I vouched for this kid. And regardless of many other experts opinions, he made me look like a genius, while leading the surprise New York Jets to a 3-0 start.
But I never said this was a Cinderella story. I said this was a playoff team, but I never alluded to the dream that he was a playoff-caliber quarterback.
He’s a rookie, folks. This is what rookies do. Read more…
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Monday, October 19, 2009
Tags: bench mark sanchez, Jerricho Cotchery, joe flacco, kellen clemens, Kris Jenkins, leon washington, mark sanchez, matt ryan, new york jets, NFL, quarterback benching, Rex Ryan, Rookie Quarterback, thomas jones, trent edwards
No, you read it right. The little 5’8” running back from Chadron State is getting his first real crack at the NFL. That’s right, folks. An active roster spot, actual playing time, and a shot at proving himself with the big boys.
Oh, but this time it will be at receiver.
Woodhead, who impressed in his final pre-season game with over 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns, was signed to the Jets practice squad early in September. Read more…
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009
While few games lived-up to their hype, we were blessed with a classic game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots on Sunday, while getting the chance to watch history between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings on Monday.
Still, when it’s all said and done, there are five teams who are undefeated after four games, and all of those teams have taken different journeys.
Read on to see who makes the top five, and then check to see where everyone else fits in: Read more…
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Thursday, October 8, 2009
Tags: adrian peterson, atlanta falcons, Brandon Jacobs, brett favre, chicago bears, denver broncos, Detroit Lions, drew brees, eli manning, green bay packers, indianapolis colts, Minnesota Vikings, new england patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, new york jets, philadelphia eagles, pittsburgh steelers, San Francisco 49ers
Looking for the next big gem but not into digging for it yourself? That’s all gravy.
Take a look at the 10 safest rookie bets after two weeks (by position), along with some analysis toward their future, as well as a good look at their present.
And no, Matthew Stafford doesn’t make the list. Why? Because all he’s good for is interceptions; that’s why.
Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Last Week: 14-22, 167 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT
Sanchez has looked like a seasoned veteran in his first two games, throwing for three touchdowns, 435 yards, and only one interception.
However, the drop from 31 attempts and 272 yards in Week One to 22 attempts and only 167 yards in Week Two is exactly the kind of inconsistency you need to prepare for when dealing with a rookie.
Regardless, Sanchez is doing his best Matt Ryan impression and is easily the better play between him and Matthew Stafford going forward.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tags: arizona cardinals, chicago bears, Chris Wells, Donald Brown, Fantasy Football, indianapolis colts, Johnny Knox, Julian Edelman, Kenny Britt, LeSean McCoy, Louis Muprhy, mark sanchez, Minnesota Vikings, new england patriots, new york jets, NFL Rookies, oakland raiders, Percy Harvin, philadelphia eagles, Sleepers, Steals
It’s gut-check time for Buffalo, Miami, and New England. Sort of.
After Monday night is over, two of those teams will be walking into next week’s slate of games at 0-1, and staring at the Jets and their seemingly unshakable rookie quarterback with a 1-0 record.
“Broadway” Joe ain’t got nothin’ on this kid Sanchez.
Except a Super Bowl ring, years of experience, and an alcohol addiction that could kill a Rhino.
But still, all the Sanchez haters out there can give it up. The dude was flawless in a 277-yard, one touchdown effort.
Oh, and Rex Ryan has it all figured out. Think about it.
Andre Johnson had 35 yards receiving, Matt Schaub is currently screaming in his bed with a nightmare of the Jets chasing him down, and Steve Slaton is still trying to figure out how he only had 17 yards rushing.
The answer to all of Houston’s issues on Sunday? The Jets are the 2008 Baltimore Ravens, the 2.0 version.
And this is without Calvin Pace. And they’re running their offense through a rookie quarterback.
But that’s just it. This kid isn’t anymore a rookie than Brett Favre isn’t eligible for the senior citizen deal at your local Taco Bell.
Give that man, and hell, Sanchez too, a free soda. Throw in a damn taco.
While Sanchez may have been solely responsible for Houston’s only points (a pick six), he made very few mistakes, completed 18-of-31 passes, and looked in complete control.
But why is this still a shock?
Rex Ryan, who many argue was “basically” Baltimore’a head coach in 2008 (sorry, John Harbaugh), has been here before.
He had solid holdovers on defense from last season.
All he had to do was lure some solid prospects and veterans (Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard) from Baltimore, and Bam!, he has a stud-driven defense.
Oh, and a solid draft on both ends didn’t hurt, either.
Still, so many doubters, not nearly enough time to list them off. And I know it’s only one week. I know it’s just the first of 16 tests the rookie quarterback will endure. But he passed it.
He passed it big time.
