While listening to my fellow Jets fans whether through conversation, forums or sports talk radio they often reference the same several personnel “mistakes” the Jets have made over the past few years causing the team severe harm.
Kind of like watching the presidential debates just saying it doesn’t make it true. Here is a list of the four most popular myths regarding decisions the Jets made which have been detrimental to the team:
1) The Jets should never have gotten rid of running back Thomas Jones:
While Jones had some very memorable moments with the Jets and was a quiet leader, Shonn Greene was handling the bulk of the running back duties during the 2009 playoffs as Jones was dealing with a knee issue. Many fans point to the Greene’s injured ribs during the AFC Championship against the Indianapolis Colts as a turning point in that game as Jones, forced into a full-time role, was not playing up to his usual level.
The Jets wanted to re-work Jones 2010 salary, something he was unwilling to do, so they released him. Jones would eventually sign a two year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs while the Jets signed veteran running back LaDainian Tomlinson to replace the departed Jones.
Both the Chiefs (10-6 AFC West winners) and the Jets (11-5 Wildcard) made the playoffs during the 2010 season but neither team made the playoffs in 2011, Jets (8-8) – Chiefs (7-9).
Here are the 2010 regular season statistics for both Tomlinson and Jones:
- Tomlinson: 914 yards rushing (4.2 Avg) / 52 receptions for 368 yards.
- Jones: 896 Yards rushing (3.7 Avg) / 14 receptions for 122 yards.
- Tomlinson: 280 yards rushing (3.7 Avg) / 42 receptions for 449 yards.
- Jones: 153 Yards rushing (3.1 Avg) / 5 receptions for 43 yards.
While Jones was a fan favorite and played hard the stats would show the Jets got more production out of Tomlinson and releasing Jones was not a mistake. Both players retired after the 2011 season.
2) The Jets shouldn’t have released guard Alan Faneca:
Signed before the 2008 season Faneca was considered to be the best free agent guard available at the time. He had previously played 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a major upgrade to Adrien Clarke who had a miserable 2007 season starting at left guard eventually being benched.
After two seasons with the team the Jets decided to release Faneca, 33 at the time, after he had a mediocre 2009 season allowing 6.5 sacks. A training camp battle between second year player Matt Slauson and rookie Vladimir Ducasse to replace Faneca followed with Slauson winning the job.
The Jets finished 11th in the league that season in total offense, 4th in rushing, allowed 28 sacks, and made the AFC Championship game for a second straight year.
Faneca signed a one year deal with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 which turned out to be his last year in the NFL.
3) Jets should have never released wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery:
While Cotchery is a “gamer” his numbers had steadily declined and had 41 receptions for 433 yards during the 2010 season. The Jets began to look at alternatives at wide receiver and it seemed Cotchery would have an even more limited role in the offense, so he asked to be released. The Jets granted the request allowing Cotchery to pursue other opportunities. He was acquired by the Pittsburgh Steelers and, even with Ben Roethlisberger throwing him passes, has 20 receptions for 279 yards in 19 games.
4) Jets should have kept fullback Tony Richardson:
While the Jets have had some transition at the fullback position as John “The Terminator” Connor has recently been released, replaced by Lex Hilliard, Richardson will be 41 by year’s end and retired after the 2010 season.
It was revealed in the HBO football reality show “Hard Knocks” there were questions if age was finally catching up with Richardson as he was on the roster “bubble”, although he did play out the 2010 season.
Richardson had an excellent 16 year career and was a good team leader but he appeared not to possess the athletic ability once had and the Jets are better off with Hilliard who has double the rushing yards in 4 games than Richardson had during his last season and is 12 years younger.
The fact is the Jets are better off today by moving on from these players than if they had stayed with the team. Leadership is often used as a reason the Jets should have kept them but results on the field lead to wins and you can’t keep players who do not perform up to the level of their replacements just for leadership because eventually new leaders will emerge.
So, Jets fans please stop bringing up these points when criticizing the Jets personnel moves because the myths are just not valid.