Preseason Power Rankings No. 19: New York Jets

AP

When the 2013 season opened, it seemed likely that it would be Rex Ryan’s final year as the Jets’ head coach.

The team had hired a new general manager after missing the playoffs for two straight years and many felt Ryan had worn out his welcome as a result. Things didn’t play out that way, though.

Despite a bumbling offense, Ryan was able to lead the Jets to an 8-8 finish that was far better than many predicted and it may have been the best head coaching job of Ryan’s tenure. That earned him an extension and a bit of security, but it didn’t set the Jets up for surefire success in 2014.

They still need to get that offense in order, starting at the quarterback position where Geno Smith is expected to start ahead of Michael Vick when the regular season opens. Whether it stays that way or not, the Jets have upgraded the talent around them on offense and there will be great pressure to see progress if Ryan is going to be around for many more years.

That’s the big question for a Jets team that lands at No. 19 in PFT’s preseason power rankings.

Strengths.

The Jets may not have had luck finding their franchise quarterback, but they’ve shown a knack for identifying talent on the defensive line. Defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are two of the league’s best young players at the position and defensive tackle Damon Harrison has been steadily productive.

Chris Johnson may not be CJ2K any longer, but his presence adds another piece to a deep running back group. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell both had some good moments last year and former Ram Daryl Richardson is also around to help take some of the pressure off the quarterbacks.

David Harris rebounded from a couple of down seasons to turn in a strong campaign at inside linebacker for the Jets last season. The unit wasn’t particularly impressive otherwise, but Harris gives them a player to build around inside.

The rest of the group isn’t as good as it was in his earlier days, but center Nick Mangold continues to be a reliable blocker in the middle of the offensive line.

Weaknesses.

The changes at the skill positions should make life easier for any quarterback, but the Smith/Vick duo is less than ideal for a team that continues to look for a long-term answer at quarterback. It’s too early to write Smith off, but he’ll need to be much better this season.

Losing Antonio Cromartie smarts even with the veteran turning in a mediocre season in 2013. Dee Milliner came on strong in the second half of his rookie season, but more adjustments will likely be needed as he moves up a rung on the depth chart, and Dimitri Patterson’s injury history doesn’t do much to inspire hope that the Jets will have him for all 16 games this year.

The Jets got 10 sacks from Calvin Pace last year, a career-high for the 11-year veteran who re-signed this offseason. Some slippage is likely for Pace and Quinton Coples hasn’t developed into an effective pass rusher at this point in his career. The Jets defense is at its best when it is attacking, which means they could use a bit more bite at outside linebacker.

It’s a big year for wide receiver Stephen Hill, who has not lived up to his status as a 2012 second-round pick. Hill has speed, but he struggles catching the ball and is hurt far too often. With improved options around him, Hill’s stay might not extend much longer if he doesn’t take big steps forward in camp.

Changes.

The Jets signed Eric Decker early in free agency, giving them a receiving threat they’ve needed since Santonio Holmes’ career went south after the 2010 season. There is debate about whether Decker’s a “true” No. 1, but he produced with Tim Tebow at quarterback in Denver so he should be effective with this group as well.

That group got a bit deeper in the second round of the draft when the team tabbed tight end Jace Amaro. The Texas Tech product was purely a pass catcher at Texas Tech, but the Jets have a bigger need for a receiver than a blocker with Jeff Cumberland back.

Breno Giacomini was signed to replace Austin Howard at right tackle, a move that may well turn out to be a lateral one. Giacomini was part of a Super Bowl winner last year, though, and that’s never a bad thing to have in your recent past.

The Jets have struggled with safety play quite often during Ryan’s run as head coach, but they hope they solved some of the problems by drafting Calvin Pryor in the first round. Pryor should start from the outset and a quick transisition to the NFL would solidify a persistent Jets weakness.

Camp Battles.

Depending on who you asked, you got a different answer about the Jets’ quarterback competition. The team insisted there was a real one, while Vick maintains the job is Smith’s to lose heading into the season. That doesn’t mean he won’t lose it, so it’s incumbent that Vick bring his best stuff.

The Jets took cornerback Dexter McDougle in the third round in May, creating a potential competitor for Kyle Wilson as the third cornerback. Wilson’s been largely ineffective since the Jets selected him in the first round in 2010 and finding a better option would go a long way toward shoring up the weakness at corner.

Decker and Jeremy Kerley appear set as the top two wideouts, leaving a clutch of players to compete for spots behind them. Hill, David Nelson, Jacoby Ford, Greg Salas and three third-day draft picks will be in the mix. It’s not the most exciting group, but the competition should produce a better group than last year.

Prospects.

We opened with the need for the Jets to get more out of the quarterback position and that’s where we will close as well.

