New York Jets Defense: Simple Questions, Simple Solutions

Justin looks at long term solutions for the New York Jets problems on defense

The New York Jets defense has problems. They’re not dominant against the run and they just got torched against the pass. The upside? They have seven draft picks this year, and while most teams are scrambling in search of quarterbacks, running backs and receivers, the Jets are already in prime position to stack up key positions on their defense.

Safety

The first, and obviously weakest part of the Jets defense is their safety play. Sure Jim Leonhard is smart, instinctive and hard working. He’s also 5’8 and 188 lbs. Matching him up on a tight end is a joke and picturing him taking down the elite running backs in this league is hard to imagine. And who is the other strong safety to back him up? Emmanuel Cook. Like Leonhard, Cook is undrafted, and probably with good reason.

At free safety, the Jets have their jack of all trades in Eric Smith (3rd round pick), and Brodney Pool (2nd round pick/traded from Browns), who has missed crucial time in their schedule with injury. Eric Smith, as this year has shown, should not be a starting safety, as he seems to get beat all over the field in pass coverage. Brodney Pool should be the starter, but missing this much time is not good for a guy who struggled without Leonhard’s guidance last year.

There is an obvious answer to all of this. Draft a safety. Anyone notice the difference a guy like Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu makes? A safety can play against the run, against the pass, blitz, or drop into double coverage. As their cornerback position is secured for the near future, a free roaming safety could provide huge plays in the secondary.

Enter Mark “fear of god” Barron. I made up the nickname, and it is appropriate. Projected as a second round pick, Mark Barron (Alabama) (6’2 215lb) has enough experience in a complex scheme to make an immediate impact at the safety position. Given a full offseason to get acclimated to the Jets scheme, he could be the blitzer who can get to the quarterback and also stop NFL running backs dead in their tracks. If you want proof, just YouTube Mark Barron and look at him against Penn State, and if you are a sadist, look at him put a nice lovetap on Jordan Rogers from Vanderbilt. Barron has already put his stamp on the big hitting Alabama secondary, which is currently giving up 7.1 points per game. Again, 7.1 points per game.

Linebacker

At outside linebacker, the Jets are in flux. Aaron Maybin is slowly evolving into their edge rusher, Calvin Pace is up and down but getting old, and Bryan Thomas is on injured reserve and simultaneously getting old. Jamaal Westerman being a legit pass rusher is not a realistic goal, but a good sub package rotation and Garrett McIntyre is simply filling space on the roster.

At inside linebacker, David Harris is the stud, Bart Scott is the aging complement and the Josh Mauga/Nick Bellore combination is the fallback in case of injury.

Dare I look at another Alabama defensive player? I dare indeed. Courtney Upshaw. He’s not the biggest, he’s not the fastest, but he is ferocious, and probably stronger than most of the tight ends that are going to try and block him in the NFL. He’s a first round pick and will probably be gone by the time the Jets get their number called, but if the Jets don’t make the playoffs,(no one wants that) they can swoop in with relative ease and snatch him somewhere in the middle of the first. You want a pass rusher? Look up Capital One Bowl highlights from last year. Be patient as most of it is Alabama scoring touchdowns, but there are a few great blind side sacks. In a game where Alabama scored 49 points, Upshaw was the MVP. Look up this year’s highlights if you want something in high definition.

If you put his hand down he beats your tackle, if you stand him up he runs over your running back or comes straight up against your quarterback. He also happens to be coached by the best defensive mind in college football. A transition to the Jets shouldn’t be too difficult.
So let’s say he is taken before the Jets can grab him. Then you’ve got this guy Dont’a Hightower, who unlike Upshaw usually lines up inside and knocks opposing guards about six feet off their block. He’s about as heavy as Upshaw and two inches taller.

Defensive Line

The Jets defensive line, like their linebacking core, is in flux. At nose tackle, Kenrick Ellis will hopefully at some point get into football shape and get healthy enough to take over the starting spot by next year. Sione Pouha, a guy who was always intended to be the complement to Kris Jenkins, has held up surprisingly well as a starting nose tackle. Martin Tevaseu is simply taking up space and is only active in case of injury to guys at defensive end.

