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Friday, December 19, 2014

Tulowitzki to Mets? Time has come for Mets to stop talking, start acting

The New York Mets are in pursuit of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, at least sort of.

CBS Sports is reporting that the Mets have been in discussions with the Rockies for the All Star shortstop for weeks, but nothing is really eminent in getting done. Both the Rockies and Mets have been throwing names around, and it is believed that Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard would be the blue chip in the deal.

However, finances, concerns over Tulo's injury history and stubborn ownership could be in the way.

"it still feels like they are almost in the early stages with several hurdles to go, including ultimately whether the Rockies-owning Monfort brothers would sign off on such a deal for their beloved superstar shortstop.
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has consistently said he is listening -- though it is known that Dick Monfort rebuffed an attempt or two on the part of other teams to start trade talks involving Tulowitzki, (Heyman, Jon. CBSsports). 
One of the hurdles might be Tulowitzki himself. He has a no-trade clause in his contract and nobody knows if he would even want to come to the Mets even though they play in New York. The Mets aren't exactly playoff contenders. Heyman went as far as to say that Tulowitzki would approve deals to the Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers and Angels because they are consistent contenders. 
Heyman also added that the finances could be the biggest hurdle in these negotiation, in spite of what players would be involved. 
Here is where the stubbornness of the Wilpon's come into play.  Tulkowitzki is owed $118 million over the next six seasons. The Wilpon's have made it be known that they refuse to pay that much money for any player anymore after watching investments like Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez and Carlos Delgado age poorly over the length of the deal. Not to mention the Mets have been pinching pennies ever since the Bernie Madoff scandal in 2009, and the team has never fully recovered. The Mets payroll was around $89 million last year. Their payroll this year is expected to approach $100 million, but the Wilpon's have refused to go over that threshold. Bringing in Tulowitzki means the Mets are on the hook for a big portion of that contract. 
Another major factor would be Tulowitzki's injury history. Tulowitzki has played in more than 100 games only once in the last three seasons, and missed most of last season with a hip injury. Sandy Alderson may not want to part with his prospects because of such a history. 
That being said it's worth the gamble. 
The Mets need a face that would give them instant credibility, who could change the complexion of this typically sad-sacked franchise. In 1998 it worked when then General Manager Steve Phillips made a trade with the Florida Marlins to acquire Mike Piazza. Piazza changed the nature of that team. The Mets went from losers to contenders almost instantly, falling short of the wild card berth that year. Two years later they were in the World Series against their cross town rivals. 
Granted this version of the Mets has a ways to go before they are even playoff contenders, but bringing in Tulowitzki would be the kind of jolt that could make that happen a lot quicker. David Wright has no protection in that lineup right now, unless one thinks Michael Cuddayer and Curtis Granderson will turn back the clock. Tulowitzki will give Wright the line-up protection he hasn't enjoyed since Carlos Beltran and Delgado were in town.
Here is what the Mets lineup would look like with Tulowitzki:
Jaun Lagares - CF, Daniel Murphy - 2B, David Wright - 3B, Troy Tulowitzki - SS, Michael Cuddayer - RF, Curtis Granderson - LF, Lucas Duda - 1B, Travis D'Arnaud - C. 
Not bat all, even with the inconsistent Duda, and offensively challenged Lagares and D'Arnaud in that lineup. His presence lengthen's the lineup, providing the Mets with more pop, RBIs and average. It makes sense. Not to mention Tulowitzki owns a .438/.534/.833/1.368 slash line at Citi Field in his career, so there shouldn't be as much concern that he is a product of Coors Field.
And what about the finances of the contract? Tulowitczki is owed $20 million a year from 2015-2019, but the contract gets friendlier in 2020 ($14 million) and 2021 ($15 million). 
The Mets Payroll breaks down as follows: (via Baseball reference.com) 
Name 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Signed Players With Guaranteed Contracts (does not include players with options) *6 4 2 1 1 1
Dollars Committed Value of Guaranteed Contracts (no options are exercised and includes buyouts) *$64M $57.5M $35.5M $20M $15M $12M
Contract Options Players with any type of option 1 1
Option Values Maximum value of options if all are exercised $10M $11M








