I realize that because of the blasphemy I’m about to commit, I have left myself vulnerable to the wrath of the New York Sports Media, ESPN, ESPNNewYork, ESPNNYJETS, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Coach Rex Ryan and Antonio Cromartie’s army of children. Nevertheless, I’m here to caution owners on drafting any players from the most overrated team in the NFL, the New York Jets.
After much time has passed, many people have forgotten the Jets’ regular season and instead have focused on the fact that they made it to the AFC Championship game. Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane and remember exactly how the Jets “earned” a spot in the playoffs.
Started Off Strong and then Things got Bad … Real Bad
The Jets started off 3-0 and were one of the hottest teams in the league. The Jets hype reached its crescendo when they unexpectedly defeated the Patriots, playing without points per reception legend Wes Welker. The Jets finally were able to get the attention they’d been desperate for after years of standing in the Giants’ shadow, forced to play in Giants Stadium.
And, then suddenly, the Jets somehow became one of the worst teams in the league with an incredibly putrid nine-game stretch of uproariously awful football. The Jets were an absolutely terrible 2-7 in those nine games, losing to the likes of the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars, among others. They also got swept by the Miami Dolphins, highlighting their poor division record, which was 2-4 for those scoring at home.
After losing to an Atlanta Falcons squad, led by an injured Matt Ryan, Rex Ryan declared the Jets’ playoff chances over. I was actually at that game and trust me, there wasn’t a fan in that dejected group of degenerate Jets’ fans that thought their team had a chance to make the playoffs. And, I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge Falcons fan. Okay, maybe I kind of brought that up for that reason. It was a great moment. We’ll leave it at that.
The Jets Make it to the Playoffs Because Curtis Painter is the Worst Backup Ever
Midway through a critical matchup with the Indianapolis Colts, coach Jim Caldwell decided to pull Peyton Manning and replace him with the most inept, ineffective, inexplicably awful backup QB in the history of the game. The Jets were losing while Manning was in the game, but then their defense, which we’ll talk about later, started to feast on poor Painter and the game was over.
Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis soon followed Caldwell’s lead and rested key starters against the Jets, ending up with the Bengals losing, the Steelers being eliminated and the Jets somehow “earning” a playoff spot.
Jets’ Playoff Run
Let me briefly put down my large cooler of Haterade and give credit where credit is due. The Jets did play excellent in the playoffs. Mark Sanchez finally improved and actually helped the Jets win games, instead of just handing off the ball. Shonn Greene played lights out for a couple games and the defense completely shut down both the Bengals and the high-scoring offense of the San Diego Chargers.
The foundation for the hype machine on the Jets lies in their unexpected playoff run. It was one of the few surprises in a season that had many blowouts and had seen the chasm between the haves and the have-nots of the NFL grow wider.
Experts point to how much the Jets improved during the offseason, but I strongly disagree. Getting rid of Thomas Jones for Ladainian Tomlinson is questionable, at best. We’re talking about the difference between a player who rushed for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns (Jones) versus a past-his-prime legend, who rushed for 750 yards and nine touchdowns. All cards on the table, Tomlinson also had 20 receptions for 155 yards, but he’s still at least 500 yards away from Jones in overall production and the touchdowns aren’t even close.
Besides adding Tomlinson, they also bolstered their defense by adding Antonio Cromartie, who didn’t exactly play that impressively the last time the Jets saw him. Finally, they added Santonio Holmes to their suspect receiving corps. Holmes is a Super Bowl MVP and is a huge talent for the Jets to have acquired. He is the best move they made all offseason and will pay dividends for them in the future. After Week 4, of course, because he’s suspended to start the season.
Fantasy Football Blasphemy: Avoid All Jets
I’m going to list all the relevant Jets and explain why none of them are worth drafting, including the defense. Now that I think about it, especially the defense. We’ll save our trip to Revis Island for last though. Let’s start with the highest drafted Jet of them all, Shonn Greene.
Greene’s currently being drafted in the middle of the second round. In some drafts he’s even going in the latter half of the first round. Quite an impressive average draft position! He must’ve had a hell of a season last year to merit that, right?
Looking at Greene’s entire regular season, he only rushed for more than 100 yards once. And it was against the Oakland Raiders. He rushed for 144 yards against the Raiders and added two touchdowns for good measure. Besides that, the closest he came to giving fantasy owners the crucial 100-yard bonus was when he ran for 95 yards against a Colts squad who didn’t play with their starters for most of the second half.
We’re talking about the leading rushing team in the NFL, and Greene only managed just over 500 yards and two touchdowns. This was like the opposite of the runningback by committee in Carolina, were both backs rushed for tons of yards. The Jets didn’t get rid of Jones because Greene outplayed him. They got rid of Jones because they made a stupid decision.
The real reason Greene’s ADP is so high is because of his stellar performance in the playoffs. In two games he rushed for more than 250 yards and two touchdowns. He was especially spectacular in the divisional round against the favored Chargers, running for 128 yards and a touchdown. What did he do for an encore? Not much, he soon got injured and was largely unavailable for the AFC Championship Game in Indianapolis. Just when it seemed like Greene had finally made it, he was injured, just like he was earlier in the season.
This is who owners are drafting in the second round? Really? Before DeAngelo Williams, Ryan Grant and Pierre Thomas? I’m talking about runningbacks that have actually proven more than just being an occasional flash in the pan like Greene was last year.
When you’re talking about drafting a runningback in the second round, you better be sure, super sure, that you’ve got the right guy. A second-round draft pick needs to be someone you can count on for an exceptional amount of points, week after week. The kind of player where when he unexpectedly has a bad game, your team’s chances of winning are severely diminished. That’s how important a second-round pick is to your team.
What exactly has Greene done to merit this trust in owners? And when you add Tomlinson to the mix, who’s sure to steal some goal line touches and receptions, Greene looks even less like a sure thing second rounder. Throw in his injury history, which is a factor since he couldn’t stay healthy last year and his workload is about to increase a zillionfold, and this seems like a bust waiting to happen.
Let some other owner waste a critical second-round pick on Greene. There are other, far safer options that owners can go to. Greene may have a good year, but the chances of his production equaling his vaulted draft position are slim.