The New York Jets have plenty of areas to improve this offseason and this is what they could learn from this year’s two Super Bowl LIV teams.
The New York Jets didn’t have the season they were hoping for in 2019. Despite taking a leap up to a 7-9 record, that final win/loss certainly doesn’t tell the story of the entire season.
The Jets started 1-7 amid injuries and disastrous on-field results before rattling off six wins in their last eight games to finish with their best record since 2015. But many of those wins came at the expense of reeling organizations and teams who weren’t playing for anything.
Either way, it’s pretty clear that the Jets have plenty of work to do this offseason to get this team to where they need to be next season.
For years, the organization has taken a backward approach to roster-building and the current iteration of the Jets roster is a perfect example of that. Emphasis has been placed on positions of lesser importance and the allocation of recent resources has been a nightmare.
For that reason, the Jets stand to learn a lot from this year’s two Super Bowl teams.
The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers have arguably two of the best, most complete rosters in the entire NFL. From innovative offenses to stingy defenses, the 49ers and Chiefs represent examples of how to build a roster and find success on the field.
Fortunately, if we’re talking defenses, the Jets seem to have already struck some luck in that department. Despite injuries at every level of the unit, the Jets defense managed to overachieve to a great degree in 2019.
The Jets had the 10th-best DVOA ranking among NFL defenses per Football Outsiders and that wasn’t necessarily a product of high-profile, defensive players.
Unknowns like Folorunso Fatukasi, James Burgess, and Blessuan Austin stepped up in 2019 with perhaps the only household name to make a major impact being Jamal Adams. That’s a credit to Gregg Williams and the incredible job he did last season.
But the Jets’ defense overachieved, and regression might not be far behind. That’s why when looking at a roster like the 49ers or even the Chiefs, it’s clear that one thing reigns supreme.
Having a pass rush.
The Jets’ leader in sacks in 2019 was Jordan Jenkins who finished with eight, and while Jenkins is a solid complementary piece, he’s not exactly at the talent level of any of the above players.
Gang Green needs to land themselves a stud pass rusher or two at some point if they are going to compete with the NFL’s best. Whether that’s on the edge or in the interior, it doesn’t matter.
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But having a pass rush is a necessity in today’s NFL.
On offense, both Kyle Shanahan and Andy Reid have created two of the most innovative, creative offenses in the NFL. Both offenses depend heavily on speed, separation, and getting players in space.
Under Adam Gase, the Jets had elements of that in 2019 but failed to truly latch on to the idea. In 2020 and beyond, it would be wise for the Jets to employ more crossing patterns and mesh concepts into their playbook as well as utilize their top playmakers to the best of their ability.
Gase needs to adapt to his players’ skill sets and emphasize their strengths — even if it comes at the expense of his “scheme.”
Finally, as with any successful team, both the 49ers and Chiefs have two of the better offensive lines in football. The Chiefs allowed less than half the amount of sacks the Jets did in 2019 and the 49ers’ offensive line has paved the way for a dominant rushing attack — even despite the loss of center Weston Richburg.
The Jets’ offensive line was a disaster in 2019 and it’s clear that the team needs a complete overhaul at the position. You can add all the skill players you want, but a team’s success begins and ends with the play of their offensive line.
And the Chiefs and 49ers know that very well.
It’s going to take some work for the New York Jets to stand a chance against the NFL’s elite, but there is a blueprint for success available.
They just need to start following that blueprint.