New York Jets: A Letter To Woody Johnson

Turn On The Jets writer Mike Donnelly with a letter to New York Jets owner Woody Johnson

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Dear Woody Johnson,

Hi Woody, I hope this letter finds you sooner rather than later. My name is Mike Donnelly (@TheMikeDonnelly) and I’m a long-time diehard Jets fan that has spent more money than I’d care to discuss while supporting this team. I’m writing you because I–along with many other Jets fans that I’ve spoken with–have some serious concerns about the direction of our beloved franchise after the overflowed clogged toilet of a season we just witnessed in 2012. I can’t say I speak for all Jets fans, but I’m almost positive that most of them share many of the same concerns as I do.

I know you’re a busy guy and everything out there doing whatever billionaires do, and I respect that, so I didn’t want to bother you before the season. I thought things were headed in the right direction, but I did write a letter to your General Manager, Mike Tannenbaum, about some of these concerns and apparently he never got around to reading it. It’s too bad too, because if he had heeded my advice in August, a lot of this mess could have been avoided. You should ask him about it (Don’t worry, we’ll get to him later).

Anyway, I first wanted to say that I think you get an undeserved bad rap from a lot of Jets fans (and the media) and I wish more people would understand that since you purchased the team in 2000, there has been a lot more good than bad. We’ve seen 8 winning seasons, 6 playoff appearances, 2 trips to the AFC title game, and an overall winning record in 13 seasons. There are plenty of NFL franchises that would sign for that right now. People act like the Jets are a major joke, but in reality we haven’t been since your predecessor, Leon Hess, was running the show. So I commend you for that.

Plenty of people also accuse you of only caring about generating headlines and not caring about the success of the team on the field, but I know that’s not the case. I know you care about this team and want a Super Bowl victory just as badly as we do. My concern though is that you don’t exactly know how to go about accomplishing that, and that’s a bit of a problem. Sure, the headlines and an occasional splashy player acquisition are nice, but that alone is not going to get the job done. Fans–specifically PSL season ticket holders–are getting fed up with the direction of the franchise and feel like we’ve all been sold a bill of goods in an effort to get us to pony up our money for a below average product, and that’s unacceptable. So Woody, I’m here to give you some help. Follow this 5-Step Plan and we can get back to discussing the Lombardi Trophy soon, and hell I might even consider buying one of your $110 Jets sweatshirts that are comically sold in the stadium.

1. Fire Mike Tannenbaum – By fire, I mean fire. Make him unemployed. Have him update his resume to say his tenure with the Jets ended on Monday December 31, 2012. I made my case for his firing repeatedly. Do not re-assign him in the organization to manage the salary cap or negotiate contracts and weasel his way into any decision making meetings, or any of that nonsense, like you did with Terry Bradway. Fire him. F-I-R-E. Fire. No more Mike Tannenbaum. He did plenty of good for this organization early in his tenure, but at some point he evidently lost his mind. I think he started to believe his own hype tanny rainand thought he could just easily fix holes as they popped up without a long-term plan since he was so much smarter than everyone else, when that was not the case.

That’s how we ended up with things like Greg McElroy throwing a pass to Mardy Gilyard while Vlad Ducasse blocks for him. There has been a lack of a plan from high up in the front office for quite some time now, and that needs to change. It’s no secret that his contract negotiations with several players during his tenure have been contentious and many have flat out accused him of lying to them. It’s time to cut bait and establish a new culture in the front office. So one more time: Fire Mike Tannenbaum. Fire, not reassign. And while you’re handing out the pink slips, make sure you slip one in Terry Bradway’s mailbox as well. That brings me to point two..

2. Hire a Legit Football Man to Be GM – Don’t go soft here and promote somebody from within like Scott Cohen. Don’t hire Joey Clinkscales, who was here in charge of our college scouting the past few years when we had awful drafts that brought us players like Vernon Gholston, Kyle Wilson, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Vlad Ducasse, and John Conner. And please, don’t even consider a complete buffoon like Scott Pioli. We need a forward thinker in this role going forward. Someone who can truly evaluate talent and build a complete roster. The two best candidates out there as far as I can tell would be Mike Maccagnan of the Houston Texans and Eric DeCosta of the Baltimore Ravens. Both have shown an ability to find solid players in the draft and develop talent. Hiring Maccagnan would go a long way toward getting our team back on track. The next step would be making sure you have the right Head Coach to coach up the players our new GM brings in, and that’s part 3, which fortunately will be very simple…

