Implosion and the Jets
by, 10-14-2011 at 09:23 PM (1011 Views)
Back in August, I did my predictions for the playoffs. I left the Jets off. My main reasons for that were I felt the Raiders would be a shocking (to most) playoff team and that the Steelers would take WC slot 2. I, of course, had the Pats winning the East, so that leaves no room for the Jets.
Was my prediction homerism?
No. I didn't like the moves that the Jets were making with personnel. Now, let's be clear, I don't think that Rex has lost his locker room. I think that Tannenbaum has made numerous personnel calls that have eroded the morale and leadership of the Jets locker room.
And it began with Leon Washington.
Wait, you say, he didn't go this off season, he went the year before.
Yes, that's true. For those of you that don't follow the AFC East, Leon Washington played for the Jets for 4 seasons. Not a superstar, just one of those guys who did a lot of things well. Great, dangerous, special teamer. A gamer, if you will. Entering the last year of his rookie contract in 2009, he asked for an extension. The Jets said "We'll do it after the season." Leon agreed, and played, and broke his leg Week 7. IR. After the season, the Jets didn't even return his calls. He went to Seattle, where he played decently in spot duty. For the Jets, Leon was a leadership guy.
This bugged the Jets locker room, and there were some rumbles, but the Jets did well, and made it to the AFC Championship Game. However, as this happened the week after the "Most important game in Franchise History"* they lost.
Then came the lockout. This was not good for the Jets as they had a ton of free agents, including every decent wideout on thier roster.
Post lockout, they did the smart thing first and locked up Santonio Holmes.
Then they went after Namdi, to build a dream corner duo. They risked losing Cromartie, who while not anywhere as good as Namdi, is a decent corner.
But, what was worse, is that they told a ton of free agents to 'wait until Namdi is done' and then we'll talk. In other words "You don't matter to us as much as a guy not even on our roster!" Now, if they had gotten Namdi, that might have worked, but they didn't. OOOPS! And, where did it hurt them? On the weak side of the team, the offense.
Last year Jets wideouts/where they are this year:
Braylon Edwards: Stonehands had, arguably, his best season last year and was a solid #2. Jets/49ers.
Brad Smith: Much more important to the Jets then to his new team. Jets/Bills.
Jericho Cotchery: Leadership Guy. Long time Jet. Very popular with the fans and team. Jets/Steelers.
Who did they get to fill in a trio of under 30 WRs, all of whom had chemistry with Sanchez and who, more importantly, fit the Jets offense?
Plax: 36, coming out of 2 years in prison. I'm not condemning Plax at all, I think his jail time was bogus, and I salute Rex and Mike for recruiting him even before he went in. That said, he doesn't give you anything Holmes isn't better at.
Derrick Mason: 37. At best a slow possession receiver at this point.
They got slower, and less effective, in a season where they did not have off season programs to get in synch. And, when you have a QB who needs those underneath routes, you go out and get deep, down the field, guys. If they had gotten Randy (and, oh, with this locker room, I wish they had!), it would have made that worse. They traded younger guys who were great in thier system for older guys that were not.
But, then, they made an even bigger oops! They lowballed the oldest defensive veteran on the team, Sean Ellis. The same Sean Ellis who had had his best game in the life in the "biggest game in franchise history"! And, who did he go to? The Pats! Not only did they lose a leader, but he went to the evil empire, cause we paid him 4 times as much!
Now, all this might not have mattered if the Jets won.
But they didn't. Romo's meltdown saved them a week one loss, and then they smoked South Jacksonville High. But, then they had 3 losses in a row, to prospective AFC playoff teams (and any one of those losses could very realistically keep the Jets out of the playoffs.). They were manhandled by a Raiders team the Pats then demolished. Then, after the drubbing in Baltimore, the whispers began. Santonio's very correct assessment of poor play calling resulted in a very Unlike Rex World forced apology and rumors of Holmes/Plax/Mason talking to Rex about the offense.
And of course, we know what happened next. Plax seeing Mason working with the scout team leading into the Pats game, Mason being benched for the first half, then being dumped to Houston for a conditional 7th. (How much of a slap is that to Mason? He's better than a conditional 7th). Then Holmes tossing the Oline under the bus, and a guard responding.
If the Jets lose Monday night, and fall to 1-4 and fourth in the division (as Miami would have the head to head tiebreaker), I see this getting much worse. Tannenbaum forgot that sometimes intangibles do matter, and sometimes you keep a guy because he's solid in the locker room.
The Jets have lost too many, too, fast, and the comments by some of the Jets show that there is distrust of the front office at the very least.
And, I, as a Pats fan, love every moment of it!
As a football fan, though, I wonder why teams never learn this lesson...
*Rex actually called the divisional game against the Pats that. Apparently, Super Bowl III was less important to the franchise than a divisional round game. Maybe that's why Rex has coached the last 3 AFC championship game losers (Ravens as DC, Jets, Jets).