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5 Biggest Mistakes By New York Jets So Far in 2013

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New York Jets: 5 Biggest Mistakes of 2013 So Far

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets have had a rough calendar year, and they have made many mistakes this offseason. The team is seen as one of the worst run organizations in the NFL, and although they may not be quite as bad as perceived, they still have made more than their share of poor decisions.

The Jets are desperately trying to remove the circus atmosphere around their team, but they have not had much luck in meeting that goal. The hiring of new general manager John Idzik was supposed to be a new beginning for the team, but it has been the same old Jets for much of the offseason.

The Jets have made several crucial errors that were not even egregious enough to make this list. Some of these poor decisions include the choice not to retain tight end Dustin Keller, the signing of Mike Goodson, only signing one veteran safety and the general inability to improve the pass rush.

All these moves were the wrong decisions, and they will all negatively impact the Jets this season. The unfortunate reality for the Jets this season is they have no one to blame but themselves. They have repeatedly made poor personnel decisions that have left them with a very weak talent base.

The blame for the continued ineptitude of this franchise should be heavily directed at owner Woody Johnson. Johnson may not be directly responsible for the football decisions, but he hired the people that make them and he has not done well with his selections.

Unfortunately, owners cannot be replaced, and the Jets are stuck with the one they have. That means that mistakes such as these are likely to continue until Johnson comes to his senses and finds the right people to run the organization. The Jets don’t appear to have those people yet, and that is why they have made these mistakes this offseason.

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5. Drafting Sheldon Richardson

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The Jets chose defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson 14th overall in April’s draft, with the pick they acquired for Darrelle Revis. The presence of that decision on this list is in no way, shape or form a knock against Richardson, who is a very talented young player who should have a solid career. The reason this decision is here is fit and need.

Richardson is a 4-3 tackle who the Jets are trying to convert to a 3-4 end. The results have been mixed in the preseason, though he should continue to improve with reps. More importantly, when drafting Richardson, the Jets chose not to select other players who are either better fits, play positions of greater need or both. Those players include Star Lotulelei, Kenny Vaccaro, Jarvis Jones and Tyler Eifert.

All of those players would have made more sense for the Jets to pick, and they would have filled much more pressing needs. Rebuilding teams like the Jets need to build carefully through the draft, and it is imperative that every first round pick yield a starter and fill a need. The Jets failed to do that when they chose Richardson.

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4. Signing Braylon Edwards

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The Jets chose to sign veteran receiver Braylon Edwards when questions about Santonio Holmes’ health persisted. Edwards came cheap, but he offers nothing at this point in his career. However, this is about more than Edwards. The mistakes here also concern Ben Obomanu, Mohamed Massoquoi and the general philosophy the team has taken.

The Jets have three receivers who are locks for the final roster leaving room for two. Clyde Gates and Ryan Spadola have proven that they deserve these spots, and the Jets would be well served to focus on giving young players a chance.

The Jets cut Edwards today, the first step towards atoning for these mistakes. However, keeping either Obomanu or Massoquoi over Gates or Spadola would be a huge mistake. The Jets have a chance to develop young players who could become important assets, and they need to take it. They are rebuilding, and they must rebuild with youth.

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3. Hiring John Idzik

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The reason new general manager Idzik appears on this list is simple: almost every other mistake made this offseason can be attributed to him. He has final say over personnel matters, and he has repeatedly made poor decisions this offseason.

The situations of Goodson, Keller, Edwards, the safety position and the draft all fall on Idzik. That is quite a few mistakes for one offseason, especially for a first year general manager. The Jets are beginning their roster makeover and rebuilding process, and they have to get the right players on the roster, in terms of talent, fit and off the field character.

Idzik has failed to do that almost every turn this offseason. This is a situation the Jets should have recognized when they hired someone who made his living managing the salary cap instead of evaluating personnel. Idzik needs to do a much better job finding talent, or this team will never improve.

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2. Drafting Geno Smith

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

To be perfectly clear, the decision to draft Geno Smith was going to be on this list and be in this spot before Saturday’s debacle. It was a mistake from the moment they made the choice, and his ugly starting debut only highlighted that.

The Jets chose Smith 39th overall, when players such as Robert Woods, Gavin Escobar, D.J. Swearinger, as well as all of the top running backs, were still on the board. Any of those players would have been immediate starters, and they would have made the team better this year. Smith clearly is not ready for the NFL, and he likely will not improve the Jets this season.

Furthermore, next season’s quarterback class is far better than this year’s, headlined by players such as Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley and Tahj Boyd. The Jets are likely to have a very high pick come next April, and they could have had a QB with far more potential than Smith to go with one of the quality players from this year.

There were many questions regarding Smith’s inconsistency, maturity and pro-style experience, and he hasn’t done anything to alleviate those concerns. While it is still very early, it looks like the Jets would have done better to go in a different direction when they selected Smith.

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1. Retaining Rex Ryan

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest mistake of 2013 is the one that Idzik cannot be blamed for. Johnson refused to fire Rex Ryan, and it has already backfired on him. Ryan is the main perpetrator of the circus atmosphere that has surrounded the Jets recently, and they will never be rid of it until he is no longer in New York.

Ryan has repeatedly shown an inability to evaluate talent, and he consistently sticks with players who aren’t good because they are “his guys”. This is blatantly obvious with the decision to hand Vladimir Ducasse and Calvin Pace starting jobs they don’t deserve.

Ryan’s gross mismanagement of the quarterback situation Saturday was a monumental mistake. Playing Mark Sanchez behind a second team offensive line is indefensible, yet Ryan tried to validate it. Decisions like this show Ryan is not capable of handling the responsibility of a head coach. He is an excellent defensive coordinator, but he is clueless regarding the offense and he struggles with personnel decisions.

The Jets needed to start entirely fresh, and Johnson’s inexplicable attachment to Ryan prevented that. This will be another difficult season, and Ryan will be hugely responsible for the team’s inevitable failure.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google