New York JetsRead the introduction here
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Oakland Raiders tomorrow
2011 Record: 8-8
Key Acquisitions: Yeremiah Bell, Josh Brown, Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Stephon Heyer, Stephen Hill, LaRon Landry, Chaz Schillens, Tim Tebow
Key Departures: Plaxico Burress, Marquice Cole, Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, LaDanian Tomlinson, Jamaal Westerman
Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan have neglected this offense for the past three years, and they will finally see the effects of this. Ryan prides himself on his defense, but as the head coach, he has to care about all phases of the team, but he doesn't. That's why he should still be a defensive coordinator (a job at which he is elite). This is the final year of the Mike Tannenbaum era because if the Jets get to .500, I'll finally be convinced that Tebow has divine intervention on his side. Speaking of Timothy, let's dispel the argument of Tebow being a "winner." He's 8-6 as a starter, but he's a winner! He honestly should switch positions. He'd be a nice fullback (I'm actually not joking). The offense has no weapons, and on top of that, the offensive line cannot protect anyone, regardless of who is under center. There will not be nearly enough points scored for this team to make it to the playoffs. Defensively this team will rely more on elite scheme than elite talent. I like certain players on defense, but Rex's coaching allows the lesser players to overachieve. I still expect them to be a Top 5 defense, but with the ineptitude of the offense, they'll be on the field way too much.
I had to write a whole separate article about the quarterbacks earlier. I said it there and I'll say it again, Mark Sanchez is going to have his best season, even if the stats won't prove it. When he first came to New York, it was very evident that he didn't put in the necessary effort to become as good as he can be. It looks like he finally gets it, and he's already showing that his ability to read the defense is improved.
Shonn Greene. Oh Shonn. He's not a great running back, but he's not terrible. He's run through the holes created for him, but he's not going to do anything spectacular nor is he going to be a reliable playmaker. He doesn't have great speed nor is he the strongest, he's just another guy. He's nice to have as the second running back on a team, but not as the feature back. Unfortunately, the delusional Jets organization wants to Ground and Pound with this guy. Talk about not knowing what you have. Simply put, that's a horrific decision. Joe McKnight does however has great speed, and did some nice things as the third down back last year. Bilal Powell is fighting for that job, and he's a powerful back who has been pretty good in training camp so far, in case you put any stock in that. John Conner is a great fullback. The blocks that the Terminator throws are pretty awesome. He's also valuable in short yardage situations.
Santonio Holmes isn't elite. He's an elite #2 receiver, but as the top guy, he doesn't cut it. It's especially bad when the guys after him are all unproven. Holmes is a malcontent who will get annoyed whenever the throws don't go near him, even when he's double covered. Let's just say that he's going to be pretty angry this year. I do like Stephen Hill. He has great speed and he can really stretch the field with his running. He has an issue with drops so far, but he's improving. He knows how to get separation from the defense, and I expect him to be the primary receiver by the end of the year. Jeremy Kerley was fine last year, but as the full-time slot receiver I expect some good things from him. All Patrick Turner does is drop the ball. Drops, drops, drops, and more drops. I don't get this team's love affair with him, but it has got to stop. Jordan White doesn't have very good speed, but he is a pretty good route runner. He's not going to have much of an impact, but he will help move the chains once in a while. Chaz Schillens was a starter on the Raiders, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy throughout his career. He's not very good either. When it comes to receivers, this team is deep, but there isn't anyone that will put fear into an opposing defense. Unless of course they lose sleep over Antonio Cromartie. Yes, the cornerback is going to start playing both sides of the ball. He's a dynamic athlete, but most corners move to defense because they can't catch the ball. Whatever.
Dustin Keller has always been a very good tight end, and Mark Sanchez's security blanket. He's a very good option over the middle of the field, especially when he's in constant trouble. That brings us to the debacle that is Wayne Hunter.
