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Will the New York Jets offense be better or worse in 2016 than it was last year? Why?
Joe Caporoso – It will be challenging for the New York Jets to top their 2015 performance. If Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback, he is likely to have some type of regression from a career year that saw many favorable match-ups and bounces. If Geno Smith is the quarterback, there is potential upside but a much lower floor. He remains a major question mark. The offensive line is one injury away from disaster due to a lack of depth. In order to be competent, they will need Brian Winters to play the way he did to end 2015 and Ryan Clady to stay on the field. At the skill positions. the potential for improvement is the greatest. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker showed no signs of slowing down. Quincy Enunwa and Devin Smith will only get better. Jace Amaro is back in the mix and there is a stronger, better fitting three headed monster at running back this year than there was last year.
There is likely to be a statistical regression but there is enough talent for this offense to still remain in the top half of the NFL and properly balance out what should be a very good to great defense.
David Aitken – I expect an offense that will be an overall better unit than it was in 2015, but I’m skeptical as to whether the production will actually show it in comparison. On the 2016 schedule the Jets are currently slated to play more upper echelon pass defenses and overall better teams than in 2015. I talked about here how the 2015 Jets were lucky to not turn the ball over more, and probably won’t be as lucky again with Fitzpatrick as starter. Starting Geno Smith instead of Ryan Fitzpatrick is probably the number one variable in terms of answering this question, and I covered in that same post that I don’t think they’re that far apart. Smith actually has more potential to elevate the passing offense, the downside being that Smith is more likely to be exposed with a substandard offensive line. On the subject of the line, I don’t expect a drastically improved unit from last year. I do, however, think that a healthy Clady should at least prevent the line from falling into complete despair. The bigger thing here is avoiding a pitfall that could come from such an injury and Brian Winters struggling to build on some serviceable 2015 play.
The real improvement should come from the quantity of weapons. For much of 2015 the Jets relied solely on Marshall and Decker for passing game production. Matt Forte adds a consistent pass catcher in the backfield, and Bilal Powell should be expected to build on his late season surge to be a more consistent weapon as well. Quincy Enunwa is a real possibility to feature more consistently. Jace Amaro’s role in 2016 is a total unknown, but he’s someone who could realistically also be a difference maker. The one element the Jets will truly miss from 2015 is Chris Ivory’s relentless power running, but the ability to run Forte and Powell out of spread sets consistently in a way Ivory’s lack of pass catching prowess prevented the 2015 Jets from doing more consistently should make up some running efficiency.
Still expecting a Ryan Fitzpatrick return, I would expect a season with a similar amount of touchdowns, more interceptions (maybe even leading the league), a better completion rate and setting the Jets single season passing record.
Joe Malfa – If Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starting QB, I think the offense moves laterally. Some people question wether or not he can produce the way he did last season, but I can’t see why not. He has always thrived in Gailey’s system and he has the same weapons plus Forte — a huge upgrade in the passing game from Ivory.
The only way I see the offense getting better or worse is with Geno Smith at the helm — he’s the wild card. Some early indications make it seem as if he has improved tremendously, with Revis being the most recent player to sing his praises. He fits the system, has a bigger arm, and is more mobile, so Gailey would probably be able to open up the playbook a bit more. On the flip side, we have all seen “good Geno” and “bad Geno.” If we get the “bad Geno,” things can go south in a hurry.
Overall, the offense pretty much stays the same with Fitzpatrick, but Geno presents a lower floor and a higher ceiling.
Edward Gorelik – I think the safe route is to expect the Jets to fall behind last years marks. I’m going to say that they’ve got a good shot to improve, production and play-wise. Regardless of Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick, the plan on offense likely remains the same. Same concepts, same plays used to help the QB, and same Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to throw to. Except now there’s also Matt Forte. I loved Chris Ivory but he was not a fully reliable back at any point in his career. Forte on the other hand excels at catching passes and staying healthy for long periods of time. Without changing any of the offenses main concepts, the Jets can easily involve Forte and see a significant increase in productivity.
Further helping the Jets case is Jace Amaro. Although I don’t think he’ll see the field over Quincy Enunwa, in the redzone he should become a very valuable weapon. Same goes if any of the top targets go down. Amaro has yet to show anything on the field resembling a special player but with his size he’s an organic weapon. That kind of gigantic mismatch of a TE who can block in-line, run routes out of WR spots, and get YAC; can easily generate more offense for a player like Ryan Fitzpatrick who gets minimal value out of Devin Smith.
