NEW YORK JETS
2013 Record: 8-8-0
Key Additions: QB Michael Vick; RB Chris Johnson; WR Eric Decker; WR Jacoby Ford; OL Breno Giacomini; CB Dimitri Patterson.
Key Losses: CB Antonio Cromartie; QB Mark Sanchez; WR Santonio Holmes; DB Isaiah Trufant; OL Austin Howard; OL J.B. Shugarts; OL Vladimir Ducasse.
HEAD COACH: Rex Ryan
Offense: Geno Smith or Michael Vick? That's the question for the Jets as they look to the quarterback position in 2014.
Smith passed for 3,046 yards with 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions and also ran for 366 yards and six rushing touchdowns in his rookie season. Vick saw Nick Foles take over the starting QB role in Philadelphia last year and signed with the Jets via free agency after passing for 1,215 yards (five TD and three picks) while also going for 306 rushing yards (8.5 ypc average) and two touchdowns.
The running game could be the dubbed the "three headed monster" as Bilal Powell (697 yards with 4.0 ypc average), Chris Ivory (833, 4.6, three TD) and Chris Johnson (1,077, 3.9, six TD with Tennessee) will carry the football in NYC in 2014.
The receivers were downright awful last season, so the Jets hit the free agent market at this spot and landed Eric Decker from Denver, where he had a career year (playing with Peyton Manning at QB) with 87 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Along with Decker, the Jets have Stephen Hill (24, 342 for 14.3 ypc average and one TD), Jeremy Kerley (43, 523, three TD), David Nelson (36, 423, two TD) and three rookie draft picks as well in Jalen Saunders (Oklahoma), Shaquelle Evans (UCLA) and Quincy Enunwa (Nebraska) as well as a rookie tight end in Jace Amaro (Texas Tech). Veteran Jacoby Ford is also in camp after an injury plagued season in Oakland last year. Jeff Cumberland played tight end last year and had 26 catches for 398 yards (15.3 ypc) and four touchdowns.
The line is once again anchored with Nick Mangold at center while D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini will play tackle. The guards are Willie Colon and Brian Winters.
STATS - The offense averaged 318 yards per game last year, which ranked 25th overall. The running game was sixth in the league (135 yards per game) while passing attack ranked next to last in the NFL, getting just 183 yards per game. The Jets' QBs were sacked 47 times last season while they turned the ball over 29 times (22 picks and seven fumbles lost) to rank 30th in the turnover charts.
Defense: Up front in the 3-4 set will be nose tackle Damon Harrison along with ends Muhammed Wilkerson (10.5 QB sacks) and Sheldon Richardson. The linebacking unit has Calvin Pace (ten sacks) and Quinton Coples on the outside while David Harris and DeMario Davis man the inside spots.
The secondary isn't what it used to be as former Pro Bowl players Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis (gone after the 2012 season) are playing elsewhere, leaving the Jets with Dee Milliner (three interceptions) and Dimitri Patterson at the corners. The safeties are Calvin Pryor (rookie from Lousiville) and Dawan Landry.
Playing in backup roles will be Dexter McDougle (rookie from Maryland), Josh Bush, Antonio Allen and Darrin Walls.
STATS - The Jets finished 11th in the NFL last year, giving up 335 yards per game. The run defense was outstanding, only giving up 88 yards per game (third) while the pas defense was awful. The Jets allowed 247 yards per game while ranking 22nd in the league while getting just 13 interceptions. The team did accumulate 41 QB sacks, which was respectable.
OUTLOOK: The New York Jets appear to be going the route the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles have gone in recent years by trying to (re)build on the fly with free agents.
It didn't go quite so well for the two former teams mentioned, but Head Coach Rex Ryan has never been shy about touting his team's expectations heading into a new season.
No doubt the pressure will be on for the team to get after the New England Patriots in the AFC East and also improve upon last year's .500 finish. To do that, the team will need either Smith or Vick to step up and perform with all the new tools they have on offense.
The defense needs to improve against the pass and not give up so many big plays through the air as they did a year ago and continue to get after enemy quarterbacks while also stopping the run.
There is a chance it could all pan out for the Jets this season as they seek to get back to the post-season for the first time in four years. But that's asking a lot, so look for the Jets to finish 6-10 this season as they try to fend off the Bills and Dolphins to avoid the AFC East cellar.
Week 1- vs. Oakland
Week 2- at Green Bay
Week 3- vs. Chicago
Week 4- vs. Detroit
Week 5- at San Diego
Week 6- vs. Denver
Week 7- at New England
Week 8- vs. Buffalo
Week 9- at Kansas City
Week 10- vs. Pittsburgh
Week 11- BYE WEEK
Week 12- at Buffalo
Week 13- vs. Miami
Week 14- at Minnesota
Week 15- at Tennessee
Week 16- vs. New England
Week 17- at Miami