Chris Celletti with his weekly rant and Best Bets selections for Divisional Weekend
Let’s say you’re looking for a job as a restaurant manager, and you have offers from two different owners. Restaurant #1 has been a successful establishment in the past. It’s located in a high traffic, affluent area. The appliances were just purchased two years ago and are in perfect working order. The already-in-place staff is reliable – the waiters are friendly, the cooks are solid and not to mention, the hostess is quite gorgeous. Then there’s Restaurant #2.
Restaurant #2 is located on a meandering, desolate road. The nearest businesses are a porn shop and a gas station, both a mile away in opposite directions. There’s a shanty house across the street that everyone is pretty sure is a meth lab. The previous manager allowed the place to become filthy; the tables and chairs all need to be replaced and the appliances were revolutionary in 1986. Additionally, the owner is insisting on keeping his best friend as the head chef. And of course, the hostess looks like Melissa McCarthy.
Anyone in their right mind would choose Restaurant #1.
Restaurant #2 is the New York Jets.
The Jets aren’t exactly the outright embarrassment that a lot of fans and media want to make them out to be. But currently, they are a bit of a mess. It isn’t any wonder that their search for a General Manager is taking them a long time, and has them exploring paths that they had no idea even existed. There are only 32 General Manager jobs in the world, but the Jets’ vacancy is probably the least desirable for a few reasons:
— The owner has essentially taken the decision on coach Rex Ryan completely out of the hands of who its supposed to be in, the General Manager. By making Rex a fixture in the organization, you are shrinking your pool of realistic candidates. Additionally, you’re telling any potential candidate or anyone that you coax into an interview that the entire football decision making process isn’ t up to them – that they’re going to have an owner over their shoulder ready to jump in and make a move at any moment. This is not the way to go about business.
— The team is in salary cap hell. A true rebuilding job that will take a full season or two is needed. Some general manager candidates would love this opportunity – it’s a chance to prove they can correctly gut a team and build it from the ground up. If you can prove yourself by doing this, you’ve secured yourself a job in NFL front offices for as long as you want. But the best way to do this is a complete system overhaul and that includes the entire coaching staff – yes, Head Coach too. The Jets have made up their mind on head coach already, and the financial situation is dire.
— The team has no quarterback. They are not in position to draft a no-brainer franchise quarterback like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. The right executives might be able to guess correctly on a mid-round quarterback, a la Russell Wilson (the draft is a total guessing game, especially with quarterbacks) but that’s no guarantee. Either way, with Mark Sanchez and his gargantuan contract in tow, the most important position in all of professional sports is in total shambles. Ask any free agent GM – they’d give up every corner, safety, pass rusher, receiver, lineman, coach, trainer and tee kid if you give them a legitimate quarterback to start with. Having no quarterback means you’re in NFL quicksand, and the Jets are just about up to their chin at this point.
This is why the Jets are looking at people like Jim Popp and Omar Khan. Who knows (certainly not me)? Just as you can unearth a great player off of someone else’s scrap heap, the Jets might strike gold with whoever they hire as their next GM.
But as with every head coaching hire the team has made since Bill Parcells left, the best you can say is “We’ll see”. Nobody knew what Herman Edwards was going to be like as a Head Coach. Nor Eric Manigini, nor Rex Ryan or Al Groh, or Joe Walton or Walt Michaels or Pete Carroll. When somebody has never been an NFL Head Coach or an NFL General Manager, you just never know. The Jets will soon likely hire somebody who has never been a General Manager at this level. So when you read the articles saying “The Jets Were Right in Hiring (insert name here)” or “Clueless Jets Hire (insert name here)” take it all with a grain of salt.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard “Eric Mangini is the right man for this job”, or “Rex Ryan will be the Jets’ Bill Cowher” or things to that extent. Eventually, the Jets will get it right. They’ll guess right on the Next Great Coach/GM. Maybe they’re about to do that with whomever they choose in the coming days. It just would be nice, for once, to know you’re in the hands of a winner.
And now, the picks for this weekend’s Divisional Games after going 1-3 against the spread on Wild Card Weekend:
Baltimore (+9.5) at Denver – I like the Broncos to win but this is a big spread. Eventually we’re going to have a few close playoff games, right?
Green Bay (+3) at San Francisco – The Packers are winning the Super Bowl.
Atlanta (-3) vs. Seattle – Matt Ryan is overdue to win a playoff game.
New England (-9.5) vs. Houston – We’re headed for a Manning/Brady AFC title game. The only way Jim Nantz could be any more excited is if they move the game to Augusta National and Phil Mickelson refs.
Bonus Non-Football Bet of the Week – Do you think there’s any chance Ben Affleck wins the Golden Globe for Best Director, making up for his snub in the same Oscar category? He’s at +150