By Tyson Rauch (Courtesy of Examiner.com)
It was only a matter of time before Mark Sanchez would finally come back to earth and play like a rookie. But after reviewing the Jets 24-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints, there were several other components of the team that did not play well either.
While the Jets were winning the first three games of the season several warts on offense had been hidden. Now after losing a game that Gang Green should have won, maybe some of the problems on offense will be addressed. The Jets offensive line, which has been touted as one of the best in the NFL, continues to struggle to win the battles at the line of scrimmage. The Jets have not been able to effectively run the ball or adequately protect the quarterback. Sunday was no different as the line yielded four sacks and the Jets leading rusher in the game had 48 yards. The line play has to improve in order for the Jets to have any amount of success in 2009.
Another concern with the Jets offense is with the game planning and play calling. Leon Washington is the most explosive player on the Jets offense and for whatever reason he is still not being used effectively. The Jets continue to try and throw the ball down field on third and short situations, which makes next to no sense. Why not use the versatile Washington out of the backfield with a screen pass? Why not try some draw plays? Furthermore why not give Leon more carries out of the normal offense? On Sunday, Washington had four carries and four receptions for a total of 41 yards, which is inexcusable. While Sanchez has played well, he cannot be relied on to win every game. As an offense the Jets need to utilize all of their assets in order to be successful.
As for Sanchez, every young quarterback is going to have days like these ( 3 ints, fumble). The only thing that you can hope for is that Mark learns from his mistakes and continues to develop.
Once again the Jets defense did an excellent job shutting down a high-powered offense as they only yielded 10 points. Gang Green was stout against the run and did a good job getting pressure on quarterback Drew Brees. The defense even had a big time goal line stand where the Jets stopped the Saints on fourth down.
While the unit played well, there were two things that did stick out during the game. When Kris Jenkins comes out of the game for a breather, the Jets defense falls apart in the middle. It appears that the Jets have been rotating him out quite a bit and it is interesting to see the how the run defense suffers. The second noticeable issue on defense is the play of safety Kerry Rhodes. While many have projected Rhodes to have an All-Pro, Ed Reed like year, the safety seems to vanish in this defense. The big plays and flamboyant style that endeared Rhodes to the Jets fan base seems to have disappeared. Several times during the game Rhodes appeared either out of position or not in place to make a tackle. I would not be surprised to see Eric Smith continue to get more time in the Jets secondary.
The Jets lost a game that they realistically should have won. The turnovers by Sanchez were the difference in the game, but the play calling and coaching definitely did not help him much. The Jets will need to bounce back strong as they play an important game against the Miami Dolphins next Monday night. One important thing to remember is that linebacker Calvin Pace returns this week from suspension, which should make the Jets defense even better.