The Jets were 2-2 at the beginning of October, coming off a second straight road loss.
Rex Ryan promised publicly and privately that the team would return to their “ground and pound” roots before they faced the Patriots.
The results weren’t immediate, but ultimately the change was effective. New York has won three of four games since. Although we’d attribute the turnaround to the defense mostly, Mark Sanchez has seven touchdowns and two interceptions in those four games.
The running game has been better, but not exactly great. Still, the conservative approach fits for the Jets.
“We’re a much more confident team playing this way [with] this style,” coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I feel very comfortable and confident. This is what we know.”
“We feel like our old selves again,” fullback John Conner told Mehta.
That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea play like their “old selves” this week. Any team that doesn’t attack the Patriots secondary is doing New England a favor, even if Sanchez isn’t exactly Tom Brady. The Jets offense struggled in New England in large part because of the run-first approach.
Football is a game of matchups. If the Jets aren’t confident that Sanchez can take advantage of this matchup in his third year, they should look for a new quarterback.