Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Since Sunday’s debacle in Tennessee the second guessers have come out in full force. The same people who claim the team is going to the playoffs after a win want everyone benched or released after a loss. Then there are those who disappear while a player they don’t like is playing well only to reappear with “I told you so” after a poor performance. Two of the most popular are the Jets would be better off with Sanchez or even Simms now and they should have drafted an offensive skill position player with one of their two first round draft picks. Although everyone is entitled to their opinion I am also entitled to feel physically ill reading them.
The one that most bothers me obviously is that Mark Sanchez would have magically morphed into a quarterback did not make mind-numbing, backbreaking decisions that led to turnovers at the most inopportune times. Sanchez had 52 turnovers in the last two years combined and those were his 3rd and 4th seasons where he should be making better decisions. Mark Sanchez in this preseason had a screen pass intercepted by a defensive lineman and a costly red zone interception. He played well at other times but those mistakes just go to show that he hasn’t learned or turned over a new leaf. When he is pressured he makes terrible decisions. Since I have heard that Sanchez could have won the New England game this year let’s remember last year’s game at New England. Once again the Jets had the Patriots in a winnable game that made it to overtime but Sanchez held onto the ball too long, tried to make a play and lost the game on a strip sack. I like Mark Sanchez but it is clearly time to move on for both parties.
Since the end of last season most Jets fans and media alike said that the team should not even bring Sanchez back. They should take the cap hit and dump him so they can start fresh. During this year’s training camp competition fans were begging the Jets to start Geno since we already knew what Sanchez was. Everyday people would write nasty things about Sanchez and justify to themselves why Smith should play and Sanchez should go away. Then Sanchez gets injured, goes away, people get what they want and now four weeks later those same people are calling for Sanchez to come save the day. You can’t have it both ways. Everyone knew what they were signing up with starting a rookie quarterback. There were going to be highs and lows and this was going to be a developmental season. A couple of wins early skewed the expectations around the team and now I see where switching to Simms or praying for Sanchez is currently en vogue. Simms has never even played against a 1st team defense and doesn’t have an NFL star.t I don’t think you can transpose what happened in the second half of meaningless preseason games to the regular season. See Clowney, David. These people need to remember that seeing what Smith has over a whole season is what is important this year, wins and losses are gravy.
Another popular one is that the Jets should have drafted an offensive player in the 1st round with one of the first two picks. This is mainly a knock on Dee Milliner who held out, then got injured, then played terribly, then got re-injured. If you haven’t noticed this year the Jets’ secondary has been a weakness this year and Jake Locker was able to dominate by throwing to his first read which is exactly what the defense is supposed to take away. The team was forced to play more zone because the players available couldn’t play the traditional press man coverage and take away the first read thus giving the pass rush time to get home. Milliner can play this way when healthy (he only missed one game in his career at Alabama so stop feeding me the injury-prone label). How bad would the Jets cornerback depth be if they didn’t draft Milliner?
As for the offensive player instead who is this player? The Jets were all set to draft Tavon Austin, the do everything wide receiver from West Virginia at pick nine, but St Louis made a huge offer to jump the Jets to draft him at eight. He hasn’t set the world on fire yet in St. Louis so I would probably hear that the Jets should have drafted Milliner at this point if the roles were reversed. The rest of the wide receivers were low 1st round talents that would have been a huge reach that early. The other name I keep hearing is Tyler Eifert, the tight end from Notre Dame, but before the draft reports were out there that the team wasn’t high on Eifert. They preferred Ertz from Stanford who would be available in the early second round but didn’t last to pick 39 and they liked Travis Kelce but he didn’t make it to the team’s 3rd round pick. How can you ask the Jets to draft a player that they didn’t think highly of when you are only using hindsight? Over the next three years it will be proven whether the Jets were right or wrong in their round one strategy not after four weeks.
The other reason not to panic about not going with a high pick at wide receiver is next year’s draft class is full of quality wide receivers. Each draft does not occur in a vacuum. Next year’s draft class and free agent class are taken into account when decisions are made. the 2014 class includes stars like Sammy Watkins, Marques Lee and Mike Evans is deep while 2013’s class was considered weak. The 2014 NFL free agent class has Hakeem Nicks, Anquan Boldin, Andrew Hawkins & Emmanuel Sanders to name a few.
The point here is that 2013 is year one of a two-year rebuilding process. Next year the Jets will have 30-40 million in cap room and ten picks in the draft, including four in the 1st three rounds. This team isn’t complete nor could it have been. There was no way to fix every hole on the team in one offseason. I think the team can be competitive because no coach gets more out of less talent than Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg is a good offensive coordinator. This year is about developing the young players on both sides of the ball and seeing if the product at the end of the season is stronger than the one we see now. This year requires patience and I’m glad that the front office has it even if most fans don’t.