With the New York Jets: 2017 Season Preview, I’m going to save you all some time and skip right to the chase. The Jets appear to be tanking this season in order to position themselves for an early draft pick so they can take their franchise quarterback and get this organization back on the right track. They’ve dumped older veterans like Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, and Brandon Marshall in order to allow for more playing time for the younger players on the team. They even went as far as trading young, talented defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks in exchange for veteran wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
This season is all about the future. We’ll get an extensive look at players Mike Maccagnan drafted in his first three years as general manager who figure to play prominent roles for the Jets in the near future. As much as some fans may want the Jets to tank this season, it would be a bad look for the organization to go 0-16 or 1-15. The goal is to be competitive every week and win as many games as possible, despite what the roster may look like.
Here’s our New York Jets 2017 Season Preview
Gone are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eric Decker, and Brandon Marshall. In come Josh McCown, Jermaine Kearse, and a familiar face, Jeremy Kerley…not exactly household names. Let’s face it, the Jets are going to struggle on offense. There simply just isn’t much fire power. Outside of Bilal Powell and Robby Anderson, where are the explosive plays going to come from? There just are not many players that put fear in a defense, which means the Jets will consistently face eight man boxes, as defenses will expect the Jets to rely heavily on the veteran running back tandem of Powell and Matt Forte.
The so-called preseason “quarterback competition” ended up being nothing more than a charade. The Jets desperately wanted second year quarterback Christian Hackenberg to take big strides this preseason and earn the starting job. Not only did he fail to beat out McCown for the starting gig, but according to the Jets’ unofficial depth chart he couldn’t even beat out Petty for the backup spot. Granted Petty had an outstanding preseason, although his playing time came mostly against backups.
The Jets also drafted two receivers in this year’s draft, Ardarius Stewart in the 3rd round and Chad Hansen in the 4th round. They both began to trend upwards at the end of the preseason after getting off to sluggish starts.
The Jets’ best hope is to control the clock with a solid running game and allow Josh McCown to manage the game. This team is not going to score many points, but with a solid performance from their new-look offensive line they have a chance to stay competitive each week.
Despite the Jets’ inevitable struggles on offense, their defense actually has a chance to be pretty good. The front office felt so comfortable with the talent along the defensive line they traded away Sheldon Richardson, an underperforming yet uber-talented defensive tackle and former first round pick. Leonard Williams is still a beast and the Jets hope Muhammad Wilkerson can regain his form from two years ago after a lackluster season last year where he and his training staff admittedly botched his rehab for a broken leg suffered in Week 17 of 2015.
There is a new face in the middle of the Jets’ 3-4 defense, former Jet Demario Davis who was cut after the 2015 season and played last year with the Browns before being acquired in a trade. He and Lee will provide more speed than the linebacking corps has seen in some time.
Besides quarterback, the next biggest question mark might be the secondary. The Jets will start two rookies at safety, first round pick Jamal Adams and second round pick Marcus Maye. The coaches have raved about how quickly Adams and Maye picked up the playbook and players have applauded the way they handle themselves on and an off the field. They figure to form a formidable tandem on the back end for Gang Green for years to come. If former Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne can stay healthy (a big if) he may be able to revive his career in Bowles’ defensive scheme which relies on a lot of man-coverage, something Claiborne excelled with at LSU.
Final Record: 4-12
AFC East Finish: 4th
The Jets play the Bills (twice), Jaguars, and the Browns in the first nine weeks of the season. I believe they will win at least one game against the Bills and beat both the Jaguars and Browns, even though Vegas does not favor them in any of their 16 games this season.
The Jets’ defense will keep them competitive in more games than people expect and they will steal a game against the Chargers, who have to travel all the way across the country to face the Jets on Christmas Eve.
A 4-12 record will not please the fanbase, as the Jets will miss out on the number one draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. But, they will secure a top five pick and put a package together to trade up for one of the top two college quarterbacks, USC ‘s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen.