The New York Jets are 5 games into the 2019 season. Here’s a full in-depth analysis and roster evaluation for the green and white.
The New York Jets never could have portended Sam Darnold‘s mononucleosis nightmare. But we saw the offensive electricity “14” provided and inspired during last week’s return against the Dallas Cowboys.
The best news is there’s legitimate explosiveness at the offensive skill positions when Darnold connects with Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery, Bilal Powell, Robby Anderson, Demaryius Thomas, Jamison Crowder, and Chris Herndon.
The defensive back-end can make stops when it matters, between Jamal Adams, one of the best in the game, and unit-mates Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles and Matthias Farley. But like any enigma, this team still offers more questions than answers.
The new front office is slowly cleaning out the house.
Since August, there have been 14 additions to the 53-man roster. Only 20 players remain from 2018. They’ve even signed two Kaufusi brothers, DE Bronson and Corbin, to the 10-man practice squad! But they’ve already expended valuable sixth-round picks to acquire Thomas, Nate Hairston (and Kelechi Osemele). So there’s much to address:
Cornerback remains a source of consternation.
None of the previous regime’s five CBs taken over the past four drafts remain on this roster. Mike Maccagnan’s $78 Million Man Trumaine Johnson has shown up of late, but the newly acquired Hairston and Blake Countess may offer comparable upside at cover-corner. Darryl Roberts is a nice role player paid like a starter and thrust into starting duty. This is a unit in need of an overhaul.
This season’s master plan at tight end lays in tatters.
Herndon hurt this team with his four-game suspension due to an ugly DUI incident. He compounded that bad move by returning to the field out-of-shape; pulling his hamstring first day back. And the new front office can’t be pleased with Ryan Griffin‘s underwhelming receiving and blocking. Daniel Brown only plays because fourth-rounder Trevon Wesco needs a year on the bench. Herndon must deliver through January for this front office to not pursue other options.
GM Joe Douglas, a former Richmond O-lineman, has worked overtime to overhaul that positional weak spot.
Of 2019’s original starting five, the Jets careers of both left tackle Kelvin Beachum and left guard Osemele are essentially over due to injury. So expect a tackle rotation of recent-signing Conor McDermott, rookie Chuma Edoga, and an out-of-position Brandon Shell. With Osemele out, Alex Lewis has paired well with right guard Brian Winters, and they’ve got competent reserve Tom Compton. At the center, expect a Ryan Kalil mercy killing and a new job for Jonotthan Harrison. Is there even one player to build around?
Gregg Williams has made efficient use of Tarell Basham and Harvey Langi, which may explain the team waiving Frankie Luvu (26 tackles and three sacks in 18 games over two seasons). Jordan Jenkins covers the strong side but Brandon Copeland was invisible in his post-suspension return against Dallas and strikes little fear as an edge-rusher.
Improved inside pressure has come via first-rounder Quinnen Williams, 2018 sixth-rounder Foley Fatukasi, UDFA Kyle Phillips and recently extended Steve McLendon. Leonard was supposed to be a superstar, but his unit-worst stat line, upcoming max contract, the dearth of mid-round draft picks — and the alleged flurry of interest in him — makes trading “92” at the deadline a no-brainer. Call it addition by subtraction.
The Jets have a great punter, a reliable kicker, and one of the best long-snappers in the game.
And now with former Houston Texan Vyncint Smith, they’ve got a legit kickoff threat. But Braxton Berrios, one of the best college punt returners at Miami, has yet to flash such skills in Green-and-White, and UDFA hopeful Greg Dortch just got signed off the practice squad. Special Teams coach Brant Boyer’s ST specialists may be collectively among the NFL’s best.
Expect that Darnold and the Jets will be ready to rumble when they take the MetLife field Monday night against New England. But they’re still not 100% healed, with many projected 2019 starters unavailable. Herndon’s return may not be enough to get it done if you catch my drift…
Can this team really finish the year 9-2 to squeeze in for a wild card? Stranger things have happened…