Coming off of the game against the Patriots, we have all been reeling. The team, and especially the fanbase, seem to be coming apart. Everyone has a theory on how to fix this team in the long term. We have all been debating the fates of Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum, Mark Sanchez, and anybody else we can think of. Jets fans each have a theory as to how to make this team competitive again come 2013. Whether it is personnel, or scheme, we can all agree that changes have to come.
But what about the short term? In case anybody forgot, we still have five games left to play. Do the Jets throw in the towel, or show us a bit of pride? We will find out soon enough on that, but I have a solution that will make the Jets be competitive through the final 5. It’s an obvious one, but it seems like the Jets have trouble with this one at times. What is it?
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
It seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you turn the ball over less, you will win more often than not. The stats bare it out. In the four games that the Jets have won, they are +11 in the turnover ratio. But, being that the Jets are 4-7, they have had trouble with this concept. The stats bare out as well, as they are -14 in the turnover ratio when they have lost. It’s actually a VERY simple concept. Make less mistakes than the other team, and you will likely win. Even this Jets team, barren of talent in a lot of areas, has proved this.
Why is this so important? For a couple of reasons. One is the talent level in the NFL. You cannot afford to make constant mistakes against NFL teams. If you constatnly give short fields to NFL teams, they are going to beat you. These teams are just far too good to lose the turnover battle consistently, and still win football games. Conversely, if you never force mistakes on your opponent, you make it difficult to take big leads consistently. If you never get a short field, you won’t score as often as you need to to win.
Secondly, the affect of turnovers is demmoralizing. We have seen it with our own team. How many times have we seen Mark Sanchez come off the field with his head hanging low after throwing an interception? Far too often, that is the answer. He gets so beaten down from it that he has a tough time coming back from it. Same with fumbles. They take away your confidence. If you are constantly giving it up more than you take it away, what chance do you have to be a confident offense? On the other hand, when your defense is consistently forcing mistakes from its opponents, it breaks their will. You can make an offense crumble when you take the ball away. You get short fields, you get ahead, and the other team feels that pressure. It is so important.
To be competitive the rest of the way, the Jets need to win the turnover battle. Stay aggresive on defense, pressure causes mistakes. The offense must focus and concentrate, and play mistake free. If they do, they will be competitive. If they don’t, well, we have seen what happens.