Eric Mangini, A Failing Grade
Back in early August I posted some thoughts on the challenge that was facing Eric Mangini in 2008 (Make It Work Eric!). This is a quote from that article:
“There are no more excuses for this team and the pressure is squarely on Eric Mangini’s shoulders….Now its up to Mangini to make this thing work. This isn’t the three year or four year plan anymore. The holdovers from the Edwards era are all basically gone. The door on that era was closed for good when the Jets handed Chad Pennington his walking papers. This is Mangini’s team. This is his vision and he has to make it work. He has his linemen. He has his linebackers. He has his secondary. He has his running back. He has his tight end. He has his special teamers. And now he has his quarterback.”
Two months later and Mangini is failing the test. The Jets were tight against the New England Patriots and managed a meager 10 points against a defense that has given up at least 21 to any other opponent they have faced not named Kansas City. This is a game the Jets should have and could have won…if they had a better head coach and coaching staff. This week was another offensive explosion against the Oakland Raiders, a team that has given up 24 points to every team they have faced not named Kansas City. And of course the Jets. That is a trend a football team that has spent countless money and 1st round picks on an offensive line, running backs, and a HOF QB should never be in. The Chiefs and the Jets, lumped together yet again in the post Edwards era. This should not be happening and the finger has to be pointed squarely at the head coach.
In two months Mangini and his offensive coordinator have done nothing to create an identity for this football team. Are they a passing offense? Are they a running offense? Are they a gimmick offense? We saw a glimpse of something against the Cardinals that shows that the talent is there for the Jets to be something special, but the coaching staff just can not find a way to get it all together in the same game. The Jets offense does not sustain football drives. They make a big play or two and maybe put together one 6 or 7 play drive a game, but that is it. Eliminate the big play, the way the Raiders and Patriots did and you eliminate the Jets offense. It’s the same dink and dunk horizontal do nothing offense that we saw last season, except this time there is no Pennington to blame the failures on.
With all the money that has been spent on the offensive line Mangini has not made them work as a cohesive unit. At best they are average. D’Brickashaw Ferguson shows flashes, but still is inconsistent as a player. Considering where he was selected in the draft he has been an average selection. Part of his lack of development has to go on his coaching staff. We see that talent in him against some very good rushers and then we see plays where he just gets run past by a no-name lineman. Alan Faneca, the number 1 target on the Jets offseason wish list, has been a terrible disappointment. Damien Woody has been ok, but has too many flubs in the passing game, a problem that plagued him in Detroit last season. These issues have led to Favre being whacked around by the opposition to the point where you sometimes cringe at the hits he takes.
Defensively it is the same problems every week. The team can’t cover anybody, especially on third downs. The blitz schemes are often vanilla and too often we see the Jets linebackers all stood up at the line of scrimmage. The team has gotten picked apart by names like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassell, Jamarcus Russell, and yes Chad Pennington. Mangini was given a lot of credit when he was hired for the success of the patchwork Patriots secondary that seemed to get the job done every year. He has been unable to duplicate that success in NY. Even with a lockdown corner and a borderline pro bowl safety the Jets give up a ridiculous amount of third down conversions through the air. 7 weeks into the season and no adjustments have been made to limit that.
There is still time for the team to turn things around, but it just seems as if the team accepts mediocrity too easily. It’s a trait that comes straight from the head coach. Mangini has better change the culture and the attitude quickly because 8-8, which is where this team is headed, is not going to be accepted by the fans and should not be accepted by ownership. There are 10 games left for the coach to turn this around, but right now the phrase “Same Old Jets” just seems like it will be appropriate in 2008.