At defensive end, Muhammad Wilkerson is taking the place of Trevor Pryce. Mike Devito will start at the opposite end of Wilkerson next year, while Ropati Pitoitua is most likely going to substitute for both guys or drop in on nickel and dime packages

Will the Jets become bold and go with defensive line again? Hopefully they will, for the sheer fact that they currently have no Pro Bowlers on their defensive line, and they can’t generate pressure without giving something up over the middle or the short screen.

Postscript

Is getting two Alabama players as your top two draft picks realistic? No. Is getting one? Yes. Though I have nothing against small school defensive players, guys that play on the Alabama defense are operating on another level. They read, react, and rush with the ferocity that teams like the Ravens, Steelers and Jets have come to make their trademark. Some people watch college football for the beauty of touchdowns, I watch it for the beauty of the Alabama defense. And beautiful it is.

Unnecessary Hype – Darrelle Revis and Tim Tebow

TOJ on the comical double standard Jets players are treated with by the media

These were the quotes Darrelle Revis had about Tim Tebow and Denver’s offense.

On if the option offense could have sustained success – “Yeah, if you have Michael Vick and Chris Johnson at running back. Yeah, it can work. Those are probably the two fastest guys that can get out on the edge.

On if Tebow could have sustained success with it – “No. Not for a whole season,” Revis said. “We know what they’re doing. And we feel comfortable in our game plan.”

On defending it in the secondary – “The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep,” Revis said. “It can get boring, especially if a team keeps on just running the ball, series after series, play after play.”

And so the headlines fly…

Revis disrespects Tebow!

Revis thinks Tebow is boring!

Revis doubts Tebow!

And the criticism for the big, bad mean Jets running their mouths again starts up. Who does Darrelle Revis think he is, to make that kind of judgement? I don’t know…maybe the best defensive player in football? Shame on him!

Did I miss something?

Where was the passionate criticism of the Detroit Lions after this article came out? How about this quote from the article —

“Come on – that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’

Where was the hate for the anonymous Detroit Lions player? Oh that’s right. He was anonymous. He was a coward and couldn’t stand behind his words. In the hush-hush, anonymous quote, fake your injury report, say nothing world of the NFL, the Jets actually speak their mind and put their names behind their quotes. And unless you are Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, or Green Bay you haven’t had more success than them the past two years, so you should have nothing to say on their style.

In the same article, Cliff Avril was quoted ripping Tebow. There was no ongoing dialogue about him saying Tebow make “crazy decisions.” There was no criticism for Lions players mocking Tebow’s patented celebration. Could you imagine the reaction if Darrelle Revis picked one off from him and did that? Mike Francesa and Mike Florio’s head might explode. Of course, it was all in good fun when Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler did it.

What did Revis even say, that Mike Vick is faster than Tim Tebow? Guess what, he is. That defending the option from a cornerback positon is boring? Guess what, it is. Any cornerback at any level of football would tell you that.

Revis is the best corner in the NFL and probably the best defensive player in football this year, he can say what he wants about an unproven quarterback, especially if what he says is nowhere near being out of line.

Sanchez/Tebow: Two Unconventional Winners Share Scrutiny

TJ puts the spotlight on the lack of respect for Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, despite their ability to win

For Mark Sanchez, two AFC championship games in his first two years as a pro hasn’t been enough to silence his doubters. Tim Tebow took over a 1-4 Broncos team that is now 4-5 under his leadership. Instead of admiring Denver’s re-entry back into the AFC West race since Tebow got behind center, detractors question his ability to throw the football. When the Jets and Broncos take the field Thursday night, you can guarantee that experts and fans will be grading each and every play made by two guys who win, but are expected to do alot more. Two young players who continue to be judged not by their club’s record with them at the helm, but through the lens of how they stack up against the NFL’s elite.

Mark Sanchez never got to sit and observe like top gun Aaron Rodgers did in Green Bay under Brett Favre. The league’s best passer in HIS first three years in the NFL didn’t start one single game. Sanchez? His big league learning, after just one year of major college football at USC (which included a Rose Bowl win), has happened ON the field. Not from the sidelines. While having to face a ruthless New York media simultaneously through the growing pains.

When Sanchez leads the Jets onto the field for the 41st time in his two and a half year career, he’ll be doing so with the jury still out on his ability to lead the Jets past the point of an AFC title game appearance.

