What the Jets are looking at for 2017

The 2016 season for the New York Jets was a complete failure. The team finished the season with a record of 5-11, and never got going after a 1-5 start. After falling just short of the playoffs in 2015 with a 10-6 record, the expectations appeared clear that this team was all in to make it to the playoffs and eventually make a run to the Super Bowl. The season was a train wreck. It all started when the team resigned Ryan Fitzpatrick to a 1 year deal, after setting Jets quarterback records in 2015. After a solid 2015 season, the team wanted to have a similar look for 2016. Fitzpatrick played in 14 games, throwing 12 touchdown passes for 2,710 yards, with 17 interceptions. The team gave Geno Smith a shot, however he tore his ACL, which was likely his last game as a Jet. They then gave 2nd year quarterback Bryce Petty a shot. He showed sparks, but the team was no help by the later point in the season.

The Jets have a lot of holes on their team. The first position to address is quarterback, a position that seems like the Jets are looking for every season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a free agent as is Geno Smith. Expect the 2 of them to go elsewhere because they simply are not the answer. The Jets will be left with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Neither have been given a clean shot, however it’s hard to tell if either will be that franchise quarterback the Jets are looking for. With players that are up there in age like Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Matt Forte, they may not approve of a total rebuild unless they are traded. I don’t think the Jets starting quarterback for 2017 is on the roster. One option the team can look at is Tyrod Taylor. His time with the Buffalo Bills could very well be over, and if that’s the case he could be a solid fit for the Jets. A quarterback with great speed, he’d have playmakers around him with the Jets, allowing him to be successful. He also does not turn the ball over a lot, throwing only 6 interceptions in 2016. The Jets might have to look for a trade to acquire him, but it could be worth it.

Another more risky route the team could go would be to make a trade for Tony Romo. If Dak Prescott has success for the Cowboys in the playoffs after a 13 win regular season, Romo may look to be a starting quarterback for another team. He’s under contract, so it’d have to be via a trade to acquire him. He’s risky, especially with injuries holding him back throughout his career. He is also up there in age, but the Jets still have a lot of veterans on the team. I’m sure guys like Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker would love to have Romo as their quarterback, but it will depend what the Cowboys are looking for in the offseason.

Another quarterback the Jets should look into is Kirk Cousins. He is set to be a free agent, and has put up phenomenal numbers the past 2 seasons for the Washington Redskins. It seems logical for the Redskins to bring him back for 2017, but who knows if they will want to pay him the big bucks, especially after falling short of the playoffs in 2016. He’s still very young, with a lot of upside. If given the opportunity, the Jets should bring him in. In my opinion, he has the potential to be a top 5 quarterback in the league. Will the Jets take a chance on him? I don’t see it, but I’m sure fans would love to have him.

The team may also be able to find their starting quarterback for 2017 in the draft. The team has the 6th overall pick in the draft, and there are some options the team can look into. The options are not as good as past years, but maybe the team looks to draft a quarterback in 2017. In the first round, they could look at Clemson’s DeShaun Watson or North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky. Or maybe they look for Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly in the middle rounds of the draft. This being if they enter the draft, these are decent options for the Jets. However, the team may not have a win now mentality with these young quarterbacks, and that would be a sign of a complete rebuild, which can be frustrating for fans.

What the Jets will do with the 6th overall pick in the draft is intriguing. The team has a lot of holes, and I expect them to go after a quarterback, offensive lineman, or a cornerback. It seems like the Jets draft a defensive player in the 1st round every year, but they are in need of some help in their secondary. The cornerback play in 2016 was atrocious, and it needs to be fixed. It seemed like they were starting different offensive lineman every week, so they may look at that position in the 1st round.

Rebuilding is never fun, but the Jets may look to do that in 2017. I think it all depends who their starting quarterback is. If it’s Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, or a draft pick, the team will be in rebuild mode. If they bring in Tyrod Taylor, Tony Romo, or Kirk Cousins, the team will have playoff expectations. If they realistically think they are playoff contenders in 2017, they need to fill holes on that defense. If they move Darrelle Revis to safety, that opens up roster spots to bring in more cornerbacks. I expect more production from the defensive line in 2017. I think those 3 quarterbacks fit the team well with 2 solid running backs in Bilal Powell and Matt Forte, as well as a great receiving core in Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Quincy Enunwa. The team could go in 2 different directions in 2017, and personally I think neither are wrong. However, Jets fans want to win now. Super Bowl 3 was a very long time ago.

All stats via Pro-Football-Reference

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The rise and fall of Mark Sanchez as quarterback of the New York Jets (Part 4/4- the 2013 season)

Going into the 2013 season, it appeared that Mark Sanchez was on his way out as quarterback of the Jets. The Jets drafted Geno Smith in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft, and it appeared the 2 players were going to compete for the starting quarterback position.

