New York Jets: 10 Reasons They're the Best Team in Football
Times are good for the little brothers of the Big Apple, and the New York Jets are riding a wave of momentum into the 2011-2012 season. After the lockout, Gang Green made some big moves and is ready to get over their AFC Championship game hump of the last two years and finally make to the Super Bowl.
So what makes the New York Jets the best team in not only the tough AFC East, but all of football? Let's take a look and find out.
Impact Selections on Draft Day
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Jets had a very strong draft this year, managing to draft many players who can immediately fill holes exposed during last year's campaign or through free agency.
With their first selection, the Jets selected Muhammad Wilkerson of Temple University. He will be the anchor of Rex Ryan's defense for years to come, but he will also be a stater from Week 1 and someone the Jets will rely heavily on throughout the season. He will be joined on the defensive line by third-round pick Kenrick Ellis, who may not start but will still be asked to play a big role for this year's squad. With the lack of pressure from the front line last year, along with the departure of Jason Taylor, Wilkerson and Ellis will help bring the fear back when teams face the Jets defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Jets knew they would be faced with a lot of question marks with their receiving corps. They addressed these questions in the draft with the additions of Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight. With Brad Smith taking his services to the Bills, the Jets were left with a big hole on offense and special teams. Both of these players together will help to fill that role and be a part of New York's offense moving forward.
Two-Headed Beast in the Backfield
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The Jets' most important offensive weapon is their running game, and it is poised to get better in 2011. LaDainian Tomlinson is a year older, but his time in New York has seemed to rejuvenate him and has him primed for another big year.
Combine L.T. with the young and energetic Shonn Green, and the Jets ground-and-pound style of offense, and it looks like the Jets backfield is ready for another big season.
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The 2011 schedule will help the Jets prove themselves as the best team in football. They start off against the on again, off again Cowboys, and Rex will surely have his boys primed for action playing against his brother Rob. The next two weeks have the Boys in Green playing the rag-tag Jaguars and constantly under-performing Oakland Raiders. Their first true test does not come until Week 4 in Baltimore, but the team should have fully hit their stride by then.
Week 5 sends the Jets up to Foxborough to play their favorite team, the New England Patriots. Although this is always a tough game, they are able to get their trip to Gillette Stadium out of the way in early October, and the Pats have to travel to the Meadowlands later in the season, meaning the Jets have the upper hand with their divisional rival.
The Jets then play the Dolphins and the Chargers at home before a bye in Week 8. These are two games that the Jets should win, even though the Chargers will be a challenge, and allow them to go into their bye with a lot of confidence.
Week 9 will see the Jets head up to Buffalo, followed by their home game with the Patriots. After the Pats, New York sees the Bills, Redskins and Broncos for the next three weeks. With all of these games looking like wins in the preseason, it will allow the team to get some rest and recuperation before the end of the season and playoffs.
The Threat of Plax
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
One of the biggest weaknesses for the 2010 Jets was their red-zone offense. With the addition of Plaxico Burress, a lot of their problems could be mitigated quickly. Although the Jets can't know for sure what they are getting with Burress, even if he is half the player he was for the Giants it will be a huge upgrade for Mark Sanchez and the offense. He may have gotten older and not played for a few years, but six feet and five inches of freak athlete does not just disappear overnight.
Al Bello/Getty Images
Nnamdi who? The Jets may not have gotten their second big name in free agency, but they still have the best corner in football. Darelle Revis is the definition of a shutdown corner, and has not met a receiver he cannot make look like a preteen schoolgirl.
People may say that he had an off year in 2010, but many people forget that he was injured to begin the season, and he is also targeted a lot less than he was in the past. He goes out week after week and takes the opponent's top receiver out of the game-plan completely. A lot of games the quarterback will not even look towards Revis' side of the field. He is what makes the Jets defense as potent as it can be.
Same Old Santonio
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Santonio Holmes gave the Jets a great spark when he came back from his suspension early last season, and continued to be the best receiver on the team throughout the regular season and playoffs.
There will be no drop-off this year. Armed with a new contract, new supporting cast and another season under Mark Sanchez, he is poised for another huge year for Gang Green.
Remember Jim Leonhard?
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Anyone remember the quarterback of the defense? The signal caller and leader on the defensive side of the ball? Well for those of you who forgot, he is ready to return and have a big impact as he always does. Sidelined for the majority of last season with a broken leg, the Jets D took a big hit when he wasn't on the field.
Leonhard has been rehabbing hard and is primed for a big year as the anchor of the Jets defense once again. He will reclaim his job and be the glue that holds together the back of the defense. As long as he is healthy, it is time for another big season from Leonhard.
Reliable Derrick Mason
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Mason is one of the biggest free-agent signings this offseason. Mason was always a dump-down option for Joe Flacco in Baltimore, someone he would find time and time again when he was in trouble and had the defense breathing down his throat. This is a luxury that Mark Sanchez has never had, and something that will greatly help him in the passing game.
The Coach, the Consultant
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Rex Ryan can always get the most out of his players, and has the energy to keep his team hungry for a championship. He was a breath of fresh air for Jets players and fans, and has given a new found confidence to the team since his arrival. This year is his year. He has guaranteed a championship before, but I think after two trips to the AFC championship game, and with the additions in the offseason, the team is ready to show why they are now the best in football.
One of the big changes that will help this year is the addition of former Colts coach Tom Moore as a consultant. Known as the man who groomed Peyton Manning, Mark Sanchez can improve by leaps and bounds, and lead this team with the help of his fiery coach and new consultant.
A Quarterback Ready to Break out
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Mark Sanchez is finally ready to put it all together this season, and lead the best team in football to a championship. He has all the tools he needs with Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, L.T. and Shonn Green to not only manage the offense, but be counted on to carry a bulk of the load.
With new consultant Tom Moore, Sanchez has another set of eyes to help with his growth, and is finally ready to lead the rest of his teammates and prove they are the best team in the NFL.