As the Jets head into their second preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, there are plenty of issues surrounding the team. First and foremost is obviously the quarterback situation, but that is far from the only position battle that will determine the success of the 2013 Jets. Let’s go ahead and do some more buying and selling of all things Jets.
BUY: Mark Sanchez, Starting Quarterback – Yeah that’s right. I’m buying Mark Sanchez, so let the hate and trolling commence here in the comments or on Twitter! Now before your blood pressure shoots up, please understand I’m not expecting miracles and I don’t think Sanchez is going to suddenly turn into an All-Pro or anything. I do, however, think that he is a shoe-in for the starting QB job come week 1, and I don’t think it’s all because of Geno Smith’s ankle injury.
By all accounts, Sanchez has had a pretty solid camp and has gotten better throughout as he picked up more of Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. It’s pretty clear at this point that Marty wants the veteran Sanchez to take the snaps, despite the fact that Rex and John Idzik both probably feel differently. Yes, Sanchez is going to make some horrible mistakes at times, and he’s going to make Jets fans everywhere want to kick a puppy because they’ll be so engulfed with anger, but I also think he’s going to play well for the most part now that he finally has an accomplished NFL play-caller running the offense. It will not be a repeat of last year’s dumpster fire, and while the offense won’t be dynamic or anything, it can be decent enough to win games. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s a step in the right direction.
SELL: QB Conpiracy Theories – Joe wrote a great piece on this the other day, but I’d like to throw my two cents in as well. The fact that some people think there’s a conspiracy against Geno Smith winning the starting job is completely and totally insane. It would make all the sense in the world for Rex and Idzik to want the rookie to win the job for many reasons, but it just hasn’t happened. I’ve maintained all along that the best thing for the Jets would be for Geno to come in, play lights out, and definitively win the job outright and start week one, but again, that hasn’t happened. The two have been pretty even throughout camp, but now Geno is hurt and he’s started to struggle in practice. That’s not Rex Ryan’s fault
The reason Sanchez is going to start week 1 is because he’s simply more ready to handle the job at this point. Geno was not some can’t miss, superstar prospect coming out in the draft. He isn’t Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. He slipped to the 2nd round for a reason and Jets fans have talked themselves into him being the savior simply because his name isn’t Mark Sanchez. Him sitting out the first few weeks — or longer — of the season wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Eli Manning sat, Colin Kaepernick sat, Phil Rivers sat, Aaron Rodgers sat, and Tom Brady sat. It is ok if Geno Smith sits too.
BUY: Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill – They’re far from the best group of starting receivers in the NFL but both of these guys have taken great strides this offseason. Kerley is going to be the most-targeted receiver on the team and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be in the 75 catch, 1,000 yard range. As for Hill, he will never be the kind of receiver who racks up that many catches, but his job is to take the top off of defenses and be the big play threat. He will still have his drops this year as he gets more comfortable as an NFL receiver, but he should be able to limit them and become more of a threat.
SELL: Braylon’s Roster Spot – Uh-oh. This may not be popular with Jets fans, but if Santonio Holmes does indeed get himself ready for week one of the regular season (I still have my doubts we see him before week 7), then Braylon’s roster spot is in some serious jeopardy. Holmes, Hill, and Kerley would have guaranteed spots. You’d have to think the much younger Clyde Gates will have a spot after the great training camp he’s had, if he manages to stay healthy and his concussion issue doesn’t linger. That would leave Braylon fighting it out with Ryan Spadola and Ben Obomanu, who both play special teams, which will hurt Braylon’s chances. I’d still say Braylon has a good chance to be on the final 53, mainly because I don’t expect Santonio back, but it’s not a lock.
SELL: Stephen Peterman – Wow, was he bad against Detroit in the preseason opener. It’s pretty clear the team badly wanted rookie Brian Winters to win the left guard job this preseason, but an injury has limited him and he hasn’t been able to get on the field, which means the team is likely going to be stuck starting Peterman when Tampa Bay comes to down week one, which is, well…not ideal. Peterman is the clear weak link on the Jets offensive line, and he really needs to improve, or else it’s going to be a season full of defensive linemen right up in our quarterback’s face.
BUY: The Defensive Line – This is your weekly reminder that the Jets defensive line is going to be awesome this year. This week, Jason LaConfora of CBS Sports said that Jets having Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson on the same defensive line was akin to having Richard Seymour and Geno Atkins together in their primes. That’s high praise, and not totally unwarranted. These guys, along with Kenrick Ellis and Quinton Coples have the ability to be absolutely dominant. The key to minimizing the loss of Darrelle Revis and a shaky safety situation will be getting pressure on the quarterback, and that’s exactly what this defensive line is going to do.
BUY: David Harris – It was a small sampling, but against Detroit, David Harris looked more like the player Jets fans were accustomed to seeing before the nightmare that was 2012. Harris looked a step quicker, made a nice play in the backfield, and then provided solid pass coverage as well. In recent interviews, Harris admitted to having an unacceptable season last year and he was determined to not let it happen again. I expect the “Hitman” to revert back to form now that he has a potentially dominant defensive line in front of him, and the athletic Demario Davis next to him. Now he won’t have to try and do too much, and that should result in big things.