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Jets News 9/13/09


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Tears of joy! Rex Ryan gets emotional after winning debut as Jets' coach

HOUSTON - Big, tough Rex Ryan, the man who called out Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder and famously declared he won't kiss Bill Belichick's Super Bowl rings, couldn't hold back the tears.

In the aftermath of his first victory, a 24-7 rout of the Texans Sunday at Reliant Stadium, Ryan choked up during an emotional scene in the locker room, according to Jets players.

Safety Kerry Rhodes presented Ryan with the game ball, and it turned into a reverse play. Ryan took the handoff and gave it to owner Woody Johnson, who was standing nearby. Ryan, his voice cracking, thanked Johnson in front of the team for giving him his first head-coaching opportunity.

"It meant a lot to him," guard Brandon Moore said. "He had to work his way up to get his chance and he wins his first game. A lot of coaches don't get that opportunity."

Ryan was a career assistant, spending 10 seasons in the college ranks and 12 in the NFL before landing the Jets' job last January. There were times when he thought he'd never make it to the top of his profession. One of those times came in 1993, when his father, Buddy, took a swing at fellow Oilers assistant Kevin Gilbride during a game.

That game was in Houston. Fitting, huh? The other day, Ryan joked that when he saw his father's punch on TV, he figured he'd be doomed to a career as a Division I-AA assistant.

Now he's an undefeated head coach.

"It feels great," Ryan said. "You know, shoot, I'm glad we're 1-0. That's where we expected to be."

Ryan inherited his father's brashness, and it was reflected in his team's play. The Jets pressured and pounded Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who was sacked twice and hit six other times. On offense, the Jets took chances, entrusting rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez with a game plan that was anything but conservative.

Afterward, the most famous player in Jets history - Joe Namath - gushed about Ryan and his defensive approach.

"You watch the Ravens and you watch the Steelers, and you wish you had a defense like that," said Namath, standing outside the locker room. "What our Jets fans saw today was a defense that has a chance to be something like the Ravens or Steelers. If you can field a defense like that ... oh, man, it's a major plus for you."

Ryan, a former Ravens assistant, wants to make the Jets the most physical team in the league. He has been talking that way for months, and he punctuated the theme with a rousing speech to the team on the eve of the game. Basically, he described the Texans as a soft team, no match for the Jets.

"He works up to a big crescendo, like a Baptist minister," Moore said.

Said nose tackle Kris Jenkins: "When he said what he said, I knew from the reaction of the whole team that we were going to be ready to put up a fight."

It was like no speech they ever heard from Eric Mangini. As one player said, "It was good to see that, as opposed to what we had before."

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HOUSTON -- Since the moment Rex Ryan arrived as their head coach, the Jets have talked and talked.

Finally yesterday, in their season-opening win, they played and backed up the talk and later offered no apologies for their bravado.

"That's what we believe," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "We were not talking just to talk. We know the talent we have in this room. It doesn't matter what anybody on the outside says or thinks. They think we're going to finish last in the division. We're not."

Linebacker Bart Scott, the team's vocal leader, said: "People see the talk, but they don't see the work. We know that puts a bull's-eye on it. We know when we talk we have to back it up. One thing about talking is you've got to work harder because you know you're the hunted."


In one of the key matchups in the game, Jets CB Darrelle Revis held Texans Pro Bowl WR Andre Johnson, who led the NFL last season with 115 receptions for 1,575 yards and eight touchdowns, to only four catches for 35 yards.

In another key matchup, Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson held DE Mario Williams, who has 26 sacks in the last two seasons, sackless.


CB Donald Strickland had a huge game in his Jets debut, forcing a fumble that was recovered by DE Mike DeVito and helping cause CB Lito Sheppard's second half interception with a hit on Texans QB Matt Schaub.

For DeVito, it was his first career fumble recovery. For Sheppard, making his Jets debut, it was the 19th interception of his career.


WR Chansi Stuckey caught 4 passes for 64 yards -- all in the first half -- and that included a 30-yard TD catch from Mark Sanchez -- Sanchez's first career touchdown. . . . LB David Harris, who led the Jets with 11 tackles, had a sack. So did rookie LB Jamaal Westerman, the first of his career.


RB Leon Washington made one of the plays of the game and it had nothing to do with a rush, catch or kick return. He broke up a sure interception of an errant Sanchez pass by Texans LB Zac Diles in the first quarter. Had Washington not broken the interception up, Diles probably would have returned it for a touchdown. . . . LB Vernon Gholston made his first NFL start, replacing suspended Calvin Pace, and had three tackles, one for a loss.

