After dedicating my first NY Jets article to ripping into our coach, offensive line and team inability to convert on 3rd down, I figured it’d only be fair to come back after week 2, with a more well rounded article about our team performance.
First off, hats off to my beautiful Jets for that first half performance! Hats off to what I consider to be the real, new team leader, Geno Smith! His calm and calculated demeanor, carefully crafted concentration and paramount perseverance was exemplified in every moment he spent on the field. I was so proud to be a Geno Smith fan!
I’ll be the first to admit that I was screaming, shouting and wagging all type of fingers at the television last season during the preseason game against the NY Giants, when Geno got that damn safety. For one thing, as a growing football fan, I had no idea what a safety was, until Geno got one. I had never seen a quarterback run out of the back of the end zone and thus, knew nothing of what it took to earn a safety and give the other team two points.
That might have been what really pissed me off; my ignorance, paired with my team being the guinea pig that taught me better. In any regard, in that same game, Geno came back like a champ. He never hung his head low, he never gave up and he never second guessed his ability to be quarterback.
With the weight of the entire team on his shoulders, in wake of a sub par proceeding quarterback and losing season, he came out every game during last season, with guts, determination and a sense of responsibility to something bigger than himself. With a sense of responsibility to his team, fans and organization.
Geno reinforced that maturing mentality and relentless energy that I mentioned last week, in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. And I am confident, especially after this week, that this is just the beginning of his best to come. To add to Geno’s team winning spirit, our offensive line did a far better job, particularly in the first half, to protect their quarterback, effectively allowing him to show his growth. Our 3rd down conversions were also superior to last week, especially in the first half, with us finishing the game at 47%. Added to our 66% completion rate of 4th down conversions, we started out like a winning team in Sunday’s game.
Yet, I would argue, it was the defense that showed their colors, this week. They came out during the first half on a fast trail to victory, holding the Packers to 9 points in the first 27 minutes of playing time. In fact, they ultimately held the Packers’ offense to only 88 rushing yards for the entire game. Only to very visibly let their foot off of the gas pedal, just in time for the Packers to gain significant momentum, eight seconds before halftime, when they scored their first TD of the game.
Our defense then, followed up after halftime with a very stagnant and lackluster temperament. Muhammad Wilkerson’s 3rd quarter ejection from the game, though arguably a one sided decision, was highly indicative of another major problem with the Jets game play troubles. As an organization, we face significant challenges with taking responsibility for things not going as planned.
When something goes wrong on the field (or behind the scenes for that matter), everyone is so busy looking for someone to point the finger at, that they waste no time to lash out at anyone exposing their inefficiencies. God forbid the NY Jets defense, after easily and ridiculously letting the Packers make a 2 point conversion, at a highly critical, game changing point in the 3rd quarter, take responsibility for not doing their damn job! No way!
Instead, they figured they’d make up for the two points they just gave away, by turning the NFL into a UFC match (because those were clearly open handed hits, not punches, commentators). It was blasphemous, watching the defense take their frustration with their own laziness, lack of stamina and inability to keep a game going for four full quarters, out on the Packers offense!
It was a damn side show! It baffles me every time I watch our offense and defense actually show up for the game, at the same time, only to be let down somewhere mid or late game, when one of them decides they’re ready for their nap time. I digress.
Anyway, the defense, realizing that they didn’t have their orange juice Sunday morning, lost gas toward the end of the first half, winding down more and more, during the second half. Until the fourth quarter, where, arguably with the energy of Geno propelling them, the D line came back into the game, halting the Packer offense at 31 points. Geno rejuvenated that hard work when, at fourth and 4th, with about five minutes left, he threw what could have been a game tying TD to Bilal Powell for 36 yards.
And then, all hell broke loose. The true obstacle for the NY Jets was revealed, from the top, down. That obstacle being, the lack of effective leadership and coaching!! Offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, decided (on his own regard, after being unable to reach Rex), that he would call a freaking time out on 4th down, in the heat of the damn game! I won’t go into the details of what led him to decide that his call needed to be made, without Rex’s permission.
Anyway, I’ll end this rant, as it’s become more of that and less of a game synopsis, with my views on Rex Ryan and his inability to be a winning head coach. I love Rex. I honestly do. I love his enthusiasm and his unparalleled belief in his players, organization and position as coach. Nonetheless, my love of such things does nothing to strengthen his abilities to lead a winning team.
His own defensive coordinator severely undermines him in a damn game, and he spends the end of game press conference making point of the fact that he was not the one who called timeout. Who gives a damn?! You’re the coach Rex! You’re the boss, or at least you’re supposed to be the boss, of the person who did call the timeout. Which means, you’re responsible also! In fact, you’re the most responsible.
Instead of pointing fingers and taking “individual responsibility”, we need to make greater effort at consolidating team responsibility and accountability. You know, the whole “one bad apple ruins the whole bunch” concept? Maybe we could take some cues from our rival NY team coach, Tom Coughlin, who quoted Sunday, following his own team loss, “They’re men. We’re men. We had a chance and we let it go. No pointing fingers… We have no one to blame but ourselves.”
In any regard, the game should have never come down to that TD or more importantly, a b.s call made by the officials. In the words of my all time favorite sports coach, Gregg Popovich, “never leave a game to the officials”. With that, the most important thing to be remembered from this game is, coming from the mouth of Rex, “I know one thing for sure, we have heart. We have a lot of heart.”
To my Jets nation, let’s make sure we dedicate this season to guaranteeing that no one in the NFL, sports media or the world for that matter, can ever question just how far a whole lot of heart can go! Until next time, peace, love, joy and many more W’s!