Those who feel as though Sanchez threatens the Jets chances of going any further, will point to his lack of confidence in throwing the deep ball, as well as his in game emotional swings, and ill timed interceptions .

Sanchez apologist’s will combat that analysis with the fact that he has led game winning drives in 20 percent of the games he has started in New York. This includes the playoffs, where he has led the Jets twice in second half comeback victories (San Diego, 2009, Indianapolis 2010) in going 4-2. With all postseason games having been played by Sanchez and the Jets on the road during that time.

Tebow has been a savior to some, and a pariah to others. Those who don’t see Tebow lasting over the long haul, target his mechanics, and resulting lack of accuracy (44.8 completion pct), with a desire to run first rather than throw. A collegiate trait for a QB, in the eyes of many pro experts.

Tebow threw a paltry eight passes in the win against divisional rivals Kansas City on Sunday. Two were completed. His best day in the air saw him throw for just 172 yards. Despite plenty of garbage time in order to acquire more during a 45-10 loss to Detroit.

When he rushes the ball however, the once two time first team All American, Heisman Trophy winning, National champion Tebow is 48-320 yds (6.0 avg) with two TD’s. Broncos coach John Fox has taken notice, adding the scholastic option formation into the offense for the former Florida Gator legend. Maybe it hasn’t been pretty, but its worked out in the win column for Fox and co.

A late Bronco comeback in Miami (they trailed 15-0 in the waning moments and won in OT), followed by one against their hated enemy the Raiders, has the Broncos now one game out of first place. Like Sanchez though, the wins haven’t been enough to afford Tebow any blind acceptance.

Both Sanchez and Tebow also suffer from long shadows cast over them around their respective homes. After all, in Denver, there was once the great two time Super Bowl champion Hall of Famer, John Elway. The face of Denver’s franchise and perfect drop back passer, who now sits above in the director’s chair. As the Broncos Executive VP of football operations.

In the Big Apple, the shadow that engulfs Sanchez starts not from above, but from the North. Where the great Tom Brady lives. The Patriots three time champion sits inside of the same division that Sanchez has tried to grab from Brady and master general Bill Belichick. Who thanks to his signal caller and disciplined no named army, have now obtained enough hardware to be considered as one of the great dynasties in the sport.

Brady is a constant source of the  ”compare and contrast” talk, which makes it hard for Sanchez to ever come out on top of many arguments. As Brady spreads it around for scores to Welker, Gronkowski, Hernandez and the rest, you can just hear that Jets fan in the bar saying “Sanchez will never do that.” It is true. He may never do that. Sanchez though, IS 3-4 against Brady so far. 1-0 against him in the playoffs.

With both teams currently in second place, Sanchez and Tebow can ill afford to lose on Thursday night. The winner may not be included in the group of key reasons for the victory. The loser, most likely tagged with a lion’s share of the blame for the loss. Facing a scrutiny that not only comes with falling short, but doing so with an unorthodox style, and pedestrian stat line as well.

New York Jets Relying On Backups In Denver

Many of the New York Jets backups will play a more prominent role than usual tomorrow night

You aren’t going to be at full strength for all of your games in a NFL season. Not surprisingly on a quick turnaround against the Denver Broncos, a handful of backup players will be seeing an increase of reps to compensate for a few minor injuries.

At running back, special teams ace Joe McKnight should finally see extended action due to LaDainian Tomlinson missing the game with a sprained MCL. It will be nice to see McKnight get to catch a few screens in space and receive the primary third down responsibilities. He projects as the team’s long term third down back so this is a big opportunity for him. Also at running back rookie Bilal Powell should be active for the first time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a few handoffs, as the team will likely want a look at him when something is actually on the line.

Over at wide receiver, Jeremy Kerley and Patrick Turner will likely be game-time decisions. There is a very good chance recently signed WR Eron Riley will get to see some action against his former team. Here is what Jon Heath from www.BroncoTalk.net had to say on Riley –

Riley, 6-3, 207 pounds, is a second year player out of Duke that went undrafted in 2009.  He has loads of potential and a sick vertical leap, which compliments his impressive speed and reliable hands. I was really hoping the Broncos would activate him to the active roster because I knew somebody would sign him off Denver’s practice squad if he stayed there too long. In the preseason, Riley led the Broncos in catches (6), yards (187) and receiving touchdowns (2).

