By Peter Schwartz
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Are you ready for some….
Oops, I almost forgot. We can’t say that anymore!
However, the Jets are ready to put their three game losing streak in their rear-view mirrors as they welcome the 0-4 Dolphins to MetLife Stadium on Monday night.
It’s been a week full of frustration for the Jets who are trying to dispel the notion from around the football world that they are a fractured football team.
After Derrick Mason’s critical comments about the offense following the Baltimore game, the wide receiver’s playing time was very limited against the Patriots and he was subsequently traded to the Texans.
The Jets will have to wait an extra day to get back on the football field for a game, but perhaps playing in front of a national television audience is also what the Jets need to get out of their funk.
“We’re excited to play on a national stage,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. “I feel like most of the time we play our best that way. We have to come out on fire, we have to play well and start the game off fast, finish it strong, sustain drives, and execute on offense and take care of the football.”
After losing to the Raiders, Ravens, and Patriots, the Jets find themselves in a state of emergency, but also in familiar territory. Back in 2009, the Jets became the first team in NFL history to lose three straight games in a season twice and still make the playoffs.
Its just one three game losing streak right now in 2011 so the Jets are hoping to get things turned around.
“We’ve been resilient in the past and we’ve overcome some things, and I think we’ll overcome it now,” said head coach Rex Ryan.
The Jets might be struggling, but they still have their eyes on the prize. They were a popular pick by many to contend for a Super Bowl berth this season and the Jets themselves had the confidence that they could finally break through and get to the big game.
Three straight losses hasn’t tarnished their hopes.
“No, I don’t see us losing our confidence,” said Ryan. “I think maybe people outside of that room are going to lose confidence. We’re not. I’m confident in the fact that I see signs of us getting better.”
Monday night possibly brings the right remedy for the Jets losing ways. The Dolphins have been a mess all season and the Jets just can’t afford to let this game slip away.
But don’t think for a second that this will be a walk in the park. It’s a division game and the Dolphins would like nothing better than to dig the Jets deeper into a hole.
“This is a critical game for us Monday night,” said Ryan. “Quite honestly, we haven’t done well against Miami at home. The two years that I have been here, they beat us both times, I think they’ve had a 130 total yards of offense in each of those games and we got beat in both of those games. That’s a credit to them, they found ways to beat us here. We have to change that tide.”
The Dolphins might be winless, but the Jets are taking this game very seriously. After all, the Jets haven’t exactly cornered the market on wins themselves recently and its always dangerous to face a sleeping giant.
Make that a sleeping dolphin.
“They’ve struggled,” said Jets safety Jim Leonhard. “But at the same time, they have some big play guys.”
One of those big play guys is wide receiver Brandon Marshall. In three career games against the Jets, Marshall has 17 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns.
But on Monday night, Marshall will pay a visit to Revis Island.
“(Marshall) is one of the best in the league and he’s a threat,” said Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.
However, getting the ball to Marshall will be tough for the Dolphins as quarterback Chad Henne is out for the season with a shoulder injury so Matt Moore will start for Miami.
Yep, the Dolphins appear to be just the remedy that the Jets are looking for.
But, a stub of the toe just might mean that the Jets will be watching the playoffs on television.
THE KERLEY SHUFFLE
The trade of Derrick Mason to the Texans elevates 5th round pick Jeremy Kerley to the role of #3 wide receiver. He caught three passes for 35 yards including his first career touchdown against the Patriots last week.
Forget about the future. The Jets feel that the time is now for the former TCU star.
“We made the decision to move on from Derrick (and) trade him,” said Ryan. “I think that gives more opportunity. It shows we feel really good about Kerley and what he did in that Patriot game. We saw it coming on the practice field. It was hard to ignore, the kind of plays he’s making, so we’re excited about Jeremy.”
Kerley won the punt return job in training camp but the Jets clearly see a chance for him to be a playmaker on offense.
“I’m just glad that I can step up and be the man in the third spot.” Said Kerley. “I’m definitely ready.”
