2015 AFC Predictions

Before we get into the heart of this conversation, The Chancellor of Football is going to take you back to a simpler time. The year was 1999 and the St Louis Rams were gearing to take on the NFC West bully on the block San Francisco 49ers. The Rams won the 1st game of the 1990’s between the two then lost the next 17 straight. They were the laughingstock of the league and beating the Bengals, to go 3-0 broke the tie between St Louis and Cincy as to which team had the most losses in the decade.

For the Rams to be taken seriously, they had to beat their long time division bully. A young Chancellor of Football explained to my friend Allan Kennedy – if the Rams can win this game they will make the playoffs. If they beat them handily they can make it to the Super Bowl. He looked at me as though I was crazy. When a team builds and the animosity permeates the entire roster, when its good enough, it goes looking for that bully. Do you realize with a win today Buffalo will have beaten the two teams that faced off in last year’s AFC Championship Game??

buffalo bills2015 AFC East Champions: Buffalo Bills

2015 AFC North Champion: Cincinnati Bengals

2015 AFC South Champion: Indianapolis Colts

2015 AFC West Champion: San Diego Chargers

Wildcards: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC Champion: Buffalo Bills

This is what sits before the Buffalo Bills today as they take on their nemesis in the New England Patriots. The confidence gained from knocking down a conference heavy is what cements a team on the rise. In 1980 the Bills beat the Dolphins for the first time after losing all 20 games to them in the 1970’s. They made the playoffs andnearly the AFC Championship Game.

The Indianapolis Colts will win the South but Andre Johnson looks extremely slow in a Colts uniform. They need to establish Frank Gore and gain some physicality on the offensive side of the ball. Luck is a growing quarterback but struggles against Defensive Coordinators that give different looks. Do they have enough defense to get to Super Bowl L?

Phillip Rivers will have a great 2015.

Phillip Rivers will have a great 2015.

The team that is growing steadily is the San Diego Chargers under Mike McCoy.  Phillip Rivers and his Charger teammates in the past have played up and down to their competition. This is the year they break the hex the Denver Broncos have over them and win the division. Last year Rivers threw for 4,286 yards 31 touchdowns and just 18 interceptions. Once they can get rookie Melvin Gordon running the football and Antonio Gates back from suspension, this team could be 3-1.

They fielded the NFL’s 9th best defense and added Jacoby Jones to bolster their return game. Their solid at every position on their roster now the young talent needs to mature and Rivers can’t have down games. He’s 33 now and a veteran that should put it all together this season.

The AFC is wide open this year and the Steelers and Patriots have serious deficiencies on defense. These units will grow and mature but not in time to to serious damage this season. Malcolm Butler is a Super Bowl hero but he got torched by Brown of the Steelers in week 1. If corners Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis gave the Pats a championship pedigree defense, then losing them reduces them to the latter half of the league.

Taylor is prepared to lead the Bills into the playoffs.

Taylor is prepared to lead the Bills into the playoffs.

Which brings us back to the Bills who return the 4th best defense in football. Rex Ryan the season before had the 6th best defense when he ran the New York Jets and the Bills have better personnel. Now that DT Marcell Dareus is back to join Mario Williams this team can be lethal if they can play with a lead. They will finish as the #1 defense and have a stable of backs. LeSean McCoy and Percy Harvin are the wildcards to keep Tyrod Taylor from feeling like he has to make all the plays. Rex will play him like the AFC version of Russell Wilson. If you get through the first two reads and aren’t comfortable, take off for 5 yards.

Ryan used the formula of power running, solid defense, and a quarterback minimizing turnovers and made it to back to back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010. That was with a rookie in Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor has a Super Bowl ring from his days in Baltimore as he learned the NFL going against the Ravens defense in practice. he is not overwhelmed and will do fine.

Tyrod Taylor celebrating at the end of Super Bowl XlVII.

Tyrod Taylor celebrating at the end of Super Bowl XLVII.

