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Sports Then and Now

Are the New York Jets a Legit Super Bowl Contender?

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Jacob Rogers

New York Jets quarterback #6 Mark Sanchez throws a pass during a pre-season game between the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Monday, August 24, 2009. UPI/Greg Whitesell Photo via Newscom

Are the New York Jets a legit Super Bowl contender in 2010? The media seemed to fall in love with the Jets story last year. But do you remember the beginning of the story? Let me remind you.

The Jets started off 3-0, beating the New England Patriots in week 2. They looked as if they had some promise. They lost in week four to the Saints (understandable), but then suffered two bad losses to the Dolphins and Bills. After beating the Raiders, they lost three in a row to the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Patriots. They lost again in week 15 to the Atlanta Falcons before the Indianapolis Colts let the Jets into the playoffs. Now look at the teams they lost to… They lost four times to teams with only seven wins or less, and ended with a record of 9-7. They didn’t even win their division.

Everyone fell for the hype of the rookie, Mark Sanchez, and forgot the numbers that he actually put up. The Jets limited his throwing to allow him to get used to the playbook and transition into the NFL. He averaged 6.71 yards per pass attempt in 2009. Even with his passing being simplified and limited, he still threw 20 interceptions and only 12 touchdowns. He threw for 2,444 yards, and had a quarterback rating of 63. Twenty-two quarterbacks threw for more yards than Sanchez, and twenty-four quarterbacks threw more touchdowns than him.  Twenty-seven quarterbacks, including Brady Quinn and Ryan Fitzpatrick, had a better quarterback rating. Sanchez will need to improve in order to give the Jets a chance deep in the playoffs.

Will the Jets’ signings in the off-season make them more of a true contender this season? Is it possible for the best defense in the NFL can get any better? Key off-season additions like corners Antonio Cromartie and young Kyle Wilson should help Darrelle Revis in the secondary. Can’t hurt, right? Veteran Jason Taylor will be a leader on the defensive line, and nose tackle Kris Jenkins will be returning from his torn anterior cruciate ligament that caused him to be out for the remainder of the season in 2009.

LaDainian Tomlinson will complement the strong running game and be a leader to young Shonn Greene. Greene will start, and Tomlinson will be the third down back. Durability is a question for both backs, but sharing the load should help. The previously mediocre receiving core of the Jets will welcome the addition of Santonio Holmes, and Mark Sanchez is expected to improve in his second year in the league. Although Holmes will be suspended for the first four weeks of the season, he is still a legit weapon for Sanchez. The most recent addition to the Jets offense, is the signing of wide receiver Laveranues Coles.

The Jets look good on paper, right? I’m interested to see how that plays out on the field in 2010. The Patriots don’t seem to be going away anytime to soon, and the Dolphins are a young and up and coming team. If the Jets aren’t careful, they could find themselves looking up at the AFC East yet again.

The Jets play their first preseason game in New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16th at 8 PM ET.

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