Dec. 11, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets offensive guard Matt Slauson (68), quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and tight end Dustin Keller (81) celebrate in the end zone after a touchdown during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium. Jets defeat the Chiefs, 37-10. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Getting ready for the 2012 season, we begin to take a look at our beloved New York Jets, starting today with the offense, led by new coach Tony Sparano.
By far, the biggest hot button position on this team. We know why, for now we can just call it “the trade”.
A lot of people debate whether Mark Sanchez should be the starter on this team. He did look bad at times, I mean, you have to worry about a QB when he throws more than one interception to defensive linemen, which Sanchez did. However, he has improved statistically every season. He accounted for 32 TDs last season (26 passing, 6 running). He led the Jets to four playoff wins on his young career. If everyone just gives Mark a chance, he will be just fine.
But, the elephant in the room, or I guess, the praying man in the room, is the backup, Tim Tebow. We all know about Tebowmania, we don’t need to go into it. Clearly, Tebow can also inspire football players, and that is something that cannot be taught. However, if you read his stats, he just isn’t a good quarterback. He can run the “wildcat”, but that is all he has done effectively. Aside from a few passes in big spots, he hasn’t been anywhere near 50 % completion rate.
The fear is that the team will be divided amongst Sanchez supporters, and Tebow supporters. They say that teams with 2 quarterbacks really don’t have a quarterback. Time will only tell if the Jets will follow the rule or be the exception.
BACKS AND RECEIVERS
Here, the question is unknowns, and depth. First let’s look at the running backs. First up is Shonn Greene. In 2011, Greene did rush for his first 1,000 yard season (1,054), but only rushed for 100 yards in a game twice. He actually rushed for under 60 yards more often (6 times). He is a good back, but the question is consistency.
With LaDanian Tomlinson gone, there are a lot of unknowns behind Greene. Joe McKnight proved to be an excellent kick returner, but has been limited in his time at running back, with only 43 carries for 134 yards in 2011. He rushed for 189 yards the year before that. We just don’t know if McKnight can make the grade as the second, change of pace, running back. Bilal Powell is another guy that will be there. A good college player at Louisville, has only had 13 carries so far at the NFL level. Again, we just don’t know.
Now we move on to the wide receivers, and we speak about the big one. Captain GrumpyPants, otherwise known as Santonio Holmes. We all know the story here. He made a lot of clutch catches in 2010. I still watch the catch he made against New England in the playoffs with awe. What a play that was. Then we have 2011, where Mr. Grumpy Pants came out. He didn’t get the football to his liking, and he turned sour, culminating in the incident in Miami. He’s been good so far, working out with Mark. If he is on good behavior, Holmes will be good. If not, he won’t.
The rest of the guys are just not known either. Aside from Dustin Keller, who led the team with 66 catches in 2011, and is Mark Sanchez’s security blanket, we have a pool of unknowns. Chaz Schillens will get every chance to be the number 2 guy, but with never having a season of more than 29 catches, we don’t know if he can do it. Jeremy Kerley had his moments as a returner and a receiver, and should fill a nice role as the number 3/slot guy. Patrick Turner doesn’t have enough of a body of work to give us an idea yet. Again, we just don’t know.
A once proud position on the Jets has become a liability. We still have our anchors, Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The guards, Brandon Moore and Matt Slauson, do an adequate job for the most part. When Mark Sanchez looks to the right, we see the problem.
Not a lot to say, other than, Wayne Hunter. The Jets tried to trade him, nobody was interested. Really? What a shock. The shock would have been if someone WAS interested in this guy. I mean, I could watch guys run past me, and make the money he makes. He is not a starter in this league. Also, does it make any Jets fan feel better out there, hearing that Vladimir Ducasse will provide him with competition? I know that I don’t.
And our sources tell us that they aren’t going to address the right tackle position early in the draft, so we are stuck with Hunter/Ducasse.
The other issue is depth, we saw that last year. If I were Mark Sanchez, I might fear for my life if someone gets hurt. It sure got ugly when Mangold got hurt, didn’t it?
Bottom line is, we have a lot of unknowns when it comes to this Jets offense at this point. Does it make you uneasy out there? I know it makes me uneasy.