Sorry, Clark Judge. This kid’s got it.
And as long as Thomas Jones and company can keep up this whole “supportive offense” thing, we could see some progress on last year’s 9-7 finish.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Tags: andre johnson, Baltimore Ravens, Bart Scott, Contenders, houston texans, Jets Win, Jim Leonhard, mark sanchez, matt schaub, new york jets, NFL Playoffs, NFL Week One, Rex Ryan, Rookie Quarterback, steve slaton, thomas jones
After upsetting franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, Denver and the star quarterback went their separate ways, leaving McDaniels and co. without a true gamer at the position, albeit with several knew, young pieces to work with on defense, as well as a stud rookie running back in Knowshon Moreno.
But aside from that, there hasn’t been much done since the Cutler drama or in pre-season to have fans and experts lean one way or another on McDaniels and the Broncos’ future.
Here’s five things to think about for the 2009 season:
5. How Will Peyton Hillis Be Used?
In many different ways, and much more often than Knowshon Moreno-lovers would like to see.
The fact is, Hillis is an outstanding blocker, but it would be an absolute monstrosity to keep him at fullback full-time.
He has elite receiving skills combined with great power rushing ability, making him a great, three-dimensional weapon all over the field.
He’ll be listed as a fullback, but should garner a lot of offensive attention from Josh McDaniels, as he’ll line up as a receiver, tight end, running back, and fullback.
McDaniels has been very vocal about his immense and underrated talent, and he’ll be sure to expose his attributes to the rest of the league, even moreso than Mike Shanahan did last year.
After Orton started his Denver career with three first-half interceptions in a pre-season game, you could see fans calling for McDaniels’ head, and it got even worse when his back-up, Chris Simms, posted much better numbers in the same game.
Still, Orton has good experiene, knows how to win, and is still learning the system.
If Brandon Marshall jumps ship, it could get more difficult for all parties involved, but with Eddie Royal, Tony Scheffler, and a sound rush attack, Orton should be able to thrive in a very pass-happy New England-style offense.
Whether that translates into wins or not will ultimately be on the defense.
It’s sad, but also a very possible truth, considering the new head coach has only elite offensive credentials to his name, and while he’s attempted to address the defense through the draft, he simply many not have the players to make it happen in year one.
Denver fans, prepare for a full-blown rebuilding year with some progress near the end of the season.
However, with two disgrunted super stars in one off-season, McDaniels is either very bad at comunicating and managing elite talent, or he’s simply ridding of prima-dona athletes.
For now, call it a combination of the two. After all, most great coaches (he’s not great yet) have to be both smart and crazy sometimes.
Marshall has all but given up on Denver after rehab and contractual issues, while also citing a downgrade at quarterback as a reason for his “wanting out”.
After all, the guy is in a contract year.
The Denver regime continues to claim Marshall won’t be traded, but if the Jets bite on the current offer on the table (Marshall for David Harris and a first round pick), it’s something that could definitely happen.
While it’s unlikely the Jets give up both the player and the pick, it’s becoming almost even more unlikely that Brandon Marshall is in a Denver uniform come week one.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Saturday, September 5, 2009
He’s small, came out of Chadron State (where?) as an undrafted rookie, and hung around on New York’s roster last year after sustaining a knee injury.
Just another tiny guy coming out of nowhere, undoubtedly destined to fade out of the league before he ever actually gets in, right?
You’d have to agree with all of Woodhead’s doubters about a few things. He’s only 5’8 and listed as around or under 200 pounds.
He’s never faced elite competition. And while his college numbers are earth-shattering, they don’t mean quite as much a they did a few years ago, now that he’s trying to prove he belongs with the big(ger) boys.
But all of that is moot now. Especially after Thursday night’s performance.
True, it’s only pre-season, and it was mostly against the second and third team defense, but if we’re being fair, it was still impressive.
Woodhead started off the night with a rush for -5 yards, added a few carries to get back over 0 yards, and then proceeded to blow everyone away.
With a 55-yard burst around the right tackle, Woodhead ran for a touchdown and made his name known, no longer just to the Jets’ community, but possibly to the entire NFL.
But he didn’t stop there.
He added another 44-yard run that set-up another touchdown, caught a 10-yard pass, and plunged into the end-zone for a three-yard score, furthering the belief that this little guy has enough speed, agility, and versatility to be effective in this league.
Enough about his school and competition.
Cincinnati Bengals’ Bernard Scott was a D-II back last year, yet he was a 6th round draft pick, and has somehow already locked up the back-up spot behind Cedric Benson.
Enough with his size.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren Sproles, Leon Washington (a Jets player, mind you), and Jerious Norwood are all almost the exact same size and weight.
