What to Expect from the New York Jets Offseason After Disappointing 2011 Season
Going into Sunday's game, it was another game where the Jets had their backs against the wall again, and in order for them to make the playoffs, the first piece meant beating the Dolphins.
The inconsistent play by the Jets over the course of the season has brought up a lot of chatter as to what the Jets will do during the offseason in order to make themselves Super Bowl contenders once again.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at what to expect from the Jets as they enter the offseason.
1. Fire Brian Schottenheimer
Although Rex Ryan expects his offensive coordinator to be back next season, Jets fans are looking for blood, and with the way the offense performed throughout the season, Brian Schottenheimer is the biggest target.
Schottenheimer's play calling has been questionable all season, like last week against the Giants, when he stopped running the ball to try and have Sanchez air it out, which obviously did not work.
Schottenheimer has been on and off the hot seat over the last few years; with the Jets not making the playoffs this season and him being criticized a lot by the media, he is prime target for termination.
Sorry, Rex, but do not expect your offensive coordinator to be back after this season.
2. Re-Sign Plaxico Burress
When it comes to scoring in the red zone, no one could do it better than the New York Jets, as they led the league in red-zone conversion percentage.
A lot of that success comes from the signing of Plaxico Burress during the shortened free agency period after the lockout. After being released from prison in August, Burress returned to football and had 45 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.
Although he is not the fastest guy on the field, Plaxico proved this past season that he can still play football at a high level, and the Jets would be making a mistake if they pass up bringing him back in 2012 as a complimentary receiver to Santonio Holmes.
3. Re-Sign Aaron Maybin
Going into the start of the regular season, the Jets were making moves, trading guys away (i.e. Dwight Lowery to Jacksonville), making the standard roster cuts and adding guys. One of those guys they added was Aaron Maybin, who was cut by the Buffalo Bills after being their first-round pick back in 2009.
After joining the Jets, Maybin started to hit his stride after being coached up by Rex Ryan and company as he started to create havoc against opposing offensive lines, starting during the Jets Week 4 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Maybin finished the season with six sacks and nine tackles. Had he joined the Jets earlier in the season, he may have made even more of an impact. Maybin is a young guy that showed in 2011 that he still has the talent to perform in the NFL and can definitely become a big time pass rusher in the coming years.
4. Jets Try to Get Peyton Manning
It would not be surprising if the Jets try to go after Peyton Manning somewhere down the line. The Colts lost to the Jaguars in their final game, earning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, which they will likely use on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
The Jets are known for taking their chances on big name players out of their prime as a way to band-aid a hole that needs to be filled. In this case, that hole is quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has been very inconsistent and could probably use the mentoring he would receive from future Hall of Famer Manning.
5. Draft Safeties
For the second year in a row, veteran safety Jim Leonhard (pictured) went down late in the season. Without Leonhard, the Jets safeties are absolutely atrocious. This could be seen following the Jets victory against Kansas City. Even when Leonhard was healthy, his counterpart, Eric Smith, played horribly.
The biggest problem is that the Jets safeties besides Leonhard (Eric Smith, Brodney Pool) cannot really cover anybody, especially big tight ends. Opposing teams have exposed this problem time and time again like two weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles, when Smith and Pool could not cover Brent Celek and let him catch five passes for 156 yards with one touchdown.
This is the biggest weakness on an otherwise above average Jets team; look for them to use their first-round pick on a young guy at this position.
6. Draft a Right Tackle
This will be a big draft year for the Jets, as they need to find a replacement for Wayne Hunter. The Hunter experiment seemed like it was going to work after last season, when he filled in for the hurt Damien Woody towards the end of the 2010 season, but simply failed in 2011.
If there was anything consistent Hunter in 2011, it was committing penalty after penalty and not blocking properly for Mark Sanchez. Although he went against premier pass rushers like DeMarcus Ware and Jason Babin this year, there is no excuse.
Hunter is not a young guy and is far from entering his prime; it is hard to see Hunter back as a starter in New York.
7. Big Changes Coming
The end of this season is similar to the 2008 season, as the Jets were in control of their own destiny when it came to making the playoffs, but absolutely in the home stretch.
There are big problems on the team as is. They need an offensive line that will be able to protect Sanchez on a consistent basis, better safeties, a new offensive coordinator and many more.
The last three years have been considered the Jets' window to win a championship, but they are still on the cusp of being mediocre and being contenders. If they make the proper moves during this long offseason, they can become big-time contenders once again.