Should Geno start, then we’re talking a brand new game. Fitzpatrick averaged just under 1.5 completions of throws over 20 yards per game due to obvious issues. With Geno at helm, that number could easily double given the spread system, easy reads, and consistently open players that Fitzpatrick had trouble targeting. Those kind of massive field-flipping plays should be a major piece of our 2016 offense, if Geno starts. The Jets already use horizontal constraints heavily by throwing at the sideline to improve the run game, with the addition of two vertical constraints in the form of the deep ball and Matt Forte’s receiving and rushing skills, you’re now stretching the defense in every direction.
Both players have the position to improve this offense should they be able to execute to the guidelines the Gailey has in place. It already does most of the work for the QB as is, so I don’t see why they both couldn’t bring the monster cast to be better than it was last year. I do think one of them has a better chance to than the other though, Geno.
Kevin Zielaznicki – If I had to guess on whether or not the Jets offense would be better or worse this year compared to last year’s performance, I believe that it will be worse. When projecting the performance of the Jets offense next year, many point to the concerns surrounding Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith but I think the greater concern is the Jets offensive line heading into the 2016 season. Long time starting center Nick Mangold is another year older and former star left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired after experiencing a huge regression the past few seasons leaving former Pro Bowler Ryan Clady as the projected starter at LT. James Carpenter had a solid season run blocking but had a hard time protecting Ryan Fitzpatrick. Breno Giacomini and Brian Winters both struggled tremendously at times and were often targets of opposing defenses, especially in pass protection. The only area of the line that I can see improving in 2016 is at the left tackle spot with Ryan Clady replacing Brick, but other than that, I don’t expect much from the other projected starters.
John Hargaden – Going into the 2016 season, there have been a few changes on the Jets offense. Chris Ivory departed to Jacksonville on a big money deal and the Jets were able to bring in Matt Forte for a team friendly deal. At the running back position this year the Jets also signed Khiry Robinson and did re-sign Bilal Powell who had a great 2015 season. In Chan Gailey’s offense, you will see a mix and match of all these three at any given time. I am very interested in Forte and what he can bring to this team in regards to catching out of the backfield. The offensive line had a big hole when D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired after 10 seasons, this led to the trade for Pro Bowl tackle Ryan Clady, who has been injured over the past few seasons.
Jace Amaro is returning after being out last season with a shoulder injury and he is going to look to make a impact. As we take a look at WR, Jeremy Kerley left and signed with Detroit. With Marshall and Decker coming back, they will look to tear it up once again. This is all leads to the big elephant in the room, the QB spot. I do believe when push comes to shove that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back on a 2 year deal in the next few weeks. If he does not, then the Jets will most likely roll into week 1 with Geno Smith at the helm. If Ryan does come back, then I think this offense could be just as good as they were last year. If Smith is the starter, there will be a big question mark. I want to believe in Geno but I am just not too sure if I can
Alex Kaczynski – I believe the Jets offense will improve in comparison to the 2015 season. With or without Ryan Fitzpatrick, this offense is simple enough for Geno to be the signal caller. Reports from camp are promising regarding his progression in the system, as well as an improved velocity and accuracy.The addition of Matt Forte changes this offense dramatically because of the amount of short passes and check downs to keep the chains moving. I think that we will see some progression in the tight end position which is needed desperately. I hope Amaro finally finds himself back on the field because he can be a real difference maker in the red zone if he gets going. Unfortunately, this offense is going to hinder on the heath of the offensive line which means Clady has to stay healthy and on the field. The wide receivers will pick up right where they left off and I expect more space once Forte starts to grab some attention from the secondary.
Sean Walsh – The Jets offense will have to exceed all expectations if they are to top their performance of 2015. With the QB situation still up in the air, current starter Geno Smith has only played one regular season game under Chan Gailey’s offense but had a whole season to get acclimated to the system.
Matt Forte should become a legit option out of the backfield in the both the running and passing game. Khiry Robinson from NOLA has come in with a violent running style and will add plenty to the Jets with the short yardage situations that now Jaguar Chris Ivory is gone.
My biggest concern for the Jets offense as is and probably overall is the offensive line and how it will stand up in 2016 after a subpar performance from the majority of the line in 2015. With 4 time pro bowler Ryan Clady coming in from Denver to fill the massive hole left by Jets future Ring of Honor member D’Brickashaw Ferguson, if he can get his knees right and stay healthy he will be an upgrade. James Carpenter was outstanding last year and will be crucial for the success of the run game on the left side and of course Nick Mangold, who just keeps on giving.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com