2018 Season Review: 4-12 (4th in AFC East)
The Jets started out the 2018 season hot behind new rookie QB Sam Darnold with a big 48-17 win over the Detroit Lions in week 1 on Monday Night Football. After six weeks, the Jets were 3-3 and the season could go one of two ways from there. Well it went down because of Sam Darnold injuries, zero weapons on offense, and no play making on defense.
Todd Bowles entered this season on the hot seat and did make it through the whole season but he got fired after Week 17 and finishing 4-12. Bowles never got an real help from the Jets front office, especially on offense. A defensive guy, Bowles had to deal with no difference makers on the offense and lackluster QB play. It showed in 2018, although I don’t believe this team ever really quit on him.
On offense the Jets only scored 20.8 PPG, good for 22nd in the league. They didn’t have a running back with more than 700 yards rushing on their roster, and they didn’t have a receiver with more than 800 yards on the roster. They were also remarkably injured on offense, they had zero WR’s and RB’s who played all 16 games, as we mentioned before Sam Darnold started and played in 13 of 16 games while Josh McCown played the other three and tutored Darnold throughout the season. Darnold finished the year with 2,865 yards passing and 17 TDs to go along with 15 INTs.
Maybe what really got Todd Bowles was fired was his defense, which gave up 27.6 points per game which was good for 29th in the league. Obviously giving up that many points, their passing and rushing defense were poor. They gave up 126.3 rushing yards per game and 254.1 passing yards per game. They were tied for 16th in the league with 39 sacks, and produced 13 INTs which was good for 15th in the league, and they recovered 7 fumbles to have 20 total takeaways during the season, which was good for 16th in the league.
Key Off Season Acquisitions
Head Coach Adam Gase
The Jets parted ways with Todd Bowles and hired former division rival head coach Adam Gase from the Miami Dolphins. Gase originally got hired by the Dolphins for his work with Peyton Manning during his tenure in Denver. Gase gets a lot of shit from fans and the media, but he did manage to bring Miami to the playoffs two years ago with not really much of anything other than a very good defense. People expected him to turn Ryan Tannehill into a quailty starter, although Tannehill showed signed of improving he could never stay healthy and it was time for the two to part ways.
The Jets wanted an offensive guy after so much defensive leadership in the past, and a guy to help Darnold develop. So far Darnold looks like the real deal and Gases job will be to bring him to another level. What I can’t wait for is Gases press conference with the New York media. Gase is really a blunt no bullshit type of guy up at the podium, I imagine we’ll get some very good sound bites from him throughout the year.
We’ll get to Le’Veon Bell next but another big part of Gases job will be utilizing Bell to maximize his production. From a fantasy point of view, Gase always went with the reliable guy and split carries in the backfield in Miami. Notably, Miami had the explosive Kenyan Drake who was clearly better than Frank Gore but Drake never got the full time job. Gases offense was also not one to really throw to the RB. Bell is the type of back that should change those things. Bell should be getting at least 5 targets a game and the focal point of the Jets offense. It was already reported that Gase didn’t want to give Bell all that money, but here they are.
Gase also brought in controversial defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to run the defense. Williams isn’t the most well like guy in the NFL but he’s good at what he does and seems to find success where ever he goes. Williams will get some very talented guy to work with in Mosley, Adams, and first round pick Quinnen Williams. We’ll see how much Williams can improve a shitty Jets defense.
I think Gase is a better head coach than people give him credit for. Go back and look at that Miami roster he brought to the playoffs. Hell, just go back to the roster from last year and figure out he managed to win 7 games with that team.
RB Le’Veon Bell (4 years, $52.5 Million)
We’ll keep this short and sweet because if you’re reading this, you should know who the hell Le’Veon Bell is. Bell was the biggest free agent signing of the off season after taking a year off of playing football. He should be back healthy, and ready to carry this offense. Bell’s main job here: make life easy for second year QB Sam Darnold. I expect some drop off in production from Bell because he’s not playing with as good offensive talent in New York as he did in Pittsburgh, but he should implant himself as a top 5 RB in the league quickly.
ILB C.J. Mosley (5 years, $85 Million)
The Ravens tried to keep C.J. Mosley but the Jets were willing to pay out of their ass for him. Mosley is a fucking stud and one of the best LBs in the league. The Jets had about zero presence with their LB core last year and Mosley immediately changes that and will become the leader of this defense with Jamal Adams.
WR Jamison Crowder (3 years, $28.5 Million)
Sammy Bradford needed some help on offensive besides Le’Von Bell. The Jets still lack weapons at TE and WR but Crowder was brought in to be the slot guy in Adam Gases’ new offense. Crowder only played in 9 games last battling injuries and finished with only 29 receptions, 388 yards, and 2 TDs. The Redskins wanted Crowder back, but again the Jets just offered him more money and a more stable QB situation. Crowder is small guy at 5’9, but he’ll be dangerous in the slot for the Jets.
2019 Draft Class
Round 1 Pick #3: DT Quinnen Williams
Just like the 49ers there were a lot of people arguing the Jets got the best player in the draft this year. Williams is a fucking man, a very big, strong, man. Although he plays defensive tackler, he led a loaded Alabama defense in tackles for loss (18.5) and QB hurries (18). He was the centerpiece for an Alabama defense that only allowed 18.2 PPG, good for 12th in division 1. He was a first team All-American and All-SEC selection, and he was just a sophomore. Williams will be able to cause disruption for the Jets front 7 in both the run and pass game, and with C.J. Mosley at ILB, and Jamal Adams at S, the Jets have a difference maker on defense at each level. The addition of Quinnen Williams should also help out his defensive line pal Leonard Williams. Leonard was a pro bowler in 2016, with Quinnen added to the mix the two can wreck havoc and bring out the best in each-other.
