On paper, the Jets look unbeatable. Their roster has as much talent as any in the league backed by a great coaching staff. They have a lot of players on 1 year contracts, and added several pro-bowlers to a roster that was just 23 minutes from a Super Bowl berth.
It's only natural that we look for faults on a team that has had so many things go wrong in so many once-promising seasons. The main issue "experts" have with this team is chemistry. Chemistry got the Jets through their 4-6 start to the AFC title game, and when you lose leaders like Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca, that disappears. Right?
Allow me to explain why chemistry will ultimately be a strength. It's a pretty simple answer: Rex Ryan. Player just love the guy. It's not by accident that the Ravens have been so consistent on defense. Thomas Jones and Alan Faneca were on the 2008 team that collapsed. Rex wasn't. While the Jet's collapsed that year, the Ravens, led by their #2 ranked defense, went to the AFC title. I wonder who coached that unit....
Defensively, you are talking about a unit that ranked #1 in it's first year in a new system. That is pretty remarkable, and the idea that they will have a new year under their belt means everyone will be on the same page; no more late game hiccups in coverage that cost us games. Players will be more instinctive and reactive; less thinking and more doing. You will see a more fluid defense, especially against the run.
For example, we saw a defensive leader go down halfway through the season, Kris Jenkins. The Jets were on a downward spiral and the d-line needed to step up. Well, to make a long story short, they did. Again, Rex is the constant here.
Offensively, will we see issues? Rex has instilled his "Ground and Pound" philosophy. Linemen LOVE to run block. I wouldn't expect our line to simply "try less hard" because Alan Faneca is gone. Shonn Greene is a tough runner. LT is a class act. It's hard not to go all out when you see Shonn and LT putting their bodies out there. Sanchez brought his wideouts to Cali for a week. Rex has called his preparation for the season "unmatched by any player he has ever seen. And yeah, I've been around Ray Lewis." Sanchez is pretty much the anti-Russell. Expect that to rub off on everyone else in the organization. Hell, expect the janitors at the facility to clean the bathrooms better because of guys like this.
Now, will contracts become a distraction? No. Players understand the business side of football. Reggie Wayne hardly ever comes to minicamp. Remember when Emmit Smith held out into the regular season? Oh yeah, they won the Super Bowl that year. The offseason is the time to figure these things out. Now, if a player brings this into the season, then you may have an issue. But let's be honest, if you're out there trying to block a 300-lb defensive lineman, is your first thought going to be, "Gosh, I sure wish Darrelle was a much richer man..." Let's be real here. Chemistry is only a problem is you lose. Just look at the Dutch soccer team.