The Punch: A Discussion of Geno Smith and Chan Gailey

It was very upsetting for me to see Geno Smith get punched in the face and break his jaw, which will result in him missing 6-10 weeks this season because IK Enemkpali doesn’t know how adults behave. I’ve got to take a second to address this, I’m 25 years old and I played football until I was 22, so I know what aggression is and I’ve been in enough fights in my life to understand them, but to also have seen some behavior that’s really quite terrifying. (If you want to skip the discussion on the Geno Smith punch and get straight to the salary cap talk, please scroll down until you see “Anyway…” in bold.)

In high school, there was this kid two years younger who I already didn’t like because of a previous situation with him, but whom I had largely forgotten about and when I was a junior at Ramapo High School and he was playing freshman football and lacrosse at Don Bosco Prep, his freshman ego grew a little too much and he had started talking smack about me. I eventually hit him up and we simply arranged to meet at the middle school we had both gone to, I kicked his ass, we shook hands and it was over. It’s not like I ever liked the kid because we had no reason to be friends after that, but the situation was over and we knew that there would never be a problem again.

Now, when I was at the University of Rhode Island my freshman year, we were coming home from a party and one of my teammates from New Haven had jumped in the backseat of the driver’s side and I had come to his side of the car and asked him to move over a little bit because we were fitting four in the backseat of the car. Rather than just move in and just sit in the middle, he freaked out and started a brief scuffle with almost no warning. It didn’t escalate too much, but there’s this immediate anger that I saw from time to time in our locker room at Rhode Island that really makes you think to yourself “why does this happen?” Even then in college, I rarely understood the point of this kind of behavior off the field, we were college football players and, for most of us, things were going pretty well, what did we have to prove to anyone? But time and time again, I’d see these altercations break out that were almost entirely ego driven type deals.

There is this streak of craziness in some football players that we’ve really got to help players understand so that they can harness it when they’re on the field and keep it in check when they’re off the field. Another major factor that I think plays into what happened in the Jets locker room today is the fact that a lot of these players have that angry, aggressive streak that they have on the field and they don’t have the level of intelligence off the field to harness it. Too many guys have not been taught simply how to talk out an issue they may have with someone, but who will rather resort to fighting when that kind of fighting could really risk a career. There are too many young dudes with a lot of aggression, but without the ability to talk out their issues. I know it sounds silly and simplistic, but I’ve seen plenty of fights started that could have been avoided if the people were just mature enough to talk about it and move forward. Especially in a team environment, there is this understanding that everyone there wants the same thing, so the idea of talking it out isn’t that hard to grasp because you don’t want to punch one of your teammates and injure them because you’ll probably be in the doghouse for injuring them, especially if they’re good, and you’ll eventually feel really bad about injuring your teammate.

That being said, the fight that happened at Cowboys camp with Dez Bryant was an entirely different deal because that was in the heat of competition and that’s the kind of competitive energy that you want to see on the field. While we don’t have all the details on what happened in New York yet, there’s a certain level of insanity to the idea that a sixth round, second year linebacker would punch the starting quarterback, who had been playing great and is finally in an offense that suits his skills. I try to put myself in that situation and there’s a level of stupidity that I can’t imagine.

I don’t know what Geno Smith did exactly before he got punched and I don’t really care because if what Geno was doing was bad enough, I’m sure some teammates would have stepped in and defended Enemkpali without using violence against their starting quarterback. The fact that Enemkpali has a history of violence and was arrested in 2011 for battery of a police officer doesn’t help my opinion of him as this situation with Smith leads me to believe he was probably in the wrong in 2011 as well.

In 2007, one of my good football friends beat up a kid so badly that he was expelled from school and lost all opportunities to play football in college. That one decision drastically transformed his life and I’m sure he’s regretted it many times over. It’s not even that the kid who’s face he broke didn’t deserve it, but my friend wasn’t smart about it and it really threw a wrench in his life. The sounds and visuals from that beat down in the lunchroom were really haunting and that kid’s face was never the same and, while the kid was a bit of an ass hat, he didn’t deserve to have his face rearranged and to eat out of a straw.

Trust me though, I can understand why people would want to fight, but I can’t imagine a 24-year old man like IK Enemkpali who is on the fringe of the Jets roster punching the starting quarterback in the face and basically ending his football career and ending his dreams.

