Tag Archives: Jets


                                                                                       Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

The Jets had another fine season, made an excellent run in the playoffs – and came up short again.  But the 24-19 Steeler loss was a winnable game – even after the disastrous start.  A number of issues linger, some of which will impact the team in the future.


Jet fans will remember the situation: Jets are shockingly down, 17-0, very late in the first half.  The Steelers kick off and the Jets have the ball, 1st and 10 on their own 33, with 1:53 in the half.  The Jets have all three of their timeouts left; the Steelers have one left.

Clearly, on first down, with plenty of time and three timeouts, the Jets have to try and move the ball and make a play.  If they were on their own five or ten-yard line, it might be a conversation; that is, maybe the Jets should run out the clock and go in down 17-0 but getting the ball to start the second half.

So the Jets make the right decision.  But Sanchez drops back to pass and gets sacked, making it 2nd and 17 on the Jet 26.  Time, at a minimum, for a conversation on the sidelines.  A conservative coach probably would have run on second and third down, making Pittsburgh use their only remaining time out and then punting the ball away (unless they broke a big running play, impossible in the first half this past Sunday).

But the Jets, if nothing else, like to push the envelope, so, with 1:27 left in the half, they come out on 2nd and 17 and throw the ball down the field.  Almost picked off (something that should have given someone on the Jet sideline a clue), the Jets now have another decision:  run the ball, make the Steelers lose their final timeout and punt it away, or take another (long) shot at getting the first down.

Surprisingly, not understanding the situation, the Jets call another pass play, the Steelers, not surprisingly, bring the whole team and Ike Taylor strip-sacks Sanchez, William Gay picks up the loose ball and scores a touchdown.  24-0, 1:13 left, for all intents and purposes (despite an excellent comeback), game over.

When to call off your attempt to score (that is, when the risk of trying outweighs the reward of scoring) is a feel thing.  On 1st and 10, on your own 33, down 17, you have to take a shot down the field.  But when you go backwards and it’s 2nd and 17 on your own 26, that’s cause for concern and a close call.  By the time it’s 3rd and 17, it’s time to bail and wait for the second half. 

Clearly, there was nobody in a position of power on the Jet sideline to weigh the options and come out with the right decision.

Compare it to just a few seconds later.  Down 24-0, 1:08 left and with 1st and 10 on their own 30, the Jets moved the ball down the field.  They never lost yardage, they never had 2nd or 3rd down and more than 10 (that is, they never had a sack), and they were able to get into field goal position to make it 24-3 at the half. 

It’s not just about half-time adjustments in the NFL.  It’s often about the ability to change things and understand what’s going on during any particular series of downs.  The Jets failed miserably to understand how the risks changed within that set of downs.

And it cost them the game.


The Jets, apparently specifically Rex Ryan, decided to defer if they won the coin toss the whole season (we’ll get to the one exception in a minute).  Probably based on the false notion that the defense this season would be as good as the defense last season, it seemed to make sense. 

Except that it didn’t.  Not only was the defense nowhere near as dominant as last year (maybe because Revis held out, but more likely because the league learned how deal with the Jets blitz packages – confusing last season, easy to deal with this season).  In addition, Mark Sanchez was a better QB this season.

So, the defer-every-time theory was flawed from the get-go.

Criticized all season, Rex Ryan, essentially giving in to the critics, finally decided to take the ball when the Jets won the toss.  That led to a quick three and out, I believe in the Miami debacle, and Ryan reverted to defer, defer, defer.

Meanwhile, the Jets became the lowest scoring team in the NFL in the first quarter.  But that actually makes some sense.  If you are going to defer every time, by definition you are going to have the ball much less in the first quarter.  You don’t have to be a brain surgeon or an NFL head coach to understand that, the less times you possess the ball in the first quarter, the less likely you are to score.

But, again, the Jets coaching staff didn’t seem to grasp that, especially with a defense not as good as last season.

Just bizarre.

It wasn’t until the Steeler game that it became obvious, even to people without a clue.  The Steelers took the opening kick, went on a NINE-MINUTE (9:06, to be exact) drive, and went up 7-0.  In addition to the fact that the offense sat for virtually the whole first quarter, the Jets only got the ball once in the first quarter, held it for just under four minutes, punted it away and (again) didn’t score in the first quarter.

But that’s not surprising.

Like whether to throw the ball on 3rd and 17 in your own territory late in the half, to defer or not to defer is a feel thing.  If the Jets didn’t know that before Sunday, they learned it on Sunday against the Steelers.

Hopefully, they will get the point and change accordingly.


Jet fans remember the situation:  Down 24-10, just under nine minutes left in the third quarter, the Jets have first and goal from the two.  They go run, pass, pass, run and don’t score.  Lots of criticism heaped on the Jets, but this, too, is a feel thing.

I don’t think this is necessarily a place to jump all over the Jets (as many have), but know this:  if you are going to throw from the two (or frankly, from ANYWHERE on the field), the best down to go play-action is FIRST down, not second, third or fourth.

The other key factor is that, on the third down slant that Sanchez tried to throw, the QB has to see if someone like Lamar Woodley is dropping back into pass coverage; on that particular third down play, Sanchez has to take the ball down and try to make a play elsewhere.  He threw it right to Woodley, and the Jets were fortunate not to have the ball intercepted.

Finally, the Jets should have gone with Greene over Tomlinson on fourth down if you are actually going to try and overpower the Steelers up the middle (a virtual impossibility, as well).  Frankly, it’s unlikely that any back was going to score up the middle against the Steelers in that situation.

Again, live and learn.


Well, it’s an interesting one, to say the least.  The problem for the Jets (collective bargaining issues and roster issues aside) is that they are now in a group of five teams that are very close:  the Steelers, the Patriots, the Colts, the Ravens and the Jets.

The Ravens are probably fifth on the list; Joe Flacco may not be the answer and they have an aging, not-as-good-as-they-once-were defense.  But the Steelers have it going on on both sides of the ball and will be tough to beat in the next few years.

The Patriots, who always seem to beat the Steelers, have their own issues but, with six draft picks in the first three rounds, their defense, already on the improve, will be very good next season.  Tom Brady’s broken foot aside (he certainly looked old in the pocket against the Jets), everybody will plug in the Jet win tape to see how they stopped that Patriots vaunted offense.  But the Pats won their Super Bowls with excellent defenses and, if their defense gets back near that level, they will be very tough to beat.

The Colts are always a threat with Peyton Manning, but they have to get healthy and reload on both sides of the ball.  Their window is closing rapidly.

The Jets have an improving offense and Rex Ryan seemed to understand that, on defense, they will have to dial back the blitzes or they will get burned.

It says here that the Steelers, the Patriots and the Jets are legitimate title contenders with the Steelers and the Patriots getting a slight edge over the Jets.  The Ravens and the Colts are on the down side, but still are legitimate AFC threats next season.

It will be fascinating to see what happens.

© Copyright 2011 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.


                                Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

Nobody was really surprised when Jet coach Rex Ryan named rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez the starter for now and the future.  Kellen Clemens was, of course, disappointed, but he was in no position to complain.  The only way he could have been named the starter was to play out of his mind and have Sanchez fall on his face.  While Sanchez almost (but not quite) fell on his face, Clemens never rose above mediocrity.  So, it’s Sanchez’s job. 


It might have been a more interesting (closer?) decision if Ray Lewis could have caught a Sanchez pass that hit him in the hands.  Sanchez had already thrown an interception for a touchdown and, while dropping back to pass on his next possession, never looked Lewis off and literally threw a pass right to him.  But Lewis dropped the ball (it looked like he would have easily returned it for a touchdown).

Everyone (announcers, coaches, players) seemed really excited that Sanchez “came back from adversity” to hit Leon Washington for a touchdown later in the first half.  While not to take anything away from Sanchez (he did show a lot of poise and the Ravens started the game with more of a regular-season edge), the reality is that, when he threw that TD pass, Ray Lewis was on the sidelines, Ed Reed was on the sidelines and Terrell Suggs hadn’t played at all.


