The Jets’ annual trip to Miami Gardens started off nicely. In fact, three quarters of the way through, it was a Florida vacation to remember. If only they could end it at that point. The fourth quarter was a disaster, in which sloppy (if we’re being nice) coverage and a boneheaded throw for the ages turned a memorable trip south into a nightmare.
With that, your Week 8 ranking of the Jets’ roster. The rankings are meant to list the players in order of greatest net impact on the team over the course of the season. I take into account the season’s full body of work and contribution to wins and losses, not future potential or past reputation.
Check out last week’s rankings here.
10. Jeremy Kerley, WR (Last week: 9th)
It was a quiet performance for Kerley. He had two catches for 25 yards, one of them a key third down conversion on the second touchdown drive and another a 15 yard gain. (The box score has him down for 17 yards due to the fluke final play). The ball doesn’t come Kerley’s way often, but when it does, he is converting in key spots. 35% of NFL passes this year have resulted in a first down. Kerley has had 50% of his 24 targets result in a first, one of the highest rates among receivers with at least as many targets.
9. James Carpenter, LG (Last week: Unranked. Last appearance: Week 5, 9th)
The Jets got the run game back on its feet as Bilal Powell and Matt Forte combined for 84 yards on 16 carries, an efficient 5.3 YPC. Carpenter was a huge reason for that, carving out some sizable holes for the Jet backs on many of their quality runs. OC John Morton has done a nice job minimizing the impact of the line this season, but Carpenter has found moments to stand out far more often than any other member of the unit.
8. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Last week: 6th)
The Jets didn’t feature ASJ too much in this game. He tied for a team high in targets with 5, but that was half the amount he got against New England. Still, when called upon he was clutch yet again. He made a big boy catch to convert a third down on the same drive in which he eventually found the soft spot in the end zone for a wide open touchdown. While he did have a holding call, he made a very nice block downfield on Bilal Powell’s opening 31 yard run.
7. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 8th)
When a team gives up 31 points and 4 passing touchdowns to an offense that was averaging 12 points a game, you wouldn’t think the #1 corner had a very good outing. That was not the case here. Claiborne was very strong against the Dolphins. His coverage was sound and neither Miami quarterback looked to his side very often. It’s incredible how much of Miami’s second half outburst was solely on Buster Skrine. Darron Lee and Darryl Roberts had a couple of mistakes, but other than that is was all Skrine. Claiborne’s solid day might have a lot to do with the fact the Dolphins just wanted to exploit Skrine, but he was still taking a receiver out of the equation nearly every snap, and that’s all you can ask of your top cornerback.
6. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 7th)
Powell returned and made his presence felt immediately, setting the tone with a game-opening 31 yard screen play. It was vintage Powell, as following that play he would add 9 carries for 43 yards (4.8 YPC) and a 9 yard reception. Matt Forte played well in this game, but all Powell has done is make his case for more touches.
5. Jermaine Kearse, WR (Last week: 4th)
Kearse cooked Dolphins rookie Cordrea Tankersley to open himself up for a 29-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive.
That was it, though. None of his other three targets resulted in completions, and he displayed some poor blocking. The Jets didn’t look to throw the ball down the field much, but when they did Kearse wasn’t able to get much going even though he usually is McCown’s first read. He seemed to have some trouble with the field conditions while running his routes.
4. Kony Ealy, Edge (Last week: 3rd)
Ealy only made one tackle in this game, but his fly swatter of a hand showed up yet again in a key situation. He notched his 8th PD of the year on a crucial 2nd and 19 play late in the fourth quarter that helped force a punt and keep the Dolphins out of field goal range. He is currently averaging 1.3 pass deflections per game. Since Pro-Football-Reference began tracking the stat in 2001, no defensive lineman has ever had an average that high. The current record for a defensive lineman over an entire season is 16, held by J.J. Watt.
3. Leonard Williams, DT (Last week: 5th)
Complain about the defensive line’s lack of sacks all you want. This was a great performance from the entire defensive line, especially Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. They dominated the line of scrimmage, shutting down Jay Ajayi and as a team collecting 12 quarterback hits. Williams got credit for a team high 3 of those, adding two more run stops for a yard or less. His stats are still uninspiring, but I’m not too concerned yet. This game was a very strong display from Williams.
2. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 2nd)
This was a strong bounceback game for Adams. It wasn’t perfect, as there were a couple plays in which he was exploited in coverage. On Miami’s first play from scrimmage, Adams bit hard on a play action to allow Julius Thomas to pick up a 25 yard gain. He and Darryl Roberts were beaten on a pick play for Miami’s second touchdown.
That was about it for the negative, though. Wild animal Jamal Adams was back. He created the Muhammad Wilkerson interception by batting Jay Cutler’s pass on a blitz. He also added a sack and a few really strong plays in run support. It was encouraging to see Adams put a quick end to any potential question marks about his overall game that were sprouting. There’s progression to be made in coverage, but Adams is still producing at a high level all-around.
1. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 1st)
Maye doesn’t exactly take on as many roles as Adams does, but he just continues to show up in the right position time after time. When you do that consistently, big plays will fall into your lap, which quite literally happened for Maye this past Sunday. He collected his second interception of the year as he took advantage of a mistake by Matt Moore. He again consistently was in the right spots to stop the bleeding on any Jets mistakes.
Yes, this man was a Jets second round draft selection, as hard as that is to believe.
Dropped off list:
Robby Anderson, WR (was 10th): Anderson took advantage of a coverage breakdown to score his second touchdown, but was unproductive otherwise, with his only other notable play being a 17 yard catch and run. Anderson’s efficiency numbers continue to be really poor, and that’s not very good for a guy who doesn’t block or produce many touchdowns or first downs. His route running still needs work and he needs to avoid penalties like the one he took late in the game. Anderson’s speed gives him a lot of potential, but he’s not there yet. We’ll see how much progression he can make over the long-term.
Knocking on the door:
Kelvin Beachum, LT: I have not been the biggest fan of Beachum’s performance this year but I thought he was good against Miami. It helps that Cameron Wake usually lines up on the offense’s right side, but Beachum was clean in pass protection and opened up some holes in the run game. There are so many volatile players on this team that Beachum is in position to crack the top 10 despite having some rough outings this year.
Eric Tomlinson, TE: You might have scoffed at this, but Tomlinson quietly has a big impact on this offense. Throughout the year, he has had a huge hand in many of the Jets’ big plays, especially in the run game. His reputation as a strict blocker has allowed him to run free for three 25+ yard receptions this season (tied for second most among tight ends), a creative touch by John Morton.
Do you agree with the list? Feel free to rip it apart or share your own below.