By Jordan Aaron
Whenever I go to a Jets game, I follow the rule, “never be optimistic, you’ll only be disappointed.” So, in regards to that rule, I will give you a viewer’s discretion advised before continuation of your reading.
The Jets have been the laughing stock of the NFL since thanksgiving last year, and probably even longer. Between butt fumbles, Tim Tebow and “the circus” it has been hard for the avid Jets fan to get any breathing room from critics and even SportsCenter.
And now, while our coaches and staff, finally taking an oath of silence and letting the playing do the talking, look to the future while fans can only look at the past.
Many people look at Mark Sanchez and think about his inability to make good decisions and interceptions and his sacks, never having time to throw the ball.
But no one is thinking about what Marty Mornhingweg brings to the Jets offense. The west coast offense is more tailored for the quarterback, especially one for the skillset specifically of Mark Sanchez.
We have consistently seen that when given the necessary time allotted, Sanchez can hit targets and make decisions, something that should come with the new west coast offense.
But before you retort this with the typical, “the Jets have a terrible offensive line.” The Jets last year, according to NFL.com had the 27th best, or 6th worst O-Line in the league. Last year’s line was clearly less than average, being 50% of Sanchez’s woes.
While losing Matt Slauson, the Jets picked up veterans Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman to play alongside Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson (both probowlers) and Austin Howard. But as Idzik has proclaimed, there will be competition at every position, not just QB.
Third round draft pick Brian Winters will compete for left guard, and familiar face Vladimir Ducasse will compete for right guard. This competition will bring the best out of all the linemen.
As we all know Sanchez does not have a Brady-esque type arm that can throw accurate deep bombs. He likes to throw short. Now, whether that is how he likes to play or that is his confidence showing, in a West Coast offense, you don’t need to throw deep bombs.
It is about short precise passes and so far, two days into training camp, he has shown accuracy. While throwing one interception in training camp he was 9-16. For Geno Smith, it is also an interesting position.
Smith will need more practice when it comes to adapting as he was used exclusively in the shotgun in college. He is however, mobile and well armed.
He has the ability to move the pocket, and he has even showed versatility in his time at training camp, running for a touchdown out of the read option. He also has been commended for his huge arm, throwing a deep touchdown to Clyde Gates.
That should serve as a healthy transition to receiving. I’ll get Holmes out of the way first. No one knows where he is in rehab, but to me, it looks bleak.
The Jets have to prepare for a season without him at this point. So who will be the number one? If I were making the decision, it would be Braylon Edwards.
He is tall and a strong, veteran leader, plus, he is a fan favorite. But going any further into the depth chart is where it gets tricky. According to numerous sources, Clyde Gates has come out with immense improvement, grabbing a pass in the fingertips in the endzone.
He has also gotten faster, which will be helpful. If he is able to continue making jumping passes in his fingertips, it will show more evidence that he can handle the passes in traffic that are very prevalent in the West Coast Offense. For the third receiver, I would have Jeremy Kerley in the slot.
He has the ability to be as good as Wes Welker as a slot receiver as we saw him take an even larger workload last year, and meeting the challenge as well as he can.
Kerley reminds me of Wayne Chrebet as he is a small workhorse that can and will get things done. Suddenly, to me, the Jets receiving situation looks less depressing as previously conceived. Leaving room for the quick but inconsistent Stephen Hill and Jordan White along with other undrafted free agents competing for a shot on the roster, not to mention the possibility of Austin Collie, who may still have fuel left in the tank.
Speaking of still having fuel left in the tank, at tight end, Kellen Winslow seems like the best option for the Jets, as he is a veteran and has better ball catching skills then I saw out of Jeff Cumberland who I saw drop too many passes last year.
As for the running backs, Bilal Powell will not have nearly as much playing time as last season as Mike Goodson and Chris Ivory will be important pieces to the puzzle.
Ivory is a power back who, if granted more playing time, could be a huge force for the Jets offense, and Mike Goodson, even though he is not at camp for reasons unannounced by the Jets, will be a good receiving running back for the Jets to turn to in their new West Coast Offense.
Now, on defense, I think they could be in the top half of the league. At nose tackle, Kendrick Ellis should see more playing time, while Antonio Garay can stand as a veteran safety net.
Muhammad Wilkerson has only shown to be a beast on the line, being one of the best, most consistent players for the Jets. He doesn’t need anymore analysis – he will continue being a force on the line. And speedy rookie, Sheldon Richardson should be able to do some great work on the line.
In 2012 Richardson recorded 75 tackles for 39 yards for loss in 11 games. He has had maturity issues, but hopefully, time with the new look Jets will change this. Quinton Coples is now an outside linebacker who boasts that he will be able to compete with the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Dustin Keller.
While that may be a stretch, I am excited to see how this experiment works out. In the worst-case scenario, Calvin Pace is behind Coples as a backup. Demario Davis will take Bart Scott’s place and while David Harris claims he does not have the big mouth that Scott had, he is playing very well and fitting the shoes left behind for him. Antwan Barnes had 11 sacks in 2011 but was plagued by injury last year. He is setting high goals for himself though, and will attempt to get back into his older form.
Cromarte is taking Scott’s place and the loud guy aa he was throwing punches in day 2. He performed at the same level as Derelle Revis last year, but hopefully will have more help this year as Dee Milliner, if he ever gets signed, should be able to be a step up from Kyle Wilson. Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen are favored in the depth chart to be the starting safties, but Josh Bush follows close behind.
Both have advantages and disadvantages. Bush is better in coverage but is not a fantastic tackler, and is not the quickest.
Allen is the exact opposite, so Josh Bush looks like the winner here, as coverage is especially important in that part of the field, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the players switched for different situations, i.e., third and short would be Allen, second and twelve would be Bush.
The Jets have been counted out already before the season has even begun but the Jets are staying quiet. They aren’t predicting Superbowls, they aren’t fighting back the media, and they aren’t letting press encroach on camp.
This season will not be as bad as last season and they also have a relatively easier schedule then last year. I don’t expect them to still be playing at MetLife Stadium come this February, but they will be at least .500 this year.