Just throwing it out there at the earliest possible point in the off-season on what I think the New York Jets line-up could look like on both sides of the ball in 2011, I will update this a few times before free agency starts (if it starts), for today here is the offense…
Quarterback – Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens, Veteran Free Agent – It is good to have a franchise quarterback in place and not be like the Dolphins and have to draft one in the second round every two years and then watch him play so poorly, you are talking yourself into Tyler Thigpen being a viable option. The Jets do need to address the backup situation, unless they suddenly found confidence in Kellen Clemens.
Running Backs – Shonn Greene, LaDainain Tomlinson, Joe McKnight – In the end, I think Tomlinson will be back for year two of his contract but he needs a reduced role in the offense. Did you see how Shonn Greene ran against Pittsburgh? He needs the chance to get 17-20 carries each week, every week from week one on. Joe McKnight also needs a bigger role in the offense, as long as he doesn’t spend his off-season eating McDonalds and playing NCAA on Playstation. Tomlinson has value as a pass catcher out of the backfield and getting 8-10 carries a game next year.
Fullback – John Conner – He had a full year to learn behind one of the best in the business in Tony Richardson…now it is his time to take over.
Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Patrick Turner – I hope I’m wrong but in the end I don’t think the Jets will be able to bring back both Holmes and Braylon Edwards. However, I do think they can get Holmes and Smith back. Patrick Turner has some size and potential and could be a steady contributor next year. Cotchery is more than capable of handling the number two spot.
Tight Ends – Dustin Keller, Ben Hartsock, Jeff Cumberland – The Jets kept Cumberland on the 53 man roster all of this year without making active once (excluding the Buffalo game), so you have to figure he will get a chance to factor in the passing game this year. As a matter of fact, I can already hear Mike Tannenbaum justifying let Braylon Edwards walk by saying they expect big things from Turner and Cumberland.
Offensive Line – D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore, Nick Mangold, Matt Slauson, Wayne Hunter/Vladimir Ducasse, Rob Turner – I am calling it right now that the Jets will re-sign Wayne Hunter and have him compete with Vladimir Ducasse for the starting right tackle spot, after making the tough decision to let Damien Woody walk. Matt Slauson will remain the starter at guard and Rob Turner will be the top backup at guard and center.
Overall – The Jets focus on the off-season will be on the other side of the football. They will attempt to save money on offense by letting Edwards and Woody walk and hoping that Turner and Cumberland can pick up the production at receiver/tight end and that Hunter or Ducasse can take over at right tackle full time.
You can’t expect to win games when you fall behind 24-0, nor when you can’t execute a hurry up offense because there is no communication between the sideline and quarterback, nor when you decide to keep LaDainian Tomlinson in the game when Shonn Greene is averaging nearly 6 yards a carry.
In the end, are you shocked our season ended on a slot receiver catching a pass? Too big of a hole…and the Jets were a miracle short in 2010. Unfortunately, we are turning into the Philadelphia Eagles of the AFC.
Two straight years of losing in the AFC Championship Game is tough to stomach right now. We know we have a coach and we know we have a quarterback (20/33, 233 yards, 2 TDs) but there will still be plenty of changes to the roster next year.
It could be a long wait until next season, so there is plenty of time to rehash this game, right now I have to realize this streak without a Super Bowl is going to continue.
It is cold, it is refreshing and it is wrong more times than not…it is the 12 pack, with a very special AFC Championship Game edition –
1. Mark Sanchez is going to throw for about 200 yards and hit a key big play down the field to Santonio Holmes, who is due for a long touchdown. He also won’t turn the football over.
2. Braylon Edwards will lead the Jets in receptions and yards, continuing his terrific season as the Jets most reliable receiver.
3. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson will combine for less than 90 yards rushing, it is going to be tough sledding against a pissed off Pittsburgh front seven that didn’t play well in the previous Jets match-up.
