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Everything posted by TaborJet

  1. New York Jets' Jones pulls out some old tricks to keep young Posted by ljkennel November 29, 2008 18:34PM At age 30, the Jets' Thomas Jones is enjoying a career year, thanks to time spent in the weight room and the cold tub. If you're an NFL running back, age 30 qualifies you for an AARP card. The years of taking a physical beating and battling through injuries begin to rob you of your burst and bounce. Turning the corner is like running a marathon. But Jets running back Thomas Jones, who turned 30 in August, is just getting his second wind. He's defying the odds and running with the young pups at a time when most running backs are in the twilight of their careers. Jones, in his ninth season, leads the AFC in rushing and is fifth in the NFL with 950 yards rushing, along with nine touchdowns on 217 carries (4.4-yard average). He's on pace for a career high in rushing yards and his 11 total touchdowns (two receiving) are tied for fourth in the NFL. Other than Jones, no running back older than 30 is in the top 10 in rushing this season; NFL leading rushing Clinton Portis (1,206 yards) is the closest at 27. And only one other back age 30 or older -- Tampa Bay's Warrick Dunn at 33 -- is in the top 20 in rushing. "The way I take care of my body and the way I work out, I don't even see myself as a 30-year-old back in this league," said Jones, a weight-room junkie. "Earlier in my career I didn't take a lot of hits when I was in Arizona and Tampa and that has helped me out. Also, I've been fortunate not to have any major injuries. "But I don't really look at my age. I work out like the younger guys do. I prepare just as hard as the younger guys do. My body feels great." Jones, in his second season with the Jets, is on track to rush for 1,380 yards and is 50 yards shy of his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season. Running behind the Jets' overhauled offensive line, he's the engine that drives the league's eighth-ranked rushing offense, which is averaging 131.2 yards per game. "TJ is a pro," said right tackle Damien Woody. "He takes his job very seriously. He puts in a lot of hard work, a lot of film study, a lot of work as far as trying to get in sync with the O-line. "And I think it's only going to get better for him. We've been together less than a year." Jones, a well-chiseled 5-10, 215-pounder, is outrunning Father Time largely because of endless hours spent in the weight room. He works out every day except Tuesday for roughly an hour. His no-nonsense sessions are legendary and teammates have nicknamed him DJ Weights because of his passion for music (he owns a record producing company) and weight lifting. This year Jones said he is lifting heavily during the season for the first time in his career and it's paying off. He's maintaining his strength and is able to better absorb hits and stay injury-free (he has missed only three games in the past six seasons). His 420-pound bench press is among the best on the team. "When TJ is in the weight room, he's in his own zone," said tight end Chris Baker. "We just kind of let him do his thing." The other secret to Jones' longevity, he says, is the cold tub. It's an ice and water ****tail that snaps the body back to life after practices and games. "The cold tub is very underrated," Jones said. "It helps you get your legs back and keep that pop in your legs. If you have inflammation, it helps you get the inflammation out. The cold tub keeps a lot of guys going." Last season Jones went nowhere fast. The offensive line was crippled by the departure of veteran left guard Pete Kendall, and Jones often had to make three moves just to get back to the line of scrimmage. Even so, he pounded out 1,119 yards and one touchdown on 310 carries (3.6-yard average). But the Jets finished 4-12 and there were whispers the organization made a mistake by acquiring him from the Bears in a swap of second-round picks and signing him to a four-year, $20 million deal. "Last year was a great year for me," said Jones, who spent three seasons in Chicago. "Despite our won-lost record, despite how tough it was, I was still able to come in and work hard and get over 1,000 yards." During this past offseason, Jones was determined to show he was the same back who led the Bears to Super Bowl XLI. "Nobody enjoyed last season and TJ took it hard as well," right guard Brandon Moore said. "I think it's one of the things that fuels him this year. What happened last year, he's taking it out on people this year." It didn't start off that way. In Week 2, the Jets were stopped by the Patriots on three straight runs by Jones inside the 5-yard line that was the defining moment in a disappointing 19-10 loss at Giants Stadium. "That sequence has definitely driven us in our goal-line situations since then," Moore said. "Nothing was really said. We didn't have any meetings. Guys just knew." The Jets' running game is humming now, averaging 153.8 yards per game during their five-game winning streak, with Jones and the elusive Leon Washington as a one-two punch that has been dubbed "Pow and Later." Jones is just three rushing touchdowns shy of Curtis Martin's club record. "TJ is a tremendous back and hopefully we can keep it going," Baker said. "Everything he's getting, he deserves. The way I look at it is his success is my success. He's a really good dude. It's easy to root for a guy like that." Said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer: "TJ has made some really tough yards. His production in getting the ball in the end zone has been terrific." Jones even got a little payback against the Patriots when he ran over rookie linebacker Jerod Mayo for a 1-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown in the Jets' 34-31 overtime victory at New England in Week 11. "It feels good to be an integral part of the offense and a team leader," said Jones, who is a favorite among his teammates. "We have some great guys on this team. I'm excited about where we are, but we have a lot of football left. The season isn't over by any means."
