Dyer: ‘Ponzi’ Jets Falling Apart

Jets Need To Sort Out Their Weak Points This Offseason

By Kristian Dyer
» More Columns

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – As another Jets season closes, the slow march to another offseason of uncertainty and likely upheaval begins. It wasn’t supposed to end this way, though the Jets still have a glimmer of hope and must win on Sunday combined with Tennessee, Cincinnati and either an Oakland or Denver loss to capture a Wild Card berth.

At best, the Jets will finish 9-7 and for a third straight year be the sixth seed in the playoffs. Four months ago, fans and pundits were talking an AFC East title and possibly a Super Bowl appearance. Now, the Jets are planning to join the snowbirds in a warmer location and quarterback Mark Sanchez is upping the max on his credit card.

After all, Kate Upton awaits.

But the Jets need to consider their offseason shopping list, the job done in anticipation of this year by the Jets brain trust of general manager Mike Tannenbaum and head coach Rex Ryan was woefully inadequate. Praise was heaped on this duo for the Jets re-signing a number of their own free agents but the painful truth remains: the Jets stood pat while others around them got better.

And a sideways step in the NFL will often get you blindsided.

Santonio Holmes, the big name re-signing of the year who inked a five-year deal worth $45 million, is on pace to put up worse receiving numbers than last year, when he missed four games due to a league suspension. Eric Smith did nothing to justify his big number deal and Wayne Hunter has been the whipping boy for the failures of this season with a lackluster showing at right tackle. The only names who resonated among the deals made last August were linebacker David Harris and wide receiver Plaxico Burress.

Last year, they addressed needs and brought in a variety of talented veterans. Some moves worked, some didn’t but at least the Jets looked honestly at their roster to make moves.

Nowhere else on the field did the Jets make an upgrade, and it certainly didn’t come via the NFL Draft either.

They got limited contributions from two of their six draft picks in Muhammad Wilkerson and Jeremy Kerley. Two more in running back Bilal Powell and Kenrick Ellis had the majority of their time on the ineligible game day list rather than contributing anything of real lasting value on the field. And Scotty McKnight and Greg McElroy spent the bulk of their season injured.

In a league where return on investment means everything, the Jets were very much a Ponzi scheme.

They built themselves up to be winners before even a single snap; they were talking about their Vince Lombardi dreams and how this team was supposed to be the best they’ve ever assembled. After consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances, the next step was seemingly dead ahead. Instead, it was dead on arrival.

The Jets didn’t just achieve status quo this offseason, they regressed. Areas of need along the defensive line were not adequately addressed, the secondary didn’t add the pass protection safety it needed and the offensive line showed little depth. Instead, what emerged was a team that was top heavy and lacked the flexibility to adjust to a grueling 17-week NFL season.

Part of it is that the Jets, through their head coach, build up their players so much in the media with nothing but coddling remarks that they are oddly forced because of their on-record quotes to re-sign them as free agents. It is a vicious cycle and philosophy that finally came full cycle to hurt the Jets this year.

And it might get worse.

This team might be a tough sell for free agents this offseason, the luster now off these Jets just a little bit. Likely missing the playoffs for the first time under Ryan, he now looks a bit unhinged after a week of attacking the Giants and his bold predictions and bluster has now fallen flat. It’s only been hot air from Ryan since August, with no ring to back up the talk. Question marks exist at quarterback where third year starter Mark Sanchez hasn’t gotten better and the defense, two years removed from being the best in the league, appears to have been figured out by the rest of the league.

The Jets do have a core in place of talented players – there are three Pro Bowlers on this team after all and some of the pieces around this group are still on the right side of 30 – but many other players the Jets have counted on this year are quickly fading or just still too raw. Moves need to be made and now.

Sitting idly without an infusion of talent, much like this past year, would be just another year of regression.

