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NY Jets: The Best Ability

Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

There is an old saying in football: the best ability is availability. Meaning of course that no matter how talented you are you can't help the team while rehabbing an injury.

The Jets aren't that talented, but availability may well be a huge issue for this team.

Consider the following. The projected starting quarterback, Josh McCown, is pretty much injured on an annual basis. He has never played a full 16 game season, and he has only played more than 11 games once in a 15 year career. It is all but guaranteed Josh McCown will not be available for significant stretches of the 2017 season.

The backfield consists of Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire. Forte will turn 32 years old in December and hasn't played more than 14 games in a season since 2014. Powell has only two of six seasons in which he's played a full 16 game slate. Both Powell and Forte have spent the bulk of training camp so far on the sidelines nursing injuries. McGuire battled injuries his entire senior season in college in 2016. Would it surprise anyone if at least one of the backs getting substantial carries for significant stretches of the 2017 season ends up being some guy the Jets sign off the street mid-season?

The receivers have already suffered a devastating loss as projected #1 receiver Quincy Enunwa is out for the season. Jalin Marshall will miss the first four games with a suspension, and he missed substantial time in his only NFL campaign in 2016 due to injury. The two mid round draft pick rookie wide receivers have already missed nearly all of the team's practices since May due to various injuries. Charone Peake fell in the draft because he could never stay healthy in college. In four NFL campaigns Marquess Wilson has missed 33 of 64 games and has never played in more than 11 games in a season. Other than Robby Anderson, and perhaps Chris Harper, there might not be a single receiver likely to make the Jets team that hasn't had significant availability issues.

The number one tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, will begin the season serving a two game suspension. When he comes back he will have missed 25 of the first 50 games of his NFL career.  The player I thought was going to be the number three tight end, Brian Parker, is already out for the year with an injury. Newly acquired veteran Chris Gragg is coming off an ACL tear that cost him his entire 2016 season.

On the offensive line Kelvin Beachum is still trying to regain his form after suffering a devastating injury two years ago. Brian Winters missed three games last year with a concussion and a torn rotator cuff which required surgery, a difficult injury for an offensive lineman to recover from.

The Jets have availability issues everywhere you look on offense. The team's talent level on offense with everyone healthy is sub-par; if the injury bug hits as history suggests it might, the remaining talent level will be almost non-existent.

The picture is better on the defensive side of the ball. Number one cornerback Morris Claiborne has not played more than 11 games in any season since 2012, and has missed 33 games in five years. Muhammad Wilkerson was sub-par all of the 2016 campaign while recovering from a broken leg suffered in 2015. Buster Skrine missed a couple of games in 2016 due to injury. 2017 sixth round pick Jeremy Clark is likely to start the season on the PUP list as he recovers from an injury suffered in 2016.  Rookie safety Marcus Maye suffered a season ending injury in his 2016 college campaign. But for the most part the defensive side of the ball is deeper, more talented and less of an injury risk than the offense.

If the best ability is availability then the 2017 New York Jets better hope their team, and in particular their offense, has developed some new ability along that front for the coming season, or this offense could be even worse than the league worst unit already being widely predicted.