Wide Receivers Wanted: Jets need playmakers

While Mark Sanchez absorbed the majority of the blame for a lackluster offense in 2012, the Jets are in desperate need of explosive wide receivers to help kick-start a struggling aerial attack.

Last season the New York Jets lost football games due to their inability to put points on the scoreboard. Most fans are quick to blame Mark Sanchez for the lack of production, but the whole offense did not provide a consistent positive output, and the Jets finished ranked No. 28 in the National Football League in points per game.

In fact, the Jets offense was at the bottom of the NFL in almost every major statistical category. Gang Green ranked No. 30 in both total offense and passing offense. The only part of their offense that was somewhat effective was their ground game, which ranked No. 12 in the league, but even Shonn Greene and company were inconsistent.

The Jets were in the playoff race until their Week 15 loss to the Tennessee Titans. They lost the game to the Titans because the offense could not capitalize on big opportunities and only hung up 10 points on the scoreboard. Who knows what direction the Jets are going in for the 2013 season? They could make a few major additions and become a playoff contender or start rebuilding and rely on draft picks.

One of the biggest concerns on the offensive side of the ball was the lack of a big play makers. Yes, they saw inconsistency from both their offensive of line and running backs, but that was because the aerial attack was not a threat. Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley opened some eyes this season and could be a major part of the Jets' future. Second round draft pick Stephen Hill dropped too many passes during his rookie campaign. Players like Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates did not show up to play every week. None of the receivers had jaw dropping stats last season. Kerley led the team with 56 receptions and 827 yards.

A major positive for the organization is they will welcome back Santonio Holmes, who has been one of the Jets biggest threats the past three seasons. Holmes had 20 catches and 272 receiving yards in four games last season. Losing Holmes put a major damper on the Jets season. The Jets also need to think about putting the franchise tag on tight end Dustin Keller. He told the media that he did not want the organization to put the franchise tag on him, but it may be their best option. The team needs Keller to return, he has been Sanchez's favorite target the past few seasons.

The Jets also need to consider trying to sign another big name wide receiver to line up on the opposite side of Holmes. Free agents such as Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, and Wes Welker may be out of the Jets spending range, but there are other key receivers who cause headaches to opposing defenses available. Players such as Danny Amendola or Brian Hartline may come cheap. Amendola had 66 receptions for 666 yards last year. Hartline had his best season since joining the NFL with 74 catches for 1,083 yards.

If the free agency route does not work out for the Jets they can try a different approach by drafting a player. This year's wide receivers are a healthy class. Keenan Allen (California), Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee), Tavon Austin (West Virginia), Robert Woods (USC), and DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) will all be available during the first two rounds. The Jets could obtain a future playmaker from the 2013 NFL draft.

Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez is not always accurate and makes bad decisions more than Rex Ryan would like, but he also did not have a lot of options to throw to this year. A quarterback and wide receiver relationship is a vital part of a good offense. Sanchez could not develop a solid relationship with any of his receivers because the Jets always had new faces in their huddle. The Jets have Holmes returning and Keller will be playing healthy.

If the Jets add one more playmaker to the receiving corps, they could have a scary passing game. Other than the New England Patriots still being around, second place is up for grabs in the AFC East. Who knows, perhaps the Jets can make a run for first place next season. If the Jets want to compete during 2013, they will need to give Sanchez or whoever is at quarterback, options to throw to.

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