Tag:Mark Sanchez
Posted on: November 26, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Jets think they can go 6-0, make playoffs

Can New York win out and make it to the postseason? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Jets last played nine days ago against the Broncos, in a game just about everybody had them winning. But that was when we were still underestimating the awesome power of Tim Tebow. (Truthfully, that win had more to do with Von Miller and Denver's defense but who wants to talk about that? Oh, right: us!)

New York's now 5-5, two games back of New England in a division they have little chance of winning, and they're facing long odds of earning a wild-card berth, too.

The road to playoffs starts Sunday against the Bills, a team they demolished three weeks ago, 27-11. After that, it's at Washington, Kansas City, at Philly, New York Giants, and at Miami. Not the easiest slate of games, but also short of impossibly difficult. Which is good because the Jets will probably have to win out to have a shot at qualifying for the playoffs.

The news gets better: that's exactly what they intend to do.

“Six-and-0,” linebacker Calvin Pace said, according to the New York Daily News. “Sometimes when you get caught losing to teams you’re not supposed to lose to, you end up kicking yourself in the butt saying, ‘Man, we put ourselves behind the eight-ball. These are games we should win.’ ”

There's been a lot of self-flagellation through 11 weeks for the Jets then. The Pats whipped up on New York four days before the Broncos loss. And the Jets dropped three straight games to Oakland, Baltimore and New England after beginning the season 2-0.

“I feel like we do have to win these last six games,” said LaDainian Tomlinson. “That would put us at 11-5; that should be enough to get us in. You look at 10-6 and I don’t know if that is enough.”

In most years, 11 wins guarantees you a wild-card spot, and sometimes even a division title. But as it stands, the Jets are ninth in the AFC, and behind three teams for the sixth and final playoff slot. That said, they're only one game out of the No. 6 spot (Cincinnati is 6-4).

But it's still November. A lot can change in the next six weeks. We're just not sure if part of that change includes the Jets going on a six-game winning streak.


After a tough loss to the Broncos last week, the New York Jets hope to bounce back as they prepare to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz have the preview. Watch the game on CBS at 1 PM ET.

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 12:07 am
Edited on: November 18, 2011 12:11 am
 

Stop me if you've heard this: terrible Tebow wins

T. Tebow scores the game-winning touchdown against New York (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With less than 6 minutes to play, Tim Tebow had 95 yards to salvation. Down by three points and playing in the comforts of home, Tebow, leader of men, could have been the hero for his team. And it’s actually what we’ve come to expect.

Coming from behind to beat the Dolphins. Knocking off the Carson Palmer-led Raiders. Hurling just eight passes last week in upsetting the Chiefs in Kansas City.

Of course, Tebow was going to lead the Broncos to the game-winning score, but there was no way he was actually going to do it. Right? Until that’s exactly what he did, leading a 12-play drive that ended with Tebow keeping the ball for himself to score the 20-yard touchdown.

It was crazy and heart-pumping and … just screwy. But it was also completely predictable.

“I trust him,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller said on the NFL Network afterward. “I trust him with everything. No matter how many interceptions he throws or how many touchdowns, I’m going to ride with him until the end.”

T. Tebow is 4-1 this year as a starter (AP).For the most part, Tebow had been his regular self -- barely an NFL quarterback. Not two-completion terrible, but bad nonetheless. Yet, the Broncos were within striking distance -- mostly because the Jets offense had been just as bad and because Broncos cornerback Andre Goodman intercepted Mark Sanchez and returned it for a touchdown to give Denver some much-needed points.

But there’s something about Tebow. I can’t put my finger on it. Obviously, none of his opponents can either. Never have we seen a quarterback who’s so clearly not an NFL quarterback continue to be successful as an NFL quarterback.

And as bad as this game was to watch, Tebow made it worth it in the final six minutes.

