Friday, May 18, 2012
Pressure point: Jets
By James Walker
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Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Jets and why.
Tony Sparano is very likable and well-respected in NFL circles. But even he might not be sure exactly what he's getting into by taking over the New York Jets' combustible offense.
Sparano was a longtime rival of the Jets as former head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He's well aware of the talent but also the personalities in New York. Sparano's biggest responsibility this season isn't X's and O's. It's fixing chemistry and getting everyone to play as a group.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez and No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes didn't get along last season. Neither did Holmes and right tackle Wayne Hunter. The defense also bickered with the offense last season for not holding up its end. Oh, by the way, there's also a brewing quarterback controversy between Sanchez and wildly popular backup Tim Tebow. This is a lot for Sparano to manage.
In terms of strategy, Sparano has to step up his game. The Sparano I saw in Miami was very conservative and often criticized for going for (and celebrating) too many field goals. That won't fly in New York. It's Sparano's job to produce more touchdowns on the field and better chemistry off it.