Monday, June 4, 2012
AFC East offseason report card: Jets
By James Walker
On Sunday we looked at the Buffalo Bills and reigning AFC champion New England Patriots. We'll start Monday with the offseason report card of the New York Jets.
What I liked: The Jets' first two draft picks are boom-or-bust prospects, but they could hit home runs with defensive end Quinton Coples and receiver Stephen Hill. Both are expected to start right away, which is a good sign. The addition of Tim Tebow has some good and bad. He is a solid football player who can use his hard work, athleticism and toughness to help in some capacity. The Jets will get creative with Tebow, which is a wise decision. New York also attacked the safety position and added two starters in LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. There are questions about both players in coverage, which are valid. But Landry and Bell have more pure talent and athleticism than 2011 starters Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard.
What I didn't like: The biggest surprise is the Jets didn’t immediately find a replacement for struggling right tackle Wayne Hunter. Maybe he just had a bad year, but if Hunter plays the same in 2012, the Jets’ offense is in trouble. New York made a couple of late additions in Ray Willis and Stephon Heyer, who might help. I also was leery of giving starting quarterback Mark Sanchez a five-year, $58.25 million contract extension following last year’s performance. But I understand the salary-cap relief and how it only commits to Sanchez for a couple years if he doesn't perform. You also have to wonder if the potential distraction of Tebow is bigger than the production the Jets will get on the field. Tebow is a backup quarterback. However, Tebow is now the most popular and polarizing player on the team. This is another hit-or-miss addition, which seems to be the theme of New York’s offseason.
Next up is the Miami Dolphins.