The J-E-T Press Looks Back and Ahead: Rountable Discussion Part II
By Alan Schechter
Oct. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff reacts on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Friday afternoon, we began our roundtable discussion about the season to date and looking ahead, with Debbie Schechter and Sydney (check it out by clicking here). Now, moving along with Part II, we continue to look back at the half season gone by, and look ahead to the remainder of the 2012 season. Let’s get the ball rolling:
The Jets currently sit at 3-5 and last place in the AFC East. If anyone we’re to tell this to a Jets fan prior to the start of the season, no fan would approve. Expectations were high going into week 1. However, with Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes both going down, the Jets are going to have to pull something out of a hat in order to win the AFC East. Yeah, 4 of the 5 loses are against respectable defenses (PIT,SF,HOU,MIA) but the Jets are going to have to do much more if they’re going to surpass New England in the division. The offense has been disappointing for the most part. It was somewhat expected, after the poor offensive performances during the preseason. But still, there’s no excuse. As for the special teams… well… let’s just say this could be the worst season that Mike Westhoff has coached yet. The defense has been decent, but that’s unacceptable with a defensive guru like Rex Ryan. Jets fans deserve a top 10 defense… if not top 5. I have great respect for Rex as a defensive coordinator, but he’s got to do a better job with the defense… not to mention as a head coach.
Looking forward to the second half of the season, the Jets will come off the bye with a road game in Seattle. It’s a tough place to play, but the Jets cannot afford to drop to 3-6. If that’s the case, I can see Tebow entering the picture… whether that be good or bad. The Jets actually have a favorable schedule. But in this league, no win is a “gimme”. Every win must be earned. With that being said, I see the Jets putting up a good fight in the AFC. I think they will make the playoffs as a wildcard 5th or 6th seed. I believe they’ll finish 8-8. If the Jets fail to make the playoffs, in part to a tiebreaker in the AFC, I see big changes coming. The end of the 2012 NFL season will paint the picture for the future of the New York Jets, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, and lastly…. Mark Sanchez. Each individual controls their own destiny, in my mind. It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Oct 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) calls out a play against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Dolphins won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
SEAN L DURHAM
One word to sum up the Jets first 1/2 of the season; “UGH”…. A bunch of great plays from both sides of the ball with a vast array of utterly disgusting football Sandwhich somewhere in the middle. The Jets rank in the bottom half of pretty much every offensive category there is a category for in the NFL. Their defense, though faring better statistically than the offense, it’s not by much I assure you. The Jets are 3-5 and are somehow in a race with the Bills for the right to ultimately scrape gum off the bottom of the shoes of the remaining members of the AFC EAST.
And yet…..they’re still alive and in the “hunt”, and by “in the hunt”, I mean they’re wounded but not fatally but they’re leaving a blood soaked path that their next 3 opponents can use to track them and finish them off before Christmas. The enigma that is Mark Sanchez is slowly but surely losing the entire fan base and what little support he had coming into the season. But, he can certainly thank GM Mike Tannenbaum and his reluctance to put a viable backup behind him last offseason as the reason he is yet to be benched, which means Sanchez is still this team’s best chance at a 2nd half run. Starting Tebow would be a fan appeasement move wrapped primarily around Woody Johnson’s fear of losing money and fans. Tim Tebow doesn’t give this Jets team a better chance at anything but becoming more of a joke than they already are and his replacing Sanchez would be a move just for the sake of making a move. The only hope for the Jets in the 2nd half of the season is for Sanchez to remember that his head doesn’t belong in his rear end, and instead, he steps up and leads this team. Impossible? Nope….improbable? Probably!
Oct 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) runs with the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Dolphins won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
And finally, yours truly:
By far, the biggest positive of the first half of the Jets season has been the emergence of Jeremy Kerley. He showed flashes as a rookie, but didn’t seem much more than a good 3rd receiver. This year, following the injury to Santonio Holmes, Jeremy has stepped up his game, and become a go-to threat. He is on pace to record just under 1,000 yards receiving, and a more than viable option on both the inside and the outside. Mark Sanchez is really pulling the talent out of Jeremy Kerley, and it is an exciting relationship to watch develop. The problem with the first half of the season for the Jets has been one word: inconsistency. They have not been able to put a consistent stretch of football together, in any of the three phases of the game. The offense has had its highs, such as the Buffalo game and the Colts game. They have also had their deep lows as well, such as the 49ers game and the second Dolphins game. They have looked like world-beaters, and they have looked like Pee-wee leaguers. Same thing for the defense, and the special teams. Mike Tannenbaum has been no help to this offense, arming Mark Sanchez with weapons behind Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller that wouldn’t make a lot of practice squads. That’s for a different discussion however. The fact is the team has been mired in inconsistency.
Looking ahead to the second half, the Jets have a favorable schedule. However, the Jets, with a 3-5 record, have little to no margin for error. They will have to go no less than 6-2 in the final 8 games to have any shot at the playoffs. 8-8 will not cut it. The Jets must go 9-7 at worst, in order to have a shot at the Wild Card. Can they do it? Sure, but it is going to take a lot of work. Mark Sanchez has to be the good Mark Sanchez for the rest of the season. The lapses in decision making have to stop. Tim Tebow is not the answer for this team to make a run, the answer is for Mark Sanchez to play up to his capabilities. They must win the battles upfront week to week as well, and be able to run the football. Even the good Mark Sanchez cannot win the game with his arm, he needs a good running game. On defense, they have to stop the run the way a Rex Ryan defense should. They have to set the edges, stay true to their assignments, and hold teams down the way they have in the past.
Consistency will give the Jets a chance to make the playoff and salvage the 2012 season. Continued lack of passion and consistency will give the Jets the opportunity to have 2012 fall apart, worse than 2011 ever did.