Week 16 Recap: The Fat Lady (Slob) Has Sung

I waited two days to write this post – I just couldn’t bear to ruin my (and your respective) Christmas.  All I wanted for Christmas was a Jets win and instead they gave us a big fat stinkin’ green turd.  The game was truly a microcosm of the entire season – maddening play calling, inexcusable & careless penalties, inaccuracy by Sanchez, big plays by the opposing offense, poor Special Teams, a stellar Revis, poor O-line play and empty trash talk by Rex.  It was a fitting end to a disappointing season (the Sanchez safety to end the game really summed things up.  It was a classic Same Old Jets play).

The cracks are really starting to show in the post-game analysis.  The media are tearing apart the game plan, especially the play calling by Schotty.  59 passes against a suspect run defense?  A defense that was giving up 4.2 yards per carry to the Jets in the first half.  Instead they abandon the run and basically turn the offense into a one-dimensional passing unit – something they are not built to do.   This game may have been the death knell not just for the Jets, but Brian Schottenheimer’s tenure as Offensive Coordinator.  Even with 2 years more to go on his contract, he will more than likely be gone next year (the Jets could get lucky if another team hires him away as their head coach…they can have him).

Here’s a quick summary of some of the key themes for the game/season:

  • Sanchez – it always starts and ends with him, doesn’t it?  He’s been getting trashed in the media, but I have to disagree.  By no means did he play great, but this loss should not be pinned on him.  You drop back and throw 59 times (64 times actually if you count his rushes and sacks – almost as many as the 3 previous games combined!), you are bound to make some bad throws.  Even Tom Brady would throw 1 or 2 to the other team with that many attempts.  He is still way too inaccurate (the overthrow on Joe McKnight in the 2nd quarter was inexcusable – that was a big play), makes poor decisions and has poor “situational awareness” (no reason to take that safety at the end of the game).  But I can’t put this on him – he was mostly solid, and was tough as nails on the 4th quarter TD run.  The stats won’t show it, but I do think he took a step forward this year.  With a new coordinator and a re-commitment to the run, he will take a step forward next year.  You heard it here first.
  • Schotty/offensive play calling – It defies logic.  I’ve yet to read an article that justifies or explains why he chose to throw so many times.  Even LaDanian Tomlinson – one of the classiest and most respected players in the league, and someone who NEVER speaks out of turn – subtly questioned the play calling at the end of the game.  This will be the game that management points to when they fire Schotty at the end of the season.  It was a theme all year long.
  • Big plays by the Opposing offense– the D actually played very well with the exception of 1 or 2 plays – Manning completed just 9 (!) passes and they really shut down their run game.  Unfortunately 1 of those 9 passes was a 99 yd. TD by Victor Cruz – the longest play in the NFL this year.  Missed tackles and slow recovery by

    Another Big Play

    the secondary (Eric Smith will also be gone next year) were a theme all year, and this played changed the tone of the game.  If you look back at their losses this year, the opposing team always had a number of big plays on offense that the Jets could never recover from.  Conversely, I can’t remember even one big play on offense of more than 25 or 30 yards for the Jets.

  • Poor execution & discipline – the Jets were one of the heaviest penalized teams in the league this year – a marked difference from previous years.  This game was no difference as careless holding, false start (Burress, cmon!) and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties set them back.  This was a team that was poorly disciplined from the start – a sign of poor coaching for sure.
  • Poor Special Teams – no turnovers in this game, but still too many mistakes.  Another missed FG by Folk (he will also be gone), poor punt coverage and poor punting.  Even crazier, the Jets benched the AFC’s Pro Bowl starting kick returner, Joe McKnight (who played on offense) for Antonio Cromarite – who made multiple bad decisions and showed again why he is referred to the player with one of the lowest NFL IQs.  Why? This unit was once a strength for this team – not this year.
  • Revis – the Giants WRs called him out during the week as “average.”  That was just foolish.  He was a beast on Saturday – TD saving plays, blanket coverage.  He was everywhere.  Tough season for him – he played like a pro bowler all season and the rest of the defense let him down.  A waste of a truly special talent.
  • Rex – it’s time to shut up my friend.  I love your bravado and I love how you’ve changed the culture of this team, but it’s now time to be humble and take the blame. In past seasons, his talk was backed up with great preparation and play by his team.  Not this year.  I don’t know what’s changed, but it clearly didn’t work this year.  This past week was especially embarrassing and he deserved every bit of criticism he’s getting.

