Tag Archives: New York Jets

NFL Week Four: Hits and Misses

Miss: New York Jets Offense

Mark Sanchez, formerly known as “Sanchize”, was supposed to save the franchise. In his first two seasons, he was the “it” guy, and now he’s the fall guy. The Wildcat offense has been even worse than Sanchez, who is struggling to even complete 50% of his passes. Sanchez threw for just 103 yards with an INT and a fumble. Meanwhile, the run game has fallen far from its 2009/2010 dominance. With no end in sight for the Jets offensive struggles, Rex Ryan’s dream of a Super Bowl run has slowly become a nightmare only four games in. That nightmare is only just beginning, as the 2-2 Jets face the 4-0 Texans and the 2-2 Patriots within the next three weeks.

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Can the Falcons go undefeated?? Too soon? Too lofty? It’s hard to doubt Matty Ice the way he’s playing right now

Hit: Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan seems to redefine the word “WOW” every week. Down one with 1:09 remaining and no timeouts, the Falcons started at their own one. That wasn’t an issue for “Matty Ice”. From his own end zone, Ryan held firm in the pocket and launched a deep ball for Roddy White, who made the spectacular grab down the field. After a few more accurate throws by Ryan, Matt Bryant kicked the game winning field goal. Just like that, Ryan’s team is 4-0 and he has solidified his position as the game’s best QB right now. 

Miss: Buffalo Bills Defense 

That much-improved defense of the Bills has fallen far short of expectations. On Sunday the Patriots scored 52 points on the Bills, including 35 straight second half points. This Bills defense is the same defense that gave up 48 points to the Jets in week one. In the offseason, the Bills, a small market team, signed defensive end Mario Williams to a $100 million+ contract. That investment has looked like a bust so far, as Williams, a former No. 1 overall pick, has only 1.5 sacks so far.

Hit: Arizona Cardinals

It didn’t look pretty, but it looked like a win for the Arizona Cardinals. Against Miami, they were outgained 480-297 in total yards and trailed 13-0 at halftime. Late turnovers by QB Ryan Tannehill, who threw for 431 yards, one short of the rookie record, did the Dolphins in. Under pressure, Tannehill threw an INT on the Dolphins first possession in OT to set up a game-winning field goal. The Cardinals have now won 9 of their last 11, and are 4-0 on the season.

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So… Who are This Year’s Best Teams Again?

A wild 2012 NFL season took a turn for the crazier this week. Seven of last year’s playoff teams lost and six of them are below .500 after three games.

The drama started with the 49ers los to the Vikings in which San Francisco’s dominant defense allowed 24 points to a below average Vikings offense. After looking like perhaps the league’s best team through two weeks, the Niners week 3 loss to Minnesota has cast some doubt over the team’s invulnerability.

After a strong start to the season, the 49ers were unable to stop the Vikings in Week 3.

The Packers, who lost to the 49ers in their season opener, dropped to 1-2 on the year after Monday’s loss to the Seahawks. Aaron Rodgers has not lived up to last year’s MVP season thus far, with just 3 TDs and 2 interceptions, and Green Bay has not looked like the Super Bowl favorite many projected the to be.

While not a member of last year’s playoff group, the Eagles are a team full of talent that have had high expectations for several years. After escaping with two narrow victories over the Browns and the Ravens, Philadelphia was crushed by the Cardinals 27-6. Arizona is a surprising 3-0 to start the season.

The Lions dropped to 1-2 after falling to the lowly Titans in overtime. While Detroit league’s the league in passing, their struggles running the ball and on defense have haunted them so far this season.

The Jets have actually played pretty well this season, with a 2-1 record, but they just learned they have lost their best player, Darrelle Revis, for the season with a torn ACL. This could cause their defense to struggle the rest of the year.

Winless on the season, Drew Brees and the Saints are in need of a hug.

With coach Sean Payton missing, the Saints have been a completely different team than the past several years. After being one of the league’s most dominant teams for years, New Orleans has yet to win a game yet this season, dropping to 0-3. That record is even worse, considering their competition has been the Redskins, Panthers and Chiefs, who haven’t looked great against anyone except the Saints.

After looking strong in their season opener, the Peyton Manning and the Broncos have haven’t looked as good since, losing close games to the Falcons and the Texans. Granted those two teams are both 3-0, but Denver’s offense hasn’t flowed quite as smoothly as the Colts were with Manning at the helm.

There was a major overhaul in Pittsburgh over the offseason and so far, things haven’t worked out great for the Steelers. Plagued by injuries, the Steelers have the second fewest rushing yards, with running back Rashard Mendenhall and guard David DeCastro out. With Sunday’s loss to the Raiders, the Steelers have dropped to 1-2.

The Steelers have reason to hang their heads, with a record of 1-2 on the year.

The Patriots have also fallen to 1-2 on the year after Sunday’s loss to the Ravens. New England has lost consecutive games by a total of 3 points, so it’s not panic time yet, but the dominant offense attack we’ve become accustomed to from the Patriots is not the same this year, as Tom Brady has just 4 touchdown passes on the year.

