Six Games In: Musings on Jets 2012 Season
Brian Bassett , theJetsBlog.com
We’re six games into the season and here’s a few observations that we’ve had about this Jets team so far. Add your own in the comments section!
Cromartie’s Emergence – As Revis recovers from surgery on his torn ACL today, no one is going to replace him in the lineup, but in the time since he’s been out, we’ve been reminded of just what sort of a player Antonio Cromartie can be in this system. We expected that Cro would respond to the challenge, as we saw glimpses of his skill sans Revis when Revis was dealing with his hamstring pull two years ago, but the Jets are putting him in a position to succeed and it’s working. Cromartie is still much more a gambler than Revis and lacks the same technique that Revis has in physical play, but overall his play has been good. Teams are testing him and it’s netted him two interceptions in two games. Kyle Wilson had a good game last week, but expect teams to start throwing away from Cromartie more in coming weeks and looking for opportunities against Wilson. Brady will be the team’s toughest test since the Patriots are such a pass-heavy attack.
Running and Stopping the Run — The Jets finally did what we all have been looking for all season last week against the Colts by stopping the run and running the ball well themselves. Maybe the dam burst for Shonn Greene, but I’m not counting on it just yet. The Jets play two top five run defenses in their lead-up to the bye week in the Patriots and then the Dolphins. The Patriots have also been ruthlessly efficient when they do run the ball, while the Dolphins have been less so, but had great success against the Jets earlier in the season. I believe the run (on offense and defense) will be the stumbling block for the Jets the rest of the way.
On the DL — The Jets defensive line has been searching to find it’s identity in the wake of Sione Po’uha’s fight to stay healthy. Po’uha has been the heart and soul for this line in years past and his inability to play at his typical levels has been hard on the Jets. Mike DeVito did a good job anchoring the line last weekend. Mo Wilkerson has been steadily been improving and Quinton Coples impressed with his 1.5 sacks on Sunday. The Jets line needs to build on their success from last week and do it again and again in the coming weeks.
The Young Turks — Back in 2007, the Jets lost Jonathan Vilma to a season-ending injury and a second rounder out of Michigan named David Harris stepped in and the position didn’t skip a beat. Of course on a macro level the Jets season spiraled woefully out of control, but it was clear that Harris was better suited to the scheme long-term. The hope is that even with some horrible injuries to the team this year, other players will get a chance to stake their role with the team for a longer-term basis. Injuries are terrible, but part of the league and players like Jeremy Kerley, Josh Bush, Antonio Allen, Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster, how they play the remainder of the season will determine how relevant a team the Jets can be.
The Mark Sanchez Sniff Test – There’s no science behind it. I can’t give you some objective fact that in every game Sanchez does X since 2009, that there is a correlation to a Jets win or loss. But I can say that generally when Sanchez passes the sniff test, the Jets usually win. It makes sense, since he’s the quarterback and all. It might be keeping interceptions low in one game, or having a high completion percentage in another — it seems to shift each time when you look back at his game logs, but that a simple thumbs up / thumbs down seems to suffice. There’s nothing particularly novel or earth-shattering about writing this, but it just stands to say that as Sanchez goes, so goes this team. Maybe for the first time since before the Jets traded for Braylon Edwards, the Jets need Sanchez to step up and do more with less talent around him at skill positions. I can’t believe I’ll say it, but I do agree with Jon Gruden in that the best quarterbacks make the players better around them, period. If Sanchez is going to emerge as that sort of player, then this is that point in which he needs to start propping up the players around him rather than vice versa, a notion that the Jets have (commendably, mind you) enabled to this point of his career. He’s not a wide-eyed rookie anymore, so it’s his turn to elevate the offense.