Topic: Bassett's take on he debacle that was November 13

Quick Hits: Hangover from a Hanging
by Bassett on November 14th, 2011 at 11:33 am

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Ever see that terrible James Franco WWI dogfight movie Flyboys?  Remember when the veteran tells the rookie pilots that they have a gun in the cockpit so they can shoot themselves should their plane catch on fire?  That’s what I think is happening here with Captain Jet. 

Anyway … so, last night happened.  Feel the need to talk about it?  I sure do.

No More Division Talk — The Jets seem to start the season with high hopes each year – which I don’t have a problem with … but it’s when the rhetoric starts changing that I start to get frustrated. Lead the league in wins … Now, just win the division … Now, get a home road game … Now, just get squeak your ass into the playoffs … I appreciate Rex’s transparency when it comes to his goals, but when it comes to perceptions … it ends up playing buffoonish nationally each year as the team continues to concede their grand expectations downwards year after year.

But We Thought He Was Ready — There are a number of former Jets players who were cast off this team in the past year — there are every year.  While there are few who have yet to really produce elsewhere, there have been a handful of players who were not ready for their larger role this season due to the vacancies.  Last night the most recent and notable culprit has to be TE Matthew Mulligan.  Mulligan failed to sustain blocks, got pushed back too quickly much of the time, and otherwise wasn’t as effective as the team needed him to be.  It’s one thing if Keller can’t block expertly … he’s not expected to … but if a blocking TE can’t block … then what’s the use?  The Jets worked out Brandon Manumaleuna earlier this season – most likely as a precursor for the Chargers – but they might want to reconsider their blocking Tight End situation right now.

The Defense Looked Lost — The Jets had few bright spots on defense.  The safety, a number of tipped balls, but no sacks, no turnovers. No real pressure from their base personnel.  A secondary that was confused, play after play.  A defense that couldn’t right themselves on a few no-huddle drives.  While the defense had looked dominant in recent weeks, they’d yet to face a offense as potent as this one – with as many weapons as this one has.  There were too many instances of the defensive players yelling at each other to get to the right spot, of defensive backs exasperated, palms up towards the sky PRE-PLAY.  They couldn’t make the right adjustments.  The defense looked really bad.  There was talk of the Jets defense looking like a championship defense after the Bills game.  A championship defense would have gotten the same results on a truly good offense.  The Jets didn’t.  When Eric Smith is called to be a major contributor in coverage and the defensive line can’t apply base-pressure … then this can’t be a championship defense.

The Gronkowski Factor and the Eric Smith Anti-Factor – The Jets – Patriots matchups since Ryan’s arrival have been a game of cat-and-mouse, and credit to Belichick and Brady for finding a solution to keep the (as currently constituted) Jets in check.  We’ve heaped praise on Gronkowski for two main reasons.  1) He’s worth it and 2) because he’s the perfect antidote to the Jets defense.  His ability to double as a run or pass blocker is huge for a very spread out offense – but his skills are the next Patriots offensive whack-a-mole (Moss, then Welker, now Gronk) for the Jets defense.  Belichick knows the premium that Rex put on corners, and knows his team is a pass-heavy unit drafted Hernandez and Gronk to mitigate the value of players like Revis and Cromartie.  The Jets tried Revis there some, but that can’t work long-term.  Now it’s up to the Jets to respond to this wrinkle this offseason.  The Bryan Thomas injury is starting to show just how important a versatile OLB can be.  Bart Scott isn’t the coverage player he was .. add in that Brodney Pool was out last night, and this issue was put into hyperdrive.  Eric Smith, looked like Eric Smith in coverage — easily beatable and unable to adjust.  This now precipitates the Jets take seriously some very real coverage concerns at the linebacker and safety spot this off-season.

The Sanchez Questions Starting Up Again — Mark Sanchez has to play better.  It’s amazing to me how a guy who has been through as much as he has in over two seasons is incapable of shredding a secondary that was held together with duct tape.  It’s like he keeps coming back to square one.  This Patriots secondary is not good to start with, then they cut Leigh Bodden a few weeks ago, then Chung was out with a concussion, then McCourty gets injured in the game … the unit was a bunch of ragtag undrafted players, and they still bested Sanchez.  Not good.

Sanchez had that terrible clock management gaffe before the half, held the ball for way too long much of the night, had trouble feeling the pressure, and was incapable of attacking the Patriots defense consistently.  Were there some nice throws?  Of course, but not consistently enough to get sufficient scoring drives against this potent offense.

If the Jets are serious about him as their franchise QB, then it seems to me like the almost are getting forced to make a change at the OC spot — just to see if it was the OC or the QB.  Since they’ve got a helluva lot more invested in Sanchez … you have to wonder what this offseason will look like, and whether or not an Occupy Florham Park protest will appear if they announce an extension to Schotty.

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
-Joe Theismann

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