Head Coach Herm Edwards is safe....for now. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Understanding this is a hot-button topic that many of you will vehemently disagree with, the opinion here is that Woody Johnson _ albeit three days late _ did the right thing this week by publicly stating his support for Herman Edwards.
If those of you Edwards naysayers can table your clock and game management issues with him for a moment, as Jets fans, don't you believe that stability is something this organization has lacked for years and years before the Bill Parcells regime and then Edwards arrived?
For Johnson to uproot this Edwards coaching regime, which has helped lead the team to the playoffs in three of the last four years before this 2005 debacle, he would be setting the franchise back.
There are, quite simply, too many positive to Edwards that outweigh the few negatives.
That's debatable. Perhaps Johnson's best play is to wait and see what kind of progress is made in 2006 as Edwards and his staff tries to rebuild the offense.
If there's significant progress from this season _ and we guarantee there will be, because it can't be as bad as it's been this year _ then Johnson can give Edwards his extension after next season to Edwards doesn't go into the final year of his deal as a lame duck coach.
Edwards has said for weeks that he wants to be here, wants to finish the job he came here to do, wants to win a Super Bowl with the Jets.
Yet the speculation and rumors about Edwards either wanting out or Kansas City coming after him or even Johnson not wanting him back took on a life of their own.
Johnson, meanwhile, had been making it pretty clear to those in the know inside the organization that he "likes'' Edwards "as the face of the franchise.''
Yet still the speculation and rumors persisted to the point where they were going to become a distraction inside the locker room, where enough problems exist during a five-game losing streak.
Following the low-point 27-0 loss in Denver, reporters requested a short interview with Johnson, which was initially met with a "no thanks'' from the team owner through a team spokesperson.
Finally, after some prodding, Johnson agreed to speak, but ended up trying to sell some meaningless statement about how the team didn't quit in the Denver game and refusing to take any questions.
Johnson's vagueness only fueled the rumors and speculation, which is the last thing this franchise needs at the moment.
Finally, he and the team came to their public relations senses and made Johnson available for questions on Wednesday of this week.
"Herm's not leaving,'' Johnson said. "It's a free world, but I don't want him to leave. I've never wanted him to leave. He doesn't want to leave. We talk all the time. And I'm very happy with Herm.
"I can't make it any clearer; I think Herm's great,'' Johnson went on. "He's been great for this team. I personally like him, and I think the players respond to him. At the first sign of something going wrong we're not going to jump ship.
"We've been on the same page for five years now. Herm and I speak multiple times a week. I can tell if someone wants to be here. Herm wants to be here ... and I want him here.''
Why Johnson didn't make those very comments on Sunday night in Denver only he knows.
But the bottom line is this: He finally made them, squelching the rumors and allowing this franchise to move on and do what it needs to do to put this season out of everyone's mind as quickly as possible.
He did the right thing.
INSIDER EXTRA POINTS
Sunday night's game between the Jets and Saints the could be called the Excuse Bowl.
The Saints have had the built-in caveat once Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and left them, along with millions of others in the area, homeless.
As for the Jets, once they lost Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler, their No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks, in Week 3, few expected them to win.
Herman Edwards said he and Saints coach Jim Haslett have been in "crisis management.''
"He called me right after the Jacksonville game actually when both our guys went down and he kind of explained his situation, what he was going through,'' Edwards said of Haslett. "It was funny. He was in San Antonio. He had one phone in there. The phone was like a local phone, I guess, and he had a couple orders for pizzas. He was picking up the phone and the guy was ordering pizzas, called the wrong number.
"They didn't know where they were going to practice. It was wild. We kind of chuckled about it a little bit. They've had a long journey, too. They've gone through a lot. I think he's done a great job of keeping them together for what they're going through.''
Jets' center Pete Kendall said, "Yeah, that's a whole different level compared to what we've had to go through. The devastation down there, the uncertainty that those guys must be going through with their families and having to move their families; the distraction that must cause.
"Of course you'll never hear them say or use that as an excuse. They have a lot of pride down there as a group and really, all of us athletes are lucky to be quite a bit better off than some of the people left stranded homeless down there. With that being said, those guys are still men and face the same issues as the rest of us. Having a place to lay your head, a place to call home or a place to be stable is still important regardless of what you do.”
Added Curtis Martin: "That was a national crisis. Everyone had to reach out and I think the country did a good job, but it's unfortunate for them. They don't get to play any home games, it's just a tough situation. It's good that they've been able to still stay afloat.''
Here are a couple reasons why the Jets, who enter Sunday night's game as a 1 ½ -point underdog, have a good chance winning:
>> The Saints (minus-13) are one of the few teams in the league with a worse turnover ratio than the Jets (minus-9).
>> The Saints have been penalized 93 times for 786 yards, third most in the league behind only Oakland and Baltmore. The Jets, meanwhile, have been penalized only 59 times for 469 yards.
Last week, for example, Saints' defensive end Will Smith, who leads the team with 5Â½ sacks, was called for three major penalties on one play against the Patriots in the fourth quarter of a seven-point loss.
>> The Saints, like the Jets, are also terrible starters. In the first quarter of games this season, the Jets have been outscored 68-7 while the Saints have been outscored 79-37.
Curtis Martin needs 19 rushing yards to become the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 14,000 in his career.
He, too, needs 385 yards in the Jets' final six games (an average of 64.17 yards per game) to reach 1,000 and become the first and only back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in each of his first 11 seasons in the league. Right now, he and Barry Sanders are the only two backs to do it in each of his first 10 seasons.
Jets' center Pete Kendall, joked of this game between two 2-8 teams: "I think that ESPN couldn't wait for that flex scheduling to get here soon enough,'' referring to the networks being able to change the game it has based on whether it's a meaningful match-up.