Originally Published: September 2, 2010
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi JOHN CLAYTON QB RANKING (23): Mark Sanchez encountered some bumps in the road as a rookie, but he gained valuable experience during the Jets' surprising playoff run.

Expert Picks (Consensus: 2nd)

Intelligence Report

Five things you need to know about the Jets:

1. Mark Sanchez will take fans on a bumpy ride: The Jets aren't going to cruise to the AFC East title. As laden with talent as their roster is, their quarterback will be the X factor on a weekly basis. Sanchez hasn't demonstrated a substantial degree of growth in training camp and preseason games. Maybe offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer hasn't opened up the playbook yet, but you'd expect to see more out of Sanchez than two preseason touchdown drives in three games -- sometimes against backup defenses. Concerns remain over his ability to protect the ball. Last season, he threw 20 interceptions and fumbled 10 times, losing three. Buckle up.

2. The defense will be good: Rex Ryan hasn't fielded a dud defense yet, and the Jets have plenty of talent aside from Darrelle Revis, who agreed to end his holdout early Monday morning. The Jets don't need to have to rank atop the NFL again to have a successful season. The acquisition of Antonio Cromartie and the selection of Kyle Wilson in the first round of the draft are plusses.

3. The decision to release Thomas Jones doesn't seem so improper anymore: The Jets had to make a decision at the end of last season. They needed to diversify their backfield and give Sanchez a back he could throw to. Neither Jones nor Shonn Greene was useful in that role, and one had to go. That choice was obvious, given Greene's age and contract. So they cut Jones and brought in LaDainian Tomlinson, who certainly doesn't appear washed up. Tomlinson has turned back the clock in the preseason, but let's see how he looks in Week 9.

4. Dustin Keller needs to stop being a secret weapon: Since the Jets traded up to draft Keller 30th overall two years ago, analysts have foretold his big influence in the passing game. We've seen it for a game or two but not consistently because the Jets haven't made him a focal point. They should consider feeding the ball to Keller. When Sanchez looks for Keller, good things happen. Keller had two regular-season touchdowns last season, then scored one in each of the Jets' three playoff games.

5. Brodney Pool will be a difference-maker in the secondary: With names like Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor, Tomlinson and Cromartie becoming Jets, one of the more overlooked offseason acquisitions was Pool, a safety the Cleveland Browns gave up on because of concussion issues. The Jets determined that was a misdiagnosis, that his problem actually was migraines. With proper treatment, the club is confident it has found a versatile gem to replace Kerry Rhodes. In just 11 games last year, Pool had four interceptions (tied for the team lead), 10 pass breakups and a sack.

-- Tim Graham, ESPN.com

Scouts Inc.'s Fabulous Five


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