2015 NFL Preview: New York Jets

2015 NFL Preview: New York Jets

A dreadful 4-12 2014 following three straight non-playoff seasons was enough for New York Jets owner Woody Johnson to put an end to the Rex Ryan coaching era. In Ryan’s place, Johnson and General Manager Mike Mccagnan pegged ex-Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to be the franchise’s 18th head coach. Like Ryan, Bowles brings a respected defensive mind to the job. And helping his first-year efforts is one of the most talented defensive rosters in the league. The draft and free agency produced needed upgrades to the skill positions, but there is still the little matter of a legit starting quarterback, which is currently lacking. Unless Geno Smith turns about seven corners between now and September. Here’s a preview of the 2015 New York Jets.

Outlook: On or off paper, this defense looks downright frightening. Scoring over 17 points against them will be a challenge for even the most prolific offenses. Leaving aside quarterback for a moment, the backfield is a bit of a quagmire with four guys vying for carries. Holdover Chris Ivory was solid in 2014, but he’s never eclipsed 200 carries in a season. Even if they resort to a committee approach, the offense will likely be run heavy, at least until the signal-caller question is answered. As for Bowles, it remains to be seen whether he can successfully transition from coordinator to primary shot caller. His decisions late in the fourth quarter of tight games will go a long way in deciding how many wins the Jets muster.

Later, dude: To no one’s surprise, Percy Harvin was a major disappointment in his eight games a season ago. As such, he joined Rex in Buffalo at no great loss. Michael Vick’s tenure was more ugly than good, which probably explains why he’s still looking for work in late June. Cornerback Kyle Wilson started only 28 games and recorded a paltry three interceptions in five years; his weak resume and a trio of key free agent acquisitions at corner made him expendable. Reserve defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis had one sack in four years and had zero chance to make an impact on the league’s most dominant front; maybe he’ll have better luck with the Giants. Fullback John Conner’s second stint with the Jets was uneventful save for his first career touchdown reception, so he’s now a Bill. Chris Johnson? Oh yeah, like Vick, he still doesn’t have a gig.

Welcome aboard: Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are back. They along with former Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist will comprise three-fourths of the starting secondary, joining 2014 first-round pick Calvin Pryor, who enjoyed a quality rookie campaign. Traded for receiver Brandon Marshall and all it cost them was a 5th-rund pick in April’s draft. Hard to believe Marshall has been on four teams despite recording seven 1000-yard campaigns in nine seasons. Running backs Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy provide decent depth. Buster Skrine is good enough to start on most teams, but he’ll be a nickel in this defense after coming over from Cleveland. James Carpenter started in the last two Super Bowls, and should upgrade the guard position. First-round draftee Leonard Williams adds talented depth to an already fearsome front.

Over/Under wins – 7.5: The schedule is tough at the start and finish. Can the combination of Geno and Ryan Fitzpatrick keep the blunders low enough to allow the defense and kicker Nick Folk to lead the team to 8 wins? Sure.

Bet the Over