The 2011 season was a hard lesson learned for Rex Ryan, his players and coaching staff. A new year ushers in a new philosophy and a renewed sense of hope. New York's front office learned five important lessons throughout free agency, the draft and minicamp this year.
1. The Most Interesting Man in the Universe
Tim Tebow’s 40-minute introductory press conference showed the sporting world that he is no ordinary backup quarterback. New York’s jack-of-all-trades will be counted on to reignite a Jets offense that was on life support a season ago. While Tebow and incumbent starter Mark Sanchez have coexisted so far this offseason, speculation is growing that Gang Green could be headed for a quarterback controversy down the road. Look for Tebow to transform the Jets tepid offense into a versatile and dynamic attack this upcoming season.
2. Singing Sparano
Following the firing of Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator, New York wasted little time in hiring former Miami Dolphins head man Tony Sparano as his replacement. Rex Ryan and Sparano, AFC rivals last season, have joined forces in an attempt to alleviate Gang Green’s offensive woes. The Jets locker room has already rallied around Sparano, who aims to resurrect the team’s ground-and-pound offense with Tebow directing the Wildcat attack. Expect Sparano to unleash his creative talents as New York builds an efficient and bruising offensive style of play.
3. Rising Rookies
The secret is out. The Jets draft class has looked stellar so far this offseason. Defensive end Quinton Coples, wide receiver Stephen Hill, linebacker DeMario Davis and running back Terrance Ganaway are all expected to gain significant playing time this year. Safeties Josh Bush and Antonio Allen will provide quality depth behind LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Eric Smith. Even though the Jets are a win-now team, Ryan anticipates that his top rookies will start come day-one of the regular season. While growing pains could be on the horizon for New York’s young guns, the sky is the limit for this talented rookie draft class.
4. To Hold Out or Not to Hold Out?
With the Jets All-Pro cornerback at the midway point of his four-year, 32 million dollar guaranteed deal, Darrelle Revis has not committed to showing up for Gang Green’s training camp next month. A contract holdout would add just another distraction to a Jets team that is trying to clear the locker room air following a season littered with inner turmoil and discord. While a holdout is not imminent, the cat-and-mouse game between Revis’ agents and the Jets front office could detract from an upbeat offseason period to this point.
5. For Ryan Out Loud
Rex Ryan is large and in charge, but New York’s head man is adopting a different attitude this year. While he admitted that he lost the “pulse’ of his team in 2011, Ryan is determined to take a more hands-on approach this year by embracing an active role during team meetings and film sessions. With his title talk toned down this offseason, Ryan appears focused solely on team building and developing a positive rapport with his players and coaches.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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