Fewer teams with 9-7 records have been in the news as much during the off-season as the New York Jets have been this past off-season. Whether it has been for their head coach greeting the fans in his own special way, dropping players, picking up players, or making wine and predictions, the New York Jets have been the media darlings of the NFL leading up to the 2010 regular season.
Rex Ryan would love nothing more than to make the predictions for his team in 2010 come true, especially after the way the season ended last year. Ryan himself called the season over for the Jets prior to the end of the season before learning that the Jets were still mathematically alive. Thanks to a gift from the Colts, new life was given to their playoff aspirations. However, it would be those same Colts that would later put an end to them in the AFC Championship game.
The Jets showed enough promise on a rather big stage to make a lot of people take notice. After making a number of big moves in the off-season, the Jets have definitely propelled themselves forward as a serious contender in 2010.
The end of the off-season
Rex Ryan and company finished up the last day of off-season workouts in fine fashion last week. For the last day of the mandatory mini-camp the Ryan decided to take his guys to a place that is soon to become as familiar as home to them, especially since it will be the team’s new home field in 2010.
New Jets (Meadowlands) Stadium will be host to the home games for both the New York Jets and Giants, the only professional teams to share a stadium in the NFL. Unlike their previous relationship where the Jets were junior partners in the stadium, the two teams will be equal partners.
The team entered the new locker room around 11 AM and the praise was almost immediate for their new home. Moments later they stepped onto the field for the first time and were greeted by about 12,000 of the Jet faithful.
With such a build up going into the last work out, there was no way it was going to be a bad one, and the fans let the team know. Fans cheered as passes were caught, practice touchdowns scored, and even when Rex Ryan was displayed on the stadium’s four video screens.
After finishing in the AFC championship and making a number of key moves in the off-season, expectations are high amongst the Jets players and staff. When the new stadium officially opens the team will have a home fit for what they believe will be the next Super Bowl Champion.
Weapons, weapons, and more weapons
The power of the Jet defense was unmistakable in 2009. With the #1 pass defense and the 8th ranked run defense (combined to make the Jet defense #1 overall) points were hard to come by against the Jets. However, with their top ranked rushing offense combined with the second to worst passing offense did not always translate into enough points on the scoreboard.
Changes began last year for the offense when they brought in Braylon Edwards. Even though the team got rid of their top rusher in Thomas Jones (who landed with the Kansas City Chiefs) they have full faith in second year man Shonn Greene. In limited time last year he gained 540 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Greene will likely be the main ball carrier this year, and he will be backed up by one of the most successful running backs in NFL history in LaDainian Tomlinson. Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn likes having the talented duo; he envisions Greene carrying the bulk of the load and Tomlinson as more of a change of pace back, much like the role Leon Washington held.
Mark Sanchez will look to improve off his rookie year with the help of Edwards, Cotchery, and after he serves a 4-game suspension Santonio Holmes. The Steelers had enough of the legal troubles surrounding the young receiver and dumped him off on the Jets in the off-season. In Holmes, the Jets get a player only two years removed from being a Super Bowl MVP.