May 25, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets are preparing to continue their momentum of 2015 heading into the regular season. Here are five bold predictions for 2016.
The New York Jets are coming off a disappointing end to a mostly successful 2015 season. As bad as 2015 ended; going from 4-12 to 10-6 is always a good sign for a team that has a lot of talent and is ready to win now.
The Jets however are faced with a much more difficult schedule than they had last year and many people are writing them off already. Who says that 2016 can’t be better than 2015? Why are the Jets already doomed?
Don’t believe in all the negative talk that is already being spread about them. The Jets have great leadership leading the way as all will be fine in the grand scheme of things with the Jets.
Without further ado, here are the top five bold predictions for Gang Green heading into the regular season.
Next: 5. The return of Ryan Fitzpatrick
5. The return of Ryan Fitzpatrick
The ongoing contract dispute between the Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is making all Jet fans a bit uneasy. The thought of going into the season with quarterback Geno Smith as the starting quarterback is nauseating.
Fitzpatrick has absolutely no leverage left in his negotiations with the team and there is no value for him on the open market. Then Jets know this and they will sit strong with the three-year/$24M contract they have offered.
Fitzpatrick will realize that if he wants to play football in 2016 he is going to have to come to an agreement with the team. He is too much of a competitor to just retire or to sign somewhere else for less money based on principle.
On the other hand, the Jets are a team that is ready to win now. They would be doing themselves a huge disservice by not getting Fitzpatrick in the starting lineup. Although they have a lot of young arms that are hungry to play, head coach Todd Bowles is a patient man and will know when the time is right to throw one of those arms into the game.
You can bet that Bowles is waiting by his phone waiting for general manager Mike Maccagnan to break the good news of Fitzpatrick re-signing. The last thing a second year coach wants is to have to start over at a position of such importance without a planned transition.
If doing a one-year/$12M deal is the only way, then so be it. The Jets say they are not interested but when push comes to shove, they will give a little bit more to make the team more competitive by the beginning of the season.
Next: 4. The rise of Jace Amaro
Aug 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Jace Amaro (88) celebrates scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
4. The rise of Jace Amaro
Tight end Jace Amaro has not lived up to the hype since being drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Coming out of Texas Tech, Amaro was viewed as one of the best tight ends at his position.
Setting records in college with his 106 receptions for 1,352 yards with seven touchdowns, Amaro was looked at as the receiving threat tight end the Jets have been looking for since Dustin Keller. Combined with a tough scheme and lack of a stability at the quarterback position, Amaro struggled greatly in his first year recording only 38 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Amaro, he suffered a season ending injury in the early part of 2015 and was placed on injured reserve.
This year gives Amaro a chance to resurrect his career with a scheme that could let him take advantage of his strengths. Amaro is not much of a blocker but has shown to be a vertical and red-zone threat in the passing game.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s scheme may not be known for its utilization of tight ends but it is known for wanting bigger receivers. Amaro, at 6’6 and 265 pounds, can be a a serious threat in the vertical game against linebackers and safeties and can line up wide as well to use his size against corners. Having a player with the size and speed of Amaro to go side-by-side with Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall is an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses. This will be the year that Amaro shows the skills that led him to be drafted so high.
Next: 3. Lorenzo Mauldin enjoys breakout year
Nov 8, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (55) reacts during the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
3. Lorenzo Mauldin enjoys breakout year
One of the brightest spots of last year’s draft class was linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin being drafted out of Louisville. Mauldin was faced with a tough upbringing and battled through life to achieve his dream of making it to the NFL.
Hearing his story and seeing the type of the kind of person he was made you want to route for this guy, whether he was a Jet or not. Bowles was very particular on Mauldin’s usage in year one, having him play mostly on special teams and as a situational pass rusher.
For his limited time on the field, Mauldin showed flashes of dominant pass rushing ability along with a motor that never stopped. He ended up recording 17 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
It has been said that Mauldin has put weight on to bulk up to 265 pounds in order to take on the new role the team envisions him in. This improved size and strength combined with the improved mental awareness of the game is great sign in Mauldin’s development. This will be the season that Mauldin proves he can be a full-time player on this defense.
Next: 2. Jets will lead the NFL in sacks
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Patriots 26-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
2. Jets will lead the NFL in sacks
In the 1980’s, the Jets’ defensive line otherwise known as the New York Sack Exchange were one of the most feared defensive fronts in football. This will be the year where the Jet’s will regain their dominance as a premiere pass rushing team that will allow them to lead the league in sacks.
With the loss of defensive tackle Damon Harrison, the Jets lost the anchor to their run defense, but with the departure opportunity will arise. This will allow the team to have more speed on the field on all three downs. Having a combination of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Mauldin on the field on all three downs will provide the Jets with more ability to attack the quarterback on early passing downs.
With the improvements in the secondary with a now healthy cornerback Darrelle Revis, an overlooked talent in defensive back Buster Skrine, the addition of cornerback Juston Burris and the up-and-coming talent in cornerback Marcus Williams, the Jets will be able to cover opposing receivers for a longer period of time to allow for more pressure to be applied to the quarterback.
The Jets get the domination that the sack exchange produced with just their front four, but with the combination of scheme and talent, the Jets will have an improved pass rush combined with deadly blitz packages that will allow them to lead the league in sacks. It’s easy to see the Jets’ defense get 50 sacks this upcoming season as a unit.
Next: 1. Jets will start the season hot
oDec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) and New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) celebrate Marshall
1. Jets will start the season hot
When the 2016 schedule came out many people looked at the Jets’ schedule and shrieked when they saw the first six games. The Jets do have a very tough road ahead of them but that does not mean that they will be unsuccessful.
If this team is ever going to get rid of the “same ol Jets” stigma, it needs to be this year. The Jets can elevate the franchise not just this year but for years to come with a successful 2016. The team will not make the NFL Playoffs or even have a winning record if they do not beat very tough, playoff caliber teams. They need to prove that teams need to be worried about playing them, not the other way around.
The Jets will not only do this, but they will start the season off on the right foot with a win at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets will not lose three in a row to the Buffalo Bills and will also beat them in Week 2.
They will go on the road again and unfortunately lose a very tough game to a conference opponent in the Kansas City Chiefs. They will return home to face the Seattle Seahawks who are not the same when they are not in their building. This will be another win for the Jets.
In Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Jets will fall short due to a offensive shootout won by Ben Roethlisberger over Fitzpatrick. In Week 6, the student will beat his teacher with the Jets winning a close game against Bruce Arians and Arizona Cardinals at home.
This may seem crazy, but it has to happen if the Jets want to make themselves apart of the group of elite teams in the NFL. They will be 4-2 after their first six games of the regular season.