Considering the AFC is a cesspool of mediocre teams, thinking the New York Jets had a solid chance at the playoffs after a 4-1 start didn’t seem crazy. Unfortunately, they are now floating right in the middle of that cesspool at 5-4 after refusing to win a game the Buffalo Bills repeatedly handed to them. Here is a brief mid-season rant on the state of the team…
After a fourth quarter meltdown in New England, a slaughtering at the hands of Oakland, a one possession win over Jacksonville and an inexcusable loss to Buffalo, the Jets aren’t a good team. Fortunately, outside of New England, who is a good team in the AFC? Cincinnati just went full Dalton against the Texans. Denver was destroyed by the 3-5 Chiefs and is starting Brock Osweiler at quarterback. The AFC South doesn’t have a team over .500. The Bills just won their Super Bowl in week 10 and are still only 5-4 with the Patriots on deck. Oakland lost two games in a row. The Chiefs are coached by the Kool-Aid Man and their quarterback can’t throw over 10 yards.
As for the Jets? Their quarterback isn’t nearly as good as most of the fan-base wants to believe and was flat out awful against Buffalo. However, with the rate of quarterback play in the NFL this season, he has generally been competent enough to keep this team in playoff contention if he can protect the football. Around the offense, the Jets need the following:
- Brandon Marshall to be September Brandon Marshall, not October/early November Brandon Marshall. No more soul crushing drops. The 10 day break should help his ankle and toe heal.
- Somebody besides Chris Ivory to offer anything at running back. Bilal Powell is back from injury and Stevan Ridley finally got his first carries last week. Help is needed.
- Brian Winters to not be destroyed at guard. Just be OK and the Jets offensive line can stay afloat.
- Devin Smith or Quincy Enunwa to become a reliable third target down the field in the passing game. Many Jets fans have decided Smith is a bust already after 6 games but he’s played six ‘freakin games and the Jets need vertical help.
- Eric Decker…just keep doing you.
Defensively, the Jets actually got back on track against Buffalo to an extent but they are going to need the following:
- Lorenzo Mauldin to become a legitimate, consistent edge rusher.
- Marcus Williams to play much, much more than Antonio Cromartie.
- Demario Davis to play less and less, particularly in passing situations.
- Calvin Pryor back and healthy.
- Buster Skrine to be September Buster Skrine, not October/early November Buster Skrine.
The special teams have been awful. At this point, the team should make Cromartie a part time defensive player and the full time kick returner along with pray that Randy Bullock can be the kicker he was last season. Maybe one day Jeremy Kerley will not fair catch a punt and take it back longer than 3 yards…baby steps, though.
A few requests for Jets fans before these final 7 games hit:
- Stop calling Leonard Williams a bust. Stop calling any rookie a bust before they even hit 10 NFL games. Williams leads the Jets in tackles for a loss, has regularly been in the backfield and is never going to accumulate high sack numbers as a 3-4 end rotating with Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Williams has been exactly as advertised out of USC, if you had unrealistic expectations for him, that’s on you.
- Stop saying Antonio Cromartie can play safety: He can’t tackle or move laterally. Every backup CB or struggling CB can’t just automatically play safety.
- Lower your expectations for Dee Milliner. He hasn’t played football in a year. The same goes for Stevan Ridley.
- The Jets aren’t going to sign anybody at this point of the season that will dramatically alter their team.
- Concocting trade packages that involve Geno Smith. Nobody is trading for him.
- Concocting trade packages that involve dumping Muhammad Wilkerson in exchange for a crappy Fitzpatrick level quarterback (Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford).
- Continue venting about Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Davis…they are in fact, that bad.
The Jets now face angry face Bill Belichick wanna be Bill O’Brien and the 4-5 Houston Texans on the road, with either Brian Hoyer (the poor man’s Matt Cassel) or TJ Yates (the poor man’s Ryan Fitzpatrick) under center. After that, they are basically home for a month with games versus Miami, “at” the Giants and versus Tennessee. I’m aware this team was 4-12 last year and is “rebuilding” to an extent but with that schedule? You better be playing for a playoff spot in week 16 and week 17.