Commentary

Is this the Jets' year? Good one!

With an offense like this, Gang Green fans should be prepared for mediocrity

Updated: September 8, 2012, 10:07 PM ET
By Stephen A. Smith | ESPNNewYork.com

On the eve of the New York Jets' season opener versus the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium, about the only thing we can be thankful for -- besides the Jets' vaunted defense -- is the fact that coach Rex Ryan has refused to provide yet another guarantee that his team will make it to the Super Bowl.

"I guarantee that I won't give any guarantees," Ryan told reporters Friday. "I'm out of that business."

Purportedly, it is because he is in the business of regaining control of a team he admittedly lost last season and developing an offense decent enough to provide some assistance for what should be one of the top-five defenses in the league.

The thing is, the season hasn't even begun and Ryan already appears to have failed on both fronts.

Earlier this week, wideout Santonio Holmes said quarterback Mark Sanchez was rattled by the Jets' acquisition of glorified backup QB Tim Tebow.

This was met with a denial from Sanchez, who told ESPN New York, "I think [Holmes] made it a little more dramatic. When you read it in the paper, it sounds like a Lifetime movie script or something, [like] he's talking me off the ledge."

So much for that relationship blossoming.

Then there's the issue of linebacker Bart Scott, feeling the need to tell everyone the defense isn't worried about the offense at all. That they don't even think about them.

"I'm wasting absolutely zero of my brain matter on worrying about what the hell the offense is doing," Scott said.

So much for honesty!

Can we just acknowledge that everyone associated with the Jets or their fan base has no choice but to think about the team's offense, because it's the only question mark on the Jets?

Who worries about the Jets' special teams when Mike Westhoff has been coaching it for years? Who's worried about a defense that has ranked first, third and fifth in Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine's three years at the helm?

It's the offense that's the problem. The same offense that ranked 20th, 11th and then spiraled downward to 25th last season with Sanchez at quarterback. It's the same offense that let go of Plaxico Burress, potentially forfeiting its red-zone efficiency with the move, and has conspicuously resorted to Tebow's running ability and spread-option productivity -- and popularity -- to come to the rescue.

Worse, the Jets have done this with a straight face.

Just weeks ago, Ryan shot down proclamations that the fix was in when it comes to Tebow starting by swearing, "The chances of that happening are about as good as my guarantees."

His joke was funny. It made headlines, a category the Jets have been masterful in this offseason. But it wasn't enough to help them score more than one touchdown this preseason.

Let it be said that it's foolish to talk of Ryan's job security. He deserves more credit and faith than that. But the same can't be said about his offense.

We can't officially say it stinks because it hasn't played in games that matter, but the stench is significant. We can smell what's on the horizon. The fact that it's right before a game against an AFC East foe, with Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, is not a good thing.

"I'm a confident person, and I've said all along I'm confident in my abilities," Ryan said, "but I'm more confident in the people we have in the building here."

Ryan must have been talking about coaches and administrators. On the eve of the season, I'd much rather hear about playmakers.

An 8-8 season sounds about right.

Stephen A. Smith | email

ESPNNewYork.com columnist
Stephen A. Smith is a featured columnist for ESPNNewYork.com, host of a weekday show for ESPN New York 98.7 and a regular on "SportsCenter" and "First Take."

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