The New York Jets are approaching the upcoming season looking for progress from their young, inexperienced roster as they rebuild. The objectives now are to discover potential, see growth, and, in a few cases, see dominance. Thankfully for most positions, that can be measured. Let’s look at some statistical objectives for the Jets players that are important for the team’s future. We’ll also use stats from seasons past of current NFL players as a template or “target model” for these objectives.
Disclaimer: Note that these are statistics to aim for and not expectations. Also, target models are mainly for statistical purposes.
Stats Goal: Start at least 8 games; Don’t get benched; TD-to-INT ratio above 1.25 and completion percentage of at least 60%
Target Model: Andy Dalton in 2011 (3,398 yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs, 58.1% comp pct)
The most important quarterback on the roster for the Jets, present and possibly future, is Christian Hackenberg. It’s clear that he will have his chance to play this year. The main goal for him, this season, should be to start at least eight weeks and to not lose the job once it is his. If he does end up being replaced, its likely the season isn’t going well and the Jets end up hitting reset at QB once again. If he keeps his job for a significant amount of time and is able to take care of the football and keep his completion percentage around 60%, then the Jets will have to consider bringing him back as the starter next season.
The template for an ideal season for him would be Andy Dalton in 2011. Dalton was able to not chronically turn the ball over in his rookie season, achieving a TD-to-INT ratio of 1.5. He did finish under 60% for his completion percentage but not by much (58.1%). As we know, he built on the promise he showed that season in the following years.
Stats Goal: 1000+ Rush Yards, 5+ TDs
Target Model: Lamar Miller in 2014 (1099 Rush Yards, 8 TDs)
Bilal Powell is a fan favorite for how hard he’s worked in his time with the Jets to get better and to show it on the field. Last season he showed he deserves the majority of carries this season. Running backs coach Stump Johnson even said as much when he claimed Powell would be a Pro Bowler as a feature back on another team. The goal for Powell this season should be to crack the 1000 yard mark and put the ball in the endzone at least 5 times.
The target template for Powell should be the season Lamar Miller had in 2014. After showing promise while sharing carries in 2013, Miller got the opportunity to have the heavier load in 2014 and didn’t disappoint. Not only did he rush for over 1000 yards, he also averaged over 5 yards a carry as the feature back.
Stats Goal: 50+ touches (catches and carries) on offense
Target Model: Travaris Cadet in 2016 (44 total touches, 40 catches, 281 receiving yards)
As a rookie, Elijah McGuire’s primary objective is to get on the field. However, if he continues to show himself to be a versatile weapon, he could have a more significant impact than originally expected. The Jets backfield is crowded but McGuire might be the best pass catcher out of the bunch. The target for McGuire is to set himself apart from the RB group and convince Morton to get him the ball at least 75 times on offense.
The statistical template McGuire can go after is Travaris Cadet last season. Like Cadet, McGuire has rare pass catching ability at his position. Cadet got himself more playing time by taking advantage of that distinction and McGuire can do the same. Cadet had 44 touches last season in what was a already a pretty powerful offense. McGuire can definitely exceed 50 touches in the Jets’ offense if he can prove himself to be reliable as a receiver and serviceable out of the backfield.
Stats Goal: 80+ catches, 1000+ receiving yards, 5+ TDs
Target Model: Allen Robinson in 2015 (80 catches, 1400 yards, 14 TD’s)
Quincy Enunwa is one of the best players on the team after showing amazing growth from 2015 to 2016. Now, however he needs to turn that growth into dominance. The goal for Enunwa this season should be to put up a Pro Bowl caliber season with over 1000 yards receiving and over 80 catches.
The model for Enunwa should be Allen Robinson in 2015. Robinson followed his rookie season up with an incredible 80 catch, 1400 yard season in 2015. Robinson separated himself as a top tier talent at WR that year. That should be the aim for Enunwa, especially with contract negotiations approaching.
