Turn On The Jets is back with another supplementary six pack for your weekend, today focusing on the New York Jets X-Factors for 2013. Make sure you stay with us all week, as we have exciting news on the way about our debut Podcast.
We are going to ignore the quarterback position, which is the biggest X-Factor of all, because that is a discussion for another day. Today we’ll focus on six other players who will make or break the Jets 2013 season.
1. Chris Ivory - The New York Jets offense is built to run the football in 2013, not pass the ball. Yet, their running game isn’t going to be able to carry the offense unless Ivory is healthy and productive for 16 games. His ability to produce is less of a concern than his ability to stay healthy. Ivory has the talent to be a 1,400 yard type back behind a strong run-blocking offensive line but he needs to be on the field every week for that to happen. If Ivory can be the workhorse for this team that Shonn Greene never could be, their offense will be led by a strong rushing attack that should protect the quarterback and passing game’s shortcomings.
2. Willie Colon - Similar story to above, Colon is a key cog to the Jets running game producing this season but he needs to stay healthy. The talent isn’t a question but the ability to stay on the field and be consistent is a question. If Colon plays to his ability and stays on the field, the Jets will have a highly effective power run-blocking Guard in-between Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson. You want the Ground and Pound back? The Jets need a healthy Colon helping pave the way for a healthy Ivory.
3. Quinton Coples - One of many exhausting things to read from the New York media is the misunderstanding about Quinton Coples and his use on defense. The “announcement” that he is moving to linebacker was misconstrued and misunderstood. Coples is going to be the team’s primary “rush” defender, lining up both from an outside linebacker spot in a 3-4 and with his hand in the dirt. He will also see time at a more traditional defensive end spot and defensive tackle. Basically, Coples is going to be used all over the place as the team’s primary pass rusher. Don’t waste your time stressing about him in coverage or expressing incredulity that he isn’t playing a ton of reps at a “traditional” outside linebacker spot in practice. Regardless, the Jets need Coples to be a 10+ sack guy in this defense, which he should be able to achieve with a larger role and with more experience under his belt. Coples racked up 5.5 sacks in playing only 47% of the defensive snaps last season.
4. Santonio Holmes - The Jets are extremely thin at their pass catching positions. Out of the players on the roster, Holmes is the most proven and the biggest natural playmaker. The Jets need him healthy (detecting a theme here?) and playing properly motivated. Defensive coordinators must be forced to respect him as a legitimate number one option, which will help open up opportunities for Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley.
5. Antonio Cromartie - The Revis-Era is over. Cromartie was excellent as a number one cornerback last year. Can he replicate that production for a second straight year? Cromartie should see individual match-ups with Vincent Jackson, Steve Smith, Julio Jones, AJ Green, and Mike Wallace among others. Rex Ryan’s defense functions at the highest level when he has a corner who takes away one side of the field. The Jets also need Cromartie to continue to assume a leadership position in a secondary that is very young besides him and Dawan Landry.
6. Muhammad Wilkerson - The best player on the Jets defense heading into 2013. He needs to keep growing into the All-Pro player he should have been recognized as last season. Wilkerson is a force who demands a constant double team. Yet, will defenses be able to double team him as frequently with an improving Quinton Coples and first round pick Sheldon Richardson alongside him? Wilkerson should have a monster season in Rex Ryan’s defense. The sky is the ceiling for him and the Jets need him to reach it.