Sunday, November 22, 2015

N.Y. Jets: Texans Will Test Gang Green's Flee or Fight Response

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAELS' REVENGE

Is Woody Johnson to blame 
for handing off the same problem to different regimes?

New York Jets: Like Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, and Rex Ryan before him, Todd Bowles approaches the Rubicon lacking a field general.

The Jets had an opportunity to greatly impact the Wild Card standings last week, and instead played their worst game of the season against Buffalo.

Or, maybe they played their worst game of the season three weeks ago in Oakland?

In either event, this is not the conversation Jets fans wanted to be having leading into Week Eleven - certainly not analyzing one Green-faced performance over another..., again.

There's indeed a familiar odor to this.  I mean, talk about passing gas in a space suit - there's no escaping the fact they completely stunk during two of their last three missions.

Now recall how Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, and Rex Ryan, all previously found themselves in this very situation?  Then consider how Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots have dominated the AFC East throughout the entire span of all three aforementioned Jets coaches.  It makes me think how little has changed over the last 15 years.

Enter Todd Bowles.

I remember when he played for Joe Gibbs.  Bowles was about quality of play and professionalism even then.  That's all Gibbs dealt in.  Under Gibbs, Bowles gained the experience of becoming a Super Bowl champion.  He brings at least that much to the table.

But, what is Todd Bowles really bringing to the Jets that will affect tangible change?

It's still too early in his timeline to say.  During the week, however, we learned his sense of urgency is greater than that of the general manager.

Coach Bowles also knows the NFL does not stand for the National Forgiving League.  Parity inevitably rules the day.  League wide mediocrity giveth, and taketh away.  Yet, despite disappointing losses against Oakland and Buffalo, he recognizes opportunity is kindly staring him in the face once again.

The situation couldn't be any more friendlier.  Texans' starting QB Brian Hoyer will miss the game, with T.J. Yates starting in his place - whom will be playing behind a pedestrian offensive line to begin with, just ask Hoyer.  So, as a defensive minded coach, the hope is Coach Bowles dials up the necessary intensity, takes the home crowd out of the game, and gets out of Houston with a sure handed victory.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is returning from surgery on his non-throwing thumb, which makes me think a heavy dose of Chris Ivory is in order.  And why not?  The Texans are among the league's worst against the run.  The only real question lies in Chris Ivory's enigmatic injury (hamstring) status.

All eyes, then, will be on the offensive line - namely Eric Mangold (presently listed as questionable). They'll have two main functions: creating daylight for Chris Ivory, and keeping J.J. Watt away from Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Easier said than done, as the Texans are feeling sky-high after toppling the previously undefeated Bengals.  Therein lies your built-in excuse in the event of a Jets loss.

And, there's the rub.

Distinguishing himself from previous Jets coaches was already going to be a daunting task in and of itself.  That's why any meaningful advancement must start with Todd Bowles owning Week Eleven, and his Jets seizing this moment - for the sake of change, progression, and advancement.

The Jets can still exert a firm measure of control over the second Wild Card with a victory over the Houston Texans (Pittsburgh presently tops the Wild Card standings).  Only then can they hope New England defeats Buffalo Monday night, and pushes the Bills back with rest of the AFC pretenders.

In that respect, no, some things have not changed.  Although general managers and head coaches have changed over the last 15 years, the Jets are still chasing down the Patriots without a franchise quarterback.

Todd Bowles indeed faces a daunting task, and has Woody Johnson to thank.

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