By Jeff Capellini
Let’s be serious. Forget the Raiders and the Rams. Why don’t the Jets just move to Los Angeles? They certainly aren’t serving any purpose here.
This franchise has become a weekly national embarrassment — and that’s saying something considering just how rare it is that its fans are allowed to feel good about themselves.
It will be 50 years without a championship before you know it, folks. But that’s not even the motivation anymore. How about not being inept and dysfunctional? How about not being the butt of jokes on national broadcasts? How about not being a cautionary tale across popular culture?
Is it possible the Jets just be competitive? Mediocre? Accidentally decent? Is that asking too much?
Of course it is.
When you compound this team’s history with its present, the current situation is as bad as it has ever been. This 2-10 nightmare of a season is Kotite-esque. It’s Hess-like. I never thought I’d see the day when the name “Rex” would be used as an adjective or modifier to describe something abhorrent, yet here we are.
What do you think? Rexonian? Could that describe an era (error) of mostly utter chaos and confusion that has been so staggeringly bad over the last four years you’d need GPS, Google Maps and a rescue dog to find the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?
The ESPN guys were literally laughing on the air as the Jets went out of their way to limit Geno Smith to eight pass attempts on Monday night before the situation got so dire late in the fourth quarter that Ryan was literally forced to let him try some forward throws. Smith ended up going 7-of-13 for 65 yards and an interception. The league low for pass attempts in any game this season had been 16.
Only the Jets. And it begs the obvious question: What the hell is going on in that building in Florham Park?
Michael Vick was terrible last week in Detroit. We all saw it. But there’s no way you can convince me he wouldn’t have been effective Monday night considering how well the Jets ran the ball in the first half. The Dolphins knew what was coming but were powerless to stop the onslaught as the Jets pounded out 210 yards on the ground in the opening 30 minutes.
But after all that and only leading 10-3 at the half, with Smith as the official hand-off guy, you knew the Jets weren’t winning the game. Nearly four decades of watching this franchise told me all I needed to know, and my subsequent rant on Twitter proved beyond any doubt I knew what was coming.
And I am in no way a rocket scientist.
Sure, you could argue Smith was a turnover waiting to happen and that’s why Rex didn’t let him do anything rash like try a pass or two. But then why the heck was he on the field? Weeks ago, when Geno was pulled during the first meeting with Buffalo, Vick was inserted, presumably, to help the franchise save face and perhaps win a few games so that the fans wouldn’t totally revolt and toss their PSLs out the window while driving home on the Turnpike.
So, what happened? The idea is not to save face anymore? Now it’s suddenly time to evaluate Geno one last time this season? I think a lot of fans would’ve understood that if the Jets had gone back to Smith the second he was healthy enough following the hook against the Bills.
But that didn’t happen. The Jets got paranoid.
And then, when Smith finally did get a start again, when absolutely no one alive believed he’d show anything to warrant consideration to be the starter next season, the Jets didn’t let him do anything. It was unbelievable. All the while, Vick, who has been very good at misdirection and play-action tosses his entire 12-year career, was sitting on the bench in a game that demanded some creativity in the passing game.
The assumed logic that envelopes this franchise is frightening. Rex Ryan, in all of his infinite wisdom — or perhaps in an attempt to tick off his boss, John Idzik, who likely demanded Smith start Monday night in the first place — arrogantly declared that the Jets would beat the Dolphins strictly by running the football. The same Jets who are among the lowest scoring teams in the NFL. And the Dolphins, who on a good day have a top-10 defense.
If you take away the running game to nowhere, the highlight of the Jets’ offense on Monday night was Greg Salas on a reverse.
Raise your hand if you think there is any chance on God’s green Earth that Woody Johnson somehow fixes this mess during the offseason. Yeah, I didn’t think I’d see many hands.
Jim Harbaugh? Ha, that’s a hoot. Even if he ends up being available, why would he want any part of this mess? He’d have to travel across the country, uproot his family, deal with this crazy media horde and these damaged fans to do it. You need to be a real-life saint and gridiron genius to survive this atmosphere of depravity.
Now, you could say going to the Raiders, as has been reported as a possibility for Harbaugh, makes even less sense considering how bad and dysfunctional they have been for years, but at least he wouldn’t have to turn his life upside down logistically to do it. Harbaugh would have total control (no guarantee of that with the Jets), get paid a fortune and would get a chance to stick it to 49ers GM Trent Baalke and his daughter, not to mention anyone else in the San Francisco organization that he sees fit on a weekly basis. An unfriendly reminder of what the 49ers had would be a stone’s throw away, assuming the Raiders don’t bolt for L.A. or San Antonio or Mars anytime soon.
Assuming it would take a miracle to land Harbaugh, what’s Plan B? It’s too horrifying to even contemplate at this point, mostly because the fans already have Harbaugh on the brain and yet another disappointment will only further the apathy that has replaced the anger.
Woody can’t fire himself, but anything short of a total house cleaning — saying goodbye to Idzik, Ryan, his staff, the laughable scouting mavens and clueless talent evaluation gurus — would be a slap in the face to the entire fan base.
Not that this fan base isn’t used to being slapped around, but to continue this farce in any way, shape or form next season would be a criminal act.
The Jets have this uncanny knack of robbing their fans of their dignity. They rarely make anyone feel proud about anything they do. They invent ways to embarrass themselves and they take the paying public along for the ride.
How nothing but utter nonsense continues to define this franchise is simply mind-boggling.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini and follow him on Twitter at @GreenLanternJet
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