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Top Market Teams Facing Similar Issues
We’re twelve games into the NFL season, where football starts to get more intense, some of the most important games of the year are played and the state of New York couldn’t care less about it because…well football in New York is pretty irrelevant right now.
With a combined record of 5-19 the Jets and Giants already have their sights set on the off-season with both teams possibly looking for a new head coach. This has been a flat out embarrassment for not only these two franchises but just for the state in general, both teams took two different approaches into last off-season. The Giants were the big spenders signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Robert Ayers, Rashad Jennings and Jameel McClain to big money deals while the Jets, besides doling out cash to Eric Decker, were pretty frugal with their money. They signed Michael Vick hoping he’d help mentor second year QB Geno Smith and also took a flier on Chris Johnson hoping he’d regain his old 2,000 yard rushing form; well he hasn’t, Geno has been a huge disappointment and Vick has not been much better.
Let’s face it; you know it’s gotten real bad for you when the Buffalo Bills have been the best football team in New York and by a wide margin this year. I think the worst part is I don’t know if either of these teams knows what direction they’re franchises are going either.
The Giants are in an odd situation, they’re tied down to a QB for the next two years for a combined $32 million and their cap space being as tight as it is they’re kind of stuck with Manning barring they somehow trade him which is very unlikely. They do have some good young pieces around him though; first round pick Odell Beckham Jr. looks as if he will be a star in this league for a long time, rookie running back Andre Williams also appears to be a solid player in the future and tight end Larry Donnell has burst onto the scene to become Eli’s security blanket, as well as main go-to-guy in the red zone. However, their offensive line has been bad, like really bad this year, to be fair they have had their share of injuries but even coming into the season it wasn’t that good.
They need to take a page out of the Cowboys playbook and build their line through the draft. As far as the defensive side of the ball there’s really not much there talent wise, Rolle play has dropped off significantly but he has definitely been there best defensive player over the past few seasons. Their linebacker play has been average at best and their middle of the pack when it comes to a pass rush. I think what’s most concerning is their lack of depth on either side of the ball, in fact it got so bad last week that there were reports of some of the defensive lineman getting ready to come and fill in for all the injuries they had on the offensive line.
That’s just inexcusable and that falls on the onus of one man and that’s General Manager Jerry Reese, whom many people believe should be relieved of his duties at the end of the year. It’s hard to argue that he should keep his job the way the team has drafted over the past few seasons. Yes, I understand I complimented some of their picks in the beginning, however over the past few seasons Reese has whiffed hard in the draft and you can clearly see now with their lack of depth that it’s come back to hurt them. I personally believe the Giants will get a fresh start next year, Coughlin will retire and Reese will be fired, the rebuilding will start next year for the Giants. If I’m Big Blue I go for a coach that’s already in the NFL, maybe a Todd Bowels or possibly Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
I think Giants fans need to shelve the idea of John Gruden or Bill Cowher coming in and succeeding Coughlin and the Giants becoming contenders instantly, it’s not happening. Both have cushiony analyst jobs and most likely don’t want to deal with stress of New York.
As far as the Jets go, there’s quite a bit of work to do there. Unlike the Giants, the Jets have got quite a bit of cap space going into next year and they should definitely be spending on two key areas; the offensive line and the secondary. Both of those key areas have been absolutely atrocious for the Jets. We all figured the secondary would be poor, Idzik decided not to spend big money to any of the free agent corners last season and it has come back to hurt him. No offense to Marcus Williams and Darren Walls, but they should not be your starting cornerbacks, that just cannot happen. They’re solid role players, but they need big physical corners that can shut down at least one of the opposing teams’ wide outs.
They do have Dee Milliner coming back next year, but we still haven’t figured out exactly how good he is or can be for that matter and their first round pick safety Calvin Pryor hasn’t lived up to the hype of the “Louisville Slugger” nickname. The offensive line has been just as poor though; aside from Mangold the whole line has really struggled, even D’Brickashaw Ferguson who’s been going steady at that left tackle spot it feels like forever now. Willie Colon is having an awful year after being one their best players last year and new signing Breno Giacomini has been inconsistent to say the least. If I’m the Jets once free agency begins I’m targeting two players, Mike Iupati from San Fransisco, who can play guard, and Chris Harris Jr. from Denver. They’d both be significant upgrades and would help out immediately. Before spending any money though more than likely they’ll be in the market for head coach as well, I think the Jets need to go in a polar opposite direction as the Giants though. If anything I believe they should go for a college head coach such as Gus Malzahn from Auburn or even a David Shaw from Stanford. Both are offensive minded coaches who know how to develop a quarterback.
If they don’t go the college route I think they should take a hard look at the Jim Harbaugh situation and see if they can snag him away from San Francisco or maybe go with a Kyle Shanahan or Adam Gase in Denver. I definitely believe there new coach should be more offensive minded and should know how to develop a quarterback which we’ve found out Rex Ryan cannot do. Speaking of the QB position I think the Jets have two options, either fill the position just for this year with a stop gap QB like a Sam Bradford and then maybe wait a year to see if their QB of the future is available. Or if they do get a top 5 draft pick using it on Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota this year.
I believe both guys will be successful QB’s, but depending on the head coach, I’d lean towards Mariota only by a small margin though. I think they should combine the two ideas, maybe let one of the two rookies sit a year and let a guy like Bradford play it out a year. It does no good to a rookie to just throw him into the fire immediately and kill his confidence (Just ask Geno Smith).
Like the Giants, the Jets do have some pieces to play with, but for both teams the depth and talent levels do not come close to competing with a Green Bay or Denver. There is a lot of work to be done by both of these teams if they want to compete for a championship in the near future and I believe both Jet and Giant fans should brace themselves for what could be an ugly next few seasons.
Although Giant fans may be a little more contempt with those two championships that Eli gave them I don’t see either of these teams hoisting the Lombardi trophy anytime soon.