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"You watch the Ravens and you watch the Steelers, and you wish you had a defense like that," said Namath, standing outside the locker room. "What our Jets fans saw today was a defense that has a chance to be something like the Ravens or Steelers. If you can field a defense like that ... oh, man, it's a major plus for you."

Lol.. Gotta love old Joe and his abillity to state the obvious. A good hard hitting defense is a plus for your team? Oh man indeed..

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My Observations on the Jets/Texans Game

First off, Shelly and I had a great weekend at the Four Seasons and had a blast meeting up with Jets fans Saturday night at the Flying Saucer.

The Jets completely dominated in all three phases of the football game. Congrats on a great win!

1). Brian Shotty was the MVP of the game. His playcalling was fantastic, especially on all the 3rd and longs.

2). When you convert 10/18 3rd and longs, you will not lose too many football games.

3) Play of the Game #1: Strickland (where the F*** did this guy come from?) stripping Slaton of the football on the 17 yard line. What little offensive momentum the Texans had, completely disappeared with that play.

4) Sanchez moves extremely well in the pocket. He has very nice lateral movement and does a fantastic job stepping up in the pocket and avoiding the rush.

5) Play of the Game #2: After the Texans scored their fluke TD, Sanchez converts a 3rd and 6 and then a 3rd and 9 to Keller. Keller was covered very tight and Sanchez made a perfect throw to pick up the 1st down. The game was over at that point.

6) Harris and Scott were both extremely physical. They both had outstanding football games. Revis took Johnson out of the game early on.

Sunday should be a great football game. :cheers:

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Sanchez's debut by the numbers

September 13, 2009 7:20 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Matt Lyon of the ESPN Stats & Information squad charted every play from the New York Jets' 24-7 victory over the Houston Texans and came up with some interesting nuggets about Mark Sanchez's NFL debut.

How composed was Sanchez? To look at his third-down numbers, you would think he was Joe Montana.

On third downs, Sanchez completed 12 of 15 passes for 191 yards, a touchdown and a 141.0 passer rating.

On every other down, he was a combined 6 of 16 for 81 yards, one interception and a 28.4 passer rating

Here's another eye-opener: When Sanchez faced five or more defensive backs, he completed 10 of 14 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Sanchez was unsuccessful when trying to throw to the left side of the field. He was 6 of 16 for 90 yards and threw his interception outside the numbers. When Sanchez went over the middle or to his right, he completed 12 of 15 passes for 182 yards and his touchdown to Chansi Stuckey.

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Peter King MMQB on Jets

Posted on September 14th, 2009 by Bassett

The two successors to Favre, Mark Sanchez (Jets) and Aaron Rodgers (Packers), are doing just fine, thank you. Better than fine. So fine that no one in New York or Green Bay seems to miss Favre

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There was a lot of talk about CB Darrelle Revis being locked up with Texans WR Andre Johnson. Who got the best of that matchup?

It was Revis in a knockout. The third-year Pro Bowl cornerback shut down Houston's big-play receiver, holding him to a mere four catches for 35 yards. Johnson had only one reception for 7 yards through the first three quarters and that came on the game's second play. "It was very fun," Revis said. "It's just two of the best battling at it. It just didn't go good on his end at the end of the day. I know Andre and he's a great receiver, but we just got the best of him today . . . It's just doing what I do best."

How did that Rex Ryan-led defense look overall, especially missing suspended starters Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis?

They were outstanding. Ryan has been a little bothered by the questions about the defense's preseason struggles and vowed that people would see just how good this defense is come yesterday's season opener. The Jets held the Texans, who were third in the league in overall offense in 2008, to 183 yards, including just 79 in the second half. They also never let big back Steve Slaton get going, limiting him to 17 yards on nine carries.

"We've got two defensive starters out and they pitched a shutout today. They did," right tackle Damien Woody said. "They pitched a shutout against a really good offense, at home where they've traditionally played really well. So hats off to them."

Where was Shonn Greene?

The rookie's NFL regular-season debut will have to wait at least one more week. Greene didn't dress because he was on the inactive list, a surprise move because he was healthy and practiced for the bulk of the last two weeks leading up to the game. The move wasn't done because Greene wasn't healthy enough to play. With linebacker Bryan Thomas nursing an ankle injury, the staff wanted extra insurance at the linebacker position. Thus the decision to go with Jason Trusnik over Greene.

