Bradway taking heat for Jets slow start

Updated: October 8, 2003, 6:48 PM ET

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Every week, Terry Bradway answers questions from callers on an evening radio show.

Last week, following a 17-6 loss to Dallas, Bradway fielded a query from one irate listener who shouted, 'You should be fired!'

Jets fans are trying to find someone to blame for an 0-4 start.

Bradway seems the perfect target after an offseason in which the Redskins plucked four players -- including top receiver Laveranues Coles -- from the team. Bradway also traded two No. 1 picks to move up and take defensive tackle Dwayne Robertson, who has not had an immediate impact.

"I'm disappointed because we lose," Bradway said. "I'm not worried about draft, free agency all that stuff. Whether we like it or not, this is the team that we put together as a group. If they don't play well, I understand what my role is.

"I've said all along if you do well you stay, if you don't then you probably leave. That is the standard that has been set."

After making the playoffs in Bradway's first two seasons running the organization, things could not have started worse for the Jets in 2003.

Following the offseason losses, starting tackle Josh Evans was suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, forcing the team to start Robertson at a position that's often tough for rookies.

Then came the biggest hit of all: quarterback Chad Pennington broke and dislocated his left wrist in the preseason and will not return for several weeks. Officials inside the organization acknowledge privately the loss hurt the team more than anything that happened in the offseason, though publicly they have tried to downplay his absence.

It is no wonder the sight of Pennington throwing again made coach Herman Edwards sound downright giddy Wednesday. But he knows Pennington cannot solve everything.

So does the rest of the team, coming off a bye week to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"You have to understand what you're doing wrong. You have to be accountable," linebacker Marvin Jones said. "Accountability is the No. 1 issue. If you're not playing, don't give yourself a false sense that you are playing. It's a reality check."

Accountability starts at the top, where Bradway makes many of the personnel decisions. Though he does have input from coaches and scouts, Bradway ultimately takes the brunt of the criticism.

It all started when the Redskins came calling for Coles, guard Randy Thomas, special teams player Chad Morton and kicker John Hall. They offered Coles a seven-year, $35 million offer sheet that included a $13 million signing bonus, which the Jets did not match.

But if they had made Coles a slightly higher tender offer, the Jets could have received even more compensation, and the Redskins acknowledge they probably would have backed off pursuing Coles.

The Jets then packaged that No. 1 pick (13th overall) and their own pick at No. 22 for the No. 4 overall spot and took Dewayne Robertson, a junior from Kentucky. Robertson is starting and does not have a sack, though he is still learning how to play the position as a pro.

"It's still too early to judge this group of players," Bradway said. "The time we took in making those decisions, the input that we had in making those decisions, I can't sit here and tell you that I wish we had done things differently, because that would be foolish on my part. Decisions were made and you move on.

"It's easy to sit here at 0-4 and question everything you do in your entire organization."

In his last comments to the media last month, owner Woody Johnson defended Bradway.

"I think that's a little bit unfair because it's the whole organization," Johnson said. "It's not just Terry. It's the 80 people that work here."

Bradway knows how to win. He was with the Giants when they won two Super Bowls and with the Chiefs he helped draft Tony Gonzalez, Donnie Edwards and Joe Horn.

With the Jets in 2001, he cleared cap space by letting Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman go in the expansion draft, enabling Edwards to get the type of defensive backs he wanted. Bradway also signed Curtis Martin, Vinny Testaverde and Kevin Mawae to long-term deals for stability.

Though the season has started poorly, Bradway is confident the Jets can still have a successful year.

"It's been difficult, but you can't dwell on it," Bradway said. "If you do, then it affects your job, how you do your job and what you have to do to try to make it better. Our goal right now is to do what we can to get better every day and try to win games."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index