There are questions about the secondary, but the Jets defense should be strong again in 2014. If they are going to return to the playoffs, they will need a massive improvement on offense and that’s only likely to come if they have a quarterback who is able to avoid the kinds of turnovers and mental mistakes that have plagued them for the last three years.

Smith showed some signs of growth as the 2013 season concluded and more of the same will put the Jets in position to challenge for a postseason berth. A reversion to the worst of his rookie season will thrust Vick into the limelight and start the search for a franchise quarterback all over again.

If it turns out to be the latter, that probably won’t be the only change looming for the Jets just a few years after consecutive trips to the AFC Championship Game.

76 responses to “Preseason Power Rankings No. 19: New York Jets

  1. Brady is getting older and the Patriots are ripe to be taken. Had Woody not taken the Revis thing personally the Jets would have been right there to challenge. Regardless of who plays quarterback the Jets will still challenge but ultimately fall short.

  2. These rankings just keep getting better and better. These articles are just pure reaction based now huh? Can you really tell me with a straight face this team is the #19 team in the league? They are the worst team in the AFC east!

  3. Come on Man! Vikings and Jets need to switch spots… And, I’m sorry dude, but if you think the Texans and Redskins are better than the Vikings. That’s a Lie, Dude.

  4. Wow. No QB, no #1 WR and no secondary, and still ranked #19. A good DL and C only get you so far. Smells like East Coast bias to me on this one.

  5. How can the Jets do worse when they’ve ADDED talent and improved their roster? They finished 2nd in the AFC East and ALMOST had a playoff birth, despite being “the worst team in the league.” They had a bad stretch in the middle of the season when Geno lost his receivers to injury but came right back and finished very strong. Expect them in a wildcard spot next year. Stop drinking the “Jets suck” koolaid.

  6. So Jets, Skins, Lions, Rams, Bucs, are all ranked lower than Cleveland? What a joke this ranking is. But we know this…by week 2 of the regular season, the big “thump” heard here will be the Browns plunging through the #32 spot trying to create a #33 spot.

  7. It should be noted that Coples was recovering from a broken ankle for the first part of the season. That doesn’t help when learning a new position. He really came on towards the end of the season.

  8. Brady is getting older and the Patriots are ripe to be taken. Had Woody not taken the Revis thing personally the Jets would have been right there to challenge. Regardless of who plays quarterback the Jets will still challenge but ultimately fall short.

    Deanvernonwermer, your GPA is 0.0. Brady is older, but still among the top 3 in the league.

    If Woody did this or that… If “if’s” and “but’s” were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. He didn’t. Jets lose.

    Regardless of who plays QB is right, but the Jets won’t challenge because it’s all about the QB in this league and 2 average ones don’t make one exceptional.

    As a Pats fan, I like Rex Ryan. He gets his team behind him but we’ve seen the bickering on the squad rear it’s ugly head before when they weren’t winning. If they don’t get out of the gate well, it’ll happen again and he’s already on thin ice.

  9. deanvernonwormer says,

    Brady is getting older and the Patriots are ripe to be taken.

    How many times are you going to make the same post hoping it will come true?

    Pre season football, when fantasies of Lombardi Trophies dances in the heads of Jets fans. By November it will be hoping that Marcus Mariota will be wearing Gang Green in 2015.

  10. How many of you watched the Jets play more than one game this year (two if you’re an AFCE fan)?

    Right. They’re ranked right where they ought to be.

  11. “it’s all about the QB in this league and 2 average ones don’t make one exceptional.”

    It is not all about the QB in this league. If it were, the Broncos would have won the Super Bowl.

  12. The medias obsession with the New York jets never ceases to amaze me.

    This team committed to geno smith last year and then signed Michael Vick…easily one of the dumbest things you can ever do to a football team is have the starting quarterback position constantly in question. Just ask the Vikings.

    Now they sign Chris Johnson, and all of a sudden this team is a superbowl contender. Unreal.

  13. If there would have been one team in division that was worth a darn for the last 15 years the Patriots run would not be what it was. Unfortunately the rest of the division sucks and paves an easy path for Belichik every year.

    As it stands now the Patriots will once again finish in first and the rest of the division will finish under .500 with the Bills in the basement and likely the worst record in the league.

  14. taintedsaints2009 says:
    Jul 13, 2014 3:42 PM
    The medias obsession with the New York jets never ceases to amaze me.

    This team committed to geno smith last year and then signed Michael Vick…easily one of the dumbest things you can ever do to a football team is have the starting quarterback position constantly in question. Just ask the Vikings.

    Now they sign Chris Johnson, and all of a sudden this team is a superbowl contender. Unreal.

    ———-

    How is 19th spot saying they are a contender when only 12 teams make the playoffs.

  15. Bucs or bust is good for a laugh.. The worst offense in the league and he is worried abou rankings. It only gets worse from here with Lovie the excuse machine at the helm. Your team is a wreck and your players suck..worry about that.