Wayne Hunter can only be described as a turnstile. He whiffs on blocks, or he goes down and allows the rusher a free path to Sanchez. Too many times I have seen the defensive end literally push Hunter so far into the backfield that they were able to pressure the QB without getting around Hunter. There was even a play last night against the Giants in which (I'm not kidding) Mathias Kiwanuka lifted Wayne off the ground, threw him aside, and went about his business. A guy who shouldn't be in the NFL starting at RT is not good for this line, because nobody else can hold their blocks long enough for there to be legitimate protection. Sanchez has to spend time getting away from Hunter's mistake that he doesn't have time to look downfield and go through his progressions to get off a good pass, or he walks into a sack allowed by someone else. Speaking of other people, the rest of this line is actually very good. Nick Mangold is the best center in the NFL, while Brandon Moore and D'Brickashaw Ferguson are both elite at their respective positions. Brick had a down year, but he'll bounce back pretty nicely. Matt Slauson isn't the great guard, but he doesn't hurt this team. They tried to trade for Jeff Otah, but he failed two physicals and the trade was voided. He was later cut by the Panthers. I fully expect Austin Howard or Stephon Heyer to step in and take over the starting RT role by Week 1. Anyone is better than Wayne Hunter.
I never thought I would write so much about an offensive line. Tweet me (@WilliamBotchway) with all of the Wayne Hunter jokes that you can think of. I might actually make embarrassing Wayne Hunter a recurring theme.
Sione Pouha is a good nose tackle, but he's not very good as a pass rusher. He was a force in defending the run, but he doesn't exactly have the pass rushing talent. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was also very good in run defense, and he was better at getting to the QB. He'll get better as he grows. Kenrick Ellis will get his opportunity to shine this year, and I expect him to show some improvement. His ceiling is very high, but I'm not sure if he's going to put it all together. Marcus Dixon and Mike DeVito are very good in certain situations, with DeVito being a viable threat on passing downs. Now we get to Quinton Coples. The first round draft pick who has shown that he can shut off his motor and play completely unmotivated. In classic Jets fashion, they looked at this and saw, first round pick. He has great talent, but I really hope that his mind is in the right place this year. If it his, he will be the best pass rusher on the team.
Demario Davis looks to be a pass rushing linebacker, and Rex Ryan already loves him. If Rex loves a guy on defense, that's usually a great sign. Calvin Pace is getting old, slow, and he's always hurt. Not a good recipe, but when he's on the field, he's a good tackler. Hopefully his dreadful year was just an anomaly. Bryan Thomas can play at linebacker and on the line, and he's a veteran leader on this defense. Bart Scott is looking old and slow himself, but he always finds a way to turn it on. He's not at his best, but he's still fine. Now to get to my two favorite people in the front seven. Aaron "Mayhem" Maybin played mostly on passing downs last year, but due to his great performance, I see him getting some more playing time. He was a draft bust (11th pick in 2009) picked off the wire by the Jets last year. He led the team in sacks and showed what made him such a high pick, his pass rushing talent. He did just what his nickname suggests, the man caused mayhem. David Harris is the soul of this team defensively. He's still extremely underrated, and a very good linebacker. He's not Patrick Willis elite, but he's in the second tier.
Darrelle Revis is the best cornerback in the league. We all know that. With Antonio Cromartie on the other side, this team sports the best cornerback tandem in the league (rivaled by Philadelphia). Cromartie is a great playmaker and doesn't get enough credit in terms of coverage. Kyle Wilson is a very good defensive back in packages with extra wide receivers. He's never going to put a receiver on an island (see: Revis Island), but he does a pretty nice job in coverage. LaRon Landry is an amazing safety, when he's healthy. He's one of the best in the league, except that he can never be fully healthy. He's essentially Bob Sanders Part Deux. Hopefully he can stay on the field this year. Yeremiah Bell is a very smart safety. He's a very good tackler too, with 107 total tackles last season. There's Eric Smith too, who is pretty slow for his position, but he's good in certain packages.
We have a kicker battle brewing here. I expect Josh Brown to win the job over Nick Folk, probably because Brown has been consistent over his NFL career and Folk has been anything but. Also, the punter, T.J. Conley is completely atrocious. He has terrible last year, and he had three shanks in a row last night. Terrible punting performance. He needs to be replaced. Joe McKnight apparently led the NFL in return yards per kickoff last year (according to CBS). That was completely unexpected, but he does know how to take it to the house. Jeremy Kerley will probably handle the punts. Antonio Cromartie does make cameos on special teams, and to great results.
6-10, 3rd in AFC East
**NOTE** 9-7 means that Rex Ryan is the smartest man on the face of the Earth. A Super Bowl and we need to put him on Mount Rushmore.