If you've flipped through the cable sports coverage on NFL training camps in the New York area, you'd have been hard pressed to find much detailed information on your favorite team. Unless you're a New York Jets fan that is.
The popularity of “tabloid journalism” makes it clear why the public at large is subject to so much Jets coverage. Certainly, the Jets have an entertaining member of a family coaching dynasty with Rex Ryan at the helm. They also have a GQ cover boy named Mark Sanchez who plays a little quarterback in his spare time. Let's not forget the Jets also have a backup QB named Tim Tebow that's the darling of the press. Then there was that little reality show the team did on HBO. However, if the media's love affair with the team is laid aside, the question becomes: "Are the New York Jets actually any good?”
Despite playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010, it’s probably safe to say the Jets shouldn’t be compared to perennial NFL powerhouses like the New England Patriots or Green Bay Packers.
First, Sanchez has been improving at a snails pace in his first three seasons and his numbers bear it. Last year, Sanchez threw for 3,474 yards, 26 TDs and 18 interceptions and ended the season with a 78.2 passer rating. Granted, his stats have been steadily improving each year but compared to Rodgers with 4,643 yards, 45 TDs, 6 interceptions and a 122.5 passer rating, or Brady with 5235 yards, 39 TDs, 12 interceptions and a 105.6 passer rating, Sanchez doesn’t measure up.
Heisman winner Tebow, has tons of heart and is a gifted athlete, but is not expected to be more than a gimmick player who the Jets have publicly stated they will utilize on special teams and, presumably, trick plays.
The Jets’ top back Shonn Greene had a 1,054 yard season in 2011, but didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard with six TDs and a pedestrian 4.1 yard average on 253 attempts. The Jets’ receiving corps isn’t in much better shape, headlining locker room problem child Santonio Holmes and rookie Stephen Hill. Holmes wasn’t burning up the turf last year with his 654 receiving yards and eight TDs, and he’s already on the radar this preseason for inflammatory comments that he was last year’s “scapegoat.”
Finally, Ryan may be a marketing genius who’s an expert at selling the Jets brand, but it’s worth bearing in mind that he’s essentially an unproven commodity, posting an impressive 4-2 record in the playoffs but no Super Bowl appearances. Granted, his on-camera antics are fun to watch, however, there’s a reason you never see New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waltzing around in a woman’s wig, like Ryan did when joking about his twin brother. Perhaps it’s because he’s too busy working on strategy for his next game.
The season has yet to begin, so it’s possible the Jets may still surprise. If they do, expect the shameless promotion of the Jets to increase exponentially.