So close, yet so far. No, not the 17-16 loss the Jets suffered to the hated Patriots in the latest winnable game that evaporated into thin air. I’m talking about Rex Ryan’s six year long attempt to wrestle control of the AFC East away from the Foxboro dynasty. Both the days when the Jets stood toe to toe with that beloved team of New Jersey’s own Jon Bon Jovi straight through January, and daydreams that the trend would continue are long gone.
The Jets came closer in the past half decade than the Dolphins and Bills have. Yet, even as Tom Brady ages gracefully, none of the three appear to be any more of a threat to overtake the division than any of them were in 2008.
For the most part, despite three different offensive coordinators Rex has been one way on offense. Grounding and pounding with Thomas Jones. Shonn Greene. LaDainian Tomlinson. Chris Johnson. Chris Ivory. Chalk it up to the inabilities of both Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith to elevate into anything better than game managing handoff machines, if you will. After all like Ryan said himself this past week, life is a whole lot different when Tom Brady is your quarterback. Whatever the reasons may be, offense has simply been an albatross for Ryan over his entire time in New York.
There he was again heading towards midfield to congratulate the victors, as he has done all year after yet another near miss. Another one score disappointment. This time with a little more emotion and fire upon his exit as he raced for the tunnel. Dropping out of Met Life sight most likely for the last time in Green and White. Knowing that at one time he was right there, but is now light years away from what Eric Mangini once left to him when he started this journey.
The Jets trailed 17-16, had a third and four inside the Pats 30 with 6:00 left . After using Geno Smith effectively and sparingly all day, the Jets left him susceptible to a blitz without Nick Mangold, who left the game with an injured ankle earlier. Smith got sacked, which forced a low Nick Folk FG from 52 yards to get blocked.
According to NFL Betting lines, the Jets covered against the Patriots again. It was the fourth straight time they have done so. Next week, they are 5 point underdogs in Miami as they look to avoid going winless in the AFC East for the first time since 1996.
Rex said afterwards “You can’t take a sack there, no matter who’s in your face. Get rid of the football. You can’t take sacks in those situations.” Actually Rex, you can’t put Geno Smith in that position. Not when he’s proven time and again to lack the game awareness to avoid that devastating sack.
If you don’t have the faith to attack the end zone with the lead in the late third, don’t ask Smith to rescue you while trailing Rex. When even a run play for no gain would have left Nick Folk with a 40 yard field goal for the lead. If you’re playing all day to let the defense win the game for you, why give Geno the power to lose it for you with the money on the line when there are alternative choices?
Mangold and Freeman
“These families deserve our support” Nick Mangold said after the game in reference to wearing a NYPD baseball cap onto the field prior to kickoff to honor the two cops slain in Brooklyn Saturday. It was a classy gesture by a classy leader.
Mangold’s departure forced backup Dalton Freeman into the game with the Herculean task of having to deal with gargantuan Vince Wilfork. A job Mangold has done extremely well over the course of a decade but a dangerous assignment for anyone lacking the experience to handle.
Losing Mangold is a scenario I’ve always said scares me the most. Freeman however did a great job in his absence, both Jet centers did yesterday.
Gearing Up For A Bloody Aftermath
This season has been a disaster. We all know that. Seven days from now, heads will roll. This team could very well be without a GM, Head Coach, which will in turn mean there will be no definitive starting quarterback or plans to acquire one until regime change is complete.
I’m gearing up for the bloodbath now. Woody Johnson senses the fans anger with John Idzik. I don’t believe he will go just halfway with this purge, I just have this feeling that everyone’s gone and the Jets will have more than a new starter behind center in week one next season. They will have a new marketing plan to sell tickets because anything less may be playing with fire. Johnson is a businessman. He won’t take that kind of risk.
– Jeff Cumberland played with some attitude Sunday. Jason Babin was fast and effective and has been often this season. Soon to be All-Pro Sheldon Richardson had another strong game, but easy with the self proclaimed JJ Watt comparisons Shell.
– Safety Rontez Miles just has bad luck. The second year UDFA guy finally got the call up from the practice squad but got banged up in practice this past week and needed emergency shin surgery. Hang in there kid. Persevere. Maybe next year is your time.
– Recently released CB Josh Thomas, the guy who before he was sent packing had his Jet playbook stolen, landed in Detroit with the Lions and immediately told the media he wasn’t coached well in New York. “I felt I wasn’t given the attention necessary, as far as being engaged from the coaches, from a player’s standpoint. It came to where I was there as a player, and wanting and desiring some feedback that wasn’t given. Sometimes I may have been standing there with deer (in the headlights) look in my eyes trying to figure out what I needed to do.” The comments do highlight a sore spot for many fans who question the Jets ability to develop and max out their own talent.
– It’s amazing how different Tom Brady looks when he’s up tempo and firing throws before pressure and not being chased down by defenders in the pocket. He’s two completely different guys.
– Darrelle Revis looks like a mercenary in that Pats uniform. I wonder how New England will play it with him after the season.