Dec 29, 2014; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets chairman and chief executive officer Woody Johnson addresses the media regarding the dismissal of general manager John Idzik (not pictured) and head coach Rex Ryan (not pictured) at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
The 2014 season was not a very good one for the New York Jets. The team finished with a record of 4-12, which led to the firing of general manager John Idzik, as well as the firing of head coach Rex Ryan. While the team struggled all season, certain areas of the team played much better than other areas. Let’s take a look at each unit. I graded each group using a scale of A-F, with A being the best, and F being the worst.
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets quarterbackGeno Smith
(7) flips the ball to New York Jets quarterbackMichael Vick
(1) against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets 27-25. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterbacks– Overall, it was a disappointing season for the quarterbacks. At times, Geno Smith showed flashes of being a solid NFL QB, but other games he looked like he did not even deserve to play. When Smith was benched, Michael Vick took over and did not do a bad job. Some games, Vick looked better than others, but overall Vick played well for a backup. As a whole, I would give the QB group a D for the 2014 season.
Aug 4, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets running backChris Ivory
(left) and New York Jets running backChris Johnson
(right) work together during drills at training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Running Backs– While the running back group did not have a great year, they really did not hurt the team in any way in 2014. Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, and Bilal Powell all had decent seasons, with Ivory having the best season of the three. In my opinion, the Jets did not run the football enough in 2014, which may have been because they did not trust the offensive line. At times throughout the season, Ivory and Johnson were able to pull off long runs, so overall I would give this unit a B.
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiverEric Decker
(87) runs for a touchdown during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receivers– The wide receivers are the toughest unit for me to grade. While the wide receivers numbers are nothing to write home about, I thought the group played relatively well in 2014. The unit was held back by poor play calling and poor quarterback play. Even though this was the case, Eric Decker, Percy Harvin, and Jeremy Kerley all had respectable seasons. This group is only going to improve as they get more comfortable playing with each other. For 2014, I would give this group a B-.
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets tight endJace Amaro
(88) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Tight Ends– The tight ends are also very tough to grade. In the Jets offense in 2014, the tight ends were not utilized nearly enough. With that said, it was a very disappointing season for Jeff Cumberland, who did not make much of an impact all season. Rookie tight end Jace Amaro showed promise, but he was not used nearly enough, which was very frustrating.
In my opinion, as the season went on, Amaro should have started over Cumberland. Zach Sudfeld played well on special teams and in a limited role, but overall this unit did not do much in 2014. I would give them a grade of D.
Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets centerNick Mangold
(74) wears an NYPD cap during the coin toss before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Line– As the season went on, the offensive line improved significantly, giving quarterbacks Geno Smith and Mike Vick time in the pocket to make a play. At times, the unit struggled with penalties, especially in the red zone, which are killers for any offense. Also at times the unit struggled with picking up blitzes, which led to many sacks that hurt the field position for the Jets. As a whole, I would give this unit a C+.
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets defensive endMuhammad Wilkerson
(96) laughs on the sideline during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive Line– Moving on to the defense side of the ball, we start with the strongest unit on the team. While the team struggled, you cannot put any blame on this group. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are two of the best defensive lineman in football, and these two anchor the young defense line. This group was dominant in stopping the run, which was led by DT Damon Harrison. This unit is very young, and are only going to improve. For 2014, this unit deserves an A.
Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Linebackers– In my opinion, this unit did not get enough credit in the 2014 season. Quinton Coples had himself a very solid season recording 6.5 sacks at the outside linebacker position, while David Harris and Demario Davis had solid seasons at the inside linebacker position.
Harris struggled in coverage, but was solid in stopping the run, as he has been for his entire career as a Jets linebacker. The Jets also had good depth play from Jason Babin, Trevor Reilly, and Calvin Pace. Overall, I would give this unit a B.
Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerbackMarcus Williams
(22) intercepts a pass against the New England Patriots in the second half during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Cornerbacks– This was the weakest unit on the team in 2014. When the Jets lost rookie Dexter McDougle for the season due to injury in preseason, and Dimitri Patterson decided to not show up, the Jets were already shorthanded at the CB spot. Then vs. the Broncos, the Jets lost CB Dee Milliner for the season. By week seven, the Jets were down their top three cornerbacks.
After all of this, the Jets were forced to use depth players to start every week, and expectedly, they struggled all season long. As a whole, this unit gets a D-.
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets free safetyCalvin Pryor
(25) reacts against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Safeties– This unit also struggled for majority of the season. With so many injuries at the CB spot, the Jets were forced to use rookie Calvin Pryor in ways that did not use his strengths best. Along with Pryor not making the impact the Jets thought he would make, Dawan Landry had an average season, but overall the safety play was pretty mediocre all season long. Look for the Jets to add a safety in free agency. I would give this unit a C-.
Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets kickerNick Folk
(2) kicks a 44 yard field goal to tie the game with the Minnesota Vikings as kickerRyan Quigley
(4) holds the ball in the fourth quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Special Teams– While he had some misses, Nick Folk was solid all season long. Punter Ryan Quigley also had a pretty good season. While they were solid, kick and punter returners were awful, all season long. For that, special teams as a whole get a C.
Do you think these grades are fair? Leave a comment and let me know what you agree and disagree with.