As for the intro?? The St Louis Rams blew out the San Francisco 49ers in that 1999 match-up 42-20, went on to sweep them for the season and won Super Bowl XXXIV. Buffalo will win handily today over New England.

If they can get to Super Bowl L as The Chancellor of Football thinks…. they’ll run right into a former Buffalo Bill playing running back for the NFC Champion.

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The Chancellor’s Take On Mark Sanchez v. Tim Tebow in New York

Everyone is giving an opinion on the quarterback controversy between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow in New York,  now it’s time for The Chancellor to weigh in. The latest comments coming from New York Jets quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh. First he expressed that Sanchez made ‘poor decisions’ last year and now the next day raving about the upside of Tebow’s throwing prowess. It’s been interesting to watch. From the second New York signed Tebow the controversy started and as usual the Jets have been vocal in the media yet none seem to support their starting quarterback of the last three years.

Ironically now Tebow comes to work and the first item praised is how he’s working on his throwing ability. Are you kidding me?? His stat-line for the 2011 season was 126 of 271 for 1,729 yards 12 TDs and 6 interceptions. He completed just 46% of his passes….46%?? In an NFL that has changed the rules and officiating to the point that every major passing record fell last year and that was the best Tebow could do?? So he’s to unseat Mark Sanchez who competed 56% in going 308 passes out of 543 attempts for 3,474 yards, 26TDs and 18 interceptions??  That can’t be a sentiment expressed with a straight face… not if you know football.

By the way, Sanchez’s 26TDs were the most by a New York Jet since Vinny Testaverde threw for 29 in 1998. In that year Testaverde led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game.

No doubt Sanchez has to improve on his interceptions but too much has been thrown on his shoulders. Let’s talk about the complete and utter collapse of the New York rushing attack and defense to start the 2011 campaign. First off going into week 5, the Jets defense had given up 34 points in back to back outings against the Raiders and Ravens. Where was that stout defense you were known for?? It was at that point we here at Taylor Blitz started to criticize the anemic rushing attack of Shonn Greene and LaDanian Tomlinson who were averaging 3.1 and 3 yards respectively.  https://taylorblitztimes.com/2011/10/09/nfl-week-4-afc-east-see-you-at-the-crossroads/ Greene only had 157 yards rushing in the first four games. This before the Patriots throttled them 30-21. Although the team fought back and had a chance for the playoffs this really derailed your season. The blueprint was the Patriots game.

The Jets as an organization and a coaching staff are more to blame than the quarterback. It was you who let Sanchez confidante and productive route running receiver Braylon Edwards go. How close were they?? When Braylon landed in New York the teammate he met was Sanchez who was studying film at the house of then Jets safety Kerry Rhodes. He was his go to guy. You signed Santonio Holmes to a $50 million contract who runs very lazy routes yet was supposed to be the deep threat. Isn’t it ironic that Edwards had better statistics in 2010 when you made this bonehead decision (Edwards 53 rec. 904 yds /7TDs to Holmes 52 rec. 746 yds /6TDs).  http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nyj/2010.htm Edwards reception yardage record was nealy 3 yards better than Holmes. To top it off you lost WR Brad Smith in free agency then to add further insult to injury you signed another terrible route runner in the slow Plaxico Burress, who had been incarcerated for more than a year and was not in football playing shape. All of this before you also lost dependable 3rd down WR Jerricho Cotchery.  Fittingly the first grumbling heard about Sanchez was from Holmes, the receiver the Steelers gave up on after he was a Super Bowl MVP for them. Great for chemistry.

