First of all, I thank you for clicking on this. “Who cares” is what 99.8% of people that saw this link thought as they scrolled right past it. For the passionate few, we’ll remember who was there for the New York Jets during their darkest hours.
For those of you that are new, or would like a refresher, I broke down the Jets schedule right after it was released back in April – https://thedailydart.com/2017/04/20/way-too-early-and-pessimistic-2017-new-york-jets-season-preview/. It’s going to be a tough one, but we’re going to make the most of it. Let’s get after it:
Gone But Not Forgotten:
It hurt to watch him last year. He looked like Peyton Manning during his final season; like the old family dog that they let live too long because of how much they love him. At least our last memory of Revis in a Jets uniform will be his near pick-6 during Week 17 against the Bills.
Next time you see #24, it’ll be in the Ring of Honor.
Another future Ring of Honor member, 33 year old Center Nick Mangold was released. An Ohio native, the guy embodied New York and made it a part of himself, and was a seven-time Pro Bowler.
‘Machine Marshall’ went from betting pink slips with Antonio Brown to see who would finish the season with more receiving yards to slipping into mediocrity by Week 5. He’s now a New York Giant, and I think he’s going to have a nice bounce back year. He plays much harder when he’s motivated on a winning team, and he’ll have that opportunity playing opposite OBJ.
Eric and Jessie James Decker
Yeah I’m gonna miss the hottest couple in the NFL.
The Hitman and his 1,088 career tackles have joined the enemy in Foxborough. The Jets released him realllllly late in the offseason and didn’t give him a real good chance to find a great deal with the 31 other teams, but naturally the Pats scooped him up.
Geno could’ve been the best QB on the Jets roster this season, but instead he chose to change locker rooms in Metlife. He’s now the backup QB for the Giants.
The Jets traded away Sheldon Richardson to Seattle for Jermaine Kearse and a 2nd or 3rd rounder in next year’s draft. The Jets had a surplus in their defensive line unit and it was highly unlikely that the two parties would reach a contract extension. Also with suspensions, injuries, and other locker room issues, it was about time to get him out of New York. Look for the Jets to be aggressive in getting an edge rusher next year.
The Jets finally bit the bullet with Calvin Pryor and admitted that the 2014 1st rounder was a bust. He was decent at best, but with Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye getting drafted this year, the writing was on the wall for Calvin. He’s now a Cleveland Brown.
The 32 year old kicker is now going to kick lots of XPs in Tampa Bay after they cut Roberto Aguayo on Hard Knocks.
So, after all the cuts and trades, there are 10 players on the Jets roster over 28 and only 3 over 30 (including 1 dinosaur in Josh McCown). With a Matt Forte trade probably coming sooner than later, that number will go down one more. That’s how you tank ladies and gentlemen.
Here’s the roster breakdown:
Quarterbacks (Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg)
I’ve already aired my grievances about Josh McCown here and Christian Hackenberg here. Bryce Petty I’ll defend to the death, but we both know that he’s no more than a temporary placeholder/career backup. I’ve been a Jet fan for 22 years. The best QB I’ve seen in a Jets uniform is Chad Pennington, who threw for over 20 TDs ONCE. If not Chad, then it was Brett Favre’s 41 year old season.
Josh McCown is a 37 year old journeyman QB that has only found true success once – in half a season with the Bears in 2013. He had an excellent supporting cast in Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett. The Jets have 31 year old Forte, and then a slew of young late round and undrafted skills players. Just a little bit different. McCown will probably only start about half the games this year, until the Jets are comfortable trotting out either Hackenberg or Petty. Whoever plays QB, all they need to do is manage the game and limit turnovers. That’s exactly what the Jets did to be successful with Mark Sanchez in the late 2000s.
Runningbacks (Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire)
I’m very excited about Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire. I’ve been on the Bilal Hype Train since 2013 and the Jets front office finally realized the talent they had sitting on the bench. Powell averaged 5.5 yards per carry and caught 58 passes out of the backfield last season. That was while splitting snaps with Matt Forte. Powell’s game is very similar to Forte’s, who caught 102 passes out of the backfield for the Bears just 3 seasons ago. If and when Matt Forte gets traded (he deserves to get traded to a contending team), Bilal Powell can shine in this offense with the three QBs that will need to throw short to intermediate routes to their RBs. Elijah McGuire is the Jets 6th round pick that is also very effective in the passing game. His usage is entirely contingent on Forte’s health and standing on the team.
