This is the latest in a series of nine Radar entries over the next five weeks detailing trends in the AFC East, downward tendencies each division team wants to correct for the coming season and upward strides that each team wants to continue into 2009:
One thing the Jets and their fans have gotten really tired of the past two seasons is having opposing defenders picking off their passes and taking them the other way for six.
Jets QBs have thrown eight interceptions that have been returned for TDs in 2007 and '08 combined. Brett Favre threw four pick-sixes all by himself last year, run back by San Diego's Antonio Cromartie, Kansas City rookie Brandon Flowers, Buffalo's Jabari Greer and Miami rookie DE Phillip Merling.
The year before, Chad Pennington threw two that the opponents scored on, then Kellen Clemens had two more.
"Believe me, I'm well aware of what is expected of me and how important it is to take care of the ball," Favre said in the days after throwing three INTs, including the ball Flowers returned 91 yards for the go-ahead touchdown before pulling out the win with a TD pass to Laveranues Coles.
"I've played a long time. I understand that turnovers, as well as penalties, just the little things, there are so many factors that go into winning or losing. I know statistically speaking, if you turn the ball over more than your opponent, you lose. That's two times in three weeks we've won. Can you make a living doing that? Every coach, any statistician would tell you no. I don't plan on doing that."
But he threw 11 more picks after that game, two of which were returned for scores, before calling it a Jets career.
Here are the teams throwing eight interception-return TDs in back-to-back seasons since the 2004-05 seasons:
|Pennington (2), Clemens (2), Favre (4)
|Frerotte (2), Bulger (5), Green (1)
|Feeley (5), Fiedler (2), Rosenfels (1)
The eight INT-return TDs is also the most in Jets history since 1967-68, when Joe Namath threw nine. Four of them came in Games 2-3 of the '68 season, and the question we could ask there is "How did that season turn out?"
But in general it's not a good idea to gift-wrap touchdowns for your foes. One good thing for Kellen Clemens or Mark Sanchez, whichever wins the Jets' starting QB this summer, is that they'll have been practicing against a defense that, in the city of Baltimore, has made a habit of returning picks for six, so they should be prepared in practice not to make those same mistakes in games.