3.  KEEP REX RYAN – See how easy this one was? We already have our Head Coach, and he’s a very good one. There are plenty of fans out there who dislike Rex Ryan and were seemingly waiting for this day to come so they can start bitching and moaning and try and push Rex out the door because “He talks too much!”, which is asinine. Do not listen to those morons. They just want to get a new coach in here so they can start counting down the days until they complain about that one and get him fired so they can say “I sure wish we still had Rex here!” Those are the kind of people who call into Mike Francesa’s show and wait 45 minutes just to agree with him and so they can say “circus” on the radio.

Does Rex talk too much? Maybe. Who cares. I’m more interested in you know, winning games, which Rex has done plenty of prior to this season. He’s been our most successful coach in 40 years, and people want him fired? Please do not listen to them. Make it known Rex Ryan is our coach and do everything you can to get the “real” Rex Ryan back. Make him happy, get his mojo going, and let’s see his bravado again. Rex is a great leader of men and the players love playing for him. Yes, he deserves some blame for what has gone on here, and I think he fully understands that. He’s rex and norvstill growing into his role as Head Coach and he’s more than earned another crack at this thing. He’s perhaps the best defensive coach in the NFL, and he just needs some help on the offensive side of things, which is part 4 of the plan here. Fortunately for you, this part is also pretty simple..

4.  Fire Tony Sparano and Matt Cavanaugh, Hire Norv Turner – Yes, Norv is a complete joke as a Head Coach, we all know that. But there is no doubt he’s an elite offensive coordinator and quarterback developer, which is something we have not had here in… umm… well, in a long time, let’s just say that. So Sunday night when the game in Buffalo ends, and the Chargers game against the Raiders comes to a close, it’s clear what you have to do. Have a meeting with Rex and tell him he’s safe. Hand him the phone and tell him to call Norv Turner and ask how much money he wants to come and be our offensive coordinator. Whatever number Norv says, just go ahead and add a zero to it and make sure he’s on the next plane to Florham Park. While Rex is on the phone wooing Norv, you can make some calls of your own to inform the following people that their services will no longer be required: Mike Tannenbaum, Terry Bradway, Matt Cavanaugh, Tony Sparano, and Dave DeGuglielmo (who is a complete and utter embarrassment). That’s what I call a productive meeting.

5. Avoid Michael Vick. I know it’s going to be hard for you to resist the flashiest quarterback name available this offseason, but you have to do it. In addition to him being a bag of garbage as a human being that will cause a good percentage of fans to never even give him a chance, there’s also the little matter of the ex-convict not being a good football player anymore. Throw in his likely high price tag, and it’s really a poor fit in every way. You’re not going to pay Mark Sanchez $18 million to not play for the Jets next year, so he’s most likely going to be here. Get a smart veteran QB in here who can play and let him and Sanchez battle it out for the starting job next year. It’s not the sexiest option, but it may be the only realistic one. Let’s face it, Tom Brady is not going to be here next year. Nor will Aaron Rodgers, any of the Manning siblings, or Robert Griffin III. We have to make the best of the situation. Plenty of Jets fans would be more than fine with someone like Matt Moore here managing games, we don’t need a big name. If our new General Manager fixes up the offensive line a little bit, re-signs Braylon Edwards, and gets a new starting Running Back, the offense is not that far away at all with Norv Turner running the show.

So there you have it, Woody. Follow those 5 steps and this team can get back on track pretty quickly. I know you care about this team and want to see victories just as bad as we do. I truly believe the team is not that far away from being where we were in 2009 and 2010, and with a few smart moves we can even possibly take that next step. And don’t worry, in the coming weeks I’ll be more than happy to write your new General Manager a letter or two as well and give him some help on who we should be looking at in the draft. Rex Ryan may have said there’s no bigger Jet than him the other day, but believe me… there are plenty of us Jets out there that bleed green, and we just want the best for our beloved football team. I hope this letter finds you soon and you consider what I’ve written. Mike Tannenbaum obviously didn’t read his, and look where he is now. Thanks for your time, and go Jets!