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer

What are the Jets’ most pressing needs?  Share your thoughts below…

  • Rudy

    Tannenbaum has been given too much credit for his body of work IMHO is a Grade D. Revis, Mangold and Ferguson have been great picks however most of all the other talent drafted sy for at least 3 other players in Leon Washinton, David Harris and Brad Smith otherwise all of their other picks have been busts. Sadly we have given so many draft picks away and done such a poor job in drafting players that we will be unable to remain competitive as there are only so many players that you can fit under the CAP. It doesn’t help that your QB is one of the worst completion percentage QB’s 3 years running and that your starting RB doesn’t have the speed to make any big plays happen in the open field. Sadly we gave away most of our draft picks for a handful of players most of which should have never been drafted. Keller is a small TE who still can’t block, Kyle Wilson is a weak DB who is always out of position, Slausen can run block and can’t pass protect to save his life, Gholston like Blair Thomas a gigantic bust, Powell the RB is as slow as my grandmother, Countless number of WR’s who have been drafted and then released, Free Agent signings who have not come anywhere close to what they were paid a good example is Kris Jenkins who played less than 2 of 4 years and whom we gave away 2 draft picks to attain. I can go on and on especially with the FA busts that Tannenbaum has made during the infant years of his GM stewardship however he gets a pass by most Jet fans simply because he had one great draft when he chose Ferguson and Mangold however that was the best draft that he could muster as Keller cost the Jets 2 draft picks, Harris albeit he is very good also cost us 2 draft picks. Tannenbaum’s skills are in renegotiating players contracts and managing the CAP and other than those duties he should be shown the exit door however when you have a clueless owner it is less apt to happen. Yes the three stooges of the NY Jets Woody,Tannenbaum and Ryan should all be given an exit strategy from NY too bad Woody’s brother and sister gave in and let him have his heir fortune for if they said no all of NY would be in a far better place and for that matter the NY Jets may have stayed in Queens where they belong for they are the NJ Jets and anybody who disagrees with that statement need only know that most of their season ticket holders now hail from NJ.

  • A C

    Tannenbaum deserves major blame. For 2 years The Jets needed a pass rusher. None were drafted. For 2 years the Jets needed speed and better cover skills at safety. None were drafted. The defensive line had average talent. Few drafted. Receiver was a strength last year, so he drafted 2 receivers. Tannenbaum chases after too many stars. That corner cost us Brad Smith. Think of all those games where the offense was putrid. How nice would it have been to had the ball to Smith. He single-handedly has won many games for us out of the shotgun, like the Cincinnati game.
    He kept that knucklehead Holmes, while letting go the steady and reliable whenever trouble arose Jerricho Cotchery. Remember how many times Sanchez sought him on third down and he came through. Let us not forget the forgotton 80 yard bombs to Edwards in years past.
    Tannenbaum’s roster moves have been horrific. The Jets are an aging slow team. He must stop this infatuation with stars, get talent and keep his good productive players like Smith and Cotchery.

  • moose

    J E T S….Just End The Season…Again….

  • jr

    wow…great thesis, they are trying to please the crowds vs putting an excellent team on the field…lets see what enfolds..shotty has to be SHOT

  • Marshall G

    You are absolutely right. I am embarassed to be a Jet fan, and have been pushed to the limit after 50 yerars.
    The greatest need is fior this coach to take responsiblity for the failure this year. Didn’t he guarantee victory? Put up or shut up. This means the promise to resign if you don’t turn things around next year,. Fire the Offensive Coordinator Monday! (NO if, ands, or buts!). And stop the nonsensicle bather. You are viewed as a meaningless clown, who has never done anything! (lucking out in the playoffs 2 years in a row with another coach’s stars is not your accomplishment.)
    Get a saftey (actaully 2) who can play. The morron who signed Eric Smith to any contract should be let go. Eric Smith has been awful for ever. Watch the4 films. I can’t knock the free safety, but he now can’t run, because of age and injury.
    Find real offensive lineman. Hunter & Slausen are consistently bad, and it has hurt your inheriterd stars (Mangold & Fergeson).
    If your such a great players coach, get a pass rushing lineman weho wants to play for you.
    Overall speed on Defense would be real useful to your overated system, too.

    • Mo

      Please, use spell check and make a simple declarative sentence..It makes comments more enjoyable to read…

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live