Five Issues That Will Not Be Seen On the 2009 New York Jets
Here is a list of five items that were a part of the 2008 New York Jets football season that I believe will not be a story in 2009.
Two will be personnel related, one is scheme related and final two deal mainly with the New York media.
The Jets have two major changes in 2009: quarterback and head coach. Both Brett Favre and Eric Mangini left the Jets with issues that may or may not carry over to the new regime of Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan.
History may not repeat itself, but if it looks similar to the 2008 Jets, that would be a surprise.
1. Brett Favre’s Gun Slinging Interceptions
When Brett Favre arrived in New York in 2008, it brought attention to the Jets that had not been seen in some time. Most of that attention came from the media.
Favre was good with the Jets for the first eleven games leading the Jets to an 8-3 record and first place in the AFC East. The last five weeks would spell disaster, as the Jets went 1-4 to finish the season and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Favre did not have a 300-yard game. His numbers were pretty pedestrian. His quarterback rating was 81 and he threw 22 touchdowns with 22 interceptions.
Favre only threw four touchdowns in his last six games. The ten interceptions he threw seemed to be forced, as if he were a rookie.
It will be an interesting argument on how Favre will be remembered for his one-year stint in the Meadowlands.
This is not to say that Mark Sanchez will throw fewer interceptions in his rookie season at quarterback. He may throw even more.
But, you will not be saying that these plays are coming from a future Hall-of-Famer. It will just be rookie mistakes. While turnovers are painful by any player, at least fans can say that he is learning and not getting older ungracefully.
The sideshow that is Brett Favre ended for New York Jet fans in 2008.
2. The Amount of Cushion Given by the Jet Defense
A signature of Jet defenses in the past was when the team would get a lead in the game, the defense would only rush four men and leave the middle of the field open by about 10 or 20 yards.
The past head coach of the Jets, Eric Mangini, was famous for this.
You have to believe that a defense led by the schemes of Rex Ryan is not going to allow teams to have so much space over the middle of the field without getting pressure on the quarterback.
This style of prevent defense may return, but fans hope that it will look different under Ryan. If it does not, there is only one thing to say: same old Jets.
3. The Hustle of Laveranues Coles
On March 4, Laveranues Coles signed a 4-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
While Coles is not in the top ten of NFL receivers, he is one of the league’s most consistent at his position. He has only missed six games in eight seasons. In those eight seasons, he never had a season where he averaged less than ten yards per catch.
Watching Coles run down the field to help on a block—either on a pass play or a long run—was a thing of beauty. His hustle is one of those things that only people who truly know the game can appreciate.
Those highlights do not make ESPN, but they make every coach’s video reel on how to teach their players on the importance of the little things at the wide receiver position.
Jet fans say goodbye to Coles for the second time. Coles left the Jets in 2003 and signed with the Washington Redskins. He played only two seasons in D.C. before getting traded back to the Jets before the 2005 season.
The Jets have not replaced him with a veteran receiver. It appears that they will try either David Clowney or Chansi Stuckey to replace Coles.
I will not miss spelling Laveranues on my computer, but one thing is sure: the LC will be missed.
4. The Border War Will Be A Little Bit Kinder and Gentler
Since the 1997 season when Bill Parcells left the New England Patriots to become the head coach of the New York Jets, “The Border War” between the two teams became fierce. Players went up and down I-95 just like commuters do every day.
This got heated when Eric Mangini left the Patriots to become the Jets head coach in 2006. The handshake between Mangini and Bill Belichick became as scrutinized as any play in the game.
I highly doubt that players like Hank Poteat or Ty Law will make their way to Gang Green in 2009.
I see that any player that goes from the Jets to the Patriots and vice versa will be done out of need more than to get back at the other guy.
Maybe Belichick and Rex Ryan will have a normal handshake and possibly share a good-natured moment of conversation.
Rex’s twin brother, Rob, was a linebacker coach under Belichick from 2000 to 2003.
As long as Belichick is still the head coac of the Pats and not the Jets, the media will still love to report on "The Border War." But, with Mangini gone, it moves down a rung.
This does not mean it still cannot make a comeback.
5. The End of the Monotone Press Conferences
Eric Mangini came to the Jets from the Bill Belichick school of exciting press conferences.
What is the difference between Mangini and Belichick? Belichick has a better sense of humor.
Jet fans expect to see a little bit of passion from their coach, but Mangini just did not seem to have it, especially in 2008. Mangini could not control Favre and that lack of control cost him his job.
Rex Ryan came out with guns blazing in his opening press conferences. Ryan talked about the Jets being the most physical and aggressive team. He was not afraid to speak his mind. He will learn quickly in New York that if you talk a big game, you better hope your team backs it up. There is another coach in this city who is famous for saying, "Talk is cheap. Play the game."
That coach is Tom Coughlin of the Giants. Coughlin was almost chased out of New York for being too much like a dictator. That same season he coached the Giants to the Super Bowl.
Ryan’s press conferences have a good chance of being more entertaining. Ryan does have a ways to go in this department. Former Jets’ head coaches Bill Parcells and Herman Edwards laid the groundwork.
It will not mean that the information Rex Ryan provides for the media will be informative.
You have a better chance of getting the combination to the vault at the Federal Reserve than you do getting injury information on players on some teams.