Mark Sanchez and the Jets are early favorites to be Super Bowl contenders. That goes hand in hand with their current media blitz on Hard Knocks. People though seem to have forgotten that Sanchez entered last season with a little more then a dozen games of college experience. Or that at one point last season Sanchez bottomed out with a 5 interception, 8.3% Passing rating game against Buffalo while the Jets went on a 1-6 skid. Actually the Jets were undefeated (5-0) when Sanchez had less then 20 attempts. Sanchez was anything but important to the Jets run, as just about any game manager could have led the Jets to the playoffs (unless the Colts don’t play Curtis Painter).
It’s never sexy to talk about a strong defense and a solid running game. That’s why Tom Brady is on the cover of every teen beat, while the average person has never heard of Michael Strahan. But it was Revis and the Jet’s D that got them into the playoffs and nearly into the Super Bowl. If the Jet’s are going to get back there again, even with the addition of Santonio Holmes and the training camp with Braylon Edwards, it’s going to be the defense. All the passing game is going to have to do is be just good enough so that teams can’t stack the box.
I’m sorry, but if you imagined Sanchez possibly having a career year for Jet’s QBs throwing to Holmes and Edwards, it’s not going to happen. Hopefully Little Schotty realizes this just as much and keeps to the running game. LaDamian Tomilison is already showing flashes of his former self behind a much better line. If Shohn Greene can continue his performance from the playoffs the Jets might once again have by far the best running game in the league. Run, Run, Run and Run some more. When teams start stacking the box, it’s time for screen passes to LDT or short passes to Holmes. Last year the Jet’s didn’t seem to have those options.
The other big thing people forget about Sanchez last year was that he wasn’t under pressure to do anything other then be a better QB then Clemens. Most people predicted a 5 or 6 win season from the Jets at most. Sanchez became a star so quickly (and despite a middling at best season) because Eli Manning is the black hole of charisma. There is no more boring human being on the planet then Eli Manning. And when the QB is considered the face of the Franchise, the media is going to love someone that shows personality.
So what do I expect from this team? All along I’ve felt like the Jets are going to be a 7-9 or 9-7 team. I think some of the moves the Jets made look good if you don’t consider the player is on the downside of his career. Or if you don’t consider why the player was a free agent (Nick Folk). I get the feeling that if Leon Hess still ran the team, he would have thrown every penny he had at the team to make sure they won during this uncapped season. I don’t think you would be seeing Alan Fanacea or Thomas Jones leaving the team. I think Mike Tannenbaum thinks he’s smarter then he is, and made too many “smart” moves over moves that would have made the team better.