So You’re a Jets Fan: A Practical Guide to Quarterback Problems

Football season hasn’t started yet, and already Jets fans are feeling the effects.  I won’t restate the obvious here because you’ve probably already read the obvious on other, heavier trafficked websites.  Plus, I don’t like to get bogged down in the raw emotions of the situation.  And the Jets are in a terrible situation.

The question is, what do they do about it?  Can there possibly be a solution to the horrible situation the Jets have placed themselves in?  Because this is a terrible situation they are in.

Let’s talk gruesome, difficult facts.

Problem #1:  The de facto starting quarterback isn’t very good

Mark Sanchez has not been an effective starting quarterback.  In four seasons he has posted the following CAA numbers.

  • 2009: -29.403
  • 2010: -31.159
  • 2011: -20.908
  • 2012: -27.241

Needless to say, these are not the kind of numbers you want to see out of your starting quarterback.

Problem #2:  The Jets have difficult evaluating and developing quarterback talent.

In a previous post, I noted that the Jets are the 5th worst team in the league in developing quarterback accuracy.  Any quarterback that plays for the Jets can expect to have his completion percentage reduced by 3.29% compared to if he went to a team that is average in developing quarterback talent.  I fully expect Geno Smith to be another victim here, though to be fair, I’m not high on Geno Smith as a prospect as it is.  Once his rookie contract is up, I am predicting Geno Smith will have a quarterback rating somewhere around 71.09, assuming he gets a reasonable number of attempts in his career.

So the Jets have a bad starting quarterback and are not particularly good at figuring out who the good quarterbacks are.  So what do you do?  You let other people who have shown they can effectively evaluate and develop a quarterback do it for you.  If I’m John Idzik, my first calls are to Atlanta, Denver, and New Orleans in that order.

Atlanta

I see Atlanta as the best bet to pull in a good starting quarterback.  There is risk here because, except for the franchise guy, Atlanta’s quarterbacks all very young and inexperienced.  But the risk is calculated.  Dominique Davis is my target from Atlanta.  He’s neatly wrapped up the backup job for the Falcons with a good camp in his sophomore season.  Since he was drafted in 2012, there are fewer political problems by trying to start a rookie over Geno Smith.  You can say that he at least has a year of sitting on a professional bench under his belt.  Dealing Davis also solves a problem for the Falcons who currently have four quarterbacks on the roster.  If they were to deal away Davis, the Falcons would be left with two rookies as backups, but one of those rookies is Sean Renfree, my #3 QB from the 2013 draft class.  Finally, we can expect that Davis has some talent going for him.  I had him as the #6 quarterback in a ridiculously talented 2012 draft class.  He would get a trial by fire, but he does have some talent to make that work.

Denver

If Atlanta doesn’t want to play, the next call is to Denver.  Once again we’re targeting a backup quarterback in his sophomore season, Brock Osweiler.  The football blogs I read blew up during training camp talking about how well Osweiler was throwing the football.  Denver doesn’t have an extra quarterback to work with and Peyton Manning is getting a bit long in the tooth, but you never know.  Especially when Denver has Zac Dysert to develop behind Peyton Manning.

New Orleans

If Atlanta and Denver won’t play ball, I’m calling New Orleans.  New Orleans offers two potential targets at quarterback, a safe option and a “holy-hell-did-he-just-do-that” option.  The safe option is to target the Saint’s backup, Luke McCown and develop Geno Smith behind him.  You know what you’re going to get from Luke McCown.  He’ll run the offense and might put you into position to win a game or two.  At the end of the day, though, he’s not an everyday NFL starter.  He gives you the chance to ride out a mediocre season and keep the fans attitude at a level of moderate annoyance.

But that’s not what I would do if I was in John Idzik’s shoes.  With the latest Jets debacle and the whole country talking about what a horribly run team the Jets are, I’m going to go big or go home.  I’m going to accept that history has proven me inept at evaluating quarterbacks.  I’m going to let Sean Payton do the evaluating for me.  I want to make some noise. I want to get people into even more of a love-hate relationship with the New York Jets than they already are.  I want to make a move that will keep the Jets in the papers and keep everyone talking about them.  I want Ryan Griffin, the rookie quarterback out of Tulane and I’m going to start him over Geno Smith.  I think Ryan Griffin has a very bright future in this league.  He was on an absolutely terrible team at Tulane, but on his own was one of the bright spots.

So there’s where I would go if I were in the terrible shoes of the New York Jets general manager.  Good luck Jets fans.

Fargo, Roger Maris, and PEDs

Categories: General Info
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Published on: August 7, 2013
Photo Credit: Newman Outdoor Advertising

I make my home on the winding banks of the Red River of the North in Fargo, North Dakota. Yes, really, and yes we sometimes do talk like that but please don’t try to imitate the accent.  You won’t get the rhythm right.  Trust me on that.