Arb Costs Rough estimated value of all arbitration cases (uses 3-year averages for 1st yr, 2nd,..) †$26.2M $22.64M $32.9M $50.8M $44.9M $36.4M
Other Players Additional Players Needed to Fill 25-man (no options exercised) 13 10 9 4 10 15
Other Costs Estimate of Remaining Players Costs (based on 1-year avg of all pre-arb players) $8.58M $6.6M $5.94M $2.64M $6.6M $9.9M
Payroll (no options) Est. Total Payroll w/o Options (Guaranteed + Arb + Other) $98.7M $86.7M $74.4M $73.4M $66.5M $58.3M
Payroll (options) Est. Total Payroll w/ Options (Guaranteed + Options + Arb + Other) $98.7M $86.7M $83.7M $83.8M $66.5M $58.3M

So the Mets have $98.7 committed for this year, but as the years move on the more they could afford Tulowitczki especially in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Of course this doesn't factor in other free agents the Mets would look to bring in, including signing Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom to the long term contract extensions. How the Mets work out the payroll would depend on how Sandy Alderson, or whomever the GM is in the future, can number crunch. 

The Mets have been taking on water for far too long. They need to make a move that will change this franchise. Alderson and Wilpon have been playing it close to the vest for long enough, and the fanbase is fed up. Just the other day, Alderson said they are likely done shopping after the signings of Cuddayer and John Mayberry Jr. That is unacceptable. This is New York City, the fans expect more than this. 

If the Wilpon's and Alderson expect this franchise to finally hit that 90 win mark, or even 85 wins for that matter, they need to open up the wallets and be willing to take on some risks. Without risks there are no rewards. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Is John Idzik safe as Jets GM? Joins Woody in Coaching Search

Woody Johnson is on the precipice of making the biggest mistake of his tenure as New York Jets owner, and that's saying a lot. 

Last week I wrote an article questioning why we hadn't heard any rumblings about John Idzik's job security with the Jets. Rumors have been running rampant on coach Rex Ryan, but Idzik seemed to be avoiding it, even though fans have been calling for his ouster. In that piece I questioned whether Woody Johnson would even be willing to pull the plug on Idzik and clean house.

Well, it appears that Idzik might be safe. According CBS Sports, Idzik is working with Woody Johnson on finding the next Jets head coach, something he would be doing if he were safe.

"La Canfora reports that, at this time, the organization isn’t using a headhunter or a search firm to find Ryan’s potential replacement. Only Idzik, Johnson and team president Neil Glat are discussing a new head coach."

So the same General Manager who failed to spend $20 million of salary cap money on key positions for this team, and has become Public Enemy # 1 in the eyes of the entire fan-base, might not be going anywhere.

This is not good news and once again Woody Johnson appears to be thumbing his nose at paying customers. This is a big moment for Johnson, he needs to win back the loyalty of the fans, and legitimize the amount of money many hard working people forked over in Personal Seat Licenses (PSL's) over the past few years. Keeping Idzik does a lot of damage to that plan.

Idzik has done nothing but bring negativity to the franchise. Starting with the reports that Idzik has "alienated" himself in the front office, he has failed as the lead face of this franchise. From draft pick blunders to the aforementioned finances not spent, nobody really trusts Idzik moving forward. It is reasonable to ask 'can anyone trust Idzik with the new head coach, especially if he can't be trusted in putting together a roster?'

Chances are if Idzik does stay he will look to the Seattle Seahawks and their defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, or their offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell as the next HC of the NYJ,  because Idzik hails from the Seahawks franchise where he was VP of football administration. He knows both gentleman quite well.

