By Tyson Rauch
There is a saying from Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells that always rings true when evaluating NFL teams; “You are what your record says you are.” After a 4 and 12 season the Jets are one of the worst teams in the National Football league from top to bottom.
As with most fans in the NFL, Gang Green’s following are a loyal bunch sometimes blinded by green colored glasses. In order to win in the National Football league it starts with the quarterback play and winning the battles at the line of scrimmage. At this point the Jets need improvement from top to bottom because as of right now they are no better off than the others teams that finished at the bottom of the standings. Think this is too harsh? Compare the Jets to the other teams that finished with comparable records.
Quarterback: The New York Jets handed over the reigns to Kellen Clemens, a young quarterback still learning the ropes of the NFL. The early results were fair but without a full offseason under his belt and reps as a starter in training camp he can be considered an unknown. Other than Clemens the Jets have Chad Pennington who at this point in his career is a valuable backup quarterback at best due to his inability to stretch the field and beat quality defenses. Compare this situation to the Oakland Raiders (Russell), Dolphins (Beck), Falcons (nobody), Ravens (Troy Smith) and Chiefs (Croyle) and there is not much of a difference.
Offensive Line: The Jets used 2 1st round picks on the offensive line and at this point only one has really stood out and that is Nick Mangold. Other than Mangold the line play has been shoddy at best and routinely lost battles at the line of scrimmage. The struggles at the line of scrimmage created challenges establishing a running game or keeping the quarterback standing upright and resulted in points scored per game of 16.8. Compare this number to the Dolphins (16.7), Falcons (16.2) and some eyebrows could be raised.
Defensive Line: Gang Green brought in some new faces but the results remained the same in 2007. Several times the defensive unit struggled to stop the running game leaving themselves exposed to the passing attack. The Jets ranked 29th against the run compared to the Chiefs (28th), Raiders (31), and Dolphins (32) another sign that is not promising.
So as you can see there are several similarities with the Jets and their poor record counterparts. So the next question is how do you improve the situation that you are in? Well that is in the hands of the front office and ownership.
Ownership: The ownership has to be willing to spend the money to acquire the staff and personnel to improve the talent base of the organization. In the past organizations like the Jets (under Woody Johnson), Falcons, Raiders, and Chiefs have not been willing to spend big time money on accomplished coaches but would rather take chances on less heralded coaches which would come cheaper. Names like Gunther Cunningham, Jim Mora, Bill Callahan, Al Groh, Herman Edwards and Art Shell do not win championships. Sometimes an owner can be penny wise and dollar foolish when it comes to hiring his front office staff and the lack of Super Bowl rings prove that.
Front Office: In addition to the coaching staff you need to have a proven front office staff that has expertise not only in managing the cap but acquiring top- level personnel. Any team can spend up to the cap limit but it is the quality of personnel that you bring in that matters.
The teams mentioned above fall in that category from the signings of John Abraham to Joey Porter to Randy Moss to Kenyon Coleman, Andre Dyson and Bryan Thomas. The more money wasted on players the less you have to spend on guys that can actually improve the team, not rocket science here. Who was the last game breaker the Jets spent money on?
So Jets fans, the next time you laugh at the other teams struggling in the NFL, there is an expression you should remember: “Those that live in glass houses should not cast stones” or something like that ?
Parting Shot: At the last game of the season the NY Jets decided to not serve alcohol. The reasons vary but the bottom line is that the Jets ownership once again treated its fans like jacka$$es. But this is nothing new from Woody and his boys as their track record is consistent. From continuously raising ticket prices for a team that has not won a Super Bowl in almost 40 years, to charging fans to be on a waiting list, to blocking off the players parking lot area where young fans used to meet their favorite players (but sign up for the Jets credit card and you get autographs), the results are always the same.
Way to go Woody, do not worry you will get your wish in two years. The stadium that you share will only hold your corporate buddies as you will have either priced out your fan base or alienated them.