Raul Vazquez | Aug 17th, 2019
The Jets had a disappointing 2018 season. The team did not have high expectations, by any means with Sam Darnold in his rookie year but the team only managed to win four games and missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season. Coming off an abysmal year, the offseason was busy and hectic with moves made throughout the organization.
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Boy was this a big and exciting offseason for Jet fans. The front office was completely turned over with Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan being let go after the past three years combined for only 14 wins.
The firing of the general manager came as a surprise to many as he was let go in the middle of May after he was allowed to carry out the team’s free agency and draft process. The firing of Bowles came as much less of a surprise as he was under fire for most of his tenure. In a surprise move, the team brought in former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase to help groom Darnold. The answer at general manager was the prized executive in Joe Douglas out of Philadelphia who helped build their 2017 Super Bowl team.
The offseason which the Jets allowed Maccagnan to run was a big one as the team had over $100 million in cap space to play with and he went to work improving the team. The Jets brought in the two top free agents on both sides of the ball landing Le’Veon Bell to help out Darnold and C.J. Mosley to be a leader on the defensive side of the ball. In order to continue to help Darnold, slot receiver Jamison Crowder was quickly signed along with Ty Montgomery, both will serve as safety nets. A fifth-round pick was turned into a former all-pro guard as they made the move to acquire Kelechi Osemele.
With a 4-12 record comes a high draft pick and for the Jets, they were rewarded with the third overall pick. They turned that pick into humble star Quinnen Williams who many believe was the best player in the draft. With their second-round draft pick going to the Indianapolis Colts in the trade to get Darnold last year, they were left with limited draft picks which ultimately became Jachai Polite, Chuma Edoga, Trevon Wesco, Blake Cashman, and Blessaun Austin. Each will have a role on the team but outside of Williams none will be a starter unless Cashman or Edoga can emerge and supplant the guys in front of them.
This brand new offense will be a far cry from what Jet fans have become used to as the last two head coaches, Rex Ryan, and Bowles were defensive-minded head coaches. Gase is bringing with him a fast and exciting offense led by rising star Darnold.
The offense will have a revamped offensive line which now includes Osemele and Ryan Kalil. The offense will also now have three new weapons for Darnold in Montgomery, Bell, and Crowder who will be a massive upgrade over Isaiah Crowell and Jermain Kearse. For the first time in years, the Jets may not be a defense-first team, but rather be a team that is better on the offensive side of the ball. Of course, any jump in production will be largely on the shoulders of the second-year quarterback.
Along with new coaching staff, came coach Gregg Williams who is coming off a successful second half of the season at the head for the Browns. He conducts a style which the Jets are used to, which likes to blitz a lot and put out exotic pressures. Such will have to be the case with the current status of the Jets cornerback group.
At a position which was already thin as is, they lost Trumaine Johnson to an injury and he is listed as week to week. The defense is very top-heavy as well. Outside of studs Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, there is not much depth at safety and the same can be said about the linebacker group. This group will also have a shaky edge rush and have to rely on their interior guys to generate pressure to attempt to help secondary woes.
Predicting the 53 Man Roster
The Jets currently have four arms in camp for preseason but neither Luke Falk or Davis Webb have looked good enough to stick on the roster. It seems that Falk end up on the practice squad while Siemian is kept on as the backup.
The odd man out in the running back room will be Elijah McGuire who was the top back during the last four weeks of the 2018 season. Cannon’s ability to play on special teams will be what separates him. The top three of Bell, Montgomery, and Powell are no surprise.
The top three wideouts are set and locked in but the backup spots are all up for grabs. It looks like it will be Dortch, Burnett, and Bellamy as they have made the most noise during the preseason.
With top man Chris Herndon suspended for the first four weeks of the season, the tight end position will be a committee of a few names. Veteran Griffin will make the team as the top guy with Herndon out while rookie Wesco is also a lock. The third spot is up for grabs though.
The new starting five of Osemele, Kalil, Beachum, Winters, and Shell is locked in while backup roles are seemingly penciled in as well. With bigger holes on the roster, there may not be any more moves made to address the offensive line.
One of the major strengths of this team is the defensive line. The addition of Quinnen Williams will help those around him blossom. Kaufusi has blossomed during the offseason locking down a roster spot.
The news of the terrible injury to starting inside linebacker Williamson late in preseason action will be big. The injury hurts the team’s depth at a position of strength and will now push rookie Blake Cashman and James Burgess into major roles.
This group includes three players from 2018 who have proved what they can provide to the team and are locks to make the roster. There are no surprises with this group but it will be interesting to watch how they progress.
This is by far the shakiest group on the entire team. Marcus Cooper is a recent pickup but will have a major chance to make the team. Douglas will have to continue to look through the waiver wire and potential trades as cuts begin to take place.
The starting duo of Adams and Maye should come as no surprise while longtime backups Middleton and Miles solidify their roles.
The kicking game remains an issue as Chandler Catanzaro suddenly retired after the first preseason game and Bertolet missed two extra points against the Falcons in their second preseason game. Bertolet is anything but a lock as competition will likely be brought in.
This should certainly be an interesting year for gang green. For the first time in what seems like forever, the New York faithful have a team to be excited about and with good reason. If Darnold can continue his play from preseason and carry it over the regular season this team will have big things in store.
On the defensive side of the ball, just how much of a Houdini is Gregg Williams and will he be able to mask the issues they have at cornerback. If Quinnen Williams is anything close to as advertised, the defense will be stout.
This team has playoffs on their mind and could very well sneak in if they start off hot. Their first six games will make it tough though as they start off against Buffalo, Cleveland, New England, Philly, Dallas, and New England again.
Season Prediction: 9-7 and just barely miss the playoffs. They are going in the right direction but are still a year away from making the playoffs.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images