Commentary

Nine keys to New York Jets' season

Now that Gang Green has Revis back, it's off to the Super Bowl, right? Not exactly...

Updated: September 7, 2010, 1:24 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

1. Preparing Revis Island: Darrelle Revis is back after a five-week holdout and, barring an injury in practice, will be in the starting lineup for the season opener. Even though he stayed in shape while he was away, Revis will need three or four weeks before he's sharp. Basically, the first four games will be his training camp. Still, Revis at 90 percent is better than most.

2. Grounding and pounding: The Jets changed two vital elements in their league-leading running attack.They have a new back to complement Shonn Greene. Say hello to LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson looked fantastic in the preseason, but, at 31, can he maintain it for 16 games? They also have a new left guard, Matt Slauson, who is struggling. Slauson is a liability in pass protection. It could get him benched in favor of rookie Vladimir Ducasse.

3. The new Pace-setter: With outside linebacker Calvin Pace (broken foot) expected to miss at least one or two games, Jason Taylor becomes an every-down player at 36. He still might have enough in the tank to pressure the quarterback, but he doesn't play the run as well as Pace. The Jets signed Taylor to bolster the fourth-quarter pass rush. That'll be a neat trick if he plays every down.

4. Feeding the hungry: Wide receivers Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes are in contract years, and they'll be looking for big stats to take to the bargaining table. That will be tough with a young quarterback and two other weapons, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller. Is it possible to keep everybody happy?

5. Not up to speed: The Jets have a terrific defense, but there are two shortcomings, according to opposing scouts -- depth and speed in the front seven. With a pair of 30-plus outside 'backers, Taylor and Bryan Thomas, and a 30-plus defensive end, Shaun Ellis, the defense could have problems against teams that like to run on the perimeter. It also could be exposed in pass coverage.

6. Survive until Halloween: The first six games include Baltimore, New England, Miami, Minnesota and Denver -- rough. A 3-3 start wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Also, the offense won't have Holmes for the first four games because of a suspension.

7. Folk hero: Former Dallas Cowboys kicker Nick Folk, trying to rebound from a disastrous season, enjoyed a solid preseason. If he can regain his Pro Bowl form, it would be huge because the Jets figure to play a bunch of close games that could be decided by a field goal.

8. Calling all leaders: After unloading Thomas Jones, Alan Faneca and Leon Washington, there's a leadership void on offense. Given that, cutting revered fullback Tony Richardson on Sunday probably wasn't the smartest move -- although the team did re-sign him one day later.

9. Bull's-eye on the back: In case you haven't heard, Rex Ryan has done a lot of chirping. He's been predicting big things and ticking off everybody in the league not affiliated with the Jets. They will get everybody's best shot week after week, which will make the road to the Super Bowl tougher than it needed to be.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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