So the Alabama-Georgia game really had me thinking last night. The main reason why Georgia won, was not because of Stetson Bennett. Yes, he threw for 224 yards, 2 TD's, and didn't turn the ball over. The reason why Georgia won, is because their o-line did their job, and they were able to run the ball, as well as a stellar defensive effort against a very good QB in Bryce Young. They sacked him, forced the QB pressures, stopped the run, which led to the turnovers.
If you look at the success the Jets had with Mark Sanchez and rex Ryan, it is not because of Sanchez. It is because of the same principals you saw in Georgia, a tough defense which forces sacks, pressures, and turnovers. They stop the run. And their o-line does it's job and they run the ball.
So with that all being said, if I was the Jets, this is what I would do in free agency and the draft to replicate what the Georgia National Champs were able to do, run the ball and play tough defense. yes, I am changing on this, and really believe that this is the model the Jets need to replicate ot have success in 2022.
1- Jets need to find that one-two punch at running back, like they had with a young Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson and a young QB in Sanchez. Two different backs, with two different styles. Signing cheap free agents like Tevin Coleman who is oft injured is not a game plan. Jets should sign Melvin Gordon to a 3 year contract, and guarantee 9 million on his contract. Gordon has ripped off two back to back seasons in Denver of 1000 all purpose yards, and 9 TD's. He has been relatively healthy in his NFL career, and this would offer the Jet the 1-2 punch that they need. Realize, Gordon is 29, in an era where if these backs stay healthy, their careers are longer than expected. For Michael Carter, he gets to pair with an experienced back who is a solid teammate, and can help him grow into his career. Plus, if Carter gets hurt again, the Jets can rely on Gordon to carry the load. In addition, the Jets need to decide who the 3rd back should be, either Ty Johnson or the hardly used after a good game Austin Walter. With 3 backs and 2 with starting potential, the Jets can run the ball like they should. And with 3 solid backs, the Jets can just ride the hot hand, and keep their backs fresh for hopefully a play-off run. In addition, this is why the Pats are having great success with a rookie QB, because they establish the run with their 3 backs, which opens up their offense for Jones.
2- Mike Gesicki- TE- The Jets need a safety value for Zach Wilson for him to be successful. To rely on ineffective and injured Tight Ends like Tyler Kroft is not good value, nor is it a smart game plan for success. If Gesicki wants 9-10 million a season, you hand it to him. The Tight End position has changed in the NFL, where everyone is looking for the next Gronk, or Pitts, or Kelce. The match-up problems a good tight end creates opens up a whole slew of opportunities for an offense. I really do not care if he is a stellar blocker or not. You can just also sign probably for 2-2.5 million a year a great run blocking TE in Jesse James of the Bears or Maxx Williams of the Cardinals who is a free agent, which hopefully forces the release of ineffective tight ends Daniel Jones and Trevor Wesco. Jets have other choices like Dalton Shultz hitting the market, but familiarity with playing against Gesicki should make the difference for the Jets.
3- Donte Jackson- CB- Panthers- With Jaycee Horn and A.J. Bouye returning from injury, and already with CJ Henderson and Stephon Gilmore on the roster, Jackson probably isn't retuning to Carolina. However, Jackson is worth the 7-9 million per year contract he is looking at. He has developed nicely in his career, and is a fiery player who plays with an edge, especially in run support. Remember, in Saleh's scheme, there isn't a priority for lockdown corners, rather corners who excel in zone. Jackson would immediately help in the run game, and he is good in zone coverage. Instead of drafting this position high, the Jets gran a young and rising CB who is the perfect compliment to Hall, and a player that can come in and start across from Hall. There is too much to like about Jackson's game, to get him in the building and not let him leave. Now if the Panthers do resign Jackson, that leaves Stephon Gilmore on the market, and that should be the choice. However, he has played well in Carolina, and I can see him being a priority to be resigned, thus the Jackson choice.
4- Staying in Carolina- Jets spend 12 million per season on Haason Reddick, OLB/DE Carolina. Reddick has already stated he is not taking another one year deal, or hometown discount. And this is great for the Jets. The Jets get a solid Linebacker who also rushes the passer. I can imagine the creative things this Saleh defense can do with Reddick, and they get a very nice pass rusher, who can also play the run. If Saleh wants to blitz more from the LB spot, this is the guy the Jets should make their priority. I watch a lot of Carolina games, he is always around the ball and making his presence known on a defense that finished in the top 10.
5- Quandre Diggs- FS- Seattle- I like Diggs game as a deep center field free safety. And with Maye probably joining his buddy Adams in Seattle, this leaves Diggs to test the market. Diggs should come in at a below average contract as well, in the 7-8 million a season range. However, he will bring valuable experience to the Jets and their young defensive backfield. This would allow Ashtyn Davis, if he can stay healthy, to assume the role at SS, as well as a in the box safety when needed. The Jets would still need to draft another safety, but Diggs would provide what the Jets need, an experienced DB who can play free safety, and should come at a reasonable price.
6- Pat Elflein- RG- Carolina- Here me out. Elflein has been Carolina's most dependable linemen in 2021. He put up above3 average stats at RG, and has looked about as average as you can be at center since being moved there due to injury. However, look at what he has done at RG this season, and the flexibility he provides. Elflein can play RG in this league, and actually put up above average starter reps in his short time with the Jets. And the kicker is he should be fairly inexpensive to bring in, probably around 4 to 4.5 million per season on a short term deal. With the amount of monies the Jets have already spent, getting a good and dependable player to help your o-line is a must. The Jets have some pretty hefty investments in the line already, getting a player who can help in zone blocking, be available every week, and come at a reasonable price, is the way to go. Not everyone you sign is all-pro, and Elflein can step in right away.
