I know most people out there thought the Texans were going to just come into MetLife Stadium last night and blow the doors off the Jets. I wasn’t one of those people, but I was still pleased with the way the Jets played, and they exceeded my expectations. The best thing I can say right now is that the Jets aren’t going to turn into the Mets, and the second half of the season will at the very least remain watchable. We took the best team in the league right down to the wire, and there is hope! Of course, that doesn’t mean the loss didn’t hurt, since I really felt they had a chance to pull out the game. Let’s buy and sell some Jets stock based on last night’s performance and where the team is headed now.
BUY: The Onside Kick Call – I wanted to address this first. A lot of people had a problem with Rex calling for the onside kick after Joe McKnight’s kick return touchdown, but they shouldn’t. Rex was playing to win, and he knew he had to pull out all the stops to beat a team like the Texans. More importantly, it showed that Rex isn’t the delusional buffoon that many claim him to be. He knows the defense isn’t the dominant unit he claimed it was, and he didn’t have the blind faith in them to stop the Texans from running the ball down his throat in that situation. It showed guts, and I appreciate that. Plus, why not let the best unit on the team, the special teams led by Mike Westhoff, try to make another play and help win the game?
BUY: Nick Mangold – My heart dropped when I saw Mangold writhing in pain with an ankle injury and with the way this season has been going, I of course feared the worst. So it was pretty freaking awesome to see Mangold come back out on the field and play the majority of the second half. Nick Mangold is a man’s man, and I only wish this his toughness would rub off on some of his teammates. Yes, I mean Dustin Keller.
SELL: Jeff Cumberland, Jason Hill, Chaz Schilens – Not a surprise here, but these guys are absolutely terrible. TERRIBLE. There’s a reason they were all ranked so lowly in my roster run-down from last week. Schilens ran the wrong routes or messed up on more than one occasion. Jason Hill had that pitiful drop on the Tebow deep pass that proved every single Jets fan right who cursed Mike Tannenbaum for signing him, and Jeff Cumberland played like Jeff Cumberland. Even in a game Cumberland scores a touchdown, he still manages to come off looking like a disgrace.
SELL: Matt Cavanaugh – I said this months ago when I took the Jets to task for their complete and utter failure to properly develop their young quarterback, but when is this guy going to be held accountable? He has been an abject failure at every stop of his coaching career, and this is the guy we kept around to continue to mentor our struggling quarterback? I’m not saying he’s the problem here, but he’s absolutely, positively, without a doubt NOT part of a solution.
SELL: The Linebackers – My God, the linebackers on this team just fell off a cliff this year. Even David Harris, who I love as a player, has been struggling. Perhaps that’s because he has to make every single tackle since Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, and Bryan Thomas are USELESS (seriously, USELESS. That deserves mentioning twice), but he’s still not playing up to the standard that he set for himself. Garrett McIntyre also deserves special mention here for his performance, especially on the Arian Foster touchdown run where he got absolutely steamrolled. Sadly, despite all of Rex’s defensive wizardry, this unit can’t improve until these guys get their pink slips and some linebackers are brought in who can actually run, get to the outside, and generally not move around with all the grace of Tony Siragusa headed towards a toilet after a trip to Taco Bell. In the second half we saw more of Quinton Coples in 4 man fronts, Josh Mauga and Demario Davis at linebacker, and shockingly, the defense improved. That’s weird.
BUY: Jeremy Kerley – Jeremy Kerley had a great game. For a guy who was not expected to be anything more than a slot receiver this year, he’s really stepped into the #1 receiver roll and looked pretty darn good doing so. Defenses are going to start paying more attention to him, but if Dustin Keller ever gets the green light to actually play, the Jets might actually have some offensive weapons to use and we won’t have to see Cumberland and Jason Hill disgracing their family names any longer.
BUY: Antonio Cromartie – I saved the best for last this week. Antonio Cromartie played like the elite cornerback that he is this week and showed the world he wasn’t just blowing smoke when he said he feels like he’s the best corner in the league now that Revis is down. Guess what? He really might be. I never understood the irrational hatred towards Cromartie from Jets fans who were just jaded from watching Revis play. There’s only one corner in the world who doesn’t get beat. All of the others give up plays from time to time, but very few are able to cover man to man the way Antonio Cromartie does, and there aren’t 5 others in the league who can make the big plays he does either. He’s a great player, and the Jets are lucky to have him. How many other guys would be able to just take over the Revis role and follow around a guy like Andre Johnson all over the field and make it seem like the Jets defense isn’t missing a beat? If this season ends in anything but a Pro Bowl selection for Cro, it will be a travesty.