That is what it would sound like if you were to read off what the New York Jets need to do to become relevant again. They can start with their front office or their coaching or their secondary or their draft choices.
There is really no place where this team is very strong. They have become a team that has no identity, playing in what is really the Giants’ home stadium regardless of the re-branding. When they do have an image, it is that of a circus.
The Jets are not an expansion team that can be forgiven for knee-jerk missteps. They have been around long enough and play in a large enough market to be a more serious football franchise.
The Rex Ryan experiment is over. If it ends after this season, Ryan can still claim a couple of playoff appearances. What he has cost the team, however, is a lack of discipline and credibility. A football season is too short to lose, and then regain, credibility. Once the season gets off to a wobbly start, it’s hard to get it back.
When this season ends, the Jets will most likely look for another head coach. Ryan will wash ashore as a defensive coordinator on a more competitive team. He is still a good football man and he can build defenses.
Jets owner Woody Johnson should hire Russ Grimm as the new Jets head coach. Grimm was runner-up for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top job, which later went to Mike Tomlin. Tomlin, like Ryan, has proven to not have control of his ball club. Grimm, however, would run a tighter ship. And the Jets need a tighter ship.
Grimm was the offensive line coach for the Steelers for years before going to the Arizona Cardinals. This is a Hall of Fame, blood and guts-type of coach that would be a nice change for Gang Green. They should be talking to Grimm as soon as the Jets drop their last pass this season.
Welcome Back Brian Cashman
To the Yankee fans that do not remember the 1980s, when the playoffs only happened twice, a general manager like Brian Cashman is a big plus. Critics who think he trades good minor league talent for old players have not lived through what that really looks like.
Cashman is a good general manager who only makes bad moves when pressured to do so. The Alex Rodriguez contract was too long, as was the Mark Teixeira contract. These moves can be tagged to Cashman’s legacy, but so can the great seasons the team enjoyed. The Yankees were right to keep stability in the front office and not listen to the fickle fan base.
Cashman needs to plant a flag right away with this new three-year lease and take care of the Rodriguez contract. He needs to make the team eat half of the contract (some $30 million), and let some other team get a discount on a former superstar.
Rodriguez is a competitor, regardless of the rule breaking, but he brings too much drama to a clubhouse that has not been known as the “Bronx Zoo” since the 1980s. The work that Buck Showalter, Joe Torre, Bob Watson, and Brian Cashman have done to make the clubhouse atmosphere whole gets jeopardized with the drama that Rodriguez brings.
The recent talk of making Rodriguez a back-up to Teixeira at first base is a terrible notion. Backing up the non-athletic Teixeira with another injury-prone ballplayer is a no-brainer of a bad idea. Whoever backs up Teixeira has to be prepared to play at least 100 games.
Two years ago, the Yankees had a depleted minor league system. That is not the case anymore. They have two marquee outfielders (Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin), a star second baseman (Rob Refsnyder), and a giant power-hitting first baseman/outfielder (Aaron Judge).
This is not to mention that their pitching in the minors is only trumped by the Mets lineup of star throwers. The Yankees do not need these big contracts with injury-prone non-producing players anymore. Two years ago, they had to tough it out with players like Arod; they no longer have to do that.
The team lost close to 50 games where they did not score more than three runs last year. This can be corrected with less money, and Brian Cashman knows this. As soon as he convinces the rest of the brass, it will become a reality.