Finally on defense, Rich Cimini noted that rookie OLB Garret McIntyre was playing outside linebacker in the Jets base 3-4 defense against New England. Obviously they didn’t spend much time in their base package against the Patriots but they will be on Thursday night. Look for a ton of reps from McIntyre.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if TE Shawn Nelson was active for the first time and taking some reps from Matthew Mulligan (maybe that is just wishful thinking from me). Also if Eric Smith continues to struggle, doesn’t Emmanuel Cook deserve a look with Brodney Pool still nursing an injury?

Rex And Jets Must Turn Page To Prepare For Second Half Run

Rex and the Jets must move past last week’s disappointment to prepare for a second half run

Rex Ryan was out of line. Plain and simple. A head coach, right or wrong shouldn’t be taking on paid customers. Ones who pay to get close and pop off shouldn’t expect flowers in return either. Where Rex could apply the new team mantra in a more useful way though, is in talking to himself and the team. This regarding the notion of giving the AFC East away after nine games. Since when were playoff berths handed out before the Turkey and stuffing go around the table?

OK, fine. The Patriots have swept the Jets in 2011, and during the last contest between the two. Gang Green even lacked big game poise throughout. That still doesn’t mean that that other team is invincible the rest of the way. Not like they once were. No way.

Especially in this strange NFL season. Where the 49ers are matching the Montana 49ers for wins with Alex Smith. Where the Seahawks and Jaguars knocked off the big bad Ravens. Where the AFC East leading Texans, that’s right, the Texans will now have to go the distance with that other USC QB, Matt Leinart

The Jets stopped themselves for two and a half quarters, when they weren’t adding time on the clock for future hall of famer Tom Brady to work two minute drills. They truly executed poorly. Even with that, the offense was set to get the ball back down just 13-9 in the third, before Joe McKnight fumbled.

In prior years, the score by then would have been 23-9, or worse given the efficiency that Tom Brady and co. have exemplified in the past.. Well it wasn’t 23-9 this time. The teams are not THAT far apart. Even it means that a road game in Foxboro in the postseason will be the only way for the Jets to prove that to themselves. Again.

The Jets failed to expose a battered New England secondary on Sunday night. Failed to finally grab hold of the AFC East driver’s seat. Failed to seize the moment. That moment is over now. The players should take Rex’s new bumper sticker catch phrase and stick it on the wall of their own lockers. Move on from the disappointment of not stepping up in the rematch. Learn from it yes, but don’t talk about it anymore.

Concentrate on what lies ahead instead, which is an opportunity to hold serve as far as playoff possibilities go. Refocus and consider what opportunities ARE available.  Before taking on a Denver club that lost running backs last Sunday and had it’s quarterback throw less passes in a game than some local Pop Warner QB’s do. Before needing help from OTHER teams down the stretch.

The Jets entire organization has to turn the page right this minute, regarding their never ending obsession with New England. Or in using the words of Ryan, “STFU” and play football. There is plenty of it left. Seven games in fact. Practically half a season. Beating the Patriots is a sure sign of one’s worth, but it doesn’t award an AFC team the automatic path to the Super Bowl either. Just ask the 2010 Jets that.

As for Mark Sanchez and the never ending debate about his talents, the media can run him out of town too now if they’d like. They might first however, want to keep in mind that many who now applaud the new elite QB Eli Manning, once had him dangling off of a cliff in Chicago years back. Where talk of a benching hit the airwaves from the Fox broadcasters booth in Soldier Field. This prior to a second half comeback, led by Manning that lifted the Giants to a big road win. This on their way to a playoff berth and eventual Super Bowl title.

Sanchez has to date, not shown that he is an elite QB by any stretch. Even with the addition of Plaxico Burress and a familiarity with everyone else in that WR corps. We’re not Sanchez apologists. We see that too. So do most Jets fans.

That doesn’t mean that he can’t lead teams to wins in December and January. Again. For the third straight season. For those who have already forgotten what the last two winters looked like when number 6 took the Jets on the road to send Rivers, Manning, and Mr 14-2 Brady, home.

Nobody in Jets nation is happy with 5-4 and two losses to the first place team in the books. Especially to the hated Pats of all clubs. There’s no crying in football though. No waving white flags either.

