Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NFL 32 in 32: New York Jets

How many times will Rex Ryan say that this is the year that the Jets will make the Super Bowl? Well, as many as he feels we need to hear it, even though his team has been one step short of the big game two times running. Will this year finally be that year? Did they do enough to get over the hump?

What's New: Not much, but the additions that the Jets made sure made shockwaves. Gone is Braylon Edwards to San Francisco, and in are Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason to replace him. Those 2, along with Santonio Holmes form a dynamic wideout group that is very good despite seeming like they lack something. The Jets also drafted help for their defensive line in DT Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple. There isn't much new overall, mostly due to their failed chase of Nnamdi Asmougha, but what is new can make them better.

Biggest Strength: They have the running game that is underrated with Shonn Greene and LT, and that hasn't changed at all. Their receiving group has changed with the ones mentioned before, but overall the group is basically the same as it was last year, which is good, not amazing. They have a good offensive line which needs to be in order to protect Mark Sanchez, who still does have plenty to prove in order to help the Jets get over that hump. On defense, they still have a shut-down secondary with Revis and Cromartie, and the depth issue has been addressed and is not as bad as people think, along with the safeties too. 

Biggest Weakness: The pass rush. Last year, the sacks came through the amazing amount of blitzes Rex Ryan  used, not pure pass rush from the 3-4 defense. They lost Shaun Ellis to New England, and that will hurt the pass rush up front. They are asking a ton of the linebacking corps to develop pressure, and there is some doubt as to whether they can do that. Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, and David Harris are very good LB's, but thinking that they can generate most of the pressure from OLB rushes in the 3-4 is a bit... optimistic. The defensive line doesn't have much there, and they need to have it exceed expectations in order to develop the stronger pass rush they need.

Outlook: Due to the fact that the Jets have not changed that much this offseason, they will be a very similar team to last year, which means that they will be very good. Do they have enough to overcome the Patriots in the AFC East? That is a question that has yet to be answered, and whether they can may not be the biggest question, since they have done so already a year ago in the playoffs.  Can they finally get over the hump and go to the Super Bowl? If they develop a pass rush without an assist from the blitz, sure they can. 

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