Over the course of 32 days (or so) I will be previewing all 32 NFL teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2014 season. This post is previewing the New York Jets.
It’s been more than 40 years since the Jets last made the Super Bowl, and with an and an offense that ranked near the bottom of the league last year, it’s not looking like they’ll make it anytime soon without big improvements to the team. QB Geno Smith didn’t have a good year as a rookie in 2013, but if he doesn’t see much improvement this year, the team has a viable backup behind him that they can turn to in veteran QB Michael Vick. It’ll be up to head coach Rex Ryan to manage them in the way that best benefits the team.
Smith ranked 21st in the league last year with 3046 passing yards and his 12 touchdown passes put him 28th in the league, behind quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and Josh McCown who started just seven and five games, respectively; Smith started all 16 for the Jets. Meanwhile, Smith’s 21 interceptions were the fourth worst in the league. Smith’s receiving core wasn’t that good either. The team’s top pass catcher, WR Jeremy Kerley, had just 43 catches for 523 yards and three touchdowns. RB Bilal Powell got the most starts at the position but he finished second on the team in rushing yards to Chris Ivory’s 833. The offseason signing of former Titans RB Chris Johnson — who has never had fewer than 1000 rushing yards in a season — could shake up the position in 2014.
Smith has been named the starter to begin the season but Vick will likely take over the job by season’s end. A team probably doesn’t sign a player like Vick to have him hold a clipboard while Smith plays. The situation at running back should also be interesting. Does Johnson eventually start over the returning guys? The Jets’ schedule is front-loaded with tough games, playing five of their first 10 games against teams that made the playoffs last year before easing a bit after their bye.