FanPost

State of the Jets Offense: For Better or Worse?

The lockout is over. The shortened free agency period is well under way. The Jets have made a number of moves, as well they should though as they had 18 or so free agents. So how did they do? Did the team Offense get better? A short position by position analysis after the jump...



QUARTERBACK - Mark Sanchez will have another year under his belt. He has the confidence of his coaches and teammates. He is playoff tested. His stats last year were average but can only go up with more consistency. There is no reason to believe he won't improve. Mark Brunell returns as primary backup and player coach; he is one year older but has one more year in the system. The multiple backups have been cast away and the new 3rd stringer is 7th round pick Greg McElroy. McElroy may be nothing... but may be something though not this year. Brad Smith has joined Buffalo and so we may see the end of the Wildcat. I personally won't miss it too much and hope its loss will only add to Sanchez's continued growth and rythmn in the offense. All said, I think the position improves as Sanchez improves and I see no reason to think he won't. Position: Better

RUNNING BACKS - Shonn Greene will be inserted as the "bell cow" go-to running back. John "The Terminator" Connor will do his best to replace the great veteran full back Tony Richardson. LaDainian Tomlinson will embrace the role as 3rd down back. Joe McKnight has one more year in the system and may break out at least on Special Teams. Bilal Powell joins the group but will likely only see time on Specials. Brad Smith contributed to a good running game but I can't categorize him here as a running back. Personally, I believe the running game will improve based upon the increased reliance on Greene, but its hard to say the personnel is in anyway better. Position: Status Quo

WIDE RECEIVERS - Santonio Holmes returns with a big new contract. He will be the number one go-to guy. Hopefully, if possible, he will have more exciting game changing plays than in 2010. Jerricho Cotchery will also return and hopefully to his old self as he played injured and out of position through all of 2010. Plaxico Burress will join the group as an unknown option. Initially, he should be able to contribute with his 6'5" frame in the redzone. Perhaps as the year goes on he can shake off the rust and contribute in other packages as well. 5th round pick Jeremy Kerley will contribute on Special Teams and perhaps in the slot. 7th round pick Scotty McKnight and practice squad players Logan Payne and Patrick Turner, as well as a number of UDFA will compete to fill out the roster. While the team loses Braylon Edwards (55 catches, 7 TDs) the receptions can easily be made up on staff. If Plaxico can be a prescence in the redzone, Edwards should not be missed for TDs either. Brad Smith played little as an actuall wide receiver so his loss should only effect scheme. Position: Status Quo

TIGHT ENDS - Dustin Keller returns and is a good receiving tight end. Ben Hartsock, primarily a blocking TE, is gone but his role should be replaced with back up tackles, improved blocking by Keller or a change in scheme. The Jets will work out a number of practice squad and UDFA TEs. They may also find a role for the as yet unknown talent Jeff Cumberland. Position: Status Quo

OFFENSIVE LINE - D'Brickashaw Ferguson (T) and Nick Mangold (C) return as the anchors on the line. The serviceable Matt Slauson (G) will improve in his second year as starter. Brandon Moore (G) had off-season hip surgery and is currently on the PUP list. Vlad Ducasses and Wayne Hunter will compete for RT or to replace Moore in the event of a stumble there. Robert Turner will provide depth. Damien Woody, currently retired, could return to the roster at any time given a stumble by any of the above. All told, I have confidence that O-Line coach Tom Callahan will have a strong line in place by at least week 3 if not earlier. Position: Status Quo

SUMMARY – I can’t argue that personnel-wise the offense is any better or worse. But I can argue that the offense should improve with greater consistency and the the inevitable improvement of Mark Sanchez. The addition of the longtime Colts assistant Tom Moore can only help a team that struggles in the redzone. Finally, I believe the subtraction of the Wildcat and the previous "tryouts" at Wide Receiver stymied rather than improved the offense. While Brad Smith will be missed, I believe there are a number of up and comers or unknowns (Joe McKnight, Scotty McKnight, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Plaxico Burress, Jeff Cumberland, etc.) that could make up for at least some of his excitement. All told, I believe there will be a slight improvement on offense and the credit will go to Sanchez above all others.

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