Post Game Thoughts: Jets vs Giants
Preseason week 2 is in the booksÖ
There is really nothing left to say about Wayne Hunter. He got absolutely mauled by the Giants in the game and looked like he didnít even belong in the NFL. If that was Vlad Ducasse getting beat up like that the coach would have pulled him out of the game because he was going to get the starting QB murdered. I understand why the Jets did not cut Hunter, but at this point he just canít be the starter on the team. Iím not even sure if he can be on the team at all. It just sends the wrong message to everyone.
Hunter made it almost impossible to evaluate the starting offense. Mark Sanchez threw the pick 6 which was just a horrendous throw. There was no zip on the ball and he threw behind Patrick Turner which led to an easy pick and score. What made me more upset was actually his interview during the game where he made it seem as if he was in a groove and then screwed up that pass. Sanchez was never in a groove nor was the offense playing well. Sure he was 7 of 9 but these were all quick little passes. To me thatís not the right attitude.
Luckily for Sanchez Tebow didnít fare much better. He missed a wide open Stephen Hill for a score and had some of the ugliest passes you could imagine after the first drive. He had better protection than Sanchez until the end at which point the line seemed to get tired. He was visibly frustrated with his line at one point which surprised me.
The ground and pound just got pounded. Again itís tough to evaluate when the line is so poor, but the runners just seem so slow. If you are going to be a tough runner you need to get the pad level down and plow into the line. Both Shonn Greene and John Conner failed to pick up short yard first downs because of that. Conners job could be in danger if anyone else could play ok in the backfield, but he may get a spot by default.
This was a much better effort than last week. Really the only worrisome thing was the fact that they started slow again and seemed to be in the bend but donít break mode. The team got off to these slow starts last year and those are things you donít want to see in the preseason. Victor Cruz toasted Darrelle Revis right at the start which should have been an 80 yard touchdown but Eli Manning led the ball out of bounds.
Bart Scott was much better this week and I was impressed with Kenrick Ellis. He has the ability to get into the backfield. Iím not sure he knows what to do when he is there just yet, but physically he is a pile pusher. I think eventually those types learn how to separate and make tackles. Rookie Antonio Allen sure looks like a player with a great nose for the football. Iíd be interested in seeing what happens if you throw him in with the ones for a few plays. He is clearly better than the 2s and 3s but making that leap up can be difficult.
I donít know what to make of Kyle Wilson. Heís a tweener type to me. He probably has no business ever starting but he does flash against backups. That tells me the talent is there but something is just missing. Cruz lit him up and Wilson mugged a Giants receiver in the end zone for what should have been a pass interference call that the horrid replacement refs missed. I donít think the Jets will be comfortable with him against teams with a big time slot target, but I guess he can fill a role in other games.
Aaron Maybin and rookie Quinton Coples both made a few plays later in the game.
Iíd be shocked if the Jets donít bring a punter in this week and TJ Conley probably cost himself the job this week. He had one great punt early but he cost the Jets 7 points late in the game with back to back shanked punts. One of the things with special teams players is they have to be able to shake off the bad play. If they cant they become worthless. Conley had a bad punt that he followed with another one. His third was also bad but caught a better bounce since it actually landed in the field of play.
Its preseason, but when you see things that looked just like the prior season it becomes alarming. I already heard the excuses about vanilla gameplans and lack of weapons but lets be honest for a minute. The Jets want to be a vanilla offense. Their mantra is to line up their 11 guys and smash the other 11 around at the point of attack and bludgeon teams to death. There is nothing fancy about that. To see the Jets physically overmatched again just sets the tone that they cant run the offense they want to run.
This is why the rumors of Percy Harvin are crazy. All the wide receivers in the world do nothing for you when the QB can not get them the football. Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley would have made no difference in this game. The Giants simply overpowered Hunter and the interior of the line on too many plays. Calvin Johnson wouldnít make a difference. When you play like that in front of the QB the game is over almost every week.
If the feeling around the team is that the Wildcat is somehow going to fix things then its going to be a long season. Itís a gimmick that has run its course in the league. Tebow couldnít move the ball against 2s and 3s tonight. Somehow its going to fool 16 teams when he comes in and runs against NFL quality starters? I donít think so.
Look at it this way. In the first half of the game the Jets blocked a punt, had an interception at midfield, and ran a kick back past midfield. A normal NFL offense would have put up a minimum of 3 points off that. The Jets put up 0 and gave the opposing team their only touchdown of the first half. The team is running a real risk of turning this into a defense vs offense locker room unless they can get this fixed. There are certain things in the preseason that do matter and when a team crashed the way they did last season, primarily because of the offense its not just the fans that you have to make feel better about the teams prospects. There are a ton of defensive players standing there watching that offense and saying ďwhat in the world do we have to do to win a game this yearĒ. If that boils over into week 1 it can derail the season. The Jets need a good performance against Carolina next week and if they do not get it, the team needs to actually get their starters work against the Eagles backups in week 4 to see if there is anything there.
