By Lori Chase - Staff Columnist
Published: December 3rd, 2009
JETS OVERVIEW (2009 RANKINGS)
When the Jets began the season with three consecutive victories, some Gang Green fans were ready to anoint rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez the Next Joe Namath and book their Super Bowl trips. Not so fast, on both accounts – they’ve gone 2-6 since then.
OFFENSE (#19 total yardage, #2 rushing, #29 passing, #17 scoring):
The Jets offense suffered a huge loss when all-purpose back Leon Washington broke his leg against the Raiders, putting him out for the season (and perhaps beyond). They do still have Thomas Jones (216 carries – 959 yards, nine touchdowns), though, who merely set a franchise record with 210 rushing yards the last time he faced the Bills defense. Third-round pick Shonn Greene (Iowa) has stepped up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart and is averaging a gaudy 4.7 yards per attempt, but there is no replacement on the roster for the threat Washington posed out of the backfield.
Even though leading receiver Jerricho Cotchery (37 catches – 594 yards, three touchdowns), who missed the first meeting, should play this week, offensive coordinator would be wise to keep handing the ball off instead of putting the game in the hands of his young quarterback. Sanchez started fast – earning Offensive Rookie of the Month honors in September – but has made his share of mistakes since then, already tossing 17 interceptions in his first 11 games.
DEFENSE (#2 total yardage, #13 rushing, #2 passing, #7 scoring):
The Bills may find a little more running room than in the first game against the Jets now that Sione Pouha, not injured All-Pro Kris Jenkins, lines up next to Marques Douglas at tackle. The only other changes on defense from the first meeting are in the secondary, where safety Kerry Rhodes was benched in favor of Eric Smith and Lito Sheppard, Calvin Lowery, and Donald Strickland have all taken turns starting at cornerback opposite Darrelle Revis.
With multiple in-season free agent pickups starting on the offensive line and seemingly a different defensive player going on injured reserve every week, the Bills roster simply doesn’t have the manpower to go on any kind of a serious playoff run under interim coach Perry Fewell.
That said, in two weeks, he’s instilled the attitude adjustment Buffalo fans have been waiting in vain to see during the 57 games of the Dick Jauron Era. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t the only guy in that locker room with a big, um, set. Fewell is putting his players in position to succeed, and there’s every reason to believe they can continue that trend this week.