By Todd G
I wrote this piece before the season started, and it appears after the Jets 1-7 start, I may have been correct.
(From August 10th 2014)
As a Jets fan, the day that Darelle Revis left the Jets was nearly equivalent to the day Lebron left Cleveland. Both players had bolted cold-weather cities with hardcore fans for the sunnier, warmer weather that Florida provides. Both teams were left without a leader and had no clear replacement. Unlike the Cavs, the Jets did not have a war chest full of number one picks coming their way. However, both teams were set up for a reunion.
Imagine if the Cavs had said no and Lebron decided to join the Bulls or the Pacers. Could the fanbase ever forgive their team, or at the very least, the owners? This hypothetical situation is a reality for the Jets. Arguably one of the best Jets players of all time was rejected by the Jets and scooped up by the Patriots. How many times has anyone heard of a Jets castoff being picked up by the Patriots? The last notable scenario that played out similarly occurred when Danny Woodhead was cut by the Jets and signed with the Patriots, becoming an important member of the Brady machine. I don’t understand why this is not talked about more. This is what people lose their jobs over. Former Jets GM Mike Tannembaum lost his job because of his personnel decisions, specifically the contract to which he signed Mark Sanchez to. If the Jets do not perform on the field this year, and ownership decides to clean house (a long-shot as long as Woody Johnson is the owner), then management should turn to one decision in particular that would support any firing.
Unless EJ Manuel turns into Jim Kelly and Ryan Tannehill becomes Dan Marino, the only two contenders in the AFC East are the Patriots and the Jets. Any slip-up by the Jets will result in another division crown for the Patriots. All reports out of camp say that the Jets team chemistry is as great as it has ever been. Players can be found shopping together at Walmart in Cortland, or eating lunch together at a restaurant side-by-side. This makes the decision that much more confusing. There are only four plausible reasons that the Jets would pass up an opportunity on one of the top players in the league and a Rex Ryan favorite:
1. New GM John Idzik wants to establish a locker room culture devoid of any remnants of the 2009-2010 playoff Jets and/or the 2011-2012 self-destructive Jets teams. Idzik is sending a sign that there are no stars on this team. There are no personalities. There is no bravado. There is just hard-hitting, tough, gritty play; the trademark of a new era of Jets dominance.
2. Darelle Revis’ demands were more than the Jets were willing to pay, even for a top 10 player. Rex begged and pleaded for his guy, but management reminded Rex that he was in the last year of a contract himself, and if he wanted to have another contract in place, he better leave the personnel decisions to the GM and ownership.
3. The story is completely false. Revis was agitated that the Jets did not pay him the first time around and wanted to spurn his old team in the most evil way possible.
4. Three words: Same. Old. Jets.
My guesses would be either reason 2 or 4. Two is plausible because the Jets do not want this to become a habit. They want Rex there to pump up the team, be the de-facto Defensive Coordinator, and have Marty Mornhinweg run the offense, with no real head coach. Four is also plausible because they are the Jets. They drafted Ken O’Brien over Dan Marino. They’ve left fans scratching their heads before, and are liable to do it again. We might be saying the same thing a few years from now about how the Jets drafted Safety Calvin Pryor over Johnny Football or Teddy Bridgewater.
Jets fans are eternally optimistic, and this season is no different. Many pundits are pegging this as the year that the Jets will have all the pieces to contend. As usual, some say they will flop. The Jets have a stable full of three horses (or at least serviceable running backs) in Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, and Bilal Powell. They have a young, promising QB in Geno Smith with WRs full of untapped potential. You could argue that they have the best Offensive and Defensive lines in the league. Mind you, this writing is coming from a Jets fan himself, a guy who has thrown out his Revis Island T-Shirts and is the proud owner of a 2012 Greg McElroy jersey, bought at MetLife Stadium on the day of his one, and only, start.
I plan to be at the Jets game in December against the Patriots, since I expect it could decide the division. If the Jets are not at least in a contending position, fans should look back to the day the Jets (I almost wrote “we” here, but I wouldn’t want to associate myself, or other fans, with this decision) rejected Darelle Revis. Now we are left with a somewhat injury-prone young Cornerback who claims he is the best at his position in the league despite playing just three decent games as a professional, a journeyman who isn’t a number one option, and a rookie nickel Cornerback who just tore his ACL and is out for the season. The Jets are missing a leader. This could be exactly what the Jets wanted, as defensive stalwarts like Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, or Demario Davis could assume the leadership position. If not, fans may be left uttering those same three words: Same. Old. Jets. The difference this year is that an old Jet may be saying the same thing.