RE: Defense... gotta like what you saw... Ellis, Landry... even BThomas looked good... Devito also... How good did Eli look when someone was in his face? When you have a very strong unit (the D), you need the other unit to be good... they can't be this bad...
I put this to a learning experince for the O-Coaches... time to earn your money, get the O better, or game plan around weakness... and find a new RT.
2. If Sanchez continues to get hit, he will never develop, he'll end up gun shy. The GM bears full responsibility.
3. The Jets draft from 3 years ago (Wilson and Ducasse) looks to be terrible. I don't think the GM has done a good job in terms of talent recognition/aquisition the last several years, including UDFA.
4. I guess Steve Weatherford angered Westhoff with that fake punt a couple of years ago, so they didn't bring him back. He did ok for the Giants last year and the Jets punting has not been better since he left.
The way I see it, the Jets have no choice, they must immediately trade for a right tackle. No guarantees of success, but if they don't, they are not better than 500.
While its disappointing to have a bad season or two, its frustrating to have players careers ruined because of a terrible Oline. Sanchez will never have the chance to develop and will become a bust. I think Tannenbaum has not been a good GM, maybe the talent evaluators a few years ago got luck with Revis, Mangold, and I guess with DBrick and D Harris. The Right Tackles that were avaialable in free agency may have been over priced, and perhaps the drafting didn't present itself with a chance to get a RT without reaching too far down.
But for god sakes, make a trade! Tannenbaum likes to trade, get a RT, even if you have to over pay a little. With Hunter, there is no hope, and Sanchez will be ruined. Overpay a little , or lose your QB and another season.
Brandon- In fairness the Jets did try to trade for a RT, but that didnt work out and the market itself it was pretty bad this offseason. Im not sure how easy it will be to trade for one either. I think the problem is two fold here. One is that I think the Jets brass happens to fall too much in love with particular performances. Tebow vs the Jets and Steelers. Hunter vs the Steelers and Bears a few years ago. Holmes in the Super Bowl. But the reality is most of those are aberrations. When you plot all the stats like I do from time to time those freakish good games are almost unexplainable. I think that is something of a crutch in the decision making. To me the bad film is far more important than the good film, but I think our team (and plenty others) looks at it the other way.
Secondly there was a time when the RT was a hidden spot on the line. Remember in a running league their job was to primarily run block. They were the mauler on the line to open the hole for the natural run. Consequently the LDE was a bigger more immobile player. He would be a run stuffer first and pass rusher second. The league has become so pass happy that its no longer the case. Teams are stocking up on pass rushers at both end positions. They are more athletic and agile than in the past. The fact that teams play pass defense so often allows them to mix and match along the line to exploit matchups and create confusion. Quite simply you cant hide the RT any more because of what the league has become. Hunter is completely overmatched because he isnt gifted enough to hang with these guys and its not like he can even just prepare for one guy like he did with Peppers a few year ago. The Giants might be an extreme example but he jumps from JPP to Justin Tuck and then to potentially Osi Umenyiora. All very different players and pass rushers. The Jets are screwed because they are behind the times right now.
In the future, until the defenses start to catch up with the offenses forcing less passing, I think you will see a shift in salary structure along the time. The LT, while still important, is becoming less important each year because of the versatility of the opposition. I think eventually there will be a closer balance to where both book ends get paid nicely rather than the Jets structure which is more like one player getting paid very high and the other getting table scraps.
Of course, even if they sack up and jettison Sanchez and bring in a veteran FA or a young draftee (something they absolutely should have done this year) you still have to deal with Sanchez's salary and the Tebow circus. To me all the stuff about Hunter and Greene is window-dressing. If they'd brought in a guy like Campbell or Orton to push Sanchez, or a kid like Cousins or Foles as a potential fallback option, there'd be a way forward, but instead it's just a complete mess for the foreseeable future.
The Sanchez extension and Tebow trade could very well cost Tannenbaum his job, and rightfully so. All we can hope is that a. Rex doesn't go with him, and b. the next guy can find a way out.
Normally starting guys young gives them trial by fire and you get a solid learning experience. The problem is they started Sanchez young and there was no trial by fire because the team was built to win. He was probably the most protected and managed QB in the game and it shows on the field now that the team is no longer great around him. Tracking him statistically and adjusting for opposition has him on the same path as pretty much all the busts of the last decade. Eli is the lone exception but thats all he was an exception. The 1 in 99 fluke.
But the Jets dont want to play that way anyway. When I went over the Sparano offense its pretty clear he likes those little short stuff we saw last night. The difference between he and Schotty is that he sees the benefit of making the deep throw as well. Unfortunately none of his tendencies mesh with the Jets personnel. The line isnt that good. The runners arent that good. The depth isnt there for extra blockers. The Tight Ends are one way players. Sanchez is incredibly inaccurate, which you cant be in a predominantly short game offense. IMO, it was a bad hire. But he was a Parcells guy and he always beat Rex therefor the Jets organization thinks he is awesome.
I said it in the offseason that I was shocked they extended Sanchez and shocked they didnt bring in someone like Garrard to challenge him. As a cheap option Garrard is great. He isnt the smartest football player and has a rep for not knowing plays all the time but he still performs better than what the team has.