Sincerely,

Mike Donnelly & Jets fans everywhere

Turn On The Jets Week 17 NFL Picks

The TOJ staff gives their picks for week 17 of the NFL Season

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The Race for Steak continues. Considering how in flux the lines are this week, we are going straight (PK) for week 17. The picks will continue into the playoffs next week as well. 

CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Rob Celletti (129-104-7)

2. Chris Gross (121-112-7)

3. Mike Donnelly (118-117-5)

4. Chris Celletti (117-117-6)

5. Joe Caporoso (102-131-7)

Joe Caporoso

Last Week (6-9-1)

  • Buffalo (PK) Jets
  • New England (PK) Miami
  • Baltimore (PK) Cincy
  • Indianapolis (PK) Houston
  • Tennessee (PK) Jacksonville
  • Eagles (PK) Giants
  • Washington (PK) Dallas
  • Chicago (PK) Detroit
  • Minnesota (PK) Green Bay
  • New Orleans (PK) Carolina
  • Denver (PK) Kansas City
  • San Francisco (PK) Arizona
  • Seattle (PK) St. Louis
  • Atlanta (PK) Tampa Bay
  • San Diego (PK) Oakland
  • Pittsburgh (PK) Cleveland

Mike Donnelly

Last Week (6-9-1)

  • Cincinnati
  • Pittsburgh
  • Houston
  • Tennessee
  • Giants
  • Jets
  • Chicago
  • Tampa Bay
  • New Orleans
  • Denver
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Green Bay
  • New England
  • Dallas

Rob Celletti

Last Week (6-9-1)

  • Bills over Jets
  • Patriots over Dolphins
  • Ravens over Bengals
  • Texans over Colts
  • Jaguars over Titans
  • Eagles over Giants
  • Cowboys over Redskins
  • Bears over Lions
  • Packers over Vikings
  • Saints over Panthers
  • Broncos over Chiefs
  • 49ers over Cardinals
  • Seahawks over Rams
  • Falcons over Bucs
  • Steelers over Browns
  • Chargers over Raiders

Chris Celletti

Last Week (6-9-1)

  • Falcons
  • Bills
  • Ravens
  • Bears
  • Texans
  • Saints
  • Eagles
  • Steelers
  • Titans
  • Broncos
  • Packers
  • Patriots
  • Chargers
  • Seahawks
  • 49ers
  • Cowboys

Chris Gross

Last Week (8-7-1)

  • Falcons
  • Bills
  • Bengals
  • Steelers
  • Lions
  • Jaguars
  • Eagles
  • Saints
  • Texans
  • Packers
  • Seahawks
  • Patriots
  • Broncos
  • Chargers
  • 49ers
  • Cowboys

New York Jets – Of Course Mark Sanchez Is Starting This Week

Of course the New York Jets are starting Mark Sanchez this week

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For some reason many people were surprised at Rex Ryan announcing that Mark Sanchez is going to be the New York Jets starting quarterback this Sunday in Buffalo. At this point, nothing related to the Jets quarterback situation should surprise anybody. Greg McElroy has a concussion? Maybe. He was sacked 11 times on Sunday. It is understandable if he held off telling the coaching staff until this point as he knew this could be his last chance to start a game for awhile. Sadly, you could argue that it is equally as feasible that the front office told Rex Ryan to find a way to sit McElroy and get Mark Sanchez one last start. Who knows at this point?

With McElroy out of the picture, it becomes a no-brainer to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow. Why? Look at both their contracts. Look at both their situations. Tim Tebow isn’t coming back next year. He isn’t going anywhere but Jacksonville, whether it is via trade of a late round pick or simply being released and signed by them. There is nothing to gained from having him start from the front office perspective.

Mark Sanchez is owed over 8 million dollars next year. He could stay or go, depending on who is in charge. If he plays well, maybe he builds some confidence heading into a quarterback battle with a veteran next year. If he plays well, maybe it is a little easier to convince some team to take him for a 7th round pick if the Jets agree to pay the overwhelming majority of the contract. If he doesn’t play well…what else is new?

There is no reason for an uproar either way. It doesn’t matter if Sanchez or Tebow plays well on Sunday because it is a meaningless game against an awful defense. Anybody who puts any stock into a performance, good or bad, from Sunday’s game is a fool.

