Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Newsday's NFL Preview hits newsstands

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, left, quarterback

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, left, quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh watch practice at NFL football training camp. (July 29, 2012) Credit: AP

Do you smell that?

Yep, it's football season baby. After a much long-awaited return, the NFL is back -- which means, so is Newsday's NFL preview.

Be sure to pick up our full-color special section today (it looks pretty sweet, I have to say.) But for those of you who love the feel of online links, here you go:

My buddy, columnist extraordinaire Bob Glauber tackles the elephant in the room -- Tim Tebow. All eyes will be on the Jets' backup quarterback, who is the ultimate wild card heading into this season. "The great Tim Tebow experiment is about to begin, and no one is quite certain how it will all work out. Or even if it will work out," writes Glauber.

The Jets might have the most questions to answer this season -- i.e., the effectiveness of the Tebow experiment, the protection of the offensive line and whether starter Mark Sanchez has enough weapons. But everyone, from general manager Mike Tannenbaum on down, appears confident that the 2012 Jets will exceed everyone's expections. Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley told me the wide receiver corps takes the criticisms of the public personally, and he also assured me: "Mark has all the weapons that he needs."

The special section also includes a position-by-position scouting report, as well as three Jets storylines heading into 2012.

It also includes my prediction for the season: 7-9. I hope I'm wrong, but I think it's far too early to be overly confident about a team that has so much to prove on offense. My fear is Sanchez will struggle (through no fault of his own), Rex and Mike T. will overreact and put in Tebow -- and ultimately alter the offense to better suit the run-first QB. But as I said, I hope I'm wrong and the Jets go 16-0 and I get to the Super Bowl for the second-straight year.

I also wrote a feature on the unexpected backstory of veteran safety Yeremiah Bell. It's told through the eyes of someone who knew him before he became a star in Miami and ultimately a New York Jet: Bell's former boss at the Winchester, Ky. steel mill he worked at as a teenager. Bell was -- and still is -- a diligent worker. But he always had a vision for himself that included football. "I thought he was just dreaming like everybody else," Bell's crew leader, Emory Crawford, told me from his home in Lee County, Ky. "But he kept dreaming and his dreams came true."

Hope you guys enjoy! 

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