Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Shane Vereen (34) is tackled by New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (91) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Giants 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets might have ended 2015 on a sour note but they still have a few concerns to correct heading into next season.
There were plenty of things to analyze that went wrong in the season finale against the Buffalo Bills. There are also major holes in this team that need to be fixed to make the NFL Playoffs in 2016. Some will look at 2015 as a season heading in the right direction but make no mistake about it, the Jets have a lot of work ahead of them.
They have some areas of concern that must be addressed. Their schedule will be tougher, they might lose a few key players to free agency and might not be the same team we grew to love in 2015.
Here are the top three concerns the Jets need to correct if they are to make any noise come next season.
Next: 3. Get to the QB
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) chases Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
3. Get to the QB
The Jets were the 6th ranked defense in the league. They were also seventh in scoring defense. However, when it comes to sacking the quarterback, they were in the middle of the pack.
This was very evident against the Bills when they couldn’t get to Tyrod Taylor. They totaled 37 sacks for the entire season but didn’t bring the heat when it mattered most to punch their ticket into the playoffs.
Not “getting home” (as in commonly said) can result in big chunk plays being allowed, which the Jets allowed many of in the game against Buffalo. They need to address their pass rush during the off-season to make sure they are able to consistently pressure opponents come next season.
Next: 2. Good field positioning
Nov 8, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) runs back a kick against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2. Good field positioning
According to Team Rankings, the Jets scored on 2/3 of their trips to the red zone. However, their defense put them in good field position several times and they failed to score touchdowns.
They had 14 turnovers that resulted in drives that started in opponents’ territory. While many of them came in games against bad teams and resulted in wins, two of them came in two losses against the Houston Texans and Bills (the only two losses in which they had turnovers lead to possessions in opponents’ territory) which could’ve changed the complexion of those games.
Next season’s schedule won’t be as soft as this year’s. Next season they will have to play Cincinnati, Seattle, and New England at home, and New England, Pittsburgh, Arizona and either Denver or Kansas City on the road. So, when they are given the opportunities, they have to take advantage of them. Especially by correcting their production when creating key turnovers and converting them into touchdowns.
Next: 1. Special teams
Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) runs past New York Jets punter Ryan Quigley (4) to return a punt for a touchdown during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
1. Special Teams
Football is a three-phase game. The offense and defense played well and the offense played exceptionally and unexpectedly above and beyond expectations. Unfortunately, special teams didn’t play their role.
To say their kickoff return team wasn’t up to snuff would be an understatement. They had a total of 35 returns with zero touchdowns and only an average of 21.2 yards per return.
The punt return team was even worse. The Jets forced 81 punts and 21 of those punts were fair caught. In the 45 punts they actually returned, they averaged 8.9 yards per return and had no touchdowns. Come next season, the Jets need to make sure they add a quality return specialist and completely overhaul their special teams coverage.
Yes, the Jets played well, despite low expectations. However, next season, the expectations will be much higher, given the fact that they played so well this season. As long as the Jets correct these concerns, they should be even better in 2016.