Musings on a Firing

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

While it was unclear what was going to be made, this was a change that seemed inevitable all the way back to Woody Johnson’s impromptu availability to the press in November.  Johnson fiercely defended himself and his intents of owning an NFL team.  You could smell it in the air with Ryan’s brazen refusal to use Tebow as a quarterback … something was happening … now something has actually happened .. let’s talk it over.

We'll always have CSI:NY ...

We’ll always have CSI:NY

Protect Ya Rex — Rex was, in all intents and purposes a hire by the team’s owner.  The recipe that he and Tannenbaum concocted brought us to this.  Blame might be a whole other issue, but it was Rex’s incompatibility with Tannenbaum that brought the team to this place.  When push came to shove, Woody’s loyalty to Rex was more recent and/or more pronounced than that to Tannenbaum.  His affinity for the coach and the results trumped whatever decision Woody had made prior to giving Tannenbaum the GM job in 2006.  Woody needs help to run the organization, and abstracting himself from the situation by hiring Korn/Ferry might be the right call.

Attached at the Hip?  – There are clear times when firing a coach and GM at the same time needs to happen – Bradway and Herm in 2005 was a perfect example.  There are other times when it is clear that only one of the GM and coach need to go.  Unfortunately, many underachieving organizations can see-saw from one to the other … new GM, new coach, new GM, new coach … Cleveland over the last five to eight years is a perfect example.  The Jets have to be careful to not get into that type of a trap.  My problem is that I can’t exactly say either way which is the right call.  I love what Rex Ryan has been able to do with this defense, but his continued play of bad players because of personal connections isn’t working either.

There Are Pieces — The Jets are going to have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, but there’s enough building blocks for a new GM to work with and appreciate.  Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples.  Mangold, Brick, Holmes … there’s some conventional talent to build around.  Beyond that, the Jets have some depth players that could deserve a larger role, and might finally get a chance to get it in 2013.  All the Jets need do is have a solid draft class and as some teams have proven in recent years, a solid if not stellar draft class can go a long way.  At the same time, don’t be fooled that RG3s, Andrew Lucks and Russell Wilson’s are waiting to be plucked up upon the shores of The New GM World, either.

Don’t Just Find Some Yes Man — Since we now know that Rex Ryan is basically incapable of saying no to his players, the Jets need to go find someone who has the experience in scouting and personnel to know enough to tell Rex Ryan when the coach needs to say no.  Trevor Pryce called his loyalty “defiant” in the New York Times last week.  That’s noble and damning.  The Jets power structure is set up so that the GM was supposed to have the final say,  but I think that the previous front office caved too much.  Also, with a high amount of money allocated to a very small number of players, it makes those spots essentially unbenchable while the rest of the talent on the team suffered because of it and wasn’t able to challenge the starters enough.  The success of the 2006 and 2007 drafts became a curse when it was time to figure out what to do contractually with those guys.  The Jets are going to need to make some tough decisions over the course of the next year and a half.  In a perfect world, the Jets would always get to keep their best talent at every spot, but this is the NFL and tough decisions need be made.  Is Brick worth the money he’s been getting?  Is David Harris?  Could the Jets have made some smarter decisions?  Is it more important to throw money at a notoriously cheap spot like ILB?  Or is it better to find 2-3 veterans that can bolster the team’s depth around the offense and defense for the same price?  Someone needs to make some hard decisions and I think that the Jets ran too hot on certain players and too cool on the rest.

Better Job Than People Might Think — I get that some candidates won’t be able to get past working with Rex Ryan … but it might not be bad as all that.  Last I checked there’s only 31 GM jobs (Jerrah don’t count) in the NFL.  With the team firing Mike Tannenbaum, there won’t be the same power concerns that there would have been had he been re-assigned.  As long as the new GM is assured personnel control, Ryan might be gone in a year anyway.  Why? It’s cynical of me to say, but with little cap room left already for 2013 and a tough schedule slated for the Jets, another down year could spell the end for the coach anyway.  So if a GM has a real problem with him, he might get a chance to get a new coach in here sooner than even the owner expects.  Next year is most likely going to be a bust, so the new GM would get a year to get his ducks in a row and then challenge the league after that first season.

Might I suggest the guy who is NOT Gary Sinise in this clip as a new GM candidate??