Monday, October 10, 2011

Jets lost Swagger That Led to Mediocrity


He has voiced so many opinions and thoughts about the Jets in pregame news conferences, that Rex Ryan is verified as a jester for his bizarre silliness. A week doesn't pass, it appears, without his peculiar antics or hilarity.

So now, already, we are left to guess if the losses have softened the spirit for the Jets, who haven't been cohesive or poised but undisciplined and divided. If we became accustomed to the Jets 2-3 start, including the humiliating loss nationally, now we're really becoming used to the scarcity and lack of success as this team was supposed to be ranked as one of the contenders with a chance in reaching the Super Bowl.

His peculiar demeanor shouldn't bother us, but if the Jets have the urge to win, maybe now would be a good time for the Jets to curtail arrogance and zip it shut. If the Jets are ambitious to accomplish more than just clinching a playoff spot in pursuit of a championship, maybe Ryan should let the game speak for itself because all the unnecessary trash-talk has poisoned the team.

If the Jets keep losing, though Ryan is the public figure folks in New York adore with his bombastic and erratic antics, he'll finally take criticism from the masses in New York and the local newspapers could banter with him on the front page as he'll feature as the headline. Too much humor disrupts, I know. Too much lack of discipline damages cohesion, I know.

This is, to simply put it, the most dysfunctional team in the league, perhaps not even close to winning a championship and instead close to qualifying for an acting gig for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. The reality in football this season is that the Jets-Patriots rivalry is nothing but hype, and has bothered our self-consciousness as we are hypnotized by a meaningless rivalry.

It used to be an American trait for populace to buy into the ridiculous hyperbole as the meanest war in football became bigger than the Yankees-Red Sox hype. But now, although it is the perception of mutual animosity for a pair of protagonist, there'd be no reason to relight romance for the rebirth of a moribund rivalry like the old days. Any fight is uneventful if the duel is not saturated with bad blood, and assuming that the Patriots are no match for the Jets, then it's not really fun watching an annual meeting.

It's funny how, for a legion of reasons, people still embrace the Jets-Patriots engagement when it's only another game on the schedule. It would not be a surprise to see the Jets miss the playoffs, prematurely dismantling in a season they were projected to elevate beyond standards, wilting on offense despite having enough reinforcements and dividing among a unit inside the separated locker room.

The assumption is, of course, the Jets aren't playing together but individual ball and should actually, in such a quick process, emphasize the significance of cohesion and teamwork. If anything, Mark Sanchez earns his teammates' trust and surely has evolved into a leader but his team's nucleus is not workable. They like him and, relatively, they trust him.

The downside is -- his damn team is not performing like a Super Bowl contender, and in truth -- it's possible to think of the Jets as a disappointment. We understand, Ok? This is a unit unprepared and uncontrolled bothered by tumult because of poor judgment from on-the-field mistakes that comes from the lack of team effort. The championship aspirations have suddenly vanished, and now Sanchez is frustrated after a 30-21 loss on Sunday in the latest renewal of a rivalry. Do you blame him?

"We got a couple of third and manageables, we just gotta convert," Sanchez said after the game disappointingly. "Some underneath passes, we just gotta connect and I don't know the reason why we came out so slow. We had probably the best week of practice all year this week. Guys were into it. We knew our plays, we knew the gameplan."

It's never sweet for the Jets to lose against their hated rivals, but it's too bad New York couldn't prevail in a hostile territory in Foxborough, an environment where the Jets are disrespected and demoralized badly by Tom Brady and the Patriots. It's foolish of people to call this a rivalry -- and every season we believe in the nonsense.

So whether you like it or not, it's not a rivalry, but just another game on the schedule. This was never worth the hype, but since the Jets vs. Patriots have had the greatest show on turf in recent memory, it's sensible of fans to await an AFC East clash. This year, anyway, the Jets don't have the edge over the Patriots. This time, the Patriots have the edge over the Jets, and not by a slight advantage, but a huge differential. It wasn't long ago when the Pats, having their rivals numbered nearly every time they met, when the Jets lost by an embarrassing six touchdowns to New England in December. And then, more impressively, they won a month later in the playoffs by destroying Brady and the befuddled Bill Belichick in a game that Ryan roughly out coached the nominal Beligenius.

