Post Game Thoughts- Jets vs Saints
Just chalk this up as one of those games where things unravel quickly and before you know it you are down 17 points. As a Jets fan we have seen this happen countless times over the last decade, whether it was Vinny or Chad driving the team down to seemingly take control of a game when a killer interception completely changes the entire game.
Mark Sanchez was bound to have one of these games and unfortunately it was in a game where it led to the Jets getting blown out instead of being a situation like we saw today with Jason Campbell in Washington where the team came away with a win despite multiple turnovers. It is going to become a story in New York that Sanchez has terrible ball security when he is in the pocket, but right now I donít think he holds the ball any different than guys like Brett Favre or Tony Romo who often hang the ball out there. He simply doesnít have the internal clock of a veteran and it didnít help that his left tackle pretty much whiffed on the block. You have to like Sanchezí ability to bounce back after an awful start and make some plays both with his legs and arm. When you saw that pass he had to Keller to start the second half despite all his problems he really showed you something. He never got down which is important to see in his development. He pretty much was harassed by a veteran secondary that was coupled with a great crowd and a much better than expected pass rush. We finally did get to see a look at Shonn Greene at RB today and Iím not sure how much longer they can continue exclusively using Thomas Jones on running downs. Running at the same holes and behind the same line Greene just looked much more powerful than Jones, though Jones ran much better in the second half. Maybe the insertion of Greene lit a fire, but at this point the Jets need to begin to become concerned with Jonesí play. The offensive line is also not living up to the money they are being paid. The Saints consistently were getting into the backfield and had plays where guys just stood on the line untouched. The recognition of the blitz seemed awful. Damien Woody is not the same player he was last season and Iím really beginning to wonder if his preseason troubles are still lingering. If not then his days as a starter may slowly be coming to a close. Ferguson has his worst game of the season as well. Coming into the game I felt the Jets needed a new WR to step up to keep the Saints from keying on Cotchery and Keller and it never happened. Chansi Stuckey is becoming a non factor and Brad Smith just doesnít have the ability to consistently get open. Some of these things may be warning signs for the future, but today you just chalk this up as a bad game and move on. At least they did enough to where it never became anything close to the blowouts we would see at the hands of the Patriots or Jaguars when a bad play or two ended the game.
Other than a few runs where the Saints just simply outschemed the defense, you have to continue to be ultra impressed with the defense. The defense only gave up 10 points to the Saints offense and made a tremendous goalline stand despite being on the field for what seemed like the entire game. Drew Brees did very little and the Jets consistently held them on 3rd down. David Harris and Bart Scott both played extremely well. Harris always seems a lock to lay at least one huge hit a game and he did not disappoint this week. Iím not sure if it is the scheme or the fact that he is likely playing to keep his spot on the team, but Bryan Thomas really has had an excellent year and he had some key pressures early on Brees that forced an incompletion or two. Darrelle Revis continues the strong season and he has to be the best corner in the NFL when it comes to run support. Kerry Rhodes made some impact plays including a key pass defense and a big hit on a screen. They just played a great game today and they only stand to get better once Calvin Pace gets back next week and their secondary eventually gets healthy. The fact that you could make an argument in the middle of the 4th quarter that the Jets could win this game is a testament to how good the defense played.
I will be shocked if Steve Weatherford is still this teams punter by the time they play Buffalo in two weeks. I think there is a good chance he goes this week, but with back to back road games and the shuffling of Calvin Pace back into the lineup, the Jets may not want to concern themselves with finding another punter. Feely hit his kicks but special teams really did not contribute this week. Washington didnít run the ball out one time, went nowhere a second time, and Leonhard didnít even attempt a punt return. The Jets needed to separate themselves from New Orleans in this phase of the game and they were unable to. It is not that this would have changed the outcome, but it certainly would have given the Jets a better chance.
You have to give the Jets coaching staff some credit this week despite how things turned out. From a defensive standpoint the Jets quickly adjusted when they got caught early in the game and put together a gameplan to neutralize the Saints offense. Despite the lack of their second and third corners they made due with Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman. They did a great job mixing up overages and had Revis all over the field. Last season that same secondary would have given up 290 yards in the air and allowed the Saints to covert 60% of the 3rd downs in the air. Offensively they did have a gameplan that moved the football early in the game. Sure it was filled with trick plays and looks, but they worked and the Jets were about to take the lead when Sanchez just made a bad throw.
That is the best offense and probably the best team the Jets will face all season and they proved that the defense can stay with the best of them. The Jets hung tough in a really hard place to play despite effectively being out of the game by the start of the second quarter. Usually you donít say that about Jets teams and I think that is a major positive out of todayís game. They are clearly one of the better teams in the league.
Thatís not to say they do not have work to do. New Orleans did expose some chinks in the Sanchez armor. The offensive line has to do a better job keeping him safe than they did today and the Jets really need to find a way to get another WR to help out. Even if it is just a veteran presence that simply knows how to play the game they need a third player. David Clowney looks like he will never get on the field and maybe it is time to move on. When you are desperate for help you can not keep a guy because he is a popular guy with the fans. I find it hard to believe that an Amani Toomer type could do less than these other Jets receivers are doing. When the Jets face a good secondary it is going to be hard for Sanchez if his first option is Cotchery, 2nd option is Keller, and 3rd and 4th options are still Cotchery. The team also needs to determine what to do with the running game. Can they live with Thomas Jones? Is Leon much more effective in last years role than this years?
This is a championship caliber defense that is playing at a very high level. It is only going to get better with Calvin Pace replacing Vernon Gholston. The Jets just have to find a way to get the offense to just do enough to win the games. They had done that in the three games prior to this, but teams adjust after watching film and you do not want todayís game to be a blueprint for finding ways to score points against our offense because they know the defense wonít allow anything.
The Jets are in great position even with todayís loss. They are 3-1, have finished the hardest part of their schedule and are in the lead in the AFC East. Nobody could have expected any better than this. Most would have been happy with 1 win. With back to back games coming up against AFC East opponents the Jets can effectively finish off the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills seasons while maintaining their slim lead over New England The Jets are going to get a little beat up in the media this week saying that the bloom is off the rose and using todayís Titans performance as some type of justification that the Jets were over rated. That could not be further from the truth, but fans will be frustrated this week listening to it. If the Jets come out next week and beat up the Dolphins, as they will be favored to do, this loss will become a distant memory. It will be a real nice test to see how the Jets bounce back from a loss, especially against a team that the Jets should be looking to lay a hurt on based on how last season ended. I think they are definitely up to the challenge. Go Jets!