The New York Jets were not one of the best teams in the NFL this season with a 2-14 record. Despite this well-known stat, there was a lot of news around the Jets. Between the marathon for Trevor Lawrence, Gregg Williams’ issues, Adam Gase’s play-calling, and much more, there was plenty of excitement, albeit not the greatest.
In week five, the big drama in New York started brewing. This was between star running back Le’Veon Bell and head coach Adam Gase regarding a social media interaction that bell had, suggesting that the jets trade him. The team was unable to find a partner in trade leading to Bell’s release on October 13. A couple of weeks later in week seven, Adam Gase turned over play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. This turned into a controversial discussion among the media as hits were pointing that this was not the case. The drama settled slightly before week twelve when Gregg Williams, the defensive coordinator was relieved of his duties following a brutal walk-off loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Frank Bush was assigned the defensive duties for the remainder of the season. Following the season, head coach Adam Gase was fired.
What Went Right
The Jets season wasn’t one to be proud of by any standards. When a team finishes a season with a 2-14 record, that usually means that you have a roster full of veterans, or just the opposite with many rookies. It was a mix for New York in the 2020 season. The team was under the leadership of veteran running-back and legend Frank Gore. Gore eclipsed the milestone of 16,000 yards, which very few players have ever come near, forget eclipse. Another couple of bright spots were the rookies.
The biggest surprise wasn’t the first-round pick or even a pick. Undrafted rookie linebacker Bryce Huff stunned the world and performed like someone who has been around the block a fair share of times when he was given the chance. While only playing 295 snaps this season, Huff compiled two sacks, four quarterback hits, a pass deflection, among many other impressive achievements. This is a player who came into the league as an undrafted free agent from Memphis.
Another nice surprise was just how impressive Mekhi Becton was. He was able to hold down Sam Darnold’s blindside much better than anyone who has held that for New York in a while. Becton, nicknamed the “Big Ticket” was the big-ticket in the draft for Joe Douglas and the Jets and surely was worthwhile at that pick.
What Went Wrong
A 2-14 season screams “lots wrong.” The bright spots of the Jets were the youngsters but the youngsters are also what went wrong. Ashtyn Davis who was one of the highest-graded rookie defenders went down with an injury. Davis was graded a 90 rookie tackler which is 10 points higher than the next closest, Kenneth Murray at 80.6. Davis’s season was cut short with a shoulder injury.
Jordan Jenkins, a team leader, and longest current Jet may have played his last game as a Jet. In his 12 games, Jenkins compiled two sacks, 32 tackles, and a fumble. Jenkins was a vocal leader and did much good in the community.
The Jets notoriously fired head coach Adam Gase following the season and I’m sure that the fact that only Benton, Denzel Mims, and Braden Mann were the only rookies to get real playing time was a factor.
Team Award Winners
MVP – Quinnen Williams
Williams was one of the few players on the Jets in 2020 that looked like they played for an NFL team. Williams was a force on the defensive line compiling seven sacks in just 13 games. While healthy Williams was among the leaders in sacks, QB hits, tackles, and pressures.
Offensive Rookie of the Year – Mekhi Becton
Becton proved to be the best offensive lineman in the draft by far despite having nothing to show for it. He was not given much help on the line but did help Darnold have his blindside much more covered. Becton was snubbed from the Pro-Bowl and has a small chance at All-Pro. He is a great foundation piece for Joe Douglas’s dream offensive line.
Defensive Rookie of the Year – Ashtyn Davis
Davis was seen running all over the field. Jumping all over the place. All over the quarterback. That is the kind of player he is and that is the kind of potential that Davis brings to the table. Filling in for the traded Jamal Adams, Davis had big shoes to fill and sure showed flashes of greatness. In just 10 games, Davis has 36 tackles and a few sacks that were ruled penalties. His potential is there if he can clean up the wildness in his game.
Biggest Surprise – Bryce Huff
When a player comes up from a practice squad because of a reward, you don’t usually expect to see him making NFL highlights or rookie stats leaderboards. Huff defied the odds coming out of Memphis and made the Jets roster and played meaningful snaps for them at linebacker, making an impact. Huff had a higher pass-rush win rate percentage than star rookies like Yetur Gross- Matos, Chase Young, and Alex Highsmith to start the season. This goes to show a glimpse of a bright future this young man has in this league.
Biggest Disappointment – Sam Darnold
This is year three for what looked like a bright young career for a smart kid out of California. It has turned into year three of struggling to find a groove in the league. With the lack of weapons and support, coupled with new coaches far too often, Darnold struggled in what seemed like a turning point for him. With only 2,208 passing yards and nine touchdowns, coupled with 35 sacks, Darnold didn’t show much promise. That is also with the fact that the 23-year-old had a sub-60 completion percentage.
One Burning Question
Who Will be the Jets Quarterback in 2021?
The Jets have not seemed to be able to give Sam Darnold enough help ever since they took him in 2018, Darnold has yet to show why he was hyped up to be the No. 3 overall pick and in contention for the first pick. The Jets haven’t been able to supply the necessary weapons, protection, or coaches to help Darnold grow. Now the Jets will be hiring their third head coach of the Darnold era with Robert Saleh incoming. Saleh will have to choose whether to pull the trigger on the likes of Justin Fields, Kyle Trask, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Mac Jones, and many others. He can also just choose to roll with Darnold and hope to rejuvenate him. One of the big mysteries of the off-season.
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