Devil's Advocate: Why The Jets Won't Be Good This Year

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First a few updates:

1. You know I love updates but I have to cut them somewhat short today because I have to figure out how to get TOJ The Podcast up and running this week and do some filming for TOJ TV. Don’t forget the Jets DVD Contest…E-Mail me 5 new fans you got to become fans of the Facebook Page and you will have a chance to win a free copy of “New York Jets Best Games of 2009.”

2. It is a real shame Brian Cushing will remain Defensive Rookie of the Year…I am not sure what kind of message it sends to give him the award again after it has been proven that he cheated.

3. How entertaining is tomorrow night’s Cavs/Celtics game going to be? The entire fate of the NBA for the next 10 years could be on the line. How will LeBron respond to all the criticism he is receiving? If you aren’t tuning in tomorrow…you aren’t a sports fan.

Photobucket4. Thoughts On Lost Season 6, Episode 15 “Across the Sea” – You will be hard pressed to find a bigger defender of LOST than me. I think the show is terrific and the writers take too much crap from fans, who have ridiculous expectations. Season six has been very good and even great at times, but last night’s episode was a swing and miss. I have only watched it once and maybe on a re-watch, I will appreciate it more. Look I understand, you can’t have something tangible as being the reason the Island is special, so I don’t have a problem leaving it as this ambiguous entity, but the imagery of that yellow cave was lame. The kid actors were crappy and I didn’t like the whole “drink this wine and now you are the protector of the island” scene. However, I expect more details on “rules” of the island and what actually happened when the MIB was thrown into the cave to be fleshed out in the final 2 episodes. In terms of theories, I do believe the original woman on the Island was the smoke monster herself and had orchestrated a long plan to get herself a replacement as both the island protector and as the smoke monster. Regardless, I am looking forward to getting back to the main characters this week.

5. So much for having short updates today.

Devil’s Advocate: Why The Jets Won’t Be Good This Year

For the first time since 1999, I genuinely 100 percent believe the Jets are one of the five best teams in the NFL heading into a season. I don’t think my fandom is clouding my vision when I say I expect the Jets to win 11 or 12 games and be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Yet, as we see every year in the NFL expectations aren’t always met and teams frequently come out of nowhere to make the playoffs and occasionally win the  Super Bowl. Despite the optimism I share with many fans for 2010, thee are two sides to every argument. So, let me play a little devil’s advocate to myself and feelings on the 2010 Jets, by looking at why the Jets won’t be good this season and by not good, I mean 8-8 or less.

Let’s start on offense where the Jets could have problems at three crucial positions: quarterback, running back, and left guard. Mark Sanchez was Jekyll and Hyde last year, what if he comes back in 2010 with a bunch of Buffalo/Atlanta/At New England performances? He missed time this off-season rehabbing from injury and still has a long way to go from his 12 touchdowns/2o interceptions performance in 2009. Defenses will scout out what the Jets did to protect Sanchez down the stretch last year and how they played to his strengths in the playoffs, and come up with new ways to confuse him. Sanchez may become a franchise quarterback one day but there is a really good chance he isn’t ready to be consistent enough to lead a team past Tom Brady for a divisional title. Beyond that, Sanchez hasn’t shown he knows how to avoid taking a hit when scrambling and he is coming off surgery. If he gets hurt, who is stepping in? Kellen Clemens? Erik Ainge? Mark Brunell? I’d feel okay about Brunell if he was throwing to Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith but this isn’t ten years ago.

At running back, there is no proof Shonn Greene can handle being a number one back for an entire season. Despite not receiving substantial playing time until the stretch run last year, he dealt with multiple injuries and on top of that had a fumbling issue. It is a big step to go from 108 carries to being asked to carry the ball 20 times each week from September to January. If Greene struggles or gets hurt, LaDainian Tomlinson is past his prime as a #1 back and Joe McKnight is a rookie fourth round  pick who can’t get through a practice in shorts and a t-shirt without throwing up.

PhotobucketAt left guard, the Jets are expecting either last year’s sixth round pick, Matt Slauson, who received no real experience last season or a rookie from a I-AA school, Vladimir Ducasse, to fill in for Alan Faneca. There are inevitably going to be bumps in the road for whomever wins the starting job and problems at one spot on the line can trickle down to the rest of the unit.

On defense, the Jets are very thin at the defensive end position. They are starting a backup caliber player in Mike DeVito opposite Shaun Ellis, who is getting up there in age. They will be relying on Jason Taylor to be their top pass rusher and there are also concerns about his age, along with whether his heart is really in New York. Brodney Pool is being relied on at safety but can he stay healthy? Antonio Cromartie also has to prove that he can be the player he was in 2007 and not the lazy disappointment he was last year.

What about on special teams, where the Jets have replaced Jay Feely with Nick Folk who was awful last season on Dallas. The Jets are a team built to play close football games but don’t have a reliable kicker. Their coverage teams were poor enough last year and they lost their top special teams player in Wallace Wright. They are also breaking in a new long snapper, which could be problematic in a big spot.

Overall, the Jets were only a 9-7 team last year who happened to get hot at the right time, along with some assistance from teams resting starters. Whenever there is high expectations for the Jets, they struggle to live up to the hype. There is a ton of attention around the team, more than ever in the team’s history, will they be able to handle it? Could it be possible I was naive in overlooking potential chemistry concerns?

I need to go wash my hands.

Nah, I think we’ll be alright next year

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports