It's time for the 3rd and final installment of this week's "Around The AFC East." And to help us out, Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog is helping us out.
Below is his response to my question. Head over to his site to see how I responded to his question.
Matty I: To say the Jets spend some money this off-season would be an understatement. So which of the big acquisitions do you think will make the biggest impact on the team in 2008?
Brian Bassett: For me, it's Alan Faneca at Left Guard and Kris Jenkins at Nose Tackle. The Jets missed Pete Kendall's presence in 2007 between LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold, both now entering their third year. Brick had some memorable games, like the one in which he held court at home against Jason Taylor, but as the season wore on, the line was more and more outmatched. The Left Guard position stranded D'Brickashaw into allowing far too many sacks, and turning the team's running game lopsided to the right. Shoring up the Left Guard position will allow Nick and Brick a little more breathing space, and provide a solid run blocker on the left side.
As far as Jenkins, the Jets have needed a 3-4 Nose Tackle since they made the switch two years ago. Although Jenkins hasn't played the 3-4 before, the most important thing is that he can command double teams frequently and collapse the pocket from the center. This can allow the DEs and OLBs to work against their blockers in single coverage, or allow the LBs to have one less blocker facing them on running plays. I don't think the Jets will go to the gap control New England style 3-4 this year, but I'd expect them to play some of the "Blitzburgh" one-gapping style 3-4, which would be a smoother transition for a player like Jenkins. With two solid DE/OLBs in Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas now, the team can be a lot more flexible in adding an extra lineman from time to time.
My Take: I also think Alan Faneca will be the key addition to this Jets team. Having him line up next to Ferguson will help D'Brickashaw grow and improve as well as put less strain on the kid to keep those pass rushers off of whoever happens to be the Jets' quarterback in '08. And if Jenkins can stay healthy, then I think his addition will also be huge. Really, that's the only question I have with Jenkins. I wouldn't be too worried about him not having played the NT spot in a 3-4 in the past because there really isn't too much to learn. He's a big boy and he'll take up blockers to free the linebackers. It's that simple. And how about the fact that the AFC East has become nose tackle central. The Jets acquired Jenkins, the Fins traded for Jason Ferguson, the Bills picked up Marcus Stroud, and the Pats still have Vince Wilfork. Now that's some beef up front, huh?
Again, remember to head over to The Jets Blog to see my response to his question.
And with that, this week's "Around The AFC East" is complete. We'll be doing this every Friday from now until at least the regular season. Hope you enjoyed it!