Either coach would bring some good credentials to the job. Bevell coached one of the more complete units in the NFL and managed to hone the skills of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.  Quinn, whose agent in former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum (talk about irony), is a NJ native and has coached one of the top defensive units the past two years.

That being said, neither coaching candidate will receive the respect nor trust of the Jets fan-base because he is Idzik's pick. Fair or not, no head coaching candidate would want to walk into a situation like the Jets where the GM has his head on a silver platter. A 4-12 or 5-11 season in 2015 would almost certainly doom both Idzik and his hand-picked head coach.

Only CBS has reported this rumor, and if true would be a devastating mistake made by Johnson moving forward. The best thing Woody can do is fire Idzik along with Rex Ryan in two weeks. We shall see what happens very soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NY Post: Tom Coughlin 99.9% chance of Return

If the New York Post has it's way, Tom Coughlin will be back as head coach of the New York Giants. Steve Serby of the NYP, said that sources have told the paper that there is a 99.9 % chance that Coughlin will return to the sidelines come next season, inspite of the team's 5-9 record this year.

For many the issue regarding Coughlin isn't so much that he's lost the team, the issue has been his age; Coughlin will be 69 next year. To some, his advanced age might be keeping the coach from making proper decisions as the game advances around him. However, Coughlin has said repeatedly that he feels great and wants to coach.

Looking back at this season it was never Coughlin's fault. Sure the team has missed the playoffs four times in five years, and is about to endure its second consecutive sub .500 season, but there are many reasons, beyond the head coach, for the teams ills.

For one, and Serby pointed this out too, the Giants have never been healthy this year. Victor Cruz, Jon Beason, Geoff Schwartz, Rashard Jennings, Walter Thurmond, and Prince Amukamara have all missed time this year due to injury. Even Rookie of the Year candidate Odell Beckham Jr. missed the first part of the year due to a hamstring injury. The Giants had only one game in which both Beckham and Cruz played together.

The team forced fed an overrated offensive coordinator down Eli Manning's throat. While Manning's numbers have been good, this offense has been stagnate because of the play-calling of Ben McAdoo. McAdoo probably will return next year, but he deserves a short leash.

Not to mention Perry Fewell has been in over his head with this Giants defense. New York's defense is ranked 26th in the NFL this year, and 30th against the run. They have been awful and Fewell has failed to get this unit to play well over the few years he's been the defensive coordinator. A change would be a good idea.

Of course all of these issues land back at the head coach who watches over this mess. If the Giants decide to move from Coughlin, you can't blame them.

That being said, I think everyone would like to see him go out on better terms than this. I think Coughlin's future will weigh heavily in the next two weeks. If the Giants defeat the Rams and Eagles and finish 7-9, Coughlin's return would make sense, since the team finished strong for the second consecutive season. Then again, if Big Blue splits or losses their next two games to finish 6-10 or 5-11, it would be hard to imagine life with Coughlin in 2015.

This is not an easy decision for John Mara and Steven Tisch to make, in fact it will be the first head coaching search they ever conduct, since John's father Wellington was the man who hired Coughlin in the first place.

Monday, December 15, 2014

NJ Jackals 2015 Schedule Released

The New Jersey Jackals baseball franchise released its schedule for the 2015 season. The 2014 Can-Am League runner up will welcome two new franchises to the league in the form of new cross town rival, Sussex County Miners, and the Ottawa Champions.

The Can-Am League is also adding a seventh team, a road team that will square off with all league opponents throughout the year. The League will keep the interleague play with the American Association in tact for next season.

All together the Jackals will play 98 games in 2015 starting May 25 at Sussex County. The Miners will be taking over Skylands Stadium, once the proud home of the New Jersey Cardinals and Sussex Skyhawks. The Jackals will play 19 games with the Miners this season.

The Jackals will then travel to Trois Rivieres to face their old friends, the Eagles before opening up the 2015 home schedule against their arch rivals, the Rockland Boulders.

