Idzik's Neglect Has Ruined What Should Easily Have Been A Stepping Stone Season

By Jeff Capellini
WFAN.com

They never cease to amaze.

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The Jets have always owned the patent on inventive ways to lose, but Thursday night’s defeat up in Foxboro, Mass., was their most maddening failure in some time.

And considering this franchise’s résumé, that’s saying something.

With their 27-25 defeat to the Patriots, the Jets became the first team in NFL history to lose despite rushing for more than 200 yards, having more than 40 minutes in time of possession and not committing a single turnover.

You. Can’t. Make. It. Up.

It was yet another reason why this fan base, though overtly militant, is undoubtedly filled with saints. No one should ever be subjected to the kind of crap Jets fans are accustomed to — yet they soldier on, week after week, carrying with them as a badge of honor their loyalty to the historically inept.

Is there really such a thing as piling on? Are the Jets somehow treated unfairly by fans and the media? While it sure seems that way from time to time, the bottom line is this team wreaks havoc on itself. The Jets are their own worst enemies and greatest enablers. When things are good, they’re almost too good to be true. When things are bad, which is the case more often than not, it seems like just another day.

Even at the height of the Rex Ryan era, the back-to-back AFC title game appearances in 2009-10, the Jets were flawed. They relied on a running game, bend-but-don’t-break defense and the inspiration of an enthusiastic head coach to take them to a place they really weren’t that qualified to visit, considering how successful teams tend to win these days in the NFL.

They never quite put it all together.

The finger this season can be pointed in a bunch of different directions, but in many ways it’s no different than countless seasons before. Invariably, some aspect of this team breaks down. It has been the quarterback, the play-calling, the red zone execution, the run defense, the pass defense, the tackling, the special teams, you name it. And while every team is susceptible to breakdowns in these areas, no team tends to master the art of failed execution as colorfully as the Jets.

When you make four red zone trips in the first half against the Patriots, the New England Patriots, as in the team with Tom Brady at quarterback, and manage four field goals, the writing is on the wall. There’s not a fan alive who witnessed what happened in the first 30 minutes and felt that the Jets would win the game. They were hopeful, perhaps encouraged that the Jets were moving the ball seemingly at will and that the deficit was only five points at the half, but they never truly believed Rex’s bunch would find a way.

Because they know better.

As the overseer of all thing green, Ryan is rightly getting killed right now. But when a team fails in the red zone true blame should be directed at the offensive coordinator and the players. At the end of the day, neither Marty Mornhinweg nor Geno Smith nor his mostly talent-less receiving corps got it done Thursday night.

With the outcome still in question, Ryan’s reputation as not the greatest clock manager in the world was further enhanced, because instead of having a full compliment of timeouts and the two minute warning to work with down two late, the Jets’ defense had just the one timeout. If after getting the ball back Smith had been given 15-20 more seconds, maybe he moves the Jets closer on that final drive and maybe excellent kicker Nick Folk isn’t forced to boot the ball low and hard to get added distance on a 58-yard field goal attempt.

Again, it rarely all falls into place for this team.

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Yet a lot of fans, probably so tired of seeing the negativity on social media and hearing the same on the radio airwaves, like moral victories. They view Smith’s overall play and Chris Ivory’s punishing work on the ground Thursday night as reasons for optimism.

Please. When you are 1-6 there are no moral victories. especially when those who would stand to benefit from such positivity are probably going to be looking for work come New Year’s.

One person who has job security, Lord John Idzik, has a lot of answering to do for this season. Of course, he won’t give any of substance because he doesn’t answer to anyone but Woody Johnson. And since the Jets’ owner is the greatest enabler of them all, expect nothing but the usual tired cliches and sidestepping from this seemingly Teflon general manager.

Idzik’s whole “well, it would be nice if we win, but” approach to this season has been nothing but an insult to the thousands of fans that pay ridiculous PSL and ticket prices. A GM’s job and responsibility to his fan base is to give his head coach everything he needs to win, regardless of grand master plans and delusions of grandeur about rebuilding and hoping one day to be the East Coast Seattle Seahawks.

Idzik has a plan, or so he says. Big deal. Why should this fan base throw its blind faith behind a man who had no problem going nowhere near the distance to get his coach the best possible players to compete in a league where you’d have a hard time shining a flashlight between clubs on the talent scale?

The Jets are probably one or two players away from being 4-3 or 3-4 and right in this thing, and one of those players is NOT the quarterback. The Jets have lost five games to superior teams on paper by a combined 38 points, which is basically a big play difference per game.

And who creates these big plays, generally? You got it, playmakers.

And which team is devoid of such players at several key positions yet is somehow still $21 million or so under the salary cap?

The Jets, of course.

Idzik better be right, because while the success and failure of his drafts take shape, the Jets likely will go forward without the head coach they all play hard for. I have said repeatedly I believe Ryan could return next season without a playoff appearance as long as the Jets don’t quit on him. The second half of the schedule suggests there are several winnable games to come, which could only help Rex’s case.

But if you are Ryan, even with all your faults, would you actually choose to stay here? Why? You are working for an owner and under an executive who don’t care about winning in the short term, as in, you know, what nearly all teams try to do, as much as you do.

Save yourself, man. Pull a Tony D’Amato. Pack your bags, grab Geno and bolt for that expansion team in Albuquerque.

I’ll race you.

Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet

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