Assessing The Jets After Four Games
A quarter of the season is now complete and the Jets have been a combination of mildly surprising, and to paraphrase Dennis Green, exactly who we thought they were. Let's review each unit's performance after four games.
Rookie quarterbacks come with a learning curve and Geno Smith has been no exception. Though he's shown flashes of brilliance and a strong arm he's also made some incredibly ill-advised throws. He has also failed to hold onto the ball in ways that could best be described as Sanchez-ian. These are all things to be expected from a 22-year old. As the schedule gets even tougher, it will be crucial for him to show improvement these next few weeks, or the calls for Matt Simms or even Mark Sanchez may begin.
Running Backs: C
Bilal Powell has won the job for now, but he's not a running back that teams fear, and that's a problem. Chris Ivory has looked slow when he hasn't been hurt, which has been often. Tommy Bohanan gets too many touches for a fullback that has a refrigerator on his back. Other than that, the running backs haven't been the problem.
If you know of any really good ones, please drop a line to the Jets front office. The Jets signed journeyman David Nelson this week, which is a sure sign your receiving corps has a depth issue. Outside of the Bills game, the wide receivers and tight ends have been well below league average in terms of performance. After a great first game, Kellen Winslow has been virtually invisible. Stephen Hill has at least shown some promise, but needs to be more consistent.
Offensive Line: D-
They haven't protected Geno Smith and haven't opened up many holes for the running game. But, they've made up for it by getting flagged just about every other play. Willie Colon has been glaringly inept. This is easily the most disappointing unit on the team thus far.
Defensive Line and linebackers: A-
They have shut the run game down (ranked 5th in the league) and pressured the opposing quarterback. They've also been put in tough positions after turnovers time and again. Factor in that they are young unit, and there's a lot to be excited about with the trio of Coples, Richardson and Wilkerson.
Remember interceptions? Because the Jets don't. They are last in the league with only one. The overall coverage from the secondary has been good and they ranked 8th in the league in passing yards allowed. However, they must start creating some turnovers in order to provide a shorter field for the offense to work with. That might mean taking some chances, but the risk is worth the reward.
Special teams: C+
Nick Folk has been perfect and Robert Malone serviceable. But, the return game remains an issue. The Jets should seriously think about signing Josh Cribbs (who they worked out this week) if he's healthy enough. He can't be any worse than what they are getting from Clyde Gates.
As usual, Rex Ryan has had the defense ready. Also per usual, he's made some foolish challenges in low leverage situations. Monday night in Atlanta will be a huge test for him. Nationally televised night games have not been good to the Jets in recent years. This is a team that's good enough to get to 8-8, or at worst 7-9. If Ryan doesn't get them there, it could be his last season in New York.