Cleat Geeks

Broncos Embarrassed In The Meadowlands

 

The Broncos slumped to 2-3 on the season, losing their third straight game 34-16 in the Meadowlands on Sunday. It was the team’s worst performance of the season, and one that seriously calls into question what to expect from this team the rest of the regular season.

Case Keenum, who put up some numbers in garbage time, does not appear to be the answer. The calls from fans to consider giving second year man Chad Kelly a shot are getting louder, as are calls from fans to change coaches. Last season Vance Joseph led the Broncos to an eight-game losing streak in the middle of a 5-11 season. This three game losing streak has had many feeling the Broncos are in similar peril in 2018.

Prior to the season I predicted this team could have an improved offense, a re-ignited defense and a chance to finish around 9-7 and make the playoffs. That seems like an ill-conceived pipe dream at this point.

The Broncos gave up a 77 yard rushing TD to Isaiah Crowell then a 75 yard passing TD to Robby Anderson on the next play. They surrendered more than 500 yards to the Jets’ offense, including 219 yards to Crowell, a Jets franchise record.

The Broncos host the red-hot, and undefeated, Los Angeles Rams on Sunday and then travel to play the Chiefs again on October 28. So it could be a very long month for a Broncos team that leaves New York with more questions than answers.

News and Notes:

  • It was a big day for Broncos receivers. Demaryius Thomas grabbed five passes for 105 yards and a TD, while Emmanuel Sanders grabbed nine for 72 yards. Rookie Courtland Sutton grabbed two passes for 18 yards and his first TD as a pro, while fellow rookie DaeSean Hamilton caught all three of his targets for 44 yards. All that was a promising sign on a dim day.
  • It was a frustrating day for running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, who simply didn’t get enough touches. Lindsay had 61 yards on 12 carries, adding 20 more on three catches. Freeman had just 31 yards, but got just five carries. In a promising sign he did catch three passes for 16 yards.
  • Punter Marquette King could be done as a Bronco. He was placed on IR Saturday with an injury, and reports are the Broncos may release him in the next few weeks. If true, it’s a disappointing end to the tenure of one of the Broncos’ biggest off-season signings.

Broncos Look To Get Right In New York

 

We’ve reached Week 5 of the NFL season, and the Broncos come into New York to face the Jets in a slump. They’ve lost two straight, falling two games back in the , and had a short week to try and get some of their issues right. The biggest of those is the passing offense.

After tossing three TDs on opening day, Case Keenum has thrown no touchdown passes the past three games. Through four weeks the Broncos’ $18 million passer has 995 passing yards, three TDs and six INTs. There were many reasons the Broncos fell short Monday night, including a missed call acknowledged by the NFL Tuesday, but Keenum missing a wide open Demaryius Thomas to win the game is a play that looms large. And the rumblings from fans, and suggestions that Chad Kelly should get a shot, are growing loudly. It’s reasonable to say Week 5 is a huge one for the Broncos, but especially for Keenum’s tenure as starting quarterback.

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And the Broncos face the 1-3 Jets as underdogs. The game opened with the Broncos as 2.5 point underdogs, but that has since moved closer to even. It’s still a grim sign for a team that began the season with playoff aspirations. The defense played better on Monday night, holding red hot Patrick Mahomes in check for three quarters, but they need to do the same to rookie Sam Darnold Sunday. And it would help for Von Miller, who hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 2, to get to the quarterback. And maybe Bradley Chubb and Shane Ray, too.

With the Rams, possibly the best team in the NFL, awaiting the Broncos in Week 6, this Sunday’s game against the Jets is a must win and we’ll soon learn if the Broncos can get it done.

Fantasy Football Suggestions:

I mentioned Keenum’s struggles above, and for that reason I wouldn’t start him. At tight end, Jeff Heuerman looked pretty good Monday, and given the state of the position he might be worth a flier in deep leagues. Emmanuel Sanders remains the best option at receiver, though the state of the passing game has compressed his value. He’s a low-end WR2 for me. Thomas remains in flex range, and I like Courtland Sutton, who caught three passes for 51 yards Monday, as a deep league flex. One of these games I believe Keenum will find him for a touchdown.

The Broncos’ best fantasy assets are in the backfield. Both Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay have more than 200 yards rushing, with Freeman adding three touchdowns. He’s a low-end RB2/flex player who should get more work if the Broncos can build a lead. Lindsay is in the RB2/Flex conversation, too, especially in PPR and leagues that give return yardage.

