|We just finished Week 10 and this has to seem like the longest season ever. (AP)|
Like it or not -- and, yes, we know, many of you hate it --
There is no outrage, no fist-pounding indignation at what the Jets have become. Just resignation that despite all of coach Rex Ryan's empty promises, this team is somehow worse than we could've ever imagined. With two weeks to prepare for a really good Seahawks team, the Jets showed up in Seattle wholly unprepared. It's almost as if they spent the last 10 days trying to shoehorn Tim Tebow into the game plan only to give up after a few hours and spend the rest of the time playing beer pong. (At least they'd have an excuse.)
At 3-6, the Jets' season is over, even if the math says otherwise. Because there is no reason to think this team will magically morph into a group that can play anything resembling error-free football. We're 10 weeks into the season and the Jets are making the same mistakes that would get you dog-cussed off the field in training camp.
Only 420 minutes left in the season. (Click to enlarge)
The truly depressing part: The quarterback situation is the least of coach Rex Ryan's worries. That should give you some indiction of the current state of things in New York. But barring an asteroid strike that takes out Mark Sanchez, Tebow will never be the Jets' starting quarterback. Ryan reiterated as much after Sunday's loss, the third in a row for New York:
"I believe we can win with Mark," he said. "And I believe we can win with Tebow, but I'm not going to let you or anybody else convince me out of it, OK? Because this is how I feel. He gives us the best opportunity to win games, and that's the only reason I make any move."
The worst part: Ryan's right. But that brings us back to the seminal question: WHY IN GOD'S NAME DID YOU TRADE FOR TEBOW IN THE FIRST PLACE?!
Yes, we know, Tebow was supposed to be the change of pace, the versatile "teams-can't-game-plan-to-stop-him!" weapon that would push Sanchez and improve the running game. Somehow, everyone's worse and Ryan's Groundhog Day press conferences perpetually involve answering questions about if this is the week Sanchez gets benched. Put another way: You think we'd be talking about this if Drew Stanton were still Sanchez's backup and Tebow was in, say, Jacksonville? (Of course not.)
So this is where things are. Hopelessness prevails, there's no solution on the horizon, and no matter how bad things get Tebow ain't taking meaningful snaps at quarterback.
And let's be honest: Things are pretty bad. Sanchez continues to play like a 26-year-old quarterback in need of some confidence and a few playmakers. He has neither. Critics like to say that 49ers quarterback Alex Smith is built to play with a lead. Fine, but he also has Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and that defense. Sanchez has -- well, Tebow.
Predictably, it was a comedy of errors against the Seahawks. The offense didn't score and their two best chances resulted in a false start with Tebow in the shotgun followed by a Sanchez-tastic "Oh my god he really threw that" interception in the end zone.
"Just a bad decision," Sanchez said of one of the worst picks you'll see outside of Philip Rivers. "Just trying to play out too long and got greedy. That kind of stuff happens when you do that. It's my job to move on to the next play, kick a field goal, get us some points and get out of there. That was the start of the turn of things going bad and I (have) got to play better than that so that's on me."
That's the thing: it is on Sanchez because there's no one else to turn to. The idea that Tebow would show up and make Sanchez better hasn't quite worked out since, you know, everybody's markedly worse.
Maybe Pete Carroll was onto something.
We can't stress this enough: Sanchez isn't solely responsible for just how truly inept this Jets offense is. It's been a group effort, one that hasn't been lost on Ryan (and it might help explain -- along with the fact that Tebow isn't very good -- his insistence on sticking with Sanchez).
"I know this is a common theme, you know if it was on one guy, it's easy to fix, but it's much more. We've had protection break downs, dropped passes, guys aren't getting open, there are other things involved in it," Ryan said. "So again, yeah, we'll stick with Mark and we know he has to get better and everyone around him has to get better -- coaches, players, everybody."
Here are two glaring examples of blown protections courtesy of running back Lex Hilliard. Twice he failed to identify the blitzer and twice Sanchez was creamed.
|RB Lex Hilliard's assignment is clear: Block the Seahawks' best pass-rusher, Bruce Irvin. Instead, Hilliard comes across the formation to help Ferguson and Greene triple-team another Seattle defender. Sanchez takes the sack. (CBS)|
|Hilliard ignores CB Richard Sherman showing blitz to his right. Instead, he runs a pass route, Sherman blitzes untouched and strip-sacks Sanchez. Former NFL QB Rich Gannon, who was calling the game, offered this: "This is amazing. They don't even block (Sherman). I have no idea -- the back doesn't even look at him. This is a problem." Indeed. (CBS)|
Tracking Tebow, Redux
We spent many, many, many words last season on the Phenomenon that was Tebow and we could very well end up doing it again. ("Tracking Tebow" was supposed to be a preseason feature because coach John Fox told everyone Kyle Orton was the Broncos' starter. That lasted a month. At this point, we wouldn't be surprised if Tebow eventually earns the Jets' gig and is subsequently named head coach, owner and NFL commissioner.) For now, we'll just update his progress from one week to the next until the inevitable happens.
So the new wrinkle the Jets spent a week working on: have Tebow throw bubble screens. He did it three times Sunday for a whopping eight yards. He also rushed four times for 14 yards.
Eye on Sanchbow
|"I've just got to continue to work hard in my role," Tebow said Sunday. "That's it." Yep, that should fix everything. (AP)|