    This One's on You, Fat Slob (Jacobs' Words, Not Mine)

The Jets can theoretically still sneak into the playoffs with a win against Miami and losses by 3 other teams.  But really, who cares?  They don’t deserve to get in and even if they did, would they do anything?  Looking back, I realized the Jets have ONE victory against a team with a winning record this year – the Cowboys (8-7) and that was waaaaay back in week 1, and they needed a few lucky plays at the end of the game for that one.  This is just not a good team.  It’s a team that was stocked with good players and pro-bowlers, but a team that was poorly prepared, poorly disciplined and poorly coached on a weekly basis.

The season just never felt “right” from the start.  There has always been something that felt off about this team.  They came out flat in the first half against the Cowboys in week 1 – a nationally televised game on September 11th in New York – and things never really improved.  The post-mortem on the season will begin in earnest next week I’m sure, and it will be interesting to see what is written.

But there is one more game to play – no throwing in the towel yet (although apparently the mood in the Jets’ locker room on Saturday seemed to indicate many have done just that) on this site.   But the days of this blog’s weekly analysis for the 2011 season are clearly numbered, as they are for many of the Jets’ players and coaches…

A Merry everything and Happy New Year and big thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog the past few months!  Speak to you all in the New Year…

A Picture Speaks....

A Giant Game (understatement)

I’ve decided not to write a full analysis of Sunday’s horror show.  Call it weak, call it ignorant, whatever.  I call it doing you all a favor.  It was that bad.  Instead, here are a few quick observations:

  • The team looked flat from the start.  I had a bad feeling about the game all week, and

    I'm Confused, Too

    the first few drives confirmed that.  The team looked disinterested, confused and overall just out of sorts.  Pretty inexcusable given the circumstances.

  • The Jets can not win a high-scoring affair, especially when they are down big.  The Eagles turned us into a one-dimensional team – that put a lot of pressure on Sanchez, but more importantly, but a lot of pressure on the O-line, who were not up to the task.  As if we didn’t know it already, this team is all about the run.
  • Santonio Holmes is not a leader.  Which is too bad, given he’s the friggin’ CAPTAIN.  I can excuse the 2 turnovers he caused – players make mistakes, even great ones.  But his antics after his TD were just plain moronic.  The fact that they came at a time when the Jets were down big, and in a game where his mistakes led to 14 points, is just ridiculous.  The ignorance and idiocy of professional athletes is just astounding.

    That's our Captain!

  • Jim Leonard is the Jets’ MVP.  Okay – maybe not, but is it a coincidence that the opposing teams scored 45 points in the games after he was lost for the season this year and last?   Hmmmm….
  • Rex Ryan doesn’t know when to shut-up.  I love his bravado and I love his confidence.  But did he really have to proclaim that the Jets were “better” than the Giants, less than 24 hours after getting absolutely waxed by a sub .500 team?  Tone it down Rex.  Win on Saturday, and then talk.

In case you haven’t heard already, the game of the week will take place between the Giants and Jets on Saturday.  Half of New York’s Christmas Eve will be ruined.  The other half will most likely be celebrating a likely playoff berth.  I expect to be in the latter half.  I feel better about this game than the last.  The Giants are a good match-up for the Jets – they don’t have a stud TE to give us fits, they need the running game to set up the pass and Revis should be able to shut down Hicks or Cruz.  Eli generally struggles with blitzes as well so expect a lot of those.

The Giants D is solid, but not spectacular.  The corners are weak and their LBs are average.  We will run the ball a lot to neutralize their pass rush.  Sanchez should have time.

The New York papers are hyping this game like it’s the Super Bowl.  I kind of wish I was there.  I regrettably sold my tixx for the game a few weeks back.  At the time, I sold them for about $50 above face value.  Now, the average ticket is selling for $200 above face!

I told my Dad that I think we can win this one.  He called me the eternal optimist.  I didn’t disagree.  That’s just what you do when you love your team.  You believe.  I know deep down that this is not a great team, but I still believe they can make a run (if they make the playoffs, they would play Houston in the first round and their rookie QB – what a great match-up for the Jets).

So, it will either be a very celebratory Christmas Eve here in London, or one where the “Same Old Jets” bring some proverbial coal to my stocking.  On that note, I will leave you all with this Christmas greeting…please note the transition from the Flight Girls to Sione Pouha (Jets DT)…some editor really enjoyed that, as did I:

http://www.newyorkjets.com/holidaycard/index.html

Quick Week 15 Recap: Jets Get Embarrassed in Philly

Actually – what’s worse than embarrassed?  Humiliated?  Dominated?  Whatever the word, that was pathetic.  In fact, it’s so bad, that I’m writing this as the game is still going on.  I could either stay up and watch the rest of this destruction (it’s 11pm here), or save myself and actually get a good night’s sleep.  I’ll do the latter.

