Grading New York Jets’ First Half of Season
How Did The New York Jets Do In First 8 Games?
The New York Jets were written off way before the season started, getting ranked No. 32 in the NFL. With a new general manager, yet another offensive coordinator, no playmakers and a lot of new faces on defense, who could blame the analysts for ranking the Jets last?
Fast forward eight games into the season, and they’re neither good or bad. At 4-4, it’s hard to really know what the Jets are. They’ve looked dominant in some games, and they’ve looked like a No. 32-ranked team in others. So what are the Jets exactly? Good or bad?
Well, they’ve been wildly inconsistent, so it’s hard to tell where they fall. Yes, they have overachieved, beating some quality opponents, but let’s not forget that some of those wins were by luck (read: Buffalo Bills game), and some of those wins needed some late-game heroics by a rookie quarterback. So, through eight games, the Jets have shown they are an average, middle-of-the-pack team dealing with a turnover-prone rookie quarterback in Geno Smith, a struggling secondary and a lack of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Of course, the team has a lot to work on if they want to get into the postseason for the first time since 2010, but first let’s see how they've fared through the first eight games of the season.
Let’s take a look at how the Jets’ passing and running attack did in eight games, and we’ll also grade how their pass rush, secondary and coaching.
It's no secret that the Jets lack offensive weapons, and that's why they were ranked last before the season started. But, they haven't been terrible, and that's partly due to new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. With a new playbook and rookie quarterback Geno Smith, the Jets have been scoring more and moving the chains more often than they were last season.
In the passing game, the Jets have been on roller coaster ride. Geno Smith has had some great games and some not-so-great games, which explains the Jets' 4-4 record. When he's off, the Jets' offense can't get anything going, but at the same time, the rookie quarterback has shown flashes of greatness.
In eight games, Smith has thrown for 1,882 yards and eight touchdowns, completing 59 percent of his passes. Smith has made the big throws and made the big plays, but has also made the critical mistakes. In eight games, Smith has thrown for 13 picks, a few of those being returned for touchdowns.
The offense has a long way to go, but this unit has overachieved, especially with a lack of explosive receivers on their roster.
Through eight games, the Jets rank 13th in the league in rushing yards, averaging 120 yards per game -- not great, but not terrible either.
With the arrival of Marty Mornhinweg, it was known that the Jets wanted to get a fresh start and get away from their old "ground and pound" identity they've had in the past, so this season's offense is a more pass-heavy attack. That, coupled with injuries and suspensions the Jets' running backs have to deal with has led to a slight decline in rushing production.
Pass Rush Defense
The Jets' investment in defensive players in the NFL draft the past few seasons have started to pay dividends. The Jets' pass rush defense is one of the top in the league, putting constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks and posting 25 sacks through eight games.
Led by defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, who already has seven sacks, and rookie linemen Sheldon Richardson, this unit should be the team's strength for years to come.
This unit took a nosedive compared to last year's. Losing last year's starting safeties (including Pro Bowler LaRon Landry) and a decline in Antonio Cromartie's play hurt the secondary.
The Jets' secondary have been getting torched every other game. Most recently, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Marvin Jones was the one to do a lot of damage, grabbing four touchdowns against the secondary. If it weren't for the Jets' pass rush, the team would probably be looking at a different record.
Coming into the 2013 season, Rex Ryan knew he was in the hot seat after failing to lead the Jets to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Well, Ryan has responded in a positive way coaching this team to a 4-4 record and proving doubters wrong despite lacking playmakers.
Aside from the Snoopy Bowl debacle (read: Mark Sanchez), Ryan has stepped up and become a more serious, no-nonsense type of coach. It would be a mistake not to bring the coach back after this season.