After three weeks, just three teams remain unbeaten: the Cardinals, Texans and Falcons. Of that group only Houston and Atlanta seem for real. Of the many teams expected to contend for the Super Bowl, only those two teams have lived up to the hype.

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What We Learned from Week 1

With a week of NFL action under our belts, what better time is there to make some hasty generalizations about the rest of the season.

1. It’s going to take more than Andrew Luck to turn the Colts around.

Andrew Luck can’t save the Colts from the ground.

After two years of being hyped as the greatest quarterback prospect since John Elway, Luck showed on Sunday that his hype doesn’t mean he’s a finished product. He didn’t dazzle in his debut, tossing 3 interceptions to just 1 touchdown, but he still played a fairly solid game, passing for over 300 yards. Some of the blame for Luck’s shakiness can be shifted from his shoulders to those of his offensive line. While he was only sacked 3 times, Luck was constantly under pressure and forced into quick throws. Combine that with a lackluster group of receivers and a rebuilding defense and it’s clear that it may be another year until Luck is labeled a savior.

2. It’s going to take more than a great offense to win this year.

Three of last year’s top scoring teams – the Saints, Packers and Giants – came out on the losing end this week, unable to keep their opponents’ offenses at bay. What makes this cause for concern is that none of the teams they faced were amongst the leading offenses a year ago. If their defenses can’t contain the opposing team, it won’t matter how how many points New Orleans, Green Bay and New York can put up.

3. Don’t bet too heavily on young QBs.

Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson, Brandon Weeden, Andrew Luck, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill and Cam Newton – all first or second year starters –  all lost their games and few of them were overly impressive. The eight of them combined for 6 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Apart from Weeden and Tannehill, none of them were terrible, but they didn’t look like quarterbacks who could lead their teams to the playoffs. On a brighter note, Robert Griffin III was arguably the best quarterback in the league in week one in the Redskins win over the Saints and Christian Ponder was able to lead his Vikings to an overtime win over the Jaguars. Even so, this large group of young QBs look very much like a work in progress.

4. If the Broncos could win with Tebow last year, they look awfully scary with Peyton at the helm.

Peyton Manning with the Broncos – so wrong, yet so right.

Manning commanded the Denver offense as if it had been a week since his last game, not a year and a half. He was his usual self – minus the blue and white uniform – changing plays at the line of scrimmage, making smart decisions and throwing with accuracy. If his neck was bothering him, he didn’t show it. He was able to handle the Steelers without resorting to an overtime Hail Mary to beat them.

5. ACLs, who needs ’em?

Coming off of torn ACLs last season, running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamal Charles both looked back to (or at least close to) normal. Peterson ran for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns while Charles ran for 87 yards. Not quite the hundred yard masterpieces we’re used to from the two of them, but the both averaged just about 5 yards a carry, which any running back should be happy with.

6. Were the Jets trolling us in the preseason?

After failing to score a touchdown in all three preseason games that their starters played in (and just one with the reserves playing) the Jets opened their season by dropping 48 on the Bills who supposedly improved their defense in the offseason. Mark Sanchez threw for 3 touchdowns, ending any discussion over whether Tebow should start instead of him. New York’s defense was less stout than normal, but if it returns to form and the offense continues to play well, this could finally be the year Rex Ryan’s Super Bowl promise comes true.

7. There’s a reason replacement refs are only used as replacements.

It’s said that you don’t realize what you had until it’s gone. Well the regular referees have driven that point home quite well during their lockout. Their replacements looked incompetent, confused, and uncertain in week one. There were penalties assigned to the wrong team, extra timeouts handed out, two minute warnings interrupting PATs, blown calls, missed calls, you name it. The NFL’s regular officiating crew make mistakes every game too, but the frequency and potential severity of the replacement refs’ flubs nearly marred an exciting opening weekend of football. Having unqualified officials call a game is unfair to players and fans alike, especially given the short NFL season in which every game is important. Hopefully the NFL and the locked out refs can come to an agreement soon.

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Jets Steal New York Spotlight For the Wrong Reasons

It can’t get much worse for the New York Jets offense these days.

The Jets have gone 12 quarters, 35 drives, and 174 plays without a TD this preseason. IT’S THE PRESEASON, come on now.

For the Mark Sanchez – Rex Ryan era, this is rock bottom.

It goes past the old notion of “Preseason doesn’t matter.” Mentally, the touchdown-drought has to be lingering in the thoughts of these Jets players.

At least the team still has hope. A hope that relies on Tim Tebow and the “Tebow-package”, the only real part of the Jets’ offensive repertoire the team hasn’t shown yet.

The Jets offensive shortcomings so far have put even more pressure on that wildcat scheme to succeed. Whether it does or doesn’t, will in turn put more pressure on Mark Sanchez to succeed.

Going into this fourth year as quarterback of the Jets, Sanchez is taking steps backwards rather than forward.

