Which players will need to step up the most for the Jets to have a successful season
The 2012 Jets is a big question mark at this point. The talent is there I must say, but how will it all fit together. With a new Off. Coordinator is Sparano, a new backup QB in Tim Tebow, and a group of rookies who will probably see a lot of playing time as they adjust to the NFL, we really don't know how all the pieces will fit as of yet. What we do know, is that certain players will have to step up to the plate and make big contributions in order for the Jets to return to form. In my opinion these are the players that need to step up:
Aaron Maybin: He needs to prove that last year wasn't a fluke. We all can agree that if this defense can ever find an OLB that can consistently beat his man 1on1 and get to the QB, it will go from being great to truly elite. Can Maybin be this guy? Maybe, but he will need to prove that he can stay on the field on 1st and 2nd down. He seems to have put on weight which is a huge plus (to hold the point of attack and set the edge in run defense) Can he digest and master Rex & Pettine's playbook and become our Suggs, or Harrison?
Joe McKnight: LT's departure leaves a big void in the running game. LT's effectiveness as a runningback diminished as a Jet, but he was excellent catching the ball out of the backfield, and picking up on blitz protection. The job now belongs to Joe McKnight. He's showed flashes at times, but we will need more from him. He need to prove he can consistently catch out of the backfield and move the chains. He also needs to protect and pick up blitzers. Joe McKnight's development is HUGE imo and he will need to fill a big pair of shoes.
Mo Wilkerson: He had an excellent rookie campaign, and is already a stout run stuffer, but can he become more of the pass-rushing threat that he was touted as coming out of college? The name of the game in Rex's defense is pressure and anyone who can beat his man 1on1 and get to the QB are welcomed. Our DL can potentially become a strength of this team and if it does, big Mo will be a large part of it.
Mark Sanchez: our franchise QB is going into his 4th year, and it can be extremely frustrating to watch him at times. One minute he will show flashes of brilliance on the biggest of stages, and then he will turn around and make the boneheaded rookie mistake. IMO it's put up or shut up time for #6. He will need to show the one thing he has lacked in his young career: Consistency. Sanchez's maturation is the MAIN THING THAT SEPARATES THIS TEAM FROM BECOMING A PERENNIAL SUPERBOWL CONTENDER. With Tebow looking over his shoulder, plotting to take his position from, will Sanchez answer the call and become the QB that we need to succeed? If not, everyone's favorite backup QB may just get exactly what he so desperately wants, a shot to lead a team to the promised land. Make no mistake about, this team is better off with Sanchez, but will Rex and Tanny's patience wear thin if the Sanchize can't deliver. Sanchez has all the tools to succeed, but he has to prove that he can play well week in and week out.
Who are some of the guys you think need to step it up in order for the Jets to succeed? I didn't include any rookies because I think it is unfair to put the burden of being a big contributor on a person who is trying to find his way, but feel free to add them if you disagree.