Here We Go Again!
By Kevin Newell
Jets Head Writer
October 13th, 2003
Jets' DT Jason Ferguson and DE Shaun Ellis celebrate one of seven Drew Bledsoe sacks on Sunday
Jets' DT Jason Ferguson and DE Shaun Ellis celebrate one of seven Drew Bledsoe sacks on Sunday
Does anyone see a pattern here?

A few weeks ago I wrote the same opening sentence in my state of the Jets piece, following the team’s loss to the Miami Dolphins in which they fell to 0-2. Consequently, Gang Green dropped two more uninspired games before Sunday’s impressive 30-3 victory against the Buffalo Bills at Co-Tenant Stadium.

Well, lo and behold, Gang Green now finds itself at 1-4, an eerily similar position to a year ago before they right the ship. Only then, the Jets opened with a victory over the Bills before losing four straight. This time around, the team opened with four consecutive losses and won it’s fifth game, ironically, against the Bills. Last season the Jets’ fortunes changed following a bye week. This year, a bye week once again has factored into the equation. Last season, the Jets struggled mightily on defense and offense through its first five games. Ditto this season, sans Sunday’s win.

Last season, a young quarterback by the name of Chad Pennington came to the rescue in Week 7 to salvage a once lost season. In three, or perhaps two, weeks – which would be Week 8 – Pennington once again will be thrust into the role of the green and white knight.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

At this juncture it’s too early to tell or know if the Jets can repeat last season’s miraculous turnaround. For starters, the remaining schedule is a killer. Or is it?

Prior to the season the Jets schedule was considered among the toughest in the NFL. Now, it doesn’t look so bad. In fact, it contains many winnable games. Teams that were expected to contenders have struggled.

At closer inspection, the Jets have 11 games remaining. Beginning with next week’s game in Houston, only two, Nov. 16 at Indianapolis and Dec. 1 vs Tennessee, appear to be games you would consider losses. The other nine games look like those you could put in the win column. When you do the math that amounts to a 10-6 record.

Philadelphia, the Giants, and Oakland – the opponents following Houston – are all in trouble. Then there’s Jacksonville, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New England and Miami. The latter four don’t scare anyone and the Fish, despite their record, are not that good.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

Sure, this is all conjecture at this point. We shouldn’t all get giddy at the thought of another playoff run off just one victory. A lot of if’s and uncertainty still surround the Jets. However, stranger things have happened as we all witnessed a year ago.

Sunday’s destruction of Buffalo was the most complete game the Jets have played since the Wild Card demolition of the Colts. And it was reminiscent of a blowout last Nov. 3 when the Jets executed flawlessly in all three phases of team play: offense, defense, and special teams. You might recall Gang Green’s 44-13 pasting of San Diego?

That game pretty much set the tone for the AFC East title run. The Bills’ game could have a similar impact.

First: the team’s psyche and confidence are mended and improving. It’s amazing what a victory will do. Particularly against a quality opponent.

Second: it is evident that Herm Edwards has not lost the team, especially in the wake of benching John Abraham. Deactivating his best defensive player could have blown up in Edwards face. Instead, the unit rallied around one another to the tune of seven sacks, numerous QB pressures, and two interceptions. Did you see the look on Drew Bledsoe’s face at the end of the game?

Third: the offense is finally clicking. We now have a semblance of a running game to keep defenses guessing. The use of the tight end is another weapon the opposition must take into account.

Fourth: the influx of younger players has been an effective motivational tool. Not only are we seeing hungry players making plays, the veterans, whether rejuvenated or wary of losing their jobs, have stepped it up. Sam Cowart had perhaps his best game as a Jet on Sunday. As did rookie Dewayne Robertson.

Fifth: we finally have a pass rush. We saw what the group could do without Abraham. Imagine the possibilities when he returns?

Sixth: the offensive line has allowed just four sacks all season. That is imperative with Pennington set to return from his wrist injury.

Seventh: Pennington, the inspiration, lifeblood, and linchpin of this team, is just week’s away from stepping under center.

Does anyone see a pattern here?