Monday, June 25, 2012
Take 5: Players on the hottest seats
By Rich Cimini
This is our sixth "Take Five" list. From now until training camp, we'll have periodic lists -- some serious, some not-so-serious. In this edition, we focus on the five players whose seats are the hottest.
1. QB Mark Sanchez -- He probably would've been at the top of the list before Tim Tebow arrived, but now it's a no-brainer. This will be the most scrutinized quarterback situation in the league. It's all up to Sanchez. If he can be consistent, protect the football and move the chains, he won't have to worry about a thing. But the specter of Tebow creates enormous pressure.
2. RT Wayne Hunter -- He gets a reprieve after a poor 2011, in part, because the Jets didn't want to eat his $2.45 million guaranteed salary. They're trying to reinvent Hunter, hoping he embraces Tony Sparano's system. It's risky business. If Hunter reverts to last season, the offense is in trouble -- and Sanchez will be subjected to another beating. The Jets open against the Bills, which means a matchup against Mario Williams. There's no room for a slow start.
3. RB Shonn Greene -- This is a crossroads season for Greene, who enters the final year of his rookie contract. It's time for him to be the runner he was in the 2009 postseason. He was okay last season, but he'll need to be better than just okay if the Jets want to bludgeon opponents with Ground and Pound. There are no proven backs behind Greene, so it's sink or swim with him.
4. WR Santonio Holmes -- He's owed $15 million in guarantees over the next two seasons, so Holmes isn't worried about job security. But, after behaving like a divisive diva last season, he needs to man up and be a true No. 1 receiver. He has gone 25 straight games (counting postseason) without a 100-yard game.
5. S LaRon Landry -- Not even newcomers can escape our list. The Jets are counting on the injury-plagued Landry to a.) be healthy for training camp and b.) be an imposing presence (physically and athletically) in the middle of the field. Landry has the ability to take the defense to a new level. This, too, is a crossroads season for him.