Well, The season is over for us. I Waited a couple of days to start this so I could let emotions cool down and be able to have an objective opinion on the moves we made. If you can remember, I made a post like this one halfway through the season describing my feelings on as many moves as I could think of at the bye week/halfway point of the season when we were 4-3 after a great win. This time, we're coming off of another 3 game losing streak that cost us the season. Not easy to think about is it? Well, I'll get back on topic. Time to review and see what moves we made and didn't make that helped or hurt our season. Even the littlest thing can impact the season, and now lets take a look shall we?
To those about to TL;DR it, this is about the moves we made
I'll Go in a specific order this time around, starting with;
Offense, Defense, Special Teams, Coaching
*Writers note: Wow this is turning out to be alot longer than expected, breaking it into three posts
Off-Season Move-Keeping Brunell
We failed to secure a proper NFL backup during the offseason. In Seasons past, we at least had Kellen Clemens to not only back up Mark in case he got hurt (2009 Jets vs Buccaneers), but push him when he got into a downward spiral. But when we let him walk, we technically didn't fail to get a backup at that point. We Drafted Greg McElroy to help back up along with Brunell. The problem is that he was hurt during the preseason, and we failed to get anyone decent to help. The front office either believed that we were set at backup with Brunell, who failed to even get into a preseason game, or that our Offensive line would be SO good, that Mark wouldn't get hit and even have the possibility of being hurt. Both options were miserable failures. Brunell absolutely failed when he came in for Sanchez versus the Eagles, going 1-3 for 27 yards including some balls that were so poorly thrown that it looked like he should have retired a year ago.
As to the Offensive line being great, it wasn't even half the line that last years line was. I'll only focus on the Pass protection in this section, but the offensive line was extremely poor this year. According to the NFL, the Jets allowed the 13th most Sacks with 40. They also allowed 70 QB hits (I think its more, I always saw Mark on the Ground Practically every play). Honestly, looking back with all the big hits Mark took, I can't blame him for having happy feet. I would too. But getting back to the main point, Mark more than likely felt that he was not only safe regarding his job, but obligated to keep playing even when hurt because he didn't want old man Brunell to get hurt or because he knew he was the only capable quarterback on the squad. I don't know if Mark was on the injury list the last couple games of the season, but the Jets have had a history of keeping Quarterbacks in when they were hurt. And even if Mark was hiding it, it just shows that we failed to get a backup quarterback who could win games.
Position-The Running Back
Off-Season Move-Starting Shonn Greene
This was a career year for the Greene Machine, getting 1054 yards in his first 1000 yard season as a pro, and a career high 6 TDs....But was it actually a good season for him? No it wasn't, he failed to show up in many games this season. 3 TDs came from the Washington Redskins, one in garbage time when he should have just kneeled it and ran out the clock. Failing to get a 100 yard game until week 7 or even a 4.0 average until week 5 against New England. He had a long of 31 yards and only breached 100 yards twice, against San Deigo and versus a hapless Kansas City squad. Granted, he was only allowed so many carries by an offensive coordinator who we all know about, but he still needs to produce on said carries. Having a 4.0 average is (or at least was and is in my opinion) the average for a running back and if you have less than 4.0 in 7 games out of the 16 we play, for a "ground and pound" team that is not a good season. I don't think we had many other options, LT is old and McKnight/Powell aren't ready to be running every down, Greene was supposed to be a 1500 Yard type of back with the way that we like to run this season. For One reason or another, he didn't get anywhere near there. I would love to blame B.S for this and I partially blame him for it, like the 69 passing attempts versus the giants, but when you do get the opportunity you NEED to come up for your team. He carried the ball 14 times versus both the Giants and the Dolphins, we saw the daylight against the giants, but against the Phins he had even less than what he had against the Giants.
