Our series grading each position group on the Jets in 2015 goes on. Today we address the safeties. As a refresher, here is the John B Grading System.
A - An enormous success by any definition
B - Happy with the production
C - Not terribly thrilled; not terribly upset
D - A disappointment
F - A total catastrophe
2015 in review
Safety is a position that has historically plagued the Jets going back over a decade. It has been rare that the team has gotten quality play from both spots. 2015 was a very pleasant year in that regard. The Jets got a good season out of free agent Marcus Gilchrist. Many questioned the acquisition at the time, but Gilchrist provided a steady presence at the back of the defense. At the other safety spot, Calvin Pryor shook off a rough rookie season. In 2014 it felt like Pryor was culpable for a long touchdown every week. In his second season, things clicked. With his range, he provided the Jets with a security blanket at the back end of their defense. The team could count on him to bail them out when somebody missed an assignment.
It wasn't just the starters who produced, however. In a few instances when Pryor was injured, the team had to call on its backups. They played effectively. Dion Bailey stepped off the bench late in a game against Miami in London. He had just been signed days earlier, but he registered four tackles and had a big pass defensed one on one in the red zone. Starting in place of Pryor in a game against Jacksonville in November, Bailey played a stellar game, registering 6 tackles and half a sack. Unfortunately, Bailey was injured in that game. Rontez Miles stepped into the lineup and had 7 tackles a week later against the Bills. In a game against the Giants later in the season, Pryor's snaps were limited by injury, and Miles had another 6 tackles and an interception on a big fourth down play.
Looking to 2016
This is about as stable of a position as you will see on the Jets. The key guys are all under contract. There are quality starters and backups who played well when called upon.
There isn't a star in the group, but there were a lot of quality pieces who fit the defense and performed their respective roles well.