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Online Jets Lines & Predictions - New York Future Odds - Free NFL Betting Previews

2006 New York Jets Season Preview

2006 Jets NFL News - August 21st, 2006
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2006 NFL Previews - By: Tony Moss For

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Ten head coaches have put the New York Jets through their training camp paces since Weeb Ewbank and his windsor-knotted tie graced the sideline in the team's Super Bowl III victory over the Colts.

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Ten head coaches have tried, and failed, to get the organization back to pro football's ultimate stage.

A couple (Bill Parcells, Walt Michaels) came pretty close. A few (Rich Kotite, Lou Holtz, Charley Winner, Pete Carroll) failed miserably. And a handful more (Herm Edwards, Joe Walton, Al Groh, Bruce Coslet) fell somewhere in between.

Jets fans are hoping that Eric Mangini rises to the top of the pantheon of the franchise's head coaches by ending the franchise's Super Bowl drought, which now stands at 37 years, sooner rather than later.

At 35 years of age, the former Patriots defensive coordinator is currently the youngest head coach in the league, and the state of his roster bears a similar youthful look. In his first year at the helm, Mangini will be almost forced to start two rookies on the offensive line, will have to settle a quarterback controversy, will have to identify his top playmakers in the running back and receiving corps, and will have to find players, most notably an edge pass rusher, to fit into the 3-4 scheme he brings over from the Patriots.

How soon Mangini can push the right buttons will determine how quickly the Jets, fresh off a dismal 4-12 campaign, can again compete for the AFC East title. Conventional wisdom suggests that 2006 will not be a banner year, though Mangini has received high marks for the building-block approach he has employed thus far.

Which means Jets fans are tabbing Mangini to become the next Ewbank as opposed to the second coming of Kotite.

Below we take a capsule look at the 2006 edition of the New York Jets, with a personnel evaluation and prognosis included therein:

2005 RECORD: 4-12 (4th, AFC East)

LAST PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: 2004, lost to Pittsburgh, 20-17, in AFC Divisional Playoff

COACH (RECORD): Eric Mangini (first season with Jets, first overall)



OFFENSIVE STAR: Curtis Martin, RB (735 rushing yards, 5 TD, 24 receptions)

DEFENSIVE STAR: Jonathan Vilma, ILB (169 tackles, 1 INT)

OFFENSIVE TEAM RANKS: 31st rushing, 28th passing, 29th scoring

DEFENSIVE TEAM RANKS: 29th rushing, 2nd passing, 23rd scoring

FIVE KEY GAMES: New England (9/17), at Buffalo (9/24), Miami (10/15), at New England (11/12), at Miami (12/25)

KEY ADDITIONS: QB Patrick Ramsey (from Redskins), QB Kellen Clemens, (2nd Round, Oregon), RB Kevan Barlow (from 49ers), RB Leon Washington (4th Round, Florida State), WR/KR Tim Dwight (from Patriots), WR Brad Smith (4th Round, Missouri), C Nick Mangold, (1st Round, Ohio State), T D'Brickashaw Ferguson (1st Round, Virginia), OL Trey Teague (from Bills), DE Kimo von Oelhoffen (from Steelers), LB Matt Chatham (from Patriots), LB Brad Kassell (from Titans), ILB Anthony Schlegel (3rd Round, Ohio State), CB Ray Mickens (from Browns), CB Andre Dyson (from Seahawks), SS Eric Smith (3rd Round, Michigan State)

KEY DEPARTURES: QB Jay Fiedler (released), FB Jerald Sowell (released), WR Wayne Chrebet (retired), C Kevin Mawae (released), G Jonathan Goodwin (to Saints), T Jason Fabini (released), DE John Abraham (to Falcons), NT James Reed (to Chiefs), DT Lance Legree (released), LB Barry Gardner (released), CB Ty Law (not tendered), S Oliver Celestin (released)

QB: The major issue for the Jets heading into training camp was at quarterback, where a four-way competition between holdovers Chad Pennington and Brooks Bollinger, former Redskins starter Patrick Ramsey, and 2006 second- round draft pick Kellen Clemens (Oregon) existed. Pennington (530 passing yard, 2 TD, 3 INT), who comes off two rotator cuff surgeries in as many years and appeared in just three games last season, quickly emerged as the front- runner due to his renewed velocity and leadership skills in the huddle. Should Pennington hold onto the job, his backup will likely be Ramsey (279 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), who started 24 games in four seasons with the Redskins but was stripped of his starting duties following Week 1 last season. Clemens is expected to hold the clipboard for at least a season, meaning that, barring something unforeseen, nine-game 2005 starter Brooks Bollinger (1558 passing yards, 7 TD, 6 INT) will be released.

RB: Mangini has a decision to make here, as future Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (735 rushing yards, 5 TD) is 33 years old, and even if he can return from offseason knee surgery, is very much in decline. Just one year removed from winning the NFL rushing title, Martin missed four games due to the injury last season, averaged just 3.3 yards per carry when he did play, and missed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his illustrious 11-year career. Mangini and new coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could choose to spread some of Martin's carries out to newcomer Kevan Barlow (581 rushing yards, 3 TD, 31 receptions with the 49ers), holdovers Cedric Houston (302 rushing yards, 2 TD) and Derrick Blaylock (53 rushing yards) and/or rookie Leon Washington (4th Round, Florida State). Blaylock missed nine games last season with a broken foot. The Jets will also have a new starting fullback, as trusty Jerald Sowell (28 receptions, 2 TD) is now a Buccaneer and B.J. Askew (59 rushing yards) will have to open holes for the running backs.

