NFL New York Jets: 5 People to Blame for Team's Underwhelming Season
The 2011 NFL season is very much over for the New York Jets. No playoffs for the first time since Eric Mangini was the coach; no Rex Ryan drenched in Gatorade; and most certainly, no happy Jets fans in the coming weeks.
There are many who you can blame for such a horrible year, but it pretty much comes down to five individuals. Five people ruined the Jets season, each in their own way.
Without further ado, here are the five people responsible for the Jets' bad season.
Schottenheimer deserves most of the blame for this disaster of a season. For one, his failure to establish a stronger running game with Shonn Greene was quite evident as he didn't have the breakout season that he should have had.
For another, he couldn't fix the chinks in Mark Sanchez's armor that caused him to lose such important games.
Schotty also abandoned the ground-and-pound philosophy, because he couldn't utilize it effectively against strong defenses. This really didn't help the team at all.
Schotty's biggest moment of infamy was against the New York Giants, when he had Mark Sanchez, who had problems distinguishing green and blue, pass for the majority of the game.
Come the offseason, Schotty may find himself out of Rex Ryan's staff in favor of a better coordinator, like Norv Turner, or even consultant Tom Moore.
Mark Sanchez is to blame for a bad 2011, because of an inability to prove himself.
Sanchez rebounded from a shaky 2009 and an average 2010 to take the Jets to within striking distance of the Super Bowl. People thought that this would be the year that he overcame his weaknesses and prove himself to be a legitimate starter.
The exact opposite happened. Sanchez prove to everyone that he couldn't win against tough opponents, and his last three games were all disasters.
Add the fact that he lost a practically gimme-game against the Dolphins of all teams, and you have a perfectly good reason to believe that he was partly responsible for this mess.
Sanchez is going to need help next year. Whether the Jets try and sign Peyton Manning, groom Greg McElroy to compete against him or just simply hire a new coordinator that can really work with him, it's going to be a rough offseason for the former golden boy.
The highlight of Santonio Holmes' season was signing a five-year deal. Afterwards, he disappeared.
Holmes was unable to be the playmaker he was in 12 games last year. He was a statistical non-factor in some games, while in others, he made some plays that weren't enough.
Add the fact that one of his teammates accused him of quitting on the team after being caught moping on the sidelines, and you know that not only did he fail to fulfill his role as a captain, he failed his role as a wide receiver.
In 2012, he may come back, but in order to prove 2011 was a fluke, he'll have to show that he can be the true leader of a beleaguered receiving corps, and not a Chad Ochocinco-type diva.
Eric Smith may have single-handedly lost two games for the Jets this year.
The second game was against the Giants, when he missed another crucial tackle on Victor Cruz, who took the ball 99 yards for the go-ahead touchdown—in the second quarter.
That and the fact that he took over for Jim Leonhard when he got hurt also doomed the Jets on the defensive side of the ball.
Smith has been a constant source of criticism, stemming back to 2008, when he cold-cocked Anquan Boldin in the final minutes of a 56-35 blowout against Arizona.
Basically, Smith is going to be in very hot water next year, and it won't come a surprise if he's released.
The biggest reason why the team fell out of the playoffs was Mike Tannenbaum.
In a very short offseason, Tannenbaum signed Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes to multi-year deals, where only Cromartie prove himself under his new deal.
He also signed a fresh-out-of-prison wide receiver named Plaxico Burress and ageless wonder Derrick Mason, both of whom clearly prove that they were over the hill, instead of keeping 2010's top wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, leaving Mark Sanchez to try and connect with a wide receiver who clearly didn't complement him well.
What he didn't do was be more aggressive during the offseason, losing out on weapons like Darren Sproles and Nnamdi Asomugha. Had he signed players like them, the Jets might have had a better year.
Tannenbaum's tinkering and tampering with the team cost them quite dearly, and while it doesn't look like Woody Johnson will fire him, he certainly deserves plenty of the blame associated with the failure of the 2011 season.