The choice for Rex Ryan was made much simpler when he had Mark Sanchez play in the 4th quarter of a preseason against the other New York team, the Giants. Sanchez took a tough hit from Giants’ defensive lineman Marvin Austin, and banged up his shoulder. This would be the last play Mark Sanchez would ever be apart of for the New York Jets. He ended up tearing his labrum, requiring season ending surgery, putting him on injured reserve.

There was question after the injury as to why Mark Sanchez was in the game in the 4th quarter of a preseason game. According to the New York Daily News, Rex Ryan said later on about the situation “My opinion was that nobody had done enough to win the job at that time, that’s why Mark was in there.” Clearly Rex Ryan had lost confidence in Mark Sanchez.

We will never know what Mark Sanchez was going to become that year, but the 2013 season was the end of his run in New York. At the end of the season, the Jets released Sanchez, and he has since played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, and Dallas Cowboys. He has not had a consistent starting job since, but he did start a few games for the Eagles after an injury to Nick Foles. The Jets have yet to find the answer at quarterback since they released Mark Sanchez. Since he was released, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Bryce Petty have all started games under center.

Mark Sanchez had a strange career for the Jets. Unfortunately, he is remembered for throwing interceptions, the buttfumble, and getting hurt in the 4th quarter of a preseason game. But, his first 2 seasons in New York were special. He may not have flashed the scorecard with impressive stats, but he found a way to get it done in the clutch. You always felt like the team was going to win if the ball was in Mark Sanchez’s hands with under 2 minutes. His career can be interpreted in many ways, but he clearly was one of the most successful Jet quarterbacks in the playoffs. 2 straight AFC Championship games, with 4 wins in the playoffs, the most of any Jet quarterback. He finished his Jet career throwing 68 touchdown passes and 69 interceptions. In his playoff career as a Jet he threw 9 touchdown passes to 3 interceptions.

My opinion on Mark Sanchez’s tenure as a Jet: It is a shame because Jet fans really thought they had their franchise quarterback. He certainly went on a great 2 year run that I will never forget. I felt the team was not as good around him towards the end of his Jet career, leading to his failures. They had a powerhouse defense with playmakers when he was younger. They continued to lose players, and he was not the kind of player to put a team on his shoulders. Here’s how one can sum up Mark Sanchez’s career as a New York Jet: 4 playoff wins in his first 2 seasons with a knack for being clutch, to the buttfumble and a constant turnover machine. Mark Sanchez rose as quarterback of the New York Jets. But later on, Mark Sanchez fell as quarterback of the New York Jets.

All stats via Pro-Football-Reference.

The rise and fall of Mark Sanchez as quarterback of the New York Jets (Part 3/4- the 2011 and 2012 seasons)

The 2011 season was when Mark Sanchez began to struggle. While his numbers were not terrible in 2011, throwing 26 touchdown passes for 3,474 yards. His interceptions on the other hand raised from 13 in 2010 to 18 in 2011. In addition to that, it was the first time in Sanchez’s career the team did not make the playoffs, finishing 8-8.

A memorable game in 2011 was week 1 on the 10 year anniversary of a major tragedy in the United States, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, taking place on 9/11/01. The Jets took on Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. The Jets were down in this game 24-10, as Tony Romo and the Cowboy’s offense looked very good. But, Mark Sanchez led the Jets back by hitting newly acquired wide receiver Plaxico Burress for a 26 yard touchdown pass to make it 24-17. The Jets would then tie the game with about 5 minutes left on a Joe McKnight blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Isaiah Trufant, tying the game. With around a minute left in this game, the Cowboys had the ball until Tony Romo was picked off by Darrelle Revis, and he returned this into Cowboys territory. That would eventually set up a Nick Folk field goal to make it 27-24 Jets with around half a minute left. The defense would stop the Cowboys, as the Jets scored 17 unanswered to win the first game of the season. This is what happened during the better part of Mark Sanchez’s career. Whether it’d be him or another player, someone would make a big play down the stretch to lead the team to victory. In this case, Joe McKnight with the blocked punt and Darrelle Revis with the big interception.

To fast forward in the season, the Jets were 8-5 with 3 games to go, and looked like they were headed to the playoffs for a 3rd straight season. However, Mark Sanchez’s career seemed to go down hill from there. They went into Philadelphia to take on the Eagles, and got blown out, 45-19. The following week, the team was still in playoff contention taking on the other New York team, the Giants. A matchup on Christmas Eve, it was a must win for both teams. On a 3rd and 10 on the Giants own 1 with over 2 minutes to go in the 1st half, the Jets were up 7-3. That was until a play that still haunts Jets fans to this day. Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for what appeared to be a 10 yard completion, but Cruz would make some moves and take it 99 yards for a touchdown, giving the Giants a 10-7 lead. The Jets later on were down 20-7, but would then cut it to 20-14 midway through the 4th quarter. However, the Giants would close it out and win by a score of 29-14. Eventually the Giants would go on to win the Super Bowl that year, but the Victor Cruz play was a turning point in each team’s season. Good for the Giants, but bad for Mark Sanchez and the Jets.

