How quickly things can change in the NFL. A week ago today we were coming off the worst performance of the season, a complete drubbing by the Titans. We were questioning almost every aspect of this football team. There were some calling for Matt Simms to start, for Rex Ryan's head and a number of other drastic measures. One week on and euphoria has engulfed the Jets fan-base. A tremendous win against a team that was pegged for the Superbowl by some pre-season polls in their back-yard. Lets get into it!
Let me start by saying there are a number of people who deserve recognition, people who won't appear in this list. First Nick Folk, I was tempted to place him in among the stars again, after a perfect FG night, a game winner from 40 plus yards in a hostile environment and 5 touchbacks, but he just missed out. David Harris, 14 tackles on the night and some superb open field take-downs, there are still problems in coverage but if he continues to do the work on the ground, I can live with the coverage issues.
Jeff Cumberland, 3 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown, the touchdown throw was beautiful from Geno but Jeff still had to make the play. Kerley, 5 catches 68 yards and a score, as well as a nice punt return, just misses out. Mike Goodson, first game action of the season and he races for a 26 yard gain, as well as a 9 yard reception. He'll get more and more reps, and I remain as hopeful as I ever was. Stephen Hill, 2 receptions for 21 yards....you would be forgiven for calling me crazy to put him here but those were crucial receptions on the game winning drive. Brian Winters, a solid first career start.
All of those guys played their part in this fantastic victory, but here are the three guys that stuck out to me.
Third Star: Sheldon Richardson DE/DT, 5 tackles, 1 sack
Sheldon is looking like one of the best if not the best defensive prospect take in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. He's always active on the line, he comes down to plug gaps. He has superb athletic ability to chase down plays even when they are stretching to the sideline. He has the power to and finesse to get into the backfield on most plays. At one point the announcers mentioned that the Jets had been camped in the Atlanta backfield and by and large it was Sheldon who was pitching his tent.
His motor is excellent, and the Falcons gained 2.9 yards a carry on the ground, Sheldon was inside plugging a lot of those gaps. He really is starting to motor now and by the end of the season, I think we could really have someone very special on show. Making his second appearance in the star table this year.
Second Star: Muhammad Wilkerson, 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
I couldn't decide whether Mo should be the second or first star. If someone asked me to sum up Wilkerson's game in one word it would be "domination". I thought he was simply unblockable at times during last nights game. He was constantly beating his man and made several plays behind the line of scrimmage. I just don't know how else to describe him, he has everything you would want from a defensive lineman.
There was a play in the first quarter that just set the tone. He came through the lineman, just overpowering the Atlanta player to tackle Rodgers in the backfield for what would be a 5 yard loss. After that he just tormented the poor Atlanta line. He got his sack in the end and could have had others. I can't wait to see Mo the rest of the season as I think he's on course for his best ever season as a Jet, and he's only in his third year.
First Star: Geno Smith, 16-20, 199 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 Interceptions, 0 fumbles.
I really can't say enough about Geno this week. He came off one of the worst performances I've see for some time. 4 turnovers that led to 28 points for the opposition. People were questioning him, people were doubting him, there were questions posed to Rex about whether the team would turn to Simms...and he comes out in a hostile environment and puts up those numbers, fantastic.
He managed the game, which is what we should be asking him to do. Not only did he not fumble or have a pass intercepted, but I can't remember any close calls. Matt Ryan didn't have an interception either, but Walls came close to picking him off on a couple of occasions on a couple of bad throws. That didn't happen with Geno and that's encouraging.
He showed excellent touch on the Winslow touchdown and excellent location on the Cumberland touchdown. Kerley did some work for the 3rd of his touchdowns but he didn't try and force it. He made the right calls at the right time, and he led the team on a 4th quarter drive that put us in a position to win.
I don't think anyone can doubt that Geno deserves the first star this week!
|Week||Week 1 v Tampa||Week 2 @ NE||Week 3 v Buffalo||Week 4 @ Titans||Week 5 @ Falcons|
|First Star||Nick Folk||Demario Davis||Muhammad Wilkerson||Bilal Powell||Geno Smith|
|Second Star||Sheldon Richardson||Damon Harrison||Santonio Holmes||Demario Davis||Muhammad Wilkerson|
|Third Star||Geno Smith||Chris Ivory||Bilal Powell||Kellen Winslow||Sheldon Richardson|
|Honorable Mention Star||Kellen Winslow||Darrin Walls||Demario Davis||Nick Folk||Nick Folk|
|Other Mentions||Harrison, Wilkerson||Powell, Holmes||Hill, Smith||Landry, Bohanon||Cumberland, Harris|
|Player||Total First Stars||Total Second Stars||Total Third Stars|