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AFC East News – Pre-Season Evaluations

AFC East News – Pre-Season Evaluations
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The New York Jets

 

Camp Opens: Wednesday, July 23

Last Season: 8-8            vs AFC East: 3-3              vs AFC: 5-7

 

Team Leaders

Passing: Smith 3046 yds

Rushing: Ivory 833 yds

Receiving: Kerley 523 yds

 

Pre-Season Games:

Thu, Aug 7th                 away               Colts                          7pm

Sat, Aug 16th                home              Bengals                     7pm

Fri, Aug 22nd               home              Giants                        7:30pm

Thu, Aug 28th              away               Eagles                        7pm

 

 Strengths

Defensive Line: Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison are the starters. The trio was formed a year ago; all three have plenty of room for improvement. Depth is also very good with Douzable and Ellis. There should be very few battles in camp.

Running Back: Returning are Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and recently claimed Daryl Richardson. Brian Bohannon started at FB and should have improved. The Jets added Chris Johnson to this group. Johnson may never be the runner he was a few years ago; however, his presence, especially on third downs, should make defenses think.

 

Improvement expected 

Linebackers: David Harris had a good season, as did his inside partner DeMario Davis. I expect Davis to blossom into the leader of this group. On the outside, Calvin Pace had a career year. On the other side, the Jest experimented with Quinton Coples. Coples also started the year injured. Once he learned to play OLB and was healthy, he showed signs of what is coming. I expect Coples to have a big year.

Offensive Line: Nick Mangold remains the anchor and one of the premiere centers in the league. Ferguson and Colon will need to supply veteran leadership, especially to the other young starter, Brian Winters. The Jets are also grooming Aboushi, Campbell and Ijalana. Breno Giacomini, fresh off the Super Bowl, should add experience. The OL has to improve and give Geno good protection.

 

Special Teams

This has been a strength for this team for many years, yet last season, outside of Nick Folk, it was awful. Speed has been added for the return game. The kids from a year ago should improve, as will the additions of Ford, Evans, Saunders and Enunwa.

 

Question Marks / Weaknesses

Wide Receiver: A year ago, this was by far the weakest position on this team. The Jets were signing players weekly just to have healthy bodies. David Nelson came out of that and he will be a good depth player this year. GM Idzik signed Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford. They also drafted youngsters Enunwa, Sanders and Evans. Returning are Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. Hill needs a good solid year, he must learn to run routes and stick to them. His body presence, especially inside the redzone, would be huge. This is Hill’s last chance at remaining on the roster.

Quarterback: It all begins and ends at the Quarterback position for this team. A year ago the team won eight games with rookie Geno Smith. Geno showed flashes towards the end of the season, but the first three quarters were brutal. He has to make the next step and improve on his completion percentage, as well as not throw the ball in obvious dangerous situations. Geno started to use his legs more towards the end of the season. His running success seems to have given him confidence, which is exactly why the Jets signed Michael Vick. The media would love a camp battle and a drama filled preseason, I don’t see it. It is already obvious that Geno has a lot more respect for Vick than he did Sanchez. Vick is here to teach the kid how to be an athletic quarterback in the NFL.

A lot remains to be seen, but the Jets sure hope Geno takes the next step and improves in all areas.

Cornerbacks: Gone is Cromartie, and Revis is now collecting his money from Kraft. The Jets started rookie Dee Milliner a year ago. Like Geno, he suffered early on. A lot of it had to do with the fact that he missed the entire offseason program, and started camp late. In the final four games, Milliner showed instincts and flashes of why the NFL wanted him in the first round. The Jets need for him to become a leader. Opposite Dee is where the dilemma comes into play. Dimitri Patterson is the immediate starter; however, I think that by game 8, rookie Dexter McDougle will claim the stating spot. McDougle and Milliner can develop into a nice combination for years to come. Behind them there are Walls, Dowling, and Kyle Wilson. Unless traded (I really believe he gets traded during camp), Wilson will split the slot with Dowling. This group has the ability to turn the corner and become very good. Having an improved DL along with better Safeties should also help.

Safety: When the Jets signed Ed Reed a year ago, people wondered if it was Rex wanting his guy. Probably was the case; however, once Reed learned the Jets’ plays, it became very obvious how weak the position had been. Reed is done, but the Jets drafted high talented, heavy hitter, athletic demon, Calvin Pryor. Pryor will step right in and start opposite returning Antonio Allen, with Dawan Landry rotating. Allen has huge upside, but he is not a FS. Also returning are youngsters Jaiquawn Jarrett and Josh Bush.

This group will grow as the season progresses.

Tight End: Returning Jeff Cumberland was injured at times last season, Winslow was banned, and for a few weeks the Jets had to rely on unknowns and scrubs. At one point they signed Zach Sudfeld, after New England tried to get him into their Practice Squad. Zudfeld needed time to learn the new system, and by the time Cumberland came back, the tight end position was a disaster. The Jets needed to improve in a hurry, and get a potential nightmare for opposing defenses. They drafted Jace Amaro. Amaro is your typical modern day TE; basically an oversized WR (even if for contract purposes we must call them TEs). Jace should provide a nice underneath target for Geno Smith. It will take a good part of the season for Jace to get accustomed to the NFL and the West Coast offense, but eventually he may be a valuable weapon.

Jets

Photo from ProFootballFocus .com

Pre-Season Evaluations Schedule

Friday – Buffalo Bills

Monday – Miami Dolphins

Tuesday – New England Patriots

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