Offensive line reboot is this team’s 2017 and 2018 story
The NY Jets ended last season with a 5-11 record, not too shabby for this long-running underdog. Head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan return to the team for another season, and hopefully some consistency. They sit number 4 in the AFC East for this new season.
Unfortunately, 2017 was a particularly rough year for offense, despite QB Josh McGown’s notable stats of 18 touchdowns and 2,926 yards. The team just seemed to lack fruitful receivers, especially since WR Quincy Enunwa missed the whole season with a neck injury. And, the Jets tossed WR Brandon Marshall and WR Eric Decker before preseason.
The continued leadership of Bowles and Maccagnan gives us some belief that the Jets have the chance to build a team worth talking about. So, for 2018, what we need to see is a rebuilt offense of reliable and talented receivers.
Wide Receiver Drama, Defensive Line Stagnant
Sadly, the challenges of 2017’s wide receivers linger in 2018. Although Enunwa had his neck surgery, and ostensibly is back to good, there’s no clear indication as of yet that he is the same player from two seasons ago. Another go-to, WR Robby Anderson faces possible league suspension after he pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge.
The defensive line also needs to step up. With a two-season history for very few picks, something has to change. They managed only 11 interceptions last season, and a paltry 8 in 2016. Veteran DT Steve McLendon, who joined the Jets in 2016 after 7 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has already chided his team in preseason. That kind of leadership and example-setting, however, may just knock preseason rawness into regular season prowess.
Rookies have us all talking; defensive line revival?
The upswing for the Jets is that there is a bit of buzz about their 2018 roster. The most exciting conversation revolves around the quarterback spot. McCown is back, but heading close to 40 (I mean, 40 is all good, but only exceptional QBs rock this age), there’s no guarantee he gets the top spot. Behind him are No. 3 overall draft pick Sam Darnold and former Minnesota Viking Teddy Bridgewater.
Darnold is nothing but a shining star in preseason. He is connecting with his receivers, and showing his newness with a few interceptions. Nonetheless, his talent is abundant and he will be in a top slot in a blink of an eye. Then there is Bridgewater, who is recovering from an awful knee injury in 2016. The Jets picked him up this year despite the injury and without knowing how well he has recovered. And, rumors have started that the Jets would be willing to trade him for top dollar.
Another new face to watch is RB Trenton Cannon, joining the team as a 6th-round draft pick. He is making a name for himself this preseason, that’s for sure. And since RB Eli McGuire fractured his foot, Cannon looks to take the number 3 spot.
And, let’s talk a minute about 4th-round draft pick TE Chris Herndon. I already like him, as he shares the last name of a great buddy. Nonsensical aside, he is picking up the NFL game style quite well. In other words, he actually blocks. And, his competition, Jets 2017 5th-round draft pick Jordan Leggett, who missed all of 2017 with a knee injury, is out again for an undisclosed injury.
Not to leave out the defense, they have really started to pull together on the eve of preseason game time (what else can make August the best month of the year?!). They have made a few picks and tapped a QB or two, finally. They don’t want to live down another poor season.
This will be the year of the rookie offense. We are going to see newbie mistakes, but watching them grow will be well worth it. The team won’t hit full stride in 2018, but I am excited to see how they develop for 2019.
2018 NY Jets Schedule
Below is the Jets’ schedule for 2018:
Week 1: Sept. 10 at Detroit Lions
Gang Green does not want to start their season with this game. The Lions have handled them well in the last three match-ups, and will do it for a fourth time.
Week 2: Set. 16 vs. Miami Dolphins*
The Jets have a slight edge over the Dolphins and use home field to their advantage.
Week 3: Sept. 20 at Cleveland Browns*
The Browns’ rankings are a smidge better than the Jets’ but I just cannot call a win for them. The Jets have taken the win for their last three match-ups.
Week 4: Sept. 30 at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are packing some strong rankings this season. The Jets narrowly squeezed a win last season, but they can’t quite manage it this year.
Week 5: Oct. 7 vs. Denver Broncos
In the last two match-ups, the Jets ate humble pie. With a top notch defense this season, the Broncos keep up the trend.
Week 6: Oct. 14 vs. Indianapolis Colts*
With home field advantage, the Jets take this fairly even match-up.
Week 7: Oct. 21 vs. Minnesota Vikings
There’s just not much to say here. Only an alternate reality comes out with a different result.
Week 8: Oct. 28 at Chicago Bears
The Bears have pulled off wins for the last three match-ups. That’s saying a lot in the Bears’ favor. The Jets’ offense just won’t get past the Bears’ defense in this one.
Week 9: Nov. 4 at Miami Dolphins*
Once again, this is a fairly even face off. With a little more season under their belt, the Jets even manage this win away.
Week 10: Nov. 11 vs. Buffalo Bills*
I cringe at both teams’ rankings. This one’s a toss up, folks. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.
Week 11: Bye Week
Week 12: Nov. 25 vs. New England Patriots
No [need to] comment.
Week 13: Dec. 2 at Tennessee Titans*
The Titans are a cut above but the Jets seem to win this face off (historically, for the last three games). Let’s give the Jets some positive vibes this season!
Week 14: Dec. 9 at Buffalo Bills
These teams just don’t want to break their you win/I win pattern. It’s the Bills’ turn.
Week 15: Dec. 15 vs. Houston Texans
The Texans have escaped with wins for the last three meetings. This year is no different.
Week 16: Dec. 23 vs. Green Bay Packers
This tight match has me wondering too. Could the Jets blow it out of the park this season (by Jets’s standard)? Meh.
Week 17: Dec. 30 at New England Patriots
This is so unenjoyable to write about —- we all know the answer, right?!