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Saturday, December 19, 2009


by TJ Rosenthal for Football Reporters Online
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With three straight wins against struggling opponents, the 7-6 Jets come back to the Swamp this Sunday to face a once playoff bound team now fighting for its life as well, the 6-7 Atlanta Falcons. Losing starting QB Matt Ryan and one of the NFL's top RBs Michael Turner to injury has not helped. Still, the Falcons have other weapons, can still put up points, and have played some good teams tough. The Jets, once 3-0, will have to prove that their recent turnaround has been about THEM and about simply enjoying the weakest part of their schedule.

The big question in Jet camp is,  will QB Mark Sanchez be playing? Barring any set backs, the NY Post reports that yes, Sanchez will return. It's a huge game for Gang Green in 2009. A win puts the Jets at 8-6 and perhaps ahead of a few of the four teams that remain tied for the last playoff spot in the AFC. The Jets won't however, risk the future of the Sanchise. The coaches will ask Sanchez for an accurate perosanl report on his progress since spraining the MCL in the left knee weeks back.  Head coach Rex Ryan said. “He knows how important this game is to us. He knows that his safety is important to us. I think he’ll definitely be honest with us. He always has been.”

We all know the story that led to this by now right? The Jets brought in Yankee skipper Joe Girardi to teach the rookie how to slide. Days later, the rookie then went on instinct instead, falling head first in Toronto to gain a first down only to injure his other knee for the second straight time in two games. Sanchez didn't travel to Tampa the following week where backup Kellen Clemens threw erratically yet managed to not turn the ball over; a staple for the Jet game plan in 2009. Ground and pound, no interceptions, stifle THEIR offense with a smothering playmaking defense.  

This strategy got the Jets off to a great start. Then Sanchez became interception happy as the Jets plummeted to 4-6. Out came the color coded wristband warning while reminding Sanchez of high risk throws at the wrong time. The interceptions decreased. The injury against the Bills though, left the Jets without their signal caller temporarily. From the looks of Clemens' performance against the horrid Bucs, the Jets will welcome back Sanchez with open arms. Atlanta does have the 29th ranked pass defense but is Clemens the guy who can expose that? From the looks of last week the answer is no.

The Jets will come into the game with the leagues top rushing offense in yards gained and top defense in yards allowed. Stats that certainly were bolstered over the past three weeks against sub par clubs . Carolina's star RB Deangelo Williams was not at full speed during the Jet win. Buffalo  backup turned starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick struck little fear while the Bills rushing D was ranked last in the NFL. Then came 1-11 Tampa Bay.  Wins are win though and the Jets avoided three trap games, a feat in itself for a franchise that too often, gets trapped.

RB Thomas Jones, 4th in the league rushing at 1167 yards, is having an outstanding year. Jones will be called upon again to set the tone. For rookie RB Shonn Greene ball security issue has become a problem for offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer. Shotty would probably would love to integrate the big play Greene into the gameplan even more. Greene's yards per carry numbers have been solid each week (6-41 yds last week). . A team like the Jets, that is foundated on defense and no turnovers though, can't  give the keys away to the castle to a guy who is holding them loosely like Greene has been. As for quarterback, if the reigns are handed over to Clemens again, he'll have to be better than he was last wee when he went 11-23 for a mere 111 yards. This while missing some very makable completions. The Jets feel though, that Clemens did what was asked of him “We have confidence in Kellen, I thought he managed the game exactly how we needed it,” Rex Ryan said.

Last week the Jets held the Bucs to zero first downs in the first half. Tampa was 0-14 on the day on third down. Darelle Revis once again shut down a top wideout, holding Antonio Bryant to just 22 yards. Falcons backup QB Chris Redman did not struggle last Sunday the way Bucs QB Josh Freeman did, in throwing for only 83 yards. Redman  was 23-34 303 yds in last weeks loss to the Saints.  Future hall of fame TE Tony Gonzalez (788 yds 5TDs) and WR Roddy White (915 yds 8 TDs) are a Falcon pair,  who pose big threats in the passing game. The Jets will benefit however, if Turner remains sidelined. RBs Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling though have combined for an average of 3.7 yards per carry, a far cry from Michael Turner's 4.9 a carry. Turner suffered a high ankle sprain and has missed two straight games. His status is day to day. Ryan suffered turf toe weeks back as well and is also day to day.

 At the start of the season Atlanta was looking to grow from their 2008 playoff appearance in QB Ryan's rookie season. The addition of Gonzalez was thought to have been a key addition for a franchise with serious hopes of a deep postseason run in 2009. Once at 4-2 now at 6-7, the Falcons, like the Jets are still alive but need help and can't afford another loss. 

