NY Jets: Quarterback is not only offensive need going forward


Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) getting ready to hike the ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets once again find themselves with offensive issues and it’s not only just at quarterback.

The buzz on the internet this week has all been about the Jets quarterback situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick underwent surgery following Thursday Night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills and it is unclear what his status will be for this Sunday against the Houston Texans. Tod Bowles siad this week that Fitzpatrick is fine, that his surgery went well and the Jets expect him to be starting on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Fitzpatrick’s surgery has once again begun the quarterback debate among Jet fans. There is of course, the group of fans that want Geno Smith to start, others that claim Fitzpatrick is the only player qualified to start the game and there is even a contingent of Bryce Petty fans that think he’s ready to claim the job. Jet fans are upset about the results of the last four weeks, and the fans are not only talking about this game but what the Jets  should do next season at the position.

While there is still a lot of football left in this season, fans are disgruntled and have begun to talk next season already. The majority of the conversations I have been involved in, seems to indicate that Jet fans are beginning to come down to earth with their playoff predictions and Super Bowl contender claims.  The reality of the state of the Jet roster is beginning to sink in, and many would lay the blame entirely on the quarterback position.

Personally I think there is much more to the conversation then just a single position.  The Jets in my opinion are still in a rebuilding mode after two terrible drafts under John Idzik. Mike Maccagnan did a nice job this off season trying to patch up the deficiencies, but it was clear to many fans that there was no possible way to fix it all in one year.

Though it is way too early to give up on the current season, since the conversation has already begun, I thought maybe we could take a peek at what some of the Jets’ offense needs might be next year.

Next: The offensive line is aging

Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) talking to New York Jets guard James Carpenter (77) in the first half at MetLife Stadium. The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The offensive line is aging

It has been said many times in NFL circles that a proficient offense starts with the offensive line. The big guys in the trenches don’t normally get the publicity that other offensive players do, but there is little debate that without them, nothing else works as planned. I think it’s fair to say the Jets’ offensive line has been inconsistent so far this season, and upgrades will need to be looked at, at season’s end.

Willie Colon went down with his long term knee problems, and as sad it is to see him go on season ending IR, this injury will likely end his career. Colon played valiantly for the Jets this year, but unless you think Brian Winters is the answer, the Jets will need to look elsewhere for a replacement.

The starting offensive line at the beginning  of the Jet season averaged 30 years old, with the youngest starter being James Carpenter at 26 years old. As unpopular as it may be the Jets need to start considering the future of D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Ferguson is a fan favorite and has played at a very high level since joining the Jets in 2006. Three Pro Bowls later, it would appear father time is catching up with him at 31 years of age. His play has dropped off the past couple of seasons, and sadly has continued into this year. At the very least, the Jets will need to find someone to compete for his spot next year.

Nick Mangold is 31 years old and once again, there have been signs of his decline in the past two seasons. Mangold has played below what fans are used to this year, his Pro Bowl years are likely behind him and his neck injury has brought up durability questions going further. A young (24) Wesley Johnson stepped in for the injured Mangold this season, but it seems difficult to believe the Jets’ coaching staff sees him as a replacement for Mangold. Mangold may have some time left with the Jets, but the writing is on the wall, and the Jets will need to groom his replacement, if he is on this roster. If not, they will need to make something happen in the off season.

Breno Giacomini will be 31 before the start of the 2016 season, and fans have been discussing how much longer the Jets will keep him around. Giacomini has played admirably, a bit better this year than last, but he is considered barely adequate among Jet fans. The Jets can’t totally replace the entire offensive line in one year, and Giacomini is under contract until after the 2017 season, making him a safe bet for a return next season. Brent Qvale is listed as his backup on the Jets’ depth chart, yet he has yet to produce an NFL stat.

Carpenter is the youngest starter on the Jet offensive line, and some have argued that he has a bright future on the Jets. Carpenter has stepped in this year and played well for the Jets, he’s under contract until after the 2018 season, so its pretty safe to say he will once again start for the Jets next season.

Dakota Dozier is listed as his backup as he stepped up for the Jets last year, only to lose the starting spot to Carpenter. Once viewed as the future for the Jets, it appears on the surface that the new coaching staff doesn’t view him as maybe the last one did. Dozier’s future with the Jets seems cloudy at this point, and the team may be looking for other options at season’s end.

This line is not a total disaster by any means, but it is becoming apparent that the Jets will need to replace at least some of these pieces at season’s end. It promises to be one of the biggest conversations of the upcoming off season. Of course, The Jet Press will cover the conversation in the upcoming months for our readers, so stay tuned.

