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1/3/2013 10:50:46 AM -
Five things we can learn from the New York Jets

The New York Jets 2012 season was more than just an exercise in futility. It was actually a complete shit show to the point where their mistakes, unlike most of the real errors made by professional sports franchises, were blatantly obvious to both fans and the media. Most times, the people who run professional sports teams know what they’re doing better than the media and fans—and the mistakes the media point out really aren’t mistakes at all, because the solutions to the problems that come up aren’t as obvious as they seem.

With the Jets, however, this wasn’t the case. What you saw on the surface really was exactly what was going wrong. They were mismanaged, poorly coached, and pretty much everything everyone figured would go wrong, did. With that said, however, there are things we can learn from them that can make us better.

1. DON’T TURN YOUR OPERATION INTO A CIRCUS. In looking at everything this team has tried to do over the past few years, you have to wonder whether their priority is on winning games or just getting attention and selling PSLs and luxury boxes. I’m obviously referring to the Tim Tebow deal here, but the flip side of that involves a failure to address areas the team really needed help with—a big time running back, help on the offensive line, and a lack of depth at key positions.

2. DRAFT A MISSION STATEMENT AND STICK TO IT. We’ve said this on this site a million times, and it’s as appropriate for a professional sports franchise as it is for an individual athlete: You have to stick to your program in order to see if it works. It’s true that every team is different, every year, but if you change your overriding philosophy from season to season, you’re pretty much screwed. Yes, you have to adapt and make changes as you go along, but a team without a core philosophy is a ship without a rudder—and the Jets have no philosophy.

3. DELEGATE, THEN LET YOUR PEOPLE DO THEIR JOBS. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m guessing Rex Ryan didn’t want Tim Tebow. Mind you, I’m not blaming their lack of success on Tebow. He didn’t help them OR hurt them. Essentially, he didn’t do shit all year. The point here is that I suspect he was forced onto a coaching staff who didn’t need him, didn’t want him, and had no idea what to do with him. That’s not Tebow’s fault, nor is it the coaching staff’s. That’s the fault of a poor management structure who seemingly made a knee-jerk move because it seemed “cool” at the time.

4. DON’T SCAPEGOAT PEOPLE. Rex Ryan did the right thing in sticking with Mark Sanchez. Sanchez may not be the franchise quarterback people once thought he’d be, but he was surrounded by a horrific supporting cast. A brutal offensive line, no running game to speak of, and pretty much nobody to throw to. You can’t be successful in the NFL like that, period. He made his share of mistakes, but what annoyed me about the situation was how he was made out, by the media and fans, as the poster boy for the failures of the entire organization—when, again, the team’s management didn’t get him the help he needed to be successful. We knew how the Tebow experiment was going to play out back in July. Why didn’t they?

5. DON’T REPEAT YOUR MISTAKES. So, last year, the Jets decided that Bryan Schottenheimer wasn’t the offensive coordinator to take them to the next level, so they hired Tony Sparano, who’d just been fired as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. They gave Sparano nothing to work with, he failed, and now he’s about to be fired in favor of Norv Turner—who’s just been fired as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers. If Rex Ryan wants Turner, then okay—but this all looks very familiar.

And comes Michael Vick.

Angry Coach

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