As the season was about to unfold I wrote an article making some predictions about the season (you can find that here). It is always fun to look back and see if you were right or wrong and why. Here’s how I did:
Unlike most I believe the organization knows that this is year 1 of the rebuild and isn’t expecting Ryan to make the playoffs to save his job. What he needs is show the development of the young players on the roster, especially Geno Smith. If Smith shows improvement and the young players develop then he will show that he is the man to lead the rebuild of this team. I’m going to place my bet on Rex Ryan. (August 29, 2013)
It did seem that the organization was thinking in that vein. More than the 3-1 record in final four games what helped Rex Ryan the most was the development of Geno Smith, Dee Milliner and even Brian Winters coupled with the way the entire team came together playing good football even though they had nothing but Rex to play for. Sheldon Richardson had been good since day one. Muhammad Wilkerson got better this year despite what Pro Football Focus’ numbers try to tell us he is now an All-Pro caliber run stopper and pass rusher. Quinton Coples suffered through injury and a position change but the light came on for him and he had an excellent last six games and is trending upwards. Damon Harrison’s year came out of nowhere as he was one of the top run stoppers in the entire league. The youth of the team is developing and that is part and parcel of good coaching.
This offense will improve over last year. Last year was rock bottom with an awful coordinator, awful quarterback play and no weapons. This year the coordinator and quarterbacks coach are much improved and the scheme plus play calling will lead to more accuracy and fewer turnovers. I say the team averages 21 points per game which would be almost a 4 point improvement and the turnover margin will fall closer to even at -3. 11 less turnovers and 4 more points are notable improvements that help win games. Mark Sanchez will start game 1 but will give way to Geno Smith by Week 6 at the latest. Chris Ivory will run for 1100 yards and it will take until the second half of the season to see dividends from Mike Goodson but we will and Powell will be a steadying force. I say Holmes, Kerley and Obomanu are the top 3 receivers while Hill is a year away from breaking out. (August 29, 2013)
I wasn’t even close here as the offense took its lumps behind Geno Smith. Smith ended up starting all 16 games after Sanchez’s injury became season-ending and amassing 25 turnovers to go along with his 18 touchdowns. There were five terrific game winning drives and definite improvement in the last month of the season but there was also a terrible middle of the season where he was pulled from multiple games and looked lost. Chris Ivory would have got his 1100 yards if it weren’t for early season injuries he ended up running for 833 yards at 4.6 yards per carry and was every bit the violent runner that was promised and showed surprising agility as well. Bilal Powell had a good year ran for 697 yards and had another 272 receiving for a total of 969 yards from scrimmage. Mike Goodson was starting to come on after his suspension but suffered a season-ending injury in just his 2nd game. The receivers were a mix of injured and awful. Jeremy Kerley led the team with 523 yards while only playing 11 games. Santonio Holmes went for 456 yards in 11 games and was mostly invisible when he did play. Mid-season pickup David Nelson was 3rd with 423 yards in only six starts. Stephen Hill was ineffective for the last 3/4 of the season and Ben Obomanu had one catch for eight yards before being released. The skill positions must be upgraded going into the 2014 season and that is an understatement. The team finished with 18.1 points per game (up .5 points per game) and had the same -14 turnover margin.