Florham Park, N.J.- The Jets ugly come back victory over the Broncos two weeks ago left the Jets at 5-1 and feeling just as confident about themselves heading into their bye week as all that preseason bravado suggested they would.
It’s only six games into the season and with the Patriots, Steelers and Ravens (even if it was a struggle for them to beat the lowly Bills) all winning their games this week it’s way too early for the Jets to be earning any type of reward. But in case you haven’t figured it out by now Rex Ryan not only dances to the beat of his own drum, but he makes up his own dances as well.
So being 5-1 didn’t earn the players any real NFL related awards (sorry Jets fans as good as things are looking for the Jets they haven’t earned anything yet as far as accomplishments are concerned), but Ryan did grant the players a week’s vacation.
A week ago today, the players came here to the Florham Park facilities and gathered their things. The players couldn’t have been more ready for their vacation time, and after all the hard work of training camp, preseason and the roller-coaster ride that was the first six weeks of the season, who could blame them for being eager to enjoy a week off.
"I'm 100%!" Declared Jets All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis today regarding his injured hamstring. He'll be ready to roll against the Pack this Sunday. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
Normally teams would prefer for their bye week to come a little later in the season, especially when the playoffs are a very attainable goal. Week seven works though, no one will complain about that being too early, considering week 10 is the last week for bye’s. Still teams with playoff aspiration usually want to delay that bye until week 10 if possible, so they can get that week off to recuperate and finish out the season strong.
As goes life in the NFL, everything doesn’t ever go exactly as planned, but sometimes things just fall into place and a week seven bye for the Jets could just be one of those lucky bounces.
Yes, the Jets are 5-1, but their defense has hardly played up to the capabilities that Ryan expects from his team, this bye week should go along way to fixing those problems.
The problems the Jets have had on defense during the first six games of the season are taking place in the secondary, which of course can be directly linked to Revis’ hamstring injury. The Jets have done a great job on defense for the most part, but they have been getting beat through the air much more than they would like, especially on third-down conversions.
With the Jets constantly forcing opposing teams into third and long situations, Ryan and his fellow coaches have refused to let up on the blitzes and because the secondary isn’t operating on it’s highest level yet, teams have taken advantage and found the ‘hot route,’ receivers open for a first-down. With a healthy Revis those problems should slowly disappear.
Against Denver, Revis had a solid overall game, but the Broncos continued to target him. The Jets defense did a great job overall slowing down the Broncos passing attack, but they allowed most of the damage to come on the ground. Revis however, was just a step slow on a couple of plays that could of made a drastic difference from good, solid coverage to an interception if he was 100 percent healthy.
With many of his teammates going home or on a mini-vacation Revis spent most of his time here, getting more treatment on his hamstring and working to make sure he is in the best possible shape.
So is he 100 percent healthy? Let Revis himself tell it, “Yeah, I’m a 100 percent.”
When Ryan was asked if he feels good about where Revis is at right now, he said, “I do. He was moving around great today, now we’ll get to see Darrelle at 100 percent. So that’s exciting to me.”
You know who else it’s exciting for? Jets fans, and it could prove to be downright terrifying for opposing teams. If Revis can get back to playing even at 75 percent as good as he did last year, this Jets defense will be able to dominate in exactly the way they want. Revis applying a shutdown presence on the other team’s number one receiver makes it much easier for the coaches to keep calling exotic blitz packages and allows the ones blitzing a better chance of putting the other quarterback on his back.
After last season Sanchez went back and studied every second of the tapes from last season and he realized if he cut out the turnovers they would of won a lot more games. This season he enjoyed a turnover free season, until that last game against Denver, but still one would assume he took the same approach and studied his every move looking for ways to improve.
With another week, comes more time for Santonio Holmes to acclimate himself into this offense. He has shown spurts of his potential, but fans were left scratching their heads when he ended that big run by running into Braylon Edwards and fumbling the ball at a crucial juncture of the game. There is little doubt there will be a heavy focus on getting Holmes going, while still keeping everyone else involved in these next couple of days. The offense has improved greatly, but still needs to be more consistent and if they plan on being as dangerous as they can be getting Holmes involved is a necessity.
Of course, there is one obvious disadvantage to the bye week coming when it did, the Jets just won five straight games in a variety of ways and maybe a week off could slow down their momentum.
Last Monday Ryan said, “I tell you what, when you win five games in a row, you kind of just wish you (could) keep playing to be honest with you. It is good to have the bye right now. We can enjoy it (and) give them a little time off, get away from it a little bit and then come back ready to go. We know that this is just the start of our mission, but it is an opportunity to get a little bit away from it.”
Today Ryan said, “I think any coach would of just kept going, once you get on that type of roll you just want to keep going, but for this football team, we’re better now because of the break. You know, we’re fresher, we have no excuses, let’s just go out and play.”
This team is most certainly healthier, with Revis saying he is already 100 percent, Pace starting to get back into a rhythm and no other injuries to worry about (Dustin Keller had an MRI on his wrist and all is well).
And after the 30 minutes of practice the media got to watch, and seeing and hearing the jokes and enthusiastic energy in the locker room, saying this team appears fresher just might be the understatement of the year.
5-1, with 10 games left and the Jets have placed themselves exactly where they want to be and with some fine tuning, hard work and consistent improvement they plan to end the season in the same way, on top.