Reality check for New York Jets
The New York Jets are solving the wrong problems.
This week the Jets signed cornerback Aaron Berry. Berry, a former Lion, was arrested twice during the offseason for assault and sentenced to a three-game suspension, has agreed to terms with the Jets.
The Jets hope to help replace cornerback Darrelle Revis who is out for the year. Sound like De ja vu? You heard right. Not only did the Jets make Kyle Wilson the starter, they also moved Joe McKnight to cornerback.
Ryan claims bringing in Berry will allow the Jets to move Joe McKnight back to (third string) running back. While there is undoubtedly a hole in the backfield, this will not solve anything. The reason the Jets are feeling the loss of Revis is not because he covered the backfield, it is because he single handily covered every receiver, allowing an extra man to the blitz. When the defense failed to stop the running back Revis made sure of it.
The Jets defense inability to stop the run needs to be primary focus going forward. The Jets entered the game against San Francisco already allowing 172.8 yards per game on the ground, getting battered particularly by the Bills and the Dolphins. Play after play, the 49ers ran the ball first, before they thought of throwing and yet still the Jets couldn’t get a stop or pick up on the offensive patterns.
The Jets, on the other hand, throw the ball before they think of running it. While there is no doubt that The Jets lack experience and depth at wide receiver, Mark Sanchez has a track record of missing open receivers even when he isn’t under pressure. The offensive strategy needs to change and it needs to be focused on the run.
Shonn Greene is clearly an ineffective running back. Greene has played poorly the last 4 weeks scoring a total of 191 yards. You can argue that the Jets didn’t stand a chance against San Francisco, who rushed for more than 200 yards in Sunday’s game alone, but I can argue that Shonn Greene is not even on the same level as other RB’s. New England’s Stevan Ridley, for example, already has a total of 339 rushing yards. Jaamal Charles, who is off to a slow start this year, rushing for only 3 yards against the Bills, already ranked up 415 yards for the season.
While Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight are not star backs, they have potential to be far more effective than Greene. It would be smart to start Powell and to use McKnight in the game. McKnight expressed disappointment with Ryan’s decision to move him to cornerback, voicing frustration as he weekly watches the game from the sideline. The Jets need aggressive players on the field to fight to get the job done.
It is the job of the coaches to manage the team effectively. Ryan is not being realistic about where his team is headed.
Is Tim Tebow the answer? No. But using him is. Tebow is built to be a Tight End and can be an effective RB. The point is that Tebow can be used a variety of ways in the Jets’ power running game. He has proven to be a force when given a head of steam and why not use that as an extra blocker? Prevent a defense from blitzing Mark Sanchez. Tebow could actually surprise the defense, like the Jets are intending him to do.
New York does not need a mediocre player running the show. They need someone who can make the extraordinary plays. Tebow in the pocket might not be the answer, but neither is Sanchez. Sanchez is unable to adjust when his game plan is obviously not working. His performance this week was similar to a series of failures in a career that’s had no shortage of them.
The Jets reality check will not come when facing Houston this week or the Patriots in three; it will come when they face the Colts at home. If the Jets fall to a Rookie QB in their own backyard it will hurt more, and say more, about what the team is capable of. Regardless, the team needs to fix their problems now and aim to enter Bye Week 9 with a 4-4 record.
Jessica Daniels is an NFL writer for TPF and can be contacted at JDaniels@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.