Who Stays, Who Must Go for New York Jets?

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IDecember 19, 2012

Who Stays, Who Must Go for New York Jets?

0 of 29

    If it was up to fans of the New York Jets, they'd probably would have cut a majority of the roster immediately following their embarrassing loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football last week.

    Obviously, that isn't a feasible solution in the current world of NFL football.

    But after this season, it's apparent the organization needs a major overhaul.

    The situation with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow has deteriorated significantly as the season has gone on and has gotten to the point where it has dragged the futures of Mike Tannenbaum, Tony Sparano and Rex Ryan down with it.

    In the wake of their loss against the Titans, Ryan has already announced that Greg McElroy will start in Week 16 against the San Diego Chargers and Tebow will reportedly ask to be traded or released if he doesn't start one of the next two games (h/t New York Daily News).

    But those aren't the only situations that need resolving.

    A number of key Jets will be free agents and the contract structure of other veterans will likely mean the end of their tenure in Green and White.

    So when all the dust settles, who stays and who goes?

    Let's take a look at each player on a case-by-case basis.

Players Who Are 100% Safe

1 of 29

    Nick Mangold: Perennial Pro-Bowler who is under contract for $9.1 million in 2013.  He's not going anywhere anytime soon.

    David Harris: His production dropped for the first time in 2013, but the Jets would lose money if he's cut.  Time to revamp the linebacking unit and let Harris be a good mentor to the new breed for at least one more season.

    Santonio Holmes: Nobody is taking Holmes off the Jets' hands and his contract prevents him from being released.  Knock him all you want, but he was seriously missed in 2012.

    Antonio Cromartie: Cromartie was arguably the team's best player in 2012 and played on a level that resembled Darrelle Revis.  He's on the books for $10.75 million next year and is worth it if he duplicates this performance.  Good for him.

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson: Ferguson's contract makes it impossible to cut him in 2013.  There's no reason for them to move away from him anyway.  He improved his play this season after a sub-par 2011 and has a chance at another Pro Bowl bid. 

    Kyle Wilson: Wilson gained valuable experience when he was pressed into service after the Revis injury.  He's not perfect by any means, but he had his share of excellent games.  His contract is team-friendly and he'll be back for sure.  

    Quinton Coples: After a slow start, Coples is really coming on, much the same way Muhammad Wilkerson did in 2011.  At times, he flashed freakish physical ability.  He now just has to do it on a consistent basis.  Coples is tied for the team lead with Wilkerson with four sacks in a fraction of the playing time. 

    Muhammad Wilkerson: What a leap forward Wilkerson took in 2012.  He is turning into one of the best young defensive players in the NFL and comes at a bargain price of $1.87 million in 2013.

    Stephen Hill: Hill was admittedly a project right from the start and had a tough rookie year.  Looking back, he would have benefited from being surrounded by veteran receivers this year, but that simply didn't happen.  He needs time to develop and flashed some of the physical traits that made him a second-round pick.

    Valdimir Ducasse: Ducasse saw his most extensive playing time and increased his production from awful to below-average.  That being said, both of the Jets starting guards are free agents and it would be a surprise if both were back.  Expect Ducasse back and to be a starter in 2013.

    Kenrick Ellis: Ellis wasn't very productive to say the least, but he was a cog in a very good defense.  He's under contract for $707,500 and there's no reason for the Jets to move on from a cheap player like Ellis who continues to develop.

    Demario Davis: Davis never got consistent playing time in 2012, but did show very good ability when he was out there.  Hopefully Davis has learned from being the baby in a veteran linebacker group and can step right in next year as a starter.

    Bilal Powell: Powell kept improving as the season went on and will be back as a main cog in the backfield in 2013.  Aside from his running ability, Powell was great at picking up the blitz and didn't fumble once in 106 touches. 

    Darrelle Revis: There has been some debate that the Jets should trade Revis for a haul of draft picks, but that's not happening.  Revis is a Hall of Fame talent, and you don't trade him when his value is at an all-time low.  He'll rehab his injury just fine and will be back to give the Jets the best starting cornerback tandem in the NFL in 2013.

