D-Line: Overall, I feel the D Lineman for the Jets played pretty solid if unspectacular job this yr. Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito were fantastic against the rush and Shawn Ellis certainly had his moments. I think that Trevor Pryce was a teriffic pickup and he did a great job for a backup. Vernon Golston continues to get excellent grades on ratemyprofessors.com for his insping teaching of Extreme Suckitude 101. He will mercifully (one can only hope) not be back next yr.
There are issues though across the line. There is not much depth at all and the fact that Ellis is a free agent and somewhat unlikely to resign certainly hurts. Even though Ropati Pitoitua and Kris Jenkins (more on him later) will potentially return from injuries next season, nobody knows what exactly they are capable of giving even if they were to stay healthy over the course of the season. Another issue is the lack of push and pressure created by this unit. Yes, I understand that the duties of a 3-4 end are different and theyre not neccessarily expected to get pressure, but you still gotta be able to push the opposing o-lineman into the backfield at times. What DeVito and Pouha excel at is neutralizing the lineman so they cant reach the linebackers. That's certainly commendable but you're not gonna get a ton of big plays like that. In the passing gm it also hurts b/c if they were to push the lineman back it would collapse the pocket causing more pressure and make it that the lineman are also too preoccupied to take a chip at an oncoming blitzer. The lack of a push from the front 3 has limited the Jets pass rus. They are very good at what they do, but there is more that can be done
Offseason Moves? The Ellis case, as outlined by John B. is a very complicated one. On the one hand, I love the guy and really really want him to stay. He's a true Jet and I'd want him to stay his whole career here. The problem though is that he's gonna want more than he's worth and due to budget constraints the Jets dont really have latitude for sentimentality. My guess is that Ellis will end up elsewhere next season. If that were to be the case we would most certainly have to draft at least 1 D-Lineman if not 2 (although I dont think we'd neccessarily need to do so in the 1st rd). W/ regards to Jenkins, I think the Jets will cut him (it'll save them $4.7 mil) and resign him to the veterans minimum. He's extremely popular in the locker room and is a potential monster if he's healthy. It's worth the risk of resigning. However, in no way shape or form should he be taking the starting spot from Pouha-he has earned that right. Even if we don't keep Ellis and Jenkins here are other potential options in free agency. I'd absolutely LOVE to have Big Jenks' bro Cullen on the team but he'll almost certainly be too expensive. Shaun Rodgers is also an interesting option who could fit in very well. There are loads of cheap options but I really cant distinguish between any of them.
MLB: There's a reason that I'm seperating the play of the MLB's and the OLB's. That's b/c the MLB's are quite good and the OLB's suck. David Harris is quite good, although I'm not yet ready to move him into the ranks of the elite just yet. There's not much to talk about w/ him as he will for sure be receiving the franchise tag. I think that people are underrating the play of Bart Scott. I'm not saying that he's great but he does a very servicable job and is absolutely the heart of the defense. He doesnt make a ton of impact plays but is very good at fighting through blocks. The reason everyone is up in arms is that he's not worth the amount of money he's making. That being said, I feel he is still one of the better players on the defense and doesnt deserve to be going anywhere.
Offseason Moves? While I think that Scott has to stay (and frankly, for those saying they should trade him, there's absolutely no chance of that happening. Rex Ryan loves him way too much) I think that they should definitely try to renegotiate his contract. He's making way too much money at a time the team needs money the most. Although I'd never assume that a player would give up some of his money, there is certainly precedent for it happening to benefit the good of the team (i.e. Larry Fitzgerald and Vernon Gholston). Scott has always, incredibly enough for such a profuse talker, struck me as being a team first guy. Additionally, if there's anyone alive who can convince this man to give up money for the good of the team it would be Rex Ryan, his second father. A restructuring of Scotts contract would be a blessing for this team.
