His boy McElroy!
After a long off season in which you couldn’t escape coverage of the worst team that plays football in New Jersey but still claims New York the Jets will finally step onto a field this weekend. In case ESPN hasn’t completely turned you off of Gang Green (and for just about everyone that isn’t named ‘Fireman Ed’ that point has already been reached) you can now watch them every Sunday. Then you can watch ESPN agonize over them as if a team that didn’t make the playoffs last season is the biggest news-maker in the league.
There is some good news though. Fact: The Jets have never won a Super Bowl in a season when Rex Ryan guaranteed an NFL Championship. Fact: Rex Ryan did not guarantee a Super Bowl victory this season. But like all teams the Jets still have some pressing issues facing them this season.
1. Is this team too much of a circus to really compete?
The Jets front office watched the team implode last season after back-to-back AFC title game appearances due to anomosity in the locker room and the budding of a number of huge egos. Fingers were pointed all over the place and I’m not sure what was more newsworthy during the season; Mark Sanchez’s ability as a quarterback or what cast member of Gossip Girl he was going home with.
So what did the brainiacs upstairs decide? Let’s bring in one of the most polarizing, attention-grabbing figures in the league and add it to our already tumultuous team. Oh and did we mention he is a quarterback that can’t throw?
Well with the addition of Tim Tebow the Jets again grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. To be honest it has to be insulting as a Jets fan. Instead of improving the team the Jets went out and brought in a needless distraction. Sure, Sanchez isn’t great but he certainly resembles an NFL quarterback better than Tebow. So all off-season the supposed QB of the future (Sanchez) has had to deal with a firing squad of questions about his relationship with Tebow and whether or not he’s afraid of Tebow taking his spot. That’s how you instill confidence in your starter! And just last week Rex Ryan sent his players to leadership training. This is a week before the season. Isn’t it a little late for some motivational speaker at the local Marriot to instill a good team mentality?
The short answer to this question is therefore yes.
2. What week does Tim Tebow make his first start?
To clarify I mean at quarterback. Not punt coverage, wildcat-runner, long-snapper or official pre-game prayer sayer. Mark Sanchez
desperately needs to take the next step and become a top-10 quarterback and he needs to do it now. His 2011 season (56.7 completion percentage, 3,474 yards, 26 TDs, 18 INTs) was the best of his three-year career but in comparison to the elite QBs it was nowhere near where he should be in his third year as a full-time starter. Jets fans have already begun to turn on the Sanchize and with Tebow in the wings it’s only a matter of time before the fans started chanting Tebow instead of booing.
With that said is Tebow the answer? No. The man led some inspiring drives last season after his defense held opponents to 13 points seemingly every game. He can’t consistently complete passes and just doesn’t play the position at the level needed in the NFL. Put him back on Florida and sure he’d be winning Heismans but on an NFL team he barely looks competent. Oh and if you think he’s turned the corner or some other BS just look how he played in the preseason.
Still if (and most people think when) Sanchez can’t get it done Tebow will undoubtedly be called upon to save the season. In the first five weeks of the season Sanchez plays three elite defenses in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston. I say the Jets are 1-4 at around that point and the pressure mounts. Then in seven when the Jets get slammed on the road against the hated Patriots, Sanchez will get benched. So if all you want to do is watch Tebow run in the rain and such tune in week eight against Miami.
3. Who will step on offense?
When the Jets were actually doing well a few years back the offense was built on running the ball and letting Sanchez just serve as a good game-manager, much like what San Francisco did last season. So then last season the Jets decided to change that entirely and begin passing more often. Just look at the numbers. In 2010 the Jets ran the ball 534 times for 2,374 yards and in 2011 rushed 443 times for 1,692 yards. And it’s not as if those attempts just disappeared because of fewer plays or something. They just went to the passing game which is anchored by a QB with a career completion percentage hovering in the mid fifties.
Um, what? You have all that success so you’re decision is to completely change things up?
In the preseason the offense looked even worse as it tried to find an identity. It couldn’t score a touchdown with Sanchez or Tebow, instead having to wait until Greg McElroy led them down the field to find the endzone. Also alarming is that Plaxico Burress, a favorite redzone target last season, is no longer on the team and LaDanian Tomlinson also left.
The obvious answer here is Sanchez but the Jets need a lot out of Shonn Greene and Santonio Holmes as well. Holmes is now the team’s best receiver and Greene needs to be the feature back he has been advertised as for the past few seasons. Also watch for rookie Stephen Hill. He’s a tall, athletic receiver from Georgia Tech. You know like that Calvin Johnson fellow out in Detroit.
4. How hot is Rex Ryan’s seat?
Sexy Rexy is looking even better this season thanks to a big weight loss regimen. But is it possible that Ryan is losing weight at such an
alarming rate because he is being sweated out by the increasing temperature of his coaching chair? Probably not but you get the idea.
After a pair of AFC championship games and tons of off-the-cuff remarks Ryan was everyone’s darling. Then suddenly the team he ran went 8-8 and looked dismal last season. Now one bad year doesn’t mean he should be fired but Ryan has been blowing a lot of smoke during his time with the Jets and although making it close to a Super Bowl is nice if the team keeps headed downward it won’t matter. Ryan doesn’t seem to think his job is in jeopardy anytime soon but another bad season will certainly not help.
So I would say on a scale of Nick Saban to Bobby Valentine I’d say Rex is leaning more towards the BoSox skipper.
5. How will the Jets ultimately fare this season?
It is probably been a bit overblown how bad the Jets will be this season. They did go 8-8 a year ago and that included some tight games and an 0-3 last three weeks. But the Jets schedule is pretty tough and two teams in the division (New England and Buffalo) both got better in the off-season meaning a whole lot would have to go right for this team to make it to the playoffs. Gut instinct says not enough will. E-I-G-H-T Eight Eight Eight wins.
How do you think the Jets will do this season? Have I been too harsh? Not harsh enough? Let us know on Twitter (@seeuinoctober) or in the comments.