Chris Wesseling ranks the top 40 receivers in the NFL, and no Jets are on the list. Wesseling does note some extenuating circumstances.
Injured players such as Michael Crabtree and Santonio Holmes have been left off the list. A healthy Crabtree would rank in the second tier. Holmes would rank near the top of the last tier.
Holmes is a quality starter who would see a bulk of playing time on most teams in the league. His omission from this list, however, is a nod to his uncertain status returning from a serious injury. It is unclear how well he will be able to play how soon.
The lack of Jets on this list underscores the challenge this offense faces. To achieve success, the passing game is probably going to have to be fairly simplistic. The Jets will either be starting a rookie in Geno Smith or a quarterback who does not understand how to read a defense in Mark Sanchez. That calls for a lot of basic pass plays based upon a few receivers. The problem is defenses will know the Jets have their passing game built around a limited set of receivers and can direct their coverage to these players. That means the receivers will have to be especially skilled to get open. That does not seem to be the case.
To cover for a simplified passing game, the Jets would also need to have an exceptional run game that would force defenses to dedicate their resources to stopping the run.
For the offense to succeed, the following need to happen.
- Marty Mornhinweg needs to understand his personnel and adapt his offense away from the pass happy offense from Philadelphia.
- Geno Smith needs to be ready to play at a competent level as a rookie.
- Santonio Holmes needs to recover enough to be a difference-maker.
- Stephen Hill needs to become a capable starter.
- Brian Winters needs to step in as a rookie and play at a high level.
- Austin Howard cannot regress without Brandon Moore next to him.
- Chris Ivory needs to be able to stay healthy and not wear down with an expanded workload.
- Ditto Mike Goodson, and his legal issues cannot keep him off the field.
Any of the individual scenarios seems quite plausible, but getting all of these to happen feels like a lot to ask. It is possible, but there are an awful lot of question marks the Jets need to break correctly. It shows the challenge of the 2013 on offense.