It’s time for the Jets and the staff to get back down to business. They have a lot of work to do, with a lot of holes to fill. John Idzik and his staff are going to be put to the test, as they prepare to re-tool this roster before they move into the mini camp, and eventually training camp.
You know that saying about being doomed to repeat history if we ignore it? Well, sometimes in football, we need to repeat history, but we repeat it by paying attention to it. The Jets have had their share of losing seasons, as all of us know all too well, and have had to rebuild far too often. One of those years in particular was 2005. The Jets finished that year 4-12, but then rebounded all the way to 10-6 in 2006.
Let’s look back at this time and see if we can’t learn some lessons from this rebuild period, that we can use going forward.
2005 turned out to be Herman Edwards’ last season in New York. Remember? He told the press that he had no intention of leaving New York, but next thing we knew, he was on a plane to become the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In walks Eric Mangini, the newest golden boy off a hooded coaching tree. Our good friend Mike Tannenbaum was named the general manager, and a new era began.
What this team did best was what we have been talking about since the off season began, built through the draft. For all of his faults, Mike Tannenbaum hit several out of the park in the 2006 NFL draft. 2 first round picks landed us Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, cornerstones for many years to come as we know. The third round brought Eric Smith around who, for what it’s worth, has been a long time starter for the team, and effective special teams member. The fourth round was especially fruitful, yielding Brad Smith and Leon Washington.
See? Diligent work in the draft, rather than quick fixes, can pay off in spades.
As far as free agent transactions, they stayed with the mid-level, role playing choices. They signed WR/KR Tim Dwight, for example. They re-signed S Victor Green and FB Richie Anderson. They made a trade to bring in running back Kevan Barlow. They even were able to renegotiate the contract of their starting quarterback, Chad Pennington. They brought his salary from $6 million to $3 million, allowing him to make up the difference with incentives.
Can they do that with Mark? I guess anything is possible. Could he accept a reduction in his salary, with the opportunity to earn it back? Sure. It might motivate him to perform better. Maybe he won’t due to the lack of support he has gotten, we’ll see.
But the point is, the Jets can rebound from a losing season, without breaking the bank for players, just look at 2006. Herb Brooks said it best when he said “I’m not looking for the best players, I’m looking for the right ones”. If the Jets are smart, they can do it right.