Why the New York Jets Are Headed for Disaster in 2013

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystJune 13, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 17:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to throw the ball against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 17, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After a 2012 season in which the New York Jets won six games and finished the year 30th in the NFL in total offense, fans of Gang Green no doubt figured the team had hit rock bottom.

Unfortunately, it appears that rock bottom will be coming again in 2013.

The biggest reason why is the one thing that separates the haves from the have-nots in the NFL, and the playoff teams from the bottom feeders.

Quarterback play.

The battle to start under center for the Jets may end up being over before it started, at least if recent reports are any indication.

As Mike Vorkunov of The Newark Star-Ledger reports, rookie second-round pick Geno Smith is having trouble learning the nuances of Marty Morninwheg's West Coast offense.

Quarterbacks coach David Lee stated that there are "no similarities whatsoever" between New York's offense and the one Smith ran at West Virginia, and while head coach Rex Ryan tried to put a positive spin on things he admitted that Smith is far from ready for the NFL.

His steps -- dropbacks -- his mechanics footwork wise weren't dialed in the way they'll have to be at this level. I think some of that is your five and seven step drops, it's all new to him. But sometimes you can't even notice it. Because when he's on, the guy is absolutely terrific. We knew that it's not an easy process but it's one that I have confidence that when we get to Cortland, I think when the thing goes I think you're going to see the guy keep improving and improving and improving.

Ryan also confessed that Smith is "struggling with the basic things". That throws a large bucket of cold water on the prospects of Smith starting early in the 2013 season, which leaves a single, horrifying reality.

Mark Sanchez will probably be the Jets starting quarterback in Week 1.

Sanchez was an absolute nightmare in 2012. His confidence was shattered by a never-ending torrent of badly thrown passes and turnovers. By season's end he'd been benched, he had twice as many turnovers as touchdowns, and he ranked next to last at the quarterback position according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

At least one player thinks that Sanchez can bounce back this year, as wide receiver Santonio Holmes threw his support behind the fifth-year pro according to Jane McManus of ESPN.

[Sanchez is] going to be our guy. Coaches brought him back and they kept him on this team for a reason. He's a great leader and he's got great potential and he's excited about this season upcoming, and so am I.

Not to rain on Santonio's parade, but I'm pretty sure the cap hit the Jets would have incurred by releasing Sanchez thanks to the ridiculous extension he signed last year had a lot to do with the Jets keeping him around.

It's also a little ironic to hear this enthusiasm coming from a player who just admitted that he may not be ready for the start of the season according to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com.

And that's the thing. The Jets' issues where the passing attack is concerned go way beyond the quarterback position.

Holmes' Lisfranc injury leaves his Week 1 availability up in the air. Stephen Hill, who the Jets are counting on to emerge as an offensive threat in his second NFL season, has been on and off the practice field while nursing a knee injury. Dustin Keller departed for Miami in free agency, leaving undrafted free agent Jeff Cumberland as the team's top tight end.

The offensive line was an issue in 2012 as well. According to Football Outsiders, while the Jets were an effective run blocking unit they were terrible in pass protection, ranking 30th in the NFL while allowing 47 sacks.

Yes, the Jets signed free-agent guards Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman. However, expecting a huge improvement due to the addition of Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) 35th and 38th-ranked guards in 2012 is wishful thinking.

In short, the entire New York passing offense is one big question mark (at best).

"So what?" fans will ask. Win with defense and running the football. Rock it old school.

That only goes so far. The bottom five teams in the NFL last year in passing offense (Kansas City, Minnesota, the Jets, Chicago and Arizona) were a combined 33-47. Take out the team that has an Adrian Peterson, and that number drops to 23-41.

The Jets do not have an Adrian Peterson.

The cold reality of today's NFL is that sooner or later, in order to win with any consistency, a team is going to have to be able to move the ball through the air.

With Sanchez at quarterback, a shaky group of receivers and a leaky offensive line, there's little reason to think that the New York Jets are going to be able to do that in 2013.

And that's going to make even hitting six wins this season a tall order.