Florham Park, N.J. - The saying goes: "keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."
The Patriots have been a model for success for years. Whether you realize it or not, the organization is led flawlessly from the ground up. In 2000, they trusted a head coach with one playoff appearance and provided him with a young and talented roster - while grooming a scrawny quarterback taken with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. It's the 'Patriots Way.'
The Jets - in the midst of a playoff drought approaching six full seasons - trusted five head coaches that brought the organization a total of six playoff appearances in 16 seasons. Is that the 'Jets Way?'
Nobody could have predicted a quarterback who ran a 5.28 second in the 40-yard dash and was labeled as someone who "does everything slowly," according to draft reports, to develop into a future Hall of Famer. That same man is on the verge of 200 career wins (including the playoffs) and needs just 57 yards to be the fifth quarterback in NFL history with 60,000 career passing yards.
It speaks to how well the team is ran and coached. Give credit where credit is due. Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick have done excellent jobs. A win on Sunday for New England would mark 16 consecutive winning seasons since Tom Brady made his starting debut. A win would also mark 16 straight seasons without being swept by a divisional opponent; that's the longest streak by any team since the NFL merger, as reported by Mike Reiss.
The Patriots know how to create talent from nothing and provide opportunities for players to showcase their skills. They trust players and if they don't perform or follow the 'Patriots Way,' they cut their losses. It's admirable. New England doesn't handcuff themselves to underperforming players. They move on. The Jets should learn from that.
In 2001, New England was in football purgatory. They were stuck with an underperforming quarterback approaching the end of his prime in Drew Bledsoe. A fresh face was on the bench but the team elected to go with a man who had some success in the past even though they finished 8-8 and 5-11 in the two seasons prior.
The page turned after Bledsoe suffered both a concussion and internal bleeding when Jets linebacker Mo Lewis slammed into the left side of his chest, knocking the signal caller out of the game. It would be the final time Bledsoe started for the Patriots as he was traded to Buffalo the following April. They cut their losses.
The Jets find themselves in a similar situation. They are in football purgatory with a journeyman quarterback past his prime. Ryan Fitzpatrick sustained an injury that could have kept him sidelined but the team elected to stick with the old instead of turning to the new. Let's make something clear - the situation is similar.While Bryce Petty likely won't be Brady, the Jets will never know what they have in Petty until they experiment with him. The Patriots did that with Brady in 2001 and never looked back. At this point, the Jets just need someone to be half the quarterback Brady is.
New York can learn from the way the Patriots trusted coach and de facto general manager Belichick. Without causing chaos with a revolving door of coaches, New England stayed with Belichick. Granted, there was no true reason to fire him. While the 2016 season has not been kind to Todd Bowles, it is only his second season as head coach. It is Mike Maccagnan's second season as general manager.
Woody Johnson must stay the course like Kraft did, trust the process and believe that Maccagnan and Bowles can team up to 'right the ship.' A roster overhaul must happen this offseason. It is time to cut losses with some underperforming players. They cannot stick with the status quo.
Bowles and Maccagnan can evaluate talented personnel; they just need better help developing it (see: Robby Anderson, Charone Peake, Darron Lee, Julian Stanford and Deon Simon). That starts with the coaching staff and finishes with the accountability of players.
Willie McGinest once defined the 'Patriot Way' as: "Unselfishness. Guys that put the team before themselves."
The Jets should take a page out of the Patriots playbook. Start bringing in and evaluating talent that can plug-and-play. Start trusting young players and see if they have what it takes. It helps team depth and the character around the locker room. Keep the Patriots close on Sunday; not only will it make the game more interesting for the fans - and everyone needs that - but you can also learn a thing or two from them.
Joe Barone is a staff writer at JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone) or via email (email@example.com).