NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi, during his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning, discusded the situation in New York with the dysfunctional Jets.
Mark Sanchez was tabbed to start at quarterback this Sunday against the Bills following Greg McElroy's concussion, while Tim Tebow continues to be passed over. Meanwhile, there's a story in the New York Daily News that indicates Rex Ryan is telling people he'd be better off being fired if owner Woody Johnson won't be willing to spend some money this offseason to remedy the team's problems.
"They can spin it any way they want -- and they're the great spinmeisters in New York -- but the reality of the Jets' cap situation is not good," Lombardi said. "And their season for 2013 is tied to those contracts. They just didn't go into these deals and say, 'Oh, let's try this and see if it works for 2012.' They made a commitment to their team for '12 and '13. Now that that commitment looks really bad, you're not going to get away from it. They've got some contracts, they're tied to players.
"This whole notion that, 'Well, we can just move the GM [Mike Tannenbaum] over to do contracts' -- contracts are where the problems start with the Jets. The guaranteed deals that they have, the inability to be flexible within their salary cap has made it very prohibitive for them to be successful. So, I think they'll stay the course. I think the GM has got favored with the owner. That's always a good thing for Patriot fans. And I think they'll be able to move on."
Ryan continues to profess confidence in Sanchez, and Lombardi said that's part of the problem.
"Rex has always been P.T. Barnum," Lombardi said. "He's never really been able to be honest with himself. … Part of the Jets' problem is their inability to be honest with themselves and be realistic about where they are as a football team. They've always believed, as they do with Sanchez, that it's going to turn around. Sanchez has enough starts to know who he is as a player. And I don't think it's going to change. But they went ahead and guaranteed him [$]8.25 million next season. And part of that guarantee means he's not going to be able to get rid of him. So, he's going to have to be their quarterback. So, it's really not a surprise that he's back playing and back starting this week."
Looking at the Patriots, Lombardi said people should not overreact to Sunday's uninspired performance against the Jaguars, as New England was hesitant to show anything to scouts from potential playoff opponents.
Said Lombardi: "They played left-handed against Jacksonville and still won the game. … You could see from the formations, you could see by the way, the style that they played, that they played a vanilla game. They played a style to where they were not going to go in there and demonstrate a lot of -- I don't want to use the word creativity, but they were going to go in there and let their players play. They had a lot of injuries. It wasn't a scheme game for the Patriots. It was more about, 'We're going to do this, we're going to play this style. And if you can beat us, so be it. But we're going to play and let our players play.' It wasn't based on a game plan, it was based on allowing the players to play. And they were able to succeed.
"People walk away from there saying, 'Well, the Patriots are in trouble. Wow, they didn't really …' Time out. That game wasn't exactly the game plan and the style to where you wanted to show things."
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