The Jets gave themselves and the fanbase a stern reality check with an ugly 15-10 loss to the woeful Buccaneers. A strong defensive performance was wasted by a putrid and embarrassing offensive outing. How have things changed on the roster pecking order?
Here are my rankings from last week.
11. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Last appearance: Week 9, 10th)
ASJ’s reemergence on the list has more to do with another silent outing from the previous holder of this spot, Muhammad Wilkerson, than his own performance. Seferian-Jenkins posted 6 catches for 67 yards, but most of that was in garbage time. He’s still only averaging 7.4 yards a reception this year, an absurdly low number. I did notice a couple of solid blocks from him in this game.
10. Josh McCown, QB (Last week: 6th)
Yuck. McCown was done no favors by a horrid offensive line, but he did nothing to minimize the damage. Yet again, he took too many sacks he didn’t have to, putting the Jets in unmanageable 3rd & long situations on a consistent basis. He was often inaccurate and forced too many passes, best illustrated by his deep interception to a double-covered Robby Anderson.
9. Kony Ealy, Edge (Last week: 9th)
Ealy batted another pass to bring his season total to a whopping (not a sarcastic usage of the word) 9 on the season, on pace to be among the all-time best totals for a defensive lineman. He again had a quiet stat line, but Ealy created multiple pressures in this game, though he failed to finish a couple sacks.
8. Darron Lee, ILB (Last week: 4th)
I think Lee has started to become a consistent plus starter for the Jets defense. His play against the run has been strong and steady, while his coverage has gotten increasingly better. Don’t let the false playoff race get in the way of what this season was supposed to be all about: the development of young players. Lee’s resurgence is a major win for this franchise going forward if he sustains it.
7. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 7th)
Adams was very solid this week, playing excellently against the run. He made 3 tackles for 2 yards or less and made a nice open field tackle on a scrambling Ryan Fitzpatrick to prevent a third down conversion. He was late to Cameron Brate in an apparent zone coverage early in the game, but other than that had a consistent performance in coverage.
6. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 4th)
Powell had a beautiful 21 yard run early in the game in which he made multiple defenders miss to create the big play on his own. After that, he picked up 9 yards on 9 carries, with one reception for 6 yards. Not to let Powell completely off the hook, but as mentioned this was a terrible showing of blocking by the Jets’ offensive front. He remains the Jets’ team leader in scrimmage yards per game (62.9), though his one missed game puts him behind Robby Anderson for the lead in total scrimmage yards.
5. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 2nd)
Well, it seems Claiborne is finally starting to break down. After missing last week’s game, Claiborne made it on to the field this week but didn’t last long before leaving due to injury. Before he left, it seemed DeSean Jackson was having his way with Claiborne. They say availability is the best ability, and Claiborne’s lack of it is starting to become an issue.
4. Demario Davis, ILB (Last week: 5th)
Like his younger counterpart, Davis has really turned his season (and, career) around in a flash. He had another mostly great game. Though he was beaten by Charles Sims for Tampa Bay’s only touchdown, Davis was very strong against the run (2 tackles for a loss, plus a 1 yard run) and made multiple plays in coverage in the middle of the field.
Two weeks into the year, Davis and Lee were arguably the most chastised players on the team. To see both turn around and become consistent contributors so quickly is shocking.
3. Leonard Williams, DL (Last week: 8th)
Williams was dominant against Tampa Bay. He racked up 3 short tackles in the run game, 3 hits on Ryan Fitzpatrick, and a sack. Leo’s dominance popped off the screen in this game, but even without the statistics to back it up he has been having similar performances throughout the year that have gone relatively unnoticed. Maybe he hasn’t taken the step towards elite production many of us hoped, but Leonard Williams is still at worst a very solid player.
2. Robby Anderson, WR (Last week: 3rd)
Anderson did have a key drop on a would-be first down to end a drive early in the game. However, on a day where the Jets offense was downright ugly, he was directly responsible for all 10 points on the scoreboard. Anderson picked up a pair of 20 yard first downs on the Jets’ field goal drive in the second quarter, then scored for the fourth straight week in garbage time with another impressive deep route. Nobody in the NFL has more 20+ yard receiving touchdowns than Anderson does, with 4, and he also ranks 4th in the league in total 20+ yard receptions. With the way Jermaine Kearse has fallen off a cliff, you can’t help but wonder how anemic this offense might be without Anderson.
With a team high 569 scrimmage yards, he’s on track to become the youngest Jet to lead the team in the category since Santana Moss in 2003.
1. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 1st)
Maye hasn’t given me a reason to take him out of this spot yet. Against Tampa Bay, he didn’t play the run much, mostly hanging back deep. The Buccaneers didn’t attack down the field often, leaving much of Maye’s responsibility to simply keeping the football in front of him and out of the end zone. That’s his bread and butter, and he did solid enough work there.
Dropped off list: DL Muhammad Wilkerson (was 11th)
Knocking on the door:
DT Steve McLendon - McLendon has quietly been a strong run stuffer this year. Let’s call a “run stuff” a run for 2 yards or less without resulting in a first down. McLendon has registered 17 of those plays this year, tying him for 20th in the league. He’s done it playing only 39% of the Jets’ defensive snaps, the only player in the top 20 under 50%.
What do you think of the list?