Schwartz: Is It Time For The Jets To Panic?
By Peter Schwartz
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There’s really not much to say after what we all saw on Sunday night.
Well, some of you might want to say something that I can’t print in this blog but you get my drift. Gang Green turned in an abysmal offensive performance in a 34-17 loss to the Ravens.
Baltimore rattled Mark Sanchez all night long to the tune of three defensive touchdowns and a total of 24 points off of turnovers. It seemed like Sanchez was hit almost every play as the offensive line, once again without Nick Mangold, was about as useful as five mannequins.
It got so bad, at one point, that Rex Ryan actually thought that Vladimir Ducasse could help. Colin Baxter took a couple of series off so Matt Slauson moved over to center and Ducasse came in to play left guard
Not exactly Pro Bowl material there.
So where do the Jets stand right now? Well, they have lost two straight and sit at 2-2, one game back of both the Bills and Patriots with a trip to New England looming this Sunday.
I’m not usually one to press the panic button after four games, but we have reached the quarter pole of the season and its clear that we don’t know what the Jets identity is just yet.
They want to be a “Ground and Pound” offense, but the running game has been basically non-existent. The Jets wanted to take the training wheels off of Sanchez a bit more this year and they surrounded him with the weapons to do it.
Unfortunately for him, the protection has not been there and he’s spent way too much time on his back.
While I think its time to panic, I don’t think for a second that the Jets can’t get things straightened out. I thought the defense played very well Sunday night and you knew at some point that Mike Pettine’s crew would come together.
But the offense has become a very scary concern. Throughout training camp, there were built in excuses that allowed for some time to turn the other way when you saw some problems.
Brandon Moore was coming off of off-season hip surgery.
Plaxico Burress sprained an ankle seemingly five minutes after he showed up at Florham Park.
Derrick Mason was banged up. Same for Nick Mangold and Shonn Greene. And on and on and on.
But the prevailing thought was that things would be just fine when the games began for real.
That hasn’t happened and it’s been a collective failure. Ryan takes a lot of pride in his defense but he has to spend some more time focusing on what was supposed to be another strength on a team that was supposed to contend for a Super Bowl berth.
An offense with plenty of weapons that, right now, is shooting blanks.
It won’t get any easier this Sunday against the arch rival Patriots in New England. The Jets are staring a three game losing streak right in the face if things don’t change.
They should have Nick Mangold back this week and that will help. But there is an overall air of uncertainty clouding this offensive group and that has to change. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will take some heat this week and he probably deserves it.
But like anything else, everything starts at the top. And Ryan has to spent a little more time being a head coach that runs the whole ship than a former defensive coordinator who is now in charge but thinks of himself only as a defensive guy.
Although it was a brutal night, congrats to Joe McKnight for pulling off the longest play in Jets history with a 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Mike Westhoff continues to work his magic and the Jets need this kind of production from special teams while the offense finds itself.
And the Jets also scored a defensive touchdown as David Harris found the end zone after an interception.
Who would have thought that the Jets would have a kickoff return for a touchdown and a defensive touchdown in the same game and lose?
ANOTHER FORMER JETS SOUNDS OFF
This probably won’t get as much play as Joe Namath’s comments last week about the team’s preparations, but former Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins had some interesting Facebook posts on Sunday night.
“Jets got rid of the players with the heart. End of story!!!”
“Ppl getting sensitive. Rex said superbowl. I can be nicer if we accept that might not happen this year.”
“Here is the honest truth. Sanchez is a good quarterback. But the Jets can’t afford good. They need exceptional, and they need exceptional play calling. The money is in the skill positions. So the lines need to be good enough to let the money players get the job done. That takes exceptional coaching. Or just fold the tent and prepare for next year. We can win but the team needs to evolve. Can’t bank on last year.”
“The offensive play calling was horrendous. You play to your strengths, Shotty clearly has some issues with making adjustments in real time. Failure by the offensive coaching staff. Who in their right mind puts Vlad in the game. He doesn’t have a shadow cause he can’t even block the sun man geeeeezzzus.”
Jenkins fired some shots here. It’s interesting because he is not that far removed from his playing career. Jenkins has clearly made the transition from player to broadcaster. However, if he wants to be a member of the media, he can’t refer to the Jets as “we”.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Jets will spend Monday picking up the pieces before taking a day off on Tuesday. Safety Jim Leonhard will join Joe and Evan on Tuesday morning and it will be interesting to hear his comments on what transpired on Sunday night.
On Wednesday, the Jets are back on the practice field to begin preparations for the Patriots. It’s a big week for the Jets. Can they get things turned around? It should be a fascinating week at the Atlantic Health Training Center. When does the finger pointing start and when do things spiral out of control?
Stay tuned! Check back later in the week for more.
Are you worried about the Jets defense? Be heard in the comments below…