As we’ve all probably heard by now, the news about the Mark Sanchez injury is fairly basic. I’m going to combine this news with the news I’ve heard overall this off-season about the New York Jets. I’ve heard it all, and the season has not even started yet. The quarterbacks are doomed. This is a four win team. Rex Ryan is a lame duck coach. Whoever wins the quarterback competition, has still lost because of a lack of talent. I was just doing some digging around, and to me things are not as bad as they would seem. Here’s what I came up with.
The offense is in a better place than you might believe. In 2012 Jets QB’s Sanchez and McElroy averaged 6.4 and 6.9 yards per completion despite being a more “vertical” passing attack. So far this preseason the quarterbacks are averaging almost 9 and in Matt Simms case 12 yards per completion. Yes it’s the preseason, but the types of routes being run, and the foundation of the passing attack will not change. Also, Sanchez in games 1-3 has a very un-Sanchez-like 66% completion rate, and 90+ QBR. For those of you that don’t follow this is almost 10% higher than usual in completion percentage, and over 20% higher quarterback rating. Again this is the preseason, but I checked against the 2012 preseason, and the numbers were still very good. Last year his QBR was 59.6 and didn’t get much higher.
Next up is the wide receiver situation. I think at this very moment the Jets have a better group of receivers than about 12-15 teams in the league. While this isn’t great, it’s also not terrible. Factor in Eagles sans Jeremy Maclin, Raiders, Redskins, Chiefs, Jaguars, etc. and you get my drift. The Jets while not star laden, have a solid group in Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates, Ben Obomanu, and an emerging Ryan Spadola. This is not to mention Santonio Holmes who after being gone for a year, is not as missed on offense as he was last year. This season I expect to see 6 wide receivers on the depth chart, and pretty much dressed every game. I’ve already seen some 5 wide sets, some with tight ends, and some all receivers. With this many receivers on the field and being used, New York may not need a household name pro bowl wide receiver, as long as everyone on this list is good in their specific jobs.
The defense in all 3 games has been great in my opinion. I’m going to toss out game 1, which was still a very good defensive effort. The front seven has caused problems for good offensive teams like Detroit and New York, and just about shut down Jacksonville other than that hurry up drive. I’ve seen maybe 3 or 4 good drives against the Jets defense in three games. If this holds out, the top five defense that Rex Ryan was expecting may come to fruition.
Last up is the improvement I’ve been seeing in tight end play. Kellen Winslow Jr. and Jeff Cumberland are a better pair this year than Dustin Keller and Co. were last year. The tight ends have been targeted often on third downs, and also around the red zone, which is the way it should be. I’ve seen Konrad Reuland drop one or two on third down, that I’d expect Winslow Jr. or Cumberland to make in the regular season to keep the chains moving.
The only negative that I’m going to go on record as having is the run game, and Dee Milliner. The Jets have struggled against strong D-lines in the run game in both Detroit, and again against the Giants. They seem to be able to excel in the run game against average defensive fronts, but struggle mightily against good first lines. That part is not news, it’s the large disparity that is disconcerting. Averaging 5+ yards against the Jags to 1 or 2 yards per carry is not going to cut it. That number needs to stay at close to 5 and at least over 3 against even the very good defenses. Dee Milliner is injury prone, and Kyle Wilson is penalty prone. Jets may have been better trading back and drafting Xavier Rhodes or Trufant this past April. Only time will tell.