There are more ways to get to 9-7 than through 4-4. Of course, 4-4 is a preferred way to 3-5, why the Jets told themselves last week that the Dolphins would be the last flight out to contention.
But it is not over. The Jets were 4-6 under Ryan in 2009 and 2-5 under Herm Edwards in 2002 and won playoff games both seasons against what might have been a deeper AFC field that this one.
So not only is the coach not fat any more, he wasn’t singing the blues before everybody took a deep and needed bye-week breath.
“We really have to take a hard look at what we’re asking our players to do, and not just offensively but in all phases,” Ryan said. “Is there something we can do that we’re missing?
“I think we have enough talent.”
We aren’t the only one with doubts about that, but we’ll soon find out. With rare exceptions, it’s always all about the talent, even if the coaches in the end get blamed. The next eight weeks are about Ryan taking a hard look at his players, too, determining which ones can take the franchise forward.
If the Jets win six out of seven against Seattle, St. Louis, Arizona, Jacksonville, Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo — which hardly sounds impossible — could they still be as dangerous in January as Ryan’s teams in 2009 and 2010? More dangerous would be the assumption that the Jets can plug back in
There was one major fluke element to the Dolphins’ 30-9 domination on Sunday: uncharacteristic poor play by Mike Westhoff’s special teams. Against the Texans, Patriots and Colts, the Jets had been showing signs of being Rex Ryan’s Jets again, but, that said, they haven’t beaten any of the four acknowledged heavyweights they've faced — New England, Houston, San Francisco and Pittsburgh.
So in light off the losses to injury of the best player from each of their offensive and defensive units, who really has stepped up?
Midway, the drawing board seems increasingly calling for work in pencil, not ink.
On Monday, Ryan promised to look into using more Tebow and also suggested that
That includes quarterback, where
Sanchez’s inconsistency is maddening and the Jets can’t live with it indefinitely. But it would be insanity to go to Tebow now in a desperate attempt to get a spark and a couple of wins, when the entire NFL knows he doesn’t throw the ball well enough to be a No. 1 guy on a contending team.
What remains is to identify the guys who can be good players on contending teams. And if they don’t reveal themselves, a second half of discovery will leave the Jets in position to draft a new quarterback, and these eight games will have served that purpose regardless.