For the Jets, it will get harder after Atlanta.The undefeated Colts and first place Bengals are the final two opponents on the schedule. Or maybe not. The Colts could be resting starters by then. The Bengals may be doing the same should they clinch the AFC North by then. Cincinnati will also be dealing with the sad loss of  WR Chris Henry,  who died this morning after falling out of a pickup truck during a domestic dispute. The Jet Report sends out it's condolences to the Henry family and the Bengals franchise. It will be a sad weekend for the entire league because of the Henry situation. Nonetheless, the games will go on. For the Jets, Sunday has become yet another win or else scenario.

JET DEFENSE FORCING TURNOVERS: If Clemens is back the Jets will  DEFINITELY need some short fields. Sanchez won't be at 100 percent if he  does return, so let's hope those Revis and Kerry Rhodes interceptions keep coming. Three turnovers will go a long way for Gang Green Sunday.
THROW IT SMART, DON'T THROW SCARED:  Clemens or Sanchez need to keep with the color coded wrist band and throw it smart but throw it effectively. Being conservative doesn't mean playing scared. Recently it seems as though both Jet QBs are passing while hoping NOT to get picked off. This pair needs to hit open guys. Leaving convertable plays on the field is not playing it safe. Jet passing yards need to come up as do the completion rates. We want over 50 percent completed and at least 175 to 200 yards in the air. That will seal the deal in a game the Jets have control of.
WATCH WOODHEAD: Danny Woodhead is getting more involved. Did you see the third down grab last week? Tough catch, nice run too. The Wayne Chrebet meets Wes Welker type rookie is a great asset to team with a conservative air attack. On a  cold day, this guy could lineup in the slot or backfield. Look for him to move the chains or make a big play on Sunday as the Jets look to increase his role in December.
follow TJ Rosenthal on twitter @ thejetreport

FRO’s Favorite Five” Frankie’s Favorite Fantasy Picks Week 15

“FRO’s Favorite Five”
Frankie’s Favorite Fantasy Picks
Week 15

By Frankie Underwood, Senior Fantasy Writer at www.footballreportersonline.com Email questions and comments to Frankie@footballreportersonline.com

Would you believe that I am benching Tom Brady this week in a playoff match up? Would you believe I got his replacement off the waiver wire this week? Believe It! The Washington Redskins are going through their yearly late season run, and QB Jason Campbell is leading the way. Campbell gets the NY Giants and their depleted secondary, with possibly the leagues worst pair of Safeties. Santana Moss has to be licking his chops. I wouldn’t be surprised is Carson Palmer and his Bengal teammates may show up in memory of their fallen WR Chris Henry.

It’s Rookie Running Back Weekend! Since I’m having difficulty narrowing it down I say get both Knowshon Moreno and Beanie Wells in this weekend. Moreno’s Denver Broncos are playing the Leagues 30th ranked Rush defense in the Oakland Raiders. Beanie Wells’ Arizona Cardinals is paired against the 24th ranked Detroit Lions Defense. Last week’s fav Jamal Charles has another great match up so leave him in.

Want a long shot WR? I’m deathly afraid of CB Nnamdi Asomugha, and Denver QB Kyle Orton should be also. Nnamdi will be all over Denver’s stud WR Brandon Marshall, leaving Eddie Royal to try and burn the other corner. Look for Royal to score his first receiving TD this weekend. Remember all of the short, almost screen, passes Marshall racked up last week, Eddie can do that too. I also like Antonio Bryant against Seattle; I just hope Josh Freeman can keep it together.

St. Louis TE Randy McMicheal is the longest shot I’ve taken all year, but I’m throwing it out there. St. Louis will be trying to play catch up with Houston. Houston Struggles against TEs. McMicheal has been targeted by both Kyle Boller and Keith Null over the last few weeks. That’s the best I can do. Bo Scaife and J. Finley also have nice match ups, but the McMicheal call will look better if it hits.

Ironically after choosing McMicheals as my TE, I’m selecting his opponent the Houston Texans as my Defense this week. After Tennessee killed the Rams last week, you can’t help but pick on them. Houston’s pass rush dominate St. Louis especially if Null is the QB again this week. The Arizona Cardinals get the Detroit Lions this week after the 49ers showed them what defenses are supposed to look like Monday night.

Last Weeks Favorite Five

Joe Flacco – 230 yards and one TD, Would have liked 2 TDs but that’ll work.

Jamal Charles – 143 yards, one TD, and 38 receiving yards. That’s what I like to see out of these picks.

Kenny Britt – 75 yards, really needed a TD to make this a worthy pick.

John Carlson – 24 yards and one TD, really wanted at least 70 yards but that’ll do.

Tennessee Titans – one sack, five interceptions, and a Defensive TD. That was a good call!