Next: The running back stable

Chris Ivory (33) carries the ball against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports” width=”850″ height=”566″ /> Oct 18, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) carries the ball against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The running back stable

The Jets made some moves last winter at running back, bringing in Zac Stacy and Stevan Ridley to join Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory as the Jets’ running back stable. Many fans had sought a young back from this year’s draft, but the Jets chose to go another route to address the position.

Ivory has once again been the work horse of this unit, carrying almost the entire load this season despite being banged up for most of it. Ivory’s injury has started a growing conversation among Jet fans, as to how the team will need to approach the position at season’s end. Ivory will likely be a priority for the Jets to get re-signed this year, as he becomes a free agent at the end of the season. If his contract demands aren’t out of line with the Jets desires, he’ll be gladly be welcomed back by Jet fans. Ivory has proven his worth on the football field for the Jets, but he can’t continue to carry the entire run game unaided.

Powell has had a tumultuous career with the Jets since arriving as a fourth-round draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He’s been given limited opportunities, and injuries have slowed him on and off as well.  Powell has produced little for the Jets as a result, and his future with the club is highly doubtful as his contract expires at the end of the season.

Like many Jet fans, I liked Powell’s potential when the Jets drafted him, but unfortunately for Powell and the Jets, he has failed to have the break out season we all have been waiting for. If the Jets aren’t high on the rest of the running backs on this roster,  they will have to look at another running back to replace Powell.

Stacy came to the Jets this past off season as a young back and kick returning specialist. Stacy was given chances to contribute this season but has only produced a 2.9 yard per carry average. Many like myself, thought he would bring more to the Jets’ passing game, but has only been targeted twelve times this season, and only netted the Jets 65 yards of offense. Unfortunately for Stacy, his season came to an end just before halftime in Thursday’s game when he broke his ankle. The Jets will need to take a closer look into his future with the club as he hasn’t been spectacular in the return game either.

Ridley fans were ecstatic when the Jets signed him injured this past off season. He came as a bargain, but wasn’t able to get back to the active roster until October 30th and has only played in a single game for the Jets since. With Ivory carrying the bulk of the load, and Stacy gone for the year, we will undoubtedly see more of him going forward.  In his one game that he has played in, Ridley only produced three carries for minus one yard on three attempts.

I don’t want to be too critical here, but the Jets will need to evaluate him as the season progresses. Too early to tell if Ridley is back next season, as he had little opportunity to produce and his deal ends at the season’s conclusion.

What was seen as a strength at the beginning of the  season, the running back position has faded as the season progressed. Ivory can’t continue being the sole contributor to the Jets’ offense at the position. The load has taken its toll already, and we’ve seen him slow as a result. I think the Jets will be forced to look for replacements in the off season.

Next: The biggest need is at tight end

Jace Amaro (88) reaches for a pass against New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports” width=”850″ height=”596″ /> Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) reaches for a pass against New England Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (23) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest need is at tight end

Entering the 2015 season, the Jets had some intriguing candidates for the starting job. Unfortunately for the Jets, injuries decimated the prospects before the season could get in motion. The Jets lost both Jace Amaro and Zach Sudfeld to injury for the season, forcing them to sign Kellen Davis to fill the void.

In a nut shell, the tight end position has been a disaster as a result for the Jets. Jeff Cumberland has been criticized by Jet fans for a number of years now, and has done little to answer his critics this year. Cumberland has produced just five receptions on twelve targets for 77 yards and worse yet, has only managed three first downs for the Jets. While his blocking has improved over last year, his game can only be seen as marginal in that department as well. Cumberland is under contract through 2016, but it is hard to imagine a return engagement next season.

The Jets brought in long term veteran Davis to help in the blocking game, but it has become apparent that his season has been a disaster. Davis’s blocking abilities have obviously faded from his early days in the league, and he has offered little but hands made of stone in the passing game. Never the strength of his game, but in the passing game he has provided absolutely nothing to this offense.

To this point in the season, Davis can only boast one reception on five targets for a mind blowing, one yard of offense to this point in the season. Granted the one catch was for a touchdown, but when Chan Gailey tried to reproduce that result Davis was apparently lost on the play and never turned for the ball in what may have been a game winner last week. Without a doubt, Davis should be one and done with the Jets.