    Jeremy Kerley: The Jets receiving corps was knocked as one of the worst in the NFL, but Kerley shouldn't be included in that group.  He's not a No. 1 receiver by any means, but would be an outstanding slot receiver if supported by a strong cast.  He led the Jets with 53 catches and 739 yards,

    Jeff Cumberland: Cumberland is a free agent and unless some team saw something that wasn't apparent to everyone else, nobody is going to be throwing money at him.  Because of Dustin Keller's injury problems, Cumberland got valuable playing time.  He should be brought back at his low price and given the chance to continue to develop.

    Austin Howard: Howard was an upgrade from Wayne Hunter and had an up-and-down season in 2012.  With Jason Smith due an unfathomable $12 million next year, look for him to be released, Howard to be moved into Smith's role and the Jets to draft an upgrade at offensive tackle. 


Jason Smith

2 of 29

    Jason Smith has done a decent job as an extra tight end in the Jets jumbo package.  He is fairly consistent as a blocker and doesn't commit glaring penalties.

    The one problem with Jason Smith's future is that he is due $12 million next year, all of which will count against the cap.  

    That makes this an easy decision.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Calvin Pace

3 of 29

    Calvin Pace never quite lived up to his potential after coming over to the Jets in 2008.  

    His numbers have decreased consistently over the past three seasons, as has his big-play ability.  This season, he has just 31 solo tackles and three sacks.  

    Those are the lowest numbers he's had as a starter in the NFL.

    The Jets can save $8.56 million by cutting Pace while only losing $3 million in dead money.  

    The Jets need a complete revamp of their linebacking corps, so that makes this an easy decision as well.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Bart Scott

4 of 29

    The time has come for the Jets to move on from Bart Scott.

    The direction of his unit dictates it as does his contract situation.

    The Jets would save $7.15 million by cutting Scott and lose only $1.5 million in dead money.

    Scott has just 28 solo tackles in 13 games this year, his lowest numbers since 2004 when he was a role player on the Ravens.

    Scott is a Rex Ryan guy and the media loves to rip him to shreds when they get the chance because of the way he treats them.

    Moving on from Scott is a sound financial move and will go a long way in creating a better atmosphere in the locker room.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Sione Pouha

5 of 29

    When the Jets signed Sione Pouha before the 2012 season, it looked like a fine move to lock up one of the more under-appreciated players on the team.

    However, Pouha developed back problems in training camp and hasn't been anywhere near himself this year.  

    After back-to-back seasons with close to 60 tackles, Pouha has just 17 this season and has missed four games.

    Pouha will be 34 years old at the start of next season and is due $6.16 million next season, about half of which is guaranteed.

    This one is really a toss-up because the team needs character veterans like Pouha and there isn't a huge savings if they did move on from him.  

    The Jets can save $3.83 million by cutting him, but would have to pay him $2.3 million to walk away.

    In 2014, the balance is shifted towards more cap savings if he's cut and less of a payoff to leave.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Eric Smith

6 of 29

    This one is simple.

    Smith is due $3 million next year, none of which will count against the cap if he is cut.

    His playing time and production has decreased and it's time to move on from Smith and his up-and-down six-year Jets career.

    Even with LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Antonio Allen not under contract for next year, Smith is expendable and will save the Jets $3 million by going away.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Joe McKnight

7 of 29

    Joe McKnight is a valuable player due to his explosiveness in the offense and on kick returns.  

    He's a borderline Pro Bowl-caliber return man and comes at a cheap price of $708,370 in 2013.

    What puts his status in question is the fact that the Jets can save $583,120 by letting him walk.  They would suffer just $125,250 in dead money if he's cut.

    If the Jets are in a penny-pinching mode, McKnight's name might come up on the chopping block.

    Still though, he's an affordable commodity and in the long run, they'd only be saving a couple of hundred thousand dollars at the most because they'd need someone to replace him.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Greg McElroy

8 of 29

    If early reports are right, the Jets are going to get a look at Greg McElroy as the starting quarterback over their next two games.

    If he performs well, two things could happen: He could become the quarterback of the future or he could be come a huge trade chip.

    The Jets' quarterback situation is very much up in the air and it will be very hard to move on from Mark Sanchez because of his contract.

    If you think a backup quarterback can cause his value to skyrocket in a short period of time, look no further than Kevin Kolb or Matt Flynn, who cashed in during free agency.

    If McElroy does well enough, there are a number of NFL teams in dire need of a quarterback who may be willing to overpay for McElroy during a weak draft and free agent class for quarterbacks.