On the first snap of the drive, Tebow hit Eddie Royal on the goal line, and somehow the Broncos receiver barely escaped Jets safety Jim Leonhard in the end zone and ran for eight yards and out of safety danger. On the second snap, running the option, Tebow kept the ball, running 15 yards for the first down. Later, on third down and with the Broncos in a five-receiver split, Tebow kept it again and ran for the first down.

On the next play, he ran at Darrelle Revis, and Revis kind of side-stepped him, allowing Tebow to gain more yards. Tebow, once again, was playing eerily well with the game on the line. Once again, he had improved his game dramatically. Yes, some of his throws on that drive were grossly inaccurate -- he short-hopped at least one receiver -- but he also hit Dante Rosario for another first down at the Jets 29 yard line.

And then, redemption.

On third and four from the 20-yard line, he made the stadium explode when he recognized a blitz coming up the middle, scrambled around the left end of the line to avoid it, beat Eric Smith to the edge and then broke Smith’s tackle to score the game-winning touchdown.

You know, much was made this week about how Broncos coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy had installed a read-option offense that would increase Tebow’s potential success. Fox already had all but said that Tebow wouldn’t survive in a typical professional offense, so he would bring college ball back to Tebow.

For most of Thursday’s game, it still didn’t work. Occassionally, the Broncos showed flashes of how the option could be successful. But for the most part, Denver was shooting three-and-out blanks (although punter Dustin Colquitt had a pretty good night!). You could look at the game, and say, “See, a high school offense doesn’t work in the NFL.” And you’d be right.

But for some reason, it works for Tebow. And for some reason, Tebow works for the NFL. He wins games, and at this point, you have to stop using the caveat, “Well, he sucks.” Because at some point, that issue becomes moot, and the only thing that matters is this: Tebow is 4-1 as a starter, and the playoffs are still in sight.
 
“He’s the most mind-blowing, polarizing figure I’ve ever seen in football,” NFL analyst Mike Mayock said.

That’s as good a description and explanation as any.  

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 8:46 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Tebow voted 'most overrated' by NFL players

Romo can't compete with Tebow when it comes to being overrated. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Finally, some good news for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who three or four times a season gives his detractors ammunition in their never-ending crusade to convince the rest of us that he's an overhyped choker. The Sporting News interviewed 11 NFL players from 31 teams and asked a simple question: Who's the most overrated player in the NFL?

It wasn't Romo.

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow won the honors, although just barely. He received 22 votes, just one more than -- wait for it -- Romo. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was third. Of the 17 players to receive at least two votes, seven were quarterbacks.

1. Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow—22
2. Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo—21
3. New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez—9
4. Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh—6
5. Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson—5
6. New England Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco—5
7. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady—3
8. Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb—3
9. San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers—3
10. Arizona Cardinals DL Darnell Dockett—2

The rest: Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew—2, Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall—2, New York Giants QB Eli Manning—2, Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall—2, New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis—2, New York Jets LB Bart Scott—2, Chicago Bears LB Brian Urlacher—2. 

(Note: Jason Hill voted for Revis … twice, right?)

The Sporting News asked a few players for some context on the leading vote-getters. Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton echoed many of the sentiments we hear from Romo's critics.

“I just think he’s in a position where he has the spotlight," he said. "I don’t think he’s really done anything to be in the spotlight. But being a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, you’re going to have that. I don’t think he does enough to be considered one of the elite (quarterbacks) in the NFL.”

Knight's teammate, Jeremy Mincey, had similar thoughts about Sanchez.

"Everybody talks about Sanchez, but I just don’t see what everybody is talking about. Maybe it’s the (New York) market that he’s in."

We would include the quotes from two anonymous players on Tebow but why? You can do the Mad Libs yourself: "He's not an NFL quarterback, he's a fullback. Not only his he inaccurate, he has a week arm. The media saturation is unbearable. We hate Tebowing with a passion." So on and so forth... 

Upside: Tebow is first at something.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 2:20 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 9

Posted by Will Brinson



Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 9 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

1. Deja Blue

Stop me if you've heard this before, but on Sunday Eli Manning managed to mount a comeback and lead the Giants to a four-point victory over New England.

Manning's stats are spooky similar to his Super Bowl victory -- in Glendale he was 19/34 for 255 yards, two touchdowns and a pick, and on Sunday Manning was 20/39 for 250 yards, two TDs and a pick -- and the result was exactly the same, as the Giants came away with a signature win that contrasted the expectation for Tom Coughlin's team as the second half of the season begins.

Of course, there was also the whole issue of where Eli ranks in terms of quarterbacks, a debate that was fueled by Manning's comments before the season that he ranks in the same class as Brady. Following Sunday's game, Manning did his best to deflect any of that talk.


But here's the thing: despite Manning's frequency of being incredibly inconsistent, he might be on the list of top five quarterbacks in the NFL right now. We've been searching for a few weeks to find the name that would fill the void Philip Rivers left with his performance this year, and Manning might be that name.

He's now sixth in the NFL in passing yards, sixth in passing yards per game, third in quarterback rating, seventh in touchdowns thrown, ninth in completion percentage and has only thrown six interceptions through eight games.

Manning is producing despite a slew of injuries to his defense, his wide receivers, and behind an offensive line that isn't elite by any stretch of the imagination.

Sunday was the 18th fourth-quarter comeback of Eli's career, and the fifth of this season. He could have another one too, if Victor Cruz hadn't bobbled a ball for a game-clinching interception against the Seahawks.

As my colleague Mike Freeman wrote Sunday, Manning simply outplayed Brady -- Eli was masterful against the Patriots on back-to-back touchdown drives in the fourth quarter during a game that went from a low-scoring affair to a thriller in short time, hitting Mario Manningham for a touchdown and then finding Jake Ballard in the end zone with just 19 seconds remaining to seal the victory.

It was all made that much more impressive after Eli's third quarter, no-look pick that gave the Pats all the momentum. For him to bounce back like he did on the road and sandwich a pair of touchdown drives around a would-be Brady comeback proves exactly what Manning said this summer.

He's in the same class as the best in the league, even if he won't tell you that.

2. Reality Bites

Every freaking year, the Jets, like leaves and and Pete Prisco's weekly picks, manage to turn in the right direction, get hot, and make a run. And despite some serious struggles in 2011, after a 27-11 blowout of Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Rex Ryan's crew find themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with a critical division game against the Patriots in New York next week on the horizon.

The Jets haven't done much right this year, statistically speaking, and as they struggled through a three-game losing streak it looked like their identity of pounding the rock and stopping the run was starting to dissipate.

They've snuck out two wins this year (against the Cowboys and Chargers), they've beaten a pair of bad teams (the Dolphins and the Jaguars) and they've looked overmatched against better squads (the Patriots and the Ravens).

But on Sunday, the Jets handled the upstart Bills offense, limiting Ryan Fitzpatrick to 191 yards passing, Fred Jackson to 82 yards rushing and forcing three turnovers.

What we saw in Buffalo was the formula that's taken Rex Ryan to two-straight AFC Championship games. If it keeps rolling through next week against New England, there's going to be chatter about a third one.


3. We Want Rex?

I'm starting to feel bad for Redskins fans. Sunday's 19-11 home loss to San Francisco wasn't as embarrassing as Week 8's shutout in Toronto against the Bills, but the 49ers effectively manhandled Washington, and John Beck's 63.8 percent completion percentage is incredibly misleading, considering that he hit running back Roy Helu for 14 of those passes on Sunday.

That's how you end up with the tragedy of Helu breaking Art Monk's single-game reception record, as well as a dinky as all get out 5.2 yards per attempt. Shanahan defended the decision to turn Beck into Captain Checkdown by pointing out that the 49ers zone defense forced Washington to "methodically to move the football down the field and get first downs" which would be a viable excuse except the Redskins crossed midfield only four times the entire game.

No matter, as Beck will continue to get snaps for Washington going forward.

"Yeah, we’re going to stick with John," Shanahan said Sunday.