The Jets must put it behind them, forget the Pats for now, toughen up, and go get a win. It won’t be easy. The thin Denver altitude always makes things tough on visitors. Especially on short rest. Against ANOTHER QB who like Sanchez, possesses one redeeming stat. The propensity to win, no matter how ugly it can sometimes look.

The Jets have to count their blessings, and not wallow in any disappointment. Four losses and still in the running? Consider yourselves lucky fellas. As for November obituaries, hey, we’ve all been wrong about teams and players before. Ask St Louis Cardinal baseball beat folks about what THEY were writing about last August. Not the World Series we bet.

Yes, Rex inappropriately told some fan to STFU, but that message can apply to more than one drunk idiot who happened to have a great seat to a big primetime game.

For the Jets, it’s time to get ready for Denver. Thursday night is not a trap game now. It’s another crucial one.

New York Jets: The Danger In Denver

Can the New York Jets avoid having a major let-down in Denver?

I firmly believe the New York Jets are substantially better than their next five opponents. However, we all know that doesn’t mean anything if they don’t play to their potential and that on any given day, any given NFL team could lose to another. Of their next five games, the most dangerous one is coming up the day after tomorrow.

Thursday night’s game has all the ingredients of let-down for the Jets.

  • Hangover from an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots.
  • A ridiculously short turnaround, thanks to a horrible job of scheduling by the league’s office which has the Jets going from a Sunday night game to a Thursday night game where they have to fly cross country.
  • A bizarre and unique offense to prepare for, which couldn’t be any further from the offense they played last.
  • Playing on the road in a hostile environment against a team who recently clawed back into their divisional race, led by a quarterback who is defying logic by his ability to win football games.

All that being said, if the Jets want to puff out their chest as a serious contender and have any form of pride after the effort they put in front of a national audience only a few days ago, they will respond with a serious beating for the Denver Broncos.

This is as one dimensional as an offense could get. If Rex Ryan and his front seven can’t slow down this offense, there needs to be serious questions about the personnel up front and at linebacker. If Denver scores more than 14 points, than the Jets defense has seriously let them down. On the other side, the Jets offense needs to recognize this and put up the necessary points to win. Denver has an average defense, there is no excuse to have zero first half points and let the Broncos hang around.

The Broncos completed 2 passes last week, 2! If the Jets get up 10-0, what are they going to do? The offense needs to put the pressure on Denver right away to step outside their comfort zone which is when Rex’s defense can really take advantage of such a limited offense.

I can see Thursday going two ways, the Jets are either winning by double digits or losing in an ugly, low-scoring game that is going to sicken all of us beyond belief. Do they want to start building momentum towards the playoffs with a winning streak they should go on? Or, do they want to have to scrap for a 9-7/10-6 record and pray for a few tie-breakers to fall their way?

Let’s hope they show some pride and don’t embarrass themselves for the second time in four days on national television.

6 Pack Of Suggestions For The New York Jets

6 suggestions for improving the New York Jets down the stretch

An emergency 6 pack of suggestions for improving the New York Jets who remain in the thick of the AFC wild-card race.

1. No More Mulligan – Matthew Mulligan should not be playing 20 snaps a game in a NFL offense. He shouldn’t be playing 5 snaps a game in a NFL offense. If you decide your number two tight end is going to be such a big part of your offense, you have to make a better investment at the position. How about giving recently signed Shawn Nelson a chance?

2. More and More Pool – When he gets back to being healthy, it is time to take large chunks of playing time away from Eric Smith and give it to Brodney Pool, than in the off-season the Jets must draft or sign an athletic safety with some height. Time to react to New England having two monsters at tight end.

3. Pick A Punt Returner – First you had Jeremy Kerley deep, then you had Jim Leonhard, then you switched to Joe McKnight back deep who proceeded to muff a punt. I love McKnight as a kick returner but he has looked shaky returning punts. It is a completely different skill set. Stick with Kerley and use Leonhard and his sure hands as the primary backup.

4. More McKnight & Kerley On Offense – The Jets are limited in the number of players they have who could create big plays. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson aren’t ripping off big runs or turning screens into huge plays, McKnight needs more touches period, particularly in space. Jeremy Kerley is similar in this regard and deserves a bigger role on offense, especially stretching the seam.

