The 2010 Most Overrated Team in the NFL Debate… Pride Goeth Before the Fall

August 27, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Loyal Homer.

I don’t think I have ever seen a team believe its own hype more than the New York Jets. It is one thing to walk into camp with Super Bowl aspirations, but the “J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS” are strutting around as if the Lombardi Trophy is already claimed.

Rex Ryan, LaDanian Tomlinson, Mark Sanchez, and many others, have already gone on record with declarations that they are a Super Bowl bound franchise. While I love the positivity, there is just one problem – it is only week three of the pre-season.

The Jets are walking around with just a little too much bravado, and although many media outlets are hopping on the New York bandwagon, I am going on record right now with my “I told you so” prediction for 2010 – Forget the Super Bowl, the Jets won’t make the playoffs!

Let’s flash back to Sunday, December 20th of 2009. The Jets were walking off of the field after a 10-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and NOBODY was talking Super Bowl at that time. Instead, folks were doubtful that the Jets would even reach the playoffs.

When you take an HONEST look at the Jets between then and now, what has changed? The short answer is “nothing good!”

Too Much Credit for Not Enough Substance

Sure, the Jets made the AFC championship game last season, but can we REALLY call the 2009 Jets a legitimate Super Bowl contender? I can’t!

The Jets eeked into the playoffs thanks to a schedule where the final two matchups pitted them against teams that already clinched post-season berths, and thus rested the stars. The Jets had the luck to draw a wild card matchup against a one-dimensional Cincinnati Bengals team that so heavily relied on the running game that the running back was simply EXHAUSTED when it came time for playoff football. And if not for some late mistakes by the San Diego Chargers, they would never have made it out of the divisional playoff round.

Now I know what you are thinking – the Jets STILL won their way into the AFC championship game, which is a fact that I cannot deny. I am just pointing out that they were the beneficiaries of very favorable conditions leading up to that AFC championship. As soon as the good luck ran out for New York, and they ran into a playoff seasoned Indianapolis Colts team, they were completely embarrassed in a 30-17 rout.

While the Jets enter the 2010 season after being just one game away from the Super Bowl last season, the result HARDLY matched the output.

Quarterback Concerns

Has Mark Sanchez done ANYTHING to convince anyone he can be a great quarterback in the NFL?

Not once last season did he pass for more than 300 yards in a single game. He DID have 14 games where he failed to eclipse the 200 yard mark, though. On the season, his 2,444 total yards ranked as the 23rd worst total in the league, and was almost DOUBLED by the NFL’s best, Matt Schaub.

In 18 games (including the playoffs), he had only one game of 20 completions or more, and his season total of only 196 completions placed him 25th in the league.

He threw for only 12 touchdowns last season (24th in the NFL), but had 20 interceptions (the second HIGHEST total, behind only Jay Cutler of the Bears).

I know that the Jets have brought in Santonio Holmes to give Sanchez another top-level target to throw the ball to, but (once more) has Mark Sanchez done ANYTHING to convince anyone he can be a great quarterback in the NFL?

In a word – NO!

Who Needs a QB Anyway?

So the Jets have a lousy quarterback. It didn’t seem to hurt at all last year, did it? Thomas Jones racked up more than 1,400 rushing yards, leading the Jets to the top rushing offense in the league last season.

That is a GREAT way to compensate for having a bum behind center. And the Jets plan to build off that tremendous rushing performance from last season, right?

WRONG!

In the organization’s infinite wisdom, Thomas Jones was released in favor of unproven Shonn Greene. Now I’m no football genius, but the adage “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” sure would seem to apply in this case.

Releasing Jones was the “head scratching” move of the off-season. The top rushing offense in the league (which arguably was the reason the team had marginal success during the regular season) actually parted ways WILLINGLY with the guy who made them so successful, all so they could rely on a kid with a whopping 108 TOTAL rushing attempts on his resume.

And alongside this unproven kid the organization brings in the soon-to-be washed up LaDanian Tomlinson, who hopes for one more shot at a winner before riding off into the Canton sunset.

What do you get when you mix a highly touted, yet unproven prospect with a once-great NFL record holder who thinks he still has a little gas left in the tank? You get a position battle!

That’s right, in a matter of months the Jets have fallen from having the league’s best rushing offense to not even knowing who the starter is (neither of whom have a PRAYER of producing the way that Thomas Jones did).

But Defense Wins Championships

The New York Jets had the top defense in the NFL in 2009. Led by All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets shut down opposing offenses, giving up only 252.3 yards and 14.8 points per game, no team was stingier when the offense was on the sidelines.

Here’s the problem, though. That superstar leader of the Jets defense, Darrelle Revis, has yet to show up for practice. Because he feels he is bigger than the team he plays for, Revis is foolishly demanding a new contract, and has held out from participating in team activities as his protest.

Without Revis, the Jets defense may not be hapless, but it is certainly not the loaded unit it was last season. And even if Revis and the Jets can come to some sort of an agreement (which today STILL seems unlikely), it is so far into the pre-season that his game-readiness is doubtful.

Wide Egos for Wide Receivers

I will grant only a couple sentences to the least valuable players on the entire Jets roster – Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes.

Holmes, who won’t even be on the field for the first four weeks of the season due to suspension, came to the Big Apple after being dealt away from the Pittsburgh Steelers because of yet another legal issue. It doesn’t at all matter what Holmes will do on the field, because he cannot seem to control his personal life.

As for his cross-field counterpart, the only thing that Braylon Edwards seems able to catch is bad press. He can run his mouth, but that pesky little thing called catching the ball seems to trip him up every time.

