Owner: Jets must get 'younger'

Updated: April 25, 2013, 6:15 PM ET
By Sal Paolantonio | ESPN

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Arriving at the New York Jets' team facility for a final briefing on the team's draft plans, Jets owner Woody Johnson said the overall philosophy was simple: "We want to get younger and faster."

But Johnson said it doesn't matter whom the Jets pick in this draft, that "it comes down to the play of the quarterback. He can't fumble the football. A lot of livelihoods depend on that."

Johnson said the Jets' demise, however, was not all Mark Sanchez's fault.

"The team assembled around him the last two years got worse," said Johnson, who fired longtime general manager Mike Tannenbaum in January and replaced him with John Idzik. "We've got to get better in all phases of the game."

Johnson said with the No. 9 and the No. 13 picks in the first round, the Jets are looking to vastly improve their playmaking ability. But twice in a brief conversation Johnson brought up the position of quarterback.

Johnson said he talked briefly with Sanchez on Wednesday night at a team function for sponsors and season-ticket holders at a Manhattan nightclub and said Sanchez seemed comfortable with his offseason indoctrination into his third offensive system in as many years. New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is installing the West Coast offense.

"This is his third language he's had to learn," Johnson said. "But he seemed to be comfortable so far."

But in talking with Johnson, it was clear that Sanchez had better be ready to embrace what Mornhinweg is teaching.

As for the reference to "younger and faster," Johnson could have been alluding to the fact that the Jets have shown a lot of interest in Tavon Austin, the 5-foot-8, 176-pound wide receiver from West Virginia, who ran a 4.34 in the 40 at the combine. Many predict the Jets could pick Austin at No. 9 in the first round.

Sal Paolantonio

SportsCenter correspondent / NFL reporter
Sal Paolantonio joined ESPN as a SportsCenter correspondent in August 1995, primarily reporting on the NFL. Beginning in 2004, he also served as host of NFL Match-Up, a weekly "Xs and Os" football show produced by NFL Films.

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