5. Throw The Damn Football Down The Field – The Jets must add more of a vertical element to their passing game. You need to throw the football deep to loosen up a defense. It is the only way to create big plays, whether it is connecting on the pass or drawing an interference penalty. This offense makes it too hard on themselves by having to put together such long drives. They desperately need big plays. Mark Sanchez throws a good deep ball…let him air it out a few times a game. Whether you want to admit it or not the Jets are missing Braylon Edwards in this aspect of their offense but Santonio Holmes has the ability to get open deep.

6. Be Yourself – Don’t lose the confidence and swagger because of one loss. This team plays better when they have an attitude and are running their mouths a little bit.

New York Jets…And The Hysteria Sets In

One regular season loss and the hysteria has set in for Jets Nation

Let’s not sugarcoat anything from the New York Jets game last night. It was embarrassing to make the number of mental errors they did. The table was set perfectly for them to make a run for a AFC East title and they choked. Nobody played well. Nobody coached well.

Now for some perspective: despite a missed chip shot field goal, a muffed punt, a tipped ball interception, horrific clock management, horrific protection, and a mediocre performance from the quarterback, the Jets were down by a touchdown with less than 10 minutes left.

This loss hurts as it ended any realistic chance of the Jets winning the division and hosting a home playoff game. The road to the Super Bowl will again be spent…on the road. Now the key is actually getting to the point of the playing those road playoff games.

I don’t care how much last night stung, the Jets are still sitting at 5-4 with 5 straight games coming up in which they will be favorites. They are in a conference where there could be a 9 win team who makes the playoffs and nobody is pulling away in the wild-card race. If they do make it into the tournament, who is unbeatable?

New England was unbeatable last year and we know how that went. Baltimore just lost to Seattle. Pittsburgh has looked vulnerable at times. The AFC West is a mess and Houston has never played a playoff game and now has Matt Leinart under center. It is a wide open conference where the team who gets hot at the right time will end up in the Super Bowl.

I am not trying to blind with you some sunny optimism about the Jets and the holes on their current roster. There is real problems that we will get to addressing later. Yet, for now they are more than talented enough to beat Denver and their college style offense even on short notice.

The pity party solves nothing, similar to the rash of hysteria that follows every loss this team has. I have news for you Jets fans, Mark Sanchez isn’t going anywhere. He is our quarterback and this isn’t a bad thing. Is he inconsistent? Is there room for improvement? Yes. Sanchez is a young, developing quarterback who had minimal experience in college and has dealt with a revolving door at wide receiver and some questionable play-calling. On the whole, he will likely make a statistical improvement in every major category this year from last year…just like he did from his second year in comparison to his first year.

Stop saying the Jets can’t win with him because he has already won four road playoff games and wasn’t the reason they lost of either of their AFC Championship Games. The media gives Sanchez the rashest and harshest treatment because of his coach and the team he plays on.

Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions yesterday, his team has lost 3 of 4, and he is always banged up. Should the Lions give up on him? Josh Freeman has been terrible this year compared to last year and has never won an important game. Should the Bucs give up on him? Matt Ryan zero playoff wins. Time to cut him loose? Joe Flacco can’t get past Pittsburgh in the playoffs and just lost in Seattle, why keep him around?

The same thing goes for Rex Ryan, don’t hate on his personality and brashness when the team loses but embrace it when they are winning. You can say this about Rex, he is consistent. He is himself and that never changes. Either like it or dislike it, don’t say he needs to stop being who is because the Jets didn’t run the table after starting 2-3.

Last night was an ugly loss to our hated rivals…it brings out plenty of negative emotions. Vent them out but save your big picture judgements until the season is over. The same people who buried the Jets today are the same people who buried them in 2009 and 2010 after regular season losses to New England.

Initial Reaction: Outclassed – Jets Get Smacked By New England

It was an ugly night at MetLife Stadium…

Sometimes football isn’t a very complicated game. When you miss chip shot field goals, commit stupid penalties, turn the football over, and manage the clock poorly, you aren’t going to win.

Tonight was an ugly, sloppy effort from the New York Jets at time when they could least afford it. Don’t put this one on any single individual or unit. Tonight was a team loss, that was as much about mental mistakes as it was about physical mistakes.