Gang Green Report

There were definitely a lot of positives to pick out of the Monday Night Football game for the New York Jets. They dominated at all aspects of the game. Sam Darnold looked like he was ready to be a major impact for the next decade, the defense played well with five interceptions (almost six), and special teams was ready to go. As great as the game was for Jets fans, it is time to pick some of the positives and negatives, as well as preview the home opener against divisional rival Miami Dolphins.

Sam Darnold 

The story was told many times during the broadcast on ESPN and probably around many televisions as well. Sam Darnold was the third quarterback in the past 25 years to throw an interception on his first career pass attempt. Not a great way to start your NFL career by any standard but I was glad he did.

The hardest place to play is on primetime inside of a dome on the road, which by the looks of things, didn’t affect Darnold. If you have a negative against Darnold coming out of college it was the 22 interceptions as a Trojan. If you watched closely, he didn’t react to the pick-six until the PA announced it afterwards while Darnold was already on the sideline. The relationship between Darnold and backup-quarterback Josh McCown was apparent. As soon as Darnold threw the interception, McCown talked to him and continued to look forward from there. McCown is probably the best mentor that Darnold can have, a journeyman quarterback that has seen it all in the NFL.

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Darnold settled down and finished the game 16 of 21 for 198 yards with 2 touchdowns and the interception. The Lions are not a pushover on defense either but completely fell apart in the second half of the game. Darnold did have some impressive continuation of drives on third down plays.

Defense

If you were to tell me the Jets would allow one touchdown and five interceptions through the air against Matt Stafford (and a few throws by Matt Cassel), I would probably laugh. This defense is close to being special. They did this without their starting free safety Marcus Maye either and looks like he is making progress of being a gametime decision for the Dolphins game. Darron Lee had two interceptions while Jamal Adams, Trumaine Johnson, and Morris Claiborne each had one themselves. Rookie Parry Nickerson almost had himself one just before halftime but his one foot landed on the white chalk in the endzone while catching the ball.

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This isn’t shocking from Detroit but the Jets were able to stop the running game from the Lions completely. The Jets only gave up 39 yards on the ground during Week 1 and that is key to weakening opponents since the offense becomes more predictable. It is difficult to say the Jets will have the same result against Miami’s rushing, but they can hold the Dolphins without a 100-yard rusher this week if they continue to blast the A gaps as they were able to last week.

Week 2 Preview

The Dolphins are coming off a 27-20 victory against the Tennessee Titans in their first game. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was 20 of 28 but threw for 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions during the game. The Jets should be able to stunt the run game from the Dolphins and get some pressure on Tannehill during the game. The Jets are 2.5-3 point favorites in most sporting books and I would take that bet as I see the Jets picking up the win 24-20. The Dolphins’ defense did force 3 interceptions on the Titans (2 on Marcus Mariota and 1 on Blaine Gabbert), but the Titans aren’t the best measuring stick on offense either. This game should be close and if the Jets start off hot out of the gates, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them attempt to make a big move to help win now.

 

Gang Green Report

The Jets are one of the most interesting teams in the NFL coming into the season. All indications seem to show that Sam Darnold will be their starting quarterback, making him the youngest to ever do so since the NFL merger.

One thing I want to touch on is the recent Teddy Bridgewater to the New Orleans Saints trade, which I am sure will be covered in an upcoming article. On the Jets side I like the trade. The Jets signed Bridgewater to be the starter before the draft when they still possessed the sixth overall pick and figured a couple of quarterbacks would be already drafted. In order to flip Bridgewater, who is still a productive quarterback in the NFL, to a third-round pick is something that could be used in a bigger deal like a Khalil Mack or help build the offensive line in the upcoming NFL Draft.

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Photo by; ClutchPoints.com

The Jets’ Schedule

The Jets have a relatively easy schedule this season where their opponents had a record of 122-134. This includes playing the Vikings, Jaguars, and the Patriots twice (all these teams had double-digit win totals in 2017). The beginning of the season can give Gang Green a lot of confidence as they face mediocre teams throughout the first half of the season outside of at Jacksonville and vs Minnesota. Allowing Darnold to progress throughout the regular season will be crucial and eventually help his development.

Defense is Elite

This team does not have the offensive weapons of an Eagles or Vikings team. However, they have an elite defense whether people want to admit it or not. They have a good pass rusher in Leonard Williams who has already been to a Pro Bowl in his young career. They already have an elite corner and safety paired with a defensive-minded coach in Todd Bowles. It’s not out of the realm of possibility to have the notion that Khalil Mack could be traded to this team as well, which will only help the Jets get to the quarterback more often, an issue that plagued the team last year where they ranked 28th in the NFL in sacks. This could feel like the 2009 team that had the defense mainly carry the team to the playoffs.

