By Peter Schwartz
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After speculation persisted that the Jets and Giants would open up the 2011 season against each other on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I think the NFL got this right. Then again, it may be a moot point if the lockout stretches into the regular season.
The Jets will begin the 2011 campaign (we hope) on Sunday night September 11th when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys to the New Meadowlands Stadium.
“To start the season, when you’re looking at playing Dallas, with my brother (Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan), obviously being with the Dallas Cowboys now and all that is always special to me,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “But when you consider the fact that you have 9/11 right there and playing a home game in our stadium with 9/11, that stadium is going to be full of emotion, not only the people from the area but in the entire country. But it is a real honor to be hosting a game that night, so the fact that my brother’s on the other sideline is nothing. The fact that it is 9/11 and we’ll be in our stadium, that’s really a huge deal for us for sure.”
The Giants will open up in Washington against the Redskins.
The Jets/Giants game, a Jets home game, will be played on Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24th at 1pm. The NFL’s regular Sunday schedule will take place on Saturday that week because of Christmas. There will be a Sunday night game, but the Jets/Giants game cannot be flexed.
The opening night game against the Cowboys is one of five evening games for Gang Green. This marks the second straight year that the Jets will play five games in prime-time.
“I think that really speaks volumes about our team, where our franchise is at, and how the league and everybody else in the league basically sees us the same way,” said Ryan. “They know we’re an elite team and I think that’s why we have five prime-time games.”
Here’s a look at the Jets’ 2011 schedule:
8/15 Monday @Houston 8pm TV-ESPN
8/21 Sunday Cincinnati 7pm TV-WCBS
8/27 Saturday @ NY Giants 7pm TV-TBD
9/1 Thursday Philadelphia 7:30pm TV-WCBS
9/11 Sunday Dallas 8:20 pm NBC
9/18 Sunday Jacksonville 1:00 pm CBS
9/25 Sunday @ Oakland 4:05 pm CBS
10/2 Sunday @ Baltimore 8:20 pm NBC
10/9 Sunday @ New England 4:15 pm CBS
10/17 Monday Miami 8:30 pm ESPN
10/23 Sunday San Diego 1:00 pm CBS
11/6 Sunday @ Buffalo 1:00 pm CBS
11/13 Sunday New England 8:20 pm NBC*
11/17 Thursday @ Denver 8:20 pm NFLN
11/27 Sunday Buffalo 1:00 pm CBS*
12/4 Sunday @ Washington 1:00 pm FOX*
12/11 Sunday Kansas City 1:00 pm CBS*
12/18 Sunday @ Philadelphia 4:15 pm CBS*
12/24 Saturday NY Giants 1:00 pm FOX
1/1 Sunday @ Miami 1:00 pm CBS*
*Subject to NFL Flex Schedule (Note: Week 16 vs. NY Giants will not be flexed)
The Jets will play three straight road games in weeks 3 through 5, but they get their bye after a week seven game against the Chargers.
“I like where our bye week falls,” said Ryan. “We’ve got a lot of tough games, but the bye week falls at a good time. Then, (three weeks later) we play a Thursday night game against the Broncos. Like I always say about those Thursday games, they’re great as long as you win, because you can almost treat it like a little mini-bye after that.”
The Jets will spend Thanksgiving weekend at home with a Sunday afternoon game against the Bills at NMS and they’ll round out the holiday season by finishing the regular season on New Year’s Day in Miami.
All in all, it seems as if the NFL did a good job with the Jets schedule. However, the league might be taking a risk by scheduling the Jets five times in prime-time. Let’s be honest. At this point, we have no idea what the 2011 Jets will even look like.
After back to back trips to the AFC Championship game, the Jets have a glaring need as they get set to make their first round pick (30th overall) in the NFL Draft on April 28th.
They need to find someone who can rush the passer.
Even though the Jets have had a pretty good defense the last couple of years (maybe a little overrated last year), they have clearly had an issue in getting to the quarterback, especially on third down when they have had a chance to get off the field.
This Thursday, GM Mike Tannenbaum will hold his annual pre-draft press conference and if history repeats itself, don’t expect much information to come out of his address or in any of his answers to assembled reporters.
The Jets are normally pretty tight-lipped about what their draft plans are and maybe that’s a big reason why head coach Rex Ryan is not scheduled to speak at the press conference.
Or, maybe Rex is saving his voice for an extensive media tour to promote his soon to be released book!
Who are the Jets going to take? It would be fair to assume that these names will be on Gang Green’s board but just how many of them will still be around when pick #30 comes around.
Arizona DE/OLB Brooks Reed, Temple DE/DT Muhammad Wilkerson, UCLA DE/OLB Akeem Ayers, Ohio State DE/DT Cameron Heyward (will Jets be scared of taking a Buckeye after the Vernon Gholston disaster?), Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers and Georgia DE Justin Houston.
With Tannenbaum, you can never count out a trade so you will definitely want to be tuned in for the entire first round to see what happens.
GO TEAM GO!!!!
This past weekend, the Jets held auditions for the 2011 Flight Crew squad. Given the circumstances with the lockout, one has to wonder if the young ladies who made the team will have anything to cheer about this year? Maybe the Jets, and the rest of the other teams who have cheerleaders, can send a contingent to Minnesota to cheer for the negotiators and maybe that will put a spark into the talks!
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Last week, I caught up with former Jets cornerback Donnie Abraham. Donnie played for the Jets from 2002 to 2004 and is currently an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League. Donnie joined the Storm after serving as the head coach of Gibbs High School in Florida for a couple of years.
That’s all for now. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the NFL and the players can start making some progress in mediated negotiations. Check back after the Jets make their pick in round one of the NFL Draft on April 28th.
That is unless the Jets make news before that.
And of course the chances of the Jets making news is always small! (Wink wink!)
How does the Jets schedule stack up in your eyes? Comment below.