Sorry Rex, But It Isn't Happening

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst IJanuary 9, 2010

Jets head coach Rex Ryan proclaimed his team as a Super Bowl favorite a couple of days ago when assessing how his football team would fare in the playoffs.

This is the same guy who thought his team had no shot of making the playoffs after a frustrating home loss to the Falcons. He said nothing for the last couple of weeks of the regular season.

It took the playoffs for the bombastic head coach to finally get back to do what he does best.

Joe Namath begged to differ with Ryan on how this team would do.

Ryan is not wrong for believing in his team, which has the talent to make a January run with a great defense and a great running game. But January football features quarterbacks that need to make the big plays that win games in the postseason.

This is why the Jets are not going to do much in the playoffs. Mark Sanchez is not ready to play on this stage just yet.

It's hard to think Sanchez will do much tomorrow unless he surprises everybody. Palmer can be trusted to put up at least one or two touchdowns, and a bounce back performance by the Bengals quarterback is why Cincinnati will defeat the Jets in the wild-card game. So this is going to be short-lived for Rex's bunch.

It should be a close game, with great defense and an efficient running game. Look for both teams to score points to the point the game will come down to the fourth quarter. In fact, it might just come down to the final possession of the game

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But does anyone think Sanchez has what it takes to lead in that stretch? Can he engineer a long drive that can give the Jets a chance to finish and win the game?

He's shown so far that he can't. For example, against the Falcons, when the Jets had a shot to win the game, he threw an interception to dash all hope.

To be fair to him, though, he gave the Jets a chance to win by scoring a late touchdown against the Jaguars. The Jets led with two minutes to go, but the defense failed to finish as Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a touchdown.

It's possible he might do the same, but what evidence is out there that he can. He showed no progress late in the season and struggled to understand what Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Jets quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh was teaching.

It was so bad that Ryan got involved in trying to help his beleaguered quarterback by bringing in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to help him how to slide not to mention showing those color-coded plays to help him.

Sanchez never had to do much in the final two weeks since he was told to give the ball to Thomas Jones. Now, he has to utilize the running game if the Jets are going to win a game in January.

Ryan believes the Jets can get by with a quarterback who does not have to do much. Afterall, as a member of the Ravens coaching staff in 2000 he witnessed Baltimore win a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer of all quarterbacks.

That said, that was a fluke. It's hard to go far without a great play by the quarterback. It's something Ryan should remember when he watched Joe Flacco struggled in the AFC Championship game last year.

No one expect Sanchez to go throw 25 times here; he doesn't have to air it out for the Jets to win. He needs to execute on third down at every opportunity and put his team in a position to get points.

A touchdown would be nice, but field goals would be good enough here.

Maybe Sanchez proves everyone wrong. That's the beauty of sports. We always expect the unexpected in postseason games where great moments formed.

Unfortunately, don't expect it.

That's why it was not wise of Rex to open his mouth unless he is really sure.

It'll be up to his quarterback to make him look like a prophet not a fool.

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