Jets Season Round Up – The Jet Has Crashed
It’s the talk of the green side of New York.
The Jets, after consecutive AFC championship game defeats, were “guaranteed” a Super Bowl victory by outspoken coach Rex Ryan. Yet, as many ponder what might have been, the Jets return home from Miami with an 8-8 record and their tails between their legs. They won’t be making the 700 mile trip to Indianapolis, and they don’t deserve to. The Jets players and coaches should realise that they really have only got themselves to blame, and perhaps more worryingly, that problems lie across the board.
Mark Sanchez started his Jets career with two successful playoff runs, but the strong Jets defense and their “Ground & Pound” offense glorified this somewhat. Nothing should be taken away from Sanchez though. On his day he can be up there with the Elite, but Tony Romo-esque mistakes at clutch moments seem to sway fans’ opinion. To throw 3 interceptions in your must-win week 17 game just isn’t good enough. Although he scored a surprising 6 rushing touchdowns this season, his liability to turn the ball over also became apparent, most notably in the Ravens game on Sunday Night Football. Ravens defense racked up 3 defensive touchdowns, 2 from Sanchez fumbles and 1 a 73 yard interception return. I’m not suggesting a ludicrous trade for Peyton Manning, I have faith in Sanchez, but there is a missing link somewhere.
The Running Backs
Shonn Greene impressed with a season of over 1000 yards but the Jets run game isn’t what it used to be. LaDanian Tomlinson showed glimpses of his old self, but the Jets need to find a suitable replacement, and fast. Other teams like the New York Giants have 3 or more capable running backs. My personal solution is Joe McKnight. The 4th round pick in 2010 showed searing pace during kick-off returns and sensationally blocked a punt against the Cowboys in week 1. I hope Rex Ryan doesn’t see him as purely a special teams player and realise what a talent he’s got.
The Wide Receivers
Not really a place where the Jets are struggling. However their decision to trade away Braylon Edwards and release Jerricho Cotchery was baffling. Plaxico Burress was a welcome addition after his prison sentence, but the less said about Derrick Mason the better. Tight End Dustin Keller was Sanchez’s go-to man this season with 65 receptions and 5 touchdowns, but that isn’t saying much. Thanks to some suspect play-calling by Brian Schottenheimer, Santonio Holmes had a total of zero catches against the Dolphins in week 17, causing great divisions in the Jets camp in the days since.
On the subject of Schottenheimer, he’s being interviewed for the Jaguars Head Coach job. Quite frankly, they can have him. He called a total of 67 passes against the Giants. Sanchez can’t do that. What happened to “Ground & Pound”? What annoys me are the pass plays. Rarely is Sanchez asked to pass more than 10 yards. Yes, if we can set up screens, then that is fair enough. Except we don’t. This is evident in the stats. Sanchez passed for just two 40+ yard completions this whole season. To make matters worse, when Sanchez does look to pass further down field, Holmes is more interested in trying to get a pass interference call than catching the ball.
Normally such a strong part to the Jets game, the Defense struggled this year. I say struggled. 5th in total yards and 5th in pass yards allowed. However 22nd for points allowed and 13th for rush yards allowed is not where Rex Ryan wants the Jets to be. Mohammad Wilkerson provided some quality on the pass rush, but Brady and co. have enough time and space to occasionally murder the defense with big plays.
He won’t ever change. He has to stop putting so much pressure on his players. To “guarantee” a Super Bowl win prior to the season is ludicrous. His incessant trash talk gets on my nerves as well. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said before the Christmas Eve encounter, “it will be decided at one o’clock Saturday afternoon”. And he’s right. However much it pains me to say it, Rex should listen to the Blue Neighbours and follow suit; let the players do the talking. Then we might win something.