What do I mean by “which Brett”? There’s Toss-up Brett and then there’s Brett the Striker. (It’s kind of like Edward Norton and Brad Pitt both playing the same person in Fight Club but having totally different personalities.) In Monday night’s 48-29 loss to San Diego, it was Toss-up Brett who stepped on the field.
With a confused looking offense, Brett was often throwing while off balance and, as a result, throwing interceptions. He threw two, but was lucky he didn’t throw at least four. And maybe it wasn’t the interceptions. Could it be in the red zone where he has been ineffective? Toss-up Brett was heaving it to the back of the end zone without anybody in the same zip code close to catching it.
The problem is the Jets offense is offensive. Led by Favre, the Jets offense is ranked 23rd in the NFL with an average of 285 yards a game. They have a new leader, a young line and absolutely no offensive play rhythm. There is also a huge communication break down between Brett and his receivers. The offense has Jets fans wondering if this is what they really got rid of Chad Pennington for.
With the rough start (they were lucky to beat Miami), Jets coach Eric Mangini said his offense will soon come together, citing the second half of Monday night’s game as an example of his team’s promise. Favre complete 20 of 26 passes for two touchdowns. Mangini also said he’s excited that Brett has completed 70 percent of his 90 pass attempts.
“We’re a good offense,” left guard Alan Faneca told The New York Times. “It’s a unique situation. There’s a lot of room to grow. You are going to see a different offense as the season goes on compared to where we are now.” He also called the O-line “an explosive offense in waiting.”
Granted, the offense is fairly new, even with Brett skewing the average. Faneca and Damien Woody are new additions, as are fullback Tony Richardson and receiver Chansi Stuckey. But come on, it’s not like this is the first time they have played football. They may not have gelled yet, but at times last Monday they looked like this was their first time on the field together. Excuses for pro players can only go so far. I think Brett would agree with me on this.
“I don’t think [the Jets 1-2 start] has anything to do with newness,” Favre told The Times. “We have to, at some point, write that off. We got to get on the same page. I made numerous, numerous mistakes.”
So, back to my first question. Is it time to write the Jets season off already? The way things are playing out in the AFC East, I would say not quite. With Tom Brady on the sidelines the rest of the season it’s anybody’s guess as to how good the Patriots will be. Same goes for Miami, who showed a whole new winning smash-mouth style football last weekend against the Pats. Who knows, they might both be terrible.
On the flip side, the Bills look to be one of the strongest teams in the AFC as a whole (just behind Denver). The Jets are lucky to be 1-2. They could be winless. Mangini and Brett have sold me on the notion that their offense, once it all comes together, will be a force to reckon with. The real question is how long will that take.
Once gelled, the pressure will be on Brett to perform. And that’s where he will have to figure out which Brett will be showing up to play. Will it be Toss-up Brett or Striker Brett? Edward Norton or Brad Pitt? I’m hoping for Striker Brett, unless of course, they are playing Denver, when I hope he plays like the oldest player ever to take a snap.