Forgive me my football fandom
The following post illustrates why I should never be allowed to talk about football.
Now, on Sunday, Newsday presented two alternate plans to fix the New York Jets football team, which has been upon rough times lately. They're both wrong, to my mind.
Well, that's unfair. They both make some good points, but their imaginary GM moves seem ill-fated, at least to my mind.
Well, I have taken my extremely valuable (read: useless) time to conjure up a plan to fix the New York Jets. I have done this despite the fact that I am in no way a Jets fan.
- Get a veteran backup QB: There has been much talk about the Jets trading up in the draft to pick Matt Leinart. This is a mistake. This would leave the Jets in a quandry, especially if Chad Pennington gets hurt again (and he has been shown to be injury-prone). If they pick Leinart, their QB options would be an oft-injured starter and an inexperienced rookie. Not a formula for winning. Instead, they should acquire a steady, cheap, unspectacular veteran, ideally someone in the Brad Johnson mold. Jon Kitna might've worked, but he was snapped up by the Lions. Get someone who can win you some games if your starter gets injured.
- No, not Patrick Ramsey: Patrick Ramsey was placed on the bench by the Redskins in favor of Mark Brunell. Then, last year, the Redskins drafted Jason Campbell, in the first round. Joe Gibbs, the Redskins coach, is not blind to talent. If he really thought Ramsey gave them a great chance to win, wouldn't he have started Ramsey? Wouldn't he have avoided spending another first-round pick on a quarterback?
- Trade down in the draft: The team has many, many holes. A spectacular pick would energize the fans, all right, but it wouldn't solve all this teams problems. One team has to be desperate to sign one of the big three QBs (Leinart, Cutler, and Young) and might give up the farm for the pick. Milk that team for all its worth.
- Sign smart, workmanlike veterans: The temptation at the start of free agency is to throw money at the most attractive player available. This is salary cap suicide, and big free agency players rarely play as well as advertised. Instead, pay moderate money to a large number of veterans. Thus, one can build depth and ensure that, if one player doesn't work out, another competent one is available to take his place. This was the formula to the Patriots success in 2001, and it paid off immensely.
- Draft a running back: But do it later in the draft. Curtis Martin has performed well, but the time has come for a successor to be named. However, the first round is a high price for a running back, especially for a team with many needs.
- Build the offensive line: One thing common to successful teams is good offensive line play. No matter how good a QB is, he cannot play if he's getting pressured constantly. No matter how good a running back is, he cannot gain yardage if there are no holes for him to run through. The importance of a good offensive line cannot be overstated, yet teams consistently ignore this to sign bigger names (the Texans, to their great detriment, never seem to field a good offensive line).