Some good...some bad...some ugly...

It's safe to say that last night's match-up between the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens didn't pan out exactly the way I would have liked it to. Quarterback performance aside, there were some other issues that really could make a difference in what this team does this year. Here are some of my thoughts from the game:

1. I never expected
Mark Sanchez to walk on that field last night and wrap up that starting position against a team like the Ravens. I think Rex made the right decision in having Mark start and get some reps against Baltimore's infamous defense. When asked about playing against Lewis & Reed Sanchez stated:
"Oh, they were flying. They were flying around. You practice for it and you see it on film. These guys were doing it. You’re trying to keep one eye on Ed Reed and one eye on Ray Lewis and a D-lineman gets you."
Sure he was rattled and looked shaky and made mistakes....but what else would you expect at this point in his rookie year. If you go back and look at any successful QB's rookie preseason stats and you'll find some similarities. The 2 delay of game penalties stand out just as much to me as the interception/ near interception do. He needs to be able to manage this offense effectively, something again I hope he learns with a few more starts under his belt.

2. I'll say it again -
Kellen Clemens does not have what it takes to be a starting QB in the NFL. You would think that after Mark's performance Kellen would walk out on the field with the determination to outshine Sanchez and fight for the starting spot. As we all know that didn't happen. While Clemens did have slightly better stats last evening - after 4 years in the league he should be performing better. There was no need to force that pass to Brad Smith...again he should know better at this point. That interception looked all to similar to what we've been seeing the past month at camp from him. Enough is enough already.

3. David Clowney is really trying to make a name for himself and earn that #2 WR position. Thank goodness someone is! He needs to get some playing time in with the starters, I need to see his speed when matched up against some top corners in the league. Oh and David....next time just keep your helmet on please...

4. Not a great game to see who is still in the running for this #2 WR position. Out of 32 passes, nobody had more than 2 catches. Brad Smith disappointed me last night. He's not making a strong case for himself with an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out a 25-yard gain and a dropped pass in the end zone that would have been a 39-yard TD.

5. The Bart Scott/ David Harris duo is a match made in heaven. A playmaking union that all Jet fans should be extremely excited about.

6. Darelle Revis needs to be healthy SOON! The Jets secondary had some ups and downs last night. Lowery continued to struggle against mediocre WR/TE's. Lito Sheppard was a little too inconsistent in his performance as well.

7. Disappointment is always worse that anger in my eyes - and that's how I describe my sentiment towards Vernon Gholston. How could such a big huge hard hitting playmaker turn into a ghost on the field?!? He continues to struggle when lining up to engage with blockers. In order to start for Pace those first 4 games, he's going to have to do more than just be the direct cause for a sack here and there. If Jamaal Westerman keeps it up - he could be pressing Gholston for some playing time. Maybe that's the competion Gholston needs to step up.

8. Leon Washington does it again. He prevented a huge meltdown in the first half. Yet again stepping up for the team when they need him. With his running, kick returns and a TD reception - Leon did it all, yet again showing his versatility and value to the team.

9. Crossing my fingers that the OL stays healthy. Mangold & Faneca are an integral part to having the running game succeed as they did against a difficult defense like Baltimore.

10. Reggie Hodges -he either booms huge punts at camp - or we get avg 36.3 yarders like last night....maybe Rex needs to bring yet another punter in to challenge him for this spot. I don't know about you - but I'm really missing Ben Graham.....thanks alot Mangini.

It's pre-season - a time to evaluate, learn and change. There is a ton of film to be watched and analyzed, and plenty of decisions to be made. I'll say it again - in looking forward to the season ahead....I'm surprisingly pretty optimistic.


The lighter side of camp

Back in July - Nick Mangold, Jerricho Cotchery, Leon Washington, Thomas Jones, and Dustin Keller were busy brushing up their acting skills while participating in a series of commercials by Reebok showing the "Lighter side of Camp". They're finally here and have been aired on ESPN, NFL Network, and SNY. Great job guys....thanks for the laughs! Enjoy!


