New York Jets Have Everything to Prove

By Leanne Cozart

The New York Jets had a very inconsistent 2013 campaign which left a lot of room for improvement on the roster. Coach Rex Ryan was able to lead his team to an 8-8 season despite being on the hot seat  under new GM John Idzik and dealing with the roller coaster ride of rookie QB Geno Smith.

With a lot of pressure to improve during the offseason, the Jets have been busy with free agent acquisitions and adding a well-rounded group of rookies.

The already physical defense was bolstered with some talented draft picks as defensive genius Ryan preps for another aggressive season ahead. The defensive front seven contributed to the team finishing at 11th in the league, and they’re hoping to continue disrupting opposing offenses week to week. this season.

The secondary was a whole other story last season. This is where help is needed, and someone who will be contributing to that is first-round draft pick safety Calvin Pryor, who will be looking to make an immediate impact. His range and ability to cover the deep third and the deep middle of the field, paired with his toughness, are exactly what the Jets need on their defense.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that the Jets have chosen a defensive player as their first-round selection. Idzik was questioned for his decision to bring in Pryor over other valuable prospects that could be used in the struggling offense, but in his words to the New York Times, “He fits us. He fits our profile. He’s a physical presence on the field.”

Perhaps Idzik feels confident in the abilities of the free agents he picked up on offense this offseason. One notable player that will surely make a splash on the Jets’ offense is three-time Pro Bowler and RB Chris Johnson. He’ll be joining Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell in the offensive backfield and is likely to be used in red zone situations, which is where the Jets had their share of struggles last season.

Another key free agent pick-up for the offense is wide receiver Eric Decker. The Jets have a number of players in this position that did an average job last season, but what they need is a game-changer.  As a former No. 2 wideout, Decker is well equipped to be a top dog on the Jets’ offensive unit. There’s also the three recently acquired draft picks in Jalen Saunders (fourth round), Shaq Evans (fourth) and Quincy Enunwa (sixth).

A big need on the offense that the Jets managed to fill this draft was in the tight end position. Jace Amaro was taken in the second round and is expected to take his place on this NFL roster in stride.

The quarterback is always the tempo setter for the offense and for the Jets, this is a large piece of the puzzle that has yet to be solved. There’s Geno Smith, who will be entering his second season with the team, and then there’s veteran Michael Vick. I wish I could say Smith would be a better fit because he knows the system after playing in it for a season, but that wouldn’t be true.

Sure, he had a few shining moments last season, some that even contributed to some great victories, but the amount of interceptions thrown and rookie mistakes made are what kept this team from a winning record. Vick, on the other hand, is far from a rookie and has familiarity with Marty Mornhinweg‘s offensive system from their time spent together before he joined the Jets.

With a whole lot of new faces from free agency added to the uncertainty of how draft prospects will pan out, along with the question of who will be leading the team under center, comes  a lot of unknowns for the Jets as they prepare for the 2014 NFL season. The Jets will treat this season as a time to prove themselves. They demonstrated what they can do defensively last season, and now they need to show that their offense can match that tempo in order to win games.

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