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
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.
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…