Wide Receivers (Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake,
Damore’ea Stringfellow, Kalif Raymond, *Jeremy Kerley*)
“Who the fuck are these guys?” you may be asking. The Jets lost Quincy Enunwa for the season with a neck injury that hopefully won’t be career altering. That made 2nd year Robby Anderson the clear cut #1 receiver on this team. He has game changing straight line speed, and was a solid compliment to Enunwa, but opposing teams can throw a safety over top and pretty much eliminate him as a deep threat. The Jets traded Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks for Jermaine Kearse, a 27 year old receiver that was slowly getting phased out of their offense. However, he immediately steps in as the 2nd best receiver on the roster, and he has proven to be able to make the big play in big moments:
The Jets drafted ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen this year. Stewart will be more of a scat back kind of receiver with specific plays designed for him to get the ball in his hands with open field in front of him. Think Tavon Austin/Jarvis Landry, with screens, jet sweeps, short routes, etc. Hansen will be out wide more often than not, as he has shown the ability to make big plays outside the hashmarks and towards the sidelines. Jalin Marshall is suspended for 4 games and I hate him. Charone Peake I’m not excited about. Damore’ea Stringfellow, however, has an A1 name and has some big play ability. He has a dicey history with the law at both Washington and Ole Miss, so take all this with a grain of salt, but he can potentially be the next big UDFA receiver for the Jets. ***UPDATE*** The Jets released Stringfellow Wednesday afternoon. Turns out he won’t be the next big UDFA receiver for them.
Kalif Raymond was claimed off waivers and could be the team’s KR and PR in Jalin Marshall’s absence (Thank God).
***UPDATE*** The Jets signed Jeremy Kerley on Tuesday after a one-year stint on the 49ers. I don’t know why they signed him, as they already have their below average ‘mentor’ in Jermaine Kearse, and multiple other serviceable kick and punt returners. All he’s going to do is steal reps from younger guys who have a lot more upside.
Tight Ends (Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Will Tye, Jordan Leggett, Eric Tomlinson, *Neal Sterling*)
The Jets completely ignored the TE position last year. They had the league low in receptions, yards, and TDs from Tight Ends. In a league that seemingly every contending team has at the very least a serviceable TE, it was asinine that the Jets didn’t utilize the position AT ALL. This year, it appears that they’ve learned their lesson. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is suspended for 2 games stemming from his DUI last season, but he has ‘seen the light’ this offseason by quitting the booze and losing 25 pounds. He looked really good this preseason.
The Jets also claimed Will Tye from the Giants this past week. He was a solid TE for the Giants but was bound to be forgotten with their recent acquisitions. He’s sure handed, but doesn’t get a lot of yards after the catch. Doesn’t matter, just catch it. The Jets also drafted Jordan Leggett from Clemson this year. He’ll have plenty of opportunities in this offense while ASJ is suspended and Will Tye learns the playbook. Eric Tomlinson is a blocking TE whose name you will only hear if he blows a blocking assignment.
***UPDATE*** Neal Sterling and his 12 career receptions was signed by the Jets on Wednesday afternoon. He’s a 3rd year guy out of Monmouth, and no he did not play lacrosse there with Chris Hogan.
Offensive Line (Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell/Brent Qvale)
Gone are the D’Brickashaw Fergusons and Nick Mangolds from the Jets O Line, but the team is rebuilding with young potential talent. From left to right, the ages of the projected starters are 28, 28, 26, 26, 25/26. The middle three of Carpenter, Johnson, and Winters are the strength of the line, while Beachum at LT and the RT competition are the biggest question marks.
Defensive Line (Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Steve McClendon, Kony Ealy, Mike Pennel)
Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson are the two household names that are the best bets to be All Pros at the end of the year. With Sheldon Richardson out the door, those two need to play up to their potential to keep the Jets competitive. Hopefully Wilkerson can return to 2015 form, when he had 12 sacks. Kony Ealy was a late preseason pickup that had 3 sacks and an INT in the Super Bowl just 2 years ago.
