Revisiting 10 Bold New York Jets Predictions from the Preseason
All offseason, we spend hours upon hours coming up with our premonitions about the season, thinking about which teams are poised for success and which players are poised for a breakout.
The players are held accountable for their performance at the end of the season, so why shouldn't a writer be, as well?
Where did I get it right, and where was I oh-so-hilariously wrong?
Read on to find out.
Stephen Hill Will Have Less Than 30 Receptions: True
What I Said: "If Hill jumps off the map with an early string of good performances, he could land in Sanchez's favor, but Hill is a developmental prospect with a lot to learn about the NFL game. An easy transition is not expected."
What Happened: Stephen Hill got off to a hot start to his NFL career with five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. From there, though, he hit a big slump and didn't catch another pass until Week 6 against the Colts. He finished the season with 21 receptions, nine short of the bar I had set for him.
Hill struggled with injuries and finished the season on injured reserve. Along with those injuries, there was heightened pressure on him with the injury to wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Hill will have to come on quickly in 2013 if he wants to avoid being the latest example of a receiver with big-time potential who failed to make the transition from college to the pros.
Shonn Greene Will Total over 1,000 Yards Rushing: True
What I Said: "He's not an explosive runner, but chances are made stronger by the fact that Tony Sparano is the offensive coordinator, and he has promised to help the Jets get back to a run-heavy mentality."
What Happened: The Jets banged the drum about the ground-and-pound mentality all offseason and finished the 2012 season ranked sixth in total rush attempts.
Of course, 1,000 yards rushing is not what it used to be. Sixteen running backs crossed the plateau this season. It means even less considering the number of carries it took Greene to get there; his 3.85 yards per attempt is the lowest for any back to break 1,000 yards this season.
Greene is set to become a free agent this offseason; even with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the Jets will probably be exploring other options at running back for 2013.
Mark Sanchez Will Be the Starting Quarterback in Week 17: True
What I Said: "The schedule sets Sanchez up to struggle early, but there are some easier games down the stretch. If the Jets can hang tight with Sanchez, he should be able to make it through the gauntlet."
What Happened: He was the starting quarterback in Week 17. By accident.
He was benched prior to Week 16, but the Jets had to put him back in for the season finale when Greg McElroy revealed he had a concussion. Sanchez nearly survived the full season as the Jets starter, but his struggles were enough to break the will of Rex Ryan to continue defending Sanchez as the starter.
No one thought Greg McElroy would be the man to get the nod if Sanchez struggled, but as it turned out, Sanchez finished the season right where he began it: as the starting quarterback.
Aaron Maybin Will Log 10 or More Sacks: False
What I Said: "The Jets need to get Maybin on the field more often in 2012, but luckily for him, they still have a desperate need for pass-rushers. As long as the Jets are able to put Maybin in good position to succeed—which is a strength of Rex Ryan's—he should easily cross the plateau of double-digit sacks and permanently erase his image as a first-round bust."
What Happened: Hoo-boy. This one went down the drain in a hurry. I couldn't have been much more wrong if I had guessed that alligators are ornery because they have all those teeth and no toothbrush.
Maybin played eight games for the Jets before being waived in the middle of the season. He logged one tackle and didn't record a single sack.
The Jets still have a desperate need for an edge pass-rusher. Defensive tackles Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples are good enough on the inside that with an edge presence, the line could take a big step forward next year. The Jets would have loved for Maybin to be that guy, but it didn't work out.
The Jets Defense Will Finish in the Top 5: False
What I Said: "Over the first three years of the Rex Ryan era in New York, the Jets defense ranked in the top five in yards each year. They were also the league's No. 1 scoring defense in 2009 and No. 6 in 2010, but fell to 20th in 2011 due in large part to an offense that gave up more points to opposing defenses than any other in the league. Some of the consistency/ball security issues on offense that boiled over to the Jets defense may still be apparent, but the unit still looks like one of the best in football judging off what we saw in the preseason."
What Happened: The Jets finished eighth in total defense. Admittedly, they didn't look like a top unit all the time, but in terms of how close they came to finishing in the top five, it was a lot closer than it might have seemed and certainly a lot closer than anyone expected after the injury to Darelle Revis.
They ranked in the top half of the league in yards per drive, points per drive, punts per drive and touchdowns per drive according to Football Outsiders, but once again, the Jets' ball-security issues on offense proved to be too much for the defense to overcome on its own.
Turnovers Will Be Way Down from 2011: False
What I Said: "Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano preaches a ball-control style of offense and is not going to take too kindly to turnovers. Bringing in Sparano may have been the best thing to happen to Sanchez in a while, and expect it to show up on the stat sheet where it matters the most."
What Happened: I had to hold my laughter when I read this prediction. What was I thinking? Was I drinking?
Mark Sanchez capped off a dismal two-year stretch by turning the ball over 28 times. He has accumulated a league-leading 52 turnovers over the past two seasons.
Only nine of the Jets turnovers in 2012 were attributed to anyone besides Sanchez.
All told: 34 turnovers in 2011, 37 turnovers in 2012. Way down? Way wrong.
Darrelle Revis Will Not Give Up More Than 70 Yards to a Single Receiver: True
What I Said: "Revis remains the best cornerback in the game, and with a lot of motivation to prove himself from the beginning, this could be another banner year for No. 24."
What Happened: Revis went down with a season-ending injury in Week 3. I hardly feel good about taking credit for a correct guess, but Revis allowed 14 receiving yards in Week 1 against Buffalo, missed Week 2 and allowed one catch for one yards against the Dolphins in Week 3 before the injury ended his season.
Revis is entering another contract year in 2013 and has a lot to prove coming off ACL surgery as well.
Santonio Holmes' Chemistry Issues with Sanchez Will Go Away: True
What I Said: "As long as Holmes understands that this operation is bigger than him, there shouldn't be an overwhelming amount of controversy around the wide receiver this season."
What Happened: Much like Revis, Holmes' injury put a damper on the ability to properly draw a conclusion. The problems went away, but not necessarily because the relationship had been repaired, as I suggested might be the case leading into the season.
The real show of brotherhood would be if Holmes shows up to Jets camp in 2013 in full support of Sanchez as the quarterback.
Antonio Cromartie Will Not Catch a Single Pass: True
What I Said: "...despite the Jets' troubles on offense and their inability to find talent at the wide receiver position, they will not call on Cromartie to play a significant role at wide receiver. And regardless of the number of snaps he takes, he's not likely to be a big part of the plan, nor is he likely to be among Sanchez's primary reads on any given play."
What Happened: So very close, once again, to defeating my expectations.
The Jets only threw one pass Cromartie's way all season, and he came within inches of catching it. If it were a better-placed pass, he would have been able to get both feet down inbounds.
It was an incredible effort, but as it stands, it reads simply as an incomplete pass on the stat sheet.
9-7, Wild Card: False
What I Said: "Yep. For all the chaos that the Jets will go through this season, I think they'll still be a playoff team."
What Happened: I didn't know the true meaning of "chaos" until the end of the Jets season.
The Jets had an opportunity to prove me right with three games left in the season; if they had won out, they may have been in contention for a Wild Card. Even if they had won all three games, they would have missed out on the final spot to the Cincinnati Bengals.
As it turned out in the end, they proved me wrong. Way wrong.
Final Score Card: 6 out of 10
Hey, I finished the season over .500!
The Revis and Cromartie predictions may have padded my stats a bit, but I'll take it anyway I can get it.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.