2010 Season Outlook: New York Jets

Written by Chris Kolb

Topics: New York Jets

First glance: Making it all the way to the AFC Championship last season was a huge surprise for many people around the league and elsewhere, but for the Jets it wasn’t enough. Instead of resting on their laurels and taking another shot with the team they already had in place, New York went all out this off-season and it could pay off big time dividends if they can reach their first Super Bowl since Broadway Joe took them their in 1969.

2009 Record: 9-7 (2nd AFC East)

Key Additions: QB Mark Brunell, RB LaDainian Tomlinson, WR Santonio Holmes, DE/OLB Jason Taylor, ILB Lance Laury, CB Antonio Cromartie, S Brodney Pool, K Nick Folk

Key Losses: RB Leon Washington, RB Thomas Jones, G Alan Faneca, NT Howard Green, CB Lito Sheppard, CB Donald Strickland, FS Kerry Rhodes, K Jay Feely

Draft Picks: CB Kyle Wilson, G Vladimir Ducasse, RB Joe McKnight, FB John Conner

Analysis: There’s not much to dislike about the Jets as they’re currently constituted, as they have what looks to be one of the strongest teams in the entire league, with a loud mouthed coach to divert pressure away from them most every week. That said, there could be some chemistry issues as the season progresses, especially if New York begins to falter a bit, as more than a few of their additions in the off-season come with a significant ego, making it imperative that any locker room issues be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

The biggest key to the Jets success this season is currently staying away from the club, and while it’s possible that the team can win big without cornerback Darrelle Revis holding down his side of the field, his continued contract negotiations could prove to be just the type of distraction that New York will be trying to avoid. Finding a way to get Revis back with the team and reach an agreement on a new deal that won’t kill the team financially in the process will be just as important if not more than anything else, the team does early on this fall.

Offensively, everything revolves around second year quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has to be effective week in and week out for the Jets to have a shot at taking home the Lombardi Trophy next February. To help him out, the front office in New York has done a nice job of surrounding him with talent, adding a former Super Bowl MVP and a former league MVP in the form of wide receiver Santonio Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson respectively.

The losses of running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will definitely hurt, especially Jones, who provided extraordinary leadership down he stretch last season, but the Jets are taking a calculated gamble that Shonn Greene can step up into that role this year. Only time will tell on that front, but for the time being, indications are good that he’ll be up to the task.

On defense, the Jets will once again be strong up front and in the secondary, even without Revis locking down opposing receivers each week, and they could prove to be an even tougher foe this year if defensive end Jason Taylor is able to provide a sustained pass rush on a consistent basis. That said, they’ll have to be better in shutting down the league’s elite passers if they want to take the next step, as they’ll undoubtedly face off against the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Philip Rivers at some point in the playoffs, should they get that far.

As for the coaching staff, there really isn’t anyone in the league that does things quite the way that head coach Rex Ryan does, with his over the top comments and foul mouth all too often stealing the spotlight. While there is something to be said for that kind of attitude being necessary in the media frenzy of New York, it can end up backfiring at times if the bulletin board material provided by Ryan becomes motivational for his team’s opponents.

On the flip side of that discussion is Ryan’s work ethic, which is as solid as it gets, getting the Jets  ready to play each and every week by knowing his opponents inside and out. He’s not on par strategically speaking with the likes of Bill Belichick, but Ryan isn’t that far behind, especially on defense, and there’s no doubt that his team will know what needs to be done in just about any situation that presents itself throughout a game.

Overall, the Jets should be one of the league’s elite teams when things are all said and done, leading the way in the extremely competitive AFC East, and if they can find a way around the Colts in the playoffs, they should be able to make a run into the Super Bowl at Cowboy Stadium.

As always, avoiding injuries and getting strong performances from key players will be of utmost importance, but the Jets have the talent to do that and more this year.

2010 Projection: 10-6 (T-1st AFC East)

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