With New York Jets training camp right around the corner, we take a look at the five biggest questions for the team heading into the season.
5) Will Chris Johnson rush for 1,000 yards for the seventh straight year? With all eyes firmly planted on the QB competition between Geno Smith and Michael Vick this off-season, the backbone of the Jet offense received a major boost with the signing of running back Chris Johnson. In his first six seasons as a member of the Tennessee Titans, Johnson amassed over 1,000 yards rushing in each season, as well as over 2,000 yards during the 2009 campaign. Although the 2,000 yard season is a distant memory for Johnson, if he is able to keep his streak alive, it bodes well for the Jets offense. CJ will be in a time share with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell, but still should receive a bulk of the carries. BOLD PREDICTION: CHRIS JOHNSON RUSHES FOR OVER 1,100 YARDS
4) Can Rex Ryan make the Jets defense a Top 5 unit once again? It was only two seasons ago that the New York Jets quite possibly had one of the most impressive defensive units in the league. With bravado and veteran experience to spare up front, mixed with two all-pro cornerbacks on each side, Rex was able to bully offenses into playing into his teams strengths. Fast forward two seasons later and Rex is at it again, only this time with almost a completely different set of personnel. The front seven of the New York Jets are the strength of the defense. Mohammad Wilkerson, Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison anchor the front line which looks to be very strong heading into 2014. The back end of the defense has all of the question marks. If the secondary can hold up for Rex, the season could be a success. If not, it could be a very long road ahead for the Jets. BOLD PREDICTION: THE JETS DEFENSE FINISHES IN THE TOP FIFTEEN, NOT THE TOP FIVE
3) Do the New York Jets have a cornerback to play opposite of Dee Milliner? With Dee Milliner ending the 2013 season very strongly, the Jets are hoping for him to build on his late season success and parlay that into the 2014 season. The biggest question in an already questionable secondary is as simple as, who is going to play cornerback opposite Dee Milliner? The main candidate to start the season is former Miami Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson. In his time with Miami in 2013, Patterson was able to come up with four interceptions in six games before being placed on Injured Reserve in December. The other candidate for the position is rookie Dexter McDougle out of Maryland. The Jets selected McDougle in the 3rd round of the draft and are hoping they picked a steal. McDougle recorded three interceptions in only three games his senior season at Maryland before fracturing his shoulder and severely ruining his draft stock. With Kyle Wilson firmly planted in the nickel cornerback spot, someone will need to step up to play on the edge. BOLD PREDICTION: DEXTER MCDOUGLE STARTS WEEK 1
2) Is Eric Decker a #1 Wide Receiver in the NFL? In a stunning off-season move by John Idzik, the New York Jets signed Eric Decker from the Denver Broncos to a lucrative deal. Many around league circles have questions as to why Decker would leave greener pastures in Denver, for Geno and the Jets. The real question is whether or not he can elevate his play even further than what we saw in Denver. With 24 touchdowns the last two seasons, Decker will bring something to the Jets that they desperately need; someone who can score. BOLD PREDICTION: ERIC DECKER MAKES THE PRO BOWL
1) What will Geno Smith become? With an already stocked cabinet of young and developing prospects and a few budding superstars all over the field, the New York Jets will always face the same question of, who is playing quarterback? Geno Smith entered his rookie campaign with a chip on his shoulder, falling from first round prospect, to second day sideshow. He carried that chip all the way into the following season. His first season was nothing to write home about, but there were plenty of bright spots that could foreshadow the future. For starters, in his first full season, he played just that, a full season. All 16 games in the NFL is nothing to gloss over anymore, especially with injuries piling up on each team week after week. He won eight games as a starter as well, which for a rookie cannot be overlooked. Although there were a handful of games where Geno was dreadful, and should show cause for concern in the upcoming season. The fact remains, Geno Smith was just a rookie in 2013 and that was to be expected. The one thing that the analysts seem to overlook about Geno Smith is his track record of getting better each and every season he has been in any system. While at West Virginia, Geno improved each season, which only bodes well for his chances going forward. BOLD PREDICTION: GENO SMITH LEADS THE JETS TO THE PLAYOFFS IN 2014
With so many questions still unanswered entering the season, it is safe to say the 2014 season can go either way for the New York Jets. If they are able to answer these questions, look for the Jets to be playoff bound come January.
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Tags: Chris Johnson, Dexter McDougle, Dimitri Patterson, Eric Decker, Football, Geno Smith, John Idzik, Michael Vick, New York, New York Jets, NFL, Sheldon Richardson