Five Reasons to Have Hope for the Jets Offense
By Alan Schechter
Aug 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano stands on the side line during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Week one is finally within reach, ladies and gentlemen. Sunday at 1 PM will be here before we all know it, and it will be time watch the Jets open the season against the Buffalo Bills. Just a few more days without football is all we have left to get through, and it is exciting.
What hasn’t been exciting to date is the New York Jets offense. Actually, it has been anything but exciting, scoring a grand total of one touchdown during the preseason. To put it bluntly, the offense has been putrid. Around the league, the doubters have been showing their faces, some going so far to say that the Jets will have a tough time scoring 10 points per game. That has not been the prevalent opinion, but there are concerns from many about the Jets offense.
To keep the positive feelings alive as best as we can, here are five reasons to have hope for the Jets offense, in no particular order:
Aug 26, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) during the second half of their game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Jets 17-12. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
He has been injured for a good part of the preseason as we know, but the difference in Holmes is something to be excited about. He is finally filling the role that he should have last season, acting like a captain. He has taken his younger teammates under his wing, and they have done nothing but rave about Santonio for it. These guys have had their learning curves made far easier thanks to Santonio Holmes.
As far as his own attitude, Santonio is talking about the team, rather than worrying about how often he gets the football. He talks about how the offense can be good if they put in the workload. He is not making comments to divide the team, not causing tension in the locker room. He seems to be returning to the 2010 version of Santonio Holmes. This will translate into improved play on the football field.
Mark Sanchez has a lot of doubters in the league, both locally and around the country. Despite his past successes, his play did go backwards as far as his decision making in 2011, and many wonder if he can take the team where it needs to go.
Look at how he performed in the preseason, and it tells you all you need to know about Mark Sanchez’s readiness to take the next step. Everyone worried about his accuracy, and he threw for a 68.6% completion percentage. Although he couldn’t get the ball down the field much, that will come with the running game improving. He only threw one bad interception during the preseason, as the second one was on a tipped ball. His ball has more zip, and he has been much more accurate. Mark Sanchez will play well.
Aug. 18, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Although he enters week one with a hamstring problem, you can bank on Dustin Keller having a career year in 2012. First of all, he is the safest target for Mark Sanchez. He is the only weapon that Mark Sanchez has had for his entire career, and with that comes a deeper chemistry than he has with other guys. The rest of his weapons have been interchangeable parts, so he has not been able to establish that same level of chemistry.
Secondly, Dustin Keller has not been thrilled about the fact that he has not received a contract extension. He feels that as a member of the core of this team, he should have been extended in the way Nick Mangold, David Harris, and others had their rookie contracts extended. He is taking the attitude that he is going to show the Jets he deserves the extension. He will do it by having a huge year in 2012.
Yes, he only played in one game with the starters, and he had help. He also didn’t go up against a front seven that was the quality of the New York Giants. That being said, we have made an improvement to the offensive line, finally. Austin Howard really looks like he is going to be able to pay well on the right side of that line. He is a big guy, and his footwork over there is excellent. The right side of the offensive line will be leaps and bounds better than it was in 2011.
Aug 15, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano walks back to the locker room following practice at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
Finally, Tony Sparano is a reason to be excited. He brings an attitude to the Jets offense. An attitude of being physical. Yes, he is returning to the “Ground and Pound”, for what it’s worth. But it is more than just running the football. It’s an attitude. Being a physical, running football team is an attitude. It’s about firing off that football and hitting the guy in front of you, on every down.
The Jets are recommitted to the running game. Despite the fact that there was no gameplanning in the preseason, we saw glimpses of how the Jets are going to stick with that running game. You have to stick with it, because the running game is not always successful on the first few drives. You have to stick with it, wear the defense down, and you see the benefits in the second half. Sparano is going to stick with that running game, that is who the Jets are, and it will be to the Jets benefit.
Don’t give up hope yet. There are reasons to be hopeful about this group.