5 Things To Be Optimistic About in 2012
By Bob Montgomery
As teams break for summer before the start of training camp lets take a look at few things to be optimistic about for the 2012 New York Jets.
1. Mark Sanchez will become the franchise quarterback the Jets drafted him to be
With the simplified offense, solidified offensive line and Tebow giving chase Sanchez rises to the occasion and takes a huge leap foward in his development. He takes control of the team and emerges as a team leader and commands the offense with poise. While that may be a little too optimistic for a quarterback going into his fourth season Sanchez has proven to have top tiep NFL talent, albiet lacking consistency.
2. Darelle Revis comes to camp on time with a positive attitude
It doesn’t really matter to most Jet fans whether Revis resigns, or plays with the contract he has but what does matter is the he is on the field. We saw what a holdout did to Revis in 2010 when he injured his hamstring early and it plagued him throughout the season. Getting to camp on time and more importantly with a positive attitude is important for the recently uprooted team chemistry. Revis is arguably the NFL’s best defender and everything the Jets do defensively is predicated on having a #1 lock-down corner. Without Revis the jets could be in serious trouble on the defensive side of the football.
3. Wayne Hunter rebounds from a sub-par 2011 season.
Wayne Hunter did not play up to expectations in 2011, but he has the ability to rebound and improve his play this season. With a new ground and pound “line up and smash em” offensive mentality under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano Hunter can get back to his roots as a mauling run blocker. Hopefully a player can emerge to push Hunter during camp to further light a fire and provide some competition for the right tackle position. Ultimately the best case scenario is that Hunter becomes the solid NFL starter many believed him to be after filling in quite nicely for an injured Damien Woody in 2010.
4. The backfield steps up and delivers under the new offensive philosophy.
The jets do not have a franchise player at the running back position. What they do have, are a number of talented backs who can each fill a niche within the offense. The incumbent starter Shonn Greene is a big back with good patients and a solid burst through the line of scrimmage. He won’t break off huge runs consistently, but Greene posses enough speed to execute stretch runs to the outside and has the power to break tackles on the inside run game. Staying healthy will be the key in 2012.
On the other hand Joe McKnight will break enough long runs to be a threat this upcoming season. Added bulk will allow McKnight to remain on the field more on early downs and build a larger role in the offense. McKnight has been used sparingly so far in his NFL career but his speed and quickness can give defenses fits. Holding onto the football and catching the ball consistently will be the biggest hurdles for this speedy back in the upcoming season.
2011 draft pick Bilal Powell and 2012 draft pick Terrance Ganaway bring a physical presence to the ground and pound philosophy the Jets plan to utilize this year. Bilal Powell has a good burst and solid vision while Ganaway is a 240lb bruising back who can see his share of goalline carries. Together these two rookies can help to fill supplementary roles in the Jets backfield and help to give a different look to what will be an often used group.
5. Quintin Coples reduces the need for all out blitzing.
If the Jets defense is known for anything, its known for sending more than the usual four 4 rushers. Seven, eight and nine man blitzes are commonplace for the Jets defense, and have become necessary as the lack of a premier pass rusher has reduced the effectiveness of the pass rush. Hopefully the addition of first round draft choice Quintin Coples can help add much needed pressure while allowing more defenders to play the pass. Sending just four or five rushers successfully can help the defense in coverage providing mor defenders to play the pass against teams like the New England Patriots, and other passing oriented teams.
Coples is an athletic freak but apparent lack of effort during his senior year in college has hurt his reputation. Apparently playing “not to get injured” Coples lacked the motor you would expect to see in a player who could be so physically dominant. Hopefully good coaching and a nice paycheck help reverse this trend because Coples has all the tools necessary to become a disruptive force on the Jets defensive line for many years to come.