The numbers resemble a zip code: 0, 9, 7, 7, 9. In reality, they represent the Jets' point total in five games last season.
In an era of wide-open passing attacks and high-scoring shootouts, the Jets trotted out a sorry offense that was reminiscent of the Rich Kotite daze. Rex Ryan took some responsibility, claiming he failed to establish an offensive identity, but the problem went beyond that.
It's a talent issue. The Jets need playmakers and they need a quarterback who can galvanize his supporting cast. They're lacking in so many areas that it's easier to list their "haves" as opposed to their "needs." They have a left tackle, D'Brickashaw Ferguson. They have a center, Nick Mangold. Every other position has a question attached to it, creating almost an expansion-team feel.
The Jets averaged only 4.6 yards per play, next-to-last in the league. Statistically, it was one of the 10 worst offensive performances in the NFL over the last five years.
As usual, it starts with the quarterback. Mark Sanchez is part of the problem, no longer deemed part of the solution. Thing is, it's not a quick-fix situation. Sanchez's burdensome contract, coupled with a weak quarterback class, puts new GM John Idzik in a quandary: Does he commit to a new quarterback of the future by drafting one of the top prospects from the dinged-up Class of '13 or does he wait until next year and ride out the storm with the Sanchez-David Garrard-Greg McElroy troika?
Knowing Idzik, an executive in Seattle last year when the Seahawks found Russell Wilson in the third round, he'll probably wait. One thing could change that: If he feels strongly enough about one of the quarterbacks in the draft and can convince owner Woody Johnson to eat most of Sanchez's $8.25 million guarantee (the likely precursor to any trade), then maybe Idzik can start a new era at the position.
Geno Smith (West Virginia) could be available with the ninth pick, but we're not talking about a sure thing in the Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III category. You want to be sure when you're picking a quarterback that high. The Jets like Ryan Nassib (Syracuse), but he probably will be picked somewhere between No. 9 and No. 39, their second-round choice.
The Jets should focus on upgrading the skill-position talent. Even though their top three receivers return, they still need a home-run threat for Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense. The top receivers are Tavon Austin (West Virginia) and Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee). The Jets' wideouts generated only 575 yards-after-the-catch, fourth-worst among receiving corps, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They need a pass-catching tight end to replace Dustin Keller and they could use a between-the-tackles runner to replace Shonn Greene.
Rome wasn't built in a day and the Jets' depleted offense can't be rebuilt in one draft.