After dropping their past two games and with two more daunting tasks on the immediate horizon, many have written off the New York Jets.
“That’s the outsiders. We’re just fine,” said a defiant Brandon Moore this afternoon when told that many outsiders feel like the wheels are coming off. “We’re going to come to work on Wednesday. Each guy is going to find a way to get better. We’re not concerned with what people outside think. We are the only ones who can fix it and get it turned around. So I can really care less about what people on the outside think.”
When any offense combines to score just nine points in two contests, the quarterback and the offensive coordinator get a lot of heat. And that has been the case in New York the past 24 hours as second-year QB Mark Sanchez followed up a 51.5 completion-percentage, three-interception night in Foxboro with a 38.6 percent, one-INT at New Meadowlands Stadium against the Dolphins on Sunday.
“As far our offensive execution, it was poor,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “I sat in there and watched the game with our offensive staff and so much of it comes down to fundamentals and technique. That’s just the way it is at every position. When all else fails, you go back on your fundamentals and technique. And in Mark’s case, you can’t be accurate with the football if you don’t have proper footwork. It’s hard to throw when you’re not set and ready.”
While Sanchez has struggled mightily of late, his offensive ‘mates said the problems have been collective. He was sacked six times against the Dolphins and the Jets again had a case of the dropsies at some inopportune times.
“It’s not Mark, believe me,” said WR Jerricho Cotchery. “We’re not playing well offensively as a whole, as a group. Every guy on offense has to get better for us to have an opportunity to put points on the board.”
“It’s not just Mark,” added the versatile Brad Smith. “It’s the receivers, the offensive line, the running backs — all of us have to do better at executing and just play the game the way we know how to play it and we’ll be fine. Stop worrying about all the other stuff.”
It is soul-searching time.
“We are looking at ourselves, me looking at myself, other guys looking at themselves and trying to find the answer of ‘What can I do better to help this team be efficient on offense?’ That’s the mood of the team,” said Moore. “We’re going to come in today and on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and try to win on each one of those days and get better.”
The Jets are ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing (143.7 yards per game), but the Dolphins clogged the lanes well as the home club averaged just 2.8 yards on its 31 carries.
“I don’t care if you have Jim Brown back there,” said Ryan. “Jim Brown is not going to run back there if you have a free hitter to the football at the line of scrimmage. Those are things we need to get corrected. We need to give our guys some chances. ‘Ground and Pound,’ I know we can be better, I believe we can get better.”
“Guys have to take it upon themselves to win their 1-on-1 matchup,” said Moore. “It’s as simple as that and not having breakdowns here or there. It takes all five of us, six, seven of us with the fullback and the tight end. That’s the biggest thing we’re going to look to improve.”
There may have been margin for error before, but that’s changed in the past week. The Jets are going to have to be sharp offensively against one of the league’s best defenses in the Steelers or the losing streak will grow to three.
“On offense right now, there is a sense of urgency to get better,” Cotchery said. “We have three games left and you have to make sure you’re getting better in order to give yourself a chance to win a game on a Sunday. That’s where we are right now.”
Sanchez, a 53 percent passer with 16 TDs and 12 INTs through 13 games, is the Jets’ quarterback of the now and the future.
“Mark is our quarterback, he’s my quarterback,” said Ryan. “He’ll always be our starting quarterback. Even if I did yank him for whatever reason, he’s our quarterback and we’re going to go as far as he takes us.”
The news wasn’t great for the Jets on the injury front as RT Damien Woody (knee) was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Steelers and Ryan said he’ll likely have arthroscopic surgery. Wayne Hunter, who replaced Woody in the opening quarter Sunday, will start in his place. And the defense, already thin at safety, will likely miss the services of Eric Smith (head) this weekend as well.
Tags: Brad Smith, Brandon Moore, Jerricho Cotchery, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, PIttsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan
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