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The hurdles Jets must clear to finally find franchise QB

Ken Schroy

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The hurdles Jets must clear to finally find franchise QB

By Brian Costello

 December 2, 2014 | 10:40pm
Oregon's Marcus Mariota is seen as the safest quarterback pick in the upcoming draft.

Now playing quarterback for the New York Jets in 2015 … who knows?

The Jets are in a familiar spot, as they enter 2015 searching for a franchise quarterback. From Richard Todd to Ken O’Brien to Browning Nagle to Chad Pennington and on to Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, the search for someone to fill Joe Namath’s shoes has been an ongoing theme of this franchise.

Get ready for the next link in that chain.

The Smith experiment is over. After a brutal start to his second season with the Jets, the team benched him, then brought him back Monday night only to neuter him, as the coaches let him throw just eight times in the first 58 minutes.

The only good news from this disastrous 2-10 season is the Jets should have a good draft pick. Can they finally pick the right guy? There are a lot of hurdles to clear between now and next spring.

Feeling the draft

Most draft experts agree there are just two quarterbacks expected to be in this draft worth a first-round pick — Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State. Mariota is viewed as the safer pick because of character concerns with Winston.

Currently, the Jets would have the No. 5 pick in next April’s draft. Even at 2-10, they have some losing to do to move up, and they need help. The Raiders, Buccaneers, Jaguars and Titans are all ahead of them. Oakland is 1-11 and looks like it is a lock for the top pick. The good news for Jets fans is the Raiders may not be in the market for a quarterback. They just drafted Derek Carr, who has played well enough that the decision-makers in Oakland may decide he deserves a longer look and they can fill another hole with the top pick or trade it to one of the quarterback-needy teams.

The Buccaneers, Jaguars, Titans and Jets are tied at 2-10, but the Jets “lose” the tiebreaker with those teams because they have played a tougher schedule. Strength of schedule is the first tiebreaker, with the team that has played the weakest schedule getting the better pick.

The Jaguars and Titans play each other and the Jets face the Titans in two weeks. So, the best-case scenario for the Jets is to lose out and hope the Jaguars beat the Titans in Week 16. That would give the Titans three wins (with the one over the Jets) and the Jaguars three wins. If the Buccaneers beat the Panthers, the Jets could slide up to the No. 2 pick.

If the Jets can’t get that high, they may have to trade up if they really want Mariota. Jacksonville is the only team of the 2-10 group that doesn’t need a quarterback, after taking Blake Bortles with the third pick this year. Tampa Bay and Tennessee are the chief competition for the Jets, with the Redskins lurking at 3-9.

The Harbaugh factor

It feels like the entire 2015 offseason in the NFL is going to be dictated by one thing — where does Jim Harbaugh go? The 49ers coach is not expected to return to the team after battling with ownership and his general manager. The Raiders and the Jets are seen as the favorites to make a run at Harbaugh, but this won’t be simple.



San Francisco is expected to seek a trade for Harbaugh instead of just firing him. Harbaugh looks like a strong candidate for the Jets, who need someone with both credibility and experience developing quarterbacks.

If Harbaugh does come, how does that affect the quarterback decision? Maybe he thinks he can control Winston or maybe he loves Mariota — who is seen as a better version of Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers’ current quarterback.

It is a certainty Jets coach Rex Ryan will be fired. It appears probable general manager John Idzik will also be let go as Woody Johnson cleans house. Johnson needs to have the quarterback position in mind when he picks the man or men who will be choosing and coaching the new quarterback.

Other options

The draft is the best way to find a franchise quarterback. Look at the best quarterbacks in football — only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tony Romo were not drafted by their teams.

But if the Jets finish out of the Mariota sweepstakes and deem Winston too big a risk, what are the options in free agency? Underwhelming.

Sanchez appears to be the best free-agent quarterback available if the Eagles don’t re-sign him. Forget a reunion with the Jets, though. That’s not happening.

Then you have a group of Brian Hoyer, Jake Locker and the possibility of bringing Michael Vick back for another year. None of those options is a very good one.

It looks like Robert Griffin III might be done in Washington, but he is no sure thing with the injuries and other issues he has had with the Redskins.

Unless you’re the Colts, it never seems like it’s a good thing if you’re looking for a quarterback in the NFL. The Jets have been here before and have not found the answer. They are about to get another crack at it. Will they blow it or finally find the next Namath?

Quarterback candidates

It is clear the Jets will be in the market for a quarterback this offseason. Here is a look at the options:


Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Most draft gurus consider him the best quarterback in the draft. He looks like the clear-cut best option for quarterback-needy teams.

Jameis Winston, Florida State

Immensely talented, but with a ton of off-field baggage. Winston is going to tumble in the draft and a team like the Jets should be leery of bringing him to New York.

Free agents

Mark Sanchez, Eagles

If Sanchez continues to play well, the Eagles may want to keep him. If not, he will be the top free-agent quarterback. There is no chance of a Jets reunion.

Brian Hoyer, Browns

Johnny Manziel replaced Hoyer this week, and it seems hard to imagine Hoyer will ever fully regain his grip on the Browns’ starting job. Could be a bridge quarterback while a team develops a rookie.