As for Tebow, the circus comes to town with him. He has a tremendous following that has more to do with his religious convictions than pure football skills. He did have many a fourth quarter rally and you have to give him credit for that. What needed to be pointed out that wasn’t, was the Bronco defense keeping him in all those games. Tebow fans say how much of a leader he is…well so are most quarterbacks. Yet time and time again we kept saying that the Broncos have to minimize his passing to make him more effective. https://taylorblitztimes.com/?s=Tebow+Quotient Coming out of college, our CEO had Tebow as an H-Back or Tight End because of his questionable throwing and his statistics bore that out. We said we would grade him fairly and we have. Tebow fans point to his 6 fourth quarter comebacks yet seem to go blank on the 40-14 loss to Buffalo, 45-10 trouncing they took at home from the Detroit Lions, the 41-23 pounding they took from the Patriots before being routed 45-10 in the playoffs.

The last time I checked, Mark Sanchez won in the playoffs IN New England the year before and held the NFL record for road playoff wins with four until Eli Manning broke it last year. Tebow has one home wildcard win to Sanchez’ four road playoff wins and 2 trips to the AFC Championship Game. So let me get this straight… You want to replace a quarterback who’s beaten Belichick and New England on several occasions including playoffs for one that has been routed each time he’s played them with an ineffective running game?? Good luck. If you wanted to light a fire under your present quarterback, draft one. These non votes of confidence for your incumbent could derail this entire season if things don’t get off to a good clean start. Don’t take blame front office it’s all the quarterbacks fault and now you’ve whipped your fans into a frenzy with all the talk coming out of New York. First with Super Bowl promises and now with nonsensical desperate moves. Did you know the Broncos scored 309 points while allowing 390?? That’s a negative 81 point differential… and if Tebow was so effective, why did he get ousted and Peyton Manning signed in the blink of an eye??

By the way…if Tebow starts, Rex Ryan will be the first coach fired this year because it will be an abject failure…and you heard it here first.

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NFL Week 11 AFC East: As The World Turns

Patriots rattle Mark Sanchez in the 2nd half

It is at this point that we want to say this has been the strangest season in NFL history. More ups and downs than a roller coaster at Cedar Point and more twists and turns than the end of a mystery novel. Every division in the NFL has several teams within striking distance of their individual races yet one has an all familiar shape to it. No, not the hoodie again?? Yes the hoodie again. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots drew and quartered the New York Jets on Sunday night to regain control of the AFC East.

Sunday night’s tilt saw the Jets beaten at their own game. Usually the Jets play a ball control, close to the vest affair leaning on their defense. Then open up their attack in the second half. However Tom Brady and the Patriot offense beat them to it and pried open a 9-7 deficit and pulled away in a 37-16 laugher. The difference was Brady’s ability to make adjustments to how the Jets were defending them. With Darelle Revis hounding Wes Welker all night, Brady opted to throw to his tight ends. They combined for 12 receptions yet it was Rob Gronkowski’s 8 receptions for 113 yards and 2 TDs that was the difference. Ochocinco was brought out of witness protection for a 53 yarder to introduce another element to their attack.

Ninkovich's second interception of Sanchez was the icing on the cake.

In contrast Mark Sanchez didn’t pass the eyeball test all night. He looked uncomfortable and had to force several throws. Stat-wise his night wasn’t that dissimilar from Brady’s. He completed 6 fewer passes for 23 fewer yards (Brady 26/39, 329 yds v. Sanchez 20/39, 306 yds). Yet of those six, two were interceptions with one being the game clincher by Nickel backer Rob Ninkovich.

After Santonio Holmes the Jets didn’t have a speed outlet that scared the Patriot defense. Subsequently the coverage on the intermediate routes grew tighter and tighter and exposed the Jets offense. As we watched this performance, we saw the same thing the television audience saw. The Jets are a slow football team. Plaxico Burress doesn’t have a burst and is only good from in close. Who wouldn’t be at 6’5 catching over a 5’9 defensive back?? Yes he caught his touchdown from seven yards out but only caught 3 passes on the night for 32 yards. On two occasions he ran pedestrian slant routes that Patriots DBs were able to knock down. The tradeoff of Plaxico Burress for Bralyon Edwards has backfired and their receivers no longer have balance. Edwards could stretch the field more and ran better routes to bail out Sanchez on 3rd down. Had to say it…lets take a look at the standings

