After a tough, heartbreaking loss to the Raiders, I am seeing too many people question exactly how bad this team can be instead of how good it can be. Here is some hope, in the form of things we can be thankful for and things we can look forward to, this year and in years to come.
First, Mark Sanchez. Yes, he has thrown a number of interceptions on plays where he did not do a great job reading the coverage, but it has become apparent that the team has put it all on his shoulders now, and so far, the offense has been scoring. I believe that Tom Moore is having a great effect on Sanchez, and this is something to feel very good about for years to come. I expect Sanchez to throw more picks that I am comfortable with this year, but it can easily be chalked up to growing pains with a new offensive philosophy. As the season progresses we should see him get more and more comfortable with the philosophy and the weapons he is working with.
And those weapons are formidable. Make no mistake, we have one of the most potent offenses in football. Between a legit #1 receiver in Holmes, an aged but still tall Plaxico Burress who, while he may have lost a step is still able to use his body as effectively as ever, a dangerous possession receiver in Derrick Mason and a dynamic TE in Keller, this offense is juiced. Throw in Tomlinson out of the backfield, and you figure out that there is no reason the Jets can't keep scoring at the pace that they are. Even more, if our offensive coordinator learns how to adjust to defenses.
And I'm not even mentioning Kerley. I don't think he's going to see the offensive field much unless one of the other three gets hurt. But you have to love what he brings to the table going forward.
Also, honorable mention, for coming years... Jeff Cumberland may not have come down with that pass, but you have to cut a guy slack for not holding on to a ball when he might have just torn his achilles going up for it. The important thing is, did you see how fast he was on that play? Assuming he heals up and is the same come next year, those 2TE sets will be as good as any 2TE set in football.
That adjustment may not happen, but I have hope that it will. We all know the Schotty saga by now and there's really no use retreading it, but I think this could be the year he figures it out too. I have to believe that he knows his job is on the line. You already have Keller crediting Moore with his early success and while he may not have said it, I believe that LT also owes his role to Moore. The thing that not many people realize about Peyton Manning is how well he utilizes his backs out of the backfield. All of those great plays you can think of where Manning hits Wayne or Garcon/Collie/whoever for big plays was often preceded by big first down pickups to Addai. LT is being used exactly as he should be, and that's already an improvement over last year.
As for the O-line. Yikes, right? Well, not necessarily. I think we can all agree that we need an upgrade at RT. But our other 4 spots are solid. Nick Mangold will be back soon and we will go right back to having one of the best O-lines in the game. And for now, Colin Baxter looks like he's not that much of a liability. If the Jets are smart, they will go out and sign a veteran tackle to take Hunter's place. If they don't... well, do you know how many teams in the league would kill to have 4 linemen they can depend on? The Jets can adjust and hide one weak spot.
It is true that outside of the Island, we have nothing spectacular at the moment. But we do have a bunch of gritty, hard nosed players up front who are great at stopping the run (usually) and have been worlds better at sniffing out screens this year than they were last year. Our safeties are undersized, but they are smart, aggressive and solid tacklers. Antonio Cromartie is obviously a sore point this week, but the one thing I notice is that he is trying. He's already got his big contract and he is still playing just as hard as he did last year. I believe that if we remove him from kickoff duties and just let him focus on coverage, we will be just fine with him in our #2 spot. The boneheaded plays will probably not disappear entirely, but if he just cuts them in half he's still gonna be one of the best #2 corners in the game.
And how about that Kyle Wilson guy, huh? That's a pretty cool backup plan to have. It's early in the season right now, but I can't imagine anybody could be disappointed with what he has shown so far.
Another bright spot is Mohammed Wilkerson. Dude is seriously flashing us something every once in a while. I don't know about anyone else, but it gives me high hopes for his effectiveness going forward. He may just become that guy who can get to the QB for us.
And hey, Kenrick Ellis. When I think about him, I see an image from a favorite comic book of mine.
Yeah. That sums up my feelings about K.Ellis.
Plus, you know we have one of the best defensive minds in football as a head coach. If you think the Jets are gonna have a bunch of duds like this week over the course of the season, you don't know Rex. He will adjust. He'll adjust and do what he does best; come up with unbeatable schemes for big games, and let us make another deep playoff run.
I won't even mention our special teams. Do I need to? You know how awesome they are. And watching TJ Conley punt, I am pretty content with not having Weatherford anymore. And Nick Folk might just be okay too.
So really, to the people who feel like this season could be a disaster or that the window is closing on us... take a deep breath. Appreciate the team you have, because there are a hell of a lot of teams out there who would kill to have the talent and personnel we're working with right now. Just have fun. These are good times to be a Jets fan.