The Jets having been officially knocked out in week 17 technically means that they just missed the playoffs this season. They certainly didn’t “just miss” being a threat in areas they hoped to thrive in over the course of 2011 though. Wildcard weekend’s winners each showcased a piece of what the Jets thought they would possess themselves, as they made their way into year three of the Rex Ryan era last August.
Arian Foster and Ben Tate exemplified what a “Ground and Pound 2.0 ought to look like. Powerful, fast, dangerous and unrelenting. This wasn’t 3.5 yards and a cloud of dust. This combo was a brutalizing pair against the Bengals. Foster and Tate were running downhill the minute the second half began. Similar to the way Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene would in 2009, but with more explosiveness. The Jets must continue to employ Ryan’s beloved mantra, but look for ways to add to it, with outside speed and some tank like force inside.
In the Saints in thrashing the Lions 45-28, the plethora of choices that Drew Brees (who thrived after ending his connection to QB coach Brian Schottenheimer in San Diego.. cough, cough) has to work with, were the template for what the Jets tried in their own pedestrian way, to achieve when they came out as a pass happy three wide bunch to start the year. Spread out and fast paced.
The Jets like most of the teams in the NFL, will never match this weaponry. However, they can try and learn from the Saints tempo in and out of the huddle, from play to play. Crisp. Quick. With purpose.
The Jets muddling along has to stop. Too many false starts by the offense comes as a result of being out of rhythm, a step slow, and not in control of the pace of play, when they hit the line of scrimmage.
The Giants front four allowed their offense time to get into a rhythm against the Falcons, even though it was an odd 2-0 Atlanta lead for much of the first half. The Jets don’t have this knockout outside pass rush prowess up front. At all.
Yes Mike Devito, Sione Pouha and Co. are stout against the run, but this is a quarterback’s league nowadays. Strike some fear into the opposition’s signal caller and an entire 53 man team can seem alot more imposing.
Big Blue’s QB Eli Manning is as poised as he has ever been this year as well. We know the Manning Mark Sanchez comparison is an unfair one based on experience, but Sanchez should be studying how calm Manning works under duress in the pocket. How accurately he delivers third down throws with his arm, while his legs remain composed.
Tim Tebow works miracles. We know that. The Broncos collectively follow him though. They play with heart and passion and unity. The Jets failed to exude this external desperation throughout the course of their 8-8 disappointment. Perhaps this was due to the fact that internally, Gang Green owned a sense of entitlement, after two straight trips deep into January.
A more humble disposition and collective belief in each other might be the antidote to the Jets malaise going forward. It certainly has been for John Fox’s crew who appear overmatched on a weekly basis on paper, yet find themselves heading to the AFC divisional round anyway.
Hopefully the Jets took away something from a voyeuristic distance from this first playoff weekend. There was alot to be gained simply from watching.