New England 6 3 0 .667 3-1-0 3-2-0 3-1-0 5-2-0 259 200 +59 Won 1
NY Jets 5 4 0 .556 4-1-0 1-3-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 215 200 +15 Lost 1
Buffalo 5 4 0 .556 4-1-0 1-3-0 1-1-0 3-2-0 229 218 +11 Lost 2
Miami 2 7 0 .222 1-3-0 1-4-0 0-2-0 1-6-0 158 178 -20 Won 2

Ryan Fitzpatrick is hounded by the Dallas defense last Sunday in a 44-7 loss.

Now what the hell was that that happened in Dallas?? Fortunately our boss, who is a Bill’s fan, is off this week and it looks like his team took it off also. 44-7?? What had been lost in the Bills 4-0 start was the fact that their defense ranked near the bottom. They were opportunistic in those first weeks leading the league with 12 interceptions yet without those they can’t get the other offense off the field. Losing Shawne Merriman has robbed the Bills of pass rush prowess that’s desperately needed. Right now the Bills are ranked 29th on defense and are tied for 27th in sacks with a paltry 15. If you can’t force teams off the field the last thing the Bills can afford are turnovers. In their first 6 games, the Bills were in rhythm and only had 7 turnovers as they started 4-2. Their last 3 games, 2 of which were losses?? Nine turnovers while going 1-2 in those.  This has to stop for the Bills to right a season that looks like they’ve lost a handle on.

Fred Jackson carries several Cowboys defenders in Sunday's loss.

saving grace for the Bills is the play of Fred Jackson. The underappreciated back hit the Cowboys defense for 114 yards to bring his season total to 917 and 6 TDs. He has emerged as a dual threat with 392 yards on 34 receptions and should make the Pro Bowl. His continued performance is needed to help Ryan Fitzpatrick not face a pass rush that is getting to him more in these last four games. With their center Eric Wood sustaining injury the line isn’t as formidable and could see problems the rest of the way. The Bills can right the ship with a big win. Yet it looks like their meal ticket may come from the ground game as we head toward winter games and 3 of their next four on the road. At 5-4 they are in desperate need of a win to keep pundits and other teams from thinking the sand is out of their 2011 hourglass.

Well one further thing to note: The Taylor Blitz Times in it’s NFL Annual Preview picked the New England Patriots to face the New York Jets in the AFC Championship. Well after being swept by the Pats, the Jets are hanging by a thread with 4 conference losses. The Jets have to nearly run the table just to make the playoffs and they had better find some answers. After a season of antics from Rex Ryan, it’s time for his team to deliver on the field and grow into the unit they say they can be. It’s alright to talk and be verbose when your team is pulling out big wins.

Well if the Jets can’t right the ship, their season will be defined by their losses to the arch rival Patriots. So we know Rex Ryan said “I wasn’t brought in to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings”…well…we just received a fax and wanted to share it with you. We’re not exactly sure what it means…you tell us

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NFL Week 3 AFC East: Sobering Lessons

Welcome to Inside Our NFL’s Monday after a Sunday full of NFL football that was chock full of surprises. In the AFC East we learned this entire division is going to be good, but what about Miami?? The Dolphins traveled to Cleveland in search of their first win and played the Browns to a standstill and had a 16-10 lead late in the 4th quarter. Chad Henne had his best game of the young season. In the first half alone he completed 15 of 19 passes for over 190 yards, yet only completed 4 passes in the second half and finished with 255 yards. Colt McCoy drove the Browns to a late score with a touchdown pass to Mohamad Massaquoi with :43 in the game. The Browns moved to 2-1 while the Dolphins are scratching their heads after a numbing loss, dropping to 0-3.

This Reggie Bush fumble turned the tide.

