The New York Jets entered the 2010 season with a “Super Bowl or Bust” mentality. Unfortunately for the Jets, and their passionate fan base, Gang Green came up short as they lost in the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row.
Mark Sanchez- Prior to the 2010 season many believed that the New York Jets would only go as far as quarterback Mark Sanchez would take them. Well Sanchez did not disappoint as he had a solid sophomore campaign leading his team back to the AFC Championship game. Mark threw for over 3,200 yards with only 13 interceptions, and continued to show an excellence presence in the pocket. More importantly Sanchez emerged as a team leader as he played with the poise of a veteran while engineering several fourth quarter comebacks. This was reiterated by Mark’s performance in the second half of the AFC Championship game against the Steelers. I am fairly confident that if the Jets offense got the ball back late in the fourth quarter, Sanchez would have won the game. When was the last time you could say that about a Jets quarterback?
Mark was once considered a game manager, after the 2010 season he can now be considered a legitimate playmaker.
Darrelle Revis- Darrelle Revis’ 2010 season got off to a rough start as he battled leg injuries following his contract holdout. Once Revis got healthy and back into game shape he manned his island like no other defensive back in the NFL. Darrelle routinely shut down the opposing team’s best wide receiver almost to the point that the quarterbacks stopped throwing to his side. Revis is clearly one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
Jets Offseason Moves- For most of the offseason the Jets captured the headlines by acquiring several big name players. Gang Green covered the spectrum from Santonio Holmes, to LaDainian Tomlinson, to Jason Taylor, to Antonio Cromartie. Many openly wondered if all of these strong personalities could fit in the same locker room. Well the Jets hit the jackpot with their offseason moves as each of these veterans contributed to Gang Green’s postseason run. Whether it was LT’s leadership and fire, Santonio’s late game heroics, or Taylor’s safety against the Steelers, each veteran left their mark on the 2010 season.
Offensive Line- Many were concerned about the Jets offensive line as they had to replace Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca with the inexperienced Matt Slauson. Well the Jets line spearheaded by Pro-Bowlers D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold had a solid season as evidenced by their #11 ranking in the NY Life Protection Index. Gang Green was once again amongst the league leaders in rushing (ranked 4th), while only giving up 28 sacks (9th in the NFL). The Jets offensive line continues to be one of the strengths of the team. (Note: I still contend that Brandon Moore is an All-Pro guard)
Brad Smith- There is only one way to describe Brad Smith: jack of all trades. Brad had an outstanding year for Gang Green as he was one of the best kick returners in the NFL, while also contributing on offense by running the wildcat formation. Smith had a rushing touchdown, threw a td pass, and added 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns as well.
Resilient Road Warriors- You can call the 2010 New York Jets many things, and several did, but the one word that applied the most was resilient. When Gang Green faced any type of adversity they came out fighting like a UFC champion. Gang Green embraced the “us and against the world mentality” and put up several impressive road victories, including playoff wins in Indianapolis and New England. The Jets victory over the #1 seed Patriots in the playoffs was more than likely the team’s best performance of the season.
Home Losses- Surprisingly enough 3 of the Jets 5 losses in 2010 came at home. This is a trend that must change if the Jets are going to contend for the AFC East in 2011.
Rookie Class- Even though it is unfair to grade a draft class after only one year, Gang Green’s 2010 class has a lot of making up to do. The Jets first round pick Kyle Wilson had a very inconsistent season, second rounder Vlad Ducasse was inactive most games, while John Conner and Joe McKnight showed some flashes. The Jets must draft some impact players going forward if the organization is going to have any type of continued success.
Brian Schottenheimer- It was another up and down year for offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The Jets fielded arguably their most talented offensive unit in recent memory, yet they were shut out and held to less than 10 points 3 times.
To top things off, in the AFC Championship game Schotty fell apart like a cheap suit with mind boggling play calls and personnel groupings. I do not think any Jets fan will ever forget the goal line series where the Jets struggled to get the play calls in and came up short on the one-yard line with their power running back on the sideline.
Vernon Gholston- The New York Jets sixth pick in the first round of the 2008 draft had the following stat line for the 2010 season: 7 solo tackles, 5 assists. Three years- 0 sacks.
Monday night meltdown- In one of the most hyped up regular season games in recent history the New York Jets were humiliated 45-3 by the New England Patriots. Gang Green played so poorly an argument can be made that they never truly got off of the team bus.
AFC Championship game- The New York Jets were one game away from the Super Bowl and the team as a whole came out flat and played their worst half of football. The defense was being manhandled all over the field while the offense looked like they forgot their playbook in the locker room. To the Jets credit they roared back in the second half but it was a case of too little, too late.
This loss to the Steelers was as bad as it gets for Gang Green as the team put everything that they had into this Super Bowl run. The Jets had all of the pieces in place, but came up short, and now are left with the could have and should haves. With all of the pending free agents (Cromartie,Holmes,Edwards,Harris) it is safe to say that the Jets blew a tremendous opportunity to win a Super Bowl in 2010/11.