  2. Jets expecting wild homecoming BY ERIK BOLAND erik.boland@newsday.com November 30, 2008 The Jets expect quite a homecoming today. They've earned it. Back-to-back road victories over the Patriots and the then-undefeated Titans - wins that came 10 days apart - have the Jets in first place in the AFC East and tied for the second-best record in the AFC. It has their long-tormented fans dreaming big. "It's going to be crazy," second-year cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "It's really going to be crazy. We have a lot of momentum coming into this game. We just have to be relaxed and humble and don't get too excited to where we're not focused on the Denver Broncos." Left tackle Damien Woody, in his first season with the Jets, is looking forward to the fans' reception. "I expect it to be very excited and electric," Woody said. "Hopefully, we can put out a very exciting performance and continue to have the success that we've been having." Nose tackle Kris Jenkins, after experiencing the hostility of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and LP Field in Nashville, also is anticipating today's atmosphere, but for an added reason. "I miss the little guy with the fire hat doing his little signs on the video screen," Jenkins said, likely the first person to use "little" in describing Fireman Ed, who is on the burly side. "I like that. He gets me excited, actually. I know some guys on the team asked why I get excited. I am like, I never got to experience something like that. We have some intense fans here and I am glad to be a part of that experience. I definitely enjoy playing in front of the home crowd." But players also know how quickly the electricity produced when they run out of the tunnel will be shut off if they don't play well. The Broncos are poor defensively, but they have one of the best offenses in the league. Of particular concern is their passing attack, which ranks third in the league at 273 yards per game. "The Broncos are a very good team," Revis said. Jets fans waiting for the other shoe to drop - or at least for some kind of letdown - might take solace in that when players returned to work Wednesday, the 34-13 victory over the Titans wasn't mentioned. It was the same way leading up to the Tennessee game when players returned from the five-day break after beating the Patriots on a Thursday night. New England was in the past. Players seem utterly unimpressed with themselves despite a five-game winning streak that has them being mentioned prominently as a Super Bowl contender. "I've been happy with their approach, but also their mind-set after each game," coach Eric Mangini said. "Whether it's been win or lose, there hasn't been a sense of, you know, 'here we go again' if it was a loss or a sense of 'OK, we've arrived' after a win. It's been very much a sense of 'OK, who is the next opponent and what do we have to do to beat them?' " Jenkins said the message to young players has been that the playoffs might as well be a year from now. There's a long way to go. "They can't even worry about it right now," Jenkins said of the postseason. "It's not even a luxury that we have, and honestly, I know that it would be kind of disrespectful to other teams to look past them. We can't assume that we are just that good that we are going to walk through everything. Every game is serious." Jenkins, in his eighth season in the league and first with the Jets, said his experience has taught him that the gains of the last five games quickly can become irrelevant. "I think the past has shown a lot of good teams let a season go because they started feeling themselves a little bit too much," Jenkins said. "As veterans, that's all we are trying to tell the [young players]. Just make sure you take every game seriously. Every game gets bigger and bigger, so you're going to have that much more pressure on yourself to go out and perform at this level. That is what we have to be mindful of." BRONCOS AT JETS, 4:15 p.m. TV: Ch. 2 Radio: WEPN (1050) ABOUT THE BRONCOS Record: 6-5 Coach: Mike Shanahan (14th season, 144-88 overall) The Broncos looked as if they would take control of the weak AFC West after back-to-back road victories against the Browns and Falcons, but stumbled badly when they returned home last Sunday, losing to the Raiders, 31-10. They're still in first place at 6-5, but that's more a product of the division. The Broncos can move the ball, ranking second in total offense (382.5 ypg), but have been almost helpless in stopping the opposition from doing so. Denver's best statistical ranking in any defensive category is 19th for their percentage (7.3) of sacks per pass play. Among the horrible numbers: the Broncos are 28th in total defense (380.4 ypg), 28th in scoring defense (27.5) and 27th in rushing defense (144.5), which bodes well for the Jets' resurgent running game. MEET THE ENEMY DT DEWAYNE ROBERTSON Robertson never lived up to his draft position (No. 4 overall in 2003) and he became even more of a disappointment - though not entirely through his own fault - to Jets fans when he was switched to an undersized nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme at the start of the Eric Mangini era in 2006. Robertson was dealt before last April's draft to Denver for a draft pick in 2009. But that pick was conditional, and for the Jets to receive the minimum, a fifth-round selection, Robertson would have to play in 65 percent of the opposition's snaps. That is unlikely. Robertson has started 10 of 11 games this season and recorded 30 tackles - tied for fourth among Broncos defensive linemen - and a half sack, playing primarily on first and second downs. INJURY REPORT JETS - Questionable: LB David Harris (groin), S Eric Smith (concussion). Probable: WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), K Mike Nugent (right thigh), WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), DL Shaun Ellis (back), TE Bubba Franks (hip), CB Dwight Lowery (thigh), WR Brad Smith (shoulder), LB Jason Trusnik (knee) BRONCOS - Out: S Marlon McCree (ankle). Doubtful: LB D.J. Williams (knee) Questionable: CB Champ Bailey (groin), WR Eddie Royal (toe), LB Nate Webster (knee), RB Selvin Young (groin) Probable: G Ben Hamilton (wrist), RB Peyton Hills (shoulder), WR Brandon Marshall (hip), DT Kenny Peterson (achilles), RB P.J. Pope (ribs), DT Dewayne Robertson (knees) DT Josh Shaw (shoulder), DT Marcus Thomas (hamstring)
