Big League Clu leaps to the pros to preview the 2013 New York Jets.
Yep! That is right everyone, I’ve moved on up to the big leagues. And why shouldn’t I? My name is Big League Clu, after all, so I should be working on the big league teams! So, after a personal request from Commissioner Jobu, I’ll be giving a week by week breakdown of that other New York team in East Rutherford NJ, the New York Jets.
A Change of Leadership
The Jets made a big change atop the organization this past off-season, and new General Manager John Idzik has kept himself busy by trying to rid Gang Green of the atrocious contracts that have plagued them for the past few seasons. Idzik found ways to get rid of some awful salaries, ridding the team of Mike DeVito, Dustin Keller, Bart Scott, Tim Tebow and most notably, superstar CB Darrell Revis. Revis was traded to Tampa Bay for two draft picks, the first of which netted them a new Defensive Tackle in Sheldon Richardson (1st round, 13th pick). The second pick is for the 2014 draft, but Idzik did some damage in the other rounds this April too, selecting a replacement CB, Dee Miliner (9th overall pick) and QB Geno Smith (2nd round) amongst others.
Grading the Offense:
When the Jets took Geno Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, they immediately sparked a quarterback controversy with incumbent starter Mark Sanchez (aka the Butt Fumbler). Unfortunately for Sanchez, he didn’t do anything this offseason to change the opinions of his critics (except grow the most amazing fu man chu ever). To make matters worse, he then bruised his shoulder in the pre-season game against the Giants, meaning he is out as the starting QB for Week 1. Geno was then given a shot, but squandered his chance by underperforming throughout the entire pre-season and clearly showing he is not ready to take the reins at QB. Enter third-stringer Matt Simms. Yes, that’s right, son of former New York Giant QB Phil Simms. Shockingly, he might actually be the front runner to start under center Week 1! In the final pre-season game, Simms completed 33 of 44 attempts for 285 yards and no interceptions, which is huge given the way the QB situation has been for the Jets. The Jets did make a bit of news on Monday, however, when they picked up former Brown, Bronco and Chief Brady Quinn, but he’s probably just there for depth. (Jobu’s Note: Or there to help teach everyone how to be another Notre Dame QB disappointment.) However, it remains to be seen if Rex will take his chances Week 1 with the unproven rookie Geno Smith or go with the third stringer… yikes.
Running Back: C-
The Jets would have gotten a B in this area, had the guy who they signed to start (Mike Goodson) not been arrested for a drug paraphernalia and weapons offenses. He is now suspended without pay for the first four games of the season. This has opened the door for Bilal Powell, a guy who was essentially the #3 back last year, to be the featured back in the Jets’ offense. They did add newcomer Chris Ivory, who had some good looks in the pre-season and some experience, as he has previously split time down in New Orleans. This group of newcomers should help give the Jets that explosive running attack they were missing much of last season, but will it be good enough to carry the load of Rex’s “ground and pound” offense?
Wideouts/Tight Ends: C
The Jets get a C here because, sooner rather than later WR Santonio Holmes will be coming back. He should be able to give this receiving core a little bit of a lift, mainly because the rest of this group of receivers is a god awful skeleton crew that consists of Jeremy Kerly and Stephen Hill from last season. They also brought in veteran TE Kellen Winslow to replace the under achieving Dustin Keller. Winslow adds some depth, but has not been relevant of late, as he has been battling injuries the past few seasons. This receiving corps was, no pun intended, grounded for all of last year. If they can get any sort of a passing attack that resembles their 2010 or 2011 campaigns, they will be able keep defenses on their toes, which will open up their running game even more. But that is a big if.
Overall Offensive Grade: C-
Grading the Defense
Defensive Line: B-
There is much room for growth on the D line, but it’s honestly one of the bright spots on the team, in my opinion. On one side, you have DE Muhammad Wilkerson (3 Forced fumbles, 5 sacks, 36 solo tackles) on the other end you have rookie Sheldon Richardson, who has shown that he has a ton of potential. These two guys make Rex’s front line on defense very explosive. They have depth behind these guys too. If everyone can play to their fullest potential, this D line could be one of the best in the league.
Another part of this defense that should give Rex a chance! Veteran Calivn Pace will be the go to at OLB, but now with Quinton Couples out indefinitely after having ankle surgery, Antwan Barnes will be given a shot to show what he is capable of too. Hopefully he can perform more like he did during his 2011 campaign (11 sacks, 2 Forced fumbles, 34 solo tackles) than his 2012 season (3 sacks, 7 solo tackles) with San Diego. Either way, both guys are explosive off the ball and fit well in Rex’s 3-4 scheme. At ILB David Harris has one of the spots anchored, so it will be up to second year guy DeMario Davis to fill the void left by Bart Scott, who was a very big disappointment in 2012. Davis can certainly do the job, so do not let his small numbers from 2012 fool you, there is a ton of potential there for him to make a splash. This group is deep and has all the tools to compete with much of the AFC, let alone within their division.
I am going to go out and say it right now, Antonio Cromartie has been the Jets’ best CB the past two seasons. Now, before you diehard Jets fans start throwing all the beer and brats in the world at me, I assure you that you can’t argue otherwise. Revis has been hurt too much to really give him any merit (look at the contract he had to sign with Tampa Bay, none of it is guaranteed). Cromartie has been hands down the guy that the secondary leaned on in 2012 to help keep them in games (just look at the game against Tennessee last year). That being said, they did draft a kid with a lot of upside in Dee Miliner. Howevr, like Revis, he does have a history of getting injured. Beyond that, the Strong Safety position is unproven. If their secondary stays healthy, it will be tough for teams to go deep on them. The defense ranked second in the league last year in passing defense though, so again, if they can stay healthy, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t have one of the best secondaries in the AFC again this year.
Overall Defensive Grade: B
Prediction Time: How Many Games Will the Jets Win?
Now with all of the ranting in raving I have done about the defense, I have equally cringed when it comes to the offense, to the point of getting gray hairs! Well, not literally… but you get what I mean. No matter how good Rex’s defense might be, their offense needs to be somewhat relevant. No offense means no points, and your defense cannot become your offense. This isn’t high school, where you can play both sides of the ball! If the Jets offense indeed does nothing, Mark Sanchez will probably be out of job and so will head coach Rex Ryan. I honestly see the Jets only winning three or four games this year. J-E-T-S Just end the season!
I think the following gif says it best…
Featured image courtesy of: The New York Jets
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