Ranking the 6 Most Overrated Players on New York Jets' Roster
One could say that the entire Jets roster was overrated in 2011, a sentiment I would agree with.
The New York Jets finished the 2011 regular season with an 8-8 record. Rex Ryan's antics and attitude backfired as the team suffered losses against every single team they played with a winning record (0-4 against teams with 9 wins or more, 2-7 against teams with 8 wins or more).
Fans tend to blame one or two people in particular for the Jets' lackluster results—Brian Schottenheimer and Mark Sanchez in this case—but football is a game with 11 players on offense and the same number of players on defense.
Though the New York Jets were disappointing as a team, six players in particular were the most disappointing and should be considered the most overrated on the roster.
6. Shonn Greene, Running Back
At first glance, Shonn Greene's 2011 regular season statistics look solid. ESPN.com shows that the tailback rushed for a 1,054 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. At the game-by-game level Greene's statistics prove to be far less impressive than they seem.
The running back only rushed for 100 yards or more in two games during this past season, and in three games rushed for less than 30 yards. In addition to his struggles in the rushing offense, Greene proved to be inept when asked to catch the football.
Rex Ryan pushed for a return to the "ground and pound" offense during the season, but Greene did not prove his coach to be correct. Expect the Jets to draft a running back as a replacement for Greene at the starting position.
5. Jim Leonhard, Strong Safety
The New York Jets safety is an inspiration. According to NFL.com, Leonhard is 5'8", 188 pounds. Despite his size, the safety got the chance to start on a professional football team for a few years.
Sadly, he no longer deserves that opportunity because he is physically incapable of covering the modern tight end. Although he was clearly the Jets' best safety in 2011, Leonhard lacks the ability to cover players with the size, explosiveness, and leaping ability of a Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots) or Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints) by himself.
Expectations set for the player prior to the 2011 regular season were far too high already. His lack of durability and size raise the question whether Leonhard should even be re-signed by the team in 2012.
4. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Left Tackle
This three-time Pro Bowl left tackle is often considered one of the four most valuable players on the Jets. His performance in the 2011 NFL regular season did not come close to meeting the expectations set for him at the beginning of training camp.
After the Jets' season ended, Rich Cimini of ESPN evaluated their offensive linemen. Cimini noted that the lineman with the most sacks allowed was D'Brickashaw Ferguson (he allowed 9.5, one more than Wayne Hunter did).
Ferguson was also disappointing in the rushing offense. The left tackle's performance did not warrant a Pro Bowl invitation and he was voted into the game mainly because of his reputation.
3. Mark Sanchez, Quarterback
He was the player that was supposed to lead the Jets to multiple Super Bowls. After three years at the helm of the New York Jets offense, Sanchez has not proven that he should even start in the NFL.
Sanchez's boyish charm and friendly attitude made Rex Ryan confident that the quarterback could captain his roster of misfits. Those traits did not help as the team "imploded". Players began to argue with one another and anonymous sources called for the quarterback to be replaced.
Prior to the 2011 season, ESPN developed a new statistic called the NFL Total QBR, which allowed for better statistical evaluation of the quarterback position than ever before. Out of 34 quarterbacks evaluated, Sanchez was rated 30th for the entire 2011 regular season, with a Total QBR of 33.6.
In some ways it was unfair for the Jets to have expected so much from the beleaguered quarterback. Sanchez had only been a starter for one year at the collegiate level while attending the University of Southern California, and that was only after his predecessor, John David Booty (a fifth-round pick in 2008), had graduated.
2. Dustin Keller, Tight End
In 2008, the New York Jets drafted Dustin Keller in the first round. The team expected the tight end to eventually develop into a multifaceted talent that could contribute in the rushing offense.
Much to the chagrin of Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, Keller never became that type of player. Although NFL.com lists him as the Jets' leading receiver in 2011, the tight end has proven that he is a one-dimensional player.
Keller has struggled when asked to block, and opposing defenses have noticed. Whenever the offense had the receiver line up as the lone tight end, defenses automatically assumed the Jets were passing and adjusted accordingly. Almost every time the defense was proven right.
1. Santonio Holmes, Wide Receiver
As a Pittsburgh Steeler he was a member of the Super Bowl XLIII championship team and earned the Most Valuable Player award for that game. His performance in the 2010 regular season made many Jets fans believe that their team could possibly reach the Super Bowl in 2012.
The Jets promptly rewarded the wide receiver during the 2011 offseason with a $45 million contract (according to ESPN). Expectations were high and Holmes promised fans he would not disappoint them.
Then he proceeded to have a mediocre season culminating in an on-field argument with Wayne Hunter, and a tenuous relationship with Mark Sanchez. Santonio Holmes was not only careless with the football, as he demonstrated on two drives in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles, but also proved to have questionable catching ability.
Final Bit of Information
Mike Tannenbaum put the 2011 New York Jets roster together and ultimately he, along with Rex Ryan, should be blamed most for the team's disappointing results.
Tannenbaum and Ryan decided to start Wayne Hunter at right tackle, despite a poor performance in the 2011 AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also chose to keep Eric Smith and allowed the safety to start opposite Jim Leonhard. Neither Hunter nor Smith were fit for the roles they were assigned.
Various other decisions, including the signing of Plaxico Burress, proved to have mixed results. During this off-season Tannenbaum will be charged with the task of fixing the problems the Jets suffered from in 2011.
If he doesn't, then the New York Jets may have a new person managing the team's personnel in 2013.