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Remember Mark Sanchez was “Sanchize” and leading the Jets past Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs?

He began his career with back-to-back AFC championship game trips, then missed the playoffs last year and now has been a focal point of the team’s offensive woes this preseason.

For Sanchez, the pressure is on. This isn’t Houston or Tampa Bay where he can play under the radar. This is New York, where every move he makes is monitored, and likely scrutinized.

He’s had three years to develop, and now this year it’s time for him to answer the all-important question – “Is Mark Sanchez the New York Jets’ franchise quarterback?”

Sanchez has to handle more than the expectations. He has to handle the comparisons as well.

The “Other” New York quarterback, Eli Manning just won his second Super Bowl after winning his first one during his fourth year. Through the first three years of their careers, both quarterback’s statistics look virtually identical.

If the Jets are going to make any noise this season they’re going to need Mark Sanchez to take that next step.

Sometimes though the Jets’ actions run seem to hinder Sanchez’s development.

How about by bringing Tebow in?

The Jets believed that Tebow  could run the wildcat offense and that he could push Mark Sanchez to elevate his game.

Instead, so far it’s brought the distraction of Tebow-mania to New York for the relentless New York media to pound on.

Instead it’s seemed to blur the confidence Jets management publicly had in Sanchez.

The Jets offensive line hasn’t done Sanchez any favors either. They allowed seven sacks against the Giants. Rex Ryan even went so far as to insert a new right tackle, Austin Howard, into the starting lineup earlier this week.

Aside from a few mistakes though, Sanchez has looked sharp in his last two preseason games. But it’s not good enough for Sanchez anymore.

Luckily for the Jets in a few weeks they can silence all their doubters. They can make everyone forget.

For a team that runs on uncanny self-confidence, they’re going to to need some of that to change the direction of this football team.

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Winning at a Cost

Herm Edwards was pissed.  It was week 8 of the 2002 season and his New York Jets were limping along at 2-5.

Fresh off a loss to the Cleveland Browns, a frustrated Edwards took a deep breath, walked up to the podium in the pressroom and prepared to answer questions from the historically brutal New York media.

When asked a question by one reporter about his team’s inability to win during the first half of the season, Edwards delivered what has become one of the most infamous statements in football history.

“You play to win the game!  Hello?  You play to win the game!”

Sure, we as American sports fans poke fun at this speech, immortalizing it in countdowns and Coors Light commercials.  But what we never do is look deeper into the point that the frustrated head coach, who proceeded to drive home, forget about the loss, and lead a newly motivated team to a 7-2 finish, was trying to make.

The important thing to note is that he calls football exactly what it is—a game.

This is something that sports figures—in particular a once revered football mind in late Penn State coach Joe Paterno—seem to have forgotten.

In the case of Paterno, who led his Nittany Lions to 409 victories over 62 seasons as the team’s head coach, the point was more than to just prepare and call plays to win the game.  He lived to win.

And he was damn good at it, too.  His team’s successes on the field have earned him the right to stand alone as college football’s winningest coach and for a time as the most beloved figure in Penn State’s 157-year history.

Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was recently sentenced to 442 years in prison for his crimes.

It is only recently that we’ve come to discover the costs of these once celebrated achievements.  Nearly twenty young men, victims of Jerry Sandusky’s, had to wait two or more decades for justice, mainly so that the storied Nittany Lions football program wouldn’t have to confront any black eyes along the way to more bowl victories and strong recruiting classes.

Now the football program is in shambles and the NCAA, never expecting a turn of events quite as horrific as this, still doesn’t know quite what to do.

Impose fines?  Give the school’s football program the death penalty?  Take away scholarships?  There’s no point now—the damage has already been done.

Possible recruits wouldn’t dare let themselves be courted by what is now a fire sale rather than a program, where everything—and everyone—must go.  The fate of a statue outside of Beaver Stadium that once celebrated Paterno’s successes and contributions to the academic vitality of the school could be decided as early as Monday morning.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson could have a decision on Paterno’s statue as early as Monday and may simply decide to move it in front of the school’s library.

Whatever decision is made will be upsetting to many and thus it does not matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.  Besides, it’s not even the statue that should earn the most shame, but rather an engraving surrounding it that reads: “Joseph Vincent Paterno: Educator, Coach, Humanitarian.”

Somewhere along the way to 24 bowl victories, the latter was lost by the wayside.  Hoisted trophies and notches in the win column became more important than accountability and the well being of others.

What Edwards said on that ordinary night in 2002 was a perfect truism; it reminded his Jets team and others who heard it about the importance of embracing competition and trying to reach new heights on the field of battle.

At the time, it served its purpose as a rally cry, and that’s great.

Those who take it or have taken it for a life philosophy, however, have sadly narrowed their worldviews.

Hopefully these last few months have given the sports world a better understanding of priority; that compassion for those in need and awareness of our surroundings are more important than we might think.

Something tells me a more candid Edwards that night would have said something like, “You play to win the game!  You live for much more than that.”

 

 

 

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