Off-Season Move-Resting LT
This would have been a great thing if we made the playoffs. We saw that LT had Fresh legs at the end of the season and was running well. The problem is, by the time he was using those fresh legs we were just about eliminated from the playoffs virtually defeating the point in resting him. Pass the blame to whoever, he was hurt for some part of the season as well, but why have weapons when you refuse to use them...foreshadowing...
Off-Season Move-"Expanding" Joe McKnight's Role
Well I mean it only took weeks of proving himself on Special Teams and Defense? to get himself even considered to be apart of the offense. Then what do we do late in the season? Not use him! It's like we don't even know what real playmakers are! Well, he at least had some work during the season at different points. He eventually could be used like Darren Sproles from the Saints. He's shown quite a bit of explosiveness this season and proved why we went out and drafted him. I'll focus on his special teams contributions later, but for here just know that he have a future playmaker on our roster is a certain somebody plans on using him...
Off-Season Move-Replacing Tony Richardson for John Conner
When I see Conner Finally get into the game, we get nice runs going. Am I wrong on that? But I'm not going to focus on the play. The problem with this move is how we have almost no leadership, and I won't change my mind on this because we've won two games and we aren't talking. We shouldn't be blasting each other during the losses, and that is what guys like T-Rich, Woody, Jenkins and Ellis all brought to the table as older leaders.
This is what I wrote in my last post, my feelings were spot on. We saw as the season progressed we weren't on the same team as years past. We had NO leadership, guys were blasting each other in the locker room and we had no way to handle cancers in the locker room like Santonio Holmes. The running game was extremely poor this season as well. You can blame Shotty, the Oline or the RBs, we were outrushed this season in both attempts and yardage (Something they showed during the Miami? Game). So not only is leadership gone, so is the production we've had seasons past.
Off-Season Move-Replacing Ben Hartsock with Matthew Mulligan
Nothing Special here, we replaced a guy with stone hands, a great blocker with an occasional penalty with a guy with stone hands, a great blocker with an occasional penalty. At least we have this soundbite of him and Westoff
We've Got Quite a Few moves here, so I'll Start with the monkey in the room
Off-Season Move-Signing Santonio Holmes to the Extended Contract/Not Braylon Edwards
When the Jets kept Santonio, we kept him hoping he could evolve into a true number one receiver. To be honest, he never was that. He always had Hines Ward or Braylon to help take the coverage away...The problem however, was his maturity. Was the guy who was traded to us for a 5th mature enough to handle all the fame that came with a big contract? So far, no. He hasn't at all. After Several games, he's come out and complained about the O-line and other parts of the team-something a Captain shouldn't be doing. If not for these past couple of wins, it would have looked like a nuclear bomb went off in our locker room. It would NOT be pretty right now, now it's only armed and dangerous, waiting for another collapse. I'm not saying that Braylon would have been more mature after getting a big contract, he's had his own problems-especially during the off-season with a Bar fight and all sorts of trouble happening around him causing him to get almost NO attention once free agency began. As well, this contract was a HUGE contract against receivers. 5 years 50 million with 24 million guaranteed. That's ALOT of money. But the genius that Trader Mike is-it only cost us 2.45 Million in Cap.
Were the Jets right in giving Holmes the Contract? Personally, after the comments he made-I'd say No. I've always been hard on Holmes on dropped passes and fumbles but a few great game-saving plays and I'm sure he'll be on my good side again
Again This is what I wrote, and the problem is that the nuclear bomb in the locker room just went off. Holmes showed that he was NOT a number one receiver. He couldn't get open and showed extreme immaturity when things did not go his way. Players like LT said recently that he was a cancer and gave up on the season weeks ago. Now A "Respected Jets Veteran doesn't know how he can come back next season". This locker room just imploded once we started losing, starting with "Captain" Holmes. I find his immaturity unbelievable for someone who was just paid more than most people earn in their lives. Learn to see things in retrospect.
I don't know if Braylon Would have been any better, he has shown to be a diva in the past, but I can only believe that yeah he would have been alot better than Holmes.