Going into the final game of the season, the Jets still had a slim chance of making the playoffs. However they needed help from other teams and of course they had to win their own game at Miami against the Dolphins. The game was a frustrating one, but the Jets were still in it. However, Santonio Holmes had a rough go, going at it with several teammates. The Jets would eventually lose the game 19-17, putting the final touch on a major collapse by a team that had been rolling. You could sense trouble with this franchise after this collapse of losing 3 in a row, and if you did, you were not wrong.

In 2012, the team had a rough go, as did Mark Sanchez. I’m sure Mark Sanchez would say this was the worst season of his career. He threw 13 touchdown passes to 18 interceptions for 2,883 yards. His numbers were going backwards again, and the team overall just never got it going. Of course in 2012, with the Denver Broncos signing Peyton Manning, the Jets traded for quarterback Tim Tebow. Some say this may have put pressure on Mark Sanchez. Tebow did not find much production, coming off a playoff win for the Broncos the year before. There’s only 1 game to highlight in that season, and I’m sure every football fan knows this game and has probably laughed about it. The Jets were 4-6, and set to host the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving as the night game. As a Jet fan, you looked at it if as they needed to win their remaining 6 games to make the playoffs. Well, the team got manhandled by the Patriots on this particular Thanksgiving night. The game was 0-0 going into the 2nd quarter, but then chaos occurred. The Patriots got off to a 14-0 lead, and the Jets had the ball. On a blown play, Sanchez went to hand the ball off with no one there. As a result, Mark Sanchez panicked and ran, hitting his teammate, linemen Brandon Moore’s backside, and fumbling. Not only did this humiliating fumble occur, New England’s Steve Gregory would pick up the ball and take it for a touchdown. The play would be known as “the Butt Fumble,” and unfortunately it is a play that no one will ever forget. The play seemed like it was on SportCenter’s not top 10 forever. The Patriots would win this game 49-19, scoring 35 points in that 2nd quarter and the season went on to be another waste for the Jets. They finished the season 6-10, and fans were starting to get frustrated with Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan.

2011 and 2012 were tough seasons for Mark Sanchez. He was going pretty well in 2011 until the team lost 3 in a row. In 2012 the team just never got anything going, leading to arguably Mark Sanchez’s worst season. Mark Sanchez had given Jets fan so many great moments in his 1st 2 seasons, but he continued to take steps back in these 2 years. 2009 and 2010 were great, but what a difference that occurred the next 2 seasons in 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, during Mark Sanchez’s tenure as a Jet, “the Butt Fumble” is the only play many football fans remember. He gave the team 2 great seasons, but the team started to make lousy mistakes, and were becoming an embarrassment. Mark Sanchez would hope to bounce back in 2013.

All stats via Pro-Football-Reference.

Not a fan of the Islanders Offseason Moves

Let me just start off by saying this is going to be a biased article.  I’m not even going to try and hide it, I was not a fan of the Islanders offseason moves.  I just believed that Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin were too integral to the Islanders success the last two seasons to have let them walk.  While I believed it to be easier to find a winger to replace Okposo and play next to Tavares I was still sad to see him go as well.

Nielsen played on the power play, penalty kill and was one of the best in the shootout all time.  On top of that he was a strong two way forward who could score.  A valuable player I just don’t think the Islanders could replace.  Nielsen currently has 15 points for the Red Wings

In place of Okposo it seems they brought in Andrew Ladd to play wing alongside JT.  Ladd, in my opinion, was a slightly older and more expensive option.  On top of that he has struggled to perform with only 5 points so far this season.  Okposo, on the other hand, is currently leading the Sabres with 16 points.  On top of Ladd’s struggles he was given the A his first season on the team.

For the past two seasons the Islanders 4th line was considered the best in hockey.  It was the only line on the team that didn’t change.  Well this year it did when the Islanders let Matt Martin walk.  Martin led the league the past 5 seasons in hits and is doing so yet again this season.  He was the closest thing to an enforcer on the team and always provided a spark when he stepped on the ice with his bone crushing hits.  On top of that he had his best season offensively last year with 19 points.

Jason Chimera is a physical player and has put up over 40 points in 2 of his last 3 seasons with Washington but he has struggled so far this year with just 3 goals to go along with 5 assists.  He is also 37 years old.  I simply don’t see him replicating the success he had last season.

This team has struggled early in the season.  A big part of that is the new players have simply not lived up to what they lost in Martin, Nielsen and Okposo.  If the Islanders want to make the playoffs for a third straight season the newcomers are going to have to step up.