I know that football teams don’t want players to lose their aggression, but there has been too much violent these last few years with players off the field for us to accept this as a norm for behavior in a league where the average player makes $1.9 million. I’m a very socially liberal person in the traditional sense of liberalism, the kind of liberalism we saw in the Constitution, which basically gave us a document that said, in my opinion, “the citizens should be able to do whatever they want as long as they are not hurting someone else or our country.” I also believe that the only real laws we should have are ones that allow us to arrest people who have hurt someone else.

The Tom Brady deflated football stuff bothered me in one main way in that I don’t like when someone gets caught doing something and then denies it in a way that makes me think that the person doesn’t respect me enough to realize that I can tell they’re lying. Like I don’t know exactly what happened with the Deflategate case and I don’t really care, but if Brady came out and just said, “I like my balls a little deflated especially on a wet day, if they were below the threshold, then I apologize and I promise that it will never happen again.” I don’t think that there was enough of a wrongdoing with the first offense to result in a suspension and I was hoping that was how it would work out, but it didn’t.

Point is, the league spent this offseason talking about deflated footballs and next offseason better be spent talking about how we create football players who have that aggression on the field, but who have the skills to control that aggression off the field. I think there are too many guys in this league, because I’ve been this kind of person, who have been working their ass off for years chasing this football dream and who are always ramped to 10 at all times. They’re always a bit too tense and just don’t know how to relax or really control themselves. I wrote a Super Bowl Opinion Piece this year where I talked about how the NFL needs to start policing itself so that no one else comes in and starts demanding a certain decorum from the league. In cases like this one, I believe that the league has to start helping players manage their own lives and be proactive about players who have shown tendencies for anger issues. The NFL is an over $10 billion a year business and I believe in Roger Goodell’s projections and the fact that it will have revenues near $25 billion in 2027, but with that success, we have to slice off some of that revenue to ensure our athletes have the resources that make them the best players, people and representatives of the shield that they can be.

I was at that Eagles open practice where the Cowboys fans flew a banner over the practice in retaliation to the banner that Eagles fans flew over the Cowboys practice earlier in the week. I know that he just donated and that the Cowboys fans were doing it for fun as retaliation to the Eagles fans, but the fact that Greg Hardy donated $300 to that GoFundMe campaign gave me have this sense of frustrations that here this guy who really might be a monster according to the trial he went through last fall and he gets to have fun living out a dream of being a Dallas Cowboy, giggle and jump up and down, while the woman who he brutally abused may live with this fear and distrust of men for the rest of her life.

Now, admittedly, I don’t follow stories closely like that Greg Hardy story because I find them to be a waste of time and typically a lot of sources jumping on stories for click bait and advertising revenue, but from what I do know, Greg Hardy’s case may be the scariest, most unforgiveable one yet. As the victim said as one of these strange 23 quotes, “He looked me in the eyes and he told me he was going to kill me. I was so scared I wanted to die. When he loosened his grip slightly, I said, “Just do it. Kill me.” At that point I accepted I was going to die.” I don’t want to judge Greg Hardy the person because you’re innocent until proven guilty in our justice system and that trial is over and he’s still free, but just the feeling I noticed that I got when I saw he was having fun with a banner and goofing off 14 months after the incident with his ex-girlfriend.

I don’t like that there are so many phenomenal athletes who kids are looking up to who do these kinds of things. Even though almost no one know who IK Enemkpali was, these kids will know that he was a New York Jet and with more players acting like this, kids will begin to get the idea that this is something that NFL players do and, they’ll see, they tend to get away with it if they’re good enough. The fact is that GREAT players are going to continue to be employed in the NFL until they’re put in jail like Aaron Hernandez was and even then, teams were certainly considering bringing him to their team if he was cleared of the charges.

So with that fact that the NFL is going to continue to employ players who wildly misbehave, it’s up to the NFL and all 32 teams to ensure that these players are well equipped to deal with life off the field as well. There were a lot of very nice kids who I saw do some stupid things over the years, that kid from my high school who ended his career with that fight in 2007 was a good kid, but these single incidents can define a person for a long time. The NFL is getting these players at the age of 20 to 23 years old and in today’s America, a lot of people aren’t ready for the real world at that age, let alone the real world with as much money as you could need at that age and the pressure of being an NFL football player with the day-to-day stress of that.