    The Jets need a quarterback of their own as well, but if a team starts dangling multiple draft picks at the Jets for McElroy, the Jets would have to consider the deal because they have so many holes to fill.

    If he was traded, the Jets would have to either pursue a veteran to come in and seriously challenge Mark Sanchez for his job next year.

    This scenario is less likely to happen than the Jets just bringing him back next year to compete for the starting job though.

    The best-case scenario would be for McElroy to beat out Sanchez and then find someone to take Sanchez off the Jets' hands.

    That would give the Jets a young quarterback to build around and free up a ton of salary cap money.

    McElroy would also be a very cost-efficient starter at quarterback as he is due just $571,288 next year.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Garrett McIntyre

9 of 29

    With Calvin Pace, Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas likely all gone, the Jets are going to need a complete overhaul of the linebacker position.

    McIntyre has shown that he could be very effective as a role player, but shows his warts when he is given extended time.

    Still though, he is a very good option as a key member of the unit, especially at $563,120 in 2013.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Nick Bellore

10 of 29

    Nick Bellore has been the Jets best special teams player and could continue to grow as a linebacker.

    He makes just $557,334 next year and most of it will count against the cap.  His production on special teams and the lack of savings if he would be cut makes this a pretty clear-cut case.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Clyde Gates and Mardy Gilyard

11 of 29

    Wide receivers Clyde Gates and Mardy Gilyard are both in the same situation.

    They are both under contract for $555,000 for next year and none of that money will count against the cap if they are cut. 

    Their future on the team will be determined by who the Jets bring in at wide receiver next year.

    With Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes likely to return, one would hope the Jets would upgrade their depth at receiver beyond what Gates and Gilyard can offer.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Konrad Reuland

12 of 29

    Konrad Reuland has played a nice role this year as a blocker and occasional target in the passing game.

    He has made positive plays at both the tight end and fullback positions, showing the type of versatility that is valuable to an offense.

    At just $480,000 Reuland is under a team-friendly contract for 2013.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Dustin Keller

13 of 29

    Dustin Keller has suffered through a frustrating season as injuries have really held him back.

    He has played in just eight games and has just 28 catches for 317 yards.  All of those numbers were career-lows by far.

    The one positive that comes from all of this is that his injury problems may keep him from getting any lucrative offers in the free agent market.

    Keller's salary in 2012 was $3.98 million, which is a cap-friendly number for someone who was supposed to be such a key member of the offense.

    Keller has done nothing to show that he deserves a big raise or a long-term contract as he approaches 30 years old.

    There will be much debate on whether the Jets should move on from Keller, but there's no denying that when he's on the field, the offense is much better off.

    Keller's lack of production and inability to stay healthy might just keep his contract demands low enough for the Jets to meet without strapping themselves financially.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

Yeremiah Bell

14 of 29

    Yeremiah Bell has been part of the best Jets tandem of safeties in recent memory.  He's a sure tackler, a respected leader and has held his own in pass coverage.

    That's why it would be a shame if he isn't brought back in 2013.

    Bell is a free agent and will be 35 on opening day next year.

    He has 82 tackles through 14 games this year, which puts him on pace to trend slightly downward from his 107 tackles in 2011.

    Bell was brought in on a one-year contract for $1.4 million.  

    His price won't go up in 2014 and because Antonio Allen hasn't been given significant time at safety, he remains an unknown as the heir apparent.

    Bell will be affordable and is well-liked by players, coaches and fans.  It makes all the sense in the world to bring him back.

    The Final Verdict: Stays

LaRon Landry

15 of 29

    Outside of Antonio Cromartie and Muhammad Wilkerson, LaRon Landry was the Jets'  best defensive player in 2012.

    After missing two seasons due to injuries, Landry has already set career highs in total tackles, interceptions and forced fumbles.  If he can rack up seven more solo tackles in the next two games, he will set a career high in that column too.

    Landry was a tremendous value on a one-year deal in 2012 at $2.62 million. 

    Although he stayed healthy this year, his past injuries and style of play will always make him an injury risk, especially as he approaches his late-20s.

    Landry will find a slight raise in 2013, and hopefully it will be with the Jets.

    He's the kind of player who brings an attitude and personality to the defense and backs up his braggadocios style with Pro Bowl level performance.

    You'd have to believe Rex Ryan would go to bat for him when discussing the team's future with the people who make the final decisions on personnel, whoever that may be.

