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EA Q&A: Franchise QBs Don't Grow on Trees

Posted Nov 6, 2012

After a storm-interrupted Bye Week, the Jets got back to work Monday at their Atlantic Health Training Center.  They have a huge test on their hands next weekend as the Green & White will travel to face a Seattle Seahawks team that is 4-0 at CenturyLink Field in 2012. 

We should be back to our regular programming schedule here in Week 10, so that means we will run another Q&A on Thursday and a “Fan Friday” to set the stage for the weekend.  Please join us for “Jets Talk LIVE” Thursday at 3:00 PM as I’ll be joined by a couple of Jets in-studio.

(My thoughts and prayers go to so many of you devastated by Sandy.   And after the not so super storm hit our region, this impending nor’easter can go fly a kite.  If you are in position to help those in need, please donate to the Red Cross today.)

Niko
Trumbull, CT

Q: Will the Jets draft a quarterback this year to be the next franchise quarterback?

EA: After half a season of play and with the 3-5 Jets determined to get back in postseason contention, it is extremely unlikely the Jets would draft a “franchise QB” next April.

This is a fair question though as everyone wants to talk quarterbacks at the moment.  There are a number of points I want to consider in my answer.

Bills GM Buddy Nix went on WGR550.com last week in Buffalo and said, “We have said from day one, that we want to draft a good young quarterback.   I don’t want to leave here without a franchise guy for the future in place. I have not said that before but I’m saying it now because its fact.”

Both the Bills and the Jets have identical 3-5 marks, but I’d argue that Jets QB Mark Sanchez is clearly a better signalcaller than Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.  He is younger, has a better arm and has shown the ability to perform well in the postseason.   I brought up the above quote because I think the situations are very different.

But is Sanchez the right guy to take the Jets forward?   The organization has repeatedly stated their belief in him and it’s not like the season is over.  (If the Jets somehow beat the Seahawks out west on SUN, then the hope tank would have some added juice.)

I do think it’s a big second half for Sanchez and it might be the most critical eight-game stretch of his young career.  The National Football League is a winning business and the Jets are going to play to win all the way through.

If they don’t have an improbable turnaround, what would their draft position be next April?  Heading into Week 10, six teams — Jacksonville (1-7), Kansas City (1-7), Cleveland (2-7), Carolina (2-6), Tennessee (3-6) & Washington (3-6) — are in worse shape than the Green & White and seven clubs —  Buffalo (3-5), Cincinnati (3-5), Dallas (3-5), New Orleans (3-5), Oakland (3-5), Philadelphia (3-5) and St. Louis (3-5) own identical records.

Things will change, but it’s safe to say the Jags, the Chiefs and the Bills all need QBs.   There are other teams in that mix who have young QBs and yet probably wouldn’t be afraid to make a play for a difference maker, but who will be available this spring?

There is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the 2013 Draft Class.  At the moment, some of the top QB names include West Virginia’s Geno Smith, USC’s Matt Barkley, Arkansas’s Tyler Wilson, OU’s Landry Jones and NC State’s Mike Glennon.  There is an extensive list of guys if you include underclassmen, but what pops out at you?

Sanchez is only the first QB in the Super Bowl era to win 30 career games in his first three NFL seasons and he does have four playoff wins on his resume.  You don't change just to change.  You change to get better. 

Ed S.
Halifax, PA

Q: I have been a Jets fan since the Namath days. Over the years I cannot understand why my Jets cannot be a consistent winner like the Patriots or Steelers? I don't mean this year, but over their history.

EA: Since you have been a fan since the Namath days, you know the Patriots had some very weak teams in the late 60s until the mid-70s.  The Pats have some more lean times in their history too, but they’ve had a ridiculous run with Tom Brady at the controls.  They hit on a skinny sixth-round pick from Michigan, who has become one of the greatest players in NFL History.

