As Shakespeare once famously penned, "something is rotten in the city of Florham Park" (it's totally true … Google it Bent … I FRIGGIN DARE YOU) but through five weeks it is hard to put a finger on the source of the problem. It might be easy to blame the players who are there … but does this sudden flop have more to do with who isn't there this year compared to 2015?
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Yes, this fanbase went into the season basing much of their hope upon the concept of addition by subtraction. No more Demario Davis getting lost on a wheel route. No more Antonio Cromartie flailing wildly to grab some receiver as they run past him for a 60-yard touchdown. No more wondering whether Chris Ivory was going to wake up and decide to be more like "Least Mode" than "Beast Mode". They removed some of their least reliable parts and yet the infrastructure is falling to pieces.
Did we have the weaknesses of the 2015 team pegged incorrectly this whole time?
You are dead-on. How does losing some of those guys not make them a better team? I think we have a better sense that it comes down to some of the core rotting from the inside out. Cromartie was horrible last season and somehow he was still better that whatever it is we are seeing this year. Am I totally insane to argue that 35-year-old Calvin Pace would be an upgrade on the play the Jets are getting out of their 20-something outside linebackers?
For as good as the defense is up front, opponents have turned that fortification into a true Maginot Line due to the flaws at linebacker and the secondary position. Like it or not, I think if Darrelle Revis can get healthy and remember that he was one of the best defenders in football not that long ago it could make all the difference in the world. If there was a miscalculation it was the expectation would continue to play at the same level as he has in the past.
At the running back position, I really thought Matt Forte was going to be the upgrade this team needed but it's not worked out that way exactly. Maybe Chan Gailey's scheme was more dependent on between-the-tackles running than we realized. Forte and Powell aren't really suited for that and it's shown … especially when paired with a short passing game.
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
Going into the season, it looked like the roster had become more talented. With so many of the mistakes that have cost them games attributable to miscommunication rather than constantly being overmatched, perhaps it's more to do with the way these pieces are meshing together. When you see lapses in focus, effort and conditioning, it makes you wonder if the team lost something intangible with some of these guys that left, even if those players weren't delivering on an individual basis.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson's quiet dependability, Cromartie's approach to maintaining his physical condition and Pace's locker room wisdom could all be attributes missing from this team which have had a larger-reaching effect on chemistry, cohesion and perhaps even effort levels. Even something as simple as having popular guys around that kept the camaraderie at a high level could influence this. Character guys in the locker room such as Damon Harrison, Willie Colon and Leger Douzable are gone and the team is just a collection of players rather than a team.
It seems like it's falling on Brandon Marshall to carry this mantle himself and other players are going to start to tune that out eventually if he's the only one desperately trying to keep everyone on the same page. It also puts a lot on his plate and adds pressure in respect of his own performances.
I think that's right. There are a lot of players who are compensated well for their aptitude and/or production but there are too few leaders. It seems like a team falls into these sorts of cycles and it is hard for young guys - especially young guys who aren't even productive - to assert that mantle.
Once you rattled off that laundry list of players, I see your point. It might be less about talent and more about accountability and a lack of player-leader types. At this point all we can do is hope that those veteran players see the void and fill it quickly.