I say that the tight end position might be the greatest need for the Jets offensively, not solely based on what we do know about the position this year, but also because of what we do not know about the position. Amaro was drafted under John Idzik in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and struggled during his rookie campaign last season. He produced 38 receptions on 53 targets in fourteen games for 345 yards of offense last season, but struggled mightily in the blocking department. Unfortunately for the Jets, he’s gone for the season, leaving us to continue to wonder what Amaro truly brings to the team.

The same goes for Sudfeld, who reportedly had a very good camp this summer that impressed the coaching staff. Last season, he appeared in all sixteen of the Jets game but only saw seven targets that produced 85 yards of offense. Sudfeld’s contract expires at the end of the year making him a restricted free agent in 2016. The Jets will have to make a decision on the big guy based on very little. He’s likely a coin toss to return.

It is a very good bet that the Jets will need to revamp the tight end position going into next season. How they approach the position is anyone’s guess, but it desperately needs to be done!

Next: Another piece or two missing at wide receiver

Kingdom; New York Jets receiver

Brandon Marshall

(15) is defended by Miami Dolphins cornerback

Jamar Taylor

(22) 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” width=”850″ height=”610″ /> Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall (15) is defended by Miami Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor (22) 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

Another piece or two missing at wide receiver

I’m surely not going to question the Jets starting wide receiver’s production this season. Brandon Marshall has been outstanding in his first year with the Jets, while Eric Decker has been nothing short of incredible this year. While buried on the depth chart for the early  part of the season, Jeremy Kerley has once again emerged as a solid option for the Jets. Despite all that has gone well for the Jets at wide receiver, there are some concerns the Jets will need to look at next season.

Marshall, while playing exceptionally well for the Jets, will be 32 years of age before the season begins in 2016. Marshall is aging and the wear and tear of the season is already beginning to take its toll on the veteran wide receiver. After an injury riddled 2014 season with the Chicago Bears, Marshall’s future potential has to be looked at.

Marshall is under contract through 2017, but due to a team friendly contract, the Jets can walk away from Marshal if they choose. How Marshall holds up the rest of the way may determine whether he returns for a second year with the Jets.  His $9,500,000 salary next year might also be seen as a way to help retain the services of Muhammad Wilkerson when Maccagnan begins crunching the numbers.

Decker has proven his critics dead wrong when they claimed the 28 year old wide receiver was simply the product of playing with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Decker has been banged up here and there this year but he’s proven his worth throughout the season. At eight million dollars in 2016, he’s a lock to return next season, the Jets would be insane to think anything else. Decker is under contract through 2018, and it’s not unthinkable that he could play that deal out with the Jets.

Jeremy Kerley has proven his worth time and again for the Jets. Gailey came in this past spring and seemingly buried Kerley on the depth chart. I won’t get into the speculation surrounding the demotion, but it became apparent Gailey felt better with Chris Owusu and Quincy Enunwa in his system.

Flash forward and Owusu’s concussion issues put him out and Enunwa was suspended for an incident dating back to 2014. Kerley has stepped up once again and is back to contributing with his teammates. Kerley is a solid if not spectacular receiver, and at just $3,100,000 for 2016, it would seem logical he would be back. Yet you have to wonder, if Gailey doesn’t like the fit in his system, do the Jets keep him anyway? If I had my say, Kerley would return, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Devin Smith is the Jets this year’s second round pick, but his rookie season hasn’t been the splash many Jet fans expected. Smith has been hampered by injuries early, missing three of the Jets first nine games. The thing to remember with Smith is he was a project when the Jets drafted him, it’s going to take some time for Smith to make the transition from college to the pro scene, but the speedster has the potential to become a number one receiver in the future for the Jets.

The Jets will be looking for talent at wide receiver next season undoubtedly. The priority that is placed on the position will likely be determined by how the Jets’ receiving corps does going forward. Marshall’s return will need to be determined and the Jets will need to decide if there is a spot for Kerley in their offense. The picture will become clearer as the season wraps up.

Next: Final thoughts

Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Final thoughts

The Jets’ offense has played fairly well this season, with mixed results at times, but they have consistently scored points, which is a huge difference from just a season ago. It hasn’t always been pretty and sometimes it has been ugly, but Fitzpatrick and company have scored enough points to post five victories through nine games.

Next: Top 10 fantasy football players to sit for Week 11

There is plenty of football yet to be played and if the Jets win out from here they’d be 12-4 and a playoff berth. Regardless of the outcome of this season, its apparent the Jets will need to try to upgrade the offense as a priority heading into 2016 when this season is said and done.