 Well, Kellen Clemens really has nothing to complain about.  Everybody knew he had to win the job hands down.  And it certainly was there for the taking given the play of Mark Sanchez.  But Clemens came in and immediately threw his own bad interception that was returned for a touchdown. 

Rex Ryan called his decision a “gut” decision to give the job to Sanchez and Clemens, frankly, never did much to make it a close call.  Some have noted Clemens 12 interceptions in scrimmages to Sanchez’s five, but it’s a little scary that intra-squad scrimmage statistics are being kept and, arguably, were a major factor in the decision (because they both played so poorly against the Ravens). 


 It’s almost bizarre that, since the day of his first press conference (where he, essentially, promised a Super Bowl in the next couple of seasons), Rex Ryan feels that it’s necessary to take shots at Bill Belichick and the Patriots.  He said things like he’s not going to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, that “I’m just letting him know I’m not intimidated by him” and “you don’t win and beat a Bill Belichick-coached team by tiptoeing up there.”

While all Jet fans agree with that sentiment, it’s been, for the most part, decades of talk and very little action.  Why upset Belichick (assuming he even cares what Ryan says, a big assumption)?  Belichick makes his living by eating up young quarterbacks.  And while the Patriots clearly don’t have the greatest defense (although they do have the greatest offense), you know it’s the scheme that Belichick puts in place to confuse these quarterbacks almost as much as the personnel.  Somehow, you have to think there’s going to be a little extra put into the game plan against the Jets.  That’s not a good thing for Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez or any Jet player. 

I don’t recall seeing a Bill Belichick-quote that said Rex Ryan is going to be intimidated by anyone.  So, if you’re Rex Ryan, why even bring it up? 


Actually, the better question is does the Jets defense and the other offensive players (besides the QB) equal the Ravens defense and the other offensive players (besides the QB).  The answer here is no.  

When Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis actually play, the Jets have a chance to be a very good defense.  But they’re not the Ravens.  Offensively, well, even if it’s a wash (and it probably isn’t), Sanchez is going to have to step up like Flacco did.  And while the Ravens didn’t ask Flacco to “do too much,” he’s a physical specimen with an excellent arm who did plenty to help the Ravens win. 

That’s a lot to ask of the Jets and Mark Sanchez this season.  

© Copyright 2009 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.


                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas


Well, there’s seeming euphoria for Giants fans and seeming disaster for Jets fans in the wake of the Giants OT home win against Carolina and the Jets disastrous 13-3 loss to Seattle on the road.  While the Jets have engaged in a Met-like collapse (maybe worse, if that’s possible), the Giants certainly aren’t the shoo-in Super Bowl winner they were viewed to be just a few weeks ago.




The Giants used a stunning running game (Derrick Ward, 215 yards, and Brandon Jacobs’ punishing runs to put the team over 300 yards rushing) to squeak by a better-late-than-never Panthers team.  But the Giants barely avoided a Jet-like collapse (although at a higher level – they still had already clinched the division win or lose) and are now the number one seed with home advantage throughout the playoffs, a key factor for this year’s playoffs.


It’s interesting to note that, for decades, it’s always been thought that the offensive line makes the running back and not the other way around.  While that’s still true, you have to wonder, with the presence of (a still not 100%, it says here) Brandon Jacobs, whether that made the line better or the defense weaker or Derrick Ward better or all of the above.  Jacobs and his health are clearly the difference-maker for this team (watch the Dallas Game if you disagree) although, maybe, the health of the offensive line also was better against Carolina.


Despite the bouquets being thrown at the Giants, don’t forget that they were a 50-yard field goal (virtually impossible at the Meadowlands on a swirling December day) away from a terrible defeat.  Carolina has a lot of weapons and they have one that the Giants don’t have – a top-shelf receiver.  Carolina has their own excellent running game and, although their defense is just good, not excellent, they showed that they could play with the Giants. 


I just don’t think that was true when the Giants had Plaxico Burress.


