As the New York Jets enter “quiet time,” diehards will continue to discuss what the team still needs to start the 2012 season on the right foot. Player potential is currently based on the performance from mini-camp. These accusations should be taken lightly because pads were not worn. Fans and analysts alike should form more concrete opinions after practice at Cortland and Florham Park. We have already seen progression during mini camp when Ryan awarded the defense with black jerseys. I believe it is safe to say that we have a definite preview of what is expected from the players, and the general plan of attack the coaches are implementing for the fall.
We have all heard, the best offense is a great defense. Defensive coach Karl Dunbar and Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine will ensure we see the return of 2009, only lighter and faster. Dunbar has led the Vikings’s defense with the fewest rushing yards allowed in the NFL. Pettine has previously worked with Rex Ryan while coaching the Ravens, and understands his expectations and coaching style. Together the dream team will construct the best damn defense in the NFL.
Now trending: the 43 defense. Due to growing offensive spreads, the Jets have decided to make the proper adjustments to keep up with rest of the AFC east. Considering we really did not fulfill the need for a past rusher during the draft, we are banking on first rounder Quinton Coples, and the up and coming Muhammad Wilkerson to sack opposing quarterbacks, and possibly even pull us through the first six weeks. Ripping a page out of history, Ryan and friends will use Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense in rotation. Both the 46 and the 43 focus more on pursuing the quarterback, which is what the Jets were definitely lacking last year. Tom Brady, eat your heart out, twice.
Ryan has set the tone for the team by leading with actions, not words. No, I am not referring to the 90 pound drop. The welcoming of Tony Sparano itself is enough to set some players straight. The reasoning behind the sign-on is even stronger. Rex has made it known he brought Sparano aboard because his Dolphins offense beat his own Jet Defense. Talk about embracing the enemy.
Sparano will call anyone out on any play gone wrong. His coaching technique is positive reinforcement, but with a twist. He encourages pressure on the offensive line to be quick with play call and execution. Depth is a little weak yet on the front line, in my opinion, but now that we officially know the Jets will not bring back Braylon, Stephen Hill will be the new center of attention. The plus side is that we do have strong wideouts, so Mark will have protection, and have time to play outside the pocket when not carrying out the ground and pound. I still put money on the fact that was half our problem last year was pass protection. With Schotty out of the picture, half our problems are already solved. Personally I think allowing Mark to call more plays last year would have saved face, but what do I know. I’m just a smart-ass fan with an opinion.
I have to disagree with some of my fellow fans I have conversed with about Matt Cavanaugh remaining the Quarterback Coach. I do not think this is a bad idea. He and Mark have their own chemistry, and again, I believe Schotty interfered with that. Chemistry is key for the Jets, which is why I wish Braylon was on board for Mark to throw to. At least Shonn Greene is ready to back Mark with the running game, the primary focus for this year’s offense. As far as this little “problem” we have with Tight Ends, Dustin Keller will have to prove himself, and I believe he will. Not only for contractual reasons, but to prove that there really is not a problem. As long as Hayden Smith learns the role, stays healthy, and lowers his socks, I definitely do not see an issue.
Under normal circumstances I would never fret the performance of Special Teams. After all, Mike Westhoff is a genius. However, as we all know a certain someone makes that team “special” now. Listen, I do not know if Tim will be used in punt protection, as a running back, or even the water boy. Truth is I don’t care, and I will wait until I see his performance on the field before I judge. Anyone who knows me, or of me, understands my feelings about Tebow, and let me stop now before I start whipping out the ill-mannered jokes. But, if you really want to hear them come visit me in the Jet Nation forums.
That aside, the main concern at this time is the battle for the position of Kicker. Nick Folk had a fairly decent year in 2011, however, I still look away every time he walks on the field. I even caught Mark not looking during one crucial moment. Damn those 34 yard field goals. Josh Brown may be older, but he is stronger and can kick it down into the corner, which is important considering last year’s rule changes with field position. Both men are on the same plane regarding performance. If Folk remains, I have one word of advice, please do not kick to the right.
Rex and the rest of the staff have repeatedly commended the players thus far. I commend the coaches. The teachers have laid it all out, and now it is up to the students to take what they have learned and apply it accordingly. Will the shift in the AFC’s 43 tectonic plates cause an earthquake on Revis Island this year? Will the Jets have one of the top defenses in the league? Considering the fact many defensive players are in their last year of their contracts, signs point to yes. Is this Mark’s breakthrough year? Are we going to have to “wait” for Bart Scott?
Put the pads on and get back to me.