I’ve been a complete ass plenty of times in my life, but over the last few years I’ve really been working on things like meditation, which has helped me a lot and something that would be a great start to every team in the NFL. Help players be mindful of themselves and their thoughts, so they can start to have that self-control in stressful situations off the field. Buddy Morris is one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world and he’s currently in his second year as the Arizona Cardinals strength and conditioning coach. Joe DeFranco of DeFranco’s Gym was telling me how Morris makes sure every one of his athletes lays down and meditates for 10 minutes after every workout to get their heart rate down, help start and aid recovery, along with a few other benefits. I think one of the best benefits of this is that every player in that Cardinals organization will begin to see the positive effect of meditation and mindfulness in their lives and that will kick start a lifelong meditation practice for these players that will pay huge dividends for them on and off the field.

This is just my two cents, something I felt was worth sharing, but just an opinion of mine. Feel free to comment below on this issues with your thoughts as well. As a huge proponent of the benefits of football and someone who doesn’t want to see the public turn on football, I really hope we start helping the players become the best version of themselves on and off the field. Not only is it good for them, but it’s good for the league.

While someone might disagree with me on this point, there is a certain level of lack of education combined with incredible stupidity that exists in the kind of people who are quick to start fights in their twenties. That’s really something that you see high school kids do mostly because they want to fit a certain persona, but also because they don’t have the communication skills to talk out a problem. There are too many people who behave like this in the NFL and for the sake of the league, the NFL and the teams have to help these players develop these social skills because it’s just common sense business. You don’t want people you’ve invested, at minimum, half a million dollars in, ruining their careers and completely wasting your investment in them with these kind of incidents.

As Darren Rovell pointed out, this punch cost the Jets $716,470 as they have to pay Smit hat least $206,471, while he’s on the sidelines, while the releasing of Enemkpali costs the Jets $510,000. Rovell is actually inaccurate in that Enemkpali will cost the Jets about $59,000 in dead money, but the fact that they wasted a 2014 sixth round pick on him is important. Late round picks are becoming increasingly valuable resources in the NFL today as we see how valuable players are who contribute at that low contract figure can be for a team as those kinds of players have been making plays in the last two Super Bowls. This is similar to what happened with the Falcons this offseason as Prince Shembo, who also had his own brand of really scary behavior in college, killed his ex-girlfriend’s small dog and will cost the Falcons over $225,000 in dead cap space along with being a wasted 2014 fourth round pick.

Just as a fun little exercise, I want you to imagine that you work for an organization that’s worth about a billion dollar and imagine that you punch the guy who everyone in your branch of that company just refers to as the quarterback, you know, the guy who really leads your team. Now, imagine if you are a guy who has been there for a year and hasn’t really done much yet, then imagine you decided to punch that guy everyone refers to as the quarterback. That seems to be about what happened in the Jets locker room today. Just think about this scary fact, Enemkpali is 24 years old, graduated from Louisiana Tech and is a professional football player and he wasn’t able to realize how stupid his actions were.

As I was writing this, the story broke that Geno Smith owed him $600 over a plane ticket that Enemkpali paid for Smith as Smith was coming to work at Enemkpali’s youth football camp on July 11th. Smith could not attend the camp because a close friend had died in a motorcycle accident and Enemkpali was probably harassing him about it. Keep in mind, these are two guys making over half a million this season each and Enemkpali broke his quarterback’s jaw over the speed at which he paid him. I don’t even know what to think about it with the fact that Enemkpali was harassing him to the point where Smith had to have an argument with him when Smith couldn’t make the camp because a close friend had died.

I’m sorry to go on about this before getting into the meat of this article in regard to the salary cap and what Chan Gailey and Todd Bowles are doing in New York, but I think it’s important that the NFL starts addressing some of these issues players are having with violence off the field. If the league is going to continue to employ players like Greg Hardy and give Ray McDonald second chances, then the league would do well to start making sure that the players representing the league are prepared to represent the league with some dignity. Not only that, but the players deserve to learn these life skills too as so many players make dumb mistakes like what Enemkpali did today.

Anyway…

Back to that conversation on the Jets, I was hoping to eventually write this article under better circumstances and with more time to study the Jets, but I was very excited to see how they build their team this offseason. The Jets had done a phenomenal job of stacking the defense with talent through free agency and the draft with Leonard Williams and Lorenzo Mauldin in the first three rounds. They then brought Chan Gailey in to run his spread offense that made Ryan Fitzpatrick look so good in Buffalo that he earned a six-year, $59 million contract.

