The Jets were among the most disappointing teams a season ago, missing out on the playoffs for the first time in Rex Ryan’s three-year head coaching tenure. Plagued by locker room dissension and poor team chemistry, New York appears determined to bounce back from a nightmarish 2011 season. Ryan is committed to taking a more hands-on approach by keeping his players dedicated to each other and focused on competing for that elusive Super Bowl berth.
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Leaning heavily on its elite defense, Gang Green aims to improve on its 21st-ranked rushing offense and 22nd-rated passing game under the guidance and direction of newly hired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow. The Green-and-White will look to counter New England’s prolific aerial assault with a bruising ground-and-pound attack as they vie with the Patriots for AFC East supremacy.
The Jets completed the most startling move of the offseason period by acquiring Tebow just 10 days after signing incumbent starter Mark Sanchez to a three-year contract extension. Addressing the safety position was a top priority for New York, and they inked veterans LaRon Landry
and Yeremiah Bell each to one-year contracts. Placekicker Nick Folk, defensive tackle Sione Pouha, wide receiver Patrick Turner and linebackers Aaron Maybin and Bryan Thomas all re-signed as well.
The Jets made wholesale changes to their coaching staff, adding six new hires in an effort to shake up their leadership along the sidelines.
Darrelle Revis gives opposing quarterbacks fits.
Defensive end Quinton Coples and wide receiver Stephen Hill are slated to start from Day 1 at their respective positions. Outside linebacker DeMario Davis will be utilized as a special teamer and situational pass-rusher, while safeties Antonio Allen and Josh Bush will compete for a spot in the secondary rotation. Sixth-round pick Terrance Ganaway will be utilized exclusively as a short-yardage tailback.
The Jets battle three viable Super Bowl contenders in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston during the first five games of their regular season slate. In its home opener, New York clashes with a revamped Buffalo Bills squad followed by a trip to the Steel City for a rematch of the 2010 AFC Championship game.
After an unforgiving early season stretch, Ryan and the Jets travel to Foxboro for a Week 7 divisional showdown with New England. Gang Green’s Week 8 bye comes at the perfect time -- just prior its two-game road trip which features stops in Seattle and St. Louis. The Jets return home Week 12 for their final regular season meeting with the reigning AFC champion Patriots.
New York was dealt the NFL’s 12th-easiest schedule, as every one of its final five opponents missed the playoffs last season.
BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Mark Sanchez, quarterback. "Tebowmania" may be sweeping the Big Apple, but the Jets incumbent signal-caller is still the leader. He will need to bounce back in a big way to keep New York’s postseason dreams alive.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER
Darrelle Revis, cornerback. Revis is as dominating a force as there is league wide and a vital cog in Ryan’s defensive attack.
WILL WIN DIVISION IF ...
Tebow and Sanchez can coexist and Ryan’s motivational magic instills a confidence in his players that they are true contenders once again.