Post Game Thoughts: Jets 17 Jaguars 10 Tweet
Brief thoughts on this one
The running game continues to improve and they were on display again today. For whatever reason Shonn Greene is a second half of the season runner. I have never seen a player start so slow year after year only to show enough at the end of the season to where you want him to be your future starter. Its something I have never been able to understand with him but its been clear since his rookie season that this is what happens. He rode the bench in 2009. He was replaced in 2010 by LaDainian Tomlinson. He was poor in 2011. He lost plays to Bilal Powell in 2012. And then a light goes off and he plays well in the second half of the year. He plays with more burst. He looks like he has better vision. It really is puzzling. Powell also had a terrific game literally putting the Jets on his back on one drive for a score. The offensive line looked good specifically in the run game in the second half. While itís a valid critique that its only against Jacksonville they were really dominant out there.
Of course Mark Sanchez showed zero. He had literally one pass of note on the day. Granted it was pretty much the play that iced the game and it was a beautiful throw, but hey if you throw enough you have to get one right donít you? I donít know what the Jets do with their QB situation. There was almost no trust in Sanchez today. None at all. Either this guy is your QB or he isnít. To put him in that type of offense is almost humiliating to a 4th year pro. Rex did call his number on that one play and it was a perfect call as every linebacker on the Jaguars thought the ball was going short, but it was clear that the gameplan was for Mark to not screw things up. You cant win in the NFL playing this way. Sanchez threw for 111 yards against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. That just isnít good enough and whats worse is that the coaching staff didnít even give him the opportunity to prove he could do something.
The Jets seem to feast on these bad offensive teams and this was no exception. The Jets broke early in the game. On the radio (I didnít watch the start of the game) it sounded like the Jaguars were targeting Bart Scott as his name was coming up often until a pressure saw Chad Henne loft one right into Scottís hand that ended a long 14 play drive with no score. Again the Jets never gave in on third down, quite the departure from a year ago when they could never get off the field on 3rd down. They did give up a long 4th down conversion but you had to be impressed regardless. I found this to be a much stronger performance than last weekend where the defense didnít have to do a thing but watch Arizonas QB throw the ball all over the field. Henne is a legit QB and they beat him up pretty good.
The most impressive player on the day was Quinton Coples who literally ate up the Jaguar defensive line. He drove his guy back into Henne countless times just in a straight bullrush. While he didnít finish all the plays they led to sacks, incompletions, and the final interception of the day. Why they do not play him more is one of the most bizarre moves of the season. He is the only natural athlete/rusher they have on this team and when you have no pass rushing ability you have to put a guy like that on the field regardless of how raw he is. The mistakes he makes, such as trying to dive over the top of a QB or lineman for a sack, are only going to get improved with more playing time.
Muhammad Wilkerson continues to impress as well. He is getting better as a pass rusher though he also needs to learn how to finish those plays. If the Jets do begin to transition to a more traditional 4-3 they need him to be more than a run stopper. He clearly has the potential to do it but itís a facet of the game they will need to work on with him. David Harris had a nice game and seemed to be more aggressive than usual. When Harris looks aggressive, which he has maybe two or three times this year it seems to be tied into far better overall defensive showings for the team.
K Nick Folk made what he had to make and P Robert Malone got a lot of work in. Malone almost had two kicks blocked which is a worry with this team.
Like I said the handling of Sanchez is just unreal, but right now I guess the goal is to keep the faint playoff hopes alive and they accomplished that today. I mean you had the Jets essentially giving up at the end of the first half on offense and again later in the game for fear of a turnover. I donít think it does anything for the future to play this way, but it is what it is and expecting more is probably foolish. All I know is that Ryan needs to have the Jets in contention when they host the Chargers in a few weeks if this is the style of football they will play. It will be a deadly environment for the QB if the Jets are out of the playoffs and they are playing to pass for 70 yards per game.
The last two weeks have been difficult football to watch. At least this week I can say the defense played well rather than the other team playing awful. Watching the Jets play football right now is like watching preseason football. As Im typing this Im watching the Giants play the Saints and it is as if those teams are playing an entirely different game than the Jets play. There are plenty of teams that play conservative football, such as the 49íers, but they at least try to make plays. Maybe the plays donít happen but you see and attempt not 2 yard designed passes on 3rd and 7 to keep your QB from screwing up.
One of things I will say about this season is that I think it would have been different if the schedule played out differently. The NFL is all about momentum and when you are a team that builds it early you can often carry that over to some of your other games. You see it with the Jets defense. The play with a swagger against certain football teams but I think in other games they give up because they know the offense cant do anything. The thing is if you were able to sprinkle the Jaguars and Rams type of opponents in between the 49ers and Texans you probably donít have as many of the embarrassment games. At the least they donít lead to the losing streaks that turn the fansbase off on the organization.
All that being said the Jets absolutely can not look at ďrunning the tableĒ especially playing like this as a statement about the team. If the Jets go into February saying ďimagine if we had Holmes and RevisĒ then the franchise is doomed to repeat the decade of the 1990s. For the last 3 years its has been a consistent pattern with the team. They dominate bad football teams like this one. As soon as they step up in class they get dominated. Since both guys went down they were beaten soundly by 4 teams. They would not have made a difference in those games at all. They were never really in the Houston game because of the QB. The only game where maybe they would have competed was the first Patriot game but New England is so far above the Jets that its probably a dream right now to think they could catch them again.
On the bright side the glimmer of hope still exists for the Jets since the Bengals and Steelers both lost. It gives the Jets a really good chance that they will be alive in week 16 which I think is an absolute necessity if they are going to come out with this offensive style of play. But if the Jets can take care of business next week they will be alive which is very important. But they have to play better than this. In this day and age to watch the QB play be so poor for so many weeks in a row is just unacceptable. I mean this is the 4th game of the year in which the starting QB has thrown for less than 125 yards. Itís the 6th under 150. Alex Smith last year had 2 in the ultimate game manager role for a good team. You cant play like this in the NFL. Hopefully it changes next week.