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Know Thy Enemy 2008: New York Jets - Sunday, December 7

Our previous episode of Know Thy Enemy covered the New York Giants.  In sticking with the New York teams, we may have a reason to further develop those rivalries.  It's old news, but back in early 2007, Der Kommissar Roger Goodell announced that the NFL's G3 program (financial loans for new stadiums) had run dry.  The reason?  The Jets and Giants are building a joint stadium that is costing just north of a billion dollars.  Most teams get $150 million, but this project saw 50% of it covered with G3 loans because they're a top 5 media market.  One more reason to root against the Giants and Jets, as if any more were necessary.

The Jets are currently unrepresented at SB Nation, so we'll just have to talk amongst ourselves.  In previous Know Thy Enemy's, opposing team message boards have occasionally picked them up.  I've thrown out some of the comments before so maybe a Jets message board will find some amusement from our little exercise.

After a rousing start to the Eric Mangini era in 2006 (10-6 and a playoff appearance), the Jets went in the crapper last season.  They finished 4-12 and nothing seemed to go right.  Chad Pennington has turned into a very injury-prone QB and so the Jets were hoping Kellen Clemens would step up and taking the starting job.  Clemens was less than impressive and once again, Clemens and Pennington will battle in training camp for the right to lead this ship.

Thomas Jones was brought in to bolster the running game and while he finished with another 1,000 yard season, he seemed to lack consistency and didn't have much of a nose for the end zone.  Throw in the 30th ranked defense against the run, and this was just one big mess.

The Jets welcome two new additions to their offensive line, all-world guard Alan Faneca and former center Damien Woody, who looks to be playing right tackle.  These additions to the offensive line should help Thomas Jones gain a little consistency, and if Chad Pennington wins the starting job, maybe they'll keep him from getting hurt too much.

The addition of the behemoth Kris Jenkins at nose tackle definitely can't hurt their efforts against the run.  He's had issues with his weight, but if he can keep things reasonable, he could be a big help to their defense.  And of course there's the freak, Vernon Gholston.  Their #4 overall pick is an athletic and physical specimen who has to convert that into production at the next level.  If he can turn his potential into production, Gholston could make a huge impact in their pass rush.

The Jets dealt away linebacker Jonathan Vilma to the New Orleans Saints, where he'll be starting at middle linebacker.  Vilma missed the last nine games of the 2007 season after surgery to clean out some fragments and bone chips.  When healthy, Vilma was a tackling machine, so we'll see if the addition of Calvin Pace can shore up the linebacking corp.

2008 Questions and Answers
Like the 49ers, who will win the QB battle?  Considering Pennington is injury-prone and lacking on the deep ball, I'd imagine the Jets are hoping and praying Kellen Clements steps up and takes the job with some gusto.  And of course there is that one wild card: Brett Favre.  Rumors were recently floating around that he had been given permission by the Packers to speak with the Jets.  It sounds like those rumors are dying a somewhat swift death (well as swift as anything can be in this long soap opera).  However, it is certainly something worth keeping an occasional eye on.

Can the defense get its act together?  The defense was pretty brutal last season and they will need to make a go of things if this team is going to improve.  The improvements on the offensive line should help get the offense going in some sort of positive direction.  But if the defense struggles, it won't matter because this offense is not built to win high scoring games.

@ San Francisco
The 49ers will be entering the home stretch of the 2008 season in this game.  Looking at their December schedule (vs. Jets, @ Dolphins, @ Rams, vs. Redskins), 3-1 is not out of the realm of possibility.  I definitely think this games falls into must win.  You have to win your home games when at all possible, and this is definitely a game they should be able to win. 

The Jets have the pieces in place to improve, but I think the 49ers bring more talent to the table.  An improved rush defense will be great for the Jets, but it won't matter against the 49ers rushing attack.  I think you feed Gore and Foster and get the hell out of the way.  I think Gore and Foster could very well combine for over 200 yards against the Jets.  Maybe it's some early season optimism talking but the 49ers come into this game battling for a playoff spot and take the Jets behind the woodshed 34-16.  And yes, I think considering how bad the 49ers have been, an 18 point victory qualifies as taking somebody behind the woodshed.