The Jets nearly turned a mostly impressive performance against the Jaguars into a loss (or tie) with some timely mistakes, but they managed to hold on and even their record at 2-2 on the year. With a number of individual performances that stood out, my weekly top ten ranking of the roster has experienced quite the shakeup.
The rankings are meant to list the players in order of the 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 potential or past reputation.
You can check out last week’s rankings here.
10. David Bass, DE/Edge (Last week: Unranked)
After listing him in my “knocking on the door” section last week, I couldn’t ignore the Bass jumping out of the water again. He came out of nowhere with a few big plays against Miami, and pulled another sack and a TFL out of his bag of tricks this past week. What if I told you David Bass would be the team sack leader after a quarter of the year?
9. James Carpenter (was 10th): I was really considering putting Winters or Seferian-Jenkins on the list over Carpenter, but watching through some of the game again I was reminded of how steady #77 has been. After a poor game against Miami, Carpenter bounced back this week. He wasn’t responsible for any of the five sacks allowed, having impressive moments in pass protection. Other Jet linemen have had their moments, but none of them avoid the mistakes like Carpenter does. His consistency earns him this spot for now.
8. Jermaine Kearse, WR (Last week: 2nd)
Kearse had an unproductive game and has disappeared a bit as the Jets offense has begun to find increased success. He was actually the most targeted Jet against Jacksonville with 7 targets, but he only caught 4 of those passes for 17 yards, an ugly 2.4 yards per target. The Jaguars have a really good pair of physical corners outside in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Kearse saw time against both and wasn’t as successful as Robby Anderson was, perhaps revealing his lack of elite separation ability as a top of the depth chart receiver.
7. Elijah McGuire, RB (Last week: Unranked)
Save for a single fumble, McGuire had flashed some promise in his sporadic appearances throughout the first two weeks. He looked comfortable with the football and had posted impressive levels of efficiency. With extended action for the first time, he looked phenomenal, making play after play in the run and pass game. His vision looks like that of a seasoned veteran, while he showed off wheels we didn’t know he had post-injury. After Sunday’s games, among the 49 running backs with at least 20 carries, McGuire ranks 3rd in yards per carry at 6.8. He also caught both of his targets for 16 and 22 yards.
6. Robby Anderson, WR (Last week: 8th)
Anderson has come alive the past two weeks, taking over the title of leading receiver from Jermaine Kearse. He led the team with 3 catches for 59 yards, all three going for first downs. He did have one pass along the sideline that he let come into his body, leading to a contested drop and missing the opportunity for a first down. His hands could use more consistency, but Anderson has flashed improved open field ability the past couple weeks and is finally cashing in when open deep. He’s becoming a legitimate threat.
5. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: Unranked)
Powell showed the world exactly why Jets fans have yearned to see him take the bulk of the carries for so long. He consistently chose the right holes and made some impressive open field moves on his way to a career-best 163 rushing yards. His heads-up TD in the first quarter was an important early spark. How will the RB reps be managed when Matt Forte returns?
4. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 3rd)
Maye’s drop of one spot has nothing to do with personal struggles. He has been a consistent last line of defense, diagnosing plays extremely well and consistently stopping potential big plays with force. So far, Maye has flashed most as an open-field tackler, but he isn’t a one-dimensional safety. His interchangeability compliments Jamal Adams very well and forms a dangerous duo in the back end.
3. Kony Ealy, Edge (Last week: 6th)
Ealy rises for the second straight week in my rankings after debuting at #8 back in Week 3. Ealy’s impact had been hidden a bit over the first three games, as his place on the list was justified by his consistent pass rushing presence over his raw numbers. However, this Sunday you saw a guy whose dirty work finally translated over to the highlight tape. He defended 4 passes, twice as many as any defensive linemen had over the first three weeks. One of them was an incredibly athletic tip-and-pick of Bortles that led to a key 3 points. In addition to his plays on the ball, he was his usual self making an impact as a pass rusher. Ealy is outgrowing the shoes he was left to fill by Sheldon Richardson. Do you think the Patriots are missing him right now?
2. Leonard Williams, DT (Last week: 3rd)
Leo was back to his typical monstrous form, winning consistently against a strong Jaguars offensive line even when some his teammates on the line were getting driven off easily. Williams tallied 2 hits on the quarterback and seven tackles, most of which were very close to the line of scrimmage. In the run game, he has 10 tackles for 3 yards or less without resulting in a first down, third most among defensive linemen.
1. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 1st)
More of the same from the Adams Era. Adams didn’t have quite the playmaking festival he put on last week, but he just continues to be omnipresent in the right spots. He’s doing that at linebacker, safety, cornerback, and even down on the line of scrimmage at times. You can’t be disappointed with anything from him yet.
Dropped off list:
Josh McCown (was 5th): I thought McCown made some nice throws, but he made some backbreaking mistakes that ultimately resulted in what was probably his worst performance as a Jet. He took far too many bad sacks, made a ridiculous mistake on the backwards pass, and nearly fumbled the game away at the end of regulation. He also got away with at least two picks that Jacksonville defenders had a great chance at.
Jordan Jenkins (was 7th): Jenkins is a steady, gritty player, but hasn’t made as much impact as some of the other guys overtaking him on the list.
Josh Martin (was 9th): Martin can easily get back on to the list if he plays like he did Weeks 1-2. He just hasn’t been on the field to defend his position.
Knocking on the door:
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: ASJ looks really rejuvenated out there, both catching the football and blocking. He’s only played two games, but his average of 4.5 receptions per game would be the most for a Jet since Mickey Shuler in 1988. In the blocking game, he looks like a completely different player, making some impressive seals on the edge. He had a key block on the McGuire touchdown. A lot to like from Seferian-Jenkins so far.
Brian Winters: I thought Winters had a very good game against Jacksonville after missing last week. He had been inconsistent at best throughout the first two weeks, but made key blocks on many of the Jets’ big plays in Week 4, including both long touchdown runs. This was a physical game. I thought Winters was very strong throughout and a key part of why the Jets were able to run the ball so effectively. It was a step forward for him, even if he had a few mistakes here and there.
Demario Davis: Davis was listed in this section last week, but I don’t think he did quite enough to make the list. He had a phenomenal Week 3, but still needed more work to make up for his ugly start to the year. Davis was OK this week, but I didn’t see enough to comfortably place him on the list with those first two games still under his belt.
Do you agree with the rankings?