10 Things New York Jets Must Fix During Their Bye
The New York Jets went into their bye week on a high note. Coming off a 27-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers, the Jets built their record to 4-3. Their record, while respectable, is disappointing for most Jets fans.
New York's play has been terrible at times, while having its moments in others. In the Chargers game, the Jets were able to show flashes of what this team can be offensively and defensively.
There is plenty of room for improvement.
Here are 10 things the Jets must fix during their bye:
Their Running Game
At least the Jets started to fix their running game during the two games before the bye. It still needs work though.
New York must commit to the run and make it their No. 1 option on offense. As of right now, the Jets are averaging only 92 yards per game, which ranks them a terrible 28th in the league.
There was really no reason to abandon the ground-and-pound style that proved to be successful in the first place. Now that Rex Ryan realized he made a mistake with the offensive transition, he is ready to put Shonn Greene to work.
Greene finally broke the 100-yard mark for a game in Week 7. With a renewed commitment to the run, there should be many more 100-yard rushing games for him throughout the rest of the season.
Plaxico Burress Equals Red-Zone Target
The kind of play that Burress showed was the kind of play the Jets and the fans thought they were going to get when Plaxico was signed in the offseason.
It's puzzling to think why it took so long before the Jets figured out how to use Burress.
Plaxico is a 6'5" receiver—all Sanchez has to do is throw it high.
The Jets must fix their game plan in order to utilize Burress' red-zone strengths.
Get Santonio Holmes Involved
Santonio Holmes has been the forgotten man in the Jets offense. Holmes has been targeted only 40 times this season—that's less targets than Burress and Keller.
He only has 22 receptions on the year and is averaging just over two catches a game in the last five games.
Even though the main focus should be on the running game, there must be a way to get Holmes more involved—he has to get more than two receptions per game.
Where's Dustin Keller?
It's hard to believe that Dustin Keller has been Mark Sanchez's favorite option this season, because it sure doesn't seem like it.
Keller has been inconsistent this season. One week, you get the good Keller, like we saw against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 when he had six catches for 101 yards and a TD, and another week you get bad Keller, like we saw in Week 5 against the New England Patriots when he had one catch for seven yards.
Keller has to become more consistent, and he must step his game up. In most games, because of his size and speed, he should be a mismatch that the Jets can exploit.
Mark Sanchez's Turnovers
Mark Sanchez has six interceptions and three fumbles on the season. Some of his mistakes might of had something to do with Nick Mangold's absence and the makeshift offensive line he had to deal with for a few games.
Now that the offensive line is healthier and returning to form, Sanchez will only have himself to blame for staying too long in the pocket, his errant passes and poor decisions.
Sanchez does not need to take chances, he can't force the ball. If the receiver is open, he should throw it to them—if not, don't.
What happened to the Jets' run defense? Last season it was good enough to rank third overall in the league. This season? Bad enough to rank 25th.
New York has been allowing 127 rushing yards per game.
They let Darren McFadden run for 171 yards and two TDs, and they let BenJarvus Green-Ellis gain 136 yards and two TDs. This must come to and end.
The Jets have the personnel to stop the run, they just need to execute better.
Antonio Cromartie's Play
Antonio Cromartie's play has been bad this season. If he's not getting burned, he is getting called for pass interference.
His play has been masked by his three interceptions and the following returns.
If Cromartie does not improve his coverage skills, the Jets should seriously consider demoting him and starting up-and-coming second-year CB Kyle Wilson.
Wilson has shown flashes of late, like his interception against the Chargers.
While Darrelle Revis is definitely the answer on one side, Wilson might be the fix on the opposite one.
I believe the Jets linebackers are really the culprits behind the horrible run defense.
When the opposing team's running back gets through the defensive line, it's the linebackers' job to stop him. Bart Scott and the rest of the linebackers seemed to have forgotten this.
The injury to Bryan Thomas was costly, but David Harris, Scott, Jamaal Westerman and Calvin Pace are capable of stopping the run.
Maybe they can fix this problem by watching more game film or through better communication.
Brian Schottenheimer's Play-Calling
Brian Schottenheimer is frustrating. He's been given the weapons to succeed, but rarely uses them.
I don't know if he's being handcuffed by Rex Ryan and the return of the focus on the run game, but he should be able to find a balance between the pass and run.
He must get Keller and Holmes more involved, while he uses Burress correctly.
The blueprint should be similar to the Jets/Chargers game, except just a little more Santonio Holmes.
Rex Ryan's Mouth
Rex Ryan's time for talking should be over. It might even be best if he puts a gag order on himself for the rest of the season.
He's starting to become a distraction. Ryan should talk when he wins and not before—it's better this way.
Amazingly, the Jets are still in contention to win the AFC East—if they are able to fix all 10 of these things during their bye and throughout the course of the season, they might find themselves deep in the playoffs again.