With all the hoopla and excitement surrounding the New York Jets , the disappointment and anguish of the 2011 season seems like an afterthought.
That’s certainly not the case for head coach Rex Ryan, nor his players, as the bitter taste from last year’s collapse still lingers with them. The Green-and-White wasted little time in free agency making the biggest splash this side of the Rockies. While it wasn’t all gravy for Ryan and his cohorts, the Jets were among the most active teams this spring. What follows is the good, the bad and the downright ugly moments from New York’s wild and wacky offseason.
The prevailing sentiment in New York is that the acquisition of quarterback Tim Tebow is bad for Mark Sanchez, bad for the Jets offense and bad for the future outlook of Gang Green. While there’s no doubt that the quarterback situation in New York is volatile, Tebow’s arrival could very well be a blessing in disguise for a struggling Sanchez. Green-and-White’s signal caller regressed in his third-year as a pro, calling into question his status as a franchise quarterback. If Tebow and Sanchez have a common characteristic, it’s that they’re wildly inconsistent at times but perform well in the clutch. Newly appointed offensive coordinator Tony Sparano will look for creative ways to maximize Tebow’s effectiveness as a Wildcat quarterback. Ultimately, Tebow’s increased role on offense will serve to lessen the burden on Sanchez, not necessarily run him out of town.
The most perplexing moment for the Jets front office came when they decided not to replace starting right tackle Wayne Hunter. Even though they drafted offensive guard Robert Griffin of Baylor in the sixth-round of April’s draft, the Jets have no clear plans if Hunter continues to struggle this year. Opposing defenses feasted on Hunter’s inept pass-blocking ability as they overloaded the right side of the Jets line and flooded New York’s passing pocket. Gang Green is reliant on new offensive line coach Dave Deguglielmo to help resurrect Hunter’s fading career. As the Jets aim to return to their ground-and-pound glory days, they could be making a fatal error by slating an under-performing Hunter in as a starter.
The first half of the Jets 2012 schedule is littered with playoff contending teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers (Week 2), San Francisco 49ers (Week 4), the Houston Texans (Week 5) and the New England Patriots (Week 7). The Jets will have to hit the ground running as this unforgiving lineup will certainly test Gang Green early on.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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