Tag Archive | "New York Jets"

Todd Bowles: Victim of his own Success

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todd-bowles

 

Indications are that Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles will return for a third season despite a 5-11 year

 

Much to the chagrin of the desperate Jet fan base, it appears Todd Bowles will be back for a third season.  Had Todd Bowles not gone 10-6 his first season, however, would the fans still be looking to run him out of town on a rail after his second season as head coach?

 

Fact is that the 2015 Jets team NEVER should have been 10-6, and this season is much more reflective of what 2015 should have been.  Firing Todd Bowles may feel good but a close look at the facts will show this is a mistake.

 

So what are the differences between last year and this year?  Why were the Jets able to win 10 last year and only half that this season?  The answers really aren’t difficult to find.  Instead of getting caught up in emotion, just look at these obvious differences and it will become clear quickly.

 

The easiest place to start is with the quarterback play.  Ryan Fitzpatrick, a career journeyman with a knack for turning the ball over like it’s going out of style, caught lightning in a bottle in a contract year last season.  Once Geno Smith went down, Fitzpatrick knew the team was his.  Remember, last season’s Jets had very low expectations.  Fitzpatrick kept his turnovers down (sans the most important game of the year, of course) and the team won 10 games.  This year, he went back to his true colors, and the Jets struggled.  2015 Ryan Fitzpatrick: 31 Touchdowns/15 Interceptions/2 Fumbles; 2016 Ryan Fitzpatrick: 12 Touchdowns/22 Interceptions/6 Fumbles.

 

While it appeared coming into this season that the Jets would have a more difficult schedule than 2015, after everything was said and done both years’ schedules were very comparable record-wise.  One thing that killed the Jets this season, however, was a four game stretch early in the season where the Jets went from 1-1 to 1-5, essentially ending their season before it started.  This four game losing streak came at the hands of Kansas City, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Arizona.  The total record of these teams this season was 40-22-2, and the first three (Chiefs, Seahawks, and Steelers) were all division champions.

 

Through the first five games last season, the Jets got off to a 4-1 start.  Those games were against Cleveland, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Miami, and Washington.  The combined record of those teams last year was 33-47 with only one team making the playoffs, that being the Redskins who won a weak NFC East.at 9-7.  2015 Jets start: 4-1; 2016 Jets start: 1-5.

 

The changes in offensive personnel between last season and this are also a major factor.  D’Brickisaw Ferguson, a Pro Bowl left tackle that started every game in his career retired prior to the 2016 season.  Two-time All Pro center Nick Mangold missed eight games this season for an offensive line that had a litany of problems.

 

In 2015, Eric Decker had 80 receptions for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns.  This season he only played in three games.  Chris Ivory was the top rusher for the Jets last season going over 1,000 yards on 4.3 yards per carry.  After Ivory left for Jacksonville, Matt Forte was brought in.  Forte (who just turned 31), went just over 800 yards on 3.7 yards per carry this year.

 

I try to preach looking at the facts of a situation and not get caught up in emotion and this is a crystal clear example of that.  Yes, the Jets did have some embarrassing loses this year, some in prime time.  Nonetheless, as I have demonstrated, there are a number of factors out of Todd Bowles’ control that have contributed to a bad, but not horrific season.

 

Patience is not a luxury Jet fans afford their coaches, and I realize that, as difficult as it is to hear, Todd Bowles should probably stay even if next year’s team only marginally improves.  Teams like Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and until very recently, Oakland have had a revolving door of coaches over recent years and are going nowhere.  Jet fans have to forget about 2015 and act as if 2016 were Bowles first year.

 

2016 AFC East Preview

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New England Patriots

 

New England Patriots (10-6)

 

The Patriots will start the season without Tom Brady for the first four games as he finally serves his suspension for “Deflate Gate.”  This suspension will not keep the Patriots from their dominance on this division, but it will keep them from winning the number of games they usually do.  Jimmy Garoppolo has the physical abilities and should keep the Patriots afloat for the first four games.  I expect Brady to have something to prove when he gets back, and he should be better than normal.  As far as the offensive game, it will be the short passing with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola along with the tight end game of Rob Gronkowski and newly acquired Martellus Bennett.  Dion Lewis coming back from injury will be dangerous in this short passing game as well.  The defense doesn’t stand out individually but works together well as a unit.  The Brady suspension could end the Patriots reign, but I don’t see enough from the rest of this division to do so.

 

Buffalo Bills (9-7)

 

The Bills come into this season looking to take the next step and make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.  Tyrod Taylor proved himself last year, and he will look to Sammy Watkins in the passing game.  Watkins will have to keep himself healthy and be consistent on a game-to-game basis.  Defensively the secondary is very good with Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby.  Shaq Lawson comes into this season injured, which will hurt the pass rush.  Rex Ryan will dial up blitzes to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks which will mean Gilmore and Darby will have to hold up.  Buffalo will have to find a way to win the big games they haven’t been able to in the past few seasons if they want to break that playoff drought.

