The New York Jets have lost four consecutive games heading into their Week 6 matchup with the Denver Broncos. They are a complete mess at the quarterback position, don’t have much talent in the defensive secondary and are currently being coached by a head man that’s seeing his seat get hotter by the week.
Now with the media’s attention turning from the 2014 season to the future in New York, there has been a lot of talk about what has caused this recent free fall.
Braylon Edwards, who played three seasons with the Jets, sounded off like one of those media personalities on SNY’s “SportsNite” on Thursday (h/t NY Daily News).
I don’t see a good situation. I see a team in shambles. I see a team that’s trying to figure out their GM standpoint, their coaching standpoint. And that’s where it starts. To get everything right on the field it has to start with the GM agreeing with the coach, getting the right players in there for the coach to be successful and I don’t see that. I feel as though Idzik is holding something back and he’s not providing Rex with the talent that he needs to win ballgames.
Is Edwards suggesting that there is some issues between Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik? That type of friction could lead to issues when it comes to player personnel matters.
For example, Idzik comes from the Seattle Seahawks where the MO of the front office was to build through the draft and supplement via free agency. The idea of signing a veteran receiver like Eric Decker to a five-year, $36.3 million contract had to be somewhat foreign to him.
Then you have the idea that a new general manager (Idzik was hired in 2013) wants to bring in his owne head coach. By suggesting that he is holding something back and not providing Ryan with the talent he needs, Edwards is calling out the general manager in a big way.
Edwards then took a little shot at his former head coach.
I feel like Rex has had so much success, from Baltimore to the Jets early on in his tenure there, that now that it’s not going his way he does not know how to dial it back and simplify,” Edwards said. “He wants things to work his way so he can get the credit for it.
As one of the best defensive minds in the game, it’s hard to imagine Ryan not being able to adjust his scheme to fit the personnel that Idzik has provided him. It’s also hard to imagine Idzik not taking into account and talking with Ryan about his scheme when deciding on what players might fit the best.
Ryan, who is never afraid to air his thoughts to the media, responded to Edwards’ comments.
I have to say that’s probably not a real accurate statement, because it’s not about a scheme. You can look at us, we have one thousand defenses if you looked at us. So I would disagree there. It’s player over scheme. We’ll always do what matches our abilities, the talent of our players. Always have. Usually I can agree with Braylon on a lot of things, but I’m 100% in disagreement with this one.
Ryan is 100 percent correct here. And in reality, the likes of Sheldon Richardson and Calvin Pryor, both of whom the Jets have selected in the draft over the past two seasons, fit what Ryan has always done on the defensive side of the ball.
The issue in New York is seemingly deeper than just scheme and personnel on defense. Instead, we might want to look in the direction of one player. And while not placing full blame on Geno Smith, we need to look at his lack of progression as one of the reasons the Jets have struggled this year.
As is the case with most struggling teams around the NFL, Idzik and Co. simply don’t have a viable starting quarterback. Geno Smith has been given the opportunity to prove he can be that guy, but the young signal caller has not progressed under center after playing pretty well towards the latter part of last season.
We can dissect the issues in New York until we are blue in the face, but that’s the issue right now. That’s also the issue that Edwards, among others, refuse to look into.
Edwards concluded that Smith hasn’t been playing good football, but that he’s also been put into “precarious positions.” And rather than expanding on that, the former Jets receiver took on the veteran leaders in the locker room.
The mentality just isn’t there,” Edwards said. “And there are only a couple of players that are there . . . you have Nick Mangold, you have Dave Harris, you have D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and I don’t know if those guys still feel that they can get back to what they once were. ’Cause I feel like if they could then it already would have happened. So I think the leadership role is gone cause they’re confused, not necessarily because they aren’t leaders.
It’s almost as if those around the Jets are afraid to call into question Smith’s ability to lead the team.
Let’s just hope that doesn’t extend to the Jets front office. Because no matter who is calling the shots next offseason, finding a viable franchise quarterback has to be the top priority.
Photo: USA Today