Expectations were high in New York, following a 10-6 2015 season. But pretty much right out of the gate, the 2016 season ended up being as bad as the previous season was good.
Injuries, age, poor QB play and suspensions, among other problems, decimated the Jets, dooming them to a 5-11 season.
Do Todd Bowles and his team have what they need to turn things around? What happens at the QB position? Can the Jets show that 2016 was the outlier instead of 2015?
Joe Caporoso, owner of Turn on the Jets, joined us to share his thoughts.
Zoneblitz: The 2016 season was as bad as 2015 was promising – what went wrong?
Caporoso: The quarterback play was the worst in the NFL and that started a domino effect of incompetence throughout the team. Todd Bowles regressed as a coach, young players like Calvin Pryor and Lorenzo Mauldin took a step back, the team’s red zone efficiency plummeted and they stopped being able to force turnovers. Throw in a few key injuries (Eric Decker, Nick Mangold) and you have the perfect recipe for 5-11.
Zoneblitz: Was retaining Todd Bowles the right move?
Caporoso: I think so. This team can’t keep flipping everything over every 2 years. At this time last year Bowles was coming off a solid 10-6 rookie year, one year after being the AP Assistant Coach of the Year, it is hard to think he has transformed into Rich Kotite and can’t coach anymore. He must improve his game management and ability to make quicker decisions on ineffective players but I am not surprised he got a third year.
Zoneblitz: Ryan Fitzpatrick seems destined to be gone. Geno Smith is a free agent. Bryce Petty hasn’t proven ready and Christian Hackenberg was basically redshirted in 2016 – what’s the future of the QB position?
Caporoso: All options are on the table. The Jets should be considering a QB with the 6th overall pick and exploring the free agent market, with names like Tyrod Taylor, Mike Glennon and Brian Hoyer all likely to receive consideration. It is doubtful either Petty or Hackenberg are NFL starters.
Zoneblitz: There was some skill position upheaval at the end of the season – Matt Forte is aging, Eric Decker was injured, Brandon Marshall was less effective and the Jets haven’t used the TE much in recent years – are there pieces in place that could make the offense productive again or is a dramatic overhaul on the way?
Caporoso: The Jets have some young talented pieces on offense and should embrace them, namely WRs Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall, and RB Bilal Powell. Eric Decker’s long term status depends on how his rehab goes this offseason It would not surprise me if they moved on from Brandon Marshall and scaled back Matt Forte’s role substantially next season.
Zoneblitz: The defense gave up 95 points more in 2016 than in 2015. What happened?
Caporoso: Darrell Revis got old and stopped trying. Calvin Pryor regressed. Marcus Gilchrist regressed. Lorenzo Mauldin regressed. Muhammad Wilkerson had the worst season of his career. Sheldon Richardson had more suspensions than sacks. It was a basically a top to bottom train wreck of incompetence.
Zoneblitz: What pieces are in place for returning the defense to its previous levels and what are the weak spots that need upgrade?
Caporoso: Leonard Williams. Wilkerson. Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins should be key pieces moving forward but the Jets need to rebuild their secondary basically from scratch and continue to look at improving their edge rushers.
Zoneblitz: Sheldon Richardson reportedly was on the block at the trade deadline and long-time stalwart Darrelle Revis’ situation seems up in the air – what’s going to happen to those guys heading into free agency?
Caporoso: The Jets should cut Darrelle Revis. There is no value in keeping an overpaid, declining 32-year-old around considering the team’s current situation. Sheldon Richardson is likely to be traded for a mid-round pick. The Jets have not figured out how to use him effectively next to Leonard Williams and Wilkerson and his production has tapered off in recent years. It is time to focus more assets on the edge position.
Zoneblitz: What would you like to see the Jets do in the draft and free agency?
Caporoso: I’d like to see them acquire more draft capital to rebuild the middle and lower class of the roster by trading Richardson and Marshall and/or trading back when possible. In free agency, they should be targeting players 28 years old and younger who can develop long term here. A few logical targets would be Melvin Ingram, Dion Sims, Tony Jefferson and Trumaine Johnson.
Follow Joe Caporoso on Twitter at: @JCaporoso
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