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First Quarter Grades

By Chris Pine
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
October 3rd, 2003
Despite periodic bursts from Sam Cowart, the Jets LB's have been awful so 
far
Despite periodic bursts from Sam Cowart, the Jets LB's have been awful so far
It is time for a first quarter evaluation of the Jet’s. I am not looking forward to this since there aren’t many bright spots so far. This team is not performing as anticipated and leading the Jet fan base down another spiraling staircase of “The Football Season Blues.” Quarterbacks- With the loss of Chad Pennington this was an area that all Jet fans were worried about. The question of could Vinny still play and would he finally figure out Paul Hackett’s west coast offensive raced through everyone’s mind. The first game against the Redskins was pretty bad for Testeverde as he only threw for 105 yards but since then he has been doing well. His yardage and completion percentage have improved. Since he is the acting field general though he has to take a hit for the fact that the Jets as a team have only scored three touchdowns in four games. Unacceptable. Grade C+

Running Backs- Lets see: Curtis Martin is averaging for 49 yards a game and has scored zero touchdowns. Did everyone hear that in the back of the room? ZERO TOUCHDOWNS!!!! For those of you who would like to see Lamont Jordan take Martin’s place in the lineup his numbers are an amazingly under-whelming three yards on ten attempts. That is .03 yards a carry. Folks the problem isn’t Curtis. Read on and see who the biggest culprit in this terrible season really is. Grade F

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- This group is only slightly respectable thanks to the emergence of Santana Moss as a legitimate pass catcher. He really looks great so far. Conway has been atrocious and has dropped more balls than a one handed juggler. I cringe now every time I think back to the off-season when I told my friends, “Hey this isn’t that bad. Conway is a serviceable to good receiver. He can do the job.” Ugh. Wayne has been Wayne though but this grade is based solely on Santana Moss. I am firmly jumping on the bandwagon here. As far as the Tight Ends are concerned I think we all agree that Becht just isn’t cutting it. He has nine catches for 56 yards while Chris Baker has 27 yards on three catches. Time to make the switch. Grade B-

Offensive Line- This unit is disgraceful. Almost every problem that the Jets have this season can be traced back to the line. There is some decent pass protection with Vinny only getting sacked twice this season but the run offense is pathetic. There is no push or control of the line of scrimmage by Doug Marrone’s squad. I have said it before and will say it again until the end of the season. The biggest loss the Jets suffered this off-season with the entire Redskins fiasco was the loss of Randy Thomas. Couple that with the previous year’s loss of Ryan Young to the Texans in the expansion draft and that is now two fifth’s of what was once the best offensive line in the game is now gone. There is no way to recover from that. Grade F

Defensive Line- Both Sean Ellis and John Abraham have been performing very well and getting their share of sacks and opposing quarterbacks are being held to an average of about 180 yards a game. Obviously there is some pressure being exerted even if it doesn’t feel like it when I watch the games. The problem really is the fact that they can stop the run and cannot get off the field. Opposing teams have held the ball for a half hour longer than the Jets so far this season. Out of 77 first downs that teams have against them 40 are rushing first downs. This is kills the team and any hope it would have of winning a game. The lack of passing yards may actually just be a byproduct of the monstrous running games the opponents have. Plus any team that lets Troy Hambrick become the topic of discussion among rotisserie geeks deserves a low score. Grade F

Linebackers- Old and slow. That is really all I can say. They don’t make plays consistently and always seem to be chasing the play rather than meeting it head on. Time for some new blood and some smart off-season moves. Grade D

Secondary- This squad has let up an unmanageable 63% completion percentage. Now maybe that is because of the lack of a drive up the middle of the line but these guys should still be making something happen. Jon McGraw hasn’t really done too much to validate his starting position and now with the loss of Donnie Abraham for a good portion of the season they really won’t get much better. I love Ray Mickens and the fire he brings to the game every week but he is just too small to compete with the wide receivers in today’s NFL. Grade D

Special Teams- This squad is a bit two headed: although I am pretty happy overall with the kickers and especially the play of Dan Stryzinski there is something lacking from the return squads. Punts are being returned at an average of 10.3 yards and kicks are around 25 yards. Grade B-

Coaching- Before I get into this let me start off by saying I love Herman Edwards coaching this team. I think he is now and is going to become an excellent head coach in this league. When I hear fellow Jet fans calling for his job all I can do is shake my head in disbelief. Does everyone realize that this guy is only in his third year as a head coach? How well did Jon Gruden do in his first three years? How about Butch Davis? This is a man who helped steer this team to two playoff births in two seasons. He has energized this team twice before to climb out of holes that they have dug themselves into. I don’t want to hear how he got lucky because Chad Pennington saved him last year and how John Hall’s leg saved him the year before. No one on this planet thought Pennington was capable of doing what he did last season. Now everyone talks about it like it was a feat accompli. Edwards made the switch and it worked out for the Jets. End of discussion.

With that said though his clock management skills are still weak and he has made some brutal calls so far this season. There have been some in game situations that just made me pull my hair out. Why fake the field goal? Why go for it on fourth down when you need the three points a field goal would have gotten you anyway? Mind-boggling. So regrettably he has to be graded really low. Grade D-

Picks Week Five-

Since I don’t have much more room here I will go through these quickly. Last week we both went 1-2 so George is keeping pace with me at a 5-7 record while I am at 6-6. The moral of the story: never bet against Steve McNair ever.

Game 1:Indy at Tampa Bay

My Pick: Colts

The Coin flips in favor of: Buccaneers

This will be a great game. The Colts have everything working for them and last week was a great example. It isn’t that they beat the lousy Saints it was how they did it.

Game 2: Washington at Philly

My Pick: Eagles

The Coin flips in favor of: Washington (of course)

I think the Eagles are slowly coming back to form and Mcnabb will make it his sole purpose to make Rush Limbaugh eat his words.

Game 3: Denver at Kansas City

My Pick: Broncos

The Coin flips in favor of: The Chiefs

I hate making this pick. I told everyone that I was on the Priest Holmes bus last week and I meant it. It just seems every time I get myself a seat on the bandwagon it falls apart. It would be just my luck for the Broncos to destroy KC after I spout on and on about how great they are.

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