NY Jets: 5 ways to go from good to great
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (10) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrate Marshall’s touchdown catch during the first half of their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets are looking to capitalize on their 2015 success and make a playoff push next year. But if they want any chance at accomplishing this, they must address some key issues.
Looking at the Jets’ depth chart, you don’t see a lot of weaknesses. The Jets finished 4th in total defense (looks like all the off-season spending paid off) and their offense finished 10th in total offense. Sure the offense doesn’t have any tight ends, but who needs those anyway?
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey clearly doesn’t, and if him and Ryan Fitzpatrick can have the same success on the offensive side of the ball that they had in 2015, special things will be happening in New York next season. That is if the defense continues to lock down the run and force quarterbacks to turn the ball over.
Gang Green did everything right in 2015 to make a playoff run but they fell just short of their goal. If they correct their miscues and learn from their 6 losses, next year could be the year.
Here are five ways the Jets can go from good to great heading into the off-season and preparing for 2016.
Next: 5. Coaching
Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles callas a timeout during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Todd Bowles might not admit it, but he had a pretty successful rookie year as head coach of the Jets. He took a 4-12 team and simply told them they don’t have to rebuild, this team can win now. Sure enough they won double digit games for the first time in five years, and came four quarters shy of making playoffs.
Bowles also had some rookie mistakes, from time management to questionable defensive adjustments, it was clear he was a deer in headlights at times. If you give Todd the off-season to review himself as a coach and look at what he needs to improve on, I assure you he won’t make the same mistake twice.
Improving on minor areas with game coaching errors might just be the difference from winning 10 games and 12 games. I’m confident Bowles will bounce back from this heartbreaking season and continue to build a winning culture in New York.
Next: 4. Offensive play calling
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey on the field before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
4. Offensive play calling
As much as this offense deserves praise for their record breaking performance this year, there are certainly adjustments that can take it to the next level, and it starts with the play calls. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey left many fans yelling at their T.V. (including myself) telling their screen how even themselves could of drawn up a better play.
Numerous times, Gailey would make things complicated instead of sticking with what was working. From receiver screens on 4th down to running the ball on all three downs with no success. If the Jets convert on some of these 4th downs they possibly win the game.
Correcting the play calling is critical for next years success and years to come. With the Jets it will never be easy, which is why everything needs to be perfect. This is the most deadly offense New York has seen since the Sanchez, L.T., and Santonio Holmes trio, and as long as “Fitzmagic” and Marshall are on the team, I’m confident they can build off of their recent success and be even better.
Next: 3. Defensive motor
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) runs for a touchdown with New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) in pursuit during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
3. Defensive motor
Bowles mentioned how his defense needs to play faster in 2016. Although there were many things to be happy about on the defensive side of the ball, unless your number one in the league, there’s always room for improvement. One of the big things that sticks out is the linebackers ability to cover running backs/tight ends.
Demario Davis, we’re looking at you. A player that was always seen flying around the field making tackles, now lost quality playing time to Erin Henderson based off of his lack of coverage skills, and also cause Henderson just flat out earned it. Although Davis still finished second on the team in tackles, these are issues that need to be addressed if he’s back in green and white in 2016.
Gang Green was ranked in the bottom half of the league for allowing plays of 25 yards or more. These things don’t happen cause of pure bad luck. Clearly this Jets’ defense had a weakness, whether it was because the defense was forced to stay on the field too much or because defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers and Bowles didn’t have their guys in check, this isn’t a characteristic you want to carryover to 2016 when your in a division with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
As long as David Harris and Darrelle Revis can keep their parts of the field in check and not make mental mistakes, this defense can continue to play at a high level even with Father Time not on their side.
Next: 2. Getting younger
Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan before a game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2. Getting younger
Let’s face it. If you were asked who the Jets top five players were, it would look something like (no order) Revis, Wilkerson, Marshall, Nick Mangold and I will just throw Decker in there. Three of those five guys are at least 30 years old. Which in football, isn’t the most attractive age for players when your trying to build a team for the future.
This off-season the Jets have to not break the bank on their own players and allow some of them to walk. This will allow general manager Mike Maccagnan to lead the way and try and find new young pieces to add to this rising team and fill their needs.
Maccagnan will most likely find these pieces in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft. It’s not uncommon at all to have a rookie come in and play lights out from the start (ex. Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley) with appropriate scouting and patience in the draft, the Jets could find another gem in the first few rounds.
Next: 1. Believe
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) being interviewed after game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Brandon Marshall praises “mind over matter” which is the use of willpower to overcome physical problems in life. This man obviously preached this enough in the locker room, because without Marshall’s play on the field and leadership off of it, this team would of known they were out of the playoff picture weeks before their season finale against Buffalo.
When you have a group of guys that want to win as much as this team does, they prove to be very hard to beat. Fitzpatrick, Marshall and Decker have all already formed unbreakable bonds and tremendous chemistry on the field, which right there can put a smile on any Jets fans face.
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What might even put tears in the eyes of fans is if this team can do even more than break franchise records and simply make the postseason. Marshall and Fitzpatrick have never made the playoffs and their time is now. These two guys want to reach this milestone more than anyone and I believe that they will reach it as the feature duo of the Jets.
Analysts and other sports writers are sitting here scratching their heads wondering how in the world the Jets won 6 more games than they did last year, it’s simple.
Mind over matter.