With the glass half full, the New York Jets are led by a competent Head Coach who is nearly guaranteed to produce one of the league’s better defenses. There is head turning talent on the defensive line, supported by one of the league’s top corners. Offensively, there is nowhere to go but up from last season, when the team managed 6 wins despite horrifically incompetent work from their Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback. Despite the lingering question marks all over the unit, it is hard not to see Marty Mornhinweg being an improvement over Tony Sparano, the running backs being a more productive group than in 2012 and the offensive line remaining steady. You wouldn’t be crazy to argue the Jets are the second best team in their division.
With the glass half empty, the shotgun marriage between a new GM and a holdover Head Coach rarely works. The defense still lacks speed at linebacker, talent at safety and has questions at corner opposite of Antonio Cromartie. On offense, they enter the year with an unproven and likely unready rookie under center throwing the football to a group of receivers and tight ends plagued with recent injuries. You wouldn’t be crazy to argue the Jets are the worst team in their division.
The reality for the 2013 Jets likely lays somewhere in the middle. Finding reality when discussing this team is becoming an increasingly difficult task. The local media is bitter over the new GM hiring, which has led to a lock down of organizational leaks, a toned down Rex Ryan and less overall information being disseminated. A beat writer hasn’t broken a single piece of relevant news surrounding this team since Mike Tannenbaum was fired. Originally, when John Idzik was hired, we heard how he was a puppet and Rex Ryan was running the show. Now, we hear that Rex Ryan is a lame duck and has zero power around the organization. One day we hear the quarterback competition was rigged for Mark Sanchez. The next day we hear it was rigged all along for Geno Smith. With the guesswork continuing to fall flat, the aim has turned to “non-stories” and vindictive aims at Ryan, like targeting him for attending his son’s college football game.
When the mainstream media discusses this team, it is usually reduced to the lowest common denominator. LOL BUTT FUMBLE JETS, CRASH FOR CLOWNEY, THEY HAVE NO FANTASY PLAYERS…I SWEAR MY BUDDIES DRAFTED NOBODY FROM THEIR TEAM. There is no analysis of them as a rebuilding team under a new GM. It is just make a quick joke and carry on.
Where does that leave us as we embark on another year of covering this team? We have no axe to grind with the organization because we aren’t worried about credentials and access. There are no personal vendettas here. There is no playing favorites with individual players. Our goal is to give the team and everybody associated with it a fair shake. As much as possible, we want to write about and analyze exclusively what we see on the field. Are we Jets fans? Yes. But we aren’t here to run a fan-boy, blow sunshine up your butt website. If we think the team looks like a 6-10 team, we are going to tell you that…without the snark or the vendetta, but we aren’t falsely hyping anything either.
Overall, we can’t wait spend to another season talking about this consistently perplexing, occasionally infuriating team with you. Let’s get to the week 1 predictions:
1. Geno Smith is going to have an up and down professional debut as a starting quarterback in the NFL. By this I mean, there is going to be a few ugly plays and poor decisions but there will also be flashes of arm talent and athleticism that will leave Jets fans buzzing and looking forward to seeing him play the rest of the season. I hate trying to pin down stat lines on a guy who has never played a regular season NFL game before but I could see something like 16/26, 204 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and maybe a fumble.
2. Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory are going to see roughly the same amount of touches, with Ivory shouldering more of the load in the second half and flashing more overall capability. Powell has earned the “start” for week one but Ivory is a more talented player and if he stays healthy, the cream will eventually rise to the top. Against Tampa’s stout run defense, I wouldn’t pencil in either for over 75 total yards, unless one can pop a big play on a screen.
3. Santonio Holmes will play roughly 40% of the snaps and finish with 2-3 receptions. He will convert at least one big first down but won’t have any receptions over 10-14 yards.
4. Kellen Winslow Jr or Powell will lead the Jets in receptions.
5. Jeremy Kerley will have at least one, if not more, big gainer down the field the middle field working out of the slot position.
6. Sheldon Richardson will have his first NFL sack and along with Muhammad WIlkerson have a very active day working against a Tampa Bay line minus Carl Nicks.
7. Doug Martin is going to rip off at least one play over 40 yards, either on a screen or when he is able to reach the edge. He will finish with over 100 yards rushing and 140 total yards, along with a touchdown.
8. Vincent Jackson will have a relatively quiet day due to Antonio Cromartie tracking him all over the field, finishing with less than 50 yards receiving.
9. Mike Williams will make some plays working against Dee Milliner and/or Kyle Wilson. Overall, Milliner will have a relatively rough NFL debut.
10. Josh Freeman will complete a little over 50% of his passes, throw for one touchdown, one interception and be sacked four times. His inconsistent play will help keep the game tight despite a big day from Martin in the backfield.
11. Darrelle Revis will not record an interception but will play well in his return to the field, including a couple of pass break-ups, a few strong open field tackles and only allowing 1-2 short receptions.
12. The Jets will squeak out an ugly, tight game…20-17, thanks to a late field goal from Nick Folk. Both quarterbacks will struggle, preventing either team from pulling away at either point.