Everything starts with the QB position. The reality is that the Jets have not had a quality franchise QB since Namath. O'brien had some moments as did Chad but injuries derailed both of them. Vinny was a carpetbagger that came here at the end of his career. This is the primary reason we never attain sustained success. The best path to a quality team long term is to try and try and try again until we hit on a QB. This is why I advocate trading for Flynn (low risk high reward) and grabbing a QB in the 3rd (like Seattle did last season). If both dont work out we try again in the draft next season.
The Jets oline woes if you can call them that are a partial result of sub par Rb play and horrific QB play.
People went up and arms about how PFF had us ranked as the #3 OL. We can split hairs over a few ranks or not, but the point is that the Jets had an above average offensive line last year.
Our offensive line "issues" stem from three things:
1) Most importantly, two are free agents -- Guards Slauson and Moore
2) Fielding arguably the worst starting RB in the league, if not one of the 3-4 worst.
3) Having a shell-shocked QB who has extremely poor pocket presence.
Football Outsiders agrees and it also points out how much of a liability Shonn Greene has been for us the last two years. They had us down as the 5th best run blocking unit despite the fact that our starting RB averaged under 4ypc. We were the 2nd best team in terms of fewest percentage of runs for zero or negative yards, meaning our line did not allow much penetration into the backfield. However, we were the 24th best team at getting yards into the second level and 29th in open field. Take away that Joe McKnight 60 yard run and I bet it's worse. A total indictment on Greene, not Howard, who has been foolishly criticized since the season ended.
Now, I do agree that we seriously need to evaluate what the team will do on the offensive line this year if we don't retain Moore and Slauson. I would not be against using a relatively high pick on a Guard (i.e. 2nd/3rd round). If push comes to shove and we take Warmack at #9, I can live with it but I won't be thrilled. That being said, I'd rather try to land someone like Cooper or Warford in the second. I honestly do not think Right Tackle is a position we should be using a Day 1 or Day 2 pick on. I'm fine with giving Howard some competition or at least some respectable depth behind him, but I'm against replacing him...he's an adequate player who is going to be playing on the cheap, something we all need to bear in mind considering the cap constraints. I'd much rather pick up an RB than a RT in the first three rounds because clearly our backfield sucks.
The main reason why our offensive line legitimately struggled the year before was because:
1) Wayne Hunter. Dear god. It's not that he let up a ton of pressures; it's that when he got beat, he got humiliated, thus allowing an easy path to the QB in minimal time.
2) D'Brick had a surprising mega down year, probably his worst season since his rookie year. Thankfully he bounced back this year and played like the stud he was from 2008-2010.
3) Mangold missed 3 games and we had zero depth to make up for the loss.
In 2012, we fixed #1 enough even though the replacement guy is nowhere near Damien Woody levels (and frankly, anyone expecting that is a moron). #2 fixed itself. #3 we didn't really address unless the team actually believes in Schlauderaff. Maybe we use a Day 2 pick on a starting caliber guard who can play center in a pinch.
If the Jets only tag him at $1.3m, he's free to negotiate with other teams. COnsidering he has a year of starting experience, its not crazy to think someone would give him a more lucrative deal. Of course, the Jets could also use other teams to set the market for Howard and then match the offer. But, they run the risk of having a team front load a lot of money and screw up their cap for 2013, which is already precarious as it is.
Skill players and oline go hand in hand, they each make the other look good.
When I watch other teams I see their RB, stop because there is no hole, jump to the side and produce yardage where the hole is. With the Jets I watch Green plough ahead into the line. Qb's decision making and chemistry with WR makes all the diff in the world for passing. Guys like Rogers and Cutler have had olines as bad as we have but they make the offense go none the less.
Our oline need will really depend on if we resign one of our guards, if both leave we obviously have a huge hole.