Jump to content

NYT: A Three-Step Plan for the Jets


Recommended Posts



FLORHAM PARK, N.J.—If general manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan know what the 2014 Jets will look like, they weren't giving any clues in the waning moments of 2013.


The two dodged questions on Tuesday about which players would stay, which would go, and which would be targeted in free agency and the draft. They wouldn't even divulge whether Geno Smith, who started all 16 games at quarterback this year, would start any next year.


All Idzik and Ryan would say was that the Jets needed to improve, build on their 8-8 record and make the playoffs next year. How might they do that? Here are three obvious fixes they can make.


1. Find a decent cornerback.

In 2012, Antonio Cromartie became the team's top cornerback after Darrelle Revis was lost to a season-ending knee injury, and he almost made fans forget about his injured partner by playing well enough to make the Pro Bowl.


Alas, that Cromartie is gone. The eight-year veteran had the worst year of his career in 2013, with long touchdowns passes over his head becoming a near weekly occurrence. ProFootballFocus, which grades players on every snap of the season, ranked him 103rd out of 110 NFL cornerbacks this season.


Late in the season, Cromartie admitted that he had reaggravated an injury in his right hip, which he fractured in 2008. He said last week that the injury might require off-season surgery, so it's unclear whether Cromartie, who turns 30 in April, will ever play as well as he did in 2012.


Meanwhile, the Jets need a competent cornerback to play the chaotic defense that Ryan prefers, with nine men—everyone but the two cornerbacks—beginning the play near the line of scrimmage and no one obviously playing the deep-safety position. The Jets' seven linemen and linebackers are superb, and they have hinted that they were frustrated to play so well this season, only to have the secondary let them down repeatedly.


The good news is that the Jets might need only one, not two, cornerbacks. For most of the year, rookie cornerback Dee Milliner, the Jets' first-round draft pick, looked like a bust, and was benched repeatedly by Ryan. But like Geno Smith, he impressed in the season's final stretch, nabbing all three of his interceptions in the Jets' last four games and winning the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week in the final week of the season.


2. Draft a wide receiver.

Santonio Holmes (23 receptions, 456 yards, 1 touchdown this season) and his bloated contract will probably be gone. Second-year receiver Stephen Hill (24 catches, 342 yards, 1 TD) hasn't panned out as hoped, as Ryan admitted this year. In fact, the coach criticized just about all of his receivers at one point or another this season for dropping passes and not getting open.


While Jeremy Kerley (43 catches, 523 yards, 3 TD) and midseason signee David Nelson (36 catches, 423 yards, 2 TD) played relatively well, the Jets, who will have the 18th pick in next year's draft, would do well to select a top-shelf receiver such as USC's Marqise Lee or a pass-catching tight end to help Smith (or whoever plays quarterback).


3. Improve at quarterback.

Smith played noticeably better in the season's last four games. He made fewer bad decisions, choosing to throw the ball away or to a nearby running back when receivers weren't open. The enduring problem is his inaccuracy. Several times in Sunday's season finale in Miami, he threw over or behind open receivers, and the teammates who did catch his passes often had to break their stride to do so.


On Tuesday, Idzik wouldn't say whether Smith, who had the league's lowest quarterback rating for a regular starter, would be the team's opening-day starter in 2014.


"We're all excited about having Geno as part of the Jets, but we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn't change going into 2014," he said. "We'll look at quarterbacks. Yes, we'll look at quarterbacks."


With the defense already excellent and presumably improving, it's possible that the Jets are one good quarterback away from making a deep run in the playoffs next season. If not Sanchez, Smith or a 2014 draftee, perhaps the team could persuade Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, now a free agent, to move to New York.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A top tier TE or WR is crucial in the draft.  They are both gonna by on the board - just a matter of who is availabl at 18.  They need both and WR is very very deep.


They need to get a legit safety also - the secondary needs to play better.


They need two tackles.


The only roles set are running back and DL. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...