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Ready for Take-off?

Everyone was getting restless. After all, we had been just sitting there in crowded quarters with a bunch of strangers for over an hour at that point. Then, the engine shut off completely and the inevitable began to sink in – we were about to go nowhere.

This was the unfortunate situation I found myself in while sitting in a plane waiting to depart from an airport in Chicago for my first trip to Europe.

It all started routinely enough – we arrived at the airport, checked our luggage, made our way through security, boarded the plane and eagerly awaited take-off. Everything seemed to be running right on schedule and according to plan. As time went on, however, the plane and flight crew really didn’t seem like they were getting ready to take off, which seemed rather odd to me.

Because I am one of those terrible passengers who disobeys the rules and doesn’t actually turn off their electronic devices prior to departure, I was able to pull out my phone and see that we were than 20 minutes passed our original take-off time. I thought something had to be wrong, but, just at that moment, the pilot came over the intercom and said we were just waiting for some runway space to clear and then we would be on our way.

My mind was put at ease – I would finally be starting my journey. After about another 20 minutes passed, though, I began to doubt if we were ever actually going to move. Then the pilot came on the intercom again. This time he said that the long delay had allowed the wings of the plane to acquire some ice, so maintenance needed to de-ice the wings quickly and then we would be on our way. Once again, my hopes rose.

I became even more optimistic when the plane started pulling away from the terminal. I thought, for sure, we were finally going to get this trip underway. In what had to be the most disappointing turn of events up to that point in my short-lived trip, the plane stopped, pulled back into its spot by the airport and the engines were shut down. At that point, the pilot came on the intercom one last time in order to explain that we were not going to be able to leave for Europe until we were provided with a new plane (they never did tell us what was actually wrong with the first one).

Much like the jet that was originally set to take me from one continent to another, the New York Jets seem primed to take off and hit smooth sailing after that Week One performance. With Mark Sanchez throwing for 266 yards, Stephen Hill catching two touchdown passes and Shonn Greene running for nearly 100 yards and a score, everything seems like it is operating just fine.

However, I believe the Jets offense is more of a slow roller than a high flyer. Having one impressive week against the less-than-impressive Bills’ defense does not mean the Jets are full of viable offensive starters in most fantasy scenarios.

Let’s take a closer look.

Let’s start with Sanchez. He posted a quarterback rating of 123.4, which is nearly 50 points higher than his career average of 74.2. This is the time of a young quarterback’s career where they tend mature and reach a deeper understanding of their position, but can we really trust that this massive increase in proficiency is due to maturation and not just a one-game fluke? I, for one, do not believe that Sanchez maintains a 70% completion rate against higher quality secondaries.

Fun fact: the Bills’ defense has allowed 30+ points in four of its last five regular season games (the one team that failed to pass the 30-point mark was the Broncos…led by Tim Tebow).

Now, we move on to the standout rookie receiver Stephen Hill. Admittedly, Hill is a rare combination when it comes to size (6’4”, 215 lbs.) and speed (4.36 40-time), but you have to keep in mind he is still just a rookie on what, just weeks ago, was considered a stagnant offense. There is also the fact that Rex Ryan and the Jets love to run the ball, and the addition of Tim Tebow and the Wildcat formation is likely to reinforce that fact. Hill definitely has dynasty value as he has the tools to develop into an elite receiver, but, for now, he should still be stashed on the bench and not thrust into your starting lineup because of his two-score Week One.

Finally, let’s discuss the player I believe to be the only reliable starter of the Jets standouts from Week One – Shonn Greene. Greene isn’t much for flash, he doesn’t pile up the long runs, break too many tackles, catch too many passes or even cross the goal line all that often; however, he consistently gets his yardage (career 4.3 YPC) and he is “the guy” for the Jets as far as carrying the ball, so, obviously, he is worth starting on a weekly basis if you need a flex player. Looking long-term, I do not believe Greene’s skill-set will advance much further, so he will more than likely never be the marquee player on your team. That said, if he runs off a few high-quality games in a row, he may be a good “sell high” candidate if someone is willing to give you value for him.

So, will the Jets’ offense continue to fly high after a strong first week? Or will it stall and fail get off the ground in the upcoming weeks, much like my would-be flight to Europe? For the reasons I have already stated as well as the fact that the Jets have upcoming games against tough defenses such as Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston, I’m banking on the latter and looking for other options to fill my starting lineup.

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Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

Pitt didn’t look all that impressive last week and it sounds like they could be short Polumalu along with Harrison. They also got Tebow’d last year. Also worth pointing out that for as ugly as Sanchez’s upcoming schedule looks, his division includes the Bills, Pats & Dolphins. None of which have recent history of solid pass defense. I’m alright with Sanchez as a solid QB2 and desperation QB1.

Brady Lawson
9 years ago

Dolphins looked like an explosive offense after week one of last year too…

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