Behind Enemy Lines: New York Jets

By Corey Walker

The Houston Texans travel to the Big Apple (well, technically New Jersey), to take on Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. It will be the first prime time appearance for both teams this season. The Jets come into the game with a record of 2-2, good for a first place tie with the New England Patriots in the AFC East. They are also 2-0 in their division. That’s pretty much where the good news ends for gang green.

They have alternated wins and losses in the first four weeks, defeating the Buffalo Bills 48-28 in week 1, then losing 27-10 at the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 2. They followed that up with a 23-20 road overtime win over the Miami Dolphins, then came crashing down with last weeks’ horrid 34-0 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. That was a game in which New York had only 145 total yards of offense and turned the ball over four times.

As bad as that performance was, that one game showing may be the least of the Jets’ concerns right now. They have lost perhaps their best player on offense and their best player on defense to season ending injuries in consecutive weeks. In the week 3 game in Miami, All-Pro CB Darrelle Revis suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. That was a significant blow to the Jets as Revis is widely regarded as the best shutdown corner in the NFL and one of the league’s top defenders, period. His ability to blanket the opposition’s best receiver and man one side of the field is a loss that the Jets defense will feel all season.

In the San Francisco game in week 4, their best receiver and former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes was lost for the season with a Linsfranc injury to his left foot. Texans faithful know all about that injury because that is the same one that ended the season of QB Matt Schaub in 2011. Like the Revis injury, Holmes’ injury occurred on a non-contact play. After making a catch in the 4th quarter, Holmes went down as he turned up-field. He also fumbled the ball as he went down and it was scooped up and returned for a touchdown by the Niners. It was a play typical of the Jets’ long day.

To attempt to offset the loss of their two stars, the Jets signed CB Eric Berry and WR Jason Hill this past week. It represents a second chance for Berry, who was released by the Detroit Lions after he was arrested twice this past July. He will be available to play immediately after being suspended for the first 3 games by the NFL for violating the leagues’ personal conduct policy. Ironically, Hill is the receiver who trash talked Revis in the week leading up to a game vs the Jets when he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Revis promptly shut him down and shut him up, as Hill was nowhere to be found on the stat sheet that Sunday.

Sanchez will try to reverse the fortunes of the Jets offense this week. New York is ranked 28th on offense and his 49.2 completion percentage is the lowest of his career through four games. He has a passer rating of 69.6, which is the lowest since his rookie season. That was a season in which he made a triumphant NFL debut, leading the Jets to a season opening upset win vs Houston at Reliant Stadium.

That was in 2009 and may seem even longer than that to Jets fans who appear to be growing impatient with the Jets offense–or lack thereof. If the offense sputters as they did against San Francisco, don’t be surprised if you hear some calls for ‘Tebow Time’ in MetLife Stadium. That would be for Tim Tebow, the most talked about backup quarterback in NFL history. Could it be possible that Tebow comes in and saves the day and engineer a miraculous turnaround as he did last season with the Denver Broncos? Possible, yes. Probable, no.

Tebow has only been incorporated into New York’s wildcat packages thus far and that package has had little to no success the few times the Jets have used it this season. It would benefit Sanchez or Tebow if the Jets can get a consistent ground game going this week and keep the Texans offense off of the field. That may be a tall order against Houston’s #1 ranked defense. RB Shon Greene has been mainly quite thus far.

The pride of head coach Rex Ryan, the New York defense, is surely disappointing him at this time. The Jets are ranked 21st in total defense, giving up 370.2 yards per game. They are 23rd in scoring defense, allowing an average of 27.2 ppg. The one bright spot for them is that they are ranked 4th in pass defense, allowing only 197.5 yards a game through the air. With Revis out, however, that is a number that surely will get worse as they progress through the season.


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