Jets D Will Be Strong; Where Is The Offense?
The first year Rex Ryan took over as head coach of the New York Jets, he immediately put his stamp on the franchise. The Jets traded up in the draft to take USC QB Mark Sanchez, Based on strong defense and opportunistic offense, Gang Green went 9-7 in the 2009 NFL season before reaching their first of two consecutive AFC Championship games. Since that glorious entrance, things have gone steadily downhill.
The Jets went 11-5 and reached the AFC Championship game against in 2010, but when they couldn’t reach the Super Bowl the questions began to swirl. Fans began to doubt Mark Sanchez. Veterans began leaving via free agency. And the wheels began to come off. New York fell to 8-8 the following year, and dropped to 6-10 in 2012. Now the Jets, who were very recently considered the greatest challenge to the Patriots’ reign of terror over the AFC East, are in danger of falling all the way to the basement.
If the Jets struggle in 2013, it won’t be a result of the defense. Everywhere you look, there seems to be a “name” player – Calvin Pace, Antonio Cromartie, and Quinton Coples to name a few – and that doesn’t take into account the 2 stud rookies New York picked up in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. It won’t even be a matter of special teams, as Nick Folk and punter Robert Malone are a reasonably solid tandem.
If the Jets fail this season, it will be due to an anemic offense that looks troubled even on paper – the struggling Sanchez, a new, injury-prone RB with no lead back experience, and a wide receiving corps that (outside the injured Santonio Holmes) doesn’t seem to boast anyone that’d even be a #2 WR on any other squad. And while the offensive line is good, the question remains simple: who do they really have to protect?
New York Jets: 2012 team stats
Team record: 6-10 (T-3rd in AFC East)
Total offensive rank: 30th (30th pass, 12th rush)
Total defensive rank: 8th (2nd pass, 26th rush)
2013 New York Jets: offensive preview
The Jets finished 30th in total offense last season, and it can be argued they had more talent a year ago than they do now. Mark Sanchez has been bombarded with every piece of negativity one man can take: last year, Tim Tebow comes in, and they even start 3rd string QB Greg McElroy. This year, the Jets draft Geno Smith, and Gang Green fans are calling for Smith to start in spite of a poor preseason. Even Rex Ryan, ever the eternal Sanchez optimist, can’t seem to take much more.
Not to give #5 an out for poor play, but the list of WRs he has to deal with Week 1 reads as follows: Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates, Ben Obomanu. (Santonio Holmes begins the season hurt, while the Jets cut Braylon Edwards.) Lest you expect a star solution at TE, you will only find Jeff Cumberland and the rapidly inconsequential Kellen Winslow Jr. No Jets receiver posted more than 3 TDs last season, and Kerley led all receivers with 56 catches.
Chris Ivory has been brought in to lead the Jets rushing attack, which was a solid 12th in 2012. For their part, the Jets do have a good run blocking offensive line, so Ivory will have a chance to succeed. But Ivory may have lost his starting job to Bilal Powell in the preseason, which further complicates an offense that is already seeking answers. Between Ivory’s injury troubles and Powell’s inexperience, the rushing game is in danger of taking a step back this season.
2013 New York Jets: defensive preview
The New York Jets are going to be fine on defense (see, the article’s not all doom and gloom!). Two 1st round draft picks, CB Dee Milliner and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, will play immediately and are sure to contribute. The young, home-grown defensive line of Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis and Richardson should be one of the finest in the NFL.
The Jets’ linebackers offer a mix of veteran leadership and youth. David Harris and Calvin Pace have 16 years of combined NFL experience (11 with NYJ); Harris in particular had a very good 2012. New York’s 1st and 3rd round picks from the 2012 NFL Draft, Quinton Coples and DeMario Davis, will look to build off solid rookie campaigns, and the outside LB tandem of Coples and Pace could offer problems for opposing offensive lines.
The secondary in New York has been outstanding since Rex Ryan arrived and should continue in that vein in 2013. Milliner and veteran Antonio Cromartie will start a majority of the season, and are backed up by several quality CBs, including Isaiah Trufant and Kyle Wilson. Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen currently project as the starting safeties.
2013 New York Jets: schedule tough in the middle, easier at the end
If you’re the Jets, these are a nice last 5 weeks of the season to see: home for Miami and the Raiders, at Carolina, home for the Browns and at Miami. While it’s not 5 straight games against Jacksonville, New York could have it a lot worse down the home stretch. (Much of that stretch depends on whether Miami improves or not this season.)
From Weeks 5 to 12, the schedule makers didn’t do Gang Green any favors. There are 4 road games – 1 AFC matchup, and 3 against 2012 playoff teams (Atlanta, Cincy and the Super Bowl champion Ravens). The home games are against the Steelers, Patriots and Saints. The Week 10 bye may serve as a “wound licking” period as much as anything for the Jets.
Here’s the full home and away schedules for the 2013 New York Jets:
Home: Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New England, New Orleans, Miami, Oakland, Cleveland
Away: New England, Tennessee, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami
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