Alex's 32 Teams in 32 Days: Team 22—New York Jets

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Alex's 32 Teams in 32 Days: Team 22—New York Jets
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
2008 Record: 9-7

 

2008 Season Review

At the beginning of the 2008 training camp, it appeared as if the New York Jets were going to have another bad season. They didn't appear to have a quarterback capable of leading the team to the playoffs or any success.

But that quickly changed.

After retiring in March, future hall of fame quarterback Brett Favre decided he wanted to return to the NFL.

But the Green Bay Packers, who held Favre's rights, had already turned the page and begun the Aaron Rodgers era.

Favre insisted he still wanted to play and was planning on coming to camp.

In an effort to get rid of the Favre distractions, Green Bay shipped Favre to the New York Jets.

The Jets had found their quarterback. They released Chad Pennington to open up a roster spot for their new star.

The expectations for the Jets quickly skyrocketed and whispers of "Super Bowl" were heard.

As Favre was still trying to get comfortable in the offensive system and with his new teammates, the Jets got off to a mediocre 3-3 start.

But highlighted by a 34-13 stomping of the Tennessee Titans and a 34-31 overtime victory in New England, the New York "Bretts" found themselves winning five straight and once again hearing the words "Super Bowl" thrown around; just this time they were no whispers.

However, the hype did not last.

With Favre's throwing shoulder seeming to tire out, the Jets dropped four of their last five games and went from first to third in the AFC East at 9-7.

Fittingly, they lost their final game to Pennington and his division champion Miami Dolphins.

Favre turned the ball over 10 times in the last five games.

The collapse can't be completely blamed on Favre; although that's who most fans have placed the guilt on.

There were very questionable decisions by head coach Eric Mangini, an inconsistent run game, and a shaky pass defense that could also take some of the finger pointing for the late-season free fall.

Overall, the Jets ranked 16th in pass yards, ninth in rushing, and ninth in points scored.

The defense ranked 16th in total yards allowed, seventh against the run, and 29th against the pass. Allowing 22.3 points-per-game, they ranked 18th.

Coach Mangini was fired just days after the season and Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was hired as the new head man.

 

Key Additions 

QB Mark Sanchez (draft), LB Bart Scott, CB Lito Sheppard, CB Donald Strickland, S Jim Leonhard, RB Shonn Greene (draft), LB Larry Izzo

 

Key Losses

LB Eric Barton, LB David Bowens, WR Laveranues Coles, QB Brett Favre, TE Chris Baker, CB Hank Poteat, S Abram Elam



2009 Preview

New head coach Rex Ryan brings a brand new mentality to the New York Jets franchise. He brings confidence, toughness, a sense of hope and belief, and swagger to a team that badly needs it.

Ryan also brings several players to the Jets from his old team.

The ex-Ravens who are now Jets include linebacker Bart Scott, safety Jim Leonhard, defensive end Marques Douglas, and tackle Michael Kracalik.

The Jets also added two-time Pro Bowler and former All-Pro cornerback Lito Sheppard in a trade from Philadelphia.

Sheppard will play opposite 2008 Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis at cornerback.

Sheppard, Revis, Leohnard, and Kerry Rhodes combine for a very talented starting secondary.

At linebacker, 2008 sixth overall pick Vernon Gholston will likely be called on to play a significant role in Ryan's defense.

Gholston was invisible as a rookie. He made just 13 tackles with no sacks in 15 games.

Gholston's role will be especially important in the first month of the season; Calvin Pace will be suspended for the first four games, and Shaun Ellis will also have to take a seat week one.

The Jets' defensive line will be anchored by Kris Jenkins. Jenkins was one of the NFL's most dominant interior defensive lineman in 2008 and expect nothing less from him in '09.

Offensively, the Jets still have questions.

One of the league's most intriguing position battles this summer is the Jets' quarterback competition.

Rookie Mark Sanchez is up against 2006 second-round selection Kellen Clemens.

The Jets traded up to select Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in April's draft.

Sanchez completed 64.3 percent of his passes at Southern California and tossed 41 touchdowns in 16 career collegiate starts.

Clemens has started eight NFL games, all coming in 2007. He's got a career completion percentage of 52 percent. He has thrown five touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Jets are 3-5 when Clemens starts at quarterback.

No matter who is under center opening day, the Jets will certainly need to run the ball well to have success.

Thomas Jones, the AFC's top rusher in 2008, will be the starting running back by name but the Jets could possibly use a committee that will include speedy Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Greene.

A successful rushing attack will help whoever ends up starting at quarterback get their feet wet and settle into the offense.

No matter how talented the running backs and quarterbacks are, they can't do much without a healthy offensive line. Luckily for the Jets, four of their five big men up front haven't missed a game in three years.

D'Brickashaw Ferguson will start at left tackle, Alan Faneca at left guard, Nick Mangold at center, the right guard will be Brandon Moore, and Damien Woody will lock down the right tackle position in 2009.

At wide receiver, the Jets are very weak. As of now, Jerricho Cotchery is their No. 1 receiver, with Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney behind him on the depth chart.

Clowney has just one career reception, and Stuckey has just 32.

 

Bottom Line:

The success of the 2009 Jets will come down to the answers of three questions: What will they get out of the quarterback position? Can the offensive line stay healthy? Can the defense play well in the absence of suspended Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis?

If all the stars align, the Jets could win up to 12 games; however, a record of 7-9 is more likely.

 

Previous Rankings

32. Detroit Lions

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30. Cleveland Browns

29. Oakland Raiders

28. Kansas City Chiefs

27. St. Louis Rams

26. Denver Broncos

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

24. Washington Redskins

23. Seattle Seahawks

 

Be sure to check in tomorrow for the unveiling of team 21. 

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