Michael Vick, Jets

Vick did not distinguish himself in his three starts with the Jets. He could be finished at age 34. It is doubtful the Jets would bring him back.

Jake Locker, Titans

Tennessee has moved on to Zach Mettenberger and Locker’s time in Tennessee is dwindling. Somebody might take a chance on him as a project.

Wild cards

Robert Griffin III, Redskins

It looks like Washington is ready to give up on the No. 2 pick from the 2012 draft. Is he worth the risk? Injuries and a variety of issues have derailed his career.

Jay Cutler, Bears

It seems impossible the Bears can cut Cutler this offseason because of the $126 million contract he signed before last year, but the city of Chicago sure seems ready to move on.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins

Another quarterback in Washington whose stock was high before this year. He flopped as the starter and is now third on the depth chart. Will Washington cut him?

Rough draft

The Jets currently are tied in the standings with the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Titans at 2-10. The Raiders are one game worse at 1-11. This is basically the field for the top-five draft picks, with the Giants and Redskins threatening to join in.

The Jets would pick fifth right now because they “lose” the tiebreaker, having played a tougher schedule — the team that has faced the easier schedule getting the better pick. Strength of schedule is affected by each week’s results, so Jets fans hoping for a higher pick would root for all of the teams on the Jets schedule to lose as much as possible (except to the Jets). Here is a look at the field:

1. Raiders (1-11)

Current strength of schedule: .590

Remaining games: 49ers (7-5), Chiefs (7-5), Bills (7-5), Broncos (9-3)

Quarterback outlook: Rookie Derek Carr has played pretty well, and this team has a ton of other holes. The Raiders are not expected to take a QB.

2. Buccaneers (2-10)

Current strength of schedule: .458

Remaining games: Lions (8-4), Panthers (3-8-1), Packers (9-3), Saints (5-7)

Quarterback outlook: Tampa Bay needs a quarterback as bad as the Jets. Josh McCown has been a disappointment, and coach Lovie Smith does not seem enamored of second-year QB Mike Glennon, whom he inherited.

3. Jaguars (2-10)

Current strength of schedule: .545

Remaining games: Texans (6-6), Ravens (7-5), Titans (2-10), Texans (6-6)

Quarterback outlook: Jacksonville took Blake Bortles with the third pick of the 2014 draft, so there is no way they are going quarterback in the first round again.

4. Titans (2-10)

Current strength of schedule: .545

Remaining games: Giants (3-9), Jets (2-10), Jaguars (2-10), Colts (8-4)

Quarterback outlook: Another team in desperate need of a quarterback, rookie Zach Mettenberger does not look like the answer.

5. Jets (2-10)

Current strength of schedule: .583

Remaining games: Vikings (5-7), Titans (2-10), Patriots (9-3), Dolphins (7-5)

Quarterback outlook: The Jets have been searching for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath left in 1977. The search continues.


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The biggest hurdle the Jets have to worry about finding a way to overcome is the Jets.

Seriously. Why would anybody (good that is) want to come play or coach here? The owner is an a$$hole. I have no doubt he's the reason why mumbles and Parcells quit.

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Seriously. Why would anybody (good that is) want to come play or coach here? The owner is an a$$hole. I have no doubt he's the reason why mumbles and Parcells quit.


Woody has made several terrible decisions when bringing in coaches/ececs, etc...but other than that, I don't think there's anything about him that would deter a potential HC as long as Idzik is gone.  He's willing to spend, he's exceedingly patient, and I doubt he's in the war room telling the HC and/or GM who to take on draft day.  He lets his football people make the football decisions and he signs the checks.

Edited by AirForceJetFan
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Be pretty funny, and typical Jets, if we pick 3rd, and Tampa and the Titans got back to back QB #1 and #2.

Actually, that's now my prediction, given how horrible that would be for most Jets fans.

The Jets will hire Joe Gibbs and trade for rg3 lol and then pick a fullback with the 3rd overall pick

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I stopped reading when "fairminded" Lou Costello advovated the return of the buttfumbling turnover machine

Where did he advocate the return of Sanchez? Seems like he was saying "NO Way"

Mark Sanchez, Eagles

If Sanchez continues to play well, the Eagles may want to keep him. If not, he will be the top free-agent quarterback. There is no chance of a Jets reunion.

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supply and demand


nothing is more radio active than not having a QB 

Scouts better hope Shameus plays against Bama and Bama doesn't even have a great secondary. If he looks gawd awful he may tumble into 3rd day. The circus he brings is just not worth it. On the other hand If he lights up Tide, that may solidify top 5 pick

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I think it all comes down to how our talent evaluators see the draft board. (assuming Idzik is here) 


It is very possible that our QB of the future isn't even in this draft. If our staff isn't sold on Mariotta or Winston as Elite level potential, they may have a plan B.




My thing is... That if OUR evaluation of a player is poor, then by default we should draft him. We would have some really nice players from last years draft if we avoided the players Idzik liked and just drafted other players. If everything we are choosing to do is a bad idea, then by default we should do the opposite of our intuition. Costanza got his life together... Why can't the New York Jets.   :love0055: 


Idzik's eye for talent is pathetic. :sign0151:   

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