Lean on Johnson, Don’t Feature Him
Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg referred to Chris Johnson this past week as a “first-ballot Hall of Famer.” Conventional thinking was then followed by some in the media that those headed for Canton even at the back end of their careers don’t share the workload much. In other words Johnson will be getting the rock early this season and often. It would be best for Johnson and Chris Ivory to keep them fresh all year instead. Let’s not have endless 25-30 touch days for either.
Mornhinweg might want to lean on Johnson certain days and lean on Ivory too if the matchup calls for it but I would try not to go overboard. Marty has had some great backs in Philly in Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy who as younger players were endlessly fed feature backs for Marty (McCoy still is in Philly even after Bryce Brown filled in admirably late in 2012). He knows how to utilize backs with speed who can catch the ball like Johnson, but this situation is different. Johnson has some mileage on him and had has major surgery. Ivory is a weapon in his own right, not simply a player best suited for giving the bell cow back a breather here and there with a few modest three yard carries.
Mornhinweg labeled Johnson as a sure fire enshrinement out of respect to his prior body of work but let’s not allude to his past or what HOF acceptance speech he may give in the future. Let’s talk present and what is best for Johnson and the Jets. In terms of the backfield it has to be the combo of an eye on preservation for their new veteran star whenever possible, the application of Ivory’s power, and a strong healthy trio that includes Bilal Powell’s dependability. All primed for the stretch drive when the calendar hits December and fresh week in week out.
Dead Last But How Short Is The Rope
Last week an ESPN.com poll ranked NY Jets QB Geno Smith as worst starter in the NFL.
The website asked 26 league insiders (eight general managers, two former GMs, four pro personnel evaluators, seven coordinators, two head coaches, two position coaches and to executive) to rank the current starting NFL quarterbacks. This would worry me if I thought the Jets were prepared to blindly ride Geno from start to finish the way they did in 2013.
Geno Smith is a kid. He deserves time to develop this summer. He may not get that though. The modern day mentality is to throw the kids into the ocean and expect them to learn how to swim on the fly. I just don’t believe Smith will be afforded the same luxuries in year two that he had as a rookie. Michael Vick is talking about this upcoming year being about Geno and his own role as the backup that Smith but he’s a viable alternative. The first one the Jets have had behind their starter in years.
Last year HC Rex Ryan was afforded some wiggle room that included losing in the name of development. It was a pseudo rebuilding year. The year in which first year GM John Idzik was treading water at Florham beach himself while the contracts of Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez, two high priced players once heavily counted on around here, finally faded like unimpressive waves into the sand. 2014 will be different. Ryan and the Jets will be expected to be in the playoff hunt all year long. Even with their challenging schedule and the hated Patriots, constant regular season destroyers in their divisional way.
If Smith plays like a guy deserving of a ranking at the bottom, Vick will take over. Sooner rather than later. The season won’t be jeopardized by making the switch too late. The Jets won’t be riding Smith like they did last year and Sanchez the way they did in 2012, if he’s costing them games and showing too few signs of improvement.
I’d Look Into What Is Going On with Josh Gordon
Browns WR Josh Gordon is an extraordinary talent and an extraordinary problem these days for the Cleveland Browns. He’s 23 and as good of a big, young, yard gaining, playmaking red zone threat as many of us have seen in years. He is also having serious off the field issues. Having just received a DWI following a drug infraction that may threaten his ability to play this year was beyond dumb if not adolescent and defiant. I feel funny judging Gordon though. I don’t know what’s eating at him, or if he’s just another twenty something who is part immature, part invincible and part angry but now making mistakes as a result.
If Gordon’s story becomes too much for Cleveland to handle anymore, I’ll assume that they will look to trade him before releasing him. Look, it’s not The Lord Idzik way. We all know that. Troublemakers and players with clear troubles that on the surface could infect team chemistry are not any part of an Idzik blueprint. The Jets also used up half of their draft picks on mid round receivers, each of whom possess unique athletic traits of their own. That said, I’d still do some research on the Gordon situation if I were Idzik though.
What if you are Idzik and could right now, today, obtain Gordon for a fourth or fifth round pick in 2015, sit him for the entire season to get the kid the help he needs and bring him back at 24 years old with a new perspective on life? If one of the newbies in the current rookie class develops and joins Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, and TE Jace Amaro as viable threats, would it really hurt to have Gordon join them next summer creating what would be an excess of talent at wideout?
On paper no. Chemistry and drama wise, that’s another story but worth a deeper look into the situation. The kid can REALLY play and he’s just so young.
- Forget about the thought of those daily Geno/Vick Cortland updates we are all about to encounter. How about the Tajh Boyd Matt Simms battle? The second half of August preseason games will have some genuine intensity with those two battling it out. I bet it all comes down to that Eagles game. I bet they split the game and play for keeps that Thursday night.
- We’ve seen thoughts among those in Jets nation this twitter offseason about what Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson will become in year two. What about the production we are to expect from Demario Davis’ in his second year as a starting LB? I am counting on the young D line to terrorize backfields but concerned about the young corners early in the season. I feel more secure about the deep ball now that hard hitting Calvin Pryor will be back there but if Davis turns out to be a consistent playmaker around the ball, it will be a nice boost overall to the defense.
- Our society loves the 50th anniversary of things. This summer CNN has been revisiting the civil rights madness that went on in Mississippi during the summer of 1964. Last night I went to the Film Forum to see The Beatles “A Hard Days Night,” a classic that captured Beatlemania at it’s height.
In 1964 the Jets out bid the Giants and drafted RB Matt Snell in the first round (the Giants took him in the fourth and offered a lot less money), finally moved into their new home Shea Stadium (a year later than they had expected to), and beat the Broncos 30-6 in the season opener at home behind starting QB Dick Wood’s two TD passes.
Owner Sonny Werblin who bought the team from Harry Wismer in 1963, wanted to pay his QB top dollar to steal attention away from the crosstown rival Giants. Wood and the Jets got off to a 3-1-3 start but then limped to a 5-8-1 record. When 1965 rolled around, Werblin set his sights on making a bigger splash at quarterback than Wood. The rest became history.