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The Penguins Revenge

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Hey there Elmo! What’d ya do, piss in a fishbowl?

It was December 2008. Final game of the season for the Jets. After an 8-3 start the NY Jets needed a win against Miami and lots of help in order to squeeze into the playoffs. In the pregame coverage cameras followed Brett Farve while giving his offense a pep talk and manage to get microphones close enough in time for everyone at home to hear him tell his teammates that he loves them. It was a cringe worthy performance. Who was Farve kidding? Bullshit never smelled so bad. Four quarters later and Chad Pennington, our former hero, walks triumphantly off the field winning the division title for Miami while tea-bagging Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum in the process. Sweet revenge for Pennington and a proverbial ass ramming for Jets fans. It was like getting jumped while your friend just watches in horror. When its all over you want to kick your friend straight in the balls. Straight and true. So the Jets fire Mangini and life as a Jet fan has gone 180 degrees since, from constant suffering to shits and giggles.

When Eric Mangini was fired I was one of the very few that felt his termination was a bit trigger happy. I felt the team was headed in the right direction and jumping the gun may backfire. After all, Mangini had two winning records in 3 seasons. In hindsight, most can agree that Eric’s firing may have been one of the best decisions ever made by the Jets organization when you examine the chain of events which followed; Rex Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and a trip to the AFC championship with more or less the same player personnel that Mangini had. However, we tend to forget that the bulk of this roster was forged together by Mike Tannenbaum with Mangini’s fingerprints. Mangini said he had a four year plan, but only made it through 3 years. In New York, we expect winners and we expect them delivered as fast as our hookers and Chinese food. Unfair or not, 3 years was the breaking point.

It may have been a result of high expectations and a final record that fell short. It could have been backlash from allowing our former jelly armed golden boy Chad Pennington to be jettisoned, only to come back and fart in the face of Jets fans. However, it seemed to me that it had much more to do with how these players responded to adversity and more adversely, how they responded to their head coach. Eric Mangini lost his players in 2008 and to that end, management saw only a regressive future with him at the helm. Ruling with an iron fist and military discipline is not a way to win the hearts of your players, it’s a way of alienating them and making their job feel like, well, a job. Playing football is not a job, it’s a kids game. And when you lose it’s hard to get people, who hate coming to work, to show up on Sunday.

The past two Sundays the Cleveland Browns showed up. Emphatically. Needless to say, they beat two very good teams. The Browns started the season 1-5. At that point, you find out whether or not a coach has lost his players. To find out what a coach that lost his players looks like just take a gander at Wade Phillips. To the surprise of many, myself included, Mangini hasn’t lost the hearts of his. In fact, he’s got them playing hungry football. His team is believing in him. So it makes me wonder, has he pulled the old Tom Coughlin out of his ass and switched to boxer shorts? Rex preached from the very beginning that if a coach doesn’t stay true to who he is the players will sniff it out. Maybe Mangini has finally come around. Or maybe its Rex’s evil twin pulling strings over there. Do I think the Jets will be the next victim of the Mangini revenge tour? Not a fucking chance. However, I’m biased so I will throw some useless facts at you to support my case.

Peyton Hillis Vs. The Jets Run D

Hillis has been doing his best Larry Csonka impression lately and has made Josh McDaniels look ridiculous for trading a solid back with no running game in Denver. Currently ranked 7th in the AFC in rushing, this goon averages nearly 5 yards per carry(4.8) and has 7 TDs through 8 games. The kid can play, however, he’s had some really bad games to go with the good ones. After taking the majority of snaps starting in week 3, Hillis had his best games against Baltimore, Cincinnati, and New England. In those games he averaged 143 yards with an average of 26 carries per contest. In the other three games he averaged a paltry 46 yards with an average of 13 carries. In only one of the latter 3 games did the Browns come out with a win. His worst game as a starter came against the Falcons. Hillis is a solid player. A throwback of sorts who initiates contact with defenders. Unfortunately, this week he faces a Jets defense that is ranked 4th in the league against the run and has not allowed a 100 yard rusher through half the season. Only two teams rushed for more than 100 yards against the Jets defense(Denver and Buffalo) in large part due to Quarterbacks finding open space on broken pass plays. If Hillis is held to 16 carries or less in this game, Jets win. Easily. Colt McCoy is not lighting up Rexy’s D.

Mark Sanchez Vs. The Browns D

While the Browns defense showed itself as a unit to be reckoned with by beating on two future hall of fame QBs, Mark Sanchez has a surprising advantage this weekend. As you may already know, the Browns defense is coached by none other than Rex’s twin brother Rob Ryan. I have no doubt that Rex has been attending all the offensive meetings this week giving Schotty and Company pointers and breaking down what his evil twin likes to do. This Browns D is very similar to the Jets schematically in that it relies on pressure and confusing fronts to force Quarterbacks to get rid of the ball quicker than they would like. The Browns will try to confuse the protection calls by Sanchez and force him to make mistakes. But here is the problem for the Browns, Sanchez has practiced against this type of defense for almost two years now. There aren’t many looks Sanchez hasn’t seen already. While the Browns put together some impressive wins back to back, they’re still a 3-5 team. The Browns defense is ranked 21st in total yards, 15th against the run, and 25th against the pass. Not exactly numbers that scare an offense. The Browns will no doubt come out the gate fiery and ready to play but I expect the Jets to move the ball and move it with ease.

Cleveland is a good football team and is well coached. They don’t commit many penalties and rely on solid defense, smart offense, and great special teams play. This WILL NOT be a walk in the park for Rex and Co. The Browns thrive on opposing teams mistakes. However, Cleveland will not run the ball effectively against the Jets stout run D. The Browns will have to rely on Colt McCoy to win this game for them. Try not to laugh. Look for this game to be close in the first half with the Jets pulling away to finish. Jets 24 Browns 13

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Written by Rob Rodriguez

November 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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