Mark Sanchez will remain the Jets starting quarterback
The New York Jets are staying with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While this has come as a shock to many, we detailed here yesterday how there was a reasonable argument for this to happen. Not surprisingly many Jets fans are acting like the sky is falling right now…threatening to abandon the team…cursing out Rex…cursing out Sanchez etc…
Here is the simple reality – Mark Sanchez is getting paid 8.3 million dollars from the Jets next year regardless of whether he is on their team, another NFL team or laying on a beach in California. The Jets are finishing up a playoff-less season against four mediocre football teams. The hope is that he plays well in these games, builds some measure of confidence back up and becomes a reasonable option to start in 2013 (he should still be forced to compete with a veteran next summer).
Believe it or not, this team is going to give every chance possible to a former first round pick who has won more playoff games than any other quarterback in franchise history. Is it worth the risk of playing him the last four games when you are 5-7 and nearly half your team won’t be back next year? Yes…it probably is.
If you want to get mad at somebody, get mad at “cap expert” Mike Tannenbaum for how he structured Sanchez’s contract. Get mad at him for the contradicting actions of doubling down on Sanchez in 2013 and then supporting him by bringing in a PR circus as a backup quarterback and not upgrading running back, wide receiver or offensive line this off-season. Sanchez already took a step back last year but the Jets front office greased the skids on his regression this season by having an awful off-season.
Sanchez has been generally terrible this season but the Greg McElroy infatuation only comes from his last name not being “Sanchez.” Ask yourself this, if McElroy’s fourth quarter interception stood (like it should have) and the Jets lost 9-7, is this debate so heated right now? If McElroy is the savior that many are exaggerating to call him and Sanchez is truly that awful. Guess what? Sanchez will be benched at some point in the next four gams and McElroy will get his chance.
As for the ongoing pity party Jets fans are throwing for themselves. Get a grip on reality. Look around the NFL. Since 1997 the Jets have 12 seasons at .500 or better, 7 playoff wins, 3 AFC Championship Game appearances and yes despite it being over 40 years ago…the Jets have won a Super Bowl. How do you think Bills fans have enjoyed the last 15 years? Lions fans? Eagles fans? Chiefs fans? Browns fans?! The list goes on.
Mark Sanchez starting a week 14 game in a 5-7 year is the straw that broke the camel’s back in your support of this team? Really? Not letting the roster go to crap after back to back AFC Championship Game appearances? Not the PR-stunt Tebow trade? This is the decision? And people wonder why the general perception of Jets fans is so negative.
There is no reason to be overly optimistic that Sanchez is going to turn it around and have a brilliant final four games but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t logic behind this decision. It also means the most logical thing for any Jets fans to do is root for Sanchez to succeed…otherwise go become a Bills fan.
An attempt to make sense of the New York Jets quarterback mess
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan will likely announce a decision on his starting quarterback within the next 24 hours. There have been various reports on who prefers who in the Jets hierarchy, but at this point who can really trust any sources from this organization?
We know this much, it isn’t going to be Tim Tebow. Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and the entire coaching staff have never shown a hint of interest of giving Tebow a major role and that isn’t going to change now. This was 100% a PR trade and at this point, it is almost an act of defiance and protest by everybody not named Woody Johnson to keep him on the bench. Tebow will never start a game here, may never play another snap again here, and without question will be let go this off-season.
This leaves the decision down to Greg McElroy and Mark Sanchez. From what I can tell about 95% of the fanbase wants McElroy to start because the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and he did provide a needed shot of energy to the Jets huddle on Sunday. Outside of that, there is a reasonable argument to give him the ball for the final four games of this disappointing season.
Considering how Mark Sanchez looked on Sunday from the opening snap and his general play throughout this season, it is fair to surmise that he is mentally finished as a quarterback in this market. Doesn’t Rex Ryan have to hold his players accountable for porous play on the field…especially his quarterback? You can’t watch the game tape from the past two weeks and say Sanchez gives the Jets a very good chance to win. Simply put, he is playing like a bottom three starting quarterback in the league right now and could jeopardize four very winnable games down the stretch for his team.
McElroy looked decent enough in his first NFL action and could be a viable contender for a starting job next season. The only way the Jets will find that out is by giving him a chance here. His arm strength is suspect but at a minimum, it is fair to expect relatively smart, mistake free football from him which could be all the Jets need to finish 4-0 and keep themselves distantly relevant in the playoff race into week 16 and week 17.
