With a tough start to the season, the New York Jets need every man on the roster to step up big right off the bat. Of course, there are some players that need a big start more than others. Excluding Geno Smith, as he's the most obvious choice, here are some of the contenders:
1) Dee Milliner - With the cornerback situation in flux, the only certainty that we know is that Milliner will be starting as the team's number one CB. Milliner struggled last year and seemed to improve towards the very end, although some of that may be attributed to a switch to more zone defense and an easier schedule. Has the light clicked for Milliner yet? With some of the best passing offenses in the league the first half of the schedule, Milliner will need an excellent start to prevent the defense from getting shredded in the air.
2) Stephen Hill - This is Hill's last hurrah. He's gotten a pass the past two years because of how raw he was coming out of Georgia Tech and due to injuries. He's had Eric Decker to learn from, and take pressure off of him, and he's now healthy. If Hill starts to come through, a trio of Decker, Hill, and Jeremy Kerley could by dynamite and the team might actually have a potent offense. He's had a good offseason thus far, but if he doesn't have a strong start, we may not see him on the roster for long.
3) Brian Winters - Similar to Milliner, Winters got better as the season progressed from a wretched start. With Willie Colon returning from injury and a new right tackle in Breno Giacomini, Winters needs to solidify the left side of the line. If he doesn't have a strong start to the season, Smith or Mike Vick, whoever is quarterbacking the team, will be running for his life with neither the right nor the left side of the line to rely on.