By Matthew Wong
The 2019-2020 NFL season for the New York Jets is essentially over, and at 5-9, the Jets have three more games to play. After starting with a miserable first eight games, going 1-7, the Jets made significant improvements throughout the season. Even so, these mid-season adjustments were not enough to help the injury-riddled Jets compete for a playoff spot. Numerous factors attributed to the Jets’ meager season, but the most prominent were their key players sustaining injuries, the offensive line’s underachieving performance, and the weak defensive secondary.
The great number of injuries that the Jets have sustained throughout the season is a major factor in their lack of success. Fifteen players have been put on injured reserve, which means that they are out for the remainder of the season. Two of these players on the injured reserve list, Avery Williamson and C.J. Mosley, who were sidelined with a torn ACL and a serious groin injury respectively, are elite-level linebackers and are vital parts of the Jets’ defense. Without these two leaders on defense, the Jets have visibly struggled to put pressure on the opposing quarterback and protect against passing plays. Moreover, Quincy Enunwa and Chris Herndon, Sam Darnold’s favorite receivers from last season, are out for the season as well. The lack of two key receivers has made getting into a rhythm extremely difficult for Sam Darnold. This, in turn, has led the Jets ranking as one of the worst teams in terms of points scored and total yards gained, which explains their losing record.
The feeble offensive line for the New York Jets is one issue that must be resolved by next season. Not only have injuries plagued the team, but the offensive line has also been inconsistent the entire season. Even though the New York Jets have the third highest paid offensive line, at $45.4 million combined, they are ranked 30th in the NFL according to NFL Outsiders. The Jets’ plan for their offensive line at the beginning of the season appeared to be beneficial, as they traded for former pro-bowler Kelechi Osemele and signed Ryan Kalil. However, Osemele underwent season-ending surgery and was later released from the team, and Kalil was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. As a result, many of the backups were thrust into starting positions, for which they were unprepared, allowing countless sacks.
Although not a root cause for the Jets’ subpar record, the defensive secondary has been underachieving throughout the season as well. Similar to the offensive line, injuries to starters like Trumaine Johnson have led to the use of backups. However, besides Jamal Adams, most backups just haven’t been able to deliver, reinforcing the need for improvements during the offseason.
The New York Jets’ season may be lost, but there is immense potential for the future. In addition to improving players and obtaining a key draft pick, the Jets are eyeing to make a playoff run for the 2020-2021 NFL season.
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