I'm Winston Wolfe. I solve problems.
And with that, Vincent and Jules were off the hook in "Pulp Fiction" for a nearly botched briefcase retrieval and a fully botched car-killing of Marvin in the Los Angeles valley. All it took to undo it was some discipline, plenty of soap and water, and money for a new oak bed. We should all be so lucky.
The Wolfe only comes out when someone needs him so desperately there's no one else to turn to. The New York Jets need The Wolfe, and since I have had a close, personal relationship with the team since I was four years old, I will play the part and fix everything that has come apart for a team which has come apart. Someone grab me a cup of coffee and let's get started.
NOW YOU'VE GOT A CORPSE IN A CAR, MINUS A HEAD, IN THE GARAGE. TAKE ME TO IT.
If you want to really address a situation, you have to first look at the most pressing issue. While Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez are its biggest components, they're a part of a bigger theme. Offensively, the Jets just are not that good. Who scares you on this team? You tell me one player who keeps opposing defensive coordinators up nights because they have to figure out a way to stop them. Time's up. The answer is no one. No weapons of any kind.
It's hard to get a Ty (or Chad) Pennington Extreme Makeover in one offseason, but here's a start: Next season, Joe McKnight splits the running back job with Shonn Greene. McKnight is the only player with explosiveness so he deserves his shot in year No. 3, where you either get it or you don't. I'd like to go out and spend money on a powerhouse RB, but I'll need it for a new wide receiver corps. Thanks to Holmes' masterful public relations sojourn the past couple of days along with Plaxico Burress showing us being in prison can hurt your game, that's where you need to spend your money first and foremost. And I don't mean go out and give $75 million to Vincent Jackson, but follow the blueprint that all the great teams have: Depth is your answer on the outside. In any given week, as many as four players could lead the Packers, Saints, Patriots or Colts (with Peyton Manning) in receiving. You won't have to break the bank for Harry Douglas, Danny Amendola, Early Doucet, Jerome Simpson or others. You need four WRs who can catch the ball to win nowadays. I'd rather have four pretty decent ones with upside who can win one-on-one battles than two big names and a bunch of practice squad guys, which is what they have now.
And on Brian Schottenheimer, whom no Jets fan can believe is getting head-coaching opportunities and would drive him to the airport for his interviews, let me say this: I do believe it's time for a change at the position, but not because Schottenheimer is a bad offensive coordinator. Remember, with an offense centered around Sanchez and Greene, they got to two AFC Championships. There's something to be said for that. But after a few years, messages get stale and new ideas are needed or teams figure you out and players lose confidence in what's called. It's part of football, especially on the offensive side, where the game is constantly evolving. New blood in that position would be a good thing.
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHARACTER DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU HAVE CHARACTER.
Santonio Holmes is why I would never give a wide receiver a contract longer than three years. The first year is bliss, the second year gets rocky, and the third is so bad you have to divorce yourself from him. All diva wideouts follow this playbook, Holmes included. He can't come back. There's certain things that as a player you can't return to a team after doing, even if you've done great things in the past. When you upset chemistry for most of a season, take on the starting QB in a team meeting just before a must-win game, quit playing hard in said game, pout and scream at teammates in the huddle, get benched, and don't root on your teammates -- all on television to boot? Whoo, that's a special kind of talent right there to accomplish that much in so short a period of time. I don't think Tiger Woods lost as many fans that fast after he hit that fire hydrant.
Who wants Holmes back after this? How can Rex Ryan look his players in the eye if he keeps him? Especially when Ryan said he didn't have "the pulse" of the team when it came to Holmes and his captaincy. Hey, I'm all for giving the rebel kid some responsibility like a paper route to see if he comes around, but this was something a coach should have seen coming. Ryan never likes to admit mistakes, but signing Holmes long-term is one. Hey, it happens. Eat the $8 million he's owed and move on. You're going to need an offensive realignment anyway. Are things really going to get better between Holmes and Sanchez in the offseason? Addition by subtraction.
HOW ABOUT YOU LASH LARUE? THINK YOU CAN KEEP YOUR SPURS FROM JINGLIN' AND A-JANGLIN'?
If Mark Sanchez can't find his primary receiver he starts to panic. And that's when mistakes happen. Fumbles. DBs getting interceptions. LBs getting interceptions. DLs getting interceptions. There's not a lot that hasn't been said about Sanchez and his shortcomings. After three years, this is who he is. There's not a lot of room left between the top of his head and the ceiling. But this isn't as simple as letting him go, eating salary and then finding a new quarterback that you can sell to everyone as an upgrade. Obviously, if Peyton Manning is healthy and becomes available, you go all in on getting him from Indianapolis.
But if that doesn't happen? Here's how I address it. In the offseason, I find two good quarterbacks with potential via trade or free agency who won't cost a lot. In March I announce that the QB competition is open for the fall. Ryan has tried every which way to motivate Sanchez and while it's worked in spurts, nothing has for the long haul. There's only so much you can do before someone has to do it for himself. I'm a great believer in fear as a motivator. Maybe it's Greg McElroy, who looked to have promise when the Jets drafted him a year ago. Maybe it's Kyle Orton. Maybe it's Matt Flynn, though his price could be too high. But bringing in guys with upside who won't cost a ton is how I'd do it. ("Hey, we'd really like you to come in and win the job. Wouldn't you like to be the King of New York? Then the money really starts to get large.") Either Sanchez responds or he doesn't. If he's great, I have a quarterback. If he doesn't and someone else steps up, then I have a quarterback. But no matter how you slice it, by the end of August, I'd have myself a quarterback.
I THINK FAST, I TALK FAST AND I NEED YOU GUYS TO ACT FAST IF YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF THIS.
It's time for The Wolfe to get some help for The Coach. As I stated before, the Jets aren't as talented as they have been. Why the slow decline? In 2009, the Jets picked three players in the draft: Sanchez, Greene and Matt Slauson, who has been an acceptable guard but no one to do backflips over. Right now, that draft class is filled with more question marks than the Riddler has on his costume. In 2010, the Jets had four selections. Cornerback Kyle Wilson, who forced the Jets to re-sign Antonio Cromartie because he hadn't panned out well enough to start opposite Darrelle Revis; offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse, who will never start a game because the Jets want their quarterback vertical and not horizontal; McKnight; and fullback John Conner, a wonder on "Hard Knocks" who hasn't performed on the field.
I would bring in some draft help for Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum in the form of a director of pro personnel or a full-time, plugged-in consultant. You can't afford another draft filled with players who make you say, "Meh." Look at it this way: If another team in the NFL was allowed to just pluck any of those players off the Jets right now, how many of them would be full-fledged starters? Yeah, none.
It's OK to ask for some aid when you need it. Especially if the back windshield of your car is all bloody and you have no friends left in 818.