The NY JETS were ranked last in pre-season power rankings. The pundits said that Rex Ryan was destined to be a lame dead duck coach. New GM John Idzik would want his own guy regardless of Woody Johnson’s backing. Rex would have to become someone else…and that certainly wasn’t going to easy. Their offense appeared inept and disjointed.
(I was one of those who said their offense was going to be pretty offensive!) They had a new offensive coordinator putting in a new system. Marty Mornhinweg is a well known offensive wiz but what could be expected in his first season installing his system? Not much. They had no capable quarterback. Their tight end and starting running back were gone to free agency. The offensive line was a shambles with unproven people mixed with overrated vets. They had no skill position people.
The defense was full of young promising players with little experience. Gone were the likes of Bart Scott and Mike DeVito. Sione Po’uha. LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell all gone. Even Special Teams guru Mike Westoff retired! One could see this was going to be a challenging year! The Miami Dolphins improved their team through trades and drafting as did the Bills. The ever present Patriots and Tom Brady seemed as solid as ever. It was said that the schedule would eventually crush what little chance the Jets had to do anything of note in 2013.
Here we are a week from the midway point of their season, and the Jets find themselves at 4 & 3, a game behind the Patriots in the AFC East, coming off a win against their hated rivals over at MetLife. Quite the turnaround in a few short weeks.
Why is this happening? There are several pretty good reasons why the Jets find themselves in this position.
1-The defense has been awesome. Their front seven have played as well as anyone in the entire league. They stuff the run and they defend the pass. They sack the quarterback with ferocity and regularity, and they do it with just the linemen. Rex doesn’t have to take chances with an array of exotic blitz packages. Mo Wilkerson has become one of the top d linemen in the entire league. His 6 sacks combined with a relentless run stopping ability has propelled the defense. Quinton Coples and rookie Sheldon Richardson have been solid. David Harris is once again David Harris. The dominant line in front of him allows Harris to do his thing…which is tackling everybody all over the field. The young talent at Safety has produced…most notablly Antonio Allen. It’s a group effort. They have all played very well.
2-Geno Smith is learning. He’s been horrible and he’s been great…but a bit more great than horrible to this point. He’s athletic, has a great arm and he’s smart. He’s starting to get it and the rest of the offense is finally beginning to help him. Bilal Powell, Chris Ivory. Jeremy Kerley, Steve Nelson and Jeff Cumberland have all made big strides.
3-The Patriots just aren’t that good this year and Miami after the great start has returned to earth. Buffalo? Well they are Buffalo.
4- Rex Ryan has coached his ass off! He is doing the best job he’s done since he’s been in NY. He’s teaching, he’s motivating and he’s calling the right plays at the right time.
5-Nick Folk Hero. This guy is automatic inside the 50. He is by far the best kicker the Jets have seen since Pat Leahy was here many moons ago.
Put it all together and the Jets are having a surprising season. Playoffs? I doubt it but man it’s been fun watching this team grow up right before our eyes.
- Why the New York Jets Need to Give Rex Ryan Another Season (ridenpine.com)
- Jets owner Woody Johnson: We’re happy with Rex (cbssports.com)
- Santonio Holmes back at practice for the New York Jets (thejetpress.com)