A full and depressing recap to come tomorrow.  Same Old Jets…

Week 14 Recap: Jets Dominate, Finally.

Final Score:
Jets: 37
Chiefs: 10

The Jets won their first “laugher” of the season. It was a dominating performance right from the start, and the result was never really in question.  The Jets outgained the Chiefs 253-4 in the first half and also score 28 pts (the most points in the first half in over 10 years).  There was even a Mark Brunell sighting! (if Sanchez ever gets hurt, we are screwed) It was that one-sided.

There were supposed to be a few games like this during the season, but we will take this one for now. It was strange to watch a stress-free game. This is what Patriots or Packers fans must feel like. I have to confess that I even missed a few plays in the 3rd and 4th quarter, but didn’t really care. My blood pressure is noticeably lower. Thanks Jets!

Offense:

  • Sanchez: This was his best game of the season by far – 2 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs (the first QB in Jets history to do that).  No INTs (he did have a late fumble – he shouldn’t have even been in the game at the point) and for the most part, solid throws that weren’t contested.  He was sacked a few times, but overall a very solid performance.  And apparently he wasn’t booed during the line-up announcements as he was 2 weeks ago, but received modest applause.  Way to keep it classy Jets fans.
  • Greene: He ran hard from the start and had one of his best games of the season.  He ran nearly 40 yards on the opening play and dominated from there.  His

    This was not a TD, but looked good

    performance the last 2 weeks have been very encouraging and are the reason why the Jets are back in the playoff hunt.  LT also had a good game with a TD. They will need more of this down the stretch to continue winning.

  • Receivers: Overall a quiet game besides Santonio’s nice TD catch in the 1st half.  Sanchez really spread the ball around and didn’t take too many chances downfield.

    No, that's not me! That's Dustin Keller, silly!

Defense:

  • Revis: It always starts with him and he had another Revis-like performance.  He let up a few catches here and there, but was never really tested.
  • D-line: They were in Palko’s face all game long and he had a miserable day as a

    This sums up the defensive performance

    result.  The line shut down the run game again and just dominated the line of scrimmage.  The opponent was clearly inferior, but this was an encouraging performance.

  • Jim Leonard: Word on the street is that Leonard may have suffered yet another season-ending leg injury, just as he did nearly a year ago.  This would be a huge loss.  Not only is he one of the most steady and solid players on the defense, but he is the “QB” of the defense, calling most of the signals, and had taken over full-time punt return duties.  The Jets secondary will be really tested without him moving forward.  Tough break (especially since he’s a free agent after this season).

Special Teams

  • No Turnovers!: That’s really the story here…the first no turnover game in quite some time.  Kerley resumed punt return duties and showed why he originally won the job – he had a phenomenal punt return that he almost broke for a TD.  Kick Returner Joe McKnight sat this one out and it showed.

Coaching

  • The game started out with a timeout.  Before one play was even run, they had to call a timeout on offense.  How does that happen?  They then went on to use another  timeout early in the 2nd quarter.  It didn’t hurt them, but they have to fix the communication.  That is just ridiculous and this will come back to haunt them eventually.  But other than that, it was a very well planned and coached game (I thought they kept the starters in for a bit too long, but oh well).  The offense has been noticeably more efficient since offensive consultant Tom Moore (former O-coordinator for the Colts) took a full-time role with the team 2 weeks ago…let the Schotty rumors continue for another week.

Rex Ryan Weight Watch: 280 lbs?  Rex seems to be steadying these days.  The victories have been good to him but he’s been careful not to indulge too much.

Putting his weight into it...

Another “must-win” combined with losses by Cincy and Tennessee has put the Jets into prime playoff position.  They still have to get some help from either Oakland (who are getting smacked by GB as of this writing) or Denver, but as we’ve said, if the Jets win out, they should make the playoffs.  They face a huge test next week in Michael Vick and the Eagles.  The Eagles, who have to be the most disappointing team in the NFL (or all of sports, for that matter) in this year, will have nothing to lose and are dangerous.  Vick and McCoy could give the Jets fits, especially at home.  A win next week would be a huge boost to the Jets’ confidence and playoff hopes.

But another win keeps us interested and in the game.  These Jets don’t make it easy (with the exception of this week)…but they do make it fun.

