By DARRYL BLAIN
Week 1 win. Okay, we’re off to a good start.
1-1? Don’t worry, it was a tough team. We played pretty well.
1-2, you say? Yea, this is a slippery slope we’re climbing, but that game was just lost on mental errors. Clean those up and we’re good to go.
1-3. Where’s the fight? We have to wake up! Next week is a must win.
1-4…..1-4??? Thirty one to (insert series of expletives here) nothing! How did this team get here? That was the most pathetic display of football I’ve seen since a game I refuse to mention by name (rhymes with “futt bumble”).
That’s basically the mental blow-by-blow in case you wanted to take a trip through my mind over the last few weeks as I have watched this team Benjamin Button back into what seems like NFL infancy. How could this team — with their All-NFL defensive line and newly signed stud WR — be 1-4? I’ll break it down for you very simply, stage by stage.
It starts where the building (or in some cases tearing down) of any team starts: the draft and free agency. The Jets had two gaping needs at the cornerback and wide receiver position. They were indisputable needs. Then what did general manager John Idzik do? He drafted a hard hitting safety — Calvin Pryor — who struggles in coverage.
Although the Jets played a nice little trick on us by signing Eric Decker to a high-profile 5-year, $36 million deal and made us think they were going to start spending where it counts, they proceeded to pass on every single corner and receiver that presented himself.
Look no further than the beating that was this week’s Chargers game for results. Decker was out, leaving Jeremy Kerley, Greg Salas, and David Nelson to fill the void, and leaving Geno to suffer. This past draft was chocked full of talented receivers the Jets could have picked up, like Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, Marqise Lee and Jordan Matthews. Two of those four would be our leading receiver (Cooks, Benjamin) by a good margin, the other would be our second (Matthews), and the other has missed three games but would likely be one of our top receivers had he not.
Then you have our sterling secondary this week. Darrin Walls was pulled after giving up what seemed like two football fields in the first half, only to be replaced by Phillip Adams. Who you say? That’s the guy with the Jets’ only interception! It’s borderline baffling that positions like wide receiver and cornerback — positions that demand a great deal of talent to produce success in this league — went almost completely ignored by a man with the now-second largest amount of cap space in the league to work with.
So now that we’re entering a season with questionable talent levels at skill positions, it is going to take some coaching up to dig us out. How does Marty Mornhinweg respond? By taking our shining star on offense in Chris Ivory and keeping him held to a limited role. The guy is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season (yes, even including this last game where the offense flat-lined) and he is still only averaging 11.8 touches per game. That is inexcusable.
To be fair, Rex Ryan deserves some of the blame for the Ivory situation for obvious reasons: head coach gets final say.
Then you have the most obvious, and if you ask me, over exaggerated reason for failure: Geno Smith turns the ball over too often and at bad times. That statement is enough by itself to explain the problems you see on Sundays. Luckily for Geno, they did put Michael Vick in last week’s second half and we all got to see that it’s tough to overcome what Geno is not so lucky to have to work with here.
Lastly, and maybe now we’re switching to the most underrated piece of all: this team is flat out lacking discipline. The line has committed more false start penalties (11) than any team in the league. The Jets as a whole has committed sixth most penalties overall for the fifth most yards penalized. All of this is a direct indictment of Rex — and it’s only going to make his hot seat even hotter.
So what happens next if the season presses on this way? Rex will lose his job first, obviously, as this was a make-or-break year for him and he isn’t John Idzik’s hand-selected guy. This sad truth is despite the even sadder fact that Rex is arguably the second most successful coach in Jets history with his two AFC Championship appearances in now six years, all while overcoming four years of first- and second-year quarterbacks, Tim Tebow-fueled distraction, and a captain who walked out on his team.
But there has to be a fall guy. So for Rex, barring a complete makeover of this now defunct football team, it’s time to panic.