    The Final Verdict: Stays 

Brandon Moore

16 of 29

    Both of the Jets guards will be free agents after the 2012 season and it's unlikely both will be back.

    Moore has been a solid guard and a fine Jet over the past ten seasons.  In 2011 he made his first Pro Bowl, but his play dropped off slightly this year.

    The final decision on which starting guard will be back will be based on which one will come cheaper.

    Moore is a clubhouse leader and at 32 years old, does not have the profile to draw a huge contract from anyone.  

    Moore made $4.6 million in 2012 and the Jets simply can't have him back at that price.  Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse made about $3 million less than that combined.

    Guard isn't the most important position in the NFL, so if the Jets were going to cut corners, this is where it would be.

    Everyone would love to have him back, but ultimately, money will talk.

    The Final Verdict: Gone 

Bryan Thomas

17 of 29

    Bryan Thomas gave the Jets one final injury-plagued year in 2012 and it's time to say good bye.

    He's been on the team for 11 seasons and has been an excellent warrior on some very good defenses.

    However, his body is breaking down and it's time to move forward with a complete overhaul of the Jets linebacking unit.

    Thank you for your service, Mr. Thomas.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Matt Slauson

18 of 29

    Matt Slauson's future is linked to Brandon Moore.

    If Moore makes some concessions and restructures to a team-friendly contract, the free agent Slauson will hit the road.

    However, Slauson will be a more affordable option than Moore and that will come into play for sure.

    Slauson has been losing playing time to Vladimir Ducasse, much to the frustration of some fans.  However, the side-effect to that is that Slauson's price on the free agent market will be hampered because of it.

    Teams really aren't going to go out and pay significant money for a guard who is a part-timer on an average offensive line.

    His 2012 salary was a little over $1 million and that would be a fair price going forward for him.

    The real question is whether or not Slauson wants to come back to a team who cut down his playing time and cost him value in his free agency.

    The Final Verdict: Stays 

Mike DeVito

19 of 29

    If you'd need any reason to wonder why Mike DeVito is a fan favorite in New York, just watch the game film of their game against the Tennessee Titans.

    As times grew even more desperate and it became more and more apparent that the Jets defense had to continue to raise their level of play, DeVito gutted out his best performance of the year.

    He will never make the Pro Bowl and with a lot of youth on the defensive line, will see his playing time decrease.

    But players like DeVito just seem to stick with one team for the duration of their career.

    His $2.5 million salary isn't ideal for a part-time defensive lineman, so he'll have to take a pay cut to stay.

    The Final Verdict: Stays 

Shonn Greene

20 of 29

    Shonn Greene is not a feature running back.

    He needs 49 more yards to top 1,000 yards for the second straight year, but his average yards per carry is down to 3.9.

    Greene does his best work running north-south behind a good offensive line.

    Over 541 touches over the past two years, Greene has fumbled just five times, so he's a reliable ball carrier.  

    Greene is a free agent and his best value will come to a good team, with a good quarterback that uses a backfield by committee.

    A team like the Denver Broncos would be an excellent fit.

    However, it's not a slam-dunk that Greene will be off to another team.

    At $841,250, Greene is very-cost effective as a starting running back.  Couple that with weak free agent and draft classes, and the Jets might not have any better options.

    Also, the Jets running game has actually improved as the season has worn on as Bilal Powell has taken on a bigger load.

    If Greene's price tag remains similar to what it was in 2012, there is a very real possibility that the Jets will feature a backfield of Greene, Powell and McKnight once again.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Chaz Schilens

21 of 29

    Chaz Schilens has trouble getting open, has dropped some big passes and isn't any kind of real threat at the receiver position.

    However, at $605,000 he was an affordable option in 2012.

    It's unfathomable that Schilens' price tag will rise during his free agency in 2013.

    It's likely that Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes will be back in 2013.  

    Braylon Edwards is also a candidate to return.

    If Schilens returns to the Jets, it will be as one of the bottom receivers on the depth chart.  The Jets could also target a wide receiver in free agency, and that would cause everyone to slide down the depth chart even further.

    Still though, the Jets need someone to fill out the roster, and Schilens wasn't totally awful this year.

    The Final Verdict: Stays 

Nick Folk and Robert Malone

22 of 29

    The Jets had a lot of problems in 2012, but their kicking game wasn't one of them.

