Before I go into the Jets report card I just want to send my thoughts and prayers out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. As a lifelong resident of New Jersey I cannot even begin to explain how this storm has devastated our state. People have lost so much and certain areas of the state will never be the same.
I would like to thank everyone that is donating whatever they can to support those in need. When you see trucks rolling in from Tampa and Texas it gives you chills that are followed by tears. This is a very trying time but we will bounce back. Stay strong and try to respect and help your fellow neighbor.
Now lets take a break from a reality and talk some football.
Last week the Jets got embarrassed by the Miami Dolphins losing 30-9 at MetLife Stadium. The loss drops New York’s record to 3-5 and to last place in the AFC East. Lets take a look at how the team performed in the first half of the season.
Quarterbacks (D) - This was set to be a a make or break year for Mark Sanchez. Well so far Sanchez along with the rest of the offense has struggled. Mark has shown flashes, but his inconsistency (52.9 completion percentage) continues to hurt the team. If Sanchez does not raise his game and eliminate costly turnovers he will soon be headed to the bench. As for Tim Tebow I am not even including him in this grade. The Jets are clueless when it comes to utilizing Tebow and the wildcat formation.
Running backs (D)- The Jets entered the season with the goal of returning to their ground and pound philosophy. In concept it was a great idea but unfortunately for Gang Green the running backs are struggling to get going. Minus a breakout game against the Colts Shonn Greene (3.7 yards per carry) has been mediocre while Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight have made average contributions. An argument can be made that Joe McKnight should be given more of a workload as he is the most explosive back on the team.
Wide receivers (D) – The loss of Santonio Holmes put the spotlight on a relatively inexperienced and unproven group of wide receivers. Jeremy Kerley has raised his game but has not had much help behind him. Rookie Stephen Hill is struggling with drops and Chaz Schilens is a pedestrian possession receiver at best. The Jets took a gamble at the wide receiver position and it backfired.
Tight ends (C) – This is a tough group to grade as Dustin Keller has missed a substantial amount of playing time. Jeff Cumberland and Konrad Reuland have filled in admirably but that is just not good enough. I expect Keller to have a very strong second half of the season.
Offensive line (D)- The Jets offensive line was once considered a strength of the team, but those days are long gone. The line as a unit has struggled, especially when facing teams stacking the box with a goal of stopping the run. Far too often pass protection has broken down resulting in Sanchez either running for his life or taking a big hit.
Defensive line (D) - The bar was set high for this group but unfortunately they have not lived up to expectations. The line as a unit is doing a terrible job of winning the battles at the line of scrimmage which has made the Jets run defense amongst the worst in the NFL (29th). What happened to that breakout year for Muhammad Wilkerson?
Linebackers (D)- The Jets backers have struggled as they are getting manhandled by blockers and lack the speed to get sideline to sideline. Once again the unit has had issues covering the tight end and there is next to no pass rush being generated.
Cornerbacks (B+) – When Darrelle Revis was lost to injury no one truly knew what to expect from this group. Well Antonio Cromartie is playing at a very high Pro-Bowl caliber level while players like Isaiah Trufant and Ellis Lankster have made substantial contributions. Kyle Wilson has somewhat held his own but needs to improve in the second half of the season.
Safeties (B)- LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell have brought a very physical nature to the Jets secondary. Both have had their share of blown assignments, especially in pass coverage, but they are far from the problem on defense.
Coaching (D)- Rex Ryan entered the season by saying that this is the most talented Jets team that he has had. Injuries to Revis and Holmes were a huge blow to Rex, but the team was struggling prior to the incidents occurring.
The Jets defense, Ryan’s foundation, has been terrible against the run. Add in a non-existent pass rush and you have a recipe for failure on defense. On offense the ground and pound has been inept at best. Opposing defenses are stacking the box to force the Jets to pass, something the unit cannot do a consistent basis. And for all of the hype around the wildcat formation the only thing that we have learned is that the Jets do not know how to effectively use it.
In summary it has been a very disappointing first half of the season for Gang Green. The Jets were embarrassed at home by the 49ers and Dolphins and blew a great opportunity against the Patriots. The team is on the brink of falling apart and will truly be tested in the upcoming weeks.