Expectations are high in New York, no matter the year, fans and media want a winner. Years of neglect and short sighted moves have caught up with the Jets. Despite talk of a rebuild, one Jet said that is not the case.
Buster Skrine, recently stated to ESPN:
“You can’t rebuild in New York, because y’all will eat us up. Ain’t no rebuilding here. It’s getting right to the point. This is a competing team. We still have the players to compete.”
He’s right – to an extent. The Jets are a complex team. Pressure to win, first time coaches, media scrutiny and a new stadium financed by PSL’s have compounded bad decisions.
The truth is the Jets have been delaying a rebuild after six years of poor drafting.
- 2009: Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson
- 2010: Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, Joe McKnight, John Connor
- 2011: Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerly, Greg McElroy, Scott McKnight
- 2012: Quinton Coples, Stephen Hill, Demario Davis, Josh Bush, Terrance Ganaway, Robert Griffin, Antonio Allen, Jordan White
- 2013: Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, Geno Smith, Brian Winters, Oday Aboushi, Will Campbell, Tommy Bohanan
- 2014: Calvin Pryor, Jace Amaro, Dexter McDougle, Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans, Dakota Dozier, Jeremiah George, Brandon Dixon, Quincy Enunwa, IK Enemkpali, Tajh Boyd, Trevor Reilly.
Overall, this is poor. Yes, the Jets traded away some of their picks and acquired very good players for them at the time, but it cost them. 40 players in six seasons, 8 of which are still on the team (2 were cut and brought back) – The Jets had a 20% success rate in six years. The contributions from most of those players has been minimal – outside of a few stars. The Jets were able to cover many of those poor picks with free agent signings and weak schedules.
The expectations that fell on Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles were too high. At the start of 2015, this team was not in need of a few smart additions, it needed several smart drafts. That means finding good role players who can stick with the roster and cultivating draft picks with potential. In time they hopefully can be re-signed or turned in to compensatory picks to sustain the team.
Skrine is right, the Jets can’t have a traditional rebuild. Unlike the Raiders, the Jets are not afforded the ability to struggle for three years while drafting talented players. Unlike Dallas, the Jets did not have a top QB like Tony Romo who could mask deficiencies in other areas. The New York Jets have one of the most difficult tasks, build core talent while trying to make the playoffs – every year.
Bowles and Maccagnan have made mistakes – they have to own them – but they should not pay for sins of the past. Not yet. One of the concerns with firing John Idzik was that he was let go before he could implement a plan (though his plan looked poor based on two years). How much time should Todd and Mike get? Four years. Why -because turning this around needs a mix of superstar draft picks and developmental projects. That takes time.
All that being said, the Jets aren’t starting their rebuild in 2017, they have been rebuilding the team since 2015. Skrine is also correct when he says the Jets have players to compete. Gang Green is in a good position going forward, but it isn’t where it wants to be just yet.
Part 2: Exploring Maccagan’s and Bowles approach to rebuilding.