Ironically with the addition of two new teams, the Jackals will see less of the Eagles, and the Quebec Capitales. The Jackals-Capitales rivalry is one of the oldest in independent baseball. New Jersey will face Quebec only nine times this year with trips to Quebec on June 15-17, and August 14 - 16. The Jackals host the Caps from August 21-23.

The Jackals finish their season in the Midwest at Gary South Shore, Indiana; Fargo-Moorehead, North Dakota, and St. Paul, Minnesota. The Jackals and Saints have developed a long standing inter-league rivalry, having met 14 times, with New Jersey winning eight of those match-ups.

See full schedule here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jets Won't "Suck for Duck," Beat Titans

JETS 16 
TITANS 11

Amidst a call from mostly media and some fans for the Jets to intentionally choke the rest of the way in order to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, the Jets said "No" to sucking for the duck, and beat the Titans for their third win of the year.

In what had to be the ugliest, most boring and down right putrid football game ever played, the Jets managed to beat the Titans, because Tennessee was just worse than the Jets. Believe it or not this felt like a really, really dull baseball game as Tennessee held a 5-3 halftime lead thanks to a field goal and a safety.

Even the most boring affairs still find a way to provide some fireworks, especially in the form of a brawl. With the Titans up 8-3, Geno Smith actually hit a perfect pass to Eric Decker down the sideline for what would have been an 81-yard touchdown pass, Smith started taunting Tennessee defensive end Jurrell Casey. Casey wouldn't have any of it, and punched Smith in the jaw, sending both benches into a frenzy, as most of the Jets sideline ran to the defense of the quarterback. Ironically, the touchdown didn't even count because Decker stepped out of the bounds.

Nobody was ejected from the melee, but it was probably the lone highlight in a game between two terrible teams.

In the end, those hoping the Jets would lose for Mariota were greatly disappointed. Former Titan Chris Johnson gashed his old mates on a 37-yard run to the Tennessee four yard line to set the Jets up for the winning score, which Chris Ivory provided on a 1-yard run.

Even with a 16-11 lead, the Jets almost screwed it up when the Titans almost pulled out a 2014 version of the Music City Miracle, as Charlie Whithurst lateraled to Delanie Walker for 33 yards to the Jets nine yard line as time expired. The Jets held on -- barely. It was the first ever 16-11 decision in NFL history. Congrats NYJ.

Give some kudos to the Jets they didn't listen to the ridiculous calls to intentionally lose in order to get Mariota. The Jets problems run deeper than the quarterback position. For one this team has to address their coaching and front office issues before they address any player personnel problems. Not to mention, there was no guarantee the Jets would even get the guy, since Tampa Bay, who also has a quarterback problem would still draft in front of the Jets.

No one knows what kind of player Mariota will become. Many have raised issue with the fact that he is not a pure pocket passer as being his biggest weakness. But one thing is for sure, this is a franchise that has struck out twice on rookie quarterbacks in recent years, it is time for the Jets to build a foundation first before going for that "franchise" QB.

Undiscipline Redskins Help Propel Giants to Victory

GIANTS 24
REDSKINS 13

It was supposed to be 17-7 Redskins at halftime. Washington had dominated the Giants through the first half of Sunday afternoon's contest, and Robert Griffin III, who started the day on the bench had just scored on an option play, but the officials had other ideas.

Griffin appeared to initially fumble the ball as he was diving into the end zone, then recovered the fumble in mid-air as he flew over the goal-line, but the officials decided that Griffin had fumbled it and turned it over to the Giants. Instead of 17-7, Skins, it was 10-7. The Redskins sideline erupted, and Santana Moss got ejected for yelling at the officials right before the half.

The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty certainly helped the Giants. The opening third quarter kick-off was spotted at midfield, and New York opted to go with the surprise onside kick, and recovered it. Yet, the ineptitude of the Giants offense couldn't even take full advantage of Washington's misfortune. The Giants went three and out on the drive and settled for the field goal to tie the game at 10.

