It's time to wrap up this week's "Around the AFC East."
And to do that, we welcome in Brian Bassett of TheJetsBlog:
Matty I: Last season, Pete Kendall made a ton of noise about the way some players' situations were being handled. He ended up in Washington. And this year, Chris Baker is complaining about a "promise" that was apparently broken by the Jets' front office. What's your take on these situations that seem to keep arising under this current regime in New York? Do you think there's something going on here that needs to be addressed or is it a case of some particular players just bitching and moaning over non-issues?
Brian B: Where there's smoke there's fire, and I do think that the organization has developed some bad habits when it comes to making verbal statements that have been misconstrued by the players. That said, Pete Kendall's departure unraveled the club last season, exposing all the worst and weakest parts of the team in the process, falling on each other like dominoes and culminating in a 4-12 season.
Chris Baker, though a versatile blocker and solid pass catcher, doesn't have the same value that Pete Kendall did to the team and OC Brian Schottenheimer has been itching to find a player better suited in the passing game than Baker is in terms of speed, leaping ability and especially Yards After Catch ... rookie TE Dustin Keller is that guy. Out of Baker's 60 passes thrown his way last season, 43 were out of 0TE / Motion formations where Baker ended up in the slot or in a trips formation. Although Baker is an able catcher, he doesn't have the speed to make the YAC that Schottenheimer wants from that mismatch, something which Keller possesses in spades.
Baker has pushed his chips all in doing his best to exacerbate the situation by parking his red Bentley in the Team President's parking spot during OTAs last month. Something that seems pretty foolish when you are complaining about not getting paid enough, but clearly a move to try and punch his ticket out of town and in the process that big contract that wasn't there for him two years ago when the Jets signed him after letting him test the market and getting nothing.
The Jets need to be careful about how they conduct their business, but there have been plenty of players who have signed extensions (Cotchery & Rhodes) in the past few years with little dust being raised publicly about the matter. Part of it is the players, but part is that the team doesn't seem to be doing themselves any favors.
My Take: I'm right with Brian. It does seem like the Jets have made some mistakes in their dealings with some of their players. But like he points out, it could very well be more the players rather than the organization. Sure, I'd love to hate on the Jets a little bit. But unless we're interacting with the players and team day in and day out, we really don't know what's going on behind closed doors. Things might have been misunderstood by some players or the organization could have lied to some players. Either way, we'll never really know.
But I do agree - and this is painful - that Dustin Keller is going to be a very good fit in New York's offense. He's more of a "Dallas Clark-esque" tight end and will be very comfortable lining up int he slot - meaning the Dolphins will have to keep an eye on where he lines up in their 2 meetings to avoid any major mismatches.
Anyways, a big thanks to Brian for helping us out. And be sure to head over to TheJetsBlog to see my response to his question.
That's all for this week's edition of ATAFCE. I hope you all enjoyed it.