Free Agency

Jets dropped the ball in free agency with lack of pass rushers

blederer
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers attempts a pass under pressure from Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers attempts a pass under pressure from Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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So far, the New York Jets have had a nice free agent haul but why no answer to the pass-rushing void? Looks like they dropped the ball in this major area of need so far in free agency.

When it comes to my favorite pro football team, I’ve always been left asking for more. When I was growing up in the 1960s and the New York Jets were up 30-0 with a few minutes left, I was deeply disappointed when the defense, in a prevent, surrendered a meaningless touchdown. Why did they allow the opposition to break the shutout? When the Jets led by a comfortable margin because Joe Namath had moved them down the field all game long, put two TDs on the board and settled for a handful of field goals in the red zone. I wanted more scores and fewer three-pointers. Winning wasn’t sufficient – I wanted to see domination from the Jets.

That search for more returned to me this week during the opening of the 2018 free agency signing period. It’s not necessarily realistic and, truth be told, I was impressed with what the Jets accomplished – just not satisfied.

I had suggested a Josh McCown/Teddy Bridgewater quarterback combination if Kirk Cousins left the Jets at the altar. Thank you, Mike Maccagnan. Unlike what I read this week, Isaiah Crowell IS NOT LIKE Bilal Powell or Elijah McGuire; he’s a bull, a fullback type that is a very nice alternative to his new backfield mates. Haven’t heard anything about Crowell’s pass-blocking or run-blocking, which is not to be underestimated.

I would have retained Demario Davis for the difference in cost that Avery Williamson saved; still, the Jets know Davis better than I ever could, so I will give OLB coach Kevin Greene and ILB Coach Mike Caldwell the benefit of the doubt. Spencer Long? Okay, everyone has written a change was needed at center.

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However, I wanted to see strength where there have been inarguable weaknesses.

No pass rush. The Jets need one and didn’t take steps to develop one. Good luck to Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye if Tom Brady et al can sit in the pocket and look, unhurriedly, clearly downfield. Don’t want to hear about blitzes. Blitzes sound scary –– but they don’t provide pass rush more than a time or two in a game.

Why wasn’t there a commitment to developing an outside rush – and not just from one player There had better be a plan to fill this biggest void on the team before the Jets go to camp.

We said goodbye to the only bonafide TE in memory for $1 million per season in a league with a $177.2- million salary cap. Austin Seferian-Jenkins‘ blocking and (average) pass-catching made him the first fully-functional TE in years. Is the “plan” really to put faith in three unproven bodies who play tight end and can block or catch, but not both? I hope not, but we’ll see. Kickers are easy to undervalue. They’re a dime a dozen until they miss “gimmes,” which lose close games.

As always, the key to the 2018 season will be how well the assistant coaching staff coaches up and improve the output of players on the roster, plus scheming and game plans. Maybe they can muster up a better pass rush with who they have currently have on the roster but pass rush is and should still be a priority heading into the draft.

Speaking of which, happy to see the Jets trade up in the first round to go from No. 6 to No. 3. Now Mike, go get us a young quarterback from this quarterback-heavy class.

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