Tag Archives: New York Jets

The Jets and Geno Smith: How a Trainwreck Led to This

As an avid fan of the NFL and comedy, I’ve always kept my eye on the New York Jets. It’s not that I hate the Jets—if anything, as a New York Sports fan, I want them to win because I have many friends who are Jets fans. But I also find it equally enjoyable to watch them constantly fuck up, and boy, when the Jets fuck up, they do it in GRAND fashion.

I could probably do a three-hour stand-up routine based solely around the New York Jets. From their horrible draft picks to their lunatic fringe fanbase and even their consistently horrid play on the field, I could probably make a living off of the failure of the Jets if I put the time or effort into it. For the time being, however, this column is the best I can do.

Over the last 18 months, the Jets have made a series of fuck-ups that are right up there with any series of fuck-ups in the franchise’s long, storied history of fucking up. Where did it all begin? Well, after the Jets finished the 2011 season at 8-8, failing to make the playoffs off the back of two successive AFC Championship Game appearances, in conjunction with the cross-town New York Giants winning their fourth Super Bowl, Head Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager Mike Tannenbaum evaluated the squad at the time to find out what went wrong. Obvious problems? Franchise quarterback Mark Sanchez had regressed in his third season in the league, completing 57% of passes in an offensive system that revolved far too much around him throwing the football.

Upon sticking their nose in the stats and the tape, the Jets looked at other possible options they could pursue at QB instead of Sanchez, eventually coming to the conclusion that, unless they signed free agent Peyton Manning (which was unlikely), that keeping Mark Sanchez would probably be the best option for 2012. So the Jets hierarchy went to Mark Sanchez and said something along the lines of, “We believe in you, you’re our starting QB next year, and there’s no need to worry about losing your job.” After saying that, they continued to pursue Manning in free agency.

That would turn out to be a massive mistake by the Jets front office that would come back to bite them in the ass, because Mark soon found out that the Jets were pursuing Manning and that they had held meetings with him after they had assured him that he would be the Jets starter next season. As such, when Manning went to the Broncos, the Jets had not only lost out on Peyton, but they had also demoralized their current starting QB. So, what did the Jets do to show that they had confidence in Mark? They made their second mistake: they gave him the contract extension. 3 years, $19.5 million guaranteed. At the time, he was higher paid than Aaron Rodgers.

If you don’t get how stupid this move was, here’s the analogy: Imagine this being a marriage between a wealthy husband (The Jets) and his wife (Mark Sanchez). The Jets, by telling Mark Sanchez that they believed in him and that he would be their starter next season, basically renewed their vows to Mark Sanchez, specifically including the words “I will not cheat on you” in those vows. Meanwhile, at the same time, said husband discovered that a supermodel he had ties with (Peyton Manning) had just recently divorced and was now on the market. Despite renewing his vows, the husband chased after the supermodel. They texted. Pictures were exchanged. Tubesocks were ruined. Dinners happened. The husband was spotted running by someone that his wife knew, and word subsequently got back that her husband tried to cheat on her. As such, when the husband was confronted by his wife after being unsuccessful in cheating on her, clearly hurting her feelings, his response was to go on a second honeymoon despite clearly not loving her.

With Sanchez getting this contract in mid-March, this should’ve been the end of it all. But it wasn’t, because on March 22nd, the Jets made their third mistake, and this would undo any showing of confidence that they gave Mark Sanchez with that new contract: they traded for Tim Tebow.

Trading for Tim Tebow was, bar none, the stupidest mistake they could possibly make. Tim Tebow had just come off a season where he had taken the NFL by storm and developed an even greater cult following than what he had in college. He was one of the most recognizable names in all of football, and he would now be the backup behind a QB with an already fractured confidence.

Sim through the 2012 season. Mark Sanchez had no confidence, played abysmally after Week one, ran into Brandon Moore’s ass on National TV against the Patriots in the Thanksgiving Night Game, got replaced in the middle of the game by Greg McElroy the following week, and the Jets ended up finishing the season at 6-10, their first losing season since 2007 (the year before they traded for Brett Favre). Sanchez played in 15 games, starting them all, throwing 13 TDs and 18 interceptions, regressing dramatically from the year before.

General Manager Mike Tannenbaum got fired after the season was over and was replaced by John Idzik. Rex Ryan, much to the chagrin of some Jets fans, is still in his job despite failing to make the postseason two years in a row. Looking to start fresh and improve a lackluster defense, the Jets used their two first round picks on defensive players in the 2013 draft. And then, early in the second round, the Jets selected West Virginia QB Geno Smith, projected by many to be a Top 5 pick, but instead fell to the second round because he was perceived by many to be a standout of a poor QB class.

