Florham Park, N.J.– A win is a win, but good lord that was one ugly win.
Disaster struck repeatedly yesterday afternoon and it started immediately. The Jets started with the ball and on the first drive Sanchez threw a pick, the Dolphins then went 47 yards on eight plays to score the first touchdown of the day and they made it look incredibly easy. The defense eventually settled down, but continued to give up what seemed like back breaking play after back breaking play, but somehow (okay two missed field goals were clearly part of that somehow) they managed to fight and claw their way back for a win. At the end of the season it makes no difference how each game played out, all that matters is if you earned a win or a loss.
A win is a win, but this defense still can’t stop the run. They caught a break when Reggie Bush went out two plays before halftime, but this a problem that needs to get corrected if this defense is able to get off the field and stop teams from converting so many third downs. Shoddy tackling, bad angles, blown assignments are all contributing factors to the defense’s struggles with the run. They are having trouble setting the edge and bottling up opposing backs, the linebackers are too often slow and out of position and with the 49ers and the Texans up next the task of stopping the run isn’t going to get any easier.
A win is a win, but not only can the Jets not stop the run, but they can’t run the ball either. The offensive line is still struggling to open up holes for the backs consistently and a weak run game dilutes the potential of play-action and combined with a second straight week with no Dustin Keller this allows for the opposing secondary to focus more on locking the receivers down, giving Sanchez nowhere to throw. The Jets need to strongly reconsider their plan of attack at the running back position, Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell both have the ability to make defenders miss and with the offensive line having trouble clearing lanes the Jets need a running back who can make a few things happen on their own. We have no clue if Powell or McKnight are capable of becoming the number one back, but we know Greene can’t make defenders miss on his own. It sure seems like a good time to think about playing Powell and McKnight early in games and bringing Greene in to finish defenses off after they are tired (more on the breakdown of the running back position will be coming tomorrow).
A win is a win, but where’s the pressure from the defensive line? The Jets haven’t had as much success pressuring quarterbacks as they were hoping for, they were able to apply pressure at times yesterday but not enough to disrupt the rookie Ryan Tannehill and his group of average receivers. Quinton Coples hasn’t seen the field a lot, opponents are keying in on Muhammad Wilkerson and Aaron Maybin continues to be a no show. In order for this defense to be as good as we all expected them to be, they need to be able to get pressure with their front four because the pressure they’ve been bringing isn’t enough to beat the big boys in the league and those big boys are coming up next.
A win is a win, but Sanchez needs time, a running game, help from his receivers and to stop making critical mistakes. The first pick was more on Clyde Gates than Sanchez, Gates simply can’t allow the cornerback to step inside of him for the pick like he did. Still Sanchez appeared to lock in on Gates, prompting Richard Marshall to make the play on the ball. The second pick in the end zone was a terrible play design by Tony Sparano. No play should ever have two receivers run routes so close to each other in such a cramped space, allowing two separate corners to have coverage on two separate receivers at the same time, but Sanchez should’ve recognized this and threw the ball away instead of lofting a pass up for grabs. Sanchez has done an excellent job of evading pressure all season, something that should be noted more and he had to do a lot of it yesterday with the line allowing Miami to pressure him too often, but there are still a lot of problems he hasn’t yet learned to evade.
Stephen Hill came down with another case of the drops, not sure if there’s an antibiotic for that but if there is he needs it. Kerley had a good day, again showing he can work the slot and do damage down the field and Santonio Holmes had a great day (nine catches for 147 yards) as he was the best player on the field for the Jets. Holmes had one drop and one bad block in the back penalty where the block was unnecessary, but between the catches and the drawn pass interferences Holmes dominated the day and the Jets need more of this week in and week out. They also need Hill to hold on to the ball, he is such a dangerous weapon and has shown he has the ability to beat defenses, he just needs to finish the play by catching the ball.
A win is a win, but really how much good is a win when you lose Darrelle Revis for the season?
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