Game Recap: Leaving East Rutherford

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

“When you’re life is on the rocks, and you can’t remember how it got there, it’s time to move on.” – Velvety Smooth Trailer Guy

It might be hard to believe, but there once was a time when Nicholas Cage was considered a decent actor.  Before the seemingly nonstop “refugee from hell” movies began, he played the lead in a slapstick comedy called Leaving Las Vegas. It was, in fact, a crushing tale about the life of a screenwriter who headed to Las Vegas to drink himself to death.  After watching the crapfest that the Jets have offered for their fans two weeks in a row, that sounds like a better option than what looks to be coming over the next 12 games.

Style Points — I never expected the Jets to win against the Niners, but I had hoped that they would put together a game that made them look like a competitive team at the least.  There was none of that Sunday.  Once the Jets won the way they did last week over the Dolphins, it was plain that there was a rude awakening awaiting the Jets this weekend.  And if yesterday’s game wasn’t the wake-up call that the Jets needed, then this team will Rip Van Winkle their way through the rest of the season.  If there’s any consolation for this slobberknocking, it’s that in 2009 and 2010 the Jets were beaten badly by that season’s future Super Bowl champs and somehow responded to those games – galvanizing the season.  I think it’s realistic to say the Niners are in the Super Bowl hunt, so maybe it took a beating like that to work some sense into the Jets.

In the Most Disturbing Way — There was almost nothing redeeming from this game.  Ironically, the secondary without Darrelle Revis might have been the most effective position group on the team.  Beyond that, the blocking and tackling on defense was atrocious, Sanchez was at his absolute worst, the line was porous, the runners were uninspiring and the receivers played a lackluster game. Nothing looked good, nothing.

It Starts At the Top — Watching Rex Ryan’s press conference yesterday after the game was surreal.  Was he really angry or just pretending to be angry?  It seems unfair to say it, but I don’t know if he was trying to contain himself more and so came off that way, but it almost felt like he was acting more chafed than he really was.  when players were asked about how Rex felt after the game on SNY, I didn’t get much of a feeling of residual rage from them.

The Answer — During his press conference, Rex Ryan said “I think Mark is the answer.  Again, time will tell.” Nice wiggle room, Rex.  Time will tell?  Really?  Now into his fourth year as a full-time starter and “time will tell?”  Time has told and Mark Sanchez is never going to be the quarterback that Cam Newton, RGIII or even Andy Dalton already is.  I don’t want to hear about skill players with injuries as an excuse.  Eli Manning has MADE Victor Cruz the player he is.  Peyton Manning MADE Pierre Garcon the player he is.  Tom Brady has MADE Wes Welker the player he is.  Whose game at the receiver position has Mark Sanchez ever elevated in more than three years?

Right Place, Wrong Effort — I can’t even count how many times I saw players in position to make tackles that just never materialized.  Yesterday’s game was no different than any other game we’ve seen so far from the Jets this season in terms of their inability to execute on defense.  Since Rex has come to this team they have prided themselves on defending the run.  This year the wheels have come off and no one on the coaching staff has seemed to notice.  I am going to give Bart Scott a nickname; Bird-Dog.  Why? Because the only thing he seems capable of doing is flushing out quarry.  He’ll get into position, but then once he’s there, has NO CLUE what to do.  He’s basically only competent at chasing the play for someone else to then (not) make a play on.  During his press conference Rex blamed that the team can’t get as physical as they like to in practice, because of injury concerns and CBA rules … but at this point who cares?  Take the fines, take the league penalties since these guys who have played football since they were children seem wholly incapable of form-tackling anyone.

Pass Blush — I’m starting to realize that Rex Ryan has hubris when it comes to edge rushers.  He hasn’t put a priority on them and the chickens are starting to come home to roost.  While it was nice to see Thomas and Pace get sacks when the game was still relevant, the team’s inability to pressure the quarterback from the edges more quickly is only getting worse since 2009.  Pace and Thomas are much older and no faster than they were when Rex Ryan started with the team. Aaron Maybin who gets to play when the team stops the run has been forgotten about, with a stat line of of ONE TACKLE so far this season.

Mutally Assured Tebowing — Back in March the Jets brought Tim Tebow in to this team and swore up and down how he was going to be a difference maker, how he was going to see up to 20 snaps a game, and how important he was to this offense’s ability to keep opponents on their toes.  So far Tebow has had a very small role and after four weeks, he was finally allowed to throw the ball for the first time – a bad throw which got Dedrick Epps knee hyperextended and in which Epps fumbled the ball.  I don’t want to get into a whole thing about Tim Tebow versus Mark Sanchez, but it’s pretty clear that as much as the Jets have struggled in the last three weeks, the coaches are afraid of using him because of what the perception would be publicly if they did.  If Mark Sanchez was playing well it wouldn’t be a concern to then play Tebow, but since he’s struggled, the coaching staff seems to be pissing themselves over what message it might send to have Tim Tebow on the field for more than two snaps at a time.

No Letting Up — Now four weeks into the season, take another look at the Jets schedule.  The back half of the season which seemed so buttery soft months ago?  Doesn’t look to be shaping anything like expected.  After getting stomped by one of the NFC’s best teams yesterday, they’re about to get stomped by one of the AFC’s best.