FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Bart Scott and Darrelle Revis set the bar high last week when they declared Mark Sanchez needs to take "the next step" and become a top 10 quarterback.
But after a second straight preseason game with shaky pass protection and zero touchdowns, those expectations might need to be modified.
In discussing the many questions surrounding the state of the Jets, Revis said Wednesday that he's not convinced the front office has done enough to help Sanchez be successful.
"You've got to do what's best for the team," the All-Pro cornerback told Newsday, "and I don't know if we've been wise in that department."
Rex Ryan on Monday refuted rumors that the Jets are "in the market" for a starting right tackle to challenge Wayne Hunter. But when asked Wednesday about the possibility of getting a receiver, the coach emphasized he and the front office "have a responsibility" to "look at every single player."
If general manager Mike Tannenbaum isn't able to secure talent via trade or free agency, it's unclear just how this offense -- and specifically Sanchez -- will fare this season. After parting ways with Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Braylon Edwards and Plaxico Burress, the Jets' receiving corps consists of Santonio Holmes, an injured Chaz Schilens and several talented but inexperienced rookies.
So is it fair to expect Sanchez to be successful when he's running for his life and has too few (healthy) weapons to throw to? If the Jets stand pat with the roster when the regular season begins against the Bills Sept. 9, will it even be possible for Sanchez to develop into a top 10 quarterback?
"I don't know," Revis said, shaking his head. "I don't know."
Right now the spotlight is centered on Hunter, who returned to the practice field after an excused absence for "personal reasons" on Tuesday. Although he started with the first-team offense during team drills, he was replaced by Austin Howard after taking two reps. Howard took 18 first-team reps, compared to Hunter's 12.
Hunter, through a team spokesman, declined interview requests.
In addition to the concerns about Hunter, there are lingering questions about the health of the Jets' receivers. Holmes (rib / back) and Jeremy Kerley (slight hamstring tear) took a big step Wednesday by participating in team drills. Wearing a red non-contact jersey, Holmes was targeted once by Sanchez (incompletion).
Ryan said he hopes the pair will play against the Panthers Sunday night. But injuries on offense continued to mount Wednesday: Tight end Jeff Cumberland did not practice because of a concussion, and wide receiver Patrick Turner and running back Joe McKnight left practice to join the rehab group. McKnight told reporters his shins have been bothering him. Turner rolled an ankle during practice but said he was OK.
And Schilens (high ankle sprain) missed his 13th straight practice.
Despite the challenges that face Sanchez, Revis' confidence in him hasn't wavered. But with just a few days until their final dress rehearsal against Carolina, he's just as curious as Jets fans to see how the new offense performs this season.
"I don't really know how this is going to pan out. I just hope that they do what they need to do on offense. And not to divide this -- I'm supporting those guys. I think the only thing you can do is be supportive. Right now it's still preseason."