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Top 7 questions to be answered heading into 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Defensive end Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets reacts during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Defensive end Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets reacts during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 26: Defensive end Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets reacts during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 26: Defensive end Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets reacts during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Jets are hoping to find more answers in yet another rebuilding year. Here are the top seven questions that should be answered this upcoming season.

In less than three weeks, the New York Jets will play their first of four preseason games. After the preseason, the real games will soon commence. Not only will the games actually count for something, it will begin another long season ahead that should hopefully bring more clarity to the overall identity of this team.

The Jets have a new quarterback in town and several other new faces that should hopefully improve the roster this upcoming season. They still have some areas of concern in regards to their offensive line, pass rush, and well, if their offense can actually deliver consistent results.

Hopefully, everything falls into place and the Jets are able to be a contending team in 2018. It won’t be easy since it’s hard to tell what will transpire in the AFC East but one thing is for sure, the Jets are heading in the right direction.

How will Jets perform this season? Here are seven key questions that will be answered on the field this year.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 03: Brian Winters #67 and Josh McCown #15 of the New York Jets walk back to the huddle in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 03, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The New York Jets defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 38-31. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 03: Brian Winters #67 and Josh McCown #15 of the New York Jets walk back to the huddle in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 03, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The New York Jets defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 38-31. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

7. What will we see out of the quarterback position?

Let’s start off with the one everyone wants to know. Who will start the season at quarterback? It’s anyone’s guess really. It could be last years veteran starter, Josh McCown, who positively surprised everyone with his performance.

However, it won’t be in the Jets best interest to have Mccown start as many games as he did last season. Even if he plays at the level he did last year, which is unlikely given his that he’s 39-years-old, McCown won’t have the Jets contending for a playoff spot.

He also obviously isn’t a part of the Jets future plans given his age, so there’s no reason for the team to plan on him starting every game because that would leave Teddy Bridgewater and Darnold on the bench. McCown is best served to be a mentor, which could be a vital role as the younger players around him get opportunities to play.

Speaking of Bridgewater, he should be the Week 1 starter. We know what we’ll be getting from McCown, and it won’t be good enough to consistently bring this team victories. For Darnold, he may not be ready to start Week 1 given that he’s a rookie and will need time to transition to the pros.

Just two seasons ago, Bridgewater was entering his third season in the league coming off a playoff appearance with the Minnesota Vikings. Remember, Bridgewater was a first round pick as the Vikings viewed him as their future franchise quarterback.

If Bridgewater stays healthy and plays to the potential some think he has, the Jets could use him as trade bait and get a good return from a quarterback-needy team. Or maybe, the 26-year-old plays well enough to solidify himself as the Jets franchise quarterback and gives Darnold a year or two to learn from the sideline. The ladder is unlikely, but you never know.

Unless McCown or Bridgewater is playing very well, and/or the Jets are in the playoff hunt, we will see Darnold in action this season. Will we see the Darnold who was unanimously viewed as the best quarterback prospect before this recent college season, or the one who had his bad stretches of throwing interceptions this past season? If we see the rookie struggle, Jets fans must stay patient and not jump to any conclusions. Look at the rookie seasons Carson Wentz and Jared Goff had. One season later? Wentz was an MVP candidate and Goff was a big reason why the Rams were a playoff team.

Next: 6. Who will emerge as the lead running back?

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 29: Isaiah Crowell #34 of the Cleveland Browns rushes for a touchdown during the NFL International Series match between Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium on October 29, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 29: Isaiah Crowell #34 of the Cleveland Browns rushes for a touchdown during the NFL International Series match between Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns at Twickenham Stadium on October 29, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

6. Who will emerge as the lead running back?

Bilal Powell was the Jets best running back this past season, totaling 772 yards on 4.3 yards per carry and four touchdowns. In the offseason, the Jets signed Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls. Over the past two seasons, Crowell has averaged 902 yards on 4.5 yards per carry while rushing for nine touchdowns in that time.

As for Rawls, he has struggled to stay healthy. However, in the 2015-2016 season, Rawls ran for 830 yards on an amazing 5.6 yards per carry. The Jets stocked up on running backs since it’s possible they’ll have some kind of rotation between all these players to ensure a commitment to establishing the run.

Will one of those three separate themselves from the pack, or will the Jets go with a complete running back by committee approach? Having a good running game would undeniably help out the offense. Expect to see Crowell surprise many and put up more than enough to have him be the lead running back out of the backfield.

Next: 5. Who will be the top receiver?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 06: Robby Anderson #11 of the New York Jets makes a catch over Tony Lippett #36 of the Miami Dolphins during a game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 06: Robby Anderson #11 of the New York Jets makes a catch over Tony Lippett #36 of the Miami Dolphins during a game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 6, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

5. Who will be the top receiver?

Robby Anderson was the Jets best receiver this past season, as he totaled 941 yards and seven touchdowns. Quincy Enunwa, on the other hand, was also the Jets best receiver in the last season he played in. As we all know, he missed all of 2017 because of his neck injury, but he was the Jets best target in 2016-2017. 

