23 November 2010
The best backup right tackle in the sport...not!
We were halfway to the Yellow lot before Kevin Bentley was pushed out of bounds. Brian Schottenheimer had left Wayne Hunter, the over-matched back-up, alone to take on Mario Williams. Hunter was beaten badly, again, and Sanchez was hit as he threw. 'Twas a can of corn for the middle linebacker.
What's fifty-eight minutes and eight seconds plus 16 years? It's enough for a November Sunday, is what it is. Still numb as we turned on the car radio, Brad Smith brought the ball out to near the 30-yard line. Tomlinson.. Tomlinson... still nothing. Spike it. Edwards... gasp! Hoooolmes... gaaaaah! Gulp.
It all happened too fast. The game was won with 14:51 to go in the fourth. It was over. (And you know it takes a preponderance of evidence to get us thinking that way.) Then it fell apart. Like that. And it was over again, but with a different result. And then, one more time, as we swung right on Route 3, toward the Lincoln Tunnel, it was over one last time. This time the clock was in accord.
In a way, the comeback in Detroit had been more traditionally exciting. There was time to be depressed. There was a build-up, of points and pressure, and then a release. Sunday, against Houston, was like really bad plane turbulence. It was over and you were OK before anyone could truly account for the moment.
(That's right, asshole, we left early. This team takes a chunk out of my spleen every weekend. I'll leave when I damn well please.) (Editor's Note: I, Buddy Crutchfield, stayed the entire 60 minutes! Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!...I say.)
As you might recall: Rex Ryan has a peculiar hitch in his speech, a sort of verbal trope the listener might only notice after a year or so of press conferences. It goes like this: When you would say, "I didn't know," Rex says, "I never knew." When you'd say, "I did not anticipate that happening," Rex would say, "I never anticipated that happening." Basically, the guy always says "never!" He never says "not!"
Here are five things I never knew about the 2010 New York Jets:
1) They have "the best backup tackle in the league."
I wasn't aware of this until Rex launched into his typical mid-week hyperbole. In fact, I still don’t know this as it is patently false. The HC can tell us what he wants about the alleged descent of Vernon Gholston’s scrotum and we’ll just have to take him at his word (at least until the day before roster bonuses are due next spring), but when it comes to the offensive tackle position, it’s Rex versus your lyin’ eyes. Hunter was an absolute disaster on Sunday. The line, previously rolling help left on passing plays to cover for Matt Slauson’s shortcomings, could not block with three men. Better the unblocked Texan come from the right, I suppose, and so Mario Williams and Co. did their stunting from the left. On that last play (that I saw live) Hunter managed about a half-Mississippi before being trampled like a drunk Spaniard during the Sanfermines.
That said, even with the mostly-good news about Woody’s knee (MCL sprain, no worse), we should see Hunter starting on Thursday night. Gulp.
2) The days of Ground and Pound are officially over.
It is precisely what so many of us feared when Tomlinson signed in the spring. He was always going to do well on third and long, in the passing game, and in pass-blocking, but would his alpha personality intimidate the coaches; could they deny him the ball on first and second down? The short answer is no. They fell in love with open-field LT and now they’re trying to force the issue inside—the closed-field, if you will—on first and second down. The result, a paltry and predictable (remember that playoff game last season?) 8 yards from five first down carries on Sunday. On one third down attempt, he was stuffed at the line. When you consider that the defining moment of last season came on fourth-and-inches at San Diego it’s all the more depressing… Eaten up at the line of scrimmage. At home. By the Texans.
3) Hey, Mister Californiar Cool is improving. He’s pretty good at the end of these games.
He could be better at the start and in the middle. That would be nice. But let’s try to stay positive. (Whaaat, they make it hard!) There are maybe four or five positions in sports that require the kind of physical aptitude and emotional fortitude demanded of the pro quarterback. Very few are able to put it together. Fewer still can keep it together in crunch time. The jury’s still out on Sanchez’s physical ability (and that includes his smarts in deciphering blitzes, zone coverage, etc.), but I think we can now safely say the kid is emotionally able.
There was a very reasonable doubt on that front just a few months ago. But now, having started and finished 28 NFL games, including three on the road in the playoffs, he’s been in just about every situation you can imagine and never folded. It’s not about winning and losing. It’s that he stands tall, never shies away from taking his shot, and always keeps his composure. If Mark Sanchez falls short of our dreams for him, it won’t be because he lacks the temperament.
4) and 5) It’s a short week for the RS crew, too. So here they are: Brian Schottenheimer, big time head coaching prospect. Take him, please. And finally, well, errr, forget it. Gotta beat the traffic. This post is a lost cause... I'm out (and NO, I do not want an LT Fathead!!!)
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