(Long Island, N.Y.) Very rarely do I write my column in the ‘first person,’ but felt that I needed to make an exception here. It is difficult enough being a fan of the New York Jets as it is and I have done my best to stay the course, but the events of the last few days have put me over the edge, so to speak, and caused me to finally jump ship.
I was born into a household of Jets fans, so I can accurately say that for my entire 45 years on this planet, I have been one myself. For all I know, my first words may have been “Joe Namath” instead of “momma” and “poppa.” Yeah, it’s that bad.
So it pains me to admit that I have taken not only a step back, but a complete retrieval. This organization has proven time and time again that it is clueless, but there were two recent moves that combined made up my ‘last straw.’
The first was the selection of Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL Draft. The West Virginia quarterback, who was originally presumed to be the first signal caller picked and a possible top-10 pick, fell down the board like a piano out of a high rise window.
There were many factors that played into Smith sitting in the green room throughout the entire first evening without hearing his name called. Many of the scouts are not convinced that he has all the tools to be an effective quarterback at the NFL level and that he lacks the intensity and desire to be a quick study. There was also speculation that Smith does not enjoy playing in cold weather, and that seemed to be proven by his second half numbers, which drastically dropped after the first five games.
Another reason why taking a quarterback this year was not advised is that the expected 2014 crop – which should include Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater – will be much stronger and it is ill-advised to tab two in back-to-back drafts. If you’re wondering that only the teams with the lousy records will have a shot at either of these players, take a look at the Jets roster and you’ll have the answer for yourself.
So when the Jets grabbed Smith with the 39th overall selection, it became apparent that new general manager John Idzik is looking to put his stamp on the team right away. Mark Sanchez, who has one year remaining on his contract, will cost the Jets $8.5 million in real money and $12 million against the salary cap if he is cut, cannot be happy that he will once again have to look over his shoulder every time that he throws an interception – and judging by his 2012 campaign, that will be quite often.
That’s if he isn’t let go and the Jets eat the money. Don’t forget, they also signed veteran David Garrard and have Greg McElroy and Chris Simms still on the roster.
That’s the segue into my next issue with the Jets, and that has to do with the release of Tim Tebow. When they brought him in, there were grand ideas to make him a one-man army and be a weapon in many facets of the game. They even told Tebow to bulk up more, which actually worked against him when he did get the handful of running plays called for him.
So the former Heisman Trophy winner getting cut is not a surprise at all, but the timing of it was just another knife n the back of the pious Tebow. The Jets did everything they could to trade him during the draft but had no takers. Rival GMs knew that he would be on the open market without much competition, so if he is wanted by any team, they can get him for nothing now.
But once the draft ends, teams scoop up many of the undrafted free agents, quarterbacks included. So the Jets did Tebow absolutely no favors by giving him his walking papers two days later. They treated this very likable young man atrociously since Day One here and this was the a fitting end to a rocky relationship.
So without much regret, I hereby hand back my Jets fan card. It may have many tear stains on it from the heartbreaking losses that mounted over the years, but there shall be no more shed.