This article is part of our Team Previews series.
State of the Franchise
The Jets went into last season with playoff expectations, but it turned into the worst campaign of the four-year Rex Ryan era. After finishing 8-8 in 2011, the team fell to a 6-10 record and was outscored by 94 points; summer's punch turned into winter's punchlines. To be fair, early injuries to a pair of signature players (CB Darrelle Revis, WR Santonio Holmes) didn't help.
New York's offense ranked a paltry 28th in points and 30th in yards, and even the vaunted defense allowed the 20th most points in the league, albeit it wasn't entirely the unit's fault. The Jets finished the year minus-14 on the turnover table, second-worst in the AFC. QB Mark Sanchez's comical fumble on Thanksgiving night will forever live in infamy.
Sanchez played just well enough to hold onto his job most of the year, but things fell apart in December (37.0 rating, 5.3 YPA, one touchdown, eight interceptions). The Jets seemed intent on not playing Tim Tebow no matter the situation, so Greg McElroy got his feet wet with a couple of late appearances, including one start. And when the season was over, the club finally accepted what so many outsiders already felt; that a new direction was needed at quarterback. Enter rookie Geno Smith. He'll still have to beat out Sanchez to secure the starting assignment, but not too many expect that to be much of a fight. Meanwhile, Tebow was cut loose by the team shortly