Hi, everybody, thanks for showing up on a different day. Because it's Thursday, not Friday, I'm coming to you live from the Jets' press room. The team is on the field, I'm in my tiny cubicle, ready to roll.
The Jets have been playing just good enough to win and now face a Browns team with impressive wins over New Orleans & New England. Which unit has to step up more this week against Cleveland and would a loss to the Browns hurt their chances for the AFC East Division title?
Obviously, every loss hurts your chances of winning the division. It's hard to pinpoint one unit that has to step up, but I'll name two areas: Run defense and passing offense. The Browns want to run with Hillis; the Jets have to stop him and make McCoy & Co. one dimensional. If they do that, they win big. As for passing offense, lot of pressure on Sanchez to make good pre-snap reads. Mangini/Rob Ryan do a nice job changing up their schemes, and they had Brady real confused last week.
Rich, perhaps I'm being too overconfident, but I see this game as an easy win. Everybody knows Hillis is their main man on offense, so I except a lot of 8-man in the box situations and just put Revis and Cromartie on islands. What, if anything, have you heard in Jets camp in regards to defensive strategy this game?Thanks!
You're right, John, I think they'll stack it up to stop the run. Why not? I wouldn't be surprised if you see a 4-4-3 look. If you recall, the Jets showed that a little last season against run-heavy teams (i.e. the Dolphins) They have to stop the run and put the ball in McCoy's hands. If it were up to me, I'd blitz on almost every passing down.
Hi Rich, great job covering our team. I'm starting to have serious concerns about Schottenheimer's ability to construct a well-designed passing offense. For example, for all of his faults, Josh McDaniels is clearly able to design a strong passing game. With our talent at receiver, plus Keller, I feel like someone should be wide open every time Sanchez drops back. What are your thoughts, and is there any chance that Schotty does not come back next year (even if he doesn't get a HC gig)?
Thanks for the shout out, Evan. I think there are reasons to be concerned about the passing game. If memory serves, the Jets' most productive passing attack under Schotty was '08, when Favre was the QB. That year, that had to scrap the offense and run a dumbed-down version because Favre arrived so late. Let's not put it all on Schotty, though. Remember, he has a head coach who wants to run the ball and a young QB who's still learning. Hard to look ahead to '11. I think he had land a head job (Carolina?).
Hi Rich, I like Tony Richardson and his veteran presence, but isn't it becoming obvious that on runs between the tackles that John Conner is just a much better blocker? The Conner-Greene combo is almost impossible to stop, but we rarely see it.
I don't know if I'd use the word "rarely." I don't have the numbers at my fingertips, but I think Conner was in for about 8-10 plays last week, most often with Greene. I think, as the season gets later, you'll see more and more of Conner.
I read an article that says Schotty is struggling finding a way to please his head coach who desires to be a primarily running team, while the Jets are designed to be a high powered passing offense. Doesn't there need to be a time and place to let Sanchez off the leash fully and let him roll with a pro-bowl receiver (Edwards), Super Bowl MVP (Holmes), an upstart tight end, an upstart running back, and LT? Is there no better time than the Browns this upcoming weekend? With Houston, Cincy, and New England coming up I believe this is the time to let Sanchez get his confidence up. Do you think Schotty should stop worrying so much about appeasing the running desires of Rex if he finds a way for the offense to give the team a chance to win?
You raise a lot of issues here, Alex. First of all, Ryan is the HC, not Schotty. So Schotty runs what Rex wants him to run. You're right, they're having a bit of an identity crisis. You could see this coming a mile away, as far back as April, when they got Holmes. It's a tug of war every week: Pass, run, pass, run, etc. I think they should base their game plan on the opponent and try to exploit favorable matchups. Last week, the game plan was to run. It was a sound plan, considering Detroit's struggles vs. the run. They didn't run it as well as they wanted, so they had to crank up the 2-min to catch up. It's a tough situation for Schotty. It seems like the way he's right is if the team wins that particular week.
Hey Rich. Love the column. Recently the offense seems to be struggling to sustain drives. What can the coaching staff and/ or players do to avoid such troubles in the future?
Thanks, Jon. One reason for the struggles is penalties, and I know they've put a big emphasis on that this week. As I wrote yesterday, they're doing push-ups for penalties in practice, with owner Woody Johnson getting involved. (Imagine him and Tannenbaum doing push-ups. I'd pay to see that.) I also wouldn't be shocked if you see a series of two-minute offense early in the game. Sanchez likes the 2-min, and it's a good change up.
Hey Rich - That was a great story yesterday on ESPN about Woody doing pushups when a player was flagged for a penalty during practice. Do you think the team is undisciplined or are the recent penalty problems just a bump in the road?
Thanks, Danny. I don't think it's a bump in the road. A "bump" is 1 or 2 wks of undisciplined football. The Jets have been this way since opening night vs. Balt.