Of course, the other option is Rex Grossman, so it's not like Shanahan is being outrageously stubborn with his week-to-week decision making. The Redskins are terrible either way, and it's nearly impossible to imagine them finishing somewhere other than dead last in the NFC East.

But the difference might be that Grossman actually gives Washington a chance to win, even if the chance at going out in a flaming ball of train-wreck is amplified exponentially.

4. Raiders < Tebow

This past week, a funny little meme erupted over at another little sports website -- the "X > Tebow" craze was centered around all the attention Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow receives from the media. But perhaps "Raiders < Tebow" or "Carson Palmer < Tebow" might have been more appropriate, given that Tebow helped the Broncos roll their division rivals 38-24.

Or maybe the notion Wilson talked about earlier on Sunday, that Tebow's numbers aren't that different than Eli's to start his career, isn't that far off. Whatever, not many people saw this coming -- although at least one handsome expert did -- and few people would have guessed that Tebow would out-rush the Raiders all by his lonesome.

And he wasn't even the Broncos top rusher, as Willis McGahee's resurgent day, with 163 yards on 20 rushes and two touchdowns (scope his 60-yard scamper here), outpaced Tebow's 117 yards on 12 carries.

Tebow wasn't fantastic as a passer, going just 10 for 21 and and 124 yards, but he did have some bright spots, including a 27-yard laser to Eric Decker in the first quarter. And whether or not you care to believe Tebow will be a good quarterback is irrelevant after Sunday.

He hung in the pocket when he needed to, was more than just effective on the ground, didn't turn the ball over, took some monster shots from the Raiders, got bloodied and still managed to lead the Broncos to a win.

Not to get ahead of ourselves and make with the crazy talk, but Denver's just one game out in the AFC West now, thanks to everyone else in the division losing Sunday. If the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers continue to be consistently inconsistent and the Broncos get an all-around team effort like they did Sunday, well, weirder things have happened, right?

5. It's a Trap

Big props again go out to Tony Sparano, whose Dolphins team simply refuses to give up on a season that's already over -- on Sunday, Miami smacked down Kansas City 31-3 at Arrowhead to pick up their first win of the season.

But how the hell did the Chiefs get trapped by the most obvious trap game we've seen in a while? They were coming off a monster win at home against San Diego on Monday night, the Chargers had to deal with the Packers, the Raiders were playing in the division and KC has Denver next on the schedule; all Kansas City had to do was fend off a winless Dolphins team.

Seems simple, right?

"This was not the kind of performance we expected or wanted," Todd Haley said Sunday. "This was a very dangerous team that was playing a lot better than their record. It's hard to win in the NFL and they just did a better job than us."

That sort of vague talk is typical of an NFL coach coming off a loss. But here's where that sort of loss gets inexplicable: the Chiefs, left for dead by everyone three weeks into the season, stormed back into a tie for first in the AFC West with the win over San Diego. Games against the Dolphins and Broncos set Kansas City up nicely for a legit shot at repeating as division champs.

Instead, they're still in a three-way tie with the Raiders and Bolts, with the Broncos just one game back and looking feisty. After playing Denver, the Chiefs travel to New England and then welcome in the Steelers, while the Chargers get Oakland/Chicago/Denver and the Raiders get San Diego/Minnesota/Chicago.

Things are supremely easier over the next three weeks for whatever team wins between the Bolts and the Raiders next week, and it's hard to wonder how the Chiefs, in a tie for first despite a negative-seventy point differential, managed to blow such an easy shot at having first place all to themselves.

6. That's So Not Raven

For the first time under John Harbaugh, the Ravens swept the Steelers in the regular season and by virtue of their 23-20 win in Pittsburgh, have (again) secured the always-tenuous position of favorite to win the AFC.

There's still plenty of games left for Baltimore, but to sit at 6-2 with a pair of wins against their arch-rival, it's impossible not to peg them for the top spot in a wide-open conference.

As I noted in this space last week, there's reason to be concerned with the Ravens, because Joe Flacco doesn't always bring his A game and that's led to a rollercoaster ride for the Ravens this season, as well as plenty of criticism directed Flacco's way.