So enjoy one last spin on the circus carousel because come Monday the firings begin. The only thing Jets fans should be rooting for right now is for Mike Tannenbaum to get fired, not reassigned. Who cares about Sunday?

4 Years Later, 3 Similar Problems Plague New York Jets

TJ Rosenthal on the New York Jets being plagued with 3 of the same problems they were back in 2007

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The New York Jets flipped the script from self-pitying losers to Super Bowl contenders during Rex Ryan’s first two seasons. As the 2012 season has slipped into oblivion, though, warm fuzzy feelings related to how the honeymoon originally felt, have become harder to conjure up. It has become fashionable nowadays, as the 6-9 Jets close their season on Sunday, to question whether the club is better off now than it was four years ago. When Woody Johnson replaced Eric Mangini and Brett Favre with Ryan and Mark Sanchez. Three major issues still plague the Jets. What type of head coaching persona best fits the team going forward, who the QB should be, and how the Patriots can be toppled.

Many people forget that Mangini was once perceived as the “Mangenius.” A brilliant Bill Belichick disciple during his first season (in 2006 when the 10-6 Jets returned to the playoffs after a 4-12 year under Herm Edwards in 2005) whose rigid, secretive, and stoic ways only became a detriment when the Jets crashed late in 2008.

Ryan then came barrelling through the doors in 2009 as the loud, brash, AFC Championship-level coach. A made for media character seemingly prepared to lead the organization out of it’s “Same Old Jets” mentality permanently. His present-day state as the humbled, neutered uber-loyal figurehead, has some diehards who all once loved him, wondering if he is the right man for the job going forward.

With reports surfacing now that the Jets are already searching for a new GM to replace Mike Tannenbaum, the Jets will once again be staring down a predicament they faced in early ’09 regarding the HC postion: What type of mindset, X’s and 0’s approach and personal skills best fit a model that aims for long-term success.

In 2008 out of nowhere, Brett Favre replaced Chad Pennington at quarterback in training camp. The shotgun wedding with the future hall of famer started out beautifully, but ended in disaster. As the 8-3 Jets fell victim to a stubborn Favre. Whose undisclosed arm injury left the club (that eventually fell to 9-7) hostage to a consecutive game streak that Favre refused to relinquish.

The Jets were happy after that late season crash to let Favre head to Minnesota. Mark Sanchez then became the franchise quarterback and instant starter after being selected in 2009.  After a modest yet victorious start that began with a 4-2 playoff record in just two seasons, Sanchez’s career has gone from promising to second string.

With or without a new GM calling the shots, the Jets, as they did following the Favre experiment, appear ready to finally give up on the notion that Sanchez can guide them without challenge for years upon end. A new starter for the Jets in 2013 almost seems like an inevitability at this point.

Then there are the Patriots. In ‘08 the Dolphins shocked many by winning the AFC East. This thanks ironically both to Pennington’s guidance as the new Miami QB, and something the innovative Dolphins called the Wildcat formation. That anomaly of a year aside, the Pats have been the NFL’s most successful regular season team for over a decade. As well as the biggest thorn in the Jets side. Having won the division in ten of the last twelve years.

They are 11-4 this year. With a legendary head coach in Belichick who is as motivated to win as he was when he first left Bill Parcells and the Jets at the podium in back 2000, in order to rejoin Robert Kraft in Foxboro.

The Jets and Ryan believed that by now, they would be the ones in the penthouse. So much for wishful thinking. Soon the  Jets will again assume the unenviable role of having to view their own their parts based on what it will take to overtake Brady and Co.

After the Buffalo game ends, the GM question is answered, and the Tim Tebow error is dealt with, the Jets will have to answer the same three key problems they had hoped to solve in January of 2009. “What type of coaching style best suits us now, who should be the quarterback, and how do we finally take down the Patriots? “

New York Jets – Waiting For The Insanity To End

The final days of the New York Jets 2012 season cannot pass fast enough

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There are plenty of bad football teams in the NFL this season. There are teams with worse records than the New York Jets despite having more talent. There are teams who have gotten blown out or been less competitive on a more frequent basis than the New York Jets. Regardless, it is hard to fathom another situation where the season ending will be greeted more happily than this organization and their fan-base.

