Can Jets End Patriots’ AFC East Stranglehold After Johnson Signing?
Before the 2013 season began, most people had declared Rex Ryan's run as head coach of the New York Jets at the end. Whether they went with Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith at quarterback, the majority of analysts declared the Jets would be the worst team in the AFC East. That thought heated up when Sanchez went down with a season-ending shoulder injury and the reigns went to a rookie QB who didn't look anywhere near being ready.
Yes, they missed the playoffs and that rookie QB threw 21 interceptions, but they surprised everyone with a competitive 8-8 season. Now the Jets have added a still viable QB in Michael Vick to compete with Smith, with an offensive coordinator-- Marty Mornhingweg-- that led to Vick's best season of his career. They added a much-needed receiving threat by adding wide receiver Eric Decker. They return one of the top defenses in the league. Now Ryan can lean on the "ground and pound" philosophy he prefers on offense.
How, you ask? With the addition of Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson that's how. CJ2K was released by the Titans and is now officially a Jet. A top notch defense with Pro Bowl additions on offense and we could be seeing something we haven't seen in quite a while in the AFC East-- a different division champ. Rex Ryan might just have himself a prolific enough offense to go with his already excellent defense to unseat Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots from the top of the AFC East.
Will it happen? Nobody knows that for sure yet, but it is safe to say the Jets have had one of the best offseason of anyone else in the NFL. The Jets will be a lot more competitive-- moreso if Vick wins the starting job. With Johnson, they have a game-breaking talent playing behind a now top-notch offensive line and will continue his streak of 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Before the draft takes place in a few weeks, there is no doubt that the Jets are going all in this season.
For once, the Patriots will have a legitimate challenger for the AFC East crown. It won't be the Dolphins or Bills, who are both also improving. It will be Gang Green themselves, the New York Jets.