Stats Goal: 50+ catches, 850+ receiving yards, 4+ TDs
Target Model: John Brown in 2015 (65 catches, 1003 yards, 7 TD’s)
Robby Anderson worked his way into the Jets offense and into a significant role after coming as an UDFA in 2016. He needs to build on the talent he displayed last season. The goal for Anderson should be to improve on last season with at least 50 catches and 850 yards.
A good model for Anderson is the season that John Brown had in 2015. Brown built on what he was able to show as a rookie in 2014 and had a huge year for the Cardinals in his second season (65 catches, 1003 receiving yards, 7 TDs). If Anderson can improve in a similar way, the Jets could be set up well at WR for the future.
Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, or Chad Hansen
Objective: Growth (Peake), Potential (Stewart, Hansen)
Stats Goal: 35+ cactches, 500+ receiving yards
Target Model: Brian Quick in 2016 (41 catches, 564 yards, 3 TD’s)
Beyond Enunwa and Anderson, the Jets need one (or more) young receiver to step up and prove to be a viable alternative option. Those most likely to step up into this role are: 2nd year receiver Charone Peake, and the rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen.
For Peake, now is the time for him to stand out after a quiet rookie season and the influx of competition at the Jets have brought in at WR. This goal would be great way for him to show he’s a not a fringe player on this roster.
For the rookies, breaking through the competition to make a significant contribution on offense would be a good sign for their future. Any of these three players exceeding the 500 receiving yard mark as a 3rd or 4th option would big a huge plus for the future of the Jets offense in terms of how dynamic it could be.
A good template for the type of season these three receivers can aim for is the one Brian Quick had last year. As a compliment to Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, Quick had 41 catches for 564 yards and 3 TDs. He also did this with a comparably uncertain QB situation with the Rams, so its very much attainable.
Note: New signing Marquess Wilson may figure into the third option group as well depending on what happens in training camp. He is excluded, though, since we haven’t seen any of him yet.
Stats Goal: 50+ catches, 500+ receiving yards, 3+ TDs
Target Model: C.J Fiedorowicz in 2016 (54 catches, 559 yards, 4 TD’s)
With the Jets rebuilding, a player like Austin Seferian-Jenkins presents an intriguing situation. He’s in a contract year but he’s still only 24 years old. If he can have a strong season, despite being suspended the first two games of the year, the Jets will have a reason to consider extending him before he hits free agency.
The target model for Seferian-Jenkins is C.J Fiedorowicz’s season from last year. Fiedorowicz was the starting tight end in Houston. Despite shaky quarterback play, was able to put up an impressive 54 catches for 559 yards and 4 touchdowns and clearly separate himself as a starting caliber tight end. This is an ideal target for Seferian-Jenkins to aim for this season.
Stats Goal: 30+ catches, 350+ receiving yards
Target Model: Tyler Eifert in 2013 (39 catches, 445 yards, 2 TD’s)
At the tight end position, there’s a lot to be optimistic about with Austin Seferian-Jenkins this season with how much he has overcome. However, the most important player here when it comes to the Jets future is Jordan Leggett. The key for him this season is to be a presence on offense and not disappear into oblivion.
The statistical template for his season is that of Tyler Eifert in 2013. Eifert showed great potential in what was his rookie season, while sharing reps with Jermaine Gresham. He had 39 catches for 445 yards, but most importantly, he got the Bengals coaching staff to believe in him enough to make him the feature tight end in the following seasons.
Brandon Shell, Wesley Johnson, and Brian Winters
Objective: Growth (Shell, Johnson), Dominance (Winters)
Stats Goal: Start all 16 games (Stay healthy, don’t lose your job)
Shell, Johnson, and Winters are very important to the future of the Jets offensive line. It’s hard to quantify offensive line achievements, but the key for any o-line is to not have too many moving parts, and to be consistent. The simple goal for these three should be to start all 16 games. Solidifying a successful offensive line is also an underrated part of a young quarterback’s development. Their progress is doubly beneficial no matter who eventually becomes the Jets QB long term.
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