"Oh I don't know, I don't care," Flacco said when asked what he expected people to say about him on Monday. "We're excited we won the football game."

He shouldn't care, because Flacco was outstanding on the final drive for Baltimore, a 92-yard march that featured a number of drops from receivers, including a whiff of a touchdown catch from rookie Torrey Smith.

Five plays after the drop, though, Flacco fired right back at Smith, and the Ravens took the lead with eight seconds left. What was confusing about that play -- and the previous two plays before that -- is that the Steelers seemed fine leaving the end zone open for shots from Flacco, even though a field goal wouldn't have helped the Ravens as the clock ticked down.

Dick LeBeau doesn't make many mistakes, and the Steelers were short on defense because of injuries, but he might have made a few at the end of the Ravens game. And thanks to some excellent work by Flacco, it cost the Steelers the status of conference favorite.


7. Nit-Packing

When a team's 8-0, there's not a whole lot to complain about. Especially if that team, as is the case with the Packers, features a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers playing some of the best football we've ever seen.

But I agree wholly with what my colleague Clark Judge wrote on Sunday from San Diego, in pointing out that the Packers secondary has some serious problems. They allowed the Chargers to pile up 38 points in their win Sunday, and they did their part in the 45 points scored by the Packers when they took two of their three interceptions of Philip Rivers to the house.

"We're not going to turn a blind eye to the negatives that went on today," said coach Mike McCarthy. "But we're 8-0. That's the facts. And 5-0 on the road. That's huge. We're excited about that."

McCarthy's got plenty of reason to be excited, and there's still a good shot of the Packers going undefeated this year. (Friend of the blog RJ Bell of PreGame.com estimates a 17 percent shot of the Packers running the table based on the way Vegas looks at their schedule.)

But if Rodgers isn't firing on all cylinders, the Packers are more vulnerable than they were during their Super Bowl run last year. And all it takes in the playoffs is a single loss to erase anything that matters about an unbeaten regular season.

8. Cruise Control

Two teams that won handily on Sunday -- the 49ers and the Texans -- look like the biggest locks to win their division nine weeks into the season.

The Niners are still 7-1. That means they've got more wins in 2011 than the rest of the division combined. There's really no reason to think that anyone can remotely contend in either of these divisions.

San Francisco might not be the most explosive team on offense, and I think we'll see Alex Smith play more like, well, Alex Smith when they match up against the Giants and Ravens during two out of the next three weeks. But they almost look like they're locked in for 12 wins minimum at this point.

Houston's lead isn't as comfortable as San Francisco, but the AFC South is pretty weak too. Indy won't do anything of note this season outside possibly losing every game, the Jaguars can't do anything offensively and Tennessee's freefalling after a hot start.

Given that the Texans have an impressive defense, a passing game that will get Andre Johnson back and two guys who can rumble for 100-plus yards in Ben Tate and Arian Foster. If they can limit the wear and tear on Foster en route to taking that division, they'll be especially dangerous come the playoffs.

9. Down By the Schoolyard

During the 2011 NFL Draft, the Falcons swung a monster deal with the Browns to move all the way up to the No. 6 overall spot and select Julio Jones out of Alabama. We've seen Jones' freaky physical nature several times this year, but he's yet to really make his mark for Atlanta. Until Week 9 anyway, when Jones exploded for 131 yards and two touchdowns on three catches.

Jones is now only the second player in the NFL to catch two touchdown passes of 50 or more yards this season (one was 50 on the dot, the other an 80-yard score), with the other being Pierre Garcon ... of the Colts. Garcon had no such luck on Sunday as the Falcons eviscerated the league's worst team 31-7 in Indy.

So does this justify the draft-day trade for Atlanta? Well no. Of course not, even. But Jones ability to stretch the field -- his first catch, the 50-yarder was just flat-out mind-blowing, as Jones beat triple coverage and made a ridiculous adjustment to come back and snag the ball.