On the other hand, Mark Sanchez is owed over 8 million guaranteed dollars from the team next season. Unless they want to take a massive cap hit, he is likely going to be on the roster next year. He is a former first round pick who has been successful here, no matter how much certain people want to act like it never occurred, shouldn’t you give him every last chance to turn it around…particularly in a generally meaningless final four games? If there is a place to build somebody’s confidence back up, it is on the road the next two weeks against awful Jacksonville and Tennessee defenses. If you permanently send him to the bench here, is there any way he is viable competitor to start next year or do you just accept a 8 million dollar cap hit or spending that on a backup?
People are going crazy for McElroy but is there any reason to believe his ceiling is anything higher than “game manager?” Are the Jets in such a rush to usher in another era of that type of football or will they finally look to do better than that at quarterback? If McElroy plays okay down the stretch and the Jets finish well, the team can’t be blinded by that and must still bring in veteran competition for him.
There is an argument for both sides at this point despite the fan’s angst towards Sanchez. It is a critical decision that could ultimately seal the fate of Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Tony Sparano which is what should make these next few days and upcoming game especially compelling.
Ultimately my prediction is that the team will cave to public sentiment and go with McElroy. The Jets will finish winning 3 of their last 4 or maybe even running the table behind generally average play from him. They will try like hell to move Sanchez in some way this off-season (probably failing) and whether he comes back or not as a “competitor” for the starting job with McElroy and a veteran add on will depend on their desire to stomach such a large cap hit for a player not on the roster.
A look at the other New York Jets who played yesterday besides the quarterbacks
Lost in the shuffle of the ongoing quarterback controversy surrounding the New York Jets is that other players actually took the field yesterday…and many performed well for a refreshing change of pace. These last four games remain critically important for many young players on the team’s roster who will be expected to be key parts in 2013 and beyond. Here is a recap of a few who stood out –
Bilal Powell – His role is growing every single week and he is taking advantage of it. Yesterday Powell finished with 58 yards on 12 carries, finishing with a 4.8 YPC. He broke a 17 yard run that helped propel the team’s only touchdown drive. Powell has good vision and is both shiftier and quicker than Shonn Greene. There is no reason that Powell can’t be a capable 1B option and 3rd down back for the team next season. On the year, Powell has 70 carries for 278 yards for 4.0 yards per carry. Hopefully, he can finish the season getting 10-15 carries each week and maintain that average at over 4 yards.
Stephen Hill – It has been a rough year for the rookie but yesterday was a step in the right direction. Hill had 5 catches for 40 yards and drew a penalty. What was encouraging is that many of the catches Hill made were difficult ones in traffic. He is going to be the team’s starting split end next year, so he must build momentum heading into 2013. Now that Hill looks like he is gaining confidence in the shorter passing game, it would be nice to see the Jets hit a big play down the field to him which is the primary thing he was drafted for.
Jeremy Kerley – It wasn’t a gaudy statistical game (3 catches, 37 yards) but Kerley made difficult catches in tight coverage. Most notably pulling down a key third down conversion with elite cornerback Patrick Peterson draped all over him. This has been a terrific all around season for Kerley who still has an outside shot of having a 1,000 yard season in one of the league’s worst passing offenses which is pretty damn impressive. If Hill develops alongside him and Santonio Holmes comes back healthy, the Jets have the makings of a very good group of receivers in 2013.
Muhammad Wilkerson – This isn’t anything new but Wilkerson is maintaining his play at a Pro-Bowl level. The 2nd year player is one of the few recent draft picks Mike Tannenbaum can really hang his hat on. If the Jets ever find an outside linebacker who can get into a quarterbacks’s zip code, watch for an explosion of stats by Wilkerson who will finally get to deal with less double teams. Put it this way, if you were playing the Jets wouldn’t just triple Wilkerson and let Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas and their 7.8 forty yard dash times run free at the quarterback?
LaRon Landry – Not a “young player” but somebody who is making a strong case to be brought back in 2013. Landry isn’t without his flaws (occasional lapses in coverage and missed tackles) but on the whole he has brought a needed playmaking element and physical attitude to the Jets backend.