Does it always come back to Plaxico?  Well, no, but clearly the Giants have come back to the pack when you project to the upcoming playoffs.  Will the Giants run the ball?  Of course they will.  Will the Giants be successful running the ball?  Well, probably.  But what the Giants don’t have now, that they had last year in that miraculous playoff run, is that wide-out who can destroy a corner one-on-one (see the Packer game last year).  They don’t have that wide-out who draws a double-team on virtually every play (do you think that helps the running game when Burress is there?).  They don’t have that 6’5” wide receiver who, in a jam, Eli Manning can throw it up for grabs to or throw it into the corner of the end zone to knowing the Giants have the advantage on that play.


And that’s, potentially, a huge problem.




After getting one of the greatest gifts in an NFL game from Dick Jauron (and J.P. Losman) since Joe Pisarcik (or was it Larry Csonka?) fumbled the ball into Herm Edwards’ hands at a time long ago, the Jets laid yet another egg against a better-playing-than-you-think Seattle team on the West Coast in terrible weather.  Seattle really has been playing well of late – they had the Patriots beat very late in that game and they came back to beat the lowly Rams last week.  And despite the terrible criticism of Seneca Wallace by those who don’t watch, he’s been VERY good of late (20-28, 212 yards, 3 TDs v. Patriots, 15-25, 226 yards v. Rams, 9 TDs v. 1 INT. for the season and he’s mobile).


But this wasn’t about the Jets inability to get to the quarterback who was protected by a line that, for all we know, could have been in the witness protection program until this past Sunday (cause they certainly weren’t starting in NFL games).  After all, Seattle only scored ten points.


This was about the Jets inability to make much happen on offense.  While Thomas Jones continues to have a Pro Bowl year, the lack of allowing Leon Washington to carry the ball on offense has hurt the Jets tremendously.  Why?  Well, just look at the Giants on Sunday.  That cross-up from the pounding Jacobs to Derrick Ward was a key to the Giants beating Carolina for the #1 seed in the NFC.  While the contrast isn’t as great between Jones and Washington, it is still there and that ability to change-up is something the Jets should have used in past weeks and should have at least tried (despite the weather) Sunday in Seattle.




Well, there’s lots of ugly to go around for the Jets.  Brett Favre has seemed disconnected from the team for weeks.  He’s almost in a daze during these post-game press conferences and many would say he’s in a daze during the games as well.  Are you shocked that Favre leads the league in interceptions?  Are you shocked that Favre continues to underthrow receivers (in good weather and bad)?  Come on.  This guy’s at the end of the line and, whatever you think of MVP candidate Chad Pennington (he brought a lot more than excellent QB play to a team that lost 15 games a year ago – that’s what MVPs do), you have to believe that he would have done as well or better if he were the QB of the NYJ.


The coaching staff?  Well, Eric Mangini has fallen a long way from a guest shot on the Sopranos to this.  It’s hard to believe these stunning losses (and remember, the Patriots were an OT coin flip away from giving them a terrible loss before the roof caved in).  It has to be laid at the feet of the coaching staff.


Can they make the playoffs?  Well, the Jets have as much chance to make the playoffs as they had to win the Bills game – before Dick Jauron called that pass play.  I guess Jet fans can hope for lightning to strike twice – and that’s what they are hoping for (with Dick Jauron playing the part of lightning against the Patriots).


But ugliest of all, for the knowledgeable Jet fan, is the fact that the Jets small window is quickly coming to a close.  The Patriots, who might be 11-5 and fail to make the playoffs, would have had a win or two more if they hadn’t lost their best running back (Maroney), their best defensive back (Harrison) and their best linebacker (Thomas) for the season.  They’ve worked minor miracles in New England this year (did I forget to mention they lost their quarterback as well?) and still might be on the outside looking in.


The point for the Jets, of course, is if most, or all, of these guys come back next season, the battle will be for second place (and the wild card) in the AFC East.  And the Patriots won’t forget these guys next year (I thought they were trying to send the NFL a message by pounding the division winning Cardinals into submission – the Cardinals might be 8-8 and still make the playoffs).




So, to recap, the Giants had a huge win but clearly have come back to the pack.  They no longer have that separation from themselves to the rest of the league.  They also don’t have that key receiver who, if he didn’t always get separation (and many times he did), could always outleap virtually every DB in the league.


