Reasons for Jets Fans to Stay Optimistic
By Alan Schechter
Sept 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A New York Jets fan cheers during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
We certainly have had a lot to be concerned about, Jets fans. Between major injuries, and poor play, we have had a lot of reason to feel dejected. For a team that is 2-2 and leading its division, things seem pretty bleak. It feels like it all is going to come down around us in the next few weeks.
But, it is not over. There are some reasons to stay optimistic. Maybe it’s a skewed outlook, but here are some reasons, I believe, to keep our spirits up:
FOR ALL ITS STRUGGLES, THE DEFENSE IS KEEPING THEM IN GAMES
The defense has underperformed and then some, don’t get me wrong. When a Rex Ryan defense is ranked 31st against the run, something is wrong. There are no two ways about it. They have looked slow, and old, as young speed running backs run past them like they are stuck in quick sand. This defense has to get better, fast!
But that being said, for the most part, the defense has been “bend but not break”. Think about the two losses, neither of them were blowouts until it was late in the game. The Pittsburgh game was 13-10 at the half. The defense was keeping the team in the game, only letting it get out of hand after getting tired thanks to no rest. Even the debacle last week was still within reach at halftime. It was, although it’s hard to keep in our minds that the game was EVER in reach. The game was 10-0 at halftime. Until the defense ran out of gas, thanks to a poor showing from the offense, the defense was keeping the team in games. It wasn’t GREAT, but it was doing its job.
Imagine how that will start to work out if the defense figures out how to tackle, think about it.
Sept 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Jets free safety LaRon Landry (30) looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
LARON LANDRY IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE OVER THE MIDDLE
We have seen LaRon’s stupid penalties, I am not discounting those. But take a look at these stats: 2 catches for 28 yards, 5 catches for 47 yards, 3 catches for 19 yards, and 4 catches for 38 yards. You know what those are? Those are the receiving totals for the starting tight ends of the Jets’ opponents so far in 2012.
A fact that has slipped through the cracks thus far, due to the other obviously growing issues, is the fact that the Jets have vastly improved the play against the tight end. Landry is making his presence felt over the middle, and other teams are taking notice. Without even taking the visual, LaRon’s hitting ability, into account, you can tell that other teams are taking notice. Look at the numbers, tight ends are not putting up the same numbers as they have in the past. The Patriots have to notice this. When it comes time to play our rivals from New England, as well as other top tight ends in the league, there will be a difference. Watch.
Sept 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
JEREMY KERLEY IS AN EMERGING OFFENSIVE THREAT
Despite the poor play of the wide receivers to date, a bright spot has been Jeremy Kerley. Whether it has been in the return game, or on the field as a wide receiver, Kerley is emerging as a threat to score when he has the football in his hands. On a team that is losing its playmakers by the minute, Kerley is coming forward as a playmaker.
So far this season, Jeremy has recorded 10 catches for 197 yards and 2 TDs. If you project that over 16 games, here is what you get:
40 RECEPTIONS, 788 YARDS AND 8 TDS
This might not be the numbers of a number one receiver, but they are certainly the numbers of a guy that is emerging as a trustworthy threat for Mark Sanchez. These days, Mark can use guys like that anywhere he can get them.
CHAZ SCHILENS IS IMPROVING WITH INCREASED REPS
One guy that looked improved in the last game, if we can call it a game, was Chaz Schilens. He has gotten more playing time with the injuries to Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, and is looking more like the guy Sanjay Lal was envisioning when the Jets brought him in.
He put up modest numbers last week, 3 catches for 45 yards. The numbers are nothing to write home about, but nobody’s on the offense were. If you look at the tape, you can see that this guy is an asset. He is a physical specimen at 6’4″ 225 pounds. Seeing him in person, you can tell just that. Watching the tape from last week, he is an excellent route runner. He runs crisp routes and has good hands. He too will emerge as the Jets move forward.
Sept 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Jets punter Robert Malone (3) runs prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
ROBERT MALONE IS A WEAPON
I understand that some might find it a reach to site a punter as a reason to stay optimistic, but Robert Malone is. Anyone who has watched him punt so far, knows that he is an upgrade at the punter position, and a real weapon in the field position game. He gets wonderful hang time on his punts, and is terrific and pinning teams inside the twenty. Teams don’t get good returns on this guy.
The offense is not going to be that 48 point team. Even when playing well, we know that was a fluke. When the running game gets going, and they can work play action off of it, if the Jets score 20-25 points in a game, we will be happy. They will be running the ball, playing drag em out, smash mouth football. Being able to pin opponents deep is a major advantage when you play in this style. Robert Malone will pay off big.
Keep the faith, Jets fans. I know it’s hard, but you can do it. We have hope. Hang in there.