Fargo is largely defined by its location in the natural world.  Every now and again, I travel outside the state.  When I tell people I meet I’m from Fargo, their first question has never not been about the weather.  The extremes of weather around here seem to be what everyone fixates on, both outsiders and residents.  Every year, the hottest day of the summer will have a high close to 100°F and the coldest day of the winter will have a low of -30°F.  Fargo, N.D. has been voted “America’s Toughest Weather City,” largely because residents of Fargo go to the voting websites and pump up the numbers as a source of civic pride.  But while the weather around here is outwardly treated lightly, it is always on people’s minds.  In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert says that every city has a word that every resident carries with them.  The word defines the background mindset of everyone you meet there.  In the book, Rome’s word is “sex.” I would argue that Fargo’s word is “winter.” Winter is very serious business around here.  I’m not even going to spell “serious business” in that weird, internety way because that would detract from the seriousness.  If you’re not paying attention to the weather on a daily basis, you could die.  Every year people lose fingers and toes to frostbite, homeless people unlucky enough to not make it into shelters freeze to death, and homes, photographs, memories, and people are lost to spring floods.

Now, if this description has made you want to move to Fargo and embrace this wintery existence, let me tell you one more thing about the people we respect and admire.  Fargo is the hometown of Roger Maris and embraces Roger Maris like no other hometown celebrity.  A wing of the local hospital is named after Roger Maris, and a yearly celebrity golf tournament which funds the hospital wing is held in his name.  When we moved into our house, the neighborhood welcoming committee introduced my north side neighbor as “Don, who played city-league baseball with Roger Maris,” a description that had some serious cache behind it.  The local mall has a museum dedicated to Roger Maris and the 61 home runs he hit during the 1961 season.  Think about that for a second.  An organization that makes money by renting space to retailers has decided to take some of their space and not let a retailer rent it.  Instead, that space is given to honor Roger Maris.

Around the city, you will get a very clear sense of where Fargoans place of Roger Maris in baseball history.  Many are unwilling to accept that Roger Maris’s single-season home run record has actually fallen.  At the local sporting goods store, you can buy a shirt that reads “The Record is Still 61.”  The local company that supplies billboard space has posted billboards around town with the words “Baseball’s Legitimate Home Run King” and Roger Maris’s picture printed on them (see picture).  The sign company donated these spaces.  Think about that!  An organization that makes money leasing space to advertisers built a sign space and then won’t let advertisers purchase that space.  It is more important to them that everyone within the city limits of Fargo know in no uncertain terms who “legitimately” holds that record.

Which brings us to the current performance enhancing drug scandal currently rippling through Major League Baseball.  Given where I live, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been indoctrinated to hate users of PEDs.  When I hear about superstars being suspended for PED use, I have an immediate, emotional reaction.  I’m ready to put on my “The Record is Still 61” shirt, join the mob, and protest in a vocal but respectful manner (I am from Fargo after all) for the total removal of any record that these individuals ever played the game.  I want their names blasted off the temple walls like some usurped pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.  I refuse to even speak the name of the current 3rd baseman of the New York Yankees and if I ever attend a Twins-Yankees game in which he plays, I promise you that I will turn my back to the field when he bats.

I recognize that this reaction is entirely emotional.  When I stop to examine exactly why I have such a strong and frankly irrational reaction to the situation, I’m at a loss.  What is the difference between what we have classified as a performance enhancing drug and the chemicals we have classified as legal?  Why am I so angry at the ineffable Yankee(s), Giant, and Brewer but would really be okay seeing Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame?  What makes the PED crime greater to me than gambling?  Because let’s be clear about this.  It’s the PED use that triggers the reaction.  I see talking heads say they are outraged about the fact that “…he looked me in the eye and said ‘I’ve never done this’ and then this evidence comes to light.”  Blah blah blah.  I don’t care about the fact that they all lied about it.  Of course they all lied about it.  And excepting the case of denial, stupidity, or delusions we all knew they were lying.  Lying isn’t the outrage to me.  Using the drug is.

When I hear about PEDs being used in sports, it makes me question why we play the game at all.  It seems like a glorification of outcome over process.  I feel as though there is a “right” way to achieve one’s accomplishments and that the use of PEDs falls outside the scope of that right way.  Again, I can’t explain this reaction logically.  I can’t tell you why a shot of cortisone seems okay to me while a shot of testosterone does not.  All I can tell you is that the game of baseball now feels cheaper and more hollow to me.  Roger Maris can’t get a little love, but we all adore that guy?  What’s more, this feeling isn’t going away.

Fargo is a lot like Roger Maris in a lot of ways.  Outwardly seeming cold, aloof, and having a little too much pride in things that some people think one shouldn’t have pride in.  In Fargo’s case, we proudly describe a week of sub-zero highs as “normal January weather.”  In Maris’s case, he broke the single season home run record, but in a longer season.  At the time, people questioned the legitimacy of his record.  But inwardly, we see it a little differently.  I take pride in my state’s weather because it changes my approach to life.  There is no wasting a beautiful summer day around here because you don’t get many of them.  Roger Maris, to me, stands a symbol of what a man from my section of the world can accomplish.  What you can do when you wake up every day and simply go about your business.  And I don’t see using PEDs as “going about your business.”  It may not be logical or reasoned or rational, but to me, the record is still 61.

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