During the 2011 off-season Mike Tannenbaum, the general manager of the Jets, decided to focus on trying to acquire star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, and wide receiver Plaxico Burress, right after he had served 20 months in prison. Trader Mike, as he is affectionately called by many fans, targeted big names instead of addressing needs at the right tackle, safety, and outside linebacker positions.
In 2011 the team collapsed, ranking 25th overall in total offensive yards and 20th in points allowed per game. One major reason for the team’s mediocre season was poor play at the three aforementioned positions.
At the moment, the Jets look like they are going to hold a competition at right tackle between Wayne Hunter, the starter in 2011, and Vladimir Ducasse, the team’s 2010 second round draft pick. Neither has proven themselves to be suited to start at the position, yet somehow the Jets haven’t shown interest in a single free agent right tackle.
Another issue was that Mark Sanchez had to play with two new wide receivers in a lockout year; after Braylon Edwards, Jerrico Cotchery, and Brad Smith all signed with other teams. With no legitimate starting running back or explosive play-making wide receiver on the roster, Rex Ryan watched as his offense struggled and Sanchez’s play regressed.
New York will not be re-signing LaDainian Tomlinson or Plaxico Burress, leaving the team with three backup running backs and four wide receivers, after they signed injury prone wide receiver Chaz Schilens. Considering the fact that Dustin Keller is a poor blocker, which makes him a dead giveaway for a passing play, the Jets also need to find a quality backup tight end who can contribute in the rushing offense as a blocker and still pose a threat as a receiver.
The Jets did sign LaRon Landry to play strong safety but he’s really a more talented version of Eric Smith, a player who excels at stopping the run and blitzing the quarterback but struggles in pass coverage. Even if one would ignore reports that the team has attempted to trade inside linebacker Bart Scott, the Jets still need to acquire at least five new starters and a great deal of depth that was missing in 2011.
Much to the chagrin of many avid fans, the Jets ignored their primary needs by trading their fourth and sixth round picks in exchange for Tebow along with a seventh round pick. By doing so the team’s management may have upset a locker room that had already imploded a few months ago, and lost one more opportunity, the fourth round pick, to acquire quality talent at a position of need.
It’s possible the Jets front office felt it would be easier to mask the offense’s weaknesses with Tebow operating the Wildcat offense, but the former Bronco struggled against the Jets’ primary division foes, the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. Regardless of the team’s intent they got rid of another chance to fill a need.
Tannenbaum and Ryan still have to acquire numerous impact players on both offense and defense or they might endure an even worse season than 2011. If the team has a losing season, then the whole front office could be replaced in 2013.
With seven of their ten draft picks in the last three rounds, Jets fans should expect the team to be actively trying to trade up (or down) in the draft. The front office certainly has more than enough incentive to make all the right moves.
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