Initial reaction to the New York Jets win over Arizona and their decision to bench quarterback Mark Sanchez
The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals played arguably the ugliest football game of the 2012 NFL Season. Ultimately the Jets escaped with a 7-6 win but the story is Rex Ryan’s decision to finally bench Mark Sanchez…in favor of Greg McElroy. Considering how today’s game was going, Rex had no choice and there is no going back now. Sanchez is like The Sopranos…it is over…find a new show.
From the first play of the game when he threw a brutal interception, Sanchez looked completely lost out there. The team was lifeless with him and the game was there to be taken, thanks primarily to Ryan Lindley being the worst quarterback to ever take a snap in the NFL (10/31, 72 yards, 1 INT!). Making the switch to McElroy brought a shot of life to the offense, which promptly scored a touchdown. Outside of a back shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley to convert a third down, McElroy didn’t make any special plays. Yet, he steadied the offense and brought a much needed energy to the huddle.
There is no need to go crazy and crown McElroy as the next Joe Montana after a 5/7, 29 yard performance (which the New York media will inevitably do) but for right now, he can protect the football and manage a run heavy offense. The Jets were effective with the 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell (12 carries, 58 yards) and Shonn Greene (24 carries, 104 yards) and had an encouraging performance from Stephen Hill who had 5 catches. This is still not a good football and a team devoid of talent on offense but they should be able to compete, if not win their remaining four games.
Big picture – There is no reason not to stick with McElroy at this point. It is very clear the Tim Tebow trade was 100% a PR move orchestrated by Woody Johnson. Rex Ryan never had an interest in playing him. Mark Sanchez looks completely finished as a New York quarterback. Mentally and physically he looks defeated. There is no going back to him. See what McElroy can do with these last four games and if he could be a viable competitor next summer for an open quarterbacking job with a veteran who is brought in. At this point, it is worth wondering if the Jets will eat Sanchez’s guaranteed money and just get him off the roster in 2013.
This was an important day for Rex Ryan, who finally held Sanchez accountable for his poor play. It was likely too late and there are still major issues all over this roster…don’t allow a 7-6 win over a terrible team make you forget that. Regardless, Sanchez’s time as this team’s franchise quarterback is now officially over.
A look at why the New York Jets have never adequately addressed their porous pass rush
Among the phrases I most frequently utter during a New York Jets game, “We really need a sack right here. When is the last time we got a sack?” is high up on the list. It isn’t just the 2012 version of the Jets who are awful at getting after the quarterback, it has been a recurring trend on the Jets over nearly the past decade. Did you know the last Jets player to register double digit sacks in a season was John Abraham in 2005 with 10.5? The last time the Jets had a double digit sack guy, Brooks Bollinger was throwing passes to Doug Jolley! Since then here are their sack leaders in each respective season –
2006 – Bryan Thomas – 8.5 sacks
2007 – David Harris – 5 sacks
2008 – Calvin Pace – 7 sacks
2009 – Calvin Pace – 8 sacks
2010 – Bryan Thomas – 6 sacks
2011 – Aaron Maybin – 6 sacks
2012 – Bryan Thomas – 2.5 sacks
Wow, that is a depressing list. It is even more depressing when you share the city with the New York Giants and Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora are having 4-5 sack games each season. This list shows the Jets haven’t had anybody anywhere near a feared pass rusher in 7 full years. Why hasn’t this team properly addressed their pass rush in so long?
After Abraham was traded, the Jets had so many other holes to fill (sound familiar) that pass rush was generally ignored. They lucked out and got the most productive season of Bryan Thomas’ career in 2006 and promptly rewarded him with a large contract, figuring he was finally reaching his first round potential now that he was paired with Eric Mangini. Guess what? 2006 turned out to be an outlier/fluke and Thomas was back down to 2.5 sacks the following season.
After 2007, the Jets decided to finally get their needed pass rusher by selecting Vernon Gholston with the #6 overall pick. Swing and a miss! Gholston never recorded a NFL sack and is out of the league. This selection marked the beginning of the end of smart drafts by Mike Tannenbaum, who would add to bust-trophy case with Vladimir Ducasse, Kyle Wilson, and now likely both Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene.
In 2008, the Jets looked to remedy their previous two mistakes by giving big money to Calvin Pace who did get 15 total sacks between 2008 and 2009…good not great. Pace also was suspended the first four games of the 2009 season and missed the first four games of the 2010 season due to a foot injury. Since that injury, he has never been the same player.
