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This is the question that the New York Jets need to ask themselves. If this was a year or two ago, the answer would’ve been simple: a ground and pound offense and a smash mouth defense. However, this year the Jets look like a team who are searching for their identity, which is not good considering this team is planning on winning it all.
At the beginning of the year, the Jets decided to make Shonn Greene their bell-cow running back and moved last year’s starter, LaDainian Tomlinson, to a third down receiver type back. The only problem is the Jets have been unable to run the ball in their first three games this season. The team that would beat you up with their big skilled offensive line now has to rely on the passing game for points.
Mark Sanchez threw the ball 44 times in the opener against the Cowboys, and has had to throw the ball a lot more than intended because of the inefficient run game, even throwing in a blow out against the Jaguars in Week 2.
Now a lot of this has to do with the Jets interior line who, without center Nick Mangold, is sporting two first year players and second year player, Matt Slauson. This a big difference from the line of last year and from two years ago in which tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who is a pro-bowler in his own right, was the weak point.
The spectacular Rex Ryan defense, which should be playing great as 10 of the 11 starters are now in at least their second year in the system, has at times looked bad. The Cowboys were able to expose the defense almost costing the Jets the home/season opener two weeks ago, and it cost them the game on Sunday against the Raiders who torched the Jets defense for 200+ yards on the ground.
Bad tackling combined with a lack of pass rush has plagued the Jets and the mental mistakes aren’t helping either. While I’m sure the defense had a bad game, and will be fine as the season goes on, the real problem is the offense and how the Jets are going to score points. If the Jets can’t find their identity as a team, they can stop all the Super Bowl talk now and kiss their season goodbye.
These next two weeks will really show what the Jets are made of. They travel to Baltimore this week for the Sunday night game against the Ravens, and then to Foxboro to square off with their nemesis, the New England Patriots.
The worse that could happen is the Jets lose both and fall to 2-3 in the season, which will not put them in a good spot considering the Bills, yes, you’re reading that right the Buffalo Bills, right now are atop the division at 3-0 and have easy games. The Patriots, assuming they beat the same Raiders the Jets just lost to, would be 4-1.
While the season is long and a lot can happen, the Jets need to ask themselves who they really are as a team, and they better figure it out quickly. Otherwise the answer to the question, “Who are the 2011 Jets?” will have one answer: a team with all the talent in the world that just couldn’t put it all together.
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