I'll Have What They're Having

The New York Jets are one win away from the Super Bowl. Yes, the NEW YORK JETS.

They haven’t made it this far throwing the ball all over the field. They don’t have an All-Pro quarterback. Hell, they don’t even have much of a home-field advantage.

The New York Jets win football games in the trenches. Their offensive line is great, the defense is impenetrable, and they move the football on the ground. The Jets are playing the purest form of football.

How refreshing is it to watch an offensive line that overwhelms opposing defenders? The Jets know how to build an offensive line: invest a few high draft picks (D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold), bring in a couple key free agents (Alan Faneca, Damien Woody), and let them grow as a unit.

Unfortunately, under Tim Ruskell’s watch, the Seattle Seahawks failed to maintain a competent offensive line. The Seahawks nearly ignored the position in the draft and failed to build depth, acquired ineffective free agents (Mike Wahle), and  never experienced any sort of continuity due to injuries.

Remember when the Seahawks had a dominant offensive line? Their strategy wasn’t so different than New York’s; Seattle invested a few high draft picks (Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson), signed talented free agents (Robbie Tobeck, Chris Gray), and started the same five players every Sunday.

With a great offensive line, the New York Jets are able to impose their will on opposing defenses. With a successful running game, the Jets control the clock and wear down defenders.  They’re a good football team with a rookie starting at quarterback.

If Mark Sanchez played for the Seahawks, he’d probably be on injured reserve by now.

Fortunately for Sanchez, there aren’t any expectations; he just has to avoid mistakes. He isn’t required to throw the football around the field, and most of his passes aren’t very complicated – a majority of his attempts are short throws off play-fakes and/or bootlegs.

If we tried that with a rookie quarterback in Seattle, we’d be no better than the St. Louis Rams. We’re not good enough offensively to insert a rookie quarterback and expect wins, so don’t chase Matt Hasselbeck out of town just yet.

The offense is going to take awhile to rebuild, but what about the defense? Will Seattle’s defense ever be great like New York’s?

I know, the Seahawks don’t have a dominant cornerback (like Darrelle Revis), and their defensive line is underachieving at best. But if the right personnel decisions are made, can the Seahawks finally shut down opposing offenses?

I’m cautiously optimistic; the Seahawks have several talented athletes on that side of the ball, and a few new components could drastically change the competency of the defense. Whether it is a lack of talent or a deficient scheme, the Seahawks are unable to rush the passer. The defensive backs appear overmatched, and the linemen appear overpowered.

Hopefully, Pete Carroll and company can identify those weaknesses and improve a 5-11 football team.

The Jets are an obvious underdog, but extremely underrated in my opinion. Their style of smash-mouth, ground-and-pound football is refreshing and enjoyable to watch. Hopefully, the Seahawks can return to prominence in the trenches and find success if the playoffs again.

Until then, I’ll admit: I’m envious of the four teams competing for an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl.

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Tags: Darrelle Revis Defense Defensive Line Mark Sanchez Matt Hasselbeck National Football League New York Jets NFL Draft Offensive Line Pete Carroll Playoffs Quarterback Rookie Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Tim Ruskell

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