason Hill: 2 snaps/4 percent

Analysis: This was Tebow's highest snap count since Week 3 against the Dolphins. ... The most interesting development was the reduction in playing time for Kerley. In the previous game, he played in 79 percent of the snaps -- a disappointing game in which he struggled against the Dolphins' corners. In this game, Kerley nearly fell behind Gates in the playing-time pecking order. One possible reason: The coaches were concerned about Kerley (5-foot-9) matching up against the Seahawks' big corners. That's why they got him the ball on bubble screens. ... The coaches should consider a reduction in time for Hill, who had no production (zero catches) in 33 snaps.

Drive of the game

November, 13, 2012
DRIVE: The Seahawks, leading 14-7, took over at their 16-yard line with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter.

OUTCOME: They put away the game with a seven-play, 84-yard touchdown drive, culminating with Russell Wilson's 31-yard pass to Sidney Rice.

The Jets' defense had played well to this point. The first two touchdowns it allowed came on short fields -- the result of turning it over on downs and a muffed punt by Jeremy Kerley. This time, the Jets were on their heels. The key play was an 18-yard run by Wilson, a read-option play -- the kind of play the Jets like to run with Tim Tebow. Two plays later, the Seahawks moved Rice to the slot, isolating him on nickel back Ellis Lankster. Rice beat him with a vertical route, and there was no deep help from the safety.

IMPACT: Trailing by 14 points, the Jets were cooked. They're not built to play catch-up by throwing the ball, and their pass protection was exposed on the ensuing series. They failed to block CB Richard Sherman on a front-side blitz, resulting in a strip sack and loss of possession.

Five plays that shaped the game

November, 13, 2012
A look back at five critical plays in Sunday's 28-7 loss to the Seahawks:

1. The Double Stuff. The situation: Fourth-and-1 on the Seahawks' 40. On the Jets' first possession, Rex Ryan decided to go for it. Why not? They entered the game with the No. 1 short-yardage offense in the league. On third down, Lex Hilliard was stuffed for no gain, their first third-and-1 failure of the season. What were the odds of it happening again? Well, it did. Shonn Greene ran off left guard and was stopped by Mike Morgan, who started for the injured K.J. Wright. It set a bad tone for the Jets, giving the Seahawks a short field. And they capitalized.

2. The Jump Ball. The situation: First-and-10 on the Jets' 38. Moments after Greene was stopped cold, the Seahawks took a 7-0 lead. Rookie QB Russell Wilson threw a deep, back-shoulder fade to Golden Tate, he of the controversial "Fail Mary" touchdown against the Packers. This time, there was no doubt. He outjumped CB Kyle Wilson and walked into the end zone.

3. Timmy Touchdown -- Not. The situation: Third down from the Seahawks' 1. The Jets were oh-so-close to taking a 14-7 lead. Tim Tebow came in the game and, in the shotgun formation, was set to run a counter. Afterward, he said it would've been a certain touchdown based on the alignment of the defense. But the play never was run because Dustin Keller was flagged for a false start. Keller finished with two false starts and a dropped pass. He called it his worst game as a pro.

4. Red-zone disaster. The situation: Third down from the Seahawks' 6. After Keller's penalty, Tebow was replaced by Mark Sanchez. (By the way, Tebow was ticked off by the penalty as he left the field.) The Jets used a bunch formation to the right, which worked for a split-second. Keller ran a flat route to the right corner, around the 3-yard line. Sanchez was late with his throw -- a floater -- and it was intercepted by CB Richard Sherman. It was Sanchez's fourth red-zone interception of the season, most in the league. WR Stephen Hill also was open in the end zone.

5. Adding insult to insult. The situation: First-and-23 from the Jets' 23. The Seahawks already had the game in control, 21-7, but they piled on with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter. They dialed up a gadget play, with Wilson pitching the ball to Tate, who pulled up and threw a 23-yard touchdown to WR Sidney Rice. CB Antonio Cromartie gave up on Rice, thinking it was going to be a run. Afterward, the Seahawks enjoyed a laugh at the Jets' expense. Said Rice: "His throwing motion was the worst. I thought we traded for Tebow for a second."

Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 28, Jets 7

November, 11, 2012

SEATTLE -- So much for Antonio Cromartie's playoff guarantee. Once again, the Jets were all talk, no action. They embarrassed themselves for the second straight game, committing three turnovers and generating no offense Sunday in a 28-7 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.

What it means: It's official: The Jets (3-6) are a train wreck. They've dropped five of their past six games and have no hope because they can't score. Their only points came on a defensive touchdown. When defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is your leading scorer, you've got problems. The Jets' problems run deep, and this looks like an organization headed for an offseason shake-up.

Quarterback change? If Rex Ryan doesn't bench Mark Sanchez now, he'll never bench him. Sanchez was terrible, committing two costly turnovers -- including his fourth red zone interception of the season. The question is, could Tim Tebow do any better? Probably not. The offensive problems go way beyond Sanchez (9-for-22, 124 yards). There were unblocked blitzers, and the receivers couldn't get open against the Seahawks' physical, man-to-man coverage. It was a deadly mix, and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano had no answers.

The Jets produced only 185 total yards. Their only real scoring chance blew up when Sanchez telegraphed a pass from the Seahawks' 6, and it was intercepted at the goal line by Richard Sherman.

If Ryan benches Sanchez, he can't go back. Does he want to go down that road? The Jets have scored only one offensive touchdown in the past seven quarters. It'll be a small miracle if Sparano survives this debacle of a season.

Tebow throws! Hey -- whaddya know? -- Tebow has a new role: Designated Screen-Pass Thrower to Jeremy Kerley. Tebow, who attempted only two passes from the quarterback position in the first eight games, went 3-for-3 -- all short passes to Kerley. Yeah, that really rattled the Seahawks.

Tebow played a total of seven snaps on offense (plus three penalties), but his presence at times did more harm than good. Tight end Dustin Keller was penalized twice for false starts, and the Jets had to burn a timeout because there was confusion with the personnel grouping. What a mess.

Kerley's miscue: Does this sound familiar? The Jets committed a costly mistake on special teams. This time, Kerley muffed a punt, giving the Seahawks a short field and allowing them to march for a go-ahead touchdown. This marked the third straight game in which the Jets were undermined by their once-formidable special teams. When you're so limited offensively, you can't afford to give away field position with your special teams.

Silver lining: The Jets' defense did a lot of chirping during the week, saying how it was planning to rattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson -- and backed it up for three quarters. The defense pressured Wilson (12-for-19, 188 yards, two TDs), contained Marshawn Lynch (27 carries, 124 yards, TD) and scored on Wilkerson's 21-yard fumble recovery -- a strip sack by Mike DeVito.

For three quarters, the Jets had two bad plays on defense, one-on-one plays in which they got beat deep. Kyle Wilson and nickelback Ellis Lankster allowed 38- and 31-yard TD passes, respectively. Eventually, the defense got tired or lost hope -- or both -- as it turned into a fourth-quarter embarrassment. The ultimate indignity came when the Seahawks scored on a gadget play, wide receiver Golden Tate throwing a 23-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice.

Look, a pass rush: The Jets benched Aaron Maybin, last season's leading sacker, but their pass rush never looked better. They recorded four sacks, harassing Wilson with clever blitz packages. Eventually, the Seahawks countered by letting Wilson keep the ball on designed runs, throwing the Jets out of whack.

What's ahead: The Jets are on the road again next week to face the Rams, which means a showdown with former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Maybin inactive; Scott will play

November, 11, 2012
SEATTLE -- There will be no Mayhem for the Jets.

Underperforming pass rusher Aaron Maybin, who has yet to record a sack, was a healthy scratch for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.