With the selection of Geno Smith, the Jets have made it clear that the leash on Mark Sanchez is going to be very tight for the 2013 season. If I were a betting man, I would guess that Mark Sanchez would start the first two games of the regular season, home against Tampa Bay followed by the Patriots at Foxborough four days later on that Thursday night, and then, barring a 2-0 start to the season, he will be replaced by Geno Smith, who would start week 3 at home against the Buffalo Bills, having ten days to prepare with the first team and get acquainted to his role as the starter.

Despite that, I honestly believe that the Jets have made a mistake in drafting Geno Smith, and think that he will suffer after he plays one or two games. The problem with Geno Smith in college was that he didn’t have a running game to help him at West Virginia. He also didn’t have a defense. He started off the season 5-0, winning those shootouts against Texas (48-45) and Baylor (70-63) and appearing to be a sure-fire Heisman Trophy winner. He beat those five teams by simply outscoring them. And then, out of nowhere, the Mountaineers went to Texas Tech and got hammered 49-14. How did it happen? Simple: Texas Tech played 8 in the backfield specifically to take away Geno Smith’s passing lanes. They didn’t blitz the whole game, nor did they deviate from their 8-man zone. This could’ve easily been countered by West Virginia if they had a decent running game, but alas, they did not. This game exposed Geno and West Virginia. The result? A five game losing streak as coach after coach realized that stopping Geno Smith was an easy task. To be honest, Geno Smith’s stats were probably inflated by the Big 12 defenses that he faced. If that West Virginia team had played in the SEC, they’d have probably finished 3-9 and Geno Smith would’ve gone un-drafted.

Why do I bring that up when talking about the Jets? Because the Jets are worse off than West Virginia. They don’t have a running game. They have some receivers for him to throw to, but they’re not gonna be able to protect him all that well. The only saving grace that Geno might have is that the Jets defense will be able to keep him in games, but that won’t matter if he’s gonna be given the keys to yet another one-dimensional offense. It’s worth asking: if John Idzik was so desperate to draft a new QB, why didn’t he wait a year for Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez to fail again, be able to fire Rex and get a Head Coach in that he liked and that he could work with in the next NFL draft, which will have a much better class of QBs to choose from? They failed to properly hit the reset button on an expensive, aging, and inefficient roster accompanied by a lame duck coach. They entire team is a sunk-cost at this point.

The fact of the matter is this: the Jets have made some horrible decisions in the past 18 months when it has come to the QB position. Selecting Geno Smith, in my opinion, is just the latest installment of that long sequence of fuck-ups the Jets have made. But hey, who am I to crucify them? I get to watch another year or two of that garbage! Hell, if anything, this is a victory for us all. So let’s just sit back, relax, and enjoy the greatest comedy on American TV: The New York Jets.

Follow Greg Visone on Twitter @njny

New Years Resolutions For Five Sports Figures

Unlike these sports figures who wish 2012 could last forever, these five are happy that they’re being granted clemency in the form of a new year. New year, new leaf. Their New Years resolutions are…

The New York Jets
To stop sucking.
The 2012 New York Jets may have been the worst 6-10 team in NFL history, at least from a viewer’s perspective. Living in the New York area, and not having Fox (thanks NYU Campus cable) forced me to watch every Jet game this season. Sportswriters love to use the word “joke” to describe especially awful teams/players/coaches, but the Jets were a joke this year in the most literal sense of the word. They were actually funny to watch. The Mark Sanchez Comedy Club was in full-swing, starring: Tebow’s Bench Spot, Shonn Greene’s Yards Per Carry Average, Every Jet Receiver, Brandon Moore’s Butt Cheeks, Fireman Ed, and Rex Ryan’s Neck Flab.

Every game, just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse for the Jets, they did. For many teams, they’ll hit rock bottom at some point in the game, and that’ll be it. They’ll keel over and die, going into damage limitation mode. The Jets, however, managed to always hit rock-bottom in each of their 10 losses, and then actually exceed that bottom point. Whether it’s the Sanchez butt-fumble, or throwing away the Titans game at least 10 different times, these Jets just didn’t know when to stop sucking. After the Titans game, my roommate—a Jets fan—actually vomited, screaming out, “I can’t take it anymore! He [Mark Sanchez] is so bad!”

For years, the Jets have been a circus. It’s been great reality TV, beyond the Hard Knocks episodes. This is what owner Woody Johnson wanted, and it’s worked. They’ve been the more talked about New York football team the past four years, have signed every controversial player, and have provided every pull-quote to make the organization a continuous SportsCenter headline. This past season was the season when the circus animals got rabies, broke out of their chains, and killed the carnies. Huge financial commitments to several veterans may prevent them from cleaning house this offseason, but at some point, this front office and roster needs to be burned to the ground.

Demarcus Cousins
To control myself and think about how my actions hurt other people.
Yes Demarcus, please calm down. He’s near the half-way point of his 3rd NBA season, and he’s already clashed with two head coaches. His first, Paul Westphal, sent Cousins home last season, because he was “unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team.” Ouch. More recently, the Kings suspended him indefinitely for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team”—a suspension that lasted two total days.

Cousins is a a great NBA big (not many centers are capable of putting up 25 and 15 on any given night at age 22), and could be an elite NBA player, which is why he’s getting away with murdering the Kings. Westphal was fired soon after his bout with Cousins, and an indefinite suspension that ended up being only two days suggests that he’s holding the franchise hostage with his talent. Perhaps the Kings are still letting him play to boost his trade value, but Cousins needs to realize that he’s the best player on an NBA team, albeit a bad one. He has a chance to give the Kings life again, and possibly save NBA basketball in Sacramento with his success (I’m sure Seattle basketball fans would welcome his talents with open-arms). His future probably lies with a different franchise, but unless Cousins improves his approach to professional basketball, new pastures will be no brighter.

Wesley Sneijder
To get on the pitch and see Jose Mourinho, stat.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Three years ago, Sneijder was coming off of a brilliant Champions League winning season with Inter, and a second-place finish at the World Cup. He was perhaps the most creative midfield force in the world, and undoubtedly the Dutch’s best player in South Africa. He was quoted at £35 million, and the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United were hot for his signature. Now, he’s available on a free from Inter, and the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal have all snubbed moves for him, because of his greed. It seems like ever since Jose Mourinho left Inter, the club and Sneijder have taken a nose-dive on the pitch. Sneijder himself hasn’t touched a Serie A pitch since September due to a contract dispute, and his international star is fading fast. He needs to swallow his pride, and take the pay-cut that he’s earned, because he hasn’t been good since 2010. A move to Tottenham or Liverpool would suit him, as each side lack world-beating Number 10s, but at this point, it seems like Sneijder is only knows what’s best for his Swiss bank account.

Aston Villa
To hug our mothers, and play some defense.
Aston Villa have been League One worthy in the month of December. Actually, they’ve been historically bad. Their 14 goals allowed over the past three matches set an EPL record for most goals conceded over that span. Paul Lambert’s side are in a rebuilding phase—the plan this year was to let the kids play. It’s an easy cop-out for the manager and supporters. If the team does well, then that means Villa’s youth is maturing quickly. If the team does poorly, then the results can be blamed on inexperience. This defending, however, is not due to youthful mistakes or lack of talent. This is just piss poor effort, cluelessness bred by bad communication and management, and (I guess) Gareth Bale’s speed.
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Out of every EPL team, 2013 couldn’t have come quicker for Aston Villa. If you know a Villa fan, buy them a cup of tea, and give them a hug. They need it.

Gary Bettman
To get back on the ice.
I don’t watch hockey. I don’t follow hockey. I only somewhat care about hockey when the New Jersey Devils make the finals, but even last year, I found LeBron v. Celtics more interesting. Hockey, however, is a sport that’s 1,000,000% better when watched at the actual game. I’ll never watch the sport on TV, but if I had some tickets to a Rangers game? Sure! I’m there.

Right now, Gary Bettman is destroying a beautiful live product because of his unwavering stance in CBA negotiations. Although there are millions of fans and families who desperately want NHL hockey back, the ESPN-centric sports world is simply moving on. I watch some SportsCenter every day, and I can’t remember the last time the NHL lockout was covered. During the NFL lockout, every outlet was making any movement at the negotiation table their lead story. If Goodell had crossed swords with an NFLPA lawyer in the restroom, we’d know. Not only is Bettman losing the NHL, but he’s losing the public’s interest. No NHL? No problem. Goodell and Stern are happily filling the void.

Follow Justin on Twitter @jblock49