Before you read this, i meant to write this with a rather despondent tone, as that's how i'm sure a lot of us feel now.
This was supposed to be the big season. This was supposed to be the year that we got over the hump. We were supposed to finally shake off the term "same ol jets". Jets would no longer be an acronym for "just end the season" We were gonna earn some respect. We were gonna dethrone the New England patriots. We were supposed to have a dominant defense, and a quarterback that fully bloomed, silencing his critics. Yet it hasn't happened. You may just have to look back and think "...why?". I'm gonna give my opinion as to how this extreme disappointment of a season has happened.
Let's start with the off season. Well, there was no off season, which meant there wasn't a lot of time to asses the free agency market or state of the team before the season started. It's made it that much harder for the younger players to spend time with the team and improve. No players could talk to coaches, nobody could go to the facility and watch film. The team was able to do little as a team aside from Mark Sanchez's Jets West camp and a few team only workouts that he and others set up.
Free agency now. We made, in the opinion of many, the right move by bringing Cromartie back instead of getting oh-so-amazing nnamdi. We brought back Santonio Holmes with a massive contract that he hasn't really played up to this season. We let Braylon and his off-field issues go, bringing in Plaxico Burress, who was meant to help us in the red zone. He's done that, but isn't anywhere near the deep threat the Braylon Edwards was, ripping out a dimension of our offense which has now hurt the rest of the the offense. When safeties don't respect the deep pass at all, the short passing game will go nowhere, and it's difficult to get to the 2nd level with the running game. More on the offensive woes later. We decided to let Brad Smith walk, which doesn't seem particularly harmful. Shaun Ellis was not brought back either, again, i don't see too many complaining, i like Wilkerson. Derrick mason was brought in to replace cotchery, which obviously didn't work out. Eric smith and Brodney pool were brought back as well. Then we went and Traded Dwight Lowery, because we supposedly had enough depth at that position and Rex wanted to let him make a bigger impact somwhere. I'm sure want that move back now. And then probably the biggest abomination of a move at all, extending Wayne Hunter's contract. Woody's Achilles injury made him too unappealing to bring back, given his age. We thought "how bad can it be? he wasn't awful all the time last year.". All in all, we thought it would work itself out, it didn't seem all that bad initially. Now we see it as a rather awful dismantling of what was a very good team last year.
Many of us are angry with Mark Sanchez, we all think he should be better than he is. Supposedly the third year is when a quarterback makes that great leap forward and becomes the face of the franchise. That hasn't happened, he's only made marginal improvement. One may wonder why. Well, a big thing hit me when i was watching the tampa bay-dallas thursday night game. Brad Nessler mentioned that Josh Freeman made such a big leap after his first year because he spent all of his time at the facility studying film and working with the coaches, and that he took a step back this year because he didn't have that this year with the lockout. It occurred to me that Sanchez didn't have this either. On top of that, most of his aresnal of weapons left him, and he had very limited time to get used to several new receivers, one of which left in a couple months. Given what's happened to Freeman, can we really be so upset about Sanchez's marginal improvement? Should we maybe even be a little relieved that he hasn't taken a massive step backwards? Either way, this leaves him largely open to criticism from the analysts, fans, and media, some of which he does deserve, some of which is unfairly pinned on him. Maybe he's the guy, maybe he isn't, but that's a topic for another day.
Rex Ryan is known for his dominant defensive units, what could've possibly happened to take that status away? Well, it seems the lack of speed in our front seven has been greatly exposed, and we were completely unable to stop the run at the beginning of the season. Darren Mcfadden made us look like a high school JV powderpuff team, and Benjarvus Greenellis looked like the old LT against us. Lesean Mccoy had a party against us too This problem has improved somewhat over the course of the season, but the fact still remains that only a couple of teams have given up more rushing touchdowns than us. One may wonder why we're not the best pass defense in the league with a trio of corners as good as Revis, Cromartie, and Wilson. Well it's because the abominations we have at safety. The always reliable Jim Leonhard was once again lost for the season, and we're down to Eric Smith, who is constantly put on tight ends despite his abusrd inability to cover them, and brodney pool, who really hasn't played a whole lot better. We're constantly smoked across the middle of the field, and we're never able to stop even tight end scrubs. The lack of competent safeties and speed in the front seven has gutted the once proud defense, but the haven't been given a break by our putrid beyond words offense.
Brian Schottenheimer. To us, he's the evil figure behind the Jets' embarrassing offense, which never fails to constantly make the League's' worst defenses look like they took a big step forward. Whenever the run starts to work, he tries a bunch of predictable short slants and crossing routes. He tries to pretend like Sanchez is a weak-armed west coast offense passer, which he's not. The lack of throwing any kind of a deep ball makes it way too easy for the opposing defenses to swallow up the short passing routes and inside runs. The running game got off to a very poor start too, and it's never fully and consistently rebounded. We've seen it in flashes, but Schottenheimer refuses to commit to the run, regardless of what happens. His plays can be called out by the people watching the game from home. He reuses the same plays and schemes from last year. He's never had a top 10 offense, and usually doesn't even have a top 20 offense. As for our offensive personell, the offense seems to have taken an enormous step back largely because of one player: wayne hunter. Words can't describe how bad he is. He consistently gets Sanchez nearly murdered. He makes us unable to pass protect long enough to even try a deep ball. He seems to get at least one holding penalty a game. He makes the rest of the offensive line worse. Speaking of the deep ball, Plaxico hasn't been very effective outside of the red zone, as he can't stretch the field like Braylon did, leaving Santonio Holmes very open to being double teamed, and erased from the game. When nobody gets open, our quarterback has nowhere to throw. Top that with the incredible step backwards the offensive line has taken, and he gets sacked... a lot. Way more than the last 2 years. This offense makes this team hard to watch. It's disgusting watching the offense do absolutely nothing week in and week out, making the defense's job that much more difficult than it needs to be.
This team now stands at 8-7, with the playoffs very unlikely. Even a victory against the dolphins may not happen next week. We've been swept by the patriots, including being humiliated at home on national television. We were defeated, and once again humiliated by the giants. We've been humiliated in many other games, and also lost several that we weren't supposed to. This was not the season that anybody saw coming. The front office has to give a totally honest assessment of the talent on this team during the off season. They have to fill some of the holes in this team. Brian Schottenheimer needs to go. If this doesn't happen, the team won't improve. The team has many great players, and has plenty of potential. However, some key things need to be adressed. If anything positive can be taken from this season, at least it wasn't a dismal 4-12 or 6-10 season that we had under herm edwards and eric mangini after what looked like a promising year. Here we stand now, and we can only hope for the best.
This was my first fanpost, feel free to comment and critique.