2016 Season Preview: New York Jets

The Jets should be in a better place, they came out of the Rex Ryan circus with a 6 game improvement, and seemed to have found their QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Instead, they waited until the last moment to sign their franchise defensive leader Muhammad Wilkerson, and Fitzpatcik is on the short list of people to look at 8 figures a year and say it’s not enough to feed his family. I think that could cause some problems in a locker room that was just starting to come together.

QuarterbackGeno Smith

Ryan Fitzpatrick is option 1, but he’s not liking his contract options, so he’s out, for now.
Geno Smith is option 2, but he’s never grabbed the lockerroom or the fans with his work on the field.
Option 3? Christian Hackenberg. You know, because the last time the Jets picked a QB in the second round, it worked out so well.
Option 4 could be Bryce Petty, a former 4th round QB who impressed the coaches so much they burned a 2nd rounder to replace a second rounder. As soon as Ryan is signed, he’s most likely gone, or possibly as soon as anyone else can come along. Heck at this point the Jets might be looking at JaMarcus Russell.

Here is the problem, are we sure Ryan is good? 31 TDs and 15 Ints, over 3900 yards, but is he a one year wonder? If he comes back during training camp, will he still be a leader on and off the field? One thing we do know is average Fitzpatrick is better than Geno Smith or anyone else the Jets have on the roster. The Jets might be willing to see what they can do with Geno, but how are they going to be when they lose 3 games with scores like 14-3 and 17-10? Let’s keep in mind that the Jets were 13th in the NFL in passing, and that’s with a WR corps that several teams would gladly swap personnel for. When the Jets are 1-5 after a brutal start to the season (or 2-4) ask a Bills fan how Ryan was after getting datcheck.

Running BackMatt Forte

Matt Forte was brought in after the Bears felt he was too old and too expensive to keep. Forte is only 30, but has a Hall of Fame resume already, and going against the 8-man fronts he’s going to see in New Jersey isn’t exactly going to be a new experience. Bilal Powell is the third down back, and is a pretty good receiver, and is a better blocker than Forte. The Jets have a lot of depth behind them with Zac Stacy and Khiry Robinson, both have experience, but neither really able to shoulder a team.

Wide Receivers

Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker is one of the better duos in the NFL. Even with Marshall hitting 32 this season, they should still be very good. Quincy Enunwa is a solid number 3 guy, and can even play some tight end with his blocking skills. Devin Smith might be working on getting some playing time, if he is back from a torn ACL, but his bigger problem is dropping passes. Jace Amaro is huge, and was brought in to be the Jets answer to Gronk, but has yet to develop anything and was gone last year with injury. The Jets have several other tight ends on the roster, but none of them really going to set the world on fire. The problem with this group, of course, is who is going to throw the ball to them? Hard to have a great passing game with no passer.

Offensive Line

D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired, leaving a giant hole in the line, but the Jets traded for Ryan Clady, the other side still has problems with Breno Giacomini as the incumbent, with 5th rounder Brandon Shell- nephew of Art Shell- waiting in the wings. James Carpenter is a solid left guard, but again, on the other side the Jets have problems with Brian Winters being pushed by former 4th round pick Dakota Dozier. Center is no problem, as Nick Mangold is still a rock in the middle. The only problem is Mangold is getting older, and had a fairly serious neck injury last season.

DefenseSheldon richardson

The defense came in 4th in yards allowed and tied for 7th in points allowed. Considering the down year Darrelle Revis had, that’s pretty good. Thankfully for Jets fans, the Jets did bring back Muhammad Wilkerson, he of the 12 sacks and huge contract. Wilkerson earned it, and doesn’t strike me as a player who’s going to show up weighing 350 at training camp (if healthy).

Defensive Line

This is by far the best part of the team.
Sheldon Richardson is a huge question mark after this year. He’s grown into one of the best Ends in football, and is in a contract season. Muhammad Wilkerson is as solid as they come, providing his broken leg is fine. Rounding out the front line is NT Steve McLendon, coming over from the Steelers to plug the middle. The Richardson question is going to bubble up during the season, and the Jets do have his replacement in the wings with Leonard Williams, and don’t forget that Mike Carapeno was rounding into a decent rotation player before going down with injury.

Linebackers

The Inside pair has David Harris, who is still able to get to the QB, but sadly his coverage skills are getting worse almost by the game. He’s getting by more on experience than speed at this point in his career, but the Jets should be able to get another season from him before sliding him into a rotation. His partner is Erin Henderson, who seems to have his head on straight to become solid, but not spectacular. Bruce Carter should be the primary backup, as Darren Lee works his way up to  replace Harris. The outside should be a mix of Lorenzo Mauldin, Trevor Reilly and rookie Jordan Jenkins. I see a lot of shuffling this year as the Jets look to replace Calvin Pace

Secondaryderrelle revis

How much does Darrelle Revis have left? He wasn’t the same player he was when he left, and Antonio Cromartie has slipped a bit as well. Both players caused a lot of problems last year. Revis has got a big ol contract so he pretty much has to play, and has the brains to cover some slippage. Cromartie is the bigger issue, and the lesser contract, so he’s gone. Buster Skrine is the next man up to get the starters job, but Marcus Williams is going to push for a spot as well. I still have no idea what happened to Dee Milliner. Safety is a good bit more stable with Calvin Pryor back to SS, and Marcus Gilchrist a great signing to lock down free safety.

Special Teams

K- Nick Folk is a solid kicker, and should be back from injury with the same consistency he’s always had.
P- Lachlan Edawrds is the odds on favorite, as the Jets spent a pick on him, but there is competition in camp, and I would expect more bodies to come try.

Coverage units are decent but not exactly solid, and there will be quite a few people given a shot at the return game. Charone Peak and Jeremy Ross should get the first two chances.

Draft

Darron Lee should start by Christmas, if not sooner, but needs some serious catches. Drafting a QB in the second round was a major mistake, since they have a second rounder already on staff and neither one really inspires me. Jordan Jenkins is a run-stuffer, but needs to stay on the field. The guy I really like is Juston Burris, who should excel in special teams until he moves into the slot, but might be a year away. I’m not a fan of this draft at all.

FinalFlash Jets

The Jets have a strong defensive line and last line of defense. The problem is the schedule got a lot harder and I’m not sure they got that much better. I’ve given them a game vs the Dolphins, but the NFC North is going to be trouble. I think they take Cleveland, and Baltimore is a question mark. I’ll give them 2 wins vs the NFC West. The Bonus games are trouble, with Indy and KC going to cause troubles. I think they drop them both without Fitzpatrick, as will the Baltimore game. I’ll go 5-11 if Geno is the QB, and 8-8 if he comes back. I think Fitzpatrick swings them that much, but to be honest, I almost think the better option is going to be let Ryan go swing somewhere else, trade off Richardson and try and get to 2-14 and get a QB in the draft. Seems like that guy from Clemson could be amazing in the NFL. With this schedule, they could be competitive and still lose.

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