  3. Broncos' Cutler has a lot of Favre in him BY ERIK BOLAND erik.boland@newsday.com November 30, 2008 Brett Favre sees a little of himself in Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler and understands why others do, too. "I can see the comparisons," Favre said. "He's probably a little more advanced as far as being in a passing offense when he came into the league [than] I was. From a physical standpoint, I see us doing a lot of the same things at that age." The two share the same agent, Bus Cook, and Favre said he has followed the third-year quarterback's progress since he arrived in Denver. "The guy can be pretty darn good," Favre said. "He has been good up to this point. He'll continue to get better. He has the right mentality. He has all the physical tools you need. He has a real strong arm and moves around well. Barring some injury, he'll have a great career." Statistically, the two are virtually identical this season. Favre has thrown 20 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions; the 6-3, 233-pound Cutler has thrown for 19 TDs and 12 INTs. The main difference between the two is their scrambling ability. Favre, in his younger years and even more so now, eludes pass rushes mostly because of his quick release. Cutler has run for 143 yards, including an 18-yarder, on 34 attempts. "He's got a very good arm. He's excellent with his feet," Jets coach Eric Mangini said. "He can create a lot of plays." Plays of the improvisational high-risk, high-reward variety - i.e., a propensity for forcing passes into tight spaces - mostly elicit comparisons to Favre. But Cutler, maybe mindful of the public relations hit he took this season when he said "hands down" he has a stronger arm than Broncos legend John Elway, demurred when asked about being called Favre-like. "I have a long way to go," Cutler said in a conference call with New York reporters. "You're talking about Brett Favre, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. He's accomplished a lot throughout his career. I'm just kind of getting started. We'll see. Hopefully, I'm still a starter five to 10 years from now." But Cutler, who grew up a Bears fan, is a longtime admirer of Favre and can even sound like the veteran at times, especially when it comes to his mistakes. Favre rarely apologizes for the interceptions that sometimes follow a forced throw. Neither does Cutler. "Not really," Cutler said when asked if he has been working on his discipline in the passing game. He was similarly unmoved in addressing critics who have said he probably should. "We're kind of having trouble running the ball," Cutler said. "We've been having turnovers early in the game, getting down late and having to make some plays through the air and put some balls in some tight spots. I'm just going to go out and play. And play my game." Not surprisingly, Cutler said that attitude is what he most respects about Favre. "I still admire the way he plays and the things that he's able to do on the field," Cutler said. "He sees the field extremely well, better than most, and makes throws that a lot of guys probably wouldn't attempt. A lot of times, he fits it in there. He's always been fun to watch."
  4. THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE COMIN' THROUGH By STEVE SERBY November 30, 2008 -- HE IS the Unsung Hero in a Subway Super Bowl-crazed city that has started to sing The Ballad of Brett Favre. But there is no doubting Thomas Jones now. He talks softly and carries a big lick, and today the Jets' Rough Rider will run roughshod over the marshmallow Broncos. If Favre is the swagger, then Jones is the dagger of a mean, green smashmouth machine that every Sunday embarks on a search-and-destroy mission to impose its will on an enemy defense with the express purpose of making it surrender by the fourth quarter. See: Tennessee Titans game. Jones and game-breaker sidekick Leon Washington don't have any fancy nicknames a la Earth, Wind and Fire, but Touchdown Thomas (nine rushing touchdowns) or End Zone Jones (two receiving touchdowns) would be a good place to start, and Jets fans should be ashamed of themselves that the leading rusher in the AFC (950 yards) isn't among the top five vote-getters - behind Ronnie Brown, Chris Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshawn Lynch and Maurice Jones-Drew - for the Pro Bowl. He is a complete back who oozes pride and passion the way Curtis Martin did once, one of those inspirational leaders who prefers to walk the walk, who talks the talks mostly behind closed doors with rousing pregame speeches from the heart. This is a player and a person who is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Pacman Jones (absolutely no relation), someone who understands fully that playing in the NFL isn't a right, but a privilege. He is 30 years old, in his ninth season, and he takes nothing for granted. "This is the time of my life right now," Touchdown Thomas says. "Every time I step out on the field, whether it's practice or the game . . . I'm living a dream. Once you're done playing, you have the rest of your life. You'll never get this time back again in your life." Ask Touchdown Thomas if he feels underappreciated, and this is his answer: "This is my job. I'm getting paid a lot of money to do what I do. I'm blessed." He was hindered by a summer calf injury a year ago and never complained, never offered excuses, even behind an offensive line he could have sued for non-support. The Real Thomas Jones has stood up, and not coincidentally, 4-12 has turned into 8-3. "I don't get into The Real Thomas Jones, man," he said. "When I get the ball, I try to do my thing, man. I love to play. I don't try to draw attention to myself. I'm one of 11 guys that has a job to do." He loves the job the five guys (six, counting fullback Tony Richardson) who open holes for him do. "I think they're the best offensive line in the NFL," Touchdown Thomas says. On LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson: "He's got probably the longest arms I've ever seen. You're gonna get the same guy every day." On LG Alan Faneca: "When he steps on the practice field or in a game, he's ready to play. He's a natural leader; he leads by example." On C Nick Mangold: "Nick's probably one of the smartest people I've ever met. To be as young as he is, the guy plays like a 10-year vet. He puts everybody in the right place. If you met him on the street, you wouldn't think he has a mean streak about him, but he's deceptive." On RG Brandon Moore: "Off the field, he's quiet, minds his own business, but he's probably one of the meaner offensive linemen I've been around. He doesn't take anything from anybody. If you rub him the wrong way, you'll have hell to pay with him." On RT Damien Woody: "He's always full of energy. He kinda sets the tone . . . he's very aggressive . . . he likes to impose his will on people," The Jets' offensive linemen are energized as Jones gets stronger and more emotional as the game wears on and Winning Time beckons and defenders shy from contact. "I understand the game is not over in the first quarter; I condition myself during the week and during the offseason to be good in the fourth quarter," Touchdown Thomas says. The fourth quarter of the season is near. "By no means are we in the clear," Touchdown Thomas says. There are Broncos to buck first.
