New York Jets: 5 Players Who Need to Improve in 2012
The New York Jets vastly disappointing 2011 season was marked by a bevy of subpar performances.
Many stars regressed in crucial times, and many hyped youngsters failed to live up to lofty expectations.
If the Jets are to get back to the postseason in 2012, then these players need to improve drastically and lead the team at key moments.
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In one of the worst front office moves in recent history, the Jets decided to keep Wayne Hunter for next season.
Hunter is guaranteed a lofty $2.45 million next year, so it is likely that he receives another season as starting right tackle.
The Hawaii product was a disaster in 2011, as he was constantly dominated by opposing pass rushers and was a liability in run blocking.
Hunter needs to improve significantly next season and maintain a decent standard of blocking.
If he fails to adjust, then Mark Sanchez will continue to be heavily pressured, and the running game will fail to take off for a second straight season.
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Unless the Jets make some significant changes at the safety position this offseason, Eric Smith will most likely retain his spot as a starter in 2012.
Smith struggled for the majority of last season. His subpar pass coverage resulted in the Jets struggling in interior pass defense.
Opponents targeted Smith and the middle of the field all year long, and had a lot of success in doing so.
Smith also struggled with missed tackles, and it resulted in huge gains down the field for opposing offenses.
The Michigan State product needs to spend most of the offseason improving in pass coverage and tackling. If he can adjust accordingly, then the Jets secondary will be one of the premier units in the NFL in 2012.
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Santonio Holmes was a momentous disappointment last season.
The former Super Bowl MVP failed to surpass 800 yards receiving, and he disappeared in clutch moments.
Holmes was also a locker room distraction. He had numerous run-in's with teammates and was a distraction off the field.
If New York's offense is to finally reach the next level, then Holmes needs to revert back to his 2010 self.
The Ohio State product has the ability to be one of the top wide receivers in the game if he has the right frame of mind over the course of a full season.
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Punting is crucial to the success of the New York Jets.
The team's offense can struggle to the move the chains at times, so field position is key.
However, New York lost the field position battle last season, as rookie punter T.J. Conley struggled.
Conley ranked among the bottom of the league in yards per punt. He continually shanked kicks and put Gang Green's defense in a hole.
If Rex Ryan and company are to get back to the promised land in 2012, then Conley needs to drastically improve and constantly win the field position battle for New York.
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Mark Sanchez continued to be consistently inconsistent in 2011, mainly due to poor decision-making.
The third-year quarterback committed untimely turnovers and made poor passes into tight coverage all year long, and it put Gang Green into massive holes.
Sanchez has the talent to be one of the league's premier passers, but he needs to make better decisions on the field.
Improved pass protection will certainly help Sanchez, but the quarterback needs to finally take the next step in 2012.
The Jets can not wait forever for Sanchez to develop.