Thursday, September 29, 2005

Past Should Not Be the Future
By Ben Valentine

Well it’s nearly four days since those seven plays of disaster which have all but destroyed the Jets season. After recollection, reflection and hearing Herman Edwards as depressed as I’ve ever heard the consummate optimist in his press conferences, here’s where Gang Green stand now:

-Chad Pennington does have a torn rotator cuff after there was hope Tuesday night to the contrary. However he may not need surgery. Naturally it bears repeating that one must wonder what this will do to his already questionable arm strength. Oh yeah and he’s still in all likelihood done for 2005.

-Jay Fielder, however, may not be. His agent believes he’ll be out for roughly six weeks. With Pennington’s status for next season and beyond up in the air, it behooves Fielder to return even if the Jets are out of it. Playing well could earn him the team’s starting job in 2006. So we’ll see with this one.

-The Redskins for some odd reason want to hold on to Patrick Ramsey even though he doesn’t fit into their plans and his value continues to decrease every moment he’s not in game action. Depth at QB? Isn't that what they spent a first round pick on Jason Campbell for? I’m not sure what the hell is going on with the decision making in the nation’s capital. But at least this time, we’re just talking about football.

-The Titans aren’t trading their future starter in Billy Volek. Apparently the Jets haven’t even inquired, but would be quickly rebuffed if they did. Honestly what do the Titans have to gain by helping out the Jets and hurting their own future?

-With Donovan McNabb’s injury concerns it looks like Mike McMahon is just another of my pipe dreams. You know, like the one where the Jets have a quarterback with a shoulder that works.

-The Jets signed former Texas Tech QB Kliff Kingsbury to fill the third spot on the depth chart. Kingsbury came from a passing first offense at Tech. I’m actually a little intrigued by him.

So it’s basically Brooks Bollinger and Vinny Testaverde the rest of the way and I am one Jet fan who hopes Vinny never plays this season for the Jets.

Over the last few days I’ve seen a lot of things in newspapers and blogs sort of hailing his return to New York. It’s generally a fait a compli Vinny will be starting by week five they say. I’m not one to disagree with that statement; but I’m hoping it never comes to that.

People have short memories; especially it seems here in New York. They seem to forget how mediocre to bad Testaverde was in 2001, 2002 and then in 2003. Paul Hackett and the play calling gets the blame. Well what about 2000? Or last year with the Cowboys? He lost his job to Drew Henson last year. Drew Henson people! The truth is Vinny only had one good season for the Jets; and as good as that season was back in 1998, it was seven years ago. There was a reason in a league that still has Kurt Warner and AJ Feeley in it that Vinny was sitting at home available for a Jets phone call.

I don’t care how good Vinny’s arm still is. I don’t care what shape he’s in. The fact is he’s an old man with declining skills. He’s also a statue; he can’t move anymore. That’s a bad thing when you have a first year starter at one tackle position and just lost your other tackle for several weeks. He never made good decisions. Imagine how much better that decision making is going to get with all the time Vinny’s going to have to throw.

Look, I don’t know what Brooks Bollinger is outside of being more mobile than Vinny. I admit, I saw some of him in a few Wisconsin games back in the day and I never got the impression of a pro QB. But give the kid a chance. I don’t mean throwing him to the wolves this weekend against Baltimore then benching him week five because they ate him alive. One game doesn’t make a QB and Bollinger should get at least three to show whether he’s got the skill necessary to compete at this level. And please Herm, don’t make Bollinger hand it off repeatedly against eight men fronts and then look surprised when he’s getting slammed to the turf on third and forever. The best QBs in the league struggle against the Ravens D. Just ask Peyton Manning. Bollinger should get every opportunity to start week five regardless of the outcome Sunday.

If Bollinger does in fact stink after three or so games, then go to someone else. Hell trot out Kingsbury for all I care. Maybe he does something with an opportunity. At worst, the Jets tank and get a shot at Matt Leinart or Reggie Bush in the draft next year. Just not Testaverde, please. Honestly folks, do you really believe Vinny can take the Jets to the playoffs? The worst thing he can do is get the Jets to 6-10 or 7-9, where they end up in the middle of the first round.

Look let’s be realistic here. The season is probably over. It’s hard to say 2006 starts four games into 2005 but that’s the way it probably is. The only way it doesn’t is if Bollinger is a competent NFL QB. And there’s only one means to find that out.

So Vinny, welcome back. Hopefully, you’ll have to get used to holding that clipboard. Otherwise it’s going to be a long and unproductive season for the Jets.

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