  5. COMPANY LINE ON CALLAHAN: HE'S GOOD! By BRIAN COSTELLO November 30, 2008 -- The Jets' offensive line has an impressive pedigree - four of the five players were first-round picks. They also have a leader with an impressive resume. Bill Callahan has been the head coach of a Super Bowl team and one of the most storied programs in college football. When Eric Mangini went looking for an offensive line coach last winter, GM Mike Tannenbaum raised Callahan as a candidate, and the veteran coach impressed Mangini. "When I was able to sit down with him, his level of understanding of the offensive line play is outstanding," Mangini said. "His ability to teach from a technical standpoint is outstanding. What I liked even more than that is he understands the big picture." Jets assistant coaches are not permitted to speak to the media, but Callahan's players are singing his praises, and the numbers show the progress he's made with the unit. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have become a top running tandem in the league with Jones leading the AFC in rushing and Washington a threat to break one at any time. Against the Titans, the offensive line opened huge holes and kept the Titans from getting to Brett Favre much. "I think he understands all the situations" right tackle Damien Woody said. "Having head-coaching experience under his belt, there's a lot of things in the game that he understands that maybe someone who doesn't have that experience . . . wouldn't really have a grasp of. It's just good to have a guy with his wealth of knowledge being that he's been an offensive coordinator, he knows offense. He's just a great coach to have as a position coach." Things did not end well for Callahan in either of his head-coaching stints. After taking the Raiders to the Super Bowl in his first season, he was fired after a player revolt the following year. He ended up at Nebraska but never embraced the program's history and was fired after a 5-7 season in 2007.
  6. GIANTS-JETS SUPER BOWL WOULD BE ARMAGRIDDON By MIKE VACCARO November 30, 2008 -- LANDOVER, Md. - This all started as a joke, of course, four weeks ago when the Jets inched their way into a three-way tie for first place atop the AFC East. I mentioned in a column that it was only the 18th time in the 49 seasons in which the Jets and Giants have shared the city that they both spent a Monday morning after Nov. 1 in first place. Naturally, I allowed the words "Super Bowl" to float into the column, and naturally I was kidding, because it was ludicrous to think of anyone in a Super Bowl at the midway point of the season. This didn't stop folks from ripping the very notion - whether it was haughty Giants fans, disgusted at the possibility of ruining the neighborhood by including the Jets in the conversation; whether it was jittery Jets fans, outraged at the notion that anyone would want to rock their safely built inferiority complex cocoon, whether it was my friend Dan Shaughnessy, who laughed at the notion in the pages of the Boston Globe. Well, it's 21 weeks now (and is sure to grow to at least 22, no matter what happens today), and the silly notion has become more than a fantasy (if still less than an odds-on certainty), but the way I look at it, since I was the first to launch the silly notion I should be your Answer Man for any questions you might have (and have already posed, because you're getting excited about the prospect, admit it). So here's a start, actual questions from actual readers who have decided: What the hell, there's no harm in daring to dream: How likely is this, really? Good luck ever considering anything in the NFL as "likely;" all you need is an injury on the field - or in a nightclub - to remind you of that. But it's as likely as it's ever been - and it'll be hard for it to ever be more likely. Where would this rank compared to the 2000 Subway Series on the hype chart? It would be off the hype charts. Way, way, way way off the hype charts. For starters, even though that Mets-Yankees encounter eight years ago was a dream long in coming for many area baseball fans, the fact is we'd already seen plenty of Subway Series before - six Yanks-Giants meetings, seven Yanks-Dodgers meetings. So while there was some novelty attached, it was nothing like a first-ever Subway Super Bowl would bring. Plus, there were only a few days separating Game 6 of the Yankees-Mariners ALCS, which clinched the Subway Series, and Game 1 of the World Series. Even the off day between the Clemens-Piazza Game and Game 3 didn't allow a lot of time for the hype and hyperbole to grow and fester. But a Jets-Giants Super Bowl? Even if one team had to play Monday night, that would mean 12 full days of nonstop, bang-the-drum, raise-the-roof craziness. Serby's fingertips alone, pounding out copy on his keyboard those two weeks, could keep the Empire State Building lit the whole time - alternating, of course, between green and white and red and blue. Would it be a good game? That is the lingering disappointment from 2000: After waiting 44 years for another Subway Series, what we got was a one-sided rout, the Yankees ridding themselves of the Mets in only five games. There's a lot of football connecting now and Feb. 1 and we have no idea what injuries would do to the landscape, or the way one team or the other is and will be playing. The early guess? The Giants certainly would be the favorite, probably 5-6 points to start. Sure. But would it be a good game? Nobody is going to argue against the fact that the Giants are the better team, but, then, nobody would have argued that the Patriots weren't the better team last year. The presence of Brett Favre means anything is possible. And the Jets' rush