Elster's World

Monday, December 31, 2007

Jets Post Mortem

And so the 2007 season finally crashed to a halt with yesterday's awful game against the Chiefs in the first inaugural Meadowlands Herm Bowl - a 13-10 overtime stinker which propelled the Jets from the 3rd pick in the draft to the 6th. Alas.

And so with the season in the books, it's time to give our post-season grades of the good the bad and the ugly - and take a quick look at the 2008 season improvements which need to be made to get the Jets back on track.

As a quick aside - after the game it was announced that Mike Westhoff will not be back with the Jets next season due to his bad leg. He will be sorely missed. The jets have been very good on special teams during his tenure. Here's hoping his replacement doesn't screw anything up.

OFFENSE:

Since everything starts in the trenches, we will too. The best word to describe the Jets offensive line this season is...TRAINWRECK. Simply put, with the exception of, in my opinion, Nick Mangold, the line did a horrendous job this season. The couldn't open up holes for runners Leon Washington or Thomas Jones and they certainly couldn't pass protect their quarterbacks - giving up over 50 sacks this season. The loss of left guard Pete Kendall seemed to break the will of left tackle D'brickashaw Ferguson, who certainly took no steps forward this season and remains, at best, an average left tackle. Adrien Clarke did a horrible job and left guard, as did Brandon Moore at right guard. Anthony Clement was crappy on the right side as well. We didn't see enough of any back-ups to know if any of them are any good.

Overall grade: F. Sorry Nick, but you need to be graded with your whole unit.

For Next Season - Jets need 2 new guards and a new right tackle. They need to give Ferguson another year or 2, if only because of how high they took him. He has the tools, I think he lacks the mental makeup. Doesn't seem mean enough.

Quarterback:

Chad Pennington, fan favorite, was benched after being pounded into submission (see above). Once it became clear the season was lost, Mangini brought in backup Kellen Clemens to see what the team had in him. The results are unclear. Clemens was unimpressive in his 8 starts, but in his defense it's difficult to throw the ball from your ass. Or on the run. I'm pretty sure I can count on my fingers and toes how many times a Jet quarterback was able to set up and scan the field this season. The line was really that bad.

That being said, Clemens, while clearly displaying a strong arm (an attribute Pennington lacks) and alot of moxy, did not display an ability to read opposing defenses (10 picks vs 5 tds) or throw with accuracy. It's impossible to know what the Jets have in Clemens.

Grade: D - (the only reason thy aren't getting an F is that I believe with a better line their grade would have been higher).

For Next Season - tough calls for the Jets. Do they take a quarterback at number 6 if one is available or take a chance that Clemens is the real thing? Do they keep Pennington or try and dump him for a third rounder? Who do they bring in to compete with Clemens if guys like Culpepper or Mcnab are available on the cheap? I'm glad I don;t need to make these decisions.

Running back:

Thomas Jones was brought in the bolster a playoff team that did it with smoke and mirrors the year before. The Jets were supposed to employ the thunder and lightening combo of Jones and Washington to throw off opponents. Instead, Jones and Washington were routinely thrown back for losses and the line struggled to create any holes. To his credit, Jones ran for over 1,100 yards this season and looked good when there were holes to hit. To his detriment, Jones scored a whopping one rushing td this season, averages a mere 3.6 yards per carry, and routinely failed to get that one yard on blank and one situations. Leon Washington added another 350 yards on 71 rushes (5.0 average) and three rushing tds - and remained a potent threat as a receiver as well as returning kickoffs.

Grade: B- (again, more due to the line than their individual efforts.)

For Next Season - IMPROVE THE OFFENSIVE LINE.

Receivers:

Coles and Cotchery and gutty guys with good hands. Both are good yards after the catch guys as well. What they both lack is deep pass speed. In essence they are the same type of receiver. Brad Smith shows flashes of promise as well as flashes of inconsistency. Wallace Wright made the catches when he was given the opportunity and did a great job on special teams. Justin McCareins needs to be dumped ASAP. Another step forward for Chris Baker.

Grade: B

For Next Season - There is a real chance the Jets will lose Coles over his contract number next year. Coles fought off injury the whole season and, after 8 seasons in the NFL, the Jets need to decide if he has enough left in the tank to work with him on the number. Cotchery is a keeper and went over 1,000 yards for the season. The Jets need to add a speed receiver and need to figure out if Brad Smith can ever be an effective number three type guy.

DEFENSE

Line - The Jets finished 29th in the league in rushing defense - they gave up over 136 yards a game - and that all start up front. Robertson, Coleman and Ellis did a poor job of both stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. Poor depth behind them didn't help. Sione Pouha showed some promise backing up Robertson.

