Thursday, July 12, 2012
Take 5: Five reasons to be pessimistic
By Rich Cimini
This is our 11th "Take Five" list. From now until training camp, we'll have periodic lists -- some serious, some not-so-serious. Here, we'll examine five things that should be making you sweat as the season approaches.
1. A potential QB mess. The Jets have done a good job of controlling the situation, but the true test comes in the regular season. How will they handle a Mark Sanchez slump? Will they give Tim Tebow more reps in the Wildcat in lieu of an outright change at QB? What if Sanchez plays well but Tebow is on fire in the Wildcat? It could get complicated -- no, it will get complicated. If it gets out of control, it could undermine the season.
2. Ground and Pound? Really? They want to be a run-oriented offense under new coordinator Tony Sparano, but the eight positions most important to the running game -- five linemen, one tight end and two backs -- are the same as last year. And we all know how last year went; the Jets finished 22nd in rushing offense. Unless Shonn Greene morphs into Earl Campbell, the Jets won't be able to run at will.
3. Wayne's World. Beleaguered Wayne Hunter is back as the starting right tackle. The Jets were either too cheap to eat his $2.45 million guarantee and sign a free-agent replacement or they honestly believe Hunter can do the job. I believe it's mostly the latter, but it's an enormous gamble. He allowed 8.5 sacks, per STATS LLC, and committed a team-high 11 penalties for 80 yards last season. If he doesn't improve, it will be a long season, offensively.
4. Safety dance. The Jets keep talking up their defense, how they believe it can be as good as 2009, but there's one deficiency that wasn't adequately addressed: They didn't improve from a pass-coverage standpoint at safety. Neither LaRon Landry nor Yeremiah Bell shined last season with their respective teams, and Landry could be playing on a bad wheel. Once again, there could be some big days for opposing tight ends.
5. Chemistry 101. Everything is cool, the Jets insist. Problems, what problems? Sure, it's easy to say that in the spring and early summer, but the real test comes in the fall. It's pretty much the same cast of characters as last season, so why should we believe it's going to be different than last year? Santonio Holmes, last season's primary instigator, already was sulking in minicamp -- not a positive omen.
To see all our Take 5 lists, click here.