Rex Ryan is very confident in his New York Jets. They added Antonio Cromartie in the defensive backfield, LaDainian Tomlinson at running back. Talk about the Jets, where they’ve gotten better on the roster and also where they’ve gotten worse.
They’re obviously getting better at the QB position. It’ll be Sanchez’s second year as a starter in the league. He only started one year at USC so he’ll continue to improve. He’s got the work ethic and drive. Shonn Greene will get better as a back. He’s also in his second year. He’ll have a much bigger role and big impact with the running backs. I think they got better at corner picking up Antonio Cromartie, and the rookie Kyle Wilson is a heck of a player. Jason Taylor is the one everyone’s waiting on. Does he have anything left in the tank? I think he does.
You’re talking about a team that was #1 in point total for defense last season. I look at quarterback and defense when I look at these teams. Having Sanchez and a defense that’s really good and having a defensive coordinator at head coach, I think they’ll be outstanding.
They’ll definitely challenge for the AFC East title. They lost Alan Faneca, which hurts them a little bit. They don’t have a lot of depth on their offensive line. But the receivers will be better. Santonio Holmes, when he gets healthy, when he gets off suspension, I believe he’ll be one of Sanchez’s favorite targets.
Again, the defensive secondary. That’s key. When you add corners like Cromartie and Wilson, and you’re already a good defense, that spells trouble for other teams. I think they’ll be a legitimate contender in the AFC East and the AFC in general, the entire division.
When we spoke last week, and again today, you predicted a huge year for Shonn Greene. How does this play out given that the offensive line took a hit with the loss of Faneca?
They took a hit but I think they’re going to be better overall. They got Vladimir Ducasse, a young player and top prospect, and the other guys — Mangold, Ferguson — they’ll have played an extra year together and be better. I just think Shonn Greene getting more touches, regardless of the line, will make the difference. Like Beanie Wells in Arizona, it can take a couple years for backs to come into their own, unless you’re Adrian Peterson. Shonn Greene has the ability as a power back, a featured back, to rush for 1,300 or 1,400 yards. If he’s a feature guy and they pound the ball, he’ll have a big year. I’m not sure what LaDainian has left, I think he’ll be more of a supporting role, and Shonn Greene will do the heavy lifting. With touches he’ll do really well.
Let’s talk about Kyle Wilson, #29 overall out of Boise State, the corner. What does he add to a defensive secondary that is already very strong?
He comes in right away as a nickel guy and a special teamer. He’s a good cover guy, very aggressive, a good tackler, which they like. They like good physical corners. He’s a total package defensive back. He plays with a lot of passion, same consistency from game to game. Those types of guys, when you get them in there right away, they’ll have an impact on special teams and in the nickel packages. He plays with mentality, which Rex Ryan loves. A corner can come in right away, he doesn’t have to start, and can still have an impact at different positions, a total game type player.
Final question on the Jets before we move on to the Giants. The Jets picked up Santonio Holmes on the cheap, basically for a song and dance. Do you think Santonio Holmes can experience the same success with Mark Sanchez that he experienced with Ben Roethlisberger?
I definitely think he can because where they’ll really jive is in the broken plays. Sanchez likes to roll out under pressure and throw on the move. Santonio is a guy who likes to keep working to get open, just like he did in that final Super Bowl drive. He’s covered, gets out of his break, makes a move, makes another move. He really works hard to hard to get open. He’s magical in that part of the game.