Giants vs Jets: A Conversation with a Jet Fan

I was able to track down a respectable, intelligent, and quite lovely Jets fan.  Here are the answers to the questions I posed to her and a little more about Kristine. 

Kristine Reese is an actress, singer and freelance writer living in New York City. She is the lead New York Jets writer and regular contributor of Fantasy Sports and NFL content for Aerys Sports, the only online sports network run entirely by women. She is also a regular contributor to Sports of New York, the lead writer/creator of content for the Hard Ninety Activewear blog and the sole contributor to her own sports blog, gridirongirlnextdoor.com. You can follow her on Twitter @kristinereese or visit www.kristinereese.com for more information on her “day job.”

1. We know Rex Ryan came to town talking, and will leave that way too.  I understand the fans loved it in the beginning as he was totally different from the coaches that preceded him.  What is the feeling now that it seems to be the same old words over and over again?

Honestly, no. I think people that aren’t fans of the team might view it a lot differently, and I understand that. But to us, it doesn’t really come across as noise but rather a tactic that the media continues to fall for. Once you understand and accept it for what it is, I promise you will be less bothered by it.
Case in point : Instead of allowing the media to continue to dwell on the Jets disappointing performance in Philly, the focus was immediately shifted onto the Jets-Giants showdown thanks to a few soundbytes about big and little brothers.
I happen to think it’s a good way to proceed with the New York media, who always seems to be looking for a new headline. He gives them want they want by providing just enough to satisfy their desire for “controversy” with his declarations and statements that actually do little besides put the burden of responsibility on himself.
I understand that many opinionated “analysts” and “experts” feel this hurts more than it helps, especially when the Jets have a host of issues that they no doubt recognize and know in their heart of hearts. But the players love working for Rex and that, at the heart of things, is what matters most. He has his own way of motivating his team and dealing with the media and that is pretty much that.
I don’t seriously think that everything that comes out of his mouth is gospel or should be considered as such and frankly, I think it’s hilarious that some people do.

2. Mark Sanchez has taken some heat lately.  I believe he is a talented QB that has been stunted by not being allowed a learning curve, due to the win now atmosphere. What do you think Mark’s strong and weak points are?

By lately, you mean always, right?
I appreciate your comment and I happen to agree. I have written a lot about Sanchez this season as it is a hot topic of conversation among not only Jets fans, but the national media and NFL audience. Without getting into too much detail, I think he takes entirely too much heat for every little thing that goes wrong, this past weekends loss being a perfect example. I could go into a 500-word tangent about it but if you are interested, I encourage you to read my site and check out my sell-supported thoughts on the quarterback.
That said, I do think he definitely needs to improve several aspects of his game, accuracy being one of them. I would also like to see him cut down on his interceptions, though I believe the interception statistic to be greatly exaggerated. Sanchez is most widely criticized for being a poor situational quarterback with bad decision making skills (throwing picks) while also being heralded for his comebacks in high pressure situations. (More on that in a second). I will admit Sanchez has thrown a view bad ones this year, no doubt, but not all of them rest on only the quarterback (and I am sure Giants fans would agree?).
Lastly, I would also like to see him take more shots downfield but again, I have trouble distinguishing between offensive coordinator, game plan and quarterback when I say that. The Jets like to operate under a run-first, short passing style of offense and you can only criticize the quarterback so much for that. He needs to be put in a situation with a coordinator that plays to his strengths, challenges him to take steps forwards and knows how to get the most out of not only the quarterback but also the positions around him (receivers and offensive lineman). Sometimes that requires taking risks and making mistakes but we cannot grow by always playing it safe. Mark completed a 41-yard pass last week, which might seem unbelievable to some people because he is never asked to do it.
I do think Sanchez has surprising athleticism and mobility, something we have only really started to see this season. I would like to see the team incorporate these strengths into the game plan while also challenging to improve in the pocket. We have seen many quarterbacks cause problems for opponents because they able to make plays beyond just being a statue.
Nowadays we also want to judge a quarterback on his ability to orchestrate game winning drives or comeback wins. Sanchez has done that in over 30% of his games in the NFL and has shown he is more than able to get the job done when the pressure is on.
Lastly, I believe Sanchez also has all the intangibles. This is a generally overanalyzed quality but it cannot be discounted.
If I may for just a second make one more point : What people consistently fail to recognize in their assertion that Sanchez has “taken a step back” is that a) stats tell a different story and b) the Jets offensive line has taken a step back c) he had almost an entirely new set of receivers in a shortened off-season and d) Brian Schottenheimer is his offensive coordinator. Not that we should make excuses for everthing, but these are important point to consider.
Next year will be significant for the quarterback and I hope that the addition of offensive consultant Tom Moore will shake things up. But I  think the Jets ALSO need to work on improving the offensive line and the play at the skill positions if they want to get the most out of their quarterback.

