Before the clock hit zero in Miami, you already knew this was not going to turn out good for the New York Jets. Cameras showed Santonio Holmes sitting on the bench the final two minutes, which only made matters worst. As everyone knows by now, the Jets organization is in a state of panic, with different stories coming out about the players and the locker room demeanor.
There is a feeling in the air that the personnel and attitudes of those associated with the Jets are going to be changed dramatically. First of all, Rex Ryan needs to stop with his guarantees; he's not helping himself or the players out by guaranteeing the Super Bowl every year. You don't want to see him lose his confident personality; but sometimes he just needs to tone it down a bit until the time is right. His coaching style gives the Jets an edge—or at least it did up until this season.
Brian Schottenheimer is going to be interviewing for head coaching jobs around the NFL, starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Let's hope that somehow a team falls in love with him and decides to make him their head coach. I've tried to give Schottenheimer every chance this year; but the game versus the Giants pushed me over the edge, never to look back. Calling 67 passing plays against the Giants is just uncalled for when your team averages four yards a carry. The offense has never ran smoothly at a consistent basis since he's been in New York. A change at offensive coordinator is in need.
The roster needs to get younger and key players of the past couple of years need to be let go. Bart Scott has been a key defensive player, but this year proved the Jets need to cut their ties. He doesn't have the speed or athleticism anymore to guard anyone in the passing game. You can count on him on first and second downs, but he's to much of a reliability to leave in on third.
The Jets need to add some depth to the offensive line in case of an injury like Nick Mangold's happens again. Bringing a center off practice squad is not that way to go. Wayne Hunter needs to be cut immediately for having one of the worst seasons for the Jets in a long time at tackle. Other than confronting Santonio Holmes in Miami, I can't think of one good play he had all year.
Safety is another concern that needs to be addressed in the offseason. If Jim Leonhard isn't in the future then we need to either draft a safety or sign one in free agency. Overall, it looks like they're going to need to add a strong and free safety, which will let them move Eric Smith back to a part-time player. Through the draft or free agency, the Jets need to add another pass rusher who can get to the quarterback without the blitz. After watching the Giants defensive line, the Jets need a player like Jason Pierre-Paul to terrorize the opposing offense.
Which player should be let go?
There is a lot that needs to be done with this roster, and re-signing some key young players is crucial. Joe McKnight led the league with a 31.6 yards-per-kick-return average and gave the offense a versatile back. He had a couple miscues during the season, but being his first time being the full-time returner, he couldn't of done any better.
Aaron Maybin is another young player on this roster who needs to return next season. Being dubbed a "bust" in Buffalo, Maybin came in and made his presence known. He ended the season with six sacks and four forced fumbles. A young pass rusher is something the Jets need to keep not let go. Sione Pouha was one of the best players on the defense this year, clogging up the middle for opposing offenses. He's the big run-stopper in the middle who can free up the linebackers to roam freely.
Now, what to do with the relationship between Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes? It's going to be hard to keep both around, which makes the decision easy—get rid of Holmes.
I know his contract guarantees him money, but you cannot have a player with the kind of attitude and personality he showed this year. When things are going perfect, Holmes is the perfect teammate. But once things turn bad, he's the exact opposite. Rex Ryan made a huge mistake this year electing to make him a captain, because Holmes showed he was far from it.
If there is someway we can unload him like the Steelers did to us and pay some but not all of his contract, it would be the perfect solution. Let's hope somehow the front office can find a way to fix this problem.
Now onto Mark Sanchez.
I think he showed some promise at points this season, but he turned the ball over way too many times like in years past. I still think you give Sanchez another year to show if he can take his game to the next level. As an organization, the Jets need to bring in a backup quarterback who can challenge Sanchez. Mark Brunell is never going to challenge Sanchez, who I think he is too comfortable. If the Jets bring in a quarterback like Jason Campbell, who can challenge for the starting quarterback spot, I think it could only help Sanchez get better. If not, then we know it's time to change it up and bring someone new in to take the reigns.
This circus needs to be stopped, and a more mature team needs to show up. Ryan needs to put his foot down and find a way to fix the atmosphere in the locker room. If not, it could mean that Ryan will be shown the door and someone else will have to try and fix this organization.