The addition of Percy Harvin not only adds an elite playmaker tothe Jets, it also gives head coach Rex Ryan a shot at reclaiming the season. And it is these final nine games of the regular season that Ryan should be judged on in light of this trade.
General manager John Idzik's move for Harvin acknowledges his team was devoid of talent on the offensive side of the ball. A quick scan of the statistics for the season shows a mundane offense ranked No. 20 in the league, with the NFL's second-worst passing offense. But statistics aren't necessary, as anyone who has seen a handful of minutes of a Jets game this season sees an offense stuck in neutral at best.
Trading for Harvin is Idzik's admitting he didn't do enough this offseason to bring weapons in for the offense. In doing so, Ryan's 1-6 start to the season should be wiped clean. At year's end, Idzik can't determine if Ryan is worthy of an extension based off this start. That's like putting a blindfold on a student driver and failing him for veering off the road.
There remain issues with this Jets team.The secondary, in particular cornerback, remains an outstanding problem. But Ryan now has a fighting chance to right things and finish this year on a high note.
It was always going to be an uphill climb for this Jets team, as last year's 8-8 record wasn't sustainable. That team won too many games on last-minute heroics. Factor in a tough slate of games to start this season, with four dates against playoff teams from last year, and the dreams of a postseason berth were always meant to be dashed.
But with Harvin, the Jets could be built into a playoff team down the road if they can utilize his ability in space and if quarterback Geno Smith can deliver him the ball down the field.
These final nine games present a far more balanced schedule. They easily could have had another win or two withHarvinon the roster since Week 1. If they can utilize Harvin the right way, he will mask a lot of deficiencies.
Win some games, and Ryan should earn a shot at one more season with the Jets.
After all, his team has only been outplayed in one game this year and was a blocked field goal away from a road win over the top team in their division. If the offense was better, they could be a .500 team. But Idzik failed to give the coaching staff enough weapons to make that possible. That is, until now.
Harvin doesn't make the Jets a perfect team or even a good team. What he does is make them a bit more balanced, and a bit more competitive.
Competitive enough for Ryan to be fairly judged.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.