I’m glad the year is done. Aside from the excitement that came from the close games against Houston and Green Bay over the last two weeks, I haven’t been into many Jets games. By the middle of November, this season had become a slog. The main focus was getting to the offseason, where there would be a chance to make necessary changes.
No matter what happened, today’s game was never going to have major long-term implications. My focus has been on what comes next.
But I couldn’t separate all of the rumors about the general manager’s job being safe from what I saw on the field today.
As I watched this game, I wondered whether the owners of this team could see the same things I saw.
Todd Bowles is going to be fired either tonight or tomorrow, and rightly so. It just hasn’t worked out.
But with all due respect, if anybody thinks ALL of the problems the Jets have are due to coaching, I would ask whether that person has eyes.
In this game I saw an offensive line that looked like a sieve. I saw Jets fans during the game ridicule a run up the middle on fourth down because there was no possible way this team was built to execute such a play. I was reminded that the current general manager has spent a pair of fifth round picks on the offensive line in his four years on the job.
I saw a cornerback, Rashard Robinson, finally taken out of mothballs. He wasn’t very good. He looked like a scrap heap level player. He has rarely cracked the lineup of a team with a subpar group of corners. I was reminded that the current general manager traded a Draft pick to acquire him when there were an unlimited number of street free agents of the same talent level available.
I saw a defense struggle to generate a pass rush. I was reminded that the current general manager’s tenure has seen one single player put up more than 7 sacks in a single season. That came in the general manager’s first year with the team. It was produced by a player the general manager inherited.
I saw a rookie quarterback make a few stellar throws. But I saw an offense that essentially required that rookie quarterback to do something spectacular on practically every play for his team to have any hope of moving the ball on offense. Part of that was due to the offensive line. Part of that was due to the lack of targets who should be in the NFL. I was reminded this general manager had four offseasons to prepare a stable infrastructure for a franchise quarterback.
I saw a back, Eljiah McGuire, average less than 3.6 yards per attempt in a sixth consecutive game. I also saw him fumble the ball during the critical sequence where the game got away from the Jets. I was reminded how I’ve seen this player cited as one of the current general manager’s success stories for a late round Draft picks.
I didn’t see the highest paid player on the team, Trumaine Johnson, today. Mr. Johnson was a healthy scratch to close out a dreadful season. One report from today indicated he couldn’t be bothered to go to meetings or practice this week...ya know...doing his job. I was reminded that the current general manager made him one of the 100 highest paid celebrities this year because he was supposed to help transform the Jets defense into a force to be reckoned with. At that salary, he was also supposed to be a leader who would show young professionals how to approach their craft.
If the people who own this team have eyes, I think what should happen next is pretty clear. I think any argument that this team has the right pieces in place to compete is tortured.
Or maybe the owners ignored this game, worn out by how unwatchable this team was for most of the season. I couldn’t blame them if they did. If that’s the case, I just hope they remember the person responsible for assembling such a product.