29 September 2005

Let the lost season begin!

Y'know, I'm not so bummed about the Pennington/Feidler injury situation. In fact, I'm now looking forward to the season far more than I was before it started. Hear (read) me out: even before Chad went down, even before we all saw how bad his shoulder looked1, the Jets looked like an 8-8 team. Shaky o-line, aging RB, average receivers on a good day, vulnerable secondary even after the Law signing, and a QB who's just starting to pass from promising to disappointing in his career arc. That leaves the defensive front seven as the strength of the team, and even they lost their best interior lineman (Furgeson). I liked the Feidler (Fiedler? I can't be bothered to check) signing a lot: here was an experienced starter to back up a guy who's never started 16 games in a season, a guy who wasn't going to win games on his own but wouldn't lose 'em either, a guy who could go, say, 2-2 if Chad was out for a month (likely).

So now Chad's out for the season, Feidler's out indefinitely, Brooks Bollinger's the starter, and Vinny Testaverde is the back-up. Welcome home, Vin. We missed you. Sort of. And to this I say: bring it.

See, before we were looking at one of those excruciating seasons where the team's always in the game but find a way to blow it about 50% of the time. At the end of the season you find yourself saying, "If they'd just hit that field goal in the fourth quarter at Miami last November...", contemplating a few of the wins that just barely got away, knowing that just one of them would have put the team in the playoffs, where they could have done... what? Laid an egg on the road against whichever division winner out of the big 3 (Indy, Pitt, New England) blows a game and loses out on the bye week. So? This was going to be one of those teams that teases you with just enough hope to make you stand up and cheer, only to turn around and kick you in the nuts. And at the end of the day you wind up out of the playoffs with a mid-round draft pick to boot. No thanks.

Patriots fans can certainly remember a few of these 7-9 spiritual root canals from the Pete Carroll era. How many times did they trail by two, drive down the field at the end of the game, look ready to cap it off with a heroic last second field goal? How many times did Beldsoe take a 13-yard sack and put them out of range?

But now? Welcome to the land of zero expectations, where every win is a joyous surprise and the losses hurt like mosquito bites. Look at your hands. If you're like me, you've suffered no serious physical mutilation in your lifetime, and thus are left with more fingers than Brooks Bollinger has career NFL passes. There may be a bit of a breaking-in period over the next month or so; time to lay the points and let it ride.

This is gonna be one of those seasons where you never know when somebody's gonna step up and have a career day out of nowhere. Just wait. One of these Sunday's Lav Coles is just gonna explode. They'll be trailing in the second half (as usual), and suddenly he'll turn unstoppable. Boley2 will be throwin' it with his eyes closed and Coles will keep finding a way to come down with it. I'm talking like 14 catches, 180 yards, two TDs. And a few years from now, when Coles is just a mediocre number one wideout who really oughta be a number two but let's face it, he's the best they've (the Jets or some other team) got right now, people will still turn to each other once in a while and say, "Remember the Coles game, dude? The fuckin' Coles game? What the hell happened to that guy?"

This may be either before or after the game where Martin twists his ankle sometime in the first quarter and Blaylock suddenly rips off 220 and three TDs, essentially winning the game single-handedly and breaking the 200 mark for the only time in his career. Or how about the game where someone on the defense, I don't know (or care) if it's Ellis, Abraham or Vilma, just goes nuts, and wreaks so much havoc in the backfield the poor QB can barely figure out which way the end zone is? (You may begin praying now, Mr. Losman.) Trust me, these games will happen, and they'll be that much sweeter in the context of a lost season like this one.

Of course that's it, probably. They'll win those three and get stomped the rest of the year. Your green jersey awaits, Reggie Bush. Or whoever. But forget about the future for now, it's spoiler time. Pass the cooler.

  1. And let's face it, this team was going nowhere with his arm in that kind of shape. He never could throw much of a deep ball, but now he'd reached the point where he could barely chuck it 20 yards with any semblance of "zip", let alone throw a simple out pattern. That leaves an offense composed of screens, slants and Curtis Martin. Good for a scoring drive or two per game, but any defensive coordinator worth his salt shuts that down before halftime.
  2. He needs a nickname, obviously. I'm nominating "Boley". Seconds?

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