Joe Klecko knows firsthand what glory with the New York Jets franchise is like.
The big defensive lineman spent a decade with Gang Green and was an integral member of the Sack Exchange in the early 80s, and he had Brandon Tierney gushing over his Hall-of-Fame credentials during his conversation on the Morning Show.
However, the main subject of his discussion with Tiki, Brandon, and Dana wasn’t so sunny; it was about the 2013 Jets and how much of a mess they will be.
“It’s a quarterback-driven league, and you’re starting out—really you don’t have a number-one quarterback on your roster. First glaring point is, you have to resolve that. Have the Jets solved that is such a big question mark,” he explains.
As Klecko sees it, this Jets team confirms the old adage that if you have two QBs, you have none. He does not see rookie Geno Smith stepping in and successfully starting from Day One, and he’s seen far too much of Mark Sanchez.
Conceptually, New York should start the veteran Sanchez—the most prepared of the two options, as little as that is saying—but the former Jet and current SNY analyst doesn’t see the merit.
“I just don’t think they’re going to go anywhere with Mark,” Klecko argues. “Because, first of all, now you have the number-one receiver saying, in his own theory, maybe won’t be able to play all year; he lost his go-to guy in Dustin Keller as a tight end. He doesn’t have a lot of options out there.”
Without a reliable option under center, no answers at receiver, a makeshift backfield, and a suspect offensive line, the Jets offense should not be much better than the atrocity that took the field in 2012.
“The biggest problem they had in their offense—they had no continuity in nothing. They had no running game. They had no passing game. So they were floundering all over the place.”
When the on-field negatives are so pervasive, a good amount of blame must fall at the feet of Rex Ryan. Fortunately for the blustery coach, Klecko does see a way he can help his players, but Ryan must channel his bombast and be careful not to go overboard.
“To keep the bull’s-eye off of his players’ back is one of the things that he can do the most,” Klecko says. The stuff that he used to do—it was bulletin board stuff for other teams, and you can’t do that.”
“If he does come out and win with the product that he has to put out there, I don’t think he’ll ever worry about a job ever again in his life,” he adds.
That said, no one is expecting wins from New York this season. It’s the only thing that will save the coach’s job, but it’s by no means a realistic goal.
“The expectations are really just to go out there and play every game—don’t look forward, don’t look backward,” Klecko says. “Because right now, they have no identity.”