The Jets searched high and low for a punter. How did Steve Weatherford do in his first game after getting signed Monday?

He was solid and was right around that 43-yard average he said he's good for. He punted four times for 164 yards, averaging 41 yards. Two of those punts were inside the 20-yard line and he didn't give up any return yards thanks to his nice hang time.

Who got the game balls?

Ryan presented one to owner Woody Johnson for believing in him enough to give him the opportunity to be a head coach.

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez handed one to his mother, Olga Macias, in the stands before heading into the locker room.

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Namath didn't like the late pick

By D(ickhead)an Leberfeld

Posted Sep 13, 2009

Houston - It's rare during an interview that Joe Namath says anything critical of the Jets, but after the Jets-Texans game he expressed dismay on the deep pass that led to a Pick Six for Houston in the fourth quarter with Gang Green up 17-0. "I

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by Rod Boone

Mark Sanchez came sprinting down the hallway underneath Reliant Stadium after handing off a game ball to his mother in the stands. He zoomed right past Joe Namath and into the locker room, where his teammates were awaiting his arrival.

He may have just become the fourth rookie quarterback to win an opening-day start on the road since the NFL merger, showing more than a few people why the Jets fell in love with him and traded up to draft him fifth overall. But he's still just that - a rookie.

"He kind of missed everything," Leon Washington said, referring to the immediate locker room celebration. "You know, rookie out there taking pictures and everything. But he'll learn the ropes."

With the way he's progressed in the last six weeks, it won't take Sanchez long to figure out the postgame routine. The franchise's first rookie quarterback to start a season opener since 1960 was brilliant Sunday, leading a unit that racked up 462 yards in a 24-7 pasting of the Texans.

He kicked off the Sanchez-Rex Ryan Era in grand fashion, completing 18 of 31 attempts for 272 yards and one touchdown with an interception.

"This is pretty special," Sanchez said. "It is a great way to start, but we have a lot of work to do."

When the Jets look back on this one, they'll be extremely pleased with the way they kept the chains moving on third down. They were 10-for-18 on third-down conversions and Sanchez was a magician during those situations, converting nine third downs via the pass. He was poised - though he did almost throw two other interceptions - and his teammates couldn't stop complimenting him.

"Sanchez played his -- off as far as coming in a loud stadium like this, his first game of the season and his first start of his career," said linebacker David Harris, who was a beast in his own right with a team-high six tackles and one of the Jets' two sacks.

Leading 3-0, the Jets cashed in a second-quarter turnover caused by cornerback Donald Strickland, who made Steve Slaton fumble after he ran into the secondary on a second-and-11 at the Jets' 35. Defensive end Mike DeVito caught the fumble in the air at the 15 and rumbled 7 yards to the Jets' 22.


New York Jets Rex Ryan NFL Thomas Jones Jerricho Cotchery "We wanted to go out there and send the message to them that we were going to punch them in the mouth from the beginning," DeVito said. "We wanted to come out there and play tough, smashmouth defense."

The Jets capitalized with a 10-play, 78-yard drive to make it 10-0. Sanchez capped it with his first touchdown pass, hooking up with Chansi Stuckey on third-and-10 from the Texans' 30. Houston got caught in an all-out blitz and cornerback Brice McCain let Stuckey go, thinking he had safety help behind him.

"I knew if I got by him," Stuckey said, "there was nobody else in the back and me. Mark was on the same page and we both recognized it."

Thomas Jones' 1-yard plunge gave the Jets a 17-0 cushion with 7:35 left in the third, but they got a little greedy in the fourth and Sanchez was picked off by safety John Busing, whom Dustin Keller made fumble. Safety Dominique Barber scooped it up at the Jets' 48 and ran it all the way in to cut the lead to 17-7.

However, the Jets came back with a four-play, 80-yard drive that was finished off when Jones went in 38 yards untouched, giving them back their 17-point lead with 10:10 left.

Jones, who ran for 107 yards and two TDs, said, "I think it was important for us to drive the ball down the field, put some points on the board and try to get some momentum back."

Ryan said of that drive: "Huge, huge."

That also could describe the play of the rookie quarterback, who's quickly developing a veteran mentality.

