The unintentional comedy was pretty low on Hard Knocks this week, and left me with a foreign feeling. I actually started to like some of their players and coaches. Eeek!
That doesn't mean I've suddenly been turned around and think the Jets are going to be the Super Bowl contending football team they're making themselves out to be.
My Patriots-skewed recap and thoughts after the jump...
First, I must begin with some words of admiration for Jets Special Teams Coach Mike Westhoff. If we learn nothing else from this season of Hard Knocks let it be that Westhoff is an inspirational coach who pushes his players to be better. The skit from the rookies with a player pretending to be Coach Westhoff while leading around one of his special teams players with a leash was an intentional comedy highlight.
Westhoff's words to his special teams guys about discouragement being the worst thing you can let happen to yourself transcended football. He's a special coach, and I will always have respect for him when I see him on the sidelines during the Patriots - Jets battles.
Another player who has won me over through three episodes is Mark Brunell. We all know Brunell has had an outstanding career and is now in the back-up quarterback mentoring phase. He was only in episode three briefly, but his way of egging on Mark Sanchez to race Antonio Cromartie, and how much of a lead he'd need to win was pretty funny. I like Brunell so much I'm hoping we see him play a lot this year.
Now enough with the Jets love and on to some real dissection of this team.
I think Rex Ryan summed it up best when he said "we don't have enough good football players". Doesn't get much more crystal clear than that, does it?
They lost Ropati Pitoitua to a ruptured achilles in this episode, and with already suspect depth, the Jets can't afford to lose many more players, especially on the defensive line. If they think Vernon Gholston is stopping the run as a 260 pound defensive end I certainly challenge them to try.
One thing that has been proven over and over again to me by the Patriots is that injuries are going to happen, and you must have the depth to overcome them. Remember when we had undrafted rookie Randall Gay covering Terrell Owens in the Super Bowl? You either need solid depth down to your 53rd man, or you need to get incredibly lucky and avoid the injury bug all together.
Based on how the backups have played for the Jets they are on a slippery slope. It probably doesn't help that the coaching staff is continually calling out the 2s and 3s and telling them they suck. Makes you wonder how many of these guys will be playing next year when many of their current starters contracts are up.
No one questions the talent of their defense, but without Darrelle Revis this is a different team. It's almost sad that the one year the Jets really look primed to make a run their best player is missing. Almost. Besides Revis isn't the most vital piece of the puzzle anyways.
That is Mark Sanchez.
We'll glance over Sanchez's poor preseason performance just like the show did. As I've said all along the Jets chances of winning the AFC East rest solely upon Sanchez's development, not Jason Taylor, Ladainian Tomlinson or Antonio Cromartie's resurgence. So far Sanchez has looked like he did last year. Average at best.
The season is fast approaching and with only one episode left will we finaly see Darrelle Revis? If we don't it will certainly look like Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss, and Brandon Marshall will be facing, at best, a rusty Revis. And an 0-2 or even 0-3 start would be tough to overcome even if Revis does return at some point.
Stay tuned, the real answers are just days away.