In response to Smackdad's article "Deja Vu" posted yesterday on GGN:
This is my first post on GGN. I am a life long Jet fan and Kool Aid drinker, who is looking forward to a new jet era under John Idzik.
I am a big fan of Smackdad's posts and I read them all. I find his insights to be knowledgable and his writing style to be enjoyable. However, after reading his post yesterday (and having an internet that was down all day due to the northeastern snow storm), I have decided to offer my own view here. I know that Smackdad always rebuffs his dissenters with the predictable "that is not what is said" defense, but this is not intended as a point-by-point rebuke, but rather a paradigm shift in the offseason outlook.
Any study can be made to manipulate information and "cherry picked" facts and numbers can be supplied to support any thesis. Give a clever writer or a skilled debater any argument, and he can find numbers or facts to support either side. Just look at the ever raging climate change debate. Seems like both sides are always pointing to statistical studies to prove their opposing views. To that end, I feel that this is more of a clever article, whose merits are more deeply rooted in cunning than they are in an accurate appraisal of the current Jet off-season, in my humble opinion. I applaud the exercise, but I disagree with the thesis. Maybe I too am drinking the kool aid, but I see our 2014 offseason outlook as far superior to that of one year past.
Here are some of my thoughts:
1) Big splash fails – Teams that make a big splash with a small number of star player signings rarely prosper, in the salary cap era. I am thinking about a Philly "dream team" as quoth a then newly acquired Vince Young. I also remember the Bears making a huge splash in 2010 by signing J Peppers and a bunch of other guys on the first day of free agency, to the tune of an 8-8 season. To my recollection, teams that come out with a few big names, instead of a greater number of less known quality players, often end up lacking depth and suffer for it. This is why I like Idzik’s strategy of signing more mid-range players instead of grabbing a few big names. Sometimes the big names (Namdi Asomugha for example) don’t pan out, and it becomes much harder for your cap to cut ties. I am not attempting to laud Idzik for his FAs that didn't help us (Gerrard, Garay, Goodson to name a few) but I think he found some good value guys (Colon, Landry, Winslow, Barnes before he got hurt). When you are picking off the scrap heap, you should be happy if half of the guys you bring in pan out. Either way, we are not stuck with any albatross contracts like we got with the lasts regime (Sanchez, Holmes, Cro). We are just not stuck with any of the guys that didn't work out.
2) Coaching stability – Here is a simple fact of the NFL. Players prefer to go to a place where there is coaching and coordinator stability. I know that Smackdad stated that his article doesn’t talk about coaches, but why would it? Any examination of the coaching situation would dilute his thesis, so of course it is not included. Not to mention that offensive players want to play for an air-it-out kind of OC, which we now have, or an innovative DC (which rex is by default). Players who are looking for (and deserving of) longer deals are more likely to go where they believe in the coaching stability, so they don't end up in a Shiano dictatorship, that they didn’t sign up for. With rex looking like he was on the hot seat last year, we were not an attractive landing spot for Free Agents (our own included). So in reality, the big names Smackdad wanted probably wouldn't have wanted us, and it takes two to tango.
3) Cap space – This has been covered already, and Smack did mention this in the article, but it is a huge reason for optimism. Also, Idzik obviously knew the cap situation this year, and treated last year as a purge, in preparation for this year's splurge. Get a younger core of starters on defense and give Marty a chance to spend a season with these guys in his system to see who fits, before they go out and spend a ton of cash on new guys.
4) Position analysis:
QB – Having a QB who makes a very small salary (by NFL QB standards) can really help propel a team. Both Seattle and San Fran had starting QBs still on their rookie deals. Having a guy make 2 M, as opposed to Sanchez’s bloated and ill-conceived contract, really gives a team the cap space to shore up the rest of their squad. Also, wasn’t Geno nominated for offensive rookie of the year 6 or 7 times this year? Finally, he has a way better arm strength, accuracy and running ability than the butt-fumbling Sanchez ever had. The only similarity I saw was an inability to read defenses, and that is one thing that can be taught over time – unlike legs and an arm. This QB situation is just not similar at all to last year’s outlook, by any stretch of the imagination. And all this without even mentioning the name of Tim Teblow.
RB – First of all, Ivory is a better back than Greene. Additionally, he is under contract for 2 more years, while Greene was a FA last year, so this really isnt too similar either. Also, now we know what we have in Powell, when last year we did not. I will buy the goodson to mcknight comparison, in that both were hurt and both were a disappointment. For me, I have a hard time blaming Idzik for Goodson. The assumption that we need 2 to 3 new backs is just not the case. We are fine with our stable of backs, although I would think Goodson is out, and will be replaced by a day 3 pick or late day 2 pick. In this day's NFL, I prefer two or three fair backs to one great one, because of the high frequency of hits on the RBs and the toll it takes pass protecting against DE's and OLBs.