The move didn't come as a surprise, considering the Jets called up OLB Ricky Sapp this week from their practice squad. Sapp, who has no NFL experience, is expected to replace Maybin as a situational pass rusher.

The Jets will dress nine linebackers, including ILB Bart Scott, who missed the last game with a turf-toe injury.

That Maybin has dropped to 10th on the depth chart represents a stunning fall. He was the Jets' leading sacker (six) last year and he was considered their top pass-rushing threat at the start of the season, but he hasn't produced in limited playing time -- only 119 defensive snaps. But he has nine quarterback hits, by far the best ratio on the team.

The Jets' other inactives are RB/KR Joe McKnight, G Caleb Schlauderaff, G Hayworth Hicks, TE Hayden Smith, NT Kenrick Ellis and QB Greg McElroy.

S Eric Smith is active after missing three games with a knee injury. RB Bilal Powell (shoulder) also returns.

As expected, the Seahawks deactivated two starters -- LB K.J. Wright and G James Carpenter. Their other inactives are S Winston Guy, CB Walter Thurmond, DT Clinton McDonald, T Mike Person and DE Greg Scruggs.

Trufant brothers look forward to reunion

November, 10, 2012
Isaiah Trufant and Marcus TrufantAP PhotoIsaiah Trufant and Marcus Trufant
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There could be a point Sunday when Isaiah Trufant scans the football field and sees in front of him the person he grew up admiring: his older brother, Seahawks corner Marcus Trufant.

For the first time in his professional career, Isaiah will be facing Marcus when the Jets visit Seattle on Sunday afternoon. Though both are defensive backs, the two could potentially be on the field at the same time for special teams.

"It's going to be a pretty cool feeling, always looking up to my big bro throughout the years growing up," Isaiah said Wednesday. "To be out there and finally the last few years make it to the NFL and do what I love to do and live my dreams and follow in his footsteps, that's a big thing for me. And to be able to play against him, that's a good thing."

Isaiah, 29, is the middle brother; Marcus, 31, is the oldest. They grew up in Tacoma, Wash., and all three brothers -- including Desmond, who plays for the University of Washington -- developed into cornerbacks.

Isaiah has appeared in 22 games with the Jets since the start of the 2010 season, as he played in the AFL before that. Marcus has been with Seattle since 2003.

"Growing up we all started off as running backs. As a kid, you play little league, and you want the ball in your hands," Isaiah said. "Come high school you end up usually playing both sides of the ball, and (we) started excelling at some things and catching coaches' attentions when it came time for college ball."

There hasn't been any trash talking between the brothers leading up to the game, and Isaiah said there has only been the normal texting that he does with his brother as they catch up every week. Isaiah isn't viewing this matchup as a brother vs. brother contest, instead focusing on the game's importance.

"That's always a good thing to see friends and family and go back home," Isaiah said. "It's a business trip first. Gotta go there and try to get the win. That's the first objective."

Desmond has a game in Seattle on Saturday night, as Washington plays Utah at CenturyLink Field, and there is a chance Isaiah will be able to watch his younger brother play. He said it's been a while since the brothers have all been able to be together.

"The family is excited. My mom and dad are very grateful to have two sons playing at this high level of football, at the professional level," Isaiah said. "My parents never gave up on me. They always had my back and helped me whether it was financially or anything to help me through in the lower leagues."

Injury report: McKnight, Ellis won't travel

November, 9, 2012
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets will travel to Seattle without running back Joe McKnight or DT Kenrick Ellis, but Rex Ryan said they will get RB Bilal Powell back.


Out: RB Joe McKnight (ankle), DT Kenrick Ellis (knee).

Questionable: C Nick Mangold (ankle), G Brandon Moore (hip), DT Sione Po'uha (back), RB Bilal Powell (shoulder), LB Bart Scott (toe), S Eric Smith (knee).

Probable: S LaRon Landry (heel), TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist), DT Mike DeVito (finger), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), DT Damon Harrison (thumb), LB Calvin Pace (shin), QB Mark Sanchez (back), G Matt Slauson (knee).


