There was a moment in Sunday's 13-3 loss to the Seahawks that did a pretty fair job of summing up why the New York Jets have gone from top of the football world to frantically grabbing doorknobs trying to find a back way into the postseason. Jay Feely couldn't attempt a 45-yard field goal because the team was flagged for delay of game, knocking them out of range and, ultimately, out of the game.
It's mind-boggling to try and figure out how that can happen. How is a team so unprepared for the simplest of football plays? You have to look to the sideline at that moment, where you'll find the blank stare of Eric Mangini. Mangini loves to talk about how well the team practices when the Jets suffer their latest soul-crushing defeat, which never comes across as anything but bizarre. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?
Mangini's fetish for a good week of practice clearly affects the way his staff coaches during games. The lack of adjustments to what's going on between the sidelines can only be because the coaches are so convinced of their own magnificence that it's just a matter of time before everything goes their way. Instead of making those changes, Mangini just stands there, blank as an unpainted canvas and thinking about how well everything worked against no defense while wearing shorts on Thursday afternoon.
That fetishization of the practice week and detachment to what's going on in front of them filters down to the players. The Jets of the last four games have been played with a lack of urgency that bears very little relationship to the game of football. That needs to come from on high, could have come yesterday by going for six instead of settling for a field goal on the game's opening drive. It could have come from selling out on defense, even if it meant the possibility of giving up a big play or any one of a dozen other moments.
It's become clear, though, that it isn't going to come from the blank-faced coach, which is why it is probably time to find another one.