The 2019 season was one to forget for the New York Jets. The team was killed by injuries on both sides of the ball. Big time free agent acquisition C.J. Mosley was limited to just two games while Sam Darnold missed three games with Mononucleosis. The offensive line was awful but thankful the Jets spent a lot of money in free agency and their first-round pick on upgrading the unit. Hopefully, the Jets are better in year two under Adam Gase.
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MVP: Sam Darnold
Darnold’s sophomore season didn’t go the way Jet fans had hoped. He missed the three games with mono and at times looked awful. Darnold was caught on audio saying he was seeing ghosts against the New England Patriots. He threw for just 86 yards and four interceptions in that game. However, in the second half of the season, Darnold rebounded. Over his last seven games, Darnold threw 12 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions. Despite a horrible offensive line and a lack of weapons, Darnold improved from his rookie season. His completion percentage went up by over four percent, his touchdowns increased by two, and he cut down on the interceptions by two. Expect a big step forward for Darnold in year three.
Offensive Player: Le’Veon Bell
After a year away from football, Bell really struggled. Reportedly Gase never wanted Bell and tried to trade him during the short time he was the team’s general manager. Bell had a career-low 3.2 yards per carry as he played behind an awful offensive line. His 66 catches were his lowest since 2015 when he played in just six games. However, with an improved offensive line and Darnold taking a step forward, Bell will rebound to his old self. He won’t return to the crazy high yardage he had during his prime years in Pittsburgh, but he will be over 1,000 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards.
Defensive Player: Jamal Adams
Jet fans are worried that Adams won’t be wearing Gang Green much longer. However, the Jets have stated publicly that they view him in their long term plans. Assuming Adams is a Jet in 2020, he will once again be the leader of the defense. Last season Adams made First-Team All-Pro for the first time in his career. Despite being a safety, Adams finished second on the team with 6.5 sacks. The trio of Adams, Marcus Maye, and third-round pick Ashtyn Davis might be the best young safety trio in the league.
Offensive Rookie: Mekhi Becton
While the Jets improved their offensive line this offseason, they didn’t sign a big name guy in free agency. George Fant comes over from Seattle, while the Jets got Connor McGovern from Denver. However, if this unit isn’t going to be the Achilles heel of the offense, Becton is going to need to make a major impact day one. If Darnold is going to take a step forward and Bell have a bounce back season, Becton is going to need to be dominant as a rookie.
Defensive Rookie: Jabari Zuniga
When your starting safety is second on the team in sacks, you clearly need to add pass rushers. Adams and Jordan Jenkins were the only two players on the Jets’ roster to register more than three sacks last season. The Jets didn’t add much help in free agency or during the draft, except for the addition of Zuniga in the third round. After coming off a 6.5 sack and 11 tackles for a loss season as a junior, Zuniga only played in five games as a senior and registered just three sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss. However, his slide to the third round was a blessing for the Jets as he might already be their second-best pass rusher on the roster.
Biggest Surprise: Jamison Crowder
In his first season with the Jets, Crowder had a career year. He finished the season with 78 catches on 122 targets for 833 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 41 first downs as Darnold trusted him to move the chains. Crowder led the team in almost every receiving stat last season. Now with Robby Anderson in Carolina and Breshad Perriman replacing him, look for Darnold to lean on Crowder even more this season. Crowder closed out the season on a strong note. Over his last three games, he caught 18 of 29 targets for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Expect Crowder to be the Jets’ best receiver again this season.
Biggest Disappointment: Breshad Perriman
During free agency, the Jets didn’t add any of the big name free agents. Instead, they let Anderson leave and replaced him with Perriman. So far in his career, Perriman has been a bust and now will be on his fourth team in as many years. Last season, in Tampa Bay, Perriman did next to nothing over the first 12 games of the season. Then, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both suffered season-ending injuries, and Perriman was forced into a bigger role. He finished out the season going over 100 yards in three of the final four games of the season while catching five touchdowns during that span. Problem is Perriman isn’t a number one wide receiver, and the Jets are asking him to replace their number one receiver.
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