Where Do They Go From Here?
Home on Long Island, shacked up in the storm: No one can say there was zero chance that the Jets would rest in the position they are in heading into the Bye week. When evaluating the team before the season started, like most teams, there were a laundry list of problems that either didn’t get addressed, or would have to be covered up by other areas exceeding expectations.
To name a few: Mark Sanchez learning a new offense, speed at linebacker, new safeties, explosive playmakers at wide receiver and running back, use of Tim Tebow.
Those problems paired with a difficult first half schedule has the team at 3-5. Expectations of 4-4 were most realistic, but at any rate, it is how the team has arrived at this point which seems to be the cause for the extreme negativity. There is inconsistency in every part of this team. From coaching, to the players, to the offense, defense and special teams, the Jets can’t put together consecutive performances that leaves confidence in anyone watching them.
‘Something has to change’ is the idea swirling around after getting embarrassed at home to the Miami Dolphins. Changes always have consequences, so lets go through some possible changes and the results of those moves.
Let Sanchez throw 35+ times a game: With 2:43 left in the first half, the Jets threw out five wide receivers and ran their no huddle offense. Sanchez hit Stephen Hill for 19, Chaz Schilens for 14, Clyde Gates for 11, and Shonn Greene for 21 to put the Jets in scoring position in two minutes (2:00, 9 plays, 70 yards). Yes I understand I am choosing one drive of one game to make a point, but if there is more progress in two minutes then there is in the other 28 minutes in the first half, it makes an impression.
I know the Jets preach ground and pound and do it terribly, but it isn’t that kind of league anymore. To have Sanchez in these two and three wide receiver sets seemingly running quick slants and out patterns is helping no one. When offensive coordinator Tony Sparano runs twice in a row for nine yards and throws on 3rd and 1 for a three and out, how is Sanchez to blame? Trotting two or three wide receivers on third and short when no team is scared of the run game feels ancient. Sanchez also showed us against New England that he can rule the intermediate passing game with quick hitters. Let the guy loose and let him sling it all over the field, at the very least the organization will find out if he’s capable. If you want to stick to Sparano’s ground and pound lifestyle then…
Move on from Mark Sanchez: After the Dolphins blocked a punt to go ahead 10-0 in yesterday’s game, Sanchez and the offense took the field to regroup and put the team on the comeback path. Sanchez dropped back and was strip-sacked from the blind side, giving the Dolphins the ball in Jets territory, eventually putting the Jets in a 17-0 hole. These types of plays seem to happen all to often.
It is tough to accept that Sanchez will randomly pick up the skills of feeling and sliding away from pressure and ball security after his fourth NFL season. It is usually one of those things a quarterback has or doesn’t have. It is frustrating to see the lack of progress on something that seems easily fixable like ball security. The scarier part is the recognition of pressure getting closer, which doesn’t seem to have been better since watching Sanchez as a rookie.
If the offensive philosophy is going to continue and stay the same throughout the entire season, the Jets should consider cutting ties with Sanchez. There are two results from this scenario.
1. Tebow takes over with a team that has the same exact problems (quarterback change doesn’t effect pass rush, pass protection, lack of run defense in case anyone was curious) but for reasons no one will be able to explain, stuff like this happens and you just ride the wave. Sanchez era ends and you move forward with Tebow.
2. Tebow takes over with a team that has the same exact problems and the team continues into mediocrity and pisses the playoffs. Being mediocre in sports is the worst thing for a franchise. You do not get top draft picks and get franchise-impact players and you don’t reap the benefits of playoff appearances. If going 8-8 or 9-7 and missing the playoffs with Tebow at quarterback is a solution you had in your mind, erase it. If Tebow is put in as the starter, Sanchez cannot return to this team. If the Jets are mediocre, the only solution is to blow it up and start over.
Power Forward: Getting destroyed by a division opponent after the Jets ran their mouths all week hurts, but over-reacting could have long term effects for this team that could be very damaging. Hearing a Sanchez defender might be annoying at this stage, but he is not the guy who can carry a mediocre team above and beyond. Everyone knows this. Comparing him to the best in the league is a waste of time. He has proven that given a solid foundation with some playmakers, he can do enough to get a team where they need to go. This offense doesn’t maximize his talent or potential, not to say he isn’t to blame for what has gone on this season, but whoever has watched him knows he shouldn’t be the scapegoat for the season if it gets out of hand.
What other suggestions do you have, what other (realistic only please) scenarios play out in your mind? Which path will the Jets most likely stroll down?