A Formula for Failure

Last season the Jets capitalized on the element of surprise and relied on a solid running game and a stingy defense to reach the AFC championship game.

Now the teams has drawn as much attention to itself as possible by painting a giant target on its back. The front office has weakened the running game, brought in unreliable receivers to support a quarterback whose performance would have gotten him fired on almost any other team in the league, and the top player is holding out for more money.

Are the Jets REALLY a playoff team?

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The Jets versus Darrelle Revis Debate

August 17, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Bleacher Fan.

It seems as if there is at least one major holdout for one reason or another every season. This season is no different as there is a rather high profile holdout happening in New York in a standoff between Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets .

With each passing day it’s becoming more and more possible that Revis’ holdout will reach the first part of the regular season, and possibly longer. This is obviously not a needed distraction as the Jets enter the season with Super Bowl aspirations.

Revis, who has elevated himself into arguably the league’s top cornerback the past two seasons, is in the middle of the rookie contract he signed prior to the 2007 season. But he feels he wants more. Does he have a strong case? Or do the Jets have the stronger case?

Who has the stronger case, Darrelle Revis or the New York Jets?

Babe Ruthless will argue that Darrelle Revis has a stronger case while Bleacher Fan will argue in favor of the New York Jets.

The winner will not receive a new contract, as you will be stuck with the contract you agreed to when you came on board TSD. But the winner will get another victory added to their total. That must be worth something.

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The Jets versus Darrelle Revis Debate… The Shutting Down of a Shutdown Corner

August 17, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Bleacher Fan.

The last thing Americans want to hear about in the middle of the current economic crisis is a celebrity demanding more money, but that is not stopping Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis from trying to negotiate a new contract with the team. The reasons why such a seemingly self-centered move provokes disgust are obvious. He is a grown man that makes a seven-figure salary to play a game for a living, and makes a public spectacle of demanding more money. It is exceedingly easy to slander Revis’ name.

But is it right?

This season, Revis is entering the fourth year of his six-year rookie contract. Despite becoming arguably the most dominant cornerback in the NFL, he is not being compensated like it. Revis’ contributions to the vaunted Jets defense helped carry the team to a deep playoff run last year, but in 2010 he figures to make just $1M. While that is certainly an exorbitant amount of money to the average person, it really does not accurately reflect Revis’ value to his team. He feels that he contributes far more than his pay reflects—a theme many can relate to—and he is actually going to do something about it.

Can you really blame him for that? Is there fault in trying to do what is best for yourself and your family?

It may not sit well with society’s work ethic and the public’s sense of commitment, but at the end of the day Revis is just trying to get the best deal he can. While I don’t expect anyone to be sympathetic to the amount of money he is asking for, his position is one with which many can relate—he is more valuable than his salary reflects. He is one of the best defenders in the NFL, and he simply wants to be paid like it.

People have blamed everyone from Revis himself to Al Davis (who last year paid Nnamdi Asomugha $45.3 million), but I really think it is the Jets who are to blame. They gave into Revis’ rookie holdout demands, and now that he has proven he is even better they want him to stick to a deal he has clearly out grown. It won’t work. The Jets are going to have to come up with the cash or deal with Revis sitting out, something he seems more than prepared to do. No one is forcing New York to give him a new deal but the lack of Revis’ talent on the field each Sunday really has them between a rock and a hard place. Heck, even Mr. Jet Joe Namath sides with the kid. Revis has to have a point if this makes sense to everyone but the Jets.

Darrelle Revis knows that no matter how valuable you might seem to a team now, in the NFL things can change in an instant. This concept was made all too real for Revis when he watched just such a scenario play out over the past season and offseason with his friend and former teammate Leon Washington. Over the past four years, the former Jets running back had consistently contributed to the New York offense by serving in a variety of roles. Last season, Washington broke camp as the primary backup to Thomas Jones, but also proved valuable returning kicks, catching passes, and serving as a change-of-pace back for New York. With the departure of aging veteran Thomas Jones to free agency imminent, it appeared that Washington and sophomore Shonn Green would lead Gang Green’s ground attack for the foreseeable future, but all that came to a screeching halt with an inopportune injury.

During a week seven matchup with the Oakland Raiders, Washington suffered a nasty compound fracture to his fibula, and just like that his value shattered as quickly as his bone. The season ending injury sidelined Washington during the final year of his contract, essentially robbing him of any leverage he had on the free agent market. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Washington tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a long term deal before the 2009 season. So while recovering from a major injury without a long term deal, Washington tested free agency and found very little interest. He came crawling, or more appropriately limping back to the Jets, with a one year, $1.75M deal, which didn’t last long. The Jets turned right around and made a draft-day deal with the Seahawks for Washington. In just a short amount of time Washington went from being a fan favorite on the rise in New York to being traded for a seventh-round pick and being buried on the depth chart of a weak team.

The memory of how quickly Washington’s value dropped surely weighs heavily on Revis’ mind. While Revis might be the most valuable defensive player on the Jets, he is always just one play away from irrelevance. As a professional football player Revis has a limited time to make all the money he can. Any given Sunday could be his last, and the even sadder truth is any given down could leave him with an injury that ends his career or leaves him paralyzed. He has to earn all the money he can now. If that means he has to make opportunities for himself with unpopular actions then so be it. But before you judge him, ask yourself if you would do any different if it were your livelihood and family’s future at stake? I think an honest person would admit that although Revis’ actions maybe selfish, they are also understandable.

Revis deserves the money for the product he puts on the field week in and week out. Nobody is forcing the Jets to pay him more, but in the end it is going to be awfully hard to explain to the New York fans why they didn’t come up with the extra green, should the decision cost them the playoffs.

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