Two sides to a coinApril 13, 2010
Mike Tannenbaum’s acquisition of Santonio Holmes was just another piece towards bringing a Superbowl to Jets fans. It began with the hiring of Rex Ryan, and over the last 12 months has included the drafting of Mark Sanchez, trades for Braylon Edwards and Antonio Cromartie, the swapping of LT for TJ and Brodney Poole for Kerry Rhodes, and the soon-to-be signing of Jason Taylor. Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson are stopping at nothing in ensuring the Jets have one of the elite teams on paper entering the 2010 season.
All these bold moves, however, could come with a hefty price to pay.
Including Holmes, the Jets now have three high-profile players with rap sheets. Santonio Holmes comes to New York with a weed and assault charge in his arsenal, Braylon Edwards assaulted a Lebron James associate (Knicks fans are still angry about that one) and Antonio Cromartie has children sprinkled throughout the 50 states. Ok, so maybe Cromartie is just guilty of stupidity but already the Jets had to send a $500K advance to the corner back to pay his past-due child support.
There are also on the field questions engulfing Cromartie, such as his lack of interceptions since his pro-bowl year in ’07. And if you saw the Jets-Chargers playoff game in January, Antonio seemed to shy away from contact, especially on that 50-yard touchdown run by Shonn Greene.
Was Antonio Cromartie just a prisoner in a lax defensive system in San Diego? Probably….but the decline in the corners play is something to monitor in 2010.
I’ve mentioned how and why I think LaDainian Tomlinson will be a great addition to the Jets, but there is an old saying that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Thomas Jones was a work-horse for Gang Green and was a major reason the Jets lead the NFL in rushing during the 2009 season. He was also a vocal-leader in the locker-room and a mentor to the younger players. While TJ had a fabulous 2009 season, LT on the other hand had the worst year of his career. He finished with just over 700 yards rushing, averaging a woeful 3.3 yards an attempt.
Can the lack of production from Tomlinson be attributed to San Diego’s pass-first offense and horrendous offensive line? Probably….but bringing back Thomas Jones definitely was the safer way to go.
If you’re a consistent reader of this site, you know how I feel about Kerry Rhodes. He’s soft, would rather groom his goatee in front of a mirror than watch game film, and has shown a steep decline in play since his huge payday in ’07. Tannenbaum and the Jets shipped the safety to the desert for some draft picks, and brought in the talented, hard-hitter Brodney Pool. The former Cleveland Brown fits Rex Ryan’s system perfectly, and it is no mystery that Rhodes wasn’t one of Rexy’s guys.
Nonetheless, in just 5 NFL seasons, Pool has already had four concussions and could be one hit away from ending his NFL career.
Jason Taylor is reportedly close to signing with Jets Nation, but at age 36 how much does he have left in the tank? Yes, Taylor would fill a large hole in terms of rushing the Quarterback, but he has been the enemy for over 10 years and lack of production from the linebacker could incense the fans and his new teammates.
Mr. T is showing a clear indication that he wants to enter the upcoming NFL Draft with zero glaring needs for the team. That way, the Jets can look at the best player available with their first round pick, and work towards building the teams depth. There were rumblings that Gang Green would look at a wide receiver with their first pick, but the acquisition of Santonio Holmes might put an end to that. Just as the signing of Taylor would erase any desperation to draft a pass rusher.
Holmes on the surface was an absolute heist for the Jets, but as I previously mentioned the receiver has off-field issues, which in turn will require Santonio to miss the first four games of the 2010 season.
I love the aggressive nature of Mike Tannenbaum as he is turning the Jets into a real-life All-Madden team. But how many times can you “dance with the devil” before the soul of the team is tarnished? What makes the Yankees so successful in baseball was their team chemistry and that may be something Mr. T is forgetting with what is appearing to be the NFL version of the Bronx Bombers (minus the rings, so far.)
Rex Ryan is loved by his players, and that is a tremendous attribute a coach can have. Nevertheless, asking a second-year head coach to look over all these volatile personalities may be too much to ask. Do I think Rex can do it? Yes…I have no reason to doubt him. His players run through a wall for him and if any coach can mesh the East-Coast Bengals together it is Rex Ryan.
There are two sides to a coin, however, just like there are two sides to every move Tannenbaum has made. While I love the transactions Mr. T has made this off-season, they could ultimately blow up in his and Rex’s face.