Jets Desert Revis Island

So I guess it’s time to change my blog’s banner picture, eh?

Where to begin?  First off, welcome back!  It’s been awhile.  Has anything happened with the Jets while I’ve been on hiatus?  Let’s quickly get up to date…Since the last time I wrote,  the Jets have:

-Fired their GM and hired a new one

-Cut nearly half of their starters from last year

-Signed a number of “value” free agents

-NOT cut Tebow or Sanchez

But today’s trade was clearly the big bombshell.  It had been predicted and speculated on for weeks, but it doesn’t make it any less painful.  Any time you trade a player of Revis’ calibre, it hurts.  Players like him don’t come around very often – just look at the Jets’ recent draft picks to prove that.

But unfortunately, it was a deal that had to be done.  When the Jets signed Revis to the now infamous “band-aid” contract 4 years ago, they set themselves up for today.  Lacking the ability to franchise Revis, and promising to come back to the bargaining table in year 2 or 3 of the contract (which they never did), the Jets left themselves with very little recourse.  You can blame that on Tannenbaum and Woody.  Couple that with the horrendous contracts that were doled out to Sanchez, Holmes, etc. and a roster that is severely lacking in talent, and you are left with very few options.  And on top of all of that, Revis didn’t make life any easier by making it clear that he needed to be the highest paid defensive player in the league.

So all things considered, I think today’s trade is just fine.  Idzik was not exactly dealing from a position of strength here considering  that a) Revis is coming off the worst injury for a CB (torn ACL), b) the Jets made it clear that they had no interest in resigning him and c) they are in full rebuilding mode.  The Jets got their extra 1st round pick, and next year’s pick will become a 3rd pick as long as Revis is on the roster in March – which is almost a lock, unless he blows out his knee again.  There was speculation that the Jets were also to receive a 5th round pick, but really, are we that upset  that we didn’t receive an extra 5th round pick?  Name me 3 impact players that were drafted in the 5th round recently…

So the compensation was fine.  And all signs point to Idzik trading down for further picks, which is smart.  The Jets need as many picks as they can get.  But the bottom line is this – it’s a sad day for the New York Jets fans, and more importantly, Jets fans.  No longer do we get the pleasure every Sunday of watching one of the best players ever to play the position.  And despite the nasty contract disputes, he was a guy you loved rooting for and a great locker room presence for a team badly in need of leadership. No amount of draft picks can ever make up for that.  It’s a crappy situation, any way you slice it.

History won’t be able to judge this trade for at least a year or two – not until we see how Revis’ knee holds up , and not until we see what the Jets do with these extra picks.

So for now we will close this ugly and sad chapter in Jets history (one of many). That is, until Week 1 of the NFL season, when the Jets open up at home against….yes…the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

(And if you have any suggestions for a new blog banner pic…send them my way!)

My 2013 New York Sports Wish List

I thought about writing a recap of last week’s game, but what is there to say, really?  McElroy was sacked 11 times – that was impressive.  Jeremy Kerley, a WR, threw one of the longest passes of the season.  That was also impressive.  And once again the team made more headlines off the field (mostly Tebow-related), than it did on the field.  But that’s nothing new in 2012 for the New York Jets.

This week’s game – thankfully, the last – will be very difficult to watch.  I barely made it through 3 quarters of last week’s game (kudos to fellow diehard Greg for watching it with me in London), especially after it was clear that 90% of the team were phoning it in (McElroy, Kerley, Landry, Wilkerson and Coples were the only ones who seemed to care).  I will probably watch the 1st half on Sunday, simply for laughs and because the sadist in me will enjoy watching the team go down in flames.

So with the season and 2012 coming to an end, and my move back to New York just a few months away, I thought I’d put together a New York sports “wish list” for 2013.  Limiting it to just the Jets would be too painful to write….so, here goes:

1. A New GM for the Jets – someone who has a clue and a vision for the franchise.  Someone with 100% control over personnel decisions.  Someone who knows how to (re)build a franchise.  Someone who knows how to scout and build through the draft.  Bill Polian comes to mind.  So does another Bill P.  But they are both probably too smart for the job.  This will be Woody Johnson’s most important decision since he purchased the team.  No pressure.

2. A championship for the Knicks – why not dream big?  This is the most talented and deep team since the glory days of ’94 (the Sprewell team of ’99 was fun, but not nearly as talented).  Last night’s loss against the Lakers was as confidence-building a loss as there could be.  Carmelo is playing on another level, and if they can figure out how to integrate Stoudemire, and more importantly, Shumpert (their best 1:1 defender), this team has a real chance.  It’s been nearly 40 years since our last championship – we’re due.

3. Hope for the Mets – Unlike the Jets, at least the Mets appear to have a plan.  Sandy Alderson seems to be making all the right moves and I believe in what he’s building.  Now it’s still pathetic that a baseball team in the biggest sports market has to pinch pennies, but Alderson is making the most of what he has while building for the future.  I was bummed to see Dickey go, but it was the right move.  Resigning Wright had to happen or there would have been a fan mutiny.  And if Harvey continues to develop, with Wheeler not far behind, they could have a dominant 1-2 pitching combo for years to come (and let’s not forget about Jon Niese, who ESPN analyst Buster Olney said could be a “hidden ace” next year).  This team will be bad in 2013, but could contend as soon as 2014.

4. An end to the NHL strike – I’ve been an Islanders fan for as long as I can remember.  My parents had season tickets in the glory days – the Dynasty days – of the 80’s.  I grew up idolizing Brian Trottier, Billy Smith, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies and so many of the other Islander greats.  But since those days, this has been one sorry franchise.  Last year we saw our first glimmers of hope, as players like Tavares, Bailey and Grabner really came into their own.  And with a slew of highly touted prospects on their way (Strome, Reinhart), this could be finally be a team worth rooting for again.  And of course, they are moving to Brooklyn in just a few years.  So let’s please end the strike (that said, has anyone noticed?), and let these guys play.

That’s my abbreviated list.  There are probably 9 other things I could put on the Jets’ list alone, but we’ll save that for early next year.

Finally, in somewhat related news, I won my fantasy football league as the no. 8 seed. Pure dumb luck.  At least one of my teams won something in 2012…

 

Plenty of Ashes, But No Phoenix (yet)

Where to start?  With Sanchez’ now world-famous implosion on national TV?  With the decision to start your 3rd string QB this week?  With the Jets’ awful cap situation and future?  So much to write about, so little time…

By now you’ve probably read everything there is to read about what happened on Monday night.  It was quarterbacking at its worst.  The passes Sanchez threw at the end were akin to those thrown on Thanksgiving in your backyard.  Back-foot heaves into triple coverage. Reckless play that made Brett Favre look conservative.  It was as if Sanchez was daring the Jets to bench him.  Watch me throw another crazy interception!  What are you going to do?  You owe me $8MM guaranteed next year, suckas! (insert maniacal laugh)

Sanchez mercifully left Rex with no choice.  And the death threats Sanchez received this week (seriously? Especially after Newtown.  I’m ashamed to be part of this human race sometimes) only exacerbated things.  There was just no way Rex could trot out no. 6 next week.  So what do you do – start Tebow, your QB2 and constant source of media attention, but a guy who clearly has no future as the QB of the Jets?  Or do you go with Greg McElroy, your no. 3 QB who may have a future in this league – as a back-up.  The answer is:  Who Cares?  Neither guy is the QB of the future, and this team has so many problems, the last 2 weeks of the season will have no real impact on the future.   If this team were not in New York, no one would be writing about the travails of a 6-8 team without any direction.

One Last Walk-Off as the Jets' Starting QB

One Last Walk-Off as the Jets’ Starting QB

So what next?  The so-called experts in the Jets’ blogsphere and the Jets beat writers have started to chime in with their ideas.  Some good, some crazy, some predictable.  What’s pretty consistent amongst them all is that the Jets are screwed, at least for 2013, and most of that is due to Mike Tannenbaum and his epic failure of salary cap management.  Read this for some very useful analysis.

Here is one thing that I think is clear – Mark Sanchez will be with this team next year.  He makes a GUARANTEED $8MM in 2013, with a “cap hit” of $12MM.  If the Jets cut Sanchez before June 1st, his “cap hit” is $17MM.  The total cap for 2013 is projected to $120MM.  That would mean that if they cut Sanchez, a player that is no longer on the roster would make up nearly 1/6th of the salary cap.  Astounding.  And more importantly, it means they are not cutting him.

Wait - Are You Serious?  Sanchez Will Be Back Next Year?

Wait – Are You Serious? Sanchez Will Be Back Next Year?

So what do you do?  Trade him, many people say.  That would be great!  But seriously, what team in their right mind would trade for him?  Maybe, just maybe they would if the Jets assumed most of his salary, but I think that’s a long shot.  Other say that he’s so miserable, he’ll take a pay cut to get out of town.  Hmmm…maybe, but would you walk away from a guaranteed $8MM?  Or would you stick it out in New York and spend your $8MM on Eva Longoria look-alikes?  I know what I’d choose.

So where does that leave us?  It leaves us with Mark Sanchez still will the New York Jets in 2013.  He probably won’t be the starter, but he’ll be on the team.  That’s just the grim reality.

So how do the Jets get better?  It won’t be easy, but here are my top 5 priorities:

1. Fire Mike Tannenbaum and bring in an experienced GM who has rebuilt other franchises.  It was a good run Mike, but the work you’ve done the past 2 years has been a disaster.  Their best player (Revis) wasn’t drafted by him, and his track record in the draft (with the picks he hasn’t traded) has been spotty at best (Gholston, Wilson, Ducasse = bad.  Wilkerson, Coples, Kerley = good).  His FA signings and trades have been equally mixed (Landry, Bell, Tomlinson = good.  Tebow, Schillens = bad).

2. Retain Rex Ryan, fire the offensive staff.  A new GM may want to bring in an entire new staff, but my personal opinion is that Rex should come back.  As bad of a job as he did last year, he’s done an equally good job this year.  With the injuries to Revis & Holmes and the general lack of talent on the team, it’s a minor miracle that he kept this team together and in position to compete for a playoff spot.  He turned around the franchise and its culture when he arrived 4 years ago and twice had them a game away from the Super Bowl.  No other Jets coach has done that.  Give him 2 more years with a solid QB and talent around him.  On the flip-side, fire Tony Sparano and the entire offensive staff.  Bring in a proven offensive coordinator and one that can develop QBs – Norv Turner, anyone?

3. Find a new QB – duh!  This won’t be easy and their franchise QB is probably in the 2014 draft.  Sign a cheap, but serviceable QB (Matt Moore, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Shaun Hill) and have him run the team for a year until you find someone in the 2014 draft.  Sanchez is your back-up until you can cut him in 2014.

4. Trade players and draft picks for more draft picks.  Many have said they should trade Cromartie ($8MM) or Revis for picks.  I don’t love this idea – why weaken your only true strength?  But the Revis idea is an interesting one – he’s actually a bargain next year, and despite the ACL injury, he would net at least a 2nd round pick, and maybe even higher.  If you can trade Tebow for a late round pick, do it.  Whatever they do, they have to maximize next year’s draft – they need as many new bodies as they can find.

5. Cut your dead, over-the-hill weight – Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Jason Smith, Eric Smith (anyone named Smith) and yes, probably Dustin Keller.  All goners. Holmes might well be on this list too depending on his recovery from surgery.  Sign younger, faster players and build up some depth on the O-line and D-line.  This game is still won in the trenches.

See – easy!  The bottom line is this – the Jets will (should) be in full rebuilding mode next year.  We are looking at a 4-12 team at best.  But by the end of the year, they will be out of cap hell, with a top 5 draft pick and hopefully their QB of the future identified.  And as Andrew Luck and RGIII have shown, you can turn around a franchise in less than a year if you have the right guy under center.  One can dream, right?

We Will See More of This in 2013

We Will See More of This in 2013

Week 15 Recap: “An Amazing Night of Futility”

Those aren’t my words, those are Mike Tirico’s of Monday Night Football.  And I don’t even think that sums it up.  4 INTs for Mark Sanchez in the biggest game of the year.  A fumble on the last drive of the game – a drive that was a gift to begin with after Sanchez threw his latest mind-boggling INT.  You can’t make this stuff up.  This was a level of incompetence and poor play that even the Jets have never reached before – in the biggest game of the year.  Thankfully I didn’t wake up at 6am to watch it.  Or not.

A full recap to come later this week.  But I will just say this one thing – the Jets have to, HAVE TO, find a way to cut ties with Mark Sanchez.  I don’t care about his cap number.  I don’t care about the fact that his supporting cast hasn’t been great.  He single-handedly lost tonight’s game, and many others this year.  Every single INT was on him.  Every time the defense gave him once more chance, he promptly turned it over.  If I’m a Jets player, I don’t know how I can show up to work again knowing I have no chance of winning with this guy at QB.  Bringing him back next year is admitting that you are forfeiting the season.  He is that bad.

Another season over.  Another season without a Super Bowl.  Another season without an answer at QB.  Can’t wait to get back to New York to watch it all in person next year!

 

Fireman Ed: G-O-N-E GONE GONE GONE!

Last week we had “Butt-gate” and now we have “Fireman-gate.”  Another day, another ridiculous storyline in the Florham Park Zoo.

I’m not sure what angers me more – the fact that Jets “superfan” Fireman Ed chose to publicly step down in his role as chief Jets cheerleader, or the fact that he did so during what was already a tumultuous week or the fact that is even a news story!   Can you think of any other team in the NFL right now where a fan would make front page news on ESPN.com or the local papers?   It’s pretty ridiculous if you step back and think about this and it just once again highlights the media circus that surrounds this team on a daily basis.

My personal history with Fireman Ed goes back to the early 80s, when the Jets moved to the Meadowlands from Shea Stadium.  Our seats were in section 133; Fireman Ed was in the section next to us.  As a kid, I remember marveling at how he could single-handedly get a crowd of 80,000 people, chanting “J-E-T-S” in unison.  No easy feat, especially when the majority of the time, the game and team on the field were miserable.  He was intense as they come; often borderline scary.  And he seemed to carry that intensity into every conversation he would have with other Jets fans.  And I suspect that’s why he became the divisive figure he has been in recent years.  Ask any Jets season ticket holder what they think of Fireman Ed, and you are likely to get a very strong response – there’s no middle ground with him.

In his “farewell note” to Jets fans, he cited the increasing number of aggressive confrontations he was having with Jets fans: “On Thanksgiving night, I left the Jets game before halftime… I decided to leave Thursday because the confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common, even though most Jets fans are fantastic. This is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another…The fact that I chose to wear a Mark Sanchez jersey this year and that fans think I am on the payroll — which is an outright lie — have made these confrontations more frequent. Whether it’s in the stands, the bathroom or the parking lot, these confrontations are happening on a consistent basis.”

I can’t say I have a ton of sympathy for him.  No one forced him into this role.  No one forced him to appear in NFL or Pizza Hut or Budweiser commercials, or  on the field with the Jets, etc.  And no one forced him to adopt the intense, intimidating persona that he took on.  Fame has its downside.

So this marks just another chapter in the bizarre and surreal and sad history that is the New York Jets.  I hear they are taking auditions for someone to take over from Fireman Ed.  I was thinking of volunteering, but for some reason, “Salesguy Bry” doesn’t seem to have the same ring…

(and no it’s not lost on me that I’ve just added to the same sorry media focus on this story that I just criticized)

Week 12 Recap: Black Thursday

Where do I even begin?  Before Thursday’s game, I predicted that the game would either be very close, or a blowout.  What I didn’t predict was a performance so embarrassing, that the Jets are now the butt (pun intended) of jokes everywhere.  This was a loss that brought Jets fans back to the days of Rich Kotite (1-15 record) and Joe Walton – the “same old Jets” days.  All of the success and credibility that Rex Ryan and co. earned in the first 2 years was basically wiped out in a span of 52 seconds.  It was that bad.  My only saving grace was that I didn’t have to watch this lame excuse for an NFL team on Thanksgiving evening.  And to think that Woody Johnson REQUESTED that the Jets play on national tv on Thanksgiving night.  Well, Woody, you got your wish.  I hope you enjoyed watching your $750MM purchase get humiliated in front of 40 million viewers.

Things actually started out well, ironically enough.  On the first play of the game, Mo Wilkerson sacked Brady for a loss and the Pats went thee and out.  But very quickly, Mark Sanchez proved once again that he is not the franchise QB this team so desperately needs.  On the Jets 2nd drive of the game, he once again single-handedly sabotaged any chance they had winning, by throwing his latest red zone INT.  And this one was bad, folks.  He was baited into a throw into double coverage by the CB – it was a mistake that only rookies make.  And with that throw went any momentum and hope that the Jets had early on in the game.

But of course, he won’t be remembered for that play in the game.  Oh, no.  He will be remembered for what the announcers described as a play right out of “football follies.” (does anyone else remember when they used to show football & baseball bloopers on tv – whatever happened to those?).  A play that many are calling the “most embarrassing in NFL history.” If you haven’t seen it by now, here it is.  It’s hilarious and sad and embarrassing and painful all at the same time.  It was so bad, that it even made headlines in the UK Papers!  And it really sums thing up.  A QB and a franchise that has no clue where it’s going…

Butthead

I’m running out of superlatives to describe these losses and this team.  How many ways can you say awful/depressing/terrible/pathetic/embarrassing, etc?  I’m open to suggestions.  Adding further salt to the wound, Rex responded with his latest litany of clueless comments: “I’m just as shocked as you are.”  “We are going to fix this.”  “Yes, Mark is still our QB.” “Yes, I do think I will be the coach next year and years to come.” (in his defense, what else is he going to say to that question?)

And now it’s come out that Tim Tebow was active as the only back-up QB, despite 2 fractured ribs – which apparently took over a week to diagnose!   So if Sanchez did get hurt (and he almost did), they would have to either play an injured Tim Tebow, or go with one of their RB or WRs at QB as their 3rd string QB, Greg McElroy, wasn’t even active. That’s just reckless and clueless coaching.

What I’m most amazed about however is how unprepared and undisciplined they were.  If I hear Rex say once more that they “had a great week of practice,” I’m going to personally get on a plane to New Jersey so I can laugh in his face.  And while it’s nice to know that the Jets will win the practice Super Bowl this year, it would be nice to see some of that phenomenal practicing paying off on the field.  The whole team, with the exception of Landry, Kerley, and Wilkerson, looked as if they would rather be at home with their families, eating Turkey.   And frankly, who could blame them?  Would you want to suit up and play for this sorry franchise right now?

Help Me – I Wish I Were You

We season ticket holders pay way too much money to accept this kind of play, especially when our owner forces us to give up part of our Thanksgiving to come watch this team live. Thank you, Mr. Johnson.  It’s clear that so far, you care more about ratings and your bottom line (not to mention Mitt Romney), than winning.  Please step up and demand some accountability.  Make the changes that need to be made, starting with Tannenbaum, and yes, Rex.  Thursday’s game changed my opinion on him.  It’s clear that he has lost this team and has no clue on how to change things.  The housecleaning should start the minute after the final game comes to an end.  And if it weren’t for the terrible contract that you gave to Sanchez last year, he should be going as well.

These last 5 games are going to be painful.  If I were in charge, I’d give the ball to Greg McElroy.  See what you have in this guy.  Throw Stephen Hill the ball 15 times a game.  Make Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight your starting RB.  On defense, bench Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas and anyone else over the age of 30.  The rest of the season is all about finding out what little you have to build on for 2013.   Start talking to the long list of proven NFL coaches who are currently out of work – Cowher, Gruden, Dungy, Payton, etc.  Give them the biggest contract for a coach in NFL history and get them to right the ship.  Allow them to help pick the GM as well.  Give your fans a reason to be hopeful for 2013.  If not, Woody will have a mutiny on his hands.  After spending upwards of $25,000 per PSL, the days of accepting mediocrity are over.

You’re officially on the clock, Mr. Johnson.

I Want My Money Back!

You live with Sanchez, you die with Sanchez

It’s 12:50am here in London, which means the full post will have to wait until tomorrow.   But what a heartbreaker.  Ultimately, it came down to the fact that the Patriots have a Hall of Fame QB and we have a QB who, despite a valiant effort in the 4th quarter, proved that he’s not capable of the big win anymore.  Too many missed throws, terrible decisions, dumb INTs and lots of points left off the scoreboard.

Nobody gave the Jets much of a chance in this one, so big kudos to Rex and the defense for keeping them in this one.  There is some hope left in the season.  But unfortunately a lot of the hope still has to rest on the arm of one Mark Sanchez, and he proved once again that he’s the thing holding this team back.

Full recap to come tomorrow…