Rex Ryan press conferences, once entertaining highlights throughout the week of winning seasons, have turned into bumbling, confusing explanations about quarterback depth charts and activation theories. Rex and the rest of the Jets staff is coaching like they don’t expect to be back next year. How else do you explain young players and rookies being glued to the bench in meaningless games? How else do you explain the complete discord between the staff, the front office and even the offense and defense?

The Jets franchise has devolved into “everybody save themselves” mode, as they all desperately try to shift blame and save their jobs. It is sickening to watch such a lack of organization, discipline and vision. As we have previously alluded to, there are no half measures when it comes to fixing these kinds of problems. They require a reevaluation of direction and a fresh set of eyes on the roster.

A clean break doesn’t mean bringing Bill Parcells back for a consulting role, since he has previous working relationships with Mike Tannenbaum and Terry Bradway. Bring in somebody fresh and hungry to prove themselves as a personnel evaluator and General Manager. Mike Maccagnan from Houston was the right idea, just give him the freedom to do the job without Tannenbaum’s interference.

This organization desperately needs to move past the Tim Tebow circus sideshow act. It needs to move past Mark Sanchez who was set up to fail the previous two years and did just that in spectacular fashion. The old faces from the 2009 and 2010 AFC Championship Game runs need to be sent packing: Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller and if possible Santonio Holmes among others. Rex Ryan might have to go as well, that needs to be strictly the call of the new General Manager. Right now, Rex doesn’t carry himself like somebody who believes he will back next year or even really wants to be back at all.

The Jets finish up their season in Buffalo this Sunday in a glorified exhibition game against another disappointing team from their division. Yet, the real entertainment will be in the following days. When will the end of season press conference be scheduled? Who will even run it? How many days until Tony Sparano is fired and who from the offensive staff will get the ax with him? It will be an active January of speculation and hopefully front office/coaching staff turnover from the Jets, likely supported by endless anonymous quote stories ran in the Daily News. The only hope is when the dust settles, there are more competent decision makers in place.

This is an obviously critical off-season for the Jets, where a cleaning up of the salary cap needs to take place while attempting to begin the process of starting to fill the numerous holes across the roster. The team will have a top 15 pick in the first round and a pick in every round after that. They cannot afford early round misses and need to find immediate contributors, likely on the offensive line, at outside linebacker and at running back. In free agency, they are going to have to hit with smart, low-cost deals.

The most important thing the Jets do this off-season will be finding a way to improve their self-scouting, which of course means getting people like Tannenbaum and Bradway away from decision making. No more mistaking Shonn Greene for a lead back. No more mistaking Wayne Hunter for a starting right tackle. Look at the roster, find the capable pieces and build around them, while cutting ties with the rest.

New York Jets – No Half Measures

The New York Jets can’t take any “half measures” when it comes to rebuilding this off-season

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Jason La Confora is reporting the New York Jets are starting the process of acquiring a new General Manager. Good news, right? Wrong. Woody Johnson apparently wants the new GM to work with Mike Tannenbaum who will be demoted to a salary cap management type position. Not surprisingly, no credible candidates are interested in such a foolish arrangement.

I love writing and sometimes that leads me to carry on when writing about this team but let’s keep this succinct today, since it is the holidays and this situation is so idiotic it doesn’t deserve that many words.

Making Mike Tannenbaum strictly a salary cap specialist is like making Mark Sanchez a quarterback coach. He has destroyed our salary cap by giving Sanchez arguably the worst contract in sports right now. He has no merit for this position.

No GM that you want running your football team, like Houston’s Director of College Scouting Mike Maccagnan, who has been approached is going to have any interest in this type of power sharing arrangement. As our source has stated all season, Woody and Tannenbaum have a close working relationship and no GM who will want Tannnbaum looking over his shoulder on every move.

Why can’t this organization just flat out fire anybody? Former GM Terry Bradway was just demoted into scouting after an awful tenure, where he could continue to hurt the Jets with his poor personnel decisions. Former Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton, who was awful at his job was only demoted to linebackers coach. Current quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh stil hasn’t been fired for some ungodly reason. You need to fire ineffective people. Get them completely out of the building.

The Jets are a disaster right now. Woody Johnson can’t be that blind not to see that. The solution is simple. Fire Mike Tannenbaum. Fire Terry Bradway. Fire Tony Sparano. Fire Matt Cavanaugh. Allow the newly hired GM to make the decision on Rex Ryan and go from there.

Happy Holidays everybody!