The "Power Core" Pre-Season Power Rankings #13
J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! This is by far one of the most familiar and wonderful chants in all of football. I can't help it that this is my second favorite NFL team! I live in New York for God's sake. They are a distant second mind you, but it hurt when the Jets couldn't put away Oakland in the wild card round last season. It also hurts when they consistently under-use Curtis Martin. It hurts that they lost their best young lineman in the expansion draft. It hurts even more that their quarterback continues to be Vinny Testaverde.
#13 New York Jets (10 - 6) second in the AFC East
Besides the Texans, no team in football had as much activity this off-season than the Jets. They left their two starting cornerbacks, Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman, unprotected in the expansion draft, as well as lineman Ryan Young. All three were quickly snatched up by Houston. The Jets decided not to pursue James Farrior while resigning Sam Cowart, who was injured all of last season with a ruptured Achilles. They also signed Donnie Abraham from the Bucs and Aaron Beasley from the Jaguars to shore up the cornerback situation. And they released Victor Green and signed Sam Garnes as his replacement. Yet, with all of these changes Vinny Testaverde continues to be the starting quarterback, while Chad Pennington does his best waterboy impersonation.
The Good: The offense revolves around Curtis Martin. Unfortunately, there are times in games when the Jets do all they can to forget about him. Testaverde also has Wayne "Mr. Clutch" Chrebet and Santana Moss to throw to, but neither gives the Jets the receiver they had in Keyshawn Johnson. On the defensive side, Jon Abraham should continue to emerge as a potential superstar. Sam Cowart, if he can return to his 2000 form, will give them a dominant middleman. This team took huge advantage of turnovers and the small opportunities they had last season. It will be important for the Jets to continue doing that this season, because the team is really not as talented as their record may indicate.
The Bad: Testaverde had off-season surgery and he's never been mobile in the first place. I would like to think that this would be the last year we see Testaverde as the starter. Unfortunately, unless Testaverde goes down, Pennington will never get a chance to learn by his mistakes in a real game. I'm not convinced that Beasley and Abraham are an upgrade over Glenn and Coleman. Glenn had Pro Bowl written all over him. As I mentioned before, Curtis Martin doesn't get enough action on this team. They have the second best all-around back in the league, yet sometimes they look like they don't know what to do with him. The Jets aren't as good as they play sometimes, nor are they as bad as they play other times. The AFC East will be one of the most competitive in football and the Jets could easily finish last if they don't take advantage of every opportunity given to them.
The Ugly: I can't believe that the Steelers were considering taking Chad Pennington at one time. I can't believe Testaverde hasn't retired yet.
Synopsis: The Jets are an above-average team, but not Super Bowl-caliber by any means. I think you'll see another nail-biting season that winds up with a wild card berth. The division is too much to ask of the Jets this year, and with Pennington probably taking over next year, this may be the last year we see the Jets in the playoffs for quite some time. 9 - 10 wins.