The New York Jets’ Problems Go Beyond the Quarterback

It’s so easy to blame the quarterback of a struggling football team in any city at any level. You always hear the fans and the pundits blame the likes of Peyton Manning and Tony Romo for their short-comings in the playoffs. Why do we forget that this is a team game?

It’s no different here in New York. This city is always hungry for championships in every sport, and anyone who can’t get it done can get the hell out. So when you’re a team like the New York Jets, a team that hasn’t won a championship in 45 years, you’re very quick to call for a change when they’re not getting it done.

Just like for every other team, the first guy whose head Jets fans call for is the quarterback. For the previous four years it was Mark Sanchez, he of two AFC title game trips but also he of a smorgasbord of turnovers, including last Thanksgiving’s butt fumble. Now, it’s the rookie Geno Smith, who has struggled to find any consistency as the Jets themselves have been inconsistent. He has turned the ball over more than anyone else in the NFL

The backup is always the most popular player of a sinking football season; Tim Tebow may have been one of the most popular backups in a long time last year. Greg McElroy was also a popular name Gang Green fans wanted to be given a shot. This year, the guy is Matt Simms, son of Giants great and CBS’ #1 color commentator Phil Simms. He’s the guy fans have been crying for on Twitter and call-ins to WFAN.

But to simply get on the rookie QB would be irresponsible. Geno Smith is in fact one of many problems the New York Jets have, even if they have exceeded many expectations by simply going 5-6 and sticking around in the playoff hunt.

The fact primary problem is the total disregard for acquiring and developing offensive talent by the Jets’ front office. The Jets have probably the worst skill players in the entire NFL. Since 2007, the Jets have used just two first round draft picks on offensive talent, Mark Sanchez and tight end Dustin Keller, who tore his ACL in the preseason this year with the Dolphins after five decent seasons with the Jets.

I mean, just look at the talent Jets quarterbacks have had to deal with the last two seasons. With Santonio Holmes hurting and whining most of the time, Jets fans have watched no-names like Greg Salas, Bilal Powell, Chaz Schillens (spelling), and Clyde Gates get regular snaps. Even Tom Brady has struggled this year with a no-name cast. You need to surround a young QB with reliable receivers; the Jets didn’t do that for Sanchez previous two seasons and they’re not doing it for Smith.

Another huge problem with the Jets’ offense is the o-line. Since Damien Woody and Brandon Moore retired, it’s gotten worse every year. Heck, even All-Pros Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw (spelling) Ferguson have declined. You might say it’s on the QB to make the right decisions and fast, but how often has anyone under center got brought to the ground as soon as they snapped the ball? (cite sack stats as well as QB pressure numbers)

Perhaps the biggest issue the Jets’ have on offense is the coaching. The playcalling by Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg in the last few games has been abysmal. They’ve been a run-first team of course, but they’ve completely abandoned the pass. It’s not like Geno can’t throw it, in fact he has a very good arm, but they have not taken advantage of it.

Yes, the Jets’ recent struggles can be attributed to the struggles of the rookie QB, but to simply blame it all on him would be completely irresponsible. To ignore the elephant in the room would not be seeing the whole picture.

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