City Sports Report

Should You Be Concerned, Very Concerned by Marc “Razz” Rasbury

I don’t want to sound like an alarmist or pessimist. But among all of the jubilation that have been expressed for as the locals for the upcoming season, there are some red flags that do not exactly give me the warm and fuzzies. Yes, I like what General Manager Mike Tannebaum has done.. However, Gang Green does have some hurdles to cross if they are going anywhere near Dallas this February.

The Jets will tell anyone who will listen that they will be the AFC Super Bowl representative at the big dance this year. That sentiment was solidified this weekend when the organization resigned their “All World” cornerback Derrell Revis. Without Revis they would have had a very good defensive unit. With Revis, they might be mentioned among the League’s all time great units. Calvin Pace being sidelined for the first few weeks of the season should not stop this group from dominating this campaign.

They have the best shutdown cornerback tandem in Revis and Antonio Cromartie. Revis return also allows for Kyle Wilson to be used sparingly without throwing the talented rookie to wolves right away. The return of DT/NT Kris Jenkins should bolster their pass rush as well as aid in stopping the run. Look for LB David Harris to have a break out year that might end up with being named to the Pro Bowl. Jason Taylor and Shaun Ellis can be used in situational pass rush opportunities as Vernon Gholston finally looks like he might contribute this year. Also look for Bart Scott to join Harris in Dallas the week between the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl.

This defense is primed to make history this season. I’m not concerned about this squad. The offense is what worries me. Tannebaum brought in several weapons this off-season to compliment an already talented core. However, all that will not amount to a hill of beans if Mark Sanchez does not raise his game.

This is not like the 2000 Ravens when they asked Trent Dilfer not to make too many mistakes. The key to that Super Bowl run was that year is that Dilfer made very few mistakes. Sanchez on the other hand made too many (20 interceptions) last year and it almost coast them a playoff spot.

This off-season, the Jets gave Sanchez all of the weapons any QB, nevertheless a second year signal caller, could ask for. In addition to Braylon Edwards and Jericho Cotchery, the Jets stole Super Bowl hero Santonio Holmes. Add TE Dustin Keller to the mix and Sanchez has plenty of downfield threats at his disposal. The passing options are nice, but the running game will be the key to the offense success.

The Jets are expecting great things from Shonne Green. If he can stay healthy, he is capable of making Thomas Jones a distant memory. Somehow LaDainian Thomlinson discovered the fountain of youth. Last year many folks wrote his football obituary. However, this preseason he looked like he has been able to turn back the hands of time showing the explosiveness he demonstrated three or four years ago.

The only question the offensive unit has, besides Sanchez’ development, is the left guard spot. After releasing Alan Faneca, the Jets were hoping that Matt Slausen or Vladimer Ducasse could fill Faneca’s shoes. Thus far the gamble has not paid off. But either one of potential replacements can hold down the fort then this unit should put up some decent numbers and turn the game over to the defense to finish the job, provided that Sanchez can step up to the plate.

Despite his inconsistent play this preseason, I still feel that USC standout can do the job. Folks forget that on three occasions last season, he led the team on go ahead drives late in the contest only to see the defense cough up the lead. I wonder what his skeptics would be saying about him if the defense did not loose those leads against the first Dolphin contest and Jaguars game. The Colts gift would not be an issue right now.

I usually do not root for braggers. I prefer my teams to walk softly and carry a big stick. But in this case, I will be rooting for Rex Ryan and his braggadocios band of merry men. When it is all said and done, I do believe they will be in the conversation when the Super Bowl talk wind down. Hell, it has been almost forty years since the Jets played in the last game of the season. I mean Nixon was in office and gas was 25 cents a gallon for crying out load. They are due and this truly represents their best shot!

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