The Jets found a way to squander yet another victory in the fourth quarter against the Panthers this week. As usual, there were still some positives to take away even from an overall poor showing. Here’s how I have the roster stacking up.
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.
Here’s the previous edition. And, here we go!
10. Steve McLendon, DT (Debut)
McLendon left this week’s game due to injury, but the way things have shaken out I can’t think of a player not on this list whose net impact warrants them being ahead of the underrated nose tackle. Playing under 40% of the Jets’ defensive snaps this year, he’s been one of the most efficient run stuffers in the league this year. He quietly gets the job done.
9. Jermaine Kearse, WR (Last appearance: Week 9, 8th)
Kearse disappeared over the Jets’ previous four games, averaging only 29.0 yards on 5.8 targets (with a high of 38 yards), deservedly dropping him off the list. He played well this week, though, and the individual mediocrity across this roster makes his overall body of work worthy of a low spot on the list. He posted a season high 105 yards this week. His current average of 47.3 receiving yards per game is a career high, while his 5 touchdowns ties a career high. Kearse is a mediocre receiver who might not even be an ideal #2, but he is still one of the top producers on a 4-7 team.
8. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 7th)
Don’t get me wrong, Adams has showcased tons of potential this year and is a cornerstone player on this team. However, since early in the season, he has slowly seen his performance dwindle towards replacement level. The mental expertise he showed early in the season hasn’t been as apparent recently. The Panthers singled him out and caught him making a few poor decisions. He also made at least a couple soft diving tackle attempts that failed. Potential is all there for Adams. He’s fiery, smart, and very athletic. The difficulty of being a rookie safety has just begun to be exposed a bit recently.
7. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 6th)
It’s getting tiring begging the Jets’ coaching staff to take the ball out of Matt Forte’s hands. Powell continues to showcase elusiveness and playmaking behind a turnstile offensive line, but continues to see time on the bench while the remains of a formerly great Bears running back takes handoffs. He remains second on the team in scrimmage yards and first by a wide margin in yards per carry among the running backs.
6. Darron Lee, ILB (Last week: 8th)
Lee had a mostly strong game. He made a few very nice pressures in the passing game, registering a sack. He also made a few really nice open field tackles on Cam Newton, and was solid in coverage. You’ve got to like Lee’s progression over the course of this year.
5. Demario Davis, ILB (Last week: 4th)
It wasn’t a great outing for Davis. He was beat in coverage a few times and was lucky on a couple occasions that Cam Newton missed an open receiver. He added a roughing the passer penalty that helped facilitate an eventual touchdown drive. The Panthers definitely keyed in on Davis in this game, and his weaknesses showed up again. He did have a sack and a few nice run plays, though.
4. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 5th)
Claiborne is making a strong case to be considered for a new Jets contract. He got back on the field after missing only one game (a great accomplishment for him) and made an instant impact, making some very nice downfield plays in coverage, defending two passes. After a few disappointing years to start his career, Claiborne did flash in Dallas last year before injuries took over again. This year, he has validated that breakout. When healthy, he’s become one of the better corners in the league, and the Jets should consider bringing him back as long as the price tag is reasonable.
3. Leonard Williams, DL (Last week: 3rd)
Leo has solidified his top three position and has a great chance to be the man in the throne at season’s end if he continues his current pace. If you watched the game, it has to be a shocking sight to see the line of 0s next to Leo’s name in the stat sheet, because he was dominant in this game. Williams was consistently winning his matchups, forcing Cam out of the pocket numerous times and clogging the middle.
2. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 1st)
Mayeday! After six straight weeks owning the top spot, Maye drops to the two spot, ending the run of safeties on the pedestal after Jamal Adams owned it for the first three weeks of these rankings. This isn’t an indictment on Maye. He was solid again, holding down center field and flying in for some impressive anticipatory stops short of the sticks. Again, Maye’s drop isn’t on him. He is a huge reason for optimism going forward. The fall was more about the man who now sits in front of Maye.
1. Robby Anderson, WR (Last week: 2nd)
Robby! The man who only the most dedicated of fans could’ve named in training camp just a year ago is now the team’s unquestioned best offensive player, and in my opinion, now the top producer on the entire team.
I’ll be happy to go back and admit a past take turned out to be wrong. It was only Week 8 when I had Robby off the list completely, behind even Jeremy Kerley. Well, in the four games since then, he has collected five touchdowns (all 20+ yards) and averaged 95.8 yards a game. Can he still become more complete? Sure. But what he is doing well, he is doing pretty darn well, and perhaps better than anybody else.
In this week’s game, he burnt past two defenders to make a stunning toe-tapping grab in which he displayed phenomenal hands (a previously questioned part of his game), then later showed good awareness to adjust his route and create a wide open streetball-style touchdown. Anderson could always run since he became a Jet, but he’s becoming a bona fide football player who does more than run fast, making things happen for a lethargic unit with improving WR ability. His 16 20+ yard receptions trails only Antonio Brown, while his 6 20+ yard touchdowns leads the league. McCown has a 138.4 passer rating on his targets to Anderson over the last four games.
Take Anderson out of the equation, and I don’t think the Jets score nearly enough to be even remotely in the games they’ve been in recently. We’ll see if Robby can hold down this spot, since I think Williams and Maye are both highly deserving as well.
Dropped off list:
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE: His two overturned touchdowns are really devastating, and you can debate what a catch is all day, but when it’s all said and done these debates don’t happen if ASJ does a better job handling the ball. Early in the game, Seferian-Jenkins dropped one of the most wide open touchdowns you’ll ever see. I hate the catch “rule,” but ASJ left way too many points on the field in this game.
Josh McCown, QB: Sorry Josh, no room for you anymore. Again, don’t be deceived by stats. McCown posted 300+ yards, 3 touchdowns (and certainly could’ve had more), and a 100+ rating, but he was more of a negative yet again. The fumble is not excusable, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen something of that nature. He also had way too many close call throws that luckily touched the turf.
Kony Ealy, Edge: I’m an Ealy fan, but at this point I can’t really have a player with 13 tackles and 1 sack in the top ten. I like his pass rushing ability, but I thought he was mostly unproductive in this game when he had some opportunities to make some real difference-making plays. Again, he’s been a good role-player, though.
Who deserves the #1 spot at this point?
This poll is closed