‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.
Lots of twisted noses around the Jets these days.
And maybe that’s a good thing.
The players and head coach are ticked about the fans booing. The Sanchize quarterback is ticked about his 41-year-old backup getting a couple of first-team practice snaps.
From the outside, it would seem the Jets were falling apart emotionally at just the wrong time — not that there is any right time for that stuff. But maybe this all will work in reverse, like a new spark plug inserted into a sputtering engine.
If it does, and we’ll know soon enough when the clock hits 0:00 against the Bills Sunday, whether all this sturm-und-drang lit a big green light that will eventually illuminate the road to the postseason.
Of course, all that has to start with the Bills, a team going through its own struggles. They come off consecutive hammerings from Dallas and Miami and have fallen into a 5-5 divisional tie with the Jets. They were outscored 79-15 over those games.
Their running game, dangerous early in the season with Fred Jackson, has gone on life support, especially now that Jackson is out for Sunday. It will be up to newly-signed Tashard Choice to generate some sort of ground game.
A defense that has made a living off the turnover hasn’t created one in two games, while the offense has handed the ball over six times.
The Jets may have fallen victim to Tim Tebow’s 95-yard, fourth-quarter drive last Thursday, but it would appear the Bills have collapsed completely, systemically.
All of which makes this game such a danger. They’ll undoubtedly seek to put their issues behind them at MetLife Stadium, knowing full well that this is their season, too.
And the Jets will have no choice but to respond. The leeway of the season left in their consecutive losses to the Pats and Broncos. Now, they’ll have to go into Christmas Eve against the Giants 8-6 at worst if they expect to have a shot at the postseason.
The easiest way to do that is to beat Buffalo, Washington, and Kansas City before they hit an Eagles squad the week before Christmas that could pose quite a challenge. Not that Washington is a pushover anymore, considering they took Dallas to overtime last week.
Lose two of those, and collars might get awful tight around Florham Park.
So maybe all this sideshow stuff is happening at the right time. The fans, they’re easy. Make a few plays, win this game, and they’ll stop telling the coach that his opponent is better than him. They’ll stop booing the players. They’ll be right back on that big green bus.
Rex Ryan inserting and slightly rotating Mark Sanchez’ nose between his index finger and that famous middle finger of his with a couple of Mark Brunnel practice snaps? Might be just what’s needed to screw his quarterback’s head on straight and get his mind focused on his receivers.
A lot of coaches twist noses. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just creates a sinus problem.
Jets fans should hope it works. They’re on the verge of watching a lost season play out.
Want to see angry? Twist the fans’ noses a little more.