Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Mess That Is the New York Jets

As a New York Giants fan, I can't help but laugh at all the nonsense coming from the Giants' MetLife stadium mates - the New York Jets. The entire offseason has been a circus for the Jets. First, they picked up Denver Quarterback Tim Tebow even though they have a quarterback who has taken the Jets to the AFC Championship twice, but regressed last year. Then, they courted a quarterback controversy.

Throughout the preseason, the Jets offense has been missing in action. Actually, it's been worse than that. The offense has actually turned into points for the opposition while not putting up a single touchdown.

The offense is putrid. Yet, Coach Rex Ryan seems to be pinning the team's offensive success on a wildcat offensive system that has yet to be tested during the preseason.

Ryan keeps claiming that there's no reason to show the offense before the regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Throughout the preseason, the Jets have zealously guarded the Wildcat portion of their offense that coach Rex Ryan has boasted about so much since they acquired Tim Tebow in a trade with Denver in March. Not only did they not use it in any public practices during training camp, they didn’t run it, not even for one play, during any of their first three preseason games.

And Tebow won’t play Thursday night in the preseason finale, Ryan said.

Why all the secrecy? Ryan truly believes it will make the formation and all its wrinkles that much more effective when the Jets finally unleash that Wildcat against Buffalo in the regular-season opener Sept. 9.

“There’s no sense in putting it out there on film,” Ryan said Tuesday. “Let [the Bills] guess and hopefully it messes them up.”

He admitted that he and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano made a conscious decision not to tip their hand at all.

“Yeah, we bounced it back and forth,” Ryan said. “But we made that collective decision that we thought it was in our best interest not to.”

Still, it could be argued that merely a few snaps in preseason game action against an opponent other than the Jets themselves could have helped Tebow and the rest of the players become more familiar with the scheme under game conditions. And really, the Jets could have done that without giving away too much that isn’t already known among NFL defensive coordinators.
The folly of the logic of not testing out the system in the preseason is that the first time they run the system in the regular season, every team they face down the line will be able to recognize it and prepare defenses to counter it. So, instead of preparing the team for how it will operate during the regular season, the Jets have put together an offense that can't score under a standard offensive scheme, and will leave it to wishful thinking that the wildcat will work past the first game.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that the offense will improve. After all, the offensive line can't protect the quarterback, create running lanes for running backs or Tim Tebow, and if they can't vastly improve on either front, the team will disintegrate before your very eyes. It will turn ugly.

In fact, there's already been signs of just how ugly it might get - with the team failing to score a touchdown thus far in the preseason, the first time that the offense sputters in the regular season will open up the possibility of a full-blown quarterback controversy that will only mire the rest of the season as a lost cause.

Yet, despite this self-imposed disaster, picking up Tebow helped sell newspapers and keep the Jets in the headlines.

That's all while the defending Super Bowl champion Giants went to business and are plugging away at getting their players ready for the grind and seeing who will fill the shoes left by the departed Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham. In both instances, it seems the Giants have found their men, and their chief concern is mitigating and minimizing injuries.


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