You're probably saying: Who? Lance Laury? Never heard of him.
Well, consider this. One of the Jets' greatest strengths is their inside linebackers. But who backs them up? Yeah, I thought so. If either goes down, the Jets are in trouble. Lance Laury can bring some stability to their linebacking corps.
Also, he can help the Jets' special teams, which are looking a little thin. They have lost two of their top special teamers and third is getting long in the tooth.
Jason Trusnik, the most influential loss for both issues, was traded to the Browns in the Braylon Edwards deal. He was the No. 1 backup to Bart Scott and David Harris. In Week Three, he was the special teams player of the week. He's accounted for 24 special teams tackles in his career, and six in the four weeks he played for the Jets. If you remember, he forced a fumble against the Titan's kickoff return.
Lance Laury is his direct replacement, but several other personnel changes could make him even more important.
The Jets lost Wallace Wright, one of their top special teamers who was signed by the Carolina Panthers as an unrestricted free agent. He accounted for 23 tackles last year as, arguably, the Jets' best special team defender.
Larry Izzo, another special teamer, is getting old, and he may not be re-signed.
The Patriots recently signed outside linebacker/special team defender Marques Murrell. And another Jets' special teamer gone. He was a solid player who managed 12 tackles last season.
Looking to 2010, Lance Laury managed 21 tackles on special teams last season. He can help make the necessary stops so, hopefully, we won't have another day with not one but two Ted Ginn return touchdowns.
Why is this season so important for the Jets' special teams? Well, let's look at some of the return men they face this year:
Baltimore Ravens: Chris Carr
New England: Wes Welker
Buffalo Bills: Leodis McKelvin
Green Bay Packers: Will Blackmon
Cleveland Browns: Joshua Cribbs
Chicago Bears: Devin Hester, Danieal Manning
These are some of the game's top return men. If the Jets don't perform on special teams, they'll give up some decisive points. The entire Jets special teams have to step up.
Lance Laury will help the Jets' special teams rebuild and keep these dominant return men at bay. He will insure the Jets' linebacking corps against injury. And that is why signing Lance Laury was the best signing of whom you never heard.