by Tyson Rauch
Now that the off-season has begun lets take a step back and evaluate the state of the New York Jets. The fans appear to have mixed feelings about the direction the team is heading so maybe it is easier to break it down into sections.
Front Office/Coaching: The Jets have hired a young and inexperienced coaching staff to mold together with Mike Westhoff, Jimmy Raye and Bob Sutton. The head coach does not have much experience in game management, time management or game planning. The same can be said about both coordinators. The Jets have promoted a general manager that has limited personnel experience. He is being asked to rebuild the team along with the new head coach who at the same time is new to roster evaluations. I know the Jets wanted to clean house and start fresh but is this not pushing it a little?
Offensive Personnel: It is no secret the Jets are in a bind with the quarterback situation as the status of Chad Pennington is unknown. The bigger problem is that the offensive line is comprised of aging veterans that are commanding big salaries. If the rumors are true the Jets will be replacing at least 2/5 of the offensive line. With limited cap money, the replacements will either come via the draft or be of the bargain basement variety. That being said it seems like the quarterback situation is a lose/lose scenario. If Chad somehow restructures and comes back, who is going to protect him? If Pennington is released the new quarterback is going to come in and take a beating back there. Throw in aging Curtis Martin with limited protection and it looks like it could be torture watching the Jets offense. Is there a positive I am missing?
Defensive Personnel: The Jets have some valuable commodities on defense including Jonathan Vilma, John Abraham, Shaun Ellis and Dewayne Robertson. The problem is that 2 of these 4 drastically underachieved last year and ended up on the injured reserve list at the end of the season. The third member, John Abraham, has been franchised by the Jets and is thought to be trade bait, as the Jets do not want to make a long-term financial commitment to him. John Abraham is the Jets only legitimate pass rusher and proven game breaker. So in order to replace Abraham the Jets will have to use either the draft or a bargain basement free agent to do so. The new head coach is thought to be a defensive genius so this may not be a problem, but I was always taught you cannot make mountains out of molehills.
I know these scenarios are over simplified but does this situation not scare anyone? There is rebuilding and there is overhauling. It seems that this Jets team is in the beginnings of a complete overhaul and could have some years like the Titans have been having, in order to get out of it. The only difference is that the Jets have put all of this responsibility into the hands of men that have never done it before. I was all for having Herman Edwards replaced and trying to change the direction of the team, but I think the Jets have taken it to the extremes. Is the grass always greener?