What a douchey title, right? Too bad. Look I LOVE twitter, basically everything about it. I love most of my Jet fans, love the breaking news, love interacting, everything. But the percentage of idiots who shouldn’t talk about football, and those who should is about 50/50. Yes that close. Some of you should dig a hole, and stick your head in it. You can lay there and watch the darkness; and your football knowledge will be just the same as if you watched hundreds of hours of football. Harsh…but true.
I am a little amped up today because of a good thing. The NY Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Metha came out with a story that immediately put a smile on my face this morning. “Braylon Cleared For Jet Landing“…Hellll yeah, kid!
For the most part many of the Jet fans I follow are on board with this. They would like to have Braylon back. They get it. They understand what he brings to the table, and just how important a receiver like Braylon Edwards is to the Jets offense. Many were worried about his injury last season. Some were worried about his off-field issues (he has never been suspended by the NFL….wheres the big problem here?), some are worried about signing a big name receiver such as Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, etc. (#idiots), and even a few mentioned “he sucked, he got cut by a team with no WR’s.“ SMH.
Let me break down a few numbers and just some straight facts right quick. Mark Sanchez completed a league-low two passes of 40+ yards last year. In 2010, Braylon Edwards had 5 receptions of 40+yards for the Jets, which was 6th in NFL. (But Braylon was let go by the Jets so that they could bring in a “better” downfield threat/big name like Plaxico Burress – how did that work out?). In 2010 Braylon finished with 904 yards and seven touchdowns. His first full season in the Jets offense. Not to mention his big plays in big spots during the postseason. (Hi Devin McCourty and Brandon Meriweather)
So why is Braylon Edwards the PERFECT fit for the New York Jets? Well one, the deep threat that I mentioned before. Basically teams were stacking the box, to stop the run, and putting a defensive back in single coverage on Plaxico Burress and BEGGING him to get separation on the corner, and begging Sanchez to throw the ball downfield. No dice. Not only was Sanchez’s game shit without Braylon (besides the redzone where Plax, who is just a glorified tight end at this point, helped out immensely) SANTONIO HOLMES, the Jets 5-year $45 million man, was a non-factor. Why is that? Why was Santonio Holmes so ineffective without Braylon Edwards? Wellllllll, you tell me what Holmes’ game is predicated on? Yes…his speed and ability to catch the ball and be out, like Wesley Snipes when the IRS comes callin’…but when the safeties are playing deep it gives Holmes a chance to work underneath (slant) and be gone. Why would teams drop safeties against a quarterback and team who had no shot at throwing the ball down the field? Just doesn’t make sense, especially when safeties aren’t stacking the box to play the run. They are stacking the box to play the SHORT PASS.
You need to blow the top off the coverage at a point. TWO PASSING PLAYS OF OVER 40 YARDS. THAT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. The Green Bay Packers averaged THREE A GAME. You can’t just place blame on one guy. It’ a collected effort. Mainly the quarterback, but the receivers, offensive line, running game and coaches all factor in this as well. But you play the cards your dealt, and last year….the Jets were dealt such a shitty hand on offense, they may as well have folded the second the lockout ended.
Then there is Braylon Edwards the run blocker. Besides for Hines Ward, I can’t remember a wide-out who loves to scrap and get dirty in the run game like BE17. Edwards’ blocking and deep threat ability is EXACTLY what the Jets’ new offense under new coordinator Tony Sparano is all about. Why do you think the Niners signed him in the offseason? His run-blocking in a run-heavy offense and ability to loosen up the coverage. Granted he only had 15 receptions for 181 yards, but he suffered a knee injury in Week 2 and then a shoulder injury in Week 9. He never had a chance to get acclimated with a brand new offense and never fit in with the team anyway. He signed a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth $1 million in base salary. That is NOTHING. The Niners knew the offseason was winding down and Braylon just needed a team, so they took a shot. He had really no chance.
Let me drop some inside info on you; Braylon never wanted leave the Jets. I spoke to two different players on the 2010 Jets, and they told me they would have EASILY brought back Braylon over Santonio Holmes at the time, and Braylon was crushed when the Front office basically kicked him to the curb. (Rex Ryan pleaded for Braylon to return, to no avail of the other shot-callers) so when Rex spoke with the media at the end of the 2011 season, and was asked about Braylon, his comments were no shock to me. “He had two outstanding seasons for us, he was an outstanding blocker.” So after three years, two very good seasons (shocker, with Braylon) and one bad one….the leash has been tightened just a bit on Rex, and he knows this. This is Rex Ryan’s team now. Out with the old regimes leftovers (Brian Schottenheimer) and in comes Rex’s boys. Rex wants Braylon back, but does a guy who felt mistreated, want back. The answer is, does he have a choice? Will there be a better fit/team for him? That answer is, probably not. And he knows that.
Now this leads me to my last point. Our oft-criticized quarterback. Do you know that since Mark Sanchez came into the NFL, he has had a new wide receiver corp and running back combo in ALL THREE SEASONS? Where the hell is the consistency? In 2009, it was Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, and Leon Washington at running back, with Jerricho Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey and Brad Smith as his starting receivers (Jets traded for Edwards in October of that season). Then in 2010, out goes Jones, out goes Leon, Stuckey was dealt in the Braylon deal in ’09. In comes LaDainian Tomlinson, and Santonio Holmes. Two larger than life figures, in a young quarterbacks weaponry. Who were his favorite targets that season…..Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller. Two guys who aren’t superstars, two guys he had chemistry with, two guys that he knew where they would be. Then comes 2011….the dreaded NFL lockout. Santonio Holmes is brought back…okay good, he was developing some nice chemistry with Mark, Braylon and Cotchery. Boom…..Braylon out, Cotchery cut, Brad Smith goes via free agency. The Jets are left with Santonio Holmes and the scrap heap. Okay…draft a slot-receiver. Good move, Jeremy Kerley has some promise. But then Plaxico Burress? Your number two receiver, the guy you need to get down field and do it fast? The dude was fresh out of Rikers, why would you do that to Sanchez? Not to mention the name and aura that came along with this 6’5″ monster. I know I am babying the kid, but you have to realize, the SECOND Sanchez had a chance to get something going with a guy, he was gone. First Cotchery, then Braylon, then Brad Smith, now Plaxico is gone. LaDainian next. It’ll be a whole new cast of characters again.
So why not bring back a guy who has had the most success under Mark Sanchez? That man is Braylon Edwards. I am not asking you to give him a 5-year, $35 million deal. No. A one-year, incentive laden deal, much like he got in San Fran should do the trick. There is no need to sign Reggie Wayne for $7M a year (he won’t come here anyway), there is no reason to give Vincent Jackson $10M – it ain’t happening. No reason to overpay a guy in Robert Meachem, who all he can do is run a straight line, in the leagues best offense, inside of a dome. Nope. You get the guy who’s been there and done that. And done it pretty damn well. Make sense now, people? Grab Braylon, and draft one of these BEAST wide receivers in the 4-5 round of the NFL draft. This receiver class is so deep this year….it is the perfect year to do it.