4. Ben Roethlisberger is going to create a long touchdown after breaking the pocket by hitting one of his receivers that isn’t being covered by Darrelle Revis. Overall, Antonio Cromartie is going to have a tough time in this game and will be picked on by Roethlisberger.
5. Rashard Mendenhall won’t crack 100 yards but will still have a solid outing against the Jets defense, especially taking advantage when they don’t stack the box.
6. The Jets are going to have one big kick return that will directly set up points.
7. The Jets will be very hesitant to attempt a field goal over 40 yards, Nick Folk is going to miss a kick somewhere between 30 and 40 yards as well.
8. Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller are both going to have productive days working the middle of the field against the Jets secondary.
9. Jason Taylor is going to record a sack in a big spot. I know he has looked out of it the past week, but I just got a feeling.
10. Shaun Ellis is going to play another very strong game and keep pressure on Roethlibserger throughout the game.
11. The Jets are going to score points in the first quarter…finally.
12. Yes, Yes, Yes…the Jets are going to the Super Bowl. Put it down as my most confident pick of the season, with the Jets winning 21-17 in a tight, hard-fought game. This is our year and it has been since the off-season, through Hard Knocks, through all the miracle last second victories, through all the controversies, and punctuated by the major upset of the Patriots last week, that even I couldn’t see coming…shame on me. Pittsburgh has won enough damn Super Bowls, this is our time.
If you have been reading this site over the past year or so that it has been active, you know I am partial to the wide receiver position. Why? For the obvious selfish reason that I was a receiver in high school and college…a slow, possession receiver with great hands who wore too many writstbands and celebrated a little too much after each first down. Yes, those were the days…
Anyway, you can imagine how much I enjoy the fact that the Jets have finally accumulated so much talent at the position. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Jerricho Cotchery have adopted the “Flight Boys” title and started the airplane celebration after big plays and wins, which all of us love so much and which everybody else uses as more fuel on their fire of hate towards the Jets. Is it a little corny? If I was a Giants fan, I’d say so…but since not, you can frequently catch me celebrating Jets wins by running around with my arms like an airplane, having nowhere near as much swag as Holmes, Edwards, or Cotchery but maybe approaching it one day if this site gets bought out by ESPN or something.
Regardless, the Jets offense has the ability to go point for point with any team they face because of their wide receivers and the continued growth of Mark Sanchez.
Let’s start with Cotchery, who despite being a favorite of TOJ and just about everybody else who follows this team, had a disappointing year. I thought Cotchery would lead the team in receptions and would be a deadly third down weapon, unfortunately he dealt with injuries and uncharacteristic drops all season. Yet, he has shown flashes of being that key weapon in the slot, who could take advantage of single coverage inside the numbers.
Last week, in the biggest spot possible (until this week) Cotchery rose up with 5 receptions for 96 yards, including arguably the most important play of the game, a 58 yard catch and run in the 4th quarter to break the Patriots momentum. This is a guy who was a starter since 2006 and didn’t complain once about being demoted or having less balls thrown his way. He waited patiently until his number was called and took advantage when it was.
I can’t say enough about the year Braylon Edwards has put together. One of my friends, who isn’t a Jets fan, constantly criticizes Edwards for not being more productive given his physical ability. However, if you have watched every Jets snap this season, you know he has been the Jets most reliable target. He dropped maybe about 2 passes all year and made a ton of tough and clutch catches in traffic. His stats don’t jump off the page because of the players he is splitting targets with and how often the Jets run the ball. He has earned a new contract from this team, and I hope they can find a way to work it out.
Santonio Holmes has proven to be an absolute steal. The guy was suspended the first four games of the year and still had three game winning catches this season and the nicest catch of the playoffs so far against New England. He is a big play machine and still one of the most clutch players in the league.
I can’t answer the question of who to bring back, Holmes or Edwards. The answer is both, find a way Mike T…without pulling all your hair out.