WR/TE: Jets fans had to grimace last season as they watched Santana Moss race to a Pro Bowl season with the Redskins. The man they acquired to replace Moss, prodigal son Laveranues Coles (73 receptions, 5 TD), was far less productive, though that had at least something to do with the fluid quarterback situation. The Jets will need more out of both Coles and Justin McCareins (43 receptions, 2 TD), and following the retirement of fan favorite Wayne Chrebet (15 receptions), will need Jerricho Cotchery (19 receptions) to develop into a capable No. 3 receiver. Veteran Tim Dwight (19 receptions, 3 TD) and rookie Brad Smith (4th Round, Missouri), both of whom should also factor into the return game, will battle for the role of fourth receiver. At tight end, the team is looking for either Doug Jolley (29 receptions, 1 TD) or Chris Baker (18 receptions, 1 TD) to emerge as a consistent pass-catching threat over the middle.

OL: For all the talk of the quarterback and running back positions, it is the development of the offensive line that will likely have the largest hand in determining the Jets' fate in 2006. The o-line was abysmal last season, failing to protect the quarterback or block for the running backs with any great consistency, which is exactly why the Jets paid more attention to this area than other in the draft. The franchise used first-round picks on left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Virginia) and center Nick Mangold (Ohio State), both of whom are expected to start as rookies. The unit is expected to be rounded out by veteran and leader Pete Kendall at left guard and the shakier tandem of guard Brandon Moore and tackle Adrian Jones on the right side. Moore and Jones were both 16-game starters last season, and the new coaching regime will be looking for continued development from both players. The Jets added free agents in tackle Anthony Clement and center/guard Trey Teague in order to add depth, but Teague was expected to miss most or all of training camp with a broken left ankle.

DL: Gone along with the team's old 4-3 scheme are end John Abraham (58 tackles, 10.5 sacks) and tackle James Reed (65 tackles, 2 sacks), the Jets' top two playmakers along the defensive line last season. Mangini and coordinator Bob Sutton will be looking for a couple of holdovers, end Shaun Ellis (38 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and tackle Dewayne Robertson (43 tackles, 3.5 sacks) to make a swift adjustment to the new system, and will need former Steeler Kimo von Oelhoffen (35 tackles, 3.5 sacks with Pittsburgh) to bring along the benefit of his vast experience within the scheme. The Jets don't have much depth up front, and will need young players like Trevor Johnson (9 tackles) to emerge as credible understudies.

LB: Mangini's most significant training camp challenge could be identifying a couple of pass rushers at the outside linebacker position, since a vast majority of the team's ability to pressure the quarterback seemed to have vanished along with Abraham. It appeared early in camp that Victor Hobson (80 tackles, 1 sack) and converted end Bryan Thomas (37 tackles, 3.5 sacks) would be given the first crack at winning the starting OLB jobs. Trevor Johnson (9 tackles) and former Patriot Matt Chatham (23 tackles, 1 sack) will also get some reps on the outside. On the inside, tackling machine Jonathan Vilma (169 tackles, 1 INT) will be joined by one of three players - holdover Eric Barton (21 tackles), former Titan Brad Kassell (77 tackles, 1 INT) or rookie Anthony Schlegel (3rd Round, Wisconsin). Barton, who missed the second half of 2005 with a torn left biceps, would appear to be the front-runner to win the second starting job at ILB.

DB: Following the free agent defection of Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law (62 tackles, 10 INT), the Jets are mighty young in the secondary. The starting safeties are projected to be third-year man Erik Coleman (121 tackles, 2 INT) and second-year-pro Kerry Rhodes (105 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT), with rookie Eric Smith (3rd Round, Michigan State) and third-year-pro Rashad Washington (32 tackles, 1 sack) behind them. The corners should be second-year-man Justin Miller (42 tackles) and the graybeard of the group, 28-year-old corner David Barrett (47 tackles, 5 INT). Injury-prone Andre Dyson (20 tackles, 1 INT), who is on his third-team in as many years, will provide corner depth along with holdover Derrick Strait (49 tackles). Bruce Thornton (40 tackles, 2 INT), who started 11 games with the 49ers last season, could also make the roster as a backup.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Mike Nugent (22-28 FG) shook off the boos he received from Jets fans on draft day to put together a nice rookie season, and will be back along with second-year Australian punter Ben Graham (43.7 avg.). Justin Miller (26.3 avg., 1 TD) did a terrific job as a kickoff returner as a rookie, and will probably hold onto his special teams spot along with punt returner Jerricho Cotchery (7.9 punt return avg.). James Dearth will begin his sixth season as the Jets' long-snapper unless the team decides to keep Joel Dreessen (5 receptions) as an extra tight end.

PROGNOSIS: The Jets' roster is certainly young, but it is far from a total abomination, and you don't have to totally suspend disbelief to contend that this team can flirt with .500. The backfield and offensive line situations must be stable in order for it to happen, Mangini and Sutton have to find a pass rusher and a run-stuffer on the other side of the ball, and the green secondary has to be on the same page right away. If all of that happens, then the Jets aren't going to be an easy out. But if Pennington gets hurt again, Martin retires, the rookies on the o-line play like rookies, and the defense fails to adapt to the new scheme, then the Jets are going to be serious contenders for the worst record in the AFC.

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