First off I’d like to address all the fans who have emailed me busting my chops that I haven’t written in my blog since week one of the season. I apologize and really am quite flattered that anyone actually cares about my opinions. The reality is, I’m not a professional writer and to put an article together for me is a long process unless I am truly inspired.
I am inspired this week because I think this game against Buffalo will be the litmus test on what type of team the 2008 NY Jets are and will ultimately decide if the team has any chance of being a playoff team. I know some will say that one game does not determine a season, however, based on the way the Jets have performed in recent weeks, if they get manhandled on Sunday I believe the season is lost.
The Jets are in a tough spot. They are heading up to a hornet’s nest in Orchard Park where a good Buffalo team is coming off an ugly loss in Miami. They will be pumped up to redeem themselves in front of 80,000 rabid Western NY Bills fans who have no love loss for the Jets. Buffalo is coming off a 2007 sweep of NY where in game one last year at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Bills rookie QB Trent Edwards made his NFL debut, torched the Jets for 234 passing yards and established himself as one of the brightest young QB talents in the league. Since then, he’s only gotten better, leading the Bills to a 5-2 start and tie for first place in the AFC East.
The Jets, on the other hand are a team that I just can’t measure. On paper, this team should be dominating the AFCE. They have great talent on both sides of the ball plus Brett Favre. Despite this, they are a game over .500 and have lost games to the putrid Oakland Raiders and nearly lost to the even more awful Chiefs. Not once this season has the team risen to the occasion and handily beat an opponent. Even in the game where they dropped 56 points against the Cardinals, the defense collapsed in the second half and the game wasn’t secured until the 4th quarter.
The most frustrating thing to me as a fan this season has been watching Head Coach Eric Mangini operate. I’m at a loss as to what kind of coach this guy is. The more I see him, the less I am impressed with him. The game planning and play calling this year has been awful. It seems he’s always trying to reinvent the wheel rather than just hitting a team the way he should. How do you not pound the ball with big doses of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington (who btw, is this team’s MVP so far) against the Chiefs who are the worst rushing defense in the NFL? A mere 24 rushing attempts against this team was ridiculous. Why in God’s name did they spend millions on guys like G Alan Faneca if this is the course they are going to take.
The most irritating thing about watching Mangini is his lack of emotion. I’ll preface this by saying I like Mangini and think he’s a good guy and enjoy his dry sense of humor at press conferences and I want to see him succeed as the Jets coach.
I know his personality may not be that of a Bill Parcells or Jim Mora but come on Eric, show something to the masses that indicates you give a crap. After the Raiders loss, in his post game press conference he calmly spoke about how he was comfortable with the way the team played in the overtime. Are you kidding me? The play calling was awful and the execution was even worse. Eric, can you for once take responsibility for a bad game? Can you imagine Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick’s post game press conference after a loss like Oakland? They would be livid. Parcells’ reaction would be something like this:
“We’re not a good team right now, and I haven’t done a real good job as a coach getting this team ready. I do assure you though that changes will be made, players will be accountable, and I will do everything to my ability to make this a better team.”
For once I’d like to see Mangini say something like that. He got this job based on his pedigree, spawning from Parcells and Bellichick but so far besides his bunker mentality with the media, has shown nothing that he’s anything like either of them.
Anyway, I’ll stop ranting and get back to the game. Beating the Bills in Buffalo would be such a boost for the Jets. Being the Pats play the Colts on Sunday night and could easily lose that game, a win in Buffalo for NY could give them a share of first place by Monday morning. Also, I think it would give them a lot of confidence which is very important in the coming weeks, since after the Rams next week they play three extremely tough games against New England and unbeaten Tennessee on the road, then a tough Denver team at home on Nov 30. Losing this week would make the Jets task so much harder as they will be playing catchup. The Jets will have to get their pass rush in order and get some pressure on Edwards on Sunday as Miami last week had success rushing Edwards and pressing the Bills WR’s and making plays. Kris Jenkins needs a big game as the Bills will try to establish a rushing presence with FB Marshawn Lynch. Offensively the Jets must play smash mouth football and get the ball more often to Washington who seems to make a play every time he touches the ball. They also need to corall Favre and insist he doesn’t make the same type of careless mistakes he made against the Chiefs because if he does, the Bills will make it a very long day for Gang Green.
All in all, this is a game the Jets can win and if they do I think could be the start of a special season. If they lose, they certainly won’t be out of it but in my opinion the road to a playoff spot will be a long and unlikely one.
Keeping with the Halloween spirit, will Mangini and Co. give Jets fans the usual trick they are used to or for once, reward us with a treat? We’ll see on Sunday.
-It’s been really cool visiting new tailgates every home game for our 2008 JI Tailgate Challenge contest. We’ve met some really nice Jets fans and a slew of characters to say the least. If you haven’t checked out the videos from our visits please go to the following link and check it out http://www.jetsinsider.com/jets_insidervision.php. Very funny stuff. Also, if you have a great tailgate party, it’s still not too late to get involved check out the contest page ( http://www.jetsinsider.com/2008_tailgate_contest.php ) and drop us a line! We may just visit you!
-Does it seem like the Steelers are on every prime time NFL game this season? Enough already!
-Shout out and congrats to Super Jets and JI Fan Jay Mohr who’s sitcom “Gary Unmarried” on CBS is doing excellent in the ratings. Maybe as soon as he gets some of that syndication money he can buy the team from Woody.
-Shield fans…how good is this final season? With four episodes left, all hell is going to break out in Farmington. Who will survive? Props also to my new favorite FX show “Sons of Anarchy” which is the same quality as The Shield.
-I’m Coaching the last game of my five year old’s youth flag football season tomorrow where we are going for a perfect 8-0 year. Not only have the Notre Dame Mites not lost a game, they’ve only been scored upon twice all season. Eric…you know my number…call me if you need some advice!!!
-One last thing…I would be remiss as a Dad if on this beautiful Halloween day I didn’t post at least one picture of my daughter Maggie’s first time trick of treating. Have a fun and a safe Halloween!