New York Jets Progress Report: Where Does the Team Stand Headed into Week 13?
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Breathe, Jets fans.
It's already been a long week for New Yorkers, who have suffered through replays of the massacre the likes of which we've only seen on "Football Follies" videos.
At 4-7, things are grim for the Jets right now, to say the least, but even after that laughing stock of a game, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Jets.
I'm sure "a light" sounds a lot better than "Jets fans" at the end of the tunnel right now.
Regardless, here's a progress report of where things stand right now, and where they could be headed the remainder of the season.
Primary Talking Point
Sorry to make you relive this, but it has been the primary talking point all week.
While that play will live on in infamy for years, it summed up the state of the Jets franchise right now. They could be good, but we'll never know because they can't get out of their own way long enough to show it.
Is that a function of the coaching staff? The talent? It's a combination to an extent, with a slight tilt to the talent. How many NFL teams would give up their roster for the squad the Jets have assembled?
They had opportunities this offseason to improve, but chose to stick with their guys even as it became clear that they wouldn't cut it.
The Jets need a lot of changes, from the general manager to the quarterback and probably a few others in the process, and although it's clear they have an eye toward the future, they're not ready to give up on 2012 until the numbers say they should.
Right now, the numbers show the Jets are one of the worst teams in football. How they finish out the season will determine whether that perception and/or reality changes.
Tim Tebow's fractured ribs have been the topic of much discussion: why was he active, if he wasn't going to play? Why didn't the Jets activate Greg McElroy? Whatever the case, it looks like Tebow will probably miss this coming Sunday's game against the Cardinals.
Clyde Gates took a vicious blow to the head in Thursday's loss to the Patriots, and suffered a concussion. He is listed as questionable for the Cardinals game.
The tight ends: Pretty much the only Jets offensive players who had a wholly good game, Keller had five catches and a touchdown on seven targets while Cumberland had four catches on four targets. The Patriots linebackers are susceptible in coverage, and the Jets were able to capitalize (albeit when the game was entirely out of hand).
Ellis Lankster: He has been burned quite a bit over the past three weeks, giving up eight receptions on 12 targets to go with two touchdowns (via ProFootballFocus.com). This past week, he gave up four receptions on five targets and a touchdown against the Patriots.
Seriously, how can you let Wes Welker get this wide open? In the end zone?
Calvin Pace: One of the least productive pass-rushers in the league this year, Calvin Pace rushed the passer 18 times against the Patriots and got pressure just once. In fact, over the past three weeks, he has rushed the passer 72 times, has been held without a sack, and has gotten pressure just six times (via ProFootballFocus.com).
Between the 32-year-old Pace and the 33-year-old Bryan Thomas, the Jets need to get younger and more athletic on the edges of the defense.
- There wasn't much to be proud of for the offense, but the Jets got great protection for Sanchez. He was only pressured on eight of his 38 dropbacks, or 21.1 percent. That is much better than the Jets' 2012 average of allowing pressure on 28.5 percent of Sanchez's dropbacks. If the Jets are going to turn things around offensively, their offensive line will need to get a surge up front in both the passing and running game.
- It's been a rough year for Bart Scott, and it continued on Thanksgiving. He had a solid tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a run play, but got burned for an 83-yard touchdown by running back Shane Vereen on a wheel route. It's not his fault he was put in man-to-man coverage on a running back 10 years younger and 10 times faster than him, but he paid the price for it in playing just 11 snaps, his second-lowest total of the season, with rookie linebacker Demario Davis taking his spot.
- The Jets are the quintessential team disappointment. The defense ranks 26th in scoring, and in that sense is a bigger letdown than the offense because the expectations were higher. On the other hand, its job isn't made any easier by an offense that has coughed up 22 turnovers, the sixth-most in the league at this point. It has turned the ball over multiple times in seven games, and is 1-6 when doing so. Football Outsiders rates the Jets defense 13th in DVOA, while the offense ranks 28th.
Three out of 93 teams to start the season 4-7 have made the playoffs: the 1995 Chargers; '96 Jaguars; and '08 Chargers. The first two teams on that list won their final five games; the '08 Chargers slipped to 4-8 before winning their final four.
But this isn't about those teams. Rex Ryan has said himself, the Jets can't focus on anything but themselves, and getting better. Nothing less than a clean sweep will do, and the Jets luckily have the cream puff part of their schedule directly in front of them.
How many wins will the Jets finish with in 2012?
The Jets last-gasp bid for the playoffs begins on Sunday against the Cardinals, who are riding a seven-game losing streak into MetLife Stadium after starting the season as a surprise undefeated team at 4-0.
One train wreck meets another. The excitement is unbearable.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained via team press releases.
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