Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The Dour Face of Rex Ryan Fails To Inspire Team, OR: The Jets Are Off to a Bad Start
Who the fuck are the New York Jets? I've lost all sense of this team, and I suspect that a good number of people paid to know better can't figure it out either. I remember years and years of spasmodic football, 6-10 one year, 10-6 the next. The playoffs, and then 4-12. Rex came to town and swore things would be different, and a year later he swore they'd be different again. What he seems to have accomplished is to take season-long habits and distill them into single games. The Jets stand at 2-3, they were bested by Oakland, embarrassed by Baltimore, and soundly beaten by New England. The team is one week away from panic, and Miami is next week. Miami has taken something like four out the last five, and being a Jets fan finally feels like it used to. I'm going to try and get into a regular posting preview & review sort of rhythm but for now you'll have to deal with a to-date rambling state-of-things.
First big thing I don't know shit about: The offense. Handsome Mark lost his safety blanket for the Baltimore game and proceeded to protest by shitting the bed. I'd been preaching a "punt on first down, let the defense handle it" strategy in the week leading up to the game, but Sanchez did me one better and just started giving the ball away. Two of the wideouts have won Superbowls and the third has at least been there, and they're about a week away from burning Brian Schottenheimer in effigy. Shonn Greene spent the first few weeks of the season trolling fantasy football owners before finally looking like a running back last week. The Jets offense hasn't been spectacular in recent years, but they've more-or-less been competant. At this point, competency looks like a beautiful dream, the kind you wake up from angry and aroused, terrified about the direction of your life and desperate for one more moment of that vision of a stunningly handsome quarterback who can tell a wide reciever from a free safety. I'm getting away from myself. The Jets offense is inconsistent. Inconsistent is a bad thing for a football team's offense to be.
Second big thing I don't know shit about: The defense. For all of the flack Sanchez has gotten, when it really comes down to it he's usually not the problem. He's cost the team a fair number of regular season games, but in both unsuccessful AFC Championship efforts it has been the vaunted defense that really and truly fucked things up. This season is no different. If Sanchez was trying to give the game away in Baltimore, it was because the defense had dared him to in Oakland. The Oakland game would have reduced me to a gibbering mess had I fully understood what was going on. In truth I just stood there, confused and angry, convinced that I misunderstood the game of football. As I understood it, if a team did the same thing over and over again, it stopped working. But Darren McFadden ran through the same hole over and over again, gaining 8 yards each and every single time. Revis remains Revis, looking closer to his 2009 form than his 2010 form. Cromartie remains Cromartie, making plays just spectacular enough that you're willing to forgive the fact that he remains completely ignorant of both the techniques and rules of the game of football. After starting the season with a bold experiment in trying to play football without a pass rush, the defensive line seems to have put a few looks together that are capable of putting a little pressure on, every other drive or so. It was a bold idea, and you can't give up on that kind of thing right away.
First thing that doesn't leave me hopelessly confused: Special Teams. Mike Westhoff is a goddamn genius, Joe McKnight is playing like someone who actually wants to succeed at the game of football, and poor fucking TJ Conley barely has a chance to sit down on the bench before he sees Sanchez jogging off the field and he's got to go punt again. He's kept the team in games far longer than they deserve.
I feel like I'm being more negative on the team than they deserve. They've got scads of talent, they're just fucking up everything that can be fucked up. So onward to Miami. I hate Miami. Jason Taylor runs back after a season with the Jets and starts running his mouth about Chad Henne being better than Handsome Mark just because he's got a better completion percentage, average, QB rating, and fewer turnovers. Horseshit. It's a lousy city and a lousy team, skyboxes filled up with mark celebrities who bought a half a percent interest in a poor attempt to get people to care about the team. They're 0-4 and Tony Sparano is calling around to find a dentist that knows how to install cyanide capsules. This is football. When you play it right, you get to run really fast and smash into other men. This is America. All faults can be repaired, all demons exercised through the measured application of violence. It's Monday Night Football, and there is nothing wrong with the New York Jets that cannot be fixed with the blood and bones of the opposing team.