Jets Push Positivity in Face of Disaster

Jets try to quiet the panic without pointing to reasons for optimism

We've finally uncovered the real reason for the Tim Tebow trade.

It wasn't a package of offensive plays or a burning desire for a high profile upback on the punt team, it was all a grand distraction. As long as Tebow was in town, everyone would be so consumed with figuring out whether or not he's going to take Mark Sanchez's job that they won't pay any attention to the fact that the Jets offense exists in name only.

Well played, Mike Tannenbaum. Why bother addressing needs when you can just trade for a guy who takes off his shirt and obscures everything else about the team? 

The Jets met the media on Monday to discuss the five-alarm fire that was their offense against the Giants and there were a couple of common threads. One was that preseason games aren't about winning and losing.

"I mean last time I checked I don’t think anybody wins anything when they come out of the preseason," offensive coordinator Tony Sparano said in comments distributed by the team. "In fact, I believe I was 12-4 in Miami in the preseason and I didn’t win much."

Good argument for your coaching ability, Tony. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who cares that the Jets lost to the Giants because all anyone is focused on is how the Jets actually played in their two games.

If the starting Jets offense had scored a touchdown on Saturday and not featured a totally overmatched offensive line, you wouldn't be hearing the same kind of vitriol if the final score was 26-10 instead of 26-3. In the preseason, it isn't about winning or losing.

It's about how you play the game and the Jets played it about as poorly as you could imagine. That leads us to patience, the other common thread of the day.

"There have been some mistakes. But I’ve seen enough of good things that I believe as we start putting this thing together that you’re going to see more and more positive things," Ryan said during his press conference. "I think when it’s all said and done by the time we kick this season off, I think we’ll be where we need to be."

Selling patience is always a dicey proposition, but it's never dicier than when a team returning 10 starters has installed an offense that counts simplicity as its biggest selling point. If it is this hard now, without defenses game planning against you, how hard is it going to be when things actually count?

All of the words from Ryan and Sparano pretty much go in one ear and out the other because, frankly, there's not much credibility left when members of the Jets coaching staff open their mouths. The only words that are the least bit reassuring in the wake of the first two preseason games have come from Sanchez.

Ever since he got to town, Sanchez has dealt with questions about his bona fides as a leader and four road playoff wins haven't registered nearly as much as what went down in the last few games of last season. Whether it was because of Tebow's arrival or natural growth, Sanchez has shown a better grasp of the leadership thing this summer and that includes his reaction to Saturday night.

Sanchez put the attention on his play, offering no caveats that it is hard to deliver passes further than four or five yards when your offensive line refuses to block the defense. He doesn't blame the rail-thin receiving corps or the lack of the Ground and Pound that Ryan and Sparano have been promising.

That's a step in the right direction on the leadership front. If the Jets offense can take about 10,000 more of those steps in the days and weeks to come, they might actually score a touchdown one of those days.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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