Crazy as it seems, but things weren’t always rosy in the Steel City.  Take a look at the records of the Pirates (1933-’39) and then the Steelers from 1940 through 1971.  But yes the Steelers have been a model of consistency since, capturing six Super Bowl Championships and the present day Men of Steel always seem to be in the hunt.

The QB position is the most important in football and not too many do it better currently than Brady and Big Ben Roethlisberger. 

This current era of Jets football has been marked by a lot of success on the field. Under Woody Johnson, the facts are the Jets have posted eight winning seasons, appeared in 12 postseason games, played in two AFC championship games and captured an AFC East Title.  Now being in the hunt is the not the goal here and we all know that, but the Jets have been in the mix since Mr. J. came on board.

Bob
North Attleboro, MA


Q: EA although the Jets season is about the QB play, I would like to talk about LB play. It seems David Harris is not playing at his typical level.  Bart (Scott) Calvin (Pace) & BT are basically done — old & slow and (Aaron) Maybin hasn't contributed. So where do we go? Wait till next year? I don't think D is top 5 per Rex.

EA: The stats indicate the Jets are a middle of the pack defense as they are 27th against the run (141.4 yards per game) and No. 5 against the pass (205.6 ypg).  It would be awfully difficult to finish in the Top 5 of many of the defensive rankings at this point.  Scoring to me is the most important category and the Jets are just 23rd in the NFL, yielding 25 points a contest.  That scoring number includes four non-defensive plays:  SF DB Carlos Rogers' 51-yard FR in Week 4, NE KR Devin McCourty 104-yard TD & Jets Safety in Week 7 and MIA blocked punt for a TD in Week 8.

Defensively there have been too many yards after contact and the Jets have to tackle better in the season’s second half.  Marshawn Lynch can make teams look bad because he is a truck and that dude never gives up on the play.  Yeremiah Bell told me the D must swarm to the ball and do a better job of gang tackling.

The Jets do have age at linebacker as Calvin Pace & Bart Scott are 32 and Bryan Thomas is 33.  Scott, who is a leader and a fierce competitor, has been hampered by a debilitating toe injury and just had a consecutive game streak snap at 119.  Demario Davis, a rookie who possesses good speed, got his first pro start against the ‘Fins after playing the majority of the game against the Patriots.  He should benefit from the play time.

Doug C.
Palm City, FL

Q:
The Jets are a train wreck right now. If Rex hasn't figured it out by now — it’s too late.   1.) Draft a quality QB, 2.) Trade Tebow, 3.) Find a quality RT & No. 4) Find a quality OC.

My prediction for this year was 2-14. (I’m) surprised they won 3 games so far. Our current 3rd-string QB would probably be a better No. 1 QB next year. EA what are your thoughts on these topics?

EA: That was the record you came up with before the season started?  Then that means this team — minus CB Darrelle Revis & WR Santonio Holmes — will far exceed your expectations.  You can’t have it both ways.

I thought a healthy Jets team would contend for a playoff spot.  They have had some devastating injuries, but I’m not counting them out just yet (although the Dolphins loss before the bye was most painful).  I have been around here way too long to do that.   Ten years ago, then Jets head coach Herman Edwards uttered the phrase, “You Play to Win the Game” after that Green & White club was 2-5 and had just lost to Cleveland.  Just guessing here, but I don’t think there were many believers back then.

Jorge
Hicksville, NY

Q: Mr. T. is a number guy and not great at what we need — a GM that knows football players and bring guys here that can play.   Not one-year wonders.

EA: Since being named GM of the Jets in Feb. of 2006, Tannenbaum has led the Green & White to four winning seasons, three playoff entries, four postseason wins and two AFC Championship appearances.

Be careful what you wish for.  Nobody is going to hit on every personnel move, but he has been successful more than not.  Think Brick, Nick, Darrelle, Cro, Hitman, TJ, LT, Brett Favre (I still like that acquisition and wonder what would have happened if No. 4 didn’t injure the shoulder), Faneca, Leon, Big Mo, Tone, even Jeremy Kerley was a fifth-round pick. 

 

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