By Peter Schwartz
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The honeymoon is over!
At the end of the day, the Jets just weren’t good enough to be a playoff team in 2011-12. Sunday’s 19-17 loss to the Dolphins was a fitting end to a season full of unfulfilled promises, inconsistent play, and turmoil. After back-to-back trips to the AFC Championship game, the Jets took a major step backwards and there’s plenty of blame to go around.
It starts with general manager Mike Tannenbaum for some questionable personnel decisions. Then, it’s on to head coach Rex Ryan if for no other reason because he says the failure of this team was his responsibility.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh will likely pay the price for the non-playoff season by being let go. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has had it easy this year with very little heat coming his way, but he has to take his share of the responsibility as well.
And when it comes to the players, there’s a laundry list of guys who just didn’t get the job done.
Mark Sanchez deserves some of the blame but not as much as people are throwing at him. He was inconsistent throughout the season and still makes some mind-boggling decisions, but he was also under tremendous pressure all season.
The offensive line, once a staple of excellence for the Jets, is now a serious mess. The biggest culprit this year was right tackle Wayne Hunter and that is clearly one of the areas that the Jets have to address in the off-season.
Santonio Holmes? I think his situation speaks for itself. The Jets took a big risk in trading for him last year and an even bigger one by signing him to a 5 year $50 million contract. If the cap hit was not so substantial, he might have been released before getting on the team plane back from South Florida.
The defense was overrated and is in need of a major overhaul. The Jets need some help at safety, especially when you consider that Jim Leonhard is an unrestricted free agent coming off of two straight season ending injuries. Once again, the Jets still have to acquire a pass rusher and not depend on exotic blitzes and schemes in order to get to opposing quarterbacks.
Underachievers this season, the Jets will clean out their lockers at the Atlantic Health Training Center on Monday. They will take part in season ending meetings and exit interviews before saying goodbye to one another.
Many of those players will be back while some will not and that’s just something that comes with the territory these days in the NFL. Teams just don’t stay together and quite frankly the Jets should not. This team was not as good as the clubs that had playoff success in 2009 and 2010.
They need to upgrade their talent and they also need to fill the leadership void that was created with the losses over the years of the likes of Cotchery, Jenkins, Woody, Richardson, and Faneca.
The Jets need to have a fresh philosophy on offense and they need, especially the head coach, to try and tone down the trash talk. I really like Rex Ryan but he still has a long way to go before he can pound his chest.
I truly believe that Ryan is a good coach but he needs to spend some more time acting like a head coach than a defensive coordinator. He has to have a better relationship and spend more time with his offensive players, especially Sanchez.
Sometimes, a team that has had some success has to take a step backwards to go forward. But the right moves have to be made in order to get things back in the right direction.
This is going to be an interesting off-season.
The Jets will have the 16th pick in the NFL Draft.
Mark Sanchez threw two touchdown passes against the Dolphins and finished the season with 26. That ties him with Al Dorrow (1960) and Joe Namath (1967) for the second-highest single season total in team history. Vinnie Testaverde set the team record with 29 touchdown passes in 1998.
Congratulations to Shonn Greene who eclipsed the 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career. He finished 2011-12 with 1,054 yards on 253 carries.
LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 56 yards and passed Jerome Bettis for 5th place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. Tomlinson has rushed for 13,684 yards in his career.
Dustin Keller hauled in his 5th touchdown catch of the season tying a career high set in 2010. He also set season highs with 65 catches and 815 yards.
Patrick Turner notched his first career touchdown catch.
Antonio Cromartie recorded his 4th interception of the season tying with with Darrelle Revis and David Harris for the team lead. He now has 22 career interceptions.
2012 JETS OPPONENTS
By virtue of their 8-8 record and second place finish in the AFC East, here are the Jets opponents for the 2012 season.
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading all season long! Happy New Year and check back soon for more, as this will be quite a busy off-season! I’ll be covering Super Bowl XLVI for the WFAN so look for my blogs from Indianapolis!