Caldwell’s curious time out decision allows Jets to upset Colts

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (R) hugs Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell (L) after the Jets defeated the Colts in their AFC Wild Card playoff football game in Indianapolis, January 8, 2011. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

“Thanks for calling that time out, Mr. Caldwell. You really saved us. I owe you one, big cat.”

Here are six quick-hit thoughts on the Jets’ 17-16 upset of the Colts on Saturday night.

1. Caldwell blew it by calling that time out.
There’s no doubt that Jim Caldwell should not have called a time out with 29 seconds remaining in the game. The Jets were down to their final time out and were on the 32-yard line. Had Caldwell let the clock continue to run, the Jets would have likely only ran one more play before using their final time out and kicking a longish field goal. Instead, Caldwell used the Colts’ last TO (presumably to leave time for Peyton Manning) and Mark Sanchez completed an 18-yard pass to Braylon Edwards (who made a heck of grab) on the next play. After burning their final TO, the Jets won the game on a 32-yard Nick Folk field goal as time expired. Caldwell’s blunder was three-fold: 1) It stopped the clock, 2) it allowed Sanchez and his coaching staff to calmly gather their thoughts and choose their final offensive play and 3) it ultimately made Folk’s field goal attempt 18 yards shorter. I guarantee you Sanchez doesn’t even look Edwards way if his coaches didn’t tell him that play was open during the time out. And I can almost guarantee you that Folk doesn’t make a game-winning field goal on the road from 40-50 yards out instead of 32. One play or coaching decision never decides the outcome of a game. But this is one Caldwell we think about all offseason.

2) That said…
If Manning completes that 3rd-and-6 pass to Blair White on the prior possession, then the Colts would have ran the clock down and kicked the game-winner themselves. But because the pass fell incomplete, the Colts left time on the clock. And because there was time on the clock, Antonio Cromartie’s ability to bring the ensuing kickoff back to the 46-yard-line was huge. Does anyone believe that Sanchez would have marched his team into field goal range if he had to go 80 yards to do it? I was waiting for a pick-six myself. Caldwell’s decision to call a time out was bad. But the game would have never reached that point if one of the aforementioned situations doesn’t happen.

3) Sanchez finally makes a play when he has to.
Sanchez’s performance on the Jets’ final drive before halftime was brutal. He had zero touch on the pass that went over Dustin Keller in the end zone and the pass that Justin Tryon intercepted reeked of desperation. But give Sanchez credit: the throw he made to Edwards to set up Folk’s game-winner was right where it needed to be. Edwards made the play by going up and catching the ball at its highest point, then making sure he got both feet down and inbounds (where was that effort in Cleveland all those years?). But the throw was there. After he spent most of the game failing to make plays, Sanchez finally delivered when it mattered most.

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Jets’ receiver Braylon Edwards charged with DWI

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 16: Braylon Edwards  of the New York Jets looks on during their game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Yet another athlete who should have hired a driver (from the New York Post):

Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was busted on a drunken driving charge early this morning, after cops pulled him over on the West Side and found he had double the legal limit of alcohol in his system, police said.

Edwards, 27, was arrested at 5:15 a.m. and charged with DWI, after cops pulled over his Range Rover at 34th Street and 12th Avenue for having overly-tinted windows. Police said they smelled alcohol and Edwards blew a 0.16 on a Breathalyzer, or double the state’s legal limit of 0.08.

It isn’t the first time Edwards has run afoul of the law. In October, just before he was traded to the Jets from the Browns, Edwards punched a friend of LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub.

Edwards settled the case by pleading no contest to aggravated assault. He received a suspended 180-day jail sentence, and was fined $1,000 and placed on probation.

Every time an athlete is charged with drunken driving, my coworker John Paulsen points out how easy it would be for athletes just to hire a driver. And I couldn’t agree more; why risk it? Why risk millions of dollars and potentially hurt someone else when you could have just paid for a personal driver? Or gotten a cab?

Stupid, stupid, stupid. We all make mistakes, but these types of arrests can always be avoided.

