Monday, September 13, 2010
Same Old Jets
Tonight was supposed to be the start of the new era of Jets football, where the phrase "Play Like A Jet" is no longer a punchline. Rex Ryan with his swagger and breath of fresh air to change the Jets from losers into winners. New stadium that Jets fans can call their own (even though they still share with the Giants). However, after tonight, it's clear that the Jets are still a ways to go to becoming an elite team in this league. Basically, the Ravens are a glimpse at what the Jets want to be and how far they are to get there.
Let's begin with the offense, who everyone will write about in any story about this game. They were horrid and putrid. It's clear that there is a fear of throwing the ball down the field by Brian Schottenheimer, which unfortunately is the way you can beat the Ravens without Ed Reed. Watch that last drive again, not once did Mark Sanchez have a throw go beyond 10 yards. The thing to remember is that maybe this offense will be better once Santonio Holmes is back on the field. That won't help them next week against the Patriots, a team who's offense is miles ahead of the Ravens.
The Jets defense had their moments, but almost every time a stop was needed, the Jets let the Ravens get a 1st down, either through a bad play or a penalty. Partcularly Antonio Cromartie, who has some many penalties, people wonder if he makes babies the same way. The Ravens for the most part avoided where Darrelle Revis was covering and stuck with burning Cromartie and Kyle Wilson when they could.
The outlook for Baltimore is good, their front seven can makeup for deficiencies in the secondary until Reed returns and they will play better offense when they play easier defenses. Ray Rice, who was quiet tonight, will play better as the season continues. The question for them is can Flacco play well throughout. He got more comfortable as the game went on and had the confidence in his coaching staff to throw deep to Todd Heap on 1st down late in the game. They are rightly among those who are being picked for the Super Bowl.
The Jets, on the other hand, seem much further away from the Super Bowl than Rex Ryan thinks. The defense is good, but it's not unstoppable and it can't play dumb like it did tonight. They also need their offense to look like an offense and not have guys run out of bounds short on 4th downs.
As for the nightcap, the Chiefs played a spirited game with the Chargers at a newly renovated Arrowhead. Kansas City looks very improved (as much as one game can show) with playmakers all over the field now. Dexter McCluster scored on a 94 yard punt return, Jamaal Charles scored from 56 yards. Yes, Matt Cassel didn't play that well, but he didn't play poor despite 10/22 for 68 yards. The key is the special teams with McCluster and Javier Arenas running kicks and the defense made plays when they needed to make them, particularly those last two Chargers drives.
San Diego showed they were missing Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill and will need to get those guys signed before the season falls apart. Phil Rivers is always game, but once the Chiefs took away Antonio Gates, the offense struggled. The defense played well, but in the end, a loss is a loss. To be fair, the Chargers always do this, a slow start, then charge (no pun intended) to a playoff berth. Can it happen again? Not without McNeill and Jackson.