WARNING: long read (but obviously worth it)
It’s no secret the Jets have been the laughing stock of the league for the last 18 months basically. To sum it up, we went from a rookie QB/rookie coach go to the AFC championship winning 2 road playoff games, and then doing it again last year, to initiating and enduring a CIRCUS where our QB literally shoved his face in a lineman’s asshole and fumbled the ball. The team’s biggest fan retired (quit). That’s what the Jets have become, a circus asshole organization. Mark Sanchez has gone from promising to pathetic. Rex Ryan has gone from cocky but exciting to what seems to be delusional and idiotic. We had certified studs, successful veterans and pro bowlers left and right, and now the roster is basically a bunch of question marks and guys who may or may not be half retarded. Where did things go wrong? What has changed? Who is to blame? Is Mark Sanchez the deserving starter? Is Rex Ryan retarded? Why do I still tolerate this sad excuse for a professional team? These questions need answers.
Let’s start from the beginning, 2009. The Jets fired Eric Mangini and hired Rex Ryan, defensive genius from Baltimore. The Jets parted ways with Brett Favre after he basically single handedly drove the playoff-bound bus off a cliff (8-3 at bye week, finished 9-7….not gonna cut it). The Jets trade up to draft Mark Sanchez 5th overall. Rookie QB, rookie coach, but a large number of proven players around them. They didn’t have the best offense in the league by any means, but they had arguably the greatest offensive line I’ve ever seen. They had a STUD defense that carried the team, that’s no secret. From day 1, Rex and the Jets established a dominant “ground and pound” running game with Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and Tony Richardson (one of the best fullbacks of all time). All behind a ridiculous O-line (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody). Average but productive receiving corp with Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney, Jerricho Cotchery, Dustin Keller. Defense? Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, David Harris, Bart Scott, Darrelle Revis, Lito Sheppard, Kerry Rhodes, Jim Leonhard. They came out every week with an “in your face/punch you in the mouth” defense that hasn’t been seen in years. They were absolutely shut down and dominant. Not to mention Steve Weatherford punting, and Wallace Wright, James Ihedigbo, and Justin Miller, 3 under the radar secret weapons. They were literally the best special teams players I’ve ever seen. Mike Westhoff had created a special teams FORCE with guys like Brad Smith and Leon. Between their defense and their special teams, they had an advantage in every game that most teams didn’t. Finished 9-7 (2nd in AFC east, securing the 2nd wild card spot) with an impressive home win against NE. They went on the road to win 2 playoff games at Cincinnati and San Diego, with guys like Shonn Greene emerging as what seemed to be the future back. Losing at Indianapolis, one game away from the Super Bowl, things still seemed to be looking up for the young team. Sanchez wasn’t great, but he didn’t have to be.
2010. Some of the key acquisitions: LaDanian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight (draft), Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes (from Pittsburgh for essentially nothing), Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson (draft), Jason Taylor, and John “The Terminator” Conner. They lost some big time names like Thomas Jones, Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington, Wallace Wright (a big name in my opinion), and Alan Faneca. Kris Jenkins didn’t play all year with an injury. Darrelle Revis held out, making the team and their fans nervous for weeks. The Jets starred on HBO’s Hard Knocks, publicly advertising Rex Ryan’s verbose attitude and fiery style. Again they had established a great running game with the defense to match. They finished 11-5 (2nd in AFC east), again securing the 2nd wild card spot. They had a stretch of 9 out of 10 wins, back to back overtime wins on the road (first team ever to do so). The low point of the season was the Monday Night EMBARRASSMENT at New England in a fight for first place, getting their asses handed to them 45-3. The Jets just could not win in Foxboro, plain and simple. On the road once again in the playoffs, shocking the world and beating Peyton and the Colts in their own building, Nick Folk kicking the game winner as time expired. In New England, the Jets were finally able to top the Pats on the road, in the playoffs. Defense sacked Brady five times. FIVE. Mark Sanchez tied the record for most career road playoff wins, 2nd year in the league. It seemed like all he had to do was not suck and the Jets would be fine. For once, the Jets had Belichick’s number, and it seemed like Pittsburgh was just another small speed bump on the way to the Super Bowl, especially after Bart Scott’s famous “Can’t Wait” speech, the best post game interview in history pretty sure. Anybody can be beat! To all the non-believers! Poetic Justice! They can’t stop a nosebleed! Can’t Wait!
