by Michael Mici
The Jets begin their on field journey towards The 2006 season today when rookies report to minicamp.
It is supposed to be a day of new hope and promise. So in typical Jets fan fashion, here I am taking The Jets out of contention before the season has even started. This time, this declaration has more to do with logic than negative fanaticism.
The odds are heavily against The 2006 New York Jets. Outside of a few extremely positive jets fans, reality is starting to set in that The 2006 Jets are not ready to contend. There is too much working against them.
Expectations have to be low for The Jets in 2006. When The Jets faltered in 2005. It wasn’t a mere hiccup on The Jets trail towards winning a super bowl. The team crashed and burned. The Jets, we have come to know the last 9 seasons are dead. The Jets have been a contender going into every season. In 99, 2003 and 2005. Things fell apart that prevented The Jets from contending in those years. But in 2005, The Jets we have known crashed and burned. As respectable of a run as it was the last 9 years, The Jets fell short of building a championship team and a new team must be put together.
A new era has begun with Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum taking control of The New York Jets. Everything is pointing towards 2006 being a struggle for this franchise as they start over with a new direction and look for new leaders.
The facts are the facts and even the most positive of Jets fans must recognize these facts.
The Jets have a rookie head coach, a rookie offensive coordinator, a rookie defensive coordinator and a coaching staff that consists of a lot of young and unproven coaches. It’s a relatively new staff with a rookie general manager up top. They are all installing new schemes and working with each other for the first time. Does this look like a staff that is ready to take over the league in 2006?
On the field:Â There are so many question marks and it’s an unsettled situation right now. The Jets are an extremely young team. On offense, The Jets starting QB for the last few years has been Chad Pennington and no one on the team is a bigger question mark than he is. He’s going to be challenged by a talented player in Patrick Ramsey who has yet to prove that he can be a consistent and quality starting quarterback in this league. The Jets feature running back, Curtis Martin is at the end of his road as a player. The Jets collection of wide receivers and tight ends can only be considered as above average at best. The Jets offensive line figures to be really good down the road but how much can be expected out of two rookies on the offensive line in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. All these players will be playing in a new scheme with new coaches.
On defense, two of the Jets most accomplished players are gone in John Abraham and Ty Law. The Jets are installing a 3-4 scheme for many players who have never played in it. Several of The Jets projected starters on defense seem to be square pegs being fitted into round holes. Jonathan Vilma inside in a 3-4, Dewayne Robertson at NT in the 3-4 and Bryan Thomas at OLB in the 3-4. It’s an unsettled situation that may take time for players to gel and for the coaches to find the right pieces for the new scheme.
2006 is like a test year for The Jets new regime. It’s about finding the players that fit for the future and those that don’t. This process has to take place on the field before the team can even begin to move forward.
This is the last thing that Jets fans want to realize. Especially after years of suffering and waiting for this team to win a championship. The Jets are coming off a dreadful and disheartening 2005 campaign that produced 4 wins. Going into last season, the expectations were extremely high. It all fell apart and now a new model must be built.
The 2006 season is really about setting up building blocks for the future.
Will Jets fans have the patience and faith that their new regime is going to eventually put this team in the right direction for the future? The way things are set up right now. The Jets are going to have to take a step backward before they can even begin to go forward.