Be sure to comment below and let us know what you think of the Islanders off-season moves!

The rise and fall of Mark Sanchez as quarterback of the New York Jets (Part 2/4- the 2010 season)

Going into the 2010 season, expectations were high for the Jets, who had just made a phenomenal playoff run with a rookie quarterback in the 2009 season. The team had some additions including Santonio Holmes, LaDanian Tomlinson, and Antonio Cromartie. Holmes gave the Jets some depth at the wide receiver position alongside Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery. Tomlinson was a future hall of famer who replaced Thomas Jones and would backup Shonn Greene. He also gave the Jets depth at the running back position, and was a great receiving back. Cromartie would be a great number 2 cornerback, alongside the best cornerback in the league at that time, Darrelle Revis.

The regular season was one of the better regular season’s the team has had in some time. They finished the season 11-5, and were the second Wild Card in the AFC. Mark Sanchez still didn’t impress in the regular season statistically, but he did limit the interceptions to just 13, and he also threw 17 touchdown passes for 3,291 yards. He absolutely improved as quarterback of the New York Jets.

One of the more notable games of the 2010 regular season was the Jets’ week 11 matchup with the Houston Texans. The Jets were up 23-7 in the 4th quarter, but then the Texans went on to score 20 unanswered to take a 27-23 lead. The Jets would get the ball back with less than a minute, in need of a touchdown with no timeouts left. At this time in his career, Mark Sanchez had established himself as a clutch quarterback. For some reason you just knew if they had the ball to end the game, they had a really good chance of winning. Sanchez did just that, including a big time 42 yard pass to Braylon Edwards to put the Jets deep in Texans territory. The next play, a 6 yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, was the game winner for the Jets, winning 30-27, leaving the Meadowlands rocking. That was the Mark Sanchez we loved to see. Clutch.

So come playoff time, we know the Jets made it to the AFC Championship game the year before, so the goal of the team was to reach the Super Bowl. They had a great defense, playmakers on offense, and a clutch young quarterback. During Wild Card weekend, the Jets got a rematch of the team that spoiled their hopes in the AFC Championship in the 2009 season, the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts, led by Peyton Manning had just taken a  16-14 lead with under 1 minute to go. The Jets received the ball, and Sanchez came through again. The biggest play of the drive was a 2nd and 8, in which Sanchez put the Jets in field goal range with a big time completion to Braylon Edwards. With 3 seconds left, Nick Folk gave the Jets the 17-16 victory, nailing a 32 yard field goal. Revenge was so sweet, and the Jets were on the move again.

The next round was going to be a tough one. The Jets had to take on their division rivals, the New England Patriots led by Tom Brady. Of course the Patriots won the AFC East that season, going 14-2. Keep in mind, in their last matchup during the regular season, the Jets lost 45-3 to the Patriots.  The Jets were going to give them a battle in seek of revenge, and they needed a great game from their young quarterback. This was arguably Mark Sanchez’s best career playoff game, in which he threw 3 touchdown passes for 194 yards. The Jets won this game in Foxboro 28-21 against the heavily favored Patriots. The defense made the plays they needed, and the Jets caught New England off guard, leading to in my opinion the Jets’ second biggest win in franchise history behind the Super Bowl 3 victory. With this win, it seemed the Jets were destined to make it to the Super Bowl.

So Mark Sanchez and the Jets had just beaten 2 future first ballot hall of famers in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. He had to face a 3rd future hall of famer in Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing at Heinz Field was going to be tough for the Jets, but going into the game you felt this was their year. In the team’s 2nd straight AFC Championship appearance, they needed to get off to a hot start and take the fans out of the game. It was a tough start for the Jets, as they were down 24-3 at halftime. A major disappointment, their offense couldn’t get anything going and the defense was flat. But, the Jets came out hot in the second half, starting with a 45 yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Santonio Holmes. The Jets would score on a safety, and another touchdown pass, this time from Mark Sanchez to Jericho Cotchery. The team scored 16 unanswered in the 2nd half to make it a 24-19 game. They needed a stop. Their defense that was big time all year came up short, and the Steelers were able to run out the clock and win 24-19. You had the feeling if the Jets could just get the ball back, they were going to win this game.

The 2010 New York Jets were a very fun team, but the ending was more disappointing than the 2009 season because you wondered if the Jets would ever get back to the playoffs. Any Jet fan can answer that question now. However, Mark Sanchez had reached the playoffs in his first 2 NFL seasons, throwing for a total of 1,155 yards for 9 touchdown passes and just 3 interceptions. He also had a 4-2 record in the playoffs, with all those games being on the road. Those 4 wins are the most career playoff wins by a Jet quarterback. The future looked bright, and Mark Sanchez was becoming the face of the New York Jet franchise.

All stats via Pro-Football-Reference.