The 5 Players That Will Turn The Jets Into Contenders This Season…..GUARANTEED
By Sean Lester Durham
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.
WR Chaz Schilens has the talents and attributes to be a reliable target for Mark Sanchez.
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.
Aaron Maybin will get plenty of chances to help the Jets become legit contenders next season.
QB Mark Sanchez hears the doubters and haters and will shake them off this season.
3.) Mark Sanchez QB
It should be noted that despite the media’s tireless attempts to make you believe as such, Mark Sanchez isn’t the worst QB in the league and is quite actually a pretty solid QB that suffers from inconsistencies. See you wouldn’t KNOW this because Sanchez gets disrespected, over-analyzed, caramelized, scrutinized, bastardsized, baptized and exercised MORE than any other “inconsistent” QB in the league and it probably isn’t even close. You tell me which QB takes his team to 2 consecutive AFC Title games then leads his team to 8-8 record in his 3rd season only to be DIRECTLY BLAMED for the 8-8 season, thrown directly under the bus IMMEDIATELY after said season and deemed unfit to lead his team any longer? It’s been shear madness filled with double standards topped with agenda filled misdirection by way of SOME of the NY and National Media that want to see the Jets sit on a fart bag and make the loudest disgusting noise possible this season. There frankly isn’t a player on this team that is more important to this Jets team’s success as is Mark Sanchez. Sanchez’s official numbers from last season = 3,474 yards, 26 TDs, 18 ints, 56.7 comp% and 6 rushing TDs along with 22 turnovers. Not atrocious numbers but not great either and Sanchez MUST do a few things differently this season in order to be able to produce adequately and effectively for this offense, an offense that ultimately ended up being entirely too complacent and satisfied with being mediocre especially in crucial games and one of those “few things” is undoubtedly focusing on the turnovers (ints and fumbles). Sanchez has certainly committed this off-season into one in which he’s focused on working on concentrating on the important fundamentals and basics. Sanchez has genuinely accepted the responsibility for the Jets failed season and has genuinely accepted the challenge to turn this Jets team into legit contenders this season. Sanchez has welcomed the scrutiny and criticism(fair or unfair) into his off-season training and has utilized it as fuel to become stronger and sharper and essentially more focused on becoming the best QB for this team this season and going forward.
Despite the illogical, baseless and somewhat idiotic predictions by a few that Sanchez will “fold” under pressure or somehow wet the proverbial bed now that Tim Tebow is in town, Sanchez WILL not only feed off the doubt and utilize it as fuel this off-season as he focuses on taking that next step next season but there’s NO doubt in my mind as to WHO will be captain of the ship when the Jets are being considered legit contenders towards the end of next season.
After 2 injury plagued seasons with the Redskins, SS Laron Landry will look to bring his hard hitting style to the Jets defense.
4.) Laron Landry
Going into this offseason one area of dire need of addressing was undoubtedly the safety position. It goes without saying that the Jets defensive Achilles heel this past season was definitely their inability to adequately defend the opposing team’s star TE’s along with being able to adequately stop or contain the run especially at crucial times in the game ie late in the 4th quarter. The Jets addressed the need for a playmaking safety when they signed hard-hitting free agent SS Laron Landry from the Redskins after losing safety Brodney Pool to the Cowboys and losing SS Jim Leonhard to a season ending injury. Landry himself is coming off YET another season in which he suffered a season ending injury. Landry tore his Achilles heel last season, a year after suffering the same injury. Though Landry has had these serious heel injuries, he has yet to have surgery on them opting to utilize the controversial and yet effective stem cell treatment in which no surgery is required. Most professional athletes are now aware that once surgery is performed on an injury such as this, the area affected won’t be the same as before and it certainly affects the athlete’s ability to cut and be as effective as they were prior to said injury. Landry, when healthy is an insanely talented and hard-hitting safety that will require the opposing QB to be vastly cognizant of his whereabouts at all times. Landry is an excellent tackler and has a knack for separating ball carriers from the ball and though Landry isn’t exactly the type of safety you want covering your fast TEs in space, he is very strong and fast and will have success in Ryan’s defense in jamming those TEs at the line, rerouting them and keeping up with them as much as possible. Landry will certainly have an immensely important role in this defense this season as the Jets have not exactly been secret about the fact that they are committing to playing the 4-3/46 defense more this season and within those defenses, you must have DBs that are fast, can cover and that can keep up with their assignments and that is what Landry will be asked to do and asked to do often. Landry has committed himself this offseason to becoming healthier and stronger in an attempt to focus on becoming a more reliable SS for the Jets. Despite Landry’s injury plagued past with the Redskins, I certainly see Landry as a key component to the Jets becoming legitimate contenders this season.
RB Shonn Greene will certainly find his identity this season under new OC Tony Sparano.
5.) Shonn Greene
Before last season started if I told you that RB Shonn Greene would finish the season with 1,054 yards, 6 TDs and 4.2 ypc, your response would be what exactly? You’d probably sign up for that in a heartbeat as I know I would. Well those WERE the numbers that Shonn Greene ended last season with and let’s just say in hindsight and retrospect and after actually WITNESSING the production, I don’t……. want to………. sign up for that. I don’t! Greene’s production was lackadaisical at best, inconsistent, non-explosive, at times counterproductive, shall I continue? This is actually coming from someone that actually LIKES Shonn Greene and believes in his potential and does recognize the fact that Greene HAS flashed since he was drafted out of Iowa back in 2009 and has done a lot of things well but has been insanely inconsistent. The only thing that has been consistent with Greene is his injuries in AFC Title games. Greene, who is entering his final season of his rookie contract has been told by Sparano that his production will infact increase from last season as he will be a vital part of Sparano’s run first game plan this season with the Jets, news I’m certain Greene has welcomed. Despite underachieving for the past 3 seasons, Greene is poised to have a BIG season under his new offensive coordinator who has taken pride and is up for the challenge in getting the most out of a talented back in Greene. Greene is a physical RB with adequate speed that can wear down tired defenses late in games, has the talent to wear defenses to sleep and has the propensity to break one every now and then and this is something new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano can begin the Greene foundation on, knowing that he has a talented RB at his disposal that is certainly capable of big plays. Greene has had a quiet offseason but there’s simply no doubt in my mind that Greene is 100% focused on the upcoming season and realizing the vital role he will play within this offense and its impact on the Jets goal to become legit contenders towards season’s end.
After the Jets consecutive trips to the AFC Title game, it was written in stone that the Jets would be legit contenders last season and take the next step and get to that Superbowl but that of course didn’t happen for more than one reason. Last season the Jets offense totally went away from what got them to 2 consecutive AFC Title games and looked simply lost at times while trying to find their identity. Fortunately for the Jets, they now have an offensive coordinator that has made it his personal mission to establish an effective identity within this offense and will have to remain creative just to not get LAPPED by the promising Jets defense. These FIVE players that I have noted above are the FIVE players that I feel will have the biggest impact on the Jets getting BACK into the playoffs and becoming legitimate contenders this season. All of these players are talented and experienced but the thing that will drive them into becoming those important pieces part of the “contender” puzzle is the fact that ALL of these players have something to prove to haters, doubters and those that frankly just want to see them FAIL for one reason or another. ALL five of these players are motivated, hungry for success and all are focused and determined to prove the doubters and haters wrong and ultimately along the way, turn the Jets into legitimate contenders and frankly the only thing that can stop them from doing this are themselves.