Post Game Thoughts: Jets 17 Texans 23 Tweet
When opportunities present themselves and you are a team that is using second and third stringers at skill positions you canít blow those opportunities. Unfortunately that is what the Jets did over and over and over. When results in a contest boil down to a few plays and you canít make those plays odds are you are going to lose the game. To me four plays stood out on offense that the Jets are going to go back into the film room and say ďthose may have cost us the gameĒ. The first was on a deep Tim Tebow throw to Jason Hill where Tebow threw a picture perfect pass that Hill just dropped. The second came on a play with Antonio Cromartie in at WR. Cromartie absolutely burned the coverage and could have had a TD on a good pass. Mark Sanchez threw what would best be described as a lollipop to the sideline that hung Cromartie up and put him in a position to make a catch almost no corner is going to make. Sanchez had a TD waiting for him in the end zone to Chaz Schilens that got deflected at the line and then had a ball deflected that was at the least a 6 point swing to close the first half.
Sanchez continues his rookie-esque style play. Every now and then he has those passes that make you say that this guy can get the job done, such as the nice TD pass just over the coverage to TE Jeff Cumberland. Then he does everything else that simply doesnít connect with anyone on the field. As a rookie that is fine because you are looking for development. By now this is the finished product. Now the Texans have great athletes up front but Sanchez has to start to throw the ball higher. The amount of times he gets the ball tipped or picked at the line is way too high. Its poor fundamentals. That doesnít mean everything is his fault. The final interception was completely the fault of Cumberland. Other players dropped passes that were catchable. But itís just too many times that he gets a chance and canít make it happen.
The running game is horrendous. There is no way around it. The run blocking is no good and the runners donít do anything to help hide that fact. They have made the offense almost completely one dimensional. As you watch the Texans just effortlessly carve the Jets defense up on the ground it makes you realize just how far the Jets are from being even a competent running team. The right side of the line looks finished. Is Austin Howard a downgrade over Wayne Hunter? No but he isnít an upgrade. RG Brandon Moore looks done. TE/T Jason Smith looks every bit the Rams bust he was rumored to be. The bottom line is the group helped get all of 10 points, their third game this year of 10 points or less of offensive output. For a team with 3 Pro Bowlers on the offensive line and a top 10 drafted QB that simply is not acceptable no matter what the injury situation is. The lone bright spot on offense is WR Jeremy Kerley who makes the most of whatever time he gets on the field
Things looked really bad to start the game as the Texans went through the Jets defense as if it did not exist before they were able to at least be a respectable donít break squad for the remainder of the game. Other than on the first drive there was nothing wrong with the pass defense. Kyle Wilson was not visible at all on the field, which is a good thing. The only play he was even seen was on an Arian Foster TD where he just seemed like he had no intention to try to get off a block, but his main job is to cover pass routes and he seemed to do the job. Cromartie had a strong game. He is one of the most underrated players in the league. Because of Darrelle Revis everyone just assumes Cromartie is along for the ride, but he gives up little most weeks and matches up against good players. Now Andre Johnson is more name right now than superstar, but he did nothing against Cromartie. The TEís and backs are still an issue in coverage, but they held the team to 50% completions and minimal yards through the air. Despite no pass rush at all the secondary can excel.
The run defense is a different story. It is just such a mess. Fundamentally they are terrible. The Jets have spent their last two number 1 picks on the defensive line and they are not getting the production they need from them. David Harris needs to step his game up. They are paying him to be a sideline to sideline, north and south tackler and he just isnít that right now. He looks to have zero instincts or anticipation of where plays are going at the snap. Its not even that he cant shed blockers, which he never does, its that he always seems to get hit by a blocker. I cant recall the last time I watched him just blow up a play in the backfield. Bart Scott did it right at the end of the game but Im still waiting for Harris to do it. For better or for worse he is the best player in the front 7 and he has to do something to improve this defense.
Until the run defense improves the Jets wont be able to win. The defense cant get off the field. Its tough to watch. It is a byproduct of poor personnel decisions and holding onto players far longer than they should have. Considering they cant even rush the passer you have to wonder why they donít play more of players like Aaron Maybin who maybe can at least provide some pass rush. They did work DeMario Davis in more tonight, but they need to do more than that to spark the defense. If their backups are not good enough to see more snaps than they should look for street free agents that maybe can contribute because it can not be worse than what the team is putting on the field right now.
Joe McKnight finally had that big kick return after weeks of me wondering if the Jets specials could do that anymore. It was a great return. The kick coverage was outstanding on the night and they did their best to put the defense in a good spot. The killer was the missed onside kick that the Jets had in their hands but dropped. That effectively ended the football game.