They all have the same attributes. The difference? They all have certainty as members of an NFL roster, and even more, they all have huge roles in their respective offenses.
Don’t talk about speed.
A 55-yard touchdown isn’t easy to be had in this league. Neither is another 40+ yard run in the same game.
Woodhead’s 4.3 40 time adds to his excellent speed and athleticism, eliminating the final road-block in his quest for an NFL team to take notice.
Even his teammates know how talented he is. Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller, and even head coach Rex Ryan have all backed him, applauded his athleticism and work ethic, and voiced their hopes that he’d make the team.
Cotchery even went as far as to say that, while everyone else was excited to see Michael Vick play extensively, he and his teammates couldn’t wait for the “Woodhead show”.
What a show it was.
But will it be the last time we see Woodhead run rampade in a Jets uniform? Or even the NFL?
Unfortunately, that’s a very real possibility.
But Woodhead remains humble, gives all the credit to his line and the rest of his offense, and just hopes that all of his efforts gain him a shot for a season to stick around and continue to prove he’s “got it”.
But if you’ve been watching him with an un-biased approach, you already know the answer to that question.
With Thomas Jones over 30, Leon Washington having contractual issues, and Shonn Greene not yet proving himself, it wouldn’t be a poor choice to keep an electric and hard-working player at the position.
The question is, which makes more sense?
Giving a dedicated, talented player a chance, or showing him the door?
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Friday, September 4, 2009
Reports have T-Jax bringing back Minnesota nothing more than a mid-round pick in next year’s draft, and with little-to-no leverage, they’ll be lucky if they get that.
Jackson is still a young, athletic passer with a good amount of potential, but there doesn’t appear to be a clear front-runner for his services in 2009.
Just know that he won’t be wearing purple.
Tennessee Titans Work-out Receiver Matt Jones
The ex-Jaguar is getting his first official look from an NFL club, even after a humbling interview on ESPN about a month ago.
Jones still has outstanding size and speed, and even though he knows nothing of Tennessee’s offense, he could still emerge as their top receiver if signed.
As it stands, he’d probably step in behind Justin Gauge and Kenny Britt, while surpassing the injured Nate Washington.
The Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, both in need of an impact receiver, are reportedly keeping a close watch on the situation.
No Progress in Brandon Marshall Trade Talks
The heat is on Josh McDanies and the Broncos, as they have heard plenty of interest from the New York Jets, but still have a hefty asking price on the table.
The reported offer has been Marshall for a New York first round pick, along with veteran linebacker, David Harris.
If Denver doesn’t budge on either Harris or the pick, the reportedly won’t happen.
Bengals’ Carson Palmer Expected to be Ready for Opener
Isn’t this the same news we got all of last season?
Palmer was apparently at full health heading into pre-season, but then arm questions again emerged.
This time the concern is over his ankle, but with soid practices lately, head coach Marvin Lewis is holding him out of the final pre-season game, merely as a precaution.
Brett Favre to Sit for Minnesota’s Final Pre-season Game
This isn’t news, but since it’s Favre, it still makes headlines.
Add the arm surgery, his age, and the reported cracked rib all together, and you’ve got a concerned Brad Childress.
Besides, they may want to give Tarvaris Jackson the full stage as they try to up his value in the wake of trade rumors.
Favre will be more than ready to go for the season opener at Cleveland.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Thursday, September 3, 2009
Categories: Breaking News/Transactions
Tags: Adam Schefter, Brad Childress, Brandon Marshall, brett favre, carson palmer, cincinnati bengals, denver broncos, ESPN, Injury Updates, Jeff Jagodzinski, matt jones, michael vick, Minnesota Vikings, new york jets, NFL News, philadelphia eagles, Roger Goodell, Sage Rosenfels, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tarvaris Jackson, tennessee titans
(Brandon Marshall is praying for a way out of Denver.)
Well, sort of.
The Broncos’ initial asking price was said to be a first round draft pick (at the minimum), and considering their apparent distaste with their defensive depth (especially at linebacker), they are interested in acquiring defensive help.
Unfortunately for the Jets, that “help” is turning out to be quality linebacker, David Harris.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Broncos appear to be willing to make the swap, but only if Rex Ryan and the Jets defense can handle losing one of their best defenders.
While the Broncos are not content with Andra’ Davis on the inside, the Jets are fairly thin at the position themselves, as second-year man Vernon Gholston is being thrust into the line-up while Calvin Pace serves a suspension to start the season.
Still, talks remain on-going, even despite “tampering” rumors that surfaced within the past 24 hours.
Brandon Marshall has done his best to follow former Denver quarterback Jay Cutler out of town, citing contractual issues, a downgrade at quarterback, as well as a sketchy rehab situation with Denver’s personal trainers and doctors.
Denver’s new head coach, Josh McDaniels, actually made a horrible situation with Cutler into a victory, by addressing defense and adding a stud running back (Knowshon Moreno), as well as a supposedly capable starting quarterback (Kyle Orton) through the trade, as well as through the NFL Draft.
Still, losing Brandon Marshall, regardless of the picks or players obtained in return, could send McDaniels and his staff into a downward spiral; one that could only be stopped by a successful season.
The Jets, on the other hand, have an aggressive scheme that could make-up for the loss of Harris (potentially), while landing Brandon Marshall would give them a truly elite number one receiver for the first time since Santana Moss or Keyshawn Johnson.
ESPN broke the report, stating that the talks are still hot, while also noting that if Denver’s asking price continues to be both Harris and the first round draft pick, the deal could be dead.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Categories: Breaking News/Transactions
The Jets accepted the fact that Eric Mangini wasn’t quite the “genius” everyone thought he was, and after saying good-bye to Brett Favre, began a true transformation.
With the hiring of Rex Ryan and drafting of Shonne Green, the Jets proved that they were heavily committed to running the football and shutting down teams with an aggressive defense.
Top it off with a new franchise quarterback, and the Jets have the makings for a competitive playoff team that could contend for years to come.
The question is, will one of those year’s be 2009?
Read on to see five things to watch for this season.
5. Mark Sanchez vs. Kellen Clemens
Sanchez was highly touted, and rightfully so, and is easily the best quarterback on the Jets roster, already despite being a rookie. While Kellen Clemens is a “veteran”, very little about his game would actually suggest it. Sanchez may not be polished in some respects and have NFL-ready game-managing skills, but he’s a true gamer, and has better instincts than Clemens.
Despite Clemens being dubbed the “opening day” starter for the pre-season, it’s unlikely he holds onto the job.
Sanchez can make things happen on the run, has a better arm than Clemens, and would give New York a Joe Namath, young-gun mystique that it hasn’t had in almost 40 years.
Look for the rookie to win the job.
4. The Rex Ryan Era
Ryan new how to build defenses and get them to perform at the highest level in Baltimore, so why would that change in New York?
The only difference now is the colorful Ryan has the ability to choose all of his players, rather than have his personnel decisions handed down to him and made for him.
Ryan knows talent, and he knows potential. But the best part is that he knows, with a deeper understanding than most, that there’s a difference between the two.
Eric Mangini left a solid corps of players that Ryan can easily work with, while some former Baltimore defenders, Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott, who were both successful in his system, joined the team.
Another thing to note is that Mangini has been around contending teams that had in-experienced or rookie quarterbacks. Just look at Joe Flacco.
The tools are there on both sides of the ball, and if we go by history, the Jets should be very competitive.
3. The Progression of Vernon Gholston
After being a rookie bust in 2008, while registering just 13 tackles, Gholston finally has life.
With Rex Ryan in town, he should receive the best guidance and teaching he’s ever gotten, and should every change to succeed in Ryan’s aggressive 3-4.
Gholston is even the starter to start the season, and he was picked to be Calvin Pace’s replacement after Pace was suspended for four games.
It may be difficult to hold off Pace when he gets back, but Gholston is too athletic to not make things happen in a Rex Ryan system.
Anticipate a break-out season for the second-year player.
2. Can Thomas Jones Do It Again?
Before Brett Favre, Jones was just cracking 1,000 yards and scored one measly touchdown in 2008. With Favre? Jones is still relishing in a 13-touchdown Pro Bowl season.
Post-Favre? You tell me.
Jones is 32, more than likely just hit the highest numbers he’ll ever get, and has fierce talent around him weighting for more carries.
Leon Washington, despite being in contract discussions, is still a home-run threat every time he touches the ball, making it an almost certainty that his touches will increase.
Throw in the rookie, Shonne Green, the Jets pre-determined “closer”, and Jones is suddenly in a very quiet RBBC.
If that is indeed the case, which it plainly is, there’s no way Jones scores over 10 touchdowns again, and could even struggle to top 1,000 yards.
But hey, if it means a division title, who cares, right?
1. Can Jerricho Cotchery Survive On His Own?
Cotchery isn’t particularly fast, and isn’t overly reliable in traffic or on deep balls.
To be honest, Cotchery has been living in an elite receiver’s body, but has put in very average results.
It didn’t help that he has never had any truly elite help to take the focus off of him, but being the top (and only) option sure doesn’t hurt your stock, either.
There is no true second receiver behind Cotchery that is scary to opposing defenses, while Dustin Keller and Leon Washington are the only other effective options in the passing game.
If another receiver can’t emerge from the mix to help out Cotchery, he may fold up. Like a lawn chair.