This is a picture that will undoubtedly make every Jets fan smile. (AP Photo)
I have noticed, at least lately, that my most recent contributions to Jets Insider.com have a bit of a pessimistic tone to them. While everything seems to be going well for the Jets, I still stand here and criticize them. It seems as though I just can’t be content with where the Jets are and with how well they are doing.
In my opinion there are, predominately, two types of Jet fan. There is the fan that always looks at the bright side and has an almost blinding sense of optimism about everything and anything green and white. This is the fan that, back in 1999, might have been overheard saying, “Well, we may be okay without Testeverde, I mean…Parcells wouldn’t have signed Rick Mirer if he couldn’t play. And we always have Ray Lucas as a safety net. I think we win the division.”
Then there is the Jets’ fan that is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is the fan who predicts every late game collapse and who would, even with an 8-0 record, state that the Jets will not make the playoffs. This guy can’t even celebrate when the Jets score a touchdown because he is already working out how they will give it up again on the next possession.
Well, I would like to think that I ride somewhere in the middle of the road between these two extreme personalities. I like to think of myself as a pragmatist. Well, today I will focus on the good things about the season so far. I have had the tone of trepidation for way too long now and would like to pontificate about the top ten reasons to feel good about the New York Jets.
There really isn’t much more to say than that. This is the best start the Jets have had under Herman Edwards. Everyone knows that this team has been notorious for slow starts. Now, for once, they are ahead of the eight ball. And, with just a brief glance at the schedule there is no reason not to believe that when the Jets face New England on Oct. 24th that the winner of that contest will hold the top spot in the AFC East.
2) Chad Pennington
Chad’s performance so far has to exceed what almost everyone predicted. Pennington has an excellent 124.3 quarterback rating. Now I have no idea what that means or how it gets calculated, but I do know that it is a three-digit number, and that has to be good. He has thrown for 625 yards, four touchdowns, and one interceptions, completing roughly 70% of his passes. The Jets not only have a franchise quarterback, they have a star.
3) Curtis Martin
Curtis is running much more dominatingly than he has in a few years. This impressive start of his (425 yards, 4 touchdowns) has helped the Jets offense remain balanced and potent. If Curtis Martin can keep this pace up he would have the best year of his career at the ripe old age of 31. (Two digressions here: first off, why would 31 considered so old, I would give him at least until 34 before I called the AARP. Secondly, why is it with Curtis I’ve never felt comfortable calling him by his last name? Pennington, Chrebet, Mawae, Abraham all sound natural but Martin for some reason doesn’t.)
4) Santana Moss
It seems as though Moss is picking up right where he left off last year. Although Santana hasn’t hauled in a touchdown yet his production has been excellent for a player who missed most of the pre-season due to injuries and scared some people into thinking he wouldn’t play for the first few weeks.
5) Wayne Chrebet
Talking about injuries, did anything feel better than cheering for Chrebet after his first reception this year? I know I held my breath a little when he took that first hit and pumped my fists in excitement when, like always, he bounced right back up. I know his numbers don’t really add up to anything, but to consider that this guy was thinking retirement because of a concussion he sustained last season, what he is doing so far is nothing short of amazing. It wouldn’t feel right, as a Jets fan, to watch a game and not see No. 80 haul in a clutch pass to help extend a drive. Welcome back Mr. 3rd down.
6) Erik Coleman
Where did this kid come from? (And please, I don’t need a hundred e-mails telling me Washington State.) This young man hasn’t done anything except win a starting job in the secondary, snatch two interceptions, and clinch game one against Cincinnati with a pick late in the fourth quarter. Wouldn’t it be great if the Jets uncovered some great long-lasting talent out of the fifth round?
7) The Miami Dolphins
BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA! Am I the only one who stole away a sly grin when Ricky Williams announced his retirement? Doesn’t it feel good to know that this team as a bona-fide quarterback problem? How long before Dave Wannstedt and his mustache start calling Norv Turner looking for work? I know it is a despicable case of schaudenfreud, but I don’t care. I had to live through the fake spike. So, once again; BWAH-HA-HA-HA!!!
8) The Schedule
This Jet schedule is one of the weakest I have ever seen. They have Buffalo and San Francisco before facing New England, then they Miami, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cleveland, Arizona, Houston and Pittsburgh before they face another really good team in Seattle. It would be a disgrace if this team doesn’t win 11 games this year by accident.
