Jets vs. Titans: 5 Quick Hits
By Bob Montgomery
Dec 9, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates sacking Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (not pictured) in the third quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
The 2012 season has lost all meaning for the New York Jets. Eliminated for the second time in a row, the Jets looked miserable from the start. This season was a huge disappointment, and it starts with Tony Sparano, Mark Sanchez and the rest of the offensive unit. Sanchez has looked horrible all season, consistently missing receivers high, yet still maintaining his starting job after a rookie took over and saved their season. Tony Sparano didn’t do much to help the situation, leaving many fans wishing for the days when Brian Schottenheimer called the plays. The Tebow situation has been a disaster, dooming Sanchez from the start and creating a circus atmosphere full of anonymous quotes and locker room turmoil. Matt Cavanaugh failed to develop Mark Sanchez, and when the talent around him eroded throughout his career, his lack of development is glaring. This isn’t a season recap though so I’ll keep it short, the playoffs are now impossible, the team has underperformed and for the first time in his Jets tenure Rex Ryan may be sitting on the hot seat.
Muhammad Wilkerson has become a beast on the defensive line. I feel like this is a point on an almost weekly basis but Wilkerson’s play has earned the praise. With a motor that never seems to quit the second year defensive lineman can play the run inside, while also having the burst to put pressure on the quarterback. Wilkerson has developed into a strong athletic defender, who has developed some moves to go along with his natural football talent. With Quinton Coples have a promising rookie year and Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha consistently playing well the Jets defensive line looks like a solid squad for years to come.
It would be a shame if Antonio Cromartie doesn’t make the pro-bowl. Quietly having a very Revis like year Antonio Cromartie has been every bit the lockdown corner he showed flashes of becoming earlier in his career. Cromartie has stepped up both on and off the field, committing himself to studying film and breaking down opposing quarterbacks. The tactic has paid off as Cromartie has shut down apposing receivers and has failed to allow an opponent to gain a hundred yards yet this season. With the injury to Derrelle Revis the play of Cromartie was hugely important to defensive success, he delivered and it’s disappointing the distractions on offense out shadowed a career year for the Jets corner.
The running game has looked improved as of late. I’m not sure if it is a product of their opponents, offensive line play, or hardnosed running but the Jets have been able to move the ball on the ground with more effectiveness in the last half of the season. While it’s not much of a consolation the running game has helped to provide hope with the running back position. Shonne Greene has been running harder than seen early in his career while Bilal Powell has been a solid pass protector and consistent contributor with his allotted carries. Joe McKnight has battled injuries all year long but has showed toughness and the breakaway ability Jets fans have been hoping to see for the last three years. The backfield may prove just fine, especially if there is an effective quarterback under center.
Mark Sanchez is not the answer. Over the past two seasons Mark Sanchez has shown nothing to warrant his continued quarterback play for the New York Jets. His confidence is gone and he has continued to make mistakes many polished rookies won’t commit. With a lack of receiving talent Sanchez has looked even worse as he has been careless with the football, often being picked off by double and triple coverage. Rex Ryan was non committal about his starting quarterback next week and I won’t be surprised if it’s someone other than Mark Sanchez. Hopefully the Jets can get what they can for their quarterback and build for the future for what will like be a rebuilding period for the Jets offense.