New York Jets: 5 Positions Gang Green Needs to Upgrade This Offseason

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJanuary 21, 2012

New York Jets: 5 Positions Gang Green Needs to Upgrade This Offseason

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    The Jets flaws were uncovered during an awful 8-8 season this year.

    Among the flaws was consistent subpar play by many of the team's starters. 

    If New York is too improve and get back to the playoffs next season, than they need to address some serious concerns.

    Here are five positions the Jets need to upgrade as soon as possible. 

Punter

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    As most of you know, the Jets do not boast the most potent offensive attack in football.

    In fact, New York possesses an offense that at times can look like the worst in the entire league.

    Mark Sanchez and company often struggle to move the ball throughout the game, so punting becomes crucial.

    In 2011, Jets punter T.J. Conley was just 29th in the NFL in yards per kick, at just 42.7. 

    His awful punting often cost Gang Green field position, and eventually, points.

    For the Jets to improve next season, Conley needs to be replaced by a viable alternative who can consistently win the field position battle for the team. 

Right Tackle

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    Right Tackle is arguably the Jets biggest need position heading into the offseason.

    In his first year as a full-time starter in 2011, Wayne Hunter was terrible.

    He was constantly beat by opposing pass rushers, and he was responsible for the numerous hits on Mark Sanchez.

    Hunter also had trouble in run blocking, as he lacked the strength to consistently open up holes for the Jets running backs.

    The Hawaii product was the main reason the New York offensive line took a big step backwards this season. 

    If Rex Ryan and company want to keep the head on Mark Sanchez in 2012, then they need to go out and replace Wayne Hunter immediately. 

Safety

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    The Jets enter the offseason with major question marks at both safety positions.

    Despite being a on-field leader and consistent performer, Jim Leonhard is injury-plagued and might not return in 2012.

    Brodney Pool and Eric Smith are both subpar talent, as they are burned in the interior passing attack on a regular basis.

    The two also continually miss tackles and allow opposing ball carriers to run free. 

    With two shutdown cornerbacks manning the outside, New York could easily have the game's best passing defense with a reliable duo of safeties. 

    The Jets should look to make a major splash in the draft and/or free agency, and acquire two capable starters who can manage to contain Rob Gronkowski and other dangerous pass catchers. 

Wide Receiver

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    New York also has big question marks at wide receiver heading into the offseason.

    Santonio Holmes has been a locker room distraction and his play on the field has also regressed.

    Plaxico Burress is a free agent and he is unlikely to come back at the age of 34. 

    Gang Green needs to acquire a dangerous deep threat to help keep opposing defenses honest, and there are plenty available this year. Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Robert Meachem are all free agents.

    A star wideout that is not a clubhouse cancer will significantly help Mark Sanchez's development, and could easily turn the Jets offense into one of the most feared in football. 

Outside Linebacker

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    The Jets are still searching for an elite pass rushing outside linebacker after striking out with Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas.

    Pace and Thomas were highly-touted stars just a few years back, but they are yet to emerge as the game-changer the New York defense desires.

    The Jets biggest need this offseason is picking up a young, talented pass rusher in the draft. Alabama star Courtney Upshaw and Illinois product Whitney Mercilus are both terrific options. 

    With a young beast roaming the outside and pressuring opposing quarterbacks, Gang Green's defense could return to it's previous shutdown form.

    Turnovers and sacks could become a regular occurrence if New York manages to select a gifted youngster through the draft.