I just dont know if the window is there for the team to go further after this though. I wasnt in love with the defense last year. Its trended down each of the last 3 years and you cant live with the fact that they have 10 drives a game of 3 and out with 2 that go 8 plays and 70 yards. Not with this offense. I dont think they have the ability to do what they did in 2009. If all the young guys work out then maybe there is a chance, but I dont know how good those odds are.
If it does the Jets should probably see what it will take to get Matt Schaub. I think the Texans are going to be done with him because of the injuries plus they have a head coach who believes anyone can play the system. They may tag him but would probably be willing to deal, especially if their season is not as good as expected.
If not the Jets have to start moving pieces and gearing for a rebuild. That has to be at the back of their mind already. They do have tradeable pieces that would free up tons of cap room in the future. If the Jets crash and burn this season they should immediately entertain offers for Revis and Harris. Its cap murder in 2013 but that wont matter if the team is going to be a 6 win team anyway. Thats probably a 1 and 2 and maybe a 5 right there in those two players. Those are always the toughest moves to swallow but when you rebuild everyone has to be on the block.
I don't even know where to begin fixing it. The OL and defense are championship caliber, but as long as the quarterback is this bad, they're in limbo. As long as the defense is this good, they have to pray that a franchise guy slips in the draft a la Roethlisberger or Rodgers, but the odds on that are remote and the new salary rules mean no one's going to let them trade into the top 10 if a good prospect is available.
The best thing for the team may be for the offense to implode and cause them to lose a bunch of 17-6 type games and get a high pick that gives them a shot at a QB. Problem is, that would involve at least a partial rebuild (i.e., trading a lot of veterans, like you said), and I just don't know if Rex and Tannenbaum (let alone Woody) have the stomach for it. I mean, can you imagine Rex willingly parting with Revis? Harris, even? I like Rex a lot but his bravado means that fans might not accept two or three 6-10 type seasons, even if it means building a stronger team in the long run, and Woody starts getting antsy whenever fans aren't in the seats. It just feels like the organization is on the precipice of a total freefall right now.
Question for you (and apologies in advance because I know you've answered it already): regardless of how well the team performs record-wise, assuming the offense is bad, how easy would it be to jettison Sanchez and/or Tebow after the season? I just don't think anything improves until they're gone.
Sanchez is tougher. Its a monster cap hit because they owe him guaranteed salary. Now Im not sure the terms of those guarantees (i.e offsets or even if they were full) but my guess is they were full. Realistically the only option is a post June 1 trade. That would mean a 4.8 million cap hit in 2014 and around 4.1 million in 2013. Not ideal but reasonable.
The only logical reason I could come up with for the extension was the front office being completely split on him. Something had to be done with his deal. I would have opted for a pay cut with a threat of cutting him, but I get why they didnt do that. Essentially the deal said to me that the team, after three years, had no idea if he was good or a stiff. The extension basically puts the decision off two years putting his cap structure right back where it would have been had they cut him this season. Thats the only way I can read it. Some people in that room think there is hope and others dont believe in him at all.
The Hunter situation is a problem however they handle it because if they keep him and start him, every defense will attack him like a pack of wolves. If they release him and have Austin or someone replace him, the same will happen.
But that's why teams have gameplans and blocking schemes. To play to their strengths and hide their weaknesses.
Hunter's issues fall directly on Rex and Sparano. They both knew he was an issue last year, but both had to sign off on keeping him, and "Coaching him up". Does he look "coached up"?
And it's not like the Jets replaced Schotty with Sean Payton or Charlie Weis. Sparano was replaced as OC in Dallas by Garrett after one year. No ringing endorsement.
Anybody is an improvement over Schotty, but this might be splitting hairs. The Jets aren't going to get much done on offense if they are counting on putting together 15 play drives to score 3-4 times a game. They need to spread the field. If Hill is the only playmaker they have, use him and get the ball in his hands.
The Jets have "thrown away" their QB by their selection of OC, and weak OL. Its not just this season that will be lost, the Jets will not have developed their QB and will have to spend a high draft pick to get another.
I'd rather they go 0-16 and get good players, than limp along at 6-10 for a few years.
As for their defense declining -
1) I think they aged and it has declined. They still need linebackers and safeties.
2) in fairness to the D, the offense was frequently off the field quickly, leaving the D to have to play again while tired, and in bad field position.
3) the Jets have drafted defensive players, so hopefully its better.
The Jets need better talent evaluation.
>>If the Jets crash and burn this season they should immediately entertain offers for Revis and Harris.
Jason, I think Harris is decent but not great. I'd gladly trade him for an average Right Tackle. Its not that his loss wouldn't hurt, but that OLine is terrible. And Harris makes so much so that it would be hard to trade him.
As for trading Revis, the problem is Kyle Wilson is not very good. What would they get to make it worthwhile? A good young Right Tackle, and a decent corner back or safety?
Yeah, I call copyright on that one.
You can overcome one, but not both.