So they brought Fitzpatrick in, but they already had second round pick Geno Smith on his rookie deal and he ran the spread to great success while at West Virginia. During his senior year he had a completion percentage of 71.2% for 4205 yards with 42 touchdowns and only six interceptions, while adding 151 yards on the ground, which is pretty good at a college level that still counts sacks as negative rushing yards. In late May, NJ.com’s Dom Cosentino wrote that Kordell Stewart, who played under Gailey with the Steelers eighteen years ago, stated that Gailey is the perfect coach for Smith. As Cosentino writes, rather than “molding Stewart into something he wasn’t—a traditional drop-back passer, in an era when everyone had to be a traditional drop-back passer—Gailey tailored the Steelers’ offense to suit Stewart. It worked: The Steelers reached the AFC Championship Game that season, and their offense ranked sixth in DVOA, per Football Outsider. They also did this even though Stewart had ranked in the middle of the pack as an efficient quarterback.” This points to what Chris Wesseling said over on NFL.com in that if Geno Smith can be a Top 15 quarterback for the Jets, they could win the division.

With the Patriots without Brady for four games and questions at cornerback, the Bills with Matt Cassel or EJ Manuel at quarterback and the Dolphins with a few questions on defense, the Jets really could win the division in 2015. That’s got to be the most frustrating part of this insanity today with the punch in that they’ve had a completely unnecessary injury to a player who could have been a very solid option for them at quarterback. Regardless of how people want to rag on Smith on twitter, he’s in a new system with a new chance to succeed after playing under Rex Ryan who just seemed to run a quarterback killing system rather than one that purposefully looks to amplify the quarterback’s strengths. While Mark Sanchez is no Peyton Manning, it was interesting to see how much more Chip Kelly got out of him in 2014 than Ryan was able to get out of him in New York.

As Cosentino points out, Smith isn’t the same kind of quarterback Stewart, but he’s not your normal, pro-style quarterback and the fact that he’s been able to mold systems for quarterbacks who aren’t the prototypical NFL quarterback, like a Ryan Fitzpatrick, is probably the main reason the Jets drew him out of retirement. As Stewart put it, he thinks Gailey will help Smith understand himself and take advantage of what Stewart calles “one of the strongest arms in the league” with “good feet,” which he says means there is “no reason why he can’t have success in the National Football League.” Stewart was used as a quarterback and receiver, which earned him the nickname “Slash” early in his career, but by the time Stewart was the starter in 1997, Gailey built the offense around him and they went 11-5 during the season on the way to that AFC Championship Game I mentioned earlier with an offense that ranked seventh in points scored and sixth in total yards.

Another key piece of that 1997 Steelers team to keep in mind was they were first in rushing the football with 2478 yards on the ground on 572 attempts, which was also the most in the NFL. That means they averaged 35.7 rushing attempts a game for 154.9 yards, a very solid year. With this Jets team that has been filled with offensive and defensive talent this offseason is using a lot of the cap carry over from their unused cap in 2014, they don’t need that much out of their quarterback and they can build a championship team in the image of the 2000 Ravens, the 2005 Steelers, and 2013 Seahawks.

While Tom Brady was a great quarterback for the Patriots during the early-2000s with those three Super Bowls, let’s not forget how much of a role that the defense and running game played for them. That 2004 team was great at everything and Corey Dillon ran for over 1600 yards, so those Brady led teams had an ability to win without him having to throw for 300 yards like he had to in 2014.

With Chris Ivory, Stevan Ridley, Zac Stacy and Bilal Powell, the Jets will have the kind of backfield that could lead the NFL in rushing and their 25.28% of the cap invest in the offensive line at least shows they’ve placed an emphasis on the line, even if it’s far too much money. The Super Bowl average for the offensive line is 16.76% of the cap, so the Jets are almost 10% higher, and much higher than even the highest spenders of the 21 Super Bowl champs of the cap era. The 2013 Seahawks were the highest at 22.96%.

While the Jets could still win a Super Bowl with that kind of overspending on the offensive line, it is a bit of an issue. Although, their need to run the football with only 5.27% of the cap invested in their running backs and only 3.62% of the cap invested in their quarterbacks does save them some money elsewhere as they are a combined 8.62% of the cap less than the Super Bowl average. The Jets spending is going to be a bit crazy though percentage wise because they’ve gone far over the $143.28 million salary cap as they’re using the cap carryover from 2014.

