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A (Not So) Thin Line Between Good and Great
By Chris Pine
Jets Insider.com Guest Columnist
September 11th, 2007
Jets RB Thomas Jones' NY debut was less than impressive against the Patriots on Sunday.
Jets RB Thomas Jones' NY debut was less than impressive against the Patriots on Sunday.
The Jets weren't that bad when they played against their division rivals, the New England Patriots, this past Sunday. Seriously, if you take a step back and think about it they played a fairly decent game, all things considered. The problem is that "fairly decent" wasn't good enough. Not against the upper echelon of the NFL. Not against the cream of the crop. Not against the standard by which all teams are measured against. Not against the Patriots. (Wow, it really hurt me to type that last statement. I actually just threw up a little bit in my mouth. As if that wasn't enough I even had to watch the Tom Brady episode of Family Guy on Sunday night, is that fair? No, it isn't.).

Now most of my friends and some very vocal fans were convinced that the Jets had an excellent chance of winning the game. They puffed out their chests and came up with a lot of very transparent reasons why they were so optimistic. I wasn't as convinced as they were. Maybe that is why I am walking away from the game with a little different perspective than most of my fellow Jet fans. So if any of you out there are still feeling the hangover from Sunday why not allow me to try and dissect the game a bit to show you my point of view.

Chad Pennington had a serviceable performance. The Jets quarterback completed over 75 percent of his passes and although he didn't crack 200 yards he did throw for two touchdowns and didn't turn the ball over. On top of that he also showed great strength of character and courage on the football field. First by doing everything he could to get off the field under his own power after suffering an injury (which looked very serious at the time) and again when he orchestrated a scoring drive with a heavily wrapped ankle that dangerously limited his mobility. I would say that overall Jet fans have to be pleased with his performance, especially considering the overwhelming lack of a running game to compliment him.

Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery had the ball evenly distributed between them and showed that they are a credible receiving tandem. Coles showed strength and dexterity in catching two touchdowns while Cotchery showcased his ability to be a viable target when the Jets are in need of a first down.

Ummmm, what else? Well, Ben Graham was solid. He did have two punts inside the twenty yard line. That was nice…right?

OK, maybe I am stretching it a bit. I mean when you get to praising the punter as the third positive highlight you might as well quit while you can.

I know that the Jets running game was a disappointment. Thomas Jones couldn't get things started on the ground or settle into any kind of rhythm. He did have a nice 12 yard run, but that was about it. (Can I digress for a moment? Do you think he calls himself Thomas Jones so that no one makes Tom Jones references? Maybe get stuck with a nickname like "pussycat" or something? You think I could get that started? Let me try it out: Thomas "what's new pussycat" Jones. Whoahhhooowooo…..).

I also recognize that Jets' fans can't ignore the fact that the Patriots quarterback Tom Brady cut the defensive backfield up like it was non-existent. There was so little pressure on Brady that Bridget Moynahan could probably have given birth in the pocket last Sunday and invited her family in to meet the baby during the fourth quarter.

The Patriots running game moved along without a hitch. Even though Laurence Maroney was held under 100 yards his counterpart Sammy Morris was an excellent companion piece racking up 54 yards of his own. Between the two of them the Patriots ground attack was more than adequate.

So how, after my own little recap of Sunday's game, can I say that the Jets played at a respectable level? Well…they played the Patriots.

Let me repeat that: THEY PLAYED THE PATRIOTS!!!

The Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Bill Belichick, Teddy Bruschi Patriots.

As much as I love the Jets, they aren't in the same class as the Pats. That doesn't mean that they aren't still a good team. That doesn't mean they can't have a good season, possibly even a playoff run. That doesn't mean that Jet fans should dwell on this loss and allow it to resonate throughout the remainder of the season. This game should not gain any more credence than any other game on the Jets schedule.

What the Jets need to do is take care of the teams that they can play with. They need to play hard against second tier teams like the Ravens, Eagles, and Bengals. Those are the games that you can measure the Jets capabilities with much more accurately. Those are the games that they can conceivably win. In doing so maybe the Jets will finally have their fans saying with confidence, "My team is a good team. My team can win."