Kerley’s coming out party came in Foxboro. He’s hoping to put on a primetime shot on Monday and help the Jets offense get out of their funk.
I just can’t see the Jets losing this game. I’m so sure that they will win that if they lose, I will eat a plate full of broccoli if they don’t. For the record, I would sooner put on a New York Rangers jersey before eating broccoli but I’ll eat it if the Jets lose this game.
Jets 27 Dolphins 10
The Jets lead the all-time series 47-42-1 and hold a 26-19 edge at home. However, the Dolphins have beaten the Jets three straight times at the Meadowlands (2008-09 at Giants Stadium, 2010 at NMS).
Why have the Jets struggled at home against the Dolphins?
“It’s an awesome rivalry,” said center Nick Mangold. “The Jets and Dolphins rivalry is fantastic. It kind of goes back and forth a lot. So it’s a big game, I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The Jets will be happier if they win.
This will be the 12th Monday night meeting between the AFC East rivals with the Jets leading the Dolphins 6-5. The Jets and Dolphins played, arguably, the most memorable Monday night game ever with Gang Green winning the “Monday Night Miracle” 40-37 in overtime back in 2000.
THE JETS ON MONDAY NIGHT
In the very first Monday Night Football game back in 1970, the Jets lost to the Browns 31-21. The Jets are 18-25 overall and 11-8 at home all-time on Monday night.
The Jets played their first 7 Monday night games at home and lost them all. Their first Monday night home game was on 10/15/79, a 14-7 victory over the Vikings at Shea Stadium.
This will mark the third Monday night game at Met Life Stadium (formerly New Meadowlands Stadium. Last year, the Jets split two games losing to the Ravens and beating the Vikings.
As far as the Dolphins go, Miami leads all NFL teams with 77 appearances on Monday night football.
THE RING OF HONOR GROWS BY FOUR
At halftime on Monday night’s game against the Dolphins, the Jets will add four new members to their Ring of Honor. Joining last year’s inaugural class of Weeb Ewbank, Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Winston Hill, Joe Klecko, and Curtis Martin will be Al Toon, Freeman McNeil, Larry Grantham, and Gerry Philbin.
All four men are deserving of this honor, but the choice to enshrine Al Toon before Wesley Walker is an interesting one.
Toon’s 517 career receptions ranks third in Jets history while Walker is fifth all-time with 438. But, Walker ranks second in Jets history in receiving yards with 8,306 while Toon is fourth with 6,605. Walker also averaged 19 yards per reception over his career to Toon’s mark of 12.8. Walker also had 88 career touchdown catches while Toon hauled in 31. Walker notched 22 career 100-yard receiving games to Toon’s 19.
Yet somehow, Toon got the nod over Walker for the class of 2011.
“Selection to the Ring of Honor is a subjective process and there are a number of deserving candidates,” according to a Jets spokesperson. “With Al Toon, you are talking about someone who won three consecutive team MVP awards in addition to earning three Pro Bowl selections as well as multiple All-Pro honors.”
I might be nitpicking a little bit here and I’m not trying to downplay the career accomplishments of Toon, but I really think that Walker should have been picked first. Another option would have been to put both of them in first.
But don’t take my word for it. Gerry Eskenazi was a long-time Jets beat writer for the New York Times and wrote a terrific book called “Gang Green”.
He thinks Walker should have gotten the nod.
“I think just from the standpoint of respect, Wesley should have gone in ahead (of Toon),” said Eskenazi. “He was the most significant receiver the Jets had in the decade following the Super Bowl victory. The numbers he put up were quite extraordinary. After Maynard and Sauer, the Jets really didn’t have any sort of threat out there until Wesley came along.”
But, the Jets made their decision and congratulations to the Class of 2011!
Looking ahead to next year, I’d like to see Leon Hess, Matt Snell, Wayne Chrebet, and Pat Leahy make up the Class of 2012. We’ll see!
That’s all for now. Enjoy the game!