defense against the Giants' three-headed rushing attack would be worth the price of admission all by itself. So, yes: All the elements would be in place for a good game. Would it be the greatest day in the history of New Jersey sports? Actually, it might just be the greatest day in the history of New Jersey, period. The East Rutherford Giants and Florham Park Jets obviously would be fighting for Garden State bragging rights (as about a thousand embittered Pats fans wrote to point out last February, the only team that plays in New York plays in upstate Orchard Park - when they aren't playing in Toronto). But then factor into the mix the presence Bruce Springsteen doing the halftime show (with Little Steve Van Zandt - aka Silvio Dante) . . . you have the potential for some kind of Jersey bonanza at Raymond James Stadium - which they should just rename Cheesequake Rest Stop Stadium for the day. Which team would have more to gain/more to lose? At the top, we should mention that there should be no such concept as any team having anything to lose by making the Super Bowl (though it would be fun to watch Jets fans try). But both teams would have everything to gain. The Giants would be going for back-to-back titles, which would put them in a rarefied part of all-time NFL air. And the Jets would be gunning to take back the town for the first time in 40 years. Losing would hurt, on both ends. But it would be a tolerable loss, you would think. Or hope. Who would win? Let's get there first. Dreaming is one thing. Expecting is something else. And a lot less fun, too.
  7. BRONCOS' O A THREAT TO STREAKING GANG GREEN By BRIAN COSTELLO November 30, 2008 -- With two huge road victories behind them, the 8-3 Jets return home to face the 6-5 Broncos today, hoping to extend their five-game winning streak. The Jets no longer are sneaking up on anybody. After watching them beat the Patriots and Titans the last two weeks, the NFL knows how good this team is. Denver is coming off a miserable loss to the Raiders, the same team the Jets lost to before this win streak began. Eric Mangini is confident his team will not get swept away by the good publicity it is receiving and get overconfident. With five games left, the Jets are in position to wrap up a playoff berth, the AFC East and a first-round bye in the next few weeks. They just have to stay grounded. "Whether it's been win or lose, there hasn't been a sense of, 'Here we go again,' if it was a loss, or a sense of, 'OK, we've arrived,' if there was a win," Mangini said. "It's been very much a sense of, 'All right, who is the next opponent and what do we have to do to beat them?' What we all understand is that it's a five-game season." A look inside the game: BEST BATTLE Broncos WRs Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal vs. Jets CBs Darrelle Revis and Ty Law: Marshall (67 catches, 887 yards, 4 TDs) and rookie Royal (58, 673, 4) can stretch the field. The Jets secondary has not been great, getting torched for 400 yards against the Patriots two weeks ago. Law now has had two full weeks with the Jets, which has allowed Mangini to use different matchup combinations when they go to their nickel and dime packages. Denver has the third-ranked offense in the NFL, and these two guys are a big reason why. Royal injured his toe last week but is expected to play today. Marshall is the kind of receiver who can keep DBs up at night. When Mangini was asked to compare him to another receiver, he paid Marshall a high compliment. "I'd say Randy Moss," Mangini said. "He's big - 6-41⁄2, 230 [pounds]. He has excellent hands. He has a really good run after the catch. He's strong. He can run the full complement of routes - short, or deep with good speed. He's really good." FORGET TAMPA The Jets need to shut out all the outside talk of how good they are right now. The Jets-Giants Super Bowl discussion is fun for media and fans, but the truth is that is still two months from tomorrow and there is a lot of football between now and then. "I think the past has shown a lot of good teams that let a season go because they started feeling themselves a little bit too much," nose tackle Kris Jenkins said. "As veterans, that's all we are trying to tell the [young players]. Just make sure you take every game seriously. Every game gets bigger and bigger, so you're going to have that much more pressure on yourself to go out and perform at this level, so that is what we have to be mindful of." KEEP ON ROLLING The offense has put up huge numbers over the last three weeks, averaging 38.3 points per game. They have scored 115 points - a franchise record for a three-game stretch - and can keep it going today against a Broncos defense ranked 28th in the league. Last week, Brett Favre was restricted to a short-passing game that kept the Titans defenders from getting a pass rush. This week, expect a heavy dose of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington against a Denver D that allows 144.5 rushing yards per game. If Denver brings an extra defender up to stop the run, Favre may get his chance to throw a deep one. 'CUT' HIM DOWN Two weeks ago, Matt Cassel ran for 62 yards against the Jets mostly on scrambles out of the pocket. Several of the runs kept drives alive. Denver QB Jay Cutler can move and the Jets need to keep him in the pocket. "That's something we're very aware of," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "We are aware of that. [The Patriots] game, we knew we had to make some changes with the way we were letting the quarterback out. It definitely [has] our antenna up for this game." FOE FACT Denver is minus-12 in turnover ratio, 31st in the NFL. Only the 49ers (the Jets' next opponent) are worse at minus-13. brian.costello@nypost.com COSTELLO'S CALL The Jets are due for a stinker, and the Broncos catch them. BRONCOS 34, JETS 24
