The day can’t come soon enough for the New York Jets. What began as a dream is slowly turning into a classic Jets nightmare. For Rex Ryan, the goal was to turn around the franchise, beginning with the Defense, and have the team become respected and feared throughout the league. For Rookie Mark Sanchez, the goal was to remain upright, not make classic rookie mistakes, and get through the season with a sense of accomplishment and security. After week three, things looked pretty good, yes? 3-0 was nice, yes?
What happened? Where did it all go wrong? When was the Hope replaced by the Hype?
With the upcoming game against the Raiders, Gang Green faces the once improbable realization that this team is not ready to compete for the AFC East Division title. 3-0 has become 3-3, and if not careful, 3-4. Make no mistake, the Raiders are in a far worse state than the Jets (and probably will remain there for another 20 years), but in the NFL… anything can happen. (See: Raiders defeat Eagles).
So you ask; how can we turn around this season? How can we right this ship and begin looking at the schedule with optimism as opposed to gloom? Three words: Run. The. Ball. Please… Run the ball. We saw the hope last week mixed into that dreadful performance from the team. The hope is still there. Make no mistake, the Jets season will largely be determined from its offensive line, and its running backs ability to create and break through the hole. The opportunity begins Sunday. The opportunity is now. While Sanchez has shown flashes of why the Jets drafted him fifth overall, one needs to remember that he is a Rookie. His goal should be to keep the Jets in the game, not win the game. While his connection with the newly acquired Braylon Edwards against Miami was perhaps a window of things to come, the Jets, and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, need to refocus the offense, hand the ball off, and remember that Sanchez is a Rookie who should be learning screen passes and dump-offs to Dustin Keller, rather than throwing bombs on second down.
The Raiders are ranked 28th in the NFL against the Run. Ryan and the Jets have been talking all week about helping Sanchez, and getting the running game going. Should we believe it? Is this a classic coach’s ploy that will turn into a passing party on Sunday for Sanchez in his return to California, where we can safely assume friends and family will be in attendance? Please…. Run. The. Ball.