Out: LB K.J. Wright (concussion), G James Carpenter (concussion).

Doubtful: DE Greg Scruggs (oblique).

Questionable: DT Clinton McDonald (groin).

Probable: WR Doug Baldwin (ankle), DE Red Bryant (foot), S Kam Chancellor (quadriceps), RB Marshawn Lynch (back, wrist), CB Richard Sherman (illness), WR Braylon Edwards (knee), DE Jason Jones (ankle), G John Moffitt (knee), C Max Unger (finger).

W2W4: Jets at Seahawks

November, 8, 2012

Presumably refreshed after their bye, which included seven days of R & R, the Jets (3-5) return to their rapidly fading season Sunday against the Seahawks (5-4). The Jets' margin for error is all but gone. If they want to make a prophet of Antonio Cromartie, who guaranteed a playoff berth, it has to start with an upset in Seattle.

Kickoff is 4:05 p.m. at CenturyLink Field. Here's what to watch for:

1. Bring the ear plugs. The Jets should be accustomed to noise, considering all the yapping they do, but this will be a challenge like no other. This might be the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL, and the fans love making life miserable for opposing offenses. (There are rumors that the Seahawks pump up the volume by blasting artificial crowd noise, which is a no-no.)

Since 2005, they lead the league in opposing false-start penalties -- 113. The Jets are good for one per game; they have a total of nine. They tried to simulate the noise by blaring loud music at practice. They also will rely heavily on hand signals and silent snap counts. No doubt, the noise will test the Jets' poise.

2. Lynch pin. The Jets' biggest defensive challenge is containing RB Marshawn Lynch, the league's second-leading rusher. The run defense has improved over the past three games (3.3 yards per carry), and Lynch is the type of runner that should be in the Jets' wheel house.

He won't exploit the Jets' suspect edges, as he leads the league in runs between the tackles, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But that doesn't mean he'll be an easy mark. He's second in the league in yards after contact (359), and the Jets happen to be terrible in that category -- 485 yards, the fourth-highest total in the league. In other words, it's time to man up and hang on for dear life.

3. Rex vs. the rookie. Historically, Rex Ryan-coached defenses eat up rookie quarterbacks -- a 1-to-8 touchdown/interception ratio since 2009, per ESPN Stats. Now here comes Russell Wilson, who appears unflappable at home. The kid doesn't make many mistakes, he throws well on bootlegs, he's deadly on third down and he scorches opponents with his home-run ability. He has five touchdown passes on throws more than 20 yards (all at home), the second most in the NFL.

His favorite target is WR Sidney Rice, but Rice will have trouble against Cromartie. The Golden Tate-Kyle Wilson matchup is huge. Wilson could be a target because he doesn't have great catch-up speed.

4. Avoid killer mistakes. This means across the board -- offense, defense and special teams. The Jets can't win if they commit turnovers in the red zone (Mark Sanchez has three interceptions) and self-destruct in the kicking game, as they did in their previous game. They also need to be sound in pass protection, because the Seahawks can bring the heat, especially from the edges with Chris Clemons and rookie Bruce Irvin.

The Jets' blitz pick-up is suspect, which could be a factor because Pete Carroll loves to blitz with defensive backs. The Jets' receivers must help out by gaining quick separation, but they'll have to eat their Wheaties because the Seahawks' corners, Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, are 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4, respectively.

5. Role playing. The Jets used the bye week to tweak the roles of certain players. Naturally, the biggest spotlight is on backup QB Tim Tebow, who could get a few more snaps on offense. How many times have we heard that before?

The big question is whether they have the onions to give Tebow an entire series or two at quarterback. OLB Ricky Sapp will be used as a situational pass rusher, perhaps at the expense of Aaron Maybin. WR Clyde Gates, LB DeMario Davis and LB Marcus Dowtin also could have bigger roles, as the Jets attempt to get more speed on the field.