As I was working today (my actual job) my mind started wondering to the NFL and it's direction and how we are keeping up with this as an organization. Strangely enough, I sit next to a Dolphins fan at work and often have some discussions about the NFL and the leading topics (I know, what are the chances of getting two NFL rival fans sitting next to each other in a company in the east of England).
I started thinking about how the League had developed into a passing league where the value is associated to your quarterback, your tight ends and that deep threat receiver. On the other side, I thought about how teams are now having to create packages to stop these high flying offences with athletic safeties and pace in the linebacking core. How more teams are franchising their kickers (I think there were five this year) and more teams are looking for reliable punters.
Can anyone see where I am going with this? after thinking about the league as a whole and the advancement of trends towards the areas highlighted above. I thought about the Jets. At the moment we have a highly inconsistent QB, only one real pass catching tight end who demands any real coverage and we said goodbye to the legitimate deep threat on our team for a player coming off a stretch who hadn't played in years.
Our safeties have been lacking athleticism ever since we traded Kerry Rhodes and we haven't done anything since then to replace this. Our linebacking unit by league standard is quite slow and we are ageing without any real replacements coming through. We have had both a kicking carousel and a punting merry go round for some time and at the moment we don't look to have either position focused.
I don't want this to be a doom and gloom, oh here comes the moan at the Jets. However I can't help noticing that as the league moves in a certain direction, we don't seem to be moving with it. We are trying to carve an identity as a rough and tough running team but is that the direction that will lead us to a championship. The Giants were the 5th best passing team in the league last year and one of the worst rushing teams. Year before we have the Packers, and the year before that the Saints.
I know some will say that we have been to two AFC Championship games in the last three years and I am as delighted about that as anyone is, but last time I checked it's about Superbowl wins and not getting to the Championship game. I know we need to develop this team, we need to tinker chop and change. However we had a deep threat wide receiver we let him go, we had an athletic safety and we let him go and probably rightly so, but we never really committed to finding a replacements. We gave up on Mike Nugent way too fast and same with Weatherford.
It's not that we can't move with the league, but I just get the feeling that we either don't want to or can't seem to identify the talent to enable us to. Right now we are in a little cap hell with some questionable moves in the past, the safety market is thinning as John pointed out today but there is a real chance we can improve the quickness on the defensive side of the ball and if you want that deep threat wide receiver. Now is the time to grab them. We need to start moving with the league as it's tendencies.