The second play was completely different but exactly what the Falcons love about Jones, as he caught a quick 10-yard slant and ended up in the end zone 80 yards and a couple of joystick moves later.

Granted it was just the Colts, but if Jones stays healthy and the Falcons figure out how to appropriately integrate him into the offense, they're going to become dangerous in the second half of the season.

10. Pretty Good Weekend for LSU

First there was the win against Alabama on Saturday (you may have seen this slugfest on CBS) and then there was alum Patrick Peterson blowing up an opponent for a touchdown return for the second-straight week. The Ravens were able to overcome Peterson's jock-dropping run to the house; the Rams weren't as lucky as Peterson walked them off in overtime to help provide the exclamation point for one of the better endings to a group of games I've seen in a long time.

Peterson's score (the second-longest punt return in NFL history at 99 yards) came, oddly, after he committed the unforgivable sin of catching the ball on his own one-yard line while returning a punt.

"I don't know what made me catch the ball on the one-yard line," Peterson told Peter Brown of Yahoo Sports after the game. "I saw the two players doing a great job on their gunners and saw the interior guys on the 20, so that's the main reason why I took a chance and the rest speaks for itself."

Though he's struggled playing in the secondary some, his production as a kick returner's more than making up for any immediate issues at cornerback. And Peterson's got a shot at entering some rarefied air -- with his return on Sunday, he tied Devin Hester for the most number of punt returns by a rookie since the merger with three.

At his current pace, he'll get another 20 or so looks at returning a punt for a teeter; one more to the house puts him in the record books. Although teams might just want to wise up and give him the Hester treatment by not kicking to him.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... The Colts were held to 10 first downs by the Falcons on Sunday, the fewest total by an NFL team since 2005.
... Roy Helu broke Art Monk's record for most receptions in a game by a Redskins with 14. That's just depressing.
... The Rams became the only team in NFL history to score exactly four points in one quarter.
... Chris Johnson crossed 100 total yards for the second time this season. It's embarrassing that this is impressive.
... The Cowboys are 2-0 when DeMarco Murray runs for 130 or more yards. Go figure right?
... Drew Brees is the first player in NFL history with 3,000 or more passing yards through nine weeks of the season, and the Saints are the first team in NFL history to have a tight end (Jimmy Graham) and running back (Darren Sproles) with 50 or more catches through nine weeks.
... Packers are now just the third Super Bowl champion to start 8-0 the following year, along with the 1990 49ers and 1998 Broncos.
... Seven NFL teams have won the same number of games (or more) than they won in 2010. The Panthers, Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Lions, 49ers and Texans are in that group.

Worth 1,000 Words



GIF O' THE WEEK

Over/under on number of times I watch Drayton Florence scare Mark Sanchez this week is set at 4,532,453. Via Bruce Arthur/CJ Zero.


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Tony Sparano: If the Dolphins keep giving it their all, he could survive the season. But he's still done in South Beach.
  • Jack Del Rio: Made it to the bye, and he's got the Colts taking the heat off him. Maybe.
  • Mike Shanahan: Could the Redskins really lose out? Because I think they could.
  • Steve Spagnuolo: Peterson's return drove a dagger in what would have been a much-needed two-game winning streak.
  • Ken Wisenhunt: And his spot's cooler now because of it.
  • Jim Caldwell: I don't care what Irsay says.

Chasing Andrew Luck

Colts (-750): Absolutely the prohibitive favorite to lose out this season. RJ Bell says it's close to 16 percent they go 0-16.
Dolphins (-325): Showing too much spunk to get Stephen Ross the quarterback he wants.
Rams (-225): Easy schedule should keep them out of the top spot and racing for Justin Blackmon.
Jaguars (-225): Week 10! Jaguars! Colts! This is not our CBS game of the week.
Redskins (-125): Bet they regret those early season wins now.
Panthers (-100): The defense is bad enough to lose games, but it's hard to imagine them not sneaking out a few.

