Yesterday I looked at whether the Jets are the team to beat now in the AFC East, and concluded that they are indeed the team to beat. They are the team to beat because they are now being propped up as AFC East (maybe even AFC in general) Champs before the season starts, and have a big target on their back now. Everyone from analysts to players are chiming in with their thoughts. The reaction thus far seems to be somewhat optimistic about the Jets’ chances but also extremely cautious, with the questionable locker room personalities being a powder keg waiting to explode.
Leigh Bodden has been active on his Twitter account following the Santonio Holmes trade. Covering Holmes (or Braylon Edwards) will be his job this season when playing the Jets, and he had the following to say about the trade:
- People want to kno My thoughts on Holmes to the Jets!
- *Blank Stare*
- Like one of my old coaches said “we look good on paper”. But that’s Y u play the games on the field!
- Side Bar– if i played Madden & it was out right now JETS might be my squad LOL
- Dennis Green said it best about crowning people LOL
Darius Butler tweeted this: “Im not concerned abt him bein n the division. Every team we play has gd players its the NFL. Im just shocked at what he went for.”
Vince Wilfork was interviewed at Gillette Stadium today and reacted to what the Jets have done this offseason. Here’s what he had to say:
“Those guys they brought there are pretty good players, probably some elite players at their position. That’s something we’re going to have to deal with on the field.
“On paper, you can look great. I’m pretty sure a lot of teams look great on paper. Putting it together is another thing. We can’t focus on what they’re going to do, we can only focus on our strengths and how we can get better, day by day, each week. When that time comes, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a big deal – the Jets and the Patriots.”
“The game is played between those lines out there. On paper, they’re making moves, and making great moves. But you know what? At the end of the day, it’s played between the lines. It doesn’t mean anything to us, one way or the other. We see each other twice a year, sometimes three. So it doesn’t bother us, whatsoever. We keep our focus on what we need to do to be a better football team. We can only control what the Patriots can control. More power to them.”
FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez brings up the risk involved with acquiring Holmes and questions his character and the longevity (or lack thereof) of the Jets’ three-headed receiving threat:
“A blossoming wide receiver coming off his best season doesn’t get dealt — let alone for a paltry fifth-round draft choice — without good reason. Holmes gave the Pittsburgh Steelers plenty this offseason.
“ Like with last month’s trade for ex-San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie, this is a boom-or-bust Jets move. Along with Edwards, Holmes gives Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez the NFL’s best deep-threat combination. But such a pairing could be short-lived. Holmes and Edwards are set to become unrestricted free agents in 2011 and the Jets likely won’t be able to sign both to contract extensions.”
SI’s Peter King sounds excited about the Jets’ potential, but also mentions the locker room volatility could be their undoing:
“The Jets are amazing. They’ve become a little like the old Raiders (we’re afraid of taking no one on our team), a little like the Yankees (we’ll sign anyone to win), and a little like the Dan Snyder Redskins (we love headlines!) in the last year. With any luck, they’ll sign all-decade player Jason Taylor to be a designated pass-rusher by Wednesday. And with all the additions, they’ve retained their first- and second-round picks, 29th and 61st overall. If they don’t implode, they’re going to a damn good team.”
Finally, CBS Sports’ Clark Judge puts the success of the Jets squarely on Rex Ryan’s shoulders. It is his job to maintain harmony in the locker room and keep the team focused, or it will be Ryan, not the questionable personalities brought in, that will be held accountable.
“The heat isn’t on the New York Jets. It’s on their head coach,” he writes.
“Rex Ryan would want it no other way, but when you look at what the Jets have done lately — which is to collect players others couldn’t wait to discard — you have to feel for the guy. No longer is he expected to get the Jets to the Super Bowl; now it’s Super Bowl or bust.
“All I know is that Rex Ryan better win. The Jets made bold moves they and their fans believe put them over the top, but they couldn’t have made them unless the players they assumed didn’t come with baggage others got tired of carrying. If the roof collapses and the Jets crater, it won’t be the players who are blamed; it will be the head coach who had to control them.”
What I gather from all of the comments is that the Jets have the potential to be a great team, but it’s going to be tough to hold it together with the players they have signed. Clark Judge takes sharp aim at not only the character but also the talent of some of the names that the Jets brought in, namely LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie. No matter what any team does in the offseason, including the Jets, Patriots, Redskins, whoever, it doesn’t matter until the players step on the field and play the game. Preseason Power Rankings and hype are fun, but they don’t amount to much until the players and the coaches do it on the field.