Not that time.

It's the most contentious rivalry, but it's not very telling when the Jets are inferior, falling as quickly as the other football franchise in town. If Gang Green can't beat its nemesis, for what has become one of the best football battles in a long time, then it is considered unsuccessful.

And thus far, the Jets have been unsuccessful not even intimidating or invulnerable. It's not, even if this is essentially America's primary sport to embrace and enjoy each weekend, fun watching the Jets but painful seeing them squander critical games. It is frankly a nightmare, as Halloween quickly approaches at a time when fans are panicking over the Jets, to realize that New York lost its third straight game.

The Jets are struggling because, with the stubbornness and silliness amid the season of pursuit to glory, they have no identity. Watching the Jets at Gillette Stadium, with the softest pass defense in the league and no hard-nosed football, was like rooting against a paltry pee-wee team. That's all you need to know about the Jets, a sad story written this season as we can laugh our asses off. It's the same thing every week, a tiring routine aging faster than the Statue of Liberty.

The unspoken weaknesses about the Jets is that, because of their indecisions and indiscretions in drawing plays on offense and adjusting on drives, they are frustrated among offensive players. The problem -- and this is the biggest issue -- is the Jets inability to stop the run and hinder the opponent's passing game. The Jets were fun to watch, but now they're not.

This time, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer looks on from the sideline daze and upset with an offense in turbulence. Five games into the season, and the Jets aren't fighting for a playoff spot, let alone winning games. The craziest aspect of the Jets recent downfall is that the Patriots still manage the edge, beating them every chance they have, despite that New York absorbs exposure and spotlight simply for Ryan's loudmouth.

With his dramatic reality shows, Ryan is the celebrity nut, from his foot fetish, to his obscene gestures that featured on tabloids, to his outrageous theme on HBO's "Hard Knocks" where he made a complete fool of himself -- he and the Jets were given national spotlight. It's true that the Jets are mired in disarray thus far, staggering against their archenemies to take more energy out of the players.

It's true that nobody is intrigued by Santonio Holmes, but are disbelievers. It's true that nobody is satisfied with Plaxico Burress, but is irritated. The only person who might be radically showing his emotions is Sanchez, who swung the door to the interview room open Sunday evening and walked in mad.

He folded his arms and stood around, for about five minutes, leaning against a door. It wasn't long after that Ryan, a descending coach who is too busy trying to be hilarious more than serious about his team's perfection, walked into the room, in full view of the media, venting on what actually went wrong with the Jets.

“I never thought I’d be here losing three straight, but that’s where we’re at,” Ryan said. “We’ve earned it.”

I've never thought they'd be losing three straight, either.

But the reality is that they've lost three straight. And in the standings, the Jets are 2-3, sitting two games behind New England and Buffalo with a stumbling offense and an unstable defense that couldn't forestall the Patriots on a series of plays. The weaknesses for the Jets are that the team can't run the ball efficiently or proficiently and they can't lesson the mistakes.

The eight penalties for 89 yards hurt New York, along with its inability in the blown coverage on Wes Welker when he dusted for a 73-yard catch on the Patriots' opening drive in the second half. There was no coverage for Deion Branch on his 2-yard touchdown, and the Jets can't win by struggling to convert on seven of its first nine possessions.

When it was over, Brady had finished with 321 passing yards, leading to Stephen Gostkowski 28-yard field goal that sealed the victory. But even though the Jets saw gradual improvement in the running game behind a balanced offensive line by the return of Nick Mangold, the lack of explosiveness and prowess is how New York had fallen short. It could become worse if the Jets drop another next Monday night against winless Miami, following three consecutive road losses.

There is no denying that the Jets need much work. But at this rate, the Jets are going nowhere.