What I try to do when I write blogs is to think about what fans would think about and then write about those things. For instance, Jets fans would be absolutely thrilled — I said this on my radio show the other night — when asked: What do you think about Tom Brady? And I said, "Every Jets fan out there’s thinking good riddance, that’s what it is." Do you think they feel sorry for him? No. Do you think any player should feel sorry for him? No.
The issue is this: It’s always happened to the Jets. All of this has always happened to the Jets. From Vinny Testaverde’s Achilles’ on down to when I played, back to Joe Namath. You know, it either rained too hard, it snowed too hard, they fumbled the ball, the guy got hurt, we just almost made it.
And now the vision’s there. It’s not that it wouldn’t have been there if Brady was playing. But certainly that now has been made a little clearer. The path to the Super Bowl does go through New England until that changes.
But the winds of change are blowing. They were blowing in the off-season when the Jets redid their offensive line. And then the winds blew a little more when they added to their defense — Pace and Jenkins, to name two of them, were just excellent additions. Forget the deletions because I’m not in here to beat people up, but those two guys alone can help this Jets defense do what it couldn’t do before.
I’ve always said it’s not about making tackles, it’s about making tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage. That’s the difference, that’s what makes a big-play defense. That’s what I think this Jets defense has become. Time will tell how good it’s going to be, but as Jets fans would look at it, they’d say, boy this is a big difference.
That’s because people have historical reference. "Oh, these guys remind me of the Jets defense of the late Seventies, early Eighties." "Oh, yeah, this reminds me of the Sack Exchange." All those kinds of things I think Jets fans are going to start to realize. Or maybe are thinking of right now.
And I don’t blame them because that’s how I think. And I look and say, "Wow, how about the offensive line?" The offensive line that was dreadful last year, and we all know the reasons why. It never got better. It may have cost Pennington his job. It cost a lot of guys their jobs. But the bottom line is Jets fans can say Woody Johnson went out and spent a lot of money improving it.
Now, there is the possibility they could’ve chosen the wrong guys, and time will tell. They could’ve chosen the right guys, and I for one thought Faneca was an excellent choice and Damien Woody was even better. And I mean it in this sense: The line at tackle must be solidified. You can’t run the ball without offensive tackles that seal and cut off. Woody does that as well as anyone.
The Jets offense looks to be in good balance. They’ve got Brett Favre — unquestionably, as far as I’m concerned, the best quarterback to play. I think they’ve got all the pieces. They’ve got wide receivers, they’ve got defense, they have the offensive line, they’ve got the running back. C’mon. The only question left is: Do they have consistency?
And they have a big, big opportunity here to go out and make a statement on Sunday against a very good New England Patriots team without Tom Brady. And as the year wears on and people get injured and you get your weaknesses exposed, the Patriots may not be as good as people think they are.
You know, I’m not an excuse guy. Injuries in the NFL are big. But unless the Jets have something that I don’t foresee in injuries, I look for a big season from them, and I said as much to Jets fans on my SNY show and on ESPN Radio. I said before that the Jets certainly can be an 11-5 team and I’ll maintain it. Jets fans have a lot to look forward to.
Tags: Alan Faneca, Brett Favre, Damien Woody, Greg Buttle, Sack Exchange, Tom Brady, Vinny Testaverde
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