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With three weeks of the preseason finished and the starters sitting for the entire fourth game this week against the Philadelphia Eagles it’s time to look ahead to the regular season. The Jets are on a Super Bowl or bust mission this season, but can they really make it there or are they all talk.
Going into this season the Jets have a lot of question marks, but they have a ton of upside and the results could culminate in winning it all. Some of the big questions for the team are: How much depth do they have on the O-line?
Will Mark Sanchez continue to improve in his third season and take the steps he is expected to take and become the leader the team needs? How will Sanchez and his new look receiving core gel and how quickly?
Will Shonn Greene be able to perform at a high level as the feature back all season? Can they generate any QB pressure without a prolific pass rusher? Will the two rookies Mohammad Wilkerson and Kendrick Ellis be able to contribute in their rookie years?
While this may seem like a lot of questions as well as key ones, and most of them having to do with the offense, the Jets looked good overall in their preseason campaign. It seemed like what the team needed was just more time as with every game a different problem would arise. Against the Texans the line couldn’t protect Sanchez, against the Bengals they couldn’t run the ball, and against the Giants they couldn’t pass.
The one thing that has been consistent for the Jets in the preseason is their defense. The starting unit has only allowed 10 points in the 3 preseason games.
Rex Ryan, who usually doesn’t hesitate to gush about his defense said on Tuesday, “”Will we end up being the best defense in football? I think so. I challenge everybody: Put your negatives comments out there and we’ll see what happens in the end, because I think our defense is going to be outstanding.”
“I wouldn’t trade this defense for anybody’s in the league.”
The Jets defense is definitely poised to be a top 3 if not best defense in the league with 10 returning starters and 9 of the 10 having 2 years under Rex Ryan’s defense which should mean less communication breakdowns than there have been. The Jets also have 10 defensive backs who have played in the system which should help the continuity of the secondary.
For the first time in his tenure with the Jets OLB Calvin Pace will play in the first game. He missed the first month of 2009 due to suspension and 2010 due to a broken foot. Pace is the teams best pass rusher and having him from the start should help the defense overall.
Another big difference from last year is the status of CB Darrelle Revis. He’s participated fully in training camp and is in top shape this year as opposed to last year having held out all of the preseason. That probably led to his slow start and the hamstring injury he suffered in Week 2.
With the defense looking to be in top form and help carry the Jets there season really comes down to the continued development of Mark Sanchez. He showed how good there offense can be against the Bengals, but also how inconsistent as we saw against the Giants.
If Mark Sanchez continues to take steps forward, Shonn Greene steps up to the challenge of being a featured back in the NFL, and the Jets D can dominate like they have the past two years the Jets look to be on their way to a potential Superbowl title.
So the big question on all Jets fans minds and many people around the NFL this season is this: Will the Jets be flying high or crashing and burning when its all said and done with?
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