Round 3 Pick #68: EDGE Jachai Polite
At the end of the college football season up to the combine, Polite was viewed as a top 15-20 pick in the draft. Bad combine interviews, workouts, and weight gain made teams very afraid of Polite to the point he dropped all the way to the third round. He was regarded as one of the top pass rushing DE’s in the draft. If he can prove all those red flags were just hiccups, the Jets got the steal of the draft.
Key Off Season Departures
OLB Darron Lee (via trade to the Kansas City Chiefs)
Lee was a former first round pick for the Jets out of Ohio State but after GM Mike MacCagnan got fired and Adam Gase took over those duties, he sipped Lee out. He may have not been a fit for new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, but Lee as a good enough player to put him in this section. Although C.J. Mosley has entered the position, the Jets don’t have a good LB core behind him. Lee is a smaller player, he was suspended for a few games last year, and he hasn’t lived up to the billing of a first round pick. All those factors were probably used a reasons to ship him out. The Jets got back just a 6th round pick for him. Lee finished last year 3rd on the tea in tackles with 74 in just 21 games, while also adding in 3 INTs, 5 PD, 5 TFL, 2 QB hits, and zero sacks.
CB Buster Skrine (via free agency to the Chicago Bears)
On the surface it doesn’t seem like a huge loss, but in today’s NFLs you need as many CBs you can get your hands on and Skrine was a good player to keep around. I’m sure the Jets wanted to keep him but they had other plans in free agency with Mosley and Bell which led to Skrine falling to the Bears.
The Jets and their fans have a fresh new outlook on life (for now). They have their QB of the future in Sam Darnold, they have a stud at RB, and they have difference makers at each level of their defense. The questions with this team come after those six to seven players How deep is the Jets corner-back room? They got ride of Skrine and Trumaine Johnson looks like an over pay right now. Outside of Mosley who do they have a LB, and outside of the Williams bros do they have any other play-makers along that defensive line? Does this team have any depth at all?
Haven’t touched on their offensive line at all, the Jets tried to address those issues by signing left guard Kelechi Osemele from the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers always had good offensive lines to open up holes for Bell, and now that jobs is up to the Jets front five. The Jets line last year was ranked 25th in the league, NOT GOOD. As for the rest of the offense, the same questions as the defense arise here for them. Do they have any depth, anywhere?
I believe Adam Gase is a better coach than he gets credit for, but he’ll have to prove me right this year with the Jets. He has way more talent here then he ever did in Miami and he brought them to the playoffs. I get the feeling 2019 could be a rough year 1 offensively under Gase. QBs don’t like switching offensive coordinators year in and year out, and how long will it take before Le’Veon Bell gets frustrated if the Jets are a bad team again? What happens if Darnold doesn’t make that year 1 to year 2 jump as a QB?
Also how is Gase going to deal with dueling jobs as head coach and GM throughout the year? The Jets won’t hire another GM until after this season so Gase has to keep his mind on not only coaching, but doing everything a GM would. Can he handle that?
The AFC East gets to play the NFC East and the AFC North this year. The Jets then also get the Raiders and Jaguars on their schedule as the other two teams that got last in their divisions.
As for prime-time games, the Jets get their share partly because of the addition of Le’Von Bell and supposed progression of Sam Darnold in his second year. In week 2 the get Cleveland on Monday Night Football, and three weeks later again on Monday Night they get New England at home. They also get a coveted late afternoon game against Dallas in week 6 at home. They play their last prime-time game on December 12th in Week 15 at Baltimore. There a couple interesting scheduling quirks here, they go the 2-2-2-2 route with home and away to start the season. They also get no favors in those first four away games playing at New England, Philly, Jacksonville, and Miami. For their division foes, the open and end the season with Buffalo and play New England twice before the halfway point of the season, in Weeks 3 and 7.
Fantasy Player You Want
I’m doubling down on one of their additions, especially in PPR give me Jamison Crowder all day. I think Sam Darnold is going to fall in love with him, and he might lead this team in targets or be second behind a guy like Robby Anderson. Crowder has all the potential in the world to be a 80+ catch guy from the slot and I think you could get him in late in drafts as a good WR3/FLEX player.
Fantasy Player to Avoid
This goes along with wanting Crowder but I want nothing to do with Quincy Enunwa. Enunwa did most of his damage from the slot or middle of the field catches, which are going to be taken away from him by Crowder. Enunwa doesn’t excel on the outside and he’ll be the 4th option at least behind Crowder, Anderson, and Bell. He might even fall behind TE Chris Herndon.
The Jets made a lot of improvements on both sides of the ball but they don’t have enough to make a push. I think their building blocks and another year of development of Darnold is needed before this team even thinks about making a jump. I say the ceiling for this team is 7 wins.
The Jets have a tough schedule. The AFC North and NFC East are no slouches for divisions. Cinci, Miami, Buffalo, and the Redskins are the only for sure teams I can see them beating on this schedule. They’ll be much more competitive this year than last so I’ll say they’ll win at least 4 games.