Cimini notes changes the Jets have made in the past after disappointing seasons and wonders what is in store following this year's disappointing campaign.
When they failed to make the playoffs in 2008, Johnson fired Eric Mangini.
When they missed in 2007, he traded for Brett Favre.
When they bombed in 2005, he fired/traded Herm Edwards to the Kansas City Chiefs.
When they didn't make it in 2003, Johnson waited a year before signing off on Edwards' decision to make offensive coordinator Paul Hackett the scapegoat.
I think Cimini is on the right track here, but his conclusion is a bit off. He seems to hint that the Jets made one person the fall guy. In honesty, everybody who got the ax deserved it, but the team was very aggressive in identifying problems and trying to fix them.
After 2003 they didn't just sit on their hands. They addressed a struggling defense by replacing defensive coordinator Ted Cotrell with Donnie Henderson. They let longtime linebackers Marvin Jones and Mo Lewis go and drafted Jonathan Vilma. They also tried to upgrade the secondary by signing David Barrett and Reggie Tongue.
After 2005 they showed Herman Edwards the door, but they also reassigned general manager Terry Bradway, who had gotten the team into bad salary cap shape, promoting Mike Tannenbaum. They also said goodbye to aging offensive linemen. That was the year of the Ferguson/Mangold Draft that helped to rebuild what had been one of the weak spots of the team.
After 2007 they didn't just trade for Favre. They upgraded the overall talent on the roster by signing Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Calvin Pace, and Tony Richardson.
After 2008 they didn't just fire Mangini. They also upgraded a middle of the pack defense by getting Jim Leonhard, Bart Scott, and Lito Sheppard.
Cimini doesn't dig deep enough. It has not been about finding somebody to pin the blame on. It has been about identifying the problem areas and moving boldly to address them. Not all of these moves have worked out obviously, but the one constant has been the team's willingness to move and not let problems linger.
Outside of the 2009-10 offseason, success has not been very good to the team. The Jets under Johnson have tended to just ignore problems after successful years. Lewis and Jones didn't get old overnight. The 2006 team made the Playoffs because of an easy schedule and smoke and mirrors. They had plenty of cap space to add an influx of talent but settled for Thomas Jones, scrap heap pickups like Andre Wadsworth, and an admittedly strong Draft class.
This whole thing gives me heart. The team might not be proactive in success, but it reacts quickly to failure. The Jets might fail to address their issues, but they are likely to at least try unlike other teams that let fundamental problems linger for unsuccessful years. I take heart just in the fact the franchise is having serious conversations about Mark Sanchez. I think it is clear that coaching is an enormous problem. Things will not get better without a new offensive coordinator. At the same time, I do not see how anybody who has watched Sanchez consistently miss the throws and reads he has missed this season can be confident that simply a new coordinator will fix the problems. Mark will probably be back in 2012, but I am happy to see that the team is not going to wait forever to ask the tough questions.
As frustrating as this year has been and as many problems as this team has, it really is only one good offseason away from being in good shape again.