I think the Jets problems are two fold: lack of talent, and lack of leadership, especially in the locker room.
I do not think that there is any doubt that the Jets may have amongst the worst team talent in the NFL. The Tannebaum regime featured a lot of aggressive moves that I feel all contributed to low talent:
-The Jets averaged the fewest draft choices during his regime. 2007-2012 we had a total of 31 picks vs an average of 48. I segregated this stat because I feel that in 2006 it was his first year and he listened more.
-Drafted many boom or bust type raw talents in the first 3 rounds of the draft. I truly believe that a team should avoid high risk players unless there is depth at that position in case things don't work out. With our current lack of depth, I would suggest safe picks rounds 1-3 with talent that should be able to play immediately.
Types of characteristics that I define has high risk include: Raw skills, character concerns, small school/weak opponent production, and injury history.
I would suggest that out of our 18 total picks rounds 1-3 that Coples, Hill, Davis, Ellis, Ducasse, Sanchez, Gholston, Clemens, Smith, and Schlegel were high risk picks. That is over 50%. Please don't confuse high risk with over drafted with respect to many expert draft boards. Many of these picks haven't quite worked out. Davis has looked fine in his second year, though not spectacular. Coples looked good his rookie year, but we still are hoping for more production as a OLB. Eric Smith turned out to be serviceable and Kenrick Ellis hasn't been able to really contribute.
-Gave too much guaranteed money in contracts. I feel this is the worst thing that management can do. Tanny was notorious for restructuring deals that lowered base salaries in exchange for guarantees. Let me ask you a question. If you just earned $20 Million in guarantees like a very nice inheritance or lotto winner are you going into work the next day? Most likely you would not quit. $20 Million really isn't a lot these days. Are you going to stay after 5pm and try to earn a promotion? Well, I think that motivation may suffer as a result of guaranteed money for a lot of us.
Our team culture also leaves a little bit to be desired.
-Traded solid draft picks for established talent with character concerns. I would look towards Holmes and Cromartie on this one. These were short term moves, but neither player was a locker room guy for their respective teams. Holmes is selfish and Cromartie lacks discipline in life. So we decided to financially commit to both! Smart.
-We have not promoted competition. Some of this may have to do with lack of depth while other has to do with Rex or management not benching players who are not performing.
I think that the head coach in the NFL needs to be able to be humble and learn from there experiences. Personally, I wish that Rex stays, but I think Idzik will look for his man. I really hope we do not go with yet another rookie HC because their learning curve starts all over again.
If it were up to me, I would:
-Keep Rex for one more year with the payroll flexibility and opportunity to obtain talent.
-Alternative being to look for coaches with established success and head coaching experience. Cowher is someone who would interest me. I am not big on Gruden. Zimmer would be someone I may gamble on too. Lovie Smith seems to be a different coach but he hasn't won the big game.
-Draft safely. Stay away from combine results, players with poor character, and I would lean towards drafting players who will graduate.
-Identify and draft or sign players with leadership qualities for offense and defense. In the years we were successful, T-Rich, LT were counted on and were leaders. Revis and Leonhard were defensive leaders. We have a lot of quiet players on our offense and defense. Those who are vocal but negative, like Holmes and those who speak anonymously to the media, are not leaders either.