25 December 2011
Who knew Brandon Jacobs so closely identified with Holden Caulfield, and who knew the Jets were capable of playing such a horrific game? Listen, we all knew this team was going nowhere. Even if they had snuck into the playoffs and even beat Houston in the first round, the New England-Baltimore roadblock awaited. Still though, for it all to come crashing down in Week 16, at home, against the team you constantly belittle, with your season on the line, hell, I didn't even think the 2011 Jets were that gutless. But it turns out they are. More so than we ever could have imagined.
The behemoth's words hit home for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the coach needs to shutup. There's a realistic chance the quote embroidered at the top of this site will never come to fruition (for football and non-football reasons). The bravado and the trash talk is cute and fun when you're winning, but now it must stop. He's made his point. The Jets are a big story, and they will be for the foreseeable future. Mission accomplished. But after three years of the same shit coming out of his mouth and the end result being the same---no Super Bowl ring---his team needs him to be quiet. The quarterback clearly feels the added pressure created by Rex's words, and for a dude who may not be the most mentally stable, fighting his own thoughts is a battle in itself. I LOVE that Rex expects and truly yearns for the best from his team. More so than any coach that has ever managed one of my teams, I feel I can relate to him. That's why there has not been a "Fire Rex!" campaign this season. Rex is a fan just like us. And while that does make him lovable, he has to remember his position is one of great responsibility, and when you repeatedly fail in your duties, you must adjust the way you pursue your goals.
Next, there is the quarterback. I know this is going to sound silly, but I felt bad for Mark Sanchez today. He usually elevates his play in big games, but today the spotlight was too big for him. He looked uncomfortable, nervous, hurt, and more than anything, scared. As soon as he saw his first read was covered on a play, he unleashed a violent display of happy feet, and started aimlessly running around the backfield. The game was moving way too fast for him. I know he was the victim of a multitude of dropped passes, namely from the clearly concussed Dustin Keller (his eyes look lost out there), but that still does not excuse his utter incompetency. Sanchez will play out his five-year rookie contract with the Jets. He will be the starter on opening day next season and likely the season after that. But if things are going to get better, there will have to be a serious change in the Jets offensive personnel, both on the field and off it.
We learned during Hard Knocks that Mike Tannenbaum is a pretentious dick. That's cool. A lot of people are pretentious dicks. But when that mentality governs how you put a football team together, you are destined to fail. No right-minded GM with Super Bowl aspirations would start the season with Wayne Hunter at right tackle and have zero backups for the offensive line. Nor would he completely neglect the team's kicking game. Nor would he allow Eric Smith to be the team's starting strong safety. Tannenbaum will keep his job (much to my chagrin), but if he really knows how to BUILD a team rather than make just newspaper headlines, he will have to give this group a serious makeover in the offseason. Can he swallow his pride, admit the errors of his way, cut ties with aging veterans, not waste draft picks on "projects," and give his quarterback some protection? We'll find out.
As for today's game, you get the feeling that the lasting image of this season will be Eric Smith chasing Victor Cruz down the far sideline. Yes, Cruz was not Smith's responsibility on the play, but there was just something about Smith's futile effort to knock Cruz out of bounds that made you cringe. It was an all too familiar image that doomed the Jets throughout the season.
The Giants and the referees gave the Jets every opportunity in the world to come back and win the game, but they simply could not make a big play on offense. I honestly do not know enough about football to tell you if the Jets crap passing game was the result of a clueless quarterback or lazy wide receivers, but I sure as hell know the Giants shit secondary wasn't responsible for Sanchez's struggles (see: Rex Grossman). I don't expect Plax to be back next season. Yes, he helped in the red zone, but whatever speed he had clearly evaporated in prison. As for Santonio and his pea-sized brain, maybe he was discouraged or maybe he's lost a step or maybe it's something just as simple as he got his big payday and lost his motivation, but either way, 'Tone Time looks to have been a one-and-done deal.
And then there's The Beautiful Mind. TBM was oozing with aesthetic value today. If you ever needed a reason to fire Schotty, take a look at today's box score. In a game that was tightly played and field position was crucial, the Jets threw 59 times with a struggling quarterback and ran only 14 times with a bruising running back. I truly do not understand how the man keeps his job. I pray that the Jaguars pick TBM to be Blaine Gabbert's mentor. It's nothing personal, Blaine. I just can't see this man ruin Sanchez's career. It's beyond the point of joking. His marriage with Sanchez has clearly failed. Maybe TBM will be a good offensive coordinator somewhere else, but he certainly is not with the Jets.
You know what would be hilarious? If the Jets won next Sunday, and the Bengals, Titans and Raiders lost, the Jets made the playoffs, beat the Texans, then the Patriots, then the Ravens, and then won the Super Bowl. How bizarre and awkward would reading this post be in retrospect? I wouldn't worry about it, though. It's all over now. The Patriots loss ended the Jets season from the standpoint they weren't winning a Super Bowl after it, but today's loss ended any hopes of ever rekindling those hopes...ya follow?
Or as Brandon Jacobs might say:
"I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it. If you don't, you feel even worse."
Right on, Brandon, err, Holden. Today was a "good-by."