MOURNING AFTER REPORT: Back to the Drawing Board
An all around awful performance by the Jets in a home shut out loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. There’s no way around it. The Jets were outplayed, out-executed, out-hustled and out-coached by Jim Harbaugh’s group. Too add injury to insult, the Jets lost their best offensive weapon, Santonio Holmes, to a non-contract knee injury — a play eerily resembling Darrelle Revis’ torn ACL injury suffered just last week.
But back to the insults for a moment.
The Jets weren’t just outplayed, they were outplayed like a Jet. Since Rex Ryan has taken over the reigns as head coach, he’s emphasized the phrase ‘play like a Jet’. What exactly does that entail? A strong rushing attack, efficient quarterback play, a top-five defense and strong special teams play. Well, the team can learn a lot from this game tape and not just from their own play. Harbaugh regurgitated what it meant to ‘play like a Jet’ and shoved it back down the throats of the Jets.
And it didn’t taste any better going back down.
“We have to look at it from a schematics standpoint and determine if we’re putting our players in the best position to be successful. I don’t know that answer right now,” Ryan said after the game.
One hundred forty-five yards of total offense is not the answer.
Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith and Frank Gore knew the answer the Jets are missing. The 49ers beat the Jets at their own game — a run-oriented offensive attack with Smith efficiently completing passes when asked to. Lack of personnel and the misuse of that lacking personnel has been a growing pimple for this team that is finally starting to show it’s ugly head.
The Jets defense, which practices against a Wildcat offense daily, was not ready for Kaepernick running wild on them. After the game, the second-year QB out of Nevada called running against the Jets defense “easy”. He had one snap on the season prior to Sunday’s game.
Asked if he thinks defenses are expecting to run the ball when he’s in on offense, Tim Tebow bluntly replied, “Yeah”.
Ryan said on Monday that changes have to be made to put their players in the best position to perform. But will not concede that the change to be made is at quarterback … yet.
“I think Mark is the answer. Again, time will tell.”
Until then, the Jets will continue to be a team in disarray.
PASSING OFFENSE: F
- Could Mark Sanchez be the worst QB in the NFL? Completion percentage-wise, yes. He’s last in the league completing less than 50% of his passes (49.2%), with his whopping 44.8% performance on Sunday. That’s worse than any of the five rookies starting this year and second-year starters like Blaine Gabbert and Kevin Kolb.
- Is Sanchez a viable leader of this team? Everyone talks about the poor body language of Cam Newton, but what about Sanchez — a fourth year guy? Two instances that stuck out to me: 1) Following a dropped ball in the flat by John Conner, #6 can be seen sulking for one of two reasons: a) Conner dropped the ball or b) that he was being taken off the field for Tebow. 2) After the game his refusal to take the blame for an interception on a screen (which has happened multiple times last season), calling it an “unlucky play”, was followed by him stating that he’d like to see Holmes hold on to the ball following his injury. How can he, in one breath, say the interception he threw was “unlucky”, yet in the other give a little dig to Holmes, who was injured?
- The Jets did not convert a third down after midway through the second quarter.
- The injury to Holmes combined with on-going injuries to Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill does not help Sanchez’s case, but doesn’t absolve the issue either. The x-rays were negative on Holmes left knee, but the MRI has yet to return. Early prognosis is he’ll mix the next few weeks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F
- A net total of 45 rushing yards. They averaged 2.6 yards per run. Insert joke involving the words “ground” and “pound” here.
- Are we close to seeing a change at running back? Bilal Powell started the game, despite Shonn Greene getting the majority of the touches. Greene’s last three games: 11, 19 (in OT) and 11 attempts. The problem isn’t getting Greene out of the game, but who will replace him? Powell had just four touches and Joe McKnight seems to be phased out on offense. Are they expecting the newly signed Jonathan Grimes to step in?
PASSING DEFENSE: C+
- The one unit on either side of the ball that performed admirably — which is ironic being that they were without Revis. Antonio Cromartie backed up his claim as the best remaining cornerback in the league.
- Kyle Wilson was targeted early and often by Smith and the 49ers. It worked out well as Smith wasn’t as accurate as he has been — missing a few open receivers. He will be tested week-in and and week-out by opposing teams until he proves he can stay with receivers. He was beat on the first step quite often, failing to rotate hips and keep up with the likes of Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham — as he was regularly a step or two behind.
- The sacks by Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace were really made by the secondary. On both plays the coverage was so good, Smith had no where to go and the defense had time to collapse the pocket.
RUSHING DEFENSE: F
- The Jets are the 31st ranked rushing defense in the NFL and gave 245 yards on the ground — both career lows for a Ryan-led defense.
- The problem goes deeper than just poor tackling — too often players aren’t in the right position to make a play on the ball. The defensive line is not shedding blockers early enough leading to arm tackles and the second-tier defenders look to be standing upright — not the right stance to be making tackles.
- I’ve probably given too much credit to this d-line in regards to stopping the run. While up to this point they have produced decent run stopping numbers, their backside and edge containment remains to be an issue with good cut-back running backs — leaving a lot of extra yards to be gained on the weak side.
SPECIAL TEAMS: N/A
- Ryan loves to have a strong special teams unit to help decide the outcome of games. But field position didn’t play a role in this game, thus garnering a non-gradable performance.
- Harbaugh embarrassed the Jets coaching brass by flaunting a more explosive Wildcat offense and, more importantly, effectively using the Wildcat. My early impressions of the use of Tebow is this: they’re scared of putting him in — in fear of rallying cries from media and fans alike. Tebow presents this coaching staff with a lose-lose situation: When they don’t play Tebow they hear about it. When (or if) they do play Tebow they hear about it. Are they trying to protect the interest of Sanchez? If so, they are hurting their overall product by doing so.
- But on that note, why not give Tebow a shot when the game was out of reach? What are they going to lose? If Sanchez is still their guy, aren’t they risking injury by keeping him out there in a meaningless game?
- On that same notion, why not pull the starters on both sides of the ball? A big problem I have with Ryan is his unwavering loyalty to under-producing veterans. And with both starting units under-producing this week, why not give the youth an opportunity to get some reps in a real-time game? By him leaving the starters in, does it not send the message that no matter how bad they do there are no repercussions?