MVP Watch

It's all Aaron Rodgers all the way, folks. At 8-0, Rodgers has the Packers looking like the best team in the NFL in large part to the fact that he's playing quarterback at the highest level we've seen in a while. There's honestly no one even close, though a monster game from Matt Forte on Monday could change things a bit.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:37 pm
 

Sanchez: Joe Namath 'still cares a lot'

NamathPosted by Josh Katzowitz

If you’re a member of the Jets and you have to listen to -- or be reminded of -- that when Joe Namath speaks, no matter how far removed from football he gets, the media feels obliged to cover it.

So when Namath says something like this after the Jets lost to the Raiders: "It wasn't disheartening so to speak. It's rather alarming is the way I'm looking at it,” it’s probably awfully irritating to those who actually play for the Jets currently.

He then went on to insinuate that Ryan might not be preparing the team the way it should be, which led Ryan to counter, “"I'm not gonna change who I am because Joe Namath said something. Joe Namath can come in here, and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. He doesn't know our team. He's on the outside. … he's not in these meetings. I think if he was he'd be shocked at the preparation.”

And on and on it goes … blah, blah, blah.

So, Mark Sanchez, what’s it like having to dealing with the fallout from whenever Namath opens his mouth and says something critical?

“He still cares a lot about the team,” Sanchez told Fox Sports radio (via sportsradiointerviews.com) on Thursday. I know that. Some of that stuff may be taken out of context and the other stuff he just wants us to do well, so he is critical of anybody. … That’s the way it goes and especially in New York. Joe Namath is the ultimate Jet and he’s probably the biggest icon this franchise has and winning that Super Bowl and guaranteeing it the way he did. We have a lot of respect for him and I know he wants the best out of our team. It’s no big deal.”

Maybe not ,but it’s awfully annoying, eh?

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Tomlin: NFL shouldn't fine Polamalu for cell use

Will Polamalu face punishment for using cell phone? (AP)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Other than beating the Jaguars Sunday, the big news for the Steelers was that Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu had to leave the game with concussion-like symptoms following a Maurice Jones-Drew tackle. The good news is that Polamalu is fine and should play against the Cardinals this week.

“[Troy] appears to be good to go,” Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at his news conference. “He did a concussion test, and he passed it. He met with our neurosurgeon [Dr. Joseph Maroon], and he’s very comfortable where he is.”

The bad news is that Polamalu may face a fine from the league for … using a cell phone from the Steelers' bench. The NFL prohibits players and coaches from using cell phones on the sidelines during games, presumably because Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez would order takeout (and, obviously, Rex Ryan would have the requisite snack requests -- naughty language alert).

But Polamalu wasn't on the horn for anything untoward -- he was calling his wife, Theodora, to let her know he was okay. Tomlin was asked if he thought the league might fine the Steelers safety anyway.

"He's had a history of concussion-like symptoms and so forth in the past. She was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in regards to some of those things," Tomlin said. "It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account. He was talking to his wife to let her know that he was fine, and that was it."

As PFT.com points out, the NFL has a history of meting out heavy fines to players and coaches who break this particular rule. During the 2005 season, then-Falcons head coach Jim Mora was fined $25,000 for using a cell phone during the team's overtime loss to the Bucs.

Then there's the guy probably most responsible for the current no-phone sideline situation: former Saints wideout Joe Horn. Back in 2003, he got the bright idea to hide a cell phone in the goal post padding, which led to this spectacle.

As for Polamalu, we'd like to think that Tomlin's right -- common sense will prevail. But if the league's haphazard policy for punishing players is any guide, Polamalu can expect anything from no fine to a four-game suspension.

Because if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is anything, he's unpredictable.

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Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Holmes points out offensive problems again

HolmesPosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the Jets reeling at 2-3, with an offense that can’t seem to get on track, with a defense that appears to have been overrated, it’s a good thing we can always count on receiver Santonio Holmes to simmer everybody down and keep his team on an even keel.

Oh wait, Holmes has done the exact opposite of that for at least the second time in three weeks. And now he's gotten into trouble with at least one of his teammates.

