2012 Jets training camp preview
Following an 8-8 season where the Jets were — on paper — among the most star-studded teams in the league, head coach Rex Ryan faced an offseason where many anticipated big moves. Instead of a roster shakeup, however, the Jets were relatively low key in their acquisitions — except for a certain back-up QB. A preview of the storylines to watch from Jets training camp:
1. The Obvious
All the talk leading up to camp is of the supposed quarterback controversy between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. When the Jets acquired Tebow from Denver in March, they not only added a major marketing chip to sell jerseys and tickets, they got the league’s most unconventional quarterback. Jets management and Ryan promised Tebow will be utilized in the Wildcat and in the red zone in a subsidiary role to Sanchez. The national media, however, is playing up a supposed battle for the starting job. Truth be told, Sanchez can silence any speculation and the make job his with a sterling camp.
2. Does Revis Maroon Himself?
The Associated Press reported that All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will not hold out and will honor his contract — at least for this year. Of course, the Jets are just two years removed from the last Revis holdout, which ended just shy of the regular season. The defense revolves around Revis and his shutdown ability and any type of discontent or divisiveness in the media about his current contract would be an unwelcome distraction.
3. Everything is all right now
After the season was completed, a number of veteran players such as Revis and ex-Jet LaDainian Tomlinson took to the airwaves to complain about the locker room environment for what was a rather dysfunctional team. The Jets were rather average on the field last year, but were awfully good at pointing the finger at each other. This offseason has been all about unity and, to a man, all the players in the locker room will say that last year is in the past. But are the feuding Jets no longer going to entertain us? On-field fights are always a part of training camp and it will be interesting to see what players go at it this year … and if they’re able to bury the hatchet quickly or if the bad blood lingers.
4. Will the Line Be So Offensive?
Let’s face it, the Jets offensive line stunk last year. They allowed 40 sacks of Sanchez and were largely responsible for what was an average rushing game. With a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano, the offensive line should improve but what is the ceiling level for this group that returns all five starters? On Monday, the Jets traded for Panthers right tackle Jeff Otah, a former first-round pick, whose injuries and work ethic concerns have plagued this play with enormous potential.
5. The Rex Factor
During his first two years with the Jets, Ryan was almost bigger than the team, his affable personality coupled with his girth and penchant for the outlandish seemed to bind both fans and players together. Around the NFL, players talked about wanting to play for Ryan and he seemingly willed the Jets to consecutive AFC Championship game appearances. But last year, the wheels fell off and now Ryan more than any draft pick or free agent acquisition this offseason is left to bring the team together again. He will need to defer to Sparano on offense and focus on a defense that has lost its luster over the last year.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.