2009 and 2010 saw complete ignorance of pass rushers. Many figured Rex Ryan could turn Vernon Gholston into a reclamation project, which never happened. Meanwhile Pace and Thomas’ skills continued to deteriorate while no adequate long term replacements were brought in. Instead they tried a stop-gap help with Jason Taylor in 2010, who ended up being one and done with the Jets.
Even in the 2011 draft when the Jets drafted defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in the first round, he wasn’t taken under the expectation of being a double digit sack guy…ends in 3-4 schemes don’t put up those kind of numbers. The Jets didn’t even bother to spend a middle or late round pick on an outside linebacker. They were fortunate to get 6 sacks out of Aaron Maybin who was brought in off the scrap heap. Instead of looking to the fill the need this past off-season from outside the organization, they decided to be content with just bringing Maybin back and hoping first round pick Quinton Coples could provide an interior pass rush.
Unfortunately, Maybin turned out to be a one trick pony who was cut after 8 games this year. He recorded 0 sacks and 1 tackle in those 8 games. Coples has shown immense talent but is frequently double teamed inside with Wilkerson because nobody respects Pace and Thomas (yes those same two are still here) coming off the edge.
So what happened? The Jets guessed wrong about Thomas being able to sustain his success heading into 2007 season. They guessed wrong with Gholston in the 2008 Draft. They thought a little too highly of Pace in 2008-2010 and gave Maybin too much credit heading into this year. All personnel mistakes and poor self-scouting…a recurring trend with this team.
After this year both starters, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas will be gone, offering the opportunity to fill two long standing positions of need for this team. The Jets MUST find competent pass rushers to get the most out of their first round picks, Wilkerson and Coples, who are on the cusp of being special players but need less attention consistently being given to them. Outside linebacker needs to be addressed once or twice in rounds 1-3 by the team in this year’s draft and in the free agency/trade market. This defense will never reach their potential unless this is handled properly.
Turn On The Jets dips into the mailbag to answer your questions about the New York Jets heading into week 13
(Because aren’t you tired of pictures of Rex Ryan or Mark Sanchez at the top of these articles?)
Welcome to the Turn On The Jets mailbag, where we will go through your questions on the New York Jets among other things. We are going to try to make this a somewhat regular thing. Questions can be sent to JoeC@TurnOnTheJets.com, on Twitter or Facebook. Let’s get into it –
John Lavin – “Do you think Mike T and Rex will be fired in a full-clean house or will Rex make the cut?”
Personally, I think it is the right decision to fire Mike Tannenbaum and keep Rex Ryan. However, I am concerned about Woody’s personal relationship with Tannenbaum clouding his judgement. At this point and this is subject to change pending how the last five games go, Tannenbaum will likely be demoted to a more salary focused position with another football personnel guy brought in to work alongside him. Rex will probably be back in 2013 but will once again need to fire his offensive coordinator and this time find one who has a 21st century offense. And for God’s sake, could he find Sanchez a new quarterback coach?
Brandon Wood – “Do you think Mark Sanchez would play better with a team that has less pressure from the media and fans?”
I think Mark Sanchez would play better on a team with NFL caliber receivers, a capable running back and a very good line…like he did for parts of 2009 and all of 2010. Yet, it is fair to question at this point if the New York market has finally worn him down and if he wouldn’t be better served in a market like Arizona, Kansas City or something like that. Sanchez has the skill set to be a successful NFL quarterback but a change of scenery could do him good if he continues to struggle like he has this season.
J Bones “How do you rank this disaster of a season with our past disasters?”
An interesting and painful question to contemplate. The Jets expectations weren’t that high coming into this year so few people could claim to be shocked by a 6-10 or 7-9 finish. It is really the ass-fumbling way the Jets are losing games this season that is making it feeling disastrous. That New England game was one of the three or four most embarrassing losses in recent Jets history. However, season-wise I’d say 1999 was more of a disaster after seeing a Super Bowl favorite’s season go down the drain in week 1 because of a ACL tear. The Favre meltdown was a worse disaster because you could have argued the Jets were the best team in football after beating New England and an undefeated Tennessee team on the road before going 1-4 down the stretch to miss the playoffs. The 2005 team was awful and completely devoid of talent (much like this team!) so that compares as well.