7- Younghoe Koo- K- Falcons- Played his high school ball in Jersey, so I am not concerned about him being a dome kicker. The Jets have gone thru some many bad kickers in their quest to fix this part of the team over the last 5 seasons. Jets finally get smart, and hand Koo a 3 year, 9 million contract. Koo can kick it thru the back of the end zone, and is automatic on extra points and within 45 yards. the Jets finally get their points leader, and stop the cheap and unnecessary game of who is kicking this week, and for how long.
1- Braxton Berrios- WR/KR/PR- 4 year, 16 million contract with 8 million guaranteed. Berrios has proven his worth, and he just makes plays. No debating the money here, as he can easily get this in the open market. Berrios has been open on staying here and loves the Jets, this is a no brainer that should be done now, vs later. What the Jets can do, is give Berrios an extended role in the offense, as he just produces when he is asked to.
2- Jeff Smith- WR- 1 year, league minimum of 800,000
3- Kyle Phillips- De- 1 year, league minimum, which should be around 600,000. He did show some promise before the injury.
4- Javelin Guidry- 1 year, league minimum. 5th or 6th corner, plus special teams.
5- Quincy Williams and Del'Shawn Phillips- LB- both should be resigned to 2 year deals now, it is just a matter of the monies. I can see Phillips at 1 million, and Williams at 2-2.5. Even if both are transplanted as starters, their special teams value warrants them to be resigned. They played well, and both deserve to be on the roster in 2022, even if it is at depth pieces and special teams, although if Williams continues his play, he may command more in 2023.
4- Evan Neal- RT- Alabama- the Jets should not rely on both Fant and Becton to be 100% in 2022, and Fant's contract expires after this season. Neal held his own last night, but did show he belongs on the right side as a pro. Jets get great value here, as Neal's rookie contract is about 1 million more than what Moses would cost to resign. Neal is an absolutely devastating run blocker, who immediately settles in at the position, and is big enough to give DE's fits trying to get around him and thru him in the passing game. After years of toiling with below average RT's, Jets get their future here, and a day one starter. I really don't care who mans LT, whoever is healthy and effective enough between Fant and Becton, and again, don't really care who it is, as long as the Jets have a solid plan like Neal at RT. Neal absolutely killed it at RT in 2020 for Bama, and showed this is where he belongs in the title game. Jets might be drafting their Brick at RT for the next decade.
10- Jordan Davis- DT- Georgia- Listen, Williams and JFM are nice players. If you want to help them, you need a big immovable object in the middle of the defense, that can stop the run, and pitch in with some QB pressures. At 6 foot 6 and 340 pounds, the Jets beef up their d-line with a player that can not only absorb blockers, but can shoot gaps when asked. Davis is very athletic given his size, and is a try hard player who would be the perfect fit to mix into the d-line rotation.
35- David Bell- WR- Purdue- Still do not know why he is available in the second round, but the Jets get lucky here. Jets draft a WR who can compete from day one, runs solid routes, has reliable hands, can block, and really strengthens the WR position with Moore, Davis, Smith, and Berrios. And the Jets might not be done with this just yet in this draft.
38- Cameron Thomas- DE- San Diego State- Jets continue to get bigger up front, with a 6 foot 5, 270 pound player who is the perfect fit for this Jets defense. Can play the run, and is very good at chasing down QB's with pressures. immediate impact player, who can help if Carl Lawson is not 100%, and even if Lawson is, Thomas can take his 50% of the defensive snaps from Lawson on day one. I am very excited on where this d-line is going.
69- Wan'Dale Robinson- WR- Kentucky- The more film I see of Robinson, the more I like his speed, and position flexibility as a player in this offense. jets get another threat, who is deadly in space, and did what he did against the best of the SEC. The Jets need offensive weapons, and spend their second pick on a WR who can help immediately, especially on screens, jet sweeps, the slot, and just has the speed to peel the top off of a defense. Love he is here, and love the pick, as Wilson gets another young weapon to grow with.
108- Smoke Monday- SS- Auburn- Staying in the SEC, the Jets get a productive safety who can cover, but is best used in the box and covering tight ends. Love the flexibility, and fierce tackling ability. In a deep safety draft, Jets get a good paring in rotation with Davis, especially if Davis continues to be injured or ineffective. heck, if Davis is healthy, maybe we can see those 3 safety sets that Saleh ran with the 49ers?
114- Haskell Garrett- DT/DE- Ohio State- Jets add another 6 foot 3, 300 pound linemen, except Garrett's game comes with athletic ability. Love his flexibility, although he might be just a DT in the pro game. Either way, Jets grab a linemen who has a non stop motor, can play the run, and give JFM type of flexibility for Saleh as he rebuilds his d-line the correct way, thru the draft.
145- Leo Chenal- MLB- Wisconsin- 6 foot 2 and 260, and is a run stopper in the middle, what the Jets need. However, Chenal is an effective blitzer, hence his 8 sacks and over 30 QB pressures in 2021. Leo never has to come off the field, leave him in for the run game, and just turn him loose in the passing game. Would also like the Jets to go to more 4-2-5 sets like the rest of the league is doing, and work Leo in as an off ball LB as well, given his straight line speed and ability to impact the game.
162- Cole Strange- G- Chattanooga- i like this small school prospect, who has immediate day one starting potential at RG. If Elflein reverts back to his 2019 form, Jets have their replacement here. This is long term thinking, and Strange can play both guard spots or at RT if necessary. he might not start from day one, but would not surprise me if he starts on special teams, and earns a starting position in 2022.
Anyway, that is my plan for the Jets in 2022. What is yours?
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