This Jet defense has made it a habit of taking the ball away from opposing offenses. So far the Jets have 10 takeaways to one giveaway. I am very excited to see what this new, younger defense can do over an entire season.
10) A New Stadium
Now I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal of the West Side Stadium and it is an issue that would take up more room than I am giving it here. I will try to make a few brief points and maybe return to this topic in the future.
As a Jets fan the desire to see the team play in its own stadium is almost overwhelming. I know that it is expensive and that the construction will probably cause some rather heinous traffic but there will be some positive aspects as well. The stadium will bring in money for the city. Every report I have read so far stating that new stadiums do not directly impact the economic community they are built in only focuses on the last ten years. That is not enough time to correctly predict a trend with something so complex. There is normally a very slow and deliberate chain reaction to the construction of a stadium.
Then there is the argument that the city shouldn’t commit $600-million to building a football stadium when this money can go to more firehouses and better pay for civil service agents, like police officers and teachers. Maybe I am being cynical, but I can not believe that if this stadium is not built that the city will just pump all of this cash into more worthy causes. The cash will just be shelved until some other rich guy convinces the city to build something. And anyway…if the Jets get their own stadium than maybe they will finally get cheerleaders and if there is one thing the world needs more of its cheerleaders.
Week three picks: Last week due to some technical errors I wasn’t able to get my picks to Jetsinsider.com in time for publication. So everyone will have to take me for my word, and when you see the results you will have no choice but to believe me. I took the Dolphins, Titans, and the Cowboys while my Mother took the Steelers, Jaguars, and Cowboys. What a disgrace; I am now 3-8 and my mother (who never watches football) is 4-7. I need to really buckle-up here if I want to save face. Hopefully this week I can sweep.
Week four picks: In week four I went with the Falcons, Titans, and Baltimore making me a two-time loser and giving me a 4-10 record. My Mother was away and I had to go to her stand-in for a week in my father. Now my Dad has kind of lost respect for football over the years. He still pays attention when a game is on TV, but all of the showboating celebrations have turned him off of the game as something he can be passionate about. He picked the Falcons, Titans, and Baltimore, even entertaining me with a story from his youth about a visit to Nashville. “Yep, back in 1958. I drank out of the colored fountain. We were going to Sears to buy bullets for our .22s and go hunting. I stopped and took a drink out of a water fountain and some guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I was from. I told him New York and he said that I was drinking from the colored fountain and I shouldn’t do that. True story. It really happened.” That’s my Dad. My Mom’s record is 5-9. I can’t believe I am losing to my mother. What would Freud say, after he was done with the cocaine of course?
Game 1: Cleveland at Pittsburgh: This is a big divisional game for both teams. Cleveland has scratched their way to a .500 record while the Steelers are 3-1 and leading the AFC north. A win for the Brownies can help them share that lead and build up an injury riddled team’s morale. The Steelers though feel pretty good about how Ben Roethlisberger is playing and football jersey factory workers are working overtime in order to get that name to fit on someone’s back. My pick: the Steelers.
My mother likes the name “the Steelers” better than “the Browns”. Mom’s pick: the Steelers.
Game 2: New York Giants at Dallas: This is the game that the Giants need to win in order to legitimize themselves as a playoff contender. The Cowboys are not a very good team; they have no running game and an old quarterback who makes mistakes when the pressure is on. If Tom Coughlin can get this team to 4-1 then every Giant player should drop to their knees and kiss his OCD butt. My pick: The Giants.
What else can you say but Mom is a homer. Mom’s pick: The Giants.
Game 3: St. Louis at Seattle: Marc Bulger is third in the NFL with 1105 passing yards. The Rams have scored 86 points which is the third highest in the NFC. Marshall Faulk has figured out how to run again averaging 4.5 yards a carry. On the other side of the ball the Seattle defense has allowed 13 points in three games. They have 5 forced fumbles, 5 interceptions, and 10 sacks. If there is any match-up this season of two teams playing totally different styles of football, it is this game. My pick: Seahawks.
Mom has heard that Seattle is a nice city and she always wanted to go there. Mom’s pick: the Seahawks.