Among those positives are the presence of a few elite players, who they can count for years to come.
This week, the always excellent ProFootballFocus.com released their list of their top 101 players of 2011, ranking players on the ethos of all positions created equal, based on 2011 performances only.
Three Jets players made their top fifty, with one All-Pro making their top five. The usual suspects, if you will.
Coming in at number 46 overall is center Nick Mangold, who battled through a high ankle sprain at times last season, which caused him to drop to second in PFF’s center rankings behind Chris Myers of the Houston Texans:
What’s this? Nick Mangold not the top center. Are we crazy? At times, clearly, but not here we believe as Mangold lost a step on the competition after missing time through injury and had a couple of games that were very un-Mangold-like. In the second half of the season, though, he did more than enough (outside a mauling at the hands of Brodrick Bunkley) to finish in the Top 50, as he ended 2011 with our second-highest grade among centers. Such is his ability, however, that may be enough to qualify as a down year by his standards.
Best Performance: Week 14 versus Kansas City (+4.6)
Key Stat: Gave up four combined sacks, hits, and hurries in Week 1, and then just four more for the rest of the year.
It’s rare for Mangold to have an off-year, even rarer for the Jets to have not one but two teammates ranked above him on any list. But in 2011, that was precisely the case.
This Jet isn’t a player who does a great job of getting to the quarterback, though he did manage a sack and 11 hurries in limited pass rushing opportunities (a +0.7 pass rushing grade). Where his strength lies is his work in the run game, making him an integral part of one of the league’s best defenses. Pouha had our highest grade of all defensive tackles, doing an excellent shop of shedding blocks to make plays, or simply pushing offensive linemen about to re-direct runs. Such a talent.
Best Performance: Week 16 versus New York Giants (+5.2)
Key Stat: 37 defensive stops were the second most of all defensive tackles.
So who was PFF’s highest rated Jet? None other than cornerback Darrelle Revis, of course. Revis was their 5th overall ranked player in 2011, and he had an entire article devoted to his outstanding season.
In this day and age, where cornerbacks are barely allowed to even breath on receivers, Revis has cemented himself as a true shutdown corner, and the best at his craft in all of football.
Last season Revis was thrown at 85 times, but he allowed only 35 receptions and a single touchdown. Quarterbacks throwing into his coverage had a rating of just 45.6, and he got his hands to (either intercepted or defensed) 20 passes. Throwing at Revis was not a productive way to move the football, but teams forced it anyway.
In the fourth quarter of games–the money quarter–Revis’ numbers became even more insane. He allowed just 26.1% of targets to be complete, picking off half as many balls (three) as he allowed completed (six). Passing on Revis is hard enough to begin with, but it only gets harder as the game goes on and he gets better at reading what’s coming. The game’s best corner was back to his best this season, and belongs in the Top 5 of our list.
While the individual accolades don’t mean much, it’s always nice to see hard work and stellar play rewarded.
In 2012, the Jets will be aspiring for bigger and better things. The goal is the same as it always is. The ultimate prize never changes.