The return of wide receiver Braylon edwards to the New York Jets perfectly illustrated the paradigm of reaction to personnel moves by the Jets' front office. Jets fans rejoice and tell you why it's a good thing and it's going to work, and the rest of the NFL public points and laughs.
Edwards' second stint with the Jets will begin on Monday night in Tennessee when the Jets' must-win tour continues against the Titans, and the reality about his arrival probably falls somewhere boringly in the middle. The Jets won't all of a sudden start slinging the ball all around the field and putting up huge numbers, but anybody who acts like Edwards isn't an upgrade for the Jets is also being unreasonable.Add to the fact that he has had success with Mark Sanchez in the past, and the move is a low-risk one that makes plenty of sense.
[Related: Edwards surprised by return to New York]
Pete Carroll, Edwards' former coach in Seattle, claims that Edwards isn't healthy, the Jets think otherwise. Even if Edwards is at say, 70 percent, he's the Jets second best receiver. Yes, that says more about the Jets and the archaic way they've built their roster this season, but it's the truth. And because of that, Edwards is an upgrade over what they currently have at the position. Edwards will suit up on Monday and will play a large role according to Rex Ryan. Tennessee has the 26th-ranked pass defense in the league, so if the Jets want to open things up a bit the opportunities should be there. If Edwards can give the Jets even the slightest threat of a downfield passing game, or can simply be a security blanket for Sanchez on third downs, the Jets have a good shot of winning their third straight, getting back to .500 and staying alive in the playoff race. You know they're going to run the ball a ton, but it helps to have a viable target when you do drop back to pass.
On defense, the Jets' biggest task will be slowing down Chris Johnson. It's been a strange year for Johnson; he started out really slow and pissed off all the people who took him high in their fantasy football drafts, but he's kind of flown under the radar recently and is putting together a respectable year on a bad team. He's ninth in the league in rushing with 1,037 yards albeit the slow beginning. The Jets' defense has been quite good the past two games against bad offenses and quarterbacks, and while Jake Locker is better than Ryan Lindley and Chad Henne, the Jets shouldn't be too worried about losing their way with him. The only player on the field for the Titans that can wreck the game for the Jets is Johnson, so you can bet they've spent a good portion of this week concentrating on how to shut him down.
If the Jets can get out of Tennessee with their third straight victory, you can almost call this 2012 season a success regardless of if the Jets sneak into the playoffs. With a pitiful roster, the quarterback mess and a few ghastly blowout losses, for the Jets to be playing a meaningful game in Week 16 would be an accomplishment in and of itself. But before we go on crunching all the Jets' payoff scenarios, Gang Green has to take care of business on Monday night. the performances of Braylon Edwards and Chris Johnson could go a long way to determining whether or not they do.