Passing Judgment: Gang Green Sings the Blues

It is well documented how dysfunctional the New York Jets are as a NFL franchise.  It starts from the top with owner Woody Johnson who would rather garner negative attention on the back page of the newspaper than put together a viable roster.  The latest chapter in the Jets’ ongoing soap opera is the recent trade of future Hall of Fame cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft along with a conditional pick in 2014.  There are several arguments both for and against making the trade.  But that is not the point right now.

Mark SanchezThe Jets are clearly in a rebuilding mode, whether they want to admit it or not.  Woody Johnson and Rex Ryan claim they are more excited about this roster than any other they have assembled.  I realize they have to say that to save face and sell PSL’s, but that is completely and utterly ridiculous.  Their quarterback situation is a disaster with incumbent Mark Sanchez constantly looking over his shoulder – and with good reason.  Sanchez was a trainwreck in 2012 as he continued to regress.  The fact he won four road playoff games during his first two seasons has been all but forgotten given how awful he has played.  David Garrard was signed during the offseason to either be the backup quarterback or supplant Sanchez.  Oh, and the lightning rod Tim Tebow is inexplicably still on the roster. 

I have admittedly been one of the biggest critics of Tebow because I don’t think he is qualified to be a professional quarterback.  But there is no denying his work ethic or the fact he has been able to win football games at all levels he has played (including an NFL playoff game).  Tebow wasn’t given a chance to do anything in 2012.  It is unlikely he will be given a chance to do anything in 2013 either.  So then why have him on the roster?  I don’t think anyone in the Jets’ organization or fan base has a believabe answer to that question.

Regardless of who plays quarterback, there are no weapons on offense to rely upon.  Shonn Green departed for Tennessee via free agency leaving Bilal Powell as the Jets primary backfield option.  Dustin Keller is gone as well.  While Santonio Holmes will be back from injury, he is certainly not someone who can be relied upon as the team’s primary wide receiver. 

Say what you will about Rex Ryan and all of his antics, the man does know how to coach defense.  While the Jets haven’t been the dominant defense that Ryan was accustomed to in Baltimore, they have been solid over the past several years.  But that was with arguably one of the greatest cornerbacks of all-time shutting down opposing teams’ best receivers.  Darrelle Revis was a game-changer.  Offensive coordinators based their game plans around Revis.  Quarterbacks refused to throw passes in his direction.  It was called “Revis Island” for a reason because he was essentially all by himself out there as the ball seldomly made its way in his direction.

After Revis got injured in 2012, the Jets, to their credit, still generally played solid defense.  Rex Ryan has reiterated that after the trade because he had to.  It is possible that the Jets will still be a respectable defensive team because they do have Antonio Cromartie as a capable replacement.  But under no circumstances will the Jets be better off without Revis.  Of course it is unknown at this time whether Revis can still play at an elite level coming back from knee surgery.  That was a gamble that both Tampa Bay and the Jets have taken for different reasons.  But once the Jets committed to trading Revis, they needed to make sure they got back sufficient value.

Of course it was possible that the Jets kept Revis and then he walked away via free agency leaving them with nothing.  But that was their own fault given the position they put themselves in with Revis and the concessions they made during all of his contractual drama over the years.  So is the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft and a conditional 2014 pick enough?  Absolutely not.  This year’s draft class doesn’t contain the next Darrelle Revis, and even if it did, that player would not be around by the 13th pick. 

Unfortunately for the Jets, there weren’t many other options in the trade market.  Teams were hesitant to commit to Revis not knowing how his knee would hold up.  Not even the Jets knew what to expect from him, which is why they felt they had no other choice but to get what they could for him.  That put the Jets in an unenviable position without much leverage.  But still, they fell completely short in getting sufficient value for a Hall of Fame cornerback who is still young enough to be able to dominate the sport for several years to come.

The trade has already impacted the lines for the “coincidental” Week 1 matchup featuring Revis’s return to Met Life Stadium as a member of the Buccaneers.  Tampa Bay is currently favored by 2.5 points (visit for sports betting).  I don’t think there is much doubt that this matchup was preconceived by the NFL schedule-makers to be a Week 1 showdown once the trade rumors started circulating awhile back.  If you don’t believe that, then I have a bridge to sell you.  The fact that Darrelle Revis can influence the NFL schedule should tell you all you need to know about how important a player he is.  Only this time, he could easily be responsible for Mark Sanchez’s first TD pass of the year when he intercepts him and runs it back for a pick-6.

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