Schwartz: If I Owned Jets? Start From Scratch, Fire ‘Em All!
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By Peter Schwartz
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Thanks to Cablevision, I was spared having to watch Sunday’s 28-7 loss to the Seahawks. So while I was listening to the game on the radio while laying down on my couch, I drifted off into deep thought.
If I won the lottery and bought the Jets from Woody Johnson, what would I do?
It’s simple. I would hit ctrl-alt-delete and start from scratch. The Jets are a mess right now and I would want to exterminate the stench that has permeated through the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. I would get rid of everybody from top to bottom and treat my newly purchased team as an expansion club.
Nobody would be safe, from general manager Mike Tannenbaum to head coach Rex Ryan; from the marketing department to the public relations department; from the people who sell tickets (insert your own joke there!) to the guys who mow the practice fields.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are some good people who work for the team, and I would allow them to re-apply for their jobs — like the guys who man the security gate at the Jets’ complex.
I like them. OK, I might not even fire them!
During my little trip to “Machu Picchu,” I decided that if I owned the team, there would be a commitment to being first-class from top to bottom. It would be a model franchise with a top-notch football operations department, which would assemble a roster that could compete for a Super Bowl.
Make that multiple Super Bowls!
Of course, after I emptied out all of the offices, I would still be stuck with the players already on the roster. But that would be the concern of the person hired to replace Tannenbaum.
Let’s be honest: he has to go. Tannenbaum is the first person I’d escort out the door.
Tannenbaum was named GM in 2006 and actually got off to a good start by selecting future All-Pros D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold in the first round and Leon Washington in the fourth round.
Mr. T also deserves accolades for trading up in 2007 to take Darrelle Revis with the 14th overall pick and then moving up in the second round to take David Harris.
But things went south from there.
While many have reported that the pick of Vernon Gholston was the choice of former Jets head coach Eric Mangini, that selection is on Tannenbaum’s resume. Yes, he also traded up to take Dustin Keller in the first round, but the Gholston pick turned out to be a colossal mistake.
In 2009, after hiring Ryan as head coach, the Jets traded up to take Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick. Despite two trips to the AFC Championship game, the jury is still out there. In 2010, New York’s first-round pick was Kyle Wilson with Vladimir Ducasse taken in Round 2.
Those two guys have turned out to be abysmal selections.
Tannenbaum picked Muhammad Wilkerson in 2011 and Quinton Coples this year.
He has not done a good job with this roster after back-to-back trips to the final four. He’s jettisoned a lot of good players and quality people but didn’t adequately replace them. Clearly, the draft record is not very impressive and the Jets need to go in a different direction.
That brings us to Ryan. I really like him and I think that he can be a good coach, but if I’m bringing in a new GM, that guy is going to want to bring in his own people. So Rex has to go unless the new head of football operations feels Ryan should be retained.
The Jets need to recapture the imagination of their fan base. And while winning games is the cure-all in most cases, I’m thinking that I have to go out and find the best person to run the business side of things. I don’t know much about Neil Glat, who Woody Johnson hired this past offseason as team president, but I would have to find someone who would pump some life back into that side of the organization.
Media relations is not something that Jets fans care about, but they should. The media is the conduit between the team and the fans as that’s where the Gang Green faithful get their information from. In recent years, the Jets have not had a great relationship with many members of the media.
Quite often, beat reporters have been angered by the lack of player availability. There have been many times where few players have made their way into the locker room during media access periods. This is a by-product of the culture that the Jets have created — and I think it has to change. The fans need to hear from the players, and the team has to make sure that it happens.
The Jets have some good people in media relations. But while I’m starting over fresh with my purchase of the Jets, I have no choice but to make changes there, too.
This may seem like a harsh way of reacting to Sunday’s game, but the Jets stink right now — top to bottom!
Everybody has to go!
And then … I woke up.
Unless I really do someday win the lottery, I’ll never get to implement my plan, so it’s up to Woody Johnson to do the right thing and start over himself. He needs to take a serious look at his organization and make some tough decisions.
I just don’t think he’s capable of doing that — and that spells trouble down the road.
Because as the saying goes: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
What a mess.
What kind of changes need to be made in Florham Park? Be heard in the comments below!