Dec 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterbackGeno Smith
(7) celebrates after defeating the Miami Dolphins 20-7 at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
How have the New York Jets improved so far? This is a topic highly debated amongst the Jets’ fans. The Jets have made some moves, adding Eric Decker, adding Michael Vick, retaining some other pieces. There were also some big free agents that the team missed out on as well, such as Alterraun Verner and Vontae Davis.
So, there has been great debate on how much John Idzik has done to help the team at this point. But, there is a point that many fans tend to forget, and it is just as important as filling the team with new pieces. The team HAS improved. How? From within, that’s how. What people tend to forget about is internal development. The Jets’ roster is better today, because their young players have one more season under their belts.
Think about it, starting with Geno Smith. Whether they brought in a veteran backup or not, make no mistake, the Jets have a vested interest in their draftee succeeding. And Geno had his problems, we don’t need to spend a lot of time there. 12 touchdowns versus 21 interceptions is bothersome to all of us. But anyone who watched the last two weeks and saw how Geno took care of the football knows that he is on the right track.
Geno is a year better than he was last year.
How about now second year guard, Brian Winters? Yes, he too had his problems, with an overall PFF grade of -28.5. But, if you look at his grades over the final five weeks, you see vast improvement. Here are his final five weeks of grades: -5.3, -4.0, -3.1, -1.5, 2.4. So, you see, Brian got much better as the season progressed.
Brian Winters of 2014 will be vastly better than the one of 2013.
On defense, what about second year cornerback Dee Milliner? We don’t even have to bring up the numbers, we all saw it with our own eyes. He had vast trouble during a good part of his rookie year, but came on and was nearly dominant by the end of the year. I think we can all agree that the sky is the limit for Dee Milliner in 2014 and beyond.
Dec 29, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker DeMario Davis (56) kneels down after defeating the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Demario Davis is another guy. He just came off of his first season as a full-time starter, after playing behind Bart Scott in 2012. Starting every game in 2013 rendered Davis 63 tackles and one sack. Does anyone think this guy won’t be better with a full year of starting under his belt?
Demario Davis in 2014 will be better than 2013.
There are many others you can talk about in this same way.
You can talk about the players that have been brought in, or those that haven’t. But, do not discount internal player development to improving this roster as well. It’s important, and some forget about that.
The team as constructed will be better than last year, thanks to the “e” word, experience.