The former New York Jets coach discussed the similarities he sees between his first squad and the 2021 edition.
Should New York Jets fans get ready to party like it’s 2001?
This season marks the 20th anniversary of former Philadelphia Eagles star Herm Edwards’ arrival in a new shade of green, as he took over the team after Al Groh’s single mediocre season at the helm at the turn of the century. Under Edwards’ watch, the Jets won 10 games and visited the AFC playoffs for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
Edwards joined CBS’ All Things Covered show, hosted by pro cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden, to discuss the similarities between his original squad and what another first-year head coach, the current Robert Saleh, will go through in his debut year. The current Arizona State head coach notes that the Jets’ fortunes will hinge on their quarterback spot, where New York is set to debut rookie Zach Wilson, the second overall pick of this spring’s NFL Draft.
“If you got a quarterback you got a chance, no question. You got to have a quarterback,” Edwards says. He notes that his early years were blessed with veteran Vinny Testaverde and fledgling rookie Chad Pennington, each of whom helped guide the Jets to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons. Pennington even helped guide the Jets to a 41-0 victory in the AFC Wild Card round in 2003, New York’s most recent home playoff game to date.
“It all starts with the quarterback, once you get that piece in place, you can build the rest of the team, because if you get the right one, you got a 10-year run,” Edwards said. “If you don’t have a quarterback guys, let me tell you something, that field is 150 yards long.”
“You got to have that guy and, when you get a young one, I don’t care who he is, you got to protect him,” Edwards says. “Football is never going to change. You run to win, you throw to score.”
To Edwards’ point, the Jets have done what they could to make the first seasons of Saleh and Wilson go a bit more smoothly, even if the playoffs remain a somewhat remote possibility with so many established contenders stacked in the AFC. They added USC blocker Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round of draft 12 picks after Wilson and have surrounded him with strong receivers like rookie Elijah Moore and veterans Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, and Denzel Mims.
In addition to the modern Jets’ endeavors, Edwards discussing several other aspects of his NFL career. That includes his role in the original Miracle at the Meadowlands and the trade from the Jets that sent him to the Kansas City Chiefs, a deal that netted New York a pick that would eventually be used to select running back, return specialist, and current Jets assistant Leon Washington in the 2006 proceedings.
Edwards’ Arizona State Sun Devils will open their season on September 2 against Southern Utah.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags