Monday, September 21, 2009
Not My Father's Jets
Sure, it's only been 2 games. And sure, there will be setbacks and frustrations along the way. But right now, on September 21, 2009, I am more excited and optimistic about this franchise than I have ever been in my entire life.
Yes, you read that right. More so than the rising Chad Pennington Jets in 2002 and even more than the dominant 1998 Vinny and the Jets that went to the AFC Championship game. I have never seen this team have such a bright present and future simultaneously the way they do right now.
First, there's the coach. Rex Ryan was my first choice to be the Jets' coach this offseason over the other candidates, but that was only based on his resume. His first press conference made me fall in love with him as a coach. He subscribes to the philosophy that if you act like a champion, you can become one, and that attitude trickles down to the rest of the team. They attack, they know they're good, and they won't apologize for it or pretend they're not. Rex Ryan has lit a fire under this team, the franchise, and the fan base.
Then, there's the defense. I don't watch enough film of other teams to be able to say he's the best, but Darrelle Revis is as good as just about any corner in the league. He just shut down Andre Johnson and Randy Moss in back to back weeks. The pass rush never let up, totally throwing Brady and the Pats off their game. There were a bunch of stats you could have focused on from yesterday's game, but this one is most noteworthy: The Patriots were held without an offensive TD for the first time since December 10, 2006. Wow.
Finally, there's the quarterback. The late justice Potter Stewart famously commented in regard to hard-core pornography, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it." And to the extent that you can make these conclusions 2 games into a quarterback's career, Mark Sanchez has "it." He plays smart, doesn't try to do too much, has a tremendous pocket presence and ability to make plays with his feet, and just appears to have an overall quality to his game that is reminiscent of other big-time quarterbacks. He definitely looks like a keeper.
I still am a Jets fan, so I know there will be setbacks. Teams will study the film and adjust to the Jets defensive schemes and blitzes. Mark Sanchez will look like the rookie he is at times. The Jets will lose games that based on the way they've played so far, they easily "should" win. That will all happen. But for the first time in my life, I am rooting for a football team where it feels like the sky's the limit, that looks like it could be legitimately good and not just for one season. These aren't my father's Jets anymore. They're mine. Let's hope they fare better.