"You know what, this is Week 1 of 16, so we've got to keep it in perspective," Sanchez said. "I'll probably celebrate on the plane ride, ice down and get ready for the Patriots. This is a great way to start our season, but we've got a heck of a long way to go."

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some video at link-SFJ; http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/32828366/ns/sports-nfl/

Inspired by Namath, QB throws for 272 yards, TD in 24-7 win over Houston

HOUSTON - After getting a pregame pep talk from Broadway Joe himself, Mark Sanchez couldn’t help but sparkle in his debut in the NFL.

Sanchez, the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, threw for 272 yards and a touchdown, Thomas Jones scored twice, and the Jets shut down Houston’s high-powered offense in a 24-7 win Sunday.

Joe Namath took Sanchez aside just minutes before pregame warmups. The rookie asked him about his first start and Namath said he didn’t remember it and that Sunday was about Sanchez, not him.

“What a pep talk,” a beaming Sanchez said. “That was Joe Namath, just taking all the credit from himself and throwing it back to me and just saying, ‘Good luck.’ To hear that from a legend like that, it just kind of gives you the chills. It was something special to be a part of, an emotional start, an emotional little pep talk.”

Namath said Sanchez’s performance didn’t surprise him.

“No, I was hopeful and I’m satisfied more than I thought I’d be,” Namath said. “His offensive line did a hell of a job, but he did a great job of finding time with his feet, just to move subtly ... I don’t doubt even a little bit that he doesn’t have poise at this stage.”

It was easy to see Rex Ryan’s stamp on this defense in his first game as Jets head coach after leading the Ravens’ stingy unit for the past several years. Houston’s offense got past midfield just once in the first three quarters. The Texans were outgained 462-183, Steve Slaton was held to 17 yards rushing and Andre Johnson had 35 yards receiving.

“It’s just insane,” Slaton said. “You work for six months leading up to this first game. You have all offseason to prepare for this game and then to come out and play like that is upsetting.”

Matt Schaub struggled, too, completing 18 of 33 passes for 166 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Coach Gary Kubiak said Schaub hadn’t completely recovered from an ankle sprain he suffered almost two weeks ago, but took the blame for Houston’s poor performance.

“The offensive football team gave us no chance and that starts with me,” Kubiak said. “There’s nobody that can feel anything good coming out of this football game.”

Sanchez was poised and confident from the start, often evading the rush to complete key passes. He completed at least three throws as he was being knocked down.

“He’s able to move and bide a little extra time and again, this is why we took the guy,” Ryan said. “This is why we traded up to get him.”

His first NFL touchdown came in the second quarter when he found Chansi Stuckey wide open on a 30-yard reception to put the Jets up 10-3. After the score, television cameras flashed to a smiling Namath, who watched the game from a luxury suite at Reliant Stadium.

That score came after a fumble by Slaton at the end of an 18-yard catch and run. Donald Strickland knocked the ball out and it landed in Mike DeVito’s hands.

“When we did move the ball, we have a big turnover,” Johnson said. “It looked like we were going to score. We can’t have those things happen. When they happen, you get beat.”

Sanchez’s only big mistake came in the fourth quarter. John Busing intercepted his pass and immediately fumbled. Houston’s Dominique Barber picked up the ball and ran down the right sideline 48 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-7 with about 12 minutes left in the game.

The Jets answered quickly when Jones rumbled 38 yards for a touchdown four plays later.

Sanchez distributed the ball well among several receivers. Jerricho Cotchery finished with six receptions for 90 yards, tight end Dustin Keller had four for 94, and Stuckey had four for 64.

Jones had 107 yards rushing and Leon Washington added 60 to keep the running game going.

The Jets used an 87-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Jones to push their lead to 17-0 midway through the third quarter. That score was set up by a 9-yard run by Washington, who took the snap out of the wildcat formation.

A 24-yard field goal by Jay Feely in the first quarter gave New York a 3-0 lead.

Linebacker David Harris led New York’s defense, finishing with six solo tackles and a sack.

The Texans are 2-9 in the month and have lost their last six in September. The few thousand fans who remained when the game ended booed loudly as the last seconds ticked off.

NOTES: Sanchez is the fourth rookie QB since the 1970 merger to win his first start on opening day on the road, joining John Elway, Joe Ferguson and Chris Weinke. ... Houston CB Dunta Robinson, miffed about no long-term contract with the team despite signing his franchise tender, wore shoes he had made with the words ’pay me Rick,’ for GM Rick Smith. ... Texans WR Andre’ Davis suffered a concussion late in the game and did not return.

