Thoughts on the New York Jets, the NFL and College Football
Sep 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) with the ball against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
I have patiently waited for 10 days to get the bad taste out of my mouth from New England’s victory over the Jets. This weekend has come and gone, and these are some observations from around the NFL and college football as well.
This season no division has as many wins as the AFC East. The AFC East is the only conference with two undefeated teams in New England and Miami, and one 2-1 team in the Jets. Can we now say that the AFC East is the toughest division in football? The standings would suggest so.
The Jets offense, despite the constant penalties and misfires, is showing signs of Marty Mornhinweg’s prowess as a coordinator. Bilal Powell is being used with draw plays and traps and his yards per carry are up to 4.3. In the last three games his YPC have gone from 2.4 to 3.7 to 5.5 which is great news. Stephen Hill has 13 catches on 23 targets this year, and is also on pace for a record year. This is news because last season he caught less than 40% of the passes that came his way. The Jets have also outgained opponents through the air 801 to 638 yards. This is news considering how weak most consider the receiving corps and quarterback situation to be at the beginning of the season.
Can this finally be the Dallas Cowboys year to do something in the NFC, after the decade of being the all hype team? Kansas City is this season’s worst to first team. They are 3-0, but can they keep the heat of Denver off them all season? The Chiefs are a playoff division winner or wild card for the next two or three years from the looks of things.
If you currently look for the league leader in turnovers it is Eli Manning by a nose over Geno Smith. Manning has 8 INT’s. Smith has 6 INT’s and one fumble.
On the college front, the team that looks most like the NY Jets to me is the Michigan Wolverines who have narrowly beaten everyone. Talk about playing to your level of competition. The Wolverines needed two scores in the 4th quarter to beat UConn by 3, 24-1.
Rutgers is showing it can win without Greg Schiano at head coach. They beat a previously unbeaten Arkansas Saturday with two touchdowns in the 4th quarter to win 28-24 and improve to 3-1. Speaking of Rutgers, kudos for being a school that had routinely had no one drafted until the Eagles got LJ Smith about a decade ago, and currently has players drafted annually in the top three or four rounds every year. You couldn’t say that when I was in college.
I had time to see the Wisconsin/Purdue game this weekend. They have a running back named Melvin Gordon that is a sophomore that floored me. I don’t know if he is red-shirted or not, but remember his name. The guy is hands down the most exciting back I have seen in years with the ball in his hands. Speed back like David Wilson, but with a lower body as thick as Trent Richardson. Reminds me of Adrian Peterson. I watched him cut, juke a defender, and stiff arm a player out of bounds in the same play, for about 20 yards. His vision, elusiveness, and hard cutting style are the most complete I’ve seen since I can remember. I had to look him up, and through the first three games of the season he has 650 yards rushing and is running for 12 yards a carry. In a year’s time he will have the hype that McFadden, Richardson, or Peterson did coming in. Hope he’s wearing a Jets uniform in future years.
If Geno Smith continues to start if/when Sanchez returns from injury which is largely dependent on his current ratio of three turnovers per game I see several teams that Sanchez could start for right now. Minnesota, Cleveland, Jacksonville, and possibly even Tampa Bay could use a veteran QB. If those teams continue on their likely path, I could see the Jets trading Sanchez who will get a chance to start rather than cutting him. He is at this point in the season a better quarterback than any of those teams have. This is of course dependent on how many turnovers/and points Smith continues to hand other teams each game.