Identity Crisis

What type of the team are the Jets?  Trying to mold their quarterback of the future while attempting to win now is a recipe for disaster.

What type of the team are the Jets? Trying to mold their quarterback of the future while attempting to win now is a recipe for disaster.

Losing makes you question everything.

Everything’s alright when you’re winning.  The plays that don’t go as planned are swept under the rug, just as poor coaching decisions are overlooked, as long as the “w’s” keep piling up.

But when you lose six of seven in the NFL, everything you do begins to come into question.  And that’s the world in which your New York Jets currently reside.

Everything, from the coach’s style to the injuries to the quarterback’s mistakes have come to the forefront, things that were once masked by the glow of a 3-0 start.  But the honeymoon has long been over, and it’s time to start asking some questions.

Questions, for instance, about how this team has been constructed.  There’s no question this team is one of the more talented in the league.  Their defense has a Pro Bowl-caliber player at every level of the unit.  The left side of their offensive line features two first round draft choices and a high-price free agent import.  They’ve been active in free agency in each of the last two seasons, bringing in talent at a feverish pace.

They’ve also traded away a multitude of draft picks.  Like in the most recent draft, when they traded their first and second round picks in the draft along with three players for rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.  In the same draft, they traded their third, fourth and seventh round picks to get rookie tailback Shonn Greene.  And already this season, they’ve traded two draft choices and two players for wideout Braylon Edwards.  If you’re scoring at home, that’s seven draft choices they’ve surrendered in trades in six months.  For three players.

Now, those players can all be stars in this league.  But moves like those create the perception  the Jets are in “win now” mode.

Only they’re not winning.  And now, at 4-6 with their playoff hopes dwindling, you have to begin to think about the decisions that have been made.

If your team is in “win now” mode, as you’ve clearly made it apparent that that’s the case, it’s awfully gutsy to entrust your big-money roster to a rookie signal caller, no matter how talented he is or how a good a player he may become.  The lack of draft choices will not allow you to achieve sustained success:  The model franchises of this league (Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Giants to name a few) have achieved their success through the draft, and finding quality players in the later rounds, something the Jets are not leaving themselves the option of doing with their current strategy.

You’re either coming or you’re going.  You’re either trying to win now, or trying to build for the future.  You can’t do both – that is, you can’t do both and win.   The Jets tried to use the same formula the Baltimore Ravens used a season ago to reach the AFC Championship Game, only the Ravens had a better defense, and a rookie quarterback who was further along in his development. The Jets’ quest to reach a Super Bowl while molding their quarterback of the future has backfired for the 2009 season.  Which wouldn’t be so bad, if they hadn’t talked up a Super Bowl berth the moment Rex Ryan stepped to the podium as the new head man of Gang Green.

Sunday’s game was a perfect example.  The rookie qb’s turnovers lead to 17 New England Patriots points – the exact same amount of points the Jets lost the game by.  It’s been like that on more than one occasion so far this season – which again, wouldn’t be so bad, if their coach hadn’t boasted of meeting President Obama in his opening press conference.

A team filled with swagger no longer talks trash.  A star-studded roster is being harpooned more weeks than not by its rookie quarterback.  A team with the talent to win now is simultaneously trying to mold its quarterback of the future.  And with a great deal of draft picks either gone or on their way out in the next draft, this will be the majority of the club’s roster going forward.  The Jets need to figure out which way they’re headed, and what type of organization they want to be.  Either they build through the draft, or make every move they can to win now.  You simply cannot do both.  And these Jets have tried to do just that.  And, at least for this season of NFL football, it’s blown up in their faces.

NEWS FROM JETS CAMP

Aside from the David Clowney Twitter revelations that have been previously reported on this very website, the only major news coming out of Jets camp is that head coach Rex Ryan will be taking on a bigger role on the offensive side of the ball, sitting in on offensive meetings and becoming more of an involved overseer in the offense.

“I’m new to this and I came in with more of a controlling interest in the defense, obviously,” he said.  “I tink that this is what I can add to them.  This is what I can help.  Brian has got to run the offense.  That’s not going to change.  We’ve got great coaches.  I’m here to help this football team.  To me, it’s giving him (Sanchez) the understanding of the game of right now this is an opportunity, we have to take chances, or we can’t take chances here.  If you can make this completion, make it.  If not, get rid of it or run with it.  I’m going to be here to support Brian.  I’m here to support Mark and everybody else.  I have to be demanding of that, because right now that’s not getting done to my satisfaction or this football team’s satisfaction.”

As the head man, Ryan has no choice but to make this move.  He’s got to know what’s going on, has to have his hand in every area that’s struggling at this point, so that at least he can say he’s involved in every aspect of what’s going on with this team.  He can’t pidgeon-hole himself to the defensive side of the ball anymore – he has to be an overseer of every aspect of this team, for better or worse.

The Jets return to the practice field Tuesday with a morning workout beginning at 11:50 AM.  Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com for all your news and updates.

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