Please, bare with me. This is my first ever post on Gang Green's blog. I've been a Jets fan since I was kid, and am now 29 years old. To give some perspective, I became a Jets fan just in time to witness the wonderful time in Jets history that was the Browning Nagle era.
ANYWAY, perhaps the most talked about aspect of the Jets 2011 off-season has been the changes at the wide receiver position. Cotchery, Smith, Edwards out -- Mason and Burress in (along with draftees Jeremy Kerley and Scotty McKnight, and the re-signing of Holmes).
It's not everyone, but I want address those harping on the age of the new WR's, or the risks that come with signing them (particularly Burress). Think about it like this. Ignore last year's WR group for a second, and just look at what Sanchez now has to work with. Holmes, Burress, and Mason. Not to mention, proven targets Tomlinson and Keller are still there. PLUS, it looks like Kerley is going to a "baller," as the young QB claims. If those names still aren't enough for you, I can give you more --- at least in terms of other developmental pass catchers. It's not unreasonable to think that Joe McKnight will catch some balls this season, and also Shonn Greene has been working hard in that area of his game. Of course, you're all welcome to come aboard the Jeff Cumberland train with me too.
Bottom line, everyone should relax when it comes to the discussion of available targets for Sanchez. Sure, one can make the point that, "Oh, well Sanchez had chemistry with those guys from last year. With the lockout, and all these new guys, it might take awhile before the chemistry is there."
That's an overrated argument. Talent trumps chemistry. Always. And how much chemistry was really there last year between Sanchez and his receivers? The Jets' WR's were productive overall, but the Jets passing game is NOT about Santonio/Braylon/Cotchery vs. Santonio/Burress/Mason. It is about how much Mark Sanchez can develop.
Not trying to compare Sanchez to the Bradys, Mannings, and Breeses of the world, but don't you think any of those QB's are more than capable of putting up awesome numbers with either group? Throughout the first two seasons of the Mark Sanchez era, there's been ups and downs. Overall, his 4th quarter and playoff performances have been admirable, but what about everything else?
During the regular season in '09 and '10, Sanchez put up 53.8 and then 54.8 completion percentages -- among the worst in the league. Despite his improved TD/INT ratio in 2010, lets not forget about how many near picks opponents had because of Sanchez inaccuracy, decision making, or both.
Hopefully in 2011 Mark can be more consistent is all, and be able to be "4th quarter-playoffs Mark" all the time -- because that could be difference between the Jets having a scary offense, and not just a good one. It could be the difference between the Jets being a great team, and maybe a dominant one.
Prediction: If Sanchez hits on 60% of his passes, and has a 2:1 TD/INT ratio in 2011, there will be home playoff game(s) for the Jets.