In the midst of the early free agency frenzy, the signing of Eric Decker, and the failed attempts on other players, an important move was made by John Idzik. A move that, although essential, has fallen by the wayside among the other perceived problems of Idzik’s off-season.
That move? The re-signing of Willie Colon.
Yes, the move was made more important thanks to the defection of Austin Howard to Oakland to play for the Raiders. However, as great as it would have been to keep Howard, Idzik would have been out of his mind to match Oakland’s offer. Giving $15 million to a right tackle, that is on his way up but not there yet, is crazy. That being said, it’s a great opportunity for Howard and we wish him the best.
So, bringing in Colon became that much more important. Why? Continuity. Willie talked about that when he spoke to the media this week:
It’s huge. I think you can’t really talk enough about it, (having) the trust, the awareness, the ability to believe in each other. To understand each other and how each guy works. All of that takes time and that does not necessarily happen over just one year. For me to come back, and for us to have four guys that played together last year and obviously bringing a new guy in and we have to bring him along from the standpoint of we can all just gel and make it work it makes everything better. If we are able to do what we need to do (with) running the ball and pass blocking and setting the tone it just drives the chain. That is what we are all about, making the team better. We have a lot of guys in that room with a lot of experience and pride. I am extremely proud to be a part of it.
Let’s talk about offensive line continuity. We have said it before, but it will always be worth repeating. Play on offense starts and ends with the offensive line. If the offensive line is playing well, the offense will. If not, it won’t.
The best way to get it done is to keep as much continuity as possible. Why? Take a look at a running play with me, from week one of 2013:
Colon is in the circle, the other linemen around him have their direction indicated by an arrow. Take in the enormity of it. Not only does Willie need to know his assignment, he needs to know the guys next to him as well. When will Vladimir Ducasse block down his way? What is Nick Mangold? How do I have to hold up my guy while Austin Howard blocks on the next level?
Each lineman has to know what the other guys are doing in order to execute a play. There is no better way to get that done, more effectively, than to have the same guys running the plays from year to year. Bringing along a replacement for Austin Howard will be rough enough. An entire right side of the line would have been far worse.
Willie Colon also brings a nasty attitude along with him, the kind of attitude that coach Ryan loves in football players. He showed his true colors in the scuffle against the Patriots while he was “defending his brothers”. You need more guys like Willie Colon on your football team.
As the Jets move ahead in their development, look at this move as an under the radar one. But it will be one that is vital to the team progressing to where they want to go. And where we want them to go.