New York Jets – Questionably Offensive
By Rich Smith
The New York Jets pre-season has opened with the offense in an even deeper quagmire than it left off in its 2011 campaign.
For a team that had gone to back to back AFC Championship games, the Jets 2011 season was as dis-heartening as they come. The team never identified who they were on offense. The addition of (once) big name wide receivers Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress, promised to open up the passing attack and move away from the ground and pound style of the previous two seasons. Unfortunately, the passing was dismal at best and when the team attempted to run, it was predictable and forced, leading to an 8-8 season and the eventual firing of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
In the off-season the Jets front office seemed to create more questions than they answered. First, they dabbled in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes which sparked rumors of Sanchez being traded. Once the team realized Manning had no interest in playing in New York, Sanchez received a three year contract extension. This seemed to prove that the Jets were firmly supporting their QB and were happy with the progress of the Sanchise. But wait; a little over one week later, the Jets sign QB Tim Tebow. Tebow brings with him his own fan base, which may be larger than most NFL teams, that adds a fourth ring to Rex’s three ring circus. The team swears there is no quarterback controversy, Sanchez and Tebow are both saying all the right things, yet it appears the clock has begun for when, not if, Tebow will be the starting QB for the Jets.
The next biggest question for the team comes in the form of the ex-Dolphin head coach Tony Sporano. The champion of the Wild Cat offense was brought in to replace Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator. Coach Sporano, like Ryan, has a philosophy of run left, run right, run up the middle, and when you need to pass, run again. This should help Sanchez better manage a game, and grow as an NFL QB. Also, with Tebow in the mix, the Wild Cat packages could be a valuable weapon for the offense. So, far this pre season we haven’t seen much from the offense, but hey, it’s just pre-season.
Right tackle was one spot from last year that obviously needed an up-grade. I guess the Jets didn’t think so. Veteran offensive lineman Wayne Hunter occupied that spot last year, and was the weak leak in a solid chain. Hunter is a great backup/spot starter at best. For the team not to address this need via draft or free agency is inexplicable. Hunter is the starting right tackle this season, even after allowing 5 sacks Saturday night by the New York Giants. The next best option on the team is Vlad Ducasse, but he has not yet blossomed into the player the team thought they had drafted.
On the bright side of things the team does have potential. Sanchez, now in his fourth year, has playoff experience and the game should start to slow down for him. Santonio Holmes is one of the top 10 receivers in the game as long as he focuses on the field and not all the off field antics. Dustin Keller should prove to be Sanchez’s favorite target as he continues to build on a solid career at tight end. Rookie wide out Stephen Hill could be a break out star in the league if they can get him the ball; he’s a big target with all world speed. RB Shonn Green quietly had over 1000 yards last year, if he can build on that, the ground and pound will be a force again. The solid O-line with vets Mangold and Ferguson should be a strength, as long as there is a solution at right tackle.
THE SKINNY:All in all, there is potential on the offensive side of the ball. For all the Jets optimists, this year is like most in the recent past. The team could be looking SUPER in February or it could look like the same old Jets going home in December. So far this pre season, none of the offensive questions have been answered. Let’s hope they’re answered by September 9th when the Bills come to Jersey to kick off another great NFL season.
Contact Rich at Jetfan0046@yahoo.com