New York Jets Predictions
The Jets went from being led by Man-genius to just being plain manhandled in 2007. A four-win season was a big drop off from a 2006 campaign where they reached the playoffs. $120 million later, the Jets have re-stocked the team and coach Eric Mangini should have the right personnel to run his 3-4 defense. Left guard Alan Faneca, right tackle Damien Woody and outside linebacker Calvin Pace were their three key free agent signings this offseason. Gone are former first-round draft picks Jonathan Vilma and Dewayne Robertson, two players that didn’t fit the 3-4 scheme. Let’s take a look at how these changes pan out with our 2008 New York Jets predictions below.
Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens will be competing for the starting quarterback job heading into training camp. Pennington has proven to be effective when healthy and will likely get the nod. For an offense that ranked 26th in total yards last year, the quarterback position will be essential in getting this unit into the end zone more often. Pennington is not worth his contract, and he’ll likely be out in 2009 if he doesn’t live up to his billing this season.
Thomas Jones went over the 1,000-yard mark for his third straight season last year. With big improvements to the Jets’ offensive line, look for Jones to have a big 2008 season. But only two of his carries went for more than 20 yards last season and he rushed for only one touchdown. Jones’ carries will drop off a bit to make way for Leon Washington and ex-Dolphin Jesse Chatman in Mangini’s preferred two-back system. Former All-Pro fullback Tony Richardson steps in to the backfield this season after coming over from Minnesota.
Laveranues Coles posted his lowest receiving yards since his rookie season in 2000 last year. He’ll have to stay healthy to stay on the field and has shown he’s a 1,000-yard man when this is the case. Jerricho Cotchery improved last year after signing a 5-year contract. Neither he nor Coles provides the speed to be a deep threat though. Many questions sparked when the Jets drafted Purdue tight end Dustin Keller with the 30th overall pick. Keller is a terrible blocker, but they hope he can gives Jets’ quarterbacks a much-needed target over the middle. They want Keller to be like the Dallas Clarks and Antonio Gates’ of the AFC. QB-turned-wideout Brad Smith will be used as the team’s deep threat, while tight end Chris Baker will be their run-blocker.
The line will be much improved this season after signing Faneca to five years, $40 million and Woody to five years, $25 million. He and Faneca join center Nick Mangold and left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, both entering their third season. This gives the Jets four former first-round draft picks on the offensive line and a much better over unit heading into the 2008 season.
The Jets had under-sized nose tackles in the 3-4 last year. They’ll give Jenkins, an ex-panther who carries 335 pounds, a shot this season. Mangini’s 3-4 has struggled due to the defensive line. Fourth-year nose tackle Sione Pouha should combine with Jenkins to be more dominant this year after Pouha signed a three-year extension in the offseason. Defensive end Shaun Ellis had five of the D-Line’s 13 sacks last year but seems to have lost a step. Kenyon Coleman needs to emerge in a reserve role at end.
The Jets made big moves at linebacker by dealing Vilma to the Saints and signing Pace to a six-year deal worth a whopping $42 million. Then they drafted Vernon Gholston sixth overall in hopes of making this 3-4 scheme reek havoc on opponents. Second-year linebacker David Harris led the team with 127 tackles last year and he’ll be back to spearhead this line backing corps. Veteran inside backer Eric Barton is a steady backup, while outside linebacker Bryan Thomas has not lived up to his five-year $25 million contract.
The Jets have high hopes for safety Kerry Rhodes, who signed a five-year deal worth $33.5 million. Rhodes is a strong blitz option and he’s stout against the run. 14th overall pick in 2007, Darrelle Revis, is well on his way to becoming a shutdown corner. The Jets signed veterans Andre Woolfolk and Artrell Hawkins to try and give below-average corner David Barrett and emerging safety Abram Elam some competition in the secondary.
Info Plays 2008 New York Jets Predictions:
Spending $120 in the offseason shows the Jets are willing to do whatever it takes to get back to the playoffs. Mangini believes in the 3-4 scheme and hopes his personnel can make this head coach look like the Man-genius once again. Two big offensive line signings will help keep Pennington healthy while Jones has another 1,000-yard season. Lack of a passing game and a weak secondary will be exploited this season. The Jets will win more than 4 games this season, but they won’t finish ahead of the Patriots or Bills in the AFC East division. The Jets will pick up two easy wins over the Dolphins, though, which will be half as many wins as they collected in all of 2007.