The New York Jets' season is fading fast. The Jets lost their Week 14 AFC East clash with the Miami Dolphins and now questions are arising as to whether this team will even be able to make the playoffs.
The Jets have lost their second game in a row and their fourth game of the season. Even worse, when the Jets lose, it has been ugly. The Jets have scored just 18 points in those losses.
The downward spiral has gotten worse. Second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez, who had gotten off to a great start to the season, has thrown at least one interception in his last eight games. After starting the season with eight touchdown passes and no interceptions through the first five games this year, Sanchez has thrown just eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions over the last eight games.
The Jets came out flat against the Dolphins after many people expected them to come out fired up coming off an embarrassing 45-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
After every loss, it seems that everyone wants to talk about what went wrong in each game and why the Jets lost that particular game. But the Jets have several problems that no one seems to be talking about—problems that are being exposed game after game.
New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was considered a hot head-coaching candidate last offseason. He chose to stay with the Jets to try to win a Super Bowl ring.
This season, Schottenheimer's game plans have been all over the place. At times this season, the play-calling has been phenomenal, while at other times it has been downright awful.
In each of the Jets losses, Schottenheimer did a terrible job calling the plays. Against the Patriots, it was reasonable to wonder if Schottenheimer even had a game plan.
This week against the Dolphins, Schottenheimer was looking to run the ball, no matter what. It seemed as if the Jets were handing the ball off on every first down, and most second downs too. He did it so often the Dolphins knew it was coming, and they stopped it. It seemed that every single drive the Jets were looking at a 3rd-and-7 or longer.
While it is important to not abandon the run when you are losing, eventually you need to abandon it if it isn't working. With as little as five minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Jets were still running the ball for one- to two-yard gains.
When the Jets did throw the ball, it wasn't pretty. Second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez had an awful game. Everyone likes to talk about how bad Sanchez played in this game or against the Patriots, but why is no one talking about how they were expecting the performances they got.
I wrote off the Jets' chances of winning both Sunday's game and last Monday night's game about two hours before each game. The reason was because I read tweets that described the strong winds that were blowing in the stadiums for each game. As soon as I saw that, I knew the Jets had no chance.
Everyone wants to talk about how bad Sanchez played, but no one seems to want to discuss that Sanchez has a major weakness. He can't play in the wind or when the weather gets bad. Over his career Sanchez is 2-6 in games played in either strong winds, or when it is cold and rainy. Both the wins came at the end of last season against Cincinnati, the losses have come against both good and bad teams.
The Jets need to address this problem as they will never be able to go very far if Sanchez can't play in bad weather. If that means only practicing outdoors from here on out, then that is what they must do.
The most overlooked problem that is facing the 2010 New York Jets is that their offensive line is incredibly overrated. A big deal is constantly made about how the Jets' offensive line helped them lead the league in rushing, and how they are practically the same unit as last season.
But this season is different. The truth is, the run-blocking has been terrible, as the Jets have been unable to run the ball with the dominance they had last season. This was very evident Sunday when the Jets couldn't get anything going against the Dolphins on the ground.
The more important concern is that the offensive line has been awful at protecting Sanchez this season. Even against four-man rushes, it never seems like Sanchez has any time in the pocket.
Sanchez is an elusive quarterback who is great at avoiding sacks and creating more time with his feet. That is the primary reason why the number of times he's been sacked this season is as low as it is, not because the Jets line is doing a good job protecting him. If it weren't for his quick feet, he'd be getting sacked a lot more often.
Every game the Jets' play provides the media with new problems to talk about. Unfortunately, until the Jets fix the problems that no one is talking about but have always been there, they won't be going very far anytime soon.