It’s one day before the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Geno Smith era is beginning, as well as the post-Revis era. Tomorrow, we will begin learning a great deal about the 2013 New York Jets. Here are some things to watch for:
All eyes are always on the quarterback, but this year, it will even be stronger, for obvious reasons. However it happened, the Geno Smith era has begun. Whether you believe he won the job, or received it simply because Mark Sanchez is injured, he is the starter now. The lights are on, we are going to begin to see what we have.
In 2013 we will figure it out, do we have the next franchise quarterback for the Jets? Can Geno Smith take this team to the next level? Is he the guy that will finally earn Rex Ryan the Lombardi trophy that he has talked about winning since he arrived in New York?
Or, is Geno another guy who might play well, but in the end fall just a bit short? We thought we had a franchise quarterback in Mark Sanchez, but we know how everyone feels now? What do we have in Geno Smith? 2013 will tell us, for better or for worse.
A NEW DAY ON DEFENSE
Now to piggyback on something that our buddy Craig Hoffman said earlier this week in his post about Darrelle Revis. He is absolutely right, this is not the same defense that we have gotten used to in the Rex Ryan era. Yes, it is still Rex’s defensive concepts, but the way they are going to flow will be different.
For the first four years, the defense moved from the back to the front. It was based on man to man coverage. The defensive backs, led by Darrelle, shut down the weapons on the outside, giving time for the front seven to break from their blocks and eventually get to the quarterback. Or, they would rush the passer via exotic blitzes.
Now, the defense is built from the front to the back, based more in zone coverages than the past. Why? Because the front seven can get to the quarterback without the aid of exotic blitzes. Quinton Coples, Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and all of the rest have pass rush abilities. They can get to the quarterback on any down. That gives Rex and company the freedom to use zone coverages on the back-end.
That being said, how will that look? Will the Jets still be as tough on defense as they were in the past? Even at 6-10, they were at the top of the league in pass defense. Will that happen again, or will they take a step back? It will be fun to watch.
WEST COAST OFFENSE IN THE NORTH EAST
We know by now that it is a new day for the Jets’ offense. Gone are the days of “Ground and Pound”, in are the days of the West Coast offense, courtesy of Marty Mornhinweg. It’s unusual, as most of the time, teams in the Northeast run concepts based in the ground game, because of the late season cold weather. But, the Jets are going to buck that trend, beginning here in 2013.
It has paid dividends already, although only in the preseason. The Jets’ passing attack has been far stronger than it has been in a long time, as we mentioned earlier this week. The Jets were near the top of the league is passing yards and scoring this preseason. The system is paying off. But, it is still the preseason. Will it continue to pay dividends in the regular season? We will see soon.
RYAN SPADOLA AND DAMON HARRISON
Feel good stories are always exciting. The Jets have two as we head into 2013, in Ryan Spadola and Damon Harrison.
Both are fan favorites, for good reason. Damon Harrison was a UDFA last season, who has worked his way up from the practice squad to a solid roster spot. He recorded seven solo tackles in the preseason game against the New York Giants several days ago. He earned the right to wear a baseball cap for the duration of preseason game number four. It will be fun to see the fruits of this young man’s hard work.
And there is Ryan Spadola. Walking onto this team from Lehigh, he quickly worked his way up from fringe player to member of the 53 man roster. You all have seen him work, and work he does. Who else can’t wait to see him play? I know I am pumped.
Who or what else are you watching for in 2013?