OK, the Baltimore Ravens are good and are picked to be one of the better NFL squads this year. Many sports-know-it-alls believe they will be representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, and a loss to the Ravens shouldn’t scar a team’s record too harshly. I mean they are good right?
While this may be true for the teams that lose to the Ravens this season, it does not include the Jets, who lost to Baltimore by a score of 9-10 in the Monday Night Football season opener with a dismal performance. The Jets preseason hype, which stemmed from the behind-the-scenes action of HBO’s Hard Knocks and some noted player acquisitions, is all over now. The Jets looked like a freshman football team (sorry freshmen!) on Monday night instead of a professional football organization.
Normally, I could care less about New York football teams. I usually have my mind centered on the Broncos, but HBO’s Hard Knocks certainly gave me some interest in the Jets, particularly Rex Ryan’s coaching style. As I have stated in these pages before, I like Ryan’s fun, loose and f-bomb riddled practices. He runs the kind of practice I would like to be a part of instead of the drill sergeant style many coaches use. The big question for Jets fans and every football fan addicted to Hard Knocks was if his loosey-goosey coaching was actually going to bring the star-studded team some wins. Judging from their performance on Monday, his coaching style does not work.
The Jets defense started the game off well by forcing three Raven turnovers. The offense, led by quarterback Mark Sanchez, didn’t start so well. With the Jets defense handing the offense great field position, you would think it would give the offense an edge. It did not. The Jets went 1-11 on third down conversions and scored only six points in the first half.
And then there were the penalties. According to the New York Times, the Jets piled up 14 penalties for 125 yards – a hell of a lot more yards than the 47 yards Sanchez had passed for by the fourth quarter. He ended the game with just 74 yards and a dismal quarterback rating of 56.4.
“We were awful,” Jets receiver Braylon Edwards told the Times. “The defense came out with passion. I don’t believe the offense’s intensity matched what the defense did. It’s not panic time. But our offense definitely needs to get something going now so we don’t wait till the last minute like last year and try to get into the playoffs off a fluke game.”
I know that Ryan, like many coaches in the NFL, is telling his players that it is just one game of the season, and all is not lost. That may be true. Teams have bad games. It happens. But the thing that sticks in my mind about the Jets performance on Monday night was the offense’s infantile attempt at a two-minute drill to win the game.
Two-minute drills say a lot about a team – how well they are poised under pressure and how well they are coached for the situation. Teams should know how to operate a two-minute offense and operate them well. Successful two-minute drills come down to coaching.
Well, the Jets received the ball at decent field position, somewhere around the 20-yard-line. They had timeouts. And really only had to get into field goal range to win the game. This should be a quarterback’s dream, especially a budding quarterback like Sanchez. Instead, the Jets’ two-minute offense was completely ineffective. Sanchez threw to receivers down the middle of the field who weren’t open…and these passes weren’t far enough to make a difference other than waste time. There were miscommunications between Sanchez and the offensive coordinator. This joke of an offensive drive finally ended when Sanchez completed a pass to a receiver who stepped out of bounds a foot short of the first down marker, on fourth down mind you, turning the ball over and ending the game.
This attempt to move the ball down the field was a joke and frankly, it all comes down to piss-poor coaching. I wanted to like Rex Ryan’s fun-loving coaching style. I wanted it to work. If the Jets season continues in the fashion of Monday night, his coaching isn’t worth a damn, unfortunately. And, of course, here come allegations of sexual harassment in the Jets locker room after Monday’s game. It would seem that Rex Ryan’s tenure as most popular coach in the league is coming to an end.
I guess I should be happy that the Broncos have a drill sergeant of a head coach with Josh McDaniels, who also likes the F-bomb, but he lost to an even worse Jacksonville team on Sunday, so it goes to show you what I know.