Sean L Durham – “Is it likely that the Jets dump GM Mike Tannenbaum and shake up the coaching staff but let Rex remain as HC or is everyone going to pay for the Thanksgiving Night Massacre including Rex? Also, what’s your thoughts on possibly trading players like Revis and Harris away for extra picks?”
Unfortunately the Thanksgiving Night Massacre didn’t happen late enough in the season to have the true “clean-house” effect that it should. Can’t you see the Jets winning 4 of their last 5 against their terrible competition, finishing 8-8 and the day after the season press conference opening something like this?
Woody Johnson – “You know looking at everything and after talking to Mike about it…we were 8-8, only 1 game out of the playoffs and that was without two of our best players all season. You put Revis and Holmes in there and who knows what happens? So we don’t really feel that far away. I don’t see any major changes necessary.”
Mike Tannenbaum – “Let me just hop in here and say we’re happy to have Woody’s support and feel that with a few tweaks here or there, we can be right back to being a playoff team.”
(Meanwhile Jets fans across the tri-state area break their respective laptops and televisions).
In all honesty, if I had to bet on it today – I’d say it is most likely that both Tannenbaum (in some capacity) and Rex are back.
In terms of trading away valuable players for picks, I don’t think that is a bad approach. The Jets aren’t in a great salary cap position and the Revis negotiations could get ugly. There wouldn’t be anything that crazy about trading him for a first and fourth round pick and taking the extra cap space…actually it would probably be a smart idea considering how awful this entire roster is right now. You won’t find a trading partner for Harris because he is the most overpaid player in football right now.
Jason DeBoer – “All of my coworkers are Patriots fans. How do I make it through yet another Patriots playoff season? How can I keep up with the water cooler talk?”
What god-awful place do you work at? There is nothing worse on this planet than Patriots fans or Boston fans in general. If you are living in the greater New England area, move. You don’t want your children eventually raised in such surroundings. If you don’t live in the greater New England area, where is this secret office of hellish misery? Can you put the company out of business? If you succeed, we will hire you here at TOJ (both college credits and Shake Shack gift cards offered! No 401K yet though).
Your best approach would be to remind them how the Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since they were caught…you know…cheating. Also remember there is a good chance they are all no-knowledge front-runners who couldn’t tell you who the team’s quarterback was before Drew Bledsoe. If that doesn’t work, avoid the water cooler in January and watch this on repeat at your desk while laughing to yourself like a crazed maniac…that should keep them away!
Ryan Lynch – “Can you speak on how to improve in the draft. Tanny drafted well with Mangini. Why not Rex?”
The Jets need to improve their scouting and personnel department from the top to bottom. Anybody who voted to take Kyle Wilson in the first round and Vladimir Ducasse in the second round should immediately be hunted down and fired. Tannenbaum/Mangini had two very good drafts together in 2006 and 2007 yet people tend to overlook the stink bomb they dropped in 2008 when they took Vernon Gholston with the #6 overall pick and traded into the first round for Dustin Keller, who is pretty good but has never been a Pro-Bowl caliber player. After that they completed missed on Erik Ainge, Marcus Henry and Nate Garner (although he would eventually see some PT with the Dolphins). They did find Dwight Lowery in that draft but traded him for no good reason before the beginning of last year.
With Rex at his side, the 2009 and 2010 drafts are looking like complete disasters but the 2010 and 2011 drafts could still have hope of being half decent. Some of the blame goes to Rex but more goes to Tannenbaum and the personnel department, which for some reason still has Terry Bradway in a prominent role. You remember Bradway…the guy who traded a first round pick for Doug Jolley and a second round pick for Justin McCariens? The guy who traded up for Dewayne Robertson? The guy who took Mike Nugent in the second round?
My suggestion is to fire Tannebaum. Fire Bradway. Gut the personnel department and look to start stockpiling picks. No more leaving the draft with 3-5 players. Walk out with 8-10 and don’t cut 3 of them before the season starts (see: this year).
Peter – “You against drafting a guard/tackle in the first round?”
No, not at all. Pro Football Focus rates Austin Howard as a bottom ten tackle in the league right now and Matt Slauson has been generally terrible the past year and a half. It depends on where the pick is and who is on the board. The Jets have so many holes that they should just be picking the best player available at their spot…just not a defensive lineman…for God’s sake no more defensive lineman!
Early thoughts on the New York Jets week 13 match-up against the Arizona Cardinals
A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 13 match-up against the Arizona Cardinals, where the over/under shouldn’t be higher than 10 points.
