2013 Season Preview:
New York Jets
Last Season Review:
Once again the New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan labeled his team a contender and Super Bowl team and once again, they underperformed. The defense was strong as usual under Rex but the offense regressed badly. Quarterback Mark Sanchez in his 4th season completed only 54.3% of his passes and accounted for 26 turnovers. The Jets finished 6-10, fired GM Mike Tannenbaum and hired former Seattle Seahawk assistant John Idzik.
The Jets ranked #30 of 32 teams last season in overall offense. Coming off a 26 turnover season, and his 4th consecutive season of completing less than 60% of his passes (his entire career to date), the Jets finally put Mark Sanchez in a true QB competition with the drafting of Geno Smith, the former West Virginia QB, in the 2nd round. Mark and Geno are currently locked in a battle that could go either way. Supporting the QB is a highly questionable run game. Bilal Powell, the former Louisville running back appears to be the starter by default. Chris Ivory, who was acquired from the Saints in the off season, has been out of practice with a hamstring injury, and free agent pickup Mike Goodson has been sidelined from the team due to an off season arrest where he was pulled over in a car with guns and drug paraphenalia. Joe McKnight, a player that has been on the fringe his entire career appears to be out of shape, and struggling to overcome a concussion. As questionable as the running back situation is, the receiver situation may be worse. Santonio Holmes will miss a few games due to a lisfranc injury, and beyond Holmes there isn’t much proven production on the roster. 2nd year receiver Stephen Hill is tall and fast (6’4″ and ran a 4.3 at the draft combine) but he showed poor route running and bad hands in his rookie season. Jeremy Kerley has shown some flashes in the slot, and former Dolphin Clyde Gates could have a real shot as the teams 3rd/4th receiver. At TE, it’s the mixed bag of Jeff Cumberland, Hayden Smith, and a gimpy Kellen Winslow Jr. Question marks, all.
The strength of the team. Rex Ryan may have his detractors as a head coach but the man can sure coach up a defense. With that said, there are a good bit of question marks out there. The Jets finished #8 last season in total defense but there have been some changes to this year’s defense. Antonio Cromartie is the only sure thing in the secondary. He filled in admirably as the team’s shutdown corner when Darrelle Revis went down early in the season with injury. Now Revis is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Can Dee Milliner the touted rookie from Alabama fill his place? I’m unsure at this time but he’s expected to start on the other side of Cromartie. Kyle Wilson will once again be the nickel corner. The safety spots are up in the air. Dawan Landry (brother of last season’s Jet standout Laron Landry) should start at strong safety but there is a battle at free safety between Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett. The linebacker corp has some questions as well. Can David Harris and Calvin Pace bounce back from a poor seasons? Can 280 pound Quinton Coples adjust from the defensive line to linebacker? Pace and Harris are vets but both men are coming off subpar seasons but due to their pedigree they will start. DeMario Davis showed some talent as the 2nd inside linebacker, but this is his first season as a starter. The key is Coples. He’s a natural defensive end making the shift to linebacker. He might be too big for the position but the hope is he can contribute to the pass rush. The linebacker group has some questions but the defensive line is solid. Mo Wilkerson is a stud at DE, and opposite him, rookie Sheldon Richardson has gotten some rave reviews. Kendrick Ellis is also pretty good at DT. If those 3 can get some pressure on the QB than we’ll find out if the Jets can remain a top 10 defensive unit.
The Jets have Nick Folk and Billy Cundiff competing for the job at kicker. Folk was 21-27 for the Jets, and Cundiff is coming off a season where he ws 7-12 on attempts. At punter it’s Robert Malone and Ryan Quigley locked in a battle. You’d expect Malone to keep his punting job, but with the Jets you never know. Jeremy Kerley will be the punt returner, Clyde Gates should be one of the kick returners, but it’s unclear at this time who will lineup alongside him.
Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, and Geno Smith were the first 3 picks of the draft and all 3 are expected to contribute this season. Millner and Richardson should start week 1 against Tampa, and if Geno isn’t named the starter it’s likely that he’ll see some snaps at some point this season. The team is high on 3rd round guard Brian Winters. Winters is in a battle to start at one of the guard spots. 7th rounder Tommy Bohannon might be the star of the draft class. The 215th pick from Wake Forest appears to be the starter at FB and the fact that he can play some TE too, should see him catching a fair amount of passes from whom ever the QB is.
This Jets team has a lot of questions, as this preview has pointed out. Looking at the schedule, I really feel this is a season that could go either way. The Jets have a brutal 5 game stretch starting October 3rd with games at Atlanta and Cincinnati and at home to New England, Pittsburgh and New Orleans. The Jets easily could go 0-5 against those teams but after that is their bye week and the rest of the schedule isn’t so bad. If a QB steps up, and the Jets find a running game I could see this team finishing 8-8. However, I might be a pessimist by nature, but I just don’t see this Jet squad finishing .500 or better. Mark Sanchez will not finish the season as the starter, assuming he even starts the season as the starter. Geno is going to get his snaps but with an average at best running game, and a weak receiving corp it would be an achievement if the Jets even equal the 6-10 of last season. So, I’ll put them in at 5-11 and last place in the AFC East.
Second Look: David Snipes
Here is my problem with the Jets. I like Rex Ryan, and I think he’s a very good coach, but his GM hasn’t done him any favors. Bart Scott, DR, any running game, etc etc, all gone without much in the words of a replacement. I also don’t think they helped much with the drafting of Geno. Even if he’s veery good- Rex won’t see it. Better to give Rex a do or die year, then go into the 2014 draft with a new GM, new Coach and a top 5 pick or an answer to what Sanchez is. but with what I see on here. 6 wins is a streach, I’ll give then a battle with Buffalo for last place.
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