Post Game Thoughts: Jets 9 Dolphins 30 Tweet
Well any good thoughts that came out of last weeks game certainly flew out the window todayÖ
The anti-Sanchez force certainly gained a lot of ammunition this week. Another game of around 50% completions, most of which came in garbage time, a critical fumble, and a bad interception that cost the team at least 3 points. I said during the game that you would learn if the staff disliked Tim Tebow as much as we thought by their late game decisions, and when Sanchez finished the game it cemented just who made that Sanchez decision and how ridiculous that story was about Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan having a meeting about Tebow and how giddy there were to trade for him. If ever there was a game the Jets needed a spark it was this game. That doesnít mean that this was all Sanchezí fault today, but when your team misfires you need your QB to pick you up. Sanchez could not do it and has never been able to do it. When you have that kind of QB you can be competitive when the rest of your team just doesnít have it on Sunday. It is one of the reasons why Tebow was able to succeed last season and Kyle Orton could not. He had a knack for getting his teammates to respond in way Orton could not. That doesnít mean the Jets would respond the way the Broncos did, but the way Sanchez was being hit today having a more mobile and bigger body on the field may not have been the worst thing in the world. At the very least the move sends the message to us fans about the backup. Bill Parcells, who everyone in the Jets facility looks up to, would make that move, even if out of spite, as he did in Dallas when he inserted Drew Henson over Vinny Testaverde on Thanksgiving many years ago to prove to the fans Henson could not play QB.
There was no bright light in the Jets offense today. The line completely let the team down. The Jets have two high priced players and one respected veteran on the line. Nobody did anything positive. Austin Howard, at right tackle, was a mess. He couldnít handle anyone and gave Sanchez nothing to work with on the day. The Dolphins decimated the line whenever they tried to pass and Sanchez was completely spooked by the pass rush. The Jets actually ran the ball ok, but the score was such that the Dolphins were primarily in pass defense for most of the game.
The receivers did little to help the cause. Again you saw the difficulties Stephen Hill has had transitioning to the pros. In some ways you say it is trial by fire and you hope the best happens in the future for him. As a short term answer he probably is a 3rd or 4th option. Raw talent? Absolutely. Talented today? Absolutely not. The Jets best receiver today was Clyde Gates, who rubbed everyone the wrong way hyping up a catch down 24 points. That has no business in the game and the coach should have pulled him at that point. Unfortunately Jeremy Kerley didnít have a big game, but he is not at the stage where you can expect that every week. Tough day for the team all around.
This is one of those games where its hard to really grade the defense one way or the other. The Dolphin offense really did nothing but it was a day where they didnít have to do anything. There were two bad drives that stood out. The first drive of the game was horrendous. The team had a bad offsides call that gave Miami a free first down and then Antonio Cromartie had a horrible personal foul call in which he inexplicably went after Reggie Bush after a play and ended up hurting his hand. The second was the first drive of the second half when they gave up a touchdown at a time they needed to hold the fort.
Muhammed Wilkerson looks like he has real potential to be a solid player in the league. David Harris continues to look overpaid, though he did make one nice play on the day. The rest is the same old stuff. This may be, arguably, the first game of the season where you say the defense is relatively free from blame for a loss. While they did not do anything that would change the momentum of the game around they certainly didnít do anything to lose the game. I think the team has clearly shown that they can get by without Darrelle Revis, but at the same time they donít do anything to make another team fear them. Despite the fact that Calvin Pace put a wicked hit on Ryan Tannehill when their right tackle inexplicably let Pace go free to the QB, the lack of a pass rush is so apparent. Sanchez melted under the threat of a pass rush today. The Jets canít provide that aspect of the game that completely disrupts the flow of the opposition. Its what separates them from being an adequate defense and a good defense.
