NY Jets: Stop focusing on the quarterback position

Jan 10, 2015; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass during pre game warmups against the Illinois State Redbirds at Pizza Hut Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2015; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass during pre game warmups against the Illinois State Redbirds at Pizza Hut Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Jets have many other areas of need instead of focusing on just the quarterback position this off-season.

If there is anything we have learned this postseason, it’s that finding a good quarterback for your team isn’t an exact science. In the NFL’s final four, we had a 39 year old, first overall pick who looked as good as gone about three weeks ago, a quarterback in the discussion as one of the greatest of all time who was taken 199th overall in his draft, a number one pick having a season of historic proportions, and a number one pick who has not been able to step up his game in the postseason. The draft positions of the quarterbacks of the past five Super Bowl winners have been 199, 75, 18, 1, and 24. In other words, your guess is as good as Mike Maccagnan’s as to where a franchise quarterback will be taken.

For example, Joe Flacco, taken 18th overall, has had a more successful career than Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, taken 24th in his draft, has had a significantly better career than Alex Smith, who was taken first in that same draft. So the question is, come draft time, why does this position get so much attention? The Jets are a prime example of a team who should be taking a forward-thinking approach and looking to play to their own strengths rather than following the trends of the league.

Running backs are now a relative afterthought when it comes to draft strategy because it has become increasingly difficult to judge how a certain player’s skill-set will translate to the next level. The confirmation of the notion that finding a good running back is essentially a crapshoot may have been created by the extreme failure of Trent Richardson, who the Cleveland Browns used the number 3 pick on.

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The Jets went against the grain last year in the draft by taking Leonard Williams with the 6th overall pick, a player whose role would be to fortify a team strength.

This is what the team should be focusing on. To be successful as a team you either need to have a transcendent quarterback or be able to hit the quarterback often. The Denver Broncos demonstrated both on Sunday, making Tom Brady‘s day miserable.

While Peyton Manning may be on his last rodeo, Brady doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. The fact of the matter is, there is probably not a quarterback that is going to be better than Brady in this draft. There won’t be many quarterbacks – if any – that are going to be better than Brady in the next 50 years. However, the Patriots fired their offensive line coach for a reason. They know that if teams like the Jets and Broncos bring a front seven composed of speed rushers and physical specimens who can get to Brady with relative ease, Tom will be rendered useless.

So why is it that the Jets are posting about guys like Carson Wentz, when we should be talking about interior linemen on either side of the ball, or an outside rusher like Jaylon Smith or Myles Jack? Have we still not yet learned? Rex Ryan’s Jets teams fell behind the curve because they failed to adapt to the trends and were stuck in the Ground and Pound world.

Trends in the NFL do not last too long, so if you are going to jump on one, you better be one of the first to do so. By assembling a team loaded with spry linemen and linebackers, the Jets could start their own trend toward the modern-day smash-mouth football.

Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks down field In the first half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Have the Jets seasons been marred by poor quarterback play at inopportune times? Yes. Changing this requires a changing of the system. Maybe if the Jets don’t let Tyrod Taylor, a guy who had been a career backup, run around against their defense, Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t have to force throws at the end of the game in Buffalo (I still relive Kenbrell Thompkins’ near-catch on a daily basis). This isn’t excusing poor quarterback play, it’s about preventing the inevitable.

Not every team can have a great quarterback, and Maccagnan won Executive of the Year because of his ability to create a system that did its best to help aid in the improvement of the play of the quarterback position. Maybe Geno Smith could have had similar success in this system, or Bryce Petty. Heck, don’t you think Mark Sanchez would’ve liked having Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker at his disposal circa 2010? The answer to that is a resounding yes.

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It is my hope that the Jets continue to build a system, not just look for the next hot item on the market. This is why Fitzpatrick was successful, and why the team went 10-6. If Maccagnan and the Jets keep going in the direction they are then the quarterback position should not be an annual hot-button issue in the off-season, and maybe with the pressure off the team will be able to find a diamond in the rough.