The majority of the questions from today’s conference calls, with Jets players and Rex Ryan, focused on the missed meeting, very few focused on the issues that really matter.
Instead of focusing on the piss-poor play of the offensive line, the Chris Johnson fumble, the coverage issues in the secondary, third down conversions and the phenomenal throws by Philip Rivers we got all we would ever need to know about a movie outing gone bad (except what movie Smith and company were trying to see).
“I think it was a complete loss on all of us. You watch it and on the offensive side, we don’t give enough protection, we don’t open the holes wide enough, we don’t have the routes, we don’t have strong runs, which we’ve been having.” Nick Mangold said, “All that plays a factor here. When you can’t run the ball, when you can’t protect, it’s going to be a rough day for everyone.”
Of course the starting quarterback should never miss a team meeting, but he wasn’t the only player to miss it, it has never happened before and most importantly it wasn’t the last meeting before the game. The Jets still had two more scheduled meetings after the one Smith missed and Smith was in attendance for both of those.
The mix up came because when the Jets (like most, if not all, teams) travel to the west coast they stay on an east coast schedule. This helps players stay in a routine and avoid any issues with disruptions to their body clock. So, yes Smith’s phone obviously updated to west coast time by the time they landed but when he was reading the schedule he forgot that they were working off of a different schedule.
“I had a mix-up in the time. I felt really bad about it. I ended up apologizing and really just wanted to catch up on things so I got back, got with Coach (Quarterbacks Coach David) Lee and watched film.” Smith said. “We went over everything that we had been going over throughout the week. So, I just felt really bad. Kind of felt like I let a lot of people down. That’s definitely not in my character to not be on time for a meeting. So, I was just very apologetic.”
Smith said about 30 minutes into the movie he realized he might have made a mistake and rushed back to the meeting room. He immediately apologized, accepted responsibility and stayed late with quarterback coach David Lee to make up for missing the meeting.
We can continue to focus on this one missed meeting, but doing so would be a disservice to the many other problems that are currently plaguing this team. To focus so much attention on this one missed meeting is silly, not because it wasn’t a mistake that shouldn’t be made, but because it’s way down the list on things that actually matter.
Smith missing a meeting didn’t cause his inaccuracy or his happy feet, it didn’t cause the breakdowns in pass protection or the inability to run (or at least not fumble) the ball and it certainly wasn’t the reason Rivers was firing darts all over the field. To focus on the meeting is to give all the other, very real and troubling, problems a pass.
When Smith was benched at halftime, no doubt many of you rejoiced until you saw Michael Vick come in and play as bad, if not worse, than Smith. Neither quarterback had any time, the pass protection was horrific, and neither quarterback could find open receivers. There were missed throws from both quarterbacks, but there were more issues with covered receivers and not giving the quarterbacks time to find open receivers.
On defense, Dee Milliner looked really good (silver linings and all) as did the defensive line for the most part, but Rivers worked his magic shredding the secondary with perfect passes and worst of all they let the Chargers run the ball down their throats (undrafted rookie Branden Oliver rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries along with four catches for 68 yards including a 50 yard touchdown).
Yesterday’s game was eerily similar to many games in the past, particularly the game against the Bengals last year, it was over as soon as it started. The Jets couldn’t even cross midfield until their last drive of the game and even when the defense did manage to make a big play (Phillip Adams picking off Rivers in the end zone, the Jets first of the season) and create a turnover the offense, Chris Johnson, fumbled it right back.
The three-game losing streak has turned into a four-game losing streak, but more worrisome is this was the first game the Jets weren’t competitive in. At all.
As you know it doesn’t get any easier this week, with Peyton Manning and the Broncos coming to town, the Jets have to fix their offensive line issues, get Eric Decker healthy, work Jace Amaro into the offense more and figure out some sort of solution to this three running back rotation mess that certainly seems to be doing more harm than good. And that’s just the issues on offense.
“We need to get to work and clean up our mistakes,” Mangold said. “And that comes from top down, all three phases, that’s a performance that none of us could be proud of.”