Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) celebrates with tight end Jace Amaro (88) after catching a touchdown pass against the New York Giants during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
If the New York Jets plan to have a winning season in 2016, it will come down to if their offense can replicate what they did last year. Especially with their top players stepping up.
The New York Jets set many records on offense in 2015. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick set the team record for touchdowns in a season. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker became the first teammates in franchise history to each have double digit touchdowns, and they also set an NFL record for most games where each player has a touchdown. That occurred eight times.
With that being said, the offense could be even better in 2016. It may not be statistically better, but schematically and from an “eye-test” standpoint, it may appear better.
There are five key players on offense that will need to make an impact for this team to succeed in 2016. Without further ado, here are the ones that will undoubtedly push the envelope for the Jets this upcoming season.
Next: 5. Having a major major rookie impact
Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Charone Peake (19) warms up before playing against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
5. Wide Receiver Charone Peake
It’s very difficult to say a rookie will have a huge impact season with a team. However, after watching the Oakland Raiders perform well last season with Amari Cooper, a rookie wide receiver can make a huge impact right out the gates.
So, Peake will be able to do so as well. He has a key skill you can’t teach, speed. The kind of speed that can take the top off of defenses faster than a New York minute.
Peake will be an immediate impact player, because the Jets didn’t have a speed threat last season, and yet they still performed the way they did. His speed will only help players like Marshall and Decker.
His speed can also open up the underneath stuff for tight end Jace Amaro. He will be the biggest impact rookie on that side of the ball.
Next: 4. An old face looking for redemption
4. Quarterback Geno Smith
Smith will be the starting quarterback this season for the Jets, despite fans wanting Ryan Fitzpatrick back. Smith has never had a surrounding cast like this one and that will only make him better in the grand scheme of things.
Fitzpatrick never had a season at or above .500 until 2015, and despite a much poorer surrounding cast in 2013, the Jets did go 8-8 with Smith at the helm. So, with this coaching staff, we should expect much better results.
Also, despite the fact the his record went from 8-8 to 3-10, his interceptions went down from 21 to 13 and his completion percentage went up almost four points from 55.8% to 59.7%. That indicates he was showing improvement individually.
Some say he is very immature after the broken jaw after a punch from IK Enemkpali over $600, but he was 24-years-old last season. Maybe we should cut him some slack for some stupid mistakes at that age.
Next: 3. An important offensive lineman
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tackle Ryan Clady (78) prepares to block in the second quarter of the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
3. Offensive Tackle Ryan Clady
He’s charged with protecting the quarterback’s blindside. As stated earlier, Smith will likely start, and according to Pro Football Reference, he had taken a sack on 8.1% of his pass attempts and a total of 71 sacks in 2013-14.
Protecting Smith will be key to success, especially the blindside. Smith is athletic, but he prefers to play from the pocket.
Clady miseed the entire 2015 season with the Denver Broncos due to an ACL tear, and he has something to prove.
Next: 2. A new weapon in town
May 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) watches Matt Forte run with the ball during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
2. Running Back Matt Forte
Forte is one of the biggest additions the Jets made in the offseason. Forte gives this team consistency on offense.
The Jets’ running game is more versatile, because Forte is faster than Ivory and he gives them a three-down back, even though he may not be used that way frequently. He also gives them a second receiving option out of the backfield.
The Jets solidified one of their key needs. Now their offense is completely set in the backfield.
Next: 1. Improving their worst position
Aug 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Jets won 25-17. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
1. Tight End Jace Amaro
Amaro suffered a torn labrum in the teams’s first preseason game last season, and as a result, missed the entire year. It was supposed to be his “show me” season.
His NFL.com scouting report says:
"Was used as a slot receiver and does not show the functional strength and body power to match up with NFL defensive linemen."
He’s going to have to work on that during camp, but he can be the receiver the Jets need. The combination of him, Decker, Marshall, Peake and either Forte or Powell out of the backfield will be a deadly combination to cover for any defense.
It will basically be a pick-your-poison kind of offense and Amaro gives Smith a much needed security blanket. Combine that with the great defense the Jets will launch should make for an interesting season in 2016.