The once hallowed Jets defense, head coach Rex Ryan’s version of The Maginot Line, is looking more and more like Swiss cheese. How did Tim Tebow lead a 95-yard drive (and carry the ball for a 20-yard touchdown run)? The answer is the same as how the Germans overcame that supposedly impregnable French barrier in World War II: they simply went around it.
Ryan has made many promises to the fans and his players, but now it seems he just has miles to go before he sleeps – the promises have already been unkept. The 5-5 Jets are in no position to take the division and probably have very little chance of making the playoffs.
Yes, the defense didn’t do its job on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos (5-5), but the more important story is Mark Sanchez and the offense. Sanchez still seems like he is treading water out there, while Tebow is doing his best Fran Tarkenton impersonation and making his fans believers. In fact, when Sanchez starts looking around for someone to catch his pass, the opponents are probably happier than the Jets’ wide receivers. Chances are just as good for Sanchez to throw a ball that will be intercepted rather than a completed pass. It is starting to get that bad.
A great quarterback can be a game changer. Look at Indianapolis this season. They are 0-10 without the services of Peyton Manning. No one can underestimate how important that great quarterback is, for if he were playing in full health that team would no doubt be 8-2 now. It goes without saying that Manning is that terrific; however, the Jets with Sanchez are 5-5, and at this point it would be hard for us to say they would be doing much worse without him.
Yes, the Jets’ offensive line has been taking a lot of blame for this Sanchez meltdown, but most Jets fans should see the truth by now. Sanchez is no great quarterback and struggles to be even moderately good. Ryan always gives him support and that is all well and good, but when does the coach finally face the fact that Sanchez still doesn’t seem to have his head in the game? Maybe when he is sitting home watching the playoffs.
The great Ryan defense, the supposedly unstoppable express train to the Super Bowl, has been derailing this season. Ryan’s offense is not much better, and the truth is that this train is probably not making it into the station. So for all Rex’s promises and all his bluster, we face the reality of what will probably end as an 8-8 (or worse?) season.
If this happens again, Jets fans are going to be grumbling all the way through the playoffs. We then have to face the facts and perhaps Ryan will too: maybe Mark Sanchez never becomes the next Joe Namath, and then we have to start thinking about who is QB in 2012? Chances are that the Colts will not sign Manning and he will be a free agent? If Woody Johnson’s deep pockets can pull out thirty or so million dollars, the Jets may indeed have a great quarterback again, a game changer, who could finally lead them past the Patriots to take the division. Wouldn’t that be a great way to get the Ryan Express back on track?
Photo Credits: Ryan & Sanchez – Daily News; Peyton Manning – ESPN.com