Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Jets' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the San Diego Chargers.
For the last few weeks, we've been pointing out how funny it is that the Jets' schedule worked out for them to play a string of terrible teams while they still had a chance to find their way into the playoffs.
That strange little coincidence came crashing to an ugly end in Nashville on Monday night, leaving the Jets to bench Mark Sanchez and start dealing with the uncertain future that goes hand in hand with such a disappointing season. Despite that shift, the schedule still provides a nice twist for this Sunday's game with the Chargers.
The Chargers are either right behind or just ahead of the Jets on the list of most disappointing NFL teams this year and it is almost certain that those struggles will finally bring Norv Turner's run as their head coach to an end. Turner's detractors are legion and they got more fodder for their contention that he shouldn't be a head coach every time the Chargers blew a lead in the second half this season.
Even Turner's biggest haters have to admit that he's been a fine offensive coordinator over the years, though. He helped mastermind the Jimmy Johnson Cowboys attack and got a good season from Jay Fiedler in Miami way back when, something that should be appealing to a team with quarterbacks as bad as the Jets have at present.
Turner is sure to have other suitors, but the Jets should be at the front of the list whether they decide to make wholesale changes or simply try once more to get something out of Sanchez because they will be paying him $8 million next season. Tony Sparano needs to go regardless of the larger direction and Turner is going to be one of the best names out there to take over the job.
Sunday's game probably won't have much bearing on that decision, although there's at least a chance Greg McElroy plays well enough to pique Turner's interest in grooming him for the job. If you're looking for a reason to keep watching the Jets this year, that's the best one we can come up with at this point.
If you do watch, here's a few worth watching on the Chargers side of things.
Rivers of Misery - As frustrating as it is to watch Sanchez never develop over the course of four years, imagining how awful it would be if he were one of the best quarterbacks in the league and then turned into the human turnover machine you've watched for the last 30 games. You don't actually have to imagine it because that's exactly what Philip Rivers has done over the last three years. He'll be a name to watch this offseason if the Chargers decide to ax general manager A.J. Smith and do a total rebuild, with the rather large caveat that you'll have no idea what you're getting.
More Changing of the Guard - Tight end Antonio Gates helped redefine the position early in his career, but he's looking a lot closer to the end of his run than the beginning. Failure to replace talented players who have left or declined is why the Chargers are in this mess, although they deserve credit for uncovering a gem in former Rams wide receiver Danario Alexander.
The Next Generation - Young talent isn't exactly overflowing in San Diego, but they have at least one building block in defensive end Corey Liuget. Much like Muhammed Wilkerson for the Jets, Liuget is an active and athletic piece on a defense with far too few of them to make any serious bid at playoff contention.
Run Ronnie Run - Ronnie Brown's work in the Wildcat is part of the reason why the Jets thought Sparano could actually run an offense and now he's the starter for the Chargers with Ryan Mathews done for the season with yet another injury. That would have been a stroke of luck if the Jets had beaten the Titans to remain alive, but now it's just a note about a meaningless game.