The TSB Training Camp Previews wraps up the AFC East today as we take a look at a team that will be fighting for a playoff spot this year with some big name players added but youth still being served up in this hybrid rebuild/win now plan being put in place.
So lets take a look at the New York Jets
2013 Record: 8-8 2nd Place AFC East (Missed Playoffs For 3rd Straight Year)
Passing Leader: Geno Smith 3046 YDS 12 TD 21 INT
Rushing Leader: Chris Ivory 833 YDS/Geno Smith 6 TD’s
Receiving Leader: Jeremy Kerley 43 REC 523 YDS 3 TD’s
Leading Tackler: David Harris 124 Tackles/70 Solo
Sacks Leader: Muhammad Wilkerson 10.5/Calvin Pace 10.0
Int Leader: Dee Milliner/Antonio Cromartie/Ed Reed 3 INT
FA losses: Antonio Cromartie CB, Austin Howard RT, Mark Sanchez QB, Santonio Holmes WR, Kellen Winslow TE, Ed Reed S
FA signings: Eric Decker WR, Michael Vick QB, Chris Johnson RB, Dimitri Patterson CB, Breno Giacomini RT, Jason Babin DE/.LB
1st Round: Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville
2nd Round: Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech
3rd Round: Dexter McDougle, Cornerback, Maryland
4th Round: Jalen Saunders, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
Shaquelle Evans, Wide Receiver, UCLA
Dakota Dozier, Offensive Tackle, Furman
5th Round: Jeremiah George, Linebacker, Iowa State
6th Round: Brandon Dixon, Cornerback, Northwest Missouri State
Quincy Enunwa, Wide Receiver, Nebraska
IK Enemkpali, Defensive End, Louisiana Tech
Tajh Boyd, Quarterback, Clemson
7th Round: Trevor Reilly, Outside Linebacker, Utah
The doom and gloom that was predicted in 2013 showed up from time to time but a strong finish to the end of the season saw the Jets pull off one of the biggest stunners of the season to finish 8-8 and save Rex Ryan’s job.
Dramatic, close wins over the Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints and Patriots along with a season ending win over the Dolphins to knock them out of the playoffs were the highlights of the season. The problem is that blowouts at the hands of the Bills, Titans, Dolphins, Ravens, Bengals and Panthers helped the Jets finish with a mind blowing -98 point differential while still finishing at .500.
Rookie Quarterback Geno Smith started all 16 games and at times looked like the guy some people thought would go in the top 10 of the 2013 draft, especially in the final month of the year but also at times looked completely lost playing in the NFL. The Running game was a big key as Chris Ivory and Billal Powell combined for over 1500 yards but the worst receiving core in football didn’t do much to shed that label as the Jets passing attack was non existent at times.
The key to the team was the defense as the defensive line led by Muhammad Wilkerson and Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson led a dominant at time front seven that made up for a very sub par secondary. Dee Milliner struggled early in his attempt to help fill the shoes of the departed Darelle Revis but finished the season on a very high note, winning AFC Defensive Player of the Month (Not rookie, PLAYER) for December.
The off-season was a mixed bag for the Jets, much like the 2013 season was. The biggest additions to the team came on the offensive side of the ball as Eric Decker signed a big free agent deal to be the #1 WR after succeeding so well with Peyton Manning in Denver. Chris Johnson was signed after the Titans cut him to add speed to the backfield and Michael Vick was brought in after he was cut by the Eagles to serve as the backup QB/Mentor/Competition for Geno Smith. The loss of Antonio Cromartie and missing out on other CB’s like Darrelle Revis and Aqib Talib does leave Jets fans wondering just how good the secondary will be with Milliner taking over as the #1 CB full time and the oft-injured Dimitri Patterson being the biggest name player (not counting Jason Babin who wont be a starter) added to the defense.
The draft saw the Jets use an amazing 12 draft picks to shore up the depth on special teams and at the WR position but the two most intriguing players are first and second round picks Calvin Pryor, a safety drafted 18th overall and tight end Jace Amaro. Pryor is expected to be a force at safety, starting right away, while Amaro is expected to be the pass catching, dare I say, Jimmy Graham type of player the Jets haven’t had, maybe ever.
The expected improvement from the young players and the added talent on offense to go along with a very good defense should help the Jets compete for a wild card playoff spot in what is considered a top heavy AFC.