All of the pieces were in place for the New York Jets to take control of the AFC East. The Jets, winners of three in a row, were playing at home in front of raucous crowd against a battered and bruised Patriots team that was coming off of two tough losses. Add in the Buffalo Bills loss to the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the day and the top of the AFC East division was ready to be claimed. All Gang Green had to do was take care of business against New England and they could set their sights on a run for a division title, a high playoff seed, and a home playoff game. Well as Lee Corso loves to say “not so fast my friends” as Gang Green laid a major egg on Sunday night getting embarrassed by the Patriots 37-16. This performance was as bad as it gets for the New York Jets and left the team with several questions to be answered.
Offensive line- Against one of the worst defenses in the NFL the New York Jets offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Mark Sanchez. Wayne Hunter and company made Andre Carter (4.5 sacks) look like DeMarcus Ware which ruined any chance of getting the passing game established.
Mark Sanchez- Let me start off by saying that I am a fan of Mark Sanchez and I believe that the kid can be a good quarterback in the NFL. With that being said, can the real Mark Sanchez please stand up? Sanchez was terrible on Sunday night looking lost in the pocket, making terrible reads and throws. Granted Mark was facing pressure in the pocket, but the young signal caller seemed to lose confidence in both the offense and his own abilities. The NFL has become a passing league and the Jets will be not be successful if they continue to struggle throwing the ball.
Matthew Mulligan- Can someone tell me why Matthew Mulligan is still on the team? Mulligan is a blocking tight end that cannot block and has become a penalty machine. Oh and his hands are suspect as well. Honorable mention to fullback John Conner who misses his share of blocks as well. “The Terminator” is going to get his quarterback killed one of the days.
Brian Schottenheimer- I have tried to avoid bashing offensive Brian Schottenheimer because sometimes it is just too easy to do. The New York Jets faced one of the worst defenses in the NFL and struggled to put together drives. If a play works, why not keep calling it until the defense can stop it? If the secondary is down to practice squad players why not spread them out and expose it? Why not pick on the weakness over and over? Why not spread the defense out and run the ball up the middle until it is stopped? If you are going to use a two receiver set, how is Santonio Holmes not one of the receivers? If you are going to spread out into a 4 receiver set do you think a defense is going to fear Matthew Mulligans as pass catcher? Every time in redzone how can you not throw at least one fade pass to Plaxico Burress? Should I continue?
While it would be easy to blast Eric Smith for his coverage issues or the front seven for their missed tackles and blown assignments, I pin the entire defense’s performance on Rex Ryan. The New England Patriots offense made the Jets look foolish as Gang Green did not appear prepared for what was being thrown at them. Gang Green could not generate any type of consistent pass rush while the secondary was being spread out and thrown all over. When the Pats brought out the two minute offense in the second half the Jets could barely figure out to who cover and that was AFTER the ball was snapped. It was a pathetic and inexcusable performance for a defense that likes to be considered one of the league’s best.
This was just a terrible performance by the New York Jets which will put them back in the pack for a wild card spot. The New England Patriots were better prepared for this game and Bill Belichick and his staff completely outcoached Rex and company. It is tough to think playoffs right now with the Jets playing so poorly and a 4-4 conference record which is used for tiebreakers.
Next up for Gang Green is the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. I will just say this: The Jets should stack the box and force Tim Tebow to beat them. When I say stack the box, I mean put defensive backs in man coverage and send everyone else. Run blitz like crazy. This Broncos team should be just what the doctor ordered for Gang Green.