Jets’ True Colors Have Yet To Be Seen
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Oh, yeah, that’s right — the Jets played on Sunday, too. I almost forgot about them.Then again, I’m just following the lead of the local press that thinks a Giants loss is worth twice as much ink as a Jets win. The Jets 28–20 victory over Buffalo early Sunday afternoon was lackluster, but also remarkable for only two reasons: first, because it was at Buffalo, where the Bills tend to play much better than on the road (about four points better), and, second, because it was precisely the kind of game that the Jets tended to lose so often under Herman Edwards.
Against a Buffalo defense built for speed, not power — Aaron Schoebel and Chris Kelsay are two of the quickest interior linemen in the league — the Jets had no success at all running wide. But, and here’s the indication that the Jets really have a bad running game, they couldn’t move the ball up the middle on a Bills team that everyone else has been able to move out of the way. (Once again, Kevan Barlow was the leading ball carrier with just 31 yards.) My guess is that the Jets will be lucky to average three yards a carry all season long.
That doesn’t necessarily mean a lot, since the NFL offense is built more around passing, not running, but it is going to leave them with more, say, third-and-six and third-and-seven situations than they’ll want, and thus provide opposing pass rushers with more opportunities to disregard the run and come straight after Chad Pennington. So far, Pennington has been terrific, in fact, the best quarterback in New York, with a 66% completion rate, a sensational 8.2 yards a throw average, and five TDs against one interception.
But Eric Mangini’s game plan has got to include more plays to open things up this Sunday against an Indianapolis team that so far has been solid but unspectacular. The Jets are better this season than they were last year, but they can’t afford to lose to both the Patriots and Colts over a span of three weeks — even if the losses are close and the games wellplayed — and still believe that they are a serious playoff team.