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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Take 5: Reasons to hope

By Rich Cimini

Our "Take 5" series continues with an optimistic view of the upcoming season -- reasons to get excited about 2013:

1. The hunger is back: Let's face it, the Jets got complacent after back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game. They had too many overpaid veterans with a sense of entitlement. Those days should be gone. New GM John Idzik is trying to change the culture. He dismantled the roster, instilling (through Rex Ryan) a competitive environment. No more fat cats.

2. New old philosophy on defense: Ryan is the de facto defensive coordinator, running the entire show -- just like he did in 2009 and 2010. The plan is to get back to their ultra-aggressive ways on defense, which means heavy doses of pressure schemes. If first-round pick Dee Milliner emerges as a solid corner opposite Antonio Cromartie, Ryan will have the 1-2 punch he covets, allowing him to play man-to-man and crank up the blitzing.

3. No Revis, no problem: The defense has a chip on its shoulder, eager to prove it can be an elite unit without Darrelle Revis. That should provide plenty of motivation, especially for Cromartie & Co. in the secondary. They will be sky high to face Revis in the season opener.

4. MartyBall: We're not saying new OC Marty Mornhinweg is another Bill Walsh, but we know he's not another Tony Sparano -- and that's a good thing. Mornhinweg is an experienced play caller with a proven system, and his background with quarterbacks is bound to help Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. Mornhinweg doesn't have many weapons, but at least he has a plan.

5. Younger, faster: You'll notice this mostly in the front seven, which turned glacially slow last season. The addition of first-round DT Sheldon Richardson will help. So will expanded roles for DE/OLB Quinton Coples, LB DeMario Davis and NT Kenrick Ellis. There's still a shortage of speed on offense, but they should be slightly better in the backfield, with the additions of Mike Goodson (if he's not in jail or suspended) and Chris Ivory.