JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The Jets long fall

Considering all the bombast and arrogance from Hard Knocks, the New York Jets have sure fallen. Yesterday, after losing to a solid (but certainly not great) Chicago Bears team, New York’s players were celebrating their squeak into the playoffs. Yikes.

I get the happiness, and that’s cool. But these Jets are doomed, and yesterday’s game proved why. Rex Ryan’s reputation is built on defense, but the New York defense sorta, well, stinks. Two excellent corners, OK safeties (though no Jim Leonhard is a problem) and fantastic run linebackers. But, unless there’s a blitz, the Jets’ pass rush frightens no man. New York’s defensive line is filled up with, in baseball speak, a whole bunch of No. 4 starters. When Shaun Ellis is your go-to guy, well, it isn’t so good.

This would be OK, I suppose, if New York’s offense were dazzling. But it’s not. Mark Sanchez is still in that I-hope-he-plays-well-enough-not-t0-lose phase of his career, which means he can only carry a team every so often. Maybe that’ll work in the first-round game. But when it comes time to face the Pats, well, my team is dead.

PS: When I Googled Imaged “Shawn Ellis,” the above kid came up.