Last year for the Jets was all about Brett Favre. Like ESPN, they were “All Brett, All-the-Time”. They traded a draft pick for his service for one year and now he’s back out the door. They started off great and everyone was happy again. However, they faltered down the stretch and missed the playoffs. He left them without a legitimate quarterback and they brought in Rex Ryan as the new head coach as well. Can the Jets rebound and get back to the playoffs in 2009? As far as free NFL preseason picks are concerned, I wouldn’t put my money on them just yet. There are a lot of question marks that need to be answered before they can be considered a good team.
The Good News: One of the best things about last year was that Thomas Jones proved that he could be a consistent threat in the running game. They will probably want to rely more heavily on the ground game this year now that “Jet Favre” is out the door. While Favre left a void at quarterback, they filled it by selecting highly touted Mark Sanchez out of USC at the 5th overall pick in the draft. They gave up a lot to trade up and get him, so they’re really hoping that he pans out. They also gave him a huge guaranteed contract without ever seeing him play in the NFL.
Another great move was bringing in Rex Ryan as the team’s head coach and showing “Mangenius” the door. Ryan is looking to bring his tenacious brand of “D” to the “Big Apple”. Bringing in linebacker Bart Scott from the Ravens will help instill the culture that he needs as well. It will be a huge help if Ryan can do in New York what he did to the Baltimore defense.
The Bad News: Probably the biggest question of the upcoming season is how Mark Sanchez will play. The Jets obviously believe in him or they wouldn’t have traded up to get him and paid him all of that money. They’re probably looking to throw him in the fire immediately. This means that there’s a good chance that he’ll struggle right off the bat. The question is whether he can bounce back from the struggles or if he’ll just drown in the sea of adversity. The ability to bounce back is what separates the great quarterbacks from the rest. We’ll likely find out which category Sanchez fits into this season.
There is also a void at wide receiver now. They still have Jericho Cotchery, but they lost Laveranues Coles to the Bengals. While Coles wasn’t exactly considered an elite receiver, he was definitely a solid option in the passing game. Now, the Jets don’t really know where they are going to get the production from. Hopefully Brad Smith or someone on the roster can jump up and be productive.
Outlook: If you’re looking for free NFL preseason picks I’d put the Jets in no higher than the 3rd position in the division. Depending on how the Bills are, they might even fall to last place in the division.
Vernon Croy is the Owner/CEO of VernonCroy.com and he is one of the most reputable and respected professional sports handicappers in the world. Vernon Croy has won numerous handicapping awards and he is ranked as one of the top 10 handicappers in the world 100% documented by the Professional Handicappers League.