Jets’ many flaws clear in loss to Texans

Mark Sanchez had his moments – good and bad – for the Jets. Tim

Tebow, too.

But some of the Jets’ biggest flaws were on full display in

their 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans. They couldn’t run the ball,

the defense couldn’t stop the run and Tebow still isn’t running on

the field much.

And now, the Jets are running out of answers.

”We could’ve won, we should’ve won,” wide receiver Chaz

Schilens said Monday night. ”We got in the way of ourselves again.

Sooner or later, we’ll fix it.”

At least that’s the hope for a New York team that’s 2-3, but

feels an awful lot worse than that. After all, this is a franchise

that once had its coach guaranteeing Super Bowls, a team known for

spunk and swagger. That’s not so much the case these days as some

players spoke as if Monday night was a moral victory.

”It was a lot of courage, a lot of effort that we showed,”

Tebow said. ”It wasn’t always perfect and we always didn’t execute

the way we want to, but you can never question our toughness or our

effort or our character.”

The Jets’ performance was certainly better than what they showed

in a 34-0 drubbing against the San Francisco 49ers last week. But

plenty of questions remain for the Jets, who lost for the first

time to the Texans.

”We helped them,” a weary sounding coach Rex Ryan said on a

conference call Tuesday, about 10 hours after the loss. ”We made a

mistake and they made the plays. That’s a good football team.

Obviously, you can’t help them, and that’s the disappointing thing

to me.”

The running game still hasn’t been able to get going, averaging

just 3 yards a carry as Shonn Greene gained just 26 yards on eight

attempts.

”Well, we have to get the run game going,” Ryan said. ”If we

can run the ball, it’ll open up a lot of things in the passing

game. We have to be more efficient running the football.”

And they have to better at stopping it, too. Arian Foster zipped

through missed tackles all over the field for 152 yards, making it

seem as though Houston could run at will.

That’s becoming a disturbing trend for a Jets defense that has

looked slow at times – despite Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike

Pettine insisting in the offseason that the unit become faster.

Last week, the 49ers ran for 245 yards, and Miami had 185 two weeks

ago.

”We still have some things we want to clean up and try to get

better on and just continue to work,” cornerback Antonio Cromartie

said. ”This game, we fell hard on the back end, too. We missed a

couple of plays out on the field and when we just go back and look

at it, I think we will get a whole lot better, too.”

Joe McKnight had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to

get MetLife Stadium rocking as the Jets cut the deficit to 20-14,

but things went sour on the very next play as Chaz Schilens

couldn’t handle an onside kick attempt.

And then, there’s the whole quarterback quandary with Sanchez

and Tebow.

Sanchez went 14 of 31 for 230 yards, a touchdown and two

interceptions. Ryan thought he played ”pretty good,” and said

there was ”no question” Sanchez is still the Jets’ starting

quarterback – despite many fans and media calling for Tebow to get

more time, and perhaps even slide into the starting role.

That’s despite Sanchez’s 48.4 completion percentage being

dead-last in the NFL, and his 66.6 quarterback rating ranking 31st.

Still, it isn’t all on Sanchez. He had four passes tipped at the

line of scrimmage and a few drops by his receivers, including one

by Jeff Cumberland that led to a game-sealing interception. Sanchez

is also playing without top receiver Santonio Holmes, out for the

season with a foot injury, and rookie Stephen Hill and tight end

Dustin Keller sidelined by hamstring issues.

New York’s receiving corps is so thin, even free agent Terrell

Owens tweeted at the Jets – practically begging them – to call his

agent to sign him.

”You never say never or anything,” Ryan said when asked about

Owens. ”We’ll look at all options, like we always do.”

But it appears the Jets have no interest in Owens – or Plaxico

Burress or Chad Johnson, for that matter.

”I would assume we would go with the same crew,” Ryan

said.

That means, for now, it’s Schilens, Jeremy Kerley, Clyde Gates –

who was scheduled to have an MRI on an injured shoulder – and newly

signed Jason Hill – who dropped a perfectly thrown pass from

Tebow.

Ryan thinks Keller, who has missed the last four games, might be

back against Indianapolis on Sunday.

”I’m encouraged,” he said. ”When I talked to Dustin last, he

felt he was going to be able to go this week, so I think that will

give us a huge boost.”

Ryan was also hopeful about Stephen Hill being able to return,

and that can only help Sanchez.

Meanwhile, Tebow was on the field for only seven offensive plays

when many expected this to be his big breakout game for the Jets.

He ran for a first down on a fake punt, and also took a snap and

rumbled 13 yards up the middle for another first down. But that was

about it for Tebow, who is doing his best to hide any perceived

frustration about his minimal role.

There was also some confusion at times Monday night, forcing the

Jets to call timeouts when Tebow ran onto the field. That was

caused, in part, by inexperienced players not being clear on

personnel groups – not just Tebow.

”I think when you have a guy and you just pick up a guy and

he’s with you for four days and he has to go in, he hasn’t

practiced any of that stuff with Tim as a quarterback,” Ryan said,

apparently referring to Jason Hill. ”So if you call the package,

for whatever reason, we had some issues with the

substitutions.”

Just add it to a lengthy list of things the Jets are trying to

fix these days.

”For us to be 2-3 right now,” Schilens said, ”is not

indicative of who we are.”

NOTES: C Nick Mangold was expected to have an MRI exam on his

right ankle, but the fact he was able to return to the game after

being carted from the sideline was a promising sign. Ryan told 98.7

ESPN that he expects Mangold to play vs. Indianapolis. … LB Josh

Mauga has a torn pectoral muscle, and will miss the rest of the

season, according to a person with knowledge of the injury. The

person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity

because the team had not announced the severity of the injury. …

DT Kenrick Ellis is believed to have sprained a knee ligament, but

it was uncertain how much time he may miss. … Former Bills and

Raiders OT Ed Wang tweeted that he had a workout with the Jets, but

headed home without being signed.

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