What a difference a year makes, huh? Mark Sanchez has gone from a rookie with teetering confidence to a poised signal-caller. Sanchez is no longer sent out under center to simply manage games, he is now a playmaker as evidenced by his nine touchdowns (it took him nine games to record nine scores last season). The former first-round pick has thrown just two interceptions, good enough for an 86.4 rating.
The pass protection has been very good this year, especially the play of left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson who has earned his fat contract watching Sanchez’s blindside. It has also been a very solid year for Nick Mangold, who has been playing with a shoulder injury. The Jets must be pleased with the gradual development of Matt Slauson at left guard, as the youngster has overcome a rocky debut to put in several flag-free performances.
The chain movers for the league’s second-best rushing attack have only seen a rusher top 100 yards on the ground twice this season, and both efforts came in the same Week 4 win at Buffalo. LaDainian Tomlinson is consistently a threat to break big runs but Shonn Greene needs to find his consistent groove and hit the hole faster. Braylon Edwards has emerged in recent weeks, while Dustin Keller is having a breakout year with five TDs.
Losing Kris Jenkins in the first quarter of the first game is a tough blow, but the line has been slightly above average despite getting pushed around last game in Denver and having no true star up front. Sione Pouha is on pace for a career year with 25 tackles through six games. Shaun Ellis isn’t overachieving nor underachieving, and if new signing Trevor Pryce gets going, this could be a tough three-man front down the stretch.
Bart Scott has backed up his big talk with some big plays, but it is David Harris who is speaking softly and carrying a big hit. Already with 40 tackles in a contract year, Harris is making a statement for the Jets to crack open the piggy bank after the season. Calvin Pace still needs to get going following an injury that kept him out until Week 5. “We’re as good as any unit the NFL, and we expect to keep it that way,”?Scott said earlier this season.
They are a healthy hamstring (Darrelle Revis) away from being a top-tier group. Antonio Cromartie has settled in nicely at cornerback after a Week 1 debacle and safety Brodney Pool, a low-key free-agent signing, has been adequate. Don’t forget about the always steady Jim Leonhard, and the recent emergence of Drew Coleman as a playmaker is a good sign going forward.