The New York Jets enter the 2013 season with tempered expectations as the team is undergoing a philosophical change in the front office and a roster restructuring. The organization's transition has created some roster flexibility and cap space, but has also created some questions for the team as well. In this preview we will take a look at Gang Green's offense, a unit that has struggled over the last couple of seasons.
1) Is Geno Smith ready to be the starter? It appears that Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback as Mark Sanchez will not be able to play due to injury. Smith had an up and down preseason which ended with a mediocre performance against the Giants. Based on the rookie's performance against Big Blue many believed that Geno still needed some time and reps before he should be named the starter. Now it appears that the organization does not have much of a choice. Can Geno take command of the offense and efficiently move the unit? Will the rookie be able to overcome adversity on the big NFL stage? Will Smith become a vocal leader on offense and demand respect on and off the field? Will this trial by fire approach hinder or help Geno Smith's development?
2) Can Rex Ryan go back to Mark Sanchez? It is going to be interesting to see how Rex Ryan handles Mark Sanchez when he is healthy enough to play. Does Ryan dare bench Geno when Sanchez returns? Or is Mark's return to the starting lineup contingent on the performance of Geno? The thinking here is that once you go with the rookie you cannot look back. The Jets will have to sink or swim with Geno while Mark Sanchez holds the clipboard. Will Rex Ryan be able to do that with his job reportedly on the line?
3) Will Matt Simms see any playing time? After an impressive performance in the fourth preseason game many fans in Jets nation are clamoring to see Matt Simms get some playing time. If Geno Smith happens to struggle will Rex Ryan give Simms a shot? Would it be in the best interest of the organization to do so? My instinct tells me that if Geno struggles the Simms chants will quickly emerge almost similar to the Tebow situation last year.
4) Which running back will emerge as the starter? Following an excellent preseason, Bilal Powell figures to be the feature back as the Jets kickoff the 2013 season. Chris Ivory will backup Powell and has the chance to be an explosive presence in Marty Mornhinweg's offense. Mike Goodson will return from suspension in week 5 and the team recently added Alex Green. Which running back will emerge as the "go to" guy for Mornhinweg?
5) Is it "Tone Time"? It appears that wide receiver Santonio Holmes will be returning to the field sooner than expected. This is great news for the New York Jets as Santonio is arguably the best player on the offense. How long will it take Holmes to get his "footbal legs" back? Will the west coast offense be a good fit for Santonio? What level of play should we expect from Santonio Holmes?
6) Which young receiver will step up? The New York Jets will be fielding a relatively inexperienced wide receiver group as only Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley have proven that they can be consistently effective in the NFL. Clyde Gates, Stephen Hill, and Ryan Spadola will all be given chances to make plays in Marty Mornhinweg's offense. Which young wide receiver will grab the bull by the horns and make the most out of his opportunity?
7) Do the Jets have enough depth on the offensive line? The Jets appear to be going with a youth movement as Vlad Ducasse and Brian Winters should see serious playing time on the offensive line. Veteran Willie Colon has emerged as a strong starter at guard but has a history of injuries. As of now there is no clear cut back up for center Nick Mangold. Do the Jets have enough depth on the offensive line?
8)Can Kellen Winslow last for 16 games? Tight end Kellen Winslow has quickly become a reliable target in the west coast offense. The issue for Winslow is his health and if he will be able to handle the rigors of a 16-game season.
9) Who will emerge as a game breaker on offense? When you look at the playmakers on the Jets offense the word "potential" is always thrown around. Which player will step up and become a legitimate threat in Marty's offense? Will it be Stephen Hill with his size and speed? Chris Ivory with his power and explosiveness? Geno Smith with his arm and legs?
10) How will Marty Mornhinweg handle a rookie quarterback? The New York Jets offensive coordinator has been known for his pass oriented west coast offense. Will Mornhinweg keep his same aggressive approach with Geno Smith? Will Marty cater his play calling to the strengths of Geno (read option, moving the pocket etc.)? Can Mornhinweg nurture a young quarterback through his growing pains?