Grade: D.

For Next Year - The Jets need a widebody run stopper to slot into the nose tackle next year. It is a top three priority.

Linbackers - Jon Vilma was having a second poor season in a row when he got hurt. The bright spot of his injury was the bright spot of this linebacking corps. David Harris stepped in to the middle linebacker spot and finished 8th in the league in tackles. And he flew around the field the way Vilma used to. Eric Barton, Victor Hobson and Bryan Thomas underwhelmed.

Grade: C -.

For Next Year - The Jets should slot Vilma into Eric Barton's position and let Vilma and Harris terrorize running backs and QB's. Is there anyone in the world who thinks Vilma can't be a more effective BArton than Barton is? The Jets also need to upgrade the outside backer spots.

Secondary - Probably the strongest part of either the offense or defense. The Jets finished 9th in the league in pass defense - a stat that is actually phony in the respect that why on earth would teams throw the ball when they have so much success running it. However, the Jets got outstanding play from rookie Darrelle Reevis, great play from safety Kerry Rhodes (who got jobbed on a pro bowl spot) and solid play from safety find Abram Elan, a very hard hitter.

They got less than outstanding play from Barret, Dyson, Poteat and Coleman.

Grade: B.

For Next Year - Time to cut the cord with Eric Coleman and upgrade the depth at safety. Also need to get a second corner to start opposite Reevis.

Special Teams - The Jets are going to miss Westhoff. He turned first Justin Miller and then Leon Washington into world class kick returners. For some reason, the magic didn't hold true for returning punts. Jets were also good on covering kickoffs and punts, despite subpar years from Nugent and Graham (netted just 37 yards a punt).

Grade: B

Coaching and GM - major step down for the Mangenius - he went from a rookie 10-6 campaign to a terrible 4-12 follow up. And please don't tell me how the Jets "competed" in every game - not good enough. Also heard some grumbling about how the Jets don't enjoy playing for him. The braintrust took a 10-6 team, tweaked it, and turned it into a 4-12 team. Not good at all. Brian Schottenheimer, the other resident genius, turned in too many overly predictable gameplans.

Grade: C--

For Next Year - These guys all need to prove themselves.

OVERALL

In this league, it's not all that hard to go from 10-6 to 4-12 and back again. All it takes is a few good free agent signings, a couple of decent draft picks and some luck. The Jets can turn it around if they make the right moves. If not, its back in the depths in 2008.

8 Comments:

  • 1. I think you're way too soft on Clemens. I don't know what "moxy" is. And yesterday he did have time, but kept running around.

    The more I think about it, the more baffled I am as to why the Jets don't focus on improving the OL and keep Pennington.

    2. The Jets should keep Coles. He is banged up and probably no longer more than a #2 WR, but they are already very thin at WR and it makes no sense for them to create yet another slot needing to be filled. Let them add a year to his contract and give him some cash, and pray that his career doesn't end with another concussion.

    3. I didn't think Brandon Moore was that bad at RG. In my view, RT, LG and DE are positions that must be upgraded. The Jets should also sign a blocking fullback (I thought that was Barnes, but I guess not).

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 8:37 PM  

  • I gave the Qb's a D-. That's soft?

    Agree on Coles - if he recovers, he's still a solid possession guy.

    Don't know about Moore.

    I think you need to add Nose Tackle to your list.

    By Blogger Elster, at 10:30 AM  

  • I didn't look at the grades. The defense of Clemens by you and everyone else is unjustified. Browning Nagle had a bad OL. He lost his job after less than a season. Brooks Bollinger had a bad OL and was much better than Clemens and was then traded for a 7th rounder. I'm not saying to give up on Clemens but I am baffled as to why he's considered the incumbent starting QB.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 12:01 PM  

  • I agree that the Jets need to NOT hand him the starting job. For all the talk the jets have NOT release/traded Pennington and they have not not brought in a new QB either through trade, free agency or the draft. Clemens does not deserve to be given the role of starter, but he deserves more of a chance.

    By Blogger Elster, at 1:45 PM  

  • I agree that he deserves a pre-season opportunity but I'd rather that he compete with Pennington than Sage Rosenfels or Cleo Lemon.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 2:47 PM  

  • Unless, as Phan suggests, he's worth a second rounder. Highly dubious. I think he gets traded for a fourth round pick if traded at all.

    By Blogger Elster, at 2:51 PM  

  • I would trade Chad for a second rounder and maybe a very high 3rd but I don't think anyone will offer that much.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 4:00 PM  

  • Agreed

    By Anonymous Elster, at 4:17 PM  

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