New York Jets – Who is the Leader of the Franchise?

Mike McLaughlin on the New York Jets lack of leadership

Under Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles, the New York Jets have heavily invested in the secondary and defensive line. In a passing NFL, that would seem to be a good idea. The short list of examples below, however, illustrate that style of play matters less than creating a culture. 

 Bad Decisions

  1. Many were happy at the time of the Darrelle Revis signing, but the front office should make better decisions than the fans. The top two teams in cap spending for cornerbacks in 2016 are the Jets and Browns. Both are terrible teams while the Patriots are 31st in cornerback spending, and its defense is third in points allowed per game.
  2. It could be too early to tell, but it is becoming clear that Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams should not be on the team simultaneously. Meanwhile, Wilkerson’s and Richardson’s trade values have only decreased since last offseason. The Ravens, Redskins, Packers, Steelers and Titans have all shown you can be competitive without allotting too many resources to the defensive line.

Teams such as the Broncos and Giants, though, have had success allocating significant resources to the secondary and defensive line. Thus, the larger point is that there is no exact formula for how the team should be constructed.

What matters is culture.

What is the Jets’ culture exactly? It is often talked about how successful franchises are run a certain way. The consistent organizations have a brand of football they are known for, this includes the “Patriot way,” and “Giant football.” The style matters less than that the team is committed to it.

Consistent winners such as the Ravens, Steelers, Broncos, and Patriots seemingly have leadership that starts with ownership and trickles down to the players. When Rex Ryan was here, he tried to establish an identity with his “Play like a Jet” mantra.

Two storied franchises that had lost their identities for over a decade are the Cowboys and Raiders. What did they do? Both reinvested in their offensive lines, which has become a critical part of each team’s identity. Then when they found a good young quarterback, each could actually protect him and set him up for positive down and distance situations.

For the Jets now, though, there seems to be no larger plan. Decisions are made to achieve success in the current season and not to create a consistent winner. Consequently, the identity of the team can fluctuate from year to year.

The Jet quarterbacks over the past several regimes have been maligned for making bad decisions. The organization, however, has established a culture of making bad choices. This includes continuing to play Matt Forte over Bilal Powell despite the latter’s play showing he is better.

Consequently, the Jets need to decide what type of team it wants to be and establish a program to reach that goal. Until that is done, the Jets will have some good seasons and it will have some bad seasons. There will be no measure of consistency.

The good franchises have a leader of the organization. Who is the leader of the Jets? Please stand up whoever you are.

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