1. This has the potential to be an epically awful offensive football game. Rex Ryan’s defenses generally perform very well against rookies and inexperienced quarterbacks. Remember what they did to Andrew Luck earlier in the year. Ryan Lindley is about 1/5th the player Luck is and is coming off a 4 interception performance against St. Louis. The Cardinals also have a dreadful offensive line. Basically if the Jets can’t feast on this offense, Rex might need to hang it up.
On the other side, Arizona is strong at all three levels of their defense. They have been consistent all season and don’t forget this is a team that just intercepted Matt Ryan 5 times in a single game. Linebacker Daryl Washington is one of the league’s best. Patrick Peterson is one of the top young corners in football and Calais Campbell with be a handful up front. Ex-Jet safety Kerry Rhodes will also be looking to stick it to his old team and Rex Ryan who called him out as being “too Hollywood” in his book. (Remember when Rex Ryan could write books about his success?)
2. Antonio Cromartie going against Larry Fitzgerald should be a fun match-up to watch, except I’m not sure if Ryan Lindley can get the ball anywhere near Fitzgerald to make it interesting. He was 0-6 last week on passes attempted to him that were over 10 yards. Outside of Fitzgerald, Andre Brown is the type of mediocre receiver who will have a career day working against Finger Wag Wilson and Ellis “Let’s Leave Welker Alone In The End-Zone” Lankster.
3. The tickets for this game are going as low as $18 right now, which means they could conceivably be under $10 by kickoff. It is officially now more expensive for me to go to Shake Shack than a Jets game. IT’S GO TIME!
4. It would be nice to see Stephen Hill start building some confidence heading into next year. Hopefully, Mark Sanchez can get him a few easy catches and maybe take a shot or two down the field to him. He should see a ton of reps because it appears doubtful that either Clyde Gates or Chaz Schilens will play. Fellow rookie Jordan White could also be in line for extended reps.
5. Considering how poor Arizona’s offensive line is, how about a sack or two from Quinton Coples this week? He hasn’t had one since week 5 against the Colts.
6. If the Jets can’t win this game…against a team on a 7 game losing streak…at home…on a 10 day rest. 4-12 might be on the way.
The New York Jets need to be accountable for their mistakes and begin the process of gutting their team
When you watch that type of performance from a football team on a national stage with their season on the line, it begs the simple questions “What happened? What went wrong? Who is to blame?” Yet, we’ve seen this movie before the past two years. The Jets had a chance to be a playoff team last year but were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles, a non-playoff team. They then lost by 15 to the New York Giants and ended the season with a loss to another non-playoff team, the Miami Dolphins. In 2012, it has been more of the same. In a pivotal game against Miami, who is currently 4-6, they were blown out on their home field. Then last night…well you saw what happened.
Since their December win in 2010 against Pittsburgh, the New York Jets don’t have a single impressive regular season win on their resume. What they do have on their resume is a collection of blowout losses. Three losses by 17 or more last year. Five losses by 17 or more this year…and counting. This isn’t a one game issue, a one mistake issue, or a one player issue. This is an organizational failure that is the product of poor personnel evaluation and a lack of accountability.
The 2010 Jets were a very good football team who won 11 games and a beat a 14 win New England team in the playoffs on the road. They laid an egg in the first half of the AFC Championship Game, which cost them a trip to the Super Bowl…the first in a series of recent Rex Ryan coaching blunders. But how does a team that talented so quickly fall?
Look at the 2009 draft now in retrospect. Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson were the only players they left that draft with. Three players. How do you build depth like that? Sanchez is clearly a game manager who can succeed if he is protected by a strong running game, talented skill position players and a very good defense. He is not built to carry a team. This was abundantly clear after 2010. Poor self-scouting led the Jets to believe otherwise, so they decided to proceed in 2011 with a three receiver base offense that was going to be pass heavy and neglected building around Sanchez.
Greene was a third round back who was effective after a defense was worn down by a quality starter like Thomas Jones or LaDainian Tomlinson. This wasn’t a first round back who had a skill set that was off the charts. He was a one-dimensional downhill runner. What did the Jets do heading into 2011? Make him their “bell-cow” back who was ready to receive 20+ carries every week. Poor self-scouting. Slauson was good enough to beat out Vladimir Ducasse and that was it. He started by default because a 2010 2nd round pick busted. Yet, the Jets didn’t replace him heading into this year. Poor self-scouting.
