Geno Smith returns for his second year as quarterback of the Jets. He struggled mightily at times and the light finally turned on for him in the last month of the season. He learned to run more instead of taking the sack or forcing the ball in for an interception. The last time the Jets added a running back near the end of his career and a wideout from a good time was 2010, which coincidentally was Mark Sanchez‘s 2nd year with the Jets. Let’s look at the comparison:
’09 Sanchez 2,444 yards 12 TDs 20 INTs 106 yds rushing 3 TDs
’10 Sanchez 3,291 yards 17 TDs 13 INTs 105 yds rushing 3 TDs
’13 Smith 3,046 yards 12 TDs 20 INTs 366 yds rushing 6 TDs
’14 Smith (projected) 3,502 yards 18 TDs 12 INTs 510 yds rushing 4 TDs
I gave Smith a 15% increase in passing yards with the extra weapons (Decker, Johnson, Amaro, Saunders) making decisions quicker and easier. That being said I used Sanchez’s progress to map the touchdown to interception ratio improvement. With a full year of quarterback draws, read option, and triple option I expect more yardage from Smith but with three very competent backs I don’t think he will score six times again.
Speaking of those backs, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell return. Combined they had 1,530 yards rushing and 1,812 total yards from scrimmage. Powell had 36 receptions for 272 yards but wasn’t really a threat on anything but a check down. That’s why Chris Johnson is here. He can score from off tackle, he can score from up the middle and he can score on a screen or pass out of the backfield. Even in a “bad” year where he was playing with a torn meniscus he still had over 1,000 yards rushing, 40 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Lightening his load will help Johnson get more out of his body and be more explosive.
’14 Johnson (Projected) 200 carries 850 yards 8 TDs 42 receptions 450 yards 4 TDs
’14 Ivory (Projected) 145 carries 610 yards 3 TDS 2 receptions 40 yards 0 TDs
’14 Richardson (Projected) 50 carries 210 yards 2 TDS 15 receptions 120 yards 2 TDs
’14 Powell (Projected) 25 carries 90 yards 0 TDs 5 receptions 40 yards 1 TDs
In this projection Johnson will have 90 carries less than ’13 and his YPC will be right near his career average of 4.5 because he can remain fresher due to a slightly smaller workload. The 64 combined receptions from the backfield will be a terrific way to improve Geno Smith’s completion % from last year (55.8%) and any pass to Johnson has the potential to be a big play. Ivory will only lose about 40 carries so he should still be able to be productive. A healthy Daryl Richardson takes Powell’s place as primary backup with Powell moves into a 3rd down pass blocking role but will see the field to spell either Johnson or Ivory as well.