Friday, January 11, 2013

N.Y. Jets: Mike Westhoff Offers Insight Into Jets Dilemma

From the desk of:   A BLUE BLOODED GIANTS FAN

NEW YORK JETS - Former Coach Mike Westhoff Airs Jets Dirty Laundry.

I Say The Jets Next Move Should Be....

The old saying goes thus - Things must get worse before they get better.  Except if you're part of the Jets that is, where things tend to go from worse to catastrophic.  For Gang Green, the arrival in Dis was thought to be the end of the 2012 regular season, and the subsequent house cleaning.  But then came the recent, and now laughable Ren and Stimpy routine called a press conference.  And today, this....

It was an absolute  M - E - S - S   Mess  -  Mess  -  Mess!

In an interview on a Miami radio station, former Gang Green special teams coach Mike Westoff, characterized the Jets handling of Tim Tebow as an absolute mess.  This just exacerbates the question of who wanted Tim Tebow.  Coach Westhoff offered the Jets neither planned to incorporate, nor practiced to utilize Tim Tebow on offense at any time.  Sure, the Jets talked about it.  But they never followed through.  Or, does this raise the question of whether Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano together, were clueless in their struggle to fit him in?  Westhoff also intimated that Rex and Sparono kind of dumped Tebow on him to make use of.

In my opinion, the more damning aspects of Coach Westhoff's comments strike at the organization's very core.  His words reveal the true state of the Jets and speak poorly of them.  Why?  Because for long Mike Westhoff has been one of the most respected assistant coaches in all the NFL.  Originally, you had to take Mike Westhoff on his word that he was retiring from coaching.  It can now be safely assumed Coach Westhoff was running from the Jets as if the team's practice hangar were on fire.  What is also clear to me at least after grasping the whole of his interview, is he no longer wanted to be a part of the utter chaos that presently consumes the Jets.  Mike Westoff also appeared on the Michael Kay Show Friday afternoon to further clarify himself.  And he continued to bomb away.

Woody Johnson is the genesis of said Chaos.  It is his team.  He is the owner.  However, blame shouldn't be that simplistic.  The organization lost its semblance of normalcy somewhere between the extremes characterized by their two most recent head coaches.  Eric Mangini brought in talent and disciplined them.  But A) - the team underachieved under him, and B) - he was a media cold front.  At the other extreme, Rex Ryan is a turbulent tropical warm front consumed with, and by the daily media maelstrom.  At first, his team overachieved FOR him.  But the talent level under Rex has depleted over the last two seasons, not to mention, they have become quite an undisciplined bunch under his reign as well.

Woody Johnson might be committing a huge mistake by making a new General Manager retain Rex Ryan for at least one more season.  Several very good candidates, one from the Giants who took the Panthers GM position, are already off the market, and rumor is they would have nothing to do with the Jets present situation.  So what exactly is the Jets present situation?

Woody Johnson purchased the team in 2000, and inherited an agreement whereby Bill Parcells would move into the front office, and hand over the head coaching reigns to Bill Belichick.  But Belichick in turn immediately handed Woody Johnson his letter of resignation as HC of the NYJ and bolted for New England.  Al Groh was forced to step in and coach the Jets, which he did for one season and salvaged a respectful 9-7 record.  After the 2000 season, both Bill Parcells and Al Groh left the organization.  Overall under Bill Parcells the team achieved a 39-26 record, and a 1-1 mark in the playoffs.  Bill Parcells left behind Mike Tannenbaum who was originally brought on board to be the team's salary CAPologist.

Woody Johnson then made what many considered a good football decision when he hired Terry Bradway from Kansas City to be the team's new General Manager.  Bradway ushered in the Chad Pennington/Herman Edwards era.  Very simply, Herm may have been a victim of Chad Pennington's limited health and overall arm strength.  I do not want to dig too deeply into those five years.  They were good years by Jets standards even though the era only amassed a 39-41 regular season record.   The Jets made the playoffs in 2001, 2002, and in the 2004 season.  After the 2005 let down, the Edwards and Bradway tandem ceased to be.  Herm Edwards left for Kansas City.  But Woody Johnson retained Terry Bradway within the organization, albeit with a demotion.  But twelve years with the Jets now, he still currently serves as the team's Senior Player Personnel Executive.

