Last chance for Jets to finally turn season around

Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan (left), owner Woody Johnson (center), and new head coach Todd Bowles (right) pose for a photo during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for via USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan (left), owner Woody Johnson (center), and new head coach Todd Bowles (right) pose for a photo during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for via USA TODAY Sports /

At 1-4 so far, the New York Jets head into Monday Night Football with much to play for as this game marks their last chance to make a push for anything in 2016.

It wasn’t supposed to go down this way. Through five games, the New York Jets are on the brink of being in a lost season and evidently playing for nothing the rest of the way. It sounds premature and a bit foolish to say that the season rides on this one game against the Arizona Cardinals, but the reality is that the Jets are in this position. Diehard fans probably saw something like this coming since the NFL released the schedule back in April.

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Yes, it was a tough six-game tough stretch to begin any season, but it’s still no excuse when the confidence entering the season was probably at an all-time high. The talent to win games was there in the flesh. With a star-studded wide receiving cast of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, along with the emergence of Quincy Enunwa and company, there was just no way that they would be on the brink of starting the season like this.

If the Jets lose tonight and go 1-5, would they presumably be out of the playoff race this early? No. That can’t be the case. Not after journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a career year in 2015 and fully understands how to run offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s system. But exactly what fans and the media feared has come true, and that’s that the Jets wouldn’t be contending this year.

This team is off to this terrible start because of miscues, miscommunication, misfortune, and mistakes. That’s a lot of problems and the truth is that all these aspects have created a misconception of the expectations and misery for this loyal fan base.

Granted there’s been moments where the offense is clicking on all cylinders, particularly the running game with veteran Matt Forte. But it’s been inconsistent, to say the least. This team is averaging 247 yards through the air and 104 on the ground, which doesn’t sound bad at all. It’s just that it’s inconsistent.

On top of that, this defense was supposed to be on the verge of becoming elite this year.

After sacking the quarterback 39 times, causing the opposing team to lose 278 yards in 2015, it was measurable to believe that things would improve.

They had a 6+ give-takeaway difference at the end of the year, but they were off to a great start on both sides of the football. It’s the main reason why they were able to win 10 games and contend down the stretch.

Through five games this year, they’ve only had 12 sacks, with seven of them coming in Week 1’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. This means that they’ve only managed to sack the quarterback five times since then. They’re still on track to reach right around that 38-39 sack margin from last season. However, when you start your season with seven sacks and have only managed five since then, you have to question what happened.

Why is that defensive front (Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McLendon, etc.) not pressuring the pocket like they were in Week 1?

new york jets
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Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass under pressure from New York Jets defensive lineman Steve McLendon (99) during the second half of their game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won, 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

We all know that they’re a talented bunch, so what’s the excuse? It’s concerning to see that low amount of sacks when Sheldon Richardson wasn’t even playing in Week 1 because of suspension. You figured having him back would essentially create more opportunities for the rest of the defensive line to get after the quarterback. That has been nothing close to what we’re seeing.

And don’t even get us started on the secondary which has already allowed 1,515 passing yards and 12 touchdowns thus far. They’ve been hit hard by the media and fans alike for their putrid play.

Future Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis has been burned on numerous plays already which have resulted in big plays for the opposing teams.

Granted, Revis doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the younger lads anymore. So why is Revis still being used as he was five years ago? Clearly, he’s not that kind of player anymore. That aspect falls on the coaching for not knowing how to use Revis’ skill set to help the secondary. It’s pretty much called bad coaching.

The only silver lining here is that they have a good-to-great defensive front which has the ability to get after the quarterback. Stopping star tailback David Johnson on the ground will be needed if they’re going to have any chance of winning this game. But then again, one thing Johnson’s good at and what makes him great is his pass-catching ability in the backfield.

Considering that factor and the Jets’ secondary issues, head coach Bruce Arians will probably attack it, as he rightfully should.

Head coach Todd Bowles is returning to face his former team tonight in the desert. Hopefully, that will give him enough incentive to come out shooting and playing relentless and smart football.

We hope that’s the case. That the season doesn’t end tonight. We hope there is something to look forward each week the rest of the way. We also hope those miscues and mistakes are non-existing at least for tonight. We hope for a lot of things, but that’s what we’re allowed to do. Especially when this team gave us high aspirations last year and coming into this season.

That’s it, though. There are no more excuses. Yes, the absence of a big target like Eric Decker hurts, but not to the point where they can’t get creative with Quincy Enunwa. Or even include their newly acquired tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the game.

We need to quit making excuses for this team and hoping that there is something to root for after tonight. This team deserves to be held accountable. Get back to the running game and use the combination of Matt ForteBilal Powell wisely. This is a chess game. There is no need to pretend that you’re something else. Stick to your team identity and use it to your advantage.

It’s Monday Night Football, and the Jets have a 6-2 all-time record against the Cardinals. As mentioned, Bowles is returning to face his former team. If there’s anyone on that Jets staff that knows even the slightest attack points to use, it’d be him.

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Jets fans hope that this team gives us a reason to keep believing them the rest of the way. But maybe that’s what the real issue is, that fans just have way too much hope. Especially a team like this that consistently continues to disappoint. But hey J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!