The Jets had no running game and a porous defense. Yet they managed to go 10-6 mostly because of Pennington's brilliant operation of the no-huddle offense.
This season, defenses have caught up to the Jets shifts and personnel changes, even their signals (we all saw Antonio Pierce on the Giants recognize the Jets audibles). Pennington is struggling. So now the Jets are losing games they may have won last season. He's not Manning or Brady. He can't carry a team; he's not that type of QB. He needs help.
First, the Jets can't control the line of scrimmage, the good pass protection against the Giants notwithstanding (it's also fair to point out the Jets have to leave backs and tight ends in to help Clement and Ferguson, limiting Pennington's options). When a team can't control the line of scrimmage, they have to play desperation every week. That is why the Jets are in the shotgun all game on offense, trying to confound opposing defenses. They don't run block well. They can't line up and smash the other team. Thomas Jones needs a crease.
Rich Cimini in the Daily News has detailed Jones' career 'yards after contact'- and it's not impressive. Mangini said on Monday that running backs weren't hitting the holes well, either.
On defense, the Jets lack of a real 3-4 front seven forces them to scheme their way to the quarterback to get pressure. The Jets blitz on roughly 40% of their defensive plays with little success. The run defense is abysmal. The Jets get pushed around and tackle poorly because they can't get off blocks. No successful 3-4 team has small NTs or outside linebackers who can't rush the passer. Some teams that have to blitz to pressure the QB are hiding a weakness: lack of premier talent. Has Bryan Thomas beat his man once all season?
Why did the Jets lose on Sunday? Giants 188 yards rushing. Jets 55 yards rushing. Pennington has to be perfect every week. His mistakes are magnified.
Coles and Cotchery are very good receivers, but they don't get enough separation from defensive backs. They made some great catches against the Giants-- but the passes were thrown only where they could get them by Pennington. They were covered. No, Chad doesn't have a cannon, but the Jets don't have a legitimate deep threat like Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, or Steve Smith who consistently separates from corners.
Nugent's misses have also cost the Jets. Pennington hasn't been great, but he's not the only problem. The Jets can't run the ball or stop the run and that is why they are losing. Benching Pennington will not help either of those areas.