What Every Fan Needs to Know About the 2013 New York Jets
A lot has changed over the course of the offseason for the New York Jets. Training camp starts up in just a few weeks, unofficially marking the beginning of a fresh start for Gang Green, who stumbled in 2011 and 2012 after previously rising to the upper echelon of the NFL.
The Jets feature a revitalized front office, led by new general manager John Idzik. The team's coaching staff has also been replenished. New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg boasts a West Coast offense that should point the Jets toward increased efficiency on the attack.
The team's contingency of player personnel is arguably mediocre at best, and it remains to be seen whether or not guys like RB Chris Ivory, WR Jeremy Kerley and TE Jeff Cumberland can rise to the occasion and help improve an offense that ranked near the bottom of the league in every category last year.
The 2013 season is branded as a rebuilding year for the Jets, but head coach Rex Ryan could be out of a job if the team doesn't compete at a high level and battle for a playoff spot.
The following slideshow highlights what every fan needs to know about the 2013 New York Jets:
John Idzik Runs the Show
New GM John Idzik was strictly touted as a player contract-negotiator when he opted to accept the Jets formerly vacant front office role.
Idzik doesn't boast a strong track record as a renowned talent evaluator, although it's definitely likely that he's better apt to lead a rebuilding process than the likes of former GM Mike Tannenbaum.
Idzik is a headstrong executive that can effectively read the room.
He's not the brand of GM that can be pushed around or foolishly influenced. He's destined to run the Jets more like a successful big business than a nonsensical circus.
Idzik runs the show for the Jets in New York, which means the chaotic atmosphere that engulfed the team into abysmal failure over the course of the past two seasons is dead.
The jocular episodes that the average football fan uses to identify the Jets will continue to rage throughout the nation. Mark Sanchez's "butt fumble" isn't going to suddenly disappear because Idzik seemingly controls the team's future, but the team is headed in the right direction.
It was critical for owner Woody Johnson to hire a tenacious football man to lead the Jets into a new era. That was accomplished when Idzik was hired, regardless of whether or not the common fan and football pundits acknowledge it.
Rex Ryan Needs to Win Now
Rex Ryan is entering a do-or-die season that could dictate his future potential as a head coach in the NFL.
Tannenbaum took the heat for the Jets ugly tailspin at the conclusion of the 2012 season, but the team-wide meltdown wasn't entirely at the fault of its former GM.
Ryan arguably deserved an equivalent share of the blame.
He allowed Tebow-mania to divide the locker room into utter disarray while simultaneously failing to help implement an effective offensive game plan. Former OC Tony Sparano faltered on a massive scale, but Ryan admittedly didn't have a grip on the offense.
He's always been defined as possibly the best defensive mind in football today, however, his inconsistent ability to graduate a quality product from training camp onto the playing field is cause for concern.
The Jets' defense has been mostly stellar during Ryan's tenure as head coach, but hand-picked QB Mark Sanchez has regressed and the offense has suffered as a result.
The Green and White ranked second against the pass in 2012, surrendering just 189.8 passing yards per game in the absence of Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis. In contrast, the team featured the 30th ranked air attack in the NFL, averaging 180.7 passing yards per game.
Ryan needs to display a strong aptitude for player management and personnel development if he's going to remain the Jets' head coach after this season. His job likely depends on it.
New Look for the Offense
New OC Marty Mornhinweg is going to inject the West Coast offense in New York. It's a new look for the Jets, who sputtered on the offensive front under the leadership of former OC Brian Schottenheimer in 2011 and Sparano in 2012.
The Jets aren't an exact personnel fit for the new system, though. Their receiving corps are speed-laden and lack dominant playmaking skills, assuming Santonio Holmes doesn't return at peak ability.
The West Coast offense is advantageous for the Jets in that it should help increase quarterback efficiency, however.
Sanchez recorded a 66.9 quarterback rating in 2012, which ranked among the worst in the NFL. He completed just 54.3 percent of his pass attempts and struggled at a disastrous level when trying to connect on passes downfield.
Sanchez also threw 18 interceptions. He never looked comfortable in the pocket and seemingly lacked sufficient confidence. His timing was terrible, blatantly throwing behind open receivers in stride. He's not guaranteed to win the title of Jets starting QB, but should be slightly more effective on offense if he does.
Mornhinweg's scheme emphasizes a short, horizontal passing attack used to stretch out the defense downfield and enable receivers to gain yardage underneath.
The down-and-distance approach should help Sanchez, nevertheless. The Jets' passing attack will be more focused and less sporadic, fueling a revamping process that should lead to more first-downs, fewer turnovers and ultimately more points on the scoreboard.
Mornhinweg's concept isn't guaranteed to succeed, though, especially if Sanchez is unable to escape bad passing tendencies that have dogged him throughout his career.
Ground and Pound Is Dead
The ground and pound is dead for the Jets in New York. The between-the-tackles approach was effective when the team arguably boasted the best offensive line in football in 2009 and 2010, although that's no longer the case.
The Jets traded their fourth-round pick in this season's draft for former Saints RB Chris Ivory. He was a virtual afterthought in New Orleans, seldom getting the carries the Jets feel he deserves.
Ivory is likely going to be the team's feature back in 2013, barring injury. He's just 25 years old and vaunts significant upside. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 40 attempts in 2012. He's rushed for 1,307 yards and eight touchdowns in limited gameplay throughout his three seasons as a pro.
Ivory figured to be a dynamic brand of rusher that can cutback and churn up-field. He's a hard runner that can slash through should-be tacklers and should help reignite a formerly formidable Jets rushing attack.
Tailback Mike Goodson will complement Ivory in the backfield, assuming his legal issues don't override his talent. Goodson is a speed back that can catch the ball out of the backfield. He's reeled in 59 catches for 524 yards and a touchdown in four seasons and also averages 4.5 yards per carry on 160 career attempts.
Mornhinweg's offensive game plan seemingly fits the backs' abilities. It's possible that the Jets could enter the 2013 season with the most underrated backfield in the NFL, although it's difficult to base that claim on small sample sizes from two players that some would argue are still unproven.
Ivory and Goodson could be the Jets best weapons on offense, regardless.
Mark Sanchez Isn't Good Enough
The Mark Sanchez saga still reigns prominent for the Jets as the team's much anticipated QB battle prepares to hit the stage in Cortland, NY for training camp.
The former "Sanchize" is now perceived in despicable limelight after two horrendous seasons that have convinced most analysts that he's simply not good enough to compete at a high level in the NFL.
Sanchez's gameplay will be outrageously magnified and highly ridiculed throughout camp. The failure that he's endured over the past two seasons has seemingly broken the former fifth-overall selection, but he still has a chance to reclaim the role of the Jets main signal-caller.
Rookie QB Geno Smith is hot on his heels, though, and sustains favorable circumstances in the face of fans and football experts.
If Sanchez continues to showcase signs of regression during training camp and throughout the preseason, his career as a starting QB in the NFL is almost certainly over.
Smith still needs to outplay his counterpart if he's going to earn the job. He reportedly didn't look as strong as Sanchez in OTAs and minicamp, but that won't deter the rook from fighting to the core for a starting gig as the Jets QB.
Sanchez has thrown just 68 touchdown passes in comparison to 69 interceptions in four seasons as a pro. He's completed an inefficient total of 55.1 percent of his career pass attempts and averages a stagnant 5.5 yards per throw.
Smith remains unproven, but Sanchez just isn't good enough.