FanPost

Things That Seem Obvious to Me

The title of this post is a half-joke. I'm probably wrong about a lot of the things I'm saying here, because I don't know very much, because I made a mistake, or because I'm just wrong. Other things I say might be obvious to everybody, though I'm trying to emphasize things that are more controversial because I'd rather be interesting than inane. I've been reading this site as well as others, watching games and thinking, and here are some things that appear to make sense to me.

Offense:

The Jets won't be a Ground and Pound team; Stupid is as stupid does, not as stupid says. In 2011, the Jets were 30th in rushing offense in terms of yards per attempt, which might be the single most important stat about that team that is not discussed. If the Jets were serious about improving that number, then they would be serious about improving it. Instead, the only significant addition they made to the offense (until the Hunter/Howard flip) was adding a WR. As weak as the Jets passing offense was last year (26th in terms of YPA and 18th in terms of QB rating), it was substantially better than the rushing side of the ball. It's going to remain that way this year, and the play-calling will accord.

Mark Sanchez got better last year. Yes, his 56.7% completion percentage was pretty terrible last year, but remember the context. Between 2010 and 2011, his offensive line got substantially worse. The rushing offense dropped from #8 to #30. They replaced Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery with Burress and Derrick Mason. Yes, Kerley showed some promise at the end of the season, but this was a substantially weaker receiver corps than he had had. Yet, despite his supporting cast getting significantly weaker, his completion percentage went up by almost two percentage points, and his QB rating went up slightly too. Nothing dramatic, but somewhat impressive considering what was happening around him. None of this means that Sanchez is a good QB yet, of course, but he did get better.

The Offensive Line can get better fast: Like a chain, it is only as strong as its weakest link. Even though the Jets have some exceptional offensive linemen, they seemed much weaker than they were because of the RT situation. If Howard can play well, they can return to the elite level that they set in 2010-2011.

His receiving corps isn't getting better this year. Though a better RT will help dramatically, Santonio and Keller showed last year they can't carry the passing game alone, and it will get worse this year considering there doesn't seem to be a replacement for LDT. The Jets are betting an awful lot on Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley. These guys are both exciting talents, but they don't seem ready to be stars yet. It is possible, though, that those flashes will be enough, especially by the end of the year.

A mediocre offense can score enough to win: The Jets scored a surprising amount of points for two reasons last year; one is their excellent performance in the red zone, which might deteriorate with the loss of Burress. The other, though, is that they got strong field position because of their defense and special teams. There is no reason to think that either got worse, and in fact, many reasons to think it got better.

Defense

The Jets had a special defense last year; Generally, defensive backs can't stop a QB indefinitely, which is why teams need a strong pass rush. Despite having an utterly anemic pass rush, however, they were able to hold opposing QBs to a 69.6 rating. Let's put this in other terms; the Jets took average QBs and made them substantially worse than Mark Sanchez. The only two teams to have a better pass defense than the Jets were the Ravens and the Texans. Both of them, however, had very strong pass rushes, finishing 5th and 6th both in terms of total sacks, but also in the more critical stat of yards lost by sacks, as it properly values coverage sacks less. The Jets finished 25th in yards lost. It gets more amazing; the Jets were able to do this despite having very weak performances by their safeties, leaving them vulnerable to TEs. This is just another way to say that their CBs were incredible.

It might have become extraordinary; The Jets had a well above-average defense despite having two key weaknesses; bad safeties and a non-existent pass-rush. We don't yet know how well Landry and Bell will hold up for the year, but between them, Allen and Bush, it seems like the Jets will have at least a decent safety corps and possibly something above average. There is every reason to think that the Jets pass rush will become at least decent. Though in their 3-4 sets, their DL might not produce flashy stats, an improving Wilkerson in addition to Coples, might do a lot to tie up enough blockers to let the linebackers do something. Especially considering.

Rex will blitz, blitz, blitz; It's his way of life, which he managed to make himself stop last year because he saw that his personnel simply couldn't handle it. Now he finally has a DL that can produce enough to let Maybin and company free. And they will run. If the Jets can combine a decent pass-rush with a decent safeties, in addition to the CBs they have, it might be a sight to behold. That's the best-case scenario, but it is, I think, conceivable. Such a defense might be able to cover up the obvious holes that the offense has.

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