New York Jets: Real expectations for the 2015 season
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterbackGeno Smith
(left) talks with New York Jets tight endJace Amaro
(right) during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets had an exciting off season where the team spent wildly in free agency. General manager Mike Maccagnan impressed Jet fans with his scouting background in the draft. Additions have been made and competition provided virtually at every position. It would appear on the surface that the Jets are on the verge of great things in 2015.
It’s very early in this offseason and predictions for this season are already circulating. Fans around the Jet organization are supercharged for playoff runs and beyond in some cases. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being excited about your team heading into a new season, but quite a few things are going to have to fall exactly right if this team is going to achieve such heights.
Since the early predictions are rolling out on this season, I thought I would throw my hat into the ring as well. As many of my readers already know, I’m a bit of a “skeptical fan”. The Jet organization has trained me to be that way for over 40 years now. Just a footnote as my predictions might not be as lofty as others.
Next: The Offense
May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick
(14) throws a pass during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets’ offense still remains the weakness of the football team this season. How good or bad the unit is, will depend heavily on how well the offensive line comes together and performs. It also depends on what Chan Gailey can coax from this quarterback situation. I’m expecting struggles early on for the offense, it’s a new system under yet another offensive coordinator.
Geno Smith and/or Ryan Fitpatrick will have to prove they can run this offense. The wide receiver group is vastly improved over last season. The running back situation appears solid, though Gailey lacks that speed back he prefers. The Jets on paper look like a contender on offense, if they can find good quarterback play. I personally think they will struggle early at quarterback.
The offensive line is fluid, Maccagnan went out and brought in competition from everywhere he could find it. It’s anybody’s guess what this offensive line may look like by summer’s end. The Jets have some young talent returning from last season that could possibly challenge for spots, while seasoned veterans will fight alongside of them for the same.
The problem with not having an intact line going into camp, is that time is split in reps during camp, which can slow the line from becoming a coherent unit. Due to the uncertainties along the line and concern for the cohesiveness of the unit, I’m expecting early struggles, especially in the passing game.
Overall, I think the Jets’ offense will start slow and steadily build on its successes. As the line grows as a unit, I think the quarterback play will improve as well. The talent is here to succeed with, it’s just a matter of this offense getting through its growing pains.
Next: The Defense
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rb Gronkowski (87) is tackled by New York Jets inside linebackerDavid Harris
(52) and New York Jets defensive endSheldon Richardson
(91) after catching the ball during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets’ defense led by Sheldon Richardson promises to be a nightmare for opposing offenses. Yes, I said Richardson leads this unit as I’m expecting him to have another phenomenal year! The Jets’ defensive front will be as stout as they come and they will be depended on early to keep the Jets in football games as their offense catches up. With Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams joining Richardson up front in a Todd Bowles‘ defense, the Jets look unstoppable.
The Jets’ defensive secondary promises to be one of the most talented in the league come the start of the regular season. Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis lead this group into 2015, the rest of this deep talented pool will need to win a spot. Competition is again going to be intense over the summer, and it will take a bit of time to get the communications down, especially in a new system. With Revis and Cromartie both being familiar with each other, its likely they will be depended on to help work out the kinks.
The back end of the Jets’ secondary is a bit more cloudy. With Marcus Gilchrist‘s health keeping him out early, the Jets find themselves looking for a plan B at free safety. Bowles uses his safeties much like linebacker’s at times and how the mix plays out at safety is far from certain. While the Jets’ secondary will likely turn out to be another shut down unit, it may take a little time to come fully around.
Linebacker may turn out to be the weakness of this defense, and yet it may not. This group’s make up might be the most uncertain on the football team. It will be anchored by David Harris and Demario Davis, but who keeps the remaining spots will be interesting. Again the Jets have aging veterans who will be likely challenged for their spots over the summer. If new personnel are found for starting roles, then the challenge once again will be to come together as a unit.
Next: Final Predictions
May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles speaks to the media after the organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The defense will be the strength of the Jets once again in 2015. This unit may have it growing pains, but there is a plethora of talent here. I highly expect them to rank in the top 5 if they can remain healthy and play to their potential. My biggest concern would be at free safety, but that is cutting hairs overall.
The Jets’ offense is likely to struggle early in my view. The offensive line will build on successes, but a slow start is what I’m predicting. The success of this team lies at the QB position, and quite frankly I’m not overly excited. If Gailey can get adequate play from the position, the Jets may exceed my expectations, but I’m predicting it will again be the weakest position on the team.
Overall, I think the Jets will have a fair share of success this season. With an easier then normal schedule and a stout defense, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a 9-7 season. Whether that is good enough to land the Jets in the playoffs is yet to be seen, but one thing is for certain: This will be a much more watchable football team this year.
Next: Calvin Pace: Breaking down his role on New York Jets in 2015