You're Fired!

By Kevin Newell
Jets Head Writer
March 24th, 2004
You think things would be different for the Jets if this man was running the show?
You think things would be different for the Jets if this man was running the show?
Next week, on The Apprentice…

Scene: We flash to a New York City-area five-star restaurant last weekend where Jets general manager Terry Bradway, head coach Herm Edwards, and assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum are wiping egg off their faces after John Lynch, yet another targeted free agent, is on the verge of spurning Gang Green for the Denver Broncos. Team Jets are not exactly hitting home runs in the 2004 free agent bonanza. Already, their perceived No. 1 corner back acquisition, Antoine Winfield, took them to lunch after the Jets brass took him to dinner. Let’s not forget that the Jets initially had Champ Bailey in their sights and failed in securing him. (We’ll give them a mulligan on that attempt.)

Then there’s Gregg Williams, the clear-cut top defensive coordinator on the market, who eluded the Jets and opted for the Washington Redskins. Enter former Baltimore Ravens secondary coach, Donnie Henderson.

That means the Jets now have a GM with no former GM experience, a head coach with no former head coaching experience, a defensive coordinator with no prior coordinator experience, and an offensive coordinator with no tangible experience, er, results. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Following a catastrophic 2003 offseason, Bradway, Edwards, and Tannenbaum must pull the organization out of a nosedive. How will it play out?

Bradway: Hey Herm, I thought you were tight with Lynch. Isn’t he your son’s godfather or something? Then why is he going to play in Denver?

Edwards: Don’t look at me. I did my best. I can’t make the guy play for us if he wants to play elsewhere. Or if his wife wants to live someplace else. Anyway, don’t you have a plan B or C or D or … You always seem to get somebody on the rebound. That’s your legacy.

Bradway: Matter of fact, I do. I’m going to sign Reggie Tongue. I knew him well from my days in Kansas City. And didn’t I save our butts when Winfield screwed us by getting David Barrett? The David Barrett. I’m on a hot streak.

Tannenbaum: Pass the calculator and the abacus! I need to crunch some numbers.

Edwards: Reggie Tongue? Didn’t he sign a big deal a few years ago with the Seahawks only to sit on the bench for 10 games and almost get released? Yeah, that will make our fans forget Sam Garnes (tongue in cheek). Good one.

Bradway: Well, Mr. Man. I seem to recall your Tampa Bay connections haven’t exactly set the world on fire. How did Damien Robinson work out? How about Steve White? And Donnie Abraham has been so-so? Maybe you should come out of retirement.

Tannenbaum: Damn, I forgot to carry the one!

Next scene: After another failed attempt at saving face, it’s time to face the music. So Bradway, the team (ahem) leader, takes Edwards and Tannenbaum with him to the boardroom where they’ll face the wrath of the The Woody and his minions. Two of them will return to Weeb Ewbank Hall, the other will hit the Hempstead Turnpike, banished to the land of misfit football executives.

Who will it be? Stay tuned. Our money says that The Woody coils his right hand, exposes Bradway’s soft underbelly and tells him, “You’re fired.” But this mess extends way beyond one or two men. It is organization wide.

In what is clearly turning into another free agent Waterloo, Bradway and Co. are doing nothing to erase the memories of the 2003 fiasco. Are we supposed to get all hot and bothered about Barrett, Barton, Tongue, and McCairens? Where are the All-Pro’s, Pro Bowlers, and game-breakers? How many times can we send a lineman, and not a skill player, to Hawaii? Kevin Mawae, John Abraham, and Shaun Ellis have visited the 50th state either separately or together over the past two seasons.

While we approved of the McCairens trade, the fact remains that he is unproven. Was he worth a second round pick? On the surface, yes. But who knows.

What do Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Williams, Roy Williams, et. al. have in common with McCairens, who’s been in the league for three seasons? Their next NFL 100-yard receiving game will be their first.

How did this all come about? First, Winfield got cold feet at the 11th hour and opted for the frigid environment and cold cash of Minnesota. So what does Bradway do? He goes out and gets Barrett, not even a household name in Phoenix, where he’s toiled for the Cardinals.

Eric Barton? OK, not a bad player for the Raiders. But an impact guy? More importantly, he wasn’t even the best player on the NFL’s worst defensive team? Is that supposed to fire our imagination? Now Lynch heads for the Rockies.

Don’t give us any of this, “We saved money by not signing Winfield and Lynch, and got younger, cheaper players.” That’s bull. Because we all know that if that was the case, then why did the Jets target these guys in the first place? To pad their frequent flier miles by charging exorbitant dinners on their corporate credit cards?

This site’s messageboard was gaga over signing the likes of Bailey and Lynch. But Jets fans, like ostriches, will just stick their head in the sand rather voice their opinion. Folks, things will get worse before they get better.

And you damn well know the Jets organization wouldn’t be spin doctoring all these near misses by throwing around the party line that they liked the first guy, but in the end, got the guy they really wanted.

Edwards said that about Henderson, who was the third choice for defensive coordinator. Tongue was the third safety brought in, after Lynch and Cincinnati’s Rogers Beckett. I doubt many fans even knew Barrett was in the NFL.

Fool us once, shame on us. Fool us 40 times, shame on the Jets. When you get stuck with third and fourth choices in the NFL, you wind up in third and fourth place.

Unfortunately the team has seen fit to raise ticket prices, but not its fan bases expectations.

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