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Oh, Jets fans! Where have we seen this before? Another season filled with disappointment and another season where the draft is more exciting than the actual football season. Also, another year where there is a change at the coaching staff from top to bottom. When you go 2 and 14 there has to be a call for massive adjustments and it goes without saying that is what the Jets did. Not only did they fire Adam Gase and Greg Williams, but they also traded away their former #3 overall QB in Sam Darnold. It's an all-new start in New York, and Jets fans are hopeful they have finally found the right fits for the job.
New Coach, Who Dis?
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The Jets made sure to get their best candidate possible on their coaching staff. Going after and acquiring one of the top coaching candidates on the board, Robert Salah was a massive get for Joe Douglas. Robert Salah was plucked right from the Kyle Shanahan coaching staff and he has worked his way up the coaching ladder to finally get his 5-year massive deal. He was in charge of the 49ers defense in 2019 and finished sixth in the league in forced turnovers (27), second in total defense (281.8 yards per game), first in passing defense (169.2 yards per game), and fourth in sacks (48). Some may even argue this was the biggest reason they had their dramatic turnaround in 2019 and were able to make the Superbowl in the first place. Part of what makes Saleh special is his fire, passion, and animated reactions to defensive stops. Saleh is exactly the kind of leader you want for your football team. Someone who lives and dies with every single play, and someone who would be willing to throw on a helmet and run in for a play if need be.
QB1 - Zach Wilson
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In addition to the signing of Robert Saleh, the Jets also made a huge splash with their first draft pick. Selecting Zach Wilson #2 overall out of BYU. Wilson is the third BYU QB drafted in the first round since 1982, Steve Young and Jim McMahon being the other two. With both of them being former Super Bowl Champions, one would think Jets fans are hoping they struck gold with this kid. 2020 could be seen as his breakout season. Prior to this year he had not thrown more than 12 touchdowns in a season and would have never been predicted to go as high as he did in the NFL draft. Zach finished with a 73.5 completion percentage second in the nation, 3692 yards which were third in the nation, and 33 TDs which was also third in the nation; while only throwing 3 interceptions. Not only are his numbers extremely impressive but he also received high praise from NFL Insider Sal Paolantonio. Sal was on the Jets Draft podcast prior to the NFL draft and had the following to say about Zach’s potential: "I think Zach Wilson has the potential to be the next Patrick Mahomes," Paolantonio said. "He has all those kinds of tools ... incredible vision, quick release, accurate on the run, a creative player and he can really rip it." Zach could be a fantasy stud for years to come if he develops into what he has been hyped to be, and Jets fans can only hope he can live up to the hype.
Weapons For The Kid
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Probably the biggest change to the Jets this off-season was their WR core additions. Corey Davis is getting paid big money to be the Jets #1 receiver. The former #5 pick from the Titans finally had an impressive season in 2020 with 64 catches, nearly 1000 yards, and five Tds. He is in the prime role to be a #1 receiver and can be a huge help to Wilson right out the gate.
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The #2 wide receiver signing, well not so much as signing as it was a draft pick was Elijah Moore out of OLE Miss, who has absolutely been having an outstanding camp. He is making plays every day in training camp and is already looking like he could be the steal of this draft class. Moore has not only the speed to outrun defenders, but the precise route running you love to see, and hands that are crazy good. I am going to make a prediction right now; this kid is going to be something special! Get your hands on him in all fantasy formats as soon as possible before his value skyrockets. In terms of fantasy, those would be the two receivers I would invest into this season. The Jets also signed Keenan Cole in free agency, who has also had an impressive off-season, restructured Jamison Crowder's contract, and still have Denzel Mims playing in his 2nd year with the team. The big thing the Jets have this year is depth and talent.
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Although Frank Gore still runs tough and powerful for a man pushing 40, it was high time the Jets made upgrades at the running back position. The Jets did just that by signing Tevin Coleman in free agency and drafting Michael Carter out of North Carolina. Carter was one of the nation’s most versatile weapons last season and figures to be a prominent part of New York’s backfield alongside Coleman, and the returning Ty Johnson, and La’ Mical Perine. Carter is an extremely versatile player who has fantastic vision and an ability to make opponents miss with his quickness. Tevin Coleman is a veteran presence the Jets could use on their offense and could help create a nice one-two punch in New York.
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In terms of defensive signings, you have guys such as Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, Jared Davis. This would be put into an effort to shore up their 28th ranked defense. Signing Carl Lawson from the Bengals should be a huge step in that direction. His ability to create pressure on the QB is something the jets could definitely stand to gain. And he could line up directly next to Quinnen Williams, giving Saleh an inside and outside rushing combo. Sheldon could be seen as depth for the defensive line and could end up being a risk that the jets have to take a gamble on with all his potential. Sheldon’s 8 sacks in 2018 would be the kind of asset the Jets would be hoping to see. Jared Davis was an effective blitzer with the Lions and his lack of playing time may have been a factor of Matt Patricia not knowing how to use him. Davis is a hard worker, team-oriented kind of guy, and exactly the kind of guy you want to develop. He also is great for Saleh’s attacking-style defense and could end up carving a nice role on this Jets defense.
Overall, the Jets would be expected to be a much-improved team on both sides of the football, the defense should have a more balanced attack, away from the crazy mind of Gregg Williams, while the offense has a ton of young talent on it, and if they develop it should be good days ahead for Wilson and Company. I still feel like this team has a few more rebuilding years ahead, but it does seem they are headed in the right direction. My record prediction would be 5 and 12 and finishing last in the AFC East.
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