By Bryan Palmese @BryanPalmese on June 17, 2014
The New York Jets have a few problem areas that need to be tidied up in order to compete for an AFC Playoff spot. They fell short in 2013, but have a promising young defense, as well as a young quarterback looking to solidify himself as a leader. Attention to a few details, and the Jets should be back in contention for a postseason playoff birth.
Brian Winters and Willie Colon had up-and-down seasons in 2013, and will have to step up their respective games in 2014. Winters was a late-round rookie who showed flashes, but also frustrated coaches and fans equally as much. At 31 years old, Colon is more of a band-aid than a longterm answer, as he is already battling a knee injury. The Jets need to pound the ball and give quarterback Geno Smith ample time to make plays.
The signing of running back Chris Johnson adds an electric element to the Jets’ backfield. Johnson’s abilities on the ground and as a receiver out of the backfield are crucial to the success of the Jets’ offense. Geno Smith needs as many weapons as possible, so the hope is that there is still some gas left in the tank. On paper, the Jets have a strong backfield, but they are counting on Johnson to put up over 1,000 yards and 8-10 touchdowns.
There have been high expectations set on the shoulders of Stephen Hill since he was drafted in 2012. Hill has not lived up to these expectations, while the Jets have a screaming need at WR for the past couple of seasons. With several receivers brought in via the draft and free agency, Hill’s job is up for grabs this season. If he can’t reach the ceiling that he has the potential to achieve, he will find himself on the bench, or possibly released.
The Jets have question marks as to how solid their starting cornerbacks truly are. They whiffed on the top-flight free agent corners, and now boast sophomore Dee Milliner and veteran Dimitri Patterson. Darrin Walls looked promising last season, and third-round selection Dexter McDougle will be the nickel for now. McDougle has potential to eventually start opposite Milliner, but the latter still has to prove that the light has finally turned on.
Michael Vick is a solid quarterback and is arguably the top backup quarterback in the league, if he stays as a backup. Some say his talent is being wasted backing up Geno Smith, but there’s no way for the Jets to truly know if Smith is their future QB with Vick taking away snaps. Smith can learn a lot from Vick, as their playing styles are quite similar. Rex Ryan must keep the media rumors from swirling around the Smith-Vick "competition."
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