NY Jets First Quarter Report Card: Top 5 takeaways


Oct 4, 2015; London, ENG; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) catches an interception during the second half of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have put the first quarter of this season in the books and are sitting at 3-1 after a hot start, here are the top 5 takeaways so far.

The Jets have many strengths across the team with a few weaknesses. They are by no means playing perfect football but at the end of the day, are 3-1 so far and are impressing many across the league. Led by a stout defense and potent ground game, the Jets are looking like contenders coming off their bye week.

The bye week technically came at a perfect time since it lets several key members of the Jets heal up while also having the team hit the film room to correct a few of their issues. Every great team knows how to course correct as one better believe the Jets will do their homework, review and reassess everything and continue to build a contender.

Without further adieu, here are the top 5 takeaways from the first quarter of the season in my very own Jets’ report card!

Next: 5. Fix the tackling

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is pressured by New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. Defense Grade: B+

Looking at all four games so far this season, the Jets have a glaring issue when it comes to finishing up their tackles. They should actually have way more team sacks than they already totaled but they failed to seal the deal.

It’s great to see the Jets get recognition for a job well done for their defense. It’s considered one of the top defenses in the NFL and the Jets have developed a knack for creating turnovers and takeaways. Led by a great defensive line and cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets’ defense has been terrifying offenses due to their relentless aggression.

Once the Jets fix their issues with tackling, this defense could easily be No. 1 in many more defensive categories this season. With the return of Sheldon Richardson, things will only get better defensively with him back and ready to wreak havoc.

The Jets should have obliterated the Miami Dolphins in Week 4 but truth of the matter is, they were very much in this game because they were able to make key completions due to the lack of consistent tackling by the Jets’ defense.

Next: 4. Special teams need much work

Sep 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (43) returns a punt for a touchdown past New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

4. Special Teams Grade: F

My first failing grade in the first quarter of the season definitely goes to the Jets’ special teams. Momentum can shift faster than a New York minute on special teams as collectively, the Jets are allowing teams some great field positioning because there is no consistency.

Punter Ryan Quigley doesn’t have the same velocity on his punts as he’s kicking shorter ones and with blown coverages by the Jets’ special teams, it’s putting opposing teams in a much better position to score easy points. The Jets need to tighten up their coverage on special teams and make sure it’s not a behavior they keep doing after their bye week.

Kicker Nick Folk has been decent but missed an easy field goal. Not to say he’s lost a step or can’t get the job done anymore, a kicker with the impressive resume Folk has should be as close to perfect as possible.

The coverage part of special teams needs some major work, the collective performance against the Eagles for example is a big reason why if this doesn’t get corrected, could be a major problem throughout the rest of the season if they allow teams to gain a ton of yardage before their offense even hits the field. It’s easily the biggest weakness on this team so far.

Next: 3. Fear the beard

Oct 4, 2015; London, ENG; New York Jets quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick

(14) looks for a pass during the first half of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Offense Grade: B+

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has done a decent job so far under center. He’s not perfect but he’s incredibly smart on the football field and has kept the Jets’ offense moving down the field and scoring points. He makes plays when the Jets need them and has earned the respect of the locker room.

Fitzpatrick might not have the arm strength to hit those deep passes and tends to overthrow his receivers but winning solves everything. He hasn’t cost the Jets a game by a bonehead interception or making poor on-the-field decisions as he’s doing his part to keep the Jets competitive on offense.

Chris Ivory is off to an incredibly great start to the season that has seen him total 314 rushing yards on 62 carries for 3 touchdowns. Considering that he’s averaging 104.7 yards per game, it’s safe to say he’s been the catalyst on the Jets’ offense. When he gets hot, everything else does too.

Led by Brandon Marshall, the wide receiver corps for the Jets has been one of the best in years. He leads all receivers currently with 400 receiving yards on 30 receptions for 3 touchdowns. Eric Decker, in his natural No. 2 role, has totaled 180 receiving yards on 14 receptions for 3 touchdowns as well. So far, this group has been solid.

Next: 2. Bowles and company

Sep 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Jets 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

2. Coaching Grade: B+

I absolutely love the style of coaching by head coach Todd Bowles and the rest of his coaching staff. It’s a quiet yet strict approach that preaches accountability and making sure the Jets clean up their overall mistakes. Bowles does not tolerate penalties or any “distractions” that could take away from the grand scheme of things.

Bowles knows that this team has the talent to really make some noise this season if everything comes together at the right time. Imagine how dangerous this team can be if they can stop all the unnecessary penalties, clean up the tackling and execute all across the board?

It will take time but Bowles so far has done a solid job of putting the team in a position to succeed. You can see all the players are having fun on the field, are excited when they make big plays and understand just how important it is for the Jets to have a rebounding season. Bowles has definitely put his thumbprint on the organization and it’s reaping many benefits.

Owner Woody Johnson put a ton of faith and a lot of money in trusting both Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan to fix the Jets after their abysmal 4-12 record last year. So far, he’s made the right decision to put this kind of leadership at the helm of the team and it’s been working out great thus far.

Next: 1. Across the board

Oct 3, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Member of the New York Jets look on during the 2015 NFL International Series Fan Rally at Trafalgar Square. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Overall Grade: B+

Coming off their bye week, the Jets are now back to work to prepare for the next 12 teams of the regular season. It’ll be an interesting slate of games that will continue to tell their story for the year. How this team handles everything from this point on will determine if they’re a team worthy of the NFL Playoffs or just pretending to be.

A great team with great coaching knows how to approach every week with the right determination, game plan and making sure to execute in every aspect of the game. The Jets have all the right leadership and talent in place to continue winning plenty of football games and adjusting/tweaking to find that right formula.

As long as the Jets can stay relatively healthy, continue their simplified spread offense and continue to beat teams thanks to takeaways on defense, they have an excellent chance to make a run at winning the AFC East. It won’t be easy, but this team can do it if they put in the work and stick to what they’re supposed to do.

The AFC East will more than likely come down to the Jets and New England Patriots to see who can be crowned division winners in 2015. I honestly believe the true test this season will come in Week 7 when these two teams face off. Should the Jets pull arguably the biggest upset of the year and actually beat their biggest AFC East rival, there is no telling just how far this team can ultimately go this season with that kind of momentum.

Next: NY Jets News: Trading Geno Smith doesn't make sense

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