Jets enter offseason trying to solve issues on and off field
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets’ season began sputtering in Week 3 at Kansas City.
That’s when Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six interceptions in an ugly loss, and Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson began feuding in what was the first sign of locker room strife.
Throw in injuries to key players in subsequent weeks, stars underachieving, tardiness issues and blowout defeats and it all snowballed into a 5-11 record.
”We made a lot of mistakes: coaches, players, plays, all of the above,” coach Todd Bowles said. ”We fought hard, but we didn’t fight smart. We have to do a better job coaching it better, and they have to do a better job playing – accountability for everyone.”
Bowles will be back for a third season , as will general manager Mike Maccagnan, as they try to fix the problems. And there sure are plenty.
This could be an offseason of wholesale changes on the roster, as well as the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey retired two days after the season ended, and the team announced that quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, running backs coach Marcel Shipp, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, outside linebackers coach Mark Collins and defensive backs coach Joe Danna will not be back.
Bowles, 15-17 in his two seasons in New York, also knows he needs to improve in a hurry.
”I have a whole laundry list that I need to get better at,” he acknowledged.
Bowles dismissed the notion locker room chemistry was the major problem for the Jets, calling it ”a bad excuse.” But several players pointed to the negative vibes felt from early in the season, with cornerback Darrelle Revis saying a ”dark cloud” hovered over the team.
Marshall tried to step up as a vocal leader, but his delivery rubbed some the wrong way, and created some tension. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who had a breakout season with 58 catches, said the locker room issues ”really hindered our play.”
”I think it can be fixed,” he added. ”We know what we need to do. It’s going to be a lot of changes, and I think it’s going to be for the better.”
Here are some of the issues Bowles and the Jets face as they enter an offseason of uncertainty:
QB OR NO QB?: It all starts at quarterback, and New York has no clear answer on who’ll be under center.
Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are scheduled to be free agents and likely won’t be back. Bryce Petty is facing surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Christian Hackenberg was a second-round pick , but never played a snap and he’s unlikely to be the starter in 2017.
”I haven’t even started looking for a franchise quarterback yet,” Bowles said.
Well, he might want to have Maccagnan get on that, via free agency or trade – or with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. Otherwise, they both could be looking for new jobs at this time next year.
REVIS ISLAND RELOCATED: The Jets face an interesting dilemma with Revis, who was a shell of his shutdown self at cornerback.
He blamed injuries and age for the decline , but the fact it happened so quickly was alarming. Revis, 31, is willing to move to safety; he and Bowles have had preliminary discussions about it.
”This offseason, there will be a lot of thinking what my future is and what I can do to best help the team win games,” Revis said. ”If that means changing my position to help the team win games, that’s fine.”
But Revis is due to make $15 million next season, and could be a salary-cap casualty if the team asks him to take a pay cut and he doesn’t accept.
BIG-NAME VETS: Revis isn’t the only one facing an uncertain future with the Jets.
Marshall is due $7.5 million next season, a total New York would save in its entirety by cutting him. The 32-year-old wide receiver said he plans to play until he’s 38 or 39 , and indicated he’d be willing to take a pay cut.
Other big names who could be shown the door: center Nick Mangold (he has a $9.075 million cap hit), left tackle Ryan Clady ($10.5 million), linebacker David Harris ($6.5 million), right tackle Breno Giacomini ($5.125 million) and cornerback Buster Skrine ($8.5 million cap hit).
Richardson, entering the final year of his rookie deal, could also be trade bait, but could be tough to move because of his off-field issues. He has been suspended twice – four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and one for a high-speed car incident in Missouri in 2015 – and was benched for a quarter this season along with Muhammad Wilkerson for being late to a team meeting. His beef with Marshall also won’t help.
O-LINE SHUFFLE: New York needs to find stability on the offensive line, with only left guard James Carpenter starting every game .
Wesley Johnson was solid as a fill-in for Mangold, and could be brought back as a restricted free agent. Right guard Brian Winters is an unrestricted free agent, as is Ben Ijalana, who started at both right and left tackle. Rookie right tackle Brandon Shell, a fifth-rounder, was impressive while starting the final three games.
PASS RUSH: The Jets finished with just 27 sacks, ranking them 29th in the league.
Wilkerson dropped from a career-high 12 to 4 + while playing most of the season on a sore ankle. Leonard Williams was a big bright spot , though, leading New York with seven sacks and establishing himself as a playmaker in his second season.
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- Ben Ijalana
- Brandon Marshall
- Brandon Shell
- Breno Giacomini
- Brian Winters
- Bryce Petty
- Buster Skrine
- Christian Hackenberg
- Darrelle Revis
- David Harris
- Geno Smith
- James Carpenter
- Leonard Williams
- Muhammad Wilkerson
- New York Jets
- Nick Mangold
- Quincy Enunwa
- Ryan Clady
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Sheldon Richardson
- Wesley Johnson