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Jets fans came into yesterday's season opener against the Texans excited about Mark Sanchez, the No. 1 draft pick who is expected to lead them out of the wilderness they have been wandering through aimlessly for the past 40 years.

Coming out of it, they are more likely to be buzzing about the defense, which for one of the few times in Jets history may actually be the unit to watch.

Sunday, Sanchez and the Jets' offense put 31 points on the board - 24 for themselves and seven for the other guys, thanks to a fourth-quarter interception/fumble recovery and return that accounted for the Texans' only points.

And that was thanks to a swarming, physical, new-look Jets defense that smothered one of the league's most potent offenses and limited it to 183 yards, including a puny 79 in the second half.

And they did it without the services of linebacker Calvin Pace, suspended for the first four games because of a substance-abuse violation, and defensive end Shaun Ellis, on the sideline Sunday after being arrested in November for marijuana possession.

But they made up for the absence of two key pieces with in-your-face efforts from linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris, and a less visible but no less effective performance out of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who all but shut down Andre Johnson, the NFL's leading wide receiver in 2008.

"Got to set a tone,'' said Scott, who did just that on the second play of the game, flattening quarterback Matt Schaub just as he released the ball to Johnson. The pass was complete for 7 yards, but the message was delivered for the rest of the day.

"We wanted to let him know it wasn't going to be a comfortable pocket,'' said Scott, who along with Harris (a sack and two hurries) and Jamaal Westerman (another sack) kept Schaub scampering for his life for most of the game. Johnson didn't catch another pass until the third quarter and finished with four catches for a harmless 35 yards.

And he was a juggernaut compared with the Houston ground game, which scratched out all of 38 yards, 16 in the second half.

Scott, who followed coach Rex Ryan from the Ravens to the Jets via free agency this offseason, called the new style of defense: "Big ball. We just want to be physical and put our hands on them.''

Or, as Harris put it, "Eleven flying hats to the ball.''

They weren't straw hats and they weren't top hats. They were hard hats, like the one Harris put on Andre Davis that caused him to shy away from a catchable third-down pass. Or the one Donald Strickland put on Steve Slaton that jarred the football loose and into the hands of Mike DeVito, leading to Sanchez's second-quarter touchdown pass to Chansi Stuckey that gave the Jets a 10-0 lead.

"We knew they were a finesse offense and we wanted to put them on their heels,'' said Revis, who shadowed Johnson as per Ryan's game plan. "I stuck around him everywhere and it worked out great.''

The only thing standing between the Jets' 'D' and a big zero on the scoreboard was Sanchez's errant fourth-quarter pass that was picked off by John Busing and taken into the end zone by Dominique Barber.

"I really wanted coach Ryan and the defense to get the shutout,'' Sanchez said. "I owe them one.''

Judging by the way it played Sunday, this Jets defense will come in and take it.

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The Morning After: Sanchez and Defense Deliver!

Rex Ryan's heralded defense and rookie QB Mark Sanchez both made their debuts yesterday against the Houston Texans and both passed the first test. The new aggressive defense was able to completely shut down the Texans' offense that was ranked 3rd in the league last season. Mark Sanchez, meanwhile, did not play like a rookie at all. The 22-year old kid from USC showed great pocket awareness and composure. He was especially effective on third downs, and his ability to buy time with his feet is another thing that we haven't seen from a Jets quarterback in quite some time.

Yes, it's just one game and we don't know how bad or good the Texans are going to be this season. The way Sanchez played yesterday, however, the skills and decision making he demonstrated should definitely be something that we, Jets fans, should be very excited about. He played way beyond his age, avoiding the rush and being able to hit his receivers when it mattered the most.

The Texans' game plan was obviously to shut down the Gang Green's running attack and let Sanchez beat them with his arm. As a result, RB Thomas Jones struggled for the most part of the game, as he was facing 8-men fronts with run stopping mentality. Once the Texans defense got tired and began playing more against the pass, Jones got going as well - two runs for over 35 yards, including a touchdown, in the final quarter.

