This is a question that many a Jet Fan have been asking themselves this season. What happened to our team? What happened to ground and pound? and most perplexing of all………. what happened to the defense? Considering the recent two year run of success, the average fan likely expected the NY Jets to be in the thick of things this year. After all, this team has played in the AFC championship game two years running. Mark Sanchez seemed all but poised to take his team to the next level and into the Super Bowl Right? Not so fast there Rex baby. Upon closer inspection, there are a couple of areas of concern that simply have not been addressed. Until these areas are dealt with, the recent decline will continue.
THE OFFENSIVE LINE
In 2009 the Jets boasted probably the best offensive line in Football. Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Nick Mangold, Bandon Moore and D’Bickshaw Ferguson were just about the best the league had to offer. That capable quintet led the league in rushing without a premier running back! I know a few of you are asking “What about Thomas Jones and his 1402 yards?” and to that I answer “what about him?” I know he was third in yards gained in 2009, but has anyone checked on him since? He went to K.C., where he was 20th in rushing with 896 yards! Pretty convincing argument isn’t it? At any rate after the 2009 season The Jets let Faneca get away and the team dropped to fourth in rushing. This season Damien Woody had no plans on retiring until they released him to save 3.35 mil. When you combine this with an early season injury to Nick Mangold (lets pray it isn’t lingering) all you have left is Ferguson, Moore and a cast of unproven, overmatched nobodies. As a result Mr. Sanchez looks like Marvis Frazier running from the next Tyson uppercut. If you can’t make holes for you running back, or protect your QB, your season is going to get real ugly, real quick. “Ground and Pound” has been turned into “Run and Hide.”
THE DEFENSIVE LINE
This is a bit simpler to explain. The Jets were the #1 rated defensive team in 2009 largely due to Kris Jenkins. Not many people outside the league really understood his impact. When he lined up, there was simply no running up the middle. He required double teaming at all times or the opposing quarterback would find his center’s back squarely in his own chest on just about every play. This man truly dominated the line. He tore his ACL in 2009 and then again early in 2010. So how do the Jets compensate? They allow their ONLY rushing lineman, Shaun Ellis to sign with New England. Now Muhammad Wilkerson seems to have potential, but he is still a rookie. Can the team afford to wait for him to develop? Unless your QB is named Brady or Manning, the window for a Super Bowl doesn’t stay open too long, so if you’re within a stone’s throw, you have to pull out all the stops. As of the present date,The Jets don’t have one player who can rush the quarterback without the benefit of a blitz.(oh where have you gone, John Abraham?)To add insult to injury, there’s nobody to clog the middle. The amount of time that opposing QB’s have to find their receivers seems endless. On one play last weekend, I could have sworn I saw Tom Brady pull out a cellphone and start dialing! I think Rex will have to recognize that even with all his defensive wizardry, (which can be impressive at times) you still gotta have the horses.
As a Jet fan it’s really disheartening to think that after a lovely two year vacation from “loserville”, we may very well be going back to “The Same Ole Jets”