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What more is there to say about the New York Jets that hasn’t been a hot button media issue all summer long? A disappointing 8-8 season after two straight AFC Championship losses, and innumerable amounts of Super Bowl guarantees by head coach Rex Ryan, has led to an offseason overhaul of the way the New York Jets go about their business.
Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was replaced by former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, who plans to reimplement a run heavy offense akin to the style the Jets used with backs Thomas Jones and LaDainian Tomlinson in Ryan’s first year at the helm. Third year running back Shonn Greene is primed for a breakout season with the workload shifting entirely in his favor after Tomlinson’s retirement, but questions remain about his durability and the offensive line in front of him.
Speaking of that offensive line, this Jets squad is a far cry from the 2009 crew that boasted five of the league’s best. Despite the presence of pro-bowlers D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, the offensive line struggled mightily last year and into this preseason. This prompted Ryan to bench starter Wayne Hunter in favor of undrafted rookie Austin Howard, leading to Hunter’s jettison to St. Louis in return for former first-round draft pick, but all around underachiever, Jason Smith. Quarterback protection and forward push in the ground attack will be a major issue for the Jets this season.
That brings us to the quarterback situation. Beleaguered starter Mark Sanchez has had his ups and downs as a pro since being the Jets first pick in the 2009 draft. After riding the Jets stellar defense and potent running game to the playoffs for two straight seasons, Sanchez’s flaws were highlighted last season, coughing up three straight losses to close out the season with far too many turnovers from their franchise quarterback. It didn’t help that a public squabble with star receiver Santonio Holmes lasted well into the offseason.
Despite the shaky play, Sanchez earned a contract extension after the Jets unsuccessfully flirted with the opportunity to bring in Peyton Manning. Shortly after, the Jets brought in a backup quarterback by the name of Tim Tebow, you may have heard of him. The Jets management have stayed true to the idea Tebow is Sanchez’s backup thus far, and was brought here to help the team win in that capacity alone, but owner Woody Johnson may not have accounted for the deafening chants their much heralded backup will receive after Sanchez’s first costly interception.
The Jets garnered more attention on the issue after operating their wildcat packages with Tim Tebow in secrecy, shrouded from the media and their preseason opponents.
After three preseason games, the Jets are the only team in the NFL to not score a touchdown, an unenviable accolade. They are the first team in 35 years to go three preseason games without scoring a touchdown. Whether they’re saving their big play moments for the regular season, or are simply an anemic offensive unit remains to be seen. One thing remains consistent however: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ll certainly be seeing a lot of Jets coverage this upcoming season.
Image Courtesy of New York Jets