As the New York Jets season continues to move to their worst ever it is easy to fall into the trap of just rebuilding one side of the football. In the Jets case it would appear to be the offense. Teams have focused on rebuilding one side of the ball in the past. Last year the Carolina Panthers with new coach Matt Rhule drafted defense with every pick. When you look at some of the offensive stats the Jets have produced through 10 games, it is stunning:
2,686 Total offensive yards 4,000
167 Total first downs 245
41/127 Third Down Conversions 56/123
15 Touchdowns 34
For offensive yards the Jets are at the bottom of the NFL averaging 268.6 per game as opposed to the league leading Arizona Cardinals who are averaging 414.3 offensive yards per game. If one were to watch all the games, viewing the fourth quarter of the Patriots game or the first half of the Chargers game, inept is the only word one can use when describing the Jets offense. In that fourth quarter of the Patriot game the Jets ran four offensive plays and in the first half of the Charger game former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco was 2-6 passing. These are things rarely seen even in division 2 college football. Still if the Jets only focus on the offensive side of the ball this off season they will never get on track as a balanced team.They must fill offensive holes but they must address their defense which has also been awful.The Jets are near the bottom of the NFL in defense at 28th in total defense.They are giving up 30.2 points per game second only to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL. The number of first downs on passes against the Jets linebackers to extend drive after drive is alarming. It seems like I have been witnessing this forever.
General Manager Joe Douglas worked last year’s draft well accumulating picks while trading down. And most of his picks are playing well showing real promise. Right now for the 2021 draft the Jets have nine total draft picks with five coming in the first three rounds. This along with one of the best cap situations in the league put the Jets in a good spot to build a foundation, but only if it is done intelligently. If they sign free agents such as Trumaine Johnson like they did a few years ago, they will be shooting themselves in the foot. With their nine draft picks they must address the defense as well as the offense. Defensive backs and edge pass rushers are two of the toughest positions to fill. The Jet rookie defensive backs are getting valuable playing time. Realistically it looks like Lamar Jackson, Javelin Guidry and second year player Bless Austin are only depth players and not NFL starting material. Bryce Hall may be a diamond in the rough but it is too early to tell. The Jets have to address the quarterback situation with their first pick. Either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields will be calling signals for the green and white in 2021. The Jets have Seattle’s first round pick because of the Jamal Adams trade. An offensive lineman should be taken with that pick. With the Jets second round pick and with one of their two third round picks, I would address the defense. There are two quality defensive backs rated as late first round picks. Tyson Campbell of Georgia and Derion Kendrick of Clemson. If either one of them slips into the second round, the Jets need to scoop him up! With one of their third round picks, the may want to go with a linebacker. Two names that have second round talent that may slip into the third round are linebackers Chazz Suratt from UNC (University of North Carolina) and Mike Jones of Clemson. As far as an edge pass rusher it is more of a sure thing signing a free agent rather than taking a shot with a draft pick. I just think a successful college edge pass rusher sometimes cannot make the transition to the NFL. Why not sign someone who has been there and done that! The Jet should consider one of two free agents that I like but will be expensive, Bud Dupree who is on the Steelers and Yannick Ngakoue on Baltimore.
The bottom line is all Jet fans know they a need tremendous amount of help on offense. But if they are to be perennial contenders, both sides of the ball matter.
Marty Schupak has been a New York Jets football fan since 1964. His blog and Podcast can be seen at: www.JetsRewind.com