Their missing a belief in themselves and should have finished off a Browns team without Peyton Hillis. First off where is Brandon Marshall?? Second Reggie Bush is a space player, he can’t run between the tackles. He didn’t at USC and he didn’t in New Orleans. It was this fumble when the Dolphins had Bush running out of the I formation, that turned the game around when the Dolphins had a 7-0 lead and had momentum. Get Brandon Marshall the ball 15 times a game and you’ll start winning. He had 4 catches for 43 yards?? Nowhere near enough. Denver used to get him the football 100 times a season so what gives??  Their position in the standings…lets take a look

Buffalo 3 0 0 1.000 2-0-0 1-0-0 1-0-0 3-0-0 113 73 +40 Won 3
New England 2 1 0 .667 1-0-0 1-1-0 1-1-0 2-1-0 104 79 +25 Lost 1
NY Jets 2 1 0 .667 2-0-0 0-1-0 0-0-0 1-1-0 83 61 +22 Lost 1
Miami 0 3 0 .000 0-2-0 0-1-0 0-1-0 0-3-0 53 78 -25 Lost 3

Elsewhere in the division the New York Jets traveled to play the Oakland Raiders and the second leading rusher in the NFL in Darren McFadden. The gameplan was to stop McFadden with their NFL’s 8th best defense coming into this matchup. Each game Rex Ryan’s boys start slow offensively and rely on the defense to keep control of the game. Well it’s a good thing they didn’t in this one. After the Jets moved to a 17-7 lead, the Raiders didn’t abandon the running game and were rewarded. In a surprising show of force, the Raiders ran the football down the Jets throats as McFadden exploded for 171 yards and 2TDs. McFadden ended the game as the NFL’s leading rusher. The Raiders made the Jets look slow as they showcased speed on reverses, special team plays, chasing down Tomlinson from behind after a 71 yard gain. Rex Ryan’s boys will be fine as long as they play a slow plodding game. Yet other teams are showing that they do have some speed within the division.

Where you may ask? Try Buffalo where the NFL and the New England Patriots were introduced to a team that is playing without fear. They lined up against their longtime division nemesis and promptly fell behind 21-0. This is where a team that doesn’t have a team wide belief in themselves comes apart and gets routed. Ryan Fitzpatrick calmly led the Bills back into the football game and by halftime had the score reduced to 21-17.

Tom Brady set the NFL record for most passing yards over a 3 game period as expected with 1,258. However the Bills defense picked him off 4 times yesterday, equal to his interception total for all of 2010. One of those interceptions brought the Bills all the way back to take a 31-24 lead early in the 4th quarter. What did the Bills learn about themselves?? They proved they can beat anybody playing their game.

After allowing a Tom Brady 4th down pass to tie the game at 31. Fitzpatrick on the first play hits a 5 step hitch and throw for 40 yards up the sideline over a back pedalling CB Devin McCourty. A screen pass to Jackson netted another fifteen. Then splitting into a 5 receiver look, the Bills ran Jackson on a crossing route and Fitzpatrick hit him in stride taking it more than 30 yards down to the one.  You read that right, with just over 3:00 to go instead of conservative passes this team was throwing with gusto starting with a bomb. Three plays they were down to the 1 yard line after gaining 80 yards. They are 3-0 after downing the ball and kicking the winning field goal, 34-31 and the entire NFL took notice. This team is fast and it’s fearless. They don’t know how good they can be and after breaking a 15 game losing streak to a long time nemesis, the sky is the limit. For if most pundits have the Patriots picked to make it to Super Bowl XLVI, what does that say about how good this Bills team can be now that the Patriots have been vanquished?? We will all be watching these interesting developments.

2011 Predictions Continued …and the winner of the AFC is…??

On the heels of a great Packers win over New Orleans 42-34, we are about to talk about the other conference?? Yes we are!! We did the NFC side of the ledger already and it’s time to pack what we’ve studied and written about throughout this tense summer. Last year, our crystal ball was a bit hazy but we became undone by a couple of upsets. We had the Baltimore Ravens facing the New England Patriots last summer but they each were knocked off in the divisional round before the championship game. Alright…we have some new D Cell batteries (do they still make those?) for my crystal ball and we’re going in. Who will win the prestigious Lamar S Hunt trophy and represent the AFC in Super Bowl XVLI??