Everyone thought the Jets were going to roll over and play dead, which they did not, so we have to give Rex Ryan some credit for that, but this was one of the worst coached games in recent memory. Ryan is now in his fourth year as a head coach and he continues to make a mockery of time outs. The best managers, whether in sports or business, plan for every scenario and situation. The Jets are clueless. Ryan I think felt that by hiring a former coach to be his OC that things would be fixed, but Sparano was never a genius when it came to these situations either. The blown timeouts are just inexcusable. After the game Ryan blamed it on injury to Clyde Gates. Yes Clyde Gates. As a coach you have to have a better handle on things. The team has no idea when they want to bring in Tebow or leave in Sanchez. 12 men in a huddle. 10 men in a huddle. Breaking a huddle with 5 seconds left. Getting flagged for 12 men on defense after a punt. It is unreal.
I cant understand the Tebow/Sanchez dynamic and then you throw in some McKnight wildcat to boot. Why? You cant bring Tebow in for 1st and 2nd down and then expect Sanchez to come in cold for 3rd down and convert. Thatís not fair to Sanchez, Tebow, or the team. You run 3rd and 3 wildcat type plays with Sanchez in at QB and call a QB Sneak on 4th and 1 with Sanchez? The results donít matter (for the record they converted 1 of those 2), itís the thought process that matters.
The way they coached this game was as if they needed every trick in the book to win. A fake punt inside your own territory? I donít get it. Again it doesnít matter that it worked. The issue is that based on their offense and field position odds are they were not going to score. If they turn the ball over they will give up a score. High risk low reward. It makes almost no sense for this team to do it. The onsides kick call was controversial. You had momentum, but your defense was gassed at that point in time. McKnights score didnít give them a breather at all and the Texans were in an offensive rhythm. Giving the Texans a short field is just bad coaching. Kick the ball deep. The coverage had been great all game. Pin them down and let the crowd come alive. That decision deflated the crowd and put Houston in a position to just say ďlets try to end this nowĒ. That would never have happened with Houston on their own 15. Houston still may have slashed through the defense, but unless Rex is admitting his defense is no good there is almost no reason to call that play there. Eric Mangini had a flub like that a few years ago too.
I just think the whole management of the roster is not being made with the best football decisions in mind. Maybe its not his fault, but it just seems as if his job is to placate a bunch of people each week. Sanchez looks good, but we need more Tebow. We traded Joe to the defense, no we need him in more as a runner. Shonn Greene is our starter. It just doenst make any sense. There is just no consistency in the whole process. There comes a time when you have to start calling guys out after a game. Instead you get Rex talking in his sad voice about JJ Watt joining the Knicks, which thankfully got no laughs, this guy doing some good things, that guy doing some good things, and on and on. Too much talk about how they were so close and how this was a good team they played. Maybe its different behind closed doors, but its just missing something right now.
There are no moral victories in the NFL and this wasnít one. The score was closer than the game itself this week and the Jets continue to stub themselves in the toe along the way. On the bright side they probably wonít have a tougher back to back stretch than they just had, but they are in a real dangerous position right now at 2-3 and fading. Outside of the play of the secondary and Kerley I donít know what there is positive to look forward to.
The Jets will be taking on an up and down Colts team next week. The Colts have lost to the Jaguars this year but also pulled out nice wins against the Vikings and Packers. You never know what you will get with that team. It is a must win for the Jets and specifically for Mark Sanchez. I think the Jets not only need to win but they need to win decisively as they prepare to head to Foxboro the following weekend. The Jets need a boost of confidence and so do the fans. They can get it next week if they do far better preparation and donít waste those few big opportunities they get. If they finish a back to back to back homestand 0-3 you can kiss the season good bye. ESPN is already angling for Tebow and one more loss might force the Jets to make that move.
Itís really disappointing to watch the team chip apart like this. It happens to every franchise and the Jets had a successful run for a few years. They can still be a 0.500 team if things break right, but it still doesnít change the fact that they really need a facelift this offseason. These next few games will determine if itís a minor one or if they are forced to go all in and just completely blow the team up. If things go south there is going to be a lot of discussion about both the GM and the coach. As Ive said before I think both should stay, but if the team doesnít improve both could be in danger. They have to be much more critical in their in house talent evaluation and I think question whether its worth building the team the way they have--- a lot invested in the top and none in the middle. Injuries are not an excuse for losing unless it is an All Pro QB. Injuries reveal bad personnel decisions that show non-existent depth on a roster. The Jets depth on both sides of the ball is poor and that needs to be fixed in the future.