We are one week into free agency, and many Jets fans have become frustrated by a perceived lack of moves. At this very time last week, many of us went to sleep dreaming of an improved secondary consisting of a Pro-Bowl ballhawk like Byrd at free safety, and a new #1 CB to replace Cromartie. Others were hoping we would make a run at an elite pass rusher like Ware, imagining the most dominant front 7 the league has seen in quite some time. I don’t think that this was ever Idzik’s strategy.
The Defense is NOT the Problem
Our 2013 defense was the worst that we have seen with Rex as our head coach. But we still managed to rank 11th in total defense, certainly not among the worst teams in the league. Yes, we were 22nd in the league in pass defense. But that is also because teams were simply unable to run the ball against us. We allowed only 88.3 yards per game on the ground, good for 3rd in the NFL. Cromartie and Milliner were also among the worst CB’s in the NFL last year. If Milliner improves and we can get even decent CB play from whoever replaced Cromartie, our secondary will be better than last season. We also have young CB’s in Wilson and Walls that have flashed some potential, and an improved defensive line will only make their job easier. Simply put, our secondary is not going to get much worse. As long as it doesn’t get worse, our defense should still be good enough to bring us to the playoffs.
The Offense IS the Problem
I don’t believe that Idzik is simply being cheap. I think he has prioritized fixing the offense in free agency, and I can understand why. Last season, we ranked 25th in total offense. Our passing offense was good for 31st in the NFL. We were 29th in the league at scoring the football, at a meager 18.1 points per game. Idzik does not want to use his valuable cap space fixing holes on defense, when we don’t even have an NFL offense. It was not a coincidence that he made it his #1 priority to lock up Decker at the beginning of free agency. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of offensive options available, and the market has been extremely slow for the top QB’s, RB’s, and WR’s. I believe that this is the reason why the Jets have been so quiet early on, but I expect them to make some more moves shortly.