WR – This coming year we do not have to pay over 10 mil to a guy that quit on us (as you almost never see in pro sports). Last year we did. Kerley and Hill are the same, but knowing we were stuck with Tone as our top WR going into the 2013 season made Jet fans sick to their stomachs. Going into 2014, we know that we can sign a quality WR and draft a WR with a huge upside in one of the first two rounds. So this comparison is not really accurate at all. Being able to reposition Holmes's money on a guy that can really play, is not coming off major surgery and most of all, a guy that can stay on the field, is a huge boon and should inspire much optimism.
TE – I agree here. Situation is almost identical to 12 months past, but I think we have the cap space and picks to help this clear area of need. Maybe we bring back Cumby as a 2, but I might just start over.
OL – I also agree with Smackdad's outlook for similarity on the OL, but again, I believe that we have the cap space to improve at guard. I hope we resign Howard. That should be a huge priority.
DL – How can we not feel much much better here, after adding Sheldon and getting Snacks on the field. Last offseason we had one reliable guy, under contract – Mo Wilk. Now we have Snack and Sheldon. So to say that we are looking similar is akin to likening Couple's rookie year to Sheldon’s – oh wait, Smack did exactly that. Heading into this offseason knowing we have a premier run-stuffing NT, and the DROY aside Big MO, is a much different vantage point than last year, when it was Mo Wilk and ??? This year's DL offseason outlook is a 180 degree shift form the previous offseason. I have heard the name "sons of anarchy", but I prefer "my three sons".
LB – Replacing the old and slow Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas with a young and fast Demario Davis and Q Coples makes this positional group’s outlook leagues ahead of last year. I think Q’s play suffered a lot from the early fracture, and I felt like he really came on in the 2nd part of the season. I also expect a huge offseason from him, after seeing all the credit go to Mo and Sheldon, you know he is going to want some and his contract renegotiation is not that many years off, so he must know he has to turn up the heat. Were B Scott and B Thomas even in the league this year? Even Calvin admitted to working much harder last offseason, after getting cut. It showed on the field, and I think he knows his time in this league is running out and he needs anther offseason like the last, if he want to keep playing. He may not resign with us, but I think he would rather stick with Rex, than start over on another team in another city, and I am also sure he knows that he will never see another double-team in his life, if he stays on the field with Mo, Sheldon, Q and the probable addition of a quality edge rusher. Again, this is nothing like last season.
DB – Last year we went into the offseason knowing that Revis, our best player since Curtis Martin, would be gone. Yet Idzik got a great deal for a guy coming off of major surgery. This year, we know that we will have the december AFC defensive player of the month for at least 3 more years. We need help at corner, no doubt (I am for cutting Cro and K Wilson), but at least we know that we will have a young corner-stone, in Miliner. Yes, he got burned a lot in the beginning and middle of the year, but you don’t win player of the month, unless you can ball. Anyone who watched every snap of the season, like I did, saw a huge improvement. I also remember seeing Revis get picked on his rookie season, before he became an Island. Finally, I think we really saw an emergence from Antonio Allen. I have not seen a safety who can cover TEs like that in green and white since Victor Green - and we have been getting torched by TEs for over a decade. I remember Miami's Fasano getting over 100 yards against us! I think the Reed signing really took him off the field and it is no coincidence that his absence coincided with the worst three game losing stretch of the year!
I wish the snow storm didn’t wipe out my internet all day yesterday, because Smack's post was jumping off in the comment section, and I would love to see if any others agree with my outlook, and I happily welcome critic of my analysis, yet, for the record I fervently disagree with the aforementioned article’s premise. Just the fact that we have three award winning rookies in Sheldon, Geno and Dee should give us hope that Idzik will righten this ship, and this offseason is one worthy of a Ganggreen Kool-Aid Deja New Fiesta! I'll spike the punch.
As final proof of my belief that we are embarking on a New Jet Era and this offseason's outlook is miles ahead of the last years, I offer this ~ last year, the jets were 135 to 1 preseason odds to win the SB - i know because i took it for $20 to win $2700. Currently, we are 66 to 1 (or 50 to 1 as I have seen written). Smackdad may know more than most, but surely he doesn’t know more than the Vegas bookmakers, and they have us as twice as good headed into this offseason they they had us heading into last! Well written and fun article, but not really rooted in reality, in my humble, and rookie GGN posting opinion.
Now pass me some Kool-Aid and let's get this party started!