2 days in Cortland...

The Jets have started their second week of training camp at SUNY Cortland. Last week, I was up for a good old fashioned road trip. I convinced a good friend of mine to make the 3hr trip with me to see the Jets in action for a few days. Training camp is a tradition that I just couldn't let pass, regardless of the distance. For those of you who haven't gone to training camp at Hofstra in the past, having camp in Cortland is a BIG change. Cortland, NY is 31 miles away from Syracuse with a population of 18,740. Hempstead, NY (home of Jets Training Camp for the past 30 years) is 19 miles away from New York City with a population of 56,554!
One of the biggest differences I noticed almost immediately (at least while I was there) were the fans. At Hofstra - the fans there love the Jets and only the Jets. In Cortland, camp had more of a "tourist attraction" feel to it, lots of local families coming with the kids to see the football team practice. At all 3 practices I was surrounded by people who lived in Cortland but really weren't Jet fans. At one point there was a conversation taking place next to me asking if #11 was Kerry Collins! I spent the majority of the practices helping people next to me figure out who was who on the team!

The town itself couldn't have done a better job in welcoming the Jets - players, staff and fans. I think I've dreamed of JetsVille at some point in my life, and for 2 days I was close to being there. Signs and banners posted on every shop window, every corner. Dinner and drink specials named after players; it doesn't get much better than that!

I had the opportunity to attend 3 full practices. So much to observe, so little time. This year in particular there are a lot of position battles taking place. Here are some pictures and quick observations from my time there:

The depth of talent on the Jets
defense this year is amazing. Dwight Lowery looked faster than I remember. Ahmad Carroll, Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo impressed as well.

I was happy to see David Harris healthy again, and am excited to see him play a big part of the defense this year.
With Jim Leonhard taking the helm for calling the defense, we should see a big year ( Pro Bowl? )from a very focused Kerry Rhodes.

I am quite the realist when it comes to the Jets, exactly the reason why I really needed to see for myself if Sanchez has what it takes to lead this team. I'm rooting for him 100%, mostly because for the 4 years that Kellen Clemens has been on the roster, I've always thought that he just doesn't have what it takes to be a starting QB in the NFL. It was good to see Mark take snaps with the 1st offense. I can't say that neither he or Kellen outplayed each other. What I will say though is for being a part of this team for 4 years - Kellen should be performing much better than he is.

Leon continues to amaze me.He was running smoother than ever, doing what Leon does best. Even with all the contract talk, he puts football first. The Jets are very fortunate to have a player of his character and superb talent on their squad.

Jehuu Caulcrick #39 also was very impressive. After Tony Richardson suffered a hip pointer injury on Tuesday, Jehuu filled the FB spot with the 1st team. His size and good blocking skills could really help the running game - it will be interesting to see him in the preseason games.

The WR battle rages on, Chansi Stuckey and Wallace Wright showed the most consistency in my opinion. David Clowney shows great speed, but has a few too many drops for my liking.

My "sleeper" WR in the running, Huey Whittaker is still someone I'd love to see get a spot on this roster. Unfortunately, he hasn't had many opportunities to really show he has the ability needed to compete for that spot.

Dustin Keller looks like he'll has quite an exciting sophomore year ahead of him. It seems like when Dustin is determined to achieve something, he exceeds even his own expectations. Keep criticizing his blocking skills, and you'll end up with a great blocker in no time. One of my favorite moments of camp was watching Dustin and Mark run routes together once practice ended.

Here's Rachel Nichols - I can't say she's my favorite
female reporter....but it was nice to see her!

The players were more than generous with signing autographs for the fans. Here's my Keller #28 Purdue Jersey - officially signed and ready for the season!

I'm confident that this year will be a good year for the Jets. So far I like what I see, more importantly seeing the team confident, and expecting the best from themselves is promising and refreshing to see. For a pessmist.....I'm pretty optimistic!