Three Ways to Fix the New York Jets



Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, bottom right, loses his helmet as he helps tackle New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) with Colts’ outside linebacker Trent Cole (58) in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Christopher DiGeronimo

The New York Jets came into the 2016 season with very high expectations. They were able to re-sign their franchise record setting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one year $12 million deal with incentives. They retained their top two receivers in Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. On top of that they signed pro bowl running back Matt Forte, and they retained the reputation of having one of the best defenses in the league. With all this going on, the NFL also announced that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season. This announcement caused the AFC East to suddenly become an open division because nobody knew how the Patriots were going to play without Brady. The Jets were also handed the toughest schedule in the league, but with all their assets they believed that they would be able to handle it. Fast forward 11 weeks later and Jets fans see a team that is running out of fuel. The defense is horrible, the offense can’t score, and everything seems to be going wrong. I am here to give you three ways the Jets can improve, and possibly turn the season around.

  1. Change the quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick did what he did last year, but that same “Fitz magic” has not transferred into long term success. Fitzpatrick hasn’t lived up to his contract and he hasn’t been able to keep the ball out of the hands of the other team. At times, it has been very difficult to comprehend his decision making and it has been very hard to watch. Both Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are free agents at the end of the season so I feel for the sake of the team it is time to see what second year quarterback Bryce Petty can do in this lethargic offense. Petty is supposed to have an explosive arm, and he has shown glimpses of greatness in the preseason so why not give him a shot. This decision to start Petty can help the Jets front office plan for the future because Petty can show he is the starter of the future or it could give them an early stab at trying to get a new QB in the offseason. I feel that at this point the Jets have nothing to lose, and by changing the quarterback optimism can only go up.
  2. Use Matt Forte more often. Matt Forte is a very versatile running back; he can be a workhorse and at the same time he can come out of the backfield and become a receiver. In today’s NFL that is a very lethal combination, but I feel the Jets aren’t capitalizing enough on this investment. So far this season whenever the Jets give him more than 15 carries he has averaged about 94.5 yards a game. They have only given him over 15 carries in four out of the ten games this season and I feel it is time to cut him loose. In those four games, he has scored a combined 6 touchdowns where he has only scored one in all other games. A casual fan can argue that if they are always playing from behind they have to throw the ball, but when you establish the run early in the game the defense has to account for it and then they can start throwing the ball. As you can see if the Jets start feeding Forte the ball, it is going to start leading to touchdowns which is proven by the numbers.
  3. Wake up on defense. The Jets were projected to have one of the best defenses in the league coming into this year. As you can see that projection was brutally wrong, and they continue to get burned on long runs and passes week in and week out. One of the main reasons for this is the aging of cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis has shown that he is not the shutdown corner he used to be, Revis Island used to be a place for castaways but now it has become a vacation spot. It also doesn’t help that Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams haven’t done anything either. The defensive line has been decent, but it hasn’t been consistent from week to week. Now that teams are taking advantage of the Jets weak secondary, I feel the defensive line must put more pressure on the quarterback. If Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams can get sacks on a more consistent basis, it would take pressure off the secondary and it would force the offense to run the ball more. The one good thing about the Jets D is that they are ranked number one against the run, so it would be smart to force the opposing offense to play towards their strengths and not their weaknesses.  

    Overall, I feel the Jets have a chance to turn it around within the next few weeks based on their schedule, but they must keep winning. They still have four division games including two against the Patriots. If they can win the games they should win and win the four division games they could potentially be fighting for the wild card at the end of the season. If the Jets are able to follow my three steps to success you should see them in the playoffs for the first time since 2011.