There was a lot of talk about the Jets' receivers and how the team needed a true #1 wide out. Well, they certainly passed the test yesterday, but next Sunday's game against the Patriots should provide a much better test for them and the entire team. WR Jerricho Cotchery once again showed that he's the most reliable receiver on the team, as he caught 6 of 7 balls thrown to him. WR Chansi Stuckey caught 4 of 8, including a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez. TE Dustin Keller had the team high 94 receiving yards and caught 4 of 7. Now, onto the only negative here, WR Brad Smith might be good on reverses, in wildcat formations and other tricky plays but he's a total liability as a wide receiver. WR David Clowney, who had just one pass thrown to him yesterday, or even WR Wallace Wright should be put in his place as #3 wide out.

As already mentioned above, the defense was just as advertised. They were constantly giving Houston different looks, bringing pressure from different directions and just, in case of NT Kris Jenkins, totally overpowering the Texans. MLB David Harris and MLB Bart Scott seemed to be always around the ball. Harris led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo), while Scott delivered team-high 3 quarterback hits. LB Vernon Gholston, who made his first NFL start in place of suspended LB Calvin Pace, recorded 3 solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss. Gholston's performance was quite a turnaround from what we had seen in preseason. He held his ground and wasn't really getting caught out of position. Training camp star, undrafted rookie LB Jamaal Westerman, recorded a coverage sack late in the game.

The secondary, and especially CB Darrelle Revis who limited WR Andre Johnson to only 35 yards, also had an impressive game. CB LIto Sheppard, another player who looked shaky in preseason, had an interception and not a single pass interference penalty. S Eric Smith and CB Donald Strickland also came up with big plays. Revis will have another big test next Sunday when he faces New England's WR Randy Moss.

It also looks like the Gang Green finally solved their problem at the punter position, as recently signed P Steve Weatherford averaged 41.0 yards on 4 attempts and put 2 of those 4 inside the Texans' 20-yard line.

Penalties, however, just like in preseason, remained a problem. The Jets were penalized 10 times for a total of 80 yards. If Sanchez' false start penalty in the 4th quarter was just due to his lack of experience, OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson's 15-yard personal foul on a field goal attempt along with 3 more penalties on the Jets' offensive line starters are definitely something that should be addressed.

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SFJ, do you know if theirs a video of Rex's speech in the locker room and Jenkin's dancing?

did you check SNY's site H4aSB? That's where I saw it yesterday on Post Game Live-and I didn't know Rex's speech was on video somewhere-I'd love to see that

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Jets 24, Texans 7

I'm not surprised the Jets won (even though I picked the Texans), but I'm surprised how they won.

Complete domination.

Some initial thoughts from the near-empty press box here at Reliant Stadium:

1. Rookie Mark Sanchez moves in the pocket better than any Jets quarterback since ... Brooks Bollinger ... Ray Lucas? Of the full-time starters, wow, I can't think of anyone comparable. He prevented two or three sacks with his nifty footwork. When I chatted with Joe Namath after the game, that's the first thing he mentioned about Sanchez.

2. I guess those Brandon Marshall/veteran receiver trade rumors will die down now. Jerricho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey were terrific, especially in the YAC department. But this was a suspect Houston secondary, with CB Dunta Robinson playing for the first time after a contract dispute. But give Cotchery and Stuckey their props.

3. Two biggest plays in the game that people won't be talking much about: Donald Strickland jarring the ball loose from Steve Slaton and Leon Washington breaking up a would-be interception by LB Zac Diles. Washington made like a DB, knocking away a poor throw by Sanchez, who was under heavy pressure.

4. I told you TE Dustin Keller was going to have a big game.

5. Texans QB Matt Schaub played like a scared puppy after getting banged around by Bart Scott & Co. on the first two series.

6. CB Darrelle Revis was terrific. Someone please tell me, did Andre Johnson play in this game?

7. Sanchez, Mr. Third Down. He completed 12 of 15 for 191 yards and a TD. Clutch.

8. Hey, maybe the Jets finally found a punter. Steve Weatherford had four punts and a 41.0 net average. Punt-return yards for the Texans: Zero. Nada. That's great punting and great coverage.

9. What was Brian Schottenheimer thinking, calling passes early in the fourth quarter? Maybe he forgot that Sanchez is a rookie. That "pick six" nearly let the Texans back in the game. But I will say this for Schottenheimer: He cooked up a couple of well-designed screens in the first half and he moved the receivers around, creating favorable matchups.

10. Hand it to Rex Ryan; he's selling and the Jets are buying.

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HOUSTON -- There are certainly tougher secondaries and defenses ahead, but for one game, the Jets' embattled receiving corps pushed the mute button on their many critics.

