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Why the National Media is Vastly Underrating the Jets’ Skill Position Corps

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In the dry NFL offseason with no meaningful action to feast our attention on, we find ourselves up in arms about more trivial matters, such as predictions made by media outlets regarding our favorite teams.

Unless our favorite team is bombarded with praise, clearly the writer did not do their research and is vehemently incorrect. What a joke!

Most of the time, that is a major overreaction and predictions are just that: predictions. Writers don’t hate your favorite team, and they probably did an adequate amount of research on them. Somebody has to be last; and in the case of the New York Jets, a team without a playoff season since 2010, the benefit of the doubt will rarely be thrown their way.

As a Jets fan, you might rank a team like, say, the Buffalo Bills as the worst team in the league. In turn, Bills fans would fire back about your lack of knowledge. And the cycle goes on. No prediction can make everybody happy.

And, at the end of the day, no prediction really means anything at all and they are usually not worth getting worked up about. If they do have any sort of impact whatsoever, then a negative prediction might actually be more beneficial to a team. What would motivate you more? Getting the “respect you deserve,” or being labeled as something much worse than you believe you are?

Most fans would agree that this current iteration of the Jets, in the post-Fitzpatrick era, is likely the most determined and driven bunch the team has had since the early Rex Ryan days. Much of that perceived image stems from the players themselves admitting that the lowly predictions from the media have brought upon them new levels of motivation; and for the most part, the team did vastly exceed what low expectations were placed upon them last year.

With all that said, there is one part of this 2018 New York Jets team that is being downright disrespected, to the point where it doesn’t seem possible one could think so little of them having done adequate research.

That would be their skill position corps.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranked the Jets as the team with the worst skill position group in the league; not even mentioning Quincy Enunwa and suggesting Austin Seferian-Jenkins (owner of the single worst yards per target season in NFL history among 261 tight ends with 50+ receptions in a season) is a big loss.

A Bleacher Report article ranked the Jets’ receiving group 25th, behind teams like the Panthers and Jaguars.

The list goes on with media outlets underrating the Jets’ skill position group. Here are a few numbers that prove this unit is poised to perform far better than expected to by those outside of Jets circles.

RECEIVERS

  • The Jets have four wide receivers on their roster who have posted an 800+ yard campaign in one of the last two seasons (Terrelle Pryor and Quincy Enunwa in 2016, plus Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson in 2017). No other NFL team can say they have that many players on their roster who have done that.
  • The Jets rank 31st in QB rating, 29th in total passing yards, and 31st in total passing touchdowns over the past two seasons. Yet, they are one of only two teams to have three different receivers post an 800+ yard, 4+ touchdown season for them, the Saints being the other team.
  • One trope thrown the Jets’ way is that their receiver group is too inexperienced. While true, and all four of the Jets’ career leading receivers must prove they are capable of more than one good season, they already have players who have shown they can carry veteran quarterbacks, let alone young ones. Only three WRs aged 24 or younger over the past two seasons have had a year with 850+ yards and 8+ yards per target on a team ranked bottom 10 in total passing: Jarvis Landry (2016), Enunwa (2016), and Anderson (2017). If you think it sounds like a fluky stat, the only other receivers to do it over the previous five seasons were Sammy Watkins (2015), Mike Evans (2014), and DeAndre Hopkins (2014). The Jets had two players do it in back-to-back years.
  • Let’s first see if he can come back the same player, but let’s not forget how beastly Enunwa was in 2016. He was the only receiver in the league (among the 58 with 50+ catches) to rank top 10 in both yards after catch per reception and yards per reception (flashing an intriguing combo of open-field and deep ability).
  • Robby Anderson joined forces with a 16th-year quarterback and caught just as many deep right TDs in 13 games (6) as that same quarterback threw for over the past decade-and-a-half (6).

  • Among running backs with at least 300 carries over the past two seasons, the Jets have two of the top ten most efficient; Bilal Powell ranks 2nd in yards per carry (4.83) and Isaiah Crowell ranks 8th (4.47).
  • The average RB in the group above (300+ carries over the past two seasons) fumbles 0.85% of their touches. Both Powell and Crowell have taken better care of the ball than average. Powell has fumbled 0.51% of his touches, Crowell, 0.64%.
  • While Thomas Rawls has battled injuries and posted unsightly numbers over the past two seasons, his 2015 campaign in which he averaged 5.65 yards per carry on 147 attempts remains the highest yards per carry average posted by a running back with at least as many attempts in a single season over the past five years.
  • Elijah McGuire posted a 10.4 yards per reception average in his rookie year. That ranked 3rd among the 14 rookie running backs with at least 20 targets.
  • Bilal Powell has had 8 career games with 18+ carries; Isaiah Crowell, 4. In those games, Powell compiled 115.8 yards per game on 5.3 yards per carry with 6 touchdowns. Crowell compiled 137.8 yards per game on 7.3 yards per carry with 4 touchdowns.

The tight ends, well.......... we’ll just have to see there.


The Jets are definitely lacking a proven dominant threat. The only 1,000 yard receiving season on the roster goes to Terrelle Pryor in a target-heavy 2016, and the team is without a 1,000 yard rusher or any sort of proven production at tight end. They also are laden with question marks, from injuries, to lack of players with multiple good seasons, to off-field questions. These negatives keep them from being a preseason top-ten unit simply due to the high amount of potentially preventative factors.

With all that being said, this group has a multitude of players who have shown a high ceiling, is young with untapped potential, has displayed high levels of efficiency in unfavorable situations, and is packed with depth. All of these factors give them undeniable distance from the basement and an exciting ceiling.

What do you think? How will the Jets’ skill position core fare this season?

Poll

Where would you rank the Jets’ skill position group?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    #1!!!
    (51 votes)
  • 3%
    2-5
    (38 votes)
  • 10%
    6-10
    (131 votes)
  • 28%
    11-15
    (350 votes)
  • 35%
    16-20
    (437 votes)
  • 12%
    21-25
    (147 votes)
  • 5%
    26+
    (65 votes)
1219 votes total Vote Now