Joe Namath isn’t a big fan of Braylon Edwards’ work

Former New York Jets Hall of Game quarterback Joe Namath shares a laugh prior to the New York Jets vs. Houston Texans football game at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas on September 13, 2009. UPI/Aaron M. Sprecher Photo via Newscom

Based on recent comments he made on 1050 ESPN radio in New York, it sounds like if former Jets legend Joe Namath were starting a football team tomorrow, he’d rather have a steel pipe sticking up out of the ground at receiver than Braylon Edwards.

From Rant Sports:

Then Namath ripped into Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards. “I don’t feel that we have the deep threat, the speed out there at this point, that defensive backs really respect. I really believe that Edwards is a fine receiver…But meantime, I don’t think they’re worried about him running by any defensive backs.” Ouch.

He then went on to say that he didn’t have very good hands. “I’d like to see him catch the ball more consistently”. Well, what is Edwards response going to be for that? He did lead the league in dropped passes in 2008 with 16. So basically Namath is saying that Edwards doesn’t really have elite speed and he can’t consistently catch the ball. Other than that, he’s a fine receiver.

That low rumble you hear in the distance is every fan in Cleveland laughing his or her ass off.

Joe Willie also said during the interview that he felt as though “Hard Knocks” was a distraction to the Jets and maybe he’s right. Or maybe they just need a quarterback who doesn’t think the checkdown is an actual offensive play? Yeah? No? All right…

That said, I love how this team loses to the Ravens on Monday Night Football and now all of a sudden people are trying not to fracture their femur while jumping off the bandwagon. I consider myself an objective fan, but I almost hope the Jets beat the Patriots this weekend so I can watch everyone break their necks trying to get back on the bandwagon.

Terrell Owens to the Jets? Pass.

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 27: Terrell Owens #81 of the Buffalo Bills against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 27, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

T.O. to NY? It kind of has a nice ring to it, but that’s about all it has.

With Santonio Holmes set to miss the first four weeks of the season due to a suspension, signing Owens seems like a logical move for the Jets on paper. But in reality, what happens after Holmes returns? Owens goes home?

The pecking order in the Jets’ passing game this year will go a little something like this: Holmes (once he returns), Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Al Toon. As you can see, there aren’t enough passes to go around if T.O. were thrown into the mix, especially when you consider that Mark Sanchez is still trying to develop as a passer.

Which is another thing: T.O. must be avoided so that Sanchez has room to grow. The Jets’ passing game is a work in progress and Owens would have plenty to groan about if a) he wasn’t getting enough touches and b) Sanchez started to struggle.

The fastest way to stunt a quarterback’s development is to play him before he’s ready. The second fastest is having Terrell Owens on the roster.

Kudos to Mike Tannenbaum for considering all of his options (the Jets were the same team that showed a small interest in JaMarcus Russell before he was busted sippin’ the syruuuup), but in the end there just isn’t enough room for T.O. in the Big Apple.

Braylon Edwards won’t be suspended

According to ESPN New York, Jets’ receiver Braylon Edwards isn’t likely to be suspended in wake of an incident that occurred outside a Cleveland nightclub in which he punched a friend of LeBron James.

It had been widely speculated that Edwards would receive at least a one-game ban for punching a man, an acquaintance of NBA star LeBron James, last October when Edwards was a member of the Cleveland Browns. Instead of a suspension, it’s believed that Edwards will be fined an undisclosed amount by the league.

This is important news for the Jets, who had been bracing for the possibility of being without two receivers for the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. They already know they won’t have Santonio Holmes, who faces a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. The Jets were aware of the pending suspension when they acquired Holmes from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As he showed in regular season games against the Dolphins and Falcons last year, as well as in the AFC Conference Championship against the Colts, Edwards does have the ability to give Mark Sanchez and the Jets a big target in the passing game. But as usual, his hands and concentration continue to be question marks.

The pair of Edwards and Holmes gives the Jets more than enough weapons in their vertical game. But it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll mesh with Sanchez, who must build on his solid performances against the Bengals and Colts in last year’s playoffs if the Jets are going to make a deep run in the postseason again this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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