With the start of the 2017 season just days away, Jets fans have some questions that need to be answered. These questions will be answered in this 2017 New York Jets season preview.
Why Not Hackenberg?
When the New York Jets named veteran Josh McCown the starter, many were confused. If the Jets were really planning on tanking to draft USC quarterback Sam Darnold, why not start Christian Hackenberg and see what they have in their second round selection?
In the six games Bryce Petty played in, he has completed 55 percent of his passes while throwing three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Although it is a small sample size, Petty has gotten his shot and has shown he’s not capable of the starting job.
McCown, on the other hand, is a career journeyman who has a career record of 79-145. He has been part of some bad teams and naming him the start does nothing except buy head coach Todd Bowles some time.
The team is clearly in rebuilding mode so why not give Hackenburg a shot? Many have said that he shouldn’t have been selected so high in the draft but no one will never know how good he is if he never gets a chance to play.
Will This Be The Worst Offense in NFL History?
The 1992 Seattle Seahawks hold the record for the worst scoring offense in NFL history, scoring 140 total points (8.8 points per game). Experts believe the 2017 Jets will be even worse. In the matter of four months, the Jets completely shook up their offense by releasing 2016 starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and their two top receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
Going into the 2017 season, the Jets offense was supposed to feature Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Quincy Enunwa. An aging Forte and an underrated Powell will have to carry the offense because as Murphy’s Law states, “if it could go wrong, it will”.
Enunwa, the Jets #1 wide receiver, was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury. An already inexperienced wide receiver group now becomes even more inexperienced. The injury leaves Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall as the top receivers for the Jets. Both receivers have combined for 56 receptions and 749 yards in their young careers.
On Sept. 1, the Jets added to their wide receiver depth chart by trading Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks for Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second round pick. Although Kearse hasn’t been very productive, he is a veteran that can help this young receiving group. Another move to add to the depth chart came on Sept. 5 when Jeremy Kerley signed a one-year deal.
The Jets definitely will struggle to score points this season but even with their lack of talent, they will score more than 8.8 points per game. If they don’t, Todd Bowles and his coaching staff will be looking for employment.
Can The Defensive Backs Bounce Back?
In recent memory, the Jets have been built on defense. During the Rex Ryan era, the Jets were one of the top defenses in the league. The 2015 Jets were also ranked in the top 10 in all defensive categories. In 2016, the Jets did not perform to their standards.
They were ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in passing yards per game and points per game. The downfall of the defense begins with the main issues, the secondary. Once the strength of the team, it is now holding their defense back.
Darrelle Revis, one of the best lockdown corners of all time, clearly lost a step. Revis wasn’t the only issue in the secondary, however. Marcus Gilchrist was among the worst safeties in coverage in the NFL.
Jets free safety Calvin Pryor lived up to his scouting report – a hard hitting, undersized safety who lacked discipline while in coverage. Having two of the worst safeties in coverage can explain all the defensive woes of 2016.
Drafting the Defense of the Future
To fix the defense, the organization knew it had to fix the secondary. The three players mentioned were released. The Jets drafted LSU safety Jamal Adams with the sixth overall pick. Adams has all the tools to be successful and will be the centerpiece of the Jets defense for years to come.
With the 39th pick, the Jets draft Florida safety Marcus Maye. It is not ideal to have two rookie safeties start year one, but the Jets have no other option. To help with the absence of Revis, the Jets signed Morris Claiborne. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Claiborne showed that he can be an above average corner in the NFL last year.
The 2017 will surely be a roller coaster ride for the Jets and their fans. Hopefully, fans will see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light leads to the 2018 NFL draft.
Main Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images
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