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2014 NFL Season Preview- New York Jets
By the end of the 2012 season, the New York Jets saw enough from quarterback Mark Sánchez. Unfortunately for the team, rookie Geno Smith wasn't much better.
Smith was thrown into the starting job after Sanchez was injured in the preseason. With no consistent help from the running game or a reliable receiving corps, Smith was forced to try and make plays on his own. This led to constant scrambling and throwing twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. He showed promise down the stretch but has to be more consistent going forward if he intends on keeping his job. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was the teams leading receiver with 43 catches. Let me say that again. 43! Catches!! That would be amazing if was playing in the 1940's. The team was outscored by at least 10 points in seven of their eight losses. With a 97 point differential on the year, it marked the largest point differential for a team .500 or better since the merger.
The defense played well as usual for a Rex Ryan defense. The team finished third in the league against the run and that was due in most part to rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Richardson to be great on all aspects of the defense and was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year. Fellow rookie, cornerback Dee Milner struggled for most of the year but came on strong in the last month of the season. Despite cornerback Antonio Cromartie's Pro Bowl season, the pass defense ranked towards the bottom half of the league.
The overall time line of the 2013 season raises more questions than answers when it come to the Jets future.
Jets 2013 Rankings
Opponent Passing yds
Opponent Rushing yds
NFL Rank- 31st
NFL Rank- 6th
NFL Rank- 22nd
NFL Rank- 3rd
NFL Rank- 25th
NFL Rank- 11th
At the end of the season, many expected head coach Rex Ryan was going to be fired. General manager John Idzik and owner Woody Johnson felt the team was on the rise and allowed Ryan to remain head coach.
With over $30 million in cap space, the team planned to make some offers in free agency.
Notable additions- QB Michael Vick, RB Chris Johnson, WR Eric Decker, WR Jacoby Ford
Notable departures- QB Mark Sánchez, WR Santonio Holmes, CB Antonio Cromartie
Jets 2013 Highlights
2014 NFL Draft
Going into the draft, the Jets had the 18th overall pick. The main spots that needed to be filled were cornerback and linebacker.
With Antonio Cromartie now in Arizona and the reliability of Dee Milner in question, the team needs to improve in their pass coverage. This unit was burned all year and their isn't an impact corner who can compare to Cromartie. Antonio Allen was the secondary's best playmaker and its unknown if the team will invite Ed Reed back.
Linebackers David Harris and Calvin Pace had career years, but both are at the ladder stages of their careers. Quinton Coples shows a lot of upside but the team needs to plan for life without Harris and Pace.
With the 18th pick, the team selected Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. Pryor showed great tackling technique and explosiveness when approaching ball carriers. His physicality that turned most teams away make him a perfect fit for a Rex Ryan team.
Other notable team draft picks include Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro in the second round and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the sixth round. Amaro had the best release of any tight end coming into the draft and he set the NCAA record for receiving yards in a season by a tight end. The big issue with him is that he is prone to drops and needs to build up muscle to fit the mold for the position. Boyd proved to be a winner at Clemson and showed great accuracy when throwing to any route. His size sent many teams looking the other way, but in the right offense he can be successful.
Calvin Pryor Highlights
What to Expect
The Jets will looking to reestablish the offense of pounding the rock. Chris Johnson sill be asked to carry a big load for the offense. With an offensive line as good as this, Johnson should have no problem achieving the success of host first three seasons. By adding Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford to the receiving corps, Jeremy Kerley can go back to host suitable slot position role while Decker and Ford add a reliable receiving duo on the outside. As for the quarterback, it's Geno Smith's job to lose. If he struggles at all, Michael Vick will be pushed into the starting role.
Defensively, the team will continue on the path they started last season. The run defense will continue to be ranked towards the top of the league. The pass coverage will struggle at first, but the addition of Calvin Pryor to the secondary gives the team a playmaker as soon as he can grasp the defense.
As long as they play hard nosed defense and a clock managing running game, the Jets can be successful. Whoever the quarterback will be, at least they now the have high profile talent to through to. But as long Tom Brady is quarterbacking the New England Patriots, the team will always finish second in the AFC East. Potential for a playoff spot would likely be as the sixth wild card team.
Best record they can hope for- 9-7