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Passing Offense Would Take a Hit Losing a Receiver

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There is a chance the Jets will lose one of their starting free agent wide receivers. I have heard some people say it will not hurt the offense. The proof provided is the offense's performance over the first four weeks of the year without Santonio Holmes. I have already talked a bit about how I think the numbers don't really back up this hypothesis, but I would like to talk more about tactics for the time being.

Could the Jets survive losing a receiver? Probably. They survived without Holmes. Had Braylon Edwards been out and Holmes in the lineup, they probably would have fared just as well. Or if Dustin Keller was out instead of the two receivers, they would have fared just as well.

This brings me to the depth issue. You can lose one. What if Holmes was gone, though, and Edwards got hurt? Or Keller? Or Jerricho Cotchery. More depth is always better.

There are other issues, though. Some say that Holmes takes away chances from Dustin Keller. That is always true whenever there are a handful of good receivers. The targets get less concentrated since it is not just one guy getting open and getting fed the ball. A quarterback does not have to force it to one guy.

I agree that Keller should be more of a focal point on the offense, but that is more of a Brian Schottenheimer/Mark Sanchez issue than a Holmes issue. Think about Keller. It is tough to defend him with a linebacker. If a defense does that, Keller will be open a lot. If the defense adjusts and plays a safety on him, it opens things up downfield. What if Edwards is on one side, and Jerricho Cotchery is on the other? They will shade the other safety to Edwards' side. With a second deep threat like Holmes, a defense has a lot of problems. Plus, then Cotchery can move to the slot where he likely has an advantage over a nickel, creating another problem.

The Jets want to win the Super Bowl. There are contenders with a lot of defensive backfield depth. Having as many good receivers as possible will make a difference, even if it was not important during four games in 2010. That is why I hope the team finds an impact receiver if either 17 or 10 departs.