For our first edition of New York Jets Fact or False here at Turn On The Jets, we observe some of the most prominent story lines that have been emerging since the end of the 2012 draft. For most teams, the period between the end of the draft and the beginning of mini camp is typically a quiet time. However, the Jets are not most teams. There are still several unanswered questions heading into the season ranging from the Jets’ Right Tackle situation to the name of Tim Tebow’s dog. With Gang Green, there is surely never a dull moment. For our inaugural NYJ Fact or False, we address the six most pressing issues heading into June for the New York Jets.
1.) The Jets will add a Right Tackle in Free Agency. False.
Everyone has seemingly been waiting for the Jets to pull the trigger and acquire a tackle to replace the not-so-dynamic duo of Wayne Hunter and Vladimir Ducasse. However, New York’s lack of activity in free agency and during the draft at the position, has our earlier notion suggesting that Mike Tannenbaum and co. still have faith in either one of these two, looking more factual by the day. The Jets passed on the opportunity to sign Eric Winston, Demetress Bell, and every other free agent tackle this offseason. They also neglected the position in the draft, having selected Guard Robert T. Griffin as their only offensive lineman this year. Take all of these facts, and combine them with new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo’s recent praise of Wayne Hunter, and it seems fairly obvious that the Jets will start some combination of Hunter and Ducasse at Right Tackle next season. They could always add a veteran at some point during training camp, but that is unlikely given the fact that the team recently guaranteed Hunter’s salary for 2012.
2.) At least 3 rookies will contribute significantly this season. Fact. Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill will contribute from week 1, if not in a starting role, then in a heavy amount of packages, before stepping in as starters at some point during the season. Rex has already declared this, and rightfully so. These two need to be on the field for a significant amount of time for the Jets to improve from their 8-8 record last season. Beyond the first two of the Jets’ eight selections in this years draft, there are two names that come to mind when thinking of who can contribute this season.
DeMario Davis should be an absolute monster on special teams. His tenacity and great speed, combined with his known ability to make big hits, should make him a favorite for Mike Westhoff. Davis will also likely play in several defensive packages, primarily on third downs in coverage or as a blitzer.
Also, expect Safety Josh Bush to develop into a solid contributor this year. His coverage skills are much better than Eric Smith’s, who will likely be the starter until Bush picks up the defense. Don’t be surprised to see Bush getting significant reps by midseason.
3.) The media’s portrayal of Tim Tebow as a super hero will die down. False.
Let’s face it, the mainstream media has a serious crush on Tim Tebow, as do the majority of football fans. There is certainly good reason for this. Tebow is a proven winner, an extremely hard worker, a great role model, and most importantly, he is a fantastic human being. The NFL’s most popular player will likely draw more attention this season than the man whose job he is trying to assume. Each week, be prepared to hear speculation of everything, from how many reps Tebow will get, to what he eats for his pregame meal. Also, get ready for media and fans alike to be calling for Tebow to take the helm the second Sanchez shows any sign of inconsistency. Until number 6 proves everyone wrong, he will most popularly be considered the villain, while Tebow will widely be viewed as the heroic savior.
4.) Tony Sparano will revive the Jets’ dominant run game. Fact. Word out of OTAs is already extremely complimentary of new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano. Sparano’s ideals seem to be identical to what Rex Ryan wants his offense to be. The Jets have a very talented group of running backs in Shonn Greene, who was able to rush for more than 1,000 yards last season despite playing for the philosophically confused Brian Schottenheimer, Joe McKnight, Tim Tebow, and promising rookie Terrance Ganaway. If the Right Tackle situation works out, the Jets will undoubtedly have an elite run offense once again.
5.) Darrelle Revis will hold out again. False. Although Revis is certainly worthy of being paid as the best defensive player in football, he knows this would be horrible timing for a hold out. As one of the unquestioned leaders of the Jets, Revis would be the ultimate hypocrite to hold out this year. First of all, he has two years remaining on his current contract. It is not the typical formality for a player to hold out with more than one year remaining on his current deal. Revis has already exercised this rare practice, and would be foolish to do so again.
More importantly though, is the picture a hold out would paint of Revis as one of those unquestioned leaders. How can the team’s best player bail on training camp, arguably the most important time for developing team chemistry, after the epic fallout of last season? It would be shocking to see Revis hold out this year, as it would put his character into serious question. The Jets need Revis more than ever in terms of both play and leadership, and he knows this. However, if no resolution is made in terms of an extension this season, it will be almost guaranteed that Revis does, in fact, hold out heading into 2013.
6.) Rex Ryan will tone down the bravado. Fact.
This is an evolution in Ryan that we are currently witnessing. Usually by this time every year, Rex has already predicted a Super Bowl victory. The brash head coach finally realizes that he can no longer put that type of pressure on his team. He saw what it caused last year, and he knows very well, that if he allows that type of melt down again, there is a good chance it will cost him his job. Expect Ryan to remain the jovial, confident coach that we have all come to know and love, but don’t expect many guarantees this year, if any.