It seems like forever since Rex Ryan was hired to coach the New York Jets with the promise of turning the franchise around. After drafting QB Mark Sanchez and surrounding him with seasoned veterans on both sides of the ball, Ryan's philosophy seemed to work. The ground and pound offense and suffocating defense saw them go to two straight AFC Championship games to the surprise of everyone. The last two years saw them revert to the pre-Ryan days of not making the playoffs.
There were reports that the locker-room was in total disarray as players bickered with each other on and off the field. The result was the firing of GM Mike Tannenbaum with many Jets fans wanting Ryan to follow him out the door. Owner Woody Johnson hired John Idzik to replace Tannenbuam and got the go ahead to trade cornerback Darrelle Revis who was coming off major knee surgery and was looking to redo his contract. The trade went through and Revis was shipped off to Tampa.
Draft night saw Idzik pick two offensive linemen Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi, cornerback Dee Milliner to replace Revis and quarterback Geno Smith that had the draftniks shaking their heads. When the Jets do take the field on Sunday, they will be without Sanchez who had his throwing shoulder busted in a meaningless pre-season game against the Giants. Why was he in the game late in the 4th quarter with the second unit offensive line? Why was it so important for the Jets to win that game? Smith was thoroughly outplayed by Sanchez during training camp but starts by default. Late Monday they signed veteran quarterback Brady Quinn. Smith will be on a short leash and will surely be pulled if he and the offense struggles.
Offensively the Jets will be challenged as they have no wide receiver that scares any defense. Santonio Holmes, a great talent, but one of the biggest divisive players on the roster, is coming off surgery and more than likely will miss the first couple of games. They cut veteran Braylon Edwards who was attempting his third stint with the team. They are hoping Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and tight end Jeff Cumberland can get them to stretch the field. The offensive line is solid with center Nick Mangold and left tackle D' Brickashaw Ferguson and they will have to be on the top of their games if running back Bilal Powell and fullback Tommy Bohanan are going to have any success.
Defensively, Ryan again boasted that they will be in the Top 5. Where have we heard that before? Antonio Cromartie anchors the secondary and it will be interesting to see if Milliner can take up where Revis left off. No doubt he will be tested early and often. The linebacker corpse of Garrett McIntyre, Demario Davis and David Harris will be hard-pressed to stop the run and put pressure on the opposing quarterback.
The turmoil that ended last season costing jobs and the uncertainty of the current roster did nothing to suggest the Jets will be the team that had the success they had in Ryan's first two years. It will be the third straight year they will not make the playoffs and no one would be surprised if Ryan is fired before the year is over. This has all the making of a 5-11 year.
The team opens up the season against the Tampa Bay Bucaneers on Sunday at Met Life Stadium.
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