The Jets are off for a month before heading to camp on July 26th but I don’t need to wait until then or even longer to share with you the FIVE players that WILL directly impact the Jets chances at becoming legit contenders this season. These FIVE players aren’t exactly the BEST at their positions, though some are, the criteria for making this list isn’t necessarily being the “best” but is based on other important variables that will be noted and explained. These five players I feel will not only play a vital role in the Jets success on both sides of the ball this season but they will consistently make the impact plays week in and week out that will ultimately lead to the Jets being legit contenders again by season’s end.
1.) Chaz Schilens WR
Chaz Schilens has yet to find his way or path in this league. At 6’4 225, Schilens has ideal size for a playmaking WR but has been suffering from the ideal excuses to NOT become that playmaking WR since he entered into the league in 2008. In 2008, Schilens was drafted out of San Deigo State in the 7th Round by the Oakland Raiders and needless to say, hasn’t done MUCH with his opportunities since become a professional WR. Though Schilens wasn’t a highly productive WR for the Raiders, he has FLASHED and shown that he has the attributes and talent to produce in any team’s WR corp. Schilens is a big target and has great hands but the problem Schilens has faced over the past 2-3 seasons isn’t “talent” related, it’s been “health” related. Schilens has suffered 2 complicated injuries since the 2009 season that has kept him from ultimately producing the way that he knows he’s capable of producing which has inturn been the motivation that he’s needed to become focused and committed in becoming a more productive WR THIS season for the Jets. Schilens has the capabilities to be that possession WR for Sanchez on crucial downs, seems to have the strength and talent to know how to garner separation between the 20s and the speed to complicate things for opposing CBs, not to mention he still has tremendous upside and room to become a better more complete WR. Holmes should command the opposing team’s 1st CB, Hill should command the opposing team’s 2nd CB and safety as his speed is an official problem for opposing DCs. That leaves Kerley and Schilens as the 2 WRs left either open or on man coverage for Sanchez to find and my money is on the bigger and faster Schilens to be the one that becomes the more reliable target out of the 2 for Sanchez.
Schilens’s size, 4’3 speed, extra commitment and motivation to remain healthy and succeed will certainly play a vital part in his role in helping the Jets become legit contenders by the end of the season.
2.) Aaron Maybin OLB
Jets OLB Aaron Maybin is coming off a season in which he led the Jets in sacks with 6 but did so in limited snaps. Rex Ryan and DC Mike Pettine couldn’t trust Maybin to keep him on the field on certain downs because he was a liability in certain packages. That WILL change this season as Maybin has completely focused his offseason training into becoming a more complete OLB that not only WON’T have to come off the field for certain packages but that can and WILL be more of an asset for the Jets as oppose to being a liability. Maybin ended last season weighing in at 230 pounds but has reportedly packed on about 24 pounds with only 3% body fat. Needless to say that’s pretty impressive but more importantly it shows commitment, discipline and extreme focus on the part of Maybin. Maybin, because of his speed and initial quickness off the snap is a difficult matchup on the edges but by adding power and strength he should not ONLY be a difficult matchup on the edges but he should certainly be able to adequately assist in containing the run. This season with the concentration and focus being aimed directly at the Jets defensive line and how to best utilize and maximize the strengths of the talented players on said line, Maybin and his attributes stands out as one that should be able to benefit the most from a D-line that consist of talented players such as Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson and the production caused by those players SHOULD open things up for Maybin to excel.
Last season while playing in just limited snaps, Maybin showed the propensity and the knack to get to or pressure the QB late in games and showed his ability to become that defensive player opposing QBs need to be cognizant of at all times ESPECIALLY late in games. Maybin is a dedicated team player and the epitome of a hardworker with a relentless motor and will be a piece of the Jets puzzle that will say “contender” once all the pieces are put together at the end of the season.