Jets 2012 final report card

Gang Green started with enough talent for .500 and lost most of it by Week 5

Updated: January 2, 2013, 3:46 PM ET
By Rich Cimini |

A few days before the season, Rex Ryan slipped into old-Rex mode for a moment, claiming this was the most talented team he's had in four seasons. He was, of course, delusional.

The 2012 New York Jets began with eight-win talent, and a chunk of that talent was gone by Week 5 -- the season-ending injuries to Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. Predictably, they ended up 6-10, but they weren't your ordinary 6-10 team.

Oh, no, the Jets captivated the nation with their dysfunction, a three-quarterback circus that got so bad that Tim Tebow begged out of the Wildcat. What a season: Mark Sanchez regressed, Tebow stewed and Greg McElroy missed the last game with a headache -- unfortunate for him, but symbolic of the entire season.

The play of the year was the Butt Fumble. 'Nuf said.

Jets' postseason awards

Offensive MVP: WR Jeremy Kerley. It's tough to give out an MVP on the 30th-ranked offense, but Kerley developed nicely in his second year and made some big plays.

Defensive MVP: CB Antonio Cromartie. Close call here between him and DE Muhammad Wilkerson, but Cromartie was voted by teammates as the team MVP.

Special-teams MVP: KR Joe McKnight. He provided one of the few wow moments of the season, a 100-yard kickoff return.

Most improved: DE Muhammad Wilkerson. He was solid last year, but he developed as an inside pass-rusher and got stronger against the run.

Least improved: QB Mark Sanchez. He took a major step backward, eventually losing his job. The future is murky.

Biggest surprise: RT Austin Howard. He allowed 10 sacks, but he was an upgrade over Wayne Hunter. At least he has a future.

Biggest disappointment: QB Tim Tebow. He got on the field for only 75 offensive plays, making no impact whatsoever.

Best rookie: DE Quinton Coples. People in the organization were concerned because of his practice habits, but he rallied and finished with a team-high 5.5 sacks.

Best offseason acquisition: S LaRon Landry. Because of his injury problems, Landry was a risky move, but stayed healthy and made his first Pro Bowl.

Worst offseason acquisition: Tebow. If you need a point-by-point explanation, you haven't been paying attention for the past four months.

Best-kept secret: DT Mike DeVito. If the Jets had a few more DeVitos, they'd be in better shape. He didn't make headlines, but his blue-collar mentality helped the defense.

Best coaching move: Check back in a few weeks; we're still trying to come up with one.

Worst coaching move: You can pick out pretty much any quarterback-related decision and apply it to this category.

Biggest concern: The quarterback situation. They're probably stuck with Sanchez because of his contract, but he can't possibly be the starter in 2013 -- and they might not have the money to get a good replacement.

Key to the offseason: They have to hire a qualified GM who can clean up the mess, chart a course for the future and change the dysfunctional culture that surrounds the organization.

Player ready emerge in '13: Coples. If he works a little harder and develops better technique against the run, the Jets might have something special.

Least likely to return in '13: Tebow. This marriage was the biggest sham since Kardashian and Humphries. It's so over.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for Follow him on Twitter.

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Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter