Initial Reaction – Jets Hang Tough But Fall Short, Pick Your Narrative

The New York Jets couldn’t make a big play late to upset the Houston Texans

If another team had played the Houston Texans tonight, maybe the Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals for example, the story would be about what a scrappy effort was put together in a losing cause. After all, Houston has won three of their 5 games by over 20 points and hasn’t trailed yet this season. We’d hear about gutsy fake punt and onside kick calls. A collection of unheralded players stepping up to nearly pull off the upset. Didn’t everybody pick the Jets to lose by 20-30 points tonight? And yet, there they were with a chance to win in the final 2 minutes.

Nobody is saying the team needs to puff their chest out about a loss but some perspective is needed. If for some reason you thought the Jets were a 12 win, Super Bowl contending team heading into the season, you were ignorant of their widespread roster problems. If you thought after losing Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Sione Pouha, Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill they were going to knock off the best team in football and still had the makeup of a 10/11 win team, you remain ignorant of their widespread roster problems.

The Jets aren’t the laughingstock most of the NFL media wants you to believe they are but they are a deeply flawed team, similar to many others in this league. Tonight was encouraging because the Jets had the look of a team who could hover around .500 and remain in the wild-card discussion into December. They looked like a team that should be able to scrap together a handful of wins when they aren’t playing stacked teams like San Francisco and Houston.

At times, we are harshly critical of players like Jeff Cumberland, Clyde Gates and Chaz Schilens on this site. Perhaps that isn’t always fair. These guys are role players who are being asked to be full time players for the Jets. They have talent. That is why they are in the NFL. You saw them all make plays tonight. Yet, you also saw them all make mistakes. The type of mistakes that happen when you rely on role players to be full time players and that is on Mike Tannenbaum.

Mark Sanchez did enough tonight to keep his job. Is his current level of play acceptable? No. It is too inconsistent. However, considering he has ZERO running game and a revolving door at receiver (Jason Hill was signed 5 days ago and probably played 30 snaps tonight, including all of them on the final 2 minute drive) and was still able to generate 230 yards passing, he deserves another week. He remains a better full time option than Tim Tebow, who the coaching staff still hasn’t figured out how to use properly along with their inability to master substitution patterns. These are the kind of things that happen when you are giving major reps to players who weren’t on the team last week, like Hill and Lex Hilliard.

Some other negatives? The pass rush is nonexistent. You never want to make bold proclamations like this 5 games into people’s careers but I am going out on a limb to say the Jets crapped the bed by passing on Chandler Jones for Quinton Coples. The running game remains a disaster. Can the Jets see if they can trade Shonn Greene to anybody for a conditional 6th or 7th round pick?

The positives? The Jets run defense can build on the second half. After getting gashed in the first two quarters, they held Houston to 59 yards on 22 carries in the second half. Antonio Cromartie played a terrific game, completely shutting down Andre Johnson and coming up with an interception. Jeremy Kerley continued his very strong season, finishing with 5 receptions for 94 yards. Kerley is going to grow substantially from the extended playing time this year and is arguably the brightest spot on the Jets entire offense so far and going forward.

Next week against the Colts won’t be easy. The Jets don’t have easy games this year. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t more than capable of taking care of business next week and setting themselves on track to get into their bye week with a .500 record.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Mark Phelan

    Cromartie won me over.

  • Angel

    “If another team had played the Houston Texans tonight, maybe the Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals for example, the story would be about what a scrappy effort was put together in a losing cause.”

    That is how the rest of the media – outside of NY – is covering it.

    Seeing as how so many starters are out, the Jet’s effort is being looked at as admirable. Same thing with Sanchez. Most people realize he’s out there practically disarmed… no weapons.

  • keator

    All mark had to do was play the exact same and hit on the two plays that were wide open. 85 in the endzone, and cro down the sidelines. This was another winnable game wasted by mark sanchez inability to take advantage of the shots the defense gave him…. but lets write off coples

  • Sorry, But The Texans are Overrated! Their Secondary is Terrible and outside of Watt… That defense is not scaring anyone. There are better defenses than the Texans on the Jets schedule. The only bright side to this game was our special teams and our WRs. Clearly the Texans thought they could just walk all over us as it seemed they did not have a gameplan like the 49ers did and just ran their generic stuff. We cant keep going for it on 4th down on our side of the field and expect to win 8 games this year! Also the WRs stepped up for Sanchez but he did not in kind. Sanchez needs to make better throws and look off because a better defense would have had at least 4 turnovers instead of 2.

  • Coach

    I am so tired of these excuses! Interesting to me that the Jets lose two players and everyone talks about the packing it in! This is the NFL, injuries happen all the time. Do you think Texans are going to talk this talk because they lost Cushings? I doubt it. You could make the argument that Cush is just as important as Revis to thier defense. When the Jets beat the Colts to go to the AFC Championship game the Colts had 22 players on IR. Including Bob Sanders and the entire starting secondary 1st and 2nd unit. Basically played the Jets with 3rd string players except for Bethea. Two starting LB’S OT, RB, WR’s. But we praised the Jets and their coach for beating Payton Manning. What a joke! Injuries are part of the game that’s why the GM gets big bucks to prevent a collapse if a key injury occurs. Really, 2 players and the season is over. Your GM and Coach are to blame for not providing the QB with the weapons necessary to compete. Joe Cap has stated this many times on this website. Pats lost Brady and won 11 games! Enough said!

  • joe defiant

    Do you really think Rex Ryan has much say in the players on offense? I doubt it. They give him his one pick (like Connor) and he defers to the OC and GM. Look all the talk about Rex should be fired is bullshit. He made this team fun and competitive again. Remember back to 4-5 years ago. There are only about six teams with a better record since Ryan took over. Those teams are Saints, Packers, Steelers, Ravens, Giants (if you include super bowl.) I may have left one team out. But thats pretty good company. To talk about any of those teams needing to fire their coach is kinda ridiculous. I’ll agree the GM did a horrible job and I don’t like the guy. But I HATE woody johnson as well. Where is Leon Hess… (another asshole but less so.)

  • joe defiant

    Example: Rex fought hard to try to get the Jets to keep Braylon Edwards. But Tannebaum didn’t want to pay him. Braylon used Rex to vouch for him in Miami and Seattle when he was trying out in the offseason. Braylon was way more important in blocking for the run game and forcing the safeties deep for the run game than Santonio Holmes will ever be. It’s a very big reason why the run game is not working this year. There is no deep threat the other team needs to respect even with Santonio playing. Rex likes Sanchez a lot and fought with Tannebaum to try to get him to pay someone. Anyone think Braylon would help right now??? Same thing will happen at the end of this season with Dustin Keller. Rex will fight to keep him, but Tannebaum will decide that Cumberland is a cheap replacement and Keller will be on another team in 2013.

  • joe defiant

    2005-2009 when Braylon was on Celeveland Rueben Droughns and Jamal Lewis rushed for over 1000 yards every year. 2009 – 2011 thomas jones, tomlinson, and greene were in the top of rushing in the league. Everywhere the guy has been the team can rush the ball. Not to over state the effect of a WR blocking. But between the blocking and the deep threat it makes a huge difference. Not to mention Sanchez had begun to develop really good chemistry with Braylon Edwards. How would the Jets look right now with Braylon and Cotchery on the outside and Kerley in the slot? Much different team? Both players could have been had for not much money either… It’s a shame what could have been. Cotchery was also a good blocker who gave it all on every play.

  • Angel

    So the Jets only lost 2 players?

    1. Darelle Revis
    2. Santonio Holmes
    3. Dustin Keller
    4. Stephen Hill
    5. John Connor
    6. Bryan Thomas [earlier this season]
    6 1/2 Jeremy Kerley [earlier this season]
    7. RT [they don’t really have one yet]

    In what Universe does this equal 2?


    And I’m probably forgetting someone, aren’t I?

  • joeydefiant

    You forgot Sione Pouha, Kenrick Ellis, and Eric Smith. Bad year for injuries. (Lots of fans seem to hate Eric Smith but i think he’s a great nickel player/sub safety) The pass D has been better when he is on the field then when he is not. I would like the jets to play a 3 safety look every now and then with bell, landry, and smith on the field kind of like how the giants used to do it. Use smitty near the line to help stop the run. It would help against fast TE’s that the jets slow LB’s can’t cover as well.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Coach – Any comparison to that Colts team isn’t valid because it was led by a first ballot HOF QB in Peyton Manning. Nobody on this site thinks Sanchez is or will ever be anywhere near that level. I do think he can be a successful NFL QB if you give him a halfway decent supporting cast.

    The Jets are problems are a lack of overall talent, speed and depth. Poor drafting and misguided off-seasons have led them there, which falls on Mike T’s lap. Rex does shoulder some of the blame on defense because he needs to scheme around his weaknesses, although you can only do so much when you are that slow and mediocre at LB and don’t have a single capable pass rusher on your roster.

  • Coach

    Angel and Joe, Two players gone for the year (IR) as I stated that the Colts team put 22 on the IR your list 3-6 will be back some this week. Joe states it correctly the GM left his team short, period! Joe, I realize that and I was not trying to compare the QB’s. The mere fact that so many players were missing on both sides of the ball and nobody made excuses about the lose but Rex was declared a genius for beating Payton Manning. But now he can do anything for his team because they lost their top D-player and O-player. The fact that saying “good try” vs. the Texans is embarrassing.

  • Tragically, what we are witnessing is the learning curve of Rex as a first time head coach. Belichick and his legendary football IQ didn’t transcend the rest of humanity while he was in Cleveland. Scary thought: Rex is starting to remind Detroit Lion fans of Wayne Fontes, a fairly good Defense coach while at Tampa but.. when elevated to Head Coach in Detroit morphed into a likable “players coach” cartoon character!

  • Joe Caporoso

    Coach – I actually thought Rex and Jets did a good job of not patting themselves on the back in postgame comments for a “good effort” on Monday, when most of the world had them losing by at least 20 points. They shouldn’t have held “good try” attitude publicly and they didn’t. I did haha because I was satisfied not see a blowout when players like Cumberland, Gates and Schilens are playing major reps.

    I still think Rex is a good defensive mind. Regardless of the team, it is impressive to beat Peyton in his building in the playoffs. And it is especially impressive to beat your beloved Tom Brady and his 14-2 Patriots in his building in the playoffs. Those were well-schemed games.

    Rex did adjust well in the 2nd half against Houston. The Texans had 59 yards on 22 carries in the 2nd half and only scored 6 points, despite having a short field after an onsides kick. Now, that doesn’t excuse getting gashed in the first half but still.

    Jets D overall has not been good at all this year and a big part of that falls on Rex, along with Mike T. Let’s see if they build off second half in Houston and play well vs Indy, NE, and MIA before bye and can get there at 4-4.