After making an aggressive trade to draft USC quarterback Mark Sanchex many felt the Jets next step was to add some talent to an inexperienced wide receiver group. The Jets decided to address the running back position and defense instead, leaving the team with only one legitimate pass catcher on the team in Jerricho Cotchery. Will this decision by the front office set back the Jets offense in 2009?
In order to run, you must be able to pass. The Jets had one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL in 2008, something most fans feel that they can duplicate in 2009. What many fail to realize is the impact that both Brett Favre and Laveranues Coles had on the running game. Having Brett Favre behind center instantly puts defenses back on their feet, as the quarterback has seen it all and can make any throw. Defenses cannot stack the line to stop the run as there is always the fear of getting beat deep. As for Coles, he was a receiver that often times attracted double coverage, opening up the field for the rest of the route runners. While Coles was not an elite #1 receiver, he was good enough to keep defenses honest.
In 2009 the Jets do not have the luxury of having a quarterback behind center that will strike fear in opposing defenses. The defenses are going to stack the line of scrimmage in order to stop the running game. With the ground game neutralized the Jets must be able to move ball through the air. Here is where the Jets are going to have problems and the reasons are as follows:
1) The Jets do not have a #1 receiver on the roster. While Jerricho Cotchery is a tough, gritty pass catcher, he is more than likely not going to demand double teams. Without a legitimate threat at the receiving position, defenses are going to put pressure on the quarterback with a variety of blitz packages.
2) Quarterback will have a hard time finding open receivers. With the lack of a receiving threat defenses are going to blitz more making it crucial for the pass catchers to get open quickly. Having an inexperienced receiving group becomes a liability in situations like these, as they will struggle to get separation from their defenders.
3) Here come the sacks and interceptions. The combination of a young quarterback, receivers that are covered, and a blitzing defense can only spell trouble for an offense. A young quarterback is going to be asked to get rid of the ball quickly but if the receivers are not open, that is where all of the problems start. The signal caller will either hold the ball too long and take a sack, or start forcing throws that are going to be intercepted.
The Jets decision to not address the wide receiver position could be one that is going to haunt them throughout the entire 2009 season. If the offense cannot establish a consistent passing game, the running game will be nullified. If the running game cannot be established the Jets inexperienced quarterbacks are going to really struggle.