The Jets are on the cusp of completing a gigantic collapse.  They no longer control what happens to them.  All they can do is go out and play hard and beat a Dolphin team that has their ex-QB and less talent than they do.  But, even with a win, it will probably be too little, too late.  And then the vultures will start circling.


© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.


                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas


It was a tough Sunday for New York (New Jersey?) football fans as the Giants were manhandled by the Cowboys and the Jets, despite one of the luckiest wins you’ll ever see, were in even worse shape than the Giants.  Thankfully, the absurd “New York” Super Bowl conversation of just a few weeks ago has disappeared, a victim of Plaxico Burress’s gun and the Jets coming back to reality.




Well, you didn’t have to be a brain surgeon or a football genius to know that the Giants would miss Plaxico Burress.  But, with the addition of an injured Brandon Jacobs (and, thus, the elimination of the main part of their running game), Eli Manning was under siege all night against the Cowboys.  On top of that, with no receivers requiring a Cowboy double-team and nobody to catch a fade in the end zone (see Kallas Remarks, 12/2/08), the Giants, offensively, are a mess.


The real question, of course, is what happens when Jacobs comes back (because, as we know, Plaxico isn’t coming back)?  The Giants can win without Burress, but they won’t do any playoff damage without Burress and Jacobs.


Can the Giants make a run without Burress?  Absolutely.  But they only have a few weeks to get it together.  Are they in trouble against Carolina?  You betcha.  The Panthers have been the fashionable, “in-the-know” pick in the NFC the last couple of seasons but have always fallen on their collective face.  This year, because of the Giants superb start, the Panthers have been under the radar.  Not anymore.


What happened to the Giants’ defense?  Well, no matter what Antonio Pierce says, his play has fallen off since the Burress shooting.  He’s probably got problems at home with the release of that video from the strip club of him and a woman (not his new wife) kissing at the strip club (that’s pre-Burress shooting but the same night).  As a football fan, you’d like to leave all that stuff aside, but it’s come front and center because of the Giants poor play.  And while the defense played well against the Cowboys, the picture of Pierce getting beat by (and being unable to run down) Westbrook of the Eagles is one that will stay in the minds of Giant fans the rest of the season (unless, of course, they make that dramatic turnaround).




The Jets are in far worse shape.  Brett Favre, who seems to have been in a laconic state both on and off the field the last few weeks (his press conferences are filled with slow answers to simple questions – where’s the fiery leader of the Packers who was a three-time MVP?), doesn’t have the answers.  The coaching staff, under siege, doesn’t have the answers.


Without some stunning stupidity from the Bills’ coach, Dick Jauron, who, despite the fact that the Bills were running on the Jets like the Jets were playing with ten, not 11, called a bizarre pass play late in the game that resulted in a game-winning fumble/TD for the Jets, the Jets would already be done.  But a win is a win is a win (you know the drill) and the Jets are still alive.


Are the Jets in trouble against lowly Seattle?  You betcha.  Seattle almost beat the Patriots two weeks ago (of course, people who don’t watch the Patriots regularly had no understanding that a healthy, running Seneca Wallace would cause the slow Patriots much more trouble than the banged-up Matt Hasselbeck) and did beat the lowly Rams last Sunday.  The Jets have to fly cross-country, have been terrible on the West Coast (0-3) and are clearly close to playing themselves out of a playoff spot.


Worse, the Jets are probably ranked fourth out of the four teams who are 9-5 (Ravens, Patriots, Dolphins and then the Jets).  Maybe the Jets can beat the Dolphins in the last week of the season because it’s a home game but, again, if the Bills could just about beat them (sometimes smart coaches like Jauron either over coach or outthink themselves), than home field advantage isn’t what it should be for the Jets.




Well, the Giants are going to get a bye and may even be the number one seed, although it says here that they’re going to have lots of problems with Carolina.  The bigger picture for the Giants is whether they can shore up their collective psyche to overcome the Burress mess and get a healthy Jacobs back to make a run in the playoffs.