Our choices to make the AFC Championship race are as follows:

1. New York – AFC East Champs w/ homefield advantage throughout playoffs.

2. Kansas City Chiefs – AFC West Champs w/second seed in the playoffs. If the Jets stumble in the divisional round, Chiefs would host the AFC Championship Game.

3. Baltimore Ravens – AFC North Champs. Will participate in the wildcard round and can only host the AFC Championship if #3 seed and lower meet. Will host the 6th seed wildcard weekend.

4. Houston Texans – AFC South Champs. Will participate in the wildcard round and can only host the AFC Championship if # 4 seed and lower meet. Will host the 5th seed wildcard weekend.

5. New England Patriots – The top record of  non divisional winners and will face the 4th seeded team on the road during Wildcard weekend. Could only host the AFC Championship if #5 and #6 teams were to meet. (Has never happened)

6. San Diego Chargers – The second best record of non divisional winners and will face the #3 seeded team on the road during Wildcard weekend. Cannot host playoff game no matter what.

The regular season is over and the vanquished turn their attention toward the draft and other improvement methods, the big boys of the conference decide it’s championship. Wildcard weekend would have the brakes halt the Charger season in Baltimore. The Ravens battle hardened group would stifle Phillip Rivers and Ryan Matthews in the cold of the Northeast. This would bring about the end of the Chargers season and quite possible the tenure of San Diego coach Norv Turner. The Patriots would be down in Houston to take on the upstart Texans.  Tom Brady would be too much for the young Texans and would win a shootout. It would be the second time Brady had it out in that stadium having won Super Bowl XXXVIII over Carolina there.

Having gone the wildcard route two times before, they proved themselves formidable by making the AFC Championship twice. For the first time ever the Jets would be enjoying home field advantage. With two weeks off before the divisional tilt, the team would finally come into the playoffs healthy. A raucous Meadowlands crowd and a fierce defense greet Tom Brady and the Patriots offense and dominate from the start. In a game that would mimic their 2010 playoff outing, stellar play by the Jets corners on the slow Patriot receivers. That crowd and that defense at home would be enough to slow Brady down, however Mark Sanchez would have his best playoff  game to date and the Jets pull away in a strong win 30-17.  Plaxico Burress would be the receiver the Patriots would have a hard time stopping.

In the other divisional round the Chiefs would host the Baltimore Ravens for the second straight year. With four former head coaches amongst their staff, Kansas City would be well schooled with what to do.   This time the Chiefs come into the game with Jonathon Baldwin and Steve Breaston to go with Dewayne Bowe to give KC three big receivers. This game would be hard hitting like the 2010 playoff game but the Chiefs were taught by these same Ravens, the difference between regular season and playoff intensity. So they would pay them back in kind, hit for hit. The running attack of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones would be solid enough. The Ravens secondary would not holdup as Matt Cassel would pass the Chiefs to a solid win 31-14 win. The underrated Chiefs defense would get to Joe Flacco with Tamba Hali and pass rush specialist Allen Bailey, the physical specimen drafted out of Miami.

The race for the Lamar S Hunt trophy, emblematic of achievment in the American Football Conference, would come down to these two old AFL antagonists.  The New York Jets would represent the AFC in Super Bowl XVLI after a 24-14 win in the chilly confines of the Meadowlands which would send them off in a ticker tape style similar to when the Giants beat the Redskins in 1986. Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez come through.






New York Jets and the Future of Mark Sanchez

The New York Jets became the first team in a decade to lose back to back conference championships since the 2002-’03 Philadelphia Eagles. So the question becomes where Rex Ryan and his team go from here? 

