12 things on the New York Jets offense heading into 2019. Check out last week’s edition on the defense. We already did an edition solely focused on Sam Darnold right here, so this article will not include him…
1 – Le’Veon Bell – One year is an eternity in the NFL, so it is easy to forget just how good Bell is. Here are the highlights from his last game:
From how he utilized Jay Ajayi down the stretch in the 2016, it is fair to assume that Adam Gase won’t be shy about taking full advantage of Bell’s workhorse ability. The Jets don’t just need him to balance their offense out with a steady running game that can function despite a potentially average to below average offensive line. They need Bell to likely lead the team in receptions and create big plays in the passing game from both the backfield or from the slot to fully get the value out of his contract. Bell at his best is going to be a game changer for Darnold, not just by creating big plays but by regularly taking plays that were 2-3 yard gains from Elijah McGuire last year and turning them into 6-7 yard gains to help keep the Jets ahead on down and distance.
2 – Robby Anderson – The king of the Jets offseason. There is no reason that Anderson should not be a 1,000 yard receiver this season if the Jets get 16 games out of Sam Darnold. In their final four games together last year, Anderson’s stats project out to 1,344 yards and 12 touchdowns over a full season. He won’t hit those marks with a more diverse cast of weapons around him but the presence of Bell, Jamison Crowder and a healthy Quincy Enunwa will give him more favorable and one on one matchups. Anderson is a traditional outside the numbers vertical threat but he has made consistent strides at improving his route tree and ability to catch the ball in traffic. He is good enough at the other elements of his game to be a legitimate lead receiver if he’s playing with a very good quarterback, which hopefully Darnold will be this season.
3 – Jamison Crowder – Arguably the best receiver available in free agency this offseason and a substantial upgrade over zombie Jermaine Kearse. This breakdown of Albert Wilson’s usage last year is a good preview for Gase could potentially use Crowder as the team’s primary slot receiver. It isn’t out of the question that Crowder could lead the Jets in receptions this year, although with a substantially lower yard per catch than Robby Anderson. If there is one player Darnold needs as many reps as possible with this offseason, it is Crowder so they are on the same page with the variety of quick hitting option routes that will be backbone of his usage/route tree. The Jets dropped the ball in some positions this offseason (center, cornerback, edge) but they nailed the perfect available addition at receiver to fit into Gase’s offense.
4 – Chris Herndon – As a rookie, Herndon exceeded 500 yards, had five games over 50 yards and scored four touchdowns playing with a fellow rookie at quarterback (and three games of Josh McCown). The production level combined with his athletic profile should give reasonable optimism to Jets fans that they could have one of the conference’s best tight ends this season. It will be interesting to see where Herndon fits in the pecking order of targets alongside Bell and the receivers but his ability to line up at Y, H and either split end or in the slot will only help his matchups and opportunities.
5 – Quincy Enunwa – Arguably the best offensive athlete on the team, if he is healthy which is a major if at this point. Enunwa is a unique, explosive football player who was unnecessarily put into a box by Jeremy Bates last season. The talents of Enunwa is maximized if he is moving between playing outside the numbers and in the slot with periodic usage as a H-Back. With Crowder as the predominant option in the slot, Anderson as the predominant option outside the numbers, Enunwa will carve out a niche between the roles but should be positioned to regularly have favorable matchups against team’s third or fourth best coverage option.
6 – Jonotthan Harrison – The Jets default answer at center after inexplicably not addressing the position in free agency or in the NFL Draft. Harrison played 50% of the snaps last year and 9% the year before. He has generally been below average when given the opportunity to start and that has only been in short stretches, nevermind a full sixteen games. It doesn’t remain out of the question for the Jets to add another body here but if not Harrison starts out with a gauntlet of defensive lines with Buffalo, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Dallas all in the Jets first five games.
7 – Kelechi Osemele – The marquee addition to a weak 2018 offensive line unit, as the Jets took a smart flier on the previously elite guard for a late round pick swap. If Osemele can stay healthy and be the player he was back in 2016, the Jets are going to have a massive upgrade over James Carpenter. Osemele is a physical player who should be Bell’s best friend in the running game.
8 – Brian Winters – After three straight seasons of missing over 20% of the Jets offensive snaps, Winters gave the team a full sixteen games last year. He remains an inconsistent, generally below average starter but with their depth, they need him for 16 in what is likely his final season with the team. Winters has not been supported by strong center play in recent years (Wesley Johnson, Spencer Long) but that is unlikely to change this season. The Jets need to hope that his communication improves upfront with a decrease in missed assignments, thanks partially to the help of having a better guard paired with him in Osemele.
9 – Brandon Shell – The team’s projected starting right tackle, who appears to be on track to be 100% healthy for training camp despite ending the season IR. Outside of last year’s injury, Shell has struggled to stay healthy (he missed over 25% of their snaps in 2017 as well). It is going to be interesting to see if rookie third rounder Chuma Edoga could potentially push him at some point this season for playing time. Shell has been up and down throughout his run as a starter is already 27 despite 2019 only being his fourth season.
10 – Kelvin Beachum – The team’s starting left tackle, who has been durable, consistent and generally reliable over the past two years. Beachum is a middle of the road starter at one of the hardest positions to find in football. It is isn’t out of the question that he will still be the team’s left tackle next year and potentially even the year after.
11 – Ty Montgomery – An under radar needed, smart addition at RB2 to backup Le’Veon Bell. Montgomery is a converted wide receiver who will bring strong versatility to the position and potentially be the team’s kick returner. Bell should be carrying a heavy workload so the Jets backup running back shouldn’t be seeing more than 4-6 opportunities per game but they are in better hands with Montgomery than McGuire or Trenton Cannon.
12 – Trevon Wesco – A 4th round rookie who should hopefully be an upgrade over movable traffic cone Jordan Leggett and walking holding penalty Eric Tomlinson. Wesco is going to be asked to predominantly block as an in-line tight end and also as a potential lead on the variety of screens that are likely to be heavily integrated into this offense. Anything the Jets get from him as a pass catcher this year is gravy.