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Getting Ready For Some Football

By Chris Pine
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
March 27th, 2003
This writer has confidence that this man can take us to the promised land.
This writer has confidence that this man can take us to the promised land.
I'm baaaack!!! Spring is in the air, my NCAA brackets are falling apart before my eyes and I just had my fantasy baseball draft. Ahhh, sports are once again the main subject on my mind. What better time is there for me to make my return after taking an extended vacation from writing. I am once again ready to contribute in my own way to Jets Insider.com. There have been so many things going on in the world of the Jets that I really don't know what I should write about first. My game plan then will be to drink down about eight Red Bulls and allow my sugar addled brain to digress about several different points in another edition of "Four Downs". Let me put down my "Spruce Goose" plans and try my best to make sense of what begins to pour out of my head. We may have to go to overtime with this one. 1st Quarter: Let's start off with the slow paced and less than thrilling search the Jets undertook for a new defensive coordinator. Bear with me, I know this is old news and I won't dwell on it too much. I do however feel the need to mention how I have no real feel for who Donnie Henderson is and what kind of coordinator he will become. To be fair, for all I know he can turn out to become a truly great hire by Herman Edwards and Terry Bradway. With that said when I heard about Henderson coming on board I tilted my head sideways kind of like how my dog does when I try to talk to him. Shouldn't I feel a little worried that the guy who has been hired to help retool this team's lackluster defense was the twentieth man they interviewed since firing Cottrell.

Isn't that whole tedious process a microcosm of what seems to be the action plan coming out of Hempstead? It appears that this current Jet administration's policy has been to drag their feet and play a waiting game. Is it really surprising that top name free agents never seem to sign on with this team? Do you really wonder why Winfield and Lynch have signed elsewhere? Doesn't it seem that when this team begins dealing with players whose contracts are up they drop the ball and inevitably lose out on resigning them?

Now I know that some people may defend the Jets and say that these players went to teams which could probably offer them more money than the Jets could have with their current salary cap situation. There is definitely some validity in that statement. My only problem with that is it tells me the men in charge of this team are not capable of selling a player on the Jets future and team philosophy. Bradway and Edwards have to make people feel like the Jets are a team that they need to play for and not just a consideration. They have to make a visiting player feel like if they leave the room before signing on they are making a mistake. Maybe the head coach and general manager are too nice to press players like that. Maybe someone else should deal with recruiting free agents.

I also refuse to believe that the Vikings or the Broncos are any closer to contending for a championship than the Jets. Doesn't it seem coincidental that both players came to New York for a week and then signed off with other teams in less than half the time? What those teams showed Winfield and Lynch was the right impression. They made moves quickly and decisively without an appearance of indecision. They have signed players and set a standard rather than sit around to see how the market would play out.

Now, from what I have read, the wives of both Lynch and Winfield had strongly influenced their decisions by preferring other cities over our beloved New York. By my calculations that makes both players number one and two on the whipped list, finally dethroning David Carr. (Carr wears his wedding ring taped up on his finger even though from what I read most players are discouraged from doing so because it can aid in injuring the finger.) I wonder if these guys have a nice little Saturday planned. They must be regulars standing around holding shopping bags in "Bed, Bath and Beyond". (That's right! Hell hath no fury like a Jet fan spurned and Chris Pine has no article without an "Old School" reference.)

2nd Quarter: That reminds me of another man who ran away from the New York Jets and in the process earned himself two Super Bowl rings! Bill Belichick should have been bringing the Jets to the promised land. Charlie Weiss should still be scheming on the sidelines of the Meadowlands and not some stadium named after a razor. Joe Klecko's son should be playing for the Jets. Everything that has happened in New England over the past four years should have happened here in New York. I now hate everything Pats. I hate Belichick's monotone voice, his crazy hair style, and all his accolades of being a genius. I hate the "everyman" impression that the teams roster gives off. I even threw out my Mach Three and shaving gel and bought an electric shaver.

3rd Quarter: Despite that rant everyone should know that I truly enjoy having Herman Edwards as the head coach of the New York Jets. He comes across as a competent and morale man with the ability to inspire players. I have a lot of faith in his abilities to coach this team and to create a winning atmosphere with the Jets. He is however still learning on the job every year. There are some deficiencies in his coaching and decision making that Edwards seems to repeat each season. He needs to show some drastic improvement this year. Here are some of the areas I notice.

Clock management: Herm has to learn that using two timeouts in the third quarter is no longer acceptable. How many games over the last three years have been lost because the Jets just simply ran out of time at the end? Edwards has to start using his timeouts a little more wisely and a little more conservatively.

Penalties: It seems that the Jets for the most part are a pretty disciplined team. The two penalties that they incur with some regularity which needs to be eliminated are either too many men on the field or delay of game. This is really the fault of the coaches and falls on the shoulders of the man in charge. Now it seems as though Edwards is intent on having Paul Hackett limit the verbage in his play calling which should help improve the team in this area. As a fan you still should be concerned about this since the Jets offensive coordinator hasn't really earned the benefit of the doubt.

Training camp: It has been said that Herm runs a pretty tame camp compared to most other coaches around the league. I actually think that is one of the main reasons why this team seems to always start off slowly since he has been here. It had to have hindered Vinny Testeverde when he threw about four passes all preseason and then had to start the first half of the year. Maybe if they work a little harder during the summer we may see a few wins in September. No pain no gain right?

Personnel: Most of the players that Herman Edwards has had the chance to mold into contributors on the Jets have not really made any kind of impression yet. We need to see players like Dewayne Robertson, Bryan Thomas and Jon McGraw become an impact this year. If not then I may have to call into question his ability to prepare young players for the NFL. With the Jets current emphasis on a youth movement his ability to get these young guys to catch on to his system will be crucial. If none of the recent younger acquisitions can't pick up what Herm is laying down then we may see a team that makes mental mistakes more often than Damien Robinson could in twenty games.

4th Quarter: Speaking of young players, as far as I am concerned if the Jets can not acquire a top tier quality player ready to contribute on day one with the twelfth pick in this years draft then they have to trade down. The Jets don't seem to have the normal allotment of picks this year after trading away their second round pick for Justin McCareins. Maybe they can package Number 12 with a player or two and come away with several picks throughout the first and second round. Why lock up more salary in a kid that may not be ready for two more seasons when you can get yourself a few role-players and quality talent for less money later on in the draft depending on whatever kind of deal that they can arrange. Of course if they can get themselves someone who is ready to play then they have to grab them. Kellen Winslow Jr. and I think I am looking in your direction and I have a crate of Advil to go along with you!

Sudden Death Overtime: Before I get on with my last word here doesn't overtimes name sound so much more exciting than it really is? I don't think I can remember any overtime contest where I was on the edge of my seat with each play. And what is with Hockey? I mean why have overtime if you can still end up in a tie? What is with ties anyway? I can't tell you what makes me madder than watching three plus hours of a game only to find out there is no winner. Sorry, I digress.

My real final word is on Kevin Mawae and how I believe this entire season rests on his shoulder (or should I say chin). Kev, don't you know your biblical mythology? Haven't you heard the story of Sampson and Delilah? At least you must have seen the Simpsons spoof. I beg you Mr. Mawae, please grow back the goatee. I have looked it over and can make an argument (albeit a crazy and unfounded one) which directly connects Mawae showing up without his goatee and all of the Jets recent woes. Coles and Morton leaving, Pennington's hand, and the horrific start of the season when Curtis Martin gained about eight yards in four games. I won't press this issue all year but if Kevin Mawae can be reached someone has to tell him, for the good of the team, let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

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