New York Jets: Highlighting Their Best Offseason Moves
Going into the offseason, the New York Jets had some major holes to fill at certain positions. They also had to find a way to fix an offense that ranked 22nd in the league in rushing and 21st in passing.
The once dominant ground-and-pound running game was the league's best just two seasons ago. This dissipated due to a weakened offensive line, a change in the lead back from Thomas Jones to LaDainian Tomlinson to Shonn Greene and some questionable play calling that took the focus off the run.
To fix the offense, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was let go and former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano was brought in to fill the position.
While Sparano is a nice start, an upgrade from Shonn Greene and right tackle Wayne Hunter, both of whom had disappointing seasons, should be next.
On the defensive side, strong safety Jim Leonhard is entering free agency and free-safety Eric Smith may be gone due to poor play. To counter this, the Jets made a risky move and signed the oft-injured LaRon Landry.
A pass rusher, linebacker and another safety are all needs the Jets have failed to address as of yet.
Here is a ranked list of the Jets' best offseason moves to date.
Hired Tony Sparano
As a former head coach from as recently as last season, Tony Sparano will be welcomed disciplinarian presence in a locker room of disarray.
Brian Schottenheimer simply could not demand the respect that Sparano does.
Sparano also had the pleasure of dealing with headcase wide receiver Brandon Marshall, which should help him with Santonio Holmes.
The new head coach is a conservative play caller who relies on the run. Last season, the Miami Dolphins ranked 11th in the league in rushing and 23rd in passing.
During his tenure with the Dolphins, the offense declined each season.
His offense was at its best in 2008 when he was running the Wildcat. If Sparano is able to utilize Tim Tebow in the Wildcat, the Jets offense should be much better than it was last season.
Re-Signed Sione Pouha
Sione Pouha has been with the New York Jets his whole career and, with the three-year deal he signed, will remain one for life.
At 6'3'', 325 lbs., Pouha has the perfect size to play nose tackle in the Jets 3-4 defensive system.
He is excellent at stopping the run, as he is a big body in the middle of the line. His numbers don't show how important he is to the defense. And since he is not a pass rusher, making the highlight reel QB sack, he is unheralded.
Pouha is also a good veteran presence in the locker room and one of the leaders of the defense; he is one of the longest tenured Jets with seven years of service underneath him.
If the Jets failed to re-sign him, they would have been in trouble.
Traded for Tim Tebow
As a football move, trading for Tim Tebow makes a lot of sense. That is, if he is not the starting quarterback.
Tebow could be the perfect fit for Tony Sparano's Wildcat formations. He would also improve the running game if he is used as a running back.
Last season he ran for 660 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
He can run for the first down, be useful on goal line situations, get a two-point conversion and win games.
The obvious problem that comes with Tebow is not knowing the effect it will have on Mark Sanchez. If Tebow pushes Sanchez to improve, the move could turn out great.
But, if bringing in Tebow shakes Sanchez in turn causing a locker room divide, the move could turn out to be disastrous.
Tebow and Sanchez have to find a way to co-exist with each knowing his specific role. It will be up to Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano to work out a balance of splitting up plays so that both quarterbacks are happy.
Signed LaRon Landry
When healthy, LaRon Landry is one of the top safeties in the league. The problem is, he is not 100 percent healthy. He missed 15 games the last two seasons due to an injured Achilles tendon.
Landry has the size to cover tight ends because he is 6'0'' and 220 lbs., but he is better suited playing closer to the line to stop the opposing team's running game.
He is an imposing hitter, often making highlight reels delivering a bone crushing tackle.
He is not a great coverage safety, however. He seems to be getting worse as he is losing speed due to a weightlifting routine that transformed his body to look more like a bodybuilder rather than an NFL player.
Because his positives outweigh the negatives, signing Landry for just one year will be worth the gamble.
Signed Chaz Schilens
At 6'4'' and 225 lbs., Chaz Schilens has the size to the prototypical tall receiver and red zone threat the New York Jets desperately need. He also has good speed, as he ran under a 4.4 40 before the draft.
Furthermore, Schilens is still young at 26 years old.
He remains a question mark, though, due to his injury history. In his four-year career, he has missed 20 games.
Last season, Schilens had 23 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
He has all the tools and potential to be a great signing. Yet, Schilens could be another one of those receivers who was never given the shot to show his true skill because of injury or where he was on the depth chart.
After the signing, general manager Mike Tannenbaum said it best, "He could catch a 100 balls...or he could be a special teamer."