 

New York Jets (7-9)

 

The Jets did get Ryan Fitzpatrick signed, and it will be seen if he can continue on the career year he had last year or if it was an aberration.  He will, of course, look to the sensational wide receiver Brandon Marshall who is still at the top of his game.  The loss of Chris Ivory will really hurt this offense.  Matt Forte is 30 and, while he can still get the job done, he won’t be able to be a down-to-down back.  D’Brickashaw Ferguson also retired in the offseason and that will be a big loss on the offensive line.  The defense is strong on all three levels.  Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson are solid on the defensive line.  David Harris is a very good linebacker, and rookie Darron Lee will improve that unit too.  Darrelle Revis is still a top end cornerback, but they did lose Antonio Cromartie in the offseason.  The Jets snuck up on teams last season in my opinion, I don’t see that happening again and that is why they will be under .500 this year.

 

Miami Dolphins (5-11)

 

The Dolphins have way too many holes in their roster to be a legitimate playoff contender.  While they have big name players at some positions, it is few and far between.  Ryan Tannehill has not lived up to expectations (he has lived up to mine because I never expected much), and there is no reason to expect he is more than what has been revealed.  They did add Arian Foster but he is up there in age.  Jarvis Landry is their best offensive weapon, and Tannehill will look to get him the ball in the passing game.  They have big names on defense:  Ndamukong Suh needs to live up to his big contract, and they have added Mario Williams to help bolster their pass rush.  Byron Maxwell didn’t live up to his contract in Philadelphia so it remains to be seen if he can put that bad year behind them.  Miami has the star power but, with that aside, there are too many holes in this roster, and Miami will have another poor season.

 

Chris Johnson – The Jets Must Catch This Speed Demon

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The Tennessee Titans released running back Chris Johnson on April 4th.  Johnson is going to turn 29 years old early next season, and with running backs especially near that 30 year mark, popular opinion is that their best days are behind them.

 

The New York Jets, however, are in a desperate need of playmakers.  Reports circulating ESPN in the immediate aftermath of Johnson’s release report that the Jets were one of a few teams attempting to trade for Johnson prior to his release.  Now that Johnson is on the open market, the Jets need to do whatever they have to (of course, within reason) to land Johnson.

 

If the Jets go hard after Johnson, there is the potential that they may overpay for a guy who may be done in two seasons.  Chris Johnson’s play has gone downhill since his 2,000 yard season in 2009, and he will be coming off knee surgery starting next season.  Overpaying for Chris Johnson, therefore, carries considerable risk.  While a bad contract by an NFL team carries high risk with the hard salary cap, overpaying does not have to correlate to salary cap problems in the future.

 

Of course, Johnson’s numbers had to go down following his 2,000 yard season, since no player in NFL history has had back-to-back 2,000 yard seasons.  His numbers, while not up to the 2,000 yard level, are still impressive.

 

Over the last two seasons, Johnson has rushed for 2,320 yards on 555 carries; an average of 4.2 yards per carry with six rushing touchdowns each season.  Johnson also has 577 receiving yards over the last two seasons and has accounted for over 1,400 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two years.  All in all, Johnson has averaged 4.6 yards per touch (rushing attempt/reception) over the last two year.

 

Johnson has also rushed for over 1,000 yards each of his first six seasons.  His lowest yards per rush attempt average was last season at 3.9 yards per carry, just shy of the four yards per carry mark.  Johnson was playing for a team that was 7-9 last season and played for part of the season with a knee injury.  Johnson has only missed one game in his career and that was in his rookie year.  Johnson is also a speed guy who avoids a lot of hits and hasn’t taken the severe pounding one might expect for a guy who has maintained a heavy workload throughout his career.

 

So, why should the Jets go after Johnson?  It is really very simple.  The Jets are in desperate need of playmakers at the skill positions on offense.  Jets Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is one of the better screen callers in the league.  With Geno Smith only entering his second season, he has a lot of maturing to do at quarterback.  Having a game-breaker like Johnson to get the ball to in easy situations can really help Smith’s development.

 

Overpaying for Johnson doesn’t mean the Jets must give Johnson a potentially damaging contract, should he break down.  The Jets can offer Johnson a lot of guaranteed money with incentives for one season and a team option for a second.  Johnson will still only be 29 next year.  The incentives and added stimulus of playing for a team option the following year may bring out the best in him.  If Johnson does break down next season, the cap hit is only for that season, and they don’t have to bring him back the following year.  The Jets also have bruiser Chris Ivory on the team for the tough yards.  If they can use Johnson in specialized situations, they could potentially get three productive years out of him

 

This move makes too much sense for the Jets not to make a serious push at Chris Johnson.  If a team goes overboard and offers Johnson a long-term deal of two or more years with a lot of guaranteed money, then the Jets should stay away.  The questions surrounding Johnson should keep most teams from giving Johnson that kind of deal, so an aggressive but responsible push for Johnson should have him wearing green next season.

 

 

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