Anderson was on the field with Enunwa in 2016-2017, but Robby wasn’t near the player that he is now. Now that they are both coming off of good seasons, we will see which one emerges as the favorite target. Anderson and Enunwa are just 26 and 25 respectively as Jets fans should hope to see them both for many years to come if everything falls into place.

Considering that Anderson is relatively healthy, expect him to pick up where he left off from last year. Especially now that he’s grown up from his off-the-field distractions.

Next: 4. How bad will the offensive line be?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 26: Brian Winters #67 of the New York Jets in action against the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 26: Brian Winters #67 of the New York Jets in action against the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

4. How bad will the offensive line be?

Yikes. Not exactly a promising question. But, it has to be asked. The Jets offensive line is undoubtedly a weakness. Pro Football Focus ranked each team’s offensive line, and the Jets unit ranked 31st out of 32 teams.

We obviously can’t expect the Jets offensive line to be great, but you can hope they aren’t terrible. If they end up being let’s say they’re the 20th or 22nd best unit opposed to the 2nd worst in the whole league, you can’t be too mad at that given the lowered expectations.

The important thing is to make sure Mccown, Bridgewater or Darnold aren’t constantly running for their lives. Bad offensive play can not only stunt the growth of young quarterbacks but also lose a lot of football games. Expect to see things get off to a rocky start once the season begins with the hope that perhaps over time of playing alongside each other, the Jets offensive line starts to develop cohesion and consistency.

Next: 3. Can Leonard Williams bounce back from a bad season?

3. Can Leonard Williams bounce back from a bad season?

In the 2015 draft, the Jets selected Leonard Williams with the 6th overall pick with the hopes that he would be a star on their defense. Williams had a good rookie season and improved his sophomore year. However, unlike his first two seasons, he didn’t show improvement this past year.

Will Williams have a bounce-back season? If not, you have to wonder if he can be a future cornerstone for this defense. When you select a player as high as the Jets did Williams, you hope that they can be a star, not just a quality starter.  Williams has definitely shown flashes during his short career but we’ll find out if he’ll be an elite player on the Jets defense for years to come in 2018.

Hopefully, Williams can prove he has what it takes to be trusted in earning a new long-term contract with the Jets. Expect him to step up his game and play better than what we’ve seen the past few years since he knows he’s playing for his future with the organization.

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Next: 2. Can Avery Williamson replace Demario Davis?

KANSAS CITY, MO – DECEMBER 18: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefsis sacked by inside linebacker Avery Williamson #54 of the Tennessee Titans during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO – DECEMBER 18: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefsis sacked by inside linebacker Avery Williamson #54 of the Tennessee Titans during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images)

2. Can Avery Williamson replace Demario Davis?

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Demario Davis is coming off of a very good season, no player in the entire NFL had more solo tackles than him. Unfortunately for the Jets, he is no longer on the team. However, the Jets were able to replace him in free agency with the signing of Avery Williamson.

Williamson is also coming off a very good season. PFF graded him as the 10th best linebacker in the league, only two spots below Davis. If Avery Williamson continues to improve, the Jets may not have only replaced Demario, but perhaps upgraded.

The Jets knew they wanted to continue having an experienced linebacker on defense to continue developing linebacker Darron Lee. Hopefully, Williamson can also be a leader on defense that can mold those around him towards greatness. Expect Williamson to replace Davis to the point where he likely won’t even be remembered for what he did last year since the potential is there to have some solid production yet again from the linebacker position.

Next: 1. Will this be a breakout season for Jamal Adams?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 26: Strong safety Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets reacts during the second half of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – NOVEMBER 26: Strong safety Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets reacts during the second half of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

1. Will this be a breakout season for Jamal Adams?

A little more than a year ago, the Jets drafted Jamal Adams with the 6th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, a selection which many considered excellent. Adams wasn’t great his rookie season, but he was solid. Could this be a breakout season for Jamal Adams? 

I see lots of similarities between him and Jalen Ramsey, who is just coming off his own breakout season. They were both the first defensive backs selected in their respective draft classes, not to mention, they are both filled with swagger and confidence.

Like Adams, Ramsey wasn’t great as a rookie, but that didn’t stop him from dominating in his second year in the league, the same year Adams is entering as we speak. Adams has developed into a leader on defense and is set to have even bigger results this time around.

Must Read: Top 10 greatest draft selections of all-time by the Jets

Hopefully, Adams becomes a big part of what looks to be the strength of the Jets defense in its secondary. Considering Adams has yet to get his first NFL interception, he will likely get it in 2018 and have an even greater impact. Expect to see Adams continue to hone his craft towards being a complete all-around safety,

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