NY Jets: Was 2015 a success or failure?

Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs with the ball as Buffalo Bills strong safety Bacarri Rambo (30) pursues during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs with the ball as Buffalo Bills strong safety Bacarri Rambo (30) pursues during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

The NY Jets had a memorable season in 2015 but depending on how you look at things, it could be viewed as a successful year or one of failure. Regardless, Gang Green is headed in the right direction.

This past season, many people didn’t believe the Jets would be a team that would be a contender for the NFL Playoffs. Experts believed it would be a difficult year under first year head coach Todd Bowles. General manager Mike Maccagnan made changes to the overall roster in who he believed didn’t belong on the team.

When free agency began, Maccagnan was aggressive and made big moves in bringing players to the team. From what you saw on paper you weren’t sure in how this team would perform on the field. From the players that were brought in and that were on the team, Bowles knew he can trust the veterans to help him out.

The defense had big upgrades when they brought back Darrelle Revis, and Antonio Cromartie who are amongst the best cornerbacks in the league. The biggest addition to the team this off-season was when they traded for Brandon Marshall who causes havoc to opposing defenses. With these transactions, it helped the team upgrade their roster from what it was already. Fans were excited because of what the front office was doing in making this team better.

The fans loved that smart changes were made and the circus of coach was gone. Even though they were excited they were very skeptical in how the team would produce in changing  things around. Fans were even more skeptical because of how different the offense looked and if it would be very productive.

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The offense had two excellent receivers in Marshall, and Eric Decker as they became the best duo in the NFL. Most of the games this season, this dynamic duo had at least one or two touchdowns per game. If one receiver was caught in double coverage than the other would step in helping getting the other get open.

The running game for the team was very productive with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell causing havoc amongst defenses trying to stop them. The offense took a huge turn in being unstoppable when they went on a five-game winning streak late in the year to put them in playoff contention. The opponents I think that they gave problems to were the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and New England Patriots.

Even though the offense struggled at times this season, it continued to get better as the year went on. From what it was the past few seasons the Jets became a much better unit and didn’t have to rely on their defense. The only thing the Jets are missing is one other deep threat receiver to help round out the team on offense.

It will be interesting to see how they will do next year when their opponents are harder and have much better defenses than what they saw this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a huge upgrade in how productive the offense was and how he was the team leader that they were missing the past few seasons. With his veteran presence on the team, he changed the mindset of a lot of players on the offensive side to help them mature as players.

The defensive side of the ball has been the stronghold of the team because of how dominant they have been. The team brought back familiar players in Revis and Cromartie. These two players had the veteran presence and leadership the Jets needed to help take them to the next level. The defense kept them in every game this year which helped them succeed.

August 11, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive backs Antonio Cromartie (31) and Darrelle Revis (24) during practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

With many veteran players on the team each player stepped their game up and each player challenged one another. Leonard Williams was a big contributor in stepping up in filling the absence of Sheldon Richardson who was suspended four games at the start of the season. This defense was a big headache in stopping the run because it was the best in the league.

Many opponents had to change their game plan because they weren’t able to establish the run at all. Many teams in the NFL want their offense to be two dimensional but when it came to the Jets, most of the time they were only one dimensional. The opponents that had big problems in this area was the Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Dolphins, Washington Redskins and Giants.

What I noticed how different this team was compared to previous seasons, it’s not hard to realize this team had fight and they never gave up. This team in the past would of given up in a lot of games but with the way Bowles was coaching the team, he had them believe in one another.

The game against the Giants had people ecstatic because of how hard they fought. They were down by ten points going late into the fourth quarter and fought back and won in overtime by three points. The way the offense stepped up and the way the defense played, fans knew this team was building something special. That particular game helped them take a big step in the right direction.

Even though some of the games they looked like the “same old Jets,” they changed the mindset of the franchise and are heading to new heights. They had a successful season in being able to handle everything that was thrown at them. Bowles and Maccagnan has set the bar high in how they want they players to play day in and day out.

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Bowles has changed the mindset amongst the players in how to prepare for games and practice. Even though they missed the playoffs, it was an exciting year because the past few seasons have been really hard to enjoy watching. After what he have seen this season, only time will tell when they will become a contender for not only the playoffs but for the Super Bowl.

Many fans including myself were excited and pleased with how the season played out even though the season ended on such a sour note. It takes time to change things around but the Jets are taking steps in becoming a well established franchise.