Hey Rich. Mangini tore apart the Patriots. Can he do the same against the Jets? Or has Rex changed the system enough so that Mangini cannot recognize his former team? Also, how can Peyton Hillis be stopped? And how can the Jets running backs get on track after a 2 sub-par performances?
Great question, Justin. I think the Jets have the edge because Mangini knows Schotty's system very well. Remember, he hired him. He also knows the Jets' personnel very well, about 20+ players are holdovers. Edge, Browns. Hillis can be stopped, but it's going to take a good effort from the big fellas. Like I said earlier, I think the Jets will employ different schemes and alignments designed to stop the run.
Why do you write for the Jets when you hate them so much and want to see them fail?
Malloy, I don't write "for" the Jets. That suggests I work for them. I don't. I get paid to cover them objectively.
Hey Rich...what are your thoughts on Kyle Wilson?? What happened to that dude? You telling me he is worse then Drew Coleman??
He's one of their biggest enigmas, Andrew. He's a hard-working kid, from what I'm told. He has the athleticism, but he's not real instinctive -- and that would trouble me. Remember, the Browns almost drafted Wilson. They argued between Wilson and Haden, and took Haden. Wilson's slow development is really hurting in the sub packages.
Rich, why haven't the Jets done more hurry up offense this year? It worked pretty well last year and caught some teams off guard. We obviously know now Sanchez can run it so what's holding us back?
You raise a good point, John. I think Sanchez would be all for it, but, remember, Rex is a defensive-oriented coach. He wants the offense to play ball control and use the clock, taking pressure off the D. But I agree with you, the two-minute would be a good change of pace.
hey rich! gr8 job. wanted to know why besides the botched fake punt the jets havent tried any trickery plays, flea flickers etc.. u think this week is the start?
Could be. You know Mangini will have something up his sleeve. Watch the surprise onsides kick.
LT got up real slow after the late hit in the 4th quarter. i know he continued to play, but do you know where he got dinged?
I do not. He's not listed on the injury report. He didn't practice yesterday, but that was a coach's decision -- i.e. a rest day. Ditto, Richardson. LDT has slumped the last three weeks. That bears watching.
Hi Rich, why do you think Kyle Wilson's performance has spiraled downward so much ? Was he just overhyped in the first place ? Its hard to think that none of the draft picks are making any impact.
This has been an awful draft so far, with only Conner contributing. I'm not surprised about McKnight because my scouting peeps warned me about him. I'm surprised by Wilson, though. I talked to a number of scouts around the draft and they endorsed the Jets' pick, saying they got good value. Not surprised by Ducasse. I mean, UMAss? Gotta expect a transition period.
Do you think going forward we will see more carries out of Shonn Greene and less of LT like we saw in the playoffs last year?
I don't think Greene will have more than LDT, but I could see a 50-50 split. Should be interesting this week, because LDT is coming off a third so-so game.
Rich, if Braylon outperforms Santonio for the rest of the year do you really see the Jets keeping Santonio over Braylon? What do you think they do with Cromartie also? He's having a heck of a year so he will most likely want the big bucks
Cromartie's situation is helped by Wilson's slow development. The Holmes-Edwards situation is too early to tell. So far, Edwards is having a better year (on the field), but Holmes has had only 4 games. Let's see in another month.
Rich, what's the deal with cotchery? Used to be so sure handed and now he is almost a liability. I have a feeling that he has an injured hand/finger and isn't telling anyone. Schotty almost kissed him in last week's press conference after his terrible day against green bay. I was sure that he was coming up with a huge game in detroit and he laid an egg. Also, revis didn't get enough pub this week. He came back strong on megatron.
I have no idea what's going on with Cotchery. I guess it's a slump. He has 7 drops, which is stunning. I don't think he's injured. I think he's having trouble separating from defenders, and a lot of passes to him are well-defended. He has good hands, though. I would expect him to bounce back, but did you notice he slipped to No. 3 last week? It'll probably stay that way.
Isn?t stopping the Browns fairly simple??? Load the box and make McCoy throw it. I realize Hillis lit us up last year in Denver, but come on, there is absolutely no threat from McCoy and I will be surprised if he finishes the game. The Browns and Jets are very similar in style so will talent not win this one. (Heavy advantage JETS!!!!)
I can't remember a Jets team winning two games it should have lost in a season let alone three weeks. We'd be killing him if they were 4-4- but it feels like Rex has really changed the culture.
That is an understatement, for sure.
drew coleman? im nervous everytime i see him on the field. why not dwight lowery, or give the kid kyle wilson another shot?
You're right, Coleman had a rough game in Detroit. He's still having nightmares, I think. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a change or two in the sub packages. They really need Wilson to step up, but I don't get the impression he's been tearing it up in practice. That question will be posed to Rex in about 45 mns.
Hi Rich, What's the status of Woody and Taylor since they were both injured in the Lions game?
