Aim your darts here, Jets fans. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Jets appear to be entering the season with an offense that is among the league's worst.
I'm thinking about laying the blame at the hands of guys like Ray Lewis, Trent Dilfer and Shannon Sharpe. Maybe Brian Billick, too. These are all guys who were a part of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, the Super Bowl Champs, who had a defensive line coach named Rex Ryan. Those 2000 Ravens had one of the most underwhelming offenses to ever win a Super Bowl, and Ryan was front and center for it. If you've followed the New York Jets since 2009, you'd know that, since Ryan will remind you any chance he gets that he won a Super Bowl with the Ravens (but usually omits the fact that he was merely a position coach).
I'm blaming those guys for winning a Super Bowl and giving Ryan the idea that offense doesn't matter as long as you can stop people. Ryan must believe that the Jets can win every game this season by a score of 10-6, because it's the only explanation for the gross mismanagement and disregard for building the offensive side of the Jets as the 2012 season nears.
We're not just overreacting to two bad preseason outings. The Jets' offense has never been a strength since Ryan took over. And it seems, as Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez enter their fourth season together, that it's gotten worse each year and is about to bottom out...if it hasn't already. And while the legions of Tim Tebow fanatics want you to believe it's because Sanchez is no good, it goes deeper than that. It's an organizational mismanagement, from Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum, that has led to this Jets' bordering on historically horrible.
It's a common football cliché that games are won in the trenches, and unlike most cliché's, it has some real meaning. You have to protect your quarterback to win in the NFL. The Jets seem to think that this same offensive line that struggled so terribly last year is just a-ok. They seem to not realize, though it's apparent to most football observers and living, breathing human beings, that they employ the worst starting offensive lineman in the entire league. Yes, Wayne Hunter, the Jets' starting right tackle last season and miraculously so this season as well, is the worst starting offensive lineman in football. THE WORST.
Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants is really, really good. But he is not a member of The Avengers. He is a human being, and on Saturday night was playing in a preseason game. Yet the way Hunter attempted to "block" him was laughable.
But Hunter's dismal performance wasn't shocking. Maybe to Tannenbaum and Ryan it was, but if so they're alone, because they're the only two people on the planet who think the man is capable of playing right tackle in the NFL. There are plenty of things in life Wayne Hunter can do; he can probably be a decent pro wrestler with some seasoning, perhaps he's a really good cook and should open up a food truck in Manhattan. He just can't play right tackle in the NFL.
But the Jets think he can. Instead of trying to fill that gaping hole, they decided to send a fourth round pick to the Broncos for Lefty Jesus. Instead of shoring up the line so Sanchez makes it through a whole season, they added the league's most polarizing quarterback as a ‘backup' and someone to use in a formation named after a feline creature that no team that's ever won a Super Bowl has ever run one snap from, ever. Brilliant job, you guys.
And despite having a disaster of an offensive line and no good blocking tight ends, oh no, don't you worry because the Jets are gonna GROUND AND POUND their way through the NFL this season. They hired Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator to run the ball down everyone's throats. That's dandy, because Shonn Grenne is your starting running back, and Shonn Greene is utterly horrifying. Have you seen this guy run the ball? Take a look at this dude's game log.
But it's okay, because Sanchez has all these weapons to throw to: Santonio Holmes (legit), Dustin Keller (legit, but generally deployed as usefully as a drug sniffing dog at an Andrea Bocelli concert), Jeremy Kerley (29 career receptions), Chaz Schilens (72 career receptions in four seasons, and we all know you can never trust anybody named "Chaz"), and Stephen Hill (a rookie, so who the hell knows... please be good).
So yeah, maybe the Jets "coddled" Mark Sanchez in his first three years. Now they're looking to make that up by having him get nearly killed and replacing him with a guy who looks like he just learned how to throw a football four days ago. If that's what they're trying to do, then their plan is going just swimmingly.
Yes, the Jets have a good defense. It has a chance this season to be really, really good, especially if LaRon Landry is healthy and produces and Quinton Coples turns out to be a legitimate force on the defensive line. But it aint hard to see whats works in the NFL; it's a passing league. Last season's New England Patriots were pretty dismal on defense and almost won the Super Bowl. Last year's Giants had a phenomenal pass rush, but were generally average everywhere else on defense for most of the season and won the darn thing. And oh yeah, the Giants and Patriots were the league's two worst rushing teams last year.
But don't you Jet fans worry. They're going to GROUND AND POUND and Wildcat their way through the NFL this season.
Good luck with that.