View Full Version : Pro Football Weekly: Jets' retooled O-line oozes potential, but questions remain

06-13-2008, 06:13 PM
Pro Football Weekly: Jets' retooled O-line oozes potential, but questions remain (http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/NFL/AFC/AFC+East/NY+Jets/Features/2008/sohn060908.htm)

Little was right in the world of the Jets’ offense a season ago.

At quarterback, Chad Pennington suffered an ankle sprain early in the season, and later a bruised ego when he was demoted behind the wholly uninspiring Kellen Clemens. At running back, prized offseason acquisition Thomas Jones failed to get anything going on the ground, looking nothing like the answer at a position that has been in flux since Curtis Martin’s retirement. At receiver, Laveranues Coles spent much of his time stewing over his contract situation or dousing one of numerous body parts in buckets of ice.

Lost in the shuffle of the offensive offense was the shoddy play of the linemen.

Fast-forward to the present, and no longer will the offensive line linger in the background of whatever transpires on the field in ’08 — good or bad. Such is reality when the Jets’ personnel brain trust of coach Eric Mangini and GM Mike Tannenbaum spends $65 million of owner Woody Johnson’s money to reel in two additions to the unit. With veteran newcomers Alan Faneca and Damien Woody joining third-year pros D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, the Jets are now trotting out a line with an unheard-of four former first-round draft picks.

As Woody deadpanned, “You just don’t see that in the NFL.”

Of course, while the fivesome — rounded out by OLG Brandon Moore, who, incidentally, went undrafted in 2003 — will be scrutinized by the notoriously fickle Jets fan base, the players themselves have far too much to attend to rather than worrying about expectations.

“Chemistry is more important on the offensive line than anywhere else on a football team, and it takes time to develop,” Woody said.

Further along in the article, the writer notes the following:

In light of their first-round billing, each one comes with red flags.

Ferguson, the swiftest afoot of the bunch, has underwhelmed since being taken with the fourth overall selection of the 2006 draft. Although decent against speed rushers, his inability to maintain a hefty enough playing weight has made him susceptible against the league’s bullish ends.
Faneca, the most accomplished of the group, is certainly one of the standard-bearers for the OG position, but it’s only logical to question whether a 31-year-old is worthy of a the richest contract for an offensive lineman in NFL history, especially one whose stellar play regressed in '07.

Mangold has been serviceable, but he hasn’t been the Pro Bowl-caliber player the Jets thought he would be when they drafted him late in the first round in '06.

Woody comes with the most question marks. He had the makings of being an elite center early in his career in New England but was unable to carry his form to Detroit, the second stop of his career.

The linemen are not the only newcomers. Jets fans will be crossing their fingers that the o-line coach is more successful this year than he was at his last gig.

Woody and Faneca aren’t the only newcomers who are out to prove something. Also joining the group is O-line coach Bill Callahan, fresh off his colossal failure to restore the University of Nebraska’s football program.

After spending this much money, another losing season means either Mangini or Tannenbaum or both will be gone. New Yorkers aren't exactly known for their patience in waiting for a team to rebuild.