|The Jets probably would like to forget about 2012. (CBSSports.com)|
As each NFL team is officially eliminated from postseason contention, the Eye on Football crew will whip up a review of that team's 2012 season. Today, we look at the Jets. For more of our End of the Road series, click here.
What went wrong
As usual, the first problem existing for the Jets was the bravado shown by coach Rex Ryan. Once again, he ramped up the expectations of his team, calling it potentially the best he's coached in the preseason only to watch as it fell into disarray (again) with its dearth of talent and its questionable decision-making revolving around the quarterback position.
The biggest problem, though, was the lack of talent. It's clearly time for the team to say goodbye to Mark Sanchez after four mediocre seasons; and Tim Tebow, despite a number of preseason promises, never developed into anything other than an occasional Wildcat threat at quarterback. The fact that Greg McElroy will start in Week 16 tells you the state of the organization's signal-callers.
Add to that a trio of running backs in Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight who have been ineffective for much of the season and a receiving corps that featured young, raw players and guys who might not be playing in the NFL in two years, and you had an offense that ranks 30th in the league after 14 games.
What went right
As usual, the team's defense is the best asset of the organization, and through 14 games, the Jets rank eighth in total yards allowed (though 20th in points given up). While former standouts like Bart Scott and David Harris had off-seasons, 2011 first-round pick defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson had a strong campaign -- as did Antonio Cromartie in replacing Revis as the team's No. 1 corner cover and defensive end Quinton Coples, the team's 2012 first-round draft pick.
Aside from that, it was a disastrous season for the Jets. But while many have grown weary of Ryan's antics, I still find him plenty entertaining. If you're a Jets fan, though, you probably take little solace in that.
I think it'll be nearly impossible for general manager Mike Tannenbaum to survive into next season, while Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano probably will get one more year to turn around the franchise. And it's almost assured that Tebow won't be around after this season, and I'm not sure Sanchez will (or should) ever start another game for the Jets (Michael Vick, perhaps, is a different story?).
Offensively, the team has to figure out its philosophy -- it was sort of surprising the Jets didn't keep their promise to give Tebow a decent amount of plays out of the Wildcat formation -- and then provide more talent. Remember last year how we thought former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was the problem? Well, he's taken the Rams offense to No. 22 in the NFL (hey, don't laugh; it's their best performance since 2006), and left behind a Jets team that somehow is even worse than last season. That's obviously a big problem.
The 2013 quarterback class is projected to be weak -- NFLDraftScout.com guru Rob Rang has three quarterbacks going in the first round while Dane Brugler has one -- but the Jets know they can't keep the Sanchez status quo. Considering the Jets clearly reached for Sanchez, another USC product, in the first round in 2009, they might hold off on Matt Barkley if he's available. Still, New York would be wise to find another signal-caller, somehow and some way.
The running back corps also has to be upgraded, as does the linebacker corps. Which is why Rang predicts the Jets will take LSU linebacker Barkevious Mingo in the first round, while Brugler thinks they'll go with Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones.
2013 will be ...
… hard to figure out. I really have no idea where this franchise is headed. I don't know if Ryan can get this team back to the playoffs, and I don't know how the team will make its finances work if it gets rid of Sanchez. The defense still will be a top-10 squad, because the talent on that side of the ball is too strong. But until the Jets start making offseason moves, it's hard to know where this team is going.
One prediction that I'm pretty sure will prove correct: The Jets won't be as good as the Patriots in 2013.
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