DaBallhawk Posted December 28, 2014 Share Posted December 28, 2014 All season Rex kept saying the team doesn't lack talent and whatnot. Now that he's a goner suddenly he points at how this team lacks talent...Hmm. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/sports/what-the-jets-need-simply-is-talent.html FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan was asked the other day what his team needs to perform better in 2015. “It’s obvious what it needs,” Ryan said, “but I’m not going to get into it.” Perhaps Ryan had a meeting in 20 minutes, and he did not want to be late. It might have taken that long to expound on as candid an assessment of the Jets’ roster as he has offered all season. In 13 words, Ryan seemed to acknowledge what he has not publicly recognized at any point during the last few years of a term nearing an inglorious end — that the Jets lacked sufficient talent. The Jets are in this position — at 3-12 heading into Sunday’s finale at Miami — because they have not learned from their mistakes. They entered last off-season needing to upgrade at quarterback and cornerback, and in part because they did not, Ryan and General Manager John Idzik are expected to lose their jobs. The owner, Woody Johnson, would not have arranged for a former longtime general manager, Charley Casserly, to serve as a consultant unless major changes were afoot. “There should be a lot of time spent looking back on the past and looking back on the tenure of Rex Ryan and John Idzik together and going, Where are we?” Louis Riddick, the former director of pro personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles and now an analyst for ESPN, said in a recent interview. “What have we been doing? What’s the plan? And what’s the plan now?” The answer to that last question depends on whose plan it is. The general manager, whoever it is, will have at least $40 million in salary-cap space and a high draft pick. But he must also sort out a quarterback situation that has bedeviled the franchise for decades; determine how to proceed with receiver Percy Harvin, who diversified the Jets’ offense after an October trade with Seattle but is owed a prohibitive $10.5 million next season; and strengthen, at the least, the offensive line, the pass rush, the receiving depth and the cornerback corps. It is just the Jets’ luck that they could finish with their worst record since 1996 and yet they still might not have a chance to draft either of the quarterbacks viewed as the best available. Regardless of Sunday’s result, the Jets will pick no worse than sixth and no better than third. Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State could very well be gone by then, especially with the quarterback-needy teams Tampa Bay and Tennessee locked into the top two slots. Barring a trade, then, the Jets will have to look elsewhere to find competition for Geno Smith, who in contrast to this season will have to earn whatever role he has in 2015. One possibility could be drafting a quarterback in the second or third round to push Smith, and then finding either a veteran from a thin free-agent class — Shaun Hill? Brian Hoyer? Colt McCoy? — or, if Chicago decides to deal him, try to acquire Jay Cutler. The quarterback mess presents a conundrum, but so does determining what to do with Harvin, who has everything the Jets need — speed, versatility, talent — yet comes with an onerous salary-cap charge and a history of injuries. Harvin has expressed a desire to return, and the Jets could accommodate that request if he is willing to take a pay cut (unlikely) or re-sign after testing free agency. Many of the top free-agent receivers — Dez Bryant (Dallas), Demaryius Thomas (Denver), Randall Cobb (Green Bay) — do not seem inclined to leave their current teams, but the Jets could do worse than making a play for Torrey Smith, a downfield threat who thrived for the Ravens. Should the Jets not wind up taking a quarterback with their first pick, Amari Cooper of Alabama, if available, could be an option. The proliferation of passing offenses has placed a premium on great cornerbacks as much as great quarterbacks, and the teams that consistently win have at least one. The Jets have neither. Dee Milliner (Achilles’ tendon) and Dexter McDougle (knee) are scheduled to return at full strength from their season-ending injuries, but the Jets are highly likely to chase better, more established cornerbacks in free agency. Among the possible candidates are Chris Culliver (San Francisco), Brandon Flowers (San Diego), Kareem Jackson (Houston) and Byron Maxwell (Seattle). The Jets will have the salary-cap flexibility to add reinforcements at guard and safety, particularly if they decline to re-sign Willie Colon and Dawan Landry, while rewarding some of their own players. Middle linebacker David Harris highlights the list of the Jets’ unrestricted free agents, but their priority should be awarding a new contract to the star defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, who has outplayed his rookie deal. If the recent extensions for J. J. Watt and Robert Quinn are any guide, Wilkerson should command a deal worth more than $13 million per season. Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson anchor one of the best defensive lines in the league, but they could benefit from the presence of a strong edge pass rusher. That player was once Quinton Coples, the Jets’ first-round pick in 2012, but he has yet to blossom. “Aside from cornerback, that’s the other missing component to this defense and has been the missing component to this defense,” the former N.F.L. offensive lineman Brian Baldinger, now an analyst on NFL Network, said in a telephone interview. Ryan knows this, just as he knew his team needed a better quarterback and better cornerbacks, and now all this figures to be someone else’s problem to solve. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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