By 2006, Mike Tannenbaum had progressed enough through the front office ranks to where Woody Johnson felt compelled to name him the next General Manager of the Jets.  Eric Mangini was then hired out of Bill Belichick's staff in New England to replace Herm Edwards as head coach.  The first season under Mangini was terrific.  The rest of his three year reign was not.  Mike Tannebaum, Eric Mangini, and the Jets compiled a 23-25 regular season record.  Whether inspired by Tannenbaum, or perhaps against Mangini's better judgement or not, the era went down in a blaze of glory with Brett Favr%#!?$vre at quarterback.

Eric Mangini was out.  Mike Tannebaum got to stay.  Rex Ryan is in.  The Jets then trade up to draft Mark Sanchez.  Four years later Rex Ryan stays, Mike Tannebaum is pushed out the door, and Mark Sanchez is the poster child for futility.  The assistant coaching staffs are decimated by firings and mass exodus.  The roster is riddled with questionable talent and bad contracts.  Additionally, the Jets are capped out.

Meanwhile, the office of General Manager has been filled in Jacksonville, Carolina, and San Diego, by who many in the media consider to be stellar candidates.  The Cardinals promoted from within.  Not only have the Jets not settled on a candidate yet, Woody Johnson will let Rex Ryan exercise a measure of approval over the potential hire.

Ponderous!  The Jets hired a firm to line up candidates.  At this point, Woody Johnson is just throwing his money away.  Here's the deal.  Woody Johnson or a firm should not be conducting a GM search.  His President of Football Operations should.  Oh wait!  He doesn't have one.  Exactly.  Because if he did, Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum would have remained linked together.  The hiring and firing of the General Manager is perhaps best left to good football people.  Not Woody Johnson.

As things stand right now, Terry Bradway is the senior most football executive Woody Johnson has.  And next to Rex Ryan, Bradway is the only football mind Woody has left.  If the Jets keep missing out on qualified candidates for their GM position, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the Jets are forced to promote from within, and perhaps elevate Terry Bradway to the office of GM once again.  In my opinion, that would be the way to go, and here is why.

Woody Johnson needs to clean up his entire organization and fill it with better football minded people.  Terry Bradway has been here since the 2001 season.  Since then, the Jets are exactly 96-96 over that time.  If you add in Al Groh's 9-7 record from the prior season when Woody first purchased the team, the Jets are now 105-103 in the Woody Era.  But once the Parcells Era ended, thank Rex Ryan for elevating the team to a .500 record because both Herm Edwards and Mangini posted sub .500 marks.  So far Rex Ryan has posted a 34-30 record in four years.  Bradway has been the only constant member of the Jets, more so than Tannenbaum, who's work directly contributed to the product on the field over the last twelve years.  Woody should now attach Rex Ryan and Terry Bradway at the hip and let them sink or swim together.

Why take on a new General Manager from outside the organization at this point?  If Rex and Terry succeed, Fine!  But if they fail Woody can rid himself of both of them, then truly rebuild his organization from the ground up.  He would have a clean slate to work with, and have the luxury of being methodical and getting it done right.  Therefore, his first move should then be recruiting a qualified Team President of Football Operations, and let that person hire the next GM of the Jets.

Why a team president?  Because the Jets have posted a .500 record over the last twelve years!  Because Woody Johnson is an heir of a very different world from outside football.  He is not a Rooney, or a Mara.  In the absence of a good Team President, an unlearned owner operating on his own behalf risks exposing the organization to dysfunction.  Without the GM, the owner is alone.  Look how long it took Daniel Snyder of the Redskins to realize that.  Sometimes this dysfunction  manifests itself in the owner firing his General Manager but leaving his teddy bear head coach on board for the next guy to worry about.  That's not the way to build football teams.  That's the way companies operate in the corporate world.  That's why the economy and the Jets are so messed up.


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