On every team in the NFL, there are players who are looked at by the players and fans as the “leaders”. When you think about the New England Patriots, the obvious leader of that team is Pro Bowl QB Tom Brady. On other teams a leader may not be the best player on the team, but instead the player who is the hardest worker, or the player who is a great teammate. In this article I am going to talk about who I believe are the leaders heading into the 2013 season for the New York Jets.
Lets take a look at the possible leaders on the offensive side of the ball.
Santonio Holmes- I know what you are thinking, yes the same guy who exploded two years in the biggest game of the 2011 season and has had the reputation of being a “me” player. But in 2013 I believe Holmes will be looked at as a leader. Let me explain. While Holmes certainly blew up the huddle in 2011, I still believe he is unfairly viewed as a “headache” type. Before being injured last season, Santonio was having a very productive first few games. Coming into this season, the Jets WR group is very young and somewhat inexperienced. Although he is unable to practice, it has been reported that Holmes has constantly working with 2nd year receiver Stephen Hill. With this group being so young, Holmes will be looked up to by the young receivers in 2013.
Nick Mangold- Mangold has been a rock for the Jets for years, and don’t expect that to change any time soon. Coming into this season, the Jets offensive line is going to be looking much different than it has in recent years. When Mangold looks to both his right and his left, he will not longer see Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, but instead see either Willie Colon, Stephen Peterman, or 3rd pick Brian Winters. Nick, along with durable LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, will be looked at as leaders for the new offensive line.
Now lets take a look at potential leaders on the defensive side of the ball.
Antonio Cromartie- Cro is another player who may make you scratch your head when talking about leaders. In the past, Cromartie’s work ethic has been questioned, as people and coaches thought he would take plays off on the field. But from what I have seen for Cromartie in a Jets uniform, that is far from the truth. With Darrelle Revis now in Tampa Bay, Cromartie will be taking over as the number one cornerback. With the 9th overall pick, the Jets selected Alabama star corner Dee Milliner. Cromartie will be looked at as a leader for Milliner, as well as the rest of the young secondary.
Muhammad Wilkerson- Wilkerson had a great season for himself last season, but it all flew under the radar with the so called “circus” that surrounded the team. Coming into his 3rd year in the league, Big Mo will look to continue his elite level of play. This offseason, the Jets parted ways with two veteran lineman in Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito. Both of these guys were looked at as leaders. Now it is Wilkerson’s time to step up into that leadership role. With the Jets D-line being very talented, but still very young, Mo will a leader for years to come.
While it is possible more leaders will emerge before the season starts, these are the guys I believe will be the leaders for the New York Jets. Who do you believe will be the leaders?