Yet the precedent was sent. The Giants had the momentum and Washington didn't.  While it was a game that wasn't going to blow anyone out of the water, and to fair it was painful game to watch, the Giants turned to their budding superstar, Odell Beckham Jr. to finish the Skins off.

The rookie receiver who now owns 972 yards in receiving this season was at it again. For the fifth time this year he had over 100 yards receiving in a game; it was also the seventh time he had more than 90 yards in a game this year. He even set a new personal best with three touchdown catches on the day.

Beckham broke the game open when he hauled in an Eli Manning pass at the 30 and dashed into the end zone, untouched for the go-ahead touchdown to make it 17-13, Big Blue. Later with the Skins on their heels, Manning found Beckham again in the corner of the end zone for another touchdown to push the lead to 24-13. Turn the lights out.

The Redskins who are immersed in way too much personal drama were not going to comeback on the Giants this day. For New York they completed a season sweep of the Redskins this year, and won their second in a row. While it wasn't pretty the Giants are playing for coach Tom Coughlin. Coughlin has stated he wants to coach the Giants in 2015, and for any of that to happen, winning out would do just that.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Woody Johnson shouldn't wait to clean Jets house any longer

There are three weeks left in the 2014 NFL season, and the Jets stand at 2-11 joining the likes of the Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, and Buccaneers with equally horrific records. Call it the wasteland of the NFL -- that is where the Jets are, and have been now for way too long.

Breaking down the Rex Ryan/Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan/John Idzik eras would require book length proportions that might challenge the volumes of the Hobbit, with long chapters dedicated to Buttfumbles, Tebow Time, McElroy Time, bad drafts, Footgate, Geno Smith (as if he needs an entire chapter), and, yes, even a chapter about Twitter rants by Eric Decker's wife. But, at the end of the day there is really one man to blame for everything that has swirled around this ball club the past few years: Woody Johnson.

No this is not another ridiculous sob piece from some Jets fan rubbing two sticks together, hoping that Johnson sells the franchise to the highest bidder because that is fruitless. Let's be realistic: the Jets are Woody Johnson's team to own, there is a reason why he spent $635 million to buy the team back in 2000. He wanted to be apart of this great cash cow called the National Football League, like just about every owner in the NFL; lord knows, he might even fancy dreams of truly winning ... one would think.

Yet it is now, on the approaching anniversary of his 15th year as owner of the NYJ that Woody Johnson is at a crossroads. Does he fire he favorite coach Rex Ryan? Does he keep John Idzik? Does he fire John Idzik, and if so who does he replace him with? Does he keep the front office intact? Who stays and who goes? These all seem like questions with one word answers, but they are not -- it's not that easy, because if Woody Johnson looks himself in the mirror, or better yet decides to talk to his local psychologist (Dr. Melfi calling ... sorry old school Sopranos' reference), and decides that it is time to clean house then he better get moving on it.

While everyone might be thinking about Christmas Day, the NFL's Black Monday is coming up just as swiftly. NFL teams act very quickly on Black Monday -- the day NFL coaches and GMs get their walking papers, and, for some teams the turnaround to the next generation is pretty swift. Case in point, two years ago the Kansas City Chiefs cleaned house at the end of a 2-14 season in 2012, and two days after firing Toddy Haley and company they signed Andy Reid to run the show. The Chiefs are 18-11 since that day.

If you think the Chiefs just decided on a whim after Reid was canned by the Eagles that they were going to pursue him, you're probably wrong. The Chiefs knew for months they were going to change the leadership of team, they may not have know it would be Reid at the end of the day, but they certainly had a list of candidates they would consider as soon as the season was over, and I am sure they were aware Reid was in trouble in Philly at the time.

In other words, how do we know what Woody Johnson is going to decide to do come Black Monday?

Let's tackle the first question, will he fire Rex Ryan? The answer, more than likely is yes. Ryan's time in New York hits its crescendo a long time ago. After two surprisingly successful years in 2009 and 2010, the team has been a total failure since. 2011 was the beginning of the end of the Mark Sanchez era, as the quarterback's mistakes sunk the team to the point Santonio Holmes went AWOL on the entire team in week 17. That day in Miami, Ryan admitted he didn't have the pulse of the team.

Then came 2012 and total disaster that year was with Tebow's presence, Sanchez again stinking it up, the Buttfumble and nearly half the fan base throwing in the towel on years of torture as Jets fans (see Fireman Ed). This was where Johnson made his first crucial mistake. He fired then GM Mike Tannenbaum, but forced Rex Ryan down the throat of every potential GM candidate. Better candidates stayed away from the Jets, but Idzik, a "cap-guy" from Seattle wanted the job, and he agreed to keep Ryan. It has been a even bigger mess since.

Johnson should have fired Ryan in 2012, and he should have fired him in 2013, when he made it clear that Rex had to make the playoffs or else. Instead he got wrapped up in two wins against against a bad Browns and Dolphins teams, and decided to keep him.

At 2-11, with the team fractured beyond repair, the damage of Johnson's 2012 decision already complete,  it is time to say goodbye to Ryan.

But, that leads us into the second question: What about Idzik? While Ryan has been hearing footsteps ever since 2013, and is now dealing with the latest hot rumor that the Jets are interested in Jim Harbaugh, the current Niners coach as his replacement, we don't hear as many rumors anymore on Idzik. Why is that?

The fans have voiced their displeasure with the GM, making him the most hated executive not in politics. They have t-shirts, websites, billboards on Routes 3 and 80 in New Jersey and will be handing out custom made penalty flags with the phrase "Fire Idizk, Woody Clean House" printed in green.  Even New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio can't get this kind of press.

Now reports are that the Jets coaches and front office staff are getting fed up with Idzik. Initially reported by ESPN Idzik has "alienated" himself to the coaches and staff and it is fair to say that his seat is getting warmer; this nearly eight weeks after his bizarre press conference in which he announced that everyone in the organization was on the same page.

It is clear that Idzik has to go. From terrible draft day selections like Geno Smith, Dee Milliner, and Jalen Saunders, he failed to spend any money on free agency to improve this team. The $20 million of cap space has been well documented. While a lot people have bated the Jets in recent weeks, mostly for amusement, for letting Sanchez walk, the real mistake by Idzik was to let Darrelle Revis go, not just once but twice when the cornerback was reportedly interested in a reunion last March.

It has felt like Idzik has done this on purpose in order to prove that Ryan should be fired, by giving him a team that lacked the necessary pieces to win. However, such trickery shouldn't be tolerated any longer and Idzik has to go, and go now.

The last time we heard anything substantial to a possible firing was in a November 6 article by Brian Costello of the New York Post, stating that Johnson is sensitive to the criticism of Jets fans and will make a move. Costello's story is probably 100 % accurate, but I do wonder why we haven't heard any rumors about potential candidates since then. We've heard a lot of rumors surrounding Ryan, not too much about Idzik.

If Johnson is serious about dumping Idzik, he needs to two things. 1) Get rid of him now! Why wait for Black Monday to fire the guy? If Johnson is smart he should have been compiling a list of candidates to replace Idzik all along, with a blueprint of the immediate and long term future of the team. And 2) Johnson needs to clean the entire house! Get rid of Terry Bradway, whom Johnson has way too loyal to for way too long. Bradway was the Jets GM from 2001-2005, before Johnson demoted him to a lower position in the organization. Since that time he has been the director of player personnel, or college scouting, or even both. Obviously the Jets lack of talent can also be attributed to Bradway's work. He and his entire personnel staff need to be fired.

By firing the front office now, Johnson can hire a general manager, a few extra weeks in advance to get a head start on personnel development and evaluation, and begin the head coaching search. There are a lot of intricate and important steps toward building a franchise, and it would behoove Johnson, the Jets and its fledgling fan-base if he got started on it sooner. 

