It's about what coach Eric Mangini is doing with his defense. I know Mangini prefers a 3-4 style of defense, but isn't there an old adage about tailoring a system to your players, not your players to the system.
It seems Mangini missed that memo.
"That's the worst thing you can do as a coach," said an NFC coach. "You can't make guys do what they can't do just to fit what you want them to do. What is he doing?"
Mangini had good pieces for a 4-3 defense. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma is a perfect 4-3 middle linebacker, but in the Jets' 3-4 he wasn't as effective. So after he missed time with injuries last year, Mangini shipped him to the Saints in a trade last week.
Nose tackle Dewayne Robertson was never considered a 3-4 nose, but instead was more of a 4-3 defensive tackle. Yet Mangini insisted he play the nose and the Jets are trying to trade him.
Why? Pace seems like a good choice to be a rush linebacker in the 3-4, especially since he came into the league as a defensive end. But Pace was a bust in Arizona until he took over as a starter last year when Chike Okeafor was lost for the year with an injury. He has 38 starts in five seasons.
Agent Pat Dye should go into the agent Hall of Fame for getting Pace that deal.
The Jets will now play Kris Jenkins, who they got in a trade from Carolina, on the nose. Pace will play an outside rush spot. And Mangini will play his 3-4.
"Letting good players go like the Jets have done can kill your franchise," said the NFC coach.
Yeah, but it's not about winning. It's about making sure players fit into what Mangini wants to do, whether it works or not.