Are the Jets at a Cross Roads of the Rex Ryan Era?
By Alan Schechter
Oct. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is congratulated by backup Tim Tebow (15) after a Sanchez threw a touchdown pass in the first half against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
It is always interesting to be a Jets fan, is it not? No matter how a Jets season unfolds, it always seems to unfold with a story line, and no season is a better example than the current one. Have you ever seen a fan base seem more defeated over a 2-3 football team, that is one game behind in their division? I know that I haven’t.
Everyone has the right to be concerned, don’t get me wrong. The offense, although a little bit better last week, has been putrid. The offense cannot get out of its own way. No matter how much weight you put on Mark Sanchez, the poor play of the offensive line, the wide receivers inability to get open, or the ransid running attack, the fact is that the offense has been awful. The defense was improved at times last week, but still has been terrible against the run. They can’t get to the quarterback, and have a group of linebackers that might lose a race to ALF.
And there is the issue of the quarterback. Even the biggest of Mark Sanchez’s fans, myself included, cannot deny that as times, Mark’s play has regressed. We talked about it this week, for every great throw he makes, he seems to make one that scratches the heads of an entire fanbase. There is a growing group amongst us that is ready for Mark Sanchez to put his first round draft choice rear end on the bench permanently, and open the door for Tim Tebow to take over. There are rumors that owner Woody Johnson will push for Tebow to start. I have opinions about that, but that is for another day. Nobody, at least publically, seems to be ready to commit to Mark Sanchez beyond this week, which is a significant difference than previous times, where Mark has been addressed as just the starter.
One thing is certain regarding Sunday, it is a cross roads for the Rex Ryan era.
It is certainly a major spot in the 2012 season, as much as a week 6 game can be. 2-3 is a record that can send a season rocketing in one direction or the other. 3-3 can get the momentum for a season going in the right direction. They will be right in the thick of the division race, and feeling good going forward into a softer section of their schedule. Mark Sanchez can silence a lot of doubters with a win, and the return of Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller.
2-4 is a mark that is typically tough to get back from. If the Jets leave a homestand 0-3, heading off on the road could be none too kind to a struggling offensive football team, and the season could head straight for the bowl.
Oct 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws a pass against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
The result of this football game could mark the end of the Mark Sanchez era as well.
As well all know, the Jets fanbase, including I am sure a lot of people reading this post, are not happy that Mark Sanchez is still the starting QB of this football team. They are tired of his inconsistent play, and frankly, can’t look at the guy in the Jets huddle anymore. You all know where I stand, that isn’t the point of this.
2-4 is a hole, but it is a hole that can be saved. If it were to get to 2-5 or 2-6, that is a different story. It’s highly unlikely that any team is going to make a comeback from a 2-5 record or a 2-6 record to a playoff spot. A 2-4 record can be saved. If a change is going to be made at quarterback, my suspicion is that the change will come if the Jets lose on Sunday.
The Jets cannot go back to Mark Sanchez if they make the move to Tim Tebow, for a few reasons. The first is that you will have destroyed Mark Sanchez’s confidence. You can tell from the way he talks, he is not a brash guy that will be able to recover from a benching. The offense will also be taking on a different identity with Tebow as the quarterback, and that identity will be so different that Mark will not fit in the lineup any longer. If the move is made, the changing of the guard will be in place, with no going back.
Keep in mind, Denver was 1-4 when they made the move to Tebow, strikingly similar to the Jets 2-4 record they would have if they lose to the Colts.
This becomes the ultimate test of the Rex Ryan’s coaching ability. Does coach Ryan have the ability to get this current quarterback to play above his ability? Does he have the correct pulse of his team, to know the right time to move to Tebow? Can he turn this team around? He has lost his major stars on both sides of the football, it is on the head coach to get this team to over perform.
It starts Sunday. The Jets performance, and Rex’s coaching decisions will determine the course of the 2012 season. And they will be a defining moment of the Rex Ryan era.