After calling out quarterback Mark Sanchez following the team’s Week 4 loss to the Ravens -- and then apparently going to Rex Ryan with Plaxico Burress and the recently-departed Derrick Mason to complain about offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer -- Holmes came out firing Thursday on his team’s offensive line.

"I may be criticized again for saying it, but it starts up front," Holmes said, via ESPN New York. "The big guys know it. If they give Mark enough time to sit in the pocket and complete passes, I think everything changes."

He’s right about the offensive line failing to protect Sanchez, especially in that Ravens contest when Baltimore’s defense did whatever it wanted in rushing the quarterback and rattling Sanchez. That led to, as ESPN New York points out, a stripped-down Jets offense that went more conservative in last week’s loss to the Patriots in which Sanchez didn’t attempt a pass longer than 22 yards.

Holmes wasn’t criticizing the gameplan against the Patriots, because it was obvious playing ball-control against Tom Brady gave the Jets the best chance of winning. Still, he wants more passes thrown down the field.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Holmes said. "If you were in my shoes, what would you think?"

Whether he’s right or wrong, Holmes missed the point of an offensive players-only meeting that was called the first time Holmes spoke out against his team. In that meeting, it was agreed that the team would keep all criticisms in-house. That message apparently did not stay in Holmes' mind.

It certainly disappointed right guard Brandon Moore.

"I've never had a teammate do that that I can recall," Moore said, via the Newark Star Ledger. "It's not really being a captain, a leader. It fragments. It’s not productive. ... Obviously, he’s got the green light to do that from somebody up top, the people that run the team or whatever. He’s got the 'C' on his chest, and he can do that."

You’ll notice that Mason, another receiver that could be an outspoken critic, is no longer around. Holmes probably won’t be sanctioned, but at some point, you’d think that Holmes’ constant bad-mouthing eventually will become a problem for him.

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:37 am
Edited on: October 9, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Mangold in; Jets dealing with WR mutiny on OC

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE (2:30 p.m. ET): The Jets issued a statement specifically denying the "mutiny" report mentioned below. This only gets spicier if the Jets can't beat the Patriots Sunday.

"The New York Jets deny a report this morning that wide receivers Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason have gone to Head Coach Rex Ryan individually in the past few weeks to question offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s system," the Jets said in a statement.

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Things aren't going the way you'd expect them to for the New York Jets -- two-straight losses, and the team's been unable to move the ball or rush the passer. So, it's probably really exciting for Jets fans that there's a semi-mutiny taking place with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Reportedly anyway -- Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News cited sources on Sunday that said all three of Santonio Holmes, Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress "have individually gone to Rex Ryan in the past few weeks to question" Schottenheimer's system.

This is a bit odd, because the Jets have thrown the ball 62 percent of the time to start the season, a rarity for a Rex Ryan-run team. And they're not necessarily in the bottom of any statistical passing categories, ranking somewhere in the middle for passing attempts, passing yards and yards per game.

Whatever, counting stats might not matter here. As Mehta notes, the combines statistics of the three-best wideouts for the Jets (above, natch) add up to 35 catches for 432 yards, which is less than the 40 catches and 616 yards that the Patriots Wes Welker has recorded this season by himself.



Then there's the matter of third-down conversion and success early in drives -- the rushing "attack" is anemic this season, and the Jets are converting just 34.5 percent of their third downs.

"Underwhelming," a source told Mehta.

The Jets will need to be more than just "underwhelming" on offense Sunday if they expect to compete against their arch-rival Patriots.

New England leads the league in total offense (second in points, first in yards per game for what it's worth) and are apparently getting some free chalkboard material from New York cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who foolishly feels the need to taunt reigning MVP Tom Brady.

Good news for the Jets offense, though: Nick Mangold will start this week after missing just two games with a high ankle sprain, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

That's huge for Mark Sanchez and Co., who struggled mightily with Mangold out last week against the Ravens. With Vince Wilfork prepared to wreck havoc on the defensive line, Mangold returning to the lineup is crucial.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com