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Ring the Bell! Optimism For The New York Jets In a Post-Brady NFL

Bell & Darnold

 

The New York Jets have just signed Le’veon Bell. Subsequently, Sam Darnold’s development is eased with this move. Gang green ranked 26th in rushing averaging a feeble 101 yards per game last season. Not surprisingly, they came in at 25th in passing with an abysmal 198 yards per game. If all goes well, expect both numbers to spike. Bell at age 27 inked a 4 year 52.5 million dollar contract. This was less than he expected, but 35 million is guaranteed. The three time pro bowler is considered elite by many. Detractors may point to the Steeler’s stat ballooning offense. To be fair, Bell’s replacement, Connor had a statistically better season than Bell did the year prior. Divulge into Bell’s resume and Jet’s fans certainly can be hopeful.

Be prepared for Jet’s faithful to expect the Lombardi trophy this year. This was a methodical move by GM Mike Maccagnan. Also newly hired head coach, Adam Gase definitely had influence in these chess moves. Tom Brady’s iron grip on the division cannot last forever. He is the closest thing to bionic that the league has seen granted. One injury at his age could end his career. He may have two to tops three good years left.
Keeping this thinking in mind, on the same day the Jets acquired C.J. Mosley. He signed an 85 million, five year deal. The linebacker led the Ravens in tackles last year(105). He plays fast, hits hard, and isn’t infamous for missing tackles. To the contrary, 70 of his tackles were unassisted. The Ravens had a dominant defense last year and obtaining the leading tackler is interesting. This is due to The Jets being notorious for arm tackling or just not tackling at all. It’s always a luxury to have a linebacker who can make a tackle in space. This contract also makes him the highest paid LB in the league. Mosley is also known for his durability. Now remember Tom Brady’s aging body.          These contracts reflect an anticipation for his exodus out of the AFC East.
Darnold can now develop with weapons around him and grow. Two years of honing his craft, handing it off to Le’veon and making timely passes. Game manager isn’t the goal, it’s more just protecting a potentially productive NFL QB. Bell’s stats equate to taking pressure of the pass game for sure. In his last season, he recorded 1291 rushing yards and nine scores. Darnold will benefit from Bell’s other trade, catching passes out of the backfield. He also compiled 655 receiving yards on 85 catches. Basically, Darnold is gaining a back who rushed for over 5,000 yards in his career. He will almost certainly eclipse 3,000 receiving yards this season. Bell is the first running back to rush for 4,000 yards and 2,000 receiving yards in his first 50 games. At age 27, with a year of rest and fresh legs, Bell is a huge upgrade. In his last season he started 15 games. Bell’s patient running style, letting his blockers do their jobs, and bursting through the hole made him a household name. He is an artist at surveying his blocking and bursting through a gap. Mosley also had 7 pass disruptions, two picks, and three forced fumbles last year. He is a four time pro bowler and makes a defense with potential have the chance to be feared. There is no “ground” without the “pound”. Gase seems keen to implement the formula that got the jets to two AFC championships.

Bell is accustomed to wearing green as well. He played for the Michigan State Spartans in College. Former teammate Beachum reportedly said Bell will definitely play with a chip on his shoulder this season. The notion that he wants to take the money and run bothers him, according to Beachum.
Another addition was Jamison Crowder. Not an elite player, but definitely a team player who will contribute. Adam Gase brings a rarity to the Jets organization, an offensive-minded head coach. It will be interesting to see if his philosophy translates to production for Bell and the offense.
The Jets also hold the third pick in the draft.

Most analysts and mock drafts point to the Jets opting for a defensive player. An interesting twist would be trading down to accumulate picks. This was done by the Colts to the Jets one year ago. Their offensive line is suspect and could use fortification. Linebacker and red-zone possession target receiver are also needs. Trading down and drafting savviness could help plug these glaring weaknesses. To protect Darnold and give Bell lanes to turn it into gear, the line needs improvement. A deal in which they can trade down and receive a first, a couple second round picks would benefit gang green. Murray and Bosa are assumed to be picked 1 and 2. After that, it’s unclear. Mock drafts show them selecting Alabama’s Defensive Tackle, Quinnen Williams. He seems pound for pound, the best interior lineman in the draft. Vernon Golsten is a quintessential example of a gaff that can cost a franchise for years to come. The Jets can ill afford to repeat history, trading down can bring a diverse range of talent to the team.

On the bright side, there are good players on this team currently. Jamal Adams will continue to command the Defensive intensity. Robby Anderson is always dangerous over the top. An intriguing player to watch will be Quincy Enunwa. He was injured last year, but prior to that he was known as a reliable possession receiver and an excellent blocker. Due to the Jets not having a cowboys-like line, Enunwa’s blocking prowess will be essential to the establishing the run game. Play calling will also dictate this season. Gase is known for his exotic schemes and ability to disorient a defense. The Jets were synonymous with playing not to lose. Will Gase change the culture to playing to win games? This truly depends on injuries and chemistry between players. Their schedule isn’t a cake walk, playing the NFC East, as well as the upstart Browns. Cleveland just traded for Odell Beckham Jr and is a legitimate contender to win the AFC North. From 0-16 to this, the league’s balance of power is changing. If the Browns can go from laughing stock to arguably the favorite to win their division, why not the Jets too? Again, it’s not going to happen overnight, but if Jets fans feel hopeless, go ask Brown’s fans how the last half a century was. The Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Raiders, and Jaguars round out their schedule. Don’t forget seeing Tom twice a year as well as the rest of the AFC East.

Coming full circle, this is a three to five year plan. The contracts clearly show that as well as Brady looking like a demigod in his forties. When he retires, a power vacuum will ensue, which The Jets plan to attempt to seize.

Christian Quaranta

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nick Davidson

    April 5, 2019 at 12:26 am

    Excellent anylysis, well written!

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