Week 13 Recap: Jets Win Battle of the Rex(es) at FedEx

Final Score:
Jets: 34
Redskins: 19

Another non confidence-inspiring win for the Gang Green.  But as Bill Parcells once said, “you are what your record says you are.”  And right now, the Jets are 7-5 and still in the playoff hunt.  They might be the worst 7-5 team in the NFL, but they don’t hand out awards for style or domination.  And give the Jets credit – the Defense hung in after another costly special teams turnover and some lacklustre play by the offense for the first 55 minutes.  Sanchez and the offense finally woke up with about 5 minutes to go and then the romp was on. To the summary:

Offense:

  • Sanchez – A solid, if not unspectacular game for the Sanchise.  He didn’t throw an interception (although DeAngelo Hall dropped an easy one), and he is still missing some wide-open receivers on easy throws, but give the guy some credit – he came through in the clutch.  The 3rd down shovel pass to Greene in the 4th quarter was money, and the TD pass to Holmes was beautiful.  That’s two 4th quarter comebacks in a row for the Sanchise.
  • Holmes – The guy just wins games for them.  2nd game-winning TD in a row for him. He’s worth every penny they pay him – I just wish they gave him the ball some more.
  • Greene – A solid, bruising game from the big RB.  And he’s rewarded with 3 TDs.  Remember how much criticism he was getting early in the year?  Not so much anymore.
  • O-Line – Another sack-free game for the offensive line, and this time against one of the top pass-rushing teams in the NFL.  Huge game for them.

Defense:

  • Revis – He’s baaaacckkk.  Another shut-down game for the best CB in the NFL.  I don’t think they even mentioned his name until the 4th quarter.  That was just a one-game blip last week.
  • Harris – Perhaps the most under-rated Linebacker in the NFL – that man is a beast.  Next to Revis, he’s the one guy they can’t lose on defense.
  • Maybin, etc. – It’s hard to believe that Aaron Maybin was labelled as one of the biggest busts in recent history, just 3 months ago.  The man has changed the Jets defense – his sack today locked down the game for them and he now has 6 on the year, more than any other Jet.  What a find.  And a great game for Bart Scott (he’s not washed up yet), Jim Leonard (solid), the entire D-Line and Kyle Wilson (should be starting).

    The Game-Changer

Special Teams:

  • This might be the most puzzling aspect of the Jets’ season – Kerley’s fumble of a punt today was their 6th special teams turnover of the year.  This is a unit that has been the strength of the team in recent years.  Perhaps most ironic – Joe McKnight is the leading vote-getter in the All-Pro balloting for kick returners.   Nick Folk missed another critical FG.   And Cromartie’s decision to run back the on-side kick is just the latest chapter in his book of stupid plays.  I read somewhere last week that he may have the lowest football “IQ” in the entire league (Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Ray Lewis & Ed Reed among the highest).  He may also have the lowest IQ, period.

Coaching:

  • Offense: I know I sound like a broken record, but the play calling still baffles me.  Multiple times they ripped off 9 yard runs on first down, only to follow-up with 2 consecutive incomplete passes.  Why?  Why not run again?  And where was the play-action today?  The Wildcat offense returned today, and yes, they scored at TD off of it at the end, but why did we run it 7 times?   There is just no consistency or pattern to the play-calling.  And can we please, please stop it with the early timeouts (1st and 3rd quarter) and 12 men in the huddle.  That’s just poor discipline.
  • Defense: After an awful opening drive, the D really tightened up and played a very good game.  Now, this is not an opponent to really benchmark (Rex Grossman is awful), but it was still a solid game.  They still need to fix the miscommunication and blown coverages (too many big plays), but a confidence-inspiring performance for the defense.

Rex Ryan Weight Watch: You can tell these wins are really taking their toll on big Rex.  He has to be down to at least 275.

Someone Buy This Man a Sandwich

This was a bittersweet victory for my house.  My wife and her family hail from the D.C. area, and they are all life-long ‘Skins fans (my wife is a Jets convert, of course).  To their credit, they’ve always cheered for the Jets in the playoffs the past 2 years, but their loyalties today were clear – the burgundy and gold.  So while we are pumped for the big win, I feel for them.  As tortured a history as the Jets have had, it has been a very unkind 10+ years since Dan Snyder bought the ‘Skins.  But as Sanchez has proven, a rookie QB combined with a good running game and a solid D can lead to success.  Here’s hoping they turn it around next year.

Finally, it must be said that watching the Jets is a stressful experience these days.  I must have said “they stink” or “Sanchez sucks” or “well, the season is over” at least 5 or 6 times.  My wife thinks it’s hilarious.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a dominating, 3-4 TD lead/win one of these days?  Get Brunell a few snaps, put in the back-ups on D.  Not going to happen.  These Jets are destined to give me high blood pressure.

But here we are at 7-5, and in a tie for the last playoff spot (although the tiebreakers are not in our favor).  Next up, a home game with the Chiefs – another very winnable game.  But I’ve said that before, and seen it blow up in my face.  But another week to watch, and another week to believe…

Another Week...