OLB: This postion is pretty much a wasteland. I still have faith that Calvin Pace can be good but let's face it, he's grossly overpaid (and unlike Scott, he isnt any good). We also cant cut him b/c we would lose money not save against the cap if that were to happen. Jason Taylor stinks and should retire. If he doesnt, pls do the man a favor and put him and us as fans out of our collective misery and cut the man. It would save us over #2 mil in the process. Bryan Thomas is awful. I honestly did not notice im on the field this yr, so ow he somehow led the team in sacks is beyond me (and when your team leader only has 6 that's not exactly a good sign). There's no depth after that. Sigh.
Offseason Moves? Bryan Thomas must be cut. He stinks and he'll save us $3.7 mil if cut. As mentioned, Jason Taylor should retire to Hollywood or be cut as well. It's absolutely imperative that team drafts a blitzing OLB. That being said, I think they gotta sign a potential starter in free agency as well. A good season for a rookie OLB would be 4-5 sacks. That would hardly cure our problems if he started. If he got that as a backup though that'd be terrific. The guy I've been eyeing for months is Matthias Kiwanuka. I feel he'd be a perfect fit. He'd be cheap (as opposed to more attractive options like Lamar Woodley and Tamba Hali) as he's coming off of a major injury. He's shown major flashes though. This makes him the perfect Tanny "high reward / low risk" type player that we know and love (Braylon, Santonio, Cro). Additionally, the Giants moved him all over the place. Rex Ryan would love to play w/ a versatile athlete like as seen from the successful Adalius Thomas experiment.
Safety: After bashing the safetys most of the season, I actually feel the position is pretty stable. They greatly improved in coverage late in the season (w/ the exception of the Garcon TD). Still, Jim Leonard had a dissapointing yr and needs to bounce back. Brodney Pool seemed to come into his own at the end of te yr. Eric Smith played fantastic down the stretch although he's gotta watch out as he's good for at least one personal foul call a gm. Dwight Lowery has a lot of potential. I'm a big fan of Digs.
Offseason Moves? I actually dont think there should be any althouvgh both Smith and Pool are free agents and they probably be able to only keep one of them. I'd say Smith b/c I like his big hitting. Due to this though it wouldnt incredibly bother me if they drafted a safety.
CB: Darrelle Revis reaffirmed late in the season that he is far and away the best CB in football now and maybe alltime. Now if he could just bring that for the entire season next yr that'd be fantastic. Cro was up and down but pretty good overall and I'll discuss im in greater depth soon. Drew Coleman stinks in coverage but he's a eckuva blitzeer so he has great value there. Kyle Wilson was dissapointing but I'm hopeful that e'll rebound next yr. Marquise Cole is more valuable on ST but I can see him developing into a valuable rotational guy
Offseason Moves? Here's where it gets interesting. Frankly, I think the jets gotta make a huge push for Nnamdi Asomugha. Getting him would give the Jets (no jokes) the best CB tandem of all time. I dont think you pass up on that. That being said, the Jets are tight on cash and may not be able to afford him. Here's how I view it. Asomugha will prob want somewhere in the $13 mil range and Cro will prob want around $9 mil for a difference of $4 mil. Ellis will prob command around that much as will Brad Smith. If it comes down to Cro + Smith / Ellis vs. Asomugha, I say how about we get historical and get Asomugha. If not though, I would sign Cro to a shorter deal as I'd like to see Wilson starting sooner rather than later (if we get Asomugha I could care less when Wison gets his shot. Cro is a different story)
ST: Nick Folk scared the living daylights out of me every time he stepped forward for a kick by the end of the yr (I couldnt look when he kicked right before the half in Pitt). He stinks on kickoffs as well. He's gotta go. I guess the Novak signing was decent as he was the ST player of the yr in the UFL so he cant be too bad, although hey, there's a reason the man wasnt kicking in the NFL, right? As much as ppl wanna knock Steve Weatherford for is playoff performance, the guy was a beast the whole yr. Just 4 touchbacks and 42 inside the 30. Incredible. It mustve been the shakeweights. Tanner Purdum was fantastic in his first yr as long snapper.
Offseason Moves? We gotta get rid of Folk and find a suitable replacement. Weatherford should be resigned. And I wouldnt worry about kick returning if Brad Smith leaves as the Jets always find great return guys.