Is it all that suprising?
For all the teeth gnashing going on, is it really surprising that the Jets are 3-6 right now? They were a mediocre (8-8) team last year, with offensive and defensive issues (talent & coaching). Such a team should beat weaker teams and lose to better ones. Through nine games they’ve only played 3 games against teams who currently have sub-.500 records, won 2 of those 3 and beat a team with a winning record to get to three wins. They are where they should be. Through Week 10 the average winning percentage for the Jets opponents is .605; that's a pretty good “average” opponent; the Jets are not a .600 caliber club themselves. Luckily for the Jets the “average” opponent the rest of the way has a .397 winning percentage. I expect the Jets will get a fair number of wins, which will only mask the fact that the Jets are still a mediocre team.
We’ve all been disgusted with how the Jets have lost; defense has been up and down, specials have been surprisingly poor and the offense is a dud. The lack of offense has been particularly acute when the opposing defense is a strong one. And they’ve faced a lot of strong defenses in the first nine games. Of the first nine opponents (counting Mia twice), six of the nine are in the top ten in either total or scoring defense. For a weak offense, they should lose to those teams, probably badly. Using those defensive standings a predictor, the Jets should be 3-6 right now. It tracks pretty well, the exception being that they beat Mia (8th in Scoring D) once and lost to NE (25th total D, 16th Scoring). Against weaker defenses (Buf, Indy, NE) the Jets’ offense looked pretty respectable.
Looking forward, the only top ten defenses left for the Jets are AZ (9th T, 5th S), SD (7th T, 11th S). Assuming they’ll lose those games, and to NE (too good on offense), they could finish 4-3 and look OK doing it. 7-9 in a year after they finished 8-8 and quickly lost Revis and Holmes is pretty predictable.
And as to the QB controversy, suffice to say they whoever QBs the Jets the rest of the season will look a lot better than thus far this seaons against mostly good teams. Hard to make any judgment calls based upon that. Sanchez could look better and some will wonder whether he is improving or just facing weaker Ds; Tebow or McElroy, if successful against weaker defenses, wouldn’t tell us much; we’d need to see how they handle a string of tough D’s to compare to Sanchez. I think either way we all feel that a QB that can carry the team over a strong defense does not exist on the Jets today, and may not any time soon. Those QBs aren’t easy to come by.
Best bet WRT to QBs is Sanchez (barring injury) plays out the string; Tebow leaves after this year and a mid-career vet QB comes in as back-up (this may be an attractive slot for backup who sees the chance to supplant Sanchez next year, when Sanchez could be in a lame duck status—Stanton thought he had this in 2012 before Tebow showed up).
And a “strong” (4-3 or 5-2) finish probably wouldn’t mandate major changes to upper management, which would be needed for the Jets to truly contend next year. I’d prefer to see the Jets abandon the ground and pound theme (it takes more good players than a decent passing offense) and bring in an OC who is known for developing QBs and passing offenses (Schotty was bad, Sparano no better that I can see). That plus a strong defense can win in the NFL (balanced offense is nicer but…). And I’d really like the Jets to become a more disciplined and focused team, but that requires such emphasis from the coaching staff, not something we’ve ever seen under Rex.
But for this year, for a team that belongs in the 7-9 to 9-7 range, they pretty much should be 3-6 after the schedule played so far. I wonder what other teams have played against cumulative .600 level opponents and what is their record?