Monday, September 26, 2005

OK, Time To Worry
By Ben Valentine

The first two weeks of the NFL season I’ve preached patience. Panicking the first month of the season isn’t particularly productive because while the season is short, the first four games don’t end anyone’s season. But there is always one good reason to panic early on.


That’s why naturally, it’s time to worry in Jetland. At 1-2, I’m not pleased, especially since both losses came in conference, but that in itself isn’t the end of the world. The fact that next week Brooks Bollinger could be starting at QB is more of a concern. This depends on the MRI results Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler have in addition to how they practice this week. Since Chad came back yesterday, I have to assume he could probably go if need be. But do the Jets really want to throw him out there with an already weakened arm?

And with that question I’ll reflect on yesterday’s game.

It’s frustrating loss because the Jets should have won. The Justin Miller fumble was unacceptable. Never did I miss Santana Moss more than yesterday. Unfortunately fumbles and turnovers happen. It’s up to the team and coaching staff to adjust the best they can. And for the most part, the Jets did.

My one complaint was over Pennington being in the game. It was obvious he could not throw the ball. I know Bollinger is the 3rd string and he isn’t in Chad’s league, but if he can get the ball 20 yards down the field, then he has to be in there. Everyone in the stadium figured out after Chad’s first two drives back that he couldn’t throw. Why the Jags should they respect the pass? The Jags D was too good to let them stack the box against an injured Curtis Martin. In order to win that game, the Jets needed Brooks Bollinger in at QB. There’s no guarantee they would have pulled it out, but at least it would have made them three dimensional on offense. This by the way is not a second guess; I said it repeatedly in the 4th quarter and OT.

The front seven was solid again this week. Jonathan Vilma was all over the field and played his best game of the season. John Abraham is playing better than I’ve ever seen him play. As I expected coming into this year, the motivation for the new contract looks to be driving him to take his game to new heights. Of course, we’ll see if he’s playing in week 12.

The secondary was more of a mixed bag. I was disappointed by some of the long gains they gave up. Ty Law frustrated me at times, yet Jimmy Smith didn’t make a play until the last play of the game and that was against David Barrett. And Barrett made the defensive play of the game with his strip and recovery of the Reggie Williams fumble.

The problem for the Jets D was that the offense didn’t move the ball, so they were on the field far too much. Considering what’s happening with the offense now, the defense might be in for that problem on a weekly basis.

Like I said, at 1-2, I’m not pleased. But I’m not going to say the season is over, even if Chad and Fielder are out for extended periods of time. This defense is really good and can probably win them some games on their own. Bollinger has had one game in the NFL, last year against the Cardinals, and he played well while he was in. In his other preseason appearances biggest issue has always been pocket presence; he holds on to the ball too long. But that’s the preseason and with the second team O-line. With the starters, it might be different.

Then again the Jets play the Ravens next week. Talk about a defense. Of course, I think I’d rather have Bollinger than Anthony Wright or Kyle Boller. Would anyone really be surprised if the final score was 6-3?


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