Sunday, July 8, 2012
Take 5: Reasons to be optimistic
By Rich Cimini
This is our 10th "Take Five" list. From now until training camp, we'll have periodic lists -- some serious, some not-so-serious. In this edition, we take a look at the bright side -- the top five reasons why the Jets should be optimistic about 2012.
1. Fresh approach on offense. Brian Schottenheimer is out, Tony Sparano is in. Sparano never has been known as an offensive guru, but he brings a clearly defined philosophy -- a heavy accent on the running game, complemented by a vertical passing game. He has instilled a level of accountability, which should keep everybody in line. Sparano's obsession with limiting turnovers will help Mark Sanchez.
2. More speed on offense. Consider the lineup at the start of last season. Instead of having Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason and LaDainian Tomlinson on the field in third-down situations, they will have Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Joe McKnight, respectively. They're giving up a ton of experience, but the speed comparison isn't even close. There should be more big plays.
3. An improved pass rush. We're not talking about the Giants' front four here, but the Jets will be better than last year. Reasons: A full year of Aaron Maybin, the addition of No. 1 pick Quinton Coples and the maturation of Muhammad Wilkerson. With Wilkerson and Coples, they should be able to generate an inside pass rush, which will allow DC Mike Pettine to get creative with outside blitz packages.
4. The three corners. This has become a passing league and, unless you have a white-hot pass rush, you need cornerbacks. The Jets have one of the top trios in the league, Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. This will be their third season together. If Wilson can raise his game another notch, watch out.
5. More depth on D. Rex Ryan wants to own the fourth quarter. Well, it helps to have fresh bodies. That shouldn't be an issue anymore. The Jets can rotate at least six players on the defensive line, they have three starting-caliber safeties and they have more bodies at linebacker than they've ever had. They have no excuses for a late-game collapse.
To see all our Take 5 lists, click here.