  8. Jets offensive line jells by jawing By RICH CIMINI DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER Sunday, November 30th 2008, 1:00 AM Jets linemen Damien Woody (67) and Nick Mangold (74) have helped give Brett Favre the time to turn around season. One day after devouring the Titans, the Jets' offensive linemen feasted on red meat - and each other. The five starters, plus two practice-squad linemen, dined last Monday night at an upscale steakhouse in Manhattan. Wives and girlfriends were invited, adding a sense of decorum to the occasion, but not enough to prevent it from turning into a typical day at the office - a crossfire of good-natured jabs and insults. They broke bread and busted chops. On this night, one of the targets was center Nick Mangold, who organized the dinner. Some apparently felt it was too pricey - $350 per couple - so Mangold caught some heat from his linemates. By the end of the night, which included everything from tenderloin to tequila, no one at the table had gone unscathed. "Is this what everybody is like when you guys are with each other?" Regina Moore asked her husband, right guard Brandon Moore. Moore nodded. "I told her it's a lot worse than this without the women around," Moore says, smiling. "She was surprised at how the table got on each other and had fun." Say hello to the Jets' five senses of humor. Figuratively speaking, a player needs two things to play on the Jets' offensive line - a hard hat and a flack jacket. Yes, that's flack with a "c," because no one in the group is immune to the razzing that occurs daily in the offensive-line meeting room. When it comes to protecting Brett Favre and opening holes for Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, the Jets' line is deadly serious and highly efficient. Part of the reason is good chemistry, which they believe can be attributed to having five compatible personalities that have learned to laugh with, and at, each other. "Everybody is dishing and everybody is receiving," left guard Alan Faneca says. "Sometimes the shots are fired loud and clear, and sometimes you have to think about them because they're so subtle. It's a fun atmosphere. It's a fun room to be in." Aside from Faneca, Moore and Mangold, the other starters are left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and right tackle Damien Woody. Faneca and Woody are the big-money newcomers, both former Super Bowl champions with Pro Bowls on their resumes, but they didn't arrive with highbrow attitudes. They blended nicely with the three holdovers, helping erase the dismal memories of 2007. A year ago, the Jets' line was a laughingstock. Now they're the ones doing the laughing - for more than one reason. Joking aside, they lead the NFL with 27 drives of at least five minutes, a testament to the line's ability to take control. "I didn't play with these guys last year," Favre says, "but I see something (special)." The line is comprised of four former first-round picks, the first team since the 2002 Steelers to have that many in the starting group, but there's no caste system in the meeting room. Everyone is fair game. When Woody missed two practices because of a fever, he caught major grief. "He was in the trainer's room, cuddled up like a little baby," says Moore, the only non-first-rounder. "We've been giving him a hard time about that forever." Bill Callahan gets into the fray, too. For a line coach, he's relatively laid back, a Civil War buff who enjoys classical music, but he can dish it out as well as his players. And he receives plenty in return. When he announced to the room recently that he was suffering from a 100-degree fever, he was mocked, Moore questioning whether that even qualified as a fever. "We give him a hard time because when he gets sick, he bottles up a little bit," Faneca says of Callahan, whose steady, understated style has helped galvanize the unit. Perhaps the most frequent whipping boy is backup Rob Turner, who has seen action in several games as an extra tight end. He's the numbers geek, compiling stats and breaking down film almost like a quality-control coach. Rarely does a day go by without Turner being tweaked in some fashion. Each player has his own idiosyncrasies, all fodder for teasing. Moore is known as the complainer. Mangold is the nit-picker, always correcting small factual mistakes by others. Faneca? He has a habit of stepping on feet in games. As Mangold says, "He has destroyed my left foot. He brings a lot of force." Mangold often finds himself in the middle of the razz sessions, which tend to be right versus left. No, we're not talking political viewpoints; it's the right side of the line (Moore and Woody) against the left side (Faneca and Ferguson). As the center, Mangold tries to be Switzerland. "Each side likes to stick together," Mangold says. It's a diverse group, with players that share very little in terms of background. Mangold (Ohio) and Moore (Indiana) hail from the Midwest, while Faneca (Louisiana) was raised in the Deep South, Woody (Virginia) in the Mid-Atlantic and Ferguson (Freeport, L.I.) the only New Yorker. Ferguson and Mangold, both first-round choices in 2006, struck an immediate relationship. In fact, Ferguson was a groomsman in Mangold's wedding last year. Listening to them, it sounds like every day is a wedding reception in Callahan's meeting room. Put them at the same table in a restaurant, let Woody order a round of shots and prepare for a night of verbal cut-blocks. "Damien likes tequila, so in honor of his enjoyment of it, we did one or two shots," Mangold said. "We couldn't let him drink alone." HERE'S WHAT BRETT THINKS Brett Favre sizes up the five men who protect him. Center Nick Mangold "I've played with some very good centers over my career. Nick has a chance to be the best I've ever played with. Athletically speaking, he's by far the most athletic. Frank Winters, who was my roommate for 12, 13 years, is going to kill me for saying that." Left Guard Alan Faneca "Faneca is one of those guys that every team wishes they had on their team
