The New York Jets made the decision to bow out of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes (or maybe it was the other way around) and sign Mark Sanchez to an extension. I don’t know if it was Peyton Manning stating that he had no interest whatsoever playing with the Gang Green circus or if it was the New York Jets not wanting to go after the most expensive band-aid in the game. Either way, I’m okay with the Mark Sanchez extension. That is under one condition though: the New York Jets need to upgrade the weapons around their franchise quarterback.
All offseason I have been torn between the opposing ideas of pursuing Manning and building with Sanchez. I’d say to my friends “give me Manning who can and will upgrade the weapons around him, or give me the weapons that will allow Sanchez to reach his potential.” To be fair, part of the problem was probably the identity crisis that the offense suffered last season – do they want to ground & pound or launch an aerial assault? The NFL is a copy cat league and it’s very tempting to try to air things out. I suppose committing to an offense and a style should be done before any players are pursued.
Once they know who they want to be they can start addressing the personnel. First and foremost – whether they want to chuck the rock or hog it – the Jets need to reinforce the trenches. The offensive line play was disappointing in 2011 and the only way Sanchez is going to be able to tap into his full potential is if he’s standing upright and has the time to make good decisions in the pocket. On the other side of the ball, the Jets need to stop the run and get to the QB – without having to blitz everything. Teams need to win the battle at the line-of-scrimmage before they can focus on winning games. Ask the New England Patriots and Tom Brady about what pressure does to a QB.
I talked about the New York Jets bringing in Randy Moss and I’m still a fan of that idea, but generally speaking I’m just looking for the Jets to upgrade the guys (or even just a guy) along the perimeter. I don’t like Santonio Holmes, but if he’s a clear cut No. 2 as opposed to a No. 1 or 1B, I’ll feel a lot better about him. In the backfield, I’m still waiting for Shonn Greene to really bust out, but I’m not sure that he’s incapable of getting the job done. He could probably take a significant step forward with some help from the big boys up front.
I’d have to do some more research before I start trying to push specific names, but with a few shrewd moves in free agency and the draft, the New York Jets can re-join the mix of Super Bowl contenders. Peyton Manning joining the Miami Dolphins could be a problem, but that’s obviously not in anybody’s control. The New York Jets need to make sure they are protecting their own QB (which will allow him to target upgraded weapons hopefully) and opening holes for their running backs while wreaking havoc on the opposition. It’s time for the New York Jets to take some of the city back.
For the occasional rant on the New York Jets follow me on twitter @craigmwilliams.