Today we are taking a look at the problems currently plaguing the Jets. The first I will examine is the bad play the team has recently received at center.
The Problem: The Jets have had an undrafted rookie at center the past two weeks. It has been a struggle for Colin Baxter. Even at his best, he has seldom won a one on one. He has needed double team help, which has taken away a blocker from another spot. When double teams are necessary, the second level is not hit in the run game, and free runners can get to the quarterback on delayed blitzes.
Who Is to Blame? Over the course of the day, I am going to take Mike Tannenbaum to task over a number of things. A lot of people are on Tannenbaum about this. I think it is difficult to get on him too much. Baxter was not the team's first or second answer at center. Both the starter and the backup are out hurt. In theory, the Jets could have made a depth move once the backup, Robert Turner went down in the preseason. In reality, there were not many great choices. The two most mentioned names, Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert, are both coming off very serious injuries. Their statuses and effectiveness were both unclear. Andre Gurode was an option. Tannenbaum opted to go the developmental route for backup interior linemen, acquiring youngsters Baxter and Caleb Schlauderaff. Perhaps he tried too hard to make people think he is as good as Ted Thompson, finding no names he could plug in. This was easier said than done, though.
Viable Options to Fix the Problem: This problem has the simplest solution. The best center in the league is going to get healthy and replace Baxter.
Prognosis: This is probably going to improve dramatically.