By Jeff Capellini, WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) — During the late stages Sunday of what was the Jets’ latest disaster in the face of optimism, I had it out with several of my followers on Twitter. It seems I said something highly offensive for which I later apologized.
No, it wasn’t this overly insensitive offense, but it was something that the masses, in retrospect, had the right to call me on.
What I did was compare the Jets to a Mickey Mouse organization and it seems the public felt I was being especially hard on The Walt Disney Company. The fans rightly pointed out that Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie and all the rest of them did not deserve to be grouped together with this latest incarnation of the clueless and without a road map Jets.
For that, again, I apologize. I don’t know what I was thinking.
The truth is the Jets are not Mickey Mouse. They are Looney Tunes and the season has gone all “That’s all folks!”
Now, those who want to say Bugs, Daffy, Porky and Tweety also do not deserve such a dubious comparison, I have to start somewhere. Just know I was raised on you guys and I turned out all right. My play on words here is just to make a point and, frankly, I’m running out of ways to describe the Jets as the cartoon they are.
I realize the Jets’ schedule the rest of the way appears on paper to be favorable, but that’s only if you think this team is a viable opponent. I no longer do, not that I did all the much in the first place. The Jets should not be favored against much of anyone the rest of the way.
After the bye they head to Seattle, a very difficult place to play, to take on a Seahawks team that is better than the Jets and likely annoyed that they gave up a last-second touchdown in a four-point loss in Detroit on Sunday.
Assuming that meeting goes as awry as many figure it will, can you say with any confidence they’ll turn around the next week and win in St. Louis, where Brian Schottenheimer, the once-maligned Jets’ offensive coordinator who is starting to look more and more like the true scapegoat for what went wrong here, will be ready and willing, even if his offense isn’t completely able, to do more than enough to handle the Jets’ paper tiger defense?
Then there’s the Thanksgiving rematch with New England, a prime time matchup that only a week ago appeared like an opportunity for the Jets to get some revenge and prove they in fact gave away the first meeting up in Foxborough rather than the Patriots actually taking it from them. Do you think the Jets will suddenly turn things around and be ready to churn out the type of effort needed to beat Tom Brady and Co.? I’d really give that one some thought if I were you.
So, the Jets are looking at the possibility of being 3-8 or at best 4-7 heading into, again, what appears to be a favorable stretch against Arizona at home, at Jacksonville and at Tennessee as we get into mid-December. Even with the parity in the AFC this season and the fact that records closer to .500 than the usual 10-11 at-minimum win requirement for postseason qualification will likely get some teams into the playoff party, I don’t see how the Jets are worthy or will be worthy of inclusion in this conversation.
There were no positives to take from Sunday’s embarrassing 30-9 home loss to Miami. The Jets were flat from the opening whistle and never once made even an attempt to show their fans they had any fight in them. Usually a very solid team on special teams, the Jets had a punt blocked for a touchdown, a field goal blocked, and failed to recover an onsides kick — and that was all in the first half.
Mike Westhoff, one of the NFL’s best special teams coaches for years and years, must not have slept a minute Sunday night, and I doubt his lack of rest had all that much to do with the impending hurricane hitting the Tri-State Area.
Rex Ryan did a terrible job preparing his players for what were the fired up and focused Dolphins. Reggie Bush called the Jets out all week and Gang Green responded by trying to be all gangster early and then cowered in a corner as soon as the Fish punched them in the mouth.
For the first time, Ryan’s tough guy image and mantra completely abandoned his team. And the effort had to at least give the fans a moment of pause as to whether Rex should be the guy to continue to coach this team going forward. You see, Ryan often gets a pass from the fans, because they like to focus a lot of their angst on general manager Mike Tannenbaum and owner Woody Johnson. They generally love Rex’s demeanor and know he can, usually, coach the Xs and Os as well as anyone. But Sunday’s lack of preparedness and execution in what was a must-win didn’t just put a crack in Ryan’s facade; it created what may end up being an irreparable fault line.
Then, of course, there were the Mark Sanchez follies. And while his final stat line — 28-of-54 for 283 yards with a touchdown and an interception — doesn’t look all that bad, trust me, Sanchez was bad. And while you may want to point to his lack of weapons or whatever, Sanchez did just fine up in New England two weeks ago with the same weapons.
Sanchez still fumbles at an alarming rate and because he’s not quite a prototypical quarterback in size, he would benefit from being moved out of the pocket more to improve his line of sight. But the Jets, of course, continue to demand this guy be a pocket passer. So what happens as a result shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone.
Before I get out of here, having exhausted every last bit of common sense I can, I have to touch on Tim Tebow.
I have said since the second he was acquired that he’d never be the Jets’ starting quarterback, barring a severe or season-ending injury to Sanchez. I have said no matter how poorly Sanchez plays he will be given every opportunity and more to fix himself and turn things around. Tebow fans, by and large, have not gotten this memo. They have lived in the fantasy world of assuming Tim’s day will come, because of all of his attributes as both a winner and great team guy.
Well, it’s time for Tebow’s nation of worshippers to finally open their eyes. Your guy does not even get playing time as the traditional quarterback you want and expect him to be during mop-up duty, be it on the north or south side of a blowout. Sunday’s game was effectively over when it got to 20-0 in the first half and the Jets never even entertained sitting Sanchez down, if even for a change of pace for a series to provide a spark.
Tebow’s handlers, and Tebow himself, need to demand a trade like now. He’s a great teammate and not someone who makes waves when it comes to playing time and his usage, but he has to understand he likely has absolutely no future here in the role he and his followers so desperately want.
Do they really want three more years of this? They really need to think this through because the Jets’ coaching staff, it is becoming more and more abundantly clear, had Tebow thrust upon them by an owner interested in dollars and media attention sense, not with the idea of this guy being used as the weapon he should be. Ryan and Sparano, in my opinion, do not want anyone or anything overshadowing their already fragile starting quarterback. If Tebow has some success, the groundswell to keep him as the starter will fly in the face of why the Jets gave Sanchez a $50 million extension in the first place.
The Jets, to put it plainly, are a disaster, one that wasn’t created by season-ending injuries to Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. Granted, those twists of fate didn’t help matters, but Tannenbaum had a horrendous offseason, one that screamed rebuilding mode, even though the Jets publicly were talking playoffs and Super Bowl. Ryan and Sparano envisioned a smash mouth offense that would move the sticks and hide Sanchez’s shortcomings. But the Jets don’t have the running backs to make that type of offense go. So what you end up with is Sanchez, completely exposed, with targets that by and large are not ready for prime time.
This defense still, three years and eight games after Rex took over, still does not have anything resembling a consistent pass rush, and without the opposing quarterback on his back more often than not the Jets are just incapable of playing constant bend-but-don’t break defense, especially with an offense that cannot hold up its end of the bargain.
Dramatic changes need to be made to the Jets’ way of thinking. Now whether that means Tannenbaum, Rex, Sparano and all the rest of the coaches should go, isn’t my call, but there’s no question the Jets need players in here, and as the last few years have suggested, to me at least, Tannenbaum is no longer capable of evaluating talent the way he once did.
You can pray for a miracle the rest of the way if you want. You can tout the positives and imagine it all leading to something tangible down the road. But the truth is the Jets were ill prepared for this season, so it should come as no great shock that they appear ill prepared for certain games.
Someone has to pay for that. Someone has to be held accountable. And new philosophies must be put in place.
As soon as possible.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet
Do you still hold out hope that the Jets can make a run this season, or do you finally see the writing on the wall? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …