A while back, I wrote a column about the Jets. It said that the Jets were presumptuous in last year's draft by trading up and only getting 4 players.
And to that I hold. I said it then, and I will repeat it now; the Jets aren't very talented.
Their coaching is sound (the Pittsburgh game-plan was genius). They have some talent. But all around, they have few, if any, dominators, game-changers, players the other coach has to work around and worry about.
Truly, name one guy on their roster opposing coaches wet their pants over? TE is an abyss, QB is a question mark, no one on their D-line frightens anyone. All in all, that spells, at best, mediocrity.
The good news is the Jets are way under the cap and should have a good draft selection. I already wrote how I felt the Jets shouldn't have traded up for fewer picks in the draft, however, the two players they targeted happened to be the two best players on their defense come season's end. So we know they can evaluate talent. That fact and the large salary cap make for an interesting off-season.
So here's a gameplan for the Jets off-season. It's not what they are gonna do; just what they should do.
1. Cut Chad
I know, I know. How do you cut the poster boy of the franchise and such a good guy? Yeah, it sucks. But frankly, his salary cap hit is substantial and he's done as a starting QB. Chad disagrees; he feels he's still a starter somewhere and wants the opportunity. I say, do him the favor and let him try, someplace else. I hope Chad goes somewhere and proves me wrong. But I don't think so.
2. Kill Justin McCareins.
Not because there would be significant salary cap benefits. (There would be.) Just because it would make me happy.
3. Help the O-Line
Test the free agent market here. Don't break the bank, and see if there are good fits. One of the best fits, I feel, is Alan Faneca. A stud at left guard, Faneca is determined not to go back to the Steelers, and is probably slated to go to his old coaches in Arizona (who could use the help on the offensive line). That said, he would fit ever so nicely in between Ferguson and Mangold. Left guard has been a typhoon-sized disaster and Faneca would be a oh-so-snug fit. Also a disaster—perhaps not quite a typhoon—has been the right tackle. The Jets' running game has gotten no push (indeed, the best run in the game against the Chiefs was when Leon Washington ran completely against the failed blocking of the Jets and created on his own), and Jets quarterbacks have been sacked 53 times (while only getting 29 sacks—another point I'll take on shortly). Look at Max Starks (like Faneca, a Steeler) and see if he could fit. Jordan Gross of the Panthers is another option, though word is Carolina wants to keep him. One thing for sure, the Jets cannot go into 2008 with Anthony Clement and (Yo!) Adrien Clarke manning the LG and RT positions.
4. Trade Jonathan Vilma and Dewayne Robertson
I wanted to do this last year. But now it's an absolute must. These guys, while gamers, just do not fit the system. Last year the trade I would have tried for was to Washington. Now New Orleans seems like a fit. The Saints need help up the middle; Young and Villerrel and their starting DTs and Simenaeu is their MLB. Not exactly the Steel Curtain, see if the could be convinced to trade draft picks for two guys, who have proven to be extremely effective in a 4-3 attack defense. Another option is Detroit, who were also bad against the run, could use some help up the middle and run the 4-3 attack defense.
5. Try for Asante Samuel
Having Darelle Revis and Samuel would be a daunting CB tandem for any opposing team to face. It would also push Barrett, Poteat or Dyson to nickel and dime corners or to be cut and not covering Randy Moss or Reggie Wayne. And most of all, it would weaken the Patriots.
6. Not Briggs, Suggs.
A lot of Jet fans on the web have us trying for Lance Briggs, but I disagree. The Jets defense truly needs a pass rusher; someone opposing teams have to account for every play. A Demarcus Ware type threat. If the Jets don't feel they could get an immediate impact player in the draft, I would look into Baltimore Ravens OLB Suggs. While Briggs is a demon OLB, he is not a natural pass rusher, as evidenced by his 5.5 sacks for his entire career. Suggs, in admittedly a down 2007, has 5 sacks. Again, don't break the bank for him. But sniff around. At DT, sniff around Isaac Sopoaga of the SF 49ers to possibly play some NT. A lot of people like the Titans' Haynesworth as an option for NT. A headcase in the past, the Jets could look into him and see if he's reformed. Not likely, though but do the diligence.
7. The draft.
Unlike almost every mock draft on the web, I don't have the Jets taking Darren McFadden. In fact, I kinda think it's the height of stupidity. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are not one of the galaxy of problems the Jets have. Sure Adrian Peterson, whom McFadden is often compared to, had a nice first year, but credit the Vikings offensive line for some of that. The Jets offensive line is nowhere near as good as the Vikings' and if Peterson had been a Jet, his year would not have looked as good.
No, The Jets need help all over the defense and at OL and TE. James Laurinitis, a LB from Ohio St. could take over for Eric Barton who doesn't fit the Jets' system and give the Jets a fantastic ILB combo of Harris and Laurinitis. Calias Campbell, a raw but huge and athletic DE from Miami could be gotten with a trade down. Also, with a trade down the Jets could take Jeff Otah from Pittsburgh or Gosder Cherilus from BC to shore up their RT problems.
8. The big one
OK, I've steadfastly avoided theQB problem because, frankly, I'm undecided. What I've seen of Clemens has left me truly unimpressed. But does that mean we blow him up and start over? Or do we give him more time? After much debate—with myself—I've decided on option 3. Which is bringing someone in to camp and letting Clemens compete with them. Possibly J.P. Losman, whom Buffalo seems to want to dump. Or Rex Grossman, who is leaving Chicago under police escort. To admit the truth this option does leave me feeling a bit queasy. In my core, I feel that Clemens just isn't the guy. He isn't accurate—often throwing behind receivers—and doesn't seem to generate the plays needed to move the yardsticks. That said, I think it might be unfair to judge a guy with a handful of games under his belt, especially with a crap offensive line protecting him. So, getting competition for him for camp seems like the least worst option the Jets have at this time.
So, it seems like the Jets will be busy this offseason. Last year, the Jets didn't do what I felt they should and look what happened...although I did like the Thomas Jones move...hre's hoping they read my blog and do what I tell them.