Now look at the 2010 draft, which is maybe the worst draft class in recent NFL history. The Jets left with four players…again no opportunity to build depth. Kyle Wilson. Vladimir Ducasse. Joe McKnight and John Conner. Think about that. Kyle Wilson is a below average nickelback, never-mind starting NFL corner and the Jets spent a first round pick on him. When you draft a corner in the first round in 2010 and you already have Darrelle Revis, you would think you wouldn’t be chasing Nnamdi Asomugha the next off-season and then settling on giving a big contract to Antonio Cromartie. But the Jets did. Ducasse can’t play in the NFL. Not at guard. Not at tackle. Not anywhere. The Jets replacement plan for Hall of Famer Alan Faneca was Ducasse…poor self-scouting. Conner was a one-dimensional fullback who brought nothing to the offense and the Jets already had Tony Richardson. So now you are carrying two fullbacks, including one who is useless…poor roster management. McKnight is a good kick returner and has potential on offense but can’t stay healthy.
Two poor drafts made worse by poor self-scouting set the table in a big way for the current issues. However, don’t forget the ill-fated chase for Asomugha. Remember, the Jets could have just re-signed Cromartie and they would have been fine. Instead they needed the “name” and they needed to be in the Asomugha chase. They lost and had to pay Cromartie an even bigger contract in the long run as “apology money.” What was worse is that in the process of going after Asomugha, they guaranteed money on contracts for Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to free up cap space, players on the downside of their career. They also went cheap at wide receiver and offensive line, ignoring the necessity of keeping talent around Sanchez and receivers that he had built chemistry with.
They began paying the price last year and are really paying it now. Scott and Pace are past their primes and aren’t equipped to start in this league anymore. The Jets didn’t want to pay Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery or Brad Smith. They went “name” and got Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason on relatively low cost deals. They floundered and now the Jets are starting from scratch again at receiver. The “plan” to replace Damien Woody and Alan Fancea was Ducasse and Wayne Hunter. Poor self-scouting by planning on handing jobs to two incompetent players.
Where does this leave them now? A mess. Below average players weighing down the cap with bloated contracts. The Tim Tebow trade was a PR-stunt to distract attention from a roster with glaring holes all over the place. Rex Ryan isn’t built to handle adversity like this and seems at a complete loss on how to handle such an untalented team. You can’t bluster wins which is what he is trying to do. He knew this team lacked talent but couldn’t talk down expectations because that’s not who he is. He also failed by hiring Tony Sparano to coach his offense, foolishly sticking to the “Ground and Pound” theory in a league that is moving away from that trend.
The logical move is to fire General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and completely rebuild the personnel department. Let your new GM improve the scouting, let him make a decision on Rex and the quarterback position. Let me oversee the gutting of this roster, which should see the departure of the following starters: Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Matt Slauson, Austin Howard, Shonn Greene, Lex Hilliard, and Brandon Moore.
There is no half-measure solutions. This roster needs to be turned over completely and rebuilt through strong drafts and wise decisions in free agency. There are a few scraps on this roster who have long term potential who will be useful moving forward (Muhammad Wilkerson, Jeremy Kerley, Quinton Coples, Demario Davis to name a few) but beyond that it is burn to the ground time.
You can’t get away with poor drafts and poor scouting in the NFL. The Jets are now a textbook example of that.
The New York Jets bottomed out on national television tonight
That has to be as bad as it gets, right? You couldn’t write a script for a more embarrassing performance on national television. Tonight was a large exclamation point on how far the New York Jets have fallen since their appearance in the AFC Championship Game only two seasons ago. Tonight was a large exclamation point on the overwhelming lack of talent on this football team.
There is no mystery. There is no in-season solution. The Jets are a bad football team who lacks talent at every single position. The failure is widespread and starts at the top. In a perfect world this will lead to Woody Johnson taking a hard look at his personnel department, deciding to gut it by starting with the firing of GM Mike Tannenbaum and then go from there. Unfortunately in the Jets world, they will finish 7-9 and use the injury excuses for Revis and Holmes instead of making any major changes.
