New York Jets
This just in, the New York Jets are still a circus even after the notoriously brash coach, Rex Ryan, left town. Somehow that tough disciplinarian coach, Todd Bowles, allowed his starting QB to get punched in the mouth after practice. And Sheldon Richardson, their stud defensive tackle, got suspended for four games because he was driving 90 mph over the speed limit, while as high as a kite with a 12 year old kid in the back seat. I guess the pressures of the New York media are too tough for some people to handle.
In all seriousness though, the Jets look to have improved on their talent-bereft roster of 2014, on both sides of the ball. That improvement started with the signing of Darelle Revis, who will resume residence upon his island, and his former partner in crime, Antonio Cromartie, two signings which mean the Jets secondary (which was an actual joke in 2014) should be one of the best in football… unless Bill Belichick pulled another fast one and Revis actually has lost a step. In addition to the big boost in the defensive backfield, the Jets lucked into drafting Leonard Williams, who should step right into the sizable gap left by Richardson and help anchor that defensive line with Mo Wilkerson. The Jets’ linebacker group isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s solid across the board with decent depth. Aging veterans Calvin Pace and Davis Harris are there to provide their wisdom and experience to the youthful Demario Davis, Lorenzo Mauldin, and Quinton Coples (who is improving, just ask Jets fans). All in all, this defense should be a top 10 unit in 2015, almost as good as the division rival Bills’ defense. Almost.
Offense, on the other hand, is a question. Geno Smith’s broken jaw was a blessing in disguise, since the more capable Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starter. He’s reunited with Chan Gailey, under whom he had his best years in Buffalo. Fitz is smart and understands that offense and now he has some talented wide receivers to throw to. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are two legitimate targets with big frames and wide catch radiuses that Fitzpatrick knows how to utilize. He has a solid offensive line to hide behind, with the smarts and the quick release necessary to get rid of the ball when under duress. He even has a hard nose running back in Chris Ivory who can pound the rock and set up the defense for play action. The problem I see on offense is that everything is new, from the playbook to the personnel to the gameplan. The biggest question mark on this season will be how long it takes the Jets to get this offense, which has some nice pieces, to function.
My prediction for the Jets is that they win six games, an improvement on last year, but less than this team seems capable of on paper. I suspect the Jets will throw Geno back into the mix after he returns from injury and that will keep the Jets’ offense off balance even longer, thus resulting in fewer wins than one might expect. On paper, though, this team is capable of an eight win season.