By Steve Silverman
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Football coaches, players and fans tend to make too much out of one game.
It’s perfectly understandable when you only play one game a week and 16 games per season. The last performance is often the indicator of what a team is truly all about, and that opinion stands until the next time the team goes out.
That’s what coaching and game planning is all about. After a good game, a coach has to find a way to build off the previous game, while he must figure out what went wrong after a loss and develop a new plan before the next game.
Which brings us to the New York Jets.
On its face, this is a huge game for both teams.
The 49ers have to come across the country following a disappointing and unemotional road loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers were one of the favorites from the NFC to get to the Super Bowl, and a game like last week’s loss to the Vikings did not sit well with high-strung head coach Jim Harbaugh.
He has pushed his team hard this week, as he does every week. But there was a little bit more urgency and edge in his message this time around.
The Niners can’t allow substandard efforts to become acceptable. They are going to come with everything they have against the Jets.
That does not mean they will be sharp or play well. But it is all but guaranteed that they will play much harder and tougher than they did last week.
For the Jets, this game is huge. It is the first game they will play with the knowledge that Darrelle Revis will not be in the lineup the rest of the season. Revis is the Jets’ best defensive player, and he is Rex Ryan’s hero on the football field.
Ryan is going to have to find a way to get over his disappointment and buy into the rest of his team.
He may be able to say that he still believes in his team in front of the cameras, but his players know how much Revis means to them and how much he means to the coach.
The other aspect is the Jets’ game plan. They don’t play the same kind of high-powered offensive games that the top teams in the NFL use to light up the scoreboard every week.
There’s good reason for that. Mark Sanchez seems like he has improved a bit at quarterback, but he is not an elite passer and he’ll probably never reach that level.
Then there’s the receivers. The Jets don’t have the kind of wideouts who can produce explosive scoring plays on a regular basis. The best of the bunch is Santonio Holmes, who has caught 16 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. Next in line is Jeremy Kerley, and Ryan’s Friday assessment of him seems right on the money.
“He’s doing a nice job,” Ryan said.
Kerley is not a star by any stretch, but he’s better than Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates. Speedy rookie Stephen Hill (hamstring) is most likely not going to play, but tight end Dustin Keller should be in the lineup.
The Jets are not going to beat the Niners by going over the top of their defense and trying to hit the big play.
Instead, they have to go at the strength of the San Francisco defense and attack with the run.
Shonn Greene is going to need to carry the ball 25 to 30 times and do for the Jets’ offense what Frank Gore does for the 49ers.
It may not be pretty, but the Jets have to try to slug it out with the Niners.
That’s what they have to do to be successful against the Niners and the rest of the league.
If you haven’t noticed, the teams that played pinball on the scoreboard with their high-powered passing attacks last year are all struggling.
The Patriots (1-2), Packers (1-2) and the Saints (0-3) all had dominating passing attacks. There’s little doubt that all three still can move the ball, but teams with more balance are doing much better this season.
The Jets are stronger when they employ a Neanderthal, slug-em-in-the-mouth attack. It’s time for them to stand up to another hard-punching bully and hit them in the mouth.
Doing it against the Niners would set the tone for the rest of the season.
Do you foresee a competitive, back-and-forth contest, or will the Jets get blown out of the building? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…