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Photo by; TheJetPress.com

In Darnold We Trust

I always assumed Sam Darnold was going to be under center when they travel to Detroit. If the preseason is a measuring stick, it is safe to assume Darnold could handle the pressure. I am not too worried about the preseason scoring being low (15.3 points per game going into the final preseason matchup) since the starters leave and the playbook isn’t fully utilized. Darnold has looked good while on the field in game situations and doesn’t face many defenses that should effect his productiveness. He has only thrown one interception this preseason, which is a telling sign that he is careful with his throws. He isn’t afraid to throw the ball deep either so the ability to keep opposing defenses on the field will help put up some extra points during the season.

I Don’t Understand Why The Jets Chose This Guy?

In 2015 the New York Jets picked Devin Smith in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. He was a promising receiver from Ohio State. While at OSU Smith put up the following numbers in his 4 year collegian career, he had 121 receptions for a total of 2,503 and 30 touchdowns.

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Photo by; Maddie Meyer

Since joining the Jets, Smith was unable to stay healthy or even stay on the field. Since being drafted in the above mentioned 2015 draft, he had played in only 14 games and caught even a lower number of passes with 10. Smith has suffered a major knee injury twice since joining the Jets. I get the fact that because of those injuries Smith has kept him off the field and thus kept him from being a productive player for the Jets. The part I don’t get, is who they made the roster move for. They dropped Smith to sign Brandon Bryant, a safety from Mississippi State. My confusion has nothing to do with where he came from, Mississippi State is a fine program, but is Brandon a fine person?

I ask because of his track record. Bryant has struggled with football, and with life in general since the same year Smith joined the Jets, 2014. Bryant started his downward spiral when his father died in a car crash in 2015. Dealing with a death, especially the death of a parent can be life altering as a young impressionable college kid. I understand that. But the downward spiral continued. Later on, Bryant was arrested for driving under the influence. He then allowed himself to be academically ineligible the following year. Therefore, he declared for the NFL’s supplemental draft that happened last week. Not one NFL team took a chance on him, and they all had a shot. Doesn’t that raise a red flag?

Image result for brandon bryant mississippi state

So Bryant must have had eye-popping numbers for Mississippi State…right? Not really, he played in 37 games and had 157 tackles in three seasons. So no, nothing eye-popping, just average stats.

Here is my problem with this, the message it sends to our young people. You can become academically ineligible, have a drinking problem and still be chosen over an injured player. If the ceiling was out of site for the new person, then I might be able to buy what the Jet’s are selling, as purely a business decision, but it is not. The message it sends is wrong. Plus, the Jets used their top two picks in the 2017 draft on safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

The Jet’s are essentially trading an injured good kid for kid who is healthy, yet makes bad decisions. I will literally take the bad with the good, and would have chosen Smith to stay on my roster. I am all for a second chance, but he must be remorseful in order to get that second chance.

Am I looking at this wrong? Do any of you see this decision from the Jet’s opinion? If you do tell me what I am missing in the comments below.

Controversial Call Allows Pats to Beat Jets

It appeared the New England Patriots’ defensive woes would be their downfall once again after they allowed the Jets to get out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The momentum abruptly swung back the other way and Tom Brady and the Patriots responded with 14 of their own by halftime before going on to win 24-17.

The Patriots continue to look mortal, despite walking away with a win Sunday.

 The defining moment of the game came in the fourth quarter on touchdown call that was overruled in the Patriots favor. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who had already caught the Jets’ first touchdown of the day seemed to get himself another. As he was mobbed by three Pats’ defenders while running into the front corer of the end zone he momentarily bobbled the ball before regaining possession as he fell out of bounds. The call on the field was a touchdown, but was overruled since further review revealed he didn’t have possession crossing the goal line and since he fell out of bounds, it was technically a fumble out of the back of the end zone. The resulting call changed from a Jets touchdown to a touchback and New England possession. Jets fans were outraged and Patriots fans were pleasantly surprised.
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The Patriots continue to look mortal, despite walking away with a win Sunday. The defense once again, got the important stop late to seal the victory, but continue to show signs of weakness. For whatever reason, McCown continually targeted the receivers covered by Malcolm Butler, who had one interception on the day. Throwing at one of the top cornerbacks in the league seems like a risky offensive strategy, but the Jets offense picked apart the Patriots defense at the start of the game. McCown ended the day with 354 passing yards and 2 TDs and 2 Int. Brady was held to under 300 passing yards (257) for the first time since the opening game against Kansas City.

