The New York Jets were the silver lining team of 2017. Yes they went 5-11 but many projected them to go 0-16 the fact they played well last year and created some exciting moments, see the 10 red zone play sequence against the Chiefs, should give Jet’s fans a lot of hope. Not to mention they may have grabbed the best QB in the draft with the third overall pick. Todd Bowles is an excellent Coach whose building the back bone of a scary looking defense, in five years this team should be winning the division year in and year out. Let’s talk about this year though.
The QB room in New Jersey is crowded, crowded but friendly. You couldn’t ask for a better mentor for Darnold than Josh McCown. McCown is nothing special at QB but he showed last year he won’t hurt a team, if the Jets really want to rest Darnold McCown gives the Jets a shot to be competitive. Then there’s Teddy Bridgewater, a QB who hasn’t played in nearly three years. In his limited starting time in Minnesota last year he had one throw and one interception at the end of a blowout against the Bengals. It is worth mentioning though that coming out of his 2015 season Bridgewater was making a huge step, developing a killer deep ball and better pocket awareness. Jet’s fans who dismiss Bridgewater are foolish. I think there is a very real chance Bridgewater wins the starting role and if he preforms well he will hold onto it. However that brings us to Darnold. No matter what the pressure on Darnold will be half as much as whoever the starter is, at the first sign of trouble the Jet’s are going to break out there new toy. I think he gets about 14 starts but all three QB’s see at least 30 snaps under center in the regular season.
The issue for all these QB’s is who they will be throwing to though. Robby Andersen had a fantastic breakout year last season but has gotten into some serious offseason trouble. Andersen has been arrested twice this season, and accused of sexual assault and domestic violence. If a suspension drops from the NFL I would have a hard time seeing him on this roster come week one. Quincy Enunwa returns from injury but in his limited action in 2016 I thought Enunwa looked like a potential star for this team, a player who relies on his explosiveness we will see how he comes back from his neck injury. Terelle Pryor is another super interesting addition to this core, while he flopped in Washington if coached properly by OC Jeremy Bates Pryor can be a weapon. The loss of Austin Safarian Jenkins is a big one for the Jets in the tight end room, second year big man Jordan Leggett will most likely take over the starting role in 2017. The receiving core is unproven but that’s what we’ve been saying about the Jet’s targets for the past three seasons, perhaps they will find away to maximize minimal talent again.
Though the Jets signed Isaiah Crowell this offseason but after Bilal Powells breakout year last year it’s hard to see him getting the starting job all to himself. The Jet’s will once again be a backfield by committee. Under the radar however is the pick up of Thomas Rawls, who if he can avoid injuries could be one of the best runners in the leauge. This is Rawls last chance to bounce back though, many already consider him a washed up skeleton of what he once was however I believe if he stays healthy by the end of the year he could be the number one back.
The loss of Nick Mangold really hurt the Jet’s offensive line. The strongest member of the front line is free agent pickup, center Spencer Long. The Jet’s O line is a mix of players on there last legs, James Carpenter and Kelvin Beachum. Along with unproven young guns Brandon Shell and Brian Winters. The success of this line is key to the success of the QB’s, as is every teams o line, this one is hard for me to figure out though. (hand up I am not an O line expert, I can’t analyze them well and I go off what I hear from others. Just want to be up front about that.)
As previously stated, Todd Bowles is building a monster. One that will ravage Quarterbacks and offensive lines. One that will give offensive master minds a cold sweat and it starts with the most underrated defensive player in the leauge, Leonard Williams. Williams numbers were down last year only tallying two sacks while dealing with injuries but he was still an unstoppable force that helped create 16 of the 28 sacks the Jet’s had last year. Darron Lee took a major step forward at linebacker last year tallying 94 tackles and three sacks. However the Jet’s defense is all back bone. Jamaal Adams and Marcus Mayes are the two best young safeties in the leauge. If they make a jump in there second year the Jet’s defense becomes an offensive nightmare. With the additions of Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson, two corners reliant on good coaching, if Bowles can maximize them this defense is playoff ready.
The Jet’s are in a unique position. They’re fans should expect big things in the coming years but expectations for this year need to be low. This is a growing pains year, if Bowles has a worse record than last year he will be fired, it will be a delicate balancing act in the city of New York this year.
Record Prediction: 3-13