The sob stories will start surrounding this team again, as they blew a golden opportunity. Realistically a AFC East crown probably isn’t happening. It is now on to the dogfight for a wild-card spot. Shame on Rex Ryan for not having the team properly prepared tonight, particularly not having his defense ready for the Patriots hurry up. Shame on Joe McKnight and Donald Strickland for not being able to catch or fall on a punt. Shame on Mark Sanchez for an inconsistent performance and poor clock management. Shame on the offensive line for being abused all night, the linebackers for generating no pass rush and shame on Eric Smith for being generally awful at his job.

Fortunately, there isn’t time for the Jets to wipe up their tears. They will take the whipping in the media they deserve and hear how overrated they are yet again but the reality is that they are playing Denver in a couple of days and they badly need a win to wash the taste of tonight out of their mouth. The soft part of the schedule is here and the Jets need to tonight quick to take advantage of it.

It Is Now Or Never For Jets Fans: Suggestions For MetLife Stadium

Chris Celletti with a call to action for Jets fans this Sunday and a few suggestions for the MetLife Stadium game-day production crew

I’ve been going to Jets games since the days of Boomer Esiason. I’ve seen some great moments for sure – plenty of bad ones, and now I’ve gotten to experience two different stadiums. MetLife Stadium has many faults. When it was being designed and then built, Jets fans were sold on the idea that this would be OUR stadium – not just a shared one with the Giants – even though we were sharing this one with them too. How would that be accomplished? By green lights, and green signs, and just a bunch of other green things. When I first walked into the place, the color that overrode everything was gray. It’s a huge hunk of steel and concrete. I suppose it is better than the Giants’ red that the seats in the old building had, but walking into MetLife stadium doesn’t exactly invoke an overwhelming amount of Jet pride.

Jets fans have always seemed a bit whiny when it came to not having their own stadium. I say this because there is no reason that on eight Sundays a year (and hopefully more, but who are we kidding?) Jets fans can’t lose their collective minds and go be completely off the wall in support of their team, regardless of the name of the stadium or the color of the seats. I watch enough NFL football on TV to know what a truly great home crowd is. Every other NFL stadium seems totally packed by kickoff; in most buildings the entire place is standing and cheering on the team’s first defensive possession. From being at every Jets home game this season, I can tell you that that’s not nearly the case at MetLife Stadium.

The place is generally about 60% full at kickoff. When I walk into the stadium from the parking lot, usually about a half hour from kickoff, I notice hoards of people still lounging in their bucket seats, knocking back Coors Lights and flipping burgers, priorities clear. Why you’d pay whatever you pay for a Jets ticket and waltz in 25 minutes late because you just had to have another sliver of Sal’s awesome skirt steak, well, I’m not sure. I hope Sunday night is different.

You have all day to tailgate. Get to your seat by 8 o’clock. Go nuts for the team when it is announced. Stand up, get loud, make it as tough as you can for Tom Brady. If the Jets go down by 7, or 10, don’t wallow. Rex Ryan and Bart Scott have both said the crowd could make a difference this week. They’re not crazy.

As for MetLife Stadium? Well, they cant change the colors. Whatever. But there are some things that can be changed.

-First off, don’t attack our senses at every chance. I don’t need to hear “Ridin’ Dirty” blasting in my ears after every Shonn Greene 10 yard run (thank God, in that sense, that he’s had a rough year). My brother, Rob Celletti, has made the very valid point that the blasting of music does absolutely nothing to get people pumped up. Instead, it has the reverse effect. All it does is drone on and drown out any crowd noise.

-Replace your PA announcer, please. I usually don’t begrudge people who do their jobs since, but I know I could do a better job. I swear I could. Almost anyone could.

-You’ve gotta be kidding with “Down With The Sickness” by Disturbed before kickoff. To every New York sports team who isn’t sure what song to play when their team comes out, here are four words: Empire State of Mind.

-Give me more classic highlights during TV timeouts! This was one of the best parts of the old Giants Stadium. So what if we’re losing to the Dolphins 3-0? Show me Ken O’Brien hitting Wesley Walker for an 86-yard bomb in 1988, and all will be fine.

So there’s that. The gameday stadium production will be the same, but one can dream. Either way, now is the time for Jets fans to step up their game and make MetLife Stadium a fortress. The team has given you plenty to cheer about the past two and a half seasons.

Now go cheer.