They are primed to make another Super Bowl run with Sanchez at the helm. With every other young quarterback who make the playoffs, the team scales down their play calling to minimize mistakes.  They use the punt as an ally and play to the strengths of their defense while running the football.  From Bob Griese to Roger Staubach, to Terry Bradshaw, to Tom Brady, to Ben Roethlisberger, many a young quarterback has won championships with this formula.  Mark Sanchez may just be the next in line.  He’s shown a flair for the dramatic with several late game touchdown throws this year against Jacksonville and Cleveland respectively.  This is a crossroads season where the Jets can ask a little more of Sanchez throwing the football to supplement Shonn Greene and Tomlinson’s running. 

On the same day that “Twitter Gate” vilified Jay Cutler for appearing to quit on his Bear teammates in the NFC Championship, the camera caught a poignant moment where Sanchez was consoling WR Jericho Cotchery at the end of the AFC Championship game. Let’s face facts; Mark Sanchez is a good young leader with a good head on his shoulders, one “that isn’t ready for the NFL.” voiced former USC coach Pete Carroll erroneously, who subsequently went 7-9 with the Seattle Seahawks this year.  Yet there was Sanchez, the Jets season extinguishing as the clock wound down, having a face to face with a receiver several years his senior. Undoubtedly, he was telling his teammate something positive as the two stood facemask to facemask, Sanchez talking and tapping Cotchery’s helmet as the wideout nodded in agreement.  Displaying a leadership quality that shows not only that he’s ready for the NFL, but one that suggests he’s about to take a championship step forward in leading the Jets there.

Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes have a good chemistry with their young QB.  In fact on the day Edwards arrived in New York from Cleveland, it was Sanchez who was there to greet him at former Jet Kerry Rhodes house.  All of which was caught on an ESPN telecast.  Edwards has ideal size for a possession receiver and Holmes is more explosive after the catch. Throw in Cotchery and if they can find a way to utilize Brad Smith a little bit more, this team could surprise in the air.  Detractors of Edwards were silenced as he played motivated, inspired football.  Holmes will benefit from a full Jets training camp to be more productive as well.

Rex Ryan’s scheme on defense is in tune with his players and the personnel they have selected.  Can they coax another year out of Jason Taylor or injured NT Kris Jenkins?  In Jenkins case they showed they could get by without him.  Injuries are starting to mount for Jenkins who will need serious spot deployment to make it through a long season healthy.  Taylor is definitely at the point where it’s a gamble to ask for another season from him as well.  I would look to replacing Taylor and have him mentor an understudy.  They could be impenetrable if they can reach the playoffs with Jenkins in the middle. With one of the best CB tandems in football in Revis and Cromartie, a young stud outside linebacker to go with Bart Scott, David Harris, and Calvin Pace could vault the Jets into the best defense in football.  

Why so high on Sanchez? Having run the gauntlet in this year’s playoffs in facing Manning, Brady, and Roethlisberger, the kid held his own. If Roethlisberger wins his 3rd Super Bowl this week, that’s a total of 7 Super Bowl wins between his three opponents.  He faced three Hall of Fame quarterbacks and beat two of them. Sanchez threw 3TDs in the upset of the Patriots and brought the Jets back from a 24 point deficit in the AFC Championship.  Sanchez has now engineered 4 playoff road wins which ties the NFL record.  So is he Mark Sanchez or Mark Sanchize?? I don’t know but let’s ask these questions;

  • Can the New York Jets duplicate the feat by those same Philadelphia Eagles of ’02-’04 and the ’74-’76 Raiders who lost 2 straight conference finals yet win in a third consecutive attempt??
  •  If Mark Sanchez improves again this season, how many games do the Jets win next season??
  • What happens next year if the Jets get homefield advantage and have to only play two playoff games instead of three to get to the Super Bowl??
  • A Mexican American quarterback as an icon would be great for the league and a link to not only Jim Plunkett but to the  legendary Joe Kapp in terms of hispanic Super Bowl quarterbacks of yesteryear.

Thanks for reading.