The New York Jets made headlines when the lockout came to an end by re-signing Santonio Holmes to a lucrative 5 year, $50 million deal. Then came the signing of Plaxico Burress for the 2011 season and then the Jets went ahead and acquired Derrick Mason. The Jets are looking for Burress and Mason to replace, and do better than, Jericho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards.
The two receivers the Jets let go have moved onto other teams. Cotchery is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the Jets chose to let him go because of the hamstring injury he suffered last year that kept him sidelined for the beginning of preseason. Meanwhile, Braylon Edwards was let go because the Jets thought of him as a diva.
While these new receivers look good on paper, fans and spectators need to keep in mind that Plaxico has not played in a regular season game since November 2008 and Derrick Mason is in his 15th year in the National Football League. In all honesty, Santonio Holmes is their only true receiver -- he is young, can catch and is an impact player no matter where he is placed on the field.
Without further ado, here is a look at how the Jets receivers will do this season. As always, feedback is welcomed. Enjoy!
Why not start off with the guy who will most likely produce the most when it comes to receivers this season. Last year, Santonio had 52 receptions for 746 yards. Keep in mind that these statistics are only for 12 games since Holmes had to miss the first four due to a suspension.
Considering all of the factors that impacted Santonio's statistics last season -- like coming to a team and playing with a young quarterback, missing the first four games and competing for receptions against players like Jericho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller in an offense that likes to run -- there is no reason that he should not have even more production this season.
2011 Prediction: 75 Receptions, 1,050 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
Santonio is the only returning starting wide receiver and will likely be a go-to guy for Sanchez, especially when they need him to run the crisp slant route that won games for the Jets last season (i.e. Detroit and Cleveland). When it comes to the statistics, the four games Santonio missed make a huge impact, expect a season similar to the one he had in 2009 as the Jets look to pass the ball a little bit more and make use of his $50 million contract.
Even though Plaxico Burress is staying in the same city to restart his NFL career, a lot has changed during his three year absence. While his new team and former team still share the same stadium, they share a new building. The Jets are now the popular team in New York and Plaxico will not produce the same kind of numbers he did with the Giants and Steelers.
2011 Prediction: 40 Receptions, 500 Yards, 6 Touchdowns
This prediction is somewhat generous considering all of the factors that will affect Plaxico this season. He is going to be playing for a team with an unfamiliar system after a three year absence, he is coming off an early preseason injury and having a young quarterback leading the way.
Although Plaxico will enter the season with a lot of baggage, not all is bad; during the preseason he showed that he still possesses the skills needed to be a receiver in the National Football League. Standing tall at 6-foot-5, Plaxico will be a great target for Mark Sanchez and should see plenty of targets when the Jets are in the red zone as they are looking to him to help solve the red zone woes they had last season.
The second veteran receiver the Jets signed post-lockout is former Baltimore Ravens receiver Derrick Mason. Entering his fifteenth year, Mason will bring plenty of wisdom to an offense that includes young players like Shonn Greene, Matt Slauson, and Mark Sanchez.
Expected to fill the hole left by the release of Jericho Cotchery, Mason will primarily be a slot receiver running short routes so that Sanchez can dump the ball down if his primary receivers are not open.
2011 Prediction: 47 Receptions, 580 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
Last year, Mason had 61 receptions for 802 yards, but entering this season he will be competing for receptions against Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes in a run first offense. While also taking his age into account; it should not be surprising that there is a big drop off between his production this year and next year.
Probably Mark Sanchez's favorite target is tight end Dustin Keller. The four year veteran from Purdue saw himself targeted a lot early last season, which began to decline as defenses began to put more focus on him.
While he did not have as much production towards the end of the season, Keller was still able to have 55 receptions for 687 yards and 5 touchdowns.
2011 Prediction: 65 Receptions, 750 Yards, 4 Touchdowns
One of the plays that has led to Keller's success is the play-action bootleg that Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense run. When they run said play, more often than not, Keller is open downfield. Brian Schottenheimer should continue to call this play because no matter how many times they run it, defenses cannot seem to stop it.
While Keller should get some more receptions this season with defenses focusing on other guys like Shonn Greene, Plaxico Burress or Santonio Holmes, expect his touchdown receptions to stay the same or decline. Keller is not a red zone tight end because of his size, and when the Jets decide to pass in the red zone, Sanchez will look for Burress or Holmes, not Keller.
The rookie out of TCU is expected to make an impact this year as he will try to replace Brad Smith who ran the Jets version of the wildcat and would occasionally run routes.
With Kerley in the mix, the Jets could easily pass out of formations with four receivers and not worry about everybody being covered. Each player has a specific trait, which balances out the core as a whole. As for Kerley's statistics for 2011 season, here they are:
2011 Prediction: 17 Receptions, 200 Yards, 1 Touchdown
While Kerley's receiving statistics do not look very impressive, what is going to be the difference maker is his ability to run the wildcat efficiently. Like Smith, Kerley can throw the ball, and his speed gives Brian Schottenheimer plenty of ways to use Kerley out of the wildcat formation.
1) Braylon Edwards
2) Brad Smith
3) Jericho Cotchery
1) Plaxico Burress
2) Derrick Mason
3) Jeremy Kerley
1) Santonio Holmes
2) Patrick Turner
Better Receiving Core: 2010
While the Jets lost several receivers who were big parts of their offense, the men they were able to replace them with should be able to be suitable replacements. They may not produce as much as the previous receivers did, but the Jets have a great running game that could easily supplement the lack of passes thrown and/or caught.
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