The word “rebuilding” is generally the last thing most fan-bases want to hear associated with their team in the off-season. Yet, the reality of a New York Jets rebuild is already upon us. Joe Caporoso and TJ Rosenthal had a brief discussion on this topic related to the 2013 Jets, here is what they had to say
Does a Rebuilding year have to mean a 4 win season?
TJ Rosenthal - It used to years ago but not anymore. The key to a smooth transition though is the head coach and play of the QB. Can Rex sell this year to his locker room? We believe that he can. The play from behind center won’t lie though. Someone has to give the team a chance to win each week. One game changer on defense will help big time too. Wilkerson? Coples? The potential is there. They just need a little support off the edge.
Joe Caporoso - I have a tough time seeing a Rex Ryan coached team winning only 4 games in a mediocre AFC and a mediocre (outside of New England) AFC East. The Jets managed 6 wins last year despite an abysmal roster that was ravaged by injuries and had arguably the worst quarterback play in the NFL. From a quarterback and overall talent perspective, how much worse can they really be this year? Ryan is a good enough coach to field a good defense with whoever his personnel is and that will allow the Jets to be competitive and likely play somewhat relevant games into December. 6-7 wins seems more likely than 3-4.
Can a team rebuild yet also work to be competitive and even playoff bound?
TJ Rosenthal - The answer to that question, or the model for how to accomplish both are the 2012 Colts. Again, Andrew Luck superseded rookie expectations but the team fed off of his ability to make plays and responded by growing their own confidence in return.
Joe Caporoso - Yes and to use a different example from TJ, remember the 2006 Jets? It was a very similar situation to this year’s team. They were in “salary cap hell” and starting a rebuilding process but a solid draft, a few low-cost veteran signings, a couple of roster holdovers overachieving and average quarterback play allowed them to make the playoffs in a weak conference.
How long does a team have to show the upside of changes made the process of rebuilding begins?
TJ Rosenthal - Nowadays there must be proof in the first year that the decision making is on point. Forget the win column. Is there proof that changing from the same old vets and the styles that didn’t work to new names and systems is making a positive difference? If so, the fan base will be patient for let’s say one year and a half. Should John Idzik or Rex have to explain that “things will get better” without there being any evidence to the naked eye in the first six games of this year, then expect the return of the “Same Old Jets” mentality to Jets fans by Halloween.
Joe Caporoso - Ideally you want to see gradual improvements and long term potential from the this year’s Draft Picks and a handful of other recent Draft Picks. The players who will be the long term future of this team need to play well and continue to improve.
Do you feel there should be more hope for the 2013 Jets season than there currently is….why?
TJ Rosenthal - Yes. We don’t give away division titles and entire seasons based on who looks good on paper. Ever. Players who many don’t envision rising, can rise. Every year some good teams fall back into the pack. People get injured. The best approach is to take a year like this one, where experts predict doomsday, one play at a time. While hoping that speed from guys like Mike Goodson can emerge in the backfield. This as one quarterback becomes a leader by the end of training camp. Lets start there and not get further ahead of ourselves than that. Even the experts have to admit that the 2013 Jets are 0-0 right now. Like everybody else. As much as many in the media like to believe, one can’t guarantee the story before it happens
Joe Caporoso - Probably. This won’t be a 2-3 win team as some people are projecting them to be. Are they a likely playoff team? Absolutely not but they will be competitive most weeks and steal a few games that people won’t expect them to. It is hard to tell if Rex Ryan can survive a competitive 6-10 or 7-9 season but maybe they’ll overachieve and actually hit 8 or 9 wins. It wouldn’t be stunning, particularly if they get steady quarterback play.