By DARRYL BLAIN
For the past week, I have heard the name Rich Kotite thrown around in conversation more times than I can remember since 1996 — and that is something any seasoned Jets fan could tell you is a very bad thing.
For those lucky enough to be able to claim ignorance about the above, Kotite was the head coach during the 1995-96 seasons that led the Jets to their egregious 3-13 and 1-15 records, respectively.
Now this year’s Jets team seems to be headed down the same ugly, yet not forgotten path of infamous embarrassment.
At 1-7 everyone’s future seems rightfully uncertain. General manager John Idzik has not stocked the team with sufficient talent, coach Rex Ryan has not brought forth a disciplined football team nor shown the ability to grow and progress the talent of his players, and most importantly: the young candidate for franchise quarterback — Geno Smith — has taken strides forward only to take leaps and bounds backwards, ultimately resulting in his benching next week against Kansas City for another quarterback that everyone knows has no hope of being a long-term solution here in New York (Michael Vick).
Since the franchise stands where it does, the obvious question is what comes next? What is the action plan moving forward to turn this team around? Predictably, these were questions asked during Idzik’s “state of the union” press conference Monday, and even more predictably they were met with non-committal robotic droll that left every fan even angrier than they were beforehand.
Now, I understand that there’s politics and damage control being applied in these types of situations with multi-million dollar entities, but with that must come some semblance of a plan.
Not only that, but there has to be zero doubt put into the minds of fans that the front office recognizes the team is headed in the wrong direction. That was not done, as Idzik continued to praise the work ethic and quality of his personnel.
Something has to be done to fix the wrongs that have been committed to the fans who pay tens of thousands of dollars in PSLs and tickets every year, or the kids spending every Sunday of September through January watching their team and hoping to see something they can remember for the rest of their lives.
We simply do not have that. We have bland statements like, “We need to re-evaluate the way we do things,” or, “Obviously we’re extremely disappointed with this start.”
So are we. Now what is going to be done about it?
With our team’s front office continuing to be vague and vanilla on what to do about the tire fire that is the New York Jets, I’m going to have a little bit of fun myself and tell you what I would do with this mess if I found myself in Woody Johnson’s shoes.
First and foremost, fire John Idzik.
Now, I’m not one to lean on the over-zealous rhetoric of Mike Francesa, but I have to reluctantly admit this rant right here sums up exactly how I felt watching the Idzik presser:
That’s not to say he should be fired based on one press conference. That would be incredibly shortsighted. It’s just to illustrate that he is either himself blind to the fact he is leading his ill-prepared troops into slaughter, or he honestly takes the general fan base to be incredibly gullible and ignorant. That, combined with the multiple questionable personnel moves and lack of results from draft picks, is just enough for me to call it quits on the short-lived, yet still too lengthy Idzik era.
Next, I’d make sure what is soon to be an undoubtedly high draft pick next year turns into either a QB or CB in the first round (depending on which specific player is available) and maybe an offensive lineman in the second. I don’t even feel a need to back this position. It should be painfully obvious. The Jets have one interception on the season and have a worse turnover-to-takeaway ratio than any other team in the league. Moving on.
Now to the hottest topic of all: Rex Ryan. He has come under fire more so than anyone else in the organization before now, mostly because of his boisterous and outspoken nature. I say let him stay one more year. The man has never had a competent and talented quarterback on his offense in New York. Not once. How can you expect a coach to win under those circumstances, combined with countless other very public front office blunders (Tim Tebow anyone)?
Give him an offense to work with and a corner or two and watch what he can do. Remember, his first two years he led the team to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances with Mark Sanchez in his first and second years — and those teams were talented, but definitely overachieved. I know that’s ancient history by now, but also think about what he had to work with after that: progressively worse teams each year compared to the year before ending with last year’s incredibly overachieving 8-8 team.
At the end of the day the sad likelihood is Idzik will keep his job, owner Woody Johnson will go back to being concerned with the profits of the family business, Rex will be a goner, and the quarterback situation will continue to be irreparable for the foreseeable future.
The Dark Age in New York may be just beginning.