3. The Jets will always be the little brother in town, just as the Mets, and Islanders have been.  Shouldn’t the only thing that matters be putting trophies in the case, and not winning a pre-season trophy or beating the Giants this weekend?

I couldn’t agree with you more, but this goes both ways. Both teams players and fan bases are guilty of throwing around the big brother/little brother thing, among many other time and energy wasting insults.
I mean no offense to anyone when I say this but I simply don’t understand the whole thing. I realize it is deep rooted and goes back for years but why two teams and their fans spend so much time competing with one another when they aren’t even in the same division is beyond me. I have no problem rooting for the Giants in any game aside from when we face them on the field and I think to do otherwise is a waste of time and energy. Arguing over who is classier, smarter, more distinguished/accomplished or the biggest, better New York team is so absurd.
As for the amount of sparring that goes on with the media? That just seems to be people feeding the trolls. Some people get into it I suppose and the NFL is a business and rivalries sell tickets. I can see why Rex might want to make the statements he does but as I stated above, I think he is only doing what he is doing to inspire his team and motivate the fan base. He wants to win every game, go to the playoffs and keep his job. Don’t Giants fans want the same?
Bottom line regarding the Jets-Giants rivalry for me, is this : I won’t tell anyone how to be a fan but in turn, please don’t tell me how to be one. Similarly, don’t call me stupid (or any number of other, less appropriate things) because I have selected this as my football team. It’s football. There is plenty of room in the Big Apple for everyone so let’s enjoy this for what it is : An exciting rivalry this week. Next week, we can band together against other forces of evil.

4. The Jet fans I hear from seem to have bought into Rex’s boastings about HIS defense.  The defense has been responsible for more losses in the last two years than any other part of the team.  They seem to fail in the biggest spots.  Do you feel the team and the Head Coach should have a more balanced approach?

I agree and disagree. I do think that they need a more balanced approach in general but I disagree that the defense has been mostly responsible for the last two years shortcomings overall. I think they have been more responsible for losses this season than people care to let on.
I also think the defense has taken a step back this year, for a variety of reasons. I think Rex wants to build the team his way and that isn’t going to happen overnight. We often discount how complex Rex’s system is and when there are injuries, new acquisitions and young players we can’t expect it to come together with a snap of the finger. It may take a few more years and a few more draft picks and not every young player can work out exactly how you plan.
No doubt there is some serious concern at the safety and linebacker positions and this defense cannot be what Rex Ryan wants it to be without improvement in those areas first.

5.  The draft has not been the strongest part of Mike Tannenbaum’s resume.  Do you feel they put too much pressure on the rookies by announcing them as starters in April and cutting veterans before they have a chance to teach the younger players?

I disagree with your assessment of Tannenbaum. He has had a few busts (Gholston being the most high-profile) but he also drafted some excellent players and stolen a few value guys in late rounds.
But to your comment…
I touched on this a little before but I do think he and Rex ask an awful lot of some young players. They definitely made a lot of mistakes this year cutting veterans on both defense and offense and I think we are paying for it a bit now but the lockout did not help matters. That said, There is a delicate balance between winning now and winning for the future. Give and take, if you will. You can’t have both.

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