The New York Jets have had an active offseason on the offensive side of the football. Yes, adding two wide receivers, a right tackle, a quarterback and a running back is active. However, there has been a predominantly negative narrative about the current construction of their offense. It is a unit that isn’t a finished product (ATTN 12 draft picks, training camp cuts and summer waiver wire pickups) but let’s take a look what they currently have, both from the negative narrative perspective and from a more pragmatic one.
Negative: #2 WR who is being miscast as a #1 WR. CAN’T DO NOTHING WITHOUT PEYTON! Came to New York for the BRIGHT LIGHTZ of his reality show.
Pragmatic: Top 25 wide receiver in the NFL who is entering his prime. Versatile enough to play X, Z and in the slot. Will be immediate and substantial upgrade to the Jets group of receivers. In a perfect world, would be primarily the team’s X or split end. However, Marty Mornhinweg will move him around formation and get him in position to frequently be the primary target on passing plays. Mornhinweg tried to do this with Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes last season, hence why the Decker signing was so important.
Public Perception: SLOT. SLOT. SLOT. Hey, that guy isn’t quite as awful as the rest of the Jets mishmash of garbage at wide receiver the past few years. SLOT. SLOT. SLOT.
Pragmatic: A good NFL receiver, who has produced despite horrifically inconsistent quarterback play. Yes, Kerley excels in the slot primarily. However, he has produced on the outside of the formation as well. If the season started today, he would be the Jets clear cut second best overall receiver and merit the second most playing time and targets at the position.
Pragmatic: Disappointing through two years. Likely on the roster bubble, although he would need a really quiet summer and the Jets to draft a receiver or two to truly be sent packing via a cut or trade.
Negative: Borderline roster player who isn’t worth being noted when discussing the team’s plans at receiver in 2014 or for the long term.
Pragmatic: Rangy player, who excels in the slot despite his size. Think of him as a very poor man’s Marques Colston in that regard. He provides good depth and veteran experience and is capable of being a spot starter, as shown down the stretch last season. If the season started today, he’d see a good chunk of reps on the outside opposite of Decker.
Negative: NOT DESEAN JACKSON SO IT WAS STUPID.
Pragmatic: Brought in to be the team’s kick returner or compete with a draft pick for the returner spot. He has higher upside than Clyde Gates, Greg Salas and Saalim Hakim as a depth receiver and special teams player.
Negative: Just lost his job to Chris Johnson. One poorly football educated beat writer characterized him as a “short yardage” back.
Pragmatic: The team’s most talented running back, who when healthy is their lead back, particularly on 1st and 2nd down. He is a nonfactor in the passing game and has major durability concerns, hence the sense behind adding Chris Johnson.
Negative: Just lost his roster spot to Chris Johnson.
Pragmatic: Jack of all trades backup who is a strong inside runner but also is competent in the passing game. Johnson acquisition has limited impact on his roster spot. He is the primary backup to Ivory, who will inevitably miss time and remain active in the passing game.
Negative: Washed up. Waste of money. The Jets were foolish to invest in him as their lead running back.
Pragmatic: Ivory is still going to be the primary ball carrier on 1st and 2nd down with Powell backing up in that role. Johnson is a needed edge and passing game weapon for a Jets offense low on playmakers and people who can score touchdowns. He is their fastest skill position player and their best option on a screen pass, something Marty Mornhinweg likes to dial up frequently. The Jets very commonly sent two running backs into routes last season and they were most often Bilal Powell and Tommy Bohanon. It will now be Bilal Powell and Chris Johnson.
Negative: He is gone.
Pragmatic: He is probably gone.
Negative: He needs a less prominent role in the offense.
Pragmatic: He needs a less prominent role in the offense.
Negative: The Jets need a starting tight end.
Pragmatic: The Jets still need help at tight end. Cumberland is best utilized as a situational receiving tight end and nothing more. He struggles with blocking substantially and inconsistent with his route running and catching the football.
Negative: One doesn’t really exist. If anything, many Jets fans slightly overrate Sudfeld who is basically very similar to Cumberland, with maybe more upside.
Pragmatic: Will likely be the team’s third string tight end after the NFL Draft.
Negative: Vick won the job.
Reality: The Jets organization wants Geno Smith under center week 1. Smith progressed nicely in the final month of the 2013 season and should improve with a full offseason under his belt and will be helped by the new weapons around him. Barring an injury or a surprising preseason meltdown, Smith will be under center week 1.
Negative: Washed up. Turnover prone. Will start for Jets and fail.
Reality: Upgraded their backup quarterback spot substantially and was the best available free agent quarterback on the market. He is very turnover prone but hopefully is only needed in case of an injury to Smith. If Smith does struggle or get hurt, Vick is capable of coming in and winning a game or two, much more so than anybody the Jets had at backup quarterback in the past five years.