The Jets found themselves with a golden opportunity to save their season this week. They were hosting a struggling Falcons team that was heavily impacted by the conditions and gifted the Jets a tremendous amount of opportunities, though they were not taken advantage of. All in all, the Jets really did not play a good game. If both teams performed the same way without the weather being a factor, the Jets probably would’ve been blown out. Atlanta left far more points on the field than the Jets did, simply because of bad snaps and drops as a result of the rain.
Anyway, here is my Week 9 top ten 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. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Last week: 8th)
Seferian-Jenkins caught all 5 of his targets for 28 yards, a stat line very close to what he has been posting recently. However, only one of those catches was a first down, a meaningless 4th down conversion on the final drive. He also committed an ultimately fatal offensive pass interference on the Jets’ second to last drive of the game, which resulted in a three and out that made winning the game a longshot.
The Jets need to try using ASJ down the field more often. In addition to his superior size, he has speed and athleticism. The team rarely puts him on routes more than maybe 10 yards down the field. This really should change.
9. Demario Davis, LB (Last appearance: Week 6, 8th)
After an awful start to the year, I think Davis has stabilized his play. He’s making far more impact plays as a blitzer and in the run game, while he hasn’t been exposed in coverage as much. While Davis was a main culprit for the Jets’ run defense struggles early on, I don’t think that is the case anymore. On the year, he has made 26 tackles in the run game resulting in 3 yards or fewer and no first down, 5th most in the league. The Jets were shutting down the Falcons’ run game for the most part, save for a huge 52 yard Tevin Coleman run, and Davis played a big role in that.
8. Jermaine Kearse, WR (Last week: 5th)
Kearse is starting to become invisible on offense. He’s just not creating much separation in his routes. As we saw in Seattle, he has proven that he can go make a play on any ball thrown in his direction, but we’re now seeing why Kearse was a trade throw-in to begin with. Over the past two games, he has caught 3 of 9 targets for 43 yards, and 29 of those came on one play. Not #1 receiver production.
7. Leonard Williams, DT (Last week: 3rd)
Williams was credited for 2 quarterback hits in this game and was given the highest grade on the team by Pro Football Focus, but after rewatching the game I honestly have no clue how they came to that conclusion. Williams was mostly a non-factor against the run and rarely created any meaningful pressure on Matt Ryan. He draws a ton of double teams, but even when Williams was 1-on-1 he was usually losing his matchup. Over the course of the year, Leo has still been far better than his zero sack number suggests. Despite that notion, it’s time to admit that he’s just not playing as well as he has the past two years.
6. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 2nd)
Adams is still making the occasional nice stop in the run game, but he is becoming a weekly source of opponent touchdowns through the air. This week, Mohamed Sanu beat him for a red zone touchdown. It was a phenomenal catch by Sanu and a great job extending the play by Ryan, but as a safety lauded for his IQ, it’s the type of play you would like him to stop. This is the fourth game in a row he has been primarily responsible for a score in coverage, for a total of five over the four game span. He also was one of the defenders most responsible for Tevin Coleman’s 52 yard run. Adams rose expectations a lot with his early performance, and he still has a strong body of work on the year. He is still a rookie though, and that has shown up recently. The potential for him is still sky-high.
5. Kony Ealy, Edge (Last week: 4th)
Ealy continues to be one of the most consistent Jet defenders. He is the team’s most consistent pass rusher and made a couple strong stops in the run game this week. Outside of his PDs, Ealy has unimpressive numbers, but you have to key in on him to appreciate the impact he has had.
4. Robby Anderson, WR (Last appearance: Week 7, 10th)
I’ve been critical of Anderson on here, but he has emerged into the offense’s most explosive weapon. His 8 receptions of 20 yards or more is tied for fourth in the league. He’s overtaken Jermaine Kearse for the team lead among wide receivers in first down receptions (16), yards per reception (16.1) and yards per target (8.36). Josh McCown has done a decent job hitting Anderson deep, but there still have been a number of occasions where Anderson has beaten his man and wasn’t rewarded with a football. With the volatility of so many players on this roster, Anderson’s sizable collection of gamebreaking plays makes him worthy of a top four spot at the halfway point of the year.
3. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 6th)
Powell only gained an average of 2.4 yards (33 total) on his 14 carries today, but with the way the offensive line was playing, that was actually somewhat impressive. The Jets’ other ten rushing attempts resulted in an average of 1.3 yards, symbolic of Powell’s difference-making this season. He added 28 receiving yards, and on the year leads the team with 456 yards despite missing a game. The difference in speed and productivity when Powell subs out is still very noticeable. Maybe the team isn’t confident in Powell’s durability to handle a full workload, but it seems the Jets are doing themselves a disservice by taking Powell out of the game.
2. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 7th)
While guilty of a few penalties and helped out by a mostly soft slate of matchups, Claiborne had been strong throughout the year. Going 1-on-1 with Julio Jones would be an excellent measuring stick to prove just how real his play was.
He was fully up to the test. When challenged, Claiborne was very strong playing the ball against Jones, and his consistent tight coverage down the field was actually a primary reason for a lot of Atlanta passing plays that resulted in failure. When Claiborne left the game due to injury, the Jets defense fell apart. Durability has always been a concern of his, and makes committing to him long-term a risky move. It would be a tough loss for this defense, though. This is the best a Jets cornerback has played in a long time.
1. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 1st)
This was a rough game for the rookie. He slipped in coverage to allow Atlanta’s first touchdown to Austin Hooper, and throughout the game seemed to be a part of numerous communication issues. He also missed a tackle on Coleman’s big run, though it was a difficult one and there were already too many misses beforehand.
This might have been Maye’s worst game to this point, but there was a lot working against him. New Jet Robert Nelson looked like Maye’s son out there as he constantly had to be directed to the right positions. Buster Skrine has struggled, but the players who needed to step up in his place did not do a very good job. Still, Maye made a few mistakes in this game.
Dropped off list:
James Carpenter, LG (was 9th): Carpenter didn’t have a very good game, and neither did the line as a whole. They were mostly dominated in the run and pass game. This unit is perhaps the team’s weakest at the halfway mark.
Jeremy Kerley, WR (was 10th): Kerley does not have the role of punt returner to make explosive plays. He’s there simply to avoid doing exactly what he did Sunday afternoon; making a fatal mistake. Yes, the rain was a factor, but then why is Kerley trying to field a punt on the run over his shoulder in those conditions? Not a smart decision and one that ultimately costed the Jets tremendously. He also only has 3 catches on 7 targets for 24 yards over the last two weeks. ArDarius Stewart can’t do better?
Knocking on the door:
Darron Lee, LB: Lee is playing a lot better recently. He got lucky once in this game where he was beaten by Austin Hooper, who dropped an open touchdown, but otherwise Lee was active and productive. He made a key play in the red zone late, tipping a pass that could’ve been a first down. Lee was also very strong in the run game and laid a shattering hit on Matt Ryan with the blitz. This has been an improved string from Lee, and he deserves some credit.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE: Wow. Out of nowhere, the Muhammad Wilkerson who was considered fully deserving of his big contract is back. Dominating tackles, getting in the quarterback’s face, and stuffing runs, Wilkerson was very active for the second week in a row. Ironically, he was questionable for the game yet again, and actually hasn’t practiced in 3 weeks. Whatever the reason, Wilkerson looks like himself again, and if he keeps it up then the Jets might have a tough decision to make this offseason.
Do you agree with the list?