- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Expectations for the Jets haven't been this low in a long time, maybe not since 1996. There are plenty of reasons to worry. Our top five:
1. That quarterback situation: Oh, my. Rookie Geno Smith isn't ready, and probably won't be ready by opening day. They may have no choice but to start the embattled Mark Sanchez, who will enter the season knowing he'll always be one turnover away from being booed like an enemy player. It could be another unsettling year at the most important position.
2. Shortage of playmakers: Their most accomplished playmaker, by far, is WR Santonio Holmes -- and he's coming off a devastating foot injury that could limit him throughout the season. The rest of the receivers and tight ends are the same as last season, sans Dustin Keller. Translation: It will be a struggle for the offense -- again.
3. Too young or too old: The Jets are relying on too many inexperienced players and too many past-their-prime veterans. In other words, they lack a strong middle class -- i.e. core players with three to six years of experience. That's a recipe for trouble.
4. Still no elite edge rusher: They signed Antwan Barnes and re-signed Calvin Pace, neither of whom showed much last season as pass rushers. They're hoping Barnes can revert to 2011, when he posted 11 sacks for the Chargers, but that was an aberration, based on his entire body of work. Quinton Coples will get a chance as a rush linebacker, but he might be better suited to interior rushing.
5. Leadership issues: GM John Idzik parted ways with several team leaders, leaving a huge void. Antonio Cromartie is taking control of the defense, but other players will have to step up, especially on offense. A team with questionable leadership will fold when adversity strikes -- and there will be adversity, count on it.
Expectations for the Jets haven't been this low in a long time, maybe not since 1996. There are plenty of reasons to worry. Our top five:1. That quarterback situation: Oh, my.