    Nick Folk has had a nice season for an inept offense and Robert Malone has been an absolute steal at times.

    Both are under one-year contracts and have proven to be reliable, cheap options.

    Combined, they made just over $1 million in 2012.

    The Final Verdict: They both stay

Lex Hilliard

23 of 29

    The Jets are one of a dying number of teams that still employs a true fullback.

    They acquired Lex Hilliard early in 2012, and he has done an average job at fullback.

    He came at a good price at $412,941 and will grow when he has the chance to go through the team's mini-camps and full preseason.

    Hilliard is also a special teams contributor.

    The Final Verdict: Stays  

Braylon Edwards

24 of 29

    For some reason, there just seems to be something about Braylon Edwards wearing the Green and White.

    He revived a wavering career when he came to the Jets in 2010, but was allowed to walk after the 2011 season.

    Edwards was practically non-existent while playing for the 49ers and Seahawks, and looked like his career could be winding down.

    However, the Jets brought him back and was their best receiver in his first game after just three days back with the team.

    Edwards has a ton of respect from Rex Ryan and won't demand big money in the free agent market.

    The Final Verdict: Stays 

Tim Tebow

25 of 29

    New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta reported on Tuesday that Tim Tebow would request a trade if Greg McElroy starts the remaining two games of the 2012 season.

     

    Next domino in Jets QB situation: Tim Tebow will request to be traded/released after season assuming McElroy starts last 2 games, per source

    — Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 19, 2012

     

    Unless Woody Johnson steps in and demands that Tebow start, McElroy will indeed start the final two games and the Jets owe it to Tebow to meet his demands.

    The Tebow experiment was doomed from the start and all it did was cause a season-long distraction.

    There may be some kind of world where Tebow can come into a game every so often as a backup and provide a sluggish offense a boost, but that takes a creative offensive coordinator and Tony Sparano is far from that.

    For Tebow to succeed, he needs to have an entire offense designed around his strengths.  With the Jets, Tebow had a small package of plays to use and when they didn't work, there was nothing he could do.

    There will be some team with some kind of coordinator who thinks he can get Tebow to succeed in the NFL and the Jets will find a taker for him.  If they do find a trade partner for him, the most Jets fans can hope for is a sixth-round pick or a conditional draft pick down the road.

    He's an affordable option as a starter or backup and even if the Jets can't trade him, he will only cost the Jets $1 million to release him.

    The Final Verdict: Gone

Mark Sanchez

26 of 29

    The era of Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets' starting quarterback could very well be over.

    That doesn't necessarily mean he will be gone though.

    Sanchez has given this team some of the great moments in it's history, and that's an undeniable fact.  What's also undeniable is that he has regressed so bad, that one would have to wonder what would happen if he ever took the field at MetLife Stadium again.

    The key sticking point here is Sanchez's contract.

    Sanchez's cap number in 2013 is $12.85 million.  It would actually cost the Jets an addition $4.3 million against the cap to cut him, so that's not happening.

    That leaves the team with two options.

    First, they could trade Sanchez to a team that thinks he can turn things around with a change of scenery.  

    If Sanchez could go to a place like Arizona or Jacksonville, where his every single move on and off the field won't be dissected, he might actually have the opportunity to grow.

    Even if the Jets did find a trade partner though, they would still have to eat a lot of money on his contract and get little back in return. 

    The second option is that he stays on the team as their backup in 2013.

    Whether he is in a competition with Greg McElroy next season or someone else, Sanchez will likely have to spend one final season as the most expensive backup quarterback in the league.

    There is a chance the Jets could cut Sanchez by June 1 if they don't find any takers and divide his cap hit between 2013 and 2014, but that would require Woody Johnson throwing away even more money.  

    Sanchez won't bother anyone standing on the sidelines and holding a clipboard, so that's his likely fate if they don't find a trade partner.

    The Final Verdict: Stays 

Mike Tannenbaum

27 of 29

    The main flaw with the 2012 New York Jets is in the way it was constructed, and the man responsible for that is Mike Tannenbaum.

    Tannenbaum is responsible for looking at the Jets wide receiver and running back corps in August and deciding that they were good enough to compete in the NFL.

    He is also responsible for six contracts that carry a 2013 salary cap value of over $10 million each.

    Tannenbaum has done some very good things during his time as the team's general manager.

    He has drafted cornerstone pieces like D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples.