Chris B. Brown wrote one of the most influential pieces for the “Think Like a College Coach” chapter that I’m currently writing for the Caponomics: Management Theories book and his July 2009 article titled, “The NFL Offense: What is it? Why does every team use it? And how does it differ from college?” In it, he writes that the three biggest reasons why there is this kind of 80/20 blandness in what NFL offenses and defenses do where 80% of what they do is the same as every other team, while 20% is unique to them. These are as followed and directly quoted from the article:

  • Coaching incest. The NFL fraternity is too incestuous, and thus they don’t get out of their comfort zone enough and don’t seriously engage with what is going on elsewhere.
  • Lack of incentive to experiment. Related to above, but the idea is that, post free agency, there is little reason for NFL coaches to “think outside the box,” and when they do and fail, they will be ridiculed and fired. For example, Marv Levy famously went to the Wing-T offense with the Kansas City Chiefs in the late 70s and early 80s, and was promptly fired.
  • The quarterback obsession. The money and necessity involved with NFL quarterbacks has so come to dominate the thinking and strategy behind the sport that it hampers both experimentation but literally what they have time to do. If you ask an NFL coach what he spends his time on, or why they don’t use more run plays, and he will likely tell you that they spend all their time on pass protection and protection schemes, and this cuts down on what else they can do.

 

It’s merely a coincidence that Gailey started at the college ranks as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Florida, from 1974 to 1975 after graduating in 1973. He then coached defensive backs at Troy State and Air Force from 1976 to 1980 before becoming Air Force’s defensive coordinator for the 1981 and 1982 seasons. He went back to Troy State in 1983 to become the head coach, which he only held until 1984 before making the leap to the NFL with the Broncos as a tight ends and special teams coach in 1985. He held a few different roles in Denver like wide receivers/tight ends coach in 1987, quarterbacks coach in 1988 and then their offensive coordinator and receivers coach for 1989 and 1990. He continued this kind of career of bouncing around between different position coaching jobs, coordinator jobs and head coaching jobs at every level. He was even the head coach of the Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football for the only two years of their existence in 1991-1992. He was Samford’s head coach for a year, then with the Steelers from 1994 through 1997, then the Cowboys as their head coach in 1998 and 1999, then back to offensive coordinator for the 2000 and 2001 seasons with the Dolphins before heading to Georgia Tech to be their head coach from 2002 through 2007. After that, he was the Chiefs OC for a year and the Bills head coach for three years before retiring and then rejoining the league with the Jets this year.

There is something that having a number of diverse, good coaching jobs, surrounded by solid football minds at every stop that helps stoke a bit of creativity and innovation in a good coach I think. I’ve really seen the way that a bunch of good coaching jobs shows up in Chip Kelly’s system and philosophy, so I have to believe that’s part of what molded Gailey into the terrific and creative offensive mind that he is today. With those three ideas in mind that Brown brings up for why there’s a lack of innovation in the NFL and I think that Gailey takes apart each of those reasons in his own way, which is what makes him the perfect coach for the Jets offense right now.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he started his career at the college ranks either, there seems to be a level of experimenting in former college coaches that I think is spurred on by the way many college coaches bounce around from team to team and staff to staff in a way that encourages this creativity because they don’t spend their whole career with only one coach. In the NFL, some coaches will have careers that span 20 years with only three or four stops and I think that’s pretty rare at the college ranks. Since so many college coaches start out as graduate assistants and bounce around the country scrapping their way up from that GA job to eventually being a coordinator or head coach, they spend a lot of time in different systems with new ideas and philosophies that they have to learn and study themselves. Over time, just the fact that they’re in so many different coaching jobs leads them to have to learn many different systems and playbooks along with each position they coach.

With Kelly he started his coaching career at his high school, Manchester Central and started the process that eventually created the offense he runs today. His former head coach from high school, Bob Leonard, was back on the coaching staff, but now coaching the defense. He said in a 2009 article by Rob Moseley from Eugene, Oregon’s The Register-Guard newspaper titled, “A Beautiful mind,” that he “had an idea of where this thing was going a long time ago” in regard to Kelly’s offensive philosophy. Leonard says that he would watch him coach and think, “’Yep, you came back with that one, I remember where that came from.’ But he put it all together in a different package.”

