2009 New York Jets Preview
After a miserable ending to the 2008 NFL season, the New York Jets have cleaned house and brought in a new head coach, along with excellent players on both sides of the ball.
First-year head coach Rex Ryan is looking to bring the nasty, hard-hitting defensive attitude from Baltimore over to New York, and he hopes that will bring a Super Bowl title to the Big Apple.
Overcoming a 2008 Collapse
It was a late Thursday evening in Foxboro, Mass., when the Jets and Patriots hooked up for a battle for first place.
Brett Favre led the Jets out to an impressive lead, but that advantage was later relinquished late in the fourth quarter, and overtime was imminent.
The Jets were victorious, and they officially took over first place in the AFC East.
The next week, they went to Tennessee to battle the undefeated Titans. The Jets handed the Titans their first loss of the season in surprising fashion, winning 34-13.
At that point in the season, the Jets were 8-3 and in first place in the AFC East.
But over the next five games, the Jets would lose four of them against sub-par competition, causing them to miss the playoffs and end the season in disappointing fashion.
Brett Favre has since retired, and the Jets fired head coach Eric Mangini and hired Rex Ryan, the heralded defensive expert and coordinator from Baltimore.
Ryan will aim to put last season in the rear-view mirror and concentrate on this season with a whole slew of new weapons.
The Mark Sanchez Factor
The Jets traded up to the fifth pick in the 2009 draft to take quarterback Mark Sanchez out of USC.
Many Jet fans were not happy about the move, but I disagree with them. I think this was an exceptional move.
There is now a quarterback battle between the rookie Sanchez and the incumbent Kellen Clemens, and I feel this makes both players better. Having a competition makes both candidates play to their highest potential and work their hardest to win the starting quarterback job.
In my opinion, the job should be in the hands of Sanchez. To me, he is the quarterback of the future, and he was just paid a hefty sum of money. Sanchez clearly has the most upside and potential, and the Jets will benefit more with him at the helm.
The Jets' defense was very strong last year, but this year, it is going to be freakish.
In addition to Pro Bowlers Kris Jenkins and Darrelle Revis, the Jets added Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard from Baltimore and Lito Sheppard from the Eagles. Adding these great players to an already above average defense is going to give the Jets one of the best defenses in all of football.
With the defensive-minded Ryan as the new coach, other teams should be very weary about how good the Jets' defense will really be this year.
Questions at Wideout?
This season, the Jets will ask Jerricho Cotcherry to step into the No. 1 receiver role after losing Laverneous Coles to free agency.
Also in the wideout core will be Brad Smith and David Clowney. Clowney has shown a glimpse of being a solid wide receiver, such as when he gained over 160 yards and caught three touchdowns in a preseason game last year. Brad Smith will fill in the No. 2 spot nicely, and I think the Jets can survive with what they have, especially with a strong running game.
To be honest, adding another solid wideout would not hurt, but it is not a pertinent.
The Running Game
In 2009, the Jets will have another very strong running game.
With the AFC's leading rusher and scorer in Thomas Jones and the electric Leon Washington coming back, and with the addition of Shonn Greene, the Jets are going to have one of the most solid rushing attack in the AFC.
The offensive line returns from last year, which was one of the best in the game at opening holes for Jones and protecting Favre. Now, it will get to open holes for Greene too and will protect Sanchez or Clemens.