Shocking, I know. We've got an article here from a Pats fan talking about how the Jets and Pats have spent their respective offseasons to date. The writer here falls back on a talking point I've heard a lot from fans of rival teams.
The Jets were active, aggressive, and acquired some serious talent.
However, the Washington Redskins have been notorious for doing the same thing; opening the checkbook to bring in the prizes of free agency only to make the playoffs twice in the past 10 seasons.
My point here isn't to just bash Bleacher Report, although it surely deserves it. It is to try and debunk this bogus comparison. Yes, the Jets have tended to be aggressive the past few years in the offseason like Washington. That's where the comparison ends.
The Jets started getting aggressive in the offseason before 2008. They improved their win total by 5 games that year. The next year brought another aggressive offseason and a trip to the AFC Championship Game. Is the Redskins comparison valid? God no! The Jets won more Playoff games last season alone than Washington has in the past decade.
What's the difference? There are a few. First, the Jets don't just look to add names like the Redskins. They seek out players who fit the system. The team needed a big nose tackle capable of tying up blockers. Hence the trade for Kris Jenkins. They needed a rush linebacker. That's why Calvin Pace got a deal. There was a gaping hole at left guard. That's why the team pursued Alan Faneca. Last year Rex Ryan installed a new defense. The team needed to find people to fit the system so it signed Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard, guys with a proven track record of playing the exact same role in the exact same system in Baltimore they were asked to play in New York. How about Antonio Cromartie? I've said many times I'm not his biggest fan, but the reasons the Jets want him make sense. He's at his best playing man to man press coverage, which the Jets do a lot. A least part of his recent decline in San Diego was due to the Chargers playing more zone.
How about excellent scouting? Remember when the Jets signed Damien Woody to play right tackle? How did that work out? Does anybody remember that Woody had only 6 starts at tackle in his career prior to signing with the Jets? He had spent his career as a guard and center. The Jets did good work breaking down what he did and discovered he had the attributes to play really well at a new position.
Let's not forget about the way this team builds through the Draft. It's another popular refrain coming from Miami and New England that the Jets only build by spending. Acquiring good players from other teams and adding quality players in the Draft aren't mutually exclusive. The Jets do both. In the past five years, they've added Pro Bowl caliber players like D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, and David Harris through the Draft in addition to quality supporting cast members like Dustin Keller, Leon Washington, and Brad Smith. The team doesn't hesitate to leverage picks into quality players like Thomas Jones. Picks are there to land quality players. It's just that the Jets have hit on a number of key picks to add cornerstone players.
Can we please put this bogus comparison to rest for good now?
Now we'll get into the BR bashing section of this post.
Pats fans should remember the story of the tortoise and the hare, how the rabbit got off to a quick start but got tired and rested while the tortoise just kept slowly plugging along, not differentiating what’s always worked for him and wound up winning the race.
What the heck does that mean? The two teams weren't equal. The Pats won more games last year. The Jets have been dominated by them for a decade. The Jets are still trying to catch up. Should they not try and add good players to fit the system? I just had to get that out of my system.