The reason I am concerned about Johnson's timing has to to with the simple fact that Johnson is loyal to a fault. He's been loyal to Bradway; loyal to Rex Ryan; loyal to Mike Tannebaum. George Steinbrenner he is not. Until Johnson actually makes the move, and partly because of the weird silence about Idzik's status, I am not totally convinced Johnson is going to make the move. Please prove me wrong, Woody.

Johnson needs to act, and with each passing day of total silence from the owner the harder it will become for the Jets to transition this mess and land the head coach they really want for 2015 and beyond.

Jets invent ways to lose in Minnesota

VIKINGS 30
JETS 24 - OT

At least the Jets are consistent. Even when they find a way to play fairly well, they still manage to find a way to lose a football game in excruciating fashion. The latest scene of the crime: Minnesota. The result: an overtime loss to the equally inept Minnesota Vikings.

If you needed a game about the instruction in poor tackling, Sunday's Jets-Vikings was a great example, as neither team could find a way to make a tackle in a big spot, especially the Jets who watched Jarius Wright dance down the sidelines on an 87-yard game winning touchdown to beat them in overtime.

The Jets have nobody to blame but themselves for the loss on Sunday. While Geno Smith played fairly well, the offense still made a series of mistakes that came back to haunt them throughout the afternoon. Starting with Smith's pick-six interception on the first play of the game that handed Minnesota an easy 7-0 lead, the tone was set for another dreary day.

Yet, in typical Jets fashion they teased us. After hearing about his ultra conservative game plan, and rampant speculation that Rex Ryan wanted him fired, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg opened up the playbook, and for the first time got Percy Harvin involved in the mix.

Harvin first hauled in a 45-yard pass on the Jets second possession, then, caught a 35-yard touchdown strike from Smith to give the Jets a stunning 9-7 lead in the first quarter.

Yet that lead was short lived. The Jets porous defense made Teddy Bridgewater look like Randal Cunningham on Sunday. Three plays into Minnesota's ensuing drive, Bridgewater hit a streaking Charles Johnson down the sideline for a 56-yard score to put the Vikings back on top 14-12. They would never trail again.

For the rest of the afternoon the Jets would tease the Vikings, threaten to take the lead, but their own miscues cost them any dear hopes of overtaking Minnesota. Trailing 21-12, the Jets engineered an 11-play 76 yard drive spearheaded by the running of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson. However, once New York got to within the end zone they turned it over again, this time the culprit was Ivory, who put the ball on the carpet giving the Vikings the ball back.

After a Vikings three and out, the Jets were, again, knocking on the door, thanks in big part to a major pass interference call on the Vikings. The Jets got as close as the 15-yard line before Geno Smith was sacked on third down and six, forcing another Jets field goal to cut the deficit to 21-15.

Talk about missed opportunities, it was the name of the game. The Jets had a total of four drives that wound up inside the Vikings red zone and three times they settled for field goals that eventually tied the game at 21. If only New York had the pieces to finish drives off at the running back, quarterback and tight end positions, maybe they are blowing the doors off the Vikings instead.

The biggest condemnation however came at the end of regulation with the score still tied at 24. With time expiring in regulation Bridgewater heaves a floater down the middle of the field that Darren Walls should have picked off at mid-field. Instead the ball went right through his hands and into the hands Jarius Wright for a first down. If Walls picks that off the Jets have the football at mid-field with 16 seconds to go, more than enough time to get into field goal range for Nick Folk to win it. But this is the Jets.

The game would eventually get into overtime, and the Jets would still find a way to get beat as Wright again torches Walls and the secondary with the 87-yard catch and run for the game winner.

The Jets didn't deserve this game, they played it too close to the vest as they typically do because they don't have the horses to get the job done. This season has gone from a disaster to a sad, pathetic mess. Change needs to come.