By Anthony Tripicchio
For more than three decades, the Jets were synonymous with incompetence and disappointment. Something is finally different in East Rutherford, NJ.
With one improbable playoff appearance already under their belts in their first year at the helm, Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum should have the full confidence of Jets fans everywhere. The duo plans on being here for a long time and the 2007 NFL Draft serves as further evidence.
Though they were overshadowed by the Patriots and Browns on Draft Day, the Jets solidified two positions of need with the selections of Darrelle Revis and David Harris. Revis is regarded by most as the best corner in the draft. Rather than sit back at pick 25 overall, the Jets were proactive and pounced on Revis with a trade to move up to 14. Harris, a linebacker picked in the second round after another trade to move up, was rated as a first round talent on many draft boards. Throw Thomas Jones into the mix and you’ve had yourself an excellent first day at the draft.
They did sacrifice their middle round picks in order to make waves in the first two rounds, but if both Revis and Harris add to the Jets corps, they’re well worth the price. The key to building a winning program is to continue to add young players to the corps, while sprinkling in veterans to show youngsters the way. Mangini and Tannenbaum, more so than any Jets’ brain trust in the last decade, get it.
Lets take a closer look at the recent leaders of this team. Bill Parcells’ three-year tenure with the team was a disappointment. He was 29-19, but you always wondered when he was going to leave town. Parcells’ groceries, with the exception of Curtis Martin, were mostly TV dinners. They looked good and got you through a few meals, but they were quick fixes.
Parcells cleaned up Rich Kotite’s 1-15 mess, but left one of his own. His handpicked successor, Bill Belichick, stayed on as HC of the NYJ for a fraction of Paris Hilton’s jail sentence. Al Groh, another Parcells’ disciple, ran away to Virginia after a late season collapse in 2000, his only year as head coach.
Before Herm Edwards’ five year run as head coach provided the franchise stability, something it desperately needed, the Jets were in disarray. Parcells, although a Hall of Fame coach, always seems to leave teams that way. Bet the farm that Mangini and Tannenbaum’s reign ends dramatically different.
Look at this team. The two anchors of the offensive line, Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, are ready to start their second years. Injury plagued QB Chad Pennington has Kellen Clemens as competition for the starting job. Laveranaues Coles is showing Jerricho Cotchery the way at WR. Veteran RB Thomas Jones is complemented by a neophyte speed back Leon Washington.
The defensive side of the ball, with its revamped line and tweaked linebackers and secondary, looks ready to rumble. Kenyon Coleman, Andre Wadsworth, and David Bowens were all signed to the line in the offseason. The linebackers and secondary should both see marked improvement with the additions of Harris and Revis.
Mangini and Tannenbaum have their fingerprints all over this team already. Parcells was operating with a corps of players that were here long before he ever took the job. The Jets are nowhere close to the Patriots yet, but Mangini and Tannebuam just turned on the stove. I know I want to stick around for this meal.