Sometimes you hear that phrase “One step forward, two steps back” when it comes to teams that continuously shoot themselves in the foot, causing loss after mounting loss. Whether it be turnovers, or injuries, or bad playcalling, we can always point to multiple causes of concern after a bad performance. This time I think things are looking up for a change.
Recently, the New York Jets announced the season ending injuries to Mike Goodson, and Clyde Gates. Goodson tore knee ligaments during a Geno Smith interception, and Gates has a shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the year. While I’m never going to be one to praise an injury, I think these are two injuries that the Jets will be able to overcome and produce better results by the end of this season.
Clyde Gates as a primary returner has not displayed anything in that role all year. In addition, Jeremy Kerley hasn’t shown much as a punt returner outside of maybe two or three good returns in six games this season. Josh Cribbs, who I love as a special teams player, was just signed this week. He fills two voids in my mind. He is going to return punts and kicks making Kerley just a receiver, and he can also be a 4th or 5th wide receiver and maybe get two or three passes on those quick hit type plays like wide receiver screens that Clyde Gates has been unable to do anything with this year. For his return abilities alone, if Cribbs is healthy, he will improve the field position on both kickoffs and punts, creating more points for the offense, better field position, and worse field position for opposing teams. I think he can do this almost immediately, and the offense and the defense will prosper because of it.
Next up is Mike Goodson. Although Mike is a good player, he missed four games of the season, and played in only two this year. Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory have taken a bit of a step back as they are all begging for playing time. I think by taking Goodson out of the equation, you inadvertently benefit Chris Ivory, and now each back has a chance to get between 10 and 20 carries per game and not be taken out of his rhythm being substituted constantly. I also thought Alex Green was a good 3rd back, and a good substitute as a do-it-all type of player. Because Goodson is out, Green can slide into that 3rd running back position and the coaches do not have to focus on finding ways to get him on the field. He can be content with up to five carries a game, if that, in spot duty, or specific situations.
Greg Salas, the second receiver signed this week has an actual opportunity to see the field as well. His 6’1 210 pound frame, and possession receiver play style all lend themselves well to spread formations with four or five wide receiver sets where his excellent hands might let him get some early playing time. Remember, with the current receivers Holmes, Hill, Kerley, Nelson, Cribbs, and Salas this is a team that has a chance to put out multiple different formations, improve in special teams, and have a better spread package on the field. Every receiver now compliments the other wideouts, and the term depth is pretty accurate now. I fully expect that by the end of the year, teams could be game-planning to stop the potent Jets passing attack.