4-6 is not the type of record to go celebrating in the Meatpacking District over. The way New York athletes often do after big victories. Ending a three game skid and moving beyond a “Terrible Tim” storm that threatened to derail focus on the Rams is. The Jets win over St Louis has seemingly calmed the Florham Park madness down for the time being but more importantly, has moved Gang Green to within two games of a wildcard spot with six games remaining. The hated Pats minus Gronk are next, but a season on the brink was given a breath of life yesterday. Let’s at least be thankful for that at the start of this holiday week.
1 – Unraveling the Mystery That Is Mark Sanchez
Give Mark Sanchez an effective run game, a defense that gets stops, some screen passes with proper spacing, a few roll outs, and receivers who hold onto the ball, and you get a 118 rating. The entire team has to be functioning well in order for Sanchez to manage a game with confidence but when they do, the Jets starting QB can do his job well.
We wonder what minimizing the Tebow substitutions did to his rythym too as well. Should plays or packages that call for 15 more often reappear this season, it will be worth keeping an eye on how the production of Sanchez changes. Hopefully the staff monitors any differences should they arise, as well.
2 – Bart Scott’s Brief Boycott
The Jets animated veteran LB gave his defense post game orders to use the catch phrase “both teams played hard” with the press. The boycott failed after a brief stand, but it’s intent, to combat a media that used unnamed sources to try and splinter a team already struggling with a three game losing streak and an undermanned roster, is understandable. It’s hard to blame the longtime veteran for being angry about the purposeful disruption.
The players though, should all know by now, that the Jets are painted as a circus tent who at times, bring the cartoonish characterization upon themselves. For a colorful team with an open door media policy like the Jets, the all or nothing Big Apple coverage is heightened to the utmost degree.
On the flip side, there is nothing like winning in New York. An upset over the Patriots Thursday will change the storyline from “implosion” to “another Rex late season charge” towards the playoffs.
3 – Three Headed Monster: A Wish Finally Granted
We asked for GM Mike Tannenbaum to acquire one more veteran RB this offseason in order to bolster the ground and pound concept that Tony Sparano was hoping to reinvigorate this year. We didn’t get our wish.
Finally in week 11, we got the next best thing. A three pronged attack that included speedy Joe McKnight and shifty Bilal Powell into the mix. Shonn Greene has been effective as of late, and the help he got Sunday proved that the Jets can aid Mark Sanchez by moving the chains on the ground while setting up play action. Let’s hope this approach continues. There ought to be no going back to the ”Greene as Bell Cow Back” daydream ever again.
4 – Gronk’s Injury
Rob Gronkowski got injured in the waning moments of a 59-24 Patriot blowout win against the Colts Sunday. The great TE’s broken forearm was an unnecessary one, especially when you consider that it happened on the extra point blocking team in a 35 point game.
On the one hand we respect Bill Belichick for working on his offense’s playbook and crispness with his starters, even when a victory is in the bag. On the other hand, the mindset comes at a great risk to the health of key starters. New England lost Wes Welker in a meaningless final game three years back, and could have used him during their first round playoff exit at the hands of the Ravens at home weeks later. Team history was there for Belichick to lean on before deciding to take that type of chance again.
What Gronk’s injury means for the Jets is two fold heading into their must win matchup on Thanksgiving night. First, that the only unguardable player in one on one coverage will be out . A reality that will help the Jets at times. Second, that Belichick has often been able to offset an injury in the short term by utilizing backups and other positions anyway.
The Patriots are still the Patriots as long as Tom Brady is the QB and Belichick is the HC. Don’t let any one injury, even to the league’s best player at his position, allow you to think otherwise.
5 – Other Jets/Pats Thoughts