The Jet problems are much greater.  They control their own destiny, blah, blah, blah, but it’s going to be very difficult for this team, as it is now, to beat Seattle on the road and Miami (and Chad Pennington) at home in Game 16.  Only two of those four 9-5 teams will make the playoffs: the AFC East winner and the Wild Card.  The Jets, despite monster wins over the Titans and Patriots, are going the wrong way.  We’ll see.


© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.


                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

Do you think there was much of an overreaction when the Jets signed Brett Favre?  You bet there was.  Does Favre make the Jets better than they were the day before his acquisition?  Of course.  Now, what does that mean?    

The Jets are, to begin with, in the wrong division.  Without Brett Favre, they start the season playing for a Wild Card playoff spot.  Do you really think that’s changed now that he’s in New York?  Neither do I.


After all the pomp and circumstance (Brett Favre with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall before he’s ever even practiced with the Jets was a bit much), what does this do for the Jets in the short term and the long term?  Well, in the short term, the Jets are a better team.  Good enough to make the playoffs?  Maybe, by squeezing into a Wild Card spot.  How long does the Brett “improvement” last?  Maybe one year, two years tops.  If the AFC East was a wide-open division, it might be a different story.  But it’s not.


What about Brett’s attitude coming to New York?  Clearly, it wasn’t his first choice (Minnesota).  It probably wasn’t his second choice (Chicago).  It probably wasn’t even his third choice (Tampa Bay).  He’s only committed to one year in New York.  If things don’t go well for the Jets early on, Favre will take a pounding in a New York minute (Favre’s not in Kansas – oops, I mean Green Bay – anymore). 


For example, the Jets open in Miami against the woeful (at least last year) Dolphins.  But now that the Dolphins have instituted the Bill Parcells system from top to bottom and signed a Parcells first-round pick when he was a Jet (Chad Pennington), this first game goes from an easy win to a much tougher win.  With the Patriots and the Chargers after that, the first game of the year now becomes a must win divisional game on the road, a tough thing to do regardless of your opponent.  While the schedule gets much easier after that, the Jets could be in a gigantic hole after only three games.    


Beyond that, what does this do for the Jets in the long term (defined as three, four and five years from now)?  Well, if nothing else, the growth of Kellen Clemens will be stunted (from a small sample of NFL games, I’m not sold on Clemens as a big-time quarterback or even the future of the Jets at quarterback).  But the Favre acquisition limits his growth for at least another year or two.  To really understand this, just look at Aaron Rodgers.  Where’s he going this year?  Favre has said in the past that he doesn’t want to be a mentor.  Do you think he’s going to change now?  Neither do I.   


Give owner Woody Johnson a ton of credit.  He’s spent a ton of money on Alan Faneca, Damien Woody and Kris Jenkins, among others.  Are these guys still top-shelf players or on the decline?  Tough question.  Brett Favre’s acquisition certainly makes this a win-now team.  Or else.  Will all of these All-Pros/Super Bowl Champions still be top shelf players in three, four or five years?  Very unlikely.  Will any of them?  Tough question.


But it’s a win-now world and a win-now league.  Did Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery just get better?  Absolutely.  Are either of them Donald Driver?  Unlikely.


And don’t forget, despite a great regular season in 2007, Favre has, in recent years, shown a tremendous ability to make some incredibly stupid throws in big spots.  Hard to believe that (now Super Bowl champion) Eli Manning could go into Green Bay in a playoff game and outplay Brett Favre.  But he did, and many thought that final terrible interception that Favre threw, which, essentially, ended Green Bay’s season, would be the final pass of his glorious career.  Obviously, that’s not true.


To recap, the Jets have improved as a football team for the next year, maybe two.  Did the Jets have to make this move?  Probably.  But will Brett Favre make them an elite AFC team (which, nowadays, would make them an elite NFL team) this year?  I can’t rate them ahead of the Patriots or the Colts or the Chargers (or even the Steelers).  Can you?


Perhaps the most interesting thing Favre said since his arrival wasn’t the “I can’t make any guarantee” or the “I hope I can play as well as I’ve played in the past.”  Rather, it was the following at his initial press conference:  “To a certain degree, I really don’t know what I’m getting into.”  Well, he’s going to find out, for better or for worse.



© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.