Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 NFL Previews: New York Jets

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

With training camps opening throughout the NFL the past week we will take a quick look at previewing some teams for the upcoming season; giving a rundown of the 2012 one, some off-season moves and an outlook of this season. It is time to get excited as there will not be another Sunday without NFL football until February 2014. Here is the 2013 preview for the New York Jets.

New York Jets AFC East (6-10)
2012 was a rough season for the Jets as they looked to have hit rock bottom. They made headlines before the season by trading for Tim Tebow, the second consecutive time they traded for a big name quarterback following a New York Giants Super Bowl victory. The Jets were able to stay in the limelight during the season but not for anything positive.

The Jets lost star cornerback Darrelle Revis in the second game of the season to an ACL injury and wide receiver Santonio Holmes just two games later. Starting tight end Dustin Keller was lost in the eighth game for the remainder of the season as well.

Without his top two weapons Mark Sanchez struggled mightily. He looked like a far cry from the quarterback that led the Jets to consecutive AFC Championship games. It got so bad for Sanchez that Greg McElroy started a game in the season. Sanchez was one of if not the worst quarterback in the NFL last season and the Jets passing offense was anemic, averaging only 181 yards per game, 30th in the NFL. The only memorable thing from a Jets quarterback last season was this:

The rush offense for the Jets ranked 12th at 118.5 yards per game, which is solid on the surface, but when taking a closer look is underwhelming. The Jets averaged only 3.8 yards per rush, so their 118.5 per game was as laborious as any run game in the NFL. The “Wildcat” offense package that was put into place to showcase the talents of Tebow never worked as he could not even get a start ahead of the third string QB and was ineffective whenever he took the field.

The pass defense, even without Revis, was strength for the Jets as Antonio Cromartie had a good season. The Jets ranked second in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 189.8 yards per game through the air. That number has to be taken with a grain of salt as well as the Jets spent most of their time behind this season and with how porous their rush defense was its not wonder teams decided not to pass on them; the Jets surrendered 133.6 rushing yards per game, ranked 26th in the NFL.

The Jets underwhelmed last season but even the worst of worst teams have some highlights worth taking a look back on; check out some of the best from their best player last season, Antonio Cromartie:

Key Losses (New Team): Tim Tebow, QB (New England Patriots); Brandon Moore, G; LaRon Landry, S (Indianapolis Colts); Dustin Keller, TE (Miami Dolphins); Shonne Greene, RB (Tennessee Titans); Bart Scott, LB; Jason Smith, OT (New Orleans Saints); Yeremiah Bell, S (Arizona Cardinals); Sione Po’uha, DT; Matt Slauson, G (Chicago Bears); Eric Smith, S; Mike DeVito, DE (Kansas City Chiefs); Aaron Maybin, LB (Cincinnati Bengals); Bryan Thomas, LB; Chaz Schilens, WR (Detroit Lions)

Key Additions (Old Team): Willie Colon, G (Pittsburgh Steelers); Dawan Landry, S (Jacksonville Jaguars); Antonio Garay, DL (San Diego Chargers); Stephen Peterman, G (Detroit Lions); Kellen Winslow Jr., TE (New England Patriots); Antwan Barnes, LB (San Diego Chargers); Ben Obomanu, WR (Seattle Seahawks); Mike Goodson, RB (Oakland Raiders)

Players Re-Signed: Calvin Pace, LB; Austin Howard, OT; Braylon Edwards, WR; Nick Folk, K; Jeff Cumberland, TE; Tanner Purdum, LS; Lex Hilliard, FB; Josh Mauga, LB

Players Drafted: Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama; Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri; Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia; Brian Winters, OG, Kent State; Oday Aboushi, OG, Virginia; William Campbell, OG, Michigan; Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest

The Jets did a solid job in the draft. They got the best graded QB in the class with the 39th overall pick and filled a massive need at CB with their first overall pick. Richardson gives the Jets some options across the defensive line to help get them back to the dominant defense they were when Rex Ryan first took over the head coaching job. Winters could step right into a starting role while Aboushi adds some much needed depth. The Jets did lose a lot in free agency as they lost both starting safeties and a backup from last season. Top corner Revis was traded as well, leaving the Jets without three of their four starters in the defensive backfield from last season. They did make some solid veteran additions though to replace the ones they let walk.

Season Outlook

This is starting to look like the end of the Rex Ryan era for the Jets. It could have easily been fired after last season and just looks to be in over his head with this current squad. He no longer has the dominant defense that made him and Jets successful in his first few seasons and the offense is just as poor if not worse with Sanchez regressing and the running game deteriorating around him.
Joe Nicholson - US Presswire
The Jets are still void of talent on the offensive side of the ball but the defense should be just as good as last season if not a little improved. They are young up front and should only get better with the more experience they gain. The defense will be the strong point of this squad as the offense is still a mess. Jeremy Kerley did well in a feature role last season and has the makings of a solid slot receiver. Getting Holmes back in the lineup will help as well in addition to Stephen Hill growing in his second season. Winslow Jr. has battled injuries but when healthy he has produced extremely well. Not sure the run game will improve much with workhorse Greene moving on and Chris Ivory and Goodson brought in to split reps. The real wild card in this offense though is the quarterback play. 

The incumbent Sanchez was awful last season and there are no signs of him improving. Smith could see plenty of playing time this season and if that is the case Jets fans will just have to give him some time to grow and develop; it is not something they want to hear but this season has the potential to land the Jets in the top five of next seasons draft as this roster just does not have the talent on offense. The six wins from last season will be tough to match in 2013.

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