Who has more pressure? Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is guaranteed to make $28 million, or rookie head coach Rex Ryan, who's been nothing short of outspoken since taking the job? Probably Sanchez, who has become a bit of a New York icon before playing a regular-season snap. Rookie quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL — just ask Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan — but they more often fall flat on their faces.
People will talk nonstop about Sanchez's ability to "manage the game" and the defense's ability to "make plays." They won't talk as much about the importance of giving Leon Washington the ball more on offense. Thomas Jones enjoyed a resurgence last year, but he's old and Washington is a more dynamic playmaker.
Rex Ryan presided over a great defense in Baltimore, but Ray Lewis and Ed Reed don't play for the Jets. Vernon
Ghoston Gholston does. They do have Darrelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes, but this defense is still players away from being a top-five unit.
That defense will be put to the test Sunday in Houston. When healthy, Matt Schaub can lead a potent Texans offense that includes Andre Johnson and Steve Slaton. The Jets have owned the Texans since Houston's inception since 2002, but this game should be different. Sanchez may not be fazed given Houston's mediocre defense, but he'll still need to put up points. If he doesn't, the Sanchez/Ryan Era will start with a loss.