You can’t fix everything in one offseason, and it’s clear the New York Jets have decided which weakness they’re willing to live with
this new york jets Heading into the 2022 season, they made a series of adjustments to their roster. Most locations on the depth map appear to have been upgraded.
But when you wrap up a four-win season (and the previous two-win season), it’s impossible to fix everything in one year.
The rebuilding team has to kick the jar down in some areas, accepting that they will struggle there in the short term until they have a chance to prioritize promotions in the future.Limited resources to improve roster; teams must choose something kick on.
As the Jets’ roster shows today (May 20), it’s clear they chose to ignore one aspect of the game for now: their interior defense.
Defensive mid lane could be the main problem for the Jets in 2022
Stopping the run was a major problem for the Jets last season. They have the most rushing touchdowns (28) in the NFL, and are 29th in rushing yards per game (138.3) and 26th in rushing defense DVOA.
Jets cornerback and safety played a big role in those predicaments of last year. However, the run stop problem in the second level is largely resolved. Newly added defensive backs Seth Gardner, DJ Reed and Jordan Whitehead have all been called excellent running backs. The Jets’ second-tier run defense appears to have a bright future.
The Jets’ running defense doesn’t look good inside. In fact, this part of the unit may be worse than last year.
New York lost interior defense specialist Foley Fatukasi to the Jaguars in free agency. Fatukasi isn’t a great solution in the Jets’ 4-3 offensive defense As a result saw his performance drop, so New York wisely let him go for three years/$30 million. The problem is that the Jets have done nothing to replace him. A player who is one of their only good defensive players.
Currently, the only defensive tackle to join the Jets roster this offseason is Solomon Thomas.The former Raiders are a solid inside passer, but struggling as an interior defender. Among the 2021 Pro Football Focus eligible interior defenders, Thomas has the second-best running defense rating (28.1).
In addition to two-way player Quinnen Williams, the Jets’ defensive tackle unit features athletic pass rushers with below-average rushing abilities.
Sheldon Rankins, Nathan Shepherd and Jonathan Marshall all fit the bill.John Franklin-Myers was more prolific than those players in both stages of the game, boasted Elite ability as an inside passerbut when playing inside, as a running defender, it’s average at best.
Letting Fatukasi go was a financially responsible decision, and I don’t think the Jets should have brought him back at his price. That’s the right call.
But even if Fatuowski’s contract in this program isn’t good enough, he’s still a positive impact running back, so the Jets will be worse off without him until they find a similarly skilled runner. Running back, he’s also a better program fit. They haven’t found a replacement yet.
Maybe next year; again, you can’t fix everything in one offseason. The Jets will likely decide they’d rather upgrade the more important role in 2022 and push that role to 2023, when it could be at the top of their priority list.
Ideally, in the long run, New York would take advantage of letting Fatukashi go (his departure likely paved the way for big free-agent signings like DJ Reed or Laken Tomlinson), and then at some point. replace him in some way and win in the long run. Point to offline. Unfortunately, in the short term, they are biting the bullet when it comes to interior defense.
We haven’t even found the linebacker yet.
Aside from CJ Mosley, the Jets linebackers were a mess in last year’s running game. And, like the defensive tackle, the Jets have done little to address that weakness.
The only veteran linebacker to join New York’s roster this offseason is Marcel Harris, a transition safety who brings some range and coverage but is undersized and fight against running. The Jets also did not select any linebackers in the draft.
Harris joins New York’s roster that includes three linebackers with similar characteristics (athletic but undersized and unproven, with poor defense): Quincy Williams, Jamie En Sherwood and Hamsanasi Rearding. The latter two also convert to safety like Harris.
Unless Williams (fourth-year player), Sherwood (fifth-round pick), or Nasir Din (sixth-round pick) make incredible progress, it looks like Mosley will again be forced to take on trying to keep The burden of a fledgling defender unit. We also have to start wondering how much Moseley, who turns 30 this year, has left.
Jets appear to be trying to replenish these units. On May 11, it was reported that the Jets interested Free agents Larry Ogunchobee (defensive tackle, Bengals) and Kwon Alexander (guard, Saints).
Ogunjobi and Alexander are well-known, accomplished players, but here’s the question on the subject of this article: Ogunjobi and Alexander are not great running defenders. Each player is a mirror image of the Jets’ current strengths and weaknesses at their respective positions.
In Ogunjobi you get an explosive striker who makes noise as a pass rusher and gets some tackles in the run game, but at the cost of often overrunning and missing tackles. Ogunjobi would fit into the Jets’ 4-3 offense and provide them with another great pass-rushing weapon. He didn’t improve his run defense, though.
In Alexander, you get another athletic linebacker who is undersized. Alexander will greatly improve the Jets’ pass coverage against linebackers, but when it comes to running, he won’t change much.
It looks like the Jets will have a lot of problems intercepting runs between tackles. Neither the defensive tackle position nor the linebacker position seem to be any better in the running game than in 2021.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.
Here’s the poison the Jets picked, and it’s probably the best option
As we’ve discussed, four-win teams shouldn’t be expected to plug every hole in an offseason. Poison must be picked.
The Jets have to pick some holes to get into 2023. Clearly, the linebacker position and the defensive tackle role are the two main weaknesses that New York has the easiest to deal with right now.
Looking at the big picture, it makes sense to choose these two positions as betting positions. These two positions are likely to be at the bottom when you go through the priority list of the NFL roster.
It all starts with the quarterback. Then it goes to support the quarterback. From there, it’s about influencing the quarterback on the defensive end.
The Jets have followed those priorities well.
Of course, they get a quarterback in 2021. Since then, they’ve focused on supporting him, with a ton of additions on the offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, and running back (prioritizing them in that order seems like the right way to rank them) .
On the defensive end, they’re more focused on passing, hoping to put pressure on many of the AFC’s deadly quarterbacks. This year, they turned their attention to the cornerback position, aiming to keep up with the superstar wide receivers offered by their division rivals.
Pass rushing and cornerback defense are the two defensive aspects that have the most direct impact on a quarterback.
Downtime is definitely important, but it’s no more important than anything we’ve just mentioned. That’s the last one.
Once you have a great quarterback, a great system around the quarterback, and a great defensive weapon that can turn another quarterback’s life into hell, Then You can focus on your run defense.
I applaud general manager Joe Douglas’ approach to roster building. His priorities are in the right places. Nothing makes this clearer than his decision on which positions are the best options. That shows just how careful he has been with resource allocation throughout the 2022 offseason.
The Jets will suffer this season in terms of stopping the run, especially in the paint, and I’m sure the team knows that. But that’s a small price to pay for the huge strides the Jets can take forward in a more important part of the game.
Look for New York to defend hard between tackles in 2022, then focus on linebackers and defensive tackles in the 2023 offseason.