I know what you were thinking. We were all thinking the same thing. “Typical Jets. Can’t enjoy prosperity. Typical post bye week effort. Sluggish. Spotty.” The Jets went into the locker room tied at halftime against the beat up undermanned Skins yesterday and at that point, it just felt like one of those games where everyone would be kicking themselves at the lost opportunity on Monday. Players, fans, coaches.
After seeing the offense pick up the pace and the defense put the stranglehold on Kirk Cousins in the second half though, maybe we all learned something. That this Todd Bowles Jets team is not a same old Jets replica. That this offense even with limited Ryan Fitzpatrick leading it, can explode in bunches and provide enough firepower to offset the offensive firepower of quality teams down the road. Chris Ivory kicked it up into turbo gear. So did Brandon Marshall. As the Jets overcame three first half turnovers on their way to a 34-20 win and a 4-1 start. When both sides of the ball are clicking together, this team does what winning teams do. It knocks lesser teams into submission and has the ability to put good teams on their heels. On to Foxboro.
Expand The O
While the Jets were stalling early Sunday on offense with the turnovers and the turnovers on downs, I tweeted out that Chan Gailey and Co. have to expand out a little more. It seemed as though the slow start was more than simply the product of a little bye week rust. The entire playbook consisted of inside handoffs to Chris Ivory and quick slants that Redskin defenders saw coming and were plenty prepared for.
I get the notion of a unit having its bread and butter concepts, but to take on the Pats next week and beyond, there has to be some more diversity the team can at least hit upon once in a while if they can’t hang their hat on it. Early in the game too.
There is no tight end whatsoever right now and I realize that, but maybe Quincy Enunwa can buckle down and become a big sized option between the hashes. Devin Smith and Fitzpatrick have to somehow get on the same page, stretching the field with the ability to land a quick strike once in a while.
Chris Ivory is a beast. As good as any of the elite backs in the league. Power. Speed. Vision in between the tackles. Brandon Marshall is a difference maker and Eric Decker is the perfect sidekick. Now let’s grow from there. The screen game. A deep ball option and threat. A handy reliable TE type of guy near the line of scrimmage. Next level stuff.
The Blueprint, The Tackling
You could see it all coming together in the second half for the defense. Sheldon Richardson was back. Joining Mo Wilkerson and Big Cat Williams for the first time. The pocket was closing. The run lanes dried up for Alfred Morris. As the Jets corners, and wow, there are a ton of quality corners here now (even Dex McDougle got into the mix) began their collective vice grip.
This is what GM Mike Maccagnan dreamed up this past offseason. A vicious D line and a smothering secondary. The biggest difference in addition to the wealth of personnel on this side of the ball though, is the tackling.
David Harris doesn’t miss anymore. Calvin Pryor all of a sudden takes great angles and finds the ball constantly. Yards after the catch on meat and potato receptions against the Jets D are now at a minimum. Don’t look now but this defense is eliminating one of the prime self inflicted traits that has hurt the franchise for years, thus sending opponents into treacherous third and long situations early and often. This plays right into the hands of the young studs up front and the ball ball in the back. It’s been fun to watch so far.
– Here we go. It’s Patriots week. 4-1 vs 5-0. A battle for first place. Revis returns to Foxboro. The history. The hatred. The distrust. What a fun week of drama up ahead, which culminates in the matchup itself. This is a great test. The ultimate test really, and comes at a healthy time too. Can’t wait.
– Love what I’m seeing from guys like Calvin Pryor. Skrine and Gilchrist. Zac Stacy. The offensive line. Contributions are coming from all places. .
-The Cubs thought they were a team of destiny. Then they ran into the buzz saw. The 100 mile an hour maniacs. The Mets kids. The staff. Degrom is up next now too in game 3. Mets. Jets. I know I say it often but they come from the same blood. The city’s second teams. Both born in the 60’s. Always trying to prove they belong. Exciting crashes and burns. Crazy runs on their way to titles. I get the sense that a big reason why both teams are winning these days is due to team chemistry too. The players like working together. You can see it. At Met Life. Citi Field. Exciting times.