The New York Jets season mercifully came to an end today with a 30-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. They finished a disappointing 5-11 and with the 6th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Both Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan will be back for year three, after compiling a 15-17 record through two years with zero playoff appearances and no apparent answer at quarterback on the roster. Much of what happened today was meaningless so let’s paint a few broad strokes before spending the next few months diving into an offseason evaluation and strategy…
We Don’t Know If the Bowles/Maccagnan duo will work here yet but there’s been more bad than good through two years: It is too early to write either off entirely but the Jets are basically back at ground zero in terms of building their roster, similar to where they were after 2014. They need help everywhere. Bowles will need to remake large parts of his coaching staff and vastly improve his game management. Maccagnan will need to find pass rushers, build the secondary from scratch and figure out both offensive line and quarterback. He will also need to make some unpopular decisions with big names on the roster for the benefit of long term building.
Quarterback Is Wide Open: Fitzpatrick will be gone. Geno Smith will be gone. Bryce Petty is a borderline NFL player. We have no idea what Christian Hackenberg is but safe money says probably not a NFL starter. Could the Jets consider a quarterback in the first round? How big will they spend in the free agent market to bolster the position? What is the year two plan for Carbonite Hack?
No Half Measures: If the Jets are properly self evaluating (always a challenge for this organization), they are taking a machete to this roster. Cut Darrelle Revis. Cut or trade Brandon Marshall. Cut Nick Mangold. Trade Sheldon Richardson. Restructure David Harris. Restructure Eric Decker. Get Breno Giacomin, Ryan Clady, Marcus Gilchrist and Nick Folk off the roster. Level the house and build it from scratch. Turn the team over to Leonard Williams, Bilal Powell, Quincy Enunwa and Darron Lee, among others.
Positives? There are signs of potential young pieces to build around on offense, from ascending H-Back/receiver hybrid Quincy Enunwa, talented X receiver Robby Anderson, depth receivers Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake, should be starting running back Bilal Powell and offensive line pieces Brian Winters, Wesley Johnson, James Carpenter and Brandon Shell.
On defense, Jordan Jenkins closed the year with 2.5 sacks in the final 4 games. Deon Simon can play. Darron Lee has a long way to go but flashed at times as a rookie and both Daryl Roberts and Rontez Miles can be useful role players.
Season From Hell: How does a year like this happen? It takes a perfect concoction of awfulness from multiple places. For the Jets, it was an overhyped, mediocre journeyman quarterback crashing back to Earth, mixed with coaching regression, a ton of injuries exposing a weaker than perceived roster and the repeated no shows of big money players, namely Muhammad Wilkerson, Darrelle Revis, Sheldon Richardson, Brandon Marshall, Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist. They also had disappointing seasons from players supposed to take the next step, like Lorenzo Mauldin and Calvin Pryor.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com