The trio of Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey and tight end Dustin Keller, a de facto wide receiver, provided more than enough air power in the Jets' convincing 24-7 victory over the Houston Texans Sunday at Reliant Stadium.

"Imagine that," said coach Rex Ryan, who could barely suppress a smile. "It's not one individual. We're going to have receivers by committee. Each guy can do different things. We've got NFL receivers."

Cotchery (six catches for 90 yards) was brilliant after the catch. Stuckey had four receptions for 64 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown. Keller hauled in four passes for 94 yards, featuring a 40-yarder on a post pattern that helped set up the Jets' final touchdown.

On the Jets' four scoring drives, quarterback Mark Sanchez was 8-of-9 for 134 yards and a touchdown on third down. Most of those were third-and-long situations and all were to Cotchery, Stuckey or Keller.

"We just have to take it one game at a time," Stuckey said. "There are going to be some trials and tribulations. But we have a lot of guys making plays."

Sanchez (18 of 31 for 272 yards, one TD and one INT) repeatedly scrambled out of trouble and found open receivers.

"Guys were running their routes the way they were supposed to, making adjustments," Sanchez said. "A couple of those plays I tried to buy an extra second or so and guys were staying on their routes, getting quarterback-friendly. That's hard to teach. That's special for them to do to help me out like that."

On the TD pass to Stuckey, the Texans unleashed an all-out blitz and got burned. Houston CB Brice McCain released Stuckey thinking he had deep help and he didn't.

"It was plain as day," Sanchez said. "I was looking in the middle for the safety and nobody was there."

* LB David Harris had a monster game, finishing with a team-high 11 tackles, one sack, two quarterback hurries and a pass defended.

Much-maligned CB Lito Sheppard had an interception and was a force in the running game (three tackles).

* New punter Steve Weatherford averaged 41.0 yards on four punts and placed two inside the 20-yard line.

* LB Vernon Gholston, starting in place of the suspended Calvin Pace, played well, finishing with three tackles (one for a loss) and putting pressure on the QB.

* Ex-Rutgers LB Jamaal Westerman had two tackles, including his first NFL sack, and a quarterback hurry. ... RB Thomas Jones (20 carries, 107 yards, two TDs) had just 16 yards on his first 14 carries. RB Leon Washington added 60 yards on 15 attempts.

* Kicker Jay Feely's 24-yard field goal was his 15th straight, tying him with Mike Nugent for the fourth-longest streak in Jets history. ... Ryan gave owner Woody Johnson a game ball for giving him an opportunity to be a head coach after 10 seasons as an assistant in Baltimore.

* Texans LB Brian Cushing (Bergen Catholic) had a team-high-tying eight tackles. ... In a mild surprise, Jets rookie RB Shonn Greene was among the inactives but it wasn't related to his rib injury. ... DT Kris Jenkins, LG Alan Faneca, DT Howard Green and LS James Dearth were the captains.

* Sanchez is the fourth rookie QB since the 1970 merger to win his first start on opening day on the road, joining John Elway, Joe Ferguson and Chris Weinke. ... Texans WR Andre' Davis suffered a concussion late in the game and did not return.

* Houston CB Dunta Robinson, miffed about no long-term contract with the team despite signing his franchise tender, wore shoes he had made with the words "pay me Rick," for GM Rick Smith. ... The Texans are 2-9 in the month and have lost their last six in September.

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HOUSTON -- Andre Johnson is considered one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Running back Steve Slaton is expected to build on what was a stellar rookie season. And Matt Schaub, when healthy, has the potential to be a solid pro quarterback.

Sunday against the Jets, Johnson was almost completely neutralized, Slaton was a non-factor, and, considering the pounding he took from the Jets' blitz, Schaub probably has a few bumps and bruises to deal with Monday.

All of which made what was expected to be a showdown between Rex Ryan's defense and the Texans' offense essentially a shutout.

In their 24-7 victory, the Jets held Houston to just 11 first downs -- a far cry from last season's average of 21.2 first downs per game, which ranked fourth in the NFL. The Jets were just as dominant in third-down situations, holding the Texans to just 3-of-10 on conversions.

In 2008, the Texans averaged 382 yards per game, ranked third in the league, but the Jets held them to only 38 yards rushing and 145 yards passing for a total of 183.

The majority of Johnson's troubles stemmed from the job done by Jets Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis.

