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The Jets are on still the runway, waiting to take off

MARCUS HENRY Special to the AmNews | 10/14/2011, 12:59 p.m.
The Jets are on still the runway, waiting to take off

The Jets' identity crisis on offense has caught up with them in a big way.

When Rex Ryan first arrived, the Jets were all about ground and pound. They had a great offensive line, a great blocking fullback and a solid receiving core that could run and block downfield.

None of that has been evident this year-and it certainly wasn't in Sunday's 31-21 loss at the New England Patriots.

The offseason brought about big changes for the Jets. They spent big money on Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason. While a few of those changes brought in some playmakers, it also led to the departure of several tough-minded performers.

Blocking fullback Tony Richardson was a vital cog in the Jets' rushing attack in recent seasons. He's gone.

Jerricho Cotchery was one of the toughest receivers in the game. He'd go over the middle, he'd run fly patterns and he could block-doing anything to help get the offense going. He's gone.

The Jets let All-Pro guard Alan Faneca walk a couple of years ago, as well as Kerry Rhodes and Thomas Jones.

This isn't meant to rehash the old days, but the aforementioned players brought toughness to the team. That toughness is missing.

All of this has led to a halfway approach on offense. The Jets want to be a ground-and-pound team, but they've passed the ball far more than they have run it. The Jets haven't fully committed to either and have been mediocre as a result.

Sunday epitomized that, as the offense went three-and-out on seven of their 11 possessions. Sure, there were a couple of big plays, and Shonn Greene ran for a season-high 83 yards, but overall the Jets couldn't get any facet of its game going with any level of consistency.

The offense has gotten off to a sluggish start every game this season and doesn't get going until faced with a big deficit.

There is some good news to report. The hapless Dolphins come to town for a Monday night battle. Miami (0-4) is in worse shape than the Jets (2-3), who can get back to .500 with a win.

Counting on the Dolphins for a win may not be the most noble of sentiments, but the Jets will take any win they can get these days.