Steve McClendon had a career high 3.5 sacks at DT last season, and new acquisition Mike Pennel will be his backup/hopeful replacement as he is 5 years McClendon’s junior. This is the Jets best unit, and I’m willing to bet that they’ll hold teams to under 100 rushing yards in at least 12 out of their 16 games.
Linebackers (Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, Demario Davis, Bruce Carter, Dylan Donahue)
The biggest question mark for the Jets LBs is whether or not Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins can make a leap in performance this year. The 2016 1st and 3rd round picks are only 22 and 23, respectively, but their performances last year weren’t as great as the Jets had hoped. Demario Davis is back in town after spending one year in Cleveland. The defense will rely on him to fill David Harris’ shoes. Bruce Carter is going to have to step up into a bigger role this year, hopefully closer to his 2014 campaign in Dallas (5 INTs). The Jets also made a surprise draft pick by selecting 25 year old Dylan Donahue out of D-II West Georgia in the 5th round this year.
Defensive Backs (Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine, Juston Burris, Darryl Roberts, Marcus Williams, Rontez Miles, Terrence Brooks)
These guys are gonna be BUSY this year. The Jets have a ‘funnel defense’ which means that even if teams are winning by a considerable margin, they’ll continue to pass because of how good the opposing team’s defensive line/front 7 are. The Rams are another good example of a funnel defense. Jamal Adams was selected #6 overall in this year’s draft, and Marcus Maye was selected 39th. There are definitely going to be some growing pains, but these two are going to be the starting safeties from Day One and will make some impressive plays. Jamal Adams was considered to be the best player in the draft not named Myles Garrett. The Jets top CB this year is newly acquired Morris Claiborne, who, like Adams, was a 6th overall pick out of LSU. The knock against Claiborne is that he has never been able to stay healthy for a full 16 games. Buster Skrine, Juston Burris, and Marcus Williams will get plenty of reps as CB #2 and in the slot as teams are going to pass, pass, pass, pass, and pass some more against the Jets. Rontez Miles and newly acquired Terrence Brooks from Philly will be the reinforcements at safety behind the young guns.
Special Teams (Chandler Catanzaro, Lachlan Edwards, Thomas Hennessy)
Kicker Chandler Catanzaro was money for his first two years in Arizona before shitting the bed and kicking just 75% of his field goals last year. Hopefully a change of scenery is all he needs to be money again, as the Jets certainly will have issues getting the ball in the end zone. Lachlan Edwards had a pedestrian first year in the league punting the ball and is probably on the hot seat when it comes to his roster spot. With how often the Jets are bound to punt this year, they’re going to need a reliable guy back there. The Jets also traded for long snapper Thomas Hennessy (another A1 name) this past week.
Look, things aren’t going to be sunshine and daisies this year. It’s going to be war. We’re going to lose a lot of good men out there. But we have to take this season’s results with a grain of salt and instead see what the Jets young guys can do out there. We’ll see who is still competitive even when they’re losing by 24 in the middle of November. We’ll see which linemen make plays 25 yards down the field. We might even see the Quarterback of the future!
The main question for the Jets this year will of course be the Quarterback dilemma. Josh McCown is a temporary placeholder that definitely isn’t in the Jets longterm plans. That means that Bryce Petty and or Christian Hackenberg will be starting sooner than later. We’ll get a good look at what they can offer as the longterm solution but I’m willing to bet that the Jets won’t like what they see. So what will the Jets do? They can attack the Free Agent market and/or draft a QB with their likely top-5 pick. With all the big names the Jets cut this offseason, they have more than $20 million in cap space already. That’s certainly enough to make a one year offer to Drew Brees, or a longterm deal to either Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garopollo. They could get Brees for a year while drafting a QB to have Brees mentor him while the Jets compete. Or, they just draft Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, or Josh Allen in the 1st round and throw them out there right away in 2018.
Tell me Josh Rosen isn’t the perfect QB for the New York Jets: