Glad Sparano is gone, on the fence about
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn ...
Good Perspective on the Fire Rex Ryan debate ...
Good Perspective on the Fire Rex Ryan debate ...
Here is how the Jets can get back on course
By Greg A. Bedard
The entire nation saw the latest incarnation of the Jets hitting rock bottom (itís a long and inglorious history) in their humiliating 49-19 loss to the Patriots on Thanksgiving night.
The Jets were bumbling, comical, and embarrassing. And to think, just two years ago they had been in back-to-back AFC Championship games. Now theyíre worse than a punch line.
Thatís where the Jets are, at 4-7 and all but eliminated from the playoff race.
But how can they emerge from the darkness?
The first thing is that owner Woody Johnson needs to start taking advice from the right people ó football people ó outside the organization. One of the Jetsí great flaws recently has been their propensity for groupthink, whether it be about the talent on the team, what offensive schemes the team is capable of in certain games (45-3 loss to the Patriots a prime example), and where the weaknesses are in the organization.
Earlier this month, Johnson convened a meeting with all the top decision-makers in the organization, from team president Neil Glat to general manager Mike Tannenbaum to coach Rex Ryan and his coordinators, to figure out a short-term answer for the teamís woes.
Donít get the same group together after the season. They all have reasons not to be honest with their answers. Johnson needs an unbiased accounting of how bad things are, and how best to rebuild. Johnson needs to find a former general manager, be it Carl Peterson, Bill Polian, or Bill Parcells, to bounce ideas off. Glat, who has been involved solely in the business aspect of the NFL, is not the guy.
Johnson should keep in mind that Robert Kraft once made bad decisions (Pete Carroll and Bobby Grier) early in his ownership, but is now a shining example of how one move (by the name of Bill Belichick) can change the perception and direction of a franchise.
Outside counsel should not be needed to tell Johnson that there has to be at least some change. The Jets canít return with the team and front office intact. The fans wonít and shouldnít stand for it.
Johnson has to first decide whether he believes in Ryan as a coach. Everything else is based off that, because this is not going to be a quick fix. It could be two or three years before the Jets, whose salary cap and quarterback situations are beyond screwed up, are Super Bowl contenders again.
Johnson has to decide now whether he can ride that out with Ryan.
He should. Ryan is not the problem, at least not now. Is he still learning how to be a head coach and making mistakes along the way? Absolutely. Might he be better the second time around elsewhere, like Belichick? Probably. But Ryan shouldnít be fired. Heís a darn good coach.
If Ryan is the guy, that means Tannenbaum will have to be served up as the change. He has been with the Jets since 1997, was named general manager in 2006, and somehow survived when Eric Mangini was fired after 2008.
Tannenbaum is not a football guy, heís a cap guy who makes decisions off the input from his personnel and coaching departments. And those have not been good enough. And considering the Jets will go into next year with around $10 million left in cap space to fill out 17 spots on the roster, according to nyjetscap.com, that cap mess really puts the blame on Tannenbaum.
His departure would give the organization a chance to sell change to the fans.
If Ryan is the guy, that means Johnson has to hire a general manager who is basically handpicked by Ryan. Johnson canít bring in a strong general manager because he may not want to keep Ryan, and that would prolong the turmoil.
Perhaps Ryan finally can be the one to persuade Ravens general manager-in-waiting Eric DeCosta, who is from Taunton, to leave the nest. The Ravens have paid DeCosta well to keep him in-house for when Ozzie Newsome retires, but Ryan can be persuasive. Moving to New Jersey would not be a huge change for DeCosta.
If DeCosta stays in Baltimore, perhaps Ryan could bring in someone else from Baltimore, where he coached from 1999-2008, be it former Browns general manager George Kokinis, pro personnel director Vincent Newsome, or perhaps vice president of football administration Pat Moriarty, who is similar to Tannenbaum but has more of a football background.
With a general manager capable of having strong input and a fresh eye alongside Ryan, the two can get to work on solving the problems with the cap, the lack of a franchise quarterback, the direction of the offense, and the reworking of a defense that has become increasingly old and slow.
That new general manager would have to tell Ryan that he needs to make another change at offensive coordinator, no matter how bad he would feel about firing Tony Sparano after one season.
The offense isnít good enough. Start anew with a coordinator who can groom the next starting quarterback to spearhead a balanced attack. You canít ground-and-pound to a Super Bowl title; you must make critical plays in the air.
A new general manager, offensive coordinator, and quarterback.
Thatís the kind of change that can make any Jets fans believe again ó and itís the right way to go for an organization that has lost its way again.