"He was locked on the best receiver in the game," Ryan said. "I don't know how many balls Andre caught, but he deserved them because he had to catch them all in a crowd."

Johnson caught four passes for 35 yards -- and none at any key point in the game. It was a substantially sub-par performance for a receiver who caught an NFL-high 115 passes a year ago for a league-leading 1,575 yards. And it was the first passed test of 2009 for Revis, who will match up with the Patriots' Randy Moss next weekend and see Buffalo's Terrell Owens, Carolina's Steve Smith and Indianpolis' Reggie Wayne later this season.

"It was a good matchup with one of the best receivers in the league against one of the best defensive backs in the league," Revis said. "I knew they were going to look for him, but our defense played so well that it just didn't happen for him today."

With Johnson under wraps and Slaton (nine carries, 17 yards) barely noticeable, the Jets' defense could take direct aim at Schaub.

"Schaub has a very quick release, and we had to adjust to that," defensive tackle Kris Jenkins said. "But when he gets it to the secondary, you have to tip your hat to Revis and (cornerback Lito) Sheppard and those guys. They played lights-out, and that credit doesn't belong to our defensive line getting to Schaub."

Blitzing linebackers Jamaal Westerman and David Harris had sacks on Schaub, and defenders got to him several times after he was able to get off rushed pass attempts. In the fourth quarter, cornerback Donald Strickland and safety Kerry Rhodes came in untouched on Schaub, whose deep throw toward the end zone was picked off by Sheppard.

"If you can field a defense like that, it's a major plus for you," said Jets Hall of Famer Joe Namath, who attended the game. "You don't have to do some things offensively because you can rely on the defense, and fans are going to be pleased."

Ryan was pleased, though he would have preferred a shutout. Only a defensive touchdown by the Texans prevented that.

"Unfortunately, we gave up that one touchdown," Ryan said. "It's hard to get a shutout in this league, but our defense did a really great job against an explosive offense and came close to it."

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You know that time has marched on when even Joe Namath has gone conservative.

The flashy quarterback who once famously said, "I like my women blonde and my Johnnie Walker Black,'' now prefers his football bland.

In his playing days, ball control was never exactly a priority of Namath's, but when asked about Mark Sanchez's fourth-quarter interception that resulted in the Texans' only touchdown in the Jets' 24-7 victory Sunday, Namath preferred to not discuss the play, but the call.

"I don't like the idea of throwing at that stage,'' Namath said. "You know, we got a 17-0 lead at that point and we got those guys down pretty good. I mean, go ahead and punt and give it back. But nothing's perfect, I guess.''

Having Sanchez try to blast his way out of a second-and-15 from the Jets' 47 was the kind of call Namath would have relished in his playing days.

Sunday, Namath saw it as rash and reckless, the kind of call that quickly can turn a laugher into a weeper.

"It was just a play I wish we didn't do,'' he said. "And for what? To get your quarterback some more experience? Oooh-Kay. But you see how quickly it can turn around.''

The sequence reminded him of one involving Jets coach Rex Ryan's dad, Buddy, a former Jets assistant who while serving as defensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers once decked offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline for calling a play he didn't like.

"I'm surprised Rex didn't go and choke [Jets offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer at that point,'' Namath said. "But I hope we don't see any of that this year.''

Namath, who had a brief conversation with Sanchez just before the game, generally liked what he saw from the No. 1 draft pick who carries the most expectations of any Jets quarterback since, well, Namath.

"He moves around nicely in the pocket for a rookie,'' Namath said. "He has poise, but he's been playing football for a little while. He's supposed to have poise. He seemed like he was ready to go, but he's got to learn that when you got a defense like this, there are some things you don't even attempt.''

Joe Namath talking up the defense? What has this world come to?

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Jets' odd couple have eerie similarities

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The Record

One is the epitome of Southern California cool and already the subject of a GQ photo shoot.

And the other one? Well, he drives a pickup truck, and let

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Rebuilt Jets 'D' has dominant look.

Attitude. Energy. Confidence. Swagger.

Rex Ryan brought it all to the Big Apple, making waves upon his arrival by brashly speaking his mind uncharacteristically of a head coach. He traded barbs with Dolphins LB Channing Crowder, who deemed Ryan the Super Bowl winner of OTAs (organized team activities); he spoke of future visits to the White House and openly threw down the gauntlet with his former boss Bill Belichick,saying he did not take the Jets job to

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