  9. From Cimini's Blog: Five reasons the Jets will dump Denver November 29, 2008 Five reasons why the Jets will beat the Broncos tomorrow at the Meadowlands: 1. More balance. The Jets can run and pass. The Broncos can pass - sometimes. There are days when Jay Cutler looks like the next Brett Favre and days when he looks like the next Browning Nagle. 2. The enver Broncos. We left out the 'D' because the Broncos have no defense. The passer rating against them is 102.3, the fourth-worst in NFL history. They've picked off only four passes, which is hard to believe. 3. The Early Show. The Jets have scored on six straight opening possessions, while the Broncos have committed 12 first-half turnovers. Look for the Jets to jump on the Broncos in the first half, then pound away with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. 4. Dewayne Robertson. The former Jets bust is a starting defensive tackle for the Broncos. Need we say more? 5. The Leon King. Don't be surprised if Washington takes one to the house. The Broncos' coverage units are dreadful, ranking 30th in kickoff returns. Prediction: Cutler throws for 300-plus, but the Jets prevail, 34-28.
  10. It's old master vs. young gun as Brett Favre and Jay Cutler enter arms war By RICH CIMINI DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER Sunday, November 30th 2008, 12:53 AM Brett Favre meets younger self when Jay Cutler (below) and the Broncos visit Jets at Meadowlands Sunday. The brash Cutler has the rocket arm Favre entered league with in 1991. They come along all the time, these young guns eager to face the legendary Brett Favre. Matt Cassel. Trent Edwards. JaMarcus Russell. To them, it's a "grandchildren" game, as in: One day, I can tell my grandchildren I played Brett Favre. In that respect, the Broncos' Jay Cutler is no different. Leading up to Sunday, he showed the obligatory reverence toward the most prolific passer in NFL history. But, unlike the others, he actually threw himself into the Favre conversation, claiming he has a stronger arm than the Jets' quarterback. "Yeah, I think so," Cutler told the Denver media, laughing. "He's 39, soon to be 40. I think he may have given me a run back in his 20s, but I think I got him now." In Colorado, they call it necessary brashness. In New York, where Favre's stature is approaching Namath-esque proportions, it's known as Chutzpah. The quarterback showdown, spiced with Cutler's bravado, should make for a delicious storyline at the Meadowlands, where the first-place Jets (8-3) hope to win their sixth straight - which would be their longest winning streak in a decade. Make no mistake, Cutler's words resonated in the Jets' locker room, where some players seemed surprised, almost bemused, that a young quarterback would compare any aspect of his game to that of Favre. Just recently, Cutler made the same claim with regard to John Elway, a deity in Bronco Nation. "He's a young, ascending player with a bright future, but as far as comparing himself to Elway or Brett Favre, I just think that's like comparing apples to oranges. You just can't do it," said tackle Damien Woody, sounding like Lloyd Bentsen's famous "You're-no-Jack-Kennedy" admonishment toward Dan Quayle. "They're on two different levels. I think he has a ways to go before being compared to an Elway or a Brett Favre." Not that they need it, but that could provide additional motivation for the Jets, who are determined to avoid a letdown after back-to-back victories over the Patriots and Titans. Ironically, they haven't needed Favre's big arm during the current tear, as they've evolved into a controlled passing offense that feeds off the running game. This isn't the Favre that Cutler admired growing up as a kid, but things have changed, especially over the past month. In the last four games, Favre hasn't passed for more than 258 yards (nearly 20 yards below Cutler's average), but he has completed 75% of his attempts, with five touchdowns and only two interceptions. That's not Cutler's image of Favre. "We both take chances and we both throw into tight coverage," said Cutler, comparing their styles. "We both make some throws that we probably regret after watching them on film. It's all part of it. It's how I've always played and probably the way he has always played." With no semblance of a running game, and not much defensive support, Cutler is averaging 37 passes per game. He has 3,036 yards, third-best in the league, posing a legitimate threat to the Jets' 26th-ranked pass defense. Mike Shanahan is a game plan-specific coach (sound familiar?), and he will attack the Jets' weakness. "He's a young guy, so maybe he's a little more brave in what he's doing out there, he'll take some chances," safety Kerry Rhodes said of Cutler, who has 12 interceptions, one less than Favre. Cutler has the ability to ring up 400 yards on the Jets, but the Broncos are wildly inconsistent, having committed 12 first-half turnovers. The result: Embarrassing losses such as last week's home debacle against the Raiders. "I think the guy can be pretty darn good," Favre said of Cutler, a first-round pick in 2006. "He has been good up to this point. I think he'll continue to get better. He has the right