Mohr Or Less
By Jason Perl
Jets Insider.com Contributing Writer
December 21st, 2005
While the Jets 3-11 season gives the press more than enough ammunition for ridicule, comedian/actor and sometimes sports writer Jay Mohr has found time in his "busy" schedule to single out the posters on the Jets Insider.com message boards as being the "worst fans on the web". I know this is difficult to believe. After all, New York fans are the most knowledgeable around, right? Mohr doesn't think so, as he eloquently states in his column on the Sports Illustrated website.
For Jets Insider.com and it's legions of followers, even bad press is good press.
So, does Mohr have a point or not?
In this lost season ravaged by injuries, many of you have complained on the message boards that Head Coach Herman Edwards should be fired. As if it's his fault, that Chad Pennington, Jay Fiedler, Kevin Mawae, Jason Fabini, Curtis Martin, Chris Baker and Derrick Blaylock got hurt. Anyone with common sense knows that you can have Vince Lombardi out there on the sideline and this Jets team - with all the injuries - would still be 3-13!
Sure, Edwards has time management issues, but the Jets haven't even been in a game that needed to test these skills since September. The fact that these Jets continue to play hard every week is a credit to Edwards.
The players know this coach is going nowhere. Every player has continued to give exceptional effort, even though injuries at key skill positions have made it difficult to realistically win games this season.
The string of injuries have been detrimental to the stat lines of Laveranues Coles, Justin McCareins, and even, the underachieving Doug Jolley. Do you really think if Pennington was healthy and he had time to work with this cast of receivers this season, that all of these players wouldn't benefit? Moreover, everything on offense starts with the offensive line.
Last year when Mawae and Co. dominated, the Jets were a legitimate Super Bowl contender and Curtis Martin led the NFL in rushing. Take Mawae and Fabini out and switch 80% of the line to new positions, and you simply are not going to be as efficient. Herman Edwards can't block. He can't run. He can't catch. And he certainly can't tackle (even though he used to).
Speaking of tackling, the one point which Mohr and all of you Jets Insider.com posters fail to bring up is the inconsistency of the Jets defense. Remember, this defense is fairly healthy and should be playing better. On a surprising show of offense from battered 3rd string QB Brooks Bollinger (28-42, 327 yards, 2 TD's) and 3rd string RB Cedric Houston (15 carries, 84 yards) - the Jets had a rare 17-10 lead on Sunday against the Dolphins this past week. If you really want to point a finger, wouldn't last year's defense have shut the door on Dolphinsí 2nd string QB Sage Rosenfels? They didn't and Gang Green lost 24-20. Don't blame the undermanned offense for that loss. Let the self proclaimed best defense around take a little blame.
We understand everyoneís frustration. All of us at Jets Insider.com are Fans and want the team to succeed. The message board is there to let you speak your mind. But realize that coming into this season, several NFL experts picked the Jets as a Super Bowl contender. Then, in a cruel act of fate - six key offensive starters were injured, as well as two key backups. No team could overcome that kind of loss of manpower and production. So, let's cut Herman Edwards a break. Let him come back next year and coach a healthy Jets team. Let him pick up where he left off last year leading the Jets to the 2nd round of the playoffs. In the NFL, teams come back in one year. Look at the Bears. Give Herm a chance and he may surprise you next season.
As for Jay Mohrís assessment that the Jets Insider.com messageboard posters are the worst on the net, thatís a stretch and a bit unfair. I think the fact that Mohr is an admitted Jets fan is skewing his judgment. If you scan any busy NFL messageboard of any losing team you will see posts and topics similar to the ones on JI. I think itís time for Mohr to be a little more objective and also realize function of a busy messageboard like the one on JI is to express the viewpoints of Jets fans, no matter how extreme they are. One thing New Yorkers are known for is their extreme opinions. Lighten up, Jay, itís all discussion.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A STARTER?
It wasn't supposed to be this way. The indestructible Curtis Martin was supposed to lead this 2005 Jets team to the Promised Land. On top of that, this past off-season, the Jets landed an experienced change of pace back up with Derrick Blaylock. There was no room for any other running back to carry the ball for the Jets.
Of course, all that changed with the ravage of injuries that decimated the Jets backfield and most other positions this season. For the 2nd straight week, rookie RB Cedric Houston (15 carries, 84 yards) carried the load and is making a case to start in 2006, with his gusty performance in the Jets 24-20 defeat against the Dolphins.
Last week, in the Jets win over the Raiders, Houston felt his way and scored his first touchdown, while prodding to 74 yards on 28 carries. It was a good showing, considering it was his first NFL start. Against Miami, Houston's running was reminiscent of a young Earl Campbell or Eric Dickerson.
Houston hit the holes quickly and consistently broke tackles for extra yardage. He is a load to bring down, and the feeling is that if Houston can deliver big runs with the current offensive line in flux - imagine what he can do when Kevin Mawae, Jason Fabini and a couple of new OL parts mesh together. At least this season, Houston looks like the better RB than future Hall-of-Famer, Curtis Martin. However, we can attribute Martin's off year to his injuries, but what if he's not the same running back in 2006 after surgery? We all know his effort and determination will be there, but will his body?
Houston has shown that he's got the tools to be a brutish, powerful runner with some surprising quickness. While you can never count Martin out, Houston has earned the opportunity to win the RB job next year. And this is something that was never thought possible at the beginning of the year.
Looking toward next year, the Jets are in a very precarious position with Martin, considering that Houston is now in the mix. Houston's performance may allow the Jets to focus on other areas of need. While mostly everyone in Jetland hopes the Jets are in position to RB Reggie Bush, the Texans are making sure that doesn't happen. So where does that leave Martin? Where would that leave Texan RB Dominick Davis?
Seemingly, out of the running for the first pick, the Jets can still land a stud offensive lineman (a big need) with their early first round selection, and the Jets have now seen that Cedric Houston (43 rushes, 158 yards, 1 TD) is at worst, a very viable RB backup. There are always talented QB's and RB's available through trades or free agency, but if the Jets have a chance to draft a top lineman, who could be here for the next 10-12 seasons, they have to do it.
Regardless of who is at RB, the Jets need to improve their offensive line. If they can do that, Curtis Martin may be back for another productive season, and if he isn't the same player he once was, Cedric Houston has shown he can produce. Either way, an improved offensive line will allow the Jets to be competitive again in '06.