Extra Fantasy Advice

Nnamdi Asomugh, Darrelle Revis and Champ Bailey are shut down cornerbacks if you have a stud WR against one of these CBs and another seconds teir WR on the bench try this formula to pick your starter. Take your studs average points and half them (22= 11) if that’s less than your bench players average (or within 2 points) go with the bench player. Hard to do, but that’s my advice against these CBs


FANTASY FOOTBALL TALK-By David Ortega for Football Reporters Online

Looking under the hood of Week 13

Brady and Moss not N'sync (yet)....
Even though Tom Brady has passed for more than 300 yards in two of his last four games, over that stretch Moss has not caught more than five passes for more than 67 yards in any one of those games. Even though the two seem to be slightly disconnected, they have managed to hook up 69 times, including nine times for scores this season. With Moss coming off one of his worst games to date, it would be too premature to write off "The Freak." The Patriots are still in the hunt for the post season and will be one of the AFC's more dangerous teams with Moss and Wes Welker (105 receptions this season). Brady and his deep threat may be out of step, but it's just a matter of time before these two again find their rhythm.

Warner and Cards got plucked Monday night....
The Cardinals were expecting to lock up the division on Monday night, but instead they found themselves right in the middle of a buzz-saw. One of the Cardinals short-comings this season has been their struggling ground game and now suddenly it has a case of fumble-itus. On Monday night the backfield coughed up the ball three times and in its last three games has rushed for less than 86 yards. With the unreliable rushing attack, this could be a big indication that the Cardinals will have to turn to Warner and the passing game going forward. Warner has had his struggles, but before the Monday night fiasco he had thrown 14 touchdowns in his previous five starts. Expect Warner to lead the way down the stretch and throughout the post season.

More fantasy Notes

Although the Colts don't appear to have much to play for from this point going forward, don't expect Peyton and company to ease off the gas. This is a team capable of doing as much damage in a single half as most teams do in a full game. That will be the concern of many fantasy owners looking toward Week 15, but one they may not need be so worried about. The Jaguars defense(ranked 26th against the pass) is in shambles with injuries and poor play. This Colts team is lead by Peyton and the passing game and he could easily post winnable fantasy numbers by half, so owners should not consider sitting him this week.

The Cowboys defense struggled terribly against the vertical attack of the San Diego Chargers and remember the Saints are no breeze either. With (WR) Marques Colston and (TE) Jeremy Shockey presenting very easy to find targets with their huge stature, and the Saints very animated about their pursuit to keep winning fantasy owners can bet Brees will be "bringing it" to the Boys on Saturday. The Saints quarterback has turned into a touchdown maker with 13 scoring throws in his last four starts. His (Brees) recent play make Colston, Meachem, and Shockey inviting plays this week too.

The Eagles are facing a tough divisional matchup on Sunday against the Redskins, but don't expect them to wander to far from the formula that is working well. On Sunday night against the Giants, without Brian Westbrook and rookie receiver Jeremy Maclin, McNabb has made the most of what he has and got the most from his best weapon; DeSean Jackson. The Eagles second year receiver has been electric this season with eight touchdowns of 50 yards or more. Jackson leads the club with 947 yards receiving and will undoubtedly be targeted heavily against the Redskins. Fantasy owners can expect Reid to keep the plan simple; put the game in the hands of his playmakers. McNabb has been solid the past five weeks throwing eight touchdowns and averaging 290 yards passing per game.

Singletary Doesn't Play Around

Singletary Doesn't Play Around

By J [The Gambler] Gamble For Football Reporters Online
Mike Singletary doesn’t care what the critics say about his brash tactics. He knows what it takes to win and he plans on embarrassing his team to victory, if he has to.
The Hall of Fame linebacker and ferocious leader of  the 85’ Bears - widely recognized as the NFL’s best modern day defense –took over for Mike Nolan in 08’. Nolan was known for defending his player’s shortcomings. He was also infamous for his 18-37 record in four and a half seasons as 49er’s head coach. Nolan’s tolerance of: losing, juvenile tactics and immature, selfish behavior, wore thin on fans and management.
Singletary’s approach couldn’t be more different. He asserted his leadership and control in unprecedented fashion, publicly berating and then banishing star Vernon Davis to the locker room following a 15-yard penalty for tapping an opposing player’s helmet.  
Generally, players are never openly reprimanded on the side lines, so for Singletary to tell Davis to take the long walk into the locker room in front of thousands of fans was shocking. It also showed Singletary was willing to do anything to get SanFran back on the winning track. I mean, he hit the ground running. In his inaugural game as head coach, Singletary dropped his pants and pointed to his buttocks during halftime of a 34-13 loss to the Seahawks. He was uninspired with his team’s play and graphically let them know. He was blasted in the media for that as well. The most genius part is how he continued to berate them for several minutes with his pants around his ankles. It was surely a sight imprinted in the mind of his players forever.
If Singletary can also imprint his championship pedigree, then these stories will become that of legend. It has been a while since the NFL had an animated coach like a Jerry Glanville, Bill Parcells, Bum Phillips or Buddy Ryan. Singletary’s “man-to man”, iron-fist approach is a refreshing change from the modern–day coaches who allow individual players to run amuck of the rules and team philosophy.  
With his team steadily improving, building an identity, and coming off a 24-9 thrashing of first-place Arizona, Singletary has eased on the shock value. The passion and animated aggression remains. His intelligence, even as a player, has always been his greatest asset.   The 49er defense displayed all of these traits on Sunday, sacking Kurt Warner four times and picking him twice.
The pundits, who called Singletary’s actions inappropriate, have to be rethinking things. Others said the rich, sensitive athletes of today wouldn’t take well to his coaching style, and strict code of accountability. Singletary knew he couldn’t change his team’s current losing culture, unprofessional antics, and lazy work ethic, without getting everyone’s attention. And boy did he ever.
With the verdict still out on Alex Smith, The 49er’s lack a big-time quarterback. They have relied on aggressive defense, shrewd play-calling and the feet of Frank Gore, to show growth at 6-7 with slight playoff hopes. It seems the old warrior knows what he is doing. Why wouldn’t he? During his illustrious career he won Division titles, Pro Bowls and a championship. He was a hands-on defensive signal caller and relentless ball hawk. The rebirth of every franchise begins with a money quarterback, smothering defense and a process of devotion to excellence. The 49ers have two of the three, and a perfect head dude in Singletary.   