They're good to go. They're fine -- as long as they're not asked to play the piano.
Do you think Chad Pennington, a former Jet, is the right move by Miami?
I'm not close to the Miami situation, Shane, but Henne is coming off a bad game and evidently Chad's shoulder is ok. I'll be curious to see how he does. He has lost significant arm strength over the years, but he still can lead an offense. The Dolphins are just looking for a spark.
I have been less then pleased so far with the play of Brodney Pool, do you see him turning things around or Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo getting more playing time
Good point, Burns, Pool has been somewhat of a disappointment. I'm still trying to figure out what he does well. Is he a run stuffer? Better in coverage? I don't know, and that's not a good sign. Anybody wish they had kept Kerry Rhodes? Hey, just throwing it out there. Yes, I could see 33 and 44 more involved.
Rich-It seems recently that LT hasn't been breaking tackles and is starting to slow down. DO you think we will start to see Shonne Greene getting more carries this week or what is the Jets gaeplan with Greene going forward? Are they trying to keep him fresh for the stretch run? Thanks
LDT has had only 160-something yards the last three games, so I think your concerns are valid. There were a couple of runs in the Detroit game where I turned to the person next to me and remarked that LDT seemed a split-second slow. Bears watching.
Rich, I think that the Jets are overrated. They almost lost to the Lions, which is a joke. They verse the Browns next week which I think is going to be another hard game for the Jets even though the Browns are horrible. I do think that Colt McCoy is a good player. My question is, do you agree with me and do you think colt McCoy will have a good game along with Peyton Hillis?
I've always been fascinated by the word "verse." The kids on my baseball team (14 yo) used that all the time. I guess it's a new word. Anyway, I digress. McCoy is a game manager. The Browns will go as far as Hillis takes them.
Rich, keep up the great work. Why do you think the jets are reluctant to make Braylon Edwards the focal point of their gameplan? Braylon is a playmaker and has been the Jets most efficient wide receiver. I'll take my chances with Braylon one-on-one with most cornerbacks in this league.
Thanks, SJ. The reason is because Schotty is obsessed with keeping everybody happy instead of exploiting the best matchups.
Rich- do you think with the very solid play of Matt Slauson that the Jets would be wise to groom Vlad Ducasse to be the heir apparent to Damien Woody? Considering that Ducasse played RT in college- it might also speed up his development into a starting player, and since that RT is the only spot on the line that has an issue with age?
There have been a few Ducasse questions today. Yes, he's in play for RT in '11, but Woody still is a good play. Woody can play guard, too, so maybe they flip flop. But it would be a mistake to hand the RT job to Ducasse based on his draft status.
Why does rex/westhoff continue to go with kyle wilson for punt returns when he continues to fumble the ball and not get any significant return yardage. There are so many other options to go to for examlpe jim leonhard, brad smith, santonio, or even activate joe mcknight for special teams.
They view Wilson as the more explosive PR. So, if they expect to field a punt near midfield or in plus territory, the coaches like Wilson. If they're gonna be backed up deep in their own end, they like Leonhard because they know he's gonna catch it. Some players have told me that Santonio should be the PR because of his quickness and acceleration. As for Wilson, I don't see the speed and playmaking ability that everybody talked about when he came out of college. I don't see it.
hey rich. My question in, can you please answer my last questions about punt returning?Thanks!!
Well played, Joe.
At the start of the season, Jason Taylor looked to be a great addition. He had a few key sacks, fumble recoveries, etc. Lately, he just hasn't been making the plays though. Can you put your finger on any real reason why he's slowing down?
He's old. The Dolphins got rid of him for a reason. You think Parcells gives away good pass rushers? In fairness to Taylor, he's had that elbow injury for several weeks. I'm sure that's affecting him somewhat, but overall, his play has dropped the last three weeks.
Hey Rich... why does the Jets 3rd down defense insist on blitzing on 3rd and 10+? I cannot count the number of times they give up first downs on 3rd and long. What is their philosophy and when will my headaches stop?
It's what they do. Overall, the Jets blitz about 51% of the time on passing downs. They've been getting killed on 3rd and long. I agree with you, sometimes you have to play more coverage. They did against GB, and they did a good job on Rodgers.
Do you think Braylon gets a contract extension? I think that he deserves one
Rich. An ex-NYer living overseas but still follow NYJ (thanks ESPN radio!) Got lucky the last 2 weeks. When to they step up and play a complete game? Or is this what they are?
I spent a couple of days in Dublin. Wonderful city, from what I remember. You're right, they caught a couple of breaks against Det and Den. Their last complete game was against Buf, so I'd say they're due. But how many teams play so-called complete games every week? There's so much parity in the league. Each week is a grind. You try to win and move on.
Sorry, guys, gotta run. Practice ended early and Rex (Rob?) is in the press room. Have a great day. Rich