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2006 New York Jets Preview

By Robert Ferringo of Doc's Sports Journal

The New York Jets have the biggest inferiority complex this side of Frank Stallone. Playing in the shadow of the Giants, the Big Apple's favorite son, the Jets have forever been battling their cross-town rival for the hearts and minds of the region.

So in a way, I suppose Eric Mangini was the logical and fitting choice as the organizations new head coach.

Mangini is the latest apple - a crab apple, if you will - to fall from the Bill Belichick coaching tree. The 35-year old coach is a mere 11 days older than his most tenured veteran, defensive lineman Kimo von Oelhoffen. But he's not inferior because he's young. He's inferior because he shares a conference with two of the top coaching minds in football - his mentor, Belichick, and his mentor's close friend, Miami coach Nick Saban.

Unfortunately for Mangini, he is beginning his quest to top his "big brothers" with a team comprised of journeymen and young, undeveloped talent. It was one short year ago that the Jets were a sheik Super Bowl pick. But injuries and ineffectiveness forced them into a horrendous four-win season.

The Jets are clearly in rebuilding mode. They are starting two rookies along the offensive line, their quarterback is coming off serious shoulder surgery, their franchise's best running back may have played his last game and their defense is attempting a shift in philosophy and personnel. Whether or not Mangini reaches the heights of Belichick or Saban, or whether the Jets can eventually overtake the Giants as The Team in New York, both remain to be seen. But neither of those scenarios will be seen this season.

Here's Doc's 2006 New York Jets Preview:

  • 2005 Record: 4-12 (4-4 home, 0-8 road)
  • 2005 Rankings: 31st offense (28th pass, 31st rush); 12th defense (2nd pass, 29th rush)
  • 2005 Against the Spread: 6-10 (4-4 home, 2-6 road); 8-7-1 vs. total (5-3-1 h, 3-5 r)
  • 2006 Odds: 110/1 to win SB, 50/1 to win AFC, 12/1 to win AFC East, 5.5 wins O/U,
  • 2006 Strength of Schedule: 28th (.465 opp. win %)
  • Key stat: The Jets offense averaged just 26:37 worth of time of possession each game, by far the worst in the league.
Returning starters: 12 (5 offense, 7 defense)

Key acquisitions: Anthony Clement, T (from S.F.); Kevan Barlow, RB (from S.F.); Kimo von Oelhoffen, DT (from Pitt.); Andre Dyson, CB (from Seattle); Nick Mangold (draft); Trey Teague, OL (Buffalo); D'Brickashaw Ferguson, OT (draft); Brad Kassell, LB (from Tenn.); Patrick Ramsey, QB (from Wash.).

Key departures: Jason Fabini, OT; Jay Fiedler, QB; Ty Law, CB; Kevin Mawae; Jerald Sowell, FB; Barry Gardner, LB.

Offense: It should be bloody for Pennington. The guy has an egg-shell shoulder and the Jets have put him behind an offensive line comprised of rookies and wannabes. Not a smart plan. Their acquisition of Barlow wasn't a cost-effective solution to their RB problem, but rumor has it that he looked good at 49ers camp. To bad he loves Hitler. With a fragile QB, young O-line, slim talent at receiver and just a serviceable run game, I don't expect the Jets to improve much upon their 29th-rated scoring offense (15 ppg).

Defense: The Jets switched to a 3-4 base, which I don't see helping to improve their 29th rated run defense right away. Their linebackers are very good but in his 13th season, von Oelhoffen won't be able to handle playing NT and anchoring the D-line. NY lost Law, but Dyson should fill in nicely. The trouble is that, like last season when they faced the third-fewest pass attempts and most rush attempts, teams won't have to throw when they're gaining 4.5 yards per rush.

X-factor: Ferguson. It's not that he's going to make the difference between wins and losses. But The Brick needs to justify his high selection and keep Pennington out of the infirmary.

Outlook: This team will compete because the Jets have always been a scrappy organization. But this club is terrible. They have young talent but virtually no veteran presence. As with last year, bet against them hard on the road and pick your spots at home.

Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at robert@docsports.com.

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