The Jets Will Only Fly If Their Offensive Line and Running Backs Perform

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer IOctober 13, 2009

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 13: Running back Thomas Jones #20 of the New York Jets celebrates with quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 and center Nick Mangold #74 after scoring on a 38 yard run in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins physically out-muscled the New York Jets and earned a 31-27 victory Monday night at Land Shark Stadium in Florida.

“First off, it was a complete embarrassment by our defense and by me,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan to the New York Daily News. “Obviously, we need to prepare better. I didn’t have the defense prepared the way they should have been, and I take full responsibility for that.”

Ryan, whose hyped defense surrendered a total of 151 yards rushing and allowed Miami to score three touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, was not finished expressing his utter disgust.

“I’ve been involved in some bad defensive performances, but I’ve never been involved in one as bad as this.”

The Jets (3-2) once top-ranked defense was porous on an evening when their offense showed signs of growth and maturation.

“The offense was fantastic,” Ryan said. “Every time they put it back on our (defense’s) shoulders we didn’t come through. I’m at a loss for words.”

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (12-24, 172 yards) had a solid performance and he was able to develop an instant rapport with newly acquired wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

“I felt comfortable,” said Sanchez, 22, who connected with Edwards five times for 64 yards and a touchdown. “I wanted to be smart with the football and I think I did that. After having three picks last week, I didn’t have any tonight.”

Edwards, 26, the third overall selection by the Cleveland Browns in the 2005 NFL Draft, is by most accounts a living hemorrhoid.

However, the former University of Michigan star and 2007 Pro Bowler has tremendous talent and he could prove to be an extraordinary weapon for Gang Green.

“I never saw anybody catch the ball like that,” Sanchez gushed about Edwards.

Edwards has an opportunity to become as valuable to the Jets as Randy Moss is to the New England Patriots.

On the flipside, the native of the gorgeous city of Detroit could fracture the Jets franchise in a manner similar to how Terrell Owens ruptured the Philadelphia Eagles’ and the Dallas Cowboys’ organizations.

“It was a proving-it game for me,” said Edwards, the winner of the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2004. “I wanted to prove that I’m a team guy and I’m the guy they thought I was.”

There is no dispute that the Jets defense "molested the pooch" last night.

Nevertheless, the Jets have a very good defensive nucleus and they faltered against the Dolphins gimmicky “Wildcat” offense that has tortured much of the league for more than a year now.

More often than not, the Jets defense will flourish on the gridiron.

If the Jets can continue to evolve on the offensive side of the football, they will be an extremely difficult team to defeat.

“We will be a dangerous offense,” predicted Edwards.

Ultimately, the Jets season will be determined by the play of their underachieving offensive line and struggling running back tandem of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.

If the Jets line and featured backs perform to the peak of their capabilities, they will absolutely fly henceforth.

If those components continue to under perform, the Jets will crash into the swamps of Jersey.


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