NFL Preview: New York Jets

For the past 7 months, the New York Jets have been under the microscope, but not because of a solid lineup, not because of riding on the victories of the past season, but because of one man.

Darrelle Revis.

He has had nearly as much press as Brett Favre in this past offseason, and that alone says something. He and Favre had the same “Will he, or won’t he?” angle going, with neither man’s status being certain. The difference? If Favre said no, he might retire. If it were Revis, he would be SWAMPED with offer upon offer. There is probably no team in the NFL today who wouldn’t want a cornerback like Revis at their disposal, as he is one of the best in the game today.

Okay, enough with the hype…time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

That, my friends, is the question: Are the Jets worth all the hype they get? Head coach Rex Ryan has already made the bold prediction that the Jets will be “future champions”, which in itself is a bold prediction, but when you look at the division they play in, it’s an even more ballsy claim. Of course, they share a division with the vaunted New England Patriots, but they also have two teams with plenty of potential in them in Buffalo and Miami. As I have said before, I would keep a close eye on the AFC East division, as it will be one of the more exciting to watch, and the Jets are part of the reason for that.

Revis is obviously the face of the Jets’ defense, but he’s not the only one who opposing offenses need to be cautious of. On the other side, you have Antonio Cromartie, the former San Diego standout. This makes throwing the deep ball against the Jets ill-advised, and it also forces teams to think more about the run. Between these two alone, you have 41 pass deflections, 9 interceptions, and 87 tackles….that adds up to trouble for receivers. You add in Calvin Pace, Bart Scott…and even Jason Taylor is a threat, and he’s used sparingly. In a nutshell, the Jets may have had the best defense in the league, both statistically and on paper…and this year’s not looking much different.

On offense, Mark Sanchez proved he could hang with the big boys in the NFL. In fact, the “Sanchise” is in position to build upon his numbers from last year, now that he is more comfortable and confident in his role, and has a much deeper receiving core. You have Santonio Holmes, whose Super Bowl-winning catch proved he had something: clutch ability. Granted, he’s not an Andre Johnson or a Randy Moss, but he has a knack for making the big play when he needs to. You also have Braylon Edwards, who was a big fish in a little pond in Cleveland. If he can improve on his ability to hang on to the ball (or lack thereof), he could be productive. Then there’s Jerricho Cotchery, who could crack the 1,000 yard barrier IF he remains healthy, and if Ryan moves him to the slot, where he would make an excellent slot receiver. Sanchez also has a decent outlet in Dustin Keller, who is not known best for racking up yardage or touchdowns, but he could make for an unexpected red zone target. Sanchez has better tools than last year, but it would seem that the Jets are looking to run more with Shonn Greene. With 304 yards and 2 touchdowns near the end of last season, the Jets saw enough in him to name him the starter…on a squad that was ranked first in rushing yards!! However, I don’t buy the hype. I may be wrong on this, and it wouldn’t be the first time, but I don’t think Greene will meet expectations. Why? One: he has a tendency to fumble when it counts. (See: Slaton, Steve for similar case.) Two: if New York was truly high on him and totally trusted him, why would the have picked up LaDainian Tomlinson? Granted, LT hasn’t had good productivity as of late, but it could be VERY interesting to see where this goes…a former stud behind a much better O-line than he’s used to…as opposed to a seemingly rising potential stud. It will be very interesting to see where Ryan takes this rushing game.

The Jets’ main problem, once again, is their division. They have a fairly strong schedule, which could hurt them when it comes down to those wins and losses that determine who makes it into the playoffs and who doesn’t. However, it’s not only so much the strength of their schedule so much as it is the weakness of others in their division. Miami, in my opinion, has a softer schedule, and even one win over the Jets could put them over the Jets when it’s all said and done. They also have to contend with the Patriots, which is never an easy task. Rex Ryan may have dubbed his team as future champions, and if he can wind up winning the AFC East, which is a BIG if, he might not be too far off from the truth…we’ll just have to see what happens. My opinion? It won’t happen, but the Jets will have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

My Projected Record: 9-7

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