The Jets. Gang Green Gaining Steam?
Result: Missed Playoffs
2019 Regular season record: 7-9
2019 Scoring Offensive Rank: 31st 17.2 PPG
2019 Scoring Defensive Rank: 16th 22.4 PPG
2020 Draft First Round Pick: 11
Coach: Adam Gase
The Offseason Scenario:
O.K. So, 7-9 isn’t great.
But for a Jets team that hasn’t had more than five wins since 2015, it’s a step in the right direction, and that defense wasn’t half bad.
Sam Darnold has looked something like a franchise quarterback in fits and spurts, if not yet like an elite level one. The addition of Le’Veon Bell was less effective than anticipated, as the former Steeler put together the worst season of his career in the Big Apple. 2019 was a nightmare for Bell, as he posted career worsts in yards per attempt (3.2), attempts per game (16.3), touchdowns (3), longest run (19 yards), and first down percentage (14.7%). His 789 yards are the second worst total of his career, ranking above only the 2015 season, when he played in just six games.
The Jets scored more points than Washington, but that’s it. One rung up from the bottom of the barrel. Coach Adam Gase has a reputation as a quarterback whisperer, and he’s going to need to work some magic to get the Jets back on track.
Free Agent Frenzy:
Anyone who’s watched Le’Veon Bell over the years will tell you that he’s a patient runner.
But what does that mean?
It means that pauses, stutter steps and waits for his offensive linemen to develop gaps over the course of a few seconds. It’s a strategy that worked brilliantly with the stout and consistent offensive line in Pittsburgh but was exposed in New York. Bell was frequently stifled at the line of scrimmage trying to hit gaps that just weren’t developing as he expected.
The Jets are doing the smart thing in free agency, bolstering that below average offensive line with more dominant talent. They’ve brought in tackle George Fant on a three-year deal worth $30 million and center Connor McGovern as well, for 3-years and $27 million. They’ve also brought in speedy journeyman WR Breshad Perriman, who had a solid season in Tampa Bay, averaging almost 18 yards per catch. The Jets will look to him to stretch the field and keep defenses honest.
I’m not sure if it will be enough to get the Jets into the top half of the league offensively, but I like the thought behind spending big on the O-line. What’s better is that the Jets still have money to spend, ranking third in the league with $32.5 million left against the cap, per overthecap.com.
Seriously Premature Draft Hunches:
I like the Jets to go big in the first round. And I mean BIG. Like, 6’5”, 320 lbs-big. Tristan Wirfs, the monster tackle out of Iowa is a name you might well hear when the Jets are on the clock. He’s versatile, having played both sides of the offensive line at Iowa, and was extremely effective as an every-down protector at the edge. Jedrick Wills from Alabama or Andrew Thomas out of Georgia might still be available as well, but I like the security that Wirfs can provide in both the running and passing games.
For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.
Image Source: AP Images