Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gangrene (Jets) star power -- can it work?

By Jason Jones (posted by Rick Morris)

There are as many blueprints to building a successful NFL franchise as there are NFL franchises. The question is, "do all of them work?"

Consider the Indianapolis Colts. Hall of Fame quarterback, elite wide receivers, running back by committee, a blue collar offensive line, and a relative no-name defense (excluding Dwight Freeney).

New England Patriots? 90% of their dynastic franchise was all no-names and system-grown talent (minus Randy Moss).

I could go on, but the point is almost conclusive: every successful NFL franchise in history has been constructed with a healthy blend of star power, role players, and team-grown talent. However, that is clearly not the approach that the 2010 New York Jets are taking. Can it work?

Let's take a look at the players still around from just a few years earlier. D'Brickashaw Ferguson (first-round pick), Nick Mangold (later first-round pick, same year), Jerricho Cotchery, Shaun Ellis, and David Harris...all drafted by the Jets or a longstanding member of the team (at least three years).

As for recent draft picks and highly-touted acquisitions, the Jets spared no draft value, trade pieces or free agent dollars. Dustin Keller, Damien Woody, Braylon Edwards, Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O'Connell, Shonn Greene, Tony Richardson, Kris Jenkins, Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Darrelle Revis, Brodney Pool, and Jim Leonhard.

Now if that were the end of the story, then so be it. That still leaves a level of balance between star power and role players. That is, of course, unless even more guys are brought in to take the place of those role players. Especially if those new acquisitions are considerably older and potentially past their primes comparatively to their younger role-playing counterparts.

As a generality, I tend to defer to younger, bigger, and faster players, but that is a conversation for a different time. In this instance, I as an onlooker, am in a complete wait-and-see mode. However, if for some reason you have neglected to notice the 2010 offseason moves of the New York Jets, here's a refresher: the Hall of Fame-bound LaDainian Tomlinson, the lifelong Jet-hater Jason Taylor, the opportunistic Antonio Cromartie, and former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes.

As an unbiased fan of football, this is clearly a fan's dream. Not one single hole at any position. Imagine your team; now, imagine going into this season with not one single glaring hole devoid of talent. Not only that but in Tomlinson's case, there is a logjam at one position. In the Braylon Edwards vs. Santonio Holmes situation, are there enough balls to spread around to a receiver corps that as an average is accustomed to somewhere in the ballpark of 2,500 yds and 20 touchdowns? Incorporate the passing game to include Shonn Greene, Tomlinson, Joe McKnight, and Dustin Keller, and if math serves, that would put Mark Sanchez among the top five of quarterback production -- which may be a stretch.

As for defense, that's a pill that is easier to swallow. Shaun Ellis, Kris Jenkins, and Mike Devito/Rodrique Wright total a legit 3-4ish 900-plus pounds. Jason Taylor, Bart Scott, David Harris, and Calvin Pace may actually be the best linebacker unit in the NFL by a considerable margin. If that isn't enough, the secondary simply defies the opponent to throw. Peyton, Brady, Brees, and Aaron Rogers would all be out of their minds to not alter their approach at least slightly. Let's hope their offensive coordinators don't get a hero complex. As for the Vince Youngs, Jake Delhommes, Kyle Ortons, and Alex Smiths of the league...they might as well get used to handing the ball off...a lot.

Get one thing straight. I "nothing" the Jets. What that means is exactly what it sounds like. I don't love them and I don't hate them, I nothing them. Depending on the matchup, I will either root for them or against them. I am a huge fan of concepts otherwise disproven by lack of results. For example, defense wins championships. I by no means disagree that the axiom is true. I am however, always in search of some team that has an insane offense and a disgraceful defense to find a way and win. In this regard, I will be rooting hard for a team loaded with star power and name recognition to defy convention and win where every other example of this nature has come up short. So while I will be rooting for my home team and adoptive team as I always will, short of those games, I say, "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets".

No comments: