Jets Mid-Term Grades
By Alan Schechter
Oct 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Halfway through the season we are, and the mid-term grades are in. Be ready, because they aren’t very good. Let me put it this way, I don’t think you will want many of these grades on your transcripts. In any event, here they are:
QUARTERBACK:C-I know that some of you will think I am being too kind with a C-, but that is where I stay. The reason, is that Mark Sanchez has had his moments. The Buffalo game went well, as did moments of the first Dolphins game, and the Colts game. However, those moments have been few and far between, and overall, he has shown a regression in his development. It is not all his fault, but a big portion of it is.
RUNNING BACKS:DThe running game has been awful. Shonn Greene has shown some signs, with a 3.66 yards per carry average, but if you take out his 161 yard output against the Colts, the number is quite a bit lower. Bilal Powell has shown a little, as has McKnight. Lex Hilliard has shown a couple of glimpses in the carries he has gotten, but he is more of a fullback. The running game has not been good, and that is about all there is to say.
WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS:C+This group as well has not been great, but they are also a very young and inexperienced group. The grade comes up to a C+ because at times, they have performed better than you would expect. Jeremy Kerley is an emerging star, leading the team in receiving with 478 yards. Stephen Hill has shown flashes with his 3 TD receptions, but has also had his share of drops. This is not unexpected from a rookie, but it has still happened. Same for the whole group at times, and they haven’t had Santonio to lean on. Dustin Keller has been good when healthy, the other tight ends have been spotty.
OFFENSIVE LINE:D+I cannot justify a higher grade for the offensive line than a D+ for one reason, the running game. Yes, they have done a decent job giving Mark Sanchez a pocket to throw from, at times. Mark has faced his share of duress as well. But, the Jets are supposed to be a Ground and Pound team. When you are intent on playing that style, the offensive line has to open up holes, and the Jets line has not done that anywhere near consistently enough.
Turn the page for the defense and special teams.
Aug 15, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine talks with the defensive unit during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
DEFENSIVE LINE:D+I can’t give a higher grade than a D+ because of how bad the defense has been against the run. The hallmark of the Jets defense has been to give up nothing against the run, but this year, the defense has been near the bottom of the league in that category. They are giving up 4.4 yards per carry against the run, which is absolutely unacceptable. There has been no pass rush, for the most part, although there have been flashes. Quinton Coples is improving every day with the reps that he gets, and has recorded 2 sacks on the year. Not what we have expected, but he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time in the early going. Signs, but just not good enough.
LINEBACKERS:D-Old and slow has been the order of the year so far with this group. Bart Scott knows where to go, but is too slow to get there anymore. Even the always consistent David Harris has shown signs of age in 2012. Aaron Maybin, was supposed to bring the heat off the edge, and he doesn’t even get to see the field anymore. Demario Davis has played well of late, but it has not been enough to raise this grade at all. The linebackers have been old and slow, and it is almost sad to watch the decline of some of these players. Do we ever hear Calvin Pace’s name called? He had a sack last week, but that is it as far as I can remember.
DEFENSIVE BACKS:BThis by far is going to be the best grade on the team. With, and without Darrelle Revis, this group has perservered as well as it possibly can. Antonio Cromartie has stepped up his game ten-fold, and although he is reckless at times, has been the shutdown corner that the Jets have needed in the post-Revis days of 2012. The new safeties, Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry, have been a vast upgrade over the past as well. Kyle Wilson has had his moments when we have wished him off the team, but he is getting there. At least isn’t giving consistent 30 yard cushions on third and short. Hey, it’s a start.
SPECIAL TEAMS:C+If I was told that the special teams, under the direction of Mike Westhoff, would earn a C+ through half a season, I would have said that was crazy. However, that is exactly what the group deserves. Don’t get me wrong, Nick Folk has been terrific. I confess to being one of many that didn’t want him on the team anymore, but he has been consistently on the money. Kudos to him for stepping up his game. Robert Malone has been a heck of a find as well. He has made me forget, at times, about Steve Weatherford. The play lately has been horrific, and that might be putting it mildly. Giving up blocked punts, returns for TDs, that is just not what a Mike Westhoff group does. Some have wondered if he has mentally retired already, but either way, not good.
Not good all around. Thanks for reading.