An important fact is that Kelly was the quarterback for Leonard in high school and the locals compared him to Minnesota Vikings legend Fran Tarkenton for “his toughness and ability to escape the pocket.” Moseley writes that “Kelly’s command of the game was also high” as an all-state quarterback at Manchester Central. He then walked on at New Hampshire for legendary head coach Bill Bowes as a walk-on defensive back using that speed that had him playing safety and actually running back before Leonard moved him to quarterback as a high school sophomore. Bowes said that Kelly “was the kind of kid that you wanted on the team, that was going to be there every day, practice hard every day, set the tone for everyone else.” Considering that Leonard knew during high school that Kelly wanted to be a football coach and it was during those years and his time at UNH that he really began to start forming the ideas that still guide his coaching today.

After a half decade at the high school level, Kelly went to the college ranks to coach at Columbia with his friend Sean McDonnell who was the first head coach to hire Kelly as an offensive coordinator in 1999 at UNH. That first job at Columbia was coaching the defensive backs, special teams and freshman team in 1990 and then the outside linebackers and strong safeties in 1991. He returned to UNH as their running backs coach for a year before serving as Johns Hopkins’ defensive coordinator for one year in 1993. He returned to New Hampshire in 1994 and coached the running backs for three seasons, moved to the offensive line job in 1997 and then took the offensive coordinator job when Sean McDonnell vacated it to replace Bowes as the head coach. I’d be remiss to forget to mention that Gary Crowton (won 2007 National Championship as LSU’s OC) was the offensive coordinator at UNH right before McDonnell and right before Kelly got there, so he’s definitely influenced Kelly as well.

With Kelly, it wasn’t just the jobs he took that influenced him, it was his coaches from high school and college too because he was already planning his career then and he took what he learned from them and his own ideas and began to create his system all the way back in the middle of the 1980s at the high school level. It was also because he was at the high school level, at his alma mater without the bright lights of a place like Oregon or the NFL that he had the incentive to experiment. I think there are too many high level coaches who have never had the experience of testing out their own system at a lower level than the NFL.

The offense that Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen created started at Bowling Green and created one of the fastest and greatest turnarounds in college football history. The idea to create that offense was sparked by Meyer seeing David Givens crying in his locker after a tough loss to Nebraska in 2000 because he hadn’t touched the ball all game and Meyer swore to himself that he would never lose a game without putting the ball in the hands of his best playmakers. According to Chris B. Brown’s The Essential Smart Football, Meyer loves to ask defensive coordinators what they hate to defense, so that he can incorporate something that does that into his offensive system.

With Chan Gailey, some of the things that probably influenced him were his years as an all-state quarterback at Americus High School in Georgia, then his time as a back-up quarterback at Florida. After that, the ten years in the college ranks, especially the defensive coordinator job at Air Force and then the head coaching job at Troy State probably helped him create a sort of base offensive and defensive system through his experiences playing and coaching. I haven’t studied Gailey enough to guess what’s influenced him most, but with 19 different job titles with 13 different organizations, it’s safe to say that Gailey has a diverse set of influences.

There are so many reasons that a coach may decide to experiment, which could create something that completely changes the way that the game of football is played, but those ideas just aren’t going to come in the NFL where the margin for error is so small that it’s very difficult to test out a new idea because of the risk of losing and eventually losing your job.

Coincidentally, I believe that the years spent at the college ranks experimenting and being involved with different coaches at different schools really helps create the kind of offensive system that isn’t killed by the quarterback obsession that Brown talks about in that last point he makes. If you’ve been with 13 different teams like Gailey has, then you’ve seen there are many different ways to have success as a football team and some of those ways include not having a great quarterback. I also think that Gailey’s own success and obstacles as a quarterback are probably huge influences in the way that he’s constructed his offensive system over the years.

I think that, even with Geno Smith, the Jets will do very well this season. Like I said with Fitzpatrick, he’s already run Gailey’s system very nicely. I’m unsure of what the Jets expect from Petty this year, but I feel like he could actually be the long-term solution for the Jets as he ran the spread at Baylor to perfection with a 1.18% career interception rate that is an NCAA record. Petty also set 31 school records despite following RG3.

Pete Carroll places a massive emphasis on not turning the ball over as he says it is the path to victory in the NFL, which is something that I agree with after researching turnover ratios in my Caponomics research. In four years with two as Baylor’s starter, Petty threw 845 passes with 62 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions to get that 1.18% ratio. In four years at West Virginia, with three as the starter, Geno Smith threw 1465 passes with 98 going for touchdowns and 21 interceptions, which means he threw an interception on 1.43% of his throws in college. Both of these guys were phenomenal spread quarterbacks and it will be very interesting to watch them develop under Gailey.