That would be a shame. This team lined up for their first play tonight with Clyde Gates, Chaz Schilens, Jeff Cumberland, Lex Hilliard, Austin Howard and Matt Slauson on the field. They had Jason Smith ready to play major reps off the bench. Their play calling was ludicrously unimaginative and predictable. On defense, their lack of speed at linebacker is at comic proportions. They had Ellis Lankster trying to cover Wes Welker! Ellis Lankster!
Sloppy. Poorly prepared. Mentally weak. Embarrassing. Untalented. Those are your 2012 New York Jets. Mark Sanchez sliding into Brandon Moore and losing a fumble was a perfect microcosm of this team’s season. They deserve the ridicule. They deserve the GIF images of that fumble on every site. They deserve the butt of every joke this year. They are the Chiefs. They are the Browns. They are the Jaguars.
Destroy and Rebuild it. Any trace of those 2009 and 2010 teams are gone. There is no Ground and Pound. There is a mediocre offensive line blocking for mediocre backs with a mediocre quarterback throwing to mediocre receivers. There is a slow defense who can’t stop the run or sack the quarterback.
12 predictions for the New York Jets Thanksgiving Night game against the New England Patriots
The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back with a very special Thanksgiving batch of predictions for Jets vs. Patriots. I am spending the holiday with my mother’s side of the family (The Jets fans side…the slightly crazier side…and ultimately the side I probably most resemble as a person, oh well) so it should it make for an interesting day of excessive eating. The beauty of Italian Thanksgivings is that turkey is never enough. No…no…no there needs to be nine different courses that hit every major unhealthy food group.
We have the 12:30 kickoff with antipasto (salted meats, cheeses and shrimp…damn it there’d better be shrimp). Followed by pasta (with a meat sauce of course!), ham (unnecessary excessive meat usage), and then of course a deep fried turkey. As if that won’t be enough to kill me by 6 PM, I’m sure I’ll eat two cannolis on the ride into MetLife and then promptly die when working my way up to Section 317. The air is so thin up there that Ryan Clark wouldn’t be allowed to sit in my seat.
I could only hope I have enough energy to combat the inevitable group of Patriots fans in the section next to me decked out in their freshly bought Chandler Jones jersey and holding up a “YO SOY FIESTA” sign despite neither Jones or Rob Gronkowski playing. These are the guys who were booing Adam Vinateri (who won them two Super Bowls) last week even though Stephen Gostowksi is kicking at somewhere around 37% this year. “VINAWTERRY??? WICKED BUM, YA COULDN’T SPLIT A SAM SUMMER ALE WITH THAT HARDO AT A BAR IN DAW-CHESTAH. NOW WOODHEAD? THAT’S MY KINDA GUY. BET HE SPENDS OFF-SEASONS WATCHING BRUINS GAMES IN QUINCY”
Anyway (did I get sidetracked there?), on to the predictions…
1. Tim Tebow will play less than 5 offensive snaps in this game. Yet, he will see approximately 49 minutes of camera time on the network broadcast. Thank god I will be in the stands and the only Tebow reference I will see is the guy ten rows in front of me wearing a Florida jersey and holding up a “PUT IN THE FOOTBALL PLAYER” sign.
2. Both Dustin Keller and Jeremy Kerley will have another big game against the Patriots secondary. They will combine for 170 yards receiving and a touchdown between them.
3. Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight will combine for 35 total touches on offense. Look for Powell and McKnight to be active in the passing game as checkdown and screen options.
4. Wes Welker is going to have a big day, leading the Patriots in receptions, receiving yards and getting into the end-zone.
5. Tom Brady will throw for at least 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However, he will be sacked once and turn the ball over once.
6. Mark Sanchez will throw for 225-250 yards with a touchdown. He will have at least one turnover. His completion percentage will be 55% or higher.
7. The Jets special teams will avoid any catastrophes.
8. Stevan Ridley will have less than 70 yards rushing. Danny Woodhead will less than 50 yards of total offense.
9. Brandon Lloyd will have another quiet game. Aaron Hernandez will have at least 4 catches for 60 yards. Julian Edeleman will make at least two big plays for the Patriots offense.
10. Whether it comes on special teams or offense, the Jets will attempt some type of trick play.
11. Chaz Schilens will see much more playing time than Stephen Hill and make a couple of important third down catches.
12. The New York Jets are going to give us a little (likely misguided) late season hope with a 27-24 upset of the New England Patriots. The defense will be put in position to make a late stop and this time they will come through. Foolish optimism? Maybe. But I think the Jets have this upset in them.