2013 Team Retrospective: The New York Jets

Going into the 2013 season, the expectations for the Jets were at an all-time low – well, an all-time low if you weren’t a Jets fan, and “same as every other season” if you were. Rex Ryan, whose loud-mouthed antics were loveable when they were winning, now was looked at as the drunk in the bar who won’t stop making racist jokes and elbowing random people who pass him. And in their third preseason game, Rex made a decision to throw Mark Sanchez into the game late in the second half. This decision, which was thought to be a death knell for his head coaching career, actually may have saved his job for one more year. The Jets flirted with postseason dreams in the middle of the season before crashing towards the end and winning their final two games to end the season 8-8. For a team that most expected to flounder hopelessly and be a never-ending media punchline, the team’s silent and solid season was disappointing. To Jets fans, it was…well, at least it wasn’t 4-12, right?

This is the 2013 New York Jets retrospective.

Rex patting invisible Geno Smith on the head for an okay season.

Rex patting invisible Geno Smith on the head for an okay season.

Team Highlight

There were actually a few bright spots in the season. Their defensive domination of the New Orleans Saints comes to mind, as well as their season-ending assurance that Miami wouldn’t make the playoffs. But, like most AFC East teams (except the Bills lol), beating the cream of the crop is always the highlight.

And in Week 7, the Jets defeated the New England Patriots 30-27 in overtime to become 4-3 and one game back of the Pats in the division. More than the victory itself, it was how they did it that was impressive: trailing 21-10 at halftime, the Jets scored 17 points in the third quarter and held Tom Brady without a touchdown pass.

A rare penalty was what gave the team the win in the end, but Geno Smith played surprisingly well all game to give his team that chance. And for most Jets fans, a season split with the Patriots is more than they expected.

Team Lowlight:

The Jets were so emotionally spent from that game that they sent jellyfish dressed in Jets jerseys to Paul Brown stadium to face the Cincinnati Bengals the next week.

Unfortunately for the Jets, jellyfish aren’t good at football.

They lost in spectacular fashion, falling 49-9 to the Bengals. Smith, who had looked solid the week before against Bill Belichick’s defense, was absolutely destroyed by the Bengals D, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The Jets could do nothing right that day, and every Jets fan turned the channel to something less scary, like Paranormal Activity 4.

Below is the Win Probability of this game: the second quarter is depressingly bad.

win probability

Team MVP

While Geno Smith was the high-profile rookie that most NFL fans knew going into the season, it was first round pick Sheldon Richardson that made the biggest impact on the team. The AP Defensive Rookie of the Year was comfortable in Rex Ryan’s defense, and opposing offenses were very uncomfortable. He ransacked the middle of the Saints’ offensive line in Week 9, allowing the other members of the line to get to Drew Brees at will.

Combine that with two running touchdowns as a goal line fullback, and you have  a guy who will make the Jets defense better and better every year. Plus his twitter handle is “God for short.” How can you not love this guy?

What was a drunk New York Jets  fan yelling at the TV this season?

I contacted Jets fan and amazing webcomic artist Matt Lubchansky to write what he felt about this year. True to form, he drew about it, and it’s fantastic. Read his stuff here, here, and here (the last two links he does with his hilarious and talented ladyfriend Jaya Saxena)

GENO

Forced Pop Culture Comparison

The 2013 New York Jets were similar to another show that takes place in New York (YES YES THE JETS PLAY IN JERSEY I KNOW THIS JORDAN): How I Met Your Mother. The first six seasons of the show are the two seasons where the Jets made the conference championship: surprisingly good, but not good enough to win any meaningful awards. Seasons seven and eight were the last few seasons where the Jets weren’t that good and their act, which had been charming only a few seasons ago, became stale.

And this season was the most recent season of HIMYM (as the cool kids call it), where it rebounded to become a pleasantly good show again – not as good as it once was, but nothing like the dumpster fire it had been in the two previous seasons. Much of that is probably because the show is ending soon.

I hope the Jets don’t get canceled.

Needs

They seem okay on the defensive side of the ball, although they need a playmaker in the secondary; they were the second worst team in total turnovers. Their biggest needs, though, are on offense. Geno Smith, the Footbawl Blog Shitty Rookie Quarterback Award winner, doesn’t have a lot to work with. Their line is okay, but they need receivers. If Mike Evans is available when they pick at 18, that would be an amazing pickup.

An Entirely Too Early Prediction for 2014

I actually feel pretty optimistic about the Jets going forward. They made an amazing move extending Rex Ryan based on future playoff success, and I think it will pay off. I see them going 9-7 and slipping into the wild card because hey, guess what, the AFC is going to suck again next year!

Tomorrow Ben will be by with the Patriots retrospective.

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