  16. Vick is the better QB. Geno Smith isn’t very good. Geno is a below Avg QB at best.

    Getting Decker and CJ2K will help on offense. Milliner was really strong the 2nd half of the season

    I see Jets around the 9-7 or 8-8 mark.

  17. Mick the Jets fan says…It is not all about the QB in this league. If it were, the Broncos would have won the Super Bowl.

    No, but the Jets don’t have Seattle’s D. They don’t have a QB who can manage the game and not turn it over like Seattle has, and they don’t have Flacco, Brady, Brees, Manning(s), Rogers, or Roethlisberger. All who have won at least 1 ring.

    It’s all about the QB and until you have one, you’re not going to win. Think about the dominant D’s over the past 25 years. How many titles did they win? Baltimore and Chicago come to mind. One was years in between and the other was 1 and done. I rest my case.

  18. I guess today’s dart hit the Jets on the board. No way the Jets are a better team than the Lions or Rams!

  19. I’m not comparing the Jets to the Seahawks. I’m saying that blanket statements like “It’s all about the QB” – fueled by the medias obsession with QBs – are stupid.

  20. You don’t need a great QB to win the Super Bowl. Wilson, Flacco, Roethslisberger and Eli Manning have proved that pretty thoroughly.

    The Jets are so far removed from competing for the SB that it doesn’t even make sense talking about this in a Jets related post.

  21. Mick, isn’t it? I can think of 3 teams that won a title without a top 10 QB since 1985. I named them. This isn’t a media driven statement, it’s true right? The Jets D has been much better than average since Ryan got there but Sanchez was awful and what’s on the roster doesn’t offer a whole lot of promise.

  22. My name is not Mick. And you’re leaving quite a few out.

    Redskins (twice – Williams, Rypien)
    Giants (4 times – Manning, Simms, Hostetler)
    Steelers (twice – Big Ben)
    Ravens (twice – Dilfer, Flacco)
    Seahawks (Wilson)
    Bucs (Johnson)
    Bears (McMahon)

    So, yeah.

  23. this one is far, far too high

    I think the pollster confused worst records with worst teams in this case; Jets benefit by playing in AFC East.. and AFC; just no way for anyone.. ANYONE.. to think Jets better than Lions, Rams, Redskins…..maybe not even Vikings or Houston

  24. Lks311: His name is Muhammad Wilkerson, not Wilkerson Muhammad. Know the guys name if you’re gonna use it as a reference lol.

    No way Jets are better than Buffalo, and DEFINITELY not better than Detroit. The Jets had no pass rush last year and did little to improve that. Plus, they now have one of the worst groups of CB’s in the league. Red Ryan’s whole defense is predicated on having lockdown corners, which the Jets do not have.

    Did another commenter really say that Eli wasn’t a top 10 QB when he won his 2nd Superbowl? That’s just plain out DUMB! No bias there at all!!

  25. Jets have Mike Vick, he is way better that Stafford(Geno Smith is just as good if not better than Stafford)
    Eric Decker is like 1 catch behind Calvinthegreat
    Reggie Bush, well Reggie pisses me off cause he fumbles a lot and isn’t over getting dumped by Kim K. We all know Chris Johnson is way better than lil Reggie. Suh wishes he could be as good as Sheldon Richardson.

    Sounds to me like the Jets belong ahead of my loser Lions, but It’s a wonderful life! Blow Lions Blow!

  26. I give them a solid 8-8 when it is all said and done. That is being generous. I think they will surprise alot of people with what they have to work with. I have more faith in Geno than I do in Vick and if CJ2K can revitalize his career, this is the time to do it. Eric Decker is an okay receiver, let’s be honest. A low tier receiver can put up 800 yards atleast with Manning at the gun. Hopefully Rex won’t be let go after an 8-8 season. The AFC is pretty weak though all around outside of Denver and New England, it’s all up for grabs.

    Sincerely,
    A Jets fan

  27. Lol at Lions fans.. Your team couldn’t seal the deal in the weakest division since the NFC Worst submitted a 7-9 team. The packers sent a gift to detroit titled “Division Leader”, but when the mailman arrived, there was noone there by that name. Gift was then stamped “Return to Sender.”

