Reporting Paul Gallant
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For three seasons under head coach Rex Ryan, the Jets were the NFL’s bombastic hype machine. But four games into year four, New York has limped to a 2-2 record. Could they challenge the Texans in prime time?
These Aren’t Your Big Bro’s Jets
No team had as much “swag” as the New York Jets the past three seasons. It’s not even arguable. Jersey B talked the talk. And for the most part, they walked the walk – making it to back to back AFC Championship games in ’10 and ’11.
Unfortunately for the J-E-T-S, all hell broke loose at last year’s end. They lost their last three games, and overnight transformed from Clubber Lang into a punching bag.
Since that collapse, they don’t seem themselves. Mainly because of how quiet they’ve been.
It’s not exactly like they’ve had a whole lot to yap about. But when you hear Rex Ryan compliment the opposition the way he did this week, (just try to find any form of trash talk in that laundry list of compliments) you know something’s up.
This team has lost its mojo. That isn’t good for them. Because as bad as they’ve played, they’re still tied for first in the AFC East.
The Texans should be licking their chops for their return to Monday night. New York may have the league’s most inept offense.
Mark Sanchez – like most highly touted QBs drafted from USC – has been a colossal bust. Sure he’s won some playoff games. But even Eva Longoria knows this guy couldn’t hit the broad sign of a barn with a pass.
Just look at the stats. With all the offensive-minded rule changes in the NFL over the past decade, it is just about impossible to be a starting QB with a completion percentage under 50. Unfortunately for Marky Mark – he’s found a way – and the Jets are suffering as a result.
To be a fair to Sanchez, he has an arsenal of weapons that make the Iraqi Navy look like the Death Star. And that was before wide receiver Santonio Holmes went down with a season ending lisfranc injury. Tight end Dustin Keller is actually talented – and if healthy could give the Texans problems. That said, he’s been dealing with a bum hamstring this week, just like rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill.
Eventually, backup quarterback Tim Tebow will get a chance at starter. I have a feeling that’ll be this week in a rout. If by some miracle he doesn’t relieve Sanchez of his duties, expect to see him featured in the wildcat package.
In years past New York was at least been competent on the ground. Not in 2012. Starting running back Shonn Greene is averaging a pathetic 2.8 yards a carry. His backup – Bilal Powell – has been decent (3.9 ypc) – but hasn’t done nearly enough to warrant any additional attention.
As mentioned before, the Jets have abysmal skill players. It’s probably the worst collection in the entire league. And outside of center Nick Mangold and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, this offense resembles Afghanistan – it’s bombed out and depleted.
Island Of Atlantis
The Isle formerly known as Revis sank into the sea two weeks ago when Darrelle Revis – the NFL’s best cover cornerback – was lost for the year with a torn ACL. That means corner Antonio Cromartie will have to step up to stop Andre Johnson.
Cromartie is a physical freak. He runs like a gazelle AND has size (6’2, 210lbs) which he uses to press at the line of scrimmage. Still, the man has a lot of WTF moments. And no, I’m not talking about the time he had trouble remember the names of his kids. Despite being a big corner, he’s a horrendous tackler. Plus his physicality leads to plenty of pass interference calls.
Remember When The Jets Could Play Defense?
It ain’t this year…especially on the ground. The Jets are getting shredded for 172.8 yards a game to the tune of just under 5 yards per carry. That’s the second worst mark in the NFL. Worse – Jersey B missed 17 tackles against the San Francisco 49ers.
Yeah…17. Think Arian Foster might have a good night?
Nose tackle Sione Pou’ha is likely out this week with lower back problems. That means that Kenrick Ellis will have to pick up the slack in the trenches. Linebackers David Harris and Bart Scott need to step up too.
New York’s pass rush has also been below par. They’ll rely on linebackers Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to pick up the pace – as they both had sacks last week. If they can’t get it done, rookie linebacker Quinton Coples sure as hell needs to.