For the second week in a row this unit has been a mess. My feeling has always been that poor special teams is a sign of lack of depth, but so many of the breakdowns were the fault of regulars that I donít know if thatís the excuse. I cant recall the last time I saw a game where there was a blocked punt for a TD and a blocked FG in the same game. On top of that the Jets gave up an onsides kick where they were caught asleep, though thatís a coaching issue as much as an execution issue. Id have to watch the punt block again to see what occurred, but it seemed to be exhibit A as to why you do not put a QB back there. On the blocked FG Jared Odrick just got in there. The onsides kick hit Josh Bush but no other Jet was even looking for it. It was a total failure. The reason they lost? Well certainly the reason they lost momentum and they have to be better in the future if they want to compete.
After a game like lastweek you have to protect your team from a letdown hangover and Rex Ryan didnít do it. The Jets heads were still in New England while a well rested Dolphin team came in and stuck it to NY. The Jets were outsmarted at every turn by Joe Philbin this week. The Jets looked totally unprepared for this game and were ready to pack it in by the 2nd quarter. Tony Sparano is a disaster as offensive coordinator. Two plays stood out to me. On 3rd and 1 in a position where a punt was not an option, he called for a pass. Not only is 3rd and 1 is the one spot where a run is a higher percentage play than a pass, but his passer was off to an awful start. The play never had a chance. The other goes back to last week and this time involved Miami. 3rd and goal around the goal Miami goes shotgun like the Jets did last week, except Miami puts a back in the backfield. A handoff scores, which was the high percentage play I discussed last week. Sparano went empty backfield in the same spot. The execution is terrible for the Jets but the stats tell you the play calls arenít good either.
I do not know what the Jets even do with Tebow at this point. By not inserting him into games they have created this bizarre situation where the whole teams comes under fire for the lack of use of the player. Its bad right now. You have fans chanting for a player and other players needing to reprimand the fans for chanting the name. You have a coaching staff that has made it blatantly obvious they never wanted him here in the first place and he was forced on them by the owner. I always surmised in the offseason that the Jets were torn on Mark Sanchez which is why they want half in on that insane extension, but I think most thought Rex was anti-Mark and GM Mike Tannenbaum was pro-Mark. Now Im not sure what to think. The extension was just poor front office decision making and Tebow was the owner running the franchise. Now itís a point where the owner is going to question why Tebow is not the starter or at least playing more series in the game. If Tebow comes in the whole staff is going to be questioned by everyone since it is clear it wont be their call. This happened in 2007 when Eric Mangini seemed pressured to put Kellen Clemens, who clearly did not belong in the league as a starter, in the starter role. It may happen again now and the Jets could have avoided it with better use of Tebow.
This is the second time in a few weeks where the Jets pulled a no show on the field. Thatís a terrible sign for the season, but for whatever reason this doesnít rub me the wrong way like the 49íers loss did. With the horrible loss last week and a bye week upcoming you just kind of expected the heads of the players to not be in this game and they werenít. The Dolphins are a lot better than people give them credit for being, especially on defense, but they should not be dominating the Jets on the Jets home field. Thatís a lack of effort and a lack of passion by the players on this team.
Losing in the NFL is like a disease. It takes talented teams and turns them into shells by the end of the season. I think that is where the Jets are right now. While they are not talented on the level of, say, the Saints, the Jets are better than what they have shown in most of the last 5 weeks of the season. But you would not know it by watching them play San Francisco, Houston, and Miami. The offense just looks inept and the overall effort looks terrible. Teams that are accepting of losing are never going to turn things around. As a players coach, and Rex is primarily a players coach, that is the kiss of death. If this continues it points to the need of either a roster overhaul or a new coach. Hopefully it wont continue.
The Tebow issue is clearly looming now. The fans want him. The writers want him. The owner probably wants him. You cant watch Sanchez play and say he is the guy. It puts Ryan, who probably sees Tebow for what he really is, in a terrible position. Nobody takes him seriously as it is and he has to go out there and defend a QB who cant play at all because his backup is even worse. Itís the fault of ownership and one of the reasons the team is going to have a hard time getting back over the hump and into the playoffs. Going into this game I thought the loser of this one had a chance to see their season spiral out of control. Unfortunately that was the Jets and now they have to pick themselves up off the ground and compete when they take the field again in two weeks. We all hope they can do it, but right now things look pretty grim.