QB: Mark Sanchez in some ways improved on a poor Rookie campaign this season as his TD/Int rate got a heck of a lot better. He also showed that he can be a leader and led the team down the field late in the gm numerous times. That being said, Sanchez was still quite erratic at times and was pretty lucky he didnt throw more picks. Gioing into his 3rd season, he's really gotta work on his accuracy. He's already shown that he can be a big playmaker. If he can do it more consistently and also hit the open throws he has to make he can start on his path to being an elite QB. If not, he will never be above mediocre. Mark Brunell is simply put not a good QB and neither is Kellen Clemens. This team needs a new backup to Sanchez
Offseason Moves? Well, I'd love to see Brunell in some coaching capacity on this team as a coach for Sanchez and not wasting a spot as backup QB. The prob is that I'm not sure they wanna replace Matt Cavanaugh as QB coach. Brunell will save the team $1.3 mil if cut. I say his time is done. Kellen Clemens will be a UFA this offseason and I see no way he's brought back. In the UFA market there are plenty of good backups available. I've always frankly liked Tyler Thigpen and I wouldnt mind if the Jets gave him a look. More proven guys like Matt Moore, Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace and Bruce Gradkowski will be available as well.
RB: Shonn Greene is the future of this team. You gotta love the way he ran in the playoffs for the 2nd straight yr, particularly against Pitt and Indy. He always seems to at least grind out a couple no matter what. Frankly, LT doesnt have much left. We all heard the talk at the beginning of the year how he was rejuvenated in the Jets attack. Many though chalked it up to the fact that the Jets have a killer O-Line and that that was the main catalyst behind LT's newfound vigor. The prob was that that after getting 94 yds on 20 carries against Minnesota in Wk 5 he dropped off precipitously. In his next 13 gms including the playoffs he just had one gm w/ over 57 yds (82 against Indy) w/ a total of 620 yds on 178 carries for a 3.48 avg. That's simply not gonna cut it. Apparently his fountain of youth and the Jets excellent O-Line couldnt help him. During that same timeframe, Shonn Greene had 684 yds on 10 less carries for a 4.07 avg and rushed for at lest 64 yds 6 times in that span. The main issue here is that so long as Lt is still here he will steal carries from Greene. This is evidenced by the fact that LT was being given the rock more even as Greene was badly outplaying him. LT's gotta go.
Joe McKnight showed flashes in the Bills gm (even if it was aginst their jayvee squad, we also had our jayvee O-Line out there). He has also clearly worked his way back into the coaches favor, particularly w/ excellent special teams play. I wa sone of the few who somewhat stayed behind him earlier in the yr when he was sucking it up. Hopefully he repays my faith. Expect a significantly enhanced role next season.
Offseason Moves? LT will save the team $2.425 mil if cut. I know many ppl lke him, but football is a cold business. The numbers say that he's not productive anymore and that getting rid of him will save the team money. This move has to be done. Despite my hopes for McKnight, I wouldnt neccessarily entrust the backup role to him just yet. In free agency I'd look for Darren Sproles. His quickness would be an excellent to Greene's power. The Chargers have both he and Mike Tolbert as upcoming free agents (Tolbert supposedly will most likely be an RFAno matter what happens regarding the new CBA) and my guess is that the Chargers will hang onto only one of them w/ Tolbert being the choice. Sproles had more catches this yr than any member of the Jets (59) and rushed for 5.3 ypc. He'd be Leon redux (Leon will also be a free agent). Sproles can also take over return duties if Brad Smith doesnt return. At FB, my assumption is that class act Tony Richardson will either retire or be let go w the Terminator taking over the reigns next season. Tony will be missed
WR: I really hope the Jets are able to keep both Braylon and Santonio. I've gone back and forth the entire time regarding who I like more. On the one hand Santonio is more clutch, has amazing foot control and is just a better overall receiver. On the other hand, Braylon cured his dropsies while Santonio dropped quite a few and Braylon is a supreme physical beast. Neither had a particularly exceptional yr, although that can be explained w/ the Jets run first and spread the ball around offense. Sanchez's inaccuracy didnt help the cause either. Both players will be very hard to replace if they leave. If there's any way both can come back I really hope it happens.
I expect a bounceback yr next yr from Cotch. The guy's a pro's pro and he'll prob spend all offseason working on healing his dropitis. I was shocked he cought a bout of it this yr as he's always had terrific hands. Next yr he should be back to usual. Brad Smith, as much as he brings to the table is not particularly irreplaceable. I was dumbfounded when I recently read Don Banks of SI write that the Jets would put Smith ahead of Edwards in priority this offseason. That's preposterous. Smith is a disaster at WR and although he runs the Tiger, it's not as if we absolutely need it in our offense. We can simply replace that w/ regular running plays. Additionally, he's overvalued as a return man as Mike Westhoff has routinely churned out excellent returnes. Heck, even Cotch had a return TD a few yrs back for us (against Indy I think).
Offseason Moves? As stated, I'd love to see both Braylon and Santonio return, even if it meant we'd have to say goodbye to Cro. However, if we do not the options available run form some good youngsters such as Malcolm Floyd to old fogies like TO, Chad Johnsoncinco and Randy Moss. I want absolutely no part of the last 3. Just b/c we took up some problem children doesnt mean we need psychotic wackos way past their prime. We should let Smith walk. Even if another team isnt gonna overpay for him (which will happen. look for the Raiders or Bengals of course) I still dont want him. He'd be bound to make at least $3 mil. Frankly, if that's #3 mil we can use on the pass rush or to get Asomugha over Cro than say bye bye to Mr. Smith. I also think we need a backup burner. Someone like David Clowney but who also knows how to play the gm of football and sometime run short routes would be nice.
TE: Following a fantastic start where he had everybody thinking he was ready to join the elite, Dustin Keller slunk back. He dropped many balls and just didnt have too many impact plays. He's gotta improve next yr. The Jets gotta get a backup TE who can actually catch the ball, something that Ben Hartsock cant do. I'm sorry, but he's gotta go. He has a virtual, but much cheaper clone behind him in Matt Mulligan who does the same exact thing. I'm very intrigued by Jeff Cumberland. Clearly the coaches think they have something in him as they kept him on the active roster all season to prevent anothe rteam from poaching him. I'd like to see what he can provide next yr.
O-Line: Brick, Mangold and Brandon Moore are fantastic. It was an utter travesty that Moore was only 3rd alternate for the Pro Bowl. The man shouldve been starting. Oh well. I was also very impressed by Matt Slauson this yr as he ably took over for Alan Faneca. The big question mark is at RT. Damien Woody played great when heathy but got hurt at the end of the yr. He's also creeping up in age. In his abscense, Wayne Hunter played more than capably w/ the exception of killing our season by tipping plays against Pitt. Vlad DuCasse was also drafted to eventually play RT but didnt show much of anything this yr. Rob Turner is a good run blocker who seriously has to stop fighting.
Offseason Moves? I've been beating this drum forever (even before he got hurt) but Damien Woody should be cut. The Jets will save $3.24 mil if he is. The guy is now also an injury liability and we now alo know that we at least have a capable backup in Hunter. I'd like to see Hunter and DuCasse battle it out in training camp. DuCasse was drafted for this and deserves a shot. Although many will say that he's not ready, I'm sure they also didnt think at this pt last yr that Matt Slauson would be ready.