Posted October 02, 2012

Santonio Holmes’ injury puts Jets on the brink of collapse

New York Jets

Santonio Holmes has just 272 yards through four games. (CSM /Landov)

For a team not exactly filled to the brims with talent, the last two weeks have been disastrous for the Jets. Darrelle Revis’ knee injury dealt a massive blow to their defense, and now Santonio Holmes’ foot injury — which may knock him out for the season — will leave a muddling offense without its best player.

So, now what?

Well, short of signing Chad Johnson or Plaxico Burress and just totally taking their hands off the wheel, the Jets don’t have a lot of options. Jeremy Kerley has 10 catches and two touchdowns during a surprising start, and they used a high draft pick on Stephen Hill. Neither is going to make opposing defenses lose sleep.

Short of the seemingly inevitable moment when Tim Tebow takes over at quarterback, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for the remainder of the Jets’ season.

Any team that loses its top offensive and defensive players in a two-week span is going to find the going tough. Considering the Jets were overachieving slightly at 2-1, Sunday’s blowout home loss may have started an unstoppable downward slide. The fall may be even more magnified for the Jets given that a) They play in the New York market; and b) It’s hard to figure out exactly what this team is supposed to be.

We heard a lot about the “ground and pound” in the offseason. But Shonn Greene is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry and has lost time to Bilal Powell behind an offensive line that’s not particularly mobile or strong. The Jets have all of one rushing touchdown this season.

But they’re certainly not built to be an aerial attack, either: Holmes is a borderline No. 1 WR, at best, and Mark Sanchez has a completion percentage of 49.2 through four weeks.

It’s no surprise, then, that questions have continued to surround GM Mike Tannenbaum, head coach Rex Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano (who may have landed in an impossible situation here).

The most amazing part of all this — and what may be keeping Jets fans off the ledge for at least another week or two — is that New York currently sits tied atop the AFC East at 2-2. The schedule also features three of the next four at home, though first up on that stretch is a 4-0 Houston team.

Even if the defense holds up in Revis’ absence, though, how is this New York offense going to score enough points to win games? As the current roster sits, defenses won’t have any problem loading the box or blitzing Mark Sanchez and playing man-coverage in the secondary. Even with Holmes, the Jets were seeing those looks; without him, they might get them exclusively.

Nothing will get easier for Sanchez or his team with Holmes out of the lineup. There are no fill-in answers on the free agent market, and it’s painfully obvious there are not any great choices in-house either.

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