Surprisingly, there is not much the New York Jets forgot to do during this year's compressed free-agency period. While they did not re-sign wide receiver Braylon Edwards and were not able to get this year's top free agent, they were still able to fill the slots these high value players would have filled.
Some of the free agents who are on this year's team are Plaxico Burress, David Harris, Santonio Holmes, Derrick Mason, Eric Smith, Wayne Hunter, Nick Folk, Antonio Cromartie and a few others. While they have acquired these quality players who will definitely help make this team complete, they still need to address a couple of spots on their team.
He may not be a player, but Brian Schottenheimer's presence in the New York Jets organization needs to be re-considered. The Jets offensive coordinator has been under scrutiny by fans and some people in the media for the way he has coached, which has not been up to par to say the least.
One of the main problems with Schottenheimer is that he does not know how to properly utilize the offensive weapons he has. For example, the Jets recently lost Brad Smith during free agency to the Buffalo Bills; in his time with the Jets, Smith's abilities were not used to their potential. The wide receiver has the ability to throw, catch and run; in his time with Missouri, he threw for over 8,000 yards and ran for over 4,000. Yet in 2010, Schottenheimer let him throw only three passes, two of which were completed.
While Smith only threw the ball a few times, he was definitely used to run the football, going out of the "Seminole" package. However, the one problem with this, which has been a problem of Schottenheimer's for years is that it was too predictable. Because Smith did not throw the ball often, when the Jets set up in their version of the Wildcat formation, it became very easy for defenses to see that it was going to be a run play, making it easier for them to stop it.
Schottenheimer's ability to make his play-calling so obvious has been an issue and will most likely continue to be an issue, which is keeping the Jets offense from running as best as it possibly can. The best way to fix this problem would be to get rid of Schottenheimer after 2011 if the Jets cannot advance further in the playoffs. They have the players who can get the Lombardi trophy, but it is up to how well the coaches use them against other top teams.
When talking about the Jets linebackers, most people talk about inside linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris. The position that is not in the discussions is outside linebacker, where the Jets are quickly aging and losing skill.
Right now, the Jets have Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, who are entering their ninth and 10th years in the National Football League. Other than these two, the Jets have no other players at the position who will be able to produce in 2010. Earlier this month, Pace said that his foot, which needed surgery last preseason, did not play without pain until November (keep in mind he began playing again during Week 5), but now he says that he is at 100 percent.
If what Pace says about his foot is true, he and Thomas will be able to do what the Jets need them to do, which is to carry the load for the Jets outside linebackers. Pace showed the type of ability he had when he hit Eli Manning during the Jets preseason matchup with the Giants last season. He was also a crucial part of Rex Ryan's blitz during the Jets' playoff run last year.
Meanwhile, Thomas has been a consistent producer for the Jets defense, and they will expect nothing less of him this year. After this season or before the trade deadline, the Jets will definitely need to start thinking of acquiring some players who could play alongside Pace and Thomas for the next few years. They need to do this in order to avoid having a hole in their defense being exposed by another team and to have a safety net in case one of the two is injured in the near future.
All in all, the Jets did a good job of getting players to stay in New York and bringing new ones in so they can have a better team this season. Aside from the minor issues listed above, the Jets have an all-around team. They addressed their defensive line questions by using their first two draft picks for defensive linemen and addressed any other issues regarding holes in their roster through free agency. Hopefully for the Jets, their roster holds up throughout the season, they make it to the Super Bowl for a second time in franchise history and bring another championship back to New York.
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