Off-Season Move-Plax for Braylon
When it comes to statistics, when we had Plaxico the redzone offense dramatically increased. We were number one this season in Redzone Touchdowns. He finished with 45 receptions for 612 yards and 8 TDs, those are disappointing numbers compared to Edward's season last year. Braylon had more receptions and more yards while only having one drop all of last season. Would he have duplicated that success this year if he was here? I can't say, but I have a feeling that he would have had an even better year if he had stayed. I love what he did here, we actually threw down the field, and he was a superb blocker.
Braylon Edwards Jets 2010-2011 Highlights (via JetsLT4ever)
Enjoy the nostalgia of watching Braylon on the Jets.....I have no choice when it comes to the music for better or for worse, just saying....
Off-Season Move-Derrick Mason replacing Jerricho Cotchery
Wow what a bust for us. Whether it was Mason's fault or Shotty's fault (I wonder), Mason was "Traded" early in the season for speaking out after a failure in Baltimore and being Benched against New England for literally nothing. We got absolutely NOTHING for him...I honestly have never heard of a trade that ends up with neither team getting anything. But he was doing a terrible job going out and catching the ball, something unusual for someone who had such a good career. He was old and getting slower but again, was it him or the system? It seems very unusual that we had so many players with an explosive talents or just overall good players stink like our offense did....Getting back on topic....Cotchery Really showed up late in the season for the Steelers, not only playing well but understanding the system well as well as earning the respect of all the players around him. Now he's playing against Timmy Tebow in the playoffs while we're sitting here watching. While he may not have had a necessarily good season there, but he was hurt for most of it and in the games he played come up with clutch catches, and for a 4th receiver he's done his job.
Off-Season Move-Jeremy Kerley Replacing Derrick Mason
This move actually turned out to be a great one on several levels, not only did we "Get Rid of a cancer in Mason" we may have found our future Brad Smith combined with an actual receiver. He showed major versitility while playing the part of a Seminole (Wildcat) Quarterback, being able to run it as well as Smith shown in the Redskins game, but also was able to throw the ball (Once). He also showed to be a great Slot wideout during the season having good hands and a shiftyness that allowed him to get away from defenders. He also can be a good punt returner if he learns to catch the ball. This could be a beginning of a reliable receiver.
I'll Throw this out there-our line for whatever reason was playing poor in several parts of the season. We all know about Wayne Hunter's Struggles throughout the season, but everyone was playing fairly poorly. Nick Mangold was hurt and we saw how important he was, but Moore had a rough last couple of weeks and Ferguson does not deserve to be a probowler this season. He was beat quite a bit and that includes getting torched by Jason Taylor in his last game as a pro causing an interception on the play. This makes me concerned about Bill Callahan...is he actually the right guy for the job? Well I hope so because my guess is that he's leaving if he doesn't get the OC job.
Off-Season Move-Replacing Damien Woody with Wayne Hunter
Man oh man....what can't I write about this. You know what? I'll go the crazy route and defend it! Looking in retrospect I can understand the decision. He had an outstanding postseason and last couple of games when Woody was hurt. I can understand why they would try to get him to start instead of Woody. Save some money for a "Good" player. As well, Woody was hurt badly. He was recovering from a MCL injury then an Achilles injury closely after. Hate to say it, he more than likely was no where near his playing ability. He was also fairly old in football years. The problem lies in the fact that we had a severe drop off in playing ability as well as leadership. I already made a rant about how we've had a major drop off in leadership. That caused a huge locker room rift and more than likely cost us the season. Yeah we know. As well Hunter failed to play anywhere near the level he played last year. He remains the "World's Best Backup" and definitely not the World's best starter.
So Wow that's only a third of it huh? Well I'll Work on the others and expect it up next week or so. What was the most influential move on the offensive side for you? Hunter or Plax? Holmes or Brunell?