Mike Tannenbaum, Eric Mangini, John Idzik, Rex Ryan, Mike Maccagnan, Todd Bowles, Joe Douglas, Adam Gase
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Terrible head coaching hurts but poor drafting cripples, and the New York Jets terrible drafting over a decade has put them in a hole.

Robby Sabo

Adam Gase as Rich Kotite? Nah, not quite. Sam Darnold as Browning Nagle? Again, no. Joe Douglas as John Idzik? No chance in hell.

While all three comparisons fall short of reality, only one of the three doesn’t belong as a possibility. Douglas’s status as a personnel-decision maker remains firmly intact no matter what you think of the New York Jets’ current situation.

At 0-4, the Jets might just be the worst team in the NFL. With an offense tied for dead last with the big brother New York Giants (278 yards per game), and a defense that flat-out stinks (ranking 18th with 368.8 yards per game), the sheer fashion in which the team has played this season comfortably puts them in the bottom three NFL teams.

Who’s to blame? Gase surely shoulders much of the fair criticism. The head coach of a team in a sport that features drastic coaching influence will always receive the brunt of the blame or success.

Darnold is another who needs to take much of the blame. Again, much like the head coach, the position is critical to a team’s success. The quarterback is arguably the most important position in all of sports.

Don’t stop there. On top of poor coaching and bad quarterbacking, what really has the Jets up against a wall with no escape is what’s transpired over the last 10 years. A decade of poor drafting is the organization’s greatest culprit at this very moment.

Joe Douglas is no dummy. Ensuring that he was offered a six-year deal, this man undoubtedly has a long-term plan in his arsenal. Anybody who followed this past offseason closely should easily come to that conclusion.

With flexible, cheap, short-term signings, Douglas wasn’t necessarily punting on the 2020 season, but he also wasn’t looking to add a couple more wins into the equation. He feels the franchise’s long-term health is much more important. Wouldn’t you punt on two extra wins in 2020 if it meant 20-30 extra wins over the next half-decade?

He took the job fully realizing how depleted the depth chart was thanks to a decade of ineptitude. (That’s right, a full decade: much further than you may have thought.)

The “full of it” years

The 2009 draft featured just three players in the entire Jets class.

Mark Sanchez, of course, helped engineer four road playoff victories to two losses over the next two seasons, while Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson also contributed greatly. (Slauson became a starter when Alan Faneca left following the 2009 season.)

From this point forward, and despite the team’s 2010 run, the drafting took a turn for the worse. Just one glance at HBO’s Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets explains it all.

From Rex Ryan to a newly-confident Mike Tannenbaum, even all the way to the top with Woody Johnson, the Jets’ attitude turned arrogant when it should have remained workmanlike. It cost the team its personnel advantage.


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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com
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