Stat Watch: Three Statistics the New York Jets Must Improve or Maintain
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If the New York Jets want to be better than .500, they're going to have to improve in a few statistical categories. But that doesn't mean they can afford to lose ground in the areas they were already successful. In fact, their growth depends on their ability to maintain their standing as one of the best pass defenses in the NFL.
It's their passing offense that needs work.
These three stats could hold the key to the outcome of their season and their pursuit of the playoffs.
With 5.6 NY/A, the Jets finished 2011 ranked 25th in the NFL. They didn't get a lot of explosive plays out of their offense last season. In fact, quarterback Mark Sanchez completed only 17 passes that traveled more than 20 yards through the air.
After taking measures to fix the problem by adding wide receivers Stephen Hill and Chaz Schilens, the Jets will really be hoping to see that number increase. They simply didn't have a solid deep threat.
With better protection and the addition of some outside-the-numbers threats in the passing game, the Jets could improve this number.
Improve: Offensive Turnovers
The defense generated 31 turnovers, the fifth-most in the NFL, yet the offense only scored 14 more points than the defense allowed on the season. That's a testament to the Jets' lack of efficiency on offense.
The Jets lost 16 fumbles, the third-most in the league. Half of those were on Sanchez.
The 18 interceptions, though? All of those were on Sanchez. In fact, Sanchez led the league in turnovers in 2011. Inevitably, not all of the 26 turnovers were his fault. If he fixes the ones that were his fault, though, the Jets can field a much more efficient offense than the one that ranked 25th in yards 4,989) and 27th in yards per play (4.8).
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The Jets boasted the league's third-best pass defense with a 69.6 defensive passer rating. Any hope of them improving on their performance last year relies on them remaining one of the most dominant defenses in the league.
But in order to do so, they'll have to embrace a little change. They are expected to run more 4-3 fronts than they have in year's past with new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar in the fold, but they'll still be the pressure defense that New York fans have come to know and love over the past three seasons.
With most of the same group returning on the defensive side of the ball, the Jets could even improve off last year's performance (especially if the offense becomes more efficient and turns the ball over less; the Jets frequently started drives with their backs against the wall, ranking 21st in starting field position according to Football Outsiders).
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