Jets Must Learn To Win Close Games

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First a few updates:

1. For everybody sitting on the edge of their seat waiting to throw out their Kellen Clemens jersey and go buy a Mark Brunell one, the actual signing might not happen until tomorrow according to Rich Cimini. I am still not sold on this move, look at Brunell’s numbers the past three seasons and then tell me you’d be confident with him stepping in if Mark Sanchez got hurt.

2. Follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter (TurnOnTheJets). Also you can now find TOJ contributions at www.profootballnyc.com. Also I know everybody has to love that new logo for our site, which we are working on getting into the banner.

3. Chris Paul wants to be traded and the Knicks are on top of his wish list. Can you imagine how many assists CP3 would have in Mike D’Antoni’s offense? LeBron James who? I want our own big three of Amare Stoudemire, Chris Paul, and eventually Carmelo Anthony.

4. It sounds like there has been absolutely no progress on the contract talks with Darrelle Revis or Nick Mangold…let the circus at training camp begin.

Jets Must Learn To Win Close Games

A common argument against the Jets being one of the NFL’s elite teams in 2010 is they were only a 9-7 team in 2009 and made the playoffs because teams laid down against them in their final two games. This argument ignores or pays no respect to the two road, upset playoff wins the Jets pulled off. However you feel about that argument, many people forget how many games the Jets were one play away from winning last season.

PhotobucketWeek 5 – Holding a 27-24 lead with 5:05 left on the clock against the Miami Dolphins, the Jets defense allowed Miami’s offense to drive the length of the field and score the game winning touchdown with 6 seconds left. During this drive, Miami converted two key third downs, both on completions to Greg Camarillo, one of the receptions was on Drew Coleman and the other was on Dwight Lowery. For some reason, I don’t think we’ll be seeing Coleman or Lowery in this type of situation in 2010. Rex Ryan also did a poor job of not using his remaining timeouts to give the Jets offense a chance to respond.

Week 6 – The Jets lost in overtime to Buffalo 16-13, thanks mostly to Mark Sanchez’s five interceptions. However, this game was still there to be won in the extra period. Unfortunately, the Jets botched a field goal attempt to win the game and Sanchez then threw an interception after the Jets had crossed the 50 yard line on their next possession.

Week 8 -  Down 30-25 to the Miami Dolphins with a little under two minutes to go, the Jets had 1st and 10 from the Dolphins 12 yard line. Sanchez made a poor judgement call trying to run on second down,  took a sack on third down and threw the ball out of the end-zone on fourth down.

Week 10 – After taking a 22-21 lead with a little over 5 minutes left against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Jets defense allowed Jacksonville to drive to the one yard line and kick a game winning field goal as time expired. On the drive the Jaguars completed a key third down pass to Mike Thomas who beat Donald Strickland for 15 yards and then on the following play hit tight end Mercedes Lewis for 33 yards, who beat Kerry Rhodes down the middle of the field.

Week 15 - Despite holding a 7-3 lead with 4:06 left on the clock, the Jets allowed the Atlanta Falcons to drive down the field for a game winning touchdown. On the drive Atlanta converted a key third down to Roddy White who beat Donald Strickland for 16 yards and then after the play Strickland was called for a 15 yard facemask penalty. Atlanta was down to 4th and goal from the 6 yard line, when Rex Ryan made the mistake to switch into zone coverage when man to man on tight end Tony Gonzalez had been working all day, Gonzalez found a soft spot in the zone and scored the game winning touchdown.

These were five games the Jets easily could have won. Even if they managed to go 2-3 in these contests, they would have been 9-5 heading into their final two games and not needed victories against the Colts or Bengals to grab a playoff spot. The bottom line is that the Jets lost these games. However, consider Rex Ryan was a rookie head coach last year and Mark Sanchez was a rookie quarterback. The two of them will learn from their late game mistakes in 2009. Beyond that, players on defense who killed the Jets by coming up small in big spots last year: Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, Drew Coleman, and Dwight Lowery, have been replaced by Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Brodney Pool.

If the Jets knew how to win close games in 2009, they could have been a 12-4 team. If they learn how to win them in 2010, they will be a 12-4 team.

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