Sadly Hard Knocks with the New York Jets is over. No more will we get an inside look at what has to be the most entertaining NFL franchise east of Oakland.
If there was a way to keep the series going through the season I think we'd have a mega-hit on our hands. Especially if things go the way I think they're going to go, which is down. We had laughter, cussing, big hits and more laughter and cussing.
Before the series we all knew the Jets talked a big game, but after seeing the inner workings of the team it's clear that there are a lot of major question marks, any number of which could mean disaster this season. Nowhere is this more true than with a suspect offense and a frightening lack of depth in key areas.
Our episode five and series wrap-up after the jump...
First, a word about the Patriots. I know over the course of this series I've busted the Jets chops a bit for seeming like they were always loosey goosey and just messing around. Look, I get that it's a TV show. In real life I actually work in television, so I understand that nobody is going to tune in for an hour of meetings about hard core x's and o's.
However I cannot help but see the extreme differences between the franchise I love and the Jets. This is because the Patriots, from Belichick on down to the 53rd player, are a collection of uber-competitive, serious football players. I'm not saying there are no loose moments with the Patriots, but I promise you it's nowhere near the atmosphere that Rex Ryan has created.
Yes, the Patriots offensive lineman once pulled the same trick of packing popcorn in Tom Brady's car that the defensive coaches pulled on Mark Sanchez. But no one is calling Tom Brady a "fruit cake" like Mark Brunell said of The Sancheese.
As Brady pointed out in his weekly radio appearance the Jets and Patriots are diametrical opposites in everything they do. Which way is better? We'll see two weeks from Sunday.
The final episode of Hard Knocks was fairly anti-climactic. Mostly it centered on the bubble players trying to make the roster. Other than Danny Woodhead none of them made it.
What we do know about the Jets is that they won't really have a legit fourth wide receiver until Santonio Holmes comes back (good news for Jonthan Wilhite). And the depth at running back behind LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene is thin.
Even the most ardent Jets supporter would have to agree that this Jets team can ill afford a serious injury at a number of positions. So they're either going to have to be extremely lucky with their health or suddenly have their scrubs elevate to another level if they're thrust into action.
The most interesting point of the episode from a Patriots perspective was when Mike Tannenbaum stated that the Revis camp thought the Jets would cave to their contract demands after week two. Meaning Revis and his reps felt pretty sure the Pats would spank them without his Moss-covering services. I think they'll spank them even with those services.
One player we did get to know a little better is LaDainian Tomlinson. Nothing summed him up better than in this episode when Rex tried to joke with him that if he needed any football pointers from Rex's son, he'd be happy to show him. LT2 replied with nothing but a blank stare.
Tomlinson was a great player at one time for the Chargers, maybe he'll have a good year, but I wouldn't bank on it. What I do bank on is that he's not a leader, and has the personality of a pylon.
The lack of leaders on the Jets is startling. No matter what anyone says they're going to miss Alan Faneca and Thomas Jones, probably moreso off the field than on it. This will be apparent as soon as this team has a bad loss or even a bad half.
Of course the big news of the episode was the return of Revis. Which seemed a lot more dramatic on the show than I ever thought it would. Big whoop, I assumed he'd be back all along, it was just a week later than I predicted. Hope he's in shape, he'll have his work cut out for him from the first snap.
Without a doubt this has been my favorite season of Hard Knocks, not just because it was an inside profile of the Patriots chief rival, but because they're an entertaining bunch. But I don't need the team I follow to be entertaining, I need them to win games. They can be cold, calculating, and competitive jerkholes. I don't care. I'm not looking to party with them. I invest myself in winning games, not finding a role model, or new practical jokes.
I must admit I was far more worried about the Jets before these five hours of in-depth, unfiltered access. Perhaps the Patriots have similar issues, but no one knows about them, and thus they maintain a competitive advantage.
In closing, I will say that Mike Westhoff is an outstanding coach and has far more influence on the Jets than we'd ever know prior to Hard Knocks. The Jets would be a far more dangerous team if he was running the show.