On the Clock: New York Jets

3/23/2007 - New York Jets

Over the next month, "SportsCenter" will put every NFL team "On The Clock." Scouts Inc. will break down each team and look at what questions still need answering. The Jets are up now.

Head coach Eric Mangini did a masterful job in 2006 of implementing his plan as the Jets exceeded everyone's expectations as an AFC wild-card team. Mangini did a great job of getting his players to buy into his system, which is very difficult in today's NFL. Under the leadership of general manger Mike Tannenbaum and Mangini, the Jets have a very bright future. The one major attribute that this team had in 2006 was its ability to play hard for four quarters and finish games. Offensively, quarterback Chad Pennington was named the starter by Mangini heading into the 2007 season. If Pennington can remain healthy, he should prosper in his second year in offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's system. The addition of RB Thomas Jones (trade), who will team with change-of-pace RB Leon Washington, should pay huge dividends for an offense that finished 20th in the NFL in rushing. Defensively, the Jets have a big-time need for a shutdown corner and an edge rusher who can create problems when rushing the quarterback.

Key additions
The Jets were active in the early days of free agency, when they acquired Jones in a trade with the Chicago Bears. Jones is a solid north-south runner who appears to be getting better each year. The Jets also added FB Darian Barnes (Dolphins), QB Marques Tuiasosopo (Raiders), and re-signed RT Anthony Clement. Tuiasosopo is an experienced quarterback who will compete with second-year player Kellen Clemens in training camp for the No. 2 spot behind Pennington.
Defensively, the Jets added DE Kenyon Coleman (Cowboys), who is a versatile player who fits their 3-4 scheme. Another key addition that should add more spice to the Jets-Patriots' rivalry was New England WR coach Brian Daboll. Daboll is a solid addition to the Jets' coaching staff and is expected to coach the quarterbacks.

Key losses
The Jets entered free agency without any marquee players of their own who were set to become free agents. However, the Jets did lose FB B.J. Askew to the Buccaneers. Askew was a versatile player who was used mainly as a blocker with value on special teams. They also released backup running backs Kevan Barlow and Derrick Blaylock, QB Patrick Ramsey and C Trey Teague. Jets brought in Barlow as a possible replacement for franchise RB Curtis Martin, but he was a disappointment.

Remaining questions
Heading into the offseason, Tannenbaum wanted to fill as many needs as possible to place the Jets in a position to take the best player available in next month's NFL draft. Offensively, the Jets must find a solid third option in the passing game that can complement both Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, especially when attacking the middle intermediate areas of the field. The defense is still a concern until the Jets can find a shutdown corner and a defensive end who can create pressure when attacking off the edge. The Jets' run defense should be much improved in Year 2 of this regime based on better understanding of gap responsibilities and run fits in Mangini's
3-4 system.