The beginning of the Jets 2013 season was filled with all time low expectations – that is an all time low if you weren’t a Jets fan. Rex Ryan, the big mouth of the east, whose antics where just lovable when they were winning, now was looked like as the drunk in a bar who would’t stop making racists jokes and elbowing random people. In their third pre-season game, Rex saw fit to throw in Mark Sanchez into the game late in the second half. The decision was made and many thought it would mark the death of his coaching career but actually probably saved his job. Post season dreams echoed in the middle of the season before crashing down to reality towards the end while still winning their final two games and finishing 8-8. For a team that most expected to flounder hopelessly and be a never ending media punchline, it had a silent and disappointing season.
Believe it or not there where actually a few high spots int he season. The game against New Orleans where the defense was dominant comes to mind, as well as their assurance by their own hand that the Miami Dolphins would’t make it to the playoffs. But, like most teams in the AFC East, beating the top of the food chain is always the best highlight.
In week seven, the jets defeated the New England Patriots 30-27 in overtime to go 4-3 and one game back in the division. This was more than just a victory though, it was how they accomplished it that was impressive. The Jets trailed 21-10 at the half, in the third quarter the found a way to score 17 points and hold Tom Brady without a touchdown pass.
Yes, in the end it was a rare penalty that gave them the win, but Geno Smith played surprisingly well through out the game and gave his team a chance. If nothing else came out of the season, for Jets fans, a season that is split with the Patriots was more than they expected.
After such a momentum building win against the Pats, it almost seemed like the Jets were emotionally spent and jellyfish dressed in Jets jerseys showed up to Paul Brown stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals the very next week.
It was a loss of spectacular note ending in a 49-9 debacle to the Bengals. Geno Smith, who just last week looked as solid as any against the Belichik defense, was completely annihilated by a Bengals defense that returned two interceptions for touchdowns. It was just not a day for the gang green and every Jet fan turned the channel to something less scary like Chainsaw Massacre.
While Geno stole the high profile rookie award in New Jersey, first round selection, Sheldon Richardson was the one that made the biggest impact on the team. The AP Defensive Rookie of the year was very comfortable in the Ryan defense and opposing offenses where very uncomfortable. Richardson plainly manhandled the Saints offensive line in week nine allowing the rest of the defense to get to Drew Brees at will. Add to that the two running touchdowns as a fullback, Sheldon will be making the Jets defense better each and every year.
On the defensive side of the ball the Jets seem to be ok for now, maybe a playmaker in the secondary as they were the second worst team in turnovers. The bulk of the needs lands on the offense though. Geno Smith doesn’t have a lot to work with so focus must be on receivers as their line seems to be okay. If Mike Evans falls to them at the 18th, that would be an amazing pick up.
Way Too Early Prediction
I am fairly optimistic about the Jets going forward. They made a huge move by extending Rex Ryan’s contract based of future hopes of playoff success and it might just pay off. They will most likely end with a 9-7 record and might just slip into a wild card slot, mainly because the rest of the AFC East will be much like 2013.