Is God watching in Dallas? And if so, is he pissed?

Is God watching in Dallas? And if so, is he pissed?
by Drew Moss for Football Reporters Online

The swoon is in full swing.

The Dallas Cowboys continued their horrendous December efforts under Wade Phillips, falling to 0-2 this December by losing to Norv Turner’s San Diego Chargers 20-17 Sunday at Dallas Stadium.

For America’s team, with their 90,000 pairs of 3-D glasses and egregious video screens – It’s a lot of ugly to behold. And a lot of ugly to stomach. Just ask the twisted wizard behind this obnoxious curtain of silver and blue. “This is a bitter pill to swallow here at home… it’s a setback,” understated Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

At the hands of Turner and the surging Chargers, it’s more like a smackdown.

Lest Jones forget, the media (why is Jerry Jones holding a press conference after a regular season loss by the way?!) was very quick to remind him of Turner’s comeuppance. Even after his Super Bowl winning efforts as an offensive coordinator under Jimmy Johnson, Jones passed Turner over for Wade Phillips after Bill Parcells’ departure in 2007. Phillips is 3-7 in December as Cowboys head coach, and 0-1 in one January playoff appearance. Turner is 11-0 in December with San Diego.

At 8-5, the loss left the Cowboys looking up at the Eagles after Philly’s 45-38 shootout win over the New York Giants (will someone in this division make a tackle please?!) and also left them looking down the barrel at a date with the undefeated New Orleans Saints in New Orleans this upcoming weekend. The Cowboys are still talking semi-tough, but looking over their shoulder as they do it.

Efficient (19 for 30 passing, 249 yards, two TD’s, no picks) but uninspiring Cowboys quarterback expressed just such lukewarm confidence, “We just have to play better football. We can talk about it after it happens, but… we all just need to do it.”

“Doing it” on special teams, the offensive line or the offensive coordinator’s booth might be good places to look first. Start the debacle, with Nick Folk’s hooked 42 yarder early. (It’s Folk’s fifth consecutive game with a missed FG-attempt – his job is now in jeopardy). Add to this the Chargers no-brainer three play goal line stand against the obvious Marion Barber and yo uhave th emakings of a long day – and a long December.

Said Chargers linebacker Tim Dobbins (didn’t we see him in Bull Durham?), the next day in the Dallas Morning News,” In our mind, we knew he wasn’t blocking. He’s not getting paid to block.”

So in a huge spot, Dobbins and the Chargers defense did the only thing you can do in Big D - they followed the money. And in doing so, they stuffed Barber, took the ball back on downs, took the life out of the Cowboys - and maybe took the life out of the Cowboys’ entire season. Right in their own house.

That’s a big house. With a big ol’ hole in the roof. And a big ol’ price tag. And a big ol’ bag of late season woes. And if God is indeed watching as they say he is, he’s got a big ol’ scowl on his/her face.

Through it all, even though he shouldn’t be speaking at all, Jerry Jones is still talking tough.

“We have a team that’s capable of beating any opponent,” Jones asserted. Then after sharing some “personal triumph over credit card debt” rant that he used to inspire his beaten down team in the post-game locker room, through a sea of microphones he re-assured the Dallas faithful, “I know what hard times are like in Texas, and I know we can overcome it.”

How inspiring. Prophetic even. Maybe Jerry Jones knows something - or someone - we don’t. If so, he better check in upstairs. And if not, maybe he should be looking over his shoulder at that hole in the roof, too.

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