By Kristian Dyer
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Mike Westhoff nailed it: What a mess.
Speaking to WQAM radio in Miami on Friday morning and again on WFAN this afternoon, the retired Jets special teams coordinator blasted his old team for how they handled Tim Tebow this season. The Jets were supposed to revolutionize football this year after they acquired Tebow, supposedly utilizing him in various roles to take full advantage of his unique skill set.
Instead, Tebow honed his ability to carry a clipboard and look supportive in embracing starting quarterback Mark Sanchez after any one of his 18 interceptions.
Westhoff called the handling of Tebow “a mess,” but the use and implementation of Tebow is endemic of the problem around this Jets team. There was no thought process into bringing aboard Tebow — it was merely another pretty thing for the Jets to grab and then let collect dust. When Tebow was brought in, there was no viable plan for how to use him.
That same philosophy is now on display in the Jets’ search for a general manager. While there is no rush to name a replacement for Mike Tannenbaum, there also isn’t a vision in the type of person to replace him.
What has permeated around Florham Park, N.J., the past four seasons is an attitude of quick fixes and patches — not anything sustainable.
The Jets have failed to build a team without substantial contributors from the NFL draft since Rex Ryan became head coach in 2009. And while it may be unfair to blame this on Ryan, it surely has hurt him the past two years. The Jets have a strong enough core in place that they won’t be an awful team every year, but this year proved that when injuries come, the Jets don’t have the talented, young depth in place to sustain themselves and keep winning games.
Instead, the Jets relied on fill-ins and players who couldn’t hack it elsewhere. It is amazing that they finished as well as they did at 6-10, because much of the talent they had at the skill positions on offense was what no one else in the league wanted.
But like the Jets when they traded for Tebow with no idea of how to use him, they must now know the type of general manager that they need, and the hodgepodge of a search right now shows no clear-cut plan. What the Jets need in a general manager is a man who is not afraid to make the tough calls and who will let a player walk when the asking price is too steep. He has to stand up to an owner that wields too much influence over player personnel matters.
The next time a Tebow becomes available, this new general manager has to look at the possibilities with calmness and a clear-cut plan on how to utilize such a player. If not, then he should simply move on.
But that takes forward thinking and that takes a plan, something the Jets haven’t had for a while and don’t seem to have right now.
In March when the Jets traded for Tebow, they trumpeted his athletic ability and how he would help them change a game with his dual skill set. But specifics were always lacking and instead he languished on the sidelines, despondent and a publicity stunt rather than a contributor. The Jets may have ruined Tebow’s career with their lack of vision in not just their inability to use him properly, but just by trading for him in the first place.
Now with their general manager search, they had better hope that they don’t ruin their franchise with more lack of vision.
Will the Jets be in a better position at the start of next season than they were at the end of this season? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below…