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Around the AFC East, Week 4: NYJ

I've had enough talk of Marshawn Lynch for the time being; here to help change the subject are the three fine AFC East bloggers we chat with each week in our fourth installment of "Around the AFC East".  These posts will be coming to you rapid-fire throughout the afternoon; we start now with Brian Bassett from The Jets Blog.

Brlogo_medium    Describe the disappointment (or lack thereof) that y'all endured as Jets fans in '07 following a playoff berth in '06.  Did you expect the team to fall short of the media's pre-season expectations, or were you just as surprised to see the team fall so far, so fast?

Thejetsblog_s_medium    The Jets Blog: In Week 4 when the Jets lost to the Bills, going 1-3 at that point, I pretty much knew that the season was basically over.  Although fans were disappointed, there was a strong sense that the team wasn't really as good as their 10-6 record from 2006, but that they weren't as bad as the 2007 4-12 record either.  Losing LG Pete Kendall to the front office squabble was the one thing that sent the everything out of equilibrium ... the offense couldn't protect the QB, or run to the left side, so the offense stays on the field less, the defense is on the field more, exposing their weaknesses to the run, and the team made some valiant runs, but could rarely put four good quarters together.

For all of that, there was a strong sense that if the team could address and upgrade some key starting positions in the off-season (LG, RT, DE/OLB, CB, ILB, WR) they would be in a much better place to contend in 2008.  To that end, the team brought in Alan Faneca arguably the best free agent and the most needed fit at LG, Damien Woody who might not be great but is better than what they had in Anthony Clement at RT, Calvin Pace as the versatile DE/OLB to help stop the run and create some pressure  along with pure  pass rusher Vernon Gholston and Dustin Keller as a pass-catcher (though tagged as a TE) who will play the H-Back / Flex role, used to create mismatches of nickel corners or linebackers.  Also, the team will gain the services of a seventh rounder from last year WR Chansi Stuckey who was sidelined with an injury in 2007, but will likely play in the slot for the Jets come September.  Although they didn't address everything, the team is vastly upgraded and ready to contend in 2008.

It's hard for me to bite on the fact that it was Pete Kendall who sent the Jets' season into a tailspin (no pun intended) last season, because I think the issues far exceeded the left guard position.  I thought the Jets made a mistake handing the reigns to Kellen Clemens.  Yes, the move made sense in terms of future prospects of their organization, and they didn't really have any choice in the matter, but I still think Pennington is and will always be a better pro quarterback than Clemens.  I always worried about playing Chad, because he was efficient, and for a time, he had Buffalo's number.  I don't have those same fears facing Clemens.

Back with the Pats and Dolphins soon.