Heading into the 2013 season the New York Jets were considered by many to be a team in transition. The Jets hired a new general manager, three new coordinators, and would be incorporating several new players into the starting lineup. The goal for the team was to clear out cap space and to evaluate the roster with an eye towards the future.
For the most part the Jets plan went as expected as the team will have significant cap space in 2014 along with a surplus of draft picks (possibly 10+). On the field Gang Green got off to a hot start with several of their new/young players making major contributions. The team was displaying a lot of promise and progress and dreamed of a post season opportunity.
Unfortunately for Gang Green their rebuilding plans have hit a snag as the team’s inexperience and overall lack of talent has caught up to the organization. The Jets are in the midst of a three game losing streak where the team has been barely competitive. New York’s offense is arguably one of the worst in the NFL while the defense is starting to falter due to the constant pressure put on the unit to keep the team in the game.
At this point if you look at the Jets roster it appears that the team truly has more questions than answers.
Quarterback- The Jets handed the franchise keys to Geno Smith and after 12 games the rookie remains an unknown. Smith showed flashes, but is mired in a terrible slump. Matt Simms is everyone’s favorite backup but the young signal caller has yet to see significant game time.
Running back- This group has been a bright spot for the Jets as Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory are a formidable one-two punch. Mike Goodson showed game breaking ability prior to being lost due to injury.
Offensive line- This unit has been under duress all season as teams are stacking the box to get after the rookie quarterback. Rookie Brian Winters continues to learn on the job while veterans Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Willie Colon have had average seasons. The performance of both Ferguson and Mangold has been a bit concerning as these two guys are considered to be the anchors of the line.
Tight ends- This has been a disappointing season for Jeff Cumberland as he has not taken advantage of an opportunity to be a featured playmaker in the west coast offense. Cumberland continues to struggle with his consistency in terms of pass catching and route running. Kellen Winslow started off strong but has not been given many opportunities following his four game suspension.
Wide receivers- This position has become a revolving door for the Jets as the unit has been dealing with a tremendous amount of injuries and poor performances. Santonio Holmes and Jeremy Kerley can’t stay healthy. Stephen Hill can’t catch. Greg Salas and David Nelson have done their best to pitch in, but this group is lacking leadership and true gamebreaking talent.
Overall- The Jets offense is a complete mess and needs a complete overhaul in 2014. It is scarey to think that Gang Green will be once again be searching for franchise quarterback
Defensive line- This unit led by Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and Sheldon Richardson has emerged as one of the best in the NFL. This group is fast, athletic and can dominate the line of scrimmage. Wilkerson is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, while Richardson is a strong candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Linebackers- Veteran David Harris has had a solid bounce back year while Demario Davis is starting to flourish in the starting role. Quinton Coples is still finding his way in the NFL while Calvin Pace has been a solid veteran presence.
Defensive backs- This group has been a major disappointment and a legitimate issue for the defense. Antonio Cromartie has struggled due to injury issues while rookie Dee Milliner seems to be getting benched each week. Darrin Walls and Kyle Wilson have contributed but overall the pass coverage has been mediocre at best.
Safeties- Inexperience has been a big factor with this group as several young players have seen significant playing time. Antonio Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Josh Bush have shown flashes while Dawan Landry has been the veteran leader. The Jets added Ed Reed three weeks ago, but his best days are long gone.
Overall- The Jets defense is no doubt the team’s strength but there are some serious concerns with the secondary.
As you can see the New York have question marks at several of the key skill positions. You need talent to win in the NFL and at this point the New York Jets need a significant personnel upgrade, especially on offense, if they want to become a championship contender.