Analysis from a Jets Fan – Monday Night Football Debacle 9-22-2014
They say you feel better when you write things down that you are upset about, so I’m quite surprised I never did this before being a die hard New York Jets fan. I should have written books by now. We have struggled thru many (every) seasons as fans; a fan base that exudes hopeless optimism during preseason and then gradually, slowly, and painfully, gets deflated during the season like a helium balloon does overnight. Yes, credit us Jet fans for having tons of passion, and above all, loyalty, tour team. There are no bandwagon fans here at all. This is the least likely joined fan base. And no one is leaving; it’s a disease and/or an addiction. You know it’s bad for you and will ultimately kill you, but you need it like a drug. It’s the only explanation. So last night, Monday Night Football against the Bears, was the epitome of the Jets organization; tons of blunders that were clearly obvious to its fans, but yet again, not so clear to the organization, the coaching staff, and the players.
The quick review of the game has the Jets outplaying the Bears for the entire game, only to shoot itself in the foot over and over again. Starting on the first pass of the game, a pick six by Geno Smith. But let’s not rehash the game itself as I think if I didn’t have to come to work today, I’d still be sitting on my couch wondering WTF happened here. So here are some observations I took away from this game:
- Rex Ryan is a great defensive coach. Ok, we knew this, but I don’t think it is because he gets the most out of his players, or he has the best base plays. I think it is because he is a master manipulator. He controls the direction of the plays, teasing the QB to change play direction to go in his favor. It has become very obvious he likes the blitz; I think Jon Gruden said it 50 times last night. But he purposely makes the blitzes obvious. Take his famous “over stacking the side” blitz. You’ve got 4 or 5 guys lined up at the right or left end position who are going to come full at the QB. No hesitation, no hiding it. They make the QB only look right and throw right, or audible to a run right. It’s a set up, and it’s obvious. Last night when he wasn’t overloading one side, he was jail-breaking and forcing Cutler to throw within 3 seconds. This allows the DB’s to play off the WR’s at 10 yards and come up for what should be an easy tackle of a quick 3-5 yard dump off pass. No coverage CB needed, just sit and wait for what direction the throw goes and come up and wrap up the WR. Not a bad strategy and even better one IF you have a shutdown corner who doesn’t need to sit 10 yards off. I enjoyed watching the manipulation last night, and with the exception of the one broken coverage in the end zone from a CB I don’t even know, it was a great showing by the defense. Master manipulator…..
- Wide Receivers. Let’s forget about Gino and Marty for a second. Go take a look at the Jets last offense play, the out of bounds pass to Kerley. Watch each of the routes the receivers ran on the play. See anything confusing there? Do you see any moves off the line? Any moves during their routes? Do you see any routes? All I see are 4 guys running from the 10 yard line up the field, and I see Nelson and the TE on the play running on the same tracks down the middle. For years, the Jets have “lacked” WR’s and fans have complained for better WR’s. Well we got one in Decker who is hurt. He’s better because he actually runs “routes”. Over the past 30 years with the exception of Al Toon and Keyshawn Johnson, I don’t ever remember having a “route runner” receiver. It is painful to watch. Each week teams come in and complete 30 passes a week against the Jets and we sit and wonder “how can they be so open” and “why aren’t our guys so open”? So I watched some of the game over last night and saw the Bears receivers ran routes, and our guys just run. Now you may argue that Kerley runs some routes. I don’t consider an in pattern from the slot at 5 yards and then sitting in open space a route. Fortunately he catches the ball, but it isn’t a route. We’ve got this Sanjay Gupta guy as the WR coach. Maybe he’s good, maybe he isn’t, but one thing I know he isn’t, is a route running coach. I’d rather our guys be open and drop them, then have to drop them in double and triple coverage. Route running.
- Gino Smith. He’s not the answer. You know how you know? There isn’t a level of football above the NFL. This is it. This is as good as 99% of these guys will ever get. Only a few improve over time like fine wine as they say. Is he one of them? No, definitely not. Of course he isn’t the same player as he was last year; he was atrocious last year. So some adjustments have made him appear to improve his game, but mentally, he’s still the same guy we watched last year. The first interception last night had no excuse. He threw a screen into 3 Bears players. Interception to Nelson was an “up for grabs” pass. Maybe you throw that to Randy Moss, but you still need to get the ball to him. It was underthrown by 5 yards in the end zone. Lots of open players he was just off target on (Tebowesque?). And then the worst thing about him, which absolutely drove Jet fans NUTZ the last 5 years with Mark Sanchez, is there is ZERO emotion out of him. Again we have an entitled quarterback. He doesn’t get upset when he throws the pick, he just stairs at the big screen replay as if to say “look fans, I’m watching to learn from the mistake and I get it” only to do it again on the next play. You don’t get it. Go watch some Tom Brady tape and see some real emotion as he lights a fire under some of his O Lines asses when they get stuffed on 4th and inches (a play that should never happen). Gino, like Sanchez, always seem to have that indifferent look on their faces. What is that? Get mad, throw a freaking helmet into the ground or wall, do something. You just look like you are “going to work” and unfortunately we don’t need that because we do that all week to pay for our tickets to see you play a game, not go to work.
- I like the fact his offense gets vertical. Yes, it is a pleasant change and upgrade, but considering the last few OC’s we had, it isn’t saying much. The problem here is you are stacked at RB and you feel obligated to run different sets with each; getting them each their touches. Chris Ivory was an animal last night. Chris Johnson was getting knocked over by the breezes on the field, and you forgot about Bilal Powell. If you have instructed your “mobile” quarterback to slide when he scrambles, WTF are you doing calling his number on any designed keepers? Especially when you have a loaded backfield like we do? Sit with Sanjay please and work on running routes; your receivers never get open and that is IMPOSSIBLE. It defies the laws of physics that cornerbacks are always in position against our WR’s. Also stopping sending Chris Johnson our wide and never even look his way. That’s a long run for a guy who is going to take the handoff on the next play, never to be involved in the current play. Might as well send 10 guys up to the line and have Johnson do push-ups in the backfield while the rest are playing.
- If there is one thing that bothers me about this group is that they more than once a game get caught not lined up yet when the offense snaps the ball. Now I know Rex likes to conceal schemes etc, but many times the guys upfront as still walking around when the ball is snapped and the O gets an easy play off. Listen, they know you are coming. Get up to the line; you’re better off the ball than most O lineman one on one. Don’t give away freebies. Otherwise, this unit plays into the Rex’s strategies very well. You can see it. There are clear plays they are not trying to sack the QB, just push his vision and movement to the left or the right and force a quick throw in a certain direction. They get it. That’s why they are good.
- Antonio Allen, whatever positions you are playing you are missing one big important part about defense; the ball! I get you are not a cornerback, but frankly you are not too far out of position against the WR’s you are covering…get your damn hands up. When the ball is released half the team is yelling “up” for the ball being in the air yet your hands are down. Wave them, you have monster wingspan. I know you can’t catch (that’s why you play defense) so just get good at knocking the ball down.
- This is not a bad team. Quite frankly, I think this is a low entry AFC playoff team if Michael Vick wins the starting QB job during the summer. But that isn’t the case, and again, we are going to probably live and die by Gino Smith this year barring injury. He has to get better, he can’t make the obvious errors, and he has to actually care about winning. Show some emotion already…
This week the Jets play the Lions in what should be a win. There are no must win games, because every game counts as much as the others, but for me, if the Jet’s don’t win this game on account of errors caused by Gino, I make the move because I WANT to win.
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