Dawg Pound Scoop: When Will We Win?

Yes, the Browns lost again.  This time, it was to a team who was supposed to worse than them, but is somehow piling together sneaky wins, in the New York Jets.  With former Browns QB Josh McCown at the helm, the Jets have advanced to 3-2 on the year, with a chance to be a solid team.

The Browns are a different story though. Under Hue Jackson, the team has gone 2-30, and showing no signs of improving. Myles Garrett may just be our only bright spot, as we have a ton of work to do.

But to wrap up the showdown with the Jets, the scoring in the first half was nonexistent. A defensive battle took place, and the Jets managed to squeeze a field goal out right before half.

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With a 3-0 deficit, and a benched DeShone Kizer, backup QB Kevin Hogan took charge and led a TD drive capped off by a David Njoku SportsCenter Top 10 highlight 1 handed catch to knot the score at 7-3.

McCown and the Jets offense came right back, though, as TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins reeled in a 2 yard fade route TD to put the New Yorkers back on top, 10-7.

And after a little back and forth punting battle, the Jets cashed in again, this time on a Jermaine Kearse 24 yard TD catch and rumble, extending the lead to 17-7 late in the 4th.

In the Browns final hope for a comeback, Duke Johnson took a screen pass 41 yards for a TD late in the 4th to make it 17-14. An onside kick attempt failed, though, by Zane Gonzalez helped the Jets to secure their 3rd win of the year and hand the Browns their 5th straight loss.

This game is another example of how the Browns always start slow, and therefore never can get a jump on these other solid football teams. A change definitely has to be made among the 0-5 team, as nothing seems to be working so far.

Jets Willing To Trade 6th Pick In The Draft

The Jets general manager Mike Mccagnan put out the memo that the Jets are willing to trade all draft picks including the 6th pick in the draft.
 
“We’re open for business in every round,” Maccagnan told reporters Friday at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. “If somebody wants to move up in any round and we have a pick in that round, call us up.”
 
The Jets want to rebuild and they know that in 2018 there will be a strong quarterback draft class. The Jets are already having a busy off season, as they have cut five veterans from their roster. Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis and center Nick Mangold are some of the big names that were already cut to save 45 million dollars.
 
Although the Jets are in clear rebuilding mode their team officials refuse to admit to that process. They told ESPN they want younger players.
 
“I know we’ve made quite a few moves this off-season, but a lot of it is predicated on how we feel about the younger players,” Maccagnan said. “With the money we freed up, hopefully we’ll be able to help ourselves in different areas.”
 

Maccagnan told ESPN that the quarterback position is a priority and that he would be willing to take a running back with the 6th pick if they cant trade the pick.

Tuesday Take 2; Are The Jets Favored To Win AFC East?

Harris says the Jets are a talented team, but are inconsistent at times and that will hurt them in the long run. The Jets need to take advantage of the 4 game suspension of Tom Brady if they want to make the playoffs and become a serious threat. They are loaded offensively and their front seven on defense is great.But,they have to get another cornerback or their pass defense will be exposed this year. 

Jets Offer Ryan Fitzpatrick $12 Million

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Last season Ryan Fitzpatrick made 3.25 million dollars for the Jets as their starting Quarterback. He went on to have a surprisingly productive year, as he broke Vinny Testaverde’s 1998 touchdown record throwing for 31 touchdown passes the most in Jets history.

Fitzpatrick also led the Jets to a 10-6 record and one win shy of making the playoffs. Many believe the game against the Buffalo Bills where he threw three key interceptions was the reason they lost the game and cost the Jets the final playoff spot in the AFC. Heading into the off-season Fitzpatrick became a free agent and he has expressed that he wants to get paid in the 15 million dollar range. He and his agent believe he is worth the money.

The Jets initially offered Fitzpatrick 8 million a year, which Fitzpatrick did not like as he threatened to possibly retire at 33 years old. Now the Jets on Friday reported that they will pay Fitzpatrick 12 million in 2016 and have offered him a multiple year contract. We do not know yet how much the contract is worth but it changed the tone of this negotiation process. Fitzpatrick was at a charity golf tournament where he said he wants contract negotiations to be private and behind closed doors.

ryan fitzpatrick

“Both sides have been doing a good job of not airing their grievances to the public, and I’d like that to continue,” he said.

The Jets have said they put a deadline on it in hopes to get Fitzpatrick signed with the team by early July when training camp starts.  Head coach Todd Bowles said that he is hopeful a deal will get done, but at the same time he is not confident.

 

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