2009 New York Jets Season Preview
2009 New York Jets preview from MadduxSports.com. With the AFC East being one of the harder divisions to forecast in terms of nfl point spread success, be sure to have an ace in the hole on your side this season. That ace being Maddux Sports' weekly NFL picks.
2009 New York Jets Predictions
By Adam Barone
The Jets went for it last season, trading for Brett Favre. The season started off well, but tapered off and the team failed to make the playoffs. Eric Mangini was fired following the season, and replaced by former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Ryan, the son of Buddy Ryan, doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but figures to fare well.
The quarterback situation with the Jets is an interesting one. Favre is gone, and Mark Sanchez was drafted in the first round as the face of the team for the future. He’ll compete with Kellen Clemens, who’s been a disappointment since being drafted in the second round in 2006. The Jets think that Sanchez has what it takes to not only play quarterback in the NFL, but to play quarterback in New York City.
Sanchez won’t have a lot of quality targets to throw to, especially after the departure of Laveranues Coles. Coles left for Cincinnati as a free agent after catching 70 passes and seven touchdowns last season. Jerricho Cotchery caught 71 passes in 2008 and will be the clear go-to guy on the outside. Chansi Stuckey, second year player David Clowney, and former Missouri quarterback Brad Smith are the other receivers. Stuckey led the group last season with 32 catches. Tight end Dustin Keller, also in his second season, caught 48 passes as a rookie. He has the potential to be one of the best pass catching tight ends in the league, and may end up being a favorite target of Sanchez.
Running back Thomas Jones somehow managed to stop aging and lead the AFC in rushing in 2008. He racked up an unbelievable 1,312 yards with 13 touchdowns. Seriously—that really happened. The Jets drafted his replacement, former Iowa running back Shonn Greene. Greene, similar to Jones, lacks real big play ability. Speedy running back Leon Washington averaged an impressive 5.9 yards per carry in 2008 and scored six touchdowns on just 76 carries. Ryan has already said that he’ll see more action in 2009. Expect less production from Jones in the coming season, as he’ll be sharing the ball much more.
The Jets offensive line is one of the best in the NFL. All five starters return from last season. Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, left guard Alan Faneca, center Nick Mangold, and right tackle Damien Woody all have Pro Bowl talent. Right guard Brandon Moore was released in the offseason and re-signed after the team failed to sign an upgrade.
Nose tackle Kris Jenkins made the Pro Bowl last season with 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Injuries wore him down near the end of the season though, and are a concern this year. End Shaun Ellis started off last season hot, but really tailed off in the second half, similar to the Jets as a whole. Former Raven linebacker Bart Scott followed his old coordinator Ryan to the Jets, and will play the inside of the 3-4 with David Harris. Harris broke his ankle in the last game of the 2008 season, but is fully recovered. Last year’s first round pick Vernon Gholston had a poor rookie season adjusting to the 3-4, but will compete for a starting spot on the outside. The Jets finished last season with 41 sacks, seventh in the league, and figure to add to that if Gholston progresses.
The Jets finished 2008 ranked 29th against the pass. Cornerback Darrelle Revis had five interceptions, but was the lone bright spot. Safety Kerry Rhodes has failed to play up to the level he did in 2005 and ’06, when he had 105 and 98 tackles respectively. He had 84 tackles last season. He’ll be joined at safety by Jim Leonard, another free agent signing and former Raven. Former Eagle and two-time Pro Bowler Lito Sheppard will play opposite Revis, and Dwight Lowry will man the nickel spot.
Jay Feely has officially taken Mike Nugent’s job as the Jets’ kicker. The former Giant should be fine kicking in the Meadowlands. Washington is a Pro Bowl-caliber kickoff returner, while Leonard will probably take over as the punt returner.
There’s little doubt that Ryan can be successful as a head coach considering his success with the Ravens and his blood line. There’s a load of talent on the defense, so the Jets should be considered a favorite for a playoff spot if the offense can come together.