    However, he also has Vernon Gholston, Kyle Wilson and Mark Sanchez on his resume.

    If you want to rip him apart for leaving the Jets short of talent the past two seasons, you have to give him credit for building the teams that went to back-to-back AFC Championship Games as well.

    All that being said, Tannenbaum is a numbers man. 

    He was very good at his job negotiating contracts and managing the salary cap, that he was able to work his way up the ladder to become the team's general manger in 2006.

    When all is said and done, his resume as the Jets general manager should be looked upon favorably.

    At the time of this article, he has had just one losing season during the past six seasons.  Respected franchises like the 49ers, Broncos and Falcons can't say the same for themselves.

    However, Tannenbaum's strength is in finance.  He is under contract through 2014 and Woody Johnson isn't one to throw away money.

    The Final Verdict: Stays, but gets reassigned within the front office. 

Tony Sparano

28 of 29

    Offensive coordinator is a thankless position, especially when your unit isn't built to be successful in the NFL.

    Sparano had some great games as a coordinator this year.  He came out gunning on opening day against the Bills, was ultra-creative in a near-win against the Texans and stayed disciplined with the running game in wins against the Colts, Cardinals and Jaguars.

    However, some of his decisions this year were inexcusable.

    The complete mismanagement of Tim Tebow falls directly on Tony Sparano's shoulders.  Rex Ryan might be doing the right thing as the head coach and taking the blame for it, but you have to be nuts to think Ryan was sitting in some room drawing up ways to use Tebow.

    It was Sparano.

    Ryan is also not standing on the sideline saying "Hey Tony, let's put Tebow in next play!"

    That's Sparano too.

    Aside from that, Sparano frequently struggled to get the play in on time and at times showed a complete lack of understanding of his team's personnel.

    The most recent flaw was calling for Mark Sanchez to throw the deep and intermediate pass consistently into the wind against the Titans on a day when the running game was working and Sanchez and the offensive line were at their worst.

    Things like that happened too frequently this year.

    The only thing that might save him is Ryan's staunch loyalty as a human being. 

    The Final Verdict: Gone, and take Matt Cavanuagh with you.

Rex Ryan

29 of 29

    Rex Ryan isn't going anywhere, even if the team collapses the next two games.

    Ryan did his best with the hand he was dealt this year and the fact that this putrid offensive team was playing meaningful games into Week 15 is a testament to his coaching ability.

    Teams like the Chargers, Lions, Eagles and Saints have considerably more talent than the Jets and their seasons were done long ago.

    Players love to play for Ryan and his game management is fine.

    People are always going to gripe about the decisions of any coach, but if you think Ryan mismanages games, break out a tape of the Jets from anywhere between 2001-2005 and watch Herman Edwards coach.

    On top of all of that, the Jets are one of the most disciplined teams in the NFL this year.  Only two teams have less penalties than the Jets' total of 73.

    The Jets have had just three offsides penalties, six offensive holding calls and haven't committed a non-facemask or late-hit personal foul.  That's the mark of a well-drilled team.

    Ryan has caught grief for his handling of the depth chart in recent weeks when it comes to the quarterback position.

    But that's the way Ryan is.  He stuck with his veteran starter, didn't allow Tim Tebow to lose his job due to injury and turned to the young Greg McElroy only when the Jets were eliminated.

    Whether you agree with these moves or not, these are all fundamentals of coaching that are followed by any disciplined head coach.

    Sticking with Sanchez wasn't popular with fans, but the fact that he follows these fundamentals and shows loyalty and trust to a fault in his players are what makes him beloved by his players.

    Ryan has made some mistakes this year and even though he doesn't have final say, he does have some input on the roster.

    His biggest mistake was probably not stepping in and telling Sparano to cut it out with the Tebow-Sanchez shuffle.

    But again, that's Ryan.  He delegated the offensive duties to Sparano and didn't meddle in his area of "expertise."

    Ryan is an unquestioned defensive genius, and teams just don't let them walk away.  He sticks up for his players, and takes every arrow from the media whether he deserves it or not.

    The Jets' have had too many no-show efforts this year though, and that is unacceptable.  Going forward, Ryan has to cut down those performances and not be afraid to step on people's toes, whether they are players or coaches.

    He's a very good NFL coach and is part of the solution, not the problem.

    The Final Verdict: Stays