New York Jets: Six Reasons Why Their Season Is Looking Brighter By the Day
The New York Jets have been the loudmouths of the NFL this season. They talked a lot of trash, and openly talked about how they expected to win the Super Bowl this season.
Then they let HBO's Hard Knocks document them during training camp this season. The Jets were making a lot of noise but the season hadn't even started yet.
The 2010 NFL season then started in a disaster for the New York Jets. They dropped their Week 1 game to the Baltimore Ravens at home 10-9. It was one of the worst offensive performances in franchise history.
Many people immediately began doubting the Jets, claiming they weren't for real and they couldn't back up the talk.
However, two weeks later, after big wins against division rivals, the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, things are looking better for the Jets. Here are six reasons why this season is now looking brighter for the Jets.
The Offense Has Finally Started Heating Up
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Throughout the pre-season talk about the Jets centered on their defense. Everyone knew the Jets defense would again be dominant, but who could take them seriously as a contender with an unproven offense?
Many people had serious doubts about the Jets offense and questions arose as to whether they would be a major liability or not.
During the pre-season those questions were not being answered positively for the Jets, as the offense struggled to move the ball.
Those struggles continued into week 1 as the Jets offense was dreadful against the Ravens. However, in week 2 the Jets offense suddenly woke up and has become a potent weapon.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez had a career high in completions and TD passes against New England, and followed that up with another 3 TD performance against Miami.
Tight End Dustin Keller is emerging as a premier tight end, and a prime option for Sanchez, especially in the red zone as he has three TD catches in the last two weeks.
While the Jets ground-and-pound game has yet to get off the ground, through the air, the Jets are flying.
Sanchez has looked very confident and has been throwing the ball down the field. He threw 20 INTs last season, but through three games this season, he has 6 TDs and 0 INTs, a very good sign for the Jets if he could keep this up.
The Defense Will Get Better
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After Chad Henne picked apart the Jets secondary Sunday night, Rex Ryan said that his pride was hurt. Ryan credits himself as being a defensive master and you know he does not want his pride getting hurt again.
Ryan will go back to the drawing board to figure out a way to ensure that the Jets defense could regain the form that they had last season.
While the Jets are going to be cautious with CB Darrelle Revis, he should be ready to make his return in about a week.
A full-strength Revis will allow the Jets to play man-to-man coverage with the opponent's No. 1 WR.
Antonio Cromartie will also be able to play man-to-man on the No. 2, which will free up players to blitz the quarterback.
The Jets will be able to go back to putting constant pressure on the quarterback. This will give the quarterback less time and will increase turnovers for the Jets defense.
When dealing with Rex Ryan, the one thing you can be sure of is that he will figure out a way to get the Jets defense back to their dominant selves.
Brad Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson Are Coming Into Their Own
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One of the reasons the Jets offense has become so explosive has been the superb play of Brad Smith. The Jets have always been looking for ways to get Smith the ball.
However, by last season it seemed to fans that a direct snap to Smith never actually worked.
The Jets have now opened it up and have allowed Smith to throw the ball a few times, and he made some big throws during week 17 and the playoffs last season.
The threat of Smith throwing has allowed him to become a valuable weapon in the Jets offense.
The Jets seem to be moving away from using Smith as a "wildcat" quarterback, and as more of an option quarterback.
On a big third down in Miami last week, Smith broke a big run, mostly because one of the defenders had to keep his eyes on LaDainian Tomlinson in case Smith optioned over to him.
The threat of the option allowed Smith to run for big yardage, and a first down.
During the off-season the Jets signed future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson. Many people around the league believed that back was washed up after only picking up 750 rushing yards last season.
This season Tomlinson is proving he still has legs under him and has become a major force in the Jets offense.
Not only has he been a valuable rusher, but he has become a huge asset for QB Mark Sanchez to find coming out of the backfield. Having a fresh Tomlinson is doing wonders for the Jets offense.
Santonio Holmes Hasn't Even Started Playing Yet
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Oh boy. On Monday Night Football of Week 5, in a home game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Jets will be able to rip the wrapping paper off another new toy.
The Jets traded for Santonio Holmes this off-season knowing that the wide receiver would miss the first four games of the season for an off the field related suspension. The Jets figured the risk was worth it.
Holmes was very impressive during training camp and the pre-season and judging from the coaches reactions on "Hard Knocks," the Jets coaches seem very giddy to have him around. Holmes will bring a big-play explosiveness to the Jets passing attack.
The best news about this though, is that the Jets passing attack has now found its wings without Holmes.
Mark Sanchez has played his best back-to-back performance over the last two weeks. Adding Holmes to the mix will make the Jets' wideouts that much more dangerous.
Their Next Two Games Are Against Buffalo and Minnesota
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While the Jets are waiting to get back to full strength, they move away from their brutal opening three games of the season. Next for the Jets is a trip up to Buffalo, a team that has looked lost in two of their first three games.
While Buffalo did rack up a bunch of points against New England's overrated defense, the Bills passing game has nothing on the Dolphins passing game. This will enable the Jets to give that much more rest to CB Darrelle Revis and LB Calvin Pace.
Though Rex Ryan is hopeful that the two will be able to play on Sunday, the extra rest will enable them to ensure that they come back at 100% and not too early leaving them liable to aggravate the injuries.
The following week the Jets return home to face former Jets QB Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. While this was marked as a big game before the season, it is clear the Vikings are not the team that they were last season.
The Vikings biggest strength is their rushing attack. The Jets have not had a problem stopping the run against anyone this season. By the time this game rolls around the Jets should have both Revis and Pace back in their defense.
Minnesota will still be without top wideout Sidney Rice, so the Jets will not have many coverage issues against the Vikings. They will bring pressure on Favre, who is old and fragile.
As Jets fans know, Favre could be very prone to turning the ball over, and the turnovers should be plentiful against the Jets.
While neither of these games will be easy, especially the trip to Buffalo, if the Jets play the way they are more then capable of playing, they could easily be looking at a 5-1 record come Week 6.
The Jets Are Playing As a Team
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When you take a gamble on a bunch of players with off the field issues you are going to end up with off the field issues. The latest of the bunch came right after the New England game when WR Braylon Edwards was arrested for a DWI.
Many people could look at this as being a selfish move by Edwards, for not thinking, and how the team could turn their backs on Edwards.
A big fuss was made about how long Edwards would be forced to sit on the sideline during the game against Miami. The Jets settled on benching him for just the first quarter.
When Edwards came into the game he did not look to make it all about him, and show the Jets what they were missing by having him on the bench.
Instead he came in looking to help the team in any way possible. When his number was not called early, he helped out by making a huge block on a run that sprung LaDainian Tomlinson for a big gain.
Edwards would finish the game with only two catches, but they were very big catches: one being for a touchdown and the other being a big third-down catch for a first down.
When Edwards was interviewed after the game he said the reason he was able to get over his mistake was because of the support of his teammates.
He said right from the moment of the incident his teammates and coaches all had his back.
This is a great sign for the Jets. It shows they are sticking together as a team, and more importantly they are not worrying about what is going on off the field, rather they are just sticking together and playing football.
The Jets are ignoring the distractions, and there are lots of them, ranging from off the field issues to trash talk coming from their own coach.
When the Jets step onto the field, nothing else matters, just the game of football and their goal of winning.