The Jets Need A Lot More Than a Shiny New Quarterback
The New York Jets have once again hit the reset button on their franchise, bringing in new head coach Robert Saleh and trading away 2018 third overall pick Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.
With the second overall selection in the upcoming draft, the Jets are in a perfect position to grab the quarterback of their choosing. But New York needs more than a fresh rookie QB to be successful. Here are a few positions that must perform better this upcoming season.
The Jets haven’t had a receiver go over 1,000 yards since Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in 2015. It’s obvious that the Jets have been looking for a star at the position for a while, and with the departure of Robby Anderson last off-season, the effort should have already been made.
Looking ahead to this year’s wide receivers room, the Jets signed former Jaguar Keelan Cole to a one-year deal. Cole had 644 total yards from scrimmage and 5 touchdowns, playing in all 16 games last season. New York also added Corey Davis who grabbed 984 yards, for an average of 70.3 yards per game. That’s more than Chris Godwin, Tyler Lockett, and Adam Thielen. Davis was also the 10th best wide receiver according to PFF with an offensive grade of 85.3.
With an already improved receiver room without even mentioning Denzel Mims, a draft full of talent, and the amount of draft picks available to address the position if they choose, the Jets’ wide receivers are going to be better than the last couple of seasons.
Similar to the wide receivers, the Jets haven’t had a running back rush for over 1,000 yards since Chris Ivory in 2015, and when looking at the current state of the position, don’t bet on it happening in 2021.
As of right now, it appears Tevin Coleman would be the starter for the Jets at running back. Although Coleman only started in one game last season with the 49ers, there haven’t been many positives to make the case for him to be a full-time starter in the NFL. His highest rushing yard season came in 2018 with Atlanta gaining 800 yards but only scoring 4 touchdowns. That same year Coleman received a PFF grade of 65.7, putting him 46th of the 62 players graded. Not very impressive. One positive that could come out of Coleman being with the Jets is Robert Saleh. Both know each other from their time in San Francisco, which could prove useful if Saleh knows how to use the rusher in a special way.
Again, the team has the draft picks to be in a position to take a runner if they so choose, and with a player who averaged only 1.0 yards per attempt last season, it probably would be a good choice.
Building a reliable offense around whichever rookie quarterback the Jets bring in is going to be crucial to the success of this team. Having a tight end that will be able to catch passes and block if needed could be the extra boost this offense needs.
Chris Herndon played in 14 games for the Jets at tight end last season, having only 17.9 yards per game and a catch percentage of 68.9%, 18th best for the position. Add in 5 drops, plus a PFF receiving grade of 53.2 — 46th out of the 50 TE graded– and it’s easy to see that Herndon isn’t a solid option at the position.
If the Jets do decide to bring in someone else at tight end, it needs to be a player who can make the catches when asked and create an instant connection with the young quarterback.
Adam Gase never really seemed to be the answer in New York, ending his time with the team having a winning percentage of .391, and making countless questionable decisions along the way. Insert former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and the hope seems to be back in the hearts of Jets’ fans.
Saleh doesn’t need to be perfect in his first season as a head coach, but he at least needs to gain the trust of his players, and get them to buy into his coaching style and system, something Gase failed to do.
His ability to coach the Niners defense was a major reason for the team’s success in 2019 on their way to Super Bowl LIV, and it will be interesting to see how he can translate that success into his head coach position. Last year’s Jets needed leadership and now, Robert Saleh is their leader.