After Rex Ryan led the Jets to the playoffs his first two seasons in New York, his circus boiled over late last year during a three-game losing streak to end the season.
The big story for the Jets last year was the team turmoil in a season they failed to miss the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
Important Additions: QB Tim Tebow, S LaRon Landry, S Yeremiah Bell, OT Jason Smith, WR Chaz Schilens.
Important Losses: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, WR Plaxico Burress, OT Wayne Hunter, S Brodney Pool
Reasons to Believe
1. Trust In Defence – The Jets have had a top five defence the past three years under Ryan and there's no reason to expect anything but another year near the top for that unit. All three position groups are solid and the cherry on top is Darrelle Revis deciding to forego his rumoured holdout and showing up to training camp on time.
|How much will Tim Tebow be used this season? The Jets have designed a tricky wildcat scheme around Tebow's unique skill set. How effective it will be remains to be seen.
2. Strong Blocking – There are certainly some questions at quarterback for the Jets, but at least the five players charged with protecting the quarterback will give him a chance. With D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold leading the way, the O-line is a top unit, with right tackle being the lone question mark.
3. Rebirth of Maybin – After the Vernon Gholston nightmare, it seemed odd the Jets were willing to give another first-round bust, former Bill Aaron Maybin, a chance. The risk paid off as Maybin, who had zero sacks in two years in Buffalo, picked up six as a Jet. Reports have the defence looking revitalized heading into 2012, and Maybin could be spurred on to improve his sack numbers even further.
Reasons to Doubt
1. Tebow Time – Tim Tebow will be an asset as a running quarterback in certain packages and possibly on special teams as well. But his detriment comes from his popularity. The second Mark Sanchez shows any signs of struggling, Jets fans will be screaming for Tebow, and the young Sanchez may struggle more trying to tune them out.
2. Circus Atmosphere – The possible quarterback controversy is part of a bigger circus atmosphere Ryan has cultivated in New York. The Jets are full of talented personalities, perhaps none bigger than Ryan himself, but with a collection of characters there's always the chance of a meltdown. It happened last year and there were even signs of chemistry issues with the team throughout training camp.
3. Wide Margins – CB Antonio Cromartie proclaimed himself the team's second best receiver near the start of training camp. While it probably wasn't a good idea to make his thoughts public, Cromartie may have been on to something. Behind Santonio Holmes on the depth chart is inconsistent second-rounder Stephen Hill and a number of less than impressive veterans.
What to Expect
The Jets have the talent to earn a Wildcard spot in the AFC, but there will be more challenges to second place in their division than in previous years. With the Bills improving and looking ready to contend for the post-season, combined with a possible season long distraction stemming from the quarterback position, the Jets could find themselves falling just short for a second straight year.