Early Winners and Losers of the New York Jets' Offseason
Over the last couple of weeks, the New York Jets have had minicamp at the training facility in Florham Park, N.J., as they prepare for the 2012 NFL season. Compared to the last few years, the Jets have been pretty quiet and focused at this point of the offseason.
Head coach Rex Ryan has not been opening his fat trap as much as he used to. Tony Sparano is making sure the offense gets down to business as he continues to install his new system with the team. And the defense is beginning to make some changes that may yield a nice result this season.
With that, let's take a look at some of the early winners and losers of the Jets' offseason. As always, feedback is welcome down below in the comments section. Enjoy!
Winner: Demario Davis
The rookie linebacker out of Arkansas State has a bright future ahead of him based on how things have been going during minicamp with the New York Jets.
Davis has a skill set that allows Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine to put him all over the field. He is able to burst through the line and get to the quarterback with his elusiveness and then drop back in coverage the very next play.
While Davis was not a superstar coming out of the draft, he could prove to be a great selection in this year's draft as his potential makes him seem like an every-week kind of guy that the defense will be able to count on.
And if you don't want to take my word about Davis and his production, check out what ESPN's Rich Cimini had to say about him following Day 2 of Jets minicamp last week:
"Rookie LB Demario Davis showed his versatility. One minute he's coming free on a blitz and "sacking" Tebow, the next minute he's dropping into coverage with the starting sub package."
Loser: Hamstrings (The Jets Receiving Corps)
As if the Jets did not have enough issues with their group of receivers, minicamp did not make it any better.
During the first day of camp, Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Patrick Turner and the Jets' 2012 second round pick Stephen Hill were all listed as limited due to hamstring injuries.
While the receivers slowly worked their way back to team drills and so on, health for this group may be a concern down the line.
The Jets are already thin when it comes to receiver, and losing even one guy could be a devastating blow to their season. Hopefully for the Jets, these guys can stay healthy during the 2012 season.
Winner: Coaching Staff
While he may not have slimmed down, Rex Ryan definitely trimmed something down: his antics.
After the last three seasons, it seems as if Rex Ryan finally came to a realization that talking a ton of trash and only being the fun-loving Rex Ryan all players love isn't really the best look for him and his team.
So to try and remedy the damage Rex has caused, he has begun to have morning press conferences as a way to seem more serious.
The coach that is beginning to make a serious impact on the team though is the new offensive coordinator and former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano.
He replaced Brian Schottenheimer who was at best a mediocre play caller because of how questionable his calls were, while at the same time being extremely predictable.
Now during practices, Sparano's play calling is keeping the defense on their feet, making them more alert, which will help them in the long run as they get more out of practice in preparation for other teams.
Loser: Dustin Keller
Now before all of the die-hard Jets fans start to comment saying that Dustin Keller is not a loser coming out of minicamp, yes, he is not totally a loser.
The thing is though, what happened between 2008 and 2011 are things of the past for Keller. He has been a consistent and quality contributor since his rookie season, and that contract he signed back in 2008 is set to expire after this season.
But according to ESPN, Dustin and the Jets will not begin talking about a new contract until the 2012 season is over.
The reason for this is that Tony Sparano's system will change Keller's role in the offense, he and the rest of the Jets offense want to see how Keller will adapt to the new system and whether he would be worth a hefty new contract.
So Jets fans, make sure you pay attention to Keller's stats this season and for those of you planning on drafting him in your fantasy league after last year's performance, you may want to rethink that.
Winner: Defensive Line
The New York Jets defensive line has always been a solid part of the defense. For the last few years, they have never had a season where they were unstoppable or exceptionally bad, but 2012 might change that.
One of the problems with the defense this year is that their linebacker corps is nowhere near where it used to be in terms of skilled players, which has made Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine begin to implement the 4-3 defense.
For those of you who do not know what the 4-3 defense is, it means the Jets will have four defensive linemen and three linebackers, which is the opposite of the 3-4 defense; the defense the Jets have been running for years.
As to why this switch makes the defensive line winners, it is because they finally have the talent to use this formation.
With their first round pick Quinton Coples, and last year's first round pick Muhammad Wilkerson playing at the end positions and then Sione Pouha and most likely Mike DeVito playing the interior, the defensive line will be counted on to make plays in the backfield.
Judging by the skill opposing offensive lines will face, this group should be able to wreak some havoc.
As much as Rex Ryan and the rest of the Jets organization wants to deny that Mark Sanchez is and will be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets this season, we all know that's not completely true.
Since Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets back in March, the spotlight was immediately put upon him and Sanchez, and as long as they are both healthy enough to play while being on the same team, the spotlight will remain.
Preseason has not even started yet and the pressure is already mounting. Media outlets everywhere (including Bleacher Report) will be paying attention to how much the two quarterbacks play each game, adding even more pressure.
The quarterback that has it worse, though, is Mark Sanchez, who will be under scrutiny every game. Sanchez is notorious for his good and bad stretches of play, which only brings up the following question: What will happen when he doesn't perform well in two or three games?
Sure, Rex Ryan and Co. may stand by him, but most NFL fans know that Jets fans like to voice their opinion. The truth is, if Sanchez does poorly over a period of time, he may see his starting position vanish before his very eyes because the fans will be fed up with him and will want Tebow.
All in all, this is not a good situation to put developing quarterbacks in, when they already have enough pressure, but only time will tell for these two.
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