The nickname has been losing its luster since the middle of last season, but Eric Mangini might be going by going by an entirely new title come January should things not turn around for his Jets team: Unemployed.
This is obviously going to come off as somewhat irrational, considering the time of year and the state of the team, but if I were Woody Johnson, I would be preparing the exit papers for most of the current Jets coaching staff, Mangini included.
This is about more than the standard New York mentality which is “what have you done for me lately”, because as far as I’m concerned, short of winning a playoff game, this Jets team needs new leadership, as ownership did its part in putting an upgraded product on the field.
Special teams coach Mike Westhoff aside, Mangini, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and defense coordinator Bob Sutton all need to go at season’s end.
In their embarrassing 16-13 overtime loss out in Oakland to a Raiders team that couldn’t get out of its way, both figuratively and literally based on the absurd number of penalties, the Jets looked about as bad as a team could look, all while wasting a terrific day from Thomas Jones and a clutch kick from Jay Feely to send the game into overtime (despite having a missed kick negated by a timeout).
The defense was good not great, while the offense showed little life. They turned the ball over three times- including a costly muffed punt by special teams extraordinaire Leon Washington. Washington somewhat made up for his gaffe with a fourth quarter touchdown run where he fended off a handful of tackles.
The name you haven’t heard from me to this point of course is Brett Favre, who turned the ball over twice with interceptions, one of which was in the endzone and halted one of the few decent drives the Jets put together all afternoon.
However, while the name on the back of his Jersey read Favre, it might of well have read Farce, as the offense the coaches were having him run was all too similar to the one ran by Chad Pennington.
The big problem with Favre is the coaches rarely seem to give him the freedom to show off his cannon right arm, and when they do and it backfires, they become even more gun-shy with their gun slinging signal-caller.
GM Mike Tannenbaum went out and pulled the trigger on a deal bringing Brett to Broadway; however the play calling this season has prevented the lights from shining as brightly as they could be.
Favre has always had success when given the ability to run quick slants with his receivers, while also improvising and making things happen down the field.
In addition, the Jets right now (if healthy) are equipped with the talent and playmakers who fit perfectly into Brett’s style of play, as Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are wide outs who can stretch the field and also make plays after the catch, qualities that Favre’s old targets in Green Bay specialized in, whether it was Antonio Freeman or Donald Driver.
The coaching staff has to start letting Brett Favre do what Brett Favre does best, which is to just go out and play the game his way. I know Mangini and his coaches have their system in place which they have tried as best they could to have Favre conform with; however through six games, it doesn’t appear to be working.
Outside of the Arizona blowout win, Favre has not shown the comfort nor command of the offense required to get the Jets winning consistently.
What’s worse, is that the play calling may end up costing Favre more than just a few victories, as the first few series’ of Sunday’s game saw him take a number of big hits after being left exposed with repetitive empty-back sets.
Having Favre run a spread offense is fine, but it needs to be worked into the offense as opposed to having the offense run off of it.
The protection is another problem, and the possible loss of Damien Woody from the right side of the o-line won’t help. I would suggest the Jets try and use more two-tight end sets to give Favre some extra time, while giving him the ability to run a more vertical offense.
Fact is, for all of the mistakes Brett Favre is going to make with some of his downfield throws, the guy will do more good than he will bad, especially given the talent assembled around him.
After last season, I still have trouble believing my own words, but Tannenbaum has constructed a very competitive team. However, losing to a Raiders team that ranks among the worst in the league in team defense while scoring a mere 13 points with arguably the best quarterback of all time is inexcusable.
You want to tell me they missed having Cotchery when he was sidelined, I’ll buy that to a degree. But they also have a weapon in Chansi Stuckey they seem reluctant to use despite his speed and reliable hands he has shown when called upon.
At 3-3, the Jets still have ten games to prove that they can be as good on the field as they appear to be on paper, however I worry that the current coaching staff may be out-thinking themselves to the point where those on field results will be harder to obtain than they should be.
For what it’s worth, and I know this will sound crazy to most but maybe you can say you heard it hear first- should the Jets fail to make the playoffs in what has revealed itself to be a very wide open AFC, they should not only rid themselves of their coaching staff (Westhoff excluded), but they should go hard after Bill Cower, who I believe would be more than enough to convince Favre into playing out the final year of his contract, and putting any retirement talk to rest for another year.
Its way down the road, and the Jets are actually tied for the sixth spot in their conference so calling this season a failure is obviously very premature.
However with a hall of fame quarterback and worthy talent surrounding him, their loss in Oakland was a big disappointment, and will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to coach Mangini and his crew.
If not, they may be taking their show off Broadway.