  28. Here’s my 2014 Rankings:

    1. Seattle 14-2
    2. Green Bay 13-3
    3. Pittsburgh 12-4
    4. New England 12-4
    5. San Francisco 11-5
    6. Indianapolis 11-5
    7. Cincinnati 11-5
    8. Baltimore 11-5
    9. Denver 10-6
    10. Arizona 10-6
    11. New Orleans 10-6
    12. Washington 9-7
    13. Chicago 9-7
    14. Atlanta 9-7
    15. Detroit 9-7
    16. Philadelphia 8-8
    17. Carolina 8-8
    18. NY Giants 8-8
    19. NY Jets 8-8
    20. Jacksonville 8-8
    21. St. Louis 7-9
    22. San Diego 7-9
    23. Tennessee 7-9
    24. Buffalo 7-9
    25. Kansas City 6-10
    26. Dallas 6-10
    27. Miami 6-10
    28. Tampa Bay 5-11
    29. Oakland 4-12
    30. Cleveland 2-14
    31. Minnesota 2-14
    32. Houston 2-14

  29. why is it all you jet haters feel the need to comment about them. I hate the pats and I don`t ever go on a pats site or comment on anything said about them .last was a disaster and they went 8-8 I see no reason they can`t win 10 or 11 and yes I`m sure the pats will win the division.but I do see the jets as a playoff team

  30. politicallyincorrect says:
    Jul 13, 2014 9:14 PM
    LOL at having AFC teams in the top 10; I can see one in the 2nd 5 but no more…..

    —————–

    AFC Playoff team records against the NFC in 2013:

    Denver 4-0
    KC 4-0
    Patriots 3-1
    Bengals 3-1
    SD 3-1
    Colts 2-2 (beat Seattle and the 49ers)

    That’s a combined 19-5.

    Not so bad.

  31. I find it amusing that you people are so down on the Jets, 19 is about right. Last year everyone said blah blah blah Jets are horrible they will be 4 and 12. Guess what even with the least talented offense in the league they went 8-8 and beat the Saints and Patriots. The Jets have only improved this off season, so these comments berating the Jets are simply misinformed or not thought out.

  32. Lol who woulda thunk it, the media will eat this team up because they signed 3 of the most overrated guys in the NFL.

  33. The Jets finished 8-8 last year because the defense keeps them in games – its really that simple.

    Offense did enough in the wins, and Folk made 2 or 3 game winning FG’s.

    Because of poor play of Cro last year, this year’s defense with Pryor should actually be improved. And bottom line is if the light goes on in Geno’s head, this is a 9 or 10 win team best case scenario, challenging for a playoff spot is realistic. Ryan had 2 good playoff runs already, nobody can tell me that Jets won’t be dangerous in playoffs this year.

  34. I agree with this ranking.

    19 seems about right considering they still went 8-8 with a weaker roster last season.

    Depending on QB play, this team could be 7-9 or 9-7, and that seems about right for the 15-20 range in rankings.

  35. jcampol says: Jul 13, 2014 3:07 PM

    Can you really tell me with a straight face this team is the #19 team in the league? They are the worst team in the AFC east!

    ———————————

    Newsflash, Walter Kronkite: the Jets finished 2nd in the AFC East last season.

  36. still laughing at this one….

    pollster confused people by not specifying worst teams, many may have thought worst records.. and with Jets in AFC East I can see them being a bit overvalued… but, Jets are one of the worst 5 teams w/o any doubt not even close to….. Rams, Lions, Redskins, Vikings, Texans…. listed below them

    this one is funny and shows how some do not understand questions they are being asked

  37. Politicallyincorrect:

    Simply saying the Jets are one of the worst teams without providing any justification belies that you have no idea what you are talking about. The Jets went 8 and 8 with a weaker roster last year. Your post shows that you in fact do not understand the ranking system.

  38. I think the jets secondary stinks and i think their offense overall is below average ( even factoring in the off season additions). I think they have a tougher schedule this year than they did last year.

    Unless Geno Smith dramatically improves and the d-line proves to be one of the leagues best in 2014, I dont see the jets making a lot of noise.

    7-9 sounds about right to me.

  39. pftfan says:
    Jul 14, 2014 9:31 AM

    Newsflash, Walter Kronkite: the Jets finished 2nd in the AFC East last season.

    Please, they had the same record as Miami and 2 of their 3 final wins were against Oakland and Cleveland. If not for an inexplicable collapse by the Dolphins we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. If you choose to believe this team is as good as been talked about here so be it. But I’m willing to bet at the end of this year the Jets will be on the bottom of the AFC east and the bottom 5 of the league. Have you seen their schedule? By all means they will most likely lose 7 of their first 10 games and that’s being generous.

  40. They overachived by finishing 8-8 last season, but they can keep it this year, it’s all about QB playing.

    Dee Milliner started the season being torched but finished strong, Sheldon Richardson was a top 5 rookie, their WRs are better now, but just average, as Decker is a good WR2 that can pull 800 yards, but not the main WR as he is now in NYC.

    Geno is a good deep passer but he is awful at the typical NFL throw (10-15 yards) and doesn’t read defenses well, two reasons that he throws 2 picks almost every game. Vick will get hurt and has played below-average footbal, so Smith better get ready.

  41. What on God’s green earth is a “typical NFL throw”? Are you trying to say he’s not a very good intermediate passer? Because that’s actually his only strength.

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