I still get chills watching that. For the first time in my life I was genuinely proud to be a Jets fan. They had knocked off powerhouses Peyton/Colts and Brady/Belichick/Patriots. Super Bowl seemed to be destiny, but Pittsburgh held on to win a tough game. So close once again, but it was hard to be upset to watch a 2nd year QB/2nd year coach go to back to back AFC championships playing every game on the road. Not to mention the awesome and highly effective Sanchez/Keller combo.
2011. In the offseason, the Jets lost Damien Woody, Kris Jenkins, Jason Taylor, Jerricho Cotchery, Tony Richardson, Brad Smith, Braylon Edwards, James Ihedigbo, Steve Weatherford. They added some names like Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Kerley (draft), Kendrick Ellis (draft), Mo Wilkerson (draft). Everything started off great, beating the Cowboys week 1, Sunday Night, on 9/11, ending with a big Darrelle Revis 4th quarter INT. But things were falling apart real quick. Jim Leonhard was lost for the season right when the Jets needed to make a playoff push. Do you remember Thursday night in Denver? The Jets blitz weak side against Tebow who runs left and scores the GW TD, maybe the worst thing ever (I called that loss preseason btw). 8-5 with 3 weeks to play? Didn’t seem too bad until the 45-19 loss at Philly. And then came the Christmas Eve debacle at home against the beloved G-men. New Year’s Day in Miami will forever be a monumental loss for the Jets. Santonio Holmes took himself out of the game, closing out an 8-8 season, no playoffs. Sanchez’s 26 turnovers raised some flags for the Jets heading into the offseason, amongst other big concerns. From today’s perspective, I consider this the beginning of the end. The Jets continued to preach the ground and pound offense and the swarming defense, although both were essentially non existent, especially down the stretch. There were serious questions about Mark Sanchez’s ability, despite Wayne Hunter being the worst offensive lineman in the league. At the time, Wayne Hunter may have literally been the worst person in the entire country at their everyday job. He was like Swiss cheese. He literally could not stop anyone, it looked like Michael Oher’s first day at high school practice, if Michael Oher had also been blind and had no arms or brain (although the brain problem is probably similar). Nobody hated Wayne Hunter more than me. I pinned a lot of blame on him and kinda gave Mark a free pass for the time being.
2012. The Jets hired Tony Sparano as the offensive coordinator. Fans were PUMPED, myself included. But the Jets lost Plax, Jim Leonhard, and LT (who had said that it was the biggest joke of a locker room he’s ever seen). But they brought in LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, drafted Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples, and added some serious studs like Chaz Schillens, Patrick Turner, and Clyde Gates… And then came Tim Fucking Tebow, creating the biggest media frenzy in maybe all of sports history. Every day was Tebow, everything was about Tebow. Fans wanted Mark’s head, and more importantly they wanted Tebowmania to lead Gang Green. I was not apart of that group. Revis went down for the year Week 3, Holmes got hurt also, and the Jets’ true colors came out. Their anemic offense got old, but it did not go away. The Jets were 4-6 going into the Thanksgiving game at home against New England, which turned about to be one of the worst days in franchise history. The pats scored 5 TDs in the 2nd quarter, 3 of them in 52 seconds. 52 seconds, 3 touchdowns. Is that for real? Including the infamous Butt Fumble, arguably the most hilarious/pathetic/ridiculous plays in the history of sports. I’m talking about thousands of years of organized play, there may not be a worse play. I actually think there are 2 football plays worse than that, but I probably am just in denial and don’t want to admit it. It’s been the “Worst of the Worst” play on SportsCenter for THIRTY SEVEN STRAIGHT WEEKS. The next game against the Cardinals, the Jets scored 0 points through 3 quarters. Mark Sanchez was benched, Greg McElroy, not Tim Tebow, came in and led the Jets to victory. Sanchez kept his starting job for another 2 weeks almost, until Monday Night Football in Tennessee. At 6-7, still with control (somehow) to make the playoffs, Sanchez threw 4 interceptions, and somehow the Jets were in the game. The Titans literally gave the game away to us when up 14-10 they shanked a punt so bad the Jets had the ball inside the 25 with a minute to play. And then they snapped the ball and Sanchez dropped it, Titans recover, Jets lose, and it was a very fitting way for the Jets to lose. The season could not be summed up any better than that play. Sanchez lost his starting job to McElroy, but the Jets finished 6-10. Fireman Ed quit being Fireman Ed. Is that for real? Pathetic. The Jets are just the laughing stock of the league, and it doesn’t seem to be changing.
I’d like to consider myself a relatively realistic Jets/sports fan. Did Mark Sanchez suck last year and the year before? Yes, 52 turnovers in 2 years is so unbelievable, it’s hard to understand how he is a professional. Has Rex made some bad decisions on and off the field? For sure. But look at the hand Mark has been dealt. Woody Johnson brought in Tim Tebow for no fucking reason. I was the last guy to want him to play, but the Jets straight up played him and treated him like absolute garbage. Mark’s receivers last year (after Holmes got hurt and disregarding Braylon’s 3 game stint at the end) were an injured Stephen Hill, an injured Jeff Cumberland, an incompetent Dustin Keller, Clyde Gates, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schillens, Jordan White and other guys filling in like Konrad Reuland, and Mardy Gilliard. Sanchez was behind an offensive line without Mangold for most of the year, a declining D’Brickashaw, Wayne Hunter, Austin Howard, Vlad Duccasse (fuckin idiot), Jason Smith, and Matt Slauson. Pretty significant changes from 2009 and 2010. I am not discrediting Sanchez’s stupidity and quite frankly his inabilities. He sucked. He sucks. But right now he’s the guy for the job. Santonio Holmes is a cancer to this team, it’s no wonder why Pitt dealt him for nothing. Doesn’t seem like he’s gonna play anytime soon, although I don’t blame him one bit. Revis is gone, Bell is gone, Keller and Greene are gone (thank god), Brandon Moore is gone. Mike Pettine is gone. Mike Westhoff made the smart choice and got the FUCK out of town. There is no offense, no established running game (yet?) with Ivory and Powell, nobody to throw the ball too (Obamanu?), no protection, and an average defense in my opinion. Hopefully the rookies (Richardson, Milliner, Geno) can contribute. I’m all for a QB change if it puts the Jets in the best position to win. But right now, today, Geno doesn’t seem to be the guy for the job. Rex just said he’s not even close to 100%, but then again what does Rex’s offensive opinion mean more than mine? He literally did not even watch Sanchez against Detroit last week. Seems like he hasn’t watched him for the past 2 years. There are bigger problems than Mark Sanchez. We have an owner who knows nothing about football, we have a new GM, John Idzik, who openly doesn’t like our head coach. We have a head coach who doesn’t know how to coach. We have a straight up dummy for a quarterback. We have incapable receivers.
The worst thing the Jets have done over the past few years, way worse than keeping Mark in the game, way worse than signing Tebow, was letting a few key players walk away: Leon Washington, Brad Smith, Kerry Rhodes, Jim Leonhard. Those guys sparked this team, no doubt about it. Like I said, I’m not giving Mark a free pass and he has been responsible for so many problems. But a lot of this has been out of his control, and that is a fact. As far as a prediction for this year, I see Sanchez and Geno both playing about half the year, Sanchez would be done with the Jets once the year is done. The Jets win 5 or 6 games, Rex gets fired, and we start from square one. Hopefully we’ll have some legitimate young pieces moving forward (Milliner, Mo, Coples, Richardson, Ellis, Powell (watch out for him), Stephen Hill, Geno Smith maybe. I wouldn’t mind the Jets tanking this year (assuming nobody gets really hurt), getting rid of what seems to be dead weight (Rex, Mark) and drafting Jadaveon Clowney and just building a franchise around him. Guy is an ANIMAL. At least the Mets are on the rise (for now).
Did I miss anything?