This article is part of our Team Previews series.
NEW YORK JETS
By Max Robinson
STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
During Rex Ryan's colorful two-year tenure as Jets head coach, the team has twice reached the AFC Championship game, both times narrowly falling to the eventual Super Bowl runner-up. The team has been built around its blitz happy 3-4 defense, which over the past two seasons has finished first and third in the NFL respectively, but wasn't nearly as dominant in 2010. The offense is a work in progress, though it has shown promise, and the front office continues to add talented yet legally-challenged skill players to take the load off their young quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
Firmly believing in ground-and-pound style football, the Jets finished fourth in the NFL in rushing last year averaging 148.4 yards per game. Their primary rusher heading into 2011 is Shonn Greene, who was in a similar situation last year until a fumble-packed Week 1 transferred the starting role to LaDainian Tomlinson. However, Greene is the real deal; a bruising back with the speed to break off long runs. Look for the Jets to commit to him in 2011, while LT slides into more of a third down role, with Joe McKnight and perhaps Bilal Powell in the mix as well.
The Jets' passing attack obviously hinges on the development of Sanchez, now entering his third year in the league. Although he's had his rough patches, Sanchez has always seemed to raise his game in high-pressure situations (a career 94.3 post season