The 2019 New York Jets season has come to an end. Here is a complete assessment of the team’s offense from last season and looking ahead.
Only two teams finished with fewer passing yards per game than the New York Jets this season:
- The Pittsburgh Steelers, who’s starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2 which eventually forced them to start their fourth-string quarterback, Devlin Hodges for six games.
- While the other team was the Washington Redskins, who started rookie Dwayne Haskins for seven games.
To be fair, Sam Darnold missed three games this season which forced the Jets to play Luke Falk. In the three games Falk appeared in, the Jets offense averaged 5.3 points per game.
Now, let’s access Sam Darnold’s performance this season.
This was Sam Darnold’s second season as a starter. With that being the case we’ve previously seen several second-year quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Mitch Tribusky, and even Lamar Jackson this season showed lots of improvement in their second seasons, it was reasonable to expect Darnold, a former third overall pick to do the same.
In 13 starts, Sam Darnold threw for 3,024 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. On a 16 game pace, those numbers average out to 3,722 yards 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Those numbers aren’t very impressive, but we must also acknowledge that Darnold played with a poor offensive line, a non-existent running game and lacks a true No. 1 Wide Receiver. At the same time, we can’t assume Darnold will turn into a superstar if the Jets do get him more help or constantly make excuses for him because of his supporting cast.
Despite dealing with arguably the worst offensive line in football, Deshaun Watson has become a very good player for the Houston Texans. Kyler Murray as a rookie had more total yards per game than Sam Darnold with a better touchdown-to-interception ratio on about the same yards per attempt despite being drafted onto the worst team in football with a rookie head coach.
All in all, Sam Darnold is still a young player who has shown flashes throughout his first two seasons. A key for him will be to limit his turnovers and to eliminate the boneheaded plays, like his bone-headed Week 9 red zone interception against the Dolphins. Needless to say, that year three will be a big year for Darnold.
The New York Jets finished 31st this season in rushing yards per game. This past offseason, the Jets signed Le’Veon Bell to a four year 52 million dollar deal. After one season, the Jets likely regret giving that contract to Bell.
This season, Bell rushed for a career-low 789 yards and an abysmal 3.2 yards per carry. It’s not easy to run behind the Jets offensive line, but much more should have been expected from a man who made 14 million dollars this season.
You can’t convince me that elite running backs like Christian McCaffery and Ezekiel Elliot would not have been more productive under these circumstances. Prior to this season, Bell was seen as just as good if not better than those guys.
Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery were the two main running backs behind Bell this season. Given the versatility he showed in the preseason, it was surprising how little we saw Montgomery featured in the team’s offense this season. Powell, on the other hand, had 59 rushes for 229 yards. Powells 3.9 yards per carry on a small sample size is nothing to brag about, but it was higher than the 3.1 yards per carry Bell offered this season.
Entering this season, the three main wide receivers for the Jets were Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder. Believe it or not, Crowder was the one who led the team in both yards and touchdowns.
On the other hand, Anderson has blossomed into one of the NFL’s best deep threats and has been a good asset for the Jets offense. However, he will be a free agent this offseason and will likely be demanding between $12 to $15 million per year. That’s a hefty price on a guy who’s never had over 1,000 yards in a season for a team that’s limited on cap space after last offseason spending spree.
Do you know who had more receiving yards this season than Quincy Enunwa? You! Yeah, you the reader! Enunwa made one reception for -4 yards in Week 1 and that was the only game he appeared in this season due to his 2nd season-ending injury in three years.
Given that the current Jets regime isn’t the one who gave Enunwa his recent contract extension, it wouldn’t be surprising if they looked to move on from him this offseason due to his injury history.
With Robby Anderson likely gone, the Jets wide receiver group could be very thin next season. They could make up for that by using Le’Veon as a receiver more. Additionally, we could see more two-tight end sets with Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin. Herndon showed flashes during his rookie season and Griffin played well enough to earn a contract extension during the season.
The New York Jets finished 31st in points per game this regular season. As everyone knows, that is unacceptable. That isn’t the bi-product of one person. It’s not just on Adam Gase, it’s not just on Sam Darnold, it’s just not on the offensive line, it’s on everyone. We need to see improvement from the Jets offense in 2020.