mentality, has all the physical tools you need. He's got a real strong arm." Favre wouldn't say if he believes his arm is stronger. A high-scoring shootout would stimulate the debate, and that's a definite possibility. Quarterbacks have compiled a 102.3 passer rating against the Broncos, the fourth-highest in league history. Favre might be tempted to let 'er rip. He doesn't do it much anymore, but he still can produce a vintage Favre snapshot. Moments after seeing him fire a touchdown between three defenders last week, the Titans' Bo Scaife said on the sideline, "I can't believe he got that in there." Teammate Kevin Mawae, miked by NFL Films, replied: "It's Brett Favre, bro." BRONCOS at JETS at GIANTS STADIUM, 4 p.m. BY HANK GOLA THE LINE: Jets by 8 TV: Ch. 2 (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon) RADIO: WEPN 1050-AM, WABC 770-AM (Bob Wischusen, Marty Lyons), in Spanish on 1280-WADO-AM (Clemson Smith-Muniz, Alfredo Bejar), Nationwide on USA Radio (Larry Kahn, Dan Fouts). FORECAST: Temperatures in the 40s, with 14 MPH winds and a 40% chance of showers. INJURY IMPACT The Broncos are expecting CB Champ Bailey back from a groin injury, even if he will not be full strength. WR Eddie Royal suffered a toe injury last week but is expected to play. Starting LBs Nate Webster and D.J. Williams are not expected to return from knee injuries, even though they got back on the practice field. Ditto for RB Selvin Young (groin). The Jets should get TE Bubba Franks back and will not have to telegraph their intentions to run by bringing in an extra offensive lineman as a second TE. LB David Harris (groin) and S Eric Smith (concussion) are not likely to play. FEATURE MATCHUPS WR Brandon Marshall vs. CB Darelle Revis: The Jets rank 26th defending the pass, an amazing stat since Revis is a legitimate shutdown corner. Marshall is a great talent (second in the AFC with 887 yards) and extremely dangerous since Jay Cutler has the arm to find him anywhere. But the so-called "Beast" is also erratic and prone to drops. Revis can stand up to him physically and has the ability to frustrate him. WR Jerricho Cotchery vs. CB Dre Bly: Where to start attacking a defense ranked 27th against the run and 25th against the pass? Not on Bailey's side. Bly, a capable corner, will get a lot of balls thrown his way, especially since Cotchery has been such a force lately with 11 catches in two games. The Jets have gone to a lot of quick drops and short patterns, more of what Brett Favre has been doing his entire career. That will give Cotchery some opportunities against a poor-tackling Denver team. SCOUT SAYS "The Broncos are staying with Peyton Hillis, a regular fullback, at tailback. He's done a relatively good job but this is going to be a tough week for the Broncos' running game. They've had problems controlling big nose tackles like Kris Jenkins, who can easily disrupt Denver's zone blocking schemes. I look for a big game from Leon Washington. He's the type of back, like Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles, who have made the Broncos looky bad once they get into the open field." INTANGIBLES With back-to-back upsets of the Pats and Titans highlighting a five-game winning streak, the Jets are being hailed as the second-best team in football and must be careful not to take the field with swelled heads. The Broncos are 6-5 with a two-game lead in the worst division in football yet they went into Atlanta two weeks ago and came up with an impressive road victory. For the most part, however, the Broncos have been an erratic and fragile football team. If the Jets can jump on them early - and the Broncos make a lot of first-half mistakes - they should coast. PREDICTION JETS, 30-23. If the Titans' D couldn't stop them, this one surely won't.
  11. Tell the people the truth. The tailgate ran out of food and you were really hungry.
  12. Very impressive stuff, please keep them coming!
  13. I'm also liking what's in and around your cabinet....I would take a wild guess and say you're a Jets fan?
  14. I see your point, Tyson. Let's just focus on winning the division first. There's a lot of football left.
  15. An hour or two with Grand Theft Auto does the trick usually. Aimlessly running over pedestrians, car-jacking, shooting up everyone...yeah that feels good. Or, some heavy metal.
  16. I think GOB is the expert on this. He has field expedience.
  17. 5 hours of tailgating > 3 hours of sitting under cover.
  18. 5 hours of tailgating > 3 hours of sitting under cover.
  19. If I can work in that kind of weather, I can play in it, too.
  20. I am very thankful for this year's version of the J-E-T-S. I'm thankful for a team that is realizing its potential at just the right time, and is rewarding us loyal fans with the hopes and dreams that we start every season with. I am thankful for the owner's wild shopping spree this past off-season. I am thankful for the nice mix of seasoned veterans and fresh faces that are starting to gel together. I am also thankful for the opportunity this year to witness every home game. Thanks also to the De-Jeterates, the tailgaters at 5H and joebaby & co. for some good times, and, more to come. And thanks to this site. This is a great bunch of fans, and I'm proud to call them my friends. Happy Thankskgivng!
  21. I think the player introductions will be insanely loud. Not just for Favre, either. It will almost be like a thank-you for the last two road victories.
  22. CUDWLp1yIWw I hope someone bought you a jacket for your birthday.
  23. Division title... playoffs.... ...and beyond... The Jets are for real.
  24. TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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