Rex Ryan is entering his sixth season as the coach of the New York Jets, and there are good vibes coming out of the team’s facility in Florham Park, N.J., this summer.
General manager John Idzik was fiscally sound this offseason, signing a host of veterans who will contribute immediately while keeping the team out of future salary cap hell. After guiding the Jets to wins in three of the team’s last four games in 2013, quarterback Geno Smith is expected to make the leap in Year 2. His offseason has been highlighted by coaches praising his development and teammates turning to him as their leader.
The addition of Michael Vick in the quarterbacks room is expected to help Smith’s development, not hinder it. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has already indicated Smith will get 70 to 75 percent of the work with the starters in training camp. If Vick wins the job, it’ll be a mild surprise among those who follow the team closely.
New York signed proven offensive playmakers Chris Johnson and Eric Decker in free agency, drafted dynamic tight end Jace Amaro out of Texas Tech in the second round and added first-round pick Calvin Pryor and free-agent cornerback Dmitri Patterson to the defensive backfield. In 2013, defensive end Sheldon Richardson and cornerback Dee Milliner showed flashes of brilliance in the second half of their debut seasons, and Muhammad Wilkerson continued to prove why he’s considered one of the top defensive linemen in the game.
The Jets have the pieces in place; they just need it all to come together.
The Patriots remain the favorites in the division, and the addition of former Jets star Darrelle Revis in New England will add spice to an already-heated rivalry. The Jets could be a sleeper pick in the AFC, though, as they have a solid core and what appears to be a clear direction for 2014.
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