Note to Jets: There Are Two Sides of the Ball

It would be a shame if the 2009 Jets throw a top five defense on the field, only to have it undermined by an offense that can't put up enough points to win. The team signed cornerback Donald Strickland, a former 49er, today, the latest addition to a defense that looks quite strong on paper. 

They've added Strickland, Lito Sheppard and Jim Leonhard to a secondary that didn't lose any key contributors, and Bart Scott was a big upgrade to the linebacking unit. They could use a bit of sprucing at defensive end, perhaps, but if Rex Ryan can turn Vernon Gholston into someone who contributes at all, they'll be set at every position.

All of which makes the lack of a passing game look much worse. Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff throwing to Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith makes the prospects of third and seven quite unappealing for Jets fans. They've got a good line and two good running backs, so teams are already going to load up on the run, if they don't add some options at one spot or the other it will be difficult to move the ball.

The Jets don't need to trade for Jay Cutler to go to the playoffs next season, but they do need to have an aerial attack that creates some problems for opposing defenses. At the very least, they've got to have a facsimile of last year's Ravens offense. Joe Flacco didn't throw often, and he didn't throw to great receivers, but he was able to keep defenses just honest enough for the Raven running game to wear them down.

The upside to all the work on defense is that it leaves the draft clear for assembling the offense, and that assemblage has to focus on the passing game. Speedy receivers that can make play action a true threat would be swell, so would a tall guy or two to dominate on jump balls in the red zone. Attention has to be paid to that side of the ball, though, because it would be unforgivable to waste such a good looking defense.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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