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Archive for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Commentary: Tougher times likely ahead for Jets

October 21, 2008

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It is desperate times like this that we must consult that famous philosopher, the one who has the perfect explanation for all that afflicts the New York Jets in the wake of yet another horrific loss. He is someone who can, with just a few words, put it all into perspective and make you understand what lies at the heart of the situation.

Confucius?

Aristotle?

Plato?

How about Parcells.

It is the former Giants and Jets coach (and Patriots and Cowboys, too) who best understands the emotions swirling in the aftermath of the Jets' 16-13 overtime clunker in Oakland, Calif., which came on the heels of two straight wins that had Jets fans thinking that maybe, just maybe, this was the start of something big.

The Oradell, N.J., native, now living out his retirement years running the football operations for the Miami Dolphins, would trot out this simple line that always seemed to make sense of it all.

"In New York," Bill Parcells said, "it's either euphoria or disaster."

Welcome to October with the Jets, when there is no in-between with your beloved football team.

At the moment, sifting through the aftermath of a putrid performance in Oakland against a team that looked more Pop Warner than NFL, the dynamic is unquestionably disaster. And now for the really bad news: It could get worse.

Peek ahead on the schedule, and after what should be a layup win over the free-falling Chiefs on Sunday at home, the road is perilous: at the Bills, who are legitimately good after a 5-1 getaway; home to the Rams, who are riding the crest of back-to-back wins over NFC East beasts Washington and Dallas; at the Bel chicks in Foxboro; at the Titans, who haven't lost yet, then home to the Broncos and gunslinging quarterback Jay Cutler.

If things keep going like this, 3-3 might actually look like the good old days. Then again, throw an upset win into the mix, and it's euphoria all over again.

At the moment, the Jets don't feel like a team with a meaningful upset in them. Not after they completely obliterated a chance to get to 5-2 heading into what could have been a major statement game in the AFC East in Buffalo. With yet another inconsistent and occasionally baffling offensive performance, in which Brett Favre looked more like Chad Pennington with his dink-and-dunk approach under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the Jets don't look much different from what we've been used to around here.

Defensively, it wasn't much better. A Raiders team that could barely run a play without a false start early on still wound up doing enough to eke out a win with 2:30 left in overtime on Sebastian Janikowski's team-record 57-yard field goal.

No wonder Favre called it one of the worst losses he's ever been a part of. A quarterback who is less than a year removed from a horrid performance in last season's NFC Championship Game, a man who knows what it is to lose a Super Bowl and to lose other heartbreaking playoff games, and this one ranks right up there? Whoa.

My, my, what a disastrous road trip to Oakland can do to one's perspective.

Further proof of Parcells' New York truism. Around here, it's euphoria or disaster.

This week, it's clearly the latter.

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