There is a lot for the current NFL to learn from the innovators who are daring to do things a little bit differently because they’re creating huge advantages for themselves within the salary cap. Even with Geno Smith going down, the Jets could seriously win with only 3.62% of the cap invested in their quarterbacks. The Eagles are going to get elite wide receiver play from a group that only costs 9.84% of the cap, which is just below the Super Bowl average for the cap era, but might have the deepest group in the league. They’ve also got Demarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles in a running back group that costs 8.68% of the cap, which is slightly more than the Super Bowl average, but which is an example of the depth you can get in 2015 at running back. On the other hand, the Jets are spending 17.18% of the cap on their receivers, which is beat by only one Super Bowl team, the 2006 Colts whose receivers cost them 17.61% of the cap. The Jets do have a terrific group of Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and Devin Smith, but that goes to show how much more an elite receiver group costs than the same at running back. Of course, the Jets are using those four receivers and pass-catching tight end Jace Amaro to make up a little bit for their quarterbacks.

There’s a certain competitive advantage within the salary cap that teams with innovative head coaches are able to attain because of the way that these coaches go against the grain of the league’s trends. It’s definitely an interesting topic and one that you should explore with your favorite team. Check out where the head coach and the coordinators are from in terms of their coaching gigs over the years and see if you can find that influence within their systems.

Other than that, I think the Jets are going to have a good season and probably end up in the neighborhood of 10-6 off the back of that great defense. Remember this, Todd Bowles was the defensive coordinator of an Arizona Cardinals team last year that went 11-5 with Carson Palmer playing only six games and winning all six. The Cardinals went 5-3 with Drew Stanton at quarterback, but once Ryan Lindley was the QB, they just couldn’t make it work with an offense that gained only 78 yards in that playoff loss to the Panthers.

So Jets fans, stay positive, but do know this, the days of mocking Geno Smith might be over. There’s a new regime in town and they’re going to do a much better job of amplifying the talents of whoever is at quarterback.

For those of you wondering, the book release date for the first Caponomics book with the working title “Caponomics: Management Theories” will hopefully be released some time in October or even November. I appreciate your patience as I thought I’d get it done this summer, but it’s been a much longer process than I expected, but I am thoroughly enjoying the process. One of the big hang ups has been on this “Thinking Like A College Coach” chapter that I’m writing as I’ve really had to reanalyze the chapter I had written and realized that I needed to bite the bullet and just completely re-write a chapter that was about 60 pages at that point.

If you enjoyed the analysis that went into this article, feel free to send an e-mail to Caponomics@gmail.com with the subject line “Caponomics: Management Throeis” to join our e-mail list and be updated when the book become available. If you sign up now you’ll get a bonus chapter on the 2000 Ravens, which will actually be in the third book of the Caponomics series, so you’re really getting a preview of a book that’s months down the road.

Thanks for reading and I hope you join the e-mail list!

Tweet me: @ZackMooreNFL

  • theowl

    Hardy is a monster? Like the wolf man? And your article reads as though you were in the Jets locker room when Smith was punched. That said, I agree with your values towards fighting.

  • Tyler Ferree

    Another issue is that the locker room is in cultural transition, but that takes time meaning Ryan’s looser culture that depended upon a veteran and self-policing locker room still has more of a hold than the more diceplined culture Bowles and Macagnan are trying to put in place, and unfortunately that means that stuff like this is more likely to happen.

  • eddiea

    The sad thing about whole situation, Smith finally got the right OC thrn this happens. This was his make or break season,since he’s due a new contract and needed to prove something. Oh well, if Tebow and others can get second chances maybe Smith will. Since something about him had teams thinking he was a 1st rndr at one time

    • jack_sprat2

      This latest incident confirms, to a fare-thee-well, that the concerns that pushed him down into the 2nd round were, if anything, vastly understated.

  • jack_sprat2

    Wow, even here and now, the Jets guy brings up Deflategate? Haven’t gotten around to reading the independent, scientific dismantling of the NFL’s case? Did you, you might realize that the Colts’ balls were ALSO under inflated. Alas, we’ll never know by how much, because of the slipshod practices of the league in doing the testing–two different gauges, each calibrated very differently?–and the fact that a former opponent of Tom’s, whose continued butt hurt over the Tuck Rule Game has long been an open secret among insiders in the industry, was the fellow who saw to it that the Colts’ balls were left in the heat until last, then only partially checked. Own it.