Jets vs. Dolphins: Earning Their Wings
Where oh where do I begin? Today’s game was just not complete (at least not in a positive way) at any point in the 4 quarters. Special teams and D gave the Dolphins 17 points before the offense even had a chance to get real dirt in their cleats. At just under 6 minutes left to go in the game, Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff sat on the bench with his head bowed and his hands in front of a stadium that went from crowded to desolate since the first snap, and his body language and general aura mirrored that of everyone watching either in person or at home. This was just not a good game. The entire team fell flat on a day that the proverbial tank was going to be emptied — however, when Head Coach Rex Ryan made this statement earlier in the week, we fans were led to believe that said tank would be emptied during the game and not before it. Choosing three guys to Earn Their Wings today is a tough row to hoe for me, especially as this is my first go at this feature. But, with that said, I’m going to give it a whirl.
Clyde Gates – I can’t believe I’m even writing this but he has gone beyond serviceable to actually making legit plays. In a game where it seemed practically unheard of to get any kind of positive yardage, Clyde had some nice catches from passes when Mark Sanchez was actually allowed to remain upright at the quarterback position and get a good throw into the air. Add to that his productivity on special teams when he was running kick returns — One could have and should have been a TD had he not taken a hit from his own man from behind — and he played a fairly solid game. It was certainly better than we’d seen to date, especially coming off of a hand injury. Please note, this almost turned into a “One wing” award because of the celebration on that 1st down pass when down 24. But I’ll pretend that it was an attempt to motivate. This time.
Chaz Schilens – Congratulations, Chaz, you got your first touchdown in a Jets uniform! On the whole Chaz put together a good game. My biggest impression came from how he extended to catch the pass when he was already on the ground. Did it work and turn into positive yardage? No. But the effort was there and that could be said about his play throughout the game. It almost made up for the abysmal effort last week. Almost. I also happen to like Chaz as a player and have been pro-Schilens since the signing. I think he will turn into a positive piece of the offense if he remains healthy. I also happen to like how he handles the media — He makes for good quotes and genuinely seems like a team guy who isn’t afraid to rattle a cage with what he may say.
Isiah Trufant – I am not the biggest fan of Trufant that there is. I tend to think he’s incredibly over-matched when the coaches attempt to put him against certain players due to his size. However, last week and this week have changed my perspective. He’s got some good ability and to be honest, on a day where not much is going right for the defense of special teams, it highlights the few plays he makes because they were positives in a sea of negatives. So these wings are earned not just for the way he handled his assignments today, but for the general improvement I feel he’s shown in the last two weeks. Is he there yet? No. But honestly, who is? He’s progressing and right now that’s gotta be good enough for us. We need some lights at the end of certain tunnels, and he has been one.
Honoring a man who gave his all to the team: Dennis Byrd, #90 Forever.
Dennis Byrd – This is an Honorary and incredibly important set of wings. It would have been nice to see the team give this man a win on his day. A moving ceremony both before the game and at halftime shouldn’t be swallowed up by the horrible play and outcome of today’s game, but it will be. This man stood strong and proud despite what that scoreboard said between the halves, and maybe the collective fanbase could and should take a page from his book and learn a lesson. There’s more to life than what can happen on Any Given Sunday.
In closing, let’s hope that the team can come in fresh off the Bye and use the next two weeks to right some of these wrongs and play like the team we all think they can be.
✈ SydneyFind me on Twitter at @SydneyKira1; email: email@example.com