By DARRYL BLAIN
This week there was a Monday Night Football game played in East Rutherford and prior to kickoff it felt just like any other Monday nighter. There was a huge concert in Times Square featuring names like U2 and Bruce Springsteen, a packed house, hours of over-done pre-game coverage on ESPN—you name it. To the unknowing, it was business as usual.
But to the Jet faithful it was just a big to-do for another week of baffling, seemingly unending errors by a team that can’t get out of its own way.
Sure, the game started off well enough. It was actually exciting for the first half. It was even neck and neck until the very end when the Jets predictably fell just short of a win once again. However, in the midst of a season like this, to actually be worried about the outcome of a game like that is an exercise in futility.
Believe it or not—and most people don’t realize it—this moment in time for the franchise represents a very significant turning point that will determine its successes and failures for the next few years. There are three very important and undervalued questions that are going to be addressed before next season that will seal the fate of this team, and they are three questions that in recent history have been answered poorly and have led to the downfall of the Jets.
First and foremost: who will the Jets select with their very high first round pick in April’s draft?
Consider this: Since 2000, Gang Green has drafted a mere two skill position players (Santana Moss, Mark Sanchez), neither of which is still with the green and white. You could very easily argue that neither were worthy of their first round status. The biggest knock on the team in its recent history has been the lack of depth at skill positions. Consider that of the last fifteen Super Bowl Championship teams, eleven of them either drafted or traded on draft day to get their winning quarterback (and one that didn’t was the Rams/Kurt Warner, and they signed him as a free agent to kick off his career anyway). Translation: it is key for the Jets to find their man (as if the importance of a good quarterback isn’t stated enough) and the draft is a great way to do it when you are sitting on a top five pick.
Decision number two: what to do with John Idzik, and if not him, who?
If angry fans with money to burn on a Route 3 billboard are any indication of how Jets Nation feels (don’t crucify me for that term Francesa), then Idzik’s days are numbered just like Mike Tannenbaum before him. What do the two of them have in common (other than their sad tenures as general managers of the Jets)? They are both considered money-oriented managers as opposed to people with a football background making decisions based off their experience from the game. Again we’ll look at the recent Super Bowl champion general managers, because what better way to obtain success than to model yourself off those who have already achieved it?
John Schneider of the Seahawks was a scout in his early day and has held multiple front office positions in player personnel hierarchy before he reached the top. Ozzie Newsome for the Ravens has two Super Bowls as GM and is a Hall of Fame player, so I need not say more about him to make my point. Jerry Reese of the Giants has two Lombardi trophies of his own and he’s a former player, scout, and coach as well. The list goes on and on.
Decision number three: Who is going to coach this team?
I’m asking this question simply because I believe that Rex Ryan is more of a dead man walking than an extra on AMC.
There doesn’t seem to be as much of a clear-cut formula for selecting this one, but one thing is very certain: he must have a strong offensive background and knowledge on how to stretch the field with a solid passing attack.
The season is way past lost, and the Jets may be playing a tough brand of football to watch for the near future, but it’s still time to watch closely.
The future of the Jets depends on it.